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Links 27/7/2021: KDE Plasma 5.22.4, Libinput 1.19 to Include Hold Gestures

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Microsoft’s Linux Distro: CBL-Mariner [Ed: They help promote the lie that Microsoft in fact "loves" the thing that it is attacking the EEE way. This is worse than foolish.]

        Microsoft is not the company that it used to be. Steve Ballmer, the then CEO, said in June of 2001 that “Linux is a cancer” [1]. Microsoft tried for years to thwart the open source model and attacked Linux head-on. However, Microsoft mellowed over the years and eventually admitted they were wrong. These days they embrace Linux. Microsoft’s current CEO, Satya Nadella even campaigned that [quote] “Microsoft Loves Linux” in 2015 [2].

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 135

        Chris Fisher from Jupiter Broadcasting joins us to discuss Syncthing, feedback about whether Silverblue is the future, and how the FOSS community might be susceptible to being exploited.

      • Stop Asking How To Learn A Linux Distro

        When you're new to Linux it can be hard to work out the kind of questions you need to ask to get yourself good answers and one of those places is once you've picked a distro how do you actually learn it.

      • Stunning Animated Video Effects Using Free Software

        In this tutorial, I will show you how I created simple graphics in GIMP, how I animate graphics and text in Kdenlive. GIMP is a free and open source alternative to Adobe Photoshop; and Kdenlive is a free and open source video editor that is quite powerful.

      • Destination Linux 236: Is Eating Our Own Holding Linux Back?

        This week’s episode of Destination Linux, we’re discussing a very difficult topic about toxicity, is eating our own holding Linux back? We’ll also talk about self-hosting your own VPN and Pine64’s PineTime Open Source Smartwatch. Plus we’ve also got our famous tips, tricks and software picks. All of this and so much more this week on Destination Linux. So whether you’re brand new to Linux and open source or a guru of sudo. This is the podcast for you.

    • Kernel Space

      • Analyze the Linux kernel with ftrace |

        An operating system's kernel is one of the most elusive pieces of software out there. It's always there running in the background from the time your system gets turned on. Every user achieves their computing work with the help of the kernel, yet they never interact with it directly. The interaction with the kernel occurs by making system calls or having those calls made on behalf of the user by various libraries or applications that they use daily.

        I've covered how to trace system calls in an earlier article using strace. However, with strace, your visibility is limited. It allows you to view the system calls invoked with specific parameters and, after the work gets done, see the return value or status indicating whether they passed or failed. But you had no idea what happened inside the kernel during this time. Besides just serving system calls, there's a lot of other activity happening inside the kernel that you're oblivious to.

      • Google Continues Working On Suspend-Only Swap Spaces For Linux - Phoronix

        Google engineers and other parties are interested in being able to create swap spaces on Linux systems that would be reserved just for system suspend/hibernation purposes and not for generic swapping to disk.

        The proposed SWAP_FLAG_HIBERNATE_ONLY would reserve a swap space just for suspend-to-disk usage and not swapping regular pages. To now, generic swap ultimately needs to be enabled if just wanting to use it for system suspend, short of workarounds for turning it on/off around the suspend process.

      • Linux Plumbers Conference: RISC-V Microconference Accepted into 2021 Linux Plumbers Conference

        We are pleased to announce that the RISC-V Microconference has been accepted into the 2021 Linux Plumbers Conference. The RISC-V software eco-system is gaining momentum at breakneck speed with three new Linux development platforms available this year. The new platforms bring new issues to deal with.

      • Graphics Stack

        • DMA-Fence Deadline Awareness Proposed To Help Ensure GPU Drivers Render On-Time - Phoronix

          There is the phenomenon on Linux where when double-buffered rendering and missing vblanks can lead to the GPU running at a lower frequency when instead the opposite should happen so it will try to not miss vblanks in the first place. In the past there's been talks of "boost" support in the GPU drivers or also workarounds from user-space like dynamic triple buffering, but sent out this week is a new proposal around DMA-Fence deadline awareness as another means of addressing this problem.

          DMA-Fence deadline awareness is about being able to set a desired deadline on a fence for when the waiter would like to see the fence signaled. With the use-case being pursued, the deadline would be set as the next vblank time. Over earlier approaches this deadline awareness method should work out better in the context of atomic helpers and where the display and GPU drivers are different.

        • H.264 SVC / Temporal Encoding Wired Up For AMD's Linux Graphics Driver - Phoronix

          For those making use of Radeon GPUs for H.264 encoding on Linux, the open-source Mesa driver stack for VCN hardware has just merged support for handling H.264 Scalable Video Coding (SVC) / temporal encoding.

          This merge request from AMD was just merged into Mesa 21.3-devel for expanding its H.264 encode capabilities with Video Core Next.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Why self hosting is important

        Self hosting is about freedom, you can choose what server you want to run, which version, which features and which configuration you want. If you self host at home, You can also pick the hardware to match your needs (more Ram ? More Disk? RAID?).

        Self hosting is not a perfect solution, you have to buy the hardware, replace faulty components, do the system maintenance to keep the software part alive.

      • Apache's mod_wsgi and the Python 2 issue it creates

        If you use Apache (as we do) and have relatively casual WSGI-based applications (again, as we do), then Apache's mod_wsgi is often the easiest way to deploy your WSGI application. Speaking as a system administrator, it's quite appealing to not have to manage a separate configuration and a separate daemon (and I still get process separation and different UIDs). But at the moment there is a little problem, at least for people (like us) who use their Unix distribution's provided version of Apache and mod_wsgi rather than build your own. The problem is that any given build of mod_wsgi only supports one version of (C)Python.

      • Trouble with vnet and pf

        In the past, I have tried vnet jails with pf, and hit trouble. I was never able to get pf to allow the vnet traffic when having a default ‘block log all’ rule. More recently, I encountered the same problem when using byhve.

        This time, I moved byhve to another host, which is not using pf and I am writing this post to document the issue.

      • How to Boot Raspberry Pi 4 / 400 From a USB SSD or Flash Drive

        By default, Raspberry Pi boots up and stores all of its programs on a microSD memory card, which has a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 50 MBps on the Raspberry Pi 4 and just 25 MBps on prior models. In real-life, even the best microSD cards for Raspberry Pi get no faster than about 38 MBps in sequential writes. Using an external SSD as your main storage drive could speed things up significantly and, with a few commands and a simple firmware update, you can do just that.

        In our real-life tests of a Raspberry Pi 4 with SSD last year we got impressive performance with sequential transfer rates as high as 140 MB / 208 MBps for reading and writing. You can also use a standard USB flash drive, though we found the performance worse than a microSD card on many tasks.

      • How to Run Multiple Linux Commands in One Single Command

        If you use Linux daily, you will know that the command line is the most powerful tool when you working with files, installing and configuring system software, and running them. It becomes even more efficient if you run two or more commands at once on the command line and save a good deal of time.

      • How To Install Bluefish Editor on Linux Mint 20 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Bluefish Editor on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Bluefish is free and open-source software that provides numerous capabilities to the programmers for web development by supporting multiple languages such as Java, C/C++, Python, Go, and also a very large number of scripting languages.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of Bluefish’s powerful editor on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • Check used disk space on Linux with du |

        No matter how much storage space you have, there's always the possibility for it to fill up. On most personal devices, drives get filled up with photos and videos and music, but on servers, it's not unusual for space to diminish due to data in user accounts and log files. Whether you're in charge of managing a multi-user system or just your own laptop, you can check in on disk usage with the du command.

      • How to Install NodeJS 14 / 16 & NPM on Rocky Linux 8

        Built on Chrome’s V8 engine, Node.JS is open-source, and event-driven Javascript runtime that is designed to build scalable applications and backend APIs. NodeJS is lightweight and efficient, thanks to its non-blocking I/O model and event-driven architecture. This makes it a perfect choice for handling data-intensive real-time applications. It is cross-platform and totally free to download and use.

      • The basic syntax of cat command in Linux guide 2021

        cat command would be on your fingers without any restriction or hesitation if you are going to be a Linux user, In other words, you can say “cat command is most used command in Linux”. You must know the first basic syntax of cat command in Linux.

        Generally, cat utility in Linux is used to display the content of the file. I can’t stop me to use cat command at the time to peep into the file.

        It is not just used only for a single purpose to see the content of the file, but you can use the cat command to create a file in Linux. I will share the basic syntax of cat tool in Linux.

      • Linux File Permission Change by chmod Command in Linux Guide 2021

        Linux file permission is a very important aspects in terms of security issues for the system administrator of Linux Operating System. Actually, chmod Command in Linux plays a greater role to keep all the files and directories of the system safe and secure so that no unauthorized person can change, modify or delete content of any files or directories. Following color coding is used to describe the content better in applying chmod command in Linux.

      • How do you access the Dark Web Safely by Using these updated Tips 2021

        What do you think about the dark web? do you know anything about the Dark Web? have you heard about the dark web before? How do you access the dark web? Is it legal or illegal? lots of question comes in your mind when you think about the dark web.

        I think you have heard this word before but you don’t have a clear concept of the dark wave. why so, you are reading this article.

        before to start a talk about the dark web, I am going to have a small talk on the internet.

      • How to Install cPanel & WHM on Ubuntu 20.04 - Google Cloud

        How to Install cPanel WHM on Ubuntu 20.04. Cpanel recently launched support for Ubuntu servers and you can try this on your Ubuntu 20.04. You can use the specific version 98 of cPanel for Ubuntu.

        This software is experimental and cannot be used on production environments.

        In this guide is tested on Google cloud platform with a virtual machine running Ubuntu 20.04.

      • How to set up Regolith Linux 1.6

        Regolith Linux 1.6 is here and packed with new and exciting features. If you’re looking to try out a new Linux distribution, this guide is for you. Follow along as we show you how to set up Regolith Linux 1.6!

      • How to install Kali Linux apps in Debian

        Are you a Debian Linux user who also loves network security and computer testing? If so, you’ll probably want to install some security tools onto your Debian Linux system. Of course, the best way to get that type of software installed is to install the Kali Linux software suite. Here’s how to do it.

      • How to install Blender on Linux Lite 5.4

        In this video, we are looking at how to install Blender on Linux Lite 5.4.

      • How to install MetaTrader 4 with the FxPro Broker on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install MetaTrader 4 with the FxPro Broker on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

    • Games

      • Nanotale RPG Moves to Linux and Mac -

        Linux and Mac players rejoice today as the next fantasy adventure in the Typing Chronicles, Nanotale, comes to their respective platforms for $19.99.

      • Upcoming free to play co-op WW2 zombie shooter Projekt Z gets a Steam page and new video

        Projekt Z from 314 Arts is starting to really sound like it's shaping up nicely and we now know a bit more about the world, their plans for monetization and more.

        Their latest developer video goes other quite a few aspects of the gameplay including character intro-missions, the customizable hub area, a new damage system, inventory management and the monetization system. We've been following it for a while and how they planned to fund it was a big question that they've answered - which will be through a Kickstarter and a Battle Pass type of system to pay and get a few extras. They did mention that all the extras will be post-launched, after the main content is done. The extra paid content will things like skins and pad mission packs.

      • Get a closer look at the Steam Deck's Trackpad and Gyroscopic controls

        The news around the Steam Deck keeps on coming in, with a new video posted up by (surprise) IGN that checks out the Steam Deck's Trackpad and Gyroscopic controls.

        IGN of course being probably the biggest around, we don't need to wonder why Valve has a seemingly exclusive deal with them to show off everything first. So for now, until the Steam Deck releases and our unit arrives sometime in Q1 2022, we're mostly relying on what Valve say to IGN.

      • Proton 6.13 GE-1 is out now with AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution, Resizable BAR | GamingOnLinux

        Proton GE, the community-made version of Proton with a bunch of enhancements has a new release out with Proton-6.13-GE-1 pulling in a bunch of advanced features and fixed.

        If you're not clear on what Proton and Steam Play are, be sure to check out our constantly updated dedicated page. It's a special compatibility layer for running Windows games and apps from Steam on Linux. Proton GE is not affiliated with Valve/Steam, it also has less quality assurance versus the official Proton but often ends up with special game fixes quicker.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.22.4, Bugfix Release for July

           Today KDE releases a bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.22.4.

          Plasma 5.22 was released in June 2021 with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

          This release adds three weeks' worth of new translations and fixes from KDE's contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important and include...

        • GSoC 2021 KMyMoney - Post First Evals to Week 7

          I modified the code as suggested by my mentors that were related to coding conventions(according to C++, Qt and KDE).

          After adding the new members to the AlkOnlineQuoteSource constructor. I jumped into writing the unit tests. I realized that I haven’t added the new members in the function signature. After adding that, I build the files to check what all things break related to the constructor’s usage.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Peter Hutterer: libinput and hold gestures

          Thanks to the work done by Josè Expòsito, libinput 1.19 will ship with a new type of gesture: Hold Gestures. So far libinput supported swipe (moving multiple fingers in the same direction) and pinch (moving fingers towards each other or away from each other). These gestures are well-known, commonly used, and familiar to most users. For example, GNOME 40 recently has increased its use of touchpad gestures to switch between workspaces, etc. Swipe and pinch gestures require movement, it was not possible (for callers) to detect fingers on the touchpad that don't move.

          This gap is now filled by Hold gestures. These are triggered when a user puts fingers down on the touchpad, without moving the fingers. This allows for some new interactions and we had two specific ones in mind: hold-to-click, a common interaction on older touchscreen interfaces where holding a finger in place eventually triggers the context menu. On a touchpad, a three-finger hold could zoom in, or do dictionary lookups, or kill a kitten. Whatever matches your user interface most, I guess.

          The second interaction was the ability to stop kinetic scrolling. libinput does not actually provide kinetic scrolling, it merely provides the information needed in the client to do it there: specifically, it tells the caller when a finger was lifted off a touchpad at the end of a scroll movement. It's up to the caller (usually: the toolkit) to implement the kinetic scrolling effects. One missing piece was that while libinput provided information about lifting the fingers, it didn't provide information about putting fingers down again later - a common way to stop scrolling on other systems.

        • Christian Hergert: Ignoring GtkTextTag when printing

          Previously, If you wanted to do this, you had to remove all your tags and then print, only to restore them afterwards. This should be a lot more convenient for people writing various GtkSourceView-based text editors. Although, I’m suspect many of them weren’t even doing this correctly to begin with, hence this PSA.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • The 5 things I wish I'd known before becoming a sysadmin

          For those sysadmins with a few years of experience behind you, do you ever feel like there were some things you should have known before flipping the, "I want to be a sysadmin" switch? I'm sure there are. I don't know that it would have changed my mind or the course of my career but there are a handful of things I wish I'd known before taking the job. The five things I list in this article are the ones that I find to be the most important. You might have different ones.

        • Hybrid work: 6 more ways to enable asynchronous collaboration | The Enterprisers Project

          As IT organizations move toward a post-pandemic phase of work, it’s time for tech leaders to take what they’ve learned about managing a remote workforce to the next level and create the optimal hybrid work environment for employees.

          “The time is perfect to pivot from that and teach an organization how to make big productivity gains and great hybrid experiences through working asynchronously,” says Brian Abrahamson, CIO and associate laboratory director for communications and IT at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Lab.

          In part one of this article, IT leaders and experts offered seven ways to best support the hybrid workforce. Here are six more best practices to consider - for leaders who want to ensure continued productivity, relationship building, and more, this year and beyond.

        • IT leadership: 4 ways to find opportunities for improvement

          When you’re in a war, you’re focused only on the fight in front of you. Once that fight is over, you clean your weapons and patch your tents. Then you take care of your soldiers. You send them to college and get them training so they’re ready for whatever is next.

          That’s how we’ve operated over the past 15+ months at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. We prioritized and attacked the most important projects first, then we took a step back to strategically examine the work we did and identify opportunities for improvement.

          We’re transforming business processes and rethinking future needs. As we emerge from this fight, we’re looking toward the future. We’re thinking about how to create a competitive advantage for our university by leveraging all the investments we’ve made in IT from both before and during the pandemic. We’re innovating and transforming business processes and rethinking future needs.

        • Red Hat boosts Apache Kafka connectivity for Kubernetes environments with latest Red Hat Integration release

          Enterprises around the globe are reshaping their businesses to respond more quickly to the changes happening around us. Event driven architectures (EDA) are at the heart of this effort to transition processes and applications to an efficient model. To implement EDA solutions, many enterprises are turning to Apache Kafka.

          When a distributed data streaming platform such as Apache Kafka is deployed in a Kubernetes environment like Red Hat OpenShift, customers can achieve the performance, efficiency and scale they need. Red Hat has focused the latest release of Red Hat Integration on extending Apache Kafka connectivity to help customers create event-driven applications that integrate into every aspect of their businesses.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu To Android File Transfer with Primitive FTP

          Primitive FTP is an Android app to enable your phone to transfer files from and to Ubuntu computer and other devices over wifi or USB tethering. It is very easy to setup and do. Let's try!

        • Ubuntu 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) End of Life reached on July 22 2021

          This is a follow-up to the End of Life warning sent earlier this month to confirm that as of July 22, 2021, Ubuntu 20.10 is no longer supported. No more package updates will be accepted to 20.10, and it will be archived to in the coming weeks.

          The original End of Life warning follows, with upgrade instructions:

          Ubuntu announced its 20.10 (Groovy Gorilla) release almost 9 months ago, on October 22, 2020, and its support period is now nearing its end. Ubuntu 20.10 will reach end of life on July 22, 2021.

        • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 693

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 693 for the week of July 18 – 24, 2021.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 7 Best Free and Open Source Go Static Site Generators

        LinuxLinks, like most modern websites, is dynamic in that content is stored in a database and converted into presentation-ready HTML when readers access the site.

        While we employ built-in server caching which creates static versions of the site, we don’t generate a full, static HTML website based on raw data and a set of templates. However, sometimes a full, static HTML website is desirable. Because HTML pages are all prebuilt, they load extremely quickly in web browsers.

        There are lots of other advantages of running a full, static HTML website.

      • Avoid this common open source scanning error

        Pete Townshend, legendary guitar player for British rock band The Who, is well-known for playing suspended chords. Suspended chords add musical tension to a song. For those piano players reading this who (like me) love to play in the key of C, simply play a C major chord (the notes C, E, and G) and replace the E note with either an F or a D. You are now on your way to becoming a British rock star!1

        Music is often filled with combinations of chords, like suspended chords, that provide tension, then release. Although adding tension to a musical composition is desirable, adding tension to scanning software with open source tools is certainly unwelcome.

      • Web Browsers

        • cURL developers take a second shot at fixing information disclosure flaw

          Developers have taken a second stab at fixing a tricky flaw in cURL, the command-line tool and library for transferring data with URLs.

          The utility, which is popular with developers, was subject to an information disclosure bug involving interactions with Telnet servers in June.

          However, the attempted resolution of the flaw (CVE-2021-22898) failed to address an almost identical bug in the software which also presented an information disclosure, or potential data leak vulnerability in interacting with Telnet servers.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • An Analysis of Responses to Mozilla’s Trusted Recursive Resolver Public Consultation

          In 2019, the Mozilla Corporation introduced its Trusted Recursive Resolver (TRR) programme to complement the addition of support for DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) by its Firefox browser. The TRR policy that underpins the programme “describes data collection and retention, transparency, and blocking policies and is in addition to any contractual, technical or operational requirements necessary to operate the resolver service”.

          Currently, the TRR programme only covers North America, having recently been extended to Canada, but there have been suggestions that Mozilla is keen to expand its scope to other markets.

      • Education

        • Tips for running an online conference

          I think I got started running conferences in 2002 when I helped with Open Source Weekend 2003. The next year, I started BSDCan. Three years later, PGCon start. All up, I think I’ve run at least 32 conferences, two of which have been online: BSDCan 2020 and PGCon 2020.

          This article was planned before the conferences were held. There have been requests to share what we did, why, and how it went.

          This is still the first draft, and for the most part is a brain dump of everything I can remember.

          In general, I will refer to BSDCan, but unless otherwise noted, such references can also be to PGCon.

        • Open Fest 2021 is back! Free your agenda for 14 and 15 of August when the biggest open source event in Bulgaria will take place in Sofia.

          Open fest 2021 will be provided in normal face to face format in the open space – the King Boris garden – “Maimunarnika” where up to 1200 people can be hosted.

      • Programming/Development

        • Connecting Node.js applications to Red Hat OpenShift Streams with Service Binding

          Apache Kafka is a vital piece of infrastructure for teams adopting an event-driven architecture. By connecting applications with minimal coupling, event-driven architecture lets teams create distributed, fault-tolerant applications using the runtimes most appropriate for the specific task and team. However, managing infrastructure and Kafka clusters is a complex and time-consuming task. A managed Kafka service such as Red Hat OpenShift Streams for Apache Kafka allows teams to focus on delivering applications, while Red Hat takes care of their Kafka infrastructure.

          Once your Kafka infrastructure is in place, you'll want to start developing applications using your preferred runtimes. This article focuses on Node.js, which has become one of the most popular runtimes for cloud-native application development. Integrating Node.js applications with their organization's broader event-driven architecture based on Kafka is critical for developers.

          This article demonstrates how to connect and authenticate your Node.js applications to OpenShift Streams for Apache Kafka using the Service Binding Specification for Kubernetes. The Service Binding spec says that it "aims to create a Kubernetes-wide specification for communicating service secrets to applications in an automated way." Figure 1 shows a high-level overview of the interactions between the components in this specification. Don’t worry if you’re not yet familiar with these components or concepts; this article walks you through each step.

        • $2 MXCHIP EMC3080 WiFi and Bluetooth LE IoT module integrates Cortex-M33 MCU - CNX Software

          There are some discrepancies between the information on Seeed Studio and MXCHIP’s product page, notably with the former claiming Bluetooth 5.0 supports but I’d assume it would be without long-range nor higher bandwidth (2 Mbps) support in any cases.

          There aren’t any software development resources that I could find on either website, but the datasheet reads...

        • GitLab's New Open Source Tool Will Detect Malicious Code - It's FOSS News

          There are several open-source tools available for security researchers. Now, GitLab has introduced a new one to the arsenal that lets you detect malicious code in dependencies.

          The tool is also known as “Package Hunter” and is an important addition that could help secure every type of software.

        • Hotspot: How const Can Improve Performance

          Some time ago, I noticed that a unit test was quite slow, using 100% CPU for a number of seconds at one point in the test.

          I used perf and KDAB’s Hotspot to record and examine where the CPU cycles were spent in that unit test, and I quickly noticed that a lot of time was spent in QFileSystemEntry::fileName(), an internal method in Qt that’s called when listing directories with QDir.

        • Hacking is the opposite of marketing

          Building maximally general technology, and then adding a final layer of interface, marketing, and narrative that makes it all seem specific, is part of the challenge of making things people will buy.

        • Dirk Eddelbuettel: RcppFarmHash 0.0.1: New CRAN Package

          A new package RcppFarmHash is now on CRAN in an inaugural version 0.0.1.

          RcppFarmHash wraps the Google FarmHash family of hash functions (written by Geoff Pike and contributors) that are used for example by Google BigQuery for the FARM_FINGERPRINT.

          The package was prepared and uploaded yesterday afternoon, and to my surprise already on CRAN this (early) morning when I got up. So here is another #ThankYouCRAN for very smoothing operations.

        • Rust

          • Rust 1.54.0 pre-release testing

            The 1.54.0 pre-release is ready for testing. The release is scheduled for this Thursday, July 29th. Release notes can be found here.

  • Leftovers

    • Except by Balloon Summer of 2021

      Yes, it’s been two years since my last physical, Dr. Li. With the pandemic, public transportation the way it is, and being retired, I just ballooned.

      Grew fat that is: ballooning is on my bucket list— imagine over the Grand Canyon or even Queens. You must have had it rough, add being Chinese.

    • The Cornerstone

      Find out what a historian thinks about the New Deal, and you will quickly find out what they think about the virtues and failures of the liberal state writ large. For Arthur Schlesinger Jr., how Franklin D. Roosevelt responded to the worst downturn in US history “was a matter of seeing whether a representative democracy could conquer economic collapse,” and the aggressive actions he took restored Americans’ faith in that system. For Howard Zinn, on the other hand, the gush of new federal programs merely ended up reinforcing the shaky grip of the reigning capitalist order. When the New Deal ended, he argued, “the rich still controlled the nation’s wealth” and “the same system that had brought depression and crisis…remained.” Recently, the conservative writer Amity Shlaes dismissed the very notion that FDR and his allies were either liberal heroes or repairers of a damaged status quo. Instead, she blasted the longest-serving president in US history for caring “little for constitutional niceties” and ramming through policies that were “often inspired by socialist or fascist models abroad.”2

    • The Futile Search for Rarified Experience

      At one time I would have said that today’s humans are without a doubt better off than at any other time in human history, but today I am feeling skeptical about the human enterprise, particularly as it relates to our treatment of the nonhuman world.

      Today I feel like we have failed.

    • Opinion | That Right There Is Where He Was Hung: Slipping Free of the Shame To Say His Name, Now More Than Ever
    • The Rescue of the New York Public Library

      “Look! Books! The Tired Old Mid-Manhattan Library Gets a Crisp New Identity.” This Curbed headline, for a glowing piece by Justin Davidson, referred to a new circulating library in central Manhattan, renamed the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library. Davidson celebrated the light-filled atrium, elegant staircase, rooftop terrace, and innovative children’s area. A famously decrepit and malodorous building has been utterly transformed.1

    • He’s Heavy, He’s My Brother

      I’d divide the world into those who laugh and those who don’t.€  Foibles would be welcomed, reification, beyond the telling moment of the joke, would be banned.€  You wouldn’t need to tell a joke, although a place at the mike will be reserved, but merely able to laugh at a joke.€  What the better comedians do best is remind us that none of us really knows a goddamn thing about it all works.€  We live in a world of contradictions, hot air balloons that fat cats make their escape with when no one’s looking, and systems of ideals so soon fraught with incomprehension as to be entirely inchoate when pushed into practice.€  We need to laugh to adequately express the human condition that hasn’t changed in millennia. Even DJ Trump, for all his blusto-criminality, stood up to a roasting for the ages.

      I’d raise the status of the former slave elements. The laughing American Jew and the ribald cotton pickin’ Slave legacy types would be elevated to the top of the heap.€  If we had to start over again, and it’s looking more and more like we’ll have to, I’m recruiting the Lenny Bruces and Richard Pryors, the stand-up Woody Allens and Spike Lees (when he’s in a funny mood), and Key and Peele, who, as byproducts of white/black parents, are deliciously familiar with the whole damn flim-flam of being someone other than who you are and laughing your ass off about it. Advent calendars would contain punchlines for jokes you waited a year to complete )imagine the yuck, if a home run was hit). Future presidential and Congressional elections would be decided by laugh-offs. We would punch the electoral college mascot in the face.

    • Education

      • Outsourcing online learning is selling students short

        In recent years, many US universities have transferred their online learning to contractors with increasing frequency, positioning them as “partners”. They manage everything from enrolment to graduation and certification and provide the web-based learning platforms that encompass all audio, video and text components, whether asynchronous, in real time or both. The results are worrisome.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • 300+ Civil Society Groups Counter-Mobilize Against UN Food Systems Summit

        Characterizing this week's€ United Nations Food Systems Pre-Summit as a corporate-friendly affair, a coalition of more than€ 300 civil society and Indigenous peoples' organizations—representing over 380 million agricultural workers and other food justice advocates—has€ launched a parallel gathering to advance "a radical, human rights-based and agroecological transformation of food systems."

        The People's Counter-Mobilization to Transform Corporate Food Systems began on Sunday with a virtual rally that featured the voices of small-scale food producers.

      • Sex Workers and COVID-19: Resisting the Pandemic and Criminalization

        Although in Latin America many countries do not have legislation criminalizing sex work, the lack of a legal framework in this regard lends itself to all kinds of abuses. According to an investigation published by the Network of Women Sex Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean, “the application of laws is interpretative and discretionary,” resulting in recurrent violations of the rights of workers, including arbitrary detention; torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment; discrimination in access to health care; and unequal treatment within judicial systems.

        Multilateral organizations have called for inclusive responses to cushion the impact of COVID-19. Such policies should not neglect the workers who are criminalized, such as sex workers. There is nothing inclusive about the policies that states have adopted. “If we have something to celebrate about the pandemic,” Orellano tells me, “it is that it made it clear—to ourselves—that the only way out of this type of context is to strengthen unionization.”

      • Opinion | The Olympic Event We Need: A Race To See Where People Live the Longest

        In pandemics, people die. They die in incredibly frightful numbers. That may be why so few media commentators greeted this week’s biggest news story — the release of the latest stats on U.S. life expectancy — with anything much more than a shrug.

      • 'A Race Against Time': Doctors Without Borders Implores Rich Nations to Stop Stalling Patent Waiver

        Ahead of a crucial World Trade Organization meeting on Tuesday, the global humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders said it is imperative that rich countries stop stonewalling negotiations over a temporary patent waiver for coronavirus vaccines as the ultra-contagious Delta variant ravages poor and under-protected regions.

        "Pharmaceutical corporations' business-as-usual approach is intolerable."—Dr. Tom Ellman, Doctors Without Borders

      • Florida Accounts for 1 in 5 New COVID Cases as DeSantis Sells Anti-Fauci Shirts
      • DeSantis Under Fire as Florida Now Accounts for 1 in 5 New US Covid Cases

        The state of Florida now accounts for one in five new coronavirus infections in the United States, making it the nation's most alarming hot spot as the highly transmissible Delta strain rips through undervaccinated communities and drives a surge in hospitalizations.

        According to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Florida has recorded 73,181 new Covid-19 cases over the past week, the most in the country. Florida also logged the most coronavirus deaths of any U.S. state in the last seven days—319—and hospitalizations are spiking, prompting dire warnings from physicians and calls for public safety measures to stop the spread.

      • Epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves: “3 Things Biden Can Do Right Now to Stop COVID and Save Lives”

        Six months into the Biden administration, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the United States and around the world, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. Meanwhile, as vaccinations stall in the United States, much of the world is still “desperate” for COVID-19 vaccines, says Yale epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalves. “We should be exporting vaccines rather than sitting on them and hoarding them,” he says. “If we don’t stop the virus all around the world, we’re not going to stop it anywhere.”

      • James Lyons-Weiler whines about his “vaxxed/unvaxxed” study retraction

        It is always amusing to me to see the reaction of antivaccine quacks and pseudoscientists when their attempts at achieving some measure of scientific credibility for their ideas in the form of getting their papers published in bottom-feeding (albeit ostensibly “peer-reviewed”) journals ends up biting them in the hindquarters. For example, it happened with Anthony Mawson and his risibly incompetent “vaxxed/unvaxxed” study, which, after a history of disappearing and reappearing, was retracted, much to the sadness of antivaxxers, only to reappear again (I’m guessing after Mawson’s check finally cleared). I was thinking this as I was informed that former actual scientist turned antivaxxer James Lyons-Weiler, who co-authored an equally bad “vaxxed/unvaxxed” study with antivax pediatrician Dr. Paul Thomas (whose license was suspended in December), is very unhappy that it, too, has been retracted—and retracted by MDPI, which is not exactly known for publishing what one would call the best journals.

      • Anti-abortion lawyers are finally being honest about what they want from the Supreme Court

        Anti-abortion lawyers, in other words, are finally being honest about their ultimate goal. Rather than asking the Court to place some arcane and nonsensical limit on Roe and Casey, while simultaneously pretending that these two cases remain good law, Mississippi just asked the Court to eliminate the right to an abortion altogether.

      • Marlboro Maker CEO Says The Company Plans To Stop Selling Smokes In The U.K.

        Tobacco giant Philip Morris International says it will stop selling cigarettes in the United Kingdom within the next decade — including the company's iconic Marlboro brand.

      • Health record company pays hospitals that use its algorithms

        Like many other groups that build health algorithms, Epic doesn’t publicly share details of how the algorithms are built. Researchers at hospitals that use Epic are able to scrutinize the tools, but any investigations are challenging: they can’t disclose proprietary information and may worry about complicating their employer’s relationships with the company if they publish negative results, Stat News reported.

        The studies that have been done on the algorithms show that they often don’t work as well as advertised. One analysis of the sepsis algorithm, which Epic says works 76 percent of the time, found it was only right 63 percent of the time.

      • Epic’s AI algorithms, shielded from scrutiny by a corporate firewall, are delivering inaccurate information on seriously ill patients

        Several artificial intelligence algorithms developed by Epic Systems, the nation’s largest electronic health record vendor, are delivering inaccurate or irrelevant information to hospitals about the care of seriously ill patients, contrasting sharply with the company’s published claims, a STAT investigation found.

      • WHO/Europe releases report on mechanisms for improving transparency of markets for medicines, vaccines and health products

        Two years after World Health Assembly Resolution 72.8 was agreed on improving the transparency of markets for medicines, vaccines and other health products, WHO/Europe has released a report identifying and summarizing the current evidence on the implementation of transparency measures in the WHO European Region. This follows intense debate over the roles and responsibilities of the public and private sectors in the development of vaccines for COVID-19.

        The review identified 2 mechanisms in place to improve the transparency of markets – price transparency and greater transparency of research and development costs. The review highlights the importance of transparency, among other recommendations such as price and cost monitoring. It also explains that the public interest should be considered when countries are deciding whether to enter into pricing-related confidentiality agreements with pharmaceutical companies.

        The report is part of the Health Evidence Network synthesis report series and was written by researchers from Medicines Law and Policy,

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft warns attack could compromise Windows domain controllers and servers

          Microsoft has acknowledged a newly-discovered version of an attack on a long-vulnerable Windows single sign-on protocol called NTLM — short for New Technology LAN Manager — that is still used in the operating system as a backup to the newer Kerberos authentication protocol.

        • PlugwalkJoe Does the Perp Walk

          One day after last summer’s mass-hack of Twitter, KrebsOnSecurity wrote that 22-year-old British citizen Joseph “PlugwalkJoe” O’Connor appeared to have been involved in the incident. When the U.S. Justice Department last week announced O’Connor’s arrest and indictment, his alleged role in the Twitter compromise was well covered in the media.

        • South Africa Port Operator Declares Force Majeure Over Cyber Attack

          Transnet SOC Ltd., South Africa’s state-owned ports and freight-rail company, declared force majeure at the country’s key container terminals after disruptions caused by a cyber attack five days ago.

        • [Cr]ackers spreading malware through Discord: Report

          Leading cybersecurity firm Sophos on Monday warned users that popular chat platform Discord is being used by [cr]ackers for spreading malware.

          The firm said that the findings are based on analysis of more than 1,800 malicious files detected by Sophos telemetry on the Discord Content Management Network (CDN).

        • ‘Holy moly!’: Inside Texas’ fight against a ransomware hack [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Texas communities struggled for days with disruptions to core government services as workers in small cities and towns endured a cascade of frustrations brought on by the sophisticated cyberattack, according to thousands of pages of documents reviewed by The Associated Press and interviews with people involved in the response. The AP also learned new details about the attack’s scope and victims, including an Air Force base where access to a law enforcement database was interrupted, and a city forced to operate its water-supply system manually.

        • Chat logs show how Egregor, an $80 million ransomware gang, handled negotiations with little mercy [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Egregor has since disappeared, following an international sting in February. Now, though, more than 100 pages of Egregor negotiation transcripts — obtained and analyzed by IBM Security X-Force and its partner company Cylera, and reviewed by CyberScoop — shed light on the oft-opaque structure of a ransomware operation. The discussion records also demonstrate how victims proved most effective at convincing their extortionists to reduce the amount demanded to decrypt their systems, with one medical organization turning a $15 million ransom into a $2 million payment.

        • Paul E. Mc Kenney: Confessions of a Recovering Proprietary Programmer, Part XVIII: Preventing Involuntary Generosity

          I recently learned that all that is required for someone to take out a loan in some random USA citizen's name is that citizen's full name, postal address, email address, date of birth, and social security number. If you are above a certain age, all of these are for all intents and purposes a matter of public record. If you are younger, then your social security number is of course supposed to be secret—and it will be, right up to that data breach that makes it available to all the wrong people.

          This sort of thing can of course be a bit annoying to our involuntarily generous USA citizen. Fortunately, there are quite a few things you can do, although I will not try to reproduce the entirety of the volumes of good advice that are available out there. Especially given that laws, processes, and procedures are all subject to change.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Pegasus Rides Again: the NSO Group, Spyware and Human Rights

              The NSO Group was one such provider.€  It sees its mission was a noble thing, marketing itself as a creator of “technology that helps government agencies prevent and investigate terrorism and crime to save thousands of lives around the globe.”

              The company also emphasises their mission to target those “terrorists” and “criminals” who have gone dark.€  “The world’s most dangerous offenders communicate using technology designed to shield their communications, while government intelligence and law-enforcement agencies struggle to collect evidence and intelligence on their activities.”€  The group insists that its “products help government intelligence and law-enforcement agencies use technology to meet the challenges of encryption to prevent and investigate terror and crime.”

            • NSO Group Attempting To Distance Itself From Damaging Leak By Offering Up Contradictory Statements And 'Nothing To Fear' Platitudes

              This truly is a pleasure to observe. Israeli malware merchant NSO Group -- the purveyor of powerful spyware capable of turning a target's phone into a spy agency's plaything -- is playing a whole lot of defense after leaked data seen by a number of journalists and activists appears to confirm that NSO's customers are targeting… activists and journalists. (And world leaders, religious leaders, NGO employees, and friends and relatives of all of the above…)

            • Opinion | The Privacy Debate Reveals How Big Tech’s “Transparency and User Control” Arguments Fall Flat

              If you’ve been following the Capitol Hill hearings about algorithms and automated decision-making, then you’ve probably heard technology companies talk about how they offer or want to offer “transparency and user control” to consumers. Companies like Facebook and Twitter propose sharing information on how their algorithms work with the public, as well as enabling users to tweak these algorithms to change their experience on digital platforms. They argue that users are less susceptible to manipulation if they can control how a digital platform’s algorithm delivers content to them. While this seems persuasive, this kind of regulatory regime poses significant dangers. It cannot address harms like discrimination, loss of economic opportunity for content creators, or radicalization of users. Luckily, we’ve already had this conversation on privacy — and can choose not to make the same mistakes twice.

            • 27 Groups Urge Congress to Close FBI 'Backdoor Search' Loophole

              Over two dozen advocacy groups on Monday sent a letter urging members of Congress to back a measure that, if enacted, would close the so-called "backdoor search" loophole that allows warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens' data by government agencies including the FBI and CIA.

              "Right before its August recess, Congress might finally slam the FBI's warrantless backdoor in their faces."—Fight for the Future

            • Review: Why Facebook can never fix itself

              Frenkel and Kang argue that Facebook’s problems today are not the product of a company that lost its way. Instead they are part of its very design, built atop Zuckerberg’s narrow worldview, the careless privacy culture he cultivated, and the staggering ambitions he chased with Sandberg.

            • Safe delivery or security risk? Amazon wants your building key.

              But the Amazon program, first announced in 2018, may stir security and privacy concerns as it gains traction. The company said that it does background checks on delivery people and that they can unlock doors only when they have a package in hand to scan. But tenants may not know that Amazon drivers have access to their building’s front doors, since Amazon leaves it up to the building to notify them.

            • Netherlands hits TikTok with €750,000 fine for child privacy violations

              The Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP) imposed a 750,000 euro fine on social media platform TikTok for violating the privacy of Dutch children. The company was reprimanded because between May 2018 and July 2020 the privacy statement was only available in English. TikTok has objected to the fine.

              According to the AP, it must be clear to all users what happens with their personal data. “By not offering their privacy statement in Dutch, TikTok failed to provide an adequate explanation of how the app collects, processes and uses personal data," AP said in a statement. The AP said it cannot be assumed that young children in the Netherlands are able to understand English.

            • OpenBSD full Tor setup

              If for some reasons you want to block all your traffic except traffic going through Tor, here is how to proceed on OpenBSD.

              The setup is simple and consists at installing Tor, running the service and configure the firewall to block every requests that doesn't come from the user _tor used by Tor daemon.

            • Confidentiality

              • Dead Drops and Security Through Obscurity

                There’s massive confusion in the security community around Security Through Obscurity.

                In general, most people know it’s bad, but they can’t say exactly why. And because of this, people tend to think the “Obscurity” in “Security Through Obscurity” equates to secrecy, meaning if you hide anything, it’s Security Through Obscurity.

                This is incorrect, and Dead Drops are a great example.

              • Preventing Data Exfiltration with eBPF

                Consider a service invoking webhooks. It will be running with limited data access but must be able to communicate with the entire Internet. Contrast that to an SSH session that’s been opened for troubleshooting purposes. It will have access to the entire machine but does not egress to an arbitrary IP.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Is Sen. Ed Markey a War Hawk in Progressive Clothing? His Latest China Gambit Points to Yes

        Last year during Massachusetts’ heated Democratic Senate Primary, incumbent Senator Ed Markey categorized his 2003 vote for the War in Iraq as a “mistake.” Now after winning re-election with the support of youth activist constituents like Calla Walsh and groups like Massachusetts Peace Action, Sunrise, 350MA, Western Mass CODEPINK, and more, Senator Markey has made another mistake in advancing the militaristic anti-China Strategic Competition Act out of committee and through the Senate as part of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021.

        Those who supported Markey’s campaign are paying heed to this inconsistency though: a coalition including youth activists, CODEPINK, and Massachusetts Peace Action rallied and delivered a letter with over 2,700 signatures to the Senator this past Thursday, July 22, demanding that he honor his campaign promises to prioritize cutting the bloated Pentagon budget and addressing the increasingly-worsening climate crisis. Calla Walsh expressed her disappointment and hopes for her Senator, stating, “The Pentagon is one of the world’s biggest polluters, and Senator Markey’s support for increasing military spending in the Asia-Pacific region is completely antithetical to the principles of the Green New Deal. As one of the young organizers who helped re-elect him, I hope Senator Markey stands against this imperialist aggression and stays true to his campaign values of justice, sustainability, and progressivism.”

      • Policing “Hate” Supposedly Protects People -- But It Really Fuels More Violence
      • Opinion | July 27th Isn’t Just Another Day

        July 27, 2021 marks the 68th anniversary of the Korean War Armistice Agreement, a battlefield truce that temporarily halted combat during the Korean War. That pause continues to define the state of relations between the United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, North Korea) to this day. Absent a peace agreement the armistice maintains a tenuous hold on mutual U.S.– North Korean hostilities that erupt periodically as in Trump’s 2017 threats of “fire and fury” over the North’s nuclear program.

      • Opinion | America's (Likely) Violent Future

        A little over a year ago I wrote an essay titled The United States: An Obituary. It was the tail end of the Trump regime and the early days of the novel coronavirus pandemic; dread was in the air, and I thought it was a good moment to look back on my country’s troubled history and assess its prospects. The title pretty much summed up my thoughts at the time.

      • Police Union Gives 'Officer Of The Year' Award To A Cop Who Spent Last Year Suspended

        If you'd like some more anecdotal evidence about the useless and general disconnectedness of police unions, have I got something for you. We all know police unions take the worst aspects of policing and amplify them. We know they fearlessly defend even the worst officers from lawsuits, firings, and public criticism. We know they're the main barricade to true accountability, having tied up most cities in protracted legal language that allows cops to do all they can to avoid being fired and, in the off-chance they do get canned, get their jobs back via the arbitration process.

      • Why Are Public Defenders Backing a Major Assault on Gun Control?

        In its next term, the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear a controversial Second Amendment case that is poised to blow a hole in what remaining gun regulations we have in our violent nation. The case, called New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Corlett, attacks the authority of states to issue and require licenses for ownership and carrying of firearms. The New York State Rifle and Pistol Association argues that the state’s licensing laws—which require gun owners to show “proper cause” before carrying a concealed weapon outside their home—violate the constitutional protections the Supreme Court has given to ammosexuals.

      • Syrian insurgents guilty of ‘red line’ 2013 sarin chemical attack, study finds
      • Like JFK, Biden Has Good Reason to Be Wary of the Military

        While some hopeful progressives continue to fantasize about Joe Biden as the second coming of Franklin Roosevelt or Lyndon Johnson, another, more disturbing historical analogy might be relevant. Biden is the first president since John F. Kennedy to face an active threat from right-wing extremism in the military, defined broadly to include veterans as well as current soldiers.

      • Tech groups urge Congress to 'dig deeper' on Facebook role in Capitol [insurrection]

        The groups are sending the report, composed of publicly available information and the groups’ previous findings of how Facebook was used ahead of the riot, to House and Senate leadership offices, as well as members of the House select committee formed to investigate the attack.

        “These facts lead to an obvious conclusion: Facebook bears significant responsibility for the events that transpired on January 6th. The Select Committee should use their investigatory powers to dig deeper on what happened on the platform leading up to the insurrection, including behind the scenes to determine who knew what and when, in order to make sure the entity is held accountable for their role in the insurrection,” the report states.

      • Mapping the advance of the Taliban in Afghanistan

        Research from the BBC Afghan service shows the militants now have a strong presence across the country, including in the north and north-east and central provinces like Ghazni and Maidan Wardak. They are also closing in on major cities such as Kunduz, Herat, Kandahar and Lashkar Gah.

      • Albanian people smuggling: Officers arrest seven in raids

        The National Crime Agency (NCA) said the alleged ringleader of the network was among those detained.

        Deputy director Andrea Wilson said people smuggling saw migrants "exploited for profit by criminals who have no regard for human life."

      • The Jakarta Post: New deal, old approach over West Papua

        This “new deal” is not likely to end violence in the resource-rich provinces, which stems in large part from Jakarta’s refusal to settle past human rights abuses there.

      • Islamic State Resilient as Ever in Iraq, Syria

        The assessment is one of the key findings in a report released by the United Nation's sanctions monitoring team, which warns that despite setbacks, IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL, is poised to be a problem for some time to come in Iraq and in neighboring Syria, as well.

        "The group has evolved into an entrenched insurgency, exploiting weaknesses in local security to find safe havens and targeting forces engaged in counter-ISIL operations," according to the report released Friday, which was based on member state intelligence.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Media Unions Are Challenging the Use of NDAs

        On May 19, members of the Daily Beast union set a new standard for the media industry by ratifying a contract that eliminates the use of nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) in cases of workplace harassment. The provision is the first of its kind to be formally included in a collective bargaining agreement. This comes after years of grassroots organizing by the #MeToo movement, which was catalyzed by media reports breaking a culture of silence surrounding sexual harassment and assault against women.

      • German police use drone to combat social benefit fraud

        Along with Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia is one of the pioneers in the use of police drones. Now an unmanned aircraft is being used to track organised fraudulent benefits to the disfavor of the job centre

      • Read drone whistleblower Daniel Hale’s riveting letter to judge describing why he ‘came to violate the espionage act’
      • “Committing the Truth”: Whistleblower Daniel Hale to Be Sentenced Tuesday for Drone Program Leaks

        At a sentencing hearing Tuesday, whistleblower Daniel Hale faces at least nine years in prison for leaking classified information about the U.S. drone and targeted assassination program. During his time in the Air Force from 2009 to 2013, Hale worked with the National Security Agency and the Joint Special Operations Task Force at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where he helped identify targets for assassination. He later worked as a contractor for the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. In March, Hale pleaded guilty to one count of violating the World War I-era Espionage Act for leaking documents exposing the drone program. “This has been an odyssey that has occupied most of the better part of his adult life for basically committing the truth,” says Jesselyn Radack, an attorney for Daniel Hale. “The U.S. has never contested any of Daniel’s disclosures,” Radack adds. We also speak with Noor Mir, Daniel Hale’s close friend and part of his support team, who describes him as a compassionate person willing to make sacrifices to do the right thing. “I know that when he’s out, he will remain committed to ending suffering in all forms,” Mir says.

      • Daniel Hale explains his motives ahead of sentencing

        Charged with five counts under the Espionage Act and facing 50 years in prison, Hale plead guilty to one count under the Act with the hopes of a much lower sentence. The United States has requested 7-9 years in prison for Hale, which would be the longest-ever sentence for a federal whistleblower by far.

      • Drone war whistleblower Daniel Hale remains steadfast as federal prosecutors demand nine-year sentence

        Given that the US military itself is known to have collaborated with various Islamic fundamentalist militia groups, this particular aspect of the federal government’s sentencing memorandum shows the desperation of the DoJ and the military-intelligence state to successfully bring an Espionage Act case against a whistleblower.

        Numerous attempts have been made by the DoJ to punish harshly those who have leaked or published classified information, including Reality Winner and Terry Albury, who both served limited sentences after reaching plea agreements, and deterring future exposures. There is also, of course, the ongoing case of WikiLeaks founder and publisher Julian Assange, who has also been charged with Espionage Act violations and is being held in London’s Belmarsh Prison while facing extradition to the US to face them.

        Similar claims have been made by the US government that the material published by WikiLeaks exposing war crimes—as well as the details about the mass electronic spying on the public by former intelligence analyst Edward Snowden—“endanger national security” and “threaten the lives of servicemen.” However, as in Hale’s case, no evidence of harm or death to US programs or people has ever been presented to prove the assertion.

    • Environment

      • How bad is space tourism for the environment? And other space travel questions, answered.

        The emissions of a flight to space can be worse than those of a typical airplane flight because just a few people hop aboard one of these flights, so the emissions per passenger are much higher. That pollution could become much worse if space tourism becomes more popular. Virgin Galactic alone eventually aims to launch 400 of these flights annually.

        “The carbon footprint of launching yourself into space in one of these rockets is incredibly high, close to about 100 times higher than if you took a long-haul flight,” Eloise Marais, a physical geography professor at the University College London, told Recode. “It’s incredibly problematic if we want to be environmentally conscious and consider our carbon footprint.”

      • Coastal Landfills Are No Match for Rising Seas

        Leaking landfills that pollute wetlands, whether they hold incinerator ash known to be contaminated with the highly toxic chemical dioxin or rotting garbage and miscellaneous wastes, are the last thing that already-stressed sea life needs as it confronts a host of other environmental stressors and crises, including rising water temperatures, depleted oxygen levels, ocean acidification, and a withering food chain. In this way, the story of the Wheelabrator landfill and the Rumney Marsh it abuts is sadly not unique.

        “There are maybe 100,000 landfills across the US, half of them along the coasts and typically located in places which couldn’t be used for anything else, because they are low-lying, water-soaked, or flood-prone,” says Noah Sachs, a professor at the University of Richmond School of Law in Virginia, where he heads its Center for Environmental Studies. “When the water comes in, it will uncover and release all that waste and the industrial wastes of whatever companies were around during the life of the local landfill.”

      • Climate Crisis Will Bring More Record-Smashing Heat Waves in Coming Decades, Study Says

        The deadly heat waves recorded in Canada and the United States' Pacific Northwest in recent weeks are likely to become increasingly frequent in the coming decades, according to research€ published Monday by scientists€ in Switzerland.€ 

        Researchers at the€ Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science at ETH Zurich said they conducted their study by examining the rate of global heating rather than the amount of heating recorded, and found that heat waves which break previous records by huge margins, as recent ones have, happen "during periods of accelerated climate warming," as ABC News reported.

      • House Dems Ask ExxonMobil Lobbyist to Testify About Climate Misinformation

        Three weeks after the publication of secret footage showing current and former ExxonMobil lobbyists boasting about their access to U.S. lawmakers and their work to thwart attempts to combat the climate emergency, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee on Monday asked one of the men in the video to testify about Big Oil's efforts to "mislead the global public and members of Congress about the dangers of fossil fuels and their role in causing global climate change."

        Oversight Committee Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Environment Subcommittee Chair Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) sent the letter (pdf) to Keith McCoy, ExxonMobil's senior director of federal relations, noting that the lobbyist was "secretly recorded during a video interview with a reporter at Greenpeace U.K., which was aired by Channel 4 News in the United Kingdom on June 30, 2021."

      • Opinion | 100 Days Before COP26: The Transformative Solutions We Need in November

        100 days from now, the central point of climate politics will be Glasgow as the UK hosts the 26th Conference of Parties or COP26 under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. These negotiations are the most important climate talks on the climate emergency since COP21 in Paris in 2015, when almost every nation on earth signed a legally binding treaty called the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global temperature rises to 1.5€°C.

      • Opinion | It's Time for an Urgent Intervention in the Food System Ruining Our Climate

        Wildfires, heatwaves, hurricanes and droughts:€ the deadly impacts of climate change are becoming more intense and devastating. While the transition to a real, renewable energy system is imperative to a livable climate future, it's just as urgent to address the destructive impacts of our industrial food system. The current system is highly concentrated and exploitative, and it's driving climate change and water shortages.

      • As Climate Emergency Batters World, Scientists Meet to Finalize Key Report Ahead of COP26

        Amid an ongoing wave of extreme weather€ disasters and ahead of a major United Nations climate conference this fall, top scientists from nearly 200 countries began meeting Monday to finalize a landmark report detailing how the fossil fuel-driven climate emergency is already wreaking havoc around the globe and what society must do to€ avert€ its most catastrophic consequences.

        "The decisions nations make in the next few months will likely determine whether we will or will not ultimately limit global temperature rise at 1.5€°C."—Patricia Espinosa, U.N.

      • Energy

        • UK’s €£27bn Roadbuilding Plan Ruled Legal Following Challenge from Campaigners

          Campaigners have vowed to lodge an appeal after losing their bid to halt the UK’s “largest ever” roadbuilding plan on climate grounds.

          In a judgment made on Monday, the High Court ruled that the government had acted lawfully in producing the €£27.4 billion second Road Investment Strategy (RIS2).

          Stay up to date with DeSmog news and alerts

        • First Scottish ‘Climate Camp’ in Decade Planned at Mossmorran Chemical Plant

          Scottish climate activists are preparing to protest this weekend at the Mossmorran petrochemical complex, the country’s third largest carbon emitter, in what they say will be Scotland’s first “Climate Camp” since 2009.

          The two-day camp in Fife follows years of community campaigns against flaring and pollution at the plants, which are operated by oil giants ExxonMobil and Shell. The plants released a combined 930,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2019, according to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).€ 

          Stay up to date with DeSmog news and alerts

        • House Committee Seeks Interview with Exxon Lobbyist Caught On Tape

          A congressional committee is requesting an interview with the ExxonMobil lobbyist who was revealed by an undercover Greenpeace investigation in June admitting that the company has misled the public on climate change and continues to use lobbying tactics to prevent climate action.

          On July 26, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform sent a letter to Keith McCoy, a senior director in Exxon’s Washington DC government affairs team, requesting his voluntary appearance before the committee for an in person on-the-record interview on August 9. The letter, signed by Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), cites the Greenpeace investigation.

          Stay up to date with DeSmog news and alerts

        • Report: Data-driven method for unsupervised electricity consumption characterisation at district level and beyond

          [...] Nowadays, dynamic measured data from the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), especially in electricity consumption, combined with location-based data, like weather, cadastre, social or economic conditions, should be available for a significant part of the building stocks in Europe. Combinedly, this enormous set of data contains the characteristics of how buildings and their occupants consume energy.In this document, a bottom-up electricity characterisation methodology of the building stock at the local level is presented. [...]

        • The Fisherwomen, Chevron and the Leaking Pipe

          The world is moving on from fossil fuels. After decades of extraction, major oil companies are gradually leaving the Niger Delta altogether or going offshore — but, environmentalists said, often without decommissioning their aging infrastructure, which is done to restore the environment and prevent pollutants from leaching.

          “They are moving out and leaving all the mess behind,” said Celestine AkpoBari, a prominent environmentalist. “They are happy to sell the liability to whoever wants to buy, and run away.”

          The fisherwomen didn’t want Chevron out. They could barely imagine life without Chevron. The company extracts oil in partnership with Nigeria’s federal government, which is heavily dependent on oil revenue. The government and the oil companies were seen as almost synonymous — sometimes benevolent, sometimes malevolent — doling out crumbs of the national cake, or not. But not something that could be gotten rid of.

          The women just wanted the company to stop the pipe from leaking, to investigate — which could lead to compensation — and some sacks of cassava or rice to tide them over until they could fish again.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Inflation as People Experience It and as Economists Measure It
      • How Unemployment Insurance Fraud Exploded During the Pandemic

        A Bronx man allegedly received $1.5 million in just ten months. A California real estate broker raked in more than $500,000 within half a year. A Nigerian government official is accused of pocketing over $350,000 in less than six weeks.€ 

        What they all had in common, according to federal prosecutors, was participation in what may turn out to be the biggest fraud wave in U.S. history: filing bogus claims for unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. (The broker has pleaded guilty, while the Bronx man and Nigerian official have pleaded not guilty.)

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Misinformation/Disinformation

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Russia’s censorship agency blocks Alexey Navalny’s website

        Russia’s federal censorship agency (Roskomnadzor) has blocked opposition politician Alexey Navalny’s official website,, Team Navalny reported on Telegram on Monday, July 26. While some users can still access the site from Russia, others cannot.€ 

      • Streisand Effect Still Works: Vancouver Roofing Company Hit With Negative Reviews After Suing Over A Negative Review

        Last week, KGW8 had an incredible story about how a couple in Vancouver, Washington were sued after leaving a 1-star review for Executive Roof Services (ERS). The defendants in the lawsuit, Autumn Knepper and Adam Marsh, were (reasonably!) annoyed about the treatment they received from the firm after their landlord had asked ERS to check out the roof to the house, after the couple found it leaking. The experience they had with ERS was not great:

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Say Your Prayers, Conservatives! Prison Abolitionists Are Reclaiming Faith.
      • Why Trade Policies are a Matter of Racial Equity
      • Opposition politician Violetta Grudina announces hunger strike following forced hospitalization in Murmansk

        Following her involuntary hospitalization in Murmansk on July 14, opposition politician Violetta Grudina has announced a hunger strike. In particular, Grudina is protesting the medical institution’s failure to deliver paperwork to election officials that’s necessary for her nomination for a spot on the ballot in the upcoming City Council elections.

      • Advocates Condemn Biden Plan to Send 4,000 Inmates Back to Prison After Pandemic

        Legal advocates are calling on the Biden administration€ to reverse a plan to return thousands of federal inmates to prison once the coronavirus pandemic ends, after the incarcerated people will have spent months if not years at home with their families in home confinement.

        "While granting clemency to these individuals...won't€ change the fact that the United States is the world's leading incarcerator, it would be a powerful signal that the administration is prioritizing criminal legal system reform."—Christopher W. Adams, NACDL

      • Summer 2021
      • Going solo The ‘solitary picket’ was once a key method of public protest in Russia. Here’s how the authorities did away with it.

        For many years, solitary pickets have been a cornerstone of public protest in Russia. Whereas protest rallies have long required official permission, holding a solo demonstration was, at one time, a legal way to publicly express one’s discontent. Though the authorities began working to close this loophole following major protests in 2012, the crackdown on individual picketers reached its peak in 2020. Under the guise of combating the spread of COVID-19, the Russian authorities were able to effectively ban not only public gatherings, but also single-person pickets. Meduza breaks down how they did it here.

      • We’d Better Control Machines Before They Control Us

        My reverie was interrupted by a toll booth. It was empty, as were all the other booths at this particular toll plaza. Most cars zipped through with E-Z passes, as one automated device seamlessly communicated with another. Unfortunately, our rental car didn’t have one.

        So I prepared to pay by credit card, but the booth lacked a credit-card reader.

      • How Do We Prepare for an AI Future?

        My wife and I were recently driving in Virginia, amazed yet again that the GPS technology on our phones could guide us through a thicket of highways, around road accidents, and toward our precise destination. The artificial intelligence (AI) behind the soothing voice telling us where to turn has replaced passenger-seat navigators, maps, even traffic updates on the radio. How on earth did we survive before this technology arrived in our lives? We survived, of course, but were quite literally lost some of the time.

      • Civil Rights Leader, Educator Bob Moses Dies at 86
      • Tributes Pour in for Civil Rights Activist Bob Moses, Dead at 86

        Tributes to civil rights champion Bob Moses—the American educator and activist who as a leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and other groups played a crucial role in the Civil Rights Movement's most consequential era—poured in following his death Sunday in Florida at the age of 86.

        "Bob Moses was a Founding Father of the America we have not yet become."—Waleed Shahid,Justice Democrats

      • Remembering Civil Rights Icon Bob Moses: Organized SNCC, Miss. Freedom Summer & Algebra Project

        We remember the life of Bob Moses, the civil rights leader who left his job as a New York City high school teacher to register Black voters in Mississippi in the 1960s, facing down horrific violence and intimidation to become one of the icons of the movement. He died Sunday at age 86. Moses spent his later years as an advocate for improved math education, teaching thousands of students across the United States through the Algebra Project, the nonprofit he founded. Moses spoke to Democracy Now! in 2009, on the first day of the Obama presidency, recalling the 1964 fight for Black representation within the Democratic Party, the struggle against Jim Crow in the South and his passion for education. “In our country, I think we run sharecropper education,” Moses said, warning that unequal educational opportunities would continue racial disparities in the country. “We need a constitutional amendment, something which simply says every child in the country is a child of the country and is entitled to a quality public school education.”

      • Remembering Bob Moses, 1935–2021

        After the 1963 March on Washington in August and the church bombing in Birmingham in September, I knew that at that particular moment what I, then a college student, needed to learn would not come in a college course. Later that fall, I attended a meeting in Harlem where three young men, Ivanhoe Donaldson, Charles Cobb, and Bob Moses, were describing their programs in Mississippi and their plan to invite college students to join them in the summer of 1964. They were staffers with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). As they concluded the talk, I made my way to the front of the room and asked Bob whether I could help. He “hired” me on the spot, and a few weeks later, after a long bus ride, I was glued to a typewriter at the Freedom Summer office in Jackson, Miss.

      • Donziger Slams Criminal Contempt Ruling as 'Message of Intimidation' to Human Rights Lawyers

        Human rights lawyer Steven Donziger said Monday that he is a victim of an "obvious travesty of justice" and vowed to appeal after a judge found him guilty on six counts of criminal contempt of court.

        "The decision marks a sad day for the rule of law, for our democracy, and for our planet."—Steven Donziger

      • Cities That Reduced Arrests For Minor Offenses Also Saw Fewer Police Shootings

        There has been, in other words, a shift away from “broken windows” policing, or the debunked idea that aggressive policing of minor crimes deters more serious crimes. But what has this shift meant for crime more generally and for reports of police violence?

        Only 27 percent of the nation’s law enforcement agencies report data on police shootings to the FBI’s National Use-of-Force Data Collection program, and no agency-level data from this program has been made public. But the data that is available suggests that in cities where there were reductions in low-level arrests, there were also reductions in police shootings.

        Searching open data portals, internal affairs publications and media databases, I obtained data on fatal and nonfatal police shootings from 2013 to 2019 in 86 of America’s 100 largest cities.2 These cities reported a decline from 749 police shootings in 2013 to 464 shootings in 2019, a 38 percent decrease over this period.

      • A Grandfather Died in ‘Swatting’ Over His Twitter Handle, Officials Say

        When the police responded to the false report, they ordered Mr. Herring to climb over the tall cattle gate around his property, according to his family. He offered to open the gate door, but they refused to let him do so, likely because they feared a bomb would go off, said Mr. Herring’s son-in-law Greg Hooge.

        Too big to climb over, Mr. Herring struggled to squeeze his large frame under the fence, which had an opening of about one foot above the ground, Mr. Hooge said.

        He collapsed soon after he stood back up, Mr. Hooge said. Mr. Herring’s relatives said they had asked for copies of police reports and any body camera footage taken by the authorities on the night of April 27. They said those requests had been denied.

      • The West Cannot Ignore Violence Against Nigerian Christians

        Another speaker at the conference, Catholic priest Fr. Joseph Fidelis from Maiduguri, Nigeria—the epicenter of Boko Haram and Islamic State violence—portrayed his never-ending responsibilities ministering to traumatized victims. Over many years, hundreds of raped, mutilated and burned victims have managed to survive violent attacks on Christian farms, schools and villages. Their numbers are increasing and their lives are shattered. Fr. Fidelis warns that religious persecution in Nigeria is a "time bomb waiting to explode."

        Meanwhile, Boko Haram is not the only bad actor in Nigeria. More than 100 farming communities in Nigeria's southern Kaduna region have been displaced over the last five years in land-grabbing campaigns allegedly perpetrated by radical Fulani herdsmen. During the summit, Religion News Service reported that at least 33 people died with four churches and hundreds of homes burned down in a new attack in Kaduna.

      • China's Xi visits Tibet amid rising controls over religion

        China has in recent years stepped up controls over Buddhist monasteries and expanded education in the Chinese rather than Tibetan language. Critics of such policies are routinely detained and can receive long prison terms, especially if they have been convicted of association with the 86-year-old Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since fleeing Tibet during an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

      • Tibet's exiled leader accuses China of cultural destruction

        Chinese troops occupied Tibet in 1950 and later annexed it. The 1959 Tibetan uprising saw violent clashes between Tibetan residents and Chinese forces. The 14th Dalai Lama fled to neighboring India after the failed uprising against Chinese rule.

        The Dalai Lama, the supreme Tibetan Buddhist leader, established a government-in-exile in India. There are at present more than 10,000 Tibetans living in Dharamsala alone, and an estimated 160,000 Tibetan exiles around the world.

      • P!nk offers to pay bikini fine for Norway beach handball team

        The European Handball Federation (EHF) ordered the team to cough up 1,500 euros ($1,768) after they wore shorts instead of the regulation swimwear in their bronze-medal match loss to Spain in Varna, Bulgaria.

        P!nk, a three-time Grammy Award winner, said on Twitter she would cover the fine, berating the organization and encouraging the players to carry on covering up.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • Netflix Finally Faces Competition, Tries To Pretend Otherwise

        Netflix had a pretty good run there for a long while. Thanks to low prices and an innovative streaming system, the company simply hoovered up streaming video subscribers as the cable TV industry stumbled around in the dark, busy pretending the cord cutting phenomenon either wasn't real or would end once Millennials started procreating. As a result, there was a big long window where Netflix's only real competitor was a bunch of fairly terrible "me too" half assed offerings from the traditional broadcast and cable sector.

    • Monopolies

      • Is This the WTO Waiver End Game?

        As reported by Reuters* on Wednesday (see "South African firm to help make Pfizer/BioNTech COVID vaccine"), Pfizer and BioNTech, manufacturers and developers of an mRNA-based vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, have agreed to help the South African drug maker Biovac Institute produce about 100 million doses per year of its vaccine, specifically to be targeted to African nations.


        Perhaps also relevant is the World Health Organization's establishment of a consortium (including Biovac) to be a "tech transfer hub" aimed at "giv[ing] poor and middle-income countries the knowledge and licences to produce COVID-19 vaccines.

        This is not the first South African company to make such a deal; Aspen has a similar agreement with Johnson & Johnson for its more conventional adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccine. This is also not the first vaccine-related partnering agreement between Pfizer and Biovac, who in 2015 agreed to collaborate on Pfizer's pneumonia vaccine Prevnar; distribution of the vaccine has been delayed in South Africa due to regulatory approval requirements.

      • Patents

        • EPO and City of Munich nurture future leaders and innovators at global summit [Ed: Why does the city of Munich tolerate so many EPO crimes? Money of course. Shame on Bavaria, shame on Germany, and let's hope for arrests some time in the future.]

          The EPO and the City of Munich engaged with future leaders and entrepreneurs at the One Young World Summit from 22 - 25 July, where delegates attended a series of speeches, panels, networking events and workshops. As part of the event, the Office held an interactive workshop to introduce young innovators to the patent system and highlight its role in driving progress, creating jobs, and supporting the economy. In addition to the breakout session, the EPO hosted a digital exhibition booth to promote topics such as the Young Inventors prize, EPO Data Hub app, and Espacenet.

        • Balancing quality and cost: A strategy for European patents [Ed: The patent maximalists (profiteers) never met a patent they did not like and crimes at the EPO do not bother them either if it's good for the litigation 'industry']

          The right of priority can cause issues for overseas applicants to the EP system. We have previously covered the ‘whole applicants’ requirement of the European Patent Office (EPO) in that respect. Another key requirement is that the priority application and the subsequent EP application are for the ‘same invention’ (A87, EPC). The EPO takes a strict approach to this, requiring that any claimed feature and any claimed combination be disclosed in the priority application. If it is not, the risk of losing the priority is high – and, if disclosure of the invention has taken place in the interim period, the EP application could also be refused on the basis of that prior art (A54, EPC).

        • AMDT Mini-Rail Fixator Awarded Patent Protection in Both the US and Europe

          AMDT Holdings, Inc., which develops disruptive products to address existing and emerging needs in the extremity market, is pleased to announce that its AMDT Mini-Rail Fixator has been awarded US patents (10,299,832 and 11,006,976) and European patent (3422972). Additional patents are pending in both the US and abroad.

        • DoJ antitrust chief is ‘less radical choice’ than SEP owners feared [Ed: What what patent radicals are calling "radical"]

          Counsel aren’t sure how former Paul Weiss partner Jonathan Kanter will approach patent antitrust law, but have breathed a sigh of relief nonetheless

        • Vallon Pharma secures new European patent for ADAIR [Ed: What is the likelihood that the Vallon patent is actually valid, seeing that nowadays EPO grants loads of fake patents?]
        • Siemens IP chief on German reforms, 5G, and patent pools [Ed: Patent cartels euphemised as "pools" (which basically serve to exclude so many and harm the people who pay bills)]
        • China’s “overly broad” junk patent dragnet could snare legitimate filings [Ed: On patents as instrument of tax evasion in more countries than people care to realise or keep abreast of]

          IPO wants a carveout for companies that don't benefit from Chinese IP subsidies or tax breaks, which would come as a relief to foreign filers.

        • Patent case: Rohde & Schwarz GmbH & Co. KG, EPO {Ed: there is no "fair trial" at EPO! Fair trials and legal enforcement at the EPO are out of the question from managers' point of view; because they'd risk arrest if the law was properly enforced.]

          A change in the composition of the Examining Division is legally allowed. This does not jeopardize the right to be heard and to a fair trial.

          The ‘equality of arms’ is not hampered by the introduction in a late stage of examination and in particular during the oral proceedings before the Examining Division, of new prior art on the subject of common general knowledge for use in Art. 114 EPC.

        • Delhi IP division welcome but beset with challenges: sources [Ed: There is no such thing as "IP", but the propaganda mill of aggressive lawyers and trolls calls itself (and other things) "IP"; it's not even property!]

          With an IP division now set up at the Delhi High Court, sources call for exclusive benches and comprehensive rules to encourage a smooth transition

        • Trade Secrets Pre Patenting

          Although trade secrets are independently important, they are play a key temporal role in the patenting process. The touchstone of invention is when the inventors have a full mental conception of the invention, including how to make and use the invention. But, there is typically a months-long process of moving from conception to a filed patent application. During that time the invention is typically kept secret in order to avoid losing patent rights due to early disclosure. And, even after the patent application is filed, applicants often keep the invention secret for as long as possible in order to maintain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Thus, the first public knowledge of an invention is quite often at the publication date 18-months after filing.

          General rights of privacy allow a person to keep secret information without intrusion by the government or by wrongful acts by third parties. Trade secrecy rights are an extension of these general privacy and began as common law. These rights were further developed and codified in the various states, especially with the Uniform Law (UTSA) movement that gained traction in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2016, the U.S. Government enacted the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) that created a federal cause of action.

        • New Perspective on Specific Personal Jurisdiction in Patent DJ Venue [Ed: When courts become like corporations the patent trolls start "shopping" for judges and venues; this makes the whole patent system seem like a laughing stock]

          The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that the minimum contacts or purposeful availment test for specific personal jurisdiction was satisfied where a patent owner sent multiple infringement notice letters and other communications to a resident of California who then filed for declaratory judgment of non-infringement in federal district court in California. Trimble Inc. v. PerDiemCo LLC, Case No. 19-2164 (Fed. Cir. May 12, 2021) (Dyk, J.)

        • FOSS Patents: SEP Licensing Negotiation Groups -- Part II: justice delayed is justice denied when unwilling licensees can hide behind a consensus-building effort

          This is the second part of a trilogy on licensing negotiation groups (LNGs): automotive industry cartels that would collectively negotiate standard-essential patent (SEP) licenses with major patent holders and pools. In the first part, I outlined some of the issues and cautioned against a false symmetry between patent pools and buyers' cartels named LNGs.

          There isn't any such thing as a conventional supply-and-demand mechanism in SEP licensing. For example, patent holders can't reduce output: if they abandoned some of their patents, they'd just reduce the value of a portfolio. By contrast, if the likes of Continental, Dunlop, Bridgestone and Firestone ganged up on car makers, they could drive up the price--which is why competition authorities wouldn't allow such a cartel.


          In SEP licensing, there is no demand without the prospect of losing infringement cases and, if it comes to worst, being enjoined. Apple's 2019 policy statement on FRAND-pledged SEPs is instructive. It postulates that "[b]oth SEP licensors and licensees should negotiate transparently and willingly based on an exchange of relevant information." Apple is a net licensee, but has acquired a sizable SEP portfolio (from Intel in no small part). There's probably no smartphone maker who negotiates SEP licenses as hard as Apple. Still, Apple stresses symmetry with respect to the willingness to reach an agreement.

          That symmetry is merely consistent with the guidance the European Court of Justice provided in Huawei v. ZTE, and the way it is now applied by the German courts after Sisvel v. Haier I & II. Unwilling licensees incur the risk of SEP injunctions. Otherwise there isn't sufficient deterrence in certain jurisdictions, and infringement would be profitable.

          Licensing negotiation groups don't mix with Huawei v. ZTE and Sisvel v. Haier. How can a court of law identify an individual company's unwillingness to take a license on FRAND terms if it can hide behind its LNG?

        • Benteler takes patent licence from Faurecia after long dispute

          Faurecia Intérieur Industrie, based in Nanterre, France, manufactures dashboards, center consoles and door panels for car interiors. It owns two patent families, EP 2 499 038 and EP 2 542 462, both of which concern dashboard crossmembers. Competitor Benteler supplies structural parts to the automotive industry, including VW for its MQB (Modular Transverse Toolkit) platform.

          However, Faurecia considered both patent families infringed by Benteler’s products, with the parties fighting in several European courts since 2019.

          In Spain (case ID: 1588/2020-3) and the Czech Republic (case ID: 41 Cm 45/2019), the French manufacturer sued for patent infringement. In Germany, the defendant pre-empted the patent owner and filed for a negative declaratory action at the Regional Court Düsseldorf (case ID: 4a O 30/20). Benteler wanted the court to clarify that the company did not infringe the patents in Germany. The hearing was scheduled to take place in October 2021.

        • Software Patents

          • WSOU patent determined to be likely invalid

            On July 23, 2021, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) instituted trial on all challenged claims in an IPR filed by Unified against U.S. Patent 8,179,960, currently owned by WSOU Investments, LLC. The IPR was filed as part of Unified’s ongoing efforts in its SEP Video Codec Zone. The ‘960 patent was formerly owned by Alcatel-Lucent USA, Inc. (Nokia Corporation) and has been asserted against ZTE. WSOU Investments, LLC is run by Craig Etchegoyen, formerly of Uniloc.

          • Is it really easier to get your software patents granted in the U.S.? [Ed: Getting software patents is one thing; successfully enforcing those fake patents in a patent court is another. Patents like these are a waste of money.]

            In this article, we compare the requirements to obtain patents in the U.S. and Europe in the context of computer-implemented inventions such as simulation methods and artificial intelligence (AI). In particular, we look at how patent eligibility and inventiveness are assessed on both sides of the pond, and we show that although the USPTO and EPO have different assessment approaches, the end result is often very similar. We also provide some tips that could help you to obtain quick, detailed feedback on your computer-implemented inventions that could inform your global patent filing strategy.

      • Trademarks

        • Is ‘MOCCA’ in class 30 generic in China?

          What does the term ‘MOCCA’ evoke in your mind, a kind of coffee or a specific brand? This Kat randomly asked this question to her friends currently at the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition Munich. Most of them regarded ‘MOCCA’ as a kind of coffee instead of a specific brand except one Italian colleague who also saw ‘MOCCA (almost phonetically identical to ‘Moka’)’ as referring to the Moka Pot (Italian wiki page for that here). The diverged answers could be interpreted as showing different opinions on where the term is standing on the slope of trade mark genericide (certainly the slope will not be as smooth, or even could have a U-turn; the image below is a simplified schematic).

        • Trademark rejections: top obstacles counsel must overcome [Ed: Trademark maximalists want a USPTO that's just rubber-stamping everything

          Private practice and in-house lawyers reveal their strategies for fighting failure to function and consumer confusion rejections at the USPTO

      • Copyrights

        • Registrar Suspends Domain of Popular Torrent Site YTS

, one of the most popular torrent sites, has lost control over its domain name which is no longer resolving. Domain registrar Gandi put the domain on 'clientHold,' a status code that's generally reserved for legal or administrative issues. The YTS status page still lists the Mexican TLD as the site's home but unless the issues are resolved, this is likely to change.

        • Broadcaster Offers Pirates 'Free' Legal TV Box in Exchange For Giving Up Illegal Streams

          TV pirates in Singapore are being offered an interesting deal in an effort to discourage them from consuming content via illegal sources. Owners of piracy-configured devices can hand them over to telecoms company StarHub for destruction and in return receive a free legal device with Ultra HD 4K support. Of course, there are some strings attached.

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