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PTAB Continues to Increase Capacity Ahead of Oil States; Patent Maximalists Utterly Upset

Posted in America, Patents at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A balloon contestSummary: The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) sees the number of filings up to an almost all-time high and efforts to undermine PTAB are failing pretty badly — a trend which will be further cemented quite soon when the US Supreme Court (quite likely) backs the processes of PTAB

THE subject we’ve been writing a lot about in recent years concerns the (re)assessment of patents in the US. If some given patent is good and was justifiably granted, then PTAB will let it be; the PTAB, however, is typically approached when there’s some questionable patent, especially if that patent starts being used for threats if not actual lawsuits. PTAB helps protect from patent injustices without incurring the costs of a lengthy court battle. And we know who profits from lengthy court battles…

“Recent Patent Trial and Appeal Board developments include filing increasing in February, Managing IP revealing the top PTAB firms, the Board ruling tribal sovereign immunity doesn’t apply in IPRs, and some interesting Federal Circuit opinions,” Michael Loney summarises a new post behind a paywall. So PTAB hits/reaches “highest total since June 2017,” indicating that this year too might be a record year. PTAB breaks new records almost every year. This is something to be celebrated.

The USPTO fixes patent quality over time. It’s already being said (projected) that the number of granted patents will have declined by year’s end (for the first time in a very long time).

“They will probably attack the Justices quite soon (over Oil States).”Seeing the response to the above, we are not surprised. Patent extremists are upset. Even though their attacks on PTAB have slowed down*, they are looking for something to complain about. They will probably attack the Justices quite soon (over Oil States).

Watchtroll is now latching onto a patent scam of Allergan and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe just because it hates PTAB so much. As usual, patent law firms wrongly assume that they ‘own’ the world and attack everyone, including judges, practicing companies, politicians etc. Watchtroll merely repeats something which was noted in Patent Docs days earlier. Patent Docs‘s Kevin Noonan meanwhile loses his mind over the prospect that the patent scam may soon be ruled illegal by US Senate. Here’s what he wrote less than a day ago:

In a development that could moot (once and for all) the controversy over tribal sovereign immunity occasioned by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s ownership of patents relating to Allergan’s Restasis formulation for treating disorders of the eye, a group of Senators including Tom Cotton (R-AK), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and David Perdue (R-GA) introduced a bill to broadly abrogate assertion of tribal sovereign immunity in any patent-related proceeding.


Insofar as Congressional authority over tribal sovereign immunity is “plenary,” United States v. Lara, 541 U.S. 193, 200 (2004) (“the Constitution grants Congress broad general powers to legislate in respect to Indian tribes, powers that we have consistently described as ‘plenary and exclusive’”), and in view of the Senators’ politic framing of the issue both as an abuse and a cause of higher drug prices, only the seeming inability of this Congress to pass anything other than tax “reform” is likely to stop the bill from being enacted into law. Perhaps the Supreme Court will rule IPRs unconstitutional in Oil States Energy Services v. Greene’s Energy Group, or the pharmaceutical industry or Native American tribes can arrange matters to have naysayers be the last group to speak with Mr. Trump before he is called upon to veto the bill. Otherwise it is likely that this particular procedural gambit has run its course.

Notice how they invoke “Trump”; so basically, they not only support an obvious scam but also rely on/appeal to Trump for help. Are they really so desperate that they wish to associate with those things?
* Watchtroll, the main site of patent radicals, is digging really deep (literally thousands of PTAB cases and hundreds of CAFC cases) for anything that can be spun as both being “corrupt” because Oil States is coming and they look for a “scandal”. And later in the same day Watchtroll was saying: “The appeal to the Federal Circuit comes after the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) affirmed the rejection of claims covering a healthcare product for dogs after deciding that the inventor’s incorporation of a suggestion proffered by a veterinarian entitled the vet to joint inventorship.” These two posts about PTAB, both from 2 days ago, were the only such rants in the entire week (so far) — i.e. a lot less than usual. Momentum of opposition to PTAB is mostly lost.

Patent Maximalists Are Still Trying to Create a Patent Bubble in India

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 10:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

China is their “gold standard” because it grants a lot of patents on just about anything, even algorithms

City Palace, Udaipur

Summary: Litigation maximalists and patent zealots continue to taunt India, looking for an opportunity to sue over just about anything including abstract ideas because that’s what they derive income from

EARLIER this week we mentioned IAM’s puff piece for Dolby, which strives to encourage patent aggression in India. These companies make little more than patents and profit from “licensing” (otherwise they resort to lawsuits, either directly or indirectly). The EPO has already been tilted into this trap, whereas the USPTO moves further away from it after judges, lawmakers and so on recognised the threat.

“Last year IAM repeatedly shamed and smeared India over its unwillingness to allow software patents.”IAM, the patent trolls’ lobby, is still promoting partners that are patent aggressors ahead/amid their patent lobbying event, facilitated by IAM as usual. Check the list of sponsors; it’s rather revealing. It’s like a litigation powerhouse/cartel’s think tank and IAM gloats about it using phrases like “create maximum IP value” (they also call patent-trolling “monetisation”). They tweet things like this: “difficulty of obtaining business method patents makes protecting IP rights through contractual means all the more important” (remember that India does not allow business method patents and software patents).

Last year IAM repeatedly shamed and smeared India over its unwillingness to allow software patents. We documented plenty of examples. IAM is basically a pressure group and to find out who backs this pressure group check the lists of sponsors. Even the EPO’s PR agency is among them. And lots of patent trolls. They’re not always transparent enough about it, just rather evasive and smug.

“IAM is basically a pressure group and to find out who backs this pressure group check the lists of sponsors.”Yesterday, as usual, IAM wrote about “Chinese patent explosion”. When it looks like a bubble, sounds like a bubble, smells like a bubble etc. then it’s definitely a patent bubble. But IAM fronts for patent trolls, so it’s loving it! Trolling has soared in China. Massive growth. IAM would just call that “NPE” or “monetisation”…

Yesterday (same as above) Watchtroll’s Meredith Addy used bizarre sunscreen comparisons/analogies to direct towards China scaremongering, by which she meant to lobby for patent maximalism and Armageddon (again) in the US. She wrote this:

This of course alludes to the ongoing erosion of patent values domestically, while an increasing number of patents are being sought in other jurisdictions, including in China.

Leave aside for a moment a judgment about the innovation economy in China. What are our priorities? Growing the US economy through a stable and fruitful environment for innovators? Or government micro-management of issues that should be handled in the home?

“Growing the US economy” by giving more jobs to litigators? That is what she meant. Because these people got accustomed to making a living out of making other people’s (technical people) lives miserable. She already revealed where she stands when she wrote a rant a month ago at Watchtroll.

“The question is, what’s more important? People who speak in court (and threaten behind closed doors/in legal letters) or people who actually produce stuff?”Remember that what’s good for patent law firms (or patent troll firms) is often bad for technical firms and vice versa. The question is, what’s more important? People who speak in court (and threaten behind closed doors/in legal letters) or people who actually produce stuff?

EPO Staff Has Just Warned the National Delegates That EPO’s Decline (in Terms of Patent Quality and Staff Welfare) Would Be Beneficial to Patent Trolls

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“And in a clear sign of just how bad the situation has grown internally, the examiner letter even explicitly notes that they are unwilling to make their names public out of fear of attack by management.” –The Register

EPO quality letter

Summary: The staff of the EPO increasingly recognises the grave dangers of low-quality patents — an issue we’ve written about (also in relation to the EPO) for many years

SEEING what low patent quality caused the US (the USPTO is belatedly correcting this with help from courts, AIA/PTAB etc.), the EPO‘s staff (not management) warns about Battistelli and his legacy — something we have been warning about for many years (even before we covered EPO scandals).

“And ‘producing’ a lot of low-quality patents has the same effect as printing a lot more money as means of combating inflation. That merely devalues everything and exacerbates the problem.”Battistelli’s rush to UPC (passing the task of proper patent assessment from examiners to courts) is no doubt attractive to trolls; they target small businesses who would shell out ‘protection’ money rather than take things into courtrooms. And ‘producing’ a lot of low-quality patents has the same effect as printing a lot more money as means of combating inflation. That merely devalues everything and exacerbates the problem.

Bristows, whose clients include many trolls, is perhaps the only firm still actively lobbying for the UPC. It is hilarious. Germany and Britain both prevent the UPC from ever arriving/happening anywhere in Europe, yet today we have Brian Cordery harping/obsessing over Luxembourg with almost no patents at all.

“Bristows, whose clients include many trolls, is perhaps the only firm still actively lobbying for the UPC.”Several days ago EPO staff took further action ahead of next week’s meeting of the Administrative Council. The letter has embedded in it a few links already shared by SUEPO last week and coverage in The Register from early this morning said this:

An extraordinary letter from nearly 1,000 patent examiners has confirmed what critics of the European Patent Office (EPO) have been saying for some time: patent quality has fallen thanks to a determined push by management to approve more of them.

The letter [PDF] has been sent to the EPO’s Administrative Council (AC) – the only body capable of exerting control over the organization’s runaway management – prior to its meeting later this month.

In it, 924 examiners complain that they are “submitted to constraints that are no longer compatible with fulfilling appropriately our duties within the Search and Examination divisions.”

The letter – put together as a petition – continues: “We are far too often put in front of the dilemma of either working according to the European Patent Convention (EPC) and respecting the Examiner’s Guidelines, or issuing ‘products’ as our hierarchy demands.”

“We feel that timeliness and number of ‘products’ should not be the only criteria to assess the Office and examiners performance. But that attention should be paid to providing a high level of presumption of validity to the patents we grant.”

The clear statement by so many examiners is an extraordinary rebuke to the EPO’s current management, led by the organization’s president Benoit Battistelli, who only last week boasted that they had managed to increase the number of patents approved last year.

The comments are worth seeing as well, for a change. Just skip many comments clarifying that EPO is not part of the EU (actually predates it, too). It’s very common to see this misconception in comments at The Register, especially with Brexiters superimposing their personal agenda. Here’s the first comment:

There is no point in poor quality patents – such are bad for business, unless your business is being a patent troll or a lawyer. Poor quality patents result in increased costs to businesses generally, which is just about the opposite of what the EU wants. The sooner the farce at the EPO is halted and that dickhead currently in charge of it ousted and replaced by someone more interested in getting the job done properly than in mere numbers processed, the better.

On international organisations:

The problem with international organisations is that they’re often seen as opportunities to extract troublesome characters from national organisations, sweetening the deal with promises of prestige and international travel. This “Ark B” approach is unfortunately incompatible with finding “someone more interested in getting the job done”…

EPO is then described as a “deeply broken” international organisation:

Yet more evidence…

…that this is a deeply broken organisation.

Then this:

So it’s a race to the bottom

Except that Europe is at least twenty or thirty years behind the US.

And some – notably Germans – tend to be too honest to stand for it.

Patents “are not there (or, at least, it was never the intention) to provide profit-making opportunities through technological monopolies,” the next comment said.

This is a difficult problem to solve…

I can’t think of a solution that is going to be wholly tenable to both sides, unfortunately.

I mean, on the one side, as a patent examiner, you want plenty of time to the appropriate due-diligence in order that you can be sure you have taken all reasonable precautions when a decision on the application is made.

On the other side, if you are a company that has literally spent millions, maybe billions, developing a technology, you want your patent as quickly as possible so that you can put your product on the market and begin to recoup the costs.

On that note: A note to corporations: We should not lose sight of what patents were originally invented for. They were invented to allow a company/individual an opportunity to recoup development costs. That’s the entire point of a patent. They are not there (or, at least, it was never the intention) to provide profit-making opportunities through technological monopolies. Though of course, it’s inevitable that that would happen.

Apple and your “rounded edges” on mobile phones: I’m looking at you, you total twats.

We’re between a rock and a hard place on patents, it seems.

We have long emphasised that the EPO totally lost sight of the goal of patents. Battistelli thinks of the EPO like an assembly line that he is managing. As if monopolies are “products”. Is this the sort of neo-capitalist approach taught at ENA? What if Battistelli was put in charge of managing a prison?


The EPO is a Mess Under Battistelli and Stakeholders Including Law Firms Will Suffer, Not Just EP Holders

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Low-quality European Patents (EPs) are good for nobody, but they help Battistelli game the numbers while destroying the Office (this includes mass layoffs)

Burning ambulance
Battistelli sets the Office ablaze months before his departure; Not even Battistelli’s daughter (an ambulance driver) can put out her dad’s fire. Many firings are expected.

Summary: As one last ‘gift’ from Battistelli, appeals are becoming a lot more expensive — the very opposite of what he does to applications, in effect ensuring a sharp increase in wrongly-granted patents

THIS is a rather shocking reversal; the USPTO is improving patent quality, whereas the EPO quickly becomes what the USPTO used to be. We can therefore expect more patent trolls to migrate to Europe (some already migrate to China).

Earlier today NLO released this sponsored IAM piece which for the most part parrots EPO lies/spin; yes, it’s mostly repeating the EPO’s Annual Report and reusing figures from it. We wrote some rebuttals to these:

“From 2016 to 2017 the absolute number of European Patent Office (EPO) oppositions grew,” it said at the start. Grew? It skyrocketed? Because many bogus patents are being granted. This is a Battistelli policy. It’ll backfire really badly in the long run.

“So the EPO yet again makes it harder (more expensive) to oppose its rushed decisions.”Oliver Rosenthal from Haseltine Lake LLP wrote this piece earlier this week. His firm recently highlighted the surging/soaring number of oppositions [1, 2].

Rosenthal too is (re)using EPO charts and propaganda, basically copy-pasting lies from the EPO’s press releases. Are they attempting to just suck up to Battistelli like the worst law firms did whenever they wrote about the UPC, occasionally promoting UPCA scams as well? What is this, legal advice or public relations?

“A granted European patent does not lead to a unitary right,” it said, “but a bundle of independent national patents which are enforceable and revocable in each contracting state where protection is requested and the patent has been validated.”

“Applications become cheaper and stopping erroneous grants is now the ‘privilege’ of the super-rich.”Yes, Team UPC hopes to remove this ‘barrier’ in order to spur more litigation. Dehns (Team UPC) wrote this article earlier this week, noting that: “The appeal fee will increase from €1880 to €2255, except for SMEs.”

So the EPO yet again makes it harder (more expensive) to oppose its rushed decisions. All this while reducing the price of applications in order to artificially inflate numbers (after they decreased). What better proof does one need that Battistelli intentionally sabotages the quality of patents? Applications become cheaper and stopping erroneous grants is now the ‘privilege’ of the super-rich.

The EPO Under Battistelli Has Become Like China Under Xi and CPC

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The reporter in blue scoffs at a heavily-scripted question asked by the reporter in red; China is now (this week) trying to remove this scene from the Internet, just like Bergot tries to remove staff publications from the intranet.

Summary: The EPO is trying very hard to silence not only the union but also staff representatives; it’s evidently worried that the lies told by Team Battistelli will be refuted and morale be affected by reality

THE EPO is connected to a fraud (warning: epo.org link), but employees are not allowed to say that, even if it’s in today’s news. Our understanding, based on reliable sources, is that there is also fraud inside the EPO, but nobody is brave enough to leak the evidence.

“Why would scholars ever choose to apply for work at an employer like that? Unless of course the EPO has already corrupted enough media and academia to mislead job applicants or hide the facts?”As we shall show in our next post, things are pretty grim at the EPO, yet nobody inside the EPO is allowed to speak about it. And according to this new report titled EPO staff committee argues against publication review (already cited by SUEPO), the EPO’s staff committee asked the management: “Would you refuse one publication describing the status quo because the prospect of a future reform causes some (in our view justified) unrest?”

The staff committee also said to Team Battistelli: “We feel obliged here to remind you that freedom of communication is part and parcel of freedom of speech.”

Yes. Well…

Team Battistelli really has become this oppressive. It censored us around 2014 and SUEPO too around that time (in various ways). Like Xi and CPC do (to journalists, blogs, social media sites, activists and so on). They threaten people and often retaliate for saying truths, even if it’s merely communicated between one member of staff and another. Here’s a portion from this new article:

The European Patent Office’s (EPO) Central Staff Committee (CSC) has issued a rebuttal to Elodie Bergot, principal director of Human Resources at the office, over a controversial CSC publication which criticised the office for alleged misconduct.

Bergot halted the publication of the CSC’s article, which took aim at recent employment proposals pushed at the office, and asked whether current EPO president, Benoît Battistelli, was attempting to rush through the “harmful reform” before the end of his tenure.

In a letter to CSC chairman Joachim Michels, Bergot suggested that the CSC should “review the content of the proposed publication and delete or modify the parts that are offensive to individuals”.

Responding to Bergot’s request, the CSC said it was “at a loss” over Bergot’s criticisms of anonymous reports allegedly circulated by staff representatives regarding the working group on modernisation of the employment framework, which Bergot argued would “generate suspicion and unjustified quiet”.

The committee asked: “Would you refuse one publication describing the status quo because the prospect of a future reform causes some (in our view justified) unrest?”

Why would scholars ever choose to apply for work at an employer like that? Unless of course the EPO has already corrupted enough media and academia to mislead job applicants or hide the facts?

Term limits have not been removed by the EPO/AC (if any such hard limits existed); but Battistelli already lobbied hard to ensure that an old friend of his becomes the next EPO President. Battistelli may remain President ‘in spirit’ for years to come. Campinos owes him one! Maybe they learned a trick or two in all these meetings with Chinese officials.

Links 14/3/2018: IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119, Tails 3.6

Posted in News Roundup at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Airbus ditches Microsoft, flies off to Google

    The “decision that will shape our company” was confirmed by Airbus CEO Tom Enders in a memo to staff – seen by The Register – who said the business is gearing up for the next phase of “digital transformation”.

    “We need technology that actively supports our new ways of working, modern digital tools that allow us to be fully collaborative, to work across our many different team, across border and time zones – to truly be one.”

    With this in mind, “Airbus has decided to take a major transformative step by moving from the Microsoft Office environment to Google Suite,” Enders said.

    “Choosing G-Suite is a strategic choice, a clean break with the past while assuring business continuity. Let’s embark together on this journey towards a truly collaborative enterprise,” he said.

    For anyone living under a rock for years, G-Suite is a line of web-based computing, productivity and collaboration tools that were initially launched under the Google Apps for Your Domain brand in 2006.

  • Kernel Space

    • Intel Open-Sources Sound Firmware, Pushing For More Open Firmware

      Imad Sousou, Intel’s GM of the Open-Source Technology Center, had some interesting remarks to make during his keynote today as part of this week’s Embedded Linux Conference in Portland.

      First up, they have two new open-source project announcements: ACRN and Sound Open Firmware (SOF).

      Sound Open Firmware has us most excited with Intel’s focus now on opening up more of their firmware, beginning with audio. Sound Open Firmware includes an open-source audio DSP firmware and SDK. The SOF stack works on all Intel hardware platforms and can assist in debugging audio/DSP issues.

    • Linux Foundation

      • SDN Trends: The Business Benefits and Emerging SD-WAN Technology [Ed: "This article was sponsored by Alibaba and written by Linux.com." LF now writing ads for Alibaba, too.]
      • Speak at Automotive Linux Summit & OS Summit Japan — 4 Days Left to Submit a Proposal

        Automotive Linux Summit (ALS) connects the developers, vendors, and users driving innovation in Automotive Linux. Co-located with Open Source Summit Japan, ALS will gather over 1,000 attendees from global companies leading and accelerating the development and adoption of a fully open software stack for the connected vehicle.

      • The Linux Foundation Welcomes Sound Open Firmware Project

        The Linux Foundation announced today that Sound Open Firmware (SOF) has become a Linux Foundation project. With significant engineering and code contributions from Intel® Corporation, SOF includes a digital signal processing (DSP) firmware and an SDK that together provide infrastructure and development tools for developers working on audio or signal processing. Intel and Google support SOF and invite others to join them in advancing the project.

    • Graphics Stack

      • A Primer on Nvidia-Docker — Where Containers Meet GPUs

        GPUs are critical for training deep learning models and neural networks. Though it may not be needed for simple models based on linear regression and logistic regression, complex models designed around convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and recurrent neural networks heavily rely on GPUs. Especially computer vision-related models based on frameworks such as Caffe2 and TensorFlow have a dependency on GPU.

        In supervised machine learning, a set of features and labels are used to train a model. Deep learning algorithms don’t even need explicit features to evolve trained models. They pretty much “learn” from existing datasets designated for training, testing, and evaluation.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • MATE 1.20 review – Are you all right, mate?

        Overall, MATE 1.20 is a nice desktop environment. It has its legacy quirks, especially when it comes to panel management and overall cross-integration between programs. But it can be styled and tamed and used with flair and elegance. However, you do feel that it’s aged in some areas, and that those areas remain neglected. Modern does not mean better, but some aspects of the 2018 computing model are superior to what we had a decade ago. The same way some aspects of MATE (Gnome 2) remain better than the touchesque flat-fest we have today.

        Xfce seems to have weathered these changes more successfully, but then it also had no identity crisis, no betrayal, and it benefits from more overall focus and attention. MATE not only had to fight Gnome 3, it also has Cinnamon to take into account. Those aside, if you do want an old-school, no-nonsense desktop environment, MATE is a good choice. Perhaps not the best one, but it will serve you loyally without any bells and whistles. Just be ready for an odd ghost of the past striking at you now and then.

        Remember, once upon a time, I didn’t like Xfce, like not at all, and look where it’s now. So MATE has survived the rite of passage, and it’s evolving steadily. The next step should be pro looks, tight integration and some acknowledgment of modernity, on a system level, and perhaps it could become the desktop environment that Gnome 3 should have been in the first place. There’s still hope. Keep an eye, and let’s see what happens. I guess that would be all.

      • Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition Review – For The Record

        Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition Review. Linux Mint and KDE haven’t always been on my list of favorite things. That said, Linux Mint 18.3 KDE Edition really surprised me – there is a lot to like! Great pulseaudio settings, an improved package manager, plus a whole lot more!

    • New Releases

      • IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119 released

        This is the release announcement for IPFire 2.19 – Core Update 119. It updates the toolchain of the distribution and fixes a number of smaller bug and security issues. Therefore this update is another one of a series of general housekeeping updates to make IPFire better, faster and of course more secure!

      • NuTyX 10.1 available with cards 2.4.0

        The NuTyX team is please to annonce the 10.1 release of NuTyX.

        NuTyX 9.0 comes with kernel lts 4.14.26 (4.9.87 in 32bits), glibc 2.27, gcc 7.3.0, binutils 2.30, python 3.6.4, xorg-server 1.19.6, qt 5.10.1, plasma 5.12.3 (in 64bits) , kf5 5.43.0 (in 64bits), gnome 3.26.1 (in 64bits), mate 1.20.0, xfce4 4.12.3, firefox 58.0.2, etc….

        Six news ISOs are available in 32 bits and 64 bits. Sizes are respectively 296 MB, 613 MB and 1.6G available on the new download page.

        They have been a lot of upstream updates related to security.

      • LibreELEC (Krypton) 8.2.4 MR

        Team LibreELEC celebrates its second birthday (and international Pi-Day) with the release of LibreELEC (Krypton) v8.2.4 which brings minor bug-fixes and new firmware to support the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ hardware announced this morning.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • FAI.me build service now supports creation of VM disk images

        You can define a disk image size, select a language, set a user and root password, select a Debian distribution and enable backports just by one click. It’s possible to add your public key for access to the root account without a password. This can also be done by just specifying your GitHub account. Several disk formats are supports, like raw (compressed with xz or zstd), qcow2, vdi, vhdx and vmdk. And you can add your own list of packages, you want to have inside this OS. After a few minutes the disk image is created and you will get a download link, including a log the the creation process and a link to the FAI configuration that was used to create your customized image.

      • aput – simple upload script for a flat artifactory Debian repository
      • Derivatives

        • Neptune 5.0 Linux OS Released with KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS, Based on Debian Stretch

          The developers of the Debian-based Neptune GNU/Linux distribution announced the release of the Neptune 5.0 “Refresh” operating system, based on the stable Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” series.

          Powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.14 kernel ported from Debian Stretch’s Backports repository, Neptune 5.0 uses the latest KDE Plasma 5.12 desktop environment along with the KDE Applications 17.12 and KDE Frameworks 5.43.0 software suites. It also promises new ways to run the latest software versions.

        • With this operating system you can have privacy and anonymity

          With the popularity of social media, it would seem as though people are not all that concerned with their privacy. Some like to share updates about pretty much anything they do, and while no one really cares about what anyone else had for lunch, the point is if you want to know what someone is up to, you may just have to look online.

          Just because people aren’t bashful about their lives does not mean they want everything they do online to be recorded, yet with the way browsers and operating systems are set up, there is a record of a lot of what we do. Unless you are a programmer, you may not see much of a way around it.

          But there is a way, actually. An operating system that is designed to start on almost any computer from a DVD or USB drive exists and, best of all, it is free.

        • Tails 3.6 Anonymous OS Released with Linux Kernel 4.15, Latest Tor Updates

          The Tails Project announced today the release and immediate availability of the Tails 3.6 amnesic incognito live system, also known as the Anonymous OS used by ex-CIA employee Edward Snowden to stay hidden online.

          Powered by the latest Linux 4.15 kernel with patches for the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities, and featuring the latest Tor Browser and Tor client/server implementation, Tails 3.6 is here with up-to-date components like Electrum 3.0.6 and Mozilla Thunderbird 52.6.0, as well as new features and improvements.

        • Univention Corporate Server 4.3: Simpler, Faster, and More User-Friendly Administration

          Univention is proud to present the latest Univention Corporate Server (UCS) release. Version 4.3 of the established Open Source software now allows administrators to customize the portal pages which can be set up in UCS to suit the specific requirements of their organization very simply via the drag and drop feature. In addition, they are also able to make the more than 90 enterprise applications in UCS’ integrated App Center available to users. The users access these applications via the portal pages and, insofar as the respective application permits, only need to log in once thanks to the single sign-on mechanism. Univention has also considerably improved the data import performance. In this way, UCS 4.3 allows smaller companies to administrate heterogeneous IT environments with ease and fulfills the requirements of larger organizations with tens of thousands of users at the same time.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 18.04 beta is as good a time as any to see which Ubuntu flavour tickles your Budgie, MATE

            The first beta of Ubuntu 18.04 is here. The finished article, due next month, will be a long-term support release and, for those who stick with LTS, the first time many see the new GNOME-based Ubuntu.

            This beta, however, does not include the main GNOME-based release. Instead this is more a community release with most of the Ubuntu flavours participating. This particular test build is slightly more noteworthy than usual since, thanks to the havoc wreaked by Spectre and Meltdown, which limited the use of many distros’ build systems, it is really the first milestone for most of the flavours. It also came a couple of days late, which is unusual for an Ubuntu beta.

            As the Xubuntu developers note: “The ISO Tracker has seen little activity for the last few development cycles. We know we have some excited users already using and testing 18.04. But without testing results being recorded anywhere, we have to assume that nobody is testing the daily images and milestones. And this has major implications for both the 18.04 release and the project as a whole.”

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver Beta 1 Released

            Many of the popular flavours of the famous Ubuntu Linux system such as Kubuntu, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu Budgie, Ubuntu MATE and Xubuntu, have released beta downloads for the upcoming Long-Term Support release of Ubuntu 18.04.

            Typically, the Ubuntu team releases an LTS edition of the OS, every two years, which will carry major security updates and patches, as well as full support, for five years.

          • EzeeLinux Show 18.12 | A BIG THANK YOU, First Look At Ubuntu 18.04
          • LXD weekly status #38
          • Lets Snap The World

            I am a long-time Ubuntu user and community contributor. I love how open-source communities generally work, sure there are hiccups, like companies mandating decisions that aren’t popular amongst the community. The idea of I being able to fix an issue and getting that released to hundreds of thousands of people is just priceless for me.

            For the long time, I have distinguished some issues in Linux on the desktop that I want fixed. Biggest is always having the latest version of the software I use. Think of Android for example, you always get the latest version of the app, directly from the developers with no package maintainer in between. That’s the ideal scenario but for us currently on Linux it may not be possible in all cases because of the fragmentation we have.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • SMARC module features hexa-core i.MX8 QuadMax

      iWave unveiled a rugged, wireless enabled SMARC module with 4GB LPDDR4 and dual GbE controllers that runs Linux or Android on NXP’s i.MX8 QuadMax SoC with 2x Cortex-A72, 4x -A53, 2x -M4F, and 2x GPU cores.

      iWave has posted specs for an 82 x 50mm, industrial temperature “iW-RainboW-G27M” SMARC 2.0 module that builds on NXP’s i.MX8 QuadMax system-on-chip. The i.MX8 QuadMax was announced in Oct. 2016 as the higher end model of an automotive focused i.MX8 Quad family.

    • Arduino Create expands to run Arduino on BeagleBone and Raspberry Pi

      Arduino announced an expansion of its Arduino Create development platform for deploying Arduino sketches on Linux systems to support Arm boards like the the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone in addition to Intel boards like the UP Squared.

      In November, Arduino announced a version of its Arduino Create toolkit that supports Intel-based systems running Linux, with specific support for a new UP Squared IoT Grove Development Kit. Today at the Embedded Linux Conference in Portland, where Arduino co-founder and CTO Massimo Banzi is a keynote speaker, Arduino announced an expansion of Arduino Create to support Arm boards. The platform provides optimized support for the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone boards.

    • i.MX8M SBC on pre-order for $165

      Boundary Devices has launched a $165 “Nitrogen8M” SBC that runs Linux or Android on a quad-core i.MX8M with GbE, WiFi, BT, HDMI 2.0, mini-PCIe, MIPI-DSI and -CSI, 4x USB 3.0, and optional -40 to 85°C support.

      Boundary Devices has updated its Nitrogen line of NXP i.MX based SBCs with a Nitrogen8M model that runs Android, Yocto, Ubuntu, Buildroot, or Debian based Linux on NXP’s i.MX8M. Available on pre-order starting at $165 with 2GB RAM, the SBC will ship this Spring.

    • Raspberry Pi 3 gets rev’d to B+ with 1.4GHz, WiFi-ac, and GbE with PoE

      The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ has gone on sale for $35, boosting the Model B’s quad -A53 SoC to 1.4GHz, speeding the WiFi to precertified, dual-band 802.11ac, and adding USB-based GbE with PoE support.

      Two years after the arrival of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, which brought wireless and 64-bit ARMv8 computing to what was already the most popular Linux hacking platform of all time, Raspberry Pi Trading and the Raspberry Pi Foundation have delivered a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ with a faster processor, WiFi, and Ethernet.

    • Meet the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

      Raspberry Pi just celebrated its sixth birthday—that’s six years since the launch of the original Raspberry Pi. Since then, it has released various new models, including the Pi 2, Pi 3, and Pi Zero. So far, 9 million Raspberry Pi 3s have been sold—and over 18 million Pis in total—and those numbers are likely to grow following today’s announcement of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+.

    • Raspberry Pi 3B+ Launches With Faster CPU, Dual-Band 802.11ac, Faster Ethernet
    • Raspberry Pi OS Raspbian Updated with Support for the New Raspberry Pi 3 B+ SBC

      The Raspberry Pi Foundation released today a new build of its Debian-based Raspbian operating system for Raspberry Pi single-board computer with dozens of improvements, updated components, and other enhancements.

      Probably the most important feature of the new Raspbian release, which is powered by the Linux 4.9.80 LTS kernel, is support for the recently launched Raspberry Pi 3 B+ single-board computer that Raspberry Pi Foundation unveiled this morning in celebration of the Pi Day.

      However, Wi-Fi is disabled by default for the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ model due to the wireless regulatory domain not being set. To set the domain, you need to set the ‘country=’ attribute in the /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf file to a country code closer to ISO 3166 alpha2.

    • Happy Pi Day: Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Support Comes to the LibreELEC Embedded OS

      After Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Rasbian, LibreELEC is the second Linux-based operating system to receive support for the recently launched Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ single-board computer announced today.

      In celebration of the project’s second anniversary, as well as of the international Pi Day, the team announced today the release and immediate availability for download of the fourth maintenance update to the LibreELEC 8.2 “Krypton” operating system series.

    • New Raspberry Pi 3 Model Has Faster CPU, Better Networking

      Delicious news for all you makers out there: a brand new Raspberry Pi is available to buy.

      The new Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is an improved version of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.

      It features a faster ARM A53 processor and improved networking capabilities through the addition of Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 4.2 LS BLE and dual band Wi-Fi.

      While the addition of Gigabit ethernet is a big bonus (yay) the “downside” is that it’s still shared over USB 2.0 (boo). If you connect a data-intensive USB peripheral like an external hard drive the bandwidth available may be reduced accordingly depending on what you’re doing.

    • New Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ now on-sale, more power and faster networking
    • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Launched: Offers More Power, Faster Networking
    • Raspberry PI 3 model B+ Released: Complete specs and pricing
    • Arduino Create Platform Can Now Program Linux Internet of Things Devices

      The official Arduino development team has today revealed at the Embedded Linux Conference 2018 expansion of a number of architectures supported by its Arduino Create platform for the development of Internet of Things applications. The latest release allows Arduino Create users can manage and program a wide range of popular Linux single-board computers such as the awesome Raspberry Pi which has today received a new addition to its range in the form of the Raspberry Pi 3+, AAEON UP² and BeagleBone as if they were regular Arduino development boards.

    • An introduction to RISC-V

      LWN has covered the open RISC-V (“risk five”) processor architecture before, most recently in this article. As the ecosystem and tools around RISC-V have started coming together, a more detailed look is in order. In a series of two articles, I will look at what RISC-V is and follow up with an article on how we can now port Linux distributions to run on it.

      The words “Free and Open RISC Instruction Set Architecture” are emblazoned across the web site of the RISC-V Foundation along with the logos of some possibly surprising companies: Google, hard disk manufacturer Western Digital, and notable ARM licensees Samsung and NVIDIA. An instruction set architecture (ISA) is a specification for the instructions or machine code that you feed to a processor and how you encode those instructions into a binary form, along with many other precise details about how a family of processors works. Modern ISAs are huge and complex specifications. Perhaps the most famous ISA is Intel’s x86 — that specification runs to ten volumes.

      More importantly, ISAs are covered by aggressive copyright, patent, and trademark rules. Want to independently implement an x86-compatible processor? Almost certainly you simply cannot do that without making arrangements with Intel — something the company rarely does. Want to create your own ARM processor? You will need to pay licensing fees to Arm Holdings up front and again for every core you ship.

      In contrast, open ISAs, of which RISC-V is only one of the newest, have permissive licenses. RISC-V’s specifications, covering user-space instructions and the privileged instructions are licensed under a Creative Commons license (CC BY 4.0). Furthermore, researchers have determined that all RISC-V instructions have prior art and are now patent-free. (Note this is different from saying that implementations will be open or patent-free — almost certainly the highest end chips will be closed and implementations patented). There are also several “cores” — code that compiles to Verilog and can be programmed into an FPGA or (with a great deal more effort) made into a custom chip — licensed under the three-clause BSD.

    • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Adelaide Uni open sources venerable Ludwig editor

    The University of Adelaide will release the source code of the Ludwig editor, originally developed for use on VAX minicomputers.

    Ludwig’ source code will be published on GitHub under the MIT Open Source Licence, the university announced today.

    DEC’s first VAX system, the VAX-11/78, was unveiled in 1977. Adelaide Uni purchased three of the minicomputers in 1979.

    The computers supported interaction through video terminals and replaced punch-card-driven systems that only offered batch processing and printed output,

  • 4 reasons enterprise open source works best

    The vast and growing network of enterprise open source solutions can play a key role in modernizing government’s IT infrastructures to be fast, functional and future-oriented. Sourcing technology from the top performers in a community of contributors can liberate IT managers from the bureaucratic ceilings established through proprietary contracts.

    With a commitment to the open software solutions community, the public sector can save money while building the IT infrastructures of today and tomorrow.

  • New Raspberry Pi 3B+, Infection Monkey, Samba Password Bug, Facebook’s Profilo and More

    Facebook open-sourced Profilo yesterday, “a scalable, mobile-first performance tracing library for Android”. Profilo eases the mobile testing challenges faced by app developers trying to ensure their apps perform across various operating systems, bandwidths and other variables, and allows developers to “understand app performance in the wild”.

  • Open Source Data Management for All

    We found that several of our readers had heard of iRODS and knew it was associated with a scientific computing base, but few understood what the technology was and were not aware that there was a consortium. To dispel any confusion, we spoke with Jason Coposky, executive director of the iRODS Consortium about both the technology itself and the group’s role in making data management and storage easier.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Making WebAssembly better for Rust & for all languages

        One big 2018 goal for the Rust community is to become a web language. By targeting WebAssembly, Rust can run on the web just like JavaScript. But what does this mean? Does it mean that Rust is trying to replace JavaScript?

        The answer to that question is no. We don’t expect Rust WebAssembly apps to be written completely in Rust. In fact, we expect the bulk of application code will still be JS, even in most Rust WebAssembly applications.

        This is because JS is a good choice for most things. It’s quick and easy to get up and running with JavaScript. On top of that, there’s a vibrant ecosystem full of JavaScript developers who have created incredibly innovative approaches to different problems on the web.

      • March Add(on)ness: Video Download Helper (1) Vs Cookie AD (4)

        Video DownloadHelper is the easy way to download and convert Web videos from hundreds of YouTube-like sites.

        Video DownloadHelper is a strong contender, giving users the ability to snag videos from virtually any site. The add-on automatically finds videos on a webpage. What users do with those videos is nobody’s business and anyone’s guess.

        Fun Fact: 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and almost 5 billion videos are watched on Youtube every single day. If you tried to download all of them, your computer would explode.

      • This Week In Rust: This Week in Rust 225
      • The new Firefox lets you stop websites from asking to send you notifications

        The Mozilla Foundation released a new version of Firefox this week—release number 59. It treads further down the performance improvement path that November’s Quantum release began, but its most interesting feature is a quality-of-life one: Firefox 59 users can prevent some websites from popping up requests to send notifications to your device or from requesting to use your camera unexpectedly.

      • Things Gateway, Part 7 – IKEA TRÅDFRI

        In this series of postings, I’ve been setting up, configuring, and playing with IoT devices through the experimental Things Gateway from Mozilla. I’ve covered the generic Zigbee and Z-Wave devices, the Philips Hue devices, and the TP-Link WiFi devices. Today, I add IKEA TRÅDFRI to this circus.

        Of course, in this series, I’ve also been doing a bit of editorializing. I was critical of the TP-Link devices because their security model requires the end user to just trust them. I’m critical of the IKEA TRÅDFRI for a physical safety reason. What does the word TRÅDFRI mean? I’m assuming it is a Swedish word that means “severe blood loss from slashed wrists” because that is what is likely to happen when opening the package. The clamshell plastic that entombs their products is difficult to open with anything short of a chainsaw. My kitchen scissors wouldn’t do the job and I had to resort to garden pruning shears and that left dangerously sharp pieces that drew blood. Be careful.

      • Firefox Performance Update #3

        Hi! I’ve got another slew of Firefox performance work to report today.

        Special thanks to the folks who submitted things through this form to let me know about performance work that’s taken place recently! If you’ve seen something fixed lately that’ll likely have a positive impact on Firefox performance, let me know about it!

      • Mozilla sends more snooping Web APIs to smartphone Siberia

        irefox has revealed it will bin more privacy-invasive APIs, deprecating access to the light sensor, device proximity sensor, and user proximity detection.

        The APIs in question have all been criticised for their invasive potential. For example, devicelight offered potential vectors for snooping on user browsing habits or even passwords.

        The other two APIs are deviceproximity and userproximity. As of Firefox 62, these will become user-controlled flags (and for users at the bleeding edge, the deprecation is implemented in the nightly build).

      • Firefox 59 for Android Adds HLS Playback Support, Improves Private Browsing Mode

        Mozilla released today the Firefox 59 web browser for Google’s Android mobile operating system bringing support for websites that use the HTTP Live Streaming protocol for video playback, and improved Private Browsing mode, and more.

  • BSD

    • LLVM Clang 6.0 vs. 5.0 Compiler Performance On Intel/AMD Linux

      Since last week’s big release of LLVM 6.0 along with Clang 6.0, I have been carrying out some fresh compiler benchmarks of the previous Clang 5.0 to this new stable release that switches to C++14 by default, among many other changes to LLVM itself and this C/C++ compiler front-end.

      For your compiler benchmark viewing pleasure today are results of LLVM Clang 5.0 vs. 6.0 on four distinctly different systems: two Intel, two AMD, for getting a glimpse at how the Clang 6.0 compiler performance is looking at this time. For those wondering how Clang 6.0 is stacking up compared to the soon-to-be-released GCC 8.1 compiler, those benchmarks will come when GCC 8.1 is officially available.


    • GRUB Now Supports Multiple Early Initrd Images

      GNU’s GRUB bootloader has picked up another feature ahead of the GRUB 2.04 release expected later this year.

      It’s been almost one year since the GRUB 2.02 release while GRUB 2.04 continues being developed with new features and the latest addition landed just minutes ago.

      This new addition to the GRUB 2.04 code-base is adding support for multiple, shared, early initrd images. These multiple early initrd images will be loaded prior to the proper initrd image — with support for the Linux distribution specifying early initrd images and a separate hook for the user to specify any early images too.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • What legal remedies exist for breach of GPL software?

      Last April, a federal court in California handed down a decision in Artifex Software, Inc. v. Hancom, Inc., 2017 WL 1477373 (N.D. Cal. 2017), adding a new perspective to the forms of remedies available for breach of the General Public License (GPL). Sadly, this case reignited the decades-old license/contract debate due to some misinterpretations under which the court ruled the GPL to be a contract. Before looking at the remedy developments, it’s worth reviewing why the license debate even exists.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Global Automotive Navigation Systems Market 2018-2022 – Increased Support for Open Source and Standard Platforms
    • Five Questions with Orta Therox

      Everyone in the Artsy Engineering team has different relationships to Open Source. Some people just work in the open — with little thought applied to the larger community aspects of it — because it’s how we work. Others embrace the ability to showcase their work to help provide a more holistic understanding of the process.

      Not all projects we work on are open source, so not all engineers work in the open. We made the conscious choice to keep some projects private: it’s Open Source by Default, not Open Source by Mandate.

    • SpaceChain, Arch Aim to Archive Human Knowledge in Space

      SpaceChain on Monday announced that it has entered a partnership with the Arch Mission Foundation to use open source technology to launch an ambitious project involving the storage of large data sets in spacecraft and on other planets.

      Arch Mission will load large quantities of data onto SpaceChain’s satellite vehicles with the eventual aim of storing data on other planets.

      “The goal of archiving and preserving knowledge of future generations will advance archiving science and human knowledge by itself,” SpaceChain cofounder Zheng Zuo said. “The ambitious goal of disseminating this knowledge throughout the solar system is finally achievable today, thanks to greatly reduced launch costs through new space launch providers.”


      The partnership would allow SpaceChain’s long-term goal of storing data archives throughout the solar system come to fruition.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Two UMD courses will have free online textbook access in the fall

        BSCI201 and 202, introductory courses in human anatomy and physiology, will use a free, open-source textbook from OpenStax beginning in the fall, said biology professor Sara Lombardi.

        To make the switch, university lecturers for the courses received a $1,500 grant from the Maryland Open Source Textbook initiative, which offers grants to encourage faculty to utilize open educational resources. The grants were announced March 6.

        The initiative — which was established in 2013 as part of the system’s William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation — saved students more than $500,000 through these grants from spring 2014 to spring 2017, according to the initiative’s spring 2018 update.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OpenFlow is the Past as ONF Announces Stratum Project to Redefine SDN

      On March 12, the ONF announced the formation of the Stratum project with the audacious goal to redefine the SDN landscape in a fundamental way. Code for the Stratum project is initially coming from Google, from technology it uses for SDN within its own environments.

      Among the vendors that are backing the ONF Stratum project are Google, Tencent, China Unicom, NTT, Turk Telekom, Big Switch Networks, VMware, Broadcom, Cavium, Mellanox and Xilinx.


  • IBM thinks Notes and Domino can rise again

    Since announcing that HCL would take over development of IBM’s collaborationware, the two companies have conducted a long listening tour that saw them stage 22 meatspace meetings and four online forums. The results of that consultation, which reached 2,000 people, plus lab work already conducted by IBM and HCL, were recently presented to the faithful.

  • Science

    • Sir John Sulston, Human Genome Project Leader, Remembered For Words On IP And Health R&D

      Nobel Prize winner Sir John Sulston passed away on 6 March at the age of 75, and was widely remembered in the press and scientific circles, celebrating his research, his wisdom, and his leadership of the landmark Human Genome Project. Intellectual Property Watch recalls his visionary warning and advice a decade ago about the intellectual property system, investment, and science that is still valuable today.

    • Media Ignore Critical Link Between Natural Disasters and Climate Change

      Since the 2016 presidential election, the establishment media’s coverage of natural disasters has failed to connect the disasters with the scientific issue of climate change. Lisa Hymas’ December 2017 Guardian article exposed the media’s lack of climate change coverage. Although much climate change research reveals a link between extreme weather and climate change, “only 42% of Americans believe that climate change will pose a serious threat to them during their lifetimes,” Hymas reported. Although recent natural disasters highlight the effects of climate change this subject has received little attention in establishment news coverage.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • To Make Healthcare More Affordable, Fight Drug Patent Abuse with a Fury

      Drug prices tend to drop precipitously the moment the drug market opens to generic and biosimilar competition—typically by up to 80%. Drug patents are the linchpin of when that moment occurs.

      This is because since the 1980s, the timing of market entry for generic and biosimilar drugs has essentially depended on judicial determinations of patent infringement, validity, and enforceability, pursuant to the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act (better known as the “Hatch-Waxman Act”), and more recently, the Biologic Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”).

      If we are really going to have an informed discussion about drug pricing, therefore, we had better do it by talking about drug patents—and how to police them, effectively.

    • Measuring the Toll of the Opioid Epidemic Is Tougher Than it Seems

      As the opioid epidemic rages across the country, data tracking its evolution often lags far behind.

      A few months ago, I set out to compile data on opioid prescribing, overdoses and deaths, as well as treatment options.

      It was more difficult than I expected: Much of the data was out of date, some was hard to find and some data contradicted other data, making conclusions difficult. I put the datasets I could find into a tipsheet, which I shared last week at the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting conference in Chicago.

      When Bruce Greenstein took over as chief technology officer of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in mid-2017, he, too, was taken aback by the hurdles to finding complete, current information — particularly on overdose deaths.

  • Security

    • An important Samba 4 security release

      Anybody running Samba 4 servers probably wants to take a look at this alert and upgrade their systems.

    • Samba 4.7.6, 4.6.14 and 4.5.16 Security Releases Available for Download
    • Samba 4 Updates Issued For Correcting Two Security Vulnerabilities, One Nasty
    • Samba critical flaws: Patch now but older open instances have ‘far worse issues’
    • AMD Secure Processor & Ryzen Chipsets Reportedly Vulnerable To Exploit

      Just two months after the big Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities were disclosed, Israeli security researchers have published 13 security vulnerabilities claiming to affect AMD Ryzen and EPYC product lines.

      These vulnerabilities are being called “AMDFLAWS” and the vulnerabilities have names like MASTERKEY, RYZENFALL, FALLOUT, CHIMERA, and the PSP PRIVILEGE escalation amounting to 13 vulnerabilities in total.

    • Numerous vulnerabilities in AMD processors

      A company called CTS has disclosed a long series of vulnerabilities in AMD processors. “The chipset is a central component on Ryzen and Ryzen Pro workstations: it links the processor with hardware devices such as WiFi and network cards, making it an ideal target for malicious actors. The Ryzen chipset is currently being shipped with exploitable backdoors that could let attackers inject malicious code into the chip, providing them with a safe haven to operate from.” See the associated white paper for more details.

    • Israeli firm dumps AMD flaws with 24 hours notice

      Security researchers from a previously unknown Israeli company, CTS Labs, have disclosed 13 flaws in AMD processors. All can be taken advantage of only by an attacker who has already gained admin privileges within the system in question.

    • “Backdoor” Found In AMD CPUs, Researchers Discover 13 Critical Vulnerabilities In RYZEN And EPYC
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #150
    • ACME v2 and Wildcard Certificate Support is Live

      We’re pleased to announce that ACMEv2 and wildcard certificate support is live! With today’s new features we’re continuing to break down barriers for HTTPS adoption across the Web by making it even easier for every website to get and manage certificates.

      ACMEv2 is an updated version of our ACME protocol which has gone through the IETF standards process, taking into account feedback from industry experts and other organizations that might want to use the ACME protocol for certificate issuance and management some day.

      Wildcard certificates allow you to secure all subdomains of a domain with a single certificate. Wildcard certificates can make certificate management easier in some cases, and we want to address those cases in order to help get the Web to 100% HTTPS. We still recommend non-wildcard certificates for most use cases.

    • An overview of online ad fraud

      I have researched various aspects of the online advertisement industry for a while, and one of the fascinating topics that I have come across which I didn’t know too much about before is ad fraud. You may have heard that this is a huge problem as this topic hits the news often, and after learning more about it, I think of it as one of the major threats to the health of the Web, so it’s important for us to be more familiar with the problem.

      People have done a lot of research on the topic but most of the material uses the jargon of the ad industry so they may be inaccessible to those who aren’t familiar with it (I’m learning my way through it myself!) and also you’d need to study a lot to put a broad picture of what’s wrong together, so I decided to summarize what I have learned so far, expressed in simple terms avoiding jargon, in the hopes that it’s helpful. Needless to say, none of this should be taken as official Mozilla policy, but rather this is a hopefully objective summary plus some of my opinions after doing this research at the end.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Mass Killing of Civilians by UN-Backed National Police of Haiti

      On the morning of November 13, 2017, a joint anti-gang operation between the National Police of Haiti (PHN), who were trained under occupation by UN and US officials, and the newly-formed United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) ended in the mass killing of at least nine innocent civilians at Maranatha College in Port-au-Prince. Some reports indicate up to 14 civilians and two police officers were killed.

      The United Nations issued a statement days later, condemning the violence and calling for a prompt investigation. However, the statement did not publicly acknowledge the UN’s own role in the operation, and distanced the organization from the civilian casualties. As Jake Johnston of the Intercept reported, it was not until late December that a UN spokesperson confirmed that the MINUJUSTH, the UN police, had helped to plan the raid.

      UN spokesperson Sophie Boutaud de la Combe wrote in an email to the Intercept that the UN had conducted an internal inquiry following the raid which absolved the UN. The inquiry found that UN police did not enter Maranatha College where the alleged killings took place, nor did UN police fire their weapons. Instead, according to the inquiry, UN police only “secured the perimeter” of the school. The post-operation “unilateral initiative” of some PHN members was, according to the UN inquiry, without UN authorization.

    • Ex-GCHQ boss: All the ways to go after Russia. Why pick cyberwar?

      Hannigan damped down talk in the UK media that cyber attacks against Russia might form part of the response to poisoning of Russian-born double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the medieval cathedral city of Salisbury in southern England last week.

      He cited UK government statements to explain this was either a state-run operation or that Russia had lost control of a chemical weapons agent. This follows Russia’s highly contentious annexation of Crimea back in 2014.

    • Assange: UK Foreign Office Gears Up for Propaganda War Against Russia

      Following allegations by UK authorities that Russia was responsible for the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in the British city of Salisbury, the UK Foreign Office is preparing a smear campaign against the country.

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Tuesday took to Twitter to comment on the UK Foreign Office’s video about Russia, saying it is waging a “propaganda” war against Moscow.

      The UK Foreign Office released a video with a list of the world events in which Russia in their opinion is engaged. In this video, the Foreign Office says that Russia is relevant to the Litvinenko case, to Georgia’s sovereignty, Crimea’s reunification, the cyber-attack on Germany’s parliament, interfering in Montenegro elections, as well as airspace violations.

  • Finance

    • International Finance Corporation, a Branch of World Bank, on Trial

      Farmers in Honduras are suing a branch of the World Bank for attacks and killings that the corporation has allegedly helped fund since the early 1990s. These violent acts targeted members and supporters of the local farming community in the Bajo Aguán valley region of Honduras, as reported by Claire Provost for the Guardian in March 2017.

      As the Guardian reported, according to a 132-page legal complaint filed by the plaintiffs, the farmers are seeking compensation for the role that the IMF branch known as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) played in the alleged “murder, torture, assault, battery, trespass, unjust enrichment and other acts of aggression” that resulted from the IFC’s support of the agribusiness corporation Dinant, the primary executor of the violence.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Help Us Cure Online Publishing of Its Addiction to Personal Data

      A perfect example of this non-thinking is a recent Business Insider piece that says “Europe’s new privacy laws are going to make the web virtually unsurfable” because the GDPR and ePrivacy (the next legal shoe to drop in the EU) “will require tech companies to get consent from any user for any information they gather on you and for every cookie they drop, each time they use them”, thus turning the web “into an endless mass of click-to-consent forms”.

      Speaking of endless, the same piece says, “News sites—like Business Insider—typically allow a dozen or more cookies to be ‘dropped’ into the web browser of any user who visits.” That means a future visitor to Business Insider will need to click “agree” before each of those dozen or more cookies get injected into the visitor’s browser.

    • Appellate Court Issues Encouraging Border Search Opinion

      EFF filed an amicus brief last year in the case, arguing that the Supreme Court’s decision in Riley v. California (2014) supports the conclusion that border agents need a probable cause warrant before searching electronic devices because of the unprecedented and significant privacy interests travelers have in their digital data. In Riley, the Supreme Court followed similar reasoning and held that police must obtain a warrant to search the cell phone of an arrestee.

      In U.S. v. Molina-Isidoro, although the Fifth Circuit declined to decide whether the Fourth Amendment requires border agents to get a warrant before searching travelers’ electronic devices, one judge invoked prior case law that could help us establish this privacy protection.

      Ms. Molina-Isidoro attempted to enter the country at the port of entry at El Paso, TX. An x-ray of her suitcase led border agents to find methamphetamine. They then manually searched her cell phone and looked at her Uber and WhatsApp applications. The government sought to use her correspondence in WhatsApp in her prosecution, so she moved to suppress this evidence, arguing that it was obtained in violation of the Constitution because the border agents didn’t have a warrant.

      Unfortunately for Molina-Isidoro, the Fifth Circuit ruled that the WhatsApp messages may be used in her prosecution. But the court avoided the main constitutional question: whether the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant to search an electronic device at the border. Instead, the court held that the border agents acted in “good faith”—an independent basis to deny Molina-Isidoro’s motion to suppress, even if the agents had violated the Fourth Amendment.

    • The Cloud Act Is a Dangerous Piece of Legislation

      The under-the-radar bill threatens the civil liberties and human rights of global activists and US citizens alike.

      Despite its fluffy sounding name, the recently introduced CLOUD Act is far from harmless. It threatens activists abroad, individuals here in the U.S., and would empower Attorney General Sessions in new disturbing ways. And, now, some members of Congress may be working behind the scenes to sneak it into a gargantuan spending bill that Congress will shortly consider.

      This is why the ACLU and over 20 other privacy and human rights organizations have joined together to oppose the bill. Make no mistake, the CLOUD Act represents a dramatic change in our law, and its effects will be felt across the globe.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • This Mural Quotes Trump’s ‘Access Hollywood’ Tape, and Now the Owner Is Facing Jail Time

      Forcing people to get government approval for artistic expression is a violation of the First Amendment.

      Last fall, Neal Morris, a property owner in New Orleans, commissioned a mural on his warehouse that depicted President Trump’s comments from the infamous “Access Hollywood” tape. The mural displayed Trump’s comments verbatim but replaced some of the words with cartoon pictograms.

      Morris expected that the mural, installed on his own property by a local street artist, might stir controversy. But what he didn’t expect was a threatening letter from the city’s Department of Safety and Permits demanding that he take it down or face jail time. The letter accused Morris of a zoning violation and warned that failure to comply would yield “a maximum fine or jail time for each and every day the violation continues plus court costs.”

      That’s right. A resident of an American city could face jail time for a mural that depicts comments the president of the United States actually said — on tape. All this because Morris failed to navigate a confusing bureaucratic process requiring artists and their patrons to get government approval and a permit before installing a mural, even on their own property.

    • Inadequate Coverage is Costly: Deafening Silence on Puerto Rican Crisis

      How the US responds to natural disasters is increasingly dependent on what we see in the news. In times of disaster, fair and thorough coverage is necessary to support recovery. According to Gabriela Thorne of the Nation, “lack of media coverage makes it hard to get as many donations,” leaving those with less air-time to face a slower, more difficult recovery. This is especially true in territories like Puerto Rico. Months after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans still struggle to re-establish normal daily living. Donations are still necessary for their recovery effort, yet establishment news coverage has moved on to other, more sensational topics.

    • “She Tortured Just for the Sake of Torture”: CIA Whistleblower on Trump’s New CIA Pick Gina Haspel

      Former CIA officer and whistleblower John Kiriakou personally knew CIA director nominee Gina Haspel when he worked at the CIA. But their careers have taken very different paths over the past decade. Haspel, who was directly involved in torture at a secret CIA prison in Thailand, has been promoted to head the agency. Kiriakou, who blew the whistle on the torture program, ended up being jailed for 23 months. For more, we speak with John Kiriakou, who spent 14 years at the CIA as an analyst and case officer.

    • The First Woman Picked to Lead CIA, But Not the First War Criminal

      Ray was interviewed Tuesday about Gina Haspel, just nominated to be CIA director. He found it bizarre to discuss the exploits of the current CIA deputy director/war criminal Haspel, who in 2002 ran the secret prison where “terrorist suspect,” Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times.

      Such crimes were documented by a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation, based on original CIA cables and other documents — a four year-long effort, a redacted Executive Summary of which was released in Dec. 2014. It revealed a number of heinous torture techniques used on kidnapped “detainees” and — equally important — gave the lie to claims by top CIA officials that useful intelligence was acquired by the torture.

    • Trump Administration Wants To Start Sending Secret Service Agents To Polling Stations

      This appears to be the result of Trump’s continued insistence he would have won the popular vote if there hadn’t been so many illegal votes. Of course, the administration has produced no evidence this happened in the last election. The only story that surfaced as a result of this post-election scrutiny was one involving someone who voted twice… for Trump.

      Needless to say, state officials overseeing elections are horrified. The intrusion of the law enforcement branch that works closest with the president would give elections the appearance that Secret Service agents are there to prevent voters from voting for the wrong person. Given Trump’s antipathy towards anyone that isn’t white with a red hat, dispatched agents would certainly deter those not matching the chosen description from exercising their rights.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Research Shows That Published Versions Of Papers In Costly Academic Titles Add Almost Nothing To The Freely-Available Preprints They Are Based On

        The open access movement believes that academic publications should be freely available to all, not least because most of the research is paid for by the public purse. Open access supporters see the high cost of many academic journals, whose subscriptions often run into thousands of dollars per year, as unsustainable for cash-strapped libraries, and unaffordable for researchers in emerging economies. The high profit margins of leading academic publishers — typically 30-40% — seem even more outrageous when you take into account the fact that publishers get almost everything done for free. They don’t pay the authors of the papers they publish, and rely on the unpaid efforts of public-spirited academics to carry out crucial editorial functions like choosing and reviewing submissions.

      • US Copyright Royalty Board Boosts Songwriters’ Streaming Pay Nearly 50% [Ed: But will this increase in pay go to the cartel (middlemen) or actual artists that aren't just the few millionaires who are super-famous?]

        Variety reports: The Copyright Royalty Board has ruled to increase songwriter rates for interactive streaming by nearly 50% over the next five years, in a ruling issued early Saturday. Equally important, the CRB simplified and strengthened the manner in which songwriters are paid mechanical royalties, modifying terms in a way that offers a foothold in the free-market.

        The ruling, in favor of the National Music Publishers’ Association and the Nashville Songwriters’ Association International, amounts to what NMPA president and CEO David Israelite calls “the biggest rate increase granted in CRB history,” with Amazon, Apple, Google, Pandora and Spotify compelled to pay more for the use of music.

      • Game Developer Embraces Modding Community So Much They Made Their Work An Official Release

        For game developers and publishers, there are lots of ways to react to the modding community that so often creates new and interesting aspects to their games. Some companies look to shut these modding communities down completely, some threaten them over supposed copyright violations, and some developers choose to embrace the modding community and let mods extend the life of their games to ridiculous lengths.

        But few studios have gone as far to embrace modders as developer 1C, makers of IL-2 Sturmovik: Cliffs of Dover. The flight-sim game, released way back in 2011, burst onto the gaming market with decidedly luke-warm reviews. Most of the critiques and public commentary surrounding the game could be best summarized as: “meh.” But a modding community sprung up around the game, calling itself Team Fusion, and developed a litany of mods for IL-2. Rather than looking at these mods as some sort of threat, 1C instead worked with Team Fusion and developed an official re-release of the game incorporating their work.

      • Playboy Wants to Know Who Downloaded Their Playmate Images From Imgur

        Playboy’s initial attempt to hold the popular blog Boing Boing liable for copyright infringement failed last month. However, this doesn’t mean that it’s completely over. The publisher has requested personal information on the people who uploaded the infringing centerfold footage on YouTube and Imgur, to determine what steps to take next. Interestingly, Imgur ‘downloaders’ are targeted too, which technically includes everyone who viewed the images.

      • Pirate Site Admins Receive Suspended Sentences, Still Face €60m Damages Claim

        Four men behind one of France’s most successful pirate sites have been handed suspended sentences by the Rennes Criminal Court. Aged between 29 and 36 years old, the former Liberty Land administrators were arrested back in 2011 following a SACEM investigation. The quartet still face a massive 60 million euro damages claim.


Links 13/3/2018: Qt Creator 4.5.2, Tails 3.6, Firefox 59

Posted in News Roundup at 7:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Sourcing the Hunt for Exoplanets
  • Google’s Open Source AI Lets Anyone Hunt for Alien Planets At Home

    Last December, NASA announced that two new exoplanets had been hiding in plain sight among data from the Kepler space telescope. These two new planets weren’t discovered by a human, however. Instead, an exoplanet hunting neural network—a type of machine learning algorithm loosely modeled after the human brain—had discovered the planets by finding subtle patterns in the Kepler data that would’ve been nearly impossible for a human to see.

    On Thursday, Christopher Shallue, the lead Google engineer behind the exoplanet AI, announced in a blog post that the company was making the algorithm open source. In other words, anyone can download the code and help hunt for exoplanets in Kepler data.

  • Google Open-Sources AI Code To Analyze Kepler Data For Exoplanets
  • You Can Hunt for Alien Planets in Kepler Data Using Newly Released Google Code
  • Google AI That Helped NASA Find Exoplanets Now Available to All
  • Find Alien Life and Discover New Exoplanets With Google’s New Machine-Learning Algorithm
  • Now, use Google AI to hunt planets from NASA data
  • Want to join in NASA’s search for exoplanets? Google’s AI can help
  • Google TensorFlow now available for researchers
  • Google AI that helped NASA find exoplanets now open for all
  • Google AI models which helped NASA discover exoplanets, are now available for everyone
  • Researchers Now Have Access to the Same Google AI that NASA had
  • Google AI Is Now Publically Accessible That Helped NASA Boost Its Hunt for Exoplanet
  • A plan for rebooting an open source project

    Once in a while, you will have an open source project that needs care and feeding. Maybe you’re just stepping into an existing project, and you need to figure out where the project is and where it needs to go. It needs a reboot. What do you do? How do you begin?

    When I was in this situation, I was thrown into the deep end with a security issue. I spent a good eight months getting to know the community as we resolved that issue and other legacy infrastructure issues. After about a year, I finally felt like I had a good outline of the community and its challenges and strengths. I realized afterward that it would’ve been smarter if I had first invested time to review the project’s status and create a strategy for how we tackled its needs.

  • Google Open Sources Exoplanet-Hunting AI

    NASA’s Kepler satellite has been observing the stars for nearly a decade, and it’s produced a mountain of data in that time. Late last year, Google showed how machine learning could help astronomers dig through the Kepler backlog, and it discovered a few new exoplanets in the process. Google has now open sourced the planet-spotting AI so anyone can give it a shot.

  • Google collaborates with Ubisoft to launch Agones, an open source game server hosting system

    When you think of cloud computing, chances are you are thinking about massive server farms that let you edit documents in the cloud and update your CRM system, but thankfully, there’s a playful side to the cloud as well. All of those multiplayer games, after all, have to run somewhere, too. Often, gaming companies write their own systems for running these servers, but Google and Ubisoft today announced a new project that provides an open source alternative to managing and hosting multiplayer game servers.

    Agones, as the project is called because that’s the Greek word for ‘contest,’ uses the Google-incubated Kubernetes container project as it core tool for orchestrating and scaling a fleet of multiplayer game servers. When you play your favorite multiplayer game, it’s these kind of game servers that assure that users can see each other as they traverse an island full of 99 other suicidal maniacs, for example — and they also often run the software necessary to identify cheaters. Containers are actually ideal for this kind of scenario because game sessions tend to last for relatively short periods of time and containers can be deployed and shut down quickly.

  • Google & Ubisoft Announce Game Hosting Solution Agones
  • Google & Ubisoft announce Agones, a game server hosting project
  • Google announces new open source multiplayer server Agones
  • Google Steps on Microsoft’s Toes in New Cloud Gaming Push (Premium)
  • Google gets into multiplayer game server hosting with Agones project
  • Google Cloud & Ubisoft Announce Agones – Open Source Dedicated Multiplayer Game Server Hosting
  • Google Cloud’s Agones enables open source dedicated multiplayer game servers
  • Google and the publisher of ‘Assassin’s Creed’ are teaming up for a new weapon in the cloud wars
  • It’s Happening: Substratum Network Announces Plan to Open-Source Its Software in Next Release

    Substratum Network (www.Substratum.net) is pleased to announce it will open-source its software in the next release to further its fight against cyber-censorship. Built as a foundation for the decentralized web, Substratum’s mission is to ensure that all people have free and equal access to information, without impediment.

  • Anti-tracking browser extension Ghostery goes open source

    Ghostery, a provider of free software that makes your web browsing experience cleaner and safer by detecting and blocking third-party data-tracking technologies, announced that it is going open source and the code for its popular browser extension is now publicly available on GitHub.

    This move demonstrates Ghostery’s commitment to transparency, empowering the public to see how Ghostery works and what types of data it collects, as well as the ability to make contributions to its source code.

  • China develops open-source platform for AI development

    China has developed an open-source artificial intelligence platform as part of its plan to become a world leader in the technology by 2030, the country’s science and technology minister said, according to the Business Standard.

    “Open-source platforms are needed because AI can play a bigger role in development and make it easier for entrepreneurs to have access to resources,” Wan Gang said at a press conference.

  • Creating an Open Source Program for Your Company

    The recent growth of open source has been phenomenal; the latest GitHub Octoverse survey reports the GitHub community reached 24 million developers working across 67 million repositories. Adoption of open source has also grown rapidly with studies showing that 65% of companies are using and contributing to open source. However, many decision makers in those organizations using and contributing to open source do not fully understand how it works. The collaborative development model utilized in open source is different from the closed, proprietary models many individuals are used to, requiring a change in thinking.

    An ideal starting place is creating a formal open source program office, which is a best practice pioneered by Google and Facebook and can support a company’s open source strategy. Such an office helps explain to employees how open source works and its benefits, while providing supporting functions such as training, auditing, defining policies, developer relations and legal guidance. Although the office should be customized to a specific organization’s needs, there are still some standard steps everyone will go through.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 59 Prepped For Release: Nukes GTK2 Code, Still Prepping For Wayland

        Mozilla’s Firefox 59.0 is now available to download from the FTP server ahead of the official announcement.

        Firefox 59.0 can now be downloaded for all supported platforms. Firefox 59.0 does deliver on dropping GTK2 support in favor of the GTK3 tool-kit support that’s now mature.

        But what didn’t make it for Firefox 59.0 is the Firefox 59 Wayland support that remains a work-in-progress and was diverted from being a target for mozilla59. While the Wayland support isn’t yet squared away, there have been bug fixes and other improvements in working towards getting this native Wayland support ready by default for those not building your web-browser with the –enable-default-toolkit=cairo-gtk3-wayland switch.

      • Version 59.0, first offered to Release channel users on March 13, 2018
      • Mozilla Firefox 59 Released with Faster Page Load Times, New Privacy Features
      • Latest Firefox available to users where they browse the web — laptop, Fire TV and the office. Plus, a chance to help with the next Firefox release!
      • Firefox 59 “Quantum” released

        Mozilla has released its Firefox 59.0 “Quantum” browser.

        The browser supports GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows desktop operating systems, and iOS and Android mobile devices.

      • Firefox 59 released, these are the key changes
      • Mozilla’s Firefox 59 Released, New Agones Project, SparkyLinux 5.3 Available, Hunt for Exoplanets and More

        Mozilla’s Firefox 59 is available for download. See the wiki for more information on its new features, including the “option to stop websites from asking to send notifications or access your device’s camera, microphone, and location”.

      • IT Pros and CIOs: sign up to try Firefox Quantum for Enterprise
      • Mozilla Open Policy & Advocacy Blog: Mozilla files response to European Commission ‘Fake news and online disinformation’ public consultation
      • Can Chrome Sync or Firefox Sync be trusted with sensitive data?
      • Mozilla Foundation is seeking a VP, Leadership Programs

        One of Mozilla’s biggest strengths is the people — a global community of engineers, designers, educators, lawyers, scientists, researchers, artists, activists and every day users brought together with the common goal of making the internet healthier.

        A big part of Mozilla Foundation’s focus over the past few years has been increasing both the size and diversity of this community and the broader moveme. In particular, we’ve run a series of initiatives — the Internet Health Report, MozFest, our fellowships and awards — aimed at connecting and supporting people who want to take a leadership role in this community. Our global community is the lynchpin in our strategy to grow a global movement to create a healthier digital world.

      • Side projects and swag-driven development

        Another option I keep hearing is to push Mozilla leadership into making side-projects real. That seems like a good option and I think it happens periodically. I sort of did this with Bleach. I spent tons of time trying to get Bleach turned into a real project and it sort of is now.

        Based on that experience, I think it requires a bunch of people and meetings to come to a consensus on validating the project’s existence which is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. It’s important that projects paid for by budgets have impact and value and all that–I get that–but the work to get a side-project to that point is unpleasant and time-consuming. I bet many side-projects can’t pass muster to become a real project. I think what happens instead is that side-projects continue to exist in the misty “there be dragons” part of the Mozilla universe map until the relevant people leave and stuff breaks.

        There are probably other options.

        I’ve been wondering about an option where where the maintainers aren’t locked into choosing between walking away and guilt-driven development for a project that’s important, but for some reason doesn’t have a critical mass and doesn’t pass muster enough to turn into a real project.

        I started wondering if my problem with Standups is two fold: first, I have no incentive to work on it other than bad feelings, and second, it’s a free service so no one else has incentive to work on it either.

        One incentive is getting paid in money, but that’s messy, problematic, and hard to do. But what if we used a different currency? There’s a lot of swag at Mozilla. What if we could use swag to drive development?

      • So, How’s Screenshots Doing?

        It’s been a bit over five months since we launched Firefox Screenshots in Firefox 56, and I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what’s happened so far and to look forward to what’s coming next.

        So far, our users have taken more than 67 million screenshots. This is a big number that makes my manager happy, but more interesting is how we got here.

      • March Add(on)ness is here

        Winter’s icy hand is releasing its grip, birds are returning from southern migration which means it’s that time of year where people everywhere rank things, put them in brackets and have them compete for bragging rights over who’s the best. It’s time for March Add(on)ness!

      • A Truly Responsive WebXR Experiment: A-Painter XR

        In our posts announcing our Mixed Reality program last year, we talked about some of the reasons we were excited to expand WebVR to include AR technology. In the post about our experimental WebXR Polyfill and WebXR Viewer, we mentioned that the WebVR Community Group has shifted to become the Immersive Web Community Group and the WebVR API proposal is becoming the WebXR Device API proposal. As the community works through the details of these these changes, this is a great time to step back and think about the requirements and implications of mixing AR and VR in one API.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Google Maps wants to simplify Indian address with open-source Plus Codes
    • Google’s new ‘Plus Codes’ are an open source, global alternative to street addresses [Ed: No, it is not "open source"; it makes addresses proprietary and more strictly controlled by Google]

      Google frequently touts that the “next billion users” will come from developing nations with different focuses and needs. To that end, the company has developed a number of optimized services, with the latest being a “simple and consistent addressing system that works across India and globally.

    • Time for ‘Open Innovation,’ Not Just Open Source

      Embedded open source software not only works; most our world runs on it today. That said, the real story is open innovation, of which open source licenses are simply one part.

      We can all agree that open source revolutionized the software industry. The effect has been profound on every segment from enterprise software to search and social networking. But it wasn’t always that way. The late Jim Ready, founding father of embedded open source software, told me once that his early prospects told him that open source wouldn’t fly because they wouldn’t trust their code to a bunch of teenagers in some far-off part of the world.

      Well, guess what? Embedded open source software not only works; most our world runs on it today.

      That said, the real story is open innovation, of which open source licenses are simply one part. Open innovation means looking outside traditional corporate silos to harness the collective knowledge of a global community of developers and using that community to create new and transformative things. Open innovation in software is enabled by many things: GitHub, app stores and crowdsourcing platforms like Topcoder (founded by our investor and director Jack Hughes) being just a few. Once enabled, though, the innovation potential of this crowd is mind boggling.

    • Inside the Vatican’s First-Ever Hackathon [iophk: "misuse of the term hackathon; hackathons are collaborative, this was an app contest not a hackathon"]

      They received consultation from 40 on-site mentors, many of whom represented Microsoft, Google, and other corporate sponsors of the event who taught the participants how to use their company’s tools and technologies [...]


    • Best 10 Free Accounting Software Packages for Small Business

      GnuCash provides a simple approach to bookkeeping and accounting for small businesses. This free accounting software is available for Android, Linux, Windows, OS X, FreeBSDm GNU and OpenBSD. The software manages invoices, accounts payable and receivable, as well as employee expenses and some payroll features.

    • Two new entries for the GNU Licenses FAQ

      We recently made some new additions to our resource Frequently Asked Questions about the GNU Licenses (FAQ). The FAQ is one of our most robust articles, covering common questions for using and understanding GNU licenses. We are always looking to improve our materials, so this week we’ve made some fresh updates.

      The first is an update to our entry on using works under the GNU General Public License (GPL) on a Web site. This entry explains that people are free to use modified versions of GPL’ed works internally without releasing source code, and that using GPL’ed code to run your site is just a special case of that. The problem was that the entry went on to explain how things are different when it comes to the Affero GNU General Public License (AGPL). That transition in the old entry wasn’t quite as elegant as we would have liked, and so people were often writing to us to ask for clarification. They were getting confused about whether the comments on the AGPL also applied to the GPL. So we’ve updated that entry, and moved the information on the AGPL to its own entry. The updated text and new entry were both created by long-time licensing team volunteer Yoni Rabkin.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Can we automate open behaviors?

      When I began studying sales training and giving sales seminars, I realized I was discovering a few basic principles. These principles were applicable anywhere in the world—and they were as true in the past as they will be in the future. They pertained to fundamental aspects of my work: Finding customers, meeting customers, learning what customers want, choosing a product or service that would satisfy customers’ needs, etc. One can enact these principles in various, situational ways. But the principles themselves are constant.

      Open organizations operate according to principles, too: transparency, inclusivity, adaptability, collaboration, and community. We can relate those principles to specific behaviors that propel the principles forward and keep them firmly rooted as part of the organization’s culture.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Google NSynth Super puts Magenta AI into open-source synthesizer

        Google’s Magenta AI has spawned an unexpected hardware device, the NSynth Super synthesizer that uses machine learning to create new sounds. Based on the Magenta research project, it’s built using the NSynth neutral synthesizer that Google released last year, embodying the AI smarts in a tactile physical interface.

      • Open Source Hardware Video Game Music Player

        [Aidan Lawrence] likes classic synthesized video game music in the same way that other people “like” breathing and eating. He spent a good deal of 2017 working on a line of devices based on the Yamaha YM2612 used in the Sega Genesis to get his feet wet in the world of gaming synths, and is now ready to take the wraps off his latest and most refined creation.

  • Programming/Development

    • Which programming languages pay best, most popular? Developers’ top choices

      Stack Overflow has released the results of its annual survey of 100,000 developers, revealing the most-popular, top-earning, and preferred programming languages.

      The most-loved languages are Kotlin and Mozilla-developed Rust, according to Stack Overflow’s 2018 developer survey.

    • Developers love trendy new languages, but earn more with functional programming

      JavaScript remains the most widely used programming language among professional developers, making that six years at the top for the lingua franca of Web development. Other Web tech including HTML (#2 in the ranking), CSS (#3), and PHP (#9). Business-oriented languages were also in wide use, with SQL at #4, Java at #5, and C# at #8. Shell scripting made a surprising showing at #6 (having not shown up at all in past years, which suggests that the questions have changed year-to-year), Python appeared at #7, and systems programming stalwart C++ rounded out the top 10.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • ONF Launches New Open Source SDN Switching Platform – Stratum

      The Open Networking Foundation (ONF) is creating a new open source project that stems largely from Google’s desire for programmable white boxes that are easily interchangeable.

      The new project, named Stratum, will create a reference platform for a truly software-defined data plane along with a new set of software-defined networking (SDN) interfaces. Its goal is to provide a white box switch and an open software system.

    • Google Seeds Latest SDN Effort

      Google contributed code to an open-source project organized by the Open Networking Foundation (ONF), the latest effort in software-defined networks (SDNs). Stratum will use the P4 programming language and a handful of open-source interfaces to manage large networks for data centers and carriers.

      The group aims to release open-source code early next year, available on multiple networking chips and systems. So far, the project consists of a handful of software companies along with five chip vendors, five potential users, and four OEMs, including Barefoot Networks, Broadcom, Cavium, China Unicom, Dell EMC, Mellanox, and Tencent.


  • Graduate sues Anglia Ruskin University claiming she ended up with a ‘mickey mouse’ degree

    A graduate is suing her university, claiming boasts in its prospectus about high quality teaching and excellent career prospects were fraudulently misleading after she ended up with a ‘mickey mouse’ degree.

  • Hardware

    • Trump Blocks Broadcom Takeover of Qualcomm on Security Risks

      President Donald Trump issued an executive order Monday blocking Broadcom Ltd. from pursuing its hostile takeover of Qualcomm Inc., scuttling a $117 billion deal that had been scrutinized by a secretive panel over the tie-up’s threat to U.S. national security.

      Trump acted on a recommendation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which reviews acquisitions of American firms by foreign investors. The decision was unveiled just hours after Hock Tan, the chief executive officer of Singapore-based Broadcom, met with officials at the Pentagon in a last-ditch effort to salvage what would have been the biggest technology deal in history.

    • President Trump Blocks Broadcom Purchase of Qualcomm

      Broadcom is in the process of moving its legal headquarters from Singapore to the U.S., with the company planning on finishing the move by April 3, 2018. Trump hosted Broadcom CEO Hock E. Tan in the White House last year as he announced the move, and the company had hoped that would help it skirt the national security review.

    • Trump Blocks Broadcom’s Bid for Qualcomm

      President Trump on Monday blocked Broadcom’s $117 billion bid for the chip maker Qualcomm, citing national security concerns and sending a clear signal that he was willing to take extraordinary measures to promote his administration’s increasingly protectionist stance.

      In a presidential order, Mr. Trump said “credible evidence” had led him to believe that if Singapore-based Broadcom were to acquire control of Qualcomm, it “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.” The acquisition, if it had gone through, would have been the largest technology deal in history.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Feds Bust CEO Allegedly Selling Custom BlackBerry Phones to Sinaloa Drug Cartel

      Now, the FBI has arrested the owner of one of the most established companies, Phantom Secure, as part of a complex law enforcement operation, according to court records and sources familiar with the matter.

      “FBI are flexing their muscle,” one source familiar with the secure phone industry, and who gave Motherboard specific and accurate details about the operation before it was public knowledge, said. Motherboard granted the sources in this story anonymity to talk about sensitive developments in the secure phone trade. The source said the Phantom operation was carried out in partnership with Canadian and Australian authorities.

    • WHO: Access To Hepatitis C Treatment Increasing, But Most Patients Undiagnosed

      The report also found that the majority of the estimated 71 million people living with HCV remain untreated, mostly because they are not diagnosed. Globally, it says, only about one in five people living with HCV in 2016 had been diagnosed, and in low-income countries, less than 10 percent of people infected with HCV had been diagnosed. Some 40 percent are diagnosed in high-income countries, says the report.

  • Security

    • Judge clears way for breach victims to sue Yahoo

      Among the suits were claims alleging negligence and breach of contract.


      Yahoo believes that all 3 billion of its user accounts were affected by the 2013 breach.

    • Data breach victims can sue Yahoo in the United States: judge

      Yahoo was accused of being too slow to disclose three data breaches that occurred from 2013 and 2016, increasing users’ risk of identity theft and requiring them to spend money on credit freeze, monitoring and other protection services.

    • Distrust of Symantec TLS Certificates

      A Certification Authority (CA) is an organization that browser vendors (like Mozilla) trust to issue certificates to websites. Last year, Mozilla published and discussed a set of issues with one of the oldest and largest CAs run by Symantec. The discussion resulted in the adoption of a consensus proposal to gradually remove trust in all Symantec TLS/SSL certificates from Firefox. The proposal includes a number of phases designed to minimize the impact of the change to Firefox users:

    • How Creative DDOS Attacks Still Slip Past Defenses

      Distributed denial of service attacks, in which hackers use a targeted hose of junk traffic to overwhelm a service or take a server offline, have been a digital menace for decades. But in just the last 18 months, the public picture of DDoS defense has evolved rapidly. In fall 2016, a rash of then-unprecedented attacks caused internet outages and other service disruptions at a series of internet infrastructure and telecom companies around the world. Those attacks walloped their victims with floods of malicious data measured up to 1.2 Tbps. And they gave the impression that massive, “volumetric” DDOS attacks can be nearly impossible to defend against.

    • Potent malware that hid for six years spread through routers

      Slingshot—which gets its name from text found inside some of the recovered malware samples—is among the most advanced attack platforms ever discovered, which means it was likely developed on behalf of a well-resourced country, researchers with Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab reported Friday. The sophistication of the malware rivals that of Regin—the advanced backdoor that infected Belgian telecom Belgacom and other high-profile targets for years—and Project Sauron, a separate piece of malware suspected of being developed by a nation-state that also remained hidden for years.

    • Hidden For 6 Years, ‘Slingshot’ Malware Hacks Your PC Through Your Router
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Microsoft Admits It Incorrectly Upgraded Some Windows 10 Users to v1709 [Ed: Windows Update is technically (not a joke) a botnet. It takes over people's PCs and hands them over for Microsoft to use up their CPU and bandwidth. Microsoft has ignored users' "update" settings since at least Windows XP days.]

      Microsoft admitted last week that it incorrectly updated some Windows 10 users to the latest version of the Windows 10 operating system —version 1709— despite users having specifically paused update operations in their OS settings.

      The admission came in a knowledge base article updated last week. Not all users of older Windows versions were forcibly updated, but only those of Windows 10 v1703 (Creators Update).

      This is the version where Microsoft added special controls to the Windows Update setting section that allow users to pause OS updates in case they have driver or other hardware issues with the latest OS version.

    • We Still Need More HTTPS: Government Middleboxes Caught Injecting Spyware, Ads, and Cryptocurrency Miners

      Last week, researchers at Citizen Lab discovered that Sandvine’s PacketLogic devices were being used to hijack users’ unencrypted internet connections, making yet another case for encrypting the web with HTTPS. In Turkey and Syria, users who were trying to download legitimate applications were instead served malicious software intending to spy on them. In Egypt, these devices injected money-making content into users’ web traffic, including advertisements and cryptocurrency mining scripts.

      These are all standard machine-in-the-middle attacks, where a computer on the path between your browser and a legitimate web server is able to intercept and modify your traffic data. This can happen if your web connections use HTTP, since data sent over HTTP is unencrypted and can be modified or read by anyone on the network.

      The Sandvine middleboxes were doing exactly this. On Türk Telekom’s network, it was reported that when a user attempted to download legitimate applications over HTTP, these devices injected fake “redirect” messages which caused the user’s browser to fetch the file from a different, malicious, site. Users downloading common applications like Avast Antivirus, 7-Zip, Opera, CCleaner, and programs from download.cnet.com had their downloads silently redirected. Telecom Egypt’s Sandvine devices, Citizen Lab noted, were using similar methods to inject money-making content into HTTP connections, by redirecting existing ad links to affiliate advertisements and legitimate javascript files to cryptocurrency mining scripts.

    • Let’s Encrypt takes free “wildcard” certificates live
    • GuardiCore Upgrades Infection Monkey Open Source Cyber Security Testing Tool
    • A Guide To Securing Docker and Kubernetes Containers With a Firewall
    • How IBM Helps Organizations to Improve Security with Incident Response

      Protecting organizations against cyber-security threats isn’t just about prevention, it’s also about incident response. There are many different organizations that provide these security capabilities, including IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services (IRIS), which is led by Wendi Whitmore.

      In the attached video interview Whitmore explains how incident response works and how she helps organizations to define a winning strategy. Succeeding at incident response in Whitmore’s view, shouldn’t be focused just on prevention but on building a resilient environment.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘Modernization’: Media’s Favorite Euphemism for Military Buildup

      A variation on this tautology is “overhaul” (New York Times, 8/27/17) or “rebuild” (The Hill, 1/20/18), the idea being that something has fallen into disrepair or broken down and simply needs to be put back together. How vast new expenditures on weapons that can already end civilization can be justified in either financial or moral terms is simply breezed past. A “modern” United States is self-evidently preferable to a pre-modern one, and the United States must be “modern” to “keep pace” with perennial Bad Guys Russia and China.

    • The US Government Is Considering Drafting Middle-Aged Hackers To Fight The Cyberwar

      There’s no time like the near future to be conscripted into military service. Due to citizens’ declining interest in being personally involved in the government’s multiple Forever Wars, the Commission on Military, National and Public Service is exploring its options. And one of the options on the table is removing restrictions on certain draftees (or volunteers) headed for certain positions in the armed forces.

    • Erdogan marries Turkish ultranationalist salute with that of Muslim Brotherhood
    • The New York Times proves that Thomas Friedman was so wrong about Saudi Arabia
    • Russian to Judgement

      The same people who assured you that Saddam Hussein had WMD’s now assure you Russian “novochok” nerve agents are being wielded by Vladimir Putin to attack people on British soil. As with the Iraqi WMD dossier, it is essential to comb the evidence very finely. A vital missing word from Theresa May’s statement yesterday was “only”. She did not state that the nerve agent used was manufactured ONLY by Russia. She rather stated this group of nerve agents had been “developed by” Russia. Antibiotics were first developed by a Scotsman, but that is not evidence that all antibiotics are today administered by Scots.

      The “novochok” group of nerve agents – a very loose term simply for a collection of new nerve agents the Soviet Union were developing fifty years ago – will almost certainly have been analysed and reproduced by Porton Down. That is entirely what Porton Down is there for. It used to make chemical and biological weapons as weapons, and today it still does make them in small quantities in order to research defences and antidotes. After the fall of the Soviet Union Russian chemists made a lot of information available on these nerve agents. And one country which has always manufactured very similar persistent nerve agents is Israel. This Foreign Policy magazine (a very establishment US publication) article on Israel‘s chemical and biological weapon capability is very interesting indeed. I will return to Israel later in this article.

      Incidentally, novachok is not a specific substance but a class of new nerve agents. Sources agree they were designed to be persistent, and of an order of magnitude stronger than sarin or VX. That is rather hard to square with the fact that thankfully nobody has died and those possibly in contact just have to wash their clothes.

    • The Strange Case of the Russian Spy Poisoning

      The suspected nerve agent attack upon former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, which also affected his daughter in the English city of Salisbury last Sunday, has given rise to too much speculation, too much hysteria, and too little analysis or insight. It has provided ammunition for the Russophobic Western media to make accusations that it was another example of Russia in general and Vladimir Putin in particular disposing of a supposed enemy of the Kremlin.

    • Republicans Want to Look at Gun Violence in Movies? OK, Let’s Look

      A ticket to a PG-13 movie can be sold to anyone over 13, while an R rating requires viewers under 17 to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. The PG-13 rating (by far the most lucrative one the MPAA dishes out) was invented in 1984 when Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom didn’t seem quite violent enough for an R rating, but still featured a guy’s heart being torn out of his chest. In director Stephen Spielberg’s words, it was a way to put “a little hot sauce” on a PG rating, while still allowing children to watch.

      Thirty years later, a study found that gun violence in PG-13 movies had tripled, and today there is more gun violence in PG-13 movies than R-rated ones. So according to the MPAA, showing someone gleefully firing a weapon is fine for children, but showing what happens when bullets strike a person is not.

      Hollywood’s penchant for sensationalizing violence is an old, tired argument. You can find studies and anecdotal evidence both that it’s poisoning our children, and that it’s almost entirely harmless. But while people fret over that controversy, they ignore the fact that most people get their education on how guns work from on-screen violence, and movies (and TV) mislead their audience on how useful — not to mention easy to use — firearms are.

    • Russia warns UK of ‘consequences’ of cyber strike after Skripal poisoning

      The Russian Embassy has responded to speculation the UK will launch a retaliatory attack.


      If there is no credible response from the Kremlin, Mrs May has pledged to set out a “full range” of measures to be taken in response.

      The Government has not publicly disclosed the options under consideration but reports on Tuesday suggested one possibility was a cyber counter-attack.

      Responding to the speculation, the Russian Embassy in the UK said: “Statements by a number of MPs, ‘Whitehall sources’ and ‘experts’ regarding a possible ‘deployment’ of ‘offensive cyber-capabilities’ cause serious concern.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Xiaxue finds an admirer in WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after she trolls “virtue-signalling” American activist

      Singaporean blogger and YouTuber Xiaxue has drawn appreciation from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange after a tweet of hers went viral.

      Interestingly, the tweet that garnered praise from Assange is about 10 months old. In May 2017, American author and activist Dan Arel was asked to provide proof for accusing someone for being a rapist. In response, he tweeted that believed victims of rape.

    • Lawyer for Assange Leaves Miller & Chevalier as Mueller Probe Heats Up

      Barry Pollack, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s Washington, D.C.-based attorney, has left Miller & Chevalier for a smaller boutique law firm and is representing an unnamed client involved in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

      “I am representing someone with respect to the Mueller probe,” said Pollack, who is now a partner at Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner, & Sauber. “The representation is not public at this point,” he said.

      Pollack said Assange, whose organization in 2016 released troves of Democratic Party emails stolen by Russian hackers, has not been contacted by Mueller’s office thus far. Pollack said he is representing Assange only in relation to an ongoing criminal investigation in the Eastern District of Virginia. He gave no hints as to who he was representing in connection with Mueller’s investigation.

    • Chelsea Manning on Sharing Military Documents With Wikileaks: ‘It Wasn’t a Mistake’

      Speaking at the SXSW Conference Tuesday morning, the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst said she had no regrets about her “data dump” of hundreds of thousands of classified military documents with WikiLeaks in 2010.

      “I made a decision to do something and I made that decision and I’m owning that decision. When it comes to something like that it’s not about second-guessing it or regretting it,” Manning told the audience in Austin, Tex.

    • Chelsea Manning On Life After Prison, Advocacy, And Coder Ethics — SXSW

      Chelsea Manning, the former Army intelligence analyst and whistleblower who was convicted of leaking classified information, talked about re-entering civilian life after spending seven years in federal prison.

  • Finance

    • Central Banks Urged to Study Digital Currency Risks and Rewards

      The BIS — the club of the world’s largest central banks — said in a report on Monday that the new form of money could one day be issued by policy makers for tasks such as settling payments among financial institutions. At the same time, it warned that digital coins might destabilize traditional lenders if offered widely to the general public.

    • Magic Leap Raises $461 Million From Saudis

      Magic Leap announced Wednesday that it had raised $461 million, mostly from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign investment arm. The company described the investment as the second closing of a round that totaled $963 million. The first part, announced in October, was led by Temasek Holdings Pte., Singapore’s state-owned investment company.

      Magic Leap has raised more than $2.3 billion to date, and has been valued at above $6 billion. Google, Alibaba and Morgan Stanley are already investors.

    • Dropbox files $7 billion IPO

      The cloud storage company Dropbox on Monday filed to issue public stock at a valuation of roughly $7 billion, well below its valuation during its last public offering several years ago.

    • Zuckerberg’s Money Manager Bets on Bone-Broth Company
    • Prediction that $45 billion added to GDP from digital transformation

      The optimism about digital transformation and economic growth comes from research – Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific – undertaken by Microsoft in partnership with IDC Asia/Pacific with 1,560 global business decision makers, including 100 in Australia.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Tanzania: Electoral Processes Questioned
    • The Smallness of Mark Zuckerberg And why he should not be trusted as the world’s custodian of information

      People who seek high office should have a long record of honesty, good judgment, and good character. That should not be too much to ask, but it disqualifies a lot of people, Mark Zuckerberg among them.

    • If The US Government Can’t Figure Out Who’s A Russian Troll, Why Should It Expect Internet Companies To Do So?

      A few weeks back, following the DOJ’s indictment of various Russians for interfering in the US election, we noted that the indictment showed just how silly it was to blame various internet platforms for not magically stopping these Russians because in many cases, they bent over backwards to appear to be regular, everyday Americans. And now, with pressure coming from elected officials to regulate internet platforms if they somehow fail to catch Russian bots, it seems worth pointing out the flip side of the “why couldn’t internet companies catch these guys” question: which is why couldn’t the government?

    • Trump’s “fake news” smear is starting to have dangerous consequences
    • Guy Verhofstadt tells Juncker to ‘sort out’ Selmayrgate

      The scandal over the flash promotion of Martin Selmayr to the Commission’s most powerful civil service post is “bad for Europe and bad for the European Commission,” leading liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt told MEPs.

      Addressing a debate at the Parliament’s plenary session on Brexit, the former Belgian prime minister directed his opening remarks to Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who had opened the session.

      “Your former head of cabinet yesterday has done something that nobody has done ever before here in this house: to unite the whole parliament, the left and the right,” said Verhofstadt, as Selmayr glowered at him from his position seated behind his former boss. “Its’a not a joke, you have to sort it out,” he added.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Schools grapple with how to accommodate student activism
    • The antiquarian assault on press freedom

      Today, the great and the good are going down much the same road when faced with speech they would prefer to suppress. Old-fashioned hair-trigger libel actions are one technique: witness Jeremy Corbyn seriously threatening to sue fellow politician Ben Bradley for libel last month over unguarded comments. But the last few years have also seen another insidious piece of legal antiquarianism being put into operation – and one concerned directly with the publication of the truth.

    • We Made A Documentary Exposing The ‘Israel Lobby.’ Why Hasn’t It Run?

      You never know who you’re going to spot at the Doha Four Seasons in Qatar. So I was only somewhat surprised when I found myself standing next to Harvard law Professor Alan Dershowitz in the omelet line last Saturday.

      It was a fortuitous meeting. Dershowitz had recently played a small role in an episode that was threatening the reputation of my long-time employer, Al Jazeera. So naturally, I leapt at the opportunity to defend it.

      The circumstances of the threat were these: In 2016, the award-winning Investigative Unit I directed sent an undercover reporter to look into how Israel wields influence in America through the pro-Israel American community. But when some right wing American supporters of Israel found out about the documentary, there was a massive backlash. It was even labeled as anti-Semitic in a spate of articles.

    • Dear Leader McConnell: Don’t pass FOSTA

      We have heard that the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA, H.R. 1865) may be on the U.S. Senate floor this week for a final vote. We are concerned that the U.S. Senate appears to be rushing to pass a seriously flawed bill without considering the impact it will have on Internet users and free speech.

    • Iowa Town Threatens Critical Resident With A Lawsuit, Gets Sued By The ACLU Instead

      A small town in Iowa has decided one of its residents has too much First Amendment. Boldly marching forward in the face of mild criticism, Sibley’s government had its lawyer threaten a local man with a lawsuit if he didn’t take down or alter his website that criticized the town government for its repeated failure to address a serious problem in the town.

      Sibley has less than 3,000 residents but it is the home to a large animal byproduct processing plant. Iowa Drying and Processing went into operation five years ago. Unaffectionately nicknamed the “Blood Plant,” IDP’s operations were the subject of complaints due to the pervasive foul odor emanating from it.

      Local programmer Jeremy Harms set up a website advising people to stay away from Sibley after repeated calls for action were met with a lot of doing nothing by city politicians. His website previously answered the question about relocating to Sibley with “No.” Thanks to the city’s legal threats, the answer has been upgraded to “Maybe.” In addition to pulling his hard “no,” Sibley also amended his original post to reflect the few positives the town has.

    • Trump’s Lawyers Apparently Unfamiliar With Streisand Effect Or 1st Amendment’s Limits On Prior Restraint

      Over this past weekend, it was revealed that (1) the adult film actress Stormy Daniels (real name: Stephanie Clifford), who has claimed she had an affair with Donald Trump and then was given $130,000 to stay silent about it, is scheduled to appear on 60 Minutes next weekend and (2) President Trump’s lawyers are considering going to court to block CBS from airing it. This is silly, dumb and not actually allowed by the law.

    • SA’s internet censorship bill will break media, marketing

      Nearly half of our 400 MPs were too apathetic to pitch up for one of the most-significant debates seen by Parliament in recent years. And, of the 224 elected representatives who deigned to vote, a staggering 189 supported a bill that is so preposterous it’s almost comedic.

      The Film and Publications Amendment Bill gives the erstwhile Film and Publications Board the right to regulate online content. Ostensibly, the bill is designed to protect children from being exposed to disturbing content. Laudably, it aims to curb revenge porn and hate speech while also addressing the scourge of fake news.

    • Sobchak proposes to repeal ‘censorship’ law

      In the course of the pre-election debate presidential hopeful Kseniya Sobchak proposed to repeal Article 282 of the Criminal Code on Incitement of Hatred or Enmity. She stated this at the debates on Channel One.

      “In our program, as you know, we are for the abolition of Article 282, because this article, which was allegedly made to fight extremists, is used against people who like the posts of dissenters in Russia… Just like Yarovaya’s package, which enables all special services to monitor each of us,” – RIA Novosti quotes her words.

      “Yarovaya’s package will be used in the business interests of thievish officials, so I am in favor of repealing Article 282, and of disembodying the department – the so-called E, which ostensibly fights extremists, but in fact it fights dissenters,” added Sobchak.

    • Trump admin sets new record for censorship of federal files

      The federal government denied more public records requests in 2017 than at any other point in the past decade, according to an analysis by the AP. Out of 823,222 requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act last year, the government censored or failed to provide records in 78% of cases claiming that it could either not find the requested files or that releasing the information would be illegal under U.S. law.

    • Age Verification pushed back

      The deadline for the implementation of the Government’s potentially disastrous Age Verification scheme has officially been pushed back to ‘before the end of the year’.

    • Reporter’s viral eye-roll causes trouble in China
    • An Epic Eye Roll Enthralls China
    • This Video Of A Chinese Reporter’s Eye Roll Made Her An Instant Hero On The Internet
    • Minitrue: Do Not Hype Two Sessions Reporter’s Eyeroll
    • The student censors in anti-fascist clothing

      Student politics reached a new low this month, when Yaron Brook, an American-Israeli writer, and Carl Benjamin, a popular political YouTuber, were prevented from speaking to the Libertarian Society at King’s College London by a group of activists who claimed Brook and Benjamin were ‘fascists’ and ‘white supremacists’.

      Wearing masks, the activists punched their way through security, hospitalising one guard, before setting off smoke bombs, fire alarms and thundering through the room where the event was taking place, seeking to intimidate speakers, students and staff. From what we know, the protagonists were from outside King’s, but their stunt was organised with the complicity of certain King’s students. This was clear given that seven left-wing student societies had organised a protest the day before the Libertarian Society talk, with the stated aim of keeping the speakers ‘off campus’. It seems that students were once again successful in No Platforming speakers and shutting down an event designed to be a forum for debate and discussion.

    • The resurgence of class struggle and the fight against Internet censorship

      The American government, Internet companies and capitalist states around the world are engaged in an aggressive campaign to censor the Internet, under the guise of combating “fake news” and “Russian meddling.” The real aim is to suppress and criminalize the growth of opposition in the working class to austerity, war and social inequality.

      On Sunday, April 22, the World Socialist Web Site, Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) are holding a public conference in Detroit, Michigan to mobilize the working class against Internet censorship.

    • The Marketplace of Ideas: Assaulting the First Amendment

      Poetry of freedom, this verse has safeguarded the chase of truth in ways that no military might can provide or preserve be it in the United States or elsewhere.

      Almost 250 years later, we are, again, witness to an evident onslaught upon the core of our collective freedom… the marketplace of ideas.


      Under the First Amendment, people may elect to embrace or promote “radical” anti-American, anti-Israeli or even anti-Semitic commentary or opinion; it is a choice left to them and them alone. Neither the government nor any of its minions have the constitutional authority to limit access to information not in itself otherwise prohibited by law.

      The marketplace must be open to all ideas – even false ideas. In an open marketplace ideas must “clash” and “grapple;” they must stand up to assault and prove their worthiness. Truth cannot be pampered, too delicate to be examined – truth must be tested, forged in the furnace of doubt and questioning.

      And, where, as here, government seeks to reprimand Al Jazeera for ensuring our collective right to the widest diversity of information and opinion it is a punishment that penalizes all.

    • Russia Censors News Reports About Anti-Putin Ice Graffiti, Leaving Its Contents Entirely Up To Our Collective Imagination

      Readers here will be familiar with the Streisand Effect, by which a topic or information becomes wildly viral due to the very attempts at censoring it. The idea is that by trying to keep Subject X out of the news, the public suddenly is far more exposed to Subject X as a result of news coverage of the cover-up. This story slightly deviates from the Streisand Effect formula, but only in the most hilarious way.

      People should know by now that Vladimir Putin is a strong-arm “President” that runs the country like a fiefdom. As such, most if not all wings of his government serve him personally far more directly than they do his constituents. Evidence of this is practically everywhere, especially in how his government and non-government organizations in Russia react to his political opponents. Typically, his political rivals are jailed, silenced, or otherwise tamped down viciously in terms of how much exposure they can get to challenge his political position. A recent example of this concerns presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, whose supporters painted the ice on a frozen river in St. Petersburg with the mildest anti-Putin slogan, reading “Against Putin.” As a result, Roskomnadzor, the government agency featured in our pages for its censorship of websites in the name of literally anything it can dream up, ordered news groups to censor the contents of the message-on-ice in any reporting on the incident.

    • Twitter’s Attempt To Clean Up Spammers Meant That People Sarcastically Tweeting ‘Kill Me’ Were Suspended

      Just recently, Senator Amy Klobuchar suggested that the government should start fining social media platforms that don’t remove bots fast enough. We’ve pointed out how silly and counterproductive (not to mention unconstitutional) this likely would be. However, every time we see people demanding that these platforms better moderate their content, we end up with examples of why perhaps we really don’t want those companies to be making these kinds of decisions.

      You may have heard that, over the weekend, Twitter started its latest sweep of accounts to shutdown. Much of the focus was on so-called Tweetdeckers, which were basically a network of teens using Tweetdeck software to retweet accounts for money. In particular, it was widely reported that a bunch of accounts known for copying (without attribution) the marginally funny tweets of others and then paying “Tweetdeckers” for mass promotion. These accounts were shutdown en masse over the weekend.

    • New project pairs journalists with musicians to fight censorship

      A new project from Reporters Without Borders Germany is using a loophole in certain nations’ censorship laws to deliver news, Pitchfork reports. The Uncensored Playlist pairs journalists with local musicians in China, Egypt, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam to write songs which convey news stories that would otherwise be censored beyond meaning. The songs are then uploaded on Spotify, Deezer, and Apple Music, with the names of the artists and reporters protected in their home countries.

    • New Journalism Project Spreads Censored News Through Music Streaming Services

      The Uncensored Playlist is a new project from Reporters Without Borders Germany that uses music streaming services to spread censored news stories around the world. It pairs local journalists with local musicians in China, Egypt, Thailand, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam to write songs that convey the news, and then releases the songs via Spotify, Deezer, and Apple Music. All of the songs have been recorded in English as well as the individual countries’ languages. For the songs’ international release, they are credited to the journalists that wrote them. However, to protect the writers and to avoid censorship laws, for their release within their original countries, they are credited to aliases and feature alternate titles.

    • “Indecent” Brings Issues of Censorship and Anti-Semitism Center Stage

      We don’t talk nearly enough about how censorship is often the first step towards total fascism and tyranny, and this show covers that topic expertly with this based-on-a-true-story rooted in that very subject. We also see America’s complacency in the horrors that happen in the rest of the world, as it’s the USA where the actors in God of Vengeance are tried in court. This is a very unusual and necessary look at world history, as our history books like to paint us as the heroes in this particular series of events. In Indecent we see the cast of characters go from eager and excited about a show to victims of actual genocide in roughly ninety minutes, and it is a powerful and important message about how quickly things spiral out of control and who’s to blame when they do. While I would like to see more from the plethora of Jewish stories available to us, this show’s focus on what leads to things like the Holocaust and its original point of view regarding those events is still refreshing. While not perfect, this show leaves us with plenty to chew on and mull over for weeks after the fact. That’s art, warts and all, and I’m grateful to see The Guthrie taking on such powerful work.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Government ‘unlawfully delegated’ bulk data powers to GCHQ, court hears

      Privacy International urges Britain’s most secret court, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, to rule that the government illegally collected surveillance data from internet and phone companies until at least September 2017

    • Leaked Tools Show How NSA Pulls Back from Target Computers If They’re Already Hacked by Other Nations

      An interesting research published this month reveals how the National Security Agency (NSA) quickly pulls back from its target machines if it spots any other malware dropped by threat groups. An array of tools called Territorial Dispute was apparently dropped by the Shadow Brokers along with the infamous EternalBlue exploit, however, it didn’t receive much attention due to its non-offensive nature.

    • EFF and 23 Groups Tell Congress to Oppose the CLOUD Act

      EFF and 23 other civil liberties organizations sent a letter to Congress urging Members and Senators to oppose the CLOUD Act and any efforts to attach it to other legislation.

      The CLOUD Act (S. 2383 and H.R. 4943) is a dangerous bill that would tear away global privacy protections by allowing police in the United States and abroad to grab cross-border data without following the privacy rules of where the data is stored. Currently, law enforcement requests for cross-border data often use a legal system called the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties, or MLATs. This system ensures that, for example, should a foreign government wish to seize communications stored in the United States, that data is properly secured by the Fourth Amendment requirement for a search warrant.

      The other groups signing the new coalition letter against the CLOUD Act are Access Now, Advocacy for Principled Action in Government, American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), Campaign for Liberty, Center for Democracy & Technology, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Constitutional Alliance, Defending Rights & Dissent, Demand Progress Action, Equality California, Free Press Action Fund, Government Accountability Project, Government Information Watch, Human Rights Watch, Liberty Coalition, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, National Black Justice Coalition, New America’s Open Technology Institute, OpenMedia, People For the American Way, and Restore The Fourth.

    • James Clapper avoids charges for ‘clearly erroneous’ surveillance testimony

      Former intelligence chief James Clapper is poised to avoid charges for allegedly lying to Congress after five years of apparent inaction by the Justice Department.

      Clapper, director of national intelligence from 2010 to 2017, admitted giving “clearly erroneous” testimony about mass surveillance in March 2013, and offered differing explanations for why.

      Two criminal statutes that cover lying to Congress have five-year statutes of limitations, establishing a Monday deadline to charge Clapper, who in retirement has emerged as a leading critic of President Trump.

      The under-oath untruth was exposed by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who sparked national debate on surveillance policy with leaks to the press.

      Many members of Congress, mostly Republicans supportive of new limits on electronic surveillance, called for Clapper to be prosecuted as the deadline neared, saying unpunished perjury jeopardizes the ability of Congress to perform oversight.

      “He admitted to lying to Congress and was unremorseful and flippant about it,” Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., told the Washington Examiner. “The integrity of our federal government is at stake because his behavior sets the standard for the entire intelligence community.”

    • RedisWannaMine Unveiled: New Cryptojacking Attack Powered by Redis and NSA Exploits

      Recently cryptojacking attacks have been spreading like wildfire. At Imperva we have witnessed it firsthand and even concluded that these attacks hold roughly 90% of all remote code execution attacks in web applications.

      Having said that, all of the attacks we have seen so far, were somewhat limited in their complexity and capability. The attacks contained malicious code that downloaded a cryptominer executable file and ran it with a basic evasion technique or none at all.

      This week we saw a new generation of cryptojacking attacks aimed at both database servers and application servers. We dubbed one of these attacks RedisWannaMine.

    • NSA Retreats From Targeted PCs If They’re Already Infected by Other APT Malware

      Hacking tools leaked last year and believed to belong to the US National Security Agency (NSA) contain an utility for detecting the presence of malware developed by other cyber-espionage groups.

      This utility, going by the codename of “Territorial Dispute,” is meant to alert NSA operators about the presence of other APT hacking groups on a compromised computer and allows an NSA operator to retreat from an infected machine and avoid further exposure of NSA hacking tools and operations to other nation-state attackers.

    • Aadhaar hearings: Day 15 saw arguments on Aadhaar as a money bill, interim orders for NEET registrations were also passed

      This was compared to the use of Aadhaar today. It was argued that today, it was not possible for an individual to survive without Aadhaar, and it was needed from ‘birth to death’. It was further argued that worldwide, there was a turn towards limiting the use of data while here, the opposite was happening.

      In view of this, it was argued that Section 57 allowing the use of Aadhaar for ‘any purpose’ could not be interpreted to mean use for ‘all purposes’. The Bench, here, also questioned if there was any compelling state interest in authorising private parties to mandate Aadhaar. Further, previous arguments on Section 57 as an excessive delegation of essential functions were reiterated.

    • How to Make a Clean Break With the Clingiest Social Networks

      [...] Wanting to delete your account is one thing, but actually being able to hit the delete button is another story. Social media outlets make money off of you and your information, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they don’t want to let you go. Because of this, the biggest networks have made it overly complicated to delete your account. But if you are set on getting rid of them, here’s what you’ll have to do.

    • World Sticks to Cash as Sweden Heads Alone Into Cashless Future

      That resurgence appears to be driven by so-called store-of-value motives (reflecting lower opportunity cost of holding cash) rather than by payment needs, BIS said. That means as interest rates fall — and even go negative some places — there is more incentive to hold cash.

    • US NTIA Boss On Whois Debate: ‘Keep Data Open For IP Rightsholders, Others’

      US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information David Redl today weighed in on the debate over changes to the storage and public display of personal information of domain name registrants at the meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Border Control Enthusiast Banned From Crossing UK Border

      Local newspaper Luton Today reports that Southern was denied entry to the UK after she was photographed in the Bedfordshire town displaying inflammatory posters that stated “Allah is a gay god.”

    • #DearNonNatives: What Native Americans Want Non-Natives To Know
    • Nebraska Is Illegally Obtaining and Storing Execution Drugs in Defiance of Federal Law

      The state has operated outside the law using an improper license to purchase and store lethal injection drugs.

      For years, the state of Nebraska has had a troubled history of cutting corners in its zealous pursuit of lethal-injection drugs to keep its death penalty program alive. In November, the state announced that it would use an experimental drug cocktail not previously used in the United States to carry out its next execution. What the state didn’t reveal, however, is that it was violating federal law when acquiring the ingredients for the lethal cocktail.

      In a complaint filed today by the ACLU of Nebraska with the Drug Enforcement Administration, the ACLU has shown that the state of Nebraska is playing fast and loose with DEA registrations in order to covertly obtain and store the drugs it intends to use for executing prisoners. The DEA should seize the drugs Nebraska has unlawfully obtained before they can be used in an execution.

      As the complaint shows, a person or entity, including government agencies, needs a DEA registration to import a controlled substance. Federal law also requires those that handle a controlled substance to have a DEA registration particular to their authorized usage. These laws apply to the Nebraska Department of Corrections and to the Nebraska State Penitentiary (NSP), where the state carries out executions. But both institutions are ignoring the law in order to get the execution drugs they need to carry out the death penalty.

    • The Trump Administration’s Campaign to Weaken Civil Service Ramps Up at the VA

      Last June, President Donald Trump fulfilled a campaign promise by signing a bipartisan bill to make it easier to fire employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The law, a rare rollback of the federal government’s strict civil-service job protections, was intended as a much-needed fix for an organization widely perceived as broken. “VA accountability is essential to making sure that our veterans are treated with the respect they have so richly earned through their blood, sweat and tears,” Trump said that day. “Those entrusted with the sacred duty of serving our veterans will be held accountable for the care they provide.”

      At the time, proponents of the bill repeatedly emphasized that it would hold everyone — especially top officials — accountable: “senior executives,” stressed Senate Veterans Committee chair Johnny Isakson; “medical directors,” specified Trump; anyone who “undermined trust” in the VA, according to Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. Shulkin advocated for the measure, called the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, by highlighting a case in which the agency had to wait 30 days to fire a worker caught watching porn with a patient.

    • Schools Should Use Walkouts in Protest of Gun Violence as a Teaching Moment

      A disciplinary response to the walkout is a disservice to young people and a missed educational opportunity.

      For 17 minutes on March 14, students and their supporters across the country are planning to walk out of their schools, honoring the victims of the Parkland school shooting and calling for Congress to pass meaningful gun regulation. Unfortunately, some schools view this act as a disruption and are threatening to discipline students who participate. A disciplinary response is a disservice to young people and a missed educational opportunity.

      Too often, adults discipline students for expressing their opinions or simply being themselves. LGBTQ students have been sent home for expressing their sexual orientation, and girls have been disciplined when they challenge gendered uniform policies. Students of color are more likely than their white classmates to be disciplined, especially for subjective offenses like excessive noise. A hairstyle, a hoodie, or even a creative school science project can be seen as cause for disciplining Black and brown students. Punishment has even been invoked against students who attempt to speak up when they see abuse. That’s what happened to a high school student in Columbia, South Carolina, who was charged with “disturbing schools” after daring to speak up against a police officer’s violent mistreatment of a classmate.

    • The Government’s Case Against California’s ‘Sanctuary’ Policies Is on Weak Legal Ground

      Under the 10th Amendment, the federal government cannot force states or localities to participate in a federal program.

      Last week, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the latest move in this administration’s increasingly desperate attempts to bully states and localities into colluding with its draconian detention and deportation agenda. Following a brief aside to blame all immigrants for violent crime, homicides, and opioid overdose deaths, he told a meeting of the California Peace Officers’ Association that the Justice Department had just filed a major lawsuit against the state of California.

      The lawsuit challenges three state laws passed and signed into law in 2017: AB 450, the Immigrant Worker Protection Act; AB 103, a detention statute that was part of an omnibus bill; and SB 54, the California Values Act. The DOJ claims that these three laws “have the purpose and effect of making it more difficult for federal immigration officers to carry out their responsibilities in California.” In fact, these laws simply ensure that state actors comply with the U.S. Constitution and that local law enforcement’s limited resources are not co-opted for federal immigration enforcement purposes except in certain circumstances.

      AB 103 expands state oversight of California’s local detention facilities when they hold people under contracts with ICE because federal oversight of the ICE detention system is woefully inadequate. And AB 450 reinforces the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement by requiring employers to see a judicial warrant from ICE before they allow ICE to enter a non-public part of a workplace. The Sessions’ lawsuit details the federal government’s objections to these attempts to limit the harm caused by the deportation force that President Trump has unleashed.

    • No Money to Make Bail or Pay for a Lawyer? Too Bad, Say Officials in Glynn County, Georgia

      ACLU’s lawsuit says it’s unconstitutional to have one pretrial system for the wealthy and another for the poor.

      Margery Mock is 28 years old and the mother to an 8-year-old girl. She is currently unemployed and battling homelessness, having spent one month in a hotel and several nights in her storage unit, where all of her belongings are kept. She was recently arrested on an alleged criminal trespassing charge from trying to visit a relative at a motel and incarcerated on a $1,256 bond that she can’t afford.

      Mock is a victim of Glynn County, Georgia’s wealth-based pretrial system. The county allows those with money to walk free while they await trial, while those who can’t make bail remain locked up. It also fails to provide people who can’t afford to pay for a lawyer with a public defender to argue for their release.

      Both practices are illegal. The constitutional guarantees of equal protection and due process prohibit people from being jailed simply because they cannot afford a monetary payment. The Sixth Amendment guarantees people accused of crimes will be appointed lawyers to defend them if they cannot afford to hire a private lawyer.

    • Pakistan Court Declares Mobile Data Disconnections By The Government Illegal

      In countries that put far less an emphasis on expanding human rights and personal liberty, it’s become somewhat common for them to use strong-arm tactics to stifle dissent. One aspect of that is often times the suspension or shutdown of mobile networks, the theory being that the messaging and social media apps dissenters use on their phones allow them to organize far better than they otherwise could and therefore cause more trouble. Frankly, this has become something more expected out of Middle East authoritarian regimes than in other places, but they certainly do not have a monopoly on this practice.

      However, there are governments with the ability to reverse course and go back in the right direction. One Pakistani court in Islamabad recently ruled that government shutdown of mobile networks, even if done under some claims for national security, are illegal. The news comes via a translation of a bytesforall.pk report. As a heads up, you will notice that the translation is imperfect.

    • “No Right Without a Remedy”: Why NSA Whistleblower Protections Are Lacking

      Earlier this month Stephen M. Kohn, executive director of the National Whistleblower Center, attended a roundtable discussion with the National Security Agency (NSA) Inspector General (IG) Robert Storch. The meeting served as an avenue for the IG to hear comments on the NSA’s whistleblower program.

      In attendance was Andrew Snowdon, NSA whistleblower coordinator and Office of the Inspector General (OIG) counsel, as well as representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union, Project on Government Oversight, and Government Accountability Project, among others.

      When explaining his commitment to strengthening whistleblower protections in the NSA, the IG stated, “there is no right without a remedy.”

    • Reality Winner: The Cost of Mounting a Defense Arguing the Government Overclassifies

      This is the no-win situation Winner is in, trying to challenge her conviction after having been denied bail. Because of the way we deal with classified information, she’ll have served a likely full sentence by the time she gets to trial.

      It still may be worth it. After all, if she wins at trial, she’ll avoid a record as a felon.

    • Cop Hits Woman’s Car At 94 MPH, Killing Her Infant. Police Arrest Woman For Negligent Homicide.

      This isn’t apples-to-apples (the court making this declaration was in Ohio, not Louisiana, where this accident took place) but it’s a good rule of thumb. If someone is driving 44 mph over the speed limit, they’ve effectively forfeited their right-of-way status. A left turn taken in front of a speeding officer should give the officer zero preferential treatment in the eyes of the law. The officer should be 100% culpable for the damage and loss of life. Arresting a mother who lost her infant to an officer’s reckless actions is needlessly cruel and serves zero deterrent purpose. Her daughter can’t be killed again.

      The way the Baton Rouge PD is handling this ensures Officer Manuel’s eventual conviction will also have zero deterrent value. It shows officers the PD is willing to arrest victims of their unlawful actions and give them all the time they want — with pay! — to heal up before they’re forced to confront the results of their recklessness. If the DA is smart, the charges against the mother will vanish and the cop will be rung up for his negligent actions.

    • Off-duty Baton Rouge police officer going 94 mph in crash that killed 1-year-old baby, police say

      A Baton Rouge police officer was arrested Friday on a count of negligent homicide, accused of going 94 mph in a Corvette when he caused an off-duty crash on Airline Highway that killed an infant and injured six others.

      The officer, Christopher Manuel, 28, was driving north in a 2007 Chevrolet Corvette shortly after 8 p.m. Oct. 12 on Airline Highway when it struck a Nissan at the intersection at Florline Boulevard that was occupied by four adults and three children.

    • Matthew Keys, now freed from prison, is ready to get back to journalism

      Speaking to Ars by phone last Thursday from a halfway house in California, Keys underscored three basic points about his case. The first, he said, is that it’s all said and done. There will be no further appeal. Secondly, he maintains he did not commit the crime for which he was convicted. Finally, Keys is now ready to write a new chapter of his life: one where he can get back to doing meaningful, workaday journalism.

    • New CIA Director Nominee: When There’s No Justice For Torture

      President Donald Trump nominated CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to succeed Mike Pompeo as director of the agency. Haspel was briefly in charge of a black site prison and helped destroy evidence to cover up torture.

      The possible promotion is but another consequence of the failure and refusal among President Barack Obama’s administration and the political establishment to meaningfully hold officials accountable for torture.

      Trump made the announcement as part of a tweet that indicated CIA Director Mike Pompeo was nominated to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Tillerson was effectively fired.

      Haspel would not only be the first woman to run the CIA. She would also be the first woman, who helped agency officials conceal evidence of torture and abuse against detainees in the “war on terrorism,” to serve as a CIA director.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC must defend net neutrality repeal in court against dozens of litigants

      Twelve lawsuits filed against the Federal Communications Commission over its net neutrality repeal have been consolidated into one suit that will be heard at a federal appeals court in California.

      The 12 lawsuits were filed by more than three dozen entities, including state attorneys general, consumer advocacy groups, and tech companies.

    • Here’s that Scientology TV network you didn’t ask for
    • Telecom Lobbyists Whine About State Net Neutrality Efforts They Helped Create

      So one, most of the state-level rules closely mirror the same rules the FCC is trying to eliminate, so most of them are fairly uniform. It’s also worth pointing out that these companies already have to navigate a vast array of regulations governing phone, cable and broadband service — rules that can often vary town by town. In other words, these net neutrality efforts aren’t as uncommon, discordant and fractured as the telecom industry might have you believe.

      Granted having disparate state-level protections may in some ways be cumbersome, but that’s again something ISPs like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast should have thought a little harder about before killing extremely popular and modest (by international standards) federal protections. Large ISP lobbyists created this mess and, unsurprisingly, they’re simply refusing to own it.

      US Telecom is also being disingenuous in claiming to want “permanent and sustainable rules” via new legislation. As we’ve noted several times, what they really want is a net neutrality law they know they’ll write. One that prohibits ISPs from doing things they never intended to do (like blocking websites entirely), while carving out vast loopholes allowing anti-competitive behavior on numerous other fronts (zero rating, interconnection). The real goal: pass flimsy legislation that pre-empts tougher state rules, or future efforts by the FCC or Congress to implement meaningful protections.

    • On 29th Birthday of World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee Voices The Need For Internet Regulation
    • The web is under threat. Join us and fight for it.

      Today, the World Wide Web turns 29. This year marks a milestone in the web’s history: for the first time, we will cross the tipping point when more than half of the world’s population will be online.

      When I share this exciting news with people, I tend to get one of two concerned reactions:

      How do we get the other half of the world connected?
      Are we sure the rest of the world wants to connect to the web we have today?

    • The Importance of Ending the Internet as We Know It
    • Ten Years Later, Cable Industry Finally Realizes More Ads Is Not The Solution To Cord Cutting

      For years we’ve noted how the traditional cable TV industry is slowly-but-surely bleeding customers tired of paying an arm and a leg for bloated bundles of often terrible programming. And for just as long we’ve documented how far too many cable and broadcast executives are hell bent on doubling down on all of the bad behaviors that cause these defections in the first place. That has ranged from knee jerk price hikes in the face of growing streaming competition, to efforts to stuff more ads into every viewing hour, whether by editing down programs or speeding them up to ensure maximum commercial load.

      The ugly truth most cable and broadcasting executives can’t face is that the era of the sacred cable TV cash cow is over. Television simply isn’t going to be as profitable in the wake of real competition and the more flexible, cheaper pay TV alternatives that competition is providing. And while countless industry executives still somehow think this is a fad they can wait out, there’s growing evidence that at least a few industry executives are finally getting the message.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Federal Judge Says Business Names Provided By Reviewers At A Review Site Are Contributory Trademark Infringement

        Users of the site submitted reviews of companies whose names contained the word “reliable.” The plaintiff claims some of the company names are infringing. The plaintiff, illogically, sues the third party host of user reviews of companies whose names may be infringing on the plaintiff’s trademark. This is where the suit gets tossed because the alleged infringement isn’t taking place at TransportReviews. It’s taking place at all of the businesses allegedly misusing a registered mark.

        But the suit doesn’t get tossed. Instead, the judge says it can continue. The judge actually says user reviews hosted at a review site of businesses whose names might be infringing is the review site’s problem. The only intelligible part of the opinion states there’s no direct infringement. These were only names returned in search results, all of which were input by third party users. The website did not use the plaintiff’s mark to identify its own goods or services. In fact, the site never used the names at all other than to serve up relevant hits for users’ search terms.

        Everything goes sideways after that. The judge decides that because the defendant was notified about this alleged infringement and did not immediately kowtow to a bizarre request directed at completely the wrong party (a middleman hosting third party content that had nothing to do with naming related businesses names that might be infringing), the website can be held responsible for contributory infringement.

    • Copyrights

      • Killing The Golden Goose (Again); How The Copyright Stranglehold Dooms Spotify

        For many, many, many years, we’ve talked about how the legacy entertainment industry will seek to kill the Golden Goose by strangling basically any innovation that is helping it adapt to new innovations. We saw the same pattern over and over and over again. The simple version of it goes like this: the legacy entertainment industry sits around and whines about how awful the internet is because it’s undermining its gatekeeper business model that extracts massive monopoly rents, but does nothing to actually adapt. Eventually, companies come along and innovate and create a service (a) people want that (b) actually is legal and pays the legacy companies lots of money. This should be seen as a win-win for everyone.

        But the legacy companies get jealous of the success of the innovator who did the actual work. They start to overvalue the content and undervalue the innovative service. The short version of this tends to pop up when a legacy entertainment exec says something like “why is innovative company x making so much money when all it’s doing is making use of our content?” Of course, if the service part was so obvious, so easy, and so devoid of value, then the legacy entertainment companies would have done it themselves. But they didn’t. So with the jealousy comes the inevitable demand for more cash from the innovator. And, usually, demands for equity too, which the innovator has basically no ability to resist, because they need to have a “good” relationship with the content companies. But the demands for more (and the jealousy) never go away.

      • U.S. Navy Under Fire in Mass Software Piracy Lawsuit

        German software company Bitmanagement is asking the US Court of Federal Claims for a partial summary judgment against the US Government. According to the software vendor, it’s undisputed that the Navy installed its software on hundreds of thousands of computers without permission, infringing its copyright.

      • Voksi ‘Pirates’ New Serious Sam Game With Permission From Developers

        Best known for his efforts to defeat anti-piracy protection Denuvo, the cracker known as ‘Voksi’ has revealed another string to his bow. After participating in the closed beta of Serious Sam’s Bogus Detour in 2016, he got friendly with the game’s developers. Now, with their permission, he’s giving the game away for free in an effort to boost sales of the action adventure.

Willy Minnoye (EPO) Threatened Staff With Disabilities Said to Have Been Caused by the EPO Work Pressures

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Previously: The Effects of ILO and the EPO on Disability

Willy Minnoye speaks
Must be another 'coincidence'

Summary: Willy Minnoye, or Battistelli’s ‘deputy’ at the EPO until last year, turns out to have misused powers (and immunity) to essentially bully vulnerable staff

RECENT and new (today) tweets chronicle one important case of EPO abuses.


Back in January:

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