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02.13.18

Watch Out for Buzzwords That Are Used to Mask Patents on Software, Even in Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent: Blockchain Becomes the Target Not Only of Financial Institutions With Software Patents But Also Trolls

Older:

  1. Blockchain and Bitcoin Patents Help Demonstrate How Software Patents Get Used by Giants to Crush Emerging Technologies (‘Threats’)
  2. Blockchain Domain Infested With Software Patents, MasterCard Among the Culprits
  3. Financial Giants Will Attempt to Dominate or Control Bitcoin, Blockchain and Other Disruptive Free Software Using Software Patents

Blockchain

Summary: The EPO now exploits EPO budget for advocacy of software patents; It’s troubling as it was traditionally the ‘job’ of the patent ‘industry’ and moreover it reveals an EPO so adrift from law and order that it’s a Bavaria-based pariah acting with impunity, posing a threat to software development in the whole of Europe

THE USPTO has been gradually phasing out software patents (owing to Alice and PTAB for the most part). Software patents in Europe, however, continue to spread because the EPO disregards the law. It’s unaccountable and it exploits immunity.

Proponents of software patents in Europe rear their head again. Working around the rules in an effort to patent software may seem legitimate in their minds. “Thanks to my partner Christof Karl for the useful insights on #softwarepatent claim drafting in today’s lunch seminar at the @bardehleIP office,” one of them said. He then continued: “Software is patentable at the @EPOorg if it provides a technical contribution – but there is little guidance on what is actually technical. Lucky to have Stefan Steinbrener on my team, who compiled an extensive “whitelist” of positive Board of Appeal #softwarepatent decisions!”

“The EPO rarely speaks about blockchain, but it certainly says “AI”, “ICT”, “CII”, “4IR” and so on.”So people who profit from patents and (with few exceptions) never wrote a computer program basically get all giddy about fooling examiners. “Those of us practising in the area WISH the EPO were granting software patents as easily as they are made out to be,” one person wrote in response. Here’s a rebuttal: “Also, how is my software copyright protected against patent claims? It’s not. Intellectual property is being stolen by those who can *pay* for patents. That’s why experts in the field want #swpat to be generally excluded. (Yes, single claims as well.)”

I spent the afternoon having some discussion with them about it. They just don’t get it. They don’t write software.

One of the above took it a step further and suggested pursuing software patents using the blockchain hype. He wrote a whole blog post about buzzwords, berating the appeal boards for not using US-favoured buzzwords. To quote:

To my surprise though, there are no (as in absolutely 0) hits for “blockchain”, i.e. it is not mentioned in any board of appeal decision.

Ok, blockchain is a relatively young technology (at least from a patent law perspective) and appeal cases take a couple of years.

Benjamin Henrion called it “yet another computer program. But the EPO might say again it is “technical”.”

The EPO rarely speaks about blockchain, but it certainly says “AI”, “ICT”, “CII”, “4IR” and so on. Buzzwords are a fool’s gold/game/errand. Henrion added that “those last words are inventions themselves. They were created by the patent community.”

“What they don’t say is that this so-called ‘study’ involved the EPO passing money to the media.”“Fourth Industrial Revolution” (4IR) is a new/latest EPO buzzword. It’s how they avoid speaking about software patents. The EPO used those buzzwords only hours ago (Battistelli will have a whole speech about it in an upcoming IAM conference). The EPO said: “Interested in the Fourth Industrial Revolution? This study looks at the inventions behind the digital transformation…”

What they don’t say is that this so-called ‘study’ involved the EPO passing money to the media. They actively participate in buzzwords promotion and one might say software patents advocacy (at the expense of EPO budget and at risk of corrupting the media).

EPO Opposition to CRISPR Patents Has Wide-Ranging and Far-Reaching Impact, But Mind Not the Lobbyists

Posted in Europe at 12:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Nein!” to patents on humans

Society

Summary: The patent maximalists who strive to bring patent trolls and limitless patents to Europe are losing their battle; this is, for the most part, owing to courageous European examiners who say “no” to patents that aren’t justified

THE EPO‘s Boards of Appeal (maybe even the “enlarged” one) are likely to deal with CRISPR patents some time very soon. That’s because an appeal was reportedly lodged after the Office had shot down a CRISPR patent (even the USPTO does not permit such patents).

“IAM recently began posting copies of its articles in other outlets in an effort to broaden the scope/reach of lobbying.”Jo Pelly and Phil Merchant (Boult Wade Tennant) have just published “G1/16 – Enlarged Board of Appeal confirms EPO practice on undisclosed disclaimers” (a recent decision), but we have not heard anything or seen anything in the news about CRISPR patents at the EPO for about 3 weeks. It’s like a buried subject.

Today, however, IAM brought up the subject again [1, 2]. It said: “There could be CRISPR patent eligibility and licensing troubles ahead, according to biggest-ever study of the global CRISPR patent landscape,” citing this new puff piece which said:

A new study [sic] of the global CRISPR patent landscape released today provides the most detailed insight yet into how entities are seeking to protect their inventions relating to the revolutionary technology.

I already responded to IAM some hours ago. “Sorry, IAM, but patents on CRISPR are verboten,” I told them, “no matter how much you are paid to claim otherwise…”

“As Germany may take several years just to decide on the constitutional complaint, one can say goodbye to the UPC irrespective of what happens in the UK.”As we noted over the weekend, IAM together with Finnegan now lobby for patent maximalism in life sciences. That’s just what it is: lobbying.

IAM recently began posting copies of its articles in other outlets in an effort to broaden the scope/reach of lobbying. Some hours ago IAM pushed this EPO puff piece from “Martin Chatel, Product and Quality Manager and Dennemeyer & Associates in Munich…”

IAM, where Battistelli is a writer right now (soon also a keynote speaker), hasn’t done a good job distancing itself from its EPO connections. Remember that the EPO’s PR firm paid IAM for UPC promotion and speaking of such promotion, Team UPC is obsessing over these things. Alan Johnson (Bristows), for example, is back to publishing misleading ‘articles’ (lobbying) [1, 2]. One of these does not permit comments and the other recently shielded itself from UPC-hostile comments, so don’t expect rebuttals to appear there. The UPC lobby is troubling for all sorts of reasons and it’s now done by just a firm or two (most firms stopped talking about it after the constitutional complaint in Germany).

Speaking of “unitary” effect, Professor Michael Risch wrote about EPO/EPC matters several hours ago, as a case of “country consolidation”. To quote:

Let’s unpack this a little bit. First, for those who were in EPC countries, they continued to file in their home countries and the EPO at the same rate. It’s unclear why – perhaps they wanted the extra chance at protection, or perhaps it was for vanity.

Second, in EPC countries, the rate of invention (measured by patent filings) went up, but only a small amount. But because the rates were pretty low, even a small change was a real change.

Third, foreign patent filing shifted to the EPO almost wholesale. Whereas EPC filers chose both, foreign filers seemed to appreciate the ability to get one patent to cover all countries. The implication I take from this is that EPC filers had some strong reason for that national coverage rather than some worry about overlapping protection if one patent were invalidated.

If one looks at the EPO’s figures, a helluva lot of patents are German and very few are British. That’s not because Brits aren’t inventive but because the EPO is instrumental in all sorts of ways for Germany. As Germany may take several years just to decide on the constitutional complaint, one can say goodbye to the UPC irrespective of what happens in the UK.

Links 13/2/2018: Rise of the Tomb Raider on GNU/Linux, KDE 5.43.0, Qt 5.10.1

Posted in News Roundup at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Annoying Windows 10 sounds could mean deeper problem, or a reason to switch to Linux

      If none of these tips work and you don’t really want to spend a few hundred dollars to fix the machine, I’d suggest switching to a different operating system, like Linux. A version called Ubuntu is more Windows-like and user friendly — and it’s free.

      And a good resource is a Denver company called System 76, which I wrote about a few years ago: “System 76 in Denver shows how easy it is to use Ubuntu Linux computers.” The company sells Linux Ubuntu computers, but last year, it unveiled its own Linux-based operating system called Pop!_os, a trend PCWorld proclaimed “Exciting.”

      Also, if you’re the type of person who prefers hand-holding when it comes to technology, System 76 does offer customer service with their machines — for life.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation: A better marketing plan for your open source software project

      Open source software (OSS) marketing today is unique: it’s a process of co-creating and co-executing a marketing plan with an entire community—developers, end users and vendors. This makes it distinctly different than most traditional technology marketing efforts, which generally focuses on business decision-makers exclusively.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server Patches Updated For Non-Desktop & Lease Handling

        Keith Packard has sent out his latest patches for implementing the non-desktop and DRM lease functionality from within the X.Org Server. This work also includes the relevant DDX bits being wired through for the xf86-video-modesetting driver.

        The “non-desktop” handling is the new property for indicating if a display output is not for a conventional desktop use-case, i.e. a VR HMD as the main use-case from Valve’s perspective. When the VR HMD or other non-desktop output is set, it’s not used by the X.Org Server and any desktop window manager so it can be reserved for the SteamVR compositor.

      • RADV Radeon Vulkan Driver Is Still A Better Bet Than AMDVLK In February 2018

        With the AMDVLK Radeon Vulkan driver that AMD open-sourced in December continuing to be updated in weekly batches with new Vulkan extensions / features / performance optimizations and the RADV Mesa-based Radeon Vulkan driver continuing to march to its own beat, I have spent the past few days conducting some fresh benchmarks between the AMDVLK and RADV Vulkan drivers with RX 560, RX 580, and RX Vega 64 graphics cards.

      • Virtualizing GPU Access

        Virtualized GPU access is becoming common in the containerized and virtualized application space. Let’s have a look at why and how.

        For the past few years a clear trend of containerization of applications and services has emerged. Having processes containerized is beneficial in a number of ways. It both improves portability and strengthens security, and if done properly the performance penalty can be low.

        In order to further improve security containers are commonly run in virtualized environments. This provides some new challenges in terms of supporting the accelerated graphics usecase.

      • Local Virtual GPU Display Support Is About Ready For Intel Linux Systems

        Many of you have expressed interest in Intel’s virtual GPU pass-through support “GVT” and with Linux 4.16 the kernel-side bits have come together for local vGPU display support.

        VFIO updates and Intel DRM driver updates needed for local Intel vGPU display support were merged during this month’s Linux 4.16 merge window.

      • libinput 1.10.0
      • Libinput 1.10 Released With Better Palm Detection, Drops Touchpad Hysteresis

        Red Hat’s Peter Hutterer has announced the release of libinput 1.10, the latest feature release of this input handling library used by Wayland-based Linux desktops and optionally by those still using the X.Org Server.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.43.0

        KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.43.0.

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

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

      • KDE Frameworks 5.43 Released With KHolidays Module, glTF/Coillada Highlighting
      • Hiding Neon LTS Edition

        With the new Plasma LTS came an update to KDE neon LTS Edition and lots of people asking which edition to use and what the difference is. This caused us to review the purpose of LTS and as a result we’ve just hidden LTS from the download page. The only difference with the LTS edition is that it stays on Plasma’s LTS release but apps and libraries still get updates. This doesn’t fit well with the main use cases of an LTS which is that it only gets bug fixes and no new features. Further we test Neon LTS edition less than any other edition so it’s more likely we’ll miss some problem, which is the opposite of what most people would expect. There are distros whose release model fits better with the needs of Plasma LTS but the constant updates of Neon don’t fit too well. We’ll keep the edition around and don’t expect to make any changes to the repositories or builds, they’re useful for devs testing Plasma LTS, but we’re not advertising it for download since it gives a different expectation of what to expect than fits into the release method of Neon.

      • KMarkdownWebView 0.5.0

        The KMarkdownWebView software is for the rendered display of Markdown documents, using web technologies. It implements a C++/Qt-based wrapper around a local webpage with a JavaScript library (“marked”) which creates HTML from the plain text in Markdown format passed in.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Python for GNOME Mobile?

        As you may already know, Python is one of the hottest programming language out there, with thousand of job offerings, so makes sense, at least for me, to push this language as official one for GNOME Mobile applications.

        elementary OS is doing a good job on engagement new developers, while use Vala as its official language. For me, Vala is a good candidate for advanced/performance constrained Mobile applications.

      • Shelved Wallpapers

        GNOME 3.28 will release with another batch of new wallpapers that only a freaction of you will ever see. Apart from those I also made a few for different purposes that didn’t end up being used, but it would be a shame to keep shelved.

        So here’s a bit of isometric goodness I quite enjoy on my desktop, you might as well.

  • Distributions

    • The best rising Linux distros in 2018

      Linux is built for tinkering and experimentation, which means it’s always morphing and changing. New distros are popping up all the time, because all it takes is a little bit of determination, time and effort to create a custom operating system.

      Not all of them hit the mark – there are stacks of Linux distros that have seen little to no action, and we’re almost certain that some have been released and never installed by anyone other than their creator.

    • Kudos to Namib Linux for Making Arch Approachable

      Namib is an ideal Linux distro for anyone who wants to ease into the Arch approach to computing.

      Namib is a newcomer — the third and current release (version 17.11) arrived late last year. However, it makes up for its lack of age by its performance. Namib makes Arch simple.

      Surprisingly very user-friendly as well as compatible with older computers, Namib also is very stable.

      Since Namib is based on the Arch philosophy, it uses rolling releases so you do not have to reinstall the entire operating system every time a major update occurs. The Pacman package manager handles new system components along with security and application updates automatically.

      Namib is very up to date.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Spectra-Meltdown mitigation update

        Since we released 4.14.18 yesterday, we now are in pretty good shape with the mitigations, especially on x86_64. We now have bits in place for Spectre v1, v2 and Meltdown.

        Of course over the coming weeks/months there will be more follow-up fixes upstream to cover corner cases, missed fixes and improvements for all of this…

        And we still need Intel and AMD to release microcodes so hardware vendors can release updated BIOS/EFI firmwares and to the public so we can provide microcode updates in case of vendors not providing new BIOS/EFI firmwares.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE 2017 milestones, a year in the kernel

        As part of a continuing set of analysis posts dedicated to examining major developments across the major (and some lesser) open source Linux distributions, we consider 2017 at open German softwarehaus SUSE.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Version 3.1 of Cura, the 3D print slicer, is now in Debian

        A new version of the 3D printer slicer software Cura, version 3.1.0, is now available in Debian Testing (aka Buster) and Debian Unstable (aka Sid). I hope you find it useful. It was uploaded the last few days, and the last update will enter testing tomorrow. See the release notes for the list of bug fixes and new features. Version 3.2 was announced 6 days ago. We will try to get it into Debian as well.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Skype discuss easing Linux maintenance with snaps

            Skype is used by hundreds of millions of users globally to make free video and voice calls, send files, video and instant messages. It has been two years since Skype first launched to Linux users on the Electron framework. This brings us to the present day, where the team recently launched their first snap and at the recent Snapcraft Summit, Senior Software Engineer Jonas Tajrych explains Skype’s progress from first discovering snaps in 2016 to its release.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Daylight Saving Time isn’t worth it, European Parliament members say

    Earlier this week the European Parliament voted 384 to 153 to review whether Daylight Saving Time is actually worth it. Although the resolution it voted on was non-binding, the majority reflected a growing dissatisfaction with a system that’s been used by the US, Canada, most of Europe, and regions in Asia, Africa, and South America for decades.

  • Science

    • New DNA nanorobots successfully target and kill off cancerous tumors

      Science fiction no more — in an article out today in Nature Biotechnology, scientists were able to show tiny autonomous bots have the potential to function as intelligent delivery vehicles to cure cancer in mice.

      These DNA nanorobots do so by seeking out and injecting cancerous tumors with drugs that can cut off their blood supply, shriveling them up and killing them.

      “Using tumor-bearing mouse models, we demonstrate that intravenously injected DNA nanorobots deliver thrombin specifically to tumor-associated blood vessels and induce intravascular thrombosis, resulting in tumor necrosis and inhibition of tumor growth,” the paper explains.

    • Study finds gender and skin-type bias in commercial artificial-intelligence systems

      Three commercially released facial-analysis programs from major technology companies demonstrate both skin-type and gender biases, according to a new paper researchers from MIT and Stanford University will present later this month at the Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency.

      In the researchers’ experiments, the three programs’ error rates in determining the gender of light-skinned men were never worse than 0.8 percent. For darker-skinned women, however, the error rates ballooned — to more than 20 percent in one case and more than 34 percent in the other two.

    • The Trump administration aims to privatize the International Space Station: report

      In January, The Verge reported that the Trump administration was preparing to end US support for the International Space Station by 2025, prompting outcry from Congressional officials. The Washington Post says that it has viewed an internal NASA document that outlines the agency’s intentions to privatize the station after funding ends in 2024.

    • The ideal smartphone is all screen with no buttons or borders — here’s how close it is to becoming a reality

      Smartphone makers have had us drooling for years over the idea of a phone that’s all screen, with no buttons or borders to interrupt the pure design.

      But try as they might, the concept hasn’t exactly come to fruition. The most popular devices have come with extremely thin bezels — or, like the iPhone X, add a notch toward the top of the phone to house the camera and all its front-facing sensors.

    • State Assembly candidate speaks on reducing science censorship in policy

      A California State Assembly candidate discussed the importance of combating censorship in scientific research at an event at Boyer Hall on Monday.

      Tepring Piquado, who is running to represent California’s 54th State Assembly district, said at the UCLA Science Policy Group’s monthly meeting that legislators must help reduce science censorship by being unbiased when making policy decisions that involve scientific research funding and publicity. Piquado said research censorship can prevent scientific discoveries from best benefiting the public as a whole.

      The Science Policy Group is an organization made up of undergraduate and graduate students that organizes events to advocate for more scientific input in public policy. Jennifer Tribble, a neuroscience doctoral student and president of the organization, said the group is concerned that the current presidential administration does not value evidence-based research.

    • Scientists Discover Hundreds of 2D Materials That Could Be The Next Graphene

      Part of what makes graphene so fantastically useful is its amazing thinness – it’s just one atom thick.

      Scientists have now found hundreds of other materials that are equally thin, providing a wide selection of new materials with perhaps as much potential as graphene.

      The team analysed data in open resources including the Crystallography Open Database, looking for materials with structural similarities to graphene with the help of a custom computer program.

  • Hardware

    • Raspberry Pi VC4 Working On Polishing KMS Support, Continued VC5 Progress

      Broadcom’s Eric Anholt has shared another routine status update about his ongoing work with the open-source VC4 graphics driver supporting current generation Raspberry Pi hardware as well as his work on the next-gen Broadcom VC5 open-source graphics driver.

    • Apple AirPod began smoking in ear, blew apart, says man

      Suddenly, he said, he noticed smoke. It was coming from the area of his right ear. More specifically, the smoke was being emitted from one of his AirPods.

      He says that he immediately put both AirPods on a piece of workout equipment and walked away. By the time he came back, the smoking AirPod appeared to have completely burst apart.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Failing health of the United States

      Life expectancy in the US has fallen for the second year in a row.1 This is alarming because life expectancy has risen for much of the past century in developed countries, including the US. The decline in US health relative to other countries, however, is not new; it has been unfolding for decades (fig 1). In 1960, Americans had the highest life expectancy, 2.4 years higher than the average for countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). But the US started losing ground in the 1980s. US life expectancy fell below the OECD average in 1998, plateaued in 2012, and is now 1.5 years lower than the OECD average.2

    • Weeds out of control

      Herbicides can no longer control the weeds that threaten crop productivity and food security in the UK because the plants have evolved resistance, and future control must depend on management strategies that reduce reliance on chemicals.

      A nationwide epidemiological assessment of the factors that are driving the abundance and spread of the major agricultural weed, black-grass, was the focus of collaborative work led by the University of Sheffield, with Rothamsted Research and the Zoological Society of London.

    • Why a simple, lifesaving rabies shot can cost $10,000 in America

      When she woke up the next day, she started to worry about rabies. She went to the local urgent care center, which sent her to the emergency room. It was the only facility that stocked the drugs necessary to treat rabies, a situation that is typical across the United States.

      A few weeks later, the bill arrived: $6,017. The vast majority of the charge was for a drug to treat rabies exposure called immunoglobulin. The emergency room billed this drug at $3,706.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • America has done all it can in Afghanistan — more troops won’t ‘win’ us anything

      There are reports the U.S. Army is readying about a thousand additional troops for deployment to Afghanistan where they will link up with some 14,000 other U.S. service members tasked with an unachievable mission.

      At the same time, this news was drowned about by the latest catastrophic attack, a horrific bombing that left more than 100 dead — The United States Central Command Commander General Votel was even nearby — in the very center of a “secure” district of Kabul.

      The persistence of such violence after 16 years of U.S. intervention raises serious questions about the need for and ability of the United States military to address what is at root an internal Afghan security problem increasingly disconnected from core American security interests.

      I am no stranger to these un-winnable crusades. In early 2011, my own unit flew into Kandahar — part of the last few thousand troops authorized under the Obama “surge.”

      This talk of reinforcement, escalation, and “surging” is nothing new. It is history repeating itself.
      These next 1,000 soldiers will enter the Afghan maelstrom as no less than the fifth surge attempted by military and political “strategists” who are clearly out of ideas (perhaps because there is no military solution to a fundamentally political problem).

    • Raining on the Parade

      Of course Donald Trump wants a military parade. I’d be surprised if he didn’t. It’s just what an insecure narcissist would want. A parade would be the national equivalent of his strutting around like a peacock, dying to turn heads. Even a politician can see that: “I think confidence is silent and insecurity is loud,” Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy said. “America is the most powerful country in all of human history; you don’t need to show it off.”

      But harbor no doubts: Trump’s parade will be the biggest, best, and most-watched military parade in history — guaranteed. And I don’t mean just American history.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Report: Britain Pressured Sweden Not to Drop Assange’s Extradition Proceedings 5 Years Ago

      In the latest news about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, The Guardian is reporting Sweden attempted to drop extradition proceedings against Assange five years ago but were pressured to reverse course by British prosecutors. Sweden eventually dropped its investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by Assange last year. The news comes just days after a British judge upheld the British arrest warrant for Assange, who has been living in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London since 2012. Another judicial decision is expected on Tuesday, when a British court is scheduled to respond to a motion by Assange’s attorneys, who are attempting to force Britain to drop its arrest warrant for him.

    • New evidence suggests the UK has detained Julian Assange for political reasons

      Swedish prosecutors were considering dropping the extradition proceedings against Julian Assange in 2013, new evidence shows. But the UK government pressured Sweden to keep the case against the WikiLeaks founder going.

      Assange is still in the UK five years later. And these latest revelations are stoking suspicions that the government is keeping him detained for political reasons.

    • Judge to rule on Assange’s bid to escape legal action in Britain

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will hear on Tuesday whether his legal bid to halt action against him for breaching bail has been successful, in a ruling that could pave the way for him to leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

      Even if a judge rules in his favour, though, he may elect to stay in the embassy, where he has been holed up for almost six years, because of his fear that the United States may seek his extradition on charges related to the activities of WikiLeaks.

      Assange, 46, fled to the embassy in June 2012 after skipping bail to avoid being sent to Sweden to face an allegation of rape, which he denied. The Swedish case was dropped in May last year, but Britain still has a warrant for his arrest over the breach of bail terms.

    • Judgment due on Julian Assange arrest warrant

      A judgment on whether to lift a UK arrest warrant against Julian Assange will be made on Tuesday.

      Senior District Judge Emma Arbuthnot last week rejected his legal team’s argument that the warrant issued in 2012 was no longer valid because an investigation by the Swedish authorities into a sex-related allegation had been dropped.

    • Could Julian Assange Be on Brink of Freedom?

      A London court will rule on Tuesday whether it would be in the interests of justice to pursue action against WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange for failing to surrender to bail back in 2012.

      If the judge rules in his favor, then Assange, 46, would be free to leave the Ecuadorean Embassy in London where he has been holed up for more than five years.

    • Assange in new bid to cancel UK arrest warrant
    • Judge to rule on Assange’s bid to escape legal action in Britain
    • Julian Assange saga: judge to rule on arrest warrant
    • Judge to rule on Assange’s bid to escape legal action in Britain
    • UK judge set to rule on WikiLeaks founder’s arrest warrant
    • UK: Assange Awaits Magistrates Court Ruling on Warrant

      The Australian could still face extradition to the United States to answer to charges related to the operations of WikiLeaks.

      Westminster Magistrates Court will return a decision on whether WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange can leave the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

    • Chelsea Manning, notable for WikiLeaks, to speak at Bard College

      Former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, who was imprisoned for providing government secrets to WikiLeaks, will speak at Bard College in Annandale on Feb. 21.

      “A Conversation with Chelsea Manning” is sold out and will be held at Bard’s Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts. Anyone wishing to be placed on the waiting list should arrive at the Fisher Center at 5 p.m. the day of the talk.

    • WikiLeaks Founder Says Received Envelope With ‘White Powder’

      Earlier in the day, media reported that Vanessa Trump, the wife of the US president’s son Donald Trump Jr., had been taken to a New York hospital after opening an envelope that contained an unidentified white powder that was subsequently determined to be non-hazardous.

    • Judge refuses to withdraw Julian Assange arrest warrant

      She said: “I find arrest is a proportionate response even though Mr Assange has restricted his own freedom for a number of years.

      “Defendants on bail up and down the country, and requested persons facing extradition, come to court to face the consequences of their own choices. He should have the courage to do the same. It is certainly not against the public interest to proceed.”

      Assange, 46, skipped bail to enter the embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault and rape, which he denies.

      Though Swedish prosecutors dropped the investigation against him, he faces arrest if he leaves the building in Knightsbridge, London, for breaching his former bail conditions in the UK.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Houston-Area Officials Approved a Plan for Handling a Natural Disaster — Then Ignored It

      Seven months before Hurricane Harvey inundated the Houston area with a trillion gallons of water and led to widespread criticism of the Red Cross, Harris County adopted a disaster-preparation plan that’s key assumption was that the Red Cross would be slow to act. “In a major disaster where there is widespread damage, the local resources of the Red Cross may be overwhelmed and not available immediately,” stated the plan. “It may be upwards of 7 days before the Red Cross can assume a primary care and shelter role.”

      The 17-page document, entitled the “Mass Shelter Plan,” was unanimously approved by the county’s governing body on Jan. 31, 2017. ProPublica obtained the plan, which until now has not been public, as part of a public records request.

      The Mass Shelter Plan described the Red Cross as the county’s “lead partner” but was unequivocal in assigning responsibility should a calamity occur: “In the event of an emergency that requires evacuation of all or any part of the Harris County population, Harris County is ultimately responsible for the coordination of the evacuation, shelter and mass care of displaced local residents.”

    • Trump’s Infrastructure Plan May Ignore Climate Change. It Could Be Costly.

      President Trump is expected to unveil on Monday a plan that would fulfill one of his signature campaign promises: a $1.5 trillion, once-in-a-generation proposal to rebuild, restore and modernize the nation’s aging infrastructure.

      “We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways and waterways all across our land,” Mr. Trump said in his State of the Union address.

      But while the proposal represents one of the administration’s main legislative ambitions, it could directly clash with one of its defining regulatory principles, which is to question the risk from global warming and roll back regulations addressing climate change.

      The Trump infrastructure blueprint is almost certain to call for expensive new roads, bridges, airports and other projects in areas that are increasingly vulnerable to rising waters and other threats from a warming planet. Engineers and researchers say that construction plans should consider these design constraints at the outset. Their concern is that a plan led by a White House that has both discounted climate science and weakened climate change regulations could mean that costly projects may be vulnerable to damage or, in a worst-case scenario, quickly rendered obsolete by the changing environment.

  • Finance

    • Alibaba invests another $1.3 billion into its offline retail strategy

      The Chinese firm, the dominant e-commerce player in its country, gobbled up a 15 percent stake in Beijing Easyhome Furnishing for RMB 5.45 billion, or around $867 million, and pumped $486 million into a big data retail firm in two deals announced over the weekend.

    • What Microsoft’s Antitrust Case Teaches Us About Silicon Valley

      Today’s titans tower over their kingdoms, secure behind their walls of user data and benefiting from extreme network effects that make serious competition from startups nearly impossible. US antitrust laws, written in the industrial age, don’t capture many of the new realities and potential dangers of these vast data empires. Maybe they should.

    • Chinese Tourists Are Taking Over the Earth, One Selfie at a Time

      Consider this: For the past seven years, the travel-and-tourism sector has outperformed the overall economy every year, contributing as much as $7.6 trillion in 2016, including the wider impact on the economy, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council. During the next decade, the council predicts, almost one in four jobs created worldwide will be related to tourism.

    • 9 Major Insurance Companies Are Profiting the Most Off the Broken Bail System

      Accredited Surety is one bail shark among many who exploits poor Americans trying to make bail.

      Chances are you’ve never heard of Bermuda-based insurance investment conglomerate Randall & Quilter and its wholly owned Florida-based company Accredited Surety.

      Accredited is one of nine major insurance companies that underwrite most of the money-bail businesses in the U.S. Companies like Accredited play a significant role in propping up the two-tiered American justice system that sells liberty to people who can afford it, plunges people into debt who struggle to pay it back, and deprives many others the opportunity to return to their lives, families, and jobs while the court determines their guilt or innocence.

      And because of its unapologetic gluttony, Accredited is our bail shark of the month.

      Like a proud parent, R&Q was “pleased to announce” its acquisition of Accredited in 2014. In a press release, R&Q Chairman and CEO Ken Randall said, “We are delighted to have reached agreement with Accredited. There is an excellent cultural fit and this represents an important milestone in … securing stable income streams from associated fee and distribution income.”

      Clearly, that culture is profit.

    • There’s nothing liberal about Brexit

      What grim pleasures Brexit offers. This week it’ll give us a series of speeches by Cabinet ministers laying out their vision for Britain outside the EU, a kind of choose-your-own-adventure book in which you decide which of the warring factions should go through to the final round.

      Boris Johnson’s offering comes tomorrow, but previews of it are in the press today. The foreign secretary apparently wants to bring Remainers and Leavers together in a vision of a ‘liberal Brexit’. He even takes John Stuart Mills’ name in vain by recruiting him for the Leave cause.

      You can just about make an argument for liberalism and Brexit if you support staying in the single market and customs union, where goods and people still flow freely. But that is not the Brexit we’re getting. We’re getting reactionary Brexit. It is defined by a love for – even a fetishisation of – borders. It is the single greatest victory for illiberalism in the modern British period.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why truth is under fire

      The study suggests that a perfect storm of factors is conspiring to manipulate how we see truth, and the danger is not being aware of how those factors can mold our thinking.

      Some are not new. Studies have long shown that human beings are resistant to information that upsets their worldview. “People do not just maintain preexisting beliefs: Being confronted with corrective information can make misperceptions more ingrained and cause people to become less willing to consider alternatives,” the authors note.

      But why do we appear so prone to that temptation now?

    • If Watergate Happened With Today’s Media
    • I Approved This Facebook Message — But You Don’t Know That

      Hundreds of federal political ads — including those from major players such as the Democratic National Committee and the Donald Trump 2020 campaign — are running on Facebook without adequate disclaimer language, likely violating Federal Election Commission rules, a review by ProPublica has found.

      An FEC opinion in December clarified that the requirement for political ads to say who paid for and approved them, which has long applied to print and broadcast outlets, extends to ads on Facebook. So we checked more than 300 ads that had run on the world’s largest social network since the opinion, and that election-law experts told us met the criteria for a disclaimer. Fewer than 40 had disclosures that appeared to satisfy FEC rules.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Gui Minhai: Chinese press attacks Sweden over bookseller

      Human rights groups including Amnesty International have warned that the interview has the hallmarks of a forced confession.

    • YouTube tightens screws further on channel owners

      YouTube has announced further restrictions on the use of the site beyond the existing rules for striking channel owners off when videos deemed unsuitable are uploaded, in a clear indication that all the steps it has taken over the last 10 months to sanitise the platform have not had the desired effect.

    • Man Sues Facebook For Moderating His Bigoted Posts, Wants Section 230 Declared Unconstitutional

      Eric Goldman has come across an amazing pro se lawsuit [PDF] being brought by Nicholas C. Georgalis, an aggrieved social media user who believes he’s owed an open platform in perpetuity, no matter what awful things he dumps onto service providers’ pages. Oh, and he wants Section 230 immunity declared unconstitutional.

      Georgalis — who sidelines as a “professional training professionals” when not filing stupid lawsuits — is suing Facebook for periodically placing him in social media purgatory after removing posts of his. The lawsuit is heady stuff. And by “heady stuff,” I mean we’re going to be dealing with a lot of arguments about “sovereign rights” and “common law” and other related asshattery.

    • Ninth Circuit Shuts Down ‘Terrorists Used Twitter’ Case But Not Because Of Section 230

      With the event at Santa Clara earlier this month, and the companion essays published here, we’ve been talking a lot lately about how platforms moderate content. It can be a challenging task for a platform to figure out how to balance dealing with the sometimes troubling content it can find itself intermediating on the one hand and free speech concerns on the other. But at least, thanks to Section 230, platforms have been free to do the best they could to manage these competing interests. However you may think they make these decisions now, they would not come out any better without that statutory protection insulating them from legal consequence if they did not opt to remove absolutely everything that could tempt trouble. If they had to contend with the specter of liability in making these decisions it would inevitably cause platforms to play a much more censoring role at the expense of legitimate user speech.

      Fearing such a result is why the Copia Institute filed an amicus brief at the Ninth Circuit last year in Fields v. Twitter, one of the many “how dare you let terrorists use the Internet” cases that keep getting filed against Internet platforms. While it’s problematic that they keep getting filed, they have fortunately not tended to get very far. I say “fortunately,” because although it is terrible what has happened to the victims of these attacks, if platforms could be liable for what terrorists do it would end up chilling platforms’ ability to intermediate any non-terrorist speech. Thus we, along with the EFF and the Internet Association (representing many of the bigger Internet platforms), had all filed briefs urging the Ninth Circuit to find, as the lower courts have tended to, that Section 230 insulates platforms from these types of lawsuits.

    • Ukraine’s Anti-Russian Censorship is Making It Look a Lot Like the Kremlin

      Writing for Open Democracy, Kateryna Botanova, a Ukrainian curator and critic, denounces the rise of anti-Russian censorship in Ukraine amidst Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the ongoing conflict with pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine. According to Botanova, the Ukrainian government has banned Russian films and books from being broadcast or sold in Ukraine, and has even banned a popular sitcom because one of its Russian actors expressed support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Botanova argues that with this kind of censorship, Ukraine is putting nationalism above democracy and freedom of speech. As she writes, “The more single-mindedly Ukraine tries to get ‘away from Moscow,’ the more it slips into the system the Kremlin enforces.”

    • Even extremist takedowns require accountability

      The Government is very keen to ensure that extremist material is removed from private platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. It has urged use of machine learning and algorithmic identification by the companies, and threatened fines for failing to remove content swiftly.

      Today Amber Rudd claims to have developed a tool to identify extremist content, based on a database of known material. Such tools can have a role to play in identifying unwanted material, but we need to understand that there are some important caveats to what these tools are doing, with implications about how they are used, particularly around accountability. We list these below.

    • UC Berkeley, Evergreeen State College, Among The Most Restrictive of Free Speech
    • Is your college among 10 worst violators of free speech?
    • Texas State named one of America’s worst colleges for free speech by education rights group
    • Free speech on campus demands dialogue, not censorship
    • Why is it okay to censor Christians?

      One of the UK’s largest cinema chains, Vue, refused to screen a film premiere at one of its outlets last week. The film, called Voices of the Silenced, was produced by the Core Issues Trust, and explores the extent to which Christians feel under severe pressure to conform to contemporary morality, in particular the demand to approve of homosexuality. Vue cancelled the screening following complaints from gay-rights charity Stonewall, which said the film promotes gay-cure therapy.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • German court rules Facebook use of personal data illegal

      A German consumer rights group said on Monday that a court had found Facebook’s use of personal data to be illegal because the U.S. social media platform did not adequately secure the informed consent of its users.

      The verdict, from a Berlin regional court, comes as Big Tech faces increasing scrutiny in Germany over its handling of sensitive personal data that enables it to micro-target online advertising.

      The Federation of German Consumer Organisations (vzvb) said that Facebook’s default settings and some of its terms of service were in breach of consumer law, and that the court had found parts of the consent to data usage to be invalid.

    • Did the NSA really use Twitter to send coded messages to a Russian?

      As part of a sequence of 12, the tweets are now claimed to be a coded back-channel used to communicate with a Russian who was negotiating to sell to the NSA a set of cyberweapons stolen from it in 2016 by a group calling itself The Shadow Brokers.

      These tools were leaked to the world and used by cybercriminals to launch attacks, such as May 2017’s WannaCry ransomware attack (later blamed by the US on North Korea).

    • Camera Makers Still Showing Zero Interest In Protecting Users With Built-In Encryption

      Digital cameras can store a wealth of personal information and yet they’re treated as unworthy of extra protection — both by courts and the camera makers themselves. The encryption that comes baked in on cellphones hasn’t even been offered as an option on cameras, despite camera owners being just as interested in protecting their private data as cellphone users are.

      The Freedom of the Press Foundation sent a letter to major camera manufacturers in December 2016, letting them know filmmakers and journalists would appreciate a little assistance keeping their data out of governments’ hands.

    • Don’t Use Facebook’s Onavo VPN: It’s Designed to Spy On You

      You may have seen a new button in Facebook’s mobile app lately: under the Settings menu, a “Protect” option leads you to download an app called Onavo Protect. Don’t do it.

      If you head to Facebook’s settings and scroll down—you may need to click “More” to view more options—you’ll see this button. (On Android, you’ll need to go into “Mobile Data” first.)

    • Consumer Reports: Your ‘Smart’ TV Remains A Privacy & Security Dumpster Fire

      By now it has been pretty well established that the security and privacy of most “internet of things” devices is decidedly half-assed. Companies are so eager to cash in on the IOT craze, nobody wants to take responsibility for their decision to forget basic security and privacy standards. As a result, we’ve now got millions of new attack vectors being introduced daily, including easily-hacked “smart” kettles, door locks, refrigerators, power outlets, Barbie dolls, and more. Security experts have warned the check for this dysfunction is coming due, and it could be disastrous.

      Smart televisions have long been part of this conversation, where security standards and privacy have also taken a back seat to blind gee whizzery. Numerous set vendors have already been caught hoovering up private conversations or transmitting private user data unencrypted to the cloud. One study last year surmised that around 90% of smart televisions can be hacked remotely, something intelligence agencies, private contractors and other hackers are clearly eager to take full advantage of.

    • You are being tracked. Deal with it.
    • Facebook tool can judge whether you are middle class

      It is also able to track a person’s digital footprint and could detect, for example, if someone has been viewing external travel websites while they are logging into Facebook.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Earbuds made my teens tune me out, so I changed how we listen to music

      So when my husband and I noticed our teens increasingly tuning us out as they washed dishes, hung out in their rooms, or traveled in the car, we became curious about what they were listening to and how they were interpreting the lyrics they were hearing. We decided to try an experiment: Every time we were driving together, each person would take turns DJing by connecting their device to our dashboard stereo. We would listen together and talk about the artist, the music, the lyrics, and why our kid liked the song. What that meant was not only did our teens select songs, but my husband and I also shared our picks, as well as our thoughts on some of the iffy content in our kids’ music.

    • Court Rules Immigrants’ Class Action Lawsuit Against GEO Group Can Proceed

      A federal appeals court has ruled a group of immigrants detained at the for-profit Aurora ICE Processing Center in Colorado can proceed with their class action lawsuit against the prison’s owner, GEO Group. The men accuse GEO Group of forcing detained immigrants to clean the prison without pay, under threat of solitary confinement. The men are also accusing GEO Group of breaking labor laws by paying detained immigrants only $1 a day.

    • DSA-Endorsed Judge’s Bail Reforms Prompt Media Attack

      Local media often function as PR surrogates for police and powerful private interests. The marks of this ideological, political role were all over a Pittsburgh CBS affiliate’s gratuitous, over-the-top hit piece on reformer Judge Mik Pappas (KDKA, 2/2/18).

      Endorsed by the Pittsburgh Democratic Socialists of America chapter, Pappas won his seat last year on, among other things, the promise not to rubber-stamp court-ordered evictions and to end cash bail—practices that disproportionately affect the poor and people of color. There’s a growing movement challenging these tools of state power as unneeded and discriminatory, but they’re unsurprisingly popular among real estate interests and the police, whose outrage and disdain for the newly elected progressive are channeled by local reporter Andy Sheehan.

    • Police Officer Wins Settlement From City That Fired Him for Not Shooting a Black Man

      In the early hours of May 6, 2016, the lives of rookie police officer Stephen Mader and R.J. Williams intersected in Weirton, West Virginia. Both men were young fathers. Mader was a white cop holding a gun. Williams was a Black man holding a gun. This tragedy ends exactly as you’d expect — with R.J. Williams killed by a police bullet — but with a twist: Mader did not kill him. In fact, he tried his best to save Williams’ life. And for doing his duty, Mader was fired.

      Today we can announce a resolution of the case in favor of a police officer who chose not to shoot a Black man.

      To settle all outstanding claims, the City of Weirton will pay Mader $175,000. And while justice prevailed for Mader, R.J. Williams is still dead — a constant reminder police nationwide need the proper de-escalation training needed to avoid unnecessary killings, especially of Black men and boys.

    • Being ‘black’ in North Africa and the Middle East

      Growing attention to the racial and colour-based discrimination that sub-Saharan Africans and African slave descendants face in the Maghreb and in the Middle East has opened up new spaces to debate the relationship between ‘racism’ and legacies of slavery in the two regions. While these debates are far from new in a context like Mauritania, where former slaves and slave descendants have struggled for decades against descent-based discrimination, in many other North African and Middle Eastern countries they have emerged only relatively recently. This is perhaps because, as the Moroccan historian Chouki El Hamel notes, a “culture of silence” has long prevented these countries from engaging with, and discussing overtly, questions of race, slavery and colour.

      With this week’s special series, we seek to unpack the ‘racial issue’ in different post-slavery contexts in West Africa, North Africa and the Middle East by interrogating its connections with local histories of slavery and their contemporary legacies. Drawing on fresh case studies from Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Emirates and Yemen, the contributors reflect on the complex intersections of historical and contemporary dynamics that shape present imaginations of ‘blackness’, black identities, and belonging. They also look at new forms of racial discrimination and activism based on specific constructions of race.

    • Imprisoned Blogger Eskinder Nega Won’t Sign a False Confession

      Online publisher and blogger Eskinder Nega has been imprisoned in Ethiopia since September 2011 for the “crime” of writing articles critical of his government. He is one of the longest-serving prisoners in EFF’s Offline casefile of writers and activists unjustly imprisoned for their work online.

      Now a chance he may finally be freed has been thrown into doubt because of the Ethiopian authorities’ outrageous demand that he sign a false confession before being released.

      The Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, announced in January surprise plans to close down the notorious Maekelawi detention center and release a number of prisoners. The Prime Minister said that the move was intended to “foster national reconciliation.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Update: Mozilla Will Re-File Suit Against FCC to Protect Net Neutrality

      Protecting net neutrality is core to the internet and crucial for people’s jobs and everyday lives. It is imperative that all internet traffic be treated equally, without discrimination against content or type of traffic — that’s the how the internet was built and what has made it one of the greatest inventions of all time.

    • Oregon Steps Up to the Plate on Network Neutrality This Month

      It should not be surprising that arguably the biggest mistake in Internet policy history is going to invoke a vast political response. Since the FCC repealed federal Open Internet Order in December, many states have attempted to fill the void. With a new bill that reinstates net neutrality protections, Oregon is the latest state to step up.

      Oregon’s Majority Leader Jennifer Williamson recently announced her intention to fight to restore much of what the FCC repealed last December under its so-called “Restoring Internet Freedom Order.” Her legislation, H.B. 4155, responds to the FCC’s decision by requiring that any ISP that receives funds from the state to adhere to net neutrality principles—not blocking or throttling content or prioritizing its own content over that of competitors, for example.

  • DRM

    • The Standalone Streaming Service HBO Didn’t Want To Offer Now Has 5 Million Users

      All the while, HBO and Time Warner’s timidity and failure to listen to consumers resulted in many of its shows breaking piracy records. And while HBO couldn’t be bothered to offer a legitimate standalone streaming alternative to piracy, it did spend a lot of time and money trying to derail these efforts, including “poisoning” seeded copies of HBO programs on BitTorrent and sending out oodles of nastygrams to ISPs. Other HBO executives, meanwhile, seemed to share the cable industry mindset that this whole cord cutting thing was just a temporary phenomenon that would blow over.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Confluence vs. Confluence: Brewery sues apartments over namesake

        Conflict between a Des Moines brewery and apartment complex is spilling over into the legal system.

        Confluence Brewing Company on Friday filed a trademark lawsuit and motion for an injunction in Polk County District Court seeking to stop Confluence on 3rd apartments from using the name “Confluence.”

      • Confluence Brewing Sues Confluence On 3rd, An Apartment Complex, For Trademark Infringement

        It’s been a minute since we’ve had to cover some trademark nonsense in the beer industry. In fact, several recent stories have actually represented what might be mistaken for a clapback on aggressive trademark protectionism in the alcohol space. But, like all great things, it just couldn’t last. The specific tomfoolery that has brought reality crashing down on us once again comes out of Iowa, where Confluence Brewing has filed a trademark suit against Confluence On 3rd, which is an apartment complex that does not serve or make beer.

    • Copyrights

      • Internet Users Spoke Up To Keep Safe Harbors Safe

        Today, we delivered a petition to the U.S. Copyright Office to keep copyright’s safe harbors safe. We asked the Copyright Office to remove a bureaucratic requirement that could cause websites and Internet services to lose protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). And we asked them to help keep Congress from replacing the DMCA safe harbor with a mandatory filtering law. Internet users from all over the U.S. and beyond added their voices to our petition.

        Under current law, the owners of websites and online services can be protected from monetary liability when their users are accused of infringing copyright through the DMCA “safe harbors.” In order to take advantage of these safe harbors, owners must meet many requirements, including participating in the notorious notice-and-takedown procedure for allegedly infringing content. They also must register an agent—someone who can respond to takedown requests—with the Copyright Office.

        The DMCA is far from perfect, but provisions like the safe harbor allow websites and other intermediaries that host third-party material to thrive and grow without the constant threat of massive copyright penalties. Without safe harbors, small Internet businesses could face bankruptcy over the infringing activities of just a few users.

        Now, a lot of those small sites risk losing their safe harbor protections. That’s because of the Copyright Office’s rules for registering agents. Those registrations used to be valid as long as the information was accurate. Under the Copyright Office’s new rules, website owners must renew their registrations every three years or risk losing safe harbor protections. That means that websites can risk expensive lawsuits for nothing more than forgetting to file a form. As we’ve written before, because the safe harbor already requires websites to submit and post accurate contact information for infringement complaints, there’s no good reason for agent registrations to expire. We’re also afraid that it will disproportionately affect small businesses, nonprofits, and hobbyists, who are least able to have a cadre of lawyers at the ready to meet bureaucratic requirements.

      • Facebook Takes Down Post Critical Of Indian Film For Copyright Violation, Even Though It Was An All-Text Post

        We should all know by now that Facebook’s reliability to handle copyright takedown requests is… not great. Like far too many internet platforms these days, the site typically puts its thumbs heavily on the scales such that the everyday user gets far less preference than large purported rights holders. I say “purported” because, of course, many bogus takedown requests get issued all the time. It’s one of the reasons that relying on these platforms, when they have shown no willingness to have any sort of spine on copyright matters, is such a mistake.

        But few cases are as egregious as that of Leo Saldanha, a well-known environmental activist in India. When I tell you that Saldanha had a Facebook post taken down over a copyright notice, you must certainly be thinking that it had something to do with environmental activism. Nope! Actually, Saldanha wrote an all-text mini-review of an Indian film, Padmaavat, which was taken down after the distributor for the film claimed the post infringed on its copyrights. Here is the entirety of his post that was taken down.

02.12.18

Denialists of Patent Trolls Are at It Again

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 6:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Climate change denial
Reference: Climate change denial

Summary: The patent trolls’ lobby (sites like IAM and Watchtroll or Koch-funded scholars) want us to think that patent trolls are just a myth that can be dismissed and ignored; sadly for these lobbyists, underlying facts are not on their side

THE USPTO has just celebrated Thomas Edison as though he was a legendary inventor. He was a patent troll-type businessman who preyed on actual inventors. We last wrote about it yesterday (we had written about that in past years too). The USPTO does itself no favours by using Thomas Edison like some sort of a mascot. He was a patent troll and a predator. Not something for the USPTO to take pride in. IBM then came up with similar celebrations of patent maximalism, not quite noting that IBM presently acts like a patent troll because real business runs dry. IBM threatens litigation, files lawsuits, gives patents to literal trolls, and actively lobbies for software patents.

“IBM threatens litigation, files lawsuits, gives patents to literal trolls, and actively lobbies for software patents.”Seeing that a lot of entities are now being portrayed as trolls, Watchtroll’s Steve Brachmann and Gene Quinn decided to come up with this headline bait (“A Poor History of Wright Brothers Concludes they were Patent Trolls”). Today’s spin from Watchtroll (only hours old) is that tired old canard like “Thomas Edison Was a “Patent Troll” ” by the Koch-funded Mosoff. The headlines may seem attractive (clickbait), but it’s actually hogwash/whitewash of trolls — something that’s an integral part of Mosoff’s career. Watchtroll is, as usual, trying to cheapen or dilute the term “patent trolls” so as to make it meaningless. Nobody ever claimed that the Wright Brothers were patent trolls (here’s Wikipedia’s outline of the Wright brothers patent war) except apologists of patent trolls, who sought to dispel the very existance of such a thing as patent trolls. There’s a whole ‘cargo cult’ which revolves around denial of patent trolling (IAM does this a lot and not too surprisingly it receives a lot of money from trolls). Almost like people who deny global warming/climate change… Donald Trump likex to blame everything on “China!” (including the very discussion of climate change) and the patent microcosm uses “China!” as the excuse for almost everything (we wrote two articles about that on Saturday).

Speaking of China, evidence continues to pile up supporting our hypothesis that China is learning how to use patents — like it does censorship — to ban foreign players. As IAM (a trolls denialist) put it earlier today:

Veeco initiated the conflict in July 2017, telling a US judge that its market leading business in LED manufacturing equipment had been undercut by Chinese competitor AMEC through a combination of IP infringement and state subsidies. The US firm asked SGL Carbon – a common supplier – to stop doing business with its rival, and when the German company refused, it asserted multiple patents against it.

“After damaging injunction awards, US, Chinese & German companies involved in international semiconductor patent dispute bring their battle to an end,” IAM summarised in Twitter. Those aren’t trolls, but their disputes generally serve to show that nobody benefits except lawyers. They must have made a large bundle of cash out of these feuds.

After the 2017 SCOTUS ruling on TC Heartland (action directed primarily at trolls), it may as well be noted, the patent trolls are having a hard time moving patent litigation to places/venues like EDTX. Maybe they’ll try China. As this Docket Report put it the other day:

The court granted defendants’ alternative motion to transfer plaintiff’s patent infringement action for improper venue because defendants did not have a regular and established place of business through their dealerships in the district.

How about this tweet which said: “What is a patent troll in reality? They are speculators. They are market makers. They buy inventions to sell. This frees up inventors to specialise. Not to be a salesman but to create. Yes. Speculators are hated. It is envy. We see them when they make money. Most fail.”

I couldn’t help replying with: “What is a Mafia ‘in reality’? They are speculators. They are market makers. They make threats. We see them when they make money.”

Trying to trivialise trolls isn’t too wise a thing to do. Even SCOTUS uses the word “trolls” to refer to these. It’s not just a myth.

Patent Maximalists Won’t Get Their Way and UPC Will Likely Never Happen (Even After Battistelli)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Max gross weight

Summary: The incautious optimism from the patent ‘industry’, trying to convince us all that expansion of patent scope and litigation would be a boon to innovation, faces growing resistance; contrary to what the patent microcosm is saying, it’s extremely unlikely that the UK and Germany will ratify the Unified Patent Court (UPC), i.e. open the door for patent trolls in Europe

THE EPO, unlike the USPTO, nearly allowed patents on genetics. We say “nearly” because an opposition was recently successful, insinuating likely interpolation/extrapolation to similar patents, pending an appeal to the Boards. Prior to this it had granted patents on seeds and plants, albeit the European authorities intervened and virtually voided these patents overnight. In the US, as we show every weekend, software patents are being voided very rapidly. It looks as though the USPTO carries on granting such patents (based on their latest descriptions here), but courts would not tolerate these. It’s now very rare/unusual for US courts to uphold software patents. We shall continue to supply evidence of this on a regular basis, refuting the misleading marketing pitch of the patent ‘industry’. We’re vastly outnumbered by them in the media/Web, but the facts are on our side.

“So, earlier today the EPO wrote about CPC (not the Communist Party of China).”In Iceland, based on this report from yesterday, there’s a push against patent maximalists; Iceland is apparently not being held hostage by them (just as it’s no hostage of bankers, whom it arrests instead).

From Iceland Review (citing the better known RÚV):

Icelanders hold no patents for geothermal heat utilization methods in Iceland, and have no such patent applications in progress, RÚV reports. However, a number of patents in this sector are already owned by foreign entities and there are 45 additional, foreign-owned patent applications related to geothermal utilization under review at the Icelandic Patent Office even now.

This information was announced at a symposium on intellectual property rights within the geothermal sector that was hosted by the Icelandic Patent Office and the Ministry of Industries and Innovation on Friday. The purpose of the symposium was to urge companies in the geothermal and energy industries to consider the importance of knowledge and ingenuity in their fields, as well as the importance of protecting intellectual property so as to remain competitive in the industry.

So, earlier today the EPO wrote about CPC (not the Communist Party of China). Benoît Battistelli’s latest ‘blog’ post was quickly promoted in Twitter, as usual (warning: epo.org link). They seem to promote his blog more frequently and a lot faster than they promote the ‘news’ of the EPO (typically also just a bunch of quotes from Battistelli, complemented by his latest photo op/s). Benoît Battistelli speaks of “enhancing the quality and efficiency of patent search and examination” (which he destroyed). He has, in practice, harmed the EPO’s reputation and ability to cooperate in good faith. His blog post is titled “Argentina, CPC and the prospect of reinforced cooperation” and it’s about a meeting which we mentioned last week.

“Benoît Battistelli speaks of “enhancing the quality and efficiency of patent search and examination” (which he destroyed).”We carefully check to see if he mentions the UPC. He used to talk a lot about it, but nowadays it’s a rarity. He prefers not to bring the subject, knowing that he failed to make real progress after nearly 8 years at the Office. The UPC, if anything ever came out of this mess, would enable trolls from outside Europe to prey on European companies. SMEs complain about the UPC, but firms like Bristows habitually lie ‘on behalf’ of SMEs. Earlier today a British writer (for a lawyers’ gazette) said that UK-IPO “confirms that the Order on Privileges and Immunities for the Unified Patent Court has been approved by the privy council.”

“UK ratification edges ever closer,” he concluded from that.

“SMEs complain about the UPC, but firms like Bristows habitually lie ‘on behalf’ of SMEs.”There’s nothing new there except a screenshot of some text confirming what happened. But it does not indicate that UPC is imminent (or even UK ratification being imminent). I responded to him with: “Foreign Office of Boris Johnson? Brexit separatist? He won’t let European courts (in other languages) control UK firms…”

Quite frankly if not bluntly, the British government has more urgent things to deal with than this. And to make commitments to European courts at this stage would not only be premature. It’s unrealistic to expect that.

Links 12/2/2018: Linux 4.16 RC1, ZFS Back in Focus

Posted in News Roundup at 4:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Confessions of a Linux lover

    As a French teacher, my best find was Verbiste, the offline French verb conjugation tool. As a cooking enthusiast, the Gourmet Recipe Manager was an adorable little perk.

    And a must-do: download Wine, which runs Windows stuff on Linux.

    Every piece of Microsoft software has a Linux doppelganger. I opened a text document and started typing, as usual… easy-peasy! The good part? The word count and character count appear automatically on the bottom left in the tiny bar at the base of the page, updating with each word I type. Confession: I’ve never liked Times New Roman, somehow. LibreOffice’s Century Schoolbook is much larger, clearer, and just so much more official-looking.

  • Microsoft loves Linux. NBN Co? Not so much

    In 2018, even a company like Microsoft, which once described Linux as a cancer, has no problem dealing with the open source operating system. But NBN Co, the company rolling out Australia’s national broadband network, appears to have issues.

    For Monday’s half-yearly results, anyone who attempted to join the webcast using Linux would have found a disconcerting message confronting them.

    The message read: “We have detected that your operating system does not meet the optimal webinar specifications for listening to and/or viewing webinars.

    “We recommend the following operating systems:Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, and the latest Mac OS X.

  • Server

    • The full-time job of keeping up with Kubernetes

      TL;DR – Unabated 1.xx major “minor” releases of “vanilla” upstream Kubernetes every three months could continue forever. You have to keep up, while also paying close attention to Kubernetes API object versioning. This relentless pace is the key ingredient in Kubernetes’ domination of the distributed infrastructure world.

    • Correctly integrating containers

      Kubernetes supports different ways of making containers and microservices contact each other, from connections with the hardware in the data center to the configuration of load balancers. To ensure communication, the Kubernetes network model does not use Network Address Translation (NAT). All containers receive an IP address for communication with nodes and with each other, without the use of NAT.

      Therefore, you cannot simply set up two Docker hosts with Kubernetes: The network is a distinct layer that you need to configure for Kubernetes. Several solutions currently undergoing rapid development, like Kubernetes itself, are candidates for this job. In addition to bandwidth and latency, integration with existing solutions and security also play a central role. Kubernetes pulls out all stops with the protocols and solutions implemented in Linux.

    • Heptio’s Craig McLuckie On Kubernetes Orchestration’s Start at Google

      Heptio’s co-founder and CEO sits down with ITPro Today and talks about how the Kubernetes orchestration platform got started at Google.

  • Kernel Space

    • diff -u: Adding Encryption To printk()

      A patch from Dan Aloni recently came in to create the option to encrypt printk() output. This would make all dmesg information completely inaccessible to users, including hostile attackers. His idea was that the less information available to hostile users, the better.

      The problem with this, as Steven Rostedt pointed out, was that it was essentially just a way for device makers and Linux distributions to shut out users from meaningfully understanding what their systems were doing. On the other hand, Steven said, he wouldn’t be opposed to including an option like that if a device maker or Linux distribution actually would find it legitimately useful.

    • Linux 4.16-rc1

      Two weeks have passed, -rc1 is out there, and the merge window is thus over.

      I don’t want to jinx anything, but things certainly look a lot better
      than with 4.15. We have no (known) nasty surprises pending, and there
      were no huge issues during the merge window. Fingers crossed that this
      stays fairly calm and sane.

      As usual, I’m only appending my mergelog, because while this is not
      shaping up to be a particularly huge release, none of our recent
      releases have been small enough to describe with the shortlogs I use
      for later rc’s.

      The actual diff is dominated by drivers, and once again the GPU
      patches stand out – this time some AMD GPU header files. Happily, this
      time the bulk of those lines is actually *removal* due to cleanups and
      getting rid of some unused headers.

      But there really is changes all over. Drivers may be the bulk (GPU,
      networking, staging, media, sound, infiniband, scsi and misc smaller
      subsystems), but we have a fair amount of arch updates (spectre and
      meltdown fixes for non-x86 architectures, but also some further x86
      work, and just general arch updates). And there’s networking,
      filesystem updates, documentation, tooling..

      There’s a little bit for everybody, in other words.

      Go out and test,

      Linus

    • Linux 4.16-rc1 Kernel Released With Many Changes

      Just like clockwork, the first release candidate of Linux 4.16 is now available.

      Linux 4.16-rc1 was tagged just minutes ago and remains under the “Fearless Coyote” codename that has been happening for several cycles now. Over the Linux v4.15 stable release, the Linux 4.16 merge window up to RC1 brings 11340 files changed, 491295 insertions(+), 305085 deletions(-). Yes, that’s another hearty merge window.

      To learn about all of the changes for this next kernel version, see my thorough Linux 4.16 feature overview that I finished up this morning. Linux 4.16 is bringing a lot more work on Spectre/Meltdown mitigation, AMDGPU DC multi-display synchronization, better Intel Cannonlake support, VirtualBox Guest Driver is now mainline, many CPU/scalability improvements, AMD SEV encrypted virtualization support for KVM, file-system improvements, new ARM board support, and a wide range of other improvements as outlined in the aforelinked article.

    • A Look At The Plethora Of Linux 4.16 Kernel Features & Changes

      After the lengthy Linux 4.15 kernel cycle, the past two weeks have marked the Linux 4.16 merge window. Yet again it’s been another heavy feature period for the kernel. There is still a lot of mitigation work going on for most CPU architectures surrounding Spectre and also Meltdown, the open-source graphics drivers have continued getting better, various CPU improvements are present, the VirtualBox Guest driver was mainlined, and dozens of other notable changes for Linux 4.16. Take a look.

      Here’s our usual kernel feature overview from our original reporting the past two weeks in closely monitoring the Linux kernel mailing list and Git repository. Linus Torvalds is expected to mark the end of the merge window today by releasing Linux 4.16-rc1.

    • Razer doesn’t care about Linux

      Razer is a vendor that makes high-end gaming hardware, including laptops, keyboards and mice. I opened a ticket with Razor a few days ago asking them if they wanted to support the LVFS project by uploading firmware and sharing the firmware update protocol used. I offered to upstream any example code they could share under a free license, or to write the code from scratch given enough specifications to do so. This is something I’ve done for other vendors, and doesn’t take long as most vendor firmware updaters all do the same kind of thing; there are only so many ways to send a few kb of data to USB devices. The fwupd project provides high-level code for accessing USB devices, so yet-another-update-protocol is no big deal. I explained all about the LVFS, and the benefits it provided to a userbase that is normally happy to vote using their wallet to get hardware that’s supported on the OS of their choice.

    • Project crowdfunds effort to bring Allwinner VPU support to the Linux kernel

      Free Electrons changed its name to Bootlin, and funded a Kickstarter campaign to bring support for the Allwinner VPU to the Linux kernel, building upon earlier work done in collaboration with the Linux Sunxi community called sunxi-cedrus.

      It’s been a long hard slog to improve Linux support on Allwinner’s ARM-based SoCs, and now a French development firm called Bootlin wants to plug in the last piece of the puzzle. Bootlin has successfully crowdfunded a project to upstream support for the Allwinner video processing unit (VPU) into the Linux kernel. Over $30,000 has been raised on Kickstarter — well over the $21,566 goal — and there are 37 days left to expand the project on its way to a completion goal of June.

    • ZFS for Linux

      ZFS remains one of the most technically advanced and feature-complete filesystems since it appeared in October 2005. Code for Sun’s original Zettabyte File System was released under the CDDL open-source license, and it has since become a standard component of FreeBSD and slowly migrated to various BSD brethren, while maintaining a strong hold over the descendants of OpenSolaris, including OpenIndiana and SmartOS.

      Oracle is the owner and custodian of ZFS, and it’s in a peculiar position with respect to Linux filesystems. Btrfs, the main challenger to ZFS, began development at Oracle, where it is a core component of Oracle Linux, despite stability issues Red Hat’s recent decision to deprecate Btrfs likely introduces compatibility and support challenges for Oracle’s Linux road map. Oracle obviously has deep familiarity with the Linux filesystem landscape, having recently released “dedup” patches for XFS. ZFS is the only filesystem option that is stable, protects your data, is proven to survive in most hostile environments and has a lengthy usage history with well understood strengths and weaknesses.

    • Oracle Still Working On DTrace For Linux In 2018

      A decade ago Linux users were clamoring for Sun Microsystems to bring Solaris’ DTrace and ZFS to Linux. While there are still petitions for Oracle to more liberally license ZFS so it could see mainline Linux support, it’s been years since hearing much interest in DTrace for Linux. Over time other dynamic tracing implementations have come about and improved in comparison to DTrace, but for those still wanting this dynamic tracing framework that originated at Sun Microsystems, Oracle remains working on the Linux port.

    • Linus Torvalds Kicks Off Linux 4.16 Development with More Spectre/Meltdown Fixes

      Linux creator Linus Torvalds has kicked off the development of the next major kernel branch, Linux 4.16, with the first release candidate build, giving users a first look at the new changes.

      It’s been two weeks since the release of the Linux 4.15 kernel series, the first to come with the complete set of patches against the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities that affect billions of devices, but only for x86 and PowerPC (PPC) architectures, which means that the merge window for Linux kernel 4.16 is now closed.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDVLK Driver Updated With New Extension, Better Geometry Shader Support

        The AMD developers working on their official, cross-platform Vulkan driver have carried out another weekly update to their AMDVLK public source tree.

        This week the updates to the AMDVLK open-source driver are fairly interesting. First up there is now VK_EXT_external_memory_host support. Coincidentally, this week RADV also wired in this extension. EXT_external_memory_host is used for importing host allocations and host-mapped foreign device memory to become Vulkan memory objects.

      • Selectable Platform Support Proposed Again For Intel’s DRM Driver

        It seems like every few years or so comes a patch series proposing to allow the Intel DRM driver to limit its platform support in the name of saving a few bytes from the kernel build. This week the latest “selectable platform support” patches are out there.

      • Google & Collabora Working On OpenGL ES 2.0 Virtualized GPU Access For Containers

        Robert Foss of Collabora has shared some work they are engaged in with Google for virtualizing GPU access and allowing for OpenGL ES 2.0 acceleration for containers.

      • Wayland 1.15 & Weston 4.0 Now Planned For Release In April

        Wayland 1.15 and the Weston 4.0 compositor had been planned for release in February but Wayland developers decided there was still enough material on the verge of landing that they decided to delay the release. A new release schedule has now been put forward for getting these updates out in April.

        Derek Foreman of the Samsung OSG has stepped up to manage this revised Wayland 1.15 / Weston 4.0 release. Now that the “high priority” work has been merged, Derek is ready to move on with wrangling the release.

      • Xorgproto 2018.2 Released To Fix The Fallout Of This New X.Org Package

        Last week marked the inaugural release of Xorgproto, a new package consisting of all the X.Org protocol headers rather than being in standalone packages now that X.Org Server development is slowing down and that many of these protocol headers wind up getting updated at the same time. Today marks the Xorgproto 2018.2 release.

      • 34 More Patches Roll Out For AMDGPU DC With Raven Ridge Fixes Plus Color Management

        Open-source AMD Linux driver developers have started off the week by posting 34 more patches for the “DC” display code stack that was mainlined in Linux 4.15 and further improved with Linux 4.16. With these latest patches that begin the queue for Linux 4.17 there are yet more AMDGPU DC improvements and in particular Raven Ridge fixes.

      • Freedreno Gallium3D Tackling NIR Optimizations & More In 2018

        Freedreno project leader Rob Clark who is employed by Red Hat has provided a status update on his activities around this reverse-engineered, open-source Qualcomm Adreno graphics driver.

      • AMD’s first Ryzen Desktop APUs with Vega graphics are now available

        AMD has announced today the worldwide release of their first Ryzen Desktop APUs with Vega graphics, could be an interesting choice for low-cost Linux gaming.

    • Benchmarks

      • OpenBenchmarking.org Serves Up Its 29 Millionth Test/Suite Benchmark Download
      • Amazon EC2 Cloud Compute Performance: December vs. February

        For those wondering how Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) performance is now after being mitigated for the recent Spectre and Meltdown CPU vulnerabilities, here are benchmarks of five Linux distributions comparing the performance to last December prior to the Linux kernel mitigations coming about to now.

        Back in mid-December I carried out a six-way Amazon EC2 cloud comparison following the recent of Amazon Linux 2. Having those results and the reproducibility and automation of the Phoronix Test Suite, I re-ran those tests on the five Linux distributions for seeing how the performance of these Linux platforms have evolved since December.

      • EPYC vs. Xeon Gold In Nearly 200 Tests With Ubuntu On Linux 4.15

        Coming later today is a large Intel/AMD CPU comparison using the latest Linux 4.15 stable kernel that is mitigated for Spectre and Meltdown and using around two dozen tests. For the high-end Xeon Gold and EPYC servers, I ran close to 200 tests on those platforms.

        A few days back was the Core i9 vs. Threadripper tests with a similar quantity of Linux benchmarks being run while this morning are the numbers for the dual Xeon Gold 6138 CPUs versus the EPYC 7601, AMD’s current top-end Zen server processor. These are the two highest-end server configurations I have available for testing at the moment. With the dual Xeon Gold 6138 CPUs it’s a 40 core / 80 thread total while the single EPYC 7601 is 32 core / 64 thread, as a reminder.

      • 19-Way CPU Comparison On Ubuntu With Linux 4.15

        Following the release of the Linux 4.15 kernel with KPTI and Retpoline introduction, many Phoronix readers were interested in seeing a fresh Linux CPU performance comparison. For those reasons plus in preparing for the Raven Ridge testing, here are benchmarks of 19 different systems when using Ubuntu x86_64 with the Linux 4.15 stable kernel.

        An assortment of 19 different systems from old to new and from low-end to high-end were tested, ranging from old AMD A10 Kaveri APUs to the high-end AMD EPYC 7601 server processor, with a similar breadth of CPUs tested on the Intel side. Again, these tests are mostly being done for reference purposes. And in the days ahead will be a larger low-end-focused CPU comparison for the upcoming Ryzen 3 2200G / Ryzen 5 2400G Linux benchmarking.

      • Ryzen 3 2200G + Ryzen 5 2400G Linux Benchmarks Coming Tomorrow

        Tomorrow I will be posting our initial benchmarks of the Ryzen 3 2200G and Ryzen 5 2400G “Raven Ridge” APUs with the Zen CPU cores plus Vega graphics.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • February release of the Plasma5 Desktop for Slackware

        Yesterday, I uploaded my Febrary’18 release of Plasma 5 packages for Slackware-current. The KDE-5_18.02 release contains: KDE Frameworks 5.43.0, Plasma 5.12.0 and Applications 17.12.2. All based on Qt 5.9.4 and exclusive for Slackware–current because as explained in a previous post, I stopped providing regular Plasma 5 version updates for Slackware 14.2 (only security updates).

      • KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS Released : Here’s What’s New

        KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS is the second long-term support release from the Plasma 5 team. We have been working hard, focusing on speed and stability for this release. Boot time to desktop has been improved by reviewing the code for anything which blocks execution. The team has been triaging and fixing bugs in every aspect of the codebase, tidying up artwork, removing corner cases, and ensuring cross-desktop integration. For the first time, we offer our Wayland integration on long-term support, so you can be sure we will continue to provide bug fixes and improvements to the Wayland experience.

      • Rendering issues and the power of open source

        After a long time of constant distraction by my daily work, I finally found again a bit time to take care of KTextEditor/Kate/… issues.

        One thing that really started to be an itch I wanted to scratch is some rendering fault that occur with ‘special’ font sizes.

      • KDE launches updated Slimbook II Linux laptops with faster Intel Core processors

        A little more than a year ago, Linux developers KDE and a Spanish hardware manufacturer joined forces to offer the KDE Slimbook, a 13.3-inch laptop running a Ubuntu-based OS with mid-range specs and a mid-range price. Now KDE is back with the Slimbook II, which, like many notebook sequels, is a little bit faster, a little bit thinner, and a little bit lighter than its predecessor.

      • Last Weeks Activity in Elisa

        Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

        We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

      • Linus Announces Linux 4.16 rc, KDE’s New Slimbook II, Damn Cool Editor Project and More

        KDE announced its new Slimbook last week. The new Slimbook II “comes with a choice between an Intel i5: 2.5 GHz Turbo Boost 3.1 GHz – 3M Cache CPU, or an Intel i7: 2.7 GHz Turbo Boost 3.5 GHz with a 4M Cache. This makes the KDE Slimbook II 15% faster on average than its predecessor. The RAM has also been upgraded, and the KDE Slimbook now sports 4, 8, or 16 GBs of DDR4 RAM which is 33% faster than the DDR3 RAM installed on last year’s model.”

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Tweaks 3.28 Progress Report 2

        GNOME 3.28 has reached its 3.27.90 milestone. This milestone is important because it means that GNOME is now at API Freeze, Feature Freeze, and UI Freeze. From this point on, GNOME shouldn’t change much, but that’s good because it allows for distros, translators, and documentation writers to prepare for the 3.28 release. It also gives time to ensure that new feature are working correctly and as many important bugs as possible are fixed. GNOME 3.28 will be released in approximately one month.

  • Distributions

    • MX Linux 17: An upgraded distro made for beginners

      There are tons of operating systems coming out all the time, from free laptop systems like EasyPeasy to Manjaro, Mandriva, and Kubuntu. But all of them have their share of kinks.

      Naturally, many of us are scared of change, and not everyone is an early adopter when it comes to these kinds of things. While operating systems like MacOS and Chrome OS still claim larger market shares in 2018, it bears mentioning that newer operating systems have a lot to offer.

    • Reviews

      • Review: Linspire 7.0

        Linspire 7 is a solid distribution and one I would recommend to friends and family. Coming from a Windows, openSUSE, ChromeOS and CloudReady background I pretty much knew what to expect. There is nothing that seriously stands out with Linspire to make me say WOW save its stability, easy of use and compatibility. I had several older devices and newer devices that I wasn’t expecting to work and they did. Would this bring me around to switching? Absolutely. ChromeOS is a serious mess and CloudReady doesn’t support one of my laptops anymore. Its easier to configure than openSUSE with YAST and its a straightforward solution. I would recommend this for old folk like me and for small businesses who need a cheap and neat solution. One of the many things I like in this Linspire vs the old Linspire is that this one is more close knit with the Linux apps and doesn’t have many proprietary-to-them applications. I do miss Click and Run. A few criticisms I do have is that some of the documentation is a little techy and novices would get lost easy. I would work with and get a better bug reporting system. Overall I am enjoying the experience and like I said, solid, stable and affordable. I definitely will keep this and Windows 10 around for a long time.

        I want to thank PC/Opensystems for bringing Linspire back to us and I would like to thank Medium.com for hosting this review.

      • What’s New in Linux Lite 3.8

        Linux Lite 3.8 has been released by Linux Lite developer Jerry Bezencon, It’s the final release of Linux Lite 3.x series. This release brings various package updates and improvements, include implementation of the TLP power management tool for laptops in the Lite Tweaks utility, better support for the LibreOffice office suite, a new font viewer and installer, and regional support for DVDs.

        Linux Lite 3.8 also ships with Xfce 4.12 series as default desktop environment, powered by the Linux 4.4.0-112 kernel from Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), features Google-based search page as default homepage in the Mozilla Firefox web browser. Inludes the New Lite Tweaks, New Lite Welcome, New Lite Help Manual, New Lite Upgrade and New Wallpapers.

      • EzeeLinux Show 18.8 | A look at elementary OS and KDE Neon
      • Review: Solus 3 and the Budgie desktop

        Solus is an independent, rolling release distribution. Solus’s design is mostly aimed at home users who want a friendly desktop operating system. The distribution is available in three editions (Budgie, GNOME and MATE) and runs on 64-bit x86 computers exclusively. Each edition’s installation media is approximately 1.2GB in size.

        The project’s latest release is Solus 3 which features support for Snap packages as well as more traditional packages managed by Solus’s eopkg package manager, which is a fork of the PiSi package manager. There were many tweaks in this release with a number of improvements made to the application menu and searches. The Budgie edition also includes the ability to place the desktop panel on any of the four sides of the screen. There are more changes and tweaks listed, with accompanying screen shots, in the project’s release announcement.

        One of the reasons I wanted to try out Solus 3 and do it now is because I typically test rolling release distributions immediately after a new snapshot has been released. Solus 3 was made available back in August of 2017 and I was curious to see how well the distribution would handle being rolled forward several months and what changes might be visible between the August snapshot and Solus’s current packages.

        I decided to try out the Budgie edition of Solus. Booting from the Solus live media brings up the Budgie desktop with a panel placed along the bottom of the screen. The panel houses an application menu, task switcher and system tray. On the desktop we find a single icon for launching the project’s system installer. I did not see any welcome screen or encounter any immediate issues so I jumped straight into the installer.

    • New Releases

      • Community Editions 17.1.4 [Cinnamon, Deepin, i3]

        We are happy to announce our new snapshot release 17.1.4.
        New install media are available of course for the official flavours XFCE, KDE and GNOME but as usual, will also be made available for a number of Community Editions.

        Currently already available are Cinnamon, Deepin and i3:

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • LinuxAndUbuntu Distro Review Of PCLinuxOS

        ​I have reviewed a very good Linux distribution that I first used full-time as opposed to just playing around with it 8 years ago. You could say that I was suckled on it so to speak. What attracted me to PCLinuxOS distribution was mainly how simple to use it was. They released a new ISO to download in November so I decided to give this release a go.

    • Slackware Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • pgpcontrol 2.6

        This is the legacy bundle of Usenet control message signing and verification tools, distributed primarily via ftp.isc.org (which hasn’t updated yet as I write this). You can see the files for the current release at archives.eyrie.org.

        This release adds support for using gpg for signature verification, provided by Thomas Hochstein, since gpgv may no longer support insecure digest algorithms.

      • Derivatives

        • Seven Days with Elive 2.9.26 (Beta)

          If there is a distro release that I have been waiting for, that is surely Elive 3.0.

          I had Elive 2.9.8 Beta installed, so I used the same partition for this upgrade. After downloading the image of this new beta (2.9.26) and copying it to a USB drive with ROSA image writer, I was ready to test it. I wanted to see if this distro is OK for a rather non-technical Linux user like me, who has not used the Enlightenment DE regularly. I also wanted to see its Japanese IME capabilities.

          When I installed version 2.9.8, I encountered a frustrating problem: There is an issue with my graphic card. The distro booted correctly, but, when I installed it, the DE froze and complained about Enlightenment crashing because of a module problem. However, one can circumvent this by booting the distro using the “graphics problems” option, so, after it is installed, Elive works perfectly. Although the Elive installer bypassed that situation this time because it remembered my settings (awesome!), Megatotoro, who performed a clean install, was not that lucky and stumbled with the issue.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Invites Ubuntu Linux Users to Test Video Playback in Ubuntu 18.04 LTS

            While Canonical already implemented hardware-accelerated video playback support for Intel CPUs in the current release of the operating system, Ubuntu 17.10 (Artful Aardvark), it would appear that plan on extending it to other types of processors, display servers, and video players.

            In a recent call for testing, Canonical urges those who are already running the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system on their personal computers to test the video playback performance with apps like MPV or Totem (GNOME Videos), as well as the Wayland or Xorg display servers, and report any issues.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • GitHub reveals open source project trends for 2018

    GitHub has released a report with statistics on the types of projects the GitHub community collaborated on from September 2016 to September 2017.

    Last year, 24 million people from over 200 different countries worked together on GitHub to code better and build bigger.

    From frameworks to data visualisations across more than 25 million repositories, the activity picked up more this year.

  • Two decades on, open source still brings the world together

    On Feb. 3, 1998, a few weeks after the announcement, a group of leading software developers who included Eric Raymond, Jon Hall and Michael Tiemann, among others, met to strategize how they could continue the momentum of the news. At the meeting’s close, the group agreed upon “open source” as the label for the movement.

  • Nextcloud Talk: video conferencing the open way

    For instant messaging I’ve been primarily using Telegram. I think it’s a good compromise between openness and features and mass adoption. It can also do encrypted audio calls, but it can’t do video calls and audio/video conferences of multiple people.

  • Are you an open-sorcerer or free software warrior? Let us do battle

    The Open Source Initiative, a non-profit that advocates for open-source software and coined the term, celebrates its 20th anniversary this month. It’s difficult to conceive of where the internet, indeed the world, would be today were it not for open-source software and, perhaps more importantly, the free software movement that preceded it and continues to promote free software today.

    The difference between free and open-source software is at this point largely moot, save for deep philosophical differences that don’t matter much to anyone outside a very small community of thinkers.

    You can read an entertaining history of the Open Source Initiative here at The Reg. Here’s my extremely foreshortened version: Open-source software is of course what happened to the free software movement when, to borrow a phrase from 1980s punk rock, the suits showed up.

  • An open source Instagram desktop photo uploader

    One of my tasks at my new communications job is to re-activate and improve our social media channels. I’ve used Twitter and Facebook for many years, so that was easy. Now, I need to work on Instagram.

    I’ve never really been into Instagram (or Pinterest), but I needed to learn and start Instagramming. I had a few pictures from a recent event, and I was all set to upload them onto Instagram from my Windows 10 desktop, but Instagram is a mobile-driven application. I couldn’t find an upload button on the browser; I tried Chrome, Firefox, and Brave. Hmmm. OK. Let’s try the Microsoft Store and install the handy app. Uh-oh, same problem.

  • 8 open source drone projects

    Over the past few years, interest in civilian, military, and commercial drones has grown rapidly, which has also driven the maker community’s interest in open source drone projects.

    The list of unmanned aerial devices (UAVs) that fit the moniker of drone seems to be constantly expanding. These days, the term seems to encompass everything from what is essentially a cheap, multi-bladed toy helicopter, all the way up to custom-built soaring machines with incredibly adept artificial intelligence capabilities.

  • Events

    • Visit Combined Booths at SCaLE 16X, Save $ With Promo Code

      People who register between now and the event can get a 50 percent discount on their standard registration price using the promo codes SUSE, GNOME or KDE50.

    • Fosdem 2018 – and a very little roundup

      Since Mageia was born, FOSDEM has been a very important event for us. Six times we had a booth and our General Assembly during the event, we’ve always had a Mageia dinner and there were always more ways to enjoy meeting one another.

      This blog post was almost not written, though, because until less than a week before FOSDEM, it was only sure of one council member, akien, that he’d be there. However, he’d mainly be there for another really nice project, the Godot Engine. Apart from that, our application for a stand was turned down (again).

      Six days before FOSDEM, names started to get added to our FOSDEM 2018 Wiki page. One day later, it became certain that ennael would be at FOSDEM and on Wednesday, the number of council members who’d go increased from 2 to 4. It was only after that, that we tried to find volunteers to help organise various ways to meet one another in Brussels.

    • FOSDEM 2018

      The GNOME Foundation advisory board meeting was happening on Friday the 2nd so I travelled to Brussels on Thursday. Years ago, there were two train routes from Strasbourg to Brussels: the direct one was using slow trains, through a large part of Belgium and Luxembourg, and took a bit more than 5 hours; the other one meant taking a TGV from Strasbourg to Paris (~2 hours), changing stations (5 minutes walk from Gare de l’Est to Gare du Nord) and taking a Thalys to Brussels (~2 hours). I was pleased to learn that there was now a direct TGV route. Even if the announced time of 3 hours and 50 minutes was only a tiny bit shorter than the indirect one, the confort of a journey with no connection adds real value. Of course I wasn’t expecting a direct route to go through the Charles de Gaulle airport train station, but well… still better than the alternative! This nice journey was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Foundation.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Beware the looming Google Chrome HTTPS certificate apocalypse!

        Thanks to a decision in September by Google to stop trusting Symantec-issued SSL/TLS certs, from mid-April Chrome browser users visiting websites using a certificate from the security biz issued before June 1, 2016 or after December 1, 2017 will be warned that their connection is not private and someone may be trying to steal their information. They will have to click past the warning to get to the website.

        This will also affect certs that use Symantec as their root of trust even if they were issued by an intermediate organization. For example, certificates handed out by Thawte, GeoTrust, and RapidSSL that rely on Symantec will be hit by Google’s crackdown. If in doubt, check your cert’s root certificate authority to see if it’s Symantec or not.

    • Mozilla

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • ZFS vs. OpenZFS

      You’ve probably heard us say a mix of “ZFS” and “OpenZFS” and an explanation is long-overdue. Our Senior Analyst clears up what ZFS and OpenZFS refer to and how they differ.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC Lands s390 Compiler-Side Changes For Spectre V2

      Landing a few days ago for the Linux 4.16 kernel merge window was IBM z / s390 mitigation work for Spectre while now the necessary compiler-side changes are also present for the upcoming GCC 8 stable release.

      Landing this week in the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) code-base was the s390 architecture specific code for disabling prediction of indirect branches as part of its Spectre Variant Two work on IBM Z.

  • Public Services/Government

    • EOH acquires LSD IT to lead open source works in Africa

      JSE-listed information and communication technology (ICT) multinational EOH has acquired Linux-focused enterprise open-source technology company LSD Information Technology (IT) to lead its open-source offerings in Africa.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Bruce Perens wants to anti-SLAPP Grsecurity’s Brad Spengler with $670,000 in legal bills

      Having defeated a defamation claim for speculating that using Grsecurity’s Linux kernel hardening code may expose you to legal risk under the terms of the GPLv2 license, Bruce Perens is back in court.

      This time, he’s demanding Bradley Spengler – who runs Open Source Security Inc and develops Grsecurity – foots his hefty legal bills, after Spengler failed to successfully sue Perens for libel.

      Perens, a noted figure in the open source community, and his legal team from O’Melveny & Myers LLP – as they previously told The Register – want to be awarded attorneys’ fees under California’s anti-SLAPP statute, a law designed to deter litigation that aims to suppress lawful speech.

      That deterrence takes the form of presenting unsuccessful litigants with the bill for the cost of defending against meritless claims.

    • Bruce Perens Wants to Anti-SLAPP GRSecurity’s Brad Spengler With $670,000 in Legal Bills [Ed: Many comments here, some of them good]
    • Open Source Audits in Merger and Acquisition Transactions: Get the Free Ebook

      Haddad also notes that open source audits can expose obligations. “Open source licenses usually impose certain obligations that must be fulfilled when code is distributed,” he notes. “One example is the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL), which requires derivatives or combinations to be made available under the same license as well. Other licenses require certain notices in documentation or have restrictions for how the product is promoted.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Remember The EOMA68 Computer Card Project? It Hopes To Ship This Year

        The EOMA68 computer card project is the open-source hardware effort that aims to be Earth-friendly and allow for interchangeable computer cards that can be installed in laptop housings and other devices. The ambitious concept relying upon ARM SoCs raised more than $170k USD via crowdfunding in 2016 but its lineage dates back to the failed Improv dev board as well as the failed KDE Vivaldi tablet years earlier. It turns out in 2018 there is hope of EOMA68 hardware finally shipping.

        Luke Kenneth Casson Leighton, the main person behind the EOMA68 Libre Laptop project and EOMA68-A20 computer card, continues work on this effort. He spoke last weekend at FOSDEM 2018 about these efforts.

  • Programming/Development

    • SFXR Qt

      As I mentioned in my previous article about adding sounds to Pixel Wheels, I started yet-another side project: SFXR Qt. This is a QtQuick port of SFXR, a retro sound-effect generator by DrPetter.

    • A Look Back At Python 3.0 After 10 Years

      This year marks one decade since the release of Python 3. Red Hat’s Victor Stinner who is also a CPython core developer provided a retrospective on Python 3 at last week’s FOSDEM conference.

      It’s been 10 years since Python 3 came about with its language changes and in 2018, there are still programs being made compatible with Python 3. Python 2.7 continues to be maintained until 2020.

    • Due to Oracle being Oracle, Eclipse holds poll to rename Java EE (No, it won’t be Java McJava Face)

      Unable to convince Oracle to allow the use of its trademarked term “Java” to refer to the open source version of Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE), the Eclipse Foundation is asking those who care about such things to vote on proposed names for the software project.

      Last summer, Oracle said it had begun working with the Eclipse Foundation and the Java EE community to transfer its Java EE code and governance responsibilities to the foundation.

      But Oracle is not giving up its intellectual property rights in the name “Java.” And so for the past few months, the Java EE community has been puzzling over how to refer to the open source version of Java EE.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Tiny engine powered by demixing fluid

      An international team of researchers has developed a tiny, liquid-based engine powered by a demixing fluid. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group describes their little engine and possible uses for it.

      The engine is essentially a tiny sphere orbiting a laser beam in a liquid solution. The sphere in the experiments was extremely tiny (2.48 micrometers in diameter) and made of iron oxide and silica. The liquid solution was a mixture of water and lutidine. The two ingredients were important, because together, they formed a critical liquid mixture that would separate at a desired temperature. In this case, separation occurred when its temperature warmed to approximately 34 degrees C.

    • New process allows 3-D printing of nanoscale metal structures

      For the first time, it is possible to create complex nanoscale metal structures using 3-D printing, thanks to a new technique developed at Caltech.

      The process, once scaled up, could be used in a wide variety of applications, from building tiny medical implants to creating 3-D logic circuits on computer chips to engineering ultralightweight aircraft components. It also opens the door to the creation of a new class of materials with unusual properties that are based on their internal structure. The technique is described in a study that will be published in Nature Communications on February 9.

    • Let’s Not Forget the ‘science’ in ‘computer Science’

      The reason this trend is harmful to the field is that it turns computing science into computer and systems programming, while the latter are just our tools as computer scientists. While systems and software engineering are noble causes—and very stimulating and challenging at that—the science must also progress and it won’t if we ignore it. Solutions to major problems should not all be approached by finding some ‘approximate’ solution. Computer science has always been partly a science and partly an engineering discipline, so while many can do both, some of us should surely keep working on the science.

    • First fish to have evolved with the ability to walk never left the ocean!

      According to a recent research published in Cell, the ability to walk originated much earlier than thought previously. Some of the very first sea creatures who were able to walk stayed in the oceans, and never came out. They didn’t make most of their evolutionary advantage, suggests the study.

      The research is based on a genetic analysis of the brain cells of the little skate fish (Leucoraja erinacea), one of the most primitive animals with a backbone.

    • Predictive algorithms are no better at telling the future than a crystal ball

      An increasing number of businesses invest in advanced technologies that can help them forecast the future of their workforce and gain a competitive advantage.

      Many analysts and professional practitioners believe that, with enough data, algorithms embedded in People Analytics (PA) applications can predict all aspects of employee behavior: from productivity, to engagement, to interactions and emotional states.

  • Hardware

    • Apple is the Richest Tech Company in the World and their fall in Software Quality is Inexcusable

      On January 30th Patently Apple posted a report titled “Apple’s SVP of Software is applying the Brakes on a String of iOS Features and rescheduling them for 2019.” Now a new report elaborates by stating that Apple’s software team will have more time to work on new features and focus on under-the-hood refinements without being tied to a list of new features annually simply so the company can tout a massive year-over-year leap, people familiar with the situation say. The renewed focus on quality is designed to make sure the company can fulfill promises made each summer at the annual developers conference and that new features work reliably and as advertised. While that sounds reasonable, You have to wonder why the richest company in the world can’t handle the work load anymore for iOS. Is Apple’s SVP of software not up to the task?

    • Raven Ridge Desktop APUs Come Out Tomorrow, The Likely Linux Requirements

      In terms of likely Linux requirements, you will need to be using at least the Linux 4.15 kernel that was released in January. Raven Ridge display support like the RX Vega GPUs is implemented only with AMDGPU DC, so it places a requirement at least of Linux 4.15 for having mainline AMDGPU DC support. By using Linux 4.15 you can also have Zen temperature monitoring support (assuming no offsets or other driver adjustments are needed for these new desktop APUs) and all around good support plus Spectre protection.

    • Qualcomm warns of customer losses, legal hazards to Broadcom buyout

      Qualcomm Inc warned on Friday it could lose two large clients if it accepted chipmaker Broadcom Ltd’s revised $121 billion buyout offer and said it saw no path to regulatory approval of any deal.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water – like Cape Town

      Cape Town is in the unenviable situation of being the first major city in the modern era to face the threat of running out of drinking water.

      However, the plight of the drought-hit South African city is just one extreme example of a problem that experts have long been warning about – water scarcity.

      Despite covering about 70% of the Earth’s surface, water, especially drinking water, is not as plentiful as one might think. Only 3% of it is fresh.

      Over one billion people lack access to water and another 2.7 billion find it scarce for at least one month of the year. A 2014 survey of the world’s 500 largest cities estimates that one in four are in a situation of “water stress”

      According to UN-endorsed projections, global demand for fresh water will exceed supply by 40% in 2030, thanks to a combination of climate change, human action and population growth.

      It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that Cape Town is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are the other 11 cities most likely to run out of water.

    • In India, Stakeholders Drive Down Drug Prices for the Benefit of All

      Clusters of people stand everywhere – on the lawn, at the main gate, crowding the base of the stairways – at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences in Rohtak, a mid-sized city in the northern Indian state of Haryana, about 50 miles northwest of New Delhi. Ailing patients swaddled in wool shawls and patterned blankets linger with their families, some having traveled hundreds of miles from their villages to see a qualified doctor. Many of them are carrying rectangular plastic bags filled with test results and prescriptions in a language they do not speak.

      Parveen Malhotra, a doctor and the officer heading one of the main treatment centers located at the facility, known locally as PGI Rohtak, strides through the crowd and makes his way to his office inside the hospital. He knows that many in the crowd are suffering from Hepatitis C.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • We asked, you voted: 89 percent said no to Trump’s military parade

      As the Pentagon continues to work on parade options to present to President Donald Trump, an overwhelming number of Military Times readers have weighed in: Don’t have one.

      The informal poll was launched Wednesday after news reports that Trump had requested a military parade and that the Pentagon was working on parade options for him.

    • Robert O’Neill, Navy Seal who killed Bin Laden, slams Trump parade

      The retired U.S. Navy Seal credited with shooting al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden in a 2011 raid called President Trump’s plan for a military parade “third world bulls***”.

      “We prepare. We deter. We fight. Stop this conversation,” Robert O’Neill said on Twitter this week.

      O’Neill, a Trump supporter, then said in a tweet Friday, “I simply think a parade is a bad idea. And I used locker room talk….”

      O’Neill told The Washington Post in an interview in 2014 that he fired the two shots that killed the mastermind of the 9/11 terror attacks. One current and one former SEAL confirmed O’Neill’s story of the raid to the Associated Press.

    • Vox’s US Government-Linked Experts Present Options for Korea: Sanctions or War

      Vox produced a flashy, extremely hawkish video fearmongering about the likelihood of a second Korean War—and all the experts featured in it just so happen to work for the United States government.

      For the description under the six-minute video, which is dramatically titled “The Horrific Reality of a War With North Korea,” Vox wrote: “Five experts discuss what a war on the Korean peninsula would look like, how close we are to conflict, and the terrifying consequences.”

    • [Older] Another Long War Unfolds in Syria

      The war in Syria should be ending. The Islamic State has lost all the territory it seized in 2014. The Syrian army, backed by Russia and Iran, has confined other anti-government rebels to besieged pockets in the south, on the eastern outskirts of Damascus and in the northwest. Opposition hopes of removing Syrian President Bashar al Assad have vanished. But the war refuses to die. It just takes new forms.

      The latest phase has little to do with Syria, apart from the fact that it’s taking place there. The antagonists are Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the United States, which has declared a post-Islamic State mission that will keep American advisers and their local surrogates in Syria for years to come. The mission calls for the United States to train, arm and advise a 30,000-strong, mostly Kurdish border security force. Following the announcement of the project Jan. 14, Erdogan pledged “to strangle it before it’s even born.” He has moved Turkish military units to the border and launched artillery shells at Kurdish positions in their western enclave of Afrin.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Wikileaks investigation a ‘very, very grave threat’ to press freedom

      Late Thursday, The Washington Post reported that the Department of Justice is reconsidering whether to file charges against Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange, for publishing classified government documents.

      Potential charges against Assange and other members of Wikileaks could include conspiracy, theft of government property, and charges under the Espionage Act, according to the Post.

      Any prosecution of Wikileaks could have broad consequences for more mainstream media outlets, according to experts who spoke with ThinkProgress. And while there are legal precedents to protect journalists, the law is far from settled.

      In an interview with CNN on Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions dodged a question about whether prosecuting Wikileaks would put mainstream media outlets at risk.

    • The UK’s Hidden Role in Assange’s Detention

      It now emerges that the last four years of Julian Assange’s effective imprisonment in the Ecuadorean embassy in London have been entirely unnecessary. In fact, they depended on a legal charade.

      Behind the scenes, Sweden wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case.

    • UK lawyers lobbied Swedes to press on with Assange extradition

      A lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service appeared to lobby Swedish prosecutors to keep extradition proceedings against Julian Assange active, according to an email exchange.

      The chief prosecutor in Stockholm was accused of “cold feet” amid rumours that the sexual assault case against Mr Assange would be dropped more than four years ago, according to the emails released as part of an Information Commission tribunal.

    • UK prosecutors pressed Sweden not to drop Assange extradition in 2013 – report

      Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) dissuaded Sweden from attempting to drop extradition proceedings against Julian Assange as far back as 2013, according to an email exchange seen by the Guardian.

      The newspaper reports Swedish prosecutors were keen to drop the proceedings against the WikiLeaks founder in 2013, four years before they officially did in 2017. During the exchange between the Swedish director of public prosecutions, Marianne Ny, and an unnamed, since retired, CPS lawyer in charge of the case, Ny said that: “There is a demand in Swedish law for coercive measures to be proportionate.”

      “The time passing, the costs and how severe the crime is to be taken into account together with the intrusion or detriment to the suspect. Against this background, we have found us to be obliged to lift the detention order … and to withdraw the European arrest warrant. If so this should be done in a couple of weeks. This would affect not only us but you too in a significant way,” Ny added.

    • UK ‘Secretly Bullied’ Sweden Into Detaining Assange for ‘Another 4 Years’

      In 2010, Sweden began an investigation into rape allegedly committed by Assange. Since being granted political asylum by Ecuador in 2012, Assange has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

      Swedish prosecutors tried to drop extradition proceedings against Julian Assange as early as 2013, according to a confidential exchange of emails with British prosecutors, the Guardian has reported.

      As is evident from the newly-released emails, Sweden was prepared to give up the case against Assange, but Britain’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) insisted that the case remain alive.

    • Big tech’s bid to control FOIA

      Negotiations over the tax incentive deal began in Ohio in early spring of last year, and only a cabal of quasi-state officials were in the know. Even after the $37.1 million in incentives were approved by state officials on July 31, 2017, the company was only referred to in a press release as Sidecat, a provider of “information technology services, such as remotely accessed computing power and data storage.”

      [...]

      But Facebook wouldn’t be coming to a struggling industrial region of Ohio, and it wasn’t guaranteeing many jobs. It was going to build a $750 million data center in one of the state’s wealthiest suburbs—New Albany, where the median household income is nearly $200,000 and unemployment hovers around 4 percent. Fifty new jobs were guaranteed.

      [...]

      Of course, secrecy around tax incentives is no longer remarkable, especially in the handful of states—including Ohio, Rhode Island, Florida, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Arizona—where economic development has been privatized. But in this case, Facebook’s control over who could know what and when they could know it didn’t end there. In Facebook’s final agreement with New Albany, signed the day before Kasich’s press conference, the tech giant sought to further control the release of information, with a highly unusual demand: Officials must give Facebook at least three days before responding to any public records request. In other words, not until after the press conference would reporters get a chance to analyze the agreement. In the approved deal with Ohio’s Tax Credit Authority, Facebook also requests “prior notice” of any public records request, though it doesn’t dictate that notice in days, only demanding it be sufficient to “seek a protective order or other appropriate remedy.” Though Facebook is never directly identified in the agreement, the address listed, 1601 Willow Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025, is Facebook’s headquarters. (See excerpts below.)

    • Assange mocks Newsweek journalist duped by fake Twitter account

      Julian Assange has issued a savage rebuke to Newsweek journalist Michael Hayden for being duped by a fake Twitter account impersonating the Wikileaks founder.

      Hayden had responded to a tweet supporting US president Donald Trump from Assange impersonator @TheRealJulian. The fake account wrote: “Keep doing what you’re doing Mr. President and know that the entire world is behind you!”

      Despite the nature of the comment being completely out of character, Hayden took it at face value and he accused the Australian of being “one of those MAGA randos that rushes into Trump’s replies to kiss up”.

      Assange responded with a filleting analysis of Hayden’s journalistic professionalism and accused him of amplifying a “black PR operation” against him.

    • Sweden tried to drop Assange extradition in 2013, CPS emails show

      Swedish prosecutors attempted to drop extradition proceedings against Julian Assange as early as 2013, according to a confidential exchange of emails with the Crown Prosecution Service seen by the Guardian.

      The sequence of messages also appears to challenge statements by the CPS that the case was not live at the time emails were deleted by prosecutors, according to supporters of the WikiLeaks founder.

      Assange was first questioned over allegations of sexual assault and rape in Sweden, which he denies, in 2010. He travelled to the UK later that year and Swedish authorities began extradition proceedings against him.

    • The UK’s hidden role in Assange’s detention

      It now emerges that the last four years of Julian Assange’s effective imprisonment in the Ecuadorean embassy in London have been entirely unnecessary. In fact, they depended on a legal charade.

      Behind the scenes, Sweden wanted to drop the extradition case against Assange back in 2013. Why was this not made public? Because Britain persuaded Sweden to pretend that they still wished to pursue the case.

      In other words, for more than four years Assange has been holed up in a tiny room, policed at great cost to British taxpayers, not because of any allegations in Sweden but because the British authorities wanted him to remain there. On what possible grounds could that be, one has to wonder? Might it have something to do with his work as the head of Wikileaks, publishing information from whistleblowers that has severely embarrassed the United States and the UK.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate Change and Privileged Despair

      “People can and do cooperate in times of environmental disaster and stress—why isn’t that part of the dominant narrative?”

    • Living With Truth Decay

      Truth is a relatively scarce commodity. Science progresses by disproving theories, not proving them (that only happens in mathematics). In the real world, everything you know to be true just hasn’t been disproved yet, so it’s a good idea to stay tuned.

      [...]

      Fishing for evidence floating in the Net is far from compiling facts in a controlled empirical study and—contrary to the scientific method—is likely done to support a hypothesis, not to disprove one. In any event, facts are not truths. Truth rests on facts, vetted as dispassionately as possible. For instance, it’s a fact that mean global CO2 in the atmosphere officially was 404.55 PPM at the end of 2016 and 406.75 one year later, or one-half a percent more.

      [...]

      You can fit an exponential curve to the facts in this graph. Exponential growth never ends well. That’s not a fact; it’s a truth based on the fact that growth rates can’t become infinite.

      There are people who deny these are facts. There are other people who say they’re no big deal. Still others take them seriously while not admitting any specific import. And then there are those, probably most of humanity, who believe and may fear them but absolve themselves of any responsibility or them. They are all truth-impaired.

  • Finance

    • WhatsApp Payments feature now live on iOS and Android in India: Here’s how to get

      WhatsApp Payments feature based on India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is now live on iOS and Android. The long-awaited feature will let users send and receive money directly via WhatsApp. However, it does not look like the service will support merchant payments for now. The peer-to-peer UPI payments feature has been rolled for Android and iOS versions of the app. The Facebook-owned company has not yet put a FAQ page on payments, but the terms and service page as well as privacy policy page are live. Users can check these out before turning on Payments service on WhatsApp.

    • WhatsApp Payments UPI-Based Feature Arrives in India on Android Phones, iPhone

      WhatsApp has reportedly started testing out its UPI-based payments feature in India. The new feature, available for select WhatsApp beta users on iOS and Android, enables users to send and receive money using the Indian government’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) standard. This feature is said to be available on WhatsApp version 2.18.21 for iOS, and version 2.18.41 for Android. Considering the large user base of the messaging app in India, the payments platform’s integration may give another boost to digital payments.

    • Facebook announces huge investment to empower community leaders

      “Up to five leaders will be selected to be community leaders in residence and awarded up to $1,000,000 each to fund their proposals,” it said.

      “Up to 100 leaders will be selected for our fellowship program and will receive up to $50,000 each to be used for a specific community initiative,” the company said.

    • Jim Carrey urges users to delete Facebook accounts and dump stock

      Facebook has not responded to a request for comment however founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said stemming the flow of misinformation is among the company’s foremost goals.

    • Japan tells UK on Brexit – If there is no profit, we cannot continue

      Japan’s ambassador said on Thursday that no firm would be able to continue to operate in Britain if they are not profitable due to Brexit-related trade barriers.

      Speaking outside Number 10 Downing Street after meeting Prime Minister Theresa May along with 19 Japanese business leaders, the ambassador had a clear message for Britain.

      “If there is no profitability of continuing operations in the UK – not Japanese only – then no private company can continue operations. So it is as simple as that,” Koji Tsuruoka said when asked how real the threat was to Japanese companies of Britain not securing frictionless trade.

    • British economy will suffer £252bn hit if Theresa May crashes UK out of the EU with no deal, analysis shows

      The British economy will suffer a £252bn hit if Theresa May carries out her threat to leave the European Union with no deal, a new analysis of official forecasts shows.

      A no-deal Brexit would see GDP plunge by more than a quarter of a trillion pounds over 15 years, according to the study shared with The Independent.

      Less damaging exit terms, under which Britain would secure a free trade agreement with the rest of the EU, would still result in national output being £131bn lower over the same period.

    • Cashing in on the donated dead

      On July 20, a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship departed Charleston, South Carolina, carrying thousands of containers. One of them held a lucrative commodity: body parts from dozens of dead Americans.

      According to the manifest, the shipment bound for Europe included about 6,000 pounds of human remains valued at $67,204. To keep the merchandise from spoiling, the container’s temperature was set to 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

      The body parts came from a Portland business called MedCure Inc. A so-called body broker, MedCure profits by dissecting the bodies of altruistic donors and sending the parts to medical training and research companies.

      MedCure sells or leases about 10,000 body parts from U.S. donors annually, shipping about 20 percent of them overseas, internal corporate and manifest records show. In addition to bulk cargo shipments to the Netherlands, where MedCure operates a distribution hub, the Oregon company has exported body parts to at least 22 other countries by plane or truck, the records show.

    • Ending the Amazon Hunger Games

      mazon is seeking a location for its second corporate campus — already known as “HQ2” — and the company has turned its search into a surreal spectacle by inviting local governments to publicly court the multi-billion-dollar company with tax incentives and subsidy packages. Public officials are eagerly playing along — in one case even offering to change their town’s name to “Amazon” if selected — and hurling billions of dollars worth of tax cuts Amazon’s way.

      That’s public money, of course, that might otherwise go to vital public services like schools and sanitation.

      With so much publicity around the Amazon sweepstakes, commentators are more attuned than usual to the grotesquerie of the spectacle of ultra-rich corporations soliciting public money, and politicians’ willingness to hand it over. Ask an average progressive what they think of wooing the private sector on the public dime, and they’ll probably tell you it should be illegal.

    • General Dynamics Buying CSRA for $6.8 Billion

      General Dynamics Corp. said it had agreed to buy CSRA Inc. for $6.8 billion as part of the defense contractor’s push into government information-technology services.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Why ‘Russian Meddling’ is a Trojan Horse

      Prior to the 2016 presidential election, if one were to ask what single act could seal a new Cold War with Russia, align liberals and progressives with the operational core of the American military-industrial-surveillance complex, expose the preponderance of left-activism as an offshoot of Democratic Party operations and consign most of what remained to personal invective against an empirically dangerous leader, consensus would likely have it that doing so wouldn’t be easy.

      The decision to blame Russian meddling for Hillary Clinton’s electoral loss was made in the immediate aftermath of the election by her senior campaign staff. Within days the received wisdom amongst Clinton supporters was that the election had been stolen and that Donald Trump was set to enter the White House as a pawn of the Russian political leadership. Left out was the history of U.S. – Russian relations; that the largest voting bloc in the 2016 election was eligible voters who didn’t vote and that domestic business interests substantially control the American electoral process.

    • Fine, there’s tribalism on both sides — but the right is far more damaging than the left
    • Breaking with tradition, Trump skips president’s written intelligence report and relies on oral briefings

      For much of the past year, President Trump has declined to participate in a practice followed by the past seven of his predecessors: He rarely if ever reads the President’s Daily Brief, a document that lays out the most pressing information collected by U.S. intelligence agencies from hot spots around the world.

      Trump has opted to rely on an oral briefing of select intelligence issues in the Oval Office rather than getting the full written document delivered to review separately each day, according to three people familiar with his briefings.

      Reading the traditionally dense intelligence book is not Trump’s preferred “style of learning,” according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

    • Did Russian trolls infect the left? And how much did it matter?

      Back in late 2016, I remember joking to friends that I was disappointed Salon hadn’t wound up on the list of purported pro-Russian propaganda outlets published by a shadowy online outfit called PropOrNot, subject of an overly credulous (and later redacted) story in the Washington Post. Whoever or whatever PropOrNot may be — and there are some intriguing theories! — it seemed to be trying to blacklist media outlets on both the left and right that took positions too far outside the foreign-policy mainstream, or that questioned the dogmas of “American exceptionalism.” What had we done wrong?

      Those were innocent times, before we realized we were all living inside an idiotic and increasingly unconvincing simulated reality, whose source code keeps glitching out. My joke isn’t funny anymore, but only partly because it now appears that agents or surrogates of the Russian government did indeed carry out wide-ranging propaganda attacks during and after the 2016 presidential campaign, using an array of bots, trolls and fake online personas. It’s by no means clear that the reported hack of Democratic National Committee emails was the most important part of that campaign, or the most effective.

    • U.S. Intelligence Crisis Poses a Threat to the World

      Privatized and politicized intelligence is undermining the mission of providing unbiased information to both high-level decision makers and the American public, explains George Eliason in this first of a three-part series.

    • How Establishment Propaganda Gaslights Us Into Submission

      The dynamics of the establishment Syria narrative are hilarious if you take a step back and think about them. I mean, the Western empire is now openly admitting to having funded actual, literal terrorist groups in that country, and yet they’re still cranking out propaganda pieces about what is happening there and sincerely expecting us to believe them. It’s adorable, really; like a little kid covered in chocolate telling his mom he doesn’t know what happened to all the cake frosting.

      Or least it would be adorable if it weren’t directly facilitating the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people.

      I recently had a pleasant and professional exchange with the Atlantic Council’s neoconservative propagandist Eliot Higgins, in which he referred to independent investigative journalist Vanessa Beeley as “bonkers” and myself as “crazy,” and I called him a despicable bloodsucking ghoul. I am not especially fond of Mr. Higgins.

    • West Virginia Woman Dragged Out of Capitol for Reading State Reps Political Donations
    • Donald Trump Jr.’s wife hospitalized after opening envelope with white powder

      Donald Trump Jr.’s wife, Vanessa Trump, was hospitalized Monday after receiving a letter containing white powder that was later deemed to be non-hazardous, New York City police told Fox News.

      President Trump‘s daughter-in-law opened the letter addressed to Donald Trump Jr. just after 10 a.m. at the couple’s Manhattan apartment. It’s unclear what the “white powder” was, but authorities tested the substance and found it to be “non-hazardous.”

      Vanessa Trump was taken to the hospital as a precaution, police said. Two other people who were also exposed to the powder were taken to the hospital.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • YouTube will remove ads and downgrade discoverability of channels posting offensive videos

      As in the case of Paul, YouTube stresses that the majority of creators on its platform will not be impacted by today’s announcement because their content is not on the wrong side of acceptable.

    • One family’s story shows Poland’s ambiguous wartime past

      The death of Reich (we don’t know his first name) and his 10-year-old son Abraham — and my grandfather’s failed attempt to protect them — bears on what’s happening in Warsaw this week, as the Polish parliament finishes work on a new law that makes it a criminal offense to tie the “Polish nation” or “the Polish state” to the wartime crimes of Nazi Germany.

    • Love is NOT in the air: Pakistan bans Valentine’s Day and its media coverage

      The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) issued an advisory on Wednesday warning television and radio stations against any Valentine’s Day celebrations.

    • Senseless censorship

      There is rarely a shortage of depressing events in Pakistan ranging from the surreal to downright nauseating.

      [...]

      Last year IHC judge Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui imposed a ban on celebrating and airing any content related to the international holiday on television. It was based on a petition stating that the holiday spreads “immorality, nudity and indecency” in the country. No final verdict has been issued in this regard.

    • Calls for censorship are wrong

      First, on the merits, we must defend the Voltairean principle that “I despise what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” That was what Thomas Jefferson thought, too. Obviously there is a line out there somewhere. However, the letter about marriage was essentially proffering a Biblical point of view. That cannot reasonably be said to be on the wrong side of the line. We must refute the arguments of the right.

    • Scared of my Own Thoughts

      In Doha last week I watched on TV an utterly contemptible speech by Theresa May in which she grasped for ideas to shore up the increasingly eroded Establishment control of the political zeitgeist. Yet more pressure would be put on the social media companies to curtail the circulation of unauthorised truths as “fake news”. Disrespectful questioning of the political class will be a new crime of “intimidation of candidates”. The government would look for new ways to boost the unwanted and failing purveyors of the official line by some potential aid to newspapers and their paid liars.

      In short I did not merely disagree with what she was saying, I found it an extraordinary example of Orwellian doublespeak in which she even referenced John Stuart Mill and her commitment to freedom of speech as she outlined plans to restrict it further. I found myself viewing this dull, plodding agent of repression as representing a political philosophy which is completely alien to me.

    • Censorship, witch hunts and dirty money at the New York Times

      On Wednesday, the New York Times announced that its revenues grew substantially last quarter, driven by a 46 percent increase in digital subscriptions over the previous year.

      Notably, the 166-year-old “newspaper of record” had its paid user base grow at a rate usually seen only at start-ups, adding 105,000 digital-only subscriptions in December and January, and hitting a new record.

      The newspaper’s stock price has shot up 40 percent since October.

      Reporting matter-of-factly on the Times’ earnings statement, Reuters attributed the newspaper’s high earnings and favorable stock performance to two factors:

      “Chief Executive Mark Thompson told Reuters that the newspaper will … benefit from Facebook Inc’s initiative to prioritize high-quality news outlets in its social media posts to counter fake news and sensationalism.”

    • WA Anglican school backs off book ban

      A West Australian high school has backed down from plans to censor its booklist for so-called “inappropriate” material following intense community backlash, including from the author of the highly acclaimed novel Jasper Jones.

      The reading list at the regional Georgiana Molloy Anglican School in Busselton was under review, including the works of William Shakespeare, after parents complained about sexual and offensive content.

    • Georgiana Molloy Anglican School drops booklist censorship plans

      A WEST Australian high school has backed down from plans to censor its booklist for so-called “inappropriate” material following intense community backlash, including from the author of the highly acclaimed novel Jasper Jones.

      The reading list at the regional Georgiana Molloy Anglican School in Busselton was under review, including the works of William Shakespeare, after parents complained about sexual and offensive content.

      Author Craig Silvey said he appreciated the school wished to protect children from harmful material but argued literature helped students create empathy by showing the world from another perspective.

    • Fake news – A river of tears and golden opportunities

      Of course, you must have heard. The Cyrillic Hax0rz have infiltrated the social media ads (gasp). Apparently, go figure, “the Russians” made use of the ad marketing platform available (on Facebook), which is indeed global, effective, and does not discriminate between dollar and ruble (and why should it, business is business). This caused quite a bit of furor in the (mostly) Western media, because the notion of having a non-Western entity using the same platform to advance its needs seems shocking.

      It also sets a precedent – apart from tasting one’s own medicine kind of thing – it allows ANY WHICH unsanctioned group of people with sufficient financial capital (i.e. not the owners of said social media) to influence the feeble minds of the masses using the aforementioned social media, which at the moment is the most prolific and pervasive form of communication in the world, especially among people with IQ < 100.

    • Censorship risks turning artistic expression into moralistic kitsch
    • ‘It’s a non-cense’ Censorship of Publications Board blasted ‘one quango that should be whacked’ as it emerges just one book banned in ten years

      IRISH censors have not banned a single magazine and have blocked just one book in the last ten years.

    • Hughes Hall May Ball threatened with cancellation over ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ trailer
    • Cambridge University students forced to take down raunchy promo video for posh ball
    • Cambridge college bans students’ ‘overly sexualised’ 50 Shades of Grey-themed May Ball video
    • Cambridge University cops heat over resident hall’s censorship of ‘over-sexualised’ event promo video
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Will Cy Vance’s Anti-Encryption Pitch Change Now That The NYPD’s Using iPhones?

      For years, Manhattan DA Cy Vance has been warning us about the coming criminal apocalypse spurred on by cellphone encryption. “Evil geniuses” Apple introduced default encryption in a move likely meant to satiate lawmakers hollering about phone theft and do-nothing tech companies. In return, DA Cy Vance (and consecutive FBI directors) turned on Apple, calling device encryption a criminal’s best friend.

      Vance still makes annual pitches for law enforcement-friendly encryption — something that means either backdoors or encryption so weak it can be cracked immediately. Both ideas would also be criminal-friendly, but Vance is fine with sacrificing personal security for law enforcement access. Frequently, these pitches are accompanied with piles of uncracked cellphones — a gesture meant to wow journalists but ultimately indicative of nothing more than how much the NYPD can store in its evidence room. (How many are linked to active investigations? How many investigations continued to convictions without cellphone evidence? Were contempt charges ever considered to motivate cellphone owners into unlocking phones? So many questions. Absolutely zero answers.)

    • Bonus Intercepted Podcast: Jim Risen Goes Inside the NSA’s Secret Channel to Russia

      There is also a truly wild aspect to this story about how the NSA used its official, public Twitter account to send secret messages to Russian operatives. In this special bonus episode of Intercepted, James Risen lays out the whole story.

    • CIA Denies Report Over Mystery Russian Who Promised Trump Info

      The CIA on Saturday categorically denied reports that it was fleeced by a mystery Russian who promised compromising information on U.S. President Donald Trump.

      The secretive agency rarely issues any kind of comment, but came out to deny the report in The New York Times and a similar one in The Intercept, an online journal focusing on national security issues.

      “The fictional story that CIA was bilked out of $100,000 is patently false,” the Central Intelligence Agency said in a statement sent to AFP. “The people swindled here were James Risen and Matt Rosenberg,” the CIA said, referring to Times reporter Rosenberg, who wrote the story, and Risen, a former Times reporter who authored The Intercept’s article.

    • It’s Time to Stand up to Facebook, Google and the NSA and Take Back Our Data

      Several weeks after the events of 9/11, I was in the West Wing of the White House debating the Patriot Act. I was a technology policy director at the time, and we were discussing the balance between personal liberties—particularly the privacy of our citizenry—against the need to protect America from terrorist threats. The most pressing concern was clear: how much freedom should the National Security Agency (NSA) be granted to spy on US citizens on US soil?

      As it happened, top secret courts, largely comprised of people with no technological backgrounds, were granted an essentially unfettered ability to determine the boundaries of what law enforcement can or cannot do with our personal data. And our personal data includes everything transactional we do as human beings when interacting with technology. Our landline phones, our smart phones, our TVs, our credit cards, the internet.

    • Your Mobile Phone Can Give Away Your Location, Even If You Tell It Not To

      U.S. military officials were recently caught off guard by revelations that servicemembers’ digital fitness trackers were storing the locations of their workouts—including at or near military bases and clandestine sites around the world. But this threat is not limited to Fitbits and similar devices. My group’s recent research has shown how mobile phones can also track their users through stores and cities and around the world—even when users turn off their phones’ location-tracking services.

      The vulnerability comes from the wide range of sensors phones are equipped with—not just GPS and communications interfaces, but gyroscopes and accelerometers that can tell whether a phone is being held upright or on its side and can measure other movements too. Apps on the phone can use those sensors to perform tasks users aren’t expecting—like following a user’s movements turn by turn along city streets.

      Most people expect that turning their phone’s location services off disables this sort of mobile surveillance. But the research I conduct with my colleagues Sashank Narain, Triet Vo-Huu, Ken Block and Amirali Sanatinia at Northeastern University, in a field called “side-channel attacks,” uncovers ways that apps can avoid or escape those restrictions. We have revealed how a phone can listen in on a user’s finger-typing to discover a secret password—and how simply carrying a phone in your pocket can tell data companies where you are and where you’re going.

    • Leveraging Tech: How Facebook, SMS and GPS can determine if you are a reliable loan applicant

      Chawla believes that parameters such as tracking a smartphone user’s online activities are definitely an integral part. “It showcases the kind of person the borrower is and the kind of conversations he does with what stature of people,” he adds.

    • Aadhaar not required for emergency health services: National Health Mission

      He was speaking a day after Gurgaon’s Civil Hospital allegedly turned away a pregnant woman, insisting that Aadhaar card was required for admission. The woman was then forced to give birth outside the hospital, with bystanders using shawls as makeshift curtains. She was admitted hours after her daughter was born. The woman, Munni, and her daughter are recovering.

    • Seduced by ‘models’ on Facebook, IAF officer shared secret info with Pakistani agents: Delhi Police

      An Indian Air Force Group Captain arrested on Wednesday by Delhi Police on charges of espionage was allegedly seduced on Facebook by two agents of Pakistan’s ISI and used WhatsApp to pass on sensitive information to them.

      [...]

      Marwaha allegedly used his smartphone to click pictures of the classified documents pertaining to the IAF headquarters and then sent them across via WhatsApp.

    • Why it’s not okay for police to quietly roll out on-the-spot fingerprint scanning

      The Home Office has announced that West Yorkshire Police will roll out an expanded scheme of on-the-spot fingerprint scanning – without any public or parliamentary debate. Our Head of Legal Casework Emma Norton explains why our rights could be at risk.

    • NSA used Twitter to send coded message to Russian spy

      US intelligence officials used Twitter to send “nearly a dozen” coded messages to a Russian spy who claimed to have in his possession the National Security Agency (NSA) data stolen by the hacking group called Shadow Brokers, the media reported.

    • US intelligence paid $100K to Russian spy claiming he had stolen NSA cyberweapons and dirt on President Trump, report claims

      US intelligence officials desperate to get back stolen cyberweapons reportedly paid $100,000 to a Russian operative who claimed he was not only in possession of the hacking tools but had compromising information on President Donald Trump.

      According to a report by the New York Times on Friday, the Russian took the money but failed to turn over the stolen material or the dirt on Trump.

    • US spies paid ‘Russians’ $100k for stolen NSA tools, but got dud ‘Trump secrets’ they didn’t want?

      The CIA has firmly denied the reports, telling AFP on Saturday: “The fictional story that CIA was bilked out of $100,000 is patently false. The people swindled here were James Risen and Matt Rosenberg.”

      The CIA and NSA were engaged in secret negotiations with a “Russian intermediary” last year in a desperate effort to retrieve documents and hacking tools stolen by the mysterious Shadow Brokers collective, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter James Risen wrote in an article for the Intercept, citing sources familiar with the matter.

    • NSA sent coded messages through Twitter
    • Here’s how NSA used Twitter accounts to send coded message to Russian spy

      US intelligence officials used Twitter to send “nearly a dozen” coded messages to a Russian spy who claimed to have in his possession the National Security Agency (NSA) data stolen by the hacking group called Shadow Brokers, the media reported.

    • NSA used Twitter account to tweet secret messages meant for Russian seller: Reports
    • The NSA sent coded messages to a shadowy Russian on its official Twitter account
    • NSA Sent Coded Messages From Its Official Twitter Account to Communicate With Foreign Spies
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Black Lives Matter Activist Muhiyidin d’Baha, Who Grabbed Confederate Flag, Shot Dead in New Orleans

      In New Orleans, Black Lives Matter activist and Charleston, South Carolina, community organizer Muhiyidin d’Baha died Tuesday, after he was struck in the thigh by a bullet as he rode his bicycle. Police have not named any motive or suspects in the killing. He made national headlines last year after he appeared in a viral video that shows him leaping over a police line in an attempt to grab a Confederate flag from a white supremacist at a rally in Charleston. In 2015, Democracy Now! spoke with Muhiyidin d’Baha outside the Emanuel AME Church amid the funerals of nine African-American worshipers who were gunned down by white supremacist Dylann Roof.

    • Uzbekistan to start visa-free entry for Indonesians this month

      The country is also set to apply new technology for e-visa application starting in July.

    • Internet Pioneer John Perry Barlow Who Influenced Assange & Snowden Dead at 70

      John Perry Barlow is dead. Your unacknowledged soulmate, he was what everyone would call an internet pioneer, understanding early cyberspace’s potential. During his varied and colorful life, he collected many friends, among them Grateful Dead singer and guitarist Bob Weir, John F. Kennedy Jr., Timothy Leary, and Vice President Al Gore. His A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace is at once an angry, defiant, hopeful document, and is mandatory inclusion in anthologies covering what we understand as the net’s birth.

    • U.S. Intelligence Shuts Down Damning Report on Whistleblower Retaliation

      The nation’s top intelligence watchdog put the brakes on a report last year that uncovered whistleblower reprisal issues within America’s spy agencies, The Daily Beast has learned. The move concealed a finding that the agencies—including the CIA and the NSA—were failing to protect intelligence workers who report waste, fraud, abuse, or criminality up the chain of command.

      The investigators looked into 190 cases of alleged reprisal in six agencies, and uncovered a shocking pattern. In only one case out of the 190 did the agencies find in favor of the whistleblower—and that case took 742 days to complete. Other cases remained open longer. One complaint from 2010 was still waiting for a ruling. But the framework was remarkably consistent: Over and over and over again, intelligence inspectors ruled that the agency was in the right, and the whistleblowers were almost always wrong.

  • DRM

    • Watch Netflix in 1080p on Linux and unsupported browsers

      In fact, the only browsers that support 1080p playback on Netflix officially are Safari on Mac OS X, Internet Explorer on Windows, and Google Chrome on Chrome OS. That’s bad news if you don’t use any of the operating systems or prefer to use a different browser.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • You Can’t Name Your App “Windows”, Microsoft Sends Legal Notices To Developers [Ed: Microsoft is back to claiming that it owns words like "Lindows"]

        Redmond has asked the developers to pull their apps from the Store. Among the affected ones are names such as the Microsoft-focused publication WindowsArea.de and Dr. Windows. The developers of the affected apps are getting emails from MSFT lawyers informing them that the use of the name ‘Windows’ for their app infringes the copyrights.

    • Copyrights

      • Comcast Explains How It Deals With Persistent Pirates

        Comcast subscribers risk having their Internet, TV and phone access terminated in the event the ISP receives repeat piracy accusations from copyright holders. The Internet provider has recently published a detailed overview of its “repeat infringer” policy, which has become a hot topic after a Fourth Circuit court order last week.

      • Cloudflare Hit With Piracy Lawsuit After Abuse Form ‘Fails’

        Seattle-based photographer Christopher Boffoli has filed a lawsuit against Cloudflare, accusing the CDN provider of contributory copyright infringement. What started out as a straightforward DMCA notice quickly escalated after Boffoli couldn’t get the standard abuse form to accept his links.

02.11.18

Some § 101 Cases That the Patent ‘Industry’ Would Rather Not Talk (Much) About

Posted in America, Courtroom at 6:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Because that might damage faith in software patents

A quiet area

Summary: With § 101 still being entertained by courts and by PTAB, software patents continue to be invalidated, but these cases receive nowhere near the level of attention Berkheimer v HP received (because patent lawyers prefer to focus only on what suits their agenda)

THE existence of software patents at the USPTO gradually becomes more of a legacy. Sure, new ones continue to be granted, but few are asserted in a court of law. Some of them are regarded/considered to be next to worthless.

“The existence of software patents at the USPTO gradually becomes more of a legacy.”Our previous article, regarding Berkheimer v HP, explained that it’s not really about § 101, contrary to what the patent microcosm would like us to think. Michael Borella said some days ago that this decision “may result in the USPTO having to update its § 101 guidance for examiners and the PTAB.”

May.

Maybe.

Like we said in the last article, this isn’t the Supreme Court. Here is what patent maximalists want to believe:

But the impact of today’s decision may be further-reaching than the other three. At the very least, it provides a degree of clarity as to the evidentiary standard applicable to a § 101 challenge on summary judgment. This may result in the USPTO having to update its § 101 guidance for examiners and the PTAB.

No, the same can be said for other sections. All that the court said was, sufficient evidence needs to be provided. That’s all.

“…Even the US government strives to eliminate what it perceives to be software patents…”In another long article (published at 11:20 PM by Joseph Herndon) the same site said that the “U.S. Government Fails in Attempt to Invalidate U.S. Patents under § 101″ (sounds promising for them, at least on the surface).

Even the US government strives to eliminate what it perceives to be software patents and here are the actual details:

In a bit of an ironic outcome, the U.S. government was unsuccessful in invalidating U.S. patents under § 101. It seems odd that the government issued the patents on the one hand, and later, tried to invalidate them.

Plaintiff, Science Applications International Corp. (“SAIC”), claimed that the U.S. government infringed four patents by entering into contracts with plaintiff’s competitors for the procurement of specialized heads up displays (“HUD”) and night vision goggles that allegedly use SAIC’s patented technology. Defendant, the United States, moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6), contending that Plaintiff’s patents claim ineligible subject matter under 35 U.S.C. § 101.

The patents at issue here are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,787,012; 8,817,103; 9,229,230; and 9,618,752. The four patents form two patent families due to the interrelatedness of the applications.

These aren’t software patents. They involve actual hardware. So ascribing this to a § 101 failure is misleading at best; this was a poor defense strategy/argument. We see lots of those.

“…the same court everyone likes to cite in relation to Berkheimer v HP has just eliminated another bogus patent (again using 35 USC § 101/Alice)”Remember that just because a defendant invokes § 101 does not guarantee success. Sometimes § 101 just isn’t relevant at all.

In other news (from another site), the same court everyone likes to cite in relation to Berkheimer v HP has just eliminated another bogus patent (again using 35 USC § 101/Alice). Not so exciting for patent maximalists, so of course they mostly ignored it. It’s a § 101 affirmation:

If you want an example of the kind of patent-eligibility question that is now easy to resolve under the Alice abstract idea test, look to the Federal Circuit’s non-precedential decision in Move, Inc. v. Real Estate Alliance, No. 2017-1463 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 1, 2018) (opinion by Judge Stoll, joined by Judges Lourie and Wallach). In this case, the court affirmed a lower court’s summary judgment of invalidity under 35 USC § 101 of claims of two patents directed to computerized methods for locating available real estate, i.e., property for purchase.

[...]

The Court strictly followed the Alice/Mayo test for section 101, and noted that this test is not concerned with whether an artisan skilled in the art can perform the method claimed by the patent nor whether the claim language is sufficiently definite, novel, or non-obvious, but rather whether the character of a claim as a whole is directed to a patent-ineligible subject matter. Taken on the face of the claims and the specification, the Court found that SAIC’s patents combine existing computer technology, sensors, and calculations in an unconventional way in order to reach a solution to the problem of alignment and consistently accurate display. Because SAIC did not stop at the concept of superimposition (in the abstract) but instead provided a solution for achieving accuracy and consistency in image registration, SAIC’s claims are not directed to an abstract idea.

That’s just more of the usual from CAFC. It’s an Alice/Mayo test. More such examples were mentioned in recent days.

“PTAB Reversed Examiner’s 101 Rejection of Robotic Software Claims,” to name one example (but this is merely an examination stage refutation). A much higher level decision wound up as usual: “Zouli v Google (Fed. Cir. 2018); 101/CBM Case; CAFC Affirmed PTAB” (goodbye bogus patent).

“Another showing of disdain for the legal system or for justice itself?”Earlier today Patently-O was bashing rejection of patents using cartoons (those are typically anti-Alice). Another showing of disdain for the legal system or for justice itself? Every lost patent is a tragedy? Some politicians say “corporations are people” and patent lawyers certainly act as though “patents are people”. Maybe one day they’ll carry around billboards that say “patent lives matter”.

This came a few days after a misleading headline from Patently-O‘s Dennis Crouch — in a post which probably constitutes more of his PTAB baiting. How on Earth did he come up with a headline like “Climate Change is an Abstract Idea?”

Here’s how:

In the ex parte appeal, the PTAB has affirmed the examiner’s rejection on eligibility grounds – finding that the claims were directed to the abstract idea of “selecti[ng] data (temperature, radiation) obtained from known and existing technology and then using the data to make a correlation.”

[...]

With respect to Alice/Mayo step-two (“something more”), the PTAB found that the improvement offered by the invention “is an improvement in the application of the mathematical relationship in determining substance concentration, which is, itself, an abstract idea.”

The decision would look like a good candidate for a civil action challenge or appeal – except that the PTAB also found the claims obvious.

So what? That’s justice. It’s not “death squads” as the maximalists want us to believe. It’s just an invalidation of mere patents (or pieces of paper). No life or death at stake. Yet they use words like “kill”.

“No life or death at stake. Yet they use words like “kill”.”“Software Patent Application Killed by the PTAB with 101/Alice,” one of them said. He also said “smokes” (like “kills” and “survives”). “PTAB “Smokes” Another IBM Patent Application with 101/Alice,” says the outline. Notice the terminology of war. They make it sound like some sort of massacre or genocide; never mind if this isn’t criminal law or even immigration law but a bunch of mere patents. Another one about Section 101: “PTAB Affirms Examiner’s 101 Rejection of Method for Measuring IR Absorption by Increasing and Decreasing Temp of a Body…”

“Quite frankly, we don’t expect academic/scholarly honesty from these people. They’re in this occupation for the money, not principles.”At least he didn’t call that “Climate Change” like Dennis Crouch did (perhaps hoping to insinuate, as before, that patent rejection is the moral/scientific equivalent of climate change denial).

Quite frankly, we don’t expect academic/scholarly honesty from these people. They’re in this occupation for the money, not principles. Here’s an article by Charles Bieneman, who again uses the word “Survive” (war lexicon). Patents do not “survive” (the war narrative), they can just be upheld as valid or rejected as invalid. From Bieneman’s article:

A little less than a year after finding that claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,474,159, directed to an inertial tracking system, were patent-eligible under the Alice abstract idea test, the Federal Circuit has affirmed a decision of the USPTO’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) that claims of the ’159 patent have not been shown to be obvious under 35 U.S.C. § 103. Elbit Systems of America, LLC. v. Thales Visionix, Inc., No. 2017-1355 (Fed. Cir. Feb 6, 2018) (precedential) (opinion by Judge Wallach, joined by Judges Moore and Stoll).

[...]

The Federal Circuit sided with the patent owner, whose expert had explained the benefits of the two-step-method over the three-step method. And arguments that the PTAB improperly failed to acknowledge expert testimony that one of ordinary skill in the art would have understood prior art as disclosing the recited integration were merely an attempt to create legal error by looking at PTAB statements in isolation.

Patent maximalists took note of the above decision and Janice Mueller‏ wrote: “Thales Visionix wins again! Elbit v Thales Visionix FedCir 2/6/18 affirms PTAB IPR determination that challenged claims of TV’s ‘159 patent would NOT have been obvious. TV’s expert witness testimony was critical in distinguishing prior art.”

As expected, Patently-O wrote about it:

In its IPR final decision, the PTAB sided with the patentee – holding that Elbit had failed to prove that the challenged claims of Thales patent were obvious. On appeal, the Federal Circuit has affirmed – holding that “substantial evidence” supported the finding.

[...]

On appeal, the Federal Circuit held that the PTAB was the best position to determine expert credibility and thus declined to disturb those credibility determinations. Trs. of Columbia Univ. v. Illumina, Inc., 620 F. App’x 916, 922 (Fed. Cir. 2015) (“The PTAB [i]s entitled to weigh the credibility of the witnesses.”) The challenger’s attorneys attempted to support their case with an explanation that PHOSITA would understand the meaning the prior art – That argument was rejected on appeal, however, as attorney argument rather than evidence based. Rather, to make the argument, the party should have actually presented evidence on the level of understanding of a person of skill in the art.

As we said before, not every Alice/§ 101 challenge/defense will result in patent rejection. It’s not a magic wand and it only works where it is applicable. Alice is applicable to just about every algorithm and it should also be applicable where algorithms are being ‘dressed up’ as ‘device’ — something which this new post deals with although it fails to grasp that “mechanical arts” is just a fancy term for machine. To quote: “A listener/reader pointed me in the direction of the recent oral argument at the Federal Circuit in Robert Bosch v. ITC. The case appears to concern patents of inventor/patent attorney Dr. Stephen Gass. The oral argument highlights that §101/Alice arguments are now making their way into the mechanical arts.”

“We are still hoping that one day those loopholes too will be closed and patents granted owing to these loopholes be voided (like patents on plants and seeds in Europe).”Here in Europe and also in places like India and New Zealand loopholes were intentionally crafted to enable patenting of software by misportrayal thereof. Just claiming some algorithm to be executable/runnable on some particular machine does not change the fact that it’s abstract.

We are still hoping that one day those loopholes too will be closed and patents granted owing to these loopholes be voided (like patents on plants and seeds in Europe). Over the past few decades patent scope had been stretched to the point where it became laughable. Some companies actually pursue patents on human genome as though it’s an invention and last month CAFC ruled in favour of a patent on GUIs. We hope that the Supreme Court will overturn that latter decision.

The Patent Litigation ‘Industry’ Celebrates Outcome of Berkheimer v HP, But It’s Not About § 101

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 5:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The decision concerns presentation or availability of evidence (§ 101 being more of a ‘footnote’)

Berkheimer v HP

Summary: A case which isn’t inherently about § 101 but about the evidence backing rejection of a patent (see above) is being spun by patent maximalists, who also resort to bashing of judges, academics, and Justices (Supreme Court) in the process

THE patent microcosm isn’t used to being publicly challenged. It is not accustomed to refutation. It just pays money to dominate the news feeds and spread its delusional vision. The EPO does this in Europe (because Battistelli has no qualm about corrupting media), but in the US it’s not the USPTO but the patent microcosm which does all this. This post is a quick debunking.

“It’s not applicable just to § 101 and there is nothing extraordinary about it.”A lot of it started when Patently-O‘s Dennis Crouch wrote about “Underlying Questions of Fact”, quoting the following passage: “While patent eligibility is ultimately a question of law, the district court erred in concluding there are no underlying factual questions to the § 101 inquiry. Whether something is well-understood, routine, and conventional to a skilled artisan at the time of the patent is a factual determination.”

So that’s about it. It’s not applicable just to § 101 and there is nothing extraordinary about it. Here is the original decision rather than the ‘twist’ from the patent microcosm. Michael Loney (part of the patent microcosm’s media) wrote: “Important statement from the Federal Circuit on the factual underpinnings of the eligibility analysis, in Berkheimer v HP…”

“The Federal Circuit is not the US Supreme Court, so whether that “sets new rules for fact finding” remains to be seen (in practice).”Important statement or important for the patent microcosm statement? Those two things aren’t the same.

As one patent-centric person put it: “FedCir vacates summary judgment of ineligibility on dependent claims due to representative treatment of independent. Court says eligibility is a question of fact. So… Rule 132 decs to traverse 101 rejections?”

“They maliciously imply that the courts have thus far rejected facts. That’s how patent trolls and extremists prefer to think of it.”Professor Risch wrote about the same decision that the “Federal Circuit sets new rules for fact finding in patentable subject matter determinations. Underlying determinations of conventionality must be supported. I see this one going en banc.”

The Federal Circuit is not the US Supreme Court, so whether that “sets new rules for fact finding” remains to be seen (in practice). A patent maximalist wrote: “The Fed. Cir. Held Today that the PTAB Does Indeed Need Facts, Not Just Official Notice, to Make a 101 Case” (he links to a site of a literal patent troll).

“Then came (separately from the above) the patent trolls themselves, attacking academics like Brian J. Love and his colleagues, who has just released this new paper about PTAB.”Notice the above headline. They maliciously imply that the courts have thus far rejected facts. That’s how patent trolls and extremists prefer to think of it.

A different patent-centric person (more balanced) said: “Berkheimer v HP FedCir 2/8/18 affirms cl 1 not 101 eligible BUT vacates SJ re cls 4-7; fact q’s exist under Alice step 2. “Whether something is well-understood, routine, and conventional to a skilled artisan at the time of the patent is a factual determination.” Other cls indef.”

It’s all about that passage quoted in Patently-O. Another patent-centric person called it a “[m]omentous decision.” He said: “For the first time, FedCir vacated a SJ of patent ineligibility on ground that there is a genuine dispute of material fact underlying 101 determination. And, opinion holds that resolution requires meeting the clear and convincing standard for the defendant.”

Then came a trolls-connected crank who likes to bash professors whom he does not agree with. He is attacking Professor Lemley again: “If Lemley were any more transparent he’d be Saran Wrap Every “principle,” every “well reasoned argument” spouted from his fraudulent lips about evils/benefits of patents is a farce, a charade whose only purpose is to generate more billings for firm by introducing uncertainty [] opinion holds that resolution requires meeting the clear and convincing standard for the defendant” Im embarrassed to say I didn’t even notice how important that is… so far the panels have been ducking the SOP, and this is also extremely useful [] Listening to oral argument in Berkheimer case: http://oralarguments.cafc.uscourts.gov/default.aspx?fl=2017-1437.mp3 … Apparent that Moore, Stoll, think support in specification for technical advantage can create dispute of fact to defeat 101 – pray for them on your panel if you have a #patent Alice rejection case!”

“And if that’s not bad enough (bashing academics you don’t agree with and claiming they’re not professors even though they are), then came bashing of SCOTUS…”Then came (separately from the above) the patent trolls themselves, attacking academics like Brian J. Love and his colleagues, who has just released this new paper about PTAB. The patent troll wrote: “How am I to take this “scholarly” paper seriously from a (co) author, an executive for Unified Patents & whose firm has a PTAB institution rate 33 points BELOW the industry average? And he knows “low quality patents”?”

The troll’s friend (who wrote pieces against the EFF for the troll’s site) dished some more dirt: “inter partes review is, as Congress intended, eliminating patents that appear to be of relatively low quality” papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf… No, IPR=rigged game where patent owner given 1 yr to defend vs infringer who has 6 mo head start, like giving runner 50m head start in 100m race”

“What pretty much all the above have in common is that they make it about § 101, striving to almost cast it “irrelevant” and in need of deprecation.”And if that’s not bad enough (bashing academics you don’t agree with and claiming they’re not professors even though they are), then came bashing of SCOTUS: “don’t know if there were method claims in those patents, but to some extent, the attorney was 100% right; if you’re going to say use of one physical generic machine (computer) can be abstract, why can’t use of another physical machine be similar abstract? SCOTUS gave us this mess…”

No, SCOTUS belatedly (decades late) dealt with the issue and did the right thing. Sure, patent trolls aren’t happy about it, but nobody is happy about patent trolls, either.

He’s basically ranting about other things, still upset that PTAB eliminates many software patents. What we have here is a proponent of lawless patent trolls who use bogus patents (which PTAB tackles) for blackmail. There have been all sorts of other attacks on PTAB from his account this past week, e.g. [1, 2, 3], not to mention veiled advocacy of software patents. His online friend was all over Berkheimer v HP [1, 2], as well as another precedential new decision. What pretty much all the above have in common is that they make it about § 101, striving to almost cast it “irrelevant” and in need of deprecation.

“The Internet can oftentimes be like an echo chamber, especially so-called ‘social media’, so patent maximalists are likely exposed only to voices to people who already agree with them.”Go back to the source from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) (we have made this local copy, it’s 17 pages long, with § 101 mentioned about a dozen times, i.e. less than once per page) and read what was actually said. The Internet can oftentimes be like an echo chamber, especially so-called ‘social media’, so patent maximalists are likely exposed only to voices to people who already agree with them.

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