Risk of Going Bankrupt for Foolishly Asserting Software Patents After Alice

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 4:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Those who play with fire (software patents) die in a fire


Summary: Raniere needs to pay $1.1 million (legal fees of the defendants) in a patent lawsuit which he himself initiated, only to find that his software patents are a worthless pile of papers

EARLIER this year we noted that Jericho Systems threatened a resurgence of software patents at a time of sunset for them (they’re dropping like flies these days). “Jericho could be the next Alice,” Benjamin Henrion noted, pointing at “No. 15-1502 (Eligibility of Patent No. 8,560,836 under Section 101 – Abstract Idea)” though we very much doubt it will ever reach SCOTUS as Jericho Systems might hope. In fact, this latest SCOTUS roundup from Patently-O (published earlier today) suggests there will be no more tests regarding software patents. “Three eligibility cases are pending before the Supreme Court,” says the site. “Of these, the most interesting is likely Genetic Tech v. Merial.” As we noted yesterday, there is also one case regarding the eligibility of design patents. Still, nothing that can refute/annul Alice or even the Bilski case. What does it all mean? Well, expect a lot more software patents, once properly challenged, to die in a fire.

Another death has just been reported for several software patents, demonstrating that holders of such patents oughtn’t bother with software patents (neither application nor litigation). It’s not just a waste of money but it can cause tremendous financial damage to oneself, as this latest story illustrates. Raniere basically sued two large companies and now he needs to pay them a fortune (over a million bucks for an individual, putting aside his own legal bills). In other words, rather than them being the victims it is him who is the victim of his own reckless actions. It’s him who will pay the price for suing with software patents that are not even patent-eligible. This story has been covered by WIPR (behind a time-sensitive paywall). Yesterday it said that “Microsoft and telecoms company AT&T have been granted more than $1.1 million in attorneys’ fees after succeeding in a patent suit against an inventor. Keith Raniere had claimed that the companies had infringed his software patents in February last year. The patents concerned were US numbers 6,373,936; 6,819,752; 7,215,752; 7,391,856; and 7,844,041. The order was filed at the US District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division, on September 2.”

This case shows that holders of software patents can be (self-)bankrupted if they choose to sue using software patents post-Alice. Also behind paywalls today we found this report from Law 360. It says that “A Texas judge Friday granted Microsoft Corp. and AT&T Inc. attorneys’ fees after the companies defeated an inventor’s suit claiming infringement of his software patents, saying the man’s litigation conduct “demonstrates a pattern of obfuscation and bad faith.”

“Keith Raniere filed suit against AT&T and Microsoft in February 2015, asserting the technology giants infringed upon five patents that he owned for technology covering network conferencing systems. (Credit: AP) In her 13-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn determined the cases filed by plaintiff Keith Raniere…”

This happened in Texas, so it is a major warning sign to a lot of patent trolls. “Hopefully many more judgements like this to come,” an activist against software patents told me yesterday. Another person, one who is making excuses for the rocket docket of patent trolls (Texas), said “it depends on who owns the #swpats – if owned by corporate entity better chance they will survive & flourish – #patentdeform” (always brandishing the hashtag “#patentdeform” as if cracking down on patent troll is a horrible things).

So, as expected, a major win for opponents of software patents and more excuses from their proponents, like Daniel Henry in this case (his Twitter activity suggests he’s likely part of the patent litigation industry).

Not many sites have written about this case (at least not yet*) and software patent propagandists like IAM are just shedding tears for parasites that elevate the price of phones without actually making any (patent assertion firms). Well, next week they’re running a Webinar titled “Readying a Patent Portfolio for Sale: What You Need to Know to Be Successful” (often sold to trolls or patent assertion firms) and yesterday they noted that the “Beijing-based patent buying fund Ruichuan – the closest thing that China looked to have to an SPF – has recently gone private, after Zhigu, the firm that managed it, was absorbed into the IP department at consumer tech company Xiaomi.” SPF is a Sovereign Patent Fund and it typically achieves little more than enrichment of parasitic elements like patent lawyers — the same sort of people who bemoan the demise of software patents.
* They typically keep intentionally quiet when there’s bad news for them, instead cheering and shouting for weeks if not months when there’s good news for them (like Enfish). That’s the propaganda pattern of deception by omission or selective coverage.

Links 7/9/2016: Sony Microsoft Bundling Case, Torvalds’ ‘sh*t-for-brains stupid patch’

Posted in News Roundup at 3:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Sony wins battle over preinstalled Windows in Europe’s top court [more comments]

      The sale of a computer equipped with pre-installed software isn’t an unfair commercial practice because most customers prefer to buy a laptop they can use straight away, Europe’s top court has ruled in a victory for Sony.

      “Failure to indicate the price of each item of pre-installed software” isn’t misleading, the Court of Justice of the European Union added in its ruling (PDF) on Wednesday.

  • Server

    • Spark Comparison: AWS vs. GCP [Ed: False dichotomy, as if giving all your processing, bandwidth data etc. to the US government is inevitable]

      There’s little doubt that cloud computing will play an important role in data science for the foreseeable future. The flexible, scalable, on-demand computing power available is an important resource, and as a result, there’s a lot of competition between the providers of this service. Two of the biggest players in the space are Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.9 To Begin Landing Nouveau “Boost” Support For Faster Performance

      Great news for users of the open-source NVIDIA “Nouveau” graphics driver: the long-awaited boost patches are now queued up to land with Linux 4.9.

      The boost patches are about allowing the Kepler and newer graphics cards to achieve their “boost” frequencies, rather than their highest standard clock frequencies. With being able to hit these upper frequency thresholds, the performance should be more competitive with the proprietary driver. I tested the earlier version of these patches months ago and found great improvements: Nouveau “Boost” Patches Show Much Performance Potential.

      Ben Skeggs finally began pulling the work and is now in the Nouveau repository for then being sent into Linux 4.9 via DRM-Next.

    • Linux 4.9 Planned As The Next LTS Kernel

      Greg Kroah-Hartman announced he’s planning on Linux 4.9 to be the next long-term supported kernel that he will maintain for a period two years.

    • 2016 LiFT Scholarship Winner Luis Camacho Caballero: Preserving Amazon Languages with Linux

      Luis Camacho Caballero is working on a project to preserve endangered South American languages by porting them to computational systems through automatic speech recognition using Linux-based systems. He was one of 14 aspiring IT professionals to receive a 2016 Linux Foundation Training (LiFT) scholarship, announced last month.

      Luis, who is from Peru, has been using Linux since 1998, and appreciates that it is built and maintained by a large number of individuals working together to increase knowledge. Through his language preservation project, he hopes to have the first language, Quechua, the language of his grandparents, completed by the end of 2017, and then plans to expand to other Amazonian languages.

    • Next steps for Gmane

      We’ve rebuilt the storage system using ElasticSearch as the document store. We have used it for many projects and have nothing but a good. The site is currently a mixture of Python and PHP, the priority has been given to get the original functionality back in place; then work with the community to decide which of the Gmane interfaces are relevant and what we need to change to bring it up-to-date.

      We’ll do our utmost to continue in Lars’ footsteps, his hardwork and dedication to maintain this valuable Internet resource.

      Thank you Lars for the hardwork that you’ve put into Gmane over the past nearly two decades, all of the Gmane users are greatful to you!

    • Audio workshop accepted for Linux Plumbers Conference and Kernel Summit

      Audio is an increasingly important component of the Linux plumbing, given increased use of Linux for media workloads and of the Linux kernel for smartphones. Topics include low-latency audio, use of the clock API, propagating digital configuration through dynamic audio power management (DAPM), integration of HDA and ASoC, SoundWire ALSA use-case managemer (UCM) scalability, standardizing HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces, Media Controller API integration, and a number of topics relating to the multiple userspace users of Linux-kernel audio, including Android and ChromeOS as well as the various desktop-oriented Linux distributions.

    • Mainline Explicit Fencing – part 1
    • Linux Kernel 3.12.63 LTS Has MIPS and Radeon Improvements, EXT4 and CIFS Fixes

      Today, September 6, 2015, Linux kernel developer Jiri Slaby announced the release and immediate availability of the sixty-third maintenance update to the long-term supported Linux 3.12 kernel series.

    • Linux 4.7.3

      I’m announcing the release of the 4.7.3 kernel.

      All users of the 4.7 kernel series must upgrade.

    • Linux 4.4.20
    • Linux 3.14.78
    • Linus Torvalds won’t apply ‘sh*t-for-brains stupid patch’

      Add another Linus Torvalds swearing incident to his long list of linguistic indiscretions. The Linux lord has unloaded on proposed new code in typically robust language.

      “I call BS”, Torvalds’ post opens. “Let me be very clear. I’m not applying that shit-for-brains stupid patch, and will not be pulling it unless somebody tricks me into it.”

      He’s got a point: his post goes on to ask why Andersson is asking him to approve code when it would mean “… a distribution is distributing the driver without the firmware”.

      Torvalds asks “what the hell is the point of such a thing” and concludes the post by saying “Stop pushing this shit.”

    • Linux creator Torvalds has another expletive-filled rant at the community

      LINUX FOUNDER Linus Torvalds has unleashed a foul-mouthed rant at a contributor over a piece of code with which he fundamentally disagrees.

      Torvalds, usually a complete wallflower who never uses colourful language or sarcasm in any way shape or form, has repeatedly told the community that he is not willing to consider tying firmware and driver modules together in a single unit.

      He was pushed on the issue yesterday with this comment: “Nobody has actually answered the ‘why don’t we just tie the firmware and module together?’ question.

    • Limited number of LPC registrations available starting September 8
    • New Members Strengthen Automotive Grade Linux Security and Software Capabilities

      Automotive Grade Linux (AGL), a collaborative open source project developing a Linux-based, open platform for the connected car, today announced that AutoIO Technology, Irdeto, Link Motion, Pocket Soft, sdtech and Synopsys have joined The Linux Foundation and Automotive Grade Linux.

    • How blockchain will disrupt your business

      Like mobile and cloud, blockchain — first implemented in the original source code of bitcoin in 2009 — stands poised to profoundly disrupt business. If it lives up to its promise, it won’t just be financial institutions that are disrupted.

      “If you can transfer money or something of value through the internet just like another form of data, what else can you do with it? It provides a way to establish trust in the digital world,” says Angus Champion de Crespigny, Financial Services Blockchain and Distributed Infrastructure Strategy Leader, Ernst & Young. “How do you ensure something is the original copy of something on the internet? Prior to blockchain technology, you couldn’t.”

      “If you want to prove something happened in the digital world, there is no more secure place to do that,” he adds. “Once information is recorded on there, it is, for all intents and purposes, impossible to go back and retroactively change that. When there are such drastic new technologies that emerge, it isn’t just a matter of looking at your business and thinking how this technology is going to make your business more effective. What you should be doing is considering that maybe your business isn’t structured correctly for this new world.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • Improved Tear-Free Rendering For Radeon DDX With PRIME

        For those making use of the xf86-video-ati DDX driver in a PRIME-capable system with Radeon GPU, there’s more effective tear-free rendering support with the latest development code.

      • A Mesa Fix Lands To Take Care Of The R9 290 Issue, Intel/Radeon Performance Problems

        A fix landed in Mesa Git today that should address various performance issues people have been seeing in different rare setups. The fix mostly seems to be for Radeon/Intel users seeing low performance recently with glxgears but also appears to help those affected by the much talked about R9 290 regression.

        The fix by Michel Dänzer is loader/dri3: Always use at least two back buffers. Michel commented on the simple change, “This can make a significant difference for performance with some extreme test cases such as vblank_mode=0 glxgears.”

      • Arcan Open-Source Display Server Continues Progressing As Alternative To Wayland, Mir

        A few months back I wrote about Arcan: A New Open-Source Display Server Built Atop A Game Engine.

      • Wayland/Weston 1.12 Release Candidate Arrives

        Bryce Harrington announced the release candidates on Tuesday for the upcoming Wayland 1.12 and Weston 1.12 compositor releases.

        Over the earlier development builds, Wayland 1.11.93 simply has a documentation fix and a test case fix. Weston 1.11.93 meanwhile has just a handful of fixes to different parts of that compositor playground.

      • Vulkan 1.0.26 Released
    • Benchmarks

      • 7-Way Linux Distribution Benchmarks To Kick Off September

        In testing out a new Broadwell-EP system as well as for final validation of the new Phoronix Test Suite 6.6, I carried out a fresh Linux OS distribution comparison last week. Here are those results from Ubuntu, Clear Linux, Scientific Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Fedora, Antergos, and Sabayon Linux.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE is 20, Flash Lives, Deep Web Distros

        It was twenty years ago in 1996 that KDE was first announced. The project is celebrating with a new book. Elsewhere, Abode announced they’ve updated the old Netscape Flash plugin and said that development would continue. JP Buntinx recommended some distributions for the “darknet” and a new Linux usermode rootkit was described by anti-virus company Trend Micro.

      • Advanced Search and Replace with the Kate Text Editor

        The powerhouse Kate text editor has advanced search-and-replace, including support for escape sequences and regular expressions, so you can make complex corrections without leaving your document.

        The Kate text editor is my favorite and has been my main workhorse for years. Kate has a lot of great features and is friendly to both touch-typing and pointy-clicky. It doesn’t quite have the eleventy-million features of Vim or Emacs, but then you don’t need the dexterity of a concert pianist to use it, either. I think it is the most user-friendly of the powerhouse text editors.

      • KDE Neon dev/unstable switching to Wayland by default

        During this year’s Akademy we had a few discussions about Wayland, and the Plasma and Neon team decided to switch Neon developer unstable edition to Wayland by default soonish.

        There are still a few things in the stack which need to be shaken out – we need a newer Xwayland in Neon, we want to wait for Plasma 5.8 to be released, we need to get the latest QtWayland 5.7 build, etc. etc.

      • KDE Neon Developer OS Switches To Plasma Wayland By Default

        KDE developers have decided to switch to Wayland by default for KDE Neon’s unstable/developer OS.

        KDE Neon, of course, is the project providing daily spins of the bleeding-edge Ubuntu packages atop Ubuntu. Now moving forward with the new developer/unstable packages is the usage of KDE Plasma on Wayland by default.

      • Plasma 5.8: More efficient Pager and Activity Pager widgets

        On the heels of the Plasma 5.7′s new Task Manager backend, the upcoming Plasma 5.8 LTS release will sport substantially rewritten Pager and Activity Pager widgets, aimed at improving efficiency and conserving resources in a typical Plasma Desktop setup.

      • The Past and the Immediate of the Future, For Your Perusal

        Finally, things were moving again, and store.kde.org was born!

      • From Br-Print3D to Atelier

        Soon, it will be set up the KDE repositories for this project and more news is coming.

      • Wiki, what’s going on? (Part 12-Akademy Day1)
      • Wiki, what’s going on? (Part 13-Akademy Day2)
      • Gsoc 2016 Final
      • Day 4 at Akademy / QtCon 2016
      • Day 5 at Akademy 2016
      • KDE Neon Linux Developer Edition to Use Wayland by Default for KDE Plasma 5.8

        The revolution has started, and it looks like the next-generation display server, Wayland, is here to stay, being adopted by more and more GNU/Linux distributions every month.

      • Krita 3.0.1: new features and bug fixes

        Krita 3.0.1 is the first release after Krita 3.0. With the new release schedule we’re trying to release every six weeks, with a combination of new features and bug fixes. This release already contains the first results of the 2016 Google Summer of Code projects, as well as kickstarter-funded features, the work of new contributors Eugene Ingerman, Nishant Rodrigues, Miroslav Talasek and Laurent Jospin and the work from students mentored by Dmitry: Grigory Tantsev and Alexey Kapustin.

      • Krita 3.0.1 Digital Painting App Arrives with New Threshold Filter, Many Changes

        Today, September 6, 2016, a new version of the Krita open-source digital painting software has been released, build 3.0.1, and it’s the first bugfix and feature release for the major Krita 3.0 series.

        Release highlights of Krita 3.0.1 include the ability to tweak the Brush settings in the pop-up palette, soft proofing support, which lets you see how your artwork will look like when its converted to CMYK (Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black), as well as various improvements to the mirror tools by adding extra options.

      • Trying Out The FreeBSD-Powered TrueOS With Its Custom Qt Desktop

        While I’ve been running PC-BSD on some systems for years I hadn’t tried out any of its rolling-release FreeBSD 11.0-based spins under the new TrueOS brand nor had I tried out the project’s Qt-based Lumina Desktop Environment since it reached 1.0.

      • KDE neon Goes Wayland, Kubuntu Still Alive, Dev Distros

        Martin Gräßlin, KDE’s KWin expert, today blogged that KDE Plasma show-horse neon would soon be defaulting to Wayland in the unstable branch. Folks using the unstable will probably need to be aware of the change. What’s unstable today will be stable tomorrow, so some folks wondered how this decision might affect NVIDIA users. Gräßlin said in the comments that NVIDIA hardware will still default to X. He added in another comment that Wayland will be the default, but not exclusive, graphic server. Another asked if NVIDIA is planning on supporting Wayland and a discussion at Phoronix several weeks ago indicated that NVIDIA has been mum on the subject for quite a while. The general consensus was NVIDIA has lost interest in supporting Wayland.

      • Kubuntu Alive and Thriving at KDE Akademy

        Having come a quarter away around the world in part to meet up with my Kubuntu colleagues, it was surprising to hear that some people thought (at a KDE meeting?) that Kubuntu is dead.

        Not a chance. We’re having elections right now for some Kubuntu Council positions that end this year. We have four candidates for three positions, which seems very healthy to me. By the way, if you are a Kubuntu Member and have not gotten your ballot, please contact Aaron Honeycutt, since the vote closes on the 12th of September.

        We ended up meeting for more than 4 hours plus lunch yesterday, the first day of BoF meetings. Then Phil had to leave, which still seems sad, as we all miss his gentle, kind wisdom and humor.

        During the meeting, we accomplished a great deal, mostly cleaning out the Trello. We now have one and only one board, which has been mostly evaluated card by card, commented, and tagged. We hope that this will make it much easier to find a task to work on when you have a bit of spare time. If you have a login to Trello, but need inviting to the board, please check with someone in #kubuntu-devel Freenode IRC. Feel free to create cards when needed, and assign yourself and someone else to it. Many of the items on our Wishlist contain things we really do want, but do not have the time or skills to do. So pitch in as you can.

      • KDE Store presentation video online

        The QtCon / Akademy organizers have published the videos of last weekend’s conference presentations.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Orca Screen Reader App Updated for GNOME 3.22 with More LibreOffice Improvements

        The Orca open-source screen reader and magnifier utility used by default in many GNU/Linux distributions, especially those running the GNOME desktop environment, has received a major update recently.

        The fact of the matter is that we’re talking about Orca 3.22, which is currently under massive development as part of the upcoming GNOME 3.22 desktop environment, due for release on September 21, 2016, and it a Beta 2 milestone had been pushed to public testers a few days ago.

      • Wrapping up user experience testing

        This is a follow-up to my other item about wrapping up Outreachy. Diana posted part two of her analysis from first-time GNOME user experience testing.

        In this test, Diana asked testers to simulate an “unboxing” of a new system. The tester logged in to GNOME using a fresh “test” account so they get the first-time user experience. After allowing each tester to explore GNOME via three broad scenario tasks, Diana asked them to rate their reaction to GNOME using emoji, and followed up with several interview questions.

      • Writing GStreamer Elements in Rust (Part 2): Don’t panic, we have better assertions now – and other updates
  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tiny $7 IoT module packs WiFi, BLE, and sensors, runs FreeRTOS

      SeeedStudio’s “ESP3212” COM taps Espressif’s IoT-focused ESP32 follow-on to the ESP8266 SoC, which uses a faster Tensilica LX6 MCU and adds BLE and sensors.

      Espressif’s highly integrated and highly anticipated ESP32 follow-on to its popular ESP8266 wireless system-on-chip is now shipping. It’s available as part of a tiny SeedStudio ESP3212 computer-on-module, as well on Espressif’s own, slightly larger ESP-WROOM-32 reference design board and more expansive ESP32 Development Board.

    • Arduino Open Source Platform Fuels IoT and Farming’s Future

      Arduino, the world’s leading open-source software and hardware ecosystem, is being used to power Farmbot, the revolutionary farming robot that is built fully on open source. Farmbot is a computer numerical control (CNC) farming machine and software package for small scale, hyper local, DIY food production. It is controlled by and Arduino RAMPS stack and connected to the Internet using Raspberry Pi 2. The platform is designed to be simple, scalable, hackable, and easily made.

      “The applications that are fueling the IoT market are astonishing, and open source technology is playing a big role in it,” said Federico Musto, CEO of Arduino S.r.L. “Predicted to become a $6 trillion market by 2021, the IoT market is starting to take shape with advancements in wearables, healthcare, smart homes and cities, law enforcement, automotive, and, of course agriculture. We are proud to be a part of Farmbot, and look forward to continuing to fuel IoT deployments.”

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 Open Source Tools for DevOps

    To be sure, the list of open source tools for DevOps is growing. Why? Because DevOps itself is growing, and open source is a natural choice for this development methodology.

    First coined around 2009, the term DevOps refers to an approach to IT that emphasizes collaboration between the development and operations groups. It arose out of the agile software development movement and applies some of the same principles to the application lifecycle management (ALM) process. DevOps is difficult to define because it’s more of a movement or a philosophy than a rigid set of rules or practices. Organizations that employ DevOps are characterized by a high degree of cooperation, few internal “siloes,” heavy use of automation, continuous testing and integration, and faster development and deployment of applications.

    In the time since DevOps was first imagined, its popularity has increased tremendously. In fact, a RightScale survey found that 74 percent of organizations and 81 percent of enterprises say they are using DevOps.

  • Why Pixar open sourced its 3D graphics technology

    Pixar Animation Studios has open sourced its Universal Scene Description (USD) technology. USD is an extremely powerful toolset that helps filmmakers in reading, writing, editing, and rapidly previewing 3D scene data.

    “USD is the core of Pixar’s 3D graphics pipeline, used in every 3D authoring and rendering application, including Pixar’s proprietary Presto animation system,” according to Pixar.

    USD is aimed at performance and large-scale collaboration among many artists that makes it ideal for the complex modern pipeline, allowing dozens of creative people working on the same project.

    One of the most notable features of USD is Hydra, a high-performance preview renderer capable of interactively displaying large data sets.

    Pixar engineers gave a live demo of USD at SIGGRAPH 2016, International Conference and exhibition on Computer Graphics & Interactive Techniques. The demo shows real time rendering capabilities of USD technologies.

  • Why open source matters to the IoT market

    By using open source IoT app standards, Indian entrepreneurs will be able to sell their IoT apps globally. App store customers can run these apps on any type of enterprise or industrial hardware. India’s software industry is uniquely positioned to benefit from IoT. India can combine low-cost, innovation and revenue generation in any future IoT solution. IoT is the next big thing, and India should do everything possible to drive it.

  • Google’s Fuchsia OS is out in the open and shrouded in mystery

    Google is developing a new operating system named Fuchsia, and the early source code is already public. Google itself and Fuchsia’s developers haven’t explained what the OS is for—but we can dig into the source code to learn more.

  • Student’s open source project takes him around the world

    I discovered open source software while I was a student at the University of Lomé in Togo in 2004. From that very first day, I was in love with the philosophy and knew this would be a big part of my life.

    I joined the National Open Source Users Association (ATULL) and became an active member. Then, as a student, I created an open source web application for the managing of college activities, and it won 3rd place at the African Conference on Open Source Software in Morocco in 2007. Thanks to the award, I got a first class ticket from the Francophonie International Organization to attend the Open Source Software World Meeting in 2008.

  • Events

    • MEDIA ADVISORY: Open Source NFV Project to Host 2017 Summit in Beijing

      The OPNFV Project, a carrier-grade, integrated, open source platform intended to accelerate the introduction of new products and services using Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), today announced the 2017 OPNFV Summit will be held in Beijing, China, June 12-15, 2017 at the JW Marriott Beijing. The Summit provides an opportunity to reach the innovative communities, developers and companies transforming the networking industry through open source NFV.

      Registration for the 2017 OPNFV Summit is available here. Those interested in sponsoring the event can find more details here. Additional information, including the Call for Proposals, agendas and co-located events will be available in the coming months, so check the OPNFV Summit website for updates.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Testing the Right Things with Docker

      Fast and efficient software testing is easy with Docker, says Laura Frank of Codeship, who will be presenting a talk called “Building Efficient Parallel Testing Platforms with Docker” at LinuxCon + ContainerCon Europe next month.

    • OpenStack Summit in Barcelona will be Last Design Summit

      Since my first OpenStack Summit back in San Diego in 2012, there has been one unique defining characteristic that made the event different than any other in the technology world – the event was where developers and users all gathered in the same place.

  • Databases

    • Tesora Teams with Red Hat on OpenStack-based Database as a Service

      As the OpenStack cloud computing arena has spread out, a whole ecosystem of tools has been growing along with it. Tesora, familiar to many as the leading contributor to the OpenStack Trove open source project, has focused very heavily on Database-as-a-Service tools for OpenStack deployments. It has also pursued partnerships. For example, Tesora has a partnership with OpenStack heavy-hitter Mirantis. The company has made available the first ever plug-in to automate configuration and deployment of its database as a service (DBaaS) platform with Mirantis OpenStack.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • ​OpenOffice is dead. Long live LibreOffice

      If you read some stories about how OpenOffice is reaching the end of the road, you might think OpenOffice was becoming insecure. That’s half true. OpenOffice doesn’t have the programmers it needs to be safe. That’s because all its good developers moved to its fork, LibreOffice, years ago. LibreOffice is as safe as any program can be.

    • OpenOffice: Retirement Talk is Underway Online

      In case it isn’t clear, the situation looks dire for OpenOffice. Meanwhile, The Document Foundation recently announced the releases of LibreOffice 5.2 and 5.1.5. LibreOffice 5.2, and LibreOffice is gaining much traction with new levels of compatibility with mainstream office applications. We will follow up on the OpenOffice debate shortly.

    • Community conference starts with 10th release of LibreOffice in 2016

      The Document Foundation (TDF) has celebrated the opening session of LibOCon with the announcement of LibreOffice 5.2.1, the first minor release of the LibreOffice 5.2 family.

      LibOCon is a showcase of the project activity, and will feature over 60 talks in three days, covering development, QA, localization, ODF, marketing, community and documentation, a business session in Czech focused on large deployments of LibreOffice, and a meeting of the Open Source Business Alliance (OSBA).

      Details of the conference, including the program and collateral activities such as the traditional “hacknight” – a hands-on session where developers hack over food and drinks – are available on the event website: http://conference.libreoffice.org.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Now Has A Port For CentOS 7 Binary Support

      We’ve known for a while that FreeBSD has been working on a CentOS 7 compatibility layer while now that work has finally landed in FreeBSD ports.

      As of yesterday, linux_base-c7 landed in ports for installing the CentOS 7 base packages. This will allow running newer Linux binaries built for modern CentOS/RHEL 7 era systems on FreeBSD, assuming the source isn’t available or isn’t compatible natively with FreeBSD. Previously CentOS 6 was the default port used for this Linux binary compatibility with FreeBSD.

  • Public Services/Government

    • The Sun slams Corbyn for advocating ‘open source’ software, but uses it for its own website

      Its true that hackers in other countries can identify vunerabilities in open source software.

      But they can also hack proprietary software like Microsoft Windows.

      But with open source software – where all the underlying code is open so people can look at it, suggest changes and improve on it – at least problems can be quickly patched up.

      Moreover open source software can be more powerful, cheaper (good news for taxpayers!) and reliable!

      After all, the Sun uses it too. They run their website on WordPress – the open source blog software.

      Did they think we wouldn’t notice?

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • A Git Workflow for Humans

      The following paragraphs will define the most simple and minimal approach which is a base case of how this workflow works, the extensions paragraph defines some extensions which help you dealing with several common usecases. You will likely end up using the base workflow with one or two extensions.

    • Stepsize brings AI to DevOps: contextualised code is smarter

      Stepsize is a UK startup focused on developer tools. The firm is aiming to put a degree of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into DevOps. Stepsize Layer is a desktop application for developers that automatically adds context to code bases. It does this by hooking up tools used to develop software, structuring historical data and attaching this to the piece of code.

    • Why I love these markup languages

      Around this time last year, I wrote a brief introduction to various markup languages for this column. The topic of language selection has come up several times recently, so I thought it might be time to revisit the subject with my biases more overt. I’m here to explain why I prefer the languages I do, not to prescribe anything for you. After all, I’m no doc-tor.

    • LEGO Mindstorms programming with ev3dev

      I was introduced to LEGO Mindstorms eighteen months ago while applying for a STEM grant at a local library. LEGO Mindstorms are kits to create customizable, programmable robots

    • Confronting Jargon

      Throughout my software engineering career, I’ve struggled with and against jargon. Intellectually, I understand jargon as a set of specialized terms meant to facilitate smooth and precise communication, particularly in a professional context. It binds groups together: it’s the secret handshake, the side-long wink, the showing that yes, you’re in the club too, you belong. Experientially? I know the ways jargon can keep you out as you feel along, grasping for knowledge in the dark.

    • LLV8 Is An Experimental LLVM Compiler For V8 JavaScript
    • Open-Source OCaml to JavaScript Compiler BuckleScript Hits 1.0

      BuckleScript 1.0 brings almost full compatibility with OCaml features and an improved FFI with the aim of avoiding writing unsafe JavaScript stubs. InfoQ has spoken with Bloomberg’s Hongbo Zhang, BuckleScript creator at Bloomberg.

    • Runtime CSS styling for SWT
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Z-Wave Specifications Go Open-Source

      The company responsible for drafting the Z-Wave home networking standard has made certain parts of the technology publicly available.

      In an attempt to lure hardware and software developers to the standard, Sigma Designs last week released a public version of Z-Wave’s interoperability layer, which ensures that devices ranging from door locks to security cameras can share information.

      The company has added the software to Z-Wave’s open-source library. The code represents the “language” that defines how devices from different manufacturers talk to each other, said Raoul Wijgergangs, vice president of Sigma Design’s Z-Wave business. That makes it easier for home owners to connect devices with an internet gateway and control them remotely using a phone, computer, or tablet.


  • Typo made Air Asia X flight land at Melbourne instead of Malaysia

    Finger trouble with onboard navigation systems led to an Air Asia flight making a two-hour internal hop in Australia before its scheduled journey to Malaysia.

    An investigation report by the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) into the March flight disclosed the cockup, which it said was down to the A330′s captain “inadvertently enter[ing] the wrong longitudinal position of the aircraft.”

    He had copied down the aircraft’s position co-ordinates from a sign displayed at the airport terminal gate while initialising the Airbus’ systems. Instead of entering 15109.8 east (i.e. 15˚ 19.8′ east), the captain entered 01519.8, resulting in “a positional error in excess of 11,000 km.”

  • British Airways apologises to delayed passengers

    British Airways has apologised to passengers facing delays after an IT glitch affected check-in desks.

    Passengers complained of delays at check-in and at the baggage drop, and on the tarmac waiting for take-off.

    The airline said passengers were able to check in at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports “although it is taking longer than usual”. It advised passengers to check in online.

    “We are sorry for the delay to their journeys,” BA added.

    There was further disruption for passengers at London City Airport on Tuesday after, police said, protesters “locked themselves together” on the runway.

    BA encouraged customers affected by the IT problems to check in online before they reached the airport. It told customers that some flights had been cancelled on Monday “due to operational reasons” but that specialists were “working to resolve this issue”.

  • Science

    • The critical role of systems thinking in software development

      Software applications exist to serve practical human needs, but they inevitably accumulate undefined and defective behaviors as well.

      Because software flaws are often left undiscovered until some specific failure forces them to the surface, every software project ships with some degree of unquantified risk. This is true even when software is built by highly skilled developers, and is an essential characteristic of any complex system.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • UNITAID Issues Call For Solutions To Overcome IP Barriers

      UNITAID, the drug financing mechanism, has put out an appeal calling for ideas on solutions to overcome intellectual property barriers that may be preventing progress in public health. The deadline for submissions is coming near.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Wednesday’s security advisories
    • Stealthy, tricky to remove rootkit targets Linux systems on ARM and x86 [Ed: IDG covers this nonsense from Trend Micro (not a real risk, just the name Pokémon for better headlines])
    • You can’t weigh risk if you don’t know what you don’t know

      If any of us have ever been in a planning meeting, a variant of this has no doubt come up at some point. It came up for me last week, and every time I hear it I think about all things we don’t know we don’t know. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it works a bit like this. I know I don’t know to drive a boat. But because I know I don’t know this, I could learn. If you know you lack certain knowledge, you could find a way to learn it. If you don’t know what you don’t know, there is nothing you can do about it. The future is often an unknown unknown. There is nothing we can do about the future in many instances, you just have to wait until it becomes a known, and hope it won’t be anything too horrible. There can also be blindness when you think you know something, but you really don’t. This is when people tend to stop listening to the actual experts because they think they are an expert.

    • New release: usbguard-0.6.0

      Another milestone behind us. The 0.6.0 release brings the promissed CentOS/RHEL 7 compatibility. This means that our Copr EPEL-7 repository as well as Fedora’s EPEL-7 repository will now provide the latest versions of USBGuard. Check it out!

      One more very good piece of news is that USBGuard was accepted in Debian and is available in Sid (unstable). A big thanks goes to Muri Nicanor and others involved in this packaging effort!

    • StartSSL customers, it is time to leave. Now!

      While listening to the Security Now podcast, I have listened first with amusement then with horror to Steve reading email from Mozilla about the security problems with WoSign CA.

      Their list of woes is long, read the linked email for details, but one thing turned up during the email which I was not aware of: StartCom (owner of the StartSSL certificate authority) was apparently recently bought by WoSign CA! Apparently one of the security bugs StartSSL has (had?) was that with properly modified POST request (yes, I guess you can do it in the Developer Tools of your Firefox) you can get certificate linked to the root ceritificate “CA 沃通根证书” (or “WoSign CA Free SSL Certificate G2” with another value of the parameter). Awesome!

      What’s even more interesting is that I am a paying customer of StartSSL CA and I have never been made aware of the change of ownership. The only other mention of the possible change of ownership I found was on the Wikipedia page, which linked to the blogpost, which is now unavailable due to “legal review of the site” […]. Even better!

    • Debian GNU/Linux Fixes Dangerous TCP Flaw In New Update
    • Why Security Performance Will be Key in NFV

      There is growing evidence that the data center is driving toward a more software-centric security model that will be core to network functions virtualization (NFV) and software-defined networking (SDN) technology. This new model means that security performance in NFV will be key.

    • How to enable server-side encryption in Nextcloud

      Out of the box, Nextcloud servers do not run with server-side encryption. Follow these steps to enable an extra layer of security for Nextcloud.

    • Umbreon rootkit targets Linux on x86, ARM [Ed: nonsensical marketing hype from Trend Micro]
    • Pokemon Themed ‘Umbreon’ Rootkit Hides In Linux Systems
    • Taking umbrage at Umbreon, the Linux rootkit that likes to hide
    • Linux rootkit, named for Pokémon’s Umbreon, targets Linux
  • Defence/Aggression

    • New leaked files reveal more about NSA satellite eavesdropping

      Newly published documents from Edward Snowden have shed more light on American surveillance operations in the UK.

    • Video: Inside Menwith Hill – NSA spy base in UK used for ‘kill or capture’ missions

      Leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed how his former employer used the US spy base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire to conduct ‘kill or capture’ missions in its global shadow war.

    • The NSA Abroad: The UK Base That Makes US Targeted Killing Possible

      In a damning exposé published Monday, The Intercept reporter Ryan Gallagher dives into the inner workings of National Security Agency’s (NSA) largest overseas spying base, the U.K.’s Menwith Hill Station, and reveals concrete evidence that the British government is complicit in the United States’ targeted killing program.

      Citing top-secret documents obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Gallagher reports, “The files reveal for the first time how the NSA has used the British base to aid ‘a significant number of capture-kill operations’ across the Middle East and North Africa, fueled by powerful eavesdropping technology.”

      And given the British government’s repeated assertion that activities at Menwith Hill “have always been, and continue to be” carried out with its “knowledge and consent,” the findings are all the more damning.

      “For years, Reprieve and others have sought clarification from the British government about the role of U.K. bases in the U.S. covert drone program, which has killed large numbers of civilians in countries where we are not at war,” Kat Craig, legal director of London-based human rights group Reprieve, told The Intercept. “We were palmed off with platitudes and reassured that any U.S. activities on or involving British bases were fully compliant with domestic and international legal provisions. It now appears that this was far from the truth.”

    • NSA leaks show US spooks use UK base to launch ‘kill-capture’ missions

      Leaks by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden have revealed how his former employer used the US spy base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire to conduct ‘kill or capture’ missions in its global shadow war.

      The new files published by the Intercept partly lay to rest speculation by journalists and campaigners over what really goes on at the US base.

      They show that secretive NSA kill-capture operations in the Middle East have been developed and initiated from inside the base’s heavily guarded perimeter wire.

    • New Snowden leaks unravel mystery behind NSA’s UK base

      Just when you thought you couldn’t be shocked by the NSA’s snooping anymore, new leaked documents show the agency’s reach extends far beyond American borders.

    • Philippine President Sorry, Not Sorry He Cursed Obama for Criticism of His Killing Spree

      In a statement released on Tuesday, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that he was sorry — not for calling President Barack Obama a “son of a whore,” but that “it came across as a personal attack on the U.S. president.”

      The contorted apology, read to reporters at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum in Laos by Duterte’s spokesperson, Ernie Abella, came after Obama responded to the slur by canceling a meeting with the new leader that had been scheduled for Tuesday.

      Duterte, whose first months in office have been marked by nearly 3,000 killings in a campaign of extrajudicial assassinations of suspected drug dealers and addicts carried out by the police and death squads, launched into a profanity-laced tirade against Obama on Monday when asked by reporters how he would respond to criticism of the killing spree from the American president.

    • Karimov Family Values

      Twelve years ago President Karimov jailed his own nephew, Jamshid Karimov, for the “crime” of writing an article in a state publication which suggested modest improvements to his uncle’s economic policies. Like other prominent dissidents, young Karimov ended up chained to a bed in a psychiatric ward being pumped mind altering drugs to re-educate him.

    • Dissecting the Propaganda on Syria

      The American public is so inundated with propaganda on the Syrian conflict that a rational policy that could minimize the death toll is almost impossible to formulate, a problem addressed by Rick Sterling.

    • 5-key insights on the Syrian conflict via Hillary’s email and the Stratfor Wikileaks
    • Hillary Clinton Thinks Real-World Military Responses To Hacking Attacks Are A Nifty Idea

      Again, you’ll note that the United States is portrayed as an innocent and noble defender of cybersecurity freedom, when it’s the one often engaging in frequently-unprovoked attacks the world over. Of course, Clinton and friends are well aware that the vast majority of the time it’s impossible to know where an attack came from, and any hacker worth his or her salt simply doesn’t leave footprints. That makes a real-world military or economic response to a nebulous, usually-unprovable threat simply idiotic. You’d assume Clinton knows this and was just doing some light pandering to the audience.

      But this rhetoric alone is still dangerous in that it opens the door wide to using hacking — much like communism and Islamic extremism and numerous “isms” before them — as a nebulous, endlessly mutable justification for a litany of bad US behavior. You could, for example, covertly hack a government, publicize its hacking response to your hack, using the press to help you justify military action. Given the US and global media’s historical complicity in helping governments begin wars with jack shit for evidence, it shouldn’t be hard to see how hacking is going to be a useful bad policy bogeyman du jour for decades to come.

      Despite some repeated, painful lessons on this front stretching back generations, forcing the government to show its math before it resorts to violence is simply not the US media’s strong suit. And with hacking and cybersecurity being subjects the press and public are extra-violently ignorant about, we’ve created the opportunity for some incredible new sleight of hand when it comes to framing and justifying US domestic and international policy. If history is any indication, by next time this year we’ll be blaming everything under the sun on Russian hackers because after all, two anonymous senior government officials said so.

      Healthy skepticism will be our ally as we stumble down the rabbit hole. While it’s no surprise that Russia, like the United States is deeply-involved in nation state hacking, you’ll note that actual evidence linking the Putin Administration to the recent rise in US hacking attacks remains fleeting. Most reports simply cite a single anonymous US government source, or security firms with a vested interest in selling services and products. That’s not to say Putin and friends aren’t busy hacking the US, but whether a country is responding to similar attacks by the United States (pdf) — or is actually involved at all — is rather important to transparently document before you begin trotting out awful new policies or worse, real world bombs.

    • Trump Renews Focus on Military Spending as Race Tightens

      Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump detailed his proposals for an expansion of U.S. military power as his race with Democrat Hillary Clinton tightens, in an appeal to service members and veterans who could give him a critical boost in November.

      If elected, Trump would ask Congress to lift military spending caps, increase defense spending, and seek a plan from generals to counter Islamic State in his first 30 days in office, he said in a speech Wednesday in Philadelphia.

      Trump also said he would increase the size of the army to about 540,000, the Marine Corps to 36 battalions, the navy to a number of surface ships and submarines “approaching” 350, and the Air Force to at least 1,200 fighter aircraft.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • FBI Publishes Clinton Email Investigation Documents; More Bad News On Documents Mishandling, FOIA Compliance

      The FBI generally likes to keep as much information as possible out of the public’s hands, so its decision to release its files on the Hillary Clinton email investigation are probably best viewed as a one-off, rather than the leading edge of a new era of transparency.

      The agency certainly couldn’t pretend there isn’t significant public interest in the content of the investigative files. The outcome of a presidential election could very well hinge on the voting public’s interpretation of the documents’ content.

      And the FBI certainly has an interest in clearing the air of any hints of politically-motivated favoritism. That the investigation occurred at all does some damage to Clinton’s credibility, while the decision not to pursue prosecution doesn’t do much for the FBI’s.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Oklahoma earthquake and oil drilling: What we know

      When an earthquake struck Oklahoma on Saturday, one of the first steps state officials took was to shut down 37 of the state’s 3,200 active disposal wells — a move that drew national attention to the link between oil and gas drilling and earthquakes.

    • Dakota Access Pipeline Protests In North Dakota Turn Violent

      Protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota turned violent on Saturday.

      Demonstrators supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe faced off with private security officers from Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners.

      Video from the scene showed security officers threatening protesters with dogs.

      As All Things Considered reported, hundreds of Native Americans from tribes across the country have set up a camp near the construction site in North Dakota. The Army Corps of Engineer approved the oil pipeline in July allowing it to run under the Missouri river close to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation.

    • A Native American fight to stop an oil pipeline is a “morally embarrassing reminder” of America’s founding

      For months, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota has been protesting the construction of a $3.8 billion (paywall) oil pipeline that would cut through four US states. Last week, the protests reached unprecedented size. Hundreds of environmental activists joined the local community of about 8,000. The BBC reports that the largest gathering of Native Americans in over a century, with over 90 tribes represented, is currently underway in Cannonball, North Dakota.

      The Native tribes and environmentalists say the pipeline would disrupt a sacred burial ground, as well as threaten water quality in the area. They say that the Army Corps of Engineers should never have granted permits for its construction.

    • Hillary Clinton Raises More Than Donald Trump From Oil Industry

      Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has raised significantly more money than Donald Trump in the heart of the Republican fundraising territory—the oil and gas industry.

    • The oceans are heating up. That’s a big problem on a blue planet

      So, just as a refresher, it’s always good to remember that we live on an ocean planet. Most of the Earth’s surface is salt water, studded with the large islands we call continents.

      It’s worth recalling this small fact – which can slip our minds, since we humans congregate on the patches of dry ground – because new data shows just how profoundly we’re messing with those seven seas. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has published an extensive study concluding that the runaway heating of the oceans is “the greatest hidden challenge of our generation”.

      When we think about global warming, we usually fixate on the air temperature. Which is spiking sharply – July was the hottest month ever measured on our planet. But as the new study points out, 90% of the extra heat that our greenhouse gases trap is actually absorbed by the oceans. That means that the upper few meters of the sea have been steadily warming more than a tenth of a degree celsius per decade, a figure that’s accelerating. When you think of the volume of water that represents, and then try to imagine the energy necessary to raise its temperature, you get an idea of the blowtorch that our civilization has become.

    • Judge halts North Dakota pipeline contruction temporarily after protests

      An American Indian tribe succeeded on Tuesday in getting a federal judge to temporarily stop construction on some, but not all, of a $3.8bn four-state oil pipeline, but its broader request still hangs in the balance.

      James Boasberg, a US district court judge, said on Tuesday that work will temporarily stop between North Dakota’s state highway 1806 and 20 miles east of Lake Oahe, but will continue west of the highway because he believes the US army corps of engineers lacks jurisdiction on private land.

    • Judge grants partial stop on North Dakota pipeline work

      An American Indian tribe succeeded Tuesday in getting a federal judge to temporarily stop construction on some, but not all, of a $3.8 billion four-state oil pipeline, but its broader request still hangs in the balance.

      U.S. District Judge James Boasberg said Tuesday that work will temporarily stop between North Dakota’s State Highway 1806 and 20 miles east of Lake Oahe, but will continue west of the highway because he believes the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lacks jurisdiction on private land.

      He also said he will rule by the end of Friday on the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s challenge of federal regulators’ decision to grant permits to the Dallas, Texas-based operators of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which will cross North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Illinois.

    • Finnish nuclear company fired whistleblower over safety concerns

      The Fennovoima nuclear firm’s parent company, Voimaosakeyhtiö SF (VSF), fired one of its executives because he expressed safety concerns to the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK). VSF admitted this to Yle after initially denying it.

  • Finance

    • Inside an International Court of Money and Mystery

      A Dubai real estate mogul had a prison sentence disappear. Manufacturing executives in El Salvador dodged having to clean up a case of dangerous lead contamination. Two global financiers embezzled $300 million from an Indonesian bank but got off light.

      Welcome to the world of international arbitration court. BuzzFeed reporter Chris Hamby spent 18 months penetrating the court and tracing its influence.

    • NYT: Corbyn Has Marginalized Labour With His Popular Positions

      The story focused on Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn—or “its left-wing leader, Jeremy Corbyn,” in the Times‘ formulation. The point of the piece is to blame Corbyn for the fact that “the Labour Party is in shambles: Its leader and its members of Parliament are in a virtual civil war, and it is deeply unpopular with the broader electorate.”

      Labour’s unpopularity is easy to exaggerate; its projected national share of the vote in the last local elections, held in May 2016, was 31 percent, a percentage point ahead of the Conservatives; this is considered unpromising, as opposition parties that are soon to become governing parties generally do better than that, but it’s an improvement over May 2015 (four months before Corbyn assumed leadership), when Labour trailed by 6 percentage points.

    • At WaPo, You Can Say Anything to Support TPP–or to Smear Sanders

      In pushing trade agreements, it is fair to say anything, even if it has no relationship to the truth. Therefore it is not surprising to see Fareed Zakaria (Washington Post, 9/1/16) pushing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) by claiming that it will boost growth, and attacking Bernie Sanders for opposing “trade policies that have lifted hundreds of millions of the world’s poorest people out of poverty.”

      First, the impact on growth will be trivial. According to the International Trade Commission’s assessment, the TPP will boost the annual growth rate over the next 15 years by less than 0.02 percentage points. And this projection does not take account of the negative impact of the protectionist measures in the TPP, such as stronger and longer copyright and patent protection. These measures have the same impact on the protected items as tariffs of several thousand percent.


      Actually, in standard trade theory, most of the benefits from lowering tariffs accrue to the countries that lower them. In trade theory, it benefits their consumers. Overall, trade balances are not affected. This is why the very pro-TPP Peterson Institute shows that by far the largest gains to TPP accrue to Vietnam: It lowers its tariffs the most under the terms of the deal.

      In terms of the attack on Bernie Sanders for opposing the world’s poor, Zakaria is again confused. In the standard trade story, capital is supposed to flow from rich countries like the United States to poor countries in the developing world. That would mean rich countries run trade surpluses, and poor countries run trade deficits. This allows poor countries to sustain consumption levels even as they build up their capital stock.

    • Made in China G20 and its Geoeconomic Significance

      Yet now geoeconomics has reached an extremely worrying zone of turbulence. Since the end of the Cold War in 1989 – and of “history” itself, according to academic simpletons – it’s never bee so dire. Greed led globalization to be “defeated”by inequality. In a nutshell, low inflation – due to global competition – led to the proverbial “expansionary” monetary policies, which inflated housing, education and health care, squeezing the middle class and allowing unlimited wealth flowing to a 1 percent minority of asset owners.

      Yet even in de-acceleration, China was responsible for more than 25 percent of global economic growth in 2015. It remains the key global turbine – while at the same time carrying the self-attributed burden of being the representative of the Global South in global economic governance.

    • America and the Plague of ‘Moral Idiocy’

      When it comes to applying rules of international law and ethics, the U.S. government and its mainstream media operate with stunning hypocrisy, what might be called “moral idiocy,” says Lawrence Davidson.

    • Tencent Is Now the Most Valuable Company in Asia

      The web firm Tencent tcehy has become the most valuable company in Asia, and one of the top 10 in the world by market capitalization.

      It wasn’t so long ago that Tencent was racing neck-and-neck with Samsung — their share prices were both up by a third on the year — to overtake state-owned China Mobile and steal the title of the most valuable company in Asia.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Clinton Foundation plans to close overseas fundraising arms

      The Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation will shut down its fundraising affiliates in Sweden and the United Kingdom if Hillary Clinton wins the U.S. presidency in November, a spokesman for the global charity said this week.

      The foundation has in recent weeks begun announcing planned new donor restrictions to allay criticism that wealthy supporters might be expecting special treatment from the U.S. government in return.

      Both the William J. Clinton Foundation UK in London and the Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse in Stockholm will close if Clinton becomes president because of their acceptance of foreign funding, Brian Cookstra, a spokesman for the Clinton Foundation in New York, said in one of a series of emails responding to questions from Reuters.

    • The Unrelenting Pundit-Led Effort to Delegitimize All Negative Reporting About Hillary Clinton

      In his New York Times column yesterday, Paul Krugman did something that he made clear he regarded as quite brave: He defended the Democratic Party presidential nominee and likely next U.S. president from journalistic investigations. Complaining about media bias, Krugman claimed that journalists are driven by “the presumption that anything Hillary Clinton does must be corrupt, most spectacularly illustrated by the increasingly bizarre coverage of the Clinton Foundation.” While generously acknowledging that it was legitimate to take a look at the billions of dollars raised by the Clintons as Hillary pursued increasing levels of political power — vast sums often received from the very parties most vested in her decisions as a public official — it is now “very clear,” he proclaimed, that there was absolutely nothing improper about any of what she or her husband did.

      Krugman’s column, chiding the media for its unfairly negative coverage of his beloved candidate, was, predictably, a big hit among Democrats — not just because of their agreement with its content but because of what they regarded as the remarkable courage required to publicly defend someone as marginalized and besieged as the former first lady, two-term New York senator, secretary of state, and current establishment-backed multimillionaire presidential front-runner. Krugman — in a tweet proclamation that has now been re-tweeted more than 10,000 times — heralded himself this way: “I was reluctant to write today’s column because I knew journos would hate it. But it felt like a moral duty.”


      That American journalists have dispensed with muted tones and fake neutrality when reporting on Trump is a positive development. He and his rhetoric pose genuine threats, and the U.S. media would be irresponsible if it failed to make that clear. But aggressive investigative journalism against Trump is not enough for Democratic partisans whose voice is dominant in U.S. media discourse. They also want a cessation of any news coverage that reflects negatively on Hillary Clinton. Most, of course, won’t say this explicitly (though some do), but — as the wildly adored Krugman column from yesterday reflects — they will just reflexively dismiss any such coverage as illegitimate and invalid.

      It should be the opposite of surprising, or revealing, that pundits loyally devoted to a particular candidate dislike all reporting that reflects negatively on that candidate. There is probably no more die-hard Clinton loyalist in the U.S. media than Paul Krugman. He has used his column for years to defend her and attack any of her critics. Indeed, in 2008, he was the first to observe that — in his words — “the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality,” comparing the adulation Clinton’s 2008 primary opponent was receiving to the swooning over George W. Bush’s flight suit. He spent the 2016 primary maligning Sanders supporters as unstable, unserious losers (the straight, white, male columnist also regularly referred to them — including female and LGBT Sanders supporters — as “bros”). And now he’s assigned himself the role as Arbiter of Proper Journalism, and — along with virtually all other Clinton-supporting pundits and journalists — has oh-so-surprisingly ruled that all journalism that reflects poorly on Hillary Clinton is unsubstantiated, biased, and deceitful.

    • Despite Bernie Sanders’s Urging, Die-Hards Still Resist Hillary Clinton

      Outside Senator Bernie Sanders’s first general-election rally for Hillary Clinton on Monday, a small group of Clinton supporters and former Sanders backers glared at one another.


      “Never Hillary!” the former Sanders supporters yelled back, as some declared they would vote for Jill Stein, the Green Party presidential nominee.

    • Voters Want Third Party Candidates On Debate Stage

      Kent Redfield, a UIS Professor Emeritus of Political Science, said, “Most people really don’t know who they are or what they stand for. But again, we’ve never had an election where you’ve had the two main party candidates with such high unfavorables. It could be that [the third party] will retain strength and then, if they’re getting combined 15% of the vote, then that could tip the balance in a very close state.”

      So far, neither Johnson nor Stein have reached the necessary 15% across the five national polls to be invited to the debate stage, but it’s clear that many Americans would like to see any serious third-party candidates on that stage with Clinton and Trump this fall.

    • Poll: Nine weeks out, a near even race

      Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton start the race to November 8 on essentially even ground, with Trump edging Clinton by a scant two points among likely voters, and the contest sparking sharp divisions along demographic lines in a new CNN/ORC Poll.
      Trump tops Clinton 45% to 43% in the new survey, with Libertarian Gary Johnson standing at 7% among likely voters in this poll and the Green Party’s Jill Stein at just 2%.

    • It is undemocratic to exclude me and Gary Johnson from presidential debates

      Presidential debates should be an opportunity for the American people to decide the direction of our nation. But since 1987, everything about the debates has been predetermined by the party bosses who run Washington.

      Consider that 76% of Americans want the presidential debates to include Gary Johnson and me. Yet the phony Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is trying to rob voters of the open debates they want.

      The CPD is actually a private corporation that refuses to disclose its current funders or sponsors. The Democratic and Republican National Committees both select its leaders. The CPD literally excludes the 50% of voters who reject their parties.

      This two-party cartel posing as a public service “commission” admitted in a 1987 press conference that independent candidates and alternative political parties should be excluded from the debates, and they create artificial barriers to exclude them.

    • Why Aren’t Third Parties Allowed to Debate?

      Would you eat at a restaurant that only offered two unpalatable menu options —especially when more tasty choices were available? Watching a presidential debate with only Clinton and Trump is like having to choose between liver and tripe. And why is this, especially when there are at least two other, more appealing, candidates to choose from?

      Because the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a private corporation run by establishment Democrats and Republicans, doesn’t want you to know you might have better choices. It’s incredibly ironic that their website states they want to “provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners.” That could not be further from the truth.

      The CPD is like one of those exclusive clubs where you have to know somebody influential to get in. But this is America — the land where we were raised to believe anyone could become president. Unfortunately, this is no longer true. Because campaigns are not publicly financed, a candidate needs millions of dollars to buy advertising to build familiarity — or the media needs to be unbiased enough to give equal coverage to all the candidates, which it doesn’t.

      Only 50% of Americans identify as being either Democrat or Republican, and only 9% of these voted in the primaries. A huge segment of the population does not identify with either party, so why can’t we hear about what third parties have to offer? Because the CPD wants you to vote for one of their pre-chosen candidates.

    • Diddy: Black voters ‘shortchanged’ by Obama presidency

      Rapper-turned-mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs said he thinks that black voters “got a little bit shortchanged” by Barack Obama’s presidency, and urged the black community to “hold our vote” as a way to spur meaningful action by political leaders.
      “The heat has to be turned up so much that as a community, we’ve got to hold our vote,” Diddy told the Rev. Al Sharpton on MSNBC Sunday. “Don’t pacify yourself; really revolutionize the game. Make them come for our vote. It’s a whole different strategy, but I think we need to hold our vote because I don’t believe any of them.”

      The entertainment icon explained that while he thinks that Obama has done “an excellent job” as president, he also feels that the first black presidency didn’t fully deliver on its promise.

    • Young Blacks Voice Skepticism on Hillary Clinton, Worrying Democrats

      When a handful of liberal advocacy organizations convened a series of focus groups with young black voters last month, the assessments of Donald J. Trump were predictably unsparing.

      But when the participants were asked about Hillary Clinton, their appraisals were just as blunt and nearly as biting.

      “What am I supposed to do if I don’t like him and I don’t trust her?” a millennial black woman in Ohio asked. “Choose between being stabbed and being shot? No way!”

      “She was part of the whole problem that started sending blacks to jail,” a young black man, also from Ohio, observed about Mrs. Clinton.

    • EmailGate and the Mystery of the Missing GAMMA

      Last week’s Federal Bureau of Investigation release of materials relating to their investigation of Hillary Clinton has reignited the political firestorm surrounding EmailGate. How the Democratic nominee mishandled her emails while she was secretary of state is again front-page news, which is bad news for Hillary. Particularly because the FBI’s data dump demonstrates clearly that Clinton is either dumb or dishonest—and perhaps both.

    • Observer: Sidney Blumenthal ‘Was Reading Above-Top-Secret NSA Reports Hours After They Appeared’

      [Sidney] Blumenthal’s email read exactly like classified NSA reporting, as anybody acquainted with our SIGINT would immediately recognize. As one veteran agency official told me back in January, Blumenthal’s email was NSA information with “at least 90 percent confidence.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Location Privacy: The Purview of the Rich and Indigent

      I’d just finished parking my car in the covered garage at Reagan National Airport just across the river from Washington, D.C. when I noticed a dark green minivan slowly creeping through the row behind me. The vehicle caught my attention because its driver didn’t appear to be looking for an open spot. What’s more, the van had what looked like two cameras perched atop its roof — one of each side, both pointed down and slightly off to the side.

      I had a few hours before my flight boarded, so I delayed my walk to the terminal and cut through several rows of cars to snag a video of the guy moving haltingly through another line of cars. I approached the driver and asked what he was doing. He smiled and tilted the lid on his bolted-down laptop so that I could see the pictures he was taking with the mounted cameras: He was photographing every license plate in the garage (for the record, his plate was a Virginia tag number 36-646L).

    • Edward Snowden’s Guardian Angels

      From a hotel in Hong Kong, Edward Snowden shocked the world in 2013 by disclosing the extent of U.S. intelligence spying. Then he vanished before fleeing to Moscow. Handelsblatt found the people who hid Snowden — refugees with nothing, and everything to lose.

    • Activists to FBI: Show Us Your Warrant for Mass Hack of TorMail Users

      Mass hacking is now one of the FBI’s established tactics for fighting crime on the dark web. In February 2015, the agency hit at least 4,000 computers all over the world in an attempt to identify visitors of a child pornography site.

      But questions remain about another FBI operation from 2013, in which the agency may have hacked users of a dark web email service called TorMail even if they weren’t suspects of a crime. Now, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is trying to unseal the court docket sheet containing the search warrant used to deploy malware against users of the service. If the ACLU were then to get access to the warrant itself, it may reveal the true scale of the FBI’s controversial hacking campaign.

    • FBI’s Fancy Bear Cyber Structure

      So we already know that the FBI’s legally mandated reports to Congress on NSL numbers are bogus. Now we learn that FBI has devolved its 702 work to field offices which has led to the discontinuation of one of the key oversight mechanisms on their counting process: an outside check.

    • New NSA documents detail how the spy agency used the Iraq war to build its global surveillance system

      Newly released internal NSA documents reveal how the US spy agency used the Iraq war to develop its global surveillance infrastructure, which was later brought to light by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The documents, called WARgrams, also contain messages sent to a vast body of NSA employees between 2003 and 2004 by the then NSA director Michael Hayden.

      According to a report by Motherboard, the documents bring to light for the first time how the NSA asked its staff for “unprecedented degrees of cooperation”, in efforts to develop and establish its global surveillance system. The documents also reveal the agency’s rapid shift in priorities, detailing its move from providing intelligence support to wartime coalition forces to assuming the role of a “pervasive” and “intelligent-driven” leading component in the global war on terrorism.

      Around 70 WARgrams were sent out, the first of which, sent out in the days or weeks leading up to the start of the war in March 2003, characterised Operation Iraqi Freedom as “an intense attack of relatively short duration intended to overwhelm the Iraqi ability to respond.” In Hayden’s own words, the WARgrams were “designed to keep us all ‘in the loop’ with the latest developments during the campaign.”

    • Every Move You Make

      The Delta IV Heavy, introduced in 2004, is the most powerful rocket in American history, and this was only the ninth time it had launched. Even more exclusive, however, was its top-secret cargo: Inside its nearly seven-story-high nose cone was an Advanced Orion, the world’s largest satellite. About eight hours after launch, when the most advanced spy craft ever built went into geosynchronous orbit, it unfurled its gigantic mesh antenna, larger than a football field, and began eavesdropping on the Earth below.

    • WARgrams released: How NSA used Iraq War as springboard for global intel gathering

      Newly published documents from the beginning of the Iraq invasion reveal how the NSA used the “war on terror” to develop its global intelligence capabilities and strengthen the surveillance network exposed by Edward Snowden.

      The information was revealed in a series of documents dating back to 2003-2004, referred to as WARgrams. This was essentially a series of newsletter-style communiqués distributed to a vast number of NSA employees by the agency’s former director, Michael Hayden. These short messages, which number close to 70, contain colorful (when not redacted) descriptions of the NSA’s plans to insert itself into the Iraq war effort. The revelation was made by VICE’s Motherboard, which obtained the documents through an FOI request from back in 2008.

    • NSA used Iraq war to develop surveillance capability, documents show

      As the controversial Investigatory Powers Bill inches closer to becoming law, NSA documents reveal that the agency used the Iraq war to develop and expand its surveillance infrastructure

    • New Docs Show How the NSA Used the Iraq War to Build its Surveillance Apparatus

      Newly released internal NSA missives from the early days of the Iraq war show how quickly the agency’s priorities shifted from providing wartime intelligence to coalition troops to being a “pervasive” part of the “intelligence-driven” global war on terror.

      The documents, which have surfaced for the first time, outline how the NSA asked its employees for “unprecedented degrees of cooperation” to set up the global surveillance infrastructure revealed by Edward Snowden with the stated aim of combating terrorism worldwide.

      The documents, called WARgrams, were newsletter-style messages sent in 2003 and 2004 by then-NSA Director Michael Hayden to what seems to be a large contingent of NSA employees. (Motherboard has reached out to the NSA to learn more about who, exactly, received the WARgrams.)

      The first WARgram pitched Operation Iraqi Freedom as “an intense attack of relatively short duration intended to overwhelm the Iraqi ability to respond.” It was sent sometime in the days or weeks leading up to the March 20, 2003 start of the war. Hayden wrote WARgrams were “designed to keep us all ‘in the loop’ with the latest developments during the campaign.”

    • Former Intelligence Official Leaks Details Of NSA’s Hack Of French Presidential Network

      The latest leak about the NSA’s overseas spying transgressions took the unlikely form of a little-noticed YouTube video — one that covered mostly-wonkish subject matter. The details of the NSA’s malware attack on the French “White House” were revealed during an interview with Bernard Barbier, the former head of the French Intelligence Service, by a local engineering school. The video, of course, has since been removed, but not before French paper Le Monde picked up on the content of the interview.

      Matt Suiche parses it all out — an inadvertent confirmation of a Snowden document leaked in 2013 that contained an itinerary item about a discussion between French and US intelligence officials concerning a (at that time “alleged”) “May 2012 cyber attack on the French Presidential network.”

    • German intelligence accused of ‘serious legal violations’ over surveillance

      The surveillance apparatus used by German intelligence to collect and store masses of communications and internet data may have taken a hit after a classified document that accused the spies of “serious legal violations” leaked online.

      The 60-page analysis, conducted by Andrea Voßhoff, the German federal data protection commissioner, slammed how the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) stores data on citizens and demanded for key databases to be deleted with immediate effect.

      The report was made in July 2015 after a visit to Bad Aibling in southern Germany, which is jointly managed by the US National Security Agency (NSA). The audit was conducted in light of the Edward Snowden revelations in 2013 that exposed how major agencies such as the FBI, NSA and UK’s GCHQ use sophisticated tools to collect data in bulk.

    • Universal credit poses a major security risk, spies tell No 10 [Ed: GCHQ grossly intervening in politics as well]

      The universal credit welfare programme was sent back to the drawing board because spies warned that it was insecure and could lead to millions of people being hacked, a report reveals.

      Experts working for GCHQ, the government’s listening agency, contacted Downing Street in alarm after being “fobbed off” by the Department for Work and Pensions over security flaws in the benefits programme.

      As a result plans to launch the service next year were abandoned. Today only about 300,000 people are receiving benefit payments through universal credit and the system will not be fully operational until 2022 at the earliest.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Court To Cops: Residing In A State Where Marijuana Is Legal Does Not Automatically Make A Motorist ‘Suspicious’

      Colorado legislators legalized recreational marijuana use and now law enforcement agencies in bordering states are camping out on highways hoping for easy busts. All roads in and out of the state are now “drug corridors.” This has led to suspicionless stops and seizures by police officers — predicated on nothing more than a vehicle being on a strip of highway leading to or from a supposed “source” state.

      Not every bust goes as easily as officers might have hoped. Nebraska deputies tried to make drug conspiracy charges stick to a pair of Minnesotans arrested while on their way to Colorado with more than $60,000 in cash. The conviction didn’t stick because it isn’t against the law to conspire to perform an act that is legal in another state. It’s illegal to buy or sell marijuana in both Minnesota and Nebraska, but not in Colorado, where the two were headed. The charges went away but the $60,000 in cash is likely going to remain in Nebraska law enforcement’s possession.

      Another traffic stop in another Midwestern state has been ruled unconstitutional, partially because Kansas law enforcement officers believed the driver being a resident of marijuana-friendly Colorado was pretty much all the reasonable suspicion they’d need to perform a search.

      The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals — in stripping away the immunity granted to two Kansas Highway Patrol officers by the lower court — points out the many flaws in the officers’ reasoning. [PDF link]

      Peter Vasquez was pulled over because his temporary tag was unreadable. Once the temporary tag had been verified as legitimate, he should have been free to go. Instead, it was merely the start of a fishing expedition by the officers, who hoped to find the Colorado resident in possession of an illegal substance.

    • Indians Staged One of the Largest Strikes in History, But No One on U.S. Cable News Covered It

      Ten Indian trade unions staged one of the largest strikes in human history on Friday, with tens of millions of public sector workers participating in a shutdown of parts of the Indian economy to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s economic plans.

      But if you’re an American relying on cable news, it would be hard to know it ever happened.

      Not a single American cable news network ran a segment focused on India’s massive strike, even on Labor Day, the U.S.’s annual holiday dedicated to workers.

      The strike came after Modi began a push for increased foreign investment and privatization of some state-run industries. Unions fear these policies will undermine both wages and employment.

    • Jim Comey Impugns Pot Smokers Again

      I get that this cute labeling of pot smokers as lacking integrity is part of his script (he used almost the same lines in both speeches), perhaps to avoid thinking about what it means that our nation can’t best fight the alleged biggest threat to it because of outdated laws. But either he has given no thought about the words that are falling out of his mouth (indeed, he also seems to have no understanding of the the words “adult” and “mature” mean, which are other words he tends to wield in profoundly troublesome fashion), or the nation’s top cop really can’t distinguish between law — and that, not even in all states anymore — and ethics.

    • How Snowden escaped

      Earlier that day, that “famous” 29-year-old walked out of the five-star luxury Hotel Mira in Kowloon and sparked an intensive global manhunt not seen since the search for al-Qaeda’s Osama Bin Laden after the Sept. 11, 2001, bombings.

      Edward Snowden, a former U.S. intelligence contractor, became the most wanted fugitive in the world after leaking a cache of classified documents to the media detailing extensive cyber spying networks by the U.S. government on its own citizens and governments around the world.

      To escape the long arm of American justice, the man responsible for the largest national security breach in U.S. history retained a Canadian lawyer in Hong Kong who hatched a plan that included a visit to the UN sub-office where the North Carolina native applied for refugee status to avoid extradition to the U.S.

    • White House Report Concludes That Bite-Mark Analysis Is Junk Science

      The President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology has concluded that forensic bite-mark evidence is not scientifically valid and is unlikely ever to be validated, according to a draft report obtained by The Intercept. The report, titled “Forensic Science in Criminal Courts: Ensuring Scientific Validity of Feature-Comparison Methods,” is marked as a “predecisional” draft created August 26 that is not to be quoted or distributed, though the title page suggests the report will be made public sometime this month.

      The report reviews a handful of common forensic practices, so called feature-comparison disciplines, or pattern-matching practices — bite-mark analysis, fingerprint and firearm analysis, shoe tread analysis, and DNA mixture analysis — each of which involves an “expert” looking at a piece of evidence and eyeballing whether it matches a particular image, person, or object. The report discusses whether each practice has been scientifically validated, what it would take to do so, and how each practice should be used in the courtroom — if at all.

    • Air China magazine warns London visitors to avoid ethnic minority areas

      Even for China, where companies have struggled with race issues in their marketing previously, the latest inflight magazine from the country’s flagship airline will likely come as a shocker.

      Air China’s Wings of China carries a long feature on visiting London, with almost a third of the magazine dedicated to tourist attractions in Britain’s capital and other famous towns such as Oxford. The main article, titled “London the city of ‘hat tricks’,” covers Brits’ apparent fondness for all kinds of hats.

      Then, after a section on transport options and lifestyle and cultural activities in London, Wings of China offers some “Tips from Air China.”

    • Albuquerque Police Seize Vehicle From Owner Whose Son Drove It While Drunk; Want $4,000 To Give It Back

      Last spring, New Mexico’s governor signed a bill into law that would prevent law enforcement from seizing people’s assets without securing a criminal conviction. This was likely prompted by the New York Times’ publication of footage from Las Cruces asset forfeiture seminar in which the speaker basically said asset forfeiture is used by law enforcement to “shop” for things they want.

      Several months later, the city of Albuquerque was sued by state legislators because its police refused to stop seizing assets — mainly vehicles — without obtaining convictions. The city claimed the new law only applied to state police, and anyway, it was only performing a valuable community service by taking cars away from members of the community.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • [Older] EU’s net neutrality guidelines get published

      The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (Berec) – which represents all the EU’s communications regulators – has finally published guidelines clarifying how telecom companies should treat the data they handle, months after a law concerning the matter was published.

      In the past, apps and other online services could, in theory, pay more to ensure their products ran smoothly. That appealed to network providers, who saw it as a way to boost profits.

      But Berec says only a limited number of services will be able to ask for special treatment, and then only so long as it is not to the detriment of others.

      The new rules also set out consumers’ right to be free to access and distribute information and content, run applications and use services of their choice, so long as they are not illegal.

      The publication has been welcomed by digital rights experts.

    • Users Say Comcast Broadband Usage Meters Don’t Work, May Result in Hundreds Of Dollars Of Errant Charges

      We’ve noted for years that usage caps on fixed line broadband connections are little more than a major, unnecessary price hike on uncompetitive markets. But while caps certainly are little more than a cash grab, there’s another less talked about problem at play: nobody is making sure ISP usage meters are accurate. That has resulted in a number of instances where an ISP will bill users for consumption when the power is off, and even some instances where ISPs confused MAC addresses and billed the wrong customer for additional monthly consumption.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • IP Offices Focus On Educating Younger Population About IP Protection [Ed: Serial abuser of human rights "WIPO is also developing an Education Took Kit for teachers of children aged 5 to 18." Indoctrination of younger populations for IP protectionism and for large corporations.]

      Intellectual property rights awareness campaigns are increasingly targeting the younger population, as early as primary school, according to several country presentations at the World Intellectual Property Organization enforcement committee this week. WIPO is also developing an Education Took Kit for teachers of children aged 5 to 18. However for some countries, this education should encompass a broader view on IP than only enforcing rights.

    • Take Two Interactive Wins Two Publicity Rights Lawsuits Against Lindsay Lohan And Karen Gravano

      Hopefully you will recall that Take Two Interactive had been facing down two lawsuits brought by Lindsay Lohan and Karen Gravano over character depictions in the company’s opus, Grand Theft Auto V. Both filed suit over publicity rights and likeness concerns in New York. Lohan claimed that a character in the game that evaded paparazzi after having sex in public and made some oblique references to similar-sounding movies that Lohan had acted in, along with a female character on the game’s cover art, were both ripping off her personage. Gravano, meanwhile, claimed that a different character, one which made references to starring in a reality show about mobster wives and evading mob retribution, was ripping off her personage. While both suits failed to address the fictional differences in the characters, which were both composite characters parodying their celebrity archetypes, Take Two attempted to defend itself with those facts and tried to get the case dismissed. Strangely, the court at the time allowed the case to move forward…

    • A Principle Of Balance: Top Official Explains India’s IP Policy

      Adopted in May, the first Indian intellectual property policy brought some concerns that the focus on IP rights might dampen India’s willingness to use the IP flexibilities to safeguard national policy space. It was also perceived by some as giving in to pressure from the foreign pharmaceutical industry for India to strengthen patent protection. However, a high level Indian official in an interview this week said the policy caters to Indian development needs and India is aware of its pioneering role in certain sectors like access to medicines.Rajiv Aggarwal, Joint Secretary at the Indian Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion Ministry of Commerce & Industry sat down with Intellectual Property Watch’s Catherine Saez to describe how India’s IP policy came into being, to what aim, what it is expected to change in the Indian IP landscape, and how Indian is standing fast to its principle of balance.

    • Trademarks

      • Donut maker gored by University of Texas over a fan favourite pastry

        Donut Taco Palace in Austin, Texas, is famous for their ‘Longhorns donuts’. These donuts are modelled after the Hook ‘em Horns hand gesture which is made in support of the University of Texas’ Longhorns American football team. These donuts of allegiance satisfied the sweet tooth of many Longhorns fans until last month, when the University of Texas became aware of the situation. They sent a cease and desist letter to the owner of the shop, Angel Feng, citing trademark infringement.

      • Do Apple Trademarks Reveal What It’s About To Launch?

        If you’re a gadget watcher or an Apple fanatic, then you already know that tomorrow is Apple’s big fall event when it announces new hardware products. Unlike basically every other tech blog in the world, we tend not to cover the announcements (or all of the rumors leading up to those announcements). Every so often something interesting will come out of them and we’ll write up that, but for the most part, we recognize that other sites are going to cover the basic beats and we’re not the kind of publication that wants to spend our time writing up promotional copy for tech companies. But, sometimes there’s some overlap in our usual coverage and these kinds of events. Brian Conroy, a trademark lawyer in Ireland who has a fun blog of trademark-related issues realized that Apple may have leaked some details via its trademark applications.

    • Copyrights

      • Bethesda Does Connecting With Fans Right

        We’ve spent some time and energy in these pages poking at Bethesda and its parent company, Zenimax, over each’s overtly ridiculous stances on protecting what it views as its intellectual property in the past. But even a bad actor in the IP arena can get things right in other ways and Bethesda has shown itself to be fairly good in the past in the area of connecting with its fans. This is one of the more underappreciated aspects involved in digital business models, in which the digital realms where we operate open up content producers to direct interaction with their customers. Done right, this will ingratiate a business with its community, fostering a loyalty it might otherwise not have. Done really right, it gets a company all of that plus a PR bonus that can only come from these organic interactions.

      • Warner Bros. Issuing Takedowns For Its Own Site Is No Laughing Matter

        But here’s why this isn’t really a laughing matter: many of the legacy industry players, including Warner Bros. and the MPAA who represent WB, have been pushing very heavily for a revamp of the DMCA that would include a “notice and staydown” provision — such that once a copyright holder representative sent a notice claiming a work was infringing, platforms would basically be required to block that content from ever appearing again. In response, many of us have pointed out just how bad companies like Warner Bros. are at issuing takedowns, and we’re told that such mistakes are rare. But they’re not rare. We see them all the time. And if notice and staydown were in place, it could create all sorts of problems.

        Notice, too, that it wasn’t just WB’s own site that was the target of this bogus takedown. Just two slots above it are the official Amazon sales link for the movie. Elsewhere in the list were official IMDB pages as well. Yes, Google is actually better than most at going through these notices and rejecting ridiculous requests like this, but most other companies are not. If you send a notice, it’s treated as accurate, and down go those sites. Some may consider that fair game when it’s something as ridiculous as WB taking down its own sites, but it’s not so funny when it’s someone else’s work — like the time Fox sent DMCA notices taking down Cory Doctorow’s book, Homeland, just because it had the same title as a TV show.

        Meanwhile, we keep hearing from companies like Warner Bros. about how Google is really to blame, and that it’s “obvious” when there’s infringing content that should be taken down. If it’s so “obvious” why can’t WB gets its act together and not take down its own sites? Perhaps it isn’t so obvious after all and perhaps we shouldn’t make copyright policy based on the bogus claims of companies so clueless that they’re issuing DMCA takedowns on their own websites or other official channels?

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