Links 14/6/2017: New BlackArch Linux ISO and Q4OS 1.8.6, Orion

Posted in News Roundup at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Free computer advice comes with a price

    If you’re like most people who are knowledgeable about free and open source software (FOSS), you’re probably also interested in encouraging more people to use it. The good news is there are many ways you can help people who are not as technically minded as you learn about and use FOSS.

    For example, you can recommend a piece of software that may be useful to them, help them install the software, and troubleshoot when they have an issue. By helping them, you’re spreading the word about FOSS (which is usually not advertised as much as most proprietary software), probably improving their experience with the software, and doing something altruistic, which can make you feel good—if everything goes well, that is.

  • Steve Wozniak Praises Makers and Open Source

    Wozniak said he often does his own DIY projects using Raspberry Pis and similar boards and he acknowledged that were he were coming up today he would no doubt be considered a maker. “I’m pretty sure that I would be with my little Arduino, Raspberry Pis, and $9 C.H.I.P computers, programming motors and making strange things under my control,” he said. “And hopefully I’d have enough brilliance in my software that the devices would start doing semi-intelligent things. I’d be out there just playing around. I never had an intention to start a company with anything

  • OpenEMR Consortium Proposes Open Source EHR Solution to U.S. Coast Guard

    According to a recent Request for Information from the United States Coast Guard (USCG), the maritime branch of the U.S. Armed Forces is conducting market research of sources capable of providing a computerized, integrated Electronic Health Record solution for replacement of the USCG manual paper health records at 114 ashore sites (clinics and sick bays) and 62 afloat sick bays. The requested scope of the EHR by USCG is broad and includes primary care, urgent care, counseling, occupational health, and dental care.

  • Why Open Source Is Really Disrupting Enterprise Software

    I had an epiphany today about a major reason open source is disrupting enterprise software. This is perhaps one of those things that you have heard so much, you’ve gone numb to it. All the big giants are still alive and kicking, however; so is this really happening? The answer is yes, however the mechanics are not what you think. It is not simply just a cost play. The acquisition – one of the main weapons that big software vendors had to fight disruptors – is losing effectiveness. And that changes everything. Allow me to explain:

  • Open Source Solution For Smarter Warehouses

    The project is a collaborative venture between the Technische Universität Berlin (TUB), Università di Pisa, Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. (DLR), the Institute of Science and Technology Austria, Ocado Technology, and Disney Research Zurich.


    The company have also recently announced the release of Kubermesh, an open source package designed to simplify data center architectures for use in smart factories. The system uses container-based technology to implement private cloud architecture on-site, with desktop computers configured to replicate the kind of computational and storage capabilities typically offered by high-end servers in data centers.

  • The 30 Highest Velocity Open Source Projects

    Open Source projects exhibit natural increasing returns to scale. That’s because most developers are interested in using and participating in the largest projects, and the projects with the most developers are more likely to quickly fix bugs, add features and work reliably across the largest number of platforms. So, tracking the projects with the highest developer velocity can help illuminate promising areas in which to get involved, and what are likely to be the successful platforms over the next several years. (If the embedded version below isn’t clear enough, you can view the chart directly on Google Sheets.)

  • Artificial Intelligence: Open Source and Standards Bodies Drive Opportunities

    Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) skillsets are now becoming a crucial way for technology-focused workers to differentiate themselves from the pack. Moreover, from Elon Musk’s OpenAI organization to Google’s sweeping new open AI initiatives announced at the recent Google I/O conference, investment in AI is driving many new opportunities. For technologists who straddle the arenas of open source and AI, opportunities are looking particularly promising.

  • RepreZen Releases KaiZen Open-Source Editor and Parser for Open API 3.0
  • New Open Source Software Strengthens Satellite Geodesy Capability

    Scientists from Geoscience Australia have released new software that will improve the ability to process big remotely-sensed satellite datasets. The new “PyRate” software is open source Python software for collating and analysing Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) displacement time series data.

  • Triggertrap Open Sources Its Mobile Apps Days After Its Hardware
  • Events

    • 2017 Maintainer and Kernel Summit planning

      The Kernel Summit is undergoing some changes this year; the core developers’ gathering from previous events will be replaced by a half-day “maintainers summit” consisting of about 30 people. The process of selecting those people, and of selecting topics for the open technical session, is underway now; interested developers are encouraged to submit their topic ideas.

    • DebConf 17 bursaries: update your status now!

      As you might be aware, DebConf 17 is coming soon and it’s gonna be the biggest DebConf in Montréal ever.

      Of course, what makes DebConf great is the people who come together to work on Debian, share their achievements, and help draft our cunning plans to take over the world. Also cheese. Lots and lots of cheese.

    • Kushal Das: PyLadies Pune 2017 June meetup

      Last weekend we had the PyLadies Pune June meet up. The day started with Shilpee Chamoli taking a data science 101 with Python. As few people were having trouble in installing Jupyter and the other dependencies, I suggested to use Azure notebooks, and a few of us did that. This was the first time I was attending a pandas workshop, even though I packaged it a few years back for Fedora. The simple problem related to Titanic data was fun to work on.

    • Sayan Chowdhury: PyLadies Pune Meetup – June 2017
    • [Older] Surviving in the Wilderness: Integrity Protection and System Update – Patrick Ohly, Intel GmbH

      Patrick Ohly, a software engineer at Intel, discusses integrity protection schemes and system update mechanisms at the recent Embedded Linux Conference.

    • [Older] Linux You Can Drive My Car – Walt Miner, Linux Foundation

      At the recent Embedded Linux Conference, Walt Miner provided an AGL update and summarized AGL’s Yocto Project based Unified Code Base (UCB) for automotive infotainment.

  • Web Browsers

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD as a “Desktop” (Laptop)

      All in all, I’m happy with the system, but I’m an OpenBSD fan boy. It’s hard to get mad at a system that generally “just works.”

  • Public Services/Government

    • Free software campaign signs up future French MPs

      April, France’s free software advocacy organisation, is once again signing up candidates in the elections for France’s next National Assembly, to its Free Software Pact. The second and final round of the elections will take place this Sunday. However, free software-champion MP Isabelle Attard has already lost her seat; “a big loss for digital freedom”, the group says.

    • Poland court: govt source code does not have to be made public

      The source code for software solutions developed for and owned by public administrations in Poland does not have to be made public under European rules on public sector information, a regional court in Warsaw (Poland) has ruled. The case was brought before the court last November by the ePanstwo Foundation, an NGO promoting open government, requesting the publication of the source code of the EZD document management system, which is owned by the public administration of the Podlachia region.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Young programmer turns love of gaming into a Google Summer of Code project

      Recently I installed the GCompris educational software suite on a friend’s Linux laptop. While researching information about the application, I found out about Rudra Nil Basu, a young programmer from India, who has blogged about his contributions to GCompris. Based on his work, he was selected to be a Google Summer of Code (GSoC) participant and will receive a stipend to continue working to improve GCompris.

      I recently had the opportunity to ask Rudra some questions about how he’s translating his passion for game development into making learning fun for young children and supporting open source software and source code sharing. Some questions and answers have been lightly edited for clarity.

    • [llvm-dev] [5.0.0 Release] Schedule and call for testers

      We’re about a month away from the start of the 5.0.0 release process, so it’s time for the traditional schedule and call for testers email.

    • LLVM 5.0 Release Planning Begins For Shipping In August

      Hans Wennborg has published his proposed schedule for the LLVM / Clang 5.0 release that would put the stable debut at the end of August.

    • C++14, R and Travis — A useful hack

      We took a short break as several conferences and other events interfered during the month of May, keeping us busy and away from this series. But we are back now with a short and useful hack I came up with this weekend.


  • Microsoft kills off Docs.com in favour of LinkedIn SlideShare

    Docs.com, which originally began as a collaboration between Microsoft and Facebook to provide a service similar to Google Docs, is being closed in favour of SlideShare, a service that Microsoft acquired along with its purchase of LinkedIn.

  • The secret origin story of the iPhone

    This month marks 10 years since Apple launched the first iPhone, a device that would fundamentally transform how we interact with technology, culture, and each other.

  • At Least Six Dead And 20 In Critical Condition, After Massive Fire Engulfs London Tower Block

    A Number 10 spokesman has said that a cross-Government meeting at the Civil Contingencies Secretariat will take place at 4pm today to co-rodinate a response to the huge fire in west London.

  • The Man Who Warned Of The “Catastrophic” Fire Risk At Grenfell Tower Almost Died In The Blaze

    A Grenfell Tower resident who wrote a blog post warning that it would take a “catastrophic fire” for the building’s landlord to take notice of safety concerns has told BuzzFeed News how he almost died when the tower block was engulfed in flames in the early hours of Wednesday.

    Edward Daffarn, 55, is one of the campaigners from Grenfell Action Group, which published a series of blog posts warning of fire safety concerns with Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), the private business that has the contract with the local authority to run its social housing.

  • The Grenfell Tower residents saw this tragedy coming, but were repeatedly ignored. Was it because they were poor?

    I was woken up this morning at 4am by the buzz of my phone: a friend was standing outside the Grenfell Tower block in Kensington, watching it burn, and felt like she needed to speak to someone. She lived down the road – was born and bred in the borough, back when it was slightly less affluent than it is now – and had been alerted to the fire by an impossibly large plume of yellow smoke outside her window as she got ready for bed around 1am. When I spoke to her, she’d been wandering the streets for three hours, talking to other residents who had come out of their homes to find out what the commotion was and stayed because they knew someone who lived in the tower or simply felt they couldn’t go back to bed knowing what was going on a few metres away. She sent me photos of herself standing at the police cordon, the tower an unrecognisable pillar of flames behind it. The pavements were covered in black ash for a mile. Grown men were crying.

  • Theresa May’s chief of staff ‘sat on’ report warning high-rise blocks like Grenfell Tower were vulnerable to fire

    Theresa May’s new chief of staff was one of a series of housing ministers who “sat on” a report warning high-rise blocks like Grenfell Tower were vulnerable to fire for four years.

    A former Chief Fire Officer and secretary of a parliamentary group on fire safety today revealed successive ministers had had damning evidence on their desks since 2013 and nothing had happened.

    And the Labour MP who chairs the group said ministers had “sat on” the recommendations for almost four years.

  • High-rise blocks like Grenfell Tower can be safe. The key issue is management

    Who could not be horrified by the images of the tower block in west London engulfed by a huge fire in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with trapped residents waving frantically for help from the upper floors?

    The tragic blaze at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower is not the first time one of the capital’s tower blocks has hit the headlines in the worst possible way. Almost 50 years ago Ronan Point in Newham, east London, partly collapsed after a gas explosion, killing four people. The incident marked the end of an era for building tower blocks, highlighting the shoddy methods of the mass construction system that was so common at the time, and destroying confidence in high-rise living.

  • Science

    • U.S. weighs restricting Chinese investment in artificial intelligence

      The United States appears poised to heighten scrutiny of Chinese investment in Silicon Valley to better shield sensitive technologies seen as vital to U.S. national security, current and former U.S. officials tell Reuters.

      Of particular concern is China’s interest in fields such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, which have increasingly attracted Chinese capital in recent years. The worry is that cutting-edge technologies developed in the United States could be used by China to bolster its military capabilities and perhaps even push it ahead in strategic industries.

      The U.S. government is now looking to strengthen the role of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), the inter-agency committee that reviews foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies on national security grounds.

    • Understanding deep learning requires re-thinking generalization

      This paper has a wonderful combination of properties: the results are easy to understand, somewhat surprising, and then leave you pondering over what it all might mean for a long while afterwards!

    • Xerox Alto designer, co-inventor of Ethernet, dies at 74

      The Alto, which was released in 1973 but was never a commercial success, was an incredibly influential machine. Ahead of its time, it boasted resizeable windows as part of its graphical user interface, along with a mouse, Ethernet, and numerous other technologies that didn’t become standard until years later.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • U.S. Cyberweapons, Used Against Iran and North Korea, Are a Disappointment Against ISIS
    • U.S. Has Only Acknowledged A Fifth of Its Lethal Strikes, New Study Finds

      Over the past decade, the United States has claimed broad authority to carry out drone strikes across the world, even in places far from the battlefield. Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. acknowledged killing between 2,867 and 3,138 people in strikes that took place in countries like Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan.

      Although in the waning days of his presidency, Obama took some steps to improve transparency about drone strikes, including providing the total estimated death toll, a new report by the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic and the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies says that the U.S. is still lagging in providing a full accounting of its drone program. Among other failures, the report, titled “Out of the Shadows: Recommendations to Advance Transparency in the Use of Lethal Force,” says that the U.S. has only acknowledged approximately 20 precent of its reported drone strikes — failing to claim responsibility or provide details in the vast majority of cases.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • In March, wind and solar generated a record 10% of US electricity

      According to the Energy Information Administration’s Electric Power Monthly, a bit more than 10 percent of all electricity generated in the US in March came from wind and solar power (including both distributed residential solar panels and utility-scale solar installations). That’s a record number for the country, and it reflects continuing effort to install more renewable capacity across the nation.

  • Finance

    • David Cameron suggests ‘softer’ Brexit as May weighs options
    • Tax evaders exposed: why the super-rich are even richer than we thought

      The statistics on inequality – those used, for instance, in Thomas Piketty’s bestseller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century – only include the income and wealth the taxman sees. So how high is inequality when also accounting for what he doesn’t see? Recent leaks from tax havens suggest the gap between the rich and the rest is even wider than we think.

      Tax records are invaluable for the study of economic inequality. They contain detailed information about the income (and, in some countries, wealth) of taxpayers. Much of this information comes directly from employers and banks, and is therefore reliable. And because tax records exist as far back as the early 20th century, they can be used to shed light on the long-term evolution of inequality.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The 39 votes that would have put Corbyn into Number 10

      Are you proud to be British – or English, or East Anglian, or a member of whichever other tribe you may feel you belong to? Daft, really, isn’t it?

      It’s no achievement, after all, to be born in any particular place or time. I didn’t choose to be born in one of the world’s wealthiest and most developed countries. Rather than, say, Syria, or Ethiopia. Or in a famine or plague year. Or Jewish in 1930s Poland. Or on the brink of some future nuclear apocalypse – which, in fact, we may be.

      It was none of my doing. It was just luck. Random chance. Nothing I could do about it.

    • Russian hackers {sic} may have hit 39 states during Trump election

      Bloomberg reports that incursions into voter databases and software systems were almost double the size that was previously revealed.

    • Russian Cyber Hacks {sic} on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known

      Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported.

    • Donald Trump Is Making Europe Liberal Again

      It was also just one data point, and so it had to be interpreted with caution. But the pattern has been repeated so far in every major European election since Trump’s victory.

    • The Tories: a pointless party

      One of the striking ironies of Theresa May’s humiliation at the polls last week was that a Tory campaign that framed the election as a battle over Brexit, in which the Tories presented themselves as guardians of the people’s democratic will, as the one party that understood Brexit voters and would meet their hopes and ambitions, proved so thoroughly aloof and distant from the demos. Over the weekend, as Tory heads have rolled, knives have been sharpened and chatter about changes in leadership have clogged up the column inches, this profound disjoint has gone largely unexamined.

    • Corbyn tried to pass law to make homes safe last year – the Conservatives rejected it

      Jeremy Corbyn tried to pass through a law that would required private landlords to make their homes safe and “fit for human habitation” last year – but it was rejected by the Conservatives.

      Labour proposed an amendment to the Government’s new Housing and Planning Bill – a raft of new laws aimed at reforming housing law – in January last year, but it was rejected by 312 votes to 219.

      According to Parliament’s register of interests, 72 of the MPs who voted against the amendment were themselves landlords who derive an income from a property.

    • Tories reject move to ensure rented homes fit for human habitation

      Conservative MPs have voted against proposed new rules requiring private sector landlords to ensure their properties are fit for human habitation.

      A Labour amendment to the government’s housing and planning bill, designed to ensure that all rented accommodation was safe for people to live in, was defeated by 312 votes to 219 on Tuesday, a majority of 93.

      “The majority of landlords let property which is and remains in a decent standard. Many landlords go out of their way to ensure that even the slightest safety hazard is sorted quickly and efficiently,” said the shadow housing minister, Teresa Pearce, who proposed the amendment.

    • Trump partner said in running to build FBI headquarters

      A company that owns buildings with Donald Trump and the family of Jared Kushner is a finalist for a $1.7 billion contract to build the FBI’s new headquarters.

      Vornado Realty Trust is one of three finalists to build a replacement for the bureau’s current headquarters on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C., the massive J. Edgar Hoover Building, according to Garth Beall, manager of Renard Development. Renard is hoping the federal agency running the bidding process, the General Services Administration, will choose a Renard site in Greenbelt, Maryland, for the new headquarters.

    • Owen Smith rumoured to be in line for a job in Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet

      Owen Smith, who challenged Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the Labour party , is reportedly in line for a job in a revamped shadow cabinet.

      The former Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary is thought to be in line for Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary when Mr Corbyn reshuffles his top team, the New Statesman reported this morning.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Senate Republicans back off proposed restrictions on media

      Senate Republicans on Tuesday quickly backed away from a proposal to restrict media access in the Capitol after an angry backlash from reporters and an emergency meeting between the Senate Rules Committee and the media gallery directors.

    • Donald Trump blocks ‘Vote Vets’ veterans’ group on Twitter, stopping them from talking to him

      Donald Trump has caught 500,000 veterans in one of his recent blocking sprees.

    • Should Tumblr Be Forced To Reveal 500 People Who Reblogged A Sex Tape?

      What were we just saying about how it’s important to defend Section 230 of the CDA even when it’s hard? Well, here’s a hard case in New York City where the situation is very unfortunate. It appears that a woman discovered that an old sex tape of hers had surfaced online from 10 years earlier when she was 17. Someone had posted it to Tumblr, where over 1,000 people apparently viewed it — and somewhere around 500 “reblogged” it or commented on it in some manner. This is, undoubtedly, traumatic for the woman. She appears to believe that “an angry ex” posted it to Tumblr originally, which would make this a classic “revenge porn” situation.

    • Dangerous Copyright Ruling In Europe Opens The Door To Widespread Censorship

      The EU Court of Justice (CJEU) has been issuing some seriously dangerous copyright rulings recently. Last fall, for example, there was the ruling saying that mere links to infringing content could be direct infringement, rather than indirect (or not infringing at all). Even worse, that ruling argued that posting hyperlinks on a site that is “for profit” requires an assumption that the platform is sophisticated enough to make sure the links are not to infringing content. As we warned that would lead to problematic results, such as a followup ruling in Sweden that merely embedding a YouTube video can be seen as infringing.

    • May And Macron’s Ridiculous Adventure In Censoring The Internet

      For some observers, struggling UK Prime Minister Theresa May and triumphant French President Emmanuel Macron may seem at somewhat opposite ends of the current political climate. But… apparently they agree on one really, really bad idea: that it’s time to massively censor the internet and to blame tech companies if they don’t censor enough. We’ve been explaining for many years why this is a bad idea, but apparently we need to do so again.

    • Connecticut Lawmakers Drop Anti-SLAPP, Libel Tourism Bills On The Governor’s Desk
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • James Clapper Says Nerd Magic Can Solve Terrorist Content Filtering, Create Safe Encryption Backdoors

      Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper went from having a comfortable, shadowy job in a comfortable, shadowy office to being the face of the American surveillance state after the Snowden leaks. Instead of only being periodically hassled by a couple of Intelligence Committee members (mainly Ron Wyden), Clapper was called to account for the NSA’s apparent surveillance sins. And he handled it badly.

    • In Response to EFF Lawsuit, Justice Department Scheduled to Release Significant FISC Opinions About Warrantless Surveillance

      Tomorrow, the government is scheduled to release a group of significant opinions of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The documents are being released as a result of a FOIA lawsuit filed by EFF last year, seeking disclosure of all of the FISC’s still-secret, yet significant, opinions.

    • New York Rushes To Enact Terrible Right of Publicity Law

      The New York State Legislature is considering a bill that would radically reshape its right of publicity law. Assembly Bill A08155 [PDF] would dramatically expand New York’s right of publicity, making it a property right that can be passed on to your heirs – even if you aren’t a New York resident. The bill was introduced less than two weeks ago and is being rushed through without any hearings. EFF is urging legislators to slow down before passing an unnecessary law that would threaten the freedom of expression of individuals, activists, artists, and journalists around the United States.

    • Understanding Public, Closed, and Secret Facebook Groups

      But Facebook groups seem designed more for open sharing and collaboration than for privacy, and securing a Facebook group can be confusing, especially when it comes to choosing your group type and diving into privacy settings.

    • The French-British action plan on internet security is likely to make us less, not more safe

      Earlier this afternoon the Home Office published a French-British Action Plan on its website. You can read it here

      The “action plan” agreed by Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron outlines 4 steps for an “initiative to ensure the internet cannot be used as a safe space for terrorists and criminals”.

    • Google Drive will soon back up your entire computer

      Google is turning Drive into a much more robust backup tool. Soon, instead of files having to live inside of the Drive folder, Google will be able to monitor and backup files inside of any folder you point it to. That can include your desktop, your entire documents folder, or other more specific locations.

      The backup feature will come out later this month, on June 28th, in the form of a new app called Backup and Sync. It sounds like the Backup and Sync app will replace both the standard Google Drive app and the Google Photos Backup app, at least in some cases. Google is recommending that regular consumers download the new app once it’s out, but it says that business users should stick with the existing Drive app for now.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Uber board member resigns after making sexist remark in meeting about pervasive sexism

      Bonderman was recorded making the remark in reply to to fellow board member Arianna Huffington, who was speaking about the need for more female representation on Uber’s board. When “there’s one woman on the board, it’s much more likely that there will be a second woman on the board,” Huffington said, to which Bonderman shot back “what it shows is that it’s much more likely to be more talking.”

    • Man found guilty under CFAA didn’t damage LA Times, lawyers say

      So, the lawyers say, while their client, Matthew Keys, did access internal material at the Tribune Media Company without permission, he should not be convicted of two counts of “intentionally [causing] damage” as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act outlines.

      “Essentially, what’s happened here is the government charged unauthorized damage, and it spent most of its time putting on an unauthorized access case,” Tor Ekeland, one of Keys’ lawyers, said during the hearing before a panel of three judges.

    • Wansolwara student journos report on West Papua human rights struggle

      Media access to West Papua, where more than half a million of its indigenous people have reportedly been killed over five decades, remains restricted.

      News coverage of the alleged genocide is extremely difficult because of the restrictions on local and foreign media.

    • UK ‘backstabbed’ women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, says woman jailed for ‘driving while female’

      The UK stabbed activists campaigning for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia in the back by allegedly voting for the country to join the UN Commission for Women’s Rights, a woman who was arrested for “driving while female” has said.

    • Mysuru man tears up Quran to make bank challans, arrested

      The Mysuru police arrested a printing press owner for tearing up the Quran and using its pages to print bank deposit challans. The man identified as Naveen Kumar supplied the printed forms to a nationalised bank’s branch in Mysuru’s K R Mohalla.

    • This Indian news anchor shut down a cleric for mocking women’s choice to wear what they want

      A few days ago, on Indian TV chat show The Urban Debate on Mirror Now, anchor Faye D’Souza was hosting an episode on this subject when a cleric tried to shame her for her suggestion that men and women should have the same freedoms.

    • How Muslim Extremists Exploit European Liberalism

      The problem is about how to reverse decades-long policies of promoting unbridled multiculturalism that allowed the ideologies of Islamism and Salafism to permeate an inchoate European Muslim society, thereby militating against the creation of an European Islam free from the ideological baggage exported by conservative and Islamist individuals, groups and governments.

    • Supreme Court Sees Criminal Asset Forfeiture Can Be Abused Too; Almost Does Something About It

      Recently, the Supreme Court passed on a case that could have seen it address the highly-problematic civil asset forfeiture issue head on. In that case, cops seized $201,000 (and a bill of sale for a home) from two people during a traffic stop. Despite having no evidence of criminal activity, the cops kept the $201,000 and claimed it was the result of narcotics trafficking. And, despite this claim, law enforcement never arrested the couple it took the money from and charges were never brought.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cable Lobby Again Makes It Clear That Net Neutrality Didn’t Hurt Broadband Investment

      So we’ve long noted how giant ISPs like Comcast have repeatedly tried to claim that the FCC’s fairly modest 2015 net neutrality rules utterly devastated broadband industry investment. The problem for Comcast is that any time a journalist takes the time to review publicly-available SEC filings and earnings reports, that claim is proven indisputably false. Yet, no matter how many times this complete and total fabrication is pointed out by the media, broadband industry lobbyists simply continue to repeat the claim, hoping lazy reporters regurgitate it (which still somehow happens more often than not).

    • The FCC can’t cap the cost of in-state prison phone calls, court rules

      Over several years, the FCC, under Democratic leadership, moved to cap the cost of calls for inmates. Activists argued that prisoners were effectively being extorted by private companies charging exorbitant rates — a move that benefited private prisons and the states that got cuts of the revenue. Some of those states joined with companies in appealing the FCC’s rules. The agency first moved to cap rates across state lines, and then, later, within states.


      After current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was appointed to lead the commission, the agency did not move to revoke the rules, but did stop defending them in court, leaving independent intervenors to continue the fight.

    • Prisoners lose again as court wipes out inmate calling price caps

      A federal appeals court today struck down price caps on intrastate phone calls made by prisoners. Inmates will thus have to continue paying high prices to make phone calls to family members, friends, and lawyers.

      The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with prison phone company Global Tel*Link in its lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission. But that’s exactly what the FCC’s current leadership wanted. The FCC imposed the prison phone rate caps during the Obama administration, but current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai instructed commission lawyers to drop their court defense of the intrastate caps.

    • Trump to nominate Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel for empty slot at FCC

      President Donald Trump plans to nominate Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel for another term on the Federal Communications Commission.

      Rosenworcel had to leave the commission at the end of last year when the Republican-led US Senate refused to reconfirm her for a second five-year term. The departure of Rosenworcel and former Chairman Tom Wheeler left the FCC with just three out of the typical five members, with Republicans holding a 2-1 majority. Republican senators didn’t want Rosenworcel to stay on the FCC at the time because it would have resulted in a 2-2 deadlock.

    • WSIS Forum: Close Link Between Internet And Human Rights

      There is “no question” that there is a link between the infrastructure of the internet and human rights, Nicolas Seidler, senior policy advisor at the Internet Society, said at an information society event this week. Human rights are becoming “increasingly part of the design of the internet,” Niels ten Oever, head of digital at ARTICLE 19, said at the same event.

      The thematic workshop Rights, Governance, Protocols and Standards was organised on 12 June during the World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2017 (WSIS Forum 2017), taking place from 12-16 June. The WSIS Forum, co-organised by International Telecommunication Union (ITU), UNESCO, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNCTAD, is the largest annual gathering in the world of the “ICT for development community” according to ITU.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom loses latest battle to recover seized assets

        Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom shouldn’t be allowed to recover seized assets, argues a Justice Department filing with the US Supreme Court. The brief, filed on Friday, cited his fugitive status as well as a lack of evidence supporting claims that poor health was preventing him from entering the US.

      • US Opposes Kim Dotcom’s Supreme Court Petition Over Seized Millions

        The US Government has opposed Kim Dotcom’s petition to the US Supreme Court, through which he hoped to regain control over millions of dollars in seized assets. The Department of Justice states that Dotcom and his former Megaupload colleagues were correctly branded as “fugitives” and argues that there are no grounds to take on the case.

      • Global Entertainment Giants Form Massive Anti-Piracy Coalition

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Even UPC Proponents, Paid by the EPO’s PR Firm, Admit That UPC May Never Happen

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Watch out for the latest lies from Bristows

Bristows LLP and EPO

Summary: Speculations are being floated regarding the cause of the impasse, which is going to result in a very long period of uncertainty and possibly the collapse of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) as it was envisioned by Michel Barnier, Benoît Battistelli and other opportunists

MANY articles have already been published about the latest developments in Germany and quite a few articles about this have been published here too (over the past couple of days). We try to take stock of everything. This is very important. It’s historic even.

EPO insiders are trying to figure out what goes through the minds of EPO management right now. Or what comes out of their lips… it can’t be good.

This latest UPC failure was finally brought up in mainstream international media. Reuters, for example, says that “Germany delays common European redress for patent violations” and to quote the opening part:

Germany’s constitutional court has held up a European patent law that would have allowed inventors in any member country to easily challenge patent violations in any other EU country, a spokeswoman said on Monday.

That’s not a very good description as any person, not just “inventor” but even a troll from any country in the world, can exploit this to harm companies that are European. It’s not at all desirable to Europe. It makes European companies ever more vulnerable.

Team UPC is already trying to belittle and mislead, as usual.

“Report[s] suggest this was an informal request,” Henrion noted based on Bristows, “taking the form of a telephone call followed by written request…”

That’s quite an understatement pushed forth by Manuel Rey-Alvite Villar and Lisa Schneider in Twitter and their marketing/propaganda blog. They said this: “The timescales going forward are presently unclear, but this move by the BVerfG does not necessarily mean that additional delay to the start of the UPC is inevitable, still less that there will be a final decision of the BVerfG finding that Germany cannot lawfully ratify the UPC Agreement.”

This is a lie! It does “necessarily mean that additional delay to the start of the UPC is inevitable…”

Bristows workers, how much are you paid (or compensated) to lie so much? Here is a report from British press thats’ targeting lawyers:

According to media reports, Germany’s Constitutional Court is considering whether legislation backed by the country’s parliament, which would give recognition to the jurisdiction of the UPC in Germany, is constitutional.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported that the Constitutional Court formally requested that German president Frank-Walter Steinmeier step back from formally signing the legislation into law while it considers the legal challenge that has been lodged. The president’s office said the legal complaint filed is not a “hopeless” case, FAZ reported.

A spokesperson for Steinmeier has confirmed that the legislation will not be signed into law until an assessment of the legal complaint has been completed, according to Reuters.

In a protocol similar to Royal Assent in the UK, legislation passed by Germany’s parliament must be signed by the president before it can come into force.


Last week, prior to news of the German legal challenge breaking, the body tasked with laying the foundations for the new judicial system to take effect, the UPC Preparatory Committee, said that its previous target date for the UPC to become operational, of December 2017, “cannot be maintained”. The Committee blamed delays to the ratification of the UPC Agreement by some countries.

In Juve, the main writer on the subject said [1, 2]: “Kläger gg. UPC ohne anwaltl. Beistand in einer so komplexen Materie. Das muss ein spezialisierter Anwalt sein [...] Ein Kläger, der anonym bleiben will, kein anwaltl. Vertreter, die Gründe für UPC-Klage @BVerfG bleiben im Dunklen….”

This can be translated from German to say that the “applicant who wants to remain anonymous…”

Watch who is being propped up as an expert by Juve: Winfried Tilmann! Does the author not realise the rogue role of Tilmann? He is a key part of the whole UPC ‘conspiracy’… other such people, Alexander Esslinger‏ for instance, admit the dire consequences: “It is expected that the German Constitutional Court decides about the German #UPC ratification in about 4-6 months…”

That’s a very long time. It also serves to prove that Bristows is lying. It’s very directly refuted by people who know better. As for IAM, it said in relation to Alexander Esslinger’s estimates: “Looking at earliest UPC ratification in 2018 now. Throw in few more delays & 2019 begins to seem most likely for start, if it happens at all…”

This isn’t the first time that IAM doubts the practicability of UPC altogether. Reality starts to set in. Managing IP, another booster of the UPC in “media” clothing, said: “The court case is a constitutional complaint (number 2 BVR 739/17) before the German Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) concerning the UPC Agreement.”

This can take a very long time. Based on this comment, the complaint is very recent. To quote: “Any more infos about this case “BvR 739/17″? Search engines are pretty silent? “17″ means it was filed this year?”

We think we know who filed it and on what basis. There are more complaints on their way and we are not at all surprised by this. The writings were all along on the wall and the dirty tricks of Team UPC belatedly take their toll and somehow it shocks them. As this other comment points out, a 1:30 (AM!) vote with just 5% of the members present is a symptom of UPC being a scam. We wrote about this at the time. “I think the reason could be more trivial,” said the comment, “transfer of sovereignty requires a 2/3 majority of the members of the Bundestag and Bundesrat, which was not the case when the Bundestag took a vote during nighttime.”

That’s just one among many irregularities. A person then asked: “What makes you so sure it requires a two third majority? Art. 24 Grundgesetz seems to give the Bundestag the right to do this via a simple law.”

The following person thinks it’s “flabbergasting to think that all legal advisers in the government have missed such a simple point.”

Well, maybe they hoped to bury these inconvenient (to them) facts. Remember where Maas stands on the UPC. Here is the full comment:

What was the fraction needed when the EPC and its amendment were ratified? If the fraction was indeed 2/3 then this might be the reason for the stop.

On the other hand, it seems so flabbergasting to think that all legal advisers in the government have missed such a simple point.

More on this 2/3 majority:

What I meant to say was that I can imagine the pending case that the Constitutional Court refers to is complaint due to the lack of a 2/3 majority of the members according to Article 23 GG in connection with Article 79 GG. I am not an expert on the German Constitution and I would not dare to guess if such a complaint would be successful. However, such complaint could fit the frame: “not wholly without merit” and filed in 2017 after the vote was cast in the parliament in March 2017.

The remaining comments focus on the EPC and bring up Battistelli (BB) as follows:

It’s unlikely that the BvG is delaying ratification at this stage on a whim or that there has been some trifling error in the lower legislative process. Although the intervention is on an “Interim” basis, it is very rare that such a measure is granted at this legislative stage in Germany. A slow-burning issue over here, ever since BB’s attempted dismissal of the BoA member, is that the theoretical deficiency in the EPC’s “simulated” separation of powers under A23 EPC (tolerable, perhaps, under the German constitution) has now manifested itself in practice (not tolerable) through BB’s actions. The executive (BB) has actually interfered with Judicial Independence in practice. The so-called “reforms” of the BoA structure are no more than a fig-leaf and might well make the situation worse. The AC has shown itself not capable of bringing BB to heel. Of course, this might affect the justiciability under the Grundgesetz not just of proposed unitary patents, but existing of pending EP(DE)s.

“Very interesting thanks,” wrote one person, “but I don’t see what BB has to do with the UPC.”

One has got to have lived under a bridge to not know how Battistelli is connected to the UPC. A lot of the abuses of Battistelli were all along justified using “UPC” as a catch-all excuse.

Here is a good explanation of the correlation:

…what BB has to do with the UPC is simple.

UPC patents will be granted out of the EPO. BB is executive head of the granting mechanism of Unitary patents which can only be enforced via the UPC (and incidentally he has been the public cheerleader for a UP and the UPC system for years, see EPO website announcements ad nauseam)

The EPO BoA has a final Appeal instance which will rule on the validity of subject-matter that will eventually be enforceable against people in member states of the UPC.

Art. 23 of the EPC effectively requires that the members of the BoA (acting as the final arbiter of validity, from the Point of view of the patentee) should be Independent.

Events reported, for example on so many IPkat threads in the past, would arguably leave the reasonable person in some doubt as to whether those BoA members are really Independent.

The German Basic Law under Article 97 refers to and provides a guarantee of Judicial Independence in Germany.

If a property right granted via the EPO comes into effect in Germany via an administrative process which arguably might not comply with the principle Judicial independence, the BvG might want to take a look at that.

Just sayin’.

Henrion (FFII) then weighed in to say: “Remember that the rules of procedure (130 pages of laws) are not made and approved by parliaments. They are a disgrace to how laws should be made in a democracy.”

Expect FFII to begin an intervention/interference soon. It already issued a press release against the UPC earlier this year (one that we had drafted).

Here is more on this:

Ben, I suspect that you are right. I am sure that Germany is able to participate in the UPC, it is just a question of whether or not that are going about it the right way. If they have not done it right presumably they will have to start ratification again (and that would be after their election)

Does anyone know how long it will be before we get a ruling? If the timing slips further we run the risk of Brexit having happened before the UPC opens its doors.

Any Brits enjoying the schadenfreude of Germany delaying the UPC should remember that the Queens Speech setting out the UK government’s legislative programme has apparently been delayed because of the necessity to write it out on goat skin and the fact that the ink takes many days to dry on that surface.

“Asking 25 national parliaments to approve each and every minor issue will cost a decade per Rule change,” the following comment said. Well, that’s the law. Don’t be pursuing shortcuts just for a bunch of trolls and law firms.

Come on. Neither the EPC nor the PCT could be handled absent easily amendable Rules, and the same holds for the UPC. Especially for a totally new organization it is essential that it is easily possible to adapt the Rules to practical issues that will only appear in practice. Asking 25 national parliaments to approve each and every minor issue will cost a decade per Rule change.

Issues associated with Battistell’s abuses are now starting to creep in as well. He had done so much to damage the legitimacy of the EPC and the EPO that he possible left the UPC too in ruins:

The issue in the older case is less a granted patent by the EPO, but a lack of independent courts for applicants whose application got refused.
If the BoA/DG3 is not independent, then the applicant who did NOT get a patent got denied his constitutional right to an independent judges review of an administrative decision.
There could be several sanctions the BVerfG could impose:
– Germany has to leave the EPC with immediate effect (extremely unlikely, especially since the EPC worked so fine since so many years.)
– Germany has to work towards an amendment of the EPC within X years, or leave within that timeframe (the timetable will be tight, and not work without the required diplomatic conference)
– Applicants get, after refusal, access to German courts for a German patent/side entry to national DE phase (unlikely, but could be proposed by the judges for an intermediate solution – might need a minor law by the German parliament)

We’ll see, either solution will not be liked by the EPO management, as their recent “reform” of perceived independence will also be scrutinized by the judges of the federal constitutional court in Germany.

This morning we found some new comments too. One anonymous comment referring to FAZ:

In its Wednesday edition, the FAZ still has not been able to get the Constitutional Court to give it more detail, so it decided it’s best to turn to conspiracy theories instead. Ready? Did you know that the Justice allegedly acting as rapporteur in this case is married to the Chief Judge of the Federal Patent Court?

Further explanation of the FAZ piece (which everyone seems to link to) soon followed:

Some details from tomorrow’s FAZ article: Office of the President confirmed it has “suspended” its pre-certification review of the German consent act to the unified patent court, at the request of the Constitutional Court (case 2 BvR 739/17). According to the Office of the President, the Court considers the constitutional complaint “not, at the outset, without prospect” (“nicht von vornherein aussichtslos”). While the complaint as well as a “parallel” emergency petition concerned the law governing the patent court, patent reform as a whole is also on hold, being “materially interlinked”, according to the Office of the President. FAZ hasn’t learned how long the procedure is set to be on hold, and what exactly the reason is.

We are trying very hard to gather information about this because we predict that many lies will soon be disseminated, not just by the likes of Bristows, where lying has become a matter of routine. They seem to have lost their humility or the ability to shy away from falsehoods. They’re patently evil.

Caricature: Balance of Justice at the European Patent Office

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Balance of justice

Summary: Balance of justice under Battistelli’s regime isn’t quite what the Office wants the public and the Dutch authorities to believe

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