Lack of Patent Quality at the EPO Already Leads to the Axing of Many European Patents (EPs) in Bulk

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

So any person granted a European Patent can expect that his/her patent may be revoked/subjected to axing without even a pertinent review/trial

Argentine great depression.
Reference: 1998–2002 Argentine great depression (few Argentinians deposit anything in a bank account since)

Summary: The EPO takes away from people something which they thought they had, spurring distrust and anger at the Office and ultimately devaluing EPs (perceived value)

YESTERDAY we wrote, however briefly, about CIPA's objections to the narrowing of patent scope where the patents pertain to life (not even the USPTO is that stupid). In spite of CIPA’s views (it is basically a nasty lobbying group of patent maximalists), the EPO made is official (warning: epo.org link) that, in its own words: “On a proposal of the European Patent Office its Administrative Council took a decision to amend the relevant Regulations in order to exclude from patentability plants and animals exclusively obtained by an essentially biological breeding process.”

“What does that do to confidence in EPs and the EPO in general?”So basically, after people spent a fortune pursuing patents on such things the EPO formally admits that it granted patents in error. It’s not merely a suspension but a de facto axing of patents.

Holy ****.

What does that do to confidence in EPs and the EPO in general? That’s a pretty major change at the Administrative Council. As someone put it in response to a tweet: “Can you change the law retroactively and at one days notice? Can the administration council change what can be patented?”

Well, apparently so.

This has already been covered by IP Watch and apparently nowhere else (that we could find). It mostly reproduces the official statement. To quote:

The European Patent Office today issued a clarification about the patenting of plant and animal products, putting it in line with a European Commission clarification that such products obtained through a biological breeding process should not be patentable.

Further reporting will follow as more details emerge. The documents are still in the hands of the EPO Administrative Council, but will be made available to the public soon, according to the EPO.

We will report on this as soon as we know more, but herein lies the danger of overgranting patents — something which Battistelli actively strives for in the name of so-called ‘production’.

Feedback From the Administrative Council Meeting at The Hague: Worse Than Anyone Expected

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Installing abject tyranny, one step at a time

Balance of justice

Summary: Staff of the European Patent Office loses yet more of its basic rights, after the Administrative Council basically nods at/accepts one of Battistelli’s most controversial proposals

THE EPO is in shambles. We at Techrights hope to save it from the tyranny, but 3 years down the line it seems like “mission impossible” because national representatives, namely heads of national patent offices, are largely complicit (with few exceptions here and there).

“…34 Delegations (with 4 abstentions BTW the 4 who abstained are NL, IT, IE, LI) in favour of Battistelli authoritarian reforms…”
“Devastating for the staff!”

That’s how one person described what happened yesterday at The Hague. “The nail in the coffin,” the person added. To quote a source that is familiar with what happened:

the propositions of Battistelli related to the RFPSS (change of structure and composition) is not supported. Copy is back on table for later…

an amazing (read appalling) 34 Delegations (with 4 abstentions BTW the 4 who abstained are NL, IT, IE, LI) in favour of Battistelli authoritarian reforms and changes of ServRegs with regards to internal appeal committee, disciplinary procedures, new dismissal procedure for incompetence (be assured that this will not apply to top managers but to Fussvolk for sure), possibility to cease personal belongings in your office, 200 EUR fees for lodging internal appeals from 01.07 etc etc etc)

sighs………. another day in paradise

It’s as if delegates did not listen at all to what SUEPO an the Staff Committee had warned them about.

“To be clear, this is still Kongstad’s Council, but the votes from delegates are not his own.”Responding to “Silence is Golden,” a new comment said: “And then the states voted 34-0 to pass BB’s [Battistelli's] new and ridiculous discipline and investigation rules. Power corrupts. Some people.”

To be clear, this is still Kongstad’s Council, but the votes from delegates are not his own. So what hope is there that things will improve under the new boss, who many EPO insiders try to study these days? We will write more about him later…

Apparently, on top of all that, the Council decided or agreed on getting rid of the “irksome” judge, whose dismissal (or “house ban”) was described as “irksome” by his colleagues.

“This week is a very bad week for EPO staff, many of whom will be on strike today (until Tuesday).”Does the Council care about staff of the EPO? Well, demonstrably no.

This week is a very bad week for EPO staff, many of whom will be on strike today (until Tuesday). Some of them already look into applying for a job elsewhere, realising perhaps that there won’t be much left after Battistelli leaves. Will the vacancy for his job be published next week as planned? We shall see…

The UPC’s Figurehead, Alexander Ramsay, Admits UPC is Stuck, Bristows LLP Comes Up With ‘Alternative Facts’

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Older: UPC Preparatory Committee Puts the Brakes on UPC Amid Brexit and Growing Uncertainty

Alexander Ramsay, Bristows, and the UPC gold rush
Alexander Ramsay, Bristows, and the UPC gold rush

Summary: The Unified Patent Court (UPC) isn’t making progress, but those who are keen to spin, mislead, distort facts and even falsify/fabricate statements would have us believe otherwise

THE UPC is stuck. It may in fact be dead like the TPP. But will Team UPC give up and admit defeat? Of course not. They have been lying about the UPC for a living for a number of years; they lied to officials, they lied to businesses, they lied to the media and so on.

“They have been lying about the UPC for a living for a number of years; they lied to officials, they lied to businesses, they lied to the media and so on.”Expecting Team UPC to abandon the UPC is like expecting a carpenter to abandon the hammer, the shoemaker to stop obsessing over shoes or asking a model to stop staring at the mirror. No matter what happens, Team UPC will always lie, if not just to others than at least to itself. Self deception can be a moralising exercise. Without the UPC, their whole raison d’être (or at least lobbying) was all in vain.

The EPO has said absolutely nothing about what happened in Germany. Who can blame the EPO? It’s so accustomed to outright lying, so lies by omission are a lesser offense.

“Is UPC ratification back on track in the UK? In a nutshell, no. Not even close.”Yesterday, in IP Kat comments, some jokes started to surface about DUP. Is the “UP” in “DUP” “Unitary Patent”? Well, basically, Bristows are at it again, having lied, cheated, etc. They gave the illusion of UPC progress first in their blog and then in IP Kat (which actually attracts some readers, unlike their lousy blog). They would have us believe that the UK officially resumes UPC ratification and all is back on track. But as always, look at what Bristows is hiding or distracting from. A lot of wishful thinkers (as we noted yesterday) have already relayed the propaganda from Bristows. Debunking is important because few sites out there have both the interest and the information required to refute the nonsense (of which there have been heaps for a number of years).

Our rule of thumb: whenever hearing something about UPC always fact-check and trace things back to the source (with extra scepticism when those who stand to personally gain from the UPC speak).

Is UPC ratification back on track in the UK? In a nutshell, no. Not even close.

“The longer it [the UPC] is delayed, the less its value.”
The comments are joking about the Conservative government, especially in light of its desperate deal with an antiscientific political party. “I suppose the DUP were in favour if the UPC then,” one comment joked. “Very progressive.”

Another asked: “Does anybody know what the DUP’s policy on IP is? Do they have a stance on the Unitary Patent?”

One answer was this: “I’ll go out on a limb and presume that they are not particularly concerned by IP or the UPC, as long as they don’t involve popery or dinosaurs…”

Suffice to say, DUP has nothing to do with it. In fact, UPC is not at all on the agenda as Tories scramble to merely survive and form a government. To believe otherwise is to either be misinformed or very, exceedingly gullible. Just unfold any British newspapers these days; it’s pretty chaotic. UPC is mentioned nowhere. At all! The EPO says not a word about it, except when Battistelli lies to impress a docile crowd.

“Better to say, the greater the delay, the less likely it is to happen. Ever!”Regarding the “DUP Bribe” (the latest scandal here, since Monday), one person wrote this: “Agreed, but as they aren’t particularly concerned, there is every possibility that if they believe the government thinks the UPC or any other IP issue is particularly important they will ask for another few £100m to agree to it.”

Someone in another thread, seemingly a UPC proponent, wrote somewhat panicky that “The longer it [the UPC] is delayed, the less its value.”

Better to say, the greater the delay, the less likely it is to happen. Ever!

Another new comment about it alludes to the deadlock in Germany, which adds perhaps another half a year in delays (and may result in Germany abandoning the UPC in its current form).

To quote:

In my understanding, the “imbalance” is that an opponent in EP opposition proceedings after unsuccessfully going through the full EPO proceedings can try again in DE nullity proceedings. The opponent gets two shots and needs only one hit.

As far as I know, it is not different for an opponent in DE opposition proceedings. I don’t see why it should matter that DE opposition proceedings have one more instance.

There is a difference in that both DE opposition proceedings and DE nullity proceedings are handled by the BPatG (and reviewed by the BGH). But is the BPatG/BGH in nullity proceedings in any way bound by the final decision in the DE opposition proceedings between the same parties on the same patent?

Only if the BPatG/BGH is legally bound (to the extent that the facts are the same etc.) would I agree that the EP/DE imbalance is not present in the DE/DE system. But then, if the imbalance in the EP/DE system really is a problem, the solution is simple: make sure that the BPatG/BGH is legally bound in the same way by a final decision in EPO opposition proceedings.

(It seems the German courts don’t require much in the way of standing in nullity proceedings and do not mind strawmen. So imbalance appears to be ingrained in the German national patent system. Likely there is nothing unconstitutional about it.)

One could think that any reasonable person would accept that Europe’s largest economy is now the centre of attention (or deadlock), not somewhere like Estonia (Bristows pays for nonsensical ‘articles’ about Estonia, to give an illusion of progress).

“We assume IP Kat doesn’t want accuracy anymore, just marketing.”
Yesterday, citing UPC propagandists (the UPC Preparatory Committee, which is essentially a misnomer as it's a bunch of moles), IP Kat again allowed propagandists from Bristows replicate and expand propaganda from their misleading blog. In our last article about the UPC we debunked what they had published in their blog. But on they go at IP Kat, never mind if commenters will identify all the holes very quickly (they can always just delete ‘inconvenient’ comments, as they habitually do these days).

The first comment, which was miraculously approved, was responding to the propagandists from Bristows by gently and politely debunking them as follows: “What difference will the Conference recess (Parliament breaks up again for party conferences between 14 September and 9 October) make to this estimate? It leaves a very short time to sort out the committees (a process which is only barely starting now and won’t be complete until at least September) and have them consider the legislation. Isn’t it more likely this will happen in October – and we are not certain how long it will take. And won’t the Scottish order have to be in place too? When is that realistically expected to happen? January sunrise seems a little optimistic to me. I suspect a month or two later but we’re all guessing…”

“Amid German constitutional challenge on UPC – what happened to Ireland’s constit[utional] referendum on the esoteric subject of patents and the UPC?”
      –Luke McDonagh‏
It’s worse than guessing. It’s lobbying. We assume IP Kat doesn’t want accuracy anymore, just marketing. It’s reputational downfall. Bristows can’t help leaving a mess of fake news and propaganda in at least 3 blogs and paid-for ‘articles’ (they pay some sites to repost their fake news). Frankly, someone needs to clean up this mess. That someone certainly isn’t Alex Robinson, who wrote to me a couple of days ago to defend Bristows, just before he too started relaying that fake optimism. Citing Bristows, Alex Robinson said that “a draft Order was laid before the Westminster Parliament. This is subject to the so-called “affirmative resolution” procedure, requiring scrutiny by both Houses of Parliament. Despite the “Brexit” vote, no serious opposition is expected to the passage of the legislation.”

He wrote about that again, under the banner “preparatory work continues” and he also tweeted a lot about it [1, 2, 3, 4], totally ignoring the part about Germany (not alternative facts but inconvenient facts).

“UPC (Unified Patent Court) comes to a screeching halt due to Germany…”
      –Rolf Claessen‏
How could he miss it, omitting the parts that don’t suit Team UPC? Well, linking to the same text from Ramsay (himself a core part of Team UPC, sometimes appearing in conjunction with the EPO’s dedicated UPC liar, Margot Fröhlinger), some people took note of his comments on Germany.

Dr. Luke McDonagh‏ asked: “Amid German constitutional challenge on #UPC – what happened to Ireland’s constit referendum on the esoteric subject of #patents & the #UPC?”

Even a UPC proponent from Germany moaned as follows: “#GRUR2017 – Germany’s most important IP conference. 3 days. More than 1000 attendees. Number of session on #UPC: 0 #spilledmilk”

Maybe because they know that it’s anything but certain. It’s a dead dream perhaps…

“UPC/UP project runs into more trouble as suit lodged in the German Constitutional Court…”
      –Anne Hargreaves‏
Rolf Claessen‏ wrote that the “UPC (Unified Patent Court) comes to a screeching halt due to Germany http://bit.ly/2tnhAUS” (linking to the same text as Bristows but interpreting it differently).

Another professional, Anne Hargreaves‏, said that the “UPC/UP project runs into more trouble as suit lodged in the German Constitutional Court https://www.unified-patent-court.org/news/message-chair” (again, linking to the same text as Bristows but interpreting it differently).

Bristows staff should apply for a job at Donald Trump’s office. Apparently they need people to help distort reality.

European Patent Office is on Strike Until Tuesday and Insiders Study the New Head of the Organisation

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Christoph Ernst will take over the Organisation within 3 months

Battistelli and strikes
Battistelli bragged to the Council about lack of strikes (after he had passed rules to restrict those), but for the second year in a row he is the cause of strikes

Summary: The demise of the EPO as a desirable employer, as an accountable employer, and a reputable employer that actually examines patent applications properly to assure high quality of European Patents (EPs)

SUEPO has not been saying much recently, but the EPO will be on strike tomorrow and Mr. Ernst has just been chosen to replace Kongstad. As far as we are aware, no media has covered that; only one publication, IP Watch, mentioned the strike, which will last 4 days (including the weekend).

Citing the report from IP Watch, which in turn references Techrights, one person wrote (correctly) that “EPO staff will be on strike soon again (sadly) since there is still absolutely ZERO social dialogue but more of the same despicable authoritarian policies, in an Orwellian atmosphere by the current French direction team.”

Another person indicated that he or she is looking to leave the EPO. Here is the full message:

The new disciplinary rules have been criticized by the anonymous “Flyer team”. Internally, we have access to the proposed text. It foresees absolutely no check and balance. On a superficial reading, it appears reasonable as there are various committees which are supposed to give an opinion. But it is like patents: the claims actually define a very short procedure after which the President can fire you without justification and without recourse.

It is an open secret in the Office that the President is trying to get rid of everyone over 40 and replace them with far cheaper examiners, younger and more docile. Word is that they would be on 3-years contracts, but that is not even necessary if they can be fired at will.

But firing people is always messy and it is far easier if they leave “voluntarily”. To ensure “voluntary” compliance, the title under which you can now be fired is called “professional incompetence”. “Professional incompetence”, as defined in the proposed text, simply means you failed to meet the production objective your superior set for you. It is public knowledge that last year objective was to grant 40% more patents.

But everything will happen behind closed doors. I expect that the older examiners in my directorate will have a nice visit of their new boss after summer which will simply tell them that they can leave “voluntarily” or get fired for “professional incompetence” before the end of the year. Because being declared “incompetent” by the EPO means that nobody will ever hire you for doing patent work, people will “voluntarily” comply.

Signed: an examiner over 40, looking for a new job outside the Patent world.

With Battistelli at the helm, many layoffs seem inevitable anyway. Maybe that was just Battistelli’s intention all along; maybe he wanted to destroy the EPO and bring rise to the UPC.

Either way, staff is truly fed up and today is the last day at the EPO until Tuesday (for those who go on strike). Why is the press ignoring this? We already notified some people in the media, yet they seem quite reluctant to point this out. Shouldn’t stakeholders be informed? Why is the EPO saying nothing (in its news section, Twitter and so on)?

Attention has meanwhile turned to Christoph Ernst. Ernst’s “main quality seems to be his aptitude to discretion which in a corrupt organisation like the EPO,” one new comment says today. It was composed yesterday, but it didn’t show up until today (due to moderation). Here it is in full, hidden well inside a very old post — the final post:

News from the 1st day of the Administrative Council in Den Haag :

1 – Christoph Ernst (DE) former head of the German Delegation at the Administrative Council of the EPO is the new Chair of the Administrative Council.

Mr Ernst is a man with a proven record of performance: indeed his silence during the entire mandate of Battistelli was remarkable, close to perfection. Mr Ernst never found the need to voice concerns when colleagues committed suicide (like for 10 days in Munich), when fundamental rights of staff were violated, when the DG3 Judge was suspended (more than 2 years…), when 3 staff reps were fired and other 3 downgraded after Orwellian trials, when quality of patents dropped due to unhealthy production pressure etc etc etc). His main quality seems to be his aptitude to discretion which in a corrupt organisation like the EPO explains that he just got promoted.

2 – Alberto Casado (SP, current VP2) becomes new VP1 in replacement of the flemmish dinausor Minnoye. Casado is known (and praised) for its exceptional competence in the various Patent Procedures as well as extensive mastering of Patent Law. No doubt that he was THE expert to task with managing 55000 highly educated examiners and formality officers. Some will say that his capacity to express himself in English may be close to that of Manuel in Falwty Towers but they are pathetic losers. In fact Alberto Casado speaks fluently Spanish which is alreaddy something.

And during this time, as the Titanic was sinking, the Orchestra was playing music…

“Mr Ernst (DE) is the new chief of AC at the EPO,” said the next comment. “Is this the beginning of the end for the French dictator?”

There is at least one more year of Battistelli; we very strongly doubt Ernst will work to oust him any earlier than that.

“Battistelli and Bergot ought to see their immunity lifted and sued for what they did,” said the next comment, which is also quoteworthy:

Battistelli and Bergot (PD HR) clais that psycho related sicknesses at EPO have decreased… Sure since they fire (mentally but not only) sick staff.

Fortunately the first case has arrived at ILO this week and the judges are not amused : http://www.ilo.org/dyn/triblex/triblexmain.fullText?p_lang=en&p_judgment_no=3887&p_language_code=EN

Battistelli and Bergot ought to see their immunity lifted and sued for what they did

We are going to examine what comes out of ILO. This may take some time to analyse. Either way, ILO is in many ways viewed as complicit (and rightly so, as we have shown recently). Secret meetings with EPO management and not with staff representatives of the EPO say quite a lot about ILO’s bias.

Ernst gives glimmer of hope, but not hope that Battistelli will be ousted, held accountable etc. He will hold Battistelli accountable as much as Obama held Bush accountable (e.g. for torture, Iraq war). As we pointed out before (last year), Ernst has little to say on Battistelli’s proposals (usually abstains), almost nothing to say about patent scope, and based on what we have shown here recently, the EPO is overgranting for those who are overpatenting, devaluing the whole lot (EPs) with shoddy, rushed assessments (the fault of management that pressures examiners to do this). Even the USPTO is stricter than the EPO now.

Here is a spammy ‘article’ or press release from yesterday. Is it still something to show off when an EP is granted/confirmed/defended? Considering how shallow the examination (or search) can be these days? Even the examiners are complaining; they must do this or lose their job (which may also mean losing one’s home, relocating the whole family to another country again).

We were deeply disgusted to see this tweet from CIPA yesterday. CIPA, as we put it last night, is a “pile of trash pretending to be a legitimate lobby” (also lobbying a lot for the UPC by lying to and manipulating officials). CIPA has been running over everything, including truth itself, for the UPC (the subject of our next post). It recently infiltrated IP Kat as well.

“We have “grave concerns” about EPO proposals to exclude certain organisms from patentability,” CIPA wrote, linking to its site and copying on it some patent maximalists, even IP Kat.

Well, the EPO publicly admitted that it went too far and decided that obeying laws was more important in this case than faking ‘production’.

Links 29/6/2017: Entroware, Wine-Staging 2.11, Plasma 5.10.3

Posted in News Roundup at 6:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 7 great open source tools to power your marketing stack

    Today’s digital marketers use an ever-increasing amount of software to plan, organize, execute, measure, and report on marketing campaigns.

    Marketers often refer to the various software they use as the “marketing stack.” In many cases, that software is proprietary.

    There are several very good reasons why marketers should consider building out their marketing stack on open source software. One is that there’s an excellent range of open source software they can choose from; here are three others.

  • OSU Open Source Lab leader looks to further FOSS community outreach

    I had a wonderful run at Google — more than six years — and decided it was time for a change of scene, both career-wise and geographically. I had worked extensively with the team at OSU’s Open Source Lab during my time at Google and had consistently been impressed with their support of the open source community and their leadership in bringing open source into computer science education. My new role allows me to support both aspects of their mission, and I am very excited to join them.

  • mkosi — A Tool for Generating OS Images

    After blogging about casync I realized I never blogged about the mkosi tool that combines nicely with it. mkosi has been around for a while already, and its time to make it a bit better known. mkosi stands for Make Operating System Image, and is a tool for precisely that: generating an OS tree or image that can be booted.

    Yes, there are many tools like mkosi, and a number of them are quite well known and popular. But mkosi has a number of features that I think make it interesting for a variety of use-cases that other tools don’t cover that well.

  • Lennart Formally Introduces “mkosi” Tool
  • Open Source Adreno Project “Freedreno” Receives New Update

    Users of Freedreno, the open-source graphics driver support for Adreno on Linux distributions, will be pleased to know that a new update has been released in the past week. Lead developer Rob Clark discussed many of the details in his blog, which highlight above all the support for Adreno 500 series GPUs. Among the highlights include compute shaders for OpenGL and OpenGL ES, improved performance and improved Linux distribution support.

  • AMD Plays Catch-Up in Deep Learning with New GPUs and Open Source Strategy

    AMD is looking to penetrate the deep learning market with a new line of Radeon GPU cards optimized for processing neural networks, along with a suite of open source software meant to offer an alternative to NVIDIA’s more proprietary CUDA ecosystem.

  • Baidu Research Announces Next Generation Open Source Deep Learning Benchmark Tool

    In September of 2016, Baidu released the initial version of DeepBench, which became the first tool to be opened up to the wider deep learning community to evaluate how different processors perform when they are used to train deep neural networks. Since its initial release, several companies have used and contributed to the DeepBench platform, including Intel, Nvidia, and AMD.

  • GitHub Declares Every Friday Open Source Day And Wants You to Take Part

    GitHub is home to many open-source development projects, a lot of which are featured on XDA. The service wants more people to contribute to open-source projects with a new initiative called Open Source Friday. In a nutshell, GitHub will be encouraging companies to allow their employees to work on open-source projects at the end of each working week.

    Even if all of the products you use on a daily basis are based on closed source software, much of the technology world operates using software based on open source software. A lot of servers are based off of various GNU/Linux based operating systems such as Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Much of the world’s infrastructure depends on open source software.

  • Open Source Friday

    GitHub is inviting every one – individuals, teams, departments and companies – to join in Open Source Friday, a structured program for contributing to open source that started inside GitHub and has since expanded.

  • Open Tools Help Streamline Kubernetes and Application Development

    Organizations everywhere are implementing container technology, and many of them are also turning to Kubernetes as a solution for orchestrating containers. Kubernetes is attractive for its extensible architecture and healthy open source community, but some still feel that it is too difficult to use. Now, new tools are emerging that help streamline Kubernetes and make building container-based applications easier. Here, we will consider several open source options worth noting.

  • Survey finds growing interest in Open Source

    Look for increased interest – and growth – in Open Source software and programming options. That’s the word from NodeSource, whose recent survey found that most (91%) of enterprise software developers believe new businesses will come from open source projects.

  • Sony Open-Sources Its Deep Learning AI Libraries For Devs

    Sony on Tuesday open-sourced its Neural Network Libraries, a framework meant for developing artificial intelligence (AI) solutions with deep learning capabilities, the Japanse tech giant said in a statement. The company is hoping that its latest move will help grow a development community centered around its software tools and consequently improve the “core libraries” of the framework, thus helping advance this emerging technology. The decision to make its proprietary deep learning libraries available to everyone free of charge mimics those recently made by a number of other tech giants including Google, Amazon, and Facebook, all of whom are currently in the process of trying to incentivize AI developers to use their tools and grow their software ecosystems.

  • Events

    • Open Source Summit Japan-2017

      My talk was manly about the Gentoo Kernel related Projects past and future
      specifically about the Gentoo Kernel Continuos Integreting system we are creating:


    • The SeaGL 2017 Call for Papers is now open!

      SeaGL is a grassroots technical conference, taking place in Seattle, WA, United States in October 6-7th. It’s dedicated to spreading knowledge about the GNU/Linux community and free/libre/open-source software/hardware. I went last year, and there’s a lot of cool people with amazing stories on multiple open source topics. Now, we want to hear from you.

    • FLISoL Bilwi event report

      The free software community in Bilwi organized FLISoL (Latin American free software install fest) this year as the only city in Nicaragua holding this event on April 22nd (Masaya holding it a week later). I had previously got in touch with one of the community members, Robert Müller, at the Central American Free Software Meeting in 2016, but I had never visited Bilwi before. FLISoL took place at URACCAN. Since this university does not offer many engineering programs, the expected audience was a little different than I was used to.

    • Webinar: How to upgrade your OpenStack cloud easily, without downtime
    • Registrations for SDC 2017 now open with limited-time early bird discounted Passes!

      Samsung has a lot instore for you at this year’s SDC. The main sessions will begin from 18th while the workshops will happen a day before as part of a Pre-event hands on workshop taking place on October 17th. You can find the complete Session Catalog from here and the pre event workshop schedule can be found here. Some of the top Samsung representatives will be sharing their work at the event and will give an insight on the upcoming products and services from Samsung.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Rehost and Carry On, Redux

      After leaving Sun I was pleased that a group of former employees and partners chose to start a new company. Their idea was to pick up the Sun identity management software Oracle was abandoning and continue to sustain and evolve it. Open source made this possible.

      We had made Sun’s identity management portfolio open source as part of our strategy to open new markets. Sun’s products were technically excellent and applicable to very large-scale problems, but were not differentiated in the market until we added the extra attraction of software freedom. The early signs were very good, with corporations globally seeking the freedoms other IDM vendors denied them. By the time Oracle acquired Sun, there were many new customers approaching full production with our products.

      History showed that Oracle could be expected to silently abandon Sun’s IDM portfolio in favour of its existing products and strong-arm customers to migrate. Forgerock’s founders took the gamble that this would happen and disentangled themselves from any non-competes in good time for the acquisition to close. Sun’s practice was open development as well as open source licensing, so Forgerock maintained a mirror of the source trees ready for the inevitable day when they would disappear.

      Sure enough, Oracle silently stepped back from the products, reassigned or laid off key staff and talked to customers about how the cost of support was rising but offering discounts on Oracle’s products as mitigation. With most of them in the final deployment stages of strategic investments, you can imagine how popular this news was. Oracle become Forgerock’s dream salesman.

    • Boundless Reinforces its Commitment to Open Source with Diamond OSGeo Sponsorship
    • Windows 10 Insiders can now get SUSE Linux distributions from the Store
    • What are the leading software platforms for NFV infrastructure?

      As service providers report a number of successful production deployments of network functions virtualization, it is important to consider the infrastructure beneath it all — and the available options. The leading software platforms for NFV infrastructure are OpenStack and VMware’s vCloud NFV. But service providers can choose from a number of OpenStack options, including sourcing from a supplier or open source internal development.

  • BSD


  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • OECD: ‘Create incentives for reuse of open data’

        The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is urging Europe’s governments to create incentives for public sector organisations and others to use open data. A good way for governments to promote sharing and reuse of data, and to improve public administration, is the creation of data-driven eGovernment services, says Barbara Ubaldi, Head of Unit, Digital Government and Open Data at the OECD.

  • Programming/Development


  • Google Gets Record $2.7 Billion EU Fine for Skewing Searches
  • ProtonMail lauds Google’s EU fine after falling victim to firm’s shady search practices

    Swiss-based email and vpn outfit ProtonMail has welcomed the European Union’s decision to fine Google a record-breaking £2.1bn over its practice of downgrading the search results of competitors, saying that it was the victim of these practices last year.

  • EU fines Google US$2.7b for alleged abuse of search dominance

    She added: “Instead, Google abused its market dominance as a search engine by promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors.

  • Three Thoughts On EU’s $2.7 Billion Antitrust Google Fine

    By now, of course, you’ve probably heard that the EU Commission has fined Google €2.4 billion for antitrust violations, specifically regarding shopping search (there are at least two other investigations going on around antitrust questions involving Android and Adsense). The specific issue leading to this fine is that Google, for years, has been pushing its own comparison shopping results in response to searches on products, and other comparison search vendors feel this is unfair, as users are more likely to just jump to Google’s shopping options in the boxes up top — usually called the “onebox” (for what it’s worth, I almost never click on those boxes, in fact, I almost never use Google for product search, preferring other, better, dedicated sites — but that’s a single anecdotal point, while the EU is citing some data it claims supports its position). Anyway, rather than digging all that deep, let’s go with three thoughts I had in reading through the EU’s announcement (linked above), Google’s response and some of the other coverage.


    So… if this isn’t going to hurt Google and isn’t going to help other companies in the market, then… what’s the point exactly? Yes, Google could have done things differently, but this doesn’t help really.

  • Science

    • Administrative Bloat on Campus: Academia Shrinks, Students Suffer

      American campuses have drifted away from academia and toward administration. The shift badly impacts the traditional mission of both college and students.

    • Legacy Systems as Old Cities

      Legacy systems have a bad reputation among computer people. Pretty much no one wants to work on COBOL-based mainframe software. All the typing that goes on when you buy a plane ticket in person is because of SABRE, and one comes to think about whether the fee that travel agents charge is just due to the burden of battling that inscrutable software. We may know horror stories of a sad company that simply cannot move away from Windows 95, or Windows 3.1, because they have an old and unmaintained chunk of critical infrastructure that runs there, and that for $reasons has not been replaced with something newer.

      It is hard to imagine having the ability to control the outcome of those systems. They are Too Big To Fail, and most definitely outside of the experience of “everyday people”.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • [Older] These are the most climate-damaging foods

      Beef is widely recognized as the most climate-damaging of all foods. A new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council on food consumption in the US calculates that each kilogram of beef produces 26.5 kilograms of CO2 emissions — the highest among all the foods observed in the study, and five times more than chicken or turkey meat.

      Animal agriculture is responsible for 14.5 percent of the world’s greenhouse emissions, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, making it a significant contributor to climate change. Of those emissions, 65 percent come from beef and dairy cattle.

    • Senior doctors accuse Government of deliberately underfunding NHS to accelerate privatisation plans

      The government is deliberately underfunding the NHS in an attempt to speed up its plans to privatise the health service, senior doctors have said.

      Members of the British Medical Association (BMA) accused Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, of “consciously” creating a crisis in NHS hospitals while scapegoating doctors “to distract the public from an underfunded service under severe and intense strain”.

      This is “in order to accelerate its transformation plans for private sector takeover of healthcare in England”, said the motion passed by representatives at the union’s annual representative meeting in Bournemouth.

  • Security

    • [Older] ‘How foul-mouthed hackers {sic} messed up my life’

      “Who would think your printer could be used as an access point to your networks?” he tells the BBC.

    • Hit by cyberattack, officials say traffic congestion in India’s largest container port JNPT unlikely

      The Gateway Terminal India (GTI) impacted is operated by Danish shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk, which has experienced outages in its computer systems globally. The GTI has a capacity to handle 1.8 million standard container units.

    • Today’s global ransomware attack weaponized software updates

      Once a single [Windows] computer on a network was infected, Petya leveraged Windows networking tools like Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) and PsExec to infect other computers on the same network.

    • Latest ransomware: enterprise IT teams earn flak

      At least two officials from security companies have taken aim at IT teams in businesses after the latest Windows ransomware attack that spread from Europe to other parts of the world overnight.

    • Ukraine cyber attack: Chaos as national bank, state power provider and airport hit by hackers
    • WPP Tells Employees to Turn Off Computers After Cyber Attack [iophk: "just stop using Windows already."]
    • WannaCry-style ransomware attack hits Ukraine taking down banks, power and an airport
    • Petya cyber-attack: Cadbury factory hit as ransomware spreads to Australian businesses [iophk: "like in most such articles Microsoft and Windows not mentioned"]
    • Petya cyber attack: Everything to know about the global ransomware outbreak
    • ‘Petya’ ransomware attack strikes companies across Europe and US

      In an internal memo to staff, one WPP firm said it was the target of “a massive global malware attack, affecting all Windows servers, PCs and laptops”. It warned employes to turn off and disconnect all machines using Windows.

    • Cyberattack Reaches Asia as New Targets Hit by Ransomware
    • New ransomware outbreak hits organisations around the world
    • It may not be your fault, but it’s always your responsibility

      Even if a bug isn’t your fault it’s still your responsibility, and in this post I’ll explain how to apply that in practice.

    • Elsa

      Today, June 28th 2017, WikiLeaks publishes documents from the ELSA project of the CIA. ELSA is a geo-location malware for WiFi-enabled devices like laptops running the Microsoft Windows operating system. Once persistently installed on a target machine using separate CIA exploits, the malware scans visible WiFi access points and records the ESS identifier, MAC address and signal strength at regular intervals. To perform the data collection the target machine does not have to be online or connected to an access point; it only needs to be running with an enabled WiFi device. If it is connected to the internet, the malware automatically tries to use public geo-location databases from Google or Microsoft to resolve the position of the device and stores the longitude and latitude data along with the timestamp. The collected access point/geo-location information is stored in encrypted form on the device for later exfiltration. The malware itself does not beacon this data to a CIA back-end; instead the operator must actively retrieve the log file from the device – again using separate CIA exploits and backdoors.

      The ELSA project allows the customization of the implant to match the target environment and operational objectives like sampling interval, maximum size of the logfile and invocation/persistence method. Additional back-end software (again using public geo-location databases from Google and Microsoft) converts unprocessed access point information from exfiltrated logfiles to geo-location data to create a tracking profile of the target device.

    • Petya: The poison behind the latest ransomware attack

      First things first. If you’re running Windows. Patch your systems! The latest variant of Petya, GoldenEye, can attack if, and only if, one of your Windows PCs still hasn’t been patched with Microsoft’s March MS17-010. Microsoft thought patching this bug was important enough that it even patched it on its unsupported Windows XP operating system.

    • HMS Windows XP: Britain’s newest warship running Swiss Cheese OS

      The Royal Navy’s brand new £3.5bn aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently* running Windows XP in her flying control room, according to reports.

      Defence correspondents from The Times and The Guardian, when being given a tour of the carrier’s aft island – the rear of the two towers protruding above the ship’s main deck – spotted Windows XP apparently in the process of booting up on one of the screens in the flying control room, or Flyco.

    • 4 easy ways to work toward a zero trust security model

      There has been a lot of talk about zero trust networks lately, but little consensus about what they actually are. Similar to DevOps or software defined networking, that zero trust means something a little different to everyone is becoming clear. That said, there is one thing we can all agree on: The network cannot be trusted.

      At its core, zero trust is a security model. Any system operating in a way that completely removes trust from the underlying network is said to be conformant to the model. As you might imagine, there are many ways to accomplish this goal, some more robust than others. All zero trust implementations, however, rely on extensive authentication and authorization processes that can be sprinkled liberally throughout the infrastructure.

      There are few commercial options available in the zero trust space, and even then the options are far from comprehensive. Most present vendor lock-in challenges, and none provide a full end-to-end implementation, which would require complexities such as secure introduction and workload authenticity. That said, building toward a zero trust network is a capability most organizations possess, and doing so will help ensure that they are well-positioned to weather the architectural shakeup that will no doubt occur in the coming years.

    • CVE-2017-9445: systemd Hit By New Security Vulnerability

      CVE-2017-9445 is regarding a vulnerability opened by systemd that could allow malicious actors to crash the program or run programs via a specially crafted DNS response.

    • New systemd Vulnerability Affects Ubuntu 17.04 and Ubuntu 16.10, Update Now

      Canonical informs Ubuntu users that it updated the systemd packages in the Ubuntu 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) and Ubuntu 17.04 (Zesty Zapus) operating systems to patch a recently discovered security issue.

      The new systemd vulnerability (CVE-2017-9445) appears to affect the systemd-resolved component, which could allow a remote attacker to crash the systemd daemon by causing a denial of service or run malicious programs on the vulnerable, unpatched machines by using a specially crafted DNS response.

    • AMD’s SME/SEV Security Support For EPYC Not Yet Ready On Linux
    • Old role, new name: ansible-hardening
    • Big Data Security
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: week 113 in Stretch cycle
    • Multiple vulnerabilities found in Kaspersky Lab’s Anti-Virus for Linux File Server [Newsflash: PROPRIETARY software for security is itself a security menace]

      People expect their anti-virus to protect them from malware and exploits but sometimes, even these products have their own vulnerabilities. Leandro Barragan and Maximiliano Vidal, researchers at network security firm Core Security, have found a number of possible exploits in the Web Management Console for Kaspersky’s Anti-virus for Linux File Servers.

    • Pentagon draft budget bans Kaspersky Lab products

      The draft budget said, in an amendment proposed by Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat from New Hampshire, that it “prohibits the DOD from using software platforms developed by Kaspersky Lab due to reports that the Moscow-based company might be vulnerable to Russian government influence.”

    • Choosing Windows for your organization should get you fired

      I know. That’s harsh.

      But it’s true. If you haven’t yet replaced Windows, across the board, you absolutely stink at your job.

      For years, we’ve had one trojan, worm and virus after another. And almost every single one is specifically targeting Microsoft Windows. Not MacOS. Not Linux. Not DOS. Not Unix. Windows.

      Wannacry managed to infect hundreds of thousands of highly vulnerable Windows installations around the globe. It was a huge problem for many major institutions that fill their organizations with the operating system from Redmond, Washington.

      But did you learn your lesson? No.

      Then another bit of ransomware comes along, called NotPetya, and manages to take out critical systems at freaking Chernobyl. Also airports and banks. Oh, and hospitals. Can’t forget about the hospitals.

    • Met Police still running using Windows XP on 18,000 PCs

      Indeed, it would appear that the pace of change is slowing, with Metropolitan Police using Windows XP on 35,000 PCs in April 2015, 27,000 in August 2016, and 19,000 in December last year, according to Freedom of Information (FOI) Act requests.

    • Ransomware attack ‘not designed to make money’, researchers claim
    • Pnyetya: Yet Another Ransomware Outbreak

      The superficial resemblance to Petya is only skin deep. Although there is significant code sharing, the real Petya was a criminal enterprise for making money. This is definitely not designed to make money. This is designed to spread fast and cause damage, with a plausibly deniable cover of “ransomware.”

    • The Petya ransomware is starting to look like a cyberattack in disguise
    • ‘Petya’ Ransomware Outbreak Goes Global

      Security firm Symantec confirmed that Petya uses the “Eternal Blue” exploit, a digital weapon that was believed to have been developed by the U.S. National Security Agency and in April 2017 leaked online by a hacker {sic} group calling itself the Shadow Brokers.

    • Latest Ransomware Hackers Didn’t Make WannaCry’s Mistakes

      And while it owes its rapid spread in part to EternalBlue, the same stolen NSA exploit WannaCry leveraged, it lacks several of the traits that made WannaCry—which turned out to be an unfinished North Korean project gone awry—easier to stop.

    • A new ransomware outbreak similar to WCry is shutting down computers worldwide [Ed: Windows and NSA back doors]

      News organizations reported potentially serious disruptions around the world, with organizations throughout Ukraine being hit particularly hard. In that country, infections reportedly hit metro networks, power utility companies, government ministry sites, airports, banks, media outlets, and state-owned companies. Those affected included radiation monitors at the Chernobyl nuclear facility. A photograph published by Reuters showed an ATM at a branch of Ukraine’s state-owned Oschadbank bank that was inoperable. A message displayed on the screen demanded a payment to unlock it. Meanwhile, Reuters also reported that Ukrainian state power distributor Ukrenergo said its IT systems were also hit by a cyber attack but that the disruption had no impact on power supplies or broader operations. Others hit, according to Bloomberg, included Ukrainian delivery network Nova Poshta, which halted service to clients after its network was infected. Bloomberg also said Ukraine’s Central Bank warned on its website that several banks had been targeted by hackers.

    • AlertSec Aims to Make Encryption Security More Accessible

      Ebba Blitz isn’t a typical technology industry CEO and the company she leads isn’t a typical security vendor either. Blitz joined AlertSec after a career in journalism in Sweden where she honed her craft of making complex subjects more understandable which is what she’s now doing in a different capability with security at AlertSec

      “We help small and medium sized companies get the same level of security that larger enterprises normally have, in terms of full-disk encryption and we manage it for them,” Blitz said.

    • Don’t panic, but Linux’s Systemd can be pwned via an evil DNS query
    • Global ransomware attack causes turmoil

      The Chernobyl nuclear power plant has also had to monitor radiation levels manually after its Windows-based sensors were shut down.

    • Episode 53 – A plane isn’t like a car

      Josh and Kurt talk about security through obscurity, airplanes, the FAA, the Windows source code leak, and chicken sandwiches.

    • WikiLeaks Dump Reveals a Creepy CIA Location-Tracking Trick

      If you’re using a Windows laptop or PC you could add another group to the list: the CIA.

    • WikiLeaks Releases Files on CIA Spying Geo-Location Malware for WiFi Devices

      The whistleblowing platform released what appears to be the CIA’s user manual for the ELSA project as evidence.
      WikiLeaks began releasing Vault 7 on March 7, with the first full part comprising 8,761 documents. The previous release took place on June 22 and was dedicated to the CIA “Brutal Kangaroo” hacking tool.

    • Ohio Gov. Kasich’s website, dozens of others defaced using year-old exploit

      DNN Platform is a popular content management system (particularly with state and local governments) based on Windows Server and the ASP.NET framework for Microsoft Internet Information Server. DNN Platform is open source and available for free—making it attractive to government agencies looking for something low cost that fits into their existing Windows Server-heavy organizations. A review of the HTML source of each of the sites attacked by Team System DZ showed that they were running a vulnerable version of the content management system DNN Platform—version 7.0, which was released in 2015.

    • Linux malware gaining favor among cybercriminals [Ed: Doug Olenick, Online Editor, rewrote a press release of a company that needs to badmouth GNU/Linux (for SALES)]
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Yet another girl dies in strange circumstances on Koh Tao – desperate mother looking for information

      The body of Elise Dallemagne was burnt during the cremation ceremony in May 2017 in Bangkok – mother took her ashes home to Belgium. She now seriously doubts the police version of the disappearance and the death of her daughter and seeks for help publicly. Since we know about the history of Koh Tao with murdered and disappearing young tourists this case has at least a faded smell… Another missing tourist, Russian citizen Valentina Novozhyonova, has not been found to this day and many people on Koh Tao also doubt the police reports about her fate…

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • World has three years to save humanity from climate change, warn experts

      The world could emit enough carbon to bust the Paris Agreement target of between 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius in anything from four to 26 years if current levels continue, the article said.

    • California invested heavily in solar power. Now there’s so much that other states are sometimes paid to take it

      Well, actually better than free. California produced so much solar power on those days that it paid Arizona to take excess electricity its residents weren’t using to avoid overloading its own power lines.

    • Approval of Construction for the Dakota Access Pipeline Violated Some Laws, Judge Rules
    • Oil to keep flowing in Dakota line while legal battle continues

      Oil will continue to flow through the Dakota Access Pipeline through the summer while authorities conduct additional review of the environmental impact, after a judge on Wednesday ordered more hearings in coming months.

    • Dallas Goldtooth: The Fight Against DAPL Is Not Over

      Oil will continue to flow through the Dakota Access Pipeline this summer and into the fall, despite the ruling from a federal judge last week that the Trump administration must conduct additional environmental review of the project.

    • DAPL whistleblower in hiding after receiving threats

      Exposing the agenda behind the 1,172-mile-long, $3.8 billion pipeline financed by Energy Transfer Partners and 17 financial institutions such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, BNP Paribas of France, was an idea she and former boyfriend, Kyle Thompson, had been planning for months, she said.

    • A million bottles a minute: world’s plastic binge ‘as dangerous as climate change’

      A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change.

      New figures obtained by the Guardian reveal the surge in usage of plastic bottles, more than half a trillion of which will be sold annually by the end of the decade.

      The demand, equivalent to about 20,000 bottles being bought every second, is driven by an apparently insatiable desire for bottled water and the spread of a western, urbanised “on the go” culture to China and the Asia Pacific region.

      UK risks becoming ‘dumping ground’ for plastic after Brexit
      Read more
      More than 480bn plastic drinking bottles were sold in 2016 across the world, up from about 300bn a decade ago. If placed end to end, they would extend more than halfway to the sun. By 2021 this will increase to 583.3bn, according to the most up-to-date estimates from Euromonitor International’s global packaging trends report.

    • Rick Perry talks nuclear energy research investment, Paris Agreement

      Perry is also a supporter of nuclear energy. “No clean energy portfolio is truly complete without nuclear power,” Perry added this afternoon. Research into advanced nuclear reactors and small modular reactors, he said, would be “a game changer.” The secretary was vague on details about how exactly the Department of Energy (DOE) would boost the ailing nuclear energy industry—this year, major reactor builder Westinghouse suffered a bankruptcy—but he did offer a few ideas. “One of the things we want to do at Department of Energy is make nuclear energy cool again” to young people who might want to study it, Perry said. He later added, “this industry has been strangled all too often by government regulations.”

  • Finance

    • Face-off between Chinese, Indian troops in Sikkim after PLA ‘transgression’
    • It’s time India used its most powerful weapon against China: Trade | Opinion

      Make no mistake: Despite the cosy ties with Washington, India, essentially, is on its own against China.

    • What if the will of the people is now for a second referendum on Brexit?

      The UK is in turmoil. Sixteen months ago, when David Cameron announced the date of the EU referendum, we were the fastest growing economy in the western world and the envy of Europe. The Brexiteers were convinced that Europe was on its way to ruin. Now Britain is becoming the laughing stock of Europe. The pound has weakened. Inflation is six times higher than the 0.5% it was a year ago. Today, inflation is 2.9% and wage growth is 1.7%. Europe is growing faster than Britain.

      And the prime minister, Theresa May, who has suffered heavy defeats in the House of Lords and in the general election that she chose to call, has not listened to parliament, business or the people.

    • Cruel Tory MPs block bid to give nurses and firefighters a pay rise after day of government chaos
    • Francis Maude: To win, we must modernise all over again

      And Brexit. Hard, soft, clean – these are not useful terms. I took no part in the referendum campaign – I thought both sides massively exaggerated their case, and thought a vote to leave would mean some short-term economic downside through uncertainty, and some medium and long-term upside opportunity. I still think that – and the short term is not over yet. So what sort of Brexit? Yes, of course we should prioritise economic benefit over immigration – if we stuff up the economy no-one will want to come here anyway. Yes, of course we should want to leave the Customs Union; as Trade Minister of the fifth largest economy in the world I found it deeply frustrating that I was not at the “top table” in the WTO.

      So why not head for the bracing waters of the Norway, or EEA, option, as an interim holding pattern while we work out the permanent answer? Out of the Customs Union, in the Single Market, the chance – maybe limited – to negotiate restrictions to free movement of people, and no ECJ. It would have the necessary element for the EU27 of being “less good than membership” because we would be required to take whatever Brussels decides by way of market regulation – but in the near-term the current stock of regulation is what we work with already. I have little doubt that this option would be the most attractive and reassuring to investors now scratching their heads when they wonder whether to put their money, their ideas, their enterprise and their talents to work in the UK.

      And that’s central to our future success. Unless we continue to make Britain the destination of choice for increasingly mobile talent and capital, we will resume the decline that 40 years ago was arrested and then reversed by Margaret Thatcher. So while of course acknowledging that there is a role for government – did anyone suggest there wasn’t? – can we please once again be the party of low taxes, the smaller state, stronger society, the open economy and enterprise? In the post-Brexit world this will be more important than it ever has been.

    • How Britain’s Brexiters lost control of Brexit
    • Brexit is not a poker game: How political metaphors mislead us

      Metaphors, according to Orson Scott Card, are a way of holding the most truth in the least space. And their power to explain things fast can be startling. Take the quantum mechanical concept of the Higgs field, which gives mass to particles. Physicist David Miller likened it to a busy cocktail party full of guests. Small particles were ordinary people, who could move through the party with relative ease. Large particles, though, were more like important guests. They would attract attention as they passed and would find their movement impeded. Congratulations: you now have a grasp of one of the most complex concepts in particle physics.

      Wait a moment, though. You were able to appreciate a bunch of inferences in that metaphor because you learned about atoms in high school science. Without that knowledge, the metaphor isn’t so helpful. In fact, it could become actively dangerous. Take the evolutionary concept of ‘survival of the fittest’. It sounds simple enough, until you realise that in evolution ‘fit’ doesn’t mean physical health. It means fitness to survive in a given environment. That’s taught nowadays, but misunderstandings of Darwin’s metaphor resulted in the eugenics movement.

      This is the lupine charm of the analogy. It helps you feel that you’re smart, that you’ve understood something difficult. And that holds true whether or not you have the supporting knowledge to have properly grasped the concept. If not, it’s bewitched you into thinking you’ve learned something when in fact you’re worse off than before. No-one is immune. In the overwhelming rush of modern media, we all want facts and we want them fast.

    • Almost half of highly skilled EU workers ‘could leave UK within five years’

      One third of non-British workers are considering leaving the UK, with highly skilled workers from the EU most likely to go, according to new research into the impact of Brexit on the jobs market.

      The consultancy firm Deloitte found 47% of highly skilled workers from the EU were considering leaving the UK in the next five years. In a report on Tuesday, it warns of serious implications for employers, raising the pressure on ministers to come up with sensible immigration plans and to find ways to improve the skills of UK workers and make better use of robots in the workplace.

      Overall, 36% of non-British workers in the UK said they were thinking of leaving within the same period, representing 1.2m jobs out of 3.4 million migrant workers in the UK. Just more than quarter (26%) said they were considering leaving within three years.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Halderman testifies in Senate’s Russia probe

      Halderman emphasized that “our highly computerized election infrastructure is vulnerable to sabotage, and to cyberattacks that could change votes.”

    • CNN Journalists Resign: Latest Example of Media Recklessness on the Russia Threat

      Three prominent CNN journalists resigned Monday night after the network was forced to retract and apologize for a story linking Trump ally Anthony Scaramucci to a Russian investment fund under congressional investigation. That article — like so much Russia reporting from the U.S. media — was based on a single anonymous source, and now, the network cannot vouch for the accuracy of its central claims.

    • Lee Camp: How to Write Propaganda for the NY Times – As Demonstrated in an Article About Me

      This past Thursday the New York Times vomited up a hit piece on little ol’ me – a guy who has been doing stand-up comedy for nearly 20 years and thought maybe that comedy could be used to inform and inspire audiences, rather than just make fun of the differences between men and women.

      At first when you’re the center of a smear job, you’re annoyed and frustrated. But as I read further through the piece, I realized it was a master class in how to write propaganda for one of the most “respected” news outlets in our country. I’m actually grateful it was written about me because now I can see with my own eyes exactly how the glorious chicanery is done. I count no less than 15 lies, manipulations, and false implications in this short article, a score that even our fearless prevaricator-in-chief Donald Trump would envy.

      So here now is a “How To” for writing propaganda for the New York Times – using the smear piece against me as an example.

    • Trump Interrupts Call to Irish Leader to Harass Irish Reporter

      DEMONSTRATING ONCE AGAIN that official business will not deter him from his mission to make America creepy again, Donald Trump interrupted a phone call to Ireland’s new leader on Tuesday to ask a “beautiful” Irish reporter where she was from, summon her over to his desk, and praise her “nice smile.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Finland to adopt age limit for social media users from 2018

      “In terms of the data protection regulation the age limit is in principle 16 years, but at the national level, it may be defined between 13 and 16 years,” said Anu Talus, the Justice Ministry’s legislative counsellor.

    • Thailand’s thin-skinned king demands Youtube take down Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator”
    • Mitch McConnell’s Health-Care Setback Is a Big F*cking Deal

      This is no time for progressives to get complacent.

    • How The ACLU’s Fight To Protect ‘Indecent’ Speech Saved The Internet From Being Treated Like Broadcast TV

      The ACLU is celebrating twenty years of making the internet better. On June 26th, 1997, the ACLU prevailed in Reno v. ACLU, with the Supreme Court striking down the anti-indecency portions of the 1996 Communications Decency Act (CDA).

      As can be gathered by the law’s name, it was written from a position of morality and panic — the fear that the internet’s connectivity would drown the nation’s youth in easily-accessible porn. And yet, the law survives today as one of the most important factors in the internet’s speedy growth, thanks to Section 230, which prevents service providers and social media platforms from being held civilly responsible for users’ posts and actions.

      But it might not have been that way. In 1996, the ACLU didn’t even have a website of its own and most legislators had nothing more than bill sponsors’ parades of horribles to go on. So, for the children, the CDA criminalized “obscene or indecent” material if it could be viewed by minors.

    • Canada’s top court rules Google must block some results worldwide

      In its 7-2 decision, Canada’s Supreme Court found that a court in the country can grant an injunction preventing conduct anywhere in the world when it is necessary to ensure the injunction’s effectiveness.

    • Google’s Supreme Court of Canada loss raises censorship concerns

      In Google v Equustek, the Supreme Court of Canada has upheld a worldwide interlocutory injunction against Google forcing the search engine to globally de-index Datalink’s websites being used to unlawfully sell the intellectual property of Equustek. The decision was welcomed by the music industry but disappointed associations advocating for free expression

    • Google must alter worldwide search results, per orders from Canada’s top court

      A small Canadian firm has acquired an injunction against Google from the Supreme Court of Canada that is being called the first global de-indexing order.

      Equustek, a Vancouver-based maker of networking devices, sued a former distributor called Datalink Technologies. Equustek accused Datalink of illegally re-labeling products and stealing Equustek intellectual property to make its own products.

    • Canadian Supreme Court Says It’s Fine To Censor The Global Internet; Authoritarians & Hollywood Cheer…

      For the past few years, we’ve been covering the worrisome Google v. Equustek Solutions case in Canada. The case started out as a trademark case, in which Equustek claimed that another company was infringing on its trademarks online. That’s fine. The problem was that the lower court issued an injunction against Google (a non-party in the case) that said it had to block entire sites worldwide. Blocking sites already raises some concerns, but the worldwide part is the real problem. In 2015, an appeals court upheld that decision, and earlier today the Canadian Supreme Court agreed with both lower courts in a 7-2 decision.

    • Facebook’s secret rules mean that it’s ok to be anti-Islam, but not anti-gay

      In the wake of a terrorist attack in London earlier this month, a US congressman wrote a Facebook post in which he called for the slaughter of “radicalized” Muslims. “Hunt them, identify them, and kill them,” declared US Rep. Clay Higgins, a Louisiana Republican. “Kill them all. For the sake of all that is good and righteous. Kill them all.”

      Higgins’ plea for violent revenge went untouched by Facebook workers who scour the social network deleting offensive speech.

      But a May posting on Facebook by Boston poet and Black Lives Matter activist Didi Delgado drew a different response.

      “All white people are racist. Start from this reference point, or you’ve already failed,” Delgado wrote. The post was removed, and her Facebook account was disabled for seven days.

    • Zillow Still Doesn’t Get It: Second Letter About McMansion Hell Is Still Just Wrong

      Given that, as we discussed in our original post, there is no legitimate legal claim here, the only thing that the threat letter seems to have done is piss off a ton of people about Zillow. That’s bad.

      And it doesn’t seem to be getting better. Rather than doing what I thought the company would do on Tuesday (i.e., admit that it fucked up, slap the lawyer on the wrist, apologize profusely and promise to put in place better processes to avoid this sort of thing from happening again), the company is trying to justify its decision. The Verge has the followup letter that was sent by Zillow’s VP of Communications & Public Affairs, trying to better “explain” the reasoning for the original letter. It doesn’t help. It actually makes things worse.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Tencent Dominates in China. Next Challenge Is Rest of the World

      WeChat now has 937.8 million active users, more than a third of whom spend in excess of four hours a day on the service. To put that in context, consider that the average person around the world spends a little more than an hour a day on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter combined. Tencent’s services are so pervasive in China that startups there find it difficult to refuse forging alliances with or accepting investment dollars from the company.

    • Privacy in the Information Age Is Not a Lost Cause

      The Pro Publica journalist argues that those fighting to better protect privacy aren’t wasting their time, even as the Information Age accelerates. And she explained her optimism at the Aspen Ideas Festival, co-hosted by The Aspen Institute and The Atlantic, with an analogy. Consider the Industrial Revolution, she urged.

    • What Do You Tell Your Kids About Online Privacy?

      As Julia Angwin has observed, “if I don’t do anything to help my children learn to protect themselves, all their data will be swept up into giant databases, and their identity will be forever shaped by that information.”


      ON WEDNESDAY, ONE day after Facebook announced that 2 billion people use its service every month, ProPublica released a bombshell investigation into the company’s hate-speech censorship guidelines. The report included documents revealing that Facebook’s rules often end up protecting the rights of those in power over those who are powerless. These two revelations are inextricably entwined, each enabling and necessitating the other.

      Facebook is the biggest social network on the planet—more than a quarter of the human race uses its site—precisely because it so actively censors and curates its community and follows local laws that enable it to exist even in oppressive countries. And because it is so huge, people who most need a platform for expression online can’t afford to not be on it—even if that means enduring seemingly arbitrary censorship.

    • How did the world ever work without Facebook?

      When street protests erupt in major cities such as London, the police build fences around the protesters, cutting them off from the rest of the world. They become an island in the middle of the city, like a construction site or broken down bus that everybody else goes around. The police then set about arresting one person at a time, taking their name and photograph and then slowly letting them leave in different directions. This strategy is called kettling.

      Facebook helps kettle activists in their arm chair. The police state can gather far more data about them, while their impact is even more muted than if they ventured out of their home.


      Facebook is redefining what it means to be a friend.

      Is somebody who takes pictures of you and insists on sharing them with hundreds of people, tagging your face for the benefit of biometric profiling systems, really a friend?

      If you want to find out what a real friend is and who your real friends really are, there is no better way to do so then blowing away your Facebook and Twitter account and waiting to see who contacts you personally about meeting up in the real world.

      If you look at a profile on Facebook or Twitter, one of the most prominent features is the number of friends or followers they have. Research suggests that humans can realistically cope with no more than about 150 stable relationships. Facebook, however, has turned Friending people into something like a computer game.

      This research is also given far more attention then it deserves though: the number of really meaningful friendships that one person can maintain is far smaller. Think about how many birthdays and spouse’s names you can remember and those may be the number of real friendships you can manage well. In his book Busy, Tony Crabbe suggests between 10-20 friendships are in this category and you should spend all your time with these people rather than letting your time be spread thinly across superficial Facebook “friends”.

    • Facebook’s two billion users milestone makes it bigger than China

      In a blog post on Tuesday, the firm announced that it has reached the two billion active users milestone, which means more than a quarter of the earth’s population are logging onto the bloody thing every month.

    • To Avoid Being Cut Out Of The Market, US Tech Companies Are Allowing Russian Vetting Of Source Code [Ed: Unless Russia is permitted to compile all that secret code itself, this is pointless. Proprietary software = no trust.]

      Nobody trusts anybody, and it’s probably going to end up affecting end users the most. The Snowden leaks showed the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations routinely intercepted network hardware to insert backdoors. The exploits leaked by the Shadow Brokers indicated the NSA was very active on the software exploit front as well.

      In response to the Snowden leaks, it appears the Russian hardware/software purchasers are stepping up their due diligence efforts. This comes at a time when the Russian government is suspected of hacking away at the American democratic process, as Reuters reports.

    • Australia wants Five Eyes to squeeze tech firms on encryption

      The final piece is a statutory instrument called a Technical Capability Notice (TCN) intended to be served on comms services providers to compel decrypted access, i.e. provided the authorities have a warrant and have passed certain proportionality tests intended to safeguard misuse of the power.

    • AT&T GigaPower plans to charge extra per month again if you want privacy, no ads
    • Australia leading new »Five Eyes« attack on encryption
    • China’s All-Seeing Surveillance State Is Reading Its Citizens’ Faces
    • [Older] Bill regulating online anonymizers unanimously passes first ruling in Russian Duma

      Lawmakers in the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s Federal Assembly, voted 363-0 on Friday in favor of adopting amendments regulating VPN services, censorship circumvention software and other so-called “anonymizers,” regional media reported afterwards.

      The legislation would ban the use of any software that enables access to digital content otherwise barred by Moscow’s censors if adopted, according to Meduza, an English-language news site devoted to Russian affairs.

    • Some Numbers Updated and Milestones Noted: 7.6B Subs, 5.0B Uniques, Mobile minutes 95/day, and Uber goes SMS

      Total mobile industry subs? Ericsson has just counted that at the end of Q1 the world has 7.6 Billion total subs (for 7.5B total humans). I had the number at 7.8B so first off, we are pretty close and secondly, obviously, more mobile subs than humans. Nice to see that number now verified.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Laquan McDonald death: Officers ‘lied about US teenager’s shooting’

      According to the indictment, the three officers allegedly falsified reports and tried to conceal the events surrounding Mr McDonald’s death “to shield their fellow officer from criminal investigation”.

    • Bill Cosby: mistrial by Twitter

      However, it is important to recognise that there are aspects of Cosby’s treatment that form part of a disturbing pattern in allegations of this kind. Cosby has been prosecuted twice. First in a court of law, and second in the court of public opinion. His case has become a barometer for societal attitudes to offences of this kind.

    • [Old] If you celebrated justice for Hillsborough, you have to support the European Convention on Human Rights
    • Court Says Gov’t Has To Give Back $167,000 It Seized During A String Of 4th Amendment Violations

      The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has no good news for the lying law enforcement officers who were hoping to walk off with $167,000 of someone else’s money. Two years ago, the district court ruled in favor of Straughn Gorman, who was subjected to two lengthy traffic stops in less than an hour by officers hoping to help themselves to cash he was carrying in his RV.

      After stopping Gorman for a non-violation (driving too slow in the left lane), State Trooper Greg Monroe spent roughly a half-hour trying to obtain consent to search Gorman’s RV. His reasonable suspicion? Gorman’s use of the word “chick” to describe the girlfriend he was driving to visit and the supposedly “rehearsed” aspects of his employment history. Trooper Monroe performed an extensive background check on Gorman while hoping to prolong the stop until a K-9 unit could be deployed, but even his non-routine call to an El Paso DEA records center failed to drag out the traffic stop long enough for it to arrive.

    • Man drives into Ten Commandments monument in Arkansas Capitol, streams it on Facebook

      An Arkansas man was arrested early Wednesday after police said he rammed his vehicle into a newly installed stone monument of the Ten Commandments at the Arkansas Capitol grounds. The man also streamed the toppling of the one-day-old structure live on Facebook.

      Capitol authorities identified the driver as 32-year-old Michael Tate Reed of Van Buren, Arkansas. He was arrested immediately after the crash.

    • London police arrest four in Windows support scam bust [Ed: "City of London Police, collaborating with Microsoft" - We pay tax. And they work for Microsoft. Now THAT is the scam.]
    • New Zealand gave Peter Thiel citizenship after he spent just 12 days there

      Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of Paypal, was granted New Zealand citizenship despite spending only 12 days in the country, new documents have revealed.

      The government ombudsmen has forced New Zealand authorities to release further details of Thiel’s highly unusual citizenship process because it was deemed in the public interest.

      On Thursday, Nathan Guy – who oversaw Thiel’s citizenship application as minister of internal affairs in 2011 – said Theil had been “a great ambassador for New Zealand, a great salesperson”. “He is a fine individual, good character, he has invested a lot in New Zealand, he’s got great reach into the US and I am very comfortable with the decision that I made.”

    • Walmart sued after teen steals machete and kills her Uber driver

      “We feel strongly that Walmart had an obligation to stop this young person at three in the morning who had been walking around in their store with an 18-inch machete and five-inch hunting knife and didn’t purchase them and… no one did anything to stop her,” Nelson’s family attorney, Robert Bingle, said.

    • Matthew Keys’ guilty verdict and sentence to stand, 9th Circuit rules

      A federal appeals court has upheld the conviction and two-year sentence of the California journalist who was found guilty under a federal anti-hacking law last year.

      On Monday, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it was not persuaded by arguments made by Matthew Keys’ defense attorneys. In a hearing earlier this month, his lawyers said that while their client may have handed over a username and password that resulted in a brief defacement of one Los Angeles Times article, this did not constitute actual “damage” as described in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

      As Ars reported earlier, Keys was accused of giving out a username and password for his former employer KTXL Fox 40′s content management system (CMS) to members of Anonymous and instructing people there to “fuck some shit up.” Ultimately, that December 2010 incident resulted in someone else using those credentials to alter a headline and sub-headline on a Los Angeles Times article. (Both Fox 40 and the Times are owned by the Tribune Media Company.) The changes lasted for 40 minutes before editors reversed them.

    • US seeks more airport security, could expand airplane laptop ban

      In a speech today, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly said that airlines that don’t get on board with new security procedures could see electronic devices banned on their airplanes—or be barred from flying the US altogether.

    • Judges refuse to order fix for court software that put people in jail by mistake

      The public defender, Brendon Woods, has argued since December 2016 that a recent upgrade is inadequate for Alameda County and has resulted in many mistaken jailings. In March 2017, a local judge rejected Woods’ demands to fix the software, which is known as Odyssey Court Manager and made by Tyler Technologies.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • New WIPO Publications To Help Policymakers With Protection Of TK, Folklore

      For years, the intellectual property system, created to protect products of the mind including inventions, held little interest for the continually evolving ancestral culture of indigenous peoples. But the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities are now discussed in many fora, including the World Intellectual Property Organization, where the focus is how to use the IP system to protect indigenous knowledge and genetic resources from misappropriation and exploitation. And the UN organisation just issued two publications on possible ways to use the IP system to do just that.

      On the side of the 34th session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC) held from 12-16 June, WIPO launched two new publications. The first is a Practical Guide [pdf] to Intellectual Property for Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. The second is Key Questions [pdf] on Patent Disclosure Requirements for Genetic Resources and Traditional Knowledge.

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Office Admits That DMCA Is More About Giving Hollywood ‘Control’ Than Stopping Infringement

        We already wrote about the new Copyright Office report on DMCA 1201 — the section of the law that deals with the “anti-circumvention” provisions of the DMCA. That post focused on the realization by the Copyright Office that the current setup of 1201 does significant harm to security research, as researchers are often frightened to actually investigate certain technologies out of a fear that they may accidentally violate copyright law in getting around some sort of “technological protection measure.”

        But there’s much more in the report as well, and I want to focus on one part, in particular, because it demonstrates a disturbing way in which the Copyright Office thinks about copyright law. But to understand why, we need some background. One of our big complaints about Section 1201 is that it says that circumventing a “technological protection measure” (TPM) is a violation of copyright law by itself. That’s always troubled us, because it means you can violate copyright law even if you’re not infringing on anyone’s copyright. And that seems… wrong. And it’s why 1201 has been cited in various lawsuits that clearly have nothing whatsoever to do with copyright: such as cases about printer ink cartridges and garage door openers. And the courts have struggled with this quite a bit. Thankfully, there have been some good rulings, noting that interpreting 1201 this way is bonkers, and a clear abuse of the law for issues that have nothing to do with copyright. But… not all courts.

      • Game Music Composer Goes On DMCA Blitz Against Innocent YouTubers Over Contract Dispute With Game Publisher

        Stories about both the abuse of the DMCA process and the peril YouTubers regularly find themselves subject to by way of intellectual property laws are both legion, but to see the truely egregious nature of the abuse of this sort of thing, it takes a story about them intersecting. We appear to have such a story on our hands in the form of a music composer hired to work on a video game that then began sending DMCA notices to YouTubers over a contractual dispute with the game publisher. This story weaves a strange path, so let’s dig in.

      • Court Orders Man Who Sued News Orgs For Clipping His Facebook Video To Pay Everyone’s Attorney’s Fees

        Earlier this year, we brought to you the story of one man’s quest to sue all of the news organizations for using a clip of his Facebook video in which his partner is giving birth to his child. Kali Kanongataa sued ABC, NBC, Yahoo, CBS, Microsoft, Rodale and COED Media Group for reporting on the video and showing a clip of it, claiming copyright infringement. It was an odd claim for many reasons, not the least of which being that Kanongataa made the stream public and available on his Facebook page, not to mention the obvious Fair Use case to be made by the news groups reporting on the matter. The suits didn’t work, of course, with most or all of them having now been dismissed.

      • Cox: Supreme Court Suggests That Pirates Shouldn’t Lose Internet Access

        Last week the Supreme Court ruled that convicted sex offenders can’t be barred from social media, as that would violate their free speech rights. Internet provider Cox Communications argues that if this is the case, then pirating subscribers should certainly not be disconnected from the Internet solely based on copyright holder complaints.

      • Operation ‘Pirate On Demand’ Blocks Pirate IPTV Portals

        A crackdown on groups that provide unauthorized IPTV services has continued today with the blocking of several portals. Operation ‘Pirate On Demand’ is being carried out by the Guardia di Finanza (GdF), a department under Italy’s Minister of Economy and Finance. Nine locations have been blocked so far and two people have been arrested.

      • FACT Threatens Users of ‘Pirate’ Kodi Add-Ons

        UK anti-piracy group FACT is doing its best to scare anyone who goes near a pirate Kodi add-on. After sellers of pirate boxes and add-on developers, streaming users are now on notice as well. It’s a scary proposition but threatening talk is much easier than action.

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts