Links 8/5/2018: Red Hat’s Event and Microsoft Openwashing

Posted in News Roundup at 2:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Announcing AMQ Streams: Apache Kafka on OpenShift

    We are excited to announce a Developer Preview of Red Hat AMQ Streams, a new addition to Red Hat AMQ, focused on running Apache Kafka on OpenShift.

    Apache Kafka is a leading real-time, distributed messaging platform for building data pipelines and streaming applications.

  • Watch: Mac OS X 10.4 Running in Windows Alternative ReactOS via PearPC Emulator

    The ReactOS project recently showcased on YouTube that’s possible to virtualize the Mac OS X 10.4 operating system on their free and open-source Windows alternative operating system.

    Our “Watch” series of articles continues today with a very interesting one where you can see Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger running inside the ReactOS computer operating system, which we believe has come a long way, and it’s beginning to look like a viable alternative to Microsoft’s Windows 7 or Vista operating systems, perfect for desktop computers and laptops.

    The latest release, ReactOS 0.4.8, showed us last month that it’s now possible to use Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows Vista software on the free and open-source operating system that’s binary compatible with computer programs and device drivers made for Windows.

  • Google open sources Seurat to help simplify mobile VR
  • Asylo Open-Source Framework Tackles TEEs for Cloud

    Asylo, an open-source framework and software development kit (SDK) for creating applications that run in trusted execution environments (TEEs), has launched to tackle the complexity involved in running a confidential computing platform for workloads in the cloud and virtual environments.

  • Google announces Asylo: an open-source framework for confidential computing

    Google has announced Asylo, an open-source framework aimed at securing data in the cloud. In recent years, cloud computing has become a core technology used across various fields and one of the biggest risks it carries, is the security of data.

  • OpenPGP

    My main problem with the specification is, that it is very noisy. The document is 90 pages long and describes every aspect an implementer needs to know about, from how big numbers are stored, over which magic bits and bytes are in use to mark special regions in a packet, to recommendations about used algorithms. Since I’m not going to write a crypto library from scratch, the first step I have to take is to identify which parts are important for me as a user of a – lets call it mid-level-API – and which parts I can ignore. You can see this posting as kind of an hopefully somewhat entertaining piece of jotting paper which I use to note down important parts of the spec while I go through the document.

  • Events

    • Flisol Bogotá 2018

      On April 28, we celebrated in the best way the Latin American Free Software Installation Festival (FLISoL) in Bogotá. FLISoL is the biggest event for the dissemination of Free Software in Latin America in which more than 20 countries together around 240 events recorded for this 2018 In Bogota part will take place in theFundación Tecnológica Autónoma de Bogotá FABA (Carrera 14 N° 80 – 35) from 9 a. m. Saturday April 28 this year with free entry. The Flisol Bogotá 2018, is one of the largest in Latin America with the largest number of attendees.

      The Latin American Festival of Installation of Free Software is designed for students, academics, businessmen, workers, civil servants, enthusiasts and the general public to raise awareness of our philosophy, scope, progress and development around Free Software, and share these citizens using ICT freedoms and opportunities that this provides. In Colombia it is the 14th time it is held in Bogota since 2005.

    • openSUSE Conference 2018 to Take Place in Prague, Czech Republic, from May 25-27

      The openSUSE Project plans to host this year’s openSUSE Conference event for users, collaborators, and developers at the end of the month in the beautiful city of Prague, Czech Republic.

      The OpenSuSE Conference 2018 event will open its doors on Friday, May 25, and will close them on Sunday, May 27, 2018. It will be held at the Faculty of Information Technologies of Czech Technical University in Prague, Czech Republic, for three days of workshops, talks, and a lot of fun.

      “The openSUSE Conference is the annual openSUSE community event that brings people from around the world together to meet and collaborate. The organized talks, workshops, and BoF sessions provide a framework around more casual meet ups and hack sessions. A party here and there provides the time to relax and have fun, making connections on a more personal level,” said the openSUSE Project.

    • How integrated, open infrastructure meets tomorrow’s computing demands

      Open infrastructure proponents from around the world will be gathering May 21-24 at the OpenStack Open Infrastructure Summit in Vancouver to share case studies and best practices and work together to solve integration challenges. The agenda includes notable speakers from ARM, AT&T, China Mobile, China Unicom, Google, Heptio, Hyper HQ, Oath Inc., Progressive Insurance, Target, Verizon, Walmart, and many others.

      The summit is focused on helping users compose, integrate, and operate open infrastructure technologies to solve real problems at scale. In addition to sessions on OpenStack, there will be featured sessions on the newest project at the Foundation, Kata Containers, and a strong focus on other open source technologies relevant to infrastructure operators, including Kubernetes, Docker, Ansible, Ceph, Istio, Envoy, Spinnaker, Tungsten Fabric (formerly OpenContrail), ONAP, OPNFV and many more.

      The full event agenda is organized by use cases, including AI and machine learning; edge computing; NFV; CI/CD; container infrastructure; and public, private and multi-cloud strategies.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Things Gateway – the Virtual Weather Station Code

        The Virtual Weather Station was written using Things Framework, a new communication protocol to connect devices with controllers based on Web technology. The Things Framework consists of a set libraries and modules written in various languages. Each library implements a server that offers the Web Thing API on behalf of the device running the server. The protocol is HTTP, so the server offers a Web interface by embedding a Web Server. That interface contains all the mechanisms to query or control the device and is, therefore, the embodiment of the Web Thing API.

      • Blocking FTP subresource loads within non-FTP documents in Firefox 61

        Firefox 61 will block subresource loads that rely on the insecure FTP protocol unless the document itself is an FTP document. For example, Firefox will block FTP subresource loads within HTTP(S) pages.

        The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) enables file exchange between computers on a network. While this standard protocol is supported by all major browsers and allows convenient file sharing within a network, it’s one of the oldest protocols in use today and has a number of security issues.

  • Healthcare

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD


    • New GCC 8.1 Supports Some Features of C++2a

      GCC 8.1 is the latest major release of the GNU Compiler Collection, bringing experimental support for some parts of the upcoming C++2a standard. Additionally, GCC 8.1 improves profile driven optimizations and brings Go support up to version 1.10.1.

      While work on the upcoming C++ draft is still in its infancy, GCC C++ frontend provides two new flags, -std=c++2a and -std=gnu++2a, to enable some new C++ features that have already been pre-approved. Those include designated initializers, default member initializer for bit-fields, __VA_OPT__ for preprocessor comma elision, lambda [=, this] captures and simplified implicit lambda captures, and others. For a full list of C++2a features in GCC 8, check the C++ status page.

      In addition to this, the C++ fronted emits now improved diagnostics that include improved location and location ranges, and a number of new fix-it hints. For example, the compiler is now able to provide a hint when you use macro before defining it, when you attempt to access a private field of a class or struct, when an old-style cast can be replaced by a static_cast, const_cast, or reinterpret_cast, etc.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Free textbooks? Federal government is on track with a pilot program.

        Lawmakers listed several conditions for the creation of the program. They include using the full $5 million, giving special consideration to projects with the greatest potential to save students money and creating materials and licensing them to the public.

        Frank T. Brogan, acting assistant secretary of postsecondary education, wrote Durbin last week to say the Education Department will adhere to the conditions outlined in the senator’s letter and that the agency supports development and sharing of open-source materials.

        “Without a well-designed dissemination, faculty training and product assessment plan, these resources could end up sitting on the shelf, so to speak, and not providing the full benefit to students,” Brogan wrote.

  • Programming/Development

    • Migrating Wayland & Weston to GitLab

      As some of you have seen, freedesktop.org is migrating its Git hosting
      to GitLab[0]. Whilst the documentation is still a little scratchy -
      partly deliberate whilst we’ve been bootstrapping our infrastructure
      and monitoring how some smaller pilot projects have gone using it -
      here is what it definitely means for Wayland (wearing my fd.o admin
      hat), and some of my suggestions of what we should do as a project
      (wearing my ‘one of many Wayland contributors’ hat).

    • FreeDesktop.org Migrating To GitLab

      FreeDesktop.org that is home to the X.Org Server and Mesa development along with Wayland/Weston and other projects like LibreOffice and GStreamer is working on migrating their services to GitLab.

      Following in the steps of GNOME and other projects moving their Git hosting and bug reporting, among other services, over into an integrated solution with GitLab. The GitLab instance is also run using the Google Compute Engine as a replacement to the FreeDesktop.org’s aging server infrastructure.


  • Science

    • Two spaces after period are better than one, except maybe they aren’t, study finds

      After ensuring that the readers had indeed comprehended what they read, the researchers evaluated the reading speed for each of the paragraph types presented in words per minute. The “one-spacers” were, as a group, slower readers across the board (by about 10 words per minute), and they showed statistically insignificant variation across all four spacing practices. And “two-spacers” saw a three-percent increase in reading speed for paragraphs in their own favored spacing scheme.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • US State-By-State Analysis Shows Benefits Of Funding Global Health Research

      In the current atmosphere in the United States of funding cuts for global health threats like malaria and HIV/AIDS by the Trump Administration, a new state-by-state analysis claims to show its profound implications for research and jobs across the country.


      The analysis highlighted that one of the dangers of these cuts in health research funds is the spread of dangerous diseases to the United States, considering that the world has become highly interconnected.

    • Truvada Case Shows Civil Society’s Success With Pre-Grant Opposition

      The example of Gilead antiretroviral Truvada in Argentina and Brazil shows how civil society efforts to use patent opposition to patents it felt were unjustified were rewarded by patent withdrawal and rejection, even if the situation in Brazil might not be entirely settled.


      Truvada is an antiretroviral product from Gilead composed of a combination of emtricitabine and tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF). Gilead has met resistance from civil society groups in some countries when trying to patent the combination drug, and in particular in Argentina and Brazil, where civil society has filed patent oppositions. In Argentina, Gilead withdrew its patent application, while in Brazil, according to sources, the global pharmaceutical company might push its case to courts.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Google Fixes Pixel XL Charging Bug, 56 Bugs with May 2018 Android Security Patch
    • Death by PowerPoint

      Some pretty wild stuff to send a message directly to Trump, and it seems to have worked (at least until actually informed people got involved.) The influence op was delivered over a channel likely to reach the target audience, using a format designed to appeal to their information consumption, and included a call to action. All necessary criteria for a successful PSYOPS operation. Basically, using TV to deliver a PowerPoint using lots of pictures, small words, and references to the Ego in Chief was textbook propaganda methodology — hats off to Netanyahu on that one. Of course, there is nothing new in the information here, it was just an influence op using misinformation to present factual evidence in the worst possible light. More on that in this thread: [...]

    • New SynAck ransomware uses Process Doppelgänging technique

      A new variant of the SynAck ransomware that infects Windows systems has been spotted by researchers from Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab who say it appears to be targeted malware as attacks have only been observed in the US, Kuwait, Germany and Iran.

      SynAck has been around since September 2017 but the new variant has some added functions which make it able to operate below the radar.

      It uses the Process Doppelgänging technique, basically a way in which malicious code is disguised as a legitimate Windows process. The technique was demonstrated at the Black Hat Europe security conference in December 2017 by the firm enSilo.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • What Do US Pundits Know About North Korea That 88% of South Koreans Don’t?

      According to a recent poll, 88 percent of the South Korean public viewed the recent peace summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in as a success. In addition, 65 percent of South Koreans trust Kim Jong-un on his pledge to denuclearize, and Moon Jae-in’s approval ratings have shot up to 86 percent. Broadly speaking, recent developments between North and South Korea have been met with widespread optimism and praise from the South Korean public.

    • Giuliani Takes Cash to Speak to Terrorist Cult; Media Find This Unnoteworthy

      As FAIR (1/11/18) has noted before, US media—in an effort to find images of Iranian “dissidents”—routinely normalize the fringe group Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), despite the fact that it has virtually no support or legitimacy in Iran. This was seen again this past week when a number of major outlets reported on a speech Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani gave at an MEK conference; the outlets failed to note that the group is widely loathed inside Iran, and seen as an illegitimate cult by experts across ideological lines.

      The MEK has next to no support in Iran itself, where it’s hated for working with Israeli intelligence and fighting alongside Saddam Hussein in Iraq’s war against Iran in the 1980s that killed roughly 500,000 Iranians. The group—which was formerly disowned by the last major protest movement inside Iran, the Green Movement—has carried out several terrorist bombings in Iran, and was officially listed by the US State Department as a foreign terrorist organization for 16 years, until it was removed by then–Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012, after a lobbying effort by pro–regime change groups inside the United States.

    • VIPS Call on Trump Not to Pull Out of Iran Nuclear Deal

      The Bush administration account of how the documents on Iran got into the hands of the CIA is not true. We can prove that the actual documents originally came not from Iran but from Israel. And the documents were never authenticated by the CIA or the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

      Two former Directors-General of the IAEA, Hans Blix and Mohamed ElBaradei, have publicly expressed suspicion that the documents were fabricated. And forensic examination of the documents yielded multiple signs that they are fraudulent.

      We urge you to insist on an independent inquiry into the actual origins of these documents. We believe that the renewed attention being given to claims that Iran is secretly working to develop nuclear weapons betokens a transparent attempt to stoke hostility toward Iran, with an eye toward helping “justify” pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

    • Two Leading Bidders for Lucrative Los Alamos Lab Contract Have Checkered Safety Records

      In the coming weeks, the U.S. Department of Energy will select a new team to run Los Alamos National Laboratory, the birthplace of the atomic bomb and one of the government’s most important nuclear weapons facilities.

      The prize: A contract lasting up to 10 years and worth more than $22 billion dollars, with the prospect of hundreds of millions more in bonuses.

      The leading contenders: Defense contractor Bechtel and the University of California, which have run the lab as partners since 2006. Their joint management company, called Los Alamos National Security, lost its contract for serious accidents, as well as worker health and safety violations, and amassed $110 million in fines and lost performance bonuses for those lapses.

    • Talk to Us About Los Alamos National Laboratory — and Other National Labs Around the Country

      ProPublica and The Santa Fe New Mexican are investigating health and safety conditions at Los Alamos National Laboratory, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, and other Department of Energy nuclear facilities around the country.

    • Trump Slated to Announce Decision About Iran Nuclear Deal Today

      President Trump is slated to announce at 2 p.m. today whether he will withdraw the United States from the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear agreement. President Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the deal, despite pressure from European leaders, Iran, the international community and even his own defense secretary, James Mattis.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Wikileaks Reveals FBI Lost Chain Of Custody Of Hillary Clinton Email Server For Five Weeks

      Hillary’s email server is back in the news after a stunning tweet from Julian Assange’s Wikileaks. According to the documents mentioned in the Wikileaks tweet, the FBI lost the chain of custody for Hillary Clinton’s email server from August 2015 to October 2015, and the agency later created an entirely new chain of custody for the server.

      Apparently, the information about the FBI’s problem with Hillary’s emails server was buried in the details of a 229 file the FBI released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. The documents can be viewed on or downloaded from the FBI’s website as part of “Hillary R. Clinton Part 21 of 21.”

    • Defector: WikiLeaks ‘Will Lie to Your Face’ [Ed: Kevin Poulsen, who burned Manning along with an informant, Adrian Lamo (a Wikileaks source burned), makes it very obvious he’s in a war against whistleblowers and publishers too.]
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Brexit ‘impossible challenge’ for environment and trade departments

      The departments run by Michael Gove and Liam Fox are facing an “impossible challenge” as they prepare for Brexit, parliament’s spending watchdog has warned.

      The environment and trade departments do not have a clear plan of Brexit priorities and must explain what they will not be delivering, according to the public accounts committee.

      Its report released on Friday says the food and chemical industries face “substantial risks” of disruption if preparations are not completed in time.

    • U.S. Cities Lose Tree Cover Just When They Need It Most

      Scientific evidence that trees and green spaces are crucial to the well-being of people in urban areas has multiplied in recent decades. Conveniently, these findings have emerged just as Americans, already among the most urbanized people in the world, are increasingly choosing to live in cities. The problem—partly as a result of that choice—is that urban tree cover is now steadily declining across the U.S.

      A study in the May issue of Urban Forestry & Urban Greening reports metropolitan areas are experiencing a net loss of about 36 million trees nationwide every year. That amounts to about 175,000 acres of tree cover, most of it in central city and suburban areas but also on the exurban fringes. This reduction, says lead author David Nowak of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), translates into an annual loss of about $96 million in benefits—based, he says, on “only a few of the benefits that we know about.” The economic calculation involves several such benefits that are relatively easy to express in dollar terms—the capacity of trees to remove air pollution, sequester carbon, conserve energy by shading buildings and reduce power plant emissions.

    • USAians Lose Sight Of What Matters

      We don’t have to accept concrete and asphalt in the place of forest and meadow.

  • Finance

    • China’s Got Jack Ma’s Finance Giant in Its Crosshairs
    • Snapchat’s Stock Is Plunging Fast After it Said User Growth Is Slowing

      In November, parent company Snap Inc. embarked on a dramatic reorganization of its mobile photo-sharing app to combat sluggish growth. But once the update reached all of Snapchat’s users in the first quarter, user additions and sales slowed even further amid a public revolt over the new design. Revenue gains in the current quarter will be even smaller, the company said Tuesday, sending shares plunging as much as 20 percent in New York Wednesday, the biggest intraday drop in almost a year.

    • Microsoft will let you pay bills from inside Outlook [iophk: "Microsoft is extending an existing monopoly on office software to break into payments"]

      The Microsoft Pay system would let users make payments through emails without having to switch into other apps. Microsoft said initial payment partners include Stripe and Braintree, while billing service Zuora and invoicing services including FreshBooks, Intuit, Invoice2Go, Sage, Wave, and Xero would also be among the companies working with the new Outlook capability. Microsoft Pay will be rolled out to some Outlook.com users over the next few weeks, while more users will receive the capability over the next few months.

    • Brokers Push for Crypto-Transparency Before Rules Get Mandated

      Some of Europe’s largest digital-coin brokers, who would be saddled with the new rules, are actually asking for them in a bid to clear the air and shake off perceptions they help criminals transfer money. Firms such as eToro Europe Ltd. in London and Bitpanda GmbH in Vienna say clear, “know your customer” rules would let trading platforms go mainstream more easily, gain clients and eventually tap institutional business.

    • Can Yanis Varoufakis Save Europe?

      At a moment when many on the right and left have abandoned the European project, Greece’s former finance minister has other plans for the continent.

    • Trump Vowed to Punish Companies That Moved Jobs Overseas. Is Congress Rewarding Them?

      Two weeks before the presidential election, Donald Trump flew into a faded textile town in North Carolina and riled up the crowd over one of his campaign’s signature promises: bringing back the jobs that businesses had shipped overseas.

      “They wouldn’t be doing it if I was president,” Trump said to cheers. “Believe me, when they say, ‘We want to send our product’ — whatever the hell they make — ‘We want to send our product back into the United States,’ I’d say, ‘We’d love to have your product — 35 percent tax. Let’s see if you move.’”

      He ticked off a list of companies that had closed factories in the state, calling attention to Leviton Manufacturing, a maker of light switches and electrical outlets found in homes and offices around the world, including Trump’s real-estate properties.

      “I buy a lot of Leviton switches,” Trump said. “I’m not buying ’em anymore.”

    • The Right to Stand in First Class

      For every one mile one passenger travels, the British taxpayer pays an average 8 pence subsidy to the train operating company. That is an average of 8p per mile subsidy for every single journey for every single passenger. That is, of course, in addition to your train fare.

      The train fare system in the UK is ridiculously complicated, so much so that it makes comparison to other countries difficult in searching for like for like fares. The simple methodology adopted by this site linked to finds the UK has the second most expensive train fares in Europe. This further site linked to finds Britain has the most expensive commuter fares of eight expensive comparators. This Sky News investigation found some stunning examples of comparable British tickets being around three to four times more expensive than comparable fares in France and Germany.

      Since privatisation, taxpayers have paid much more money in real terms to the rail network that they gave to British Rail, as shown by official government statistics.

    • The Federal Court of Canada and the End of Investor-state Dispute Settlement in NAFTA?

      A decision by Justice Anne Mactavish in the Federal Court of Canada yesterday should spell the end of the NAFTA renegotiation on the investment Chapter of NAFTA, and ignite a renegotiation of the investment chapters of the Canada-EU trade agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPATPP).

      This unusual connection arises because Justice Mactavish was ruling on a claim for judicial review of an arbitration award against Canada under the controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in NAFTA’s Chapter 11 on investment. The legal question before Justice Mactavish was relatively narrow: under what circumstances could the Court overturn an arbitral award under NAFTA?


      Judge Mactavish put her concerns as follows: “I accept that the majority’s Award raises significant policy concerns. These include its effect on the ability of NAFTA Parties to regulate environmental matters within their jurisdiction, the ability of NAFTA tribunals to properly assess whether foreign investors have been treated fairly under domestic environmental assessment processes, and the potential “chill” in the environmental assessment process that could result from the majority’s decision.” This is an extraordinary assessment for a federal court judge to make. And then say she can do nothing about it because the ability of courts to review arbitration awards is remarkably constrained under federal arbitration law. This opens the door for a final award of damages against Canada, claimed at over 400 million dollars by the company for a quarry that was never built.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Before the Blankenship-McConnell Feud, the Senator Aided the Mining Executive

      As the race for the West Virginia Republican Senate nomination hurtles toward Tuesday’s primary, candidate Don Blankenship, the former coal executive sentenced to a year in federal prison in connection with a 2010 mine explosion that killed 29 men, has unleashed blistering invective against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

      He has taken to calling McConnell “Cocaine Mitch,” an allusion to drugs once found on a ship owned by the shipping company owned by Chao’s father, whom Blankenship calls a “wealthy China-person.” His ad hominem barrage, provoked by McConnell’s well-funded effort to deny Blankenship the nomination, culminated in an eye-popping TV ad in which Blankenship charged that McConnell has “created millions of jobs for China-people” and that McConnell’s “China family has given him tens of millions of dollars.” The ad pledged to “ditch Cocaine Mitch for the sake of the kids.”


      A team of investigators from MSHA was on its way to alleging eight separate violations against Massey that could have resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of fines and laid the legal basis for criminal charges of willful negligence.

    • How Facebook fired workers who blocked ‘fake news’ — ‘After the Fact’ book excerpt

      This excerpt is adapted from USA Today reporter Nathan Bomey’s new book, After the Fact: The Erosion of Truth and the Inevitable Rise of Donald Trump, a nonpartisan analysis exploring society’s increasingly tenuous commitment to the facts. Printed with permission from Prometheus Books.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Protest against RTVE censorship spills over into prime time

      The fight of RTVE workers against news manipulation and censorship has gained visibility as most of the network’s hosts brought the protest to prime-time broadcastings.

    • Shawnee Mission School District Investigates Alleged Censorship Of Student Walkouts

      After complaints arose that administrators allegedly censored students during recent nationwide walkouts, the Shawnee Mission School District announced it will take measures to train district officials on First Amendment rights.

      Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union threatened to sue the district if it didn’t address allegations that administrators restricted students’ participation in the April 20 walkouts protesting gun violence.

      At a district board meeting Monday night, Interim Superintendent Kenny Southwick said he’s been conducting an investigation into the reported incidents since they began to surface.

    • Another Convicted Fraudster Attempts To Manage His Reputation With Bogus DMCA Takedown Notices

      First off, “well-respected” may be a term of art I’m not familiar with, but being a participant in the rampant misuse of public funds would seem to undercut that claim, even when extended to “other parts of the world.”

      Second, the use of “your image” isn’t infringement, even if these sites were using your image. But almost none of the 200+ URLs listed in Mayfield’s bogus DMCA notices make use of any images of him. Certainly the FBI’s doesn’t. All it contains is Mayfield’s guilty plea and more details about the bribery, extortion, and misuse of public funds by a number of Detroit public officials.

      Whatever “attention” is being “tractioned” by stories about criminal activity by city employees doesn’t rely on “images” Mayfield might possibly own. Chauncey Mayfield is a key player in the scenarios depicted by the articles he wants delisted. As the CEO of MayfieldGentry, he was apparently instrumental in securing the city’s pension fund management contract through highly-questionable (and highly-illegal) means before sinking a few million into a failed shopping mall investment that led to the investigation of the city’s fund management.

    • Thousands march in ‘free speech’ protest led by rightwing figures

      Rally follows ban of former EDL leader Tommy Robinson from Twitter over ‘hateful conduct’

    • Google Just Made Things a Lot Easier for Censors

      Last month, Russia’s government blocked nearly 19 million Internet Protocol addresses in a bid to stop people from accessing the messaging app Telegram after it refused to comply with government demands to share content from encrypted chats. Authorities blocked so many IP addresses because Telegram uses a technique called domain fronting to circumvent simple filtering of Telegram’s web addresses.

    • Vice India CEO on targeting India’s youth, censorship allegations and localising languages

      Vice Media recently launched in India with the aim of reaching the Indian youth population.

      It’s one of the most comprehensive launches for Vice outside the US and Europe, showing a significant commitment to India and the wider APAC market.

      However, before it even began its operations, there were allegations of Vice India shooting down a story on an activist from Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – parent organisation of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, who is gay.

    • NCAC Urges University of Southern Maine to Restore Paintings Removed from Exhibit

      The University of Southern Maine (USM) has removed three works following a complaint citing the painter’s previous conviction for sexual offenses. The empty spaces left by the removed works, part of an exhibit at USM’s Lewiston-Auburn campus, have been left empty by the curator. The decision to remove the pieces was made by university officials, who have not commented further. Previously identified in media reports, Bruce Habowski is a well-regarded oil painter whose works have appeared in the Portland Museum of Art and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, among others. He was convicted of unlawful sexual contact in 1999 and served a jail sentence.

    • Denver Post editorial page editor Chuck Plunkett resigns after calling on owners to sell

      Chuck Plunkett, the editorial page editor of The Denver Post, submitted his resignation on Thursday, nearly one month after he sparked an uproar with an editorial that called on the newspaper’s owners to sell The Post.

      Editor Lee Ann Colacioppo announced Plunkett’s resignation to her staff in an email that did not provide details on his departure. His resignation came one week after Dave Krieger, the editorial page editor of another Digital First Media newspaper, the Boulder Daily Camera, was fired after self-publishing an editorial critical of DFM’s management practices.

    • Censorship, workload drive 2 more senior editors from Denver’s imploding newspaper
    • Denver Post Newsroom Statement on Resignation of Editorial Page Editor Chuck Plunkett
    • Newsonomics: Alden Global Capital is making so much money wrecking local journalism it might not want to stop anytime soon
    • Four Cambodian journalists resign over censorship
    • Cambodia’s journalists resign over censorship clash
    • Phnom Penh Post sees mass staff walkout as new owner demands self-censorship
    • Mass staff walkout at Phnom Penh Post owner’s self-censorship order
    • Watchdog wants more transparency around censorship by tech giants
    • Romanian Public TV Manager Escapes Censorship Grilling

      MPs from Romania’s ruling Social Democratic Party prevented opposition politicians from asking questions at a hearing with the public broadcaster’s director-general, who has been accused of censorship and insulting reporters.


      Gradea has been at the centre of a row between the Romanian Television TVR management and the public broadcaster’s employees after she was caught on tape insulting several reporters who asked uncomfortable questions during ruling party officials’ press conferences.

      Journalist Dragos Patraru, the anchor of satirical news show ‘Starea Natiei’ (‘State of the Nation’), released the recording last week, after he accused the TVR management of pressuring him to “soften” his jokes, announcing he would end his show next season.

      The recording sparked outrage among journalists, who circulated a letter slamming Gradea for her statements and defending a reporter she called “a pig-head who should be taken off screen”.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • The government is acting negligently on privacy and porn AV

      We asked the BBFC to tell government that the legislation is not fit for purpose, and that they should halt the scheme until privacy regulation is in place. We pointed out that card payments and email services are both subject to stronger privacy protections that Age Verification.

      The government’s case for non-action is that the Information Commissioner and data protection fines for data breaches are enough to deal with the risk. This is wrong: firstly because fines cannot address the harm created by the leaking of people’s sexual habits. Secondly, it is wrong because data breaches are only one aspect of the risks involved.

      We outlined over twenty risks from Age Verification technologies. We pointed out that Age Verification contains a set of overlapping problems. You can read our list below. We may have missed some: if so, do let us know.

    • Privacy Group Files Legal Complaint Over UK Law Enforcement’s Warrantless Phone Searches

      Privacy International, which has successfully challenged UK surveillance programs, is bringing its heat to the local level. In a report PI released towards the end of March, the group noted several law enforcement agencies were seizing and searching phones — often deploying forensic software — without warrants. This went further than devices owned by criminal suspects. Searches were also performed on phones of crime victims and witnesses.

      At no point does it appear warrants were sought. Documents obtained by PI showed UK police forces are operating under a melange of self-written policies or citing random portions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) to support their warrantless searches. It also appears there is no national oversight of this process, which has allowed this current policy patchwork to develop.

    • Oakland passes “strongest” surveillance oversight law in US

      Late Tuesday evening, the Oakland City Council formally approved a new city ordinance that imposes community control over the use of surveillance technology in the city.

      Oakland is now one of a number of California cities, including Berkeley and Davis, that mandates a formal annual report that details “how the surveillance technology was used,” among other requirements.

      In the wake of Oakland’s 2013 efforts to approve federal grant money to construct a “Domain Awareness Center,” the city has now also created a “Privacy Advisory Commission,” or PAC. This body, composed of volunteer commissioners from each city council district, acts as a privacy check on the city when any municipal entity (typically the police department) wants to acquire a technology that may impinge on individual privacy.

    • Oakland Residents Now Protected By The ‘Strongest’ Surveillance Oversight Law ‘In The Country’

      The city itself caught some heat for a 2013 plan to turn the city into London, UK (West Coast, USA Edition). The proposed “Domain Awareness Center” would have provided law enforcement with access to a network of more than 1,000 cameras. To make matter worse, the proposed system would have been cobbled together by SAIC, a government contractor with a sordid history of fraud, bribery, and shoddy workmanship. SAIC was behind a $600 million custom computer system ordered by the FBI. When it finally arrived, late and overbudget, it was so worthless the agency immediately scrapped the system and hired a different contractor.

      The backlash from this attempt to place most of the city under round-the-clock surveillance has prompted a change of heart in city leadership. The new ordinance [PDF] opens with several declarations, including this one, which indicates city governance recognizes the inherent downside of pervasive surveillance.

    • Why Am I Getting All These Terms of Service Update Emails?

      Anyone looking at their inbox in the last few months might think that the Internet companies have collectively returned from a term-of-service writers’ retreat. Company after company seem to have simultaneously decided that your privacy is tremendously important to them, and collectively beg you take a look at their updated terms of service and privacy policies.

      You might assume that this privacy rush is connected to the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal, and Mark Zuckerberg’s recent face-off with Congress. It’s certainly true that Facebook itself has been taking some voluntary steps to revamp its systems in direct response to pressure from politicians in the U.S. and abroad. But most of the companies that are sending you email right now are doing so because of their own, independent privacy spring-cleaning. And that’s almost entirely due to Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on May 25th. Most companies that have users in Europe are scrambling to update their privacy policies and terms of service to avoid breaking this new EU law.

      The GDPR strongly encourages clarity in “information addressed to the public” about privacy – making now an excellent time for companies to provide clearer and more detailed descriptions of what data they collect, and what use they put it to.

      Then again, those updates might be a little overdue. Companies were always supposed to do this under European law — and, for that matter, Californian law too, which since 2003 has required any service that collects your private information to spell out in detail out their data use. But the additional penalties of the GDPR (with fines of up to 20 million euro, or 4% of global revenue) and increasing confidence of European data protection regulators have poked many international companies to finally pay closer attention to their legal obligations.

      The EU regulators are certainly paying attention to these email updates. A strongly-worded blog post this week by EU’s head enforcer, European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) Giovanni Buttarelli, warned the public and his fellow regulators to be “vigilant about attempts to game the system”, adding that some of these new terms of service emails could be “travest[ies] of the spirit of the new regulation”.

    • 4 Things to Be Worried About in the NSA’s New Transparency Report

      The NSA continues to fail to report certain information about its activities as required by law.

    • Cyber Command, NSA open new $500 million operations center

      The National Security Agency and Cyber Command marked the official opening of a new $500 million building May 4, one that is designed to integrate cyber operations across the U.S. government and foreign partners.

      The new Integrated Cyber Center and Joint Operations Center, or ICC/JOC, is Cyber Command’s “first dedicated building, providing the advanced command and control capabilities and global integration capabilities that we require to perform our missions,” former commander Adm. Michael Rogers said in recent congressional testimony.

    • United States Cyber Command: The new functional combatant command SOFREP Original Content [Ed: Cracking operations of the US. No moral high ground, just euphemisms like "Cyber Command".]

      The Department of Defense recently added the United States Cyber Command to its list of combatant commands. This is a direct response to the growing number of threats found in the cyber realm, from both state actors as well as independent ones. The program was initially meant to be defensive in nature, but it will also prove to be an offensive tool as well.

      The commander of U.S. Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) was former director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Navy Adm. Michael S. Rogers. He announced his retirement from the Navy and was replaced by Army Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, who is also the current director of the NSA, as well as the Chief of the Central Security Service.

    • Pentagon’s cyber command given upgraded status

      The Pentagon’s cyber warfare unit received an elevated status and a new commander over the weekend, signalling the growing importance of digital combat as the US grapples with sophisticated hacking by Russia, China and other actors.

      Army Gen. Paul Nakasone took over leadership of US Cyber Command at a ceremony at this base 30 miles north of Washington that featured both traditional military pomp and signs of the new age of warfare.

      Cyber Command was elevated on Friday to an independent “unified command,” a bureaucratic change that for the first time puts it on a par with nine other US warfighting commands.

    • Gen. Paul Nakasone Assumes Leadership of Cybercom, NSA

      U.S. Army Gen. Paul Nakasone has succeeded U.S. Navy Adm. Mike Rogers as commander of the U.S. Cyber Command and director of the National Security Agency.

    • Nakasone takes helm at NSA and newly elevated Cyber Command

      Gen. Paul Nakasone assumed the directorship of the National Security Agency and Cyber Command, now officially a unified combatant command, from Adm. Michael Rogers in a ceremony May 4.

      In doing so, Nakasone became “the primary guardian of our nation’s cyber domain, said Patrick Shanahan, deputy secretary of defense.

    • NSA Lablet at Vanderbilt to make sure America keeps moving after hacks

      The National Security Agency is giving a Vanderbilt University team and their collaborators five years and several million dollars to figure out how to make that happen. They’re getting what’s called a Science of Security Lablet—mini-labs aimed at increasing knowledge and collaboration in the field.

    • Balancing Army Readiness with NSA Mission: A Case Study of the 717th Military Intelligence Battalion

      The priority of every Army unit is readiness to make sure our Soldiers have the skills needed to deploy, operate, and win across the entire conflict spectrum. With that understanding, individual Army units pursue readiness in a tailored fashion based on its stated mission, available personnel, assessed level of training, and assigned equipment to achieve readiness standards set by the Army. The Army’s Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) provides ready Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) forces to support the National Security Agency’s (NSA) global mission. As such, the 717th Military Intelligence battalion, located in San Antonio, is the INSCOM contributor to NSA in Texas (NSAT). To achieve readiness, we balance Army training and NSA requirements through a continuous process of situational understanding, training prioritization, training methodology, and leader engagement to provide the most effective Service and NSA-related training possible. This article describes how the 717th MI battalion achieves training readiness while executing its ongoing global mission.

    • Google News to be revamped, incorporate YouTube videos and magazines

      A report from AdAge claims that Google News will soon be going through some more changes. According to the report, Google News is getting a “new design” and will “incorporate elements of the [Google Play] Newsstand app and YouTube.” The new Google News will reportedly be powered by Google’s stripped-down, quick-loading AMP technology and is expected to launch at Google I/O 2018.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Math Can’t Solve Everything: Questions We Need To Be Asking Before Deciding an Algorithm is the Answer

      Across the globe, algorithms are quietly but increasingly being relied upon to make important decisions that impact our lives. This includes determining the number of hours of in-home medical care patients will receive, whether a child is so at risk that child protective services should investigate, if a teacher adds value to a classroom or should be fired, and whether or not someone should continue receiving welfare benefits.

      The use of algorithmic decision-making is typically well-intentioned, but it can result in serious unintended consequences. In the hype of trying to figure out if and how they can use an algorithm, organizations often skip over one of the most important questions: will the introduction of the algorithm reduce or reinforce inequity in the system?

    • Honoring Police Includes Acknowledging Systemic Reform Is Needed

      A memorial week for police should be about making the job safer for officers and community members alike.

      During the third week of May, tens of thousands of cops from across the nation will gather in Washington, D.C., for “Police Week” and its national memorial services, a solemn tradition that dates back to the Kennedy administration. As a former law enforcement officer, I know the importance of this week.

      I also know that this is an ideal time to commit to improving the institution from within as well as from without. There is no better time to recognize and appreciate our courageous officers — and make their work safer, more satisfying, and, ultimately, more legitimate in the eyes of the people.

      Twenty-three years ago, as Seattle’s police chief, I traveled to our nation’s capital to join the family of a gifted, compassionate police officer, Antonio Terry. On June 4, 1994, Detective Terry was shot dead by a motorist he had stopped to assist. Police Week is meant to honor the men and women, like Terry, who are gutsy enough to do this critical, often dangerous work.

      But a proper tribute starts by accepting what is for some a painful truth: Much of the criticism of American policing — rudeness, bigotry, and discrimination; unlawful stop and frisk; false arrests; sexual predation; corruption; excessive force — is valid. And another truth: Airing these criticisms is but a first step. Communities must have a meaningful role in improving the system — which includes reform-minded people joining the ranks.

    • Plight of the Rohingya: Ethnic Cleansing, Mass Rape and Monsoons on the Way

      The English-language Bangkok Post reported on May 5 that the Rohingya will be safe in Myanmar, according to the military there, as long as they stay confined to the camps being set up for them. Myanmar’s current commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, told a visiting delegation from the UN Security Council “there is no need to be worried about their security if they stay in the areas designated for them.”

      But then General Min referred to the Rohingya as “Bengalis”, perpetuating the belief–and antagonism against them inside Myanmar–that the Rohingya are foreigners to the country, who are lying and exaggerating their suffering to get sympathy from the rest of the world. “Bengalis will never say that they arrive there happily. They will get sympathy and rights only if they say that they face a lot of hardships and persecution,” he said.

      For its part, the UN says the refugee camps in Myanmar, referred to by the general, are not fit or safe for the arrival of hundred of thousands of Rohingya, who have already suffered from the worst kinds of brutality imaginable, including the burning down of entire villages, mass rape and murder.

    • Al Jazeera’s Mahmoud Hussein spends 500th day in Egyptian jail

      Friday marks 500 days since Al Jazeera journalist Mahmoud Hussein was arrested by Egyptian authorities after returning to his home country for a holiday.

      Hussein, an Egyptian national who was based in Qatar, was stopped, questioned and detained by authorities on December 20, 2016, after travelling to Cairo on annual leave.

      Five days after his initial arrest, Egypt’s interior ministry accused him of “disseminating false news and receiving monetary funds from foreign authorities in order to defame the state’s reputation”.

      Since then, he has been put in solitary confinement and denied his legal rights. He has yet to be formally charged.

    • Defense Dept. Thinks It’s Not Withholding Enough Info From FOIA Requesters, Asks Congress For Another Exemption

      The Defense Department, like much of the federal government, finds its FOIA obligations too burdensome to perform correctly or speedily. Thanks to its ability to cite national security exemptions more frequently than the FBI and NYPD, it has all the excuses it needs to withhold documents in full or replace long chunks of text with redaction bars.

      Somehow, the multitude of FOIA exemptions it has access to still isn’t enough. Figuring three denials is nothing more than legislators playing hard to get, the DoD is again petitioning Congress to grant it another way to withhold information from requesters.

    • Scenes From a Black Site

      The interrogators were not satisfied, noting that Nashiri had declined to discuss what he did in April 2002 after the tanker plot was called off. The interrogators locked him in a confinement box and urged him to think about what he wanted to say.

    • A Prisoner in Gina Haspel’s Black Site

      He was a small man, one interrogator recalled, and so thin that he would slip in his restraints when the masked CIA guards tipped the waterboard upward to let him breathe.

      Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a 37-year-old Saudi, did not deny having been a terrorist operative for Osama bin Laden. He admitted his role in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, an attack that killed 17 Navy sailors. Captured two years later in Dubai, he talked openly about planning more attacks.

      But any bravado had disappeared well before Nashiri’s CIA captors strapped him naked to a hospital gurney in a windowless white cell and began pouring water into his nose and mouth until he felt he was drowning. He pleaded with them to stop. They continued.

    • Will a Torturer Become CIA Director?

      The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled on Wednesday to decide whether to recommend that Gina Haspel be confirmed as director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The mind boggles.

      It is no secret that Haspel oversaw detainee torture, including waterboarding, at a CIA “black site” base in Thailand. The nonprofit National Security Archive, housed at The George Washington University, reports that Haspel later drafted a cable ordering the destruction of dozens of videotapes of torture sessions, including some from before her arrival. Haspel also helped feed repeated lies about the supposed effectiveness of torture to CIA superiors, Congress, and two presidents.

      So how does President Donald Trump think he can get this nomination approved? It is a sad story. Polling shows that most Americans, including Catholics, have been persuaded by Hollywood films and TV series, other media, and Trump himself that torture works. “Absolutely, I feel it works,” Trump told ABC News in January 2017.

    • Despite Court Order, Trump Continues to Pressure Immigrants Into Carrying Unwanted Pregnancies

      In March, a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to stop blocking immigrant minors in government custody from obtaining abortions, and, subsequently, to post a notice in all government-funded shelters housing them to inform them that they have the right to decide whether to have an abortion. But since then, the government has sought to undermine the court’s ruling in its relentless drive to control the reproductive choices of young immigrant women.

      The Trump administration has appealed the order, arguing that it has the right to hold young women hostage to prevent them from accessing abortion. And in tandem with the appeal, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the agency responsible for unaccompanied minors, directed all government-funded shelters and legal services providers to make available what is effectively a counter-notice, instructing pregnant minors to seek counseling from one of three crisis pregnancy centers. CPCs are anti-abortion organizations, often disguised as medical centers, aimed at discouraging women from having abortions. Among the three CPCs listed on the notice is “Sisters of Life,” an explicitly religious organization that has vowed to “protect and enhance the sacredness of human life” and has characterized abortion as a “tragedy” and an “unforgivable sin.”

    • Uber Finds Deadly Accident Likely Caused By Software Set to Ignore Objects On Road

      Uber has determined that the likely cause of a fatal collision involving one of its prototype self-driving cars in Arizona in March was a problem with the software that decides how the car should react to objects it detects, according to two people briefed about the matter.

    • Uber’s Self-driving Car Killed The Woman Because Its Sensors Chose To “Ignore” Her

      It looks like Uber has found a probable cause of the fatal car accident that took place some weeks ago. According to a report from The Information, the problem was with the software of its self-driving technology that decided how a car should react after detecting an object on the road.

      As a result of how the software has been configured to react to the objects detected on the way, the car “decided” that it didn’t need to take an action right away.

    • Roadside Saliva Testing Is Probably Unconstitutional

      Vermont state senators defeated a saliva testing bill, but other states are experimenting with the unproven technology.

      In the wake of marijuana legalization, many states are looking for new ways to keep impaired drivers off the road. Unfortunately, some proposals would lead to problematic and possibly unconstitutional police practices. One such idea is warrantless roadside saliva testing.

      During a roadside saliva test, a police officer takes a saliva sample from a driver’s mouth and inserts the sample into a machine that at least theoretically can detect whether any amount of certain controlled substances — legal or illegal — is in the driver’s system. Yuck factor aside, there are several problems with this.

      First, at best, these tests merely detect the presence of drugs in a person’s system. Unlike breathalyzers, they say nothing about actual impairment at the time of testing. As such, the use of saliva tests could result in the detention of someone who has any detectable amount of substance in their body — again, legal or illegal — even though this adds nothing to the determination of whether that person is an impaired driver.

    • “Down with the tsar”: Russian authorities ban Navalny supporter protest ahead of Putin’s inauguration

      In Tomsk region, two participants in the Left Bloc are under investigation. One of the two was put in a car on top of a hot heater by police officers, as a result of which the activist received burns to his hand. “I was lying between the back and front seats, they put their feet on top of me. They switched on the heater on purpose so that I had difficulty breathing, and if I hadn’t put my hand on the heater, my side would have been severely burnt,” Maxim Shulgin said. Shulgin had been detained for posting a song on VKontakte which, according to the investigation, incites hatred towards police officers. A second activist has also been charged with inciting hatred via online publications, but we have not yet succeeded in getting in touch with him since he lives in the closed city of Seversk.

      In Kemerovo, the authorities are seeking to prosecute the coordinator of Navalny’s election campaign. Кseniya Pakhomova says they want to charge her with interfering with the work of the electoral commission or the exercise by citizens of their election rights. Details of the charges are not yet known.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Telstra could face big fine over triple-zero outage

      Telstra could face fines and also have to enter into a court-enforceable undertaking to satisfy the terms of its obligation to provide a triple-zero service after an outage last Friday affected the emergency call service.

      The Australian Communications and Media Authority said in a statement it had begun an investigation into the incident which followed a lightning strike on a Telstra cable between Bowral and Orange in NSW.

    • Dems push to restore net neutrality rules

      Restoring the net neutrality rules has the support of all 49 minority party members, as well as Republican Sen. Susan Collins (Maine). Assuming that all senators will be on hand for the vote — an open question, since Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) health has forced him to return home to Arizona — the bill needs just one more Republican to succeed.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Heritage Global Patents & Trademarks to Conduct a Sealed-Bid Auction of the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (Drone) Patent Portfolio of Proxy Technologies, Inc.
    • 17 Patents That Will Change Your Screen’s Design and Display

      In today’s technological world, there’s rarely a day that passes where we’re not looking at some form of screen. Whether you’re reading the latest news on your phone, watching TV, or working at a computer, screens are a common feature of modern life.

      Given how important screens are to our day-to-day lives, it only makes sense that tech companies are constantly working towards improving and expanding the abilities of smart device screens. Here are just some interesting developments from patents that could change our screens in a multitude of ways.

    • Broadcom hits Toyota with US patent suit, signalling auto licensing ambitions

      Two months after its bid to buy Qualcomm ran aground, Broadcom has launched its first patent suit targetting the auto industry. Yesterday, the chipmaker filed both an infringement suit in the Eastern District of Texas and an ITC complaint against Toyota and four of the company’s Japanese suppliers. The actions, which name several popular Toyota models, suggest that Broadcom is exploring new domains in an IP monetisation campaign that has ramped up since a 2016 merger with Avago. The products accused of infringement are infotainment cells located on a vehicle’s so-called head unit, and the vehicles that are shipped with them.

    • What You Can Learn From The Licensing Execs At The LESI Annual Conference 2018 [Ed: Works for patent trolls]

      Dr. Kristin Neuman of MPEGLA highlighted the role played by patent pools in potentially creating a one-stop shop for commercial users to license platform technologies and patents from various entities without having to navigate a complex patent and licensing landscape. Having run patent pools for video coding standards, MPEGLA is now poised to start a patent pool in a totally different field: the groundbreaking CRISPR genome editing technologies. Luke McLeroy of AVANCI’s also campaigned for the role patent pools can play and AVANCI’s aspiration’s in the field of IoT patent licensing.

    • Trademarks

      • Romance Novelist Secures Trademark For Word ‘Cocky,’ Begins Beating Other Novelists Over The Head With It

        Over the weekend, the unlikeliest of hashtags began to draw attention on Twitter: #cockygate. There are a million places one’s mind could go without further information, but most would only be partially correct. It appears a romance novel writer, Faleena Hopkins, decided her recently-registered trademark should be wielded as a weapon against any other author using the word “cocky” in the the title of their books.

        Writer Jamila Jasper apparently was apparently one of the first to receive a cease-and-desist from Hopkins. Here’s the legal threat in all of its misinformed glory.

    • Copyrights

      • When Should Actors Get Coprights in their Performances?

        In Garcia v. Google, the en banc Ninth Circuit ruled that actors can basically never obtain a copyright in their performances. I was one of, say, ten people troubled by this decision. My IP academic colleagues will surely recall (too) long debates on the listserv on this issue. It turns out that another of the ten is Justin Hughes (Loyola LA), who has now written an article exploring when and why actors might reasonably claim copyright in a performance. The article, called Actors as Authors in American Copyright Law, is on SSRN and is forthcoming in the Connecticut Law Review.


        This article explores much of the thinking I had at the time of Garcia v. Google, so those who favored that ruling will likely think it is as crazy as they thought I was. However, I think the article is still worth a read, if only to pinpoint where you think it goes astray, if it does.

      • Former Judge Accuses Russia’s IP Court Of Using Unlicensed Software

        There are some ongoing jokes of a kind that cynics like myself believe have more than a grain of truth to them. They go something like “The moment you have a person or group sanctimoniously come out violently against [X], you can pretty much set your watch to the eventuality that that same person or group will be found to have committed [X] themselves.” This works in a myriad of arenas, from “family first” politicians getting caught up in affairs, to “children first” people and groups found to have abused children, up to and including matters of intellectual property. The examples of those in favor of draconian IP enforcement being found to have violated IP themselves are so legion that this entire sentence could have been constructed of nothing but hyperlinks to those past stories.

        And now, it seems, we may be able to add Russia’s Intellectual Property Rights Court to the list. A former judge on that court has filed a lawsuit against the court itself accusing it of wanton use of unlicensed Microsoft software.

      • Judges Refuse to Unmask Alleged Pirates, Citing Privacy Concerns

        One of the most active piracy litigants in the US is facing setback in the Minnesota District Court. Several subpoena requests from Strike 3 Holdings were denied, with magistrate judges ruling that the privacy of alleged BitTorrent pirates trumps the rights of the adult filmmakers.

      • Infamous ‘Kodi Box’ Case Sees Man Pay Back Just £1 to the State

        The man at the center of the UK’s most famous pirate ‘Kodi Box’ case has appeared in court again as part of a Proceeds of Crime action. Brian ‘Tomo’ Thompson, who was previously handed a suspended jail sentence following a landmark case, walked away after being told to pay the state just £1.

Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit Continues to Deny Patents Based on Stricter Standards

Posted in America, Courtroom, Patents at 9:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Justice based on self-reflection should come first (and no presumption of validity for patents, honesty from lawyers)

Man in window

Summary: As patent lawyers resort to further aggression and dirty tricks they risk alienating jurists, who are growingly hostile towards the patent maximalists and are nowadays embracing a more balanced approach towards patents

IT HAS been pretty pleasing to see what happened to the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) after Paul Redmond Michel and Mr. "Death Squads" Rader left it. No longer a patent extremists’ court or a patent trolls’ ally, CAFC nowadays instructs the USPTO regarding examination guidelines (which its rulings inspire).

CAFC’s actions upset nobody except a small group of patent extremists, who occasionally bash CAFC judges and demand their firing/resignation. It’s rather appalling to see. They do the same to USPTO officials who back reforms.

One such site, Watchtroll, wrote about an “Israeli pharmaceutical firm” the day before yesterday. It’s going back to court after Justices changed the national position/s on patents. The news is dated two days ago, but it speaks of something which happened more than 2 weeks ago. To quote:

On Thursday, April 20th, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in Medinol Ltd. v. Cordis Corporation et. al. which vacated and remanded a lower court’s ruling that claims of patent infringement alleged by Israeli pharmaceutical firm Medinol were barred by the equitable defense of laches. The Federal Circuit’s decision comes after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Federal Circuit’s previous precedence on laches as an equitable defense in SCA Hygiene Products v. First Quality Baby Products, decided last year. The case was decided by a panel consisting of Circuit Judges Timothy Dyk, Jimmie Reyna and Kara Stoll.

Watchtroll is now back again to 01 Communique Lab, Inc. v Citrix Sys, which it revisited yesterday. This site is typically revisiting only CAFC cases of convenience (to the patent microcosm).

Covering a breach-of-contract case, Patently-O looks at the latest attempt to bring an AIA (patents) case to SCOTUS. “In its new petition for certiorari,” Patently-O wrote, “Alexsam argues that its breach-of-contract case should have never been removed to Federal Court.”

Patently-O has also just published this long post by Dennis Crouch about Energy Heating v Heat On-The-Fly, a case wherein the “Federal Circuit affirmed the lower court’s holding that Heat On-The-Fly’s U.S. Patent No. 8,171,993 is unenforceable due to inequitable conduct.”

Heres’s why:

Inequitable Conduct: In the failure-to-disclose context inequitable conduct requires clear and convincing evidence that “the applicant knew of … the prior commercial sale, knew that it was material, and made a deliberate decision to withhold it.” See Therasense. These issues are determined by the district court judge and given deference on appeal. Thus, an inequitable conduct finding should only be overturned when based upon a misapplication of law or based upon a clearly erroneous finding of fact.

Here, the patentee argued that the prior uses were “experimental” or at least he thought that they were. That argument was rejected since the prior uses included all elements of claim 1; that there were no notebooks or other experiment-like-paraphernalia; and that the uses were done openly without any attempt to hide the system or require confidentiality. (Linking these factors to Allen Engineering Corp. v. Bartell Industries, Inc., 299 F.3d 1336 (Fed. Cir. 2002)). Those elements were more than enough to overcome the experimental-use-defense.

Watchtroll too has just mentioned courts rendering patents unenforceable due to foul play. Notice the theme? We covered some more examples recently. These are typically CAFC cases and the judges aren’t tolerating patent aggression.

A couple of days ago we wrote about laughable ads from Cislo & Thomas LLP and here they go again with the headline “Federal Circuit Makes It More Difficult To Invalidate Patents Under Alice” (we already debunked these arguments about a dozen times over the past month). To quote Cislo & Thomas LLP:

As many patent attorneys and agents know, the landscape of business methods and software patent eligibility has changed since the 2014 ruling of Alice v. CLS Bank. Alice has made it significantly more difficult to patent software and business methods, but now the Federal Circuit made a ruling that will slow down the process of invalidating patents under Section 101.

The Federal Circuit found that a finding of patent eligibility under Section 101 and the Alice ruling involve “factual issues.” This means that lower district courts will have a more difficult time resolving Section 101 cases at the summary judgment stage because these factual issues are something that require a jury to decide.

Although they aren’t naming the case, they’re ‘pulling a Berkheimer’ — a relatively new trick of patent maximalists looking desperately for light at the end of the CAFC tunnel (sometimes even mocking judges over it, e.g. Judge Reyna).

At no point did CAFC say something against Section 101/Alice; a couple of successive rulings led to this USPTO consultation which was soon forgotten about because of Oil States (only days later).

The matter of fact is, CAFC remains Section 101/Alice-friendly and thus software patents-hostile. As Joseph Herndon reminds us this week, business methods aren’t considered patentable either. The “Federal Circuit affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (“Board”) determination that the claims are patent-ineligible under § 101,” he wrote. Here is the core part:

In an appeal from a rejection in initial examination of appellant Mark Eberra’s patent application, the Federal Circuit affirmed the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (“Board”) determination that the claims are patent-ineligible under § 101.

The patent application is entitled “Business Method for Opening and Operating a National Television Network” with serial number 12/230,058 (“the ’058 application”). The Examiner rejected all claims of the ’058 application as patent-ineligible under 35 U.S.C. § 101 and as anticipated under 35 U.S.C. § 102.

The Board initially affirmed the Examiner’s anticipation rejection without reaching the § 101 issue. Then, on rehearing, the Board affirmed the Examiner’s rejection under both § 101 and § 102. Mr. Eberra appealed and represented himself pro se.

So patents on business methods are so very weak that they’re probably not worth pursuing and the same goes for software patents. Except perhaps in the patent trolls’ breeding ground, the Eastern District of Texas (TXED/EDTX). Here’s an update from an TXED patent lawsuit, Salazar v HTC Corporation:

The court granted in part defendant’s motion to strike portions of the report of plaintiff’s technical expert for applying improper legal principles.

Such “improper legal principles” seem to match the theme we’ve been seeing at CAFC lately. Not only do patent lawyers attempt to come up with “scams” (and then SLAPP me for pointing it out) but they cheat in all sorts of other ways. How many judges will it take to signal to them that they’ll be dismissed with prejudice for that? How many rulings will we see along these lines?

Forward Pharma an Example of the Devastating Effect of Granting Patents in Error — A Problem Appeal Boards Must Correct

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 8:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When examiners make errors someone will need to correct these, but at what (and whose) cost?

Forward PharmaSummary: When companies live or die based on their patents the quality of patent examination is ever more crucial; the US seems to be finally getting it, whereas the EPO (Europe) reaches for the bottom of the barrel

EARLIER THIS year Forward Pharma’s shares crashed due to low patent quality at the EPO (as Battistelli had sabotaged examination), which means that patents get granted in error and then the Opposition Division corrects it. Sometimes.

Forward Pharma’s value was nearly halved overnight; now they appeal to the Boards, the Technical Board of Appeal in this case, having just issued this press release:

Forward Pharma A/S (Nasdaq:FWP) (“We” or “Forward” or the “Company”), today announced the filing of a notice of appeal of the decision of the Opposition Division of the European Patent Office (the “EPO”) that revoked EP2801355 (the “’355 patent”), written reasons for which were received on March 22, 2018. The notice was filed to the Technical Board of Appeal (the “TBA”) of the EPO.

“With the notice of appeal filed, we officially initiate the process to get the decision of the Opposition Division overturned and have the ‘355 patent reinstated,” said Dr. Claus Bo Svendsen, Chief Executive Officer of Forward.

“Over in the United States things have been improving. AIA and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) marked the end of the ‘David Kappos era’ at the USPTO.”We’re not against patents. We never were. We just think that quality of the patents is crucial and patents must never be granted in error. In doubt? Then do not grant. The burden of proof (for novelty, not prior art) should be on the applicant. As we shall show soon (probably later this week), the Inventor Award isn’t just being offered to literal frauds but to people who were granted a patent they did not even deserve. That’s the EPO anyway. This is the EPO under Battistelli.

Over in the United States things have been improving. AIA and the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) marked the end of the ‘David Kappos era’ at the USPTO. Yesterday a site of patent maximalists noted that “the Board [PTAB] found GHC’s claims corresponding to the count to be unpatentable for failure to satisfy the written description requirement.”

This is about pharmaceuticals (General Hospital Corp. v Sienna Biopharmaceuticals) and Kevin Noonan explained the petition’s basis:

The Board construed the word “about” in GHC’s claims to mean “within 10%” of the value recited, equivalent to between 5.94 x 1011 and 7.26 x 1011 particles per mL of the composition, under which construction Sienna argued the claims failed to satisfy the written description requirement. The specification of GHC’s ’575 application defined nanoparticle concentration with regard to optical density rather than in particles per mL. Under the conversion coefficient proffered by Sienna’s expert and accepted by the Board, there was no disclosure in GHC’s ’575 application of nanoparticle concentrations between 5.94 x 1011 and 7.26 x 1011 particles per mL of the composition. Hence, the Board found GHC’s claims corresponding to the count to be unpatentable for failure to satisfy the written description requirement.

Robert Jain has, in the meantime, given another new example. Disarming another patent troll, Unified Patents wrote about Beacon Navigation. Owing to PTAB, the patent in question may soon be history. Quoting Jain:

On May 4, 2018, Unified filed a petition for inter partes review (IPR) against U.S. Patent 6,178,380 owned and asserted by Beacon Navigation, GmbH, a well-known NPE. The ’380 patent claims a “vehicle location display of a navigation system” that provides a navigation display that includes a first map with a first scale and a second map with a different scale. This patent has been asserted in 33 district court litigations against various automotive companies such as Toyota, Suzuki, Volvo, Nissan, Daimler AG, Hyundai, and Honda.

The response from patent extremists was more or less the usual. Watchtroll has just released another anti-PTAB piece (“PTAB Reform: An Urgent Request on Behalf of Independent Inventors”) and the patent trolls’ lobby, IAM, goes a week back (“webinar last Monday”) to distract from Oil States (quite frankly as usual). To quote the outline outside the paywall:

The Supreme Court’s decision in SAS Institute v Iancu and the subsequent guidance from the USPTO on how it will be applied has sent PTAB practitioners scrambling for their IPR playbooks. Oil States, the case before America’s highest court which challenged the constitutionality of inter partes reviews, left the controversial post-grant procedure intact, but the majority opinion in SAS promises to have a significant impact on how petitioners, patent owners and their advisers plot their post-grant strategies. On a webinar last Monday, Chief Judge of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PRAB) David Ruschke, along with vice-chief judges Tim Fink…

Remember that the above site, IAM, is the main source of Battistelli’s lie that EPO patent quality remains high. The EPO lies about it so routinely that it has become truly comical.

Guest Article: More Battistelli Revelations From the Archives of the Municipal Council of Saint-Germain-en-Laye

Posted in Europe, Finance, Patents at 3:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Honi soit qui mal y pense

Les Echos puff pieces
The controversial puff piece from the EPO’s “media partner” (i.e. paid by EPO budget), which Battistelli routinely uses for his personal self-promotion purposes. Source [PDF]

Summary: The EPO‘s chief, Mr. Battistelli, is caught in scandals not only within the EPO but also in his home town, where he is said to be protected by the local mayor Arnaud Péricard

A recent Techrights posting about the Theátre Alexandre Dumas (TAD) scandal included the following comments from a reader: “There is however a more serious question to be answered: the town council discusses and agrees upon (or rejects) any cultural event involving the TAD but there is ONE event that didn’t even give the perception of a discussion during the sessions of the Council: the now infamously known ‘inventor of the year’ event. Why does the Council have to discuss and agree upon the use of the venue in all other cases but not in the case involving the EPO?”

These comments prompted some inquisitive observers to take a closer look into the archives of the municipal council of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. It seems that there is no publicly accessible documentation relating to the upcoming European Inventor of the Year event which is due to be held at the TAD on 7 June.

“It seems that there is no publicly accessible documentation relating to the upcoming European Inventor of the Year event which is due to be held at the TAD on 7 June.”It is however possible that these matters have been discussed by the municipal council in a closed session.

The council’s official website explains that not all council sessions are public: “Les séances du conseil municipal, qui se tiennent à l’hôtel de ville, sont publiques sauf quand la majorité des élus décide du huis-clos de certaines séances, on parle alors de «conseil municipal privé».”

Translation: “The meetings of the municipal council, which are held at the town hall, are public except when the majority of elected officials decide to hold certain meetings in camera, in which case one speaks of a “private session of the municipal council.””

“Battistelli is a seasoned political operator and he does not need to be told that when you are up to mischief the smaller the paper trail the less likelihood of getting rumbled.”This could provide a possible explanation for the absence of publicly accessible records concerning the Inventor of the Year event.

Battistelli is a seasoned political operator and he does not need to be told that when you are up to mischief the smaller the paper trail the less likelihood of getting rumbled. In fact it’s even better if there isn’t any paper trail at all because then it’s almost impossible to get caught out…

Having seen his modus operandi at the EPO over the last eight years it is not difficult to imagine that he came up with some flimsy pretext like “security concerns” in order to manipulate the municipal council into conducting its deliberations on matters concerning the Inventor of the Year event behind closed doors.

It has also been noticed that the “Journal de Saint Germain” has not given any publicity to the upcoming event.

“Having seen his modus operandi at the EPO over the last eight years it is not difficult to imagine that he came up with some flimsy pretext like “security concerns” in order to manipulate the municipal council into conducting its deliberations on matters concerning the Inventor of the Year event behind closed doors.”For those not familiar with the “Journal de Saint Germain”, this publication is a semi-monthly newsletter issued by the municipal council under the control of the majority “Union pour Saint Germain” group.

Its critics, for example those from the opposition group “Saint Germain autrement”, refer to it as the local equivalent of “Pravda”.

The JSG regularly includes adulatory “puff pieces” about Battstelli and his exploits. For example in October 2014 it published a short article about an interview which Battistelli gave to the EPO’s leading French media partner “Les Echos” and it referred to him in ingratiating terms as the President of the EPO “who is also a municipal councillor”.

“The JSG regularly includes adulatory “puff pieces” about Battstelli and his exploits.”That particular “puff piece” provoked an angry response from the opposition group “Saint Germain autrement” which posted an article on its blog containing a detailed criticism of Battistelli’s attacks on the freedom of association and union rights at the EPO.

For some reason the JSG has so far maintained complete silence about the European Inventor of the Year event. It’s almost as if they are under orders not to draw too much attention to it. Some observers have speculated that this could be part of a deliberate strategy on the part of Battistelli and his accomplices to avoid unwelcome public scrutiny in the build-up to the event.

Whatever the reason behind the silence of the JSG, the absence of publicly accessible documentation in the council archives in this particular case is quite striking because the archives otherwise contain many documents relating to deliberations about cultural affairs and, in particular, the use of the TAD.

“Whatever the reason behind the silence of the JSG, the absence of publicly accessible documentation in the council archives in this particular case is quite striking because the archives otherwise contain many documents relating to deliberations about cultural affairs and, in particular, the use of the TAD.”People who have delved into the archives have noticed that Battistelli’s name regularly crops up on such documents.

For example in 2017 he was involved in the negotiation of a co-production contract for a musical show “Irish Celtic Generations” which was staged at the TAD in December 2017. [PDF]

Battistelli’s name appears as the rapporteur on the relevant council dossier D-17-F-11 (PDF) and he is named as the authorised representative of the municipal council on the co-production contract signed with the production company, SARL INDIGO Productions.

“The role of the local mayor Arnaud Péricard may also deserve scrutiny to clarify whether or not he is in cahoots with Battistelli in this affair.”Even if there is no publicly accessible documentation relating to the use of the TAD for hosting the Inventor of the Year event it is almost impossible to imagine that Battistelli has not been directly involved in the deliberations and preparations concerning this event.

The role of the local mayor Arnaud Péricard may also deserve scrutiny to clarify whether or not he is in cahoots with Battistelli in this affair.

It would be very surprising if the mayor was not fully briefed about the planning and preparation for such a major event which is likely to bring a significant influx of revenue to the town.

“As a lawyer registered with the French and US bar associations he can also be expected to appreciate the need for discretion especially where large sums of money are at stake.”Péricard is another seasoned local political operator whose father headed the municipal council as mayor for 22 years from 1977 to 1999. He is also reputed to be a close political associate of Battistelli. As a lawyer registered with the French and US bar associations he can also be expected to appreciate the need for discretion especially where large sums of money are at stake.

Perhaps this goes some way towards explaining the lack of publicity for the event in the “Journal de Saint-Germain” and the remarkable absence of any publicly accessible documentation in the municipal council archives?

But as they say in French: Honi soit qui mal y pense…
(Shame on him who thinks evil of it…)

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