Koch Explains the Dirty Games the European Patent Office Plays at ILO

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law, Patents at 10:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Gaming the legal process means one is interested neither in the process nor in the law (or in justice); this is becoming the hallmark of today’s EPO, even in Geneva

THE Campinos-run European Patent Office (EPO) had asked appellents to drop their ILO appeals. This was rightly seen as a rather insulting, tactless suggestion. As staff representatives put it, these appeals are not a ‘hobby’, they’re about justice. EPO management isn’t interested in justice but in cover-up; how is such an authority expected to look after patent law? It’s absurd!

One former staff representative (unjustly dismissed by Team Battistelli/Bergot) explained: “Though my life is tough, I don’t lose morale easily, and I have a passion for both justice and rule of law — which, to me, are closely linked.

“EPO management isn’t interested in justice but in cover-up; how is such an authority expected to look after patent law?”“Thanks a lot (already), also for your commitment to stop software patents unlawful under the EPC , and to inform about the developments in the EPO — all the best to you.”

Half A day ago we wrote about Koch v EPO [1, 2, 3], an appeal which — as we put it then — “serves to show ILO dysfunction as well as EPO misconduct.”

“This case helps highlight a lot of problems not only at the EPO but ILO (more specifically its Tribunal) as well.”The appellant, Koch, decided to get in touch and clarify a bit. She’s courageous enough to speak to us just to ensure we get the story of this case right. She said “it would be a major catastrophe for staff of all IOs [international organisations] if IOs could prevent their employees’ access to the Tribunal by introducing “errors” in their internal appeals process, and if the Tribunal agreed with this, as Judgment 4131, under 5., seems to imply. Imagine a defendant “re-running” an appeal in the complainant’s name, but without his/her participation — utterly absurd, isn’t it? That’s what the EPO does, at least in 3 of my cases.”

We’re going to follow up some time soon with further details. This case helps highlight a lot of problems not only at the EPO but ILO (more specifically its Tribunal) as well. They’re supposed to be mutually-independent entities, but evidence suggests otherwise. It’s like the so-called ‘independent’ (but in exile) Boards of Appeal at the EPO.

Links 9/9/2019: Linux 5.3 RC8, DXVK 1.3.4, Debian 9.11

Posted in News Roundup at 9:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Kernel Space

      • Linux 5.3-rc8
        So we probably didn't strictly need an rc8 this release, but with LPC
        and the KS conference travel this upcoming week it just makes
        everything easier.
        And partly because of the extra week, we then had a few fixes that
        maybe otherwise would have been delayed and marked for stable. The
        most notable one (but hopefully not very noticeable) is fixing race
        conditions in configfs. That won't affect very many people, with
        configfs not all that widely used, but Christoph and Al both felt it
        needed to be fixed.
        Other than that, it really is a very small rc (and hopefully the final
        week will be smaller still). In fact, the configfs fix along with a
        vhost revert is about half of the patch. The rest is various small
        things: a few sound fixes, some drm fixes, and a few other random
        fixes. Even in the drm case, the selftest addition is bigger than the
        core code patches.
        The appended shortlog is short enough that it's easy enough to scroll
        through if you are interested in the details.
      • Linux 5.3-rc8 Released To Let The Kernel Bake An Extra Week
      • Linux 5.3 Is Near With Radeon RX 5700 Support, Speed Select & MBP Keyboard/Trackpad

        The Linux 5.3 kernel is fit enough to be released today after another quiet week following 5.3-RC7. But due to the Linux Kernel Summit happening this week and Linus Torvalds traveling for that, he’s expected to delay the stable kernel release until next weekend so as to not open the Linux 5.4 merge window until he returns from the event.

      • Graphics Stack

        • This Handy Nvidia Optimus Linux Tool Makes Switching Between GPUs Easy

          This panel-based applet even supports the Nvidia PRIME offloading feature included in the latest NVIDIA 435.x Linux beta driver and the Nvidia 435.21 Linux stable drivers — both of which are now available in daily builds of Ubuntu 19.10.

          Nvidia PRIME offloading (for those who’ve not heard of it) is a useful feature that allows Linux users on multi-GPU set-ups (i.e. laptops with Nvidia Optimus) to offload specific intensive tasks to the discrete NVIDIA GPU, while using the lower-power integrated Intel GPU used to handle everything else.

        • Intel’s Open-Source VP9 Video Encoder Just Scored A Massive ~3x Performance Boost

          Intel’s open-source team continues showing the power of optimizations… Or rather in this case, a three fold performance improvement due to previously limiting an AVX-512 routine that also works on AVX-2 CPUs. SVT-VP9 is now a lot faster on AVX2 CPUs from both Intel and AMD.

          We were alerted today to this change to Intel’s SVT-VP9 video encoder. Oddly enough the title is “Fix the perf gap for Epyc CPU” And, yes, the fix was contributed by an Intel developer.

    • Benchmarks

      • PHP 7.4-RC1 Released With The Performance Looking Real Good – PHP 7.4 Benchmarks

        PHP 7.4-RC1 was released this week as this next annual update to the PHP programming implementation nears. Here is a look at how the PHP 7.4-RC1 performance looks like compared to the major releases going back to PHP 5.6.

        PHP 7.4-RC1 fixes a variety of bugs ranging from parsing errors to a segmentation fault to other core bugs. There are no new features with PHP 7.4 having been under its feature freeze since July. At least five more release candidates to PHP 7.4 are expected before its general availability release around the end of November.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • DXVK 1.3.4 is out with a few quick fixes, plus more updates to Proton GE

        Two bits of Wine related news for you to peruse over this fine Sunday evening, as both DXVK and Proton GE have new releases available.

        First up: the DXVK 1.3.4 maintenance release was just put out to solve a couple urgent issues. One of these is a problem with Winelib builds and the Wine 4.15 release and there’s a possible memory leak fixed with games using Direct2D.

        On top of that the game Control has “d3d11.allowMapFlagNoWait” enabled to improve GPU utilization and Quantum Break has a performance issue fixed for NVIDIA and older AMD drivers.

        The other project with a new release is Proton-4.15-GE-4, the unofficial version of Proton for Steam Play that pulls in a bunch of extras. Released today adding in some needed hotfixes for mf_install, an issue with the protonfixes import, the Warframe launcher should be fully working now with a wininet patch from upstream backported, the raw input patch was re-enabled and some updates for gamepad/mouse input.

      • DXVK 1.3.4 Released With More Workarounds, Performance Bits

        DXVK 1.3.4 has a Winelib workaround for builds with Wine 4.15, potential memory leak fixes for games just making use of Direct2D, a new d3d11.allowMapFlagNoWait toggle to help improve GPU utilization, and performance fixes for the game Quantum Break with NVIDIA and older AMD drivers. DXVK 1.3.4 is a small update but not bad for just a week’s worth of changes and after several notable recently DXVK updates.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Sketchnotes at Akademy 2019

          The conference part of this year’s Akademy is now over. Like last year, I did live sketchnoting of all the sessions I attended.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Julita Inca: A reason to go to GUADEC

          You may not know much about the GNOME project or the GNOME community. From my experience in the GNOME community for more than eight years, I can list some reasons to get to know more about it…

    • Distributions

      • Sparky Linux: Riot

        There is a new tool available for Sparkers: Riot

      • Reviews

        • Review: Adélie Linux 1.0 Beta

          Adélie Linux is a young project which was recently added to the DistroWatch waiting list. The project strives for a minimal, clean and portable design that uses free software exclusively. The project’s website describes Adélie as follows:
          Adélie Linux is a free, libre operating environment based on the Linux kernel. We aim for POSIX compliance, compatibility with a wide variety of computers, and ease of use without sacrificing features, setting us apart from other Linux distributions.
          Adélie uses the musl c library instead of the more commonly used GNU C Library. It also uses the classic SysV init software with the OpenRC service manager instead of the widely adopted systemd init suite. Adélie makes use of the APK package manager, which is very light and fast. APK is also used by Alpine Linux, though the two projects do not appear to share any specific code or utilities apart from the package manager. As mentioned above, Adélie’s website claims the project uses only libre software. This makes it possible to audit and modify any part of the operating system. Adélie also supports a wide range of CPU architectures, including: PPC, PPC64, ARM64, PMMX (i586), and x86_64. The distribution is available in two builds: Full and Live. Live is smaller and can download packages from the network during the installation. The Full edition includes all required packages, suitable for off-line installs. The Live edition for 64-bit x86_64 is a mere 128MB in size while Full is 321MB. Both are relatively small for a modern OS. I downloaded the Full edition for my trial.

          The live media boots to a text console very quickly. Adélie displays login information for the root account and an unprivileged account called “live”. Neither of these two accounts are password protected on the live media. When we sign in we are told we can get useful information by installing a handbook package (adelie-handbook) First we need to get on-line though as the network is not connected by default. Once on-line, I could not find any package called adelie-handbook or any package with “handbook” in the name.

      • Arch Family

        • Manjaro is taking the next step

          Started as a passion project by three ambitious guys back in 2011, Manjaro has evolved rapidly to establish itself as one of the most popular and well-known Linux distributions available today. Likely one of the main reasons for its success is a unique balance between a wide variety of an ever-growing diverse community and the consistency of a small and closely connected core team.

          Today, many thousands of users are relying on the constancy, stability and security associated with Manjaro daily. The development and maintenance have become considerably more time consuming and a much larger task than can be managed by a few people in their spare time.

          For some time, Philip has been investigating ways to secure the project in its current form and how to allow for activities which can’t be undertaken as a “hobby project”, and, along with the rest of the team, a plan of action has been created.

        • Arch-based Manjaro Linux Will Pursue Full-Time Maintainers, Ramping Up Efforts
        • Manjaro Linux Just Made A Massive Announcement About Its Future
        • Manjaro Linux Tries Forming A Company To Fund Full-Time Development

          Since 2011, Arch Linux-based Manjaro has focused on being a simple-to-use, accessible Linux desktop distribution with a friendly community… But as of today, Manjaro Linux is no longer just a Linux distribution — it’s officially transforming into a company with ambitious plans for its future. Say hello to Manjaro GmbH & Co. KG.

        • Manjaro levels up as a serious Linux distribution

          Today, the team at Manjaro [Official Site] shared some pretty big news for the future of the Linux distribution and it sounds great.

          A new company was officially formed as Manjaro GmbH & Co. KG, with Manjaro developers Philip Müller and Bernhard Landauer now being able to commit to the Linux distribution full time with the help of Blue Systems in an advisory role. On top of that, they’re working towards teaming up with the non-profit groups CommunityBridge and OpenCollective to handle their donation funding which can then be used towards project-related expenses.

          They say this will help them do quite a lot like: protect the independence of Manjaro, provide faster security updates and a more efficient reaction to the needs of users, provide the means to act as a company on a professional level, bring in additional contributors on a paid basis and so on.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian-based MX Linux 19 Beta 2.1 now available for download

          MX Linux is apparently becoming increasingly more popular these days, and I am not really sure why. Lately, I have been testing out the open source operating system, and I simply don’t understand the hype.

          Xfce, which MX uses, remains one of the worst desktop environment for end users — it is lightweight, but that aside, it offers nothing over the superior GNOME or KDE. If you own a HiDPI monitor (which more and more people have), Xfce remains a terrible experience.

          Some of the mx-apps and tweaks are appreciated, but nothing is really notable. The installer is average at best — hardly a positive experience. Conversely, I recently installed Pop!_OS again, and that installation was an absolute dream. Ultimately, MX’s fanfare seems unwarranted — it feels very outdated in 2019.

        • Updated Debian 9: 9.11 released

          The Debian project is pleased to announce the eleventh update of its oldstable distribution Debian 9 (codename stretch).

          This point release is primarily an update to the recently-released 9.10, in order to resolve a critical problem with the installer that was discovered during image testing.

          Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 9 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old stretch media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

          Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages, and most such updates are included in the point release.

        • Chasing around installing CD images for Buster 10.1 …

          and having great fun, as ever, making a few mistakes and contributing mayhem and entropy to the CD release process. Buster 10.1 point update just released, thanks to RattusRattus, Sledge and Isy and Schweer (amongst others).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu vs Linux Mint Distro Comparison

          With the constantly changing system and desktop requirements, our needs for a suitable operating system change too. For people belonging to the programming and software development field, an operating system or a distro matching their work capacity matters a lot. If you are a Linux user and looking for a new Linux distribution for your system, then the two best options you could consider – are Ubuntu, and Linux Mint. Keeping in mind both of the above distros have a number of editions to download from, so we will compare the latest ones for your ease.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • AKQA Melbourne helps develop open source software to save rainforests

        In collaboration with NGOs from all over the world, innovation and experience design company AKQA, has launched an open source software called Code of Conscience that restricts the use of heavy-duty vehicles in protected land areas.

        Code of Conscience uses open-source mapping data from the United Nations World Database on Protected Areas – updated monthly by NGOs, communities and governments – in conjunction with existing GPS tracking technology that’s installed in construction vehicles, to autonomously restrict deforestation crews from entering protected zones.

        A small, low-cost chip has been developed to equip the code into older, non-GPS models, and the software is available for free to everyone on CodeofConscience.org

        An invitation comprising the Code of Conscience chip embedded in a wooden sculpture of an endangered animal has been sent to the CEOs of the world’s top-ten construction equipment manufacturers, with a vision for all new machines to leave the factory with Code of Conscience pre-installed.

        Chief Raoni Metuktire – the most prominent Native Brazilian leader and a living symbol of the mission to preserve the rainforest and its indigenous culture – affirms the urgent need for action.

      • Industrifonden invests $1.5 million in Freemelt’s open source EBM technology

        The Freemelt One, is an electron beam melting 3D printer, intended for Additive Manufacturing materials R&D and requires only a small amount of powder to operate, making it affordable and fast for users to test different metal powders. Since it is an open-source system, it allows users to adapt and evolve the code, and share it within the community, to accelerate the development of tomorrow’s materials.

      • Introducing CUE, an open-source data constraint language that merges types and values into a single concept

        Inspired by Google’s General Configuration Language (GCL), a team of developers has now come up with a new language called CUE. It is an open-source data validation language, which aims to simplify tasks that involve defining and using data. Its applications include data validation, data templating, configuration, querying, code generation and even scripting.

        There are two core aspects of CUE that set it apart from other programming or configuration languages. One, it considers types as values and second, these values are ordered into a lattice, a partially ordered set.

      • Leadership Shakeup at Wasabi Wallet as Bitcoin Business Surges

        One of bitcoin’s most experimental startups has grown dramatically over the past year, highlighting both the opportunities and pitfalls of open source development.

      • Auterion, Open Source Operating System for Drones, Announces New MAVSDK: Software Development Kit for Drone Communications

        Auterion, the leading open-source operating system for enterprise drones, today announced the release of MAVSDK, a set of libraries in different programming languages (C++, Python, Swift, Java) that provide a high-level API to the MAVLink protocol for communication between a ground control station and drones, or the drone and a payload sensor.


        “Until today, customizing operations in the MAVLink protocol required a deep understanding of complex subjects such as embedded systems, drone dynamics, and the C++ programming language,” said Kevin Sartori, co-founder of Auterion. “Now, with MAVSDK, any qualified mobile developer can write high-level code for complex operations, meaning more developers will be able to build custom applications and contribute to the community.”

      • Binance launches ‘Binance X’, aims at building open-source crypto software

        Crypto-exchange giants, Binance, launched BInance X to extend its research in open-source blockchain development. They will be funding more than 40 developers researching open-source crypto software. Binance X also hopes to assist “evangelists” to promote education around the space by providing resources to projects in various stages of development.

        Binance X offers a fellowship program that is aimed at research and development of open-source blockchain software. The exchange has not yet disclosed any information on how much funds it will provide for the 40 project leads that have already signed on as Binance X fellows. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

      • Catching the Second Wave With Kubernetes Open Source Products

        I’d like to add to that “second wave” sentiment. We’ve been making a case for containers and Kubernetes for some time now, and adoption is growing at a rapid rate. But as Kubernetes continues to mature, companies realize that the complexity of spinning up their first clusters was only the tip of the iceberg. Kubernetes clusters require constant maintenance and oversight; while applications running inside Kubernetes can be individually trusted to start, scale and stop healthily, your cluster as a whole is an ever-evolving ecosystem.

      • Asterisk Service Launches Open Source SBC Solution With Advanced Features
      • Donations

        • After banning adverts in command-line terminals, NPM floats idea of Patreon-style donations to open-source devs

          NPM, Inc., the overseer of the widely used npm JavaScript package registry, hasn’t been particularly supportive of worker complaints, but the would-be enterprise biz wants to lend a hand to open source contributors.

          Following a software developer’s recent experiment with ads delivered to the command line via npm-hosted packages – a testament to longstanding concerns about labor compensation and exploitation in the open source community – NPM said it intends to develop a funding platform for open source developers by the end of the year. The announcement comes as the biz revised its policies to forbid packages that “display ads at runtime, on installation, or at other stages of the software development lifecycle…”

          In a blog post on Friday, CEO Brian Bogensberger said over the past few months, company engineers have been working on registry infrastructure so the biz can support services of this sort. This week, he said, company leaders “will be reaching out in order to get the expertise around the table with a goal of being able to share the framework by late September.”

          The project, undertaken at a time the cash-strapped biz is trying to build its enterprise business, appears to be not very far along.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Why Use Firefox Portable?

            The portable edition of Mozilla Firefox is commonly referred to as ‘Firefox Portable’. This is just a repacked version of Mozilla Firefox created by J. T. Haller. The software is designed to allow Firefox to operate from a CD-ROM, USB flash drive or any other portable device on Windows computer or UNIX/Linux computer running Wine.

            One unique thing about this program is that it doesn’t need Firefox to get installed on a computer. Also, it doesn’t leave behind your private information on an interface or computer with pre-installed versions of Firefox. However, you can install this software on a hard drive without any problem.

      • SaaS/Back End

        • 4 Open source alternatives to Slack and…

          Within this segment, the strongest sound is Matrix, an interesting open and decentralized standard for communication designed for interoperability in a similar way to the interoperability existing in the e-mail segment, Enabling real-time communication between users regardless of the customers or servers they use.

          Currently, the standard and all its development is maintained by Matrix.org Foundation, a non-profit organization based in the United Kingdom.

          Matrix has been developed with privacy and security in mind, taking into account the federation between servers, so that a user can communicate in any existing room securely, with end-to-end encryption, regardless of the server Where you have registered your account, and using any client of your choice.

          There are also gateways to participate through messaging programs such as Telegram, discord or Slack, among others.

          Matrix allows communication between users basically via text chat, audio calls and video calls, along with other possibilities.

          In addition, it aims to surpass the relative success achieved by the standards SIP, XMPP and RCS trying to circumvent the obstacles that have prevented that the standards now mentioned have not been able to go to more.

          Among the customers, the best known is Riot, also open-source. Those who do not want to create their own self-hosted Matrix servers, have the possibility to hire some of Modular.im’s plans to create their servers with a few clicks away, depending on their needs.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

      • Licensing/Legal

        • After Red Hat, Homebrew removes MongoDB from core formulas due to its Server Side Public License adoption

          In October, last year MongoDB announced that it’s switching to Server Side Public License (SSPL). Since then, Redhat dropped support for MongoDB in January from its Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Fedora. Now, Homebrew, a popular package manager for macOS has removed MongoDB from the Homebrew core formulas since MongoDB was migrated to a non open-source license.


          In January this year, MongoDB received its first major blow when Red Hat dropped MongoDB over concerns related to its SSPL. Tom Callaway, the University outreach Team lead at Red Hat had said that SSPL is “intentionally crafted to be aggressively discriminatory towards a specific class of users. To consider the SSPL to be “Free” or “Open Source” causes that shadow to be cast across all other licenses in the FOSS ecosystem, even though none of them carry that risk.”

          Subsequently, in February, Red Hat Satellite also decided to drop MongoDB and support PostgreSQL backend only. The Red Hat development team stated that PostgreSQL is a better solution in terms of the types of data and usage that Satellite requires.

          In March, following all these changes, MongoDB withdrew the SSPL from the Open Source Initiative’s approval process. It was finally decided that SSPL will only require commercial users to open source their modified code, which means that any other user can still modify and use MongoDB code for free.

      • Programming/Development

        • Finding the Edge

          Three months of fighting with boost, qt, having a proper plan, multiple individuals to get help from and still unable to hit the target in time. That will be software engineering 101 for me.

          To be honest, I didn’t expect my algorithm to become that slow, when I started formulating the plan, but it was and still is, the difference is, now I know the places where it can be optimized. Continuing about my algorithm, people seem to get bored when I start talking about it. With confused faces over the term “convolving” and depressed over “derivative”.

        • pinp 0.0.8: Bugfix

          This release was spurned by one of those “CRAN package xyz” emails I received yesterday: processing of pinp-using vignettes was breaking at CRAN under the newest TeX Live release present on Debian testing as well as recent Fedora. The rticles package (which uses the PNAS style directly) apparently has a similar issue with PNAS.

          Kurt was a usual extremely helpful in debugging, and we narrowed this down to an interaction with the newer versions of titlesec latex package. So for now we did two things: upgrade our code reusing the PNAS class to their newest verson of the PNAS class (as suggested by Norbert whom I also roped in), but also copying in an older version of titlesec.sty (plus a support file). In the meantime, we are also looking into titlesec directly as Javier offered help—all this was a really decent example of open source firing on all cylinders. It is refreshing.

          Because of the move to a newer PNAS version (which seems to clearly help with the occassionally odd formatting of floating blocks near the document end) I may have trampled on earlier extension pull requests. I will reach out to the authors of the PRs to work towards a better process with cleaner diffs, a process I should probably have set up earlier.

          The NEWS entry for this release follows.

        • How to Read & Write SPSS Files in Python using Pandas

          In this post we are going to learn 1) how to read SPSS (.sav) files in Python, and 2) how to write to SPSS (.sav) files using Python.

          Python is a great general-purpose language as well as for carrying out statistical analysis and data visualization. However, Python is not really user-friendly for data storage. Thus, often our data will be archived using Excel, SPSS or similar software.

        • Episode #146: Slay the dragon, learn the Python
  • Leftovers

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • WebKit Vulnerabilities Facilitate Human Rights Abuses

        Volexity has presented convincing evidence that Chinese state actors have recently abused vulnerabilities in the JavaScriptCore component of WebKit to hack the personal computing devices of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region of China. Mass digital surveillance is a key component of China’s ongoing brutal human rights crackdown in the region.

        This has resulted in a public relations drama that is largely a distraction to the issue at hand. Whatever big-company PR departments have to say on the matter, I have no doubt that the developers working on WebKit recognize the severity of this incident and are grateful to Project Zero, which reported these vulnerabilities and has previously provided numerous other high-quality private vulnerability reports. (Many other organizations deserve credit for similar reports, especially Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative.)

      • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 160 – Disclosing security issues is insanely complicated: Part 2

        Josh and Kurt talk about disclosing security flaws in open source. This is part two of a discussion around how to disclose security issues. This episode focuses on some expectations and behaviors for open source projects as well as researchers trying to disclose a problem to a project.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Robert Mugabe: a product of a system built on repugnant ideology

        THE death of former President Robert Mugabe at a hospital in Singapore on September 6 rang memory bells about the hush-hush, but spirited conversations that Zanu PF comrades used to have about this day, during the 2013 election campaign in which his advanced age and mortality were campaign issues.

        In one such conversation, General Constantino Chiwenga was adamant that calls, which were then spreading and getting louder, for Mugabe to name a successor and retire were misguided because “as a founding leader Mugabe was entitled to die in office like his departed co-founders Joshua Nkomo, Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika, who had died in office with the dignity of the office befitting a founding leader”.

      • Dictator Mugabe denied million a vote – now they can finally ‘vote’, by boycott his funeral

        David Coltart has proven to be a confused, corrupt and incompetent opposition politician; the kind very nation dreads. Coltart was a senior member of the MDC during the 2008 to 2013 GNU and they failed to implement the democratic reforms landing us in the political and economic mess we are in today. It is disappointing that his son, Doug Coltart is following in his father’s foot-steps, a confused young man.

        “It is tempting to see Mugabe through our chosen lens and ignore the complexity of the character that he was. Some engage in an ahistorical narrative that he was a good guy who turned bad. That ignores both the evil he perpetrated during the early years and the good that he achieved even in his twilight years. In truth, Mugabe the educator, Mugabe the freedom fighter, and Mugabe the dictator were intermingled throughout his life,” he wrote.

      • Kenyans participate in the annual safety walk to support refugees

        Thousands of Kenyans have participated in the second United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for Safety annual Walk in support of refugees who have been displaced because of conflict and persecution in the East African region and across Africa.

        The Step for Safety walk is an initiative of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency’s LuQuLuQu campaign.

        The campaign draws attention to the plight of forcibly displaced people and strives to change the public perception of the refugee narrative by highlighting their resilience.

        “Kenya hosts more than 475,000 refugees with close to 80 percent of them being women and children. Having met some of the people behind these numbers, I am continuously impressed and inspired by their talent, ambition, and potential,” said Fathiaa Abdalla, UNHCR Representative in Kenya.

    • Monopolies

      • Anthony Levandowski: Is Being a Jerk a Crime?

        Former Google employee Anthony Levandowski was recently indicted on federal criminal charges of trade secret theft. As reported in the Los Angeles Times, the indictment was filed by the U.S. attorney’s office in San Jose and is based on the same facts as the civil trade secrets lawsuit that Waymo (formerly Google’s self-driving car project) settled with Uber last year. It is even assigned to the same judge. The gist of the indictment is that, at the time of his resignation from Waymo, and just before taking a new job at Uber, Levandowski downloaded approximately 14,000 files from a server hosted on Google’s network. These files allegedly contained “critical engineering information about the hardware used on [Google's] self-driving vehicles …” Each of the 33 counts with which Levandowski is charged carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

        This is a crucial time to remember that being disloyal to your employer, on its own, is not illegal. Employees like Levandowski have a clear duty of secrecy with respect to certain information they receive through their employment. But if none of this information constitutes trade secrets, there is no civil trade secret claim. In other words, for a civil trade secrets case, if there is no trade secret, there is no cause of action.


        This means Levandowski can be found guilty of attempting to steal trade secrets that never actually existed. This seems odd. It contradicts fundamental ideas behind why we protect trade secrets. As law professor, Mark Lemley, observed in his oft-cited Stanford Law Review article, modern trade secret law is not a free-ranging license for judges to punish any acts they perceive as disloyal or immoral. It is a special form of property regime. Charles Tait Graves, a partner at Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosati, who teaches trade secrets at U.C. Hastings College of Law, echoes this conclusion. Treating trade secrets as an employer’s property, Graves writes, counterintuitively “offers better protection for employees who change jobs” than the alternatives, because it means courts must carefully “define the boundaries” of the right, and may require the court to rule in the end “that not all valuable information learned on the job is protectable.” See Charles Tait Graves, Trade Secrets As Property: Theory and Consequences, 15 J. Intell. Prop. L. 39 (2007).

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • [Older] SK Innovation fuels LG Chem feud with EV battery patent lawsuit

          A feud between two South Korean battery makers escalated on Friday as SK Innovation Co Ltd (096770.KS) said it plans to sue bigger rival LG Chem Ltd (051910.KS) in the United States over alleged patent infringement related to electric vehicles (EV).

        • [Older] Lawsuit Over Computer Chips Invokes Trade War With China

          One of the biggest semiconductor makers in the United States on Monday initiated a broad legal attack on Taiwan’s dominant chip manufacturer, the latest twist in a complex geopolitical battle over electronic components that could affect big chip users like Apple and Google.

          Globalfoundries, which runs former IBM chip factories in New York State and Vermont but is owned by an Abu Dhabi investment firm, filed a series of suits accusing the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company of infringing 16 patents covering processes used in manufacturing computer chips.

          The suits were filed in two federal courts in the United States and two German courts. Globalfoundries also complained to the United States International Trade Commission.

        • Fewer Patent Applications are Being Drafted and Filed First in the U.S.

          I previous wrote (here) that Alice seemed to have cause decreased patent filings in certain technologies but that overall U.S. patent filings seemed to be slightly down — especially when compared to the overall health of the economy. Indeed the PTO’s annual report noted that overall U.S. utility patent filings where down for second straight year in 2018 (and for the third time in four year). The only other year in the past 20 years in which filing was down was in 2009 after the great recession hit (it also caused a lot of abandonments of already-filed applications, as can be seen in IBM’s abandonment numbers ) Below is the table (the full report is here)

      • Copyrights

        • Google Search Apparently Indexes Over 80 Million Torrent Hashes

          The popular torrent meta-search engine Torrentz2 is the go-to site for many avid BitTorrent users. Aside from indexing classic torrent sites, Torrentz2 recently expanded by adding Google to its index, which apparently has a pretty impressive collection of unique torrent hashes. More than 80 million in total.


          Starting a few weeks ago, Torrentz3 began listing “Google” as a ‘source’ in its search results. Not somewhere down the bottom, but as the top result for every piece of content. Here’s what shows up on the “Ubuntu desktop 19.04” page.

Links 8/9/2019: MX-19 Beta 2.1 and James Bottomley on Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 11:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Graphics Stack

        • Mesa 19.3 Now Exposes Its Own GL_MESA_EGL_sync OpenGL Extension

          GL_MESA_EGL_sync is basically about bringing EGL_KHR_fence_sync support to desktop OpenGL. This OpenGL synchronization support was being pursued to complement the existing GL_ARB_sync synchronization extension in order to match the semantics of EGL_ANDROID_native_fence_sync support and other similar use-cases with some platform extensions being layered atop EGL_KHR_fence_sync’s functionality rather than ARB_sync.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Now Supports Fractional Scaling On Wayland

          While KDE’s new goals will include focusing on Wayland support, a big TODO item was just crossed off the list this week… KDE Plasma finally supports fractional scaling under Wayland.

        • Introducing Kirogi: A ground control application for drones

          Kirogi aims to enable the operation of drones of all sorts of makes and models in an approachable and polished manner, with both direct and map-based control modes and many more features planned for the future.

          The origin story behind the Kirogi project is a classic open source tale. During this year’s Lunar New Year holiday, I was paying a visit to family in Busan, South Korea (the name Kirogi is Korean and means wild goose). During the off-days I ended up buying my first drone. I attempted the first flight in my mother-in-law’s living room. Unfortunately the official vendor application immediately started crashing after take off – much to my embarassment, I couldn’t land the thing! Eventually it slowly drifted towards a very nice armchair (sorry mom!) and crashed on contact with an emergency engines-off.

          Turns out the app I was using had been replaced by a newer, seperate app store upload intended for a newer drone – and the app I had wasn’t fully compatible with a newer version of the phone’s OS anymore. I realized open source can serve drone owners better there and started hacking on this new KDE application a few days later.

        • KDE e.V. wants you!

          KDE e.V. is a registered non-profit organization that represents the KDE Community in legal and financial matters.

          For example the KDE e.V. is responsible for paying the servers that run our Phabricator/Bugzilla/Gitlab instances and all our web sites. KDE e.V. takes care of sponsoring developer sprints and contributor travel costs, too.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • MX-19 Beta 2.1 available for testing

          The latest updates from debian 10.1 (buster), antiX and MX repos.

          Xfce 4.14

          GIMP 2.10.12
          MESA 18.3.6
          updated firmware
          Latest debian 4.19 kernel

          Browser: Firefox 69
          Video Player: VLC 3.0.8
          Music Manager/Player: Clementine 1.3.1
          Email client: Thunderbird 60.8.0
          Office suite: LibreOffice 6.1.5 (plus security fixes)

          apparmor 2.13.2

          and more in the MX repositories.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • James Bottomley: The Mythical Economic Model of Open Source

        Open Source is a Creative Intellectual Endeavour

        All the creative endeavours of humanity, like art, science or even writing code, are often viewed as activities that produce societal benefit. Logically, therefore, the people who engage in them are seen as benefactors of society, but assuming people engage in these endeavours purely to benefit society is mostly wrong. People engage in creative endeavours because it satisfies some deep need within themselves to exercise creativity and solve problems often with little regard to the societal benefit. The other problem is that the more directed and regimented a creative endeavour is, the less productive its output becomes. Essentially to be truly creative, the individual has to be free to pursue their own ideas. The conundrum for society therefore is how do you harness this creativity for societal good if you can’t direct it without stifling the very creativity you want to harness? Obviously society has evolved many models that answer this (universities, benefactors, art incubation programmes, museums, galleries and the like) with particular inducements like funding, collaboration, infrastructure and so on.

        Why Open Source development is better than Proprietary

        Simply put, the Open Source model, involving huge freedoms to developers to decide direction and great opportunities for collaboration stimulates the intellectual creativity of those developers to a far greater extent than when you have a regimented project plan and a specific task within it. The most creatively deadening job for any engineer is to find themselves strictly bound within the confines of a project plan for everything. This, by the way, is why simply allowing a percentage of paid time for participating in Open Source seems to enhance input to proprietary projects: the liberated creativity has a knock on effect even in regimented development. However, obviously, the goal for any Corporation dependent on code development should be to go beyond the knock on effect and actually employ open source methodologies everywhere high creativity is needed.

        What is Open Source?

        Open Source has it’s origin in code sharing models, permissive from BSD and reciprocal from GNU. However, one of its great values is the reasons why people do open source aren’t the same reasons why the framework was created in the first place. Today Open Source is a framework which stimulates creativity among developers and helps them create communities, provides economic benefits to corportations (provided they understand how to harness them) and produces a great societal good in general in terms of published reusable code.

      • The Mission Of Coreboot – Is It About Open-Source Or Appeasing Hardware Vendors?

        There was recently a debate on the Coreboot mailing list about the mission statement / description of this open-source BIOS/firmware replacement for systems that traditionally has liberated boards from proprietary BIOS but still on modern platforms is often pulling in a number of binary blobs.

        The current description of the project as set out on Coreboot.org is “coreboot is an extended firmware platform that delivers a lightning fast and secure boot experience on modern computers and embedded systems. As an Open Source project it provides auditability and maximum control over technology.”

        Recently brought up though was trying to provide clarity that Coreboot isn’t necessarily a complete solution for those wanting a 100% open-source firmware solution due to the likes of Intel FSP/ME and other binary components often being required for any functional support.

      • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: Token4Hope

        This week’s open-source project of the week is Token4Hope, a charity project powered by the DCore blockchain intended to draw transparency and security to charitable contributions.

        “When we realized that often charitable donations lack transparency and people would donate substantially more if they knew where exactly their funds go, we decided to propose our version of the system. A version that effectively applies blockchain’s core intrinsic properties – transparency & immutability,” said Matej Michalko, CEO and founder of DECENT, the company behind the project.

      • Space Swap 110% is a Totally Free Open Source Match-3 Puzzler

        All of the great match-three puzzlers of the last few years have the same thing in common: after a while, they pull up the difficulty drawbridge and refuse to let you get any further unless you buy lives or wait patiently for daily scraps of gameplay.

        Space Swap 110% is different. This polished little puzzler from Fallen Angel Software gives you everything up front, so that the only barrier to progress is your own level of ability.

        The gameplay will be familiar to anybody who has ever played a match-three puzzler – particularly one like Bejeweled Blitz.

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Mozilla to gradually enable DNS-over-HTTPS for Firefox US users later this month

            Mozilla plans to enable support for the DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) protocol by default inside the Firefox browser for a small number of US users starting later this month.

            The browser maker has been testing DoH support in Firefox since 2017. A recent experiment found no issues, and Mozilla plans to enable DoH in the main Firefox release for a small percentage of users, and then enable it for a broader audience if no issues arise.

            “If this goes well, we will let you know when we’re ready for 100% deployment,” said Selena Deckelmann, Senior Director of Firefox Engineering at Mozilla.

          • Mozilla says update to Firefox extensions API won’t kill ad blockers

            Mozilla announced plans today to preserve the API functions that ad blockers and other extensions need to function properly, as part of Firefox’s upcoming transition to a superior extensions API.

            This is the same extensions API to which Google announced changes last year, which later proved to be detrimental to ad blockers and a few other extensions types.

      • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

        • OpenGov raises $51M to boost its cloud-based IT services for government and civic organizations

          On the first of these, the company says that its board of directors includes, in addition to Lonsdale (who is now the chairman of the company); Katherine August-deWilde, Co-Founder and Vice-Chair of First Republic Bank; John Chambers, Founder and CEO of JC2 Ventures and Former Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems; Marc Andreessen, Co-Founder and General Partner of Andreessen Horowitz; and Zac Bookman, Co-Founder and CEO of OpenGov.


          On the first of these, the company says that its board of directors includes, in addition to Lonsdale (who is now the chairman of the company); Katherine August-deWilde, Co-Founder and Vice-Chair of First Republic Bank; John Chambers, Founder and CEO of JC2 Ventures and Former Chairman and CEO of Cisco Systems; Marc Andreessen, Co-Founder and General Partner of Andreessen Horowitz; and Zac Bookman, Co-Founder and CEO of OpenGov .

        • Open Mainframe Project Gains Momentum

          The Open Mainframe Project, an open source initiative that enables collaboration across the mainframe community to develop shared tool sets and resources, is announcing four new members: Phoenix Software, Syncsort, Western University, and Zoss Team LLC; and three new projects: Feilong, zorow, and TerseDecompress.

        • Samsung’s open source key:value SSD is a game-changer for unstructured apps
        • New open-source project wants to expand serverless vision beyond functions
      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Why We Need More Open-Source Epidemiological Tools

          In the middle of an outbreak, having the right tools can make all the difference. Epidemiological resources, such as modeling systems, are useful but can be costly and have limited use across large teams.

          A newer tool, though, is changing the game in outbreak response and modeling. The Spatiotemporal Epidemiologic Modeler (STEM) is an open-source software that is available to the global health community. This is not just a rigid instrument against disease, in that it is not pre-set to a specific disease or environment and has the flexibility for hundreds of variations.

          “STEM has been used to study variations in transmission of seasonal influenza in Israel by strains; evaluate social distancing measures taken to curb the H1N1 epidemic in Mexico City; study measles outbreaks in part of London and inform local policy on immunization; and gain insights into H7N9 avian influenza transmission in China. A multi-strain dengue fever model explored the roles of the mosquito vector, cross-strain immunity, and antibody response in the frequency of dengue outbreaks,” the authors of a briefing in Health Security wrote.

        • Open Access/Content

          • UW Libraries Names Open Textbook Grant Recipients for Fall Semester

            University of Wyoming Libraries recently awarded open textbook grants to seven faculty members and one graduate student to implement open educational resources (OER) in their classes this fall.

            The open textbooks resulting from the grants are projected to save UW students more than $138,000 each semester.

            “With the Alt-Textbook Grant Program, University of Wyoming Libraries hopes to continue to encourage the creativity and innovation we have seen from past applicants,” says Hilary Baribeau, an assistant librarian in Digital Collections. “By creating open textbooks and course materials, faculty at UW help meet student needs and encourage student success at a time when the costs for textbooks are higher than ever.”

            Grants are awarded to instructors who adopt, adapt or create new open textbooks or other materials for their courses. Grant awards range from $1,500 to $3,000.

      • Programming/Development

        • Qt 5.13.1 Has ~500 Bug Fixes While Qt Creator 4.10 Released

          This week marked the release of Qt 5.13.1 as the first point release to this tool-kit series along with Qt Creator 4.10 as the newest version of this Qt/C++ focused integrated development environment.

          Qt 5.13.1 came out on Thursday with around 500 bug fixes. While Qt 5.13 is the newest stable series, the relevant fixes will also be back-ported to Qt 5.12 since that is the current Long Term Support (LTS) stable series. There are many fixes inbound for Qt5 users so certainly be on the lookout for these point releases coming to your distributions.

        • Debian GSoC Kotlin project blog: Begining of the end.

          Hey all, I had my exams during weeks 8 ad 9 so I couldn’t update my blog nor get much accomplished; but last week was completely free so I managed to finish packaging all the dependencies from pacakging dependencies part 1. Since some of you may not remember how I planned to tackle pacakging dependencies I’ll mention it here one more time.

        • In Python How Recursion Works on Run Time

          Consider the code snippet below which has two functions foo and main. A special variable __name__ which is fundamentally set by the python interpreter before execution and its value is set to __main__ when executing as a main program.

          In python, if a function does not end with a return statement or has a return statement without any expression, the special value None is returned.

        • Top 20 Best Visual Studio Code Extensions For Programmers
        • Henri Sivonen: It’s Not Wrong that “🤦🏼‍♂️”.length == 7
  • Leftovers

    • Lost in India

      “The Twice-Born: Life and Death on the Ganges”

    • Changing Light Bulbs in the Cosmos with Charles Simic

      Back in the ‘70s, when I first learned to write poetry in earnest, I lived in a small country village with two boarding schools. One for the very rich; one for the middle class. At the rich school, where I was a scholarship student, we were favored with lectures from the likes of Dick Gregory and Dan Rather, while we heard that students at the other school were doing things like smoking reefer and watching A Clockwork Orange backwards. We listened to toccatas and fugues in our intimate chapel, while the others brought to life the J. Geils Band. We were an all-boys school; they were coed. On Saturday evenings, I would lay on my back on a circle of lawn and gaze up at the cosmos, while they smashed pumpkins, dated, and drank until they saw stars. Two worlds: two belongings: two visions of “Singing in the Rain.”

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • The stakes are too high for Apple to spin the iPhone exploits

        Here Apple repeats Google’s own original claim, but spins it by connecting it to a line later in Google’s piece about the attack being “en masse.” Reasonable people may disagree about the scope of “en masse,” which means both “a group” and “all together,” but Google certainly did not omit information about the vector of the attack.

      • Report reveals play-by-play of first U.S. grid cyberattack

        The more recent cyberthreat appears to have been simpler and far less dangerous than the [attack] in Ukraine. The March 5 attack hit web portals for firewalls in use at the undisclosed utility. The [attacker] or [attackers] may not have even realized that the online interface was linked to parts of the power grid in California, Utah and Wyoming.

      • Dark times ahead as cybercriminals target power grids

        Power grids in particular are being targeted by state-sponsored cybercriminals, with the intention of causing outages that could bring victimised regions to a screeching halt. Ironically, the more advanced our illuminated world of electronics becomes, the more proficient these cyberattacks will be at sending society back to the Dark Ages.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Iran Raises Nuclear Stakes, Threatens Higher Enrichment

        Iran on Saturday said it now uses arrays of advanced centrifuges prohibited by its 2015 nuclear deal and can enrich uranium “much more beyond” current levels to weapons-grade material, taking a third step away from the accord while warning Europe has little time to offer it new terms.

      • Inevitable Withdrawal: The US-Taliban Deal

        It took gallons and flagons of blood, but it eventuated, a squeeze of history into a parchment of possibility: the Taliban eventually pushed the sole superpower on this expiring earth to a deal of some consequence. (The stress is on the some – the consequence is almost always unknown.) “In principle, on paper, yes we have reached an agreement,” claimed the US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on the Afghan channel ToloNews. “But it is not final until the president of the United States also agrees to it.”

      • Mike Pompeo Is Refusing to Sign Afghan Peace Deal

        The death toll from the ongoing, 18-year war in Afghanistan stood at an estimated 147,124 military personnel and civilians in November 2018, according to an analysis from Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs. A 2018 survey from the Pew Charitable Trust found that almost half of Americans believe the U.S. has “mostly failed” in its goals during the war, and Trump was elected on a promise of ending the war.

      • Lesbians Are a Target of Male Violence the World Over

        Since coming out as a lesbian at the age of 15 in 1977, I have seen the world change for the better. When I met other lesbians soon after leaving home to find the “gay scene,” I was shocked to hear stories of women losing custody of their children, in some cases to violent ex-husbands, for the simple reason that they were in a same-sex relationship.

    • Environment

      • Weed killer linked to cancer: Could Australians die from using popular product?

        Hundreds of users of Roundup here are preparing legal cases against chemical giant Monsanto, the manufacturer of the weed killer. Their cases add to the already 17,000 cases launched in the United States.

        This Sunday on 60 Minutes, reporter Liam Bartlett investigates the claim Roundup is unsafe and life-threatening.

      • With Two Weeks Until #GlobalClimateStrike, Organizing Intensifies in 100+ Countries to Win ‘Livable Future for All’

        “Our message will be clear—we must act now to avoid the worst effects of climate change because all of our lives depend upon it.”

      • Get Ready for Unnatural Disasters This Hurricane Season

        Donald Trump discusses immigration as if the benefits of residence in the U.S. are a pie. When immigrants get more, the people who were already here get less.

      • As Dorian Lashes the Carolinas, the Bahamas Grapple With ‘Unimaginable’ Losses

        Hurricane Dorian lashed the Carolinas with wind, flooding and tornadoes Thursday, as the storm’s death toll in the Bahamas rose to 30, The Washington Post reported.

      • Bahamas ‘Hour of Darkness’: 43 Dead, With Toll to Rise

        The hurricane death toll is rising in the Bahamas, in what its leader calls “this hour of darkness.”

      • CNN Town Hall Went Deep on Climate Crisis—But Was Anyone Listening?

        Given the Democratic National Committee’s refusal to allow its party’s presidential hopefuls to take part in a televised climate debate, CNN (and, later this month, MSNBC) agreed to host “town halls” on the climate crisis—events with one candidate at a time on stage, fielding questions from network hosts as well as network-selected audience members.

      • Climate Minimizers Don’t Deny Climate Change—But Find Endless Reasons to Reject Sanders’ Plan to Stop It

        Climate change is an existential threat to human civilization. If only corporate media acted like it. While the majority of corporate media do not outright deny the reality of the human-caused climate crisis, they are filled with another brand of insidious ideologues that I call climate minimizers. These downplay the threat that climate change poses to all of us by ignoring

      • The Problem With Our Climate Debate Is That Only Democrats Are Showing Up

        The GOP presence could be felt in the framing of the questions, where the CNN hosts often took up Republican talking points about the Green New Deal. Taxes were frequently mentioned—but also more petty complaints about having to give up cheeseburgers, incandescent light bulbs, and plastic straws.

        The heartening news is that Democratic candidates, especially Elizabeth Warren, have developed effective responses to these jabs. “Oh come on, give me a break,” Warren responded when CNN’s Chris Cuomo brought up light bulbs. “This is exactly what the fossil fuel industry hopes we’re all talking about. They want to be able to stir up a lot of controversy around your light bulbs, around your straws and around your cheeseburgers. When 70 percent of the pollution, of the carbon that we’re throwing into the air, comes from three industries.”

      • New Report: ABC, CBS, NBC Covered Climate Crisis Connection to Hurricane Dorian Only Once in 216 Segments on Storm

        “Climate change is fueling storms like Hurricane Dorian. But you wouldn’t know that from watching broadcast TV news.”

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Pope Francis pleads with Madagascans to protect rainforest ahead of huge Sunday mass

          Hundreds of thousands are expected to flock to a mass led by Pope Francis in Madagascar’s capital on Sunday, as the pontiff caps off a two-day visit in which he implored Madagascans to protect their natural resources from over-exploitation.

        • Trump’s EPA Said This Bee-killing Insecticide Is Safe, Now Beekeepers Are Suing

          Today, beekeepers, represented by Earthjustice, sued Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for allowing sulfoxaflor, a bee-killing pesticide linked to a nation-wide honeybee die-off, back on the market.

        • Juniper Removal is a Red Herring

          The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has launched a massive juniper removal project in Idaho and plans to expand it throughout the Great Basin. Juniper is a common native species that grow in arid landscapes along with sagebrush and grasses.

        • Predator of Our Public Lands

          For generations, our country has been Mother Nature’s steward, setting aside and protecting important expanses of public lands for posterity. But what if these lands and natural resources suddenly got a “steward” who was a predator, rather than a protector?

        • A Battle for Existence

          They are landscapes my mind escapes to regularly. The painted canyons in eastern Montana and the Zion region of Utah. Forests of huge conifers in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest and northern California. The incredible arid desolation of Utah west of Salt Lake City and the deserts of Nevada. Sagebrushed plains in the Southwest. I spent many hours standing by the side of roads observing these and other landscapes in the western United States. Occasionally, I saw an elk herd in the distance or giant raptors flying above me. Once, I ended up covered in some kind of flying insects when I sat down either on or close to their nests in the Colorado heat south of Colorado Springs. Lizards often played on rocks nearby and I remained ever wary of snakes in crevices and shadows. There were a couple summers when I left the road and hiked into the mountains of Theodore Roosevelt National Forest near Boulder, CO. Just me, a sleeping bag and backpack with a little food, a collapsible fishing pole, some whiskey and some weed. Years have passed since those adventures.

    • Finance

      • US Kids Shouldn’t Go to School Hungry

        Nearly half of America’s children live in low-income and poor families, and the majority of public school students qualify for free breakfast and lunch programs.

      • Betsy DeVos, Redux

        They’re back—the folks in the Education Department. Remember Betsy DeVos? Trump made her Secretary of Education. She had no experience in education but was a big fan and supporter of charter schools in Michigan. Those schools were, by most measures, less successful than their public school counterparts and scored much lower on various comparative measures than schools in other

      • Capitalism, Socialism, and Existential Despair

        Decades ago, Edward Said remarked that contemporary life is characterized by a “generalized condition of homelessness.” Decades earlier, Heidegger had written that “Homelessness is coming to be the destiny of the world.” Around the same time, fascists were invoking the themes of blood and soil, nation, race, community, as intoxicating antidotes to the mass anonymity and depersonalization of modern life. Twenty or thirty years later, the New Left, in its Port Huron Statement, lamented the corruption and degradation of such values as love, freedom, creativity, and community:

      • The Future of U.S. Jobs Looks Bleak. Unions Are the Answer.

        We were just handed a wake-up call. Newly released numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics project that six of the ten occupations expected to have the most total job growth over the next decade pay less than $27,000 a year. Three of those six are low-paying jobs in the restaurant industry. Even more striking is the concentration of low-paid healthcare jobs at the top

      • Billionaires Who Promise to Save Journalism

        Let’s talk about fraud: “a person or thing intended to deceive others, typically by unjustifiably claiming or being credited with accomplishments or qualities,” the dictionary calls it.

      • ‘Hell No,’ Say Progressives, After GOP Sen. Joni Ernst Suggests Cutting Social Security ‘Behind Closed Doors’

        “No matter how hard you try to hide, the American people will be watching—and we won’t let you cut our earned Social Security benefits.”

      • Joni Ernst Says the Quiet Part Loud

        Senator Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, just said out loud what Republican politicians usually only talk about in secret meetings with their billionaire donors: The GOP wants to cut our earned Social Security benefits—and they want to do it behind closed doors so that they don’t have to pay the political price.

      • Extinction Via Rugged Individualism

        I was recently amused by a train of thought on Twitter excoriating Henry David Thoreau for his experiment in self-sufficient living. True, he was on the land of his wealthy neighbor, his mother did his laundry (and brought him old-timey donuts to eat), but it was rugged, dammit. Okay, it was something akin to a 10 year old living in a tree-house in the backyard with mom sending up sandwiches in one of those nifty rope and bucket contraptions, but this was a white man doing something and writing about it so of course it’s monumental and imbued with all sorts of significance. This to me, is a perfect analogy for America and its early beginnings. Never mind the back-breaking labor provided by the women, the horrendous slave trade and lethal work that made the infrastructure possible–the convenient clearing (genocide) of the already here peoples through illness and murder……. the narrative is that it was magically produced by powdered wig donning men who weren’t just all about a self-serving course correction. This fallacy has permeated the psyche of most Americans, and doesn’t allow for adequate self-reflection or improvement, and I would say is a path to eventual extinction if a new narrative and belief system isn’t adopted.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Jailed filmmaker Oleg Sentsov has been freed and returned to Ukraine

        Crimean filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, sentenced to 20 years in prison in Russia for allegedly plotting terrorist attacks, has been returned to Ukraine in a historic prisoner exchange between Moscow and Kyiv that included dozens of others. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Sentsov’s family were there to meet him on the tarmac at Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • What Even Is Spotify?

        Spotify is worth about $25 billion, with more than 100 million paid subscribers (out of 217 million monthly active users), and has fundamentally altered how the world listens to music. And yet apparently the best way for a small indie band to make money off it was with a viral stunt.

        For the few who don’t use it, Spotify is a subscription-based music-streaming app. It’s also an ad-tech data broker, selling information on its users. Plus it has all the trappings—a newsfeed, a “community”—of a social network. And its music recommendation system functions like an Internet radio station. With all that in mind, it’s easy to get confused: What even is Spotify?

        Spotify Teardown: Inside the Black Box of Streaming Music, a new book written by a group of professors and researchers at Stockholm and Umeå universities (Maria Eriksson, Rasmus Fleischer, Anna Johansson, Pelle Snickars, and Patrick Vonderau), attempts to answer this question. It’s trickier than you’d think.

      • Exclusive: Edward Snowden’s guardian angels

        FRANCE 24 brings you an exclusive report on the hunt for Edward Snowden, who became one of the world’s most wanted men after leaking explosive confidential documents on US mass surveillance. Back in 2013, while on the run in Hong Kong, and before heading to Russia, the whistleblower was sheltered by a group of refugees. Our reporters Valériane Gauthier, Mohamed Farhat and François Rihouay went to meet Snowden’s “guardian angels”, who today find themselves in danger.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Lawyer who represented A$AP Rocky shot in Sweden

        Several people were taken into custody for questioning and one was later arrested by prosecutors, according to Stockholm police. Sweden’s Expressen newspaper reports the suspect arrested is also a senior lawyer, a woman who had previously been banned from contacting him. A witness told the paper the shooter was a man who wrestled with the victim before opening fire. Prosecutors told the paper the person arrested — reportedly the woman — is suspected of instigating attempted murder. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the man who allegedly opened fire is also in custody.

      • Joi Ito has resigned from the MIT Media Lab

        The resignation comes after mounting concern over Ito’s ties with Jeffrey Epstein, a serial rapist and billionaire who had been a significant donor to the lab and to MIT. Epstein donated as much as $800,000 to MIT-related projects over the years, including Ito’s own venture fund.

      • Russia and Ukraine Trade Prisoners, Each Flies 35 to Freedom

        Russia and Ukraine conducted a major prisoner exchange that freed 35 people detained in each country and flew them to the other, a deal that could help advance Russia-Ukraine relations and end five years of fighting in Ukraine’s east.

      • Finally Russia and Ukraine complete a highly anticipated prisoner exchange

        On the morning of September 7, Russia and Ukraine started preparations for a large-scale prisoner exchange. At roughly 9 a.m., two passenger buses left Moscow’s “Lefortovo” detention center for the Vnukovo International Airport, escorted by Federal Security Service and Highway Patrol cars. According to the news agency RIA Novosti, these buses contained Ukrainian prisoners. “VGTRK” Russian state media journalists later confirmed these reports in a live broadcast on Rossiya 24. According to the television station REN TV, buses carrying Russian prisoners also arrived at Boryspil International Airport in Kyiv.

      • Migrants Should Automatically be Offered Care, Education, Housing, Food, and the Right to Vote

        Eric Mann: “Twenty years after the Watts rebellions of 1966, black unemployment in South Central Los Angeles has remained virtually unchanged. The main culprits—the closing of Bethlehem Steel, Goodyear and Firestone Rubber, and GM’s Southgate plant. These plants provided good paying unionized jobs, and their workers were stable and creative members of the community.”

      • At the Dividing Line Between the U.S. and Mexico, Two Very Different Visions of God Meet

        At the dividing line between the U.S. and Mexico, two very different visions of God meet. As an expat living in San Miguel de Allende, I hear both the rhetoric of the religious right that rails against immigration, and also the pleas of the Central American immigrants who claim faith as the backbone for their journey north.

      • The Axis of Atrocity

        If daymare isn’t a word, it should be.  We’re living one.  And the shameless,  infantile ugliness that rules America today was predicted by visionaries and poets long ago.

      • Mugabe and the Continuing White Supremacist Narrative

        Robert Mugabe makes an easy hate figure for the right wing media, and the cruelty, corruption and absurdities of the latter part of his overlong rule justify much of the hate. But the slightest analysis of the media expression of this hatred reveals it to feed a variety of British imperialist tropes which persist to an alarming degree into the 21st century – that Africans cannot govern themselves and were better off under white rule and even that black people cannot farm.

      • “Zimbabweans Must Defeat Mugabe’s Legacy” – Doug Coltart

        Doug Coltart, a Zimbabwean lawyer and human rights activist who is also the son of former Education Minister (GNU era), David Coltart, has said that Zimbabweans have to destroy the legacy of Zimbabwe’s founding leader, the late Robert Mugabe.

        His remarks come as there is confusion as to what really constitutes the legacy of Mugabe as some revere him whilst some regard him as a monster.

      • OPINION: Mugabe’s legacy remains alive and it must be defeated

        Robert Mugabe’s legacy is complex and contested. He wasn’t only the tyrant and the despot, nor only the freedom fighter and the educator. But he wanted power and all costs, and the legacy he leaves behind must be defeated, writes Doug Coltart.

      • Zambia Catholic bishops urge SA leaders to take responsibility over xenophobic attacks

        THE Zambia Conference for Catholic Bishops has urged the South African leadership to take responsibility for the xenophobic attacks in that country.

        ZCCB president Reverend George Lungu said xenophobia and its resultant chaos were not just criminal but cruel, barbaric and abominable as could be seen in some video clips circulating on social media.

      • Woman kills herself because of fears over Brexit
    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Adult Site Calls For Google Action Against DMCA Notice ‘Carpet Bombing’

          Google is being bombarded with what appear to be bogus DMCA notices which target the URLs of adult sites, including their main domains and in some cases, their entire web structure. The operator of one of the victim sites says he can’t get Google to respond to his counter-notices so is now seeking to step up the pressure.

When ILO ‘Justice’ for EPO Staff Gets ‘Lost in the Post’

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Law at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: An important case/appeal regarding the European Patent Office (EPO) seems to be eternally delayed, draining money and wasting time almost indefinitely

THE EPO fights its own staff whilst apparently outsourcing their jobs. The media doesn't want to talk about it. That means that EPO management needs pretexts for firing people, claiming they’re offenders, incompetent etc. Severance pay can be impacted by that kind of pretext. António Campinos does it perhaps more than the person who put him in charge (he has outsourcing experience from EUIPO) and this will likely worsen over time (if the endgame is complete outsourcing).

“It’s far from over and it implicates even the very top position (President) of the EPO.”In Koch v EPO [1, 2], which we’ve studied lately, there are some new developments. It’s interesting not only because details are publicly available* but because it concerns an aggrieved staff representative with disability attributed to the job at the EPO (related to the unjust dismissal). It’s far from over and it implicates even the very top position (President) of the EPO. We’ll probably revisit this case every now and then.

Here’s the latest:





The ramification of this failure to deliver would be devastating to justice and, as we shall cover in later articles, we already know they use all sorts of tricks to manipulate and procrastinate the case (or send it ‘back’ to the EPO). They hope that complainants will simply run out of patience (and/or money).

The significance of this case will become more apparent over time. More information is becoming available and it serves to show ILO dysfunction as well as EPO misconduct.
* The EPO’s staff, including SUEPO (the union), is aware of this case. Moreover, the Tribunal’s Jurisprudence is public, for instance, Judgments no. 3785, 3694 and 4131 (see triblex data base).

Openwashing Report: G.A.F.A.M. Surveillance and Military/Imperialism as ‘Open’ and ‘Sharing’

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 8:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Let’s spread democracy

Weekly openwashing report

Summary: The (mis)use of the term “Open Source” to promote monopolies has become so profound that even corporate media such as Forbes takes note of it (but obviously defends the practice)

THOSE who’ve read the “Openwashing Report” series long enough very well know it’s not focused on Microsoft or on large companies. It calls out every openwashing culprit we stumble upon in our research irrespective of size/market share. And G.A.F.A.M. (the 'big five') just happen to be some of the biggest culprits, Microsoft typically being the worst. Microsoft is also a bit unique in several ways. As we explained on August 20th:

There’s a common and perhaps deliberate misconception. We’re supposed to think that GNU/Linux is under attack from many large companies, but in reality there’s one single company standing to gain the most from a destruction (or hijack) of Linux. That company isn’t SCO but the company that subsidises SCO’s lawsuits against Linux. It’s also the only company that’s blackmailing, using patents, ChromeOS (GNU/Linux) and Android (Linux) OEMs, even in 2019. Those who don’t understand that are either indoctrinated or dishonest. Google isn’t the company that assaults Linux in court. Apple isn’t the company that started the “Get the Facts” FUD campaign. Amazon’s AWS is predominantly GNU/Linux and has nothing to gain from Windows. As for Facebook? It’s deeply connected to Microsoft. It’s problematic for a lot of reasons. Apache’s Jim Jagielski used Facebook’s abuses as a pretext for excusing Microsoft’s.

As a general note, Techrights was primarily focused on Novell in the early days (when the site was small). Nowadays we’re very much hinged on the key principles (e.g. software freedom/Software Freedom and software patents) and don’t single out any particular company. It’s important not to cheer for ‘brands’ — Linux included — but to keep in mind underlying ideologies and values.

“It’s important not to cheer for ‘brands’ — Linux included — but to keep in mind underlying ideologies and values.”FOSS, as in Free software, is nowadays used everywhere, yet software freedom is to be found almost nowhere. Due to openwashing, in our humble assessment, proprietary software is often marketed as “open” and “awesome”, just because some code might be available. It’s like false marketing. Clown Computing, as a side note, tells us that outsourcing our data and computing is “awesome” and a business would be a “relic” or a “dinosaur” for owning and controlling its own systems. The surveillance industry likes it like that because centralisation makes spying a lot more trivial.

The sad truth is that FOSS dominates, but at the same time freedom does not. Software Freedom (we sometimes capitalise it like that) is almost nowhere to be seen and general freedom (e.g. from surveillance ) isn’t quite prevalent. Something needs to be done. Corporations do what they did to Hippies in the 70s. They tell FOSS people that they’re winning; but actually FOSS is being taken over by monopolies.

Last month we wrote about openwashing of surveillance datacentres. Doing it the Facebook and Microsoft way (Open Compute Project), Nexedi and Hydro66 have just issued this press release. Classic openwashing! This is the kind of thing we’ve long written about it. “Open Compute” is hardly ‘open’ and it is hardly free/Free, either…

“The sad truth is that FOSS dominates, but at the same time freedom does not.”Another nonsensical new buzzword of G.A.F.A.M. and the Linux Foundation is “Confidential”; pretty meaningless, right?

Calling mass surveillance “Confidential” (the very opposite!), as was done a few days ago in Computer Weekly, is an insult to the concept of confidentiality. “Companies committed to this work include Alibaba, Arm, Baidu, Google Cloud, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Red Hat, Swisscom and Tencent,” it says. They call their surveillance networks “confidential computing…”

On Microsoft GitHub is where they put their code. Yes, GitHub! Which is in NSA PRISM…

But worry not; Microsoft tells us that GitHub will patch our software and code without intervention. Yes, always trust automatic patches (and patching) from the NSA and the company that puts back doors in everything for it.

“”Open Compute” is hardly ‘open’ and it is hardly free, either…”Remember that surveillance is “confidential” now. Orwell would have loved it. NSA back doors are “Security” (the S in the acronym!) and War is “Peace”…

Let’s dive a little deeper into new examples from the past week, starting with (perhaps) the biggest privacy violator, whose tentacles are all over Web pages and sometimes packet transmission as well.


The “big G”, one of the ‘big five’ or G.A.F.A.M., was mentioned here last weekend. We explained how it had spun various surveillance projects as “open”. Media was happy to play along in a big way!

Not only is Google openwashing out of control. It seems to be in control of the media judging by the number of puff pieces to that effect (more than Microsoft even!). We can only guess that a Google News near-monopoly helps towards this goal.

“Not only is Google openwashing out of control. It seems to be in control of the media judging by the number of puff pieces to that effect (more than Microsoft even!).”Curiously enough, a year after Microsoft declared its intentions for GitHub Google still uses it, even for new projects. Back in the days Google had its own code repositories (Google Code), but apparently outsourcing even of Google’s own projects is seen as OK now. Well, if you actually value privacy there or elsewhere, Mr. Google, you will pursue a host that is privacy-oriented (but of course you don’t/won’t). Over the past week we found loads of articles like “Google open sources differential privacy dev library”; there’s a whole array of others [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] with the words “Open Source” and “privacy” in the headline. Does it not bother anyone that this is Google and GitHub, which is proprietary software and in NSA PRISM?

“Google today introduced Neural Structured Learning (NSL),” said another new article, “an open source framework that uses the Neural Graph Learning method for training neural networks with graphs and structured data.”

Google uses that for surveillance. We’re supposed to think surveillance becomes ethical when the abuser ‘makes up’ for it by uploading some code to proprietary software (the Microsoft censorship machine called GitHub).

“We’re supposed to think surveillance becomes ethical when the abuser ‘makes up’ for it by uploading some code to proprietary software (the Microsoft censorship machine called GitHub).”So Google surveillance is... open. Moreover it’s for disabled people, such as deaf and blind people (we wrote about this pattern as well a week ago). Here’s the latest example to that effect (“Google open-source software allows call and music streaming directly to hearing aids”). So if you oppose privacy-infringing activity, then you actually harm deaf people? That’s the sort of PR tactic which listening devices (“smart” “assistant”) companies gravitate towards.

Marketing genius. Google does loads of openwashing these days. Those who oppose? They must really hate people with disabilities! How dare they? Never mind the fact that “I put my code on proprietary software GitHub for “openness” or for Open Source” is a bit like “I gave you a braid of dead flowers because I love flowers” (not you).

Notice these patterns. They’re becoming more widespread over time. Now let’s look at Microsoft.


Each quarter that passes, each time journalists are back from holiday, there’s fewer and fewer of them. And they do less and less actual journalism. PR liars (think along the lines of “Microsoft loves Linux”) are happy to fill this vacuum. Microsoft exploits that too.

“Each quarter that passes, each time journalists are back from holiday, there’s fewer and fewer of them. And they do less and less actual journalism. PR liars (think along the line of “Microsoft loves Linux”) are happy to fill this vacuum. Microsoft exploits that too.”Over the years we’ve taken note of Fossbytes, seeing how it gradually becomes an anti-Linux site. Ignore the “FOSS” part; it’s a Microsoft promotion site, nowadays run by utterly clueless (or worse — dishonest) people…

“Microsoft loves Linux” is the kind of lie they push there every week. They’re also openwashing proprietary software of Microsoft quite routinely. They describe Microsoft as “FOSS”. But they should stop repeating this lie. Because pretty much every big project/product of Microsoft remains proprietary. Microsoft didn’t ‘open up’. It’s a paid-for PR campaign. Always fact-check and assess pertinent facts.

Just before the weekend we saw Adrian Bridgwater (Forbes) repeating these PR lies. He has long repeated Microsoft talking points about FOSS; when I pointed this out he threatened me. Once again he says “Microsoft loves Linux”. He can say that all he wants (that’s the price of free speech), but it doesn’t make this PR lie any more true, just more crap being flung at a wall.

A Techrights reader too noticed this article and quoted from it the Microsoft-connected WhiteSource: “VP of product for open source security and compliance company WhiteSource David Habusha suggests that this shift is materially impacting the entire open source community, since it is nearly impossible for hobbyist programmers and smaller special interest groups (SIGs) to compete with these huge corporations, who have the money needed to develop and maintain open source projects at a higher level.”

“Microsoft didn’t ‘open up’. It’s a paid-for PR campaign.”WhiteSource is part of this problem; WhiteSource works closely with Microsoft and badmouths FOSS every week. It glorifies and cherishes proprietary software monopolies with openwashing.

We’ve meanwhile also noticed that Microsoft is again openwashing the proprietary software HoloLens through GitHub (which is itself proprietary). It’s a paid press release… it’s cross-posted. Not too shockingly the Microsoft-connected propaganda networks (check ownership) were happy to participate in the openwashing of HoloLens. Microsoft, Open Source and HoloLens are all in the headline; never mind if Microsoft and HoloLens are both proprietary. As a reminder, Microsoft sacked all HoloLens staff when it bought the company; it then gave HoloLens to the US Army (to help kill people more efficiently). It is a relatively old controversy.

“As a reminder, Microsoft sacked all HoloLens staff when it bought the company; it then gave HoloLens to the US Army (to help kill people more efficiently).”If Microsoft buys your company, it’s time to move on or risk being an active (complicit) participant in crimes and other immoral acts, shows history… nowadays a lot of Microsoft’s business/operation is helping governments spy on and oppress people. This is an actual fact and articles around the world have covered this point reasonably well (not necessarily in English).

Yesterday we wrote about the way Microsoft is ‘Linuxwashing’ its surveillance devices that are plugged into Azure (much of that has been in the media lately); someone then told me, on that same day:

#Microsoft has also recently developed hardware platforms and SoCs where they are the only actor allowed to manage all the cryptography keys stored in HW.

This means that they will be able to sell licenses for cryptography as ‘IoT service’ and make sure system manufacturers and users will pay fees to use open standards and cryptography on their HW.

#Microsoft IoT plans are extremely obscure and well hidden behind their #openwashing campaign

Notice that the term openwashing — which we coined more than a decade ago — is spreading and gaining momentum. This is good because it helps communicate a particular issue in concise (one-word) terms.

Microsoft is, according to this, also openwashing PowerToys — software that you can only run on proprietary software with NSA back doors. How open is it really?

“Notice that the term openwashing — which we coined more than a decade ago — is spreading and gaining momentum. This is good because it helps communicate a particular issue in concise (one-word) terms.”This sort of ‘propaganda’ style of reporting is becoming far too commonplace. For technology (i.e. the whole site) ZDNet deserves treatment akin to that of Daily Fail (renamed ‘Mail Online’ in Britain to dodge hard bans; it’s a really bad tabloid; not reliable and occasionally lying, intentionally, for hits). The site is full of Microsoft insiders who call themselves ‘reporters’ and it is owner entirely by CBS, which is a notorious megaphone of the CIA (new example here in ‘Intelligence Matters’, hosted by a former CIA chief in their prime time news sites/channels).

For CBS, in the area of tech (e.g. ZDNet, Tech Republic, CNET), it’s also a megaphone of Microsoft (which helps commit crimes against humanity and participates in imperialism). Watch who they pick/recruit as staff writers; some are working concurrently at Microsoft, i.e. they’re salaried by Microsoft.

Speaking of imperialism, let’s look at Amazon.


The openwashing of listening devices (surveillance which media calls “smart” “assistants”) by the Pentagon-connected Amazon is a subject we covered here several times last month. Here they go again openwashing Alexa: “Amazon has turned its proprietary Alexa Skills Kit Command Line Interface (ASK CLI) into an open-source tool kit.”

So-called ‘tool kit’. Classic openwash.

“The openwashing of listening devices (surveillance which media calls “smart” “assistants”) by the Pentagon-connected Amazon is a subject we covered here several times last month.”Over at another CBS-owned tech site (Tech Republic), Mac Asay (now working for Amazon’s AWS) is promoting “open source” as in pure exploitation (just what the employer does). He became notorious for his Microsoft propaganda (where he had also pursued a job) and he has become a foe of Free software. His latest article, “The key to open source sustainability is good old-fashioned self-interest,” was mentioned to us by readers. Months ago he was defending Amazon’s abuse of Free software projects. Shortly afterwards Amazon gave him a job. Coincidence?


After much hesitation we’ve decided to demote ZDNet like we did Ars Technica. To be frank, Ars Technica is a defunct Web site. They don’t produce anything of value anymore. People other than us point this out too. Publicly!

Seems like their ‘in-house pedophile’ Microsoft Peter added fuel to the bonfire, harming credibility and morale. They pay the price for hiring and paying salaries to Microsoft ‘moles’ (who publish articles 'on behalf' of Microsoft's PR staff).

“They pay the price for hiring and paying salaries to Microsoft ‘moles’ (who publish articles ‘on behalf’ of Microsoft’s PR staff).”Something similar now happens in ZDNet, a prime proponent of openwashing, just like its parent company. Over time we find less (and fewer) reasons to ever link to ZDNet’s Microsoft brainwashing staff. It’s a rogue bunch and it it weren’t for some writers like SJVN, we’d probably just impose a mental block (like blacklist) of the domain. Funded by the likes of Microsoft to promote their agenda, i.e. corrupt ‘journalism’, the site has nothing to offer which favours FOSS. Almost nothing (except SJVN’s articles). News from ZDNet (from yesterday and the past week) is all wrong. Exim has an important bugfix, for example, but the CBS tabloid ZDNet went with: “Millions of Exim servers vulnerable” (in the headline).

As if to imply millions of businesses have just been compromised and the sky is falling. This what happens when CBS hires trolls and drama queens like Catalin Cimpanu from Bleeping Computer (misinformation site, anti-FOSS bias). Many other writers have publicly complained about misinformation from Cimpanu; the same is true for Dan Goodin from Ars Technica — to the point where Ars Technica actually got sued for defamation (over one of many defamatory articles from Goodin).

As we said at the start of this long article, journalism is rotting. People who care about truth say, “let’s create a Web site about facts and news…”

“Openwashing, for instance, is Big Business. There’s demand for it; rich people view that as a form of reputation laundering and this is how the Linux Foundation makes much of its money.”Liars and lying opportunists say, “let’s create a Web site that attracts funding from sponsors and advertisers to lie to the public…”

Guess where the money is. Openwashing, for instance, is Big Business. There’s demand for it; rich people view that as a form of reputation laundering and this is how the Linux Foundation makes much of its money. Sad, but true.

Links 8/9/2019: New Debian Images and GNOME 3.34 RC2

Posted in News Roundup at 1:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

  • Leftovers

    • Tradition, Marketing and Blacked Cognac

      The moment the liquid hits the mark, lips on the balloon rim, the hand having swirled the mellow colouring to life, the throat anticipates. It is tenderising, the gentle burn finding its way down to the belly. Most cultures have their tribute of firewater, or hellfire’s brew, but France’s brandy Cognac, in its various incarnations, applies the blow with soft relentlessness. You are drinking a chronicle of pleasure, a full archive of sensations.

    • Science

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • MoviePass Left Tens Of Thousands Of Credit Card Numbers Exposed Online

        MoviePass initially seemed like it might be a plausible idea, though recently the outfit has been exposed for being terrible at this whole business thing. The service initially let movie buffs pay $30 a month in exchange for unlimited movie tickets at participating theaters, provided they signed up for a full year of service. But recent reports have made it clear company leaders had absolutely no idea what they were doing, the service was routinely hemorrhaging cash (particularly after an unsustainable price drop to $10), and execs even tried to change user passwords to prevent users from actually using the service.

      • [Debian] Andreas Metzler: exim update

        Testing users might want to manually pull the latest (4.92.1-3) upload of Exim from sid instead of waiting for regular migration to testing. It fixes a nasty vulnerability.

      • Linux Fu: Interactive SSH Applications

        [Drew DeVault] recently wrote up some interesting instructions on how to package up interactive text-based Linux commands for users to access via ssh. At first, this seems simple, but there are quite a few nuances to it and [Drew] does a good job of covering them.

        One easy way — but not very versatile — is to create a user and make the program you want to run the default shell. The example used is to make /usr/bin/nethack the shell and now people can log in as that user and play nethack. Simple, right? However, there are better ways to get there.

      • Supermicro Bug Could Let ‘Virtual USBs’ Take Over Corporate Servers

        A newly disclosed vulnerability in Supermicro hardware brings the threat of malicious USBs to corporate servers.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Robert Mugabe, Liberator Turned Dictator, Dies at 95

        Former Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe, an ex-guerrilla chief who took power when the African country shook off white minority rule and presided for decades while economic turmoil and human rights violations eroded its early promise, has died in Singapore. He was 95.

      • War in All But Name as US State Department Offers Bribes to Pirates of Iranian Ships

        If at first you don’t succeed, spread some money around. The Financial Times reports that the US State Department is offering cash bribes to captains of Iranian ships if they sail those ships into ports where the US government can seize them.

      • Any War on Terror is Bullshit

        The saying goes that the greatest trick the devil ever played was fooling the world that he doesn’t exist. I’ve long said that the greatest trick the state ever played was fooling the world that only its existence could keep the devil at bay. The devil in this case being a constantly evolving crop of scapegoats often labeled terrorists. Then again the Old Testament interpretation of the devil has always been the ultimate scapegoat. Lucifer’s great crime was trying to mimic god’s omnipotence with a failed coup. God cast the rebellious angel out of heaven but allowed him to continue to play god in hell because his existence served as the ultimate excuse for god’s unlimited power. My childhood priest, Father Foster, probably wouldn’t agree with this interpretation, but as a budding young anarchist, this is the way the tale sounded to me. The devil’s very existence was defined by god and god in turn needed the devil to justify his power. And this is what I see when I look at the issue of terrorism.

      • The War Ahead: Netanyahu’s Elections Gamble Will be Costly for Israel

        On September 1, the Lebanese group Hezbollah, struck an Israeli military base near the border town of Avivim. The Lebanese attack came as an inevitable response to a series of Israeli strikes that targeted four different Arab countries in the matter of two days.

      • “Everywhere is Kashmir”: Unraveling Weaponized, Corporatized Hindustan in India’s Northeast

        “In India today,” said an Indigenous activist I recently interviewed in the northeastern Indian state of Jharkhand, “everywhere is Kashmir.”

      • A Different​ War Story: the Soldier and Veteran Resistance Against the War in Vietnam

        The battle over American war stories began during the peak of the last revolution. Millions of Americans and tens of thousands of veterans and soldiers opposed the war in Vietnam. In the war’s moral outrages, crimes and betrayals, many saw the US empire for the first time. [1]

      • Arkhangelsk officials acknowledge that the pontoons damaged in last month’s rocket explosion are a public safety risk

        Nearly a month after a mysterious explosion apparently involving a radioactive-isotope-fueled rocket engine, authorities in the Arkhangelsk region have officially recognized the pontoons damaged in the blast as “potentially dangerous objects.” The local government says it’s formally informed Rosatom, the Defense Ministry, the National Weather Service, and the Consumer Protection and Welfare Federal Service. Officials stress that the danger posed by the radioactive pontoons is not life-threatening.

      • We Are Teetering on the Brink of War With Iran

        What follows is a conversation between “The Age of Jihad” author Patrick Cockburn and Greg Wilpert of The Real News Network.

      • U.S. Propaganda Doesn’t Get More Shameless Than ‘Jack Ryan’

        A new trailer out Thursday for Amazon’s television series “Jack Ryan” featuring the titular hero racing against time to stop Venezuela from obtaining a nuclear weapon was widely ridiculed for its jingoistic nature and reliance on conspiracist tropes, with critics deriding the plotline of the new season of the nationalist series.

      • Hassan El Tayyab on US Out of Yemen, Kate Bronfenbrenner on Labor Board vs. Labor

        This week on CounterSpin: A UN panel has just announced that the US could be deemed complicit in war crimes being carried out in Yemen. “Third state” parties, including the US, that supply weapons and other support “[perpetuate] the conflict,” the panel said, and contribute to the immiseration of Yemen, where a near-incomprehensible 80% of the population require humanitarian aid. US media bring images of Yemen’s suffering, but you could think it was happening on Mars, if the dots are not connected between the bombs and the hunger and the cholera, and elected US congressmembers voting again and again to be part of it. We’ll talk about how to change that with Hassan El Tayyab,  legislative representative for Middle East policy at the Friends Committee on National Legislation.

      • New Season of Amazon’s Jack Ryan Focused on Venezuela Denounced as ‘Over-the-Top and Ridiculous’ US Propaganda

        “No matter how cynical you might be about propagandistic American media, you are not prepared for how much watching this trailer is like snorting 100% pure John Bolton.”

      • Defying the Nuclear Sword

        “. . . and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” These lost words — Isaiah 2:4 — are nearly 3,000 years old. Did they ever have political traction? To believe them today, and act on them, is to wind up facing 25 years in prison. This is how far we

      • Should We Feed Hungry Children, or the War Machine?

        In August 21, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, put out a heartbreaking call for nations to make good on their pledges to send humanitarian aid to feed destitute families in war-torn Yemen.

      • From Military Jets to Snipers, Icelanders—Who Live in World’s Most Peaceful Country—Shocked by All the Guns Surrounding Mike Pence

        “Americans intended to give every Reykjavik citizen a paralyzing drug during Pence’s visit,” joked a satirical Icelandic newspaper

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Judge Orders White House To Restore Reporter’s Press Pass It Illegally Removed

        Just a few weeks ago, we wrote about how the White House was clearly setting itself up for another embarrassing failure in court when it removed the press pass of Brian Karem. This wasn’t new. The same thing had happened a year ago. And yet, our comments filled up with a lot of nonsense about how we were wrong and “there is no right to a White House press pass” and a bunch of other nonsense.

      • The Most Consequential Whistleblower Who Wasn’t

        While so many have heard of whistleblowers Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden making history in recent years, few have heard the story of Katharine Gun, the subject of the film “Official Secrets,” directed and co-written by Gavin Hood. On the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence,” the “Official Secrets” director tells Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer that he learned about Gun from Ged Doherty, a producer he’d worked with on the film “Eye in the Sky” about drone warfare, and realized the whistleblower’s compelling story needed to be told.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Jerome Powell, Labor Day Hero?

        The Federal Reserve Board chair might seem an odd pick of a person to honor on Labor Day, but he really does deserve some recognition. In addition to dealing with incoherent tirades from the whiner-in-chief, Jerome Powell has led a hugely important shift in the focus of the Fed.

      • Joni Ernst Wants to Cut Social Security Behind Closed Doors

        Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) just said out loud what Republican politicians usually only talk about in secret meetings with their billionaire donors: The GOP wants to cut our earned Social Security benefits—and they want to do it behind closed doors so that they don’t have to pay the political price. | By Nancy J. Altman

      • Tax the Rich Before the Rest

        Presidential candidates should take a pledge: The middle class should not pay one dollar more in new taxes until the super-rich pay their fair share.

      • ‘Shameful’: Warren Warns Trump Plan to Privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Would Make Housing Crisis Worse

        “The Trump administration wants to make it harder for creditworthy working families—especially families of color—to buy a home and build wealth.”

      • Puerto Rico, Military Schools to Lose Money for Trump’s Border Fencing

        The Pentagon will cut funding from military projects like schools, target ranges and maintenance facilities to pay for the construction of 175 miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, diverting a total $3.6 billion to President Donald Trump’s long-promised barrier.

      • Corporations Getting to Zero With GOP’s Inside Help on Tax Avoidance

        Aircastle Ltd. is not a household name, but if you’ve flown on South African Airways, KLM, or any of more than 80 other airlines, you’ve probably traveled on an airplane the Connecticut-based company owns and manages.

      • The Walton Family Plot to Privatize the Public Schools of Arkansas

        The headquarters of the Walton/Walmart billionaires is in Bentonville, Arkansas, so it is not surprising that the Walton Family Foundation and the members of the family (net worth: $100 billion) have decided to privatize the public schools of Arkansas.Arkansas is a poor state. It doesn’t have an abundance of private schools that are as good as its underfunded public schools

      • Severance Pay: Corporate Obligation to Long-Term Workers

        In recent months there have been a number of large retail companies that went into bankruptcy, most notably Sears and Toys “R” Us. In these and other cases, the public is naturally concerned about the plight of long-term workers who have often spent decades working for the same company.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump Year Three: Three Random Late Summer Thoughts

        The underlying premise was never plausible, but for a while it was still possible to hope that, under Trump, American foreign policy would be less bellicose than it would have been had Hillary Clinton not managed to lose the 2016 election.

      • Home intruder attacks Russian Central Election Commissioner with electric-shock device

        Russian police say a masked intruder broke into Central Election Commissioner Ella Pamfilova’s home and attacked her repeatedly with an electric-shock device. The assailant reportedly entered her home through a terrace window. Police have launched a robbery investigation, and top officials from the Interior Ministry are managing the case.

      • The Tough Guy Presidencies

        Numerous Democrats have quoted Ronald Reagan, trying to show how far the Republican Party has fallen under Trump, yet there is much in Reagan’s approach that Trump has taken and elaborated on: specifically, the tough guy presidential persona.

      • U.S., Chinese Envoys to Meet in October for Tariff War Talks

        U.S. and Chinese envoys will meet in early October for more talks aimed at ending a tariff war that threatens global economic growth.

      • Progressives Can’t Play Nice With Democrats Anymore

        Progressive activists often see a frustrating pattern. Many Democrats in office are good at liberal platitudes but don’t really fight for what we need. Even when constituents organize to lobby or protest, they have little leverage compared to big campaign donors, party leaders and corporate media spin. Activist efforts routinely fall short because—while propelled by facts and passion—they lack power.

      • Neoliberal Democrats Need to Stop Blaming the Internet and Take Some Responsibility for 2016

        Ever since the 2016 elections, neoliberals have been looking for reasons to explain why Hillary Clinton lost and why Donald Trump won.  They’ve blamed the Russians, Bernie Bros, the media … anything but themselves.  Now, a new study gives them another reason—blame it on the Internet.

      • The Hitler-Stalin Pact, a Reply

        There are many inaccuracies in the Proyect/Szelegieniec essay, but I will comment only on a few of the most important ones…

      • Your Vote, Your Voice: Don’t Waste It

        More than a year out from the 2020 presidential election, we’re already starting to see “spoiler” fear-mongering from supporters of America’s two largest political parties and their candidates.

      • Come Home to Montana, Wanderin’ Steve Bullock, There’s Work to Do

        It’s not unusual for politicians in one elected office to seek higher office and that’s just what Montana’s Gov. Steve Bullock has been doing for much of the last few months. But reality has a way of chiming in on political ambition and given that Bullock will not make the next Democratic debate due to his lack of widespread — or even marginal — support, it’s time for him to come home to Montana, where there is plenty of challenging work to do.

      • The Problem With Warren

        A new poll shows that support for former vice president Joe Biden is falling. The survey, produced by Monmouth University, shows Biden dropping from 32 percent amongst Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters in June – when Monmouth produced its last poll – to below 19 percent now. The stats, meanwhile, place Biden’s two progressive competitors, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, ahead at 20 percent each.

      • No Joe: On Character, Quality and Authenticity

        The Democratic Party establishment might want to heed Santayana’s warning about how people who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. One of the many lessons of the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign is that your candidate better damn well possess strong quality and character if you are going to run on, well, candidate quality and character.

      • Biden’s Unappealing Fundraising Appeal Letter to My Mother
      • ‘This Is Incredible,’ Says Corbyn, as Voter Registration Surges Amid Boris Johnson’s Chaotic Lurch Towards UK General Election

        “This Brexit crisis has now come down to a simple question about whether we live in a democracy: can we allow Boris Johnson to force No Deal on our country, without all of us having our voice heard?”

      • We’re Forked
      • NOAA disavows National Weather Service tweet that contradicted Trump

        The controversy reached a fever pitch on Wednesday when Trump displayed a map in the Oval Office that apparently was altered with black marker to show the storm’s projected path extending into southeastern Alabama.

        Trump has denied knowing about the apparently altered map that he showcased, though The Washington Post reported that the president had marked it up.

      • Donald Trump: A Hero of Our Time?

        How can we explain that the victim of another Trump slur nonetheless stated afterward that this president “is the best thing that ever happened to this country”? How—after the president bawled out his victim, Frank Dawson,  for being overweight and told him to go home to his mother—could thousands in his Manchester, NH rally on August 15 just  sit there and stomach Trump’s claim that his campaign is based on “love”?

      • ‘Not Exactly a Vote of Confidence’: Amid Brexit Chaos, Boris Johnson’s Own Brother Resigns

        Week of legislative defeats and popular ridicule continues for embattled UK Prime Minister

      • The EU’s Ursula von der Leyen: Who Voted for Her?

        July heatwave luckily distracted public attention in Europe from disruption in another area: democracy. Few hot and bothered Europeans noticed that the political line they had been fed for at least three years had just been dropped. The media, busy with other investigations, did not try hard to alert them.

      • Brexit and Ye Olde Ordo Ab Chao as But Another Nine Inch Stab Neoliberal

        The manufacture of crisis as ‘reality owned’ continues to exist within a dialectical paradigm of political abuse by Stateless Bastards condemned to relish filth and as ‘ascendant’ Geopolitical?

      • Steve King Is Drinking From Toilets (Sort Of) to Own the Libs and We Feel Bad For the Toilet

        Another day, another racist clown. Seeking to rebut AOC with a big “Oh yeah?” for slamming conditions at Trump’s concentration camps so barbaric migrant women had to drink water from toilets, Iowa’s Steve ‘What’s Wrong With Being A Nazi’ King got into a camp so he could film himself drinking water from said toilets and declare “Not bad!” Except he used the attached fountain,

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Federal Gov’t Gives Customs Officers Permission To Break Social Media Platform Rules Forbidding Fake Accounts

        The scanning of visa and green card applicants’ social media accounts during the application process continues to escalate. Even though the program hasn’t shown itself to be effective in keeping the country free of terrorists or criminals, the DHS and its components continue to believe this is an essential part of our national security infrastructure.

      • FTC’s Latest Fine Of YouTube Over COPPA Violations Shows That COPPA And Section 230 Are On A Collision Course

        As you probably heard, earlier this week, the FCC fined Google/YouTube for alleged COPPA violations in regards to how it collected data on kids. You can read the details of the complaint and proposed settlement (which still needs to be approved by a judge, but that’s mostly a formality). For the most part, people responded to this in the same way that they responded to the FTC’s big Facebook fine. Basically everyone hates it — though for potentially different reasons. Most people hate it because they think it’s a slap on the wrist, won’t stop such practices and just isn’t painful enough for YouTube to care. On the flip side, some people hate it because it will force YouTube to change its offerings for no good reason at all and in a manner that might actually lead to more privacy risks and less content for children.

      • Police officer reportedly visits Moscow high school and warns that protesting will ruin their lives

        An anonymous high schooler in Moscow has leaked an audio recording to the website Mediazona, capturing a speech by a visitor dressed in a police uniform, who introduced herself to the class as a juvenile case inspector. In her remarks, the woman threatened the students with criminal prosecution for attending political protests, warning that they’d have no legal recourse, if a case against them is opened.

      • Devin Nunes Drops One Ridiculous Lawsuit, Only To File Another One

        A month ago we wrote about Devin Nunes’ third lawsuit against his critics over their speech, and noted that he was promising in the press that more lawsuits were coming. We noted that the latest lawsuit was slightly odd in that he actually filed it in California, rather than Virginia (as with his first two lawsuits), and in California he could face real anti-SLAPP penalties (i.e., paying the other side’s legal fees). Perhaps that’s why that lawsuit was not actually filed by Nunes himself, but rather his campaign. If it got tossed out via anti-SLAPP, then suckers who donated to his campaign would foot the bill, rather than Nunes directly himself. Either way, we’ll likely never find out because as suddenly as that case was filed, it’s now been dismissed by Nunes. Amusingly, Nunes’ lawyer is claiming victory:

      • Chinese Giant Tencent Is Suing Bloggers Who Criticize The Company For ‘Reputational Damage’

        It appears that the idea of SLAPP suits has moved to China. The Chinese internet giant Tencent is apparently fed up with its own users criticizing the company on its own WeChat blogging platform, and has sued a bunch of them (possibly paywalled — here’s another link for the story). The details are pretty ridiculous, even recognizing that China doesn’t (by a long shot) have a history of protecting free expression. What’s incredible here, of course, is that Tencent could have just shut down the accounts of the WeChatters. But, instead it’s trying to completely destroy them with these lawsuits.

      • Court Tosses $100 Million Defamation Suit Brought By Former Trump Spokesman Over Reporting On Court Documents

        A federal court has dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought against the Splinter website by a former Trump staffer. Jason Miller, a Trump campaign spokesman, sued after Splinter published an article that included allegations made by another Trump staffer Miller had an affair with. The allegations being sued over weren’t your normal allegations. These allegations were made in court by A.J. Delgado, Miller’s affair partner who later had Miller’s child.

      • Facebook, Twitter, and Google must remove disinformation, Beto O’Rourke demands

        Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s campaign is demanding that Facebook, Twitter, and Google more aggressively counter disinformation on their platforms. In letters addressed to the companies Friday, O’Rourke’s team outlines how they believe each of them could address the issue after his campaign was falsely linked to a suspected shooter on social media last weekend.

      • Members of Congress Question Google CEO about YouTube’s Content-ID System

        YouTube’s Content ID system aims to protect copyright holders, but for now, it’s not open to everyone. This limited availability of one of the largest copyright enforcement tools has raised questions among several US members of Congress. They question Google CEO Sundar Pichai on several Content ID issues, hoping the company will open it up to more rightsholders.

      • Ukraine releases separatist air-defense commander suspected of being ‘important eyewitness’ to downing of MH17

        A court in Kyiv has released Vladimir Tsemakh on his own recognizance. Tsemakh was arrested in June inside the self-declared People’s Republic of Donetsk and then transferred to Kyiv. His daughter, Maria, confirmed to the news agency Interfax that she learned from his lawyer that her father has left the courthouse.

      • Moscow university administrator bans student journal from festival after it invites signatures for letter to political prisoners

        The administration of Moscow’s Higher School of Economics has threatened to ban the student journal Doxa from a university celebration at Gorky Park on September 5, if the editors refuse to “depoliticize” the activities they plan to conduct at their booth during the event. 

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • 9/11 and the American Orwellian Nightmare

        Next week will mark the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Politicians and bureaucrats wasted no time after that carnage to unleash the Surveillance State on average Americans, treating every citizen like a terrorist suspect.   Since the government failed to protect the public, Americans somehow forfeited their constitutional right to privacy. Despite heroic efforts by former NSA staffer Edward Snowden and a host of activists and freedom fighters, the government continues ravaging American privacy.

      • Facebook’s Dating Service is Full of Red Flags

        If you open Facebook’s mobile app today, it will likely suggest that you try the company’s new Dating service, which just launched in the U.S. after a rollout in 19 other countries last year. But with the company’s track record of mishandling user data, and its business model of monetizing our sensitive information to power third-party targeted advertising, potential users should view Facebook’s desire to peek into our bedrooms as a huge red flag.

        Just this week, Facebook’s lax data privacy practices resulted in a huge database of phone numbers linked to accounts surfacing on a third party’s unprotected server. Generally, this is how the story goes: sensitive user data is leaked or found to be available in a way that Facebook users didn’t expect. But don’t worry, the company says—we’ve updated those practices. While improvements are appreciated, this cycle gets repeated so regularly that you could almost set your watch by it. 

      • Ring Let Cops Know How Often Their Requests For Camera Footage Were Ignored

        I have seen the future and it’s hundreds of law enforcement agencies morphing into Amazon subsidiaries. Amazon’s Ring doorbell camera currently commands 97% of the doorbell camera market. It’s easy to see why. Amazon has the marketing power and cash flow to hand out discounted cameras to police departments, using them as loss leaders to ensure buy-in by end users, many of whom get these cameras for free from local cops.

      • News anchor sues Facebook and Reddit after a convenience store creepshot showed up in dating ads

        Hepp’s lawsuit names Facebook, Reddit, the image repository Imgur, the animated GIF site Giphy, and the porn site XNXX, alongside 10 other operators of unnamed sites. She writes that approximately two years ago, she discovered that a convenience store security camera photo of her had appeared online in some unwanted contexts. That included a Facebook ad promising meetups with “single women,” an unspecified ad for erectile dysfunction, a Reddit forum for sexualized pictures of older women, and the “MILF” tag on Imgur.

      • The founders of a billion-dollar Israeli spyware startup accused of helping Saudi Arabia attack dissidents are funding a web of new companies that hack into smart speakers, routers, and other devices

        NSO Group’s founders and alumni have spawned a web of more than a dozen similar startups, many of which operate in secret, that sell attacks against routers, computers, smart speakers, and other digital devices.

      • Google Has My Dead Grandpa’s Data And He Never Used The Internet

        Further down the list I found other, more unsettling revelations about what Google knows about me. It turns out Google has info connecting me to my grandma (on my dad’s side) who’s alive and well but has never had the internet, and my grandpa (on my mom’s side), who recently passed away in March 2019 and also never had the internet.

        This was disturbing for several reasons, the biggest of which being that neither of them had ever logged onto the internet in their lives. Neither even had the internet in their homes their entire lives! Beyond that, Google knew their exact addresses and their middle initials. I couldn’t even have told you those things about my grandparents. Sure, I could drive you to their houses, but I couldn’t tell you their address off the top of my head. And lastly was the format of the data entry. The all-caps address on my grandpa’s account really threw me off because it made me feel as if the info was machine processed at one point or another, because I don’t enter information in all caps anywhere except in my handwriting, on paper. After seeing this, I began to investigate how Google might have 1) gained access to this info and 2) connected it to me.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • T-Mobile Employees Want Promises They Won’t Be Fired Post Merger

        We’ve noted repeatedly how the Sprint, T-Mobile merger isn’t great. There’s forty years of history showing how telecom industry megamergers almost always result in less competition, higher prices, and fewer jobs, and this deal is no exception. Eliminating one of just four US wireless carriers is likely to result in higher prices (see: Canada or Ireland). And Wall Street analysts not only predict the deal could eliminate anywhere between 10,000 and 30,000 jobs, data suggests the consolidation could result in employees across the sector making less money even if they work at other companies.

      • Key California Officials Join the Voices Opposing Broadband Deregulation Law

        Right now, a vast majority of Californians have just one choice—or no choice at all—for high-speed broadband service, thanks to a law that removed any state oversight over California’s broadband market. When that law passed in 2012, its supporters, including AT&T and Comcast, promised that removing oversight of any telecommunications service that worked over the Internet would allow high-speed broadband to flourish, and would create a better and more competitive market.

        As California’s current broadband market clearly shows, it did not. Yet A.B. 1366, authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, exempts broadband carriers from state regulation. Such a move would leave Californians with little or no option for affordable high-speed broadband internet, and no regulators empowered to change that situation—while others across the country and around the world move ahead of California.

    • Monopolies

      • ‘A Major Step Forward’: Multi-State Probe Targets Facebook’s Possible Antitrust Violations

        “Even the largest social media platform in the world must follow the law and respect consumers.”

      • US states hit Facebook and Google with new antitrust probes [iophk: again Microsoft should also be on the same list]

        The first probe, led by New York and including seven other states and the District of Columbia, focuses on Facebook. The second, announced by Texas and likely to include up to 40 other states, did not specify the targets among large tech companies but was expected to center on Google.

        Once lauded as engines of economic growth, the companies in social media, Internet search, e-commerce and other digital technologies have increasingly been on the defensive over lapses such as privacy breaches and their outsized market influence.

      • Eight US states are taking Facebook to court over dominance

        Eight states, as well as the District of Columbia, have announced a class action in the New York courts to investigate anti-competitive and unethical behaviour from the social media giant. This is in addition to the US Federal Trade Commission investigation, currently ongoing.

        State officials from Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee are joining forces with Columbia and they’re not pulling punches: [...]

      • States to Launch Google, Facebook Antitrust Probes

        Top state law-enforcement officials from across the country are formally launching antitrust probes into Facebook Inc. FB -1.79% and Alphabet Inc. GOOG -0.53% ’s Google starting next week, further pressuring tech giants already under federal scrutiny over whether their online dominance stifles competition.

        The moves, involving two large bipartisan coalitions of state attorneys general, add considerable heft to the investigative efforts under way in Washington. As in the government’s antitrust action against Microsoft Corp. two decades ago, state attorneys general are likely to provide important contributions to the substance of the investigations, complementing the federal efforts.

      • State attorneys general teaming up on antitrust probes of Facebook and Google

        Tech giants Facebook and Google are facing more scrutiny into their business practices.

        A multi-state antitrust investigation, led by New York State Attorney General Letitia James, is focusing on “Facebook’s dominance in the industry and the potential anticompetitive conduct stemming from that dominance,” she said Friday.

        Other states involved in the bipartisan initiative, says James, who is a Democrat, include the attorneys general of Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, and the District of Columbia.

        Another collective of states, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, plans to announce the launch of a multi-state investigation “into whether large tech companies have engaged in anticompetitive behavior that stifled competition, restricted access, and harmed consumers,” the attorney general’s office announced Friday.

      • Google uses paid search results to shake down businesses, says Basecamp CEO

        “When Google puts 4 paid ads ahead of the first organic result for your own brand name, you’re forced to pay up if you want to be found,” tweeted Basecamp CEO and co-founder Jason Fried, yesterday, along with the funny ad he bought to show up in Google’s search results.

      • Google confirms DOJ antitrust scrutiny, preps for probe from states

        Google on Friday said the US Department of Justice has asked the company for information on previous antitrust investigations, confirming that the federal government is looking into its business practices.

        The search giant also said it’s preparing for scrutiny from state attorneys generals. An official announcement of that probe is expected Monday in Washington, DC.

        “The DOJ has asked us to provide information about these past investigations, and we expect state attorneys general will ask similar questions,” Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president of global affairs, wrote in a blog post. “We have always worked constructively with regulators and we will continue to do so.”

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Sharp asks Judge Koh to confirm that Continental’s motion for U.S. antisuit injunction won’t impact its own German Daimler patent suits

          At the beginning of this week, Daimler supplier Continental Automotive Systems was forced to withdraw a motion for a U.S. antisuit injunction motion with respect to the ten above-mentioned Nokia cases. As I explained in that post, it remains to be seen whether that partial withdrawal of the U.S. antisuit motion, further to a German anti-antisuit-injunction injunction (“AAII”) obtained by Nokia in Munich, will be deemed sufficient–but in the meantime, before any hypothetical contemption motion would be adjudged, the Munich appeals court may very well lift the injunction.

          Continental’s withdrawal-in-part specifically stated that the motion was not withdrawn with respect to “the other defendants in this proceeding,” and not in the same sentence, but in the wider context, the withdrawal notice reminded the U.S. court of “Sharp’s separate and ongoing proceedings against Continental’s customer Daimler.”

        • iNO Therapeutics LLC v. Praxair Distribution Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2019)

          Albert Einstein once famously (albeit perhaps apocryphally) said that “[c]ompound interest is the most powerful force in the universe.” Not to contradict the creator of 20th Century physics, but it is just as likely that the most powerful force in the universe is the power of unintended consequences. The Federal Circuit illustrated this power in its recent decision in iNo Therapeutics LLC v. Praxair Distribution Inc. with regard to Justice Breyer’s exhortation, in his Mayo Collaborative Serv. Inc. v. Prometheus Laboratories opinion, regarding the need to beware of “interpreting patent statutes in ways that make patent eligibility ‘depend simply on the draftsman’s art’ without reference to the ‘principles un­derlying the prohibition against patents for [natural laws],’” citing Flook v. Parker.

          Plaintiffs iNO Therapeutics, LLC, Mallinckrodt Hospital Products Inc., and Mallinckrodt Hospital Products IP Inc. asserted U.S. Patent Nos. 8,282,966; 8,293,284; 8,795,741; 8,431,163; and 8,846,112, which the opinion “collectively [termed the] ‘heart failure patents’ or ‘HF patents’” against Praxair Distribution Inc. and Praxair Inc. Plaintiffs also asserted U.S. Patent Nos. 8,573,209; 8,776,794; 8,776,795; 9,265,911; and 9,295,802 which the opinion “collectively [termed the] ‘delivery system infrared patents’ or ‘DSIR patents’” and which were directed to devices for administering nitric oxide gas. As explained in the opinion, inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) gas had been “used to treat infants experiencing hypoxic respiratory failure” since at least the early 1990′s. However, in certain cases this treatment results in increased pulmonary edema for infants having a congenital defect, left ventricular hypertrophy.


          Returning to the majority’s blessedly non-precedential opinion, it will bring cold comfort to patent-divested patentees, as well as being somewhat ironic that the upshot of the opinion leads patent prosecutors to the inevitable conclusion that the Federal Circuit is counseling exactly what Justice Breyer cautioned against in Mayo, that we should beware of the clever draftsman who attempts (or worse, succeeds) in obtaining claims that are enforceable and pass the patent eligibility test that the Federal Circuit has crafted, based predominantly on such claim-drafting cleverness. This is not the first time that this has been the outcome of the Federal Circuit’s patent eligibility jurisprudence. For example, in In re Roslyn, Judge Dyk’s opinion held patent-ineligible claims to Dolly the sheep which was, after all, just a sheep (notwithstanding being a sheep unlike any sheep that had ever lived). But a careful review of that opinion leads ineluctably to the conclusion that, had the draftsman been clever enough (or prescient enough to realize before the fact the quantum and quality of cleverness required) to have claimed a flock of genetically identical sheep, the Court’s objections to patent ineligibility would have perforce fallen, because it would be undeniable that flocks of genetically identical sheep do not occur in nature. This state of affairs is frankly Byzantine and antithetical to Congress’s purpose (uniformity and predictability in U.S. patent law) for creating the Federal Circuit, as well as being contrary to the principles of clarity and the creation of “bright line rules” that arguably prompted the Supreme Court to begin its heightened scrutiny of the Court and its opinions (if not philosophy). The Federal Circuit’s current path is contrary to the idea that patent claims should be readily understandable to well-intended business people and frank (or in current parlance, “efficient”) infringers alike and also contrary to the Founders’ attitudes regarding patenting as a way to encourage disclosure of new inventions for the public good. Having such a path will give little relief to those who have lost patent rights under the current regime, but at least it provides a way for inventors to obtain patent-eligible claims no matter what other branches of government do in addressing this issue. Innovation, especially in the diagnostic and life sciences arts, requires no more and is entitled to no less.

        • Eligibility: Commercial Success is Irrelevant to Inventive Concept Analysis

          Mark Greenstein is trying to patent an automated investment system to “automatically adjust the amount [a] person saves” in order to achieve a projected income amount. A key element of the claims, according to Greenstein, is to “utilize a projected amount of income at a future date for at least one person.” The Examiner and PTAB found the claims unpatentable as both lacking eligibility and as either anticipated or obvious.


          On appeal, Greenstein argued that the claimed utilization of projected income was an inventive concept and noted that it “was the basis for the successful commercial launch of a new product, demonstrating its material advantages to persons in the relevant market.” On appeal, the Federal Circuit found that argument failed to connect the dots.

        • Federal Circuit Issues Order Clarifying Status of Doctrine of Equivalents

          The Federal Circuit affirmed, in an opinion by Judge Lourie joined by Judges O’Malley and Reyna. There was nothing remarkable about the opinion, which agreed with the District Court’s claim construction and that Sandoz did not literally infringe under that interpretation of the scope and meaning of the claims. Where the opinion got interesting (and where the en banc court felt the need to grant in part Amgen’s petition to rehear the case) was when the panel dismissed Amgen’s argument that infringement could be found under the doctrine of equivalents by stating:


          Prudence suggests the Court would have done itself a better service if it had struck the entire sentence, because the sentiment remains that the doctrine is not “readily available to extend protection beyond the scope of the claims.” Indeed, the doctrine is readily available to extent protection beyond the literal scope of the claims is warranted; if the Court wants to know why it should be readily evident by now that the reason is that the Supreme Court has said so, in Winans v. Denmead, 56 U.S. 330 (1854); Seymour v. Osbourne, 78 U.S. 516 (1870); Graver Tank & Mfg. Co. v. Linde Air Prod. Co. 339 U.S. 605 (1950); Warner-Jenkinson v. Hilton Davis Chemical Co., 520 U.S. 17 (1997); and Festo Corp. v. Shoketsu Kinzoku Kogyo Kabushiki Co., 535 U.S. 722 (2002). This judicial sentiment to the contrary by the Federal Circuit is reminiscent of language that arguably was at least in part responsible for energizing the Supreme Court to review more closely the Federal Circuit’s stewardship of the Court’s patent jurisprudence (inter alia, in Warner-Jenkinson and Festo) and we all see where that has gotten us (see, e.g., “The Proper Role of the Federal Circuit”).

          What is particularly disheartening is that this was a precedential decision, available for review by the entire Court. Whilst comprising just 6 words in a 16-page opinion, it is unfortunate that the impact of those 6 words was unappreciated (or worse, that concerns about them were disregarded) by the members of the Court. The precedential value (or risk) of these words in the decision is (for the time being) past, but the circumstances under which they arose in the first place may remain with the patent community for some time.

        • Questioning Patent Alienability

          The standard economic rationale for the alienability of property rights is that it facilitates the flow of resources to those who can put it to the most valuable use, or the “highest utility user.” But patents do not come with a right to productively use some social resource—patent rights consist only of a right to stop others from using the claimed invention. The per-son who is most able to extract rents with a patent’s veto power is not necessarily the same as the person who will put an invention to its most socially valuable use. If one simply applied the conventional economic justification for the alienability of property rights onto patents, then having patents flow to the highest rent extractor is not obviously desirable from a social viewpoint. Restricting transfers to predatory users would accordingly seem justified.

          If the unrestricted alienability of patents is to be justified on economic grounds, it must be by reference to other reasons, such as an argument that allowing alienability increases the value of a patent and therefore increases ex ante incentives to invent. But such alternative justifications come with their own limits. Alienability is neither the only means to increase ex ante incentives to invent, nor a particularly effective one, given that inventors must share the surplus generated by alienability with the (more sophisticated) transferee. The case for unlimited alienability of patents is therefore an uneasy one.

        • Patent Board Invalidates Part of Uniloc Battery Charging Patent

          Apple Inc. has convinced a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office administrative law tribunal that prior inventions render some claims in a Uniloc 2017 LLC battery charging patent invalid.

          The Patent Trial and Appeal Board voided more than half of the claims in Uniloc’s U.S. Patent No. 6,661,203, which involves “charging, discharging, and recharging rechargable batteries under adverse thermal conditions.” Apple had challenged the patent at the PTAB in an inter partes review, in which the board weighs the validity of patent claims in light of prior art.

          The Aug. 19 decision is the latest in a running battle between Apple and Uniloc over technology patents that has played out at the PTAB and in courts.

          Apple argued that two U.S. patents and a Japanese patent application rendered claims in the ‘203 patent obvious to a person of ordinary skill in the art, meaning an individual knowledgeable about the relevant technology.

        • A Functional Approach to Judicial Review of PTAB Rulings on Mixed Questions of Law and Fact

          The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (“Federal Circuit”) has long relied on active appellate review to bring uniformity and clarity to patent law. It initially treated the PTO the same as the federal district courts, reviewing its factual findings for clear error and its legal conclusions de novo. Following reversal by the Supreme Court in Dickinson v. Zurko, the Federal Circuit began giving greater deference to PTO factual findings. But it continued to review the PTO’s legal conclusions de novo, while coding an expansive list of disputed issues in patent cases as legal conclusions, even when they rest on subsidiary factfinding.

          Congress expanded the role of the PTO in adjudicating challenges to patent validity in the Leahy–Smith America Invents Act of 2011 (“AIA”), authorizing new adjudicatory proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) as an alternative to federal district court litigation. The AIA provides for Federal Circuit review of PTAB decisions, without specifying standards of review. The scope of review could determine the success of these proceedings as a quicker, cheaper, and more expert alternative to district court litigation of patent challenges. The Federal Circuit applies the same standards of review to PTAB decisions in AIA proceedings that it applies to other PTO rulings, reviewing legal conclusions de novo and factual findings for substantial evidence. It also follows the same characterizations of issues as legal or factual that it has long used in the context of court/court review. In the past, by maximizing the scope of appellate review, these characterizations allowed the Federal Circuit to exercise greater quality control over generalist trial courts with limited competence to resolve patent matters. The net benefits are more dubious as applied to decisions of expert PTAB panels in AIA adjudications. Yet reversal rates at the Federal Circuit are essentially the same for PTAB decisions as for decisions of district courts in patent cases, threatening to frustrate a system designed to improve patent quality while limiting litigation costs.

          This Essay reconsiders the proper scope of judicial review of PTAB rulings on two issues that the Federal Circuit codes as legal conclusions with factual underpinnings: nonobviousness and claim interpretation. Drawing on a functional approach to judicial review of mixed questions of law and fact, it argues for more deferential review of PTAB rulings on nonobviousness and claim interpretation given the expertise of the administrative tribunal and the case-specificity of the rulings. The Federal Circuit would do better to confine de novo review to generalizable legal rulings that provide guidance in future matters rather than replicating the work of the PTAB from the appellate bench on routine case-specific rulings.

      • Trademarks

        • A New ‘Taco Tuesday’ Trademark Challenger Approaches: LeBron James

          As we’ve previously discussed, restaurant chain Taco John’s has waged at least a decades-long war to try to pretend that its trademarked term, “Taco Tuesday,” hasn’t become generic. How the chain ever got what sure looks to be a purely descriptive trademark is anyone’s guess, but armed with its trademark the company has since gone after other restaurants big and small for daring to host their own “Taco Tuesdays.” If all of this sounds depressingly stupid to you, well, you’re not wrong.

        • Patent Office to Tom Brady: You are not that ‘Terrific’

          The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office told Tom Brady that there’s only one “Tom Terrific” — and it’s not him.

          The office rejected Brady’s application to have the moniker all to himself, with regulators ruling that the alliterative title is too closely linked to New York Mets pitching icon Tom Seaver.

      • Copyrights

        • Epic Accuses Cheating Minor Of Continuing To Promote Cheat Software Even After Lawsuit

          Over the past year or so, we’ve been discussing Epic’s somewhat strange ongoing legal dispute with a minor from Illinois over cheating software he developed for Fortnite. Epic initially went after a host of so-called cheaters for developing these tools, claiming that they were violating both copyright and TOS agreements for the game. It found out later that one of these targets was a minor. Instead of backing off in any respect, even after the child’s mother petitioned the court with a letter asking it to dismiss the case as the minor can’t have entered into a TOS agreement, Epic has since pressed the throttle to go after a child.

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