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Links 6/8/2018: Linux 4.18 RC8, Pinguy OS 18.04.1, Netrunner Rolling 2018.08, Thunderbird 60

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Why the Failure to Conquer the Desktop Was Great for GNU/Linux
      Canonical recently launched Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. It's an important release. In part, that's because Canonical will support it for five years, making it one of the relatively rare LTS products in Ubuntu's history. Ubuntu 18.04 also marks a high-profile return to GNOME as the default desktop, after a few years of controversial experimentation with Unity. The result is regarded by many as the best desktop Ubuntu so far (that's my view too, for what it's worth).

    • [Older] The XPS 13 Developer Edition goes Bionic, Welcome 18.04!

      When project Sputnik debuted over five years ago, we launched with one config of our XPS 13 developer edition and it came with Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

      Today, thanks to the interest and support of the community, we are announcing that in the US our seventh generation XPS 13 developer edition now comes with Ubuntu 18.04. Europe and Canada will soon be following suit.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.17.13
    • Linux 4.14.61
    • Linux 4.9.118
    • Linux 4.4.146

    • NSA’s Encryption Algorithm in Linux Kernel is Creating Unease in the Community
      Linux Kernel 4.17 saw the inclusion of NSA’s ‘controversial’ encryption algorithm Speck. Linux Kernel 4.18 will see Speck being available as a supported algorithm with fscrypt and not everyone is happy about it.

    • Linux 4.18-rc8
      So as already mentioned a couple of times in some of the relevant threads, this last week wasn't entirely painless, and 4.18 ended up being one of those releases that gets an extra week of rc testing before release.

      The original impetus for this was the continued VM worries - although it looks like we finally root-caused all the issues and got it all in shape on Wednesday. Still, that is somewhat late, and merits another rc for final testing.

      That said, if it had been _only_ that silly VM issue that turned out to not be so annoying as it could have been, I might have reconsidered and done a final release anyway, but we had some last-minute networking noise too, and there's actually a pending (old) VFS issue too. So while I may prefer to keep our regular release cadence, but this time around we are just going to see that extra week.

    • Linux 4.18-rc8 Kernel Released, Final Pushed Back To Next Weekend

    • LoRa Being Worked On For The Linux Kernel - Allows Long-Range, Low-Power Wireless
      Linux kernel patches are in the works for LoRa for various chipsets/modules and the new networking subsystem itself along with a new socket interface. LoRa allows for long-range, low-power wireless with minimal infrastructure.

      The latest Linux kernel LoRa patches were published in July for review on the kernel mailing list and are the most up-to-date LoRa implementation for the Linux kernel. The patch-set explains some details that should excite open-source and DIY fans, "LoRa is a long-range, low-power wireless technology by Semtech. Unlike other LPWAN technologies, users don't need to rely on infrastructure providers and SIM cards and expensive subscription plans, they can set up their own gateways. Modules, adapters and evaluation boards are available from a large number of vendors. Ma

    • Zstd Compression Support Coming For Linux Pstore
      Linux's Pstore "persistent store" functionality, which is most often used for preserving kernel panics and related information across reboots when the system runs into a show-stopping problem, will soon be supporting Zstd compression for storing greater amounts of data.

      Pstore is often backed by flash chips with limited capacities as their non-volatile storage for securing the last bits of system debugging details across reboots. For squeezing more data with Pstore, deflate, LZO, LZ4, LZ4HC, and 842 have been the supported compression algorithms for this generic persistent store file-system.

    • The CPU (Consuming Power Unlimited)
      One might assume that a CPU heavy application should increase only CPU power usage, but the motherboard also has to supply the data at higher rates, which translates to increased disk I/O. This implies that the motherboard, buses, RAM and data disks, all consume more power to deliver the higher data throughput. Since these subsystems are intertwined and hardware manufacturers rarely provide actual power consumption numbers, our best bet to estimate the individual power draw would be to develop regression models to predict the numbers. This is precisely what is done by PowerTop.

    • Intel IWLWIFI Adding 802.11ax Support In Linux 4.19
      The latest Linux wireless driver code was sent in today for queueing in the net-next tree ahead of the Linux 4.19 kernel.

      With the latest wireless-drivers-next activity, the most notable feature pull request is the IWLWIFI driver now supporting 802.11ax, the latest WiFi standard succeeding 802.11ac. The WLAN 802.11ax specification operates on 2.4/5GHz spectrums and beyond MMIO/MU-MIMO adds in OFDMA: Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access. The top speed of 802.11ax is expected at 11 Gbps. The first of the next-gen WiFi devices supporting this standard are expected over the next calendar year.

    • Linux Foundation

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDVLK Radeon Vulkan Driver Updated With 8-Bit Storage Support
        Another weekly code drop has occurred for the "AMDVLK" open-source AMD Radeon Vulkan Linux driver with its XGL/PAL/LLPC.

        On the Vulkan front, the XGL code drop on Friday now exposes the VK_KHR_8bit_storage extension for allowing 8-bit types in uniform/storage buffers and push constant blocks. The updated XGL code also has some fixes and other minor work but the 8-bit storage support is the main addition.

      • EGL Device Support Coming Together For Mesa
        Emil Velikov's latest Mesa work is on implementing support for EGL Device extensions for enumerating and using EGLDevices.

        The extensions Emil has implemented in patch form include EGL_EXT_device_base, EGL_MESA_device_software, EGL_EXT_device_drm, and EGL_platform_device. The EGLDevice extensions allows for bringing up EGL without any underlying/native windowing system API.

      • Adreno A6xx Gallium3D Support Coming Together
        For the past number of months there's been Adreno A600 series support coming together within the MSM DRM kernel driver in large part thanks to Qualcomm / Code Aurora contributing code themselves. Quietly coming together as well is the A6xx Gallium3D support for allowing OpenGL acceleration.

        When it comes to the latest-generation Adreno A6xx hardware, most of the open-source talk has been on the MSM Direct Rendering Manager driver front but it's great to see the Gallium3D/OpenGL driver support being pieced together too. A Phoronix reader pointed out that this work is being staged via this wip/a6xx branch.

      • X.Org Server 1.20 Branch Created, Latest EGLStreams Patches Added
        X.Org Server 1.20 was released back in May while now the "server-1.20-branch" was created at last to allow for X.Org Server 1.21 development to happen on master while letting the point releases to be worked out on the branched code.

        The server-1.20-branch is where the latest code is being staged ahead of the eventual X.Org Server 1.20.1 point release. The branch was just created and has staged some patches so far.

      • RadeonSI Gets Patches For AMD_framebuffer_multisample_advanced (EQAA)
        Last month AMD's Marek Olšák sent out a new extension for the OpenGL registry, AMD_framebuffer_multisample_advanced, and with the latest Mesa patches he has published this week the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver wires in support for this GL extension.

        AMD_framebuffer_multisample_advanced ends up implementing AMD's EQAA: Enhanced Quality Anti-Aliasing. Merged a few months back was EQAA for RadeonSI that is part of Mesa 18.2 but that initial implementation which is activated via an environment variable is just used in place of OpenGL applications otherwise trying to use multi-sample anti-aliasing (MSAA). With AMD_framebuffer_multisample_advanced is now a means for OpenGL games/applications wanting to explicitly target this advanced anti-aliasing mode.

      • OpenChrome DRM Driver To Go Through A GEM/TTM Code Rewrite
        With the OpenChrome DRM/KMS driver for vintage VIA x86 graphics likely to be mainlined in its current code state, the sole developer left working on this driver is going to next rewrite the TTM/GEM memory management code that he also hopes will help in his new ATI RAGE 128 driver initiative.

        The OpenChrome DRM driver that's been struggling for years doesn't look like it will be mainlined in 2018. While it's been sent off for review a few matters have been blocking it from going mainline: the principal challenges are OpenChrome DRM not supporting the modern atomic mode-setting APIs but rather than legacy KMS interfaces and there being a lot of unfinished code left in the driver. When it comes to the unfinished code, the hardware acceleration isn't complete and the upstream DRM driver developers would want that removed before this driver would be hypothetically mainlined.

      • VKGL: An Effort For OpenGL Core Profile Support Over Vulkan
        A few days ago we wrote about GLOVE being open-sourced as OpenGL ES over Vulkan and we were then pointed out to another project: VKGL.

        GLOVE currently is working for OpenGL ES 2.0 over Vulkan with plans for supporting not only newer versions of OpenGL ES but also to achieve at least some desktop OpenGL support. Think Silicon's GLOVE project is quite promising and is cross-platform. Now there is also VKGL that seems to be the project of just one independent developer for getting desktop OpenGL (using a core profile context) over Vulkan.

      • Advanced DRI Configuration Picking Up New Features
        It's been a while since having anything to report on ADriConf but fortunately this graphical utility for configuring some open-source Linux graphics driver features is progressing.

        ADriConf, The Advanced DRI Configurator, is a GUI utility for the configuring open-source graphics drivers that aims to be modern and more featureful compared to the long-standing DriConf. Recent work to ADriConf includes new shortcuts in the menu, build issue fixes/improvements, new test cases added, and proper handling as well with the closed-source graphics drivers.

      • Linux Kernel Gets Patch To Support AMD Zen's Performance Monitoring Unit Events
        SUSE developer Martin Liška has published a patch wiring in support for AMD PMU events on the AMD Family 17h "Zen" processors.

        This is for recognizing the events generated by the CPU's performance monitoring unit (PMU) within the Linux's "perf" performance monitoring subsystem.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Going to Akademy!
        I will be attending my first Akademy this year and I am really excited about it. Thank you KDE e.V board for sponsoring me

      • KDE Free Qt Foundation at Akademy 2018
        I am really happy that this year, I am able to attend Akademy again.

        This enables me to set up a BOF session. It is intended for members of the KDE community who are interested in KDE’s collaboration with Qt. We will talk about the KDE Free Qt Foundation (legal setup; history and future; perspectives: What is important for the KDE community going forward?)

        A cordial invitation to all KDEers! – Tuesday, 14 August, 9:30

        It is great that many people from the Qt Company will also be at Akademy, so we will have a number of in-person meetings.

        And of course, I can personally report on our activities of the KDE Free Qt Foundation during the General Annual Meeting of KDE e.V. (Below you can also read our formal report for the past year.)

      • Porting KTextEditor to KSyntaxHighlighting – Folding
        After fixing some first porting bugs to KSyntaxHighlighting, code folding (non-indentation based) is back working, too.

        There is a still a lot to do (and e.g. the syntax colors are still kind of randomized), but already all KTextEditor original highlighting code is gone without ending up in an unusable state.

      • KDE PIM Sprint 2018
        Attending the yearly KDE Pim Sprint in April in Toulouse was nice. For me it is often leaving a cold rainy Germany and arriving warm, almost summer weather with a lot of sun. This time the weather in Germany was also sunny and warm when I left, but spring's always further in Toulouse. As only around ten people attended the sprint, it was also a time to get to know the people behind the nicknames. Unfortunately there were no new faces this time, but a new contributor joined the Pim team and attended remotely.

        As the trains from Germany to Toulouse take some time, for me, the sprint normally starts with entering the train and having time to hack. The first things I looked at, were some cleanups in the dependency chain in KDE Pim, by moving stuff around.

        Reaching Toulouse, David and I started to dig into the problem, that sometimes connections to remote servers stall and nothing goes back and forth without an error being triggered. This issue is only visible if the internet connection is not stable, like a connection while riding the train. Yes, it's a good thing that sometime developers have to face real world, to be able to reproduce bugs. To solve these issues we first had to reproduce them, which leads into the problem of how to reproduce an unstable internet connection. It took a while before we had a setup running to reproduce the issue and after a lot of trial and error, we finally managed to fix the issues we'd found.

      • Distributing Qt application using Qt Installer framework
        Qt installer framework is a collection of tools that can be used to make installers on Linux, Windows and Mac . You can either use pre-built versions or compile it from source.

        There are other softwares like NSIS, installBuilder that can be used to make installers but I wanted an open source & cross platform tool therefore I chose Qt installer framework and it’s also fun to try out new things.

      • This week in Usability & Productivity, part 30
        Akademy is next week (I will be there!), but that didn’t stop us from plugging away on the Usability and Productivity initiative!

      • Krita Interview with Serhii
        I wish the team of developers to continue their fantastic work on the creation of this application and I want to see how many more artists use Krita for their creativity and making artworks.
      • Akademy Program is now Friend Mobile!

        However, this past week I’ve been working again with Web Development, and created a Progressive Web App for Akademy.

        The web page of Akademy isn’t friend mobile, so I used Vue.JS, and it’s framework Quasar, to create the app.

      • Adriaan de Groot: One does not simply walk into Møn
        And now after 710km on the bike I’m back in the Netherlands, preparing for Akademy and gently poking Calamares to see if it will wake up from slumber.
      • Adriaan de Groot: Going to Deventer^WVienna^WAkademy
        Akademy is, for me, first and foremost a way to see everyone again and re-calibrate my social settings for everyone. After all, I communicate with most KDE people only electronically, though text, and it’s sometimes really important to see the faces behind the IRC nicknames. So I’m particularly excited that Michael Pyne will be there, who has been a voice in KDE for as long as I care to remember, but whom I’ve never actually met. And there will be lots of GSoC students there, new people who deserve all the support they can get — and commendations for the work they have done in KDE this year.

      • In my heart
        We can only do that last bit well with a healthy KDE community. This means uniting around our goals, contributing to the community along with the software; by creating good documentation, helping promote news, contributing timely information for release announcements, joining a working group or the e.V. itself and most important: living up to our Code of Conduct. Our Code of Conduct is one of the best and most positive in free software, and is a key reason I came to KDE and stayed to contribute. It is of little value, however, unless we occasionally re-read it and resolve to personally hold ourselves to a high standard of conduct, and in addition, daring to step up to help resolve situations where it requires courage to do so.


        It is sometimes very difficult and discouraging to confront distressing situations, when those whom you respect and even love deeply disappoint. However if we are to grow and thrive as a family, and we are a huge family, this must be done.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Here's GNOME Games 3.30 Beta Running on the GPD Win Windows-Based Game Console
        GNOME Games is an open-source application developed as part of the popular GNOME desktop environment to let users easily browse and play their games. GNOME Games not only lets you browse your local game library, but also those you installed via Valve's Steam game distribution platform, as well as retro games.

        The upcoming GNOME Games 3.30 release will ship with a bunch of new and exciting features, including an updated and refreshed user interface for faster loading time of your games collection, support for Virtual Boy games, as well as support for axes to map to buttons in the gamepad mapping wizard.
      • Please welcome Lenovo to the LVFS
        I’d like to formally welcome Lenovo to the LVFS. For the last few months myself and Peter Jones have been working with partners of Lenovo and the ThinkPad, ThinkStation and ThinkCenter groups inside Lenovo to get automatic firmware updates working across a huge number of different models of hardware.


        Bringing Lenovo to the LVFS has been a lot of work. It needed changes to the low level fwupdate library, fwupd, and even the LVFS admin portal itself for various vendor-defined reasons. We’ve been working in semi-secret for a long time, and I’m sure it’s been frustrating to all involved not being able to speak openly about the grand plan. I do think Lenovo should be applauded for the work done so far due to the enormity of the task, rather than chastised about coming to the party a little late. If anyone from HP is reading this, you’re now officially late.

      • Hughes: Please welcome Lenovo to the LVFS
        Richard Hughes announces that the Linux Vendor Firmware Service will start distributing firmware updates for Lenovo systems. "Obviously, this is a big deal. Tens of thousands of people are likely to be offered a firmware update in the next few weeks, and hundreds of thousands over the next few months."
      • Lenovo To Make Their BIOS/UEFI Updates Easier For Linux Users Via LVFS
        Lenovo is making it easier for their customers running Linux to update their firmware now on ThinkPad, ThinkStation, and ThinkCenter hardware.

        Lenovo has joined the Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS) and following collaboration with the upstream developers is beginning to roll-out support for offering their device firmware on this platform so it can be easily updated by users with the fwupd stack. Kudos to all involved especially with Lenovo ThinkPads being very popular among Linux users.

      • Vala+GDA: An experiment

        I’m working on GNOME Data Access, now on its GTK+ library, specially on its Browser, a GTK+ application more as a demo than a real database access tool.

        GDA’s Browser, spots notable features in GDA’s non-GUI library. For example, support to create a single connection binding for two or more connections to different databases and from different providers (SQLite, PostgreSQL, MySQL), so you can create a single query and get a table result combining data from different sources. More details in another post.
      • GPaste Is A Great Clipboard Manager For Gnome Shell
        GPaste is a clipboard management system that consists of a library, daemon, and interfaces for the command line and Gnome (using a native Gnome Shell extension).

        A clipboard manager allows keeping track of what you're copying and pasting, providing access to previously copied items. GPaste, with its native Gnome Shell extension, makes the perfect addition for those looking for a Gnome clipboard manager.
      • [Dino, a XMPP client] UI polishing and auto completion
        For each search hit in the results, three messages are (partially) displayed: The actual hit and the messages before and after that. The hit is clickable and clicking it will jump to the hit in the conversation history. The clicked message is highlighted with a CSS animation by fading a background color in and out.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: Secure-K OS 18.5
        I like the idea behind Secure-K. Being able to easily set up a distribution on a USB thumb drive so I can take my operating system with me in my pocket is very appealing. Having secure communication and quick access to the Tor network is also handy. I think the Secure-K developers are basically trying to provide an operating system that is like Tails, but more geared toward general purpose use. Tails is typically seen as a utility specifically for secure on-line communication, but probably not a platform for day-to-day use. Secure-K seems to be coming from the other direction and providing a day-to-day operating system that can also be used for secure communication and anonymous web browsing.

        In theory, this is a good concept and I can see how it would appeal, especially if people want easy access to on-line storage and persistent settings.

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 25.2 released.
        This is a minor (point) release in the 4MLinux STABLE channel, which comes with the Linux kernel 4.14.55. The 4MLinux Server now includes Apache 2.4.33, MariaDB 10.3.8, and PHP 7.2.7 (see this post for more details).

        You can update your 4MLinux by executing the "zk update" command in your terminal (fully automatic process).

      • Pinguy OS 18.04.1 Point Release
        If you are running 18.04 no need to update to the 18.04.1 point release. This is just an updated version of that.

      • Pinguy OS Release 18.04.1 Updates Firefox Package to 61.0.1 and other minor updates
        Pinguy OS, a free opensource Ubuntu offshoot distribution created for Linux beginners, has just released a new version of its operating system: version 18.04.1. This is a basic update to the version 18.04 which was released early last month. The update brings a few noticeable changes. These include design changes such as the fact that icons in the system tray are now stacked closer together. This new update also enables Qt applications to use the default Gnome GTK theme. In addition to this High Dots Per Inch (HiDPI) has now been added to the Gnome options.

        Pinguy OS is a user-friendly operating system that is particularly designed with the introductory level Linux user in mind. The operating system boasts out-of-the-box support for multimedia codecs and browser plugins and its GNOME user interface is well designed to create aesthetic and efficient layouts on the screen.

      • LibreELEC 9.0 Alpha Released for Generic x86 PCs and Raspberry Pi
        LibreELEC, a “just enough” operating system Linux distribution for running the Kodi media center, has just started its LibreELEC 9.0 Alpha Cycle with the release of LibreELEC (Leia) v8.90.003. The release is for Generic x86 personal computers and Raspberry Pi hardware computers at this stage. Technical decisions are pending for its development before it is released for Amlogic, Rockchip, and Slice hardware as well. The developers have announced that it will not be released for NXP / iMX6 in this version though as support for that was removed from Kodi a while ago. If support is reinstated in the next Kodi, we can expect the OS to return to those platforms as well.

      • Netrunner Rolling 2018.08 released
        Despite the hot summer in most of Europe, the Netrunner Team is happy to announce the immediate availability of Netrunner Rolling 2018.08 – 64bit ISO.

      • Netrunner Rolling 2018.08 Manjaro/Arch Linux-based KDE distro is here with 'seamless GTK apps'

        As a rolling release, it isn't necessary to upgrade the operating system at milestones, as with, say, Ubuntu or Fedora. But still, periodically, the ISOs are refreshed to roll up the latest updates and fixes. This way, there is less updating needed after a fresh install. Today, Netrunner Rolling 2018.08 sees release, meaning for those of you that are anal about maintaining up-to-date install media, it is time to burn a DVD or update a flash drive.

      • Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS And Manjaro-based Netrunner 2018.08 “Rolling” — New Linux Releases

        Following the release of Ubuntu 18.04.1, the first point release of Bionic Beaver, Canonical’s development team has shipped Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS. It arrives as a good news for the more conservative users who wish to stick with the 16.04 series and keep receiving regular updates intended for their machine.

        The 16.04.5 LTS release arrives for the Desktop, Cloud, and Server products. It goes without saying that it’s available for other flavors like Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Mythbuntu, Ubuntu GNOME, Ubuntu Kylin, Ubuntu MATE, and Ubuntu Studio as well.

      • Netrunner 2018.08 KDE-Aligned Linux Distribution Released With Seamless GTK Apps

      • Netrunner 2018.08 Updates KDE and Upgrades Krita to Version 4.x
        Netrunner is a Debian-based distribution that features a customized KDE desktop and a wide array of applications, codecs, and plugins, all with a friendly user interface. The operating system released a separate “Rolling edition” based upon the Manjaro Linux back in 2014. Netrunner Rolling was discontinued briefly in between and then relaunched in 2017. Now, the Netrunner Rolling 2018.08 64bit ISO has just been released and the developers have explained that the update features upgrades to KDE, Qt, and the Linux Kernel among a long list of other things.

      • Thunderbird 60.0 Released, Lenovo Now in LVFS, Netrunner Rolling 2018.08 Now Available, HP Printer Security Vulnerabilities and New SteamOS Brewmaster Beta Update

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • What’s New in Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon Edition

      • What’s New in Linux Lite 4.0
        Linux Lite 4.0 codename “Diamond” is the latest release of Linux Lite, based on Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and powered by Linux Kernel 4.15 series. Also, comes with a brand new icon and system theme, namely Papirus and Adapta. Timeshift app by default for system backups, and new, in-house built Lite applications.

        Among the new Lite applications, we can mention the Lite Desktop, which manages application icons and other objects on the desktop, and Lite Sounds, a tool designed to help users manage system-wide sounds. Also, Linux Lite 4.0 ships with the MenuLibre tool to help you easily edit application menu entries. help manual has been majorly updated. All content and images have been updated.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The August 2018 Issue of the PLCinuxOS Magazine

        The PCLinuxOS Magazine staff is pleased to announce the release of the August 2018 issue. With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved. All articles may be freely reproduced via any and all means following first publication by The PCLinuxOS Magazine, provided that attribution to both The PCLinuxOS Magazine and the original author are maintained, and a link is provided to the originally published article.

        In the August 2018 issue:

        * Knew It All Along - Your Gmail Is Being Spied Upon * Inkscape Tutorial: Draw A Tree * PCLinuxOS Family Member Spotlight: `ĦξŘŤζ_. * Short Topix:Is Your Router At Risk? * ms_meme's Nook: Summertime In The PCLOS Forum * Tip Top Tips: Installing HP Printers That Require The Proprietary Plugin * YouTube, Part 6: The Epilogue * PCLinuxOS Recipe Corner * Between You, Me and Google: Problems With Gmail's "Confidential Mode" * And much more inside!

        This month’s cover was designed by Meemaw.

        Download the PDF (5.8 MB)

        Download the EPUB Version (2.6 MB)

        Download the MOBI Version (2.7 MB)

        Visit the HTML Version

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • DebConf18 closes in Hsinchu and DebConf19 dates announced

        Today, Sunday 5 August 2018, the annual Debian Developers and Contributors Conference came to a close. With over 306 people attending from all over the world, and 137 events including 100 talks, 25 discussion sessions or BoFs, 5 workshops and 7 other activities, DebConf18 has been hailed as a success.

        Highlights included DebCamp with more than 90 participants, the Open Day, where events of interest to a broader audience were offered, plenaries like the traditional Bits from the DPL, a Questions and Answers session with Minister Audrey Tang, a panel discussion about "Ignoring negativity" with Bdale Garbee, Chris Lamb, Enrico Zini and Steve McIntyre, the talk "That's a free software issue!!" given by Molly de Blanc and Karen Sandler, lightning talks and live demos and the announcement of next year's DebConf (DebConf19 in Curitiba, Brazil).

        The schedule has been updated every day, including 27 ad-hoc new activities, planned by attendees during the whole conference.

      • My Debian Activities in July 2018
        This month was dominated by warm weather and I spent more time in a swimming pool than in the NEW queue. So I only accepted 149 packages and rejected 5 uploads. The overall number of packages that got accepted this month was 380.

      • The State Of Debian Linux On Various Mobile Devices
        At this past week's DebConf18 Debian conference was an update on running Debian GNU/Linux on various mobile / ultra-portable devices.

        Among the mobile devices covered for being able to run Debian in 2018 include:

        - The Purism Librem 5 smartphone is expected to support Debian GNU/Linux, especially with Purism's "PureOS" being Debian-based. Purism still hopes to ship their first smartphone in early 2019.

      • Buster is headed for a long hard freeze
        We are getting better and better accumulating RC bugs in testing. This is unfortunate because the length of the freeze is strongly correlated with the number of open RC bugs affecting testing. If you believe that Debian should have short freezes, then it will require putting effort behind that belief and fix some RC bugs – even in packages that are not maintained directly by you or your team and especially in key packages.

        The introduction of key packages have been interesting. On the plus side, we can use it to auto-remove RC buggy non-key packages from testing which has been very helpful. On the flip-side, it also makes it painfully obvious that over 50% of all RC bugs in testing are now filed against key packages (for the lazy; we are talking about 475 RC bugs in testing filed against key packages; about 25 of these appear to be fixed in unstable).

      • DebConf18 writeup
        I’m just back from DebConf18, which was held in Hsinchu, Taiwan. I went without any real concrete plans about what I wanted to work on - I had some options if I found myself at a loose end, but no preconceptions about what would pan out.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Moving Beyond Themes

            FreeDesktop platforms have come a long way in terms of usability and as we strive to make them better platforms for application developers, I think it’s time to shed one more shackle that slows that down: themes.

            Now, coming from me that view may be a surprise (because of all those themes that I call personal projects) but I do feel it’s necessary mainly because the level of visual customisation that is being done at the distribution level has led to widespread visual fragmentation which impacts both user- and developer-friendliness.

          • Ubuntu 18.10 (Cosmic Cuttlefish) Is Now Powered by the Linux 4.17 Kernel
            Launched on June 3, 2018, the Linux 4.17 kernel series introduces better power management and HDMI audio/sound support for AMD graphics cards in the open-source AMDGPU graphics driver, support for Intel's High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) digital copy protection, and support for Intel's Cannon Lake architecture.

            Additionally, Linux kernel 4.17 adds support for the Andes NDS32 RISC-like architecture, but removes support for a bunch of microarchitectures, including CRIS, M32R, Blackfin, TILE, FR-V, MN10300, Metag, and SCORE. Support for the Nvidia Tegra Xavier processor is available as well in Linux kernel 4.17.

          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 539

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Researchers open source tools to identify Twitter bots at scale
    Duo Security published technical research and methodology detailing how to identify automated Twitter accounts, known as bots, at a mass scale. Using machine learning algorithms to identify bot accounts across their dataset, Duo Labs researchers also unraveled a sophisticated cryptocurrency scam botnet consisting of at least 15,000 bots, and identified tactics used by malicious bots to appear legitimate and avoid detection, among other findings.

  • Duo Security researchers’ Twitter ‘bot or not’ study unearths crypto botnet
    A team of researchers at Duo Security has unearthed a sophisticated botnet operating on Twitter — and being used to spread a cryptocurrency scam.

    The botnet was discovered during the course of a wider research project to create and publish a methodology for identifying Twitter account automation — to help support further research into bots and how they operate.

    The team used Twitter’s API and some standard data enrichment techniques to create a large data set of 88 million public Twitter accounts, comprising more than half a billion tweets. (Although they say they focused on the last 200 tweets per account for the study.)

  • Aricent extends Open Source Collaboration with CableLabs to deliver a Kubernetes platform created for fault-tolerant and efficient virtual network functions

  • Aricent teams with CableLabs for open source NFV project

  • Aricent teams up with CableLabs on open source NFV platform

  • The ASUS P8H61-M LX Is The Latest Sandy Bridge Era Motherboard With Coreboot
    If by chance you happen to have an ASUS P8H61-M LX motherboard from the Sandy/Ivy Bridge days or are able to locate one of the boards through used/refurbished channels, this motherboard can now be freed down to the BIOS with Coreboot.

    The ASUS P8H61-M LX joins the long list of Intel Sandy Bridge era motherboards that can work with an open-source firmware/BIOS provided by Coreboot. As of this commit happening the other day is now support for this ASUS H61 motherboard with Coreboot. Overall the motherboard seems to work well with Coreboot except for no automatic fan control nor S3 suspend/resume.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Thunderbird Release Notes
        Thunderbird version 60 is currently only offered as direct download from and not as upgrade from Thunderbird version 52 or earlier. If you have installed Lightning, Mozilla's Calendar add-on, it will automatically be updated to match the new version of Thunderbird. Refer to this troubleshooting article in case of problems.

      • Thunderbird 60.0 Released With WebExtension Themes, Attachment Improvements
        For those of you that have been waiting for a big update to the Thunderbird mail/RSS client, Thunderbird 60.0 is now available with plenty of changes.

      • What’s New in Thunderbird 60
        Thunderbird 60, the newest stable release of everyone’s favorite desktop Email client, has been released. This version of Thunderbird is packed full of great new features, fixes, and changes that improve the user experience and make for a worthwhile upgrade. I’ll highlight three of the biggest changes in Thunderbird 60 in this post, check out the full release notes over on our website.

      • Mozilla's new DNS resolution is dangerous
        With their next patch Mozilla will introduce two new features to their Firefox browser they call "DNS over HTTPs" (DoH) and Trusted Recursive Resolver (TRR). In this article we want to talk especially about the TRR. They advertise it as an additional feature which enables security. We think quite the opposite: we think it's dangerous, and here's why.

  • Databases

  • BSD

    • zpool checkpoints

      In March, to FreeBSD landed a very interesting feature called 'zpool checkpoints'. Before we jump straight into the topic, let's take a step back and look at another ZFS feature called ‘snapshot’. Snapshot allows us to create an image of our single file systems. This gives us the option to modify data on the dataset without the fear of losing some data.

    • Reflection on one-year usage of OpenBSD

      I have used OpenBSD for more than one year, and it is time to give a summary of the experience...

    • OpenBSD on an iBook G4 [iophk: "it was a sweet machine in its time"]

      In summary I was impressed with OpenBSD and its ability to breathe new life into this old Apple Mac. I'm genuinely excited about the idea of trying BSD with other devices on my network such as an old Asus Eee PC 900 netbook and at least one of the many Raspberry Pi devices I use. Whether I go the whole hog and replace Fedora on my main production laptop though remains to be seen!


    • How ProPublica Illinois uses GNU Make to load 1.4GB of data every day
      I avoided using GNU Make in my data journalism work for a long time, partly because the documentation was so obtuse that I couldn’t see how Make, one of many extract-transform-load (ETL) processes, could help my day-to-day data reporting. But this year, to build The Money Game, I needed to load 1.4GB of Illinois political contribution and spending data every day, and the ETL process was taking hours, so I gave Make another chance.

      Now the same process takes less than 30 minutes.

      Here’s how it all works, but if you want to skip directly to the code, we’ve open-sourced it here.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Starting Java Programming in Linux Mint
      This tutorial gives a brief example how to install and setup things to develop Java on Linux Mint system. We will use Geany as the text editor and OpenJDK as the tools. You will also try to create first Java program and run it. I intended this tutorial to help students and beginners who use GNU/Linux with their first days in learning Java.

    • Cross-compilation made easy for GNOME Builder
      GNOME Builder is an Integrated Development Environment designed for the GNOME ecosystem. It most notably features a deep integration to the Git version control system, allow to debug applications quickly using the GNU Debugger and allow in-line documentation viewing using Gtk-Doc.

      By being very powerful and versatile, GNOME Builder is starting to take a prominent place in the IDE world. But many developers building GNOME applications for an embedded platform need an IDE that handles the very specific requirements of embedded systems development.

    • Python Bags 1st Position In IEEE Spectrum Programming Language Rankings
      ython is once again the top programming language, according to IEEE Spectrum’s fifth interactive ranking for leading languages that was released recently.

      Spectrum ranks the languages by weighting and combining 11 metrics from 9 sources. The main feature of this ranking is that it is interactive and offers 5 ranking for 4 different platforms.

    • Mojibake detective work
      A dataset I recently audited contained multiple UTF-8 encodings of the same characters. For example, the dataset contained three different €°, three different ' and three different ".

    • Learn Python programming the easy way with EduBlocks
      If you are you looking for a way to move your students (or yourself) from programming in Scratch to learning Python, I recommend you look into EduBlocks. It brings a familiar drag-and-drop graphical user interface (GUI) to Python 3 programming.

      One of the barriers when transitioning from Scratch to Python is the absence of the drag-and-drop GUI that has made Scratch the go-to application in K-12 schools. EduBlocks' drag-and-drop version of Python 3 changes that paradigm. It aims to "help teachers to introduce text-based programming languages, like Python, to children at an earlier age."

      The hardware requirements for EduBlocks are quite modest—a Raspberry Pi and an internet connection—and should be available in many classrooms.

      EduBlocks was developed by Joshua Lowe, a 14-year-old Python developer from the United Kingdom. I saw Joshua demonstrate his project at PyCon 2018 in May 2018.


  • This Japanese company has found a unique place to place ads — armpits!

    For the bizarre advertising venture, the company is offering to pay 10,000 yen per hour and is open to both female and male models. The website has four samples of ads in various colour and sizes. And the oddness doesn't end there they also will be organising an armpit beauty contest!

  • Science

    • Have smartphones killed the art of conversation?

      Is this the death of conversation? Not quite, but it’s certainly more than a blip in the cultural history of communication: in 2017, for the first time, the number of voice calls – remember, those things you did with your actual voice on your actual phone – fell in the UK. Meanwhile, internet addiction keeps growing, presumably because we haven’t quite worked out what to do with all those hours we’re saving on talking.

      More than three-quarters (78%) of British adults own a smartphone, and we check them on average every 12 minutes. That adds up to 24 hours a week online via our phones – much of that time swallowed up by modern-style chat on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, with some left over for texting. It has taken a toll on talking, sure, but few smartphone users might claim to feel less connected as a result.

    • I tracked my iPhone usage for a week and this is what I learned

      While I picked up the phone more than 1,000 times in the week, close to 150 times a day, I actually only received around 700 notifications in a week. That means I pick up and actually interact with my phone, not just look at the time, around 50 times a day without prompting.

    • Lab-Grown Lungs Transplanted into Pigs
      The team harvested lungs from dead pigs to construct a scaffold for the bioengineered lung to hold fast to. They used a solution of soap and sugar to wear away all the cells of the lungs, leaving behind only collagen, a protein that forms the support structure of the organ. Next, they removed one lung from every recipient pig, and used cells from those lungs, together with the collagen scaffold, growth factors, and media, to grow a new lung in a bioreactor. After a month, the lungs were transplanted into the recipient pigs.

      As the cells came from the same animal that then received a bioengineered lung, there was no organ rejection. The researchers euthanized the recipient animals and tested their lungs 10 hours, two weeks, and one and two months following transplantation.

      The team found that before the pigs were euthanized, the transplanted lungs developed without any outside help, building blood vessels they needed for survival. “The bioengineered lung facilitates the development of a blood supply and provides for the establishment of natural lung microbial flora,” John Hunt, who studies tissue engineering at Nottingham Trent University in the UK and was not involved in this research, tells BBC News. However, even the two-month-old transplanted lung, while not showing any fluid collection that would indicate an underdeveloped organ, had not developed enough to independently supply the animal with oxygen.

  • Hardware

    • AMD Threadripper 2000 Series Details: Up To 32-Cores / 64-Threads With The 2990WX
      AMD's Threadripper 2990WX 32-core / 64-thread processor is real and launching next week. At the end of July we were in Maranello, Italy for AMD's Threadripper "2nd Gen" Tech Day, and while there have been leaks in recent days/weeks, today the embargo expires for being able to talk about this high-end desktop platform update.

    • AMD have released details on the second generation of Ryzen Threadripper
      AMD's latest high-end CPU with the second generation of the Ryzen Threadripper is now properly announced with expected launch dates. AMD say all of these new processors are built on the 12nm "Zen+" core architecture, with support for the existing X399 motherboards although you will probably need a BIOS update.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Senate Democrats dissatisfied with White House's election security efforts

      The Democratic senators said in a joint statement that national security advisor John Bolton sent them a letter that fails to address their concerns about Russian meddling.

    • ASUS DSL-N12E_C1 Firmware version Vulnerable to Remote Command Execution

    • ASUS DSL-N12E_C1 Remote Command Execution

    • Virgil Security Slams Telegram’s New Passport Application For Poor Encryption & Brute Attack Vulnerability
      Just as the news of Telegram’s Passport service hit the newsstands, a blunt critique of the service came forward from the Chief Product Security Officer at Virgil Security, Inc., Alexey Ermishkin. Ermishkin shed light on “several key” faults in the Passport’s security highlighting the wish-washy encryption and password protection through a weak SHA-512 hashing algorithm. This heavy critique came as no surprise as Virgil Security specializes in end-to-end encryption with its Twilio’s End-to-End Encrypted messaging and its breach-proof password solutions Pythia and BrainKey.

      Telegram, a company known for its heavily encrypted and self-destructible messenger platform, recently announced the release of its newest service Telegram Passport which allows users to store all of their identification documents as well as important travel / financial statements and licenses in one place digitally. The application is built to store this information securely and then supply it to third party applications and services such as crypto wallets upon the user’s discretion.

    • Linkedin iOS application version 9.11.8592.4 Vulnerable to CPU Exhaustion
      A remotely exploitable vulnerability that was found to affect 600 million WhatsApp users in 2014 and even more off and on since then by causing remotely initiated system crashes has now resurfaced in a new form. The LinkedIn mobile application versions 9.11 and older for iOS have been found to contain a CPU resource exhaustion vulnerability that can be triggered by user-supplied input.

      The vulnerability arises from the fact that the mobile application’s filter of user-supplied input is unable to detect malicious or troublesome input. When a user sends such a message to another user on the LinkedIn application, upon viewing the message, the script is read and the code viewed prompts a CPU overhaul which causes an exhaustion crash.
    • The default OpenSSH key encryption is worse than plaintext

      There’s nothing wrong with the RSA key pair itself: it’s just the symmetric encryption of the private key. You can’t mount this attack from just a public key.

      How do you fix this? OpenSSH has a new key format that you should use. “New” means 2013. This format uses bcrypt_pbkdf, which is essentially bcrypt with fixed difficulty, operated in a PBKDF2 construction. Conveniently, you always get the new format when generating Ed25519 keys, because the old SSH key format doesn’t support newer key types. That’s a weird argument: you don’t really need your key format to define how Ed25519 serialization works since Ed25519 itself already defines how serialization works. But if that’s how we get good KDFs, that’s not the pedantic hill I want to die on. Hence, one answer is ssh-keygen -t ed25519. If, for compatibility reasons, you need to stick to RSA, you can use ssh-keygen -o. That will produce the new format, even for old key types. You can upgrade existing keys with ssh-keygen -p -o -f PRIVATEKEY. If your keys live on a Yubikey or a smart card, you don’t have this problem either.

    • Alaskan borough using typewriters after Windows ransomware attack

      A borough in Alaska, which has been reduced to using typewriters after a massive ransomware attack on its Windows machines, has begun a PR campaign to try and portray the dire situation it finds itself in as one that brings out the best in its people.

    • [Crackers] breached US electric utilities: analysts

      The [cracking] group has been penetrating targets in the United States, as well as the Middle East, Europe and East Asia, for at least a year, according to Dragos.

    • The DNC tells Democrats not to buy Huawei or ZTE devices ever

    • DNC warns candidates: Don't use ZTE or Huawei phones

      In February, top officials from the CIA, NSA, FBI and the Defense Intelligence Agency testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee that the Chinese smartphones makers posed a security threat to American customers.

    • [Older] Senator calls on US Government to start killing Flash now

      Oregon senator Ron Wyden highlighted the issue this week with a letter he wrote to government agencies responsible for federal cybersecurity. In it, he called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), NSA, and NIST to work together to end the U.S. government’s use of Adobe Flash before it’s too late:


      Wyden, backed by respected privacy researcher and activist Chris Soghoian who works as the senator’s senior advisor for privacy & cybersecurity, finished the letter by calling for the following three actions to be taken

    • The 8-year-olds hacking [sic] our voting machines

      The contest will include children, ages 8 to 16, who will be tasked with penetrating replicas of the websites that secretaries of state across the country use to publish election results. They’ll vie for $2,500 in prize money, $500 of which will come from the DNC and be awarded to the child who comes up with the best defensive strategy for states around the country.

      The eye-popping reason that the Democrats have turned to children to hack them? “State election sites are so deeply flawed, Braun says, no adult hackers would be interested in cracking them. ‘The hackers would laugh us off the stage if we asked them to do this.’”

    • Kids to try hacking [sic] US election systems in new DNC contest

    • Trump officials look to neutralize cyber threats in supply chain

      Supply chain security is an issue that has also been on the FCC's radar. In April, Republican FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to crack down on security risks.

      His proposal would prohibit the use of Universal Service Fund money to purchase telecom equipment or services "identified as posing a national security risk to communications networks or the communications supply chain.”

    • The Evolution of Networking and Security: Cisco Announces Intent to Acquire Duo

    • HP printer? Over 100 inkjet models have two critical bugs so patch now, warns HP
      Days after launching its printer bug bounty offering up to $10,000 for researchers to find "obscure defects" in its printers, HP has released two firmware fixes for two severe ink printer bugs.

      Hundreds of HP Inkjet printers are vulnerable to two critical remote code execution (RCE) vulnerabilities and need to be patched immediately, according to HP's Product Security Response Team (PSRT).

    • Staff dust off their typewriters after malware attack
      Sophisticated malware has taken down systems in at least two Alaskan municipalities in an attack that officials say is the worst they have ever seen. The Alaskan Borough of Matanuska-Susitna (Mat Su) and the City of Valdez have both been hit.

      At Mat Su, everything from email to the electronic door key swiping system was affected. The Borough first noticed infections in its endpoints on 17 July when an update to its antivirus software spotted a common Trojan banking program on Windows 7 machines (but not its Windows 10 computers).

      The software didn’t notice a range of other malware that the Trojan was infecting endpoints with. It was only a few days later that the Borough noticed issues with 60 of its 500 computers, information technology director Eric Wyatt told local radio reporters.

    • Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS adds support for Spectre Variant 2 Mitigation for Pentium Silver N/J5xxx, Celeron N/J4xxx, Xeon E5/E7 v4 and Core i7-69xx/68xx

    • New wi-fi crack attack allows outsiders to snag user creds
      Researchers have accidentally discovered a new attack on the wi-fi protected access protocols used in wireless access points that makes it easier for outsiders to capture access credentials.

      The new attack captures the Pairwise Master Key Identifier (PMKID) and - according to the Hashcat password recovery utility developers that devised it - works against 802.11i/p/q/r networks with roaming functions enabled, which covers most modern routers.

      Hashcat developer Jens "Atom" Steube explained to iTnews that the biggest difference between the new method and prior WPA/WPA2 cracks is that an attacker no longer needs another user to be on the target network to capture credentials - "simply starting the authentication process will do".

    • Security updates for Monday

    • Windows apps made on Linux hit by security fail
      Troublingly, CERT/CC doesn't know of a practical way to fix the missing relocations table bug, tagged as CVE-2018-5392.

      However, it has suggested a workaround whereby mingw-w64 can be "coerced" into outputting executables with the relocations table intact. The advisory explains how to implement the workaround.

      According to CERT/CC, the bug affects Ubuntu, Debian, Red Hat, SUSE Linux, Arch Linux, CentOS, and more. However, none of the vendors has released a statement about the bug or its fix. The vendors were notified in late July.

    • An 18-Year-Old Information Security Consultant Donates Earnings To Charity
      Mahatma Gandhi once said that “be the change you want to see in the world.” Giving back to the society is a good way of changing the world and making it a better place to live in.

      And, Sagar Bansal, who is an eighteen-year-old information security consultant from India, is trying to be the change he wants to see in the world: by giving back his earnings to support needy students in advancing their education.

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #171

    • Open Source Collaborative Hopes to Make Reporting Security Bugs Safer for All
      Despite the overall increase in companies offering bug bounty rewards to those who find and report vulnerabilities, ethical security research can still be a bit of a legal minefield. For example, back in May 2018 it fell to Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia to veto a bill that would have made even it difficult to do basic, ethical cybersecurity research. In addition, there is little in the way of a coherent framework for reporting bugs, creating a wide disparity between companies on what constitutes legal disclosure. In some instances, this has led to a reluctance among some white hat hackers to disclose vulnerabilities they’ve discovered.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Winning an Arms Race in Space Remains a Futile Fight
      When Donald Trump declared it was time to Make America Great Again,he didn’t just mean here on Earth. As he directed thePentagon in June to create a new branch of the armed services devoted just to space warfare, Trump declared, “It is not enough to have an American presence in space.We must have American dominance in space.”

      Not waiting for an ambivalent Congress to act, the Defense Department reportedly plans in coming months to create a new U.S. Space Command, Space Operations Force, and Space Development Agency to manage everything from war-fighting in outer space to developing and launching military satellites.

      A draft of a Pentagon planning document states that the capabilities unleashed by this new structure will help “deter, and if necessary degrade, deny, disrupt, destroy and manipulate adversary capabilities to protect U.S. interests, assets and way of life.”

      Previous official critics of a new space service, including Trump’sown Air Force secretary, Heather Wilson, and Defense Secretary James Mattis, almost invariably raised only bureaucratic objections rather than deeper questions about the merits of turning space into abattlefield.

    • Keeping Zuckerberg Safe Now Costs an Extra $10 Million a Year

      Facebook Inc. spent $7.33 million last year protecting its chief executive officer at his homes and during his tour across the U.S. Last week, the social-media giant said it would provide an additional $10 million a year for him to spend on personal security.

    • US military airstrike in Somalia kills 4 al-Shabab fighters
      The U.S. says it assesses that no civilians were killed. Somali officials and residents at least twice in recent months have alleged that civilians were killed in airstrikes.

    • Florida man killed by SWAT deputies after standoff had BB gun, sheriff says4
      In his update Friday, Demings said the deputies had no way of knowing Wooten’s gun wasn’t real.

    • Sheriff: Man killed in Apopka standoff had a BB gun

    • Rare drone footage captures life amid the rubble in war-torn city
      Striking new drone images from the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, sheds light on the rarely accessible, rebel-held city, under siege for years and bombarded by airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition. The images were filmed in June by Brazilian photojournalist Gabriel Chaim, who was given limited access by the Houthi rebels who control the city, from where they unseated the Yemeni government in 2015. The footage shows the damage wrought to some of the buildings, but also its enduring beauty and how life goes on amid the rubble and carnage.
    • Venezuela pres says Colombian counterpart behind assassination bid

      Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has accused his Colombian counterpart of being behind an apparent assassination attempt earlier today.

    • Venezuelan government: Drone strikes targeted Maduro
    • Venezuela president survives ‘drone assassination attempt’
    • Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro survives drone assassination attempt
    • Venezuela's Maduro target of drone 'attack,' but unharmed: government
    • Watch: The moment a drone-mounted bomb interrupted Venezuela president's speech

    • Thomas Drake: NSA Shares Some Blame for Not Preventing 9/11
      Thomas Drake is a former senior executive at the U.S. National Security Agency, a decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran. In April 2010, a federal grand jury in Maryland indicted Tom under the Espionage Act for illegally retaining classified information after he was suspected of leaking operational inefficiencies in the National Security Agency.

      In a recent interview, Newsvoice spoke to Thomas Drake about his work with the NSA and why 9/11 made him go to the press in the interest of the American and global public.

    • Police wrap up probe into CIA letter

    • Probe almost done, IGP tightlipped on who leaked CIA letter

    • ‘Dear CIA, Please Help Najib After He Wins the Election’
      Charlie’s Angels this is not. In a scandal that has lit our espionage world on fire (did you know Malaysia had one?), former head of Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation (MEIO) Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid has found herself in hot water following a letter she sent to the CIA five days before #GE14.

      In a report by The Star, Hasanah’s lawyer, Datuk Shaharudiin Ali has confirmed the letter is genuine.

      In the letter, Hasanah appealed to the CIA to support the administration of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak if Barisan Nasional won the election with a simple majority or with a majority of only one seat.

    • Last leg of GST repeal underway; CIA letter author denies Najib's involvement

    • Ex-chief of Malaysian spy agency: Letter to CIA is not treason

    • Yes, it’s treason, say lawyers after intel chief defends letter to CIA
      Former top intelligence officer Hasanah Ab Hamid breached protocol when she wrote to the US’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) asking it to take sides in Malaysia’s domestic political affairs, says a lawyer who once served as a Special Branch officer.

      SN Nair said such action could amount to treason.

      “Intelligence organisations’ job is to report to the government of the day and operate neutrally between political parties,” he told FMT, a day after Hasanah lodged a police report on the leaked contents of her letter to CIA director Gina Haspel, just days before the general election on May 9.

    • Malaysian spy agency has over 1000 personnel worldwide

    • Hasanah: Letter to CIA is not treason

    • Malaysian intelligence boss lodges police report over CIA letter

    • Hasanah: Letter to CIA is not treason
    • Malaysia's Ex-Spy Agency Chief Lodges Police Report over Leaked Letter to CIA

    • Exclusive: Trump-endorsed radio show has promoted ex-CIA agent’s call for right-wing rebellion
      Suppose there were a best-selling author, historian, essayist, public speaker, TV commentator, adviser to Ron Paul, secessionist advocate, Christian nationalist, Vladimir Putin apologist and expert on terrorism who was married to a senior intelligence official. Suppose he were a frequent commentator on an influential radio show with close ties to President Donald Trump, his family and his administration.

      Suppose this Trump-connected radio show routinely directed its listeners to this person’s blog, on which he wrote that it was “quite near time” for “well-armed citizens who voted for Trump” to “kill those seeking to impose tyranny,” of whom there was a “long and very precise list” that included journalists, activists, pundits, abortion providers, Republican and Democratic elected officials, federal judges, law professors, FBI agents, intelligence officials and Justice Department officials, along with “all who support them.”

    • Dookeran: Not CIA, but Delta Force
      WINSTON Dookeran, former acting prime minister during the 1990 attempted coup, said the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was not in Trinidad to help resolve that crisis, but rather, help came from the US military’s Delta Force.

      His claim comes amid a wrangle between two former cabinet ministers over the issue of US assistance. Historian Prof Brinsley Samaroo, a former NAR minister, claimed a CIA team was in Trinidad amid rising tensions including the Venezuelan government’s fear that the Jamaat al Muslimeen’s takeover of Trinidad could let Libya use here as a base from which to launch an incursion into nearby Venezuela.

      Former attorney general Anthony Smart refuted Samaroo’s claim and said the then TT government resolved the crisis, not the CIA. Dookeran said there was US assistance, but not from the CIA.

      “There was no CIA involvement, no CIA presence as far as I was aware as acting prime minister. But we did invite some special support from the Delta group in Washington DC whose job was to advise on how you manage a hostage crisis. They did come here. They came and assisted and guided in the process of the hostage crisis.

    • The First CIA Coup in Latin America

      In 1954 Guatemala's left-leaning President Jacobo Arbenz was ousted from power by army officers backed by the CIA.

    • Chinese Communist Party Strengthens Grip on South Africa
      The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is tightening its grip on South Africa on many levels.

      The secretary general of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), Ace Magashule, has announced that ANC cadres will be trained by the CCP before next year’s South African general elections. The ANC will be sending around 300 cadres to the CCP’s training academy to “learn more about party discipline and loyalty.”

      According to Magashule, Chinese officials would be “employed to assist local government executives in implementing a powerful communications strategy.” Magashule reportedly said there was a lot to be learned from CCP expertise in “strategy and propaganda.”‎

    • Chief Trump tormenter Maxine Waters once alleged the CIA dumped drugs into America’s cities

      In the 1980s and 1990s, Waters aggressively pushed a now-debunked conspiracy theory that the CIA was behind the flow of crack cocaine into America’s cities.

      Waters’ rage was sparked by a series of articles in the San Jose Mercury News, written by Gary Webb and titled “Dark Alliance,” which was later adapted into a book that Waters wrote the foreword to.

      According to The New York Times, “Its central assertion was that a pair of Nicaraguan drug traffickers with CIA ties had started the nationwide crack trade by selling drugs in black neighborhoods in the 1980s. Their goal, the series said, was to help finance the CIA-backed rebels, or contras, then fighting the Sandinista government in their homeland.”

      As the leading cheerleader of the loony-toon allegation, Waters traveled the country demanding to know, “Who knew what? When did they know it? And how high did it go?”

      While speaking at a Baltimore Urban League dinner Waters declared, “It doesn’t matter whether [the CIA] delivered the kilo of cocaine themselves or turned their back on it to let somebody else do it … They’re guilty just the same.”

    • Museveni Accuses CIA of Toppling Foreign Govts
      The practice by Western powers to forcibly impose their ideas and choices on developing countries is a threat to world peace, President Museveni said yesterday.

      The President accused the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), America's foremost intelligence outfit, of masterminding the toppling in 1953 of Iran's elected nationalist Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and installing Gen Fazlollah Zahedi as a puppet successor.

      Mr Museveni did not provide information to back up the allegations. The New York Times, in an article titled, 'Secrets of History: The CIA in Iran', reported that Britain feared that Prime Minister Mossadegh would nationalise its oil industry and, as such, mooted the coup plot and nudged the United States for a joint operation to return the Shah to power.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • National Archives warns it can't fulfill Kavanaugh documents request until October

      Gary Stern, general counsel for the National Archives, sent a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) saying the agency won’t be able to meet the Judiciary Committee chairman's Aug. 15 deadline for all documents pertaining to Kavanaugh's time as a White House lawyer during the George W. Bush administration. Instead, he indicated the files will likely be provided in batches.

    • Assange Most Likely to Face UK Arrest After Eviction From Embassy - Greenwald
      The UK and Ecuador have been taking diplomatic efforts to resolve the issue of Julian Assange, who has spent six years in self-exile in Ecuador's embassy last month. As his adventure is likely to come to an end soon, concerns rise over his future relations with authorities.

      Julian Assange, 47, an Australian-born internet journalist and WikiLeaks founder, is facing eviction from the London-based Ecuadorean embassy where he has been holed up for almost six years.

      Ecuador, whose president Lenin Moreno publicly admitted last week he had "never been in favor" of what Assange does, has been working towards ejecting the troublesome guest.

    • Assam Cong rubbishes WikiLeaks cable claims on foreigners’ issue
      After a purported WikiLeaks cable quoted then-Congress national chief Sonia Gandhi of supporting illegal migrants in Assam, the party today rubbished the allegation as a tactic to take away credit from the Congress for its role in an updated National Register of Citizens for Assam, which is viewed as an important document to detect illegal foreigners.

      “Now that the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has acknowledged on the floor of the Rajya Sabha that Late Rajiv Gandhi paved the way and Dr. Manmohan Singh did the bulk of the work for the NRC in Assam, the dirty tricks department of the BJP has crawled out of the woodwork,” Leader of Opposition in Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia said in a statement here.

      He alleged that in its desperate bid to put a question mark against the Congress’s positive role in smoothening the path for detection of illegal migrants in Assam, some specialist in misinformation has publicized this dubious WikiLeaks cable of 2006.

    • Wikileaks claim on migrant issue puts Congress on the dock

      At a time when the Congress is crying foul over the NRC exercise, it finds itself embroiled in a major controversy over allegedly backing illegal migrants.

      The opposition is virtually hounding the party over the latest wikileaks cables claiming that then Congress president Sonia Gandhi had in 2006 offered to amend the foreigners act to prevent deportation of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in a desperate bid to appease the migrants ahead of the state assembly elections in Assam.

    • Cong punches holes in WikiLeaks
      The Congress on Saturday punched holes in the WikiLeaks cable, authored by a US consulate officer in Calcutta, which claims that the then party president Sonia Gandhi had offered to amend the Foreigners Act to prevent deportation of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants during Assembly poll campaign in Assam in May 2006.

      Assam Congress Legislature Party leader Debabrata Saikia, refuting the cable, said, "This is twisting of facts taken to a new low. First of all, there was no election rally in Assam in May 2006. The Assembly polls were held on April 3 and 10 and the results declared on May 11. So there can be no question of Sonia Gandhi or any other leader addressing an election rally in Assam in May 2006."

      WikiLeaks, an international non-profit organisation set up in 2006 in Iceland, publishes classified information and news leaks provided by its anonymous sources. A cable is a confidential diplomatic message exchanged between a diplomatic mission or consulate.

    • Pamela Anderson describes 'romantic kind of connection' with Julian Assange
      Former Playboy centerfold and “Baywatch” star Pamela Anderson spoke out about her “romantic” relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

      “He’s definitely an interesting person, and there’s definitely a romantic kind of connection 'cause it’s a romantic struggle,” she told Harvey Levin on “OBJECTified”, which aired Sunday night on Fox News.

      She added: “We have this closeness … he’s not close to people like he is to me.”

      Calling him imperfect and one of her favorite people, she noted: “I have a real personal relationship with him.”

    • The war of WikiLeaks, Assange & other outlets exposing the inner workings of power
      Barrett Brown, publisher and journalist, talks to Chris Hedges about the US government’s war on WikiLeaks, Assange, and other outlets exposing the inner workings of power.

    • WikiLeaks founder's health is suffering, fears extradition to US, lawyer says
      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's health is suffering, one of his lawyers says, in conditions she compared to "solitary confinement" in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

      "I'm very concerned for his well-being and the permanent damage that this is having on his health," Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson told ABC News on Friday, adding that her client's legal team is trying to get him a medical assessment in the next few days.

      "He's been effectively in solitary confinement for at least the last four months, and something akin to confinement of that nature for almost six years, and it is well-documented the impact it has on detainees' health care," Robinson added.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • What Is The Optimum EV Range?
      There is much discussion about the level of range needed for an electric vehicle to achieve longer journeys. The idea that an electric vehicle requires the same range as a liquid-fueled vehicle is arbitrary, and irrational. Filling a vehicle with liquid fuel is a time-consuming and expensive process, not altogether pleasant, which drivers wish to perform as seldom as possible. Filling a vehicle with electricity, on the other hand, is something as quick and convenient as plugging in your electric kettle at home. You do not have to stand next to your electric car while it is charging up: it manages to do this perfectly well all on its own. Most charging is done overnight, at home. For many, this range question only relates to longer journeys that require charging en-route.

  • Finance

    • Apple Hits $1 Trillion Market Cap, First U.S. Company to Reach Milestone

      With a market cap of $1 trillion, Apple has a value greater than the gross domestic product of most countries in the world, including Turkey, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan.

    • On the wrong side of history: the dangers facing Brexitland

      Populism, nationalism and a form of fascism and the deeply flawed inward-looking myths about the greatness of the nation have engulfed many western European nations, with Britain sadly leading the way in a regressive, narrow-minded and divisive politics led by the uber-elite and ultra-nationalists. This manufactured climate of fear, hate and indifference has seeped into all aspects of social, cultural, economic and political life. It is a disdain towards the poor, the old and the infirm. It is racism, snobbery and cronyism of the highest order. It is a sad state of affairs reflecting a decline in thinking, lack of new ideas of any sort and the desire to hold onto the existing but repeatedly-proven-to-be-failing neoliberal globalisation economic model at all cost.

      The British ‘Brexiteers’ have come to dominate the debate on Britain leaving the EU – a decision made upon a referendum that was not legally binding. This uber-elite, with their tentacles in politics and government, could not muster the idea of the EU legislation against offshore tax havens that London has become famous for over the last five decades. For this they are willing to overhaul forty years of integration with the continent on all matters of trade, movement of labour and the exchange of intellectual, political and cultural ideas. This exclusive sub-set of the population felt that external agents hell-bent on undermining the ‘will of the people’ were controlling ‘their country’ and used all the dark and dubious methods at their disposal to whip up an already beleaguered and battered Britain.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • An Incoherent #Resistance

      Liberals venerate security and intelligence figures like Michael Hayden and James Clapper for opposing Donald Trump. But these "resisters" are just as bad as Trump on a free press and government transparency.

    • Beware of the Twitter Mob

      Jeong tried to grab the reins of the controversy engulfing her by making a statement. She posted two tweets she had received from trolls. One read, "If I saw you. I would sock you right in your lesbian face." She wrote, "I engaged in what I thought of at the time as counter-trolling. While it was intended as satire, I deeply regret that I mimicked the language of my harassers." Meanwhile, the Times said it was standing by her but said her tweets "only served to feed the vitriol that we too often see on social media."

      Is there anything else on Twitter besides vitriol?

    • The Information War Is On. Are We Ready For It?

      Five experts testified, including me. We all agreed: this is an information war. These operations are ongoing and the adversaries will evolve.

      In my testimony, I laid out that there is both a short-term threat—the hijacking of narratives in the upcoming 2018 election—and significant long-term challenges. Crucially, that tech platforms and government alike need to decide how to respond to information operations while preserving our commitment to free speech and the free flow of ideas. As Senator James Risch put it: “The difficulty is, how do you segregate those people [foreign adversaries] who are doing this from Americans who have the right to do this?”

    • ANC, MDC-T rap Chamisa for violence
      African National Congress (ANC) national executive committee member and former spokesperson Mr Zizi Kodwa says MDC-Alliance leader Mr Nelson Chamisa must be held accountable for the violence that rocked Harare yesterday, after he issued inflammatory and reckless statements.
    • Chamisa’s world falls apart
      Senior MDC-Alliance members could dump Mr Nelson Chamisa over his confrontational post-election strategies, and seriously doubt the opposition party has a legal leg to stand on in attempts to have the courts invalidate Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Presidential poll victory.

      The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission last week declared Zanu-PF’s Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa the winner of the July 30, 2018 Presidential elections with 50,8 percent of votes cast to Mr Chamisa’s 44,3 percent.

      Mr Chamisa has said he will challenge the results in court, premising his suit on V11 forms from polling stations, and V23 forms.
    • Chamisa escalates ED war
      MDC Alliance presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa yesterday vowed to fight to the bitter end and flatly rejected president-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa’s overtures to end the dispute over the outcome of the July 30 presidential election.
    • MDC Alliance adamant Zec cheated the nation
      President-elect Emmerson Mnangagwa last week appeared to extend an olive branch and to offer his electoral rival, MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, a place in his government. He spoke of Chamisa having “a role to play” in the present and future Zimbabwe and appealed to him for peace and togetherness.
    • Chamisa’s MDC Alliance Rejects Calls For GNU, Says Parties Should Not Rig Elections To Force GNU
      MDC Alliance presidential candidate, Nelson Chamisa has rejected calls to work with President Emmerson Mnangagwa in a government of national unity (GNU) insisting that he won the presidential elections. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) declared Mnangagwa the winner although the opposition MDC Alliance has rejected the results. MDC Alliance national chairman Morgen Komichi said told The Standard,
    • A Window Into Money in US Politics

      The president attacks a GOP donor, whose network plans to spend $400 million in 2018 elections
    • Donald Trump and the American Left
      The election of Donald Trump fractured the American Left. The abandonment of class analysis in response to Mr. Trump’s racialized nationalism left identity politics to fill the void. This has facilitated the rise of neoliberal nationalism, an embrace of the national security state combined with neoliberal economic analysis put forward as a liberal / Left response to Mr. Trump’s program. The result has been profoundly reactionary.

      What had been unfocused consensus around issues of economic justice and ending militarism has been sharpened into a political program. A nascent, self-styled socialist movement is pushing domestic issues like single payer health care, strengthening the social safety net and reversing wildly unbalanced income and wealth distribution, forward. Left unaddressed is how this program will move forward without a revolutionary movement to act against countervailing forces.

      As widely loathed as the Democratic establishment is, it has been remarkably adept at engineering a reactionary response in favor of establishment forces. Its demonization of Russia! has been approximately as effective at fomenting reactionary nationalism as Mr. Trump’s racialized version. Lest this be overlooked, the strategy common to both is the use of oppositional logic through demonization of carefully selected ‘others.’
    • Why Brexit threatens activism
      The struggle to pass the EU Withdrawal Act was one of the biggest political upsets of the Brexit process so far. One of the major sticking points was human rights. Several related amendments proposed by the Lords were voted down by Parliament last month, leaving human rights advocates reeling.

      “As a result ordinary people will now have fewer legal tools to fight back when Parliament puts the interests of the powerful ahead of equality, fairness and human dignity,” said Martha Spurrier, Director of the human rights organisation Liberty after the vote.

      The EU Withdrawal Act transposes EU law into our domestic law, but it will also remove the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union from UK law. It has also given ministers ‘Henry VIII powers’, which enable them to amend or repeal legislation without the usual parliamentary scrutiny.
    • Facebook Identifies an Active Political Influence Campaign Using Fake Accounts
    • Watch Video: ED laughs at idea of GNU with Chamisa
      President elect Emmerson Mnangagwa has laughingly dismissed prospect of having a government of national unity with his defeated rival Nelson Chamisa.

    • Tinomudaishe Chinyoka: NO to a GNU in Zimbabwe
      You see, they knew that they have lost the election. Yes, just after polls closed and the first V11s from Harare and other urban centres got to their offices, there was a brief moment when those within the MDC started picturing themselves in government. But those hopes and delusions quickly evaporated when it became painfully obvious that once again, they had lost to a better campaign.

      By Tuesday morning, the writing was on the wall. As results trickled from the provinces, the tapestry of a ZANUPF landslide started to take shape. In Uzumba, Shamva, Rushinga, Muzarabani and Mberengwa, wards were reporting MDC numbers in single digits against hundreds for ED and ZANUPF.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Anti-vaxxer visa ban exposes mixed messages on censorship [Ed: Mistaking censorship for rejection of pseudoscience]

    • After Five Years of Blocking Sites, Russia’s No Closer to Beating Piracy

      Five years ago this week, Russia embarked on a site-blocking regime that was designed to drastically slow the piracy phenomenon. Currently, more than 5,000 sites remain blocked on copyright grounds, but is the country any closer to a solution than it was in 2013?

    • Christopher Robin Won't Get China Release Amid Pooh Censorship
    • 'Christopher Robin' Won't Be Released in China Amid Censorship Crusade Against Winnie the Pooh
      Just when you thought 2018 couldn’t get any stranger, Winnie the Pooh has become a polarizing political figure…in China? And it’s not because of his lack of pants, nor his habit of stealing honey from bees (what’s up with that, Pooh!), but because he apparently has a striking resemblance to the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping. Because of that, a Christopher Robin China release has been denied by the country, as the Chinese government cracks down on all images of the silly old bear.

      Disney has been denied a Chinese release for Christopher Robin, according to The Hollywood Reporter, making this the second Disney film rebuffed by the country’s film authorities this year after A Wrinkle in Time.

      But while an official reason wasn’t given, the denial of Christopher Robin has much darker political implications than you would think for a family film about a honey-loving bear. A source told THR that the denial was due to China’s crackdown on images of Winnie the Pooh, which has become a lightning rod of controversy on social media. Yeah, scoff all you want, but that is actually true.
    • CHRISTOPHER ROBIN Won't Be Released In China Due To Efforts To Censor Winnie The Pooh
      Stateside, Winnie the Pooh is merely an innocent children's character, whose popular animated series endeared him to audiences. However, in China, the image of the honey-loving toy has a different significance, at least when it comes to politics and President Xi Jinping.
    • Drama censorship : Jean-Christophe and Winnie the pooh banned in China to save the regime
      The Chinese will not be able to discover on the big screen Jean-Christophe and Winnie. Not because it is all rotten. Not because they don’t care. Not because they are allergic to honey and not because the hero is called Jean-Christophe.
    • ‘Christopher Robin’ won’t get a release in China, where Winnie the Pooh is a symbol of resistance
      Disney’s Christopher Robin has been banned in China. While no specific reason was given for the rejection, the Hollywood Reporter attributed the decision to China’s crackdown on images of Winnie the Pooh.

      Pooh first gained notoriety in China in 2013, when bloggers began likening president Xi Jinping to the honey-loving bear using images shared on social media site Weibo.

    • China Lashes Out at Apple for Gambling, Porn Censorship Violations
      Chinese state media has launched a sustained attack on Apple Inc, accusing the tech giant of failing to protect Chinese citizens from gambling and pornography, The Wall Street Journal reports.

    • My Article Was Censored. I Found Out Why.
      One Thursday morning, days after an article I had written for The New York Times’s Arts section had run, I received a message from a contact in Doha, Qatar, alerting me to a haunting image circulating the web. The image showed The Times, opened to the Culture section. But beneath the Culture heading, where my article was supposed to appear, there was instead a large, white, empty box. Most of the page was blank.

      I stared at the image; I had never seen a newspaper with a big blank box in place of an article. And as my eyes scrolled to the bottom of the big white box, they widened. There, in small type, was a note: “The Opinion piece, ‘A Fire Killed 32 at a New Orleans Gay Bar. This Artist Didn’t Forget,’ by by Shannon Sims, is exceptionally removed from the Doha edition of The New York Times International Edition. It is available on the web at”

    • Niskayuna High grad plans to sue school over art censorship
      An 18-year-old woman who graduated from Niskayuna High School in June plans to sue school officials for First Amendment and Title IX violations over art censorship.

      The former student alleged school officials told her to alter and finally remove a painting she created in a school art class that contained the name of a man whom she said raped her in 2015.

      Latham-based attorney Marc C. Kokosa said notices of claims have been filed with the Niskayuna Central School District. Named in the claims are Niskayuna Superintendent Cosimo Tangorra; High School Principal John Rickert; Assistant Principal Eva Jones; and art teacher Kelly Jones.

    • Niskayuna student seeks justice, finds censorship instead
      A recent Niskayuna High School graduate plans to sue school officials for First Amendment and Title IX violations, alleging that they forced her to cover up and then remove a painting she created in art class that bore the name of an adult who she said had raped her several years earlier.

      “Art is my therapy,” said the student whose name is being withheld by the Times Union. “For them to come in and say ‘It’s unacceptable,’ it hurts,” she said, choking back tears in a recent interview at the offices of her attorney, Marc Kokosa, of the Kokosa law firm in Latham.

    • Taibbi: Beware the Slippery Slope of Facebook Censorship
      A page called “Black Elevation” shows a picture of Huey Newton and offers readers a job. “Aztlan Warriors” contains a meme celebrating the likes of Geronimo and Zapata, giving thanks for their service in the “the 500 year war against colonialism.”

      And a banned “Mindful Being” page shared this, which seems culled from Jack Handey’s Deep Thoughts bit:

      “We must unlearn what we have learned because a conditioned mind cannot comprehend the infinite.”

      Facebook also wiped out a “No Unite The Right 2” page, appearing to advertise a counter-rally on the upcoming anniversary of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    • The Lasting Trauma of Alex Jones’s Lies

      There was once a time when the people who think about such things lamented the rise of information silos and filter bubbles and echo chambers: the newfound ability for people to choose their own adventures when it comes to the types of information they consume. Those concerns remain; they also, these days, seem decidedly quaint. Competing truths—“alternative facts”—are no longer the primary threat to American culture; competing lies are. Everything was possible and nothing was true: Conspiracies now smirk and smog in the air, issued from the giant smokestacks at InfoWars and The Gateway Pundit and the White House itself. Hannah Arendt warned of the mass cynicism that can befall cultures when propaganda is allowed to proliferate among them; that cynicism is here, now. And it is accompanied by something just as destructive: a sense of pervasive despair. Americans live in a world of information pollution—and the subsequent tragedy of this new environmental reality is that no one has been able to figure out a reliable method of clearing the air.

    • No, tech giants are not censoring Alex Jones
      Over the span of just a few days, conspiracy theorist and provocateur Alex Jones had his videos banned from the two most popular streaming sites in America.

      On July 25, YouTube pulled down four videos from Jones’ publishing platform InfoWars and gave him a 90-day ban from livestreaming—the first strike in one of three he’d need to accumulate to have his account permanently deleted.

      The next day, it was Facebook’s turn, banning Jones’ personal page for 30 days and pulling down the same four videos that YouTube banned.

    • Internet censorship in Africa threatens democracy, economy
      "At first I thought my cell phone had been hacked or something was broken," says a DW correspondent who reported from Mali about last Sunday's presidential elections. Social networks were suddenly unavailable; in many African countries, this is almost par for the course in the days leading up to elections. Critical websites suddenly go offline, communication apps send error messages.

      According to the organization, Internet without Borders (ISF), this was also the case during Mail's presidential election. ISF relies on data from an international observatory that checks the regional accessibility of certain websites and apps several times a day. According to this data, WhatsApp and Twitter, among other apps and sites, were not available for several hours on election night. It was suspected that the sites were closed on the orders of the government.

    • Several groups banned by Facebook had strong similarities to Twitter accounts linked to Russia six weeks ago

    • Why Google might return to China, even if it means censorship

    • Lawmakers Pressure Google Over “Deeply Troubling” China Censorship Project

    • Google staff unhappy with plan to build search engine for China that complies with censorship rules

    • Google under heavy fire after leak reveals 'censorship engine' for China

    • Googlers bristle at censoring search for China: report
      Word that Google is crafting a search engine to meet China’s draconian censorship rules has sparked widespread employee anger at the company which has responded by limiting workers’ access to documents about the project, a report said Friday.

      Google was scurrying to stop leaks and quell outrage inside the company over what had been a stealth project prior to a report this week by news website The Intercept.

      “Everyone’s access to documents got turned off, and is being turned on [on a] document-by-document basis,” a source told the news site.

      “There’s been total radio silence from leadership, which is making a lot of people upset and scared. ... Our internal meme site and Google Plus are full of talk, and people are a.n.g.r.y.”

      Google withdrew its search engine from China eight years ago due to censorship and hacking but it is now working on a project for the country codenamed “Dragonfly,” an employee told AFP on condition of anonymity.

    • UK Parliament “fake news” report demands sweeping internet censorship

      After nearly 18 months of sittings and questioning witnesses, parliament’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee (DCMS) has finally released an interim report on “fake news.”

      “Evidence” has been selected and manipulated to justify the committee’s demand to ramp-up the UK ruling elite’s anti-Russia campaign.

      On the pretext of combating fake news from Russia, the report calls for immediate steps to crack down on the democratic rights of individuals and political organisations, censor social media and close down alternative media sources that expose the plans of the imperialist powers.

      A related purpose of the report is to use allegations of Russian political interference to halt or reverse the Brexit vote.

      The select committee investigation was launched in January 2017, tasked with investigating “fake news” and centring on accusations of “foreign interference” in the June 2016 referendum on UK membership of the European Union and the June 2017 general election. It was formed in tandem with the Democratic Party’s campaign against the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election which has also centred on allegations of Russian interference.

    • Censorship of Mission Impossible for J&K map: Hyper nationalism or a genuine diplomatic concern?
      When it comes to the map of Kashmir, India has always been sensitive. Customs has held up magazines for decades wherein they believed the portrayal was wrong. We’ve gone and put black strips on such “misrepresented” maps. When it comes to Kashmir, we are sensitive about what we perceive as cartographic aggression.

      I did watch the movie, and there are references to Kashmir. However, I don’t even remember seeing the map. Perhaps, I missed it. Many others would have too. But by asking for global censorship, the MEA has only drawn attention to an issue that may otherwise have gone unnoticed.

      Such a move also shows insecurity. Moreover, global censorship cannot be enforced. Prints of the movie have already reached several countries across the globe. What will we do, go around pleading them to change the prints? What if some countries refuse? It is practically impossible to implement such a directive.

    • How Real Activists Learned Facebook Was Deleting Their Protest Page for ‘Inauthentic Behavior’

      Now, Facebook is being accused of censoring the counter-protest by deleting it. In an attempt to earn the public’s trust by moderating influence campaigns, it appears the company has incited even more bad will.

    • Facebook's 'arbitrary censorship' shut down legitimate pages, internet advocacy group claims
      A group dedicated to an open internet said Wednesday that Facebook wound up scrubbing legitimate organizations in the company’s removal operation this week, supposedly aimed at Russian troll farms.

      Fight for the Future says a genuine coalition is behind a rally to be held in the District of Columbia in August on the anniversary of last year’s Charlottesville disturbance that left one counterprotester dead.

      The group accused Facebook of “arbitrary censorship” in taking down genuine accounts along with the allegedly fake actors.

      “Calls for more censorship, whether they come from the left or the right, pose a dangerous threat to legitimate freedom of speech and undermine the power of the Internet as a tool for people to organize, educate themselves, and challenge tyranny and corruption,” Evan Greer, Fight for the Future’s deputy director, said in a press release.
    • The Imperium Censorship of YouTube
      When the 1948 masterpiece Imperium by Francis Parker Yockey becomes the focus of censorship by YouTube, you know that burying the memory hole has been accelerated to protect the safe space for anyone who cannot handle the truth. The fear that people might wake-up and start educating oneself motivates the shadow banning of any historic account that conflicts with the purity of an official narrative. That is why, Imperium the foe of the NWO, must be silenced. Yockey reflected an account of yesteryear that would get one expelled from those echo chambers of accepted culture.

      "Today, history is written from the Marxist standpoint of economics, linear progress and class warfare. The originators, designers and masterminds of NWO Totalitarianism, in every and all forms, succeeded in transforming the United States into the great defender on the “International” . . . The necessity to inflict multiculturalism as the categorical reducing and retarding leveler, results in the demise of Western Civilization. Denying that the tribe is the essential community element is the foremost fraud that underpins contrived and manufactured emotional guilt, parity and self-admonishment. The controllers of the mythical mass colorless race and congenial culture, that drives assimilation into the world community - must destroy the uniqueness of every group - to squeeze the shackles of bondage, under the new age society of the New World Order."
    • Activists Decry Facebook 'Blanket Censorship'
      Don't count net neutrality activist group Fight for the Future (FFTF) among those praising Facebook for taking down almost three dozen pages suspected of being "inauthentic," part of the social media platforms attempts to weed out fake news and posts from Russian election meddlers and others.

      According to FFTF, one of the pages taken down was for a "perfectly legitimate" protest organized by activists in D.C. against a Unite the Right 2 rally sequel to the white nationalist event in Charlottesville.
    • Mass Censorship Is Not the Answer. Fight for the Future Condemns Facebook Removal of Legitimate Protest Page
      Facebook announced with much fanfare yesterday that the company had scrubbed 32 pages and accounts that they suspected “were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior.” But as it turns out, an event sponsored by one of the pages they deleted was for a perfectly legitimate and permitted protest being organized by local activists in Washington, DC. According to the organizers, the event page was deleted because one one of the co-hosts was a page that Facebook suspected of being “inauthentic.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • This Tool Stops Your Data From Passing Through Surveillance-Happy Countries
      First, they examined the traffic to 100 most popular websites (as per Alexa rankings) in various countries and found that a large portion of internet routing paths from Brazil, India, and Kenya passes through the United States or Europe. So they applied Region Aware Networking on it and found it to be more successful in avoiding some countries than others.
    • Nation-State Hegemony in Internet Routing

    • Government watchdog pressed to investigate NSA call record deletion
      A pair of U.S. senators is asking the National Security Agency’s inspector general to investigate the circumstances surrounding the spy agency’s decision to delete scores of call records that it collected for foreign intelligence purposes.

      The NSA announced in late June that it was deleting all so-called call detail records (CDRs) collected since 2015 after discovering that “technical irregularities” resulted in the agency collecting data it was not authorized to receive.
    • 23andMe's Pharma Deals Have Been the Plan All Along

      So last week’s announcement that one of the world’s biggest drugmakers, GlaxoSmithKline, is gaining exclusive rights to mine 23andMe’s customer data for drug targets should come as no surprise. (Neither should GSK’s $300 million investment in the company). 23andMe has been sharing insights gleaned from consented customer data with GSK and at least six other pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms for the past three and a half years. And offering access to customer information in the service of science has been 23andMe’s business plan all along, as WIRED noted when it first began covering the company more than a decade ago.

    • South Korea's spy cam porn epidemic

      Hidden cameras capture women - and sometimes men - undressing, going to the toilet, or even in changing rooms in clothing stores, gyms and swimming pools. The videos are posted online on pop-up pornography sites.

    • Snowden's Lawyer Opens Up About Whistleblower's Life in Russia
      The former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor has been living in Russia with temporary asylum ever since he leaked vast amounts of classified data to the media, revealing the massive espionage network organized by the US and UK using tech companies.

      Anatoly Kucherena, Edward Snowden's lawyer, has revealed some details of the renowned whistleblower's life to Sputnik. According to him, Snowden has found a job, is actively traveling around Russia and is continuing to learn the language.

    • Edward Snowden’s most important revelations
      Five years ago, on August 1, 2013, a former contractor for the US National Security Agency (NSA) named Edward Snowden, who had exposed electronic surveillance methods used by US intelligence agencies, was granted temporary asylum in Russia.
    • If I wanted a safe life, I would still be in Hawaii, working for the NSA: Edward Snowden
      Whistleblower Edward Snowden said he won’t stop criticizing the Russian government even though his residential permit ends in 2020.

      “I am already someone who the world’s most powerful intelligence agency considers a real threat. If I wanted a safe life, I would still be in Hawaii, working for the NSA,” Snowden said in an interview with the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung.

      Snowden was a former employee of America’s Central Investigation Agency (CIA). He released classified information which revealed the NSA's global surveillance programme. Snowden sought asylum in Russia five years ago.

    • Panel wants localisation of cloud storage data in possible blow to Amazon, Microsoft

      A panel working on the Indian government's cloud computing policy wants data generated in India to be stored within the country, according to its draft report seen by Reuters, a proposal that could deal a blow to global technology giants such as Amazon and Microsoft who offer such services.


      The authorities want the information stored locally so that they can more easily get access to it when conducting investigations.

    • Privacy International calls for probe into cops' use of mobile phone extraction

      Given these findings, Privacy International is calling on the IPCO to conduct an urgent review into the police's use of the technology; assess if there is a proper legal basis for the use of the technology; and assess whether such intrusive search capability is necessary and proportionate.

    • 10 things IP practitioners need to know about GDPR

      If your organisation carries out significant business in the Europe Union, chances are that you have participated in some kind of mandatory training relating to the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the past year. If not, you may have noticed the flood of emails from services that you have used, stores that you have patronised and non-profits that you have supported, all stating: “We have updated our privacy policy.”

    • NSA's crummy crypto crop Suite B binned, and other network nuggets
      Over at the Internet Engineering Task Force, a notorious piece of history is being consigned to... well, history.

      This Request for Comment, RFC 8423, reassigns a bunch of specs that were authored or co-authored by American intel bods at the National Security Agency (NSA) to "Historic Status".

      The RFCs in question are the NSA's "Suite B documents", which pertain to NSA cryptographic algorithms.

      As recently as 2010, the "Suite B" implementations were still NSA-recommended for US government secrets – until government secrets walked out the door with former sysadmin and whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013, and the rest of the industry started wondering how much they trusted NSA-authored specs.

    • When your Uber driver is a spy

    • The Spy Who Drove Me

    • Security News This Week: Air Marshals Have Been Surveilling Civilians

      Have you ever changed your clothes in an airport, or shaved in an airplane bathroom, or boarded your plane last? Well, turns out that those are behaviors US air marshals are trained to consider suspicious.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Captive Audience: How Companies Make Millions Charging Prisoners to Send An Email

      Days later, the card was returned. Puzzled, she called the prison where she learned the facility had instituted a prohibition on greeting cards. If she wanted to send a card, a prison official told her, Jones would have to pass along her greeting electronically using JPay, a company bringing email into prison systems across the nation.


      Inside prisons, e-messaging companies are quietly building a money-making machine virtually unhindered by competition—a monopoly that would be intolerable in the outside world. It’s based in a simple formula: Whatever it costs to send a message, prisoners and their loved ones will find a way to pay it. And, the more ways prisoners are cut off from communicating with their families, the better it is for business. [...]

    • Spies in the suburbs: Inside the CIA's secret defector unit
      Zaporozhsky was ultimately released in 2010 and sent back to the US as part of a spy swap with Russia that also included Sergei Skripal, a former KGB colonel convicted of spying for Britain after admitting to the crime. The US released 10 individuals accused of operating a Russian spy ring in the US as part of the exchange.

    • Flood Thy Neighbor: Who Stays Dry and Who Decides?

      Just after Christmas 2015, police showed up at the Starling Community Trailer Court in Arnold, Missouri, and told residents to get out. There was no time to stack sandbags, no time to pack. The big one was coming.

      The mobile home park backed onto a rising creek, where the oldest residents were closest to the threat. Sarah Quinn raced to help her grandmother and great-grandparents get to safety. They narrowly escaped the rushing Meramec River, which snakes around Arnold and other St. Louis suburbs on its way to meet the Mississippi.

      About 12 miles upstream, the Meramec climbed the steep banks of the city of Fenton and flowed across a road into the Riverside Golf Club, where Walt Wolfner was busy carting furniture and computers out of his clubhouse. He knew, because the course had flooded so often lately, that he and 20 workers would need two weeks to mop up the damage.

      Thirty miles farther up the Meramec, the river was creeping up on the town of Pacific, too. Devin Brundick and Felicia Ammann, a young couple who owned a small green bungalow beside the river, hurried to load their belongings into a friend’s truck.

      By the time the river crested, Wolfner’s clubhouse was under 11 feet of water, Brundick and Ammann’s bungalow was uninhabitable, and Quinn’s grandmother lost everything.

      “Her sofa, her chair, her deep freeze, washer, dryer, bed, mattress, all of it,” Quinn said. “All of her books that she’s collected over the years … nothing could be saved.”

      They were the lucky ones. The flood killed at least 20 people in the Midwest and broke records along the Meramec. It was a once-in-a-generation flood — or so they thought, until it happened again 16 months later.

    • To See How Levees Increase Flooding, We Built Our Own
      massive earthen or concrete structures that keep rivers confined to their channels — tame the flow of rivers and make life possible for the millions of people who live behind them. But they come with often-unexamined risks, as they can make floods worse for the communities across the river or upstream from them.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Report Highlights How U.S. Telcos Abandoned Rural American Broadband
      So we've made it pretty clear for a long while that United States broadband ranges somewhere between mediocre and terrible thanks to the one-two punch of cash-compromised lawmakers/regulators and a lack of real broadband competition. We've also noted for a while how despite all the hype about limited gigabit broadband deployments and next-gen wireless (5G), the problem is actually getting worse in numerous markets.

      In countless areas (usually the ones where poorer people live), incumbent telcos have effectively given up on broadband because it's not profitable enough, quickly enough for Wall Street's liking. As a result, telcos are refusing to upgrade aging DSL lines at any real scale, leaving cable with a bigger monopoly over broadband in countless markets country wide. That monopoly in turn lets cable broadband providers double down on all manner of bad behavior, be it comically bad customer service, privacy and net neutrality violations, or arbitrary and anti-competitive usage caps and overage fees.

      A new report (pdf) by the Institute For Local Self-Reliance once again drives this point home, noting how the nation's telcos have all but given up on broadband investment outside of semi-competitive markets, leaving vast swaths of territories with "broadband" that can't even meet the FCC's 25 Mbps down, 4 Mbps up definition. But because the country's broadband maps are fundamentally terrible, telcos are routinely allowed to falsely over-state actual availability.

    • Sinclair hired GOP lobbyists after FCC cracked down on proposed Tribune merger

      Sinclair Broadcast Group hired a group of Republican lobbyists last month as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put its proposed merger with Tribune Media in jeopardy, according to disclosure forms released this week.

      The filings show that Sinclair tapped the lobbyists to advocate for the embattled merger on June 19, three days after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (R) said he had “serious concerns” about the deal and would be referring it to an onerous administrative law proceeding.

    • Net neutrality foe Marsha Blackburn gets 85% of the vote in GOP Senate primary

      Blackburn has been one of the most prominent opponents of net neutrality rules in the House of Representatives, where she chairs a key subcommittee that oversees telecommunications.

    • Huawei Declares Ambition to Be No.1 After Dethroning Apple

      Huawei this year overcame a global slump by grabbing sales from Apple and current leader Samsung Electronics Co. The fast-growing consumer division has helped Huawei, the leader in global telecommunications equipment, get past lackluster demand from carriers globally. Despite barely making a dent in the U.S., it’s managed to build a strong presence in $600-plus phones in markets from Europe to Africa, which in turn allowed it to break Apple’s and Samsung’s years-long stranglehold on the global market.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Indian ministry said to propose re-introduction of outbound royalty caps
      About one year ago, the Indian government convened a task force to study the outflow of royalties paid by domestic firms for foreign technology and intellectual property. Now, a report in the Times of India claims that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is circulating a proposal to bring back caps on such payments. The resurrection of restrictions - which were eased back in 2009 - could boost local companies’ profits as well as the tax authorities’ take, but will unsettle both brand and technology licensors from abroad.

    • Finland: Proposed new act on university inventions increases freedom of contract but may still fall short of the expectations
      The Finnish act on the right in inventions made at higher education institutions is in the process of being amended. The reason behind the underlying revision is to enhance the commercialisation of inventions at higher education institutions. Statistics on patents granted from 2013 to 2016 show that Finnish universities in general produced high-quality research and a wealth of excellent research results but, unfortunately, a large portion of these results will be left unexploited. But will the amended act solve this issue and enhance commercialisation?

      In the act, research is divided into collaborative research and open research. Collaborative research involves external parties. All other research is defined as an open study. In collaborative research, an institution of higher education is entitled to the rights in the invention. In an open study, the inventor is granted the rights and the transfer of rights further to the university requires the explicit consent of the researcher. In each category, the inventor is obliged to file an invention notice with the university. If the invention rights are transferred to the university, the inventor is legally entitled to a fair compensation.

      The draft government proposal proposes that Article 6 of the act be amended so that in an open study, the transfer of invention rights would primarily be agreed between the university and the researcher. In the alternative, if there is no agreement, the article would apply according to the current content, i.e., the transfer of rights to the university would be voluntary from the researcher’s point of view. The amended clause would, however, allow for an agreement in advance while, in the present model, acquiring the researcher’s consent to the transfer of invention rights becomes topical only after the invention has been created, in a situation where concrete plans already exist to exploit the rights. Prior to this stage in both the current and the reformed model, the researcher themselves have identified their invention, received information on the invention disclosure process and reasonable compensation for the inventor and ultimately made an inventory announcement to make the university aware of the invention.

    • Intellectual Property and Principles of IPR in Bangladesh
      Intellectual Property ordinarily includes patent, design, trademark and copyright. Due to the technological growth and globalization. Intellectual Property (IP) has acquired an international character. The greater importance on Intellectual Property all over the world can be traced from the concern of different international organization. WIPO and WTO are playing the leading role jointly for the protection of Intellectual property. Under the WTO agreement developing countries and transition economies were given use years to ensure that their laws and practices conform with the TRIPS agreement (1995 to 2000). Least-developed countries had 11 years, until 2006 conform to the TRIPS agreement. At present this period was extended to 2013 in general, and to 2016 for pharmaceutical patents and undisclosed information. This papers describe about Bangladesh that is a member of both the WIPO and WTO. Being a member of WTO, it has also to conform its national law to conformity with the TRIPS agreement within the stipulated time. Presently IP protection is governed by the Patents and Designs Act. 1911, The Trademark Ordinance. 2008 and the Copyright Act, 2000. The law relating to trademark and copyright has been modified to greater extent but patent and design law of our country was not modified yet to cope with the present situation.

    • Call For Papers: Chanakaya National Law University – One day National Seminar on Intellectual Property Rights – Emerging Issues and Challenges.

    • The Minority Gender Patent Gap
      I previously wrote about an interesting study finding that women were granted patents at a far lower rate than men. While it is well known that women hold a lower number of patents than men, the study highlighted that inherent biases may play a role in the patent gender gap. For example, where an application listed inventors with obviously female names, they had a lower chance of being approved. Similarly, for female inventors who had patents granted, those with obviously female names were cited 30 percent less frequently than obviously male names, but for less common female names, patent citations actually increased over less common male names.

      Not surprisingly, we not only have a patent gender gap problem, but a minority gender gap problem. Last week, the Institute of Women’s Policy Research released a report finding that women of color, in particular, are less likely to own patents. According to the report, Black and Hispanic women are particularly underrepresented. While this isn’t exactly a groundbreaking revelation — we see diversity problems nearly everywhere — it’s still important to address these issues. Unlike the study from earlier this year on the gender gap, this one focuses on trends and patent holdings, rather than looking at biases in the application process. Regardless of the reason behind the gap, this report should still be taken seriously and the innovation community must determin

    • GE Engineer Linked to China Stole Power Plant Technology, FBI Says
      A General Electric Co. engineer with ties to Chinese companies was arrested and accused of stealing files related to proprietary power-turbine technology, which the FBI says he elaborately concealed to avoid detection.

    • Artificial Examiner: The Expanding Use Of AI And ML Software At Intellectual Property Offices (IPOs) [Ed: Some patent maximalists insist that we should have computer-generated patents and now they want the same for examination, rendering the whole patent system moot]
      On February 8th, 2018 the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) released a summary1 of the replies given by national and regional IPOs about the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) software in the administration at the IPO, and the results are a very interesting perspective on the adoption of various legal tech initiatives in government and administrative environments.

    • IP secrets to Fujifilm’s transformation
      Patent portfolio data illustrates how Fujifilm has leveraged its R&D strategy to engineer a lucrative venture into the healthcare domain and suggests where the company may be headed next

    • Patent monetisation during World War FRAND
      With the legal landscape surrounding SEPs shifting in many countries, it has never been more important to take a global view of patent assertion – but any cross-border litigation strategy needs careful consideration

    • BEPS initiative has big implications for IP departments
      The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD’s) Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) initiative has had a direct impact on IP strategy and how IP departments must behave in order to comply. It presents an opportunity to raise the strategic profile of intangibles within organisations, as well as the professionals who manage them.

    • IP-related statistics from the recent past

      A recent report by iRunway takes a big-picture look at the highly lucrative Wireless LAN (WLAN) market – estimated to be worth over $15 billion by 2022 – from a patent-focused perspective. The analysis identified 21,565 global IP assets related to WLAN technologies, 239 of which were found to be essential to the IEEE 802.11 standard. While Qualcomm is the dominant player in the space overall, it is beaten by Marvell in the United States by active portfolio size and conspicuously absent from the list of the top owners of SEPs. The study also finds that while the United States dominates this market by filings, numbers in Europe have been shooting up fast.

    • Judicial interpretation of the Administrative Procedure Law: what’s new?

      On 8 February 2018 the Supreme People’s Court issued a judicial interpretation which provides an updated supplement to the Administrative Procedure Law based on recent administrative and judicial practice.

      This article discusses several key updates introduced by the 2018 interpretation to the practice of administrative litigation in China.

    • Non-Patented Features and the Entire Market Value Rule
      Evidence that a patented feature drives customer demand is insufficient to justify damages under the entire market value rule (EMVR) when non-patented features may drive customer demand. Power Integrations, No. 2017-1875 (Fed. Cir. July 3, 2018). The Federal Circuit vacated a damages award for patent infringement from a jury that relied on the EMVR, noting that while the plaintiff showed that the patented feature drove demand of the accused products, the plaintiff did not show that valuable features of the accused products were not relevant to customer demand.

      Plaintiff Power Integrations sued Defendant Fairchild for infringement of U.S. Patent Nos. 6,212,079 and 6,538,908, directed to power supply controller chips. A jury found infringement of the ‘079 patent and awarded a reasonable royalty of $139.8 million. The jury’s award was based on Plaintiff’s expert testimony of EMVR.

    • Trademarks

      • As Kit Kat, Starbucks and Posh Spice rulings show, intellectual property is big but bittersweet business

        Existential questions of taste, texture and maybe even cocoa content can obviously come into play when answering this question. But considerations of this kind are for chocolate aficionados. Here on the business pages, perhaps lamentably, less lyrical matters must be considered.

        The reason being that the European Court of Justice has recently decided that there will be no European Union-wide trademark protection for what was described in court documents as “four trapezoidal bars aligned on a rectangular base”, aka Kit Kat.

        Unlike Nestlé, Mondelez had managed to trademark its “zigzag prism”-shaped Toblerone bar. Moreover, as the owner of the Leo and Kvikk Lunsj confectionery brands, offering chocolate bars that are similar in appearance to Kit Kat, Mondelez was happy to see Nestlé falter in its long-running battle for exclusive rights to the Kit Kat shape.

    • Copyrights

      • Yet Another Study Shows You Beat Piracy Through Innovation, Rather Than Enforcement
        Three years ago we released our Carrot or the Stick? paper, in which we explored piracy rates in a bunch of different countries, and looked at what appeared to be most effective in reducing piracy: greater legal enforcement or innovative new services. Time and time again our research highlighted how it was innovation -- in the form of user friendly licensed services (the user friendly part is important...) would lead to a noticeable reduction in piracy (sometimes in dramatic ways). On the other hand, increased legal enforcement appeared to have (if anything) only a temporary effect.

        It appears that others are now exploring the same area, and doing quite an incredible job with it. A group of Dutch researchers at the Institute for Information Law at the University of Amsterdam have just released a Global Online Piracy Study that does an incredible job looking at the same questions with even more thorough data and analysis. They surveyed 35,000 people and looked at situations in 13 different countries (larger than our sample). T

      • Sci-Hub Proves That Piracy Can be Dangerously Useful

        Despite two lost legal battles in the US, domain name seizures, and millions of dollars in damage claims, Sci-Hub continues to offer unauthorized access to academic papers. The site's founder says that she would rather operate legally, but copyright gets in the way. Sci-Hub is not the problem she argues, it's a solution, something many academics appear to agree with.

      • Ding! Earned First Higher Degree

        The degree that I earned is a "Thesis PhD" which is a less common type of PhD that you don't see very much in the US. It involves writing about and defending the academic value and contribution of your work, rather than doing new work in residence in an institution. The sequencing and the ordering is different than typical PhDs.

        The process involved writing a dissertation and putting together a package that was accepted by the university. After that, a committee was formally constituted with Jun Murai as the lead advisor and Rod Van Meter, Keiko Okawa, Hiroya Tanaka, and Jonathan Zittrain as committee members and thesis readers. They provided feedback and detailed critique on the thesis, which I rewrote based on this feedback. Oh June 6, I defended the thesis publicly at Keio University and, based on the questions and feedback from the defense, I rewrote the dissertation again.

      • Original Star Wars movies blocked from Disney streaming until 2024

        But there's a snag to this plan, as is often the case when intellectual property is at stake. On Thursday afternoon, Bloomberg reported that in 2016, when Disney sold the TV broadcast rights for the original Star Wars films to Turner Broadcasting, it also sold it the streaming rights. Until 2024. And the AT&T-owned broadcaster has no desire to give them back early—at least not at a price that the House of Mouse considers palatable.

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