Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 27/9/2020: Puppy Linux 9.5, Nitrux 1.3.3

  • Leftovers

    • Health/Nutrition

      • It's Highly Unlikely That We Will Have a Safe Vaccine by Election Time

        Despite President Donald Trump’s promises of a vaccine next month and pundits’ speculation about how an “October surprise” could upend the presidential campaign, any potential vaccine would have to clear a slew of scientific and bureaucratic hurdles in record time.

      • Birth Control Is Harder to Get During COVID. Over-the-Counter Access Is Crucial.

        In what was her final dissent, the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg fiercely advocated for workers to have their birth control covered by insurance regardless of their employers’ beliefs. In the decision, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to uphold the Trump administration’s rules that allow companies to deny insurance coverage of birth control to employees.

      • Don’t Grant Global Meat Corporations Immunity, Hold Them Accountable for Covid-19 Failures

        Given the industry’s track record, corporate immunity would likely open the door for more abuses that directly put workers lives and those that live in meatpacking plant communities at risk.

      • A Real Vaccine Before the Election? It’d Take a Miracle.

        Despite President Donald Trump’s promises of a vaccine next month and pundits’ speculation about how an “October surprise” could upend the presidential campaign, any potential vaccine would have to clear a slew of scientific and bureaucratic hurdles in record time.

        In short, it would take a miracle.

      • Nearly 100% Accuracy for COVID-Sniffing Dogs at Helsinki Airport

        The university's preliminary tests found that dogs could identify the disease with nearly 100% accuracy, even days before a patient develops symptoms. A French study in June suggested there was "very high evidence" that the sweat-odor of COVID-positive individuals was different than those without the virus, and that dogs—which have been able to identify diseases such as cancer and diabetes successfully—could detect that difference.

        Airport authorities in Helsinki note that the four-month pilot program will only cost $350,000, significantly lower than laboratory-based testing methods. Better yet, dogs can not easily contract the virus as cats or mink, for example, and cannot transmit the virus to people or other animals.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • What Apple’s Fortnite Fee Battle Is Really About

          The Supreme Court last year allowed to proceed a consumer-driven class-action lawsuit charging that Apple violates antitrust laws with its App Store commissions, thus inflating app prices. European officials have opened an antitrust investigation into Apple over its App Store operations. Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, along with other tech titans, was hauled before Congress over the summer to talk primarily about the App Store as part of a panel on antitrust.

        • Inside eBay’s Cockroach Cult: The Ghastly Story of a Stalking Scandal

          “People are basically good” was eBay’s founding principle. But in the deranged summer of 2019, prosecutors say, a campaign to terrorize a blogger crawled out of a dark place in the corporate soul.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Swift System Goes Open Source, Adds Linux Support

              Apple has open sourced Swift System and added support for Linux, according to Apple developer Michael Ilseman.

              Since Apple introduced Swift, it has quickly become one of the most important programming languages in use, largely supplanting its predecessor, Objective-C. Swift is the native language for creating macOS, iOS and iPadOS apps. In June, Apple released “Swift System, a new library for Apple platforms that provides idiomatic interfaces to system calls and low-level currency types.”

            • What would a global open organization look like? [Ed: Openwashing corporations under the guise of "collaboration"]

              We all have identities formed in part by the groups in which we participate—sports teams, religious groups, regions, and nationalities. We tend to promote and support those that we identify with. So how might we develop an identity for a new, global organization that welcomes open participation in solving global issues?

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Time to Put an End to the Nuclear Age

        2020 has been hard enough. The last thing the world needs this year is nuclear weapons.

      • Israel Isn’t Signing ‘Peace’ Deals

        Corporate media outlets such as Forbes (9/11/20), Bloomberg (9/15/20), CNN (9/15/20) and the Washington Post (9/16/20) have described recent accords that normalize Israeli relations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain as “peace” deals. This is a misleading label to apply to agreements that help cement a belligerent military alliance against Iran, and allow violence against Palestinians, Libyans and Yemenis to continue.

      • Stephen Cohen’s legacy

        The historian Stephen Cohen died on September 18 at the age of 81. Though he became something of a pariah among American Russianists in his final years, particularly after 2014 (thanks to his views on the Ukraine conflict, which often dovetailed with Kremlin talking points), Cohen was perhaps best known professionally for his 1973 biography about Nikolai Bukharin, the Bolshevik revolutionary he believed represented an alternative path for Soviet socialism that derailed into collectivization and mass violence because of Joseph Stalin. Cohen had similar misgivings about Boris Yeltsin undoing Mikhail Gorbachev’s Perestroika.

      • German Airbase in Jagel: Waiting for the drones

        Only 23 years after a military drone airport in Jagel was decided, large drones could actually be stationed there. But the squadron is already analysing images and videos of drone missions in Mali. In this way, „terrorists“ and „smugglers“ are also being pursued from Schleswig-Holstein.

      • Renewed Scrutiny of US Nuclear Weapons Stockpile as Campaigners Mark Day to Rid World of 'Tools of Mass Human Death and Suffering'

        "There is no cure for a nuclear war. Prevention is our only option."

      • Dozens killed in jihadist attack on Nigeria governor's convoy

        The IS-affiliated Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) group maintains most of its camps on islands in Lake Chad and the region is known as a bastion for the jihadists.The militant group has recently intensified attacks on military and civilian targets in the region.

        In July Zulum's convoy came under gun attack from ISWAP outside Baga, forcing him to cancel his trip to the town.

        The decade-long insurgency in northeast Nigeria has killed 36,000 people and forced over 2 million from their homes.

      • Paris Stabbing Attack Termed Act of Islamist Terrorism

        In an interview with France 2 television station, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the attack was "clearly an act of Islamist terrorism."

        "Manifestly, the method was one of an Islamist terrorist. There is little doubt this is a new bloody attack against our country, against journalists, against our society, which you already mentioned in your report... a great amount of difficulties and emotions over the past few years and I would like the extend my support to them as well," Darmanin said.

      • Suspect in Paris knife attack confesses to stabbings

        France's PNAT specialist anti-terror prosecution office said it has opened a probe into charges of "attempted murder related to a terrorist enterprise" as well as "conspiracy with terrorists".

        Seven people including the main suspect were being held for questioning in connection with the attack, which Darmanin said was "clearly an act of Islamist terrorism".

      • CPJ condemns knife attack near former Charlie Hebdo office in Paris

        “CPJ is deeply concerned about today’s violent attack near the former offices of Charlie Hebdo, as the trial in one of history’s deadliest media attacks continues,” said Gulnoza Said, CPJ’s Europe and Central Asia program coordinator, in New York. “Authorities must thoroughly investigate the attack and determine whether it was related to Charlie Hebdo’s work.”

      • André Vltchek’s Sudden Death

        A philosopher, a filmmaker, an exceptional investigative journalist, he’ll be missed by millions of the unnamed that he fought for justice and redemption from forces of colonialism, past and present.

        He died unexpectedly in the middle of the night September 22 when traveling in a chauffeur-driven car with his wife from Samsun on the Black Sea in Turkey to Istanbul. When they arrived in early morning hours at a hotel, his wife tried to awaken him, but he had passed. Turkish police have ordered a forensic analysis of his mysterious unexpected death.

        He famously exposed atrocities from Afghanistan to Syria, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Hong Kong to Xinjiang. He not only exposed the ruthlessness of ruling elites via the pen, he traveled to see what was true, what was false, what was shocking. Following in his footsteps leads to a disquieting litany of the “shocking.”

      • Provocation on the High Seas: U.S. Naval Adventures Near the Shores of Russia, China and Iran

        The war on terror is slowly ending. The U.S. military will try to keep bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, but with most troops gone in the next few years, the lives of the few who remain will be at constant risk. Pressure will mount to get those soldiers out. But Pentagon bureaucrats and brass are masters of institutional infighting, and, apparently, ignoring presidential orders they don’t like, so who knows how that will turn out? One thing is sure: the military’s focus has shifted, from the Middle East to Russia and China. That means U.S. soldiers and materiel will continue to be in places they shouldn’t, in ever greater numbers, namely the Black Sea and the South China Sea.

        Lest you fear that peace might break out in the Middle East, there’s always the possibility of a U.S. assault on Iran. That chance greatly increased with the Trump regime’s monumental blunder of smashing the Iran nuclear treaty. Trump clearly thought his high-handed rejection would cow the Iranians. He was wrong. In an apparent rage, he ratcheted up sanctions, threats, insults and then – an assassination, the logical conclusion of which was war, had Trump not come to his senses. Since then things have cooled down a bit, though not enough to stop the Trump regime from interfering with Iran’s oil trade with Venezuela or from making preposterous accusations about Iranian plots against the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, an official with no relation to Iran, known mostly for her business in expensive handbags and for donating to Trump.

        What the idiotically bellicose U.S. policy toward Iran – including the recent U.S. push for more sanctions – has mainly achieved is a warm embrace between Iran and China. And that’s not a matter susceptible to piracy on the high seas – the preferred U.S. approach to tankers taking Iranian fuel to Caracas. Nor will wild charges about planned assassinations of obscure, random U.S. bureaucrats affect this relationship. The Trump regime has blustered, threatened, insulted and caused the great Iran-China friendship to sink deep roots and blossom. It probably would have anyway, but Trump surely deserves credit for nourishing it.

    • Environment

      • Why Environmental Justice Needs to Be on the Docket in the Presidential Debates
      • Facebook Blocks Several Climate Activists' Accounts

        However, activists find that Facebook is failing to comply with that premise, as fact-checkers cannot block some posts about climate change because of the social network policies. In September, fact-checkers could not overturn an article of the CO2 Coalition – an organization that denies the impact of CO2 on our planet- that criticized climate models.

        “Actions speak louder than words, and once again, Facebook has taken actions that are in stark contrast to public statements from the company,” said senior corporate campaigner at Greenpeace U.S., Elizabeth Jardim.

      • 'Regenerative Agriculture and the Soil Carbon Solution': New Paper Outlines Vision for Climate Action

        "Data from farming and grazing studies show the power of exemplary regenerative systems that, if achieved globally, would drawdown more than 100% of current annual CO2 emissions," the new research says.

      • Cities and Green Orthodoxy
      • Energy

        • ‘Investment in Fossil Fuels Yields Much Less Returns Than the Green Sector’

          MP3 Link

        • Hawkins Slams House Energy Bill for Promoting Fossil Fuels and Nukes

          Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for President, criticized the Energy Bill (HR 4447) passed by the House this week as a continuation of the Democrats’ promotion of continued use of fossil fuels, which ignores the dangers of rapidly accelerating climate change, including its disproportionate impact on low-income minority communities.

          “Democrats such as Biden, Pelosi, and Cuomo not only advocate a 30-plus-year go-slow approach to cut emissions, they actually promote fossil fuels, including wasting massive corporate welfare payments to promote carbon capture technology. Progressive Democrats in Congress like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) took the Green New Deal, the signature policy of the Green Party in the 2010s, and gutted it by rejecting the Green demand for immediate ban on fracking and a halt to new fossil fuel infrastructure and by extending the deadline for zero emissions from 2030 to 2050. Then the Biden and the Democratic platform dropped even mention of a Green New Deal,” said Hawkins who was the first US candidate to propose a Green New Deal with a 10-year plan to zero out emissions when he ran for New York governor in 2010.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Trump's Forest Service Issues Plan to Open Largest US National Forest to Logging

          The U.S. Forest Service has released a report laying the groundwork to open more than 9 million acres in the nation’s largest national forest to logging.

        • When Police Repression is Not Enough: A U.S. Corporation is Suing Guatemala to Crush Local Mining Opposition

          Across the Global South, and especially in Latin America, international mining companies are using a combination of pressure tactics to forcibly open mining operations in places where communities have resisted them.

          First, they resort to deception and repression. Then, if that fails, they sue governments in international tribunals — which can force governments to pay massive awards to the corporations and undermine public decision making in the people’s interest.

          A new report we co-authored looks at one U.S. corporation’s efforts to use the pressure of an expensive lawsuit to strong-arm the Guatemalan government into green-lighting an unwanted mine.

          Kappes, Cassiday & Associates (KCA), a private, Nevada-based mining company, consolidated its control over a gold mining project about 20 miles north of Guatemala City eight years ago. Faced with an intergenerational movement to stop the mine in order to protect scarce water supplies, KCA sued the national police in domestic courts for more protection. Only a few months later, under the leadership of a retired Lieutenant Colonel that served during the genocidal dictatorship of Efraín Ríos Montt, the police drew up counter-insurgency-style security plans aimed at breaking up the opposition movement, known as the Peaceful Resistance La Puya.

    • Finance

      • Trump’s Taxes Show Chronic Losses and Years of Income Tax Avoidance
      • A New Plan to End the Unemployment Crisis

        In one of the world’s richest countries, nearly 14 million people are unemployed and one out of five families with children cannot afford adequate food.

        As families go hungry, the Trump administration says it has the “luxury to watch and see” what happens. Trump offers us a lazy fantasy — simply reopen the economy and hope things return to “normal.”

        Here’s a fatal flaw in Trump’s back-to-normal delusion: “Normal” was fundamentally unjust, unhealthy, and unstable.

        Thanks to decades of “normal” conditions, Black and brown communities are more likely to breathe polluted air, and thus aremore likely to die today of COVID-19.

        “Normal” is what enabled billionaires to rake in nearly $850 billion in the pandemic’s first six months while half of all householdslost income and the gap between Black and white unemployment widened.

      • Myths of the White Working Class

        On September 22nd, Politico reported on how rank-and-file union members were snubbing Biden for Trump. Perhaps inadvertently, the second sentence reveals what kind of trade unionist this means: “To rank-and-file members in some unions, especially the building trades, it doesn’t matter. They’re still firmly in Donald Trump’s camp.” Historically, construction unions have operated as a white-only job trust and would be naturally part of Trump’s hard-core support. While Anthony DiMaggio debunked the myth of Trump’s “blue-collar” populism in CounterPunch, Democratic Party pundits insist that unless it connects with these types of workers, it will lose to demagogues like Ronald Reagan or Donald Trump.

        Just hot off of OR Books press, David Roediger’s “The Sinking Middle Class: A Political History” digs deep into the origins of this line of thinking and concludes that it is time to put it to rest. Despite the book’s title, the subject is a demographic that academics and journalists describe interchangeably as the middle-class or the white working-class. Since Black people tend to vote overwhelmingly for Democratic Party politicians, Roediger’s chief concern is to interrogate how this obsession developed.


        Greenberg went to Macomb County, a suburb of Detroit, and discovered that white auto workers were rotten-ripe for the kind of message that the Gipper was spouting. After polling the workers, he concluded that the Democrats could only become winners again by “keeping demands for racial and gender justice meager.” For Greenberg, the terms middle-class and white working-class were interchangeable.

        The reactionary drift in Macomb County was not unexpected. In the 1972 Democratic Party primary, George Wallace got more votes than George McGovern got in the general election. Macomb County was typical of the “white flight” in the sixties as workers with well-paying union jobs left the inner cities behind. For a white worker making good money in the auto industry, Detroit had become a “shithole.” Macomb was where a worker could enjoy the good life. Roediger points out that its average income exceeded by half the rest of the nation. It also had the highest number of boat owners per capita in the country.

      • A Conversation with Dr. Shaun Nelms on Systemic Poverty in Rochester

        Rochester has been in the news a lot lately, starting with the delayed details about the homicide of Daniel Prude, and then, following the release of the video of Prude’s death, for the protests which followed. This weekend, Rochester was again in the news, this time for a mass shooting that left 14 people injured and two bystanders dead.

        Violence and unrest are symptoms of the city’s greater systemic problems: Problems detailed in a report that came out in August, published by ACT Rochester and the Community Foundation, called "Hard Facts," which looked at race and inequality in the nine-county Rochester region.

        What the authors found was disturbing, and at the heart of why the city is suffering from multiple social ills at once.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • To Democratic Voters – Up Your Demands; To Trump Voters – See How He Didn’t Deliver for You

        Some practical advice for casting informed votes.

      • Countdown: 38 Days Until the Election

        Check out all installments in the OppArt series.

      • GOP Senator Proposes Bill That Would Discount Most Absentee and Mail-in Ballots

        A new bill proposed by Republican Sen. Rick Scott is “entirely unworkable,” Slate reported Thursday evening, but demonstrates the GOP’s intense desire to make sure millions of votes aren’t counted in the general election by severely restricting the time frame during which they can be tallied.

      • Farmers Are Plagued by Debt and Climate Crisis. Trump Has Made Things Worse.

        At a campaign rally at an airport in Wisconsin on September 17, President Trump announced a second round of COVID-related relief payments for farmers under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP 2). For the first time, producers of commodities, including wine grapes, goats and hemp, have become eligible for payments, which are expected to total $13 billion.

      • Amy Coney Barrett’s Extremist Religious Beliefs Merit Examination

        President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, is a devout Catholic. Obviously, that has no bearing on her fitness to join the court. The Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, is a devout Catholic. Justice Sonia Sotomayor is Catholic, as are four conservatives currently on the court: Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Brett Kavanaugh. It is hard to make a case that Catholics, who make up roughly 23 percent of Americans, face discrimination when nominated to the high court (though Biden, if elected, would be only the second Catholic president in our history). Raised Catholic (and still a much-derided “cafeteria Catholic”), I’ve grown up sensitive to anti-Catholic prejudice.

      • Outside Schumer's Home, Activists Demand Dems Block Trump SCOTUS Appointment

        "Democracy has its eyes on you, Chuck."

      • QAnon leaders look to rebrand after tech crack downs

        Facing crackdowns from tech companies that limit the reach of their content, leaders in the QAnon conspiracy theory movement have been urging their followers to drop the “QAnon” label from their wide-ranging conspiracy theories and simply refer to their fight against a fictitious cabal of powerful baby-eating politicians without their increasingly problematic branding.

        The shift in tactics comes the same week as Twitter released new data stating that their ban on QAnon-related accounts was severely limiting the reach of the conspiracy theory.

      • Nearly 500 National Security Experts Endorse Biden For President

        Nearly 500 national security experts – both civilians and former senior uniformed officers — have endorsed Joe Biden for president, saying the "current president" is not up to "the enormous responsibilities of his office."

        Addressed to "Our Fellow Citizens," the 489 national security experts include 22 four-star officers. The letter never mentions President Trump by name.

      • While Facebook works to create an oversight board, industry experts formed their own

        A group of about 25 experts from academia, civil rights, politics and journalism announced Friday that they have formed a group to analyze and critique Facebook's content moderation decisions, policies and other platform issues in the run-up to the presidential election and beyond.

        The group, which calls itself the Real Facebook Oversight Board, plans to hold its first meeting via Facebook Live on Oct. 1. It will be hosted by Recode founder Kara Swisher, a New York Times contributing opinion writer.

      • Activists Are Calling on Democrats to Stop Trump's SCOTUS Pick From Advancing

        Progressive activists are gathering Saturday outside Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Brooklyn, New York home with a clear message for the Senate minority leader: “Democracy has its eyes on you, Chuck.”

      • The Last Third Party to Win Waged Political Struggle with a “Revolutionary Reform.”

        The last third party to win — the Republican Party — used a revolutionary reform they called the “non-extention of slavery” to fundamentally alter the existing two-party system.

        The history of the anti-slavery movement and the early Republican Party raises a question we are dying to answer: under what conditions and with what strategies can government be fundamentally transformed?

        Those conditions exist when there are major problems that the existing political order created but cannot solve. Back then it was slavery and the domination of the government by slave-owners. Now, it’s the interlocking crisis of climate change, empire, the militarized penal system, inequality and the domination of government by corporations.

        Starting in the 1840s a series of third parties raised a fundamental challenge to the existing social order and they did so with a special kind of reform — a reform that required revolutionary measures to achieve.

      • Black Poetry and the Abolitionist Movement

        Matt Sandler begins his text on Black abolitionist poets with the story of Sara Lucy Bagby, a slave who escaped from slavery in Virginia and made her way to Cleveland, Ohio. Bagby was the last fugitive slave to be returned to bondage under the aegis of the Fugitive Slave Law then in effect in the United States. The Union was heading towards civil war; indeed, four southern states had already seceded from the nation. Bagby’s case was a classic compromise by white Ohioans who hoped to avoid war by sending her back to those who claimed to own her. Sandler mentions this case in order to introduce the poet Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, an abolitionist activist and poet whose poem “To the Union Savers of Cleveland: An Appeal From One of the Fugitive’s Own Race” highlighted the case while calling out the timidity of those who sent Bagby back into slavery. The poem also pointed out the racism of the decision and warned of a “storm (about) to break.” That storm would be the Civil War.

        Sandler finishes up his study with a chapter that looks at the United States in the latter half of the twentieth century up to now. His discussion mentions WEB DuBois, June Jordan, revolutionary Fred Hampton, poet Robert Hayden, and hip-hop artist Meek Mill, among others. The words of these individuals are not only quoted to remind the reader of just how incomplete the transition from slavery to full and equal standing for Black Americans is, but to also draw a historical line from the Black Romantics to modern wordsmiths writing, organizing and speaking in Black America. It is a line that disputes the myth that all US residents are equal before the law and their fellow citizens. Indeed, it is a line that leans dramatically towards denying that myth in ways that most white-skinned residents of the United States fail (or refuse) to see.

      • Mail-in Balloting and Impending Doom

        More than 80 million Americans are expected to cast mail-in ballots this fall, representing a 16-fold increase over 2016.

        This is probably going to cause a constitutional crisis of epic proportions.

        The problem isn’t the possibility of fraud that Donald Trump has been going on about. Cases of possible double voting or voting on behalf of dead people Daley-machine-style are statistically insignificant, amounting to at most 0.0025% of mail-in votes.

        The real issue is that the ballots may not be counted on time, triggering the insanity of the 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • State Department Misled Public, Congress About Revoking Journalist’s Award for Criticizing Trump

        Jessikka Aro, a Finnish journalist who has faced online harassment campaigns and death threats for exposing Russia’s disinformation and propaganda machine, was told by U.S. diplomats in January 2019 that she would be honored with the State Department’s International Women of Courage Award. The awards were to be presented by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and first lady Melania Trump. Weeks later, before the ceremony, the department rescinded the award, telling Aro it was due to a “regrettable error.”

        It wasn’t an error. Rather, State Department officials chose to nix her from the award ceremony for fear of falling afoul of thin-skinned agency and administration officials.

        The new State Department Office of Inspector General report outlines how officials revoked Aro’s award after they reviewed her social media posts and found posts critical of U.S. President Donald Trump. State Department officials subsequently gave false statements to both the press and Senate Foreign Relations Committee about why Aro’s award was rescinded, covering up the fact that it was based on her social media posts.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Down But Not Out: Hungary's Journalists React to Shrinking Freedoms

        Significant changes to Hungary's media sector over the summer could have a lasting impact on the country's media freedom and work to strengthen Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's tight grip on the independent press.

        In July, more than 80 journalists at Hungary's largest news portal Index resigned in protest over the firing of editor-in-chief Szabolcs Dull, who had warned the outlet's independence was at risk. And in September, the Parliament-appointed Media Council announced the license of independent Budapest broadcaster Klubrádió would not be renewed. Both outlets have reported critically on the Orbán government, which has spent a decade using regulatory and financial means and ownership changes to clamp down on media freedom.

      • Decision on Assange’s extradition set for next year

        District Judge Vanessa Baraitser will give a decision on the extradition request in USA v. Julian Assange sometime in the new year. Final evidence will be submitted and examined by Friday next week.

        The defence will then have four weeks to prepare a written closing argument (to be submitted on Oct. 30), followed by two weeks for the prosecution to prepare their own (Nov. 13) and another few days for the defence to respond on any points of law.

      • Julian Assange: Press Shows Little Interest in Media ‘Trial of Century’

        A successful Assange prosecution could be the legal spark for future anti-journalistic actions.

      • Prosecutors’ Password-Cracking Conspiracy Theory Against Assange Unravels At Extradition Trial

        When the first indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was disclosed by the United States Justice Department, the response from some attorneys and advocates was mixed. It was viewed as “narrowly tailored” to avoid “broader legal and policy implications.”Assange was charged with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” and accused of “agreeing” to assist Pfc. Chelsea Manning in “cracking a password.”At the end of the third week of an extradition trial, allegations related to this were entirely discredited by Patrick Eller, who was a command digital forensic examiner responsible for a team of more than 80 examiners at U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command headquarters in Quantico, Virginia.Eller analyzed court martial records in Manning’s case that contained Jabber chat logs relevant to the allegations. He considered testimony from the U.S. military’s own forensic expert that contradicted presumptions at the core of this charge against Assange.Manning never provided the two files necessary to “reconstruct the decryption key” for the password hash, Eller testified. “At the time, it would not have been possible to crack an encrypted password hash, such as the one Manning obtained.”Or put another way, Eller declared, “What Manning sent was insufficient to be able to crack the password in the way that the government [has] described.”

        The U.S. Justice Department charged Assange with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act in May 2019. But prior to that, a 2018 indictment alleging Assange engaged in a “conspiracy to commit a computer intrusion” was unsealed after he was arrested and expelled from the Ecuador embassy in April 2019.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Teach Your Children Well
      • One Black Lives Matter Protest in Rural New York Opens the Door to Change

        Greene County, N.Y.—Ever since the Black Lives Matter march in Catskill in June, I’ve been regularly checking out a Facebook page started by the organizers. My main interest has been to find out whether the event has produced any concrete changes.

      • Ginsburg’s Legal Victories for Women Led to Landmark Anti-Discrimination Rulings for the LGBTQ Community, Too

        Advances were only possible because Ruth Bader Ginsburg paved the way for applying the equal protection clause beyond its original purpose, to promote equality for women.

      • Auschwitz Museum Director Asks President of Nigeria to Pardon 13-Year-Old Boy Jailed for 'Blasphemy'

        "As the director of the Auschwitz Memorial, that commemorates the victims and preserves the remains of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, where children were imprisoned and murdered, I cannot remain indifferent to this disgraceful sentence for humanity," Cywiński wrote.

        He added: "Regardless of what he said, he cannot be treated as fully aware and responsible, given his age. He should not be subjected to the loss of the entirety of his youth, be deprived of opportunities, and stigmatized physically, emotionally, and educationally for the rest of his life."

        The boy was convicted in a Sharia court in Kano State in northwest Nigeria after being accused of using foul language towards Allah. The same court sentenced Yahaya Sharif-Aminu, a studio assistant, to death for blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammed on August 10.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Subramanian Moonesamy appointed as Chair of the AFRINIC Board of Directors

        The AFRINIC Board Elections were concluded on the last day of the Africa Internet Summit (AIS'20), i.e Friday 18 September 2020.

        The AFRINIC Board of Directors is now composed of the following persons (in alphabetical order): [...]

      • The Internet is for the Empowerment of End Users

        In August this year, the Internet Architecture Board (IAB) published RFC8890, "The Internet is for End Users", which recommends that decisions made by participants of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) should favour the needs of people who use the Internet over the needs of other parties: e.g. network operators, ISPs, governments, Law Enforcement Agencies, equipment vendors, content providers, and so on.

    • Monopolies

      • The Government’s Antitrust Suit Against Google: Go Big and Do It Right

        This suit has the potential to be the most significant antitrust case against a technology company in over 20 years, since the DOJ’s 1998 suit against Microsoft.

      • Political clout of newly founded Coalition for App Fairness will depend on more app firms joining Epic, Spotify, Match Group (Tinder), others

        The primary location, as per the website and the Twitter profile, is Washington, DC, but the press release states two locations: "BRUSSELS and WASHINGTON D.C." This means the CAF seeks to influence not only the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice and the Epic v. Apple and Epic v. Google lawsuits in the Northern District of California, where an Epic v. Apple preliminary injunction hearing will be held on Monday (September 28, 2020), but also the ongoing investigation of Apple's App store terms by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP).

        The EU investigation was instigated by Spotify, which has been running a "Time to Play Fair" website for a while, with no signs of others throwing their weight behind Spotify's cause. It appears that the "AppRising" (as some call it) of app firms against Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store terms has some momentum now as a result of Epic's aggressive action against Apple. Epic prepared a multi-level campaign against Apple, initially sneaking a Trojan horse-style payment system past Apple's App Store review only to activate it via the cloud after emailing down the gauntlet to Apple's leadership at an ungodly hour, provoking the removal of the non-compliant version of Fortnite from the App Store, doing the same with respect to Google's Android app store, and filing complaints of approximately 60 pages against either company and publishing a "Nineteen Eighty Fortnite" campaign video. Epic's legal team is led by former U.S. antitrust chief Christine Varney and former federal judge Katherine Forrest, both of the Cravath firm, which many of my contacts in the legal community profoundly admire.

      • Politically--not legally--logical decision: EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager to appeal humiliating defeat in Apple-Ireland "state aid" case

        Of the three key decisions that were scheduled for today, the least important one (a Nokia v. Daimler patent infringement ruling in Munich) has been pushed back on very short notice by more than a month, and the second one will be announced any moment now (and probably will have been announced by the time you read this, unless you're an early bird catching a premature worm):

        According to the Financial Times, which is the European Commission's favorite media outlet when it comes to leaking competition-related (and many other types of) decisions, EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has persuaded enough of the other commissioners that the Directorate-General for Competition (DG COMP) can appeal Apple and Ireland's victory in the EU General Court, which held that the Commission's "state aid" decision alleging favorable tax treatment of Apple by Ireland was baseless. The final decision will be made by the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), which is based in Luxembourg like the EU General Court (which was previously called Court of First Instance) and focuses exclusively on questions of law, not fact--which is a huge problem for the Commission given that the factual findings didn't support its decision in the first place.

      • Why Europe struggles with IP diversity [Ed: Leveraging diversity panic/hysteria to increase the number of parasitic actors in an inherently parasitic occupation that drains money and productivity out of the economy]

        While the UK has been trying hard to improve ethnic diversity in the IP profession, the situation in Europe is more complex, as Managing IP finds out

      • Patents

        • District Court Lacks Jurisdiction to Hear APA Suit Challenging IPR Constitutionality

          In Security People, Inc. v. Iancu, No. 2019-2118 (Fed. Cir. Aug. 20, 2020), the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a patent owner’s Administrative Procedure Act suit challenging the constitutionality of the PTAB canceling patent claims found unpatentable in an IPR proceeding.

          Security People sued its competitor, alleging infringement of U.S. Patent No. 6,655,180. The competitor filed for an IPR petition against the ’180 patent. The Board instituted review of one claim and found that claim unpatentable. The Federal Circuit summarily affirmed the finding. Security People then sought a declaratory judgment in federal district court that the Board violated its constitutional rights by canceling the patent claim. The district court dismissed Security People’s suit for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Security People appealed.

          On appeal, the Federal Circuit affirmed the dismissal. The Court rejected Security People’s argument that the Board lacks authority to hear constitutional claims, and therefore Security People could not have raised the constitutional argument during the IPR. The Court explained that, regardless of whether the Board could hear a constitutional claim, the Federal Circuit could address constitutional claims on appeal from IPR proceedings. The Court also rejected Security People’s argument that its constitutional challenge became ripe for review only after the Board issued a certificate canceling the patent claim. The Court explained that the cancelation certificate “is irrelevant to the finality of the agency’s action,” and the final written decision is “the agency action that will directly affect the parties” where constitutionality may be raised.

        • Generics say French Eli Lilly decision not worth its salt

          European in-house counsel say the ‘dangerous’ ruling will delay the launch of generic products and create legal uncertainty

        • Drafting For Multiple Jurisdictions Miniseries: Part II - Data Considerations When Drafting

          Many patent owners are interested in trying to draft a single patent application that will serve them in several countries. This is ambitious, since there are many differences between various countries' patent systems, but perhaps not impossible. The patent drafter just needs to be aware of and try to balance all the different requirements in the single patent application. This series of articles will outline some important considerations when drafting a single patent application. In our first article (available here), we reviewed the grace period provisions in the U.S., Korea, China, and the European Patent Office ("EPO"). Since waiting for clinical trial data before filing a patent application is not necessarily advisable, in this article, we will look at how much data should be included on filing. The article may be found on Finnegan's AIA blog.

        • Inventor Or Creator: How Is AI's Rapid Development Influencing The Evolution Of IP Protection?

          How is the rapid development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) influencing the evolution of IP protection, and is it the technology itself, or the philosophical issues of authorship at the heart of change in the sector?

          In the latest Podcast from our series, 'In Conversation with Gowling WLG', partner Gordon Harris chats with Ulrike Till, Director of the Division of Artificial Intelligence Policy at the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

        • This week in IP: RBG’s IP legacy, DABUS UK appeal fails, WIPO launches litigation database

          The England and Wales High Court dismissed an appeal from an artificial intelligence expert on Monday, September 21, to have a machine listed as the inventor on the patents for two products.

          Stephen Thaler, the inventor of the ‘creativity machine’ called DABUS, argued that a food container and an emergency warning light had been invented by his AI-enabled machine.

          On the patent forms filed last year, Thaler attributed inventorship of these ideas to the AI machine.

          The UKIPO decided that since DABUS was a machine and not a natural person, it could not be regarded as an inventor for the purposes of Sections 7 and 13 of the Patents Act.

          In his judgment, Mr Justice Marcus Smith upheld the office’s decision, and wrote: “Dr Thaler's contention that he is entitled to the grant of patents pursuant to the applications because he falls within one of class (b) or class (c) is hopeless and must fail.

        • How COVID has hit US and European litigation

          The COVID pandemic has had a huge effect on intellectual property litigation this year, causing courts to shut down and hearings to be postponed, and forcing litigators and judges to experiment with virtual or socially-distanced proceedings and trials.

        • Tech companies promote benefits of Open Covid Pledge

          Counsel from IBM, Facebook, Uber and Unified Patents share their reasons for pledging IP to the COVID-19 patent pool

        • 3D printing and IP: Lessons from the EPO’s ‘Shaping Tomorrow’ conference

          Additive Manufacturing (AM), also known as 3D printing, is one of the fastest growing areas at the EPO. From 2015-2018, its average annual growth rate was 36%, 10 times faster than the average for all EPO applications. Over 4000 AM applications were filed in 2018 alone, and this trend seems set to continue. The biggest sectors for AM patent filings are health, energy and transportation, but extend to consumer goods, construction and food.

        • Human Says No: AI Can’t Be Patent Inventor, Rules High Court Judge

          In the latest instalment of the DABUS saga, the UK High Court has dismissed an appeal against the decision of the UK Intellectual Property Office (‘UKIPO’) rejecting the naming of an AI system as inventor on two patent applications.

          Monday’s judgment was made on the basis that DABUS “is not, and cannot be, an inventor within the meaning of the [Patents Act 1977], simply because DABUS is not a person”.

          The applicant is also appealing the parallel decision of the European Patent Office (‘EPO’) reported here , and has issued proceedings against the United States Patent and Trademark Office (‘USPTO’) over its decision to reject two corresponding US patent applications.

        • BioWorld MedTech Patent Highlights: Week 38 | 2020-09-25

          The Patent Gazette provides snapshot analysis and indexing of pharmaceutically relevant patenting within days of its publication by patent offices. Primarily focusing on material from the main three patents offices (i.e., the EPO, USPTO, and WIPO), it provides brief descriptions of a patent’s content and seeks to link it to both prior patenting of relevance and to any commercial activity pertinent to the technology being described.

        • CardieX secures patent in Europe for blood pressure technology

          CardieX subsidiary ATCOR has secured a new patent by the European Patent Office (EPO) for its SphygmoCor technology used in cuff-based blood pressure devices.

        • [Older] Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality Patent Prosecution Update: 2020 Q2 Prosecution Statistics

          After the close of the second quarter of 2020, we took a dive into the worldwide data tracking issuance of Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality patents. Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality (“AR/VR”) refers generally to a class of technologies that merge a view of a real-world environment with virtual objects and information or provide an entirely virtual environment as a user experience. AR/VR technologies are drawing renewed attention due in part to availability of cheaper and powerful mobile computing devices, faster and ubiquitous communication networks, plus the increased need for means of remote communication and collaboration in this work from home era. No longer are AR and VR restricted to entertainment and science fiction; they have now expanded into online shopping, workplace training and collaboration, healthcare delivery, and the real estate market, just to name a few. In this series, we track the growth in AR/VR patents worldwide that we expect will accompany the rapid innovation in this technology space. We highlight trends in patenting AR/VR technologies—who is obtaining AR/VR patent protection, and where. We track the various technology centers at the United States Patent and Trademark Office that handle AR/VR applications. And, from time to time, we shine the spotlight on interesting new AR/VR patents.

        • Dallas Invents: 145 Patents Granted for Week of Sept. 8

          Dallas Invents is a weekly look at U.S. patents granted with a connection to the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metro area. Listings include patents granted to local assignees and/or those with a North Texas inventor. Patent activity can be an indicator of future economic growth, as well as the development of emerging markets and talent attraction. By tracking both inventors and assignees in the region, we aim to provide a broader view of the region’s inventive activity. Listings are organized by Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC).

        • Modernising pharma patents: can AI be an inventor?

          AI has revolutionised healthcare by dramatically speeding up drug discovery and development. Despite this, patent offices have made it clear that because AI is it not human, it cannot be classed as an inventor in its own right. Allie Nawrat talks to Potter Clarkson IP attorney Peter Finnie about how patent law needs brought up to date to reflect the important contribution AI makes to inventions in pharma.

        • UK Supreme Court stays the course in Unwired Planet and Conversant – confirming the approach to FRAND adopted by the lower courts

          On 26 August 2020 the UK Supreme Court handed down judgment in Unwired Planet v Huawei [2018] EWCA Civ 2344 (the “Unwired Planet Appeal”) and Conversant v Huawei and ZTE [2019] EWCA Civ 38 (the “Conversant Appeal”). The Unwired Planet Appeal concerned the courts’ jurisdiction to determine global FRAND (Fair, Reasonable And Non-Discriminatory) licence terms, the meaning of the ‘non-discrimination’ element of FRAND and an SEP (Standard Essential Patent) owner’s right to an injunction. The issue in the Conversant Appeal was whether England was the appropriate forum to hear such a FRAND case in the circumstances of that case (further explained below).


          The High Court decision in the Unwired Planet case was the first major decision on FRAND in the UK and, as a result, it dealt with a wide range of points. By the time the case reached the Court of Appeal the issues in dispute were more limited but perhaps the most contentious of these was whether a global licence could be FRAND and, if so, whether a UK court has jurisdiction to determine the terms of such a licence and, in particular, declare the royalty rates in such a licence to be FRAND.

          The Court of Appeal confirmed that a global licence can be FRAND and that the UK courts do indeed have jurisdiction to determine the terms of such a licence. In its judgment, the Court of Appeal was careful to emphasise that the consequence of Huawei refusing to accept the licence would be an injunction in the UK only, not globally, which would be the normal remedy granted for patent infringement if Huawei had not raised a FRAND defence.

          The Court of Appeal also had to decide whether the ‘non-discrimination’ element of FRAND was ‘hard-edged’ – meaning that licences must not be offered on less favourable terms than existing equivalent licences – or whether it is a more general requirement. It held that the ‘non-discrimination’ requirement was general rather than ‘hard-edged’.

          Finally, the Court of Appeal considered whether the CJEU decision in Huawei v ZTE (C-170/13) (“Huawei v ZTE”) set out a mandatory framework for negotiations that must be followed in order for the patentee to be entitled to an injunction, or whether it merely provided a safe harbour in which it could be sure its actions did not constitute an abuse of a dominant position. The Court of Appeal opted for the latter interpretation, finding that the only mandatory requirement in Huawei v ZTE was that the patentee must give notice to the alleged infringer prior to commencing proceedings. Whether the patentee’s actions constitute an abuse therefore depend on the circumstances of the particular case.

        • Nokia v. Daimler ruling postponed from tomorrow to day before Halloween: Munich I Regional Court

          Instead of three key decisions in cases this blog has commented on, there'll "only" be two tomorrow as the Landgericht München I (Munich I Regional Court) just postponed its Nokia v. Daimler (case no. 21 O 3891/19 over German patent DE60240446C5 on a "hybrid automatic repeat request (HARQ) scheme with in-sequence deliver of packets") ruling from tomorrow (September 25, 2020) to October 30, 2020.

          I also mentioned this upcoming Munich decision earlier today in my report ("More unhinged standard-essential patent injunctions to come down in Germany in wake of Sisvel v. Haier") on yesterday's Conversant v. Daimler trial, where the Munich court took its misreading of Huawei v. ZTE one important step further, potentially enjoining companies over standard-essential patents without any such thing as a FRAND analysis. On October 23, 2020, the court intends to make a decision in the Conversant v. Daimler case that went to trial yesterday. That's one week before the new ruling date in Nokia v. Daimler. Both cases are pending before the 21st Civil Chamber (Presiding Judge: Tobias Pichlmaier).

        • Software Patents

          • Webcast (self-study CLE?) on the Impact of AI, IoT, and 3D Printing on Patenting [Ed: Nope. Regarding SCOTUS. They axed fake patents and made remaining patents stronger.]

            I did a 65 minute conversation with Shubha Ghosh of Syracuse University College of Law on that topic, and you can find the YouTube video here. I have had several conversations with practitioners recently where these issues, as well as the Supreme Court’s 20 year march toward less patent protection and the current 101 miasma, have made patents less valuable. This discusses why that may be so and ways to speed up patenting to help with some of the issues that faster time-to-market and shorter time-on-market create.

      • Copyrights

        • Games Cracker 'EMPRESS' Wants to Crowdfund Denuvo Cracks

          A games cracker who has previously bypassed Denuvo's anti-piracy detection and placed games online says that, in order for this to continue, pirates need to dig deep. 'EMPRESS' says that funding is needed to keep the releases coming, partly to buy hardware but also to fund day-to-day living. With a step back, it isn't difficult to see the irony of the situation but do most pirates care?

        • PRS Music Reports Mysterious Stream-Ripping Boom in Dubious Piracy Report

          A new report published by PRS for Music reveals that UK traffic to stream-ripper sites has skyrocketed over the past three years. The findings reveal a massive 1390% traffic boost. Intrigued by these findings, we decided to take a closer look at the methodology, with some surprising results that cast doubt on the overall conclusions.

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