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03.17.08

Can the Idea of Categorising Algorithm Behaviour Be Someone’s Property?

Posted in America, Courtroom, Europe, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 2:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The UK and the US battle over software patents

It has been just a couple of months since the UK got 'contaminated' with US patent law (implicit approval of software patents). Watch this new cross-Atlantic lawsuit.

Finjan Inc. won a patent dispute against Secure Computing Corp., with a U.S. District Court of Delaware jury ruling that Secure Computing should pay Finjan royalties for infringing on its patents. Secure Computing vows to appeal the decision.

[...]

Secure Computing said it does not believe it infringes upon Finjan’s patents in any way, and the company continues to believe that Finjan’s patents are invalid. The Webwasher scanning technology accused of infringement by Finjan uses heuristic rules to categorize the behavior of executable code. The use of heuristics in general to analyze code was known and in use prior to the filing of any of Finjan’s patents, Budge said, adding that the specific complex heuristics in the proactive scanning module were developed by Webwasher and are the product of Webwasher’s original research.

As you can hopefully see again, here you have a UK-based company suing over the use of algorithms. It exploits the weaknesses of US courts where such ideas are seen as patentable and valid.

The United Kingdom should not be the only country to watch over. Thanks to Digital Majority we also find increased momentum for intellectual monopolies in eastern Europe. Here is one example.

The EU’s ‘Lisbon’ goals of boosting R&D and scientific innovation are just “part of the story”, Slovenia’s Minister for Growth Ziga Turk told EurActiv in an exclusive interview. He believes the EU can make use of its global lead in fine arts to develop new products and services ahead of its competitors – but only if it makes progress on intellectual property and IT infrastructure.

Here is another example.

Not content with seeking to get consensus on the creation of a pan-European patent jurisdiction, the EU presidency, in the shape of the Slovenian government, is also attempting to reopen serious discussion on the creation of the Community patent.

In order to secure programming without a headache, all that lobbying must end. There is a lot of money being invested in changing the law.

Blast from the Past and Evidence of Present Misconduct from Microsoft

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 1:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The art of illusion, hypnotic propaganda

This fairly old article from The Chronicle outlines one of Microsoft’s shameful secrets. It’s referred to as “academic kickbacks” (kickback is a gentle form of bribery). To quote just the opening paragraph:

If you’re a professor and you mention Microsoft programming tools in a scholarly presentation — in fact, even if you just use the tools — Microsoft will send you a check for $200.

In case you believe that Microsoft has left such dirty tricks behind, think again. We were reminded just months ago by a reader that Microsoft continues to do such things in Europe. It happens under everyone’s noise. The media, unsurprisingly, hardly covers any of this fiasco, with the exception of a few bold reporters.

While we’re at it covering such past stories, how about this one?

The Best Enthusiasm Money Can Buy

We might think that spending several hundreds of millions of dollars every year on commercial speech would be just about enough to allow any company to “tell its story” to the public. But we would not be Microsoft, who the Los Angeles Times revealed was gearing up a multi-million dollar public relations campaign which included planting ersatz letters to the editor in major national newspapers. The goal: to create the appearance, if not the reality, of “grassroots” support for the company.

“Spontaneous” testimonials penned by hired guns may not be an entirely novel idea in the surreal world of public relations, but Microsoft’s response to having been caught in the act of committing such a crass act was certainly uncommon. At first, the company denied their intentions to actually implement such a plan. Then, a few days later, company spokespersons announced a new spin: Microsoft has a perfect right to engage in public opinion manipulation campaigns, if that’s what it takes to “tell its story.”

Now, what exactly was that story, again?

At present, there are similar stories to tell, including Microsoft’s purchase of love, AstroTurfing and viral marketing (see some recent examples here).

Monopoly has money

Bill Gates Greases Up Politicians Again, Just Ahead of OOXML Vote

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, Deception, Fraud, Microsoft, Open XML, Steve Ballmer at 1:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Learning who’s running the country

A couple of weeks ago we mentioned Steve Ballmer's and Bill Gates' successful attempt to pressure diplomats on the OOXML question. This was done secretly and totally off the record. Thereby they flipped a “No” vote on OOXML, promptly making it a “Yes”. A lot was said back then (including in cited links which provide further details), so the story is not be repeated here. More recently, Pieter summarised such issues as well (pressuring or bribing politicians until people vote “properly”).

Well, guess what? It appears to be happening again, albeit in a more open fashion. Moments ago the following article was published:

Gates goes to Washington as US OOXML decision nears

[...]

Gates answered that Microsoft wants to see OOXML become an ISO standard, in part, “so that families and researchers and archivists will be able to access information from the past and use it to interact in the future…”

It’s all the usual fluff.

Don’t let affluent people buy an undeserved standard in your country. Gates’ systematic deception on immigration aside (articles on this are appended below [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]), recall recent evidence of what seems like bribery (via charities) in India, for OOXML [10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15].

___

[1] Programmers Guild rebuts Bill Gates call for more H-1b visas

The Programmers Guild disputes that more H-1b visas would benefit “U.S. global competitiveness,” and they would represent undue competition for Americans seeking jobs in this recessionary job market.

1) One way to “allow more highly-skilled workers to remain in the U.S.” is to grant H-1b visas on the basis of skill rather than by a lottery. But just as last year the Programmers Guild expects USCIS to conduct a lottery, granting H-1b to $16/hour hotel clerks while denying visas to PhD genetic researchers. The best proxy for “skill” is “wage.” This simple reform in H-1b would allow Microsoft to have as many “highly skilled H-1b” as then need under the current cap – AS LONG AS THEY PAID THEM WHAT THEY ARE WORTH.

2) Our competitive advantage is eroding, and Bill Gates has used the H-1b program to facilitate that erosion…

[2] Microsoft India centre working on Windows 7

Designers and engineers at Microsoft R&D centre in India have a new mandate for development of Windows 7, the next generation operating system from Microsoft Corporation, slated for release in 2009-10.

[3] Study: There Is No Shortage of U.S. Engineers

…a new study from Duke University calls this argument bunk, stating that there is no shortage of engineers in the United States, and that offshoring is all about cost savings.

[4] Is There a Shortage of U.S. Tech Workers?

Speaking before a Senate committee earlier this month, Gates said that America is facing a critical shortage of tech workers. He recommended boosting the number of H-1B visas to allow more foreign tech workers into the U.S.

[...]

“I think that has created an environment where the population of advanced skill workers has shrunk a lot in the U.S., because we just haven’t created a fair system,” he says. “Where if you go to other countries, you’ll find national policy around broadband deployment, which creates a much more even playing field for people of all income levels to learn by and work by.”

“We did it to ourselves,” he says.

[5] Microsoft Sending All XP and Vista Tech Support Calls To India?

Microsoft is sending ALL of its XP and Vista tech support calls to India starting March 29th, according to a call center insider

[6] “Dear Microsoft”: An open letter to Microsoft regarding the outsourcing of jobs.

Don’t get it twisted: I don’t have a problem with you outsourcing jobs to people that will work for next-to-nothing. It’s just getting a bit out of hand, don’t you think? I mean, there’s no point trying to fool me.

[7] Gates to speak to Congress [March 2008]

Bill Gates, chairman of Microsoft Corp., is expected to address the U.S. House Science and Technology Committee in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.

[8] Guess Who’s Getting the Most Work Visas

Microsoft (MSFT) and Intel (INTC) are the only two traditional U.S. tech companies among the top 10. Microsoft received 959 visa petition approvals, or one fifth as many as Infosys, while Intel got 369.

[9] Microsoft India centre working on Windows 7

Designers and engineers at Microsoft R&D centre in India have a new mandate for development of Windows 7, the next generation operating system from Microsoft Corporation, slated for release in 2009-10.

[10] Microsoft influencing partner NGOs to support OOXML in India

Microsoft is encouraging its business partners to promote its Office Open XML specification (OOXML) to the Indian Bureau of Standards (BIS) and Ministry of IT. This move has incensed supporters of the rival OpenDocument Format (ODF) who fear that the “soft” Indian state may not be able to stand up to Microsoft pressure tactics.

[11] Microsoft India using NGOs to fake support for OOXML

Microsoft has “persuaded” several non-profit organizations to bombard the Indian IT Secretary and the Additional Director General of the Bureau of Indian Standards with letters supporting its OOXML proposal. A copy of the form letter they have been circulating to NGOs is given below.

[12] Becoming a better company: Microsoft helps NGOs in India

Of course, there has to be some trade-offs, because there should never be free lunch, even for the ones who starve: Microsoft, according to this article, has conditioned its help to Indian NGOs to their support of OOXML. What the NGOs had to do was to send letters of support on OOXML to the federal government of India.

[13] Microsoft “persuades” NGOs to support OOXML

Our friends at Linux Delhi have put up a copy of the form letters that Microsoft has been sending NGOs on the OOXML issue. Apparently, these NGOs have been sending copies of these letters to the Ministry of IT and Bureau of Indian standards.

[14] Developers around the world, unite!

Monopoly and proprietary software have an advantage in influencing state and governmental institutions because of their large market base and ready capital. Unscrupulous ways of influencing state governments have persisted in India, for example, where executives of proprietary software cajole government heads to promote their brands in lieu of some form of charity given. FLOSS activists must overcome this huge challenge in order to get their philosophy accepted and model implemented for the good of people who are still on the barren side of the digital divide.

[15] Using NGOs to Push Agendas

The extent to which Microsoft can go in its efforts to get OOXML is interesting. Microsoft has “persuaded” several non-profit organizations to bombard the Indian IT Secretary and the Additional Director General of the Bureau of Indian Standards with letters supporting its OOXML proposal. A copy of the form letter they have been circulating to NGOs is given below. Somebody should interview these NGOs to see how much they really know about OOXML and open standards.

The sequence of events leading up to the spamming of GoI? is:

Letter from an NGO thanking Microsoft (name changed to protect their identity)

Also see our evidence of Microsoft issuing money to tens of thousands to Indian charities just days before the vote.

Is Microsoft Manufacturing a Case Against Open Source Advocates?

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, SCO at 12:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If you flee the rules, you will be caught. And it will cost you dearly,”

Neelie Kroes (about Microsoft), February 27th, 2008

The disturbing phenomenon known as “Microsoft Munchkins” was introduced in this Web site before. About 8 months ago, the European Commission it would address this problem and crack down on the culprits.

“A couple of years ago they mass-mailed colleagues, employers, a University President, ISPs and everyone else that can help in gagging me. I am not foolish enough to forget this, and I never will.”There is plenty of evidence to show that Microsoft Munchkins (paid PR people in disguise) continue to operate, to this date. But here I present a personal story, which developed over the past few days. I am adding supporting examples of similar stories that affected other people.

My unpleasant ‘affairs’ with Microsoft Munchkins go a long way back. A couple of years ago they mass-mailed colleagues, employers, a University President, ISPs and everyone else that can help in gagging me. I am not foolish enough to forget this, and I never will. There are many other tactics, including direct intimidation and widely-spread slander. I won’t go into this in depth, but it’s well recorded on the Web (and cannot be removed).

For several months the Microsoft Munchkins have said that my site served malware. They lied, but they spread this lie in many places and repeated the lie (c/f Big Lie).

A few months went by.

Now, someone did a ‘dirty job’, essentially hacking my site last week (the cause remains uncertain for the time being). This happened after many months of extremely high activity, with unsuccessful hacking attempts ranging from common probes around PHP-Nuke to other CMSs. It’s a case of scanning for vulnerabilities. I noticed these attempts, but said nothing in public. Some people refuse to speak about such things, despite inquiries.

<Take with a grain of salt>
The Munchkins, whose history is too telling, noticed last week’s hack almost immediately (within hours and before anybody else, including myself), which is suspicious.

In public, I get accused of knowing about this for months, which is a lie (see the paragraphs above once again). They repeatedly make this lie in various forums (and not just in USENET), then back/mod each other up (pseudo validation/audience). I could go into specifics and produce more evidence to show this. It would be time consuming.

Scott Douglas, a Munchkin, already makes accusations in public, under various pseudonyms. He claims bogus ‘damages’. More libelous claims are made about this having gone on for months, which is a lie easy enough to disprove.

Gary Stewart, another Munchkin who has gone by the name “flatfish” for over a decade (as well as literally hundreds of other pseudonyms), says a case legal is made against me. It’s possibly just an intimidation tactic, which I mentioned yesterday.

To sum up in simple terms the situation described above, I am suggesting that false accusations were made in order to be used later and make a legal case.
</Take with a grain of salt>

Does any of this ring a bell? To me it does.

The above should be taken with a grain of salt, but there is a lot of evidence to show it. Anonymous/pseudonymous characters will soon shout out “paranoia!” to bury or deplete from the messages, but if it’s true, it means that Microsoft is unable to find dirt, so it’s making some ‘dirt’ up. I already have at least one person spying on all my activities (digging up dirt, followed by publication) and it’s somewhat reminiscent of this old report.

Microsoft Critics Assigned PR “Spooks”

San Jose Mercury technology reporter Dan Gilmore recently discovered he’s been assigned a special “owner” at one of Microsoft’s public relations firms, Waggener-Edstrom. These spin-masters are attached to troublesome journalists like Gilmore who have the temerity to write uncomplimentary articles about the company or its products.

The really irksome reporters, according to documents spirited from the Waggener-Edstrom offices, are also assigned “buddies” at Microsoft itself. John Dodge, the editor of PC Week, has a special buddy at Microsoft, and Mary Jo Foley at Smart Reseller, is the subject of a “Mary Jo six month plan.”

These “owners” and “buddies” are just there to “help” the journalists, of course. How dare we think otherwise?

Mary Jo Foley sort of confirmed with me yesterday that Microsoft’s ‘personal treatment’ does exist and I’m appending some references below, including this more recent one about Dan Gilmore.

Microsoft Sends Secret Dossier on Reporter, to Reporter

[...]

It also was strange to see just how many resources are aligned against me when I write a story about Microsoft.

This also has some shades of the attacks on Groklaw. Remember the MYTHICAL DDOS attacks against sys-con, which sys-con formally confirmed was a LIE? Or other lies about IBM, which had SCO give legal harassment to its opposition (using media placements as manufactured ‘evidence’)? By the way, the ‘spy agent’, Maureen O’Gara, is back at sys-con (mysteriously enough because she was embargoed after misbehavior). She too wrote an article claiming that PJ was “paranoid”. The apple hardly falls far from the tree and the same strategic patterns seem to recur.

To repeat a story that was mentioned quite recently, Tim Bray too was bullied by Microsoft.

Netscape hired me to represent their interests, and when I announced this, controversy ensued. Which is a nice way of saying that Microsoft went berserk; tried unsuccessfully to get me fired as co-editor, and then launched a vicious, deeply personal extended attack in which they tried to destroy my career and took lethal action against a small struggling company because my wife worked there. It was a sideshow of a sideshow of the great campaign to bury Netscape and I’m sure the executives have forgotten; but I haven’t.

Also recall the Massachusetts story, which is broad and utterly shocking once you look closely enough. To repeat some quotes of interest about Microsoft’s fight against CIOs who supported ODF.

As CIO of Massachusetts from February to November last year, Louis Gutierrez had to endure most of the brunt of Microsoft Corp.’s political wrath over a state policy calling for the adoption of the Open Document Format for Office Applications, or ODF — a rival to the software vendor’s Office Open XML file format.

Who could ever forget Peter Quinn?

Quinn: Almost to a person, to anybody involved or who knows about the ODF issue, they attributed the story to Microsoft, right, wrong or otherwise. Senator Pacheco may be a bully but I do not believe he is disingenious and would stoop to such a tactic. Senator Pacheco and Secretary Galvin’s office remain very heavily influenced by the Microsoft money and its lobbyist machine, as witnessed by their playbook and words, in my opinion.

Looking at yesterday’s news and considering legal fights (or frivolous lawsuits), we find similar incidents. This one happens to involve not Microsoft but the RIAA. It talks about how Shareaza and open source were essentially bullied by lawyers and an RIAA front. From yesterday:

The hijacking of Shareaza.com is a complex story with many twists and turns. Here is the story of Shareaza from its open source GPL roots, to the hostile takeover and where the project is today, directly from those at the heart of the news – the real Shareaza community. The fight for Shareaza has only just begun.

[...]

The French (RIAA) Connection

[...]

A Dump for Ill-Gotten Gains

[...]

Threats of C&D

As you can imagine, the members of the Shareaza community were rather upset about all of this and set up a new website with user forums. After two users made some offhand remarks about a distributed denial of service attack…

[...]

A Tangled Web

[...]

Making The Takeover Official

[...]

The Danger Posed To Open Source Software

Unless we are able to prevent the trademark being granted and regain control of the domain, our project will die. It really is as simple as that.

Early comments on this story (in addition to the ones appended to the post above):

Lawyers and Fraud

Lawyers and Fraud ( Mar 16, 2008, 19:20:16 )
Lawyers and fraud. Nothing new there.

The courts are all messed up in Europe (and America) and have been since before the fall of Rome. The project may need to rename itself. It won’t be the first one that has had to do that. It wouldn’t be the last one either.

The lawyer claiming trademark in the US might be laying his client open to fraud charges, but you’d need a lot of money to pursue it.

Just another case of ‘Innocent Until Proven Broke’. Standard legal procedure. Happens all the time in the Corporate world.

Also this one:

disgusting ( Mar 16, 2008, 15:15:20 )

Dam Shameful and these are the people that are supposed to be championing Intellectual Property and copyright for the creators and artists, disgusting.

The world is far from perfect and the juridical system is open for misuse. In case Microsoft is trying to frame critics whom it want ‘immobilised’, I decided to post this here in this Web site. Remember Patent TrollTracker?

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