White-collar crime is a crime, but enforcement a rarity
Summary: A look at Microsoft’s extortion against Linux and Android as well as means by which Microsoft keeps law enforcement (e.g. RICO ACT) at bay
Collusion and conspiracy to harm are white-collar crimes, but the law is rarely enforced against very large entities such as Microsoft and Nokia, especially when they hide behind a Linux-hostile troll such as MOSAID. B&N complained to governments about MOSAID, but Microsoft essentially bribed B&N to stop doing this (Microsoft did the same to discourage Novell’s participation in the Samba case).
Crime has always been part of the business model at Microsoft and the crooks from Redmond are unwilling or unable to play fairly. With their former colleagues and lobbyists inside the government, they need not worry, either. Murdoch’s paper belittles Google’s antitrust complaint as merely “point[ing] the finger”, but it does say that:
Google Inc. said it filed an antitrust complaint Thursday in Europe arguing that Microsoft Corp. and Nokia Corp. are using proxy companies to brandish patents and hurt the prospects of Google’s Android mobile-phone software to the advantage of Microsoft’s technology.
Google also plans to share its complaint about patent “trolls” with U.S. competition regulators.
Microsoft is trying to tax the competition, thus depressing it and discouraging participation in it. Nokia cannot quite explain why it has become a Microsoft vassal (like Yahoo!), so it’s clear that is has an alter-ego:
Nokia Tries to Explain Why it Handed Patents to Alleged “Troll”
Nokia and Microsoft shared 1,200 patents with a notorious patent troll MOSAID
Here is another report:
Google has lodged a complaint with the European Commission over Microsoft and Nokia’s patent activities.
In a statement sent to El Reg, a SpokesGoogler said “We haven’t shared the complaint with anyone — it’s not customary to make these docs public,” but offered the official line…
We shall see the complaint later. We saw the one from B&N before Microsoft gagged the company. In a sane world, people like Horacio and Steve (Ballmer) would be behind bars for the same abuses that the mafia is guilty of, but in a nation run by corporations this type of behaviour is glorified and rewarded (national heroes are the wealthiest people). It’s a matter of perspective and through a gradual process of normalisation crime can be called “business as usual”. We at Techrights go against this brainwash process which in the course of 6 years quieted down the masses in the midst of Novell-like patent deals, not to mention patent wars by proxy (like SCO and now MOSAID and others).
When the law ceases to be enforced, what we are all left with is corruption as a matter of norm. It leads to the raising of a generation of self-centred sociopaths. The population suffers while the wealthiest people out there pillage and plunder without fear from the police. Watch Paul Allen turning into a troll and seeking to tax the whole industry (the tax trickles down to everyone). The latest from Groklaw says:
Time to catch up on some of the other cases we have been following. First up, the cases brought by Interval Licensing (Paul Allen) against Google, AOL, Apple … (the World). In June of last year the Court issued a stay of the cases pending the outcome of the pending reexaminations of U.S. Patent Nos. 6263507, 6034652, 6788314, and 6757682. (Allen v. World – Strike One!) Interval immediately sought reconsideration of that stay, but reconsideration was denied. (Allen v. World – RECONSIDERATION DENIED! Interval Down in Flames)
In April of this year Interval filed a motion to life the stay. (261 [PDF; Text]) Interval’s argument is that the ’652 patent has already been confirmed and the ’314 patent, from Interval’s perspective, will soon be confirmed as well.
Allen came from Microsoft, so anti-social behaviour is almost a job requirement and the neglect to sue Microsoft just very unsurprising. Allen targets Android with patents, too.
The success of Linux continues to depend on the success of justice. Foes of Linux are often criminal companies with a lot of influence over the press, so the public remains largely uninformed/misinformed and therefore apathetic. █
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Summary: Poor reporting describes as commendable Microsoft’s attempts to occupy Iraq and marginalise Free software
THE cables that we got from Cablegate helped teach us what US contractors were doing in Iraq software-wise. They were deploying a good deal of Free software.
Thanks to some nice propaganda piece from Bill Gates’ mates at the Huff & Puff (and AOL, the owner) we know that Microsoft is trying to reoccupy Iraq now. The language in this report is Orwellian, e.g.:
Decades of war and UN sanctions have created technology shortages in Iraq and the government’s limited supervision has overwhelmed the market with illegal software products.
When the term “illegal software” is used what they often refer to is non-Microsoft software. We have already shown how Microsoft’s lobbyists, such as the BSA, love to pretend there is no option but to use Microsoft. Cablegate teaches us the truth on this matter. For a more sobering take on the news, see the comments attached to the report above. We should expect low-quality reporting from the Huff & Puff now that AOL is just a vassal of Microsoft.
Iraq should learn from Iran what dependence on Microsoft can cause nationally. █
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Summary: Confirmation that Stuxnet was created by bureaucrats for their political purposes comes from sources with special government relationships
TECHRIGHTS wrote about Stuxnet many times before, e.g.:
- Iran Shows the Downside of Using Proprietary Software
- Ralph Langner Says Windows Malware Possibly Designed to Derail Iran’s Nuclear Programme
- Windows Viruses Can be Politically Motivated Sometimes
- Who Needs Windows Back Doors When It’s So Insecure?
- Windows Insecurity Becomes a Political Issue
- Windows, Stuxnet, and Public Stoning
- Stuxnet Grows Beyond Siemens-Windows Infections
- Has BP Already Abandoned Windows?
- Reports: Apple to Charge for (Security) Updates
- Windows Viruses Can be Politically Motivated Sometimes
- New Flaw in Windows Facilitates More DDOS Attacks
- Siemens is Bad for Industry, Partly Due to Microsoft
- Microsoft Security Issues in The British Press, Vista and Vista 7 No Panacea
- Microsoft’s Negligence in Patching (Worst Amongst All Companies) to Blame for Stuxnet
- Microsoft Software: a Darwin Test for Incompetence
- Bad September for Microsoft Security, Symantec Buyout Rumours
- Microsoft Claims Credit for Failing in Security
- Many Windows Servers Being Abandoned; Minnesota Goes the Opposite Direction by Giving Microsoft Its Data
- Windows Users Still Under Attack From Stuxnet, Halo, and Zeus
- Security Propaganda From Microsoft: Villains Become Heroes
- Security Problems in iOS and Windows
- Eye on Security: BBC Propaganda, Rootkits, and Stuxnet in Iran’s Nuclear Facilities
- Eye on Security: ClamAV Says Windows is a Virus, Microsoft Compromises Mac OS X, and Stuxnet Runs Wild
- Windows Kernel Vulnerability for Thanksgiving, Insecurity Used for Surveillance Again
- Cablegate Reveals Government Requesting Access to Microsoft Data, Kill Switches
- Use Microsoft Windows, Get Assassinated
This whole fiasco has been a good advocacy tool for GNU/Linux and software freedom. Security is a matter of national security. It is now confirmed that governments themselves used proprietary software from Microsoft to impose subversive will upon others. To quote:
In 2011, the US government rolled out its “International Strategy for Cyberspace,” which reminded us that “interconnected networks link nations more closely, so an attack on one nation’s networks may have impact far beyond its borders.” An in-depth report today from the New York Times confirms the truth of that statement as it finally lays bare the history and development of the Stuxnet virus—and how it accidentally escaped from the Iranian nuclear facility that was its target.
Here is another take on the subject:
Now, a stunning article in this morning’s New York Times recounts in surprising detail the origins of the cyber weaponry development and deployment program – code named Olympic Games – launched under President George W. Bush, and continued under the administration of Barack Obama. The article is based on a book to be published by Crowne on Tuesday, titled Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power,” to be published by Crown on Tuesday.
For those that have followed the Stuxnet saga over the years, the article will answer some of the most intriguing questions that have arisen, including the following:
* Who was in charge? According to the article, the Stuxnet project was a U.S. initiative, rather than an Israeli-led mission. The reason the Israeli’s were invited to the table was to encourage them to rely on cyber attacks rather than physical attacks in order to slow down Iranian nuclear advances.
* How did Stuxnet work? The worm was based on information obtained from an initial “beacon” penetration, which then mapped and broadcast complete Natanz facility computer/centrifuge control designs to the software’s handlers. Stuxnet was then installed on to the air gapped system via the usual network vulnerability – a USB port, via an infected thumb drive.
* How did Stuxnet escape into the wild? A programming error to a module of uncertain authorship (e.g., U.S. or Israeli) allowed Stuxnet to migrate onto an engineer’s laptop. When that laptop was later connected to the Internet, it moved out and found other Siemens systems to infect.
The Goodbye Microsoft Web site had another take on it. The whole accusation that such allegations were a mere “conspiracy theory” is no more. Now it’s a fact. While the FBI conveniently names Russian people “cyber criminals” it is actually the US government that arguably engages in cyber crime, with external costs to the private sector, too. It’s all just a matter of perspective. Those who control the source code control the users.
“I don’t have / won’t have use of WMA or Flash,” writes one reader, “but this segment of this NPR show supposedly has some critique of Microsoft as being completely insecure… I got that 2nd/3rd hand… I have contacted them to complain about Flash / WMA and asked that they use a universal format instead… It’s buried in the site, but there is a link for the MP3… It was a disappointing set of interviews. None even touched on the unique vulnerability of Microsoft products.”
Notice how all the latest Stuxnet coverage hardly ever mentions Microsoft or Windows. It’s criminally poor journalism. █
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Summary: Remarks about the need to counter practices that distort fair competition and reward abusers
TO TAX the competition is to make money from another company’s work while at the same time making this company’s products more expensive and thus less appealing to the market. Microsoft has been trying to do exactly that to GNU/Linux (starting with SUSE), then to Linux (e.g. TomTom) and Android. Microsoft uses all sorts of methods to achieve this, starting with the funding of SCO to sue Linux vendors over copyright matters, then patents (also by proxy), and now quite arguably digital signatures.
“In a similar fashion, Mono pollutes the non-kernel space.”For the most part, Microsoft’s malicious and anti-competitive endeavours have failed, but the OIN told us that owing to file system patents Microsoft has been able to extort many companies, using patents that are so dubious that Torvalds can shoot them down. This new press release reminds us that Tuxera, for example, has been aiding Microsoft in its attempts to tax Linux and Android. In a similar fashion, Mono pollutes the non-kernel space.
If we do not stand up and counter this injustice, it may become a norm to just pay Microsoft for Linux, making the free/libre option expensive/non-gratis and making Microsoft richer, as a cynical reward for its competition violations. █
“He [Bill Gates] is divisive. He is manipulative. He is a user. He has taken much from me and the industry.”
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Image contributed by Beranger
Summary: Microsoft is promoting Mono (.NET) inside GNOME, taking over a part of GNOME development
HEAD over to Phoronix to see what we warned about all along. Microsoft uses Mono to infilitrate GNU/Linux and interfere with the competition that it is contantly attacking with patents and other means. This is nauseating, but for those who followed Miguel de Icaza in recent years this oughn’t be shocking. █
“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”
–Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist
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Summary: Microsoft puts an unjust ‘feature’ in place and then uses it to blackmail Red Hat into paying for ‘permission’ (from Microsoft) to boot
THE anti-competitive behaviour of Microsoft is thoroughly documented in this Web site. Our item of focus has been the deal of Microsoft and Novell, but Microsoft had a much longer history of systematic abuse and violation of laws.
Recently, with the likely end of Oracle's tactless attack on Android, Groklaw returned to focusing a bit on Microsoft antitrust, as it applies to the company’s abuses against Novell. To quote Pamela Jones:
The trial ended in a mistrial, because one juror held out for Microsoft on the issue of damages, after the entire group of twelve agreed that Microsoft was guilty of anticompetitive behavior.
Apologists of Microsoft love to pretend this is just something from the 1990s and that the so-called “new Microsoft” is all reformed. But this is utter nonsense; Microsoft just got more of its cronies inside the most dominant government (some are funded by Microsoft), which gives this convicted monopolist yet more leeway.
Microsoft spent some more buying the competition out some years ago (Novell) and now it uses SUSE to tax GNU/Linux under the pretence of “community”. Some bloggers fall into the trap and assess it only on technical grounds. Quoting one of them:
I have installed it on pretty much everything around here, and it looks good.
What Microsoft is doing with SUSE — patents-wise — does not look good at all. The ultimate goal is to tax most GNU/Linux users. Fedora/Red Hat is the latest victim of those types of schemes, with Phoronix providing a roundup about the subject. Here is an article which puts it as follows:
Future versions of Fedora could come with a bootloader that is signed by Microsoft, a move that would ensure that the Linux distribution is easy to install on computers with the secure boot mechanism. The proposal was described in a blog entry this week by Red Hat kernel developer Matthew Garrett.
What a bad idea it is to become complicit. “UEFI signing won’t affect security,” said a contributor of ours, “except for market share security” (he cited this news as proof and another contributor gave this link).
The H labels it “support” and the original/main post about this UEFI stupidity gathered well over 200 comments. It’s from a well-known Red Hat developer who wrote:
Fedora 17 was released this week. It’s both useful and free, and serves as a welcome addition to any family gathering. Do give it a go. But it’s also noteworthy for another reason – it’s the last Fedora release in the pre-UEFI secure boot era. Fedora 18 will be released at around the same time as Windows 8, and as previously discussed all Windows 8 hardware will be shipping with secure boot enabled by default. While Microsoft have modified their original position and all x86 Windows machines will be required to have a firmware option to disable this or to permit users to enrol their own keys, it’s not really an option to force all our users to play with hard to find firmware settings before they can run Fedora. We’ve been working on a plan for dealing with this. It’s not ideal, but of all the approaches we’ve examined we feel that this one offers the best balance between letting users install Fedora while still permitting user freedom.
IDG’s coverage of this emphasises that Red Hat is paying for it (can small distributors afford it also?) and calls it “capitulation”. To quote:
In order to get its Linux distribution to run on the next generation of secured desktop computing hardware, the Fedora Project will obtain a digital signature from Microsoft, a developer from the project announced Wednesday.
“This isn’t an attractive solution, but it is a workable one,” wrote Matthew Garrett in a blog post on Wednesday. “We came to the conclusion that every other approach was unworkable.”
Microsoft’s new antifeatures are a bad scenario to software freedom and given that Vista 8 is not guaranteed to gain ground (Microsoft boosters do not like it either) Red Hat’s actions represent a surrender; instead of surrendering, Red Hat should have filed an antitrust complaint about Microsoft. Not that a systemically-corrupt regime would be able to stand up to a large corporation, but sometimes one needs to stick to principles.
We also wrote about this a few days ago, having covered UEFI for quite some time [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. To accept and work around UEFI is not the solution; it sends out a message of defeatism. █
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