EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.19.13

British and German Governments Under Siege by Lobbyists of Microsoft and Its Local Partners, Free Software Policy Dumped in Favour of Backdoors-Enabled Binaries

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 1:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Merkel and Cameron
Photo from AFP

Summary: Following lobbying and perhaps intimidation or bribery, Microsoft binaries with privileged access to them (ripe for cracking by the malpractising NSA/CIA) are being put ahead of Free/libre software, despite the latter being recently mandated

Brits are unknowingly passing taxpayers’ money to Microsoft as part of lucrative deals where ~$10,000 get spent per Windows desktop per year. This has got to stop. It is part of the systemic corruption which might also involve bribery, just as we predicted in light of revelations in China. Microsoft hits the jackpot when it manages to grab taxpayers’ money, signing agreements to which the signer has no personal responsibilities or incentives to save (it is public money, not private). It is likely that Microsoft bribes the UK like it does in China, but soft bribery is harder to identify and prove. Microsoft is being taken to court over it, more recently in Portgual but not in the UK (the OOXML corruptions, including bribery, did lead to British court action, though it didn’t get very far due to lack of funds).

I may as well add a disclosure and say that my employer has some clients in the British government, so I know a little more than I can publicly say. A lot of it is down to politics rather than technical arguments,

In any event, the news from the UK says that, as we expected, Microsoft lobbying managed to kill logical policy:

The government has quietly backtracked from its publicly declared preference for using open source over proprietary software.

The Government Digital Service (GDS) published its Service Design Manual in March, laying down mandatory standards for developing all new digital public services. The document stated: “Use open source software in preference to proprietary or closed source alternatives, in particular for operating systems, networking software, web servers, databases and programming languages.”

[...]

Open source supporters blame the lobbying influence of the big proprietary software companies for the changes.

Mark Taylor, CEO of open source supplier Sirius, said: “It’s gone beyond lobbying and has moved into threatening.”

[...]

“What you are seeing here is proprietary vendors playing with this issue to attempt to retain dominance and control over an extremely financially lucrative market,” said Taylor.

They now use a meaningless term instead of “open source” (which itself is not good as it does not emphasise autonomy and freedom). To quote again:

The UK Government has muted a preference for open source in the UK’s “Government Service Design Manual”, published in March 2013. The changes were quietly made to the manual and removed a statement that open source was a preferential choice for operating systems, networking software, web servers, databases and programming languages, replacing it with a new section: “Level playing field”.

Assuming that self-hosted FOSS (server-client) is better than proprietary, here is another route they fail to follow:

The Government Digital Service (GDS), the new home of G-Cloud, claims it contributed £500m worth of government savings in the past year.

The Efficiency and Reform Group – the part of the Cabinet Office which includes the GDS – claims to have saved £10bn between 2012 and 2013 thanks to a range of measures including the sale of empty buildings and Civil Service reform.

Of that figure, which the government claims is equal to three million primary school places and 260,000 nurses, half a billion pounds (five per cent) came from the GDS.

This is similar to what happens in Berlin, Germany. As one writer put it, FOSS proposals get “binned” for no good reason.

A proposal by the Greens in the parliament of the German State of Berlin, to switch to using open source for the senate’s IT systems, was rejected this Monday. The state government coalition parties, the Social Democratic Party and Christian Democratic Union, instead accepted guidelines to base the senate desktop systems on open standards.

Mr. Pogson says “FUD Delays Migration To FLOSS in German State of Berlin” and this coincides with this important news which should serve as an alarm;

In an op-ed in Spiegel Online German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger characterised PRISM as “dangerous”.

NSA is made aware of Windows back doors that can be exploited in Germany for industrial or political espionage and Dr. Glyn Moody stresses that nobody should ever trust Microsoft again because “the first things that Microsoft does is to send information about those vulnerabilities to “multiple agencies” – presumably that includes the NSA and CIA. Moreover, we also know that “this type of early alert allowed the U.S. to exploit vulnerabilities in software sold to foreign governments”.” The FSFE’s coordinator in Germany called this analysis “Must Read” some minutes ago. He is right. Last week Dr. Moody wrote an article in TechDirt about how PRISM/ECHELON got used for espionage, alluding specifically to Germany.

All citizens outside the US should urge their government to abandon Microsoft in the name off national security. As a German citizen residing in the UK, I found the above news rather disturbing, especially because it comes in the midst of so much worldwide controversy over foreign surveillance, back doors, and so on. There is a lot more at stake than convenience or those infamous vendors-officials relationships. Since the words “treason” and “traitor” get thrown around far too much these days, perhaps it’s time to label “treason” or “traitor” those who are ushering in Microsoft into governments’ IT systems.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. The EPO's Race to the Bottom in Recruitment and Early Retirements Explained by an Insider

    The European Patent Office under Battistelli is failing to attract -- and certainly failing to retain -- talented examiners



  2. Wouter Pors and Other UPC Boosters Believe That Repeating the Lies Will Potentially Make Them Truths

    The lobbying campaign for UPC, or hopeful lies (sometimes mere rumours) disguised as "news", continues to rely on false perceptions that the UPC is just a matter of time and may actually materialise this year



  3. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is Utilised in Fixing the US Patent System and the Patent Microcosm Loses Its Mind

    A roundup of PTAB news, ranging from attacks on the legitimacy of PTAB to progress which is made by PTAB, undoing decades of overpatenting



  4. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the Federal Circuit (CAFC) Take on Patents Pertaining to Business Methods

    Patents on tasks that can be performed using pen and paper (so-called 'business methods', just like algorithms) and oughtn't be patent-eligible may be the next casualty of the America Invents Act (AIA)



  5. Google's Stewardship of GNU/Linux (Android, Chromebooks and More) in Doubt After Company Resorts to Patent 'First Strikes'

    Google has just turned a little more evil, by essentially using patents as a weapon against the competition (by no means a defensive move)



  6. Links 24/2/2017: Ubuntu 17.04 Beta, OpenBSD Foundation Nets $573,000 in Donations

    Links for the day



  7. IAM, Greased up by the EPO, Continues Lobbying by Shaming Tactics for the UPC, Under the Guise of 'News'

    The shrill and well-paid writers of IAM are still at it, promoting the Unitary Patent (UPC) at every opportunity and every turn



  8. Patent Scope Gone Awry: European Vegetable Patents Office?

    In its misguided race to raise so-called 'production', the EPO lost sight of its original goals and now facilitates patent royalty payments/taxation for naturally-recurring items of nature



  9. Yes, There is Definitely Brain Drain (Experience Deficit) at the European Patent Office and Stakeholders Feel It

    The direction that the European Patent Office has taken under Battistelli undoes many decades (almost half a century) of reputation-building and progress and naturally this repels existing staff, not to mention hampers recruitment efforts



  10. The Sickness of the EPO – Part IV: Cruel Management That Deliberately Attacks the Sick and the Weak

    The dysphoric reality at the European Patent Office, which is becoming like a large cell (with bolted-down windows) where people are controlled by fear and scapegoats are selected to perpetuate this atmosphere of terror and maintain demand (or workload) for the Investigative Stasi



  11. Links 23/2/2017: Qt 5.9 Alpha, First SHA1 Collision

    Links for the day



  12. UPC Roundup: War on the Appeal Boards, British Motion Against the UPC, Fröhlinger Recalled, and Fake News About Spain

    Taking stock of some of the latest attempts to shove the Unitary Patent (UPC) down Europe's throat, courtesy of Team Battistelli and Team UPC



  13. The Sickness of the EPO – Part III: Invalidity and Suicides

    An explanation of what drives a lot of EPO veterans to depression and sometimes even suicide



  14. The Appeal Board (PTAB) and Federal Circuit (CAFC) Maintain Good Pace of Patent Elimination Where Scope Was Exceeded

    The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues to accept about 4 out of 5 decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) refuses to intervene



  15. Software Patents Are Ebbing Away, But the “Swamp” Fights Back and Hijacks the Word “Fix”

    The club of patent maximalists, or those who profit from excess prosecution and legal chaos, isn't liking what has happened in the United States and it wants everything reversed



  16. Report From Yesterday's Debate About the European Patent Office (EPO) at the Bavarian Landtag

    A report of the EPO debate which took place at the Bavarian Landtag yesterday (21/2/2017)



  17. Links 22/2/2017: Wine-Staging 2.2, Nautilus 3.24

    Links for the day



  18. French Politician Richard Yung Tells the Government About Abuses at the European Patent Office (EPO)

    The subject of EPO scandals has once again landed in French politics, just a couple of months since it last happened



  19. The Sickness of the EPO – Part II: Background Information and Insights

    With a privatised, in-house (sometimes outsourced and for-profit) force for surveillance, policing, justice, public relations and now medical assessment (mere vassals or marionettes of the management) the EPO serves to show that it has become indistinguishable from North Korea, where the Supreme Leader gets to control every single aspect (absolutely no separation of powers)



  20. EPO Cartoon/Caricature by KrewinkelKrijst

    A new rendition by Dutch cartoonist and illustrator KrewinkelKrijst



  21. Inverting Narratives: IAM 'Magazine' Paints Massive Patent Bully Microsoft (Preying on the Weak) as a Defender of the Powerless

    Selective coverage and deliberate misinterpretation of Microsoft's tactics (patent settlement under threat, disguised as "pre-installation of some of the US company’s software products") as seen in IAM almost every week these days



  22. The Sickness of the EPO – Part I: Motivation for New Series of Articles

    An introduction or prelude to a long series of upcoming posts, whose purpose is to show governance by coercion, pressure, retribution and tribalism rather than professional relationship between human beings at the European Patent Office (EPO)



  23. Insensitivity at the EPO’s Management – Part VII: EPO Hypocrisy on Cancer and Lack of Feedback to and From ECPC

    The European Cancer Patient Coalition (ECPC), which calls itself "the largest European cancer patients' umbrella organisation," fails to fulfill its duties, says a source of ours, and the EPO makes things even worse



  24. Links 21/2/2017: KDE Plasma 5.9.2 in Chakra GNU/Linux, pfSense 2.3.3

    Links for the day



  25. EPO Caricature: Battistelli's Wall

    Battistelli's solution to everything at the EPO is exclusion and barriers



  26. The 'New' Microsoft is Still Acting Like a Dangerous Cult in an Effort to Hijack and/or Undermine All Free/Open Source Software

    In an effort to combat any large deployment of non-Microsoft software, the company goes personal and attempts to overthrow even management that is not receptive to Microsoft's agenda



  27. PTAB Petitioned to Help Against Patent Troll InfoGation Corp., Which Goes After Linux/Android OEMs in China

    A new example of software patents against Free software, or trolls against companies that are distributing freedom-respecting software from a country where these patents are not even potent (they don't exist there)



  28. Links 20/2/2017: Linux 4.10, LineageOS Milestone

    Links for the day



  29. No, Doing Mathematical Operations on a Processor Does Not Make Algorithms Patent-Eligible

    Old and familiar tricks -- a method for tricking examiners into the idea that algorithms are actual machines -- are being peddled by Watchtroll again



  30. Paid-for UPC Proponent, IAM 'Magazine', Debunked on UPC Again

    The impact of the corrupted (by EPO money) media goes further than one might expect and even 'borrows' out-of-date news in order to promote the UPC


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts