05.21.15

More Utter Shame Unveiled at Battistelli’s EPO: Intimidation Tactics With Help From ‘Control Risks’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Risks to Battistelli’s control be dismantled?

Benoît Battistelli

Summary: The unaccountable thugs who run the EPO have hired London-based spooks to help silence their opposition and their critics

Benoît Battistelli, whose own staff (not his establishment) dislikes him greatly, can only ever pretend to have learned his lessons about the downsides of tyranny. His Napoleonic complex remains in tact and as a result of this we are going to renew our criticism of the EPO’s crooked management.

Weeks ago, seeing that there was talk about recognition of a staff union and reform (“reform of sick leave and invalidity constitutes another severe attack on both dignity and fundamental rights of EPO staff”), we decided to stay quiet, giving an opportunity of reform a chance. There was later “Union Recognition Working Group – Report on the 1st meeting of 11 May 2015″.

“Surveillance on people who cover EPO corruption (including Techrights) is now a fact, not merely a possibility.”To quote one recent bit: “In its 119th session the Tribunal delivered a total of 77 judgments, of which 24 cases involving the EPO. Of the 24 EPO cases, only one case was won by the complainant. The remaining 23 cases were dismissed, 13 summarily. This paper discusses the cases that have broader relevance and the overall implications.”

Things seemed to have calmed down a bit, but different sources have told us about at least 3 nefarious surveillance and cracking companies that EPO hired (or is said to have hired because there is disagreement on which firm/s the EPO actually hired, with Blue Coat seemingly quite likely).

Surveillance on people who cover EPO corruption (including Techrights) is now a fact, not merely a possibility. Some of these surveillance agencies need to intercept or thwart encryption, so cracking is usually within their toolset. There is now public information in SUEPO’s Web site, which says: “SUEPO understands that the company Control Risks has been commissioned by the European Patent Office to investigate staff members who are elected representatives of the Staff Committee and/or Staff Union.”

The EPO’s surveillance on staff is an intimidation tactic. Deterrence is the goal. Too bad they don’t know how “blowback” works and how contracting abusive companies (military industrial complex-connected) hurts them in the long run, coinciding with other scandals and reinforcing a perception of corruption and lack of ethics, not to mention gross disregard for the law (Battistelli never cared much about the law, he even snubbed a Hague court’s ruling).

Here is the letter which SUEPO sent to Control Risks:

To :
Nick Allan (Regional Director)
Control Risks
Cottons Centre
Cottons Lane
London, SE1 2QG
United Kingdom
enquiries@controlrisks.com

Cc:
Crawford Gillies (Chairman),
Richard Fenning (CEO),

Dear Mr Allan,

We understand that your company has been commissioned by the EPO to investigate staff members who are elected representatives of the Staff Committee and/or Staff Union. You should be aware that the EPO is going through a serious crisis in its social relations, caused largely (in our opinion) by a series of controversial reforms initiated by the current President, Mr Battistelli.

The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) firmly believes that several of the reforms affront fundamental human rights. Indeed, in one case that we have been able to present to a national court, the court agreed with SUEPO (see Annex 1).

In reaction to the crisis, the EPO announced an initiative to renew the “social dialogue” (see Annex 2). This renewed social dialogue was not intended to address any of the controversial reforms, but rather to discuss the formal recognition of a Staff Union that has existed for more than 35 years and to which some 50% of the staff of the EPO are members. Although sceptical about the real intentions of the administration, SUEPO accepted the offer to talk. Yet while these talks are on-going, the Office apparently pursues one or more investigations against its newly found, but not yet formally recognized, “social partner”.

This is not the first time that staff representatives in the EPO have come under fire from Mr Battistelli. Last year several elected staff representatives and experts nominated by the staff representation have been investigated and/or disciplined. The disciplinary measures imposed by the President were significantly more severe than the proportionate measures – if any – recommended by the disciplinary committee.

We understand that Control Risks’ has a Code of Ethics and Human Rights policy. The former states that “If Control Risks has reason to believe that in undertaking an activity it would be complicit in human rights abuses committed by others, it will avoid that activity. ” The latter adds that “our employees are never to be complicit in human rights abuses.” We note that your company also adheres to the widely accepted UN Global Compact’s “ten principles”.

As indicated above, SUEPO is of the opinion that in particular the human resource policies and reforms currently implemented by the Office are repressive and serially offend fundamental human rights. For example, the unlawful restrictions on freedom of association have been confirmed by the Dutch court judgment. The right to engage in collective bargaining has never been recognized by the EPO, nor has the Staff Union been formally recognized, an apparent prerequisite (see “historic” talks) to being treated as a social partner. The list of staff grievances is long (see Annex 3) and ever lengthening.

To provide further context, you will find below further references to a selection of publicly available information about the current EPO “situation”. We cannot provide you with any of the internal material since this would be deemed to offend our EPO internal regulations, which are themselves also confidential. However, the cited documents and further information are available on our website: http://www.suepo.org/public/news

SUEPO is not aware of any wrong doing on our side, so we conclude that any investigation serves no other purpose than to intimidate, harass or simply silence Staff / Union representatives who oppose the present regime at the EPO.

We respectfully ask Control Risks to exercise due diligence by verifying both whether the commission from the EPO is “proper” and whether accepting this commission is fully in line with your company’s code of ethics.

We remain at your disposition should you wish to discuss this situation.

Yours sincerely
SUEPO Central

For information about “Control Risks” see Source Watch and see also WikiSpooks. To quote some relevant bits: “The majority of their clients are large multi-nationals; they state that more than 90 per cent of the FTSE 100 use one or more of their services [...] CRG is a member of the British Association of Private Security Companies and the Private Security Company Association of Iraq.”

There is definitely more coming. We shall keep an eye on this. As we assured at the start, this gross, crude, unethical and potentially illegal behaviour from EPO management is only going to motivate us to write more about EPO abuses, not less.

GNU/Linux Still Under Attack From Apple and Microsoft, Patents Remain the Weapon of Choice

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 4:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Aiming their biggest guns at Android

Bunker

Summary: A timely reminder of the importance of patent matters, for they are being used to eliminate the zero-cost advantage of Free/libre software and make it more proprietary, privacy-infringing, and user-hostile (as a result of blackmail)

WHILE pro-Apple sites keep bragging about new Apple patents (granted despite being monopolies on dumb or trivial ideas) there are many dozens of articles, such as [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] , about Apple’s latest assault and taxation of Android (nearly a billion dollars against just one Android backer). On the receiving end there is Samsung, which Microsoft blackmailed (using patent lawsuits) into including Microsoft's software/spyware, by default, in Android. Anyone who still considers Apple and/or Microsoft increasingly friendly towards Linux (or Android) is clearly not paying attention… or paying attention to proprietary software-leaning propaganda which calls extortion “licensing”, “settlement”, “agreement”, and so on. In the coming days we are going to refute a lot of patent propaganda in a rather long series of posts.

Gartner Group and NASSCOM: Will Lie for FUD, on Behalf of Microsoft and Proprietary Software

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 4:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is like a political party

Bill Gates and Nasscom
Photo from NASSCOM’s Web site

Summary: Some of the latest arguments against Free/libre software turn out to be arriving from couriers of Microsoft and its agenda

LAST NIGHT’S article about Microsoft's lobbying in India sure made a lot of a splash. It had impact. It has been widely circulated by now, even by former Microsoft managers who had grown tired of the company’s abuses. Upon further research we found out the role of NASSCOM.

For those who cannot recall the historic role of NASSCOM, here is a quick summary of posts of ours, covering NASSCOM:

NASSCOM is now pushing against the Indian government’s Free software-friendly policy. Techrights is unusually popular in India (based on various Web metrics like Alexa) and our Indian readers have often been cynical about the integrity of their officials/politicians. They probably recognise Microsoft’s influence in the Indian government and right now Microsoft appears to be doing its lobbying (against FOSS) in India using a group that is tied to Bill Gates (not just Microsoft) and masquerades as non-commercial. This is gross distortion of justice, even corruption.

“NASSCOM is now pushing against the Indian government’s Free software-friendly policy.”Another Bill Gates-backed (and Bill Gates-funded) group, the Gartner Group, recently spread a lot of FUD against FOSS and advertised Windows using lies (some Gartner staff came from Microsoft). One very recent piece of FUD against FOSS (there is some against containers, using ‘security’) says that there is a lack of skills. Gartner recently injected these claims into a lot of Web sites, assisted by gullible writers. Mike Olson, speaking to the media, shoots down Gartner’s latest FUD, noting that Gartner cites a non-existent dilemma. And to use his own words: “The reason I think Gartner’s report is off base, enterprises don’t need to build deep data science skills if they can buy solutions and applications that run on top of the platform that allows them to solve business problems.”

The problem with Microsoft is that it is well connected and a lot of the talking points against Free software come from buddies, partners, former staff and mouthpieces of Microsoft. This cannot be conveniently ignored and refuting the lies isn’t a case of shooting the messenger, just showing who the messenger works for/with.

Windows is a Franchise in Demise, Don’t Believe the Hype

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gimmicks and marketing won’t save Windows

Glasses

Summary: Ongoing propaganda about Vista 10, ‘cloud’, and other buzzwords or brands are put in perspective

“Vista 10″ (or Windows 10, as Microsoft prefers to call it) is marketing propaganda and very little beyond that. Microsoft can afford to bribe a lot of news sites (‘incentivising’ as they might put it), offering favours in exchange for PR. We see a LOT of PR right now. Microsoft’s “PR guys and gals [are] working overtime writing press releases, which Internet news sites are posting,” wrote Christine Hall. We recently wrote about the Microsoft copywriters (writing propaganda pieces for Microsoft, to be carefully spread through the media) and the famous lie of 'free' Vista 10. Hall writes that facts notwithstanding, it “hasn’t stopped the PR guys and gals from working overtime writing press releases, which Internet news sites are posting while wondering aloud if Windows 10 will be enough to “save” the PC, and coming to the conclusion that if Windows can’t do it, then it can’t be done. They reach this conclusion with nary a whisper about ChromeOS, which is cleaning Redmond’s clock on the laptop — and with even less being said about traditional Linux.”

“Prepare for an increasingly GNU/Linux-dominated world, not just in mobile, embedded systems, and servers.”GNU/Linux can do just fine on the desktop, but Web sites and services are becoming more mobile-friendly over time. In turn, more people choose to access data/services/programs through portable devices with relatively small (touch)screens.

Overwhelming press-aided propaganda (at critical times) has had people talk about Vista 10 delusions rather than pay attention to sinking Windows profits. Windows was never sold, but it was certainly stolen. Proprietary software is rented, not sold; Bill Gates pinched early operating system (OS) code from the garbage can. “In my case,” Bill Gates once explained, “I went to the garbage cans at the Computer Science Center and I fished out listings of their operating systems.”

In a later article Christine Hall wrote: “If you believe what you read, which isn’t always a good idea, Nadella & Company is good with the fact that Windows’ market share is shrinking and the company is more than willing to share market space with others, like OS X, Chrome OS, and presumably Linux. The common knowledge is that the folks in Redmond have come to accept the future and understand that Windows will no longer continue being the cash cow on which an empire was built. Microsoft, going forward, will be more humble than it was in the past and will be leaving it’s plans for world domination behind.”

Prepare for an increasingly GNU/Linux-dominated world, not just in mobile, embedded systems, and servers.

Links 21/5/2015: Fedora 22 RC2, CERN Chooses OpenStack

Posted in News Roundup at 3:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source is about more than cost savings
  • Open source as a path to innovation

    So as technology leaders — as the drivers of innovation — we must always be on the lookout for new ways to ready our organizations for agility. One means to that end is open source. Open source is the ultimate platform for flexibility, right? A platform that affords us the agility we need to quickly adapt as technology evolves, business demands expand and markets mature. A platform that allows us to innovate how we want, when we want — rather than innovating on the path and at the pace of our vendors.

  • Open Source Software to Catalogue Cultural Heritage Before a Crisis

    Cultural heritage management tends to suffer from limited funding and resources, which can make a crisis — whether natural disaster, pipeline construction, or war — that much more catastrophic for assessing what’s in need of protection. An open-source system called Arches is the first online tool designed specifically to inventory heritage sites. It was created through a partnership between the World Monuments Fund (WMF) and the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), and its third version launched earlier this month.

  • Events

    • Protocols Plugfest Europe 2015

      Last week I had the pleasure of speaking at Protocols Plugfest Europe 2015. It was really good to get out of the bubble of free software desktops where the community love makes it tempting to think we’re the most important thing in the world and experience the wider industry where of course we are only a small player.

    • GNOME Asia 2015

      I was in Depok, Indonesia last week to speak at GNOME Asia 2015. It was a great experience — the organisers did a fantastic job and as a bonus, the venue was incredibly pretty!

    • [Event-Report] rootconf-2015
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Integrates Propietary Pocket Plugin

        This is based on the proprietary former addon pocket, which is now no longer supported since it is being integrated.

        It’s only the beta channel, but this has all the hallmarks of a half-baked revenue stream for Mozilla that ultimately sells out user privacy – and what’s worse, is opt-out, rather than opt-in.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • fresh breeze for LibreOffice

      LibreOffice is a great OpenSource project. They have a Design Group and help you a lot if you’d like to do something for LibreOffice. Now LibreOffice prepare the new release LibreOffice 5.0 and for this release I’d like to be finished the LibreOffice Breeze icon set. Uri and I work since last November on the icon set so you also have a package available in your repository. Now I’d like to post that we are nearly finished. 98 % (2.700 icons) of the icon set is done, so it is ready for your review. As the monochrome LibreOffice icon set Sifr is less finished than Breeze, I though the fallback icon set for Sifr is Breeze.

  • CMS

    • How open source disrupted the CMS market

      Open source is increasingly changing the software industry. We can see open source products gaining market share in almost every category today, and this development is continuing at a fast pace.

      Although a lot of business people still intuitively think of Linux when it comes to open source software, content management systems played a pivotal role in changing the mindset within corporations. Why? Because the CMS industry was one of the first to largely adopt open source products. Nowadays, the most corporations use open source content management systems for their web platforms. Some of them may not even realize it.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • France wants to accelerate its reforms through open government

      The action plan that France must submit as part of its membership of the Open government partnership (OGP) is mainly build on reforms already announced.

    • France will chair OGP in 2016

      France will chair the Open Government Partnership from October 2016 to October 2017, after the OGP Steering Committee accepted France’s application at a meeting in Mexico on April 24.

    • PDF Poland Central Eastern: Digital tools to promote openness and democracy

      Eastern Central Europe has to reinvent itself and digital tools are the way to succeed. This is one of the conclusions drawn during the Personal Democracy Forum Poland-Central Eastern. This conference, which took place in Warsaw in mid-April, was organised by the ePaństwo Foundation (Fundacja ePaństwo) – a Polish NGO aiming at developing democracy and transparency.

    • Open Hardware

      • VA’s ‘Grand Challenge’: Open-Source Prosthetic Limbs for Veterans

        Last week, VA’s Center for Innovation launched its three-month Innovation Creation Series for Prosthetics and Assistive Technologies. The aim of the series is to build a suite of special prosthetics and other state-of-the-art technologies to support wounded veterans in their day-to-day lives.

  • Programming

    • Java at 20: Its successes, failures, and future

      Although Java was developed at Sun Microsystems, Oracle has served as the platform’s steward since acquiring Sun in early 2010. During that time, Oracle has released Java 7 and Java 8, with version 9 due up next year. InfoWorld Editor at Large Paul Krill recently spoke to Oracle’s Georges Saab, vice president of software development for the Java Platform Group, about the occasion of Java’s 20th anniversary.

    • Happy birthday Java

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US Approves Saudi Use Of Banned Cluster Bombs (But Only If They’re Extra Careful)

      Following a report on Sunday, where Human Rights Watch said video and photographic evidence showed that Saudi Arabia used cluster bombs near villages in Yemen’s Saada Province at least two separate times, the US State Department said it is “looking into” the allegations but, as Foreign Policy reports, said the notoriously imprecise weapon — banned by much of the world — could still have an appropriate role to play in Riyadh’s U.S.-backed offensive (as long as it was used carefully).

    • Africa as Battlefield

      The US is trying to win “hearts and minds” in Africa. It’s not going well.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • Snowden Sees Some Victories, From a Distance

      For an international fugitive hiding out in Russia from American espionage charges, Edward J. Snowden gets around.

      May has been another month of virtual globe-hopping for Mr. Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor, with video appearances so far at Princeton and in a “distinguished speakers” series at Stanford and at conferences in Norway and Australia. Before the month is out, he is scheduled to speak by video to audiences in Italy, and also in Ecuador, where there will be a screening of “Citizenfour,” the Oscar-winning documentary about him.

    • Fighting that Terminator in our Pockets

      Communications massively collected for further behavioural analysis and profiling (PRISM) and sabotage of any commercial product dedicated to protect our data and communications (BULLRUN) are just examples of how everyday technology, now part of ourselves, has been systematically perverted and turned against us.

    • The new war on encryption is based on a lie

      Back in January, David Cameron made what sounded like a threat to ban, or at least undermine, encryption in the UK. “The question is,” Cameron said, “are we going to allow a means of communications which it simply isn’t possible to read. My answer to that question is: no, we must not.” On its own that might be dismissed as a politician talking tough to please his supporters, but it’s part of a much wider attack on strong encryption from the authorities on both sides of the Atlantic.

      In October last year, FBI Director James Comey spoke of his agency’s fears about things “going dark” because of encryption, while NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said encryption “does a terrible disservice to the public.” A month later, NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker offered the view that the reason Blackberry had failed was because it used “too much encryption.” More recently, Rob Wainwright, the director of Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, said encryption is “the biggest problem for the police and the security service authorities in dealing with the threats from terrorism,” while the UK’s National Policing Lead for Counter-Terrorism, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, called products that offer strong encryption “friendly to terrorists.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Border Patrol Agents Tase Woman For Refusing To Cooperate With Their Bogus Search

      Cooke knew the CBP agents needed something in the way of reasonable suspicion to continue to detain her. But they had nothing. The only thing offered in the way of explanation as they ordered her to return to her detained vehicle was that she appeared “nervous” during her prior interaction with the female CBP agent. This threadbare assertion of “reasonable suspicion” is law enforcement’s blank check — one it writes itself and cashes with impunity.

    • Tased Motorist to CBP Agent: ‘What the Fuck Is Wrong With You?’

      After presenting her driver’s license, Cooke, who surely learned in college that police (and even CBP agents!) need “reasonable suspicion” to detain someone, asks why she was pulled over. “You guys have no reason to be holding me,” she says. A male agent who identifies himself as a supervisor has no explanation for the detention, but he says Cooke will have to wait for a drug-sniffing dog to inspect her car. “Well, they’d better be here soon, because if not, I’m calling 911, and this can all be figured out,” Cooke says. “You guys are holding me here against my will.” Eventually the female agent who first interacted with Cooke says she seemed nervous—an all-purpose excuse for detaining someone, since people tend to be nervous when confronted by armed government officials.

    • Pilot who landed gyrocopter at US Capitol now faces six charges

      A Florida man who piloted a gyrocopter through miles of America’s most restricted airspace before landing at the U.S. Capitol is now facing charges that carry up to 9½ years in prison.

    • Gyrocopter pilot indicted on six charges

      The Florida postal worker who flew his gyrocopter under the radar into Washington and onto the West Lawn of the Capitol earlier this year faces nearly 10 years in prison after being indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday.

      Doug Hughes, 61, was indicted in U.S. District Court in D.C. on two felony counts of flying without a pilot’s certificate and lacking registration for his small aircraft, each carrying up to three years in prison.

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