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

06.06.15

EPO Officially Confirms That It Specifically Hired Control Risks Group (CRG) to Spy on Journalists and Their Sources

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung) article
Previous article from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, regarding Benoît Battistelli and EPO suicides

Summary: The European Patent Office (EPO) acknowledges when asked by the German media that it has hired a military-connected privatised spying giant

WE NOW know that it was John Martin’s department which made the decision to relay taxpayers’ money to notorious London-based spies (attacking journalism). British embezzlement? This funneling of funds should prove controversial at the very least. The EPO is now bullying critics, including the media.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung wrote about the EPO before. It again mentioned the latest scandal the other day. Now we have the collection of translations [PDF]. Here it is in English:

Crisis management experts are snooping around the EPO

The European Patent Office has hired the private “global risk consultants” Control Risks to deal with allegations of mobbing. At the same time, it is the process of conducting talks with staff unions aimed at restoring “social peace”.

Munich, 1st June 2015. For a number of weeks now, opposing parties at the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich have attempted to engage in a “social dialogue”.

On the one hand, there is the EPO President Benoît Battistelli, a Frenchman who is said to be characterised by an autocratic leadership style; on the other hand, there are the staff union officials who hope to finally achieve recognition within the European organization which has 38 member states and enjoys immunity due to its supranational character.

In April, Battistelli and the Administrative Council of the EPO met with staff members represented by the Staff Union (IGEPA/SUEPO). After initially breaking the ice, they agreed to continue talks in order to arrive at a consensus (as reported in the FAZ on 25 April).

But storm clouds appear to be gathering on the horizon again. Shortly after this historical meeting which ended on such a hopeful note, some strangers called at the Patent Office beside the Isar and started to take a closer look. These were representatives of a British company called Control Risks Group (CRG). Control Risks is a privately held company which describes itself as “a global risk consultancy”. It offers advice on economic risks and assists companies, organisations and governments with the analysis of political risks and security solutions and supports managements in the elimination of operational risks. CRG is supposed to help the Internal Audit department of the EPO with the investigation of allegations of mobbing.

The services of these British experts are also very much in demand in situations such as those encountered in Third World countries which involve dealing with problems that cannot be easily resolved using conventional means. Control Risks has even made a name for itself in Germany. It is said to be the company that allegedly spied on journalists on behalf of Deutsche Telekom in order to identify contact persons inside the company who were involved in leaking information to external parties.

“The selection of CRG by the competent department was made in the course of a procurement procedure,” said a spokesman for the EPO. The competent department was the Internal Audit and Oversight department of the EPO whose Director is Mr. John Martin.

It was confirmed that only this department and not the President was involved in the decision. As part of the reforms introduced by Battistelli who assumed office in 2010, an internal investigation unit which operates in a substantially independent manner to protect its staff was established [as part of the Internal Audit and Oversight department].

In 2014, the Internal Audit department dealt with 68 complaints, for example cases involving mobbing, bullying, employment law violations or other misconduct by staff out of a workforce of 4,300 employees.

Although the number of complaints declined by 23 percent compared to 2013, Mr. Martin justified the move [to hire external investigators] as follows: “Because the EPO Investigative Unit is rather small in terms of staffing, we need to be able to contract external companies to support our fact-finding enquiries.”

However, the fact that it was Control Risks which was selected has – to put it mildlycaused “indigestion” in some quarters inside the EPO. It is referred to as an “unfortunate choice”. And the targeting of staff representatives as the subject of investigations into mobbing allegations is hardly considered to be conducive to a good atmosphere for talks between the President and staff unions.

According to what can be heard from staff, the overall effect of these developments is undermine the efforts to establish a social dialogue. On the other hand, the EPO tries to emphasise that, strictly speaking, the investigations into staff complaints are not connected with the current process of dialogue. And it was keen to point out that the second round of talks with Battistelli, the Chairman of the Administrative Council, Jesper Kongstad and staff unions SUEPO (Munich) and FFPE-EPO (representing the branch at The Hague) had not suffered any unsustainable damage last Thursday. The topic of surveillance did indeed come up on the agenda according to reports but the sense of outrage remained within bounds unlike the demonstrations in recent years against the President’s reform plans which by EPO standards were perceived as radical.

The goal remains to lay the foundations by September for an agreement according to which the trade unions will not only be formally recognized as representatives of staff at the EPO. They also want to be involved in the reform processes such as those relating to a performance-based reporting system for employees and the oversight of sick leave and other absences which are conspicuously high at the EPO. As these reform measures have already been introduced, the staff representatives doubt whether Battistelli is really serious about achieving a social consensus. Against this background, the timetable which has been set seems ambitious – and the decision to hire experienced “crisis management assistance” counterproductive.

We have a lot more coming about Control Risks, including their role in spying on Techrights.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Slashdot

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. I Would Have Supported the Coup (Under Very Different Circumstances)

    Richard Stallman's (rms) ordeals are showing us how not to deal with a founder; this is how power transition could be done instead, according to figosdev



  2. It Looks Like Red Hat's (IBM) Fedora Project May be 'Outsourced' to Amazon's Datacentres

    In "seeking a more modern and cost effective location" for Fedora Infrastructure it seems to have been decided, privately, that Amazon (AWS) would be the new home of this project; but there's sufficient obfuscation surrounding the matter and many people seem to be totally unaware



  3. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, August 08, 2020

    IRC logs for Saturday, August 08, 2020



  4. Fearmongering Was Originally an IBM Thing, Not a Microsoft Thing

    Microsoft made FUD famous, but it was actually IBM’s practice that made it commonplace in the first place (the term or acronym was coined before Microsoft even mattered and on the same year Microsoft was founded)



  5. [Meme] People Get Fired for Being Bought by IBM (With a Crummy Severance Package)

    IBM used to proudly provide job security and one could have a job there for decades (career ladders and worker benefits of all sorts are what some people assess this when looking for an employer, e.g. whether they can progress, get promoted, stay onboard); by today’s standards only a month’s salary is exceptionally bad, especially when one gets fired without warning, but this is what IBM did to some Red Hat employees



  6. New FSF Video Makes the Case Against Microsoft GitHub (and Similar), So Why is the FSF's Board Being Filled Up With Active GitHub Users?

    The FSF makes a good point about “important values like autonomy, sharing, social responsibility, and collaboration” — the very things that are under attack by Microsoft’s GitHub, which is all about coercion and monopolistic control over developers



  7. Techrights is Not Against Microsoft

    It may be a suitable time to explain why Microsoft is mentioned so much and why it's not a fixation but a reactionary priority



  8. The THRIVE Guidelines

    "Nobody is perfect, and it's obvious that people already hold some to a more unreasonable interpretation of their standards than others."



  9. Links 8/8/2020: Mageia 8 Hits Beta and FSF Has New Video

    Links for the day



  10. [Meme/History] OpenPOWER or Just White POWER?

    Antiwar and anti-nukes activists cannot support those causes and support IBM at the same time, as the founder’s son (father received a medal from the Nazi Party) flew “an American heavy bomber” and enjoyed a track record of nepotism, propelling him to the top both in the military and at IBM



  11. Rebuilding Communities

    "First, we should talk about how our communities have regressed."



  12. [Meme] Microsoft in 2020: Liaising With Criminals to Make Crime the New Normal

    As the TikTok situation serves to show, Microsoft is little but a criminal cult that relies on other criminals to do Microsoft's biddings



  13. The Computer Anybody Can Edit

    "Without rebuilding and recompiling all of the packages on a large distribution, it is possible to "remaster" an ISO and get a different system -- even before you install it."



  14. Former Microsoft Employee on So-called 'Journalists' Being Blackmailed by Microsoft

    Mitchel Lewis, a former Microsoft employee, remarks on Mary Jo Foley being 'punished' by Microsoft for not mindlessly publishing Microsoft propaganda (we remarked on this before as she had spoken to me about this over a decade ago)



  15. IRC Proceedings: Friday, August 07, 2020

    IRC logs for Friday, August 07, 2020



  16. For the Want of a Pixel

    "It is still possible to win, but the FSF has practically left the field."



  17. Ubuntu and Fedora Project Serving Microsoft

    The Ubuntu 'community' as well as the 'community' component of Red Hat (IBM) don't view Microsoft as a rival; over a decade ago Mark Shuttleworth accused Microsoft of "extortion" and "racketeering" (his words), but now he's paid to change his tune



  18. (Don't Let's) Throw Caution to the Wind

    "As it will become crucial to explain, the effect of all this dancing around truth and reality was to transform a volunteer force primed to bring freedom to users into cheap labour for an industry that exploits everyone in it -- all the way to the very top of Open Source itself."



  19. Links 7/8/2020: Mesa 20.2 RC, Radeon Software for Linux 20.30

    Links for the day



  20. Computing Fundamentals

    "A graphical interface is better, for some things -- sometimes. But it will also put a lot more on our plates."



  21. IBM and the Bomb: Series Index (on 75th Anniversary of Atomic Bombs Being Dropped on Civilians)

    Today seems an apt time to remind readers that IBM participated in the creation of the only bombs ever to be dropped in a war (not tests) and this tradition carries on because IBM is still profiting from it, to this very day (countless billions made by IBM during the Cold War too)



  22. Freedom is Personal

    "Before I say anything else, note that there are literally hundreds of GNU/Linux distros, and I put in a lot of work to rate which were the least encumbered by corporate politics — directly or indirectly."



  23. Links 7/8/2020: Ubuntu 20.04.1 LTS and GNU C Library 2.32 Released

    Links for the day



  24. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, August 06, 2020

    IRC logs for Thursday, August 06, 2020



  25. Our Collective Privacy is Under Unprecedented Attacks and Privacy is Now Conflated With Bad Hygiene, Not Just Criminality

    At warp speed the "War on cash" or "War on anonymous transactions" is moving ahead; now that COVID-19 infects a lot of people we're led to assume that mass surveillance saves lives not because of counter-terrorism but because of contact-tracing or whatever (in practice it's hardly effective, but it's conditioning people to give up any remnants of their privacy)



  26. The Psychology of Developers

    "It turns out, there are ways around a free license -- you can make software "less free" or more imposing, without changing the license at all."



  27. Social Justice is Fine... When It is Not Just a Shallow Marketing Ploy

    Don't let well-meaning concepts such as "Social Justice" become mere buzzwords or tools of corporate propaganda (greedy people's objectives disguised as populism)



  28. Site Upgrades Likely Coming Soon

    After more than 28,000 posts are published it might be time to move from the WordPress x.9.x LTS to something newer (5.5 is about to be released); we explain why it’s not as simple as it might first seem



  29. Focus on the Big Issues, Not the Words

    The pattern that is emerging in recent months if not years is that words hurt and therefore contributors to code must shut up about injustices, including corporate misbehaviour



  30. Computing vs. Marketing

    “The important lesson here is that Windows is NOT a computer — it is actually a horrible thing that people DO to a computer, and to themselves.”


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

Recent Posts