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06.08.15

Links 8/6/2015: Red Hat Upgraded, Debian 8.1 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 4:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Debunking 4 misconceptions about open source software

    Misconceptions range from the belief that open source is not secure enough for businesses, since it is community-based, to misunderstandings about the availability and quality of technical support. While some of them have been propagated since the early days of open source, enterprise-ready offerings today provide the same, if not higher, levels of security, capabilities and reliability as proprietary counterparts.

  • 2/3 Internet Exchange Points use Czech open source router

    Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of Internet Exchange Points are now using BIRD, an open source router solution maintained by the Czech CZ.NIC Association, taking first place from proprietary routers.

  • 3 Financial Companies Innovating With Open Source

    The financial industry is on the verge of an open source breakthrough, say three companies on the cutting edge of the trend. Traditionally very secretive about their technology, banks, hedge funds and other financial services companies have begun in the past few years to talk about how they use open source software in their infrastructure and product development. They have also been steadily increasing their contributions to upstream projects in the form of user feedback and code. And some companies have initiated their own open source projects or released portions of their own code to the open source community.

  • Open-Source NFV Group Launches First Software Release

    The Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV) project has rolled out “Arno,” an open-source platform that group officials said will give users and developers a framework for testing NFV efforts, checking out basic NFV uses cases and trying out virtual network functions (VNFs). The growing demand among telecommunications vendors and other organizations for ways to more quickly adopt and implement NFV is driving the OPNFV’s efforts, according to Chris Price, technical steering committee chairman and open-source manager for software-defined networking (SDN), NFV and the cloud for network vendor Ericsson.

  • NASA Releases Source Code for Its Software Tools

    NASA has released the source code for a complete set of software tools that that cover pretty much everything from aeronautics and propulsion, and from system testing and handling.

  • Events

    • SELF 2015: Linux, Guns & Barbecue

      From what I learned talking with Jeremy Sands last Tuesday, everything about the SouthEast LinuxFest (SELF) will be marinated in southern culture. So much so that if this were twenty years ago, I’d be expecting to see geeks with cigarette packs rolled-up in the sleeves of their T shirts. But these days people don’t smoke much anymore, not even in North Carolina, a state built by tobacco money.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Education

    • Open education at the Raspberry Pi Foundation

      When I started working at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we set out to revamp the website and add learning materials for educators. In the mean time, we wanted to get a few resources out in time for Hour of Code week, so we wrote them on GitHub for easy sharing. It’s easy to get started writing with markdown, and it made collaboration straightforward. Despite all being new to GitHub, the education team really liked the way this worked and wanted to stick with the method, so we did.

  • BSD

    • Call for testing: OpenSSH 6.9

      OpenSSH 6.9 is almost ready for release, so we would appreciate testing on as many platforms and systems as possible. This release contains some substantial new features and a number of bugfixes.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Indian government includes open source in RFPs

      The Government of India has implemented a remarkable new policy-level change for open source software (OSS) deployment. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology has asked that open source software-based applications be included in Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for all new procurements. Note there is not a plan at this time to replace existing proprietary systems with open source software.

    • Estonia: A Model for e-Government

      The bold plan is a logical step forward in an unprecedented roll-out of e-government services that began in 2000, when Estonia introduced a public system for electronic tax filing. In 2002, Estonia introduced a universal electronic identification card with digital signatures, which every citizen gets at the age of 15. The ID cards and signatures have become the keys to nearly universal access to government information and services as well as private-sector services in health care, banking and education, and law. In the years since, the Estonian government and industry have put more and more functions online, all connected by a nationwide data backbone called X-Road.

    • New case studies proof competence gvSIG’s GIS tools

      Four case studies published the past weeks by the gvSIG community show the usefulness of this suite of open source Geographic Information Systems. The cases detail the gvSIG use by public administrations in Spain and Italy, to collect, manage and analyse information on gas pipelines, to create hiking trails, examine city commerce, and plan public transport networks.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open-source “MMO for makers” aims to crowdsource manufacturing design

      Software developers have long been able to collaborate through community sites like those based on Git and Apache Allura to contribute code, synchronize software builds, and track issues around a project. And games like Minecraft allow people to collaborate in building virtual environments with embedded behaviors—including “mods” that leverage the games’ simulation capabilities to interact with other objects in a virtual world. Now, an open-source Web platform originally designed with Defense Department funding could let communities collaborate to build more tangible things—like tanks, planes, and consumer appliances.

  • Programming

    • A Heterogeneous Execution Engine Might Make Its Way To LLVM

      An intern from Qualcomm’s Innovation Center has been designing a heterogeneous execution engine for LLVM that he’s hoping to eventually upstream within the LLVM project.

    • C++ at a functional programming event

      In the end, I decided to talk about functional reactive proramming in C++ which will be a thrilling and enticing tale of event-based systems and the power of reactive streams. I’ll also cover some fun new things we are to expect from C++17 that are bringing even more functional programming concepts than we have in the current standard

Leftovers

  • Finance

    • Labour Call Unemployed “The Work-Shy”

      I just read the Guardian’s account of today’s Labour leadership hustings, and they are not Tory Lite, they are Tory High Octane. Supporting Tory benefit cuts, calling the unemployed “the work-shy”, defending £9,000 a year tuition fees, supporting Trident and falling over themselves to reject autonomy for the Scottish accounting unit. But what I find even more astonishing is that the Fabian Society audience were lining up afterwards for selfies with Liz Kendall, Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham, and according to the Guardian nobody wanted a photo with Jeremy Corbyn, the one decent human being there.

    • Urgent: TTIP Vote – Please Write to Your MEPs before Wednesday

      There is a very important plenary vote in the European Parliament on TTIP this Wednesday…

    • Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans

      My mother could no longer afford the tuition that the student loans weren’t covering.

  • Censorship

    • Lawyer who sued EFF blames Ars readers for hacking, defamation

      Atlanta IP lawyer Sanford Asman isn’t happy that CaseRails CEO Erik Dykema won’t hand his company’s name over to him—in fact, he’s filed a trademark lawsuit over it, just as he said he would last month.

      Asman believes that CaseRails is infringing his trademark rights to CaseWebs and CaseSpace, two websites that house his own litigation-management software. In fact, Asman believes any Web-based legal software with “case” in its name should be under his purview.

  • Privacy

    • The Mass Surveillance of US Public Continues as USA Today Declares It Ended

      And that points to a bigger problem with declaring that the NSA’s data collection has “ended”: The same data will still be collected, only it will be held in phone company computers rather than the NSA’s computers. The NSA will still have access to the data, only having to get an OK from the FISA court–a notorious rubberstamp that operates in secret. As NSA whistleblower J. Kirk Wiebe told FAIR, “It’s more of a psychological maneuver to make us all feel good than a true constraint.”

  • Civil Rights

    • LAPD officer convicted in videotaped beating of handcuffed suspect

      A Los Angeles Police Department officer was convicted Friday in connection to the videotaped beating of a female suspect who was struck in the throat and crotch in a patrol car.

      Officer Mary O’Callaghan, an 18-year veteran, was accused of felony assault under the color of authority in a 2012 incident largely captured on a patrol-car camera. The 35-year-old victim, Alesia Thomas, died later that July evening. Medical examiner officials said cocaine intoxication was a “major factor” in the Los Angeles woman’s death.

    • Save Majid Ali

      Glasgow City College student Majid Ali faces torture and death if returned to Pakistan. Majid Ali’s brother and other members of his immediate family have been taken and I am afraid very probably murdered by the Pakistani authorities as part of their relentless persecution of the Baloch people and desire to wipe out Baloch national identity. The UK Home Office intends to deport Majid. The people of Scotland must defend him.

    • Saudi court upholds blogger’s 10 years and 1,000 lashes

      Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has upheld the sentence of 1,000 lashes and 10 years of imprisonment on blogger Raif Badawi, despite a foreign outcry.

      Speaking from Canada, his wife Ensaf Haidar told the BBC she feared his punishment would start again on Friday.

      Badawi was arrested in 2012 for “insulting Islam through electronic channels”.

    • There is no justice: What cops and courts get wrong about the human brain

      Neuroscience explains why our justice system keeps sending innocent people to prison — and letting guilty ones go

    • Kalief Browder, 1993–2015

      Last fall, I wrote about a young man named Kalief Browder, who spent three years on Rikers Island without being convicted of a crime. He had been arrested in the spring of 2010, at age sixteen, for a robbery he insisted he had not committed. Then he spent more than one thousand days on Rikers waiting for a trial that never happened. During that time, he endured about two years in solitary confinement, where he attempted to end his life several times. Once, in February, 2012, he ripped his bedsheet into strips, tied them together to create a noose, and tried to hang himself from the light fixture in his cell.

      In November of 2013, six months after he left Rikers, Browder attempted suicide again. This time, he tried to hang himself at home, from a bannister, and he was taken to the psychiatric ward at St. Barnabas Hospital, not far from his home in the Bronx. When I met him, in the spring of 2014, he appeared to be more stable.

      Then, late last year, about two months after my story about him appeared, he stopped going to classes at Bronx Community College. During the week of Christmas, he was confined in the psych ward at Harlem Hospital. One day after his release, he was hospitalized again, this time back at St. Barnabas. When I visited him there on January 9th, he did not seem like himself. He was gaunt, restless, and deeply paranoid. He had recently thrown out his brand-new television, he explained, “because it was watching me.”

      [...]

      Ever since I’d met him, Browder had been telling me stories about having been abused by officers and inmates on Rikers. The stories were disturbing, but I did not fully appreciate what he had experienced until this past April when I obtained surveillance footage of an officer assaulting him and of a large group of inmates pummeling and kicking him. I sat next to Kalief while he watched these videos for the first time. Afterward, we discussed whether they should be published on The New Yorker’s Web site. I told him that it was his decision. He said to put them online.

    • Left Divided as Violence and Protests Derail Mexican Elections

      Mexico’s latest elections are threatened by drug cartel violence, social protests, and the mass resignation of election officials. The left, which in the past has succeeded in rallying a third or more of the nation’s voters for a single party, goes into this election deeply divided, prompting expectations of a win for the ruling party.

    • On Equality

      A good rule of thumb is that if we feel the views of others are offensive, they probably feel our own views are offensive as well, a view they are completely entitled to when they do not act on it to harm us. If we wish to have our freedom to own and express our views protected, we must also actively respect — preferably protect — the rights of others to the same freedom.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • EU Commission Tries to Rip Citizens Off Net Neutrality

      The European Commission attacks Net Neutrality again, by introducing a “compromise document” that refuses to enshrine a definition of this crucial principle into the law. A strong coalition including the EU Council, the European Commission and a handful of MEPs is working against the general interest by including loopholes that will be used by the telecom lobby to circumvent the proposed protections against discrimination, thereby undermining fundamental rights and innovation.

  • DRM

    • Apple Music and the terrible return of DRM

      My Amazon Echo just arrived, months after I pre-ordered it. I’d totally forgotten about it until I got a ship notification the other day, and then it was there, a strange little tube promising yet another peek at a future that never seems fully within grasp.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Vista 10 (aka Windows 10) is Just Vapourware

Posted in Vista 10, Windows at 4:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Stewart Alsop, industry gadfly, presented Gates with the “Golden Vaporware” award”

Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul

Summary: Microsoft publicity stunts and paid-for coverage to appear and reappear more and more in the coming weeks

WITH only a couple of months or so left before the expected release of the latest malware bundle from Microsoft, we expect Microsoft to keep up the tradition of bribing journalists, bloggers etc. in order to 'plant' positive coverage in the media. Make no mistake; Microsoft PR agencies are definitely doing it and they want everyone to believe that the world will change after this release. Promises will be infinite (vapourware) and delivery will fail to meet expectations, as usual. Techrights does not wish to spend much time and effort writing about Vista 10 because the mere mention of it (especially now that Android is so dominant) helps Microsoft. We’ll just close with another memorable quote.

“The purpose of announcing early like this is to freeze the market at the OEM and ISV level. In this respect it is JUST like the original Windows announcement…

“One might worry that this will help Sun because we will just have vaporware, that people will stop buying 486 machines, that we will have endorsed RISC but not delivered… So, Scott, do you really think you can fight that avalanche?”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft

The European Patent Office Has Become Militarised

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What it means for EPO to have hired the British privatised military, Control Risks Group (CRG)

Victim in Iraq
One among many innocent victims in Iraq

Summary: A look at the company which the European Patent Office (EPO) has chosen to spy on sources and journalists who combat corruption

KNOWING for a fact that we are being spied on by the London-based Control Risks (evidence does exist), because a British manager at the EPO (John Martin) hired them, we wish to remind readers of what Control Risks is really doing in general and what it is doing for the EPO. According to Wikileaks, Control Risks works with Stratfor (also known as shadow CIA) [1, 2], providing assessments based on surveillance. It would not shock us if Control Risks got many contacts inside the GCHQ and NSA (e.g. former staff), i.e. access to illegally-intercepted communications. Here is Control Risks in Sony’s leaked E-mails. They work with some rather powerful circles — powerful as in working with impunity. But looking outside the corporate world, Control Risks is heavily involved in military. That’s where the big money is and Control Risks, despite not being so well known (it wants to keep a low profile and it never reveals its clients), is a huge company that has amassed billions of dollars over the years. As one blogger put it, “Blackwater USA is the US Government’s mercenaries of choice and Control Risks Group (CRG) is the British government’s.”

Control Risks is a basically British branch of privatised military, so the EPO’s John Martin must have been nuts for choosing it. Does one need an army to protect EPO management from critics? It’s like using a sledgehammer on a nail. This British manager from the EPO chose to hire Control Risks to spy and thus threaten myself and others (probably IP Kat too) and for that he deserves no sympathy. He clearly hates free press, free speech, the rule of law, and worker’s rights.

“The EPO employs them now. Fallujah, British blogs… same thing.”Control Risks likes to publicly state that it is “ethical”, but every company says such stuff; it is promotional nonsense. Control Risks has a role in a deadly invasion that killed up to a million people (depending on whose estimates) and was based on a massive lie, perpetrated in part by the British government and British intelligence agencies. Control Risks had people on the ground in Iraq shortly after the invasion; some staff was killed while on duty. Quoting the book “Blackwater: The Rise of the World’s Most Powerful Mercenary Army”, “Firms like Control Risk [...] began deploying thousands of mercenaries in Iraq and recruiting” (making money from occupation). “At the time of the Fallujah incident,” says the book “Private Security Contractors and New Wars”, “Blackwater was taking over operations from a British security company, Control Risks Group.”

The EPO employs them now. Fallujah, British blogs… same thing.

According to Source Watch, Control Risks “provided services for the UK government, Bechtel and Halliburton in Iraq” (nice company right there).

It is important for us to show our readers, including EPO staff, just how low their management has stooped. For a British company that works with hired assassins to spy on me in the UK is rather chilling, to say the very least.

Demise of Software Patents and Refusal of the Patents ‘Industry’ to Accept That

Posted in Patents at 3:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Limiting entry of patents on software

Sign - no entry

Summary: More stories about the invalidation of software patents in the US and some responses from people who make a living handling patents

PATENTS on software are gradually being invalidated, not just failing to be granted in the first place. The Supreme Court (also known as SCOTUS) decided that if a patent on an abstract concept has insufficient merit, then it shouldn’t be upheld and should instead be discarded. This discouraged some litigation, as numbers serve to demonstrate. Patent trolls and giant corporations would rather intimidate using patents (shakedown) than actually sue. SCOTUS has of course endorsed patent trolling since then and it very much knew what it was doing:

Not only did Scalia acknowledge such a beast as a patent troll, but threw in my second-most favorite Latin phrase of all time, in terrorem which means “into or about fear”.

This new Securus press release, published from Texas, says “Securus Expects Some Patents To Be Invalidated – No Impact On Quality Or Scale Advantage of Securus’ Industry Leading Patent Portfolio” (the context being some of their patents having been invalidated).

It seems clear that companies which base their business around patents are worried. It looks like the landscape is changing and SD Times, a magazine focused on software development and Microsoft promotion, has asked: “What just happened to software patents?”

Well, as lot of them are going away. “Rightly or wrongly,” says the author, “these voices against software patents have become a cacophony. Courts listen to public opinion—don’t let anyone fool you into believing differently. So, when the public became concerned about the software-patent “threat,” so did courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court.”

Activism in the area does make a different, make no mistake about it. That’s why patent lawyers have been so adamant and determined to take over the media, spreading the false impression that nothing has changed after Alice.

“Software is reducible to mathematics, so software must never be patentable if we are to advance science rather than guard or create monopolies.”The author proceeds to stating: “This mutated strain of cases harks back to a Supreme Court case decided in 1948 that had nothing to do with computer software: Funk Brothers v. Kalo. A fundamental tenet of patent law has long been that laws of nature (e.g., E=MC2) cannot be patented. Funk Brothers pushed that much further, saying that a newly discovered law of nature cannot even be the basis for patenting a practical application of that law to solve a real-world problem. Thirty years later, the Supreme Court applied this reasoning to a software-related patent in Parker v. Flook.”

Software is reducible to mathematics, so software must never be patentable if we are to advance science rather than guard or create monopolies. Here is a company in DC bragging about acquiring patent monopolies on software, boasting some more in a press release [1, 2]. This is in no way advancing science; in this particular case it can even harm health.

A patent lawyers’ blog, which often gives the platform to Microsoft and pro-software patents voices (never the opposite), is giving the platform to a Judge who is defending patent trolls. Among his words of ‘wisdom’: “The less enforceable the patent is in various ways, the lower the value of the patent for the whole portfolio.”

In other words, this judge advocates more lawsuits (business for him) or shakedowns. Recall what patents were conceived for in the first place. It was about publication in exchange for a temporary monopoly, not a parade of litigation. A lot of patent lawyers, whose business is litigation and armament (in the legal sense), seem to conveniently forget or ignore that. Thankfully, as the SCOTUS tries to revert back to some level of sanity, the future of software patents does not look promising.

Spanish Media on Reign of Terror at EPO: Managerial Misconduct, Blocked E-mails (Censorship), and Abuse of Legal Immunity

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Público

Summary: Spanish article from Público translated into English, demonstrating the greater role played by the media these days

THE EPO‘s management, knowing that it is already in a lot of trouble, has resorted to hiring thugs, attacking staff, censoring its network, and so on. It’s symptomatic of an abusive regime that feels threatened, for if staff (making up the EPO) and by extension the European public (subsiding the EPO) knew what EPO management was up to, prosecution too would be a possibility, not just the dead end of some people’s career.

“Público,” wrote SUEPO, “published an article (printable version) titled “The European Patent Office is violating labour laws, according to the employees”.

“The article reports on the authoritarian drift of the European Patent Office under the presidency of Mr Battistelli with the introduction of an investigation unit (supported by Control Risks), the increase in disciplinary procedures and the violation of fundamental rights of staff with the latest health care reform (lack of confidentiality of medical records and house arrests for invalids).”

Here is the collection of translations [PDF] with emphasis added where it matters:

The European Patent Office is violating labour laws, according to the employees

Trade union sources claim that the President of the organization has imposed a ruling which is having a massive effect on the health of the employees, their pensions, and their labour rights, such as the right to strike.

CAROLINA GARCÍA MUNDI

MADRID.- The European Patent Office (EPO) is encountering first-hand the problems of the employees. The President of the organization since 2010, and also President of the Administrative Council of the EPO, Benoît Battistelli, “is managing the Office in an authoritarian and antisocial manner, which is causing problems at the Office”. This at least is the view expressed by sources at SUEPO, the Staff Union of the European Patent Office, in statements made to Público.

The EPO, with headquarters in Munich and three branch offices in The Hague, Berlin, and Vienna, has a staff of 7,000 people, 480 of them Spanish nationals. The employees insist that the measures being imposed by Battistelli are having a massive effect on them. “Not only the rules about patents, but also about pensions, health, employees’ rights”. The President of the EPO, which is responsible for validating inventions and the patenting of them, is also the President of the Administrative Council. The Council is formed of 38 members, representing the 38 countries which make up the European Patent and Trademark Office, and is responsible for personnel matters as well as for defining the financial structure and arrangements, and the President is making his voice very clearly heard: He is the person who has the last word; he is the legislator.

In 2014, Benoît Battistelli imposed a ruling which is prejudicial to the rights of the employees in matters relating to trade unions, labour relations, and medical benefits. Labour rights in particular have come under attack. “He’s going to be the person who decides whether or not there’s going to be a strike, and how long it can go on”. “There’s massive repression being imposed”, sources in the trade union insist.

The staff can also be placed under investigation if someone utters an anonymous denunciation against them. They are told that they are going to be investigated, including the personal E-mails, but they can’t do anything about it. “The only people you can talk to are your wife and your doctor”.

One spokesperson for the union believes, however, that the investigation was only started because the person concerned was a significant member of the union, which was putting pressure on the Administrative Council and on Battistelli.

The basic rights of the employees are being violated, in particular with regard to their health. Battistelli is taking pseudo-medical decisions and “targeting people who are ill”, union members maintain. And there’s more: “The doctor, appointed by the President, decides whether a person is ill or not, while up to now three opinions were sought from three different doctors. If a person reports sick, they have to produce a certificate on the third day, and you can be subjected to examinations in your own home if you’re ill”.

As well as this, the medical records of each employee are stored on a database, and the staff have no idea who controls it. Confidentiality of medical records is a right and an obligation. In Spain, if confidentiality is breached, it may be treated as a criminal offence.

Pensions are also coming under attack. 30% of the salary of each employee is put into a savings fund every month. However, if you come from the State in which you are working, this pension can be reduced. “If I go to the State where I’m living, I’m breaking a rule and they penalize me. For example, if a Spanish national contracts a terminal illness, he can’t go back to Spain until he’s 55. If you do go, they can take disciplinary action and cut the pension”.

The EPO union has also come under fire. Union members have been having their E-mails blocked, from within the Office and outside. They cannot communicate with one another. They cannot complain, because if they do so under their real name they lay themselves open to disciplinary procedures. This situation, in which privacy is being violated, would constitute a criminal offence in Spain, as a lawyer confirmed (responsible for the case of the EPO personnel).

This breach of basic rights of the staff has already been brought before the courts. Sources from the SUEPO union confirm that the ruling by the Dutch court of second instance was in their favour, requiring Battistelli to revoke this ruling and to allow union members to continue sending E-mails, as well as obliging him to begin negotiating with the union.

But the decision by the court got nowhere. Battistelli issued a memo to all the staff to inform them that he was not going to abide by the ruling, because “it is dangerous for the Office for these initiatives to be taken, which are supported by the union, the primary concern of which should be to defend the interests of the personnel. You can nevertheless count on my perseverance and commitment to defending our organization”. Sources from the union maintain that this memo “is a propaganda exercise and an attack on immunity”.

Immunity is something which all the international organizations have. The implication is that the individual organization itself is independent and is not subject to the laws of the country in which it is based. This characteristic, however, comes to create great power, which can then degenerate into abuse. “They are using this immunity to change the rules about labour relations, about the unions, about health, and about basic rights and liberties. This is an abuse of immunity”, is how union sources condemn the action.

“The European Parliament is dodging the issue”

SUEPO, the trade union of the European Patent and Trademark Office, has contacted a number of national parliaments: The Netherlands, Luxemburg, and the European Parliament.

This was done in an anonymous and personal way, under the essential precondition that the identity of the persons concerned be kept secret so as not to be thrown out of their jobs. They simply provided the information needed for the parliamentarians to investigate and pursue the matter with the European Commission. The reaction by the European Commissioners and the politicians, however, has been entirely passive, dodging the issue on the pretext that the EPO is an independent international organization. “It is not part of the European Union, and they have no authority over it. They do have political authority, but they’re doing nothing”, according to union members.

“Battistelli makes the rules, he’s the judge and jury. He ought to be at least supervised by the Member States”, union sources insist. “But nothing is supervised, not the money or the power. The EPO does not receive money from the Member States; on the contrary, they reap a lot of benefit from it”, as the sources confirm.

“We have no legal recourse when it comes to labour relations”

All the employees, regardless of whether they are part of the union or not, take the same view. “We don’t have any legal recourse for labour issues, because the judge is the President”. They are in an indefensible situation; they cannot defend their fundamental rights if they cannot change the rules, and Battistelli makes the rules.

The only way they can exert any pressure is by way of the International Labour Organization (ILO), but with the difficulty that they cannot pursue claims as a union, but only as individuals. “Action by a union is vetoed. The EPO is not obliged to change the rules because the claim has to be from an individual, and only affecting that individual”, they maintain.

A law firm in Madrid has been contacted to pursue the issue. “By way of a media campaign, contact with the CCOO and UGT unions so as to access to the European Trade Union Confederation, contact with parliamentary groups, and with the representative of the Spanish Government, Patricia García Escudero, we are aiming to reopen negotiations, as well as pursuing legal recourse in Spain, despite the immunity”, is the view taken by one of the attorneys handling the case.

In the coming days we are going to look deeper into how the EPO stepped out of rationality, choosing to police people by force and intimidation.

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