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Links 11/9/2015: Android Pay, Plasma 5.4.1 in Kubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • New open source tool to help reporters rethink quotes in stories

    QuickQuote, which was open-sourced last week, requires users to upload their video footage and then provides an automated transcription using natural language processing.

    After the transcription is generated, the user can click anywhere in the text to see and hear the corresponding video and audio, highlighting their desired quote with their mouse.

  • Beware of Open Source Software Zombies

    TL;DR — When putting source code into the open, reserve some time & energy to build a community around it, otherwise: zombie.

  • 5 open source alternatives to Gmail

    But Gmail is far from the only name in the game when it comes to web-based email clients. In fact, there are a number of open source alternatives available for those who want more freedom, and occasionally, a completely different approach to managing their email without relying on a desktop client.

    Let’s take a look at just a few of the free, open source webmail clients out there available for you to choose from.

  • Teaching big data processing with open source software

    The current move towards open data generating massive amounts of data, needs real-time processing needing intelligent solutions to process it. Having more tools which are open source can fuel further open data research impacting not only computing, but social sciences, where economists and governments can make use of big data as well.

  • Concurrent launches open-source CDN platform

    Concurrent, a provider of high-performance Linux and storage products, announced a new open-source content delivery network (CDN) platform. Concurrent’s new CDN platform combines open-source technologies with the company’s enterprise support services to deliver streaming video and other content to consumers on connected devices. Concurrent is leveraging community-driven open-source technologies including Apache Traffic Server for caching and streaming, Traffic Control for request routing, Ceph for storage and its own packaged feature enhancements to create a CDN platform that is well-suited for commercial applications.

  • How to manage an open source project

    Put yourself in their shoes – that’s the most important thing to remember as the boss of a free software project.

    Whether you’re handling a code patch from an argumentative contributor or trying to attract users via a release announcement, it’s vital to think carefully about how other people will see it.

  • Node.js Fork is Done as Node v 4.0.0 Released

    Now the first code release as part of the Node.js Foundation is out with v 4.0.0.

    “This release represents countless hours of hard work encapsulated in both the Node.js project and the io.js project that are now combined in a single codebase,” the Node.js foundation wrote in a blog post. “The Node.js project is now operated by a team of 44 collaborators, 15 of which form its Technical Steering Committee (TSC). Further, over 100 new individuals have been added to the list of people contributing code to core since v0.12.7.”

  • Node.js says all is forgiven, welcomes io.js fork back into the fold

    The Node.js Foundation has released version 4.0.0 of the Node.js, the first version that reunites the JavaScript-based server-side web application framework with its io.js fork.

    “This release represents countless hours of hard work encapsulated in both the Node.js project and the io.js project that are now combined in a single codebase,” the Foundation said in a technical blog post announcing the release.

  • Node.js v4.0.0 Released
  • Largest email group for women in tech teams up with Peace Corps

    Systers is the world’s largest email community of women in tech.

    First a little history, from Anita Borg.org: Systers was founded by in 1987 as an email mailing list for women in “systems.” At last official count, the community has over 5,500 members from at least 60 countries. Women technologists of all ages and at any stage of their studies or careers are welcome to contact the current Systers-keeper, Rose Robinson.

    In this interview Rose Robinson talks with me about Systers’ participation in the Open Source Day Codeathon taking place at the Grace Hopper Conference (GHC) in Houston, Texas this year—where attendence will hit record numbers. (You can still register!) Systers is one of a group of participating organizations during the codeathon.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL: Playing open source catch-up to arrogant Oracle

      Part of why people are choosing PostgreSQL and EnterpriseDB is because users get to see the way the company works.

      “Not only can people see how we develop the code but they can see how we deal with bug fixes and things like that, but they can also see how we work. Everything we do is out in the open so you’re not hiding behind the PR department.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

    • Openwashing

      • Open-Source Email Archiving Software Expands with IMLS Grant

        The ePADD open-source email archiving and processing platform developed by Stanford University Libraries was awarded a $685,000 National Leadership Grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) on August 31. The software “supports archival processes around the appraisal, ingest, processing, discovery, and delivery of email archives,” according to the project site. “Email archives present a singular window into contemporary history; however, they are often inaccessible to researchers due to screening, processing, and access challenges, as well as the sheer volume of material.”

      • Thales adopts open-source ERTMS testing tool

        Signalling and train control supplier Thales Deutschland has agreed to use the ERTMSFormalSpecs open-source modelling tool to test braking curves in the development of its onboard unit for the ETCS Baseline 3 specifications.

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD 10.1 BETA2 now available

      We are pleased to announce the availability GhostBSD 10.1 BETA2 MATE & XFCE which is available on SourceForge for the amd64 and i386 architectures.

      Before going further I will like to say a special thanks Ovidiu who recently join back the project and Andrea who join the project, they have help to make GhostBSD better, add up new feature and fixed issue.


    • Free Software Foundation seeks nominations for 18th annual Free Software Awards

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU Project today call upon the free software community to submit nominations for the 18th annual Free Software Awards. The Free Software Awards include the Award for the Advancement of Free Software and the Award for Projects of Social Benefit. The awards are presented each year at the LibrePlanet free software conference, and at the same time nominations for the next year’s awards open.

    • Infinity progress update

      I’m expecting the addition of a second DWARF interpreter to GDB to be contentious, but they’ll optimized for different things and doing different things. For example, Infinity could work better with some type tracking (and will likely need it to make function calls secure) but it’s different from what GDB’s existing interpreter needs and it’s difficult to see how to combine the two without ending up with something that’s not very good at either. Not to mention that getting it to a point it can be moved to common code would likely slow it down a ton.

  • Public Services/Government

    • UK government backs away from Microsoft, moves closer to Open Document Format

      In a further blow to Microsoft’s grip on government desktop computing in the UK, the UK government has published 18 guides offering detailed information about the Open Document Format (ODF) standard and how to move organisations to ODF-compliant solutions.

      ODF 1.2 was selected last year as the standard for editable office documents to be used across UK government departments, along with HTML5 and PDF, which became the official defaults for static documents that would be viewed, but not edited after they were published. The fact that native Word formats were not included as an alternative option was a major defeat for Microsoft, which had lobbied hard—and until 2014, lobbied successfully—to prevent this high-profile victory for ODF’s open standard.

    • Munich’s Open Source Transformation Has Made it a Top Contributor

      For years now, open source tools and applications have been gaining traction in parts of Europe, and Munich has been involved in a multi-year effort to transform its technology infrastructure by throwing out Microsoft applications and using open tools instead. Munich’s move to open source has been followed here on OStatic, and it has not been without hiccups. There were problems, for example with people finding Linux too complex.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Mac User Groups Fade in Number and Influence, but Devotees Press On

    When Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, presents an updated iPhone and other gadgets at an event on Wednesday, several hundred of the company’s invited guests will be seated in a giant auditorium in San Francisco to watch.

    More than 5,000 miles away in Britain, members of the London Mac User Group — comprising about 90 people, many of whom are longtime Apple enthusiasts — will also be watching Mr. Cook’s event closely, but via a live stream at a pub called the Sun Tavern. Along with bar snacks and pints, a bingo game and a raffle will be part of the fun. The top prize: an Apple accessory.

  • iPhone S Models blah-blah-blah, 12mp is truly lame at this time blah-blah-blah, annual market share will be down vs 2014

    So the new iPhone S models are out. Am so underwhelmed with 12mp camera as the big tech upgrade. The old joke still holds, to see what will be in next iPhone, look at a 5 year old Nokia flagship (yes the Nokia N8 had 12mp back in 2010). And rose gold color? Ooh, color me unimpressed. The time when colors were big news in mobile phones was about 15 years ago – incidentially also a Nokia invention. But yeah. So faster guts, big whoopte do.

    There was no dual SIM or waterproofing or anything radical that could help now. There was no update to the ‘nano’ model ie the entry-level model iPhone 5C. And these two 6S and 6S Plus iPhones will of course be appealing to Apple users who have been begging for more colors and better cameras but for the rest of us, no, this is not going to help reverse Apple’s diminishing annual market share trend. But that gap in price/performance grows ever larger with each iPhone model and soon many consumers will simply arrive to the conclusion that the emperor doesn’t have clothes (or the few it has, are way too expensive compared to rivals). iPhone market share will continue down. The iPhone owners (aka iSheep as I mockingly often call them and that is a crass oversimplification many do actually love Apple products for being the best gadgets in any category for usability and that is a virtue of course. Others love iToys for their bling factor, nothing wrong with that either if you go by style over substance).

  • Science

    • First new cache-coherence mechanism in 30 years

      In a modern, multicore chip, every core — or processor — has its own small memory cache, where it stores frequently used data. But the chip also has a larger, shared cache, which all the cores can access.

      If one core tries to update data in the shared cache, other cores working on the same data need to know. So the shared cache keeps a directory of which cores have copies of which data.

      That directory takes up a significant chunk of memory: In a 64-core chip, it might be 12 percent of the shared cache. And that percentage will only increase with the core count. Envisioned chips with 128, 256, or even 1,000 cores will need a more efficient way of maintaining cache coherence.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Homeopathy conference ends in chaos after delegates take hallucinogenic drug

      An alternative medicine conference has ended in chaos in Germany after dozens of delegates took a LSD-like drug and started suffering from hallucinations.

      Broadcaster NDR described the 29 men and women “staggering around, rolling in a meadow, talking gibberish and suffering severe cramps”.

      The group of “Heilpraktikers” was discovered at the hotel where they held their conference in the town of Handeloh, south of Hamburg, on Friday.

    • California Becomes First State to Label Monsanto’s Roundup As a Carcinogen

      In a first for the country, California’s Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) has issued plans to list glyphosate—the toxic active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—as known to cause cancer.

      According to a “notice of intent” issued last week by the Cal/EPA’s California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the effort falls under California’s Proposition 65, in which the state is required to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.

    • Experts: Pending Health Insurance Mergers Will Hit Patients Right In The Wallet

      Impending multi-billion health insurance mergers involving four major providers have drawn the ire of patient advocacy groups that say such deals violate antitrust laws and threaten to fatten insurance companies’ coffers at patients’ expense.

    • Ciao GMO Crops – Europe Doesn’t Want You Around!

      The European Union has initiated plans to ban genetically modified crops. Currently, each country and sometimes each state can decide to approve GMO crop cultivation, creating a “patchwork” approach that is causing confusion and inconsistencies.

      GMO crops are allowed throughout North, Central, and South America, as well as Asia. In March, the EU approved a law allowing the European Commission to approve genetically modified crops individually for import, but also allows countries to opt-out of the importation even if deemed safe.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Nuclear Experts Praise Iran Nuclear Deal’s Plutonium Concession As A Major Triumph

      Nuclear experts are lauding the Iran nuclear deal for ensuring a major turnaround in Iran’s production of plutonium, a key concession ignored by critics of the deal.

    • Iran’s ‘Nuclear Ambitions’ Go Unquestioned in Coverage of Iran Deal Momentum

      In other words, if the deal with Iran fails, then the US must go to war with Iran, because war is the only means to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. So the entire spectrum of debate allowed by the Post accepts an Iranian quest for an atomic bomb as an article of faith–and the “left” edge of the debate endorses the legitimacy of preemptive war (FAIR.org, 8/20/15).

    • Media Fail To Note How The GOP Plan To Derail The Iran Agreement Is “Dishonest”

      Media outlets reported on congressional Republicans’ plan to delay implementation of the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran by alleging President Obama inappropriately failed to provide details of the “side deals” between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to Congress. But those outlets failed to note that the IAEA deal with Iran is confidential, which is “standard operating procedure” for agreements of this type.

    • In Washington, the nuclear deal with Iran is politically unstoppable

      US president Barack Obama doesn’t need to worry: for all intents and purposes, his signature foreign policy accomplishment—a nuclear deal with Iran—will be safe from a congressional override vote.

      The 159-page “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” that the president and his administration negotiated with Iran and the P5+1 (UN Security Council members plus Germany) was an endeavor that required an immense amount of political will and diplomatic acumen. US secretary of state John Kerry, secretary of energy Ernest Moniz, and undersecretary of state Wendy Sherman pulled it off after nearly two years of intensive talks with Iran’s delegation, led by one of the best negotiators in the world—Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

    • Hillary Clinton Goes to Militaristic, Hawkish Think Tank, Gives Militaristic, Hawkish Speech

      Leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton this morning delivered a foreign policy speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington. By itself, the choice of the venue was revealing.

      Brookings served as Ground Zero for centrist think tank advocacy of the Iraq War, which Clinton (along with potential rival Joe Biden) notoriously and vehemently advocated. Brookings’ two leading “scholar”-stars – Kenneth Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon – spent all of 2002 and 2003 insisting that invading Iraq was wise and just, and spent the years after that assuring Americans that the “victorious” war and subsequent occupation was going really well (in April 2003, O’Hanlon debated with himself over whether the strategy that led to the “victory” in his beloved war should be deemed “brilliant” or just extremely “clever,” while in June, 2003, Pollack assured New York Times readers that Saddam’s WMD would be found).

    • Exclusive: I Can Reveal the Legal Advice on Drone Strikes, and How the Establishment Works

      This may be the most important article I ever post, because it reveals perfectly how the Establishment works and how the Red Tories and Blue Tories contrive to give a false impression of democracy. It is information I can only give you because of my experience as an insider.

      It is a definitive proof of the validity of the Chomskian propaganda model. It needs a fair bit of detail to do this, but please try and read through it because it really is very, very important. After you have finished, if you agree with me about the significance, please repost, (you are free to copy), retweet, add to news aggregators (Reddit etc) and do anything you can to get other people to pay attention.

      The government based its decision to execute by drone two British men in Syria on “Legal Opinion” from the Attorney-General for England and Wales, Jeremy Wright, a politician, MP and Cabinet Minister. But Wright’s legal knowledge comes from an undistinguished first degree from Exeter and a short career as a criminal defence barrister in Birmingham. His knowledge of public international law is virtually nil.


      The only known occasion when this did not happen was the Iraq War. Then the FCO Legal Advisers – unanimously – advised the Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, that to invade Iraq was illegal. Jack Straw asked the Attorney General to dismiss the FCO chief Legal Adviser, Sir Michael Wood (Goldsmith refused). Blair sent Goldsmith to Washington where the Opinion was written for him to sign by George Bush’s lawyers. [I know this sounds incredible, but it is absolutely true]. Sir Michael Wood’s deputy, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, resigned in protest.

      In consequence Blair and Straw decided that, again for the first time ever, the FCO’s chief legal adviser had to be appointed not from within the FCO legal advisers, who had all declared the war on Iraq to be illegal, but from outside. They had to find a distinguished public international lawyer who was prepared to argue that the war on Iraq was legal. That was a very small field. Blair and Straw thus turned to Benjamin Netanyahu’s favourite lawyer, Daniel Bethlehem.


      Jeremy Wright pretends to give a Legal Opinion, actually from FCO legal advisers based on the “Bethlehem Doctrine”. The Labour Party pretends, very unconvincingly, to be an opposition. The Guardian, apparently the leading “opposition” intellectual paper, publishes articles by its staff neo-con propagandists Joshua Rozenberg (married to Melanie Phillips) and Rafael Behr strongly supporting the government’s new powers of extrajudicial execution. In summer 2012 Joshua Rozenberg presented a programme on BBC Radio 4 entitled “Secret courts, drones and international law” which consisted mostly of a fawning interview with … Daniel Bethlehem. The BBC and Sky News give us wall to wall justification of the killings.

    • The Hidden Structure of Violence: Who Benefits From Global Violence and War

      Authors Mark Pilisuk and Jennifer Rountree discuss their new book, “The Hidden Structure of Violence: Who Benefits From Global Violence and War.” They contend that organized violence is not an inescapable part of human existence, but is organized and carried out by the dominant social order to enhance its own power.

      In the second half of the program, Tara Dorabji joins in to explain how violence and social control are wielded in two of the world’s occupied lands, Palestine and Kashmir, and the role women play in preserving life and culture in those areas, despite the occupiers’ brutality.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • ​The US Owes the World $4 Trillion for Trashing the Climate

      In a just world the United States would pay back the $4 trillion dollars it owes, according to new research, for trashing the climate.

      Global warming wasn’t created equal. Rich, industrialized nations have contributed the lion’s share of the carbon pollution to our currently-unfolding catastrophe—the more CO2 in the atmosphere, the hotter it gets, of course—while smaller, poorer, and more agrarian countries are little to blame. The subsequent warming from our carbon-stuffed skies will, naturally, impact everyone, often hitting the poorer countries harder. So, since the rich fueled the crisis that’s about to soak the poor, they might help chip in to soften the blow.

      That, in super-basic terms, is the concept of climate debt, which guides current emissions negotiations and efforts to distribute funds for adaptation to nations most affected by climate change. If you acknowledge, as the UN does, that there’s a carbon budget—an amount of greenhouse gas pollution the world can collectively churn out before we land in dangerous warming territory, currently figured at a 2˚C threshold—then it follows that nations that have overstepped theirs should pay back those who haven’t.

    • NRA’s Ted Nugent Wants To Drive Over “Rotting Corpses” Of Al Gore And “Pathetic” Environmentalists

      National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent shared a Facebook post on September 9 showing off several cars and wrote (sic throughout): “Look closely & you shall see a huge leaking pipeline connected directly to a Saudi Prince’s ass sucking massive quantities of rawcrude as I throttle relentlessly over the rotting corpses of mikeymoore & algore & all the pathetic greenies.” “Greenie” is a term for an environmentalist or conservationist.

  • Finance

    • Uruguay Withdraws From TISA, Strikes A Symbolic Blow Against The Trade Deal Ratchet

      In other words, the ratchet clause ensures that there is only one direction of travel — towards greater deregulation, and greater loss of control by sovereign nations.

      TISA is unusual for being honest about introducing a ratchet. But there’s another, more subtle, kind of ratchet that acts on all major treaties. It means that once a country has joined the negotiations, it becomes increasingly hard to back out, whatever the growing reservations of its public once they find out what is being done in their name. Indeed, that one-way street is one of the most powerful features of trade agreements: corporations only need to get some coveted but controversial measure inserted in a treaty’s text, and it will automatically cascade down to all the signatories, however much they — or their people — may dislike it. It’s how things like anti-circumvention laws for DRM were brought in: once it was included in the WIPO Copyright Treaty, all signatories had to pass legislation implementing it, because they had “no choice”, the treaty “forced” them to do it — a convenient excuse for passing unpopular laws.

    • Does Your Candidate Support Workers’ Interests? David Brooks Thinks You Have a Psychological Problem

      New York Times columnist David Brooks discussed the rise of Jeremy Corbyn on the left in the Labor Party in the United Kingdom and Bernie Sanders on the left in the United States, along with Donald Trump and Ben Carson on the right. He argues that none of these people could conceivably win a national election. He therefore concludes that their support must stem from a psychological problem, which he identifies as “expressive individualism.”

    • ‘They Were Willing to Pay the Price With Other People’s Bodies’ – CounterSpin interview with Felicia Kornbluh on the legacy of ‘welfare reform’

      Janine Jackson: In 1996, Bill Clinton signed something called “The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act,” calling it an effort to “end welfare as we know it” and to “promote fundamental values of work, responsibility and family.” Ten years later, Clinton took a victory lap with a New York Times column headed “How We Ended Welfare, Together,” shouting out “the Democrats and Republicans who had the courage to work together to take bold action,” which Clinton claimed led to a “new beginning” for millions of Americans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • National Geographic gives Fox control of media assets in $725 million deal

      Ever since it was launched from the temple-like headquarters of the National Geographic Society in Washington in 1888, National Geographic magazine has illuminated the world’s hidden places and revealed its natural wonders.

    • Fox expands National Geographic partnership by buying NG media unit for $725M

      Fox has had an 18-year partnership with the society, in which the two have jointly owned and operated National Geographic cable network channels that are distributed worldwide. But the latest deal expands the relationship. Fox and the society will create a new corporate entity, called National Geographic Partners, that will own and operate nearly all other National Geographic media operations, including the cable networks, the famous yellow-border magazine, the video studio, books, maps, children’s media, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses.

    • Watch These Fox News Hosts Promote A Hate Group Leader’s New Book

      Fox News hosts have used the controversy surrounding Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis to repeatedly hawk the new book from a man considered one of America’s most extreme and prominent anti-gay hate-group leaders.

      Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council (FRC), an organization that has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center for spreading damaging lies about gay people, including the myth that they are more likely to engage in pedophilia.

    • Trump And How The Media’s Birther Blind Spot Keeps Getting Bigger

      For instance, since June 1, the New York Times has published approximately 180 articles or columns that included the word “Trump” five or more times, according to Nexis. But just a handful of those have made any mention of Trump’s previous birth certificate folly. The same goes for USA Today and the Los Angeles Times, for example: Nearly 180 detailed Trump articles and columns published since June between them, but just a few that have addressed the birther nonsense.

    • Comcast-Owned Vox Explains the Great Deal You’re Getting From Comcast

      It appears Ezra Klein’s new media startup Vox is taking on many of the habits of old media—like blurring the lines between business and editorial by running a thinly disguised commercial for Comcast, the cable giant that not only seeded Vox‘s initial run, but recently invested $200 million more in its parent, Vox Media, Inc.

    • Scott Walker’s Day One Plan to “Wreak Havoc” Lifted from ALEC

      If Scott Walker is elected president, he will enact American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) policies on the first day of his presidency.

      Walker was an ALEC member as a state legislator, and according to outlets like The Guardian, Walker could be “The First ALEC President.”

  • Censorship

    • Saudi Arabia bans National Geographic cover about Pope Francis

      Saudi Arabia has banned the August issue of National Geographic’s Arabic edition, whose cover featured Pope Francis standing inside the Sistine Chapel.

      In a statement published on National Geographic’s Arabic Language Twitter account, the magazine said the edition was banned for “cultural reasons.”

      “Dear readers in Saudi Arabia, we apologize that you did not receive August’s magazine,” the editor-in-chief, Alsaad Omar al-Menhaly wrote, Foreign Policy magazine reported. “According to the distribution company, the magazine was refused entry for cultural reasons.”

    • WordPress Adds Subaru to Takedown “Hall of Shame”

      WordPress.com is taking a strong stance against rightsholders who abuse its takedown process. The company maintains a “hall of shame” which recently expanded with the addition of Subaru. The car manufacturer tried to take down a blog which was created in response to one of Subaru’s own contests.

    • Ex-Ashley Madison CTO threatens Brian Krebs with libel suit over rival hacking claims

      One of the more unusual things to come from the Ashley Madison hack was the discovery that AM’s founding CTO, Raja Bhatia, had apparently hacked another company, Nerve, after that company expressed an interest in setting up a competing adult dating service.

      That story was first reported by Brian Krebs, and it seems that Bhatia, no longer at Ashley Madison, isn’t very happy with it. His lawyer has threatened Krebs with a libel suit.

    • New Zealand protests planned in solidarity with banned book

      Silent readings of Ted Dawe’s Into the River are being planned across New Zealand tomorrow in protest at the much-praised young adult novel’s nationwide ban.

      Following a complaint from Christian group Family First about the award-winning title’s “detailed descriptions of sex acts, coarse language and scenes of drug-taking”, New Zealand’s Board of Film and Literature Review has placed an interim restriction order on Into the River, meaning that “no one in New Zealand can distribute, or exhibit, the book”. Individuals who breach the order face a fine of $3,000 and companies who breach it will be fined $10,000. The board will revise the order and consider a permanent age restriction for the novel in October.

  • Privacy


      Prior to two weeks ago, when this reporter alerted authorities that they had exposed critical data, anyone online was able to freely access a City of Boston automated license plate reader (ALPR) system and to download dozens of sensitive files, including hundreds of thousands of motor vehicle records dating back to 2012. If someone saw your shiny car and wanted to rob your equally nice house, for example, they could use your parking permit number to obtain your address. All they had to do was find the server’s URL.

    • Class action launched against Facebook over biometric slurpage

      Facebook has been hit with a class-action complaint over its biometrics slurpage, with millions of possible plaintiffs who may claim damages if the advertising giant is found to have acted unlawfully.

      The complaint (PDF) states that “Facebook has created, collected and stored over a billion ‘face templates’ (or ‘face prints’)”, which, ostensibly, are as uniquely identifiable as fingerprints. These have been gathered “from over a billion individuals, millions of whom reside in the State of Illinois”.

    • EFF to ICANN: Privacy Must be Purposeful—Not an Afterthought

      The working group at Internet Corporation for Assignment of Names and Number (ICANN) that has been tasked with designing a new domain registration database can’t seem to wrap its head around why privacy matters when it comes to domain registration services. ICANN’s Expert Working Group on gTLD Registration Directory Services (EWG) issued a Preliminary Issue Report on Next-Generation gTLD Registration Directory Services to Replace WHOIS in July, and EFF has submitted comments.

    • ​Europeans to win the right to sue in US courts over privacy breaches

      Europeans whose data has been mishandled by US authorities will soon have the right to take legal action in the US courts.

      EU citizens’ right to seek legal redress in the US comes as part of a new EU-US data protection agreement covering instances where EU citizens’ personal data is involved in US criminal and terrorism investigations. The deal brings rights of EU citizens in line with those of US citizens, who can sue in European courts for similar privacy breaches.

    • Legal Actions Before the French Council of State and Constitutional Council

      Since January 2015, La Quadrature du Net, FDN and the FDN Federation have begun a series of legal actions before the French Council of State and the French Constitutional Council against the laws and the implementing decrees that these associations consider fatal to civil liberties. In order to help people to follow over time the different stages of these procedures, this page explains in a few lines each of these appeals and their progresses.

  • Civil Rights

    • Top female student takes on corruption in Egypt after scoring zero on exams

      Dubbed ‘zero schoolgirl’, Mariam Malak is drawing national attention after appeals to investigate forgery allegations were repeatedly dodged by authorities

    • Hungarian nationalist TV camera operator filmed kicking refugee children

      A camera operator for a Hungarian nationalist television channel closely linked to the country’s far-right Jobbik party has been filmed kicking two refugee children and tripping up a man at the border hotspot of Rőszke on Tuesday.

      Petra László of N1TV was filming a group of refugees running away from police officers, when a man carrying a child in his arms ran in front of her. László stuck her leg out in front of the man, causing him to fall on the child he was carrying. He turned back and remonstrated with László, who continued filming.

    • The price of Europe’s fecklessness

      In Luis Bunuel’s eponymous 1961 film, the young postulant Viridiana leaves her convent to claim her uncle’s rural estate, and creates a refuge for local beggars. They ransack her house in a bachannalia staged to lampoon the Last Supper, and a couple of them rape her. The classic film should be mandatory viewing for European officials caught up in refugee euphoria. This is going to end very, very badly.

    • How Inmates and Loved Ones Review Jails on Yelp

      A few years back, Jenny Vekris says she was prescribed the sleeping pill Ambien for insomnia. It took her a while to figure out that the drug was affecting her in dangerous ways. “I’d wake up to car damage, bruises, fast-food wrappers, and who knows what else, because I was sleeping and driving,” she says. Twice, she woke up in jail. One of those times, she was charged with a DWI.

      When she got home, she turned to a place she knew she’d be understood: Yelp.

      “So, one morning, I wake up next to a girl in the big house. It took a minute to realize where I was, and I started asking the girl questions,” Vekris wrote in a review of the Austin city jail, which is more formally known as Travis County Jail. “My Cellie told me I was in jail, and then she started crying. I asked why, and she said she had to poop. That’s cool, whatever, do it. So she sits on the silver toilet, pooping and crying, and apologizing to me.” Twenty-six people marked the review “useful” and 22 thought it was “cool.”

    • We Need the Right to Repair Our Gadgets

      We don’t have to keep buying new gadgets. In fact, we should insist on the right to keep old ones running.

      Who hasn’t experienced a situation like this? Halfway through a classic Jack Lemmon DVD, my colleague Shira’s 40-inch TV conked out. Nothing showed up on the screen when she pressed the power button. The TV just hiccupped, going, “Clip-clop. Clip-clop.”

    • Houston cops shoot unarmed black patient in hospital — and then charge him with assault

      Alan Pean is a 26-year-old biology student with no criminal record or history of violence. But on August 27th, he was shot in the chest by an off-duty Houston police officer working as a security guard at the St. Joseph Medical Center. The police are claiming that Alan became combative and that they followed standard operating procedure. It’s Alan, they say, who is as fault, and they have charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a public servant. He was arraigned today.

    • O’Reilly: “I Think General Powell Needs To Apologize To The American People” For Supporting Black Lives Matter
    • Female cartoonist could have 12 year prison term extended for shaking her lawyer’s hand

      An Iranian artist currently serving more than 12 years in prison for criticising the government now faces further charges of “indecency” for allegedly shaking her male lawyer’s hand.

      Amnesty International reports that Atena Farghadani, 29, who was jailed after she depicted Iranian government officials as monkeys and goats in a satirical cartoon, may face a longer sentence amid claims over the handshake.

    • Letter to Obama regarding plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility

      I write on behalf of Human Rights Watch concerning recent reports of an administration plan to close the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay that would include transferring a number of detainees there to the United States.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Software-Defined Radio May Cause FCC to Restrict WiFi Modifications

      The comment period for the Federal Communications Commission’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on software-defined radios was supposed to end on Sept. 8. But the FCC has extended the comment period because the topic is complex, and the parties involved need time to work.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Getty Images Tries To Copyright Troll 2600 Magazine Over Content It Has No Copyright Over

        So, we were just discussing Getty Images’ latest foray into ridiculous copyright trolling (something the company has a long history with), by demanding money for a meme image used on a blog. Today, we have another example of Getty Images copyright trolling that is even worse. It’s so bad, that Getty Images doesn’t even have a legitimate copyright claim here at all, let alone abusing a legitimate copyright to shakedown someone. The target? The famed hacker publication 2600, which a Getty subsidiary, Trunk Archive, claimed was infringing on one of its images.

      • Testing Old Tapes For Playability

        Audio recordings are a huge part of the world’s cultural history—and some are in danger of degrading so much that they’ll be lost forever. Now researchers report that infrared spectroscopy offers a quick, noninvasive way to separate magnetic tapes that can still be played from those that can’t. This could help archivists know which tapes need special handling, and soon, before they get any worse. (Anal. Chem. 2015, DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b01810).

        The Cultural Heritage Index estimates that there are 46 million magnetic tapes (VHS, cassette, and others) in museums and archives in the U.S. alone—and about 40% of them are of unknown quality. Many of these tapes are reaching the end of their playable lifetime, and given the limited number of studio-quality tape players available for the digitizing process, not all the tapes will be digitized before the world loses them.

Microsoft Pretends to ‘Play Nice’ With Rival Web Browsers While Trying to Prevent Users From Using Chrome or Firefox, Removing Them as Default (by Universal Reset) and Hijacking Search Pages

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Search at 9:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft is herding the masses back to Microsoft

Railway station

Summary: Microsoft is trying to gain an ‘Edge’ in the game by preventing people from getting the Web browsers which they actually want to use — all this while publicly pretending to have ended its anti-competitive abuses

AT THE beginning of this week we saw openwashing of “Edge” (the “Blue E” by another name) in Microsoft propaganda sites (1105 Media) and among Microsoft boosters like Microsoft Peter. This was mentioned even in Phoronix and Ogg’s Monty wrote that “to be fair, this isn’t as fantastically unlikely as some pundits have been saying. After all, MS does own an IP stake in Opus.”

Microsoft adopts VP9, Opus, Ogg and Vorbis because it has to (the Web has these media formats all over it, including in high-profile sites such as YouTube), not because it is playing nice or anything like that. The same goes for implanting a driver for the proprietary Hyper-V inside Linux, which necessitated GPLv2 for the driver itself (after Microsoft had been caught violating the GPL).

“Edge” is a bunch of nonsense (rebranding of IE) for Vista 10, which is so anti-competitive that Mozilla openly complained. Don’t let Microsoft use this catchup with VP9 et al as a publicity stunt. As this new article serves to remind us this week, “Microsoft is trying to persuade users to keep Edge, the company’s new browser that replaces Internet Explorer, when they search for “Chrome” or “Firefox” on Bing.

“The discovery, made by VentureBeat, shows that users who use Edge in Windows 10 to search for other browsers get a small message that says: “Microsoft recommends Microsoft Edge for Windows 10″ with a link to a page explaining why.”

Well, welcome the ‘new’ Microsoft. It uses one monopoly to illegally gain another.

“…[Windows 98] must be a killer on shipments so that Netscape never gets a chance…”

Former Microsoft Vice President James Allchin in an internal memo

Microsoft’s Patches Go Dark (Secret) With Vista 10, Newspapers Say ‘Microsoft is Recording EVERYTHING You Type’

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘Upgrading’ to Vista 10 means giving your PC to Microsoft and then renting it (buying computer time)

Vista 10
Made by Rami M. Amin

Summary: Microsoft is exposing all users of Windows (even their keystrokes are recorded in real time), whereas Microsoft’s silent modifications to Windows become more secretive and frequent

Microsoft’s Vista 10 ‘damage control’ has become rather laughable. The operating system is so buggy that mega-patches are being released and forcibly installed (remotely) more than once a week, clogging up home and corporate networks. Lots of binaries are being changed with no ‘paper trail’, not even textual. It would seem like a joke if Windows wasn’t so ubiquitous and Windows Update quite so banal. People cannot know what the programs running on their computers are doing and any behaviour of these programs can be silently changed by Microsoft at any time. Microsoft also reserves the ‘right’ to remotely delete programs (not just Microsoft’s programs). People have grown accustomed to it (Stockholm Syndrome) and many blindly accept this or don’t even know about this. The practice has been expanded to all post-Vista versions of Windows, which inherit all the malicious antifeatures of Windows Vista. Microsoft boosters euphemistically call this “Cumulative Update” even though it addresses “five critical flaws, including two hitting all versions of Windows,” according to this headline. Over in our IRC channels, Ryan (ex-Microsoft MVP) wrote: “No changelog = coverup for true number of bugs.”

It’s “business as usual,” as MinceR put it, for Microsoft already admitted secretly hiding severe bugs in order to game these numbers. Microsoft’s close partner, the NSA, must be pleased.

“Microsoft Pushes a Dozen Security Updates,” Krebs wrote, but NSA back doors remain and surveillance may have been silently expanded, not curtailed (the latest EULA shows almost no legal limitations). Vista 10 is a monstrous surveillance apparatus and every computer that it’s put on becomes a bug. Vista 10 is little more than a 3GB keylogger. No sane person would touch it as it is hard to tell what it’s actually doing and when, who for, etc. Vista 7 and Vista 8 have meanwhile been modified (by Windows Update) to incorporate many of the same surveillance capabilities, so it’s time to escape to GNU/Linux or *BSD. The sooner, the better. Windows is being statically (in-place) modified for espionage purposes.

“Lots of binaries are being changed with no ‘paper trail’, not even textual. It would seem like a joke if Windows wasn’t so ubiquitous and Windows Update quite so banal.”Demonstrating that even the corporate media recognises the severe problems with Vista 10 (noting that it is piece of very malicious spyware), leading British papers said the other day (even in headlines) that “Microsoft is recording EVERYTHING you type”. No doubt Microsoft is aware of this negative publicity and it working hard to change perceptions, not to change privacy infringements in Vista 10. Microsoft’s propaganda network 1105 Media (includes “Redmond Channel Partner”) is openwashing Windows again (see “Is It Time for Microsoft To Open Source Windows?”) as if people will come to believe that Microsoft is moving in a direction other than making Windows even more malicious. People from inside Microsoft have told me explicitly that privacy violations are only going to get worse in future versions of Windows.

“Microsoft is so desperate to infect the enterprise with its Surface products,” told us a source, “that it has compiled a list of companies you should no longer support under the guide of an “enterprise initiative” (IRC logs will have more details on that).

“‘Microsoft Expands Surface Pro Options for the Enterprise,’ says a blatant Microsoft booster,” according to our source. “Dell will be reselling it and offer its own enterprise services for them.”

Well, Dell has (with few exceptions) become an extension of Microsoft, so it’s not terribly shocking. Enterprise are especially sensitive to data leaks, so there will be resistance for sure. Microsoft knows that OEMs are increasingly leaning towards GNU/Linux and Android, so Microsoft pays a lot of money to get them under Microsoft’s control and to get patent royalties on Linux (yes, Dell recently signed yet another patent deal covering Linux-based operating systems). As we noted last week, "Microsoft's Vista 10 Still a Failure, So Focus Shifts to Attacks on GNU/Linux, Android". It mostly alludes to and pertains to patent monopolies, not technical merit or anything ethical.

David Kappos From IBM and the USPTO is Still Lobbying for Software Patents, This Time With a New Glorified ‘Paper’

Posted in America, Deception, IBM, Patents at 7:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fueling patent lawyers’ propaganda mill, antagonising scientists

“Along with many other computer scientists, I would like to ask you to reconsider the current policy of giving patents for computational processes.

“There are far better ways to protect the intellectual property rights of software developers than to take away their right to use fundamental building blocks.

“I find a considerable anxiety throughout the community of practicing computer scientists that decisions by the patent courts and the Patent and Trademark Office are making life much more difficult for programmers. ”

Professor Donald Knuth, world renowned algorithms researcher

Summary: The infamous attorney from IBM, who later worked for the ‘Intellectual Property’ [sic] establishment and became Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), promotes the fiction that software patents are good for the US, despite them helping patent trolls and monopolies/oligopolies (like IBM)

THERE has been somewhat of a stir and a reaction to this paper in favour of software patents [PDF]. It has, as expected, been promoted by pro-software patents sites (and suffice to say, that practically means patent lawyers’ media). There is pushback from people who actually deal with software, including software developers.

“Kappos apparently knows better than the courts what’s good for the country.”Calls to counter the author, who despite courts’ rulings still wants to guard software patents, could be found online, including in IP Watch. Hugo Roy (FSFE) reacts with: “Arguing that the US software market is thriving *because* software is patentable there.”

This makes no sense at all, but then again, consider who the author is. It’s the former head of the USPTO, who repeatedly pushed for software patents, defended them, arguably expanded their scope, and collectively belittled their critics, just like his former employer (IBM). He is not a scientist but a lawyer or “an attorney” (putting aside a bachelor’s degree from over three decades ago). He is current Partner at Cravath, Swaine and Moore, i.e. a law firm. David Kappos is a proponent of software patents, which are falling, failing, burning and crashing after the SCOTUS ruling on Alice. Kappos apparently knows better than the courts what’s good for the country. Here is what IP Watch wrote last week:

In a clarion call to policymakers, former United States Patent and Trademark Director David Kappos said recently that this year’s unprovoked drop in patent filings in the United States is unprecedented and signals a shift toward more secrecy by inventors trying to protect their ideas. Meanwhile, the US trend toward antitrust actions at home is having deleterious effects for US businesses overseas, he said.

The paper from Kappos is long, so we have not read it yet (only took a glance). It’s too long to rebut on a point-by-point basis, unless we spend a day or so embarking on the task (it’s a resources issue, not a feasibility issue). Based on the above, Kappos tried to excuse the fall of patents by blaming it on “secrecy by inventors” (no pursuit of monopolies with a negative connotation like secrecy, as if they’re doing something suspect or suspicious). To be fair, it’s not a direct quote from Kappos, but if that’s a point which he actually made, then his argument is extremely weak. Pretty much all arguments in favour of software patents (weighing the downsides too) are ludicrous at best, especially when viewed from the angle of software developers. Kappos’ message was only promoted by pro-software patents sites and patent lawyers’ media, as one might expect. We are talking about sites like ManagingIP, which are now organising “European Patent Reform Forum in Munich” (almost definitely stuffed with patent lawyers and no scientists on the panel/s).

IAM, another site of patent lawyers, has been repeatedly arguing with me over at Twitter (for 3 days in recent days) about its biases and views on patents. They are so easy to beat in a debate that they end up admitting that the “vast majority of patents” have no value and “do nothing”. Yes, they actually said that, contradicting their own marketing pitch. These people even tried to oppose the characterisation of patents as a monopoly, even though David Kappos was quoted as calling them a “20-year monopoly”.

Here is IAM showing us that the “worldwide head of IP strategy at IBM” is now moving on, just like Mr. Kappos. Here is where he is heading: “European licensing powerhouse Technicolor has made a major new appointment. Arvin Patel – previously senior VP of IP and licensing at Rovi, and before that worldwide head of IP strategy at IBM – has joined the French company as its chief IP officer.”

He is joining somewhat of a patent troll, or a patent aggressor at the very least.

Recall the time when IBM’s patent chief/strategist (Marshall Phelps) defected to Microsoft and established the company’s patent war against GNU/Linux and Free software, which IBM pretends to be ever so supportive of (despite IBM being a predominantly proprietary software company that lobbies for software patents all around the world and uses them aggressively for income).

TangibleIP (patents booster) said the other day to another patents booster that “companies such as IBM have a “Troll Division”..IP industry allowing anti-Troll agenda to propagate is not our finest hour” (well, the term “IP industry” is laughable because it cannot be an industry when it’s non-producing; it cannot be an industry at all. Imagine saying “copyright industry” or “trademark industry”).

“Recall the time when IBM’s patent chief/strategist (Marshall Phelps) defected to Microsoft and established the company’s patent war against GNU/Linux and Free software, which IBM pretends to be ever so supportive of…”Going back to the argument of Kappos (formerly IBM) in favour of software patents, he would have us believe that software patents — not military might and international lobbying power for example — give the US its advantage. Watch Japan enforcing a patent monopoly against China, as reported by IAM the other day. One thing that we noted the other day about China is that it allows people to patent software. It probably grants more patents on software than the US does. As Patent Buddy put it the other day: “It is now easier to obtain a software patent in China than in the United States.”

And yet, China does not dominate the field software, does it? Yes? No? Far from it! And Japan can still bully China using patents. There is basically nothing to be gained from such a strategy, unless patents are only to be treated as ‘trophies’ (assuming the perception that they’re analogous to innovation can be perpetuated for much longer).

Recall India’s policy on algorithm-related monopolies. India is making a terrible, suicidal move right now by deciding to allow software patents (this can still be stopped. Even without software patents Indian software developers have been doing pretty well, so why the sudden change? It’s probably designed to stop them (the ‘threat’ of commoditisation to multinationals). As one site of Indian patent lawyers put it a couple of weeks ago: “Last week was a busy week at our patent office!! The Controller General issued clarifications under the Designs Act / Rules, and these examination guidelines under the Patent Act / Rules. I will not do an analysis of the guidelines but simply extract out some relevant parts for our readers. For more our readers can refer to our previous posts on Section 3(k) here, here, here, here, and here, and others. These guidelines are extremely detailed and would definitely be helpful to practitioners, and patentees.”

Well, they are truly unhelpful to India itself, not just to its developers but also to local software companies. These patents would help multinational companies like Microsoft and IBM, not Indian companies, which makes one wonder who the Indian patent office actually works for. Software patents would help the likes of Microsoft and IBM crush low-cost competitors from India.

The US patent system, currently the ‘leader’ in software patents (and their birthplace), is an utter mess. “United 4 Patent Reform” demonstrates the extent of litigation by patent trolls and non-practising parasites. It says that “East Texas accounts for 44% of all patent case filings in 2015.” One even shows the following chart:

Texas patent cases

Is this what Kappos deems the success of the US system? Bear in mind that the large majority of these lawsuits involve software patents. Some estimate that as many as 70% of troll lawsuits would be eliminated if software patents were deemed invalid and no longer granted by the USPTO. Speaking of the USPTO, Kyle Bass, who was mentioned here as recently as last week (he had been manipulating stocks using patents), calls it a “Kangaroo Court”. To quote the Wikipedia definition of this term, “A kangaroo court is a judicial tribunal or assembly that blatantly disregards recognized standards of law or justice, and often carries little or no official standing in the territory within which it resides. Merriam-Webster defines it as a “mock court in which the principles of law and justice are disregarded or perverted”. The term may also apply to a court held by a legitimate judicial authority who intentionally disregards the court’s legal or ethical obligations.

“ARM sent patent threat letters trying to remove nnARM from the net”
      –President of the FFII
“A kangaroo court is often held to give the appearance of a fair and just trial, even though the verdict has in reality already been decided before the trial has begun.”

In the above case we have Kappos, who used to head the USPTO, trying to overrule the rulings of many US courts, including (initially) the US Supreme Court. Who do these people think they are? Just like software patents themselves, Kappos makes a mockery of the US courts system and the US as whole.

Last but not least, let’s recall what IBM really is and where it stands on this subject. In reference to an ARM-IBM surveillance alliance (centred around ‘IoT’ hype), IAM wrote: “Absurdly, according to definitions used by many proponents of US patent reform, ARM should be regarded as a “troll”. ”

Well, ask no-one other than the President of the FFII (prominent opponent of software patents) what ARM has done to him. “ARM sent patent threat letters trying to remove nnARM from the net,” he wrote. ARM is not quite what it seems on the surface, It’s actually a British company, not a US company, but misuse of patents for (anti-)competitive purposes is something that Intel does too (it does even worse things).

Attributing the ‘success’ of US software companies to software patents is simply ignoring the facts and disregarding all software companies other than very few giants (except when they themselves were still small).

“The Company believes that existing copyright law and available trade secret protections, as opposed to patent law, are better suited to protecting computer software developments.” —Oracle Corporation, IBiblio: Oracle Corporation’s position paper on software patents (when Oracle was still small)

The Alice Case Beats Microsoft’s Patent Troll Intellectual Ventures (Yet Again)

Posted in America, Courtroom, Microsoft, Patents at 6:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The genesis of this idea was when I was at Microsoft.” —Nathan Myhrvold, WSJ: Transcript: Myhrvold of Intellectual Ventures

Summary: Intellectual Ventures suffers another major blow as Alice v. CLS Bank (Alice/§101) smashes software patents in the United States

WE finally have some more good news regarding Microsoft’s pet troll, Intellectual Ventures (IV), which has been funded by and works with Bill Gates.

Patent Buddy, which has been good at tracking the post-Alice aftermath, has found this followup to previous IV v. Capital One losses, “Second IV Patent Asserted Against Capital One Also Killed by Alice/101,” he claims, linking to this ruling [PDF].

This is part of a broader trend because as Patent Buddy put it another day, “101 Patentability-USPTO Bypasses Substantive 103 Examination” (101 refers to Alice).

More software patents were being thrown down the drain by a judge last week. To quote Reuters: “A federal court in Delaware has invalidated a patent on multimedia messaging early in a lawsuit against some of the country’s largest cellphone providers, another example of a controversial trend that critics say wipes out patents before they are fully understood.”

“Anyone who is not intellectually dishonest because he or she does patent ‘business’ for a living would probably acknowledge by now that software patents are on their death throes.”“US business method patent applications down 52.4% since Alice,” moaned the patent lawyers in Twitter, pointing to their new analysis which states that: “Companies have pulled back drastically from filing business method patent applications in the US. Managing IP analysed figures for USPTO applications in patent class 705, the class covering “data processing” in which business method patents are placed.

“Patent applications in class 705 not only plummeted after the Alice decision on June 19 2014, but have kept tumbling.

“Some 8,620 class 705 patent applications were filed in the 12 months between July 1 2013 and June 30 2014. In the same period 12 months later, after Alice, the figure was 4,106 – a 52.4% drop.”

Patent maximalists that glorify the world’s biggest patent troll (IV) are now offering their ‘analysis’ (actually, offering by proxy), claiming that “Software Patents Are Resilient in the Wake of Alice Corp. vs. CLS Bank”.

Yeah, right. And the world is cooling down, too. According to News Corp. and other oil tycoons-connected ‘news’ networks. Anyone who is not intellectually dishonest because he or she does patent ‘business’ for a living would probably acknowledge by now that software patents are on their death throes.

The EPO’s Vicious Attacks on Its Very Own Staff Have Peaked (War on Dissent) While Oppressive Patent Regime (UPC) Phased in

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Hoping to ‘pacify’ (euphemism for eliminate) voices of reason, the EPO’s management is now crushing unions in order to make an example out of them (intimidation) and proceed with policies that are unequivocally hostile towards European interests (collectively and per member states)

RIGHT at this very moment the EPO‘s management along with British interrogators are bullying a staff union member. Union-busting takes place at the very heart of Europe and to make matters worse, European taxpayers foot the bills. The EPO has hopefully become a laughing stock which will fail to attract talent (many are already leaving, some by killing themselves [1, 2, 3, 4] to the dismay and denial of Benoît Battistelli), at least until the corrupt leadership resigns and there are true reforms, not just a change of logo and/or a Web site redesign. A lot of damage has systematically been done at an organisational level, let alone the controversial (likely corrupt) staff appointments, by Benoît Battistelli. He changed the system over the years and removed oversight. He (re)built the EPO establishment as though it’s modelled after the Kremlin. Staff rights have been reduced to Chinese standards.

“Actions continue at the European Patent Office (EPO),” says SUEPO’s site today (since yesterday). “The next demonstration will take place on Tuesday 15 September, starting at 12.00h from the Pschorrhöfe complex in Munich.

“From there the demonstrators will march to the local Labour Inspectorate, Gewerbeaufsichtsamt (Heßtraße 130).”

Florian Müller has just shed some light on the union-busting that takes place at this moment and he suggests that “EPO employees who are unhappy about the situation should try to find a better way to vote with their feet than taking to the streets of Munich (and other cities) to no avail. They should quit their jobs at the EPO and take jobs in the private economy. Engineering jobs, especially.”

That would hit the corrupt management where it probably hurts most and make it abundantly evident that it failed to manage. It just drove people away (both staff and stakeholders, including businesses). Battistelli and his millionaire (and billionaire) friends are now moving a step closer to global monopolies on ideas [via Laura F. Ercoli] because judging by this update, they are moving towards the UPC before it’s even authorised or approved by the public. A lot of this happens discreetly (in secret) because the public would never overwhelmingly endorse such a move. “At its meeting on 3 September 2015,” says the site, “the Preparatory Committee agreed the draft proposal for the Rules on the European Patent Litigation Certificate and other appropriate qualifications. The Explanatory memorandum and a copy of the Draft Rules are available.”

Was this meeting even announced anywhere? Who attended? Where were the stakeholders? It’s about as undemocratic as these so-called ‘trade’ deals’ (like TPP). Laura F. Ercoli ‏wrote more on the subject, noting that there is still opposition in Italy. To quote: “Italy has officially confirmed it is joining the unitary patent, but there are clear signs that its politicians are still not reconciled with the use of English, French and German only as unitary patent working languages.”

“Italian politicians still not reconciled with English, French and German as sole unitary patent working languages,” Ercoli wrote.

Pushers/lobbists of the UPC already push ahead with a “Preparatory Committee” — whatever and whoever that is — putting in place “Rules for the European Patent Litigation Certificate”.

They are bringing more patent aggression (litigation) to more of Europe, repeating the errors of some countries (or one country) where patent trolls continue to thrive.

As one might expect, patent lawyers’ sites are happy about this and one writes that “The European Patent Litigation Certificate is the qualification that a European Patent Attorney will be able to obtain in order to have the same rights to conduct litigation at the Unified Patent Court (UPC) as a legal practitioner in a member state which is a party to the Unified Patent Court Agreement (according to Article 48 of that Agreement).”

Notice how patent lawyers in Europe are (re)acting. They write about it as though the UPC is already a reality. Even the patent ‘industry’ (lawyers) in the UK prematurely makes buildings/courts for the UPC, before there is even a referendum or any hard confirmation of the UPC becoming inevitable. Perhaps they think that a self-fulfilling prophecy strategy would work. They are broadening litigation scope because it helps massive corporations and their lawyers (Benoît Battistelli’s mates). As some patent maximalists put it the other day, “Chris Benson of HGF – the Unitary Patent Court won’t eliminate forum shopping- the rules and tactics will just change.” Yes, for the worse, for sure!

For those who haven’t been following the UPC (we have written about it for about 7 years, even when it had different names in its prior incarnations), there are simple ways to get up to date. We recommend a restricted access article from IP Watch (Swiss site), composed two months ago. It is titled “Is The European Unitary Patent System On Its Way To A Tepid Start?”

No doubt there are big plans here to expand the scope of patents, enriching lawyers, providing more protectionism to very large corporations, and essentially pass commonwealth or public wealth to very few hands. It’s a heist or a systemic privatisation of knowledge and wealth. The EPO’s actions can be correlated to a lot of the actions taken by ‘trade’ deal ‘negotiators’ (essentially traitors to their population), so no wonder the EPO has become more militant and aggressive against dissent (which it is rightly expecting).

The EPO is now unambiguously engaging in a war (on dissent), dictating to staff and clearly conveying the message that if they are not 100% on board and in line with Battistelli’s vision, there will be dire consequences. Even for a private corporation such a standard would be deemed unthinkable…

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