Battistelli’s EPO Loses ‘Customers’ Because It Plays ‘Favourites’ With Large Corporations

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A joke about EPO policy
“Patent attorney cracks joke on LinkedIn,” Florian Müller wrote earlier today, because of the “EPO preferred applicants policy. Has a point.”

Summary: The management of the European Patent Office (EPO) feels the squeeze because its short-term goals that compromise the hard-earned reputation of the Office compromise the entire organisation

It is not hard to see why the EPO’s scandalous management is so stressed (we were told this by people close to them). They suffer anxiety because their staff is walking away permanently or just temporarily to protest and “customers” (that’s how they view applicants) are very much upset and may therefore no longer pursue patents at the EPO. Blatterstelli (as Müller calls him) has become an embarrassment not just for the EPO but for Europe as a whole. Secret deals like these have no room in a developed country, not without a resignation, firing, or perhaps even prosecution. This isn’t a public service from public servants; it’s a distortion of the very core values and role of a patent office anywhere in the entire world. One would expect this from a third world country, not an establishment that European taxpayers help subsidise against their will (there was no vote on the matter and no elections).

“This isn’t a public service from public servants; it’s a distortion of the very core values and role of a patent office anywhere in the entire world.”Since the President of the EPO has decided to take and respond to these issues personally, we too can respond personally.

I have a lot of evidence that helps justify the Blatterstelli analogy; there are serious issues inside the EPO and I blame a lot of this personally on Battistelli, as I know some things that have not yet been published and Battistelli would never want me to publish. Guess who signed the Control Risks contract. Our source say it was Battistelli, so it goes all the way to the top. Blatterstelli brought back to Europe (and Munich, no less!) the morals of the Soviet Union, the functions of the Stasi (I.U.) and mass surveillance with hidden cameras and keyloggers. Why did Battistelli sign the Control Risks contract? Simple. It was designed to help fight against truth-tellers inside and outside the organisation. Blatterstelli brought the military industry right into the very heart of his office, not just the I.U. ‘cells’. How does EPO staff feel about this? Frankly, the gloves are off and people should speak openly about what Battistelli turned the EPO into; it’s more of a laughing stock than anything, and even patent applicants (and patent lawyers, as above) recognise this. They poke fun at the policies.

“The EPO is a very secretive operation, hence its fragility. If only the European public knew what really goes on at the highest floors of EPO buildings…”The EPO’s patent examiners are very talented people. It shouldn’t be surprising given Europe’s very high standards in education. But Battistelli brings almost nothing into the office other than misguided management strategies, which he probably brought from the spoiled rich brats’ college he studied at. Given his poor performance as a manager, he must not have paid close enough attention at the classes, either. He may think that he is a very important man, but deep inside he is a very insecure person who bullies everyone who ‘dares’ not to inflate his massive ego. Just go to epo.org and see Battistelli’s mug shown right there in the front page. Megalomania (or contrariwise inferiority complex)? Check. It links to his personal blog which is actually quite a gold mine because it helps reveal personal biases and relationships with all sorts of entities, including Battistelli’s friends from China (where human rights are almost as appalling as in Battistelli’s workplace). “Ensuring Transparency,” Battistelli is boasting in one of his latest blog posts. Time for Battistelli to be transparent about his censorship and threats against reporters, no? We suppose that selective transparency is what Battistelli meant by “Ensuring Transparency”. The EPO is a very secretive operation, hence its fragility. If only the European public knew what really goes on at the highest floors of EPO buildings…

Watch Battistelli personally promoting UPC (the unitary patent), which effectively can extend the scope of European patents to software. Watch Battistelli propping up the patent maximalists from Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) because they rubbed his back (congratulated his performance). Remember that it was only they (maybe WIPR to a lesser degree) who carried talking points for the EPO after the favouritism scandal had broken out. This is coming from the management that paid for self-censoring French media and self-promotional placements (also known as “puff pieces”) inside leading worldwide magazines (the New Scientist usefully enough disclosed what had happened).

“Patent examiners should fight for the integrity of the European system. It’s this that will protect their job (and pension) in the long term.”The EPO is heading in a very wrong direction of patent maximalism, human rights abuses, and even dubious relationships with foreign mega-corporations. The EPO could end up even worse off than the USPTO.

We recently wrote about the situation in Australia, where lobbyists were trying to promote something called the “Innovation Patent System”, mirroring some of the efforts we see these days in Europe. Patent maximisation (in the scope sense) efforts by patent lawyers in Australia can still be seen (here is a recent article titled “IP in depth: status update on Australian business method and software patent applications”); they are working to expand patent scope and make things like a ‘banana republic’ patent office (e.g. USPTO and China’s SIPO), where the goal is just to maximise the overall number of patents, never mind their quality. They misleadingly equate quantity with innovation.

Patent examiners should fight for the integrity of the European system. It’s this that will protect their job (and pension) in the long term. Greed will bear fruit only in the short term; in the long term it will repel applicants and discourage them from ever returning. What Battistelli does at the moment is squeezing the goose (those who are not familiar with the parable should definitely read the Wikipedia article). Battistelli repeats the epic mistakes of Robert Mugabe; by issuing far too much of his currency (patents) he devalues them and this hyperinflation will inevitably result in patent bubbles and implosion (collapse in value).

The Goose That Laid the Golden Eggs

“The European Patent Office is an executive organisation, it deals especially with patent applicants, as such, its view of the world may be biased. As an executive organisation, its interpretative powers are very limited. The European Patent Convention excludes computer programs, it is outside the EPO’s power to change this.”

Ante Wessels, FFII

Links 28/10/2015: Xiaomi’s GNU/Linux Laptops and OpenStack’s Massive Expansion

Posted in News Roundup at 5:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Iconic Linux debate sparks an open source career

    In 1997 I left Tandem (Compaq) and found an ISP. Two years later, I was heading the IT department of Univates, a university center in the South of Brasil. There we developed several free software systems, such as SAGU (an academic ERP) and GNUteca (a library loan and administrative system). In 2003, I helped found Solis, the first free software co-op in the world. I told the Solis story in Linux Journal in 2004, and the co-op is still very active and has generated several spin-offs.

  • Mycroft AI Already Working on Linux Desktops, Integration Has Started

    The Mycroft developers have been working to adapt the speech recognition system for the Linux desktop, and they have already taken the first steps.

  • Desktop

    • Confirmed: Two Xiaomi Linux Laptops All Set For Mass Production In 2016

      According to a press release by Inventec, it is currently collaborating with Xiaomi to produce two laptops, which would be introduced under the Xiaomi brand. The laptops are reportedly scheduled for an early 2016 release.

    • Xiaomi preps Linux laptops for the post Christmas sales rush

      Pumped up by a (claimed) $1bn in profit in 2015, Chinese phone-maker Xiaomi will start selling Linux laptops early next year, according to a report.

      DigiTimes suggests that two models will be built by contract manufacturers, Inventec and Compal, and feature 12.5 inch and 13.3 inch displays.

      According to the trade paper, Xiaomi has been tapping up Lenovo executives “aggressively” to manage the new laptop venture.

    • Old iMac Ubuntu Studio Installation

      I definitely think you’re on the right path for getting more life out of the old Mac. I recently did some testing with a 2010 Macbook Pro (6,2 version) and Ubuntu MATE. It’s more involved than simply installing Linux onto a PC, but it’s totally possible. Unlike Macbook Pro laptops however, the process should be a bit easier with the iMac.

  • Server

    • Poof! You’re also a Linux administrator. Now what?

      Running Linux in the enterprise often meant little more than an experiment that was sequestered in a lab environment, far away from the production side. But this former interloper is now inching across networks, as it has matured and has become more accepted due to its prominence in established cloud platforms and emerging container technologies. Even Microsoft has dropped its campaign against the open source operating system and has gone so far as to develop its own version of Linux to run part of the Azure cloud platform.

    • HP Creates Open Source Network Operating System

      The digital nature of our world has created a need for more adaptable network operating systems (NOS’s). Networks handle large amounts of data every day, which has created a need for on-demand scalability. As such, HP has teamed up with a variety of supporters, including Arista, Broadcom and Intel, to address this problem and create OpenSwitch, an open source NOS. With OpenSwitch, developers can now collaborate, test new theories and innovate to develop higher-quality networks for organizations. Furthermore, these networks can be customized to accommodate specific business needs.

    • A day in the life of a cloud architect

      OpenStack can be an enigma. We have open source purists who profess by the virtues of OpenStack, even as a multitude of enterprise aficionados wonder if OpenStack is right for them. Fortunately we have cloud practice leader Vijay Chebolu and cloud architect Vinny Valdez to cut the clutter. In their roles at Red Hat Cloud Innovation Practice, Vijay and Vinny deliver Open Stack solutions to customers.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Cinnamon 2.8 Gets Its First Point Release, Several Bugs Were Fixed

      We reported a few days ago on the Cinnamon 2.8 desktop environment and the massive amount of features it includes, but it looks like the first point release is already available for download.

    • The Beauty of the i3 Tiling Window Manager

      If you don’t have much need for a full desktop environment, i3 is a great option. And the beauty of Linux is that if I do need something more robust, desktop-wise, Unity is just a login session a way. But aside from going into it for screenshots and for some odd trackpad configurations I couldn’t figure out in i3 (I’ve since discovered the joy of gsynaptics, which works just fine from i3), it’s really been a pleasure to use.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Chakra GNU/Linux to Use KDE Plasma 5 as Default Desktop Environment

      Neofytos Kolokotronis was more than happy to announce that his Arch Linux-based Chakra GNU/Linux distribution will finally make the switch from the old-school KDE4 desktop environment to KDE Plasma 5.

    • Reviews

      • Xfce Smooth: the smooth variations

        Xfce Smooth is an interesting distribution. It shows you what you can do yourself using the [very] good distribution as a start and playing with themes, icon sets and fonts. You can change your system’s look very much to your own taste.

        The question is still whether you need to download a distribution that someone has already created for you, or start it yourself from scratch. The benefit of using of Xfce Smooth in this case is that it already has a lot of icon sets, fonts, themes to choose from. You do not need to search, download and install them. Just start playing with your selection!

        In terms of performance, I had almost no issues with Xfce Smooth at all. It felt very snappy, fast, responsive and… really smooth! The only small issue was with the Keyring password request that appeared several times.

        Would I use this distribution myself? Probably not. I am not a fancier of different fonts, icon and mouse pointer styles to play with them. I would rather stick to something more classic.

      • First Look at Ubuntu Gnome 15.10

        Okay, so that wasn’t the final note. While I doubt any of my three readers work for major laptop vendors, I really want to see a push for physical kill switches on things like the camera and the microphone, such as on the Librem 15. I considered getting one of those but they are a little sketchy on what “PureOS” actually is, and so I’ll wait to see what others think of it first.

      • Linux cousins Part 2: Reviewing ReactOS, the Open Source version of Windows [Ed: not Linux]

        ReactOS is built with the primary purpose of providing full binary compatibility with applications (and device drivers) written for Windows Server 2003. That means you can literally take a piece of software built for Windows and run it on ReactOS, without too much trouble

    • New Releases

      • Black Lab NEXT 2015.10 RC4 Released

        Today we are releasing RC4. Release Candidate 4 is a major bug and application fix that plagued users of the RC2 and RC3 series. With that we also have some changes that came along and landed in RC4. Some visual changes and some application changes.

      • IPFire 2.17 – Core Update 94 released

        This is the official release announcement for IPFire 2.17 – Core Update 94 which is a release with smaller security fixes and a maintenance release in general.

      • IPFire 2.17 Open-Source Firewall Gets Internal Mail Agent

        Michael Tremer, one of the developers for the ipfire.org team, has just announced that IPFire 2.17 Core 94, a new build of the popular Linux-based firewall distribution, is now available for download.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • OpenMandriva Forums

        I also gave the OpenMandriva Games page a try and found the proposal interesting despite that the games there are not the ones I play. I guess it would be great to be able to play Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation again, but Steam is doing a wonderful job to satisfy my occasional gaming needs.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • SUSE: Rolling Awesome of the Day

        If you’re a Tumbleweed and KDE aficionado, this is a good day. You’ll see some major updates:

        Plasma 5.4.2
        Frameworks 5.15
        Applications 15.08.2
        Qt 5.5.1

        Now, yes, that’s all minor versions but stability is a big deal!

      • OpenSUSE Tumbleweed Lands Many KDE-Related Updates

        The rolling-release openSUSE Tumblewed distribution has landed a number of significant KDE package updates.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat opens up Ceph storage to other cloud leaders

        Red Hat’s Ceph is a popular software-defined object and file cloud storage stack. While the code is open source, Red Hat has directed the project’s strategic direction. Until now. At the Toyko OpenStack Summit, Red Hat announced Ceph’s overall direction will be put into the hands of the newly formed Ceph Advisory Board.

      • Red Hat CIO: Business advice on IT value

        To be truly successful as an IT organization, you must bring new ideas to drive revenue or reduce cost for the business as a whole. If you don’t, they’ll do it without you where there is a critical need and they have a budget. Then, you’ll end up with a non-integrated set of solutions and potentially security exposures.

      • Darcy on the future of storage

        We’ve been at this dance before with Linux. People have been asking if Red Hat was going to be like Microsoft, and I told everyone: nope. We’re transfering the wealth that the proprietary lock-in vendors were collecting back to the users. That was the whole idea. In the process, we’re collecting less – a more reasonable amount, necessary to put stuff together and make it run. Therefore, we’re not going to be as wealthy off users’ backs. But the society as a whole benefits.

      • Analysts Anticipate Red Hat to Announce $0.31 Earnings Per Share (NYSE:RHT)

        Wall Street brokerages predict that Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) will report earnings per share (EPS) of $0.31 for the current fiscal quarter, according to Zacks. Nine analysts have provided estimates for Red Hat’s earnings, with the lowest EPS estimate coming in at $0.30 and the highest estimate coming in at $0.32. Red Hat reported earnings per share of $0.30 during the same quarter last year, which indicates a positive year over year growth rate of 3.3%. The business is expected to issue its next earnings results on Thursday, December 17th.

      • Red Hat Incorporated (NYSE:RHT) rated: Will Analysts Continue to rate Red Hat Incorporated a 1.59 on ratings scale?

        The overall rating for the company is 1.59. The rating is an average of the various different ratings given by analysts and brokers to Red Hat Incorporated, and then averaged into one rating by a team of analysts at Zacks in Chicago, Illinois.

      • Short Interest Update on Red Hat, Inc.
      • Lenovo and Red Hat Expand Trusted Portfolio of Cloud Offerings

        Lenovo on October 27 announced an extended strategic collaboration with Red Hat to deliver powerful IT infrastructure, automation and management capabilities including Red Hat Enterprise Linux Openstack Platform and CloudForms.

      • Citrix collaborates with Red Hat
      • College partners with Dell and Red Hat — embraces open source and Linux solutions

        While not all open source solutions are better than the closed source alternatives, opting for the former for underlying infrastructure is generally a good idea. This will provide a business with flexibility and stability while sometimes saving money too.

        A Singapore school, the Yale-NUS College, had some needs revolving around the cloud, so it wisely chose two open source friendly companies to help — Dell and Red Hat. The OpenStack cloud solution, a product that was co-created by the two aforementioned companies, has been a huge success for the college.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora summer 2016 internships.

          There are three USA internship positions open at Red Hat on the Fedora Engineering team. These internships are all available this coming summer (2016).

        • Is that the right mailing list? Is that the right audience?

          All too often, I see people opting to go for the least-public list when opening discussions. Part of this, I think, is just human laziness. You get into a routine, and stick with it. This is doubly hard to overcome when an initiative starts “behind the firewall” and then moves into the public.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • 7 things to do after installing Ubuntu

            The Ubuntu project recently announced the release of Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) and its official flavors such as Kubuntu, Ubuntu Mate, etc. Different ‘Ubuntus’ come with different desktop environments that have different sets of applications pre-packaged. But there are certain things that any Ubuntu user should do to get most out of the distro, regardless of the flavor. Here are a few of things I recommend you do after installing Ubuntu… any Ubuntu, for that matter.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) Daily Builds Now Available for Download

            With Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf) out the door, the Ubuntu developers are not wasting any time, and they’ve already started to work on the upcoming Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus).

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) Will Be Released on April 21, 2016
          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) to Be Powered Soon by Linux Kernel 4.3 RC7

            The development of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) has started, and we even know the launch date for it. We can now begin to track the Linux kernels that will be implemented in the daily builds.

          • Ubuntu Touch to Get the Major OTA-8 Update in Two Weeks, Feature Freeze in Effect

            Ubuntu developers have been busy with the next OTA update that is planned for Ubuntu Touch, and it looks like they are now clearing the way for the next release. A feature freeze is now in effect for the new OTA update.

          • Ubuntu in talks to make handsets in India

            The government’s open source policy has given a tremendous push to Microsoft Windows alternatives. Canonical, maker of popular Linux-based operating system Ubuntu, has been piggybacking on this opportunity to penetrate into the government and education sector in the country.

            Ubuntu is now eyeing the mobile and Internet of Things markets in India as its next growth driver. The company recently launched its two smartphones in India through Snapdeal. The two handsets, which are available globally, are manufactured by Spanish manufacturer Aquaris. However, Ubuntu is in talks with local handset makers for possible ‘Make in India’ deal.

          • Canonical Announces OpenStack Cloud App Store for Ubuntu Linux

            Canonical is launching yet another app store for Ubuntu Linux. Unlike its great, late desktop-oriented predecessor, however, this one is focused on the OpenStack cloud, with apps delivered via Juju.

            Ubuntu founder and former CEO Mark Shuttleworth announced the new app store at the OpenStack Summit this week in Tokyo. The platform will provide a way for people running Ubuntu-based OpenStack clouds to install cloud applications via Juju and Horizon, the web-based management interface for OpenStack.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • New Opera, Chakra Plasma 5, Riddell Responds

              A new Opera Web browser has landed for Linux users bring new features and improved multimedia support. Jonathan Riddell posted a short response to Ubuntu’s statement on the community councils and a couple of reviews deserve mentioning. For Chakra users, a switch to Plasma 5 was announced.

            • Kubuntu’s founder resigns, accuses Canonical of defrauding donors and violating copyright

              Jonathan Riddell—who founded Kubuntu a decade ago—has stepped down as release manager and will be headed upstream to KDE. This comes after a lengthy period of spats between Riddell and the Ubuntu Community Council. On Reddit, Riddell punctuated his resignation by once again accusing Canonical—the company behind Ubuntu—of defrauding donors and violating copyrights.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source


  • France and Germany to promote eInvoicing

    France and Germany are to encourage companies to use eInvoicing an the two countries will continue to work together on the development of common technical standards to facilitate this, according to a joint statement made at the “Accelerate the digital transformation of our economies” conference in Paris on 27 October.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Cutting Sugar Improves Children’s Health in Just 10 Days

      Obese children who cut back on their sugar intake see improvements in their blood pressure, cholesterol readings and other markers of health after just 10 days, a rigorous new study found.

      The new research may help shed light on a question scientists have long debated: Is sugar itself harming health, or is the weight gain that comes from consuming sugary drinks and foods mainly what contributes to illness over the long term?

    • Will Everyone Please Eat Gluten? Please? Because You Are Literally Killing Me, Kind Of

      A new study by the NPD group shows that 29% of Americans are now trying to cut gluten out of their diets, most of them just cause. Every time another person makes this foolish decision, my life gets harder.

    • Buckraking on the Food Beat: When Is It a Conflict of Interest?

      In an age of shrinking newspaper budgets, it’s common for editors to rely on freelance writers–and for freelancers to add to their incomes with side projects. But is it a conflict of interest for a columnist who covers food and agriculture to take money from agrichemical industry interest groups?

  • Security

    • Mac OS X applications are leading the PC vulnerability war

      GENTLEMEN ADJUST YOUR PC threat league tables. Apple has usurped Oracle as the top blight, according to security firm Secunia.

      The picture is bleak across the board, and the firm found that a huge whack of PCs are are running old, beleaguered, unpatched and end-of-life versions of software. This presents a problem to the user and computers in general.

    • U.S. military cyber security fails to make the grade

      The United States Department of Defense is still issuing SHA-1 signed certificates for use by military agencies, despite this practice being banned by NIST for security reasons nearly two years ago. These certificates are used to protect sensitive communication across the public internet, keeping the transmitted information secret from eavesdroppers and impersonators. The security level provided by these DoD certificates is now below the standard Google considers acceptable for consumer use on the web.

      The Missile Defense Agency, the eventual successor to the “Star Wars” programme, uses one of these SHA-1 certificates on a Juniper Networks remote access device. The SHA-1 certificate was issued by the Department of Defense in February 2015, long after NIST declared this practice to be unacceptable.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • MEP: Transparency negotiations on trade agreements must be a priority

      Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) wants furthering transparency around trade negotiations to be a priority for the EU. Today the European Parliament voted in favour of a proposal by Schaake to make more money available to make information about EU trade policy more accessible and to bring it to the attention of people, the proposal would cover 300,000 euros. Schaake: “I am glad that the Parliament has supported this initiative, even if it concerns a relatively small amount of money. It is clear that people increasingly want more explanation about EU trade policy, in the first place in the context of negotiations with the United States, but also more broadly. I want to make sure that the Commission does not only put texts online, which is already being done, but also actively engages with citizens and stakeholders, for example by organising meetings and information sharing events, European member states and the Trade ministers must play a much larger role here, too.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Climate Activists Want A Public Editor For Murdoch-Owned National Geographic

      Climate activists are calling on National Geographic to hire a public editor to keep tabs on its editorial approach following the magazine’s purchase by a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. Murdoch has repeatedly made scientifically inaccurate comments about climate change, and recently lamented “alarmist nonsense” on the issue.

      The National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox announced last month an expansion of their current partnership to include National Geographic’s cable channels, its flagship magazine, and other digital and social media.

      As National Geographic explained, “Under the $725-million deal, Fox, which currently holds a majority stake in National Geographic’s cable channels, will own 73 percent of the new media company, called National Geographic Partners. The National Geographic Society will own 27 percent.”

      “We will now have the scale and reach to fulfill our mission long into the future,” National Geographic Society CEO Gary E. Knell said at the time. “The Society’s work will be the engine that feeds our content creation efforts, enabling us to share that work with even larger audiences and achieve more impact. It’s a virtuous cycle.”

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Fake News Food Chain

      It’s a problem when presidential candidates from a major political party are getting their information about the world from a news outlet that evidently can’t tell the difference between a sub-Onion hoax site and actual news. It’s an even bigger problem when those candidates bring those bogus claims onto supposedly reputable network TV—and the real journalists aren’t able to recognize that the politicians they’re interviewing are parroting garbage factoids from Fox‘s land of make-believe.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Apple unlock: Judge compares request to execution order
    • Tech Companies and Civil Liberties Groups Force Obama To Weigh In On Encryption Debate

      President Obama will now be forced to publicly describe the extent of his commitment to protecting strong encryption, after nearly 50 major technology companies, human rights groups, and civil liberties collectives—including Twitter, the ACLU, and Reddit — succeeded in getting over 100,000 signatures on a White House petition on Tuesday.

      The government’s “We the People” platform, created in 2011, was designed as “a clear and easy way for the American people to petition their government.” Once a petition gains 100,000 signatures, it is guaranteed a response.

      The savecrypto.org petition demands that Obama “publicly affirm your support for strong encryption” and “reject any law, policy, or mandate that would undermine our security.”

    • CISA data-sharing bill passes Senate with no privacy protections

      CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (S. 754), will allow private companies to share cyber-threat data with the federal government, including personal user data, in an effort to prevent cyberattacks, such as those on the scale of Target, Home Depot, and Sony. Companies that share data with federal agencies, including the National Security Agency (NSA), will be given legal and liability protections from lawsuits relating to data sharing.

    • Senate passes controversial cybersecurity bill Cisa 74 to 21

      The US Senate overwhelmingly passed a controversial cybersecurity bill critics say will allow the government to collect sensitive personal data unchecked, over the objections of civil liberties groups and many of the biggest names in the tech sector.

      The vote on Tuesday was 74 to 21 in support of the legislation. Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders voted against the bill. None of the Republican presidential candidates (except Lindsey Graham, who voted in favor) were present to cast a vote, including Rand Paul, who has made privacy from surveillance a major plank of his campaign platform.

      Ahead of the vote a group of university professors specializing in tech law, many from the Princeton Center for Information Technology Policy, sent an open letter to the Senate, urging them not to pass the bill. The bill, they wrote, would fatally undermine the Freedom of Information Act (Foia).

    • Senate Passes CISA, The Surveillance Bill Masquerading As A Cybersecurity Bill; Here’s Who Sold Out Your Privacy

      After rejecting all the good privacy amendments to CISA, the Senate has now officially passed the legislation by a 74 to 21 vote. About the only “good” news is that the vote is lower than the 83 Senators who voted for cloture on it last week. Either way, the Senate basically just passed a bill that will almost certainly be used mainly for warrantless domestic surveillance, rather than any actual cybersecurity concern.

    • Will New Cybersecurity Bill Lock Down Security or Invade Our Privacy?

      The problem, of course, is that with immunity protection, companies may feel no qualms about revealing far more personal information about customers and partners than they ever did before. Immunity has powerful consequences.

    • EFF Disappointed as CISA Passes Senate

      CISA passed the Senate today in a 74-21 vote. The bill is fundamentally flawed due to its broad immunity clauses, vague definitions, and aggressive spying authorities. The bill now moves to a conference committee despite its inability to address problems that caused recent highly publicized computer data breaches, like unencrypted files, poor computer architecture, un-updated servers, and employees (or contractors) clicking malware links.

      The conference committee between the House of Representatives and the Senate will determine the bill’s final language. But no amount of changes in conference could fix the fact that CISA doesn’t address the real cybersecurity problems that caused computer data breaches like Target and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

    • Oracle now keeps all EU data within EU borders to avoid Safe Harbour problems

      Oracle has revealed that it is now keeping all data regarding EU citizens within the European Union. This allows it to comply in a straightforward way with the ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that is likely to result in EU-US data transfers made using the Safe Harbour framework being deemed illegal.

      According to The Irish Times, Thomas Kurian, president of product development at Oracle, said at Oracle’s annual OpenWorld conference in San Francisco: “All of our data centres in Europe have European operators. They have local production and, within the same European legislative region, disaster recovery. No data is sent across the geographical boundaries to any other legislative boundary.” As a result, Kurian added: “we are very comfortable with where we are with our cloud offerings and the new regulatory framework around data governance.”

    • Call 911 If You See This Huge-Ass Blimp on the Loose Today

      Here’s a metaphor: a remote-controlled, tremendously expensive, basically useless JLENS aerial surveillance blimp has detached from its tether at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. If you see it, call the authorities. Do NOT try to get it down yourself.

    • Open Source Center (OSC) Becomes Open Source Enterprise (OSE)

      The DNI Open Source Center has been redesignated the Open Source Enterprise and incorporated in CIA’s new Directorate of Digital Innovation.

      The Open Source Center, established in 2005, was tasked to collect and analyze open source information of intelligence value across all media – – print, broadcast and online. The OSC was the successor to the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), which gathered and translated world news coverage and other open source information for half a century.

    • The IRS Has Stingrays … But We Knew Stingrays Have Been Used to Chase Tax Fraud

      Indeed, much of what we know about Stingrays comes from Rigmaiden’s years-long effort to demand details of how they used the Stingray to find him, and since he got released for time served, he has continued his efforts to uncover how they’ve been used.

      What’s interesting about the Guardian report, then, is that the IRS itself owned a Stingray, which they were updating in 2009 and 2012, even as the government was being exposed for improperly using Stingrays without a warrant to prosecute tax fraud. Reports on Rigmaiden had suggested an FBI Stingray was used to catch him — and that may well be the case — but we now learn that they owned one before 2009 (so early enough to capture him with, presumably).

      In Rigmaiden’s case, IRS was clearly partnering with FBI, so could have (and may have) used their Stingray. That would seem to be the case for all proper uses of the technology. So, among all the other things we should demand on Stingray use, one of them should be to limit their use to the FBI, which will increase the likelihood they’ll get properly noticed in any prosecution.

    • IRS possessed Stingray cellphone surveillance gear, documents reveal

      The Internal Revenue Service is the latest in a growing list of US federal agencies known to have possessed the sophisticated cellphone dragnet equipment known as Stingray, according to documents obtained by the Guardian.

      Invoices obtained following a request under the Freedom of Information Act show purchases made in 2009 and 2012 by the federal tax agency with Harris Corporation, one of a number of companies that manufacture the devices. Privacy advocates said the revelation “shows the wide proliferation of this very invasive surveillance technology”.

    • Surveillance law: France carefully listening to the world! (at last…)

      French Senate has approved last night the bill on international surveillance (fr), legalising mass surveillance beyond French borders, incidentally affecting numerous French people. La Quadrature Du Net salutes French consistency in terms of serious violations of Human Rights.

  • Civil Rights

    • Obama Finds Unlikely Policy Allies At Police Gathering

      In highly anticipated remarks Tuesday, President Barack Obama took his push for gun control and criminal justice overhauls to a room full of the country’s top police brass — who enthusiastically backed his calls for comprehensive background checks, assault weapons bans, and reductions in the incarceration rate.

    • Senior Defense Dept. officials decry Guantánamo judge’s female guard ban

      Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, criticized the ban in response to a question from New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in Washington, D.C. Ayotte and two other GOP senators visited the prison Friday, and said they met with female guards upset by the restriction.

    • Is investor-state dispute settlement legal? A plea for EU judges to check

      Last month, the European Commission proposed reforms to the controversial investor-state dispute mechanism (ISDS), part of the EU-US trade deal known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). ISDS mechanisms, including the Commission’s ‘reformed’ ISDS proposal, let foreign investors sue the EU and Member State governments. These cases take place in front of specialised courts only open to foreign investors, where claims for compensation can run to billions of euros.

      ISDS has important implications for the daily lives of people in the EU. ISDS, for example, can be used by foreign investors to challenge the revocation of a fracking permit following protests and new environmental studies. This is a disconcerting development, especially because a US trade agreement containing ISDS would expose Europe to law suits from the country that uses ISDS the most.

    • Fox’s Mark Fuhrman Defends The Actions Of School Officer Who Dragged And Threw A Student Across The Floor
    • Defense lawyer to Guantánamo judge: Secret program may be depriving 9/11 defendant of sleep

      An attorney for the accused 9/11 plotter who has complained about strange overnight noises and vibrations in his prison cell for years told a military judge Sunday that the problem was back, and that it may be caused by a covert Pentagon program disclosed to the court just last week.

    • The Most Controversial Hacking Cases of the Past Decade

      The Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the law that’s been at the heart of almost every controversial hacking case of the past decade, is in the news again this month.

      Prosecutors recently used the law to convict journalist Matthew Keys on felony hacking charges, drawing rounds of condemnation on the web. Edward Snowden, for one, derided the harsh penalty Keys now faces—a maximum possible sentence of 25 years.

      But charging Keys with felonies for his role in a crime that critics say should have been considered a misdemeanor—the minor defacement of a Los Angeles Times article—is not an anomaly for the feds. It’s just one among a growing list of contentious cases that critics say illustrate how prosecutors have been overstepping in their use of the CFAA.

    • Race and Discipline in Spotlight After South Carolina Officer Drags Student

      Videos of a white sheriff’s deputy throwing a black high school girl to the floor of a classroom thrust this community into an unsettling national discussion Tuesday about whether black students are disproportionately punished.

    • Obama Calls for Less Prison in Overhauling Sentencing Laws

      President Obama made his case on Tuesday for an overhaul of the nation’s sentencing laws, telling a gathering of top law enforcement officials here that putting large numbers of nonviolent drug offenders in prison was neither fair nor an effective way of combating crime.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

    • US government says it’s now okay to jailbreak your tablet and smart TV

      The US Library of Congress today issued a set of exemptions to an infamous provision in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), establishing a victory for consumers who like to tinker with devices without running afoul of copyright law. The exemptions were far-reaching, extending from movie and television files used in an educational context for criticism to installing third-party software — in other words jailbreaking — tablets and smart TVs.They will however only last for three years.

    • Free At Last: New DMCA Rules Might Make the Web a Better Place

      Another positive from the change is that smartphone users will be able to jailbreak their phone and finally enjoy running operating systems and applications from any source, not just those approved by the manufacturer.

    • Victory for Users: Librarian of Congress Renews and Expands Protections for Fair Uses

      The new rules for exemptions to copyright’s DRM-circumvention laws were issued today, and the Librarian of Congress has granted much of what EFF asked for over the course of months of extensive briefs and hearings. The exemptions we requested—ripping DVDs and Blurays for making fair use remixes and analysis; preserving video games and running multiplayer servers after publishers have abandoned them; jailbreaking cell phones, tablets, and other portable computing devices to run third party software; and security research and modification and repairs on cars—have each been accepted, subject to some important caveats.

Apple Makes Use of Alice v. CLS Bank (Alice/§101) to Invalidate Software Patents, But ITC Pretends Nothing Happened

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, Law, Patents at 11:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Suddenly software patents don’t suit even Apple’s agenda all that much…


Summary: Another blow for software patents in the United States (US) as even a company that notoriously exploited them to impose embargoes on Linux (Android) devices is finally finding these patents unsuitable

THE USPTO has been thoroughly impacted by the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS), for a ruling from last summer meant that a lot of patent applications, especially ones that pertain to software, are no longer eligible and should thus be rejected/discarded. Techrights believes that Alice v. CLS Bank can gradually pave the way to a world free from software patents and that without this case, software patents would only gradually expand and become universally acceptable.

Techrights believes that Alice v. CLS Bank can gradually pave the way to a world free from software patents and that without this case, software patents would only gradually expand and become universally acceptable.”The Alice case, which continues to squash a lot of software patents (those that are being tested in a court of law), changed the game and even Apple, a leading foe of Linux and Free/libre Open Source software, is now using Alice in order to squash software patents (those which are asserted against Apple). According to this article from Florian Müller: “The Apple v. Ericsson docket in the Northern District of California was worth taking another look (after quite a while): two weeks ago, Apple brought a motion for summary judgment of invalidity of two patents asserted by Ericsson in its counterclaims to Apple’s declaratory judgment complaint, and the motion is entirely based on 35. U.S.C. § 101 in light of last year’s famous (or infamous in the eyes of patent attorneys) Alice ruling by the Supreme Court on patent-ineligible subject matter…”

Patent Buddy took note of these patents [1, 2] and we wish to remind readers of our recent post about patent trolls in Europe and Ericsson's troll, Unwired Planet.

“Maybe the folks at the ITC think they’re above the law, even above the Supreme Court.”The fascinating thing here is that even Apple, which is attacking users with software patents (embargoes, feature removal, price hikes) and maliciously spying on users, is making use of the Alice case. But perhaps the most interesting article today concerns the United States ‘International’ Trade Commission (it’s not really international, it’s nationalistic and biased; it’s often used by Microsoft and Apple to ban Android devices), which according to patent lawyers remains reluctant to take account of the Alice case. Maybe the folks at the ITC think they’re above the law, even above the Supreme Court.

“Outside of the ITC,” wrote the author, “defendants have been increasingly successful in challenging the patentability of asserted claims under Section 101. Recent decisions by the Supreme Court and the Federal Circuit have clarified, and arguably narrowed, the scope of patentable subject matter, and have repeatedly urged district courts to resolve any Section 101 defenses as soon as possible. At the ITC, however, this defense has rarely been asserted, and has only once been successful since Bilski. Nevertheless, ITC practitioners should expect to see more of these defenses in the near future, and there are interesting, open questions surrounding how the ITC will interpret and implement the Supreme Court’s decisions on this issue.”

“The injunctions are so biased that it’s just too hard to ignore.”We have been vocal critics of the ITC and its dubious practices since the Bilski days, so this one is yet another example for our list. It often seems like all that the can ITC offer is protectionism for US (mega)corporations, not justice. The injunctions are so biased that it’s just too hard to ignore.

“Software patents have been nothing but trouble for innovation. We the software engineers know this, yet we actually have full-blown posters in our break-room showcasing the individual engineers who came up with something we were able to push through the USPTO. Individually, we pretty much all consider the software-patent showcase poster to be a colossal joke.” —Kelledin, PLI: State Street Overruled… PERIOD

Secret Deals at the EPO Discredit Europe and Need to Stop Immediately

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sepp Blatterstelli

Summary: What the Sepp Blatter scandals serve to remind us about the practices of the EPO and their negative effect on Europe’s reputation

AMID the EPO scandals, Blatterstelli — as Florian Müller calls him — is compared to famous criminals on television. Now that Sepp Blatter admits his misconduct [1,2], the comparison returns to mind. Basically, Blatter secretly favoured Russia in the same way that Blatterstelli’s EPO had a secret special relationship with Microsoft, so Microsoft's patent applications were treated with priority. The EPO made lame excuses for this.

“Microsoft is a lobbyist for software patents and the EPO has a special relationship with the company, so how much longer can patent examiners do their job properly?”This new article about patents in the UK serves to remind us that patents are really being granted for corporate domination (or the so-called 1%) because “any invention made by such employees in the course of their duties will belong to the employer” (i.e. the corporation).

This system is increasingly being rigged in favour of all those large corporations (big clients, who pay a lot of money for applications and renewal fees), not independent inventors. Patent examiners don’t like this, but the management, whose supposed ‘success’ is measured in terms that apply to a private business, have lost sight of the very purpose of the patent system. This is why they also strive to expand the scope of litigation (e.g. UPC) and extend the scope of patents.

Someone has kindly made us aware of particular patent applications of interest. Here we have patent examiners and judges (not management) who are skilled enough to tell a Texas opportunist to bugger off, here we have Merck withdrawing a patent application (it wanted cancer-related monopolies), and here we can see that only 5 days ago a software patent from Baxter was officially denied. Companies from the US are trying to patent software at the EPO, SAP is still trying to acquire software patents in Europe (the EPO isn’t denying it, at least not yet), and there are various other attempts to patent software in the EPO. If the UPC was to successfully be shoved down everyone’s throat, these would probably be deemed patent-eligible. Microsoft is a lobbyist for software patents and the EPO has a special relationship with the company, so how much longer can patent examiners do their job properly? Institutional corruption needs to end; the sooner, the better.

News just in:

  1. Sepp Blatter: We decided to have 2018 in Russia before there was even a vote
  2. Sepp Blatter admits FIFA planned to award Russia the 2018 World Cup before vote even took place

    Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter has revealed that there was an agreement in place for the 2018 World Cup to be played in Russia before the official vote took place.

    Blatter told reporters in Russia that it was always planned for the competition to take place in Russia, while the 2022 competition was scheduled for the USA.

Control Risks Group (CRG), Transparency International, the European Patent Office (EPO) Investigative Unit and the Obvious Conflicts of Interest

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 8:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Power serving Power

Control Risks

Investigation Unit

Summary: Analysis of the embedded biases inherent not just in self-acclaimed independent auditors but also union-busting, espionage-connected entities like Control Risks

THE MORE we learn about the EPO, the more appalling it looks. They have plenty to hide up there, hence they’re desperate to crush whistle-blowing and journalism.

The EPO’s witch-hunt against people is going well beyond staff. Like the CIA (based on relatively new leaks), they target “investigative journalists” and we too became a target, as we explained in previous articles, such as:

Last year we wrote about action (or lack thereof) by Transparency International, which has done virtually nothing to stop institutional abuse and serious harassment. What kind of spineless body is that?

Well, when one looks beneath the surface, Transparency International isn’t quite what it seems. People who are familiar with the pseudo-politics behind it (mostly commercial interests, not politics) shared some interesting information. “Strange links” is what they called it and these are strange connections indeed, for they serve to show that the supposed oversight or regulator is in bed (or the same bank account) with the subject/target of oversight and regulation. It’s basically a sham and it makes “Transparency International” looks like just a corporate publicity stunt, or a badge of endorsement that is paid for. To quote:

In 2014 Transparency International published a so-called “integrity study” of several EU institutions. The study analysed whether these institutions had the regulations and mechanisms in place to detect and prevent corruption. SUEPO suggested at the time that the EPO invite Transparency International to do the same for the EPO. “Transparency” seemed supportive. Not surprisingly, the EPOrg (Mr Kongstad) was quick to dismiss the idea. But obviously: “Transparency” does not really need a company or organization to welcome them in order to do a study. If that were the case, few if any deficiencies would ever be exposed. So we were a little disappointed that “Transparency” simply vanished from the scene without a trace for unclear reasons.

The German magazine “Der Spiegel” reported on various Union bashing scandals involving Control Risks, the firm that is now assisting the Investigative Unit interrogating EPO Union officials and staff representatives (see below).

Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn were amongst the clients of Control Risks. Given that background, it is surprising that Control Risks is a corporate member of Transparency International Germany, something that could easily be interpreted as a seal of approval. But there are more surprises waiting: Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn are also on the list of corporate members of “Transparency”. These corporate members pay for the honour. We are not the first to wonder whether such contributions from corporate friends could affect Transparency’s independence. The European Patent Office is fortunately not (yet?) on the list. Nevertheless: the very concept of “corporate friends” would not seem in line with Transparency’s message and mission.

Back to Control Risks: the Control Risks employee who seems to be the main consultant for the EPO (and the main interrogator) is Matthew Kinch of Control Risks Berlin. He is the co-author of an article about “Krisenmanagement im Falle einer externen Korruptions- ermittlung” (sic). Control Risks claims strict adherence to national law and to their code of ethics. We have some doubts about that. In the pending procedures Mr Kinch and other Control Risk employees cannot claim they adhere to the EPO regulations, as they are no EPO employee, but external contractor / consultant. As with all other contractors working for or at the EPO, national law remains applicable to them:

The employees of Control Risk remain bound by national law in their interactions with individual EPO staff members. This means that they should respect the broader rights given to EPO staff members by national law, e.g. right to remain silent, right to be accompanied by legal assistance of their choice, and right to know who is the accuser1.

It further means that if an EPO staff member suffers damage, e.g. undue dismissal, on the basis of material collected by Control Risks in a procedure that would be considered flawed under national German law, Control Risks can be held liable for that damage. We are currently looking into this matter.
1 This right is even recognised by ILOAT, see Judgment 2014: “It is contrary to due process to require an accused staff member to answer unsubstantiated allegations made by unknown persons. The staff member is entitled to confront his or her accusers. In the present case, if the Organization was not willing to disclose the identity of the complainant’s accusers, and had no other independent evidence to rely on, the charges should not have been brought.” It is, however, happily ignored by the Investigative Unit.

As a matter of law, as pointed out in the footnote, the accused has the right to know who the accuser is. The European Patent Organisation systematically hides the supposed accuser, in an effort to intimidate and entrap people (ensuring they don’t have access to a lawyer in the interim). This may be the same kind of bullying used against Elizabeth Hardon, where there are efforts to exploit lack of awareness of the laws and therefore bring allegations against a person from a total vacuum, not a person. The European Patent Organisation is not a person but a collection of people who laughably call themselves public servants.

Next month we are going to show how the EPO does this not only in one single case. There is systemic misuse of the law and a systematic effort to crush truth-telling.

Apple’s Shameless Privacy Lies: The Fiction of Apple as the Very Opposite of What It Does

Posted in Apple, Deception at 7:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What a lovely company… it does photo ops like the Gates Foundation does.

Apple Foxconn photo op
“A photo op (sometimes written as photo opp), short for photograph opportunity (photo opportunity), is an arranged opportunity to take a photograph of a politician, a celebrity, or a notable event. [...] The term has acquired a negative connotation, referring to a carefully planned pseudo-event, often masqueraded as news. It is associated with politicians who perform tasks such as planting trees, picking up litter, and visiting senior citizens, often during election cycles, with the intent of photographers catching the events on film, generating positive publicity.” -Wikipedia

Summary: Apple is staging events and manufacturing misleading media reports that help portray Apple, a PRISM company, as a proponent of privacy

TRUTH be said, Apple has been cooling down its patent war against Android in recent years, so we don’t write about Apple as much as we used to. Apple’s main remaining battle now is against Samsung because Apple wants bans, extortion money, or both.

As I spend a lot of my weekends reading about privacy and security I was disturbed to see Tim Cook framed in the media (literally hundreds of articles) as fighting for people’s privacy when it fact it was him, after Steve Jobs had died, who added Apple to PRISM (Microsoft was the first to join — if not help create — PRISM). Last week and the week before that Cook presented himself and Apple as the anti-NSA (like Antichrist) when the fact of the matter is, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I ranted about this in ‘social’ media sites and maybe now is a good time to also write a short article about it. There is nothing more comical than seeing an Apple CEO ‘confronting’ Michael Rogers; it’s like a bogus, staged debate.

The NSA asked for (and got) front doors in proprietary operating systems like Vista 10 and Mac OS X, which according to the latest news [1] is full of holes.

Michael S. Rogers
“I don’t want a back door. I want a front door.” — Director of the National Security Agency (NSA), April 2015

BBC, a proponent of proprietary software and the “Mac versus PC” false dichotomy, has published this bizarre article which serves Apple’s promotional narrative and says: “Ordering Apple to access data against its will would be akin to making a reluctant drug company carry out a lethal injection, a US judge has said.”

Actually, this is a bogus analogy because Apple already gives the NSA access to its data and has done this for years, not because of pressure but because it hadn’t yet been found out by the public, hence the negative publicity (or “blowback”) wasn’t great enough. Right now Apple wants people to view itself as friendly to pregnant women (like the ones in China whom it ‘protects’ with suicide nets?) and a staunch support of privacy. Don’t believe this for even one second.

Proprietary operating systems such as Mac OS X and iOS have a lot of back doors, which Apple sometimes chooses to call “diagnostics”. By all means, the fiction of Apple as caring about privacy is just fiction. We need to antagonise it, or else people who really need privacy (whistleblowers for instance) will get in serious trouble. Earlier this week my sister in law in Singapore, who uses an iPhone, was mortified to learn that she was being spied on via her phone.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Mac OS X applications are leading the PC vulnerability war

    GENTLEMEN ADJUST YOUR PC threat league tables. Apple has usurped Oracle as the top blight, according to security firm Secunia.

    The picture is bleak across the board, and the firm found that a huge whack of PCs are are running old, beleaguered, unpatched and end-of-life versions of software. This presents a problem to the user and computers in general.

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