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

11.25.15

EPO Management Needs to Finally Recognise That It Itself is the Issue, Not the Staff or the Unions

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If all I say is “I’m in favor of freedom”, I have not really tackled the difficult issue, because it’s very easy to say: “I stand for freedom”, even Bush says he stands for freedom, and Bush doesn’t even recognize freedom after he’s crushed it.”

Richard Stallman

Summary: A showing of dissent even from the representatives whom the EPO tightly controls and why the latest union-busting goes a lot further than most people realise

OUR previous post presented a new document and provided a first glimpse at the true mess inside the EPO, where not only SUEPO but also the Staff Committee has concerns. There is also FFPE-EPO, which yesterday expressed solidarity for SUEPO in its official statement. Here is the same document in all languages (much larger file).

One might rightly ask, who are in this committee anyway? Well, it is not a closely-guarded secret, so here is who’s involved. Everyone in the EPO’s management knows them and in case there will ever be some altercation (like EPO managers trying to punish or intimidate representatives), we will be better at identifying possible motivations, causes, ulterior motives etc.

Staff Committee people

These people too will probably need protection at some stage, judging by the modus operandi of Team Battistelli.

Here is the complete opening, focusing on the English version/text of the document (more languages are in the original PDF):

European Patent Office

Central Staff Committee

24.06.2015
scl527Ocp — 0.2.1/2.2/2.3

Questions on the EPO

A discussion paper on the independence of the departments in DG1

Dear Colleagues,

A structural reform of the Boards of Appeal is currently under discussion. This will be a main topic on one of the next Council meetings. The reform addresses the independence of the Boards. Independence is an indispensable requirement for legal certainty with regard to the decisions taken by the members of the Boards, but also by the examiners in DG1.

The annexed documents (English, French and German versions of the discussion paper) shall give further input to the discussion from another point of view. Some daily life situations of examiners in DG1 are reflected in a questionnaire. Many difficulties result from the hierarchical position of examiners within DG1.

As a huge part of EPO staff is allocated to other DGs than DG1 and DG3, the documents contain some background information on the current structure of DG1. This should help to increase mutual understanding of all EPO staff in all DGs. We.would like to encourage everybody to discuss the issues addressed therein with her/his colleagues and superiors.

We are interested in your feedback, which can be sent to centralstcom@epo.org or to your preferred staff representative. We intend to publish a follow-up document so as to summarize your comments and to provide the administration with suitable proposals.

The Central Staff Committee

There are nearly 60 more pages in the original PDF. Please note that the Central Staff Committee uses epo.org addresses, which, considering the mass surveillance inside the EPO (going as far as keyloggers and hidden cameras), very much limits one’s ability to independently operate. It’s a farcical body with no real, effective independence or autonomy. SUEPO overcame this issue by using its own domain, suepo.org (EPO management now deletes or blocks E-mail from that domain, allegedly since 2013).

“Please note that the Central Staff Committee uses epo.org addresses, which, considering the mass surveillance inside the EPO (going as far as keyloggers and hidden cameras), very much limits one’s ability to independently operate.”On another subject, let’s explain the severity of this whole situation. It is becoming ever more serious right now. It not only affects SUEPO. The suspension of the staff representatives is a real bombshell and there are many actions planned as a result (we have seen some details, but won’t publicly divulge them at this point).

Some of the details began to reach us with urgency as people inside the EPO were in panic. The EPO’s management too is in panic, but for different reasons. We were told the names of the parties involved and the shocking treatment of people at The Hague. We couldn’t reveal the names of the parties at the time, but both the Munich and The Hague staff committees later published the names of the parties (right before the scandal took the blogosphere by storm).

“The staff representation has NINE members, and FIVE of these have been suspended and/or “investigated”.”We are revealing the names not because we disregard privacy because they’re essential for understanding of just how terrible the EPO management became. Jesús Areso and Laurent Prunie can both be seen above, under The Hague. They were among those whom EPO managers (or their Stasi-esque unit) attacked. Malika Weaver and Brumme (under Munich) were also attacked. So was Michels (under Vienna). Why is this important?

The above image adds one piece of information which completes the picture which hasn’t been mentioned elsewhere to our knowledge:

The staff representation has NINE members, and FIVE of these have been suspended and/or “investigated”. That’s more than half! It’s only a matter of time until they figure out something for crushing the remaining four active members.

“We kindly ask readers to remember that these members were elected despite the rotten voting system unilaterally imposed by Battistelli in an attempt to sabotage the staff representation.”One can see for oneself the composition of the staff representation above.

We kindly ask readers to remember that these members were elected despite the rotten voting system unilaterally imposed by Battistelli in an attempt to sabotage the staff representation. We have covered this in passing already.

Who would even be brave enough to be a staff representative right now? Mr. Battistelli has achieved what even Vladimir Putin could not achieve. Battistelli made himself the Sun King.

Even the EPO Central Staff Committee is Unhappy With EPO Management

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Questions to EPO

Summary: The questions asked by the Central Staff Committee shared for the public to see that not only a single union is concerned about the management’s behaviour

THE EPO is not behaving well and even groups that are traditionally quite loyal to the management aren’t entirely happy. Based on this new document [PDF], the Central Staff Committee has some tough questions for the EPO. It’s easy to see why the Central Staff Committee needs to tread carefully, or else risk being crushed like SUEPO. The roaring aggression of the EPO is now making people reluctant to say anything, even to colleagues (privately). It’s not just an atmosphere of fear; it’s a climate of terror from the man who purports to be fighting terrorism.

As one commenter said earlier today: “you have to be a bit careful about how you word something, and avoid accusations, but merely stick to facts in the public domain (damning enough). Could someone please let me know where it is said that you are not allowed to contact your delegate? I’m sure BB [Battistelli] does not like it, but that is not the same as it being against the Service Regulations. I have already done so a while ago on another matter. So far no comeback.”

“By the way,” this commenter added, “where are the patent attorneys in all this? They, or their professional organizations, should get active. Politicians cannot ignore representatives of industry as easily as they can civil servants.”

IP Kat is now sharing recommendation of books for patent lawyers or examiners, but there are some urgent matters we’ll attempt to address through the rest of this week. Please review the new PDF, on which we shall elaborate on a later occasion.

“It’s easy to see why the Central Staff Committee needs to tread carefully, or else risk being crushed like SUEPO. The roaring aggression of the EPO is now making people reluctant to say anything, even to colleagues (privately).”If anybody has information about a €800,000 contract, please consider sharing it with us.

It’s nice to have discovered a circulated message titled “Enemies everywhere”, wherein it stated: “The Blogger, Florian Müller, posted yesterday an article taking a clear view on the latest ac ons of the EPO, entitled “Shame on the European Patent Office for its legal threats against TechRights”: he notes that “with almost 20,000 blog posts, Dr. Schestowitz had not received a legal letter before an EPO lawyer sent him one.” and despite not being a great fan of the “opinionated” TechRights site (the latter has often attacked Mr. Müller), he adds he would personally “contribute money and lend an endorsement to a crowdfunding effort to finance his defence”.

Stay tuned for more exclusive coverage of EPO matters.

The Broken Window Economics of Patent Trolls Are Already Coming to Europe

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 8:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There’s the belief that from destruction come profit opportunities

Window broken

Summary: The plague which is widely known as patent trolls (non-practicing entities that prey on practicing companies) is being spread to Europe, owing in part to misguided policies and patent maximalists

MANY people are very much familiar already with the “Broken Window” fallacy. To quote this short article about it, “natural disasters, wars, and other destructive events can boost an economy’s production because they create demand for rebuilding work.”

“The US patent system, much like the Chinese one, strives to maximise the number of patents (a misguided goal).”Last month we pointed out that patent trolls were entering Europe. These are parasites. They are usually confined to operate within the borders of the US, but a poorly-implemented (to benefit the rich) ‘globalisation’ of patent systems means that more of them can expand their arsenal, extend their horizons, and unleash rage upon European businesses. We have covered many examples in recent years.

The US patent system, much like the Chinese one, strives to maximise the number of patents (a misguided goal). How else can such incredibly high approval rates be explained? It’s no wonder that a lot of domains like programming can now suffer from patent lawsuits in the US. According to this new decision: “Following jury and bench trials, the court found that plaintiff’s network security patent was not invalid for lack of patentable subject matter and found the claims were not directed toward an abstract idea. “Plaintiff contends that contrary to Defendant’s overgeneralization of claim 1 of the [patent-in-suit], claim 1 covers a specific technique of protecting computer networks.”

See? Software patents. An abstract thing. Patented! Welcome to the alternative universe where programs that are reducible to a sequence of numbers (to be fed into a processor or processed/solved using pen and paper) are covered by broad patents, not just copyrights. Where would that leave science and technology in the long run? It would just leave science and technology on the run.

“The largest publicly traded patent-holding company will have to pay online retailer Newegg $15,000 after bringing a frivolous appeal.”
      –Joe Mullin
According to some new reports, e.g. [1,2], Unwired Planet (formerly Openwave Systems, which we mentioned in [1, 2, 3, 4]) now uses software patents pertaining to networks in order to troll Android (Linux-powered) players, namely Samsung and Huawei. Patent maximalists don’t seem to mind this. The significance of this is that it all happened in a UK court, not some distant district of Texas (the rocket docket for trolls).

Speaking of patent trolls, the Microsoft-connected troll Acacia (already attacked Red Hat several times over the years) is said to have lost again. As Joe Mullin put it: “The largest publicly traded patent-holding company will have to pay online retailer Newegg $15,000 after bringing a frivolous appeal.

“The order brings to a conclusion what was a once-classic example of sprawling “patent troll” litigation. In 2010, AdjustaCam LLC, a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corp., filed suit (PDF) in Eastern Texas against dozens of companies, saying that they infringed US Patent No. 5,855,343, which describes a type of movable camera clip. The list of defendants included camera makers like Gear Head and Creative Labs, as well as retailers like Amazon, Newegg, K-Mart, Overstock.com, and Wal-Mart.”

This happened in Eastern Texas, but now we see similar things happening in London. It’s not getting any better; it gets worse over time. People in Europe should watch these developments and trends with some concern.

Speaking of Eastern Texas, see this new article about trolls:

Texas Patent Law as If Roy Bean Were Still On the Bench: “Hang ‘Em First, Try ‘Em Later”

East Texas is really a very nice place. The people are friendly. Living is relatively easy amongst the “Piney Woods.” The region is more like the Old South, or the southeastern U.S., than the scrub brush and high plains that many usually think of when they think of Texas. Riddled with rivers, creeks and bayous the climate lends itself to the growth of Spanish moss and bald cypress. But recently it is another climate in East Texas that has attracted the most attention – its lawsuit climate.

The US Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform recently released its annual lawsuit climate survey and Texas continues to fail, recently dropping again after some slight improvement in the last couple years. The Lone Star ranks an embarrassing 40th out of the 50 states.

Given the direction of the EPO’s management, Europe might soon become the same, little by little. The UPC would certainly contribute to this, for reasons we explained here many times before.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Privateering: UK court holds Ericsson patent valid, essential to LTE in case against Huawei, Samsung

    In March 2014, Unwired Planet sued several smartphone makers over various patents it had “acquired” from Ericsson. Actually, “acquired” misses the key commercial point here. In April I took a closer look at the related arrangements and couldn’t help but conclude that this was just a pseudo-sale of patents and simply an act of what is commonly referred to as “privateering.”

  2. Unwired Planet wins first of five patent trials against Samsung and Huawei

    Licensing company Unwired Planet has scored a double victory at the English High Court after it ruled that one of the company’s 4G standard-essential patents (SEPs) is valid and was infringed by Samsung and Huawei.

    Mr Justice Birss handed down his judgment today, November 23.

    The judgment is the conclusion of the first of five trials concerning the validity and any scope of infringement of Unwired’s five European SEPs, as well as a non-SEP, by Samsung and Huawei

    Samsung and Huawei argue that the patents are invalid.

Debunking the EPO’s Latest Marketing Nonsense From Les Échos and More on Benoît Battistelli’s Nastygram to French Politician

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

That’s a Scud by the way…

Battistelli with Scud

Summary: Our detailed remarks about French brainwash from the EPO’s media partner (with Benoît Battistelli extensively quoted) and the concerns increasingly raised by French politicians, who urge for national or even continental intervention

THE management of the EPO is very deep in a crisis, so it is now discouraging criticism if not demanding cessation thereof (similar to nastygrams in the slangy sense). This post will elaborate on what happened last week to a French minister (a longtime critic of the EPO [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]), but first we want to tackle some of the latest French propaganda from the EPO’s ‘media partner’ (euphemism for propaganda rag), Les Échos [1, 2, 3]. That’s because Benoît Battistelli is evidently citing this propaganda rag in private letters, in ‘support’ of his ludicrous, virtually indefensible side. As one commenter put it the other day: “In support of his argumentation, BB [Benoît Battistelli] also refers to recent press articles annexed to his letter, such as the paid-for article in EPO´s “media partner” Les Échos.”

Let’s look at what Les Échos has to say and annotate the text accordingly. “It is a sickening regurgitation of the Benoît Battistelli party line,” a reader told us, but nonetheless this reader translated the EPO-related part of the article:

Home -> Themes -> Transformation : put agility in your organisation Transformation: The “enemies” within

Yes, remember that the “enemy” is the staff. Not the management. The staff. That’s the premise.

Julie Le Bolzer | Le 19/11 à 11:39

Employees, unions and even bosses are sometimes so averse to change that the business transformation process is hindered. Some examples from the EPO, Air France KLM, and PSA.

We have already shown that PSA was altogether ‘airbrushed’ out of this article. The author loses credibility for not even mentioning this. Previously, parts that were critical of the EPO were also ‘airbrushed’ out of Les Échos articles.

As Benoît Battistelli, then director general of the [French] National Institute for Intellectual Property (INPI), took over in 2010 the leadership of the European Patent Office (EPO), his objectives were clearly defined. It was to reinforce and sustain the organisation’s competitiveness against its competitors from America and Asia, and to make it in the international office of record. Fact: the EPO, which had been created in the 1970s, has not evolved in 40 years, or very little. It is therefore necessary to profoundly reform it, at the structural, organisational and managerial levels.

“Competition with other patent offices,” we are told, is “management BS.” It’s not hard to see why given that the EPO enjoys a government-granted and government-protected monopoly inside Europe.

We are going to address and write about the roots of the EPO in some other article on some other day. The full story is rather embarrassing.

In concrete terms, Benoît Battistelli harnesses himself to a multi-pronged task: regulate salary increases (until then automatic), the right to strike and career progression (which are henceforth no longer based only on seniority but on performance), develop teleworking, implement a social agenda, adopt more transparency… And these were just the the internal transformations. On en external front, the EPO should differentiate itself from other international patent office (filing a patent in the United States costs 25% less). Amongst other innovations, the EPO supports the initiative of the countries of the European Union to create a unitary European patent, which is major progress for French and European businesses whose patents represent obvious competitive assets. The unitary patent is currently being ratified by national parliaments and could be implemented as early as next year in 26 different countries.

The thing about automatic “salary increases” is an “outright lies,” a reader told us. “Even in the “good old days” the god-damned production was #1 priority. The difference is that they can LEGALLY stand you up the wall, and they also do.”

Is the “unitary patent (UPC) a good thing? If so, for who? That’s like one of those articles boasting about the greatness of the TPP. A three-letter word on its own does not imply it’s good.

Now comes the worse propaganda:

European Patent Office : An in-house trade union is hostile to change

The problem might not be change itself but the kind of change. Big difference. They’re portraying staff as Luddites.

Here comes propaganda galore, as if Julie just did a copy-paste job without fact-check or research:

As of today, the transformation plan borne by Benoît Battistelli reveals its efficacy: an increase of 10% the productivity of the EPO and of 13% of the number of files handled (270,000 patent applications are received and nearly 70,000 are granted each year), an employer’s brand which has improved its images: more than 20,000 job applications were received for 200 positions to be filled…

As a reader put it:

“10% efficiency increase”? By what measure? Who can verify? How?

“270,000 applications” is the good ol’ pissing contest… This stupid trick was addressed repeatedly over the last few years in different blogs. The real number is about half of that. I don’t want to go in a course on patent law, but in a nutshell a large part of these applications never make it even to the doorstep of the EPO.

“The second part about Air France KLM seems a somewhat more balanced when compared to the first one,” our reader told us. “But should one trust it more than part one?”

Remember that Les Échos quietly remove the entire section about PSA. Completely too! To carry on with this puff piece:

But this process didn’t occur without resistance, nor even without grave disturbances, such as defamation campaigns, anonymous letters, personal attacks against the president and other office staff members. As any events which have left to disciplinary and judicial proceedings, some of which are still underway. The opponents to change, who are the root of opposition: certain SUEPO leaders, the in-house trade union worried by its dwindling influence over the 7000 employees, and which denounces the lack of checks and balances [literally: counter-powers] within the EPO.

Here’s a dictionary for the above paragraph:

Resistance=participation.

Disturbances=feedback.

Defamation=explanation.

Anonymous=afraid of reprisal from management.

Personal attacks=personal accounts.

Disciplinary and judicial proceedings=the EPO’s own Stasi-esque department (or "Gestapo"), the Investigative Unit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]], bolstered by ‘British Blackwater’, CRG.

SUEPO=staff.

The part that says “worried by its dwindling influence over the 7000 employees” is a lie. SUEPO is empowered by growing support from more EPO employees; it’s only harmed by union-busting actions from EPO management. Julie obviously didn’t pay attention to protests which took place a day before she wrote this article. About 2,000 people attended these, including some Directors (so there are defections to the union’s side even at the top).

Here is the last part:

The formal recognition process of unions at the EPO is well underway, and should lead to the signature of a first agreement in the coming weeks. The trade unions will thus have a status. The social dialogue was opened last April. “The goal is to build transformation in a collegial manner”, emphasises Benoît Battistelli. In such a climate of tension and even of extreme pressure, how could one maintain the course on a reform of such magnitude? “All that is excessive is not credible”, relativises the EPO president; “in particular, I have a strong ability for resistance and my beliefs are just as strong. I am conviced that the transformation of the EPO constitutes an asset for our employees and more widely for the European economy.”

“All that is excessive is not credible,” Battistelli is quoted as saying (by translation). Oh, the hypocrisy! The rest is just window dressing. Why didn’t Julie approach a staff representative for comment? Or even arbitrary staff? See, the purpose of this whole piece is to be one sides and paint a picture where only ‘poor’ rich people are the victims, not those whom they crush.

If this is the kind of puff piece that Battistelli uses as ‘evidence’ (from his media partner, relayed by Julie), then we worry that some politicians might be easy to bamboozle and pacify.

Looking at SUEPO’s Web site, we now see several translations of several items, some of which we translated before. These come from Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ and the parts we don’t yet have are copied below for future reference and permanent retention. Here is the translation of the original blog post from the French MP, who SUEPO says “represents French nationals living in Germany and Austria (among other countries).”

Letter to Emmanuel Macron regarding the crisis at the European Patent Office

18 November 2015

I was informed last week of the actions being undertaken by the management of the European Patent Office (EPO) against a number of executives of the SUEPO staff union and representatives of the personnel. A considerable number of witnesses have also been in touch with me, as recently as yesterday. I find the aims being pursued and the methods of investigation described in these communications profoundly shocking. The state of health of the persons involved concerns me deeply, and likewise the anxiety felt by their families. I cannot accept that, under cover of immunity from outside legal intervention, the individual and collective rights of the staff of an international organization can be trodden underfoot with the aims and practices of another age. The attempts to re-establish and develop social dialogue are not disruptive. For three years I have been following with close attention the social conflict and crisis of management at the EPO. I have talked to all the parties concerned, and I have consciously sent limited reports about my meetings and the initiatives taken to ease the situation and to contribute to the efforts to find a compromise solution. What has occurred in the past few days at a number of EPO facilities, however, has shown me that all such efforts will remain in vain unless radical change is forthcoming.

I am therefore making public the letter which I sent this Wednesday to the Minister of the Economy, Industry, and Digital Affairs, Emmanuel Macron, whose area of responsibility in the Government includes intellectual property, to draw his attention to the situation at the EPO and to call our country to action.

Here is the translations of the letter to Minister Macron:

National Assembly
Pierre-Yves LE BORGN’
Deputy for French Citizens Abroad

French Republic
Liberty – Equality – Fraternity

Mr. Emmanuel Macron
Minister of the Economy and Industry
Cologne, 18 November 2015

Re: Actions taken against representatives of the personnel of the European Patent Office

Dear Minister,

I am writing to draw your attention to the deterioration in social relations at the European Patent Office (EPO). Over the past few days, a number of EPO employees, among them active members of the EPO staff union (SUEPO) and representatives of the personnel, have been the target of actions initiated by the internal investigation unit. Witnesses who have come forward to me from a number of EPO facilities have been subjected to interrogations of unusual violence, which has left these persons in a state of shock and distress which is extremely detrimental to their well-being, involving medical treatment and leading to stoppages at work. I have received emotional messages from the persons concerned, as well as from their traumatised families and their distressed colleagues. A number of retired EPO staff have likewise approached me to inform me of their alarm and revulsion, feelings which I share. This situation is intolerable.

“Witnesses who have come forward to me from a number of EPO facilities have been subjected to interrogations of unusual violence, which has left these persons in a state of shock and distress which is extremely detrimental to their well-being, involving medical treatment and leading to stoppages at work.”For close to three years I have been consistently involved with the endless issues of social conflict which have been ravaging the EPO, engaging with the staff and the executive management of the organization. I have written to you on a number of occasions, and also to your predecessors. I am well aware of the challenge posed by managing such an important organization, with the numbers of staff involved and the high stakes at issue in the field of intellectual property. Conversely, I cannot in any manner condone the fact that intimidation and management by fear have taken the place of social dialogue. The immunity from outside legal intervention of an international organization cannot be allowed to lead to policies and practices being adopted which labour tribunals would condemn forthwith in any Member State of the Council of Europe, in line with the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter.

“More than 1,000 French citizens work at the EPO facilities, falling under my area of responsibility.”Labour law cannot be allowed to stop at the doors of the EPO. It is the responsibility of each Member State to take due note of the crisis of governance which has led the organization into this situation, which it must be clear to all cannot be allowed to shape the future. A social audit must be conducted without further delay, by an independent authority, recognized and chosen by the Administrative Council of the EPO. It is vital that the Administrative Council and therefore the Member States exercise close control over all the policies being applied at the EPO, including the social policy. I am expecting our country to engage with full commitment to this effect. The argument that prudence should be exercised simply because one of our compatriots is presiding over the destiny of the EPO is not pertinent. More than 1,000 French citizens work at the EPO facilities, falling under my area of responsibility. I am their deputy, and I intend to defend them.

“It is high time for France to act, side by side with other Member States, major purveyors of patents, and to make them aware of the situation.”I shall be meeting you next week in the company of other parliamentary colleagues. It is high time for France to act, side by side with other Member States, major purveyors of patents, and to make them aware of the situation. Too much time has been lost in useless discussion since the start of the conflict. The timid reservations and protests occasionally uttered have led to nothing. It is radical change in certain policies at the EPO, and therefore resolute action, which is at issue. An international organization cannot live a life divorced from, and contrary to, that of its Member States, and, likewise, divorced from and contrary to the rights of its personnel. The EPO is in need of the greatest and most urgent attention of those who created it. It is a formidable organization, which should be encouraged and maintained, and of which the staff, with their recognized skills and commitment, must be respected. I am confident in this respect that I can count on your full attention and understanding.

Yours faithfully,

Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’

We already covered the two latter items, beating SUEPO to it by a number of days thanks to our kind French-speaking readers (definitely not EPO staff).

As SUEPO put it, Battistelli “wrote to the Minister of Economy M. Macron to report on the deteriorating situation at EPO following the suspension of 3 union officials in Munich and attacks on a further two representatives in The Hague.

“Read here the exchange of letters which followed publication of this alert: they seem to show Mr Battistelli has lost both his control and his capacity for discernment, all the while accusing SUEPO officials of any number of extravagant and extraordinary crimes.”

Battistelli and his team go not only after SUEPO, their lawyers, and politicians but also after bloggers. These thugs need to be stopped. They evidently think that in EPOnia they’re the judge and the executioner.

“A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.”

Henry Mencken

The Sun King Delusion: The Views of Techrights Are Just a Mirror of EPO Staff Unions

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The God Delusion EPO

Summary: Tackling some emerging spin we have seen coming from Battistelli’s private letters — spin which strives to project the views of Techrights onto staff unions and why it’s very hypocritical a form of spin

THE highly (but shrewdly) misleading management of the EPO, some believe, is wrongly conflating SUEPO with Techrights whenever it suits the agenda, assuming that it’s true at all that Battistelli really pretends SUEPO is against the UPC (this recent letter from "Sun King" Battistelli to Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ says that there is an effort to "prevent the bringing into force of the Unitary Patent"). Just because I personally follow the SUEPO’s page (more regularly than before) does not mean I ever even spoke to anyone from SUEPO. As far as I’m aware, I never spoke to (or corresponded with) anyone from SUEPO. So please disregard the latest spin from the EPO. I do support a lot of what SUEPO is doing, seeing that the concerns raised in their site are legitimate concerns.

“…EPO have concluded that he must be part of the anti-UPC conspiracy and must be crushed using all resources available.”
      –Anonymous
“Dr. Schestowitz,” one person pointed out in a comment, “has often expressed misgivings about the UPC. Presumably management at the EPO have concluded that he must be part of the anti-UPC conspiracy and must be crushed using all resources available.”

This reminds me of 2006 and 2007 when people wrongly associated this site with the Free Software Foundation (FSF) just because we occasionally cited and agreed with the FSF. We sometimes openly disagree with the FSF. I even had to make it very clear in an article in 2007, having seen some blogs shamelessly perpetuating myths in order to shoot the messenger, thus discrediting the messages.

Techrights was never ever a front for anything or anyone. It never received money, except a few personal donations here in there (amounting, in total, to at most 400 pounds in 9 years, which on average means less than 50 pounds a year). Don’t ever fall to the illusions perpetrated by opponents of our causes. I don’t make any money from this site; it’s operating at ‘a loss’ (as if it’s actually a business) and I work full time in a completely separate field in order to subsidise the site’s hosting (about $1000 per year). There is no hidden motive here, it’s a platform for the expression of personal views. I care dearly about EPO staff these days (mostly technical people) because I see them crushed by non-technical brutes and I simply cannot step aside. It’s a cause I will continue to fight for no matter how much EPO management bullies me. Attempts to silence me have only made me more passionate.

“Is the present VP3, Mr Van der Eijk, still on unlimited sick leave and thus out of function? Is there any information about him?”
      –Anonymous
Speaking of causes, we are still hoping to receive information about the status of Van der Eijk. We have asked repeatedly, but nobody got in touch privately or in the comments. In fact, one new comment asks: “Is the present VP3, Mr Van der Eijk, still on unlimited sick leave and thus out of function? Is there any information about him?”

In other comments we find growing concerns about how EPO managers now exploit the media for their own agenda. To quote one person: “What I find incredible is that the EPO continues to conduct its internal affairs on external blogs, in advertorials and in public letters to French politicians. What self-respecting management would be pig-headed enough to get itself into this situation?”

Here is a response in another comment that says:

I think you kind of answered your own question. Only management that is so arrogant, so blinkered by their own brilliance, and so confident in their ability to do anything they like with impunity, that’s the kind of management you’re looking at.

We normal members of staff are perpetually horrified and disgusted by the behaviour of our higher management, and can not believe the total bollocks that they keep coming out with. Every time they do something crass, we think, they can’t do anything more stupid, and then they do. It’s quite incredible really, and would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

We are dealing with ever-increasing targets (+10% and rising), which have no basis in reality, whilst at the same time seeing zero improvement in our tools (apart from the enormous amount of money spent with nothing to show for it).

Finally, says another commenter: “With regard to mgt fighting blog games, the actions of mgt are barely credible and the PR battle is going against them. For a long time they kept a lofty disregard but as the battles became uncomfortable they have signed up with agencies for tidy sums who are clearly trying for reputation mgt using a different tactic. It looks like a last stand with backs to the wall but maybe that’s wishful thinking.”

“Speaking of a cause we can support, SUEPO is chastising the EPO president for his selective ‘transparency’ again (favourable omissions).”If EPO managers were ever to accuse us of working for someone or acting as a messenger of something or someone, that would simply be a despicable act of projection. It’s the EPO that’s doing such things (with Les Échos for example [1, 2, 3]), not us.

Speaking of a cause we can support, SUEPO is chastising the EPO president for his selective ‘transparency’ again (favourable omissions). SUEPO points out “what is missing” and lists that as follows:

  • Circular No. 347 Circular on Strikes
  • Circular No. 355 Regulations for the Staff Committee elections
  • Circular No. 356 Resources and facilities to be granted to the Staff Committee
  • Circular No. 364 Implementation of the career system. Minimum qualifications for recruitment, grading on recruitment, promotion and other rewards
  • Circular No. 365 General Guidelines on the EPO Competency Framework
  • Circular No. 366 General Guidelines on Performance Management
  • Circular No. 367 Absences for Health Reasons

According to SUEPO, the above, “as well as the Financial Regulations and the Tender Guidelines, amongst others, are missing. In the interest of potential job applicants and of the public in general, SUEPO calls upon Mr Battistelli to publish the missing parts.”

Better yet, if someone has access to these documents, consider ‘leaking’ them to us (it’s not even a case of civil disobedience because civil servants deserve no secrecy). In the interest of transparency, which Battistelli brags about in his now-infamous blog post, help us host these documents. These documents are in the public interest, they relate to a public body, and they should arguably all be in the public domain. Not only job applicants deserve to see these; the whole of the European Union (and other continent/countries where patent applicants come from) deserve access. From transparency comes accountability. From secrecy comes distrust and abuse.

“Both oligarch and tyrant mistrust the people, and therefore deprive them of their arms.”

Aristotle

Links 25/11/2015: Webconverger 33.1, Netrunner 17 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Snowdrift.coop Joins OSI as Newest Affiliate Member

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), recognized globally for promoting and protecting open source software and development communities, announced today the affiliate membership of Snowdrift.coop. Snowdrift.coop is building a sustainable funding platform for freely-licensed works. Unlike the one-to-one matching used in traditional fundraising, Snowdrift.coop uses a many-to-many matching pledge that creates a network effect (like the internet itself) so that each donation and even projects reinforce one another. A fundamental difference between Snowdrift.coop and one-time fundraising campaigns that help projects get started is that Snowdrift.coop pays out monthly to provide sustainability for ongoing work.

  • Google Kubernetes Is an Open-Source Software Hit

    Google Inc. has an open-source software hit on its hands.

    Google has capitalized on the growing popularity of so-called containers, which are standardized building blocks of code that easily can be moved around the Internet and across a broad range of devices. In June 2014, as containers were taking off in the world of software development, Google open sourced Kubernetes, its technology for managing clusters of containers. Since then, Google has captured about 80% of the market for cluster managers, according to consulting firm Cloud Technology Partners Inc.

  • Non-Linux FOSS: Install Windows? Yeah, Open Source Can Do That.

    For my day job, I occasionally have to demonstrate concepts in a Windows environment. The most time-consuming part of the process is almost always the installation. Don’t get me wrong; Linux takes a long time to install, but in order to set up a multi-system lab of Windows computers, it can take days!

  • Black Duck Survey: Open Source More Popular than Ever for Companies

    Open source is now companies’ “default approach” to software, and open source’s presence within the business world and the use of open source has nearly doubled since 2010. That’s according to the latest “Annual Future of Open Source” report from Black Duck Software.

  • Awfully pleased to meet you: survey finds open source needs more formal policies
  • 5 open source security tools to protect your firm

    Cyber security solutions can be expensive, often for good reason. However, there are also some very powerful open source offerings that can help keep you and company safe.

  • IBM Turns Up Heat Under Competition in Artificial Intelligence
  • Apache Incubator accepts IBM’s SystemML for open source development
  • IBM Machine Learning Algorithm Generator Becomes Open Source Apache Project
  • IBM open-sources its SystemML machine learning tech
  • IBM’s Machine Learning Technology Accepted as Apache Open Source Project
  • Indian Telcos Start Exploring SDN & NFV

    Spectrum limitations combined with growing demand for bandwidth are pushing Indian telcos to explore technologies like SDN and NFV, which have the potential to help them to maximize resource utilization.

  • Alcatel-Lucent joins the ONOS project partnership

    ON.Lab has announced that Alcatel-Lucent has joined the ONOS project, the Open source SDN Network Operating System (ONOS) for service providers and mission critical networks and a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project.

    ONOS is a carrier-grade SDN network operating system architected to provide high availability, scalability, performance, and rich northbound and southbound abstractions. Alcatel-Lucent will join service providers, vendors, collaborators and individual contributors to accelerate SDN/NFV adoption and drive open innovation.

  • How Might Open Source Fail?
  • Events

    • The Linux Foundation Becomes Steward of the Open Networking Summit

      If you’re able to get to the Silicon Valley area in March, there is a big open networking conference taking shape, with some very talented participants. The Linux Foundation is announcing that the Open Networking Summit (ONS) is becoming a Linux Foundation event, and ONS 2016 will take place March 14-17, 2016 in Santa Clara, Calif.

    • Visualize astrophysics data with Blender

      The Blender Conference has become a fantastic showcase not just of attractive art and animation, but also unconventional uses of Blender and open source software.

    • SDN/NFV DevRoom at FOSDEM: Deadline approaching!

      We extended the deadline for the SDN/NFV DevRoom at FOSDEM to Wednesday, November 25th recently – and we now have the makings of a great line-up!

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • MongoDB success stories

      The open source MongoDB NoSQL database is powering an increasing number of websites and services. Here are nine examples of organizations transforming their business with MongoDB.

  • CMS

    • Drupal Hub to spur on the growth of North East’s open source development community

      Drupal Hub will hold regular day time drop-in sessions as well as playing host to established Drupal events, thereby bringing people together to collaborate and contribute to the software.

      Other plans are in place for Drupal training days, Drupal user group meets, Drupal sprints and the Drupal Academy, which provides intensive training for users of all abilities.

    • Drupal-based farmOS manages food, farmers, and community

      FarmOS is a Drupal-based software project aimed at easing the day-to-day management of a farm. It allows different roles to be assigned to managers, workers, and viewers. Managers can monitor how things are going with access to the whole system, workers can use the record-keeping tools, and viewers have read-only access to, for example, certify the farm’s records.

    • Drupal 8 Released

      After years of development and a few delays, the open source Drupal 8 content management system (CMS) is now generally and freely available. Among the most popular and widely deployed CMS technologies in use today, Drupal counts whitehouse.gov and the Federal Communications Commission among its notable users.

  • Education

  • Apple

  • BSD

    • Hackfest OpenBSD presentations
    • Interview: Renato Westphal (renato@)

      My history with OpenBSD started around 2011 when I was still an undergrad student working part-time on an University-Industry partnership program. In this job I was assigned the task of implementing a full (!) MPLS solution for Linux and that task encompassed having a working implementation of the LDP protocol, among several other things. I started then looking for an open source implementation of LDP and found out that OpenBSD had a daemon called ldpd(8). I decided to check it out and it was love at the first sight when I saw its code: it was beautiful! I started then porting this daemon to Linux and on top of that fixed quite a few bugs. Two years later I decided that it would be fair to contribute my fixes back to the original implementation, it was when claudio@ invited me to join the OpenBSD team. Around that time I didn’t know much about OpenBSD and was surprised with the invitation. Theo de Raadt sent me a couple of emails and I had no clue about who he was. Nevertheless, I was excited with the invitation and started to follow the mailing lists and even bought a book about OpenBSD. Within a couple days I was hooked on it and OpenBSD became my OS of choice.

    • DragonFlyBSD Switches To Gold Linker By Default

      DragonFlyBSD has switched to using the Gold Linker by default rather than GNU ld.

      The GNU Gold linker for ELF files is designed to be faster and much more modern than the GNU linker. DragonFlyBSD has traditionally used GNU ld, but now Gold is ready for primetime use by default on this BSD distribution.

    • Clasp 0.4 — Lisp Over LLVM — Generates Code 200x Faster

      Clasp is a Common Lisp compiler based on LLVM that also provies seamless interoperation with C++ libraries.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Bulgarian ‘Future is Code’ school project ongoing

      Bulgaria’s ‘Future is Code’ initiative – where volunteers visit schools to introduce students and teachers to software development – which started in April, is continuing at least until the end of this month. The project has already introduced a handful of schools to open source. The volunteer-led project is supported by Bulgaria’s Ministry of Education.

  • Licensing

    • Why viral licensing is a ghost

      According to an historical and widely shared distinction, present on Wikipedia and generally supported by too many free software advocates including some lawyers, “Strong copyleft” (sometimes renamed “viral licensing”) refers to licences governing a copyrighted work to the extent that their copyleft provisions can be efficiently imposed on all kinds of derived works, including linked works: the same copyleft licence becomes applicable to the combination. At the contrary, “Weak copyleft” would refer to licenses (that are generally used for the creation of software libraries) where not all derived works inherit the copyleft license, depending on the manner in which it was derived: copies and changes to the covered software itself become subject to the copyleft provisions of such a license, but not the software that links to it. This allows programs covered by any license (even proprietary) to be compiled and linked against copylefted libraries such as glibc (the GNU project’s implementation of the C standard library), and then redistributed without any re-licensing required.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • DVCS and Git Usage in 2015

      Git unsurprisingly is the big winner, CVS the equally unsurprising loser. Nor has any of the data collected suggested material gains for non-Git platforms. DVCS in general has gained considerably, and is now close to parity and Git is overwhelmingly the most popular choice in that segment.

    • GitHub Bugzilla Hook

      Last month I’ve created a tool which adds comments to Bugzilla when a commit message references a bug number. It was done as a proof of concept and didn’t receive much attention at the time. Today I’m happy to announce the existence of GitHub Bugzilla Hook.

    • One truly massive Git — GitLab Enterprise Edition

      Open-source GitLab is being used for collaboration across over 100,000 organisations to help large distributed teams of developers to work together and control features that allow users to build apps with both accountability and enterprise-grade support.

    • GitLab Introduces New Version of Enterprise Edition for Git
    • The Current State Of Pyston As An Open-Source, High Performance Python

      A status update concerning the Dropbox-sponsored Pyston project was presented earlier this month.

      A status update on the open-source Python high-performance JIT project was shared at a Pyston meet-up two weeks ago. For those interested, the Pyston blog shared today that this interesting video has now been uploaded.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Fires and Other Problems in Indonesia

      Every year about 110,000 people die and others suffer from acute respiratory illnesses because of the fires started by the palm oil and timber corporations in Indonesia. In addition, much of its wildlife is affected and CO2 levels increase drastically. Contributing to the problem is the traditional slash/burn cultivation of Indonesian peasant farmers which is supposed to be illegal under Indonesian law..

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • UK to buy 9 Boeing patrol planes in £12 billion defence budget boost

      As part of a set of defense decisions that British Prime Minister David Cameron described as delighting President Barack Obama, the British government announced plans to purchase nine P-8 Poseidon long-range patrol planes from Boeing through a foreign military sale approved by the US government. The Poseidon, the aircraft built by Boeing to replace the US Navy’s aging Lockheed P-3 Orion antisubmarine warfare patrol aircraft, will fill the gap left by the retirement of the Royal Air Force’s Hawker Sidley Nimrod fleet over four years ago, and the cancellation of the UK’s own follow-on aircraft. It means about $1.5 billion more in business for Boeing and its partners; the Poseidon currently has a “flyaway” cost of $171.5 million per aircraft.

    • Was Russian aircraft shot down because its satellite navigation was wrong?

      Was a Russian Su-24 strike bomber over Turkish airspace earlier today when it was shot down by a Turkish F-16 fighter, as the Turkish government claimed? Or did it, as the Russians have claimed, fly in Syrian airspace and never cross the Turkish border? The Turkish and Russian governments have published conflicting evidence on the plane’s location as accusations fly between the two sides. But it’s entirely possible both sides are right—based on different data sources.

      With precision satellite navigation and radar systems available to both sides, one might think that it would be relatively simple to both know where the border was and avoid it or know for certain which side of the border the plane was on when it was shot down. But the Russians have published their own version of navigational tracking data that shows the Su-24 flying south of a part of the Turkish border that juts southward into Syria. The Turks claim that the jet, while clearly not mounting an attack against Turkey, was over a mile into Turkish airspace and had been repeatedly warned that it was on a course that would cross the border.

    • Downed Russian Su-24 Jet Located in Syrian Airspace – Kremlin

      The Russian Su-24 jet downed over Syria was located in Syrian airspace, the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

    • Turkey shoots down Russian war plane on Syria border

      NATO member Turkey on Tuesday shot down a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border, threatening a major spike in tensions between two key protagonists in the four-year Syria civil war.

      The Turkish presidency said in a statement that the plane was a Russian Su-24 fighter jet, while Turkish media said one pilot had been captured by rebel forces in Syria.

    • Turkey’s attack provocation to split int’l anti-terrorist coalition — French politician

      “The Turkish government is playing really foul games,” he wrote in his account in the web. “What was the Russian plane doing? It was delivering air strikes against the Islamic State. Did it pose any threat to Turkey? No. It means that it was another Turkey’s provocation seeking to set the international coalition which is currently being formed at odds. It is a well-staged shot in the back.”

    • The Russian Plane Made Two Ten Second Transits of Turkish Territory

      This is the official Turkish radar track of the Russian aircraft they shot down, in red. It briefly transited a tiny neck of Turkish land – less than two miles across where the Russian jet passed – twice. I calculate that each “incursion” over Turkish territory would have lasted about 10 seconds, assuming the plane was flying slowly at 600mph. That Turkey shot down the plane for this is madness, and absolutely indefensible. It is fairly obvious from the track that the plane was operating against Turkish sponsored Turkmen rebels inside Syria, and that is why the Turks shot it down.

    • Legal Does Not Mean Wise

      Even John Simpson on the BBC yesterday admitted that many innocent civilians had been killed in recent bombings of the ISIS occupied city of Raqqa. Though being the BBC, while reporting correctly that the United States, France and Russia are all bombing Raqqa, they contrived only to mention civilian deaths in a sentence about Russian bombing. That bombing creates terrorist blowback has been proven beyond any rational dispute. So if ending terrorism is truly the aim, it is a curiously counter-productive means of going about it.

    • Once Again, Media Terrorize the Public for the Terrorists

      Another devastating terror spectacle and another media panic playing right into the script: spreading fear and sowing Islamophobia. Better writers than I have documented the latter, but not as much attention has been paid to the former—how in the wake of the Paris attacks 10 days ago, much of the media have needlessly stoked fears and acted, entirely predictably, as the PR wing for terrorists.

    • Rohan Silva: David Cameron must curb the Saudi cash fuelling Islamic State ideology

      It’s been 10 days since the appalling terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, and the focus is rightly on how to hit back. The Prime Minister has promised a “comprehensive plan”, including military action in Syria and increased funding for our security services.

      But if the Government’s response is to be truly “comprehensive”, it must also look at how we tackle the fundamentalist ideology behind the murder of innocent people worldwide, as well as the sexual slavery and rape of women in Islamic State-occupied territories.

    • The Anonymous Assault On ISIS Is Hurting More Than It’s Helping

      Except there’s a major problem with the latest Anonymous campaign. A large number of the accounts they’re suspending have absolutely nothing to do with ISIS. A review of the banned accounts by Ars Technica found that large number of the accounts were banned simply for using Arabic, with many ordinary Palestinian, Chechan and Kurdish users caught in the crossfire.

    • Frances Barber is right – Islamic extremism is changing London beyond recognition

      On Sunday evening, after the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, that excellent actress Frances Barber summoned an Uber car. When the taxi arrived, Barber observed pleasantly that it was a cold night and the driver replied that she shouldn’t be out alone at that time and that she was “disgustingly dressed”. Barber tweeted that she was so angry, she got out, slammed the door and yelled.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • What can technology do about climate change?

      Frustrated by a sense of global mispriorities, I blurted out some snarky and mildly regrettable tweets on the lack of attention to climate change in the tech industry (Twitter being a sublime medium for the snarky and regrettable). Climate change is the problem of our time, it’s everyone’s problem, and most of our problem-solvers are assuming that someone else will solve it.

  • Finance

    • Will Qora solve Bitcoin’s biggest problems?

      Marc Andreesen calls it an invention as profound as “computers in 1975″ and “the Internet in 1993.” Fred Wilson thinks it’s the future of social media. Kim Dotcom wants to build a new global network on it.

      And the team behind Qora wants to bring it directly to you—the open source way, of course.

      Qora is one of many so-called “second generation” cryptocurrencies emerging in the wake of Bitcoin’s unignorable popularity. But Qora is more than a currency. Simply put, it’s a peer-to-peer transaction technology; it allows people to exchange digital assets without an intermediary (and in relative privacy).

      To do this, it leverages the blockchain. Sure, the blockchain is the beating heart of Bitcoin, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. But Qora developers believe it can power so much more.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • O’Reilly Claims He’s Never Seen Racism From Donald Trump, Then Highlights His Racist Tweet

      Fox host Bill O’Reilly defended Donald Trump, claiming he’s never seen the GOP presidential hopeful show any racism, while correcting Trump’s insensitive and wildly inaccurate tweet that falsely claimed that African-Americans are responsible for more than 80 percent of murders against whites. FBI crime data shows that the majority of murders are committed by members of the same race.

    • New Study Shows Why Media Need To Disclose Funding Behind Fossil Fuel Front Groups

      A new study found that organizations funded by ExxonMobil and the oil billionaire Koch brothers may have played a key role in sowing doubt in the U.S. about climate change. These findings reveal how important it is for media to disclose the industry ties behind front groups that consistently misinform the public.

    • A Day in the Quality of Life at the Manhattan Institute

      Ah, so the media homeless hysteria in fact preceded the public’s opinion swing, helping to shape it. That makes a lot of sense. A few straight days of front pages might convince people that there’s a problem. If “menace” can be measured through New York Post covers, then Siegel was right. And if the question of there being a breakdown of the city’s quality of life, the theme of the panel, was primarily media-made, then the Manhattan Institute was smart to stay ahead of that narrative by hosting writers and journalists at events that take MI’s own claims as self-evident.

  • Censorship

    • In Wake of Paris, FCC Seeks Power to Monitor, Shutter Websites

      Citing possible links between terror-related websites and online communications and Friday’s attacks on Paris, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler suggested Tuesday Congress give the agency more authority to use ‘big data’ to monitor and act on potential threats.

      Appearing at a hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the Federal Communications Commission chairman told lawmakers that updating a 1994 law could give the agency more power to assist law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the surveillance of terror suspects online.

    • Phuc Dat Bich admits hoax in Facebook name battle

      An Australian calling himself Phuc Dat Bich who made global headlines after saying he was fighting to use his real name on Facebook admits it was hoax.

      “Mr Bich” said on Facebook his real name was “Joe Carr” (or perhaps joker).

      He said what had started as a joke between friends “became a prank that made a fool out of the media”.

      But he said it also brought out the best in people and gave encouragement to people with “truly interesting and idiosyncratic names”.

      Facebook have not responded to BBC requests for comment.

  • Privacy

    • Hardwiring Freedom

      A day in Stockholm where we discuss how to protect privacy and push back against draconian surveillance and security laws.

    • After Dropbox finds a child porn collector, a chess club stops his knife attack

      This is not particularly difficult to do. In 2009, Microsoft built a tool called PhotoDNA that automates the scanning and matching process, converting incoming images to grayscale and chopping them up into tiny squares. Each piece of image data then passes through a one-way hashing function which generates a unique number based on the square’s shading pattern. Taken together, these hashes make up the “PhotoDNA signature” of an image; any future picture that generates the same signature is almost certain to be a copy of the original image. Microsoft claims that its multi-hashing system is powerful enough to detect illegal images even after basic tweaks such as re-cropping or watermarking.

    • For a Parliamentary Investigation Committee on the Recent Attacks and Surveillance Laws

      The killings committed in Paris and Saint-Denis on the evening of 13 November have been absolutely shocking. After the sorrow and mourning, we all try to make sense of the terrible violence of these attacks, a reminder of the current state of the world.

    • Privacy class action suit against Facebook reaches Austrian Supreme Court

      An attempt to bring a class action suit against Facebook for alleged privacy violations has reached the Austrian Supreme Court. This follows a decision by the Vienna Court of Appeals that the plaintiff, the Austrian privacy activist Max Schrems, could file his own claim in the local court, even though Facebook’s international headquarters are in Ireland. However, the same court also ruled that similar claims by other Facebook users cannot be combined into a class action.

      The Austrian Supreme Court is being asked by Facebook to dismiss the entire lawsuit, while Schrems hopes to be given permission to start a class action by combining his “model case” with those of others.

    • Two Dell laptop models are shipping with a Superfish-style certificate hack
    • How to Baffle Web Trackers by Obfuscating Your Movements Online

      Online ad networks and search engines love it when you surf around. Everything you do—every page you load, every query you type—helps them build a profile of you, the better to sell ads targeting your interests. Spy agencies are probably also happy to track your online moves.

    • Is the Web better without JavaScript?

      JavaScript has been a mixed blessing for the Web. It has helped provide some useful features, but it has also contributed to bloated, insecure and downright messy Web pages. One writer at Wired turned off JavaScript and shared his experience of a cleaner and lighter Web.

    • I Turned Off JavaScript for a Whole Week and It Was Glorious

      There’s another web out there, a better web hiding just below the surface of the one we surf from our phones and tablets and laptops every day. A web with no ads, no endlessly scrolling pages, and no annoying modal windows begging you to share the site on social media or sign up for a newsletter. The best part is that you don’t need a special browser extension or an invite-only app to access this alternate reality. All you need to do is change one little setting in your browser of choice. Just un-tick the checkbox that enables “JavaScript” and away you go, to a simpler, cleaner web.

    • California Police Used Illegal Wiretap Warrants In Hundreds Of Drug Prosecutions

      Earlier this month, Brad Heath and Brett Kelman of USA Today reported that the DEA was running a massive amount of wiretap applications through a single judge in Riverside County, California. Judge Helios Hernandez has signed off on five times as many wiretap warrants as any other judge in the United States.

    • NSA Collected Americans’ E-mails Even After it Stopped Collecting Americans’ E-mails

      In 2001, the Bush administration authorized — almost certainly illegally — the NSA to conduct bulk electronic surveillance on Americans: phone calls, e-mails, financial information, and so on. We learned a lot about the bulk phone metadata collection program from the documents provided by Edward Snowden, and it was the focus of debate surrounding the USA FREEDOM Act. E-mail metadata surveillance, however, wasn’t part of that law. We learned the name of the program — STELLAR WIND — when it was leaked in 2004. But supposedly the NSA stopped collecting that data in 2011, because it wasn’t cost-effective.

  • Civil Rights

    • Two dozen Disney IT workers prepare to sue over foreign replacements

      These employees are making discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, citing in part “hostile treatment in forcing the Americans to train their replacements.”

      At least 23 former Disney IT workers have filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over the loss of their jobs to foreign replacements. This federal filing is a first step to filing a lawsuit alleging discrimination.

    • The Sorry Tale of the PECB, Pakistan’s Terrible Electronic Crime Bill

      It is a truth universally acknowledged that a government, in the wake of a national security crisis—or hostage to the perceived threat of one—will pursue and in many cases enact legislation that is claimed to protect its citizens from danger, actual or otherwise. These security laws often include wide-ranging provisions that do anything but protect their citizens’ rights or their safety. We have seen this happen time and time again, from the America’s PATRIOT Act to Canada’s C-51. The latest wave of statements by politicians after the Paris bombing implies we will see more of the same very soon.

    • Missing Minutes From Security Video Raises Questions

      Chicago police officers deleted footage from a security camera at a Burger King restaurant located fewer than 100 yards from where 17-year old Laquan McDonald was shot and killed, according to a Chicago-area district manager for the food chain.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Comcast Tests Net Neutrality By Letting Its Own Streaming Service Bypass Usage Caps

      By now, Comcast’s strategy for fighting internet video competition is very clear. For one, the company is slowly but surely expanding usage caps into dozens of new markets. In these ever-expanding areas, Comcast imposes a 300 GB usage cap, then charges users $10 for every 50 GB of extra data they consume. Comcast’s also now testing a new wrinkle wherein users have the option of paying another $30 to $35 if they want unlimited data. In short, the option to have the same unlimited connection they had yesterday will cost these users significantly more.

      But recently, Comcast’s other spoke in this strategy started to reveal itself. The company is slowly but surely expanding a creatively named streaming video service named Stream. Stream provides Comcast broadband-only users a $15 service that includes live TV, video on demand, and HBO, and it’s Comcast’s way of trying to keep would-be cord cutters in house.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Should intellectual property be abolished?

      The Economist has recently popularised the notion that patents are bad for innovation. Is this right? In my view, this assessment results from too high an expectation of what should be achieved by patents or other intellectual property.

      Critics of intellectual property rights seem to think that they should be tested by whether they actually increase creativity. Similarly, in the field of competition law, commentators suppose that it is necessary to balance the innovation promoted by intellectual property against the competition safeguarded by competition law.

    • EFF Joins Broad Coalition of Groups to Protest the TPP in Washington D.C.

      We were out on the streets this week to march against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement in the U.S. Capitol. We were there to demonstrate the beginning of a unified movement of diverse organizations calling on officials to review and reject the deal based on its substance, which we can finally read and dissect now that the final text is officially released.

    • Key Flaws in the European Commission’s Proposals for Foreign Investor Protection in TTIP

      In November 2015, the European Commission released a proposed text on foreign investor protection in the EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). In this paper, I outline key flaws in this proposal, including language buried in the text that significantly undermines the EC’s proposed provisions on the “investment court system” (ICS) and on the right to regulate.

    • IP-rimer: A Basic Explanation of Intellectual Property

      What Is Intellectual Property?

      A thing you own that isn’t a physical thing.

    • Copyrights

      • Dotcom’s Extradition Hearing ‘Ambushed’ With New Evidence

        After being scheduled for no more than a month, Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing has dragged on for almost 10 weeks. Expected to wrap up during the next two days, there’s yet more uncertainty after the prosecution attempted to introduce new evidence at the 11th hour.

      • Kim Dotcom Slams U.S. “Bullies” as Extradition Hearing Ends

        Kim Dotcom says he retains hope as his all-important extradition hearing wrapped up in New Zealand today. The fate of the Megaupload founder, who just slammed the U.S. as “bullies”, now lies in the hands of the judge who gave him bail almost four years ago.

      • Cox Has No DMCA Safe Harbor Protection, Judge Rules

        Internet provider Cox Communications may be held liable for the copyright infringements of its subscribers, a Virginia District Court has ruled. According to the court, Cox failed to properly implement a repeat infringer policy and is not entitled to DMCA safe-harbor protection.

      • CDs should come with download codes

        There’s a Vinyl resurgence going on, with vinyl record sales growing year-on-year. Many of the people buying records don’t have record players. Many records are sold including a download code, granting the owner an (often one-time) opportunity to download a digital copy of the album they just bought.

        Some may be tempted to look down upon those buying vinyl records, especially those who don’t have a means to play them. The record itself is, now more than ever, a physical totem rather than a media for the music. But is this really that different to how we’ve treated audio CDs this century?

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts