12.08.15

Watch Out for the Latest EPO Charm Offensive in the Media, Greenwashing Being the Theme Du Jour

Posted in Deception, Europe, Marketing, Patents at 11:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tired of exploiting refugees and cancer for public relations (PR) purposes?

Greenwashing card

Summary: The European Patent Office is now pulling the greenwashing card in an effort to improve its image

WIKIPEDIA defines greenwashing as “a form of spin in which green PR or green marketing is deceptively used to promote the perception that an organization’s products, aims or policies are environmentally friendly.”

“Media “presence” objectives spring to mind; the EPO is now interjecting itself into media after this sort of publicity stunt (usually coordinated with some partners such as IAM or UNEP in this latest case).”Well, the EPO is now doing exactly that (warning: this is an epo.org link) and we can’t help but wonder if this is part of the media presence campaign, or seeding of positive publicity. Around the same time that the EPO was negotiating with and working towards ~$1,000,000 in budget to fracking AstroTurfers from FTI Consulting the EPO also came up with the headline “EPO to donate EUR 100 000 to help refugees in Munich” (small money compared to what was spent manipulating the media).

The EPO’s latest charm offensive (of the greenwashing kind) is already in rather obscure British media and Chinese state media. Media “presence” objectives spring to mind; the EPO is now interjecting itself into media after this sort of publicity stunt (usually coordinated with some partners such as IAM or UNEP in this latest case).

“As many can probably agree, the cute and cuddly narrative which the EPO’s management is trying to prop up is enough to make some people vomit.”Speaking of opportunistic charm offensives, see this new article titled “EPO intends to grant patent to its cancer immune primer INTUVAX”. This will become very relavant when we cover future scandals. We are going show how the EPO uses cancer to advance its political agenda while also pretending to fight cancer. In reality, the EPO uses cancer to crush ‘unwanted’ staff.

As many can probably agree, the cute and cuddly narrative which the EPO’s management is trying to prop up is enough to make some people vomit.

“When good men die their goodness does not perish, but lives though they are gone. As for the bad, all that was theirs dies and is buried with them.”

Euripides

EPO ‘Investigators’ Are Almost Technically Illiterate, Definitely Biased by Design

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The “copy-paste” department of the European Patent Office (EPO) evokes the Yuppie-Nuremberg defense?

Inspector Gadget

Summary: Why the EPO’s praetorian guard seems incapable of forming solid arguments, let alone form an independent, unbiased evaluation of the situation (guess who pays the bill)

THE EPO‘s management must have realised by now that outside the area of patent examination (brilliant people!) it simply lacks brainpower. Any administration of such precious manpower must be respectful towards such an invaluable asset. Team Battistelli (a tightly-connected cabal), however, does everything wrong. The schoolyard bully behaviour is renowned as a hallmark of insecurity due to lack of mental capacity.

The EPO is now trying to hire ‘forensics’-centric experts (more technical people), based on these recent job openings. Seeing the quality of EPO ‘investigations’, we can’t say we’re surprised.

“The schoolyard bully behaviour is renowned as a hallmark of insecurity due to lack of mental capacity.”Let’s start with some funny nitpicking. if the EPO didn’t just BLOCK the whole of Techrights (site-wide), its so-called ‘investigators’ would possibly have typed the domain name right. They write techrights.com instead of techrights.org. Maybe they don’t even know the difference and can’t grasp the concept of domain suffix. Remember that the EPO does not employ technical people in the I.U. (we wrote about its members before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). Control Risks staff too have come from a background of war and conflict*, not technology. When the EPO hires FTI Consulting and Control Risks it reveals its vested interests. It is basically hiring notorious union busters (in secret), not investigators. For the former, the EPO alleges that it is merely misunderstood by the public and for the latter it alleges it is doing “investigations”. Well, judging by the history of Control Risks, it’s actually about resistance-crushing and union-busting, perhaps cleverly disguised as “intelligence”.

Whoever wrote the terrible “J’accuse” against Hardon (it’s said to be the I.U. and Control Risks, who depend for their salary on appeasing Team Battistelli) is clearly is more of a wannabe prosecutor, not an investigator. For hire in the case of Control Risks…

“They evidently send what seems like templates, with slight variations.”Only one who is clueless about matters of law would accept allegations brought forth by people who claim to be “investigators” (totally not independent) who are paid by the accuser…

In the “J’accuse” of Team Battistelli, these well-paid spinners try to paint EPO managers as saving staff from suicides; by means of malicious insinuations, the so-called ‘investigators’ blame it on SUEPO.

Let’s leave aside the self-serving spin for a moment.

“They refer to a lady as “Mister” because they forgot to properly edit their templates.”Whoever writes the laughable accusations for the EPO is clearly not technical. Bush says he uses “the Google” and the EPO’s so-called ‘investigators’ say “this letter was also published on internet on the websites of Fosspatents” (that’s Florian Müller).

Yes, they said “on internet” (never mind lack of capitalisation). They must have meant “on the Internet”.

But wait, it gets worse. They evidently send what seems like templates, with slight variations. Consider the following two examples (two different letters on the left and on the right):

Threats letter 1

Here are a third and fourth letters:

Threats letter 2

Look more closely at this second pair They refer to a lady as “Mister” because they forgot to properly edit their templates.

Threats letter to Hardon

I too received legal letters with the wrong name in them, suggesting that a template was used and a similar threat was probably sent to another blogger/reporter (if not many more). But hey, maybe they’re just lazy, as they’re clearly not underfunded.

Watch the so-called ‘investigator’ (or accuser) using whois as a sort ‘evidence’ appended to letters. Nice job, 'Sherlock'!

SUEPO whois

Perhaps it’s not the case that the EPO’s management is malicious. Maybe it’s just not competent enough (mentally) to realise that what it’s doing will backfire pretty badly. They don’t seem to understand how the Streisand Effect works.
_________
* We sometimes wonder if the EPO can (mis)use its contract with the UK-based Control Risks for parallel construction, e.g. through mates in GCHQ. If this kind of lawlessness prevails (as it certainly does in Five Eyes whenever it serves those in power), a so-called ‘anti-terrorism’ apparatus can provide powerful people with parallel construction-derived pointers. In Five Eyes nations like the UK, journalists (not paid stenographers) are not safe, not even in their own homes (not anymore).

Chairman of the Administrative Council Failed to Stop Suspension (and Potential Firing) of EPO Staff Representatives

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

When passivity implies cooperation if not complicity…

Chairman of the Administrative Council Jesper Kongstad
Photo credit: DKPTO at Flickr

Summary: A new document serves to show that the body capable of firing people inside of Team Battistelli failed to prevent gross and unprecedented union-busting actions

Jesper Kongstad, the Chairman of the Administrative Council (AC), was apparently contacted days before the suspension of staff representatives, based on new information which was leaked to us (definitely not by any of the persons involved). According to this, days (almost one week) before the suspension, Kongstad had the capacity to intervene, but he did not.

Here is a letter send to Kongstad on the 11th of November, 2015.

To:
Jesper Kongstad
Chairman of the Administrative Council
[E-mail redacted]

Further investigations of staff representatives and/or union executives

Dear Mr Kongstad,

We take note of your intention to have “the staff voice being heard in the social study”. However, we remind you that so far the exercise of “renewed social dialogue” has been severely compromised by investigations launched by the Administration, in particular of late by PD4.3 (Human Resources), against staff representatives and union officials.

We deplore that further, new threats have been issued very recently by PD4.3 targeting staff representatives and union officials (see annexes 1-4). Although the allegations are once again regarded as unfounded (e.g. see reply in annex 5-6), we note that these threats appear to be synchronized with the announcement from the AC (in their October meeting) that they intend to reopen discussions with the staff representation including the unions. In our opinion, this clearly demonstrates that Mr. Battistelli has a different agenda and is sabotaging with intent any kind of possible rapprochement and progress towards a renewed social dialogue. Consequently, our position on further talks – as expressed in our letter to you on 9 June 2015 (su15228cl) – remains the same.

We therefore request you and the Council once more to order the Office to cease and desist from such intimidating actions, and this to be a prerequisite before further talks on union recognition or other matters pertaining to the current social conflict can take place.

As long as staff representatives and/or union officials are subjected to such baseless, obscure and fabricated attacks we consider that the necessary framework to conduct frank and meaningful negotiations is not provided.

Yours sincerely,

[Redacted]

We now know that the EPO promotes aggressive staff and stomps on the rule of law in an effort to crush these staff representatives. Can Kongstad not see what’s going on?

“There’s a reason why the EPO wants to keep its so-called ‘investigations’ secret. They’re not really investigations but personal attacks or union-busting actions.”To quote this one new comment, the EPO’s “scapegoats are questioned by the secret police without giving them information [...] akin to a novel by Kafka.” Another person takes note (in an earlier comment) of “Propaganda organised via the spoiling of 880.000 Eur of applicant’s money…” (alluding to this leak)

The discussion in IP Kat is in itself quite revealing. People inside and outside the organisation expect a collapse and the above actions, which the AC just let be, contribute to that collapse. Does Kongstad want his employer (further up above EPO) to collapse? It’s not low-level staff that sabotages the EPO, it’s the high-level management.

As shown here the other day, the EPO now practices an imperialistic approach of divide and rule by insisting on secrecy and gagging its victims (or scapegoats) in isolation. There’s a reason why the EPO wants to keep its so-called ‘investigations’ secret. They’re not really investigations but personal attacks or union-busting actions. People who support the busting of unions are on the wrong side of history.

“Duty is what one expects from others.”

Oscar Wilde

EPO’s Team Battistelli is Promoting Only the Oppressors

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Increased French militarisation of the EPO

Nadja Merdaci-LefèvreSummary: Echoing Parisian trends, the EPO is promoting someone from the French secret services, who served in Afghanistan (and some say has distant connections to Control Risks)

THE EPO clearly isn’t an ordinary institution. It has become a den of intimidation and abuse. The intimidation and abuse come from the management, so it’s a top-down thing, not some kind of uprise or revolt from the bottom.

The previous post highlighted the EPO’s departure from the rule of law (due process for instance). The priority at the EPO these days isn’t granting patents but bullying critics, even outside critics.

“The priority at the EPO these days isn’t granting patents but bullying critics, even outside critics.”Not too long ago we mentioned Lefèvre's role in the notorious Investigative Unit, or I.U. ("gestapo" is what some people call it internally because of its methods [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]). She was also involved in a so-called 'communication campaign', which was basically propaganda intended to pretend that EPO staff is generally happy (even though almost everyone is not).

In the last part of our series about Elodie Bergot and Gilles Requena we mentioned how Lefèvre was likely to be appointed to a certain high role and how right were our sources! “As seen today on the EPO intranet,” a source told us, there is now “an update on the incredible careers of two extremely bright and gifted ladies…” (the second one being Bergot, c/f part one, part two, part three of “EPO: It’s Like a Family Business”).

Our source joked: “How many others applied for the director post? If any, were they invited to Ms. Lefèvre’s directorate for an interview, or did the Investigation Unit pay them a visit for an in-depth, on-the-spot check of their qualifications?”

Well, the appointment was announced by none other than Željko Topić, whose history crushing people whom he doesn’t agree with we covered here last week.

Home->Organisation->DG4->The Vice-President->Announcements->2015

New Director in PD 4.3

08.12.2015

New Director HR Strategic Support and Change Management

I am pleased to announce the nomination of Ms Nadja Lefèvre as new Director HR Strategic Support and Change Management with effect from 1 January 2016. Directorate 4.3.0 HR Strategic Support and Change Management combines the units internal Communication, Conflict Resolution as well as Administrative Services for Social Dialogue. Ms Lefèvre’s previous role as Advisor to PD 4.3 will be taken over by Ms Najoie Sayeh-Bourgeois, currently HR Partner.

The DG 4 management team and I welcome Ms Lefèvre and Ms Sayeh-Bourgeois to their new roles and wish them every success in their new functions.

Željko Topić Vice-President DG 4

08.12.151 Author Željko Topić – Vice-President DG 4

What a splendid promotion. It’s not even a surprise at this stage. Team Battistelli is moving further up while its opponents are in the process of ejection.

“The office told WIPR the unit consists of six members: three investigators, two support staff and one head of the unit.”
      –WIPR
According to a new WIPR article about Thursday’s expected protest (titled “EPO staff to hold third demo in as many weeks”), “the EPO is hiring an investigator with forensic specialities to join its investigations unit.

“The office told WIPR the unit consists of six members: three investigators, two support staff and one head of the unit.”

They are expanding, based on these recent job advertisements. What’s the pretext/excuse? Well, everyone who dares to question Team Battistelli is now "Mafia", "Nazi", "Sniper", or something along those lines. The aggressive management uses projection to basically characterise its exposers or critics as armed and dangerous.

Incidentally, SUEPO has just issued a statement titled “Countering the propaganda“. In it, SUEPO states:

Management is alleging that some of its senior members received threats, inside and outside of the Office. A spokesperson for the EPO told WIPR that “EPO officials (senior managers but also colleagues at working level) are increasingly subject to personal attacks and undue exposure through blogs, flyers, and calls for violence”.

If there have been individual threats, surely the Office will have acted directly against the culprit (and rightly so). But we have never seen a flier or a blog calling for violence. We wonder if such allegations are not fabricated to harness sympathy among staff and outsiders, at a time when senior management has (finally) landed under intense public scrutiny for their actions. No matter how much they try to portray themselves differently, (senior) managers are not the victims: they are the perpetrators of institutional violence, particularly violence directed against those who dare to express disagreement with certain policies.

Such cheap allegations discredit EPO staff. They call into question our integrity and are an insult to our dignity of honest employee. We do not deserve that. We are committed to seeking change through peaceful protest, negotiation, transparency, and the application of checks and balances – not through threats and intimidation.

Management should commit to the same.

We have been writing about this for well over a month and when asked by journalists too we told them that there was a fictional narrative being used by the EPO’s management. It’s a common strategy and it’s potentially a defamatory strategy. We often find that, contrary to the EPO management’s claims, it is actually the management which engages in a campaign of defamation.

“Most writers regard truth as their most valuable possession, and therefore are most economical in its use.”

Mark Twain

Legal Analysis Reveals That EPO Principal Director for Human Resources (Bergot) Resorts to “Gross Violation of Due Process”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Why the EPO’s attack on staff representatives is so outrageous, based on a legal letter sent to the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Speech and Expression, Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Association, Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders, Jesper Kongstad (Administrative Council), and Director of the Netherlands Patent Office

IN order for people to understand just how out of line the EPO‘s management has stepped, at this point in time we may need to show some legal documents which explain what the EPO’s management is actually doing.

The lawyers' response which we published here earlier today we now have in textual form. This reply is important as it helps highlight some of the things wrong with the EPO’s approach. It was also copied to some staff at the United Nations.

Having received it from several sources (not just one), we now wish to post this as HTML. “This one is already two-weeks old,” told us one source, “but just came out.” This source is aware that many people are becoming aware of this response (as they probably ought to). “It will probably reach you by more than one correspondent,” we were rightly told.

Here it is without any annotation or emphasis:

SCHWAB | FLAHERTY | ASSOCIES

Attention : Nouvelle address
7, rue de Candolie
CH-1205 Geneve

Alexandre J . Schwab
Avocat – MBA

Edward Patrick Flaherty
Attorney at law – Member of the US Supreme Court
and Massachusetts Bar
Membre de l’Ordre des Avocats de Geneve

Michael Ford Shanahan
Attorney at law – MBA
Member of the US Court of Appeals
for the Armed Forces and Colorado Bar

Can Burak Bayhan
Attorney-at-Law
Economist/stock & FX Expert
Member of the Istanbul Bar Association

Monika Ona Bileris
Attorney- at-Law
Member of the New York Bar (USA)

RECOMMANDEE & PAR
COURRIEL

Mr Jesper Kongstad
Director General
Danish Patent and Trademark Office
Helgeshoj Alle 81
2630 TAASTRUP
DANEMARK
e-mail: -

Mr Derk-Jan De Groot
Director–Netherlands Patent Office
P.O. Box 10366
2501 HJ DEN HAAG
PAYS-BAS
e-mail: -

Geneva, 23 November 201:5

Concerne: Ms Elizabeth Hardon v European Patent Office (EPO)

Dear Sirs:

Further to my three (3) prior letters to you concerning my client, EPO Staff member Ms. Hardon, dated 8 and 21 October, and 11 November 2015, respectively1 by which we
__________________________________
1 These letters detailed a number of procedural and substantive detects in the pending disciplinary proceedings against Ms. Hardon, which are clearly directed against her on account of her actions in her capacity, to wit:
*the charge letter of 4 September 2015 (case N°. – –detailed in my letter and attachments of 8 October 2015) did not state the name of the complainants (in violation of ILOAT Judgment N° . 2014 which holds that it is “contrary to due process to require an accused staff member to answer unsubstantiated allegations made by unknown persons”), the source of the purported statements asserted as misconduct in the letter, or any evidentiary basis for the initiation of the investigation against Ms. Hardon.
*the charge letter of 4 September makes clear that the claims against Mr. Hardon (that she “orchestrated and promoted” a harassment campaign against an EPO colleague, and that she later attempted to intimidate other staff representatives) were based on confidential meetings of the Local Staff Committee in Munich, which is both an egregious breach of confidentiality as well as the right of all EPO staff members to exercise their freedom of speech and association.
*the charge letter of 4 September claims that a single (indeed misquoted) sentence expressed in a confidential discussion among duly elected EPO staff representatives, and at best an assertion of an opinion rather than one of fact, amounts to actionable “harassment”.
*As indicated in my letter of 8 October, the charges of 4 September 2015 are very similar to specious harassment charges brought against Ms. Hardon nearly two years ago, also in her capacity as a staff representative, also based on a single sentence, expressing the collective opinion of several staff representatives, contained in a confidential email sent to 16 recipients who were either elected staff representatives or experts retained by such


Page | 2

demanded that you initiate an independent investigation into her claims of institutional harassment, Ms. Hardon was now been advised by letter dated 17 November 2015 from the Principal Director for Human Resources, – , that she was suspended immediately from service until further notice, on the basis of allegations of alleged harassment detailed in my prior letters to you referenced above (extract attached). Additionally, Ms. Hardon is now accused of conspiring with a suspended EPO staff member from DG3 “to systematically and repeatedly disseminate defamatory information”, and to have communicated “with various members of news outlets, throughout 2013 and 2014, disclosing without authorisation non-public information”. It appears obvious that the Office will move swiftly to terminate Ms. Hardon’ s appointment, which has clearly been its bad faith intention all along.

Ms. Hardon has denied any and all allegations of misconduct against her and continues to do so. The latest specious and vexatious allegations of misconduct now form the subject of yet another disciplinary proceeding. This brings the number of disciplinary complaints which are being simultaneously prosecuted against her to three (3). In and of itself, this would tend to confirm her assertions of institutional harassment. It also makes it clear that the latest allegations can only be seen as a further, irregular continuance of the institutional harassment alleged in the previous demand letters. This is particularly true in view of the fact that one of the procedural defects detailed in my letter to you of 11 November 2015 (namely, that Ms. Hardon’s accuser was not disclosed to her) has now been resolved in part with the revelation that the complainant is in fact -, the EPO Principal Director for Human Resources. The fact that the complainant is the very same person who is prosecuting all three disciplinary cases against Ms. Hardon is in itself a gross violation of due process.

The suspicion of serious procedural irregularities is further supported by the fact that a considerable number of critical documents to which Ms. Hardon is entitled to review as part
of her fundamental right of defence were missing from the annexes to the letter informing Ms Hardon of Disciplinary Procedure N°. D – dated 17 November 2015 (attached). Her response and request for such missing documents is also attached hereto.

Additionally, it is our information and belief that the Enlarged Board of Appeal decision (Art. 23/15 of 17 September 2015) found that the charges against the staff member primarily
accused in case C- and the related case – were not substantiated. Accordingly, it is
__________________________________
representatives. Despite the irregular and ultra vires finding of the Investigative Unit that the charges were “founded and proven”, the responsible Disciplinary Committee, properly mandated to evaluate whether the conduct of Ms., Hardon was incompatible with several articles of the EPO Service Regulations, found unanimously in Ms. Hardon’s favor and rejected the charges against her, recommending that the President close the proceedings and reimburse her legal fees. Despite this unanimous recommendation, the President imposed a down-grading upon Ms. Hardon, which decision is under appeal at the ILOAT. They also parallel prior false charges of harassment levied against Ms. Hardon for “campaigning against” another staff member, which charges were set aside by the ILOAT in its Judgment N°. 2984.
*As pointed out in my letter and attachment of 8 October, the initiation of repeated disciplinary proceedings against Ms. Hardon on the basis of specious and frivolous misconduct charges, all of which to date have been rejected by the EPO Disciplinary Committee and the ILOAT, is further incontrovertible evidence of the EPO’s ill will towards Ms. Hardon in particular and its bad faith against staff representatives generally, which numerous hostile and intimidating attacks against her personally have set back Ms. Hardon’s career leading to financial as well as professional injury, damage to her dignity and reputations, causing significant injury to her health.
*Ms. Hardon’s suspicion that she is the target of an orchestrated campaign by senior EPO officials to drive her out of the Office on false grounds is confirmed in her letter attached to my letter to you of 21 October 2015, where it is revealed that the complainant in Case N°- is not the staff member alleged to have been harassed, but in fact – who is also prosecuting the case against Ms. Hardon, a further gross violation of fundamental due process.


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a legal impossibility for Ms. Hardon to have been an accomplice with her colleague when his actions were not found to be misconduct, requiring that all charges against Ms Hardon arising out of case C- and the related case C- be forthwith dismissed.

Finally, at the point in time when the Investigation Unit invited Ms. Hardon to comment on the summary of findings in the latest investigation case C- the Office Administration had already decided to initiate a disciplinary procedure against her incorporating allegations from Case-. This action on the part of the Office Administration appears to have been motivated by her actions in rightly declining to submit to an interview when she had already been identified as a target of the subject investigation2>. Her “refusal” to attend an interview pending clarification of deficiencies in the invitation was not in any way a refusal to cooperate with the investigation. The Office Administration has apparently responded by making the allegations from C- the subject of a disciplinary action (see enclosed annex) despite the fact that the case had not yet been closed. As a matter of fact, at the point in time when the disciplinary report was issued, i.e., 17 November 2015, the deadline for the submission of Ms. Hardon’s written comments on the summary findings pursuant to Art. 18 (1) of the EPO Investigation Guidelines (which was set for 23 November 2015) had not yet expired. In addition to violating the cited jurisprudence, these actions would also appear to be in breach of Art. 18 (2) and (7) of the EPO Investigation Guidelines and, moreover, would appear to undermine the integrity of the investigation.

You have thus far failed to take any action in response to Ms. Hardon’s requests for an investigation into the harassment claims against her, in violation of applicable ILOAT jurisprudence3. On behalf of Ms. Hardon, I therefore repeat once again her request for an

__________________________________

2 In the recent UNDT decision Judgment No. UNDT/2011/081 (Cabrera), the level of due process to which an international civil servant is entitled when he or she becomes of the “target” of a misconduct investigation was clearly stated: “In conclusion, the Tribunal is of the opinion that the assurances of due process and fairness … mean that, as soon as a person is identified, or reasonably concludes that he has been identified, as a possible wrongdoer in any investigation procedure and at any stage, he has the right to invoke due process with everything that this guarantees. Moreover, the Tribunal finds that there is a general principle of law according to which, in modern times, it is simply intolerable for a person to be asked to collaborate in procedures which are moving contrary to his interests, sine processu.”

“It is a fundamental principle of due process that where an individual has become the target of an investigation,then that person should be accorded certain basic due process rights …as soon as a person is identified, or reasonably concludes that he has been identified, as a possible wrongdoer in any investigation procedure and at any stage, he has the right to invoke due process with everything that this guarantees. Moreover, the Tribunal finds that there is a general principle of law according to which, in modem times, it is simply intolerable for a person to be asked to collaborate in procedures which are moving contrary to bis interests, sine processu.”

ILOAT Judgments No. 2475 and No. 295 also confirm this view, dictating that investigations must “be conducted in a manner designed to ascertain aU relevant facts without compromising the good name of the employee and that the employee be given an opportunity to test the evidence put against him or her and to answer the charge made.”

The fundamental requirements of due process set out above have indisputably been egregiously ignored in Ms. Hardon’s case to date, which she shall vigorously contest in all fora available to her.

3 ILOAT Judgment N°. 3485 at consideration 16: “It is not controverted that some of [the complainant's] complaints went unanswered. This shows that there was a degree of indifference regarding his express concerns. This was not only another aspect of harassment but also a breach of the ICC’s duty of care towards the complainant which, in addition to the breach of due process, entitles him to moral damages [...].”
And ILOAT Judgment N°. 3377 at consideration 14: “The evidence further shows that the Organization also breached its duty to ensure that his complaints were addressed in a proactive manner ….”, and at consideration 26: “Firm precedent has it that when an official makes allegations of harassment, she or he is entitled to have


Page | 4

immediate, independent investigation by an external authority into her harassment allegations, including the most recent specious allegations against her, and further, that you take immediate, meaningful interim measures to stop such alleged institutional harassment of Ms. Hardon, including the lifting of her irregular suspension, and prevention of EPO’s intended imminent termination of her appointment. Please treat this demand as a further request for a final administrative decision.

Thank you for your courtesy and attention; we look forward to your prompt reply.

Enclosures
Cc: client
UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Speech and Expression
UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Association
UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Defenders

__________________________________
them dealt with in accordance with the rules and procedures in force (see Judgment 2642, under 8). If an organisation fails to do so, it breaches not only its own policies and rules, but also its duty of care towards the official.”

And ILOAT Judgment N°. 3347, at consideration 14: “However, given the serious nature of a claim of harassment, an international organization has an obligation to initiate the investigation itself in a timely manner and the corollary obligation of ensuring that the internal body responsible for investigating and reporting on claims of harassment has the necessary resources to carry out that responsibility (see Judgment 3069, under 12).”

And Judgment N°. 3337 at consideration 11: “The Tribunal has consistently stressed the serious nature of allegations of harassment in the workplace and the need for international organisations to investigate such allegations promptly and thoroughly. This is a function of the organisation’s duty of care to its staff members to uphold their dignity. [... ] »

There may still be some typos or unintentional omissions above. The intentional omission is the name Bergot (c/f part one, part two, part three, and part four of “EPO: It’s Like a Family Business”), which isn’t just engaging in some kind of ‘cat fight’ here as she is clearly the “complainant [and also] the very same person who is prosecuting all three disciplinary cases against Ms. Hardon” which is “in itself a gross violation of due process.”

Links 8/12/2015: Chromebooks Rising, KDE Plasma 5.5

Posted in News Roundup at 3:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Fujitsu Releases Its First Open Source Project: Open Service Catalog Manager

    Recently, the company announced its first open source project, called Open Service Catalog Manager, which is cloud management software created by Fujitsu. The software was internally developed by Fujitsu and has been on the market for a while. Wolfgang Ries, Chief Marketing Officer Fujitsu Enabling Software Technology, told me that it can be used in both enterprise and service provider scenarios.

  • Why We Are Open Source and Will Remain That Way

    I felt the need to write this opening paragraph due to a highly visible source code closing done by another company. We have no intentions, plans, thoughts or wavers in that direction. Furthermore, we consider contributions to be the least important benefits of Open Source Software.

  • The insecurity of platforms and how open source overcomes

    This is not to say that Linux and open source will always get off this easily. This time around, the creators of the ransomware made a crucial error. Who’s to say next go ’round they won’t make that error and find a vulnerability in an even more prevalent software to use. Say, for example, they find a vulnerability in Apache or BIND…that could spiral into a catastrophe. And considering some vendors (such as IBM) are so lazy that they cannot adequately get their software to function with SELinux (so much so, they advise users to disable the critical security layer), more and more vulnerabilities will be found. Linux is, in no way, immune to attacks. They will happen. But thanks to the very nature of the platform, overcoming such issues is far easier and expeditious than its proprietary counterpart.

  • Node.js Developer Fedor Indutny Weighs Performance and API Elegance

    The Node.js Foundation is a community-led, industry-backed consortium created to advance the development of the Node.js platform. Node.js itself is an open-source, cross-platform runtime environment for developing server-side web applications. It is used by thousands of organizations, including PayPal, GoDaddy, Joyent, and IBM, and is the runtime of choice for high-performance, low-latency applications. Node.js can be found in everything from cloud stacks and enterprise applications to mobile websites and the IoT.

  • OpenFin Shares HTML5 Container Info and Creates Advisory Board
  • OpenFin open-sources HTML5 container technology
  • OpenFin to open-source its financial desktop HTML5 container technology
  • Hashcat Password Cracker Goes Open Source

    Jens Steube, the creator of the password cracking toolkit Hashcat, has announced that his tool and its derivates will from now on be made available under an open source license.

  • Kylin, Born at eBay, Graduates to Top-Level at Apache

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), has just announced that Apache Kylin, an open source big data project born at eBay, has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP), “signifying that the project’s community and products have been well-governed under the ASF’s meritocratic process and principles.”

  • 8 books to make you a more open leader

    Before The Open Organization by Jim Whitehurst was The Open Organization by Philip A. Foster. While Jim admits that his book isn’t management theory (“I’ll leave that to the academics,” he says), Foster’s is unabashedly so. Published in 2014, The Open Organization is quite frankly the textbook on what both authors call a “new management paradigm.”

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla retires Firefox’s sponsored tiles, hunts for new revenue streams

        Firefox’s targeted sponsored tiles always seemed a little out of place for a browser that is essentially predicated on free, libertarian ideals. You can’t exactly blame Mozilla for trying, though. Since its inception, Mozilla has been entirely reliant on revenues from search engines. For years, Google paid Mozilla hundreds of millions of dollars to be Firefox’s default search engine. In recent years, Mozilla has diversified its search engine defaults

      • Mozilla’s Firefox Quits Sponsored Tiles

        Mozilla has announced that it’s dropping a program everyone but Mozilla seemed to realize was a bad idea from the start. In a blog posting on Friday, the organization’s vice president of content services, Darren Herman, wrote that Mozilla has “made the decision to stop advertising in Firefox through the Tiles experiment in order to focus on content discovery.” The much disliked sponsored tiles won’t immediately disappear from users’ browsers, however. “Naturally, we will fulfill our current commitments as we wind down this experiment over the next few months.”

        This was the second time last week that Mozilla announced it was dropping (or wants to drop) one project in order to “focus” on something else. Last Monday, executive chairperson Mitchell Baker wrote in a memo that the organization is seeking to drop support of the popular Thunderbird desktop email client in order “to be laser-focused on activities like Firefox that can have an industry-wide impact.”

      • Mozilla has a revenue share agreement with Pocket
  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Is Open Source Swift a good thing ? [Ed: Apple and Microsoft 'contribute' to Open Source like animal farms (for meat) contribute to bovine and fowl]

      On December 3 Apple has open sourced the Swift programming language on Swift.org. The language was first released (not Open Source yet) about the same time as iOS 8 and was created by Apple to make Mac and iOS app development an easier task. Swift is welcome as one more Open Source language and project but is too early to make a lot of noise about it.

      [...]

      For now Swift has no client-side (as Angular for JavaScript) or server-side (as Rail for Ruby, Django for Python) application frameworks. Exceptions are the proprietary Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks for Apple platforms only.

      For now Swift can only offer a very young set of core libraries.

      We have enough modern Open Source languages: Python, Ruby, Perl, JavaScript, PHP, Java just to mention the most recent ones. A lot of energy is required to create an ecosystem around a language.

      It is difficult to unbound Swift from Apple platforms since a lot of Open Source extensions for Swift still use proprietary Apple class libraries as NSString etc.

    • Apple retracts comment that it was first major open source company after criticism

      Last week Apple’s open sourcing of Swift naturally saw the spotlight thrown over Apple’s open source pages. This included a paragraph that claimed Apple was “the first major computer company to make Open Source a key part of its strategy”. Unsurprisingly, this riled some members of the developer community as being disingenuous and untrue.

    • Apple is proud of its open source software Swift. A bit too proud

      But it may be a bit too proud. On its page celebrating open-source software, Apple originally claimed it was “the first major computer company to make Open Source development a key part of its ongoing software strategy”.

      That claim will have come as some surprise to most major computer companies. While Apple has a long history of adopting open-source code for its own releases, most notably with the Unix basis of Mac OS X in 1999, it isn’t exactly the first mover in the field. And as for releasing its own proprietary code as open source, that’s something that it has been even slower on – certainly compared to arch rival Google, whose Android operating system is and always has been freely licensed.

    • Was ​Apple the first major open-source company? Not even close

      Ah, I don’t think so.

      Many older open-source programmers think, with reason, that’s nonsense.

      True, Apple has used open-source software for years, but that’s not the same thing as making open-source development “a key part of its strategy.” It would be more correct to say that Apple was the first major company to take advantage of open source.

    • Dropbox urged by users to open-source soon-to-be shut Mailbox app

      Dropbox users are petitioning the cloud storage giant to consider open-sourcing its iOS email app Mailbox, after announcing plans to shut it down in 2016.

    • Apple mocked for playing Open Source card

      The famously proprietary and secretive cargo-cult Apple has been trying to copy Microsoft’s moves into the weirdy beardie world of Open Sauce. Needless to say, it has not quite got the hang of it.

      The Tame Apple Press trumpeted Apple’s move to make its Swift programming language available to the great unwashed claiming that it bought the company’s open source efforts to the forefront.

    • Microsoft to open source the Edge browser JavaScript engine [Ed: openwashing of “cancer on the Web” (rebranded, buggy, insecure IE) by Microsoft booster Andy Patrizio]
    • Microsoft Goes Open Source on Key Part of Edge Browser Engine
    • EMC extends open-source ambitions to the server side with new RackHD project
    • EMC Unveils RackHD, Open-Source Version of OnRack
    • Data Storage King EMC Finally Gets With the Times
    • Open Source Is The Future Of EMC Software
  • BSD

    • BSD for the desktop user: A review of PC-BSD

      To be clear, the BSDs are not Linux distributions. They are Unix-like, so they are similar to Linux, but they are their own family of open source operating systems with their own rich history. Unlike Linux with its multitude of distributions, the BSD family is much smaller; the big three distributions are FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD. The small handful of other BSD distributions branch off from one of those projects, most frequency, from FreeBSD.

    • DragonFly BSD 4.4

      DragonFly version 4.4 bring further updates to accelerated video for both i915 and radeon users, a new locale system, and a new default linker. Significant behind-the-scenes work has also been done, with symbol versioning, Hammer1 improvements, and other changes. Version 4.4.1 was the first release due to the late inclusion of OpenSSL update 1.0.1q.

    • BSDs in Linuxland and Best Rolling Distros

      OpenBSD and PC-BSD got the review treatment today at Distrowatch.com and OpenSource.com, proving Linux isn’t the only game in town. Several rolling distribution topics arose as well with Dedoimedo fighting Netrunner 2015.11 from destroying a laptop and Jesse Afolabi looking at the best user-friendly distributions based on Arch. Elsewhere, the Mint 17.3 screenshots sprang up faster than a boot-up screen and Curtis Franklin Jr. put together a slideshow on 10 distros perfect for gifts.

    • Guarding the gates with OpenBSD 5.8

      The OpenBSD project has long held a reputation for producing a secure operating system. The project boasts just two remote security holes reported over a span of about twenty years. It’s an impressive accomplishment for the developers and a good indication of why OpenBSD is so often trusted for security oriented tasks like running firewalls. However, the OpenBSD team has been steadily working on other projects too. The team behind OpenBSD also creates the widely used OpenSSH software which is used around the world by system administrators to remotely work on servers and securely transfer files. The OpenBSD project also spawned the LibreSSL software (a replacement for OpenSSL) following the Heartbleed vulnerability. In the latest release of OpenBSD we also saw improvements to the project’s lightweight and secure web server (called httpd), the introduction of the doas command (a replace for sudo), a new implementation of the file command and W^X support for i386 processors. The latest version of the operating system, OpenBSD 5.8, also switched to denying root logins in the default installation.

    • Microsoft Wired Up Clang’s Parser To Their Own Code Generator
    • DragonFly BSD 4.4 Officially Announced, Already Gets Its First Point Release

      Today, December 7, 2015, Justin Sherrill from the DragonFly BSD project, a BSD-based computer operating system, has had the great pleasure of announcing the release and immediate availability for download of DragonFly BSD 4.4.

    • n2k15: sashan@ on PF mpsafe progess

      mpi@ came with patch (sent to priv. list only currently), which adds a new lock for PF. It’s called PF big lock. The big PF lock essentially establishes a safe playground for PF hackers. The lock currently covers all pf_test() function. The pf_test() function parts will be gradually unlocked as the work will progress.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNUstep Developers Consider Forking The Project, Moving Away From FSF

      The lead developer of GNUstep, a GPL-licensed implementation of Apple’s Cocoa frameworks and toolkit, is considering a fork of the project.

    • GCC Compiler Patches Implementing AMD HSA Revised For Merging

      Martin Jambor at SUSE has sent out the latest set of patches for implementing support for the AMD-backed Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) inside the GNU Compiler Collection.

    • By 12/15: Send us comments to rally the Dept. of Ed. toward free licensing

      These proposed regulations are meant to facilitate public reuse of works funded by Department of Education grants. Currently, as explained in the NPRM, grantees are allowed to make their federally-funded works proprietary. The Department of Education receives a special license to share the works with the public, but in practice it rarely does so. Worse, teachers and students absolutely cannot use them in freedom (except for those few that happen to be made free).

      Since the course materials are works of practical use, they should carry the four freedoms of free software, just as programs and manuals should.

      The proposal would require grantees to publish the works under an “open” license. In the case of software, they may be thinking of “open source”, which is not quite as strong as free; in the case of courseware, many “open” courses are not free. The flaw in the proposed specific rules is that they don’t require that the license permit redistribution of modified versions. Without that freedom, the works will be nonfree.

  • Project Releases

    • NetHack 3.6.0 released

      After a 10+ year hiatus, the NetHack DevTeam is happy to announce the release of NetHack 3.6, a combination of the old and the new.

      Unlike previous releases, which focused on the general game fixes, this release consists of a series of foundational changes in the team, underlying infrastructure and changes to the approach to game development.

      Those of you expecting a huge raft of new features will probably be disappointed. Although we have included a number of new features, the focus of this release was to get the foundation established so that we can build on it going forward.

  • Licensing

    • FOSS projects and their legal structures

      Free Software has been growing pretty much everywhere around the world, and so much so that we now face challenges nobody would have thought possible even ten years ago. One of these unexpected issues is the need for proper legal structures. Traditionally, only a handful of entities used to exist. They could be dedicated to one, large project or act as a hub for a “forge” or a set of more or less related projects: that’s the case with the Eclipse or the Apache Software Foundation. Others were one of kind: Software In the Public interest, SPI, is handling funds for large and small projects and has been doing so for well over 15 years. The Free Software Foundation both directly and through the Free Software Conservancy has also hosted many FOSS projects developments, infrastructure and financial resources.

    • German court addresses GPLv3 section 8 termination provisions

      GPLv2, first published in 1991, provides for automatic termination of the license in the event of violation, with no stated opportunity for cure. By the time of the drafting of GPLv3, the Free Software Foundation, steward of the GPL license family, had come to consider automatic termination to be an unduly harsh policy. GPLv3, introduced in 2007, formally retained automatic termination in its section 8 but moderated it in certain ways, including by providing for automatic reinstatement of the license for first-time GPLv3 violators who cure the violation prior to 30 days after receiving notice from the copyright holder. The precise wording of section 8 was drafted with German preliminary injunction procedure in mind.

    • The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Michael Lissner and Brian Carver of RECAP The Law

      This is the latest instalment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab’s series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works. In this edition, we conducted an email-based interview with Michael Lissner and Brian Carver of RECAP The Law.

    • Leveraging Open Source? If So, Keep it Legal

      Famously, a few years ago, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst made the prediction that open source software would soon become nearly pervasive in organizations of all sizes. That has essentially become true, and many businesses now use open source components without even knowing that they are doing so. As businesses adopt open source platforms such as OpenStack and Hadoop, they are complementing them with their own open source projects.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Ionic Launches New Version of its HTML5 App Creator

      It’s been a little over a year since Ionic launched the alpha of its open source Ionic Creator platform which provides an HTML5 SDK to build cross platform, native-feeling mobile apps using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and Javascript. The company has recently released a number of updates to the platform adding new features, polishing existing ones, and fixing issues.

    • New 3D Software Tracks the Brain Development in an Embryo

      An Indian-origin scientist has developed new, open-source 3D software that can track the embryonic development and movement of neuronal cells throughout the body of the worm. Although scientists have identified a number of important proteins that determine how neurons navigate during brain formation, it is largely unknown how all of these proteins interact in a living organism.

    • Researchers develop open-source 3D software to track brain development of the embryo

      Now it will be possible for the medical fraternity to track the growth and development of the brain in an embryo. An Indian-origin scientist from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) has developed an open-source 3D software that can track embryo’s brain activity.

    • Wio Link is an open-source IoT WiFi solution

      Wio Link is a new open source product that aims to make it easy to develop Internet of Things products and services. The Wio Link is an ESP8266 based WiFi development board that is made specifically for creating IoT applications using virtualized plug-n-play modules to RESTful APIs with mobile apps.

      Using the Wio Link developers are able to build IoT applications with no hardware programming, no breadboard, no jumper wires, and no soldering. The people behind Wio Link claim that users can build IoT applications in three steps in about five minutes.

  • Programming

    • A New Tool For Tracking ABI Changes Of Libraries

      Andrey Ponomarenko has announced his work on ABI-Tracker, a new open-source tool for tracking ABI changes of C/C++ software projects.

      Ponomarenko shared on the Fedora developer list this weekend about his aptly-named ABI-Tracker.

    • Day 7 — Unicode, Perl 6, and You

      Quick (rhetorical) question: how many of you either try your best to ignore Unicode, or groan at the thought of having to deal with it again?

Leftovers

  • Open Office Spaces and Cabal Rooms Suck

    In case it wasn’t clear: I really dislike large open office spaces. (Not 2-3 person offices, but large industrial scale 20-100 person open office spaces of doom.) Valve’s was absolutely the worst expression of the concept I’ve ever experienced. I can understand doing the open office thing for a while at a startup, where every dollar counts, but at an established company I just won’t tolerate this craziness anymore. (See the scientific research below if you think I feel too strongly about this trend.)

  • EU accuses Qualcomm of using market power to hinder rivals

    European Union antitrust regulators charged Qualcomm on Tuesday with abusing its market power to thwart rivals, putting the world’s number one mobile chipset maker at risk of a hefty fine.

    The accusations by the European Commission are the latest antitrust problems for the company as regulators in the United States, China, Japan and South Korea look into its licensing model and its dominant patents in mobile networks and devices.

  • Hardware

    • I said it was wired like a Christmas tree

      My main issue is that modern systems are just plain noisy, often with multiple small fans whining away. I have worked to reduce this noise by using quieter components as replacements but in the end it is simply better to be able to put these systems in a box out of the way.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • US Workers Sue Monsanto, Claiming Herbicide Caused Their Cancers

      One of the cases was filed in Los Angeles on September 22, 2015 by 58-year-old Enrique Rubio, who used to work on farms in California, Texas, and Oregon. His job used to consist of spraying fields with the herbicide Roundup, which he is alleging caused his bone cancer in 1995. 64-year-old Judi Fizgerald in New York filed the other lawsuit. She used to work at a horticultural products company and was exposed to Roundup in the 1990s. She is attributing her diagnosis of leukemia in 2012 to the herbicide.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Corporate News Sources Fail to Fully Report US Drone Strike Causalities

      Both the New York Times and the Washington Post have consistently underreported the number of fatalities resulting from US drone strikes. Research conducted by Jeff Bachman, co-director of the Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs Program at American University, compares fatality reports from both papers to more completely researched reports from City University London’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism. While the NYT reported only two civilian deaths out of 81 drone strikes covered, TBIJ found that there were actually 26 civilians killed. Likewise the Post had reported one civilian death out of 26 drone strikes covered. TBIJ documented seven.

      When both the NYT and the Post covered 33 drone strikes that they reported caused civilian causalities, both claimed only nine deaths over the course of three different stories. TBIJ had found between 180-302 civilian deaths.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Putting out Indonesia’s fires

      Every year, forest fires ravage Indonesia, causing massive environmental, social and economic devastation. This year’s fires are the largest in nearly 20 years, destroying three million hectares of land and causing an estimated $14 billion in losses related to agriculture, forest degradation, health, transportation, and tourism.

    • ‘How Do We Move Past a Fossil Fuel-Powered World?’ – CounterSpin interview with Janet Redman on climate conference activism

      Janine Jackson: Coverage of the upcoming UN conference on climate change has shifted to concerns about security in Paris and resulting clampdowns on activism. But before that, the conference itself was billed as pivotal on global action on the issue. Barack Obama recently declared the US global leaders in the fight against climate change–but is that really true, and what should we actually expect from the conference itself? Janet Redman is director of the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies. She joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Janet Redman.

    • Jury Finds DuPont Responsible for Negligence in Chemical Spill

      The chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid (also called C8, because of the eight-carbon chain that makes up its chemical backbone) has spread from the company DuPont’s plant into the drinking water of 80,000 people in West Virginia and Ohio. A 59-year old woman named Carla Bartlett has developed kidney cancer after drinking C8-contaminated water for over 10 years. Bartlett is the first of many personal injury and wrongful death claims stemming from the 2005 settlement of a class-action suit filed on behalf of the people who lived near this plant. DuPont’s attorneys presented their arguments stating that the company is not responsible for the tumor that Bartlett was treated for in 1997. Their defense is that the company’s employees did not realize that C8 was dangerous when Bartlett was exposed, even though there were internal documents indicating DuPont’s knowledge that the chemical posed risks to both animals and humans.

  • Finance

    • 6 dispiriting truths about America’s billionaires

      When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced this week that he will give away 99 percent of his personal fortune—now estimated at $44 billion—during his lifetime, he was lauded in newspapers and TV broadcasts from coast to coast. But few people noted that giving away his billions will still leave Zuckerberg, his wife Priscilla Chan and newborn daughter Max, with at least $440 million to live on.

      Such vast sums of money are unimaginable to most of us. But according to a just-released report, “Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us,” by the Institute for Policy Studies, the Facebook founder is merely one of the 400 wealthiest Americans, whose net worth is growing while they evade taxation and drive economic inequality.

      “The Forbes 400 provides a useful snapshot of the nation’s wealthiest individuals, an insight into a world most people will never witness firsthand,” the report said, as it lists some incredible comparisons that contrast the vast wealth held by a select few compared to average Americans. “The Forbes 400 also provides an insight into just how lopsided our economy has become: Just 400 people hold as much wealth as over 190 million.”

      Consider the following six bullet points from the report. The authors state they “believe that these statistics actually underestimate our current national levels of wealth concentration,” because, “the growing use of offshore tax havens and legal trusts has made the concealing of assets much more widespread than ever before.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Trump, The Press, And How To Treat A Liar

      Appearing on Face the Nation, Republican frontrunner Trump told host John Dickerson that prior to the attacks, the wives of the 9/11 hijackers “knew exactly what was going to happen” and were flown “back to Saudi Arabia” days before the hijacked plane strikes.

      This is complete nonsense. As The Washington Post explained, “There is no support for Trump’s claims … virtually all of the hijackers were unmarried.” And anyone who followed news of the attacks, and the subsequent years-long investigation, ought to know that. But on Face the Nation, Dickerson didn’t flinch when Trump floated his latest 9/11 lie; Dickerson didn’t question Trump’s absurd claim.

    • Seth Meyers Calls Out The Media For Stoking Fear In The Wake Of The San Bernardino Shooting
    • Fox News Tells Young Children To Run At Active Shooters

      A Fox & Friends demonstration where children neutralized a gunman during an active shooter situation offered dubious advice to parents, as experts emphasize that confronting the gunman should be “a last resort.”

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Why the AP’s Call Record Article Is So Stupid

      Notice how there’s no mention, in the headline or the lead, of the FBI? They’re the agency that will lead the investigation of the San Bernardino attack. That’s important because FBI has their own databases and the ability to obtain records from phone and Internet companies directly going forward (and already had, given reports from Facebook, before this article was written). The PCLOB report on the 215 phone dragnet showed that the FBI almost always accessed the information they otherwise might have gotten from the 215 dragnet via their own means. “[O]ur review suggests that the Section 215 program offers little unique value here, instead largely duplicating the FBI’s own information-gathering efforts.”

      But the real problem with this utterly erroneous article is that it suggests the “US government” can’t get any records from NSA, which in turn suggests the only records of interest the NSA might have came from the Section 215 dragnet, which is of course nonsense. Not only does the NSA get far more records than what they got under Section 215 — that dragnet was, according to Richard Clarke, just a fraction of what NSA got, and according to NSA’s training, it was significantly redundant with EO 12333 collection on international calls to the US, which the NSA can collect with fewer limits as to format and share more freely with the FBI — but there are plenty of other places where the FBI can get records.

    • [tor-relays] ANN: TCP injection attack detection tool – honeybadger

      I was inspired by the Snowden documents to write a TCP injection attack detection tool. Powerful entities world wide are stock piling zero-days. TCP injection attacks can be used to deliver many of these attacks.

    • Legislation requiring tech industry to report terrorist activity may be revived

      Legislation requiring tech companies to report on terrorist activity on their platforms is likely to be revived, following concerns about the widespread use of Internet communications by terrorists.

      Legislation requiring tech companies to report on terrorist activity on their platforms is likely to be revived in the U.S., following concerns about the widespread use of Internet communications by terrorists.

      A proposed rule that would require companies to report vaguely defined “terrorist activity” on their platforms had been included as section 603 in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016.

    • President Obama urges tech companies to join in the fight against terror

      US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA went on television at the weekend to talk up his administration’s efforts to combat terrorism, and to urge tech firms to help the government to protect citizens.

      In what’s been seen as an unusual move, Obama decided to reach out to America’s TV-loving masses and beam his anti-terror/smash encryption message straight to their living rooms.

    • Software Can Now Identify Individuals by How They Type

      Computer programmers have developed software that can uniquely identify an individual by the way they type with a reported accuracy rate of 99.7%. This particular method of identification is the latest avenue of biometrics research and technology.

      This software works by analyzing minor variations in keyboard use. This is possible because every individual uses a keyboard slightly differently. These differences can be due to a number of reasons, ranging from the size of a person’s hands to the impaired use of a finger. All of these factors result in unique characteristics when typing, such as the length of time a key is pressed or the pause between hitting the “j” and the “o” keys. Each press of a key can be measured down to the millisecond. Taken together, an individual’s traits contribute to a unique typing signature that is virtually impossible to mimic without detection. Researchers have found that this signature also translates very similarly onto the use of touch-screen keyboards.

  • Civil Rights

    • French police want to ban Tor, public Wi-Fi

      French police have made their Christmas wish-list, and it includes banning Tor and public Wi-Fi.

      As legislators debate new antiterrorism laws, police and security services have been studying how technology hinders their enquiries, according to French newspaper Le Monde.

      In the hours following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris the French government declared a state of emergency, granting police sweeping powers to impose curfews and conduct warrantless searches.

    • Are French civil liberties another victim of Paris attacks?

      In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, France has enacted a three-month state of emergency, widening the powers of police and security agencies. It has done so with relatively little public debate about the deterioration of civil liberties.

    • Army recommends no further punishment for Petraeus

      The Army has recommended that David H. Petraeus, the retired general and former CIA director who quit in a scandal three years ago, not face further punishment for having an affair with his biographer and providing her with top-secret materials, according to Pentagon officials.

      The final decision on whether to discipline Petraeus under military law rests with Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter. Although he could overrule the Army’s recommendation, such a move would be unusual.

    • My “Theory” of Codes of Conduct

      Oh, good lord, we’ve got a “thinker” on our hands. Seriously, that’s how he describes himself in the bio for his self-published book about psychopaths (based on his personal experiences rather than psychological research, natch). Only now he’s thinking about codes of conduct.

      Is there a problem with thinking? Nope. Is there a problem with this guy thinking? Not in particular. It sounds like he’s even pretty good at it when it comes to software. So what’s the problem?

      It’s the same problem that continually happens with people who define themselves as smart or as good thinkers: They forget about GIGO. They come to think of themselves as experts without having done any of the work.

    • Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt

      Peter and Mickey spend the hour in conversation with political author Chris Hedges; his latest book is “Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt.” The discussion covers issues from freedom of information to U.S. Middle East interventions, and the ideas of intellectuals from W.E.B. Dubois to Cornel West to Sheldon Wolin.

    • Fox Business Invites Gun Store Owner Who Banned All Muslims From Her Gun Range To Praise Trump For Adopting Her Idea

      Fox Business invited gun store owner Jan Morgan to respond to GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims, including American citizens, from entering the United States. Morgan bragged that Donald Trump is “basically going to do what [she is] already doing at [her] gun range” by banning all Muslims from buying or renting guns.

    • New Polling Shows Americans Strongly Oppose Citizens United

      In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United. The landmark decision allowed for nearly unlimited funding of political campaigns by corporations. Arguably, the decision is one of the largest detriments to American democracy, as it essentially allows the “highest bidder” to buy members of office. American media have touched on the case in general. However, it has received minimal attention given the seriousness of its consequences.

      A recent Bloomberg poll revealed that 78% of Americans do not agree with the Citizens United decision and are in favor of the law being overturned. While a majority of Americans share this belief, corporate media failed to cover this story. The Huffington Post covered the story, however they were the only major news corporation to do so. This means that this poll was largely unshared with the general public.

    • New York Counties Push to Upgrade Public Defender System

      In New York state, citizens’ freedom is being put in jeopardy by part time, lack-luster public defenders. The right to an attorney is a basic right that should help people through the court system, however these lawyers are not giving their clients enough time or energy. Most people are showing up to their court dates without having seen their appointed public defender once. The five New York state counties that are fighting for better public defenders for the poor have finally won their argument with the state and are receiving “new funding and oversight to help the five counties upgrade the quality of legal representation” that people deserve.

    • Girls Who Code Makes Its Way Into A Mobile Game

      A major factor that deters girls from pursuing computer science is the perception that coders are mostly white and male, according to a recent Google-commissioned Gallup survey. That’s why non-profit organization Girls Who Code has partnered with mobile game-maker Pixelberry Studios to tell the story of a young girl coder in its flagship game, “High School Story.”

      The coder, named Gabriela, will be the first tech-related character featured in “High School Story,” a game that over 30% of high school girls in the U.S. have played, according to Pixelberry. The storyline is inspired by a group of Girls Who Code alumnae. In the game, Gabriela leads players on a mission that culminates at a hackathon, where the objective is to build a mobile app. Previous storylines on High School Story have addressed cyber-bullying and body image.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The Internet isn’t ready for really big news

      One thing you can say for traditional broadcast media: They scale really well. If you put an analog signal on the air or on a wire with enough repeaters and amplifiers, it will serve every client that connects. That’s not the case with most of the network world, unfortunately. Sure we have multicast, but that’s not on an Internet scale — and the Internet is where the problems lie.

      First, let’s define multicast as used in IP networks. This is a method by which a single source stream can be accessed by multiple clients simultaneously, without increasing the load on the source itself. Thus, this functions much like an analog broadcast: You have a single source that a client can connect to at any time. The downside is that the client is a silent subscriber of the content and cannot control the stream; there’s no rewinding or restarting on a per-client basis. This is content broadcast over IP, and it’s what television networks use to distribute video streams through their networks, financial institutions to receive stock quotes, and so forth.

    • Donald Trump thinks he can call Bill Gates to ‘close up’ the internet

      Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump just said the US should consider “closing up” the internet to curb radical extremism. Trump, a man that routinely claims everyone in charge of the US is stupid, believes that as president he could just call up Bill Gates to help him shut off the internet. Trump floated the idea at a campaign rally at the USS Yorktown in South Carolina tonight as a way to stop ISIS “jihadists” from recruiting Americans to commit acts of domestic terrorism. The idea is so dumb it almost has us, too, at a loss for words.

Hypocrite in Chief: Benoît Battistelli Compares Staff Union to ‘Mafia’

Posted in Europe, Patents, Petitions at 8:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

"Nazis", "Snipers", “Mafia” and the name-calling strategy of Team Battistelli

Mafia man

Summary: The gloves come off as Battistelli resorts to name-calling and European patent attorneys increasingly defect to the side of protesters (staff of EPO), expressing dissatisfaction if not disgust at the EPO’s management

THERE is no denying that the EPO‘s management is extremely popular right now.

According to this new article, the Tony Soprano-like Battistelli says that SUEPO “is not a trade union [but] a mafia-type entity” (look who’s talking). In a recent poll, 96% of respondents expressed concern and almost half of the staff is brave enough to march against the management. We have heard estimates of over 800 EPO employees protesting in The Hague and over 2,000 in Munich last week. This new summary from Merpel gives similar figures and justifiably wonders what will happen next:

Three members of the EPO Staff Committees have been suspended, as Merpel reported here. In support of their suspended colleagues, further demonstrations have been taking place (Merpel reported the initial one here) – and now she hears that the further protest in the Hague on 1 December numbered around 600 EPO employees, while that in Munich on 4 December attracted over 2000. It is clear that the unrest within the EPO at various things, including the treatment of these officials, is widespread – these numbers are pretty much without precedent.

[...]

There seems to Merpel to be an unsustainable escalation in conflict at the EPO. This affects both the general employees, and also the Boards of Appeal, as Merpel reported here. There seems to be a somewhat raised level of political interest in member states now, but how long must Merpel keep writing that something must be done?

See a certain pattern in early comments. Trying to frame this as a general problem (affecting a lot of public bodies) is serving to distract from the EPO’s situation. I know this type of media strategy fairly well because Microsoft uses that too (trying to characterise other companies as ‘equally evil’).

To quote one comment from a British lawyer(from the comments section):

Does anyone have any ideas how we can prevail upon the AC to act – assuming, that is, that they’re not actively complicit in BB’s wrecking of the entire system?

As a GB-based attorney I can write to my national delegates on the AC, but it’s easy for them to ignore correspondence from a single person. If a substantial proportion of GB representatives were to write, individually, they’d hopefully find it harder to ignore. Similarly with attorneys in other countries, there is strength in numbers if we all write to our national delegates.

Are the relevant national professional associations taking any action? Has CIPA made any representations to the GB delegation? Has EPI made representations to any AC delegates? (I know both made submissions on the BoA reform proposals, which were largely ignored, but surely it is time for both CIPA and EPI, and their counterparts in other member states, to make a more general intervention directly to the AC members.)

If the largest EPO-using law firms and companies in each member state made official representations to the AC would these carry any more weight?

The IPKat is performing a great service in Kataloguing all of the perverse developments at the EPO but the time has come for us to speak up directly to those in power. While the complaints are being documented on a handful of blogs, the AC and the management can disregard these as being just some bloggers’ opinion. We can’t just sit on the sidelines and complain amongst ourselves, watching while the EPO management continues to ride roughshod over its employees – we users need to let the EPO know that we are concerned too, and that the opinion of the blogs is shared by many practitioners.

Who will coordinate such action?

As was hinted earlier today, we now consider setting up (or helping to set up) a petition, maybe organise some kind of action which can compel the abuses by EPO management to stop. Hitting them where it hurts, it might help to embargo or discourage further patent applications unless or until some ultimatum is met (e.g. allowing external auditors and an independent investigation to take place at the Office). It may be the only remaining way to resolve this AC-Team Battistelli deadlock.

Lawyers’ Response to Incredible Accusations From EPO Management and Its Praetorian Guard

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Historically familiar situations…

Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon
Edited public domain photograph

Summary: The sordid mess inside the EPO — or the management’s attempts to use smears and witch-hunts to sedate whistleblowers (leading to an ever-exacerbating cycle of crises) — is now being properly tackled by a staff representative’s legal representative

THE previous post gave just a taste of how the EPO’s abusive management, along with its praetorian guard, is trying to frame the whole crisis. Naïve or impressionable outsiders are supposed (if the expensive media strategy succeeds) to think that what we have here are poor, victimised men in suits (management) against armed Nazis and snipers, or something ludicrous along these lines. Those highly-paid managers are, in our view, dealing with something that’s akin to whistleblowers, not staff representatives (whistleblowers’ lawyers should not be needed here because it’s not clear who, if anyone among staff representatives, actually blows a whistle). The ‘dirty laundry’ is coming out and the management is trying to punish the perceived bringer of the laundry rather than actually clean this laundry. How foolish do they think staff will be? Are there actually enough people smart enough to be recruited by the EPO who are also, at the same time, this gullible? It’s not as though EPO management sticks to facts. Not even the almighty President sticks to facts.

As far as we’re aware, we never ever spoke to a staff representative at the EPO. Ever. Unless someone was using a fake identity. But this is of course detrimental to the dossier served by or to the management (Team Battistelli and its praetorian guard), failing to actually provide any evidence of staff representatives sending anything to the media. The thugs’ incredulous smiles wouldn’t satisfy an honest judge.

Anyway, a short response was provided by the accused and there is also a more detailed response from the lawyers (who Team Battistelli probably hopes will help drain all the savings of the accused). It’s a 4-page response:

Letter from lawyers - page 1

Letter from lawyers - page 2

Letter from lawyers - page 3

Letter from lawyers - page 4

We haven’t highlighted anything in the above because we don’t want to tamper with the text.

Meanwhile, over at SUEPO, it has just been stated that there is an issue with the discussion about “Workload and effectiveness of the ILO Tribunal”. As SUEPO puts it:

In a recent document, the ILO Legal Advisor and the ILO Administrative Tribunal blame the number of complaints coming from the EPO for the Tribunal’s current workload and effectiveness problems. CA/21/15,  a report by the external auditors of the EPO, confirms problems in the internal justice system of the EPO (see in particular points 13-15 and 59-61). In response the Governing Body of the ILO requested its Director-General “to initiate without delay discussions with the European Patent Organisation … in order to identify a solution to the difficulties …” (point 33 of the above mentioned document). Staff representatives are only to be “consulted”, and that only afterwards.

ILO defines its mission and objectives as “to promote rights at work, encourage decent employment opportunities, enhance social protection and strengthen dialogue on work-related issues” (emphasis added).

SUEPO was therefore shocked and dismayed to see that the governing body of ILO (International Labour Organisation) proposed discussions with representatives of the President without involving representatives of the staff. On behalf of SUEPO and the other staff associations that rely on the Tribunal for justice, SUEPO’s lawyer, Ed Flaherty, has requested to involve staff representatives from the outset. Click here to access the letter of Mr Flaherty.

We covered this on a couple of occasions before [1, 2].

Here is the letter from Mr Flaherty as images (people don’t tend to bother with PDF files on the Web).

ILO letter- page 1

ILO letter- page 2

There is a lot more coming. If we have been writing a lot (and more frequently) as of late, it’s because a lot is happening a lot needs to be shown. The EPO’s attempts to gag Techrights (with censorship and threats) truly backfired; these only led more people to choosing Techrights as their reporter. It also led to a lot more sources coming to us (so a lot of the breaking news and exclusive coverage now happen in Techrights).

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