MEP Konstantina Kouneva (Former Trade Unionist) Again Takes Action Against the European Patent Office for Union-Busting Actions

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Konstantina Kouneva
Konstantina Kouneva in 2015, photograph courtesy of Left.gr

Summary: Bulgarian-Greek politician Konstantina Kouneva (or Kostadinka Kuneva) is getting actively involved in EPO affairs once again, in order to support and protect unionists like she once was (before entering politics)

THE political interventions right now, e.g. [1, 2], are part of a much broader thing. After intimidation against delegates the delegates have been a lot more receptive to critics. Battistelli and his team are rapidly alienating everyone in the Office and everyone in the Organisation, too. Politicians too are starting to weigh in and they are not afraid because they’re no longer a vocal minority. Quite a few politicians in quite a few countries speak out in unison about EPO abuses. It is becoming the norm, so Battistelli's efforts to isolate and attack them individually won’t work. Battistelli et al are on the retreat right now and criticising them is a safe thing to do. It’s a smart (political) career move.

“Quite a few politicians in quite a few countries speak out in unison about EPO abuses. It is becoming the norm, so Battistelli’s efforts to isolate and attack them individually won’t work.”“FYI,” told us one reader today, “The Greek MEP Konstantina Kouneva (also known as Kostadinka Kuneva) has just issued a statement in Greek about the EPO.”

Here is some background information about the person behind the statement, Konstantina Kouneva, who is a “cleaner turned trade unionist turned MEP”.

Copies of the statement in the original Greek [PDF] and an English translation [PDF] are included. Here it is as HTML:

English translation of:

«Να πάρουν θέση τα κράτη μέλη του Ευρωπαϊκού Οργανισμού Ευρεσιτεχνίας»


30 January 2016

K. Kuneva MEP

“The Member States’ of the European Patent Organisation must take a stand”

Staff of the EPO trade union react to persecution with large demonstrations in The Hague and Munich.

Yesterday (28 January) over 900 employees of the European Patent Organisation Employees (EPO) participated in a demonstration organized by their union (SUEPO) in the Dutch city center. The demonstration was the response of the union to an unprecedented attack which had been unleashed by the administration of EPO on trade union rights and staff representatives which culminated in the dismissal of two elected union officials and the downgrading of a third from the EPO’s main office in Munich.

A similar demonstration in Munich on 20 January was a huge success and well- attended by EPO staff.

It noted that the European Patent Organisation (European Patent Office) employs approximately 7,500 employees in offices in five European cities with the largest number of employed in The Hague (approximately 2,500) and Munich. It examines and grants thousands of patents from industries responsible for 40% of the EU GDP and 35% of employment. In 2014 it received 274 174 applications for patents amounting to an increase of around 3.1% from the previous year.

Led by the current President, Battistelli, as part of its strategy to promote institutional reform of the organisation with the stated aim of improving quality and reducing costs, in 2010 the EPO commenced a concerted campaign of violating trade union rights, terrorising, intimidating and persecuting its staff. The most tragic consequences of the climate of oppression which prevails are the five suicides of employees which occurred over the last three years.

Despite the appeals of the employees to justice (both Dutch and German courts), the administration of the EPO hides behind the mantle of the judicial immunity of international organizations, so as not to be held accountable to anyone for the violation of fundamental rights at the heart of Europe.

Konstantina Kuneva submitted a question on this subject to the European Parliament which was signed by 14 MEPs from many countries and many political groups.

The attempted changes in the institutional framework and operation of the EPO, along with the promotion of the Unitary Patent and Unitary Patent Court, bear obvious similarities to the secretive consultations surrounding TTIP and ISDS [the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and associated Investor-State Dispute Settlement for resolving disputes between investors and states] and reveal the strategy of the EU leadership and business lobby for the empowerment of fully autonomous organizations which operate beyond the pale of any democratic institutional framework and are characterised by intransparency, secrecy and immunity.

To this end it is considered necessary on the one hand to restrict the applicability of national regulations and on the other hand to eliminate democratic workers’ rights (fundamental labour standards, trade union rights, etc.) which are regarded as a “bureaucratic hindrance” to opening up new markets for transnational conglomerates.

In response to the demonstrations in The Hague and Munich, SYRIZA MEP Konstantina Kuneva said: “The workers EPO in Munich and The Hague deserve for their impressive mobilisation and vigorous defence of their rights. The situation has now gone out of control. The intransparent governance, authoritarianism and immunity of “autonomous” international organizations, must end. The governments of the Member States which are represented on the Administrative Council of the EPO must finally take a stand against the violation of trade union rights and the employment rights of staff.”

“FYI,” added the same reader, “here is the link to the question submitted to the European Parliament by Kostadinka Kuneva and other MEPs in May 2015.” The question from Kuneva is mentioned above.

To quote the whole thing (public domain probably), which we quoted only in part at the time:

The Dutch appeal court recently ruled (case number 200.141.812/01/17-2-2015) that the European Patent Organisation (EPO) violated workers’ labour rights deriving from the EU Treaties and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Consequently the Dutch court, exceptionally, has not accepted the immunity EPO enjoys as an international organisation, since this immunity cannot allow for human rights violations. Nevertheless EPO declared it would ignore the ruling pleading execution immunity.

— Does the Commission agree with this ruling, according to which, as regards guaranteeing fundamental rights, the EU Treaties and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights prevail over bilateral and multilateral agreements, including those providing immunity to organisations such as the EPO?

— If so, what does it intend to do to prevent the abuse of immunity rights and defend the EU citizens’ and employees’ rights and the community acquis in organisations such as EPO which while exercising judicial functions is at the same time breaching the European legal order rules?

— How does the Commission scrutinise that the positions EU Member States’ representatives take in the administration of EPO are compatible with the rights enshrined in the EU Treaties and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights — taking into account that the EU Member States constitute the majority in the organisation?

There are more political actions, but we’ll leave them masked for the time being.

“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.”

Thomas Paine

Political Complaints About European Patent Office Abuses Keep Flooding in After Firing of Staff Representatives (Busting of Unions)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Complaints from the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) against the European Patent Office (EPO) and their letter to the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour, Marianne Thyssen

THIS morning we began showing political actions against the cruel and abusive EPO management. There’s more going on, but we are saving it for later so as to not undermine ongoing processes.

“Gross violations of trade union rights at the European Patent Office,” wrote the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), as “demonstrations erupt” (that’s the headline). We mentioned EPSU several times before, including last week and last year, even a year ago after the EPO had decided to arrogantly disregard Dutch court orders. EPSU really knows what’s going on and has known it for a while.

“For your information,” wrote to us a reader this morning, EPSU took further action and a “short report on situation at the EPO by European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU)” got published.

“The EPSU Web page,” told us this reader, “includes a link to a letter which the Dutch MEP Agnes Jongerius has sent to European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour, Marianne Thyssen[PDF]. We mentioned her before.

“The letter is in Dutch,” the reader wrote, “and unfortunately we don’t have a translation at the moment.”

Can our Dutch-speaking readers help here? For those who disliked PDF files, here it is as an image:

EPSU letter

EPSU says that “Battestelli [sic] acts as tyrant”. To quote its English page (in part):

Patent Office boss Battestelli acts as tyrant it is claimed. The root of the problem is that he, and the board that appointed him, do not believe that European and international fundamental rights apply to staff. This leads to a legal no-man’s land and to impunity. Battestelli can act like an ambassador that mistreats and exploits (usually a his) staff and claim diplomatic immunity. Ambassadors try to avoid having to be accountable for sexual harassment or even sexual exploitation. Battestelli seeks to do the same. A Dutch court has argued this is not the case and recognised European and international standards such as of the ILO and the European Social Charter apply. The director rejects this interpretation. He is supported in his lawlessness by the Dutch government. It is supporting an appeal of EPO in front of a higher Dutch court. The verdict is outstanding. EPSU and FNV have complained with the Dutch government. Questions have been raised by Members of the European Parliament and the Dutch Parliament. The European Commission is implicated as the EPO acts for certain tasks on a mandate from the European Commission, and uses EU tax payers money to finance such lawlessness. EPSU has contacted the office of European Commissioner for Social Affairs for a strong signal. Such people can not remain in office.

The next post will uncover even more political interventions. There’s a whole bunch of them right now.

La Avara USPTO deja Ambiguedades, ¨Per Se¨, para el Patentamiendo de Software en los Estados Unidos A Pesar del Caso Alice

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 2:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Publicado en America, Europe, Patents at 9:10 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No ambiguedades ¨como tales¨, simplemente ambiguedades ¨per se¨

USPTO subject matter

Sumario: La oficina de Patentes de los Estados Unidos, USPTO esta tratando de esquivar las decisiones de los que escriben las leyes en ese país, probablemente por codicia y no por motivaciones de control de cálidad.

La Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos fue bien clara acera de patents abstractas y la USPTO a regañadientes tomó esto en cuenta, sólo después que las cortes han tirado una y otra vez en el tacho de basura patentes otorgadas por la USPTO, donde cálidad de control es peor que comedia negra (¿es una examinación hecha en alguna manera o simplemente sellandola por un dinero?).

“Sin sorpresas, en este extremo sistema no regulado, la oficina de patentes hace lo muy minimo para acomodarse a las decisiones de la corte y deja muchas ambiguedades para patentar ideas abstractas.”Basado en esta página acerca de ¨Materia Sujeta a Eligibilidad de Patentes¨, la USPTO no quiere actualmente obedecer la ley como estan interpretadas por la Corte Suprema. Sin sorpresas, en este extremo sistema no regulado, la oficina de patentes hace lo muy minimo para acomodarse a las decisiones de la corte y deja muchas ambiguedades para patentar ideas abstractas. El término ¨per se¨ es mencionado por lo menos 5 veces en esta página y Benjamin Henrion (FFII) correctamente dijo que la ¨USPTO Esta abusando el ¨per se¨, como la OEP ha abusado del ¨como tál¨ para permitir que el software sea patentable al final¨ (ESTAS PALABRAS SON COMO VAGAS EXCEPCIONES A CADA REGLA).

¨Patentes,¨ escribió un persona patente-centrica, ¨Nueva entrada en & tomo 101 (materia sujeta a elegibilidad). ¿Cuándo actualizan MPEP?¨

Henrion, quien hablará acerca de problemas similares relacionados con patentes de software en Europa mañana en Bruselas, respondió a lo de arriba diciendo ¨que esta escrito por leguleyeros que quieren explotar las ambiguedades.¨

      –Benjamin Henrion
Otra persona opuesta a patentes de software escribió: ¨¿Interpretando la ley para servirse a sí mismos? ¿En orden de obtener ganancias?¨

Henrion más tarde la llamó ¨Estilo de la OEP para agarrar dinero¨ (recuerden como la OEP hace esto).

Están representando las patentes de software ¨aceptables¨ (o implícitamente permitidas) así que a agarrar dinero a cuestas de los ciudadanos. ESTO ESTA SIMPLEMENTE MAL. nO DEBERÍA SER HECHO. Estas organizaciones tienen dominios .org and .gov, pero operan como corporaciones avaras y las sirven [http://techrights.org/2015/10/11/closer-contact-with-major-applicants-leaked/] no a los ciudadanos.

Escribiendo acerca de la CAFC (Corte de Apelaciones del Distrito Federal), este sitio pro patentes de software (de abogados de patentes) escribió ayer que la CAFC ¨No abuse su discreción para permitir al acusado la § 101 Defens despues de Alice; Reclamos por ¨Compras de Carga Anónimas¨ usando tecnología de ordenador son abstractas y no patentables.¨

También dijo que el ¨acusador se movió para evitar la re-emitida invalidez bajo §101 como no hecha con buena cause y como injustamente perjudicial. El acusado discutió que el cambio fue hecho en vista de la §101 decision in Alice v. CLS Bank de la Corte Suprema, que fue decidida dos meses antes que las contenciones de invalidez fueron servidas. La Corte distrital acordo que la decisión Alice fue suficiente cause para reafirmar al §101 defense en las contenciones finales de invalidez. El distrito más tarde otorgó juicio sumario de invalidez bajo §101. El acusador apeló.¨

Como puede ser visto aquí, la USPTO otorga patentes de software, pero como los decretos de la Corte Suprema, estas patentes are considerada invalidas. Esto significa que la USPTO no hace lo que es legal y las palabras de arriba (¨per se¨) ayudan a mostrar que no esta incluso interesada en obedecer la ley. Simplemente quiere que el número de patentes otorgadas cresca exponencialmente (el número doblo en materia de pocos años).

Esta extrema codicia significa que una burbuja de patentes esta siendo creada (llevando a valuaciones incorrectas de algunas compañías) e inevitablemente explotará, causando mucho daño a la economía de los Estados Unidos. No será tan malo para los abogados de patentes cuando finalmente esto suceda.

Los abogados de patentes en Australia, mientras tanto, tratan de descubrir como patentar software en los Estados Unidos y su país. Medios de abogados ha publicado recientemente ¨Métodos de Negocios y Patentes de Software Elegibiliad: Estandares de los US y Australia¨ y dice:

RPL sostuvo que ¨no es una invención patentable simplemente ´poner´ un método de negocio ´dentro´ de una computadora para implementar el método de negocio usando la computadora por sus bien conocidas y entendibles funciones.¨ Puesto de otra manera, el ordenador no puede ser una mera herramienta ena la que la invención es hecha,¨ pero en vez ¨debe envolver al creación de un estado artificial de negocios donde el ordenador es integral a la invencion…¨ El aspecto inventivo (¨ingenuidad¨ como término de una corte australiana) debe ser ¨en la manera que el ordenador es utilizado¨, no en el esquema, plan o proceso que esta siendo implementado.

A primera vista, suena similar a la guía presentemente publicada en la decisión de la Corte Suprema de los Estados Unidos en Alice Corp. versus CLS Bank Int´l. La Corte Suprema mantuvo que ¨una mera instrucción para ´implementar´ una idea abstracta ´en una computadora´… no puede impartir elegibilidad de patentes.¨ En ves de ello, citando casos previos, Alice mantuvo que la invención puede ser patente elegible donde ¨mejora el funcionamiento del ordenador mismo,¨ o ´contribuye a un mejoramiento en otra tecnología o campo tecnológico.¨

Más y más lugares en el mundo, incluyendo Europa, decretan/consideran patentes de software invalidas, al menos cuando ellas llegan a las cortes. Es tiempo para que el público presione a las oficinas de patentes y abogados de patentes con los que ellos interactuan (todo por la acumulación de dinero), demandando que dejen de ignorar la ley. eLLOS NO DEBERÍAN PERSEGUIR MÁS PATENTES DE SOFTWARE. Ellas son una gran parte de los problemas de hoy. Si las patentes son comparadas con ¨productos¨ y maximilación de ¨ventas¨ (a clientes o aplicantes) es el objetivo, no sorpresa por que terminamos en este creciente terrible desorden.

“[La OEP] no puede distinguir entre hardware and software así que las patentess son otorgadas de todas maneras.”

Marshall Phelps, Microsoft

La EFF (Fundación De Frontera Electrónica) Habla Acerca de las Patentes de Software de Xerox, Trayendo Memorias de los Trolles de Patentes de Microsoft y sus Asociados

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 2:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Publicado en Microsoft, Patents at 8:30 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Xerox: de hacer fotocopiadoras a simplemente alimentar trolles de patentes convirtiendose en un troll santificado por la USPTO

Printer photocopier

Sumario: La compañía más conocida por (sinónimo internacionalmente con) fotocopiadoras esta ahora acumulando patentes las cuales son pasadas a trolles de patentes (desesperadamente buscando dinero) y se ha convertido en parte de un amplio problema.

La EFF (Fundación De Frontera Electrónica) explícitamente ha denunciado las patentes de software y ahora se enfrenta a una patente de software de Xerox, cuyas patentes fueron famosamente usadas contra Linux en manos de Acacia un troll de patentes conectado a Microsoft. Eso fue hace casi 9 años. Tenemos toda una categoría para Fuji Xerox, quienes tuvieron conecciones con Novell, firmando un tratado de patentes con Microsoft (implicando a Linux), AYUDANDO A mICROSOFT EXTORSIONAR OTRAS COMPAÑÍAS QUE USABAN Linux, convirtiéndose en sí misma en un masivo troll de patentes. Hoy en día Xerox es una compañía malévola. Es simplemente un parásito de patentes. No hay muchos productos actuales con el logo Xerox, pero todavía no puede ser caracterizada como una entidad-no-prácticante (hablando strictamente).

“Tenemos toda una categoría para Fuji Xerox, quienes tuvieron conecciones con Novell, firmando un tratado de patentes con Microsoft (implicando a Linux, AYUDANDO A MICROSOFT EXTORSIONAR OTRAS COMPAÑÍAS QUE USABAN Linux”¨Para citar un artículo de ayer de la EFF, (republicado por TechDirt prontamente): ¨La patente más estúpida de este mes fue otorgada a Xerox, quien en Enero 19 de 2016 recibió una patente esencialmente en una tarjeta de circulación bibliotecaria, pero hecha electrónicamente.¨

Hay ya cubrimiento de prensa alrededor de ella. El experto en Trolls, Sr. Joe Mullin dijo: ¨ Una vez al mes los abogados de la EFF (Fundación De Frontera Electrónica) alcanza profundamente dentro del saco de patentes frescas otorgadas por la USPTO. Entonces sacan una de las más oscuras, tristes, obviamente dolorosa, que nunca debió sido otorgada y sujetada a escrutinio publico.

¨Este mes el abogado de la EFF Vera Ranieri seleccionó un grupo questionable de patentes de Xerox y las expuso a la luz de Enero. US Patente No. 9,240,000 titulada ¨Red Social para habilitar el Compartimiento Físico de Documentos,¨ se resumen en un sistema de compartir documentos online. Parece exactamente la clase de patente que nunca debio haber pasado por el sistema, considerando las nuevas guías puestas en orden como resultado de la decisión de la Corte Suprema Alice Corp. v. CLS.

“No sólo los troles tienen la culpa. El problema inherente, núclear aquí son las patentes de software.”El significado de Alice es correctamente resaltado y debería ser notado que las patentes de Xerox TIENEN UNA TENDENCIA A PASAR DE MANOS Y TERMINAR COMO ARMA EN LAS MANOS DE LOS TROLLES DE PATENTES. No sólo los troles tienen la culpa. El problema inherente, núclear aquí son las patentes de software.

“Ford [...] se ha unido a RPX,” dice este nuevo artículo de los maximálistas, y han ¨tomado una licencia con la vil Intelectual Ventures,¨ que es la más grande proxy/satelite de patentes de Microsoft (hay más y Intelectual Ventures ha atacado Linux con patentes hasta reciéntemente el año pasado). RPX es un ejemplo de patentes compartidas por grandes compañías que actuan como trolles de patentes, mientras que los últimos son trolles de patentes a granel (Intelectual Ventures posee miles de entidades satelites ´enforcers´ que llevan compañías a corte si ellas no obedecen al Don de la Mafia, el tristemente célebre Natah Myhrvold).

Para citar al sitio solventado por la OEP:

Mientras GM se mantiene alejado del mercado de patentes, parece que el plan para el Sidecar se pueda tornar más comprometido cone llas. Me contacté con el Gerente General Sunil Paul quien dijo que el no era capaz de hablar públicamente acerca de la estrategia de la compañíá más allá de lo que es público. Asi que en vez de ello, pregunté a un par de expertos en licensias como ellos se aproximarían para hacer dinereo del la patente 6356838 y cualquier patente futura. Su respuesta fue, ¨si, buena suerte con ello¨; y sólo hubo una razón – Alice.

El caso Alice y la pregunta de patentabilidad en la USPTO (Oficina de Patentes y Marcas de los Estados Unidos) después del ruling de 2014 en Alice será nuestra materia en el próximo artículo.

Article Huesped: Introduccion al Creciente Rol de Microsoft en el Project R A Traves de la Fundación Linux y E.E.E.

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 2:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Publicado en GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 7:39 am por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

¿Puede Microsoft Enterrar R como SIEMPRE lo hace despues de E.E.E.?

R Project

Sumario: Preocupaciones acerca de E.E.E (embrace, extiende y extingue) de Microsoft, quien esta vez tiene como objetivo la ciencia y muchas escuelas (mucha gente joven)

Este artículo trata con un importante tópico que reciéntemente mencionamos pero no tuvimos tiempo de analizarlo profundamente. Las últimas noches correspondimos con otras personas y debatimos en los canales IRC toda clase de posibilidades. Hay muchas especulaciones de mucha gente acerca del último movimiento E.E.E (embrace, extiende, y extingue) de Microsoft. Uno de nuestros contribuyentes, iophk, nos envió el siguiente sumario ejecutivo acerca del proyecto R.

He observado y esto es lo que he encontrado acerca de R:

El projecto R es protegido por la GPL (Licencia Pública General) en partes y el resto por la LGPL (Licencia Pública General Menor). Es propiedad de la Fundación R. Más allá, es un projecto oficial GNU: ¨R es una parte oficial de la Fundación De Software Libre FSF projecto GNU, y la Fundación R tiene goles similares a otras fundaciones de fuente abierta como la Fundación Apache o la Fundanción GNOME.¨

Es desarrollada por el Équipo Principal de Desarrollo, que cita miembros individuales pero no su afiliación organizacional.

Esa base parece fuerte.

En contraste, el Consorcio R es manejado por la Fundación Linux que tiene a Microsoft como miembro fundador (que tal aberración) con sus representantes en la gerencia principal. También tiene TIBCO que es un viejo socio de Microsoft pero no actual.


Pero parece, si lo leí correctamente, que los miembros fundadores de la Fundación R son miembros del Consorcio R también, si no están sobrecargados con el trabajo extra.

El Consorcio R cita apoyo de la Fundación R como objetivo, pero hay un montón de espacio para otros goles.

La Fundación Linux puede ser considerada OPONENTE DEL LINUX ORDENADOR, como lo es Microsoft, lo que es antagonístico a la GPL. Tal vez ambos lo son. El movimiento de la Fundación Linux para eliminar la representación comunitaria de la gerencia puede y debe ser interpretado como un MOVIMIENTO CONTRA LA GPL. Siendo un miembro Platino (de los que da más dinero para controlarla), Microsoft esta el Comite Directivo (ISC) del Consorcio R, que entre otras cosas determina las APIs.

El Consorcio R se enfoca exclusivamente en la conferencia de usaR! El Projecto R en sí apoya dos conferencias, usaR! y DSC. La primera es la principal.

Los medios han estado escribiendo acerca de Microsoft Revolution Analytics, pero Mango-Solutions* esta allí afuera también.

R en sí pueda ser segura, pero puede ser cubierta en los medios. Creo que uno de las principales avenidas pueda ser E.E.E via Revolution Analytics** y acaparar posiciones en ella (E.E.E con empleados) de usaR! asi como en el Consorcio R.

* Mango-Solutions parece bien. No puedo encontrar datos financieros por este o por Revolution Analytics.
** Hasta 2012 Revoltion Analytics todavía estabe declinando reportar sus ganancias, pudieron ser pequeñas entonces. Información de whois por el dominio “revolutionanalytics.com” esta obscurecida, otros dominios como ¨inside-r.org¨ muestran una dirección de Mountain View, California. FWIW, Microsoft históricamente compra débiles/debilísimas compañías, por ejemplo la de donde provino FrontPage.

El tiempo dirá si Microsoft puede hacer R una ´cosa´ Windows/OOXML/.NET, y si es así hasta que grado…

Como será evidente por los logs de IRC (cuando sean publicados), hay otros proyectos FOSS siendo sujetos al E.E.E por Microsoft ahora mismo.

Links 31/1/2016: OpenELEC 6.0.1, Linux Lite 2.8

Posted in News Roundup at 1:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Get your own copy of Torrent search engine as Strike search engine goes open source

    Now everyone can have their own torrent search engine as Strike torrent search goes open source

    Somebody’s loss is always somebody’s gain. The same happened in the case of the popular torrent search engine Strike which has just gone open source. Now, torrent lovers and film fans can build their own custom torrent search engine based on Strike code.

  • Strike Torrent Search Goes Open Source, After RIAA Debacle

    The popular torrent search engine Strike has shut down permanently. Following a lawsuit from the RIAA, developer Andrew Sampson decided to stay away from torrent released projects. To mark the end of a turbulent period, he has now released the search engine’s source code to the public.

  • TiddlyWiki: A free, open source wiki revisited

    TiddlyWiki has become a very polished piece of free, open source software engineering and I was delighted to find that the latest version could even import my ancient version’s content. My old TiddlyWiki was a fairly large collection of recipes and other than some minor formatting issues (the latest version supports a type of markdown called WikiText so my old version’s content wasn’t correctly formatted) everything was easily imported and upgraded.

  • Snowden Leak Proves That NSA And GCHQ Spied On Israeli Drones Using Open Source Tools

    GCHQ used open source software like AntiSky to break down commercial satellite encryption. AntiSky was developed by Dr. Markus Kuhn, Computer Laboratory at the University of Cambridge. The software allows anyone to peep through the satellite signals and then use his expertise to come up with some meaningful outcome. However, digital video signals used by some drones might pose difficulty for the analysts appointed by the security agencies.

  • Events

    • OpenStack Summit Austin: Call for Speakers

      The next OpenStack Summit will take place in Austin, TX, US from April 25-29, 2016. The Call for Speaker period is still open and will close on February 1st , 2016, 11:59 PM PDT (February 2nd, 08:59 CEST). You can submit your presentations here.

  • BSD

    • Exploiting The Full Potential Of ZFS On BSD Systems

      With ZFS file-system support continuing to spread via OpenZFS, you may be one of the many out there still wondering about the benefits of ZFS.

      Allan Jude, a FreeBSD server administrator, is presenting at FOSDEM this weekend about “interesting things you can do with ZFS.” His presentation covers ZFS features like data integrity checking, multi-level cache, copy-on-write behavior, snapshots, quotas, transparent compression, incremental replication, and more.



  • The End of Twitter

    It wasn’t that long ago that I—and many other people I know—would have argued that Twitter was more than just another social network. I would have told you that Twitter was more like a utility, a service so fundamental that I could imagine a scenario in which it was literally underwritten. Twitter needed to exist. A stream of those hundred-and-forty-character tweets was how you found the most crucial, critical, and thought-provoking stories of the moment.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

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      The OpenSSL project has patched a problem in the cryptographic library but one that likely does not affect many popular applications.

      OpenSSL enables SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) or TLS (Transport Layer Security) encryption. Most websites use it, which is indicated in Web browsers with a padlock symbol.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • What’s In A Name? Iraqis Change Names to Avoid Being Targeted by Militias

      Fear of those Shiite Muslim militias is driving many locals in Diyala Province, where the population is mixed, to change their names to more neutral formulations.

      The reason is simple survival. “Just over the past two months our department has received between 150 and 200 applications for a name change,” said an official working for Diyala’s Directorate of Nationality. “Most of the applications are being submitted by people whose names reveal their sect or the areas from where their family or tribe comes.”

    • Bombs Damage Pipelines in Iraq as 41 Are Killed

      A pair of bombs near Kirkuk damaged a pipeline that delivers gas used for electricity production in Kurdistan and caused power outages.

    • The Grim Fight Against War

      Every candidate running for president accepts war as a necessity.

    • ISIS Kidnap 30 Children; 139 Killed in Iraq
    • Saudi Arabia funding 24,000 Pak madrassas, says American senator

      About 24,000 madrassas in Pakistan are funded by Saudi Arabia which has unleashed a “tsunami of money” to “export intolerance”, a top American senator has said, adding that the US needs to end its effective acquiescence to the Saudi sponsorship of radical Islamism.

      Senator Chris Murphy said Pakistan is the best example of where money coming from Saudi Arabia is funnelled to religious schools that nurture hatred and terrorism.

    • Airmen get computer ‘weapon system’ just in time for Colorado Springs symposium

      Air Force Space Command has declared its first cyber “weapons system” operational as a conference of computer warfare experts gets ready to kick off in Colorado Springs.

      The weapon, deemed fully operational this month, is basically a big firewall designed to protect the Air Force’s internal 1 million-user network from hackers. It will be a hot topic at the Rocky Mountain Cyber Symposium, which is expected to draw hundreds of computer experts to The Broadmoor for a four-day confab starting Monday.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The Leak Hypocrisy of the Hillary Shadow Cabinet

      Now, as I have said before, one thing that is going on here is that CIA is acting just like CIA always does when it declares publicly known things, including torture and drones, to be highly secret. It appears likely that these Top Secret emails are yet another set of emails about the worst kept secret in the history of covert programs, CIA’s drone killing in Pakistan. And so I am sympathetic, in principle, to Hillary’s campaign claims that this is much ado about nothing.

    • 22 Clinton Emails Deemed ‘Top Secret’ by State Department (VIDEO)

      Confirming that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private computer server held highly classified material, the U.S. government Friday censored 22 emails.

      The seven email chains from the Democratic presidential front-runner will be withheld from the public because information in them has been deemed “top secret,” announced John Kirby, State Department spokesman. However, “These documents were not marked classified at the time that they were sent,” he said, having been upgraded at the request of intelligence agencies.

    • Hey, Have You Heard About the Top Secret US Drone Program?

      Hmmm. A news article? Here’s a Politico piece from a couple of weeks ago, when we heard that the inspector general’s office was concerned about some of Clinton’s emails.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Cloud blanket warms up melting icecap

      Researchers have identified another piece in the climate machinery that is accelerating the melting of the Greenland ice cap. The icy hills are responding to the influence of a higher command system: the clouds.

      An international research team led by scientists from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium report in Nature Communications journal that cloud cover above the northern hemisphere’s largest single volume of permanent ice is raising temperatures by between 2° and 3°C and accounting for 20-30% of the melting.

    • Here is the weather forecast for the next five years: even hotter

      Global temperatures will continue to soar over the next 12 months as rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions and El Niño combine to bring more record-breaking warmth to the planet.

      According to the Met Office’s forecast for the next five years, 2016 is likely to be the warmest since records began. Then in 2017 there will be a dip as the effects of El Niño dissipate and there is some planet-wide cooling.

      But after that, and for the remaining three years of the decade, the world will continue to experience even more warming. The forecast, which will be released this week, is the first such report that the Met Office has issued since it overhauled its near-term climate prediction system last year.

  • Finance

    • Same as the old boss: Justin Trudeau ready to sign Harper’s EU free trade deal

      CETA is a Canada/EU “free trade agreement,” negotiated in secret and containing the notorious “Investor-State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS) clause, which lets corporations sue governments in confidential tribunals in order to force them to repeal their environmental, safety and labour laws.

      If that sounds familiar, it should: CETA was negotiated in the same corrupt, secretive process that the old Harper government deployed for the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Canada/China deal.

    • The Perils of Privatization

      Make no mistake: The purpose of privatization is to make a profit. The promise of privatization is efficiency. But in its pursuit of both profits and efficiency, privatization creates perverse incentives. It encourages privately managed charter schools to avoid or get rid of “expensive” students” (unless the reimbursement formula makes them profitable to keep); it encourages for-profit hospitals to over diagnose patients and perform unnecessary surgeries; it encourages private preschool providers of special education to misdiagnose children as in need of services to produce profits.

    • Hillary’s Corporate Democrats Taking Down Bernie Sanders

      Before announcing for President in the Democratic Primaries, Bernie Sanders told the people he would not run as an Independent and be like Nader—invoking the politically-bigoted words “being a spoiler.” Well, the spoiled corporate Democrats in Congress and their consultants are mounting a “stop Bernie campaign.” They believe he’ll “spoil” their election prospects.

    • Some Things Change With Time … While the Gender Wage Gap Remains Relatively the Same

      Despite the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, the equal pay needle hasn’t moved much at all.

      It’s hard to believe it’s been seven years since President Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first piece of legislation to become law during his presidency. Back in 2009, we celebrated the law’s potential for turning the rallying cry of “equal pay for equal work” into a reality.

      But sadly – as President Obama’s announcement today to hold companies accountable for paying women and people of color less makes evident – the momentum created by Ledbetter’s namesake legislation hasn’t moved the equal pay needle all that much.

      Who was Lilly Ledbetter? In 2007, the Supreme Court threw out a jury’s verdict that she suffered pay discrimination during her nearly 20 years as one of the only female managers at an Alabama Goodyear Tire plant. In a 5-4 opinion authored by Justice Samuel Alito, the court found that Ledbetter waited too long to sue, even though she didn’t know about the disparity between her pay and that of her male peers until she was close to retirement.

    • The West Is Reduced To Looting Itself

      Accountable government in the West is history. Nothing but failure and collapse awaits Western civilization.

    • New York Times Gets it Wrong: Bernie Sanders Not “Top Beneficiary of Outside Money”

      The New York Times caused a stir by publishing a classic man-bites-dog style campaign finance story in its Friday editions titled “Bernie Sanders Is Top Beneficiary of Outside Money.” The article charges that despite his fiery campaign rhetoric against Super PACs and big money in politics, Sanders has gained much more from Super PAC spending than his Democratic opponents.

      “In fact,” the Times reports, “more super PAC money has been spent so far in express support of Mr. Sanders than for either of his Democratic rivals, including Hillary Clinton, according to Federal Election Commission records.”

    • How the Homeless Population Is Changing — and Becoming Much More Vulnerable

      On any given night in the United States, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, over half a million people are without a home. That number may have decreased nationwide in the past few years, but California remains on the forefront of the problem, accounting for 20 percent of the country’s homeless in 2014.


      The common perception of homelessness is that it is a problem that afflicts only those with mental health and substance use problems. But this description doesn’t describe the experience of older adults, particularly those who first experienced homelessness late in life.

    • The ugliest Bernie smear yet: Washington Post shows its corporate colors with new Sanders hit piece

      The Washington Post has been on something of an anti-Sanders kick lately. Its latest editorial, Bernie Sanders’s fiction-filled campaign, is somehow worse than its last one, which derided his single-payer plan in tabloid-like terms. It’s entirely predictable that an establishment gatekeeper publication like The Post would not approve of Sanders’ relatively radical policy proposals, but the degree to which it keeps offering up hysterical, and often times totally disingenuous critiques, is surprising even by its standards.

    • Cheap cab ride? You must have missed Uber’s true cost

      To understand why we see so few genuine alternatives to US technology giants, it’s instructive to compare the fate of a company like Uber – valued at more than $62.5bn (£44bn) – and that of Kutsuplus, an innovative Finnish startup forced to shut down late last year.

      Kutsuplus’s aspiration was to be the Uber of public transport: it operated a network of minibuses that would pick up and drop passengers anywhere in Helsinki, with smartphones, algorithms and the cloud deployed to maximise efficiency, cut costs and provide a slick public service. Being a spinoff of a local university that operated on a shoestring budget, Kutsuplus did not have rich venture capitalists behind it. This, perhaps, is what contributed to its demise: the local transport authority found it too expensive, despite impressive year-on-year growth of 60%.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Is Bernie Sanders the American Jeremy Corbyn?

      He is the veteran socialist that no one gave a prayer to – but now Bernie Sanders is starting to be seen as a serious contender to be the Democrats’ presidential candidate. Does that remind you of anyone?

    • Hillary, Bernie and Jill

      Lest anyone begin to believe that this writer is indicating support for Mr. Sanders, please disabuse yourself of any such notion. The fact that Mrs. Clinton is an unabashed corporate shill, and Mr. Sanders, perhaps, isn’t, or is less so, doesn’t cause this writer to reject the one and embrace the other. He agrees that Mr. Sanders is probably the lesser of the two Democratic evils, but there are alternatives.

    • Trump and the Conservative Establishment Deserve Each Other

      The bankrupt political establishment has given us Trump as surely as Victor Frankenstein gave his community the monster. I’m all for revolting against the establishment, but we will regret making the authoritarian and boorish Trump the standard bearer of that revolt.

    • INFOGRAPHIC: The Conservative Civil War Over Donald Trump

      Conservative pundits are bickering over Donald Trump’s campaign, especially after National Review’s “Against Trump” issue and the backlash it engendered. On one side are pundits who want to stop Trump’s candidacy in its tracks.

    • Can the new Charter protect the BBC’s independence

      Let’s be frank: the status quo does not offer sufficient safeguards for BBC independence.

  • Censorship

    • Rowena Kincaid: Cancer patient attacks Facebook over ‘censorship’

      A terminally ill woman has hit out at Facebook after a “potentially life-saving” photograph showing one of her nipples was removed from her page.

      Rowena Kincaid, who has secondary stage-four breast cancer, said the decision to remove the image could prevent thousands people from learning about the symptoms of the disease.

    • Facebook Cracks Down On Private Gun Sales

      Still, this marks another step by the company to limit the sale of firearms on its service. As the Verge reported in 2014, Facebook previously limited posts about gun sales to people over the age of 18.

    • Elite students receive a lesson in self-censorship

      Teeraporn Suwanvidhu had a tough decision to make five years ago as president of the Thai Student Association in the UK: remove an article, or lose all support from the Thai Embassy next year.

    • Reformers to demand censorship from Facebook, Line

      Executives of the giant social media outlets Facebook and Line have been called to a meeting by the national reform assembly over monitoring and removing content considered a security threat to Thailand.

      The meeting called by the assembly’s media reform committee follows a similar one with Google executives on Jan 22 in which they were asked to remove content without a court order.

    • Thai junta wants online content removed without order

      A report claims that a Thai junta-appointed committee is to ask Facebook and online communication device Line to immediately remove content deemed threatening to national security or the monarchy, if it wants to continue operating in the Kingdom.

      The removal would be carried out without the need for a Computer Crime Act court order — previously needed before any action is taken against anyone posting “threatening” content online.

      The Bangkok Post reported Sunday that a document claimed to have been leaked and obtained by Thai cyber activists reveals details of the February plans.

    • Confirmed: 1984-style censorship in Sweden

      Here is a screenshot of a story in the Daily Mail, titled EXCLUSIVE – Swedish social worker was stabbed in the back and thigh as she tried to break up a fight between two teenage migrants: Police officer reveals shocking new details of the killing. Note how it appears just fine through my regular Internet service:

    • Bill Gates sold rights to the Tiananmen 1989 pictures to a Chinese company

      The photos went as part of the deal that sold Corbis Entertainment’s licensing arm to Visual China Group.

      Few subjects are more heavily censored in China than mention the 1989 Tiananmen uprising and massacre.

    • Bill Gates has sold a set of iconic images to a Beijing firm—including of Tiananmen in 1989

      The sale of politically sensitive pictures to a Chinese company raises the question of whether they will become harder to access. The answer depends partly on your location. Within mainland China the issue of who owns sensitive images is a somewhat academic matter. Censorship—both government-led and self-imposed—means that images such as “Tank Man” rarely see the light of day anyway.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • James Ridgeway’s Solitary Reporting

      Each week, Ridgeway leaves his home in Washington, D.C., walks to his local post office, and returns with about fifty letters from men and women locked in solitary-confinement units in prisons around the country. The letters began arriving in 2010, soon after Ridgeway launched a Web site, called Solitary Watch, with an editor named Jean Casella. “When we started, there was nobody writing about this,” she said. Ridgeway was then seventy-three years old. He dug into his retirement fund to help cover startup costs, and now, when he goes to the post office each week, he pushes a walker.

    • Watch An Atheist Voter Confront Ben Carson About Separation Of Church And State

      Asked by an atheist voter about how his Christian faith would play a role in his presidency, Republican candidate Ben Carson said he believes there is inherently “no conflict” between God’s law and the laws of America.

      “Fortunately, our Constitution, the supreme law of the land, was designed by men of faith, and it has a Judeo-Christian foundation,” the retired neurosurgeon told a packed room of potential caucusgoers in Iowa City on Friday afternoon. “Therefore, there is no conflict there. So it is not a problem.”

    • Discriminatory New Visa Law Keeps German-Iranian Professor Out of U.S.

      ON JANUARY 29, Dr. Amin Shokrollahi was planning to do something he had done many times before: take a flight from his home in Switzerland to the United States. Shokrollahi, a dual German-Iranian citizen, is a renowned mathematician, computer scientist, and a professor at the prestigious École Polytechnique Fédérale in Lausanne. Once in the U.S., he was to deliver an address at the International Solid-State Circuits Conference (ISSC) in San Francisco.

    • State Rep. Praises KKK, Wants New Holiday To Honor Confederacy

      The Ku Klux Klan has gotten a bad rap, according to one Georgia lawmaker. He says the terror group “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order” that “made a lot of people straighten up.”

      That leader is now hellbent on stopping the “cultural cleansing” of the South’s heritage. So far this year, State Rep. Tommy Benton (R) has co-sponsored two bills to preserve the Confederate’s legacy.

    • Cops Caught on Camera in Cowardly Gang-Style Beating of an Unarmed Man Lying Face Down

      In August of 2014, multiple deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s office conducted a drug bust. During the bust, Derrick Price ran from deputies Jesse Terrell, Trevor Fitzgerald, James Amideo, Cody Hoppel and Adam Crawford. However, once he realized he could not outrun the pickup truck, he quickly stopped, put his hands up, and laid face down on the ground — completely surrendering.

      Upon reaching the unarmed, nonviolent, completely compliant, and prostrate man, the deputies proceeded to unleash a furious beating composed of kicks to the head, knees to the body, and countless blows from fists.

    • Father Arrested For Theft After Taking Daughter’s Phone Vindicated

      Arrested on a theft charge for disciplining his daughter by taking her cell phone away, a North Texas father said “justice” was finally served.

      Ronald Jackson was arrested by Grand Prairie police after investigators attempted to retrieve the phone, but were never successful in their efforts.

      A judge at the Dallas County Courthouse found Jackson not guilty on Tuesday, citing a lack of evidence to move forward with the case.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Party Risks Future to Protect Hyperlinks

        Earlier this week it was revealed that the Czech Pirate Party is being prosecuted for running a pirate TV show site. The party faces 200,000 euros in damages and could even be dissolved as a legal entity, but according to the chief of the party’s International Department, defending Internet hyperlinking is worth the risk.

      • Welcome to the divergence

        And it is a huge trend — vinyl sales are at a 26-year high in the US, and they represent more revenue to the music industry than streaming right now.

      • The Commerce Department Has Good Recommendations For Fixing Copyright Law – But More is Needed

        This paper grew out of a series of hearings in 2013 and 2014 in which EFF and other public interest organizations and academics gave evidence, along with people from the media and publishing industries. The Commerce Department panel deserves praise for inviting many different viewpoint. It covers three issues: remixes, the ability to re-sell and lend digital goods (called “first sale” rights), and copyright’s civil penalties (called “statutory damages”). The paper makes some recommendations to Congress that will help promote innovation and free speech, and will hopefully help begin a conversation about other needed fixes. And the Commerce Department panel did a good job of inviting and hearing many different viewpoints. Still, their recommendations in these three areas don’t go far enough to fix the problems they identify.

      • Could you be a Local Pirate?

        In 2014 we stood in the North-West Region for the European Elections. At last year’s General Election we had candidates in Manchester, Sheffield, South Wales and London. This year we want to consolidate in those areas, and branch out to new ones as well. This means that even if you are the only Pirate in your area it’s still worth standing as a candidate as a way of putting the Pirate name and brand out there – hopefully it will lead to kick-starting a branch in your area if people come forward and are interested.

Richard Stallman: European Software Patents Are Back With the Unitary Patent Court (UPC)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Image credit: Benjamin Henrion at FOSDEM

Summary: Debates over the UPC are being fought between software professionals (practicing entities) and parasitic elements such as patent lawyers

THE EPO often issues patents on software, despite the ban on software patents in Europe. According to Benjamin Henrion’s tweet this morning, the father of Free software, Richard Stallman, said that European software patents are back with the Unitary Patent Court. We have been saying this for a very long time, but some people refuse to accept it, even given a lot of evidence or law professionals who are saying the same thing. This isn’t a theory or merely an hypothesis; it’s a fact.

“According to Benjamin Henrion’s tweet this morning, the father of Free software, Richard Stallman, said that European software patents are back with the Unitary Patent Court.”Another thing that UPC will help bring to Europe is a parasitic element from abroad/overseas, mostly from the US. It’s already starting to happen. Last week, or just a few days ago, patent lawyers made the claim that it wouldn’t bring trolls to Europe (they don’t even call them trolls, just “Non-Practicing and Patent Assertion Entities”). Other patent lawyers still push hard for UPC and rebrand themselves accordingly. The lawyers’ media publicly boasts (e.g. in Twitter) whole sections about it. They try to capitalise on change, irrespective of its harm. This one site said: “Finland ratifies the UPC Agreement and its Protocol, UK gears up for ratification with a little legal complexity, UPC judicial posts open to all, and improvements to UPC IT system” (as if it already exists and only some minor details remain to be decided).

Well, law firms in London and lawyers’ media from that area may try to give us the impression that UPC is inevitable and even that it’s good, but it’s a horrible mistake and it would bring the EU closer in line with the US (with the world’s most notorious patent system), where people are dragged down to Texas for lawsuits over software patents (in courts that are traditionally friendly towards software patents).

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

When European Parliament/Commission Gets Embroiled in the EPO Scandals

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Every big scandal “as such” starts as merely a ‘rumour’

Napoleonic Europe with FIFA and EPO

Summary: Political actions against the EPO’s management are increasing in frequency, as well as in location

TECHRIGHTS has been working hard behind the scenes this month. There are now actions against the EPO at 3 (at the very least 3) levels, some political/local/external, some internal (the EPO), and some involving the European Commission. Looking grim for the EPO’s reputation, no doubt, but we press on and communicate with more people, undeterred and determined, because EPO managers are well connected and they too have strings they can pull. The European Parliament may soon have something tabled regarding the EPO. While parliamentary documents cannot be shown yet, we are in fact aware of concrete progress.

“While parliamentary documents cannot be shown yet, we are in fact aware of concrete progress.”One person sent us what was called a “draft of a question [an MEP] was planning on tabling to the European Commission. I assume if it has been tabled it will be in the public domain.” Perhaps somebody who is familiar with the Parliament/Commission Web site will be able to locate the letter (if it’s there), but regardless, here is a redacted version of it:

Commission letter

There’s no escaping the fact that more and more European politicians (local or EU level) become interested in — and increasingly involved in — the EPO scandals. This escalation won’t end well for Battistelli and his team. The harder they try to justify what they have been doing (or to silence their critics), the worse it gets. Are we seeing a ‘slow motion’ FIFA-type scandal unfolding?

“Are we seeing a ‘slow motion’ FIFA-type scandal unfolding?”Few politicians out there deserve special praises for studying a hard topic like patents and the EPO (harder to grasp than something like football or sex-related scandals); many take the easy route and ignore what’s going on at the EPO; they gain more political karma by dealing with trivial matters like immigration, poor-shaming, and so on. Dutch politicians Dennis De Jong and John Kerstens, as well as French Politicians Philip Cordery and Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ are among those actually doing their job, which is representation of their citizens, especially at hard times. John Kerstens and Philip Cordery can be contacted in Twitter.

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