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02.24.16

Xamarin Quits Pretending to be Separate From Microsoft, All Staff to Work Directly for Microsoft

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Mono at 10:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

So the Microsoft-loving lynch mob will start receiving salaries directly from Microsoft

Miguel de Icaza and other Microsoft MVPs
Miguel de Icaza now officially a Microsoft employee

Summary: Xamarin staff’s Microsoft roots and loyalties now confirmed as Microsoft just bought/recruited them all

THE TROJAN horse strategy of Microsoft can only ever work as long as FOSS developers are naive enough to believe that Microsoft comes with good intentions. We have already seen openwashing of Microsoft lock-in like .NET (there is more of it today from Pierre-Luc Maheu), even though it’s still proprietary lock-in with some open ‘core’. We wrote a lot about this in 2014.

Just as Microsoft uses Cyanogen as a Trojan horse in mobile (Android), Microsoft has used Xamarin as a Trojan horse for a number of years now (not just in mobile).

“Just as Microsoft uses Cyanogen as a Trojan horse in mobile (Android), Microsoft has used Xamarin as a Trojan horse for a number of years now (not just in mobile).”Xamarin’s Mono now becomes Microsoft’s as Miguel de Icaza once again makes a lot of money from Microsoft, after former Microsoft people had dunked lots of money into his efforts (Xamarin’s sources of funding were covered here before).

RoboVM was part of an embrace phase (in E.E.E.); it’s almost as though Microsoft bought a Java/Android company, which it soon took proprietary (extend) and can now use as a Trojan horse for .NET conversions (extinguish) because RoboVM employees all become Microsoft employees, within just a few months. It’s like Nokia all over again and it happened in a nearby country (neighbour of Finland).

Proving Techrights was right all along, earlier today was found this post from Phoronix which said “Xamarin was formed by Miguel de Icaza in 2011 after his earlier Mono-focused company, Ximian, was acquired by Novell but then the Mono developers were let go when Novell was acquired by Attachmate.”

“Right now Mono is officially a Microsoft thing.”We warned about it right from the start. Right now Mono is officially a Microsoft thing. Not just Microsoft copyrights are inside of it. The trademarks too probably become Microsoft’s. “Everybody knew this was coming years ago,” a senior member at Phoronix Forums wrote. Here is the Microsoft angle and Microsoft Peter’s shallow piece. There was some discussion about it in our IRC channel, as Mark said that “de Icaza is practically a closed source advocate… uses Mac OS X over Linux… pumps MS tech whenever possible… Microsoft MVP Awardee in 2010… Apple basically advocates conspicuous consumption which is pretty much the opposite of what I believe in” (expect de Icaza to praise Microsoft even more from now on).

Some, myself included, were relieved by the news because it’s proving us right. “Finally,” XRevan86 wrote. “I was sick of people who were saying Xamarin is not a Microsoft thing. Like Microsoft is bad but Xamarin is okay. You know what’s the most ironic thing? Miguel said that GNU/Linux won’t ever be popular because of compatibility issues after he moved to OS X. The most compatibility messing thing in GNU/Linux is GNOME’s GTK+.”

“The Mono lynch mob is something Microsoft will now be accountable for.”“As part of this commitment I am pleased to announce today that Microsoft has signed an agreement to acquire Xamarin,” wrote Microsoft, calling it “a leading platform provider for mobile app development.” [sic]

Leading? How many people even use this thing? Xamarin, in recent years, hired longtime enemies of this site (Techrights) — people who publicly attack me all the time for ‘daring’ not to trust Microsoft and Mono. They even hired Jo Shields, who has been cursing and swearing, sometimes even libeling me. These are Mono boosters who are more like moles inside GNU/Linux. Well, from now on they’ll get their salary directly from Microsoft and any time I see them attacking me online I’d be able to attribute these attacks to Microsoft. I criticise Mono, so they criticise me personally (ad hominem). What a relief it is to know that Microsoft will now bear responsibility for these utterly rude people. The Mono lynch mob is something Microsoft will now be accountable for.

The Joint Subcommittee Hearing on the World Intellectual Property Organisation’s Vicious Attacks on Whistleblowers

Posted in Law, Patents at 9:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO parallels aplenty

Francis Gurry
The thug in chief, Francis Gurry. Photo source: WIPO

Summary: The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) comes under attack for ignoring US law and attacking those who report issues with that, as told by people from the inside just hours ago

THE latest WIPO scandal has been covered and debated in many Web sites by now. It’s not a subject we follow closely (although we covered WIPO in the distant past), but we do occasionally mention it in daily links. At the core of the matter (or issue) there is lack of transparency, as it serves to hide abusive practices. But moreover, as this is a United Nations body at hand (i.e. no friend of the US), there’s the issue of loyalty to North Korea, which the UN does not exclude. Servers and routers from the US were being sent to North Korea, so the House Foreign Affairs Committee mostly worries about this for political reasons, notably fear of countries that don’t bend the US’ way, both militarily and when it comes to so-called ‘IP’ policy (not just patents). Then there’s a similar issue arising from cooperation with Iran. We put aside the political matters (Francis Gurry is from Australia, not the US) and deal mostly with the response to staff which expressed concern/dissent. WIPO had no whistleblower policy in place at the time, so Dr. Brown, for example, was operating based on gut feeling when she spoke to her boss, Gurry. Brown wrongly assumed that the US would protect her actions, but this was not the case. A lot of what happened inside WIPO is similar to what’s happening at the EPO, where the crisis has some resemblance if not also connections to WIPO. We watched it live and made notes about the video. Here is the full (raw) broadcast:

Among the issues raised: gross human rights violations, attacks on unions, intolerance of whistleblowers, “theft of DNA” (whatever that means), infringement of property rights (or approaching without authorisation and then confiscating personal belongings), DNA-level or other Orwellian forms of surveillance, and (re)election of a head without any sane democratic process. WIPO resorted to threatening or demonising people using journalists too, all while threatening to “take down the article and issue an apology” when the reporters didn’t suit WIPO’s agenda (similar to what EPO had done to me). Pooley mentioned the person who had “committed suicide” like in the EPO, amid all the scandals and the vicious attack on those who spoke about it. For people who work at the EPO the above video might be of interest. It’s only hours old.

The EPO’s Investigative Unit (I.U.) Called ‘Gestapo’ on Dutch Television

Posted in Europe, Patents, Videos at 9:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The EPO’s staff union, SUEPO, shares an English (by subtitles) version of a recent interview with SUEPO’s lawyer

THE unrest at the EPO and the protests organised by staff have gotten plenty of coverage from Dutch media. That was at the end of last month. We have some English translations of articles in Dutch, e.g. [1, 2]. Here is the video posted a week ago and made public on YouTube (and accessible as Flash from SUEPO’s Web site). It’s reposted below in WebM format in order to help bypass software patents, DRM, JavaScript, cookies etc.


Due to the way YouTube works, one must open the video in YouTube in order to see the English subtitles. Mind the part which speaks about the EPO’s Investigative Unit [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

Hopefully the above can help broaden the reach of this important, is not historic, information.

Links 24/2/2016: Wine-Staging 1.9.4, CaffeOnSpark

Posted in News Roundup at 9:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 tips for growing your developer community on GitHub

    You’ve done it: you’ve taken your own personal utility, library, or web application and placed it on GitHub as free and open source software for all the world to see.

    Maybe you wrote this software to fill a personal need, or maybe you’ve always hoped that it would reach more people. One thing’s certain: it’s always been yours, and yours alone—but the moment you pushed that code for the first time, your baby left the nest. What comes next is up to you.

  • BeeGFS Parallel File System Now Open Source
  • Let’s meet the 2016 OSI Board of Directors candidates!

    The nominations for the Open Source Initiative board of directors closed on February 15th and we are delighted to share our list of candidates with you!

    We are excited that so many people want to take part, and as such would like to introduce you to the candidates before voting opens on February 29th.

  • Web Browsers

    • on ditching css frameworks and preprocessors
    • Run Windows 98 And Linux In Your Web Browser, Thanks To JavaScript And NodeJS

      Short Bytes: A coder, known as Fabian on GitHub, has created x86 architecture based emulations that allow you to run Windows 98, Linux, KolibriOS etc. inside your browser.

    • Mozilla

      • A Mozilla journey: Contributor to Firefox Student Ambassadors executive board

        One thing that I have learned from working in the open source community is that you must never hesitate to ask for help. People are really very friendly, and finding the right mentor can prove to be immensely helpful in your life. Contributing to open source projects will only help you, so don’t waste too much time thinking about it. Take a leap of faith and dive into the community behind your favorite open source product. If you’re specifically interested in acquiring technical skills, there’s nothing a commit a day can’t solve! It also enhances your e-karma.

      • The case for an embeddable Gecko

        Strap yourself in, this is a long post. It should be easy to skim, but the history may be interesting to some. I would like to make the point that, for a web rendering engine, being embeddable is a huge opportunity, how Gecko not being easily embeddable has meant we’ve missed several opportunities over the last few years, and how it would still be advantageous to make Gecko embeddable.

      • Continuing the Conversation About Encryption and Apple: A New Video From Mozilla

        In the past week, the conversation about encryption has reached fever pitch. Encryption, Apple, and the FBI are in headlines around the world. And lively discussions about security and privacy are taking place around kitchen tables, on television, and in comment sections across the Internet.

        Mozilla believes the U.S. government’s demand for Apple to circumvent their own security protections is a massive overreach. To require Apple to do this would set a dangerous precedent that threatens consumer security going forward. But this discussion is an opportunity to broaden public understanding of encryption. When people understand the role encryption plays in their everyday lives, we can all stand up for encryption when threats surface — this key issue related to the overall health of the Internet becomes mainstream.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Don’t Laugh: Yahoo’s Open Source AI Has a Secret Weapon

      Yet another tech giant is sharing its artificial intelligence know-how with the world. Today Yahoo published the source code to its CaffeOnSpark AI engine so that anyone from academic researchers to big corporations can use or modify it.

    • Yahoo open-sources CaffeOnSpark deep learning framework for Hadoop

      Yahoo today is releasing some key artificial intelligence software (AI) under an open-source license. The company last year built a library called CaffeOnSpark to perform a popular type of AI called “deep learning” on the vast swaths of data kept in its Hadoop open-source file system for storing big data. Now it’s becoming available for anyone to use under an open-source Apache license on GitHub.

    • Google’s Managed Hadoop and Spark Cloud Service Goes Live

      Google has announced that its Cloud Dataproc service — a managed tool based on the Hadoop and Spark open source big data software — is now generally available. Google Cloud Dataproc, because it leverages both Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark, promises to be in strong demand, especially at enterprises.

      “When analyzing data, your attention should be focused on insights, not your tools,” Google notes. “Often, popular tools to process data, such as Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark, require a careful balancing act between cost, complexity, scale, and utilization. Unfortunately, this means you focus less on what is important — your data — and more on what should require little or no attention — the cluster processing it. We created our managed Spark and Hadoop cloud service, Google Cloud Dataproc, to rectify the balance, so that using these powerful data tools is as easy as 1-2-3.”

  • Databases

    • Vendor: ‘Governments moving to open source databases’

      Governments across the world are increasingly turning to Postgresql, an open source relational database management system, according to a press release by Enterprisedb. The company provides commercial services for the database system, and reports a hefty growth of its government contracts.

    • Introducing motranslator

      What changes you can expect? First of all it supports all current PHP versions. It also performs way better – in my tests loading of mo file is 4-5 times faster and memory consumption went down about 10 percent. You can additionally use object API instead of traditional function based.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • current LibreOffice native gtk3 elements

      LibreOffice typically basically has just one gtk widget per top level window and draws everything you see itself, using the gtk themeing apis to make what it draws look like they do in gtk.

      But there are some truly native gtk elements. Some of them new.

    • LibreOffice 5.1 Videos: Analytics

      For LibreOffice 5.1 we created a playlist of short videos highlighting some of the new features in action. At the time of writing, these videos have been viewed over 50,000 times in total. Here’s the breakdown:

      Calc: 15,346
      Impress: 12,275
      Writer: 25,229

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Facebook TIPs the Scales Toward Better Networking

      TIP will bring together telecommunications companies, infrastructure providers, system integrators and other technology companies, according to Jay Parikh, Facebook’s global head of engineering and infrastructure.

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD Intel Graphics Driver Gets BXT Support, Aims For A Blob-Free Skylake

      Thanks to the fabulous open-source graphics driver porting work done by François Tigeot, the DragonFlyBSD kernel’s i915 Intel DRM graphics driver is up to a comparable state to the code ported from the Linux 4.2 kernel.

      Just months ago the i915 DragonFlyBSD graphics driver was years behind the upstream Linux kernel while in recent times a lot of headway has been made where the Intel graphics driver on this BSD operating system is just a few releases behind the upstream state.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Software Freedom Conservancy, Others, Makes Case for FOSS at NY City Hall

      On Tuesday, representatives of four FOSS friendly agencies testified before a New York City committee considering bills that would mandate the use of FOSS by city government.

      “Free and open source software has many advantages over proprietary software,” Karen Sandler, the executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, testified Tuesday before the New York City Council Committee on Contracts. “Studies show that, over time, free software is safer from vulnerabilities. Free software is auditable — security and functionality can be verified upon inspection. Anyone can independently assess the software and its risks. Developers can more easily and quickly repair discovered vulnerabilities or bugs (and bugs are very common in all software – the Software Engineering Institute estimates that an experienced software engineer produces approximately one defect for every 100 lines of code). Free software removes dependence on a single party, as anyone can make changes to their version of the software. And municipalities can hire any contractor on the open market to work on the software.”

    • ARM Adds Cortex-A32 Support To GCC Compiler

      ARM only announced the Cortex-A32 ARMv8 32-bit processor yesterday but already they’ve gone ahead and landed the support inside the GNU Compiler Collection.

      It’s not an entirely big surprise that there is already compiler support baked for the Cortex-A32 considering this is just an ultra power efficient cut-down version of the ARMv8 that runs in 32-bit mode. The ARMv8 64-bit support has been maturing in both GCC and LLVM/Clang for quite some time already. However, it’s nice to see the quick turnaround time by ARM on getting the support upstream.

    • denemo @ Savannah: Release 2.0.4 is imminent!

      new features:

      Conditional Directives on Chords/Notes
      Create editions with/without ornaments, fingerings …
      Conditional items are highlighted in the display
      Object Inspector reports on them
      Enhanced Object Editor
      Set Conditional Behavior
      Initiate Search/Edit from Object
      New Commands
      Gaps in Staffs
      Enharmonic transpositions of passages
      Generating Parts
      Part naming extended to multi-staff instruments

    • GDB 7.11 Released For Better GNU Debugging
  • Public Services/Government

    • Munich Greens: Linux is made a scapegoat for IT issues

      The Green party in Munich says the city’s use of the Linux operating system is wrongly being blamed for all IT issues. “The problem is usually not the operating system, but something else”, says Florian Roth, leader of the city’s Green Party. The party wants to increase support for the city’s central IT department, to bolster the open source strategy.

    • Portugal adds 20 eGovernment service access points

      The government of Portugal has opened another 20 Espaços do Cidadão (Citizen Spots), in town halls across 8 of its 18 districts. There are now almost 200 such eGovernment service access points across the country. Here citizens can go online to renew driving licences, apply for permits and request official documents.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Can we tackle the Zika virus with rapid, open research?

      One of the major issues with the Zika virus is that so little is known about it. That means that a lot of research has to be done very quickly.

      The Zika virus is at the heart of a global health emergency. It became a global health emergency after outbreaks began in 2015, and has possible links to birth defects. When the virus was first discovered in the late forties, human infections had been observed as early as 1952 according to Wikipedia.

    • Flanders services exchange eGovernment practices

      Municipalities and public service organisations in Belgium’s Flanders region are exchanging their eGovernment practices and ICT policies. Many municipalities are considering an overhaul of their websites in order to improve eGovernment services, reports the region’s ICT Organisation (V-ICT-OR). Additionally, local administrations are looking for solutions to manage meeting minutes, and want to boost IT security, V-ICT-OR says.

    • Open Data

      • Portugal to monitor public health through a national open data portal

        The National Health Service in Portugal (SNS – Serviço Nacional de Saüde) has set up an open data portal whose goal is to provide a dashboard to monitor the health of Portuguese people. Called Transparencia (Transparency), the portal gathers operational data generated or collected by the agencies of the national health system.

    • Open Access/Content

      • President Obama Nominates New Librarian Of Congress Who Supports Open Access, Fights Against Surveillance

        So here’s a pleasant surprise. President Obama has nominated Carla Hayden as the new Librarian of Congress, and at a first glance, she looks perfect for the job. The job is super important for a whole variety of reasons, including that the Librarian of Congress controls the Copyright Office (more on that in a bit…). The former Librarian of Congress, James Billington, was really bad. He apparently was mostly focused on hobnobbing with rich people in fancy places around the globe than doing anything useful. A report by the Government Accountability Office found a massive leadership vacuum with Billington when it came to technology issues, noting that he basically ignored technology entirely. When Billington announced he was retiring, the Washington Post reported that employees were absolutely elated…

Leftovers

  • NY Yankees Do Fans A ‘Favor’ By Preventing Them From Printing Their Tickets At Home

    As an avid sports fan, and more specifically an avid baseball fan, I can still remember the advent of home-printed tickets. My reaction was perhaps more elation than what was warranted, but having spent years going up to the Wrigley Field box office with my father and later my friends, the idea of being able to purchase tickets online and then print them at home in order to bypass the lines and go directly to the gate was exactly the kind of technological progress that, albeit small, meant something to me.

  • Canada Forcing Cheaper, More Flexible Pricing On TV Industry March 1. Will It Work?

    Starting next week, Canadian cable providers will be forced by the government to do something inherently and violently foreign to them: offer cheaper, more flexible cable bundles. In March of last year, Canadian regulator CRTC announced it would be combating high TV prices by forcing cable operators to offer cable channels a la carte, or so-called “skinny bundles” of cheaper cable channels, by December 2016. The CRTC’s full ruling declared that by March 2016, all Canadian TV providers must at least provide a $25, discounted skinny bundle, letting users pick and choose individual channels beyond that.

  • Science

  • Security

    • Hackers use Microsoft security tool to pwn Microsoft security tool

      FireEye security wonks Abdulellah Alsaheel and Raghav Pande have twisted the barrels of Microsoft’s lauded EMET Windows defence gun 180 degrees and fired.

      The result of their research is p0wnage of the enhanced mitigation toolkit so that instead of defending Windows it attacks it.

      The attacks the pair found affect older versions of Windows which rely on EMET for modern defences like address space layout randomisation and data execution prevention.

    • Is Linux Really as Secure as You Think It Is?

      Security is an important topic on everyone’s minds in today’s highly-technological world. With all of the security news that pops up on almost a daily basis, trying to be aware of the choices you make can make a big difference. Linux is often touted as the most secure operating system you can get your hands onto, but is this reputation deserved?

    • A Fedora Distribution download primer

      With the fresh news of a compromise in the Linux Mint distribution images, I thought I would take a few minutes to explain how Fedora handles image downloads and what you can do as an end user to make sure you have the correct and official Fedora images.

    • Mousejack: Hacking Computers Via Your Mouse With 15 Lines Of Code And Radio Dongle
    • How Criminals Could Hijack Wireless Mice to Hack Computers from Afar

      Wireless computer mice give users the convenience of not having to deal with cumbersome wires and cables. But they might also open up the door for malicious hackers to get a way into their computers, researchers warn.

      A flaw in the way several popular models of wireless mice and their corresponding receivers, the sticks or “dongles” that plug into a USB port and transmit data between the mouse and the computer, handle encryption could leave “billions” of computers vulnerable to hackers, security firm Bastille warned on Tuesday.

    • Child tracking firm calls out security researcher on ‘hack’

      A CHILD MONITORING COMPANY is mad as heck at a security researcher for highlighting a security problem without asking its consent first. Or something.

      The company in question is uKnowkids and its target is a chap called Chris Vickery, a security researcher. His crime? Security research.

      uKnowKids.com is a kind of virtual Mary Poppins. It does not put children in danger, like Mary Poppins, but it does look out for them and keep an eye on what they do by monitoring their communications and stuff.

      We imagine that in some circumstance it has got some children in trouble. This week it is getting an older person in trouble, and accusing a security researcher of hacking as opposed to security researching.

    • URL shortening – are these services now too big a security risk to use?

      Spammers and malware pushers are still heavily abusing URL shortening services, messaging security firm Cloudmark has reported in its 2015 annual security report (reg required). The popular Bit.ly service has recently become a particular favourite with criminals with 25,000 individual malicious links run though that service every single day in recent times. This sounds alarming but it gets worse. According to the firm, this meant that an extraordinary 97 percent of Bit.ly links now led to malicious websites.

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Google, Red Hat discover critical DNS security flaw that enables malware to infect entire internet

      Google and security firm Red Hat have discovered a critical security flaw in the Internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) that affects a library in a universally used protocol. This means an attacker could use it to infect almost everything on the entire internet. With the flawed code spread far and wide, it will likely take years of effort to patch the bug.

    • Hackers compromise Linux Mint Cinnamon ISO and forums
    • Why the Linux Mint hack is an indicator of a larger problem

      Security vulnerabilities at the Linux Mint project highlight substantial issues with the popular Linux distribution, and the difficulty of maintaining a Linux distribution as a hobbyist project.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Malaysian Borneo’s air quality hits hazardous levels as forest fires rage

      Forest fires spread over 500 acres in the north of the Malaysian state of Sarawak in Borneo island have raised air pollution to hazardous levels on Monday in areas close to the inferno, government data showed.

    • Trade Officials Promised Exxon That TTIP Will Erase Environmental ‘Obstacles’ Worldwide

      Newly released documents show that, in back-room talks, European officials assured ExxonMobil that the pending US-EU trade agreement would force the removal of regulatory “obstacles” worldwide, thus opening up even more countries to exploitation by the fossil fuel empire.

      Heavily redacted documents pertaining to an October 2013 meeting, obtained by the Guardian and reported on Tuesday, reveal that then-trade commissioner Karel de Gucht met with two officials from ExxonMobil’s EU and U.S. divisions to address the benefits of the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

      As the Guardian notes, the meeting was held at a time when countries in South America and Africa were “tightening regulations on fossil fuel companies for the first time in a decade, despite ExxonMobil’s ambitions to open up shale gas fracking wells in North Africa, Asia and South America.”

  • Finance

    • Google tax deal: MPs criticise secretive settlement

      Google’s controversial tax deal cannot be properly assessed by MPs because of secrecy surrounding the negotiations, according to a report by parliament’s public spending watchdog.

      But the deal to pay £130m in back taxes for a 10-year period seems “disproportionately small when compared with the size of Google’s business in the UK”, the public accounts committee has found.

    • House Speaker Paul Ryan Demands TPP Be Renegotiated; Neglects To Mention It Was His Bill That Makes That Impossible

      Go back and work on this agreement? Oh really? Now, this is the same Paul Ryan who (as he mentions in the interview) was the driving force behind the so-called fast track or “Trade Promotion Authority.” Though Ryan totally misrepresents what that means. He claims that the TPA gave the USTR “the ability to go negotiate trade agreements.” That’s hilariously not true. After all, the USTR has been negotiating the TPP for more than half a decade at this point, and only got Trade Promotion Authority in June. All Trade Promotion Authority REALLY does is ties Congress’s hands so that it can no longer ask the USTR to go back and renegotiate sections, because the whole point of the TPA is that it limits Congressional authority to a simple yes or no vote — rather than allowing it to actually debate and challenge specific aspects of the agreement.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Tesla: GM wrote a bill in Indiana to stop us from selling cars in the state

      Tesla recently sent a letter to “Tesla Owners and Enthusiasts” living in the Indiana area asking for their help to defeat a piece of legislation introduced by state lawmakers that would prevent auto manufacturers from selling cars directly to their customers. Tesla has almost exclusively sold vehicles to customers through direct vehicle sales, and it says if the bill is signed into law it would revoke Tesla’s permission to sell vehicles from its existing storefront in Indianapolis.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • New Group Seeking Privacy/Security Balance Loads Up On Former Government Officials And RSA Employees

      This is the same Art Coviello who said anonymity is the “enemy of privacy.” Why? Because it allows bad people to do bad things and get away with it — a sentiment echoed by any number of law enforcement officials and intelligence agency heads.

      Coviello’s timing couldn’t be better. Against the backdrop of the FBI’s efforts to force Apple to help it break into iPhones, Coviello hopes a balanced discussion of the issues may result in workable common ground between parties he feels often “talk past each other.”

    • What’s At Stake In Apple/FBI Fight: Who Gets To Set The Rules That Govern Your Privacy & Security

      Lots of people, mainly those supporting the DOJ/FBI’s view of the Apple fight, have been arguing that this isn’t a big deal. They’re just asking for one small thing. Other people have tried to examine “what’s at stake” in the case, with a number of the arguments falling into the typical “privacy v. security” framing, or even something around precedents related to privacy and security. However, Jennifer Granick recently wrote a great piece that does a much better job framing what’s truly at stake. It’s not privacy vs. security at all, but rather who gets to set the rules over how software works in an era where software controls everything.

    • Bay Area Rallies Against FBI Threats to Privacy and Security

      Dozens of people gathered at the Apple Store in San Francisco this evening to shout their support for the company’s position defending privacy and security in the face of irresponsible government demands.

    • Where’s Obama’s Encryption Policy?

      The news has been flooded with reactions to Apple’s principled stance in defense of user privacy. But even as Apple opposes the FBI’s demands to undermine the security of its operating system, where is President Obama on the issue of strong encryption?

      On Wednesday, the President’s press secretary said that “the F.B.I. can count on the full support of the White House.” Does that mean President Obama is going to turn his back on strong security for modern tech?

      EFF, Access Now, and a coalition of nonprofit and industry groups launched a public petition calling on President Obama to defend strong encryption and oppose backdoors in September. We used the We The People API, Obama’s preferred petition tool, and quickly surpassed 100,000 signatures.

      President Obama has promised to respond to any We the People petition that receives at least 100,000 signatures. But so far, we’ve gotten only nonresponses.

    • California Says Companies Should Embrace NSA-developed Data Protections

      The state of California has put companies on notice that they should be following a basic set of 20 information security controls developed by the U.S. government’s top code breakers.

      Many of the 657 data breaches California businesses and agencies reported during the past four years could have been prevented or at least more rapidly triaged had the protections been in place, according to a new state audit.

      “The set of 20 controls constitutes a minimum level of security – a floor – that any organization that collects or maintains personal information should meet,” California Attorney General Kamala Harris, a Democrat, said in the February breach analysis.

    • NSA leak probe ‘heavy handed,’ says Hayden

      The leak investigation included armed raids on the homes of veteran congressional investigators and agency staff, and ended six years later with the collapsed prosecution of NSA official Thomas Drake.

    • Could the former NSA director be encryption’s friend?

      It isn’t every day that civil libertarians and national security hawks agree on policy, but the encryption debate has created an unlikely alliance.

    • NSA spied on U.N. Secretary General/Merkel whilst having climate change talk
    • Italy Summons US Ambassador Over WikiLeaks Spying Reports

      Italy s Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it had summoned the US ambassador to Rome over reports of widespread US surveillance of ex-premier Silvio Berlusconi, among several other European leaders.

    • Italy summons US ambassador after reports on NSA
    • US Ambassador To Rome Summoned
    • Italy summons US envoy over reports Berlusconi was spied on
    • Italy asks US to explain NSA spying report
    • Italy Summons U.S. Ambassador over Reports NSA Spied on Prime Minister
    • NSA: World Leaders Under Surveillance, Claims Wikileaks
    • Foreign affairs programmer watched by NSA
    • Rocky Anderson: Why I’m Suing Bush, Cheney and the NSA

      On today’s special episode of Loud & Clear, host Brian Becker is joined for the full hour by former mayor of Salt Lake City Rocky Anderson to discuss why he filed a class action lawsuit against former President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the National Security Agency.

    • Confessions From Bush’s NSA Spy Program

      A memoir from former NSA director Michael Hayden reveals new details about the controversial U.S. intelligence program that targeted Americans’ private communications.

    • Why we must defend our last shred of privacy

      It’s not only Apple. Hundreds of technology companies large and small are engaged in a historic battle to determine how much access governments can have to your personal information. This includes Google, Microsoft, and nearly every technology company that has significantly impacted your life over the last two decades.

    • Facebook Tries (Again) to Take On Google and Twitter With Search

      There are 1.5 billion searches a day on Facebook, but the vast majority are for people’s names—the kind of search one might surreptitiously conduct after meeting an alluring stranger in a bar. Last October, the company quietly made it possible to search for all public posts on Facebook, not just material posted by friends or pages. Stocky’s team developed the new function, which uses an algorithm to rank and refine trillions of posts from Facebook users. “What we really tried to do was make Facebook a place where you could tap into the global conversation of what was happening in the world,” Stocky said at Facebook’s Menlo Park, California, headquarters, unwittingly (or perhaps not) trotting out a favorite phrase of executives at rival Twitter. “We really want to basically make Facebook the best place to find what people are saying about something right now.”

    • Danish police back online monitoring plans

      The Danish government’s controversial plan to reintroduce so-called ‘session logging’ received the backing of Danish National Police (Rigspolitiet) Commissioner Jens Henrik Højbjerg, who said the Justice Ministry’s proposal would give police a means of tracking and catching criminals who are now conducting their illegal activities on the internet.

      “Crime and communication is increasingly taking place in cyberspace. But our investigation opportunities are undermined if we do not have the opportunity to get information on internet traffic,” Højbjerg said speaking to Danish broadcaster DR.

      Denmark scrapped the so-called ‘session logging’ in 2014 and the European Court of Justice has previously ruled that the blanket retention of internet usage is illegal.

    • German police allowed to use its own “federal Trojan”

      The German Interior Ministry has approved for investigative use a spying Trojan developed by the German Federal Criminal Police (a so-called “federal Trojan”). In fact, it could end up being used as early as this week.

    • FTC Dings ASUS For Selling ‘Secure’ Routers That Shipped With Default Admin/Admin Login (And Other Flaws)

      ASUS’s insecure products are no different than countless others offered by competitors. Far too many companies view end user security as something that can always be patched into existence after the first big breach. Why the FTC has chosen to hang ASUS rather than any number of other misbehaving tech manufacturers isn’t clear, but it could be this is just the first in a wave of settlements.

      The FTC isn’t just unhappy about ASUS’s bogus security claims. It’s also unhappy with the company’s response time. The complaint notes ASUS failed to act quickly in response to reported security holes.

    • Justice Department Wants Apple to Extract Data From 12 Other iPhones

      The U.S. Department of Justice is pursuing additional court orders that would force Apple to help federal investigators extract data from twelve other encrypted iPhones that may contain crime-related evidence, according to The Wall Street Journal.

    • DOJ Reached Out To San Bernardino Victims For Legal Support Before Going To Court Against Apple

      The FBI keeps insisting that it’s legal fight with Apple is not about the precedent and not about using the tragic incident in San Bernardino as an emotional plug to break down strong encryption. And yet… now it’s come out that even before going to court, federal prosecutors from the DOJ went to the families of those killed in the San Bernardino attacks and asked them to file an amicus brief of support with the court…

    • Is the FBI v Apple PR war even about encryption?

      The war between Apple and the FBI is a PR war. And it’s one that the FBI has fought well, from its initial selection of the battleground (a fight over access to a dead murderer’s government-owned iPhone) to the choreographed intervention of the relatives of the victims of the San Bernadino shootings – who were contacted by the FBI for support before the dispute even became public, according to Reuters.

    • San Bernardino Shooter’s Apple Password Changed While in Government Possession

      They lie like a rug.

    • Pew Asks Stupid Misleading Question About FBI Apple Fight, Gets Stupid Misleading Answers

      The folks over at Pew Research usually do pretty good work, but they decided to weigh in on the Apple / FBI backdoor debate by asking a really dumb poll question — the results of which are now being used to argue that the public supports the FBI over Apple by a pretty wide margin.

    • FBI’s Scorched Earth Approach To Apple Means That Tech Companies Now Have Even Less Incentive To Help Feds

      On Friday, we debunked a key FBI talking point, which the press has been parroting, that Apple had helped the FBI in 70 previous cases, and only changed its mind now for “marketing” or “business model” reasons. As we explained, that’s not even remotely true. In the past, Apple helped out because it had access to the content, and so it got it and turned it over following a lawful search warrant/court order. In this case, the situation is entirely different. Apple does not have access to the content that the FBI wants, and is now being forced to create a backdoor — build an entirely revamped operating system — that undermines some key security features found on iPhones today. That’s quite different.

    • Netherlands begins eID pilots

      The Dutch government has started pilots with electronic identification cards and smart phone apps, to allow online identification for eGovernment services. The first eID card was handed out in mid-February, marking the official start of both pilots. The eID pilots are intended to increase security, and prevent identity fraud.

  • Civil Rights

    • Latest Wikileaks documents: Irish citizen working for the UN Refugee Agency was targeted by the NSA

      It’s still early days but it appears from the latest Wikileaks document release that an innocent Irish citizen, Bernard Doyle, was targeted by the NSA. Doyle is currently the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) “Regional Representative for Central Asia.”

    • Federal Judge Says Recording Police Not Protected By The First Amendment

      Over the years, the nation’s courts have moved towards recognizing First Amendment protections for citizens who film public servants carrying out public duties. Nearly every case has involved a citizen arrested for filming police officers, suggesting far too many law enforcement entities still feel their public actions deserve some sort of secrecy — even as these agencies deploy broader and more powerful surveillance tools aimed at the same public areas where no expectation of privacy (under the Fourth Amendment) exists.

    • FBI Borrows From Anti-Muslim Playbook in New Video Game

      Earlier this month, the FBI quietly launched “Don’t be a Puppet,” a website aimed at teachers and students, ostensibly to teach them how to spot and counter the “radicalization” of young people. It wasn’t a hit. One tech writer called it an “awful, out-of-touch 90s educational game.” Another headline read, “The FBI made a video game and it sucks.”

      From the landing page, players set off through five stages: What is Violent Extremism? What are Known Violent Extremist Groups? Who Do Violent Extremists Affect? Why Do People Become Violent Extremists? How Do Violent Extremists Make Contact? As players successfully answer questions, they get to cut the puppet strings and ultimately earn an “FBI certificate” upon completion.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Facebook is not a charity: Mark Zuckerberg’s “Internet for all” push is big business, barely disguised

      Tech titans have drawn good press in recent months. In December, Mark Zuckerberg pledged his and his wife’s fortune to charity – sort of. Apple chief Timothy Cook is now standing up to the U.S. government’s request to unlock a killer’s cellphone, which is has been a public relations hit as well as the right thing to do. If you were reading the news superficially, it might look like the tech community had turned into a big, friendly non-profit devoted to changing the world for the better.

      But developments overseas reminds us that these companies – whatever their mix of good and bad qualities– are self-interested, for-profit corporations that aim to make money by expanding markets. And not everyone is eager to buy what they’re selling.

    • The Web’s First Blackout Protest: The CDA, 20 Years Later

      Twenty years ago, large chunks of the Web went dark. These sites were changing their layout, or in some cases even going offline, to protest the Communications Decency Act, signed on February 8 by President Bill Clinton as Title V of the landmark Telecommunication Act. By some estimates, more than 5% of sites online on the early Web took part.

      The Communications Decency Act (CDA) was embroiled in controversy: as a direct response to the new law, EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow wrote his influential Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace; EFF kicked off the Blue Ribbon Online Free Speech campaign that became one of the most iconic images of online activism of the era.

      It’s only against that background that the largest show of online activism to that point—a web blackout campaign, known variously as “Turn the Web Black,” “Great Web Blackout,” or the “Black World Wide Web protest”—could be anything but center stage. Even if it’s not as widely remembered, though, the CDA blackout has made itself part of the DNA of online protest, and its influence can be seen on major recent protests, such as those against the Stop Online Piracy Act.

      At 25 years old, EFF is one of the few digital rights groups to have participated in the CDA protests first-hand. To mark the 20th anniversary of the passage of that law—and the protests against it—we pulled some of the most interesting material from the archives of that era.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • The ‘Coke Zero’ Trademark Madness May Finally Be Coming To An End

        Did you know that Coca-Cola has been attempting to get a trademark on the word “zero” for beverages in the United States for well over a decade? Yes, the most well-known soft-drink maker, which sells a product called ‘Coke Zero’, first filed for a trademark on the single word in 2003. The fight has been ongoing ever since, with Dr. Pepper Snapple Group opposing the trademark, because, well, lots of other beverage companies use that common word and because of course it did. Oddly, we covered a trademark case a few years back in which Coca-Cola was on the receiving end of a trademark suit over its use of the word, that time from a water company that offered a product it had named ‘Naturally Zero.’

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Office Decides To Rewrite Copyright Law Itself, Blesses A ‘Making Available’ Right That Isn’t There

        The Copyright Office has decided to take a stance on copyright law that requires two slightly odd things. First, it requires ignoring what the Copyright Act actually says and then, separately, it requires pretending that the law says something that it clearly does not say. That’s pretty incredible when you think about it.

        For quite some time now there have been ongoing legal fights in the copyright world over whether or not there’s a “making available right” in copyright law. The issue is actually super important. 17 USC 106 lays out the only six exclusive rights granted to rights holders under copyright.

      • Fancy an Anti-Piracy Threat….To Your Dropbox Email Address?

        Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN is stepping up its game when it comes to scaring would-be pirates. While people sharing files in public using BitTorrent are the group’s usual targets, BREIN has just sent scary emails to people who thought they were sharing eBooks privately using Dropbox.

Possible Connections Found Between WIPO Misconduct and “a Dozen Serious Criminal Charges” Against EPO’s Željko Topić

Posted in America, Europe, Fraud, Patents, Rumour at 12:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Investigative journalism from Croatia and this week’s probe into WIPO misconduct (and subsequent attack on the whistleblowers, including legal threats against bloggers) help put together a broader picture

Having spent some time separating facts from rumours (there are plenty which we still investigate) about the EPO, we are now ready to proceed to something new, or rather a new kind of scandal that nobody seems to have paid attention to.

Based on what we are hearing (and that’s not just a rumour), there is immense pressure on managers at the EPO to pretend that they support the President, even if deep inside they don’t. As one anonymous comment put it yesterday: “Certainly the letter will be signed by the various Minnoye, Topić, Casado, Lutz, Bergot, Hannard, McGinley, Requena et al. and by a bunch of fearful PDs and directors. But the letter will not help them. On the contrary, it will prove that the staff was right in their protest. If Kongstad’s letter is not a joke, the crisis is unavoidable and BB must either give in or go. Of course, with cooperation money and with secret deals BB convince some delegations to vote against the draft letter and create new obstacles. But the conflict will remain unsolved and explode again after few weeks. A good advice to BB: Monsieur, pack your luggages and go back to Saint-Germain-en-Laye.”

This mirrors something that we saw before with Željko Topić (letters of intent and perhaps forced ‘apologies’ under threats). One reader told us: “I am hearing interesting rumblings about the senior management “petition” to the AC. Some PDs are giving the Directors a “free vote” as to whether they sign or not, others are telling them that if they don’t sign it there will be grave consequences.”

Yet another comment said: “It should also be investigated whether Mr Kongstad received monthly payments from a secret budget of department 4.3 if proven, it would be scandalous! Mr Del Pozo, PD Finances, should finally come out with the truth about all that he had to sign. Soon or later all the dirty tricks and manoeuvres will be uncovered!”

This is not yet known to us, so it should be classified as a rumour. There is definitely some kind of an H.R. crisis at the EPO right now. There’s no denying that [1, 2]. Tomorrow we are going to show a leaked message from Topić, relating to H.R. Today, however, we wish to share something different, also relating to Topić.

As vigilant readers may have already noticed (it’s everywhere in the news right now), WIPO is in big trouble. As EPO-funded media put it: “The long saga that has unfolded since then WIPO deputy director general James Pooley made a number of serious allegations against the organisation’s director-general Francis Gurry in a report of misconduct filed in April 2014 may be drawing to an end. News stories from several sources – including the Fox News website and The Register – state that a report into the claims undertaken by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) has been submitted to Gabriel Duque, the chair of WIPO’s General Assemblies.”

Here is how WIPR put it

A joint subcommittee at the US Congress will hold a hearing this week on whistle-blowers and accountability at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The hearing, scheduled for tomorrow, February 24, is expected to reference the results of a pending UN investigation into WIPO and hear from ex-employees at the organisation.

James Pooley, a former WIPO deputy director, Moncef Kateb, ex-president of the staff association, and Miranda Brown, an adviser to WIPO’s director general Francis Gurry, will be witnesses.

So what does it have to do with EPO? Glad you asked. Apart from the fact that Battistelli may be the next Gurry, there is something interesting about Topić. A reader sent us the details. Another newly-translated Croatian article from 2012 helps support this reader’s claims.

“Referring to the recent Techrights posting,” wrote this reader, the “Dnevno article from 5 February 2016 includes a mention of the role of the former Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Ms. Vesna Vuković, as part of the “diplomatic network” of the former Croatian President Ivo Josipović who failed to secure re-election in 2015.

“The English translation of another older article from 2012 which describes the role of Ms. Vuković in more detail. In view of the recent speculation about a link between Battistelli and the “Bygmalion affair” in France, it would be interesting to know whether any EPO funds got diverted to Croatia to support Josipovic’s re-election campaign in Croatia during 2014/2015.”

Here is the Dnevno article in English with our emphasis in yellow:

Woman in Croatia

A DIPLOMATIC CHAMELEON

Vesna Vuković hosts Mr. Topić in Geneva despite having systematically reported him to the State Attorney’s Office and the USKOK*

[*The Croatian State Prosecutor’s Office for the Suppression of Organized Crime and Corruption]

Author: Darko Petričić

Wednesday, 4th April 2012 – 11:19

The new government is persistent in its strange attempts to bolster Mr. Željko Topić, against whom a dozen serious criminal charges have been filed. These charges not only appear to tally with each other but are dispersed over a broad timeline and encompass many diverse sections and articles of the Criminal Code. Neither the State Attorney’s Office (DORH) nor the Croatian State Prosecutor’s Office for the Suppression of Organized Crime and Corruption (USKOK), have taken any action so far for reasons known to only to themselves.

During the last month, we witnessed the attempts of the new government to make bizarre appointments starting with the cases of Mr. Ferenčak at JANAF and Mr. Kovačević at HEP and culminating in the notorious case of Željko Topić at the State Intellectual Property Office (DZIV).

The DZIV – identified but not yet fully explored as an international epicenter of corruption in Croatia

There would be nothing strange about all this, if it wasn’t for the small but interesting detail that a dozen serious criminal charges have been filed against Željko Topić which not only appear to tally with each other but are dispersed over a broad timeline and encompass many diverse sections and articles of the Criminal Code. For reasons known only to themselves neither the State Attorney’s Office nor the Croatian State Prosecutor’s Office for the Suppression of Organized Crime and Corruption (USKOK) have taken any action so far, although many insiders who are familiar with the affairs of the DZIV and its operations as well as with the activities of Željko Topić believe that the USKOK urgently needs to move into that state institution with their best agents in order to carry out a thorough investigation of the allegedly serious wrongdoings.

Among the criminal charges filed against Mr. Topić, and in this case also the representative of the international company Lufthansa in Croatia, are two complaints filed by the owner of the international AirPlus trademark. It is interesting to note that the current Ambassador of the Republic of Croatia to the UN in Geneva is the co-signatory of these criminal charges against the Director of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office, and the representative of Lufthansa in Croatia, the attorney Andrew Matijević. In addition, over the phone, she advised some legal representatives of the owner of the Airplus trademark about what needed to be done. It might have been concluded that her main concern was to have these charges relating to the most prominent unlawful activities at the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office dealt with.

Furthermore, in the summer of 2010, Mrs. Vesna Vuković personally contacted the Deputy Attorney General, Mr. Dubravko Palijaš with urgent requests to accelerate the processing of the previously reported criminal acts. So it is patently obvious that Ms. Vesna Vuković was involved in the pressing of charges against of Mr. Topić and that she was personally motivated to do so. But that’s not the end of the story. Together with the owner of the Airplus trademark, in the summer of 2010 she co- signed the letters addressed to the USKOK and the National Council for Monitoring and Combating Corruption in Croatia and provided the legal framework of the complaint which requested the dismissal of the Director of Croatia Airlines, Mr. Ivan Mišetić, based on the published news that he simultaneously occupied two positions of control – one of which was in Buzin [near Zagreb], and the other on the Lufthansa Supervisory Board in Frankfurt am Main. The story about this case was first covered by the journalist Joseph Bohutinski in the weekly magazine “Business” and was later republished in several other media.

Following that complaint, Mr. Ivan Mišetić was dismissed in the autumn of 2010 and everything else, especially his public statement concerning the termination of his employment relationship with Croatia Airlines, is a trite and fabricated story for public consumption. However, nothing has happened since then in the competent institutions of the Republic of Croatia regarding the issue of criminal liability for damage to the national airline and there is still no information as to whether the person in question paid taxes in Croatia for the unlawful supervisory position which he held for many years in the German Lufthansa or whether his income from that source has remained “invisible” to our tax administration. To this day there is still no answer to the following scandalous question with its manifold implications for issues relating to politics, corruption and privatization: Is Lufthansa the hidden owner of Croatia Airlines and, if so, who facilitated this?

Vesna Vuković – moral and professional diplomatic ‘chameleon’ of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MVEP)

What is particularly striking is the highly unusual behavior of our Ambassador in Geneva and her official position in relation to the above matters. As a matter of fact, from the date of her appointment until now, she has received the above mentioned Director of the State Intellectual Property Office, Mr. Željko Topić, as her guest on at least two occasions because her job description and activities include following the activities of an international institution called the “World Intellectual Property Organization” (WIPO) whose headquarters are located in Geneva and of which the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office is a member. The evidence of this can easily be found on the official websites the of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office and the WIPO.

She knew – or at least she must have known – who Mr. Željko Topić was immediately after his first visit to Geneva. In accordance with the structure of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MVEP) as well as from the point of view of security and information exchange with Zagreb headquarters, she should have been obliged at that point to write an official note and officially send it to the competent minister, with a copy to the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs (MVEP) Sector VII in charge of information and safety.

According to the Croatian Foreign Affairs Act, the general regulations of the MVEP and the professional obligations of any ambassador, they have to function as State Attorneys. For example if, when traveling by public transportation, they accidentally overhear a conversation describing actions which threaten the security of the Republic of Croatia or learn of a criminal offence and the names of persons associated with it, immediately upon arriving at their office or embassy, they must report this in writing to the competent state bodies according to their internal organization. The proof of this can be found in the thousands of diplomatic dispatches which are currently being published by Wikileaks in a manner which illustrates the aforementioned problem by means of the publication of confidential emails between the embassies of various countries around the world and the capitals of their countries of origin and vice versa.

Why did Ambassador Vuković failed to act in the appropriate manner? Considering that a key role in her irregular and unlawful appointment to the position of the Croatian Ambassador in Geneva at the beginning of last year was played by one of the advisors to President Josipović to the detriment of other candidates and considering that, according to the information available to us, the President of the Republic of Croatia is one of the main patrons of the incriminated DZIV Director, Ms. Vuković may very well have concluded that she should be at the disposal of her new “boss” even though he is only one of the shapers of Croatian foreign policy. This supposition is supported by the fact that the legal representative of the Director of the DZIV, Mr. Željko Topić, in one of the aforementioned criminal proceedings is Silvio Hraste from the Zagreb law firm on whose premises part of election headquarters of Ivo Josipović during his Presidential campaign was located, according to some unofficial sources.

For the moment it remains unclear as to how Minister Željko Jovanović was dragged into this dirty game and why, for more than a month now, there have been no official reports of the inspection of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office by the competent ministries which was conducted more than a month ago on 2 February 2012. It took only one day to complete the inspection of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office which was conducted under the control of Mr. Saša Zelenika, Deputy Minister to Mr. Jovanović. We do not know whether or not the leaders of the WIPO in Geneva are familiar with this first-class corruption scandal and its epicenter in Croatia. However, according to our sources this case may soon acquire an international dimension.

Before his election as President, Ivo Josipović was a frequent guest at the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office and in the office of the Director, Mr. Topić. Since he relied on the staff of the Croatian Composers’ Society (ZAMP) to fill the most important positions in the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office, he was certainly very interested in making sure that the international component responsible for intellectual property in Geneva was “covered” by a reliable person in the ambassadorial “network” as he himself likes to call it. All of this is the obvious proof of the operation of a parallel system of government inside our country and on an international level.

One has the impression that the current relations between the Pantovčak [the President's Office] and Geneva are based on the same pattern as the already famous “Čačić’s axiom” [attributed to the former Deputy Prime Minister Radimir Čačić]: “No Government, from now on you talk only to me! – and involve bypassing the official protocol at the Zrinjevac [the Ministry of Foreign Affairs]. There’s nothing new about this. As the first President of the Republic of Croatia, Franjo Tudjman, used to say: “Tie the horse where I tell you.” This sentence usually referred to Croatian foreign policy actions and the inter-Governmental appearances of the then Foreign Minister Mate Granić who was never completely trusted by Tudjman.

EPO H.R. must have been utterly poor for quite a while if it actually hired a man with dozens of criminal cases against him, according to the above article. On numerous occasions we already covered the UN and the Lufthansa aspects, though not WIPO. Readers can find coverage on these in older articles.

Our reader has remarked on the above article as follows:

As the article about Ms. Vukovic refers to the WIPO in Geneva, the links about the shenanigans in that organisation which are appended below might also be of interest:

There should be a live webcast here for anybody interested starting at 14:00 Washington time on 24 Feb (that’s later today):

http://foreignaffairs.house.gov/hearing/joint-subcommittee-hearing-establishing-accountability-world-intellectual-property

Some reports:

Congress to quiz WIPO whistle-blowers

http://www.worldipreview.com/news/congress-to-quiz-wipo-whistle-blowers-9608

Where is the Report on the Allegations From WIPO Whistleblowers?

https://www.whistleblower.org/blog/122922-where-report-allegations-wipo-whistleblowers

Secret UN report finds against controversial WIPO chief

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/02/22/wipo_whistleblower_report/

Pressure grows on WIPO DG Gurry after submission of UN report and further explosive Pooley claims

http://www.iam-media.com/blog/Detail.aspx?g=b7e820d7-ba8f-4e30-a385-0aadd2315000

Pooley’s written testimony can be found here:
“Based on my experience I can report to you that the vast majority of the people at WIPO are competent, dedicated and deliver as required, many of them well beyond that. But this belies a profoundly serious problem with governance. The agency, in my opinion, is run by a single person who is not accountable for his behavior. He is able to rule as he does only with the tacit cooperation of member countries who are supposed to act as WIPO’s board of directors. And he is ultimately protected by an anachronistic shield of diplomatic immunity.”

http://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA16/20160224/104528/HHRG-114-FA16-Wstate-PooleyJ-20160224.pdf

Miranda Brown’s testimony is here:

http://docs.house.gov/meetings/FA/FA16/20160224/104528/HHRG-114-FA16-Wstate-BrownM-20160224.pdf

Interestingly enough, we found two of the above reports ourselves (IAM and WIPR), but didn’t quite imagine that other people also noticed them. There is now another interesting dimension to explore; if there a connection (even if slight/meager) between what happens in WIPO and what happens inside the EPO (except the legal threats sent to bloggers in order to silence them)? Željko Topić might be just one link among several more that we just don’t know about (yet).

EPO-Funded Unitary Patent (UPC) Propaganda Events and the Latest on the Undemocratic (Even Antidemocratic) UPC Push

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Just look what a disgrace the European Patent Office (EPO) has led Europe to…

Antidemocratic

Summary: A glance at the latest news regarding the Unitary Patent Court (UPC), which is effectively an antidemocratic EPO-led push to tilt the system in favour of patent trolls, large corporations (even from abroad), and their patent lawyers

THE EPO is today’s most urgent subject as there’s a major turning point that may soon have the Office massively reformed. The Office desperately requires reforms at many levels and areas, for the sake of Europe, for the sake of science, and for the sake of EPO workers (not bureaucrats). As a software developer, I too have much at stake. The ‘fat cats’ with their massive salaries at EPO management have other motivations in mind.

Based on this new tweet, there will soon be more lies, propaganda, and damn lies from EPO management. They’re cooking the books and expanding patent scope so as to game the numbers (not comparable year-to-year). “Let’s start the countdown,” said the official Twitter account, “we’ll be announcing our yearly figures in 10 days! Stay tuned to learn about patenting trends: #EPOresults” (that nobody would believe).

Wow! Marketing and publicity stunts. Even a “countdown”!

“The Office desperately requires reforms at many levels and areas, for the sake of Europe, for the sake of science, and for the sake of EPO workers (not bureaucrats).”Will that be as accurate as the other propaganda apparently still in the making? Propaganda which tries to portray EPO staff as happy and satisfied while the very opposite is true?

The EPO’s core issue is that it’s steered not by scientists but by selfish political bureaucrats like Battistelli. One of their latest projects is the UPC, which would definitely harm Europe as a whole (we explained the reasons many times before).

When the EPO-funded media doesn’t just utter patent maximalism (it does it almost every day nowadays) it promotes the UPC (referendum angle), conveniently not disclosing its relationship with the EPO. This long IP Kat thread about the viability of the UPC makes it clear that it’s anything but a done deal. We are not going to comment on all the Brexit/EU thing (it’s a little off limits or out of scope), but let’s just say that contrary to what the EPO says and what its paid ‘publishers’ are saying, the UPC is possible to stop. If it gets any further, it will undermine Europe’s interests and facilitate further passage of wealth to the rich, including the rich who live abroad (outside Europe). Only their patent lawyers would share the loot.

“The EPO’s core issue is that it’s steered not by scientists but by selfish political bureaucrats like Battistelli.”Here one can see the EPO-funded and UPC-loving IAM still pushing for the UPC (that’s twice in one week, from Wild in particular). Journalism or lobbying? Certainly the latter mixed with a little of the former for perceived legitimacy. Just look who foots the bill. Remember that IAM receives EPO money to organise a pro-UPC event in the US right now. Yes, in the US. And remember which firm the EPO hired to help the lobbying; it’s a Washington-based firm. That’s quite revealing, is it not? It shows who's likely to benefit.

To quote Wild (article headline is “Why there’ll be no equivalent of the Eastern District of Texas at the Unified Patent Court”): “Last Thursday a room-full of leading Silicon Valley IP professionals joined IAM for our Inside Europe’s New Patent Market – Winning Strategies for the UPC Regime conference at the Golden Gate Club in San Francisco. Over the course of the day, delegates were given insight and inside information on the new system from a speaking faculty composed of European patent litigators and attorneys, senior in-house IP managers and intermediaries, as well as Margot Fröhlinger, principal director of patent law at the EPO.”

“Just look who foots the bill.”UPC would certainly bring patent trolls to Europe. As MIP put it the other day: “Will patent trolls qualify for SME fee discount in #upc? A big concern raised by panel at #ipwomen forum!”

UPC as an open door to lots of embargoes was also noted earlier this week, with a link to this article from lawyers’ media in the UK. To quote the opening bits: “The UPC will have jurisdiction over a market as big as that in the US and it will have the power to grant interim injunctive relief extending over this whole market.

“This is outright mockery of European democracy.”“Assessing the way the UPC might consider applications for interim injunctions will help businesses evaluate whether the benefits of embracing the new unitary patent and UPC outweigh the risks.

“There are clues to how the UPC might review applications for interim injunctions in the underlying legal framework for the Court. Practices could differ from what companies are used to in proceedings before the national courts in Europe.”

“We invite more resistance to the UPC.”Another lawyers’ site takes note of the latest UPC moves in Germany, stating that “draft legislation is supposed to pass the parliamentary chambers (Bundestag and Bundesrat) in Summer 2016.”

We have already explained the role of nepotism and abusive/dirty politics in this. The UPC truly is a travesty and some of the funding for UPC propaganda comes from the EPO and patent lawyers. This is outright mockery of European democracy.

If Battistelli fails to bring about the UPC, then even his rich masters will ‘plonk’ him like a fish. We invite more resistance to the UPC.

Large Corporations and Their Patent Lawyers Up in Arms After US Government Effectively Abolished a Lot of Software Patents

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Won’t take no for an answer…

ISDS

Summary: The growing conflict between public interests, government patent policies, and rich people (or their corporations) who want it all, not to mention their lawyers/lobbyists

TODAY’S EPO openly promotes software patents in Europe, in effect, metaphorically, spitting on the EPC on which it was founded. This is what happens when maximalists are foolishly put in change. What happens in the US right now is also interesting. Corporations there control the government more so than in Europe, and some increasingly take their government to court over alleged ‘damages’ (i.e. policies that don’t favour said corporations).

Never forget CAFC’s introduction of software patents several days ago. Now, see this latest post about CAFC, which says: “As a starting point for most claims against a government is with sovereign immunity. The U.S. Government claims sovereign immunity against suits except where waived. In the patent context, the U.S. government has waived its immunity, but limits the procedure and form of recovery. In particular, 28 U.S.C. § 1498(a) provides that “the owner’s remedy shall be by action against the United States in the United States Court of Federal Claims for the recovery of his reasonable and entire compensation for such use and manufacture.” The statute also provides cover for contractors or other non-government-entities who infringe the patent “with the authorization or consent of the Government” so that those actions must also be pursued against the U.S. Government. The Court of Federal Claims is located in the same Madison Place building as the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.”

As we noted in passing in the previous post, ISDS (and its encapsulating ‘hosts’, e.g. TTIP/TTPP) is becoming a growing danger. Can corporations, in the guise of “investors”, sue the government for taking action against software patents? Can patent trolls too foresee lawsuits against the US government, over Alice at SCOTUS for example? SCOTUS (US Supreme Court) typically rules in favour of corporations, with or without Scalia at the helm, and this new report from WIPR says “US Supreme Court hears arguments on enhanced damages” (who after all would benefit from that?).

Yesterday we found this new paper from Martin H. Snyder of Main Sequence Technology Inc. The abstract says: “Patent systems have not successfully adjusted to the advent of the Information Age. Law developed during the Industrial Age generates harmful distortions when faced with process-based inventions that result in new and useful information. Congress and the courts have attempted solutions, but they are unsatisfying in aspects of repeatability and lack of coherent separation of subject matter eligibility and patentability, with such separation seemingly implicit in the scheme of the patent act. A unifying doctrine of eligibility for information inventions is needed that adheres to standing patent law, court procedures, and normative expectations. Courts should require that process-based inventions have an identified result, which should be construed as a matter of law. Current Markman procedures should be expanded and treated as both eligibility and probable cause phases of the validity inquiry. There is a bar on inventions considered to be abstract ideas, as well as a bar on patenting printed material. These longstanding bars exist because virtually any human activity may be characterized as a process, thus bringing unlimited patent rights into direct conflict with other Constitutional rights. Despite those bars, thousands of computer and biotech patents have issued that constructively cover information and/or the utility derived therefrom. Finding disqualifying abstraction in eligibility and disqualifying abstraction in patentability requires different tests. If a process-based invention’s result is found to comprise information, a new test for eligibility should be applied. The current Alice test should be applied to the patentability inquiry. Abstraction is a continuum on linguistic and semiotic levels, requiring social conventions to create meaning. Finding justiciable meaning in social conventions creates insurmountable challenges to ethical enforcement of intellectual property rights. The literal root of the word abstract means to “draw away”, or consume. The proposed eligibility test requires that the information-consumer of a process-based invention’s result may not be a human being. Because non-human intelligences are a new fact in the world, products of human ingenuity, and essential actors in the Information Age, if the information-consumer is non-human, the information result of such a process-based invention should be patent eligible, subject to statutory and common law patentability requirements. There have been other proposed approaches to solving this problem, but all fall short for various reasons. This proposed new test focusing on the information-consumer is simple to apply across the arts; is technology neutral, intuitively appropriate, empowering of innovation in the Information Age, and highly fitted to American ideals.”

What we have here is a corporate lobbying (de facto lobbying) trying to push for software patents in “paper” form (academic guise), much as David Kappos did last year. These people profit from software patents and they are increasingly upset at their government for ending a lot of software patents after a SCOTUS ruling.

IBM and Other Giant Multinationals Upset That Software Patents Are Increasingly Rejected in the US, Now India

Posted in America, Asia, IBM, Patents at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Oh, the poor baby, IBM…

A baby angel

Summary: The rather revealing response from patent aggressors and maximalists to the current international trend, which (with the exception of the EPO in Europe) cracks down on software patents

PUTTING aside the EPO for a moment, much needs to be said about software patents in general. According to these new raves [1, 2], companies continue to disguise software patents as hardware, in this particular case “patents for its groundbreaking WOS Object Storage software.”

“IBM should take the hint and stop lobbying for software patents in Europe and Zealand, not to mention India.”Remember that not only in Europe, New Zealand and India has it become hard (if not impossible) to patent “abstract” software, unless it’s described as tied to some physical hardware (like “storage”). In the US too, much more so after Alice, it has become harder to patent software, and especially to assert a software patent in a US court of law. As the FFII’s President correctly pointed out, however, “ISDS tribunals will be able to interpret the “patents for all fields of technology” of TRIPS in order to grant swpats [software patents] and trump Alice.” We may cover this subject some other day.

Don’t underestimate the tricks of patent lawyers. Their biggest clients are large corporations, often foreign. Many of them depend on software patents for a living. Here is Australian patent lawyer Justin Blows dissecting a US case (Ameritox Ltd v Millennium Health) and saying, “Does this explain software patentability in the US?”

To quote Blows: “People trying to understand the patentability of software, particularly in the US, often go to the US Supreme Court decision Alice. To many this decision is difficult to understand.

“Consequently, it is always interesting to have a Judge comment on what they think Alice is about.”

Now, remember how Manny Schecter (IBM) was pushing India towards software patents? Here he is highlighting “More stats on the rise in 101 #patent application rejections after the Alice decision” (IBM must not be happy about it) and here he is sort of lobbying (shaming tactics) for software patents in India, rather than just recognise that things have changed. It’s rather insulting to Indians.

IBM should take the hint and stop lobbying for software patents in Europe and New Zealand, not to mention India. Dear Indians, please take note of what IBM has been doing in your country (see this Wiki page about software patents in India for background), even after India's latest shoot-down of software patents (there were additional press reports about it, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15] on Monday on Tuesday, with Tuesday links in the higher numbered citations).

For the IBM chief, based on his tweet, it’s a case of copy or innovate. Nice false dichotomy he got there. Either you patent software (meaning innovation) or you don’t, meaning you just copy, or rip off. Who is he kidding? Is it now fashionable to use anti-China tactics against Indians?

Going back to the US case, see this article titled “Who Is Alice, And Why Is She Driving Patent Attorneys Mad As Hatters?”

This new article states: “Every so often, the Supreme Court hands down a case that causes a seismic shift in our legal system. Constitutional law professors wax poetic about Marbury v. Madison and McCulloch v. Maryland. News analysts loudly denounce Citizens United: “Corporations aren’t people!” But ask a patent attorney for an example of such a case and you are likely to witness a ten-minute diatribe on the shortcomings of Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l (2014).”

There are some very interesting statistics there from Juristat (the ones Schecter linked to). As the text explains: “This line represents the percentage of all patent rejections based on section 101. In May 2014, that percentage was only 7%. By August 2014, it nearly doubled to 12%. As of August 2015, section 101 rejections made up 15% of all rejections issued at the USPTO. That’s a massive increase, especially considering that software patents represent only a small portion of applications handled at the USPTO.”

Watch what Alice has been doing to software patents in the US. As it turns out, there is patent arms trade between China and the US right now, as Intel offloads a lot of patents onto Xiaomi. Remember that Intel is a proponent of software patents and has many software patents of its own (we covered this in past years).

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