Church of EPO: How Team Battistelli Engineered the Dismissal of People Not Sufficiently Loyal to Them – Part II

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

So much managerial abuse that courts are simply overwhelmed

International Labour Organisation on EPO
Full report here

Summary: How the torrent of EPO complaints at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) basically clogs up the Tribunal and ensures that no EPO staff can expect justice, at least not for many years to come

WHEN the EPO‘s monarch in chief, Mr. Battistelli, sacks staff representatives (because he feels like it) he pretends they have an appeal process (juridical) to fall back on, even if the ILO takes many years to take on cases (people must seek alternative employment in the interim) and the outcome is often disappointingly biased.

In part one we looked at some of the mechanisms which Battistelli himself created to let him dismiss anyone using all sorts of vague criteria (like being perceived as disloyal or not sufficiently polite to every member of staff). Recent text that reached us explains why ILO is incapable of making up for Battistelli’s out-of-control monarchy:

Will ILO-AT dismiss the EPO?

The current developments at the ILO-AT are another threat to the immunity of the EPO. The vast majority of the complaints brought by staff against its employer are lost. Maybe this should not come as a surprise, given that the Tribunal’s judges are paid on a case-by-case basis by the defendant organisation. It would seem that the ILO-AT and the EPO are a marriage made in heaven. Curiously, however, the Tribunal does not seem to be happy with the EPO. It recently issued a document in which the Tribunal blames the EPO for its increasing backlogs. It is clear that the EPO’s internal conflict resolution mechanisms have become ever more dysfunctional, see e.g. CA/21/15 which points 13-15 and 59-64 that show a vanishingly small success rate. However, in doing so the Tribunal passes in silence over changes in its jurisprudence that strongly contribute to its backlog like demanding that each staff member who is negatively affected by a general decision file his or her own individual complaint rather than accepting one complaint for all. A lack of consistency and a tendency to dismiss cases on procedural issues rather than to decide on the substance further create further legal uncertainty and contribute to an increase in the number of appeals. In a proposal to amend its Statutes, to be submitted to the ILO Governing Body in June, the Tribunal now plans to withdraw its acceptance for organisations when it finds that their
internal conflict resolution mechanisms are insufficient. Not only that: it also plans to give itself the authority to expel existing “client” organisations that do not fulfil its conditions. It seems clear that the EPO is first in line. If so then the EPO would be the first organisation ever to be ejected from the Tribunal. This would be a major embarrassment. The Organisation would be obliged to provide an alternative fast, unless it wants to see its immunity lifted by national courts for which it would be very clear that staff in the EPO no longer have access to justice. Because access to the ILO-AT is fixed in the EPC (Article 13 EPC), such a change would require a diplomatic conference..

In short, the above suggests that there are financial strings between ILO and the EPO and there’s no real commitment to justice, just the perception thereof. And it gets worse:

Summary injustice

The EPO made headlines by refusing to accept the ruling of a Dutch court of second instance and announcing – through a Vice-President – that it would even ignore the ruling of the Dutch Supreme Court, should that ruling not be in its favour. A similar disdain is shown by ILO-AT in its Judgment 3563, concerning an application for review of the earlier Judgment 3297 (dismissal on accusation of fraud). The Tribunal upheld the dismissal. After the earlier judgment the complainant was acquitted of the same accusations by a Dutch criminal court. He requested the ILO-AT (an administrative tribunal that limits itself to written procedures, without an investigation and without hearings) to reconsider its judgment in the light of the findings of the Dutch specialised (criminal) court that is much more thorough in its workings. The Tribunal considered that the findings of the Dutch court were irrelevant and refused reconsider its position. The application for review was summarily (sic) dismissed.

How is this justice and how can the Administrative Council hope for the perception of justice? The core issue is, the EPO’s management gets people thrown out of the Office in an unjustifiable fashion, then pretends they can find justice at ILO — something which they clearly cannot have (SUEPO lawyers recently made constructive suggestions to Guy Ryder, the Director General of ILO), increasingly so because of the high volume of complaints. The more abusive Team Battistelli becomes, the more over-encumbered ILO becomes and the less likely a disenfranchised member of staff is to find justice there. Some would not even bother anymore. Hopelessness and helplessness thus become a tool of domination and oppression. The atmosphere of fear has a paralyzing effect when there’s no recourse to the principles of natural justice.

FOSS at Risk From Software Patents, Which Are Still Being Promoted by Bristows, IAM, IBM, and Steve Lundberg (Frequent Villains)

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 7:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flipping pages

Summary: Patents on trivial and/or abstract ideas implemented in code still a major barrier to Free/libre software (FOSS) adoption and we look at who’s promoting them, alongside the UPC in the case of Europe

VARIOUS patent offices, the EPO and USPTO for example, try hard to grant software patents even when the courts oppose. What do they care as long as they get their money and let the defendants deal with all the chaos and foot the legal bills (an externality to the patent offices)? The EPO’s President is totally clueless about it and the former Director of the USPTO is now a lobbyist for software patents, which are verboten in Europe. What a rotten state of affairs. The main problem is, Free/libre software developers (more so than proprietary software developers) have their projects literally killed (shut down) by software patents. We gave many examples of this over the years. This often happens quietly, either because the prospective plaintiff demands silence or because there’s fear of retaliation from the plaintiff (sometimes a patent troll and sometimes a real company like Shazam [1, 2, 3]).

“The main problem is, Free/libre software developers (more so than proprietary software developers) have their projects literally killed (shut down) by software patents.”FOSS Force has this interesting new article which we need more of. Not many FOSS sites even bother discussing software patents anymore (Groklaw has been inactive for years) and we still deem it the #1 subject when it comes to FOSS domination (not everyone agrees with us), hence we cover it so frequently.

“Ninety-one percent of the votes cast so far indicate our readers think software patents remain a serious issue, even if the situation has somewhat improved over the last several years.”
      – FOSS Force
“There is no doubt,” FOSS Force wrote, “that there have been many developments on the patent front that have been beneficial from a free tech standpoint. There was the 2014 Supreme Court ruling in Alice Corp. vs. CLS Bank, which immediately made a slew of patents unenforceable. This decision invalidated so-called “abstract” software patents, which basically sought patent protection for merely moving established but previously non-computer procedures to a computer (i.e., bookkeeping “on a computer”). Other developments include online retailer Newegg’s decision several years back to take all disputed patent infringement claims against it to court instead of settling. Although the results of this decision have led to a mixed bag of results, with notable wins and losses, it’s undoubtedly caused the trolls to think twice before threatening the company.”

Here are some figures that are based on a new poll: “We quietly put the poll up on our front page on Thursday morning. Ninety-one percent of the votes cast so far indicate our readers think software patents remain a serious issue, even if the situation has somewhat improved over the last several years.”

There is some perception that things are improving, but where? Maybe in the US, owing to Alice. But what about Europe? Bristows LLP is nowadays promoting UPC (and hence, by extension, software patents) and one of its employees, who habitually defends software patents, has just published an article about the US bill which advocates going after patent trolls (or patent lawsuit venue) instead of patent scope, hence somewhat of a distraction from the core problem. To quote a portion:

Currently, a patentee can commence a patent infringement action in any district where the defendant resides or does business (i.e. where its products or services are available) (see Federal Circuit’s 1994 decision in Beverly Hills Fan Company v Royal Sovereign ) and VE Holding v Johnson Gas (Fed Cir 1990). The rules have made it possible for the Eastern District of Texas, for example, to become so popular (for an entertaining 11 minutes, see John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight on Patents). The goal of the VENUE Act is to limit the ability for patentees to abusively forum shop (which can be interpreted as stopping patent trolls from targeting patentee friendly courts). Similar legislation was introduced in the Innovation Act (H.R. 9 – see also here), but that has stalled (as has the companion PATENT Act (S.1137) before the Senate). Some commentators consider that the VENUE Act is an attempt to get some form of patent reform through the 114th Congress before everyone loses interest to the election. By dedicating itself to only one issue, instead of several, this may increase its prospects of success.

This might help impede trolls (not altogether stop them or squash their extortion/rackets), but it does nothing whatsoever to tackle issues pertaining to patent scope. Meanwhile, earlier today IAM said “NPE” instead of patent troll (yes, again!) in relation to the far east. To quote: “In Taiwan, companies are watching the US environment as closely as ever – some of the biggest names among them have been frequent targets of NPE litigation. Now, there’s a cautious belief that this threat has already peaked and that aggressive NPE assertion will continue to decline. There’s evidence that some Taiwan companies perceive some of the risk shifting to Europe, with entities from the island upping their applications for European patents by about 12% in the past year. Many others, however, are taking more of a wait-and-see approach, not least because of the considerable cost involved in European filings. With the UPC agreement currently hanging in the balance, that caution may well be warranted.”

As a reminder, here's why they can't say "troll" and instead say NPE (editor in chief denies the issue and trolls are a funding source). It sure looks like Asian companies too are worried about US patent trolls. Notice the part at the end there about the UPC, which would open Europe to a lot of litigation by patent trolls (even from abroad). It doesn’t seem to be a cause for alarm among patent lawyers, who simply stand to gain from it. Steve Lundberg, a loud proponent of software patents for many years now, is happy to be blessed by IAM (another loud of proponent of software patents, see the right column in this new post) and he now grooms Schecter from IBM (now an aggressor with software patents, as several recent lawsuits show), who is evidently pleased with that. All those lobbyists, think tanks, patent pundits etc. who effortlessly show their strong bias on the topic oughn’t be ignored because they profit from it and they try to change the public perception/consensus. IAM is paid by the aggressors and the trolls (even the big and notorious ones like MOSAID); it still promotes software patents in this month's magazine/issue. So does the EPO (see for example the UPC propaganda in page 4 of this newly-advertised EPO publication); when will EPO stop acting like a UPC lobbyist, having already done so for many years?

Shaming of those who are promoting software patents without having written a single line of code in their whole life isn’t confrontational or rude. It’s necessary because there’s a coup going on and unless software developers (not necessarily just FOSS) stand up and fight back they’ll pay the price in the long run. Their money will flow to patent lawyers, patent trolls, and software monopolists.

Evitando la Trampa de Vista 10 y Rechazando el Atentado de Microsoft de ‘Encarcelar’ GNU Dentro de Windows

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Article as ODF

Publicadoen GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:25 pm por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU detras de barrass and gates?

Embrace and Extend
Fuente: unknown (Twitter)

Sumario: El porque del esfuerzo de Microsoft de “embrace” (o encárcelar) GNU y Linux dentro de Vista 10 no debería en manera alguna tentar a la gente dentro de este software de vigilancia másiva (engañósamente mercadeada como sistema operativo)
El SR. TORVALDS, quien escribió una buena kernel y luego la licensió bajo la GPL de Stallman, todavía está ansioso de conquistar el desktop, como un montón de cubrimiénto se hizo esta semana [1,2,3]. Dado este desínteres en Linux Foundation (la que recibe dinero Microsoft en muchisímas maneras), esto es importante. No dejes que Microsoft simplemente rélege GNU/Linux, haciéndolo simplemente una ‘app’ de Windows [4]. Hay amplio grabado de técladoy peóres cosas allí. Necésitamos luchar por la liberta[5] y Stallman acaba de publiar un artículo acerca del enigma de lo que es un ambiente (libre) atrapado/encarcelado en uno proprietario (con puertas tráseras como es en el caso de Microsoft).
No dejes que Microsoft simplemente rélege GNU/Linux, haciéndolo simplemente una ‘app’ de Windows.
Microsoft está ahora usando los métodos de Trump de asociar GNU/Linux con Vista 10. Esto fue una ástuta e inteligente idea que dominó los medios la semana pasada, cortesía de (por su mayor parte) de los promotores de Microsoft con sus piezas de hojaldre, borrando las fronteras entre libertad y vigilancia másiva.
Durante de la semana pasada he leido en Reddit y otros forums acerca de personas que hán escapado de Windows por la falta de libertad. Se mudan a GNU/Linux por ideólogicas y prácticas razones tales como privacidad y control. Una suerte de ‘testimoniovino a mi personalmente y dijo:

Estoy a punto de derrochar y comprarme un nuevo ordenador portátil. Quiero ir un modelo un poco mayor que no venga con Windows 10 preinstalado. Ahora me doy cuenta de que yo podría ser capaz de dar el salto a Linux como sistema operativo nativo. El interruptor sería más por razones prácticas que las ideológicas. Ahora comprendo que debo supervisar las actualizaciones de software tan de cerca como si fueran archivos adjuntos maliciosos de spam, como MS ahora trata de enyucarme a través de una “actualización” Win10 al menos una vez al mes. ¿Cuántas veces tengo que decir no para ellos entiéndan?

Mis pocos elementos de software de MS-específicos seguirían corriendo en la casa “unidad central” (un ordenador portátil más viejo que está demasiado estropeado para tomar en el camino, pero que es una gran mejora sobre el viejo desktop ~ 2003 que reemplazó). Afortunadamente, no hay demasiados de ellos, y ninguno es absolutamente esencial para el uso móvil, aunque sería muy bueno tener alguno de ellos. Ahora estoy lo suficientemente lejos de la curva de aprendizaje y puedo ser capaz de trabajar de arreglármelas solo.

Es muy probable que oyamos muchas de estas historias porque mucha gente se queja abiértamente de Vista 10 y repetidamente dice que no están de acuerdo en acepart sus términos. Algunos ya migraron [6] y Microsoft trata de forzar a la gente a aceptarlo.

Contenido relacionado/contextualmente de las noticias:

1. Torvalds preparado en pasar los próximos 25 años ayudando a Linux a conquistar el desktop

La frase “año del escritorio de Linux” ha existido desde hace más de una década, pero se ha convertido en más de un meme en lugar de una declaración de hecho. Sin lugar a dudas, Linux ha tenido mucho éxito en los dispositivos móviles, como teléfonos inteligentes y tabletas, así como servidores, dispositivos de red y la emergente “Internet de las cosas” categoría de dispositivo. Sin embargo, a pesar de tropezar con Microsoft Windows Vista y 8.x Windows, Linux no pudo capitalizar en estos momentos de debilidad.

2. Linux todavía puede destronar a Windows en la guerra de desktops, y Linus Torvalds está ‘trabajando en ello’

Mientras que Linux ha perdido muchas batallas a Microsoft en el escritorio, la guerra no ha terminado. Torvalds se compromete a dedicar los próximos 25 años de su vida a la usurpación de Windows. Será el núcleo de código abierto con la victoria en el escritorio? Es totalmente posible. Después de todo, el tiempo no es finito, y hasta la caída del Imperio Romano. Si usted sigue la historia, nada dura para siempre y que debe sonar verdad para el dominio de Microsoft en el escritorio.

3. GNU/kWindows

Ha habido mucho que hablar últimamente sobre una combinación más singular: GNU-sistema-operativo y totalmente libre / libre del Windows, sistema de vigilancia de Microsoft libertad que niega, de control de usuario. También ha habido una gran cantidad de información errónea. Me gustaría compartir mis pensamientos.


El software libre es absolutamente esencial, porque garantiza que los usuarios, que son los más vulnerables, están en control de sus computación no desarrolladores de software o corporaciones. Cualquier programa que niega los usuarios de cualquiera de sus cuatro libertades no es libre (o de propiedad), es decir, el software de la libertad que niega. Esto significa que cualquier software que no es libre, sin importar sus características o de las prestaciones, siempre será inferior al software libre que realiza una tarea similar.

No todo el mundo le gusta hablar de la libertad o de la filosofía del software libre. Este desacuerdo se tradujo en la metodología de desarrollo de “código abierto”, que existe para vender los beneficios del software libre para empresas sin discutir las consideraciones ideológicas esenciales. Bajo la filosofía de “código abierto”, si un programa no libre proporciona mejores funciones y prestaciones, entonces seguramente debe ser “mejor”, porque han superado la metodología de desarrollo de “fuente abierta”; software no libre no siempre se considera que es una mala cosa.


En segundo lugar, cuando ves a alguien usando un sistema GNU / kWindows, cortésmente pregunte por qué. Diles que hay un sistema operativo mejor por ahí-GNU / Linux del sistema operativo que no sólo proporciona las características técnicas, sino que también proporciona la característica de la libertad! Diles lo que el software libre es, y tratar de relacionarlo con ellos para que entiendan por qué es importante, e incluso práctico.

Es bueno ver a más personas que se benefician de GNU; pero no podemos ser felices cuando se está vendiendo como un medio para atraer a los usuarios en un sistema de vigilancia de otro modo exclusivo, sin ni siquiera una mención de nuestro nombre, o qué es lo que estamos a favor.

4. Adios “open source”; hola “free software”

Todo el mundo tiene al menos una buena razón para preferir la libertad del software frente a los productos de software no libre.

5. Ecuador hospital trabaja con Linux Mint (Pequeño Pais con los Huevos más Grandes de LatinoAmérica) VIVA ECUADOR!

Este es el tipo de implementaciones de escritorio Linux que todos queremos ver más. No hay drama, los usuarios sólo utilizan Linux regulares durante todo el día para conseguir hacer su trabajo.


La Iglesia de EPO: ¿Como el Equipo de Battistelli Arregló El Despido de la Gente No lo Suficiéntemente Leales a Ellos? – Parte I

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Article as ODF

Publicadoen Europa, Patentes at 3:51 pm Por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

God Blatterstelli

Sumario: Una nueva serie que en retrospectiva mira como Battistelli apiló la cubierta no sólo al aplastar la vigilancia pero también al amasar instrumentos de coerción contra los empleados, con varios pretextos para despedirlos
Al final de la semana pasada compátimos una página de la CoC de la EPO. Hay mucho más que decir al respecto y este largo post dará ayudará a la EPO con transparencia, la que Battistelli ama tanto que presume de ello (sin hacer nada por el estilo).

Aquí es la página/hoja en su totalidad:

EPO CoC page

Como recordatorio, en palabras de un lector, un montón de esto se relaciona con las actividades antisindicales que hemos estado viendo desde finales de 2015 (que realmente se intensificaron en ese momento pero no empezaron allí). Esto es lo que Battistelli y col empujado a través de personal:

EPO on protecting staff

Lo de arriba fué una culminación de algo que él había estado cocinándo hace rato. Consideren el pleno CoC:

Europaisches Patentamt

European Patent Office

Office européen des brevets

Valores del servicio público de EPO

-El respeto por el individuo

-La integridad y la rendición de cuentas

-La imparcialidad y la objetividad

-El cumplimiento de las normas de derecho

-Calidad y profesionalismo

Los valores del servicio público de la Oficina Europea de Patentes son una guía para el comportamiento que debe promover el desarrollo de una cultura de respeto. Los valores son: el respeto por el individuo; integridad y rendición de cuentas; imparcialidad y objetividad; el cumplimiento de las normas de derecho; calidad y profesionalismo.
Estos valores, que son todos de igual rango, guían nuestras acciones, ya que apoyan la misión de la EPO, que es apoyar la innovación, la competitividad y el crecimiento económico en toda Europa a través de un compromiso de alta calidad y un servicio eficiente entregado en virtud del Convenio sobre la Patente Europea (EPC)
Estos valores se aplican a todas las personas que trabajan en y para la Oficina. Se espera que el personal con responsabilidades de gestión para promover estos valores por el liderazgo y el ejemplo.
Este documento no crear otro marco legal y se refiere a las regulaciones existentes de EPO que establecen las obligaciones formales de su personal. En el caso de cualquier conflicto entre el contenido de este código de conducta y obligaciones formales en virtud del Reglamento EPC o servicio, entonces esas obligaciones tienen prioridad.
Enfrentado a la infracción individual o colectiva de estos valores, todo el personal debe poder ejercer libremente y de buena fe su derecho a llamar la atención sobre ella sin temor a represalias. En particular, podrán pedir a su supervisor o compañero de Recursos Humanos, o la unidad responsable de Auditoría Interna y Control para el consejo. Me comprometo a respetar nuestros valores y asegurarse de que se respeten.
Benoît Battistelli

Respeto Por El Individuo
Los servicios prestados por la Oficina son el resultado del trabajo realizado por los miembros del personal cualificado y motivado. Por consiguiente, la Oficina reconoce el valor individual de cada empleado. El respeto mutuo, la dignidad, el respeto de los derechos humanos, no discriminación y la promoción de la diversidad son nuestros principios rectores.
Nuestras Palabras Clave









Nuestro Enfoque
Compartimos el compromiso de la comunidad internacional de respetar los derechos humanos.
Nos esforzamos por crear un ambiente de trabajo marcado por el respeto mutuo.
El respeto mutuo, la confianza y la capacidad de escuchar son elementos indispensables en nuestras relaciones profesionales. habilidades y talentos de cada individuo merece ser reconocido.
Tomamos las medidas necesarias para proporcionar un entorno de trabajo seguro y saludable.
Buscamos promover la diversidad y la igualdad de oportunidades entre los empleados.
Nos hemos comprometido a no permitir que se den situaciones que podría ser perjudicial para la dignidad de nuestros colegas. Hacemos todo lo posible para evitar cualquier tipo de discriminación o acoso.
La integridad es un criterio irrenunciable para nuestra conducta profesional. Implica actuar con responsabilidad, rendición de cuentas, la lealtad, discreción y sentido común. Nos resistimos a todas las formas de corrupción.
Nuestras Palabras Clave




Nuestro enfoque
Actuamos con honestidad, responsabilidad y discreción.
Actuamos con lealtad y exclusivamente en interés de la Oficina. Llevamos a cabo nuestras tareas bajo la autoridad del Presidente de la Oficina, a excepción de las responsabilidades o funciones específicas expresamente establecidas en el Reglamento EPC o servicio.
Respetamos el ámbito de nuestras responsabilidades y de las tareas que se nos confían. Cuando la delegación de tareas, seguimos siendo responsables de su ejecución y resultados, y por lo tanto los administradores de ejercer la supervisión y el control adecuado.
Respetamos la confidencialidad de la información: no revelamos la información confidencial recibida en el curso de nuestro trabajo a personas no autorizadas, ni la usamos para nuestro propio beneficio o en detrimento de la Oficina.
Nuestro deber hacer nuestro trabajo a la mejor de nuestras capacidades también implica la obligación de compartir con nuestros colegas de la información necesaria para llevar a cabo sus propias funciones.
Estamos comprometidos con la lucha contra todo tipo de fraude.
Somos cuidadosos en nuestras comunicaciones externas y respetamos a nuestros deberes de tacto y discreción de la Oficina. En particular, nos abstendremos de hacer una declaración que podría ser perjudicial para él.
Imparcialidad y objetividad
La Oficina y su personal deben permanecer independiente de todos los gobiernos, las autoridades, organizaciones o personas ajenas a la organización. Nuestra conducta debe ser imparcial y reflejan que la independencia. Abordamos situaciones que pudieran afectar nuestra objetividad.
Nuestras Palabras Clave



Nuestro enfoque
Buscamos asegurar que nada de lo que ocurre bajo nuestra responsabilidad es o podría parecer un acto directo o indirecto de apoyo preferente de un grupo político, económico, ideológico o religioso.
Nos abstendremos de hacer o decir cualquier cosa que pueda llamar a nuestra imparcialidad y objetividad en tela de juicio.
Nuestras acciones cuando se toman decisiones o se razonada proyectos principales.
Tenemos que ser imparcial y objetivo. Somos conscientes del riesgo de posibles conflictos de intereses, ya sea real o aparente. Siempre que sea posible, los evitamos; donde no, damos a conocer y administrarlas.
Regalos u otros favores podrían comprometer nuestra imparcialidad profesional. Por lo tanto no solicitamos ninguna. Y, sin el permiso del Presidente, no aceptamos ninguno?
La Oficina tiene su propio sistema legal, que deben ser respetados.
La Oficina y su personal deben respetar las leyes nacionales aplicables del país en el que están y deben cumplir con sus obligaciones legales y financieras.
Nuestras palabras clave


Nuestro enfoque
Respetamos la letra y el espíritu de las normas y reglamentos de la Oficina.
Aplicamos estas reglas y regulaciones justa y de buena fe.
Actuamos con profesionalidad y sentido de la responsabilidad social en la observación de las leyes aplicables, y respetando las costumbres y tradiciones de los países en los que trabajamos, lo que contribuye de forma responsable para el bienestar de la sociedad.
Nuestros privilegios e inmunidades no nos impedirá el cumplimiento de nuestras obligaciones bajo las leyes nacionales aplicables.
Calidad y profesionalismo
La forma en que cada uno de nosotros hace nuestro trabajo se refleja en el rendimiento general de la Oficina. Nuestro compromiso con la alta calidad y el servicio público eficiente es una contribución a la innovación, la competitividad y el crecimiento económico en Europa.
Nuestras palabras clave





Nuestro enfoque
Le damos de nuestro mejor esfuerzo para lograr nuestros objetivos profesionales y para ofrecer un servicio público eficiente.
Trabajamos con colegas en un espíritu de trabajo en equipo y la cooperación.
Gestionamos recursos de la Oficina de manera adecuada y eficiente, en línea con los principios de economía y buena gestión financiera.
Nos esforzamos para mantener, adaptar y desarrollar habilidades en la Oficina. Con el objetivo de garantizar la sostenibilidad, actuamos de una perspectiva estratégica y de largo plazo, no en nuestros propios intereses inmediatos.
Hacemos todo lo posible para alcanzar altos estándares internacionales y las mejores prácticas

Lo de arriba se hizo available ampliamente lo que debería haberse publicado previamente. Ayuda por acountabilidad (para la gerencia, no sólo aquellos dirigidos por una gerencia abusiba).

Más adelante en la semana mostraremos como Battistelli esencialmente se las arregló para despedir aquellas personas a quienes vió como un obstáculo para su agenda (y la de sus jefes corpórativos). Sintonicenos para más.

Resumen de Patentes: Systema/Paisaje de Patentes de los EE.UU. Descalificado, Corrupto, Saturado Con Trolles de Patentes, y Financiado Por y Para Microsoft

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Article as ODF

Publicado en Apple, Microsoft, Patentes at 11:21 pm por el Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Todavía metiéndo sus sucios dedos en muchos pasteles de patentes

HNBA Microsoft

Este artículo es un sumario de las reciéntes noticias de la USPTO. Es tan comprehensible como es posible and se enfoca, como es usual en patentes de software. Ellas son de mayor relevancia para nosotros.
Cualquiera puede ver que la codicia de la USPTO (por ambos poder y dinero) esta yéndo muy, muy lejos.”
El Control de Cálidad Tirado por la Ventana

Patently-O, una fuente decente de información acerca de patentes (aunque un poco subjetiva a veces, lo que es entendible dado la audiencia a la que se dirige), miró reciéntes cambios al infringimiento e e invalidez de patentes. Este último artículo dice que “el tribunal de distrito rechazó la petición de vacatur – encontrando que la decisión la PTO no” desplaza a un juicio tribunal de distrito “y que sería” contrario al interés público permitir que un titular de patente para superar un juicio de nulidad simplemente por “la modificación de sus reivindicaciones no válidos.” [...] lo que está claro es que aquí el nivel de la reivindicación y preclusión que se aplicará en el futuro cuando Cardpool afirma la patente contra un tercero.”
De lo que tratámos aqui es de un troll de patentes que dice ser dueñode las actividades de scanning.”
Miren a lo que la USPTO está haciéndo. Básicamente como es usual, habiéndo visto que las Cortes invalidan muchas se sus falsas patentes (el mínimo control de cálidad tiene la culpa aquí), Ahora parece reforzar / mejorar su negocio haciendo una burla de la acción de la justicia. ¿Qué es esto, un país del tercer mundo? Cualquier persona puede ver que, probablemente, la codicia de USPTO (por ambos poder y dinero) va demasiado lejos. La USPTO es amigable a los demandante de usar porque ellos son sus “clientes” (solicitantes). La USPTO debe ser mantenida fuera del proceso legal completamente. Lo mismo va para la EPO (cada vez más abusiva al respecto bajo el régimen del Emperador Battistelli). Algunas personas están bombardeando el sistema de patentes con herramientas / los robots más automatizados (como las solicitudes de DMCA que son falsas y servidos por algoritmos, o la actividad comercial en los mercados de valores, también el uso de algoritmos). Ver este nuevo comunicado de prensa acerca de una “solicitud de patente de software patentado”. Estos tontas ayudas, inducir al error a los examinadores. Incluso dicen “proprietario” como un término de marketing. “Cada unidad sangrienta va a utilizar componentes de software propiedad celosamente guardados por las patentes”, dijo este artículo de hace 2 dias..
Patently-O notó que en algunos casos particulares incluso se cuélan leyes antimonopolio.”
En otros nuevos posts de blogs Patently-O el troll de patentes MPHJ es revisado (que puede traído a Europa con ganchos por la UPC tal vez, para demandar a todo aquel que utiliza un escáner si todo sale Battistelli tiene planeado). “HP desafió la reivindicación 13, tanto en el terreno obviedad y anticipación”, señaló Patentemente-O, después de MPHJ ya había demandado a tantas personas que habitualmente utilizan un escáner en una empresa (y, a menudo extorsiónado “dinero de protección” sin reparos) . Lo que nos ocupamos aquí es un troll de patentes que afirma que “posee” actividad de análisisDe lo que tratámos aqui es de un troll de patentes que dice ‘ser dueño’ de las actividades de scanning.. Es realmente tan malo como suena. No se necesita ninguna exageración, por lo que resultó en un montón de cobertura de la prensa en los últimos años.

Corrupción Institucional en el Sistema de Patentes de los EE.UU.

Otro nuevo artículo de Patently-O trata de un“caso de patentes en que ambos acusado y acusador presentarón falsos testminio de expertos.”
Cuando el sistema de patentes de una nación sirve principalmente para proteger a un gigante (y, a menudo un monopolio financiado por los contribuyentes-) la percepción de la corrupción aumentará inevitablemente.

Sí, es agradable tener la “justicia” … el que tiene los bolsillos más (o menos que perder) tiende a ganar. Quién se beneficia de todo este caos? Patently-O señala que en algunos casos particulares, incluso se infiltran las leyes antimonopolio. Para citar este nuevo post acerca de GlaxoSmithKline (GSK): “La pregunta en el caso, ahora pendiente en la Corte Suprema de los EE.UU. Es si esa estructura licenciadora puede levantar un plausible reclamo anti-monopolio bajo F.T.C. v. Actavis, Inc., 133 S. Ct. 2223 (2013).”

Cuando el sistema de patentes de una nación sirve principalmente para proteger a un gigante (y, a menudo un monopolio financiado por los contribuyentes-) la percepción de la corrupción aumentará inevitablemente. Quién está siendo servido aquí? ¿El público que en consecuencia será excesivamente sobrecargado y tendrá pocas (o ninguna) alternativas? Volviendo al falso testimonio, Patently-O escribió: “En el interrogatorio, de Rembrand el perito técnico Dr. Thomas Beebe” drásticamente “cambió su testimonio en cuanto a su metodología para comprobar si las lentes de contacto acusados eran “suaves”Después de ser llamado por el perito de la defensa el Dr. Christopher Bielawski, el jurado no encontró alguna infracción. Después del juicio, el tribunal de distrito se dobló para abajo concediendo también a J & Js propuesta de JMOL de no infracción. El testimonio de Bielawski puede haber sido particularmente dañina – con su declaración: “Usted no debe confiar en el doctor Beebe, y usted debe tirar su testimonio, no en parte, pero en su conjunto. Ustedes no deben confiar en el doctor Beebe.”
Un sistema de patentes secretivo derrota el propósito verdadero (objetivo original) de el sitema de patentes.”
A juzgar cualquier caso en absoluto basado en testimonio oral/escrito es peligroso y equivocado. Es como usar las palabras de policías o algunos transeúntes errántes como prueba en los juicios penales. Cualquier “prueba” es la forma más débil de la evidencia porque no hay manera de determinar/verificar las afirmaciones. Por otra parte, las personas a menudo son corruptibles y cuando hay mucho en juego en un ensayo (no sólo la prisión, pero una gran cantidad de dinero) hay un montón de espacio para el abuso, como el soborno. Recuerda esos casos infames de Apple con el jefe de jurado Hogan? Probablemente mala conducta en el juicio. No olviden el caso de corruption en la Corte de Apelaciones por el Circuíto Federal (CAFC) tampoco.
Apresurándo el FEP celebra los avances en un caso de patentes en el que intervino en hace un año. Se dice que “ha puesto mucho tiempo y esfuerzo en conseguir este documento en un caso sin sellar. Por desgracia, es sólo uno de los innumerables documentos que se selló de forma rutinaria sin una buena razón en casos de patentes de todo el país. Apenas la semana pasada le preguntamos al tribunal en un caso de patentes diferentes para quitar el sello de documentos que es casi seguro que no debería haber sido ocultados por completo de la vista pública.”

Vale la pena añadir que, si bien el número de demandas no disminuyen demostrablemente eso no cuenta la historia completa por más de una razón única y hay que tener en general, con gran grado de precaución conclusiones que acompañan a esta, por ejemplo, que las cosas mejoran por sí mismos, por lo tanto, no es necesaria ninguna intervención.

Con vistas a los trolls de patentes en Post-Alice Época
Un sistema de patentes secretivo derrota el propósito verdadero (objetivo original) de el sitema de patentes. Este tipo de secreto dA lugar a operaciones secretas clándestinas, tales como los hábituales de Intellectual Ventures, que cuenta con miles de empresas fantasmas. Este tipo de sistema (inexplicable y no reglamentado) está madura para el abuso de parte de los trolls.
“Los casos de patentes que se presentaron en los tribunales de los distritos de los EE.UU.se redujo en el primer trimestre”, escribió MIP, “una disminución del 39% en el cuarto trimestre y un 34% en el primer trimestre del año pasado, de acuerdo con las patentes unificadas. Un análisis del Distrito Este de Texas presentación revela un descenso desproporcionadamente grande en el distrito “(que es el resumen de un artículo del paywalled MIP).
Esto se hace eco en varios otros sitios web que hacen referencia a los mismos datos y concluyen que se trata de trolls y el Distrito Este de Texas. Esta es una visión un tanto simplista, porque en realidad, como hemos señalado el día antes de ayer, también hay asentamientos fuera de los tribunales y podría ser digno de mirar cuál es la proporción entre estas demandas de patentes implicase una especie de patentes de software, por lo tanto, la identificación de una correlación entre la escala y el alcance de los litigios de patentes en lugar de sede demanda, el modelo de negocio de un demandante y así sucesivamente. En realidad, algunas de estas encuestas son política o comercialmente motivados, o los han creado los académicos (o grupos de presión) para adaptarse a una narrativa particular y luego presionar por una especie particular de la reforma (por ejemplo, una “reforma” de aumentar la seguridad en torno a las patentes de software en los EE.UU. – cosa que Kappos hace cabildeándo con el dinero de los agresores de patentes, en este caso La Sagrada Familia: IBM, Microsoft y Apple entre otros).
Vale la pena añadir que, si bien el número de demandas no disminuyerón demostrablemente eso no cuenta la historia completa por más de una razón única y hay que tener en general, con gran grado de precaución conclusiones que acompañan a esta, por ejemplo, que las cosas mejoran por sí mismos, por lo tanto, no es necesaria ninguna intervención.
Como encontramos a principios de año, un veredicto a favor de un troll de patentes como VirnetX puede costar una gran cantidad de dinero. VirnetX, de acuerdo a Matt Levy de CCIA, ahora niega que es un troll de patentes, lo que por supuesto es algo rísible. “Un troll de patentes es,” Levy explica, “esenciálmente una compañíá que reclama que otra esta usando patentes que ella ha adquirido. (Por comparación el FTC dijo eso “El modelo de negocios [de esa compañías de aserción de patentes -leáse TROLLS] se enfoca en comprar y asertar esas patentes contra fabricantes usando esa tecnologíá, en ves de desarrollar y transferir esa tecnologíá.” Brian Kahin describe a los trolles de patentes como compañías cuyos negocios son infringidos y cuyo producto es la litigación.)”
Si uno pregunat al ‘magazine’ IAM, tal cosa no existe y difícil sorprende que grandes trolles de patentes están pagando a IAM.
Hablando de pagos, Oracle había pagado Florian Müller, así que no es demasiado sorprendente que se puso a favor de Oracle en su último artículo sobre la guerra de Oracle contra Android. Müller pasó gran parte de su vida haciendo campaña contra las patentes de software y esperamos que esto precederá el deseo de hacer dinero con el llamado contrato de ‘consulta’.
“El 22 de marzo de 2016,” dijo que este nuevo artículo, el Tribunal de Distrito para el Distrito de Delaware emitió un dictamen en un caso Memorando subtitulado caso Tree House Avatar LLC v. Válvula Corp., en la que las reivindicaciones de patentes de software sobrevivieron un reto la patentabilidad. ”
Alice no siempre mata a las patentes de software, pero lo hace la mayoría de las veces. Otro nuevo artículo habla del dictámen Mayo/Alice (ambas decisiónes de SCOTUS). Ahora que Scalia no está en SCOTUS alguna gente se pregunta que pasará con los casos de patentes. ¿La palabra “T” (trolles) saldrá también ent trascripciónes o incluso en dictámenes/determinaciones fomales? Aquellos que discuten en contra de la reforma contra los trolles de patentes están citados en este nuevo artículo que dice: “Jessica Sebeok, VP Asociado en la Association of American Universities, cree que las Universidades sufrirán las consecuencias si el Presidente Barack Obama tiene éxito en hacer difícil por dueños de patentes defender su propiedad intelectual.”

Y alguna gente continúa diciéndo al mundo que Microsoft ha cambiado o que hay unnuevo’, más gentil Microsoft…

Pues bien, las universidades que se comportan esencialmente como secuestradores de patentes o trolles de alimentación con sus patentes (nos dieron muchos ejemplos de ello anteriórmente) podrían sufrir. Y si es así, eso es una buena cosa. El artículo posterior dice: “coalición de negocios Unidas para la reforma de patentes – cuyos miembros incluyen aliados influyentes de la administración de Obama como Google, Amazon y General Motors – y otros partidarios de la HR 9 aspirar a impedir la pesca de arrastre de patente por lo que es más riesgoso para presentar demandas por infracción de patentes e imponiendo costos adicionales de los demandantes, pero AAU argumenta que esta medida represente una presión indebida sobre los legíimos titulares de patentes .”

Microsoft Licensing Sigue siendo un Activo TROLL de Patentes

En lo anterior, ninguno de los dos habla sobre el alcance de la patente. Para ellos es sólo una llamada “Turf War ‘entre entidades productoras y no productoras (por ejemplo, universidades). Una empresa como Microsoft es a la vez ambos porque mientras que una compañía produce cosas otra, llamada “Microsoft Licensing”, efectivamente es un troll de patentes y en base a esta nueva página, Microsoft no sólo financia a los grupos de fachada para las patentes de software y conferencias que promueven las patentes de software, ahora también pone su dedo en el pastel La “2016 Asociación Nacional de Abogados hispanos / Microsoft Instituto de Derecho IP”, donde Microsoft es el único financiador del programa.
Y alguna gente continúa diciéndo al mundo que Microsoft ha cambiado o que hay un‘nuevo’, más gentil Microsoft.
“Aparte de Bill Gates, no se de otro CEO de alta tecnología que se siente a revisar cartera de propiedad intelectual de la compañía”

-Marshall Phelps

Links 11/4/2016: Krita 3.0 Alpha, New Linux RC

Posted in News Roundup at 5:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • GNU/kWindows

    There has been a lot of talk lately about a most unique combination: GNU—the fully free/libre operating system—and Microsoft Windows—the freedom-denying, user-controlling, surveillance system. There has also been a great deal of misinformation. I’d like to share my thoughts.


    Free software is absolutely essential: it ensures that users, who are the most vulnerable, are in control of their computing—not software developers or corporations. Any program that denies users any one of their four freedoms is non-free (or proprietary)—that is, freedom-denying software. This means that any non-free software, no matter its features or performance, will always be inferior to free software that performs a similar task.

    Not everyone likes talking about freedom or the free software philosophy. This disagreement resulted in the “open source” development methodology, which exists to sell the benefits of free software to businesses without discussing the essential ideological considerations. Under the “open source” philosophy, if a non-free program provides better features or performance, then surely it must be “better”, because they have outperformed the “open source” development methodology; non-free software isn’t always considered to be a bad thing.


    Secondly, when you see someone using a GNU/kWindows system, politely ask them why. Tell them that there is a better operating system out there—the GNU/Linux operating system—that not only provides those technical features, but also provides the feature of freedom! Tell them what free software is, and try to relate it to them so that they understand why it is important, and even practical.

    It’s good to see more people benefiting from GNU; but we can’t be happy when it is being sold as a means to draw users into an otherwise proprietary surveillance system, without so much as a mention of our name, or what it is that we stand for.

  • Good bye “open source”; hello “free software”

    Everyone has at least a good reason to prefer software freedom over non-free software products.

  • Rancher Labs Release Rancher 1.0, An Open Source Cross-Cloud Container Management Platform

    Rancher Labs have released version 1.0 of their open source Rancher container management platform, which allows the deployment of Docker containers via Docker Swarm, Kubernetes or Rancher Labs’ Cattle across a range of underlying infrastructure. Rancher manages the underlying compute fabric, exposing control via a web-based UI that can be secured via RBAC/ACL, and can be deployed across a combination of multiple public cloud vendors, private virtualised clouds and bare metal. The platform also includes integrated load balancing and persistent storage services.

  • Events

    • OSCAL ’16 | Open Source Conference Albania 2016

      OSCAL (Open Source Conference Albania) is the major international tech conference in Albania organized by Open Labs Hackerspace, the open source and free software community in Albania. The conference promotes software freedom, open source software, free culture and open knowledge, global movements which originally started more than 30 years ago.

      The third edition of the the annual OSCAL conference will take place once again in Tirana on 14 & 15th of May and will gather more than 400 free libre open source technology enthusiasts, developers, students, academics, governmental agencies and people who share the idea that software should be free and open for the local community and governments to develop and customize to its needs; that knowledge is a communal property and free and open to everyone.

    • Document Freedom Day 2016: Singapore

      Document Freedom Day is a day where we celebrate and raise awareness of Open Standards. It is held annually, on the last Wednesday of March. However, this year, the Ambassadors in Singapore decided to celebrate it on 24 March, 2016.

    • KubeCon part 2: 1.3 and the CNCF

      In the “State of The Union”, David Aronchik, Kubenetes Project Manager for Google, brought folks up to date with what’s happened in the Kubernetes community and what’s ahead for version 1.3 and beyond.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Is your open source community optimized for contributors?

        Josh Matthews is a platform developer at Mozilla. He’s a programmer who writes Rust code and is active in the development of Firefox. His development experience has led him to enjoy mentoring new contributors in open source projects.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • What’s new in MySQL?

      This year at the Percona Live Data Performance Conference I’ll be talking about MySQL. MySQL is the world’s most popular open source database, enabling the cost-effective delivery of reliable, high-performance and scalable web-based and embedded database applications, including all five of the top five websites.

      My interest in databases grew while working in banking in the late nineties. Back then I implemented back-end ATM servers using HP-UX and Sybase as the development platform. I remember we had an allowed maintenance window from 2am-5am, and struggled with finishing a blocking create index operation on our main table with 30 million rows. I remember thinking “Why can’t this be done while the database is online?”

    • Open Source Leader MariaDB Rockets into Analytics Market
  • Education

    • Mining for Education

      Students are not taught word processing, they are taught Microsoft Word. They are not taught presentation skills, they are taught Microsoft Powerpoint. They are required to present their work, be it essay, slideshow, or graph, in Microsoft-owned proprietary formats, recorded onto thumb-drives formatted with a Microsoft-patented file systems. Nothing else will do.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


  • Public Services/Government

    • MediPi open source telehealth kit piloted in NHS

      An open source telehealth kit built using a Raspberry Pi will be piloted with heart patients at a southern NHS trust this financial year.

      Richard Robinson, a technical integration specialist at HSCIC, developed the telehealth prototype called MediPi to prove that “telehealth is affordable at scale”.

      He said eight months ago his wife, who works for a charity helping socially isolated older people, was asked to find volunteers for a telehealth pilot.

      “She came home with the kit and it was all high-end tablets, 3G and Bluetooth enabled devices and I was really shocked by what I thought would cost,” explained Robinson.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • 6 steps to calculate ROI for an open hardware project

        Free and open source software advocates have courageously blazed a trail that is now being followed by those interested in open source for physical objects. It’s called free and open source hardware (FOSH), and we’re seeing an exponential rise in the number of free designs for hardware released under opensource licenses, Creative Commons licenses,or placed in the public domain.

  • Programming/Development

    • What’s awful about being a {software engineer, tech lead, manager}?

      I’ve been building software professionally for over 10 years now. I love what I do and I hope to be an old programmer someday. But along the way, I’ve encountered many terrible things that have made me hate my job. I wish that someone had given me a roadmap of what to expect earlier in my career, so when some new and unfortunate awfulness occurred that I wouldn’t have felt so alone and frustrated.

      This post is meant to be such a guide. I have three goals.

    • FAQ: Node.js

      We still have nightmares about GeoCities too, and yes, JavaScript has historically been used for things like that. It originated at Netscape in the mid 90s as a lightweight scripting language to add interactive properties to web pages, but it has come a long way since then. Sure, many programmers look down on JavaScript, and it’s massively overused on some websites, but it also has plenty of fans.

    • A single Node of failure

      The web-development community was briefly thrown into chaos in late March when a lone Node.js developer suddenly unpublished a short but widely used package from the Node Package Manager (npm) repository. The events leading up to that developer’s withdrawal are controversial in their own right, but the chaotic effects raise even more serious questions for the Node.js and npm user communities.

      npm itself is a module repository for Node.js code, akin to the Python Package Index or similar repositories for other languages and frameworks. Users can install a package with a simple npm install foo, but the service is also widely used by Node.js developers to automatically fetch and install dependencies: projects list their dependencies in the package.json file, and they are recursively fetched from npm and installed when the package is built. Using npm in this manner is standard operating procedure, allowing complex JavaScript applications to be written on top of multiple third-party frameworks in minimal lines of code. The service, however, is run by a private company called npm, Inc., rather than by the Node.js project.


  • Google Is Interested In Buying Its Rival Yahoo’s Web Business — Report
  • What Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand About Negotiation

    The next president of the United States will need to be an extremely effective negotiator. Armed conflict, political deadlock, and diplomatic crises abound. The president will be called upon to resolve the war in Syria, manage complex relationships with Russia and Iran, handle hot spots such as North Korea, Libya, and Ukraine, navigate competitive tensions with China, and revive a modicum of bipartisanship in Congress. Ironically, the only presidential candidate who has been asserting his prowess as a great negotiator is someone who has precisely the wrong instincts and experience for the types of conflicts the president will face. The Donald Trump approach to negotiation would be not only ineffective but also disastrous — and there are clearly identifiable reasons for this.

  • Typing on a MacBook Could Soon Be as Awful as Typing on an iPad
  • Apple Patent Imagines a Keyboard without Keys
  • Apple patented a MacBook design that is all touchpad and no keys
  • Apple files patent for a ‘keyless’ touchpad keyboard
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Children Wrongfully put on ADHD Medication

      A recent study showed that 1 in every 4 children in preschool is taking medication for ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). The majority of kids that age have a tough time paying attention to extended periods of time because their brain and body is nowhere close to being fully developed. Medication shouldn’t be the first option when it comes to treating kids who have ADHD or who we think have ADHD.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Britain’s top secret kill list: How British police backed by GCHQ fed names of drug lords to a US assassination unit, which – under cover of the war on terror – wiped out an innocent family with a missile strike

      British law enforcement and intelligence services have helped draw up an extra-judicial ‘kill list’ to assassinate the world’s most wanted terrorists and drug smugglers in foreign countries.

      The sensational claims, which raise disturbing questions about Britain’s involvement in the targeting of aircraft and drone strikes, will be revealed in a 50-page report by the Reprieve human rights charity to be published tomorrow.

      It will state that the UK has been a key, long-standing partner in America’s ‘shoot to kill’ policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, targeting not only alleged terrorists, but also supposed drug traffickers, and earmarking them for drone and missile strikes – often on the basis of unsubstantiated ‘intelligence’ which has never been tested in court.

      Although the top secret ‘kill list’ has been in existence for years and is continually revised, Britain’s contribution has never been sanctioned by Parliament.

      The startling evidence, drawn from leaked official documents, reveals the two agencies involved are the electronic eavesdropping organisation GCHQ, and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), now rebranded as the National Crime Agency (NCA).

    • Top secret “28 pages” may hold clues about Saudi support for 9/11 hijackers

      Current and former members of Congress, U.S. officials, 9/11 Commissioners and the families of the attack’s victims want 28 top-secret pages of a congressional report released. Bob Graham, the former Florida governor, Democratic U.S. Senator and onetime chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, says the key section of a top secret report he helped author should be declassified to shed light on possible Saudi support for some of the 9/11 hijackers. Graham was co-chair of Congress’ bipartisan “Joint Inquiry” into intelligence failures surrounding the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, that issued the report in 2003. Graham speaks to Steve Kroft for 60 Minutes report to be broadcast Sunday, April 10 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

    • U.S. Bombs Were Used in Saudi-Led Attack on Market in Yemen, Rights Group Finds

      ONE OF THE deadliest airstrikes in Yemen since a Saudi Arabia-led coalition began bombing the country used munitions supplied by the United States, according to a report by Human Rights Watch.

      The March 15 attack targeted a crowded market in the village of Mastaba in northwestern Yemen, killing at least 97 civilians, including 25 children. HRW said it found remnants of a “GBU-31 satellite-guided bomb, which consists of a U.S.-supplied MK-84 2,000-pound bomb mated with a JDAM satellite guidance kit, also U.S.-supplied.” The group said it also reviewed evidence provided by British news channel ITV, which found remnants of an “MK-84 bomb paired with a Paveway laser guidance kit.”

      The report provides yet more evidence of U.S. complicity in the indiscriminate killing of civilians in Yemen. The Obama administration has been a key military backer of Saudi Arabia in its yearlong campaign against a rebel movement in Yemen known as the Houthis. In addition to billions of dollars in arms sales, the Pentagon has provided the Saudi-led coalition with logistical and intelligence support. Human Rights Watch said the U.S. role may make it “jointly responsible” for war crimes.

    • GCHQ working on joint ‘shoot to kill list’

      According to the article in the paper, one Afghan family were killed by a missile strike after they were mistaken for a member of the Taliban.

    • Covering Up Hillary’s Libyan Fiasco

      Despite Libya’s bloodshed and chaos, ex-Secretary of State Clinton still defends her key role in the 2011 “regime change,” but her reasons don’t withstand scrutiny, as Jonathan Marshall explains.

    • Tomgram: William Hartung, What a Waste, the U.S. Military

      From spending $150 million on private villas for a handful of personnel in Afghanistan to blowing $2.7 billion on an air surveillance balloon that doesn’t work, the latest revelations of waste at the Pentagon are just the most recent howlers in a long line of similar stories stretching back at least five decades. Other hot-off-the-presses examples would include the Army’s purchase of helicopter gears worth $500 each for $8,000 each and the accumulation of billions of dollars’ worth of weapons components that will never be used. And then there’s the one that would have to be everyone’s favorite Pentagon waste story: the spending of $50,000 to investigate the bomb-detecting capabilities of African elephants. (And here’s a shock: they didn’t turn out to be that great!) The elephant research, of course, represents chump change in the Pentagon’s wastage sweepstakes and in the context of its $600-billion-plus budget, but think of it as indicative of the absurd lengths the Department of Defense will go to when what’s at stake is throwing away taxpayer dollars.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate change will wipe $2.5tn off global financial assets: study

      Climate change could cut the value of the world’s financial assets by $2.5tn (£1.7tn), according to the first estimate from economic modelling.

      In the worst case scenarios, often used by regulators to check the financial health of companies and economies, the losses could soar to $24tn, or 17% of the world’s assets, and wreck the global economy.

      The research also showed the financial sense in taking action to keep climate change under the 2C danger limit agreed by the world’s nations. In this scenario, the value of financial assets would fall by $315bn less, even when the costs of cutting emissions are included.

    • What Will Happen When Genetically Engineered Salmon Escape Into the Wild?

      In late 2015, the Food and Drug Administration gave the greenlight to AquaBounty, Inc., a company poised to create, produce and market an entirely new type of salmon. By combining the genes from three different types of fish, AquaBounty has made a salmon that grows unnaturally fast, reaching adult size twice as fast as its wild relative.


      Unfortunately, outside of Alaska, our poor management of an enormous fishing industry and important habitat has depleted fish stocks all along our coasts. Salmon species, in particular, are sensitive to environmental changes. The development and industrialization of our coast has polluted and dammed the rivers they depend on to breed. Although salmon used to be abundant on both the east and west coasts, large, healthy populations of salmon now exist mostly in Alaska.

  • Finance

    • Tory donor was trusted middleman for oil firm involved in bribes inquiry

      David Cameron’s troubles deepened on Saturday night as a Tory donor named in the Panama Papers was revealed as a trusted middleman for a company raided by the Serious Fraud Office, which is investigating what has been described as the world’s biggest bribery scandal.


      Unaoil is at the centre of allegations that the business “systematically corrupted the global oil industry” by delivering millions in bribes on behalf of well-known multinationals to secure contracts.

      A week ago, authorities in Monaco raided the headquarters of the company, as well as the homes of some of its bosses, as part of a British-led investigation into a corruption scandal implicating businesses all over the world.

    • Still in the Dark on TTIP: Trade Agreement with the European Union Is a Black Box

      Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) have been concluded. Citizens now have access to the 30-chapter agreement that is several thousand pages long. The TPP has been opposed by four major presidential candidates, and faces criticism in Congress. Nevertheless, it is likely that the trade deal will get a vote sometime this year.

    • Hillary Clinton Fundraiser Hosted by All-Star Cast of Financial Regulators Who Joined Wall Street

      As Hillary Clinton questions rival Bernie Sanders over the depth of his financial reform ideas this week, a group of former government officials – once tasked with regulating Wall Street and now working in the financial industry or as Wall Street lobbyists — are participating in a fundraiser for her in the nation’s capital.

      The invitation for the April 6 fundraiser, obtained by Sunlight Foundation’s Political Party Time, describes a “conversation” with Hillary finance chair Gary Gensler and Senators Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Carl Levin, D-Mich.

    • Texas nurses supersizing salaries for more money at McDonald’s

      “You know, you can start off at McDonald’s at $13-$14 an hour in some cases, you could certainly find easier jobs for more money and that’s a real problem when you’re trying to keep good people in your facilities,” said Scott Kibbe with the Texas Health Care Association.

    • Bitcoin and Ethereum are Driving Factors of Open Execution Initiative

      The Bitcoin network has been supporting the Open Execution principle for quite some time now, as services owners can’t run away with people’s bitcoins, and no one else can use your coins and send them to somebody else. Moreover, no additional money can be created out of thin air.

    • No, Bill Clinton, You Can’t Blame Welfare Reform’s Failures On Republicans

      While speaking to a crowd in Philadelphia on Thursday, former president Bill Clinton was interrupted by protesters affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement carrying signs criticizing the crime bill and welfare reform bill that he signed into law in the 1990s.

      In response, Clinton gave a misleading defense of welfare reform. “They say the welfare reform bill increased poverty,” he said of the protesters. “Then why did we have the largest drop in African-American poverty when I was president?”

    • “Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, From the Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First”

      For as long as people have yearned for more stuff, intellectuals have chastised them for that desire. Even Plato’s “Republic” followed the “decline of a virtuous, frugal city as it was corrupted by the lust for luxurious living,” Trentmann reminds readers. But his true nemesis is more recent: John Kenneth Galbraith, author of “The Affluent Society” (1958), in which the late economist argued that modern society seeks not only to fulfill our needs but also to create new ones, propelling us to live beyond our means, go into debt and thus strengthen the power of business. Though Trentmann acknowledges that the book has been enormously influential in cementing popular notions of consumerism, he dismisses it as “not a sober empirical study but a piece of advocacy to justify greater public spending.”

    • The Pillaging of America’s State Universities

      America’s great public research universities, which produce path-breaking discoveries and train some of the country’s most talented young students, are under siege. The result may be a significant weakening of the nation’s preeminence in higher education. Dramatic cuts in public spending for state flagship universities seem to be at odds with widespread public sentiment. Americans say they strongly believe in exceptional educational systems; they want their kids to attend excellent and selective colleges and to get good, well-paying, prestigious jobs. They also support university research. After 15 years of surveys, Research! America found in 2015 that 70 percent of American adults supported government-sponsored basic scientific research like that produced by public universities, while a significant plurality (44 percent) supported paying higher taxes for medical research designed to cure diseases like cancer or Alzheimer’s. Nonetheless, many state legislators seem to be ignoring public opinion as they essentially starve some of the best universities—those that educate about two-thirds of American college students.

    • Wall Street Should Pay a Sales Tax, Too

      In case there was any doubt, the presidential election fight has confirmed that blasting Wall Street, even eight years after the financial crisis, is still a vote-getter.

      Hillary Clinton has said she’d like to jail more bankers. Donald Trump has skewered the hedge fund managers who are “getting away with murder.” And Bernie Sanders has made Wall Street accountability a centerpiece of his campaign.

      Of course, financial industry lobbyists aren’t about to take this lying down. In recent weeks, they’ve turned up the heat on lawmakers to block one particular measure that Sanders has mentioned in nearly every stump speech: taxing Wall Street speculation.

      Americans are used to paying sales taxes on basic goods and services, like a spring jacket, a gallon of gas, or a restaurant meal. But when a Wall Street trader buys millions of dollars’ worth of stocks or derivatives, there’s no tax at all.

      Sanders has introduced a bill called the Inclusive Prosperity Act, which would correct that imbalance by placing a small tax of just a fraction of a percent on all financial trades. It wouldn’t apply to ordinary consumer transactions such as ATM withdrawals or wire transfers.

    • NY Daily News Claims FDR Unfit to Be President: “No Concrete Plans, Only Platitudes”

      [The following is an imagined 1932 New York Daily News editorial board interview with Franklin Roosevelt during his presidential campaign. The Daily News comments below derive from the editorial board’s interview with Bernie Sanders on April 1, 2016. The Roosevelt statements are taken primarily from his 1933 inaugural address and his 1936 campaign speech at Madison Square Garden.]

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Sanders Takes 30-Point Bite out of Clinton Lead in NY

      A poll released Friday shows that Bernie Sanders has significantly narrowed the lead Hillary Clinton once claimed in New York.

      The new Emerson College poll (pdf) shows Clinton leading Sanders among Democratic primary voters in the state by 18 points—56 percent to 38 percent. That marks a significant drop in support for the former secretary of state since the same poll was taken less than one month ago.

    • GE’s Jeffrey Immelt, Now Slamming Sanders, Once Said It Was His “Task to Outsource”

      BACK IN 2014, in an interview with the magazine Chief Executive, General Electric Co. CEO Jeffrey Immelt explained that starting in the 1980s, “most of us” — i.e. GE executives — “saw it as our task to outsource manufacturing, to move it to low-cost countries. This continued through the 1990s and into the very early 2000s.”

      Immelt’s statement of the obvious is relevant because Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said essentially the same thing about GE this week, which triggered an angry response from Immelt.

      In a meeting on Monday with the New York Daily News editorial board, Sanders was asked to name a corporation that he believed was “destroying the fabric of our nation.” Sanders said that GE was a “good example” because it had shut down “many major plants in this country. Sending jobs to low-wage countries. … That is saying that I don’t care that the workers, here have worked for decades. … The only thing that matters is that I can make a little bit more money. That the dollar is all that is almighty.”

    • Activists Launch Fight for Media Fairness for Sanders in Tight New York Primary
    • Grassroots revolt against Hillary: Occupy activists launch “Battle of New York” to fight Clinton machine, anti-Sanders bias in belly of beast

      “The corporate media and establishment keep counting us out, but we keep winning by large margins,” the Bernie Sanders campaign tweeted triumphantly, after the Vermont senator won the Wisconsin primary by a large margin this week.

      Journalists and activists in New York — the site of what may be the most important primary in the election — have noticed. And they are organizing in response.

      Enter Operation Battle of New York.

      It is the name of a new campaign launched by the editorial groups of The Indypendent and The Occupied Wall Street Journal, left-wing citizen journalist publications that have served as important voices for American social movements for more than a decade.

      “We can expect corporate media to do everything it can to prop up Clinton and ignore or mischaracterize Sanders and the increasingly broad and diverse movement that supports him,” Operation Battle of New York writes in the description accompanying its Indiegogo campaign.

    • We’re speeding toward a climate change catastrophe — and that makes 2016 the most important election in a generation

      Before dropping out of the presidential race last month, Marco Rubio repeatedly declared that the 2016 presidential election is “the most important in a generation.” Such language is, of course, not uncommon to hear during election seasons. Politicians have been assuring the public for decades that the “next election” will be more significant than ever before, and that if the opposition party wins, the consequences will be catastrophic. As Rubio once stated in overtly apocalyptic language, “if we don’t get this election right, there may be no turning back for America.”

    • Hillary’s Inability to Grapple With Inequality Is Making Her Vulnerable to Bernie in New York

      Establishment politicians running for high office live and breathe elaborate focus group-tested lines. In time, they become those lines. But every now and then, extreme political pressures can force a few unscripted words to slip through. And when that happens, we gain a rare glimpse of the candidate’s deeper understanding of their world and our world, and the gap between the two.

      Hillary Clinton suffered such a moment on Tuesday afternoon while speaking at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. Before taking the podium she already knew from internal polling that Sanders was going to win handily in Wisconsin. That meant she would be a loser in six of the last seven states, and by landslides, no less. Her staff is telling her not to worry; all the math on her side. Her delegate lead is so large Sanders can’t possibly overtake her.

      But Hillary is not stupid. She saw Sanders draw 18,000 people in the Bronx, virtually all people of color, and that was before his latest Wisconsin victory. She knows that nothing is set in stone if your opponent is clobbering you in primary after primary. Political momentum is something to fear and could infect the big states like New York and California.

      On top of that, young people are giving Bernie more than 80% of their votes. Even large majorities of young black and Latino voters are flocking to Sanders. How can that be?

    • Sanders Catches Clinton

      Sanders had the support of 47 percent of Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters while Clinton had 46 percent—a narrow gap that fell within the poll’s 2.5 percent margin of error. The national survey was conducted in the days before the Vermont senator handily defeated the former secretary of state in the Wisconsin primary, and it tracks other polls in the last week that found Sanders erasing Clinton’s edge across the country. In a poll that PRRI conducted in January, Clinton had a 20-point lead.

    • US government, Soros funded Panama Papers to attack Putin – WikiLeaks

      On Wednesday, the international whistleblowing organization said on Twitter that the Panama Papers data leak was produced by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), “which targets Russia and [the] former USSR.” The “Putin attack” was funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and American hedge fund billionaire George Soros, WikiLeaks added, saying that the US government’s funding of such an attack is a serious blow to its integrity.

    • ‘Chalking’ officially a problem as pro-Trump messages set off new storms

      If three is officially a trend, chalking is now a trendy — and highly controversial — way for Donald Trump fans to show their love.

      This week, two schools — the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga — jumped into the chalking fray, joining the headlines made in March at Emory University with pro-Trump messages scrawled on campus grounds.

      Following a now-familiar timeline, the chalked messages appeared and the storms followed. At UTC, it hit the student government.

    • Paul Krugman Is Annoying

      Krugman being Krugman, that means he’s been flooding the zone with anti-Bernie columns and blog posts.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • China’s “Panama” Censorship & The Implications For Encryption, Bitcoin

      The Panama Papers will have political and social fallout for months and years to come, much like the Libor scandal or the Edward Snowden leaks. A vote of no confidence for Iceland’s prime minister and Internet censorship in China are likely but the beginning.

    • Easier film censorship norms ahead?

      Is the government considering to relax the process of film certification? Also will filmmakers be able to get certification online instead of going through a long and winding process as is the case now?

    • When Pennsylvania was the censorship capital of America

      Can media affect behavior? Can a violent movie or video game provoke violence? Can visiting obscene, racist or misogynistic websites breed anti-social behavior? Should government step in to stop or regulate them?

      While the Internet now provides easy access to the darkest corners of the imagination, these concerns are not new. Even when the first films unspooled a century ago, authorities worried that the cinema would corrupt our communities. Pennsylvania became the first state to pass a law regulating motion pictures.

    • The architect of China’s Great Firewall embarrassed after needing to use VPN in front of live audience

      Fan Binxing, architect of the China’s infamous Great Firewall, was put in the embarrassing position of having to use a VPN in front of a live audience when trying to access a blocked web page.

      On April 3 Fang Binxing was giving a speech on internet safety at his alma mater, the Harbin Institute Technology. During the speech, he presented a defense for internet sovereignty and used North Korea’s own version of the system as a talking point.

    • Majome blasts censorship board

      Harare West legislator Jessie Majome says the censorship board is concerned with controlling political space, leaving information considered immoral and misappropriate finding its way into national radio and television.

    • The Naked Truth About Censorship In Uzbekistan

      Censorship was a key instrument for controlling the masses during Soviet times. These days Uzbekistan’s ageing President Islam Karimov — who served as the First Secretary of Soviet Uzbekistan’s Communist Party before independence — regularly rages against anything and everything connected to the old Union.

      Nevertheless, the system he has fashioned in the Central Asian country of 30 million remains remarkably similar to the one it emerged from in 1991.

    • Campuses are places for open minds – not where debate is closed down

      Last month, in the early hours, an act of traumatising racist violence occurred on the campus of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Students woke up to find that someone had written, in chalk, the words “Trump 2016” on various pavements and walls around campus. “I think it was an act of violence,” said one student. “I legitimately feared for my life,” said another; “I thought we were having a KKK rally on campus”. Dozens of students met the university president that day to demand that he take action to repudiate Trump and to find and punish the perpetrators. Writing political statements in chalk is a common practice on American college campuses and, judging from the public reaction to the Emory event, most Americans consider the writing to be an act of normal free speech during the national collective ritual of a presidential election. So how did it come to pass that many Emory students felt victimised and traumatised by innocuous and erasable graffiti?

    • A global guide to using Shakespeare to battle power

      Hitler was a Shakespeare fan; Stalin feared Hamlet; Othello broke ground in apartheid-era South Africa; and Brazil’s current political crisis can be reflected by Julius Caesar. Across the world different Shakespearean plays have different significance and power. The latest issue of Index on Censorship magazine, a Shakespeare special to mark the 400th anniversary of his death, takes a global look at the playwright’s influence, explores how censors have dealt with his works and also how performances have been used to tackle subjects that might otherwise have been off limits. Below some of our writers talk about some of the most controversial performances and their consequences.

    • China Internet regulator says Web censorship not a trade barrier
    • China Internet Regulator Says Web Censorship Not a Trade Barrier

      China’s online censorship system protects national security and does not discriminate against foreign companies, the country’s Internet regulator said, after the United States labelled the blocking of websites by Beijing a trade barrier.

      The US Trade Representative (USTR) wrote in an annual report that over the past year China’s web censorship has worsened, presenting a significant burden to foreign firms and Internet users.

    • Blizzard Erases Gaming History By Axing a Fan-Made ‘World of Warcraft’ Server

      Last week attorneys representing Blizzard Entertainment sent a cease-and-desist letter to the administrators of Nostalrius Begins, a private “legacy” server that had been running a version of World of Warcraft as it existed between 2004 and 2005 since February 28 of 2015. As of last night a Change.org petition to Blizzard CEO and co-founder Michael Morhaime had garnered more than 55,000 signatures in protest, but the plea for survival went unanswered, and the server shuts down forever effective today.

      Blizzard, of course, is acting within its rights. Nostalrius’ existence essentially amounts to piracy (particularly since the game proper is still going strong), and such things are expressly forbidden by Blizzard’s own terms of use. In a sense, this was inevitable, and it’s frankly surprising that Blizzard let it thrive for so long without taking action.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Leaked Encryption Draft Bill ‘Ignores Economic, Security, and Technical Reality’

      “This bill makes effective cybersecurity illegal.”

    • Edward Snowden Shows How To Tweet Like A Boss After Panama Papers Leak

      In a short span of time, Edward Snowden has built an impeccable reputation on Twitter.

    • Surveillance Debate Gets a Needed Dose of Racial Perspective

      ALVARO BEDOYA HAS been working on surveillance, privacy, and technology in Washington for years now. Before founding Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy & Technology, he served as chief counsel to Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law.

      But as surveillance became a major national issue thanks to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, Bedoya saw something disturbing amid the Washington wonkery: a huge gulf between the discussions of government spying, on the one hand, and aggressive policing tactics in minority communities on the other.

    • The Internet of Things has a dirty little secret

      A year ago when the Internet of Shit account was spawned, it started as a personal joke: I was hearing a lot about internet-connected smart devices, but they all sounded like terrible ideas.

      In recent times, however, we’ve seen a new slew of devices pouring onto the market with no real specific purpose, as far as anyone can tell. At first I was just making jokes about these things, but the situation is worse than I initially thought.


      The opportunities are delicious for bloated internet companies: now a software company could know how warm your home is, what times of day are noisy, whether you have a pet, when you turn on your lights or if you listen to music while having sex.

      Smart devices are sold as a way to improve your life — and in many ways, they do to an extent — but it also means those gadgets are incredible troves of data that could eventually turn into Software-as-a-Service money makers, just like Nespresso did to coffee.

    • A cashless society as a tool for censorship and social control

      The Atlantic had the excellent idea of commissioning Sarah Jeong, one of the most astute technology commentators on the Internet (previously), to write a series of articles about the social implications of technological change: first up is an excellent, thoughtful, thorough story on the ways that the “cashless society” is being designed to force all transactions through a small number of bottlenecks that states can use to control behavior and censor unpopular political views.

      Even if you like the idea of racists and jihadis and human traffickers being limited in their crowdfunding and financial ambitions, the power to control commerce at a fine-grained level, combined with the scale at which transactions flow, means that these restrictions end up being a dragnet, not a speargun. When you fish with a dragnet, you always catch some dolphins along with your tuna.

    • College Grad Looking For a Job? The NSA Wants YOU!

      If you want an indication as to how the surveillance state is growing, take a look at college recruitment by the National Security Agency (NSA). The agency routinely recruits students with internships and scholarships around the United States but now the NSA is looking for employees in the backyard of its controversial Utah Data Center.

    • Senate encryption bill draft mandates ‘technical assistance’

      A long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee encryption bill would force companies to provide “technical assistance” to government investigators seeking locked data, according to a discussion draft obtained by The Hill.

      The measure, from Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), is a response to concerns that criminals are increasingly using encrypted devices to hide from authorities.

      While law enforcement has long pressed Congress for such legislation, the tech community and privacy advocates warn that it would undermine security and endanger online privacy.

    • Fierce legal battle over data retention in Sweden

      There is a rather interesting legal battle concerning data retention going on in Sweden. Parties are the ISP Bahnhof and the government oversight authority Post- & Telestyrelsen (PTS).

      Two years ago, to the day, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) invalidated the EU data retention directive — stating that it is in violation of human rights, especially the right to privacy.

    • Facebook Opens The Floodgates to ‘Sponsored Content’

      That’s because Facebook has changed its rules around sponsored content. On Friday, the social network announced that it will now let publishers, celebrities, and brands post sponsored or branded content on their Facebook pages as long as they follow a couple of rules, including getting a verified by Facebook and using a special tag for each of these posts.

    • GCHQ wizards kept Harry Potter’s secret [Ed: grooming and whitewashing GCHQ for Sunday]
    • Defence Against the Dark Arts: British spies guarded against Harry Potter leak
    • Defense Against the Dark Arts: UK spies guarded against Harry Potter leak
    • Harry Potter and the Spooks of GCHQ: Bizarre story of how British spies battled to stop internet leak of JK Rowling book
    • How GCHQ was called in to keep Harry Potter under wraps
    • Harry Potter and the curious tale of GCHQ
    • Facebook Users Are Sharing Fewer Personal Updates and It’s a Big Problem

      If you haven’t posted anything personal on Facebook FB in awhile, you’re not alone. A damning report published by The Information on Thursday revealed that Facebook has been struggling to reverse a 21% decline in “original sharing,” or personal updates, from its 1.6 billion monthly active users.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Innocent 60-year-old man free after 30 years in prison

      A man who spent more than three decades serving time for crimes he did not commit was finally released from a Virginia correctional facility.

      60-year-old Keith Allen Harward got his first taste of freedom Friday afternoon, thanking his lawyers, whom he called “heroes,” and lamented the fact that his parents could not see him walk free.

      “That’s the worst part about this, is my parents,” said Mr Harward, holding back tears as he addressed media outside the prison. “It killed them. It devastated them.” He added that he was not allowed to attend their funeral because of the sentence.

    • AP Analysis: Arab Democracies? Not So Fast, Say Some

      A new-old idea is rattling around the Middle East five years after the Arab Spring stirred democratic ambition: that restoring stability, especially if accompanied by some economic and political improvements, should be reform enough for the moment.

      This discourse appears to be taking front and center these days, most obviously in Egypt — the region’s most populous country and the one that raised the highest hopes for democracy advocates when the military in 2011 removed longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak as millions rallied against him and his Western support collapsed.

    • Canada’s Blackwater

      Last week students at L’Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) disrupted a board meeting after learning administrators planned to sign a $50 million, seven-year, contract with security giant GardaWorld. Protesters are angry the administration has sought to expel student leaders and ramp up security at the politically active campus as they cut programs.

    • Convicted of a Crime That Never Happened: Why Won’t Texas Exonerate Fran and Dan Keller?

      THE 1992 PROSECUTION of Fran and Dan Keller was based on a trifecta of credulousness, hysteria, and bad evidence.

      The middle-aged couple was living quietly in Austin, Texas, where they ran a small drop-in day care out of their home, when the unimaginable happened: A little girl occasionally left in the Kellers’ care made a claim of abuse at the hands of the couple. At first, the allegation was simple: Dan Keller had spanked her, the 3-year-old told her mother in the summer of 1991. But rather quickly — in part due to repeated questioning by her mother and a therapist who had treated the girl for behavioral problems before she’d ever visited the Kellers — the allegation morphed into accusations far more lurid.

    • SCOTUS Declines Opportunity to Limit Random Border Patrol Stops

      Today the Supreme Court passed up an opportunity to impose limits on a disturbing exception to the Fourth Amendment that allows random detention of motorists within 100 miles of a border—a zone that includes two-thirds of the U.S. population. Since the rationale for these stops is immigration enforcement, they are supposed to be very brief. Yet in 2010 Richard Rynearson, an Air Force officer who brought the case that the Court today declined to hear, was detained at a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint in Uvalde County, Texas, for a total of 34 minutes, even though there was no reason to believe he was an illegal alien or a criminal.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • (Legal) Moonshiner and University Battle Over Rights to ‘Kentucky’

        Moonshine packs a punch in this corner of Appalachia, where making hooch is steeped in local lore. But when Colin Fultz, the grandson of a bootlegger, opened a gourmet distillery here last fall, he ran afoul of a spirit even more potent than white lightning: University of Kentucky basketball.

        With his outlaw grandfather — who spent 18 years behind bars for smuggling — very much on his mind, Mr. Fultz, a businessman and onetime coal miner, set out to carry on his family’s tradition in a legal, and thoroughly modern, way.

        He tinkered with recipes, blending peaches and blackberries into mash brewed in his garage. He hired a lawyer — “My wife got on me, said I was going to get into trouble,” he said — and renovated an old car dealership, where he now distills and sells fruit-infused whiskey, serving it in thimble-size cups from an exposed-brick tasting bar.

    • Copyrights

      • Netflix Disappears From MPAA’s ‘Legal’ Movie Search Engine

        Less than two years ago the MPAA launched its search engine WhereToWatch, offering viewers a database of alternatives to piracy. However, those who try the search engine today will notice that results for Netflix, the largest entertainment platform in the United States, are no longer listed. Is there a feud going on behind the scenes?

      • UK government warns about piracy shakedown letters

        THE UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has published information on what people should do if they receive one of those scary shakedown letters from firms accusing them of breaching piracy laws and owing money.

        Take them with a pinch of salt is the very short version of this, but the IPO has a bit more information.

        The organisation is alerting people to the sort of missives sent by companies like Goldeneye that have a very fishy smell and a bad reputation. The messages are sometimes described as speculative invoices.

      • BPI Buys Up ‘Pirate’ Domains To Foil Pro-Piracy Activists

        Internet pirates are a swarthy bunch that have been known to hijack anti-piracy projects to further their own aims. The BPI is aware of these kinds of efforts and has registered a whole heap of ‘pirate’ domains to avoid a similar fate befalling the UK’s Get it Right From a Genuine Site campaign.

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