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

06.21.16

EPO Self-Censorship by IP Kat or Just Censorship of Opinions That IP Kat Does Not Share/Accept (Updated)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The impact of the EPO’s ‘lunatic/irrational/unpredictable dictator’ strategy (or its notorious wrath plus SLAPP) likely

EPO hiding evidence

Summary: Free speech when it’s needed the most (EPO scandals) needs to be respected; or why IP Kat shoots itself in the foot and helps the EPO’s management by ‘sanitising’ comments

THE EPO’s management may seem scary. It has already banned IP Kat before. We spent a lot of time defending that site by writing about the ban and alerting journalists about it, creating backlash that might have played a role in reversal of the ban (we don’t know for sure, we can only hypothesise). The more people know about the EPO, the more likely justice and lawfulness are to be reached/restored.

We were rather reluctant to publish this post as we’re not (and never were) wishing to nitpick on the site which helps EPO employees. Yes, we have our occasional criticisms. For instance, it is hosted on a platform (E-mail and blog) where Google spying is a lot more likely than in other sites and yet most comments and a lot of material go there (because anyone can comment there anonymously).

Yesterday I left a comment at IP Kat and it vanished. This happens to other people too, but they don’t have a blog in which to write about it. Some tell me about this. I honestly don’t know what goes on in IP Kat‘s mind/s and what happens behind the scenes, but maybe someone is afraid to publish anything that might anger the EPO’s management after that notorious, short-lived ban. I am tempted to think that IP Kat was left with cold feet after that ban, but they had done this even beforehand, as people told me about that. If IP Kat is challenging or limiting the free speech of people wishing to comment, then it serves the EPO’s agenda to a lesser degree, by limiting the visibility of particular opinions or information. I already spoke to IP Kat about it several months ago (amicably, not in a confrontational fashion) and clearly not much has changed. I spoke about it before, urging them not to censor comments, but it is still happening.

I generally do not comment on blog posts because of impersonators (as of 7 years ago), but yesterday I decided I should make the exception because I was bothered to see an unfair comment about SUEPO’s head. I’ve been an activist for free speech and transparency — for quite a few years now as a matter of fact — and I believe in truth through rebuttal rather than outright removal/censorship. I left a comment in an effort to correct the record.

To IP Kat‘s credit, it did publish my first (of two) comment. This started with an anonymous comment that said, collectively: “We don’t really care about what happened to Mrs Hardon here” (where the word “we” seems to allude to staff or readers in general). To quote:

We don’t really care about what happened to Mrs Hardon here or what reason there was for nobbling the board, as Merpel says.

This is about obstruction of justice. This is about threatening a high court. These are pretty serious offenses anywhere.

The Office can’t afford to leave these offenses unanswered.

To nobble: “to cause or force (someone) to do something that you want by offering money, making threats, etc”. Try to do that to a court in your own country and see what happens.

One person quickly responded to the “We don’t really care about what happened to Mrs Hardon here” part:

Actually, we do – because if the reason she was dismissed is that she contacted the accused member of the BoA, and at the end the President is unable to show that he did anything wrong, that the accuses against her should fall too and she should be reinstated.

Another reason why we care is that the strategy to get rid of them seems to be the same.

We care about Else, actually we really do.

Then, having read that while cycling at the gym, I could not help myself but comment for the first time. I wrote: “The actions taken against Staff Reps, including some in The Hague right now (to further cement atmosphere of terror top-down), began with Hardon, so of course that matters. It is offensive to suggest otherwise.”

This comment did appear, but not my second comment, which spoke about the ‘quality’ of the so-called ‘evidence’. It was a polite comment and there is pretty much no justification for deleting it. I don’t have a local copy of that comment because I typed it on a cycling machine running Android, which basically means a public terminal with no detachable media.

I have been waiting to get the comment approved for more than half a day now, but it never showed up. In fact, later on another comment showed up (approved) but it was not mine. It said:

The potential “charge sheet” seems to be expanding – gradually but inexorably.

* deploying covert surveillance measures of questionable legality

* attempting to “nobble” a judicial body by means of alleged “threats”

* attempting to interfere with the course of justice by obstructing the hearing of witnesses

Anyone for an investigation ?

Perhaps if someone competent to carry it out can be found.

Watch this space but don’t hold your breath …

I asked Merpel for a copy of my comment (which they refuse to approve apparently), but have not heard back yet. My guess is, they later might claim that they have lost it or suddenly found it, in order to save face (that’s a common routine).

What is the bottom line? IP Kat censors comments. As a free speech advocate and enthusiast, I simply cannot support it. Over 35,000 comments have been posted in Techrights over the years (including harsh insults and threats against me) and I never deleted any of them, as a matter of principle. Quality control is not an excuse. Just remember that self censorship by fear is exactly what Team Battistelli wants; to do the job for him is undesirable.

Update: It seems as though my comment was indeed deleted (it definitely made it through, see comments below). Strangely enough, I may need to wait before finding out who did this and why. Here is the correspondence about this:

Dear Roy

Thank you for your email.

If your comment was correctly posted, then it has been deleted because one of the IPKat moderators considered that it did not comply with our moderation policy:

http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/p/want-to-complain.html

The IPKat comments moderation policy has been in place for many years, and unchanged in substance since long before Merpel started writing about the events at the EPO.

Blogger does not store such comments so I regret that we are unable to email the content to you.

Kind regards

With respect, I’m at a loss for words. That is very regrettable. We discussed this matter only a few months back. I thought I would get some assurances that people’s free expression would not be impeded based on (in my opinion) what was often arbitrary if not agenda-motivated. People are rightly passionate about the subject and they need a forum in which they can be heard. The subject of legal liability for comments on one’s article/s is still sort of ‘in the air’ in the US and I believe in the UK as well. So I doubt it’s about legal safety; maybe it’s fear of a ban (the EPO recently banned IP Kat for a day) or spoiling of one’s business/professional ties with the EPO (some who write for IP Kat do have such ties).

As I recall it, it was argued that not deletion but moderation without publication was at stake. Now I learn that unwanted comments are basically just being permanently deleted, without as much as an E-mail trail/record (like notification of a new comment with its contents). It’s like I just wrote my comment to myself.

Trying to reconstruct the comment from memory, as it was not particularly long, it went something like this (but shorter):

It is also worth mentioning that the evidence presented about the judge might not tell the whole story. The EPO’s management already got caught lying about the disciplinary committee (e.g. its recommendations regarding dismissal and other punishments for staff representatives), so the alleged access to E-mail by means of screenshots isn’t to be taken at face value. It is possible that these were acquired by means of parallel construction (look at the method [1]), whereby initial pointer/intelligence is obtained though other means (e.g. spy agencies or Google) and it then enables the management to set up surveillance like cameras or keyloggers at the ‘right place’, in order to help capture something and never mention where the initial pointer came from as it may have been illegally-obtained. This is common in the FBI and US DoJ, and it is the subject of very heated debate in the United States to this date. I should probably mention it’s widely documented that CRG, which works with the IU, employs/contracts former Statsi staff (from Desa in Germany) and CRG itself is close to the British government.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parallel_construction

It is sad that pointing out such a thing is unsayable. I would like to know who deleted my comment and why. If this was not you, then it’s possible that someone with very scarce knowledge of internal EPO affairs just took the initiative to purge comments, which I think is not responsible. How often does this happen to other people who have no facilities to complain (and must remain anonymous for their own protection)? I am an ardent proponent of free speech and any policy which deems the above unsuitable for publication speaks rather negatively about the platform or the site, in my humble opinion. Moreover, in this case, people’s justice and careers are at stake. To eliminate such views can, in some loose kind of way, be seen an obstructing justice.

With great respect and admiration for your good reporting, I would like to see my feedback taken seriously and for the importance of free speech to be honoured, no matter what risks this may entail. The EPO is an aggressive organisation (at the top) and being too soft makes us vulnerable to its despicable methods. ‘Sanitising’ what may be viewed as ‘strong’ views (I don’t believe the above is even strong) helps it maintain lawlessness at the EPO.

Kind regards,

Roy

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

2 Comments

  1. Anton_P said,

    June 21, 2016 at 2:01 am

    Gravatar

    You may see it as censorship but the more likely explanation is that either the comment did not get past the android machine or has been overlooked rather than censored. Have you tried their complaint procedure?
    http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/p/want-to-complain.html

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    I got the screen acknowledging that the comment had been registered and was awaiting moderation. I am pretty familiar with how those things work (it’s what I do for a living), so I cannot accept the claim that it just vanished. There was no URL or ‘strong’ word in the comment, so no reason it should be flagged as potential spam, either.

    I very much doubt it was overlooked as only half a dozen comments got posted that day (blog-wide) and a comment later than mine got approved.

    When I publish the comment that IP Kat censored people will see just how innocent a comment they deem unpublishable. I can only imagine how many (and of what nature) other comments disappear like this.

    People have told me about this for a while. Maybe it’s time to look deeper into this matter.

What Else is New


  1. Patent Maximalists Refuse to Accept That Their War on Patent Quality Also Dooms a Pan-European Patent Court System

    The EPO‘s embrace of patent maximalists’ agenda, which necessarily means significant decreases in patent quality (and deviation/departure from the EPC), dooms patent certainty; it also, however, dooms the Unitary Patent (UPC) because an extension of this rogue regime to the court system won’t be tolerated



  2. Links 24/8/2019: Wayland’s Weston 7.0 and More

    Links for the day



  3. Outsourcing to Microsoft and Openwashing as a Service (OaaS): This is the Linux Foundation in 2019

    The concept of "Open" at the Linux Foundation gives room for thought; are things really being opened or mostly marketed as "Open" and, if so, is the Foundation more like a marketing agency?



  4. Links 23/8/2019: Wine 4.0.2 Released, Removing Qt 4 From Ubuntu

    Links for the day



  5. Links 22/8/2019: KDE ISO Image Writer, GNU Parallel ‘Jesper Svarre’

    Links for the day



  6. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: A Free (as in Freedom) Library, and Federation of Advocates

    "This library is not just for cultural works, but also for software."



  7. Linux Foundation's Linux.com in 2019: Zero Articles (Nothing Original) and a Terrible, Rookie New Design

    Linux.com has become a curated syndicator of news (edited by one single Microsoft proponent); the site has also eliminated its traditional design in favour of something only 'hipsters' can appreciate



  8. Managing IP as Team UPC's Megaphone and Lobbying Front

    Managing IP is lying on behalf of Team UPC yet again; the site's long history promoting the UPC hasn't ended even when prospects of the UPC are slim to none



  9. No More Rights for EPO Staff?

    The oppression and the crackdown on labour rights in Europe's second-largest institution has deepened to the point where staff is paid as little as is legally possible



  10. Links 22/8/2019: GNOME 3.33.91, Systemd 243 RC2, Cockpit 201, Ubuntu Touch OTA-10, FreeIPMI 1.6.4

    Links for the day



  11. Some Patent Attorneys Dislike Techrights Not Because It's Wrong But Because Software Patents Are Wrong (and Sometimes Illegal)

    Odd rants which misuse common law and ignore alleged Fair Use (and misinterpretation of copyright law, for censorship purposes) would have people believe that we're wrong; but it's more likely that the person in question is jealous, insecure, or offended by our stance on patent scope, which is very much rooted in the law itself (and the views widely held by software developers globally)



  12. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Distro-libre and feature-schema

    "Every time a distro does not suit a user's purposes, and it is less work to adapt the distro on one's own than to affect the distro in any other way, a distro is born."



  13. Links 21/8/2019: Dell's XPS 13, Mesa 19.2 RC1, Librem Update

    Links for the day



  14. Links 21/8/2019: Open Source POWER, Alpine 3.10.2, Netrunner 19.08

    Links for the day



  15. Edward as a Nodder to Team UPC Kool-Aid

    Bristows LLP is at it again and it's getting pathetic, not just dishonest as usual



  16. Guest Post: António Campinos' European Patent Office Redefines Modern Slavery in the Heart of Europe in 2019

    The European Patent Office’s (EPO) President António Campinos — like his predecessor Battistelli — emulates Chinese labour practices



  17. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: There is More Than One Iceberg Ahead

    "This strategy is not far from when Microsoft talked about "de-commoditizing protocols" in the late 90s, as part of their plans to control, dominate, and end Open Source and Free software."



  18. EPO Cannot Handle Patent Justice With a Backlog of About 10,000 Cases at the Boards of Appeal

    The EPO's long war on judges and on the law has proven to be costly; it's difficult to pretend that the EPO functions like a first-world legal framework



  19. The European Patent Office Increases Surveillance: Can't Get Food Without Being Spied on

    The infamous "War on Cash" has been 'won' at Europe's second-largest institution, where people's diet can now be monitored and indefinitely retained on the system



  20. To GNU/Linux, the Operating System, GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) is Not the Threat. Microsoft is.

    Don't let Microsoft get away with its bogus narration; GNU/Linux is primarily under attack from Microsoft, whereas Software Freedom in general is under attack from many directions



  21. The Free Software Foundation (FSF) Has the Full Support of Techrights

    Our support for the FSF is strong enough that we want to occasionally suggest improvements; there are growing frictions designed to isolate the FSF and cause self-restraint/censorship



  22. Why We Support Phoronix (Whereas Some Others Do Not)

    Some people try to characterise Michael Larabel as the 'bad boy' of Linux even though Michael is probably the hardest working Linux journalist out there



  23. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: The Simplest Ways that AI will Change Computing

    "AI is already used to help kill people. We should be cautious, and know that the best rules we come up with (like no doing magic outside the school grounds) won't be followed all the time."



  24. Links 20/8/2019: DragonFlyBSD Developing DSynth

    Links for the day



  25. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Narcissism in The Community

    "Narcissists are drawn to intelligent people. They take great pleasure in attacking, controlling and defeating intelligent people because it makes them feel smarter and more important."



  26. Breaking the Law Has Become the Norm at the European Patent Office

    The European Patent Office’s ongoing practice of destroying critics/whistleblowers and crushing unions, judges, examiners etc. — as well as threats and bribery of the media — ultimately mean a perpetual state of lawlessness that, if it prevails, will let patent trolls raid the European economy and stall innovation



  27. Links 20/8/2019: KMyMoney 5.0.6, Kdenlive 19.08

    Links for the day



  28. Guarding and Rescuing the FSF Titanic: Free Software in Education

    "If everyone learns to code, then everyone gains some understanding of how to code in other languages."



  29. Links 19/8/2019: Another Linux 5.3 RC, OpenSUSE's Richard Brown Steps Down, Slackware Creates Patreon Page, Qt 6 Initiated

    Links for the day



  30. Speaking Truth to Monopolies (or How to Write Guest Posts in Techrights)

    We need to have more articles tackling the passage of all power — especially when it comes to software — to few large monopolies that disregard human rights or actively participate in their abolishment in the digital realm


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

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

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

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

Recent Posts