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Links 19/9/2016: Linux 4.8 RC7, KDevelop 5.0.1

Posted in News Roundup at 11:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Overcoming language and distance barriers in open source projects

    Open source communities were among the first to use the Internet to make the physical distance between people irrelevant. The Internet is a great tool, since it helps us collaborate wherever we are. It doesn’t matter if you’re having lunch at the Eiffel Tower or waking up in sunny San Francisco, the Internet has helped us connect people on deeper levels.

    I am from Peru, and have always lived in Peru. I study in Peru, and the Internet has helped me find valuable information for projects and life in general. However, when I joined the the Linux community, my life changed radically.

  • A beginner’s bumpy journey to find a few good bugs

    I’d been trying to contribute to open source for about two years. Yes. Two years. And there’s one thing I can tell you with a lot of certainty—it is intimidating. It’s tough to get started. You have to learn how to work within a large code base. You have to learn and adhere to a project’s coding style guides. Nothing makes sense: the control flow, how different modules interact, how and why the code is organized the way it is—it’s all one big maze. You need to muster a lot of courage to ask questions, dive into the code base knowing next to nothing, and keep fighting with it. (This is a generalization about how some projects operate, but many have difficulty making their projects accessible to new contributors.)

  • Top 10 Open Source CRM

    Clearly, finding the right open source CRM (customer relationship management) for your business isn’t as simple as randomly selecting one. To be sure, there are plenty of good open source CRM apps, but still: you must carefully weigh features, function, licensing and support, for your own needs.

    In this article, I’ll share my top open source CRM picks. And with any luck, you’ll find one that’ll be a great match for your business!

  • Adept Releases Open-Source Energy Measurement Tools for Parallel Hardware

    Over its three-year lifespan, Adept has investigated energy consumption in parallel hardware and software. Energy efficiency is becoming a serious consideration for developers of high-performance and high-throughput computing systems. As computers become more powerful, they inevitably consume more energy – unless the technology is improved so they become more efficient.


    The Adept Tool Suite consists of three parts: a benchmark suite, power measurement infrastructure, and power and performance prediction tool.

  • Riot wants to be like Slack, but with the flexibility of an underlying open source platform

    In the ‘old days’ there were plenty of messaging apps and aggregators, but they survived in an open source world. Today, business models dictate that platforms like Slack must keep their messages to themselves.

    It would be nice if open-source alternatives could bring back the days of flexibility, combined with today’s world of excellent user experience. What if Slack were simply an excellent tool running on an underlying open-source platform? Could it create the same value?

    Riot (formerly known as Vector while it was running in Beta) is a new UK-borne app hoping to have a crack at that.

  • Orange to test AT&T’s open source ECOMP platform

    Orange’s R&D division Orange Labs Network plans to test ECOMP, an open source platform designed by AT&T for creating and managing software-centric network services. ECOMP, which stands for Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy, will be released to the wider telecom industry as an open source offering managed by the Linux Foundation.

  • MongoDB cofounder explains what to do when a project has gone off track

    It has happened to nearly every technology leader. A project that seemed like an excellent idea when you started it either drifted off course, proved too ambitious or not as useful as originally thought. What do you do when you’re in the middle of a project that you realize is not going well?

    Eliot Horowitz, CTO and co-founder of open source database company MongoDB, knows this problem first-hand. In an interview with The Enterprisers Project, he explains what happened when he and his co-founder realized they had to pull the plug on the original version of their technology.

  • Open Source OpenPokeMap Project Will Enable Anybody To Run A Pokemon Go Tracker

    The 3rd party development community around Niantic’s hyper successful Pokemon Go game is not slowing down. A new project will enable everybody interested to run his own Pokemon Go map service. OpenPokeMap is an open-source, open-infrastructure map for Pokemon Go. The developer behind FastPokeMap is supporting the project as a “consultant.” He says that OpenPokeMap is similar to FastPokeMap.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • IBM (IBM), Hortonworks (HDP) Announce Open Source Distribution on Power Systems

      IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Hortonworks (NASDAQ: HDP) today announced the planned availability of Hortonworks Data Platform (HDP®) for IBM Power Systems enabling POWER8 clients to support a broad range of new applications while enriching existing ones with additional data sources.

      HDP’s secure, enterprise-ready open source Apache Hadoop distribution provides clients with a highly scalable storage platform designed to process large data sets across thousands of computing nodes. For enterprise users running POWER8-based systems, the first microprocessor designed for big data and analytics, Hortonworks provides a new distribution option for selecting a cost-effective platform for running their big data and analytics workloads. This open source Hadoop and Spark distribution will complement the performance of Power Systems by allowing clients to quickly gain business insights from their structured and unstructured data.

    • Canonical and IBM Deepen Their OpenStack Partnership

      Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, is spreading out with its OpenStack eforts. It has announced that Ubuntu OpenStack is now available for IBM customers who want to manage their own OpenStack cloud across IBM platforms such as IBM z Systems, IBM LinuxONE and IBM Power Systems, including IBM’s newly announced OpenPOWER LC servers. This is an expansion of the companies’ hybrid cloud partnership, and many instances of OpenStack already run on top of Ubuntu.

      As the OpenStack marketplace shifts, there is a shortage of people available to build secure and private clouds. IBM reports that it is following in the footsteps of companies such as Deutsche Telekom, Tele2, Bloomberg and Time Warner Cable in making Ubuntu OpenStack available to customers as a tested and supported cloud solution.

    • Making installation easy, Hackathon winners, and more OpenStack news
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • NetBeans Going to Apache: Is Java Next?

      Most followers of open source probably weren’t surprised by Wednesday’s fuss over NetBeans’ possible move from Oracle to the Apache Software Foundation. If you missed it, it started with an announcement on the NetBeans website that “Oracle has proposed contributing the NetBeans IDE as a new open-source project within the Apache Incubator.”

      The announcement goes on to indicate the move is being made out of the goodness of Oracle’s heart. “Oracle is relinquishing its control of NetBeans and introducing it to Apache’s widely accepted governance model, which will provide new opportunities to the NetBeans community and stimulate further code contributions.”

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Does Microsoft really love Linux?

      Microsoft has always had an…uneasy…relationship with Linux, to say the least. But a writer at The Verge is convinced that Microsoft does indeed love Linux these days, and that its stormy Linux past is now behind the Redmond giant.

    • PerfView is now Open Source On GitHub [Ed: Microsoft uses PerfView in an openwashing effort in order to market proprietary Visual Studio, which adds surveillance to compiled code]

      The readme associated with the GitHub repository has getting started information (how to fetch the repository, how to build, test and deploy the code. We use Visual Studio 2015. You can download a free copy of Visual Studio 2015 Community Edition that has everything you need to clone, build test and deploy PerfView. Thus you can get going with PerfView RIGHT NOW. The instructions on the PerfView repository tell you how to get started even if you know nothing about GIT (although knowing something about GIT and Visual Studio certainly helps).

    • Microsoft will close its Skype office in London [Ed: in recent years, as Microsoft pretends to be “Open” (it’s the opposite), layoffs have become routine at the company]

      Microsoft is going to close Skype’s London office, in a move that could impact the jobs of the nearly 400 people employed there. The company told the Financial Times that is will “unify some engineering positions,” but that it “will be entering into a consultation process to help those affected by the redundancies.”

      The London office is a key part of Skype’s history, since it was the primary engineering site and headquarters of the company before Microsoft acquired it, and it also survived Skype’s strange interlude under the ownership of eBay before it was acquired by the big M.

      While the move is no doubt a blow to London’s tech scene, some former insiders told the FT that it’s also not a surprise to see it go, largely because a steady stream of executive departures over the last few years have foretold a shift in the locus of power at the company. Post-acquisition, Microsoft has also done a lot of product work on Skype, with plenty of integration with Office 365 and a number of feature introductions that bring it closer in line with Slack.

    • Microsoft (MSFT) news recap: Microsoft loves open source, Garage gets a new look and more [Ed: Microsoft advocacy site repeats the Big Lie; Microsoft still lobbies against FOSS, e.g. in India this year]
  • BSD


  • Public Services/Government

    • #SoftwareFreedom: India’s Lukewarm Relationship with FOSS Needs to Change

      For a over decade, the third Saturday of every September has been celebrated as Software Freedom Day in dozens of countries around the world. The free and open source software (FOSS) movement, which grew in the 1980s out of frustrations with restrictions on use of copyrighted software, has changed considerably in the last decade. Barring a few exceptions, there has been a dilution in the focus on replacing Windows’ domination of mainstream computing. But FOSS, which some people may know as Linux, still forms the backbone of our technological lives. In developing countries like India, where scaling affordable access to technology is an admitted priority of the government, the promotion and adoption of FOSS seems to be a viable and pragmatic policy decision.

      Whether one is aware of it or not, FOSS is behind the majority of all computing that makes modern, digital life possible. FOSS runs most of all smartphones, supercomputers, ATMs, servers and websites around the world. In India, two massive citizen-facing projects, our railway booking website IRCTC, and Aadhaar’s online infrastructure, use Linux servers too. But why should you care for FOSS?

    • Commission makes a list of its open source solutions

      The European Commission is about to make a public inventory of the open source solutions used by the Commission and the European Parliament. A methodology for creating the inventory was just accepted by the EC’s Directorate-General for Informatics (DIGIT), as part of its ‘EU Free and Open Source Software Auditing’ (EU-Fossa) project.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • LA launches open source business portal

      The open source LA Business Portal was funded by the Small Business Administration’s Start Up In A Day initiative and used the codebase of San Francisco’s Business Portal as a foundation for LA’s code.

      As an open source project, the LA Business Portal can help cities without the resources or capacity to build a solution from the ground up improve their business climate, officials said. The startup guides and starter kits for popular business types will be made available to be adapted and used by other local government entities.

  • Programming/Development

    • Ada Gets Promoted To Being A First-Class Language In Coreboot

      Coreboot has mainlined a months-old patch to make the Ada programming language “a first class citizen” in this low-level open-source project.

      As of today in Coreboot GNAT runtime system was also added today for the Ada code.

    • LLVM Still Pursuing Apache 2.0 License + GPLv2 Compatibility

      COMPILER –
      It’s been a while since last talking about the discussions among LLVM developers about re-licensing the project. The re-licensing is moving forward and they are settling on the Apache 2.0 license plus explicitly stating compatibility with GPLv2.

      For the past year they’ve been eyeing the Apache 2 license for the LLVM stack over their University of Illinois/NCSA Open Source License, which is similar to the three-clause BSD license.

    • Update on Node.js npm Tool and Express Module

      The second day at Node Interactive Europe last week had two keynotes that concentrated on specific tools and modules. Kat Marchán talked about the npm packaging tool, and Doug Wilson explored the state of the express module.

    • Git Developers Want Your Feedback (2016 Git Survey)


  • The Mystery of Scandinavia’s Car-Burning Spree

    What’s behind the spate of vehicle arsons that have swept Scandinavia’s cities this year? Over the summer, cars have been set on fire across the region in a spree that shows no sign of abating just yet.

    Between June and mid-August, 134 vehicles were set ablaze in Stockholm, 43 in Sweden’s second city of Gothenburg, and 108 in its third city, Malmö. Meanwhile, across the water in Copenhagen, there were 30 arson attacks on vehicles in August alone, until the arrest of a 21-year-old suspect led police to hope the streak would end. It didn’t, and this week Copenhagen’s car burnings began again, as they also did in neighboring areas of Sweden. Internationally at least, this isn’t what people expect from a region that is usually a byword for prosperity and social order.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Exclusive: How Elizabeth Holmes’s House of Cards Came Tumbling Down

      In a searing investigation into the once lauded biotech start-up Theranos, Nick Bilton discovers that its precocious founder defied medical experts—even her own chief scientist—about the veracity of its now discredited blood-testing technology. She built a corporation based on secrecy in the hope that she could still pull it off. Then, it all fell apart.

    • Monsanto Merges with Bayer, “Their Expertise is War”. Shady Historical Origins, IG Farben, Part of Hitler’s Chemical Genetic Engineering Cartel

      The expertise of these companies are those of war. IG Farben – Hitler’s economic power and pre-war Germany’s highest foreign exchange earner – was also a foreign intelligence operation. Herman Shmitz was President of IG Farben, Shmitz’s nephew Max Ilgner was a Director of IG Farben, while Max’s brother Rudolph Ilgner handled the New York arm of the ‘VOWI‘ network as vice president of CHEMNYCO.

      Paul Warburg – brother of Max Warburg (Board of Directors, Farben Aufsichsrat) – was one of the founding members of the Federal Reserve System in the United States. He was also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Max Warburg and Hermann Schmitz played a central role in the Farben empire. Other “guiding hands” of Farben Vorstand included Carl Bosch, Fritz ter Meer, Kurt Oppenheim and George von Schnitzler. Every one of them were adjudged ‘War Criminals’ after World War II, except Paul Warburg.

    • Bayer Purchased Monsanto (And We Are All Screwed)

      Cash. That makes it the biggest deal ever in the history of blah blah blah, who gives a shit, are we right?

      If you’re anything like us, your brain turns off when you hear numbers that big being transferred from one giant group of white guys to another. And traditionally, that’s exactly the way giant groups of white guys want it. Especially this one. See, there’s reason to believe this particular group of rich white guys shouldn’t be trusted with the awesome power they’d have after combining.

    • No jail time in Flint water crisis plea deal for former state epidemiologist

      A deal between Flint water crisis prosecutors and a former state epidemiologist includes no incarceration for Corinne Miller, who pleaded no contest to failing to warn hospitals and the public about a Legionnaires’ disease epidemic in Genesee County.

      Miller, 65 of Dewitt, former director of the state Department of Health and Human Services’ Bureau of Epidemiology, pleaded to the least serious charge against her on Wednesday, Sept. 14 — a midemeanor count of neglect of duty by a public officer.

    • Who are Suspect 1 and Suspect 2? Flint water crisis prosecutor won’t say

      Special Flint water crisis prosecutor Todd Flood won’t name two individuals identified only as “Suspect 1″ and “Suspect 2″ in a plea agreement filed in Genesee County District Court this week.

      But after reaching a deal for former state epidemiologist Corinne Miller to plead no contest to a misconduct charge and to cooperate with prosecutors, Flood said the unnamed suspects are evidence that his investigation “is far from over.”

      “You just saw in that plea agreement … obviously there was Suspect 1 and Suspect 2,” Flood said when asked if he expects more criminal charges related to Flint water.

      Miller was the director of the Bureau of Disease Control, Prevention and Epidemiology at Department of Health and Human Services until November 2015, but 10 months earlier, she was “tasked by Suspect 1″ to provide a report regarding a 2014 outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in Genesee County and to meet with Suspect 2, according to Miller’s plea agreement.

    • Lansing Politicians Slow To Enact Policy Reforms After Flint Water Crisis

      In the year since Flint’s man-made drinking water crisis exploded and was exposed primarily as a failure of state government, Michigan has allocated $234 million toward the public health emergency that exposed children to lead and has been linked to a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak.

      The state has been much slower, however, in enacting policy reforms to address problems uncovered.

      It’s likely that no major action in the Republican-led Legislature will occur until 2017, angering Democrats who are pushing for changes to the emergency manager law and lead testing.

      It’s been four months since a bicameral legislative committee concluded hearings about Flint’s crisis. It has yet to issue a report and recommendations.

      They are now expected by year’s end. Democrats say there’s no reason to wait to start debating legislation.

  • Security

    • HDDCryptor Ransomware Overwrites Your MBR Using Open Source Tools [Ed: Windows ransom but the headline only says “Open Source”]

      Most of the research on this infection has been done by Marinho, who says that his company was called in to investigate and fix a massive infection at a multi-national company that affected computers in its Brazil, India, and US subsidiaries.

    • The power of protocol analyzers

      In the complicated world of networking, problems happen. But determining the exact cause of a novel issue in the heat of the moment gets dicey. In these cases, even otherwise competent engineers may be forced to rely on trial and error once Google-fu gives out.

      Luckily, there’s a secret weapon waiting for willing engineers to deploy—the protocol analyzer. This tool allows you to definitively determine the source of nearly any error, provided you educate yourself on the underlying protocol. The only catch for now? Many engineers avoid it entirely due to (totally unwarranted) dread.

    • Bitcoin: A Sequence of Proofs

      A potential solution to the growing pains of Bitcoin is the use of proof-of-stake rather than proof-of-work. An attacker which has a stake in the history already on the blockchain is unlikely to jeopardize it. In proof-of-stake, the cryptocurrency is paid by the miners into the bets of the next block to win. If an attacker bets on multiple chains, then they’re guaranteed to lose money. This, combined with the fact that buying a lot of currency is more expensive than a lot of computer power, makes proof-of-stake practical. We will cover Peercoin later, which does proof of stake and has other mitigations for certain attacks.

      An interesting idea is vote tattling. When an attacker votes on one block with a predecessor, and then votes on another with the same predecessor, peers can observe this. They can report double voting by using the votes as cryptographically-verified evidence, and taking the attacker’s vote-money.

    • Why real hackers prefer Linux over Windows and Mac

      We have published many tutorials for hackers and security researchers. You may have noticed that most tutorials are based on Linux operating systems. Even the hacking tools out there are based on Linux barring a few which are written for Windows and Mac. The moot question here is that why do hackers prefer Linux over Mac or Windows?

      Today we look at the reason why hackers always prefer Linux over Mac, Windows, and other operating systems. You may have your own reasons for choosing Linux but what do hackers really look forward to while working with Linux.

    • Why Hackers are Choosing Linux Over its Competitors
  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Barrel Bomb Conundrum

      It is of course only part of the media distortion around the Syria debacle. Western intervention is aimed at supporting various Saudi backed jihadist militias to take over the country, irrespective of the fact that they commit appalling atrocities. These the media label “democratic forces”. At the same time, we are attacking other Saudi controlled jihadists on the grounds that they are controlled by the wrong kind of Saudi. You see, chopping off the heads of dissidents and gays is OK if you are one of the Saudis who directly controls the Saudi oil resources. It is not OK if you do it freelance and are one of the Saudis who is merely acting at the covert behest of the other Saudis who control the Saudi oil resources.

    • US, Israel sign massive military aid deal for $38 billion over 10 years

      The United States and Israel have signed a new aid deal that will give the Israeli military $38 billion over the course of 10 years. It’s the largest such agreement the U.S. has ever had with any country.

    • After Orlando Massacre, Queer Art Takes a Political Turn

      In the past month, Efrem Zelony-Mindell has transformed a small gallery in New York City into a space for LBGTQ reinvention. His show, n e w f l e s h, seeks to redefine gender and sexual identities through novel representations of the queer community — a task that Zelony-Mindell, a curator and visual artist, considers uniquely pressing in the face of increasingly visible anti-LGBTQ violence. His approach: to abstract, obscure, or remove the body entirely from the works on display. “We tend to see queerness portrayed as a physical or corporeal matter,” he told The Intercept. “This thinking is dehumanizing, and that dehumanization inevitably leads to violence.”

    • Suicides among military bomb techs at crisis level

      In June 2010, after a day of drinking at an American Legion Post in Wyoming near the family’s home, Jeff Hackett downed a couple more swigs of alcohol, said “cheers” and shot and killed himself.

      Among the highly skilled and elite ranks of military explosive ordnance disposal technicians — the men and women who have been on the front line of the war on terror since Sept. 11, 2001 — suicide is a growing concern.

      “It is literally an epidemic,” said Ken Falke, a former EOD technician and founder of the Niceville-based EOD Warrior Foundation, which supports current and former military EOD techs and their families.

    • The couple and their army of retired police officers taking £5m a year from taxpayers to pursue British soldiers around the globe

      For hundreds of British troops, the prospect of being prosecuted for events that took place in Iraq 13 years ago remains a very real nightmare.

      Almost 1,500 cases of abuse of Iraqis, including allegations of torture and even murder, are being investigated by a special team set up by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

      Soldiers are terrified of being arrested more than a decade on from the occupation of Iraq, and are dismayed and disgusted by the length of time the investigations are taking. But for one husband and wife team, the British occupation of southern Iraq has proved a cash bonanza.

    • NATO planes bomb Syrian government forces

      The diplomatic row rumbles on after US-led air strikes hit Syrian government forces in Deir ez-Zour, killing 62 soldiers and injuring over 100. This happened only a few days into a week-long trial ceasefire designed to be a precursor to US-Russian joint operations against ISIS.

      It has now been reported that British forces were involved and, needless to say, that the ceasefire is over, with the Russians and the Syrians naturally being blamed.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange says he’ll turn himself in if Obama pardons Chelsea Manning

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange would turn himself in to US authorities if President Barack Obama grants clemency to Chelsea Manning, the organization said on Twitter Thursday. WikiLeaks’ statement was released one day before a Swedish appeals court decided to maintain a warrant for Assange’s arrest over a 2010 rape charge. Assange has said that extradition to Sweden would lead to his eventual extradition to the US, where he could face charges related to WikiLeaks’ publication of secret government documents.

    • 5 Reasons The WikiLeaks Guy Is Losing His Mind [Ed: attack piece]

      And so, for the past four years, Assange has been working long days in a one-and-a-half-room apartment. He’s not getting any fresh air, he doesn’t get many social calls, and the Ecuadorian government doesn’t have much of a budget. His bathroom doubles as a makeshift gym. He has friends, supporters, and an internet connection, but that can only do so much when you have less variety in your day than most prisoners. And goddamn, is it ever showing.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • On Solidarity with Standing Rock, Executive Clemency and the International Indigenous Struggle

      I call on all my supporters and allies to join the struggle at Standing Rock in the spirit of peaceful spiritual resistance and to work together to protect Unci Maka, Grandmother Earth. I also call upon my supporters and all people who share this Earth to join together to insist that the US complies with and honors the provisions of international law as expressed in the UNDRIP, International Human Rights Treaties and the long-neglected Treaties and trust agreements with the Sioux Nation. I particularly appeal to Jill Stein and the Green Parties of the US and the world to join this struggle by calling for my release and adopting the UNDRIP as the new legal framework for relations with indigenous peoples.

      Finally, I also urge my supporters to immediately and urgently call upon President Obama to grant my petition for clemency, to permit me to live my final years on the Turtle Mountain Reservation. Scholars, political grassroots leaders, humanitarians and Nobel Peace Laureates have demanded my release for more than four decades. My Clemency Petition asks President Obama to commute, or end, my prison term now in order for our nation to make progress healing its fractured relations with Native communities. By facing and addressing the injustices of the past, together we can build a better future for our children and our children’s children.

    • Native American Activist Winona LaDuke at Standing Rock: It’s Time to Move On from Fossil Fuels

      While Democracy Now! was covering the Standing Rock standoff earlier this month, we spoke to Winona LaDuke, longtime Native American activist and executive director of the group Honor the Earth. She lives and works on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota. She spent years successfully fighting the Sandpiper pipeline, a pipeline similar to Dakota Access. We met her right outside the Red Warrior Camp, where she has set up her tipi. Red Warrior is one of the encampments where thousands of Native Americans representing hundreds of tribes from across the U.S. and Canada are currently resisting the pipeline’s construction.

    • Arrests After #KeepItInTheGround Activists Occupy Interior Department
  • Finance

    • 300,000 Join Massive Protests in Germany Against US-EU Corporate Trade Deals

      Hundreds of thousands took to city streets across Germany on Saturday as they marched against a pair of corporate-backed trade deals they say will undermine democracy, attack workers and local economies, and accelerate the threats posed by corporate hegemony and global warming.

      Taking aim at both the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), European Union deals with the United States and Canada respectively, opponents say the agreements are not really concerned with expanding trade but rather increasing corporate power.

    • Warren Slams ISDS Provision in Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Deal

      Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday said that the investor-state dispute settlement provision in the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal would allow corporations to challenge foreign laws before private arbitration panels outside of the traditional legal system.

      “It allows companies to challenge foreign laws they don’t like and potentially win millions or even billions of dollars from taxpayers,” Warren (D-Mass.) told reporters on a conference call, which was hosted by left-leaning advocacy group Public Citizen and included economist Jeffrey Sachs and law professors Cruz Reynoso and Alan Morrison.

    • Uber accused of cashing in on bomb explosion by charging almost double to take terrified New Yorkers home

      TRAUMATISED families caught up in the New York bomb blast have accused Uber of cashing in on the tragedy by charging almost double to take them home.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Bernie Sanders, who launched career on protest votes, dismisses Gary Johnson and Jill Stein as protest votes

      Bernie Sanders is one of the most electorally successful non-major party candidates in United States political history. And he said Friday that voting for a third-party candidate for president in 2016 would amount to a “protest vote.”

      “Before you cast a protest vote — because either Clinton or Trump will become president — think hard about it,” Sanders said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “This is not a governor’s race. It’s not a state legislative race. This is the presidency of the United States.”

    • Two parties use legitimate means to mask rigged debates

      For several election cycles, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) – a self-proclaimed “non-partisan” private organization that sponsors the debates – has required a 15% average in hand-picked polls as the criteria for debate inclusion. This threshold makes it difficult for candidates outside of the traditional Democratic and Republican parties to appear on stage.

      Like most Americans, I’ve generally accepted these polls at face value. However, a review of publicly available information shows that not only are most of the polls in question inherently unscientific, but that the CPD and its hand-picked pollsters are engaged in a concerted effort to elect establishment candidates in general, and Hillary Clinton in particular.

      There are five polls being used to inform the 15% average. Two of these show blatant scientific problems: Fox News polls under-samples independents by more than 20%, and the CNN-ORC poll admits to dramatically under-sample Millennials. The polling staff have failed to return repeated requests for clarification. This level of unresponsiveness is unheard of within the formal scientific community. Thus, are the polls scientific?

      Almost every reputable scientific journal asks scientists who hope to publish in its pages to disclose any conflicts of interest. The implication is that, if the researcher, or those funding or sponsoring the research favor a specific research outcome, the data might be tainted. Using publicly available information alone, I’ve uncovered massive conflicts of interests that have laid dormant for years.

    • Democrats: A Vote for Third Party is a Vote for Trump?

      The most recent appeal from the Democratic party “warning” voters that a vote for a third party candidate is like a vote for Trump is evidence of a real shift in the awareness of the American people. First, let me clarify: A vote for Trump is a vote for Trump; A vote for Clinton is a vote for Clinton. Using fear to persuade voters to support political parties that have continually disappointed on major issues from foreign policy, education, healthcare and the economy, is the epitome of a failed democracy. Second, let’s address the fact that the Democrats are admittedly launching a “multimillion-dollar digital campaign that talks about what’s at stake and how a vote for a third-party candidate is a vote for Donald Trump.” Yet they refuse to #OpenTheDebates. It’s interesting how quickly millions of dollars get thrown at attempts to control the minds and opinions of the people when over half of the workers in this country make less than $30,000 a year.

    • Donald Trump’s birther event is the greatest trick he’s ever pulled

      Donald Trump is, at heart, a showman. He rose to national fame thanks to star turns on reality TV in which he played the tough-talking boss to a group of aspirants hoping to become as successful as he has been in business. His great gift is the ability to draw attention — and then use that attention for his own, usually commercial, purposes.

      Trump may have outdone himself on Friday morning. He and his campaign touted a “major” announcement at his newly opened hotel in Washington, D.C., at 10 a.m. The word was that Trump would walk away from his past skepticism about President Obama’s citizenship while also laying the blame for the birther movement at the feet of Hillary Clinton. (That, of course, isn’t true — according to numerous fact-checkers — but no matter: Trump planned to say it anyway.)

    • Merkel’s party loses support in Berlin state election

      Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party endured a second setback in a state election in two weeks on Sunday, as many voters turned to the left and right in Berlin, according to projections based on exit polls.

      The Social Democrats (SPD) and Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party (CDU) emerged from the Berlin state election as the strongest two parties, but both lost enough support that they won’t be able to continue a coalition government, the projections show.

    • The Mini Film Studio Operating Inside Clinton’s Campaign

      The shot comes about two minutes and thirty-four seconds into the video. A mother in her late 60s, dressed in a cream-colored suit, stands in an almost empty room, watching her daughter on TV. As her daughter speaks, the mother turns to the woman who is seated next to her, and squeals: “Ohhhh she looks so prettyyyyy!”

      It’s a show of motherly pride so natural it would be completely unremarkable were it not for the fact that the the mother in the room is Hillary Clinton, the daughter is Chelsea Clinton, and the clip is part of a backstage compilation video about the 2016 Democratic National Convention, produced by the Clinton campaign.

    • GOP Lobbyist Offers Reward in Murder of DNC Staffer in Hopes of Laying Rumors to Rest

      Around the same time this piece was published, however, WikiLeaks Editor in Chief Julian Assange spoke of a possible connection between Rich’s death and the DNC email leak. “I’m suggesting that our sources take risks,” he said in a video interview on the Dutch television program “Nieuwsuur,” although Assange refused to say whether Rich was a WikiLeaks source.

      “It’s quite something to suggest a murder,” the interviewer responds, “and that’s basically what you’re doing.”

      “Well, others have suggested that,” Assange carefully replies. “We are investigating to understand what happened in that situation, with Seth Rich. I think it is a concerning situation, but there’s not a conclusion yet.”

    • Monopolizing the Debates

      Soon most of the country will be watching the debates. To be told that you will be watching the ‘debates’ is an insult to your intelligence. They’re not forums to inform and enlighten the electorate, but spectacles where the candidates preen and pander to the viewers; political performances to showcase the triumph of form over substance. I was wondering why they are even called debates instead of grudge matches? This year features two of the most unlikable wrestlers, I mean candidates, in history. In this corner we have Donald “The Demagogue” Trump and in the other corner we have Hillary “The Crusher” Clinton.

      The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) is a non-profit, tax exempt organization. In their mission statement they talk about providing: “the best possible information to viewers and listeners” and how voter education is one of their goals. Any person reading this might think that the CPD is just another charitable organization demonstrating their altruism. Nothing could be further from the truth! Even though the CPD claims to be independent of the two major parties, their past and present leadership consists of democratic and republican politicians (with an occasional media acolyte). Because none of the members is a current office holder, the CPD likes to claim they are non-partisan. As the Libertarian SuperPAC claims in their open letter to the CPD: “Bi-partisan is not the same as non-partisan”. The debates always did highlight the two duopoly candidates, but the CPD seeks to make sure any non-duopoly candidates with a different point of view aren’t heard.

      Throughout the years, the number of debates has varied between two and four. Recently the CPD has settled on four debates, with one of them between the vice-presidential candidates, but it’s their decision to limit the debates to candidates with over 15% in the polls that has drawn scrutiny. They initiated this 15% threshold to be included in the debates in 2000. In the hundred years before this decision, there were some presidential candidates who received less than 15% of the vote, yet won votes in the electoral college. That hasn’t happened in almost 50 years, thanks in large part to duopoly members controlling who is in the debates.

    • Green Party’s Stein and Baraka on ballot for 90% of US voters

      The Green Party campaign for presidential candidate Jill Stein and vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka has completed its 2016 ballot access drive. Stein-Baraka will be on the ballot in 45 states, including Washington, D.C., and they will be official write-in candidates in three more states. Ballots cast for official write-in candidates are counted, whereas unofficial write-in ballots are not.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Italy on the verge of the stupidest censorship law in European history

      After a string of high-profile cyberbullying and revenge-porn incidents, the Italian Chamber of Deputies has put forward a bill that will do nothing to prevent these abuses, and everything to allow for rampant, unaccountable censorship of the Italian internet, without rule of law or penalty for abuse.

      Under the proposed law, the “site manager” of Italian media, including bloggers, newspapers and social networks would be obliged to censor “mockery” based on “the personal and social condition” of the victim — that is, anything the recipient felt was personally insulting. The penalty for failing to take action is a fine of €100,000. Truthfulness is not a defense in suits under this law — the standard is personal insult, not falsehood.

    • The No-Censorship Approach to Life

      Students at my institution, Columbia University, exist in a world where virtually every human thought ever conceived is open to study, examination, consideration, acceptance, rejection, debate, and analysis. To be sure, we have standards that guide us as we move through this vast wilderness of the human mind — we insist on notions like reason, fact, nonpartisanship — but nothing is out of bounds for intellectual inquiry.

      Over the past couple of years, there have been a number of controversies on campuses across the country, including mine, which were all more or less about speech — the speech of fellow students, of residence-hall administrators, of faculty, of institutions through the naming of buildings and the display of pictures, and of outside people invited to the campus. The debate, in part, has been about what to do about speech that was considered offensive or dangerous. Sometimes there were calls for bans on speech and official punishments.

    • Corporate rights have a long history

      This argument could contain some merit, especially if “corporate personhood” were a new concept — but it’s not.

    • Video blogger claims YouTube ‘threatened’ her over Juncker interview

      A French video blogger selected to interview European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Sunday she was pressured by YouTube to ask “soft questions” during the webcast.

      “I found out they expected for me to ask only very soft questions,” said Laetitia Birbes in a Facebook video about her interactions with YouTube before last week’s interview. “The whole point was to give advertisement to Juncker.”

      The interview was conducted online Thursday, a day after Juncker had delivered his “State of the Union” address, and was sponsored by YouTube, Euronews and the Debating Europe online platform.

      Birbes, a blogger from the outskirts of Paris, told French news website Rue 89 she was “assured” by YouTube that she was free to ask any question, but that a representative from the video site suggested she ask Juncker questions such as “What is happiness?” and for details on his vintage Nokia phone and dog “Plato.”

      But Birbes said YouTube balked at accepting some “more important questions.” She said a YouTube representative advised her he would need to speak to Juncker’s spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud about potential “red-flag” questions.

    • Anti-Piracy Outfits Caught Fabricating Takedown Notices

      Not all anti-piracy vendors play fair when it comes to removing copyright-infringing content from the Internet. In fact, there is clear and convincing evidence that several companies ‘make up’ links that have never even existed, perhaps in part to boost their own numbers.

    • Tattooed man rubbishes Facebook censorship of his bum, says ‘if you don’t like, don’t look’

      Sweide Lum-Wairepo had the puhoro done on his buttocks, thighs and upper back by tattooist Hirini Katene, who posted videos and photos of the work on Facebook.

      However, the video was taken down after it was deemed to violate the community guidelines and only the photos have been allowed to remain online.

      The video shows the man’s back then spins to his front, where he can be seen cupping his genitals to obscure them from the camera.

      However, a thatch of pubic hair remains visible.

      Mr Lum-Weirepo said that if people didn’t like it, they didn’t have to watch it.

      “I thought it was pretty s*** … because it’s just something cultural,” he said.

    • Montenegro: Mayor accused of repeatedly undermining press freedom

      Kolasin, which is the centre of a regional municipality of about 10,000 people, has a small media market that includes just one local newspaper named Kolasin and four correspondents working for the national dailies — Pobjeda, Dan, Vijesti and Dnevne Novine. There is no local TV station. The local government is run by a coalition of opposition parties — Democratic Front, the Social Democratic Party of Montenegro (SDP) and the Socialist People’s Party of Montenegro — while the Democratic Party of Socialists is the majority party in the national parliament and it runs the Government.

    • Censoring the terrors of war
    • Facebook reverses ‘napalm girl’ photo censorship following media pressure
    • Our Father, who art Facebook: is the social media giant getting too big for its boots?
    • Norwegian newspaper calls out Facebook’s founder
    • Facebook takes U-turn over ‘Napalm girl’ photograph

      Numerous posts were deleted but Isaksen’s was still up Friday afternoon. Hansen said he received an email Wednesday from the social network requesting that the image be taken down.

      Facebook is facing criticism over its regulation of content as it aims to find a universal standard to apply to its 1.7 billion monthly users, and bans on pornography prevent posting art or historic photographs like the one at the heart of the controversy in Norway.

    • TV self-censorship takes toll on National Games
    • CNN Indonesia Extends Apology to KPI over Blurred Images
    • Indon swimmer sparks censorship debate
    • Broadcasting Commission Washes Hands of Censorship as Indonesia Loses Focus
    • Overzealous censors return: TV station blurs out National Games swimmer’s entire body
    • Indon swimmer sparks censorship debate
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Assange, Manning and Snowden, Standing with the Conscience of Truthtellers

      Last week, Oliver Stone’s biopic “Snowden” hit the theaters. The film illuminates the life of Edward Snowden between 2004 and 2013, aiming to humanize one of the most wanted men in the world. Just before its release, a public campaign was launched urging President Obama to pardon this renowned NSA whistleblower.

      The massive US government persecution of truthtellers over the past years has exiled conscience from civil society, locking it behind bars and driving it into asylum. Yet, despite these attacks, it refuses to die.

      From prison where she is serving 35 years, Chelsea Manning is standing up for her dignity. Recently, she protested her dehumanizing treatment by engaging in a hunger strike. All the while, WikiLeaks editor in chief Julian Assange keeps publishing, giving asylum to the most persecuted documents, while being arbitrarily detained in the Ecuadorian embassy for the last 4 years. As this struggle continues, the torch for transparency and courage that kindled hearts and has sparked public debate keeps shedding light on the state of the world we live in.

    • Why Is HPSCI’s Snowden Report So Inexcusably Shitty?

      There’s now a growing list of things in the HPSCI report on Snowden that are either factually wrong, misleading, or spin.

      One part of the spin the report admits itself: the committee assessed damage based on the 1.5 million documents Snowden touched — an approach the now discredited General Michael Flynn presented in briefings to the committee — rather than the far more limited set the Intelligence Community included in its damage assessment.

    • Why Obama Should Pardon All Leakers and Whistleblowers — Not Just Edward Snowden

      Of course President Obama should pardon Edward Snowden — and Chelsea Manning, too.

      But this story is not about the excellent reasons for thanking rather than locking up the two most famous whistleblowers of the post-9/11 era. Plenty of people are already calling for that in powerful ways. A new petition on Snowden’s behalf has been signed by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey as well as Steve Wozniak, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Aragorn (also known as Viggo Mortensen). Organizations coming out in support of a pardon for Snowden, who is currently a political refugee in Moscow, include the ACLU, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. And Oliver Stone has just released “Snowden,” a movie that emphasizes his good and patriotic intentions.

      But the unfortunate truth of our times is that Obama is not going to pardon Snowden and Manning. His administration has invested too much capital in demonizing them to turn back now. However, there are other leakers and whistleblowers for whom the arguments in favor of pardons are not only compelling but politically palatable, too. Their names are Stephen Kim, Jeffrey Sterling, John Kiriakou and Thomas Drake. All of them were government officials who talked with journalists and were charged under the Espionage Act for disclosures of information that were far less consequential than the classified emails that Hillary Clinton stored on her server at home or the top secret war diaries that David Petraeus shared with his biographer and girlfriend. Petraeus, a former general and CIA director, got a fine for his transgressions. Clinton got a presidential nomination.

    • The Washington Post is wrong: Edward Snowden should be pardoned

      With the launch of Oliver Stone’s Snowden film this past weekend came a renewed push for a pardon for Edward Snowden from the world’s leading human rights organizations.

      But predictably, not everyone agreed that he should be pardoned. On Saturday, the Washington Post editorial board deplorably editorialized against it despite its own paper winning the Pulitzer Prize for reporting on his leaked documents.

    • Why President Obama should pardon Edward Snowden

      Cases like Edward Snowden’s are precisely the reason the president’s constitutional pardon power exists.

      Historically, outgoing presidents have often invoked this power in the last days of their terms — at times on behalf of people who’ve committed reprehensible acts — under the premise that mitigating circumstances outweigh the rationale for punishment.

      President Obama now has the opportunity to use this power proudly, in recognition of one of the most important acts of whistleblowing in modern history.

      Since Snowden first disclosed documents in 2013 detailing the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs, we’ve seen an unprecedented global debate about the proper limits of government spying. This debate has had a transformative effect: on privacy laws and standards, on the security of the devices we depend on to communicate with one another and store sensitive information, and on how we understand our relationship to the institutions that govern us.

    • Commentary: How ‘Snowden’ the movie could help win a pardon for Snowden the man

      The days leading up to last Friday’s release of director Oliver Stone’s Snowden looked like one long movie trailer.

      The American Civil Liberties Union and other human-right groups on Wednesday announced a campaign to win a presidential pardon for Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contract employee who leaked hundreds of thousands of its highly classified documents to journalists. The next day, the House Intelligence Committee released a bipartisan letter to the president that advised him against any pardon and claimed Snowden “caused tremendous damage to national security.”

      The week before, Stone had invited me to a private screening of his movie in Washington. I once worked in an NSA facility, and I’ve written about the agency for decades, so I was surprised and pleased by how successful Stone was in creating an accurate picture of life in the NSA.

      He did a remarkable job of capturing the sense of how rare, difficult and risky it is for anyone in the agency to challenge the ethics and legality of its operations. I was astounded by Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s doppelganger-like portrayal of Snowden. At one point in the film, when the real Snowden appeared, it took me a moment or two to realize the switch.

    • Limehouse author Sinclair Mckay is exploring Cold War codebreaking in The Spies Of Winter [Ed: GCHQ puff pieces again]

      “If you think Europe is having a crisis now, go back to 1946 when the entire continent was blasted back to medieval times,” says Sinclair McKay, author of The Spies Of Winter, which delves into the lives of The GCHQ codebreakers, who fought the Cold War and knew the darkest secrets of British Intelligence at that time.

      After World War Two had ended, the devastation left across Europe was tremendous, as hundreds of people were displaced and millions had been slaughtered.

      There was also a lingering fear that the war wasn’t really over and would break out again at any second. However, this time around there was also a much bigger threat as the world had moved in to the age of nuclear weapons where mass destruction was a clear and present danger.

    • UK explores national DNS filtering system

      Ciaran Martin, current Director-General Cyber at GCHQ and the first Chief Executive of the new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), has set out a new UK approach to cyber security. Speaking at the Billington Cyber Security Summit in Washington DC, Martin outlined how the new NCSC will adopt a more active posture in defending the UK from the range of cyber threats, as well as the need for government, industry and law enforcement to work in even closer partnership.

    • Britain’s GCHQ looks at creating nationwide Internet firewall
    • Op-Ed: Why Obama should pardon Edward Snowden

      I have signed on to the letter asking President Obama to pardon Edward Snowden that was released today. I know this will be an unpopular position among many of my former colleagues in the national security community. My reasons for doing so are not fully captured by that letter. They are different from those who see Snowden simply as a hero and the NSA as the villain. I have concluded that a pardon for Edward Snowden, even if he does not personally deserve one, is in the broader interests of the nation.

    • Chicago woman launches lawsuit against Canadian maker of app-based vibrator

      An American woman has launched a proposed class-action lawsuit against the Canadian-owned maker of a smartphone-enabled vibrator, alleging the company sells products that secretly collect and transmit “highly sensitive” information.

      The Chicago-area woman, identified in a statement of claim only as N.P., has made her complaints against Standard Innovation (US) Corp., which is owned by the Ottawa-based Standard Innovation Corp, over a “high-end” vibrator called the We-Vibe.

      The lawsuit, which was filed earlier this month in an Illinois court, explains that to fully operate the device, users download the We-Connect app on a smartphone, allowing them and their partners remote control over the Bluetooth-equipped vibrator’s settings.

      In particular, the app’s “connect lover” feature — which promises a secure connection — allows partners to exchange text messages, conduct video chats and control a paired We-Vibe device, the woman’s statement of claim said.

    • How an Art Exhibit on Surveillance Says Too Little by Showing Too Much

      Photography and video are powerful mediums for these sorts of topics. They are inherently entwined in tools of surveillance, but they allow artists to play with and document surveillance. Photography can really make us think about the meaning of privacy, and the best work in “Public, Private, Secret” proves that to be true. But the exhibit, trying to say everything, doesn’t say much.

    • “We Are Adopting Principles of Fascism”

      Retired Army JAG Major Todd Pierce explains how his perspective on U.S. foreign policy and politics has changed as he watched the nation’s slide into “perpetual war,” in Part Two of an interview with Philip Weiss of Mondoweiss.

    • The Value of Oliver Stone’s ‘Snowden’

      As Stone emphasized in person at a screening that I attended, the film is not a documentary and was decidedly fictionalized for dramatic effect. That said, many specifics and incidents are true — and Stone remained true to Snowden in terms of his intelligence, temperament and reasoning that helped shape the actions he took.

      This riveting film — Stone’s latest foray into the dangers and excesses of the National Security State — has all the ingredients that we’ve come to expect from the frequent Academy Award winner and nominee. Stone’s touch is everywhere evident in the film.

      The story that Stone and co-writer Kieran Fitzgerald weaves is compelling. The characters grow and evolve over the course of the film. The score is evocative. Shots are artfully crafted to make a rich movie-going experience. The visuals — and in one particular sequence, visualizations — are stunning.

      Stone takes us along on Snowden’s personal journey of discovery in a film that is anchored by the love story between initially political opposites who grow, change and learn to make sacrifices to protect each other.

    • Cyber Command, NSA split could affect west county

      Fort George G. Meade and the surrounding area could see an increase in military contracts and investments with a unified U.S. Cyber Command that is separate from the National Security Agency.

      By becoming a combatant command, U.S. Cyber Command would become a more influential institution within the Department of Defense, with the ability to directly procure resources for its operations and have its own contracting arm, as opposed to going through the NSA.

      The debate has resurfaced whether the two agencies should have a single leader, with officials examining how such a split would work.

      “By elevating it, it’s a big broadcast mechanism for the state of Maryland and for this region,” said Tim O’Farrell, president of the Fort Meade Alliance.

    • CyberCom and the NSA need a divorce

      Separating the National Security Agency and the U.S. Cyber Command is the right thing to do and would correct the mistake made by combining them in the first place.

    • Can the NSA Stop the Next Snowden?

      William Evanina has never met Edward Snowden, but the two are intimately bound. As national counterintelligence executive—essentially the man in charge of American counterintelligence—Evanina is tasked with fixing the damage that leaks like Edward Snowden’s have done to the U.S. intelligence community, and preventing new ones.

      In the summer of 2013, Evanina was assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Washington, D.C., field office. When the Snowden breach was announced, he was put on the case.

    • WashPost Makes History: First Paper to Call for Prosecution of Its Own Source (After Accepting Pulitzer)

      Three of the four media outlets which received and published large numbers of secret NSA documents provided by Edward Snowden – The Guardian, The New York Times and The Intercept – have called for the U.S. government to allow the NSA whistleblower to return to the U.S. with no charges. That’s the normal course for a newspaper, which owes its sources duties of protection, and which – by virtue of accepting the source’s materials and then publishing them – implicitly declares the source’s information to be in the public interest.

      But not The Washington Post. In the face of a growing ACLU-and-Amnesty-led campaign to secure a pardon for Snowden, timed to this weekend’s release of the Oliver Stone biopic “Snowden,” the Post editorial page not only argued today in opposition to a pardon, but explicitly demanded that Snowden — their paper’s own source — stand trial on espionage charges or, as a “second-best solution,” “accept[] a measure of criminal responsibility for his excesses and the U.S. government offers a measure of leniency.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Glenn Beck: Empathy for Black Lives Matter

      In a recent speech to a group of conservatives, I made what I thought was a relatively uncontroversial point about the commonalities between Trump supporters and Black Lives Matter activists. I thought this was a simple idea, but the criticism was immediate and sharp: How dare I try to understand the “other side”?

    • One in 4 French Muslims in ‘revolt’ against secular laws

      Around one in four French Muslims, mostly young people, support an ultra-conservative form of Islam, including the wearing of the full-face veil, but the vast majority accept France’s strict secular laws, a study showed Sunday.

      The Ifop survey carried out for a major study of French Muslims by Institut Montaigne, a liberal think-tank, showed that the vast majority of people who identify as Muslim accept curbs on religion in public.

      But 60 percent considered girls should nonetheless be allowed to wear the headscarf in school, 12 years after it and other religious symbols were banished from the classroom, the survey published in Le Journal du Dimanche weekly showed.

      And around one in four — 24 percent — supported the wearing of the burqa and niqab, the full-face veils that were banned in public places in 2010.

      The survey of 1,029 people aims to inform the government’s plans to overhaul French Muslim bodies in the wake of several jihadist attacks, most of them the work of French extremists.

    • Inspector General Says FBI Probably Shouldn’t Impersonate Journalists; FBI Says It Would Rather Impersonate Companies Anyway

      The FBI’s impersonation of an AP journalist during an investigation raised some serious questions about what the agency considered to be acceptable behavior when pursuing suspects. The outing of this tactic led to a lawsuit by the Associated Press, which was naturally unhappy its name was being used to deliver malware to a teenaged bomb threat suspect.

      The FBI performed its own investigation of the matter (but only after it had become public knowledge — seven years after the incident actually occurred) and found that rules may have been broken by this impersonation of a news agency. Certain approval steps were skipped, making the investigatory tactic not exactly by the book. But in the end, the report congratulated the FBI on using the ends to justify the means.

    • Green Party VP Ajamu Baraka on Human Rights Violations in the United States

      In an interview with Sharmini Peries, Baraka discusses Black Lives Matters, the Flint water crisis, shelter, immigration, and more

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Town Loses Gigabit Connections After FCC Municipal Broadband Court Loss

      Back in February the FCC voted to use its Congressional mandate to ensure speedy broadband deployment to dismantle protectionist state laws intentionally designed to hinder broadband competition. But the FCC recently found itself swatted down by the courts, which argued the agency lacks the authority to pre-empt even the worst portions of these laws. As a result municipal broadband providers continue to run face first into protectionist provisions written by incumbent ISP lawyers and lobbyists solely concerned about protecting the current broken broadband market.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The gold standard for trade secret theft (or is that the way of the world)? Robert Fortune and Chinese tea

      By the 1830’s, a significant feature of economic life of the British Empire was about opium and tea. Opium was raised in the Indian east and delivered, mainly by inland waterways, to the Indian west coast (think Calcutta), and from there smuggled for sale in China, despite the protestations of the Emperor. With the proceeds, the English purchased quality Chinese tea, which it then brought home (“[n]early one in every ten pounds sterling collected by the government came from the import and sale of tea” (p. 1). The English loved their tea, but all agreed that Chinese tea was far superior to what was being produced in India. However, the Chinese took careful measures to keep secret their tea industry, including control both of the tea plants and their means of production.

      This worked well enough for a while, but one side-effect of the First first Opium War (1839-1942), which opened up Chinese markets to English traders, was that China began to raise locally the poppy seeds from which opium was derived. Should this continue, England would have less Indian-sourced opium to sell, meaning it would have less revenues from which to purchase Chinese tea. The solution: develop an Indian-based tea industry that would produce tea of Chinese quality. To do this, they needed to find tea terroir similar to that in China (think the Darjeeling area and the Himalayan foothills). More importantly, they had to learn as much as possible about the secrets of the Chinese tea industry. The person tasked with this mission was a Scottish botanist/adventurer named Robert Fortune.

    • After Two-Year Hiatus, WIPO Resumes Discussions On Protecting Traditional Knowledge [Ed: WIPO talks about preserving knowledge whilst attacking (illegally) its staff for speaking out]

      How can traditional knowledge be protected against misappropriation and who should benefit from this protection is at the heart of discussions at the World Intellectual Property Organization this week. After over a two-year hiatus, WIPO delegates are resuming discussions this week on a potential treaty protecting traditional knowledge. The week’s focus is to find common understanding of core issues, such as the definition of traditional knowledge, and the scope of protection.

      The 31st session of the Intergovernmental Committee on Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore is taking place from 19-23 September.

    • Copyrights

      • Indian Court Says ‘Copyright Is Not An Inevitable, Divine, Or Natural Right’ And Photocopying Textbooks Is Fair Use

        Last week there was a big copyright ruling in India, where a court ruled against some big academic publishers in ruling that a photocopying kiosk that sold photocopied chapters from textbooks was not infringing on the copyrights of those publishers. We wrote about this case over three years ago, when it was first filed. It’s actually fairly similar to a set of cases in the US that found college copyshops to be infringing — leading to a massive increase in educational material costs for college students.

Patents Roundup: Disclosure Requirements, Mobile Patents, Patent Lawyers’ Plagiarism, USPTO Getting Sued, and Corporate Domination of the Patent System

Posted in America, Apple, Asia, Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 4:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Called “patent sharks”, they bought dormant agricultural patents and then sued farmers who were unknowingly using protected technology. This brass knuckles tactic outraged rural activists and led to the same calls for sweeping patent reform that we hear now.” —Gerard N. Magliocca, Blackberries and Barnyards: Patent Trolls and the Perils of Innovation

Blackberries and Barnyards

Summary: The unwanted elements of the patent system (as it stands at present) illuminated by very recent news and patent court cases

WE sometimes worry that our growing focus on the EPO has distracted somewhat from the patent quality problems at the USPTO. We spend an enormous amount of time looking into patent news from all around the world and occasionally something catches our eye that needs a quick comment but not a comprehensive rebuttal. Herein we lay out some recent patent news, with or without further comment.

Disclosure Requirements

“Patents cannot be used defensively, only as means of retaliation (M.A.D.) so that both sides suffer and only lawyers win (they profit from patent wars irrespective of the outcome).”When it comes to patents, rules vary wildly depending on the country. Here we have Switzerland-based site praising its own country on patents, but it’s only part of the story because for a rich country to have a lot of patents makes a lot of fiscal sense, for reasons we explained last month. The Swiss patent system and the role of Switzerland in the EPO requires taking into account Switzerland’s rather unique economy.

Mobile Patents

According to the patents-centric media, Judge Koh, probably best known in recent years for her involvement in Apple and Samsung trials, is still going strong. “The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted 13-7 to approve the nomination of U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh to the Ninth Circuit,” says this report.

One article, this one coming from a niche Web site, wrongly assumes that ‘app’ (buzzword, usually meaning software for mobile devices) development requires patents. If you develop a mobile ‘app’ and waste time/effort worrying about patents on software, then you’re probably doing it wrong and wasting resources. Patents cannot be used defensively, only as means of retaliation (M.A.D.) so that both sides suffer and only lawyers win (they profit from patent wars irrespective of the outcome). Deterrence using patents does not exist when trolls are involved.

“Microsoft had extorted HTC using patents as well; HTC chose to settle to avoid legal action and potential embargoes.”“Apple Was Hit with a $22M Verdict for Infringing an Acacia Patent,” wrote a patent attorney the other day. Acacia is a Microsoft-connected patent troll. As for Apple, when it sued HTC 6 years ago it showed that it too was quite a patent bully. “According to the complaint,” says another new report, HTC is being sued again and “the plaintiff [Infogation] alleges that Infogation Corp. suffered damages to its business from having its patent infringed. The plaintiff holds HTC Corp. and HTC America Inc. responsible because the defendants allegedly manufacture and distribute mobile phones containing software that infringes the plaintiff’s patents.”

They just can’t leave HTC alone, can they? Microsoft had extorted HTC using patents as well; HTC chose to settle to avoid legal action and potential embargoes. Speaking of embargoes (or injunctions), another example of the ITC being exploited for embargoes (using patent allegations before even a proper trial) can be seen in this new press release. So much for promoting innovation, eh? Promoting racketeering maybe… Microsoft has used the ITC for embargoes using patents for nearly a decade now.

“What’s a Patent Worth?”

“Patents are a lot like financial bubbles and are also an instrument of tax evasion some of the time.”That’s the headline of this article which says: “When a technology business fails, and the flesh of the going concern is stripped away, often the only thing that remains is a paper skeleton of potentially valuable patents. In 2011, Nortel Networks’ patent portfolio of wireless technology patents sold for $4.5 billion. A few years later in 2013, Kodak’s portfolio of digital imaging patents brought in $525 million. Now, Yahoo’s patent portfolio of nearly 3,000 patents is on the block, and experts estimate that it could sell for $1 billion. While “expert” valuations are not always accurate, (Nortel’s portfolio was initially valued at $1 billion, and Kodak’s portfolio was initially valued at $2.2-2.6 million; see http://spectrum.ieee.org/at-work/innovation/the-lowballing-of-kodaks-patent-portfolio) the estimates for Yahoo’s portfolio work out to more than $300,000 per patent, well in excess of the cost of acquisition.”

As we explained before, Yahoo’s patents are mostly software patents, thus they’re pretty worthless right now (after Alice).

Patents are a lot like financial bubbles and are also an instrument of tax evasion some of the time.

Hartig Drug Co. v Senju Pharmaceutical Co.

“Microsoft does this a lot to vendors that sell GNU/Linux, Chrome OS, and Android devices. It’s a form of extortion, depending on how it’s done and how severe the threats are, quality of patents (if disclosed) aside.”A patent maximalism site said about a fortnight ago: “Perhaps one of the most influential first year law school classes for the task of learning how to “think like a lawyer” is civil procedure. Particularly when the professor is bold enough to engage students on the intricacies of the topic, its intricacies can make for a challenging final exam. These experiences should come to mind for many antitrust lawyers when considering the Third Circuit’s decision in Hartig Drug Co. v. Senju Pharmaceutical Co., where the Court applied subject matter jurisdiction principles to reverse a District Court’s dismissal of Hartig’s antitrust allegations on the pleadings.”

Notice the antitrust element of it. It’s quite common when it comes to patent monopolies.

Asetek v AVC

“Patent lawyers say we need to respect patents, but they sure don’t respect copyrights some of the time.”This recent coverage of a case involving patents on cooling systems is also noteworthy. To quote: “The Asetek patents cover liquid cooling systems used to cool integrated circuits (such as those on a computer). Over the past several years, Asetek has sued several competitors for infringing the patents including CoolIT and Cooler Master. In 2014, Asetek sent AVC a letter accusing the company of infringing — however the letter mistakenly accuesd AVC of manufacturing the Liqmax 120s (it does not). After some letters back-and-forth, Asetek eventually sent a letter that it “believes that AVC is likely selling other infringing products in the United States.” After an unsuccessful meeting, AVC filed its declaratory judgment action. The question is whether these facts are sufficient to show an actual controversy between the parties.”

So this can formally become a lawsuit pretty soon, unless money is coughed out in pre-trial settlement. This too often turns out to be of an antitrust nature. Microsoft does this a lot to vendors that sell GNU/Linux, Chrome OS, and Android devices. It’s a form of extortion, depending on how it’s done and how severe the threats are, quality of patents (if disclosed) aside.

Stryker v Zimmer

Earlier this month we found some coverage of the case at MIP which explained: “The Federal Circuit has affirmed the jury’s finding of wilful infringement but vacated and remanded the district court’s award of treble damages, in its Stryker v Zimmer decision”

“Patent lawyers are so dishonest about so-called innovation, so why not plagiarise too?”We wrote about Stryker/Halo in the past. “The jury awarded Striker [sic] $70 million in lost profits,” explains another site. “On appeal,” it added, “the Federal Circuit affirmed as to infringement, validity and damages. [...] Most of the new Stryker opinion involves a recitation of the Federal Circuit’s previous opinion affirming the district court as to infringement and validity. The last three pages, however, deal with the § 284 enhancement issue on remand. What’s interesting is that the Federal Circuit is maintaining its bifurcated approach to enhancement of damages, first requiring a predicate willfulness determination followed by the judge’s discretionary determination of whether and how much to enhance damages. This is essentially the same process as before. See i4i Ltd. Partnership v. Microsoft Corp., 598 F.3d 831 (2010). Pre-Halo, the second step of the process (the district judge’s determination of whether and how much to enhance damages) was a totality-of-the circumstances analysis that was reviewed for abuse of discretion (i.e.: basically the same as the court required in Halo). Id. The Federal Circuit’s post-Halo approach to enhancement involves the same two steps, with the exception that the willfulness determination itself is guided by the holding in Halo rather than requiring the two-element objective/subjective determination of Halo. (The enhancement determination is too, but it’s hard to see much difference there.) Under Halo, the subjective component alone can be enough to establish willfulness.”

This was very good news for patent trolls. It still is.

Patent Lawyers and Plagiarism

“It sure looks as though patent trolling is a ‘thing’ in east Asia right now…”Patent lawyers say we need to respect patents, but they sure don’t respect copyrights some of the time. There is even plagiarism reported and potentially a lawsuit to provide evidence of it. “This creates some very interesting problems for lawyers,” said a patents pundit, “and calls to my mind the case a few years ago where a patent prosecutor was sued for using language from a patent in a specification for another client. I’m not a copyright lawyer, and so just raise this case for you to think.”

Patent lawyers are so dishonest about so-called innovation, so why not plagiarise too? Another article by Dennis Crouch speaks of patent malpractice today. It’s part of an outline of upcoming SCOTUS cases. To quote the introduction:

The Supreme Court will begin granting and denying petitions in early October. Meanwhile, several new petitions are now on file. Last week I wrote about the TC Heartland case as a mechanism for limiting venue. Without any good reason, the Federal Circuit overruled a 1957 Supreme Court case that had strictly limited patent venue as spelled out in the patent venue statute 1400(b). See VE Holdings (explaining its overruling of Fourco Glass). A result of VE Holdings is the expansive venue availability that facilitated the rise of E.D. Texas as the most popular patent venue. TC Heartland simply asks the Supreme Court reassert its Fourco holding – something that could almost be done with a one-line opinion: “REVERSED. See Fourco Glass Co. v. Transmirra Products Corp., 353 U.S. 222 (1957).” The best arguments for the Federal Circuit’s approach are (1) the reasoning of Fourco itself is a bit dodgy; and (2) VE Holdings is well settled doctrine (decided 26 years ago) and Congress has revised the statutory provisions several times without amending. As a side note, several members of Congress have suggested they will act legislatively if SCOTUS fails to act.

Two new petitions (Grunenthal v. Teva and Purdue v. Epic) stem from the same Federal Circuit OxyContin case and focus on anticipation and obviousness respectively. Grunenthal v. Teva questions how ‘inherently’ operates for anticipation purposes. Purdue suggests that – despite the final sentence of Section 103, that the actual circumstances of the invention should be available to help prove non-obviousness (but still not be available to prove obviousness). Another new petition includes the BPCIA case Apotex v. Amgen that serves as a complement to the pending Sandoz case questioning the requirements and benefits of providing notice of commercial marketing.

USPTO is Getting Sued Again

“What they mean by “monetisation” is shakedown or a gentle form of blackmail.”Last week we wrote about fraud at the USPTO, or examiners defrauding taxpayers as Florian Müller and others chose to frame it. According to this article, the USPTO has another embarrassment to cope with. To quote: “In Hyatt v. USPTO, Civ. No. 16-1490 (D.Nevada, Filed June 22, 2016), Hyatt asks for injunctive relief to stop the PTO from repeatedly ‘reopening prosecution’ in his cases and consequently shielding the cases from judicial review by either the PTAB or Article III courts. Hyatt is experiencing the common reality of examiners reopening prosecution once an appeal brief is filed.”

The Ts: Patent Tax and Trolls

“Well, patents on corn oil extraction are deemed invalid by a court, probably because the USPTO just issues a patent for every piece of paper that comes in, leaving courts to clean up their mess.”In recent weeks we wrote about what had happened in east Asia, where patent trolling is becoming an epidemic. It sure looks as though patent trolling is a ‘thing’ in east Asia right now and here is IAM writing about a new non-practicing entity (IAM would never use the T word). To quote: “Just over a month since display maker Sharp came under the formal control of Hon Hai Precision Industry (Foxconn), big changes to its IP operations are already in the offing. Nikkei Asian Review reported on Tuesday that the Japanese company’s IP function would be hived off into a separate IP management company on October 3rd, with one goal being to create more value from Sharp’s massive global patent portfolio. Speaking exclusively to IAM, Foxconn IP chief YP Jou confirmed how the responsibilities for the Sharp portfolio will be divided within the sprawling Foxconn IP apparatus, and revealed the team’s priority when it comes to monetisation.”

What they mean by “monetisation” is shakedown or a gentle form of blackmail. Speaking of so-called ‘monetisation’, this new report says that “[f]ive big holders of cellular patents, including Qualcomm Inc., are joining an effort proposed by Ericsson AB to jointly license patents in an emerging field called the Internet of Things.”

“Some person with an MBA spreads some myths about patents right now, as if companies just can’t do without them.”Here comes the patent tax to surveillance of all Things (IoT). “Qualcomm has long derived a chunk of their revenue from licensing,” said this one person, “so this isn’t a big change for them.”

Qualcomm also came under heavy regulatory scrutiny for it. Watch what IAM wrote about this. These guys are looking at the surveillance of all Things (IoT) only from the point of view of patents; yes, patents alone.

Patents on Corny Stuff

“Unless we get engineers to enter the political systems, we’ll continue to have lawyers with their lawyer buddies from college writing laws, including patent laws.”Well, patents on corn oil extraction are deemed invalid by a court, probably because the USPTO just issues a patent for every piece of paper that comes in, leaving courts to clean up their mess. This new press release says that “GreenShift Corporation (OTCQB: GERS) provided an update regarding the ongoing patent infringement action involving GreenShift’s subsidiary, GS CleanTech Corporation (“CleanTech”), and its corn oil extraction patents.”

Corporate Domination of IP [sic] Law

Some person with an MBA spreads some myths about patents right now, as if companies just can’t do without them. Watch the corporate sob story: “It’s clear the current system is working for no one except those who want money for nothing. America’s inventive spirit has been the lifeblood of our economic growth for generations, moving us from horse-drawn carriages to electric cars in just over a century. Missteps by the courts, Congress, and the Patent Office have threatened to drive that underground, unwittingly rewarding a few large corporations happy to profit off the work of others at no cost to themselves. That’s not the American way.”

“…TPP threatens to spread software patents almost everywhere. It is a truly villainous back room deal and it should be crushed.”What he is trying to say is that people accused of infringement “want money for nothing” and that it’s the “American way” to give large companies monopolies, so as to prevent others from competing. He advocates protectionism, not an American way. Unless we get engineers to enter the political systems, we’ll continue to have lawyers with their lawyer buddies from college writing laws, including patent laws. It’s the sad truth. Here is another new lawyers’ congregation (EPIP) where they speak ‘on behalf’ of inventors, developers etc. Notice the “IP” in the event’s name. The notion of so-called ‘IP’ (an umbrella for several totally separate things) helps mislead people into equating patents with copyrights and secrets; this event wasn’t about patents as it covered other aspects of so-called ‘IP’ (an umbrella for several totally separate things) and when people say “IP” we should always ask them to be specific. IP means nothing; copyrights, trademarks, patents and trade secrets do. Here is how EPIP started: “The plenary session kicked off with Professor Rochelle Dreyfuss highlighting the expansion of trade secrets protection globally, and the worrying potential unintended consequences. There are increasing concerns that trade secrets and economic espionage law in the US is being used to racially profile researchers. (Interesting coverage on the targeting of Chinese-American researchers here.) Dreyfuss discussed the potential negative impact of non-compete clauses on innovation, employees and economic growth. She argued that criminalisation related to trade secrets generates an especially strong chilling effect as high-tech workers are unwilling to risk incarceration. Dreyfuss also observed that TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) does not create a minimum trade secrets standard, and is trying to express a new norm that information shouldn’t be free.”

Just to remind readers, TPP threatens to spread software patents almost everywhere. It is a truly villainous back room deal and it should be crushed.

With or Without the UPC (Which Will Probably Never Happen) Battistelli is Crushing the EPO and Ejects Experienced Staff, a Future Without Examination Possible

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The ‘reforms’ at the EPO turn out to be all about attracting the low-quality applicants from China, the US, etc. (quantity over quality)

EPO Frame Breaking

Summary: A pessimistic but probably realistic take on what is happening at the European Patent Office (EPO), which is undergoing a silent transformation so wide-ranging that stakeholders deserve to know about it

LAST night we wrote about some of the latest lies from the EPO‘s President Benoît Battistelli and Team UPC. All that wishful thinking from Team UPC would have us believe that the UPC can still happen — the same kind of lie that Battistelli and his foot soldiers (like Margot Fröhlinger) try to make probable. Some of the latest nonsense about UPC ratification is dressed up as Dutch, but it is perfectly clear that the UPC cannot pass without the UK (and it won’t happen any time soon, if ever).

We are rather disturbed to see a sharp and abrupt departure from truth. Battistelli is comparing staff to criminals (a total fiction, entirely unsupported by facts) and last week he spread some nonsense about patent quality — a subject on which we last wrote last night as well as last week. Battistelli wants people to believe that patent quality at the EPO is still OK, citing his mouthpieces for 'evidence' when/if asked.

Not too long ago we learned that the damage caused to patent quality at the EPO was so profound that some doubt examination will even be carried out at all (or just some automated checks that are inherently flawed). Rubberstamps are just a wet dream or a fantasy of Battistelli and with the objective of “production” in mind he’s just sending the task of examination down the drain.

Here is a comment we found a few days ago:

For any patent office, it would be good to separate search and examiner processes. The two must be done by two separate departments so that each has good time to perform their part. This era of internet throws up tonnes of prior art.

Provide good time for the examiners to understand the inventions that they need to examine. They should be allowed to consult (in a clear transparent way, with written documentation of the conversations) applicant at all times during the search and examination.

Limit the number of claims per application (10-15 only), per category for a thorough search and examination.

It would be good to ask prior art directly from the inventors — as opposed to the patent offices of corresponding applications. Many come up with the most relevant ones only.

This relates to documents we saw in which depletion of stocks of workload is demonstrated. Sooner or later overcapacity (of staff) and under-performance (in examination terms) will destroy the EPO as it was once known. Remarking on “HR Reforms”, some highlight “a culture of pressure, fear and insecurity” (for workers). “In the meantime,” says a document we saw, “we hear worrying reform proposals” and they are as follows:

Pressurize: Further institutionalised production upward spiral: increasing production and productivity is a permanent mantra at the EPO. Since 2014 an 18% increase production target has been deemed adequate. The President has forecast a further 10% increase for 2016.

Hire…: Clear instructions have been given to recruit as quickly as possible as many examiners as possible: for instance instructions from the HR department (4.3) have been issued to effectively revise the decision leading to rejection of candidates in DG1 recruitment procedures;

… and fire: Revision of disciplinary procedures is due in the June AC meeting: if it passes, it will allow the President to dismiss staff for professional reasons – such as underproduction – without disciplinary committee;

A life after?: The “post-service integrity” reform [...] will allow the EPO President to decide if a former employee is allowed to work in whatever area: patent attorney, lobby, journalist, blogger, SUEPO, Charity, etc. The threat of a pension cut (a further change to be decided by the June AC meeting) or being deleted from the list of professional representatives before the EPO (managed by the EPO) is deterring for former employees;

As if this were not enough, further reforms seem to be under discussion:

Production: There are plans to apply the “corridors” (production targets linked to the individual grade) more systematically in the coming years. That would lead to substantial supplementary pressure for high grades employees, which happen to be the old part of the population and are considered less desirable staff in the EPO lately. Clearly an underproduction warning (see above) works as an adequate deterrent against inflexible staff.

Flexibility: There are rumours of plans to revise Art. 46 ServRegs, i.e. to “flexibilize” the use of “reserve status” to deal with overcapacity and render it much more economical for the EPO. As the rumour goes, a maximum of 2 years with 50% salary would be “offered” to staff chosen at the discretion of the President;

Insecure: Despite regular official denials (such as those of the Early Certainty dedicated site FAQs), rumours are recurrent that EPO Staff would be recruited on contracts: in particular, contracts for examiners may become the new standard [...] Unseen just a few years ago, according to the latest published staff changes, there is already a clear trend to recruit more and more examiners on contracts: In May, 17 of the 18 new entrant examiners were contract staff, in March all 21!

More uncertainty: Rumours are becoming insistent that a Pension reform is imminent: without going into details, the direction can only be detrimental to all staff, also in place, as the present administration considers that “acquired rights” are superfluous old-fashioned privileges.

Insiders already know a lot of the above (word of mouth), but do patent applicants know this? Is there a public realisation or broad understanding of the EPO’s race to the bottom? It’s scraping the bottom of the recruitment barrel, the human/labour rights spectrum, and the lowest levels in the patent ladder. Battistelli is doing to the EPO what Republican politicians did to Flint, Michigan.

When EPO Liar-in-Chief Benoît Battistelli Defamed His Staff in Parliament, Comparing Them to Nazis and Criminals

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A reminder of the audacity of Benoît Battistelli, who in his capacity as a politician — a problem in its own right — slanders EPO staff

WHEN the man in charge of the EPO pretends there are no legitimate critics but only "Nazis" or "criminals" we know there’s a serious problem. Battistelli’s lies to the French Parliament in March 2016 were recalled by a reader of ours, who helped us get an accurate translation of what Battistelli had said. We need this for the record. Perhaps some people from the EPO can use that to take action against Battistelli, who is just a chronic liar with zero tolerance of criticism. We were amused to find this new comment last night. Posted by “Le roi est mort, vive le roi!” it said: “The King goes home!..the EPO has scheduled an EPO-SIPO conference in BB’s [Battistelli] hometown near Paris.” Battistelli and China’s regime have a lot in common. Both suppress criticism (even severely punishing — not just censoring — critics) while lying to the public on a daily basis. That’s a recipe for a great Battistelli meeting. There’s lots of common ground there.

“I recently came across this document,” told us a reader. We are making a local copy of it for long-term preservation purposes [PDF]. “It is the official minutes of a hearing which took place before the European Affairs Committee of the French Parliament on 1st of March, 2016. The text of the minutes can be found online here. The PDF version is downloadable from this link. A video of the hearing (in French) can also be found here.”

“The hearing mainly consists of a rather boring presentation of facts and figures by Battistelli,” our reader told us. “However, it starts to get interesting when he is questioned about the social situation at the EPO and about the controversial disciplinary proceedings against staff representatives. The most interesting part is the following passage on page 15 of the minutes in which Battistelli responds to the questions about the disciplinary procedures and falsely accuses the dismissed staff representatives of having being involved in actions having a criminal character such as the alleged “use of Nazi symbols and slogans and insults to the German staff members on the basis of references to Nazism.””

Here is the relevant bit:

En l’occurrence, puisque vous abordez ce sujet, nous avons à faire face à la situation suivante : des représentants élus du personnel ont été conduits à démissionner six mois après leur élection, à la suite de harcèlement, de menaces, de tentatives de diffamation et de chantage.
Ces personnels ont porté plainte. Il est de mon devoir de m’assurer que leur plainte est entendue, fait l’objet d’une enquête, puis que, selon les faits avérés, nos procédures disciplinaires sont appliquées – je précise que la composition de notre comité disciplinaire est paritaire.
Je signale pour votre parfaite information que les faits qui ont justifié ces licenciements font l’objet d’une procédure au pénal ouverte en Allemagne, car ils sont de nature criminelle. Je tiens à votre disposition plusieurs éléments factuels à ce sujet, tels que l’emploi de symboles et de mots d’ordre nazis ainsi que d’injures visant des personnels de nationalité allemande sur la base de références au nazisme.

English translation:

In this case, since you have referred to the matter, we have to face the following situation: some elected staff representatives were driven to resign six months after their election, as a result of harassment, threats, defamation attempts and blackmail.

These staff members filed a complaint. It is my duty to ensure that their complaint is heard, forms the subject of an investigation, and that, on the basis of the facts determined, our disciplinary procedures are applied – I note that our disciplinary committee has a joint composition [Translator's Note: i.e. it includes members nominated by the staff committee].

For the completeness of your information, I would point out that the facts which justified the dismissals are the subject of pending criminal proceedings in Germany because they are of a criminal character. I can provide you with further factual details of this matter if required, such as the use of Nazi symbol and Nazi slogans and insults to the German staff members on the basis of references to Nazism.

We previously extracted (from the video) the audio of the relevant bits, but now we have the full text and a translation. “The minutes of the hearing and the associated video are part of the official public record of the French national parliament,” our reader noted. “They provide incontrovertible documentary evidence about Battistelli’s methods and the relentless smear campaign that he has been conducting against EPO staff representatives on the basis of false and unfounded accusations. It’s incredible that somebody who so openly and brazenly misleads a national parliament with such false and apparently libellous accusations can still hold on to his job.”

Battistelli has gotten away with scandals even worse than this. By failing to sack him the Administrative Council does itself irreparable damage and even after Battistelli is gone this damage will permeate and affect both the Office and the Council.

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