11.30.16

Links 30/11/2016: Git 2.11, GOG Surprise Tomorrow

Posted in News Roundup at 8:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • GNU/Linux As An Alternative To Windows For A Small Business

      In the following article, I present a real-world case scenario as an example for setting up a small business with Linux as a desktop solution. It is presented as a single illustration of a unique case, and Linux/open source deployments will of course vary based on the number of users, business need and security requirements.

      A friend recently launched her own small startup, and because she’s funding it out of her own pocket, she came to me in the early stages with questions about Windows licensing, applications, support, etc. Her primary concern was the overhead of seeding her small office with Windows and all the required application licenses needed to run a business.

      Because of the nature of her startup, I suggested Linux as the standard desktop for her office. She was unsure of this choice, and some of her questions, all justified, included “I’ve heard Linux isn’t user-friendly”, and “are there viable business applications available for Linux?”

    • 4 alternatives to the Chrome browser on Chrome OS

      Now that even more Chromebooks support Android apps, Jack Wallen takes a look at the available browsers to see how they stack up against for the default Chrome browser.

  • Server

    • Outlook.com is still not functioning properly for some Microsoft punters

      Microsoft is still working to resolve “difficulties” faced by its Outlook customers, despite months of complaints about the disappearance of sent emails and 550 Errors.

      A growing number of complaints threads have been posted to Microsoft’s questions page regarding Outlook after recent upgrades to the service. They both precede and follow last week’s outage, which Redmond’s PRs failed to explain to us.

    • OpenStack Becomes a Standard Building Block for NFV

      OpenStack is becoming the de facto standard for infrastructure orchestration for NFV deployment by leading Communications Service Providers (CSPs). CSPs are trading off the challenges of OpenStack implementations (e.g. immature technology and evolving standards) for the benefits of open source and open architectures (i.e. reduced vendor lock-in). Lack of standards for NFV management and orchestration (MANO) remains a leading impediment.

    • The Docker monitoring problem

      You have probably heard of Docker—it is a young container technology with a ton of momentum. But if you haven’t, you can think of containers as easily—configured, lightweight VMs that start up fast, often in under one second. Containers are ideal for microservice architectures and for environments that scale rapidly or release often.

      Docker is becoming such an important technology that it is likely that your organization will begin working with Docker soon, if it has not already. When we explored real usage data, we found an explosion of Docker usage in production: it has grown 5x in the last 12 months.

      Containers address several important operational problems; that is why Docker is taking the infrastructure world by storm.

      But there is a problem: containers come and go so frequently, and change so rapidly, that they can be an order of magnitude more difficult to monitor and understand than physical or virtual hosts. This article describes the Docker monitoring problem—and solution—in detail.

      We hope that reading this article will help you fall in love with monitoring containers, despite the challenges. In our experience, if you monitor your infrastructure in a way that works for containers—whether or not you use them—you will have great visibility into your infrastructure.

    • Keynote: New Requirements for Application Delivery in a Micro-services Application World
    • Kontena Introduces Production-Ready, Open Source Container and Microservices Platform
  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Intel’s Clear Linux Now Shipping X.Org Server 1.19, Kernel 4.8.11 & Mesa 13.0.1

        Clear Linux’s Eva P. Hutanu informs the community of the Linux-based operating system designed for Intel Architecture and built for various cloud use cases about the latest updates that landed for the OS.

        But first, the team is proud to announce that Clear Linux is now an auto-updating operating system, which means that users will automatically receive updates when they are pushed into the repositories. Of course, you can opt out of this feature if you don’t want these updates to be automatically installed on your computer (see the command below).

      • Zentyal announces Zentyal Server 5.0, major new Linux Small Business Server release

        Zentyal today announced Zentyal Server 5.0, a major new release of the Zentyal Linux Small Business Server. Amid the generalized push for cloud, small and medium business continue requiring on-site server solutions and with this release Zentyal responds to their needs, offering an easy to use all-in-one Linux server with native compatibility with Microsoft Active Directory®.

        Zentyal Server 5.0 is based on Ubuntu Server 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and comes with the latest versions of all the integrated software. The single most important improvement Zentyal Server 5.0 introduces is the integration of the latest Samba version (Samba 4.5.1) directly from upstream. Due to the fast development of the Samba project, from this version onwards Zentyal will integrate the latest stable Samba packages available upstream. This allows quicker introduction of new Samba features, fixes and updates to Zentyal.

      • Zentyal Server 5.0 Out Now Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Adds New HTTP Proxy Module

        On November 29, 2016, the Zentyal development team proudly announced the release and immediate availability for download of the Zentyal Server 5.0 Linux-based server-oriented operating system with Active Directory interoperability.

        Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), Zentyal Server 5.0 comes with the latest Open Source software and GNU/Linux technologies, including an untouched Samba 4.5.1 implementation from upstream, which puts a layer of performance to the AD (Active Directory) interoperability of the small business server.

      • Peppermint 7 Respin Released

        Team Peppermint are pleased to announce the release of the Peppermint 7 Respin, in both 32bit and 64bit editions.

      • Peppermint 7 Linux Respin ISO Image Released with Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Goodies, More

        Peppermint OS developer Mark Greaves announced today, November 29, 2016, the release and immediate availability of the first ISO respin image of the Peppermint 7 Linux operating system.

        Sporting all the latest updates from the upstream repositories of the Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, the Peppermint-7-20161129 image is now powered by the 4.4.0-47 kernel with all the recent security patches. The new ISO also includes the HPLIP (HP Linux Imaging and Printing) software for out-of-the-box support for HP printers and scanners.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • openSUSE project presentation at school, Nov 24th, 2016

        On November 16th there was the release of openSUSE Leap 42.2. On November 24th, I had the opportunity to present openSUSE Project at school.

        I was asked to make an introduction to FLOSS in general and more specific about openSUSE Project. The school was for middle aged people, for persons who quited school to work and conftibute financially to their families. There were 3 classes that they taught something computer related. It was a great opportunity for them to learn what FLOSS is and what makes openSUSE great Linux distro.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • systemd free Linux distro Devuan releases second beta

          The self-proclaimed “Veteran Unix Admins” forking Debian in the name of init freedom have released Beta 2 of their “Devuan” Linux distribution.

          Devuan came about after some users felt it had become too desktop-friendly. The change the greybeards objected to most was the decision to replace sysvinit init with systemd, a move felt to betray core Unix principles of user choice and keeping bloat to a bare minimum.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux-friendly modules adopt hexa- and octa-core Rockchip SoCs

      Theobroma unveiled a Qseven module built around a hexa-core, Cortex-A72/-A53 Rockchip RK3399 SoC, plus a µQseven version based on an octa-core -A53 RK3368.

      Austrian Qseven specialists Theobroma Systems announced two computer-on-modules that build on Rockchip SoCs with Linux and Android support. The Qseven-based “RK3399-Q7” features the new Rockchip RK3399, with dual Cortex-A72 cores at up to 2.0GHz and a quad-core bank of Cortex-A53 cores at up to 1.42GHz. It’s billed as the first Qseven module with a Cortex-A72. This appears to be true, although several COMs, such as the eInfochips Eragon 820, have tapped Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820, which has four “Kyro” cores that roughly mimic the Cortex-A72.

    • IoT gateway runs Linux on i.MX6UL, offers Thread and ZigBee

      NXP’s Volansys-built, highly secure “Modular IoT Gateway” reference design runs Linux on an i.MX6 UL SoC, and offers Thread, ZigBee, WiFi, and NFC.

      NXP has released a Modular IoT Gateway reference design for large-node, 250+ wireless IoT networks. The gateway provides pre-integrated, tested, and RF-certified 802.15.4 mesh networking modules connected via MikroBus connectors, including Thread and ZigBee modules, and soon Bluetooth LE. Other options include an NFC chip for one-tap, no-power commissioning of IoT leaf nodes. The system also offers multiple layers of security.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • 7 tech advent calendars for the holiday season

    Technical advent calendars work in a similar way: Each day a new treat is revealed; sometimes it’s an article explaining a new tip or technique, whereas other times the treat is an exercise to help you hone your skills. Tech advent calendars, although secular, run at the same time in the holiday season. This means they’ll be kicking off on December first, giving the opportunity to learn all month long.

  • Events

    • #LinuXatUNI

      This last Saturday 26th was celebrated the #LinuXatUNI event at National University of Engineering. There were more than 250 people registered, but we have only 84 attended, though. I was surprised about this! It might be the upcoming final exams at universities in Lima or the early time on weekend.

    • Keynote: Breaking Barriers: Creatively and Courageously
  • CMS

    • HP5: A CMS plugin for creating HTML5 interactive content

      Many educators want to create interactive content for their classroom or online course. If you’re not a HTML5 programmer like most of us, but you have heard HTML5 can simplify your work and provide a great, standard web experience for your students, here’s how to get started.

      H5P is a free and open source tool that helps you create HTML5 content in the browser of your choice and share it across all operating systems and browsers. To explain more about the tool, I talked to Svein-Tore Griff With, the lead developer at Joubel.com, who together with his team, created H5P.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

    • UK.gov was warned of smart meter debacle by Cabinet Office in 2012

      The government was warned of the risks surrounding its controversial smart meter programme four years ago, according to a leaked internal report seen by The Register, but appears to have largely ignored those concerns.

      A review of the programme from March 2012 highlights the vulnerability of smart meters to cyber-attacks, and flagged estimates that the scheme could leave the taxpayer out of pocket by £4.5bn rather than save consumers cash.

      Some 53 million smart meters are due to be installed in residences and small businesses by the end of 2020 at an estimated cost of £11bn.

      So far 3.5 million have been installed. The government has said it expects the scheme will save £17bn. However, a recent delayed report found that benefits to the consumer could be much smaller than originally thought.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla and NodeSource Join Forces on Node.js API; Node.js Build System will Start Producing Nightly node-chakracore Builds

      Part of Node.js Foundation’s mission is growing Node.js everywhere. The Node.js platform is already available on a variety of VMs, like Samsung’s JerryScript, a lightweight JavaScript engine for the Internet of Things. While many steps are needed to allow Node.js to work in VM environments outside of V8, the work the Node.js API working group and ChakraCore are doing are important steps to offer greater choice.

    • Open source dependency management is a balancing act

      When we started development of the Open Chemistry project we looked quite seriously at requiring C++11, and I was dissuaded at the time by several in our community. We ended up using some small parts of C++11 that could be made optional and falling back to Boost implementations/empty macro definitions. At the time I think it was perhaps a little too aggressive, but if I could go back I would have told my former self to go for it. The project was new, had few existing users, and was mainly targeting the desktop. Add to that the fact that adoption often takes a few years and there is the cost of supporting older compilers.

      [...]

      Hopefully we can maintain a good middle ground that best serves our users, and be cognizant of the cost of being too conservative or too aggressive. Most developers are eager to use the latest features, and it can be extremely frustrating to know there is a better way that cannot be employed. I think there is a significant cost to being too conservative, but I have seen other projects that update and change too aggressively lose mind share.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Sleep deprivation ‘costs UK £40bn a year’

      Sleep-deprived workers are costing the UK economy £40bn a year and face a higher risk of death, says a new study.

      The calculation is based on tired employees being less productive or absent from work altogether.

      Research firm Rand Europe, which used data from 62,000 people, said the loss equated to 1.86% of economic growth.

  • Security

    • Emergency Bulletin: Firefox 0 day in the wild. What to do.

      We’re publishing this as an emergency bulletin for our customers and the larger web community. A few hours ago a zero day vulnerability emerged in the Tor browser bundle and the Firefox web browser. Currently it exploits Windows systems with a high success rate and affects Firefox versions 41 to 50 and the current version of the Tor Browser Bundle which contains Firefox 45 ESR.

      If you use Firefox, we recommend you temporarily switch browsers to Chrome, Safari or a non-firefox based browser that is secure until the Firefox dev team can release an update. The vulnerability allows an attacker to execute code on your Windows workstation. The exploit is in the wild, meaning it’s now public and every hacker on the planet has access to it. There is no fix at the time of this writing.

    • [Older] E-Voting Machines Need Paper Audits to be Trustworthy

      Election security experts concerned about voting machines are calling for an audit of ballots in the three states where the presidential election was very close: Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. We agree. This is an important election safety measure and should happen in all elections, not just those that have a razor-thin margin.

      Voting machines, especially those that have digital components, are intrinsically susceptible to being hacked. The main protection against hacking is for voting machines to provide an auditable paper trail.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Think Trump’s scary now? Obama is leaving him with broad war powers

      In all the outrage about the unhinged things Donald Trump keeps tweeting and saying, there’s been almost zero criticism at the fact that Obama will be partly responsible for the extraordinary scope of powers Trump inherits. The Obama administration has not only done nothing to curtail the slew of extreme national security and war powers that Trump is about to acquire since the election – the White House is actively expanding them.

  • Finance

    • Brexit is not a game of poker

      There are still those who nod-along with the “not showing your cards” defence of the government’s secrecy about what, if any, negotiating strategy it has for achieving Brexit.

      They tweet things to those calling for transparency with comments such as “you should not play poker” or similar.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Tomgram: Andrew Bacevich, The Swamp of War

      Sometimes it’s tough to pull lessons of any sort from our confusing world, but let me mention one obvious (if little noted) case where that couldn’t be less true: the American military and its wars. Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. has been in a state of more or less permanent war in the Greater Middle East and northern Africa. In those years, it’s been involved in a kaleidoscopic range of activities, including full-scale invasions and occupations, large-scale as well as pinpoint bombing campaigns, drone strikes, special ops raids, advisory missions, training programs, and counterinsurgency operations. The U.S. military has fought regular armies, insurgencies, and terror groups of all sorts, Shiites as well as Sunnis. The first war of this era, in Afghanistan — a country Washington declared “liberated” in 2002 — is still underway 16 years later (and not going well). The second war, in Iraq, is still ongoing 13 years later. From Afghanistan to Libya, Syria to Yemen, Iraq to Somalia, the U.S. military effort in these years, sometimes involving “nation building” and enormous “reconstruction” programs, has left in its wake a series of weakened or collapsed states and spreading terror outfits. In short, no matter how the U.S. military has been used, nothing it’s done has truly worked out.

    • Donald Trump’s most obvious conflict of interest problem is right down the street from the White House

      The new Trump International Hotel in Washington DC is a ticking time bomb for Donald Trump, and not just because foreign countries seeking to win his favor are already planning events there to line the US president-elect’s pockets.

      Steven Schooner and Daniel Gordon, lawyers specializing in federal procurement rules, write in Government Executive that Trump’s inauguration will immediately place him in violation of the law because the hotel is in the Old Post Office Pavilion, a building just blocks from the White House that was leased to a Trump-led consortium by the federal government.

      The lease, signed by Trump’s organization in 2013, includes a clause that says “no … elected official of the Government of the United States … shall be admitted to any share or part of this Lease, or to any benefit that may arise therefrom.”

    • Conflict of interest fears over Georgieva’s World Bank dealings

      Six months before European Commission Vice President Kristalina Georgieva announced that she would be returning to the World Bank, her office negotiated changes in the way the European Union funds her former and future employer, according to EU officials and documents obtained by POLITICO.

      The new arrangement with the Bank is raising alarm bells at the Commission and the European Parliament about a potential conflict of interest. The concern comes as the Commission is trying to tighten so-called revolving door rules on what jobs senior officials can take once they leave EU institutions.

    • Juncker’s Parliamentary headache

      Martin Schulz’s decision to quit the European Parliament and take his talents to Berlin last week provoked breathless speculation about his political future in Germany and that of his Socialist group without him in Brussels.

      There is, however, one real world impact of Schulz’s departure in January: It is going to make the Parliament a huge pain where it hurts for the European Commission and its president, Jean-Claude Juncker.

      Though on paper a conservative who belongs to the European People’s Party, Juncker has made no secret of the importance of his bromance with the departing parliamentary chieftain from the other side of the aisle.

    • Sweden’s unsent letter to a President-elect Hillary Clinton: ‘It is a milestone for the world’

      Ahead of the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven drafted two letters. One was addressed to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee who enjoyed broad approval among Swedes. The other was to Republican Donald Trump, the upstart candidate who was viewed negatively by many in Sweden.

      The letters were intended to congratulate the winner of the election.

      Only one was ever sent.

      Lofven’s office released parts of the letter sent to Trump last week, though considerable sections of it were censored under Sweden’s official secrets act. On Monday, the Expressen newspaper released what it said was a copy of the letter in its entirety.

    • For $1 million and up, inaugural donors will get ‘candlelight dinner’ with Trump and other access

      The committee raising money for President-elect Donald Trump’s inaugural festivities is offering exclusive access to the new president, Cabinet nominees and congressional leaders in exchange for donations of $1 million and more.

      For seven-figure contributions, Trump’s richest supporters will get a slew of special perks during the inauguration weekend, including eight tickets to a “candlelight dinner” that will feature “special appearances” by Trump, his wife, Melania, Vice President-elect Mike Pence and his wife, Karen, according to a sheet detailing “underwriter package benefits” obtained by The Washington Post. The 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee confirmed the authenticity of the donor brochure, which was first reported by the Center for Public Integrity.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Why Facebook’s China adventure will need more than censorship to succeed

      Facebook needs to invest in more than just censorship tools if it hopes to lift a seven-year ban in China, experts say, amid a tightening space for foreign technology companies in the world’s most populous nation.

      Last week it emerged Facebook is working on software designed to suppress content – widely seen as a prerequisite to ending the ban, put in place in the wake of deadly ethnic riots in 2009 in attempt to quell the sharing of information about the violence.

      Facebook and its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, have embarked on a high-profile and often controversial campaign to lift the China block in recent years.

      “Censorship is the biggest requirement,” said Adam Segal, director of the Digital and Cyberspace Policy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations, “and then they should start to invest in the ecosystem around them, in Chinese startups and funds, to show that they are friends of China.”

    • Censorship in Social Media Leaves Users in Frustration

      User reports of censorship of social media posts show a deep frustration with companies’ content moderation policies, according to an analysis by Onlinecensorship.org, a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Visualizing Impact.

      In “Censorship in Context: Insights from Crowdsourced Data on Social Media Censorship,” researchers analyzed reports of content takedowns received from users of Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube from April to November of 2016. At a time when many are asking for more content moderation—like calls for Facebook to crack down on “fake news”—election-related censorship complaints focused on the desire of users to speak their minds and share information about a tight election without worrying that their posts will disappear.

    • Russia Draws On Chinese Expertise And Technology To Clamp Down On Internet Users Even More

      The Russians apparently see no other option than to invite Chinese heavyweights into the heart of its IT strategy. “China remains our only serious ‘ally’, including in the IT sector,” said a source in the Russian information technology industry, adding that despite hopes that Russian manufacturers would fill the void created by sanctions “we are in fact actively switching to Chinese”.

      That Russian source is clearly trying to suggest that this new partnership is all the fault of the West for imposing those silly economic sanctions, and that this could have been avoided if everybody had stayed friends. But the coziness between Russia and China has been coming for a while, as their geopolitical ambitions align increasingly, so the collaboration over surveillance and censorship technologies would probably have happened anyway. The interesting question is how the new alliance might blossom if the future Trump administration starts to reduce its engagement with the international scene to concentrate on domestic matters. The new Sino-Russian digital partnership could be just the start of something much bigger, but probably not more beautiful.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • [Older] Who Has Your Back in Colombia? A New Report Shows Telecom Privacy Slowly Improving

      Fundacion Karisma—the leading Colombian digital rights organization—has published the 2016 ¿Dónde están mis datos? report, which evaluates how well Colombian telecommunications companies protect their customers’ privacy.

      Karisma’s second annual report examines publicly-available policies on government surveillance transparency, data protection, privacy, and free expression from five of the biggest telecommunications companies: Claro, Tigo-UNE, Telefónica-Movistar, ETB (Empresa de Telecomunicaciones de Bogotá), and DirecTV.

    • Something Happened to Activist Email Provider Riseup, but It Hasn’t Been Compromised

      Over the last week, rumors have been spreading across the digital activist community that the technology collective riseup, which provides email, chat, VPN, and other services to activists, may be compromised after receiving a secret government subpoena accompanied by a gag order. The collective provides email service to roughly 150,000 users, hosts activism-related mailing lists with 6.8 million subscribers, and delivers more than 1 million emails per day. According to a representative of the riseup collective, the rumors are outsized. But it is clear that something happened, and that riseup is unable to speak about it publicly. “Riseup will shut down rather than endanger activists,” the spokesperson said. “We aren’t going to shut down, because there is no danger to activists.”

      Riseup, which began in Seattle in 1999, is one of the most privacy-friendly and anti-surveillance service providers online today. “We believe it is vital that essential communication infrastructure be controlled by movement organizations and not corporations or the government,” the collective’s website states. “Riseup does not log IP addresses and has not done so since the early ’00s,” the collective member told me in an encrypted email. “We work hard to minimize the amount of data (and metadata) stored as [much as] possible. The only way to protect the information of activists around the world is by not having the information in the first place.” Riseup’s privacy policy promises that the service will log as little as possible and never share user data with any third party.

    • GCHQ Virtually A Branch Office Of NSA – Parliament Unable To Hold It To Account

      By OpenRightsGroup – The NSA and GCHQ are virtually joined at the hip. GCHQ shares nearly all the data it collects, and relies on US technology for its key operations.

      Donald Trump“If there were a crisis in the relationship between the UK and the US, what risks would our shared intelligence arrangements pose?”

      We asked this question in our 2015 report about the Snowden leaks. We might be about to find out the answer.

      Chapter 5 of our report details the technological and data sharing integration. The Snowden documents show that Britain’s GCHQ and America’s NSA work very closely together. They are integrated in a way that means it is difficult for our Parliament to hold GCHQ to account. We rely so much on US technology and data that it poses questions for our sovereignty.

    • Florida Cops Have a New Device For Tracking Your Cell Phone

      For years and in almost complete secrecy, cops and feds in the United States — and elsewhere — have been using powerful devices called “Stingrays,” “cell site simulators,” or “IMSI catchers” to track and spy on cell phones.

      Over the last few years, and only after long legal fights and several public documents requests, we’ve learned a little bit more about IMSI catchers, including some of the agencies that use them.

      Yet we’ve rarely seen them. Some official pictures have been published online, mostly mined from patent applications, but we’ve practically never seen them in the wild … until now.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The War on the First Amendment Didn’t Start Last Week

      For those who woke a week ago to realize the First Amendment is under attack, I lost my job at the State Department in 2012 for writing We Meant Well, a book the government did not like, and needed the help of lawyer Jesselyn Radack and the ACLU to push back the threat of jail.

      My book was critical of actions in Iraq under both the Obama and Bush administrations. One helped protect the other.

      Braver people than me, like Thomas Drake, Morris Davis, and Robert MacLean, risked imprisonment and lost their government jobs for talking to the press about government crimes and malfeasance. John Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, and Jeff Sterling went to jail for speaking to/informing the press. The Obama administration tried to prosecute reporters from Fox and the New York Times for stories on government wrongdoing.

      Ray Maxwell at the State Department went public with information about Hillary Clinton’s email malfeasance before you had even heard of her private server. The media that covered the story at all called him a liar, an opportunist, and a political hack, and he was pressed into retirement.

    • The West’s Shift Toward Repression

      Forgive my “infamously fluent French” but the phrase “pour encourager les autres” – a reference to executing one powerful person to send a message to others – seems to have lost its famously ironic quality. It seems that the U.S. government is globally paying big bucks to people to encourage them to expose the crimes of their employers, but only if they’re working for banks and other financial institutions – as opposed to say working for the government and its intelligence agencies.

      I have been aware for a few years that the U.S. government instituted a law in 2010 called the Dodd-Frank Act that is designed to encourage people employed in the international finance community to report malfeasance to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in return for a substantial percentage of any monies recouped.

      [...]

      But, from all recent examples, it would appear that you get damn few thanks for such patriotic actions. Take the case of Thomas Drake, a former senior National Security Agency executive who in 2007 went public about waste and wanton expenditure within the agency, as I wrote way back in 2011. Before doing so, Drake had gone through all the prescribed routes for such disclosures, up to and including a congressional committee.

      Despite all this, Drake was abruptly snatched by the FBI in a violent dawn raid and threatened with 35 years in prison. He (under the terrifying American plea bargain system) accepted a misdemeanor conviction to escape the horrors of federal charges, the resulting loss of all his civic rights and a potential 35 years in prison. He still, of course, lost his job, his impeccable professional reputation, and his whole way of life.

      He was part of a NSA group that also included William Binney, the NSA’s former Technical Director, and his fellow whistleblowers Kirk Wiebe, Ed Loumis and Diane Roark. These brave people had developed an electronic mass-surveillance program called Thin Thread that could zero in on those people who were genuinely of security interest and worth targeting, a program which would have been relatively cheap, costing only $1.4 million and would have been consistent with the terms of the Constitution. According to Binney, it could potentially have stopped 9/11 and all the attendant horrors..

    • Sumi Cho and Alicia Garza on Election and Intersection, James Loewen on Misreporting History

      That’s not, naturally, how social justice advocates are responding. They’re getting together to share strategies for protecting vulnerable communities and resisting the predations on our civil rights. One such gathering of activists and academics was a recent webinar hosted by the African American Policy Forum. It featured a range of voices. I’ll bring just two: Sumi Cho, professor at DePaul University School of Law, and Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter.

    • ‘Race Is at the Bottom of His Immigration Policy’

      Few if any groups received more venom from the Trump campaign than immigrants. Slurring millions of people as rapists, terrorists and freeloaders, Donald Trump promised, along with the infamous wall on the southern border and a ban of Muslims, tens of thousands of deportations and the seizure of money that people in the US send to families in Mexico. Distressing as all of this is in itself, it’s coming after years that have already seen many, many family-severing deportations and a struggle to enact reforms.

    • ‘People Can Protect the Rights of Everyone in Their Community’

      From promises of mass surveillance, stepped-up stop and frisk, to religion-based bans on entry to the country, a Trump White House looks to be a nightmare for civil rights and liberties. Here to talk about how folks are planning to get through it is Sue Udry. She’s executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, joined now with the Defending Dissent Foundation. She joins us by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome to CounterSpin, Sue Udry.

    • Where Are Sting and Bill Clinton When You Need Them?

      Is Gulnara Karimova dead? The source of today’s reports is Galima Burkabaeva, who is a first class journalist. She personally spoke with the Uzbek security service (SNB) source who told her Gulnara was killed by poisoning on 5 November. Galima does not vouch for the story’s truth, but she believes the source had credibility, and she is well placed to make that call.

      Gulnara was once the wealthiest female oligarch in Moscow society. She had amazing friends. Unfortunately she failed to notice that the kind of friends who do not care if you made your money out of child forced labour in the cotton fields, are the same kind of friends who will not care if you are chained to an iron bedstead in an ex-Soviet mental institution being pumped full of lobotomising chemicals with only a tin potty for company.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T Just Showed Us What The Death Of Net Neutrality Is Going To Look Like

      For some time now we’ve warned how the FCC’s decision to not ban zero rating (exempting some content from usage caps) was going to come back and bite net neutrality on the posterior. Unlike India, Japan, The Netherlands, Norway, Chile, and other countries, the FCC crafted net neutrality rules that completely avoided tackling the issue of usage caps and zero rating. Then, despite ongoing promises that the agency was looking into the issue, the FCC did nothing as AT&T, Verizon and Comcast all began exempting their own content from usage caps while still penalizing competitors.

      Fast forward to this week, and AT&T has delivered what may very well be the killing blow to net neutrality thanks predominantly to the FCC’s failure to see the writing on the wall.

      AT&T this week is launching its new “DirecTV Now” streaming video service. According to the full AT&T announcement, the service offers various packages of streamed TV content ranging from $35 to $70 per month. Thanks to AT&T’s looming $100 billion acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T’s even throwing in HBO for an additional $5 per month, the lowest price point in the industry. Though a bit hamstrung to upsell you to traditional DirecTV (two stream limit, no 4K content, no NFL Sunday Ticket, no DVR functionality), all told it’s a fairly compelling package for cord cutters.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Dominica Accepts TRIPS Health Amendment; Two More To Go?

      The government of Dominica has deposited its instrument of acceptance of the 2005 so-called “paragraph 6” amendment to international intellectual property trade rules aimed at making it easier for countries to export affordable medical products to developing countries. Dominica’s signing brings the number of signers to 65 percent of WTO members, according to the WTO. Two-thirds of WTO members must accept it for the amendment to go into effect, but it is unclear exactly how many members that represents. It appears that two or three more members will tip the scale.

11.29.16

The UPC Scam Part IV: Bumps Along the Road for UPC, With or Without the UK and Brexit

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The undemocratic patent conspiracy (UPC): We'll just call it something misleading

Summary: A sobering reality check regarding the UPC, no matter what Lucy Neville-Rolfe says under pressure from Battistelli and some selfish law firms that are based in London

“Tomorrow on 11/29,” (that’s today), the USPTO wrote, “EPO shares information on new practices and procedures at #USPTOMidwest.” What practices and procedures are these? Bribery? Union-busting? Corruption? All the above? The EPO has become a den of corruption, bullying, thuggery, lies, bribery and so much more. It’s far, FAR worse than FIFA ever was. But somehow there is no shakeup, at least not in the media. In fact, the media (as we noted in parts one and two of this series) was filled with EPO-leaning propaganda this week. It’s utterly appalling, though not entirely unexpected or unusual. Battistelli wastes a lot of money manipulating the media.

“Finally,” one person joked, “the #UPC is coming into farce!”

Not into force but a farce, as many people out there still don’t believe the EPO and Team UPC, who are liars that use self-fulfilling prophecy strategies. They are far from their objective considering the legal challenges and petitions that are likely on their way. Besides, if Brexit is happening, there are also doubts about what happens to UPC when it happens. As one person said it: “V. revealing that meaningless phrases (cake & eat it) trump imp. Brexit news (UK to ratify UPC). No-one cares about detail. Soft Brexit.”

Brexit for the poor, not for the rich (patent lawyers who grease up our officials).

“So, I am not entirely convinced our UPC participation will survive Brexit,” wrote another person, “despite today’s signal to ratify.”

How much did they lobby Lucy and others to ‘buy’ the UPC proposition and how is that even lawful? Is Lucy just trying to pull a publicity stunt here, in spite of the realisation that it simply boils down to a farce?

Alex Robinson said: “According to “informed circles in London” the UK WILL ratify UPC Agreeement. Huge if true. Confirmation expected later…”

But that’s just what Robinson wants to believe, based on a mere statement from Mathieu Klos who got the story early and wrote “+++Eilt+++ UK beendet Hängepartie + verkündet heute in Brüssel “its intention to ratify the #UPC agreement” http://juve.de/?p=284122″

Combine that with the misleading headline from Bristows and all we have here is an echo chamber accompanied by Lucy, who may be making promises she cannot even fulfill.

Dr. Birgit Clark, linking to the article in German from Mathieu Klos, added that “if this is true, then the UK will today announce “its intention to ratify the #UPC agreement”” (but that alone does not mean it will be possible).

“I think today’s announce brings clarity for Europe wrt #UPC launch,” wrote one person, “but things remain woefully unclear for the #UK after #BREXIT”

Moreover, the UPC cannot be launched once citizens are either better informed or informed enough to realise that they’re being screwed (like with TPP) and thus become angry.

Did British officials get bought by Team UPC or just greased up? Did they even check if their promise is fulfillable? It probably isn’t. The UPC would be the final blow to the EPO’s staff and Battistelli allegedly plans to head the UPC after he burns down the EPO, symbolically pretending to respect the EPC by throwing the boards somewhere at a congested Haar-based office space (more on that another day).

Let’s make sure these people don’t get their way and that the UPC collapses just like its predecessors (the same thing happened with so-called ‘trade’ deals whose texts got reused and expanded over time, only to be rejected when the public found out and responded with fury). “May accepts Supremacy of EU law on patents, UK betrayal of Brexit,” Henrion wrote. “UK wants to ratify UPC, which is not consistent with Brexit,” he wrote on a separate occasion. Well, the UPC is an attack on British democracy itself. May is just surrendering to lawyers who greased up Lucy at al with Battistelli’s help. Set up a petition, I told him, inform the public about this case of the EPO bringing its massive abuses to the UK too and he said “it is a question for the Parliament, and let’s wake up our companies against this monster.”

The Unitary Patent is rejected by SMEs, who are often misrepresented by and misinformed by Team UPC. Writing to a mouthpiece of Team UPC, Henrion suggests they “remember how many companies have signed statements against swpats in the UK?” Selective memory serves them better. They organised pro-UPC lobbying events (we wrote about this during summertime).

“Let’s call for a referendum on UPC ratification by the UK. Any UK citizen can start a petition,” he said. We are currently working on it. Beside this he said semi-jokingly, “what a shame. Let’s ask for a referendum in the UK as well?”

As another person who later weighed in put it: “How can the UK justify handing control of their patent system over to an EU organization after Brexit?”

“So the UK lose all advantages of being part of the EU and leave themselves susceptible to Patent Trolls,” this person added, “not smart.”

Well, the real British industry (not some parasitic law firms) would suffer a lot if UPC ever became a reality. We just need to explain this to them and convince them to work hard to combat the UPC. Remember that patent trolls are best at extracting money out of small businesses, without even having to take them to court for a trial (because it’s potentially very expensive).

The patent “trolls are opening a bottle of champagne today,” Henrion noted, having said something similar before (“Patent trolls are opening a bottle of champagne now”). So do their prospective lawyers, who intend to raid Europe with low-quality patents and maximalise the patent tax everywhere in one fell swoop. Many high-profile figures have already explained very clearly why the UPC would good for patent trolls.

“My first thoughts too,” an EPO insider wrote about our guesses. “My guess is that Baroness Neville-Rolfe is the culprit here or isn’t she?”

We’re expected to believe that Brexit would be good for Britain “because the EU not a democracy” (or something along those lines), but things like the IP Bill and these empty UPC promises serve to remind us that the UK is far from a democracy. I met our Prime Minister many years ago and spoke to her in length; she is clueless about technology and although (probably) well-meaning, she does enormous damage by caving in and appeasing patent law firms. Lucy is equally clueless in these domains of science and technology and one EPO insider chose to say, “Battistelli and “La” Baroness Neville-Rolfe inseparable. Love at first sight!”

Neither of them has a clue!

They actually did publicly pose together for photos — the rare occasion where political people from a large European countries agree to be seen with Battistelli (he’s considered “bad neighborhood” now).

As we said before, we welcome and even need leaks. We want to know what preceded this very surprising if not bizarre announcement.

“Notes to editors,” it emphasised. “The UPC itself is not an EU institution, it is an international patent court. Includes UK judges…”

They should say “would” in the the announcement, but they want people to assume that the UPC is inevitable, which it is not. Someone truly got bamboozled here and we believe we know the culprits. It’s an easy guess, but proof/evidence is required. Following the money here, there is clearly some deeper agenda at play. Photo ops with Battistelli are just a symptom here and one must recall how he buys his way. Only says ago the EPO bragged about (warning: epo.org link) Monaco, which has just 4 EPO patents, playing along with him. This is possibly a case of Battistelli ‘buying’ votes, but it’s hard to know for sure (he sure earned some publicity owing to a ‘country’ (small city) with just 4 patents). Why would Battistelli and his PR people at Twitter brag about another tiny country (with a vote equal to that of the UK) that he pocketed so cheaply? They’re making the monkey business ever more shallow and easy to spot.

The UPC Scam Part III: The “Patent Mafia”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The undemocratic patent conspiracy (UPC): We'll just call it something misleading

Summary: Bigwigs like Lucy Neville-Rolfe and Benoît Battistelli, together with Team UPC and its tiny minority interests (self enrichment), are conspiring to hijack the laws of Europe, doing so across many national borders with unique and locally-steered patent policy in one fell swoop

I have personally done a lot to help EPO staff in the face of serious abuses against them. Now that Europeans (citizens and businesses) are under threat from the UPC we hope that EPO staff will help crush the UPC and restore the old order of things, prior to Battistelli’s ruinous arrival. Technically speaking, the UPC is not revived; it’s still hanging there by Battistelli’s side, next to his grave that he keeps digging. Europe will probably need to get rid of both. They already made false predictions about the UPC in the past and here they go again. “I doubt whether it is legal or not,” one EPO insider wrote. “Future Investigations will confirm this.”

“There is no legal basis at the time to ratify the UPC treaty,” this person added.

“There is no legal basis at the time to ratify the UPC treaty.”
      –EPO insider
Managing IP didn’t take too kindly this remark from Benjamin Henrion who wrote: “Unitary Patent needs to die, it is an undemocratic court system controlled by the patent mafia, not parliaments…”

He responded to this early prediction/rumour which said: “Former MP & Europe minister predicts UK will pull out of #UPC & #UnitaryPatent in announcement tomorrow https://twitter.com/DenisMacShane/status/802805432528019456 …”

That’s what should have happened, but it didn’t. Maybe infighting over this? We need leaks about what these politicians did and why.

The term “patent mafia” just led to a joke, not a serious response: “If only there were, like, a handshake or something”

“Unitary Patent needs to die, it is an undemocratic court system controlled by the patent mafia, not parliaments…”
      –Benjamin Henrion (FFII)
Responding to Managing IP, the anonymous EPO person wrote: “To not be able to identify them, one must be
a) totally unfamiliar with UPC, EPO or the like
b) naïf
c) blind”

Or d) nepotism-driven/corrupt.

The matter of fact is, the term “patent mafia” is more or less equivalent to what we habitually call “Team UPC”. They’re like a collusion of patent firms, together with large clients and the EPO, scheming to change the law in their favour under everyone’s nose and usually behind the scenes or behind closed doors (with very high entrance fees and no speaking opportunity). They’re hijacking the system.

“UK companies won’t be able to freely trade in the EU post Brexit and EU Patent Trolls can extort UK companies… bad deal”
      –Anonymous
Regarding the UPC bubble, we’re sorry to shatter or disrupt the echo chamber, but the selfies or photo ops of Lucy with Benoît don’t help. Very fishy all around. We really want to know the reason UK-IPO et al decided to suck up to Battistelli and we welcome leaks on the subject. We never compromised a source and we need to understand what happened behind the scenes here (documents or correspondence).

What UPC means for Brits who are not parasitic lawyers is hardly mentioned at all (anywhere!) and as one person put it, “UK companies won’t be able to freely trade in the EU post Brexit and EU Patent Trolls can extort UK companies… bad deal” (horrible even).

Businesses in Britain have nothing to gain from it, but some trade association which claims to “represent the future” says it “welcomes Government’s #UPC confirmation but says now UK will join it must stay in” (prior to it it just said that “The Government have confirmed it plans to ratify #UPC Agreement in the coming months. See more here”). Well, it can’t be both, can it? For the UK to leave rather than stay in Europe it will have to reject the UPC.

The UPC Scam Part II: The Patent Echo Chamber at Work, Prematurely Congratulating Itself in Its ‘News’ Sites

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The undemocratic patent conspiracy (UPC): We'll just call it something misleading

Summary: A look at the rather one-sided coverage from blogs and so-called ‘news’ sites associated with the UPC and/or the EPO, which would have us believe that the UPC is a done deal although it’s far from it

The previous post focused on EPO-bribed media that covered the latest UPC twist. Some media, however, barely needs any bribes. Its funding is derived from readers who are working for law firms with special interests, much like Team UPC.

“UK to ratify UPC,” said the headline from WIPR, and “lawyers cautiously welcome decision” (just lawyers).

Not only lawyers’ opinion should count, what about the rest of the people? What about patent holders? What about people without any patents?

SMEs don't like the UPC. Did they receive a platform for their voice from WIPR? Probably out of the question.

Battistelli’s buddy James Nurton, whose employer did a lot of lobbying for the UPC (Nurton himself occasionally does softball ‘interviews’ with Battistelli, with pre-filtered questions), doesn’t seem to care for anyone but the patent microcosm. Watch this article and what they wrote in Twitter (to be covered separately). We’re supposed to think there’s no controversy and that it’s all fantastic news. One side is obviously being overlooked if not gagged. It’s intentional.

Here is what a blog that was supported by the EPO to promote UPC (and funded by its PR firm) says about the news. It doesn’t get any more promotional than this and the same author is meanwhile interjecting himself into some British media and bragging about it.

The out-of-control EPO is hoping to expand its scope of thuggery beyond the Netherlands and Germany. Guess who will pay the price. Is this desirable for the UK? Or as I put it earlier today, how many ethical/legal breaches does it take before the EPO can justifiably be called the Criminal Patent Office?

Is it fair to pretend that the UPC has no opposition? Is this responsible reporting?

Probably the worst kind or ‘reporting’ came from Bristows, as we noted in our previous post (part one). Here we have a new example of Bristows staff promoting Bristows staff and another Bristows staff — a symptom of what IP Kat recently became. How long before Bristows uses IP Kat to keep spreading some more UPC propaganda (as it already did for over a year)? Darren Smyth broke the news for IP Kat this time around (via), so it wasn’t Bristows for a change. But Smyth plays a role in pro-UPC events, as we noted a few days. There are many UPC promotions/forums/events these days (one is about to start) and they are basically echo chambers. See this new tweet that says: “The @IPSummit next week could get even more interesting depending on #Monday’s news re. #UPC #UK #Brexit”

There is also one tomorrow. That’s the one Smyth is in. Will Lucy Neville-Rolfe, who is acting like an agent of Team UPC this week, be treated like some kind of hero and be put on a pedestal? In our view, her actions on UPC reveal little less than systemic corruption where patent lobbying is on the line and pressure basically instructs her decisions (which even patent law firms admit was surprising as it was utterly irrational).

Here is a blog post titled “May Accepts Supremacy of EU Law on Patents”. To quote: “In her conference speech Theresa May vowed that Brexit would mean “our laws will be made not in Brussels but in Westminster. The judges interpreting those laws will sit not in Luxembourg but in courts in this country. The authority of EU law in Britain will end”. Well, not quite…”

This is similar to what Glyn Moody wrote. But never mind the issues and conflicts associated with it (likely to derail this plan as we shall show in later parts). Team UPC and/or the patent microcosm (overlaps there) celebrates a potential passage, or looting, from the population of Europe, with patents as a vehicle of taxation. In spite of it being merely an expression of intent one headline we found was “The UK will ratify the UPCA!” Here is what it says:

At the EU competitiveness council meeting today the UK Minister of State for Energy and Intellectual Property, Baroness Neville-Rolfe, indicated that the UK will ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement (see official press release here).

But it may not be able to. Alternatively, it can be revoked once the public backlash starts and it turns out that this is not possible (incompatible with various aspects of UK law, with or without Brexit).

Let those wishful thinkers rest on it for a week or two. The fight over the UPC will likely intensify soon and people who are not patent lawyers start asking all sorts of ‘awkward’ questions.

The UPC Scam Part I: EPO-Bribed Media Outlets Lie to Brits (and to Europeans) About the UPC

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The undemocratic patent conspiracy (UPC): We'll just call it something misleading

Summary: An introductory article in a multi-part series about UPC at times of Brexit and Lucy Neville-Rolfe’s bizarre sellout to Battistelli

TODAY’S (or tonight’s) coverage will focus entirely on the UPC, or the EPO’s (along with the patent microcosm) attempt to impose an unconstitutional overhaul across the whole of Europe, for the sake of patent maximalists who plot to tax — in the patents sense — everyone, everywhere, all the time.

Simon Phipps, former President of the OSI, called it an “odd Brexit move” while citing Glyn Moody’s new article which is titled “Theresa May signs up to unitary patent, accepts supremacy of top EU court”. To quote some portions from it:

The UK has announced that it will ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement, a key step needed to bring the unitary patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC) into being.

[...]

But if the UK wishes to remain in the UPC system, an exception will have to be made for patents, with judges sitting in Luxembourg still interpreting the law that applies in the UK. Some Brexiters may therefore see the government’s announcement as a sign that Brexit no longer means Brexit.

Moody, the author, is actually highly critical of the UPC. He has warned about it for years. There are many fine things for the UK to take from Europe (Moody and I are passionate “Remainers”), but the UPC isn’t one of them. It’s a thorn, a poison. It deserves scorn and rejection. Earlier today we found plenty of other articles about it, many of which composed by patent law firms, especially in Britain, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14]. Bristows, the manipulative liars from British Team UPC, are cited as saying that the “UPC Start October 2017 is realistic says Alan Johnson, Partner at @BristowsUPC” (too optimistic as the UPC may never become a reality at all in spite of yesterday’s news). Here is Bristows pushing a new article about it, obviously hoping that intention means “will”. Andrew Orlowski, a pundit from The Register, highlighted the EPO’s abuses in relation to this and took note of the promotional lies from the EPO’s paid mouthpiece, FT (Financial Times):

Astonishment has greeted the UK’s promise to join Europe’s Unified Patent Court, despite Brexit. It’s a stunning victory for the UK’s powerful legal lobby. The FT euphemistically notes that “the legal system” will be around “£200m a year” richer. Meaning: you know who will be £200m richer.

The announcement was made by the UK’s intellectual property minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe (DBE CMG, PPE Oxford), the Minister of State for Energy and IP. Naturally, it was welcomed by the under-siege European Patent Office (EPO).

Somewhat disingenuously, the IPO states that “the UPC is not an EU institution”. But this isn’t the whole truth.

As Pinsent Masons’ Helen Cline pointed out here in April, “Participation in the new system is only open to EU member states. At an early stage of the negotiations, and following a decision of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU), the UPC Agreement was amended to exclude the participation of non-EU member states.”

A lot of the above quotes just one side of this debate (they never have public debates with antagonists in them). Also, the fact that Battistelli paid large British publications like the Financial Times does not help his credibility. “Reading the comments on IPKat,” wrote an EPO insider, “doesn’t nearly reflect the same picture as media like Financial Times wants us to believe…”

“But if the UK wishes to remain in the UPC system, an exception will have to be made for patents, with judges sitting in Luxembourg still interpreting the law that applies in the UK.”
      –Dr, Glyn Moody
Well, the Financial Times is still in mouthpiece mode. It got paid to do this. To make matters worse, the Financial Times is just one among many papers to be paid by the EPO to lie to Europeans.

Sadly, quite a few people ended up linking to EPO-funded propaganda, e.g. this one. I told this person that the Financial Times is bribed for such bias. The person called it “UK’s (somewhat unexpected) decision to ratify UPC,” saying that it was “welcomed by patent specialists seeking pre-Brexit certainty.”

What about all those people who are not patent specialists, i.e. more than 99.9% of the population?

CIPA, part of the UPC lobbying groups (whose members want to suck money out of ordinary Europeans), said “The Government has confirmed it is proceeding with preparations to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement.”

“CIPA President Tony Rollins,” CIPA said, “explains why ratification of the #UPC is good news for business in the @FinancialTimes”

“What about all those people who are not patent specialists, i.e. more than 99.9% of the population?”This would be “good news for patent trolls,” Henrion told CIPA and Financial Times, perhaps not taking account their incestuous relationship with the UPC into account.

How many media/press outlets will Battistelli and the EPO bribe before the EPO’s abuses are properly exposed and Battistelli’s regime is stopped? The state of journalism in Europe was already bad (journalists are suffering financially), so payments for bias will only make things worse. This corrupts journalism.

Another Battistelli-paid ‘news’ paper, one which we wrote about many times before (after censorship and stenography for the EPO), is quick to ‘report’ EPO talking points (i.e. lies) about the UPC. Without an accurate translation it’s hard to tackle it point by point.

Having ‘bought’ officials, ‘brought’ the media, bullied real journalists and bullied EPO insiders (war on dissent), Battistelli now rejoices as all those publisher whom he threw millions of Euros at write whatever he wants them to.

“Politicians (who care about Europe) should read the comments on this blog and try to understand the urgency to act against Battistelli!” an EPO insider emphasises, alluding to IP Kat. Over at IP Kat, be sure to stay away from the Bristows talking points about the UPC.

Suffice to say, even the EPO itself wrote about it (warning: epo.org link) and promoted it via Twitter. Battistelli wants to make the EPO even more dangerous/lethal (with low-quality patents that are applicable in more countries, without even a trial in those countries being needed). What he now claims (all lies) is that he’s solving a problem, but no such problem exists. In fact, Benjamin Henrion wrote to them in Twitter [1, 2] “more trolls, and software patents via the back door… and you are not bound by this court. EPO does whatever it wants.”

“The Government has confirmed it is proceeding with preparations to ratify the Unified Patent Court Agreement.”
      –CIPA
The EPO, as its own workers know, breaks the law all the time and Battistelli acts like a king who can lie all the time and get away with it. The UPC can destroy Europe if Battistelli and his goons get away with breaking the law again. But all he cares about is some bogus “production”!

“EPO and national courts seem to reach broadly the same results on swp[software patents],” someone anonymous noted, “but by different routes.” Also, the person added, “the obvious guess is that the upc will have it’s own route to the same result.”

One way or another we’ll end up with all the worst aspects of patent systems and as Henrion put it, “in computer science, it is called an SPOF (Single Point of Failure).” It is a loss of sovereignty, too.

As many experts admitted, UPC would actually haul software patents along with it, yet some people are in denial about it, especially those pushing hard for the UPC.

“In any case,” one of them said, “#UPC not about patentability. No reason it would have impact one way of other on software patents.”

That’s nonsense. Scope of patents is directly impacted by the interests of those pursing the patents and UPC would attract a lot of patent trolls that crave software patents (easy to massively extort with).

Henrion mentioned even EPO insiders who push the scope envelope, saying “that’s not what Philpott from the EPO said. and many more other experts.”

“Politicians (who care about Europe) should read the comments on this blog and try to understand the urgency to act against Battistelli!”
      –Anonymous EPO insider
Already, as Henrion notes, the EPO issues a sort threat and ultimatum via Managing IP with its propaganda opportunities. It quotes Battistelli’s chief UPC liar, Margot Fröhlinger. To quote: “Seems UK had to decide re #UPC before end of year. Margot Fröhlinger said when .@ManagingIP Patent Forum http://www.managingip.com/Article/3585190/European-Patent-Reform-Forums-in-Munich-and-Paristhe-highlights.html … (&/trial)”

“I was waiting for the ultimatum,” Henrion wrote. At the EPO, pressure (if not intimidation and thuggery once escalated) is nowadays the norm. The EPO is so corrupt that it also bribed European and international media, turning it into a lobbyist of the EPO rather then media.

The EPO is still a monster in the middle of Bavaria and since it’s effectively above the law it can corrupt officials and corrupt the media everywhere under EU statehood. This is a huge threat to a lot of what we take for granted.

European Public Service Union Asks EPO Administrative Council “to Re-establish the Rule of Law at the European Patent Office”

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The chinchillas of the Administrative Council are assertively asked to tackle the abusive management of the EPO, which gets condemned not only by CERN but also EPSU, which is working with the Dutch government to end lawlessness at the EPO

EARLIER today we wrote about CERN's (Switzerland) condemnation of EPO management and shortly afterwards even a Swiss blog wrote about it in English. To quote:

The Staff Association of the Geneva-based European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) this week issued a strongly worded statement in solidarity with staff at the European Patent Office. They called the EPO essential to Europe and said the EPO president’s repressive 19th century-style anti-worker tactics are endangering the institution and the European economy.

Later in the day another letter surfaced, this time in SUEPO’s Web site that spoke of “[a] letter dated 28 November 2016 [that's yesterday] from the European Public Service Union (EPSU) to all Members of the Council of the European Patent Office.”

Here are the contents of the letter:

To all Members of the Council of the European
Patent Office

Ref.: JWG/cb

Brussels, 28 November 2016

Dear Members of the European Patent Office Council,

EPSU has no choice but to address a large audience at highest level in the host states of the EPO and at European level. The labour relation problems continue and have reached a new
peak with dismissals and sanctions against a union representative in the EPO office in Munich. We ask you to re-establish the rule of law at the European Patent Office (EPO, approximately 7000 employees, headquarters in Munich).

EPSU already addressed the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, the Dutch Ministry for economy and the Ambassadors of the EU Member States in a joint letter with the Dutch Trade Union Confederation FNV dated November 4th, 2015.

The issues addressed in that letter are still unresolved: continuous threats to union representatives by the EPO President Mr Battistelli, violation of workers’ rights, ignorance of a Dutch court ruling.

The situation has now further deteriorated with two dismissals and one sanction of union representatives at the EPO in Munich in January 2016. Despite the harsh comments internally and externally in the media, the EPO President systematically rejects the proposal of an external re-examination of the alleged misbehaviour. The EPO President also rejects the request of suspending all disciplinary procedures until new internal rules are in place which would be in conformity with European rule-of-law standards.

Workers and trade union representatives feel threatened now a union representative has been dismissed in The Hague on the 4th November 2016. This to us is evidence that management is determined to destroy the union. This kind of behaviour is unacceptable for any administration on the territory of European Union Member states. Many more EPO conflicts remain unsolved to date. They have been reported upon since 2013 and brought to the attention of governments and members of parliaments in complaint letters – the whole situation is degenerating into a general crisis at the EPO. The Dutch national Parliament decided to debate the issue around the scandals at the EPO. Such an action is unheard of not only for the EPO, but for any international organisation in Europe.

Time has come for the Member states of the EPO to act – the credibility of Europe as a whole is at stake, if fundamental rights and values expected from EU Member states (and accession candidates) are repeatedly and systematically breached right in the heart of Europe, at the EPO.

JW Goudriaan
EPSU General Secretary

It’s not too clear just how much more of that lawlessness and bad publicity it entails Battistelli and his regime can endure. The longer they endure this and maintain power, the more damage gets done to the whole Organisation, negatively impacting even the delegates. Why do they not realise this and take immediate action?

Links 29/11/2016: Core Apps Hackfest, MuckRock Goes FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 3:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Greenlight for Girls: Finding the STEM Leaders of the Future

      There is growing anxiety within tech companies about the lack of skilled professionals to keep up with demand. There’s also a realization that one of the largest untapped resources is women. A keynote at the recent Embedded Linux Conference Europe in Berlin described a potential solution to the challenge called Greenlight for Girls, a non-profit organization with a mission to provide girls around the world with the opportunity to love STEM.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fans poke fun of Flint Water Crisis before U-M, Ohio State game

      It’s not surprising that during rivalry week between the University of Michigan and Ohio State University, offensive and vulgar things are exchanged by the two fan bases.

      Usually, the insults are directed at the teams, players and schools involved in the rivalry.

    • Michigan Pediatrician Gives Update On Children’s Health, One Year After Flint Water Crisis

      Flint, Michigan is still struggling more than a year in a half after dangerous lead levels were found in the water. Dr. Hanna-Attisha was one of the first to raise concerns about children’s health. NPR’s Scott Simon asks the pediatrician for an update.

    • Send patients to private sector to avert winter crisis, hospitals told

      Hospitals have been told to discharge thousands of patients and pass some scheduled surgery to private organisations to reduce pressure ahead of a potential winter crisis, it was reported.

      Leaked memos also revealed that managers have been banned from declaring black alerts, the highest level, when hospital services are unable to cope with demand, the Daily Telegraph said.

      The newspaper claimed instructions were sent by NHS England and the regulator NHS Improvement last month to reduce the levels of bed occupancy in hospitals, which are the most crowded they have ever been ahead of winter.

      In the three months to the end of September, 89.1% of acute and general beds were full, compared with 87% last year, prompting the order for hospital trusts to take the drastic measures.

    • WHO Group Suggests New Name For Falsified Medicines, Dropping ‘Counterfeit’

      A widely representative World Health Organization technical working group has recommended new terminology for substandard or falsified medicines, after years of sharp disagreement among WHO members that led to the tongue-twister: “substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled/falsified/counterfeit” medical products. The working group recommends a simpler formula: kick out intellectual property rights by dropping the term “counterfeit” and just call the products “substandard and falsified.”

    • FAO Postpones New Director For Office In Geneva

      The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) today announced the postponement of the assumption of duties of the person appointed to become the new director of the FAO liaison office in Geneva. The postponement comes after the government of Peru raised concerns that FAO’s appointment of former Peruvian first lady Nadine Heredia Alarcón interferes with a government investigation of corruption and money-laundering against her.

  • Security

    • ‘You Hacked,’ Cyber Attackers Crash Muni Computer System Across SF [Ed: Microsoft Windows]

      That was the message on San Francisco Muni station computer screens across the city, giving passengers free rides all day on Saturday.

    • SF’s Transit Hack Could’ve Been Way Worse—And Cities Must Prepare

      This weekend, San Francisco’s public transit riders got what seemed like a Black Friday surprise: The system wouldn’t take their money. Not that Muni’s bosses didn’t want to, or suddenly forgot about their agency’s budget shortfalls.

      Nope—someone had attacked and locked the computer system through which riders pay their fares. Payment machines told riders, “You Hacked. ALL data encrypted,” and the culprit allegedly demanded a 100 Bitcoin ransom (about $73,000).

      The agency acknowledged the attack, which also disrupted its email system, and a representative said the agency refused to pay off the attacker. Unable to collect fares, Muni opened the gates and kept trains running, so people could at least get where they were going. By Monday morning, everything was back to normal.

    • Newly discovered router flaw being hammered by in-the-wild attacks

      Online criminals—at least some of them wielding the notorious Mirai malware that transforms Internet-of-things devices into powerful denial-of-service cannons—have begun exploiting a critical flaw that may be present in millions of home routers.

    • Locking Down Your Linux Server

      No matter what your Linux, you need to protect it with an iptable-based firewall.

      Yes! You’ve just set up your first Linux server and you’re ready to rock and roll! Right? Uh, no.

      By default, your Linux box is not secure against attackers. Oh sure, it’s more secure than Windows XP, but that’s not saying much.

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Reproducible Builds: week 83 in Stretch cycle
    • Neutralizing Intel’s Management Engine

      Five or so years ago, Intel rolled out something horrible. Intel’s Management Engine (ME) is a completely separate computing environment running on Intel chipsets that has access to everything. The ME has network access, access to the host operating system, memory, and cryptography engine. The ME can be used remotely even if the PC is powered off. If that sounds scary, it gets even worse: no one knows what the ME is doing, and we can’t even look at the code. When — not ‘if’ — the ME is finally cracked open, every computer running on a recent Intel chip will have a huge security and privacy issue. Intel’s Management Engine is the single most dangerous piece of computer hardware ever created.

    • Muni system hacker hit others by scanning for year-old Java vulnerability

      The attacker who infected servers and desktop computers at the San Francisco Metropolitan Transit Agency (SFMTA) with ransomware on November 25 apparently gained access to the agency’s network by way of a known vulnerability in an Oracle WebLogic server. That vulnerability is similar to the one used to hack a Maryland hospital network’s systems in April and infect multiple hospitals with crypto-ransomware. And evidence suggests that SFMTA wasn’t specifically targeted by the attackers; the agency just came up as a target of opportunity through a vulnerability scan.

      In an e-mail to Ars, SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose said that on November 25, “we became aware of a potential security issue with our computer systems, including e-mail.” The ransomware “encrypted some systems mainly affecting computer workstations,” he said, “as well as access to various systems. However, the SFMTA network was not breached from the outside, nor did hackers gain entry through our firewalls. Muni operations and safety were not affected. Our customer payment systems were not hacked. Also, despite media reports, no data was accessed from any of our servers.”

    • Researchers’ Attack Code Circumvents Defense Mechanisms on Linux, Leaving Machines Susceptible

      Researchers develop such attack codes for aiding Linux security’s onward movement. A demonstration of the way an attack code is possible to write towards effectively exploiting just any flaw, the above kinds emphasize that Linux vendors require vigorously enhancing the safety mechanism on Linux instead of just reacting when attacks occur.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • ‘CIA created ISIS’, says Julian Assange as Wikileaks releases 500k US cables

      WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange today said the CIA was responsible for paving the way for ISIS as the whistle blowing organisation released more than half a million formerly confidential US diplomatic cables dating back to 1979.

    • Half of returning jihadists still devoted to cause: report

      One in four jihadists who returned to Germany after going to fight with terror groups in Syria or northern Iraq cooperate with authorities, according to a new government report seen by Die Welt and reported on Monday.
      The report was conducted by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), domestic security agency the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), and the Hessian Information and Competence Centre against Extremism (HKE).

      The 61-page report showed that in recent years, around 850 people have left Germany to fight in Syria and Iraq. The study reviewed the actions of 784 people between the ages of 13 and 62 who had joined Isis, Jabhat al-Nusra or Junud al-Sham.

    • Obama Expands War With Al Qaeda to Include Shabab in Somalia

      The escalating American military engagement in Somalia has led the Obama administration to expand the legal scope of the war against Al Qaeda, a move that will strengthen President-elect Donald J. Trump’s authority to combat thousands of Islamist fighters in the chaotic Horn of Africa nation.

      The administration has decided to deem the Shabab, the Islamist militant group in Somalia, to be part of the armed conflict that Congress authorized against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to senior American officials. The move is intended to shore up the legal basis for an intensifying campaign of airstrikes and other counterterrorism operations, carried out largely in support of African Union and Somali government forces.

    • Relativism and Castro

      Anybody who, like myself, has devoted much of their life to African development, is bound to have acquired a bias towards Fidel Castro. Cuba played a crucial role in sustaining the liberation struggles throughout Southern Africa. If Castro had done nothing else, he would deserve warm remembrance for that. But much less well-known in Europe is Cuba’s extraordinary contribution to healthcare throughout Africa. Ghanaian, Togolese and Beninois villages and hospitals had excellent Cuban doctors, and I know part-Cuban families in each of those countries as a result. I am sure it was widespread across much of Africa, I just highlight that for which I can personally vouch. That a tiny island, itself a victim of colonialism and slavery, should be able to make a contribution to African healthcare that can without a stretch be mentioned in the same sentence as the aid efforts of the major western powers, is an incredible achievement.

      It was of course the export of Cuba’s tremendous domestic achievement in healthcare and education, and some of the attempts these last 24 hours to belittle that have been pathetic.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Doubting Thomases

      I have been quite amused to receive some – well actually rather a lot of – rather aggressive tweets and other social media messages from people who believe Julian Assange is dead, and are therefore outraged I had supper with him on Friday. This seems to me the ultimate in concern trolling – to pretend to adore someone so much that you are angry and upset to find the object of your adoration has not been killed or kidnapped. There are youtube videos alleging that Julian is dead which together have attracted millions of viewers. It is a peculiar kind of cargo-cult.

      [...]

      I have been visiting Julian since before Jane from Idaho heard of him, and the purpose of visiting him is not to provide comfort to Jane from Idaho. If my word does that, fine. If she does not want to take my word, also fine. But if people could at least research who John Pilger, Yanis Varoufakis and myself are before deciding we are a CIA plot, that would be helpful. Stopping the aggressive and insulting tweets would be nice too.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Finland wants to bring 250,000 electric cars onto its roads by 2030

      Berner (Centre), the Minister of Transport and Communications, believes a variety of measures, such as tax incentives, are needed to raise the number of electric vehicles on Finland’s roads to 250,000 by 2030.

      Finland is intent on raising the number of electric and natural gas vehicles on its roads to 250,000 and 50,000 respectively by 2030, Anne Berner (Centre), the Minister of Transport and Communications, revealed in news conference on Thursday.

      With the country currently having fewer than one thousand registered electric vehicles, measures such as tax incentives will be required to achieve this objective, she acknowledged.

    • ‘Nothing to See Here’ Headlines Conceal Police Violence at Dakota Access

      Sorry, New York Times–when more than 470 people have been arrested opposing the pipeline since August, that’s not the news. Nor did the print edition headline—“16 Arrested at North Dakota Pipeline Protest as Tensions Continue”—add anything.

      No, the news in the story came in the second paragraph, where reporter Jonah Engel Bromwich wrote that “officials also defended their use of fire hoses against protesters the night before, despite the below-freezing weather.”

  • Finance

    • EU chief tells Brexiteer MPs they have ‘very interesting argument, the only problem being that it has nothing to do with reality’

      The President of the European Council has suggested Brexiteer MPs are putting forward an argument that “has nothing to do with reality” as he blamed Britain for the “anxiety” affecting EU nationals in the UK.

      Donald Tusk’s intervention comes after his office received a letter, organised by Conservative MP Michael Tomlinson and signed by 80 MPs, criticising Brussels’ refusal to allow formal talks on the issue.

      But in a blunt response, Mr Tusk said: “It’s a very interesting argument, the only problem being that it has nothing to do with reality”

    • Stripe’s Valuation Nearly Doubles to $9.2 Billion
    • No Credit History? No Problem. Lenders Are Looking at Your Phone Data

      Financial institutions, overcoming some initial trepidation about privacy, are increasingly gauging consumers’ creditworthiness by using phone-company data on mobile calling patterns and locations.

      The practice is tantalizing for lenders because it could help them reach some of the 2 billion people who don’t have bank accounts. On the other hand, some of the phone data could open up the risk of being used to discriminate against potential borrowers.

      Phone carriers and banks have gained confidence in using mobile data for lending after seeing startups show preliminary success with the method in the past few years. Selling such data could become a more than $1 billion-a-year business for U.S. phone companies over the next decade, according to Crone Consulting LLC.

    • How Humans Became ‘Consumers’: A History

      “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production,” Adam Smith confidently announced in The Wealth of Nations in 1776. Smith’s quote is famous, but in reality this was one of the few times he explicitly addressed the topic. Consumption is conspicuous by its absence in The Wealth of Nations, and neither Smith nor his immediate pupils treated it as a separate branch of political economy.

      It was in an earlier work, 1759’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments, that Smith put his finger on the social and psychological impulses that push people to accumulate objects and gadgets. People, he observed, were stuffing their pockets with “little conveniences,” and then buying coats with more pockets to carry even more. By themselves, tweezer cases, elaborate snuff boxes, and other “baubles” might not have much use. But, Smith pointed out, what mattered was that people looked at them as “means of happiness.” It was in people’s imagination that these objects became part of a harmonious system and made the pleasures of wealth “grand and beautiful and noble.”

    • This is how unequal German society has become

      Measuring the after-tax income of German households in terms of Gini coefficients, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation released a report on Monday which showed that German income inequality reached a peak of 28.8 in 2013.

      A Gini coefficient of zero represents absolute equality, while 100 represents absolute inequality.

    • New leaks confirm TiSA proposals that would undermine civil liberties

      Today, on 25 November 2016, German blog Netzpolitik.org in association with Greenpeace published new leaked documents concerning the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), a “trade” agreement that is currently being negotiated between 23 members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), including the European Union.

    • The TPP wasn’t killed by Donald Trump – our protests worked

      The reports are rolling in: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is dead. If you read the obituaries, most news outlets seem to agree that the cause of death was simple: the election of Donald Trump, who railed against the deal during his campaign. But the pundits have the story wrong.

      The real story is that an unprecedented, international uprising of people from across the political spectrum took on some of the most powerful institutions in the world, and won.

    • Some Trade Deals on Hold after Trump’s Election, but Danger Lurks in the Lesser-Known Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA)

      Fair Traders who are celebrating the defeat of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may see their hard work undone if the talks towards the proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) continue under a Trump administration.

      Many Democrats who minimized the importance of the negative impacts of corporate trade deals on working class Americans have now paid the price in the recent elections. As my colleagues at the Center for Economic and Policy Research have pointed out, racists and xenophobes were always going to vote for Trump but the key voters the Democrats were counting on that they lost were largely working class voters, many of them union members, in states hit hard by trade deals (supported by both parties) that put working class people in competition with lower-income manufacturing workers in other countries while preserving protections for intellectual property-holders and high income professions.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • David Petraeus, Secretary of State Candidate, Meets With Trump

      Mr. Petraeus, a retired general and former C.I.A. director, spent an hour with Mr. Trump at his offices in Trump Tower in Manhattan and told reporters afterward that the president-elect had given him a tutorial on world affairs.

      “He basically walked us around the world,” Mr. Petraeus said. “Showed a great grasp of a variety of the challenges that are out there and some of the opportunities as well. Very good conversation, and we’ll see where it goes from here.” In a Twitter post 15 minutes later, Mr. Trump said, “Just met with General Petraeus — was very impressed!”

    • Far From a Distraction, Hamilton Feud Calls Attention to the Real Issue: Trump’s Historic Unpopularity

      I would argue that the most important undercovered story of the Trump transition period is the fact that Trump is the least popular president-elect in modern history (Daily News, 11/17/16). This information has tremendous import both for the strength of Trump’s brand of far-right politics and for the potential for public mobilization to block his most damaging policies—if the public is aware of it, that is.

      The Hamilton audience booing Pence—though far from a random sample—is, in fact, a manifestation of the majority opinion in the United States. Coverage of the controversy would have done well to make that clear.

      The scandals that the blogosphere scolds think we should have been paying more attention to are indeed important—but not because Trump will ever be held directly accountable for them, or even because they will have a direct impact on the lives of people. Instead, they’re important because they illustrate the unprecedented corruption of the Trump regime, and this should lead to even greater unpopularity for Trump. In other words, stories like the Trump University settlement are important because they may lead to more stories like the Hamilton confrontation.

    • 3 Things Killing American Democracy (That Aren’t Trump)

      The Senate Killed A Third Of Our Government, And We Re-Elected Them For It

    • ‘A recipe for scandal’: Trump conflicts of interest point to constitutional crisis

      Constitutional lawyers and White House ethics counsellors from Democratic and Republican administrations have warned Donald Trump his presidency might be blocked by the electoral college if he does not give up ownership of at least some of his business empire.

      “The brand is certainly a hotter brand than it was before,” Donald Trump told the New York Times on Wednesday, and his election victory buzz does indeed seem to have been good for business.

      Since the surprise outcome of the 8 November vote, foreign diplomats have been flocking to the newest Trump hotel in Washington to hear sales pitches about the business and vie to book their delegations into its rooms overlooking Pennsylvania Avenue for the inauguration on 20 January.

    • Stein nears goal for Mich. recount

      Michigan could come roaring back into the national presidential spotlight this week as Green Party candidate Jill Stein prepares to demand a statewide recount that Republican President-elect Donald Trump is denouncing.

      Michigan’s Board of State Canvassers meets at 2 p.m. Monday to vote on certifying election results in all 83 counties that show Trump narrowly prevailed over Democrat Hillary Clinton by 10,704 votes.

      That action will start a 48-hour clock for Stein to exercise her right to request and pay for a hand recount of 4.8 million votes cast in the contentious Nov. 8 election.

    • Official: Trump could object to Michigan recount request

      President-elect Donald Trump would have the right to object to a recount requested by Green Party candidate Jill Stein, with the Board of State Canvassers deciding the issue, an election official said Monday.

      But Chris Thomas, director of the Bureau of Elections, said Monday he doesn’t think Trump could argue there should be no recount at all, provided Stein pays the required fee and raises the prospect of a mistaken count or fraud. Instead, Instead, Trump could argue about what form the recount should take, Thomas said. Attorneys representing Trump said Monday they favor a machine recount, which they said would be more efficient than a hand recount, which Stein is expected to request.

    • Backlash against voting audits makes elections less secure

      Almost three weeks after Election Day, Wisconsin is getting ready to recount its votes, and Pennsylvania and Michigan may soon follow suit. Green Party candidate Jill Stein has raised over $6 million to fund the effort, saying fears of a hacked election couldn’t be dismissed in light of earlier hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign staff. Hillary Clinton’s team signed on to the recount campaign over the weekend, citing similar concerns.

      Many are still skeptical. Although Trump won Wisconsin by just over 25,000 votes, there’s still no technical evidence of vote-tampering and the results are generally consistent with polling and demographic data. As a result, it’s extremely unlikely that a few hacked precincts could have tipped the scales. At the same time, even the suggestion of an audit has set off political chaos, as President-elect Trump responded with unfounded allegations that millions of votes had been cast illegally.

    • The 13 impossible crises that humanity now faces

      Please don’t read this unless you are feeling strong. This is a list of 13 major crises that, I believe, confront us. There may be more. Please feel free to add to it or to knock it down. I’m sorry to say that it’s not happy reading.

    • America is Just Losing It

      America, you are losing it. Seriously, you have got to chill.

      I know your candidate lost to Trump — only by the electoral vote! — and I know this came as a surprise. I know you feel the apocalypse is upon us. Maybe it is, but writing things like the following is not going to help. It may even cause reasonable people to think you are insane and want to run away from the politics you think you are supporting. It may even make you sound like the people you Hate, the people you feared would not support the results of the election, the conspiracy theorists and closed-minded, the uneducated.

      As for why Hillary Clinton lost, here’s New York Times columnist Paul Krugman saying “So it looks more and more as if we had an election swung, in effect, by a faction of our own security sector in alliance with Putin.” Krugman is actually saying his educated brain is telling him Clinton lost because the FBI colluded with Vladimir Putin to throw the election to Trump for reasons not specified by Krugman.

    • A Brief History of the Election OMG PUTIN IS TAKING CONTROL OF THIS ARTICLE!!!!!!!!!!!

      Media ignore Clinton’s weaknesses and Trump’s strengths for 18 months to epically blow election predictions.

      No calls for recounts.

      Clinton concedes.

      No calls for recounts.

      Despite over 200 years of the electoral college system, and this being the fifth presidential election where the winner did not receive the majority of the popular vote, Clinton supporters begin bleating about her winning the popular vote so, whatever, she should become president. Many seem surprised to learn of this “electoral” system;

      No calls for recounts.

      Clinton supporters hold street protests.

      No calls for recounts.

      Effort made to talk electors out of voting for Trump fails to gain traction.

      No calls for recounts.

      Two weeks after the election in the midst of the Trump transition OMG the Russians hacked the election Putin is controlling America with RT.com thought waves and fake news so we gotta recount it but only so faith in American democracy is restored.

    • Appeal to the Working Class? Don’t Bother, Says Krugman

      In the wake of a disastrous Election Day, does the Democratic Party need to present economic policies that have more to offer the majority of voters? Don’t bother, argues New York Times columnist Paul Krugman (11/25/16).

      Krugman begins by acknowledging what some have denied—that class played some role in what happened on November 8: “What put Donald Trump in striking distance was overwhelming support from whites without college degrees,” he writes. “So what can Democrats do to win back at least some of those voters?”

    • Euphemism as Journalism: Distracting the Audience by Focusing on Trump’s Skill at Distraction

      Euphemism isn’t journalism, but conflating the two can be irresistible for mainline journalists when candor might seem overly intrepid. Two months before Inauguration Day, a straw in the US media wind pointed toward evasive fog around the incoming president when PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff convened a roundtable segment (11/21/16) with program regulars Tamara Keith of NPR and Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report.

      From the outset, the journalists emphasized that the new president won’t be “traditional.” Walter said: “We have to stop treating Donald Trump like this is just a traditional, normal political candidate who’s now going to be a traditional, normal president.”

      Moments later Keith, a White House correspondent for NPR, was explaining that Trump “has not related to the press or the public in a traditional way ever. And he’s had an incredible skill at distracting, at creating—there was this movie Up and there was a dog who gets distracted, and, squirrel, squirrel. That’s what happens.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Putin brings China’s Great Firewall to Russia in cybersecurity pact

      Russia has been working on incorporating elements of China’s Great Firewall into the “Red Web”, the country’s system of internet filtering and control, after unprecedented cyber collaboration between the countries.

      A decision earlier this month to block the networking site LinkedIn in Russia is the most visible in a series of measures to bring the internet under greater state control.

      Legislation was announced this month that gives the Kremlin primacy over cyberspace – the exchange points, domain names and cross-border fibre-optic cables that make up the architecture of the internet.

    • University Pledges End to Bans and Censorship On Campus, Supports Free Speech

      A university has pledged to end its culture of censorship and no-platforming, and has instead pledged to defend free speech.

      Cardiff University in Wales has said it will no longer ban events by controversial speakers, declaring “censorship is not the answer”.

      The decision was made by the Cardiff University Students’ Union at their annual conference last week, where they passed a motion called “Challenge, Don’t Censor”.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • FBI and NSA Poised to Gain New Surveillance Powers Under Trump

      The FBI, National Security Agency and CIA are likely to gain expanded surveillance powers under President-elect Donald Trump and a Republican-controlled Congress, a prospect that has privacy advocates and some lawmakers trying to mobilize opposition.

      Trump’s first two choices to head law enforcement and intelligence agencies — Republican Senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general and Republican Representative Mike Pompeo for director of the Central Intelligence Agency — are leading advocates for domestic government spying at levels not seen since the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Detained VOA Reporter Released in Turkey

      Hatice Kamer, (who also goes by the name Khajijan Farqin), a freelance reporter working for the Voice of America’s Kurdish service, has been released after being detained by Turkish authorities in Diyarbakir.

      Details of her arrest Saturday were relayed by a family friend, who said the reasons for Kamer’s detention remain unclear. Her family has said that because of a state of emergency declared in the area, even her attorney was not able to contact her.

    • BBC, Voice of America reporters detained in southeast Turkey

      Turkish authorities detained two reporters working for foreign news organizations in southeast Turkey, the latest journalists taken into custody as part of the government’s sweeping crackdown following a failed coup in July.

      BBC Turkish correspondent Hatice Kamer was detained Saturday in the town of Sirvan while covering a recent copper mine collapse that killed at least 11 workers, the broadcaster said. Voice of America said its freelance reporter, Khajijan Farqin, was detained the same day in Diyarbakir.

    • Norway can extradite wanted Islamist to Italy: court

      The infamous Norway-based fundamentalist preacher Najmuddin Ahmad Faraj, better known as Mullah Krekar, lost his appeal to the Supreme Court on Wednesday and now faces extradition to Italy where he faces terror charges.
      Krekar had appealed against earlier decisions by the Oslo District Court and the Borgarting Court of Appeal, but Norway’s highest court upheld the decisions on Wednesday and cleared the way for Krekar’s extradition.

      The 60-year-old Islamist can now be sent to Italy to stand trial on charges that he led the Rawti Shax, a network that has planned to carry out attacks in the West.

    • ‘Trojan Horse’ plotters dodge teaching ban

      A third figure who helped run a Trojan Horse school, Mohammed Ashraf, has become secretary of a local constituency Labour Party. He has applied to be a Labour council candidate at the next local elections, but claimed last night he had dropped the application. Ashraf was a governor at Golden Hillock School, which banned the teaching of some subjects and segregated boys and girls. He was later removed from the…

    • Moroccans Launch Petition Following 2M’s Broadcast of ‘Makeup Tutorial’

      Rabat – Moroccan women launched a petition on Friday calling for Morocco’s government and the High Authority for Audio-visual Communication, known better as HACA, to penalize National television service, 2M, for broadcasting “tutorial instructions for females to hide bruises of domestic violence,” on its morning show “Sabahiyates,” on Wednesday.

      Amid the heated scandal that the show stirred on social media, Moroccan women took to change.org to create a petition calling for all Moroccans to sign it as a moving step toward denouncing the “standardization of violence against women.”

    • Hey Media, We Don’t Need Another Glossy Profile on That Nazi Dork

      There’s been a recent wave of press for a certain unnamed Nazi Dork who threw a gathering in Washington, DC, for his Nazi friends this past week, attempting to use the Trump victory to raise the profile of himself and his Nazi “think tank.” The man who coined the term “alt right”—which has become a popular euphemism for those unwilling to use “white supremacist” or “neo-Nazi”—has of late received fairly softball interviews in Mother Jones (10/27/16), the LA Times (11/19/16) and, most recently, the Washington Post (11/22/16)

      His Nazi get-together got endless coverage, from the New York Times to The Atlantic to USA Today to CNN. The actual event itself, according to the Post, had a Nazi attendee–to–reporter ratio of 6 to 1. The Nazi Dork’s goal was to exploit and feed off the Trump campaign and subsequent victory, and he did it with tremendous success, thanks in part to a shiny-object obsessed media.

      The balance between covering hate and promoting it is a difficult one, and one that we shouldn’t dismiss out of hand. But after a week of wall-to-wall coverage, most of which one could imagine the Nazi Dork and his Nazi friends reading and posting to Facebook with a smirk, the balance has come down heavily on the side of fascist agitprop.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality shouldn’t be a debate – it’s a symptom of something worse: gatekeepers

      Net neutrality should not even be a debate. Any market actor who abuses their customers and trust to the level of not respecting net neutrality, on a functioning market, will be dropped like a bad habit. Therefore, the mere existence of a net neutrality debate is a symptom of something much worse: the existence of gatekeepers. That’s the underlying problem that needs to be solved.

      Let’s pick a western Internet country ranked roughly in the middle of the pack. In this particular country, Internet connectivity is seen as a random utility, delivered the last mile by the municipal energy infrastructure. When signing up for an ISP, every household has 10-15 operators to choose from, at 100/100 Mbit speeds (or higher), unmetered, for about $27 per month. This is what happens when gatekeepers aren’t involved.

      Actually, let’s back up a bit here. The energy infrastructure provider could have been acting as an Internet gatekeeper, as it technically controls the only pipe to the homes, but has no strategic interest in doing so. This nuance is absolutely crucial: unlike telco and cable industries, the energy companies are not under existential threat by the Internet.

    • I can’t just stand by and watch Mark Zuckerberg destroy the internet.

      Mark Zuckerberg — Facebook’s CEO — is probably the most powerful person alive today. He may even be the most powerful person ever.

      Traditionally, the president of the United States has been considered the most powerful person on Earth. After all, President Obama controls the most powerful military on the planet, and has considerable influence over the $18 trillion US economy.

      [...]

      Mark Zuckerberg has none of these limitations. His power flows from Facebook, the seventh largest corporation on the planet by market capitalization, of which he owns 18% of the stock and controls 60% of the voting rights.

      At 32 years of age, he could remain the CEO of Facebook for another 50 years.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Antigua & Barbuda To Lift US IP Protection In 2017 If US Fails To Comply With WTO Ruling

      Caribbean nation Antigua & Barbuda has declared that it will exercise an option granted it by a World Trade Organization dispute settlement panel to lift protection on US intellectual property rights starting in 2017 if the US does not finally change a law blocking the island nation’s online gambling services or compensate it.

      According to a WTO release circulated today, Antigua & Barbuda said the 12-year case has dragged on too long and its losses have totalled some US$ 250 million, causing harm to the country’s small economy.

    • Copyrights

      • UK Police “Don’t Anticipate” Working With Copyright Troll Partner

        Last week following his release from prison, UK-based copyright troll partner Robert Croucher said that he’d become involved in a private funding initiative for the City of London Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit. Speaking with TorrentFreak, PIPCU have confirmed that while they have met with Croucher, they don’t anticipate doing business with him.

      • Google Asked to Remove a Billion “Pirate” Search Results in a Year

        Copyright holders asked Google to remove more than 1,000,000,000 allegedly infringing links from its search engine over the past twelve months. A new record, in line with the continued rise of takedown requests and the increase in pressure on Google to do more to tackle piracy.

ILOAT Decisions: Upcoming Publication of Two EPO Cases (Abuse Against Staff)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Reminder about tomorrow’s “exceptional public delivery” from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and a request for additional information

“Please do not forget tomorrow,” a reader told us in relation to this “exceptional public delivery” — a subject we alluded to earlier this month as it covers:

- Case No. 3785: Fritz No. 2 v. EPO (page empty at the moment)
- Case No. 3796: Vermeulen v. EPO (also empty until tomorrow)

“People who are more familiar with the above cases than the judges assigned to these cases can contract us with additional information prior to or after publication.”“See extracts already available,” the reader told us, taking note of Facebook where ILO is mentioned in relation to the above. Earlier today we mentioned the lack of justice at ILO, which is far too slow and toothless.

People who are more familiar with the above cases than the judges assigned to these cases can contract us with additional information prior to or after publication. We need to know the full story and we can redact names (although the above text from ILO suggests no requests for anonymity from the complainants).

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