Links 15/11/2016: “498 out of 500 of the Speediest Computers on the Planet Are Running Linux”

Posted in News Roundup at 5:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • ARK Crew Releases Open Source Code on GitHub

    ARK Crew, developers of the new ARK cryptocurrency ecosystem, has announced the release of its open source code on GitHub. The source code launch was set to coincide with the platform’s first developer-focused bounty program, designed to encourage others to participate in the review and provide feedback on the project.

  • Editorial: What Does Open Source Mean to You?

    The same goes for the large amount of open source JavaScript projects available to us developers. Whether they are intended to help you build amazing apps, or as a learning resource to help you level up your skills, these are all projects, supported and maintained by the community. Thanks to the collaborative nature of open source, you’re free to download and modify any of them and, most importantly, to contribute any changes you make back to the project itself.

    I love open source and I’m thankful for it. It’s an integral part of working on the internet, but one which it is all to easy to overlook. That’s why I’m happy that we’re dedicating a whole week’s worth of articles to the subject. Talking of which, let’s look at what we have in store…

  • ‘World’s first Open Source SDN and NFV Orchestrator’ demonstrated at Operations Transformation Forum

    Huawei demonstrated the OPEN-O Sun, said to be the world’s first Open Source SDN and NFV Orchestrator, at the Operations Transformation Forum 2016 in Wuzhen, China.

    The forum brought together industry leaders from around the world to discuss the transformation of digital operations and share best practices. Helen Chen, leader of the OPEN-O Integration Project noted that the OPEN-O Orchestrator will soon be commercially available.

  • What to do about free riders in open organizations and communities: Addressing open source’s free rider problem

    For advice on addressing this problem, Jonathan suggests we look to ecosystem management, “an industry in itself, with its attendant experts, who write books and speak at conferences.” I recently read one of the seminal books in this area, Governing the Commons, by Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom, and I’d like to offer some initial thoughts on how it might apply to open organizations and open source sustainability.


    Free-riding in open source communities leads to overworked and underpaid individuals, and eventually to burnout. It’s bad for people, and it’s bad for projects. It’s a problem we need to address. Ostrom shows us how to tackle the problem with a methodical approach to institutional design and analysis. Open organizations that steward open source software projects have much to learn from her, while recognizing that we will need to adapt her recommendations to fit our situation.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

    • What’s In Store for Cloud Computing, Apache CloudStack in 2017?
    • Apache jclouds 2.0, a Java Multi-Cloud Toolkit, Arrives

      Over the past several months, we’ve taken note of the many open source projects that the Apache Software Foundation has been elevating to Top-Level Status. The organization incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, and has squarely turned its focus to data-centric and developer-focused tools in recent months. As Apache moves these projects to Top-Level Status, they gain valuable community support.

      Apache also incubates a number of interesting cloud-centric projects. Now, it has announced the availability of Apache jclouds v2.0, which is a Java multi-cloud toolkit.

  • Databases

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • GCC 7 Feature Development Ends

      GCC 7 feature development is officially over with the development phase entering stage three now where the focus is on bug-fixing.

      While GCC 7 feature development has ended, Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek wrote in this latest GCC status report, “Patches posted early enough during Stage 1 and not yet fully reviewed may still get in early in Stage 3. Please make sure to ping them soon enough.”

  • Public Services/Government

    • Parliament: Navarre should move to use open source

      The Parliament of Navarre, one of Spain’s autonomous regions, wants the region to switch to free and open source software. A resolution urging the government to draft a migration plan was adopted by the Parliament on 27 October.

    • [Older] Uncle Sam launches open source trove of government code

      The United States government has made good on its policy of requiring agencies to release 20 per cent of their bespoke code as open source by making code.gov live, complete with lots of code.

    • Hungary aims to get rid of IT vendor lock-in

      Hungary’s central government wants to reduce its dependency on a handful of IT vendorsm. To begin with, a decision taken last week aims to reduce the use of a proprietary office productivity suite by 60 % in 2020. The government also wants to improve its procurement of IT solutions in order to to create business opportunities for small and medium-sized companies.

    • Russian Bill Makes Free Software a Public Priority

      The draft, approved by the Russian Federation’s Duma (lower chamber) in mid-October, requires the public sector to prioritise Free Software over proprietary alternatives, gives precedence to local IT businesses that offer Free Software for public tenders, and recognises the need to encourage collaboration with the global network of Free Software organisations and communities.

    • Russian Bill makes Free Software a Public Priority

      Legislators have drafted a bill that will boost Free Software on multiple levels within the Russian Federation’s public sector.

      The draft, approved by the Russian Federation’s Duma (lower chamber) in mid-October, requires the public sector to prioritise Free Software over proprietary alternatives, gives precedence to local IT businesses that offer Free Software for public tenders, and recognises the need to encourage collaboration with the global network of Free Software organisations and communities.

      The text enforces prioritising Free Software over proprietary alternatives by requiring public administrations to formally justify any purchase of proprietary software. The purchase will be considered unjustified if a Free Software solution exists that satisfies the list of technical specifications and standards. In addition, all IT purchase agreements in the public sphere must be registered in a dedicated registrar and detail the overall quantity and price of both purchased proprietary and Free Software.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Open source licenses are shared resources

      One can easily see examples of software as a shared resource, whether shared by a few people or a few million people. Of course, these shared resources are not always as fully appreciated as they should be. They can pass underappreciated until drama such as a security vulnerability draws attention and illuminates the importance of what is being shared.

      But a license? A shared resource?

      Yes, open source licenses are shared resources. And, they, too, may be underappreciated until a vulnerability is exploited. Legal documents (contracts, licenses, whatever they may be called) are typically unique to each commercial enterprise. Certainly, there is some commonality. Lawyers adapt from what others have done. Patterns are followed. Text is reused.

    • Building Out an Open Source Project? Your License Matters

      It was only a few years ago when Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst made the prediction that open source software would soon become nearly pervasive in organizations of all sizes. That has essentially become true, and many businesses now use open source components without even knowing that they are doing so.

      As businesses adopt open source platforms such as OpenStack and Hadoop, they are complementing them with their own open source projects.For these reasons and other ones, it is more important than ever to know your way around the world of laws and licenses that pertain to open source software. Leaders of new projects need to know how to navigate the complex world of licensing and the law, as do IT administrators. Here is our newly updated ollection of resources to help you navigate the world of open source laws and licenses.

      We’ve rounded up some resources on open source, licenes and the law, as seen in this post, but the topic remains a moving target. Did you know that there is an official, free journal dedicated to open source law? It’s the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review, and it’s worth looking into.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Boundless Launches GIS Products Based on Open-Source, Data-Rich Future

      In a proprietary, license-based model, users might need to pay more to scale up their operations. For some, the extra costs might mean going through a procurement cycle, which takes time and resources.

    • Free and open sewing patterns gain popularity

      About two months ago, I started rewriting the entire Makemypattern.com codebase. I am using this opportunity to implement some improvements and features that were difficult to implement in the existing backend. But my main reason is that I am going to make all of my code available as open source. And for that, I need to make it easy for others to extend and adapt the code.

      With a mission that is not merely about making patterns anymore, I also feel like a name change was needed. So when I finish my rewrite, I will relocate to Freesewing.org, which is free as in beer and free as in speech.

  • Programming/Development


  • How Google changed itself for India in a ‘mission to connect the world’

    Alphabet Inc’s Google is ready to spend billions to get millions of Indians online– through a slew of India-specific products and initiatives – to stay relevant in the world’s fastest-growing internet economy.

    With 350-million internet users, India has already surpassed the US, and the number is expected to double by 2020. Around 15,000 new Indians log onto the internet every day, fitting perfectly in Google’s scheme of the “next billion internet users” gambit to acquire new customers.

    But this wasn’t the case three years ago, not until smartphones burgeoned and a large number of people started accessing the Net through their phones.

    All that makes India more important for Google, especially after China, which has the maximum number of internet users globally, closed its doors the American internet firm.

  • Science

    • The Distribution of Users’ Computer Skills: Worse Than You Think

      One of usability’s most hard-earned lessons is that you are not the user. This is why it’s a disaster to guess at the users’ needs. Since designers are so different from the majority of the target audience, it’s not just irrelevant what you like or what you think is easy to use — it’s often misleading to rely on such personal preferences.

      For sure, anybody who works on a design project will have a more accurate and detailed mental model of the user interface than an outsider. If you target a broad consumer audience, you will also have a higher IQ than your average user, higher literacy levels, and, most likely, you’ll be younger and experience less age-driven degradation of your abilities than many of your users.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Flint mayor asks for state of emergency renewal over water crisis

      Mayor Karen Weaver has asked for a renewal of the state emergency it was declared nearly one year ago over Flint’s water crisis.

      A resolution is on the agenda for Flint City Council members to approve or deny the request at Monday evening’s meeting as the declaration is due to expire Nov. 14.

      “Mayor Karen W. Weaver has stated that it imperative that Flint’s state of emergency remain in place until the city of Flint’s drinking water is deemed safe to drink without a filter,” states the resolution.

    • Congress begins lame duck session, with Flint water crisis funding on the agenda

      Michigan’s senior U.S. Senator says there are some things that Congress has to address when it returns to work this week.

      Sen. Debbie Stabenow says her top priority during Congress’ lame duck session will be lining up federal money for Flint.

      “We have a promise that was made to me by the Speaker of the House and the Republican Majority Leader that before the end of this year we would pass the money that’s critical to fixing the pipes in Flint,” says Stabenow.

    • VW admits Audi automatic transmission software can change test behavior

      Last week, a German newspaper reported that Audi was hiding emissions-cheating software in its automatic transmissions. I don’t know why it took a whole week, but Volkswagen finally came around to admitting as much.

      “Adaptive shift programs can lead to incorrect and non-reproducible results” in emissions tests, Volkswagen told Reuters on Sunday. Software in the AL 551 automatic transmission may detect testing conditions and shift in a way that minimizes emissions, only to act “normally” out on the road. Much like Dieselgate’s defeat device, that leads to higher-than-imagined pollution, which could be in excess of legal limits.

      Audi’s AL 551 can be found in both gas and diesel vehicles, including the A6, A8 and Q5.

    • WTO ‘Paragraph 6’ System For Affordable Medicine: Time For Change?

      A range of practitioners and representatives in the manufacture of medicines, intergovernmental officials, academics and civil society representatives last week gave diverse views on the effectiveness of a waiver to international trade rules intended to ease shipments of affordable medicines to low-income countries.

      Alongside the first day of the 8-9 November World Trade Organization Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the intergovernmental South Centre held a side event to discuss experiences in the implementation and the effective functioning of the system.

    • New MSF survey: Thousands of kids dying in northeast Nigeria

      Thousands of children have died of starvation and disease in Boko Haram-ravaged northeastern Nigeria, Doctors Without Borders said Tuesday quoting a new survey that is forcing Nigerian officials to stop denying the crisis.

      The Paris-based organization hopes that official recognition of the calamity in which “thousands are dying” will help bring urgent aid before older children also start dying, Natalie Roberts, emergency program manager for northeast Nigeria, told The Associated Press.

      A survey of two refugee camps in the northeastern city of Maiduguri shows a quarter of the expected population of under-5 children is missing, assumed dead, according to the organization. Under-5 mortality rates in the camps are more than double the threshold for declaring an emergency, Roberts said in a phone interview from Paris.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • How to Secure Your Ubuntu Network

      In 2016, keeping your Ubuntu network secure is more important than ever. Despite what some people might think, there’s much more to this than merely putting up a router to protect a network. You must also configure each of your PCs properly to ensure you’re operating within a secure Ubuntu network. This article will show you how.

    • Linux Foundation Back Reproducible Builds Effort for Secure Software

      Building software securely requires a verifiable method of reproduction and that is why the Linux Foundation’s Core Infrastructure Initiative is supporting the Reproducible Builds Project.

      In an effort to help open-source software developers build more secure software, the Linux Foundation is doubling down on its efforts to help the reproducible builds project. Among the most basic and often most difficult aspects of software development is making sure that the software end-users get is the same software that developers actually built.

    • Boy, 17, admits TalkTalk hacking offences

      A 17-year-old boy has admitted hacking offences linked to a data breach at the communications firm TalkTalk.

      Norwich Youth Court was told he had used hacking tool software to identify vulnerabilities on target websites.

    • Upgrade for KDE neon Security Issue

      Last month we moved the neon archive to a new server so packages got built on our existing server then uploaded to the new server. Checking the config it seemed I’d made the nasty error of leaving it open to the world rather than requiring an ssh gateway to access the apt repository, so anyone scanning around could have uploaded packages. There’s no reason to think that happened but the default in security is to be paranoid for any possibility.

    • Security B-Sides conferences attract growing information security crowd

      The Security B-Sides DC conference is part of the B-Sides movement, which was created to provide a community framework to build events for and by information security practitioners. Alex Norman, the co-director of Security B-Sides DC, tells us how he wants to expand information security beyond security professionals, and to involve a larger, more diverse community.

    • Major Linux security hole gapes open

      An old Linux security ‘feature’ script, which activates LUKS disk encryption, has been hiding a major security hole in plain sight.

    • A Linux Exploit That Uses 6502 Code

      With ubiquitous desktop computing now several decades old, anyone creating an operating system distribution now faces a backwards compatibility problem. Each upgrade brings its own set of new features, but it must maintain compatibility with the features of the previous versions or risk alienating users. If you are a critic of Microsoft products for their bloat, this is one of the factors behind that particular issue.

    • Cryptsetup Vulnerability Allows Easily Getting To A Root Shell

      CVE-2016-4484 was disclosed on Monday as a Cryptsetup issue that allows users to easily gain access to a root initramfs shell on affected systems in a little over one minute of simply hitting the keyboard’s enter key.

      This Cryptsetup vulnerability is widespread and easy to exploit, simply requiring a lot of invalid passwords before being dropped down a root shell. The data on the LUKS-encrypted volume is still protected, but you have root shell access. The CVE reads, “This vulnerability allows to obtain a root initramfs shell on affected systems. The vulnerability is very reliable because it doesn’t depend on specific systems or configurations. Attackers can copy, modify or destroy the hard disc as well as set up the network to exflitrate data. This vulnerability is specially serious in environments like libraries, ATMs, airport machines, labs, etc, where the whole boot process is protect (password in BIOS and GRUB) and we only have a keyboard or/and a mouse.”

    • CVE-2016-4484: Cryptsetup Initrd root Shell
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Super Mari-owned: Startling Nintendo-based vulnerability discovered in Ubuntu
  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Assange Is Questioned in London Over Rape Accusation in Sweden

      Six years after the Swedish authorities opened an investigation into a rape accusation made against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, he was questioned about the matter on Monday.

      The questions were prepared by prosecutors in Sweden, where an arrest warrant for Mr. Assange was issued in 2010, but were posed by a prosecutor from Ecuador under an agreement the two countries made in August. Ecuador granted Mr. Assange political asylum in 2012, and the interview occurred at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. Mr. Assange has lived in the embassy since June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over the rape accusation.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Thanks to Donald Trump, China just won the global green technology sector

      There’s no denying who the king of technology in the 20th century was: America. But the 21st century poses new challenges that must be met by the rise of the green technology and green energy sectors across the globe. And whatever country is producing the best green tech solutions is in the pole position to spring to the top of the 21st century technological heap.

      America’s election of Donald Trump virtually guarantees that country will be China.

      To be fair, China was already ahead of the US on this front. It began investing big in green tech more than a decade ago, and it is now the world’s leading investor in green energy. Last year alone, China invested more than US$100 billion in green energy – that’s more than double what the US invested – and that number is expected to grow. Trump or no, there’s a good chance China would have won this race. But the US, the second-biggest global investor, was in a better position than any other single nation to challenge China on this front.

    • Floridians Wonder How President-Elect Trump Will Deal With Their Rising Seas

      Mar-a-Lago, President-elect Donald Trump’s signature piece of property in the South, is just 70-miles north of Miami in Palm Beach, a mostly upscale barrier island. But the residence and private club is likely to be affected by the rising tides and increasingly powerful hurricanes that now regularly batter the coast of Florida.

      Miami and nearby coastal towns in Florida are, and will be, impacted by changes in our climate—the sea levels in just the past decade rose at double the rate of the entire century before, according to the World Resource Institute. But in the end, Floridians chose noted climate change-skeptic Donald Trump as their future leader.

  • Finance

    • EU ministers to discuss plan to charge Britons to visit Europe after Brexit

      A European plan under which Britons will face a £10 charge to travel to the EU after Brexit is to be discussed by interior ministers this week.

      The plan for a European version of the US visa waiver programme has already won the backing of the British diplomat now in charge of European security.

      Sir Julian King, the European commissioner for the security union is to give evidence to peers on Tuesday. He has described the plan as “a valuable additional piece of the jigsaw” in the war against international terrorism.

    • Why India wiped out 86% of its cash overnight

      On 8 November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave only four hours’ notice that virtually all the cash in the world’s seventh-largest economy would be effectively worthless.

      The Indian government likes to use the technical term “demonetisation” to describe the move, which makes it sound rather dull. It isn’t. This is the economic equivalent of “shock and awe”.


      These may be the largest denomination Indian notes but they are not high value by international standards – 1,000 rupees is only £12. But together the two notes represent 86% of the currency in circulation.

      Think of that, at a stroke 86% of the cash in India now cannot be used.

      What is more, India is overwhelmingly a cash economy, with 90% of all transactions taking place that way.

      And that is the target of Mr Modi’s dramatic move. Because so much business is done in cash, very few people pay tax on the money they earn.

    • Donald Trump victory wipes $1 trillion off value of global bond markets

      Donald Trump’s stunning victory in the US presidential election wiped more than $1 trillion (£800bn) off the value of global bond markets in two days.

      President-elect Trump has pledged to massively increase infrastructure spending, which has caused a big shift away from the safety of government debt and into the shares of companies who may cash in on any spending bonanza. The wider stock market has also risen on the back of investors’ predictions of increased growth.

      Turning on the government spending taps would push up inflation, meaning that the already meagre returns on US bonds would head into negative territory, adding more reasons to sell and move into riskier assets.

    • 7 WTF Ways Famous Companies Rip You Off Every Day

      There’s a righteous, almost smug satisfaction to buying something cheap. It feels like we’re sticking it to the big companies by denying them those extra ten cents per unit on a box of Kit Kats. However, no one loves a bargain more than the businesses themselves. That usually takes the form of tax evasion and poor wages, but sometimes they like to get … creative.

    • Baby dies after Indian hospital refuses to accept parents’ money because of country’s new cash note ban

      A baby died when a hospital in India refused to accept a deposit paid in banknotes which were withdrawn from circulation the day before.

      Police said they are investigating a doctor in a Mumbai suburb who allegedly turned away a couple with a premature baby because they did not have the correct currency.

      Kiran Sharma gave birth to a boy around one month early on 9 November and was rushed to Jeevan Jyot Hospital in Govandi to the east of the city, reported The New Indian Express.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • VP Elect Mike Pence Goes To Court To Keep His Emails Secret

      The circumstances are different, but the general principle is the same — and there’s a really important issue at stake when it comes to FOIA and public records issues. The background is fairly convoluted, but here’s a quick summary. After President Obama announced a plan to defer enforcement of certain immigration laws for certain individuals, a few states were upset about it, and Texas and Indiana (where Pence is governor) sued the President. Pence hired an outside law firm to handle the case, and a local lawyer thought this was a waste of taxpayer funds. The lawyer filed public records requests to get access to emails about the decision to hire the law firm and to find out the costs to taxpayers.

      Pence’s office released some emails, but they were apparently redacted in places — and in one case an email referred to an attached white paper that was not included. The lawyer who filed the request, William Groth, went to court to demand that the Pence administration reveal the full email with the attached white paper. The Pence administration has argued that it’s not subject to public records requests as “attorney-client” work material — but also that the courts are not allowed to question what the government chooses to release or redact under public records laws. A lower court agreed — following an Indiana Supreme Court ruling saying that the courts cannot “meddle” in public records decisions by the legislative or executive branch due to “separation of powers.” That’s a bizarre reading of the law that seems to actually turn the concept of separation of powers on its head, as it kind of destroys a key part of that separation: the checks and balances of the three branches of government.

    • Your Government Wants to Militarize Social Media to Influence Your Beliefs

      A global conference of senior military and intelligence officials taking place in London this week reveals how governments increasingly view social media as “a new front in warfare” and a tool for the Armed Forces.

      The overriding theme of the event is the need to exploit social media as a source of intelligence on civilian populations and enemies; as well as a propaganda medium to influence public opinion.

      A report from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last month revealed how a CIA-funded tool, Geofeedia, was already being used by police to conduct surveillance of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to monitor activists and protesters.

      Although Facebook and Twitter both quickly revoked Geofeedia’s access to their social feeds, the conference proves that social media surveillance remains a rapidly growing industry with no regulatory oversight. And its biggest customers are our own governments.

    • Remember when they told us Hillary, not Bernie, would beat Trump?

      If the Democrats continue to front establishment candidates while the establishment’s cherished beliefs continue to crumble, they will continue to lose.

      American politics now: the anti-establishment, white-nationalism troll party and the pro-establishment party that thinks you’ll vote for them because you fear white supremacists more than you hate the trolls.

      American politics tomorrow, if we address ourselves to the work at hand: the terrified troll white-nationalist party versus the party of hope, change and rebuilding: “dismissing a major indicator of popularity like polling—a key tool of campaign journalism in virtually all other contexts—due to vague, handwaving claims of unvettedness comes across as far more a convenient talking point than an earnestly arrived-at conclusion.”

    • Interview: Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein On Clinton’s Loss To Trump

      When the liberal class heard news media report Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote, numerous people experienced meltdowns that involved blaming anyone and everyone but Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. In particular, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was one of the targets, even though the math did not point to Stein as a culprit for the outcome.

      MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow wailed, “If you vote for somebody who can’t win for president, it means that you don’t care who wins for president.” It not only displayed the prejudice many liberals have against allowing more choices and more voices in presidential elections, but it also exemplified a denial among liberal pundits. They reflexively lashed out at Stein or Bernie Sanders in order to ignore their failure to recognize how Trump had a strong chance all along to win because voters were fed up with the neoliberal economic policies of Democrats.

      For this week’s “Unauthorized Disclosure,” the show returns with an interview with Jill Stein. She highlights what her campaign managed to accomplish. She looks back on smears she faced, such as the idea that she was anti-vaccine and says she views it as a “sign of the media’s weakness and also their fear and our strength.” Then, she shares how she was never confident Clinton would win the election and addresses the denial among Democrats, who do not want to confront the reality of what happened. She also lists off a number of initiatives and efforts she plans to help support in the aftermath of the election.

    • Julian Assange, Whose Wikileaks Played a Pivotal Role in US Election, Faces Possible Criminal Trial

      I sit in the tiny conference room adjoined to Julian Assange’s tiny living space in Ecuador embassy. I always feel a bit restless and nervous waiting for him. I worry how he’s coping. I realize how difficult it must be, to be here for years every day looking at these same walls, not feeling the sunshine.

      Just then the cat pops in, making me feel more at ease. He has full reign. He is on the table sniffing the muffins and rubbing up against me purring and maybe a little disappointed that everything I’ve brought is vegan.

      Next, the big man walks in, wearing a Sea Shepherd tshirt and jeans, a bit disheveled. It’s early but he manages a smile. He’s got a long day ahead.

    • Julian Assange calls for leaks on Trump after claims Wikileaks attacked Hillary Clinton

      The online group was grilled by users of Reddit in a questions and answer session on the online debating forum.

      WikiLeaks became a focal point during the election campaign.

      It published thousands of internal Democrat National Council emails, and more recently thousands more from the hacked email account of the Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta.

      Some Reddit users appeared suspicious Wikileaks had an agenda to get Donald Trump elected.

    • WikiLeaks informant Chelsea Manning asks Obama to cut her 35-year prison sentence to time served

      The Lawyer of Chelsea Manning, a former US soldier who is currently serving a prison sentence for disclosing secret diplomatic and military documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, has put forth a petition requesting President Barack Obama to grant clemency and reduce the rest of her 35-year sentence to the more than six years she has already served.

      Manning’s punishment is the longest period of incarceration awarded to any leaker in American history.

    • Anti-Semitic incidents stoke fear among Jews after Trump win

      A synagogue in Montana wants police protection after Nazi fliers were delivered nearby following Donald Trump’s election win. Anxiety is now growing among American Jews after Trump appointed an alleged anti-Semite as one of his closest advisors on Sunday as the number of hate incidents continues to rise across the US.

    • Did the WikiLeaks Email Dumps Cost Hillary the White House? [Ed: falsely blames it all on Russia, without evidence]
    • Pain Management

      The only thing that will save us from a populist racist oligarch demagogue is a populist anti-racist anti-neoliberal progressive with a mobilized movement behind them and serious contenders up and down the ticket.

    • Sanders backs Trump protests, questions Electoral College
    • Amid DNC Reckoning, Ellison Emerges as Progressive Antidote to Trump

      Amid the growing post-election call for a “reckoning” within the Democratic Party, Rep. Keith Ellison on Minnesota has swiftly emerged as the favored progressive choice to lead that transition.

      “Liberal lawmakers and advocacy groups have started plotting a major overhaul of the Democratic National Committee (DNC),” the Washington Post reported late Thursday, with the first step being a replacement for the embattled interim chair Donna Brazile.

      The progressive flank of the party has largely placed the blame for the stunning election loss on the DNC and its elitist leadership, which they say is out of touch with the Left’s grassroots base, which wants to see a renunciation of corporate influence.

    • Maine became the first state in the country Tuesday to pass ranked choice voting

      Amid a national vote that rocked the political world Tuesday, voters in Maine narrowly approved a measure that supporters say will be respectively disruptive to the state’s political status quo.

      With 98 percent of the vote reporting in the state, 52 percent of voters approved a ballot question making Maine the first state to implement ranked choice voting, a fundamental reform of how voters literally fill out their ballot.

      In a ranked choice vote system, rather than simply voting for one candidate, voters rank their candidates by preference—first, second, third, and so on.

    • Maine Passes Ranked-Choice Voting

      Maine residents have approved a ballot question that will allow voters to rank their choice of candidates.

      Under the election overhaul, ballots are counted at the state level in multiple rounds. Last-place candidates are eliminated until a candidate wins by a majority.

    • Stephen Bannon and Reince Priebus to lead Trump’s White House

      Donald Trump has named Reince Priebus as his White House chief of staff, rewarding a loyalist to his party and its long-serving chairman by making him his top aide in the Oval Office. But he also named Steve Bannon, the head of his campaign and of the far-right website Breitbart, as his “chief strategist and senior counselor”.

      The statement announcing Trump’s decision named Bannon first, despite the vague title of his role. It said he and Priebus would work as “equal partners”.

      “Steve and Reince are highly qualified leaders who worked well together on our campaign and led us to a historic victory,” Trump said. “Now I will have them both with me in the White House as we work to make America great again.”

    • Trump appoints Chief of Staff, chief strategist

      “I am thrilled to have my very successful team continue with me in leading our country,” Trump said in a statement.

    • Denying climate change is only part of it: 5 ways Donald Trump spells doom for the environment

      If the world’s governments don’t prevent the planet’s surface temperature from increasing more than 2°C, then life on Earth will become a difficult proposition for many humans, animals and plants. Glaciers will melt, sea levels will rise, crops will fail, water availability will decrease, and diseases will proliferate. Some areas will experience more wildfires and extreme heat; in others, more hurricanes and extreme storms. Coastal cities and possibly entire nations will be swallowed by the sea. There will be widespread social and economic instability, leading to regional conflicts.

    • Trump seeks top-secret security clearances for his kids

      President-elect Donald Trump is seeking top-secret security clearances for his adult children, CBS News reported Monday.

      CBS News said the real estate mogul has asked the White House if he can obtain such clearances for Ivanka, Eric and Donald Jr., as well as his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

      But a transition team official told the presidential pool reporter Monday night that the president-elect did not request such a step and said the Trump children have not started filling out paperwork for such clearances.

    • I actually have something I would use the Department of Education to do. It would be to monitor our institutions of higher education for extreme political bias and deny federal funding if it exists.
    • Donald Trump ‘will consult Nigel Farage before Theresa May’ on UK policy proposals, says Aaron Banks

      Donald Trump will run policy proposals affecting the UK past Nigel Farage before consulting Theresa May, a Ukip donor has claimed.

      Mr Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon will “run ideas” past interim Ukip leader Mr Farage, prominent Ukip donor Aaron Banks told the Daily Telegraph.

      “There is no doubt about it that Steve Bannon will talk to Nigel Farage before any other British politician and run stuff by them,” Mr Banks said.

    • Playtime is over

      Well, I was optimistic. The tea party radicals have gone nuclear, but I wasn’t counting on a neo-Nazi running the White House, or on the Kremlin stepping in …

      Let me explain.

      A few years ago, wandering around the net, I stumbled on a page titled “Why Japan lost the Second World War”. (Sorry, I can’t find the URL.) It held two photographs. The first was a map of the Pacific Theater used by the Japanese General Staff. It extended from Sakhalin in the north to Australia in the south, from what we now call Bangladesh in the west, to Hawaii in the east. The second photograph was the map of the war in the White House. A Mercator projection showing the entire planet. And the juxtaposition explained in one striking visual exactly why the Japanese military adventure against the United States was doomed from the outset: they weren’t even aware of the true size of the battleground.

      I’d like you to imagine what it must have been like to be a Japanese staff officer. Because that’s where we’re standing today. We think we’re fighting local battles against Brexit or Trumpism. But in actuality, they’re local fronts in a global war. And we’re losing because we can barely understand how big the conflict is.

      (NB: By “we”, I mean folks who think that the Age of Enlightenment, the end of monarchism, and the evolution of Liberalism are good things. If you disagree with this, then kindly hold your breath until your head explodes. (And don’t bother commenting below: I’ll delete and ban you on sight.))

      The logjam created by the Beige Dictatorship was global, throughout the western democracies; and now it has broken. But it didn’t break by accident, and the consequences could be very bad indeed.

      What happened last week is not just about America. It was one move—a very significant one, bishop-takes-queen maybe—in a long-drawn-out geopolitical chess game. It’s being fought around the world: Brexit was one move, the election and massacres of Dutarte in the Philippines were another, the post-coup crackdown in Turkey is a third. The possible election of Marine Le Pen (a no-shit out-of-the-closet fascist) as President of France next year is more of this stuff. The eldritch knot of connections between Turkey and Saudi Arabia and Da’esh in the wreckage of Syria is icing on top. It’s happening all over and I no longer think this is a coincidence.

    • Looking for someone to blame? It’s not third parties

      As news of Hillary Clinton’s shocking loss sinks in, many Clinton supporters looking for someone to blame are pointing fingers at a familiar scapegoat: people who voted outside the two-party system.

      Pundits are already trying to blame Libertarian Gary Johnson and me, the Green party candidate, for Trump’s win. For example, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow concocted a scenario in which by taking every Stein vote and half of Johnson’s votes, Clinton could have grabbed enough states from Trump to eke out an electoral college win, a story repeated by CNN. Unwilling to accept that Clinton didn’t motivate enough voters to win the presidency, and explore the reasons why, many pundits are instead looking to put responsibility for the loss onto others.

      First the facts: if every single Stein voter had voted for Clinton, Clinton still lost.

    • Why Are Liberals Blaming The Green Party For Trump?

      The Green Party’s showing in this year’s election was strong but not significant enough to reach the desired 5%. It was more like 1%. Still, the Stein Baraka ticket garnered more than 1.2 million votes nationwide. That’s a big bump from the last Green Party presidential ticket in 2012 which won less than half a million votes.

      Already some liberal pundits, shocked by the election of Donald Trump have begun blaming the Green Party for Clinton’s loss. The New York Times’ Paul Krugman tweeted on election night, “Jill Stein managed to play Ralph Nader. Without her Florida might have been saved.”

    • A road map Hillary Clinton did not follow to the White House

      We know this because Wikileaks founder Julian Assange came into possession of it along with tens of thousands of other emails to and from Clinton’s strategist Podesta, and spread them across the internet.

      Huma Abedin’s email revealed no high drama or internal backbiting, and so it did not grab headlines during the campaign. It simply noted that she had met with Smith, a San Francisco political consultant, and she attached a memo, titled thoughts.doc. Written by Smith, it maps out a strategy, though not one followed by Hillary Clinton.

      Smith and his firm, SCN Strategies, are among the most successful Democratic campaign firms in the state and country. In 2008, he ran Clinton’s 2008 winning primary campaigns in California and Texas. And in 2014, he was making a pitch for a position in Clinton’s 2016 campaign; he didn’t get it.

      “Today, you are a fully known quantity and a second-time candidate for President of the United States,” Smith wrote, setting forth how Clinton might announce her candidacy and frame her campaign. “As such you will be expected to have a clear and deep rationale for your candidacy from the first day of the campaign.”

    • Donna Brazile says CNN should have let her ‘defend myself’ following Wikileaks email

      Donna Brazile, the interim chair of the Democratic National Committee and former CNN contributor, went after her former employer at an event at a women’s college in Virginia Monday, blaming them for “ripping me a new one” instead of allowing her to defend herself after it appeared she tipped off Hillary Clinton’s campaign to town hall questions.

      Brazile, who had been a contributor and commentator at CNN for 14, resigned from the network earlier this year after WikiLeaks published hacked emails that showed Brazile tipping off Clinton’s campaign in advance to at least two questions the Democratic presidential nominee could be asked at upcoming town hall events.

      “CNN never gave me a question,” Brazile said at a talk held at Hollins University, according to The Roanoke Times. “I wish CNN had given me some other things, like the ability to defend myself rather than ripping me a new one.”

      Brazile did not deny the allegations that she had emailed two questions in advance, but she said she “never got on Clinton’s campaign airplane or prepped the candidate for any of the debates,” according to the Roanoke Times. When the network cut ties with Brazile permanently, it said the company was “completely uncomfortable” with the revelations and asserted that it had not provided questions to Brazile in advance.

    • Rep. Keith Ellison Enters Race for DNC Chair With Strong Support

      Rep. Keith Ellison formally announced his candidacy Monday to be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee, a race that has taken on unusual importance as the party looks for someone to lead its efforts to rebuild after last week’s devastating loss to Donald Trump.

      Ellison, a progressive who backed Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton in the presidential primary, enters the potentially crowded race as the clear favorite thanks to early backing from a number of leading Democrats.

      “It is not enough for Democrats to ask for voters’ support every two years. We must be with them through every lost paycheck, every tuition hike, and every time they are the victim of a hate crime,” Ellison said in a statement announcing his bid. “When voters know what Democrats stand for, we can improve the lives of all Americans, no matter their race, religion or sexual orientation. To do that, we must begin the rebuilding process now.”

    • More than half of arrested anti-Trump protesters didn’t vote

      More than half of the anti-Trump protesters arrested in Portland didn’t vote, according to state election records.

      At least seventy demonstrators either didn’t turn in a ballot or weren’t registered to vote.

      KGW compiled a list of the 112 people arrested by the Portland Police Bureau during recent protests. Those names and ages, provided by police, were then compared to state voter logs by Multnomah County Elections officials.

      Records show 35 of the protesters arrested didn’t return a ballot for the November 8 election. Thirty-five of the demonstrators taken into custody weren’t registered to vote.

    • D.C. Area High School Students Walk Out Of Class To Protest Trump

      A day after hundreds of students staged a peaceful protest at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, another large protest is taking place in the District.

      Hundreds of students walked out of school at Woodrow Wilson Senior High School, in the Tenleytown neighborhood, Tuesday morning in protest of President Elect Donald Trump.

    • President Trump’s Cabinet Will Be Filled With Deplorables

      There are 67 days until Donald Trump’s inauguration, a fact that seems to have surprised the president-elect – who reportedly never thought he’d remain in the race past October 2015 – as much as anyone. According to the Wall Street Journal, not only was Trump “surprised by the scope” of the president’s duties when President Obama explained them to him in private last week, but his aides were unaware they would need to hire an entirely new White House staff.

    • The Election was Stolen – Here’s How…

      On Tuesday, we saw Crosscheck elect a Republican Senate and as President, Donald Trump. The electoral putsch was aided by nine other methods of attacking the right to vote of Black, Latino and Asian-American voters, methods detailed in my book and film, including “Caging,” “purging,” blocking legitimate registrations, and wrongly shunting millions to “provisional” ballots that will never be counted.

      Trump signaled the use of “Crosscheck” when he claimed the election is “rigged” because “people are voting many, many times.” His operative Kobach, who also advised Trump on building a wall on the southern border, devised a list of 7.2 million “potential” double voters—1.1 million of which were removed from the voter rolls by Tuesday. The list is loaded overwhelmingly with voters of color and the poor. Here’s a sample of the list

    • ‘Trump lookalike’ chef slams media coverage of beating

      TV chef Anders Vendel said in a Facebook post that he was beaten up by three men, two of whom bound his arms behind his back, while the third beat him in the face. He estimated that he was punched twenty times in the face, which took place at 4am in central Malmö on Saturday.

      The attack left him with a broken nose and extensive bruising around his right eye, mouth and jaw.

      In the Facebook post, which has since been deleted but has been widely cited by populist media including Russian state propaganda channel RT, Vendel had said the men thought he resembled the US President-elect. He also said they were Muslim.

      But in a comment to The Local on Monday, the chef said the way his case was being used abroad was “scary.”

      Headlines in RT, the Daily Mail and various other global media emphasised the attackers’ supposed religion. None of them had spoken to the chef.

      “I was angry, hurt and humiliated when I wrote what I was thinking at the time,” Vendel said.

    • Trump’s victory comes with a silver lining for the world’s progressives

      The election of Donald Trump symbolises the demise of a remarkable era. It was a time when we saw the curious spectacle of a superpower, the US, growing stronger because of – rather than despite – its burgeoning deficits. It was also remarkable because of the sudden influx of two billion workers – from China and Eastern Europe – into capitalism’s international supply chain. This combination gave global capitalism a historic boost, while at the same time suppressing Western labour’s share of income and prospects.

      Trump’s success comes as that dynamic fails. His presidency represents a defeat for liberal democrats everywhere, but it holds important lessons – as well as hope – for progressives.

      From the mid-1970s to 2008, the US economy had kept global capitalism in an unstable, though finely balanced, equilibrium. It sucked into its territory the net exports of economies such as those of Germany, Japan and later China, providing the world’s most efficient factories with the requisite demand. How was this growing trade deficit paid for? By the return of around 70 per cent of the profits made by foreign corporates to Wall Street, to be invested in America’s financial markets.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Spies Use Tinder, and It’s as Creepy as You’d Think

      On September 4, a group of young activists planned to attend a demonstration against Interim President Michel Temer in the city center of São Paulo. They never made it. Their group had been infiltrated by an Army Captain Willian Pina Botelho—via Tinder.

      Surveillance and infiltration are not new tactics, but the ACLU revelation last month that Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook had been sharing data with surveillance service Geofeedia reminds us that the internet is bringing it to whole new levels. The story of the “Tinder infiltrator” serves as a reminder for a generation of young activists who are organizing online: don’t stop organizing, but be vigilant.

    • Comey Can’t Say How Often Encryption Thwarts Investigations, But Probably A Lot

      FBI Director James Comey believes encryption is perhaps the biggest threat to public safety yet. So big, in fact, that he can only engage in hyperbole about it. There’s been very little done to quantify the problem, even by the agency that seems to fear it most.

      In 2015, Comey told senators that a “vast majority” of devices seized by US law enforcement “may no longer be accessible” due to encryption. Comey has a very strange definition of “vast majority,” as Marcy Wheeler points out.

    • US Secrecy Prevails In German Constitutional Court

      The German constitutional court has rebuffed a second complaint seeking to allow oversight bodies to see the US National Security Administration (NSA) selector list.

      The list was pushed by the NSA to its German sister organisation BND to crawl through data traffic intercepted at the DeCIX, an internet exchange point in Frankfurt and traffic-wise the largest peering platform worldwide.

    • 1ST LEAD Court: Germany does not have to hand over NSA list of spying targets By Friederike Heine, dpa

      The list of so-called “selectors” – telephone numbers, email and IP addresses – was handed to Germany‘s foreign intelligence agency BND by the National Security Agency (NSA) with the aim of spying on German and European targets.

    • The German government won’t have to disclose who it spied on with the NSA
    • German court’s ruling on mass spying is a victory for the BND and NSA
    • German court rejects opposition’s bid for disclosure of NSA spy targets
    • German Constitutional Court rules out access to NSA’s ‘selectors’ list
    • Court rejects case to reveal more on US spies in Germany
    • CIA, NSA ordered to reveal to judge whether they were involved in Occupy Philly surveillance

      A federal judge has ordered the CIA and the National Security Agency to disclose to him whether they were involved in spying on Occupy Philadelphia protesters during their monthlong demonstration at what is now Dilworth Park five years ago.

      Responding to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by a lawyer for the demonstrators, U.S. District Judge Berle M. Schiller gave the agencies until early next year to submit a list of any records detailing the agencies’ potential surveillance activities, along with a justification of why those documents should be withheld from public disclosure.

      Schiller said he would rely upon that list to determine whether to release such documents or whether he would need to examine such records in person before making his decision.

    • Federal Contractor Collected Pay From NSA, OPM for Hours He Didn’t Work: Prosecutors
    • Apps for Communicating and Organizing in the Age of Trump

      On January 20, Donald Trump will gain control over the most powerful surveillance system in history. Worried? Here are some steps you can take to protect yourself.

      The U.S. government has a long history of targeting activists. Agents spied on Martin Luther King Jr., bugging his hotel rooms in an attempt to find out personal information which could be used to discredit him. More recently, the FBI spied on Black Lives Matter activists.

      U.S. intelligence agencies have unprecedented power to gather information on millions of American citizens. This information includes our communications, banking info, and web browsing data. We know that the National Security Agency (NSA) collects data on who you talk to, when, and where you call from.

    • Donald Trump is about to control the most powerful surveillance machine in history

      The US intelligence agencies are among the most powerful forces to ever exist, capable of ingesting and retaining entire nations’ worth of data, or raining down missiles on targets thousands of miles away. As of January 20th, all that power will be directly answerable to Donald Trump.

      It’s still early, but a picture is starting to emerge of how the president-elect could use those powers — and it’s not a pretty sight. Since the September 11th attacks, the US government gives the president almost unlimited discretion in matters of national security, with few limitations or mechanisms for oversight. That includes NSA surveillance, as well as the expanding powers of the drone program. And from what Trump has said on the campaign trail, his targets for using those powers may cut against some of America’s most important civil rights.

    • Shazam Keeps Your Mac’s Microphone Always On, Even When You Turn It Off

      What’s that song? On your cellphone, the popular app Shazam is able to answer that question by listening for just a few seconds, as if it were magic. On Apple’s computers, Shazam never turns the microphone off, even if you tell it to.

      When a user of Shazam’s Mac app turns the app “OFF,” the app actually keeps the microphone on in the background. For the security researcher who discovered that the mic is always on, it’s a bug that users should know about. For Shazam, it’s just a feature that makes the app work better.

    • A 10-Digit Key Code to Your Private Life: Your Cellphone Number

      The next time someone asks you for your cellphone number, you may want to think twice about giving it.

      The cellphone number is more than just a bunch of digits. It is increasingly used as a link to private information maintained by all sorts of companies, including money lenders and social networks. It can be used to monitor and predict what you buy, look for online or even watch on television.

      It has become “kind of a key into the room of your life and information about you,” said Edward M. Stroz, a former high-tech crime agent for the F.B.I. who is co-president of Stroz Friedberg, a private investigator.

      Yet the cellphone number is not a legally regulated piece of information like a Social Security number, which companies are required to keep private. And we are told to hide and protect our Social Security numbers while most of us don’t hesitate when asked to write a cellphone number on a form or share it with someone we barely know.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Saudi bans schools from marking non-Islamic holidays

      Saudi education ministry has warned international schools from marking non-Islamic occasions, such as Christmas and New Year, the media reported on Monday.

      The ban includes forbidding those schools from providing holidays on such occasions or changing the dates of exams to suit them, Xinhua news agency reported.

    • Spokesperson Maryam Namazie wins 2016 International Secularism (Laicite) Prize

      This is a time where “solidarity” is no longer an act of defending revolutionaries but fascists; where there is always support for Islamist projects like Sharia courts, the burqa, gender segregation, apostasy and blasphemy laws – whether de jure or de facto – but never for those who refuse to be silenced, erased and “disappeared”.

      It’s a time when “progressive” all too often means protecting regressive identity politics, which homogenises entire communities and societies, and deems theocrats as the sole legitimate arbiters and gatekeepers of “community” values.

      It’s a politics of betrayal – devoid of class struggle and political ideals – which sees any dissent through Islamist eyes and immediately labels it “Islamophobic” and blasphemous.

      We are called “aggressive apostates”, “fundamentalist secularists”, “native informants”, “inflammatory”. We are accused of violating the “safe spaces” of Islamists on universities and even “inciting hatred”.

    • Blasphemy: How Kano mob murdered my wife in my presence – Husband

      Pastor Mike Agbahime, husband of Bridget Agbahime who was killed by an irate mob in Kano for alleged blasphemy has finally spoken up on the events that lead to his wife’s death.

      Agbahime in an interview with The Punch blamed Kano Governor Umar Ganduje for paving the way for the release of the arrested suspects.

    • Mauritanian clerics urge for blogger’s death penalty to be applied

      Muslim clerics in Mauritania on Sunday urged the authorities to execute a blogger who was sentenced to death in 2014 for apostasy after writing a blog post on Islam and racial discrimination.

      Mohamed Ould Cheikh Ould Mkhaitir’s article touched a nerve in Mauritania, a West African country with deep social and racial divisions. He was tried for apostasy and received the death penalty despite having repented and saying his article was misunderstood.

      According to the U.S.-based Freedom Now rights group who provide Mkhaitir with legal counsel, the blog post appears to have been the first he published. Prior to his arrest he worked as an engineer for a mining company and was not an activist, Freedom Now said on its website.

    • Delta: Police Raid Baby Factory in Oshimili Council, Arrest Six Pregnant Wome

      Police have raided a baby factory and arrested at least six pregnant women who are allegedly planning to sell their newborn babies after delivery in Delta State.
      The police said the arrest was made in Okwe community, Oshimili South Local Government Area of the state in Nigeria’s South-South region.
      They revealed that a victim, Blessing Aondoseer, had reported that her husband allegedly connived with some people to take away her two weeks old baby.

    • Freedom House warns that internet privacy is eroding fast

      INDEPENDENT WATCHDOG Freedom House has issued its 2016 report along with a chilling warning that internet privacy is becoming something of an oxymoron.

      Freedom House is based in Washington and deals with how countries handle and provide the internet and technology to citizens. We imagine that it is currently hiring. The Freedom On The Net report said that freedom has declined for the sixth year in a row.

    • The Way to Stop Trump

      The stunning upset election of Donald Trump has left many Americans wondering what has become of their country, their party, their government, even their sense of the world. Purple prose has been unleashed on the problem; comparisons to fascism and totalitarianism abound. Commentators claim that Trump’s election reflects a racist, sexist, xenophobic America. But we should resist the temptation to draw broad-brush generalizations about American character from last Tuesday’s outcome. The result was far more equivocal than that; a majority of the voters rejected Trump, after all. There is no question that President Trump will be a disaster—if we let him. But the more important point is that—as the fate of American democracy in the years after 9/11 has taught us—we can and must stop him.

      The risks are almost certainly greater than those posed by any prior American president. Trump, who has no government experience, a notoriously unreliable temperament, and a record of demagoguery and lies, will come to office with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, and, once he fills the late Antonin Scalia’s seat, on the Supreme Court as well. His shortlist of Cabinet appointees offers little hope that voices of moderation will be heard. Who, then, is going to stop him? Will he be able to put in place all the worst ideas he tossed out so cavalierly on the campaign trail? Building a wall; banning and deporting Muslims; ending Obamacare; reneging on climate change treaty responsibilities; expanding libel law; criminalizing abortion; jailing his political opponents; supporting aggressive stop-and-frisk policing; reviving mass surveillance and torture?

      Whether Trump will actually try to implement these promises, and more importantly, whether he will succeed if he does try, lies as much in our hands as in his. If Americans let him, Trump may well do all that he promised—and more. Imagine, for example, what a Trump administration might do if there is another serious terrorist attack on US soil. What little he has said about national security suggests that he will make us nostalgic for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

    • Chuck Schumer: The Worst Possible Democratic Leader at the Worst Possible Time

      When Barack Obama leaves the White House, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer will almost certainly be elected Senate minority leader — and therefore become the highest ranking Democratic official in America.

    • Prosecutor Shuts Down New Orleans Cop’s Attempt To Charge Arrestee With Hate Crime For Insulting Responding Officers

      The Louisiana legislature decided to help out its most underprivileged constituents — law enforcement officers — by making it a felony to “attack” them using nothing more than words.

      When New Orleans police officers arrived at the scene of a disturbance to arrest an intoxicated man for banging on a hotel’s windows and harassing the employees, the situation devolved into the totally expected.

    • Hate Crimes Are Up — But the Government Isn’t Keeping Good Track of Them

      In 2015, the authorities in California documented 837 hate-crime incidents, charting a surge in offenses motivated by religious intolerance toward Muslims and Jews, while crimes against Latinos grew by 35 percent.

      Last week, shortly after Donald J. Trump was elected the country’s next president, the Southern Poverty Law Center put up a form on its website encouraging people to share details about potential hate crimes. By the next day, they’d received about 250 reports – more than they’re used to seeing in six months.

      Then on Monday, the FBI released its latest national tabulation of hate crimes, data that showed an overall uptick of 6.8 percent from 2014 to 2015. The accounting, drawn from information passed on to the bureau by state and local law enforcement agencies, charted a 67-percent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes.

    • Self-styled ‘Sharia patrol’ allegedly launch brutal attack on girl for ‘not wearing HIJAB’

      In the horrific footage from Vienna, Austria, the youngster is seen being violently attacked by a group of girls and a boy in what is believed to be a “Sharia patrol”.

      In this clip, she keeps her hands in her pocket and takes the savage beating, despite breaking her jaw in two places and blood dripping from her face.

      The group is reported to have said in the video: “She has pulled the headscarf down, demolish her!”

    • Lauri Love faces hacking trial in US after UK signs extradition order

      Love’s family plan to appeal against the decision. The 31-year-old—who has Asperger’s syndrome—faces up to 99 years in prison and fears for his own life, his lawyers have said.

      A home office spokesperson told Ars: “On Monday 14 November, the secretary of state, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed an order for Lauri Love’s extradition to the United States. Mr Love has been charged with various computer hacking offences which included targeting US military and federal government agencies.”

      Rudd considered four so-called legal tests of the Extradition Act 2003: whether Love is at risk of the death penalty; whether specialty arrangements are in place; whether Love has previously been extradited from another country to the UK, thereby requiring consent from that country; and whether Love was previously transferred to the UK by the International Criminal Court.

      However, the home secretary concluded that none of these issues applied to Love.

    • Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s ex-president, says successor Temer took bribes

      Brazil has been plunged into a fresh bout of political uncertainty after lawyers for former president Dilma Rousseff presented evidence suggesting her successor, Michel Temer, accepted bribes from a construction company.

      If accepted the documents filed with the supreme electoral court raise the possibility of the 2014 presidential election being declared invalid due to campaign funding violations, which could force Temer from office.

      The two politicians were running mates in 2014 but have since become bitter enemies. Rousseff, of the Workers party, was impeached and removed from the presidency in September on charges of window-dressing government accounts. She has levelled accusations of treachery at her replacement, Temer, of the centre-right Brazilian Democratic Movement party.

    • Hate crimes against Muslim Americans increased by 67 percent in 2015, says FBI

      Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said, ‘We saw a spike in anti-Muslim incidents nationwide beginning toward the end of 2015. That spike has continued until today and even accelerated after the election of President-elect Trump’

    • Jews Aren’t An SJW-Approved Minority
    • U.S. Muslims make up only one percent of the population, but file 40% of workplace discrimination complaints

      Even outside of fear of drawing an Islamist attack, avoiding conflict with Muslim employees affects both the company’s ‘inclusive’ image, and its liability to lawsuits by activist groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). When special interest activist groups put pressure on businesses to give into their demands businesses often (depending on the issue/s) concede rather than face bad publicity. Businesses placating to Muslim demands is one of the objectives of the Hamas-affiliated CAIR. Masquerading as a civil liberties organization for Muslims, CAIR, as mentioned in the video, pressures businesses into accommodating the most trivial of Muslim practices advocated for in sharia law.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Decentralization – a deep cause of causes you care about deeply

      Decentralized and distributed networks are, quite simply, fundamental; everyone is affected in many ways by the degree of distribution — not least one’s personal agency, the development of our societal structures, and our impact on this planet’s living systems.

      As we instrument the planet, as we build out a pervasive computing environment, as increasingly little ‘undigital’ remains, ensuring the decentralized and distributed nature of that digital infrastructure is nothing short of mission critical. We must resist the easy short-term temptations of centralization to avoid its longer-term miseries.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • South Centre, FAO Sign Agreement Promoting Tech Transfer, Innovation

      The intergovernmental South Centre and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation have signed a five-year agreement to help the global south fight malnutrition, reduce poverty, and address climate change consequences. The memorandum of understanding was signed on the margins of the recent climate change discussion held in Marrakesh.

    • Countries Asked To Revise IP Laws Preventing Implementation Of Farmers’ Rights [Ed: Treating people like farming slaves and perpetuating poverty by imposing ‘IP’, then calling them “pirates”.]

      Global Consultation on Farmers’ Rights took place in Bali, Indonesia from 27-30 September and was co-organised by the governments of Indonesia and Norway. The secretariat of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) engaged in the preparatory process, according to the treaty’s website.

      The consultation was attended by 95 participants from 37 countries, from all the seven regions of the FAO, according to a source. Participants came from governments, academia, international organisations (such as the ITPGRFA, the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants [UPOV], and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity), non-governmental organisations (such as Oxfam, the Development Fund, and SEARICE), and farmers and farmers’ organisation (such as la Via Campesina), the source said.

    • Copyrights

      • Toto, I Don’t Think We’re In The Public Domain Anymore

        Long-time readers may remember our coverage of a slow-moving copyright case over public domain images from The Wizard of Oz and other movies. In brief: back in 2006, Warner Bros. sued vintage/nostalgia merchandise company AVELA, which had obtained restored images from old promotional posters for the films and was selling them for T-shirts and other products. Nobody disputed that these specific images were in the public domain, because the promo materials had not been registered for copyright even though the films were — but Warner claimed that the images nevertheless infringed on the copyright in the characters established by the film. The court originally sided with Warner in full, but on appeal found that the exact two-dimensional reproductions of the images on T-shirts and the like were not infringing, but instances where they were combined with text and other images or used to create three-dimensional models were, and awarded some pretty huge damages. To complicate matters, there’s also a trademark claim wrapped up in all this. There was another appeal, and now a court has upheld the ruling and the damages, giving movie studios another weapon in their war on the public domain (here’s a PDF of the full ruling).

        Now, there are a lot of layers here, and I’m going to focus on The Wizard Of Oz, since it provides the most interesting example. The 1900 book is in the public domain. The 1939 movie is still under copyright held by Warner. The associated 1939 promo materials were not registered (a requirement at the time) and are in the public domain. And many characters and other elements of the movie are also covered by trademark, also owned by Warner. Absolutely none of these facts are in dispute — but put them all together and you have a giant mess that illustrates the flimsiness of the idea/expression dichotomy, and how something can supposedly remain in the public domain while being gutted of all its usefulness to the public.

      • Donald Trump Parody Results in Clockwork Orange Copyright Suit

        A YouTube parody which hoped to provide a satirical take on Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has ended in a lawsuit. Hugh Atkin portrayed elements of Trump’s efforts in the style of and alongside images from A Clockwork Orange. Now the Australian is getting sued in the United States for copyright infringement.

      • U.S. Copyright Office Undecided About Future of DMCA Takedowns

        The U.S. Government’s Copyright Office has launched a new consultation seeking guidance on the future of the DMCA’s takedown process and safe harbor. Through a set of concrete questions, they hope to find a balance between the interests of copyright holders, Internet services and the public at large.

Violations of Human Rights at the EPO in the Name of Fraud Prevention

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 1:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Very convenient a guise

Elmer news
Whistleblower ist weder Datendieb noch Erpresser

Summary: Whistleblowers at the EPO cannot speak and surveillance reaches extraordinary levels, the excuse being security, stability, justice and so on (surveillance classics)

EARLIER this year we wrote about rumours of fraud at the EPO and not too long ago we became witnesses to the pretext of “fraud” as as exploited to spy on staff and grossly violate their privacy or data security (in a way that no member state would tolerate). The members of the GCC who are members of the CSC wrote the following text: “We obviously do not support fraud and so consider it perfectly legitimate that some controls (checks and balances) are introduced in order to detect and/or prevent fraud also in the field of the healthcare insurance. However, this raises an additional big concern linked to the new contract and its external administrator: fraud control measures and the possible involvement of the EPO’s Investigation Unit. We are completely kept in the dark as to how the EPO intends to put in practice these controls. What will be the role of Cigna who are obviously best positioned (access to the data) to detect fraud)? Are they bound to respect national laws? What will be the role of the Investigative Unit? How will the different parties cooperate? How will medical secrecy be preserved? Which laws will apply at which steps? Why does the Office not collaborate with (local) national prosecutors since this would be compatible with Article 20, EPC? Not only have none of these questions been answered, we have not heard about any safeguards. We fear that this is an area that may raise serious problems in the future with possible damage to the EPO’s reputation. Although we have not been required to give an opinion despite the blatant impact that this new contract will have on staff employment conditions, we nevertheless recommend that the President should not implement the planned modifications as long as a joint Committee has not been established.”

“The way things work at the moment is a recipe for disaster because the Office already fails to attract top talent — the very kind of talent which it takes to deliver a good service and justify the high fees associated with EPs (grant, renewal, search etc.).”We often wonder how many violations it would take for Eponia to finally come under proper scrutiny from member states (beyond a slap on the wrist, at the very least a fine). The way things work at the moment is a recipe for disaster because the Office already fails to attract top talent — the very kind of talent which it takes to deliver a good service and justify the high fees associated with EPs (grant, renewal, search etc.). To make matters worse, a lot of key staff has been leaving and continues to leave the Office (the growing numbers of departures that we see are irrefutable). A new comment in IP Kat asked: “What would the European Patent system look like in, say, 2 to 4 years?” Here is the full comment:

“Anonymous” from Saturday, 12 November 2016 is trying to change the subject, isn’t he/she? The facts are quite simple: Battistelli got instructions from the Council not to fire staff members before new regulations are passed and did just the opposite.

That is the real problem here.

Battistelli is not doing what the Council wants. I asked what the Council can do and apparently the Council cannot do much because of the 3/4 of the votes clause. I said Battistelli just needs 10 countries to stay forever and follow his plans and nobody raised a credible objection. I don’t see how a ministerial conference could solve that problem.

So let us imagine that Battistelli stays another few years to continue his plans. The Council cannot do much because of this blocking minority. What would the effect be? What would the European Patent system look like in, say, 2 to 4 years?

It will be morally — maybe also fiscally — bankrupt (it’s said to be operating at a loss), more so assuming Battistelli continues along the same trajectory which renders examiners redundant in just two years. Will it be folded onto EUIPO? Serious intervention is needed to ensure that the EPO doesn’t just become a relic or a fossil from the past. The way things stand, based on what we are hearing from insiders, there is no promising future for the EPO (if any future at all).

Breaking: Dutch Parliament Debate About Immunity of the EPO and the Tyranny of Benoît Battistelli (Updated)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Party for Animals

Summary: The Party for Animals in the Netherlands expresses concerns about the European Patent Office under Battistelli and requests a parliamentary debate

ALTHOUGH we have not seen footage of it (nor is there an article about it), Petra Kramer, who habitually translates Dutch-only EPO articles for us, said a short moment ago that “Dutch Parliament just demanded a debate about ending the immunity of EPO and the tyranny of Battistelli [...] There is no link to an article, I’m watching the livestream of Parliament.”

“Esther Ouwehand wants to know how the immunity (and tyranny it enables) of EPO can be ended.”
      –Petra Kramer
Apparently, Esther Ouwehand (contact Esther Ouwehand in Twitter) is the initiator of this.

Esther OuwehandTo quote Kramer [1, 2, 3]: “Esther Ouwehand of the Party for Animals requested the debate because EPO patents life against the wishes of the EU. And because Esther Ouwehand wants to know how the immunity (and tyranny it enables) of EPO can be ended. I missed which parties support the request but Esther Ouwehand probably can tell you who did.”

We’ll keep readers updated as updates — if any — arrive.

Credit/licence: The copyright holder of the above photograph “allows anyone to use it for any purpose including unrestricted redistribution, commercial use, and modification.”

Update: Kramer has just translated Ouwehand’s request:

Esther Ouwehand (Party for Animals): “We have major concerns about the European Patent Office. Not only do they grant patents on plants and animals while the democratic institutions said no to that. They also enjoy legal immunity which according to the Cabinet makes it impossible to intervene. I would like to receive a letter prior to the debate in which the Cabinet clarifies how this institute can be brought under democratic control.”


Leaked Letter Reveals How Battistelli Still Exploits FFPE-EPO (Yellow Union) to Attack the Real EPO Union, SUEPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO meme

Summary: A look at a letter sent prior to a previous meeting of the Administrative Council of the EPO, highlighting the role played by FFPE-EPO in the crushing of SUEPO at the hands of Team Battistelli

It has been absolutely no secret that Battistelli uses a classic union-busting tactic (“good union, bad union”) in an effort to crush the Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO). We wrote about this many times before, including in the following articles:

  1. In the EPO’s Official Photo Op, “Only One of the Faces is Actually FFPE-EPO”
  2. Further Evidence Suggests and Shows Stronger Evidence That Team Battistelli Uses FFPE-EPO as ‘Yellow Union’ Against SUEPO
  3. “FFPE-EPO Was Set up About 9 Years Ago With Management Encouragement”
  4. Fallout of the FFPE EPO MoU With Battistelli’s Circle
  5. The EPO’s Media Strategy at Work: Union Feuds and Group Fracturing
  6. Caricature of the Day: Recognising FFPE EPO
  7. Union Syndicale Federale Slams FFPE-EPO for Helping Abusive EPO Management by Signing a Malicious, Divisive Document
  8. FFPE-EPO Says MoU With Battistelli Will “Defend Employment Conditions” (Updated)
  9. Their Masters’ Voice (Who Block Techrights): FFPE-EPO Openly Discourages Members From Reading Techrights
  10. Letter Says EPO MoU “Raises Questions About FFPE’s Credibility as a Federation of Genuine Staff Unions”
  11. On Day of Strike FFPE-EPO Reaffirms Status as Yellow (Fake/Management-Leaning) Union, Receives ‘Gifts’
  12. Needed Urgently: Information About the Secret Meeting of Board 28 and Battistelli’s Yellow Union, FFPE-EPO
  13. In Battistelli’s Mini Union (Minion) It Takes Less Than 10 Votes to ‘Win’ an Election
  14. FFPE-EPO Going Ad Hominem Against FICSA, Brings Nationality Into It
  15. High on EPO: Battistelli’s ‘Social Conference’ Nonsense is Intended to Help Suppress Debate About His Abuses Against Staff and Union-Busting Activities

This makes one wonder who’s poking fun (or flinging hearsay) at Mr. Prunier — and by extension at SUEPO — right now. Who has something to gain from it, under the pretenses that SUEPO is a ‘naughty’ union that even harms the CSC? This morning we wrote about what actually happened because there are some evil tongues which engage in union-shaming (shaming SUEPO anonymously) and it’s hard to view those as innocent. As one comment put it today:

You may indeed be correct about the correctness of the result of the disciplinary procedure. Or you may not. We cannot know and, according to the rules, shouldn’t know in order to protect, in particular, the perceived victim. That is, however, not the issue. As the delegations to the AC have already pointed out, justice must be seen to be done. Procedural violations and/or lack of due process cannot be written off because the final decision was ‘right’ (if it was…).
In the current case the guilty man still cannot reveal his crime or his defence because the system won’t allow it. Meanwhile the judge can make statements about it which cannot be challenged publicly by the guilty party. A man loses his employment and future employment must be significantly limited given his dismissal. And yet he is not allowed to publicly defend himself??
I would be interested to hear whether you think the procedure and system in place is suitable. That is the question being raised here. The judgement on Laurent must wait for a fair system.
I note in passing that you are revealing facts of the case, whether known to you privately or based on the president’s communication to staff. In either case, you appear to be stating more than Laurent can. Doesn’t it worry you that tomorrow there may be a knock on your door from the investigation unit?

Here is a familiar, legitimate point about the demand for harassment of staff, especially now that Battistelli made it a standard unit like a private police of his:

This year again approx. 50 warning letters will be issued in DG1, making sure the HR Conflict Resolution department has enough clientele for the coming year. A “Danse Obscure” all over again summoning all Staff Representatives to dance along into EPO’s obscure misery, affecting the AC, BoA, President, Management and staff. Strangely enough it unites us all!

Another person correctly points out that “SUEPO represents more than half of the EPO workstaff.” Here is the full comment:

SUEPO represents more than half of the EPO workstaff. Staff Representatives are therefore representing a majority.
Also, the union cannot send mails to all staff members anymore. That actually was the best thing anyone in the EPO ever did for the union, as man union-template appeals have been filed by jon-members, who do jot have access to the appeal-templates anymore, and therefore finally joined the EPI….
Also, I’ve never heard of non-SUEPO members having been turned down by Staff Representatives.
Just like Anon E. Mouse I do not even know anybody having been asked if they’re members of SUEPO when seeking help from Staff Representatives.

Last thing to comment on your post: the “staff representatives” in the Disciplinary Committee (non capital letters hee, as SR does not appoint Staff Representatives to the disciplinary committe anymore, but BB appoints “staff representatives” the administration “selects”). The SR ones resigned after ALL of them have been downgraded and/or warned for not having proposed harsh sanctions in previous procedures.
The new “staff representatives” have even less protection than elected Staff Representatives (less visibility), and are therefore under immense pressure by the head of personal department. ILOAT already was negative about the constitution of the Disciplinary Committee…. Also, do not trust them to be “your” “staff representatives”.

Please read the communique again, more carefully. There is a lot between the lines which looks absolutely bad to anyone above “director level”.
Alas, I see the management style trickling down to directors already, destroying the atmosphere.
Now the EPO administration pushes for the possibilities that the first or chair can sign for the second member…. Which DG3 (now BoA) considers to be a procedural violation. Fun times.

(Q: the EPC (Article 10(3) EPC) provides that the president shall be assisted by a number of Vice-Presidents. How does a “President of the Boards of Appeal” fit this paragraph of Article 10 EPC?)

ILOAT is mentioned above and this is both noteworthy and timely. “Four judgments will be announced in public on Wednesday, 30 November 2016 at 3pm at the ILO,” ILO has just said. We’ll keep an eye on those and report when they come out.

When I first saw the union-shaming comment I jokingly said (in social media sites) that maybe it was FFPE-EPO that’s behind it. My guess might actually have some merit to it, despite being a joke.

“The following letter,” it’s explained, “has been sent to the delegations of the Administrative Council on 9 June 2016 in order to assist them with the preparation of the Council meeting in June.” A copy was sent to Battistelli as well (see last page, page 7), so this wasn’t done behind his back, so to speak.

The full letter [PDF] says that “the President continues to deal exclusively with FFPE-EPO, a tiny union that counts 76 members in The Hague and no section in other places of employment. In their recent elections, 31 members voted. The new Chairman has received 9 (nine) votes. FFPE-EPO is systematically called to participate in working groups, including matters affecting places of employment where they have no section. The Office is misleadingly presenting this as a major success in “social dialogue”.”

We must remember that Battistelli uses these nefarious tactics to pretend that there is “social” something (dialogue, study, conference, workshop etc.) while in reality he’s 100% antisocial and he attacks the real staff representatives — not those who are his yes men and chinchillas.

Is the Board (or the Council) wise enough to figure out the tricks Battistelli tries to pull on them?

Posted today in a separate (much older) thread is the following comment:

Board 28 meets this week. Any agenda?

Boards of Appeal Committee meets for the first time on 28.11? Anyone know if they are discussing Haar? Or the disciplinary case?? Is the first a fait accompli and the second perhaps another chance to re-open matters?

Leaked material (like the agenda) would be very much helpful to us. Anyone with access to it, please consider getting in touch with us. It's safe (we have a perfect record guarding sources).

Correcting Bias in Patent Law Firms’ Articles About Software Patents, Advice to Small Businesses, and Letting Machines Generate Patents

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Those who profit from war aspire to see more of it (the more, the merrier) and the same goes for patenting

War is a racket
Reference: War Is A Racket

Summary: Patent profiteers continue to mislead the public, even small and cash-strapped businesses, about patents, in an effort to get more and more patents out there, yielding wars (litigation), saturation of weapons (too many patents to keep track of without some dedicated attorneys), and a generally terrible system which rewards aggressors, not innovators that are genuinely productive (construction as opposed to destruction of perceived rivals)

This morning we spotted a very misleading headline, courtesy of Luciano Ricondo from Ladas & Parry LLP. Software patents are not patent-eligible anymore (or hardly so, even if the USPTO accepts them before they reach a high enough court that tosses them out), but this article is just the typical listing of very exceptional cases where CAFC somehow accepted a software patent or two (an appeal can still have these invalidated). Why are we still seeing such articles? Just look who the authors are, they try to sell their services.

A corporate partner at Kemp Little currently sells snake oil, including patents, to cash-limited SMEs that ought to focus on producing and selling products, not reading and producing paperwork. Andy Moseby called this “legal advice for small businesses”, but it seems more like shameless self-promotion that would have small businesses pay a lot of money for lawyers (to receive bad advice that then necessitates more of these lawyers).

“In reality, especially when it comes to code (software), copyrights provide sufficient protection and there is virtually no need for software patents (these are harder to get and a lot harder actually enforce anyway).”Secrecy rather than patents may work better sometimes and considering the breadth of patents out there, it’s more likely that a small company will get sued (or extorted by a patent troll) than be in a position to sue some other company using a patent or two. It’s just expensive and risky. In fact, this new article from Asterion Inc (US) stresses “the advantages of trade secret litigation,” highlighting it as a better option than patent litigation. In reality, especially when it comes to code (software), copyrights provide sufficient protection and there is virtually no need for software patents (these are harder to get and a lot harder actually enforce anyway).

The discussion about software patents in New Zealand, a common ground for lobbyists of firms like IBM and Microsoft, seems to be back with this report about “[p]ossible changes to NZ divisional patent practice”. We haven’t quite heard of it elsewhere, but thankfully, as far as are aware, the country has no software patents or a trolls epidemic — something which there’s a growing number of instances of in Europe (thanks, EPO!) and fewer in the US, owing to much-needed changes at the USPTO.

“The bottom line is, the patent system should restrict patent grants to few ideas that are actually novel and ground-breaking, not become enslaved by the mirage of quantity of patents as surrogate/function of innovation.”A subject which we mentioned not too long ago was the use of machines not only to examine patents but also generate and file patents. A bunch of computers generating patents to be examined by other computers would result in billions of crappy patents that only computers can process (and make no sense of anyway). A Web site called Futurism has just published an article about that (“When an AI Invents Something, It Should be Credited as the Inventor“). Well, patents are a dime a dozen now (low quality), with about 10 million of them in the US alone, so machines are already needed to deal with the chaos/maze, based on this new article from Innography Inc (US). We need stop patent maximalism because it renders the whole patent system too chaotic for people to keep abreast of (even just in their own field/domain) and it leads to a lot of litigation, patent thickets, etc. Maybe one day there will be a proportion of patents that is computer-generated and people won’t be able to distinguish these from ‘real’ patents crafted by actual humans. Then, other issues may crop up, for instance the existence (or inexistence) of an actual investor. Today there’s this new article which says: “Normally, if Client A and Lawyer A have a confidential communication, disclosure of it to a third party waives any privilege. However, if Client A and the third party have a “common interest,” there is no waiver. So, for example, if a licensor communicates with patent prosecution counsel for the licensee about prosecution of a foreign counterpart of the licensed patent, there might be a privilege.”

A system wherein there’s just a bunch of machines talking to one another would completely distort the very notion of innovation. What would be the point of such a system?

The bottom line is, the patent system should restrict patent grants to few ideas that are actually novel and ground-breaking, not become enslaved by the mirage of quantity of patents as surrogate/function of innovation. Only a clueless, antiscientific, deranged individual like Battistelli would make quantity rather than quality the primary goal, while at the same time pondering (allegedly) replacing examiners with machines or giving up examination altogether (so any machine can automatically generate as many patents as it’s capable, even if it’s all gobbledygook).

Trolls-Friendly IAM Magazine: Climate in Patent Trolling Has Worsened (for the Trolls)

Posted in Patents at 6:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Most of them were relying on software patents all along

IAM logo

Summary: Even the loudest proponent of patent trolls is willing to admit that they suffer

One thing we have lost sight of amid coverage of EPO scandals and software patents at the USPTO is patent trolls. They just don’t make the headlines anymore (or barely get mentioned). One might expect Vringo to step away into the darkness by now, but no… it actually composes articles. Advice from patent troll Vringo, a nasty, malicious firm that is also Microsoft-connected, as we noted here before? Its new article (“Devising international patent litigation strategies”) comes at an interesting time.

“It’s not often that we see IAM saying the truth about this subject.”Today, IAM posts a sort of sob story for this patent troll and bemoans the demise of patent trolls in general (referring to these as “NPEs”, as usual). “We have become accustomed to NPEs looking to diversify their offerings as the climate in licensing has worsened,” IAM wrote.

It’s not often that we see IAM saying the truth about this subject. Last month we even saw it using the “T” word (troll) at least once and the editor criticised the President of the EPO. We welcome this growing level of honesty.

Guest Post: Behind the GCC Meeting and How Battistelli Finds Excuses for His Union-Busting Campaign at the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CSC member resignation

Summary: The Central Staff Committee member resignation had virtually nothing to do with Laurent Prunier, the latest victim of Battistelli’s war on the staff union of the EPO (SUEPO)

In his Communiqué 9/2016, Battistelli alleges that the “apparent forced resignation” of a Central Staff Committee (CSC) member on 1 December 2014 had been the result of an “active participation of the subject in a campaign of harassment“ which included “exclusion, isolation and intimidation.”

This public defamation of Laurent is as unfair as the decision to dismiss him.

“To my knowledge, the proceedings against Laurent were launched by a protégé of Mr Battistelli, with the obvious goal to dismiss Laurent.”Here is some background about what happened:

During a consultative “GCC” meeting of the CSC and management, the CSC member who later resigned had not voted against the new career system, but had abstained. By doing so, he did not respect a democratic majority decision previously taken within the CSC. And he had not told the other CSC members before the meeting that he would not vote against the career proposal. The result of the vote in the GCC was 10:9 in favour of the new career system, which then entered into force in 2015. The CSC member was then heavily criticised for his behaviour by many disappointed staff members. As a consequence, he declared his resignation from the CSC with his announcement “Behind the GCC” of 25 November 2014. At the same time, he accepted that he had made a mistake and he apologised to staff from all sites for having abstained from his vote. When taking this into account, it seems to be unlikely that he later launched disciplinary proceedings against any one of his colleagues. Had he felt being harassed, he could have done so. But he did not. To my knowledge, the proceedings against Laurent were launched by a protégé of Mr Battistelli, with the obvious goal to dismiss Laurent.

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