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02.20.17

No, Doing Mathematical Operations on a Processor Does Not Make Algorithms Patent-Eligible

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway” —Marshall Phelps

Summary: Old and familiar tricks — a method for tricking examiners into the idea that algorithms are actual machines — are being peddled by Watchtroll again

I COME from a professional background of computer vision and I am also familiar with (and trained in) processor technology, so when I say that software is inherently mathematics I am not just merely repeating what other people are saying. In fact, having debated this in length with Watchtroll a couple of years ago, it became abundantly clear that he (Mr. Quinn) does not know that the heck he is talking about; he could not even name any computer program he wrote. It’s astounding that people who want to believe that software is patentable take him seriously*.

I therefore worry that Watchtroll is seen by many as some sort of ‘authority’ on the subject; it’s a site by and for law firms, or a propaganda mill for their pockets (software patents). They do a lot of lobbying and also shaming of officials like the Director of the USPTO (they never even mention the EPO).

“The latest Watchtroll piece wants people to think of computer programs as computers; as if putting something that is akin to prose through a processor magically makes it patentable.”The latest Watchtroll piece is titled “Operational Mathematics on a Processor is not an Abstract Idea”. They are mixing two things here; processors are not abstract but mathematics is a whole different thing. They cannot just magically link two things to make them look like the same thing. In our view, which was consistent over the years, the processor itself can have patents associated with it, and we don’t object to that. But algorithms are not processors and they are rarely if ever embedded in gate level. The computers are programmable. That’s what Manchester innovated after the (second) World War and what the Computer Science department here — the department which I studied in — became most renowned for.

The latest Watchtroll piece wants people to think of computer programs as computers; as if putting something that is akin to prose through a processor magically makes it patentable. Clueless or just lying to oneself?

We often wonder how many of the software patents proponents who write for Watchtroll actually come from Computer Science and can comprehend computer programs/code. We cannot recall even one. “Peter also works as a patent engineer in patent prosecution,” says the disclosure in the above article. What the heck is a “patent engineer”? That makes it sound like the act of patenting itself is an engineering task? Can they patent the process of patenting too? I once dated a girl who said she was a “nail engineer” (later it turned out she meant manicurist), so here again we have these artistic semantics.

“Sadly, based on what we heard, the above-mentioned pattern of deception (combining or blurring the gap between machine and code) is often used to trick EPO examiners into granting software patents; they can mislead themselves into thinking that they don’t grant software patents, but they do.”“Operational math on a processor is a switching device and not an abstract idea,” Peter writes. The processor just takes an instruction or a set of instructions (input) and produces some output, yielding something that can be processed for visualisation, sound etc. But the processor is not the program itself. The programs are stored in memory or in registers, which themselves resemble a book and are already covered by copyrights, not patents, just like a book. We could go on and deconstruct the whole piece from Peter, who is an Electronic Engineer, not a software engineer (far from the same thing).

Sadly, based on what we heard, the above-mentioned pattern of deception (combining or blurring the gap between machine and code) is often used to trick EPO examiners into granting software patents; they can mislead themselves into thinking that they don’t grant software patents, but they do.
____
* Well, here is Mr. Watchtroll being treated as some kind of guru on the subject [1, 2] just a few days ago.

Paid-for UPC Proponent, IAM ‘Magazine’, Debunked on UPC Again

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IAM 'Magazine' Debunked

Summary: The impact of the corrupted (by EPO money) media goes further than one might expect and even ‘borrows’ out-of-date news in order to promote the UPC

THE EPO has already paid (one might say bribed) a lot of media organisations as large as the Financial Times for fake news about the UPC. It also spent over a million Euros for a PR firm (FTI Consulting) to manipulate the media and this PR firm paid IAM ‘magazine’, which for a number of years had promoted the UPC (even before FTI paid).

Over the weekend we found IAM stating: “Interesting news from Spain – opposition Socialist party tables Parliamentary motion urging Spanish participation in unitary patent system. [...] Up to now, there has been a united political front in Spain keeping country outside the UPC system. It challenged its creation at ECJ & lost” (untrue). Spain would be utterly foolish to ever look at the UPC, for reasons we explained here before; the UPC would only harm Spain and the EPO does almost nothing — or worse than nothing — for Spain.

“But hey, if it helps the UPC campaign, why not air it, right?”There is one major problem with what IAM stated to create a false sense of optimism. As Francisco Moreno pointed out, along with a screenshot: “Participating in the UP (English, French, German) supporting at the same time Spanish was in their 2015 electoral program” (so this is far from news).

IAM tried to make ‘news’ (more UPC promotion) out of something that was not; there’s no excuse for this other then shoddiness or sloppiness in reporting, especially given that IAM’s editor in chief, by his own admission, lived for a long time in Spain and can probably speak Spanish (or Catalan) just fine.

But hey, if it helps the UPC campaign, why not air it, right? Especially when EPO (or EPO PR) money flows in

Lack of Justice in and Around the EPO Drawing Scrutiny

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Abject poverty when it comes to human rights cannot be compensated for with a generous salary

Heiko Maas saleSummary: The status of the EPO as an entity above the law (in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and so on) is becoming the subject of press reports and staff is leaving in large numbers

THE EPO has been reasonably quiet this year; the same goes for SUEPO, which came under severe and almost mortal attacks. ILO has barely helped as Team Battistelli mostly ignores it even when it rules against Team Battistelli. It’s more of that “above the law” attitude.

We recently became aware of this site which speaks of the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO. It also has this update:

Latest news: In the meantime the High Court of The Netherlands (Hoge Raad) maintained the international organisation’s immunity, despite severe human rights violations. Contrary to what the judges ruled a complainant has no means of accelerating a trial with the Administrative Tribunal of the ILO – in any case Articles 15 and 7bis of the Tribunal’s rules cannot be considered such means in “normal” lawsuits (cases of conflict), cf. http://www.ilo.org/tribunal/about-us/WCMS_249195/lang–en/index.htm . The two Articles were translated and interpreted wrongly by the Attorney General of the High Court – which the complainant’s Borgersbrief indicated, yet the judges seem to have ignored it. They went even further by ruling that the absence of such acceleration means is not a reason to remove the organisation’s immunity – that not only the complainant’s career was destroyed by the decision impugned, but also her health permanently harmed, did apparently not matter (I wonder in which case the organisation’s immunity would be disproportionate then….any clue??).

It is inexcusable that the EPO can enjoy immunity under these circumstances, for reasons we already explained in posts such as:

  1. Battistelli is an Autocrat Above the Law and It’s OK, Holland’s High Council Says
  2. EPO Abuses Now Make the Netherlands Look Like a Facilitator of Human/Labour Rights Abuses
  3. Media Blasts EPO Over Immunity Amid Suicides, Battistelli’s Behaviour Compared to Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s
  4. Leaked: Team Battistelli, Exploiting a Controversial Decision From the Netherlands, is Trying to Squash SUEPO
  5. The EPO’s Freedom to Disregard the Law and Abuse Employees is “Being Taken up by the Council of Europe”
  6. The Netherlands With Its Bizarre Decision to Let the EPO Violate Dutch Law, Now in English
  7. “Team Battistelli Continues With Intimidation Tactics”
  8. The European Patent Office Officially Dishonours Justice, So It’s Time for SUEPO to Become Clandestine
  9. Culture of Terror at The European Patent Office Escalates Thanks to Dutch Government’s Complicity

We are attempting to gather more information on the above case, but in the mean time all we have is the list of ILO decisions regarding EPO staff. Occasionally we look more closely at a few.

Yesterday we explained why the EPO is becoming a threat to the European Union. It’s not just about reputation issues but also growing disdain that leads to revocation of memberships, such as Britain’s. Responding to the British press, one person asked: “Does [the EPO] do anything useful at all, apart from making headlines with complaints about their boss?”

And here is the latest comment, taking note of Germany’s failure as well (Maas has his own interests):

The EPO staff has no fundamental rights at all.

I read in the comment of Int.og: ¨ The host country may not be able to do anything directly, but as with anyone under diplomatic immunity they could say that he is no longer welcome, and ask him to leave.¨. This could surely be a possible reaction of Germany and The neteherlands.

The German prime minister Angela Merkel said to the new US President Trump:

“Germany and America are bound by common values — democracy, freedom, as well as respect for the rule of law and the dignity of each and every person, regardless of their origin, skin color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, or political views. It is based on these values that I wish to offer close cooperation, both with me personally and between our countries’ governments.”

Mr Heiko Maas, Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection is well informed that there is a bad copy of Donald Trump President of the European Patent Office: namely Benoit Battistelli of french nationality. He is a bad copy because he has no respect for the rule of law, even not for the European Patent Convention, and the dignity of each and every person.

A nice overview you can find in the document for the Bavarian State Parliament published on 02 February 2017: Request – finally ensure the fundamental rights of the staff of the European Patent Office! https://www.bayern.landtag.de/www/ElanTextAblage_WP17/Drucksachen/Basisdrucksachen/0000009500/0000009748.pdf

It is for me and many others not clear what the reason is why Mr. Maas did nothing until now and many people working at the EPO have to suffer day after day.

And along the same lines, another comment:

A corporate dictatorship with diplomatic immunity?

I find it deeply disturbing that a commercial organisation can attain a status comparable to a sovereign nation, operate as a dictatorship, then be essentially immune to any government intervention, merely because it’s “international”.

So is Google, Microsoft and Apple, but that doesn’t make them immune to government intervention.

Frankly I think the EPO is an abomination that should be exterminated and replaced with something that is fully accountable in every jurisdiction in which it operates, starting with its present Gangster-in-Chief.

According to this new comment from IP Kat, the EPO has “more than one hundred examiners retiring and leaving this year,” probably running away from Battistelli’s sinking ship. To quote:

Again and again the rumours about over recruitment appear…..
Yes there are a few directorates where the stocks are decreasing, but there are many more where the stocks are still increasing.
Overall in the EPO the stocks are very very slowly going down.
With more than one hundred examiners retiring and leaving this year, without recruitment the stocks would increase again next year.
Why is this so hard to understand?
We were shown a simulation which predicts exactly this for our directorate, so also we have to recruit.
It made sense, and shows that there is enough work overall.
It doesn’t make me happy that the new examiners do searches while I do much more examination, but it’s fair since I have enough!

We are in the meantime attempting to contact the above-mentioned people, for there are clearly stories that ought to be told.

02.19.17

Links 19/2/2017: GParted 0.28.1, LibreOffice Donations Record

Posted in News Roundup at 6:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Call to adopt free and open source software in Oman

    Adoption of free software applications in the public and private sectors in the Sultanate was one of the recommendations of the just concluded Free and Open Source Software Conference.

    It also called for strengthening the role of small and medium enterprises in deploying free software developed in accordance with the requirements of the market and its needs.

  • Open Source Ethereum Unveils New Partners Santander and JP Morgan

    Open-source blockchain platform Ethereum has unveiled its latest blockchain development group, with partners Santander and JP Morgan pledging support for the project.

  • The best open source CRM software

    If you’re a small business looking to take the next step in your evolution, you may be looking at implementing a customer relationship management (or CRM) solution. But with enterprise-grade vendors like Oracle and Salesforce charging such a high premium for their services, how can smaller companies afford to get started with CRM software?

    The answer lies in open source. As with many kinds of software, there are multiple vendors who provide open source CRM solutions that are completely free to use. They may have restrictions on them, such as limited features and support, but for small businesses looking to try out CRM, they can be an excellent starting point.

  • NGINX moves towards web server dominance with European expansion

    Web server NGINX powers more than 317 million sites around the globes, and has rapidly replaced Apache as the engine of choice for the world’s 100,000 busiest, counting Netflix, Airbnb and Dropbox among its high-profile clients.

    NGINX Inc – the company set up to commercialise the open source technology – has now set its sights on developing its business in Europe and recently opened a new EMEA headquarters in Cork, Ireland as a launching point to the region.

    NGINX began life as a web server written by a Russian engineer called Igor Syosev in 2002 while he was working as a system administrator for the portal site Rambler.

  • Fermat announces alpha release of blockchain-enabled open source project

    Fermat has made upgrades to the technology and architecture behind the decentralized and blockchain-enabled open source project Internet of People (IoP). Its goal is providing device-to-device communication independent of any entity of web server.

    Since its April 2016 launch, Fermat has added more than 60 national and regional chapters, each mining IoP tokens in a decentralized manner. Each chapter president is charged with advocating for the project in their community, running testnet nodes, organizing meet-ups, marketing, and token mining. Every chapter can run a single mining node and earn IoP tokens from the IoP blockchain as their reward.

  • Events

    • Be Ready To Attend SCALE x15 Conference in March 2-5, USA

      We just witnessed the end of FOSDEM 2017; The largest FOSS event in Europe. It held around 660 different events about a lot of different topics and aspects of open source software. You can check their summary here.

    • #LinuxPlaya Preparation

      As #LinuxPlaya draws near, we’ve been preparing things to the event. We first did a workshop to help others to finish the GTK+Python tutorial for developers. While some other students from different universities in Lima did some posts to prove that they use Linux (FEDORA+GNOME). You can see in the following list, the various areas where they had worked: design, robotics, education, by using tech as Docker and a Snake GTK game.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.3 triggers a record of donations

      In this case, one image is better than 1,000 words, as the histogram represents donations during the first 10 days of each month, since May 2013, and doesn’t need any further comment. LibreOffice 5.3 has triggered 3,937 donations in February 2017, 1,800 more than in March 2016, and over 2,000 – sometimes over 3,000 – more than any other month. Donations are key to the life and the development of the project. Thanks, everyone.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Why I Love Free Software

      I’m a Linux desktop user, because Linux doesn’t try to lock me into their platform and services only to abandon me halfway through the journey.

      Instead of having my access to remote management features, convenient encryption features, and even how long I’m allowed to use my own device be restricted by how much I’ve paid for my operating system edition; I’m free to choose whichever edition I want based on my needs of the moment.

    • Here’s a sneak peek at LibrePlanet 2017: Register today!
    • What’s a cryptovalentine?

      Roses are red, violets are blue; I use free software to encrypt my online communication and you can too.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Bradley Kuhn Delivered Copyleft Keynote at FOSDEM

      At FOSDEM last week, Conservancy’s Distinguished Technologist Bradley Kuhn delivered a keynote “Understanding The Complexity of Copyleft Defense.” The speech reviews the history of GPL enforcement efforts, pointing out development projects such as OpenWRT and SamyGo that began thanks to GPL compliance work. Kuhn focused in particular on how copyleft compliance can further empower users and developers as more kinds of devices run GPL’d software, and he concluded his remarks urging developers to take control of their own work by demanding to hold their own copyrights, using mechanisms such as Conservancy’s ContractPatch initiative.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Yahoo releases deep learning software, RethinkDB resurrected, and more open source news
    • That Was The Week That Was (TWTWTW): Edition 1

      This is the first edition of TWTWTW, a weekly blog promoting interesting developments in the open source world. TWTWTW seeks to whet your curiosity. The name pays homage to the satirical British TV comedy programme aired in the early 1960s. Except satire isn’t the the raison d’etre for this blog. Instead, it provides a concise distilled commentary of notable open source related news from a different perspective. For the first edition, we present a brief catchup covering software, hardware, and a useful web service.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Wikipedia, open source and the truth

        In a world where fact is increasingly treated like fiction, and fiction is presented as fact, few online resources
        have managed to preserve and retain their credibility the way Wikipedia has.

        The online, open-source encyclopedia has become an indispensable reference tool for those in search of information, including journalists.

  • Programming/Development

    • DWARF Version 5 Standard Released

      The DWARF Debugging Information Format Standards Committee is pleased to announce the availability of Version 5 of the DWARF Debugging Format Standard. The DWARF Debugging Format is used to communicate debugging information between a compiler and debugger to make it easier for programmers to develop, test, and debug programs.

      DWARF is used by a wide range of compilers and debuggers, both proprietary and open source, to support debugging of Ada, C, C++, Cobol, FORTRAN, Java, and other programming languages. DWARF V5 adds support for new languages like Rust, Swift, Ocaml, Go, and Haskell, as well as support for new features in older languages. DWARF can be used with a wide range of processor architectures, such as x86, ARM, PowerPC, from 8-bit to 64-bit.

    • Things that won’t change in Python

      A lengthy and strongly opinionated post about Python features to the python-ideas mailing list garnered various responses there, from some agreement to strong disagreement to calling it “trolling”, but it may also lead the Python community to better define what Python is. Trolling seems a somewhat unfair characterization, but Simon Lovell’s “Python Reviewed” post did call out some of the fundamental attributes of the language and made some value judgments that were seen as either coming from ignorance of the language or simply as opinions that were stated as facts in a brusque way. The thread eventually led to the creation of a document meant to help head off this kind of thread in the future.

    • modulemd 1.1.0

      This is a little belated announcement but let it be known that I released a new version of the module metadata library, modulemd-1.1.0, earlier this week!

    • RPushbullet 0.3.1
    • A rift in the NTP world

      The failure of the Network Time Protocol (NTP) project could be catastrophic. However, what few have noticed is that the attempts to prevent that catastrophe may have created entirely new challenges.

Leftovers

  • Teen Edits Band’s Wikipedia Page To Bluff His Way Into VIP Section

    This teenager got seriously creative to get a better view at a music concert.

    Adam Boyd said he bluffed his way into the VIP area at the Albert Hall in Manchester, northern England, on Friday night after editing The Sherlocks’ Wikipedia page on his cell phone to say he was the lead singer’s cousin.

    He then showed the switched-up entry to a security guard, who let him slide into the roped-off section without issue.

  • Calculating contrast ratios of text
  • Security

    • Security updates for Friday
    • A Typo in Zerocoin’s Source Code helped Hackers Steal ZCoins worth $585,000

      If yes, then you would know the actual pain of… “forgetting a semicolon,” the hide and seek champion since 1958.

    • Israeli soldiers hit in cyberespionage campaign using Android malware
    • Yahoo Hacked Once Again! Quietly Warns Affected Users About New Attack

      Has Yahoo rebuilt your trust again?

      If yes, then you need to think once again, as the company is warning its users of another hack.

      Last year, Yahoo admitted two of the largest data breaches on record. One of which that took place in 2013 disclosed personal details associated with more than 1 Billion Yahoo user accounts.

      Well, it’s happened yet again.

    • Insecure Android apps put connected cars at risk
    • Mobile apps and stealing a connected car

      The concept of a connected car, or a car equipped with Internet access, has been gaining popularity for the last several years. The case in point is not only multimedia systems (music, maps, and films are available on-board in modern luxury cars) but also car key systems in both literal and figurative senses. By using proprietary mobile apps, it is possible to get the GPS coordinates of a car, trace its route, open its doors, start its engine, and turn on its auxiliary devices. On the one hand, these are absolutely useful features used by millions of people, but on the other hand, if a car thief were to gain access to the mobile device that belongs to a victim that has the app installed, then would car theft not become a mere trifle?

    • [Video] Keynote: Security and Privacy in a Hyper-connected World – Bruce Schneier, Security Expert
    • RSA Conference: Lessons from a Billion Breached Data Records

      Troy Hunt sees more breached records than most of us, running the popular ethical data breach search service “Have I been pwned.” In a session at the RSA Conference this week, Hunt entertained the capacity crowd with tales both humorous and frightening about breaches that he has been involved with.

      One of things that Hunt said he is often asked is exactly how he learns about so many breaches. His answer was simple.

      “Normally stuff just gets sent to me,” Hunt said.

      He emphasized that he doesn’t want to be a disclosure channel for breaches, as that’s not a role he wants to play. Rather his goal is more about helping people to be informed and protect themselves.

    • How Google Secures Gmail Against Spam and Ransomware

      Google’s Gmail web email service is used by millions of companies and consumers around the world, making it an attractive target for attackers. In a session at the RSA Conference here, Elie Bursztein, anti-fraud and abuse research team lead at Google, detailed the many technologies and processes that Google uses to protect users and the Gmail service itself from exploitation.

    • IBM Reveals Security Risks to Owners of Previously Owned IoT Devices

      hen you sell a car, typically the new owner gets the keys to the car and the original owner walks away. With a connected car, Charles Henderson, global head of X-Force Red at IBM Security, found that the original owner still has remote access capabilities, even years after the car has been sold.

      Henderson revealed his disturbing new research into a previously unexplored area of internet of things (IoT) security at the RSA Conference here on Feb. 17. In a video interview with eWEEK, Henderson detailed the management issue he found with IoT devices and why it’s a real risk.

      “As smart as a connected car is, it’s not smart enough to know that it has been sold, and that poses a real problem,” Henderson said.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Thousands of Filipino Catholics march against death penalty, war on drugs

      Thousands of Roman Catholics marched in the Philippines capital Manila on Saturday in the biggest gathering denouncing extra-judicial killings and a government plan to reimpose the death penalty for criminals.

      Dubbed a “Walk for Life” prayer rally and endorsed by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the gathering came just days after the church launched its strongest attack against President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

      Organizers claimed as many as 50,000 people took part in the march toward Manila’s Rizal Park, while about 10,000 based on police estimates stayed to hear speeches.

      More than 7,600 people have been killed since Duterte launched his anti-drugs campaign seven months ago. More than 2,500 died in shootouts during raids and sting operations, according to the police.

      Amid mounting criticism about a surge in killings, Duterte said on Saturday that the campaign was “by and large successful”.

      Speaking at the Philippine Military Academy’s alumni homecoming in Baguio City, he said the drug problem was more complex than he initially thought, prompting him to seek military support.

    • Eight killed in Xinjiang knife attack: police shoot three attackers

      Eight people were killed in a violent attack in China’s restive region of Xinjiang on Tuesday, mainland media reported.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • End persecution of Zambian journalist Dr M’membe

      The Courage Foundation calls for an immediate end to all legal and political persecution against Zambian journalist Dr. Fred M’membe, his lawyer and his family.

      While he was giving a lecture in Jamaica, Dr M’membe’s home in Zambia was raided and his wife, Mutinta Mazoka M’membe, was arrested, detained for two nights and then released on bail. She’s due to face charges in court on 3 March.

    • Ecuadorians Tell Presidential Candidates They Want Assange Safe

      Ecuador was hit by a Twitterstorm on Thursday as people around the world joined a national campaign to pressure the South American country’s right-wing presidential candidates to retract their promises to kick famed whistleblower Julian Assange out of the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

    • What Wikileaks Docs Say About Ecuador’s Presidential Candidates

      In the final days of Ecuador’s presidential campaign, WikiLeaks republishes U.S. diplomatic cables related to the three major candidates.

      As Ecuador’s leading presidential candidate of the governing Alianza Pais party, Lenin Moreno, wrapped up his campaign with a massive rally in the nation’s capital, Quito, on Wednesday, WikiLeaks tweeted out portions of the U.S. diplomatic cables related to the three major candidates in Sunday’s election.

    • Turkey Arrests Journalist For Reporting On Hack

      Turkey, already in the midst of a crackdown on the media, has arrested a journalist for reporting on hacked emails that revealed apparent corruption in the country’s government. His colleagues say he may have been caught after sharing a group direct message on Twitter with a hacker group and several fellow journalists.

      Deniz Yucel, a Turkey correspondent for the German newspaper Die Welt, has been held in police custody since Tuesday, the paper has reported. Yucel is the seventh journalist jailed for reporting about the emails of Turkey’s Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, which were publicly released in October by the marxist hacktivist group RedHack, then indexed by WikiLeaks.

      If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Scientists have just detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans linked to a warming climate

      A large research synthesis, published in one of the world’s most influential scientific journals, has detected a decline in the amount of dissolved oxygen in oceans around the world — a long-predicted result of climate change that could have severe consequences for marine organisms if it continues.

      The paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature by oceanographer Sunke Schmidtko and two colleagues from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, found a decline of more than 2 percent in ocean oxygen content worldwide between 1960 and 2010. The loss, however, showed up in some ocean basins more than others. The largest overall volume of oxygen was lost in the largest ocean — the Pacific — but as a percentage, the decline was sharpest in the Arctic Ocean, a region facing Earth’s most stark climate change.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • President Trump, White House Apprentice

      It’s with a whiff of desperation that President Trump insists these days that he’s the chief executive Washington needs, the decisive dealmaker who, as he said during the campaign, “alone can fix it.” What America has seen so far is an inept White House led by a celebrity apprentice.

      This president did not inherit “a mess” from Barack Obama, as he likes to say, but a nation recovered from recession and with strong alliances abroad. Mr. Trump is well on his way to creating a mess of his own, weakening national security and even risking the delivery of basic government services. Most of the top thousand jobs in the administration remain vacant. Career public servants are clashing with inexperienced “beachhead” teams appointed by the White House to run federal agencies until permanent staff members arrive.

    • Congressman calls for probe into Trump’s use of Android phone

      In a letter to the House Oversight Committee, a Democrat from Los Angeles worries hackers could hijack Trump’s “prized Twitter account” through the personal phone he reportedly chooses to use.

    • Mitch McConnell Just Reached a New Low

      In ramming through Trump’s EPA pick, the majority leader committed an egregious cover-up and a “total abdication of the Senate’s constitutional responsibility.”

    • The man who brought down Nixon says Trump is even ‘more treacherous’

      Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein has attacked Donald Trump’s “lying” and said his attacks on the media are more treacherous than those of Richard Nixon, the president he helped bring down.

      Bernstein, whose reporting with Bob Woodward and Ben Bradlee helped exposed the Watergate scandal of the 1970s, has told his 26,000 twitter followers: “The most dangerous ‘enemy of the people’ is presidential lying – always. Attacks on the press by Donald Trump [are] more treacherous than Nixon’s.”

      Apparently questioning Trump’s mental stability, Bernstein added: “Real news (not fake) is that Donald Trump is trying to make conduct of the press the issue instead of egregious (and unhinged) conduct of POTUS [President of the United States].”

    • Leaked tape reveals Trump invited club guests to ‘come along’ during cabinet interviews

      Newly leaked audio from a November party at President Trump’s Bedminster, N.J., golf club reveals then president-elect Trump touting to guests his scheduled interviews on premises with potential cabinet members and White House staff.

      “We’re doing a lot of interviews tomorrow — generals, dictators, we have everything,” Trump says in the tape, obtained by Politico and published Saturday. “You may wanna come around. It’ll be fun. We’re really working tomorrow. We have meetings every 15, 20 minutes with different people that will form our government.”

    • Uber exec broke ethics rule when lobbying about rights at Chicago airports
    • Is It Time to Call Trump Mentally Ill?

      A lot of people seem to be questioning President Trump’s mental health. This month, Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat, went so far as to say he was considering proposing legislation that would require a White House psychiatrist.

      More controversial is the number of mental health experts who are joining the chorus. In December, a Huffington Post article featured a letter written by three prominent psychiatry professors that cited President Trump’s “grandiosity, impulsivity, hypersensitivity to slights or criticism, and an apparent inability to distinguish between fantasy and reality” as evidence of his mental instability. While stopping short of giving the president a formal psychiatric diagnosis, the experts called for him to submit to a full medical and neuropsychiatric evaluation by impartial investigators.

      A practicing psychologist went further in late January. He was quoted in a U.S. News and World Report article titled “Temperament Tantrum,” saying that President Trump has malignant narcissism, which is characterized by grandiosity, sadism and antisocial behavior.

    • Trump tweets: The media is the ‘enemy of the American people’

      He had posted and then quickly deleted a slightly different version of the tweet just a few minutes earlier, which omitted ABC and CBS. He also included the word “SICK!” at the end of the original post.

      The tweet came one day after Trump held an adversarial and lengthy news conference, in which he berated the media as “very fake news” and dismissed news reports about his and his associates’ ties to Russia as a “ruse.”

    • Donald Trump says ‘fake news’ media is ‘enemy of the American people’

      Donald Trump has branded his critics in the US press “not my enemy” but the “enemy of the American people”, in a tweet that came a day after he launched a sustained attack on the media during a White House press conference.

      In his latest barb aimed at US journalists, the Republican billionaire took to Twitter to accuse reporters of publishing “fake news” and singled out several broadcasters for criticism.

    • Donald Trump’s administration is in ‘disarray’, warns John McCain at Munich Security Conference

      Donald Trump’s administration is in “disarray” and has “a lot of work to do”, a senior Republican figure has warned at a high-level meeting of defence and security chiefs in Germany.

      Senator John McCain, an outspoken critic of the US President, said Mr Trump was prone to contradicting himself and said his remarks should not be taken at face value.

      His warning was significant as other US officials speaking at the Munich Security Conference had sought to reassure America’s allies that the apparent chaos in Washington was being overblown.

      It followed a day after Mr Trump insisted his administration was running like a “finely-tuned machine”, amid a furore over the resignation of Michael Flynn as national security adviser.

    • Everything Trump Did in His 4th Week That Actually Matters

      Signed a bill to allow coal-mining operations to put more pollution in streams. That’s really not an ungenerous reading of the bill Trump signed on Thursday. The legislation, as David Dayen outlined recently, used a heretofore rarely used mechanism instituted by the Congressional Review Act of 1996 (CRA), by which Congress can junk recent regulations and prevent the executive branch from ever signing something similar in the future without Congress. By signing the bill, Trump eliminated an Obama rule that protected 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 square miles of forest from mountaintop-removal operations that dump debris rich with heavy metals into nearby ecosystems.

    • Finland grants asylum to Russian opposition leader

      Petrozavodsk businessman and Karelian Republic opposition leader Vasili Popov has been granted political asylum in Finland. He confirmed his status to a reporter on the public broadcaster Yle’s Novosti Russian-language news team on Friday.

      Before fleeing to Finland in the spring of 2015, Popov was a leader in the liberal Russian United Democratic Party known as Yabloko in the Karelian Republic, a federal subject of Russia.

      In August 2015, Yle reported that Russian authorities had declared Popov to be detained in absentia, as an international search warrant for his arrest was issued via the international police body Interpol. The tabloid Ilta-Sanomat reported at the time that Popov was arrested by Finnish police from his Joensuu home at the request of Russian authorities.

    • Popular newsletter uses open-source techniques to cover ‘WTF’ is happening with Trump
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • ACLU calls Hogan Facebook policy ‘censorship’

      The ACLU of Maryland contends Gov. Larry Hogan’s deletion of Facebook comments is tantamount to censorship.

      The civil rights organization sent the Republican governor a letter Friday outlining its legal argument that Hogan violated the First Amendment rights of his constituents when he deleted their comments from his official Facebook page and banned some people from posting.

    • Techdirt lawyers ask judge to throw out suit over “Inventor of E-mail”

      The motion holds that Techdirt’s allegedly defamatory statements are actually constitutionally protected opinion. “This lawsuit is a misbegotten effort to stifle historical debate, silence criticism, and chill others from continuing to question Ayyadurai’s grandiose claims,” write Masnick’s lawyers.

      The motion skims the history of e-mail and points out that the well-known fields of e-mail messages, like “to,” “from,” “cc,” “subject,” “message,” and “bcc,” were used in ARPANET e-mail messages for years before Ayyadurai made his “EMAIL” program.

      Ayyadurai focuses on statements calling him a “fake,” a “liar,” or a “fraud” putting forth “bogus” claims. Masnick counters that such phrases are “rhetorical hyperbole” meant to express opinions and reminds the court that “[t]he law provides no redress for harsh name-calling.”

    • PewDiePie calls out media “attack” in response to Disney fallout

      This week started with controversial PewDiePie news—and that’s how it’s going to end, too. The YouTube megastar, whose real name is Felix Kjellberg, posted a response video today addressing The Wall Street Journal’s report about alleged anti-Semitic comments. Those comments cost him both a lucrative contract with Disney and his deal with YouTube Red.

      In his response, Kjellberg apologized for jokes that “went too far” and acknowledged that he offended people. But he also claimed that “old-school media” (in this case the Journal) attacked him personally for being a YouTube personality who makes a substantial living off the online video platform.

    • Kids Shouldn’t Use the Internet, Russia’s Site-Blocking Chief Says

      The head of Rozcomnadzor, the body that oversees website-blocking in Russia, made a shocking statement this week. According to Alexander Zharov, children under ten years of age shouldn’t use the Internet, and there’s “nothing good” about a three-year-old who uses a tablet to watch cartoons.

    • Calling time on the War, censorship and exceptional difficulty

      ‘Europe’s nightmare is over” was the dramatic first sentence of the Irish Independent’s editorial on the day when Victory in Europe was celebrated, marking the end of six years of “slaughter and desolation” on the continent. The paper suggested that it would be up to future historians to argue over whether “it was the tenacity and resources of the British, the colossal weight of American intervention, or the astonishing power of Russia” which had played the decisive role in Germany’s downfall. Looking back at it now it is easier to agree that it was a combination of all three.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Implementing Privacy Preserving Auction Protocols

      In this thesis we translate Brandt’s privacy preserving sealed-bid online auction protocol from RSA to elliptic curve arithmetic and analyze the theoretical and practical benefits. With Brandt’s protocol, the auction outcome is completely resolved by the bidders and the seller without the need for a trusted third party. Loosing bids are not revealed to anyone. We present libbrandt, our implementation of four algorithms with different outcome and pricing properties, and describe how they can be incorporated in a real-world online auction system. Our performance measurements show a reduction of computation time and prospective bandwidth cost of over 90% compared to an implementation of the RSA version of the same algorithms. We also evaluate how libbrandt scales in different dimensions and conclude that the system we have presented is promising with respect to an adoption in the real world.

    • Riseup moves to encrypted email in response to legal requests.

      After exhausting our legal options, Riseup recently chose to comply with two sealed warrants from the FBI, rather than facing contempt of court (which would have resulted in jail time for Riseup birds and/or termination of the Riseup organization). The first concerned the public contact address for an international DDoS extortion ring. The second concerned an account using ransomware to extort money from people.

    • How cryptocurrency will cripple today’s governments – and they won’t see it coming

      Cryptocurrency will cripple governmental ability to collect taxes, and they won’t see it coming. When it’s already happened, expect major changes to take place in how society is organized on a large scale – but also expect governments to act in desperation to retain control.

      As bitcoin launched in 2009, most early adopters saw its disruptive potential. While bitcoin has stalled for some time approaching a valid use of the term “stagnation”, cryptocurrency in a larger context is still just as disruptive. In 2011, I stated that bitcoin (cryptocurrency) will do to banks what e-mail did to the postal services. This is not just true, but it will be even more brutal to governments, and by extension, governmental services.

      Now, governments love anything that smells like innovation, because it means jobs, this magic word that smells of magic unicorns to anybody in government. Therefore, people who like innovation are nurturing this bitcoin thing, this cryptocurrency thing, this ethereum thing (as if governments made a difference, but still). Lots of startups in tip-of-the-spear financial technology means that their government may get a head start over other governments. They have no idea that cryptocurrency will radically scale back the power of government, not just their own one, but also all those other governments over which it seeks a competitive edge.

    • Op-ed: Mark Zuckerberg’s manifesto is a political trainwreck

      Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has just published a 5,700 word “letter” on his profile, where he asserts that Facebook represents one of history’s “great leaps.” Though he covers a number of topics, what’s most interesting is how he positions Facebook as a force for political change in the coming years. His goals are lofty, sometimes even grandiose. That’s not the problem.

      The problem is a fundamental contradiction built into the way he hopes to create what he calls a “global community” by essentially gerrymandering the Internet.

    • Germans, do you own a Cayla doll? Kill it with fire

      IN GERMANY, people are outraged by the news that a doll that can listen to what a child says, record that information, connect to the internet and be hacked.

      We have heard of bad dolls before. Often they appear in horror movies like Child’s Play, sometimes they are just cursed and live on a shelf in your nan’s spare bedroom with eyes that follow you around. In this instance it is a doll called Cayla.

    • Your personal Facebook Live videos can legally end up on TV

      Man streams son’s birth on Facebook Live – sees footage on Good Morning America.

      Think you control what happens to your personal videos? Think again.

      One father who live-streamed his partner’s labour on Facebook last May, has found out the hard way: he saw the birth of his son replayed on Good Morning America and numerous other media outlets.

      This week, he lost a high-profile court battle against the broadcasters.

      If you don’t want this to happen to you, don’t make the same mistakes.

    • Mark Zuckerberg’s letter annotated: what he said and what he didn’t

      Mark Zuckerberg opens his missive with a grammatical ambiguity: who are “we”? Is this a letter to Facebook, or to the world? It can be read both ways. But regardless of the intended audience, there’s a subtext to the opening paragraph which informs the whole 5,700-word letter: for an increasing number of people, the answer to Zuckerberg’s question is “no”. Zuckerberg wants for more than Facebook to be an insanely profitable mega-corporation. He wants the company to be seen as a force for good in the world, and right now, he’s concerned that it isn’t.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Shares Facebook’s Plan to Bring the Global Community Together
    • Mark Zuckerberg’s Answer to a World Divided by Facebook Is More Facebook

      When I ask Mark Zuckerberg if the presidential election changed the way he sees Facebook—if he made poor assumptions, if Facebook functioned in ways he didn’t intend—he pauses.

      I’ve interviewed Zuckerberg before, and he tends to pause like this, gathering his thoughts in complete silence, sometimes turning to face the empty space across the room. But this dead air lasts particularly long. Five seconds. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. “I don’t know,” he finally says. “It’s a very interesting question.” Pause.

      “If you continue giving people voice and work to create a diversity of ideas and common understanding and strengthen the social fabric,” he says, not directly answering the question, “then over the long term we will go in the right direction regardless if you disagree on short-term things.”

    • Stalkscan Is A Creepy Tool That Exposes All Your Facebook Public Information In One Click

      A Belgian ethical hacker has created an online tool, named Stalkscan, that shows you how powerful Facebook’s search tool is and what kind of information is available on the social network publicly. All you need to do is type the URL of a person’s profile in the web interface and you’re good to go. The creator of the tool also outlines that the tool doesn’t violate Facebook’s privacy policies.

    • Data Selfie: This Free And Open Source Tool Shows How Facebook’s AI Tracks You All The Time

      How does Facebook know what to show to you? How does it make predictions and guesses your interest? Some of you might be having a rough idea that Facebook’s algorithms keep tracking your activity and user-interactions, but what’s the real deal?

    • Now sites can fingerprint you online even when you use multiple browsers

      Researchers have recently developed the first reliable technique for websites to track visitors even when they use two or more different browsers. This shatters a key defense against sites that identify visitors based on the digital fingerprint their browsers leave behind.

      State-of-the-art fingerprinting techniques are highly effective at identifying users when they use browsers with default or commonly used settings. For instance, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s privacy tool, known as Panopticlick, found that only one in about 77,691 browsers had the same characteristics as the one commonly used by this reporter. Such fingerprints are the result of specific settings and customizations found in a specific browser installation, including the list of plugins, the selected time zone, whether a “do not track” option is turned on, and whether an adblocker is being used.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • It’s Not Ok

      Writer Shazia Hobbs was invited to Cleveland Police HQ, in Middlesborough, to speak at a conference titled ‘It’s Not OK’. The event was about breaking the silence on sexual violence and how to better protect victims. Shazia was representing the Halo Project Charity, an organisation that supports victims of honour-based violence, forced marriages and FGM Here’s what she had to say on the subject.

    • Two West Midlands Police officers charged over ‘plot to steal and sell drugs’

      Pc Wahid Husman and Pc Tahsib Majid, who were based in Perry Barr, are among a group appearing before magistrates today.

      The pair face charges including drug offences, conspiracy to steal and misconduct in a public office.

      The constables were immediately suspended from duty following their charge.

      Six other people were arrested in early morning raids across the West Midlands area on Tuesday morning.

    • In Somaliland, women are being raped as a result of extreme drought and lack of support

      “Two days ago four men came, grabbed me and started raping me. Most women and girls in the camp have been assaulted or raped by gangs,” begins Hodan Ahmedan, 23, sitting in her makeshift shelter where she has lived since she arrived from drought-ridden eastern Somaliland to a camp for internally displaced in Maxamed Mooge, Hargeisa.

      Cases of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) are rife here. A lack of police presence, inadequate lighting, an absence of sanitary facilities and an increase in the number of female-only households has rendered this camp an ideal ground for SGBV. “The ground is really hard here so we can’t dig to make lavatories.

    • Right to Record Police Established in U.S. Fifth Circuit

      The United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit covers the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, the second most populous state. The court has issued a decision that clearly establishes the right to record police, which did not previously exist in the Fifth Circuit.

      The plaintiff, Phillip Turner, was recording a Fort Worth police station (6:35 YouTube) from a public sidewalk (known as a “First Amendment audit”) when officers approached him and asked for identification. Turner refused to ID himself and was eventually handcuffed and placed in the back of a patrol car. Turner was released at the scene and later filed charges against three officers (amended to include the City of Fort Worth) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The officers moved to dismiss the case, claiming qualified immunity, which was granted by the district court. The Fifth Circuit has affirmed, reversed, and remanded portions of the district court’s decision in what can be considered an overall win for Mr. Turner (10:59 YouTube).

    • 1,00,000 Hindus rally against the Jihadis in Kolkata, say Donald Trump vindicates them

      In a major show of strength against Islamic Terrorism, around 1,00,000 Hindus of all race, color and gender marched and rallied through the streets of Kolkata in the state of West Bengal, India. On the occasion of the Foundation Day of the organization Hindu Samhati, the organizers recalled the sufferings of the Hindu community worldwide. Founded in 2008, Hindu Samhati is a Hindu organization working on ground in West Bengal and in the other states of Eastern India.

      In recent years there is a tremendous growth of Radical Islam in the Eastern part of India. There has been a series of attacks on the Hindu community. According to Tapan Ghosh, President and Founder of Hindu Samhati, who is also a Monk, “In 2016 attack against the Hindu community started with the burning of the Kaliachak Police Station of Malda by the Islamic Radicals (on 3rd of January). It ended with the misery of the Hindus in Dhulagarh in Howrah (on 14th December). In between these two incidents, Hindus of Bengal had to witness countless episodes of gruesome attacks and Jihadi atrocities throughout this year. Kaligram, Ramganz, Ilambazar, Tufanganz, Chopra, Naihati, Kharagpur, Shankrail, Mallarpur, Baduria, Mohammadbazar, Barchandghar, Jalangee, Toltoli and many more places observed similar occurrences. The sheer volumes of these events, the limitless atrocities and unparalleled aggression have become the eye-openers for the Hindus. The persecuted people in Eastern India are seeing the organization as their only hope”.

    • Pakistani Hindus lose daughters to forced Muslim marriages.

      Anila Dhawan, 17, was kidnapped last spring from her home in Hyderabad, forced to convert to Islam and marry her abductor.

      The police refused to intervene. Her kidnapper told them she ran away from home, and converted to Islam and married him voluntarily. But after her family pressured a court to intervene, she told judges the truth and they freed her.

      “Her life was threatened,” her attorney, Ramesh Gupta, said. “She wanted to go back to her parents and the statement (she made to the court) helped to sway the decision in her favor and she was freed to join her family.”

      Anila is one of many Pakistani Hindu girls kidnapped because of religious discrimination in a country that is 98% Muslim.

    • While a Londoner languishes in prison in Iran, Sadiq Khan thinks it’s a good idea to invite an Iranian director to the city

      “On Sunday 26 February, the night of the Oscars, we’re transforming Trafalgar Square into London’s biggest cinema,” says Sadiq Khan in a publicity video for the screening of Iran’s Oscar-nominated film, The Salesman.

      “I want to welcome people from all across the capital and beyond,” the Khan adds – “khan” in Persian is aptly the daddy, godfather, don, the head of the village – “to share in this celebration of London as an international hub of creativity and as a global beacon of openness and diversity.”

      But hold on – why is London doing this when Tehran is holding one of its citizens in jail over unclear charges and refusing her urgent medical care?

    • EU citizens ‘denied residency documents’

      EU citizens living in the UK say they are being denied a guarantee of permanent residency because they do not have health insurance.

      Under a little-known rule, EU citizens not in work or those looking for work must buy comprehensive insurance.

      One man told the Today programme his application had been rejected, despite living in the UK since the age of 13.

      Peers are now trying to change the law. The Home Office said securing the status of EU migrants was a priority.

      Since the referendum in June, many EU citizens have applied for documents guaranteeing the right to live permanently in the UK.

      But the documents can only be obtained by migrants who have consistently either worked, sought work, or bought the insurance for five years.

  • DRM

    • Source: Apple Will Fight ‘Right to Repair’ Legislation

      Apple representatives plan to tell Nebraska lawmakers that repairing your phone is dangerous.

      Apple is planning to fight proposed electronics “Right to Repair” legislation being considered by the Nebraska state legislature, according to a source within the legislature who is familiar with the bill’s path through the statehouse.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Chinese Trademarks And The Emoluments Clause: Do They Intersect In The Trump Presidency?

        As the world continues to get used to an America with a President Donald Trump at its head, the binary nature of the current political climate has reared its own head in unfortunate ways. One example of this is the stunning speed with which many of those previously ignorant of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, as the Title of Nobility Clause is commonly called, have feigned familiarity with it. As one of my colleagues here termed it, the “emoluments hunting” going on is transparently political in nature, rather than representing a serious effort at protecting the public interest from the shadow of undue influence and sanctioned bribery over our highest political office.

    • Copyrights

      • Is Megaupload’s ‘Crime’ a Common Cloud Hosting Practice?

        Five years ago the US Government launched a criminal case against Megaupload and several of its former employees. One of the main allegations in the indictment is that the site only deleted links to copyright-infringing material, not the actual files. Interestingly, this isn’t too far off from what cloud hosting providers such as Google Drive and Dropbox still do today.

      • Study: 70% of Young Swedish Men Are Video Pirates

        A new study from Sweden has found that just over half of all young people admit to obtaining movies and TV shows from the Internet without paying, a figure that rockets to 70% among young men. With The Pirate Bay about to be blocked by one ISP with more to follow, can piracy rates be controlled?

      • Judge Splits $750 Piracy Penalty Between BitTorrent Peers

        A District Court judge in Seattle has taken a novel approach in a series of default judgments targeting alleged BitTorrent pirates. Since the defendants are accused of sharing files in the same swarm, they should also share the penalty among each other, the judge argues. According to the order, these cases are not intended to provide a windfall to filmmakers.

      • Copyright power matrix

        Copyright reform is the largest, loudest and most divisive battle in EU policy this year. It pits the full might of Paris and Berlin with Europe’s deep-rooted publishing industry, against internet search giants, pirates and the speed of technological change.

        The rules that govern who’s allowed to make copies of music, films, books and other media were last updated in 2001, before internet streaming existed and when piracy’s biggest villain was Napster’s MP3 file-sharing service. Now illegally downloading content is a habit for tens of millions of Europeans, who often struggle to find a legal version of the content they’re after. Or just don’t want to pay.

The EPO is Becoming an Embarrassment to Europe and a Growing Threat to the European Union

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Who needs parties like UKIP and National Front (France) when people like Battistelli do so much more to discredit the Union?

Juncker
By Factio popularis Europaea, CC BY 2.0

Summary: The increasingly pathetic moves by Battistelli and the ever-declining image/status of the EPO (only 0% of polled stakeholders approve Battistelli's management) is causing damage to the reputation of the European Union, even if the EPO is not a European Union organ but an international one

SO FAR in 2017 the EPO has attempted to keep a relatively low profile. The main PR attempt was this nonsense about Cambodia — a country with zero European patents. The Singapore-based (read: patent trolls’ new heaven) Mirandah Asia repeats the PR, essentially regurgitating EPO talking points. Gladys Mirandah and Ang Chuan Heng try to make it appear like some sort of EPO ‘victory’, perhaps not quite grasping how pathetic it looks. Even EPO insiders have begun making fun of it, for it immortalises what has become of the EPO under Battistelli. Today’s EPO is widely regarded as a laughing stock, so dysfunctional and abusive in fact that it has become a textbook example of international bodies gone rogue. Union officials have already been informed, but there is not much that they can do as they lack authority over the EPO, which also enjoys immunity.

“Today’s EPO is widely regarded as a laughing stock, so dysfunctional and abusive in fact that it has become a textbook example of international bodies gone rogue.”The other day SUEPO took note of the good reporting by McCarthy from The Register. He wrote about some of the latest debacles:

The president of the European Patent Office, Benoit Battistelli, is ignoring yet another formal rebuke of his policies by disregarding two decisions by the International Labour Organization.

In letters going back and forth between EPO management and the organization’s main staff union, SUEPO, representatives are refusing to take part in a “voluntary” drawing of lots to decide on new members for the EPO’s appeals committee.

[...]

In response, the regional Bavarian government – which oversees Munich, where the EPO is headquartered – is due to consider a lengthy sanction of Battistelli that argues he had been behind a “whole range of major intrusions into essential fundamental rights of the employee” and calls on the state government to “take action accordingly.”

It is unclear what action the German government can take against Battistelli. Even though several governments have formally broken with protocol to publicly condemn the EPO president and his actions, due to the unusual make-up of the EPO, only the full Administrative Council of over 30 European countries can actually fire him before his term is up.

“All I can say is that he must have some real dirt on someone, somewhere to have kept his job this long,” one person wrote.

Another person said: “The host country may not be able to do anything directly, but as with anyone under diplomatic immunity they could say that he is no longer welcome, and ask him to leave. But unlikely to happen.”

The Administrative Council’s complicity was brought up as follows: “Here’s the list of members of the administrative council. Perhaps they need to explain why they’re not doing their job ?”

Some people believe that Battistelli controls people by blackmail, but the explanation might actually be simpler.

One person said: “It’s not surprising and not uncommon, someone running ‘something’ and elected or not, thinking himself more important than the importance of what they are running, like the security guard at the gate who acts like he owns the place, typical/despicable human nature.”

That perfectly describes what happened at the EPO, which the following comment describes as a “European organization” even though non-European nations are part of it:

It’s not the first time that some European organization has got into this sort of mess, with a power-hungry type who’s hard to be sacked creating a little empire. The need for every government to agree to sack him seems typical of these groups, no-one trusts the others to do the right thing so they insist on full agreement of all 30-odd people before any major decision gets taken. Inevitable result: no major decisions ever get taken (well, except for salary increases & expenses payments, of course). Meanwhile, of course, we (the taxpayers) continue to finance this fiasco.

Come the revolution that wall is going to be very crowded…

It’s common to see the EPO exploited by anti-EU elements, so then came an old reminder to readers (happens in almost every comments thread):

Just to clarify – it’s not actually a European organisation. Its an international organisation based in Munich, the Hague and (a little bit) Berlin. It is not funded by the EU at all, but instead by fees levied for patent searches and examination.

And you, the tax payer, should educate yourself a little more about what you actually vote to reject.

But the above wasn’t intended to be EU bashing, as the reply made apparent:

I very carefully didn’t mention the EU at all, because I am well aware that it isn’t an EU organisation. It is, however, a European one (the clue is in the name: European Patent Organisation) and while it may be funded by the patent applications, the Administrative Council that oversees it, and about which I was commenting, is made up of “representatives of the contracting states” who are most assuredly financed by their respective taxpayers.

And it’s not about Brexit at all, as the latter part states:

And you, the Anonymous Coward, should perhaps remove the Brexit chip from your shoulder long enough to actually read the post you reply to.

Paradoxically, Brexit was very damaging to the EPO’s UPC ambitions and the EPO’s own behaviour contributed to the perception — at least in the UK — that the EU was out of order. In a sense, bad EPO behaviour led to the demise of the very initiative it was trying to bring across the Channel.

A View From Australia

Speaking of the EU, Madeleine Kelly (FB Rice), an Australian hoping that the “European Union” [sic] (EPO is not an EU thing) clarifies patent scope, wrote: “Common sense has prevailed, much to the relief of patentees and practitioners alike, and this new and much more liberal test for partial priority should mean the end for poisonous priority and poisonous divisionals, at least in Europe. Whether or not the Australian courts will follow suit remains to be seen.”

The above is a contribution from the Boards, not Battistelli’s Office. Patent scope in Europe has gone all wrong and even software patents are habitually being granted now.

Australian software patents were covered here before. They are still the subject of active debate and the Productivity Commission advises strongly against them. Australian patent attorney Bradley Postma was a featured item a few days ago and another Australian patent attorney, Mark Summerfield, bemoans the difficulty patenting business methods these days (he last wrote about it some days ago, having ranted about it for a while). It looks like sooner or later even IP Australia will look better than the EPO, which now overcharges for low-quality work.

Patent Misconceptions Promoted by the Patent Meta-Industry

Posted in Deception, Patents at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

To a carpenter, for example, every problem looks a nail

Law of the instrument
Reference: Law of the instrument

Summary: Cherry-picking one’s way into the perception of patent eligibility for software and the misguided belief that without patents there will be no innovation

CHERRY-PICKING is somewhat of an art form in legal blogs. They so often altogether ignore cases/decisions that don’t bolster the narrative which they promote and simply act as a megaphone when the exceptions occur.

Such was the case with this CAFC decision — one of those truly unusual cases (happened about 20% of the time last year) where PTAB is sort of ‘vetoed’ (overruled) by CAFC. This was reported on by Patently-O the other day and now there’s more, including from MIP:

A Patent Trial and Appeal Board finding of unpatentability for obviousness based on two prior-art references in Personal Web Technologies v Apple has been remanded because “the Board did not adequately support its findings”

This is about software patents and we wrote about that some days ago, around the same time we highlighted Mintz Levin's bad/misleading advice. People from this firm are still spreading their misinformation, e.g. in another domain or with slight variations in the same domain. They want to make is appear as though software patents are alive and well because of a few, cherry-picked decisions. They just want more business from poorly informed clients whose patents would turn out to be worse than worthless (costly if litigation is even attempted).

Another site, Banana IP (more like banana republic), offers tips for workarounds where software patents are simply disallowed (as a matter of law).

Patents: Understanding Software Inventions in India and US

[...]

The Indian patent law does not provide a proper definition of the term ‘software’ or ‘computer program’. But, under the section 2 of the Copyright Act, 1957 a computer program is defined as “a set of instructions expressed in words, codes, schemes or in any other form, including a machine readable medium, capable of causing a computer to perform a particular task or achieve a particular result”. Section 3 of the Indian Patent Act, 1970 summarizes about the inventions that are not patentable. In particular, Section 3(k) of the Patents Act excludes mathematical methods, business methods, computer program per se and algorithms from the patentable subject matter. According to the Computer Related Inventions (CRI) guidelines issued by the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks on 19th February, 2016, the computer program in itself is never patentable. The Examiners are advised to deny the claims if the contribution lies only in mathematical method, business method or algorithm. However, software can be patented in India if the software is in conjunction with a new hardware. In other words, the software must be in relation to a specific hardware (a device or apparatus) and the claims will include the device or apparatus used in conjunction with the software. Inventions that are combined with hardware and software features that are inventive, novel and hold industrial applicability are patentable.

Misconceptions around potency of software patents would do a disservice to everyone, including their proponents. What it all boils down to is a lie by omission, much like the lie just published in this article, disseminated under numerous headlines including “America’s always had black inventors – even when the patent system explicitly excluded them”.

This is a decent article (not much like the propaganda one finds in lawyers’ sites who market their services) as it clarifies that inventorship does not require patents. In software we count lines and quality of code rather than assess something silly such as patents. People can invent with or without expensive papers to ‘prove’ merit. From the article:

One group of prolific innovators, however, has been largely ignored by history: black inventors born or forced into American slavery. Though U.S. patent law was created with color-blind language to foster innovation, the patent system consistently excluded these inventors from recognition.

As a law professor and a licensed patent attorney, I understand both the importance of protecting inventions and the negative impact of being unable to use the law to do so. But despite patents being largely out of reach to them throughout early U.S. history, both slaves and free African-Americans did invent and innovate.

We are often being told by the patent microcosm that patents are necessary for innovation or are a measure (or surrogate) of innovation. Basing one’s worldview on such a belief leads to claims that rich nations like Switzerland innovate the most rather than rich nations being able to patent (expensive) the most — a subject which we tackled here last year.

02.18.17

As the United States Shuts Its Door on Low-Quality Patents the Patent Trolls Move to Asia

Posted in America, Asia, Patents at 6:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SIPO, China (Sina), Singapore and the failure to learn the West’s tough lessons

IAM on Intellectual Ventures

Summary: Disintegration of Intellectual Ventures (further shrinkage after losing software patents at CAFC), China’s massive patent bubble, and Singapore’s implicit invitation/facilitation of patent trolls (bubble economy)

IAM ‘magazine’, the unofficial voice of patent trolls, seems happy with the migration (or outsourcing) of troll activity to east Asia. That’s why IAM writes so much about Asia these days (as does MIP), except when it grooms the world's biggest troll and Microsoft’s vast patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, which now continues its slow death based on IAM’s latest blog (filled with promotional language). After patents were ‘imported’ from Kodak they apparently move back to east Asia:

Intellectual Ventures has sold a portfolio of around 4,000 former Kodak patents to Dominion Harbor in another sign that the IP giant is actively slimming down its vast portfolio.

This is the fourth deal that IV has done with Dominion, including one in November last year which saw around 50 assets change hands. The firm also sold patents to Equitable IP, the monetisation business led by former ICAP Patent Brokerage CEO Dean Becker, as it has upped its rate of disposals. This blog also reported last year on the disposal of assets to a company called China Star Optoelectronics Technology (CSOT) by what appeared to be an IV vehicle. But none of those deals approach the size of the Kodak transaction with Dominion.

This kind of shift or passage of patents to China was frequently seen in previous years when large Chinese companies bought patents by the thousands. These were bought from the West, where post-AIA patent values diminished. We gave numerous examples of that and last year, naming — amongst others — Singapore, which reportedly doubles down on patent trolling (after Creative had made it (in)famous in 2016, by trolling very major companies in Singapore [1, 2]). This is what IAM wrote with highly sanitised language (e.g. trolling described as “IP value creation” by “patent monetisation entities”):

A new Singapore government report recommends “bringing in” or creating patent monetisation entities, as well as other kinds of other intermediary, to boost the country’s IP commercialisation capabilities.

Published earlier this week, the report comes from the Committee on the Future Economy (CFE), which was established in January 2016 to review Singapore’s longer term economic strategy. Among seven broad strategy recommendations made one to “strengthen enterprise capabilities to innovate and scale up”, with IP value creation a central pillar.

East Asian patent systems not only lowered their patent bar (China’s in particular) but also fostered a lot of litigation — a grave mistake which brings rise to trolls. The trend is noteworthy because some of these Chinese lawsuits are nowadays being filed by Chinese companies in the US and the EU. These chickens will come home and abroad to roost.

02.17.17

Links 17/2/2017: Wine 2.2, New Ubuntu LTS

Posted in News Roundup at 6:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • US scientists fear America under Donald Trump will become like a totalitarian regime

      Scientists fear the United States under Donald Trump could become like the Soviet Union, in which the prevailing political ideology was so powerful that science was unable to contradict it with hard evidence.

      Speaking at the beginning of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Boston, its president, Professor Barbara Schaal, and chief executive, Dr Rush Holt, both expressed concern about the use of the phrase “alternative facts” by Trump administration officials.

      Professor Schaal also criticised the proposed hardline immigration ban on seven majority-Muslim countries, saying it would damage vital collaboration between scientists.

      She said people should protest if Mr Trump, who has described global warming as a hoax and appointed a string of sceptics to key positions in his cabinet, cut government climate science projects.

  • Security

    • OpenSSL project releases patch to fix critical bug
    • Microsoft’s monthlong patch delay could pose risks [Ed: Microsoft is in no hurry because there are back doors it knows about but keeps secret anyway]

      Microsoft has decided to bundle its February patches together with those scheduled for March, a move that at least some security experts disagree with.

      “I was surprised to learn that Microsoft wants to postpone by a full month,” said Carsten Eiram, the chief research officer at vulnerability intelligence firm Risk Based Security, via email. “Even without knowing all the details, I find such a decision very hard to justify. They are aware of vulnerabilities in their products and have developed fixes; those should always be made available to customers in a timely fashion.”

      Microsoft took everyone by surprise on Tuesday when it announced that this month’s patches had to be delayed because of a “last minute issue” that could have had an impact on customers. The company did not initially specify for how long the patches will be postponed, which likely threw a wre

    • Zero-day flaw around, but Microsoft updates delayed by a month
    • Microsoft misses regular security fix date

      Microsoft has delayed the release of a security update that would have fixed a vulnerability cyber thieves are known to be exploiting.

      The fix was to be released as part of Microsoft’s regular monthly security update for its Windows software.

    • How Google reinvented security and eliminated the need for firewalls

      In some ways, Google is like every other large enterprise. It had the typical defensive security posture based on the concept that the enterprise is your castle and security involves building moats and walls to protect the perimeter.

      Over time, however, that perimeter developed holes as Google’s increasingly mobile workforce, scattered around the world, demanded access to the network. And employees complained about having to go through a sometimes slow, unreliable VPN. On top of that, Google, like everyone else, was moving to the cloud, which was also outside of the castle.

    • No Firewalls, No Problem for Google

      On Tuesday at RSA Conference, Google shared the seven-year journey of its internal BeyondCorp rollout where it affirms trust based on what it knows about its users and devices connecting to its networks. And all of this is done at the expense—or lack thereof—of firewalls and traditional network security gear.

    • Android Phone Hacks Could Unlock Millions of Cars
  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • United States asked Canada to help spy on candidates during 2012 French election: WikiLeaks

      Central Intelligence Agency documents released by WikiLeaks Thursday list Canada as one of several countries asked to assist the United States while they spied on the 2012 French presidential election.

      The three CIA tasking orders request that current French president Francois Hollande, then president Nicolas Sarkozy and current first round presidential front runner Marine Le Pen all be closely monitored.

      CIA officers were asked to uncover the secret strategies of the candidates, as well as information on internal power dynamics within the parties. Canada is listed as one of five countries working on human intelligence parts of the operation however there are no specifics on which parts of the operation, if any, Canada was involved in.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Trump signs bill undoing Obama coal mining rule

      President Trump on Thursday signed legislation ending a key Obama administration coal mining rule.

      The bill quashes the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste that officials finalized in December.

      The legislation is the second Trump has signed into law ending an Obama-era environmental regulation. On Tuesday, he signed a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution undoing a financial disclosure requirement for energy companies.

      Both the mining and financial disclosure bills are the tip of a GOP push to undo a slate of regulations instituted in the closing days of the Obama administration. The House has passed several CRA resolutions, and the Senate has so far sent three of them to President Trump for his signature.

  • Finance

    • Nearly 80,000 working-age men have disappeared from the labour force

      The EVA study says that there are over 50,000 men who should be in their best working years (25–54) who do not have jobs and who are not actively seeking jobs. This does not include men who are studying or who are on disability pensions.

      The authors of the labour market analysis refer to this group as “the lost workmen”. In statistics, they fall under the category of “others not in the workforce”.

      In addition, there are over 28,000 unemployed men in the same age group who are looking for jobs, but are unlikely to ever return to the workforce.

      Even while unemployment levels decline, the numbers of lost workmen have grown steadily over the past few years.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Greenwald: Empowering the “Deep State” to Undermine Trump is Prescription for Destroying Democracy

      Some supporters of Trump, including Breitbart News, have accused the intelligence agencies of attempting to wage a deep state coup against the president. Meanwhile, some critics of Trump are openly embracing such activity. Bill Kristol, the prominent Republican analyst who founded The Weekly Standard, wrote on Twitter, “Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state.” We talk about the deep state with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept.

    • Britain starting to reassess US as an ally, Scottish Tory leader says

      Britain is beginning to reassess how reliable an ally the US is, the Scottish Conservative party leader, Ruth Davidson, has said, in comments that contrast starkly with the official policy of the UK government.

      During an interview at the Women in the World summit in Washington, Davidson said: “At the moment, from the UK, we have always seen America as being a very strong, a reliable ally, and now, even after only 26 days or however long [Donald Trump’s] tenure has been so far in Pennsylvania Avenue, we are beginning to reassess how reliable an ally the United States is.

    • Deutsche Bank examined Donald Trump’s account for Russia links

      The scandal-hit bank that loaned hundreds of millions of dollars to Donald Trump has conducted a close internal examination of the US president’s personal account to gauge whether there are any suspicious connections to Russia, the Guardian has learned.

      Deutsche Bank, which is under investigation by the US Department of Justice and is facing intense regulatory scrutiny, was looking for evidence of whether recent loans to Trump, which were struck in highly unusual circumstances, may have been underpinned by financial guarantees from Moscow.

    • More mainstream media mess-ups: The Muslim Olympian ‘detained because of President Trump’s travel ban’ was detained under Obama

      Reporters have done it again.

      The latest media misfire on the Trump administration involves Ibtihaj Muhammad, a New Jersey native who made headlines last year when she became the first female Muslim-American to win an Olympic medal for the United States.

      Muhammad, a lifelong American citizen, claimed in an interview last week that she was detained “just a few weeks ago” by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. She said she was held for two hours without explanation.

      Her remarks on Feb. 7 earned her an entire news cycle, as several journalists ran with reports suggesting, and alleging outright, that the American Olympian had been ensnared in the president’s executive order temporarily barring immigration from seven Middle Eastern countries.

    • (Jakarta vote) Civil servant insists non-Muslims must not lead Muslims

      Hadiyul Umam, 40, a civil servant, said voting for incumbent Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, a minority Christian and ethnic Chinese, would go against everything he believes in.
      “As a Muslim, I believe that non-Muslims are not allowed to lead Muslims in this country, and personally, I do not like the way Ahok leads, which is not pro-poor people and his words were disrespectful and rude,” he said.
      Ahok’s blasphemy trial and the ease with which hard-liners attracted several hundred thousand to protest against him in Jakarta have undermined Indonesia’s reputation for practicing a moderate form of Islam and shaken the centrist government of President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

    • Muslim convert carried axe to meeting with father over “religious differences”

      A Muslim convert was found carrying an axe through the streets to confront his Christian father over “religious differences”, a court heard.

      Newcastle Crown Court heard Clayton McKenna was taking the weapon – which he got from his mother’s shed – through Boldon Colliery in the early hours of the morning, to his father’s
      home in South Tyneside on July 18.

      The 22-year-old gave a series of “confused and contradictory” explanations when he was stopped by the police, including saying he was on his way to his father’s “to ask him to bow down to me” – a statement he now rejects.

    • 8 Iranian Girls Dressed Up As Men To Attend A Football Game, Got Caught And Were Thrown Out

      Eight Iranian girls who disguised themselves as boys to attend a football match despite an official ban were prevented from entering the stadium, an official was quoted as saying today.

      Iran argues that its ban on women attending football matches in the same stadiums as men is necessary to protect them from lewd language that might emanate from the terraces.

      “Eight girls dressed up as men to try to enter the Azadi stadium” in southwest Tehran on Sunday, the Tasnim news agency said.

    • Stoke Central’s Muslim voters warned they will go to hell if they do not vote Labour in anti-Ukip text
    • Ilford father Faisal Bashir who claims he was forced to move house after renouncing Islam is calling for more action on hate crime

      A MAN who claims he was forced to move house after renouncing his faith wants authorities to crack down on hate crime

      Fasial Bashir, of Mayville Road, Ilford decided to stop practicing Islam in the summer of 2014 over claims the religion was too “hateful” and “sending out the wrong message”.

      But when the 43-year-old stopped going to mosques in Ilford he claims he started getting harassment on a weekly basis.

    • Martial arts academy posts how-to video for defending against Trump handshake

      “Now I’m not suggesting you do this to the president,” he added, then demonstrating the “goose neck” wrist lock he says will defend against the hand shake.

      “As he grabs really hard and pulls you in, I go with it. I step in with the outside foot, I wrap around the elbow. As I do that, I’m going to block his arm from here, I bend the wrist in, the other hand wraps over the top of the knuckles and boom — now you have what we call a goose neck.”

    • United States asked Canada to help spy on candidates during 2012 French election: WikiLeaks

      Central Intelligence Agency documents released by WikiLeaks Thursday list Canada as one of several countries asked to assist the United States while they spied on the 2012 French presidential election.

      The three CIA tasking orders request that current French president Francois Hollande, then president Nicolas Sarkozy and current first round presidential front runner Marine Le Pen all be closely monitored.

      CIA officers were asked to uncover the secret strategies of the candidates, as well as information on internal power dynamics within the parties. Canada is listed as one of five countries working on human intelligence parts of the operation however there are no specifics on which parts of the operation, if any, Canada was involved in.

    • A Brief History of Hope (and How Trump Won)

      I haven’t run across anyone who voted for Trump who said “Well, that’s that, time to sit back and watch things get fixed.” A lot of these people voted for Obama, at least in 2008, and not because he was going to be America’s First Black President but because they really believed in his promise of Hope. The Bush years had worn out. We stayed scared enough, but then no post-9/11 attack came, the wars dragged on, and most of the stuff that was supposed to make us feel safe just ended up somewhere between inconvenient and bullying.

      People have no sense of being in control of their lives. They know they have a lot less money than they used to, they don’t see their kids doing better, but they see on TV that some few seem to have most of everything. They can figure if they have less and someone else has more where that more came from.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA Split From Cyberwar Command Inevitable, Says Former Official
    • Security Lessons From Snowden
    • U.S. Spies vs. our Constitutional government
    • Obama admin expanded NSA’s wiretap power just before leaving office, and it’s raising a lot of eyebrows
    • China’s “citizen scores” used to blacklist 6.7m people from using high-speed rail or flying

      China’s nightmarish “citizen scores” system uses your online activity, purchases, messages, and social graph to rate your creditworthiness and entitlement to services. One way your score can be plunged into negative territory is for a judge to declare you to be a bad person (mostly this happens to people said to have refused to pay their debts, but it’s also used to punish people who lie to courts, hide their assets, and commit other offenses).

      More than 6.7 million people in China have been placed on a blacklist created in this manner. Once you’re on the blacklist, you are not allowed to buy high-speed rail tickets or plane tickets — and other people can see your ratings, and face social pressure to exclude you (their own scores are based in part on whether they associate with low-scoring individuals).

    • Italy Proposes Astonishingly Sensible Rules To Regulate Government Hacking Using Trojans

      As Techdirt has just reported, even though encryption is becoming more widespread, it’s not still not much of a problem for law enforcement agencies, despite some claims to the contrary. However, governments around the world are certainly not sitting back waiting for it to become an issue before acting. Many have already put in place legal frameworks that allow them to obtain information even when encryption is used, predominantly by hacking into a suspect’s computer or mobile phone. In the US, this has been achieved with controversial changes to Rule 41; in the UK, the Snooper’s Charter gives the government there almost unlimited powers to conduct what it coyly calls “equipment interference.”

      [...]

      It’s a remarkable list of technical and operational requirements that are surely unique in their attempt to minimize the key dangers of implanting clandestine surveillance software. Of course, it would be better if the use of government malware were avoided completely, and other methods were adopted. But realistically, the police and intelligence agencies around the world will be pushing hard for legislation to allow them to infect people’s computers and mobiles in this way, not least if encryption does become more of a problem.

    • Court: Unsupported Assertions And Broad Language Aren’t Enough To Support Cell Phone Searches

      Another court has stepped up to inform law enforcement that just because criminals are known to use cell phones doesn’t mean any cell phone possessed by a suspect is fair game — warrant or no warrant.

      This time it’s the Superior Court of Delaware making the point. In its suppression of evidence found on a seized cell phone, the Superior Court makes it clear that cell phones are used by everyone — not just criminals. Not only that, but if an officer is going to seek a warrant that effectively allows them access to the owner’s entire life, the warrant needs to contain more specifics and limitations than this one did.

      During a consensual search of an apartment where a homicide suspect (Qualeel Westcott) was staying, police came across heroin and three mobile phones. All three of the phones were seized. A warrant was obtained to search the content of the phones. But a warrant alone isn’t good enough. While a warrant is better than nothing at all, the warrant here — according to the court — barely exceeded “nothing at all.”

    • Check your privacy filters: Facebook could be the new LinkedIn
    • Did Facebook steal the design for its data center in Sweden?

      The suit was brought by British engineering firm BladeRoom Group (BRG), which in 2015 alleged “BRG spent years developing and refining the prefabricated, modular design and the transportation and construction techniques that Facebook blithely passed off to the world in 2014,” the company said in its federal lawsuit. The company said that Facebook “simply stole the BRG Methodology and passed it off as its own.” BladeRoom notes that Facebook shared some of the ideas for the Swedish data center on the Open Compute Project blog and did not “make any attempt to attribute or credit BRG for any of the elements of the innovative new approach” that Facebook “claimed” it had developed.

    • Man Who Used Facebook Live To Stream Birth Of Child Loses Bid To Sue All The News For Copyright Infringement

      The saga of Facebook Live marches on, I suppose. The social media giant’s bid to get everyone to live-stream content that mostly appears to be wholly uninteresting has nevertheless produced some interesting legal stories as a result. The latest of these is the conclusion of a string of lawsuits filed by a man who used Facebook Live to stream the birth of his child over copyright infringement against many, many news organizations that thought his act was newsworthy.

      It was in May of 2016 that Kali Kanongataa accidentally publcly streamed his wife birthing the couple’s son. He had intended for the stream to only be viewable to friends and family, but had instead made the stream viewable by pretty much everyone. Even after realizing he’d done so, Kanongataa kept the stream public, leading over 100,000 people to view the video — including some folks in several news organizations, who used snippets of the stream in news stories about the couple’s decision to stream this most intimate of moments.

    • Dad who live-streamed his son’s birth on Facebook loses in court

      A father who live-streamed his son’s birth on Facebook and proceeded to sue for copyright infringement several media outlets that used the clips has lost his case.

      US District Judge Lewis Kaplan ruled yesterday that the lawsuit filed by Kali Kanongataa must be thrown out, after the American Broadcasting Company and other defendants filed motions arguing that their use of the clips was covered by “fair use.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Nation’s Police Chiefs Disagree With Trump’s New Tough On Crime Executive Orders

      President Trump’s three new law-and-order Executive Orders are designed to combat a largely-nonexistent crime wave and increase protections for one of the most-heavily protected groups in America: law enforcement officers. The orders also mixed crime prevention and national security into a single bowl, making criminal activity inseparable from threats to the nation — especially if foreigners are involved. In addition to his travel ban and his Two Minutes Hate reporting system, Trump also singled out illegal immigrants in these “law and order” orders, implying that they were to blame for much of the perceived crime problem.

    • Freshman Representative Serves Up Immigration Bill That Would Make The DHS Do Things It Already Does

      While CBP and DHS have been asking incoming foreigners for social media info for a while now, the process has been voluntary — or at least as voluntary as any process can be when one side holds all the power. New DHS Secretary John Kelly suggested this would expand further in the near future, moving from requests for social media handles to demands for account passwords.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net Neutrality Is in Danger. Tell the FCC Why We Need It

      Net neutrality is in grave danger. Back in 2015, advocates for the open Internet won a hard-fought battle to preserve net neutrality, the principle that all Internet traffic is treated equally and that providers cannot charge content providers for “fast lanes” for those who can afford it. Net neutrality is key to the work of activists and independent media outlets (like The Nation!), allowing them to reach people across the country without being drowned out by corporate media companies with big pockets.

    • T-Mobile Not So Subtly Hints That It Wants To Disrupt The Cable TV Industry

      While T-Mobile isn’t without its faults (like its opposition to net neutrality, or the time its CEO mocked the EFF), there’s little doubt that T-Mobile has been a good thing for the wireless industry. The company has managed to drag the industry kicking and screaming in an overall positive direction, including the elimination of the carrier-subsidized handset model, the elimination of annoying hidden fees, and the recent return to more popular unlimited data options. And its brash CEO John Legere, while sometimes teetering into absurd caricature, has at least managed to bring a sense of industry to a traditionally droll telecom sector.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Pro-Marijuana Student Organization Wins Court Case Over Using School Logos

        We’ve seen stories in the past in which higher educational institutions attempt to slap down students’ use of school iconography when it comes to advocating for marijuana legalization. Trademark law is the preferred bludgeoning tool in many of these cases, regardless of whether or not the uses in question actually pass the muster on the tests for Fair Use. Still, at least in most of these cases the schools are at least quick to act and staunch in their attempts to silence a completely valid political position by the student body.

        That’s not so in the recent dust up between a pro-marijuana student group and Iowa State University. In this particular case, the student group got approval from ISU to use school trademarks, only to have that approval rescinded once a bunch of politicians got involved. The organization created by students is called the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.

    • Copyrights

      • Argentinian Copyright Office Proposes To Add Exceptions And Limitations To Copyright Act

        On 12 December, the Argentinian Copyright Office and the Ministry of Culture invited a group of stakeholders, among which was this author, to discuss the final draft of the Exceptions and Limitations Bill (Proyecto de Ley de Excepciones) to modify current Copyright Act no.11.723 of 1933. One wonders whether it would be better to draft from scratch a modern Copyright Act instead of patching up the old 1933 Act. Nevertheless, the bill is welcomed. Argentina, as this author has already expressed, has one of the most restrictive copyright laws in the world (see Propuestas para ampliar el acceso a los bienes públicos en Argentina – Estableciendo el necesario balance entre derechos de propiedad intelectual y dominio público, Maximiliano Marzetti, Buenos Aires, 2013).

      • US Federal Court Bars Online Publication Of Copyrighted Standards Incorporated Into Laws

        In a case pitting standards development organisations against internet content aggregators, a United States federal court ruled that Public.Resource.Org breached copyright by posting unauthorised copies of standards incorporated into government education regulations. Public Resource has appealed.

      • MPAA: Dealing With Kodi is the $64,000 Question

        While torrent sites have been a thorn in the side of the MPAA for more than a decade, there’s a new kid on the block. Speaking at the Berlin Film Festival, MPAA chief Chris Dodd cited the growing use of the Kodi platform for piracy, describing the problem as the “$64,000 question.”

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