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03.14.17

Links 14/3/2017: Pidgin 2.12, MariaDB 10.1.22

Posted in News Roundup at 7:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mirantis shifts again, will offer managed solutions based on open-source technologies

    Mirantis is (or, as we will see, was) known as the pure play OpenStack vendor. The company focused on offering large organizations products and services that helped them leverage the open-source, OpenStack cloud computing platform to build their own clouds for internal or external use.

    Over time, however, there has been some doubt cast upon how much of a market opportunity there is for these sort of OpenStack service providers. The OpenStack ecosystem has been the source of much angst as consolidation, rationalization and unrealized hopes and dreams too their toll.

  • Defense Digital Service open sources first project after revising strategy
  • Web Titans Have Big Influence on Data Center Networking Efforts

    Next-generation data center networking is being driven by open source hardware and software initiatives that are often led by web titans like Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and LinkedIn, according to a new report from SDxCentral.

    These web companies are crucial because they can handle the processing, networking, and storage capacity required to serve millions to billions of users, according to SDxCentral’s Next Gen Data Center Networking Report. As a result, these companies and others have moved from proprietary networking devices, to open and streamlined hardware based on merchant silicon, the report says.

  • Open Source Linkerd Project Celebrates First Anniversary in Quest to Become TCP/IP of Microservices
  • Businesses that snub open source ‘will fail’

    Companies who do not use open source software will eventually go tits-up according to a top open saucy type.

    Speaking to the 2017 Google Cloud Next conference, Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin, who claimed that organisations that “don’t harvest the shared innovation” of open source “will fail”.

  • 10 open source software tools for developing IoT applications

    Initially one of the main driving forces behind this IoT revolution was the open source community whose constant experimentation, combined with accelerating technological possibilities, created many new and interesting applications. These applications range from Wi-Fi kettles to smart data analysing machines and everything in between.

    CBR lists some of the best open source software tools for IoT development.

  • Open Source and Cloud Computing: Friends or Foes?

    Are open source software and the cloud good for each other?

    At first glance, the question seems a little silly. After all, cloud computing and open source have both experienced surges in use to the point where nearly every company on the planet uses both. And many analysts suggest that neither one would have experienced their current level of growth without the other.

  • Open source in death and beyond

    Benjamin Franklin was known to say, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” There are open source solutions for completing your taxes, such as Open Tax Solver, but what about the other side of that quote? What does open source have to do with death? It’s quite a lively subject, it seems. I know you are just dying to know, so let’s dig in.

    We all experience death and it becomes a long drawn out process of paperwork and burial rituals that we hope doesn’t weigh too much on the loved ones we’ve left behind. The open source community has given this process some thought, not surprisingly. They’ve lent their mindshare towards rethinking how to deal with that final episode of life. It turns out, not only is open source great in life, but it comes in handy in death, too.

  • INL releases Civet open-source software for developers

    The Idaho National Laboratory has released a new open-source tool for software developers. The Continuous Integration, Verification, Enhancement and Testing tool, or Civet for short, is the latest INL software to be released free to the public on the lab’s GitHub website.

  • Idaho National Laboratory releases Civet open-source software for developers

    Idaho National Laboratory recently released a new open-source tool for software developers. The Continuous Integration, Verification, Enhancement and Testing tool, or Civet for short, is the latest INL software to be released free to the public on the lab’s GitHub website. INL hopes to collaborate with the public to refine this high-quality tool and to improve the productivity of software developers who use it.

  • Leti releases open-source IoT integration framework

    Under development and trials since 2010, SensiNact is a unified framework for integrating, and managing IoT devices via generic application programming interfaces (APIs).

    It enables the collection, aggregation and secure scripting of data from a wide range of communicating objects, regardless of the network communication protocol: LoRa, Sigfox, EnOcean, CoAP, HTTP, MQTT, XMPP, etc.

  • Why Releasing Open Source Software is Good For Your Company

    If you’re reading this article, it’s almost a certainty your business uses open source software. The web hosting industry is one of the foremost beneficiaries of the open source movement. Linux, GNU, MySQL, Apache, PHP, Python, and WordPress — all fruits of open source development that have been embraced by web hosting companies to build products and services. The benefits of using open source software are obvious, but what’s often not so obvious is why web hosts and solution providers should start their own open source projects.

    I’m not talking about giants like Red Hat, Google, and even Microsoft. Their motivations for creating open source projects are clear. Nor am I talking about making the occasional contribution to existing projects — most developers in the industry will make a pull request from time-to-time.

  • GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath on Open Source

    At the Computer History museum, GitHub CEO Chris Wanstrath explains how GitHub has grown far beyond its original scope of being a tool just for nerds.

  • How Open-Source IoT Technology Leads to New Business: Webinar Recap
  • Timesys Expands Embedded, Open Source Service Portfolio to Address Mobile and IoT Applications on Linux or Android™
  • Events

    • Opening Up Virtual Reality Development with WebVR

      “Virtual reality (VR) is nothing new — people have been experimenting with it for decades. But only recently, we have come to terms with having commercial hardware like Oculus or HTC Vive to experience and enjoy VR content within our home,” says Rabimba Karanjai, a full-time graduate researcher and Mozilla contributor, who will be speaking about virtual reality development at the upcoming Open Networking Summit.

    • Helping PTG attendees and other developers get to the OpenStack Summit
    • Submitting a Talk To OpenStack Summit

      I haven’t written a post for some time now, been busy creating something very special which i hope to share about really soon. I usually write in this blog about technical things, and i will continue to do this after this post :) but i wanted to share some of the insights i gained both from being a returning speaker and track chair in the recent OpenStack summits.

    • Call for Proposals Now Open for Xen Project Developer and Design Summit 2017

      Do you have an interesting use case around Xen Project technology or best practices around the community? There’s a wide variety of topics we are looking for, including security, embedded environments, network function virtualization (NFV), and more. You can find all the suggested topics for presentations and panels here (make sure you select the Topics tab).

    • Akademy 2017 – Almería, Spain – 22-27 July

      This year’s Akademy will be held at the Universidad de Almería (UAL) in Almería, Spain, from July 22nd to 27th.

      The conference is expected to draw hundreds of attendees from the global KDE Community to discuss and plan the future of the Community and its technology. Many participants from the broad free and open source software community, local organizations and software companies will also attend.

      This year Akademy is being organized together with UNIA and HackLab Almería. Together they have organized various free software events including the successful PyConEs 2016

    • Boundless to Sponsor, Exhibit and Moderate Open Source Education Panel at the Upcoming AAG Annual Meeting
    • Nullcon 2017

      Jörg’s Audit +++ was placed on Wednesday and Thursday including the option to do the OPSE certification. So we spend most of Monday and Tuesday preparing the session and the infrastructure. I built the test environment in the past years. For this issue of the training I switched to OpenStack because the deployment process is faster than the old way with Ansible. In the end I was running a mixture of a classic libvirt setup and OpenStack side by side. The problem was that running Debian 3.x, CentOS 4, and an old release of pfSense doesn’t really work with a tool like OpenStack. To show old vulnerabilities and the difference to a brand-new distribution I still like to use the ancient distributions.

    • SXSW: Compassionate Disruption: Innovation and The Vatican
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • A Public-Private Partnership for Gigabit Innovation and Internet Health

        At Mozilla, we believe in a networked approach — leveraging the power of diverse people, pooled expertise and shared values.

        This was the approach we took nearly 15 years ago when we first launched Firefox. Our open-source browser was — and is — built by a global network of engineers, designers and open web advocates.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • Relational vs. Non-Relational Databases: The Tide Is Shifting

      In an ever-changing world, the data surrounding relational and non-relational databases is no different. While there are proponents for both, it seems to be a case by case basis for which is best for a particular environment. And, with the pace of innovation, the answer can be swayed on a frequent basis. With all that being said, the numbers don’t lie, and there is evidence of a shift that is occurring.

      While most of the stalwart SQL related databases (MSSQL, Oracle RDBMS, DB2, etc.) remain stagnant, there has been a decline in interest for MySQL. Might seem surprising given the fact that one of the core components of the original LAMP stack is losing ground. How could that be the case? In essence, a lot has changed since it came into prominence. Most importantly, in my opinion, is that it was purchased by Oracle. No longer an independent entity, you have one company controlling two prominent database choices. Is it possible for Oracle to be unbiased and treat each on its own merits? Perhaps. Only the folks inside the company know the true answer to that. Whatever the answer may be, it goes without question that the momentum that MySQL once had has been subdued.

    • ScyllaDB Takes on Cassandra to Boost Efficiency, Reduce Latency

      Henrik Johansson, senior developer at Eniro, gives a glowing review of the ScyllaDB database system for its part of a microservice-based pipeline used at the Swedish search and directory assistance company where he works.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • LLVM 4.0.0 Release

      It is my pleasure to announce that LLVM 4 is now available.

    • LLVM 4.0 Released

      Hans Wennborg has announced the release of LLVM 4.0 and connected sub-projects like Clang 4.0. LLVM/Clang 4.0 is a big update to this open-source compiler infrastructure stack and also marks the change to their new versioning scheme.

      For release highlights of LLVM/Clang 4.0, see our feature overview for the advancements made to this compiler stack over the past half-year. LLVM 4.0 was supposed to ship back in February but bugs had dragged out the release until today.

    • LLVM 5.0 Should Offer Better AMD Ryzen Performance

      Since January there’s been Zen tuning in LLVM Clang with the “znver1″ flag, similar to the znver1 tuning in GCC that’s been in place since 2015. While LLVM Clang 4.0 has the initial znver1 support, it’s incomplete.

      In LLVM/Clang 4.0 and currently in SVN/Git master, znver1 is relying upon the btver1 scheduler model. Btver1 is for AMD’s Bobcat.

    • OpenBSD vmm/vmd Update (PDF)

      Mike Larkin,
      bhyvecon 2017,
      09 Mar 2017 – Tokyo, Japan

    • pfSense 2.3.3-p1 RELEASE Now Available!

      pfSense software version 2.3.3-p1 is now available! This is a maintenance/errata patch available by running an update from an existing installation and it does not have a standalone installer to download.

    • pfSense 2.3.3-p1 Is Updated to FreeBSD 10.3-RELEASE-p17, Includes Security Fixes

      Rubicon Communications’ Jim Pingle is announcing the availability of the pfSense 2.3.3-p1 maintenance update to the world’s most trusted open source firewall based on BSD technologies.

      pfSense 2.3.3-p1 appears to be a small point release that includes an up-to-date base system updated to the FreeBSD 10.3-RELEASE-p17 build, fixing the CVE-2016-7055, CVE-2017-3731, and CVE-2017-3732 vulnerabilities. It also includes a total of nineteen security/bug fixes, especially for cURL, which was updated to version 7.53.0 to fix CVE-2017-2629, and OpenSSL.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Pressures up and down the stack drive innovation in open-source hardware

        Technology is complex, and becoming even more so. It used to be that a company could get by with just a few smart people in their tech department. Now, creating and managing tech solutions on an enterprise scale is beyond the power of even the most talented people. As such, industry giants and smaller players alike are converging their compute, networking and storage technologies with common hardware and open standards.

      • Open-Source Prototype Turns Any Room Into a 3D Printer

        Swedish inventor Torbjørn Ludvigsen has spent the last three years developing a new kind of large-format 3D printer that can build furniture-sized objects in any room — surprisingly easily and relatively cheaply. Ludvigsen’s invention, the Hangprinter, employs a system of wires and computer-controlled pulleys anchored to the walls, floor, and ceiling. Once installed, the Hangprinter essentially uses the room itself as a casing.

Leftovers

  • An open leader’s guide to facilitating creativity

    Facilitating an event where people are looking to have a productive conversation or experience isn’t possible without preparation. You need to plan—with the understanding that nothing will happen unless you create a safe space for people to participate.

  • Does Erdogan have a right to hold rallies in Europe?
  • Turkey says all deals with EU in jeopardy if no visa liberalization
  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Parsing the GOP’s Health Insurance Statistics

      There has been a lot of noise lately about the GOP health care plan (AHCA) and the differences to the current plan (ACA or Obamacare). A lot of statistics are being misinterpreted.

      The New York Times has an excellent analysis of some of this. But to pick it apart, I want to highlight a few things:

      Many Republicans are touting the CBO’s estimate that, some years out, premiums will be 10% lower under their plan than under the ACA. However, this carries with it a lot of misleading information.

      [...]

      So, to sum up: the reason that insurance premiums under the GOP plan will rise at a slightly slower rate long-term is that the higher-risk people will be unable to afford insurance in the first place, leaving only the cheaper people to buy in.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • How Android and iOS devices really get hacked
    • Security Expert Bruce Schneier on Regulating IoT

      With the Internet of Things already flexing its muscle and showing its potential to be a security nightmare, has the time come for governments to step into the fray and begin regulating the Internet? Security guru Bruce Schneier thinks that may be an inevitability, and says the development community might want to go ahead and start leading the way to assure that regulations aren’t put in place by people who don’t understand tech.

      “As everything turns into a computer, computer security becomes ‘everything security,’” he explained, “and there are two very important ramifications of that. The first is that everything we know about computer security becomes applicable to everything. The second is the restrictions and regulations that the real world puts on itself are going to come into our world, and I think that has profound implications for us in software and especially in open source.”

    • Ioquake3 Pushes Out Important Security Update

      All of those running ioquake3-powered games are encouraged to update their engine installation as soon as possible.

      The developers behind this popular fork of the open-source id Tech 3 engine code have pushed a “large security fix” and all users are encouraged to upgrade prior to connecting to any online servers. Unfortunately, ioquake3 currently doesn’t have any auto-update system to make it easy to roll out game engine updates.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: week 98 in Stretch cycle
    • Audit your systems for security compliance with OpenSCAP

      SCAP stands for Security Content Automation Protocol. It is an open standard which defines methods for security policy compliance, vulnerability management and measurement etc. This article focuses on the operating system compliance part of SCAP.

      It comes originally from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to provide a way for US government agencies to audit its systems for regulatory compliance.

    • [Older] Dahua, Hikvision IoT Devices Under Siege

      “This is like a damn Hollywood hack {sic}, click on one button and you are in…”

    • NCC Group launches bounty for open source security flaw fixes

      Information assurance firm NCC Group has introduced an in-house security fix bounty scheme that rewards its consultants for fixing vulnerabilities in open source software.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • State Department: Is America’s Oldest Cabinet Agency Trumped?

      What if it’s not incompetence? What if it is by design? What if President Donald Trump has decided American doesn’t really need a Department of State and if he can’t get away with closing it down, he can disable and defund it?

      The only problem is Trump will quickly find out he’ll have to reluctantly keep a few lights on at Foggy Bottom.

      Things do not look good for State. There were no press briefings between Trump taking office on January 20 and some irregular gatherings beginning in early March. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson wasn’t seen at several White House meetings where foreign leaders were present, and has taken only two very short trips abroad. Of the 13 sets of official remarks he has given, 10 have been perfunctory messages to countries on their national days, with one speech to his own employees. Sources inside State say he is nowhere to be seen around the building, either in person or bureaucratically via tasking orders and demands for briefings.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Civil society urges EU institutions to stop the “censorship machine” in the copyright proposal

      EDRi has signed a joint open letter together with 27 other civil society organisations expressing concerns about European Commission’s copyright proposal. The proposal requires internet platforms to use automated upload filtering technologies. This obligation would impact negatively on free speech and democracy by building a system where citizens will face internet platforms blocking the upload of their content, even if it is a perfectly legal use of copyrighted content.

    • Telegram was the app where Iranians talked politics. Then the government caught on

      Over the years, Telegram has helped quench Iranians’ thirst for online political expression in a country where Twitter and Facebook are banned. But leading up to Iran’s presidential election in May, Telegram is now seen by some as a force that’s stifling political speech.

      That’s because in recent months Iranian security and intelligence agencies have begun arresting Telegram users and now require those who run popular Telegram channels to apply for permits — disclosing their identities.

    • Bad Libel Law Strikes Again: Silly UK Twitter Spat Results In Six Figure Payout

      For years we’ve pointed out that UK libel law, in particular, was horrible and easily abused to chill speech. Things appear to have gotten somewhat better — as some really bad cases at least made people realize that some of the more extreme issues needed to be fixed, but on the whole, UK libel law is still incredibly broad, and can and does stifle speech (and, yes, I know, the UK doesn’t have the same free speech protections as the US does — but it should). This latest case is just a good example of why the UK’s standards for libel are so problematic.

      The story involves two columnist/writers in the UK who got into a bit of a Twitter spat. Part of the problem, here, is that a lot of people have very strong emotional opinions about at least one of the parties in the lawsuit. Katie Hopkins has made a name for herself saying outrageous things and has been referred to, multiple times, as a professional troll. There are lots of people who dislike her, and certainly are quite happy to see that she’s come out the big loser in this libel dispute. But before you celebrate, the details here are important, and quite worrisome, if you support freedom of expression.

    • Russian Literature…from Censorship to Market Demand

      Literature was the first field to be affected by Russia’s political changes in the beginning of the nineties after the authorities granted liberty of expression and restricted the roles of government and factional censorship.

      These changes came in line with the Russian community’s need to read banned works of Soviet writers. Some of those writers published their books while in asylum in the West after being accused of national betrayal. At that time, Soviet citizens were banned from traveling abroad unless in special cases, which made them also crave western literature banned under the propaganda of the communist authority.

    • Enough with the ‘snowflake’ slur

      Anyone with the slightest understanding of rhetoric will know that insults are rarely persuasive. Hillary Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables’ comment was hardly likely to endear her to wavering voters. Likewise, when decent people with genuine misgivings about the European Union were smeared as racist in the run-up to the referendum, a victory for the Leave campaign was secured.

      [...]

      It is difficult to feel anything but contempt for this kind of behaviour, coming as it does from some of the most privileged members of society. The same can be said for the Rhodes Must Fall campaign at Oxford University, where a group of students declared that the statue of the colonialist Cecil Rhodes at Oriel College made them feel ‘unsafe’, and called for the Grade II* listed building to be irrevocably changed.

    • Social Media Providers Could Face Stiff Punishment For Hate Speech, Fake News In Germany

      German Justice Minister Heiko Maas today presented draft legislation to whack social media providers for what the minister described as reluctance to take down hate speech and fake news.

      Social media providers, according to the draft, would have to take down clearly illegal content within 24 hours and illegal content in 7 days along with with any potential copies of the respective contents. All taken down content would have to be stored as evidence and users would have to be informed about the action.

    • First live blocking order granted in the UK

      Can an injunction be sought against an access provider that would require this to block access not to a website [as per the standard scenario] but rather streaming servers giving unauthorised access to copyright content? Can such an injunction consist of a ‘live’ blocking, ie a block limited to when the relevant content is being streamed?

      An application of this kind was recently and successfully made – for the first time as far as the UK is concerned – by the Football Association Premier League (FAPL, supported by other rightholders) against 6 main retail internet service providers (ISPs).

    • Temporary censorship a precaution by Wando principal

      On Thursday, March 9, a Wando High School student called the Moultrie News desperate for answers as to why a student video production had been tabled.

      Valeria Hughen, one of the anchors for Wando’s school news show, Tribe Talk, said that last week’s Tribe Talk episode had been pulled by Principal Sherry Eppelsheimer.

    • Utah Legislators Want To Outlaw Posting Of People’s Pictures And Names With The ‘Intent To Harass’

      Like many bad laws, I’m sure this bill lying on the Utah governor’s desk has its heart in the right place. But, like many bad laws, its head is completely up its ass. Eugene Volokh reports there’s Yet Another Cyberbullying Bill on the threshold of passage. Like many that have come before it, it’s full of constitutional issues and easily-abusable language.

    • Driver Sues State After Receiving Ticket For ‘Obscene’ Stick Figure Vehicle Decal

      The problem with bad laws (well, ONE problem) is they’ll need to be enforced at some point. Legislators pass laws out of fear, boredom, or a desire to look busy. They’ll pass laws to push personal agendas and closely-held beliefs. They’ll pass laws in response to bizarre tragedies so unique they can’t be found in expanded actuarial tables or at the behest of favored industry leaders. Every so often, they’ll even pass laws citizens are demanding. But far too often, they’ll just pass laws because they’re legislators and it’s right there in the job description.

    • Call for Narrower Internet Control Echoes, Despite Censorship

      The Two Sessions in Beijing offer an annual chance for delegates to China’s top legislative and advisory political assemblies to present their own policy suggestions. On March 1, Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference vice-chairman Luo Fuhe issued a proposal, translated in full at CDT, for speeding up access to foreign websites. “While we agree that the monitoring and blocking of foreign websites cannot be neglected as part of government efforts to protect the nation’s peace and stability,” Luo wrote, “we must also note that many foreign sites are not political.” He complained of the scientific and economic cost of current internet controls, citing long load times for some valuable sites and the unreliable VPNs or even foreign travel to which many researchers resort. His suggested remedies included a general unblocking of academic and scientific resources, and greater clarity around remaining controls with the compilation of an authoritative list of “negative foreign sites.” Even in the case of news, he added, information should not be blocked simply because it is “contested.”

    • Will China Use Google Scholar to Rewrite History?
    • Google in talks with China to stage a comeback, says a report
    • Google Reportedly in Talks to Stage a Comeback in China
    • Nazri blasts censorship of movies, says ‘enough is enough’
    • ‘Beauty and the Beast’ face censorship in Malaysia

      The cuts come after the movie ran into trouble in Russia, which slapped an adults-only rating on the film last week following pressure by an ultra-conservative lawmaker who was pushing for a ban.

      The film’s director Bill Condon has revealed that it contains Disney’s “first exclusively gay moment”, although some critics have said the reference is extremely mild and fleeting.

    • Malaysia censors ‘gay moment’ in Beauty and the Beast
    • No Beauty and the Beast for Malaysia, even after ‘gay moment’ cut – report
    • Twitter’s censorship may be unconstitutional

      Most Americans know they can speak their mind in the public square, thanks to the First Amendment. Speech on social media, however, can be censored because private companies own those cyber spaces.

      But a recent Supreme Court oral argument suggests Twitter’s practice of banning controversial right-wing pundits could be deemed illegal.

      During a Feb. 27 hearing involving the constitutionality of a state social media law, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that Twitter and Facebook had become, and even surpassed, the public square as a place for discussion and debate.

    • Facebook and Twitter should do more to combat fake news, says GCHQ [Ed: calls for censorship though it already induces self-censorship by spying on every single person]
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Can your smart home be used against you in court?

      While Amazon’s fight has been rendered moot, this case lays groundwork for some tough and important conversations to come, raising a slew of fascinating questions around the technologies. What do devices like the Echo or Google Home actually record and save? Have we, as consumers, effectively surrendered a reasonable right to privacy from corporations and the government by bringing such devices into our home?

    • Big Brothers little helpers
    • WikiLeaks dump brings CIA spying powers into the spotlight
    • Facebook cracks down on devs using data for ‘surveillance’, sort of

      Back in October ACLU, for example, revealed that Facebook, Instagram and Twitter had been passing on users personals to Geofeedia, a shady outfit that provides law enforcement with details on potential activists, or more precisely, according to ACLU, “activists of colour”.

      While Facebook has made steps to stop developers using data for such things, it’s unlikely going to get a thumbs up from the coalition, which has called on Facebook to proactively enforce the policy, rather than relying on automatic detection and reports from users when it messes up.

    • Hands-on with the jacket with Google woven in

      Once paired to a smartphone via Bluetooth, the jacket allows the wearer to control key functions with just a brush or tap of the cuff. A double tap with two fingers, for example, starts or stops music.

    • Trump’s Pick For White House Cyber Post Faces Growing Industry Distrust

      President Donald Trump picked a National Security Agency official to lead White House cybersecurity policy issues during a time when NSA surveillance powers are up for discussion and bad blood exists between the NSA and industry.

    • NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden’s Interview With The Intercept (VIDEO)
    • Snowden at SXSW: Don’t Believe Their Word Games; The NSA Collects Data on Us All
    • Edward Snowden Has Some Advice for Donald Trump About Surveillance
    • Snowden: If Trump So Concerned About Government Spying, He Should Fix It
    • The NSA’s foreign surveillance: 5 things to know

      A contentious piece of U.S. law giving the National Security Agency broad authority to spy on people overseas expires at the end of the year. Expect heated debate about the scope of U.S. surveillance law leading up to Dec. 31.

      One major issue to watch involves the way the surveillance treats communications from U.S. residents. Critics say U.S. emails, texts, and chat logs — potentially millions of them — are caught up in surveillance authorized by Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

    • Phone Searches Now Default Mode At The Border; More Searches Last Month Than In *All* Of 2015

      The Constitution — which has always been malleable when national security interests are in play — simply no longer applies at our nation’s borders. Despite the Supreme Court’s finding that cell phone searches require warrants, the DHS and CBP have interpreted this to mean it doesn’t apply to searches of devices entering/leaving the country.

      For the past 15 years, the government has won 9/10 constitutional-violation edge cases if they occurred within 100 miles of our borders — a no man’s land colloquially referred to as the “Constitution-free zone.” But the pace of device searches has increased exponentially over the last couple of years. The “border exception” is no longer viewed as an “exception” — something to be deployed only when customs officers had strong suspicions about a person or their devices. Now, it’s the rule, as NBC News reports.

    • What the CIA WikiLeaks dump tells us: Encryption works

      Documents purportedly outlining a massive CIA surveillance program suggest that CIA agents must go to great lengths to circumvent encryption they can’t break. In many cases, physical presence is required to carry off these targeted attacks.

    • Rand Paul Is Right: NSA Routinely Monitors Americans’ Communications Without Warrants

      On Sunday’s Face the Nation, Sen. Rand Paul was asked about President Trump’s accusation that President Obama ordered the NSA to wiretap his calls. The Kentucky senator expressed skepticism about the mechanics of Trump’s specific charge, saying: “I doubt that Trump was a target directly of any kind of eavesdropping.” But he then made a broader and more crucial point about how the U.S. government spies on Americans’ communications — a point that is deliberately obscured and concealed by U.S. government defenders.

    • We didn’t lose control – it was stolen

      Let me state it plainly: Google and Facebook are not allies in our fight for an equitable future – they are the enemy.

      These platform monopolies are factory farms for human beings; farming us for every gram of insight they can extract.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Feminist porn, printed for her pleasure: Meet the woman behind the all-inclusive Math magazine
    • Locals allegedly refused to perform funeral prayer for recently deceased elderly woman because she voted for Ahok
    • [Old]
      Arkansas Cops Arrest 79-Year Old Legislator who Championed Right to Record Police for Recording Police

      The two Arkansas cops who were so offended by a 79-year old legislator named John Walker who championed people’s Constitutional right to record police that they arrested him for recording a traffic stop.

    • Officers Cite Nonexistent Law In Attempt To Prevent Citizen From Filming Them During A Traffic Stop

      Fortunately for law enforcement officers (but not so much for lowly citizens), courts have routinely affirmed that officers don’t need to know the laws they’re enforcing to stay in the law enforcement business. No one expects cops to be legal scholars, but the least they could do is get a second opinion when they’re faced with a situation where applicable laws may — or just as frequently, may not — exist.

      We’ve seen nonexistent laws abused before. Most of the time, a perceived moving violation acts as the groundwork for a fishing expedition. This is fine, sayeth the courts. Other times, nonexistent laws are cited to shut down photographers or harass people otherwise minding their own business.

    • Extra Digit Accidentally Typed By Officer Turns UK Man Into A Pedophile

      What’s a few typos between you and a friend a few cops? Nothing, really. The lives they ruin will not be their own.

      UK resident Nigel Lang lost more than two years of his life to a typo. He was never jailed, but the life he lived was bereft of freedom. Thanks to the addition of a single wrong digit, Lang’s house was raided, his electronics seized, and his life’s goals rerouted.

      [...]

      It took more than a year before anyone would even entertain the idea that some error might have been made. At first, Lang, who is black, suspected this wrongful arrest might have been racially-motivated. But the IP address mistakenly entered by law enforcement was registered to his partner, who is white. He then tried to get to the bottom of why police had targeted him in the first place. If anyone wonders why so few complaints against law enforcement result in punishment, here’s part of the answer: the complaint process is unofficially discouraged by officers and staff.

    • Amos Yee said he is scared of returning to S’pore if US asylum bid fails

      With his United States asylum bid tentatively hanging in the balance post-court hearing, Singaporean not-a-boy-not-yet-a-man Amos Yee said he is afraid of being deported back to Singapore.

      The 18-year-old made this comment in a March 10 interview with The Associated Press via phone from “a Wisconsin detention center” where he is currently held.

    • [Older] Howard Root: I’m ‘not guilty,’ yes, but outraged by unjust prosecution

      You think prosecutors search for the truth? The Department of Justice rewards its prosecutors for convictions, not exonerations. The government agent who conducted our investigation said “it’s not my job to make the defense’s argument” when interviewing witnesses. A senior government lawyer publicly boasted that our case was “hand-picked” by prosecutors who “went on the offensive” because they had such a strong case. Search for the truth be damned.

    • Chatbot That Helped Beat $4 Million In Bogus Parking Tickets Now Handling Asylum Applications

      Last year, 19-year-old UK student Josh Browder released a chatbot called “DoNotPay” that assisted drivers in challenging parking tickets. It was a small program with a huge upside. The bot’s legal guidance — in the form of yes/no questions — resulted in more than $4 million in tickets being dismissed.

      Chatbots are no replacement for lawyers, but almost no one seeks legal help when dealing with parking tickets. That’s probably why law/traffic enforcement agencies feel comfortable issuing so many bogus ones. DoNotPay not only saved UK residents millions of dollars, it also proved the ticketing system was fundamentally broken. More than 64% of the 250,000 tickets challenged were overturned.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Move Over, Series Of Tubes, The Internet Is Now A Bridge Over A Creek For A Dozen People?

      Net neutrality is about how massive, giant internet access providing monopolists and duopolists want to double dip and double charge for the value provided at the endpoints, rather than being satisfied with getting paid for the value they provide in connecting the end points. The issue has nothing to do with millions of people rushing through a “pipeline” that was built for “maybe a dozen people” and somehow “ruining lawns” (?!?) while doing so. Nothing in net neutrality has anything to do with over-clogging local pipes. In fact, it allows for standard network management. And again, going back years and years and years, internet backbone experts have pointed out that there’s capacity to spare. There are no ruined lawns. There are no distraught home owners wishing to “talk a lot” to their 11 closest neighbors, dismayed that a million people are trampling their lawns.

    • Senate Democrats question FCC chair’s independence from Trump

      Pai also said he would “absolutely” operate independently of the White House, but Democrats questioned whether he will really do so in their letter Friday.

      “While you have long claimed to be an advocate for the freedom of the press and the First Amendment, your silence on the matter and refusal to take a stand against threats levied at the media is troubling given your regulatory and oversight role over the industry,” the Democrats wrote. “Moreover, such a lack of response could call into question the ongoing independence of the FCC under your watch.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • MacroSolve: Donald Trump Jr.’s favorite patent enforcer

      MacroSolve’s actions soon made it part of a longstanding debate in the tech industry over “patent trolls,” companies that do little or no business other than filing patent lawsuits. But MacroSolve management never accepted the idea that the company was a “troll,” and it said so in interviews.

      “If you enforce your rights, you’re a troll,” MacroSolve CEO Jim McGill said in a 2014 interview with Ars Technica. “If you don’t, big companies will walk all over you.”

    • [Older] Canadian Government on U.S. Special 301: We Don’t Recognize Validity of Flawed Report

      The Government of Canada does not recognize the validity of the process as the findings tend to rely predominantly on allegations from U.S. industry stakeholders rather than on objective analysis.

    • Trademarks

      • ‘Thru Dropbox’ Trademark Registrant’s ‘Bad Faith’ Litigation Results In $2 Million Fee Award To Dropbox

        Thru, Inc. made a mess of its registered trademark by allowing it to lie dormant. It registered “Thru Dropbox” but made no attempt to challenge Dropbox’s application for the term “DROPBOX” in 2009. Instead, it sat back and watched as Dropbox grabbed market share. Five years after it filed its application, the trademark was awarded to Dropbox. Only then did Thru, Inc. act, so to speak. It acted like the horrified victim of Dropbox’s motion for declaratory judgment, one that would uncontestably award the “Dropbox” registration solely to the cloud storage service. Thru countersued, claiming infringement. Bad move.

    • Copyrights

      • Australia Copyright Safe Harbour Provision Backed By Prime Minister

        In Australia, however, the situation is less certain. Due to what some believe amounts to a drafting error in Australia’s implementation of the Australia – US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA), so-called safe harbor provisions only apply to commercial Internet service providers.

        This means that while local ISPs such as Telstra receive protection from copyright infringement complaints, places like schools, universities, museums, libraries and archives do not.

      • Photocopying Textbooks Is Fair Use In India: Western Publishers Withdraw Copyright Suit Against Delhi University

        Back in September last year, Mike wrote about the remarkable court ruling in India that copyright is not inevitable, divine or a natural right. As we have been reporting since 2013, the case in question was brought by three big Western publishers against Delhi University and a photocopy shop over “course packs” — bound collections of photocopied extracts from books and journals that are sold more cheaply than the sources. Although the High Court of Delhi ruled that photocopying textbooks in this way is fair use, that was not necessarily the end of the story: the publishers might have appealed to India’s Supreme Court.

Patent Trolling Allegedly Runs in the Blood (or Interests) of the Trump Family, in Spite of the USPTO’s and Courts’ Growing Hostility Towards Patent Trolls

Posted in America, Patents at 1:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fear that Obama era nominees and appointees will need to be ‘replaced’ to better suit the interests of Trump’s family business rather than common sense

Macrosolve headlines
Macrosolve is back and this time it’s connected to President Trump

Summary: Revisiting the appalling, dirty Turf War over USPTO leadership and what Macrosolve’s (patent troll) business connections to Donald Trump’s son, namely $45,000 and 5,000,000 shares, might mean to Donald Trump’s patent policy

THE USPTO remains unchanged at the very top. Michelle Lee is staying, in spite of the storm of attacks on her character and policies (and perceived/conjured conflicts of interest).

“Michelle Lee is staying, in spite of the storm of attacks on her character and policies (and perceived/conjured conflicts of interest).”TechDirt, which previously (correctly) blamed many of these attacks on Watchtroll, wrote some hours ago that “General Franco Is Still Dead And Michelle Lee Is Still Director Of The US Patent Office”. He gave some background as follows: “Last month, we wrote about the truly bizarre situation in which no one in the federal government seemed willing to say who was in charge of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You see, there had been widespread reports right before the inauguration that the current director, Michelle Lee (who’s been really, really good at the job) was being kept on in that role. But, for some reason, the Commerce Department’s website listed the role as vacant. And there were a series of other confusing and conflicting signs. But the most bizarre part was that the USPTO and the Commerce Department simply refused to say who was in charge. Which is… weird.”

There is a Turf War going on and sites like IAM play a role in it. It’s lobbying. They are hoping to 'implant' a trolls proponent at the top of the Office (remember that IAM is paid by trolls), not to mention a proponent of software patents (like IAM). It’s someone who brought nothing but disgrace to the US courts system. He’s the kind of person corrupt enough even for Donald Trump to install at the top, but it didn’t happen. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be, or maybe the Turf War was lost by the vicious lobbyists, who included Watchtroll (lobbying disguised as a news site).

“Maybe it wasn’t meant to be, or maybe the Turf War was lost by the vicious lobbyists, who included Watchtroll (lobbying disguised as a news site).”We wish to remind readers of Obama’s AIA (Leahy-Smith America Invents Act America), which contributed a lot to improvement in patent quality, including the introduction of PTAB (similar to the appeal boards at the EPO, where these are being crushed by Battistelli).

“Although the AIA includes statutory protections,” Dennis Crouch wrote yesterday, “the all-republican majority allows for rapid changes…”

Remember that Crouch is hoping to slow down PTAB and thus decrease patent quality again (hence making his occupation as an academic more relevant). The Deputy Director of the USPTO has in fact just been unveiled and watch Dennis Crouch rushing to tell Lee what to do. From yesterday’s post about Tony Scardin, courtesy of Crouch: “Tony Scardino, Chief Financial Officer of the agency is now also the Acting Deputy Director of the USPTO (as recently revealed by the USPTO FOIA Response). It is a bit of an oddity as to how Scardino jumped to the head of the line in almost violation of the USPTO rules of succession that provides for CFO to take an acting head leadership role only if there is no Commissioner for Patents, Commissioner of Trademarks, or Administrator for Policy and External Affairs. However, the rules of succession do not provide in particularity as to who becomes Acting Deputy Director when the Deputy leaves but the Director is still in place. Thus, I would suggest that Dir. Lee is within her authority to select a qualifying person to fill that role. (It may also be that the PTO has a non-public succession plan.)”

“…Trump has said virtually nothing about patents, both prior to and after his election. It’s an enigma.”Is Crouch too trying to participate in that sort of ‘coup’ against USPTO leadership? In order to install the corrupt equivalent of Battistelli at the EPO? We sure hope that we merely misunderstand Crouch’s intentions here.

Why is all that relevant anyway? Well, Trump has said virtually nothing about patents, both prior to and after his election. It’s an enigma. But Joe Mullin’s new article (mentioned by Henrion today) says that Trump now have an interest in patent trolls. His son is in this business. To quote Mullin: “Before President Donald Trump took the oath of office in January, he handed off management of the Trump Organization’s business interests to his two eldest sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. The family-owned company has been in various lines of business over the years—most famously, there are hotels, casinos, and golf resorts, some owned and others licensed. Ties, steaks, and a controversial seminar business have also borne the Trump name. [...] MacroSolve’s actions soon made it part of a longstanding debate in the tech industry over “patent trolls,” companies that do little or no business other than filing patent lawsuits. But MacroSolve management never accepted the idea that the company was a “troll,” and it said so in interviews. [...] Whatever you call it, MacroSolve’s brand of patent enforcement had initial success—its lawsuits earned the company close to $5 million. When the litigation campaign eventually collapsed in 2014, MacroSolve was absorbed by a defense contractor called Drone Aviation Holding Corporation. That organization has its own close ties to the Trump presidency, and there’s no telling whether, or if, Drone Aviation will try to enforce old MacroSolve patents or its own patents.”

This was also covered here by Cory Doctorow. It was found via Professor James Bessen, who is an expert in this sort of thing and it says:

Oklahoma’s Anyware Mobile Solutions was founded in 1997 to make PDA software, but after its sales collapsed, it changed its name to Macrosolve and devoted itself to suing people for violating a farcical patent that they said covered filling in questionnaires using an app.

Starting in 2011, Macrosolve became a prolific patent troll, suing 59 companies in dozens of lawsuits, filing in the notorious, patent-troll-friendly East Texas court system. It made its first million bucks in a few months. As a PR move it Macrosolve then hired Donald Trump Jr to be the company’s spokestroll, paying him $45,000 and 5,000,000 shares for two years’ worth of PR consulting.

Macrosolve was mentioned here 3 years ago. It was in relation to Newegg, which fought back against software patent trolling from Macrosolve. Now that the troll is connected to Donald Trump’s son there is danger that it will pull strings in favour of both patent trolls and software patents, but we shall see.

WIPO is in the Business of Publishing Ads for Notorious Patent Aggressors (Facing Antitrust Charges) and Promoting Software Patents

Posted in America, Antitrust, Deception, Patents at 12:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

WIPO magazine for software patents

Summary: For corporate lobbying purposes, namely the promotion of software patents, WIPO gives its own platform (and Web site) to an executive from a highly-abusive and most notorious patent bully, Qualcomm

PROMOTION or grooming of patent trolls is typically IAM territories. Dominion Harbor, for example, is a patent troll like those which IAM likes to whitewash (also connected to the world’s biggest troll), including as recently as yesterday. “Like many other licensing companies,” it said yesterday (“licensing company” is a euphemism for troll), “four-year-old Dominion Harbor has concluded a number of licence deals with big Chinese tech companies” (much like deals between IAM and patent trolls, which give money to IAM).

“Promotion or grooming of patent trolls is typically IAM territories.”It’s almost understandable that IAM Media accepted money from companies it covers. That’s just an ethical breach for a private company. But what happens when an agency like WIPO, which is supposed to be non-commercial, becomes a mouthpiece of patent bullies? We can expect that from the EPO, but not the USPTO (we cannot think of such an instance).

“Qualcomm is one of the biggest patent troll out there,” Benjamin Henrion alleged yesterday, and it is now being solicited by WIPO. “I am truly disgusted,” I told Henrion, “but not surprised.”

“They use the troll money to buy WIPO embedded ads,” one person told me, or so “it appears.”

Remember that WIPO is just about as abusive as the EPO (it’s nowhere near EPO levels of abuse in our view) and if it is ‘working’ for Qualcomm the patent bully (probably the biggest and most notorious such bully these days, having attracted several antitrust actions in multiple continents), what does that say about WIPO?

As a reminder, Qualcomm is using software patents (among other patents) against the competition and here is its former executive, in WIPO magazine, promoting software patents.

It “seems like IP is best defended with a paraphrase of why Free/Open software works,” somebody told me. “Qualcomm embedded ad?”

“It’s almost understandable that IAM Media accepted money from companies it covers. That’s just an ethical breach for a private company.”Well, this is what happens when “IP” people, not software developers, ask for software patents (without having actually practiced software development). Software patents proponents (obviously not software developers) are currently promoting this piece from ‘ex’ Qualcomm (in WIPO’s Web site, as HTML). I asked the author, “what computer programs did you develop? Why hijack voices of software developers for software patents (your $)?”

Henrion joked with her, “burn all software developers.”

He also wrote, “maybe she can precise if developers can benefit from freedom of expression as well?”

“It’s the old “you can’t earn money w/o patents” story, right?”

That’s what another person wrote before noting that the author “also argue[s] software replaces mechanics and electronics?”

“”If it’s free,” the saying goes, “then you are the product.” WIPO and its corporate partners probably just hope to convert this event into a lobbying opportunity, influencing those who choose to attend.”Sadly, we don’t have the time (or sources, never mind resources) to cover WIPO. IP Kat mentioned WIPO yesterday and it was basically a WIPO-related ‘ad’ which said: “There is still time to reserve a place at the New Zealand and Australia Roving Seminars on WIPO services, which will take place in Auckland on March 13, Wellington on March 15, Sydney on March 20, Melbourne on March 22, and Perth on March 24, 2017. There is no charge for registering or attending.”

“If it’s free,” the saying goes, “then you are the product.” WIPO and/or its corporate partners probably just hope to convert this event into a lobbying opportunity, influencing those who choose to attend. At the end, somebody pays the bills.

Unitary Patent (UPC) Misinformation in Spanish Media and EPO-Connected (Paid) Media That Lobbies Spain

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 11:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FTI Consulting is how the EPO’s management is almost literally buying perceptions, as large corporations typically do, yielding fake news about the UPC and about itself (self-censorship included)

FTI Consulting for fracking
FTI Consulting for fracking. From FTI Consulting’s own brochure [PDF], bragging about helping to poison British people on behalf of big clients.

Summary: The EPO’s lobbying for the UPC seems to have not only corrupted English-speaking and French-speaking media (with a recent FTI Consulting deal to target German and Dutch media) but perhaps also Spanish media, whose language has a broader reach worldwide

THERE IS nothing that EPO management won’t do to get its way. It already drives some people to suicide. The EPO’s Investigative Unit (I.U.) was called 'gestapo' on Dutch television one year ago and when German media concurred it evoked the wrath of (maybe threats from) Team Battistelli.

“Media too has become a casualty of Battistelli and his notorious bags of money.”On Sunday we wrote about fake news about UPC in Spain, with horrible stuff like paid “pressers”. As we expected (but could not verify without understanding Spanish), it didn’t take long to find even coverage in Spanish, from publishers whose financial strings may or may not be connected to the massive PR budget Battistelli secretly allocated (repeatedly even, behind the scenes) to fracking lobbyists. Thankfully, some Spanish readers keep sending us more examples of that. One of them highlighted a new article and wrote: “Desperately Seeking Ratification “unitary patent aims to facilitate obtaining patents to innovative european SMEs” How so? #UPC mantras?”

Bank robberyThis is the corresponding tweet that says: “No os perdáis el análisis de @JulioMiravalls La Patente Unitaria necesita a Londres desesperadamente | Innovadores http://www.elmundo.es/economia/2017/03/13/58c68bb146163fcb5b8b45cb.html …”

Media too has become a casualty of Battistelli and his notorious bags of money. Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves and remind ourselves that the EPO is based in civilised Munich, not some place like Harare, Zimbabwe. What on Earth is going on and why isn’t the EPO being raided by Interpol, Europol, or whatever was used to belatedly tackle corruption in FIFA? Not only European interests are being undermined but international interests too (for the enrichment of few crooked officials and affluent executives). It’s a class conundrum — the type of thing which TPP opponents habitually speak of (e.g. in relation to ISDS).

“…it didn’t take long to find even coverage in Spanish, from publishers whose financial strings may or may not be connected to the massive PR budget Battistelli…”Going back to the above tweet, it links to a mainstream publication in Spain. Is Spanish media playing the same game as over here? As Benjamin Henrion put it (in response to this article), “UPC means chaos, better stay outside, especially when their proponents lied saying it won’t allow swpats” (software patents).

IAM Media (of IAM ‘magazine’), which was paid by FTI Consulting, made a statement that was patently false, yet many people retweeted this and the tweet was never deleted. Latest from IAM is some more lobbying. Earlier today they published this non-news puff piece. The Editor in Chief pretends that SMEs in Spain want lots and lots of patents. Could this be any shallower? It certainly looks like veiled UPC lobbying in Spain. Just think of the timing. So IAM is pushing this non-news (and misrepresentation of SMEs) as recently as this morning (today), so again we cannot help but think of money (IAM was funded by the EPO’s PR firm for pro-UPC lobbying).

“So IAM is pushing this non-news (and misrepresentation of SMEs) as recently as this morning (today), so again we cannot help but think of money (IAM was funded by the EPO’s PR firm for pro-UPC lobbying).”It doesn’t take a genius to see what’s going on here. IAM is, at the same time, meddling in Germany, not just by shaming people (as it did in the past for UPC in Germany) but also misleading claims about a vote that means little or nothing; Germany cannot ratify the UPC without the UK doing it first (the lobbyists are working on that too).

“Germany is very unlikely to ratify before the UK does,” even IAM admitted. “UK ratification is still expected before the summer. But don’t stake your life on it!”

It’s not expected before summer. Stop repeating what you wish would happen (now they say “summer”, previously they said March 7th, so notice the pattern).

The cited tweet got deleted. They cannot help spreading fake news by linking to fake data and baseless claims, can they?

“They cannot help spreading fake news by linking to fake data and baseless claims, can they?”What extraordinary lobbying skills! Maybe it’s time for Joff Wild’s career change. He can quit pretending to be a journalist and cash in big time somewhere like Brussels. Maybe even Battistelli can find a salary for him. The EPO’s salaries are widely envied in the EU (exceeding even those of EU/EC officials).

We should note that the IP Kat has officially quit covering EPO scandals, which include manipulation of the media, threats to the media, and so on. “This may well change with the Unified Patent Court,” said this IP Kat comment the other day, “a UPC-style Fujifilm declaration, anyone?”

UPC means nothing but the EU shooting its own foot, for the benefit of few international corporations and their European patent lawyers. It’s a parasitic thing in nature and in practice.

“UPC means nothing but the EU shooting its own foot, for the benefit of few international corporations and their European patent lawyers.”Watchtroll (patent maximalist in the US), incidentally, currently helps UPC lobbyist Wouter Pors pretend that the Unitary Patent is all done and dusted. These are lobbying tactics at play; shame on Watchtroll, but then again we expect it to root for ruinous laws that would mean nothing but a sea of litigation. This ‘article’ is already being promoted by software patents proponents. They’re not even from Europe.

Regarding Germany, there is now this article from Heise about it. Henrion wrote about the above article (a solid translation might help) that “Heise mentions the petition against the UPC in the UK, coming days we will have to go physical” (unlikely to actually change the outcome, based on recent such actions in Westminster and elsewhere).

“We remind readers that Jo Johnson was ‘supposed’ to ratify the UPC a week ago, if only Team UPC’s lies had any bearing…”We wrote about Britain on Sunday, taking note of the latest lobbying for the UPC down in London [1, 2]. Battistelli’s British puff pieces that read like a copy-paste job are being cited by the UPC hopefuls. Terrible, shallow fake news; that’s what these puff piece boil down to. FTI has massive operations/presence down there in London (for historical and commercial reasons), so it’s hard to tell how these things are being arranged or set up (if at all). It’s only reasonable to have suspicions.

We remind readers that Jo Johnson was ‘supposed’ to ratify the UPC a week ago, if only Team UPC’s lies had any bearing…

He didn’t ratify anything, however, in spite of the extreme pressure including Battistelli’s lobbying visit, which yielded a press release and a photo (only from the EPO).

“Follow the money and you may find Battistelli wasting stakeholders’ money, throwing wads of cash from a tall building to willing, corruptible ‘journalists’ who are willing to play along with FTI Consulting and Team Battistelli.”Those poor UPC proponents have apparently not disseminated enough lies yet — enough to convince politicians to blindly sign documents that Team UPC itself had prepared, and in a rush. ‘Poor’ greedy liars. Enemies of British and European democracy… they see Brexit becoming a reality (more progress has just been made, not that I am pro-Brexit) and Jo Johnson didn’t even ratify the Unitary Patent a week ago like Team UPC had said he would.

“And what about the Unitary Patent,” one person wrote the other day. “How can we have enhanced cooperation (Article 20) if we’re leaving?”

The UPC cannot happen here in Britain. It won’t happen in Spain either, hence the need for propaganda and fake news. Even Germany is now being targeted with fake news. Follow the money and you may find Battistelli wasting stakeholders’ money, throwing wads of cash from a tall building to willing, corruptible ‘journalists’ who are willing to play along with FTI Consulting and Team Battistelli.

The European Patent Office is in a State of Collapse and It Coughs Up Rubbish Patents Until Its Death

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Considering declines in number of applications, not even as a patents register (like INPI) can it survive fiscally

Apropos: New Paper Outlines Concerns That the EPO as a Patent Examination Office is Dying, Gradually Turning Into a Registration Office

Cough up blood
This could, potentially, be terminal…

Summary: An EPO insider explains how severe the crisis at the EPO has become, especially now that patents are coughed up at a far higher pace in spite of decreasing “demand” from European applicants

“The Battistelli system,” an EPO insider privately explained to us, is not working. “I think the scandal regarding the colleague who produced 63 searches and 20 grants in one month deserves a deeper look into. For anybody who’s ever done a search and an examination it’s clear that 83 products a month (in January) is an impossible achievement.”

For those who missed it, see this leak that we published about it. The EPO seemed to be trying to distract from it at the time, by issuing a perfect diversion just hours after we had leaked the material/evidence.

“But enquiries of the staff as to the preposterous 83 products a month were brushed aside by the director in those fateful emails in a knee-jerk reaction that shows that nowadays at he EPO production, even unrealistic, is protected from all critics…”
      –Anonymous
“Even if one admits that some of the files were transferred from the previous month,” the insider told us, “as explained by the director, this is not a remotely credible…

“December is a short month and an average of 40 products per month in two consecutive months which include the winter holidays is in the realm of fantasy. Moreover, if a search is started, according to the new regulations, the examiner has ten days for finishing the search, so if one starts treating files in December without finishing them there will be a lot of red-flagged files in January.

“That should’ve rung a bell for the director who is supposed to keep an eye on timeliness. He should also have known that the respective production was impossible in the given time period. But enquiries of the staff as to the preposterous 83 products a month were brushed aside by the director in those fateful emails in a knee-jerk reaction that shows that nowadays at he EPO production, even unrealistic, is protected from all critics…

“Even better, Battistelli should retire (which he will certainly not do of his own will) or the Administrative Council should finally grow a spine (hard to believe either) and decide to oust him and let somebody else restore the credibility of the EPO after the disastrous years.”
      –Anonymous
“What happened is a compound failure of the examiner and the director, symbolic of the “everything goes” scam system implemented by Battistelli in which production figures are disconnected from quality in spite of the achievements trumpeted by Battistelli in the all too subservient press and his self-serving events.

“It’s not that quality at all levels is that compromised but the high producer bonus system incentives a low number of greedy examiners to cut corners and attempt to produce a high number of searches and grants regardless of quality in search of the yearly bonus. If Battistelli really wanted to restore a minimum of credibility to the office he should start by ordering the Quality Control Department to carry out an examination of [...] searches and grants – and make the findings public. Otherwise the EPO will be regarded with even more mistrust and its reputation will continue to sink. Even better, Battistelli should retire (which he will certainly not do of his own will) or the Administrative Council should finally grow a spine (hard to believe either) and decide to oust him and let somebody else restore the credibility of the EPO after the disastrous years.

“With his own secret service, destroying the lives of the inconvenient staff representation members by firing them, one can only imagine his behaviour, and his opponents’ end, had he been the president of a Central Asian or African country.”
      –Anonymous
“We’ve seen over and over again that dictators are adulated during their reign and accepted even by democratic countries but after their demise all the dirt comes out from under the carpet tainting all those who supported them in the past. There is no reason to believe that Battistelli will suffer a different fate after his departure. A petty wannabe grand dictator who, fortunately for the world, has ended up mistreating only a [European institution] instead of a whole country. With his own secret service, destroying the lives of the inconvenient staff representation members by firing them, one can only imagine his behaviour, and his opponents’ end, had he been the president of a Central Asian or African country.”

Bastian Best, a proponent of software patents in Europe (and by extension a patent maximalist), doesn’t appear to have grasped all that. The EPO occasionally uses him as some sort of ‘poster child’ for his propaganda, whether he cares to admit it or not.

Earlier this week he wrote a couple of tweets [1, 2] to the effect of: “Why #softwarepatent eligibility is not an issue at the @EPOorg—and what the USPTO could learn from this” (not a new article).

People like Best hope to make software officially patentable both in Europe and the US (where such patents are facing challenges under Alice).

“Examiners tell us that they are against software patents, but Battistelli’s terrible system compels them to grant anyway.”I politely explained to Best that insiders from the EPO say they are granting software patents against their will. Examiners tell us that they are against software patents, but Battistelli’s terrible system compels them to grant anyway. It’s a monstrous operation in the making, as one day it will devastate engineers across the whole of Europe (more so if the UPC ever becomes a reality). At today’s EPO, as noted again above, examiners are not given enough time to examine patent applications. In a sense, the Office has no quality control anymore. It only has the pretense of it, and what’s left of several decades of aging (and decaying) reputation.

Benjamin Henrion told Best: “US can copy the EPC, and get in its law all abstract items clearly mentioned as not patentable. As such can also go.”

Well, today’s EPO doesn’t care what the EPC or even Parliament might say. The EPO operates like a body above and outside the law. “Examination matters” is an event that the EPO has just advertised, saying that “Examination matters for various reasons.”

“Examination matters NOT at the EPO under Battistelli’s regime,” I responded to them by saying, “not ANYMORE!”

It’s a very dangerous thing as it’s lethal to Europe’s competitiveness. The staff of the EPO knows it and maybe the management knows it too. But what do they care…

They turned the EPO into a personal cash cow, filled by stakeholders for the enrichment of even patently corrupt officials. Like this Vice-President

“They turned it into a personal cow, filled by stakeholders for the enrichment of even patently corrupt officials.”How do stakeholders feel about it? The EPO’s stakeholders have apparently caught up already and patent applications are decreasing in number. What’s Battistelli’s plan? Hello Erdoğan? See this EPO tweet from yesterday. “Turkey joins the Federated European Patent Register,” it says.

Yesterday there was also this new article about Battistelli’s EPO and Putin’s Russia. To quote: “The European Patent Office (EPO) and the Russian Patent Office (ROSPATENT) have agreed a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot programme between the EPO and ROSPATENT that commenced on 1 February 2017 and will run until 31 January 2020.”

How is this beneficial to Europe and how many Russian patents are there at the EPO anyway? Not that much more than Turkish patents. More than Cambodian ones (zero), sure, but Russia’s size can be misleading; its GDP is lower than that of tiny South Korea.

“How is this beneficial to Europe and how many Russian patents are there at the EPO anyway?”It seems apparent that people all across Europe are becoming familar with the EPO scandals (at least some of them). Yesterday we caught this comment about Battistelli's Chinchilla. It says: “One also wonders what’s in it for this Kongstad chap. He seems to be going out of his way to block action. Is he best buddies with Battistelli? What reason can he have to help Battistelli?”

“The Chairman is the one protecting Battistelli apparently. Drinking buddies? Someone has a skeleton in the closet?”
      –Anonymous
One person responded by saying: “The Chairman is the one protecting Battistelli apparently. Drinking buddies? Someone has a skeleton in the closet? Or just the normal politics of: “I”m not going to do what you tell me to because I am the POWER!”?”

There are a few more interesting (and new) comments in there, but no new information in them.

Today’s EPO in a nutshell is something like this (as I put it the other day in relation to Team Battistelli rewarding itself again)


Battistelli to Kongstad:
I want more money.
Kongstad: want more money? Go for it. 
It's not like I ever stand in your way.

Someone should fire Kongstad, who is growingly complicit, not just Battistelli. But who can possibly do that? What a rogue state of affairs. An animal slaughterer is ‘supervising’ one who ‘supervises’ staff into their deaths (illness and suicides). Is this the best Europe has to offer?

The EPO is a horrible place and it is only getting more horrible every week. We strongly encourage Dutch readers to contact their officials. Mind the fact that the EPO has just removed the Netherlands from the map, for ‘daring’ to decrease patent applications amid Dutch concerns and uncertainty.

Unscientific and Offensive: EPO Deletes From the Map Countries Where Number of Applications at the EPO Has Declined!

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What’s wrong with this incomplete map of Europe? Read on.

Europe's map with holes.jpg
Unscientific if not anti-scientific attitude from the EPO, which simply removes the ‘unwanted’ nations to construct a misleading narrative

Summary: For lobbying purposes, at the expense of truth itself, the European Patent Office is now cherry-picking data and spreading a message which is the very opposite of facts and thus antithetical to science itself

IT is regrettable that the EPO, once known for scientific leadership and integrity, so quickly devolved into an empire of lies. That’s just the ‘Battistelli effect’… this is why we call him the Liar in Chief.

“”Supply” growth (industrial term, like that which the EPO chooses under Battistelli) is currently attained by over-granting, or patenting of stuff that oughtn’t be granted a patent — to the point where the “stock” will run out pretty soon (not to be filled amid decreasing “demand”).”Patenting “demand” at the EPO is diminishing. “Supply” growth (industrial term, like that which the EPO chooses under Battistelli) is currently attained by over-granting, or patenting of stuff that oughtn’t be granted a patent — to the point where the "stock" will run out pretty soon (not to be filled amid decreasing “demand”).

Does the EPO state any of these simple facts? No. “These are the TOP technology fields with the fastest growth in patenting demand in 2016,” it stated yesterday (notice the use of the word “demand”, as if the EPO is a production/assembly line with “orders”). Last orders at the bar, anyone?

“Patenting “demand” at the EPO is diminishing.”Worse than that was this tweet that said “Belgian patent applications at the European Patent Office up by 7% in 2016″ (neglecting to state or point out that elsewhere it’s down). They apparently managed to ‘plant’ one sort of 'puff piece' in the English-speaking Belgian media and repeated the misdirection, again, the following day (earlier today). They have meanwhile deleted yesterday’s tweet (we have just checked to verify, it’s really deleted!), after it had been retweeted by some people (many of the "followers" of the EPO in Twitter appear to be fake and possibly paid for). Incredible, isn’t it? But watch the map that they added today (copied above, in case they attempt to hide the evidence later, just as they deleted yesterday’s tweet). What the EPO shows us here is its utter lack of integrity; this demonsrates yet another lie (by omission), with a chart that incredibly enough omits all the minuses. Did anyone out there know that Europe has just 7 countries now? ;-)

Holland? Down 3.6%.

France? Down 2.5%.

US? Down almost 6%.

The EPO pretends these countries don’t exist.

“According to the above map, France is no longer recognised as a European country by the EPO.”The main growth came from China, but overall the numbers are down. And if the pace of granting skyrockets, then the EPO is heading into a catastrophe, essentially driving into a wall. Who would want to apply for a European patent in this kind of atmosphere? The letter that we published this morning demonstrates that EPO insiders too realise the issue with that. To quote a portion: “Last but not least, the survey shows that a quality erosion has taken place. Low quality patents create legal uncertainty for patent applicants and their competitors. Legal uncertainty hinders investments and leads to increased litigation, which is a drag on the economy.”

According to the above map, France is no longer recognised as a European country by the EPO. Not because there is lack of French representation in the EPO’s management (the opposite is true) but because these ‘naughty’ French people are no longer interested in European patents. “Demand” for patents is down over there, so the EPO greys it out in the map! Absolutely extraordinary!

“Demand” for patents in France is down, but the EPO won’t say this publicly. To make matters worse, the EPO has just tweeted “France retains its position among leading countries of origin for patent applications” (notice what they do not say).

“Is the Office becoming just an instrument of China, or subservient to Chinese firms?”EPs dying in Europe in very, very troubling news. Is the Office becoming just an instrument of China, or subservient to Chinese firms? Watch the top 10 applicants. Half of them are from east Asia. Watch the lack of diversity among applicants.

The EPO has just said: “Small entities accounted 34% of all patent applicants at the EPO in 2016. See the numbers…”

Put another way, about 1% of companies apply for the majority of EPO patents. So much for public or European interests. Recall this jaw-dropping leak about pacing up grants for massive corporations from other countries. Today’s EPO no longer justifies the “E” in its acronym, unless the E stands for Enterprise or Egomaniac or something along those lines.

As a minor point, if not a pedantic point, the EPO currently promotes [1, 2] an old introductory page by stating: “While IP is essential to the successful exploitation of new ideas, innovation goes further.”

“But who cares about science and facts anyway? It’s the EPO after all; it works together with fracking lobbyists to “shape perceptions”.”What a shallow statement. Patents are not “IP”, patents are just patents and they are usually orthogonal to innovation (in some cases they actively harm or slow down innovation, especially if granted sparingly, instigating spurious lawsuits and frivolous attacks).

Last night the EPO also amplified this tweet which said: “As in 2015, #Switzerland made more European patent applications per capita than any other country in 2016 again…”

Switzerland, as we explained before, is a very rich country (tax evasion facilitation contributes to this) and patent are a rich people’s spiel. It’s hardly indicative of Swiss people being most innovative; it’s just that EPO fees — to them at least — are affordable compared to people from — say — Croatia. But who cares about science and facts anyway? It’s the EPO after all; it works together with fracking lobbyists to "shape perceptions". Maybe Battistelli’s EPO should slip in a patent application of its own — something about warping and distorting public understanding. Does that count as a business method? Worry not! Under Battistelli, anything goes.

Battistelli Receives Another Letter From FICSA, is Urged to Meet EPO Staff Representatives Whom He Fired to Bust the Unions

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It has been abundantly clear to FICSA that the EPO engaged in union-busting activities

FICSA letter
‘Zoom’ in

Summary: Another diplomatic letter (not too strongly-worded) from a federation that represents more than 20,000 staff in International organisations like the EPO

THE delegates will gather tomorrow to discuss protect the EPO’s scandalous management. FICSA has just sent out a letter (dated yesterday) about it “to lodge a protest against what has evidently become systematic mistreatment of staff representatives…” (see full text above)

“…the yellow union that Battistelli leverages against SUEPO uses the name of FICSA’s head (Mr. El-Tabari) for a smear based on nationality or perceived origin.”Here is SUEPO’s copy of the letter [PDF], which we turned into a screenshot because many people cannot (technically) or are too lazy to open PDFs on certain devices. The PDF is just an image anyway. SUEPO wrote this morning that this “[l]etter [was] sent by the FICSA, the biggest Federation of Civil Servants at UN level, which represents more than 20,000 Staff in the International Civil Service, to President Battistelli on 13 March 2017.”

FICSA wrote about this conflict before (more than once in fact) and the yellow union that Battistelli leverages against SUEPO uses the name of FICSA's head (Mr. El-Tabari) for a smear based on nationality or perceived origin. Talk about a low blow…

Long New Letter From Battistelli’s ‘Nemesis’, Dutch Secretary of State Martijn van Dam

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Photo credit: Partij van de Arbeid, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Beantwoording vragen schriftelijk overleg

Summary: The relatively long letter (in Dutch) which serves to demonstrate that things are moving in the Netherlands, which now grapples with real chances of intolerance not just in the country but also in the diplomatically-immune Eponia (where autocracy is already the norm)

The EPO-FLIER Team, a group of anonymous EPO workers (anonymous for their own protection, obviously), told us that it had “sent a letter with questions to the members of the Dutch parliament (“Tweede Kamer”) before the written consultation in the Netherlands parliament on the situation in the European Patent Office.”

“You can download it from here and you can find more publications at epostaff4rights.org,” they told us.

Martijn van Dam“The official response of Secretary of State Martijn van Dam to the written consultation (in Dutch) has become public,” told us our source inside the EPO-FLIER Team. “I hope that an English translation will become available soon.”

Any takers? Even just the gist would do. We very much doubt SUEPO will translate something for the EPO-FLIER Team, but one can never tell for sure. The English translation would help spread the message and either way, we encourage readers who are Dutch to inform the Dutch Foreign Minister, Bert Koenders, about this letter, as he said he would monitor the situation.

Remember it was Martijn van Dam whom Battistelli ran away from like a coward who cannot handle the truth, or as if Martijn’s forename was Jean-Claude.

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