IAM Remains Battistelli’s Propaganda Mill, Helping to Manufacture and Reinforce Lies About Quality

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dozens of lies stuffed into less than 5 minutes

Battistelli and IAM
Also see: Benoît Battistelli “Should Not Have Been in Charge of Anything More Involved Than a Hamster Cage Without the Hamster…”

Summary: The main accomplishment of the Liar in Chief, who read a script to the camera, is that he managed to lie so quickly and so frequently with a straight face

THIS year, just like last year [1, 2], IAM is trying to impress Battistelli, whose PR agency has already funneled money into IAM on at least one occasion (that we are aware of).

“In this video, Battistelli blatantly lies about the Boards of Appeals — in a way that no doubt would offend all those whom he attacked. He also lies about the “social conditions” — uttering words that are enough to make staff’s blood boil in well under 5 minutes.”IAM would have us believe that the EPO is doing great; they have a marriage of convenience between them and the above screenshot (frame from this new video, viewed only by 275 people) is just one among many infuriating things. The Liar in Chief, who cannot speak German and can barely speak English*, is so insecure that we are hardly surprised that he just attacks anyone who dares question his authority.

In this video, Battistelli blatantly lies about the Boards of Appeals — in a way that no doubt would offend all those whom he attacked. He also lies about the “social conditions” — uttering words that are enough to make staff’s blood boil in well under 5 minutes. Throughout his bizarre (unprofessional, he looks like a nervous wreck) reading session he keeps citing his paid-for ‘studies’ — the best propaganda money can buy!

“Those who wish to understand why Battistelli has 0% approval rating amongst EPO stakeholders only need to watch a fact-checked (annotated) version of this ridiculous video from Battistelli.”Unitary Patent fake news and lobbying takes up almost 20% of the entire video, claiming “renewed commitment from the UK” (i.e. ignoring the very reality of Brexit) and repeating the lies (e.g. “end of this year”) from Team UPC — lies that we continue to see floated in social media today, adding to a sea of fake news.

Those who wish to understand why Battistelli has 0% approval rating amongst EPO stakeholders only need to watch a fact-checked (annotated) version of this ridiculous video from Battistelli. If he auditioned for a clerk’s position or applied for a job guarding a hamster’s cage (to quote the above-mentioned joke), he’d be easily be beaten by any other candidate.
* It’s very embarrassing to watch him read the script like a fool. I’ve seen elementary school students doing a better job, without having to read someone else’s script and looking all awkward and robotic. Many EPO workers command numerous languages and can speak fluently in all of them, unlike Battistelli, who is supposed to be a perceptually superior boss.

Hidden Away in a Barely-Viewed Video is the Map of Europe Which the EPO Hides, as It Demonstrates Decline in Applications That EPO Cannot Deny

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The facts that the EPO has been trying to conceal make it abundantly apparent that the Office is having a crisis and stakeholders too are seeing it (and gradually respond accordingly, by divesting)


emand for patent protection in Europe remains high in 2016,” the EPO said this afternoon. We wrote several rebuttals to these ‘results’, including:

We also wrote three articles about the offensive maps from the EPO, namely:

That last one was published this morning. Since then, the EPO has made the above tweet available, linking to a video with the following frames (and transcript shown with an overlay). Let’s look, shall we?

EPO map of EU
With the EPO’s voiceover added to make up excuses, calling declines “roughly stable” (and the bold text “GROWTH RATES” at the top, alluding to declines)

EPO map of US
More excuses. With grants up 40% (supply surge while demand decreases)? Why are minuses symbolised by blue and not red in the maps (almost the same colour as US states)?

EPO fields
No comment is necessary (but finally they’ve found the red colour)

In the next post we’ll tackle the insidious video of Battistelli, the undisputed Liar in Chief. We’d be truly flabbergasted if we did not already know Battistelli’s nature.

The EPO’s Abuses and Claims of Immunity From Prosecution Increasingly Fracture the Dutch Establishment

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 8:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

An embarrassment to Holland as host country of serious abuses of labour law, suicides, and blatant autocracy outside the Rule of Law

Immunity from prosecution (international law)
Reference: Wikipedia

Summary: Pressure is growing for Dutch politicians to end the immunity of the European Patent Office (EPO), which has become a liability rather than a privilege of the Netherlands (urgent need to step in and take action)

“Report of the written consultation from the House of Representatives on the situation in the European Patent Office,” SUEPO explained some days ago, had been produced in the Netherlands and sent by Battistelli's Nemesis. SUEPO has just published a number of translations, including the following in English. We decided to highlight (in yellow) key bits of it because it is very long:

Ministry of Economic Affairs

> Return address PO box 20401 2500 EK The Hague

The Speaker of the Second
Chamber of the States General
Binnenhof 4

Date 2 March 2017
Re. Response to questions in Written Consultation on the Situation at the European Patent Office

Dear Chair,

In the appendix you will find, also on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the answers to the questions asked in the Written Consultation on the Situation at the European Patent Office.

Martijn van Dam
State Secretary for Economic Affairs

Report on a written consultation

Answer / response of the State Secretary to

the questions and comments of the VVD

(People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy)


The members of the VVD request clarification on the situation at the European Patent Office in Rijswijk. Are there significant differences between this and the other branches?

The European Patent Office (EPO) has five branches (in order of size: Munich, Rijswijk, Berlin, Vienna, Brussels). The same working conditions apply at all branches. However, the situation at Rijswijk has attracted more attention as three disciplinary cases have been completed there.

The members of the VVD request clarification on the strategy debate that took place in December. What is the state of affairs in this area? Can the State Secretary clarify whether decisions have now been made about this?

With regard to the strategic debate the VVD group is asking for information about, I can report that in its meeting of 14 and 15 December 2016, among other things, the Administrative Council looked back at the social audit and the social conference that took place on 11 October 2016. The decision was taken to now prioritise working on the proposals relating to internal investigation procedures and disciplinary measures. A number of countries (including the Netherlands) are now actively cooperating to improve these proposals. Work is also being carried out on an improvement to the internal appeal procedures, as also recommended in the social study.

The members of the VVD ask how the State Secretary will continue to hold the EPO to account regarding its responsibility and how he aims to achieve these good intentions, taking into account the reputation of the Dutch business climate as well as the ruling of the Supreme Court on 20 January 2017 that the EPO is immune as an international organisation in the Netherlands. What can the State Secretary do, in connection with the Dutch role as a good host country and what could be better handled through the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation?

The government attaches great importance to maintaining a good business climate for international organisations in the Netherlands and actively contributes to this with a balanced package of advantages and facilities that, if necessary, are also defended legally. The Dutch joinder in the Supreme Court proceedings,

in which the immunity of the European Patent Organisation was subject to discussion, must be seen in that light. The government is also in conversation with the international

organisations established in the Netherlands on a structural basis. The latter also offers the opportunity to raise Dutch wishes and concerns in relation to the social climate.

The Netherlands is also an active member of the European Patent Organisation and in that context takes the necessary measures to improve the social situation, both formally and informally. Given the position of the EPO as an international organisation, this is also the focus of the Dutch involvement.

The questions and comments of the PvdA (Labour Party) group

The members of the PvdA request a report on the conversation that the Minister of Foreign Affairs held with the head of the Rijswijk branch of the EPO.

This conversation took place on 30 January 2017. You were informed about this separately by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

The members of the PvdA request insight into the consequences of the ruling of the Supreme Court on 20 January 2017.

The ruling of the Supreme Court confirms the fact that the European Patent Organisation and its bodies, such as the EPO, enjoy immunity under the Dutch legal system. The ruling of the Supreme Court is in line with the State’s position regarding the immunity to which the organisation is entitled. The ruling will therefore have no concrete consequences. The Netherlands will continue to work for improvement of social relations within the organisation in the Administrative Council.

These members ask how the ruling of the Supreme Court that there are sufficient alternative mechanisms available to the staff of the EPO for the settlement of internal disputes compares to the recent judgment of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which ruled that, in the current situation, the EPO staff have no functional first legal authority available for a fair legal process.

The legal remedies available to staff at the EPO also include the ILO tribunal (ILOAT) as an appeal body, which ultimately assessed the complaint. The Supreme Court ruled that “concerning the staff and staff representatives of the EPO, the EPO has provided a judicial process that meets the relevant requirements with the judicial process at ILOAT” (r.o. 5.7). The fact that the ILO tribune made a judgment confirms the fact that a reasonable alternative legal remedy has been provided.

On 30 November 2016, the ILO tribunal ruled in a case involving a staff member who challenged an internal work instruction with documents

concerning the subject of patent applications. In the internal appeal case that resulted from the objection, the objection was declared inadmissible (manifestly irreceivable). The decision on the objection was taken as a basis for the recommendation of the Appeals Committee, with regard to staff representation, which was composed of two chosen staff representatives that had taken up voluntary positions in the committee that ruled on the objection. The ILO tribunal ruled that this was not consistent with the staff regulations, which at that time stipulated that staff representatives should be appointed by the staff committee. As a result of this ruling, the staff regulations have since been adjusted.

The members of the PvdA ask whether the Netherlands will be proposing additional measures to improve the social situation in the Administrative Council. How will it be ensured that the recommendations in the social study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) are implemented here? Is it correct that the measures previously proposed in the Administrative Council have been postponed and the situation has therefore not yet improved?

As is commonly known, the Netherlands is striving to improve the social situation within the EPO and regularly discusses this within the Administrative Council. In its meeting of 14 and 15 December 2016, the Administrative Council looked back on the social audit and the social conference that took place on 11 October last year. In order to implement the recommendations from the audit properly, ongoing proposals for change to the internal investigation and appeal procedures were temporarily halted. The decision was taken to now prioritise working on the proposals relating to internal investigation procedures and disciplinary measures. A number of countries, including the Netherlands, are now actively cooperating to improve these proposals. Work is also being carried out with priority on an improvement of the internal appeal procedures, as also recommended in the social study.

The members of the PvdA group ask what the response of the State Secretary is to the reports on a proposed weakening of the staff representation. 1

The accuracy of these reports cannot be confirmed.

These members ask in what way the State Secretary is implementing the Gesthuizen/Kerstens motion (Parliamentary Paper 21501-30, no 368), which called for legislation to close the legal loophole on industrial disputes.

1‘King Battistelli tries again to break Euro Patent Office union’, The Register, 31 January

Along with other countries, the Netherlands is actively engaged in drawing up new legislation in the field of internal investigation procedures, disciplinary measures and appeal procedures and is implementing the Gesthuizen/Kerstens motion in this way.

The members of the PvdA Group note that, in the European Convention of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), it is stated that the Netherlands has a duty to protect the fundamental rights of European and other citizens who work on Dutch soil. How does the situation at the EPO relate to this duty? How will the Netherlands meet this obligation?

As the Supreme Court confirmed, the EPO is entitled to immunity and the granting of this immunity is not contrary to obligations under the ECHR, since the organisation provides a reasonable alternative legal remedy. The granting of immunity is part of international law.
Immunity does not mean that the international organisation has no obligations under international law or the national law of the host state. It comes down to a balance between the international obligations of the Netherlands, which require respect for the immunity of execution enjoyed by international organisations and the obligations of the same organisations under international and national law.

This does not affect the fact that the Netherlands continues to draw attention to the social climate at the organisation within the Administrative Council.

The questions and comments of the SP (Socialist Party) group

The members of the SP group have read in the response of the State Secretary to the social study that the working conditions can be described as more than competitive. These members would like to know on what basis this conclusion can be reached and what factors were taken into account here. They would also like to know why these competitive working conditions have not prevented the existing deteriorated situation.

The researchers conducted a comparative study into the working conditions at the EPO and seven other large international organisations. This revealed that the EPO scores above average on both salary and other benefits. The EPO also scores well in comparison with the private sector, with the exemption from national taxes playing a significant role here. The study covered a large number of other factors too, such as salary, bonus, pension scheme, employment protection, parental leave, right to strike, sick leave and flexible working hours. The researchers saw room for improvement in particular in a more performance-focused pay system, where there is also space for non-financial rewards and a

different system for internal appeal procedures. Proposals for change have been or are being implemented in this area.
It is important to also note the observation that the generous working conditions cannot compensate for the lack of shared values between the management and staff and a culture of opposition.

The members of the SP group have read that the practical application of the regulations within the EPO, the way in which communication on this is carried out and how the application of these regulations takes place on the work floor require attention. These members would like to know whether a good legal structure can still be considered good if the practical application leaves something to be desired. They would also like to know whether there is or has been an arbitrary nature to the application of the regulations and, if so, what effect the State Secretary believes this has or has had on the culture within the EPO.

Although in general the legal structure can be considered good, there is room for improvement. The proposed adjustment to the internal investigation procedure and disciplinary measures and the appeal system are good examples of this. This does not mean that the merit of each legal structure depends entirely on its application in practice. As is commonly known, the Netherlands also sees room for improvement in this area. The question of whether there is a level of arbitrariness is impossible to answer without knowledge of individual cases. The government does believe, however, that for the creation a meaningful social dialogue, it is not conducive for a significant number of union leaders to be involved in disciplinary investigations and procedures.

The members of the SP group have read that, according to PWC, the internal appeal procedure at the EPO needs to be adjusted, including the introduction of independent judges. The members would like to know what steps the EPO has now taken in this direction, what regulations would be used in this internal appeal procedure and whether the staff would be involved in the development of these regulations, for example through the unions.

In the meeting of the Administrative Council that took place in December 2016, it was agreed that work would be carried out with priority on regulations through which adjustments – also strongly desired by the Netherlands – could be achieved. These adjustments are currently being prepared, so that decision-making can begin on that this year. The staff will be consulted on legislative proposals through a body known as the General Consultative Committee.

The members of the SP group have read that the State Secretary talks of a “shared task for management, staff and staff representatives to get the social dialogue at the EPO off the ground. At the same time, the State Secretary writes that the largest union was not invited to the social conference. These members are curious about how a good social dialogue can get off the ground with such relations,

why staff representatives are also responsible if they are not involved in the process and what responsibility he attributes to himself in this process, as supervisor of the management of the EPO. They ask the State Secretary whether he has carried out consultation with the staff representatives and/or the union leaders over the past year, whether he has done this regularly and what his impressions on this are. Does the State Secretary, like the members of the SP group, recognise that the distress among staff is very high?

The management of the EPO and the trade unions have already been engaged in a discussion about the recognition of trade unions and the conditions under which this must take place for some time. An agreement was reached on this with a (smaller) union but not with the largest union. It was against this background that the latter union was not invited. The government regrets the fact that parties cannot reach an agreement on this and that a meaningful social dialogue currently seems a long way off. Seen in this light, the Netherlands could have proposed a different invitation policy.
The Dutch representatives regularly discuss the situation at the EPO, with all those involved, including the management, other member states, stakeholders, staff members and their representatives and union leaders. This gives the impression of an organisation where the conflict model rules. Meaningful and good modernisation seems to be coupled with a restrictive management style. With all the respect that the government has for the former, it continues to appeal strongly to the management of the EPO on the latter. The initiative for the adoption of a resolution by the Administrative Council and the organisation of a social audit are examples of this. The Netherlands also takes an active approach in the pending legislative proposals.

The members of the SP group have read that the State Secretary regrets the fact that ongoing proceedings against union leaders have not been halted until the internal social norms procedure and disciplinary procedures have been reformed. These members would like to know what consequences this will have in the Administrative Council of the EPO, how the president of the EPO will be addressed on this and what disciplinary possibilities the Administrative Council has against the current president. They inform the State Secretary that the current president of the EPO and the EPO itself have received a very poor evaluation by customers of the EPO in various studies. In one study, more than half of the respondents stated that the president should step down. 2

The Netherlands has repeatedly and insistently called for improvement to the social situation. An important touchstone in this is the resolution adopted by the Administrative Council, in which, among other things, the wish was expressed to put a stop to

2 ‘King Battistelli tries again to break Euro Patent Office union’, The Register, 31 January 2017
( https://www.theregister.co.uk/2017/01/31/battistelli_tries_again_to_break_epo_union/).

the proceedings initiated against union representatives. The Netherlands will work towards this, within the limits of what is realistic and effective, seeking support from other countries wherever possible.
The President of the EPO is appointed by the Administrative Council. He is accountable to the Administrative Council and he is subject to disciplinary control exercised by the Administrative Council.

The members of the SP group have learnt that the Supreme Court has overturned the judgment of the Court of Justice in The Hague, reconfirming the immunity of the EPO. These members are curious about the vision of the State Secretary on the resulting situation, in which, on Dutch territory, Dutch residents cannot be protected against (gross) violations of labour law applicable in the Netherlands and in which they have little or no opportunity to appeal against disciplinary decisions.

As the Supreme Court confirmed, the EPO is entitled to immunity and the granting of this immunity is not contrary to obligations under the ECHR, since the organisation provides a reasonable alternative legal remedy. The granting of immunity is part of international law.
Immunity does not mean that the international organisation has no obligations under international law or the national law of the host state. It comes down to a balance between the international obligations of the Netherlands, which require respect for the immunity of execution enjoyed by international organisations and the obligations of the same organisations under international and national law.

The Netherlands nevertheless continues to call attention to the social climate within the organisation in the Administrative Council.

They are also curious about which opportunities the Netherlands has to intervene and carry out research into the suicides that have occurred in recent years. 3

As the Supreme Court has confirmed, the Netherlands cannot take enforcement action against the EPO due to the immunity granted to the European Patent Organisation. The Netherlands will continue discussions with the organisation on the improvement of the social conditions.

The members of the SP group are also curious about how the State Secretary sees the risk of hosting international organisations on the basis of the ruling of the Supreme Court and what the Dutch policy is in terms of risk assessment concerning the hosting of international organisations to which Dutch labour law does not apply. These members also ask the

3 ‘Alarm om schrikbewind bij Europees patentbureau na vijfde zelfmoord’, De Volkskrant, 10 September 2015

State Secretary to indicate which legislation in the Netherlands the EPO is immune to (in addition to labour law) and what consequences this could have for safety and maintaining order.

The ruling of the Supreme Court was in line with the positions expressed by the state concerning the immunity of the EPO. When new international organisations are established in the Netherlands, the Netherlands underlines that they must provide adequate internal legal processes so that complaints, including complaints in the area of labour law, can be addressed. The immunity of the EPO is focused primarily on the enforcement powers of the host country, in this case the Netherlands. Immunity does not mean that the international organisation has no obligations under international law or the national law of the host state. It comes down to a balance between the international obligations of the Netherlands, which require respect for the immunity of execution enjoyed by international organisations and the obligations of the same organisations under international and national law. For the EPO, for example, Dutch authorities can act in the case of fire and other emergencies that require immediate action. In all other cases, action by the Dutch authorities is only allowed with permission from the organisation.

The members of the SP group have read in the response of the State Secretary that he is implementing the Gesthuizen/Kerstens motion (Parliamentary Paper 21501-30, no 368) by critically monitoring the situation at the EPO and by working for improvement of the social situation. This motion also asked the State Secretary to discuss with other member states how legislation could be drawn up to close the legal loophole for labour disputes. The members would like to know how the State Secretary is implementing or has implemented this. These members would also like to hear what possibilities the State Secretary has to further intervene in the problems at the EPO and how he is going to use these.

As is clear from the answers to the previous questions, the Netherlands is working with other member states regarding both monitoring of the functioning of the EPO and improvement of the legal framework.

There is a lot to be said about the above, including the fact that EPO apologists keep referring to an EPO-funded ‘study’ which we repeatedly wrote about in the following past articles:

All in all, the debate is ongoing, ministers Gesthuizen and Kerstens are on the case, and Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders has issued a strongly-worded letter on the subject as he prepared to take further action (we broke the news). Regarding the immunity of the EPO in the Netherlands, we published the following articles on the subject earlier this year:

Dutch officials need to recognise that the EPO has become a liability to the nation and failure to intervene right now can increasingly be construed as complicity (by inaction/passivity/apathy/neglect).

UPC Fake News Rising Sharply as Door Closes for Unitary Patent Ratification and Jo Johnson ‘Needs’ to Believe the UPC Will Actually Happen

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 7:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Team UPC keeps spreading a lot of fake news in the UK, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

Fake news in Wikipedia
Reference: Wikipedia

Summary: An outline of some of the latest attempts to distort the truth for financial gain (lawyers who stand to gain from the UPC, along with their giant clients that wish to crush competition across Europe)

THE UPC is not in a good state or in decent shape. There is a lobbying campaign, however, trying to make it seem as though the UPC is desirable, imminent, and unstoppable. Dr. Ingve Björn Stjern too has already debunked these myths. That’s what they are: myths. Honest, albeit few, people inside the legal profession sometimes care to admit the truth under their real name. Many are complicit by silence, oftentimes out of convenience. As someone put it some weeks ago in IP Kat, the very thought of UPC in the UK “is a perfect example of what lobbying can achieve!”

“Dr. Ingve Björn Stjern too has already debunked these myths. That’s what they are: myths.”We are a Web site composed largely by a single person (hi!), but that doesn’t mean we’re powerless in the face of an extraordinary lobbying campaign funded in part by Benoît Battistelli and the EPO for a number of years. They’re lying to us. They are trying to fool all of us, including our elected officials.

As we have explained here repeatedly (even yesterday), the UPC simply cannot — as a matter of law — happen in the UK (court jurisdiction, requirement of being EU member state etc.), so the best Team UPC can do right now is rewrite what’s known as “UPC” with Milan instead of London. It wouldn’t even (necessarily) be called “UPC” at that point. Speaking of Milan, see yesterday’s article from Trevisan & Cuonzo Avvocati (a law firm), titled “Should I stay or should I go: the Court of Milan rules on the possibility of deciding on an invalidity/infringement action pending opposition before the EPO” (it would be off topic to remark on it right now).

“Honest, albeit few, people inside the legal profession sometimes care to admit the truth under their real name. Many are complicit by silence, oftentimes out of convenience.”The reality of the UPC being strictly impossible in the UK is not being tolerated. The law firms down in London are very, very angry. They are also somewhat nervous, knowing that Article 50 is coming and Jo Johnson has not yet ratified anything (even when Team UPC said he was ‘supposed’ to, namely March 7th).

Here we have a lawyer at James Ware Stephenson stating: “#IP #Brexit UPC function depends on quality of judges – UK is therefore best location of the UPC @IPaware”

But wait, what are the assumptions here? That British judges are somehow superior (supposedly the English language too) and that the UPC will come to post-Brexit Britain? “Quit pretending that UPC is coming to the UK,” I responded, “based on fake news that the lobbyists are trying to reinforce…”

“They try to attract UPC-related business, hence their constant lobbying for the UPC.”I have not received a respond, but never expected one either. The UPC proponents live in their own bubble and simply reject anyone who points out facts. Another person wrote that “JILL Smith of Dyson concerned about keeping what we have in IP @Dyson @ipaware #Brexit event @Briffalegal”

For those who wonder what “@ipaware” in these tweets refers to, it’s the “IP Awareness Network”, which is a sort of front group for the likes of Team UPC (and beyond), akin to CIPA. They’re simply lobbyists. Go to their original/official site and you will see “Site off-line”, so they don’t even maintain a Web site really (not so well anyway).

Darren Smyth, who has been lobbying for the UPC while knowing it's bad for the British industry, has just said (in the above context, “IP Awareness Network”): “UK industry will be reluctant to use Unitary Patent and #UPC until clear whether UK will stay in after #Brexit @IPaware”

They try to attract UPC-related business, hence their constant lobbying for the UPC. At whose expense? Brits who actually create things, and would be rendered vulnerable if the UPC ever became a reality. The same is true not only for Brits.

“Team UPC itself, suffice to say, is a 24/7 operation of UPC fake news, just amplifying its own misinformation as the closing date (Brexit/Article 50) looms.”Another one of those British UPC hopefuls (looking to profit from it, without actually creating anything) wrote that “#Unitary patent looks, at this point in time, to be on track for start date of December 1 2017.”

“You are linking to fake news from Team UPC,” I clarified, linking to our detailed debunkings of these fake news. Repeating fake news about UPC and Spain seems the only thing they’re capable of doing now (even linking again to already-debunked news from a week ago).

Team UPC itself, suffice to say, is a 24/7 operation of UPC fake news, just amplifying its own misinformation as the closing date (Brexit/Article 50) looms. Bird & Bird IP, a core part of Team UPC,‏ needs to come clean about spreading fake news regarding Spain, but instead it writes that “The Socialist Party presses the Minister for answers on why Spain remains out of the #UPC system,” linking to its own lobbying, (mis)filed under the “news” section, under “articles”.

“Well, the “UPC Prep Committee” is nothing but the wolf that guards the sheep (or the fox watching over the hen house).”Team UPC employee Beatriz Díaz de Escauriaza (Associate in Spain) does some more lobbying, again with fake news which misrepresents what actually happened there. It’s not even news, it goes years back (2015) and is in no way indicative of upcoming change of mind, unless the Spanish media gets ‘planted’ in it politically-motivated shame pieces (as already happens, after pressure from Team UPC and maybe the EPO/FTI Consulting).

MIP, which keeps pushing for the UPC in strategic events (that just happen to coincide with Battistelli's lobbying visit to Jo Johnson), now refers to a "Committee" which is itself Team UPC as a source when it says: “Interesting: UPC Prep Committee “confident” UPCA Protocol will come into effect at end of May!”

“That’s like asking think tanks of fracking giants whether or not fracking is harmful to one’s health and the fracking analogy goes a long way because the EPO contracted fracking lobbyists to push agenda like the UPC.”Well, the “UPC Prep Committee” is nothing but the wolf that guards the sheep (or the fox watching over the hen house). That’s like asking think tanks of fracking giants whether or not fracking is harmful to one’s health and the fracking analogy goes a long way because the EPO contracted fracking lobbyists to push agenda like the UPC.

Truth be said, we have become accustomed to fake news about the UPC, courtesy of Team UPC and few gullible journalists who engage in no fact-checking process; this isn’t a new strategy and they have been doing this for many years, always predicting the imminent arrival of something that never came, in order to blackmail politicians into signing things in a rush, thinking they would be left behind/outside otherwise.

Whenever Battistelli’s EPO Says Something These Days, Safest to Just Assume It’s a Lie (Because It Typically Is)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Now it’s the Dutch people’s turn to be omitted from the map of Europe (in order to hide -3.6%)

Poland missing

Summary: The unscientific (if not antiscientific) attitude of the EPO is showing again, and this time this is done in order to pretend that the EPO cares about European SMEs and that patent application numbers are on the rise (they are not)

THE EPO does its reputation a great disservice. It inherited the same nasty tendencies which Battistelli is so renowned or notorious for. Every day we catch the EPO in a lie or two (sometimes even more) and it’s not even funny. It has become rather obnoxious because even when the EPO gets caught in a lie and people point it out the EPO will simply continue to tell that same lie.

“It has become rather obnoxious because even when the EPO gets caught in a lie and people point it out the EPO will simply continue to tell that same lie.”Yesterday, as usual, the EPO offered “retweets” only for Philips (to its fake "followers"), e.g. this one on Thursday, but not for SMEs. The EPO is working for large corporations, at the expense of SMEs, but has to pretend otherwise. Those large corporations typically use their patents against SMEs (either deterrent or actual legal action).

“Small entities accounted 34% of all patent applicants at the EPO in 2016,” the EPO wrote the other day. “See the numbers http://buzz.mw/b1wsf_l cc @EU_Growth”

“The EPO is working for large corporations, at the expense of SMEs, but has to pretend otherwise. Those large corporations typically use their patents against SMEs (either deterrent or actual legal action).”We have already rebutted this tweet some days ago by pointing out that the EPO lobbies for the SME-hostile UPC and actively discriminates against patent applications from SMEs.

Thankfully, not only us have challenged the EPO on the above claim. The EPO has been caught lying so much that one has to be sceptical and ask followup questions, as this account did:

1. What is your methodology,sample?
2. How is this % found?
3. How did you examine the 3 criteria of #SME definition?

This kind of sceptical approach is especially required when dealing with an Office with a terrible track record (a lot of lying as of late).

“As we all know by now, the EPO tends to cherry-pick data in order to suit the desired Big Lie du jour.”The EPO’s response came in three parts [1, 2, 3] and said: “We took a statistically representative random sample of patent applications treated by the EPO in 2016. This analysis bases on the definition of SMEs of the European Commission: http://ec.europa.eu/growth/smes/ We verify information on the SMEs criteria using government and commercial databases combined with web research.”

I then asked them: “How big a sample?” (notice that their original tweet clearly said “34% of all patent applicants”)

Obviously they did not reply, but mind the fact that in the above claim they didn’t mention it was a stochastic sample which was partial (given that they had to resort to “web research” — based on their own admission — it would be infeasible to deal with a very large sample). As we all know by now, the EPO tends to cherry-pick data in order to suit the desired Big Lie du jour. Here is a recent reminder of it (from earlier this week):

So, dear readers, has the EPO refrained from further lies to that effect? Hell no. The Dodgy Patent Office, where no truths are tolerated, made up another excuse yesterday by writing: “European patent applications from the Netherlands down by 3.6 after 4% growth in 2015 http://buzz.mw/b1wwv_l cc @BOIPnews”

“See what kind of “science” one gets from the EPO these days? This does no favours to an institution which is supposed to represent the interests of European scientists.”It’s that same spin again (as with Poland), and Holland is missing from the map! (again as in the case of Poland, this map was altogether omitted)

See what kind of “science” one gets from the EPO these days? This does no favours to an institution which is supposed to represent the interests of European scientists. It’s a pariah organisation, akin to a think tank.

Links 17/3/2017: ‘Guetzli’ JPEG Encoder, Updates From Munich

Posted in News Roundup at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Announcing Guetzli: A New Open Source JPEG Encoder

    At Google, we care about giving users the best possible online experience, both through our own services and products and by contributing new tools and industry standards for use by the online community. That’s why we’re excited to announce Guetzli, a new open source algorithm that creates high quality JPEG images with file sizes 35% smaller than currently available methods, enabling webmasters to create webpages that can load faster and use even less data.

  • Guetzli: Google Rolls Out A New JPEG Encoder

    Google has announced Guetzli, not a German cookie, but rather a new open-source algorithm for creating high-quality JPEGs that are 35% smaller than currently available methods.

  • Google releases open source ‘Guetzli’ JPEG encoder

    Google is one of the biggest champions of open source. Not only does the search giant use open source software in its products, but it contributes to the community too. There are many projects made open source by the company, which helps the greater good.

    Today, Google releases yet another open source project. Called “Guetzli,” it is a JPEG encoder that aims to produce even smaller image file sizes. In fact, the search giant claims a whopping 35 percent improvement over existing JPEG compression. If you are wondering why smaller file sizes are important, it is quite simple — the web. If websites can embed smaller images, users can experience faster load times while using less data.

  • How an open source Gitter could challenge Slack

    It sure sounds like a match made in dev heaven.

    Yesterday, GitLab — maker of an open source competitor to GitHub — announced it had acquired Gitter, a Slack-like chat service aimed mainly at software developers.

  • GitLab scoops up developer communication and collaboration platform Gitter
  • GitLab gets more social, buying open source developer community Gitter
  • Surprise: Only 12% of top websites are using header bidding
  • Rubicon Project Pushes for Industry-wide Adoption of Prebid.js Open Source Wrapper in Header Bidding
  • Open Source in the Enterprise: Challenges and Myths

    One of the most commonly cited challenges with open source in the enterprise is a lack of support, but Wright said that’s really more of a myth.

  • Events

    • Linux Plumbers Conference Call for Refereed Presentations

      We are pleased to announce the Call for Refereed Presentation
      Proposals for the 2017 edition of the Linux Plumbers Conference, which
      will be held in Los Angeles, CA, USA on 13-15 September in conjunction
      with The Linux Foundation Open Source Summit.

      Refereed Presentations are 45 minutes in length and should focus on a
      specific aspect of the “plumbing” in the Linux system. Examples of
      Linux plumbing include core kernel subsystems, core libraries,
      windowing systems, management tools, device support, media
      creation/playback, and so on. The best presentations are not about
      finished work, but rather problems, proposals, or proof-of-concept
      solutions that require face-to-face discussions and debate.

    • Bosch Connected Experience: Eclipse Hono and MsgFlo

      Since this is a hackathon, there is a competition on projects make in this event. To make the Hono-to-MsgFlo connectivity, and Flowhub visual programming capabilities more demoable, I ended up hacking together a quick example project — a Bosch XDK controlled air theremin.

    • Codes of Conduct

      These days, most large FLOSS communities have a “Code of Conduct”; a document that outlines the acceptable (and possibly not acceptable) behaviour that contributors to the community should or should not exhibit. By writing such a document, a community can arm itself more strongly in the fight against trolls, harassment, and other forms of antisocial behaviour that is rampant on the anonymous medium that the Internet still is.

      Writing a good code of conduct is no easy matter, however. I should know — I’ve been involved in such a process twice; once for Debian, and once for FOSDEM. While I was the primary author for the Debian code of conduct, the same is not true for the FOSDEM one; I was involved, and I did comment on a few early drafts, but the core of FOSDEM’s current code was written by another author. I had wanted to write a draft myself, but then this one arrived and I didn’t feel like I could improve it, so it remained.

    • Keynote: Building and Motivating Engineering Teams – Camille Fournier, Senior Thinker and Raconteur

      Maintaining respect is key to building a successful team, according to Camille Fournier, at the Open Source Leadership Summit in February.

    • Keynote: An Exploration of Citrix Delivery Networks by Danny Phillips
    • Growing Up Node by Trevor Livingston, HomeAway

      Trevor Livingston, principal architect at HomeAway, offers insight on how to introduce Node into companies at Node.js Interactive.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome Could Start Using Native Notifications on Linux

        Google Chrome could soon use native notifications on Linux desktops. A bug report asking for the browser to use a Linux desktop environment’s notification system was filed late last year but recently become active again. Google Chrome (and Chromium) currently use the Chrome Notification API to show alerts from websites, extensions and Chrome Apps on Windows, macOS and Linux.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Goes PulseAudio Only, Leaves ALSA Users With No Sound

        If you’re a Linux user who upgraded to Firefox 52 only to find that the browser no longer plays sound, you’re not alone.

        Firefox 52 saw release last week and it makes PulseAudio a hard dependency — meaning ALSA only desktops are no longer supported.

        Ubuntu uses PulseAudio by default (as most modern Linux distributions do) so the switch won’t affect most — but some Linux users and distros do prefer, for various reasons, to use ALSA, which is part of the Linux kernel.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.3 Office Suite Gets First Point Release with 100 Improvements

      Softpedia was informed today by The Document Foundation about the general availability of the first point release to the LibreOffice 5.3 open-source office suite for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, macOS, and Windows.

      LibreOffice 5.3.1 comes one and a half months after the release of LibreOffice 5.3, a major branch that introduced exciting new features for users of the popular office suite. These include the experimental MUFFIN user interface with a Microsoft Office-like Ribbon UI, as well as the first source release of LibreOffice Online.

      During these past six weeks, LibreOffice 5.3.1 received two Release Candidate (RC) development versions, which fix about 100 bugs and regressions that have been either discovered by the LibreOffice developers/contributors or reported by users from the previous version.

    • The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 5.3.1
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • NetBSD 7.1 Is Out with Support for Raspberry Pi Zero, Better Linux Compatibility

      The development team behind the BSD-based NetBSD free operating system were proud to announce the official and general availability of the NetBSD 7.1 release.

      NetBSD 7.1 entered development only two months ago, when we reported the availability of the first Release Candidate (RC) build, which brought various improvements and bug fixes. It’s the first point release to the stable NetBSD 7 series and comes with a bunch of exciting new features.

    • DragonFlyBSD’s HAMMER File-System Gets Important Write Performance Boost

      Matthew Dillon has discovered an important bug in the DragonFlyBSD kernel’s VFS cluster code affecting the HAMMER file-system write performance.

      Dillon explained in the commit that landed in DragonFly last week, “A bug in the cluster code was causing HAMMER to write out 64KB buffers in 32KB overlapping segments, resulting in data being written to the media twice.”

    • DragonFlyBSD On NVMe SSDs: Samsung Good, Intel 600p Not

      DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon has been testing out various NVMe M.2 SSDs under his BSD operating system to see how these latest-generation storage devices perform.

    • LLD Linker Declared Ready For Production On x86_64 ELF Platforms

      LLVM developer Rui Ueyama is encouraging the “dogfeeding” of their linker, LLD, that should now be ready for production use on some platforms/architectures with this week’s LLVM 4.0 release.

      Rui Ueyama believes that the LLD linker is ready for production with ELF platforms — namely as Linux and BSDs — on at least x86_64 but the AArch64 and MIPS architecture support should be in good shape too.

    • vBSDcon 2017 CFP Open

      Verisign is hosting its 3rd vBSDcon, scheduled for September 8 – 9, 2017, in Reston, VA. A Call For Presentations is currently open and submissions are being accepted at vBSDcon.com. CFP administration is being conducted through EasyChair, which require accounts to upload submissions for consideration. Our call is open through April 30, 2017. So get your submissions in soon!


    • GNU Guile 2.2.0 released

      We are pleased to announce GNU Guile 2.2.0, the first of a new stable release series. More than 6 years in the making, Guile 2.2 includes a new optimizing compiler and high-performance register virtual machine. Compared to the old 2.0 series, real-world programs often show a speedup of 30% or more with Guile 2.2.

      Besides bringing the compiler and virtual machine, Guile 2.2 removes limitations on you and your programs by lowering memory usage, speeding up the “eval” interpreter, providing better support for multi-core programming, and last but not least, removing any fixed stack size limit. With Guile 2.2, you can recurse to your heart’s content!

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Do GitHub’s updated terms of service conflict with copyleft?

      GitHub’s updated terms caused a great deal of concern, but while they are confusing, they do not appear to be incompatible with copyleft. The Free Software Foundation (FSF), though, still recommends using other code hosting sites.

      GitHub recently updated their terms of service (ToS). Users of the site are raising many concerns over the new terms, fearing that the ToS could be incompatible with the copyleft licenses on works uploaded to GitHub. In particular, section D of the new terms, which handles rights granted to GitHub and GitHub users, makes many hackers very uncomfortable.

      Section D.4 states, “You grant us and our legal successors the right to store and display your Content and make incidental copies as necessary to render the Website and provide the Service. ” At first glance that might appear to grant permissions on your work without the concomitant protective guarantees found in copyleft licenses like the GNU General Public License (GPL). Users who care about ensuring that their software never becomes proprietary would not want to give such unconditional permission. And those uploading works that incorporate third-party copylefted code may not even be able to grant such permissions.

      But licenses like the GNU GPL already give the necessary permissions to make, use, and modify local copies of a work. Are the new GitHub ToS asking for more than that? It’s not fully clear. While the grant language could fit within the scope of the GPL, other words used in the section like “share” or “distribute” could be understood to mean something that wouldn’t line up with the GPL’s terms.

    • How to Maintain Open Source Compliance After Code Changes

      The previous article in this series covered how to establish a baseline for open source software compliance by finding exactly which open source software is already in use and under which licenses it is available. But how do you make sure that future revisions of the same product (or other products built using the initial baseline) stay compliant once the baseline is established?

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • What is the point of learning C?

      Take a look at the TIOBE Programming Community Index — an indicator of the popularity of programming languages — and you’ll see that Google’s Go and, to a lesser extent, Dart and Perl are trending up. The venerable C, however, is a language whose popularity is plummeting, according to the index.

      In a world where there is huge demand for mobile and web applications coded in higher-level languages that are easy to learn and debug and difficult to make mistakes in — at least compared to C — one might assume there’s no reason to bother with a low-level language that’s going out of fashion.


  • Science

    • Out of the gate, health and research apps face-plant

      Tracking the effectiveness of an asthma health app created using Apple’s ResearchKit, researchers reported problems with participant selection bias, extremely low participant retention, missing data, and data security.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • These ‘Transparency’ Bills Would Gut the EPA

      “The result of each bill will be the same—worse science at EPA and less public health protections for American citizens,” says Eddie Bernice Johnson, ranking Democrat member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. “If these bills become law, the ultimate result will be more sick Americans and more dead Americans.”

    • Secretary of State Tillerson used e-mail alias as Exxon CEO

      Attorney General Schneiderman has subpoenaed Exxon for internal documents and communications that might show the thought process behind these decisions, and he is currently tussling with the company over the documents they’ve handed over—and the ones they may not have. In a letter to the judge on the case Monday, the Attorney General’s Office said it discovered that former Exxon chairman and CEO (and current Secretary of State) Rex Tillerson used an e-mail alias of “Wayne Tracker” to communicate with other Exxon executives. Now the office wants those e-mails, too.

  • Finance

    • Uber is using in-app podcasts to dissuade Seattle drivers from unionizing

      Uber spokesperson Nathan Hambley pushed back on a story from The Wall Street Journal over the weekend that suggested Uber drivers in Seattle were forced to choose whether or not to listen to the company-produced podcasts every day before they can begin picking up riders.

      The notification remains at the bottom of the driver screen regardless of whether it is ignored, or if the podcast is listened to or not.

    • When was (or will be) the Article 50(1) decision?

      Today the Bill giving the Prime Minister the legal power to make the Article 50 notification will be given royal assent. The Bill will become an Act.

      (Contrary to popular belief, including some news outlets, the Queen does not give the royal assent in person. No monarch has done this since 1854. The elaborate process employed instead is under this 1967 Act.)

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Facebook—in hate-crime clash with MPs—claims it’s “fixed” abuse review tool
    • Crushing Free Speech (Oh, Let’s Save Democracy That Way!)

      The actions above, and the quote above, were written by an author for Slate, in justification for the students of Middlebury College, and “activists” elsewhere, using acts like violence and shouting down speakers to stop speech they personally judged as hate and/or offensive or dangerous.

      The latest specific case involved some guy named Charles Murray. I have no idea who he is, but a lot of people say he is a racist so let’s go with that. But I don’t care.

      I simply cannot believe that it is the left, or progressives, or whatever name is best, that are attacking people’s speech. I’ve written extensively about what I call “Post-Constitution America,” an era that started on 9/11 where the rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights no longer applied. I never imagined it would play out this way.

    • RSF publishes report on censorship and surveillance of journalists on World Day Against Cyber-Censorship

      Reporters Without Borders (RSF for its acronym in French) recently published the report “Censorship and surveillance of journalists: an unscrupulous business,” in which it denounces several cases of digital surveillance of journalists by both democratic and authoritarian governments around the world.

    • PM Nawaz orders removal of blasphemous content from social media

      Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that blasphemy is an unpardonable offence and directed the state machinery to find those responsible for putting blasphemous content on social media and bring them to justice without any delay.

      The National Assembly on Tuesday passed a resolution condemning the blasphemous content appearing on social media and unanimously agreed to the formation of a committee of parliamentary leaders to monitor such content.

    • Google tells army of ‘quality raters’ to flag Holocaust denial

      Google is using a 10,000-strong army of independent contractors to flag “offensive or upsetting” content, in order to ensure that queries like “did the Holocaust happen” don’t push users to misinformation, propaganda and hate speech.

      The review of search terms is being done by the company’s “quality raters”, a little-known corps of worldwide contractors that Google uses to assess the quality of its systems. The raters are given searches based on real queries to conduct, and are asked to score the results on whether they meet the needs of users.

    • Mormon Church Tries To Censor MormonLeaks Using Copyright, Streisand Effect Takes Over

      The Mormon Church has been somewhat flip-floppy when it comes to criticism against it. On the one hand, the notoriously tight-knit Church has been admirably tolerant of many attempts to parody it, including public commentary and a certain Broadway show of world renown. On the other hand, it seems the Church tends to draw a line in the sand when it comes to disseminating official church documents, even when this is done by journalists and organizations dedicated to commentary and news. In the past, the Mormon Church has attempted to utilize copyright law to have those documents removed from such sites as Wikimedia and Wikileaks, which of course resulted in the wider viewership of those same documents as news of the threats wove through the media. The Streisand Effect, it seems, offers no quarter of religious institutions.

    • Actor James Woods Now On The Receiving End Of Questionable Twitter Defamation Claim

      Remember James Woods? The Hollywood actor sued a Twitter troll for $10 million, claiming defamation, because that troll had sarcastically referred to Woods as a “cocaine addict.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Once Again, Senator Wyden Wants To Know How Many Americans Are Being Surveilled By The NSA

      Many people seem to forget that before Ed Snowden came along, Senator Ron Wyden was beating the drum in Congress about how the NSA was abusing Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act to spy on Americans. Here’s a story we did back in 2011 concerning Wyden raising concerns about the failure of the Director of National Intelligence to say how Section 702 was being used on Americans. Even earlier in 2011, we wrote about then Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, refusing to answer this question, saying that “it is not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed.”

    • Rep. Devin Nunes’ Hypocrisy On Display In ‘Concerns’ Over NSA Surveillance

      We’ve talked about the astounding hypocrisy of Rep. Devin Nunes a few times in the past. He heads the House Intelligence Committee, which is supposed to be conducting “oversight” of the intelligence community, but has generally been a cheerleader for mass surveillance in recent years. Nunes, in fact, has regularly slammed any attempt to cut back on surveillance, to the point of actively misleading the public in making false claims about how NSA surveillance programs work. The hypocrisy became clear when Nunes flipped out following the firing/resignation of Mike Flynn as National Security Advisor, arguing that it was somehow unprecedented that an American’s phone calls with Russian officials were recorded by the intelligence community. Of course, that suggests either near total ignorance of the programs he’s supposedly in charge of overseeing, or just blatant political pandering.

      And now it’s getting worse. Reporter Katie Bo Williams got her hands on an interesting letter that Nunes, along with ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff, just sent to the heads of the CIA, NSA and FBI, continuing to dig in on the whole “recorded Mike Flynn” thing. The target now is Executive Order 12333, which we’ve spoken about quite a lot. That’s the executive order signed by President Reagan, that more or less gives the intelligence community total free rein in conducting surveillance overseas. As an ex-State Department official revealed back in 2014, the vast majority of NSA surveillance actually is done under 12333, and it just uses other programs — like Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act and Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act — to fill in the gaps of what they can’t get via 12333. Executive Order 12333, for example, was used to hack into Yahoo and Google’s servers overseas, allowing the NSA to scoop up lots of info without any oversight by US courts.

    • No, Evil Hackers Aren’t After You

      I know a lot of people who worry about the CIA, NSA, DIA, and other agencies illegally spying on them. In fact, somebody I thought knew better just told me that he’s worried about Gang Stalking. Umm… okay. We’re talking about somebody who is a pretty good tile layer and all-around construction guy, but there is no conceivable reason an intelligence agency would be interested in him.

      My gang-stalked friend has been lonely lately, and he was short of work for a while so he doesn’t have much money right now. He’s almost a poster boy for low self-esteem. What if he really is being gang-stalked, whether by a government or a (dare I say it) gang? That would mean someone was taking an interest in him. And that would make him feel a lot better about himself. He might even believe he’s important.

    • There were more device searches at US border last month than all of 2015

      According to new figures released by Customs and Border Patrol, the number of electronic devices searched at the border has jumped by five times between 2015 and 2016.

    • Court Says FBI Doesn’t Have To Hand Over Its Rules For Surveilling Domestic Journalists

      A couple of years ago, the Freedom of the Press Foundation sued the DOJ over its refusal to release its secret rules governing spying on the nation’s journalists. This was prompted by revelations the FBI had used National Security Letters to obtain information on AP and Fox News journalists. The DOJ then issued new rules on the do’s and don’ts of surveilling journalists, but once again (a) redacted them into uselessness and (b) granted the FBI an NSL exception, undercutting the entire point of the recrafted rules.

      The OIG report — in which the Inspector General disputed the DOJ’s extensive redactions — still has yet to be released in a less-redacted form. Sadly, it now appears it will never be any less redacted than the unintelligible mess the DOJ handed over a few years ago. A federal judge has sided with the government, finding its investigative techniques and methods are too sensitive to be handed over to the public, much less journalists it may or may not have surveilled using NSLs.

    • City Of Tacoma To Pay $50,000 To Privacy Activist For Over-Redacting FBI’s Stingray Non-Disclosure Agreement

      In the fall of 2015, privacy activist Phil Mocek and the Center for Open Policing sued the city of Tacoma for its response to a request for Stingray documents. The documents Mocek obtained were heavily-redacted, despite there being several mostly-unredacted versions of the FBI’s Stingray non-disclosure agreement already in public circulation.

      (This would be the standard NDA the FBI appends to every Stingray purchase by local law enforcement agencies — one that says all public records requests should be forwarded to the feds and encourages locals to toss cases rather than expose Stingray use. It’s also the same contract the FBI was shocked to hear agencies were complying with after signing on the dotted line to take ownership of their new cell tower spoofers.)

      The lawsuit was filed under the state’s open records law, with Mocek challenging the Tacoma PD’s use of the “investigative records” exemption to withhold significant amounts of a mostly bog-standard nondisclosure agreement. As was noted back then, the continued withholding of this information could become costly (for taxpayers): the state’s public records law allows for fines of $500/day for violations.

    • Snowden won’t be invited to Germany after all

      In November the BGH ruled that Snowden should be invited to Berlin and that the government make preparations to ensure his safety, raising the intriguing possibility that Berlin would have to provide protection to one of the most wanted men in the US. But then the Social Democrats and Christian Democrats appealed the decision.

      But in the new ruling the court stated that the two parties would have needed the support of a quarter of MPs in the Bundestag (German parliament) to challenge the decision by the committee not to invite Snowden.

    • Great: Now your sex toys are used to spy on you and sell your private habits, too

      The makers of an Internet-connected sex toy have settled to pay a small amount to some 300,000 owners of a vibrator which was used to spy on their sex habits, which the manufacturer collected as individually identifiable data. Additionally, the bluetooth-controlled sex toy device was utterly insecure, allowing remote anonymous administration. In the mess of IoT devices spying on us, we now need to add the bedroom.


      Maybe the most egregious thing about this story is that the vibrator maker continues to collect the private data, just with an obscure-and-opt-out privacy policy saying so.

    • WhatsApp flaw allowed hackers to hijack accounts using malware-laced images

      This gives, if exploited, hackers could potentially gain access to a user’ messages, shared files, contacts list and more.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Open letter to EU policy makers on community networks – joint press release
    • Google Fiber’s About-Face Provides Useful Lessons For A Broken Broadband Industry

      Last fall, Alphabet/Google announced that the company would be notably scaling back its Google Fiber ambitions. The company axed its CEO, laid off a small number of employees, and froze a number of anticipated fiber builds (in Portland and a few other locations). Numerous reports indicated that there were growing concerns among many executives about the high costs and slow pace of deploying fiber, so the company was considering an overall pivot to next-generation gigabit wireless while it continued building out most already-announced markets.

      While it’s hard to call this pivot a failure until we see a real wireless product, ISPs like AT&T were of course quick to suggest Google Fiber was little more than folly (ignoring that AT&T’s anti-competitive behavior played a starring role in Google Fiber’s struggles in many cities). This has contributed to an overall air of “we told you so” smugness emanating from numerous quadrants of the telecom status quo.

      That take, however, is short-sighted. One, the launch of Google Fiber put an unrelenting spotlight on the lack of broadband competition in countless markets, driving many large ISPs (like AT&T) to deploy gigabit broadband service that had previously been unheard of. Google Fiber also managed to shine a bright spotlight on the way many large ISPs use our broken legislative and regulatory systems to keep things broken, whether that’s by using utility pole beaurocracy to slow competitors’ installs, or writing awful state protectionist law hamstringing what your local town and city can do about it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Brazilian Legend Celso Amorim Recounts Negotiation For TRIPS Flexibilities

      Minister Celso Amorim of Brazil has had a significant impact on the state of global negotiations in his professional lifetime, including on global intellectual property rights.

      As his new book, Acting Globally: Memoirs of Brazil’s Assertive Foreign Policy, sets out, in the first decade of the 2000s Brazil played an assertive role in foreign policy in areas such as the Iran nuclear issue, relations in the Middle East, and the Doha Round of multilateral trade negotiations at the World Trade Organization.

      Amorim (see bio here) was at the centre of that, and reaching back to the early 1990s, took the lead role in negotiating the 1994 WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

    • Copyrights

      • Ed Sheeran Vs. The CopyBots: Artist Goes To Bat For Musician That Covered His Song On Facebook

        In our recent conversation about Ed Sheeran’s rise to fame, we chiefly focused on his claim that music piracy helped him be discovered by the public and his generally lax views on filesharing of his music. While that modern view on how music is consumed is refreshing, we focused less on another chief part of the equation: Ed Sheeran is really good to his fans. Between engaging with them directly via social media, having a generally congenial attitude towards them, and producing music his fans love, he’s built up quite a connection with his listeners.

      • Bill Gates And Other Major Investors Put $52.6 Million Into Site Sharing Unauthorized Copies Of Academic Papers

        As that notes, authors are typically only allowed to post certain versions of their papers — usually early ones. But most researchers don’t bother with that detail, and simply upload the final version to ResearchGate, which is probably why the recent analysis mentioned by the Tea and Velociraptors blog found so many unauthorized copies. Along with laziness, or ignorance of the niceties here, another factor driving this phenomenon may be that academics are aware that much of their work has been paid for by the public, and therefore feel the definitive results should be disseminated as widely as possible.

        Still, the contrast between ResearchGate, which has received major investments from some rather big names, and Sci-Hub, which is currently being pursued in the courts by Elsevier, is stark, given that their respective holdings turn out to be so similar. It’s another indication that the academic publishing system is broken, and that copyright is an irrelevance as far as millions of researchers are concerned.

      • MPAA and RIAA Present Plan to Recover Megaupload’s Failing Hard Drives

        [...] as time has dragged on, the condition of the hard drives has significantly deteriorated. Last year, Cogent first warned that sixteen of them have actually become unreadable.

      • BREIN Takes Usenet Provider to Supreme Court Over “Piracy Liability”

        And so, after eight years, the case is still not over yet. Whatever the outcome at the Supreme Court will be NSE will remain out of business. The company previously stated that it’s not relaunching its Usenet service.

      • Court Orders ISP to Hand Identities Behind 5,300 IP Addresses to Copyright Trolls

        An initiative, fronted by Danish law firm Njord and backed by known international copyright trolls Guardaley, made headlines when it began targeting the customers of several ISPs, including Telia, Tele2 and Bredbandsbolaget, the provider that was previously ordered to block The Pirate Bay.

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