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05.11.17

Links 11/5/2017: New OpenShot, GIMP, and GNOME (3.24.2)

Posted in News Roundup at 7:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • WHY WINDOWS POWER USERS BREAK LINUX

    Finally, I think it’s worth pointing out that Linux is not a product, it’s a community. Windows and Mac people have a hard time wrapping their heads around that. They’re used to venting frustration at Microsoft and Apple. If they do that in a Linux forum, they will most likely get flamed. It’s important to understand that attacking Linux is like attacking the entire community. Is Linux perfect? Hell no! Is there much room for improvement? Absolutely! How you present your critiques and/or ask for help makes all the difference in the world. I have found that a positive and constructive attitude goes a long, long way. I have had developers bend over backward to help me with a problem or point me to an alternative solution just because I came to them with respect and didn’t point fingers.

  • Desktop

    • Tips for picking a GNU/Linux Distribution

      Distrohopping is a term some like to use for switching from one GNU/Linux distribution to another frequently, rather than sticking to one system. I’m no stranger to this, I’ve installed nearly every major and popularly known system you’ll come across – twice.

      However, through my time trying all of these various distributions, I’ve learned a great deal and finally settled (I think) upon where I plan to stay, so I thought I’d share some tips for picking your long-term system, as well as some ideas depending on what you enjoy.

    • [Older] How To Protect Your Privacy On Linux
    • Linux: How to protect your privacy

      Privacy is an issue on many people’s minds these days, including those that run Linux on their computers. Linux has long had a strong reputation as a secure operating system, but there are still things that you can do to help protect your privacy while running Linux.

  • Server

    • ​HPE hasn’t abandoned OpenStack, releases Helion OpenStack 5.0

      If you thought HPE was getting out of the cloud business, I couldn’t blame you. In late 2015, HPE gave up on its public OpenStack-based Helion cloud. Then, early this year, all of HPE’s OpenStack developers moved over to SUSE. So, was HPE bidding the cloud, and OpenStack in particular, goodbye? Nope.

      In Boston this week at OpenStack Summit, HPE released HPE Helion OpenStack 5.0. This release Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) based cloud is built on the OpenStack Newton codebase and adheres tightly to application programming interface (API) standards and services. Since OpenStack’s open APIs are an important part of why it’s popular with so many companies, that’s no small matter.

    • Cisco Advancing Cloud Strategy With OpenStack

      The cloud is a central pillar of Cisco’s overall business efforts, and one of the leading voices for the cloud at Cisco is Lew Tucker, vice president and CTO of cloud computing. Tucker also serves as the vice chairman of the OpenStack Foundation, helping to guide the open-source cloud platform forward.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Optimizing Apps for Wearables With Enlightenment Foundation Libraries

      Developers looking to add GUIs to their embedded devices have a variety of open source and commercial options, with Qt generally leading the list. If you’re operating in severely constrained environments, however, especially for battery powered devices like wearables, the open source Enlightenment Foundation Libraries (EFL) should be given close consideration.

      At the recent Embedded Linux Conference, Cedric Bail, a long-time contributor to the Enlightenment project who works on EFL integration with Tizen at Samsung Open Source Group, discussed some of the lessons learned in optimizing wearable apps for low battery, memory, and CPU usage. Bail summarized EFL and revealed an ongoing project to improve EFL’s scene graph. However, most of the lessons are relevant to anyone optimizing for wearables on any platform (see the ELC video below).

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • GSoC: How can I improve next year?

        This year, KDE had great student engagement and a good level of commitment for all students so even if you followed all of these points, you may still have gotten a rejection email. We realize that this can be discouraging. However, we did our best to pick the students whom we think can fulfill the project’s needs, and continue along in the future as KDE developers.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.24.2 Released With A Variety Of Fixes

        GNOME 3.24.2 is now available as the second and last planned point release to the GNOME 3.24 desktop series until the GNOME 3.26 debut in September.

        As usual for GNOME point releases, GNOME 3.24.2 just includes bug/regression fixes and translation updates.

      • GNOME 3.24.2 is released

        GNOME 3.24.2 has been released. The second stable update to GNOME 3.24 brings many bug fixes and translation updates. All distributions shipping GNOME 3.24 should upgrade.

      • Install GNOME Themes – Own 26 GTK Themes with One Command

        Every now and then we let you in on some of the finest theme and icon sets because, like many other Linux users, we like to personalize our workstations. An appealing icon set, a well-thought out wallpaper, and an overall artillery of UI components go a long way to defining how well you enjoy using your computer.

        If you’re like me but are discouraged by the stress of having to download all those themes you shouldn’t be any longer because I have come across a script that will fetch you over 10 beautiful GTK themes and all you have to do is query Git to get the script and then run it.

      • Maps news

        3.24.2 was just released and right before the release a nasty crash-on-exit bug appeared. Actually, the bug has been in there ever since Maps gained the ability to show your contact´s addresses from GNOME Calendar/Evolution, but it was brought into daylight by the new version of GJS (our JavaScript engine, based on SpiderMonkey). The problem actually is that in the dispose vfunc of the ContactStore object (this is in our glue C code) we had forgotten to NULL out some pointer memebers when freeing the objects (with g_list_free and g_free) and dispose can be called multiple times and we probably got away before because GJS leaked these objects in the earlier versions. We got this bug report from Ubuntu by the way, in 17.04 the new version of GJS is already used. Thanks to Emmanuele Bassi for spotting this use-after-free bug, this is now fixed in the new version (and in master of course).

  • Distributions

    • Solus Project Gets New Website, Migrates to New Development Tracker and More

      The fast moving Solus Project that is making some waves in the Linux distribution world has some new shiny things going on. Joshua Strobl, Solus Project Communications Manager has announced them in the latest This Week In Solus.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SUSE Academic Program Opens Door to Open Source for Students Globally
      • Release of new Image Templates Page

        What’s that? – You might ask. Just have a look yourself. Click on the newly added ‘New image’ link on the OBS front page.

      • Announcing openSUSE’s status page – status.opensuse.org

        Worried about downtimes and maintenance windows of openSUSE services that you missed because there was no information provided? ;-)

        Now is your chance to get informed about any (un-)expected downtime of any openSUSE service!

        The openSUSE Heroes team is pleased to announce that status.opensuse.org is up and running as public status page, providing you with the latest updates about our infrastructure. We tried our best to get the page mobile friendly and easy to understand. Even RSS and Atom feeds are available. A big “thank you” to the team from Cachet, the open source status page system, for developing that great tool.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Corebird Twitter Client Is Now Available as a Snap App

            Corebird, a popular GTK Twitter client for Linux, is now available to install as a Snap app. At the time of writing this is not the latest Corebird 1.5, released last week, but the older Corebird 1.4.x release.

          • Ubuntu’s Default GTK Theme Now Looks Better with GNOME Shell

            Ubuntu is working to improve the appearance of the Ubuntu Ambiance theme on GNOME Shell, adding window shadows, round corners and more.

          • Cinnamon 3.4 Released, Here’s How To Install it on Ubuntu

            Linux Mint’s Clement Lefebvre has announced the release of Cinnamon 3.4, the latest stable update to the rather popular Linux desktop environment. Better yet you can already upgrade to or install Cinnamon 3.4 on Ubuntu using a PPA — no waiting required!

          • Why language choices can be irrelevant when choosing the right IoT OS

            A couple of months ago we posted a blog inviting developers to contribute to the 3rd Eclipse Foundation IoT Developer Survey. The 2017 results are now published with a total of 713 respondents, from all over the world. The survey gives an insight into the current state of play in the making of the internet of things in 2017. As well as bigger trends about IoT adoption across various industries, the survey also provides a developer perspective on the methods they use today to build the IoT devices and solutions around us.

          • Official Ubuntu T-Shirt for ‘Zesty Zapus’ Is Now Available to Buy

            The official Ubuntu 17.04 ‘Zesty Zapus’ t-shirt is now available to buy from the Canonical store. Canonical release a new mascot tee twice a year. Each shirt bears the animal motif of the latest release on the front, and the name of the release and Ubuntu logotype on the rear.

          • Ubuntu 17.04 review: Don’t call it abandonware, per se

            Last month, it finally happened. Six years after its tumultuous switch from GNOME 2 to the homegrown Unity desktop, Canonical announced it was abandoning work on Unity. Going forward, the company will switch the default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME beginning with next year’s 18.04 LTS release. This means Canonical is also abandoning the development of the Mir display server and its unified interface of Ubuntu for phones and tablets. The company’s vision of “convergence,” as Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth termed it, has officially died.

          • What happened at Canonical

            We ask the person sitting across the table from us what it’s like to work at Canonical and they stare at their drink for a while contemplating the question: “Most companies purely want to make money,” says the Canonical employee, who we’ll call ‘DeepC’ as they want to remain anonymous. “Whereas I feel, in Canonical it’s been almost like… ‘play thing’ is the wrong word, but it’s kind of like a sandbox of ideas.”

            The exciting and sometimes frustrating Canonical sandbox has lost a lot of its buckets and spades in the last month. The company that financially backs the Ubuntu distribution, which is used by tens of millions of Linux users, is in the process of a massive transformation.

            [...]

            To get to IPO, the company has decided to seek outside investment, as revealed by the Register, so within two days of the blog post, Canonical managed to run town halls explaining its IPO ambitions to staff scattered across the globe (the company has many remote workers living in over 80 countries), and announcing the departure of popular CEO, Jane Silber, and the return of Shuttleworth as chief executive officer.

          • Canonical and Qualcomm: Delivering Unprecedented Scaling

            Canonical has been one of the earliest visionary stalwarts igniting and driving early market enablement for 64-bit ARM server compute. With the commercial availability and support for Ubuntu Openstack on 64-bit ARM v8-A architecture, Canonical further accelerated the industry’s imagination for innovative platform architectures enabling the next generation of scale and automation.

          • 10 snaps written in April

            If you haven’t heard of snaps yet, they are a new way for developers to package their apps, bringing with it many advantages over the more traditional package formats such as .deb, .rpm, and others. They are secure, isolated and allow apps to be rolled back should an issue occur. Also they aim to work on any distribution or device, from IoT devices to servers, desktops to mobile devices. Snaps really are the future of Linux application packaging!

          • PCCW Global Chooses Ubuntu OpenStack and Juju

            PCCW Global, the international operating division of HKT, Hong Kong’s premier telecommunications service provider, is collaborating with Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu and CPLANE NETWORKS, the leader in multi-site OpenStack cloud orchestration, to create new cloud services for its customers.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Record fine for firm behind nearly 100 million nuisance calls

    A company behind 99.5 million nuisance calls has been fined a record £400,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

    Keurboom Communications Ltd has been issued the ICO’s highest ever nuisance calls fine after more than 1,000 people complained about recorded – also known as automated – calls.

  • Science

    • [Old] Spontaneous Hedonic Reactions to Social Media Cues

      In conclusion, this research showed that exposure to social media cues triggers spontaneous hedonic reactions in frequent social media users. These spontaneous hedonic reactions to social media cues, in turn, appear to trigger social media cravings. Together, this might contribute to people’s difficulties in resisting desires to use social media.

  • Hardware

    • Valve Puts The Steam Controller & Steam Link Back On Sale

      For those that didn’t pick up a Steam Controller or Steam Link back during Valve’s holiday sales, they are running a Steam Hardware sale the next few days.

    • Mechanical keyboards for programmers and gamers

      Why bother making keyboards open source?

      This is a question we hear often. People all over the world use keyboards every day, for a variety of purposes. At the core of all our keyboards is the ability to easily reconfigure any key to do any action. While normal typists make do with simple macros like Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V, programmers and gamers have much more advanced needs. People that use Adobe Photoshop or Premier often have special key bindings for most of their keyboard.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Life Expectancy Can Vary By 20 Years Depending On Where You Live

      In counties with the longest life spans, people tended to live about 87 years, while people in places with the shortest life spans typically made it to only about 67, the researchers found.

      The discrepancy is equivalent to the difference between the low-income parts of the developing world and countries with high incomes, Murray notes

  • Security

    • How to protect your Google and Facebook accounts with a security key

      Google supports a format called FIDO Universal 2nd Factor (U2F), which it helped develop. Keys are available that work over USB, Bluetooth, and NFC, so they can be used with a smartphone or tablet in addition to a PC.

    • Cisco Patches WikiLeaks Security Vulnerability Affecting Hundreds Of Devices

      Cisco has patched a critical flaw in its IOS software that affected more than 300 models of routers and switches that was discovered after WikiLeaks exposed CIA documents.

      “We’ve spoken to a few customers about it, a few enterprise clients, and thankfully it didn’t any disrupt business for us,” said one top executive from a solution provider and Cisco Gold partner who did not wished to be named. “I’m glad to know they fixed the issue. … Their devices will always be a big target for attackers because Cisco is everywhere.”

    • Microsoft makes emergency security fix

      Microsoft has released an urgent update to stop hackers taking control of computers with a single email.

      The unusual bug, in Microsoft anti-malware software such as Windows Defender, could be exploited without the recipient even opening the message.

      Researchers working for Google’s Project Zero cyber-security outfit discovered the flaw at the weekend.

      The fix has been specially pushed out hours before the software giant’s monthly Tuesday security update.

    • Google’s OSS-Fuzz Finds 1,000 Open Source Bugs

      The numbers are in, and judging by them, OSS-Fuzz, the program Google unveiled last December to continuously fuzz open source software, has been a success.

      In five months the effort has unearthed more than 1,000 bugs, a quarter of them potential security vulnerabilities, Google says.

    • Open source vulnerabilities hit VMware [Ed: Ridiculous! WMware is secret software with back doors (RSA/EMC), so why focus only on holes in a FOSS component?]

      Apache Struts 2 is an open source web application framework for developing Java applications that has been in use since 2007. The recent Apache Struts 2 vulnerability affected vCenter Server 6.0 and 6.5, vRealize Operations Manager 6.x, vRealize Hyperic Server 5.x, and versions 6.x and 7.x of the Horizon Desktop-as-a-Service Platform.

    • Samsung partners with McAfee, brings security software to the Galaxy S8, Smart TVs, and PCs [Ed: But Samsung should know adding proprietary software to Tizen and/or Android won't necessarily make these more secure]
    • To mitigate major Edge printing bug, use a Xerox copier, baffled user advises

      Beyond being breathtakingly bizarre, the bug could potentially have serious consequences for architects, engineers, lawyers, and other professionals who rely on Edge to print drawings, blueprints, legal briefs, and similarly sensitive documents. Edge is the default application for viewing PDFs on Windows 10 computers. While the errors demonstrated above happened using the “Microsoft Print to PDF” option, multiple users report similar alterations when using regular printing settings. (And besides, the print-to-PDF option is the default printing method for the Microsoft browser.) The alterations depend on several variables, including the printer selected, the settings used, and computer being used. It’s not clear how long this flaw has been active or whether it has already affected legal cases or other sensitive proceedings that use documents printed from the Internet.

    • Criminals are Now Exploiting SS7 Flaws to Hack Smartphone Two-Factor Authentication Systems
    • A Vicious Microsoft Bug Left a Billion PCs Exposed [iophk: “people are gullible: Windows was never secure in the 22 years since it added TCP/IP; for those that remember, it was not secure even before that and was plagued with malware spread by disk and NAS (then called file servers).”
    • Microsoft finally bans SHA-1 certificates in Internet Explorer, Edge [Ed: Quit pretending that Microsoft cares about security in browsers that have a baked-in back door]

      The Tuesday updates for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge force those browsers to flag SSL/TLS certificates signed with the aging SHA-1 hashing function as insecure. The move follows similar actions by Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox earlier this year.

      Browser vendors and certificate authorities have been engaged in a coordinated effort to phase out the use of SHA-1 certificates on the web for the past few years, because the hashing function no longer provides sufficient security against spoofing.

    • Keylogger Found in Audio Driver of HP Laptops
    • Keylogger Discovered in HP Audio Driver
    • [EN] Keylogger in Hewlett-Packard Audio Driver

      Security reviews of modern Windows Active Domain infrastructures are – from our point of view – quite sobering. Therefore, we often look left and right, when, for example, examining the hardening of protection mechanisms of a workstation. Here, we often find all sorts of dangerous and ill-conceived stuff. We want to present one of these casually identified cases now, as it’s quite an interesting one: We have discovered a keylogger in an audio driver package by Hewlett-Packard.

      A keylogger is a piece of software for which the case of dual-use can rarely be claimed. This means there are very few situations where you would describe a keylogger that records all keystrokes as ‘well-intended’. A keylogger records when a key is pressed, when it is released, and whether any shift or special keys have been pressed. It is also recorded if, for example, a password is entered even if it is not displayed on the screen.

    • Microsoft rushes emergency fix for critical antivirus bug

      The critical security vulnerability in the Microsoft Malware Protection Engine affects a number of Microsoft products, including Windows Defender, Windows Intune Endpoint Protection, Microsoft Security Essentials, Microsoft System Center Endpoint Protection, Microsoft Forefront Security for SharePoint, Microsoft Endpoint Protection, and Microsoft Forefront Endpoint Protection. These tools are enabled by default in Windows 8, 8.1, 10, and Windows Server 2012.

    • Google Offers $20000 Rewards to Drive OSS-Fuzz Initiative
    • Call the fuzz, says Google, get the reward
    • How Google’s OSS-Fuzz is securing open-source software

      Google released OSS-Fuzz five months ago with a mission to make open-source projects stable, secure and reliable. Since then, the continuous fuzzing solution has found more than 1,000 bugs with 264 of them flagged as potential security bugs.

    • Google Fuzzing Service for OS Finds 1K Bugs in Five Months

      A Google-led initiative to find security vulnerabilities in popular open source projects has unearthed more than 1,000 bugs in various open source software in the five months since the effort was launched.

    • The IoT’s Scramble to Combat Botnets

      With shadowy botnet armies lurking around the globe and vigilante gray-hat actors inoculating susceptible devices, the appetite for Internet of Things security is stronger than ever.

    • Exploiting the Linux kernel via packet sockets

      Lately I’ve been spending some time fuzzing network-related Linux kernel interfaces with syzkaller. Besides the recently discovered vulnerability in DCCP sockets, I also found another one, this time in packet sockets. This post describes how the bug was discovered and how we can exploit it to escalate privileges.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Constitutional Rubicon of an Assange Prosecution

      If you were tuning in and out of FBI Director James Comey’s hearing before the House Intelligence Committee last Wednesday, you probably got an earful about Comey’s public statements on Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server, and you may have heard his staunch defense of Section 702 of FISA. But you might have missed the moment in which Comey and Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) threatened to topple one of the longstanding pillars of journalistic freedom.

    • WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange threatens to sue Mike Rogers on ‘day one’ if he’s picked to lead FBI

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Thursday threatened to sue former Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., on “day one” if he is chosen to replace James Comey as director of the FBI.

      There were multiple reports Thursday saying Rogers, a former FBI official and former head of the House Intelligence Committee, is in consideration to be chosen as the Trump administration’s nominee to head the FBI.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • All the Trees Will Die, and Then So Will You
    • Tunnel collapses at Hanford nuclear waste site in Washington state

      Hundreds of workers at the Department of Energy’s Hanford nuclear site in Washington state had to “take cover” Tuesday morning after the collapse of 20-foot-long portion of a tunnel used to store contaminated radioactive materials.

      The Energy Department said it activated its emergency operations protocol after reports of a “cave-in” at the 200 East Area in Hanford, a sprawling complex about 200 miles from Seattle where the government has been working to clean up radioactive materials left over from the country’s nuclear weapons program.

    • Vacant tunnel at nuclear site collapses in Washington state

      A vacant tunnel leading to a 60-year-old plutonium uranium extraction plant (called PUREX) on southeastern Washington’s Hanford Site has collapsed, according to reports. Hanford issued a warning to employees and ordered those in the vicinity to shelter in place while crews investigated the 20×20-foot cave-in above the tunnel.

    • N.C. said it still needs $929 million in aid for Hurricane Matthew. It got $6.1 million.

      The rain is done, and the flood is long over. The rest of the country moved on months ago, but North Carolina is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Matthew. Hundreds of families remain displaced, and critical infrastructure sits damaged. Its unmet need is enormous, the governor says, and they aren’t getting the money.

  • Finance

    • Manchester University job cuts ‘due to Brexit’, union claims

      The University of Manchester’s decision to cut 171 posts is due to “new government legislation and Brexit”, a union has claimed.

      The university says the job losses have to happen for it to be a world-leading institution and will offer voluntary severance wherever possible.

      But the University and College Union (UCU) said the university was in “a strong financial position”.

    • University of Manchester to axe 171 staff amid Brexit concerns

      Britain’s largest university has set out plans to axe 171 jobs, mostly academic positions in the faculties of arts, languages, biology, medicine and business.

      The University of Manchester blamed new government legislation and the prospect of Brexit as major factors threatening its future income and said it needed to “invest in our strategic priorities”.

      But the University and College Union (UCU), which represents lecturers and researchers, said Manchester’s finances were in good health and that the university was making excuses in order to implement cuts.

    • The Brexit trap that’s closing on Britons who live in Europe

      Brexit negotiations will leave UK citizens in Europe in a far worse position than EU citizens in the UK, a group of British professionals living in Germany has warned.

      There are about 100,000 Britons living in Germany. On Monday, discussions held by a group of about 50 of them in Munich focused on concerns that neither European nor British governments have fully understood the severity of the consequences of Brexit for people in their position.

      Briton David Hole, who has lived and practised law in Germany since 1993, pointed out that the fact that EU citizens in the UK will still be part of the union will put them in a significantly stronger position than their British counterparts in Europe.

    • Snapchat is losing twice as much money as it did last year

      Investors should have seen this coming. The company’s financial disclosures before its IPO revealed large and growing losses. Snap warned investors that it was unsure when, if ever, it would reach profitability. And while its user base was highly engaged, its user growth slowed to its lowest level ever in the fourth quarter of last year.

    • Aw Snap: Snapchat parent company’s value plummets after earnings report

      Snapchat’s parent company Snap Inc lost nearly a quarter of its value on Wednesday when its newly listed shares went into a nosedive after the company reported a $2.2bn loss and slowing growth.

    • Uber will likely need to follow same rules as taxi companies in Europe

      Uber isn’t a benign platform offering to ferry people from A to B via a simple app—it’s a transportation service and as such must comply with the relevant rules, a law adviser at Europe’s top court has said.

      In a nonbinding opinion, advocate general Maciej Szpunar concluded that “the service offered by Uber cannot be classified as an ‘information society service’.” If the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) agrees with Szpunar, Uber will face a major regulatory setback that could hobble its expansion plans.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How To Know if The Trump-Russia Story Has Momentum

      So far, however, Trump-Russia stories have gotten a huge amount of attention for two or three days at a time before the news cycle moves on to other topics. You may catch yourself thinking that surely the story is escalating to a breaking point … only to see Trump skate his way out of the mess. I really don’t have a prediction for how this particular development will unfold, but that history is worth bearing in mind.

    • Americans are witnessing a slow-motion coup

      Despite Trump’s desperation and the mistakes he seems to make every single day, it will take enormous outrage by the citizenry, and an act of enormous political will by their representatives, to bring a halt to this this authoritarian madness. Our government belongs to us — not to him. Unless we teach him this lesson, we deserve everything he does to us with the power he has so nakedly and corruptly seized in this slow-motion coup.

    • Big business interventions leave the EU Digital Single Market with more holes than Swiss cheese

      Former Digital Commissioner Oettinger let big business interests sabotage the project of tearing down of digital borders in key areas, leaving the Digital Single Market project with more holes than Swiss cheese.

    • After Trump fired Comey, White House staff scrambled to explain why

      White House press secretary Sean Spicer wrapped up his brief interview with Fox Business from the White House grounds late Tuesday night and then disappeared into the shadows, huddling with his staff near a clump of bushes and then behind a tall hedge. To get back to his office, Spicer would have to pass a swarm of reporters wanting to know why President Trump suddenly decided to fire the FBI director.

      For more than three hours, Spicer and his staff had been scrambling to answer that question. Spicer had wanted to drop the bombshell news in an emailed statement, but it was not transmitting quickly enough, so he ended up standing in the doorway of the press office around 5:40 p.m. and shouting a statement to reporters who happened to be nearby. He then vanished, with his staff locking the door leading to his office. The press staff said that Spicer might do a briefing, then announced that he definitely wouldn’t say anything more that night. But as Democrats and Republicans began to criticize and question the firing with increasing levels of alarm, Spicer and two prominent spokeswomen were suddenly speed-walking up the White House drive to defend the president on CNN, Fox News and Fox Business.

    • Prosecutors to reveal if they’ll charge up to 30 Tory MPs with election fraud THIS WEEK

      Up to 30 Tory MPs are set to learn if they will be charged with electoral fraud this week, the Mirror has learned.

      Prosecutors are due to make an announcement on files they have received from 15 police forces before Thursday’s deadline for candidates to declare whether they will stand in the upcoming election

      A Mirror investigation revealed last March that two dozen Conservative MPs received help from battlebuses packed with party activists during the 2015 general election but failed to declare the cost.

      In a follow-up report a six weeks later, Channel 4 News identified a further handful of Tory candidates accused of similar failings.

    • Jefferson Davis: The Confederacy’s first, worst and only president

      When the city of New Orleans had a century-old memorial to Jefferson Davis torn down before daybreak Thursday, a crowd of the Confederate leader’s sympathizers stood by, chanting: “President Davis! President Davis!”

      A man adorned with rebel flags buried his face in his hand as the statue of Davis, the man who stands for the South’s lost cause, was hauled away by crane and truck.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • The UK government wants to embarrass you into not watching porn

      If you’re unfortunate enough to live in Tory Britain, you might soon have to visit a Post Office to ID yourself if you want to get down-and-dirty online.

      As you might have heard, the UK is about to have an election. One of the quirks of British democracy is that in the weeks leading up to the polls, parliament is dissolved.

    • NOW UN TOO DECIDES MEDIA IS THE ENEMY: WIPO, FAO, in unprecedented move, waive immunity to sue journalists for defamation

      On World Press Freedom Day on May 3, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on world leaders to ‘defend a free media’ and to put an end to ‘all crackdowns against journalists because a free press advances peace and justice for all.’ Yet the UN’s own senior officials are engaged in an ugly war against the media that has made a mockery of the Secretary-General’s message and the UN’s commitment to uphold Article 19 of the UN Charter that protects everyone’s right to freedom of opinion and expression.

      The heads of both the Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) and the Rome-based Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) have taken the unprecedented step of suing journalists for defamation – a highly unusual act because the UN and its employees enjoy immunity from prosecution, which means that in order to bring a case before a national court they have to surrender this immunity – which rarely happens.

    • First Hearing In The Lawsuit Against Us, Along With Even More Filings

      As you hopefully know by now, we’re currently facing a major lawsuit, brought against us in Boston, that we consider to be an attack on our First Amendment right to report on matters of public concern. If you support journalism and support the First Amendment, please consider donating to our survival fund, which is helping us to continue reporting on a variety of important matters, including new battles over net neutrality and encryption, not to mention many other battles over freedom of expression.

      As we’ve noted, repeatedly, this case has been a huge distraction and has made it difficult for us to do the kind of work we’ve done for almost twenty years. If you wish to catch up, you can read about our initial filings in the case, including our motion to dismiss and our motion to strike under California’s anti-SLAPP law. We also made additional filings concerning Section 230 problems with some of the claims against us. In addition, in early April we filed a reply to the opposition to our filings.

    • UK Parliament Takes First Step Towards Making Google & Facebook Censor Everything

      Look, let’s just start with the basics: there are some bad people out there. Even if the majority of people are nice and well-meaning, there are always going to be some people who are not. And sometimes, those people are going to use the internet. Given that as a starting point, at the very least, you’d think we could deal with that calmly and rationally, and recognize that maybe we shouldn’t blame the tools for the fact that some not very nice people happen to use them. Unfortunately, it appears to be asking a lot these days to expect our politicians to do this. Instead, they (and many others) rush out immediately to point the fingers of blame for the fact that these “not nice” people exist, and rather than point the finger of blame at the not nice people, they point at… the internet services they use.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Culprit behind 2014 CIA hack turned out to be … the CIA

      Declassified CIA emails released to Michael Morisy show that the Agency believed that their online FOIA Reading Room had been taken down by a vicious cyberattack. Later emails admitted, however, that the attacks against the Agency’s website had been unsuccessful – and that the damage had been entirely self-inflicted.

    • BREAKING: AG Szpunar says that Uber is a transport activity, not an information society service

      Is Uber a transport activity or an information society service? Why does the answer to this matter? Why does all this matter?

      To the first question, this morning Advocate General (AG) Szpunar has provided a response in his Opinion in Asociación Profesional Élite Taxi v Uber Systems Spain, C-434/15, a reference for a preliminary ruling from Spain (Juzgado Mercantil No 3 de Barcelona).

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • [Older] Will Justin Trudeau Speak Out for Raif Badawi?
    • Portrait of Government Policy in Tanah Papua for the Last 46 Years

      According to the Coordinator of Information and Documentation of ELSAM, Ari Yurino, the transmigration program in Papua has evidently brought negative impact to the social life of Papuan natives. Due to the uneven transmigration and development program, it has caused the increase of number of migrants in Papua and the rise of horizontal conflict between the newcomers and the natives. Therefore, he said, the transmigration program must be terminated and its policy must be evaluated.

    • Jakarta’s Christian governor jailed for blasphemy against Islam

      Rights groups fear Islamist hardliners are in the ascendancy in a country where most Muslims practise a moderate form of Islam and which is home to sizeable communities of Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, and people who adhere to traditional beliefs.

    • Christian Governor in Indonesia Found Guilty of Blasphemy Against Islam

      Mr. Basuki’s 16-point defeat last month was seen as a sign of the increasing power of Islamic conservatives, who have pressed for the adoption of Islamic law, or Shariah, throughout Indonesia.

      [...]

      He had been leading in the polls last year, but in September his campaign faltered when he tried to address attacks from Muslim hard-liners who argued that the Quran prohibited Muslims from voting for a non-Muslim. Mr. Basuki said those who made that argument were misleading Muslims, a statement that was interpreted by some as insulting the Quran.

    • Indonesia Islam: Governor’s blasphemy conviction divides a nation

      Mr Purnama was accused of blasphemy for comments he made during a pre-election speech in September 2016. He implied that Islamic leaders were trying to trick voters by using a verse in the Koran to argue that Muslims should not vote for a non-Muslim leader.

    • Report: Ban on laptops in planes may expand to Europe

      The Department of Homeland Security is considering expanding its ban on electronic devices on US-bound flights from certain airports, according to a report by CBS News.

      In March, the DHS banned on all devices bigger than a cell phone on US-bound flights from 10 airports located in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Terrorist groups were targeting commercial planes with “innovative methods” including “smuggling explosive devices in various consumer items,” the DHS said at the time.

    • US may extend airline laptop ban to UK, Europe

      The US is reportedly looking at extending a ban on allowing laptops into the cabins of airlines to European countries and the UK.

    • This Makes No Sense: US To Ban Laptops On All Flights From Europe

      Earlier this year we wrote about the nonsensical move by the Department of Homeland Security to ban laptops and tablets in the cabin on flights from a bunch of cities in the Middle East. The rumored reason was discoveries that terrorists had learned how to make bombs out of laptops. As we noted, this made almost no sense at all when you challenged any of the assumptions. But, never let logic and reason get in the way of a bit of inane security theater. Because now Homeland Security is about to announce that it’s now banning laptops in the cabins on all flights from Europe (it’s unclear if this will also apply on flights from the US to Europe, but it seems likely that European airports will reciprocate).

      While this does answer one of the questions raised by the original ban (“why won’t potential terrorists just fly out of other countries?”) it still raises a host of other questions. Again: why won’t this apply to flights from other countries? Or domestic flights? Or all flights? But, really, that just raises an even larger issue, which is that if you want to protect 100% of all flights 100% of the time from ever having a problem in which people might die, the answer is ground all flights and never let anyone fly anywhere ever. Problem solved. Of course, the cost of such a solution would be horrendous — which is why we don’t do it. But that’s the key issue: all of these things involve tradeoffs. All too frequently, it appears that government officials — especially those on the national security side of things — don’t care at all about the tradeoffs. They just care about blocking any possible attack no matter how unlikely or how remote the chance of such an attack might be, and without any consideration of the costs and inconveniences to everyone else. And, yes, it’s reasonable to point out that a single attack would be very, very costly as well. And there’s clearly a reason to protect heavily against attacks. But there’s still a balance.

    • U.S. to Ban Laptops in All Cabins of Flights From Europe, Officials Say

      The Department of Homeland Security plans to ban laptops in the cabins of all flights from Europe to the United States, European security officials told The Daily Beast. The announcement is expected Thursday.

      Initially a ban on laptops and tablets was applied only to U.S.-bound flights from 10 airports in North Africa and the Middle East. The ban was based on U.S. fears that terrorists have found a way to convert laptops into bombs capable of bringing down an airplane. It is unclear if the European ban will also apply to tablets.

      DHS said in a statement to The Daily Beast: “No final decisions have been made on expanding the restriction on large electronic devices in aircraft cabins; however, it is under consideration. DHS continues to evaluate the threat environment and will make changes when necessary to keep air travelers safe.”

    • Latest Attack On A Free Press: Reporter Arrested For Asking Questions To Trump Administration Officials

      Well, that’s only partially true. Obviously, the local law enforcement gets to make that decision, but there’s nothing stopping a competent public official from telling law enforcement to knock it off and to answer a few basic questions from a reporter.

      In an era where we’re hearing more and more about both attacks on a free press, as well as the need for a stronger press, these kinds of shenanigans should not be allowed. In the past, when we’ve covered police arresting reporters, the courts have come out repeatedly in favor of the reporters (that whole First Amendment thing still matters). But that’s of little use in the moment when police are dragging reporters off to jail for shouting questions outside a press conference.

    • Dan Heyman: US reporter arrested for shouting questions on healthcare

      A reporter was arrested on Tuesday night at the West Virginia Capitol for allegedly causing a disturbance by shouting questions to two Trump aides.

      Dan Heyman had asked Health Secretary Tom Price and White House adviser Kellyanne Conway about coverage under the Republican healthcare plan.

      The veteran health reporter wanted to know if domestic violence would be covered as a pre-existing condition.

      He later said he “was trying to do my job”. He nows faces a prison sentence.

      Mr Heyman, who works for the Public News Service, spoke to reporters after being released by police.

      He said that he had been following the Trump team’s entourage through the capitol building while wearing his press badge and a shirt identifying his media outlet.

    • Reporter arrested after repeatedly questioning Health secretary

      “First time I’ve ever been arrested for asking a question. First time I’ve ever heard of someone getting arrested for asking a question,” he said.

    • West Virginia journalist arrested after asking HHS Secretary Tom Price a question

      As Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price walked through a hallway Tuesday in the West Virginia state capitol, veteran reporter Dan Heyman followed alongside him, holding up his phone to Price while attempting to ask him a question.

      Heyman, a journalist with Public News Service, repeatedly asked the secretary whether domestic violence would be considered a preexisting condition under the Republican bill to overhaul the nation’s health care system, he said.

    • Women trafficked to Glasgow for sham marriages
    • Uber should lose its licence if it doesn’t improve workers’ rights, say drivers
    • Massachusetts State Police Promise Higher Standard For No-Knock Warrants; Immediately Break It

      No-knock warrants may have served a purpose when they first became a thing. It’s not as though law enforcement’s fear of evidence disappearing or a violent reaction to warrant service is completely unjustified. But no-knock warrants are being deployed extremely frequently, becoming the preferred method of warrant service any time drug sales are involved. The warrant requests are supposed to be subjected to a higher standard of review, but it’s devolved to the point where officers are requesting no-knock warrants simply because the residence they’re searching has locking doors and working toilets.

      Now, cops and citizens are being killed or injured unnecessarily, simply because the SWAT team’s armored personnel carrier seems like a waste of money if it’s not deployed every six weeks or so. The higher standard is practically nonexistent, replaced by “upon information and belief” statements that work backwards from the desired form of warrant service.

    • Ridiculous Lawsuit Looks To Hold Social Media Companies Responsible For The San Bernandino Shooting

      This hasn’t worked yet, but that’s not going to keep anyone from giving it another try. Excolo Law, representing victims of the San Bernardino attacks (and others in similar lawsuits), is suing Twitter, Facebook, and Google for [sigh] “knowingly and recklessly” supporting terrorism.

      The lawsuit, like others before it, claims the social media platforms aren’t doing enough to prevent terrorists from using them for communication, not taking down reported posts fast enough, and otherwise making the world a more dangerous place simply by offering their services.

    • FBI Releases ‘Study’ Of Law Enforcement’s Persecution Complex

      In what may be an attempt to bolster now ex-FBI director James Comey’s oft-derided “Ferguson Effect” claims, the FBI has released a “study” that gathers facts feelings from law enforcement officers around the US and attempts to build a narrative somewhere between “life is unfair” and “there’s a War on Cops.” It’s not a study. It’s an opinion poll with the word “study” appended to it.

    • CIA captive under Guantanamo’s ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ chooses to testify about conditions

      The first CIA captive subjected to what the U.S. government called “enhanced interrogation techniques” after the Sept. 11 attacks is choosing to testify about conditions inside the Guantanamo Bay detention center even if it could create legal problems for him later.

    • Judge says his Facebook post about lynching black suspect was a joke

      A Texas judge was reprimanded Monday for a Facebook comment left on a police department’s Facebook page about the arrest of a black man accused of killing a white San Antonio Police Department officer.

      “Time for a tree and a rope….”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T could be punished for unlimited data throttling after all

      AT&T has been dealt a blow in its attempt to avoid all regulatory oversight from the Federal Trade Commission, and the court decision could also play an important role in the debates over net neutrality and broadband privacy rules. Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai yesterday welcomed the court decision and said it strengthens his argument that net neutrality rules should be overturned.

    • After net neutrality comment system fails, senators demand answers

      The FCC’s public comments site struggled for hours Sunday night and Monday after comedian John Oliver called on HBO viewers to write in protest of Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposal to eliminate the current net neutrality rules. The FCC issued a statement yesterday attributing the downtime to DDoS attacks, without mentioning the influx of comments caused by Oliver’s show.

    • FCC says it was victim of cyberattack after John Oliver show

      An FCC spokesman did not immediately respond when asked by The Hill how the agency determined it had suffered a DDoS attack.

    • A Bot Is Flooding The FCC Website With Fake Anti-Net Neutrality Comments… In Alphabetical Order

      As previously noted, the FCC has begun fielding comments on its plan to dismantle net neutrality protections. As of the writing of this post, nearly 556,000 users have left comments on the FCC’s plan to roll back the rules, which will begin in earnest with a likely 2-1 partisan vote on May 18. The lion’s share of that comment total were driven by John Oliver’s recent rant on HBO. Many others are the result of what I affectionately call “outrage-o-matic” e-mail campaigns by either net neutrality activists or think tanks that let people comment without having to expend calories on original thought.

    • The FCC Claims A DDoS Attack — Not John Oliver — Crashed Its Website. But Nobody Seems To Believe Them

      We just got done noting that the FCC’s commenting system crashed after comedian John Oliver’s latest bit on net neutrality last weekend. Given that Oliver’s first bit on net neutrality did the exact same thing, it didn’t take long before the media wires were filled with stories about how a flood of outraged net neutrality supporters had crippled FCC systems. Again.

    • Net neutrality: why the next 10 days are so important in the fight for fair internet

      US campaigners rejoiced in 2015 when ‘net neutrality’ enshrined the internet as a free and level playing field. A vote on 18 May could take it all back

    • Comcast, Charter Join Forces In Wireless, Agree Not To Compete

      For several years now, cable giants Comcast and Charter have had their eye on jumping into the wireless business. Both companies gobbled up a large amount of spectrum at the FCC’s 2008 700 MHz auction, but a few years later got cold feet after realizing that going solo in wireless would not only be incredibly expensive, but would require something called competition (gross). So in 2011, they struck a deal with Verizon Wireless, which bought the cable sector’s spectrum for $3.6 billion, in exchange for a cozy cross-promotional relationship. As an unspoken part of that relationship, Verizon Wireless has been happily driving its unwanted DSL customers to cable, where they’re often then sold Verizon Wireless service.

    • The FCC ‘Investigation’ Into Stephen Colbert Is A Complete Non-Story

      Last week comedian and “The Late Show” host Stephen Colbert found himself in a little hot water after he made an oral sex joke about Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin at the tail end of his opening monologue. If you missed it, here’s the relevant bit (the easily-offended can skip down the page).

    • The FCC has received 128,000 identical anti-net neutrality comments

      The FCC this week has received hundreds of thousands of new comments on its proposal to dismantle net neutrality rules, and more than 128,000 of them are identical comments calling for the reversal of the Obama administration’s “power grab.” It seems likely that the influx of anti-net neutrality identical comments is coming from a bot, but the FCC hasn’t addressed the matter publicly yet.

    • Cisco And Oracle Applaud The Looming Death Of Net Neutrality

      Both Oracle and Cisco (not coincidentally major ISP vendors) have come out in full-throated support of the FCC’s plan to kill net neutrality. FCC boss Ajit Pai has been making the rounds the last few weeks in Silicon Valley and elsewhere, trying to drum up support of his attack on broadband consumer protections. Pai met with Cisco, Oracle, Facebook and Apple in a number of recent meetings, but so far only Oracle and Cisco have been willing to enthusiastically and publicly throw their corporate fealty behind Pai’s extremely-unpopular policies.

    • The FCC Is Using Garbage Lobbyist Data To Defend Its Assault On Net Neutrality

      By now it should be clear to most Techdirt readers that new FCC Boss Ajit Pai envisions a future where there’s little to no oversight of giant telecom duo/monopolies like Comcast. Pai has wasted no time making that dream a reality since taking office, having killed plans for more cable box competition, undermined FCC attempts to stop prison phone monopolies from ripping off inmate families, and paved the way for killing net neutrality. He’s made no mystery of his overarching goal: replacing functional FCC oversight of broadband providers with the policy equivalent of wet tissue paper.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Bethesda Trademark Bullying Results In Indie Game Adding A Whole Letter To Its Name, But Not Its Logo

        One of the most infuriating aspects of typical trademark disputes is how often the dire nature of the supposed infringement is ratcheted up in the threat rhetoric, while the eventual settlement reached seems laughably inconsequential. Bethesda, which has built a reputation for itself in terms of trademark bullying over its video game franchises, has been an example of this sort of thing in the past. When it decided that it owned the term “scrolls” generally after trademarking its Elder Scrolls franchise, it launched a dispute with developer Mojang over its game which was titled Scrolls. Much was made about the potential for customer confusion, except the eventual settlement allowed Mojang to keep the name for its game. One wonders why such a settlement would be agreed to by Bethesda were its original assertions remotely accurate.

    • Copyrights

      • Access Treaty for Visually Impaired Readers (Finally) Steps Forward On EU Ratification

        After prevaricating for about three years, the European Union now seems to be about to ratify a treaty lifting copyright across borders for books in special format for visually impaired people. The European Blind Union saluted the agreement as great news for millions of people with visual disabilities but warned that a provision allowing EU members to impose economic compensation on organisations representing blind persons and libraries could run counter to the benefit of the treaty.

      • Megaupload users still can’t get data back

        Megaupload, an online cyberlocker service run by Kim Dotcom, was shut down in early 2012 when Dotcom was charged with criminal copyright infringement. Dotcom’s house in New Zealand was raided, and he was arrested. But his prosecution is on hold while New Zealand continues with years of extradition hearings.

      • CJEU to rule on enforceability of German press publishers’ right

        The newly created sections 87f, 87g and 87h of the German Copyright Act provide for the exclusive right of press publishers to exploit their contents commercially for one year, thus preventing search engines and news aggregators from displaying excerpts from newspaper articles without paying a fee.

      • Landmark Usenet Piracy Verdict Stands, Despite RIAA and MPAA Protests

        The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to rehear the case Usenet provider Giganews won against Perfect 10. The decision not only comes as a disappointment to the bankrupt magazine publisher but also to the MPAA and RIAA, who warned the court that the decision is a disaster for copyright holders.

The Sickness of the EPO – Part IX: Using Confidential Medical Records as a Weapon Against Staff

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not just Elodie Bergot (HR) allegedly abuses access to medical data [1, 2]

Confidentiality and occupational health: Your secret’s safe with OH
Reference: Confidentiality and occupational health: Your secret’s safe with OH (not at the EPO though, where such secrets are leveraged against staff)

Summary: In defiance/violation of labour laws and medical oaths etc. the EPO is passing around medical information, either for dismissal pretexts or a sort of blackmail — a serious abuse in its own right

THE state of “health” at the EPO is worse than sad; it’s terrible! Almost half the employees suffer from Upper Limb Disorder (ULD) — a fact that Team Battistelli tries to hide — and sick people are being forced to come in and work (gross violation of labour laws).

“Almost half the employees suffer from Upper Limb Disorder (ULD) — a fact that Team Battistelli tries to hide — and sick people are being forced to come in and work (gross violation of labour laws).”Remember: Battistelli has repeatedly demonstrated that his administration can get away with anything! That in itself must be scary to staff; it’s a cautionary tale or warning sign.

On the other hand, those blindly loyal to Battistelli receive free dental/medical care (some say in exchange for their vote), which means a lot to delegates from countries like Bulgaria (mentioned explicitly in that context). Today and yesterday the EPO bragged about “Bulgaria join[ing] the Federated Register,” probably distracting (or at least attempting to distract) from all that important news about the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

“In a sense, Battistelli’s reign of terror serves to gag truth-tellers.”Today’s story is based on feedback we have received from multiple readers, having researched the subject for a bit. Dr. Koopman was mentioned in two of the latest articles about OHS (occupational health) [1, 2], but as we noted the last time, he is not the only culprit. As the famous saying goes, “a fish rots from the head down.” There is another culprit who goes by the name of Ms. Mechthild Noé. There is very little information about her online, but EPO insiders know her pretty well. It’s connected to Dr. Koopman, who is now retired (no update on his status since). “No real update about Koopman” can be made accsible, told us one source, “without making public a personal situation.”

We hear a lot of that nowadays. We actually have a lot more that we are able to expose, but showing documents related to that would likely enable retribution against individuals. In a sense, Battistelli’s reign of terror serves to gag truth-tellers. We try carefully to reveal information in the public interest without compromising sources.

“Your letters were selectively forwarded as “needed”, sometimes to the EPO lawyer, sometimes to the management and sometimes answered by herself, acting as a self-made jurist.”
      –Anonymous
“I have a little crumb of relevant information,” one reader told us not too long ago. “Koopman was assisted by a noxious assistant: the loyal Ms. Mechthild Noé. Ms Noé is still in place. She proactively forwarded the management produced information related to your case. In addition she was free to send letters on her own, to you, to other doctors etc. with her very personal style. One thing was sure: her literature was in line with the office policy, distorting the rules and facts and filling her letters with lies and slander. In fact Ms. Noé was your unique contact in the OHS and as such an unavoidable firewall. Your letters were selectively forwarded as “needed”, sometimes to the EPO lawyer, sometimes to the management and sometimes answered by herself, acting as a self-made jurist. Actually you could never be sure that a letter of yours was forward to the intended destination. As such, she manipulated the procedures before the medical committee. She was an intended source of confusion, but there was no purpose in complaining because Rule n° 1 applied (Rule n° 1: “It is always your fault”). Ms. Noé enjoys 100% management support.”

“Ms Noé is the kind of willing and evil servants the EPO needs to achieve the “social dictatorship”.”
      –Anonymous
We have asked around about Ms. Noé and it seems like quite a few people are aware of these issues. There are many victims of that reckless behaviour.

“Maybe the last point is the most important,” the source added. “Ms Noé didn’t feel bound by any kind of medical secrecy. You could be sure that confidential information landing on her desk will immediately be forwarded to (and exploited by) the administration.

“Ms Noé is the kind of willing and evil servants the EPO needs to achieve the “social dictatorship”.”

For more posts on related matters, readers may wish to see/revisit the following parts:

We have a lot more information available to us, but time will tell when and what we can divulge. This pandora’s box needs to be opened for proper scrutiny (and accountability), even if much belated/overdue.

The EPO is in Disarray and Additional Complaints to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) May Be Imminent

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Jesper Kongstad, Battistelli's protector, is alleged to have been ousted by the Danish government; is Battistelli next?

European Court of Human Rights logo

Summary: Team Battistelli reaps what it has sown, as complaints are being made to a court with “47 member states [that] are contracting parties to the Convention,” (European Convention on Human Rights) according to Wikipedia

TECHRIGHTS is encouraged to see the USPTO (or at least courts which govern patents in the US) cracking down on software patents (we shall cover that separately). At the EPO, by rather sheer contrast, software patents are being ‘smuggled’ into Europe, in direct and clear defiance of the rules (certainly against the standards of national patent offices and against the spirit of patent law). This has long been our principal if not sole criticism of the EPO, predating by many years the union-busting débâcle of Battistelli. Our track record, as in our past coverage, makes this abundantly clear.

“Earlier this year we asserted that the EPO had become a laughing stock for being (perhaps) the first major office to grant patents on CRISPR, leading to a ‘domino effect’ that can negatively affect other patent offices.”Last year the number of patent grants soared; EPs were granted quickly and leniently, irrespective of merit, due to unreasonable pressure from management. Those who don't play along get fired (asked to resign). Earlier this year we asserted that the EPO had become a laughing stock for being (perhaps) the first major office to grant patents on CRISPR, leading to a ‘domino effect’ that can negatively affect other patent offices.

The EPO granting patents on life (seeds, plants, pigs etc.) in defiance of its own rules is not a new thing. But it now looks like a bottomless pit/slippery slope, where patent quality matters not at all and patent scope is discarded/disregarded/dismissed as a barrier to “production” (a term Battistelli loves to use). See this new press release that says “Caribou Biosciences, Inc., a leading genome engineering company, announced today that the European Patent Office (EPO) has granted a broad CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing patent to The Regents of the University of California, the University of Vienna, and Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier. Caribou holds the exclusive license to the foundational CRISPR-Cas9 patent estate from the University of California and the University of Vienna.”

“Thankfully, staff is now taking the EPO to one of the highest courts in the entire world.”The floodgates have opened and before there is a chance for opposition or referral to the appeal boards the Office continues to grant patents on genome! This is a travesty! Ask any examiner in that area; they too should know the ramifications. But in order to keep their job they probably have to play along.

Thankfully, staff is now taking the EPO to one of the highest courts in the entire world. It has rather broad jurisdiction. Various people are noticing articles about this (e.g. in IP Kat comments; funny how IP Kat refuses to cover this major development!). It’s not just in Dutch anymore but also in German and in English (WIPR and Christian Kirsch in German media that EPO management previously censored by threatening those who linked to reports from it). Battistelli has made a disgrace of the EPO and people notice the outcome:

The Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) has filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) over its dispute with the European Patent Office (EPO).

In January this year, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that courts in the Netherlands have no jurisdiction to rule on the wrangle, in a win for the EPO.

The trade union alleged that the EPO limited the right to strike, blocked emails from SUEPO and refused to recognise the union, violating the European Convention on Human Rights.

Another British publication that wrote about this is The Register. Funny that the British media covers EPO scandals more often than the German media, in spite of the EPO being based in Germany. The German media has generally been extremely uncooperative and disinterested; I never managed to convince anyone in it to cover EPO scandals. I tried. Many times.

The latest report from The Register has few factual errors but otherwise it’s pretty accurate. There are some comments that are short and/or factually not correct (or purely sarcastic) because most readers of The Register are outsiders to all this. “I can’t imagine it’s being very productive in the past couple of years,” one person wrote, “for an EU body…”

No, the EPO is not an EU body. There are a few other comments there which we would rather skip, but here is a handful of quoteworthy ones:

vote in a suitable replacement

could interfere with plans to vote in a suitable replacement for Battistelli when his term runs out in 2018:

By which time Battistelli will have re written the rules so that only people whose surname starts with a B and have been approved by the current President can stand.

That’s what more and more people now suspect and worry about.

Here is a more ‘radical’ approach:

Time to bin the EPO and create a replacement

I think it’s clear that the EPO is horribly injured and should be humanely euthanised.

Like people on a poorly led open source project, if the staff in the EPO were given the option to move to a new organisation I imagine they would take it.

I can see the talk in capitals around Europe being along the lines of “well, whatever we do let’s not setup another supranational organisation like the EPO”.

Knowing ICANN’s scandals, one person wrote this:

Battistelli’s fallback position

If he gets ousted at EPO eventually, I’m sure he’d be welcome to join ICANN’s board.

Then there’s this:

Above the law

No organisation, and certainly no individual, should ever have that much power. It’s utterly obscene, especially given that the organisation in question is just a glorified business operation, not some life-or-death public utility.

Not only does the totalitarianism of the EPO urgently require intervention, but the whole concept of “immunity” from any sort of accountability, due to some bogus and outmoded diplomatic protocol, needs to be not just reviewed but summarily abolished.

Benjamin Henrion said, “you cannot sue the EPO for maladministration, can you?”

One cannot sue the EPO for anything, unless it lifts its own immunity. We covered this a couple of years ago when the EPO threated to sue yours truly, a blogger. WIPO does something similar right now.

“We hear that yet more complaints to ECHR might soon be made, not just by SUEPO but also individuals who are EPO staff.”Henrion responded to this tweet from Dr. Luke McDonagh, who had retweeted Abel & Imray, adding: “European Patent Office being brought before the European Court of Human Rights (p.s. law students, remember neither is an EU institution!)”

As we noted recently, ILO part of the issue at hand. ILO too is immune and it’s failing to fulfill its mission which is assuring justice in other international institutions.

We certainly hope that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will recognise that it has a big mess in its hands. It ought to decide to seriously take on the matter, albeit it can take up to 3 years for a final determination to be made (by which point SUEPO might be altogether squashed and EPO layoffs eliminate the remainder of the representatives). We hear that yet more complaints to ECHR might soon be made, not just by SUEPO but also individuals who are EPO staff/former staff.

As a new comment put it minutes ago: “Nice news, but comes too late. Apparently suepo is dead: there will not be enough candidates for the staff committee (deadline is the 15th and candidates are lacking). Without elected representatives in the staff committee, suepo will not be present in meetings with the president, since they are not recognized as a union. Expect the rate of reforms to accelerate. Expect the pension reform to be implemented this summer without input from the staff.”

By Promoting the UPC, in Defiance of Public Will, the EPO Has Become Patent Trolls’ Best Friend

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

Margot Fröhlinger and the rest of Team Battistelli actively intervene in policymaking, in the service of trolls

Margot Fröhlinger for UPC

Summary: The patent–industrial complex, aided by the EPO under Battistelli’s iron-fisted reign, is trying to convince us that the Unitary Patent Court (UPC) is coming soon and that it is desirable (it’s neither of those things)

THE EPO is in chaos in part because of so-called ‘reforms’ like the Unitary Patent Court (UPC), which understandably face considerable resistance.

“Remember that they said 2015, then 2016, then 2017. They just can’t seem to make up their mind. It’s always “next year”, whatever that year may be.”“The EU Unitary Patent,” says this law firm this week about the UPC, “is expected [...] from very early 2018,” but that is not true. It’s not expected, just hoped or craved by trolls and patent lawyers (especially prosecutors). And it’s not coming any time soon, for various reasons not limited to Brexit.

Tackling the relevant part from this new article (titled “The EPO Grant Phase – Briefing Note”): “It is expected that, from very early 2018, it will be possible to validate a European Patent as a Unitary Patent as well as or instead of as individual national patents. Validation as a Unitary Patent will give the European Patent legal effect in a number of participating EU states.”

“They just try to attract business, even from trolls.”Remember that they said 2015, then 2016, then 2017. They just can’t seem to make up their mind. It’s always “next year”, whatever that year may be. They’re the boy who cried “Wolf!”

The article goes on as follows: “The procedure for validating as a single Unitary Patent will be administered centrally and will be substantially streamlined compared to validating the European patent in each of the individual participating states. A single renewal fee, approximately equivalent to that of four individual states, will be payable to maintain the Unitary Patent in force. The cost of obtaining and maintaining a Unitary Patent will thus be less than validating in multiple individual states and those applicants who routinely validate in more than four EU states may find obtaining a Unitary Patent a cost effective way of maintaining protection in Europe. More information on the Unitary Patent can be found here.”

“The reality of the matter is — and we cannot emphasise this strongly enough — Brexit is not compatible with the UPC and no matter which party wins next month’s election, these problems will certainly remain.”Marketing. They just try to attract business, even from trolls. Watch the latest marketing from Kluwer Patent Blog, part of Team UPC. (via)

The reality of the matter is — and we cannot emphasise this strongly enough — Brexit is not compatible with the UPC and no matter which party wins next month’s election, these problems will certainly remain. Article 50 being invoked is a death knell to the UPC, probably not just in the UK. A new article about UPC and the UK, covering “how the complex relationship affects businesses,” speaks a lot about “patent trolls” — the reason why UK-based software companies oppose Unitary Patent ratification. Here are some relevant portions/passages from the article:

In the world of technology, intellectual property (IP) is the secret sauce that will determine how valuable the business is – now and in the future. Not only will it help to differentiate between tech companies, but it is vital for attracting future investment and supporting international expansion.

Yet, not everyone uses intellectual property in the same way. Some parties, patent trolls, base their business model on aggressive IP lawsuits and quick settlement payments.

Patent trolls fall under the so-called Non Practicing Entities (NPEs), organisations that hold a patent for a product or process without any intention of developing it. However, not all NPEs are patent trolls: universities, research organisations or individual investors who lack the resources to develop something they hold the patent for also fall within this category.

There are so many factors in a patent system that might influence or encourage activity by an aggressive NPE, including litigation costs, the cost risk involved, uncertainty around outcomes and the speed with which cases are decided on.

Currently the US system is more attractive than Europe for NPEs: with the losing side typically not paying the winner’s legal costs, NPEs feel encouraged to ‘have a go’. The US additionally is a large geographical area, so a single decision can be effective across the entire country.

In Europe it is still necessary to enforce patents country-by-country, but the arrival of the Unified Patents Court (UPC) could change all that.

Good for patent trolls, which traditionally use software patents (that are not patent-eligible in pertinent nations/member states).

The very fact that the most vocal supporters of UPC habitually promote trolls should give us a clue. We have noted this correlation before.

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