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06.13.17

Links 13/6/2017: Alpha Litebox Comes With GNU/Linux, Warning to Munich About Windows

Posted in News Roundup at 7:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-Source FD.io Project Accelerates Networking with Fourth Release

    As bandwidth demands grow so too are demands on both virtual and physical networking infrastructure. The FD.io (Fast Data) project is an open-source effort that aims to help advance the state and speed of networking transport.

  • Kubernetes open source projects look to refine user experience

    Three new projects surfaced in the last month to make Kubernetes easier to run on various infrastructures and to integrate with apps.

    These Kubernetes open source projects — ksonnet, Istio and Kubermesh — focus on different layers of the orchestration tool’s architecture. Ksonnet, rolled out last week by a consortium of companies led by Heptio, aims to help developers more easily run applications on a Kubernetes infrastructure. Istio, whose marquee contributors include Google, IBM and Lyft, will address common problems with how microservices communicate in Kubernetes clusters. And Kubermesh is a reference architecture created by an e-commerce firm in the U.K. to automate Kubernetes networking on a bare-metal infrastructure.

  • Caleb Hawkins Talks Music & Open Source

    Open source attracts some of the most wonderfully creative people. I learned this when video interviewing a longtime open source buddy of mine, Caleb Hawkins, a singer/songwriter in Indianapolis, Indiana. I met Caleb online via our shared interest in the Inkscape vector drawing program. Only after I met him did I learn of the neat ways he uses other open source programs, such as Audacity and Ardour. Meet Caleb in this video interview.

  • Rspamd 1.6.0 has been released

    Today, we release the new major version 1.6.0 of Rspamd. The most significant change in this version is the addition of Milter protocol support in Rspamd. Therefore, Rmilter project is finally turned to the abandoned state and should not be used in new installations. All Rmilter users should consider migration to Rspamd milter support. This release has some incompatible changes so please check the migration guide.

  • Rspamd 1.6 Released With Milter & ARC Support

    Rspamd 1.6 is now available as the newest version of this widely-used, open-source spam filtering software.

  • [Older] SK Telecom Calls for Open Source Project Consolidation

    Speaking at the 5G North America event here this week, Alex Jinsung Choi, EVP and head of corporate R&D at SK Telecom, noted that the company is involved in numerous open source projects as it attempts to move from a centralized network to a more distributed network that promotes lower latency. However, he also said that there are too many different open source communities, each with a different mission which is causing fragmentation. “There are too many fragmented communities,” Choi said. “Harmonization is needed.”

  • Why Does Open Source Really Matter? It’s about Control, Not Code

    Why is open source software so popular today? You might think it’s about money, open standards or interoperability. Ultimately, however, the most important factor behind the success of open source is its ability to offer control — or the allusion of it, at least — to people who use it.

  • How open is OpenForge

    The central theme of OpenForge is e-governance, so it requires that the hosted project be related to e-governance. This is not a place for private companies, communities, or individuals to host their private source code repository. Only government departments can have private repositories here. Private companies and individuals must have public repositories. These are the only two aspects that are verified while approving a project on OpenForge. On OpenForge, projects, their members, and activities are not regulated or controlled in any other way.

    The decision whether or not to use OpenForge (and to what degree) rests with the respective project owner or department. They can decide what project source code they want to share and how they want to leverage the community to improve the code base.

    [...]

    The Singapore government is using GitHub to collaborate on its Government Digital Services. There’s a considerable difference between the way Singapore and India provide access to and visualisation of the data.The USA has also listed some of the projects on GitHub. Country’s(US) open data portal doesn’t rank high in terms of its user-friendliness but their data visualisation platform seems to be making up for it. In addition, many governments in Europe and America have come up with a policy to adopt open-source software and to open up the source code of government applications. These activities are mainly on platforms like GitHub and SourceForge (e.g. the US government has a code repository called code.gov which aggregates federal projects, but the code is hosted on GitHub).

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 60 Beta Rolls Out With VP9 Improvements, New Developer Features

        Chrome 60 Beta adds a Paint Timing API to provide more insight to developers about their “first paint” performance, CSS font-display support, improvements to the Credential Management API, the Payment Request API has been added to desktop Chrome, there’s a new Web Budget API to allow sites using push notifications to send a limited number of push messages that will trigger background work, support for Web Push Encryption was added, and a range of other CSS/JavaScript features and APIs.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 54 Now Available

        Additional web browser news this week is Mozilla’s launch today of Firefox 54.

        Firefox 54 is significant in that the work of the Electrolysis project is now enabled for everyone: this is the multi-process support in Firefox designed for a more efficient web browser particularly around utilizing multiple tabs and/or content heavy sites. Firefox 54 will make use of up to four processes for dealing with web content.

      • The Best Firefox Ever

        On the Firefox team, one thing we always hear from our users is that they rely on the web for complex tasks like trip planning and shopping comparisons. That often means having many tabs open. And the sites and web apps running in those tabs often have lots of things going on– animations, videos, big pictures and more. Complex sites are more and more common. The average website today is nearly 2.5 megabytes – the same size as the original version of the game Doom, according to Wired. Up until now, a complex site in one Firefox tab could slow down all the others. That often meant a less than perfect browsing experience.

      • Thunderbird Arc Theme Updated With Support for Arc Variants

        An update to the Arc Thunderbird theme add-on is now available for download, and brings support for the 3 Arc GTK theme variants.

  • Databases

    • China Growth Capital Leads $15M Round In Open-Source Database Firm PingCAP

      Chinese venture firm China Growth Capital has led a US$15 million series B financing round in PingCAP, a Beijing-based start-up focused on building databases for enterprise customers.

      Other venture firms including Matrix Partners China, Yunqi Partners, Frees Fund and K2VC also participated in the round, according to a company announcement.

      Founded in 2015 by engineers and architects who formerly worked at Twitter.com, JD.com, Baidu.com, Qihoo 360, Sogou.com and Wandou Labs, PingCap is the developer of TiDB, a popular open-source distributed NewSQL database.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Microsoft raises concerns on Government’s open source push in GeM

      The world’s largest software maker Microsoft has raised concerns over the government putting its weight behind open source software in its recent request for proposal to appoint a managed service provider for its e-marketplace, nicknamed GeM.

      “The RFP has allocated 50 out of 150 marks to solutions that are built using open source software only; this means that if a bidder does not use open source product only then it would be impossible for such a bidder to achieve the 65 percent qualification marks in solution evaluation and would then automatically become technically disqualified,” Microsoft has said in a letter to the government, reviewed by Moneycontrol.

      Moneycontrol has accessed a copy of the letter. In an official response, Microsoft confirmed sending a letter in this regard.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Microfluidics for the masses

      A new MIT-designed open-source website might well be the Pinterest of microfluidics. The site, Metafluidics.org, is a free repository of designs for lab-on-a-chip devices, submitted by all sorts of inventors, including trained scientists and engineers, hobbyists, students, and amateur makers. Users can browse the site for devices ranging from simple cell sorters and fluid mixers, to more complex chips that analyze ocular fluid and synthesize gene sequences.

    • Open-source microfluidic design: MIT opens online repository

      Seen at Metafluidics.org, the site is built as a free repository of designs for lab-on-a-chip devices, submitted by all sorts of inventors, including trained scientists and engineers, hobbyists, students, and amateur makers. Users can browse the site for devices ranging from simple cell sorters and fluid mixers, to more complex chips with niche dedicated functionalities.

    • German breeders develop ‘open source’ plant seeds

      There’s open-source software, open-source pharma research, and open-source beer. Now, there are open-source seeds, too. Breeders from Göttingen University in Germany and Dottenfelderhof agricultural school in Bad Vilbel, Germany, have released tomato and wheat varieties under an open-source license. Their move follows similar schemes for sharing plant material in India and the United States, but is the first that provides legal protection for the open-source status of future descendants of plant varieties.

    • Eve V Uses Open-Source Concepts to Take on Microsoft’s Surface Pro
    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Going Open Source to Make Your Own Loupedeck Alternative

        There is an extremely talented landscape photographer called Thomas Heaton whose YouTube videos I find very instructive and entertaining. Recently he featured a new product he was sent to try out: the Loupedeck, a physical console that lets you control Lightroom (the main software I use to sort, catalog and edit my photographs).

        [...]

        So, I cancelled my Loupedeck order and found a very reasonable MIDI controller for $65 from Adorama and ordered it instead (my lovely daughter is going to pay for it for Father’s Day — it’s so nice she’s earning her own money), and downloaded the open source midi2lr software (midi to Lightroom, get it?).

  • Programming/Development

    • Getting started with Go

      That history starts with C. In many ways, C is the Latin of programming languages. It inspired JavaScript, Ruby, Python, C++, C#, and Java. A few of those languages are even written in C. It’s easy to spot C’s influence by looking at if/else and control flow statements in any of the aforementioned languages. C was originally Dennis Ritchie and was used to build Unix. From there, C found its way to the heart of Linux, where C has continued to be the language of choice.

      Go was created by legends from this Unix and C era. While working at Google, Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike, and Ken Thompson found themselves frustrated by the common pitfalls of C-family languages. As Bjarne Stroustroup, creator of C++ puts it: “C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot; C++ makes it harder, but when you do it blows your whole leg off.”

    • Some Thoughts on Python-Like Languages

      I am not fond of change for change’s sake, but new opportunities often bring new priorities and challenges with them. What then if Python as people insist on it today, with all the extra features added over the years to satisfy various petitioners and trends, is actually the weakness itself? What if the Python-like languages can adapt to these changes, and by having to confront their incompatibilities with hastily-written code from the 1990s and code employing “because it’s there” programming techniques, they can adapt to the changing environment while delivering much of what people like about Python in the first place? What if Python itself cannot?

      “Why don’t you go and use something else if you don’t like what Python is?” some might ask. Certainly, Free Software itself is far more important to me than any adherence to Python. But I can also choose to make that other language something that carries forward the things I like about Python, not something that looks and behaves completely differently. And in doing so, at least I might gain a deeper understanding of what matters to me in Python, even if others refuse the lessons and the opportunities such Python-like languages can provide.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Wisconsin speech bill might allow students to challenge science professors

      And, of course, some are worried that students could use this law to shield themselves from having to recognize scientific facts that are publicly controversial. When one Democrat at a hearing asked Republican Representative and bill sponsor Jesse Kremer whether a geology professor would be allowed to tell a student who believed the Earth to be 6,000 years old that they are wrong, Kremer bristled. “The Earth is 6,000 years old. That’s a fact,” he said. (The Earth is, as a matter of empirical fact, a little over 4.5 billion years old.)

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Air pollution more harmful to children in cars than outside, warns top scientist

      Children are at risk of dangerous levels of air pollution in cars because exposure to toxic air is often far higher inside than outside vehicles, a former government chief scientific adviser has warned.

      Prof Sir David King, writing for the Guardian, says walking or cycling to school would be much better for children’s health. The warning comes as the UK government faces a third legal defeat for failing to tackle the country’s illegal levels of air pollution. Air pollution is known to damage children’s developing lungs but recent research also indicates it harms children’s ability to learn at school and may damage their DNA.

    • California gov to work with China on clean energy tech, defying US reversal

      On Tuesday, California Governor Jerry Brown and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology agreed to work together on climate issues. The governor pledged to work with China to push forward clean energy technology like carbon capture and storage, emissions trading, and other “climate positive” efforts, according to Reuters. The news comes just a week after US President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement.

    • Obama: Paris climate pact still has a chance

      Former President Barack Obama on Tuesday further criticized President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, while saying he believes the agreement still has a chance.

      “Obviously I’m disappointed with the current American administration decision to put out of Paris,” Obama said during a speech at the Montreal Chamber of Commerce, according to The Associated Press.

      “We’re going to have to act with more urgency. I’m looking forward to the United States being a leader and not just on the sidelines going forward,” he added.

  • Finance

    • NAFTA Is Broken. Trump Has All the Wrong Fixes.
    • Uber CEO Kalanick may be about to go on enforced leave

      The company which is valued at over £50bn but has, thus far, failed to make a profit, would struggle to oust Mr Kalanick altogether as he holds a huge amount of stock in his business, but the board are getting increasingly frustrated with his antics and clear lack of public relations savvy.

    • Uber Weighs Leave of Absence for Chief Executive

      “This starts at the very top,” said Micah Alpern, a principal at A. T. Kearney, a top management and consulting firm. “They need to start from scratch to create a new culture entirely.”

    • Uber’s Michael Is Said to Blame Board, Not Behavior, for Ouster

      He places the blame on the directors, particularly investor Bill Gurley, for his removal, accusing them of not having the backbone to stand by him amid what he sees as largely mischaracterized and inconsequential controversies, the people said.>

    • Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says he’ll take a leave of absence

      Uber’s embattled CEO, Travis Kalanick, told employees today that he will take an indefinite leave of absence.

    • Nokia wraps up talks, cuts 170 jobs in Finland

      The network equipment manufacturer confirmed on Friday that three-quarters of the cuts will be made across its business divisions and support functions in Espoo and the remaining one-quarter in Oulu and Tampere – the majority by the end of 2017.

    • European mobile users this week get a nice bonus for being part of the EU

      Residents of European Union countries will be able to make wireless calls, use data, and send texts without any additional roaming charges when they travel anywhere in the EU as new rules take effect on June 15.

      The roaming surcharges for using a mobile phone outside of one’s home country in Europe were already a small fraction of what they used to be, the result of a campaign stretching for at least a decade and strict caps put in place in April 2016. Eliminating extra charges when an EU resident moves about the bloc was, after all, one of the high-level promises of regional integration.

    • Theresa May losing half her Brexit ministers days before talks with the EU were meant to start

      Theresa May is losing half her Brexit ministers, it emerged tonight just days before talks with the EU were meant to start.

      Sources confirmed Lord Bridges, the Exiting the EU Department’s representative in the House of Lords, had resigned to pursue business interests.

      Meanwhile David Jones was ditched from a junior ministerial role in a reshuffle as Mrs May reworked her top team.

    • Another cost of Brexit: UK waste companies are paying more for Europe to treat their trash

      The association for British waste-management companies has some concerns about Brexit. Its members send some 3 million metric tons of refuse every year to European facilities for treatment, and with the pound’s slide since last year’s referendum, their euro-denominated contracts are getting more expensive.

      That’s not the only concern that Jacob Hayler, executive director of the Environmental Services Association, laid out to a group of Harvard researchers looking into the effects of Brexit on small- and medium-sized UK firms. There’s also a concern about whether future UK policy will align with current EU targets for recycling and municipal waste.

    • May must change Brexit tack to stay in power – ex-leader Hague

      British Prime Minister Theresa May needs to start cooperating with businesses and other parties on Brexit if her government is to survive, former Conservative Party leader William Hague said.

      Hague, Britain’s foreign secretary between 2010 and 2014, said this change of strategy would have to take place in the next few weeks before divorce talks with the European Union begin in earnest.

      Despite her party’s expectations of a landslide victory, May lost her majority in parliament in last week’s election, pushing her into rushed talks on a support agreement with a small eurosceptic Northern Irish Protestant party.

    • The weak and wobbly economy inherited by the UK’s weak and wobbly new government

      Last week, Brits went to the polls for the third time in two years and, once again, defied expectations.

      Prime minister Theresa May took a gamble with the governing Conservative Party’s parliamentary majority by calling a snap election and lost the bet. Instead of May’s promise of “strong and stable leadership,” the UK now has a hung parliament. May is sticking around and trying to form a minority government, which is looking weaker, more beholden to compromise, and significantly more unstable than it was just a week ago. And she has to lead the UK out of the European Union as smoothly as possible.

    • Can Brexit be reversed?

      Although the UK voted to leave the EU on Jun. 23 last year, it wasn’t until Mar. 29 that it formally began the exit process. Brexit was officially initiated when prime minister at the time Theresa May sent a notification to the EU that triggered Article 50, a clause in the Lisbon Treaty that binds together the bloc’s members.

      The clause gives the UK two years to negotiate the terms of its exit. What is not clear, however, is whether the triggering of Article 50 can be revoked and thus whether Brexit can be reversed. It’s a crucial question, because if the answer is yes, that means the UK would have an insurance policy against disaster: that if things were to go horribly wrong in the exit negotiation process, the UK could walk back the decision to leave the EU.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • “Covfefe”—there’s a congressional act for that now

      It was just last week when press secretary Sean Spicer said President Donald Trump’s tweets should be viewed as the president’s official position.

      “The president is president of the United States, so they are considered official statements by the president of the United States,” he said.

    • Oliver Stone Talks to ‘The Nation’ About His New Documentary ‘The Putin Interviews’

      Three-time Academy Award winner Oliver Stone—the Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient who made some of Hollywood’s greatest antiwar movies—was interviewed on the anniversary of D-Day at his Santa Monica office. The hallmark of Stone’s cinematic oeuvre has been artistically creating counternarratives, which has pitted him against not only government forces but also the mainstream media. In 1986, when President Ronald Reagan pursued the Iran-Contra covert operation Stone showed the other side of the story in Central America in the riveting Salvador. Later that year and in 1989, with the Vietnam-set Best Picture Oscar winner Platoon and Best Picture nominee Born on the Fourth of July, Stone took on militarism with his war-is-hell classics. While Reagan ballyhooed unbridled capitalism, in 1987’s Wall Street Stone questioned the “greed is good” ethos. Perhaps most memorable is Stone’s demolishing of the Warren Commission Report in 1991’s JFK, implicating US intelligence agents in the Kennedy assassination. And in his colossal 796-minute 2012 documentary series, Untold History of the United States, Stone compellingly presented an alternative view of the Cold War and more.

    • Revealed: Theresa May plotted election ‘two weeks earlier than No 10 said’

      Theresa May was secretly discussing the election up to two weeks before she supposedly decided to call it during a walking holiday in Wales, senior Tories have told the Evening Standard.

    • Jeremy Corbyn is playing the long game – if history is indeed repeating itself, he will be the Prime Minister

      Like most things in politics, if you look around you tend to find that something thought of as extraordinary and unprecedented has happened before. Or something very like it.

      It may be no accident that John McDonnell – one of the principal architects of Labour’s remarkable resurgence – and Jeremy Corbyn sound like they’ve been following the 1974 example, the last time Britain had a hung parliament and the formation of a minority government. They’re of an age to remember it well. McDonnell often speaks of it. They’ve been doing their history homework.

    • May set for rough ride as Corbyn prepares for Queen’s Speech assault

      Theresa May’s difficulties look set to continue as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn prepares to use the Queen’s Speech to challenge the prime minister’s wavering authority.

      The Queen’s Speech is the formal occasion when a new government spells out its plans for the coming parliament.

      It is one of the few times the monarch is permitted to enter Parliament. The speech is set to occur on June 19 but may now be postponed due to the pressure of Brexit talks and Tory coalition negotiations.

    • A message to the rebels: work with Jeremy Corbyn and Labour can win

      Should it be Yvette, or should it be Chuka? Or maybe Keir Starmer? Lisa Nandy? If none of them dislodge Jeremy, there’s the nascent new centre-left party, preparations well under way. This was the talk at some Labour gatherings to watch the election right up until 10pm last Thursday when the exit poll landed. Now all leadership bids have been quietly shelved, and the only real questions for Labour moderates are whether they want to, and whether they will be asked to, rejoin the shadow cabinet.

    • Clive Lewis just gave a stark warning to any Labour MPs plotting against Corbyn [AUDIO]

      Labour MP Clive Lewis issued a stark warning to those within the party who seek to undermine Jeremy Corbyn. And while he directed his message at one dissenting MP, it serves as a reminder that there are still those who want to see Corbyn fail.

      [...]

      …while some people in Labour still don’t believe in Corbyn, the figures speak for themselves…

    • Jeremy Corbyn urged to bring big hitters back into shadow cabinet to hold reeling Tories to account

      Jeremy Corbyn is being urged to bring Labour’s biggest hitters back into his shadow cabinet in a reshuffle due to start later this week.

      Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said it is time for Labour to stop celebrating their election result and focus on strengthening the front bench team to hold the wounded Tories to account.

      “We have had our celebrations now, it’s time to take on the Tories,” he told ITV’s Good Morning Britain.

      “The time is probably right to strengthen the shadow cabinet. Of course it would be a good opportunity to strengthen the squad.”

    • Jeremy Corbyn​ has won the first battle in a long ​war​ against the ruling elite

      To stop Jeremy Corbyn, the British elite is prepared to abandon Brexit – first in its hard form and, if necessary, in its entirety. That is the logic behind all the manoeuvres, all the cant and all the mea culpas you will see mainstream politicians and journalists perform this week.

      And the logic is sound. The Brexit referendum result was supposed to unleash Thatcherism 2.0 – corporate tax rates on a par with Ireland, human rights law weakened, and perpetual verbal equivalent of the Falklands war, only this time with Brussels as the enemy; all opponents of hard Brexit would be labelled the enemy within.

      But you can’t have any kind of Thatcherism if Corbyn is prime minister. Hence the frantic search for a fallback line. Those revolted by the stench of May’s rancid nationalism will now find it liberally splashed with the cologne of compromise.

    • Tom Watson asks May: did Murdoch request Gove’s return to cabinet?

      The Labour deputy leader, Tom Watson, has written to Theresa May asking if Rupert Murdoch asked her to reappoint Michael Gove to the cabinet or face bad press in his newspaper titles.

      Gove’s shock return as environment secretary comes a little over a year after May fired him as justice secretary following his ill-fated attempt to lead the Conservative party.

    • Key Labour critics of Jeremy Corbyn issue public climbdowns in wake of shock election result

      Senior Labour MPs have publicly shifted their stance on Jeremy Corbyn after the Labour leader defied expectations to increase the party’s vote share and number of parliamentary seats.

      Moderate MPs who had previously been critical of their leader today praised the campaign he had run and said he should be applauded for the election result.

      Chuka Umunna, who has previously hinted that Mr Corbyn’s “flaws” could “destroy the Labour Party”, said: “[Theresa May] is not up to campaigning, being with people and talking to people about the issues – that was exposed in technicolour. Whereas Jeremy is absolutely at home campaigning, talking to people, getting involved in the debate.

    • Jeremy Corbyn could be forming his own government within weeks – and without another election

      Imagine there was a turkey farm where they were not just being asked to vote for Christmas, but where the turkeys had organised themselves into various groups and each group had different ideas about who’d do better out of Christmas than the other lot; and where they could actually try to move the date of Christmas; and where the rules about voting for or against Christmas were almost impossible to understand in any case.

      That’s more or less where the UK is now: a dysfunctional version of the Bernard Matthews estate – stuffed.

      The question “When will the next election be?” ought to be easy to answer. It is not. The answer should be “not before 5 May 2022”. Beyond that – in terms of the formal legal position – it is extremely difficult to be, in the buzzword of the moment, “certain”. It is likely to be before 5 May 2022.

    • The press were biased against Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour in the election, study finds

      Unlike 2015, Labour and Conservatives dominated the news coverage in 2017.

      84 per cent of the featured politicians in the news were from the Labour or Conservative parties.

      Theresa May was more dominant than Jeremy Corbyn at the start of the campaign, but gradually grew in press coverage.

    • Corbyn assembles his alternative government

      Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet meets today for the first time since the election and the Labour leader is being urged to reappoint its members because of their loyalty during the campaign. There have been indications that Corbyn might reach out to past critics including Yvette Cooper, Angela Eagle and Chuka Umunna, who have said they would be willing to serve. But Clive Efford, chair of the party’s Tribune Group, said: “Jeremy has got a shadow cabinet that remained loyal and allowed him to perform extremely well during the general election. He can’t sack those people. They deserve to be rewarded for what they have done.”

    • Why a Labour majority at the next election has become far easier
    • I was part of the Corbyn youth surge – here’s why

      Since David Cameron announced the coalition government in 2010, hope and reality have, for me and many of my peers, existed in inverse proportions. When politics has impacted upon our lives in the last seven years, it has made us miserable – the trebling of tuition fees, the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance, a housing crisis that disproportionately affected us, along with a 10 per cent fall in wages.

    • It’s time to dispel the myth that another Labour leader could have done better than Jeremy Corbyn

      There’s a hypothesis floating around in the dissection of last week’s surprise events that Labour could have won an outright majority if someone other than Jeremy Corbyn had been leading the party into the election. Rather than the the most inept Conservative campaign in my living memory, the theory goes, it is down to Corbyn’s incompetence that his party is not in government today.

      Despite confounding his critics, some of them now believe a different Labour leader could have won the election outright. “Any other Labour candidate but Corbyn would have beat May,” wrote one. Another Labour MP, a prominent critic of the Labour leader, told me they share this view. “There is no doubt that with a different leader we would have won,” they said. “Jeremy energises parts of the electorate, but alienates others.

    • Corbyn’s achievement sends us a rare, resounding message: hope
    • Jeremy Corbyn urged to reappoint existing shadow cabinet
    • John Major warns Theresa May her DUP deal risks violence in Northern Ireland
    • John Major urges Theresa May to pull out of DUP deal over risk of violence returning to Northern Ireland

      John Major has urged Theresa May to pull out of a deal for the Democratic Unionist Party to prop her up in power, warning it risks a return of violence in Northern Ireland.

      In a dramatic intervention, the former Conservative prime minister warned the peace process is “fragile” and could fall part if the British government is no longer seen as “impartial”.

      “People shouldn’t regard it as a given. It’s not certain, it’s under stress, it’s fragile,” Sir John said.

      He urged the Prime Minister to pursue a minority government without “the baggage” of an agreement with the DUP.

    • Jo Cox asked tough questions – and so should we

      One year ago, an act of terrible violence robbed the nation of a passionate and principled woman. MP Jo Cox represented some of the best aspects of our political tradition, and her proclamation in her maiden speech to Parliament – that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us – has profoundly touched many since her death.

    • Jo Cox asked the tough questions – so should we

      One year ago, an act of terrible violence robbed the nation of a passionate and principled woman. MP Jo Cox represented some of the best aspects of our political tradition, and her proclamation in her maiden speech to parliament – that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us – has profoundly touched many since her death.

    • I’m one of the few people who’s been allowed an insider look at the DUP – and they’re not as bad as you think
    • Jeremy Corbyn is in an EXCEPTIONALLY good mood this morning
    • Jeremy Corbyn To Tour 60 Tory Marginals As He Keeps Labour On ‘General Election Footing’

      Jeremy Corbyn is to tour 60 Tory marginal seats as he puts Labour on “permanent campaign mode” in case Theresa May’s government falls.

      The Labour leader won huge cheers and applause as he hailed the party’s progress in winning 30 seats and depriving May of her Parliamentary majority in the June 8 poll.

      Addressing the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) on Tuesday night in the House of Commons, Corbyn declared that his top team was now “a Government in waiting”.

    • #Grime4Corbyn: grime artists explain why they backed Labour

      I first saw Jeremy Corbyn’s face in a picture frame that sat in my living room. My parents were in the photo with him. I’m from Maiden Lane Estate in Camden. It’s not in Corbyn’s Islington North constituency, but around here a lot of people can tell you stories of how Jeremy helped them – as he helped with my various problems with police harassment and malicious prosecution.

      The reason why so many of us organised and mobilised others – through social media, knocking on doors or organising events – was because we knew the strength of his character; that he wouldn’t renege on promises, unlike Nick Clegg, whose party went from losing four-fifths of their MPs to him losing his own seat. Corbyn answers questions with thoughtfulness and without contempt for those who are suffering and want answers.

    • Tony Blair, you threw my party to the wolves during Corbyn’s general election campaign – it’s time for an apology
    • Busted! Floundering Theresa May has even resorted to stealing Jeremy Corbyn’s slogans
    • Former Tory minister’s advisor reveals why she voted for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour

      A former advisor to a Tory minister has revealed why she voted for Jeremy Corbyn ‘s Labour.

      Emily Poole spent more than three years working for the party – including as a special advisor to former Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb.

      But just 15 months after she left, the 29-year-old has revealed she cast her vote for Labour in the general election.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Theresa May Tries To Push Forward With Plans To Kill Encryption, While Her Party Plots Via Encrypted Whatsapp

      Of course, as you’ve certainly heard by now, last Thursday’s general election in the UK (understatement alert!) didn’t quite go according to Theresa May’s plan, and she’s now left in a much weaker position with many people expecting she will not survive long as Prime Minister. And yet, showing her uncanny ability to double down on the absolute wrong thing, May is insisting she’s moving ahead with her plans to regulate the internet, which will require vast censorship and a breaking of encryption. On the encryption angle, she’s already got some Parliamentary support given that (as we and others warned at the time!) the Snooper’s Charter (“Investigatory Powers Act”) included a bit that would require anyone offering encrypted communications to unencrypt those communications (which is impossible if the encryption is strong end-to-end, and only possible with broken, insecure, fake “encryption”).

    • Australia’s AG Says Public Will Be Cool With Encryption Backdoors Because They Use Facebook

      In what has become standard operating procedure following a terrorist attack in any part of the (western) world, a top government official is calling for encryption backdoors. This call is being made despite the lack of evidence supporting the theory terrorists are encrypting their communications. And this particular call, being made by Australian Attorney General George Brandis, is being made despite Brandis claiming he’s not calling for encryption backdoors.

    • Sen. Feinstein Calls For Section 702 Reforms, No ‘Forever’ Reauthorization
    • UK police arrest man via automatic face-recognition tech

      Automatic facial recognition (AFR) technology has been used to arrest a man, the South Wales Police told Ars.

      While AFR tech has been trialled by a number of UK police forces, this appears to be the first time it has led to an arrest.

      South Wales Police didn’t provide details about the nature of the arrest, presumably because it’s an ongoing case.

      Back in April, it emerged that South Wales Police planned to scan the faces “of people at strategic locations in and around the city centre” ahead of the UEFA Champions League final, which was played at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on June 3.

    • Corporate Surveillance in Everyday Life

      Report: How thousands of companies monitor, analyze, and influence the lives of billions. Who are the main players in today’s digital tracking? What can they infer from our purchases, phone calls, web searches, and Facebook likes? How do online platforms, tech companies, and data brokers collect, trade, and make use of personal data?

    • Untangling the other dark web – of pervasive, inescapable, corporate surveillance

      Visitors to this site are well aware of how our every move is tracked as we move around the Internet. We know that companies are building minutely-detailed profiles of us, stored on huge databases, and that the information held there not only changes the ads we see, and the prices that companies offer us when we visit e-commerce sites, but even the mix of news stories that we view. The scale of this “surveillance capitalism”, as it has been called, is vast. One recent study looked at a million Web sites, and found that over 80,000 third-party services receive details about the visitors to them.

    • Conservative plans for Internet clampdown are a distraction

      Open Rights Group has responded to Theresa May’s post-election hints that she will continue with Conservative plans for Internet clampdowns.

    • Oz government says UK’s backdoor will be its not-a-backdoor model

      The issue of lawful access to encrypted communications featured in Australia’s news over the long weekend, but we’re none the wiser to what our government has in mind beyond it being based on the UK Investigatory Powers Act.

      Both prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and attorney-general George Brandis took to the media to reiterate their argument that pervasive encryption is problematic for law enforcement.

      Brandis has said again that the government doesn’t want a backdoor (as in, a weakness planted in cryptosystems to make them government-crackable).

      Fairfax Media reported he wants new warrant arrangements between Australia and the USA, so that if he signs a warrant the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation can present it to US authorities to get access to communications conducted through US platforms.

    • Supreme Court To Consider Fourth Amendment Implications Of Cell Site Location Info

      We’ve been waiting a long time for the Supreme Court to tackle the Fourth Amendment implications of cell site location info. After putting it off for as long as possible (or so it seems…), the nation’s top court is finally ready to handle yesterday’s hotly-disputed tech/privacy issue.

    • ePrivacy : no time for weakness

      June will be a decisive month for the future of our privacy and the confidentiality of our electronic communications. The future “ePrivacy” Regulation now being debated in the European Parliament is divisive, brings back unpleasant memories from when the General Data Protection Regulation was negotiated. Since the publication for opinion of two utterly opposing reports, all eyes are now turned toward the main rapporteur, Marju Lauristin, who is supposed to present her text on June 21. Will we see courage or weakness in the face of the lobbies? Civil liberty and innovative models, or exploitation and surveillance capitalism? La Quadrature du Net has made its choice, and will certainly continue to defend it over the long months of negotiation ahead.

    • EFF Sues FBI Over Withheld NSL Guideline Documents

      The EFF has been instrumental in assisting ISPs in their fights against National Security Letters and their accompanying gag orders. To date, thanks to the a change in the law (in response to an NSL lawsuit by the EFF and the implementation of the USA Freedom Act) and entities like the EFF applying pressure, the public is finally getting a chance to see what’s contained in these warrantless demands for subscriber info.

      Hopefully, the new avenues available to ISPs to challenge gag orders will result in a steady stream of released NSLs. More importantly, maybe the forced transparency will result in the FBI dialing back its use of NSLs — something it does thousands of times a year and, worse, a way to route around FISA Court rejections.

    • Really, how much surveillance is enough?

      At which point will this become dangerous, for real? Should we say stop? Can we say stop? Is it too late to say stop? Discuss.

    • Every page your print can be traced back to you

      “We didn’t advertise it much to the people that had [the printers]. We didn’t not tell them if they asked. The salespeople were told, ‘Don’t lead with it in any sales, but if they ask you about it, you can tell them we have the security feature in there.’”

    • Mass surveillance reform is one issue where Republicans and Democrats can work together

      Just months after railing against the possibility of inappropriate spying during the election, the Trump Administration last week came out in support of permanently reauthorizing Section 702, a surveillance authority used to spy on Americans without a warrant. The position is likely to draw ire from members of both parties, because if there is one issue in hyper-partisan Washington that Republicans and Democrats agree on, it’s that Congress should reform – not make permanent – Section 702.

    • Intel Chief Says He Cannot Reveal How Many Americans the NSA Spied On Because He Cannot Count Them All
    • White House Makes It Official: It Wants to Keep Snooping on Americans
    • The US Intelligence Community Can Share Your Personal Information With Other Governments, and We’re Demanding Answers
    • Accused NSA Leaker May Be Treated Harshly As An Example, Experts Say
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Uber fires 20 employees as fallout from sexual harassment investigation

      Uber CEO Travis Kalanick kicked off a sexual harassment investigation in February after a female engineer said that institutional sexism at the ride-hailing company had forced her to quit her job.

    • Can you commit manslaughter by sending texts? We’re about to find out

      An involuntary manslaughter trial began Tuesday for a Massachusetts woman who as a teen texted her boyfriend and urged him to commit suicide.

    • Putin critic Alexei Navalny ‘detained’ before Moscow protest

      Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been detained at home ahead of a planned unauthorised protest in Moscow, his wife says.

      “Alexei has been arrested in the entrance to our block of flats,” Yuliya Navalnaya wrote on Twitter, adding “our plans haven’t changed”.

      Mr Navalny earlier called on supporters to attend anti-corruption rallies across Russia.

      There have been several arrests at protests in the east of the country.

    • Citing Trump’s tweet, appeals court rules against president’s travel ban

      The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, said Trump’s banning of nationals from six largely Muslim nations from entering the US “makes no finding that nationality alone renders entry of this broad class of individuals a heightened security risk to the United States.” The court said that the president, based on his own tweet, has signed an overly broad executive order that illegally targets people solely because of their country of origin.

    • Trump Lawyer Threatens To Report A Former FBI Employee To The Inspector General

      As any law enforcement official can tell you, privacy expectations in shared conversations only stretch as far as the other participants are willing to take them. Even in an executive branch setting, an informal conversation does not instantly become classified or top secret or whatever it is the president wishes it was the moment it ends.

      There also is no leak. Comey’s personal memorializations of conversations with someone unrelated to an ongoing investigation are not the sort of thing that can be leaked — at least not in the context being used by Trump’s lawyer. Comey can hand out copies of these memos to whoever he wants, because they’re his recollections, not FBI investigative documents.

      If Trump is seeking someone to blame for Comey’s actions, he has no one to blame but himself. It’s become apparent Comey was fired for not pledging his allegiance to Trump, rather than for any genuine misdeeds related to his job as FBI director. Once Trump unceremoniously shitcanned Comey, any hope Comey might keep his conversational memos secret was lost forever. These statements by Trump’s lawyer are legal grandstanding. There’s nothing in them of substance. But there doesn’t have to be. The assertions appeal to Trump’s base, and to President Trump, that’s all that really matters.

    • Court: State Not Justified In Seizing Grandmother’s House After Her Son Sold $140 Of Marijuana

      Pennsylvania has some of the worst civil asset forfeiture laws in the country. At the top of list of perverse incentives? 100% of proceeds go to the agency that seized the property. As a result, all sorts of abusive forfeitures occur. In one case, law enforcement seized a couple’s house because of a single $40 drug sale by their son.

      Legislators in Pennsylvania haven’t made much of dent with their reform efforts. Attempts have been made but every bill presented has been gutted by law enforcement lobbyists before passage. Nothing has made its way to the governor’s desk yet, which is just as well because the disemboweled bills are reform-in-name-only.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The 8 members of Congress that support the FCC’s net neutrality repeal received over $4.5 million in telecom donations

      According to Represent.Us, over the years, these House Representatives have received millions of dollars from telecom companies including Comcast and Verizon. Below are the names and the amount of telecom money that these members of Congress have received. [...]

    • Verizon grudgingly agrees to fix thousands of copper network problems

      Verizon and a union representing its workers have reached a settlement requiring the company to fix thousands of problems in areas of Pennsylvania where it hasn’t upgraded its copper network to fiber.

    • OSI Joins Internet-wide Day of Action to Protect Net Neutrality

      Right now, new FCC Chairman and former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai has a plan to destroy net neutrality and give big cable companies immense control over what we see and do online. If they get their way, the FCC will give companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T control over what we can see and do on the Internet, with the power to slow down or block websites and charge apps and sites extra fees to reach an audience.

    • Broadband speeds have soared under net neutrality rules, cable lobby says

      The cable industry’s top lobbying group has consistently claimed that the US’ current net neutrality rules harm network investment and raise costs for consumers.

      Yet that same group is now bragging about dramatic increases in broadband speeds and claiming that broadband prices are going down.

      The NCTA—The Internet & Television Association—touted Akamai’s latest State of the Internet Report this month in a post titled, “America’s Internet speeds continue to soar.”

    • Wisconsin Senator Johnson Calls Net Neutrality ‘A Slogan,’ Laments The Lack Of ‘Fast Lanes’

      Apparently hoping to generate some support for his unpopular plan to gut oversight of one of the least competitive business sectors in America, FCC boss Ajit Pai left DC last week to do a tour of some midwestern states. During that tour he stopped in Milwaukee to talk about net neutrality with Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson on WTMJ Radio (you can listen to the full interview here).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • WIPO Members Consider Future Of Committee On Traditional Knowledge, Folklore

      The fate of the World Intellectual Property Organization committee addressing misappropriation of the cultural heritage of indigenous peoples will be decided by the annual WIPO General Assembly in October. But the committee this week is expected to provide recommendations on its future work, on the renewal of its mandate, and whether work accomplished over the last two years can lead to a high-level negotiation on one or several treaties giving indigenous peoples increased rights over their culture.

    • WIPO Seminar Looks At Protection Of Folklore

      The World Intellectual Property Organization committee in charge of seeking solutions to protect traditional cultural expressions (folklore) from misuse meets this week. On the eve of the meeting, a preambular seminar looked at key policy issues of such protection and if current international instruments could provide for such solutions.

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom can’t get back millions worth of assets US seized, feds say
      • Judge Orders MCSK To Cease Collecting Royalties For Kenyan Musicians

        The saga of the Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) over the past couple of years has certainly been interesting to watch. In the summer of 2015, the Kenyan government responded to some fairly damning reports about just how little money MCSK was paying artists as part of its copyright collection scheme with a tongue-lashing. It also demanded that MCSK open up detailed books on its business and itemize how much it was collecting, paying artists, and paying itself in administrative fees. When the group responded with reports that might as well have been written in crayon for all the professionalism they showed, the government elected to strip MCSK of its collection license as a Collective Management Organization (CMO), instead setting up new collection groups that it for some reason thought would be less corrupt. I’m sure the Kenyan government thought that would be the end of MCSK.

      • EU Copyright Proposal: Not Good, But Not As Blatantly Terrible As It Could Have Been

        We recently warned that there were efforts underway to make the EU’s copyright reform proposal even more draconian and ridiculous. Thankfully, the “compromise,” which wasn’t a compromise at all and would have made things much worse, was rejected by the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) committee, but there was still plenty of bad stuff to be concerned about.

      • Drake Winning Sampling Case Over Fair Use Is Big News… But Still Demonstrates The Madness Of Music Licensing

        Something big happened last week in the world of music and copyright: a case about a music sample was won on fair use grounds. This basically never happens for a variety of problematic historical reasons. And yet, it did. The hip hop artist Drake was found not to be infringing on a Jimmy Smith composition due to fair use. And that’s a big deal — though the case also highlights the ongoing madness of today’s copyright licensing laws (even beyond sampling). But we’ll get there eventually. Let’s start with the issue of copyright and sampling.

A Massive Proponent of UPC, CIPA, Enters IP Kat, as Readers Call Out Stacked UPC ‘Panels’

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The blog of Jeremy Phillips seems to have become more like a think tank after his retirement

Stephen Jones of CIPASummary: On matters of patents, IP Kat continues moving to the right (patent maximalism, acceptance of Battistelli’s regime, UPC bubble and so on) and commentary to the contrary is not being accepted

THE previous post spoke of the latest censorship by the 'Kats', who rarely if ever write something truthful or objective about the UPC. It often seems like the blog became an EPO megaphone after the EPO had threatened/sanctioned it. It’s very important that people out there can discern/recognise UPC boosters (sometimes paid for it) as they tend to dominate the discussion. They use their money or their ‘weight’ to set up bogus forums (at times funded by EPO money) and infiltrate the media. James Nurton from Managing IP, for example, having spoken to Battistelli several times and also helped organise pro-UPC events, continues to prop up the illusion/delusion of UPC inevitability. “Patent practitioners will soon be using the UPC case management system,” he wrote.

Bull****.

“Judging by the comments, Jeremy Phillips is aware of this and appears to have no problem with this.”We are sad to see that statements such as these — the wishful thinking of Team UPC — continue to percolate onto sites which proclaim to be “news” sites. Even so-called ‘blogs’ have turned into little beyond marketing. Kluwer Patent Blog has begun publishing some criticisms of the EPO (usually from Thorsten Bausch, who is a brave man), whereas IP Kat gets more extreme over time. Adding to the toxicity from Bristow, IP Kat now takes even people from CIPA (another massive booster of the UPC). It won’t end well. Stephen Jones has just been introduced as “current VP of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA).” These are the people who lobby our politicians hardest for the UPC, often misleading them, pressuring them, and lying to journalists. We could think of expletives to add to this paragraph, but to keep it polite, CIPA is perhaps the worst messenger on this topic — even worse than Bristows!

So we know what to expect. Judging by the comments, Jeremy Phillips is aware of this and appears to have no problem with this. It’s worth noting that Darren Smyth is leaving the blog after exploiting that blog for his own UPC agenda (marketing).

Thankfully, people in the comments are not exactly tolerating the bias. The other day someone wrote that it’s “amazing to see how wishful thinking is acting” in UPC propaganda (this thread was covered here before). Here is the comment in full:

It is amazing to see how wishful thinking is acting. I fully agree with proof of the pudding.

You may read Opinion 1/09 anyway you like, but it does not say that non-EU members can be part of the UPCA. The possibility to refer questions to the CJEU is and stays reserved to member states of the EU. Do you think the CJEU will simply accept referrals to it by any court in a non-member state of the EU?

If this would be possible, we would have heard about it, and EPLA would have been adapted to provide for this possibility.

What other safeguards would be needed, beside at least the ability to refer questions to the CJEU? What about enforcement? Lugano yes, but.

Looking at another thread (in the second part), the UPC ‘panel’ that got stacked by EPO and Bristows et al is recognised for what it really is. It’s not a debate but just lobbying. The coverage from IP Kat refrains from saying it, but the comments basically state the obvious about “Bristows law firm [which is] the sometimes almost radical pro-UPC [with] activities of which are meanwhile notorious…”

Here is the full comment:

How convenient to hold such discussions exclusively amongst pro-UPC people the results of which can afterwards be sold to the general public as constituting some kind of ‘general bottom line understanding’.

It is worth noting the following with regard to both parts of this article:

Tim Frain is sitting on the UPC Expert Panel (www.unified-patent-court.org/news/chairman-invites-new-expert-panel-advise-preparatory-committee) – what do you expect to hear from him?

Michael Froehlich is an EPO employee – again: what do you expect to hear from him?

Alan Johnson is a partner at the Bristows law firm the sometimes almost radical pro-UPC activities of which are meanwhile notorious – so: as before.

Against this background, it does not come as a surprise that this post is conveniently presenting a number of very controversial questions in a manner as if reliable answers to them not only existed, but were even being supported by a majority and, of course, always in the sense of the UPC proponents! Maybe people without expertise in this field will fall victim to such obvious manipulation. All those with a deeper understanding of the situation and of the highly complex legal and political situation can only shake their heads about such clumsy and a little naive attempts of pro-UPC marketing.

Someone then points out: “Perhaps those with opposing views will come out under their cloak of anonymity and set out their opposition to these points with references to the UPCA articles, Opinion 1/09 and constitutional European law for all to discuss and debate. Seems a quick solution to some of the complaints – legitimate and otherwise – raised about the UPC debate.”

The above panel attempted to convince people that the UPC was just about to happen, but as the following comment clarified, the UPC Agreement remains incompatible with Article 50 being invoked and the UK leaving the EU:

Tim – many thanks for your comments. With respect, however, I think that you are missing the main point here.

Perhaps I can best illustrate that point by posing the following question: what is the legal basis for the ability of the UPC to refer questions to the CJEU?

The answer, of course, is that the UPC is a court that forms part of the national legal order of the EU Member States. Being such a (national) court would allow the UPC to make references under the provisions of Article 267 TFEU.

This explains why Article 21 of the UPC Agreement reads as follows:
“As a court common to the Contracting Member States and as part of their judicial system, the Court shall cooperate with the Court of Justice of the European Union to ensure the correct application and uniform interpretation of Union law, as any national court, in accordance with Article 267 TFEU in particular. Decisions of the Court of Justice of the European Union shall be binding on the Court”.

Now, I do not think that it is impossible that there might be other ways in which the UPC could be granted authority to refer questions to the CJEU – perhaps even if the Member States of the UPC Agreement include non-EU countries. However, as things currently stand, Article 267 TFEU is the sole basis on which the UPC could refer such questions. Thus, if the UPC is not actually “part of the national legal order” of EU Member States, then that removes the sole basis upon which it can make a reference.

And the next comment said:

When one sees the difficulties in dealing with trademarks, what could it be if UK would quickly ratify the UPC to exit the agreement at the end of Brexit.

All those who claim that UK could stay in the UPC, seem to take they wish for reality.

In summary, nowadays the ‘Kats’ are basically people with vested interests in the UPC, citing or promoting views of other people with vested interests in the UPC while selectively deleting comments they don’t want anyone to see. What does that make IP Kat?

In Spite of Censorship by IP Kat, Issues Associated With UPC Had Become Apparent, Even Before Germany Halted Ratification

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related: Astoundingly, IP Kat Has Become a Leading Source of UPC and Battistelli Propaganda

Bristows EPO

Summary: IP Kat is allegedly still censoring comments whilst at the same time delivering promotional UPC puff pieces, notably but not only composed by Bristows staff, without even stating vested interests (disclosure of bias/agenda)

NOW that Germany cannot ratify the UPC, for various reasons we have already explained [1, 2, 3], we would like to take a look back (only a few days prior to this latest development) and show the mentality of brainwash which became so prevalent in some pro-trolls circles. People are being misled and fed misinformation, resulting in actions and decisions that harm them financially or at least mentally.

“People are being misled and fed misinformation, resulting in actions and decisions that harm them financially or at least mentally.”We already know that the EPO‘s management lies as a matter of routine and norm, but it’s saddening to see IP Kat joining that club. IP Kat even promotes the agenda of patent trolls and ends up sucking up to judges who open the door to patent trolls in the UK. This may soon happen again because IAM, which is paid by trolls, noted: “Back in April in the High Court in London, Justice Colin Birss issued the UK’s first-ever FRAND/SEP-related decision in the Unwired Planet v Huawei case. The detailed reasoning that Birss provided in his judgment, as well as the FRAND rates that he set out and his willingness to grant the NPE an injunction, attracted attention from dealmakers across the world – and offered out the prospect of the UK becoming a more favoured forum in which FRAND/SEP disputes might be decided.”

This is good for firms like Bristows, whose employee (and most prolific IP Kat blogger) Annsley Merelle Ward is being called out. As this one new comment put it, “you know how some people are trying to advance their careers these days, adoring judges as if they were some kind of popstars seems to be part of the story. Disgusting.”

“It’s somewhat sad that nowadays the comments in IP Kat are almost always more valuable than actual blog posts as comments — at least those that sneak through the thickening wall of censorship — help rebut the self-promotional nonsense in the blog posts.”Annsley Merelle Ward also expressed admiration for Microsoft’s patent extortionists after promoting their agenda in an event sponsored by them. We wrote about that earlier this year.

It’s somewhat sad that nowadays the comments in IP Kat are almost always more valuable than actual blog posts as comments — at least those that sneak through the thickening wall of censorship — help rebut the self-promotional nonsense in the blog posts. As we shall show later on, one UPC proponent has left IP Kat and another one appears to have just entered.

So, where do we stand on the UPC?

“…one UPC proponent has left IP Kat and another one appears to have just entered.”Prior to the news from Germany we saw several articles from lawyers’ sites, including “Unified Patent Court Start Date Delayed”, “Euro-court plans hit by further delays”, and “EU Unified Patent Court Won’t Open This Year,” so it looked pretty grim even without factoring Germany out. “Delay” implies inevitability, however, and we don’t think it’s merely a delay. As I put it in response to this tweet, the UPC is “not AT ALL inevitable. It’s a coup of corrupt lawyers and officials.”

It still is.

Found via one of the proponent of the UPC was this article from WIPR about the issues associated with CJEU and Brexit. To quote the relevant bits:

If the CJEU is seen as a significant component of the UPC system the UK may prefer to withdraw from it, but in reality how involved might the CJEU be, asks Lorna Brazell of Osborne Clarke.

The role of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the Unified Patent Court (UPC) might seem an arcane concern when jurisprudence on patent matters has been relatively sparse for the CJEU’s first 60 years of operation.

In recent years the court has seen an endless stream of references from the European Union Intellectual Property Office in relation to administrative challenges to decisions to grant or refuse trademarks or designs, and it is currently grappling with the protection of copyright in the digital environment.

But since Europe’s relatively harmonised patent law derives not from the EU but from the separate European Patent Convention, the CJEU’s interventions to date have been limited to the interplay between patent rights and the freedom of movement of goods or competition law.

The question may, however, be crucial to the continuation of the UPC and unitary patent system, once the UK has left the EU in 2019.

Who said it will ever get started though? These are loaded statements and misleading assumptions. Watch how certain Team UPC is that it’s going to get its way. It’s in fact so certain that it feels compelled to simply delete comments of people whom it does not agree with!

More censorship of UPC criticism at IP Kat was flagged a few days ago. To quote:

Why is the author of this post so reluctant to allow comments referencing the paper at http://bitly.com/2r1ZQdI on the Gordon/Pascoe Opinion and its implications for the topic of UPCA compatibility with EU law, as it was raised here by Proof of the Pudding?

Mysteriously, two previous comments have not yet made it to the comments section. Why is the author so eagerly blocking any mention of this assessment?

And here is the reply:

Stay on Earth and Proof of the Pudding:

You both point out problems coming from the current wording of the UPCA. No-one has suggested that there are none. So Gordon and Pascoe were asked about that, and about what changes would be needed to overcome the problems. They gave a list in their paragraphs 104-109, and they discussed how those changes could be implemented from paragraph 110 onwards.

Note for example the subtle interplay between the amendments suggested to Articles 1 and 21. These would amend the statement in Article 1 that the UPC was a court common to European Union Member States – it would just be common to the contracting states of the UPCA. And Article 21 would substitute an obligation on the UPC to cooperate with the CJEU as any national court of an EU Member State does.

So rather than relying on being part of the institutional legal order of an EU Member State, the UPC would instead be obliged to cooperate as though it was. See G&P paragraph 102 (which does nevertheless acknowledge that the CJEU’s reasoning is opaque).

As you say, there is some debate as to whether the CJEU could accept referrals from such a revised UPC. Gordon and Pascoe noted in paragraphs 85-88 that the CJEU can accept referrals from other non-EU tribunals. Interestingly, they quoted Opinion 1/09 which acknowledges this. An example is the European Common Aviation Area Agreement, under which non-EU tribunals apply EU law.

However, G&P believed that there would still need to be an international agreement between the UK and the EU to allow the CJEU to accept referrals from the UPC, and suggested this could be dealt with as part of the Brexit deal (paragraph 107).

The next comment then says that the UPC Agreement may not at all be workable:

Tim – thanks again for your comments.

Whilst your comments are certainly illuminating in some respects, they leave me a little bit confused in other respects.

Are you suggesting that the “problems” with the current UPC Agreement are that it does not permit:
(a) the participation of non-EU Member States; or
(b) the UPC to make preliminary references to the CJEU?

As far as I can see, it has to be one or the other. That is, the UPC as currently constituted is either:
(1) part of the national legal order of EU Member States (thus having the ability to make references to the CJEU, but not the ability to accommodate non-EU Member States); or
(2) not part of that national legal order (thus enabling the participation of non-EU Member States but not enabling the UPC to make references to the CJEU).

Which do you think it is?

I cannot see any logical way that the current UPC Agreement can be workable if the answer is option (2). Indeed, would that not suggest that it would be plain irresponsible for the Member States to ratify the agreement?

I think that we need to be very careful here when it comes to the question of whether the UPC has the ability to make preliminary references to the CJEU. This is because that ability is a matter of fundamental legal substance and not form. That is, the UPC cannot be granted that ability merely by writing it into the Agreement. There needs to be more than this, namely conformity of the entire Agreement (and the composition of its Member States) with the relevant provisions of EU law.

In this respect, comparisons with the ECAA are a bit deceiving. This is because the European Community was (in addition to nation states) a signatory to that Agreement. We are most definitely not in that situation with regard to the current UPC Agreement: hence, Article 267 TFEU really is all that can currently be relied upon.

Censorship is again being brought up in the next comment, which speaks of “mysterious “technical glitches” that seem to abound these days, often for comments expressing a certain position.”

Thank you for making my comment public, I desist from asking where the previous ones have gone. They also may have fallen victim to the mysterious “technical glitches” that seem to abound these days, often for comments expressing a certain position.

As to the discussion, it is, depending on the perspective, either amusing or dreadful to see some people arguing based on the Gordon/Pascoe Opinion (GPO) as if it had any kind of authority. Please note that this is an interpretation of what its authors think the legal situation is/could be, and not even a convincing one.

Of course, the GPO was commissioned for exactly this purpose, namely for creating a baseline for the discussion to follow and for drawing people’s attention away from the legal situation that was widely accepted prior to the Brexit incident, as sticking with it would make a UK participation in the UPCA at least very difficult. Even the GPO can only in part avoid the problems caused by Brexit, at the price of relying on an understanding of CJEU Opinion 1/09 that is wishful thinking at best while at the same time, and this is the point touched upon by Proof of the Pudding, lending support to the notion that the UPCA as it stands (still) violates EU law.

Frankly, looking at the style of argumentation applied in the GPO, not to mention its repeated formal/linguistic flaws, I would be surprised if a QC was involved in this beyond simply allowing his name to be put on it. I understand the strains many members of the legal profession are under as regards the UPC and the desires they have, but trying to substitute an objective legal analysis for an obviously biased, inconsistent and poorly written opinion that has been paid for by law firms and certain circles of the major industry and that appears to derive its authority mainly from the fact that it bears the name of a renowned barrister amply demonstrates the level of desperation meanwhile reached in certain circles.

Looking at another thread, here is an analogy for UPC and Brexit:

In the United States, there have been numerous attempts to reconstitute the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and all of them have failed. In fact, the politicians who make the effort to redraw the 9th Circuit’s boundaries inevitably end up badly embarrassed by professional or personal scandals. Some go so far as to joke that there is a curse of the 9th Circuit.

I am beginning to wonder if the UPC is not similarly cursed. First BREXIT, now this. It is as if the universe does not want a pan-European patent court.

The bottom line is, when comments do manage to sneak past the ‘wall’, voices of reasons become visible. Bristows have been deleting and thus suppressing such voices in at least two blogs. It’s not just Annsley Merelle Ward but also her colleague Brian Cordery (Bristows). We cannot afford to live in a world where one side’s positions simply get discarded by deletion, as the moderator is not at all neutral. It’s a coup.

The UPC Gravy Train is Claimed to Have Been “Halted” in Germany and More Oppositions or Constitutional Complaints Are on Their Way

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

A shipwreck of UPC

Summary: More information surfaces in German and British media today, shedding light on the severity of the mortal situation of the Unitary Patent, which isn’t going anywhere any time soon

THE EPO‘s management is having a hard time today. Benoît Battistelli will probably leave with no UPC in the bag and all these so-called ‘reforms’ were in vain. Destructive is an understatement.

“Benoît Battistelli will probably leave with no UPC in the bag and all these so-called ‘reforms’ were in vain.”One person asked yesterday: “Are the British now blocking Germany from being true Europeans?”

As we wrote yesterday, Germany cannot proceed without the UK or even on its own, having made some sham votes at 1 AM in the morning. As one comment put it yesterday, “the time table for starting the UPC is in tatters. There is no uncertainty about this.”

Here is the full comment:

Even if it is a provisional measure, the mere fact that the German constitutional Court stops the ratification process, shows that the objections raised by the “unnamed private person” must have some value. In the contrary, the Constitutional Court might not have gone so far.

We still have to wait whether the court will accept the petition, and in the affirmative, what the decision as to the merits will be, but the time table for starting the UPC is in tatters. There is no uncertainty about this.

There are further constitutional claims pending before it, but at the moment it is not clear if they are related to the present case, although they might touch upon a similar topic.

In a lecture before the MPI at the end of May, the former constitutional judge Prof. Broß expressed reservations about the constitutionality of the EPO and hence the UPC. Some of the arguments brought forward cannot be simply wiped away and ignored, although some people would like to do so.

We leave in interesting times!

That typo was later corrected with: “Sorry for the mishap: please read “We live in interesting times” and not “We leave in interesting times”.”

“the former constitutional judge Prof. Broß expressed reservations about the constitutionality of the EPO and hence the UPC. Some of the arguments brought forward cannot be simply wiped away and ignored, although some people would like to do so.”
      –Anonymous
Indeed.

Well, we certainly hope that ordinary EPO staff understands that this is good news. It is their foe, Benoît Battistelli, who should be deeply worried right now. SUEPO has already taken note of this, having added a potpourri of links from the German media [1, 2, 3] and even the British media, which somewhat belatedly covers this setback for the UPC [1, 2]. We are very certain that some blogs and ‘news’ sites of legal firms will attempt to spin this soon (the subject of future posts of ours). The German media, which mostly ignored the EPO scandals, clearly realises that the UPC might not be happening at all… after all. Irrespective of whether the UK participates or not. The EPO is primarily based in Germany, the EU’s largest economy. Without Germany, there will be no UPC. There are some interesting comments (does not require inside knowledge about the EPO) in The Register. “Obviously,” the FFII’s President wrote, “TheRegister keeps not mentioning the real constitutional problems, starting with rules of procedure not made by parliament(s).”

“The German media, which mostly ignored the EPO scandals, clearly realises that the UPC might not be happening at all… after all.”He later said that the Germany-centric “FFII will submit another constitutional complaint in Germany against the Unitary Patent, still looking for deadlines…”

“Governments don’t seem to care,” said another person (an opponent of software patents), “they are supporting the EPO by supporting the UPC regardless of the problems…”

Watch the UPC dreamers stuck in denial. One of them wrote: “All, let’s keep calm and wait to see what’s behind it. Maybe it’s easy to remedy, maybe not. Maybe just one last hick-up before launch.”

Not really. Based on coverage from Bild and FAZ — coverage that EPO staff is taking note of and which was much anticipated since yesterdaythis is a “halt”, not just a delay. FAZ says that the “German Constitutional Court halts UPC ratification,” according to a rough translation.

“Don’t expect Germany or the UK to ratify any time soon and without them and their courts there’s no prospect of starting anything.”Managing IP, having promoted the UPC for years, admits the issue by stating: “Caught unawares by UPC delay in Germany? Ingve Stjerna predicted it in 2014! http://www.stjerna.de/index_en_htm_files/Unitarypatent_Constitution.pdf … .@ManagingIP #patent cc. @hwieduwilt”

It also said: “Germany about to put the final nail in the UPC coffin?”

Hey, the final nail in the UPC coffin?

That’s ‘our’ phrase. ;-)

“For those of us who abhor patent trolls (the vast majority of people, albeit not patent firms), the demise of the UPC is good news.”Oopsie (UPC) is not happening. Not any time soon. It’s stuck in a limbo if not dying. Don’t expect Germany or the UK to ratify any time soon and without them and their courts there’s no prospect of starting anything. Don’t believe those who claim otherwise.

People continue to pursue additional information while patent trolls, who bet their farm on the UPC, must be pursuing more bogus patents at the EPO. What good will these patents be if there’s no UPC for them to sue the whole of Europe with (in one fell swoop)?

For those of us who abhor patent trolls (the vast majority of people, albeit not patent firms), the demise of the UPC is good news.

Battistelli to Leave the European Patent Office Without the Unitary Patent He Repeatedly Promised in Vain Over the Years

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli has accomplished nothing but rapid destruction of the world’s leading patent office

Battistelli and Putin-Medvedev double act
Will Battistelli try to emulate the Putin-Medvedev double act?

Summary: Report about the expected departure of Benoît Battistelli, based on an Administrative Council document, seems to suggest that it’s really going to happen

THINGS are going to change at the EPO. Jesper Kongstad is leaving in a few months, Minnoye is leaving right about this time, and Battistelli has at most one year left. We have been hearing rumours and speculations about him attempting to prolong his regime (or appointing some crony of his), but we are no longer quite so convinced.

“Candidates must have an above-average capacity to establish and promote a social dialogue,” says the job description for Battistelli’s successor. It says quite a lot, does it not? The autocrat was utterly incapable of anything like this. He probably won’t stick around to even face the music from the courts, having probably violated the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

SUEPO has just updated its site for the first time in quite a while. It published a translation of this report from last week, as we had hoped (even a translation in French). Here is what it says:

European Patent Office: Successor sought for embattled boss Battistelli

06.06.2017

16:47 hours Stefan Krempl

The European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich.

(Picture: dpa, Frank Leonhardt)

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Office has taken the first steps towards replacing Benoît Battistelli as President of the Office when his contract expires at the end of June 2018. During his time in power social unrest has been grievous – and still is.

The days and hours for Benoît Battistelli to occupy the top job at the European Patent Office (EPO) may well be numbered. The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organization, which monitors the activities of the Munich-based authority started preparations on Friday aimed at replacing the bitterly embattled President when his contract expires on 30 June 2018, and finding a new incumbent for the powerful position. There have been repeated arguments in the past, ranging from getting the Frenchman out of office ahead of time to extending his contract at least for a transitional period in the light of the crisis situation in the Office.

According to an Administrative Council document posted on heise online, the search for a successor is supposed to begin officially on 3 July, after the next meeting of the Council at The Hague at the end of June, and reference to the position becoming vacant will be published on the EPO Website. Applications can then be made until 14 September, before Battistelli’s successor can be chosen. The job description will stipulate, among other things, that: “Candidates must have an above-average capacity to establish and promote a social dialogue.” At the moment, the Office is in an uproar. The dispute over the efficiency line adopted by the Frenchman, who has been nicknamed the “Sun King” escalated at the end of 2015, after he suspended the top leadership of the institution’s international staff union (SUEPO), and made loud accusations of “Mafia-like” structures and “institutional violence”. Since then the feud has been getting steadily worse, with the staff repeatedly going on strike. The next phase is planned for the coming meeting of the Administrative Council, following the most recent warning from the central staff council that Battistelli is aiming to make things tougher yet with regard to the already strict options for disciplinary measures. In parallel with this, it seems apparent that the top job at the Danish Patent Office is also up for replacement. This has up to now been held by Jesper Kongstad, who heads up the European Patent Organization, but who also wants to step down from the Administrative Council. The Dane is regarded as a supporter of the Battistelli line, so the watcher can hardly afford to fall out with the EPO boss. (axk)

Has it happened too late? Was too much damage done already? The lax/lenient examination (perhaps with foresight of UPC as arbiter) may lead to a lot of layoffs and the reputation of the EPO is harmed to the point where the number of applications is declining and talented staff is leaving.

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