Links 1/8/2017: PiCluster 2.0, Qubes OS 4.0 RC1, and New RHEL

Posted in News Roundup at 11:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source mapping project preserves cultural heritage

    I am from the Philippines. I’ve been an advocate of free and open culture since college, and I occasionally also contribute to the Wikimedia projects, particularly Wikimedia Commons.

    In 2014, I worked on a government project where I digitally documented some of the largest heritage artworks in the country, like the ceiling paintings of some of the colonial Catholic churches in central Philippines. You can see them at Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons licenses.

  • We don’t make software for free, we make it for freedom

    The debate about whether vendors can thrive and scale if their primary outputs are freely licensed continues to brew nearly two years since I wrote about the topic. Basing a business on an open source strategy is undoubtedly challenging, because no matter how many times you quote Richard Stallman that software freedom means “free speech,” not “free beer,” there is a persistent expectation that open source means free: free software, free updates, free knowledge, free support.

  • Sharing “The Faces of Open Source”

    A few weeks ago we learned about some great work underway by Shane Martin Coughlan: putting a face to the vibrant open source community, and the fascinating discussions happening within it, through a series of interviews—we thought we’d share them here in a new series.

  • Who’s doing what with NFV orchestration platforms?

    It might come as little surprise, but the two primary options for NFV orchestration platforms are open source or vendor-supplied options. See who’s doing what in these areas.

  • LunchBadger Announces Open Source Express.js API Gateway

    LunchBadger; API lifecycle, orchestration and optimization solution provider; has announced its new open source API gateway: Express Gateway. Express Gateway is one of the first open source gateways to utilize Express.js. The gateway delivers a solution to developers and businesses who desire to build their own Express.js-based micro services instead of utilizing an out-of-the-box solution.

  • Bitrise raises $3.2M A led by OpenOcean to attack the complexity of building apps

    Bitrise is the most open platform in the space. It’s completely extensible and lets developers use all the third party services they know and love in one beautiful interface.”

  • Turning to Open Source Apache Cassandra Gave Our Data a Highly-Available Home

    A growing cross-network advertising platform, we continue to be drawn to solutions that free up our internal resources from being bogged down by infrastructure management. While it’s a strategy that has been critical to our success, it hasn’t come without key infrastructure changes to make it work. Our challenge from day one has been balancing the fact that the strength of our database capabilities is absolutely essential to our product, but devoting all possible resources toward product development would give us the competitive differentiators we need to be successful.

  • All your streaming data are belong to Kafka

    Apache Kafka is on a roll. Last year it registered a 260 percent jump in developer popularity, as Redmonk’s Fintan Ryan highlights, a number that has only ballooned since then as IoT and other enterprise demands for real-time, streaming data become common. Hatched at LinkedIn, Kafka’s founding engineering team spun out to form Confluent, which has been a primary developer of the Apache project ever since.

    But not the only one. Indeed, given the rising importance of Kafka, more companies than ever are committing code, including Eventador, started by Kenny Gorman and Erik Beebe, both co-founders of ObjectRocket (acquired by Rackspace). Whereas ObjectRocket provides the MongoDB database as a service, Eventador offers a fully managed Kafka service, further lowering the barriers to streaming data.

  • Heroic Labs launches open-source backend game servers to help small studios with online services

    Game developers are turning to outside vendors for backend services, but there is always a danger they could get locked into one with bad results. So Heroic Labs is announcing the formal launch of its Nakama 1.0 open-source real-time game servers to help with this.

    The San Francisco-based company has developed server that provides typical backend services such as live events, leaderboards, and other features that game developers would rather not have to code themselves, said Heroic Labs vice president of product Alim Jaffer in an interview with GamesBeat.

  • Comcast Joins ONAP

    The news was announced today by the Open Network Automation Platform (ONAP) , which also welcomed four more vendors — Fujitsu Ltd. (Tokyo: 6702; London: FUJ; OTC: FJTSY), Infosys Technologies Ltd. (Nasdaq: INFY), Netcracker Technology Corp. and Samsung Corp. — to the fold for a total of 50 members. The organization, sponsored by the Linux Foundation , has only been in formal operation since March.

  • Who’s doing what with NFV orchestration platforms?

    The deployment of network functions virtualization, or NFV, can bring significant benefits to service providers. These benefits include agility, lower costs and promises of operational efficiency. But service providers must choose from leading open source options and a variety of vendor-supplied offerings for their NFV orchestration platforms.

  • Leveraging the Best of Open Source [Ed: He says we are now "treating open source solutions as fundamentally the same as commercial offerings," but it's ill-posed because "commercial" does not or should not mean proprietary.]

    Open source technologies are everywhere and in almost everything we leverage today across the IT enterprise. That is not a new observation, but something we just accept. My experience in leveraging open source technologies reaches back to the mid 90′s where I spent the better part of a year setting up both a rural phone company’s ISP and a university’s computing lab leveraging Linux 0.99. In those days, the cost of commercial enterprise operating systems was too high for lean startup activities. Therefore, we were willing to trade time for money. Getting a Linux kernel working with a specific network card was not fun in the early days and often required a bit of trial and error cycled over many kernel builds. However, these types of projects gave us a real appreciation for what the open source community was contributing and what was expected from the user community to benefit. Unfortunately, this support gap kept open source technologies on the fringe for many years. Eventually this provided an opportunity for the creation of new vendor ecosystems that work closely with the technical innovators while delivering the functionality and support required of enterprise customers. Companies like RedHat have been filling some of these gaps for more than a decade.

  • Kite Dev Tool Drops Atom Bomb

    There’s trouble in open source land, revolving around a text editor that’s popular with developers and a proprietary toolset, Kite, that wants some of that open source business. Their way of getting it, however, seems to have backfired.

    Atom is a text editor developed by GitHub and released under the MIT license. It’s been around for about three-and-a-half years, during which time it’s built a sizable user base. Developers like it because it runs on most operating systems — Linux, Windows and Mac — and comes with a lot of dev-friendly features built-in. They also like its modular design, which has spawned a community of devs creating plugins that further expand its capabilities.

  • Nasdaq Corporate Solutions’ open-source webhosting ensures innovation and best practice

    Innovation in the open-source community allows Nasdaq to rapidly embrace new features that benefit the exchange’s 3,000 webhosting clients around the globe, Ball notes, pointing to a new media library component that allows streamlined management of different media as one example. Drupal’s modular architecture translates into great flexibility for adding new functionality. For IROs, that means that critical must-have characteristics are an integral part of the Nasdaq Corporate Solutions platform. For example, ‘mobile is a first-class citizen,’ Ball says, pointing out that there is no separate process for administering content for mobile environments, so any new IR content is automatically promulgated across a multi-platform architecture.

  • Bitnami to Open Source its Mobile Kubernetes Dashboard

    Bitnami announced plans to open source its Cabin platform, which is billed as a mobile application for controlling Kubernetes.

    Cabin is a mobile dashboard, allowing for the remote management of Kubernetes clusters. Users can scale deployments, execute commands in containers, access logs, manage labels, and integrate with Google Container Engine for cluster provisioning.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla releases research results: Zero rating is not serving as an on-ramp to the internet

        Today, 4 billion people live without the internet. There’s a global debate about how to connect the unconnected, but it’s often dominated by assumptions and not a lot of data or talking to actual users on the ground.

        To better inform this issue, Mozilla recently supported a series of focus groups to investigate how and why people use subsidized services in India, Myanmar, Peru, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa. Today, we’re releasing the results of this research carried out by Research ICT Africa, LIRNEasia and IEP.

      • New Test Pilot Experiments Available Today

        Last month, we delivered the first in a series of groundbreaking updates to the browser. This week, the Test Pilot team is continuing to evolve Firefox features with three new experiences that will make for a simpler, faster and safer experience.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 5.4 Released With New Features

      ​The Document Foundation announces LibreOffice 5.4, the latest major release of the best open source office suite software available. LibreOffice 5.4 is the last major release of the 5.x family. LibreOffice 5.4 comes with new features for Writer, Calc and Impress and it is immediately available for Linux, macOS and Windows, and for the cloud. The latest iteration comes with significant features in every module, including the usual large number of incremental improvements to Microsoft Office file compatibility. So let’s see what’s new in LibreOffice 5.4.

    • How to Install/Upgrade to LibreOffice 5.4 on Ubuntu
    • LibreOffice 5.4: The best office suite gets better

      My first “office” program was WordStar in 1982. Since then, I’ve used more than I can ever remember, including all the Microsoft Office programs beginning with 1.0 in 1991. I make my living from office software. If there’s something good out there, I want to know about it. And that’s why I’ve been using LibreOffice ever since it forked from OpenOffice. It’s the best office suite out there, and with the release of LibreOffice 5.4, it’s only gotten better.

      Why? There are many reasons. Let’s start with the basics: It’s free. Yes, it’s also open source, but I mean “free” as in “free beer”. It doesn’t cost you a red cent.

  • Education

    • Study: ‘Dutch education system needs thoughtful ICT vision’

      The Dutch education system, together with teachers and school authorities, needs to develop a vision on the relationship between ICT and education, the Education Council of the Netherlands writes in a report published in May. Recommendations include emphasising sharing and reuse of ICT solutions.

      An ICT vision should encompass digital educational goals, the use of digital educational resources, and the use of digital applications in the organisation of education, the Council writes.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • OPNsense 17.7 released

      For more than two and a half years now, OPNsense is driving innovation through modularising and hardening the open source firewall, with simple and reliable firmware upgrades, multi-language support, HardenedBSD security, fast adoption of upstream software updates as well as clear and stable 2-Clause BSD licensing.

      We are writing to you today to announce the final release of version 17.7 “Free Fox”, which, over the course of the last 6 months, includes highlights such as SafeStack application hardening, the Realtek re(4) driver for better network stability, a Quagga plugin with broad routing protocol support and the Unbound resolver as the new default. Additionally, translations for Czech, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and German have been completed for the first time during this development cycle.

    • OPNsense 17.7 Released For FreeBSD 11 Powered Firewall
    • OpenBSD Switches To Clang Compiler For i386/AMD64

      OpenBSD is now the latest BSD switching from GCC to LLVM’s Clang C/C++ compiler by default.

      With the OpenBSD switch-over that happened last week in CVS, Clang is now the default compiler for i386 and x86_64 architectures.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • SPDX Could Help Organizations Better Manage Their Thickets of Open Source Licenses [Ed: Linux Foundation should stop propping up Black Duck, a Microsoft-connected anti-FOSS firm that’s paying the Foundation for self promotion. The Linux Foundation is thorough compromised by proprietary software firms that essentially pay the Foundation for marketing and openwashing.]

      As open source becomes more pervasive, companies are consuming products that have open source components. Today you literally can’t use any piece of software that doesn’t have any open source code in it, making it very complicated for companies to keep a tab on what they are consuming and stay compliant with open source licenses.

      To help simplify matters is a new Linux Foundation project called Software Package Data Exchange. With SPDX, the Foundation hosts the project and owns the copyright on the specification and trademark assets. It’s an open community of volunteers and as such has people participating across a broad spectrum of companies, academia and other foundations.

    • A Field Guide to Open Source Software Licensing [Ed: More like a FUD guide, not "A Field Guide"; selling services by FUDing FOSS.]
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Federico Musto is out as Arduino CEO

        Last week Arduino AG, the holding company for the open source Arduino project, announced that CEO Federico Musto stepped down, to be replaced with Massimo Banzi as new Chairman and CTO of Arduino and Dr. Fabio Violante as CEO.

        The move comes after the maker community found troubling discrepancies in Musto’s educational claims.

      • Inexpensive Robot with Open Source, 3D Printed Components Cracks a Safe in 30 Minutes at Hacker Convention

        While the 3D printed, PIN-protected door lock by HPI looks cool, I’m pretty sure that a determined thief would find a way to get past it. The 3D printed, heavy duty Stealth Key system looks to be much more difficult to get around, but what’s even more high-tech than a lock or a key? A safe. But a team from Colorado-based SparkFun Electronics, an online retail store that sells pieces for electronics projects, recently used an inexpensive, homemade robot, which features some 3D printed components, to crack open a SentrySafe safe in front of hundreds of excited onlookers at a convention for hackers in Las Vegas.

      • Pedro Petit Open Source 3D Printed Robotic Arm (video)

        If you are looking to learn more about robotics you may be interested in a new project which is being posted to the Hackaday website, detailing how to build a 3D printed open source robotic arm complete with built in control panel.

        Watch the demonstration video below to learn more about the Pedro Petit open source DIY robotic arm which is being created by Hackaday user saandial.

  • Programming/Development

    • Support Driven Development: Listen now so you don’t hear it later

      As you can see, none of these support requests were true bugs. But they were stumbling blocks for many users, and added up to a major source of customer dissatisfaction – and a major contributor to support time. By resolving them we’ve made our existing customers happier, and made our new customers blissfully unaware of their predecessors’ struggles.

    • What is Node.js? The JavaScript runtime explained

      Scalability, latency, and throughput are key performance indicators for web servers. Keeping the latency low and the throughput high while scaling up and out is not easy. Node.js is a JavaScript runtime environment that achieves low latency and high throughput by taking a “non-blocking” approach to serving requests. In other words, Node.js wastes no time or resources on waiting for I/O requests to return.

      Let me explain…

      In the traditional approach to creating web servers, for each incoming request or connection the server spawns a new thread of execution or even forks a new process to handle the request and send a response. Conceptually, this makes perfect sense, but in practice it incurs a great deal of overhead.

    • Use case benchmarking drives open-source Node.js forward

      The success of open-source communities like Node.js — a JavaScript runtime based on Chrome’s V8 engine — is completely dependent on contributions from a rich pool of organizations working toward the common goal of building a robust development framework.

      Michael Dawson (pictured), digital transformation leader at IBM, is responsible for Big Blue’s contributions to the Node.JS source code. He explained his level of involvement within the community, including his role leading a Node benchmarking workgroup.

    • Intel helps open-source developers discover the power of Node.js

      Node.js, however, compared with other scripting languages brings the whole platform into the mix. Beyond the CPU, it also requires networking power and a degree of storage. Intel has been investing a lot into making the whole platform shine with optimized Node.js, Ene-Pietrosanu stated. It has also made its efforts available to the open-source community.

    • Qt 5.10 schedule etc

      Kindly reminder: According to schedule we should have Qt 5.10 feature freeze after a week, see https://wiki.qt.io/Qt_5.10_Release. So it is time to do remaining finalizations to 5.10 new features now and focus to bug fixing after that. Please fill new features page now as well (https://wiki.qt.io/New_Features_in_Qt_5.10); it seems to be quite empty at the moment.

    • Qt 5.10 Will Be Going Into Feature Freeze Soon

      Feature development on the Qt 5.10 tool-kit will soon be coming to an end.

      Qt developers are planning to issue the feature freeze in about one week’s time at which point they will be getting out a binary snapshot out, starting the soft branching, and then getting a hard branch of the code after that. If all goes according to plan, the Qt 5.10 Alpha should be out on 31 August while a beta release is expected for 10 October. If all goes well and it’s not like past Qt5 releases with delays, Qt 5.10 would then be officially released on 30 November.

    • Big day in poppler-land

      Thanks to C++11 now we have an implementation with move semantics that greatly simplifies the use of Object and will hopefully make for less memory management mistakes.

    • Learning Rust

      I’m obviously not spending much time writing here. It’s been a rather busy month at work, and I’ve been doing other things on the weekend that aren’t particularly interesting to write about.

      This past week, though, I took advantage of our semi-annual Hack Week to finally learn Rust. I have several co-workers who love the language and have been wanting to stretch my programming language knowledge a bit. I was also profoundly disappointed by Go, which has been touted as the new C-style systems language but which I think is awful. All the reasons why is a topic for another post, but the obnoxiously verbose error handling is probably my biggest complaint. (This is the worst property of C; why would you copy it?) Rust was a favorite of a few people who felt the same way I did about Go, which seemed promising.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Technical Standards: The Hard Part of Making Everyone Happy

      A recent controversy involving the group that sets the rules of the road for the web is a great reminder of how challenging standards-making really is, even if your standards are the ones everyone is using.

      Standards have a way of bleeding into parts of life that you might not give a second thought to, as a consumer.

      Case in point: Watching a show on Netflix is a pretty satisfying ritual, isn’t it? Lots of people do it. Tens of millions in fact, many of them on their computers, in their web browsers.


  • Apple can’t end lawsuit over “breaking” FaceTime on iPhone 4, judge rules

    Back in February 2017, two Californians sued Apple in a proposed class-action lawsuit over the fact that the company disabled an older version of iOS. Disabling the outdated iOS had the effect of making FaceTime stop working on the customers’ iPhone 4 devices.


    “Apple broke FaceTime in order to gain a financial advantage and reduce relay fees,” Judge Koh also wrote. “Further, although Apple knew that it had intentionally disabled FaceTime, Apple told consumers that FaceTime had stopped working because of a ‘bug resulting from a device certificate that expired.’ Apple did not tell users that Apple had intentionally caused the digital certificate to expire prematurely.”

  • The complete history of the IBM PC, part two: The DOS empire strikes

    The ethicality or lack thereof of what Paterson did has been debated for years. Gary Kildall stridently claimed many times that he ripped off the actual CP/M source code, but this is a very problematic assertion. There is no evidence that he even had access to the source, which Digital, like most companies then and now, guarded carefully.


    The real victor was Microsoft, which built an empire on the back of a shadily acquired MS-DOS.

  • Fact Checking Snopes On Its Own Claims Of Being ‘Held Hostage’ By ‘A Vendor’: Well, It’s Complicated

    Last week, I (like probably many of you) saw the news that the famous (or infamous, depending on your viewpoint) fact checking website “Snopes” was crowdfunding on GoFundMe, saying that it needed to raise money as soon as possible, because “a vendor” refused to recognize that Snopes had terminated a contract and was holding the site “hostage.”

  • Science

    • The Space Junk Problem Is About to Get a Whole Lot Gnarlier
    • Russian official on new US sanctions and NASA: “Nothing lasts forever”

      Last Thursday, the United States overwhelmingly passed a new round of sanctions against Russia, taking the executive actions made by then president Barack Obama in December 2016 and putting them into law. Congress also wrote its legislation such that the White House must get Congressional approval prior to any easing of sanctions against Russia. Despite some concerns about the law, President Donald Trump has said he will sign the bill.

      Obama leveled these sanctions, including the dismissal of many Russian diplomats in the United States, following credible reports that the foreign adversary had meddled in the US presidential election. Russian President Vladimir Putin took no action at the time, believing he could work with President Trump to ease the restrictions. But after the Congressional action, Putin acted this weekend to remove hundreds of US diplomats from Russia. The number of US diplomats and Russian nationals employed as staff by the US government must now be 455, the same number Russia has in the United States.

    • Open-source species location data supports global biodiversity analyses [Ed: Not actually open source, but a commendable initiative nonetheless]

      How many species are living on Earth at this moment in time? Ask a few different scientists and you may get drastically different answers. Most estimates range from 3-10 million distinct species of multicellular organisms; however, when microbial diversity is factored in, the upper bound jumps to nearly a trillion.

      Having a clear understanding of what species are present on Earth, where they are, and to what extent they are threatened is essential to making informed conservation decisions at both a local and global scale.

    • Kitchen sponges are festering germ dens—and sanitizing them doesn’t help

      Scientists have long thrown shade at the unassuming kitchen sponge. The household staple skulks in sinks amid dirty dishes and soggy food scraps, sopping up and amplifying microbial forces capable of invading clean food spaces. The savvy kitchen-goer may think they have this situation locked down—a simple toss through a sanitizing dishwasher cycle or a sizzling swirl in the microwave… and done. Sudsy germsplosion averted.

      Nice try, says science.

      In a comprehensive study of 14 household sponges and their microbial inhabitants published in Scientific Reports, researchers confirmed that kitchen sponges are indeed domestic abominations. Moreover, any sterilizing attempts only seem to temporarily free up sponge-space for potential pathogens, which rapidly recolonize the festering scrubber.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Pot removed from controlled substance list under proposed legislation

      A Democratic senator from New Jersey proposed legislation (PDF) Tuesday that would remove marijuana from the federal list of controlled substances. The proposal, if adopted, would also financially punish states that fail to decriminalize marijuana if they have racial disparities in their arrest and incarceration rates connected to marijuana.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Ransomware: Claim that 22% SMBs shutting shop after attacks [iophk: "Windows TCO"]

      Ransomware attacks caused 22% of small and medium-sized businesses in seven countries, including Australia, to pack up for good, a report from the security firm Malwarebytes claims.

    • Swedish Cabinet reshuffled in wake of IT security row

      It’s not often that an IT security breach leads to the departure of two government ministers. But that is just what has happened in Sweden in the aftermath of a series of disclosures about a data breach and an outsourced IT contract.

    • Active Management of Open Source Components Delivers Measurable Improvements Claims Sonatype Report

      In July, Sonatype released their third annual State of the Software Supply Chain report concluding that when organisations actively manage the quality of open source components in software applications they see a 28% improvement in developer productivity (through reduction in manual governance), a 30% reduction in overall development costs, and a 48% increase in application quality (as application vulnerabilities are removed early reducing their incidence in production). Analysis also showed that applications built by teams utilising automated governance tools reduced the percentage of defective components by 63%.

    • The CIA’s Aeris Malware Can Exfiltrate Data From Linux Systems

      Not a week goes by without WikiLeaks unveiling some more condemning evidence of the CIA’s malware tools. The latest reveal is Aeris, an automated implement which affects many different distributions of the Linux operating system. This particular tool packs quite a lot of features under the hood in an effort to gather as much intelligence as possible. This is surely not the last tool of its kind we will meet.

    • Firejail A Namespace Separation Security Sandbox

      ​Linux distro is mostly loved for its security features. When we people want more security we use TOR and VPN. Today I am going to tell you about an application called Firejail that helps to protect your personal files via sandbox technique.

      ​Firejail is a sandbox application built for Linux distros which uses the capabilities of Linux kernel to use namespace separation. In the simplest sense, apps launched through Firejail cannot access your personal files on your hard drive. Isn’t that cool? Cool and safe!

    • Defcon vote-hacking village shows that “secure” voting machines can be broken in minutes

      Nearly 20 years later, the country’s voting security debt has mounted to incredible heights, and finally, just maybe, the security researchers are getting the hearing they deserve.

    • Def Con hackers showed how easily voting machines can be hacked [Ed: Windows powered]

      At Def Con’s hacker voting machine village, where 30 pieces of election equipment sat waiting, hackers were given a deliciously wicked goal. John Hopkins computer scientist Matt Blaze said, “We encourage you to do stuff that if you did on election day they would probably arrest you.”

      And they did. Most of the voting machines were purchased via eBay, but some did come from government auctions. Despite the various different manufacturers of the voting equipment boxes, there was a common theme—they are “horribly insecure.”

      Granted, come election day, officials would likely notice if hackers were physically taking apart the machines. Tinkering with an external USB port on a computerized voting box and using it to upload malicious software may or may not get noticed. Yet those are not the only ways hackers could potentially influence votes and an election’s outcome; there’s the sneaky way of remotely accessing the machine from a laptop.

    • How DEF CON Securely Streams Video to Hackers [Author: "Linux Powered!"]

      The DEF CON 25 security conference is famous for its wide variety and number of security sessions and events. Not everyone can be in every session and some even choose to watch remotely, which is where DEF CON TV (DCTV) comes into play.

      DCTV streamed several sessions from the event, both to local hotels as well as the outside internet. Securely setting up and managing the DCTV streaming is no easy task, but it’s one that DEF CON hackers put together rapidly.

    • Windows 10 default user profile is potentially writable by everyone

      Microsoft refuses to fix the issue properly because there is a “simple command everyone can execute” but has not (to my knowledge) told anyone about this command because everyone assumes the issue has been fixed by KB4022715 and KB4022725

    • [Older] The Internet of Things : A disaster for no good reason

      The reason I’m frustrated is because if these things were designed this way, I would WANT them. I really wish my washing machine would tell me when the wash is done because I am EXTREMELY bad at remembering to go check on it. But I can’t buy that, I can’t buy something that just has a $5 microprocessor with just enough intelligence to connect to the internet and send me an email or a push notification if the buzzer on the washer goes off. The only thing I can buy is a washing machine that’s had a horrible, unreliable PC full of quarter-baked software crammed into it which will stop working when some godforsaken cloud service is “sunset”, and which is so dependant on the reliability and trustworthiness of the software on the computer that if someone hacks it or the software has a bug, the washer can start spraying water at me when I have the loading door open.

    • ‘Most dangerous’ banking trojan gets update

      Svpeng, designed to steal banking information through different means, now embeds itself in Android’s accessibility services — the software that helps users with disabilities navigate devices and apps, the cybersecurity firm said. So Svpeng is now able to steal any data in a text box and log all keystrokes.

    • Enterprise Network Monitoring Needs Could Hamper the Adoption of TLS 1.3

      The upcoming version of the Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol promises to be a game changer for web encryption. It will deliver increased performance, better security and less complexity. Yet many website operators could shun it for years to come.

      TLS version 1.3 is in the final stages of development and is expected to become a standard soon. Some browsers, including Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, already support this new version of the protocol on an opt-in basis and Cloudflare enables it by default for all websites that use its content delivery network.

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #118
    • Episode 57 – We may never see amazing security research ever again

      Josh and Kurt talk about Black Hat and Defcon, safes, banks, voting machines, SMBv1 DoS attack, Flash, liability, and password masking.

    • Q&A: Former RSA CEO’s new venture takes on Linux container security

      The historical, reactive model of security was a bunch of perimeter controls. With intelligence-driven security, the controls have to be much more agile and react to circumstances in real time. To create a defense in depth strategy, you need to anticipate attacks, to stop attacks before they start, and if you can’t stop them, you have to detect an attack when it’s in progress. If you can’t detect an attack, then you need to be able to prevent a wholesale breach. If you can’t prevent a breach, then you have to be able to detect that a breach has occurred, and respond quickly enough to prevent loss or disruption.

    • How a hacked Amazon Echo could secretly capture your most intimate moments

      It’s a fact of modern life that many of us forget—the phones, computers, and other connected devices we depend on can often be used against us as secret listening devices. On Tuesday, attention turned to the Amazon Echo, with a demonstration that showed how hackers can convert some models into devices that can surreptitiously record our most intimate moments.

      To be clear, the hack works only against older models of Amazon Echoes. It also requires physical access to the device by a hacker with above-average skills in Linux and embedded hardware systems. That means people aren’t likely to be exposed to such attacks unless they own a 2015 or 2016 device and are a target of interest to the Central Intelligence Agency, a similar nation-sponsored spy group, an advanced corporate espionage operation, or a highly determined stalker.

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Macron email leak: British military ties to France ‘more important’ than flawed Germany-EU plan

      Emmanuel Macron was told before his election that maintaining defence ties with Britain was crucial and “more important” than flawed plans for EU military integration, according to leaked emails from the French president’s campaign team.

      A trove of tens of thousands of emails released by Wikileaks on Monday showed senior Macron advisers arguing for continued British involvement in European defence projects while highlighting the bitter divisions between Paris and Berlin on EU defence co-operation.

    • Assange threatened by entire American Establishment

      And here is the slice of it they used in a news feature they did with Assange…

    • ACLU Asks Court To Force Government To Fight Fairly In FOIA Lawsuit Over Drone Strike Docs

      The ACLU is headed to the Second Circuit Appeals Court, hoping to force the DOJ to be more… realistic about the government’s drone strike operations in Pakistan. It’s an FOIA lawsuit, with the ACLU seeking drone documents and being told — in so many black bars — that this publicly-acknowledged program is too secret to disclose.

    • Behind Fox News’ Baseless Seth Rich Story: The Untold Tale

      Mary Rich, the mother of slain Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, speaks at a press conference on Aug. 1, 2016. A lawsuit alleges Fox News and a wealthy Trump supporter intended to deflect public attention from growing concern about the administration’s ties to the Russian government by concocting a story about Seth Rich’s death.

    • Secrecy in Court; Takings; and A Proposal for Redaction with Replacement

      In-court secrecy continues to thrive – at least in regards to protecting business interests. Almost all patent infringement lawsuits include secrecy orders negotiated by the parties without much court participation. Courts often view themselves as arbiters of disputes between the parties – and if the parties agree on a particular issue then there is no dispute.

      The right to secrecy in federal courts was upped a bit further with the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 in situations where the parties don’t agree. The DTSA includes a requirement that a court “may not authorize or direct the disclosure of any information the owner asserts to be a trade secret” without first allowing an under-seal submission of a description of the confidential interest. 18 U.S.C. 1835. Although not stated, the implication is that the court must then review the submission before requiring disclosure.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate change will almost certainly heat the world so much it can never recover, major study finds

      It’s at that point that scientists think the world will fall into disastrous effects like widespread drought, extreme weather and dangerous increases in sea level. Experts have suggested that 2C of warming is the “tipping point” at which that change becomes unstoppable.

    • Suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers linked to climate change, study claims

      Climate change may have contributed to the suicides of nearly 60,000 Indian farmers and farm workers over the past three decades, according to new research that examines the toll rising temperatures are already taking on vulnerable societies.

      Illustrating the extreme sensitivity of the Indian agricultural industry to spikes in temperature, the study from the University of California, Berkeley, found an increase of just 1C on an average day during the growing season was associated with 67 more suicides.

  • Finance

    • 500 Workers Staffing Facebook’s Cafeteria Just Voted to Unionize

      Five hundred workers just voted to unionize at Facebook’s cafeteria contractor, Flagship, which represents some 10 percent of the total food-service workforce in Silicon Valley. The victory builds on other recent union wins at Intel and Google for cafeteria and custodial staff—vibrant organizing campaigns, led by UNITE HERE and the Teamsters, that combined with grassroots community outreach to establish solid union contracts in the bottom tiers of the freewheeling tech sector. Activists are demanding fair hours and wages, as well as secure benefits, union rights, and other basic entitlements for the front-line workers of the world’s leading tech brands.

    • EU to allow freezes of bank deposit withdrawals?

      This leaves the average citizen powerless. Your money is no longer yours – but the governments to be used as a financial tool. (Or to be confiscated.)

    • Amid Brexit squabbling, PM May’s spokesman says EU free movement to end in 2019

      The automatic right of European Union citizens to live and work in Britain will end in March 2019 with Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said on Monday, after her ministers publicly differed over the shape of the divorce with the EU.

      Since May’s failed gamble on a snap election last month, the future of Brexit has been thrown into question with squabbling between her ministers over the pace, tone and terms of Britain’s departure from the club it joined in 1973.

      May, who on Monday interrupted a three-week holiday to attend a World War One commemoration ceremony, has faced public pressure to temper her plans for a clean break from the EU.

    • A mandate can be either democratic or irreversible, but it cannot be both – an argument

      (As a side note, no Brexiteer – rightly – seems to believe that the UK was bound for all time by the 1975 referendum result.)

    • Go fork yourself: Bitcoin has split in two – and yes, it’s all forked up

      Bitcoin split into two separate currencies on Tuesday because part of the Bitcoin community isn’t happy with recent and planned changes to the code that controls the cryptocurrency.

      Bitcoin.org last month warned of a potential split if consensus couldn’t be reached on efforts to help Bitcoin scale better.

      Part of the effort, known as Bitcoin Improvement Proposal 91 (BIP91), was accepted last month, and a split was averted.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • “E-mail prankster” phishes White House officials; hilarity ensues

      Over the past few weeks, a self-described “e-mail prankster” has posed as members of President Donald Trump’s administration in a series of e-mails to White House officials, publishing responses to Twitter for comedic effect. Among the targets were Trump’s top homeland security advisor Tom Bossert—who volunteered his personal e-mail address to the prankster because Bossert believed he was interacting with Jared Kushner. In the e-mail, the faux Kushner invited Bossert for a “soirée” with food better than the two had eaten together on their Iraq visit.

    • Democracy is dying – and it’s startling how few people are worried

      There is a concerted and combined effort by the likes of Putin, Erdoğan and Trump to hollow out democracy. To stop them, we must change how we view the world

    • Anthony Scaramucci out as communications director
    • Portuguese politics cripples EU agency bid

      The Portuguese government defended its decision to make a last-minute switch from Lisbon to Porto as its choice as the new host of the European Medicines Agency.

      For months, Lisbon was the country’s nominee to take the agency, which must leave London after Brexit. But an outcry from the authorities in Porto led Portugal to make an 11th-hour shift in its proposal: The government dropped Lisbon barely two weeks ahead of the July 31 application deadline and announced the northern city would be the country’s candidate instead.

      Until then, Portugal had pushed its capital city hard, with some success: Lisbon was the preferred choice of EMA staff forced to move out of London because of Brexit, ahead of rivals such as Copenhagen, Milan and Bucharest, according to local media reports. Colorful government pamphlets and brochures boasted that “Lisbon welcomes the EMA.”

    • Trump ousts Scaramucci as communications director

      President Donald Trump has removed Anthony Scaramucci as communications director, a little more than a week after the former financier was named to the post, the White House said on Monday.

      The change came at the request of new chief of staff John Kelly, who started Monday, two White House officials said. It was not clear whether Scaramucci would take on a new role after leaving the communications job, nor was it immediately apparent who would take over the position.

    • The Spectacular Self-Destruction of Anthony Scaramucci

      Anthony Scaramucci’s reign as White House communications director—a reign of terror and vulgarity, marked by two outlandish interviews and the departures of two top West Wing officials—has ended, just 10 days after it began.

      The New York Times broke the news Monday afternoon, just hours after Trump tweeted that there was “No W[hite] H[ouse] chaos!” It was not clear whether Scaramucci would take another post in the administration or exit altogether. His firing reportedly came at the behest of John Kelly, who was installed as chief of staff on Monday, three days after Scaramucci forced out Kelly’s predecessor.

    • Trump’s Worst Week Yet

      There hasn’t been a single smooth week in the Trump presidency, but last week was, by popular consensus, the worst of them so far. Given the struggles of this president, that’s no small statement. What was remarkable was the breadth of Trump’s troubles. His top legislative priority was, once again, knocked flat. He had to replace Reince Priebus, making Priebus the shortest-tenured chief of staff to serve in the heart of a term. He publicly feuded with Republican senators, saw his new messaging guru call a colleague a “fucking paranoid schizophrenic,” and went to war with his attorney general.

    • RNC tells staff not to delete or alter any documents related to 2016 campaign

      The memo says employees should not “delete, destroy, modify, or remove from your paper files, laptop computer, desktop computer, tablet, mobile device, e-mail, or any storage system or device, any documents, records, or other materials that relate to the 2016 presidential election or that may relate to any investigation concerning the election.”

    • Watchdog group asks Congress to probe Rep. Wasserman Schultz over fired IT aide

      A conservative anti-corruption watchdog group is asking for an ethics investigation of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) after former House IT aide Imran Awan was apprehended trying the flee the country. In a complaint that will be filed Monday, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) asks if Wasserman Schultz violated the House’s rules by continuing to pay Awan after he was cut off from the House computer system.

      “It appears that Representative Wasserman Schultz permitted an employee to remain on the House payroll in violation of House Ethics Rules,” FACT’s Matthew Whitaker writes in the letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics. “After Awan was barred from accessing the House computer system, Wasserman Schultz continued to pay Awan with taxpayer funds for IT consulting — a position that he could not reasonably be able to perform.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Senate’s Latest Attack On Backpage Will Be Massively Counterproductive, Create Tremendous Harm

      It’s no secret that there are a bunch of folks in the Senate who really, really, really dislike the fact that the site Backpage has been abused by some users for sex trafficking. They should be happy that through a lot of public pressure, Backpage has shut down its adult section.

      For reasons that are not entirely clear, many people seem to blame Section 230 of the CDA for the fact that sex traffickers have used Backpage.com. This is… weird and doesn’t make much sense. After all, Section 230 doesn’t apply to federal crimes around sex trafficking. So, if the platform itself is violating the law, the DOJ has the power and every right to go after the platform. Furthermore, as we’ve noted time and time again, these platforms have actually been tremendously helpful in allowing law enforcement to track down those responsible for trafficking and to help victims of trafficking. Still, because of this misplaced focus on CDA 230, earlier today, a bunch of Senators released a counterproductive and dangerous bill that would blow a massive hole through CDA 230, and it’s clearly written 100% to focus on Backpage. Nearly all of the quotes about the bill from the Senate co-sponsors mention Backpage.

    • Adult Chat Site’s In-House DMCA Takedown Service Targets Tons Of Legit Sites, Including Its Own URLs [UPDATE]

      Portmanteau words are great. It’s a highly-efficient way to forcibly join two (possibly unrelated) actions and create a brand new activity. Add to this a decently-fast internet connection and you have Chaturbate, a service that puts people together to do things to themselves separately.

      Granted, much of this could be done with other services, including the portmaneau’ed ChatRoulette, but targeted markets are more profitable than floating from chat to chat hoping to escape the “turbate” part of this internet concoction. Chatting is fun. So is masturbation. But not many people enjoy being masturbated at, especially when they’re looking to just chat a little. Chaturbate, however, gives people what they want, in as many varieties as they want it.

    • Brazil’s Johnny Hooker Was ‘Stunned’ by YouTube Censorship: Interview

      Brazilian singer Johnny Hooker recently released his sophomore album, Coração, which is being distributed digitally in the U.S. by CD Baby.

      Before that, he released the first single from the album, “Flutua,” featuring Liniker, and faced some problems with YouTube and Facebook.

      When the single’s audio was released on YouTube, Hooker received good reactions from the public. The single cover showed the two artists kissing. The morning after, he discovered it had been censored for anyone under 18.

    • Poll: ‘Scary’ Number of Republicans Support Court-Ordered Press Censorship

      As the Trump administration continues to make headlines for its attacks on the press and its attempts to prevent journalists from adequately covering White House press briefings, a recent YouGov/Economist poll (pdf) found that 45 percent of Republicans support giving courts the power to shut down “biased” media outlets—a result commentators argued should be “scary for anyone concerned about the future of American democracy.”

    • War Propaganda, Media Censorship and the “Conspiracy Theory” Meme. Project Censored 2016

      In recent years, as documented on this site and on the Global Research News Hour radio program, we have seen an acceleration in the level of propaganda and its ability to shape common narratives around war.

      The Assad government is blamed for virtually all the blood being spilt in Syria in recent years, in spite of evidence to the contrary. Russia, not NATO, is being blamed for an imperialist agenda for Ukraine and Eastern Europe. And a McCarthyist narrative accusing President Putin of interference in the 2016 US Presidential elections has taken hold in spite of an almost complete lack of evidence upholding that narrative.

      More to the point, reporters risk being tagged ‘conspiracy theorists’ or ‘Russian agents’ if they dare to challenge these and other official narratives.

      Billions of dollars of investment, not to mention political careers are dependent on maintaining these narratives, so it is understandable that dissident perspectives will sooner or later come under attack if the body politic begins to be influenced by them.

    • Apple ‘pulls 60 VPNs from China App Store’

      The creators of several Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have criticised Apple’s decision to remove their products from its App Store in China.

      The BBC understands that as many as 60 VPNs were pulled over the weekend.

      Apple said it was legally required to remove them because they did not comply with new regulations.

    • Apple Bows To Chinese Regulators, Removes Internet Censorship-Defying Apps
    • Russia follows China in tightening internet restrictions, raising fresh censorship concerns
    • Russian censorship law bans proxies, VPNs
    • VPNs are a vital defence against censorship – but they’re under attack
    • Russia: VPN ban is a major blow to internet freedom
    • Russia: VPN ban is a major blow to internet freedom

      “With the Russian authorities increasingly intolerant of dissent, technologies that help internet users evade censorship and protect their privacy are crucial for freedom of expression online. Today the authorities have given themselves an instrument to ban the use of VPNs and other technologies that help people to freely access information online,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.

    • Russia Bans ‘Uncensored’ VPNs, Proxies and Tor

      A new bill, just signed into law by President Putin, requires proxies, VPNs, Tor and other anonymizing services to prohibit access to blocked domains. If these services fail to comply, they will be blocked themselves. Search engines also face sanctions for linking to banned sites.

    • Russia bans anonymous web surfing tools

      President Vladimir Putin has signed a law that prohibits forms of technology that grant access to banned websites in Russia, effective November 1st. The ban covers services that allow people to use the internet anonymously, such as virtual private networks and proxies, and internet providers will have to block websites that host these services.

    • Russia bans VPNs to stop users from looking at censored sites

      President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill that prohibits services, including virtual private networks (VPNs), that enable users to skirt government censorship efforts.

      The law will take effect on November 1.

    • Russia Has Banned VPNs

      We’ve noted for some time that Russia has been engaged in a slow but steady assault on privacy tools like VPNs. As with most countries that have an adversarial relationship with the truth, the entire effort has been couched as necessary to protect national security and cultural morality, though the real agenda is to help prop up the country’s domestic surveillance efforts and Putin’s ham-fisted internet filters. This push accelerated with a new surveillance bill last year that not only mandated new encryption backdoors, but also imposed harsh new data-retention requirements on ISPs and VPN providers.

    • Lawsuit challenges Gov. Bevin’s social media censorship

      The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed a federal lawsuit Monday regarding Gov. Matt Bevin banning or blocking users from his official social media accounts.

      The suit seeks a declaration that Bevin’s practices are a violation of individuals’ First Amendment rights. The ACLU asked for an injunction to prevent the governor from permanently blocking users on Facebook and Twitter.

    • Court Rules Temporary Ban Of Facebook Commenter By Gov’t Official Violates The First Amendment

      A federal judge has ruled public officials can’t ban the public from interacting with official social media accounts, something that obviously has implications for the recently-filed suit by Twitter users blocked by the president’s account.

      Brian Davison filed a pro se lawsuit against Phyllis Randall, the Chair of the Loudon County Board of Supervisors, after she banned him from her Facebook page and deleted his critical comments. The decision wasn’t an easy one for the court, as Venkat Balasubramani points out. The court had to take into account several determining factors before arriving at its First Amendment violation conclusion.

    • App developers try to stay 1 step ahead of government censors in ‘intelligence game’
    • Joining Apple, Amazon’s China Cloud Service Bows to Censors
    • China’s Censorship Powers Are Bigger And More Dangerous Than You Know
    • ACLU sues Maryland, Kentucky governors over social media censorship
    • ACLU Suing Gov. Hogan Over Alleged Facebook Censorship
    • ACLU suing Governor Larry Hogan over Facebook censorship
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Privacy advocates hit back after Amber Rudd claims “real people” don’t care about encryption
    • Another Federal Court Says No Warrants Needed To Obtain Historic Cell Site Location Info

      The Supreme Court has yet to examine the issue of historical cell site location info(CSLI). It finally picked a case from the Sixth Circuit to review, years after the warrantless gathering of historic CSLI became a thing. So far, there’s not a single court in the nation that’s found historic CSLI to have an expectation of privacy. The Fourth Circuit Appeals Court briefly did, before reversing its own decision. The original decision had problems with the amount of CSLI gathered: 221 days worth. Upon further review, the court sided with the government and its Third Party Doctrine arguments.

      This federal court decision from the Southern District of New York name-checks the pending SCOTUS review, but falls in line with every other decision in the federal court system. The defendant sought to suppress historic CSLI obtained without a warrant, arguing the collection of location data by cell companies is not the same thing as “voluntarily” turning these records over to a third party.


      As everything stands now, it’s exactly that: cellphone users are generating tons of third party records that can be obtained without a warrant. This includes real-time and near-real time tracking of people’s location through tower pings or cell site simulators. For the most part, courts have been extremely hesitant to erect warrant requirements for so-called Third Party records.

      This needs to change. Privacy expectations have changed. While most people are aware certain records must be generated to ensure cell service, very few agree the government should be able to track their movements without a warrant, especially over a long period of time. In this case, thirteen MONTHS of cell site location info was obtained by law enforcement, putting the 221 days in the Graham case to shame. When the courts ask themselves what is “reasonable” in terms of expectations of privacy, they need to spend more time considering how much has changed in the world of communications since 1979.

    • Google’s new scheme to connect online to offline shopping scrutinized

      A privacy advocacy group has filed a formal legal complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission, asking the agency to begin an investigation “into Google’s in-store tracking algorithm to determine whether it adequately protects the privacy of millions of American consumers.”

      In the Monday filing, the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) said it is concerned with Google’s new Store Sales Management program, which debuted in May. The system allows the company to extend its online tracking capabilities into the physical world. The idea is to combine credit card and other financial data acquired from data brokers to create a singular profile as a way to illustrate to companies what goods and services are being searched for online, which result in actual in-person sales.

    • Australian Prosecutors Want To Make It Illegal To Refuse To Turn Over Passwords To Law Enforcement

      The question is still unsettled here in the United States: is refusing to turn over your password protected by the Fifth Amendment? The argument hasn’t found many judicial supporters but at least there’s a Constitutional basis for claiming the relinquishment of passwords is possibly self-incriminating. Over in Australia, the rights aren’t so clearly defined. But the picture is getting clearer, thanks to legislators seeking to make it a criminal offense to withhold passwords.

    • Ex-NSA boss questions encrypted message access laws proposed by Malcolm Turnbull

      The Federal Government’s bid to force tech companies to reveal terrorists’ secret conversations could be unachievable, according to the former deputy director of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

      Chris Inglis had a 28-year career with the NSA and now advises private companies on how to detect Edward Snowden-style leakers within their ranks.

    • Ex-NSA chief Chris Inglis backs government’s encryption push against Apple, Facebook

      The deputy director of the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) during the Edward Snowden leaks has backed the Australian government’s push to force tech giants to assist in revealing the content of some encrypted messages, saying the likes of Facebook and Apple could do more to help track terrorists and criminals.

    • ShadowBrokers leak probe looking at NSA insiders: report [Ed: All of this is based on anonymous "source" from site known for its NSA puff pieces/propaganda. See below.]
    • Shadow Brokers investigation is focusing on former NSA insider

      Sources tell CyberScoop that former NSA employees have been contacted by investigators in the probe to discover how a bevy of elite computer hacking tools fell into the Shadow Brokers’ possession.


      One set of files leaked by the group contained tools to hack into the Windows operating system. Those tools were eventually used in the devastating international ransomware attacks known as WannaCry and NotPetya.

    • ‘Anonymous’ browsing data can be easily exposed, German researchers reveal

      A judge’s porn preferences and the medication used by a German MP were among the personal data uncovered by two German researchers who acquired the “anonymous” browsing habits of more than three million German citizens.

    • It is easy to expose users’ secret web habits, say researchers

      The pair obtained huge amounts of information about the browsing habits of three million German citizens from companies that gather “clickstreams”.

      These are detailed records of everywhere that people go online.

      The researchers argue such data – which some firms scoop up and use to target ads – should be protected.

      The data is supposed to be anonymised, but analysis showed it could easily be tied to individuals.

    • Without privacy, a society cannot advance

      What advancements are we making impossible today, at the society level, by creating a mass surveillance society where all laws, rules, and expectations are increasingly expected to be followed, and where the celebration of misfits are emptier words than ever before? Where privacy is no longer guaranteed, but rather prevented, by those governments which are supposed to uphold it?

    • Transatlantic data flows under renewed threat following top EU court’s ruling

      Last week, Europe’s highest court issued what might seem a fairly obscure ruling on an agreement between the EU and Canada on the transfer of passenger data between the two regions. In fact, the implications of the judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) are far reaching, and are likely to have a major impact on the flow of all personal data across the Atlantic.

    • FBI, tech company help cops hack iPhone in Miami reality TV star’s ‘sextortion’ case

      On Uncle Sam’s dime, an outside tech company helped state investigators finally hack into the iPhone of a Miami reality TV star accused of extorting a Miami socialite over stolen sex videos.

    • Governor angrily tweets about local TV station flying drone over his house

      Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has publicly accused a local television executive of “personally” flying a drone over his stately private home in a Louisville suburb on Tuesday morning. Gov. Bevin made this accusation after seemingly accusing other local media of “flying directly over and around my home, filming my children.” The entire incident appears to be related to a local property dispute.

    • Another Appeals Court Denies Suppression Of Evidence Obtained With An Invalid FBI Warrant

      A second appeals court has handed down a ruling on the constitutionality of the Network Investigative Technique (NIT) deployed by the FBI during its Playpen child porn investigation. The Tenth Circuit Appeals Court overturned the suppression of evidence granted by the lower court, ruling that the FBI’s NIT warrant was invalid but that the agent’s “good faith” reliance on the warrant prevented exclusion of the evidence.

      Multiple courts have found the NIT warrant invalid. The warrant was obtained in Virginia but the search the FBI’s malware performed accessed computers all over the world. Prior to the recent Rule 41 changes, warrant execution was limited to the jurisdiction it was obtained in. The Appeals Court worked around the jurisdictional limit by reasoning the NIT was sent from Virginia and returned info gathered in the same jurisdiction. It just kind of glossed over the part where computers located all over the nation were briefly infected by the NIT to obtain the information needed to pursue suspects.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Second body cam video of Baltimore cops manufacturing evidence discovered

      More get-out-of-jail-free cards are being issued by Baltimore prosecutors—and more are likely, after Monday’s disclosure of a second police body cam video that defense attorneys say shows cops manufacturing evidence.

    • Asset Forfeiture: Killing Criminal Organizations With $16 Seizures

      Sounds impressive until you start digging into how that $2.7 million was amassed. It wasn’t a few large seizures with definite ties to criminal activity. It was a bunch of petty, nickel-and-dime seizures where the amounts taken could easily have earned by the property’s owners through completely legal means.

    • Norwegian anti-immigrant Facebook groups confuses empty bus seats with ‘terrorists’

      A Facebook group for Norwegians opposed to immigration was widely mocked after members apparently could not tell the difference between empty bus seats and burka-clad women.
      A user posted a photo of empty bus seats to the Facebook group Fedrelandet viktigst (roughly translated as ‘Fatherland first’) with the question “what do people think about this?”

      What they thought is apparently that they were seeing a bus full of burka-clad women and proof of the ‘Islamification’ of Norway.

      Member after member sounded off on how “frightening”, “tragic” and “scary” the scene was. Others decried that such a thing could happen in Norway (it didn’t) and worried that the phantom passengers could have “weapons and bombs” under their garments (they didn’t because, well, there were no passengers).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Internet History Timeline: ARPANET to the World Wide Web
    • Canada Appoints Lobbyist To Top Telecom Regulator, Follows US Down The Regulatory Capture Rabbit Hole

      The last few years have seen a boon in consumer and small-business-friendly policies coming out of Canada’s telecom regulator the CRTC. Under outgoing agency head Jean-Pierre Blais, the agency bumped the definition of broadband to 50 Mbps, required that phones must now be sold unlocked in Canada, shored up the country’s net neutrality rules, and took aim at the anti-competitive use of usage caps and overage fees. Not everything Blais did was a success (like their attempt to force cable TV providers to offer cheaper plans, then failing to follow through) but by and large the CRTC has been an improvement over years past.

    • Sprint still seeks merger partner after being rejected by Charter

      Cable company Charter Communications said it has no interest in buying Sprint. After reports that Sprint owner SoftBank proposed a merger with Charter, the cable company said it will move forward in its plan to offer wireless service without buying the carrier.

    • FCC says its specific plan to stop DDoS attacks must remain secret

      The Federal Communications Commission has told members of Congress that it won’t reveal exactly how it plans to prevent future attacks on the public comment system.

      FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Democratic lawmakers have been exchanging letters about a May 8 incident in which the public comments website was disrupted while many people were trying to file comments on Pai’s plan to dismantle net neutrality rules. The FCC says it was hit by DDoS attacks. The commission hasn’t revealed much about what it’s doing to prevent future attacks, but it said in a letter last month that it was researching “additional solutions” to protect the comment system.

    • UK WiFi Company Uses Overlong TOS To Trick Hotspot Users Into Cleaning Toilets, Hugging Stray Cats[Ed: There is no "free" in this market. If they tell you it's free, you are the product/community (e.g. spying).]

      So we’ve talked for years about how overlong terms of service contracts that nobody reads are used to eliminate your rights in numerous ways. That includes stripping away your legal rights and forcing you to engage in binding arbitration, which results in the company-employed arbitrator ruling in their employer’s favor a vast majority of the time. In fact Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, recently cited these overlong and misleading contracts as one of the biggest threats to the health and utility of his invention.

      Every so often we’ll see a company conduct an experiment to demonstrate the stupidity of long-normalized behavior, like the company in 2010 that got users to sign off on selling their soul. Taking a cue out of that playbook, UK WiFi hotspot operator Purple recently did something similar, burying a provision in their terms of service requiring that customers engage in 1,000 hours of menial labor if they wanted to access the internet.

    • Republicans try to take cheap phones and broadband away from poor people

      Nineteen Republican lawmakers are trying to eliminate subsidies that help poor people purchase cell phone service and broadband.

      The legislation filed on Friday targets Lifeline, which is a Universal Service Fund program paid for by surcharges on phone bills. If the bill passes, low-income Americans would no longer be able to use $9.25 monthly subsidies toward cellular phone service or mobile broadband. The subsidies would still be available for landline phone service.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • MLB Comes To Its Senses And Declines To Oppose Overwatch League Trademark

        We recently discussed how Major League Baseball had asked for an extension with the USPTO so its legal staff could decide whether it wanted to oppose a trademark application for eSport organization Overwatch League’s new logo. The request was more than a little head-scratching for a variety of reasons. As we pointed out in that post, the two logos aren’t particularly similar and certainty don’t appear to give ground to any confusion among the public about any affiliation between the leagues.

      • Supreme Court Ruling Allows Patent And Trademark Requests For Racial Slurs, Swastika [Ed: Misleading, dramatic, sensationalist headline]

        A group of companies and individuals are attempting to register racial slurs and offensive symbols, including the N-word and the Nazi swastika, in response to a June U.S. Supreme Court decision on trademarks.

        Applicants filed nine trademark requests with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) since the June 19 decision to negate a federal law barring discriminatory trademarks. The court ruled that the law violated free speech rights in the Constitution.

    • Copyrights

      • Streisand Effect Helps Sci-Hub To Acquire Almost All Scholarly Literature, Dooms Traditional Academic Publishing

        Techdirt has been covering the story of Sci-Hub, which provides unrestricted access to a massive (unauthorized) database of academic papers, for a while now. As several posts have emphasized, the decision by the publishing giant Elsevier to pursue the site through the courts is a classic example of the Streisand Effect: it has simply served to spread the word about a hitherto obscure service. There’s a new paper exploring this and other aspects of Sci-Hub, currently available as a PeerJ preprint.

      • State attorneys general team up to scare you from “content theft sites”

        Fifteen state attorneys general have teamed up with a pro-Hollywood group to launch a campaign aimed at dissuading the public from visiting file sharing sites.

      • GCSB ‘had no idea’ spy gear was still targeting Kim Dotcom

        THE GCSB lost control of its surveillance technology and wasn’t aware its systems continued spying on Kim Dotcom, according to new documents from the spy bureau.

        It claimed that it turned off all surveillance systems targeting Dotcom and others but
        found out more than a year later that surveillance continued without its knowledge.

        The details in the documents have led Dotcom to state that there is now evidence the United States’ National Security Agency was carrying out surveillance on him.

      • NSA unlawfully surveiled Kim Dotcom in New Zealand: report

        The National Security Agency (NSA) illegally used technology to spy on Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, according to new documents from New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB).

        The New Zealand Herald first reported that the GCSB told the nation’s high court that it ceased all surveillance of Dotcom in early 2012, but that “limited” amounts of communications from Dotcom were later intercepted by its technology without the bureau’s knowledge.

      • Report: NSA Illegally Surveilled Kim Dotcom in New Zealand
      • GCSB spy technology ‘went rogue’ & kept surveilling Kim Dotcom – court documents

        New Zealand’s surveillance agency says it had no idea it was still spying on Kim Dotcom for months after officially ending its operation, according to new court documents.

        The internet entrepreneur says the claim is evidence of NSA involvement in illegal spying against him and his family.

      • LinkedIn: It’s illegal to scrape our website without permission

        A small company called hiQ is locked in a high-stakes battle over Web scraping with LinkedIn. It’s a fight that could determine whether an anti-hacking law can be used to curtail the use of scraping tools across the Web.

        HiQ scrapes data about thousands of employees from public LinkedIn profiles, then packages the data for sale to employers worried about their employees quitting. LinkedIn, which was acquired by Microsoft last year, sent hiQ a cease-and-desist letter warning that this scraping violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the controversial 1986 law that makes computer hacking a crime. HiQ sued, asking courts to rule that its activities did not, in fact, violate the CFAA.

        James Grimmelmann, a professor at Cornell Law School, told Ars that the stakes here go well beyond the fate of one little-known company.

        “Lots of businesses are built on connecting data from a lot of sources,” Grimmelmann said. He argued that scraping is a key way that companies bootstrap themselves into “having the scale to do something interesting with that data.” If scraping without consent becomes illegal, startups like hiQ will have a harder time getting off the ground.

      • BitTorrent Users Form The World’s Largest Criminal Enterprise, Lawyer Says

        When someone uses a BitTorrent client to download content, it might seem like a small and insignificant act. However, according to a law firm trying to extract payment from five alleged infringers, every single one is engaged in the largest criminal enterprise ever witnessed on planet earth, one that threatens to tear down intellectual property itself.

The Section 101 USPTO ‘Debate’ (for a ‘Report’) is a Bunch of Lawyers Debating Among Themselves, No Engineers/Scientists Involved

Posted in America, Deception, IBM, Patents at 5:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A review of the contents of the USPTO’s report which deals with software patents, based on various people who looked into it and paid attention to the parties involved

THE USPTO can’t help organising all these PR charades, which are echo chamber-like events and reports (forums, roundtables etc.) that we have been writing a lot about since last year (we also wrote about it in 2013). What good are these? They only help reinforce the views of the patent microcosm and elements of it that prey on large companies.

Will Hill, an occasional Techrights contributor, wrote the following summary in Diaspora* (in response to what we had written):

They go to some pains to say that comments came from practitioners and inventors, but the written comments seem to all come from lawyers. The report has a “computer-related technologies” section which has a show of debate, perhaps like the recent “fake news” debate

In contrast to the life sciences field, those in the computer industry were more sharply divided in their views of recent Supreme Court precedent. Some members of the public welcomed the Court’s intervention in the law of patent eligibility. Far from sounding the “death knell” for software innovation,335 several members of the public argued that Alice instead addresses the very real problem of abusive patent litigation driven by overly broad patents.336 According to these commentators, the decision has made patent litigation more efficient and has provided companies with an important tool to defend against spurious lawsuits.337 Likewise, others characterized Alice as striking an appropriate balance between innovators and downstream users of computer-implemented inventions. 338 One participant doubted that the Supreme Court, directly confronted with the issue, would actually hold “that software is not patentable.”339 Another argued that Alice doesn’t go far enough, and that patents are “an imposition” on people that write software and “slow down their ability to create.” 340

The numbers are cites to the transcript and written reports by Google, IBM, Mozilla, Microsoft, etc. Yes, the participants all seem to be lawyers.

You can find lists of participants, all in crappy Word to PDF documents with minimally functioning links at,


to get the transcript and written reports.
https://www.uspto.gov/sites/default/files/documents/RT2 Transcript FINAL.pdf


The report tries to make itself look like a collaborative effort,
There were over 250 participants from across the country representing abroad cross-section of the patent community, including industry, private practice, academia, associations,inventors, and small businesses.

I suppose legal council is a form of representation, but it’s one only a few people can afford much less the time and travel expenses of participation, and the claim that “small business” were represented rings hollow.

Professor Dennis Crouch misleads this week. Most parties, based on the above (those whose employers actually make stuff) favoured Alice. Misleading framing from Crouch: “The USPTO’s new Section 101 Report [101-Report] is fairly bland, and primarily reports that most of the public input favored a legislative change that would expand patent eligibility to include many of the life-science and software innovations excluded under Mayo/Alice.”

CCIA’s Josh Landau also wrote something yesterday. He explained why large technology companies now oppose software patents (except, notably, IBM, which is just utterly evil on that front).

To quote the relevant section:

Computer-Related Industries Favor Alice

The Patent Office report correctly notes that the two industries that have seen the most impact from recent Supreme Court decisions on § 101 are life sciences (Myriad and Mayo) and computer-related industries (Alice). Summarizing the viewpoints expressed by the public, it states that the life sciences are united in favor of changing § 101, while computer-related industries are divided.

This is half right. The life sciences industry is essentially united. But so are computer-related industries. They’re united in favor of § 101 and Alice.

Intel? Google? Oracle? Amazon? Microsoft? Groups representing startups (Engine), the software industry (SIIA), high-tech and Internet companies (CCIA and IA), and the video game industry (ESA)? The PTO notes that they all supported the current state of § 101 and provided a long list of reasons why. Alice has helped startups and small businesses defend themselves from spurious patent lawsuits. It has provided a tool to reduce the cost of patent litigation. And it’s provided a sensible tool to weed out poor quality and overbroad patents that try to claim ideas, rather than solutions.

There is one major exception—IBM. IBM is most likely the single largest patent-holder in the U.S., but it’s seen 5 straight years of declining revenue and growth. (A fact which, in and of itself, should make you question whether the number of patents granted is actually indicative of innovation.) About the only place where IBM is growing is in the yearly “number of patents granted” figure; given that, IBM’s desire to prevent invalidation of the patent portfolio that’s become its crown jewels makes sense.

Watchtroll, as expected, is tugging in the other direction, pushing IBM’s agenda as recently as yesterday. They just want legal chaos.

90% of WIPR Readers Give Up Hope on Unitary Patent (UPC) in the UK, But Team UPC Keeps Lying About It

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 5:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bristows EPO

Summary: UPC boosters carry on promoting the illusion of UPC inevitability (even in the UK), in clear defiance of common sense and basic professional integrity

SURVEYS from WIPR are not everything to go by (they typically involve people in the patent ‘industry’), even though in the past they showed anything but UPC optimism. The latest survey apparently attracted the “second highest number of responses ever for a WIPR survey,” but we’ll come to that in a moment.

The UPC is not desirable to the UK. Firms in the UK (not law firms but firms that actually make things) object to it.

“The UPC is not desirable to the UK. Firms in the UK (not law firms but firms that actually make things) object to it.”In relation to the article mentioned on Monday (behind a paywall), one EPO insider wrote that: “Apparently Mr Hufschmid is one of the EPO Inventors awarded in Venice this year!”

Battistelli, whose name is apparently Italian, chose Italy for his latest PR charade. Will Italy also take Britain’s place? Many Brits seems to think so. Even Brits who are in the patent/litigation ‘industry’ and would prefer to believe otherwise.

Translations would, in the meantime, also be appreciated for this new article in German (it has just mentioned the good chances of Antonio Campinos as the next EPO President, bringing it under “EU” umbrella — like the EUIPO Campinos is from — in the form of UPC).

“…Campinos is already heading the rebranded (for EU) EUIPO and he is from a southern European country, more like Battistelli.”“Campinos is spoken of as worse,” one person noted (Campinos compared to Battistelli). Another added, “if humanly possible.”

Campinos is Portuguese and we wrote many articles about him and his immunity (scandal from Portugal).

Either way, Campinos is already heading the rebranded (for EU) EUIPO and he is from a southern European country, more like Battistelli.

Italy might soon be chosen as a substitute for the UK in the UPC, according to what mostly British patent practitioners believe. To quote this latest from WIPR:

Nearly 90% of WIPR readers believe that Milan would be a good fit for the Unified Patent Court’s (UPC) central division seat should it be moved from London, according to a recent survey.

The seat, which is due to hear cases on chemistry, including pharmaceuticals and human necessities, is expected to be based in London, but this has been thrown into doubt following the Brexit vote.

These are the five top reasons that readers, who provided the second highest number of responses ever for a WIPR survey, think Milan would be a good replacement for London.

It certainly looks as though, based on various WIPR surveys (not just the above), there’s no faith in the UK ever entering the UPC. But Kingsley Egbuonu, living in another parallel universe in London and working for the pro-UPC Managing IP (they have spent years promoting the UPC), does not mention what actually happened in the middle of July (Team UPC certainly noticed, but decided to mislead by omission) and pretends all is fine for the UPC in the UK. Watch yesterday’s “progress [sic] report” from him (the part below is not behind paywall):

UK consents to UPC Agreement (UPCA) Protocol and will resume legislative procedure for UPCA ratification in the autumn, UPC IT team seeks user input, and Germany’s legislative steps for ratification criticised

UK consents to UPCA Protocol

The UK has deposited its instrument of acceptance to be bound by the UPCA Protocol. This Protocol allows parts of the UPCA which concern the court’s organisational structure, personnel and infrastructure to come into force early [...]

What a spectacular spin. And no mention about what happened in British politics 2 weeks ago? How come?

“Do they keep their head deep inside the sand or are they willfully lying, hoping that the lies can give the UPC some momentum?”Egbuonu wasn’t alone. Innofy’s weird “headline” that’s just a two-sentence statement was also released yesterday: “The Unitary Patent system is currently expected to start in the first quarter of 2018. Naturally, we will keep you updated as soon as any further news is released.”

Andrew Clarke sounds as deluded (maybe self-deluding) as Bristows.

Are they not paying attention to what has been happening? Do they keep their head deep inside the sand or are they willfully lying, hoping that the lies can give the UPC some momentum?

Currently, at the EPO, there is a growing crisis of governance and patent rules/scope. See one of the latest comments in IP Kat (from yesterday):

One of the aspects that have so far not been discussed is whether it would be legitimate for the Administrative Council to change the EPC with a retroactive effect: the change in the Rules is not to be applied to alle applications filed after the change, but to all applications and even patents pending before the EPO.

Normally, a change in law will not place a party in a worse situation. What has happened now is comparable by a parliament saying that all new cars should have safety belts, which not only would apply to newly sold cars, but also would apply to cars that have been sold so far and which are still driving on the roads. From now on, cars that are halted by the police and do not have safety belts will be removed from the road.

If this hypothetical car situation would become real, everybody would protest, even if it was felt that having obligatory safety belts was a good idea. Now, since it only affects a minimum number of companies/people apparently such a limitation of rights is gladfully accepted.
From my perspective, I would vote that the EPO (or the European Commission) would compensate holders of these kind of patents (and/or applicants that filed these patents before the change of law) would compensate for loss of patent right (and consequently loss of income).

A response to this said that “the vast majority of those cases will have been filed in the knowledge that patentability of products of biological processes was uncertain. They took that risk, and for a small amount of time (between the G decision and the EU notice) things looked good, but surely compensation should not be available in these circumstances.”

“The EPC itself is in a crisis and much of this causes the constitutional panic in Germany.”“To my mind,” added another comment, “this would have been an excellent topic of discussion at a Conference organised under Article 4a EPC. It seems like big legal issues like this where the AC is in danger of acting ultra vires would be the ideal subject for discussion.”

The EPC itself is in a crisis and much of this causes the constitutional panic in Germany.

We don’t believe that the UPC is going anywhere; neither do people who work in the field. But to some people (and their employer) it’s all about money, not truth or accuracy.

“We are very concerned that Team UPC — much like Team Battistelli — has become so detached from facts that it’s dangerous not only to itself but to everyone in the surrounding area.”The Philippines, a country with very few EPs, has a new example of this, courtesy of Shilpi Saxena Jr from Khurana and Khurana. Watch yesterday’s promotional puff piece; only days after a similar self-promotional piece about Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH). The truth of the matter is, the country is pretty irrelevant to the EPO, yet Battistelli used it in a desperate effort to make it seem like he’s “winning” (the Trump way).

We are very concerned that Team UPC — much like Team Battistelli — has become so detached from facts that it’s dangerous not only to itself but to everyone in the surrounding area. In the case of the UK, the British industry is greatly harmed by the likes of Bristows.

Heiko Maas May Need to Belatedly Answer Complaint About Illegal Spying on Staff at the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Heiko Maas and the use of keyloggers at the EPO a subject which deserves to be revisited now that the practice is officially ruled illegal in Germany

THE subject of illegal surveillance at the EPO was mostly covered here 2 years ago. We have no reason to believe anything has improved since then. Keyloggers and hidden cameras are something to be expected from the Stasi and in fact the EPO hired a firm with connections to the Stasi (through Desa).

As we noted here yesterday, the subject was brought back from the dead or naturally arose in light of a German ruling.

“Here is a report in English about the recent judgment from the Federal Labour Court,” one reader told us. We already linked to various English articles about it last week (in our daily links under the privacy section).

This reader sent us what s/he called a “copy of the letter sent to Heiko Maas in 2015 complaining amongst other things about the use of keyloggers at the EPO (original in German plus English translation). [EN, DE]

“No response was ever received from the Ministry of Justice.”

Here is the German version:

Ortssektion München . Local Section Munich . Section locale de Munich


su15060ml – 0.2.2/0.4.2/5.3/
Heiko Maas, MdB
Bundesminister der Justiz und für Verbraucherschutz
Mohrenstraße 37
10117 Berlin

Betreff: Resolution des Personals des Europäischen Patentamtes in München

München, 12. Juni 2015

Sehr geehrter Herr Bundesminister,

das Personal des Europäischen Patentamtes (EPA) in München ist gestern zu einer Generalversammlung zusammengetreten. Dabei wurde – immerhin einstimmig – eine Resolution verabschiedet, welche sich an Sie richtet. Sie ist diesem Schreiben angefügt.

Die Zustände im EPA sind weiterhin weit davon entfernt, normal oder gar entspannt zu sein. Die Zeichen der Entspannung, die kürzlich sichtbar wurden, haben sich leider nach kurzer Zeit bereits als Augenwischerei entpuppt.

Der Verwaltungsrat der Europäischen Patentorganisation (EPO) hat den Präsidenten des Amtes zwar dazu gedrängt, sich mit den Gewerkschaften an einen Tisch zu setzen; dennoch laufen die Gespräche in den zugehörigen Arbeitsgruppen so, wie sie immer laufen: sie stagnieren. Während die Gewerkschaften bereits mehrere Vorschläge eingebracht haben, kamen dazu amtsseitig immer wieder klare Absagen. Unser Eindruck ist daher auch, dass die Existenz dieser Gespräche wohl doch nur den Anschein der Gesprächsbereitschaft erwecken sollen, die in Wahrheit aber gar nicht existiert.

Wir sehen uns in dieser Auffassung weiter bestärkt, weil der Herr Präsident zwar in die Gespräche eingewilligt hat, aber zeitgleich gegen Mitglieder der Personalvertretung Ermittlungen und Verhöre anstrengen ließ. Diese werden von einer externen Ermittlerfirma, Control Risks [1], durchgeführt. Control Risks war bereits bei der Deutschen Telekom, der Deutschen Post, der Lufthansa, der Deutschen Bank und etlichen anderen Unternehmen in Bespitzelungsskandalen [2] aufgefallen. Auch „Der Spiegel“ berichtete [3], dass Control Risks bei seinen Ermittlungstätigkeiten mitunter sogar auf ehemalige Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter des Ministeriums für Staatssicherheit der früheren DDR zurückgegriffen hat. Wir können derzeit nicht sagen, ob ehemalige IMs nun im EPA ermitteln: entsprechende Nachfragen bei Control Risks blieben inhaltlich unbeantwortet.

Auch die Pressemeldungen in der „Süddeutschen Zeitung“ der vergangenen Tage zeigen [4], dass bei den Verantwortlichen im EPA das Gespür für die Grenzen ihrer Befugnisse völlig fehlt. So wurden im EPA-Hauptgebäude öffentlich zugängliche Rechner mit sogenannten Keyloggern versehen, also verwanzt. Da diese Rechner auch von Patentanwälten in den Verhandlungspausen vor den Beschwerdekammern genutzt wurden, kann nicht ausgeschlossen werden, dass vertrauliche Kommunikation über E-Mail zwischen Anwälten und ihren jeweiligen Mandanten vom Amt überwacht wurde. Darüber hinaus tagten, während diese Rechner verwanzt waren, die höchsten Gremien der EPOunter anderem der Verwaltungsrat. Es ist ebenfalls nicht ausgeschlossen, dass zahlreiche Delegierte der 38 Vertragsstaaten diese Rechner nutzten. Der Vertrauensverlust der Öffentlichkeit in das EPA ist unerträglich.

Wir sind der Auffassung, dass Herr Battistelli nicht mehr in der Lage ist, dieses selbsterzeugte Chaos zu kontrollieren, geschweige denn, wieder in Ordnung zu bringen. So hatte er zunächst vom Verwaltungsrat ein neues Karrieresystem beschließen lassen, in das er – wohl aus Versehen – eine Probezeit und finanzielle Boni für Richter vorgesehen hat. Nun rudert er zurück, legt dem Verwaltungsrat das Dokument CA/49/15 (nicht öffentlich) vor und hofft, dass es damit getan ist. Aber auch dieses Dokument musste er am Vorabend der Pflichtkonsultation des Personalausschusses zurückziehen und revidieren, ohne die revidierte Fassung zu den Beratungen vorlegen zu können. So kommen wir auch zu dem Schluss, dass CA/49/15 ein schriftlicher Beleg für die gescheiterte Politik eines gescheiterten Präsidenten ist. Wir legen seine Ablösung nahe.

Sehr geehrter Herr Bundesminister, wir bitten Sie, im Rahmen der angehängten Resolution tätig zu werden.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Elizabeth M. Hardon
IGEPA München

[1] Control Risks: https://www.controlrisks.com/
[2] Spiegel, “The Dark Side of Power: German Corporate Spying Scandal Widens”


[3] Spiegel, “Attack on Customer Data: Lufthansa Admits Spying on Journalist”


[4] Süddeutsche Zeitung, “Späh-Skandal – Europäisches Patentamt überwachte
Mitarbeiter mit Keyloggern”, 8 Juni 2015


Ortssektion München . Local Section Munich . Section locale de Munich

su15058mpd – 0.2.2/0.3.1/0.3.2/5.1


Das Personal des Europäischen Patentamtes in München, das in einer Generalversammlung zusammengetreten ist,

stellt fest, dass

- der angebliche Versuch, den „Sozialen Dialog“ wieder aufleben zu lassen, auf die sogenannten ‘trilateralen’1 Gespräche zur Anerkennung der Gewerkschaften beschränkt ist, während die tatsächlichen, aktuellen Probleme des EPA (wie Vetternwirtschaft, der vergiftete Führungsstil und der Machtmissbrauch von Herrn Battistelli, sowie das Einführen von Reformen, welche die verfassungsmäßigen Grundrechte des Personals des EPA, die allen freien Bürgern zustehen, verletzen), nicht einmal ansatzweise gelöst werden;
- Herr Battistelli zwar öffentlich vorgibt, den „Sozialen Dialog“ zu fördern, im Verborgenen aber die private Ermittlerfirma (Control Risks) engagiert hat, um gegen Mitglieder der
Personalvertretung des EPA zu ermitteln, wodurch er einmal mehr seine Glaubwürdigkeit bezüglich seiner Bemühungen um den sozialen Frieden in Frage stellt;
- der Verwaltungsrat des EPA, der die fragwürdigen Reformen trotz Kenntnis über die massiven Unzulänglichkeiten dennoch beschlossen hat; der in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart konsequent den Präsidenten unterstützt; der in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart konsequent daran gescheitert ist, das Unrecht, einschließlich der Angriffe auf die Personalvertretung, zu unterbinden, ein Teil des Problems ist,

stellt weiter fest, dass
- die Bundesrepublik Deutschland, (i) deren Staatsbürger ein Viertel des Personals des EPA stellen, (ii) deren Staatsgebiet zwei Drittel des Personals des EPA beherbergt, und (iii) die am meisten von den Vorteilen des EPA profitiert, sowohl in Bezug auf die Jahresgebühren als auch andere Einnahmen, auf ihrem Staatsgebiet die oben genannte Vetternwirtschaft, den vergifteten Führungsstil, den Machtmissbrauch und die Verletzung von Grundrechten, bisher geduldet hat,

Herrn Heiko Maas, MdB, Bundesminister der Justiz und somit höchster Amtsträger seiner Regierung in der Europäischen Patentorganisation AUF,
- alle Maßnahmen zu ergreifen, die geeignet sind, den sozialen Frieden im EPA wieder herzustellen indem die Rechtsstaatlichkeit garantiert wird;
- dem Herrn Präsidenten im Verwaltungsrat die Vertrauensfrage stellen zu lassen;
- sicherzustellen, dass die Grundrechte, die jedermann in Deutschland genießt, auch für die Bediensteten des EPA gelten.

München, 10. Juni 2015
1 Mit dem Präsident des Amts, Mitgliedern des Verwaltungsrats und EPA Gewerkschaften

Here is the English translation:

Ortssektion München . Local Section Munich . Section locale de Munich

su15060mle – 0.2.2/0.4.2/5.3/

Mr Heiko Maas, MdB
Federal Minister of Justice and Consumer Protection
Mohrenstrasse 37
D – 10117 Berlin

Re: Resolution by the Personnel of the European Patent Office in Munich

Munich, 12 June 2015

Dear Minister,

The personnel of the European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich convened yesterday at a General Meeting. A resolution was then adopted, unanimously, which is directed to yourself. It is appended to this letter.

The conditions at the EPO continue to be far from normal or in any way relaxed. The signs of easing of tension which were more recently evident have regrettably transpired, after only a brief period, to be mere window-dressing.

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organization (EPOrg) has indeed been urging the President to sit down with the staff unions. Nevertheless, the discussions in the relevant working groups have progressed as they have always done; they do not – they stagnate. While the unions have already introduced numerous proposals, there has repeatedly been nothing but clear rejection on the part of the Office. It is also our impression that the very existence of these talks was intended to give an appearance of readiness to enter in to dialogue, which in reality simply does not exist.

We see our view in this matter further reinforced by the fact that the President, while approving the talks, has at the same time been arranging for investigations and eavesdropping targeted at members of the staff representation body. These actions are being undertaken by an outside firm of investigators, Control Risks [1]. Control Risks have already been embroiled in informant scandals [2] at Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Post, Lufthansa, Deutsche Bank, and numerous other concerns. “Der Spiegel” [3] has also reported that Control Risks have even made recourse, in their investigation activities, to former unofficial personnel from the Ministry of State Security of the former GDR. We cannot say at present whether former IM members are now conducting investigations at the EPO. Enquiries made to Control Risks in this respect remain unanswered.

The press reports in the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” in the past few days show [4] that the persons responsible at the EPO have entirely lost any sense of the limits of their powers and authority. By way of example, at the EPO main building, publicly accessible computers have been fitted with what are referred to as key loggers; in other words, they have been bugged. The possibility cannot be excluded that these computers have also been used by patent attorneys in the interludes in negotiations with the Boards of Appeals, and that confidential communications by E-mail between attorneys and their clients are being monitored by the Office. In addition to this, while these computers were being bugged, the most highly placed executive bodies of the EPO were meeting, among them the Administrative Council. The possibility is likewise not to be excluded that many of the delegates from the 38 Member States have been using these computers. The loss of trust on the part of the public with regard to the EPO is incalculable.

We are of the opinion that Mr Battistelli is no longer in a position to control this chaos which is of his own making, let alone restore order. By way of example, he had initially arranged for a new career system to be approved by the Administrative Council, in which, probably as an oversight, provision was made for a trial period and financial bonuses for judges. He is now back-pedalling, and has presented the Administrative Council with the document CA/49/15 (not for public access), and is hoping that this has resolved the matter. But even this document had to be withdrawn during the evening before the mandatory consultation with the Personnel Committee, and was revised, without it being possible for the revised version to be presented to the consultative proceedings. We therefore come to the conclusion that CA/49/15 is written proof of the failed policy of a failed President. We anticipate his departure.

Minister, we ask you to take action in the context of the appended Resolution.

Yours faithfully

Elizabeth M. Hardon
SUEPO Munich

[1] Control Risks: https://www.controlrisks.com
[2] Spiegel, “The Dark Side of Power: German Corporate Spying Scandal Widens”


[3] Spiegel, “Attack on Customer Data: Lufthansa Admits Spying on Journalist”


[4] Süddeutsche Zeitung, “Späh-Skandal-Europäisches Patentamt überwachte Mitarbeiter
mit Keyloggern”, 8 June 2015


Ortssektion München . Local Section Munich . Section locale de Munich

su15058mpe – 0.2.2/0.3.1/0.3.2/5.1


Staff of the European Patent Office in Munich, having convened at a General Meeting

determine, that
- the alleged attempt to resume “Social Dialogue” is restricted to the so-called “trilateral”1 discussion regarding the recognition of the staff union, while the actual and immediate problems of the EPO (nepotism, the toxic management style, and the abuse of power by Mr Battistelli, as well as the introduction of reforms which infringe the basic constitutional rights of EPO personnel, which all free citizens enjoy) have not been remotely addressed;
- Mr Battistelli proclaims in public that he promotes “Social Dialogue”, while he has covertly engaged the private investigator company (Control Risks) to conduct investigations against members of the staff representation bodies of the EPO, thereby once again calling into question his credibility with regard to efforts to achieve social peace;
- the Administrative Council of the EPO, which, despite being aware of massive shortcomings and deficiencies, has adopted the questionable reforms, has in the past consistently supported the President and still does so, has in the past failed, and still does fail, to redress the wrongs which have been and are being committed, including the attacks on the staff representative bodies, and is a part of the problem,

further determine that
- the Federal Republic of Germany, (i) citizens of which make up a quarter of the staff of the EPO, (ii) on the territory of which two-thirds of the staff of the EPO are resident, and (iii) which profits the most from the advantages of the EPO, both with regard to annual fees as well as other income, and on the sovereign territory of which are perpetrated the nepotism referred to, the toxic management style, the abuse of power, and the infringement of basic rights, has hitherto tolerated this situation,

that Mr Heiko Maas, MdB, Federal Minister of Justice and therefore holder of the highest office of his Government in the European Patent Organization,
- takes all measures suitable and appropriate to restore social peace at the EPO, such that the status of a state governed by rule of law is guaranteed;
- raises the question of confidence of the President in the Administrative Council;
- ensures that the basic rights which every person in Germany enjoys also apply to the personnel of the EPO.

Munich, 10 June 2015

1 With the President of the Office, members of the Administrative Council, and EPO staff unions

We don’t expect to ever hear anything from Heiko Maas regarding the EPO. He has many reasons to turn a blind eye, including — potentially — a Lufthansa scandal that needs sweeping under the rug (more on that soon).

The author of the above letter has since then been fired — in a very Putinist fashion — by Battistelli.

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