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03.01.18

European Patent Office (EPO) in Chaos and Attempting to Silence the Staff Would Only Exacerbate Matters

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Censorship in such circumstances/scenarios almost always backfires

Metal whistle

Summary: As the EPO becomes ever more oppressive it makes the mistake of attempting to control communication and transparency, which means that anonymous whistleblowing becomes the last resort to many

THE situation at the EPO has gotten so bad that staff representatives are no longer permitted to talk either to the Council or to the people whom they represent. It’s just so surreal. Earlier today we published this letter and now we see an accompanying message that says “EPO [management] is currently censoring the publication on the Intranet of a CSC communication.”

So basically the management just wants everyone to stay pretty much silent and not disseminate any information because information may then be labeled “defamatory” (that’s how they attempted to justify censorship of Techrights).

The EPO has just hired a firm (warning: epo.org link) to produce for it some more propaganda and without a shadow of a doubt claim — as usual — the very opposite of the truth. The EPO did this many times before and there were many debunkings.

“To ensure anonymity,” the EPO wrote, “an external contractor, BERENT Deutschland GmbH, will conduct the surveys on behalf of the EPO.”

Seriously, anonymity? And they’re on the EPO’s payroll, so how independent can that really be?

Anyway, information is being disseminated by the media right now. Not the German or Swiss or even French media (albeit some Dutch journalists do mention Techrights today).

Following coverage of the USF letter at SUEPO and elsewhere IPPro Patents wrote this article which says:

Union Syndicale Fédérale (USF) has penned a letter to senior European Patent Office (EPO) officials highlighting what it calls the “extreme” situation and “shocking events” taking place at the office.

In its letter, addressed to current EPO president Benoît Battistelli, president elect António Campinos and all 38 Delegations of the EPO’s Administrative Council, among others, USF said it had been following the situation with “great concern”.

[...]

USF concluded: “Beyond the mere application of article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (access of individual workers to an independent and impartial court) the issues of the European Social Charter as a universal source of social rights, the locus standi of union and the creation of appellate judicial bodies are now being raised.”

“USF considers that the various organs of the Council of Europe deserve to conduct their discussions and develop their conclusions with an adequate degree of autonomy, but any support or encouragement your institution of government may convey to the current debates at the Council of Europe would help re-establishing decent working conditions, transparency and a positive perception of the EPO by the public.”

The Register too wrote about it this morning and the article alludes to the “Unitary [sic] Patent Court (UPC)” towards the end (should be Unified). To quote some portions:

Pressure is continuing to build on the European Patent Office (EPO) over its treatment of staff and continued refusal to accept the results of an independent tribunal.

This week, Europe’s largest trade union, the Union Syndicale Fédérale (USF) wrote to all 38 members of the EPO’s Administrative Council noting its “great concern” at recent “extreme” EPO management actions that point to “fundamental flaws in the institutional setup of the EPO.”

The letter [PDF] notes that the situation at the EPO – where staff have been hounded and fired and then been ignored when they have taken their cases to an independent tribunal and won – is now being actively discussed in other European institutions, including the Council of Europe.

“USF wishes to draw your attention to an important ongoing debate between organs of the Council of Europe,” the letter notes. “The debates in Strasbourg focused on the issues of strengthening the legal system of international organizations and of the strict limitation of activities covered by their immunity of jurisdiction.”

[...]

That complaint argues that the long-planned Unitary Patent Court (UPC) is not legal because the EPO – which approves patents – has insufficient governance mechanisms. It will be heard later this year.

The situation has grown so dire that the Council of Europe has started looking into making high-level changes to prevent international organizations from going awol – and the initial recommendations are referenced in USF’s letter to the EPO’s Administrative Council.

There are mostly off-topic comments, but one person said about Battistelli: “He’s still there! It’s like trying to get rid of a stubborn stain. I doubt if he’ll pay much attention to them or anybody.”

It’s not just Battistelli anymore but also many of the toxic people he brought after him. Campinos too was his pick, so don’t expect much to change in 4 months when Battistelli leaves.

The Latest Bristows Spin Distracts From the Fact that Britain Has No Intention of Ratifying UPC and Brexit Agreement Altogether Omits It

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 3:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bristows EPO

Summary: In an effort to distract (quite frankly as usual) from another UPC setback in the UK, Bristows LLP speaks about an irrelevant (to the UPC) Luxembourg and attempts to make a draft of the Brexit Agreement seem as though it backs the UPC (it doesn’t)

THIS AFTERNOON we published a long post about the latest UPC deception and we predicted that Bristows would soon spread/seed similar deception in Kluwer Patent Blog. Seems as though our prediction was correct. The EPO hasn’t said anything about the UPC lately (not directly anyway). But Bristows is a loose cannon. The lies just ooze out…

Nobody but those people of Bristows would be crazy enough to insinuate that the future of UPC depends on tiny Luxembourg (its role in the UPC is cursory at best and it barely has any European Patents), but here they are getting so desperate for any positive news. Brian Cordery certainly knows that without France, Germany and the UK ratifying there will never be any UPC at all. Only France ratified.

“Brian Cordery certainly knows that without France, Germany and the UK ratifying there will never be any UPC at all. Only France ratified.”But Cordery’s nonsense/distraction wasn’t the worst. The worst was this ramble about “IP rights” from Kluwer Patent blogger (Bristows publishing anonymously because it knows it’s deceiving/lying).

Like we said aerlier today, the Brexit Agreement does not say a single word about the UPC (this is not a priority at all), but of course Bristows is trying to spin all that and saying the opposite of what is true. They try to make it sound like UPC ratification is imminent or inevitable. Bristows, these greedy liars, are dominant in Kluwer today (on same day, earlier today, Bristows’ Dominic Adair did their usual SPC lobbying/marketing, which his colleague typically does at IP Kat).

“We certainly hope that FCC in Germany is watching this. Any perception (illusion) of justice at the EPO is coincidental.”And speaking of which, Kluwer is not only dominating this UPC-centric blog these days (almost like it does IP Kat); it also does the same at IP Kat, where jobs ads from Bristows reappeared some hours ago. To quote: “The European Patent Office is looking to appoint new legally qualified members of the Boards of Appeal in Munich, see EPO looking for new legally qualified members of the Boards of Appeal for more details.” (composed by Bristows staff, which wants to promote the illusion of effective justice at the EPO)

It would be odd if the Office rather than the Council (or Organisstion) was to appoint members for the Boards of Appeal, but actually that’s not an error because in many ways the Office already controls everything, including the Council. Battistelli gets to choose (or have a say on) President of Boards of Appeal as well as deputies and BOAC.

We certainly hope that FCC in Germany is watching this. Any perception (illusion) of justice at the EPO is coincidental.

Élodie Bergot Threatens Staff Representatives Who Spread Information About the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Recent releases of old material:

Élodie Bergot’s HR Roadmap Explained by EPO Staff Representatives

Raw: Battistelli, Topić and Bergot Are Stonewalling Until Staff Representatives Speak to EPO Staff

Raw: Battistelli’s Circle (Topić and Bergot) Undermines Justice at the European Patent Office

MoU signed by Bergot
Battistelli, Topić and Bergot

Summary: Team Battistelli (the wife of Battistelli’s old colleague in this case) again reprimands elected staff representatives for doing their job, which is representing and informing EPO staff

WE recently wrote about how EPO management was silencing staff representatives like it had silenced the union (not quite the same thing). With rumours about layoffs the censorship at the EPO appears to have escalated even further.

We now have better understanding of how the latest censorship came about. It’s evident based on the letter below:

Mr Joachim Michels
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

By email: centralSTCOM@epo.org

[from]

European Patent Office
80298 Munich
Germany

PD 4.3
Human Resources

Elodie Berget
Principal Director

Tel. +49 (0)89 2399 • 4300
ebergot@epo.org

Date: 21.02.2018

Your request dated 19 February 2018 to upload an article on the CSC intranet page

Dear Mr Michels,

Reference is made to your request dated 19 February 2018 to upload an article on the CSC intranet page entitled “Human resources Management – new(s)”. I note that copies of the document in question have already been distributed following the LSC General Assembly in The Hague.

First, I would like to recall that the Office expressly acknowledges the large freedom of expression the staff representatives enjoy. Staff representatives might comment, question and criticize reforms, reorganisations and social policies. It is however noted that the proposed publication contains not only inaccurate but also offensive and if not defamatory statements against managers and colleagues. The strong accusations related notably to a supposed lack of ethics, bias, arbitrariness, violation of duty of care, undue pressure and lack of humanity cannot be accepted and are considered to be unfair attacks against the professionalism and the dignity of individuals. Additionally, despite a previous reminder, the CSC is again relaying information to all staff concerning an employee’s personal situation, which should, as such, be treated with confidentiality.

In this respect, it is recalled that according to the rules, staff representatives shall represent the interests of all staff and maintain suitable contacts with the Administration. It shall also contribute to the smooth running of the service by providing a channel for the expression of opinion.

However, far from defending the interest of the staff, this kind of publication coupled with the anonymous report circulated by staff representatives regarding the working group on modernisation of the employment framework generate suspicion and unjustified disquiet among staff. This is even more so regrettable that, in fact, the discussions within the Working Group were quite constructive and allowed a serious exchange of views.

Consequently, and in view of the above, you might wish to review the content of the proposed publication and delete or modify the parts that are offensive to individuals. Please inform accordingly Internal communication services. Finally, EPO management and myself remain willing to discuss the content of this communication with staff representation. In the meantime, however, the CSC is requested to abstain from spreading this communication further within other fora (internal and external).

Yours sincerely,

Elodie Bergot
Principal Director Human Resources

Long story short, Team Battistelli wants to control all staff communications and thus also know who says what, in order to facilitate retribution at times when layoffs are the ‘canteen gossip’. This is a form of McCarthyism and it makes the EPO look worse than we already know it is. Years ago the EPO blocked access to Techrights (using the same pretexts as above) and we certainly hope that European authorities pay attention to this unprecedented crackdown not only on labour rights but human rights too.

Links 1/3/2018: X.Org Server 1.20 RC1, Qt 5.11 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 11:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • OpenStack ‘Queens’ Release Expands Support for GPUs and Containers to Meet Edge, NFV and Machine Learning Workload Demands
  • OpenStack gets support for virtual GPUs and new container features
  • OpenStack’s Latest Release: All Hail to Queens
  • OpenStack Queens Accelerates Open-Source Cloud With New Capabilities

    The OpenStack Queens platform was officially released on Feb. 28, marking the 17th release of the open-source cloud platform, originally started by NASA and Rackspace in 2010. OpenStack today is widely used by large organizations, including Walmart, as well as serving as the underlying infrastructure for multiple cloud providers, including platforms from IBM and Oracle, among others.

    Multiple new and enhanced capabilities have landed in the OpenStack Queens release, including virtual GPU (vGPU) support and improved container integration. Several new projects also have made an appearance in the OpenStack Queens milestone, including Cyborg, which provides a framework for managing hardware and software acceleration resources.

  • Openstack community releases Queens with support for vGPUs

    The latest – and 17th – version of open source infrastructure software Openstack, named Queens, is now available.

    Six months on from the previous release, among the new features in Queens is full support for virtual graphic processing units (vGPUs) in the Nova provisioning component, so if a user is running Nova cloud or has physical servers with GPUs in them, those can now be tracked or provisioned out.

  • Coding Freedom

    Subtitled The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking, Coding Freedom is a rare beast in my personal reading: an academic anthropological study of a fairly new virtual community. It’s possible that many books of this type are being written, but they’re not within my normal reading focus. It’s also a bit of an awkward review, since the community discussed here is (one of) mine. I’m going to have an insider’s nitpicks and “well, but” reactions to the anthropology, which is a valid reaction but not necessarily the intended audience.

    I’m also coming to this book about four years after everyone finished talking about it, and even longer after Coleman’s field work in support of the book. I think Coding Freedom suffers from that lack of currency. If this book were written today, I suspect its focus would change, at least in part. More on that in a moment.

  • Sprint’s Open Source Strategy Is an Evolution

    Sprint is gradually incorporating open source into its network. Like most service providers, the company sees the value of moving to a more open source model, but it also has a limited amount of resources — both people and money — that it can devote to open source projects.

    “We don’t have all the resources as some of our competitors so we have to approach it in a targeted manner,” said Ron Marquardt, vice president of technology at Sprint, in an interview with SDxCentral here at the Mobile World Congress 2018 conference. “We don’t just want to contribute for the sake of it. We want to contribute to things that will be a differentiator for us or something that we want to influence.”

  • Elastic to Release Source Code for X-Pack

    Elastic customers who pay for high-end enterprise features like machine learning in the X-Pack extension will no longer be relegated to a “second-class citizen” experience when working with the vendor to track down bugs or other issues. That’s because the source code for commercial software that Elastic developed to extend the stack will soon be opened, CEO Shay Banon announced yesterday.

    “This is a big change for us,” Banon said during his keynote address before an announced crowd of 2,500 attendees at the company’s ElasticON conference in San Francisco. “I’m super excited about it. I can’t begin to explain how simple this will make things for us.”

  • Release notes for the Genode OS Framework 18.02

    After being developed for over a decade, Genode remained a mystery for many people who looked at the project from a distance as it does not seem to fit any established category of software. In 2018 – declared as the Year of Sculpt on our roadmap – this will hopefully change. Genode 18.02 features the first revision of Sculpt, which is a Genode-based operating system for general-purpose computing. After being used as day-to-day OS by the entire team of Genode Labs for several months, we feel that the time is right to share the system with a broader audience (Section Sculpt for Early Adopters).

    One fundamental feature of Sculpt is the ability to install and deploy software from within the running operating system, which is universally expected from any modern general-purpose OS. Section On-target package installation and deployment presents Genode’s unique take on the topic of software installation and deployment.

    Besides Sculpt, the current release has no shortage of other improvements. Genode’s growing arsenal of 3rd-party software received profound updates and additions, including VirtualBox, Muen, seL4, several GNU packages, and libraries. Also the user-level networking stack – including the Linux-based LxIP stack and our custom NIC-router component – received a lot of attention. Thanks to the added network driver for i.MX-based hardware, this networking infrastructure becomes usable on embedded platforms based on this SoC. Furthermore, the current release continues the cultivation of the Nim programming language for Genode components.

  • Sculpt Aims To Be A General-Purpose OS Built Atop Genode

    The Sculpt operating system that aims for day-to-day / general purpose use-cases and built atop the Genode OS Framework is now available.

    Sculpt is a Genode-powered operating system for general purpose computing. At this stage it’s quite rudimentary but they are working towards making it resemble a traditional operating system, ready-to-use ISO images will come in the future, they are still to develop their interactive GUI, and further down the road — possibly by the end of 2018 — they hope it will be ready for a community experience.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Analysis of the Alexa Top 1M Sites

        Prior to the release of the Mozilla Observatory in June of 2016, I ran a scan of the Alexa Top 1M websites. Despite being available for years, the usage rates of modern defensive security technologies was frustratingly low. A lack of tooling combined with poor and scattered documentation had led to minimal awareness around countermeasures such as Content Security Policy (CSP), HTTP Strict Transport Security (HSTS), and Subresource Integrity (SRI).

      • Things Gateway, Part 4
      • Discontinuing support for beta versions

        addons.mozilla.org (AMO) has supported a way for developers to upload beta versions of their add-ons. This allowed power users to test upcoming features and fixes before they are published to all users. It has been a useful feature to have for some developers.

      • Dear Mick Mulvaney: Don’t Let Equifax Off Easy

        Today, Mozilla is visiting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in Washington, D.C. with 27,052 signatures and a loud message: “Mick Mulvaney, don’t let Equifax off easy.”

        Last year’s Equifax data breach was a seismic event: Tens of millions of Americans had their personal information — from Social Security numbers to home addresses — pilfered by hackers, exposing them to fraud and identity theft. Equifax customers in other countries, like the UK and Canada, were also affected.

        Then, earlier this month, we learned the breach may have been worse than expected, with Americans’ tax IDs and driver’s license numbers swept up in the hack, too.

        This bad news broke just days after an astonishing development: The CFPB is not pursuing an investigation into the 2017 breach.

      • The 5 Stages of Experiment Analysis

        I’ve been thinking about experimentation a lot recently. Our team is spending a lot of effort trying to make Firefox experimentation feel easy. But what happens after the experiment’s been run? There’s not a clear process for taking experimental data and turning it into a decision.

        I noted the importance of Decision Reports in Desirable features for experimentation tools. This post outlines the process needed to get to a solid decision report. I’m hoping that outlining this process will help us disambiguate what our tools are meant to do and identify gaps in our tooling.

      • How to Try Firefox CSD on Linux, Right Now

        Firefox support for client-side decorations (better known as CSD) is coming to its Linux app — but if you can’t live without it, we’re gonna show you how to enable it.

        As we’ve mentioned before, a CSD toggle is present in nightly builds of the browser. When enabled on GTK3 desktop it merges the title bar and tab bar into one unified bar.

        This gives the browser a neat, compact look, and is in keeping with other GTK3 apps that use header bars (like, basically, all of them).

      • Firefox Media Playback Team Review Policy

        Reviews form a central part of how we at Mozilla ensure engineering diligence. Prompt, yet thorough, reviews are also a critical component in maintaining team velocity and productivity. Reviews are also one of the primary ways that a distributed organization like Mozilla does its mentoring and development of team members.

        So given how important reviews are, it pays to be deliberate about what you’re aiming for.

        The senior members of the Firefox Media Playback team met in Auckland in August 2016 to codify the roadmap, vision, and policy for the team, and and one of the things we agreed upon was our review policy.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 6.0 – Goodness, Gracious, Great Fonts of Fire!

      LibreOffice 6.0 is a phenomenal release. Pro-am if you will. The very first version that can proudly wear its laurels. It’s almost a completely different product. More elegant, more efficient, with better and smarter layout and work logic, improved functionality with pretty much everything. Most importantly, Microsoft Office supports is very good. It was also stable and fast.

      Technically, LibreOffice is playing catchup with Microsoft Office. We probably may never achieve parity, as office suites take millions of dollars to develop and maintain. But still, in this game of hare and armadillo, the open-source beastling is making great strides forward. LibreOffice 6.0 has an expensive, elegant, refreshing feel to it. An office suite reborn. Official release notes are often three quarters hyperbole and one quarter nonsense, but in this case, it’s all awesome stuff. I am extremely happy, and I urge you to install and test LibreOffice 6.0. There are few free products that warrant this much joy. 10/10. Font away.

    • Oracle Adds Support for Linux Kernel 4.15 to Its Latest VirtualBox Release

      VirtualBox 5.2.8 is now available to download, finally bringing support for the latest Linux 4.15 kernel series for Linux-based guest operating systems you might want to run on your virtual machines. Also, this means that various of VirtualBox’s modules can now be compiled against Linux kernel 4.15.

      Also, VirtualBox 5.2.8 finally addresses that annoying black screen issue that occurred when 3D was enabled in some Linux guests, and adds support for suppressing setuid and setgid in shared folders. For Windows guests, the update fixes an incorrect function error that occurred when using shared folders with certain apps.

    • VirtualBox 5.2.8 Released With Linux 4.15 Kernel Support, PCID For Guests

      For those of you making use of Oracle VM VirtualBox, the 5.2.8 point release is now available as a rather large point release.

      While this is just another VirtualBox point release, VirtualBox 5.2.8 is larger than their usual point releases from Oracle. Besides adding support for the latest stable kernel (Linux 4.15) and other fixes, there are some more prominent changes too.

    • VirtualBox 5.2.8 Released with Support for Linux 4.15

      A new version of VirtualBox is available to now download. VirtualBox 5.2.8 supports the latest Linux kernel 4.15 in Linux guest machines, making it perfect for those looking to try the latest Bionic Beaver daily builds.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Free Software Foundation releases FY2016 Annual Report

      The Annual Report reviews the Foundation’s activities, accomplishments, and financial picture from October 1, 2015 to September 30, 2016. It is the result of a full external financial audit, along with a focused study of program results. It examines the impact of the FSF’s programs, and FY2016′s major events, including LibrePlanet, the creation of ethical criteria for code-hosting repositories, and the expansion of the Respects Your Freedom computer hardware product certification program.

      “More people and businesses are using free software than ever before,” said FSF executive director John Sullivan in his introduction to the FY2016 report. “That’s big news, but our most important measure of success is the support for the ideals. In that area, we have momentum on our side.”

      As with all of the Foundation’s activities, the Annual Report was made using free software, including Inkscape, GIMP, and PDFsam, along with freely licensed fonts and images.

    • Fun with gcc plugins
  • Public Services/Government

    • Disruptive by Design: Invigorating Government Open Source Contributions

      The U.S. government is likely the largest combined producer and consumer of software in the world. The code to build that software is volatile, expensive and oftentimes completely hidden from view. Most people only see the end result: the compiled and packaged application or website. However, a massive worldwide community, the Open Source Initiative, centers on the exact opposite.

      Open source enables a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. Although open source technology is not new, its effects can still be disruptive in many ways. The government has only recently been serious about contributing to this initiative, a nonprofit formed in 1998 as an educational, advocacy and stewardship organization. The Department of Defense has traditionally treated the majority of source code as sensitive, nonexportable information. This attitude has placed most open projects behind heavy use restrictions and government-access-only barriers.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Keyboardio Hits a High Point in Open Hardware

        My expectations for Keyboardio’s Model 01 were high. I pre-ordered the keyboard during its 2015 crowdfunding campaign, and waited for over two years with increasing frustration as one delay in manufacturing followed another. Then, in 2017, the first Model 01s shipped — but not mine. By the time mine arrived in February 2018, my expectations were so high that I was sure that the reality could not possibly match my expectations.

        I was dead right.

        Reality exceeded my expectations, and by more than I could possibly imagine. The Model 01 is not the first programmable keyboard. Nor is it the first open source keyboard, the first keyboard with mechanical switches, or the first ergonomic keyboard. However, so far as I’m aware, no other keyboard has combined all these features at once. Combining aesthetics, ergonomics, hardware customization, and software customization, Keyboardio’s Model 01 is a keyboard in a class of its own.

      • Trinamic Licenses Codasip’s Bk3 RISC-V Processor for Next Generation Motion Control Applications

        Brno, Czech Republic and Hamburg, Germany, 28th February 2018. – Codasip, the leading supplier of RISC-V® embedded processor IP, announced today that Trinamic, the global leader in embedded motor and motion control ICs and microsystems, has selected Codasip’s Bk3 processor for its next-generation family of products.

      • GreenWaves Puts Another Spin on IoT Chips

        Rather than using the ubiquitous Arm Cortex-A or -M cores, GreenWaves relies on the potentially ubiquitous RISC-V design. The benefits here are twofold: RISC-V is free (as in free beer), and RISC-V permits user-defined extensions. GreenWaves took advantage of both characteristics to build itself a complex multicore MCU that’s tweaked for image, audio, and sensor processing. The idea is to make the edge-node processor smart enough that it doesn’t have to upload raw data to a smarter device upstream. Do your data-capture, analysis, filtering, and massaging right at the point of collection and you’ll save yourself time, money, and power.

        GAP8 has nine identical RISC-V cores: one for overall housekeeping and eight for massaging incoming data. The housekeeping side looks like a very traditional MCU, with a UART, SPI and I2C interfaces,

  • Programming/Development

    • Why Python devs should use Pipenv
    • #17: Dependencies.

      As R users, we are spoiled. Early in the history of R, Kurt Hornik and Friedrich Leisch built support for packages right into R, and started the Comprehensive R Archive Network (CRAN). And R and CRAN had a fantastic run with. Roughly twenty years later, we are looking at over 12,000 packages which can (generally) be installed with absolute ease and no suprises. No other (relevant) open source language has anything of comparable rigour and quality. This is a big deal.

    • On the unoptimalities of language specific build systems

      A fairly big recent trend has been the emergence of new programming languages that are meant to be compiled into machine code. The silent (and sometimes not so silent) goal of these languages has been to replace C and C++ as the dominant systems programming language.

      All of these languages come with their own build system and dependency management optimised for that particular language. This makes sense as having a good developer experience is important and not having 20-30 years of legacy to carry with you means you can design and develop slick systems relatively easily. But, as always, there is a downside. Perhaps the main issue comes up pretty quickly when trying to combine said code with projects in other languages.

      A common approach is for the programming language in question to bundle up all its dependencies as source in a big clump. Then the advocates will say that “it’s simple, just call our build system from yours and it gets built”. This seems simple but it uses the weasieliest of all weasel words: just. Whenever someone tells you to “just” do something, what they almost always do is trying to trivialise away the hardest part of the entire operation. So it is here as well.

    • How to hire the right DevOps talent

      DevOps culture is quickly gaining ground, and demand for top-notch DevOps talent is greater than ever at companies all over the world. With the annual base salary for a junior DevOps engineer now topping $100,000, IT professionals are hurrying to make the transition into DevOps.

    • Eclipse Open J9 – an Open Source Java Virtual Machine Based on the Eclipse OMR Project

      IBM has been working hard on their own flavor of the Java Virtual Machine (JVM) — J9 JVM — since 1997. J9 was built as a closed source (proprietary) independent implementation of the JVM whose class libraries were based on the licensed Sun (now OpenJDK) implementation. J9 has many enhancements and flag-bearing optimizations including: tiered compilation; shared classes; escape analysis; hardware specific optimizations, such as selecting the correct large page size; soft real-time garbage collector; API optimizations via Apache Harmony, dynamic ahead-of-time (AOT) compilation; several object locking specific optimizations; and more.

    • J2EE and JavaEE are Gone. Enterprise Java is Now Called Jakarta EE

      The popular enterprise application framework now has a new name – and a new direction.

      In the world of enterprise applications, few (if any) frameworks have ever been as widely adopted and deployed as Java and specifically enterprise flavors of Java.

      The first big incarnation of enterprise Java was known as J2EE. In 2006, Sun rebranded J2EE as JavaEE. Now in 2018, enterprise Java is being re-branded again, though this time it’s losing the Java name.

    • On well executed releases and remote teams

      After some blood, sweat and tears, we finally brought Stacksmith into the world, yay!

      It’s been a lengthy and intense process that started with putting together a team to be able to build the product in the first place, and taking Bitnami’s experience and some existing tooling to make the cloud more accessible to everyone. It’s been a good week.

      However, I learnt something I didn’t quite grasp before: if you find really good people, focus on the right things, scope projects to an achievable goal and execute well, releases lack a certain explosion of emotions that are associated with big milestones. Compounded with the fact that the team that built the product are all working remotely, launch day was pretty much uneventful.

Leftovers

  • Norbert Preining: Ten Mincho – Great font and ugly Adobe

    I recently stumbled upon a very interesting article by Ken Lunde (well known from CJKV Information Processing book) on a new typeface for Japanese called Ten Mincho, designed by Ryoko Nishizuka and Robert Slimbach. Reading that the Kanji and Roman part is well balanced, and the later one designed by Robert Slimbach, I was very tempted to get these fonts for my own publications and reports.

  • Science

    • Evidence of quantum state in spin cluster chain predicted by Nobel Prize recipient found in magnetic mineral

      Nuclear techniques at ANSTO have helped to confirm a quantum spin phenomena, a Haldane phase, in a magnetic material, that has potential to be used as a measurement model for quantum computation.

      Although there has been experimental evidence of the Haldane phase in other types of one dimensional antiferromagnetic materials, it is believed to be the first evidence in a cluster-based material.

    • Scientists discover how to distinguish beams of entangled photons

      A team from the Faculty of Physics, MSU, has developed a method for creating two beams of entangled photons to measure the delay between them. In the future the results of the study may be used in high-precision measurements, material studies, and informational technologies. The article was published in Optics Letters journal.

      [...]

      Thus, the scientists managed to experimentally register the smallest possible shift between twin beams of entangled photons that may be observed by measurement devices. According to the team, it is possible to further reduce this value, but to do so, the scheme of the experiment would be more complex. “Right now, 90 femtoseconds is a record-setting value, but it can be reduced, and we know how,” explained Prudkovskii. He says that the wave period of laser emission is only several femtoseconds, so it is possible to reduce the length of such a delay down to a dozen or so.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • AI Beats Dermatologists in Diagnosing Nail Fungus

      It’s still relatively rare for artificial intelligence to deliver a crushing victory over human physicians in a head-to-head test of medical expertise. But a deep neural network approach managed to beat 42 dermatology experts in diagnosing a common nail fungus that affects about 35 million Americans each year.

      The latest successful demonstration of AI’s capabilities in the medical field relied heavily upon a team of South Korean researchers putting together a huge dataset of almost 50,000 images of toenails and fingernails. That large amount of data used to train the deep neural networks on recognizing cases of onychomycosis—a common fungal infection that can make nails discolored and brittle—provided the crucial edge that enabled deep learning to outperform medical experts.

  • Security

    • “Medjacked”: Could Hackers Take Control of Pacemakers and Defibrillators—or Their Data?

      Are high-tech medical devices vulnerable to hacks? Hackers have targeted them for years, according to a new article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. But Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy, senior author of the paper, says hackers have harmed no one so far.

    • Exploding e-Cigarettes Are a Growing Danger to Public Health

      Whatever their physiological effects, the most immediate threat of these nicotine-delivery devices comes from a battery problem called thermal runaway

      [...]

      Exploding cigarettes sound like a party joke, but today’s version isn’t funny at all. In fact, they are a growing danger to public health. Aside from mobile phones, no other electrical device is so commonly carried close to the body. And, like cellphones, e-cigarettes pack substantial battery power. So far, most of the safety concerns regarding this device have centered on the physiological effects of nicotine and of the other heated, aerosolized constituents of the vapor that carries nicotine into the lungs. That focus now needs to be widened to include the threat of thermal runaway in the batteries, especially the lithium-ion variety.

    • Uh, oh! Linux confuses Bleeping Computer again

      The tech website Bleeping Computer, which carries news about security and malware, has once again demonstrated that when it comes to Linux, its understanding of security is somewhat lacking.

      What makes the current case surprising is the fact that the so-called security issue which the website chose to write about had already been ripped to pieces by senior tech writer Stephen Vaughan-Nicholls four days earlier.

      Called Chaos, the vulnerability was touted by a firm known as GoSecure as one that would allow a backdoor into Linux servers through SSH.

    • Are Mac and Linux users safe from ransomware?

      Ransomware is currently not much of a problem for Linux systems. A pest discovered by security researchers is a Linux variant of the Windows malware ‘KillDisk’. However, this malware has been noted as being very specific; attacking high profile financial institutions and also critical infrastructure in Ukraine. Another problem here is that the decryption key that is generated by the program to unlock the data is not stored anywhere, which means that any encrypted data cannot be unlocked, whether the ransom is paid or not. Data can still sometimes be recovered by experts like Ontrack, however timescales, difficulty and success rates depend on the exact situation and strain of ransomware.

    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Open Source Security Podcast: Episode 85 – NPM ate my files
    • Protecting Code Integrity with PGP — Part 3: Generating PGP Subkeys
    • From DevOps to DevSecOps: Structuring Communication for Better Security [Ed: From one buzzword to another buzzword]

      Security has long been considered an afterthought in the software development process, with ad hoc measures typically tacked on just before release. This approach is no longer adequate in sustaining today’s expectations for rapid and reliable service.

    • How to build a business case for DevOps transformation [Ed: How to build a business case for buzzwords]
    • “Nobody cared about security”

      In the long run, however, the more significant reason why the ARPAnet and early Internet lacked security was not that it wasn’t needed, nor that it would have made development of the network harder, it was that implementing security either at the network or the application level would have required implementing cryptography. At the time, cryptography was classified as a munition. Software containing cryptography, or even just the hooks allowing cryptography to be added, could only be exported from the US with a specific license. Obtaining a license involved case-by-case negotiation with the State Department. In effect, had security been a feature of the ARPAnet or the early Internet, the network would have to have been US-only. Note that the first international ARPAnet nodes came up in 1973, in Norway and the UK.

    • ​The 10 best ways to secure your Android phone

      The most secure smartphones are Android smartphones. Don’t buy that? Apple’s latest version of iOS 11 was cracked a day — a day! — after it was released.

      So Android is perfect? Heck no!

      Android is under constant attack and older versions are far more vulnerable than new ones. Way too many smartphone vendors still don’t issue Google’s monthly Android security patches in a timely fashion, or at all. And, zero-day attacks still pop up.

    • Not Getting Android OS Updates? Here’s How Google Is Updating Your Device Anyway

      Android updates are a still a point of contention among die-hard fans, because most manufacturers don’t keep updated with the latest offerings from Google. But just because your phone isn’t getting full OS updates doesn’t mean it’s totally out of date.

      While some major features still require full version updates, Google has a system in place that keeps many handsets at least somewhat relevant with Google Play Services. The company can squash certain bugs and even introduce new features just by updating Play Services.

    • Intel Finally Releases Spectre Patches for Broadwell and Haswell Processors
    • How to Defend Servers Against Cryptojacking

      Cryptojacking has become one of the most active and pervasive threats in recent years. In a cryptojacking attack, a cryptocurrency mining script is injected into a server or a webpage to take advantage of the victim system’s CPU power.

    • 8 Startups Raise Money to Secure Everything From ICS to Home Networks
    • Sonatype Makes Nexus Firewall Available to 10 Million Developers
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Guns and Liberty

      The proliferation of guns in American society is not only profitable for gun manufacturers, it fools the disempowered into fetishizing weapons as a guarantor of political agency. Guns buttress the myth of a rugged individualism that atomizes Americans, disdains organization and obliterates community, compounding powerlessness. Gun ownership in the United States, largely criminalized for poor people of color, is a potent tool of oppression. It does not protect us from tyranny. It is an instrument of tyranny.

      “Second Amendment cultists truly believe that guns are political power,” writes Mark Ames, the author of “Going Postal: Rage, Murder, and Rebellion: From Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine and Beyond.” “[They believe that] guns in fact are the only source of political power. That’s why, despite loving guns, and despite being so right-wing, they betray such a paranoid fear and hatred of armed agents of the government (minus Border Guards, they all tend to love our Border Guards). If you think guns, rather than concentrated wealth, equals political power, then you’d resent government power far more than you’d resent billionaires’ power or corporations’ hyper-concentrated wealth/power, because government will always have more and bigger guns. In fact you’d see pro-gun, anti-government billionaires like the Kochs as your natural political allies in your gun-centric notion of political struggle against the concentrated gun power of government.”

    • Resisting Calls to ‘Do Something’ About Syria

      A common refrain is that the West must “do something” to help Syria, but this is like arguing that the gasoline that was used to start a fire can also be used to extinguish it, explains Caitlin Johnstone.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Report: Roger Stone communicated with WikiLeaks during 2016 campaign [Ed: No, Wikileaks told Stone to STOP claiming that he had communicated]

      Conservative provocateur and on-again-off-again Trump adviser Roger Stone was reportedly in communication with WikiLeaks during the 2016 election.

    • Report: Roger Stone communicated directly with Wikileaks, despite denials
    • Assange continues attack on UK judiciary, citing report where Judges bemoan ‘inappropriate pressure’

      Julian Assange has questioned the impartiality of the UK’s judicial system. The Wikileaks founder cited an EU study wherein 43% of UK judges state that the government has not respected their independence in the last two years.

      The 2016-2017 European Network of Councils for the Judiciary (ENCJ) report, entitled Independence, Accountability and Quality of the Judiciary, details that some 43% of judges in the UK felt the government failed to respect their judicial independence. 29% said they felt their independence was disrespected by parliament.

      Assange pointed out that the study further reports that 5% of UK judges say that, over the past two years, they have been under “inappropriate pressure” to decide a particular case in a specific way.

    • Wikileaks cable reveals U. N. looked into Georgia prison torture allegations

      Cries of brutal torture in Georgia prisons have prompted one man to file more than 40 lawsuits against Georgia Department of Corrections Correctional Emergency Response Team (CERT) members.

      The claims not only piqued the attention of local advocates, but compelled the United Nations to get involved.

      Georgia attorney McNeill Stokes said he believes he put a stop to torture in Georgia prisons or at least curbed it substantially.

      Stokes filed lawsuits about incidents that inmates said occurred between 2003 and 2008. Similar cases were still navigating the Georgia court system as recently as three years ago.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Arctic temperatures are so high they’re shocking scientists

      The Arctic winter lasts from October to March and leaves much of the region in almost permanent darkness. During that time, the average temperature hovers around minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit. But so far in 2018, the Cape Morris Jesup meteorological site, at the northern tip of Greenland, has seen a record-breaking 61 hours of temperatures above freezing.

  • Finance

    • Tencent Is Said to Lead $115 Million Deal in India’s Gaana

      The investment in Gamma Gaana Ltd. totals $115 million, and Times Internet Ltd., the Indian media and technology company that started the business, will also participate, said the person, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the information publicly and asked not to be identified. Tencent and Gaana confirmed the deal was taking place in an emailed statement Wednesday.

    • India-based music streaming service Gaana raises $115M led by Tencent

      Chinese internet giant Tencent is continuing to put its money in India and in music streaming services after it agreed to lead a $115 million investment in India’s Gaana.

      Gaana is a music streaming service that was started by Times Media, the company behind the Times of India newspaper and tech incubator Times Internet among other things, seven years ago. Gaana didn’t reveal its user metrics, but CEO Prashan Agarwal said the company is “only 10 percent of the way towards building a business useful for 500 million Indians.”

    • Tech companies should stop pretending AI won’t destroy jobs [Ed: He means "computers", not "AI". Why is AI trending all of a sudden? Who/what triggered it?]

      I took an Uber to an artificial-­intelligence conference at MIT one recent morning, and the driver asked me how long it would take for autonomous vehicles to take away his job. I told him it would happen in about 15 to 20 years. He breathed a sigh of relief. “Well, I’ll be retired by then,” he said.

      Good thing we weren’t in China. If a driver there had asked, I would have had to tell him he’d lose his job in about 10 years—maybe 15 if he was lucky.

    • Advice to Washington from Ancient China

      What preserves a state is humaneness and rightness. If a state lacks rightness, even if it is large, it will certainly perish.

    • Cryptocurrency and the IRS

      My parting advice is please take taxes seriously—especially this year. The IRS has been working hard to get information from companies like Coinbase regarding taxpayer’s gains/losses. In fact, Coinbase was required to give the IRS financial records on 14,355 of its users. Granted, those accounts are only people who have more than $20,000 worth of transactions, but it’s just the first step. Reporting things properly now will make life far less stressful down the road. And remember, if you have a ton of taxes to pay for your cryptocurrency, that means you made even more money in profit. It doesn’t make paying the IRS any more fun, but it helps make the sore spot in your wallet hurt a little less.

    • EU targets US web giants with digital sales tax

      European finance ministers are fed up with companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter. The US internet giants are making more and more money from their European customers’ data, but none of it finds its way into government coffers. Because the web firms have no headquarters in the EU, local tax authorities don’t get a look in.

      But now the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, wants to change this and force web-based companies with global sales of €750 million ($916 million) or more to pay a digital sales tax. In an analysis of “taxation of digital activities in the single market,” dated February 26 and seen by Handelsblatt, it says all transactions generated by the “exploitation of user data” should be taxed. This includes revenues from the sale of data such as personal details and the provision of advertising space in social networks or search engines. The revenues of online marketplaces such as Uber or Airbnb should also be subject to the tax, the document adds.

    • Exclusive: Public wants Big Tech regulated

      That’s a seismic shift in the public’s perception of Silicon Valley over a short period of time. It shows how worried Americans are about Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but it also reflects a growing anxiety about the potentially addictive nature of some of the tech companies’ products, as well as the relentless spread of fake news on their platforms.

    • Media Parroting ‘$1000 Bonus!’ Stories Helped Give Trump’s Tax Cuts Majority Support

      A New York Times/Survey Monkey poll last week revealed that, for the first time, a slim majority of Americans support last December’s Republican tax cuts—cuts that disproportionately benefit the rich, redistributing money from the poor to the wealthiest Americans.

      How was the impressive feat of reality-inversion achieved? How did a tax cut that, once it’s all said and done, mainly benefits a small group of top earners become broadly popular? One reason is the nonstop deluge of stories over the past two months, cheerleading alleged “tax cut bonuses” from large corporations.

      Democratic-leaning cable network MSNBC and its colleagues NBC, it should be noted, have mostly been the exception, avoiding the talking point for the most part. But Fox News, CNBC, Fox Business, CNN and dozens of local media outlets joined the messaging charge, singing the bill’s money-saving praises.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • What Facebook Isn’t Saying About Trump and Clinton’s Campaign Ads

      While this chart does show that the Trump campaign paid higher rates overall than the Clinton campaign did—and that how competitive the ad market gets as the election approaches—it doesn’t tell the full story. Much of the public outcry centered around the idea that Facebook’s system prioritizes more provocative or outrageous political ads. That, in turn, has stoked fears about whether Facebook’s ad algorithms reward mudslinging and fear-mongering. The chart Bosworth shared sheds no light on this question, because it contains no information about the content of the ads on any given day.

    • Facebook’s algorithm has wiped out a once flourishing digital publisher

      The media industry’s worst fears about Facebook’s huge algorithm tweak are coming true.

      The women-focused publisher LittleThings is shutting its doors, in large part because of Facebook’s recent move, the company’s CEO, Joe Speiser, told Business Insider.

    • More Russiagate Rubbish

      An RT interview about the over-reaction around the head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, meeting his Russian counter-part…

    • ‘Trump, Inc.’ Podcast: David Fahrenthold and the Mysterious Loan Trump Made to Himself

      Listeners have been sending us lots of questions about President Donald Trump and his businesses. So we sat down with one of the best in the business to answer them. The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold has been digging into Trump for nearly two years. And he’s involved readers from the get-go.

      Among the questions Fahrenthold takes on: How much money has the government spent on Trump properties? How much does it cost taxpayers and does Trump profit when he visits Mar-a-Lago? And who is Trump literally indebted to?

    • California Dems Withhold Endorsement of Sen. Feinstein

      This passed weekend, California democrats refused to endorse Senator Feinstein, in a major rebuke of California’s senior senator, opening the door wide for de León to run.

      According to the Sacramento Bee, “As a child, de León spent time on both sides of the border, in Tijuana, Baja California, and Logan Heights in San Diego and identifies strongly with Mexican culture, though he doesn’t know where his grandparents are from.”

      Senator de León recently led a coalition to sponsor legislation “that addresses lapses in our justice and labor systems creating serious challenges for the California’s immigrant community, including stronger wage theft laws, securing u-visas from law enforcement, and providing healthcare for undocumented children.”

    • NSA Head: Trump Has Not Directed Him to Counter Russian Election Meddling

      The outgoing head of the NSA, Michael Rogers, says the Trump administration has not directed him to try to counter Russian election meddling. This is Rogers answering questions by Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed.

    • Did Turnbull Ask Trump About the Elephant in The Room?

      A gushing sycophantic Australian press pack has hailed Malcolm Turnbull’s visit with Donald Trump as a “great diplomatic success.”

      I’m not quite sure how they arrive at that conclusion.

      Yes, Trump rolled out the red carpet and treated Malcolm like a good little lackey, and Malcolm will undoubtedly return with some crumbs and even some sort of hope that he might yet convince Trump to join the TPP(If you can call that an achievement). But, in all honesty, these “visits” are not diplomatic, they are exercises in pledging loyalty and fealty to the great power that the United States is.

      When Malcolm left Trump’s presence, you can bet that Trump’s mind would have switched to other more pressing matters and the box marked obligatory glad handing of vassal was ticked off.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Google breaks down data on the 2.4 million right to be forgotten requests it’s received

      Google’s latest reports show it has actioned 43.3 per cent of all the requests it has received to date. The search giant noted that less than half of the right to be forgotten requests are actioned due to some requests being overridden by public interest and other information factors.

    • How Employers Already Compel Speech From Workers

      The US Supreme Court heard arguments this week in Janus v. AFSCME, and most observers believe the justices are prepared to strike down agency fees for government employees—that is, the mandatory dues that public-sector workers pay to the unions that represent them. The implications of this decision could be staggering: Recent research suggests that “right-to-work laws” (which prevent agency fees from being imposed on all workers) dramatically reduce Democratic vote share, shift policy to the right, and reduce working-class representation in legislatures.

    • House passes online sex trafficking bill

      The main concern for groups like Engine, a trade association for internet startups, is that the bill will hamper innovation by forcing smaller web companies to devote too many resources to monitoring content for which they should not be held liable. They also worry that the measure will not do enough to actually crack down on online sex trafficking.

    • Controversial sex-trafficking bill passes the House of Representatives
    • House passes anti-online sex trafficking bill, allows targeting of websites like Backpage.com

      The bill now goes to the Senate, which already has passed a similar version out of committee. If approved, it would go to the White House, where supporters are hopeful that President Trump will sign it. His daughter, Ivanka Trump, tweeted her approval of the legislation on Tuesday.

      [...]

      The final vote in the House was 388-25.

    • Goodlatte Statement on FOSTA Passage

      Creates a New Federal Crime: websites that have the intent to promote or facilitate illegal prostitution can be prosecuted under the new 18 U.S.C 2421A created by the bill

    • China’s web censors go into overdrive as President Xi Jinping consolidates power

      China’s web scrubbers have been busy banning a collection of terms and dropping the hammer on user accounts after the Xi Jinping, the country’s premier, got the all-clear to become ‘President For Life’ after the Communist Party moved to amend the constitution to remove an article that limits Presidential terms to two five-year terms.

      Limits were introduced more than 30 years ago ostensibly to prevent a repeat of the Mao dictatorship. The proposed removal understandably stoked anger among many Chinese internet users, who have already voiced concern at Xi’s rise and his moves to quash free speech online in China.

    • Sensitive Words: Emperor Xi Jinping to Ascend His Throne

      Following state media’s announcement, censorship authorities began work to limit online discussion. CDT Chinese editors found the following terms blocked from being posted on Weibo: [...]

    • China censors social media responses to proposal to abolish presidential terms

      Negative social media reactions in China toward the government’s interest in abolishing presidential term limits have sparked a crackdown on memes since Sunday evening. China’s constitution currently restricts the president and vice-president to 10 years of leadership, meaning that President Xi Jinping would have been out of power by 2023.

    • China drowns out critics of lifetime Xi presidency

      China’s propaganda machine kicked into overdrive on Tuesday to defend the Communist Party’s move to lift term limits for President Xi Jinping as criticism persisted on social media in defiance of censorship.

    • China’s war on words: Anything — be it a phrase or picture — that can be used to insult Xi has been banned

      Since claiming the eternal throne of an Emperor earlier this week, he’s clamped down — hard — on any hint of dissent.

    • Ce*sored! China bans letter N (briefly) from internet as Xi Jinping extends grip on power

      It is the 14th letter in the English alphabet and, in Scrabble, the springboard for more than 600 8-letter words.

    • China Bans ‘Re-Election,’ ‘I Don’t Agree’ from Social Media Following Xi Term Limit Repeal

      Freedom of speech is tenuous at best in China, but censors are cracking down especially hard on criticism of President Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power, particularly his effort to remove term limits so he can rule indefinitely.

    • Now It’s The Turn Of Mercedes-Benz To Grovel Before China, Over An Instagram Post Quoting The Dalai Lama

      A couple of weeks ago, Techdirt wrote about Marriott International kowtowing to China because of a drop-down menu that dared to suggest that Tibet might be a country. We noted that a newly-confident and increasingly aggressive China might well start finding more of these alleged “insults” to use as pretexts for asserting itself internationally. And sure enough, that’s already happened again, this time with Mercedes-Benz. As a New York Times story explains, the German car maker posted an image of a white car parked on a beach, along with a quotation popularly ascribed to the Dalai Lama — “Look at the situations from all angles, and you will become more open. #MondayMotivation” — to its official Instagram account.

    • UK’s New ‘Extremist Content’ Filter Will Probably Just End Up Clogged With Innocuous Content

      For now, it’s a one-way ride. Content deemed “extremist” vanishes and users have no vehicle for recourse. Even if one were made available, how often would it be used? Given that this is a government process, rather than a private one, wrongful takedowns will likely remain permanent. As Killock points out, no one wants to risk being branded as a terrorist sympathizer for fighting back against government censorship. Nor do third parties using these platforms necessarily have the funds to back a formal legal complaint against the government.

      No filtering system is going to be perfect, but the UK’s new toy isn’t any better than anything already out there. At least in the case of the social media giants, takedowns can be contested without having to face down the government. It’s users against the system — something that rarely works well, but at least doesn’t add the possibility of being added to a “let’s keep an eye on this one” list.

      And if it’s a system, it will be gamed. Terrorists will figure out how to sneak stuff past the filters while innocent users pay the price for algorithmic proxy censorship. Savvy non-terrorist users will also game the system, flagging content they don’t like as questionable, possibly resulting in even more non-extremist content being removed from platforms.

      The UK government isn’t wrong to try to do something about recruitment efforts and terrorist propaganda. But they’re placing far too much faith in a system that will generate false positives nearly as frequently as it will block extremist content.

    • State Lawmakers Want to Block Pornography at the Expense of Your Free Speech, Privacy, and Hard-Earned Cash

      More than 15 state legislatures are considering the “Human Trafficking Prevention Act” (HTPA). But don’t let the name fool you: this bill would do nothing to address human trafficking. Instead, it would only threaten your free speech and privacy in a misguided attempt to block and tax online pornography.

      EFF opposed versions of this bill in over a dozen states last year, and the bill failed in all of them. Now HTPA is back, and we have written in opposition against the bill again to urge lawmakers to oppose it this year.

      The gist of the model legislation is this: Device manufacturers would be forced to install “obscenity filters” on cell phones, tablets, computers, and any other Internet-connected devices. Those filters could only be removed if consumers pay a $20 fee. In addition to violating the First Amendment and burdening consumers and businesses, this would allow the government to intrude into consumers’ private lives and restrict their control over their own devices.

      On top of that, the story of this bill’s provenance is bizarre and highly recommended reading for any lawmakers considering it. In short, the HTPA is part of a multi-state effort coordinated by the same person behind a bill to delegitimize same-sex marriages as “parody marriages.” In this post, however, we’ll be focusing on the policy itself.

      Read EFF’s opposition letter against HB 2422, Missouri’s iteration of the Human Trafficking Prevention Act.

    • The End of American Film Censorship

      When the Oscars began in 1929, the Supreme Court didn’t even consider movies art.

      Fourteen years earlier, in 1915, the Court ruled that film was not entitled to legal protection as free speech. The state of Ohio had passed an ordinance authorizing a censorship board that could approve or reject any film seeking to be shown in the state. Mutual Film Corporation, a movie distributor, sued, claiming that the Ohio law violated the First Amendment.

      The Supreme Court held that movies were “business, pure and simple,” no different from the pharmaceutical or banking industry, both of which were subject to federal regulation. This Supreme Court ruling, Mutual Film Corp. v. Industrial Commission of Ohio, helped place movies under the thumb of local, state, and in-house censors for decades. The decision finally was reversed in 1952, when a short, “sacrilegious” Italian drama earned Hollywood its First Amendment rights.

    • News Corp executive chairman warns on censorship [Ed: News Corp writing about a News Corp head complaining about censorship as a third person. News Corp must be assuming people don't keep track of how many networks and sites News Corp owns entirely or partially.]
    • Is Facebook nude-shaming the Venus of Willendorf?
    • The Online Censorship of a 30,000-Year-Old Statuette
    • Facebook Censored a Stone Age Nude Sculpture, Venus of Willendorf
    • DC Appeals Court Tosses Silly Lawsuit Woman Filed Against Google Because Someone With A Blog Said Mean Things

      In late 2016, we wrote about the positively silly case that lawyer Harry Jordan filed on behalf of his client, Dawn Bennett, in which she sued Google because a guy she had once hired to do some search engine optimization work for her, and with whom there was a falling out, later wrote a mean blog about her and her company. As we noted, Bennett did not sue that person — Scott Pierson. Instead, she and Harry Jordan went the Steve Dallas lawsuit way of filing against some tangential third party company, because that company is big and has lots of money. In this case, it meant suing Google, because Pierson’s blog was hosted by Google.

      As we noted, this would be an easy CDA 230 win, because Google is not at all liable for what bloggers using its blog hosting do (we also noted that the lawsuit botched the legal meaning of “defamation” — which is generally not a good thing to do in a defamation lawsuit). And thus it was of little surprise to see the lawsuit dismissed last summer. It was an easy ruling to make given the status of CDA 230 (which, yes, is now under threat). But, Bennett appealed. And… the results of the appeal are exactly the same as the results in the district court. Case dismissed, quick and easy (in just 10 pages), because CDA 230 makes it obvious that Google is not liable.

    • Appeals Court Affirms Dismissal Of Frank Sivero’s Publicity Rights Suit Against ‘The Simpsons’

      You may recall that in 2014, bit-actor Frank Sivero of Goodfellas semi-fame sued Fox over a recurring character that appeared on The Simpsons. Sivero says several writers for the show were living next door to him just before Goodfellas began filming, at a time he says he was creating the character of Frankie Carbone. He then claims that the writers for The Simpsons were aware of this work and pilfered it to create the character Louie, who is one of Fat Tony’s henchmen. Because of this, he claimed that the show had appropriated his likeness, the character he was creating, and decided he was owed $250 million from Fox for all of this. For its part, folks from The Simpsons claimed that Louie is an amalgam of stereotypical mobster characters and a clear parody of those characters.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Brit spooks slammed over ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ with telcos to get mass comms data

      Privacy International has slammed the UK’s spy agencies for failing to keep a proper paper trail over what data telcos were asked to provide under snooping laws, following its first ever cross-examination of a GCHQ witness.

      The campaign group was granted the right to grill GCHQ’s star witness after he made a series of errors in previous statements submitted to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT). The evidence was part of a long-running challenge over the spy agency’s collection of bulk communications and personal data.

      Although the witness’s most recent errors related to submissions made at an October 2017 hearing about how much access IT contractors employed by GCHQ have to data, much of the cross-examination aimed to unpick GCHQ’s role in choosing what information telcos hand over.

    • How To Delete Your Facebook Account Permanently
    • Israeli Tech Company Says It Can Crack Any Apple Smartphone

      Big, if true, but not exactly the answer Wray, and others like him, are seeking. Cellebrite claims it can crack any Apple device, including Apple’s latest iPhone. This is a boon for law enforcement, as long as they have the money to spend on it and the time to send the device to Cellebrite to crack it.

      It won’t scale because it can’t. The FBI claims it has thousands of locked devices — not all of them Apple products — and no one from Cellebrite is promising fast turnaround times. Even if it was low-cost and relatively scalable, it’s unlikely to keep Wray from pushing for a government mandate. Whatever flaw in the architecture is being exploited by Cellebrite is likely to be patched up by Apple as soon as it can figure out the company’s attack vector. And, ultimately, the fact that it doesn’t scale isn’t something to worry about (though the FBI doubtless will). No one said investigating criminal activity was supposed to easy and, in fact, a handful of Constitutional amendments are in place to slow law enforcement’s roll to prevent the steamrolling of US citizens.

    • Huawei CEO Fights Back Over Trust in China’s Tech Companies [Ed: NSA does not worry about phones because they lack security but because they have 'too much' security i.e. no back doors for NSA to use]

      Concerns about the security of Huawei Technologies Co.’s handsets and network equipment are “groundless” and are part of a broader unfair view that Chinese companies can’t be trusted, Chief Executive Officer Ken Hu said.

      The U.S. relationship with Huawei has been fraught. Carrier Verizon Communications Inc. last month dropped plans to sell Huawei phones under pressure from the U.S. government, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • Defense wants alleged NSA leaker’s confession thrown out of evidence

      Reality Winner threw up a peace sign to the Channel 2 Action News camera following her latest courtroom appearance Tuesday.

      The 26-year-old was halfway grinning in the back seat of an escort car that was transporting her from the federal courthouse in downtown Augusta back to the Lincoln County Jail.

    • NSA chief: no orders to counter Russia cyber threat
    • In re Silver — Texas Supreme Court Recognizes Patent Agent Privilege

      In reversing an appellate court decision that had caused concerns throughout the patent world, the Texas Supreme Court recognized that communications between patent agents and clients could be covered by the attorney-client privilege.[1] In Patent Office proceedings and patent litigation, patent agent-client communications could already be protected; in non-patent litigation, however, it is far less clear — and the prior Texas appellate court decision suggested such communications could be revealed in discovery. By reversing the appellate court decision, the Texas Supreme Court should have patent agents feeling more confident that their representation of clients in patent prosecution is no different than that provided by patent attorneys . . . and their clients breathing a sigh of belief.

    • Texas patent-agent privilege ruling could have wider impact

      The Texas Supreme Court has recognised patent-agent privilege as a form of attorney-client privilege, in a ruling that has the potential to influence court cases in the 24 other US states with the same privilege rule

      The Texas Supreme Court has recognised patent-agent privilege as a form of attorney-client privilege. This reverses the appellate court decision that had concerned patent practitioners because it suggested communications in non-patent litigation could be revealed in discovery.

    • Sexting is on the rise among teens: ~27% get nudes, other racy messages

      Sexting has “a unique ability to catalyze adult anxiety when children and adolescents engage in it,” psychologists Elizabeth Englander and Meghan McCoy from Bridgewater State University wrote in an accompanying editorial. “Yet there is not a great deal of research examining sexting, its prevalence, its causes, and its repercussions,” they note.

    • One in seven teens are “sexting,” says new research

      Sexting is known as the sharing of sexually explicit images and videos through the internet or via electronic devices such as smartphones.

      One in seven teens report that they are sending sexts, and one in four are receiving sexts, according to our study of over 110,000 teens from around the world published today, Monday Feb. 26, in JAMA Pediatrics.

    • Facebook silently enables facial recognition abilities for users outside EU and Canada
    • Social media privacy argument tenuous in court

      Earlier this month, New York’s highest court ruled against Forman, requiring her to disclose all photos she posted to Facebook. The key point for the court was that she claimed she could no longer engage in the activities she previously enjoyed and had difficulty using a computer. It was reasonable, the court concluded, to suppose her Facebook feed might contain a record of her activities while also revealing her skill with the computer. Therefore, Henkin was entitled to poke around her account for evidence to use against her. If you’re ever involved in litigation and tempted to post to social media, remember Kelly Forman and think twice.

    • In a continent dominated by WhatsApp, Ethiopia prefers Telegram

      Given that, the economics of downloading and using Telegram (49 megabits) versus WhatsApp (103 MBs) or Messenger (125 MBs) is part of what makes Telegram attractive in Ethiopia, says Moses Karanja, a doctoral candidate at University of Toronto and researcher at the Citizen Lab. In his research, he says, Ethiopians have told him how “frequent updates were too expensive” and that “[I]nternet bundles consumption is lighter and hence cheaper” with Telegram.

      [...]

      Ethiopia is highly restrictive of the [I]nternet and regularly blocks social media outlets. Recent research has also shown officials using commercial spyware to target dissidents abroad who have been supporting anti-government protests.

    • Microsoft doesn’t want to turn over foreign server data, SCOTUS to weigh in [Ed: Microsoft already gives the US government access to everything, so this will be a show trial or publicity stunt, framing the biggest privacy violator as “fighting for privacy”]

      It is not publicly known what the government hopes would be revealed by acquiring the email, which was sought as part of a drug investigation. The authorities have also not revealed whether the email account owner is American or if that person has been charged with a crime.

    • Facebook rolls out job posts to become the blue-collar LinkedIn

      LinkedIn wasn’t built for low-skilled job seekers, so Facebook is barging in. Today Facebook is rolling out job posts to 40 more countries to make itself more meaningful to people’s lives while laying the foundation for a lucrative business.

    • Facebook to target people with adverts based on their religion

      The changes will allow businesses to target – or block – groups of individuals based on the faith or sexuality they identify with in their profile, along posts they have liked and groups they are members of.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Helsinki court rules police search of journalist’s home was lawful

      On Tuesday the Helsinki District Court overruled a Helsingin Sanomat journalist who challenged the legality of a search of her home following the publication of an article on military intelligence that she had written.

      The court rejected the journalist’s motion and declared the search fulfilled the requirements of the Coercive Measures Act. The National Bureau of Investigation said that it conducted the home search because it had reason to suspect that the reporter had destroyed material relating to reporting by the daily Helsingin Sanomat on the activities of the Defence Forces’ Intelligence Research Centre.

    • Palantir has secretly been using New Orleans to test its predictive policing technology

      The program began in 2012 as a partnership between New Orleans Police and Palantir Technologies, a data-mining firm founded with seed money from the CIA’s venture capital firm. According to interviews and documents obtained by The Verge, the initiative was essentially a predictive policing program, similar to the “heat list” in Chicago that purports to predict which people are likely drivers or victims of violence.

      The partnership has been extended three times, with the third extension scheduled to expire on February 21st, 2018. The city of New Orleans and Palantir have not responded to questions about the program’s current status.

    • Trump’s Push for Involuntary Commitment Won’t Stop Gun Violence

      President Trump believes reopening mental institutions is an answer to mass shootings, but the facts say otherwise.

      One of the proudest moments of the disability rights movement came on Sept. 17, 1987. After over a decade of scandals, exposés, and advocacy, the state of New York finally closed down Willowbrook State School. As the last of the people with disabilities who suffered under Willowbrook’s horrific conditions left for life in the community, many saw an opportunity to plan for a brighter future.

    • Chicago Media Help Sheriff Exploit Post-Parkland Gun Fears to Expand Pretrial Punishment

      Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is stoking public fear over local efforts to decrease the use of money bail and reduce the jail population, arguing that these measures allow gun “offenders” to go free and therefore pose a threat to public safety. Despite the fact that Dart has presented zero evidence to substantiate his fearmongering, Chicago’s largest press outlets are dutifully reporting his claims as fact, inserting them into the public conversation following the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting that left 17 dead. Reporters are going well beyond stenography to pad the sheriff’s arguments, including dredging up sympathetic quotes from a dead police officer.

      The stakes are not academic: Pretrial detention is a major driver of mass incarceration in the United States. Roughly two-thirds of local jail populations at any given time are incarcerated before trial or conviction, with those incarcerated in local jails accounting for roughly a quarter of the total population behind bars in the country. Just a few days in jail can cause people to lose their homes, jobs, custody of children and even lives. By demagoguing the movement against cash bail, the Chicago press is helping to build the case for condemning thousands to preemptive punishment before they face a jury, much less are found guilty.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T Fails In Bid To Kill FTC Authority Over Broadband Monopolies

      It can’t be overstated that the broadband industry isn’t just trying to kill net neutrality, it’s trying to gut most meaningful federal and state oversight of entrenched telecom monopolies. While Ajit Pai dismantled consumer protections at the FCC, his “Restoring Internet Freedom” order also ironically attempts to ban states from holding ISPs accountable for privacy, net neutrality, or other anti-competitive behavior. With neither adult regulatory supervision or healthy organic competition in place to keep bad actors in line, the end result will likely be even worse behavior than the kind of Comcast shitshows we’ve grow used to.

    • AT&T Continues Its Bullshit Sales Pitch For A Fake Net Neutrality Law

      While Verizon, Comcast and AT&T may have convinced the FCC to repeal net neutrality, they’ve still got a steep, uphill climb before they can be comfortable that the repeal is on solid footing, meaning we still have some time before they begin taking full anti-competitive advantage. The FCC’s repeal still needs to survive a wall of legal challenges from consumer groups, Mozilla, and nearly half the states in the union. From there, ISPs need to ensure that a future FCC or Congress doesn’t just pass new, tougher rules all over again.

      That’s why Verizon, Comcast and AT&T are all now pushing for a new “net neutrality law” in name only. While the same ISPs that gutted these popular consumer protections insist they’re just interested in “putting this contentious issue to bed,” the reality is they want a law that pre-empts any future federal or state attempts to protect consumers. As usual, they’ve managed to get industry marionettes like Martha Blackburn behind the legislative push. Since they’ve long since demolished any credibility on this subject, there’s been little traction in these legislative efforts so far.

    • Democrats Officially Introduce Bills to Restore Net Neutrality

      Standing in the sunshine outside the Capitol, Democratic Congressional leaders bantered, laughed, and made impassioned speeches Tuesday after formally introducing two bills to restore net neutrality.

      “This is a road to digital serfdom and we are going to block it,” said Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) during the rally. “We intend to keep fighting until real net neutrality is the law of the land.”

      This move has been long-promised by Democrats, but couldn’t take place until the Federal Communications Commission officially published its net neutrality repeal. The FCC did this last week, opening the door for action both politically and legally. Once published, Congress has 60 days to introduce a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act. This would, if successful, overturn the FCC’s decision to scrap federal net neutrality rules.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Do patents and literature have something in common?

      That said, it is interesting to note that recently each side seems to be showing an inclination to be influenced by the other’s tradition. Thus, the US has moved to a first-to-file system, while the EPO has issued the G1/15 and the Bundesgerichtshof overturned the very strict Kunststoffrohrteil decision in the Pemetrexed case. However, the different approaches, i.e., romantic author-centred US-tradition on the one hand, text-based European/Asian tradition, on the other, are still discernible and even somewhat striking. This might be another reason to explain the sometimes cosmic dissatisfaction that US patent scholars and professionals have with the rest of the world and vice versa – they simply emerge from very different traditions.

    • Copyrights

      • Playboy Drops Misguided Copyright Case Against Boing Boing

        In a victory for journalism and fair use, Playboy Entertainment has given up on its lawsuit against Happy Mutants, LLC, the company behind Boing Boing. Earlier this month, a federal court dismissed Playboy’s claims but gave Playboy permission to try again with a new complaint, if it could dig up some new facts. The deadline for filing that new complaint passed this week, and today Playboy released a statement suggesting that it is standing down. That means both Boing Boing and Playboy can go back to doing what they do best: producing and reporting on culture and technology.

        This case began when Playboy filed suit accusing Boing Boing of copyright infringement for reporting on a historical collection of Playboy centerfolds and linking to a third-party site. The post in question, from February 2016, reported that someone had uploaded scans of the photos, and noted they were “an amazing collection” reflecting changing standards of what is considered sexy. The post contained links to an imgur.com page and YouTube video—neither of which were created by Boing Boing.

      • Section 1201 Rulemaking – The Process Is Moving Along

        Section 1201 is a curious little section of the US Copyright Act, added by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) of 1998. But the matter covered in that section is of great importance in our digital age and, due to its triennial rulemaking requirement, ‘1201’ exceptions are a topic of considerable discussion every few years. As it turns out, 2018 is one of those years.

      • Authors’ Group Study: Copyright Safe Harbour Provisions Distort Market [Ed: CISAC is not authors but a front group representing those who exploit authors]

        The study, “Economic Analysis of Safe Harbour Provisions,” by Prof. Stan Liebowitz of the University of Texas at Dallas, assesses how “safe harbour” rules in copyright law, “drawn up a quarter of a century ago to help nurture early online commerce,” have damaged copyright owners.

      • Hollywood Commissioned Tough Jail Sentences for Online Piracy, ISP Says

        The owner of ISP Bahnhof has criticized new proposals currently under consideration by the Swedish government. The new rules, which envision copyright infringers going to prison for up to six years, are said to be needed to bring Sweden into line with other EU countries. However, according to Bahnhof chief Jon Karlung, the extended tariffs have been commissioned by Hollywood

      • Pirate Site Operators’ Jail Sentences Overturned By Court of Appeal

        Four men sentenced last year for their part in running several pirate sites have been told they will no longer have to spend time behind bars. After being ordered to spend up to ten months in prison, the court of appeal has now decided that for their activities on Dreamfilm, TFplay, Tankafetast and PirateHub, the men should walk free but pay increased damages to the entertainment industries.

The UPC is Dead, But Team UPC is Lying to British Politicians in an Effort to Trick Them

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 8:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A card trick

Summary: The Big Litigation lobby is attempting to bamboozle British politicians into thinking that Brits are eager to see the Unified Patent Court Agreement ratified; the exact opposite is true however

THE LITIGATION ‘industry’ that’s based in Europe (or has branches in Europe) is keen to destroy science and technology in Europe. Guess whose side Battistelli’s EPO management is taking. Considering Battistelli’s professional background, this isn’t exactly surprising and his successor is a banker/lawyer (son of a politician like Battistelli), which means not much prospect for hope. Forget about scientists like Alain Pompidou, who have reason and some compassion. Like Battistelli and Campinos he is French, but at least he’s also a renowned scientist in his discipline.

The EPO nearly had a judge as its next President, but Battistelli lobbied against him. Battistelli virtually ‘installed’ Campinos. Battistelli strives to control every single thing at the Organisation, not just the Office. It’s perverse.

“The EPO nearly had a judge as its next President, but Battistelli lobbied against him. Battistelli virtually ‘installed’ Campinos.”Troubling times are ahead because other than rumours of layoffs at the EPO (up to 15% of staff) judges say that they lost their independence. Battistelli and the law firms can simply manipulate them, e.g. impact their judgment by threat of contract being terminated (or not renewed). Those same issues were recently brought/raised against the UPC in a Constitutional complaint, which is to be dealt with at a high German court (FCC). Yes, by actual judges, not clumsy politicians who sign ‘encyclopedias’ of papers they never even bothered reading (that’s what UPCA is).

It’s very disturbing to see how UPCA got as far as it has. With a 2AM vote by 5% of politicians. It’s an insult to European democracy and it damages the reputation of the European Union. Citizens weren’t being consulted, many warnings were nonchalantly ignored, and lawyers basically wrote the laws from which they sought to benefit financially. Separation of authority/power was rendered totally farcical. It’s like letting oil companies, not just their lobbyists, literally write the regulatory laws governing and administring pollution. There should have been protests in streets all across Europe (over the UPCA), but because Team UPC kept much of it cryptic, told lies about it and heavily relied on the public’s lack of comprehension of patent matters, this did not happen.

“It’s very disturbing to see how UPCA got as far as it has.”“How come UPC is dead,” someone asked me today. “Brexit or Court reasons?

I said “both, plus EPO scandals…”

The most relevant EPO scandal is a strand of issues pertaining to independence of judges.

Team UPC is not giving up just yet. We did not expect it to, having witnessed its sheer dishonesty for over half a decade.

“Just accept that UPC is dead and the Tories won’t say it out loud,” I told one of them, as the Tories (Conservative Party in the UK) “just drop clues and cancel sessions about Unitary Patent” (they have repeatedly done so and Team UPC just chose to hide it).

“Little surprisingly,” said this person from Team UPC. “the Draft Withdrawal Agrmt presented by the EC today does not contain a single reference to patents, let alone the UPC. Other IPRs dealt w in Artt. 50 et seq. https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/draft_withdrawal_agreement.pdf …”

“The most relevant EPO scandal is a strand of issues pertaining to independence of judges.”Yes, so?

Is anyone surprised?

Alan Johnson (no connection to Jo or Boris Johnson) from Bristows (the most prolific/chronic liars among Team UPC) has started to really nag/pressure Sam Gyimah, successor of Jo Johnson, Boris Johnson’s brother. In spite of actual British businesses opposing the UPC (because Unitary Patent is just a litigation mess lawyers and patent trolls expect to profit from), he goes ahead with the misleading headline “UK industry urges government to ratify UPC Agreement” (false, they’re not what he claims them to be).

Ignore them. They’re a malicious bunch and they keep disseminating lies. The body does not match the headline, either.

To quote Alan Johnson: “The IP Federation (which represents the views of UK industry in IP matters) has reported here that its President, James Horgan, wrote to Sam Gyimah MP, the UK minister for intellectual property, yesterday about the UK’s ratification of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) Agreement. ”

“Team UPC is not giving up just yet.”See how he constructed fake news right there? IP Federation is a front group for patents, so in the body he said “views of UK industry in IP matters” (also false) and then in the headline just “UK industry” — a fake claim then repeated in Twitter. This is typical Bristows. And later they wonder why they receive so much flak?

This is a lie from Alan Johnson because actual UK industry opposes UPC. Lying lawyers pretend to be speaking ‘for’ such industry and they’re bringing these lies to MP Gyimah, who might actually fall for these lies because he’s new on the job. “UK industry urges government to ratify UPC Agreement,” they wrote in Twitter. “The IP Federation reports that its President wrote to Sam Gyimah MP…”

Calling “IP Federation” the “UK industry” is like calling B52 bombers “the peace council”.

“Calling “IP Federation” the “UK industry” is like calling B52 bombers “the peace council”.”“Watch out,” I told Gyimah, as Team UPC “is lying to you, as usual. They themselves wrote the ‘law’ which they now lie to politicians about. Huge scam.”

Dimitris Xenos‏, who is familiar with these things, also spotted the lie from Bristows and wrote: “Re: ‘UK industry’ term – the list of IP fed members is short and, clearly, Siemens, Pfizer, IBM, Ford, ExxonMobil, Uniliver, Nokia, Merk, Ericson, Eli Lilly, cannot be classified as ‘UK industry’. That’s why you have @schestowitz complaining frequently about your #upc propaganda…”

Those are primarily non-European companies and what many have in common is that they sue a lot. They sue internationally.

What do they have in common here? Lawyers. And Bristows (the worst of liars, with a long track record at that) try to paint them as “UK industry”. These people have no sense of shame whatsoever.

“Those are primarily non-European companies and what many have in common is that they sue a lot. They sue internationally.”Max Walters wrote: “Interesting development in efforts to get #UPC approved. Understand @ipfederation has also made similar request.”

Similar to this one which he wrote about.

IP Federation isn’t joined by actual UK industry but by a patent court’s president. So what we see here is lobbying for litigation by patent courts and lawyers who want to make Britain a litigation nightmare for them to profit from. British businesses oppose this of course, but they aren’t being listened to. Here is what Walters wrote:

The president of The Law Society has today urged the government to ratify the EU-focussed Unified Patent Court (UPC) agreement by the end of next month before ‘transitional arrangements’ for Brexit are finalised.

In a letter to intellectual property minister Sam Gyimah, Joe Egan said that if ratification is not completed by 23 March there is a risk that other EU member states will implement the UPC without the UK.

Edward Nodder is the latest from Brisrows to amplify these villainous front group of lawyers who distort facts about the UPC. How long before this UPC spin gets posted by them anonymously in Kluwer Patent Blog and IP Kat too? It probably won’t take long.

“How long before this UPC spin gets posted by them anonymously in Kluwer Patent Blog and IP Kat too?”Max Walters has meanwhile noted this new article titled “Government cannot accept Brexit deal that keeps UK under jurisdiction of European Court of Justice, warns Boris Johnson” (from the ToryGraph, a Tories-leaning British newspaper).

Walters then asked a somewhat rhetorical question: “Percentage chance of Boris signing off formal approval of the UPC agreement?”

“It’s just what we expect to hear from a group that labels UPC opponents “idiots” and “trolls”.”Watch the spin from Team UPC, e.g. [1, 2]. It’s just what we expect to hear from a group that labels UPC opponents "idiots" and "trolls". The rational people, the sceptics, are being insulted, whereas the extremists who are motivated purely by profit think so very highly of themselves. It’s a very small group which does not like what Johnson is saying and not because he’s wrong or anything but because it affects them financially (personally)

Max Walters is the latest journalist to write an article about the German Constitutional complaint, but it understates the trouble/abyss to which UPC has sunk and quotes a liar from a liars firm known as Bristows (they try to attract business using these lies). Bristows is proud to have interjected its staff into this article. To quote:

Germany’s federal constitutional court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht (BverfG), said last week that it will decide on a challenge to the proposed Unified Patent Court (UPC) this year. However, the BverfG has not provided a firm time frame for hearing the case. The news puts the UPC project in doubt, as German and UK ratification is required before the agreement can be formally implemented.

The bottom line is, expect UPC to perish. Everything points towards failure in more than one nation (all key countries except France).

Does the failure of the UPC mean damage to Europe? Or to the European Union? No.

The EPO already exists (albeit in a dire state due to UPC fanatics; it has become a hellhole due to bad management) and litigation can be done in different nations separately in their native language (this is one of the issues brought forth in the Constitutional complaint).

“Court rulings in a language the defendant does not even comprehend have highly questionable legitimacy if any legitimacy at all.”William New wrote about ALLEA yesterday. He said: “A high-level group of academic experts in intellectual property rights and innovation in the European Union has released a statement highlighting the rise in inventions due to international research and development and says EU regulations on inventorship, assignment and patent filing should be assessed for harmonisation and reducing complexity.”

Assignment and filing, not litigation. Court rulings in a language the defendant does not even comprehend have highly questionable legitimacy if any legitimacy at all. It’s one among many reasons the UPC will soon be forgotten about and buried even by Team UPC.

USF Warns Campinos (EPO President in 4 Months) of “Extreme” Situation at the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USF letter to Campinos

Summary: A federation of unions is once again speaking out against the EPO’s abuses, this time addressing the man who will become the EPO’s leader in exactly four months

THE STAFF UNION of the EPO, SUEPO in abbreviation/short, has uploaded a copy of this letter (as image, not text, see above). SUEPO has just quoted from it: “USF is the largest Federation of unions in the European international public service and has been following with great concern the situation at the European Patent Office (EPO) which deserves to be labelled as extreme. A number of shocking events around social policy and rule of law issues at the EPO were reported upon in various media over the last few years. These reports also reveal fundamental flaws in the institutional setup of the EPO taken in combination with its assigned jurisdiction, the ILOAT.”

The EPO has basically become a disgrace to Europe and a stain on Europe’s reputation in sciences and technology. The other major disgrace is Team UPC, whose latest lies and mischief we shall deal with in our next post.

The European Patent Office (EPO) Should Lead the Way in Combating Patents on Nature and on Life

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Antibody

Summary: As the Office (EPO) grapples with patents on life, there are indications that these are anything but over

EARLIER this year the EPO (Office, not Organisation) said “no” to a CRISPR patent, i.e. to a patent on genome. This, by extension/extrapolation, may have meant the end of all such patents. We wrote about half a dozen posts about that alone because it was a major/historic decision. A year earlier the Organisation also said “no” to patents on plants and seeds. It was about time. The USPTO, for instance, mostly rejects CRISPR patents, which is just common sense.

Do humans now claim to have invented life and genetics? Is it actually an invention when artificially manipulated a little? Do we want to go down the route of monopolies on ‘code’ of life? Australia, according to this new report, has just decided that “gene patent claims remain patent eligible” (perhaps not too shocking given the incredible power CSIRO wields there).

“Claims directed to the correlation of gene sequences to a particular trait in cattle remain patent eligible subject matter,” said the above, “according to a ruling that has implications for the Sequenom/Ariosa case in Australia and also suggests a widening dichotomy between Australia and the US on gene-based patent eligible subject matter” (the US does this the right way).

If that wasn’t bad enough, a day or two ago we also saw CRISPR patents making a little rebound. This account said that the “European Patent Office Grants 2nd CharpentierDoudna Patent Covering CRISPRCas9 Gene Regulation Applications – CRISPRiCRISPRa Techniques Covered by the Patent are Quickly Being Adopted in Drug Discovery and nonTherapeutic R&D ERS Genomics,” linking to this statement we had spotted a day earlier or the night before [1, 2].

The EPO may have once again granted a patent on life. No opposition? We didn’t know that humans ‘invented’ genetics. From the press release: “ERS Genomics announced today that the European Patent Office (EPO) has granted Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier, ERS Genomics’ co-founder, together with the University of California and University of Vienna, its second EU patent with very broad claims covering the use of CRISPR-Cas9 technology for gene regulation. The claims are directed to compositions and uses of a chimeric version of the Cas9 protein, most often associated with use in regulation of gene expression as opposed to direct editing of the genetic code itself. The patent covers uses in both cellular and non-cellular settings, including use in bacteria, plants, animals, and cells from vertebrate animals such as humans.”

Do we really wish to allow this in Europe?

Then came some more bad news. Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review (LSIPR) wrote the headline “EPO gears up to hear EpiPen patent opposition” — the outcome of which we have not yet seen.

For those who don’t know, EpiPen is now a truly evil ripoff (huge controversy around it in the US). Will the examiners realise the impact of their decision? It’s a matter of life and death (the latter for poor people mostly). These patents let them ban competition and then hike the prices as much as they wish (several orders of magnitude above production costs). According to LSIPR, a decision will have come by month’s end:

The European Patent Office (EPO) will hear an opposition against a patent covering Mylan’s EpiPen (epinephrine) at the end of March.

ALK-Abello, a Denmark-based pharmaceutical company that makes the Jext injector, opposed European patent number EP1,786,491 B, along with Merck, in November 2016.

Tim Powell, partner at Potter Clarkson, explained that claim 1 of the patent defines a number of “relatively conventional features” of an injection device, and a needle cover that is moveable between a retracted position (in which the needle is exposed for injecting) and an extended position in which the needle is shielded.

The Opposition/s Division ought to read up about the EpiPen controversy. There are many legitimate ethical matters associated with these patents.

And speaking of these sorts of patents, Novagraaf has just published “Can you protect dosage regimes in France?”

This too is about the EPO, at least partly:

The judgment of the Court of Cassation of 6 December 2017, in the case between TEVA and MERCK (patent owner), is the outcome of a long and complex affair concerning the nullity of the French part of the European Patent (EP) n°0724444 describing a dosage regime.

[...]

Since the decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal G0002/08 of 19 February 2010, the European Patent Office (EPO) has admitted the patentability of so-called dosage regime claims: “Such patenting is […] not excluded where a dosage regime is the only feature claimed which is not comprised in the state of the art.”

Yesterday, as in most days, we heard from insiders who are concerned about decline of patent quality at the EPO. It’s now even lower than the USPTO’s..

Two days ago a site of patent maximalists, Watchtroll, wrote about § 103 in the US, alluding to patenting antibodies. To quote:

Under 35 U.S.C. § 103, a claim is not patentable if the “differences between the claimed invention and prior art are such that the claimed invention as a whole would have been obvious” to a person of ordinary skill in the art, before the effective filing date of the claimed invention. The U.S. Supreme Court set forth half a century ago a four-prong test to determine obviousness: (i) the scope and content of prior art, (ii) differences between claimed subject matter and prior art, (iii) the level of ordinary skill in the art, and (iv) objective evidence of nonobviousness, such as long-felt but unsolved need, failure of others, commercial success, unexpected results, and skepticism. Graham v. John Deere Co., 383 U.S. 1, 17–18 (1966).

The USPTO will likely deny patents on antibodies (better known as immunoglobulin), but at the EPO nowadays it seems like nearly anything goes. Even naturally-recurring things like antibodies.

Similar Scandal at the USPTO (to Battistelli’s Nepotism) and Upcoming Lies About ‘Results’ (in Annual Report, Out Next Week)

Posted in America, Europe, Patents, Rumour at 6:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli and Cambodia

Summary: Similarities between appointments at the EPO and the USPTO; it’s also time to prepare for a lot of EPO lies next week (about the performance of the Office in 2017)

THE PRESIDENT of the EPO has been almost invisible lately (recent weeks). The new Director of the USPTO has said barely a word before and after taking Office. Both are scheduled to appear in some distant IAM event, but that’s about it.

The USPTO, according to rumours we heard before, has an EPO-type scandal. It may be part of several, but we never managed to attract hard evidence of it (like evidence we have about the EPO).

“The USPTO, according to rumours we heard before, has an EPO-type scandal.”A couple of years ago and again a couple of months ago we wrote about the CIO of the EPO [1, 2] in addition to the connection to Battistelli.

Two days ago a Twitter account called CIO_Watchdog (“USPTO CIO Watchdog”) wrote: “PTO CIO management is hot water again as rumors, stating Pam Isom allegedly, hired her nephew by marriage? We have received countless communication on this subject, and hopefully the new Dir will resolve as it effects morale. You might recall the Chiles saga. PTO has a history…”

Just to be clear, this is not a prank account as some people close to the USPTO are retweeting it. They know the above-mentioned names. It may be like a whistleblower (insider) account.

“Last year the EPO intentionally omitted all the negatives (we wrote many articles about that) and concealed that fact that EPO patent applications had overall declined in number.”This may get interesting in the near future. We heard similar things before (about USPTO irregularities and also nepotism), but there have been no whistleblowers. If some whistleblowers out there wish to send us information and material, we’re all ears. We have never compromised a source since we started 12 years ago.

As a side note about the EPO, its Twitter account says almost nothing of interest. It’s mostly repeating old tweets (like they’re shelved templates reused). But yesterday it wrote :”What was 2017 like for patents and the EPO? Find out in one week when we publish our annual report!”

We are ready to have a closer look at it when it’s out. Last year the EPO intentionally omitted all the negatives (we wrote many articles about that) and concealed that fact that EPO patent applications had overall declined in number.

“Backlog is drying up fast, rendering them redundant.”Several months ago Battistelli lowered some fees and repeatedly advertised this ‘discount’, hoping perhaps to hide the decline in patent applications. So we’re ready to take that into account (one can measure patent applications in terms of revenue rather than number).

Last night the EPO did something rather amusing. It published this news item (warning: epo.org link) titled “Validation agreement with Cambodia enters into force” and we’re pretty certain that the many EPO stakeholders in Cambodia were truly excited. All zero of them! Cambodia has ZERO European Patents (EPs) [1, 2], so the EPO under Battistelli has truly become self-satirising.

“European patents granted by the EPO and validated in Cambodia will have the same legal effects as a corresponding Cambodian patent and will be subject to Cambodian patent law,” says last night’s statement.

Cambodia is a former colony of France and a cheap publicity stunt for the disgraced Frenchman who is leaving the Office in exactly 4 months from now. The cronies whom he brought to the Office will get to keep their jobs, whereas hard-working staff whom he mentally tortured is said to be on the way out. The “thank-you” or the reward for all the hard work (rigging the annual reports with low-quality patents) will be sacking. Backlog is drying up fast, rendering them redundant.

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