EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.20.18

Links 20/6/2018: Qt 5.11.1, Oracle Solaris 11.3 SRU 33, HHVM 3.27.0, Microsoft Helping ICE

Posted in News Roundup at 12:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Sculpt for The Curious

    Sculpt for The Curious is the second development stage of the Genode-based general-purpose OS used at Genode Labs. Compared to the initial version, which was targeted at early adopters only, the new version invites a broader user base to explore the system. It comes in the form of a ready-to-use disk image for a bootable USB thumb drive.

  • Genode-Based Sculpt OS Now Available With Easy-To-Use Disk Image

    Sculpt OS is striving to become a general purpose operating system built off the Genode OS framework. The second release of Sculpt OS is now available and it’s much easier now to try out.

    Sculpt OS relies upon Genode’s micro-kernel architecture, sandboxed drivers, and other modern approaches for providing a unique OS on commodity PC hardware.

  • Bitfi and McAfee Announce First Truly Unhackable and Open Source Crypto Wallet

    Bitfi, a global payments technology company working to enable businesses and consumers to participate in the digital currency economy, today announced Bitfi Wallet – the first unhackable, open source hardware wallet with an accompanying dashboard that features wireless setup and support for many popular cryptocurrencies and crypto assets, including Monero, a fully decentralized private cryptocurrency that has previously never had a hardware wallet solution.

  • Events

    • Call for Code is open and organizations are lining up to join the cause

      Today is the first official day of Call for Code, an annual global initiative from creator David Clark Cause, with IBM proudly serving as Founding Partner. Call for Code aims to unleash the collective power of the global open source developer community against the growing threat of natural disasters.

      Even as we prepare to accept submissions from technology teams around the world, the response from the technology community has been overwhelming and today I am thrilled to announce two new partners joining the cause.

    • Getting started with Open edX to host your course

      Now in its seventh major release, the Open edX platform is a free and open source course management system that is used all over the world to host Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) as well as smaller classes and training modules. To date, Open edX software has powered more than 8,000 original courses and 50 million course enrollments. You can install the platform yourself with on-premise equipment or by leveraging any of the industry-leading cloud infrastructure services providers, but it is also increasingly being made available in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model from several of the project’s growing list of service providers.

      The Open edX platform is used by many of the world’s premier educational institutions as well as private sector companies, public sector institutions, NGOs, non-profits, and educational technology startups, and the project’s global community of service providers continues to make the platform accessible to ever-smaller organizations. If you plan to create and offer educational content to a broad audience, you should consider using the Open edX platform.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Call for Feedback! Draft of Goal-Metrics for Diversity & Inclusion in Open Source (CHAOSS)

        In the last few months, Mozilla has invested in collaboration with other open source project leaders and academics who care about improving diversity & inclusion in Open Source through the CHAOSS D&I working group. Contributors so far include:

        Alexander Serebrenik (Eindhoven University of Technology) , Akshita Gupta (Outreachy), Amy Marrich (OpenStack), Anita Sarma (Oregon State University), Bhagashree Uday (Fedora), Daniel Izquierdo (Bitergia), Emma Irwin (Mozilla), Georg Link (University of Nebraska at Omaha), Gina Helfrich (NumFOCUS), Nicole Huesman (Intel) and Sean Goggins ((University of Missouri).

      • Introducing A-Terrain – a cartography component for A-Frame

        Have you ever wanted to make a small web app to share your favorite places with your friends? For example your favorite photographs attached to a hike, or just a view of your favorite peak, or your favorite places downtown, or a suggested itinerary for friends visiting?

      • Setting up Arcanist for Mozilla development on Windows
      • Taming Phabricator

        So Mozilla is going all-in on Phabricator and Differential as a code review tool. I have mixed feelings on this, not least because it’s support for patch series is more manual than I’d like. But since this is the choice Mozilla has made I might as well start to get used to it. One of the first things you see when you log into Phabricator is a default view full of information.

      • This Week in Rust 239

        This week’s crate is SIMDNoise, a crate to use modern CPU vector instructions to generate various types of noise really fast. Thanks to gregwtmtno for the suggestion!

      • WebRender newsletter #20
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

    • 25th Anniversary for FreeBSD

      On June 19, 1993 the name FreeBSD was officially agreed on and has been used ever since. Find out more about how to celebrate this important day with us.

    • June 19 Has Been Declared National FreeBSD Day, Happy 25th Anniversary FreeBSD!

      The FreeBSD Foundation is pleased to announce today that June 19 has been declared National FreeBSD Day to celebrate the project’s official name 25th anniversary.

      Exactly 25 years ago on this day, on June 19, 1993, David Greenman sent an email to one of the mailing lists available at that point in time to suggest “FreeBSD” as the name for the Unix-like operating system used by billions of people all over the world, which continues to have a positive impact on us every single day.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Purism’s Librem 5 To Rely On Secondary Processor For Binary Blobs

      With not being able to deliver a 100% fully free software / libre system, the Librem 5 smartphone will rely upon a secondary processor for dealing with the necessary binary blobs for hardware initialization to keep them out of touch from the U-Boot boot-loader and Linux kernel.

      The first road-block in their effort to make the Librem 5 smartphone as open as possible is the DDR PHY with firmware blobs needed for the DDR4 memory training process at boot time. With it not being realistic for them to rewrite the firmware blob to do the DDR4 PHY training, they are planning to punt the binary-only blobs out to a secondary processor. In doing so, they can also apply for an exclusion with the Free Software Foundation for still having a device that “Respects Your Freedom” while still having necessary binary blobs at play.

    • Solving the first FSF RYF hurdle for the Librem 5

      While investigating using the i.MX 8 for the Librem 5 phone we found an issue that would have been problematic for us to obtain the Free Software Foundation’s “Respects Your Freedom” (RYF) hardware endorsement…

    • Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup time: June 22nd starting at 12:00 p.m. EDT/16:00 UTC
  • Licensing/Legal

    • Xapian Joins Conservancy as a Member Project

      Software Freedom Conservancy proudly welcomes Xapian as Conservancy’s newest member project. Xapian is a probabilistic information retrieval library that allows developers to add advanced indexing and search facilities to their own applications.

      Conservancy, a public charity focused on ethical technology, is the home of over forty member projects dedicated to developing free and open source software. Conservancy acts as a corporate umbrella, allowing member projects to operate as charitable initiatives without having to independently manage their own corporate structure and administrative services.

      “We’ve spent the past 18 years at Xapian developing a technologically mature software package,” said Olly Betts, Xapian’s Project Lead. “We’re excited about how Conservancy can help us extend that maturity to our project governance.”

  • Programming/Development

    • HHVM 3.27 Released With More Mature HackC Compiler Front-End

      Just over one month after the release of HHVM 3.26 that introduced the new HackC compiler front-end for Hack and PHP languages, HHVM 3.27 is now available.

    • HHVM 3.27.0

      HHVM 3.27 is released!

    • Has Agile Programming Lost its Way?

      Programmers are passionate about which development methodology is the best. Is it Agile? Waterfall? Feature Driven Development? Scrum? So everyone took notice when one of the 17 authors of the seminal Agile Manifesto wrote a blog post last month headlined “Developers Should Abandon Agile.”

      Further down in his post, Ron Jeffries made a clear distinction between Manifesto Agile — “the core ideas from the Manifesto, in which I still believe” — and its usurping follower, “Faux Agile” (or, in extreme cases, “Dark Agile”). Jeffries ultimately urged developers to learn useful development methods — including but not limited to Extreme Programming — that are true to the Manifesto’s original principles, while also detaching their thinking from particular methodologies with an Agile name.

    • Write fast apps with Pronghorn, a Java framework

      In 1973, Carl Hewitt had an idea inspired by quantum mechanics. He wanted to develop computing machines that were capable of parallel execution of tasks, communicating with each other seamlessly while containing their own local memory and processors.

      Born was the actor model, and with that, a very simple concept: Everything is an actor. This allows for some great benefits: Separating business and other logic is made vastly easier. Security is easily gained because each core component of your application is separate and independent. Prototyping is accelerated due to the nature of actors and their interconnectivity.

    • What’s all the C Plus Fuss? Bjarne Stroustrup warns of dangerous future plans for his C++

      Earlier this year, Bjarne Stroustrup, creator of C++, managing director in the technology division of Morgan Stanley, and a visiting professor of computer science at Columbia University in the US, wrote a letter inviting those overseeing the evolution of the programming language to “Remember the Vasa!”

      Easy for a Dane to understand no doubt, but perhaps more of a stretch for those with a few gaps in their knowledge of 17th century Scandinavian history. The Vasa was a Swedish warship, commissioned by King Gustavus Adolphus. It was the most powerful warship in the Baltic Sea from its maiden voyage on the August 10, 1628, until a few minutes later when it sank.

    • Systems Languages: An Experience Report

      Recently, there’s been a lot of turmoil in the systems language community. We have the Rust Evangelism Strikeforce nudging us towards rewriting everything in Rust. We have the C++17 folks who promise the safety and ease of use of modern programming languages with the performance and power of C. And then there’s a long tail of other “systems” programming languages, like Nim, Reason / OCaml, Crystal, Go, and Pony.

      Personally, I’m super excited we’re seeing some interesting work in the programming language theory space. This got me excited to learn more about what’s out there. A lot of the problems I solve are usually solved in C. Recently, Go has begun to encroach on C’s territory. I enjoy C and Go as much as the next person — They’re good languages for getting shit done. Often times, they leave a lot to be desired, and leave me envious of other programmers with tools like Flow, Typescript, and Dialyzer. Coming from developing in Erlang, even with its rudimentary type system, functional programming just came far more easily to me.

    • Python and Bash – Contenders for the most used scripting language

      Packt Publishing, publisher of software learning resources, has revealed the results of its 2018 Skill Up survey in a new report.

      From what programming languages, frameworks, and libraries are most used, to job satisfaction, attitudes to management and what it’s like to work in the software industry today, the report offers a snapshot of what matters to software developers in 2018.

Leftovers

  • How paranoid parenting fuels kids’ ‘[I]nternet addiction’

    It is understandable that parents are concerned with what their children are up to in their digital bedrooms. But the current one-dimensional focus on the [I]nternet confuses the symptom with the underlying problem. When I interviewed a group of parents recently, they complained that their children spend all their time either texting or online, and rarely engage directly with other children. When I asked about what opportunities they have provided for their children to explore the physical world, and to have direct offline experiences with other children, there was a hesitant silence.

  • How I got my attention back

    The main principle behind getting my attention back was making a decision: I’m not going to do any tasks unless I think it’s a good time to do them worth doing in the first place.

    So instead of being reactive to everything that was coming from the outside world, I needed to decide if, why and when I’m going to do anything.

    In order to start as I meant to go on, I cut out all of the distractions that could interfere with my actions.

  • Apple fined $9m for misleading Australian customers with faulty iPhones and iPads

    The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched legal action in April 2017, claiming Apple had misled consumers about their warranty rights by routinely refusing to inspect or fix faulty devices without charge if they had been repaired by a third party.

  • Apple hauled into US Supreme Court over, no, not ebooks, patents, staff wages, keyboards… but its App Store

    The US Supreme Court will scrutinize an antitrust lawsuit against Apple, opening the door for the computing giant to escape censure over its app store policies and potentially millions of dollars in claims.

    The lawsuit claims that Apple – which has had its fair share of legal challenges from alleged wage fixing to defective keyboards – has a monopoly on the app market, partly demonstrated by the fact it is able to claim a 30 per cent commission on all sold applications.

    That monopoly is used to kill off competition, the suit claims, by only allowing apps that are approved by Apple onto the App Store, with Apple insisting on exclusive distribution through its store as a condition of approval.

  • Apple’s HyperCard was inspired by an acid trip

    In 1985, Atkinson dropped acid and came up with HyperCard, the groundbreaking multimedia authoring program that was really a precursor to the first Web browser. Atkinson recently told Leo Laporte the story of this incredible LSD-fueled eureka moment.

  • The Psychedelic Inspiration For Hypercard

    I thought if we could encourage sharing of ideas between different areas of knowledge, perhaps more of the bigger picture would emerge, and eventually more wisdom might develop. Sort of a trickle-up theory of information leading to knowledge leading to wisdom.

    This was the underlying inspiration for HyperCard, a multimedia authoring environment that empowered non-programmers to share ideas using new interactive media called HyperCard stacks.

  • Science

    • Why collaborative thinking beats individual smarts

      THREE decades ago Thomas Malone modernised how the business world thought about digital communications in organisations with a seminal paper, “Electronic Markets and Electronic Hierarchies”. It was 1987, before the commercialisation of the [I]nternet, yet he and his co-authors predicted “an overall shift toward proportionately more use of markets—rather than hierarchies—to co-ordinate economic activity”.

      Evidence confirming that thesis is now everywhere. His book “The Future of Work” in 2004 foresaw “hyperspecialisation” in business, which has also come to pass. As a professor of management at MIT, Mr Malone has built on his earlier works to consider how new technologies and people can combine to create new kinds of productive entities, which he calls “superminds”—the title of his latest book.

    • This Week in Numbers: Discrimination in the Tech Industry

      According to the Dice survey, more tech professionals experienced or witnessed discrimination due to age compared to gender, political affiliation, or sexual orientation. …In fact, among those 55 or older, 88 percent are worried that their age can hurt their continuing career.

    • Predatory publishers: SciencePG

      I got spammed again by SciencePG (“Science Publishing Group”).

      One of many (usually Chinese or Indian) fake publishers, that will publish anything as long as you pay their fees. But, unfortunately, once you published a few papers, you inevitably land on their spam list: they scrape the websites of good journals for email adresses, and you do want your contact email address on your papers.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #164
    • PyRoMineIoT cryptojacker uses NSA exploit to spread

      Larry Trowell, principal consultant with Synopsys Software Integrity Group, said the government shares some of the blame for the NSA exploit.

      “It’s in every country’s interest to develop systems enabling offensive and defensive strategies to protect individuals and national services,” Trowell wrote via email. “There is no fault in that. If the NSA does have some blame to share in this situation, it is for allowing secrets to be exfiltrated — not in developing them.”

      Jett said although the NSA exploit was stolen, “they didn’t create the vulnerabilities that allow for the malware to exploit devices.”

      “As such, you can’t hold them responsible for the malware that has emerged from the EternalRomance exploit. Vendors whose products are vulnerable to EternalRomance are responsible for resolving the exploit problem,” Jett wrote. “Additionally, it has been more than a year since the NSA exploits were released, and vendors have created patches. It becomes incumbent on the users to make sure they are properly patching their software and reducing the threat surface for these exploits.”

    • Can Hackers Crack the Ivory Towers?

      While both researchers agreed that their colleagues would gain from incorporating hackers’ discoveries into their own work, they diverged when diagnosing the source of the gulf between the two camps and, to a degree, even on the extent of the rift.

    • 6-Year-Old Malware Injects Ads, Takes Screenshots On Windows 10

      A sneaky and persistent malware has surfaced which spams Windows 10 PCs with ads and takes screenshots to eventually send it to the attackers.

      Security researchers at Bitdefender found this malware named Zacinlo which first appeared in 2012. About 90% of Zacinlo’s victims are from the US running Microsoft Windows 10. There are other victims too from Western Europe, China, and India with a small fraction running Windows 7 or 8.

    • OpenBSD Disabling SMT / Hyper Threading Due To Security Concerns

      Security oriented BSD operating system OpenBSD is making the move to disable Hyper Threading (HT) on Intel CPUs and more broadly moving to disable SMT (Simultanious Multi Threading) on other CPUs too.

      Disabling of Intel HT and to follow with disabling SMT for other architectures is being done in the name of security. “SMT (Simultanious Multi Threading) implementations typically share TLBs and L1 caches between threads. This can make cache timing attacks a lot easier and we strongly suspect that this will make several spectre-class bugs exploitable. Especially on Intel’s SMT implementation which is better known as Hypter-threading. We really should not run different security domains on different processor threads of the same core.”

      OpenBSD could improve their kernel’s scheduler to workaround this, but given that is a large feat, at least for now they have decided to disable Hyper Threading by default.

      Those wishing to toggle the OpenBSD SMT support can use the new hw.smt sysctl setting on OpenBSD/AMD64 and is being extended to cover CPUs from other vendors and architectures.

    • Linux malware threats – bots, backdoors, trojans and malicious apps [Ed: Ignoring back doors in Windows and other proprietary platforms to instead focus on malicious software one actually needs to install on one's machine or choose a trivial-to-guess password (when there are open ports)]
    • Does Open Source Boost Security? Hortonworks Says Yes

      Organizations are best served security-wise if they favor and adopt open source technology — especially enterprise open source — over proprietary alternatives, according to Hortonworks. However, not everybody agrees that open source software intrinsically is more secure.

      It’s tough to argue that open source hasn’t brought significant benefits to the IT industry and the tens of thousands of organizations that rely on IT products to automate their operations. Starting with the introduction of Linux in the late 1990s, major swaths of the tech industry have shifted to open source development methodologies. That includes the vast majority of the big data ecosystem, which has been largely bootstrapped by various Apache Software Foundation projects.

    • Don’t Neglect Open Source Security [Ed: Well, if you have chosen proprietary software, then you have already given up on security altogether. With FOSS there's at least control and hope.]
    • How to build a strong DevSecOps culture: 5 tips [Ed: Red Hat is still promoting dumb buzzwords that help employers overwork their staff]
    • Where in the DevOps cycle do you do security?
    • A Framework to Strengthen Open Source Security and Compliance [Ed: Firms that profit from perceived insecurity of FOSS push so-called 'white papers' into IDG]
  • Defence/Aggression

    • The American Who Says He’s Been the Target of Five Air Strikes

      He was born Darrell Lamont Phelps. He grew up in Mount Vernon, New York, moved down to the city, tried his hand at comedy, and later converted to Islam, adopting the name of Bilal Abdul Kareem. Now 46 years old, he lives in the Middle East, where he has a wife, five children, and a controversial freelance-journalism career focused on Islamist fighters in the Syrian civil war.

      In his estimation, the United States government has tried to kill him five times. Last week, he won the ability to proceed with a lawsuit that could save his life. It may also constrain the president’s ability to order other Americans killed.

    • Target Castro! Some of the CIA’s most bizarre attempts to kill the Cuban leader were dreamed up by the man whose granddaughter is now dating Poldark star

      The great man and his army of bodyguards would suspect nothing, CIA operatives assured the would-be assassin at a secret meeting in Paris on November 22, 1963. Major Rolando Cubela Secades, a Cuban army officer and revolutionary comrade of Castro who was plotting to replace him, wasn’t too impressed.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange health fears: UK forcing Wikileaks chief to ‘make impossible choice’

      As they prepared to hold a vigil they called for the UN to intervene on his sixth anniversary as an asylum-seeker.

      Mr Assange’s team of lawyers claimed doctors have confirmed his protracted confinement in the Ecuador’s London embassy is having a severe impact on the journalist’s physical and mental health.

      Calling for the intervention of the UN’s Human Rights Council, they argued the UK is forcing Mr Assange, 46, to make an “impossible” choice.

      Human rights barrister Jennifer Robinson of Doughty Street Chambers, representing the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, said: “The UK shows a deliberate disregard for his medical needs by forcing him to choose between his human right to asylum and his human right to medical treatment.

    • Threatened by the truth – Julian Assange anniversary

      Today marks the sixth anniversary of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s effective house arrest in London. He cannot move around in public, because he fears he will be arrested and extradited to America — a daunting prospect, since a UN special rapporteur described Chelsea Manning’s treatment by that country’s justice system as torture.

      Assange is divisive. Hawks wish him nothing but misfortune and a stretch in jail. According to journalist John Pilger, a leaked official memo says: “Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He’ll be eating cat food forever.”

      If you stand at the other end of the spectrum, Assange is a hero who revealed how our world really works. Consequently, he has been relentlessly targeted. Hilary Clinton has contributed to this process, as Assange highlighted the Clintons’ links with Saudi Arabia and the multimillion donations that kingdom made to their foundation, after she, as secretary of state, sanctioned an $80bn Saudi arms deal.

    • Workers and young people speak out after Sydney rally to defend Julian Assange

      The Socialist Equality Party held a powerful rally yesterday at Sydney’s Town Hall Square, demanding that the Australian government of Malcolm Turnbull take immediate action to secure Julian Assange’s freedom and return to Australia, with a guarantee that he will not be extradited to the United States.

      Hundreds of workers and young people attended the event, under conditions of a media blackout of the protest and the growing dangers facing the WikiLeaks editor. Attendees travelled from as far away as Hobart, the Tasmanian capital—a trip of 1,500 kilometres. Contingents came from Victoria’s capital city, Melbourne, as well as Newcastle, a working-class regional centre of New South Wales, and other cities and towns.

    • Julian Assange’s lawyer appeals for UNHRC assitance

      A lawyer for Julian Assange has urged the United Nations to make an official visit to see first hand the impact living inside of the Ecuadorian embassy for six years has had on the WikiLeaks founder. Jennifer Robinson told the UN Human Rights Council that Mr Assange was unable to obtain proper medical attention and was being denied sunlight. British authorities have made it clear to Mr Assange if he were to leave the embassy, even for medical treatment, he would be arrested.

    • Bay Area political events: Women in politics, Assange rally

      Pro-Assange rally: Rally outside the British Consulate to support Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who is detained at the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. 4-6 p.m., 1 Sansome St., San Francisco. More information is here.

    • WikiLeaks’ Assange Threatens Corporate Media’s Narrative ‘Monopoly’

      On June 19, thousands of WikiLeaks supporters will hold rallies in Washington, DC, to protest against the conditions to which WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being subjected to inside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

      Kevin Zeese, co-coordinator of Popular Resistance, an activist group based in Maryland that tackles a broad range of social issues, told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear that the rallies for Assange are a vital fight against big corporations and the US government monopolizing the media.

    • Former CIA worker charged with leaking top-secret hacking tools to WikiLeaks
    • Ex-CIA engineer accused of leaking hacking docs to WikiLeaks charged in massive ‘Vault 7′ security breach
    • Former CIA engineer charged with leaking classified information to WikiLeaks
    • Ex-CIA employee charged in leak of classified hacking tools
    • Ex-CIA employee charged in major leak of agency hacking tools
    • Ex-CIA employee charged with leaking classified information
    • Alleged CIA leaker charged with disclosing classified information
    • Ex-CIA employee charged in major leak of agency hacking tools
    • US charges ex-CIA employee with leaking classified data, child porn offenses
    • CIA engineer, 29, charged with possessing child pornography is now charged with leaking THOUSANDS of classified documents to WikiLeaks

      A former CIA engineer who was charged with possession of child pornography has also been charged with leaking thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks.

    • Man who allegedly gave Vault 7 cache to WikiLeaks busted by poor opsec

      According to the new superseding indictment, which was made public on Monday, Schulte faces numerous charges, including illegal gathering of national defense information, transmission of this information, obstruction of justice, among others.

    • Ex-CIA worker charged with disclosing classified information
    • US Feds Charge New Yorker With Criminally Leaking Classified Info from CIA

      On Monday, ex-CIA officer Joshua Schulte was charged by the US Attorney’s Office from the Southern District of New York for child pornography offenses and for stealing classified national defense information from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and sending the material to an organization that disseminates such information publicly.

    • The Implications of Assange’s Persecution for Journalism and Democracy

      If the U.S.-led campaign to extradite and silence Assange is successful, it will invariably become the blueprint used by powerful governments like the U.S. to silence independent journalists the world over, and bludgeon them into submission.

    • UK Should Reject Extraditing Julian Assange to US

      It has been six years since Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, fled to the Ecuadorean Embassy in London to seek asylum from possible extradition to the United States to face indictment under the US Espionage Act.

      At the time, Assange, an Australian national, was wanted by Sweden for questioning over sexual offense allegations. Assange had also broken the terms of his UK bail. Since then, he has become even more controversial, having published US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails and internal emails from Democratic Party officials.

      While some admire and others despise Assange, no one should be prosecuted under the antiquated Espionage Act for publishing leaked government documents. That 1917 statute was designed to punish people who leaked secrets to a foreign government, not to the media, and allows no defense or mitigation of punishment on the basis that public interest served by some leaks may outweigh any harm to national security.

    • For Our Rulers, Smearing A Dissident Journalist Is As Good As Killing Him

      As I write this, demonstrations around the world are taking place in protest of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange’s arbitrary detention and silencing by the US-centralized power establishment that has been actively pursuing his destruction for over a decade. The demonstrations will be well-attended, but not a fraction as well-attended as they should be. They will receive international attention, but not a fraction as much attention as they should.

      This is because the manipulators and smear merchants who have made their careers paving the way for oligarchic agendas have been successful in killing off sympathy for the plight of Assange. As we discussed yesterday, sympathy is key for getting narratives to take hold in public consciousness. This is why western corporate media will circulate pictures of dead children all day long when it’s in the interests of advancing longstanding imperialist agendas, but never when those children were killed by western weapons. If you can tug at someone’s heart strings while telling them a story, the story you tell them will slide right in with minimal scrutiny. And it works the other way, too: if you can prevent someone’s heart strings from being plucked while hearing about a legitimately heartbreaking story, you can prevent that story from taking hold. Kill all sympathy for a dissident journalist and you kill all belief in his side of the story.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • How the Case for Voter Fraud Was Tested — and Utterly Failed

      From a new Supreme Court ruling to a census question about citizenship, the campaign against illegal registration is thriving. But when the top proponent was challenged in a Kansas courtroom to prove that such fraud is rampant, the claims went up in smoke.

      [...]

      The trial had a significance that extends far beyond the Jayhawk state. One of the fundamental questions in the debate over alleged voter fraud — whether a substantial number of non-citizens are in fact registering to vote — was one of two issues to be determined in the Kansas proceedings. (The second was whether there was a less burdensome solution than what Kansas had adopted.) That made the trial a telling opportunity to remove the voter fraud claims from the charged, and largely proof-free, realms of political campaigns and cable news shoutfests and examine them under the exacting strictures of the rules of evidence.

      That’s precisely what occurred and according to Robinson, an appointee of George W. Bush, the proof that voter fraud is widespread was utterly lacking. As the judge put it, “the court finds no credible evidence that a substantial number of noncitizens registered to vote” even under the previous law, which Kobach had claimed was weak.

    • There Is Another England

      My grandfather Henry was a lifelong socialist who had no illusions about the British Empire and its role in the World. Yet he was also a patriotic Englishman whose life, like so many of his generation, was largely defined by the struggle against Nazism, in which his only son had been killed. That focus on the Second World War partly explained his fondness for the Soviet Union, in discussing the abuses of which he would always remark “But you have to consider what came before. Given where they started, they are making progress”. He would recite “A man’s a man for a’that” to me as a small child and explain its meaning. Yet Henry would fly his St George’s flag proudly when occasion warranted it. I do not therefore automatically associate that flag with UKIP or with Essex man.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • [Older] A purity test for artists is the end of art

      Consider for a moment the range of behaviours that cinema sponsors. Rape, arson and pillage. Defenestration, disembowelment, drawing and quartering, amputation and flaying alive. Hanging, electrocution and crucifixion. Enslavement, political persecution, assassination and genocide. Treachery, betrayal, humiliation and heart-breaking. Wife-beating, serial killing and cannibalism. Incest, castration, and police brutality. Mass slaughter on battle-fields or western frontiers and even in outer space. Stabbing, strangling, poisoning and bludgeoning to a bloody pulp. Oh, but never mind that. Just so long as nobody smokes.

    • [Older] Millennials don’t fear censorship because they plan on doing all the censoring

      Accordingly, the young casually assume not only that they’re the cutting-edge, trend-setting arbiters of the acceptable now, but that they always will be. The students running campuses like re-education camps aren’t afraid of being muzzled, because they imagine they will always be the ones doing the muzzling — the ones dictating what words we can use (cis, not heterosexual), what books we can read (Tom Sawyer is out), what practices we can embrace (white people may not wear dreadlocks). These millennials don’t fear censorship because they plan on doing all the censoring.

    • 50 artists, 50 limited edition t-shirts on “censorship” to raise money for Amnesty International

      Everpress and Amnesty International have joined forces to launch 50/50, a collaborative exploration of a single topic – censorship. Fifty limited-edition t-shirts have been designed and produced by 50 leading artists on this theme, including Liam Hodges, Careaux, Octavian, Thierry Noir, Hetty Douglas – all to encourage discussion and raise crucial funds for the human rights organisation.

      The t-shirts are on display at an exhibition at Protein Studios in Shoreditch and are on sale at everpress.com until 28 June. Each t-shirt costs £25 and half the profits will go to the designers while the remaining will go to Amnesty.

    • London police have banned a rap group from making music without their permission

      The Kingston Crown Court gave its ruling on June 15. For three years, each of 1011′s five members must seek permission before creating music. They are prohibited from rapping about violence or death in their lyrics, and “mentioning named postcodes in a gang context.” The group must inform the police 24 hours before releasing new music videos, and 48 hours before any performance or filming, which police must also be present for.

      The five members of 1011 were arrested in November 2017 and charged with conspiracy to commit violent disorder. The group admitted to the charge, leading to the new court order.

    • Courts And Police Accused Of ‘Censorship’ As Drill Music Group Faces Ban

      A human rights group has criticised a landmark court decision banning a drill group from making music with violent lyrics, claiming the focus on the genre “highlights the danger that racial bias infects the criminal justice system”.

      Recorder Ann Mulligan on Friday banned Yonas Girma, 21, Micah Bedeau, 19, Isaac Marshall, 18, Jordan Bedeau, 17, and Rhys Herbert, 17, from mentioning death or injury in songs or on social media after a hearing at Kingston Crown Court.

    • The banning of ‘Active Shooter’ reveals the balance between censorship and freedom

      Recently, controversy and criticism have fallen upon Active Shooter, an early-access tactical first-person shooter in which players can either be a SWAT member or the eponymous “active shooter” during a fictitious school shooting. The game was developed by Ata Berdiyev, who has been disparaged as a known troll and caustic developer. He had previously released other games with inflammatory titles such as White Power: Pure Voltage and Tyde Pod Challenge, used purely for shock value for otherwise benign and simple games. After significant backlash, Active Shooter was pulled by Valve from its digital distribution platform, Steam, and Berdiyev was subsequently barred from doing business with Valve.

    • Coming to a movie studio near you: Chinese censorship

      Two subjects were off limits at a major gathering of top Chinese and Hollywood movie producers and financiers in Shanghai this week.

      Journalists covering the Global Film Industry Value Chain Development Forum event were told not to ask questions about tax avoidance or the US trade war. Both issues are topical and present major challenges to the next phase of growth for China’s booming movie industry.

      The request itself highlights another challenge for western movie-makers seeking to profit from the world’s second-largest box office – censorship.

      China’s box office is poised to take over Hollywood as the world’s largest next year as US movie studios increasingly target Chinese audiences. However, that often involves skirting around Beijing’s tough censorship rules, which means plots or characters which are critical of China or touch on sensitive issues such as Tibet are unlikely to be screened in the country. An extreme example of this was casting white Scottish actor Tilda Swinton as a Tibetan monk in Doctor Strange in 2016 to avoid upsetting Beijing.

    • Crunch Day as EU Copyright Reform Threatens Internet Censorship

      The European Parliament will tomorrow vote on a reformed Copyright Directive, which among other things features provisions mandating online platforms to install automated upload filters that many fear could result in significant “over-blocking” of lawful content (censorship) and restrictions on news linking.

      The proposed “content recognition technologies” appear to form part of the proposed Article 13, which makes intermediaries (instead of just end-users) liable for uploads by their users and seems to circumvent the existing E-Commerce Directive. It would essentially require businesses to implement automated filters that scan for and then block copyrighted videos, photos, music, text or code in user submitted content.

    • GAIKA on the censorship of drill music

      Writing for Dazed, the Warp artist takes aim at the Met Police’s new court order against the genre.

    • A TV Mega-Merger That’s Bad for the First Amendment

      The Sinclair deal combines unprecedented market control with a pattern of forcing local TV stations to run propaganda.

      The Federal Communications Commission is currently considering a corporate acquisition that would make a single company — Sinclair Broadcasting Group — the largest owner of local TV stations in history.

      Americans watch more local news than cable news or network news, making that medium key for informing the public about important issues. In a public comment submitted Tuesday, we formally urged the FCC to block the deal. This unprecedented concentration of control, which contradicts the FCC’s own policies about how wide a broadcasting company’s reach can be, would stifle the diversity of views in the press that’s essential for a healthy democracy.

      You may have heard of Sinclair before, because it has been exposed for repeatedly injecting politically charged segments into local news, which otherwise typically avoids ideological punditry.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • How To Turn Off Targeted Ads Using Google’s New Ad Personalization Settings [Ed: Google would still spy on you, but it might not be obvious about the outcome of all that spying]

      Until now, the year 2018 had been all about the security of user data and its misuse by big tech giants. In the past where advertisers profited from our data through targeted marketing, the recent European Union GDPR regulations and Cambridge Analytica scandal forced the corporations into updating their privacy policies. In short, adding restrictions on advertisers thus prompting more digital data control for users.

    • Wireless Carriers Hope You Won’t Notice Their Location Data Scandal Makes The Facebook, Cambridge Fracas Look Like Amateur Hour

      When the Facebook, Cambridge Analytica scandal broke, we noted that however bad you thought that scandal was (and it certainly was bad), it couldn’t hold a candle to the routine privacy abuses that have occurred in the telecom sector for the better part of the last few decades. From charging consumers hundreds of additional dollars annually to opt out of snoopvertising, to the use of private user financial data to justify providing even worse customer service, the broadband industry has long been the poster child for privacy abuses without much in the way of practical public penalty.

      It’s just as bad on the wireless side, where carriers like Verizon have routinely have been caught modifying user data packets to track users around the internet (without telling them or providing opt out tools), and selling user browsing, app-usage and location data to everyone that comes calling. That’s before you even touch on the fact that these companies are practically bone grafted to the NSA and other intelligence services.

      As such, we noted how if you were part of the #DeleteFacebook set but were still rolling around using a stock phone on an incumbent carrier network, you failed to understand that Facebook’s casual treatment of private consumer data was the cross-industry norm, not some errant exception.

    • Facebook Adds Annoying Autoplay Ads In Personal Messenger Conversations

      Advertisers who wish to run their ads on the messenger can do so by opting for paid Facebook ad campaigns. As of now, no option has been provided to run ads only on the Messenger.

    • Now Facebook is putting autoplay video ads inside Messenger

      Messenger first started selling ads inside Messenger 18 months ago, but they were static ads, not video. The benefit of video ads is that they’re usually more expensive, which means they’re more valuable to Facebook. The company has said in the past that it’s running out of room for ads inside its flagship Facebook app, so we’ve seen Facebook expand ads into more places, like Messenger and Facebook’s Craigslist competitor, Marketplace.

    • The demotivating week

      This week I will continue to integrate pgpainless into Smack. There is also still a significant lack of JUnit tests in both projects. One issue I have is, that during my project I often have to deal with objects, that bundle information together. Those data structures are needed in smack-openpgp, smack-openpgp-bouncycastle, as well as in pgpainless. Since smack-openpgp and pgpainless do not depend on one another, I need to write duplicate code to provide all modules with classes that offer the needed functionality. This is a real bummer and creates a lot of ugly boilerplate code.

    • Think The GDPR Only Regulates Big Internet Companies? The EU Says It Regulates You Too.

      People tend to think of the GDPR as regulation companies must comply with. But thanks to a decision by the Court of Appeals for the EU earlier this month, there’s particular reason to believe that ordinary Internet users will need to worry about complying with it as well.

      In this decision the court found that the administrator of a fan page on Facebook is jointly responsible with Facebook for the processing of its visitors’ data. And, as such, the administrator must comply with applicable data processing regulations – which necessarily include the GDPR.

    • The GDPR and Browser Fingerprinting: How It Changes the Game for the Sneakiest Web Trackers

      Browser fingerprinting is on a collision course with privacy regulations. For almost a decade, EFF has been raising awareness about this tracking technique with projects like Panopticlick. Compared to more well-known tracking “cookies,” browser fingerprinting is trickier for users and browser extensions to combat: websites can do it without detection, and it’s very difficult to modify browsers so that they are less vulnerable to it. As cookies have become more visible and easier to block, companies have been increasingly tempted to turn to sneakier fingerprinting techniques.

      But companies also have to obey the law. And for residents of the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which entered into force on May 25th, is intended to cover exactly this kind of covert data collection. The EU has also begun the process of updating its ePrivacy Directive, best known for its mandate that websites must warn you about any cookies they are using. If you’ve ever seen a message asking you to approve a site’s cookie use, that’s likely based on this earlier Europe-wide law.

      This leads to a key question: Will the GDPR require companies to make fingerprinting as visible to users as the original ePrivacy Directive required them to make cookies?

      The answer, in short, is yes. Where the purpose of fingerprinting is tracking people, it will constitute “personal data processing” and will be covered by the GDPR.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Immigration Divides Europe and the German Left

      Freedom of movement is the founding value of the European Union. The “four freedoms” are inscribed in the binding EU treaties and directives: free movement of goods, services, capital and persons (labor) among the Member States.

      Of course, the key freedom here is that of capital, the indispensable condition of neoliberal globalization. It enables international finance to go and do whatever promises to be profitable, regardless of national boundaries. The European Union is the kernel of the worldwide “Open Society”, as promoted by financier George Soros.

      However, extended to the phenomenon of mass immigration, the doctrine of “free movement” is disuniting the Union.

    • Fact-Checking Family Separation

      The Trump administration made a policy choice, but doesn’t want to own the consequences. Here’s what you need to know.

      With nearly 2,000 immigrant children separated from their parents in just six weeks alone, there is an unprecedented human rights disaster unfolding at our border. As public outrage mounts, members of Congress demand access to government-run facilities, and the United Nations condemns us, the Trump administration is attempting to shift the blame — fast.

      In the past week, the administration has made several misleading statements, trying to justify the systematic separation of children from their parents. On Monday, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen held a press briefing where she doubled down on family separation, denying that the separation of children from their parents amounts to child abuse because, “We give them medical care. There’s videos; There’s TVs.”

      All the while, horror stories are emerging: among them, Marco Antonio Muñoz, a Honduran father, who killed himself after being separated from his wife and child; three siblings taken from their parents who were told that they couldn’t hug each other in the shelter they were placed in; and parents who were deported four months ago and are still waiting for the U.S. to return their baby.

      The level of cruelty is difficult to comprehend, and that’s how the administration wants it. Here’s what you need to know to understand family separation.

    • Video: The Voices Missing From the Immigration Debate

      As the Trump administration continues to defend its “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which, since April, has separated more than 2,300 children from their parents at the border, ProPublica obtained an audio recording from inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility. The recording captured the voices of kids as young as 4, crying for “Mami” and “Papá” as if those were the only words they knew.

    • Behind the Criminal Immigration Law: Eugenics and White Supremacy

      Amid a bipartisan backlash, President Trump has tried repeatedly to shift blame to Democrats for his own administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which has resulted in more than 2,300 migrant children being taken from their families along the U.S.-Mexico border. “The Democrats have to change their law — that’s their law,” Trump told reporters on Friday.

      The president didn’t specify which law he was talking about. But the statute at the center of his administration’s policy is the work of Republicans — with origins dating back all the way to World War I — albeit with substantial Democratic support along the way. Known originally as the “Undesirable Aliens Act,” the statute would not exist without support from, respectively, a eugenicist and a white supremacist.

      The law in question was the foundation of a memo Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued in early April that laid out the administration’s new, zero-tolerance policy. In the memo, Sessions instructed federal prosecutors in the southwestern United States to file criminal charges against any adults caught entering the country illegally. His order stripped officials of discretion over whether to place migrant families seeking asylum into civil proceedings, which allow families to stay together. (Court rulings limit how long the government can detain migrants in civil proceedings. There’s also no guarantee they’ll return for future hearing dates once they’re let out, a phenomenon that has prompted the president’s complaints about “catch and release.”)

    • Americans Are At Risk of Forgetting Slavery and Repeating Our Mistakes

      Juneteenth is a celebration of African-Americans’ emancipation and a reminder of the horrors the U.S. can’t afford to forget.

      Even historians find themselves startled by the past.

      My blood ran cold on a recent visit to Montgomery, Alabama. I was there to experience something that didn’t exist anywhere in America just a few months ago, but which deeply resonated with me as a Black man: a museum and memorial site dedicated to recognizing our nation’s grisly history of slavery, lynchings, and mass incarceration.

      The stunning new project spearheaded by NYU Law Professor Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative boldly confronts the legacy of the U.S. carceral state. Upon entering a dark tunnel, holograms of enslaved Africans speak to the museum visitor from behind the bars of an early 19th-century Montgomery jail, where they awaited the auction block. Passing into the light of day, one enters a timeline chronicling U.S. racial terrorism.

      This project fills a critical void given an endemic lack of knowledge in this country of systemic cycles of inequality and the erasure of history surrounding anti-Blackness. Like the Legacy Museum, Juneteenth — the nation’s biggest celebration of Black freedom, marked every year on June 19 — offers an opportunity to remember the brutalities that have been hidden in plain sight from so many Americans.

      A report published earlier this year by the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance project revealed that only 8 percent of U.S. high school seniors know the Civil War occurred because of slavery. Some textbooks have softened the language about the inhumane institution. So have some of our leaders. In 2017, HUD Secretary Ben Carson publicly referenced Black people who’d been kidnapped and transported to America via the Middle Passage as “immigrants” rather than slaves.

      It is this willful blindness that enables the perpetuation of slavery’s legacy. Some of our nation’s top legal minds — such as Michelle Alexander, Bryan Stevenson, and Jeff Robinson — have revealed how slavery and segregation have evolved into new methods of racial torture and alienation. The racially biased war on drugs and disparate sentencing have led to more Black people being encaged by the criminal justice system today than were ever enslaved in America. Even in liberal cities like New York City, Black people are eight times more likely to be put in handcuffs for marijuana-related charges than white people, despite studies showing that they use the substance at the same rates.

    • President Trump Directs Pentagon To Create A ‘Space Force’ In What Is Surely Not Any Kind Of Distraction From Crying Children

      You may recall that about this time last year, the House of Representatives put together a budget that included funding for a brand new military branch dubbed the Space Force. At the time, our take is that this was always inevitable, as humanity tends to carry its war-making luggage everywhere we go and, since we go to space, we’re going to have a Space Force. More surprising was the pushback from those who have a thing or two to say about military matters, such as Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who noted that setting up a new military branch was hellishly complicated, and required congressional approval.

    • Fellow alum: Kirstjen Nielsen should resign now

      I have known Kirstjen Nielsen for nearly 30 years — since we were both incoming freshman at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service, or SFS, in Washington. The program is considered to be a training ground for the diplomats, policymakers and global business leaders of tomorrow. As the school’s website says, “SFS undergraduates enter a prestigious program with a legacy of academic excellence combined with a devotion to humanitarian service.”

      [...]

      But Nielsen needs to think this through more than one chess move ahead. If we have learned anything in the past year and a half of the Trump presidency, it is that Donald Trump never takes responsibility or blame for anything. As this crisis at the border grows in scale and magnitude, and as his claims that this is all the “Democrats’ fault” fail to stick anywhere outside of far-right media, Trump will look for a new scapegoat — and there is none more obvious than his arguably underqualified secretary of Homeland Security. That clock is already ticking.
      If there is but a scintilla of good left in Kirstjen Nielsen’s soul — and we who have known her for several decades think there is — she has only one good option and that is to resign her post as secretary of Homeland Security, a move suggested Monday afternoon by California Sen. Kamala Harris.

    • Just Following Orders…

      A crime against humanity is still a crime against humanity if it is committed by one trying to please the boss. Neither the boss nor the minion get to deny the harm they do.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Chairman Santiago to Weaken California Net Neutrality for AT&T and Comcast

      Senators Kevin de Leon and Wiener had recently joined forces to push their net neutrality bills through the Assembly Committee on Communications and Conveyance tomorrow as a joint package. Such a unified effort represented the most powerful way to move both S.B. 460 and S.B. 822 together to present Governor Brown the strongest net neutrality bill in the country.

      However, EFF has learned that their effort to move a strong package has been rejected by Communications and Conveyance Chairman Miguel Santiago. In essence, it appears now that the Chair of the Assembly Committee is ready to strike key provisions out of the legislative package on behalf of AT&T and Comcast rather than allow an up or down vote on the bills as they stand.

    • ISPs Lobbying California Lawmakers In Bid To Weaken State’s Looming Net Neutrality Law

      More than half the states in the nation now pursuing individual net neutrality rules, either in the form of executive orders (banning state contracts with net-neutrality violating ISPs) or new state laws. And while ISPs have been whining about the unfairness of having to adhere to independent requirements in each state, that’s probably something their lobbyists should have thought more deeply about when they worked to kill what, despite all the prattle about heavy-handed regulation, were probably some of the more modest net neutrality rules worldwide.

      ISPs first tried to stop states from protecting consumers by lobbying the FCC to include language in its “Restoring Internet Freedom” repeal attempting to ban states from doing so. But in the process of gutting their authority over ISPs Ajit Pai’s FCC may have also, amusingly, completely neutered its ability to tell states what to do.

      As such, ISP lobbyists have been forced to run, state to state, trying to convince state lawmakers that giving consumers, small businesses and internet competition a giant middle finger is the smart political play here with midterms looming.

    • Ajit Pai Now Trying To Pretend That Everybody Supported Net Neutrality Repeal

      By now it’s abundantly clear that the Trump FCC’s repeal of net neutrality was based largely on fluff and nonsense. From easily disproved claims that net neutrality protections stifled broadband investment, to claims that the rules would embolden dictators in North Korea and Iran, truth was an early and frequent casualty of the FCC’s blatant effort to pander to some of the least competitive, least-liked companies in America (oh hi Comcast, didn’t see you standing there). In fact throughout the repeal, the FCC’s media relations office frequently just directed reporters to telecom lobbyists should they have any pesky questions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Mexican stand off shaping over Taco Tuesday trademark

        It’s the most Melbourne of Mexican stand-offs – a food-court chain staring down a punk rock pub over its temerity to hold a Taco Tuesday.

        A stone’s throw into the city’s wild west sits Footscray’s Reverence Hotel, famed for its live music and cheap Tuesday tacos.

        After six years of dishing up the spicy fare, the landmark corner hotel is suddenly feeling the heat over a claim that it is infringing a trademark held by Mexican food chain Salsas Fresh Mex, which has outlets dotted across Melbourne including a site at Highpoint shopping centre.

        A letter from Salsas Holdings marketing manager Rebecca Woods to The Reverence Hotel demanded it stop using the phrase ”Taco Tuesday” on its website and social media accounts.

      • More Taco Tuesday Trademark Stupidity, This Time Down Under

        Some of us believe that all the different nations of the world are filled with people that are mostly the same, that share the same values, and the same troubles. If only we could find some unifying issue or force that could fully bring us together, then we could finally live in a kind of Lennon-esque harmony with one another. I submit to you that perhaps stupid trademark stories revolving around “Taco Tuesdays” could well be that thing. In America, for instance, a chain called Taco John’s has spent the past few years waving around the trademark the USPTO stupidly gave it on the both generic and descriptive term “Taco Tuesdays”, insisting that every other business that uses it stop immediately. How this mark was ever granted, given that it describes a good offered on the day it is offered — tacos on a tuesday — is a question that has kept me up many a night. Despite the trouble Taco John’s has caused with this, the trademark remains registered and in place.

      • Judge Cock(y)blocks Author Faleena Hopkins’ Demand Other Authors Stop Using The Word ‘Cocky’ In Their Titles

        Romance novelist Faleena Hopkins recently turned the rest of the genre against her by deciding — with the USPTO’s blessing — she was the only person who could use the word “cocky” in a book title. Given the nature of romance novels, the striking of the word “cocky” left precious few terms capable of describing a certain blend of bravado and sexual prowess.

        The backlash was not only immediate, but thorough. Authors hit with cease-and-desist notices posted these to social media. One writer filed a petition with the USPTO to have the recently-acquired trademark invalidated. To top everything off, the Authors Guild of America joined forces with two of the authors Hopkins sued. What Hopkins likely felt would be an easy win in a trademark infringement case is turning into another cautionary tale about questionable IP and heavy-handed enforcement.

        As The Guardian reports, Hopkins has already been handed a loss in her lawsuit against author Tara Crescent and publicist Jennifer Watson.

    • Copyrights

      • EU legal affairs committee adopts controversial copyright directive

        The draft includes controversial provisions set out in in articles 11 and 13 – also known as the press publishers right and value gap proposal – which were approved by small majorities

        The European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee (JURI) approved the proposed text for the Copyright in the Digital Single Market directive today.

      • Copyright Directive: Let’s Fight Automated Filtering… and Web Centralisation!

        On 20 June, the European Parliament will make its decision regarding the Copyright Directive, symbol of a new era of Internet regulation. La Quadrature is calling on you to call the Members of European Parliament and demand they act against automated censorship in the name of copyright protection and, more broadly, against centralisation of the Web.

        To understand the complex ruling which will take place on 20 June, we first need to revisit the basics of the regulation of content distributed over the Internet.

      • Boston Globe Posts Hilarious Fact-Challenged Interview About Regulating Google, Without Any Acknowledgement Of Errors

        The Boston Globe recently put together an entire issue about “Big Tech” and what to do about it. I’d link to it, but for some reason when I click on it, the Boston Globe is now telling me it no longer exists — which, maybe, suggests that the Boston Globe should do a little more “tech” work itself. However, a few folks sent in this fun interview with noted Google/Facebook hater Jonathan Taplin. Now, we’ve had our run-ins with Taplin in the past — almost always to correct a whole bunch of factual errors that he makes in attacking internet companies. And, it appears that we need to do this again.

        Of course, you would think that the Boston Globe might have done this for us, seeing as they’re a “newspaper” and all. Rather than just printing the words verbatim of someone who is going to say things that are both false and ridiculous, why not fact check your own damn interview? Instead, it appears that the Globe decided “let’s find someone to say mean things about Google” and turned up Taplin… and then no one at the esteemed Globe decided “gee, maybe we should check to see if he actually knows what he’s talking about or if he’s full of shit.” Instead, they just ran the interview, and people who read it without knowing that Taplin is laughably wrong won’t find out about it unless they come here. But… let’s dig in.

      • Dear EU Parliament: Why Are You About To Allow US Internet Companies To Decide What EU Citizens Can Say Online?

        We’ve pointed this out over and over again with regards to all of the various attempts to “regulate” the internet giants of Google and Facebook: nearly every proposal put forth to date creates a regulatory regime that Google and Facebook can totally handle. Sure, they might find it to be a nuisance, but its well within the resources of both companies to handle whatever is thrown their way. However, most other companies are then totally fucked, because they simply cannot comply in any reasonable manner. And, yet, these proposals keep coming — and people keep celebrating them in the false belief that they will somehow “contain” the two internet giants, when the reality is that it will lock them in as the defacto dominant internet players, making it nearly impossible for upstarts and competitors to enter the market.

        This seems particularly bizarre when we’re talking about the EU’s approach to copyright. As we’ve been discussing over the past few weeks, the EU Parliaments Legal Affairs Committee is about to vote on the EU Copyright Directive, that has some truly awful provisions in it — including Article 11′s link tax and Article 13′s mandatory filters. The rhetoric around both of these tends to focus on just how unfair it is that Google and Facebook have so much power, and are making so much money while legacy companies (news publishers for Article 11 and recording companies for Article 13) aren’t making as much as they used to.

      • Creative Commons Announces New Board Members: Delia Browne and Amy Brand

        Today, CC is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members of the Board of Directors, both prominent leaders and advocates in their fields. Congratulations to Amy Brand, Director of the MIT Press, and Delia Browne, National Copyright Director for the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) Education Council and Copyright Advisory Group.

      • BitTorrent Is Reportedly Selling for $140 Million

        BitTorrent Inc, the parent company behind the popular file-sharing client uTorrent, recently made a deal to sell to Justin Sun, the founder of cryptocurrency TRON. According to new information, Sun has agreed to pay $140 million for the company. While no details have yet been confirmed, a shareholder notes that BitTorrent will in part be used to “legitimize” TRON’s business.

Patent Extremists Are Unable to Find Federal Circuit Cases That Help Them Mislead on Alice

Posted in America, Patents at 2:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Freedom to develop software (code) with lower risk of patent litigation in the US

Dolphin

Summary: Patent extremists prefer talking about Mayo but not Alice when it comes to 35 U.S.C. § 101; Broadcom is meanwhile going on a ‘fishing expedition’, looking to profit from patents by calling for embargo through the ITC

IN RECENT years the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) guided the USPTO into a harder approach towards software patents; if there’s nothing “hard” (as in non-abstract), then a patent isn’t suitable ‘protection’, maybe copyrights at best. This has always made perfect sense to actual software developers, but policy was perturbed by lawyers for their selfish interests.

“This has always made perfect sense to actual software developers, but policy was perturbed by lawyers for their selfish interests.”The Federal Circuit has taken SCOTUS decisions such as Mayo and Alice into account; so did the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which is basically a lot more efficient and is technically part of the Office.

“This case had nothing to do with software.”At the start of the year there were a few Federal Circuit outcomes (decisions) which patent maximalists were able to spin in order to market software patents; but nothing of that kind has happened for months. Watchtroll, failing to cherry-pick any ‘convenient’ cases, would rather speak of Vanda Pharmaceuticals — a case that we’ve mentioned here before (albeit not much because it’s really about Mayo, not Alice). John M. Rogitz (Rogitz & Associates) wrote about this USPTO “memo [which] dives into the Federal Circuit’s holding, noting that “[t]he Federal Circuit distinguished Mayo, stating: ‘The inventors recognized the relationships between iloperidone, CYP2D6 metabolism, and QTc prolongation, but that is not what they claimed. They claimed an application of that relationship. Unlike the claim at issue in Mayo, the claims here require a treating doctor to administer iloperidone.’…As a result, the Federal Circuit held the claims in Vanda patent eligible under the first step of the Alice/Mayo framework…because the claims ‘are directed to a method of using iloperidone to treat schizophrenia,’ rather than being ‘directed to’ a judicial exception.””

This case had nothing to do with software. The following day Theodore Chiacchio (also in Watchtroll) persisted with Mayo:

This article examines Supreme Court and Federal Circuit analyses of patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101 where the patent claims at issue were directed to Life Sciences-related technologies. I first examine this topic in the context of composition of matter patent claims and then in the context of method claims. As reflected in the below discussion, while the § 101 case law is fairly straightforward with respect to composition claims, the case law is murkier when it comes to method claims.

Suffice to say, this has nothing to do with software or even computing. We’re watching that domain closely and there’s no rebound there of any kind; software patents are pretty much dead.

“We’re watching that domain closely and there’s no rebound there of any kind; software patents are pretty much dead.”Patent Docs too has meanwhile cherry-picked just one case (so far this week): Akeso Health Sciences, LLC v Designs for Health, Inc.

This one does not even related to § 101 but to § 286. “Patentee Equitably Estopped from Asserting Patent Due to 10-Year Delay in Filing Suit,” their outline says. Here are some portions:

Earlier this year, in Akeso Health Sciences, LLC v. Designs for Health, Inc., District Judge S. James Otero of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California granted a motion for summary judgment filed by Defendant Designs for Health, Inc. (“DFH”), in which DFH argued, inter alia, that Plaintiff Akeso Health Sciences, LLC should be equitably estopped from asserting U.S. Patent No. 6,500,450 due to Akeso’s ten-year delay in filing suit. Akeso had filed suit against DFH for infringement of the ’450 patent, which relates to a dietary supplement for the treatment of migraine headache, asserting that DFH’s manufacture and sale of the migraine treatment product Migranol indirectly infringed the asserted claims due to various instructions and implications on the label.

[...]

The Court indicated that its finding was further bolstered by 35 U.S.C. § 286, which precludes a patentee from recovering for any infringement committed more than six years prior to the filing of the complaint. In particular, the Court explained that “the patentee’s failure to preserve over four years’ worth of potential lost profits is reasonably interpreted as an abandonment of its claims.” With respect to the first element of equitable estoppel, the Court therefore found that “the patentee, through misleading conduct (or silence), [led] the alleged infringer to reasonably infer that the patentee [did] not intend to enforce its patent against the alleged infringer,” quoting Radio Sys. Corp. v. Lalor, 709 F.3d at 1130.

We don’t typically write about the absence of something, but it’s certainly noteworthy that these patent maximalists fail to find anything ‘positive’ (to them) to report about Alice. No news is good news in that regard…

“Any time there’s a lawsuit or a call for embargo they pounce at the opportunity to promote it. They don’t care about technology, only legal bills.”Then there’s Broadcom’s ITC complaint that we covered last week (after Reuters had covered it). We covered ITC issues a week earlier and Broadcom’s flirtation with this strategy early last month, not too long after Qualcomm merger/takeover attempts (stopped some months ago and it looks like NXP will be the one to get devoured). Watchtroll’s take on this is pretty revealing. Any time there’s a lawsuit or a call for embargo they pounce at the opportunity to promote it. They don't care about technology, only legal bills.

What Use Are 10 Million Patents That Are of Low Quality in a Patent Office Controlled by the Patent ‘Industry’?

Posted in America, Courtroom, Law, Patents at 1:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“To technology companies, NPEs [patent trolls] are a drag on innovation, taxing them tens of billions of dollars every year while achieving no social purpose” –Mark Lemley and Robin Feldman

Mark Lemley
Image source: Stanford Law School

Summary: The patent maximalists are celebrating overgranting; the USPTO, failing to heed the warning from patent courts, continues issuing far too many patents and a new paper from Mark Lemley and Robin Feldman offers a dose of sobering reality

THIS post is not another rant about the EPO but purely about the USPTO, which is now being run by patent maximalists (see/recall the Director's selection, which seems to have involved nepotism). As the USPTO’s “CIO Watchdog” put it yesterday (amid pretty substantial rumours of endemic USPTO nepotism): “PTO is sending Patent SES (David Wiley) back to Patents and bringing another (Debbie Stephens) to serve as the DCIO for a couple of months, this sounds odd? Rumors are flying about a new CIO selection but nothing official. Wiley seemed to be well thought of, Stephens not sure?”

“A meaningless — symbolic at best — ‘milestone’ will be celebrated. 10 million patents!”Nobody in the media has been covering the spousal connections there; barely anyone bothered pointing out that the USPTO’s new Director headed a firm that used to work for Donald Trump before Trump nominated/appointed him. Either way, the news sites will be full of pieces like this one in the coming days. A meaningless — symbolic at best — ‘milestone’ will be celebrated. 10 million patents! As one site put it (the first we have seen on this):

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued its 10 millionth patent.

The patent, Coherent Ladar Using Intra-Pixel Quadrature Detection, was the first to receive a new patent cover design, which was unveiled back in March.

The first patent was signed 228 years ago by George Washington in 1790. It was issued to Samuel Hopkins and was for a process of making potash, an ingredient used in fertilizer.

Commenting on the historic occasion, Wilbur Ross, secretary of commerce, said: “Innovation has been the lifeblood of this country since its founding.”

Wilbur Ross has been part of the so-called ‘swamp’ which put a Trump-connected patent maximalist in charge of the Office. And 228 years after it all started the USPTO issues patents at a laughable scale/pace which makes it rather clear that it issues a lot of patents wrongly. It has financial incentive to do so.

Examiners who try to do a good job and properly scrutinise applications receive “shaming” treatment from patent extremists like Anticipat, which now (yesterday) advises wrestling with patent examiners over rejections as if anything that renders patents void — like PTAB for the most part — is an abomination and wrong. Anticipat if just looking to profit from patent extremism. ‘Stalking’ examiners, too. Doxing next? Here’s what they wrote:

The Examiner Answer can be a very important stage of the ex parte appeal process. It is at this stage that Examiners may want to make up for weak Office Action positions and set themselves up for getting affirmed at the Board. Understanding the incentives and tactical options, however, can give the patent practitioner the upper hand.

The Examiner Answer is technically optional (“The primary examiner may, within such time as may be directed by the Director, furnish a written answer to the appeal brief.” 37 CFR 41.39). Examiners usually prepare them because of the disposal credits that they receive. Outside of this most obvious incentive, Examiners also have an opportunity to present their case most favorably to the Board panel that will decide the case. Sometimes these analyses can improperly go out of bounds. Since an appellant only gets 60 days to respond to an Examiner Answer (no extensions), a timely assessment of the Examiner Answer is critical.

Professor Lemley (whom patent extremists hate) and a co-author less familar to us, Robin Feldman, have meanwhile published this new paper. “My latest paper with Robin Feldman,” Lemley wrote, “surveys tens of thousands of companies about the patent licensing demands they receive (fewer than you think) and whether those patent licenses drive innovation (not often).”

From the abstract:

Patent reform is a hotly contested issue, occupying the attention of Congress, the Supreme Court, and many of the most innovative companies in the world. Most of that dispute centers on patent enforcement, and in particular on the role of non-practicing entities (NPEs) or “patent trolls” – companies that don’t themselves make products but sue those that do. To technology companies, NPEs are a drag on innovation, taxing them tens of billions of dollars every year while achieving no social purpose. To NPEs and their supporters, they are enabling the first inventor to get paid and creating a working market for the transfer of technology.

Which is it?

In this paper, we present the first full empirical of the effect of patent licensing demands on the economy. With the help of a National Science Foundation grant and experts in survey design, we sent our survey out to every US-based business with at least one employee and revenue of $1 million or more – over 45,000 companies. Our results provide important insights into the nature and limits of patent licensing demands and their role (or lack thereof) in driving innovation.

So the bottom line is, this whole Cult of Patents as we habitually call it does not actually help innovation; it mostly helps the patent ‘industry’, which conflates litigation with innovation. How about a saner patent system which actually seeks to maximise innovation rather than the number of granted patents?

The Eastern District of Texas is Where Asian Companies/Patents/Trolls Still Go After TC Heartland

Posted in America, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 1:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Katana Silicon Technologies

Summary: Proxies of Longhorn IP and KAIST (Katana Silicon Technologies LLC and KAIST IP US LLC, respectively) roam Texas in pursuit of money of out nothing but patents and aggressive litigation; there’s also a Microsoft connection

THE decision on TC Heartland (SCOTUS) dealt with the venue at which companies operate and what this means for the venue of litigation (where patent lawsuits get filed). Weeks ago there were some new cases related to this, especially when it comes to foreign (non-US) companies from somewhere like South Korea or Taiwan. We wrote about that.

For those who haven’t been keeping track, KAIST has generally become a patent parasite masquerading as “education” or “research” (that’s how it’s known or recognised around Korea or Seoul, like CSIRO in Australia). Jacob Schindler of IAM (the patent trolls’ lobby) now celebrates litigation in the Eastern District of Texas by KAIST’s proxy in another country (KAIST IP US LLC). It’s a shell entity of an entity that produces nothing. This shell has won the case, but we certainly hope that Samsung will appeal this decision to the Federal Circuit, overriding the notorious biases of the Eastern District of Texas (biases which is openly advertises). As IAM makes clear, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) was already involved prior to this. From the summary (outside the paywall) it’s made apparent that a nontechnical jury decided on this technical case (we explained many times why such trials may be unsuitable for patents):

Last Friday, a jury in the Eastern District of Texas ordered Samsung Electronics to pay $400 million to the IP licensing arm of South Korea’s top technology university. KAIST IP US LLC, an affiliate of the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, saw its patent survive multiple IPRs and a dispute over its proper ownership en route to a courtroom victory over South Korea’s most prominent technology company. While US litigation watchers will be wary of a reversal on appeal, the big award signals that top Asian university IP owners like KAIST cannot be ignored.

We have meanwhile seen/come across yesterday’s article titled “Samsung Threatens U.S. Prosperity By Disregarding Intellectual-Property Rights” (this author apparently doesn’t know that Samsung has the most US patent grants per annum and held the same title at at the EPO in the past).

Anyway, what’s worthy about the above case is that a Korean entity used the US courts to go after another Korean entity, but only because it’s the Eastern District of Texas, which openly brags about being friendly towards plaintiffs, welcoming patent trolls such as Dominion Harbor with many Asian patents (almost expired).

It has meanwhile emerged, also based on the patent trolls’ lobby (IAM), that a Japanese company has had its patents passed to patent trolls. Guess where…

“Foxconn transfers former Sharp patents to Texas-based NPE,” said the tweet and the article said:

Longhorn IP, the Texas-based NPE, has launched its fifth portfolio, a collection of semiconductor patents originally owned by Sharp. The licensing company, run by Khaled Fekih-Romdhane and Chris Dubuc, is calling its new vehicle Katana Silicon Technologies LLC – a name hinting at the Japanese source of the patents, which USPTO assignment records reveal is Sharp.

Notice how Longhorn IP uses shells, as is so typical in Texas (Dominion Harbor does this as well). There’s a bit of a connection between those two; at the end of last year IAM said that “Dominion Harbor and Longhorn IP [had] both formed partnerships with Beijing East IP…”

The “Founder and Managing Member” of Longhorn IP/Katana Silicon Technologies LLC used to work for the Microsoft-connected Acacia, according to this page. Dominion Harbor receives the lion’s share of patents from the Microsoft-connected Intellectual Ventures. Guess where the other founder came from; he was “Licensing Program lead at Intellectual Ventures.”

EPO Insiders Correct the Record of Benoît Battistelli’s Tyranny and Abuse of Law: “Legal Harassment and Retaliation”

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 12:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli himself broke the law, discrediting any notion that EPO complements patent law

Faces of cards

Summary: Battistelli’s record, as per EPO-FLIER 37, is a lot worse than the Office cares to tell stakeholders, who are already complaining about decline in patent quality

YESTERDAY afternoon the EPO published its latest nonsense (warning: epo.org link). “EPO publishes Quality Report 2017,” the headline said. That’s like North Korea releasing its “democracy” report. Remember that the EPO now has something called the “Working Party for Quality” [1, 2] because the Office has been reduced to just lying (left right and centre) before crooked Battistelli leaves the helm.

The timing of this publication might not be a coincidence considering last week’s letter and resultant press coverage (bemoaning patent quality). Staff generally agrees with concerned stakeholders thar patent quality has sunk. Alas, as usual, the EPO is just taking the piss and is nowadays ‘googlebombing’ the word “quality” with the sole intention of lying, lying, and lying. In the face of facts all they can do is lie. Repeatedly. A lot.

“The EPO has published the second edition of its dedicated Quality Report,” it wrote in Twitter. “Compared with the 2016 edition, the report provides more extensive information on existing and new measures to deliver high-quality products and services.”

They conflate stuff like “timeliness” (i.e. how quickly they recklessly grant or reject) with “quality”. In many ways, quick grants (permitting less time for public input) are likely of a lower quality, but never let “nasty” facts get in the way of “good” propaganda. In the EPO’s own words (same as in Twitter):

The EPO has today published the second edition of its dedicated Quality Report. Compared with the 2016 edition, the report provides more extensive information and details on existing and new measures to deliver high-quality products and services.

Are there really “high-quality products and services”? Not according to stakeholders. What does staff say? Look no further than EPO-FLIER 37, which is new and we have decided to reproduce below. It serves to show how detached the EPO really is from the Rule of Law. It even attacks judges.


EPO FLIER No. 37

The EPO-FLIER wants to provide staff with uncensored, independent information at times of social conflict

Battistelli’s record: legal harassment and retaliation

12 June 2018

The EPO’s current president, Mr Battistelli will long be remembered for riding roughshod over staff’s rights and for his acts of revenge against anyone who tried to stop him. Simultaneously acting as accuser, prosecutor and judge, he could count on the zealous assistance of PD-HR Elodie Bergot. His brutal management methods have transformed a former model international civil service organisation into an Orwellian dystopia.

Interference with the internal appeals system

In 2014, the workload of one of the members of the Internal Appeals Committee (IAC)1 had (been) increased to a point where there was not enough time to fulfill his duties as an IAC member. These duties include “completing opinions or dissenting opinions following the hearings and sessions within the deadlines provided.”2 The member, who had been nominated by the Central Staff Committee (CSC), informed the IAC chairman that he was not able to attend a number of oral hearings because his workload was too heavy, including a significant backlog of dissenting/minority opinions2. VP4 and VP5 then publicly accused the CSC’s nominees and claimed that they would “not duly support the procedure”3. The CSC nominees subsequently resigned from the IAC. PD-HR suspended the (former) member who had suffered from his heavy backlog and threatened another one with a disciplinary measure3. The staff made its voice heard through five demonstrations within a single month. They claimed respect for the rule of law and freedom of association.

The IAC continued in a three-member composition – without members nominated by the CSC. Probably not a coincidence: the overall success rate for internal appeals dropped from 25% in 2013 to 11% in 2014 (see table).

In 2015, Mr Battistelli nominated two staff representatives to the IAC who had volunteered for the job upon his request. While the IAC then acted again in a five-member composition, the overall success rate dropped further to 2%.

The three-member composition and the five-member composition with volunteers were both successfully appealed3,4. In ILO Judgments No. 3694 and 3785 the Tribunal found that the composition was not balanced and sent the cases back to the EPO so that they could be examined by an IAC “composed in accordance with the applicable rules”5.

The non-functioning of the IAC left visible traces in the appeal statistics:

2013

2014

2015

IAC opinions

25%3

11% (20/175)1

2% (4/194)6

Final decisions

10% (14/141)2

2% (18/139)6

1% (2/243)6

Table: Development of the success rate of internal appeals (allowed or allowed in part): opinions of the IAC and final decisions taken by the president (the number of cases are indicated in brackets).

The president’s decisions on internal appeals

The final success rate, i.e. after decision by the president, dropped from 10% in 2013 over 2% in 2014 to a miserable 1% (!) in 2015. The EPO’s Board of Auditors commented the 2015 numbers with the following words: “The number of cases in which the Appeals Committee opinion and the final decision of the President differed was lower than last year.”6 What they did not say was that the IAC had left only a few occasions where Mr Battistelli could deviate from their recommendation, unless he wanted to reverse some of the IAC’s negative opinions to demonstrate his ‘immeasurable goodwill’ towards his staff.

Investigations, suspensions and disciplinary proceedings

In December 2014, President Battistelli suspended a Boards of Appeal (DG3) member and imposed a house ban on him. During the preceding secretive investigation, the Office had made use of cameras and keylogging in a semi-public area, and the investigative unit had consultated the data protection officer retroactively to have their covert surveillance action authorised8. In 2015 and 2016 the president and the Administrative Council (AC) made three attempts9, all spectacularly unsuccessful, to have the board member removed from office.10 They retroactively changed the regulations so that the DG3 member could be suspended for longer. During the disciplinary proceedings, the president refused the accused the right to hear witnesses10 – demonstrating a terrifying disregard for legal process in what is in effect an organisation set up to implement a set of laws. In December 2017, through Judgments No. 3958 and 3960 the Tribunal quashed the suspension, and observed – in highly critical tones for the ILO – that the president had a major conflict of interest so that he should not have been involved in the matter.

2015 saw public demonstrations of Munich staff, organised by the staff union SUEPO, in an almost monthly rhythm. In November 2015 president Battistelli suspended three staff representatives (committee members of SUEPO Munich) and imposed a house ban. A few days later, two officials of SUEPO The Hague were summoned to make statements before the EPO’s Investigation Unit, sent by the president. The Register noted that “it was the mass protest that appears to have been the spark that lead the heavy legal response from the EPO.”11

In January 2016, after disciplinary proceedings based on secretive investigations, President Battistelli fired two of the suspended Munich staff representatives and downgraded the third12.

Various newspapers and TV programmes13 became aware of the situation and reported on the continued staff protests and the machinations at the EPO. In a letter14 to the AC, the Dutch Institute of Patent Attorneys criticised Mr Battistelli for his “intolerant and destructive people management style” and expressed that they “sincerely believe that the current situation at the EPO has spun out of control by the actions of its President.” They urged the Administrative Council “to stop the President of the EPO from continuing these unproductive and destructive practices.”

In March 2016, the AC passed a resolution15 instructing the president “to ensure that disciplinary sanctions and proceedings are not only fair but also seen to be so” and “before further decisions in disciplinary cases are taken, to […] make proposals that enhance confidence in fair and reasonable proceedings and sanctions”.

But in November 2016, despite the Council resolution and all other protests, President Battistelli fired another staff union representative, this time an official of SUEPO The Hague.16,17

In a letter18 to the Netherlands Parliament, Dutch foreign minister Bert Koenders claimed that the social situation at the EPO would have to improve soon and the disciplinary measures taken against staff union officials should be reconsidered.19

What comes next?

The ILO-AT has the final say. It held its 126th Session from 23 April to 18 May 2018. The Tribunal’s judgments on several prominent cases will be delivered in public on 26 June 2018 at 3 p.m.

The pattern of institutional harassment and retaliation against staff union officials cannot have escaped the judges’ attention.

But the last batch of ILO judgements caused more than a few raised eyebrows as they seemed, if not to condone the aggressive actions of the EPO management, at least to avoid expressing any strong criticism, let alone providing anything that would resemble any meaningful relief to the appellants. Hopefully this was just a “blip” and more measured decisions will be handed down in the 126th Session.
_____

1 The IAC is composed of five members, the chair and two members being nominated by the president, and the remaining two members being nominated by the CSC

2 ILO Judgment No. 3971 (see eg considerations 12 and 16)

3 Non-functioning of the Internal Appeals Committee – the story behind Communiqué 12/16 (SUEPO Munich, 06.12.2016); in a Communiqué of 30.09.2014, VP4 and VP5 said that “CSC appointees are putting artificial hurdles to the daily functioning of the IAC, e.g. providing minority views by documents redoing the opinion, thus duplicating the work already done.

5 These judgments forced the EPO to reform its internal justice system. This was done through CA/D 7/17 which stipulates that the IAC shall be chaired by external judges or lawyers. But the current system still contains some significant flaws; see eg EPO-FLIER No. 31 Reform marathon continues, 27.06.2017 (www.epostaff4rights.org)

6 Reports of the Board of Auditors of the European Patent Organisation on the 2015 and 2016 accounting periods (CA/20/16; CA/20/17)

7 Report on the European Patent Office’s review and internal appeal procedures (CA/21/15)

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts