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02.24.17

Links 24/2/2017: Ubuntu 17.04 Beta, OpenBSD Foundation Nets $573,000 in Donations

Posted in News Roundup at 12:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Rolling Out New Ignition + TurboFan V8 Compiler Architecture

    The JavaScript engine performance wars are not over with Google preparing to make some significant changes to their V8 JavaScript engine used by Chrome and friends.

    The V8 JavaScript engine will be switching to a new compiler architecture following their 5.8 branching. Their current compiler architecture of FullCodeGen + Crankshaft as their optimizing compiler will be replaced by the Ignition interpreter and a new optimizing compiler called TurboFan.

  • Using Open Source Software to Speed Development and Gain Business Advantage

    Last week, we started by defining “Open Source” in common terms — the first step for any organization that wants to realize, and optimize, the advantages of using open source software (OSS) in their products or services. In the next few articles, we will provide more details about each of the ways OSS adds up to a business advantage for organizations that use and contribute to open source. First, we’ll discuss why many organizations use OSS to speed up the delivery of software and hardware solutions.

  • Tying together the many open source projects in networking

    There are a lot of pieces to the ongoing network transformation going up and down the stack. There’s the shift away from proprietary hardware. There’s the to need to manage complex network configurations. Add subscriber management and a wide range of other necessary functions. Add customer-facing services. All of those pieces need to fit together, integrate with each other, and interoperate.

    This was the topic of my conversation with Heather Kirksey, who heads up the Open Platform for Network Functions Virtualization (OPNFV) project when we caught up at the Open Source Leadership Summit in mid-February. OPNFV is a Linux Foundation Collaborative Project which focuses on the system integration effort needed to tie together the many other open source projects in this space, such as OpenDaylight.

    As Heather puts it: “Telecom operators are looking to rethink, reimagine, and transform their networks from things being built on proprietary boxes to dynamic cloud applications with a lot more being in software. [This lets them] provision services more quickly, allocate bandwidth more dynamically, and scale out and scale in more effectively.”

  • Your future boss? An employee-interrogating bot – it’s an open-source gift from Dropbox

    Dropbox has released the code for the chatbot it uses to question employees about interactions with corporate systems, in the hope that it can help other organizations automate security processes and improve employee awareness of security concerns.

    “One of the hardest, most time-consuming parts of security monitoring is manually reaching out to employees to confirm their actions,” said Alex Bertsch, formerly a Dropbox intern and now a teaching assistant at Brown University, in a blog post. “Despite already spending a significant amount of time on reach-outs, there were still alerts that we didn’t have time to follow up on.”

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Master the Open Cloud with Free, Community-Driven Guides

      One of the common criticisms of open source in general, especially when it comes to open cloud platforms such as OpenStack and ownCloud, is lack of truly top-notch documentation and training resources. The criticism is partly deserved, but there are some free documentation resources that benefit from lots of contributors.

      Community documentation and training contributors really can make a difference. In fact, in a recent interview, ClusterHQ’s Mohit Bhatnagar said: “Documentation is a classic example of where crowdsourcing wins. You just can’t beat the enthusiasm of hobbyist developers fixing a set of documentation resources because they are passionate about the topic.”

    • OpenStack Ocata Nova Cells Set to Improve Cloud Scalability

      Among the biggest things to land in the OpenStack Ocata cloud platform release this week is the Cells v2 code, which will help enable more scale and manageability in the core Nova compute project.

      Nova is one of the two original projects (along with Swift storage) that helped launch OpenStack in June 2010. The original Nova code, which was written by NASA, enables the management of virtualized server resources.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Which is the best programming language for beginners?

      What is the best language for a budding programmer to get their start with? There are probably as many opinions about which language is best for beginners as there are languages to choose from. And the options change all of the time. When we asked this question two years ago, Python came out on top as the clear winner. But is it still the best choice today?

    • Top 3 machine learning libraries for Python

      You don’t have to be a data scientist to be fascinated by the world of machine learning, but a few travel guides might help you navigate the vast universe that also includes big data, artificial intelligence, and deep learning, along with a large dose of statistics and analytics. (“Deep learning” and “machine learning” are often used interchangeably, so for a quick terminology primer that might help you understand the difference, read Nvidia’s blog post, What’s the Difference Between Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Deep Learning?)

      In this article, I’ll look at three of the most popular machine learning libraries for Python.

    • Is your AI being handed to you by Google? Try Apache open source – Amazon’s AWS did

      Surprisingly, the MXNet Machine Learning project was this month accepted by the Apache Software Foundation as an open-source project.

      What’s surprising about the announcement isn’t so much that the ASF is accepting this face in the crowd to its ranks – it’s hard to turn around in the software world these days without tripping over ML tools – but rather that MXNet developers, most of whom are from Amazon, believe ASF is relevant.

    • Current Trends in Tools for Large-Scale Machine Learning

      During the past decade, enterprises have begun using machine learning (ML) to collect and analyze large amounts of data to obtain a competitive advantage. Now some are looking to go even deeper – using a subset of machine learning techniques called deep learning (DL), they are seeking to delve into the more esoteric properties hidden in the data. The goal is to create predictive applications for such areas as fraud detection, demand forecasting, click prediction, and other data-intensive analyses.

    • Your IDE won’t change, but YOU will: HELLO! Machine learning

      Machine learning has become a buzzword. A branch of Artificial Intelligence, it adds marketing sparkle to everything from intrusion detection tools to business analytics. What is it, exactly, and how can you code it?

    • Artificial intelligence: Understanding how machines learn

      Learning the inner workings of artificial intelligence is an antidote to these worries. And this knowledge can facilitate both responsible and carefree engagement.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Flint water crisis doctor invited to President Trump’s address to Congress

      U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee had one guest ticket for President Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress, and he’s given it to the Flint pediatrician who helped to expose the Flint water crisis.

      Kildee said in a news release Thursday, Feb. 23, that Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha will be his guest at next week’s joint session.

      Hanna-Attisha played a critical role in the water crisis having been declared a national emergency after her work revealed the percentage of Flint children with elevated blood lead levels doubled after the city changed its water source to the Flint River in April 2014.

      MLive-The Flint Journal could not immediately reach Hanna-Attisha, who last month spoke out against Trump’s executive order that attempted to bar immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries.

    • More Transparency In Medical Product Prices Discussed At Event

      The lack of access to medical products has spread from being a developing country problem to a global one as prices are now too high even for developed country patients and health systems for some medicines. An event at the Graduate Institute Global Public Health Centre yesterday was an opportunity to explore these issues.

  • Security

    • Change all the passwords (again)

      Looks like it is time to change all the passwords again. There’s a tiny little flaw in a CDN used … everywhere, it seems.

    • Cloudflare’s Cloudbleed is the worst privacy leak in recent Internet history

      Cloudflare revealed today that, for months, all of its protected websites were potentially leaking private information across the Internet. Specifically, Cloudflare’s reverse proxies were dumping uninitialized memory; that is to say, bleeding private data. The issue, termed Cloudbleed by some (but not its discoverer Tavis Ormandy of Google Project Zero), is the greatest privacy leak of 2017 and the year has just started.

      For months, since 2016-09-22 by their own admission, CloudFlare has been leaking private information through Cloudbleed. Basically, random data from random sites (again, it’s worth mentioning that every site that used CloudFlare in the last half year should be considered to having fallen victim to this) would be randomly distributed across the open Internet, and then indefinitely cached along the way.

    • Serious Cloudflare bug exposed a potpourri of secret customer data

      Cloudflare, a service that helps optimize the security and performance of more than 5.5 million websites, warned customers today that a recently fixed software bug exposed a range of sensitive information that could have included passwords and cookies and tokens used to authenticate users.

      A combination of factors made the bug particularly severe. First, the leakage may have been active since September 22, nearly five months before it was discovered, although the greatest period of impact was from February 13 and February 18. Second, some of the highly sensitive data that was leaked was cached by Google and other search engines. The result was that for the entire time the bug was active, hackers had the ability to access the data in real-time by making Web requests to affected websites and to access some of the leaked data later by crafting queries on search engines.

      “The bug was serious because the leaked memory could contain private information and because it had been cached by search engines,” Cloudflare CTO John Graham-Cumming wrote in a blog post published Thursday. “We are disclosing this problem now as we are satisfied that search engine caches have now been cleared of sensitive information. We have also not discovered any evidence of malicious exploits of the bug or other reports of its existence.”

    • Today’s leading causes of DDoS attacks [Ed: The so-called 'Internet of things' (crappy devices with identical passwords) is a mess; programmers to blame, not Linux]

      Of the most recent mega 100Gbps attacks in the last quarter, most of them were directly attributed to the Mirai botnet. The Mirai botnet works by exploiting the weak security on many Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The program finds its victims by constantly scanning the internet for IoT devices, which use factory default or hard-coded usernames and passwords.

    • How to Set Up An SSL Certificate on Your Website [via “Steps To Secure Your Website With An SSL Certificate”]
    • SHA-1 is dead, long live SHA-1!

      Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you heard that some researchers managed to create a SHA-1 collision. The short story as to why this matters is the whole purpose of a hashing algorithm is to make it impossible to generate collisions on purpose. Unfortunately though impossible things are usually also impossible so in reality we just make sure it’s really really hard to generate a collision. Thanks to Moore’s Law, hard things don’t stay hard forever. This is why MD5 had to go live on a farm out in the country, and we’re not allowed to see it anymore … because it’s having too much fun. SHA-1 will get to join it soon.

    • Stop using SHA1 encryption: It’s now completely unsafe, Google proves

      Security researchers have achieved the first real-world collision attack against the SHA-1 hash function, producing two different PDF files with the same SHA-1 signature. This shows that the algorithm’s use for security-sensitive functions should be discontinued as soon as possible.

      SHA-1 (Secure Hash Algorithm 1) dates back to 1995 and has been known to be vulnerable to theoretical attacks since 2005. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology has banned the use of SHA-1 by U.S. federal agencies since 2010, and digital certificate authorities have not been allowed to issue SHA-1-signed certificates since Jan. 1, 2016, although some exemptions have been made.

      However, despite these efforts to phase out the use of SHA-1 in some areas, the algorithm is still fairly widely used to validate credit card transactions, electronic documents, email PGP/GPG signatures, open-source software repositories, backups and software updates.

    • on pgp

      First and foremost I have to pay respect to PGP, it was an important weapon in the first cryptowar. It has helped many whistleblowers and dissidents. It is software with quite interesting history, if all the cryptograms could tell… PGP is also deeply misunderstood, it is a highly successful political tool. It was essential in getting crypto out to the people. In my view PGP is not dead, it’s just old and misunderstood and needs to be retired in honor.

      However the world has changed from the internet happy times of the ’90s, from a passive adversary to many active ones – with cheap commercially available malware as turn-key-solutions, intrusive apps, malware, NSLs, gag orders, etc.

    • SHA1 collision via ASCII art

      Happy SHA1 collision day everybody!

      If you extract the differences between the good.pdf and bad.pdf attached to the paper, you’ll find it all comes down to a small ~128 byte chunk of random-looking binary data that varies between the files.

    • PayThink Knowledge is power in fighting new Android attack bot

      Android users and apps have become a major part of payments and financial services, carrying an increased risk for web crime.

      It is estimated that there are 107.7 million Android Smartphone users in the U.S. who have downloaded more than 65 million apps from the Google App Store, and each one of them represents a smorgasbord of opportunity for hackers to steal user credentials and other information.

    • Red Hat: ‘use after free’ vulnerability found in Linux kernel’s DCCP protocol IPV6 implementation

      Red Hat Product Security has published details of an “important” security vulnerability in the Linux kernel. The IPv6 implementation of the DCCP protocol means that it is possible for a local, unprivileged user to alter kernel memory and escalate their privileges.

      Known as the “use-after-free” flaw, CVE-2017-6074 affects a number of Red Hat products including Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 and Red Hat Openshift Online v2. Mitigating factors include the requirement for a potential attacker to have access to a local account on a machine, and for IPV6 to be enabled, but it is still something that will be of concern to Linux users.

      Describing the vulnerability, Red Hat says: “This flaw allows an attacker with an account on the local system to potentially elevate privileges. This class of flaw is commonly referred to as UAF (Use After Free.) Flaws of this nature are generally exploited by exercising a code path that accesses memory via a pointer that no longer references an in use allocation due to an earlier free() operation. In this specific issue, the flaw exists in the DCCP networking code and can be reached by a malicious actor with sufficient access to initiate a DCCP network connection on any local interface. Successful exploitation may result in crashing of the host kernel, potential execution of code in the context of the host kernel or other escalation of privilege by modifying kernel memory structures.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ecuador President blasts plans to kick out Wikileaks’ Julian Assange as BUTTERING UP USA

      The Australian hacker has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in Knightsbridge, London, for nearly five years in an attempt to avoid being deported to Sweden over allegations of rape and sexual assault, allegations he has denied.

      But the 45-year-old could find himself being booted out should the right-wing candidate Guillermo Lasso, 61, get elected in the country’s presidential election, when the second round of voting takes place on April 2.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Red, rural America acts on climate change – without calling it climate change [Ed: Oil giants spread their religion]

      President Donald Trump has the environmental community understandably concerned. He and members of his Cabinet have questioned the established science of climate change, and his choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has sued the EPA many times and regularly sided with the fossil fuel industry.

      Even if the Trump administration withdraws from all international climate negotiations and reduces the EPA to bare bones, the effects of climate change are happening and will continue to build.

      In response to real threats and public demand, cities across the United States and around the world are taking action to address climate change. We might think this is happening only in large, coastal cities that are threatened by sea-level rise or hurricanes, like Amsterdam or New York.

      Research shows, however, that even in the fly-over red states of the U.S. Great Plains, local leaders in small- to medium-size communities are already grappling with the issue. Although their actions are not always couched in terms of addressing climate change, their strategies can provide insights into how to make progress on climate policy under a Trump administration.

    • Police Begin Making More Arrests At DAPL Protest Camp

      Police in full riot gear began arresting Dakota Access pipeline opponents who remained in a protest camp in North Dakota on Thursday in defiance of orders to leave.

      Most protesters left peacefully Wednesday, when authorities closed the camp on Army Corps of Engineers land in advance of spring flooding, but some refused to go.

      Eighteen National Guardsmen and dozens of law officers entered the camp from two directions shortly before midday Thursday, along with several law enforcement and military vehicles. A helicopter and airplane flew overhead.

    • We Have to Keep Fighting: Water Protectors Vow Continued Resistance to #DAPL as Main Camp Is Evicted

      In North Dakota, the main resistance camp set up by Lakota water protectors fighting the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline has been largely vacated after protesters were ordered to leave the camp on Wednesday. Police arrested around 10 people. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the North Dakota governor had imposed a noon eviction deadline for the hundreds of water protectors still living at the resistance camp. Prayers ceremonies were held on Wednesday, and part of the camp was set on fire before the eviction began. Water protectors say the resistance camp sits on unceded Sioux territory under the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie and that they have a right to remain on their ancestral land. A couple dozen people remain at the camp. The ongoing encampments in North Dakota were the largest gathering of Native Americans in decades. At its peak, more than 10,000 people were at the resistance camp. Earlier this month, construction crews resumed work on the final section of the pipeline, after the Trump administration granted an easement to allow Energy Transfer Partners to drill beneath the Missouri River. We go to Standing Rock to speak with LaDonna Brave Bull Allard and Linda Black Elk.

    • Standing Rock is burning in the snow and departing water protectors grieve DAPL progress

      Wednesday marked a last stand of sorts at Standing Rock, North Dakota, where about 200 to 300 “water protectors” have remained for months to protest completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, which would transport 470,000 barrels of oil a day across four states. The Army Corps of Engineers has ordered that the Oceti Sakowin camp near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation be closed at 2 p.m. local time on Wednesday, citing the potential for spring flooding.

      Like the Indian warrior in the iconic Old West image “The End of the Trail” (a late 1800s sculpture by South Dakota artist James Earle Fraser) who slumps over his horse’s back, weary after a long and difficult battle, those left at Standing Rock remained, prayed and burned the teepees that had housed so many over the past 10 months. They also burned wooden structures central to the camp’s function, so that government engineers could not touch what they made and found sacred. The smoke that rose to the heavens was symbolic, as were the prayers: This was a ceremony of leaving.

  • Finance

    • In Latest Twist To The Global Trade Deal Saga, EU Now Looking To Fill The Gap Left By US In Exiting TPP

      Remember the good old days, when trade deals were so boring nobody even cared they were happening? That started to change with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, (ACTA), where the copyright industries rather foolishly tried to slip in some proposals that would have had big impacts on the online world. As Techdirt reported at the time, that led to an unprecedented awareness of, and resistance to, ACTA that ultimately caused its defeat in the European Parliament.

      After that, things were never the same again in the world of trade deals, because digital activists were now on the lookout for the bad stuff hidden in the stultifyingly dull language. They soon found it in TPP, which people realized was basically “Son of ACTA,” but worse. Then came TAFTA/TTIP, which publicly dropped its ACTA-like elements in a desperate attempt to stave off criticisms and mass protests. That didn’t work, of course; TTIP soon ground to a halt, and remains in limbo. Even though TPP was eventually concluded after years of delays, it was derailed by the election of Donald Trump as US President, who promptly withdrew from the deal. But if you thought things had finally quieted down for a while — TISA too has dropped off the radar recently — think again.

    • How Much Does it Cost to Run a Full Bitcoin Node?

      Bitcoin nodes commonly use 200 gigabytes upload or more a month and download around 20 gigabytes per month.

    • Did You #DeleteUber? Your Account Lives On

      As social media erupted with outrage over a sexism scandal at the app-based ride service Uber over the weekend, consumers in Seattle and around the country vowed to “delete the app” in protest.

      But unless people followed that up with a tweet or Facebook post — or entirely deleted their account with the company — the message might not have been received.

      “A developer is not notified when an application is deleted,” said Morgan Reed, executive director of The App Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association that represents more than 5,000 app and information-technology companies.

      “They may notice a decrease in information flowing from an app or reconnecting to their services,” he said. “All it knows is that your application is dormant.”

      That’s due to privacy concerns, and practical considerations that take into account multiple devices, new devices and user error, Reed said.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Study reveals bot-on-bot editing wars raging on Wikipedia’s pages

      For many it is no more than the first port of call when a niggling question raises its head. Found on its pages are answers to mysteries from the fate of male anglerfish, the joys of dorodango, and the improbable death of Aeschylus.

      But beneath the surface of Wikipedia lies a murky world of enduring conflict. A new study from computer scientists has found that the online encyclopedia is a battleground where silent wars have raged for years.

      Since Wikipedia launched in 2001, its millions of articles have been ranged over by software robots, or simply “bots”, that are built to mend errors, add links to other pages, and perform other basic housekeeping tasks.

    • Hah, Hah, Hah…They Think Trump Is A Republican

      Trump, who has rarely held a position that he didn’t once hold the other side on, is a crony capitalist ME! ME! ME!-publican and/or a ME! ME! ME!-ocrat, depending on who’s listening and what his whim happens to be at a particular moment.

      Adorably, we’ve got a free-market think tank dude who seems a little confused about this.

    • Protecting Trump Tower cost New York $300,000 every day between November and January

      New York City spent $308,000 (£248,000) every day protecting Donald Trump’s Trump Tower residence between his election and his inauguration.

      Police commissioner James O’Neill said the city spent $24m (£19.3m) to provide security at the skyscraper over the three-month period, and he foresees spending up to $145,000 (£117,000) a day when only First Lady Melania Trump and her son Barron are in town as the 10-year-old attends school.

      “We are seeking full federal reimbursement for all costs incurred related to security for President Trump and his family at Trump Tower,” Freddi Goldstein, a spokeswoman for mayor Bill de Blasio, said.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • NSA Deputy Director: Why I Spent the Last 40 Years In National Security [Ed: Time for NSA hagiography]

      In 1977 I was finishing my sophomore year of college, working two jobs to put myself through school, and thought, “There has to be a better way.” So I enlisted in the U.S. Army as a Signals Intelligence/Electronic Warfare Morse Intercept Operator, which didn’t tell me much but would let me earn money toward college through the GI Bill. My plan was to do my 3 years, get out, and finish college. That plan didn’t work out; I ended up staying in the Army almost eleven years and then transitioned to the National Security Agency as a civilian for 29 more, and am retiring this April after 40 years in the business. I did end up finishing my degree after hours, and went on to get a master’s degree, just not in the way I’d planned. What happened along the way was that I discovered the fulfillment that comes from serving the nation and its allies, working with some of the most amazing people on the planet, on the most challenging problems we face.

    • Social Media Are Driving Americans Insane

      If you pull out your phone to check Twitter while waiting for the light to change, or read e-mails while brushing your teeth, you might be what the American Psychological Association calls a “constant checker.” And chances are, it’s hurting your mental health.

    • How Will the REAL ID Act Impact You?

      There’s already plenty for travelers to consider when flying: strategies for packing light, tricks for dealing with long security lines and sanity savers when seated next to obnoxious passengers. The reality is you must take plenty of precautions for smooth, hassle-free travel, beyond picking the right seat or securing affordable plane tickets. And in case you haven’t heard (or noticed the signage at select U.S. airports), there’s a big new rule coming down the pike on Jan. 22, 2018, when the the REAL ID Act will be enforced and driver’s licenses in nine states will no longer be a valid form of identification at TSA checkpoints. If you live in Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Washington, you’ll need to pack another accepted form of identification to travel domestically.

    • Threat via Whisper prompts FBI to show up: “holy f**k I’m… going to get raided”

      If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it 1,000 times: these so-called “anonymous” messaging apps simply aren’t anonymous. To put it another way, if you’re dumb enough to make violent threats on them, you’ll get caught.

      According to a newly released federal criminal complaint, Garrett Grimsley of Cary, North Carolina, allegedly used the Whisper app to make such remarks on February 19. Hours later, local police and the FBI arrived at his door to search his apartment.

    • That Health Tracker Could Cost You

      Using big data to improve health might seem like a great idea. The way private insurance works, though, it could end up making sick people — or even those perceived as likely to become sick — a lot poorer.

      Suppose a company offers you an insurance discount and a free FitBit if you agree to share your data and submit to a yearly physical. You’re assured that the data will be used only in aggregate, never tied back to specific identities.

      If that makes you feel safe, it shouldn’t. The way machine learning works, data can be used against individuals without being connected directly to names.

    • Wearing an activity tracker gives insurance companies the data they need to discriminate against people like you

      Many insurers offer breaks to people who wear activity trackers that gather data on them; as Cathy “Mathbabe” O’Neil points out, the allegedly “anonymized’ data-collection is trivial to re-identify (so this data might be used against you), and, more broadly, the real business model for this data isn’t improving your health outcomes — it’s dividing the world into high-risk and low-risk people, so insurers can charge people more.

      That means that if your fitbit-a-like shows that left-handed vegetarians like you are at higher risk for expensive medical treatments, then people like you will end up paying higher premiums — and you’ll have helped make that possible.

    • Netherlands Looks To Join The Super-Snooper Club With New Mass Surveillance Law

      The mention of the safeguards of European law is significant. As we reported in December, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) confirmed that general and indiscriminate data retention is illegal in the EU. Assuming the Dutch law is passed as expected, a legal challenge at the CJEU could follow, and would seem to stand a good chance of getting the law struck down in its present form.

    • [NSA (SIGNAL):] Cybersecurity Must Take Front and Center National Attention, Experts Say

      “It must be viewed more broadly and must be tackled from a national security perspective,” Adm. Rogers said during a morning West 2017 conference presentation Thursday with Adm. James Stavridis, USN (Ret.), former NATO commander and dean of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

    • NSA Head: Russian Interference in U.S. Election, ‘Hey, This Happened’ [Ed: NSA does not need evidence, it needs innuendo]

      The head of the National Security Agency reiterated that Russia engaged in cyber actions to influence the result of the U.S. presidential election and said the Moscow-directed interference is changing the way the NSA thinks about U.S. critical infrastructure.

    • German Regulators Urge Parents To Destroy WiFi Connected Doll Over Surveillance Fears

      For a while now, we’ve discussed how your children’s toys are quickly becoming the latest and greatest privacy threat courtesy of cryptic or half-cooked privacy policies and the treatment of device security as an afterthought; rather part and parcel now for the privacy dumpster fire that is the internet of not-so-smart things era. Numerous privacy groups have complained that smart Barbies and other toys not only now hoover up and monetize childrens’ prattle, but leave the door open to the devices’ being used nefariously by third parties.

      The problems culminated in a lawsuit last December here in the States against Genesis Toys, maker of “smart” toys like the My Friend Cayla doll and the i-Que Intelligent Robot. The lawsuit accuses the company of violating COPPA (the Childrens’ Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998) by failing to adequately inform parents that their kids’ conversations and personal data collected by the toys are being shipped off to servers and third-party companies.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Amos Yee allegedly in solitary confinement in the USA for insulting Muslims in jail[Ed: Mentally tortures a teenage asylum seeker (not a crime) for insulting Islam; torture and Sharia law imposed in immigration purposes detention facilities?]

      According to a Facebook post which has since been deleted, teen blogger Amos Yee is currently in solitary confinement for criticising Muslims and Islam during their Muslim Studies in jail; and that he is feeling terrible about it.

      [...]

      “He attended a Muslim Studies class, in order to “disagree”. There was a “Muslim pastor” from outside (not a prisoner) and about 18 Muslim prisoners in attendance. Amos called Allah a “sky wizard”. He said that if the religion is 5,000 years old then it’s “complete fucking garbage”. (He said “fuck” a lot). He said that the Quran has passages instructing the devout to kill non-Muslims; the pastor handed him the Quran and challenged him to show such passages, and when Amos said “Ok, I will”, the pastor took the Quran back.

    • The Responsibility to Leak, and Leaking Responsibly

      I know you’re out there, and this is for you. What you’re weighing, it’s not as easy as you think. But it can matter more than anything else you do with your professional life.

      Washington is awash with leaks; if they were real water we’d all drown. The American people feel they are seeing the inner most workings of government, and it is not pretty. Powerful people are falling. Our democracy may be at risk. President Trump and his team have no intention of watching from the sidelines. There is a struggle going on, and people are taking sides.

    • This Keralite ‘Rape Jihadi’ who spoiled over 30 Hindu girls thinks it’s sin to molest Muslim women.

      Devout Quran follower Muhammad Shafi from Kerala posed as Hindu NRI doctor raped over 30 Hindu women under Love Jihad and job placement racket, but never molested a Muslim woman even.

    • Manipur’s Muslim woman jumps into fray despite ‘fatwa’

      Despite a fatwa being issued against her for contesting election, Manipur’s first Muslim woman candidate Najima Bibi said she wants to continue her fight against domestic violence and work for uplift of Muslim women.

      “I am not bothered about my life, but as long as I live I will continue my fight against domestic violence and in favour of social uplift of the Muslim women in the society. My life has been a struggle since childhood, I am not afraid of any threats,” Najima Bibi told PTI.

    • They won’t admit it in Stockholm, but Donald Trump is right about immigration in Sweden

      I was in Stockholm last Friday, an eyewitness on the great night that nothing happened. Donald Trump gave a speech in Florida the next day, asking his audience to look at what had occurred “last night in Sweden”. Something appalling, apparently, involving asylum seekers. The Swedes “took in large numbers,” he said. And now “they’re having problems like they never thought possible”. But he was wrong: nothing of note had happened that night. His mistake was used by much of the Swedish media (and politicians) to slate him, as if he concocted the whole idea of an immigration problem.

    • Divided federal appeals court rules you have the right to film the police

      A divided federal appeals court is ruling for the First Amendment, saying the public has a right to film the police. But the 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals, in upholding the bulk of a lower court’s decision against an activist who was conducting what he called a “First Amendment audit” outside a Texas police station, noted that this right is not absolute and is not applicable everywhere.

      The facts of the dispute are simple. Phillip Turner was 25 in September 2015 when he decided to go outside the Fort Worth police department to test officers’ knowledge of the right to film the police. While filming, he was arrested for failing to identify himself to the police. Officers handcuffed and briefly held Turner before releasing him without charges. Turner sued, alleging violations of his Fourth Amendment right against unlawful arrest and detention and his First Amendment right of speech.

      The 2-1 decision Thursday by Judge Jacques Wiener is among a slew of rulings on the topic, and it provides fresh legal backing for the so-called YouTube society where people are constantly using their mobile phones to film themselves and the police. The American Civil Liberties Union says, “there is a widespread, continuing pattern of law enforcement officers ordering people to stop taking photographs or video in public places and harassing, detaining and arresting those who fail to comply.”

    • White House Promises ‘Greater Enforcement’ of Federal Marijuana Laws

      The Trump Administration will step up enforcement of federal laws barring recreational marijuana in states where its use is legalized, the White House said Thursday.

      Asked about the conflict between federal laws barring recreational marijuana and the handful of states that allow it, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the Administration would change direction from the more permissive approach under President Obama.

      “I do believe you’ll see greater enforcement of it,” Spicer told reporters Thursday during the White House briefing.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • FCC votes to lift net neutrality transparency rules for smaller internet providers

      The newly Republican-controlled FCC took its first steps to scale back net neutrality today by voting to lift transparency requirements from smaller internet providers.

      Internet providers with fewer than 250,000 subscribers will not be required to disclose information on network performance, fees, and data caps, thanks to this rule change. The commission had initially exempted internet providers with fewer than 100,000 subscribers with the intention of revisiting the issue later to determine whether a higher or lower figure was appropriate.

    • Comcast’s Decision To Charge Roku Users A Bogus Fee Highlights Its Uncanny Ability To Shoot Innovation In The Foot

      So when we last checked in with Comcast, the company was whining about a now deceased FCC plan to bring some much-needed openness and competition to your dusty old cable box. The FCC had proposed requiring that cable providers let users pick the cable box of their choice, later modifying the plan (after endless industry pearl-clutching) to simply requiring that cable providers bring their existing content in app form to existing streaming boxes. Granted, Comcast was at the heart of a massive, bizarre disinformation effort claiming the plan would end civilization as we know it.

      Of course, what it would have ended was not only $21 billion in cable box monopoly rental fees, but a cornerstone of the closed, locked down walled garden that helps prop up the cable industry’s gatekeeper power. Comcast, for what it’s worth, claimed that bringing its content to third-party devices would harm copyright, increase piracy, hinder cable industry “innovation,” and was technically impossible anyway. Regardless, the FCC’s plan is dead, and it’s not coming back any time soon.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Lindsay Lohan Won’t Put Her GTA5 Lawsuit Out Of Its Misery

      Here is something you, the dear Techdirt reader, may not have known about me: I had always thought that there was only one proper spelling for the name “Lindsey.” I’m not sure why I thought that, but I was certain that name was only spelled with an “e” before the “y.” But, it turns out, spelling it as “Lindsay” is a perfectly common and accepted alternate spelling for the name. And the only reason that I now know that is because Linsday, with an “a,” Lohan will not let her lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive — for appropriating her likeness for several characters, which didn’t actually happen — die its final death.

      First, a refresher. Lohan decided that a side quest character in Grand Theft Auto 5, which was actually an amalgam of several Hollywood starlet tropes, violated her publicity rights. She also claimed that an entirely different character that was used on some of the game’s marketing and packaging was also her and also violated her publicity rights. The case wove its way through the past half-decade, largely with the court and Take-Two casting narrow eyes at the mountains of paperwork Lohan’s legal team was able to produce while somehow maintaining an inability to come up with claims that were in any way credible, before the court finally tossed the lawsuit entirely. The court at the time made it clear that Take-Two’s characters weren’t direct appropriations of Lohan’s likeness and that the parody amalgam starlet it had created was clearly protected by the First Amendment.

    • WIPO Committee On Protection Of Folklore: Shall We Dance? [Ed: When people of one nation 'copy' (inspiration) a dance of another it isn't theft but sharing. Who 'owns' folklore? Maximalists help rich privateers.]

      The United States tabled a document for discussion next week, listing a number of what they consider examples of traditional cultural expressions (TCEs). The European Union proposed a study on the protection of TCEs in WIPO members, and if and how TCEs benefit from intellectual property protection in those countries. The United States and the European Union countries are generally opposed to a binding instrument to protect TCEs.

      [...]

      According to WIPO, TCEs may include music, dance, art, designs, names, signs and symbols, performances, ceremonies, architectural forms, handicraft and narratives.

      Next week is the first meeting on TCEs of the biennium. The last formal meeting on TCEs dates back to April 2014, due to a one-year hiatus in the work of the committee and the order in which the topics of the IGC have been addressed in this biennium.

    • Copyrights

      • Google: With No Fair Use, It’s More Difficult to Innovate

        Unlike the United States where ‘fair use’ exemptions are entrenched in law, Australia has only a limited “fair dealing” arrangement. As a result, Google’s head of copyright William Patry says that Australia wouldn’t be a safe place for his company to store certain data, a clear hindrance to innovation and productivity.

IAM, Greased up by the EPO, Continues Lobbying by Shaming Tactics for the UPC, Under the Guise of ‘News’

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nelson Wild

Nelson Wild

Summary: The shrill and well-paid writers of IAM are still at it, promoting the Unitary Patent (UPC) at every opportunity and every turn

“There are 650 MPs,” IAM’s official account wrote. “The one signature in support is Douglas Carswell’s. He tabled the motion 🙂 This looks like it’s going nowhere…”

Actually no. And this isn’t the first time shaming tactics (formally classified as psychological manipulation) are used by IAM to promote the UPC; we covered some examples before.

Notice the smile and remember that IAM was PAID for the pro-UPC propaganda it had done and continues to do. Some of the money came from EPO‘s PR agency, as we showed here before.

The strident Joff Wild is trying to paint UPC sceptics and critics themselves as raucous and disconnected from facts, even when he himself gets the facts wrong. Hypocrisy has no bounds here…

“The strident Joff Wild is trying to paint UPC sceptics and critics themselves as raucous and disconnected from facts, even when he himself gets the facts wrong.”Around the same time IAM also wrote: “UPC movement in Spain? Country’s National Commission for Markets & Competition recommends joining unitary system.” (linking to this page in Spanish)

Bristows LLP and EPOThe problem is, as Benjamin Henrion already pointed out, “CNMC does not promote competition.” Here is some background in English and here is some recent criticism, noting that “it seems clear that for whatever reason the intensity of competition enforcement in Spain has been diminished and that much of the momentum established by the CNC has been lost.”

UPC would harm competition a great deal and profoundly damage small companies, such as those which dominate the Spanish economy (unlike, say, the US economy).

“UPC would harm competition a great deal and profoundly damage small companies, such as those which dominate the Spanish economy (unlike, say, the US economy).”Looking outside the spheres of Team UPC, the EPO, and their propaganda mills (such as IAM), here we have Dr. Luke McDonagh, a London academic, stating: “You know you’ve done your job as an academic when you speak to a journalist for 20 mins & leave him more confused than before!”

McDonagh alludes to Ian Dunt, whom he spoke to. Dunt wrote: “Patents: There is no area of the Brexit debate where it’s harder to get firm opinion on what it entails. It is an unspeakable mess. [] Only solid conclusion I can get to is that Theresa May was deeply unwise to make such a firm promise on the ECJ. But then we knew that.”

“We can expect Team UPC, the EPO, and their official sites (including unofficial and peripheral fake news sites) to continue to tell us all that the UPC is unstoppable, inevitable and so on.”As we noted here before, McDonagh is one among several academics who point out the obvious — that UPC is untenable in post-Brexit Britain. “I will be speaking at the UK European Law Association at KCL on 13th March 18:00,” he wrote separately, “on #Brexit and the #UPC http://www.ukael.org/ #patents”

We can expect Team UPC, the EPO, and their official sites (including unofficial and peripheral fake news sites) to continue to tell us all that the UPC is unstoppable, inevitable and so on. People out there have already learned to recognise which sites or blogs are an extension or a megaphone of Team UPC (some even got co-opted). They have been doing that for many years. It’s their lobbying strategy, as Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna too recently noted.

Patent Scope Gone Awry: European Vegetable Patents Office?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patenting life, too

Basket of vegetables

Summary: In its misguided race to raise so-called ‘production’, the EPO lost sight of its original goals and now facilitates patent royalty payments/taxation for naturally-recurring items of nature

OUR original criticism of the EPO was limited to unrestrained expansion of patent scope, or patent maximalism which we first noticed about a decade ago. The Office was expanding the scope of patents to software in clear defiance of orders from European authorities (not to mention public will). This attracted protests not just from software professionals but later, in the context of patents on life, also from farmers. There are some famous protests with inflatable pigs that we covered here nearly a decade ago (dozens of photos in this site).

“EPs (European patents) are becoming anything but a valuable ‘asset’ and growingly the subject of public disdain in the countryside, not to mention the subject of ridicule in the press (like these ridiculous Apple patents which are found invalid).”The European Council, according to this new report, is at it again, criticising the EPO not for the social climate (to put it politely) but for patent scope. The latter parts of the article make it clear that this is about the EPO granting broccoli/tomatoes monopolies. To quote:

The notice discussed in the meeting came in response to EPO decisions on the patentability of plant material obtained through conventional breeding methods.

The EPO’s decisions, in March 2015 on the Broccoli/Tomatoes II cases (G2/13; G2/12), said that products derived from an essentially biological process might be patentable, even if the process used to obtain the product is essentially biological and thus not patentable.

With 0% approval rating not only from staff but also from stakeholders, it has become rather clear that change is imperative. It’s never too late! EPs (European patents) are becoming anything but a valuable ‘asset’ and growingly the subject of public disdain in the countryside, not to mention the subject of ridicule in the press (like these ridiculous Apple patents which were found invalid).

Yes, There is Definitely Brain Drain (Experience Deficit) at the European Patent Office and Stakeholders Feel It

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SUEPO is vindicated, again

Els Hardon

Summary: The direction that the European Patent Office has taken under Battistelli undoes many decades (almost half a century) of reputation-building and progress and naturally this repels existing staff, not to mention hampers recruitment efforts

THE stories we have published about the EPO are approaching 2,000 in number and we spent thousands of hours on these. One reader told us the other day that these stories are having an impact. To quote:

Knowing that the management reads your blog, I suggest to disseminate some information that may accelerate the deliverance process. For instance, this information: I have recently observed in the Isar headquarters of the epo in Munich a remarkable change in the atmosphere, a kind of feeling you may have when the war is nearly at end, or at the end of a reign. The minions are preparing the departure of Sun king Bat (sounds pretty north-Korean!). Of course they are younger than the capo and may want to stay after his departure to further milk the cow. All they need is a “Persilschein” – denazification certificate- to show that they were on the proper side in spite of the situation. In our digital era this is no longer a problem: all “classified” /compromising documents circulating in the office (and there are many!!!!) are instantly photographed and sent to the “cloud”. Thank you google for your google disk and thank you to all companies producing these amazing smart-phones. I guess that after the departure of the capo, the rain coming from the cloud is likely to be a storm of …. Sun King Bat will then appreciate the difference between immunity and impunity.

Can anyone relate to the above? Either way, yes, we do have a lot of documents coming. They’re in the pipeline, just waiting for the right timing (and relevance) to come out. This assures accountability, even if belated accountability.

The other day we found ourselves criticised in an anonymous comment at IP Kat. Someone claimed that no brain drain was going on, refuting what many insiders have said anonymously (in public) and told us directly. Brain drain is not just about retirements but about many early retirements, not counting a lot of unjust dismissals of veteran (experienced and valuable) staff. Here is what the comment said:

@Rasputini @Techrights
I see my comment has attracted the attention of Dr Roy from Techrights.
The hundred examiners leaving is not a sign of brain drain nor has it anything to do with the current management.
It is simply a result of an aging population and the recruitment policies 30 years ago.
I’ll try to explain so that even Dr Roy can follow, should he have a mind willing to understand:
1) we have about 4200 examiners
2) examiners start on average when they are about 30 years old at the EPO
3) the average (pre-) retirement age is currently about 60 years old
4) on average examiners therefore work during 30 years at the EPO
5) on average, 4200/30=140 examiners will therefore retire per year
The 100 current retirements is lower than average since 30 years ago we recruited less. The number will even drop a bit in the next 5 years, then rise up to 200-250.
No magic, no brain drain, no terror management driving people away. Just demography.
And with 200-250 yearly retirements in the near future, no risk of overcapacity at all, quite the contrary I’m afraid.

It didn’t take long for people to refute the above, for example with the following comment:

30 years ago, the EPO had less than 2000 employees, some of them having been there since the time of the IIB. Normally 1 out of 30 or 40 would reach the retirement age which sums up to a natural turnover lower than 67 per year, all staff included. The actual number of staff leaving is more than twice this number. Statistically speaking, a brain drain at the EPO cannot be denied.

Dismantling an argument that suggested we were wrong about brain drain, “anxious attorney” wrote:

Moreover the EPO started with accepting only new examiners from national offices. So elder people. A few years after the start of the EPO also patent attorneys up to 40 years old could apply for a job at the EPO. Many of them older people. More years later also relatively young people finishing their studies at a university could apply. However preferred were people with some years of technical or research experience, so also older ones. Anonymus (1)here above made a very rough calculation, missing a lot of important factors. Anonymes(2) made a better analyses.

Denying that there is EPO brain drain seems rather strange to us as it is so obvious for insiders to see. It has gone on for more than a year and internal numbers (which were privately shared with us) confirm it as an undeniable fact. We did not publish names of people, mostly for privacy reasons (they’re not high-profile public figures).

The problem is now further exacerbated as Battistelli’s management receives a 0% approval rating not only from staff but also from stakeholders. The following comment is a remark about what it means for “national offices” (NPOs) and what this may, in turn, mean for EPO pensions:

A happy almost ex-examiner-to-be:
After much trouble and pain actually trying to do my work, I’ve at last seen the light. I am now able to see the convincing arguments of the applicant. All of them. Thank you Mr french. I can work 4 times faster now and everyone is happy. My cupboards are almost empty but I can start dealing with patents from other technical areas. “Flexibility is much appreciated”, I was told. They are right: I go even faster now that I search & examine medicaments, locks, reactors, filters, telephones, glassware, cosmetics, oled tv. I am such an expert in all these fields: I immediately spot the convincing arguments. I was given last week a larger container for my stamp ink. What I have problem to understand is why they keep asking for patents from us. Oops. They stopped? They now apply directly to national offices? Who could have guessed? What I am going to do now? Who is going to pay my pension? What pension? What EPO? Thank you Mr french. Thank you.

What happens at the EPO, due to the above “Mr french” (Battistelli), can only be described as a disaster, although that word might be an understatement. Board 28 already called it a "crisis" one year ago and has since then done absolutely nothing to correct it. It is therefore, in a sense, complicit. As one person put it yesterday in Twitter, “The complicity is of all member states who see, know and don’t act.”

“No interest by media in other nations,” the person wrote in relation to EU IPO too, “what a shame.” In our view, large media organisations too have been somewhat complicit, even if by intentional inaction (turning a blind eye).

02.23.17

The Sickness of the EPO – Part IV: Cruel Management That Deliberately Attacks the Sick and the Weak

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Haar mentality

YOU CAN'T HAVE ILL STAFF IF YOU CONTROL THE DOCTORS and punish for absence

Summary: The dysphoric reality at the European Patent Office, which is becoming like a large cell (with bolted-down windows) where people are controlled by fear and scapegoats are selected to perpetuate this atmosphere of terror and maintain demand (or workload) for the Investigative Stasi [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]

It’s becoming very hard not to be (or at least feel) sick at the EPO. Sick of Battistelli; Sick of his goons like those blindly loyal deputies and the overzealous Investigative Stasi; Sick of his many scandals and the fact that he miraculously remains in charge after all that*. Sickness has, for many people (a growing number of them) at the Office, become a ‘way of life’. They feel utterly sick coming to work at the EPO, but they must hide it or simply decide to end their EPO careers for good. Issue pertaining to health of workers will occupy a lot of our time and space in the coming months. We have a lot of material about that. It’s a scarcely explored matter, at least in the public domain (the media rarely mentions it at all). It helps explain at least some of the many suicides. So-called ‘studies’ about health at today’s EPO are a sham, as they are funded by the management of the Office and conducted by people subservient to it. They’re what a classic sceptic would dub “coverup” or “diversion”, or an attempt to cast uncertainty and doubt like oil giants notoriously do. Internal documents, by contrast, explain how sickness leaves got reduced, not because people are any less sick (or less often ill) but because they’re terrified to stay home when they fall ill; they must pretend to be healthy, even when they clearly are not. This kind of phenomenon was explained here before and will be revisited in the future. It’s a deadly combination, akin to lack of sleep (sleep deprivation experiments are well documented in scientific literature), deficiency of exposure to sun/light and so on.

“So-called ‘studies’ about health at today’s EPO are a sham, as they are funded by the management of the Office and conducted by people subservient to it.”Depressed, helpless, hopeless people whom we hear from/speak to are evidently exhausted, both mentally and physically. They project outwards some of the symptoms experienced in overly demanding production lines (my wife used to work in Taiwan where this was common). It’s incredible that outsiders were never allowed to properly study (and also publish) data on it, but as we shall show at a later point, the Office is actually aware of this issue (e.g. an epidemic of upper limb disorder, which spectacularly enough inflicts nearly half of all the staff!). And that’s putting aside esteem issues, high stress levels that are associated with coronary problems, problems with family/marriage etc.

Leaked to us this week was the following important document, “Mandate for Working Group on the improvement of working conditions and well being” or, as our source titled it, a “quick guide on how to make sick staff sicker”.

Have a look (click to zoom):

Making staff sick
Large-sized version

This is just a draft paper about invalidity. It was “produced some 5 years ago in a brainstorming meeting,” our source told us. Elaborating on what is shown or the context, our source expanded as follows:

Generally, there is one other point you are well aware of but I would like to emphasise: The unfairness and inequality of a “legal” system. Each time the office launches a bullying action, in particular against sick staff, invalids among others, they hit the persons who are in the weakest position to defend themselves. The internal “rules”, the ILOAT imposes legal notices that are acrobatic for most persons in good physical condition, but unbearable for sick or invalid staff. You may spend, hours, days or months in addition to fairte [sic] amounts of money for your lawyer but the office hires the most expensive ones and have troops of jurist to defend themselves. Therefore no chance there.

Invalids are let alone in the dark with the management shooting on persons without defense. These guys are at war and use warriors’ techniques to defeat what they consider their enemy. Invalids are their easiest and weakest prey.

Last but not least, I have developed a strategy to try to get rid of the nefarious clique. I utterly respect all those who try to enforce their rights by claiming them in front of tribunals. This may or may not work in democracies, but at least there is a chance that you get a favourable judgment, if you can afford it. SUEPO has tried many actions in front of many tribunals without an inch of success. SUEPO officials are also profoundly pacifists, which I admire, but sounds pretty naive to me.

In part 5 (there are plenty more parts to come) we intend to share some more information on what should, in my humble opinion, be approached from a criminal angle. How many people need to be systematically bullied and sometimes be driven to their death before the psychopath in chief loses his immunity and gets put — himself — before a tribunal, maybe somewhere like The Hague where he so happily and flagrantly shows off his immunity?
_____
* The parallel realities of Battistelli were described in a comment 3 days ago as follows (we see/hear these lies repeated occasionally, even as recently as days ago by an official in Bavaria):

Neutral persons should confirm that Battistelli´s decisions are right (or not).

Mr.Battistelli tells the world outside the EPO that everything is going well inside the EPO. Quality and production are top. Only a few troublemakers are against him and his reorganisations. Most of the EPO personel and one of the unions accept or even love him and his decisions. His decisions are all right and not in conflict with any law he said. No decision of him is against human rights. His values are democracy, freedom, as well as respect for the rule of law and the dignity of each and every person.

When this is true, why does he not accept that independent persons analyse the situation in the EPO and confirm that he, Battistelli, is right and doing everything well. Then the ¨troublemakers¨ have to stop. Or is there something he has to hide?.

Links 23/2/2017: Qt 5.9 Alpha, First SHA1 Collision

Posted in News Roundup at 6:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • US Business, Government Work To Bring Down ‘Dangerous’ UN Panel Report On Access To Medicines – And Change The Debate In Geneva

      Calling it flawed and narrow and seemingly threatened by its contents, the leading United States business group and US government IP specialists are working to limit the impact of a recent United Nations report that made recommendations for the decades-old problem of ensuring affordable medicines reach people when they are under patent in a way that does not threaten innovation. One step in countering the UN report? Change the discourse in Geneva and elsewhere.

      [...]

      The IP Attaché program places US diplomats in many offices around the world “to advocate US positions on intellectual property matters for the benefit of US stakeholders,” as stated in a program brochure. They not only raise issues with foreign governments and provide training and raise public awareness, but they also help US stakeholders doing business in foreign markets. The main focus is foreign laws, foreign courts, and IP enforcement.

    • German-Backed Report Lays Out Strategy For R&D Into New Antibiotics

      In the face of the lack of attractiveness of investing in research for new antibiotics for the pharmaceutical industry, and the general lack of funding for research and development for novel antibiotics, a new report commissioned by the German Federal Ministry of Health calls for countries to take action. In particular, the report proposes a global union for research and development, a global research fund, and a global launch reward. And access and pricing are key components of the strategy, it says.

      The report [pdf] titled, “Breaking through the Wall – A Call for Concerted Action on Antibiotics Research and Development,” was written by the Boston Consulting Group for the German Federal Ministry of Health.

    • Side Event On UN High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines Next Week At WTO

      As the World Trade Organization intellectual property committee meeting next week is expected to discuss the report of the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines next week, a group of developing countries is convening a side event to engage in discussion with members of the panel. The report included several direct recommendations to WTO members.

      The side event [pdf], organised by Bangladesh, Brazil, India, South Africa, the Secretariat of the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, and the South Centre, is scheduled to take place on 1 March.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Terrorism Denial on the Left

      At the end of last year I attended a large conference of social science academics and researchers in Melbourne. Speaking on a plenary panel in front of hundreds of attendees was the director of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, Australia’s primary refugee advocacy organisation. He opened the plenary by describing the Australian government’s treatment of asylum seekers, decrying the cruelty of Australia’s policy of offshore detention toward refugees, and the need for a more humane approach. He pointed out that funding for refugee services had been cut by a seemingly callous government that was indifferent to the plight of refugees. These are all legitimate — if familiar — points in the debate about this topic. However he then went on to say that all of this was happening whilst we spent billions of dollars on a “fictitious war against terror”.

    • What’s With The Assumption That Criticism Equals Hate?

      Take the term “Islamophobia.” It is anything but phobic to fear that pernicious Islamic ideology — which calls for the death or conversion of “the infidel” and a world without individual rights — will have negative effects on our society and our lives.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • South Korea presidential candidate calls for ‘WikiLeaks’ operation

      A South Korean presidential candidate known for his left-leaning populist views is proposing a government-run operation similar to WikiLeaks, the international organization that publishes classified information on its website.

      Lee Jae-myung, the mayor of Seongnam and a politician with the liberal Minjoo Party of Korea, appeared to be suggesting a new policy, South Korean news service Money Today reported.

      Lee, 52, said South Korean government staffers who leak information to the press should be protected before they are fired.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • First national ‘bee map’ charts their decline – but hopes to stem the trend

      Scientists have compiled a map detailing wild bee activity across the US, but the picture it paints isn’t great.

      It’s no secret that bees are struggling to stay aloft. The precise reasons are up for debate, but many experts agree that a perfect storm of pressures from pesticide use, the rise of monocrop agriculture, declines in natural habitat, and global warming are squeezing many bee populations out of existence.

    • Standing Rock Under Siege: Officials Begin Arresting Protesters

      Law enforcement officials began arresting protestors at the Oceti Sakowin campsite in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, just after 5 p.m. ET on Wednesday, hours after the deadline Gov. Doug Burgum set for the camp to clear contractors can finish the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Protestors vowed to stay as long as any Standing Rock Sioux tribe elders wanted to stay.

      Several activists and media organizations broadcast Facebook Live feeds from a scene that is shaping up to be a bitter end to months-long resistance to the pipeline. As of 6 p.m. ET, thousands of people watched Facebook Live streams that showed protesters braving the snow, sleet and rain to make one last stand against what they see as desecration of the sacred land of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe. While violence appeared minimal, BuzzFeed News reported one man broke his hip while clashing with police on Highway 1806.

    • Police begin arresting, removing last DAPL protesters

      Hundreds of police in riot gear and carrying night sticks arrested several of the final Dakota Access Pipeline protesters remaining on federal land in violation of orders to vacate by the governor. Protesters consider the land to be indigenous property, Standing Rock, under treaty.

    • Last Remnants of Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Camp Are Engulfed in Flames

      Some of the last remnants of the Dakota Access pipeline protest camp went up in flames Wednesday as opponents of the project set fire to makeshift wooden housing as part of a leaving ceremony ahead of a government deadline to get off the federal land.

      The camp has been home to demonstrators for six months as they tried to thwart construction of the pipeline. Many of the protesters planned to go peacefully, but authorities were prepared to arrest others who said they would defy the deadline in a final show of dissent.

      About 150 people marched arm-in-arm out of the camp, singing and playing drums as they walked down a highway. It was not clear where they were headed. One man carried an American flag hung upside-down.

  • Finance

    • New WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Seen Benefiting Developing Nations, Global Trade

      As of 23 February, the following WTO members have accepted the TFA: Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Niger, Belize, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, China, Liechtenstein, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Togo, Thailand, the European Union (on behalf of its 28 member states), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Pakistan, Panama, Guyana, Côte d’Ivoire, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Kenya, Myanmar, Norway, Viet Nam, Brunei Darussalam, Ukraine, Zambia, Lesotho, Georgia, Seychelles, Jamaica, Mali, Cambodia, Paraguay, Turkey, Brazil, Macao China, the United Arab Emirates, Samoa, India, the Russian Federation, Montenegro, Albania, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Madagascar, the Republic of Moldova, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Senegal, Uruguay, Bahrain, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Iceland, Chile, Swaziland, Dominica, Mongolia, Gabon, the Kyrgyz Republic, Canada, Ghana, Mozambique, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines, Nigeria, Nepal, Rwanda, Oman, Chad and Jordan.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Ellison holds edge in DNC race survey

      As Democrats head to Atlanta this weekend to vote on their party’s next chair, the race to lead the Democratic National Committee chair is coming down to its two leading candidates.

      Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.) has the edge over former Labor secretary Tom Perez in The Hill’s new survey of DNC members. But while both men claim they are close to securing commitments from the majority of the 447 voting members, neither candidate is assured victory.

      The Hill has identified the stances of 240 DNC members, either through their private responses to a survey circulated over the past week or from public endorsements.

      Out of those who responded, Ellison leads with 105 supporters to Perez’s 57. The remaining major candidates have less than a dozen supporters each, while more than 50 DNC members remain undecided.

    • More Than 90 Percent of U.S. Opposed to Donald Trump’s Immigration Ban According to AI Research

      The vast majority of Americans are opposed to President Donald Trump’s immigration ban, according to new research that significantly contrasts with traditional polling on the subject.

      Research by BrandsEye, an artificial intelligence data analysis firm, showed that 91 percent of Americans were critical of Trump’s recent executive order on immigration in conversations on social media. The findings highlight the limitations of current opinion polls, according to the firm’s CEO, which generally found opinion to be more evenly divided. A Reuters/Ipsos poll at the end of January found that 49 percent of people agreed with the order, while 41 percent disagreed.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Swedish Library Outlaws Factual Book on Migration, Offers Hitler’s Mein Kampf

      Political correctness gone wrong can yield surprisingly worrying results. A Swedish library has landed in hot water for freely offering Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf to its readership, while stopping books that question Sweden’s established view of immigration. This has evoked troubling hints at censorship in a country that takes pride in its openness.

    • Kenya’s Censorship King: Head Of Film Board Accused Of Overstepping

      Ezekiel Mutua is the head of Kenya’s film board. He’s really just supposed to rate films and other media. But over the past year, he has undertaken a censorship crusade expanding his mandate into the Internet, music and even forcing the cancellation of a lesbian speed-dating event.

    • Skepta fans angered over censorship of Brit Award performance
    • Brit Awards 2017: Skepta Performance Censorship Sparks Social Media Backlash

      Brit Awards viewers were left unimpressed during Wednesday’s (22 February) live show, after Skepta’s performance was heavily censored.

      The grime artist was one of several British stars to take to the stage during this year’s ceremony, performing his song ‘Shutdown’, taken from his Mercury Prize-winning album, ‘Konnichiwa’.

      However, despite the fact that Skepta’s performance was aired after the 9pm watershed, the audio was cut several times throughout his time on stage, due to his repeated use of the word “pussy”.

    • Universities and the Threat of Censorship

      During the last few years, we have witnessed a very worrying period for free-speech within universities. In 2015 alone we witnessed 30 universities banning newspapers, 25 banning songs, 10 banning clubs or societies, and 19 worryingly banning speakers from events. Not only that, we have witnessed various feminists, human-rights advocates and LGBT-Rights defenders indicted as encroachers of acceptable propriety and consequently indicted as ‘unfit for a speaker platform’.

    • Techdirt’s Readers Kept This German Comedian Out Of Prison

      Remember Jan Böhmermann? The guy who caused a major diplomatic spat back in April when he read out a satirical poem about Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the notoriously thin-skinned Turkish president, on a German comedy show?

      Usually, what happens on Central European state-run TV stays on Central European state-run TV. Not this time. “Erdogate” went massively viral: there were protests in the streets of Istanbul. Techdirt covered it at length. Even a guy named John Oliver did a segment on it.

      Now Erdogate’s back in the news, with a number of media outlets reporting that a German court just permanently enjoined Böhmermann from reciting his own poem. Sucks for him, right? Actually, no. Bad as it is, things are usually a hell of a lot worse for people in his position.

    • Another Free Speech Win In Libel Lawsuit Disguised As A Trademark Complaint

      Unless the Supreme Court decides to weigh in on this long-running SLAPP lawsuit (highly unlikely — and unlikely to be appealed to that level), it looks like it’s finally the end of the line for Dr. Edward Tobinick and his quest to silence a critic of his questionable medical practices.

    • Students speak out against censorship

      The recent incident at Guangdong’s Southern Weekly appears to be galvanizing Chinese from diverse backgrounds. Earlier today, we reported how the second open letter voicing support for the newspaper has been signed not just by journalists but by lawyers, academics, artists, writers, students, migrant workers and others.

      This afternoon another open letter surfaced on Chinese social media, this time attributed to students at Guangzhou’s Sun Yat-sen University. The letter, which includes the names of 18 signers identified as students of the university, bears the title: “Today, We Are Not Without Choices: An Independent Call from Sun Yat-sen University Students on the Southern Weekly Incident.”

    • Vice goes inside Syria to show what media censorship really looks like

      Inspired by President Trump, Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer, the press frequently invokes the specter of ominous reality control as exercised by the bad guys in George Orwell’s “1984.”

      No surprise, book sales are through the roof even if many journalists may not have actually read the classic they cite. But, forget Trump: if you want truly odious propaganda in action, which makes Conway look like a Franciscan Sister, check out Bashar al-Assad’s Syria.

      A recent Vice Media dissection of the situation is part of Friday night’s 5th season premiere of Vice’s newsmagazine show on HBO. It’s a two-part episode, featuring “Assad’s Syria,” which is fronted by correspondent Isobel Yeung, and “Cost of Climate Change,” hosted by Vice founder Shane Smith.

      It’s all very strong, especially Yeung’s effort that entailed dangerous reporting throughout Syria. For sure, there has been great reporting in the country. But this goes well beyond much of the sporadic American media accounts, which have tended to focus on the battle over Aleppo and the nation’s unceasing humanitarian disaster resulting from a civil war with atrocities on all sides.

    • Music Industry Wants Piracy Filters, No Takedown Whack-a-Mole

      A group of prominent music groups including the RIAA has asked the Copyright Office to help solve the “broken” and “ineffective” DMCA law. The current takedown provision results in a never-ending game of whack-a-mole, they say, arguing that automated piracy filters are the way forward.

    • Google Report: 99.95 Percent Of DMCA Takedown Notices Are Bot-Generated Bullshit Buckshot

      Google, being the search giant that it is, has been banging the drum for some time about the silly way the DMCA has been abused by those that wield it like a cudgel. Here at Techdirt, we too have described the many ways that the well-intentioned DMCA and the way its implemented by service providers has deviated from its intended purpose. Still, the vast majority of our stories discuss deliberate attempts by human beings to silence critics and competition using the takedown process. Google, on the other hand, has been far more focused on statistics for DMCA takedown notices that show wanton disregard for what it was supposed to be used for entirely. That makes sense of course, as the abuse of the takedown process is a burden on the search company. In that first link, for instance, Google noted that more than half the takedown notices it was receiving in 2009 were mere attempts by one business targeting a competitor, while over a third of the notices contained nothing in the way of a valid copyright dispute.

    • Google: 99.95% of Recent ‘Trusted’ DMCA Notices Were Bogus

      In comments submitted to a U.S. Copyright Office consultation, Google has given the DMCA a vote of support, despite widespread abuse. Noting that the law allows for innovation and agreements with content creators, Google says that 99.95% of URLs it was asked to take down last month didn’t even exist in its search indexes.

    • Why The DMCA’s Notice & Takedown Already Has First Amendment Problems… And RIAA/MPAA Want To Make That Worse

      The Copyright Office’s study concerning Section 512 of the DMCA (the notice-and-takedown/safe harbors part of the law) had its second comment period end this week — which is why you’re seeing stories about how the RIAA is suddenly talking about piracy filters and notice-and-staydown. Via our think tank arm, the Copia Institute we filed our own comments, pointing out the already problematic First Amendment issues with the way the current notice-and-takedown system works. Remember, there’s a very high standard set by the Supreme Court before you can take down expressive content.

    • New MTRCB chief says no to censorship

      Don’t be fooled by the cool and calm demeanor, Rachel Arenas is tough as nails and seems raring to pursue her new job as the chair of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

      At first glance, Arenas, a former representative of Pangasinan, seems more than primed to face the intrigues that come with the territory.

      [...]

      A long-term objective is to “revisit the law” governing the MTRCB. Specifically, she is looking into the different bills that have been filed in Congress, that pertain to the board’s mandate. “Our Technical Working Group is in the process of reviewing the bills and drafting our comments,” she explained.

    • Judge Pauses Enforcement of IMDb Age Censorship Law
    • Judge Pauses Enforcement of IMDb Actor Age Censorship Law
    • Judge blocks California law that allows actors to delete their age from website
    • ‘Rosset: My Life in Publishing and How I Fought Censorship’
    • Censorship and art don’t mix
    • London’s first alt-right art show since Trump’s election to be met with protests
    • Benefactor of controversial LD50 art gallery denies interest or involvement in its activities
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Sen. Wyden Wants Answers From New DHS Head, Introducing Legislation To Create Warrant Requirement For Border Phone Searches

      There aren’t many rights extended to anyone in the “Constitution-free zones” we like to call “borders.” You may have rights 100 miles inland, but the government’s needs and wants outweigh citizens’ and non-citizens’ rights wherever immigration officers roam. According to the Supreme Court, warrants are required for cell phone searches. But neither the Constitution nor Supreme Court rulings apply within 100 miles of the border, where the government’s needs and wants are considered more important than the protections they can avail themselves of everywhere else in the country.

      Senator Ron Wyden is looking to change that. Rather than cede more ground to the rights-swallowing concept of “national security,” Wyden is looking to change the laws governing the “Constitution-free zones.”

    • Federal Bill Introduced To Add A Warrant Requirement To Stingray Deployment

      House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz, along with his Senatorial counterpart Ron Wyden, is tackling something he promised to act on after he was finished excoriating the leaky Office of Personnel Management for ruining the lives of millions of Americans: Stingray devices.

    • Pentagon mulling split of NSA, Cyber Command
    • Peter Thiel’s Palantir allegedly helped NSA spy programme XKeyscore, new Snowden documents reveal
    • Peter Thiel company reportedly helped NSA spy program
    • Palantir has a couple of new software for spy agencies, here are some details
    • New details emerge about Palantir’s custom software for spy agencies
    • NSA denies ‘blanket’ spying on spectators and athletes at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City

      The National Security Agency has denied it indiscriminately spied on spectators, athletes and others who attended the Salt Lake City Olympics in 2002.

      The denial came in a document filed last week in a U.S. District Court in Utah, where a group of Salt Lake City residents filed a complaint in 2015 alleging the U.S. government engaged “in widespread, indiscriminate communications surveillance, interception, and analysis, without warrants and without probable cause” during the Games that took place just months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    • NSA denies spying on everyone in SLC during the 2002 Olympics
    • Coalition Slams DHS Plans To Demand Social Media Passwords

      Starting last summer, we noted that the Department of Homeland Security had quietly tested the waters to expand the information it requested of travelers entering the United States, to “optionally” include social media handles. By December it was officially in place. And then, just days into the new administration, the idea was floated to expand this program even further to demand passwords to social media accounts.

    • Tinder boss predicts AI will find your matches within five years

      Sorry about that. But more and more it seems that developers are looking at ways to use AI to find you that special someone. 420 Friends, which launched this week is a dating app that specialises in finding you that special someone.

    • The Ousting Of Trump’s National Security Advisor Shows Just How Dangerous ‘Lawful’ Domestic Surveillance Is

      Those who thought the domestic surveillance Ed Snowden exposed was perfectly acceptable and lawful are finding it much harder to stomach with Trump in charge. The Lawfare blog, which routinely hosts articles supportive of government surveillance activities, has taken on a new tone over the past few months. The lesson being learned: if a power can only be trusted in certain people’s hands, then it really can’t be trusted in anyone’s. This belated realization is better than none, but one wonders if the drastic change in tone would have followed an election that put Hillary Clinton in the White House.

      That’s not to say the first month of Trump’s presidency has borne any resemblance to a “peaceful transition of power.” The federal government isn’t just leaking. It’s hemorrhaging. Underneath the recent ouster of Mike Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Advisor, is something disturbing.

      What’s disturbing isn’t the surveillance — although in “normal” circumstances it might be. Flynn was dumped because recorded phone calls captured him discussing sanctions with Russian officials. This domestic surveillance isn’t unheard of. The fact that this information — including the content of the calls — was leaked to the public is more notable.

    • When the NSA Feared Psychics Could Make Cities Lost in Time and Space

      A classified government document opens with “an odd sequence of events relating to parapsychology has occurred within the last month” and concluded with an alarming question about psychics nuking cities so that they became lost in time and space. If this sounds like a plot out of science fiction, it is – but it’s also a NSA memo from 1977.

      The first “event” raised by the NSA note is a CIA report which mentioned KGB research into parapsychology. According to this, the KGB used hobbyists and non-governmental researchers to talk to western scientists. This allowed the KGB to collect useful information without putting themselves into a position to accidentally leak confidential information to westerners. According to the NSA note, this tactic yielded “high grade western scientific data.”

    • NSA will continue to disclose zero-day bugs under Trump… for now [Ed: Repeating what the NSA says (stenography) even though it is already, under Obama too, hiding serious flaws and exploits these]
  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Amos Yee blames Donald Trump for his extended incarceration in U.S. jail

      Yee made his first appearance at an immigration court in Chicago on 30 Jan. The blogger claimed that the American authorities backtracked on their promise to release him from the American jail after his first hearing. His next hearing is set for 7 March.

      Yee landed in Chicago O-Hare Airport on 16 Dec with a tourist visa and was detained by the US authorities when they discovered text messages between him and a US-based Singaporean activist, Melissa Chen, about his bid for political asylum in America.

    • PNG Customary landowner: SABL exploits human rights

      Customary landowner Anna Sipona from Malmal Village in west Pomio said the SABL is a strange concept to the people of Pomio that promotes human rights abuse.

      Representing the silent majority in the affected villages in west Pomio, Sipona said the SABL issue is not just about land and logging but about the human rights of women and children.

    • Need for PNG parliament to enact whistle blower legislation

      Justice Ambeng Kandakasi highlighted this recently when handing down a decision on a case involving a “whistle blower” who was sacked by his superiors.

    • Danish man who burned Quran charged with blasphemy

      A man who filmed himself burning the Quran has become the first person to be charged under Denmark’s blasphemy law in 46 years.
      The 42-year-old filmed himself burning a copy of Islam’s holy book in his back yard in December 2015. He then posted the video on the anti-Islamic Facebook group, “Yes to freedom – no to Islam” along with the words, “Consider your neighbour: it stinks when it burns.”

    • Another ‘Terrorist’ Swept Up By The FBI, Which Had To Purchase $20 Of ‘Terrorist’ Supplies To Keep The ‘Plan’ In Motion

      Perhaps no entity generates more fake news than the FBI’s counterterrorism unit. Several times a year, a press release is issued announcing the bust of a so-called terrorist. Almost invariably, the “terrorist” has been handcrafted through the relentless intercession of undercover FBI agents.

      [...]

      Undercover agents began working with/on Hester shortly after this arrest. Seizing on his anti-government social media posts [good lord], the agents told Hester they could put him in touch with someone with direct terrorist connections. This “direct connection” was just another FBI agent. It was the FBI that suggested acquiring weapons. And it was the FBI who chose to take Hester seriously, despite his nonexistent terrorist group (“the Lion Guard”) sporting a name that had been pulled from a cartoon his children watched.

      It was also an FBI agent who suggested that even thinking about planning a terrorist attack was an irrevocable act — and that entertaining second thoughts about committing acts of violence would be rewarded with acts of violence.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Missouri The Latest State To Let Telecom Monopolies Write Awful, Protectionist State Law

      21 states have passed laws hamstringing the rights of local communities when it comes to improving broadband infrastructure. Usually dressed up as breathless concern about the taxpayer — these bills have one purpose: protect the telecom mono/duopoly status quo — and the campaign contributions it represents — from the will of the people. Countless towns and cities have built their own next-generation networks, usually because nobody else would. But these bills, usually ghost written by ISPs for politicians with ALEC’s help, either ban locals from making this decision for themselves, or saddle these operations with enough restrictions to make them untenable.

  • DRM

    • Mashable Says You Shouldn’t Own What You Buy Because You Might Hurt Yourself

      The news site Mashable has apparently decided that you, the general public, are simply too dumb to actually own the stuff you thought you bought because you might just injure yourself. We’ve written about so-called “right to repair” laws and why they’re so important. There are a variety of issues, but the most basic one here is about property rights. If you buy something, it’s supposed to be yours. It doesn’t remain the property of whoever first made it. And they shouldn’t then be able to deny you the ability to tinker with, modify, or repair what you bought. However, Mashable’s Lance Ulanoff (last seen here being completely clueless about the importance of anonymity online because he, personally, never could see a reason why someone might want to speak truth to power without revealing who they are), has decided that because you might be too dumb to properly repair stuff, the entire “right to repair” concept “is a dumb idea.”

      The article can basically be summed up as “I have a friend, and her iPhone wasn’t repaired properly, so no one should be able to repair your iPhone but Apple.” Really.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • China’s Latest Target For Online Crackdown: Live-Streaming Foreigners

        Perhaps the Chinese government feels that it has the domestic population sufficiently under control now that it can move on to tightening up the rules for foreign visitors.

      • 8 things hidden in 400 pages of copyright secrets

        Much of the content, including arguments from key players, is redacted.

      • Former RIAA Executive Attacks Fair Use

        This week has been dubbed fair use week by a whole bunch of organizations (mostly universities and libraries) as a chance to celebrate the usefulness and wonder that is fair use in protecting free speech, enabling creativity and inspiring innovation. As we’ve said many times in the past, fair use is an incredibly important concept — if often misunderstood — so it’s good to see these organizations working together to better educate the public on why fair use is so key.

        However, not everyone is so enthralled with fair use. The MPAA and RIAA are apparently so frightened by fair use that they, and some of its friends, have been posting weirdly uninformed screeds against fair use over the past few days. Some are more silly than others (such as one that tries to claim that the MPAA has never been against fair use, ignoring that the MPAA’s long-time boss Jack Valenti once declared — totally incorrectly — that fair use wasn’t in the law), but let’s focus on the one that comes straight from a former RIAA top exec.

UPC Roundup: War on the Appeal Boards, British Motion Against the UPC, Fröhlinger Recalled, and Fake News About Spain

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 4:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Team UPC still distorts the facts, as if the end justifies the means

UPC Dead

Summary: Taking stock of some of the latest attempts to shove the Unitary Patent (UPC) down Europe’s throat, courtesy of Team Battistelli and Team UPC

THE EPO‘s management is eager to ram the UPC through, having decided to replace the Boards’ location, keep them understaffed and perpetually scared, etc. The management calls it “reform” but it’s actually an overhaul which serves the patent microcosm and large foreign corporations; it would be an enormous, historic disaster. It needs to be stopped, both by EPO insiders (not Team Battistelli) and outsiders.

Decision T 2561/11

An EPO-friendly legal firm wrote the other day (earlier this week) about decision T 2561/11 from the Boards, noting that “the EPO Board of Appeal found an Appeal to be admissible despite certain omissions in the Notice of Appeal. In particular, the Notice of Appeal failed to mention the Appellant’s name and address, and was alleged not to contain a request defining the subject of the Appeal, both requirements of Rule 99 EPC.”

“In the above case, it would be so convenient for the Office to just blame the Boards and punish them for it, as is so common/habitual nowadays.”Since then, as was covered here before, the EPO got even stricter, not when it comes to patent scope but when it comes to signatures etc. It further complicates the process not of patent-granting but merely the bureaucracy. In the above case, it would be so convenient for the Office to just blame the Boards and punish them for it, as is so common/habitual nowadays.

Douglas Carswell in Motion to Bury the UPC in the United Kingdom

Putting aside the war on the Boards — a war long fought by Battistelli — how about the war on British law, or the pretense that Brexit is magically compatible with UPC (it’s not)? Dr. Luke McDonagh, who had repeatedly explained why the UPC is untenable here, said it is “interesting that Carswell seems all on his lonesome in putting this UPC motion forward – what is the Tory position?”

“Remember that Carswell is a longtime Tory (Conservative) politician.”“Be interesting to keep an eye out on this UPC EDM by UKIP’s Douglas Carswell this week,” Max Walters from the Law Society Gazette wrote.

Remember that Carswell is a longtime Tory (Conservative) politician. He is hence pretty mainstream and he comes from a high-profile family of famous doctors of medicine. His defection to UKIP is pretty recent and wasn’t motivated by nationalism, racism and so on (the stereotypes).

“Her Master’s Voice,” Margot Fröhlinger

“Founded doubts regarding a legal UPC with UK after brexit,” wrote another person the other day, “IP system need certainty…”

“Is this the first time that [the EPO's] Mrs. Fröhlinger is not 100% certain in public about UK participating in UPC after Brexit?”

That’s what Christopher Weber wrote before noting that “it’s just an old article preceding the UK’s intent to ratify that I mistook for a later statement. My bad.”

But nothing has technically changed since then. In fact, the person who expressed intent to ratify has since then been sacked or resigned. We also did a long series explaining why ratification makes no sense and even if it ever happened, it would not be sustainable, in particular after Brexit. Here is that series again:

What’s noteworthy about Fröhlinger’s remark is that she has always been “her master’s voice” (Battistelli’s echo chamber) and rejected simple facts when it suited Battistelli’s agenda [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], as pointed out here before. Fröhlinger is in many ways an extension of if not part of Team Battistelli, wherein lying has become banal and routine.

The Rain in Spain…

Meanwhile, fake news about Spain is being spread again (we have seen a lot of fake news about the UPC recently, e.g. [1, 2]) and Team UPC is trying to connect it to Brexit (there is no connection). This one tweet, linking to Manuel Rey-Alvite Villar from Bristows LLP (some of the worst liars out there), says: “Will the Spain joins the UPC System and the Unitary Patent? Brexit can make Spain changes his mind…”

“Spain’s ruling party and authorities still reject the UPC and have stated the reasons as recently as a year ago.”Nonsense. First of all, none of this is news; Francisco Moreno has already demonstrated that it goes a couple of years back. And what does the self-serving Bristows base its ridiculous headline on? “The motion [which] will be debated in the Committee on Economy, Industry and Competitiveness of the Congress of Deputies (the lower house of the Spanish parliament).”

But the party behind this motion has already spoken about it and attempted it before. Spain’s ruling party and authorities still reject the UPC and have stated the reasons as recently as a year ago.

The Sickness of the EPO – Part III: Invalidity and Suicides

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Toxic cocktail (or "dangerous mix")

Toxic cocktail

Summary: An explanation of what drives a lot of EPO veterans to depression and sometimes even suicide

THE mistreatment of EPO workers who go through a temporary (not even permanent) illness is a widely known problem. We keep hearing about it from more and more people who if not themselves got subjected to this kind of abuse know someone (or someones) who did. This series, by itself, has already managed to unearth more suppressed facts and taboos — observations that would get one sacked if publicly aired/expressed. People do not wish to speak about these things without strict assurance of anonymity.

The other day we received some interesting statistics.

“Each time they get mail from the EPO, they feel even worse.”
      –Anonymous
“More than 250 persons are receiving an invalidity pension,” one person told us. “I don’t have (yet) figures about the persons under house arrest due to their illness. I’ll try to find them. Invalids are systematically bullied. Their benefits are changed without, or at a short, notice. Each time they get mail from the EPO, they feel even worse. “What is coming next?””

Two years ago we wrote about them, as did the media which merely alluded to them. Some end up committing suicide, which isn't too shocking given the way they are treated (some allege that they cannot even help refugees in their spare time).

“The Office succeeded in deteriorating the health condition of some of them,” the above person told us, “by introducing without notice and without any kind of explanation a reform of the invalidity benefits as from January 2008 (changed again in 2015, effective as from January 2016). With that change many invalids had problems with the local tax authorities. The Office declared the benefits to be exempted from the local tax (they changed from a pension to an allowance). Of course without consulting the respective tax authorities in each country. The moron-in-chief Battistelli was at the time head of the French delegation at the AC and shouted (to be actual: trumpeted) that his country would NEVER recognise the newly introduced invalidity pension as being tax-free.

“No wonder that some of them commit suicide. Because the worse is yet to come…”
      –Anonymous
“Do you understand what all this means to a person receiving invalidity benefits? No wonder that some of them commit suicide. Because the worse is yet to come: as some countries didn’t accept the tax-free nature of the invalidity pension they had to pay taxes. Pretty normal every does [sic]. Except that they paid twice… Very “generously” again the Office proposed to reimburse the paid taxes…. at a cost. The condition was to sign a contract to go to their tax consultant, to disclose every penny of your income (your partner may work as well), to spend hours if not days, months discussing with them. And on the top of that once you were reimbursed the local tax office considered the reimbursement as an additional income. The obviously unqualified managers of the Office never heard of exponential progression. According to my calculations with such a system one would have to declare an income of about 10.000.000 € a year in 15 years from now for a real income being 7% of that amount, the rest are the accumulated reimbursements. Not bad! But what if the office says “FU”? They then abolished the system and replaced it with another fully incomprehensible system; inquiries for explanations remained unanswered.”

In future parts of this series we are going to dive a little deeper and expose some documents which help illuminate how bad things have become. As was repeatedly noted, by more than one source in fact, these policy changes are directly responsible to quite a few suicides, not that tragedies only count when a person’s tragedy culminates in death. There is a lot of suffering associated with what the EPO is doing and since there is no proper justice system, there is no hope, either.

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