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03.25.15

Another Reason to Boycott UEFI: Back Doors or Crackers

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 3:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: UEFI makes computers more prone to infections, according to some security experts

THE abusive Intel spreads UEFI to help the abusive Microsoft by means of lockout (there have been many articles about that as of late). It serves to protect the Windows monopoly and protect Intel’s monopoly (with UEFI patents that we highlighted previously). Our posts about UEFI contain a lot of examples of that. UEFI ‘secure’ boot is not really about security and in some ways it makes security even worse, as we showed on numerous occasions before. UEFI can enable espionage agencies (such as GCHQ, NSA and so on) to remotely brick PCs, rendering them unbootable (no matter the operating system). Remember Stuxnet.

There are several new reports which say that UEFI has got additional ways in which it makes computers less secure. To quote the British media: “The high amount of code reuse across UEFI BIOSes means that BIOS infection can be automatic and reliable.”

To quote some US media: “Though such “voodoo” hacking will likely remain a tool in the arsenal of intelligence and military agencies, it’s getting easier, Kallenberg and Kovah believe. This is in part due to the widespread adoption of UEFI, a framework that makes it easier for the vendors along the manufacturing chain to add modules and tinker with the code.”

Next time Intel or Microsoft insist that UEFI is needed for ‘security’ we should have stronger arguments with which to debunk such myths. It’s marketing of monopolies disguised as “advancement”.

The EPO’s Administrative Council is Under Increased Pressure to Rein in and to Finally Stop Benoît Battistelli

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The EPO’s Administrative Council (AC) is about to have a meeting, so the Member States’ delegations are urged to call for action

AS UNLIKELY as it is to ever happen, since the Administrative Council is pretty much in Battistelli’s pocket (loyal to Battistelli), Merpel wrote an open letter to the Administrative Council asking for actions to be taken only days ahead of a big meeting.

“The below email,” says a new source of ours, “was sent to the Delegations of the EPO’s Administrative Council”. It was sent in “preparation of the Administrative Council meeting on 25 and 26 March 2015″ (tomorrow and Friday).

This was sent to “heads and members of the Member States’ delegations to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation [and] Mr Grandjean” (the Chairman).

Here is the letter [PDF]:

By email to Heads of Delegation

17 March 2015

Open letter

Questions to the Heads of Delegation of the Administrative Council of the EPO

Dear Heads of Delegation,

There has been some criticism of the Administrative Council on the internet recently, but one of the more constructive contributions we noticed were two questions posted on the IPKat blog, and directed to the UK delegation1. In quoting them here, we have generalised them:

1. What, for your country, are the big issues at the EPO that you see, especially in terms of the staff’s working conditions, as being a risk for the long-term future of the Office?

2. What aspects of the issues in your answer to the first question made it worth taking the risk of breaching international law (such as the European Convention on Human Rights) when you voted in the Council?

The commentator on IPKat stresses that he does not wish to be controversial. Rather, it would be his hope to have some openness on the Council delegations’ thinking, so people could understand better the steps they have taken. We agree that it would be helpful if you could take a public position on the above questions. You could, for example, contact IPKat, or simply have a meeting with your nationals among the staff at the EPO, and give your answers there.

Attached to this mail, you will find a document expressing some thoughts and ideas which you will perhaps find useful in your deliberations.

With our thanks in advance for the time you give to this letter and its attachment.

Yours sincerely

The EPO-Flier Team
a group of concerned staff of the EPO who wish to remain anonymous
due to the prevailing harsh social climate and absence of rule of law at the European Patent Office

____________________________________
1 http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/breaking-news-uk-government-issues.html
The original questions were posted on 26 February at 17:09 hrs

Along with the letter the following text [PDF] was sent, highlighting “[f]ive reasons why the EPO’s president is bad for the EPO”:

17 March 2015

EPO FLIER No. 16

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

Five reasons why the EPO’s president is bad for the EPO, and for Europe

Benoît Battistelli took office as President of the EPO on 1 July 2010 and is scheduled to leave on 30 June 2018. Based on his record to date, it seems likely that whenever he goes, his successor will have a mess to clean up. This article suggests five reasons for this.

Reason 1: A legacy of alleged human rights abuse that damages the reputation of all international organisations

The EPO and most other international organisations benefit from immunity from local jurisdiction in the performance of their work. This is not in order to give them a blank cheque to behave
whatever way they like. Rather, “Independence is … an embodiment of the equality of Member States. Member States may be considered shareholders that maintain separate identities from that of the organization. They own equal shares with equal distribution of power both in terms of management and decision-making.”1
In order to avoid human rights violations, the Council of Europe proposed a number of options to increase the accountability of international organisations and to limit their immunity where it is not essential for their functioning2.

The accusations against Battistelli of human rights abuse within the EPO are, amongst others, in respect to new internal rules to curb the powers of the union and the staff representatives3. He has restricted the right to strike, prohibited any other form of industrial action, and throttled the right of union and staff representatives to address their constituencies freely3, 4. He has introduced an election procedure for staff representatives that has no parallel in the western world4.

His investigation guidelines do not include the right of an accused to remain silent or to have legal counsel. The rule of law is absent4.
_____________
1 http://chinesejil.oxfordjournals.org/content/10/1/97.full
2 http://www.assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/X2H-Xref-ViewPDF.asp?FileID=20310&lang=en
3 http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.at/2015/02/can-suepo-sue-epo-it-now-seems-so.html
4 http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/more-news-of-epounrest-reaches-ipkat.html


His medical guidelines give him the power to force staff to undergo medical examinations by a doctor of his choosing, whenever he decides, even in the staff member’s own home.

Most of these measures are subject to legal challenges and we will one day know which of them the courts consider to be breaches of human rights. For the purpose of this article, we do not
need to know the outcome of all those cases. It is enough to note the pattern – the EPO’s president is walking a very thin line, probably outside the law, at least in the view of the Dutch appeal court judges in their recent judgment, which received considerable attention across the IP community3,5.

For what used to call itself a “model European organisation”, this goes way too far. It is not just damaging to the EPO to see the comments on the internet about these alleged breaches, but it exposes all international organisations to unwanted public scrutiny. After all, the member states of the European Patent Organisation are democratic countries based on the rule of law.
The EPO should be “whiter than white” when it comes to respecting fundamental rights.

Cedric Ryngaert, senior lecturer in international law in Utrecht said in an interview with the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant: “International organisations are putting themselves even more above the law, although it’s already a problem.”6

Siegfried Broß, a former judge of the German Constitutional Court, recently commented that the European states, including Germany, should never have ratified the EPC since “it places the fundamental and human rights of EPO employees at the disposition of the Office Administration7.
_____________
5 http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.at/2015/02/the-epo-privilegedand-immune-says_24.html
6 http://www.volkskrant.nl/binnenland/opstelten-uitspraakrechter-geldt-niet-voor-europese-instelling~a3873491/
7 Recht haben und Recht bekommen, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 27.02.2015; http://www.suepo.org/archive/ex15092cp.pdf


Reason 2: Changing staff’s working conditions without regard to the consequences for the patent system

What does this attitude toward the most fundamental of rights tell us about the Office’s attitude to other forms of legal process, such as patent granting and appeals procedures?

Normally, outsiders would say that it is an internal matter for the EPO if the management and the staff are at odds about working conditions. And normally, this would be correct. At the EPO,
however, there are wider implications than for a regular employer.

Let us just consider the financial side of things. First of all, the EPO is not supposed to make a profit, so it needs to balance income and expenditure. If the staff costs drop by, say, 20%, due to a reformed career system, then it will need to drop its income by a corresponding amount. Will it decrease its fees? Then the EPO will return to balanced books. However, it is already in that situation today, so why will balanced books in the future be better than the balanced books it has today? Are lower fees so important that it is worth damaging the motivation of highly competent and professional staff?

Then there is the question of pensions and medical insurance. If staff salaries drop by 20% then contributions to the pension and medical insurance schemes will also drop accordingly. The
office will be forced to react. It will either increase contributions, which may be difficult considering they are already high, or reduce the benefits, thus once more making it a less attractive employer.

Beyond the financial considerations, there is the wider question of how to treat a body of staff with the talent and qualifications that EPO staff have. EPO workers are highly educated people, but they are not treated as such. New rules are imposed upon them without reasonable consultation with their representatives and an explanation of why the new rules are necessary. Battistelli’s effect on morale is evident to anyone who makes the effort to speak to staff members. They are demoralised, and very sad at seeing what is happening to the proud organisation they work for. This sadness is likely to lead to demotivation or resignation, and will have an impact on the functioning of the EPO. The fact that the outside world has not noticed a significant change in the quality of the EPO’s work is testimony to the professionalism and dedication of its staff. Up to now, staff have worked despite their president, not thanks to his inspirational leadership. But morale is suffering and cracks are starting to appear. The drop in morale is already so widespread that the impact will be significant. Exactly what that impact is, will become clear with time. It is unlikely to be positive.


We predict that staff will give up trying to maintain quality under the pressure of production8,9.

Those setting the priorities may like to reflect on something that Forbes10 published: “’Efficiency’ in the private sector means profit. Hence, to ask that the government be run like a business is tantamount to asking that the government turn a profit. The problem in a nutshell, is that not everything that is profitable is of social value and not everything of social value is profitable”.

Reason 3: Alleged cronyism brings his home country, France, and much of Europe into disrepute

France has had its share of scandals when it comes to cronyism at the top. Edith Cresson was forced out of office as European Commissioner when it came to light that she had engaged a
personal friend as a “visiting scientist”. Jacques Chirac was convicted of corruption for paying members of his party for jobs that did not exist. And now, even IMF President Christine Lagarde is under investigation for negligence in a corruption case.

France can have no interest in another of its high-ranking nationals being accused of creating jobs for his friends and relatives. Yet Battistelli stands accused of exactly that. Since joining the EPO, he has put French citizens in many of the key positions: Head of International Co-operation, Head of Human Resources, Member of External Audit, Head of IT and Head of Internal Communication. No matter how qualified and deserving these people are, this just looks bad. A balanced and Europe-minded president would have avoided any risk whatever of favouritism. Instead, all dealings with the member states, every HR decision, and other aspects of the EPO’s work are susceptible to criticism that they are tainted by a conflict of interest.

Europe is on the whole very sensitive to conflicts of interest in high office, and the EPO is no different, as revealed in the recent decision of the Enlarged Board of Appeal R19/12, which
addressed the dual role of the Vice-President of DG 3 as part of the EPO management and simultaneously as a chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal. It said, “Es reicht aus, das eine Besorgnis, d. h. ein Anschein, der Befangenheit vorliegt” (see Entscheidungsgründe, paragraph 7) (“It is enough that there is concern, i.e. an impression of impartiality”).
_____________
8 http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/12/european-patentoffice-examiners-fear.html
9 http://www.ip-watch.org/2014/12/10/epo-supervisory-bodyto-face-patent-quality-judicial-independence-fears/
10 http://www.forbes.com/sites/johntharvey/2012/10/05/government-vs-business/


Reason 4: Behaviour that has led to the complete discrediting of the Administrative Council as a supervisory body

Almost one year ago, French MP Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’ spoke about “l’incompréhensible placidité” (the unfathomable placidness) of the Administrative Council.11 With these two simple words, he encapsulated an issue that is likely to reverberate for many years12,13,14,15.

Why has the Administrative Council simply rubber-stamped all of Battistelli’s submissions to them?

Basically Mr Battistelli has set sail on a collision course and his overseers are doing nothing about it. He, and thanks to him, the EPO, and the entire European Patent Organisation, are in the processing of colliding:

· with Human Rights (and Dutch courts)
· with EPO staff
· with the European Patent Convention (e.g. the house ban of a member of the Boards of Appeal9, and the likely effects of the reformed career on patent quality8)
· with IP interested circles and the public
· with the stakeholders of the European patent system

With the endorsement of the house ban by the Administrative Council, it has become clear that the Council itself is prepared to cruise on the absolute limit of the law, possibly cross that limit.

An explanation for part, if not all, of this must surely lie in the bizarre but true fact that the Administrative Council approves the budget for the office’s international co-operation. In other words, they, as Council delegates, are the approving body for the money used to subsidise them in their role as national patent offices. They approve the overall budget, based on a proposal from the president; then the president decides how to distribute it. Theoretically, Battistelli simply has to award and withdraw subsidies as a reward or punishment for votes in Council decisions, and Council delegates will soon learn what they have to do to get a reward. What happens in reality, no one is saying.

And it gets worse. The countries for which patents play a vital economic role are in the minority in the
_____________
11 http://www.pyleborgn.eu/2014/04/interrogations-sur-lagouvernance-de-loffice-europeen-des-brevets/
12 http://www.fosspatents.com/2015/01/pressure-mounts-onepo-president-and.html
13 http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2014/12/what-is-eatingeuropean-patent-office.html
14 http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2015/01/developments-ateuropean-patent-office.html
15 http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2014/12/battistelli-andkongstad-respond-to-epo.html


Administrative Council. So for most delegates, they vote on topics that don’t have any relevance for them. They’ve nothing personally to lose or gain, except for Battistelli’s favour.

The behaviour of the Administrative Council has now become the topic of discussion forums on the internet12, especially IPKat13,14,15. The pressure is already mounting for a fundamental review of who governs the European Patent Organisation, and how. Maybe this will ultimately be one good thing that comes out of Battistelli’s tenure as president, but it is probably not something that he intends or wants. And it is certainly something that will introduce more uncertainty into European patenting until things settle down again, which may take years.

Reason 5: A complete lack of vision and strategy for a patent system fit for Europe

You could forgive an impassioned leader who brought in a few friends to help him achieve a truly worthy goal. Or one who ignored a few rules. Or even one that damaged an organisation’s short-term reputation in the long-term interest.

Battistelli is, however, not an impassioned leader. He has not described his vision for the European patent system of tomorrow. He has not explained why his actions will be good for the European economy or for innovation. He hasn’t even said why what he is doing will be good for the EPO.

This apparent lack of strategy might of course be a veil for a strategy that exists but would never be accepted by stakeholders if he were to go public. Or it could simply be that his behaviour is based on jealousy and greed, and on a thirst for power. He does it because he can.

Commentators are beginning to realise that there is no strategy statement, no justification for what is going on. Various IP blogs show a growing sense of unease about the future of the EPO. The catalyst for this was the house-ban imposed on a member of the Boards of Appeal, but the commentators clearly understand that the issue is wider than that15. When the European patent system was created, its founders were united in the belief that it had to exist on the principle of a “high presumption of validity”. Through his acts, Battistelli is showing that he questions this most fundamental of concepts. He has not said it, but the measures he has taken indicate that his values and his goals lie elsewhere. Commentators are picking up on this and are increasingly asking what the long-term consequences of the current developments at the EPO will be12-16,17.
_____________
16 http://www.fosspatents.com/2015_02_01_archive.html
17 http://www.fosspatents.com/2015/03/epo-human-rightsissues-and-eu-patent.html


We can but hope that, echoing the March 2015 information letter of French MP Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’18, the commentators’ voices will grow, and that they will be heard by the people who have the authority to do something about the situation at the EPO before it is too late.
_____________
18 http://www.pyleborgn.eu/2015/03/office-europeen-des-brevets-a-quand-la-sortie-de-crise/

This “EPO-FLIER” was mentioned by WIPR, which wrote: “A group of staff at the European Patent Office (EPO) has written to the office’s supervisory body, the Administrative Council, explaining why it thinks the office’s president Benoît Battistelli is “bad for Europe”.

“In a letter sent yesterday (March 17), the workers outlined five reasons to back up their claims. They cited allegations of human rights abuses, changes to staff’s working conditions, cronyism, a failure of the AC to hold Battistelli to account, and a lack of strategy.”

“After the EPO’s reaction to the WIPR publication,” told us a source, “the EPO-FLIER team spontaneously decided to go for another publication: EPO-FLIER No. 17 [which] also reflects some statements Mr Battistelli made in the interview with NRC Handelsblad.”

“It is public,” we were told, “and you can make use of it and its content, in case you want to.” Here is EPO-FLIER numbeer 17[PDF]. It is titled “Lies – damned lies” and it mentions Dutch newspapers:

22 March 2015

EPO FLIER No. 17

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

Lies, damned lies and EPO management statements

There is incredulity everywhere when you ask people’s opinions on the “Statement from the Management” that appeared on the EPO website last week. For those who missed it, just google ‘No, the EPO is not violating fundamental human rights’ or go to IPKat1 and enjoy the read. But be warned, it may make you cry, either with laughter at the ridiculousness of the text, or with pity at the patheticness of it.

In terms of its tone, this has to be the lowest the Office has ever sunk in its communiqués to the outside world. Written in a language that is both arrogant and childish at the same time, it implicitly accuses Dutch judges of incompetence. It then claims that a German court ruled that the EPO was respecting human rights, which – as far as we know – no German court has ever done: Battistelli’s highest ranked legal expert, VP5 Raimund Lutz2 recently said that the German court had neither entered into the substance NOR taken a decision on this matter3. But that did not hinder him from signing the communiqué stating just the opposite.

Going back a couple of weeks, Communiqué No. 694 (announcing that the Office would not execute the Dutch judgment) was more shocking than previous missives because it showed just how far from reality Battistelli has slipped – and it revealed his true face, full of disrespect, disdain even, for his fellow humans, for the principles upon which post-War Europe was built, and for the law. Despite this, he did not actually say the judgment was wrong, focusing more on his refusal to execute it. The new announcement, on the other hand, was public denial, this time by the entire Management Committee (MAC), of any breach of fundamental human rights at the EPO. It is noteworthy that the statement (the first from the entire MAC, we believe, since Battistelli took power) came exactly a week before the next Council meeting. What will Battistelli tell the delegations this time, and how long will the closed (nonpublic) session last?

Growing signs of panic

The pressure is clearly growing on Battistelli and his followers. They are making mistakes more often, and those mistakes are more damaging than before. Is it a coincidence that Flier No. 16 (“Five reasons …”) came out just hours before this absurd act from the EPO’s management? We have received a lot of compliments for it, so maybe it was one element amid all the criticism they face that drove them to take such panic measures.

In an interview in a Dutch newspaper5, published on 21 March, Battistelli struggles to give credible answers to the journalist’s well-worded questions. He clumsily blames

_____
1 http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/the-epo-breaks-silence-to-say-no-epo-is.html
2 https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raimund_Lutz
3 http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.uk/2015/03/the-epo-breaks-silence-to-say-no-epo-is.html (18.03.2015 18:56:00 GMT)
4 http://ipkitten.blogspot.co.at/2015/02/the-epo-privileged-and immune-says_24.html
5 ‘Ik ben geen zonnekoning’, NRC Handelsblad, 21.03.2015


the staff union: “… the staff union SUEPO runs a systematic counter campaign, with unjust information, via media, politicians and now even judges.” (“Maar de vakbond SUEPO voert een systematische tegencampagne, met onjuiste informatie, via media, politici en nu ook rechters”). His position on the Dutch judgment is as follows: “The Court in The Hague committed a legal mistake by not recognising our immunity. Then the court interpreted the facts wrongly.” (“Het Hof in Den Haag heeft een juridische vergissing begaan door onze immuniteit niet te erkennen. Daarnaast heeft het Hof de feiten die er zijn onjuist geïnterpreteerd.”). We leave it to our readers to draw their own conclusions on this.

Time for a change

It must now be clear to everyone, including the delegations to the Administrative Council, that the current situation cannot continue. The EPO is becoming a laughing stock. We know who is to blame for this, but the damage affects the entire European patent system and the values upon which it was built.

Patent attorney Wouter Pors6 makes it clear that Battistelli has failed as a manager: “Whoever is right in the many social conflicts at the EPO, as president of that organization you have to find a way to tackle these issues, instead of turning your back to the unions, ignoring court decisions, prohibiting strikes and threatening with disciplinary measures against people who complain. You have to be able to go into a dialogue.” We say it is too late for dialogue with Battistelli – he has irretrievably lost the trust of the staff, and everyone else. He must go, and so must those who have helped him, so that we can start the hard work of restoring the European Patent Organisation to the great institution it used to be.


Here are a few examples of what others are saying, taken from the IPKat blog1:

“EPO management is making a big gamble. If the reforms of the working conditions are declared invalid in 5-10 years, the mess will be rather substantial. But before that time national constitutional courts might already have blown the European patent system to pieces by ruling that the boards of appeal, or what’s left of them, are not a court. Is the AC at all aware of these risks?” (18.03.2015, 22:39:00 GMT)

“There is still time to avert the implosion of the EPC based system – but it would require that the AC accepts its responsibilities and takes the necessary steps to exercise supervision of the Office as required by Art. 4 EPC.
More specifically, it must:
- stop now to rubberstamp the president’s proposals
- demand full transparency for all financial matters, such as, for example:
>> the president’s remuneration
>> the financing of the new building in The Hague
>> all “projects” with the member states financed by the EPO
>> all the president’s travel and hospitality expenses
It seems late in the day, but with swift and decisive action the AC could halt the destruction and even restore some semblance of integrity to the Office. …
(19.03.2015, 00:23:00 GMT)

“And so the damaging war of words continues. The user community is also being damaged by this “fracas” and loss of reputation. Applicants look on in dismay (and even disgust) at these goings-on. The EPO is expensive and our business leaders rightly ask “why bother with this system?”. I hope that the likes of CIPA and the equivalent bodies across Europe respond to this statement from the EPO management. They should also be lobbying their national representatives on the AC to educate them about the truth behind the statement, if they’re not doing so already. Everyone in IP is being damaged by this issue, not just the staff at the Office…” (19.03.2015, 11:30:00 GMT)

______
6 http://kluwerpatentblog.com/2015/03/20/behavior-benoit-battistelli-is-bad-for-the-epos-reputation/

Our sources tell us that “Mr Battistelli is even more under pressure, and he apparently has difficulties in explaining his policy: A number of articles in Dutch newspapers were published on Saturday 21 March, one of them contains an interview with Mr. Battistelli: NRC Handelsblad ‘Ik ben geen zonnekoning’ (‘I am not a sunking’).” We intend to cover and post articles about the Hague, along with translations of Dutch newspapers, some time in the coming days.

IRC Proceedings: February 22nd – March 21st, 2015

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: February 22nd – February 28th, 2015

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: March 1st – March 7th, 2015

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: March 8th – March 14th, 2015

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: March 15th – March 21st, 2015

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Backups due to connection issues:

#techrights: February-March logs (crude)
#boycottnovell: February-March logs (crude)
#boycottnovell-social: February-March logs (crude)
#techbytes: February-March logs (crude)

Enter the IRC channels now

03.24.15

The Latest Microsoft Attacks on GNU/Linux and Free/Libre Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

BreakingSummary: Microsoft is still hiding behind the façade of ‘love’ whilst actively attacking GNU/Linux and Free software from many directions

THE Times of India has this borrowed article which says “Windows and Office are about to get much, much more complex, confusing, and expensive” (anyone with enough experience ought to have foreseen or known this).

Windows becoming ‘free’ is a lie (we have covered lies about the cost of Vista 10 in [1, 2, 3]) and it’s easy to see why people were led to believe this. Microsoft is trying to slow down or halt migrations to GNU/Linux, which are already happening even in large numbers (in my daytime job, for example, we’ve migrated entire companies to GNU/Linux). Confusing people about cost would be quite effective a method, even if an extremely dirty method (it’s all vapourware/promises because Vista 10 has not been released yet, hence no risk of lawsuits for false advertising).

Maria Deutscher, a relatively new Microsoft propagandist (recall the time she published "Microsoft continues open source love affair") is openwashing Microsoft again with lots of nonsense and PR wrapped up in the form of an ‘article’ (more of an advertisement), adding to the nonsense from Microsoft marketing sites masquerading as “news”. They are trying to paint purely proprietary software as “open”. This is another kind of lie. It helps stall migrations to Free software such as Apache, Java, Drupal, GNU/Linux, etc.

Speaking of Drupal, which I deploy and support in my daytime job, watch Microsoft's partner Trustwave openly badmouthing it (yesterday’s ‘news’ resurrecting news from several months ago). The ‘newsflash’ from this Microsoft mouthpiece is that some people don’t patch Drupal, hence Drupal is supposedly at risk from a flaw patched nearly six months ago (the simple patch was made available as soon as the flaw was announced!). This is beyond FUD; it’s a lie and it is very shameless. Then again, Trustwave is a FUD firm, so why not target some gullible people who don’t comprehend security issues at a technical level? Why not borrow news from half a year ago, posting it afresh?

We recently covered a series of Microsoft lies in the “Microsoft hates GNU/Linux” marathon (on Saturday), wherein, in part 6 to be specific, we spoke about the media propaganda (Microsoft pretending to embrace FOSS and love Linux) and in part 1 we spoke about Microsoft’s blocking of FOSS operating systems, including GNU/Linux (a complete contradiction of Microsoft’s claims).

Well, the word is spreading regarding the lock-out of GNU/Linux as IDG says that “PC vendors may not have to include a Secure Boot toggle with Windows 10, making it harder for users to install alternative operating systems.”

Harder? How about impossible?

Here is another take on it which says: “The Secure Boot feature in Microsoft Windows 10 could make life difficult for users of Linux and other open source operating systems.”

No, it can make it impossible on particular machines. This is an antitrust matter and it should be raised as such as soon as possible.

This subject was already floated in Techrights’ IRC channel several times, with additional links on the subject. Addressing an optimistic response from Phoronix (quoted here the other day), Mark said that “this is a “boil the frog” thing… Microsoft is turning up the heat… they don’t have to make it impossible to boot Linux, that would attract attention from the DOJ… they’ll just keep making it more and more difficult.”

Balrog responded by saying, “expect low end stuff to be locked out, like the 7″ Zcer tablets…it’s stuff for which they don’t even bother to make a stable UEFI firmware.”

Mark then responded by quoting Michael Larabel as saying that “it’s not a nightmare scenario quite yet”, then adding, “that’s not very reassuring” (it’s actually a very bad scenario).

Responding to Larabel’s assumption that Microsoft might not revoke the Linux key he wrote: “Wow, that’s not something I can really count on” (not based on history anyway).

XFaCE told me some hours ago: “your recent Microsoft articles are excellent. I didn’t know Win 10 had no off secure boot requirement for OEMs, but we knew that would eventually happen. Even Nathan Lineback knew. Doesn’t take a genius.”

Jamie Watson, who recently complained about UEFI and Microsoft’s sabotage of multi/dual-boot setups (we covered it earlier this week), is right now complaining about it yet again and he provides details of what Microsoft is doing to his computer. To quote his summary: “As if wiping one of my disks weren’t enough, Windows Update has decided to go into a ‘reboot loop’ on my desktop Windows 7 system.” To quote him from the body of the article: “I know that I just posted a fairly long rant about Windows Update last week, and I don’t want this to turn into a blog called “Jamie’s Mostly ‘I Hate Windows’ Stuff”, so I am going to make this quite short and to the point. But I think it is important to post it, because it looks like I have experienced a problem that might specifically target people who are likely to read a blog such as mine.

“First, this problem affects my Lenovo T400 laptop, which I use with a docking station on my desk at home, and which is loaded with Windows 7 Professional 64-bit and a variety of Linux distributions. It is not Windows 8, it is not UEFI boot, and it is not a GPT partitioned disk – it is a ‘plain vanilla’ (bog standard? could be appropriate for Windows…) Windows 7 MBR system.”

So Microsoft continues not only to hate GNU/Linux but also to sabotage it, leaving Mr. Watson having to do very complicated things merely to run GNU/Linux on hardware he bought. The vast majority of people can never do this, not even with detailed instructions.

If Microsoft really loves Linux, then it must be next Tuesday already (April 1st).

Attempts to Disrupt Android by Pushing Microsoft Software Into It (Using Patent Blackmail and Cyanogen)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 11:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft’s Android coup d’état is succeeding owing to public apathy and poor comprehension of what Microsoft really is up to, partly due to media misdirection

Promoters of Microsoft try to tell us that Android backers are now turning to Microsoft, but what they don't talk about are the extortion, bribes and back room deals. This new article from Neil McAllister is belittling (by not even mentioning) the role of blackmail in the case of Samsung, the clear leader in the Android world (based on market share). McAllister says that “Microsoft, still struggling to gain a foothold in the smartphone market, is pressing ahead with efforts to have its software bundled on Android devices from major manufacturers, with Samsung as its first partner.” This is a classic lie by omission and we have seen it almost everywhere we looked on the Internet (presumably it’s the same in the press).

Plastic toy soldiersWhat’s rather troubling is that with more patent lawsuits (Microsoft is still suing Android/Linux using software patents) Microsoft might have more such 'partners' (extorted parties) on the way, not to mention bribed ‘partners’ [1, 2]. Cyanogen got caught opening up to money from Microsoft because they got coverage from Rupert Murdoch-owned media (Wall Street Journal) and interestingly enough it is now Rupert Murdoch who provides funds to this company which turns Android into ‘Microsoft Android’ (Microsoft software pre-loaded). It isn’t too shocking given Rupert Murdoch’s close relations with Microsoft and with Bill Gates, let aside his hatred of Google.

According to this report, Cyanogen “has secured $80m (£54m) in funding from the likes of Twitter, Telefonica and the media mogul Rupert Murdoch.” CBS says “Cyanogen raised $80 million in a series C round of funding led by venture-capital firm Premji Invest, the company announced on Monday. Twitter’s private-investment arm, Twitter Ventures, as well as Qualcomm, and even media bigwig Rupert Murdoch participated in the funding round. In total, Cyanogen has raised $110 million since 2009.”

As we pointed out even years ago, Cyanogen is neither about freedom nor privacy. At the moment it’s about pre-loading Microsoft software (surveillance-centric) from Microsoft. It’s not hard to see whose interests are being served by Cyanogen.

Links 24/3/2015: WebKitGTK+ 2.8.0, Black Lab Linux 6.5

Posted in News Roundup at 10:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Can your code survive crappy 2G? This open-source traffic controller will test it

    A two-year project inside Facebook has culminated in the release of software to test how well applications and servers work under degraded network conditions – all the way down to rickety 2G.

    The idea behind Augmented Traffic Control, open-sourced on GitHub, is to improve the delivery of material on under-performing networks.

  • Open Source Sirius Creates IPA Opportunities For Channel

    The creation of an open source computing system users control via voice command could generate new opportunities for service providers seeking to differentiate their offerings or develop new custom solutions.

  • New version of SecureDrop, open-source whistleblower submission system originally created by Aaron Swartz

    At Freedom of the Press Foundation, we’re excited to announce the release of a brand new version of SecureDrop, our open source whistleblower system which media organizations can use to communicate and receive documents from sources.

    Version 0.3 has been over a year in the making, and is the result of extensive feedback from both news organizations who already have SecureDrop—like the New Yorker and The Intercept—and from a security audit done by iSec Partners. In addition, we have a new website for SecureDrop, SecureDrop.org, which will serve as a hub for all the news organizations that have installed their own instances, and where you can find all the information you need to use it yourself.

  • Facebook open-sources Augmented Traffic Control, a Wi-Fi tool for simulating 2G, Edge, 3G, and LTE networks

    Facebook today open-sourced Augmented Traffic Control (ATC), a Wi-Fi tool for testing how mobile phones and their apps handle networks of varying strength, over on GitHub. ATC simulates 2G, Edge, 3G, and LTE networks, and allows engineers to switch quickly between various simulated network connections.

  • 4 reasons why people should stop associating open source with a lack of security

    Today, the open source model is much better understood, and organisations are considering it as vital to the future of digital business and government services. A recent survey found that more than 50% of respondents are moving into the open source space.

  • Events

    • [EuroBSDcon] Call for Papers

      EuroBSDcon is the European technical conference for users and developers of BSD-based systems. The conference will take place in Stockholm, Sweden. Tutorials will be held on Thursday and Friday in the main conference hotel, while the shorter talks and papers program is on Saturday and Sunday in the University of Stockholm.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • CMS

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • A Trip Down (Computer) Memory Lane

      The world of free software seems constantly fresh and exciting, so it always comes as a shock – to me, at least – to remember that it has been around for more than 30 years now. Richard Stallman announced the GNU project back in 1983, but this month, there’s another important anniversary: the publication of the GNU Manifesto.

    • Software freedom

      Richard Stallman, a 27-year-old programmer at the time with MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab, wanted to modify the software that drove the new Xerox 9700 laser printer to get it to send out an electronic alert over the network every time the paper jammed so that somebody could walk over to it and fix the problem. When he was denied access to the source code, Stallman recalls, this set him thinking about how software should be shared freely so that users could modify it to suit their needs.

    • Stallman joins the Internet, talks net neutrality, patents and more

      According to Richard Stallman, godfather of the free software movement, Facebook is a “monstrous surveillance engine,” tech companies working for patent reform aren’t going nearly far enough, and parents must lobby their children’s schools to keep data private and provide free software alternatives.

      The free software guru touched on a host of topics in his keynote Saturday at the LibrePlanet conference, a Free Software Foundation gathering at the Scala Center at MIT. Excoriating a “plutocratic” corporate culture and warning of severe threats to freedom and privacy around the world, he nevertheless said his own positions on the technology issues of the day had evolved.

    • Extracting the abstract syntax tree from GCC [older, but without paywall now]

      Richard Stallman recently revived a nearly year-old thread in the emacs-devel mailing list, but the underlying issue has been around a lot longer than that. It took many years before the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) changed its runtime library exemption in a way that allowed for GCC plugins, largely because of fears that companies might distribute proprietary, closed-source plugins. But efforts to use the plugin API to add features to another GNU project mainstay, Emacs, seem to be running aground on that same fear—though there has never been any real evidence that there is much interest in circumventing the runtime library exception to provide proprietary backends to GCC.

    • GNU Nano 2.4.0 Brings Complete Undo System, Linter Support & More

      GNU Nano 2.4.0 was released this morning as the first stable update to this open-source CLI text editor in a number of years.

    • GNU Nano Editor 2.4 Comes with Full Undo Support [Install in Ubuntu/Mint]
    • LibrePlanet 2015: Day one roundup
    • LibrePlanet 2015: Highlights and what comes next
    • Reglue & Sébastien Jodogne Receive FSF Awards

      Ken Starks put another well deserved feather in his cap on Saturday when he accepted an award for Reglue from the Free Software Foundation (FSF) at the LibrePlanet conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Saturday. Reglue was announced as this year’s winner of the Project of Social Benefit Award by FSF executive director John Sullivan, who also announced that Sébastien Jodogne had won this year’s award for Advancement of Free Software. The event took place on the MIT campus.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Meet the White House’s new open source-happy IT director

      The White House has plucked 28-year-old David Recordon, engineering director at Facebook, as its first IT Director. A strong open source advocate with a decidedly non-button-down appearance, Recordon will be charged with modernizing the White House’s technology. Here’s a closer look at one of our newest public servants…

    • Federal open source software activities are growing

      Patricia M. Loui-Smicker of Hawaii was confirmed by the Senate, just the other day, as a director of the Export-Import bank. Not the kind of routine confirmation that makes the news. Gilberto de Jesus of Maryland withdrew his nomination to be chief counsel for advocacy at the Small Business Administration. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs reported favorably on a bill “to reduce the operation and maintenance costs associated with the Federal fleet by encouraging use of remanufactured parts.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Apple’s ResearchKit: Is Open Source Good for Your and Apple’s Health?

      Apple’s website defines it as “an open source software framework that makes it easy for researchers and developers to create apps that could revolutionize medical studies, potentially transforming medicine forever.”

    • OGP: 36 Action Plans submitted in 2014

      In total, 29 countries have submitted their second Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plans in 2014, according to the 2014 report of the Open Government Partnership. This number indicates “a strong desire to continue participating in OGP”, the report said. The report also mentions that seven countries submitted their first national Action Plan last year. In total, 36 countries “submitted new Action Plans containing over 900 commitments“.

    • ‘Open Humans Network’ seeks to open-source your body

      People eager to share personal information beyond what’s on their Facebook profile have another outlet: an online platform launching on Tuesday will let them give scientists information about their genomes, gut bacteria and other biological data.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Virtual Reality gets massive with Unity and Unreal Engine

        Plugins for both Unity 5 and Unreal Engine 4 have been released to the public for OSVR, the Open Source Virtual Reality program. This system was first initiated by the folks at Razer, appearing at CES 2015 with a brand new OSVR Dev Kit virtual reality headset. In the very short time between then and now, they’ve racked up quite a few heavy-hitting partners. This system also works with Vuzix technology and has racked up partners like Ubisoft, Seven Hill Games, Homido, and castAR.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • FDA Deems GM Apples, Potatoes Safe

      The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed genetically modified (GM), non-browning “Arctic” apples—approved last month by the Department of Agriculture—and bruise-resistant “Innate” potatoes “as safe and nutritious as their conventional counterparts,” according to The New York Times.

      Okanagan Specialty Fruits, the British Columbia-based firm that produces the GM apples, and J.R. Simplot of Idaho, which grows the GM potatoes, both consulted with the FDA to assess the safety and nutrition of their foods.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Washington’s War on Russia

      “In order to survive and preserve its leading role on the international stage, the US desperately needs to plunge Eurasia into chaos, (and) to cut economic ties between Europe and Asia-Pacific Region … Russia is the only (country) within this potential zone of instability that is capable of resistance. It is the only state that is ready to confront the Americans. Undermining Russia’s political will for resistance… is a vitally important task for America.”

    • Israel Supported Hamas to Divide Palestine’s Resistance – Assange

      Israel supported the Palestinian Islamic organization Hamas’s growth in order to drive a wedge in the Palestinian resistance movement, according to WikiLeaks creator Julian Assange.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • California’s About to Run Out of Water. We Have to Act Now

      California is now heading into its fourth year of record-breaking drought, with no liquid relief in sight. High temperatures, little precipitation, and historically low snowpack have left the state with dwindling water reserves. The situation is so bad, as NASA scientist Jay Famiglietti wrote in an LA Times op-ed last week, that California has only a year of water left in its reservoirs.

  • Finance

    • The world’s next credit crunch could make 2008 look like a hiccup

      For the time being, the markets remain sanguine, expecting, for example, a gentle increase in the Bank of England’s main interest rate to just 1.5pc by the end of the decade. And, who knows, maybe the markets are right.

      But maybe it’s too quiet. Last week, Ray Dalio, the founder of the $165bn (£110bn) hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, wrote a widely-circulated note warning his clients that the US Federal Reserve risked setting off a 1937-style crash when it starts raising interest rates again.

    • From Right-to-Work to the Servant Economy

      Two Mondays ago, Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin and a fast-rising Republican star, signed a “right-to-work” bill into law in his state, calling it “one more tool that will help grow good-paying, family-supporting jobs here in the state of Wisconsin.”

      In fact, if experience from other right-to-work states is any indicator, it’s likely to do just the opposite. It may, indeed, attract more jobs, but most of them won’t pay enough to support a family.

      The decline of America’s middle class in the past four decades is attributable to many factors, one of them being the decline in union membership; right-to-work depresses union membership further. It will decrease dues payments that unions tend to spend on candidates who support unions, most of whom are not Republicans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • BP Dumps ALEC; Tally at 102

      BP announced Monday that it was cutting ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, the controversial corporate bill mill. It is the third major fossil fuel company to sever ties with ALEC, after Occidental Petroleum in 2014. ExxonMobil remains on the ALEC private sector board.

      “We continually assess our engagements with policy and advocacy organizations and based on our most recent assessment, we have determined that we can effectively pursue policy matters of current interest to BP without renewing our membership in ALEC,” the spokesman told the National Review.

  • Privacy

    • Communication Security Establishment’s cyberwarfare toolbox revealed

      Top-secret documents obtained by the CBC show Canada’s electronic spy agency has developed a vast arsenal of cyberwarfare tools alongside its U.S. and British counterparts to hack into computers and phones in many parts of the world, including in friendly trade countries like Mexico and hotspots like the Middle East.

    • Amazon Still Won’t Talk About Government Requests For User Data

      In the wake of the Snowden leaks, more and more tech companies are providing their users with transparency reports that detail (to the extent they’re allowed) government requests for user data. Amazon — home to vast amounts of cloud storage — isn’t one of them.

    • CISA Security Bill: An F for Security But an A+ for Spying

      When the Senate Intelligence Committee passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 14 to 1, committee chairman Senator Richard Burr argued that it successfully balanced security and privacy. Fifteen new amendments to the bill, he said, were designed to protect internet users’ personal information while enabling new ways for companies and federal agencies to coordinate responses to cyberattacks. But critics within the security and privacy communities still have two fundamental problems with the legislation: First, they say, the proposed cybersecurity act won’t actually boost security. And second, the “information sharing” it describes sounds more than ever like a backchannel for surveillance.

    • John Key hits back at Nicky Hager over GCSB claims

      Prime Minister John Key believes the latest spying allegations were timed to coincide with his visit to South Korea.

      “Of course they were, it’s all part of a particular agenda by Nicky Hager and some others,” he told reporters in Seoul.

      “There’s no question there’s an anti-government, anti-American agenda.”

    • Former diplomat, minister shocked by WTO spy claims

      Spying by the GCSB on those competing against National Government minister Tim Groser for the World Trade Organisation’s top job has appalled a former foreign affairs and trade minister and astonished one of the country’s most experienced diplomats.

      An inquiry is likely into the actions of the GCSB after Labour leader Andrew Little said he would ask the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security to investigate today.

      The Herald and US news site the Intercept yesterday revealed a top secret GCSB document showing the electronic surveillance agency had been searching for email communications which mentioned Mr Groser, the Trade Minister, in association with names of candidates competing against him. The news broke as Prime Minister John Key and Mr Groser prepared to sign a Free Trade Agreement in South Korea, whose former trade minister was among the surveillance targets vying for the $700,000 WTO job.

    • BIOS Hacking

      The NSA has a term for vulnerabilities it think are exclusive to it: NOBUS, for “nobody but us.” Turns out that NOBUS is a flawed concept. As I keep saying: “Today’s top-secret programs become tomorrow’s PhD theses and the next day’s hacker tools.” By continuing to exploit these vulnerabilities rather than fixing them, the NSA is keeping us all vulnerable.

    • Facebook wants to save you a click by hosting other sites’ content

      As if Facebook couldn’t get any bigger, it’s looking like The Social Network wants to start natively hosting content from news organizations. As The New York Times’ sources tell it, Zuckerberg and Co. have been in talks with at least six media companies about publishing their content directly on the site — no link-clicking required. The initial round of publications apparently includes The New York Times, Buzzfeed, National Geographic and our sister publication The Huffington Post. The reason? Websites take too long to load, and Facebook says that on mobile, the average eight-second page-load is too much. Of course, the outfit has a vested interest in mobile, hence it stepping in.

  • Civil Rights

    • 5 signs America is devolving into a plutocracy

      One-percent elections. Congressional gridlock. An increasingly demobilized public. Our democracy is on life support

    • The DOJ Isn’t Interested In Protecting FBI Whistleblowers From Retaliation

      You don’t hear much about FBI whistleblowers. Many other agencies have had wrongdoing exposed by employees (and the government has often seen fit to slap the whistles out of their mouths with harsh prosecution), but the FBI isn’t one of them. Forty-three years ago, whistleblowers broke into the FBI and retrieved damning documents, but no one’s really broken out of the FBI to do the same. In fact, the FBI would rather not talk about whistleblowing at all.

    • Voter ID Will Take Effect in Wisconsin–Here’s What that Means

      The ruling is regarded as a victory for Governor Scott Walker, who championed the law in Wisconsin and has boasted about the state’s voting restrictions as he makes the case for a presidential run. Walker defended voter ID during the 2014 gubernatorial race, declaring that “it doesn’t matter” if there is only one incident of voter fraud in each election, even though as many as 300,000 Wisconsinites don’t have the forms of ID required under the law.

    • Journalism as Subversion

      The assault of global capitalism is not only an economic and political assault. It is a cultural and historical assault. Global capitalism seeks to erase our stories and our histories. Its systems of mass communication, which peddle a fake intimacy with manufactured celebrities and a false sense of belonging within a mercenary consumer culture, shut out our voices, hopes and dreams. Salacious gossip about the elites and entertainers, lurid tales of violence and inane trivia replace in national discourse the actual and the real. The goal is a vast historical amnesia.

      The traditions, rituals and struggles of the poor and workingmen and workingwomen are replaced with the vapid homogenization of mass culture. Life’s complexities are reduced to simplistic stereotypes. Common experiences center around what we have been fed by television and mass media. We become atomized and alienated. Solidarity and empathy are crushed. The cult of the self becomes paramount. And once the cult of the self is supreme we are captives to the corporate monolith.

      As the mass media, now uniformly in the hands of large corporations, turn news into the ridiculous chronicling of pseudo-events and pseudo-controversy we become ever more invisible as individuals. Any reporting of the truth—the truth about what the powerful are doing to us and how we are struggling to endure and retain our dignity and self-respect—would fracture and divide a global population that must be molded into compliant consumers and obedient corporate subjects. This has made journalism, real journalism, subversive. And it has made P. Sainath—who has spent more than two decades making his way from rural Indian village to rural Indian village to make sure the voices of the country’s poor are heard, recorded and honored—one of the most subversive journalists on the subcontinent. He doggedly documented the some 300,000 suicides of desperate Indian farmers—happening for the last 19 years at the rate of one every half hour—in his book “Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories From India’s Poorest Districts.” And in December, after leaving The Hindu newspaper, where he was the rural affairs editor, he created the People’s Archive of Rural India. He works for no pay. He relies on a small army of volunteers. He says his archive deals with “the everyday lives of everyday people.” And, because it is a platform for mixed media, encompassing print, still photographs, audio and film, as well as an online research library, it is a model for those who seek to tell the stories that global capitalism attempts to blot out.

    • Greece’s Golden Dawn: Fascists at the Gate

      When some 70 members of the neo-Nazi organization Golden Dawn go on trial sometime this spring, there will be more than street thugs and fascist ideologues in the docket, but a tangled web of influence that is likely to engulf Greece’s police, national security agency, wealthy oligarchs, and mainstream political parties. While Golden Dawn—with its holocaust denial, its swastikas, and Hitler salutes—makes it look like it inhabits the fringe, in fact the organization has roots deep in the heart of Greece’s political culture

    • ‘Nazi Hideout’ Found in Argentine Nature Reserve

      Investigators discovered German coins dating back to World War II in the deserted rubble.

      Ruined buildings in an Argentine nature reserve could have been built as a Nazi hideout, archeologists believe. Investigators found German coins dating back to World War II in the deserted rubble.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Digital Freedoms

      As of April 2014 figures from uSwitch showed, only 15% of Britain is using broadband of 30 Mbps or higher – the speed classified by the EU as “superfast”. Looking inward, compared with the rest of the UK, Wales has some of the slowest Internet speeds. Wales itself contains the slowest broadband speed street in the entire UK, Erw Fawr in Henryd, North Wales had an average download speed of 0.60 megabits per second. That is 30 times slower than the UK national average.

    • First Legal Challenges To FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules Filed

      As we noted a week and a half ago when the FCC released its full net neutrality rules, it seemed like the legal challenges wouldn’t start for a little while — because the rules had to formally be published in the Federal Register, which would then set off the countdown clock for filing a lawsuit against the rules. However, some believe that parts of the new rules fall under a different legal regime, and thus there is a 10 day limit from the date the rules were released to file an appeal. And thus, we have USTelecom, a trade association of broadband providers and Alamo Broadband, a small Texas-based ISP, who have both filed legal challenges over the FCC’s rules. Specifically, they’re both asking appeals courts to “review” the rules. Alamo is asking the Fifth Circuit court of appeals, while USTelecom is focusing on the DC Circuit (which is where the last challenge to FCC rules happened). The reasoning in both is fairly similar.

    • Ted Cruz’s New Presidential Campaignx Donation Website Shares Security Certificate With Nigerian-Prince.com

      A few hours after this was first noticed, the Cruz campaign appears to have removed nigerian-prince.com from its certificate, but it still raises some questions about just who he has hired to build his websites. I guess that’s what happens when even the technologists in your own party openly mock Ted Cruz’s ignorance when it comes to technology issues like net neutrality.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Celebrities race to beat trolls to internet domains

      Taylor Swift knew they were trouble. So too did Microsoft. And the pop phenomenon and the software giant both had the means and motive to do something about it.

      From 1 June there will be an unprecedented web free-for-all. In a bid to allow easier searches for doctors, businesses and places, a raft of new top-level domain (TLD) names – the last bit of a web address – will become available to buy, including “.healthcare” and “.deals”, but also “.porn”, “.sucks” and “.adult”.

    • Commissioner Malmström defends rigged ISDS in CETA

      Today EU commissioner Malmström gave a speech in the European Parliament trade committee on investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS). ISDS gives foreign investors the right to use arbitration against states, instead of using local courts.

      Malmström made clear that she does not want to change the trade agreement with Canada (CETA), which contains a highly controversial ISDS section. The CETA text was used for the ISDS consultation.

    • Copyrights

      • U.S. Court Extends Global Shutdown of DVD Ripping Software

        A federal court in New York has issued a paralyzing verdict against the Chinese-based DVD ripping company DVDFab. Ruling in favor of AACS, the licensing outfit founded by Warner Bros, Disney, Microsoft, Intel and others, the court has issued an updated injunction granting the seizure of several domain names belonging to the software vendor.

      • US judge orders seizure of foreign domains owned by Chinese company

        A federal judge in New York has ordered dozens of global domains owned by the Chinese company Fengtao Software to be seized, for its social media accounts to be blocked, and for payment processors to cut off their services to the company.

        As TorrentFreak reports, this is the result of legal action by the decryption licensing body AACS, founded by companies such as Microsoft and Walt Disney. Last year AACS won a preliminary injunction against Fengtao Software, which sells the popular DVD-ripping software DVDFab. Initially, Fengtao failed to respond to the court, which caused the injunction to be granted by default. Later, the Chinese company asked for the decision to be reviewed, arguing that the order was too broad because it affected the company globally, while the relevant copyright law applied by the judge was US-specific.

Concerns Over Željko Topić’s Alleged Powerful Links in Croatian Diplomacy

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

DPUM_1

Summary: Rikard Frgačić explains the powerful connections acquired though Ivan Šimonović, who is himself connected to EPO Vice-President Željko Topić

IT HAS been almost a week since we last wrote about the thug or the bully called Željko Topić. He is still Vice-President at the EPO, which is rather amazing given the criminal charges that he faces and the generally outrageous background that he comes from, allegedly involving bribes and other serious abuses. Topić is Benoît Battistelli’s right-hand man, so Battistelli’s tyrannical tendencies should come as no surprise (or conversely, the appointment by Battistelli should come as no surprise).

Rikard Frgačić has fought against Topić's abuses for quite a few years and his comments which he sent after we had covered his case highlighted an important name, which can see seen in the above document, implicating Željko Topić in addition to (potentially) Lufthansa.

The person in question (see above document) is Ivan Šimonović (E-mail address ivan.simonovic@hraste-partneri.hr) who describes himself as follows in his public VCARD (don’t mind the relatively poor English):


BEGIN:VCARD
VERSION:2.1
TEL;PREF;WORK;VOICE;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE:+ 385 1 48 28 060
TEL;WORK;FAX;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE:+ 385 1 49 21 195
N:;Ivan;Šimonović, dipl. iur.;;
FN:Ivan =C5=A0imonovi=C4=87, dipl. iur.
ADR;WORK;POSTAL;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE:;;Ribnjak 40;Zagreb;;10000;Hrvatska
EMAIL;INTERNET:ivan.simonovic@hraste-partneri.hr
NOTE;ENCODING=QUOTED-PRINTABLE:Date of birth: April 28th 1984=0D=0A

Place of birth: Zagreb, Croatia=0D=0A=0D=0AEducation:=0D=0AInternational Baccalaureate Diploma in 2002, United Nations International School, NY, NY=0D=0ADipl.iur. in 2009 Law Faculty at the Univeristy of Zagreb =20=0D=0A=20=0D=0AWork experience:=0D=0A2009- Lawyer trainee at Hraste & Partners law firm=0D=0A=0D=0ASpecialties and other interests:=0D=0AHelping attorneys in providing legal advice in various areas of civil and misdemeanor law=0D=0APreparing lawsuits and other civil actions=0D=0ACurrent activity of assisting in enforcement cases=0D=0AExcellent knowledge of English language in reading and writing=0D=0APassive knowledge of Franch language in reading and writing=0D=0AUse of MS Office packages=20=0D=0ADrivers license B category (car)=0D=0A=0D=0AMembership:=0D=0A2004 – ELSA (European Law Students Association), 2004-2005 President of ELS=
A Zagreb, 2005-2006 President of ELSA Croatia=0D=0A2009 – Membership in the Association of lawyer trainees with the Croatian Bar Association=0D=0A=0D=0A


URL;WORK:http://hraste-partneri.hr/
TITLE:Trainee
ORG:
REV:2015-03-23T12:06:49Z
MAILER: Joomla! vCard for 
END:VCARD


Mr. Frgačić has highlighted to us a very curious connection. Putting aside the United Nations International School (New York), as can be seen above, Frgačić urged us to “note one family name on memo-sheet of lawyer paper (on the bottom) Hraste & Partners in my article [response]. Named Ivan Šimonović, he is a son of the assistant secretary of Ban-Ki-moon, gen. Sec. of UN in New York. His father has the same name.

“By the way, Ivan Šimonović assumed his functions as Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights on 17 July 2010, heading OHCHR’s New York Office.

“Topić has a lot of power (to abuse) because he is conveniently connected to rather powerful people.”“If you follow Croatian diplomatic network you will found his wife (or his mother) Dubravka Šimonović in Croatian UN & OSCE mission in Vienna (see Diplomatic Missions and Consular Offices of Croatia).

“Its means that this “company” have (Željko Topić friends) cover at 3 UN head points – Vienna, Geneva and New York. This political and horror theme may be published in a stronger daily newspapers or weekly magazines.

“As you see, it’s not a joke or desert mirage…”

Topić has a lot of power (to abuse) because he is conveniently connected to rather powerful people. A lot of people wrongly assume that because he came from Zagreb he is lagging on the influence front. Over the telephone Frgačić repeatedly told us that Topić is a dangerous man.

Benoît Battistelli’s EPO Comes Under Fire From Prominent Figures Who Are Key EPO Stakeholders, Expect Battistelli to Resign ‘in the Longer Term’

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The ‘reign of terror’ which is primarily attributed to Battistelli and his cronies may be about to end; the Luxembourg parliament approves the Unified Patent Court

THE Dutch media is cracking down on Benoît Battistelli and his authoritarian regime (more on that in days to come). Dutch solicitors too are growing impatient, realising perhaps that the EPO and the Dutch system both lose legitimacy because of Battistelli. Two days ago Dutch News called the EPO’s notorious work atmosphere (that induces suicides) ‘reign of terror’ and wrote that “The European patent office in Rijswijk came under fire in the Dutch media this weekend after claims the management operate a reign of terror. The Volkskrant said on Saturday that many staff have psychological problems. ‘The pressure of work has gone up enormously and colleagues are becoming desperate,’ one source told the Volkskrant. The organisation has become a bastion of fear, the source said. The low point came in 2013 when a young colleague killed himself while at work, the source said. There has never been an investigation into the death but other workers suspect the unreasonable pressure played a part. The organisation has refused to allow the labour inspectorate to look into working conditions at the EU institution and its president, Benoît Battistelli, told the NRC the inspectors have ‘no reason to intervene’.” The article also refers to the Dutch saga which we intend to cover in a much greater level of detail very soon (a lot to catch up with and prepare for publication, including more than a dozen PDFs).

Pors WouterBattistelli has landed himself in yet more of a scandal (a path of scandals) when he chose to discredit, ignore and even stomp a Dutch court’s decision. One of the latest postings on the “Kluwer Patent Blog” is titled “Behavior of Benoît Battistelli is bad for the EPO’s reputation”. Written by the widely-respected and highly-regarded Wouter Pors (secretary of the Dutch group of AIPPI), it says the following: “The behavior of EPO president Benoît Battistelli is bad for the reputation of the European Patent Office and may in the longer term force him to resign. Wouter Pors, IP practitioner of Bird & Bird, said this in an interview with Kluwer IP Law, on the occasion of a recent decision of the Dutch appeal Court in The Hague.

“The so-called Gerechtshof found that the EPO is violating the European Treaty on Human Rights by blocking mails from the labor unions and by limiting the workers’ right to strike. The Court said that regardless of the question whether the EPO is an autonomous international organization with its own legal order and staff policy, and which in principle enjoys immunity from the jurisdiction of Dutch courts, this autonomy cannot encompass/include the right to violate fundamental European rights (…) without offering parties such as the unions any legal remedy.”

“Battistelli reacted with fury. He was quick to announce that the judgment was ’neither legally admissible nor practically enforceable’ and nothing would change at the EPO. Apart from that, he thought it ‘unfortunate that such a dangerous development was initiated and encouraged by an union whose first aim should be to preserve the fundamental interests of the staff and the Organisation’. Battistelli must have felt reassured by the Dutch minister Opstelten, who announced that as the EPO was ‘immune from execution’, there would be no action from the authorities in the Netherlands.

“The way Battistelli talked about the Court was very inappropriate, according to Wouter Pors. ‘You cannot say this. It amounts to saying “the judge is crazy”! That is disrespectful and contrary to fundamental principles as laid down in Art 4 of the Treaty on the creation of the European Union, that members of the EU should respect each other’s institutions. 28 out of the 38 EPC members are also members of the European Union. They cannot accept such disrespect towards one of their courts.’”

“This is not going to help Battistelli. He is under fire from many directions right now. “Here is some background information about Wouter Pors. Bird & Bird says “Wouter Pors leads the IP group, and has a broad practice covering patent, copyright and trade mark litigation.”

This is not going to help Battistelli. He is under fire from many directions right now. Even pro-patents circles are tired of him. They want him out.

Meanwhile, according to some sources, “Luxembourg parliam[ent] today approved #UnifiedPatentCourt Agreement unanimously! main discussion was languages/costs.” The FFII’s president wrote back that “Luxembourg ratified the unipat today, time to work on an appeal. Anyone knows the delay to file an appeal?” The FFII’s Ante Wessels recently warned that the “International investment court plan threatens our democracy”. That’s what it’s all about really. It’s an attack on democracy in Europe. Battistelli plays a considerable role in it.

The EU patent package that we have been covering for years and chastising repeatedly is back in the headline (as mentioned here a week before the news from Luxembourg) and professors are raging while Wouter (above) responds. Wouter Pors writes something titled “Law professors petition against the Unitary Patent Package – but are the arguments correct?” (c/f professors’ petition [PDF])

One sure thing is, there is a lot of shakiness in the European patent system right now. Corruption, abuse, oppression and censorship are just some of the elements at play. This cannot endure; change is imminent.

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