More protectionism for more large companies, even those coming from outside of New Zealand
Summary: Corporate conquest or takeover of New Zealand culminates in empty promises from government officials and blackmail against citizens of New Zealand, especially the country’s dairy industry
THE DEBATE about software patents in New Zealand is very important because it set the tone for similar debates in Europe and Anglo-Saxon-dominated countries such as Australia and Canada. It usually revolves around lobbying from US giants against local companies in New Zealand. The lobbying is done through law firms and front groups, but sometimes it’s done more directly (risking backlash and brand erosion for the likes of Microsoft and IBM).
The fight is back in a big way and there are many articles in the local media, as well as the international media. The Institute of IT Professionals has just had the corporate media in New Zealand lobbying for TPP, as expected, despite it being an evil secretive deal, enabling more systemic looting by the world’s super-rich. Some myths and classic nonsense get propagated, but there is also criticism of the secrecy, for instance: “Despite some of the potentially positive matters outlined below, we still hold concerns about the detail – or rather, lack of it. As the negotiations are being held in private, the actual wording being negotiated is restricted to negotiators and other government officials only. This means we and others can’t undertake independent analysis of the impact of what is being agreed until negotiations are complete.”
Rob O’Neill, who has used his role at the CBS-owned ZDNet to fight back against software patents in his country, now explains “How New Zealand’s software patent ban can survive the TPP”.
“Officials give assurances there will be no changes to software patents, ISP liability and parallel importation,” he wrote the other day. Does he really trust these officials given their terrible track record on other secrets? Remember how John Key repeatedly lied about surveillance. It was only when leaks came out (undoing the secrecy) that he had to respond like an angry brat, shooting the messengers rather than admit that he had lied.
It may sometimes seem like the corporate press helps raise scrutiny rather than help the corporations that own the media. Despite that, on the very same day IDG hosted (at ComputerWorld) a notable lobbyist these days for software patents (Martin Goetz). He is now treated as a guest author in this nonsensical piece denying the existence of patents on software, even if he’s just reposting there (plus some “NZ” added) what he very recently wrote for lobbyists of software patents in IP Watchdog (patent lawyers with an exceptionally big mouth). How dumb does he think the readers are?
The people who want software patents in New Zealand are basically blackmailing for changed laws, using sanctions in reverse. As Clare Curran (MP) put it the other day, “Will Groser trade NZ innovation 4 dairy? Software sector raises concern over patents 2 secure access 4 dairy products”
See this Australian article which supports what she wrote and take note of this article from New Zealand:
While not unanimous, there is strong consensus from the industry against software patents. “In a 2013 poll of over 1,000 New Zealand IT Professionals across the sector, around 94% of those with a view wanted to see software patents gone,” Taylor says.
“Following significant work by IITP and others, the Government agreed and modified the Patents Act to protect New Zealand technology firms from software patents in their home market.”
“The patent system doesn’t work for software. Research shows it’s near impossible for software to be developed without breaching some of the hundreds of thousands of software patents awarded around the world, often for ‘obvious’ work.
The government is of course lying and misrepresenting the opposition. It just wants this deal sealed and done for the plutocrats, some of whom are not even based in New Zealand at all. As one author put it the other day, alluding to Groser: “The government is also running the line that those same hard core anti-TPP protesters have opposed every single trade deal that New Zealand has entered. This is willfully deceptive in that it assumes the TPP is a free trade deal – when in reality, several of its most noxious provisions are anti-trade in that they entrench existing corporate advantage.
“Also, regular protest is necessary because successive “trade” pacts have included the same objectionable elements for well over 20 years. Almost identical investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms (which enable corporations to sue sovereign governments when they pass laws that infringe on profit expectations) have cropped up in mooted trade deals ever since the MAI (Multilateral Agreement on Trade) proposals in the 1990s. Eventually, the MAI was defeated by a mass mobilization around the world very similar to the anti-TPP protests today. It can be done.”
New Zealand is under attack. It’s not just affecting software professionals but also countries outside of New Zealand, which is why we hope that citizens of New Zealand will get involved and help crush TPP. The assurances given by government officials are just lies and a shallow form of deception whose purpose it to sell the deal. Once it’s signed there’s no going back. █
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Summary: The plot to monopolise more of what is public (e.g. public domain, common knowledge) gradually unravels as people secretly (dodging public participation) congregate to centralise power structures, opportunistic predation, costly litigation, and enforcement of demands from corporations (like I.S.D.S.)
IT IS saddening to see that despite some patent progress which is being made in the US, owing for the most to SCOTUS*, other countries/islands/continents regress and essentially derail their own economy. It’s a class war waged between multinational corporations, i.e. plutocrats without borders, and everyone else, irrespective of nationality. It’s a large-scale heist cleverly disguised as harmonisation of national and international laws.
Not too long ago we explained how the software patents debate in New Zealand was being bypassed or worked around in secret. Some vigilant people caught this secretive ploy and alerted the media, calling for action while fighting back against software patents. Now there is a press release and resultant/accompanying media coverage from the local/national media, even ZDNet outside the country [1, 2, 3, 4]. Will this be enough? Well, it’s only the beginning of what could become a very long struggle. New Zealand has already devised the same loophole that Europe is sneakily using in order to allow software patenting, provided it’s tied to some unspecified device.
Speaking of Europe, the Unified Patent Court (UPC) ‘harmonisation’ ploy is well under way as here in Britain, without public consent (no referendum, no polling, not even a Parliamentary debate), the London division of the UPC [is surprisingly] announced”. Yes, the patent parasites (practitioners) just jump the gun and according to this report, “UK Intellectual Property Office has announced the new location of the London section of the Unified Patent Court.”
So UK-IPO basically ignores the standard authorities and procedures, just like the EPO‘s management. One might say that they virtually operate outside the law, much like the Mafia. They know what’s good for them and they don’t bother consulting the public. According to IP Kat, a blog of patent maximalists from London, the Enlarged Board (tackling EPO disputes) finally has something to reveal.
Just like these secret (and now notorious) ‘trade’ deals which we rarely write about (even though more is known about them now), these patent conspiracies (or collusions) serve to just enrich a meta-industry of people who profit from taxation of real practitioners — people whose practice is producing stuff like software and machines. █
* According to Patent Buddy, the SCOTUS ruling in Alice keeps squashing software patents. “New PTO eMod system,” allegedly (no link to the source), “seamlessly generates automated § 101 rejection on every appl’n, saving the PTO millions of $$ a year in exam costs.”
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Corporations rely on people remaining ignorant, apathetic and docile like sheep
Summary: The TPPA serves to override (launder) the law of New Zealand, allegedly legalising patents on software in the process
MUCH of the software patents debate in New Zealand happened 2 years ago and about 5 years ago. We also wrote about it the other day, having noticed revisionism in the media.
Well, software patents are now being pushed from the back door (bypassing public debate), as today’s ZDNet article serves to remind us:
Negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement appear likely to undo New Zealand’s ban on software patents.
The president of the New Zealand Open Source Society is “livid” that New Zealand’s Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiating team appears to have already conceded the country’s newly-minted ban on software patents.
Lane said leaks of the negotiating position show that at one point only Mexico was holding the line on software patents and New Zealand appeared to have already conceded.
The implication is New Zealand’s new software patent law, passed just two years ago, will need to be reversed if the TPPA is inked.
“I think it would be fair to say that I haven’t seen any indication that there is anything positive for New Zealand in this at all,” Lane said. “The only motivation that I’ve been able to discern for taking part in the process is the somewhat dogmatic idea that if we are not part of this then we are going to miss out on something.”
It is clear that corporations and plutocrats always get what they want unless people fight back. We encourage people in New Zealand, not just software developers, to rise up and resist this injustice. It’s a nonviolent coup attempt. █
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Summary: Setting the record straight on the fight against software patents in New Zealand
HALF a decade ago we wrote a great deal about the patents debate in New Zealand because there was serious risk of software patents invading another country. Being a Five Eyes country, if it happens in New Zealand, then it can be further expanded to Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada, just like many oppressive laws, especially in recent years (because “terrorism!” or “ISIS!” or something like that). Colonial/imperialist legacy has plenty to teach us about manufacturing and exploitation of public panic to sway public opinion and thereafter change laws.
A new article from the press in New Zealand points out the relationship between lobbying for software patents and so-called ‘trade’ deals (protectionism for multinationals). Paul Brislen is quoted sparingly and it says the following: “The negotiations had been conducted in secret and the New Zealand IT industry was concerned.”
Yes, same thing happened when it came to software patents. Large corporations such as Microsoft and IBM lobbied in secret.
Another quote: “One of the biggest issues for New Zealand was the country’s patent law and the issues for copyright.”
Copyright is an interesting one. As we now know, based on the Kim Dotcom case in New Zealand, the US Department of Justice and the FBI now apparently reign over New Zealand.
Another quote: “Parliament passed a new law about two years ago because the previous patent legislation did not cover software and IP, Mr Brislen said.”
Plutocrats and their corporations never rest until they get what they want. It can be a constant battle for power.
Another quote: “The legislation was held up for a long time while the Government debated how to respond to lobbying to introduce a law which would devalue patents.”
Patents needn’t be “devalued”, many need to be abolished, especially software patents.
Last quote: “The industry lobbied the Government to say software should not be subject to a patent.”
Well, that’s what companies from New Zealand said, but not foreign companies like Microsoft and IBM, which also used their lawyers in New Zealand to pressure the government,
Don’t let the media (especially in New Zealand) rewrite history. Software developers from New Zealand did a fine job mostly (not entirely because a loophole was left in tact, just like in Europe) defending themselves from patent aggressors and software monopolists from abroad. The article has flaws in it, but at least it recalls a big and important battle over software patents — one that Europe and the US hardly even have anymore. All that the press talks about right now is “trolls”. █
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Brainwash system that any dictator would be proud of
Summary: How Microsoft continues to interject itself into schools, turning education into indoctrination
OVER the years we have covered examples where Microsoft pretty much bribed nations in order to prevent them from teaching anything other than Microsoft at schools. It is too hard to forget what Microsoft did to Russian schools when they were planning to move to GNU/Linux.
The idea of indoctrination for lock-in and corporate goals (at taxpayers’ expense) is not a novel one. Microsoft has mastered the skill of corrupting schooling systems, which are now corrupted even further and fastr by Bill Gates through his heavyweight lobbying apparatus.
“The idea of indoctrination for lock-in and corporate goals (at taxpayers’ expense) is not a novel one.”This new report, titled “Microsoft wins spot in school curriculum” (euphemisms galore), gives us a new example of the above pattern. It says: “In a move that will be hailed both as in the interest of preparing children for the workforce and as a commercial creep into the school yard, Microsoft has won the right to be featured in the Queensland’s high school curriculum.
“From next year, students in 275 high schools will be able to gain credit toward their leaving certificates for completing units from the Microsoft IT Academy’s suite of 400 online courses.
“Units cover topics from basic internet security to technical certifications for enterprise software products such as SQL Server and SharePoint.
“A spokesperson for the Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment (DETE) said the courses would be integrated predominately into maths subjects and vocational courses, such as certificates in IT and business. The program has been piloted at Albany Creek High School this year.”
What’s beyond comprehensible if why the author of this article won’t point out the obvious. Being corporate press, this is probably expected, but to describe this as some sort of “job creator” is beyond silly; it is malicious. Australia needs to build its own s and in order to achieve this it needs to adopt Free/libre technologies as Squiz did (a CMS made in Australia, now widely used in government). To shove Microsoft down children’s throat because it’s “in the curriculum” is clearly corruption, but Microsoft has made it so standard that many people are blind to the fact. █
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Summary: Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is increasingly being adopted by those whose budget comes from the public (through the state)
Federal agencies are said to be embracing more and more FOSS  and Australia follows a similar trajectory , realising that savings and quality through sharing and collaboration serve the public better. In education, which is also funded by taxpayers (and thus should serve the public), FOSS has new gains  and in healthcare too we see major signs of progress [4-6]. What makes the public sector so unique is that by definition it must serve the public interest, which typically means creating jobs for domestic developers, reducing spendings on unnecessary software, and giving back all the code to the public which paid for it. Every branch of the public sector should make FOSS obligatory, not just a recommended item. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
Federal agencies, looking for new ways to lower their IT costs, are exploiting open-source software tools in a wider range of applications, not only to reduce software costs, but also to tighten network security, streamline operations, and reduce expenses in vetting applications and services.
The South Australian Government is considering running a trial of the Joinup platform, hoping to use it as their internal sharing and collaboration platform, a spokesperson for the CIO confirmed today. According to Stephen Schmid, general manager of the Open Technology Foundation, the South Australian is also working towards federating the internal platform with Openray, a similar platform open to the public sector in Australia and New Zealand.
Littlebits is disrupting the open hardware space. It’s “an open source library of electronic modules that snap together with magnets for prototyping, learning, and fun.” The company is the invention of Ayah Bdeir, an MIT graduate and TED senior fellow, and was founded in September 2011.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the open source IT community have paired up to prove the benefits of fixing technical security flaws within an open source system. According to the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent (OSEHRA) corporation, Georgia Tech graduate student Doug Mackey evaluated the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) EHR for a term project on computer security and found a substantial security vulnerability.
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National press in Australia (corporate news) complicit in Gates’ agenda
Summary: How a “successful” (as in profitable) criminal bought the press, rebuilt his public image, and is now on a crusade to make a lot more money while the press misinforms the public, saying he distributes (gives away) his ill-gotten money
THE Gates Foundation has been discussed in our IRC channels quite a lot as of late. Australian members of this site are unhappy to see their so-called elected leaders hanging out with a famous criminal like it’s some kind of a badge of honour. Gates is buying the press (literally) in Australia and it is a recipe for disaster. It is not about helping journalists but about enlisting them for PR. Journalists these days are not talking about the business crimes of billionaires like the Rockefellers* and they are only ever mentioning Gates in a positive connotation because their editors or publishers know the implicit rule that money comes from PR, not criticism. Watch Associated Press whitewashing Rockefeller while lumping in Gates and the Bill Gates-funded [1, 2] BBC doing the same. Some criminals go to jail; but if they are big enough they get a bailout (taxpayers’ money) and get characterised as heroes and business champions.
“Some criminals go to jail; but if they are big enough they get a bailout (taxpayers’ money) and get characterised as heroes and business champions.”The Gates-funded BBC uses promotional language like “Rockefeller (and most other private foundations) is dwarfed in size by the Gates Foundation, which has assets of more than $36bn.”
It almost correctly notes that “The Gates Foundation is also Rockefeller’s partner in the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, and Ms Rodin says it is a “terrific” partner.”
It’s not a a green revolution, it’s “Green Revolution” (capitalised). It is exactly the opposite of green. It’s greenwashing of seed monopoly by Monsanto et al. Gates is an investor; he’s in it for money. It’s about gaining wealth through monopoly on the food supply — a subject we covered here dozens of times before.
The Gates-funded BBC doesn’t say that this is a for-profit GMO alliance. The BBC has been publishing many pro-GMO/Monsanto pieces (or ignoring criticism) since Gates bribed it (to a certain degree the same has been true about The Guardian since Gates bribed it). We gave several examples of this. Appalling? Yes, but nonetheless very true. We are not unique in the making of this observation. This is actually a growing trend in alternative media and to a growing extent in some mainstream media too (they have to keep up with common knowledge and neglect PR).
“It’s not a a green revolution, it’s “Green Revolution” (capitalised). It is exactly the opposite of green.”To quote a noteworthy old article which has Gates and Rockefeller mentioned in tandem in relation to their pro-Monsanto agenda in Africa and the rest of world (monopoly on food), they sure have a “doomsday seed vault”. They seem to realise the problem with GMO, but GMO is about profit. Bill Gates just getting richer, he is not losing wealth. He is disseminating lies in the media to make it seem as though he is a giver, not a taker. Radio Australia says in this summary that “Bill Gates announced he would donate almost all of his fortune to charitable causes” (he is only getting richer a decade after saying this, so it’s more like expanding his fortune to widen the lead as the world’s richest man while also trying to portray himself as world’s most generous man).
We found this very gross article, too. The old headline was “Bill Gates: Richest Man and Also one of the Most Generous – ABC News” (this headline is not visible anymore, but we grabbed it from cache).
“It’s not hard to grasp the facts, it’s just hard to get the truth/facts past conservative editors and publishers of corporate media (where profit, i.e. advertising, comes before accuracy).”it is troubling enough seeing one engaging in crime; what’s even more blood pressure-raising is seeing criminals who do this injustice (with direct harm to those around them) literally buying themselves hero status, getting all the credit for the work of volunteers whom they looted, destroyed, demonised, and so forth.
Well, the editor changed the headline, so it is hard to show the nerve of this branch of corporate media. ABS is corporate press, very extremely so. The Australian press has been doing PR for Gates amidst a visit. Never mind if Gates and Microsoft are both tax evaders (too rich to pay tax), the Australian press will reverse the facts. Yes, tax evader Bill Gates keeps saying the rich should pay more tax and the Australian media prints that, completely without challenge (just like in the US press of Gates' Australian friend and partner Rupert Murdoch last month [1, 2]), not noting that this foundation is an apparatus of tax exemptions, like many other such foundations.
For those with a strong stomach, here is some more gross PR from the corporate news sites. Well, it’s merely a lobbying trip to Gates in Australia and it’s paying off. The agenda and business model is usually relaying tax money (by lobbying politicians) to Gates’ private investments — companies whose manufacturing costs less than one percent of the retail price, so publicly-stated ‘donation’ numbers are grossly overstated and someone — some shareholders (wink-wink) — pockets the massive margins. Here is a lobbying pitch from the man who got his wealth using illegal business tactics like sabotage designed to derail law-abiding competitors. Go figure why nobody in the corporate press dares to point this out. It’s not hard to grasp the facts, it’s just hard to get the truth/facts past conservative editors and publishers of corporate media (where profit, i.e. advertising, comes before accuracy). █
* There are many books and documentaries about it, spanning approximately one century, but it is definitely not worth delving into at Techrights as it’s not technology related.
“Don’t encourage new, cross-platform Java classes, especially don’t help get great Win 32 implementations written/deployed. [...] Do encourage fragmentation of the Java classlib space.”
–Ben Slivka, Microsoft
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Summary: A case of business abuse in the former British colony made relevant now that the UK ponders dumping Microsoft
In the UK, FOSS proponents celebrate a government interim decision to favour FOSS wherever possible. Microsoft likes to bribe, so we must keep a close eye on what’s happening. Meanwhile, says this report from the British press, Microsoft is under fire in Australia, a debt-saddled nation, for price gouging in government:
Adobe and Microsoft’s Australia’s managing directors have both struggled to answer hours of tough questions from Australia’s Parliamentary inquiry into IT pricing.
Apple’s Tony King was the first witness to front members of parliament for ninety minutes today of MPs today, and acquitted himself well.
Every morning on the radio I hear about our government’s plan to cut ‘spendings’ on benefits for the poor. Rarely is it suggested that Microsoft contracts get dropped and Britain made dependent only on itself for software. █
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