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04.15.14

Lawsuit by Microsoft Shareholder Targets Fine for Crimes Rather Than the Crimes Themselves

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, Courtroom, Microsoft at 10:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A new lawsuit by a Microsoft shareholder shows everything that’s wrong with today’s model of accountability, where those who are responsible for crimes are accused of not avoiding fines rather than committing the crimes

THE MENTALITY OF greedy investors, and more so investors who put their money in a criminal enterprise, is worth noting. Microsoft has a long history of crime and the investors occasionally sue not because the act of committing crime is bad but because Microsoft fails to dodge the fines (i.e. there is conviction for the crimes).

Here we have a new example of an investor in a criminal company complaining about the wrong thing. To quote the Indian press: “The lawsuit, brought by shareholder Kim Barovic in federal court in Seattle on Friday, charges that directors and executives, including founder Bill Gates and former chief executive officer Steve Ballmer, failed to manage the company properly and that the board’s investigation was insufficient into how the miscue occurred.”

The problem is not that they “failed to manage the company properly”; as we saw in court documents, the crimes go all the way to the top and include instructions from Bill Gates, who chose to break competition laws. This “Supreme Villain” is now spending his wealth on PR (distracting from his crimes), in order to gain yet more wealth while paying virtually nothing in tax.

Here is a new article about protests against Bill Gates profiteering from private prisons.

Criminals rarely change their spots, they just change how the public perceives them. Gates was personally responsible for many of Microsoft’s crimes (and we have the documents to prove it), but nowadays he is busy bribing much of the press and even blogs in order to paint a different picture while he keeps hoarding a lot more money (at everyone else’s expense). Historically there were people like Gates who used the same tactics to alter public opinion. What’s truly shameful is that the biggest (more expensive) crimes still lead to no jail sentence, especially when the government is funded and run by corporations.

01.16.14

Patent Troll MPHJ Run by Lawyer Jay Mac Rust, Sending Nastygrams to 16,465 Businesses For Using Scanners

Posted in Courtroom, Patents at 7:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Highlighting the problem with software patents using the story of just one entity that uses them for coercion and extortion

AS we have pointed out before, many patent trolls are run by lawyers, who are sometimes hiding behind a mask of secrecy. The father of patent trolling, Ray Niro, is himself a patent lawyer. According to a good report from Joe Mullin (longtime trolls expert), Jay Mac Rust is the man behind one of today’s most notorious trolls [1], not to be confused with today’s biggest patent troll, which is closely tied to Microsoft. Watch the photo of that smug man dressed up as a cowboy.

Another new article from Joe Mullin [2] focuses on another patent troll, which was stopped only by SCOTUS, the same disappointing entity which ruled on the Bilski case, showing that it’s unwilling to address patent scope issue (Mullin too focuses on trolls, but rarely on patent scope).

It should be remember that the patents themselves are the problem; many patent trolls used them, as Joe Mullin once demonstrated (around 70% of cases use software patents). What the courts need to do is tackle patent scope (all in one fell swoop), not just trolls (one at a time).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Patent stunner: Under attack, nation’s most notorious “troll” sues federal gov’t

    MPHJ Technology Investments quickly became one of the best-known “patent trolls” of all time by sending out thousands of letters to small businesses—16,465 of them, we now know—saying that if the business did not pay a licensing fee of $1,000 or more per worker, it would be sued for patent infringement. MPHJ claimed to have patents that cover any networked “scan-to-email” function.

  2. “Shopping cart” patent rolls to a halt at the Supreme Court

    The company that pushed an “online shopping cart” patent into the courts—and successfully made tens of millions of dollars off it—has finally been stopped.

10.22.13

Great Britain Great at Surveillance and Great at Crushing Journalism

Posted in Courtroom at 8:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CBC journalists in Montreal

Summary: People who commit the act of journalism and inform the public (bringing new information to light) are being hunted down by the British government

IT IS very disappointing to see this new letter [PDF] which suggests that the UK’s war on journalism is getting worse and worse [1, 2]. As a British resident who runs a Web site which challenges surveillance, I can’t say I’m pleased to see this. For a nation that prides itself in the freedom of the press, this is beyond bad; it’s horrible and it resembles what we are accustomed to seeing in nations like China or Russia, and increasingly the United States too.

“They want all the privacy in the world for themselves and none for the rest of us.”There are many important things to be learned from the NSA leaks [1], which reveal criminal activities and even espionage [2]. How can the showing of crime (for scrutiny) itself be a crime? The US should consider disbanding the NSA, DHS, etc. [3] after all those scandals, which so-called ‘democratic’ politicians choose to defend under the false premise of “against terror” [4,5].

New reports help reveal that proprietary software is part of the problem [6] and that Tor, which is Free software, is really loathed by spies. No wonder liberal/freedom-leaning journalism too is despised so much by spies. They want all the privacy in the world for themselves and none for the rest of us. It should be noted that without Tor, these NSA leaks from Edward Snowden probably wouldn’t have happened. The war on privacy, as Richard Stallman stresses, is crushing journalism and defends injustice. For those whose journalistic work is actually about justice and is basically real journalism (not funded by corporations — directly or through the state — to serve an agenda) this is troubling news. Reportrrs in the West, including in the UK, is being given the chilling effect. In fact, there is a parallel strong effort to label anything which is real journalism not journalism and whatever distracts the public from real issues “professional” journalism (meaning that someone pays a salary in return for something).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The top 5 things we’ve learned about the NSA thanks to Edward Snowden

    What we’ve learned:

    American telcos are compelled to routinely hand over metadata to the government
    Digital surveillance programs capture vast amounts of data: PRISM and XKeyscore
    US companies have done little to resist government pressure
    NSA’s sister organization, GCHQ, does what the NSA can’t
    NSA analysts even used capabilities to spy on their exes

  2. Fresh Leak on US Spying: NSA Accessed Mexican President’s Email

    The NSA has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican government for years. It hacked into the president’s public email account and gained deep insight into policymaking and the political system. The news is likely to hurt ties between the US and Mexico.

  3. Instead Of Nominating New DHS Boss, Obama Should Look At Disbanding DHS

    As you may have heard, last week President Obama nominated Jeh Johnson, the former General Counsel of the Defense Department, to be the new head of the Department of Homeland Security. While he’s certainly better than some other proposed candidates, he’s not exactly known as a supporter for civil liberties. He’s been a point person defending the use of drone-strikes, even on US citizens. He also has defended the collection of metadata by the NSA. Oh, and in his remarks after President Obama announced the nomination, he talked all about 9/11 and how he’s spent his time since then trying to act in response to that.

  4. Feinstein defends NSA data collection and insists program is ‘not surveillance’
  5. In Wall Street Journal, Senator Dianne Feinstein Insidiously Defends NSA Surveillance
  6. How Apple’s Address Book app could allow the NSA to harvest your contacts

    When syncing your Address Book to Gmail, HTTPS encryption isn’t an option.

  7. ‘Tor Stinks’ presentation – read the full document

    Top-secret presentation says ‘We will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time’ but ‘with manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users’

10.18.13

New Strategy for Fighting Software Patents

Posted in Courtroom, Law, Patents at 10:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Taking into account systemic corruption in law and politics (Chris Dodd shown below)

Christopher Dodd

Summary: When law is controlled and composed (by proxy) by corporations and their lobbyists, a new strategy for reform is needed

WHEN the highest court (SCOTUS) relies on a broken Internet (where material just vanishes [1]) and judges are political and/or tied to corporations, it is no surprise and there is no reason to wonder why there’s reluctance to end bribery/corruption (euphemisms include “campaign-finance”). The ‘legal’ system is so broken that even innocent people who were unjustly punished oughtn’t bother suing [3] and guilty cults that defraud thousands and run their own prison system walk away free, despite being recognised as organised fraud in other, more civilised nations [4]. It seems like in the eyes of this ‘legal’ system, dissent against crime or the pursuit of justice are now the real enemy. This is the sign of a a legal system entering a state of calamitous collapse. To blindly assume its moral higher ground would be unwise.

It has been about 2 months since we last covered patents on a regular basis. This is not a coincidence. Having campaigned against software patents since my days as a student, I hardly see any progress. In Europe, debate focuses on unification with US patent law (the typical cross-Atlantic treaty loophole), in New Zealand the fight against software patents never ends (even when the arguments are all settled), and in the US the debate is totally dead; all they talk about right now are “patent trolls”.

Fighting against a system which is inherently broken and does not permit progress — just fake Change® — is a tiresome exercise. It feels like a waste of energy. Larry Lessig tried to reform copyright law for years. He hardly succeeded. Corrupt politicians like Chris Dodd — those who literally bribe Congress — always get their way. Lessig understood this after years of campaigning regarding copyright law. Instead, after years of wasted effort, he turned his attention to fighting corruption in US Congress. it’s no simple task, either. Perhaps we too, at least in the coming years, will need to dedicate some time to fighting the patent issue from a political angle, not just a technical and logical angle. From the technical point of view, the argument was resolved a long time ago. Developers reached a consensus. But the patent lawyers and their lawyer/politician friends stand in the way and they will never give way to change unless they are named and shamed. SCOTUS and CAFC are part of the problem because their decisions continue to legitimise software patents.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Link Rot and the US Supreme Court

    “Hyperlinks are not forever. Link rot occurs when a source you’ve linked to no longer exists — or worse, exists in a different state than when the link was originally made. Even permalinks aren’t necessarily permanent if a domain goes silent or switches ownership. According to new research from Harvard Law, some 49% of hyperlinks in Supreme Court documents no longer point to the correct original content. A second study on link rot from Yale stresses that for the Court footnotes, citations, parenthetical asides, and historical context mean as much as the text of an opinion itself, which makes link rot a threat to future scholarship.”

  2. Obama’s Lawyer Should Have Used Originalism to Sway Originalist Justices

    If he had met a conservative Court on its own ground, the solicitor general could have notched a victory for liberalism—and helped safeguard campaign-finance protections.

  3. Unlawfully Detained by the U.S. Government? Don’t Bother Suing.

    Last Monday, on the same day as the opening of the new Supreme Court term, the federal appeals court in San Francisco threw out a damages suit by a former Guantánamo detainee who alleged that his detention and his treatment while detained had been unlawful. The decision by a unanimous three-judge panel in Hamad v. Gates did not hold that the plaintiff’s rights hadn’t been violated; rather, it held that it lacked the power to even address that question because of a 2006 statute that appears to take away the jurisdiction of the federal courts in such cases. Although there are reasons to quibble with the Ninth Circuit’s analysis, the result underscores a far broader point about which there can be no dispute: In case after case, on issues ranging from Guantánamo to surveillance to “extraordinary rendition” and torture, the federal courts have been categorically hostile to damages claims arising out of post-September 11 counterterrorism policies. And as in Hamad, this hostility has been reflected in the courts’ reliance upon a host of procedural doctrines to reject the plaintiffs’ claims without actually adjudicating—one way or the other—the underlying legality of the government’s conduct.

  4. Scientology’s fraud conviction upheld in France

    France’s top appeals court has upheld a fraud conviction and fines totalling hundreds of thousands of euros against the Church of Scientology, for taking advantage of vulnerable followers.

09.26.13

File Sharing Can Never be Stopped, So a Wise Company Would Not Bother Trying

Posted in Courtroom at 10:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Obey

Summary: The latest news regarding copyright and a perpetual war on the act of passing zeroes and ones around

COPYRIGHT infringement is illegal and that is not the question at stake. What’s at stake is our ability to share data with our peers, family, and friends. If data sharing can be suppressed, then we are left dependent on a so-called “content industry” which sells us temporary access to its so-called “content”. We become so-called “consumers” who distrust our friends and only ever go to multinational corporations for our so-called “entertainment”. A few days ago we mentioned how copyright infringement gets used to shut down medium after medium to suppress dissemination of data, be it family videos or whatever else. It seems like people nowadays choose surveillance platforms like Facebook to share such stuff (with the NSA and also perhaps with some other people who registered with the same surveillance platform).

“Sometimes a flaw needs to be treated like a given, then worked around, like an alternative business model.”The argument here is not over copyright law or copyright infringement. It’s about how far the copyright monopoly/cartel should be allowed to go and subvert our laws using the magical “copyright infringement” wand. The monopoly/cartel is already disrupting search engines [1], indoctrinating our children at our expense (taxpayers fund schools) [2], and sending people to prison for many years [3] for merely managing a service that can be used legally or illegally (depending on its users). Fortunately, however, the monopoly/cartel is losing this war. It’s a game of whack-a-mole. When I discovered that DropBox was flirting with the NSA I deleted the account (although the NSA can probably access data retroactively, even after account deletion) and moved to Mega. I never upload anything which constitutes copyright infringement, but this is a matter of principles. Enough is enough.

Next month there is going to be an event here in Manchester, organised by the Pirate Party UK. In the UK, more than in most other nations, the monopoly/cartel has been very conveniently rewriting the law to reduce online sharing, kill Web anonymity, and generally keep a digital dossier on everyone. Clearly, however, when it comes to copyright infringement the monopoly/cartel has hardly been successful. The Internet’s userbase being eavesdropped on would not suffice; people can also copy files using storage devices (some laws try to tax these under the presumption of copyright infringement), so activity associated with sharing just evolves and goes underground. DRM is the plague infecting those who try the monopoly’s “official” channels, so in a sense it has the effect of driving many people away from these channels. Some companies might feel very angry about copyright infringement. They might feel like great injustice is happening, but that in its own right is no assurance that a remedy or a solution will ever be made available. Sometimes a flaw needs to be treated like a given, then worked around, like an alternative business model.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. How Google Algorithm Changes Hit Torrent Site Traffic

    During the past week the MPAA has been reiterating its complaints that Google doesn’t do enough to slow down Internet piracy. However, speaking with TorrentFreak the admin of one of the world’s largest torrent sites claims that the world’s largest search engine has made numerous tweaks to its algorithms over the past 18 months that have had quite an impact on search traffic.

  2. Downloading Is Mean! Content Industry Drafts Anti-Piracy Curriculum for Elementary Schools

    Listen up children: Cheating on your homework or cribbing notes from another student is bad, but not as bad as sharing a music track with a friend, or otherwise depriving the content-industry of its well-earned profits.

  3. BitTorrent Admins Face Six Years in Jail After Spanish Govt. Approves New Bill

    From previously being exceptionally lenient on those publishing links to copyrighted files without permission, Spain is now well on its way to cracking down on the problem. Amendments to the country’s penal code approved yesterday means that admins of sites offering links to copyrighted works without the owners’ permission could face jail sentences of up to six years. For individual file-sharers and those operating P2P software, the outlook is much better.

  4. Mega Relives Megaupload Fame, Overtakes RapidShare

    Just eight months after its launch Kim Dotcom’s Mega has established itself as one of the dominant players in the secure file-storage business. The site has now earned a spot among the top 1,000 most-visited websites on the Internet, overtaking its direct competitor RapidShare. Kim Dotcom says that Mega is already 50% of Megaupload in terms of the number of files stored, and that’s just the beginning.

  5. Opinion: Why we need to get together

    But it will all be worth it if you can get down to Manchester, take a look at what is happening, and let us know what you want to do next. There is lots to do and we need people to help us do it, the more people we have the faster we can achieve our aims. Our Party is doing more, more effectively, it is managing to have an impact in local elections and we punch above our weight on the national stage, whether it’s in the press, or in meetings with OFCOM, that isn’t going to stop. The leaks from Edward Snowden over the last months show that so many of the things we do and work on are vital.

09.25.13

As the World ‘Progresses’ Protest is Being Banned in the United States and Its Allies

Posted in Courtroom at 5:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not just Russia…

Pussy Riot

Summary: How any effective protest (in its newer, online gown) is being banned and severely punished for in the West, with jail sentences far longer than Pussy Riot’s members have to endure

FREE SPEECH is dying and new forms of protest, which evolve to deal with an increasingly digital world, are being treated like crime worse than even rape and murder in some cases. Journalism that is favourable to protesters (or whistleblowers) is also being criminalised.

The control grid in the United States is expanding [1] with more and more biological footprints of more and more people. The NSA is basically taking digital footprints of just about anyone in the world who uses a phone, the Internet, a bank account, etc. Scary stuff.

Barrett Brown helped show that Anonymous, an amorphous group which thrives in anonymity while it protests online, is not just criminalised but even those who help explain what it does are being criminalised [2]. This is US law that’s being used against Barrett Brown, not something from a nation like North Korea.

Make no mistake. The US government can also harass, prosecute, and almost abduct anyone it doesn’t like right now [3]. Russia even warns about it openly [4]. Just look what’s being done to Julian Assange, which the US government is trying to sort of kidnap via Sweden (that ‘nuisance’ called International Law is the only thing allowing Ecuador to defend Assange from the US government’s allies in the UK). What this comes to show is that Sweden — like the UK — is like a branch of the US now. It helps the US spy on Russia (Snowden’s leaks show this clearly) and Obama has just gone to Stockholm to disrupt the city for a bit [5,6].

Don’t believe for a second that we in the West are so much morally superior. It’s the façade we are encourage to blindly accept if we habitually watch state and corporate media in our language.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Biometrics Center to open next summer

    A year from now, employees of two federal agencies will be searching for potential terrorists from a new 360,000-square-foot building on the FBI’s Clarksburg campus.

  2. Mapping the evidence that connects the law firm Barrett Brown investigated with his prosecution
  3. “Homeless hacker” Commander X quits Anonymous, retreats to robot lab

    Last year, I traveled to Canada to write a long profile of “homeless hacker” Christopher Doyon, who goes by the name “Commander X” and who is on the run from the US government. (Doyon brought down a California county’s website for 30 minutes, with the help of Anonymous, as part of his protest over an “anti-sleeping” law targeting homeless people; he is under indictment in the Northern District of California and is the only known Anon who has jumped bail to live “in exile.”) Doyon’s life has been by turns bizarre and dramatic, but last week the online drama surrounding Anonymous proved too much even for him—and he quit.

    [...]

    “So I quit. I am closing down the PLF. I have replaced all those sites three times this summer. I can take no more. I am done. Trolls win.”

  4. Russia Issues Travel Warning to Its Citizens About United States and Extradition

    Countries often issue travel advisories warning citizens of danger abroad: war, for instance, or a terrorist threat or an outbreak of disease. The Russian Foreign Ministry posted advice of a somewhat different nature on Monday, cautioning people wanted by the United States not to visit nations that have an extradition treaty with it.

  5. Stockholm braces for Obama traffic circus
  6. Stockholm police: Don’t drive during Obama visit

08.26.13

The Rise of Sites and Comments Censorship

Posted in Courtroom at 3:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Markos Moulitsas Zúniga
Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, censorship officer at Daily Kos

Summary: Not only governments but also those who pretend to be against governments’ abuse of power are engaged in censorship

The Web is becoming hostile to free speech and not only governments [1] are to blame. Some feeble-minded people call posters whom they don’t agree with trolls and then delete their words while insisting that they support free speech [2,3]. Freedom and censorship cannot co-exist. The latter example, Daily Kos, deleted many accounts of someone who hangs out in our IRC channels because he vigorously opposed war crimes and wanted Bush arrested. Even in a ‘leftist’ site like Daily Kos this is apparently not allowed. Comments oughtn’t be there to worship or decorate one’s own message (article’s author), they should be there to present a diversity of views, including disagreement. Anything else would be a farce in disguise, like Linux ‘Advocates’ (if Dietrich does not agree, the comment gets deleted). Below are two new examples of this trend getting worse and worse, with restrictions increased and regulations tightening.

Techrights never deleted any comments and it never will. Free speech is all about defending the speech of those whose views you may find objectionable and even untrue. Liberalism is allowing others whom we don’t agree with voice their opinions (which we are then free to ridicule, not suppress). Those who don’t want to deal with opposing views are not — irrespective of what they say — anti-censorship, they are hypocrites at best.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Finnish Court Censors Website That Criticizes Censorship

    A website with the aim of addressing flaws in Finland’s secretive child porn filter has ending up on the same list. The Finnish Supreme Court has ruled that censoring the website is justified as it lists domain names of sites that are currently blocked. While the site itself doesn’t host or link to illegal content, the court argues that society’s obligation ‘to protect the children’ trumps freedom of speech in this case.

  2. Huffington: Trolls uglier than ever, so we’re cutting off anonymous comments

    The days of anonymous commenting on The Huffington Post are numbered. Founder Arianna Huffington said in a question-and-answer session with reporters in Boston Wednesday that the online news site plans to require users to comment on stories under their real names, beginning next month.

  3. New community guidelines, final draft

    Also, before we get into the rules, I saw Bob Johnson’s diary about the problems with the new instant posting. When we first added the waiting period, the idea was to weed out ideological trolls. When we eliminated that waiting period, our fear was that we’d be swamped with conservatives or third-party trolls. Instead, we’ve been hit hard with commercial spam. Who knew commercial spammers were being weeded out with a one-day waiting period?

05.19.13

Courtroom and New Book Recognise That Software Patents Correspond to Mathematics and Mathematics Abused in Court

Posted in Courtroom, Patents at 11:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Important observations about the nature of computer-implemented ‘inventions’, or software patents

Thanks to a recent decision against the patent troll called Uniloc we now know that “Even An East Texas Court Has Told Uniloc That It Can’t Patent Math”. The significance of this lies in the fact that software patents are characterised correctly for a change, even in the most patents-friendly places. There is a new “Math on Trial” book. It is not about patents but it’s about cases in the courtroom that are built solely on mathematics, or specifically mathematical errors. Let us hope that more literature and even courts will reinforce the position that mathematics have no place in the courtroom and software patents essentially correspond to monopoly on higher-level mathematics. Unless the judges are prepared to handle a whiteboard/blackboard, pick up a marker/chalk, and then analyse legal case in terms of equations and such, mathematics have no place on trial. Richard Stallman made the suggestion that software patents should be made unenforceable in the courts.

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