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10.16.14

Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

Posted in Law, Patents at 4:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court

THERE have been some victories recently against software patents. The patent lawyers have become either silent or rude. Well, the rude and shameless IP Watchdog is apparently upset by Steph, the patent trolls tracker who writes: “I don’t often get in fights on Twitter, but when I do, it’s with IP Watchdog because he’s a bully (only sometimes, but still) or with inventors who feel that any attempt at curbing patent trolls will adversely affect them and their ability to sue people who infringe on their ideas.”

As Pogson pointed out today, software patents are rapidly eroding in the US and last month there was an important development that Cory Doctorow draws attention to only now, spurring these remarks from Mike Masnick who wrote:

Judges Want To Make Life Harder On Patent Trolls: Want Them To Actually Have To Explain What Infringement Happened

I’d missed this one, but Cory Doctorow over at BoingBoing points our attention to the fact that, last month, the Judicial Conference voted to make a little-noticed change in patent lawsuits that should serve to make life more difficult for patent trolls. The details here are more complex than necessary, but the short version is that, under current rules, to file a patent infringement case, the initial complaint can be almost entirely bare bones: basically naming the plaintiff, defendant, patent and saying there’s infringement, but providing no real details on the infringement. That aids patent trolls, who often will file questionable lawsuits without even telling the defendant where the infringement occurs — leading defendants to have to go into the case a bit blind, and making it more appealing to just settle.

Earlier today IDG published an article by Simon Phipps. It relates to the above and days that “patent trolls have one fewer legal loophole to hide behind” (not just classic trolls, but also megatrolls like Microsoft, which often refuses to publicly disclose even patent numbers).

Things just keep getting better on this front.

Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

Posted in News Roundup at 3:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • New platform for open source in SA

    A new organisation wants to promote the use of open-source software in South Africa’s public and private sectors.

    “Not using this software in South Africa is detrimental to our economy and skills development,” says Open Source Software for South Africa (OSSSA) founder Charl Botha.

    Open-source software is software that does not conform to traditional software licence models and can be used and distributed freely.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 33 Has Been Added To The Default Repositories Of Ubuntu 14.04, Ubuntu 12.04 And Derivatives

        And it has been already added to the default repositories of Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr, Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, being available for both the two systems and their derivatives: Linux Mint 17 Qiana, Linux Mint 13 Maya, Pinguy OS 14.04, Elementary OS 0.3 Freya, Elementary OS 0.2 Luna, Deepin 2014, Peppermint Five, LXLE 14.04, Linux Lite 2.0 and others.

      • Mozilla to Disable SSL 3.0 in Firefox, Heralds “the End of SSL 3.0″

        “Another day, another vulnerability found in a critical piece of Internet infrastructure,” reported Jon Buys here on OStatic this week, as news arrived that Google has found that SSL 3.0 is vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack, which means someone could possibly snoop on secure communications between browsers and servers. The report detailing the POODLE vulnerability was published by Google last month, but is making headlines this week.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Juno Brings Big Data to the Cloud

      The 10th milestone release of the open-source cloud platform debuts with 310 new features and 3,200 bug fixes.

    • A cultural shift towards dynamic cloud environments

      Mark Hinkle is on the forefront of all things open source and cloud. He is currently responsible for Citrix efforts around Apache CloudStack, Open Daylight, Xen Project, and XenServer. At the All Things Open Conference, Mark’s Crash Course In Cloud Computing will teach how to pragmatically adopt cloud practices and gain cloud value.

    • Hortonworks Data Platform 2.2 Sharpens Focus on Enterprise Needs

      As the Strata Conference kicked off this week, Hortonworks announced its HDP 2.2 platform with general availability next month. HDP version 2.2 lets organizations adopt a modern data architecture with Hadoop YARN at the core.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • New OpenJDK 7: Update 71 with lots of fixes

      Oracle’s patch & release cycle culminated in two updates of their Java (runtime and development kit) since the last release of OpenJDK for which I provided packages. Today, we can enjoy a new IcedTea and therefore an updated OpenJDK which synchronizes to Oracle’s October security patch release (which offers Java 7 Update 71).

  • BSD

    • Linux-Turned-FreeBSD Distro Comes Up With A New Software License

      While the likes of SprezzOS as the “most beautiful and performant” Linux and OSu as the ultimate operating system have disappeared at the end of the day and are no longer providing comic relief or interesting ambitious debates to Linux users, that other distribution based on Ubuntu and then turned into a FreeBSD distribution is still standing. They’re out with an update today and have introduced their own open-source license.

    • Changes Coming For OpenBSD 5.6

      OpenBSD 5.6 is expected to be released at the start of November and with this release will come a large number of changes.

    • Quick look: PC-BSD 10.0.3

      PC-BSD 10.0.3 is based on FreeBSD 10. This release of PC-BSD includes Cinnamon 2.2.14, Chromium 37.0.2062.94, Nvidia driver 340.24, bug fixes for the AppCafe UI, support for full disk encryption, and a number of other bug fixes and improvements. You can read a full list of changes in the PC-BSD 10.0.3 release notes.

    • FreeBSD 10.1 RC2 Moves the Project Closer to Stable Release

      A new Release Candidate for FreeBSD 10.1, an operating system for x86, ARM, IA-64, PowerPC, PC-98, and UltraSPARC architectures, is now out and ready for testing. The developers are getting really close to the final versions, which should land very soon.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • man-pages-3.75 is released

      I’ve released man-pages-3.75. The release tarball is available on kernel.org. The browsable online pages can be found on man7.org. The Git repository for man-pages is available on kernel.org.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Fallout From Munich
    • Munich sticks with Free Software

      On Tuesday, Munich’s first mayor finally reacted to an inquiry by the Green Party (in German) related to rumours regarding a possible switch back to a Windows-based desktop environment. The answer to the inquiry shows that there is no factual basis for the claims made by first mayor and second mayor. An evaluation of the IT infrastructure and -processes is underway. FSFE calls on the city council to include vendor independence as well as interoperability as factors in the investigation, since they were central reasons for Munich to switch to Free Software in the first place.

      [...]

      In this manner, the employee-survey “Great Place to Work” from late 2013, used by Reiter and Schmid in their criticisms towards the Free Software used in the city, included various facets of the IT structure not related to software, ranging from hardware to support and telecommuting. It does not, however, offer any information on a possible relation of the employees’ problems with Free Software. This information is currently unavailable, as Reiter says within the answer.

    • Munich Mayor Still Wants to Find Out If Linux Is Economical

      Munich finished the transition to Linux from Windows and everything seemed to work just fine, at least until the current Mayor made a few comments about the possibility of returning to proprietary software. He has detailed some of his opinions and he appears to be a lot more moderate towards this issue.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Why Hardware Wallets are the Future (And Why They Have to Be Open Source)

      Your computer isn’t secure. Those of you reading this from your fortified Plan 9 Tor Box can stop reading here, but for the rest of you, it’s simply true. Your computer is riddled with security vulnerabilities, and so is your phone. If an attacker wants access to your machine, or if you download even one piece of software that either is or is carrying malware (see: any download from cnet.com or its ilk), you’re in an enormous amount of trouble.

    • The value of an open source dividend

      James Love, one of Managing IP’s 2014 most influential people in IP, explains why paying innovators to share knowledge, data and technology makes sense for business and society

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Khronos Adds GLUS 2.0 To The OpenGL SDK

      GLUS is short for the Graphic Library UtilitieS and is a cross-platform, cross-graphic utility library. The open-source GLUS C library provides hardware and operating system abstractions plus other functionality. GLUS isn’t limited to OpenGL but also targets the OpenGL ES and OpenVG APIs too.

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Fox’s The Five Distorts History On Bush Administration WMD Claims

      The hosts of Fox News’ The Five distorted the history behind the rationale for the U.S. war in Iraq by reshaping an investigative report by the New York Times.

    • Drone Strikes in Afghanistan Are Killing Civilians: They Must Not Remain Secret

      After exhaustive research and interviewing more than 50 sources Unama found 11 civilians were killed in a drone strike. Despite this compelling evidence, Isaf data shows only three civilians died.

    • Use has risen dramatically since 9/11

      In their book, Hill and Rogers dramatically recount a March 2011 drone attack in Pakistan which killed 42 people and injured 14. Though later claimed by U.S. officials to be a meeting of terrorists, what had been targeted was in fact a jirga – a consensual decision-making meeting in which the local community had gathered to discuss a dispute over a local mine.

    • Shenstone: Act of Witness against drones

      As part of the International Week of Action Against Drones, members of Pax Christi and Friends of Sabeel UK joined with staff and students from Queen’s Theological College, Birmingham, and members of Birmingham churches in an ‘Act of Witness’ outside UAV Engines, the Elbit Factory at Shenstone, near Lichfield. The Israeli owned factory manufactures the engines for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (drones) which are used for military purposes. The group regularly meet there to protest against the use of these military drones to kill innocent people. They were also used in Israel’s recent war on Gaza, where the loss of life and devastation have shocked many throughout the world.

    • ‘Drones shouldn’t decide who lives or dies’

      University of Johannesburg law Professor Hennie Strydom on Wednesday advised against the use of programmed drones and robots during conflicts.

      “The concern is that the critical functional use of force is controlled by a computer,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.

    • SA professor warns against drone, robot attacks

      University of Johannesburg law Professor Hennie Strydom on Wednesday advised against the use of programmed drones and robots during conflicts

    • John Oliver, Ben Affleck and the Game of Drones: Part II

      As a talk show host and stand-up comedian, Bill Maher pushes the envelope to stay topical, relevant and interesting. He never issued a blanket fatwa on all Muslims, but correctly pointed out that some-if not most-of the major conflicts in the world are rooted in Islam.

    • Another Attempt to Prostitute Religion in the Service of American Hegemony

      Rather than joining this governmental initiative—which conveniently serves to blur cause-and-effect—America’s clergy and their laity should be forming a nationwide interfaith justice movement to confront the “intolerance, division, and hate” sown by our government in our name. It is our government’s violent imperialistic policies that have sown “hate” and bred militant groups like the Islamic State and blowback violence. The need for such a clergy and laity movement is painfully clear, and long overdue.

    • Comment: If drone strikes continue in Afghanistan, the lack of transparency must not

      Afghanistan is the most drone bombed country in the world. The US has been using its Predator and Reaper drones to kill people in Afghanistan since November 2001.

    • US citizen shot dead in Riyadh

      A gunman has opened fire on two American employees of a US defence contractor, killing one and wounding the other at a petrol station in Saudi Arabia’s capital.

    • War without end: 12 years of US drone strikes in Yemen

      The “Yemen model” is one of perpetual violence. The limits of what can be done in the name of “counterterrorist” action often appear boundless.

    • Yemeni sues Germany over US drone strikes

      A relative of two men killed by a US drone strike in Yemen has brought a court case against the German government, alleging it was complicit in the attack by allowing a US air base on German soil.

    • Yemeni sues German government over US drone strike
    • Drone victims sue German government for facilitating strikes in Yemen

      A Yemeni man, whose nephew and brother-in-law were killed in a 2012 drone strike, has travelled to Germany to sue the government for facilitating drone strikes of the sort in which his relatives died.

    • Yemeni man sues Germany over U.S. drone strikes
    • Yemeni man sues German gov’t over US drone strikes
    • Yemeni man sues German government over base used for US drone strikes that killed 2 relatives
    • Yemeni man sues Germany over deadly drone strike

      A Yemeni man has filed a lawsuit against Berlin for facilitating deadly assassination drone strikes carried out in his country by Washington.

      The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday by Faisal bin Ali Jaber, who claims his brother-in-law, Salim bin Ahmed Ali Jaber, and nephew, Waleed, were killed in a U.S. assassination drone strike in a Yemeni village in August 2012.

    • UK To Fly Reaper Drones Over Iraq To Battle IS

      The drone is being deployed outside Afghanistan for the first time, as the Kurds call for support in the Syrian town of Kobani.

    • Qualifying Child Labour

      Children should be in schools learning to be fit to face the big bad world when they become adults. When they are not studying, they should be playing and discovering that life can be fun too. Extreme poverty however still deprives a great many children from these privileges and pleasures of life, and no effort can be nobler than to try and end this miserable predicament. Two cheers then for the Nobel committee for bringing the focus back to fighting child labour. The last cheer we will hold back for the committee`™s unwarranted political bias in choosing to condemn only the atrocities against children by the Talibans, and not show equal concern or condemnation at the killing, maiming and terrorising of numerous other unnamed children in these same battlefields by Drone raids by the armies of the West fighting the Talibans. Malala richly deserves the award, but we also wish in commending the girl for her bravery in her fight against the savagery of the Talibans, the Nobel committee also had at least a word of condemnation against the Drone raids which have killed and terrorised indiscriminately.

    • Malala Yousafzai, Kailash Satyarthi, and the four Nobel truths
    • In Malala’s hometown not everyone likes her fame

      Ahmed Hayat Yousafzai, a Birmingham-based Pakistani lawyer hailing from Swat, says that Malala’s story appears to be eyewash. “By championing the case of Malala, the West has tried to cover many of its human rights abuses, like killing and maiming scores of children and women in drone attacks in the tribal regions,” he said.

      So far, Yousafzai argues, neither the western powers nor Malala and her advisor father have spoken about hundreds of kids being killed in drone strikes.

      “What to talk of drone victims, they did not even speak about the 15-year old Aitzaz who had saved lives of hundreds of students by stopping a suicide bomber from attacking his school,” he added. Knowing about the prevailing resentment against Malala in Swat, her family members and school management feel uneasy to talk on her behalf. “It really hurts to hear people talking so critical of her.

    • Pakistan, U.S. appear once again to be cooperating on drone strikes

      A series of CIA drone strikes launched last week against Taliban insurgents in Pakistan’s northwest tribal areas provide the clearest demonstration yet that the U.S. intelligence agency and Pakistani security forces are once again cooperating on defeating the insurgents.

    • Bureau project wins bronze at Lovie awards

      Bureau project Where The Drones Strike has won bronze in the ‘Best News Website’ category at the fourth annual Lovie awards.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Swedish energy giant reveals reward wish

      UPDATED: Sweden’s state-owned energy company Vattenfall says it wants 43 billion kronor in compensation from Germany, after nuclear power provided by the firm was phased out by Angela Merkel’s government.

  • Finance

    • Governments are souring on treaties to protect foreign investors

      IF YOU wanted to convince the public that international trade agreements are a way to let multinational companies get rich at the expense of ordinary people, this is what you would do: give foreign firms a special right to apply to a secretive tribunal of highly paid corporate lawyers for compensation whenever a government passes a law to, say, discourage smoking, protect the environment or prevent a nuclear catastrophe. Yet that is precisely what thousands of trade and investment treaties over the past half century have done, through a process known as “investor-state dispute settlement”, or ISDS.

    • International trade ISDS provisions make a mockery of nation’s laws

      One of the public policy paradoxes of the past quarter-century is why the centre-left governments of advanced economies have supported trade policies that undermine the very environmental and labor protections they fight for at home. Foremost among these self-subverting policies have been the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions included in every significant trade deal the United States has signed since Ronald Reagan’s presidency. Under ISDS, foreign investors can sue a nation with which their own country has such treaty arrangements over any rules, regulations or changes in policy that they say harm their financial interests.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Fabrication in BBC Panorama’s ‘Saving Syria’s Children’

      On further viewings, however, this scene in particular is strikingly odd. The young men are quiet and mostly static until spotting the camera upon them, at which point the central figure (Mohammed Asi) raises his arm and the group instantly becomes animated and begins groaning in unison.

      Mohammed Asi begins to sway and lurch, the boy in the black vest suddenly pitches onto his side, the boy in red raises his head and peers quizzically around, while the boy in the white shirt rises effortlessly to his feet. As the camera pulls back a boy in a yellow ‘Super 9′ t-shirt rises from the floor, flailing his head and torso and rolling his eyes as a team of medics sweeps dramatically in.

    • BBC Propaganda

      Please read and consider very carefully this brilliant dissection of the BBC’s propaganda blitz on Syria, at the time when the security establishment were trying to propel us into war against Assad, before they decided it was just as profitable to have a war against Assad’s enemies. For the security establishment and arms industry, any dream will do.

    • Chuck Todd Disqualifies a Senate Candidate

      Bad campaign journalism can be bad in a lot of different ways. It can tell us, based on this or that poll, that there are “top tier” candidates deserving our attention. It can focus on “gaffes” and advertising instead of the issues. It almost always refuses to acknowledge the existence of candidates not affiliated with the two major parties.

    • Fox Attack On Obama Administration For Not Saying “Jihad” Ignores Similar Bush Policy

      Fox News’ Megyn Kelly dishonestly criticized the Obama administration for allegedly endorsing an anti-terror handbook which advises against referring to terrorists as “jihadis,” as it “emboldens them,” failing to mention that the Bush administration made a decision to stop using the word “jihadist” to describe terrorists in 2008.

  • Privacy

    • Tor Weekly News — October 15th, 2014
    • Anonymous Browsing: Open Source Tor Project Router Wins Kickstarter, Now Give One to Every American

      Anonabox is an open source networking device that you plug in to your router or modem that will anonymize all your network traffic through the Tor Project anonymity network. The Kickstarter for Anonnabox has 8,490 backers as of Wed., with $552,620 pledged against a $7,500 goal. It seems people want this product.

    • ‘Hostile to privacy’: Snowden urges internet users to get rid of Dropbox

      Edward Snowden has hit out at Dropbox and other services he says are “hostile to privacy,” urging web users to abandon unencrypted communication and adjust privacy settings to prevent governments from spying on them in increasingly intrusive ways.

      “We are no longer citizens, we no longer have leaders. We’re subjects, and we have rulers,” Snowden told The New Yorker magazine in a comprehensive hour-long interview.

    • UN Report Finds Mass Surveillance Violates International Treaties and Privacy Rights

      The United Nations’ top official for counter-terrorism and human rights (known as the “Special Rapporteur”) issued a formal report to the U.N. General Assembly today that condemns mass electronic surveillance as a clear violation of core privacy rights guaranteed by multiple treaties and conventions. “The hard truth is that the use of mass surveillance technology effectively does away with the right to privacy of communications on the Internet altogether,” the report concluded.

    • Australia’s defence intelligence agency conducted secret programs to help NSA

      Australia’s defence intelligence agency has conducted secretive programs to help the US National Security Agency hack and exploit computer networks, according to documents published by the Intercept.

    • Cognitive Dissonance about the FBI and NSA at 60 Minutes

      60 Minutes, which has been harshly criticized for running puff pieces for the NSA and FBI recently, is at it again. Last night, they ran two unrelated yet completely conflicting segments—one focusing on FBI Director Jim Comey, and the other on New York Times reporter James Risen—and the cognitive dissonance displayed in the back-to-back interviews was remarkable.

    • Here are Snowden’s first emails about the NSA leaks

      Six months before the world knew the National Security Agency’s most prolific leaker of secrets as Edward Joseph Snowden, Laura Poitras knew him as Citizenfour. For months, Poitras communicated with an unknown “senior government employee” under that pseudonym via encrypted emails, as he prepared her to receive an unprecedented leak of classified documents that he would ask her to expose to the world.

    • These Are the Emails Snowden Sent to First Introduce His Epic NSA Leaks
    • GCHQ more dangerous to privacy than NSA – Snowden

      Edward Snowden has warned that Britain’s GCHQ spy agency is a bigger threat to privacy than the NSA, as it uses illegally collected information in criminal prosecutions and, unlike in the US, has relatively few constitutional checks on its activities.

      Speaking by Skype video linkup to a London festival, Snowden also emphasized why it shouldn’t be up to the citizen to justify why they need a right to privacy – something that forms the core of his beliefs and decision to go against the law.

    • NSA Documents Suggest a Close Working Relationship Between NSA, U.S. Companies
    • FBI Director: Encryption Will Lead to a ‘Very Dark Place’

      FBI Director James Comey says the spread of encryption, aided by Apple and Google’s new security measures, will lead to “a very dark place” where police might not be able to stop criminals.

      To avoid that, tech companies need to cooperate and build surveillance-friendly systems when police comes knocking at their door, Comey said on Thursday during a speech in Washington, his first major speech since becoming director last year.

    • New Zealand Cops Raided Home of Reporter Working on Snowden Documents

      Agents from New Zealand’s national police force ransacked the home of a prominent independent journalist earlier this month who was collaborating with The Intercept on stories from the NSA archive furnished by Edward Snowden. The stated purpose of the 10-hour police raid was to identify the source for allegations that the reporter, Nicky Hager, recently published in a book that caused a major political firestorm and led to the resignation of a top government minister.

      But in seizing all the paper files and electronic devices in Hager’s home, the authorities may have also taken source material concerning other unrelated stories that Hager was pursuing. Recognizing the severity of the threat posed to press freedoms from this raid, the Freedom of the Press Foundation today announced a global campaign to raise funds for Hager’s legal defense.

    • Revealed: how Whisper app tracks ‘anonymous’ users

      The company behind Whisper, the social media app that promises users anonymity and claims to be the “the safest place on the internet”, is tracking the location of its users, including some who have specifically asked not to be followed.

      The practice of monitoring the whereabouts of Whisper users – including those who have expressly opted out of geolocation services – will alarm users, who are encouraged to disclose intimate details about their private and professional lives.

    • Banks harvest callers’ voiceprints to fight fraud

      You hear it every time you phone your bank about a lost credit card or an unexpected charge. You may realize your bank is recording you, but did you know it could be taking your biometric data, too?

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • 2015 will be the year you can buy HBO content without a TV subscription

      HBO CEO Richard Plepler told investors attending a Time Warner meeting today that the company will begin offering an online-only subscription for its content in 2015. Unlike the HBO Go service that the company currently offers, a TV subscription wouldn’t be required to access shows under the new plan.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pirates Become Biggest Political Party in Local Czech Election

        The Czech Pirate Party has booked several surprise wins in the local elections. The party gathered 5.3% of the total vote in the capital city of Prague and became the biggest political party in Mariánské lázně, with 21%. As a result, there is a good chance that the city may soon have a Pirate mayor.

How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 1:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

News

Summary: Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from

THE corporate press (or mass media) continues to disappoint in a very major way. It looks like the more one reads it, the less well-informed one becomes. Why? Because the corporate press has clients. These clients are not readers; they are companies to which the readers’ brains are being sold. The business model is selling of agenda. Although counterintuitive at first sight, this observation is not novel; many people have pointed out the same thing in areas other than technology. Today we’ll present some examples from this week alone.

Florian Müller an Expert… Lobbyist

Slashdot was once a grassroots-type Web site. It promoted FOSS. But it grew into something else. Now it’s the very opposite. It seems to be more interested in repeatedly quoting a mass-mailing Microsoft lobbyist (Florian Müller) and even Slashdot‘s front page (plus original content), which is now owned and run by the Microsoft-friendly Dice, gives him a platform. This seems like a joke, but it’s not. Slashdot now offers the platform for people whose role is spreading Microsoft propaganda and bashing FOSS. The only amazing thing is that some people still trust Slashdot just because back in the days it had some credibility (before hiring prolific Microsoft boosters).

Free Software is Pedophilia?

“Slashdot now offers the platform for people whose role is spreading Microsoft propaganda.”Speaking of propaganda, Matt Lee, Free software ideals, and even the FSF were the other day slandered by the Telegraph, which engaged in defamation by associating Free software with pedophilia (the article was corrected only after numerous complaints that I had initiated in social media after a headsup from our reader). The Telegraph was perhaps worrying that Free software people can sue for libel. What the heck is wrong with the press? How low can one stoop?

Microsoft is an Open Source ‘Cloud’ Company?

Then there is the tabloid called ZDNet (owned by CBS, known in part for the Gamergate scandal as of late). It is now offering Microsoft a marketing service, helping an Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish move against Docker (other corporate media did the same thing). Microsoft-friendly sites like these generally try to help Microsoft (the author, Matt Asay, once tried working for Microsoft) and this is clearly part of a scheme to control servers. According to this article by an Australian Microsoft booster, Salesforce, an opponent of Microsoft, has just liaised with this special NSA partner, ensuring that Salesforce offers no security or privacy at all.

Microsoft is Dominant in Servers, According to Microsoft-funded Firms

Watch the latest Forrester propaganda, trying to cast Microsoft as having “three-quarters of the mass-market servers”; complete nonsense. Here is a quote from the aforementioned article from News Corp. (aiding Microsoft’s plot): “Linux is the dominant tech underpinning at giant Web companies, but the server version of Microsoft’s Windows runs about three-quarters of the mass-market servers in use at big companies in the U.S. and Western Europe, according to Forrester Research.”

Complete nonsense. Selective reporting reveals not only bias but also a desire to lie. GNU/Linux has the lion’s share of this market. It is the job of Microsoft-bribed firms like Forrester to distort reality and the Gartner Group, according to Robert Pogson, is also doing that right now by casting GNU/Linux as “others”.

As Pogson puts it: ““Others” is a convenient category to put things in when stuff you don’t care about happens. GNU/Linux is something I care about but not Gartner. They lump GNU/Linux in with all that other stuff that’s not from M$, Apple, or Google but, hey, I can subtract.”

Nokia Dead Not Because of Microsoft or Its Mole Elop?

Finally, revisionism too can be found in the media. Here is AOL rewriting the history of Nokia. As our reader put it: “He’s got to distract from Jolla and from the Nokia board’s involvement in covering up Elop’s contract where Elop was granted tens of millions as a condition for selling Nokia to Microsoft. The paper industry is in decline due to a combination of union busting and actively closing *profitable* paper mills, in addition to competition from questionable logging in Brazil.”

Not the Exception

The above are the types of examples that we see every week, but it’s only now that we decided to gather and give to our readers some examples of these, collected in just the past few days. The problem is systemic.

The corporate press is just too damn hard to trust when it comes to technology because it operates on bribes these days; advertising deals, talking points from firms that are paid by companies, agenda for sale (press releases), and media ownership that comes with all kinds of strings attached. All in all — and not to sound too cynical — this means that one should be cautious, never blindly trusting the corporate media on such matters. Informing readers is not the goal; it may sometimes be a side effect, but only if it aligns with the goal (which is increasing revenue).

When selecting articles for circulation in sites like tuxmachines.org we give equal weighting to blogs and mailing lists because these tend to be more reliable and accurate than some printed papers, authored by people who are clueless on the subjects they cover for a publication whose goal is to serve some hidden interests.

Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Vista 10 at 12:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software

After the vapourware tactics of Vista (for 5 years!) as well as the terrible (worse than Vista) Vista 8 and Vista 7 we already know Microsoft’s dirty tactics too well. Microsoft admitted to using these tactics when it falls behind the competition. Now that Microsoft faces embarrassment from the majority of the population, which is women, it sure needs a good distraction from negative publicity that started with infiltration.

Vista 9, vapourware for a year and a half now, already looks like garbage and at this stage it remains vapourware. Microsoft already jumps ahead to the next imaginary generation of vapourware, which will go further in providing the NSA with back doors and remote surveillance features. China was right to ban present generations of Microsoft Windows because it becomes more spyware-filled all the time and it is also known that the NSA engages in espionage against China. Here is a new article about how Windows servers and other Windows devices got hijacked in Hong Kong. It is suicidal to use Windows unless one is a partner of Microsoft and South Korea too has just suffered severely for depending on Windows. Pogson says: “I expect Korea will have to redo everything and get it right this time. Let’s hope they demand GNU/Linux be used for on-line/financial transactions and to protect data but failing that let’s hope they make GNU/Linux optional and the people can decide. There’s something refreshing about a whole country aroused about insecurity with that other OS on the check-list of things to fix.”

Korea and China are both planning to move away from Microsoft. This is well overdue.

According to several new reports, despite the NSA leaks that embarrassed Microsoft (and caused some nations to abandon Microsoft), Microsoft will increase spying in future versions of Windows and even previews spy on the users. As one author put it: “Back in 2012 with the release of Ubuntu 12.10 the EFF, Richard Stallman and countless other privacy advocates led vocal campaigns against Canonical for including Amazon results in the dash, the issue was that Amazon would know everything you were typing into the dash. Now however Microsoft are targeting early users of their Windows 10 Operating System in a much more egregious way.”

Here is more about Windows: “For the more liberal minded regarding privacy who are reading, thinking this is just for the purposes of improving the product then you should also know that Microsoft state they will share this data with third parties and also that they will use your data to send your advertisements about their new products and updates. The third parties that Microsoft mention also include law enforcement. They say “we may access, disclose and preserve information about you when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary to: 1. comply with applicable law or respond to a valid legal process from competent authorities, including from law enforcement or other government agencies; 2. protect our customers, for example to prevent spam or attempts to defraud Microsoft’s customers, or to help prevent the loss of life or serious injury of anyone; 3. operate and maintain the security of out products and services, including to prevent or stop and attack on our computer systems or networks; or 4. protect the rights or property of Microsoft, including enforcing the terms governing the use of the services – however, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our products or services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property of Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves, but we may refer the matter to law enforcement…”

Windows is a massive security risk and one that no nation should take. Not even the US; all back doors are bound to be used by cyber criminals who are not associated with any government (or with a friendly government) at one point or another.

We are still seeing Microsoft-affiliated media calling for more severe criticism of GNU Bash, but how about Windows shell vulnerabilities like this new one?

A class of coding vulnerabilities could allow attackers to fool Windows system administrators into running malicious code because of a simple omission: quotation marks.

The attack relies on scripts or batch files that use the command-line interface, or “shell,” on a Windows system but contain a simple coding error—allowing untrusted input to be run as a command. In the current incarnation of the exploit, an attacker appends a valid command onto the end of the name of a directory using the ampersand character. A script with the coding error then reads the input and executes the command with administrator rights.

Microsoft booster Andrew Binstock continues to trash-talk FOSS security ,but why is he not commenting on back doors in Microsoft software? Lies by omission. Bloomberg also publishes poorly-researched articles while it misuses the word “hacker” to confuse readers. How about back doors in proprietary software? Will Coverity ever cover this, or will it keep its focus on flaws in FOSS for writers like Richard Adhikari to single out FOSS as the problem? To quote Adhikari’s new article:

Open source developers apparently don’t adhere to best practices such as using static analysis and conducting regular security audits, found Coverity’s Spotlight report, released Wednesday.

The Coverity Scan service, which is available at no charge to open source projects, helped devs find and fix about 50,000 quality and security defects in code last year.

Microsoft’s circle of partners would rather debate and hype up FOSS bugs using codenames/brands that are all of a sudden being assigned for bugs (for increased press coverage), but discussions about back doors are out of scope.

Here we have Europol advocating back doors. The Europol boss says: “I hate to talk about backdoors but there has to be a possibility for law enforcement” (i.e. back doors).

Once upon a time (even 1.5 years ago) people who spoke about back doors were called paranoid and nutty. It is Free software advocates who have the last laugh now because they were right all along.

It should be known by now that back doors are being used for ransom and blackmail, even murder. Even Europol recognises this.

Windows should generally be avoided by everyone. No server should ever run Windows because it’s dangerous for everyone. Only fools would host a site using a back-doored operating system, which in turn puts its visitors at risk.

“Only fools would host a site using a back-doored operating system, which in turn puts its visitors at risk.”It is now being reported that NATO was silly enough to use Windows and it paid the price, potentially resulting in loss of life. The article “Microsoft Windows Zero-Day Vulnerability “CVE-2014-4114″ Used to Hack NATO” should note that NSA is told about this before Microsoft even issues a patch.

In summary, do not use Windows. It is not secure and this is part of the design. Microsoft has no intention of correcting this. In terms of security and privacy, Windows continues to get only worse over time.

10.15.14

Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

Posted in News Roundup at 5:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 7 free tools every network needs

    From device discovery to visibility into systems, networks, and traffic flows, these free open source monitoring tools have you covered

  • Free Bassel Khartabil

    Apparently, working for a free and open Internet also caught the attention of the Syrian government, which sadly wasn’t as enamored with Bassel’s work as was Foreign Policy magazine. On March 15, 2012, Bassel was detained in a wave of arrests in the Mazzeh district of Damascus, Syria.

  • Proud Sponsors of the 2014 New Zealand Open Source Awards

    Catalyst are once again delighted to be the main organisers and Platinum sponsors of the awards. Don Christie, Director of Catalyst and the chair of the NZOSA judging panel states “As New Zealand’s and Australasia’s leading open source company Catalyst and our clients benefit hugely from the generosity of spirit that is represented by the open source software community. These awards are an acknowledgement of that spirit and one small way in which we can recognise and promote the open source software community in general.”

  • Women in Open Source award open for nominations
  • Five open source alternatives to popular web apps

    Remember when Sun Microsystems proclaimed that “the network is the computer”? Many people guffawed at that proclamation. What was once a clever slogan is now a reality thanks to the proliferation of web-based applications.

    Chances are you use more than a couple of web apps in your daily life—email, storage, office applications, and more. What’s great about web apps is that you can use them anywhere and with any computer or mobile device. On the other hand, with most of those apps you’re locked in a closed ecosystem. Or worse, you may be handing over the rights to your content and your files when you agree to the terms of service. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

  • Open source startup targeting DevOps-defined networking

    A software startup debuted this week proposing software-defined networking to Docker, the open source software for creating Linux application virtualization containers.

    SocketPlane was founded by former Cisco, Red Hat, HP, OpenDaylight and Dell officials. In the open source world, their names are well known: Madhu Venugopal, John Willis, Brent Salisbury and Dave Tucker.

  • SDN News: Flexible NEC Pricing, HP Cloud, Industry Predictions and More

    The above are just a sampling of this week’s SDN and NFV news, attesting to the industry interest in the emerging technologies, interest that was further evidenced by yesterday’s announcement from Dell’Oro Group that SDN datacenter sales will grow more than 65 percent this year. “With architectures ratified and production deployments under way, network security appliances and Ethernet switches will continue to comprise the majority of SDN’s impact, with SDN gaining a foothold outside of the major cloud providers,” the research firm said while hawking a for-sale report.

  • Setting the SDN Agenda

    So what are going to be the hot topics of debate this week? I’ve been here a day, sitting in on the Open Networking Foundation (ONF) workshop and chatting to a number of companies with a vested interest in SDN’s future success, and there are a number of debates likely to rage all week:

  • Events

    • Why Open Source is Replacing Open Standards

      “Companies are now as the norm using open source to shed comunity R&D, to do collective innovation, particularly at the infrastructure layer, for almost every aspect of technology, not just Linux – SDN, IOT, network functions virtualisation, cloud computing, etc. What you have seen as a result is this proliferation of organisations who facilitate that development, on a very large professional scale. That’s a permanent fixture of how the tech sector operates. We launch a new one of these about every 3 months. Next year we’ll have many many more of these type of projects.”

    • Open Networking Foundation Foresees Open-Source Software as Route to Network Standards in 2015
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 33 Has Been Officially Released. How To Install Firefox 33 On The Most Popular Linux Systems

        Also worth mentining, Firefox 33 comes with optimizations for session respore, JavaScript and HTML5 enhancements, search suggestions on either the Firefox Start (about:home) and new tab (about:newtab) pages, a new CSP (Content Security Policy) backend, support for connecting to HTTP proxy over HTTPS and new features for developers.

      • Firefox 33 gets released with Openh264

        Today Firefox 33 has been released, among it’s main features is OpenH264, an open source, Cisco provided solution for viewing H.264 content over webRTC. OpenH264 is a free H.264 codec plugin that Firefox downloads directly from Cisco. Cisco published the code to Github making it open source. Mozilla and Cisco have set up a process where the binary is verified to be built from the source on Github so that users trust the integrity of the binary that is shipped with the browser.

      • Firefox 33 Officially Released

        Mozilla has just released Firefox 33, the next iteration of the famous Internet browser. As it was to be expected, users will find an assortment of features and various changes that really make the update worthwhile.

      • Mozilla Releases Firefox 33.0 for Android, Linux, Mac, and Windows

        Mozilla has updated its Firefox browser for both mobile (Android) and desktop (Linux, Mac, Windows) platforms, bringing it to version 33.0. The update adds some new features to revamp the video streaming and viewing experience for users, apart from assorted bug fixes and performance improvements.

      • Send videos from Firefox for Android straight to your TV

        We make Firefox for Android to give you greater flexibility and control of your online life. We want you to be able to view your favorite Web content quickly and easily, no matter where you are. That’s why we’re giving you the option to send supported videos straight from the Web pages you visit in Firefox for Android to streaming-enabled TVs via connected devices like Roku and Chromecast.

      • Play Awesome Indie Games Directly in Firefox Including the Award-Winning FTL

        Today, we’re announcing a promotion with Humble Bundle, one of the real innovators in game distribution, that brings eight hugely popular Indie games including the award-winning FTL directly to Firefox users. This promotion only runs for two weeks, so jump straight into the action here!

      • Mozilla and Humble Bundle Launch Game Collection Than Runs in the Browser

        In a surprising move today, Mozilla and Humble Bundle have partnered up to provide a new collection of games, but with a twist. With the help of some new technologies, it’s now possible to play some of the new games just in the browser.

      • Play Cool Games in Firefox, and Name Your Price for Them
  • SaaS/Big Data

  • CMS

  • Healthcare

    • Liberia: The Impact of Open Source Software in the Fight Against Ebola in Liberia

      Over the years there have been several discussions and literature over the impact of open source software (OSS) on economic development. Countries, international organizations including the United Nations, the USAID, the British DFID, have all touted the benefits of open source software on economic development, especially on developing countries. Yet, in Liberia, the discourse has not been as ubiquitous and widely embraced as it has been in other countries or in the literature. While open source software has made some progress in permeating the Liberian society over the years (Mozilla Firefox, Apache Webserver, PHP, Java, MySQL), its impact has not been felt as much as it has been in recent times.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • For Ada Lovelace Day, highlighting FSF sysadmin Lisa Maginnis

      Today is Ada Lovelace Day, when we share stories of women in technology and their achievements.

      The holiday is named after a 19th-century English mathematician who is considered by many to be the first programmer. Though generations passed before her contribution was fully acknowledged, she was a pioneer both as a scientist and as a challenger of rigid gender roles. For this Ada Lovelace Day, we’re profiling Lisa Maginnis, who is the FSF’s senior systems administrator.

      As the leader of the technical team, Lisa is responsible for choosing, configuring, and maintaining the FSF’s office computers and servers. She uses extensive knowledge of hardware, networking, and electrical engineering to maintain a complex array of all-free software. An alert system sends text messages to her OpenMoko if servers have problems, and she’s no stranger to urgent after-hours trips to the office to get something back online.

    • New Autoconf Archive mirror at available github.com

      There is now a brand-new mirror of the GNU Autoconf Archive’s Git repository available at https://github.com/peti/autoconf-archive that those who enjoy this sort of thing can use to submit patches to the Archive by means of a Pull Request instead of going through Savannah’s patch tracker.

    • OpenACC 2.0 With NVIDIA PTX/CUDA Support Is Closer For GCC

      For the past year Code Sourcery / Mentor Graphics has been working with NVIDIA to bring OpenACC 2.0 support to GCC and to allow for this heterogeneous parallel programming API to be taken advantage of with NVIDIA GPUs from GCC. This work is closer to finally being realized for allowing OpenACC programs to be compiled with GCC and target NVIDIA GPUs on Linux.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Source Biotech: Fund Anti-Cancer Research and Make Drugs Cheaper at the Same Time

      This is a very cool crowdfunding campaign – you can help create a new cancer drug and at the same make it much cheaper. How? The researchers will not patent the drugs. Like polio vaccine, which was never patented, therefore it was widely available. Check out the website and the video. I loved it and made a donation of $50, because I find projects like this can change the existing paradigm in healthcare when the existing drugs are just deadly expensive. I encourage you to support the project and share it with your friends.

  • Programming

    • undertaker 1.6
    • Apple Might Be Divesting Its Stake In LLVM

      Some weeks ago on Twitter a follower had mentioned a rumor that Apple was forcing its compiler developers to focus less on general LLVM work and to basically spend their time on Apple’s new Swift project. While there’s been a general slowdown of direct Apple contributions to LLVM, there’s the latest sign today they might be divesting their interest somewhat in direct management of this open-source compiler infrastructure.

Leftovers

  • Polly Toynbee, Counter-Revolutionary

    I have never been a great fan of Russell Brand’s media persona, and for a revolutionary to be shacked up with Jemima Khan’s millions is perhaps some kind of extended exercise in post-modern irony as performance art. But Brand’s perception that the neo-con political parties are all the same is absolutely correct, and his is almost the only voice the media will broadcast saying it. When I have been saying precisely the same thing for a decade it is not news. News, apparently, lies not in what is said, but whether or not it is a celebrity who says it.

  • The Digital Ripple Effect

    We must acknowledge that with any evolution in communications technology, there are those seeking to corrupt, misuse and exploit channels for sinister purposes and nowhere is this more prevalent than the Web. Privacy, cyber terrorism, online security and data theft are wedged firmly into the social consciousness of many Europeans and their complexity can further deter those who lack even a basic understanding of the issues. But like any societal ill, there is a treatment.

    [...]

    The company behind the FireFox browser – whose guiding principles are the promotion of openness, innovation & opportunity on the Web – run a Webmaker programme, which provides tools, events and teaching guides designed to train the informed Web creators of tomorrow. However, a more powerful byproduct of this is the building of an online/offline community, based around the processes that increase participation, accountability and crucially, trust.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • NRA’s Ted Nugent Calls For The “Evil Carcasses” Of Obama And Other Democrats In Gun Groups Pitch

      Ted Nugent called for “freedom” or the “evil carcasses” of President Obama and other progressive politicians in a Facebook post where he told followers to support the National Rifle Association and discredited gun advocate John Lott’s Crime Prevention Research Center.

    • Somerset woman guilty on 2 of 3 federal charges for NSA drone protest

      A Somerset woman and two co-defendants were acquitted on one charge but convicted on two others, albeit with reduced penalties, related to a recent drone targeting protest outside the National Security Agency office at Ft. Meade, Maryland.

      Manijeh Saba of Franklin Township, and Ellen Barfield and Marilyn Carlisle, both of Baltimore, spoke openly in court for nearly three hours, showing photographic evidence of NSA drone targeting, naming names and mourning children killed by drones, and asserting their First Amendment rights and Nuremberg justifications.

    • Local peace activist jailed

      A local peace activist is spending 90 days in a Syracuse-area jail for protesting the country’s use of drone warfare.

      Jack Gilroy of Endwell was one of 31 people arrested during an act of civil disobedience outside of the Hancock Airbase near Syracuse in April of last year.

    • Expert: Military intervention not the answer for Middle East violence

      Foreign military intervention heightens problems in the Middle East, internationally recognized expert Rami Khouri said.

    • Killing for Peace

      Since 9-11-01, the United States, by any objective assessment a globe-girdling military empire, has been sucked into an ongoing global civil war between brutal extremists (often fighting among themselves) and those, including us, they perceive as their mortal enemies. We are rightfully outraged by cruel beheadings videotaped for Internet distribution. The beheaders and suicide bombers are equally outraged by our extensive military presence in their ancestral homelands and drone attacks upon weddings.

      Meanwhile, though the government of our mighty empire can read our emails and tap our telephones, the worldwide nonviolent movement to bring about positive change somehow flies completely under its supposedly all-seeing radar screens. The peoples of the earth are overwhelmingly against war, and they want their fair share of the earth’s resources and the possibilities of democratic governance.

    • The Madness of Endless War

      Our media narrows discourse and fans the flames by only allowing U.S. citizens to see through the narrow lens of exceptionalism, polarization and violence. Fear mongers, legion in our culture, insist that adherents of ISIS are hardly human. But we should keep their humanity in our hearts even as we abhor their acts, just as we ought to abhor our own descent into torture and extra-judicial killings. People do not do what those ISIS fighters do without having been rendered desperate and callous by some painful sense of injustice. As Auden wrote, “Those to whom evil is done/do evil in return.” The question for us is how we can best respond to evil without rationalizing our own evil behavior.

    • Killer drones, killer robots

      War is becoming faceless. Warfare in general is becoming increasingly automated. There is a race to develop weapons that can be used without human intervention. Killer drones and robots are such weapons.

    • Fighting extremism with extremism

      In his speech last month to the United Nations, President Obama summoned foreign leaders to join his “campaign against extremism.” While his clarion call was spurred by beheadings by the terrorist group the Islamic State, Mr. Obama has repeatedly invoked the “extremist” threat since taking office in 2009. However, the president’s own record makes it tricky for him to pirouette as the World Savior of Moderation.

      [...]

      Although Mr. Obama campaigned in 2008 criticizing the bellicosity of his predecessor, he has bombed seven nations since taking office. Mr. Obama justified pummeling Libya in 2011 so that that nation would not become “a new safe haven for extremists” — but there are far more violent terrorists there now than before the United States intervened. Mr. Obama has written himself a blank check to expand bombing in Iraq and Syria owing to extremist perils — even though the U.S. government previously covertly armed some of the same extremists it is now trying to destroy. The notion that the U.S. government is entitled to bomb foreign lands based solely on the president’s decree — regardless of congressional opposition — would have been considered extremist nonsense by earlier generations of Americans.

    • U.S. drones kill 8 in Pakistan’s tribal region as strikes surge

      At least 110 people have been killed in 16 American drone strikes in Pakistan so far this year, according to the Washington-based think tank New America Foundation, which has documented at least 2,174 deaths as a result of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan since 2004. It includes at least at least 258 civilians, but the actual figure is thought to be higher.

    • Drone supporters, opponents gather outside air base on Saturday

      Members of local VFW 917 gathered once again to support the 107th Airlift Wing drone program at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station on Saturday.

      “It’s not just getting the program,”said Les Carpenter, retired Air Force. “When you get it, you have to support it.”

      He was joined by Army veterans Sgt. Major Vince Canosa, Bill McKewon, and Post Chaplain Eugene Ashley.

      “We come out once a month and then for beer and bologna sandwiches at the VFW,” Carpenter said.

      The members held signs at the station entrance: ISIS beheads with knives, we behead with tomahawks (in reference to the ballistic missile), Predators vs. Aliens, coming soon to a border near you, and KILL FOR PEACE.

    • America’s counter-terrorism lie: Waging war with secret rules, hypocrisy and worse

      Our latest bombings in the Middle East remind us of a scary truth: Here’s what the “war on terror” is really about

    • International Human Rights: -Dispelling the Myths

      There is now a growing international movement for developing an international convention on drones and similar technology.It is time that based on the evidence available we move the international system to start putting the brakes.

    • Pakistan says NATO helicopters violated its airspace

      Two gunship helicopters belonging to the NATO-led international coalition forces have violated the airspace of Pakistan, according to security officials.

      The officials quoted by local media agencies have said that the helicopters remained in the Pakistani territory for at least ten minutes.

    • Pakistan says NATO helicopters violated its airsprace
    • Pakistan, U.S. appear once again to be cooperating on drone strikes

      A series of CIA drone strikes launched last week against Taliban insurgents in Pakistan’s northwest tribal areas provide the clearest demonstration yet that the U.S. intelligence agency and Pakistani security forces are once again cooperating on defeating the insurgents.

    • Niger Is key to West Africa’s future security

      Following the lead of Ethiopia, Chad, and Djibouti, Niger has recently permitted the US and France to operate drones from an air base in its capitol, Niamey. The US military will also be establishing a second drone base in the northern desert city of Agadez, not far from the Algerian border. A major security partner of the US, Algeria’s security forces have already had success in scaling up surveillance and patrol along their border with Niger.

    • Obama’s War and the Limits of Reason

      In recent weeks, Obama has “reluctantly,” for the 7th time since taking office, begun bombing a predominantly Muslim country (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iraq, and now Syria), testing, once again, the “limits of reason.” This begs the question: How far beyond such limits is our political-military elite willing to reach to initiate militarism in our name?

    • In the last days of ‘Operation Protective Edge’ Israel focused on its final goal — the destruction of Gaza’s professional class

      The spectacle of disproportionate force wielded against exclusively civilian targets in the heart of Gaza City had only begun.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • CBS News Sacrifices All Journalistic Integrity To Be Pure PR For CBS PrimeTime TV?

      We’ve written a few times now about Walter O’Brien, the claimed inspiration for the CBS primetime TV show Scorpion. As our reporting has shown, a very large number of the claims about O’Brien’s life simply don’t check out when you look into the details, and in many cases appear to be flat out false. As we’ve said repeatedly — though people keep bringing this up — we don’t care at all about Hollywood folks exaggerating a “based on a true story” claim. What concerns us is (1) the journalistic integrity of those engaged in promoting the false claims about Walter O’Brien for the sake of a TV show and (2) the fact that O’Brien has been using this to promote his own business, which may lead people to giving money to him under questionable pretenses. Each time I write about him, more people who have known him in the past come out of the woodwork to repeat the same claims: nice enough guy, but always massively exaggerating nearly everything.

    • WSJ Vilifies Efforts To Increase Corporate Political Transparency As “Partisan Agitprop”

      The Wall Street Journal is dismissing efforts to convince corporations to be more transparent about their political contributions as “partisan agitprop,” despite the fact that the conservative justices of the Supreme Court reaffirmed the need for such transparency in 2010′s Citizens United decision.

    • Randa Redux: Federal Judge OK’s Dark Money Coordination in WI

      Wisconsin candidates can now coordinate with “dark money” nonprofits that accept secret, unlimited donations and run sham “issue ads,” under a ruling from the same federal judge who blocked the criminal coordination investigation into Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker earlier this year.

    • ISIS in Texas?! ABC Fails an Easy Factcheck

      The thing about factchecking is that the person making a claim actually has to have evidence that what they’re saying is true; if they can’t produce any, then there’s not much left to say. Honestly believing that something false is true, or a spokesperson insisting that a lawmaker stands by a claim, doesn’t actually matter. But ABC manages to cloud up an issue that should be crystal clear.

    • “Kill the Messenger’’ is the kind of movie that gives newspaper editors bad dreams

      The three most influential papers in the country at the time — the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and the Washington Post — apparently were embarrassed by critics who accused them of missing the story and reacted by devoting resources to essentially knock it down.

  • Censorship

    • How Australia’s New ‘Anti-Terror’ Censorship Law Could Cover Up Botched Intelligence Operations

      As we reported a few weeks ago, Australia has passed a dreadful “anti-terror” law that not only allows the authorities to monitor the entire Internet in that country with a single warrant, but also threatens 10 years of jail time for anyone who “recklessly” discloses information that relates to a “special intelligence operation.” But what exactly will that mean in practice? Elizabeth Oshea, writing in the Overland journal, has put together a great article fleshing things out.

    • The new ASIO laws: some examples to consider

      The parliament has passed legislation that permits the Attorney General to authorise certain activities of ASIO and affiliates as ‘special intelligence operations’. We can only assume that ASIO will seek such authorisation when its operatives plan to break the criminal or civil law – the whole point of authorising an operation as a special intelligence operation is that participants will be immune from the consequences of their unlawfulness. It will also be a criminal act to disclose information about these operations.

  • Privacy

    • Silk Road Judge Won’t Examine FBI’s Warrantless Server Hacking; Dismisses Suppression Motion On ‘Privacy Interest’ Technicality

      Judge Katherine Forrest has shot down Ross Ulbricht’s defense team’s motion to suppress evidence it claims was acquired illegally by the FBI. The FBI asserted in its response to the motion that Ulbricht had expressed no privacy interest in the alleged Silk Road servers located in Iceland. The FBI further claimed that it needed no legal permission (i.e., a warrant) to hack foreign servers during criminal investigations.

    • TTIP’s threat to our privacy and culture

      TTIP (the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) is a trade agreement currently being negotiated behind closed doors between the United States and the European Union. The agreement is supposed to “increase trade and investment” but there are significant concerns around its potential negative impact on democracy, the rule of law, innovation, culture and privacy.

    • Press coverage from Don’t Spy On Us event
    • Anonabox bundles OpenWrt with Tor for anonymous Web browsing
    • Anonabox Promises Total Online Anonymity That’s Easy, Open Source, and Cheap

      Nobody likes giving up their privacy. But as much as we complain about it, relatively few of us are willing to put time, money, or effort into consistently protecting our privacy online. And it’s not like it’s that hard, relatively speaking: the Tor Project offers excellent, free software that lets you browse the Internet in complete anonymity, if you use it properly. With Tor, data you send over the Internet are encrypted and stripped of any identifying information (namely, your IP address) before reaching their destination. It’s one of the most reliable methods that you can use to protect your identity online. However, it does take some amount of experience to use, along with a conscious decision to choose security over convenience. If that sounds like too much work (and it sure sounds like a lot of work, doesn’t it?), the Anonabox could be exactly what you need.

    • Tiny $51 Tor router runs OpenWRT Linux

      A Kickstarter project called “Anonabox” offers a tiny Tor router for anonymous Internet use, running OpenWRT Linux on a MediaTek MT7620n WiFi chipset.

      The Anonabox is a “completely open source and open hardware” networking device that provides anonymous Internet access and encryption, says Chico, Calif.-based project leader August Germar on the Anonabox Kickstarter page. The device has already blasted past Germar’s $7,500 funding goal, which was intended to “help us move out of our garage, into full production.” With the $340,000 the Anonabox has garnered so far, Germar should be able to afford some nicer digs, indeed.

    • Edward Snowden’s girlfriend living with him in Moscow, film reveals

      She was still in Hawaii when news broke from Hong Kong that he was the whistleblower. Days earlier, authorities, suspicious about his prolonged absence from work, had visited their home.

      On her blog, subtitled, ‘Adventures of a world-travelling, pole-dancing superhero,’ she wrote that she felt “sick, exhausted and carrying the weight of the world”. Shortly afterwards, she took the blog down.

      The two appear to have been together since at least 2009, living part of the time near Baltimore before moving to Hawaii in 2012.

    • Silk Road Judge Won’t Examine FBI’s Warrantless Server Hacking; Dismisses Suppression Motion On ‘Privacy Interest’ Technicality
    • NSA Finally Releases Keith Alexander’s Financial Disclosure Documents; National Security Remains Uncompromised

      The CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence both complied. Keith Alexander, via the NSA’s refusal to turn over the documents, is the lone holdout.

    • Edward Snowden: It was worth it

      NSA leaker Edward Snowden on Saturday defended his disclosure of reams of classified information and said his actions were worth fleeing his seemingly idyllic life in Hawaii and ending up in hiding in Russia, where he was joined by his girlfriend in July.

    • After allegations that the service was hacked, Dropbox blames unrelated services

      News that Dropbox credentials had been obtained and leaked by an unknown attacker spread on Reddit yesterday, just days after Edward Snowden advised people to ditch Dropbox, Google and Facebook. Dropbox quickly reacted to the the allegations that it had lost the data and said that 3rd parties were responsible for losing the users data, unrelated to Dropbox.

    • Grooming Students for A Lifetime of Surveillance

      The same technologists who protest against the NSA’s metadata collection programs are the ones profiting the most from the widespread surveillance of students.

    • Privacy International files criminal complaint on behalf of Bahraini activists targeted by spyware FinFisher

      Privacy International today has made a criminal complaint to the National Cyber Crime Unit of the National Crime Agency, urging the immediate investigation of the unlawful surveillance of three Bahraini activists living in the UK by Bahraini authorities using the intrusive malware FinFisher supplied by British company Gamma.

    • Privacy International Files Criminal Complaint Against FinFisher Spyware Company

      Techdirt has been reporting on the disturbing rise in the use of malware by governments around the world to spy on citizens. One name that keeps cropping up in this context is the FinFisher suite of spyware products from the British company Gamma. Its code was discovered masquerading as a Malay-language version of Mozilla Firefox, and is now at the center of a complaint filed in the UK…

  • Civil Rights

    • Vladimir Putin is no saint, but G20 is a club full of sinners

      Among its least savoury members is a feudal state that regularly murders people. Saudi Arabia beheads individuals for the crime of sorcery, among other things. Don’t try to hold a church service there unless it’s of the approved variety – the Saudis officially go in for a medieval, hard-line interpretation of Islam. It’s the country that won’t even let women drive cars. Adultery? Compared with Saudi Arabia, Russia is a bastion of democracy, a beacon of equality, a paragon of human rights.

    • Being Malala

      Recipients of humanitarian awards often invite controversy. In Pakistan, religious and political identities are valued more than the contributions of such recipients. Malala Yousafzai may have the Nobel Peace Prize, but she remains the target of criticism from Pakistani conservatives and also many ‘progressives’.

    • Sanctifying Malala: The Nobel Prize and Moral Alibis

      Those getting it will always be marred by the contradictions any peace prize suggests. The greatest of all remains the fact that the dynamite guru – Alfred Nobel himself – did as much for the cause of war as he decided his profits would supposedly do for peace. Peace was a sentimental afterthought. Many winners of the prize have since kept this legacy alive: that of war maker turned peace maker; a fair share of hypocrisy, with a good share of feigned sincerity.

    • Missing Malala’s Message of Peace: Drones Fuel Terrorism

      On October 10, Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai–who received worldwide attention after being attacked by the Taliban for her advocacy for girls’ education–was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, along with Indian activist Kailash Satyarthi. Yousafzai’s work on educational equity is well-known. But less well-known is what she said to Barack Obama about how his wars were undermining the fight against terrorism.

    • Nobel for Malala and Kailash

      Malala has not restricted her struggle to sending girls to school. She has stood up for children killed in drone attacks and has expressed her determination to get the prime ministers of India and Pakistan to sit together in dialogue. When meeting with President Obama, she spoke against war and militarization. Perhaps if the Nobel committee had awarded Malala for her anti-war spirit, it would have delivered a strong message to the war-torn world in keeping with the spirit of Sir Alfred Nobel.

    • The (Socialist) Malala Yousafzai the US Media Doesn’t Quote

      Now that Malala Yousafzai has won her hard-earned and well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize, she and her amazing, tragic story is back in the spotlight. Per usual, nevertheless, the corporate media has taken this positive development and exploited it, in the service of US imperialism.

    • The Malala you won’t hear about

      Ben Norton describes how U.S. news outlets have selectively reported only the aspects of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai they want you to see.

    • This Year’s Nobel Peace Prize Winners Are Radicals

      It has been suggested that the recipients of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize are “safe choices” because they advocate for the rights of children and for the fair and respectful treatment of girls and women. Advocacy for an end to child labor, for universal education, for strong trade unions, for economic justice and social democracy, and for an end to war and violence should not be controversial.

    • Nabila Rehman: The Other Girl Who Deserves a Nobel Prize

      Is the global world in oblivion when it comes to Nabila because her story puts a face to what we often call ‘war victims’? Are we too insensitive to see the consequences of war and refuse to acknowledge the fact that these civilians are not even given the basic right to live, forget everything else. “When I hear that they are going after people who have done wrong to America, then what have I done wrong to them? What did my grandmother do wrong to them? I didn’t do anything wrong,” said Nabeela in her testimony. Well, no one has bothered to answer that question.

    • The other Pakistani girl: Malala got the Nobel peace prize; here’s why Nabila won’t

      Last week, the Nobel Peace Prize committee announced two winners: Pakistan’s Malala Yousafzai and India’s Kailash Satyarthi for their struggle for the rights of children. While for most Indians K Satyarthi’s name was a bit of a mystery, Malala was already a widely known international figure, her personal story documented on magazine covers around the world.

    • A tale of two Pakistani girls: Malala Yousafzai and Nabila Rehman

      We all know about Pakistan’s braveheart Malala Yousafzai — the girl who defied Taliban and stood up for education and rights of girls in war ridden Pakistan. Recently, Malala received Nobel Peace Prize for her bravery alongwith Kailash Satyarthi and her ‘AWorldAtSchool’ campaign has received record number of petitions. But, do we know about Nabila Rehman — the girl who lost her grandmother due to a drone attack while her sisters were injured. Her only question to US senators being, ‘What was our fault’ which was largely ignored by most of the politicians.

    • We can learn more from Malala Yousafzai’s youthful wisdom than Obama’s messages

      A year ago, Malala met President Obama, who is himself a Nobel Peace Prize winner from 2009, and in another act of boldness, she told him that his drone policy was fueling terrorism.

      “Instead of soldiers, send books. Instead of sending weapons, send pens,” she said.

    • Again the Peace Prize Not for Peace

      The Nobel Peace Prize is required by Alfred Nobel’s will, which created it, to go to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” The Nobel Committee insists on awarding the prize to either a leading maker of war or a person who has done some good work in an area other than peace.

    • Somalia: The security situation remains fragile

      Al-Shabaab militants, who only two years ago controlled a broad swathe of Somalia, have been retreating from more than 20,000 advancing AMISOM troops as well as Somali government soldiers, whom the German army is helping to train. In early September a US drone killed al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane.

    • Montreal spends $110,000 on private lawyers to fight challenge to anti-protest bylaw

      As the city of Montreal tightens its belt-buckle and is cutting budgets, two Montrealers who are challenging the city’s regulations around demonstrations are questioning the amount of resources the city is putting in to defend the bylaws.

      “It seems like there is room for austerity measures around everything except repression,” said Julien Villeneuve, better-known as Anarchopanda, in an interview.

    • NYPD Officer Takes Cash From Man During Stop-And-Frisk; Pepper Sprays Him When He Asks To Have It Returned

      Apparently it’s OK to take money from uncharged individuals during stop-and-frisks as long as it’s: a) not very much money, and b) it’s vouchered at the station.

      What went unaddressed was the officer’s use of pepper spray to shut up both Joye and his sister, who were both asking for the return of the money taken by Montemarano.

    • Video Shows Cop Stealing Man’s Money, Then Pepper Spraying Him

      An NYPD officer stands accused of stealing more than $1,000 in cash from a Brooklyn man during a police stop.

      In a video obtained by the New York Times, an unnamed officer forces 35-year-old Lamard Joye against a fence surrounding a Coney Island basketball court and removes what appears to be a handful of cash from Joye’s pocket at the six-second mark.

    • Secret Courts – A silent start

      There are 2 major issues with the existence of secret courts. Firstly, it removes one of the fundamental tenets of the right to a fair trial – that the trial be conducted in public. As recently as 2011 in a landmark hearing (Al Rawi) the Supreme Court of the UK upheld the principle of open justice. The removal of this openness means that the accused can either never hear evidence which helps to convict them, removing them of the ability to accurately refute that evidence; or alternatively it means that they too are restricted from talking about certain aspects of the trial in public meaning that even if found to be innocent, they have restrictions placed on their freedom of speech.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Street Demonstrations In 21 European Countries Held To Protest Against TAFTA/TTIP; Another ACTA Revolt Brewing?

      Last month, the European Commission refused to accept a request to allow an official EU-wide petition called a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) to take place. This was a curiously maladroit move by the Commission: it would have been easy to allow the petition against TAFTA/TTIP and CETA to proceed, thank the organizers once it was completed, file it away somewhere and then ignore it. Instead, by refusing to allow it to take place, the European Commission has highlighted in a dramatic manner the deeply undemocratic way in which so-called trade agreements are conducted.

    • Copyrights

      • Teen Pirates Pay For Movies More Often Than Non-Pirates

        A new study carried out in Australia has found that most 12-17 year-old teens are not online pirates, with around 74% abstaining from the habit. However, those that do consume illegally tend to buy, rent and visit the movies more often than their non-pirating counterparts.

      • Police Drop Charges Against Industrial-Scale ‘Pirate’

        A raid and subsequent arrest hailed by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit as one of their most significant yet has taken an unexpected twist. After being accused of masterminding an “industrial scale” sports streaming operation, a UK man has had all of the charges against him dropped.

      • City Of London Police Drove 200 Miles To Arrest And Jail ‘Industrial’ Level Pirate… Only To Have Case Fall Apart And All Charges Dropped

        We’ve certainly questioned the efforts by the City of London Police to set themselves up as the legacy entertainment industry’s private police force. Over the past year or so, the police operation (which, yes, represents just one square mile of London, but a square mile with lots of big important businesses), has demonstrated that it will be extremely aggressive, not in fighting criminal wrongdoing, but in protecting the private business interests of some legacy companies, often with little to no legal basis. It also appears that the City of London’s famed Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is not particularly technology savvy, and seems to just accept what big record labels, movie studios and the like tell it.

      • European Court Of Justice To Consider Legal Ramifications Of Offering Open WiFi

        Lawyer Martin Husovec has a post detailing an important case that has been referred to the EU Court of Justice, which could have a tremendous impact on legal liability for those who offer open WiFi in the European Union.

10.14.14

With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Mono at 5:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A vow till death

Wedding vows

Summary: Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced

MICROSOFT’S OFFICIAL partner Xamarin, the Mono company founded by Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza with people of Microsoft background, funding from Microsoft-linked sources, Microsoft-copyrighted code with Microsoft licences and Microsoft APIs (all groomed all along by Microsoft and its media moles) is in some headlines again. It all started this morning when my wife told me about “that Microsoft guy” publishing a blog post. It’s Miguel de Icaza who wrote:

We are launching the official .NET Foundation forums to engage with the larger .NET community and to start the flow of ideas on the future of .NET, the community of users of .NET, and the community of contributors to the .NET ecosystem.

Michael Larabel later covered this:

Miguel de Icaza of GNOME/Mono fame who is heading Xamarin to push .NET software for multiple platforms using Mono, passed along some .NET Foundation news. In particular, the .NET Foundation Forums have been established for allowing the .NET community to collaborate and “start the flow of ideas on the future of .NET”, according to Miguel. Those forums are part of DotNetFoundation.org.

“Mono may be fine for Microsoft; it’s an utter disaster and a dangerous trap for everyone else.”This is just more openwashing of .NET and Miguel de Icaza, as always, helps it. Mono is not just promotion of proprietary software; it is promotion of Microsoft APIs, Microsoft patents, generally poor technology, and a Microsoft Trojan horse in the technical world. Based on some new figures just released by Unity3D (which turns out to be secretly spyware), very few GNU/Linux users are foolish enough to install Mono (and Unity3D). They measure that at 0.1% of the whole!

Mono may be fine for Microsoft; it’s an utter disaster and a dangerous trap for everyone else. A quick smell test of the capital (money) and where it comes from (Microsoft-linked VC or Microsoft-funded Novell) should serve as a clue; only Microsoft benefits.

The EPO’s Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public

THE scandals at the EPO are numerous and longstanding. Oversight is minimal if not inexistent and there is lots to be worried about. In this part of the series we wish to focus on Mr Jesper Kongstad. He is not quite what it seems on the surface. As we are going to show in later parts (weeks ahead), Kongstad became a target of interest in an ongoing investigation from the outside (Battistelli has already eliminated inside overnight).

“Oversight is minimal if not inexistent and there is lots to be worried about.”The Kongstad situation will today be mentioned in brief. It will be covered without yet mentioning that investigation (intentionally unnamed) as there are some ongoing developments that would be better off covered when it’s all finished and concluded. There is no longer a problem in mentioning the Kongstad situation as the information about earlier links to the Croatian SIPO is publicly accessible. Kongstad’s close links to Battistelli have also been mentioned on the IPKat blog which said three months ago: “Back in 2010, when Benoît Battistelli was first appointed as President of the European Patent Office (EPO), there was a certain lack of transparency in the election process. As a blog post by IAM Magazine reported at the time, mischievous rumours quickly emerged from the EPO staff union newsletter (PDF link) to fill the vacuum of information regarding the circumstances of Mr Battistelli’s appointment.

“Battistelli’s original contract was negotiated in secret with Mr Jesper Kongstad, the then Acting (and now actual) Chairman of the Administrative Council. It was rumoured, intriguingly, that the contract specified that Mr B’s place of employment was the Parisian suburb of Saint Germain-en-Laye (the town of which he was deputy major, the spiritual home of football team Paris Saint-Germain and the birthplace of Louis XIV, the Sun-King), and that it contained an annex granting him full pension rights at the end of his five-year contract. While Merpel, whose nine lives invariably make any sort of pension annuity unaffordable since the pension must last so much longer than expected, can see the attraction of having full pension rights after a relatively short employment stint, she wonders what advantage or reason could lie behind deeming Mr Battistelli’s place of employment to be 700 km west of where his office is actually located, if there is any substance behind that improbable rumour. The union newsletter, SUEPO Informs, also reported that Mr Kongstad refused to show the final contract negotiated with Mr Battistelli to the Administrative Council (‘AC’), despite repeated requests by its apparently quite powerless members.”

The EPO’s staff representatives have initiated contact with investigators by now. This was mentioned very briefly in the print version of the article published in “Die Welt” on the 24th of August (entitled “Stress at the Munich Kremlin”). We covered this before, so it’s not completely secret that outside investigators may be starting to show an interest in the EPO’s mysterious conduct (or misconduct).

Our sources have more to say about this. Their research indicates that the EPO President Benoît Battistelli, formerly the Director of the French INPI, and the Chairman of the Administrative Council, Jesper Kongstad, who is the current Director of the Danish Patent and Trademark Office, have long-standing professional connections with Topić. This gives rise to the suspicion that Battistelli and Kongstad are putting professional and/or personal loyalties before the public interest in this matter and are colluding to prevent any independent investigation of Topić’s appointment.

The 2009 annual report of the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office records details of a study visit of senior Croatian officials of the authorities for the enforcement of intellectual property rights to the partner Danish institutions in Copenhagen and a return visit by Danish officials to the partner Croatian institutions in Zagreb. It also includes this mention of a “twinning project” between the Danish Patent and Trademark Office and the Croatia SIPO which took place in the context of a European Union Assistance Project [PDF].

The Web site of the Danish PTO confirms the existence of the Croatia twinning project. The Danish PTO website also provides evidence of co-operation between the Danish PTO and the Croatian SIPO going back as far as 2004.

A further spicy detail in this saga is the fact that Topić’s former deputy at the Croatian SIPO, Ms. Romana Matanovac Vučković, has been working as a consultant on an EU-funded project co-administered by the Danish PTO.

According to her personal Web site: “Since 2013, she has been cooperating with Pohl Consulting & Associates GmbH from Berlin and the Danish Patent and Trademark Office as a consultant in the project of legal assistance in the field of intellectual property at Kosovo, also funded by the European Union.”

The EU Kosovo project has a budget of ca. 1 million Euros [1, 2]. Ms. Matanovac Vučković was previously a deputy Director of the Croatian SIPO under Topić (ca. 2005-2008). During that period, she was also Croatia’s “alternate representative” to the EPO’s Administrative Council as confirmed by the following extract from the EPO Official Journal 2008: “During her time at the Croatian SIPO, Ms. Matanovac Vučković acted as head of an official body under the SIPO’s remit which was called the “Council of Experts on Remunerations for Copyright and Related Rights”. This appointment was controversial in Croatia and it was alleged to be unlawful due to a “conflict of interest” because Ms. Matanovac Vučković had previous worked for the Croatian Composers’ Society (HDS) and the private company “Emporion” which was involved in managing musical royalty payments. According to informed sources, her previous employment should have disqualified her from an appointment to the Council of Experts. It was claimed in the Croatian press that Ms. Matanovac Vučković only secured the position due to her connections with the Croatian President Ivo Josipović.”

Sources (in Croatian) can be found here and the English translation was published by us last week.

More information is to follow next week, reinforcing the allegation that the EPO’s abuse goes all the way to the very top.

Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

Posted in America, Asia, Europe, Patents at 3:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gavel

Summary: It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States’ USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?

YESTERDAY we wrote about the measurably huge decline in the number of patent lawsuits in the US. There is some more good news in the form of figures.

Andrea Peterson, writing for the Bezos-owned Washington Post, says that “Software patent approval rates sink in months following Supreme Court case”. The patent lawyers, understandably, are stressed about this. They spent so much time attacking the decision or trying to characterise it as anything but a game changer. We gave dozens of examples at the middle of this year. Here again are a couple of patent lawyers using a straw man: “it is doubtful that all software, computer-implemented and business method inventions will be affected by Alice. For example, software inventions that improve the functioning of a computer, or improve other technical fields, may still be eligible for patent protection. Still, while the full effect of Alice is yet to be determined, entities seeking to patent inventions directed to software, computer implementations, and business methods, need to ensure that inventions are sufficiently innovative and directed to concrete ideas.”

“The patent lawyers, understandably, are stressed about this.”Mike Masnick already caught the news from the morning and wrote: “The impact of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Alice v. CLS Bank continues to reverberate around the industry. We’ve already noted that courts have been rapidly invalidating a bunch of patents, and that related lawsuits appear to be dropping rapidly as well. And, now, a new analysis from a (pro-patent) law firm suggests that the US Patent Office is rejecting a lot more software patents as well.”

Software superpower India does not have software patents, but after meeting executives from Microsoft (which has enormous influence over the Indian government), Amazon, Facebook and other patent aggressors it looks like things may change. According to this article about Modi’s trip to the US:

The US-India Joint Statement signed during Modi’s visit to the US has opened the doors for two Indian laws that have been passed by the Indian Parliament. One is on patents – the Indian Patents Act – that contain some measures to keep drug prices low for the people, which the US and its pharmaceutical industries have been trying to change for the last decade. The second is on nuclear liability, again anathema to the US nuclear industry.

Here is a little something about privacy too: “The Modi visit is also important for what he did not raise with the US government. There was no mention of the NSA spying in India, which included the BJP as well. There were six political entities in the world that the NSA spied upon officially, and one of them was the BJP. India is also one of the 33 countries that have signed a 3rd Party agreement with NSA giving it access to our telecommunications and Internet infrastructure. That means India not only allowed NSA to spy on any entity or any person in India but also provided them the physical access required for such spying. Modi not only did not utter one word of protest against such spying against his own party, but also made clear his intention to continue such relationship under Defence and Homeland Security clauses of the Joint Statement.”

It is sad to say this, but India seems to be assimilating to the US system when it comes to patents and also when it comes to militarisation and surveillance.

As we showed before, the corrupt EPO is bringing Europe closer into alignment with the corporations-run USPTO while the USPTO itself is moving away from software patents these days. We covered this aspect of the situation several weeks ago.

Our next post will focus on some more scandals from the EPO.

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