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Links 8/10/2015: KDE Plasma 5.4.2 Released, Linux Drama Queens

Posted in News Roundup at 6:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • 5 Popular Safety Measures That Don’t Make You Any Safer

    Thus the no fly list was established. It is estimated to have around 1 million names but nobody knows for sure. Keeping the list secret is a matter of national security, so the only way to find out if you’re on it is to be detained in the airport. Or in the air. For instance, in 2005 a 747 flight from Amsterdam to Mexico was turned back before it could reach its destination. The reason? Two of the plane’s passengers were on the no fly list and the flight crossed over US airspace. Well, better safe than sorry, right?

  • Stephen King’s practical advice for tech writers

    Even if you don’t enjoy writing and have no intentions of becoming a professional tech writer, chances are you’ll have to draft reports, mailing list updates, or technical articles at some point in your career. With a few practical tips in mind—along with solid writing advice from Stephen King—you can improve your writing before you start writing. And, with proper planning, you can easily repurpose your content for multiple audiences.

  • Avoiding tap water has become a way of life in Flint

    Outside a taco shop on Flint’s Fifth Street, Estella Walker balances a gallon jug of water on top of the stroller that holds her 3-month-old son, DeWayne. She’s mixing bottles of formula for DeWayne and his 19-month-old sister Vanessa.

    Nadene Strickland sits outside her home on the city’s north side, watching her grandsons play basketball. She still drinks the water. She can’t afford bottled.

    Shopping at the local farmers market with five of her seven children, Tena Fransioli says she hasn’t used tap water in a long time.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • LinuxCon 2015 Report: Shrinking the Security Holes in OSS

      Dublin native James Joyce famously wrote that “mistakes are the portals of discovery.” LinuxCon 2015 keynote speaker Leigh Honeywell grabbed hold of the same theme here in Dublin, reminding hundreds of open source professionals that “you’re going to make mistakes; you’re going to introduce security bugs.” The goal, said Honeywell, who works as a senior security engineer at Slack Technologies, shouldn’t be the all-out elimination of these mistakes. Instead, security engineers should strive to make different mistakes next time around.

    • The perils of free digital certificates

      The current certificate is not cross-signed, so loading the page over HTTPS will give visitors an untrusted warning. The warning goes away once the ISRG root is added to the trust store. ISRG expects the certificate to be cross-signed by IdenTrusts’s root in about a month, at which point the certificates will work nearly anywhere. The project also submitted initial applications to the root programs for Mozilla, Google, Microsoft, and Apple so that Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Safari would recognize Let’s Encrypt certificates.

    • Get Simplified Web Encrytion For Your Website With Let’s Encrypt
    • InvizBox Go Offers Open Source Online Privacy And Security (video)

      Team InvizBox have unveiled a new pocket sized device which has been created to provide an open source solution to online privacy and security.

      The small InvizBox box is capable of offering users a broad range of privacy options, allowing secure connectivity to the Internet from both desktop and mobile devices.

    • New programmer pow-wow for coders paranoid about Android

      DevSecCon is a newly formed, non-profit conference for DevOps and SecOps practitioners, run by practitioners. By creating a neutral platform, it will exchange and create new ideas on how to leverage the best of both worlds and adopt a new mind-set of inclusiveness and collaboration.

    • Cisco disrupts $30 million browser plug-in hacking operation
    • ​Cisco: notorious hackers using Linux cloak earn $30m a year

      Cisco notes that Linux servers were being managed remotely via SSH using root, adding that they were likely compromised systems in Europe and Asia.

    • Linux.Wifatch: The Wireless Router Malware that Increases IoT Security
    • Vigilante Malware
    • Creators of the Benevolent Linux.Wifatch Malware Reveal Themselves

      The Linux.Wifatch malware, also dubbed as the “vigilante malware” has been going around the Internet, infecting IoT devices, cleaning out malware infections, and boosting the devices’ security.

    • Linux.Wifatch Is Protecting Unpatched Routers, Devices

      Today’s topics include how vigilante malware is protecting unpatched routers, HP launches its Open-Source Network OS, Twitter locks in Jack Dorsey as its permanent CEO, and Cisco is driving its investments in network chip startup Aquantia.

      Countless numbers of routers and Internet-connected devices around the world are not properly updated, leaving the devices, their owners and the Internet at large at risk. A new code infection, however, dubbed Linux.Wifatch, is taking unpatched routers and devices a different route, protecting them, rather than exploiting them.

    • Microsoft OWA falls victim to password-pinching APT attack

      SECURITY RESEARCHERS FROM Cybereason have sounded a klaxon over a problem with the Microsoft Outlook Web Application (OWA) that could let attackers swoop in and tag and bag data and documents through the use of APT techniques.

      Cybereason discovered the bug when a customer with some 19,000 endpoints suspected that it was the victim of infection.

    • New Outlook mailserver attack steals massive number of passwords

      Backdoor in Outlook Web Application operates inside target’s firewall.

    • Vint Cerf: The Headline I Fear Is ’100,000 Fridges Hack Bank of America’

      When the ILOVEYOU worm struck on May 4, 2000, it thrust the reality of computer vulnerabilities into the public consciousness in a very big way.

      Sure, computer worms had spread before, but some estimates pegged this particular worm as causing billions of dollars in damage. Entire government departments were crippled. The nature of its spread was unprecedented in scale.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US Denies WikiLeaks Claims of Plot To Topple Bolivian President

      Bolivia says it is launching a thorough investigation into revelations made public by a WikiLeaks report.

      The U.S. has refuted reports that it planned to topple the government of Bolivia.

      The controversy started after a report surfaced on WikiLeaks that the U.S. government had plotted an assassination attempt against President Evo Morales in 2008.

      A representative described the WikiLeaks accusations as “absolutely false and absurd.”

    • NYT Continues to Obscure Responsibility in US’s Bombing of Hospital

      The New York Times followed up its euphemistic and equivocal coverage (FAIR Blog, 10/5/15) of the US bombing of the Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, with an article (10/6/15) that continued to downplay the US’s responsibility for the deaths of 12 hospital staffers and 10 patients.

    • Down the Memory Hole: NYT Erases CIA’s Efforts to Overthrow Syria’s Government

      FAIR has noted before how America’s well-documented clandestine activities in Syria have been routinely ignored when the corporate media discuss the Obama administration’s “hands-off” approach to the four-and-a-half-year-long conflict. This past week, two pieces—one in the New York Times detailing the “finger pointing” over Obama’s “failed” Syria policy, and a Vox “explainer” of the Syrian civil war—did one better: They didn’t just omit the fact that the CIA has been arming, training and funding rebels since 2012, they heavily implied they had never done so.

      First, let’s establish what we do know. Based on multiple reports over the past three-and-a-half years, we know that the Central Intelligence Agency set up a secret program of arming, funding and training anti-Assad forces. This has been reported by major outlets, including the New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel and, most recently, the Washington Post, which—partly thanks to the Snowden revelations—detailed a program that trained approximately 10,000 rebel fighters at a cost of $1 billion a year, or roughly 1/15th of the CIA’s official annual budget.

    • ‘Military Intervention in the Middle East Started This Crisis in the First Place’ – CounterSpin interview with Raed Jarrar on the refugee crisis

      Janine Jackson: A recent CNN report said that the worsening Syrian refugee crisis highlights the differences among countries that welcome what they called “desperate migrants” and those that don’t; but if US audiences think that the crisis, some 11 million people now displaced, reflects only on the action or inaction of countries “over there,” they’re misunderstanding the situation. What more do we need to know about this crisis, its roots and possible ways forward? Raed Jarrar is government relations manager at the American Friends Service Committee. He joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Raed Jarrar.

    • 9/11 and the Rise of Neoconservative Foreign Policy

      9/11 and the Rise of Neoconservative Foreign Policy. For this 14th anniversary 9/11 special program, co-hosts Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips speak with Media Roots journalist and filmmaker Robbie Martin about his new film “A Very Heavy Agenda.” The film looks in depth at the Kagan family and the rise of neoconservative foreign policy prior to and since the events of 9/11. Tune in for a detailed discussion about the development of the US policy driving American Empire.

  • Finance

    • TPP Negotiations Conclude: What Next for the Trade Deal Without a Public Text?

      The Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations concluded early this morning in Atlanta with the 12 countries reaching agreement on the remaining outstanding issues. The U.S. quickly posted a summary of the TPP and the Canadian government has followed with its own package on the deal. At a just-concluded ministerial press conference, the ministers noted that this is one step in a longer process. The text itself must still be finalized and then each country will have its own rules before signing onto it. In the U.S., there is a review period with the full text, so this will be a 2016 issue. In Canada, new treaties must be tabled for review in the House of Commons, so there will be a Parliamentary review.

    • 12 countries strike Pacific Rim trade accord

      Trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region have reached a deal on the Pacific trade pact that is intended to cut trade barriers and establish common standards for 12 countries, This is the largest trade pact in 20 years and has been a long-term goal of the Obama administration.

    • Users Have Been Betrayed in the Final TPP Deal—Help Us Tell Washington How You Feel

      Trade negotiators from the U.S. and its 11 Pacific Rim partners announced their agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) today, concluding the final round of closed negotiations in Atlanta and marking the culmination of seven years of secrecy. Throughout all that time, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has acted as a de facto representative of the Hollywood big media lobbies in pushing other countries to adopt the most punitive aspects of U.S. copyright policies—such as our over-the-top civil and criminal penalties—while at best giving lip service to pro-user aspects such as fair use.

    • ‘Massive’ Media Hype for TPP

      It is amazing how the elite media can be dragged along by their noses into accepting that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) can have a big impact on trade and growth. If I had a dollar for every time the deal was described as “massive,” or that we were told what share of world trade will be covered by the TPP, I would be richer than Bill Gates.

    • A Solution To Bitcoin’s Governance Problem

      A key aspect of Bitcoin’s value proposition is that it’s an open source protocol independent of any particular corporation or government.

      Similar to other open source initiatives, the software that runs the Bitcoin network is managed and improved upon by a group of volunteer developers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • State Court Says University Can’t Punish Student For Off-Campus Tweets

      The Appeals Court of Kansas has upheld a lower court’s decision finding it beyond the reach of a university to expel a student for off-campus behavior.

      Beneath this logical conclusion are some not-so-pretty facts. The origin of the lawsuit is a “bad breakup” that resulted in criminal charges for the former boyfriend, Navid Yeasin.

    • Motherboard’s Version Of ‘Valuing Discussion’ Involves No Longer Letting You Comment

      Add Motherboard to the quickly growing list of news websites killing their comment section because they’re so breathlessly in love with reader interaction and visitor conversation. Like The Verge, Recode, Popular Science, The Daily Beast and numerous other websites before it, Motherboard has decided that there’s simply no value whatsoever to having a healthy, on-site local community.

    • Why are students now cheering about the massacre at Charlie Hebdo?

      I witnessed something genuinely disturbing at Trinity College Dublin last night: trendy, middle-class, liberal students cheering and whooping a man who had just given the closest thing I have yet heard to a justification for the massacre at Charlie Hebdo.

      It was as part of a debate on the right to offend. I was on the side of people having the right to say whatever the hell they want, no matter whose panties it bunches. The man on the other side who implied that Charlie Hebdo got what it deserved, and that the right to offend is a poisonous, dangerous notion, was one Asghar Bukhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee.

    • Scholarship, Security, and ‘Spillage’ on Campus

      On September 24 I gave a keynote presentation at Purdue University about the NSA, Edward Snowden, and national security journalism in the age of surveillance. It was part of the excellent Dawn or Doom colloquium, which I greatly enjoyed. The organizers live-streamed my talk and promised to provide me with a permalink to share.

      After unexplained delays, I received a terse email from the university last week. Upon advice of counsel, it said, Purdue “will not be able to publish your particular video” and will not be sending me a copy. The conference hosts, once warm and hospitable, stopped replying to my emails and telephone calls. I don’t hold it against them. Very likely they are under lockdown by spokesmen and lawyers.

  • Privacy

    • Landmark EU ruling says US privacy protections are inadequate

      Europe’s highest court today ruled that Facebook cannot send personal information on European users to data centers in the US, invalidating a 15-year trans-Atlantic data transfer agreement. In a decision that could have far-reaching implications for many US tech companies, the European Court of Justice said that the EU’s Safe Harbor agreement with the US is “invalid” because the country does not guarantee adequate privacy protections. The agreement allows technology companies to transfer data from Europe to the US, provided that certain privacy requirements are met. According to The Wall Street Journal, today’s ruling could impact around 4,500 companies that currently rely on the laws to transfer data to the US.

    • EU-US Safe Harbour For Personal Data Eliminated

      The European Court of Justice (CJEU) handed down a decision declaring EU-US safe harbour for personal data invalid this morning. It has far-reaching implications for cloud services in particular and may presage increased opportunity for open source solutions from non-US suppliers. Looks like a real gift to companies like Kolab.

    • Interview with Kirsten Johnson, Director of “The Above”

      Kirsten Johnson talks with Eric Hynes about her new film, which documents a military surveillance blimp over Kabul and its impact on the Afghans living beneath it.

    • Adblock Plus to appoint whitelist watchdog

      The company behind the internet’s most popular advert-blocking plug-in has pledged to open up its controversial “whitelist” to outside scrutiny.

    • Data Transfer Pact Between U.S. and Europe Is Ruled Invalid
    • Verizon’s Sneaky Zombie Cookies Now Being Used Across The Entire AOL Ad Empire

      Poor Verizon. Telco executives for years have sat in their board rooms bored by the billions to be made on telecom and transit, jealously eyeing Facebook and Google ad revenue, and desperately dreaming of being seen as more than just a dull old phone company. That’s why the telecom giant recently paid $4.4 billion to acquire AOL, and is now throwing tens of millions at a new Internet video service aimed squarely at Millennials (hey kids, why get Internet video right from the source or a disruptive content company when you can get it from the phone company?).

    • Facebook can be blocked from passing data to US after treaty ruled invalid

      Facebook, Google and thousands of other US companies can be barred from transferring private information about European citizens across the Atlantic after Europe’s highest court struck down a 15-year-old data sharing treaty.

      The European Court of Justice has declared that the “Safe Harbour” agreement, which gives more than 4,400 US businesses free reign to send data about Europeans to American servers, is invalid.

    • Ireland, Facebook’s European base, pushed to act on ‘safe harbour’ ruling

      Ireland has said it plans to investigate the transfer of data on Facebook users in Europe to the United States after an EU court invalidated the “safe harbour” provisions under which it took place.

      It follows a request by Austrian citizen Max Schrems to the Irish data protection commissioner to investigate if there was adequate protection of his data transferred to the US by Facebook, which has its European headquarters in Dublin.

    • EU ruling means Facebook and Google can’t send data to the US

      If you live in Europe, your online life changed this morning. The European Union’s highest court, the EU Court of Justice, has invalidated the legal agreement by which personal data can be moved from the EU to the US for processing.

      The ruling against the 15-year-old law, known as Safe Harbour, threatens the business models of more than 3000 companies that use it to ship data to the US, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook.

    • No Safe Harbor: How NSA Spying Undermined U.S. Tech and Europeans’ Privacy
    • Microsoft sites expose visitors’ profile info in plain text

      If you think using secure HTTP would be enough to protect your privacy when checking webmail, think again. When users connect to their Microsoft user account page, Outlook.com, or OneDrive.com even when using HTTPS, the connection leaks a unique identifier that can be used to retrieve their name and profile photo in plaintext.

      A unique identifier called a CID is exposed because it’s sent as part of a Domain Name Service lookup for the address of the storage server containing profile data and as part of the initiation of an encrypted connection. As a result, it could be used to track users when they connect to services from both computers and mobile devices, possibly even identifying users as their requests leave the Tor anonymizing network.

    • EFF joins Nameless Coalition and demands that Facebook kills its real names policy

      Facebook has come under heavy criticism for its real names (or ‘authentic identities’ as they are known to the social network) policy. Over the last year, all manner of rights groups and advocates have tried to convince Facebook to allow users to drop their real name in favor of a pseudonym if they want.

      Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation is part of the 74-member strong Nameless Coalition and has written to Facebook demanding a rethink on the ground of safety, privacy, and equality. This is far from being the first time Facebook has been called on to allow the use of ‘fake names’, and the latest letter is signed by LGBT groups, freedom advocates, privacy supporters, and feminist organizations.

    • Thousands of “Spies” Are Watching Trackerless Torrents

      BitTorrent is a very efficient way to share large files, but not a very private one. It’s commonly known that anti-piracy outfits monitor users through public trackers. However, new research reveals that BitTorrent’s DHT is also full of “spies” who actively harvest IP-addresses.


      Through DHT, BitTorrent users share IP-addresses with other peers. Thus far, little was known about the volume of monitoring through DHT, but research from Peersm’s Aymeric Vitte shows that it’s rampant.

      Through various experiments Vitte consistently ran into hundreds of thousands of IP-addresses that show clear signs of spying behavior.

      The spies are not hard to find and many monitor pretty much all torrents hashes they can find. Blocking them is not straightforward though, as they frequently rotate IP-addresses and pollute swarms.

    • Open Rights Group welcomes CJEU Safe Harbor ruling

      Open Rights Group welcomes today’s decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that the Safe Harbor agreement is invalid.

    • Why the CJEU ruling on #SafeHarbor is a landmark victory for privacy rights

      In 2013, Austrian law student, Max Schrems brought a case against Facebook in Ireland, where the company has its European headquarters. He argued that revelations by NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, showed that the NSA were accessing data held by companies like Facebook. As US law did not offer enough protection against this surveillance, his privacy was being violated.

      The Irish Data Protection Commissioner rejected Schrems’ case because the Safe Harbor agreement governed the transfer of data. The case was then referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).


      The ruling places greater obligations on data protection authorities – such as the UK’s Information Commissioner – as it says that they must ensure that fundamental rights are respected in data transfer arrangements to the US by private companies. It also limits the ability of the Commission to claim everything is OK and persuade European regulators to look away.

    • Safe harbor: abusive data collection and mass surveillance repealed by the European Court of Justice!

      By a decision published this morning, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the highest European jurisdiction, repealed the Safe Harbor agreement. This agreement in effect since 2000, allows data transfers between Europe and the United States under different versions, authorised the processing of European citizens’ data by US companies, with fewer guarantees than those existing in Europe. Max Schrems, an Austrian citizen, has put Facebook on trial since the monitoring by the NSA of his data hosted by Facebook had an impact on his freedom and privacy. The CJEU today confirmed his viewpoint by invalidating the Safe Harbor and held that the European Commission abused its power by approving it. The CJEU also affirmed that a local data protection authority may dissent a European agreement if guarantees granted to citizens were modified.

  • Civil Rights

    • Valencia Woman Files Suit Alleging She Was Punched By Police In Front Of Her Kids

      A Valencia woman has sued the city of Carlsbad and several of its officers over allegations that she was pinned to the ground and punched by police in 2013.

      Cindy Hahn said the incident on July 31 – a day she calls the worst one of her life – was caught on cellphone video.

    • Google drops ‘Don’t be evil’ mantra as it becomes Alphabet

      EVIL-DOING HAS HAD A BOOST. Google is no longer opposing it in its official company code of conduct for new and improved big brother company Alphabet, where employees will be expected to ‘do the right thing’.

    • Second Saudi Juvenile Faces Beheading As Cameron Tries To Justify “Squalid” Deal

      According to the campaign group Reprieve, “Dawoud al-Marhoon was 17 when he was arrested without a warrant by Saudi security forces in May 2012, at the height of protests in the country’s Eastern Province.”

      The campaign group claims that al-Marhoon signed a “confession”, which was used to convict him, after he was tortured. In a press release the group said: “He has been held in solitary confinement, and has been barred from speaking to his lawyer.

    • David Cameron attacks Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating ideology’ – live [Ed: opposition compared to terrorism]
    • Leon Brittan vs Julian Assange

      Indeed, the BBC has decided that, given the accusations against Assange are so risible, it would be wrong for any detail at all of the accusations to be given out. Therefore the BBC has never reported the fact that the allegation they describe as “rape” is that, during the act of consensual sex, Assange allegedly tore a condom with his fingers whilst wearing it (of which I doubt the physical possibility). The second sexual molestation accusation is that again consensual sex took place, but after they fell asleep in each others arms, Assange awoke and initiated a repeat of the sex act without requesting permission again.

      Despite the fact that Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen have given press conferences in Sweden promoting their allegations, the BBC has made no attempt to interview them. The BBC has not reported that, the day after the condom splitting “rape”, Anna Ardin hosted a crayfish party for Assange and tweeted her friends from it that she was with the coolest man in the world. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin had invited Assange to share her flat and her bed. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen only made accusations after the two of them got together and cooked up the story. The BBC has not reported that Stockholm’s chief prosecutor dismissed it as no case to answer, and that Ardin then took it, as Swedish law allows, to another prosecutor, Marianne Ny who has a campaigning feminist agenda.

      The BBC has not reported any of that because it would be quite wrong to doubt the word of victims of sexual abuse. It would be wrong to put them under pressure, or look sceptically at the evidence for their stories, both direct and circumstantial. It would be quite wrong to prejudice possible legal proceedings.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Hey, Remember How Net Neutrality Was Supposed To Destroy The Internet?

      Before and after the FCC imposed new net neutrality rules, you’ll recall there was no limit of hand-wringing from major ISPs and net neutrality opponents about how these “draconian regulations from a bygone era” would utterly decimate the Internet. We were told investment would freeze, innovation would dry up like dehydrated jerky, and in no time at all net neutrality would have us all collectively crying over our busted, congested, tubes.

      And, of course, shockingly, absolutely none of that is happening. Because what the ISPs feared about net neutrality rules wasn’t that it would senselessly hurt their ability to invest, but that it would harm their ability to take aggressive and punitive advantage of the lack of competition in last mile broadband networks. Obviously ISPs can’t just come out and admit that, so what we get instead is oodles of nonsense, including bogus claims that net neutrality violates ISPs’ First Amendment rights.

    • Facebook Will Beam the Internet to Africa Using this Satellite [iophk: "zero-rating"]

      Africa’s current state of Internet access is stark: the lowest levels of broadband connectivity, according to the United Nation’s State of Broadband report, are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the UN, Internet availability reaches less than 2% of the populations in Guinea, Somalia, Burundi and Eritrea.

  • DRM

    • FCC clarifies third-party router firmware is allowed — but with restrictions

      A few weeks ago, we covered news that the FCC was considering rules that could ban the use of third-party router firmware. The FCC has issued new draft rules that would prevent customers from making changes to certain radio settings that would allow for operation outside of certain parameters. Typically these restrictions are designed to prevent multiple devices in the same geographical area from overlapping and conflicting with each other.

      The FCC has now revealed more details on these new policies, which could theoretically be read to prevent the installation of all third-party router firmware. The FCC’s initial order specifies, for example, that programs like DD-WRT should not be allowed, which is part of why people have been concerned about new restrictions in the first place. According to the FCC, manufacturers don’t need to lock out third-party firmware — they just need to prevent the third party firmware from changing settings the FCC doesn’t allow consumers to modify.

    • The Stagnation Of eBooks Due To Closed Platforms And DRM

      Craig Mod has a fascinating article for Aeon, talking about the unfortunate stagnation in digital books. He spent years reading books almost exclusively in ebook form, but has gradually moved back to physical books, and the article is a long and detailed exploration into the limits of ebooks today — nearly all of which are not due to actual limitations of the medium, but deliberate choices by the platform providers (mainly Amazon, obviously) to create closed, limited, DRM-laden platforms for ebooks.

    • Sorry, Unix fans: OS X El Capitan kills root

      If you haven’t heard, Apple has locked out root from various file system paths and core functions in Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan. The new sheriff here is System Integrity Protection (SIP), which reduces root privileges in an attempt to increase security.

      The gist is that no user — not even root — can write to /usr, /bin, /System, and /sbin or debug protected processes. Apple has also removed the ability to use unsigned kernel extensions through boot-time flags. It’s important to note that SIP can be disabled, through the recovery partition, but this will typically be done only for development and testing purposes.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Megaupload prosecutor wraps up arguments to extradite Kim Dotcom to the US

        For two weeks, Kim Dotcom and three other former Megaupload staffers accused of criminal copyright infringement were bombarded by accusations from New Zealand prosecutors.

        To hear prosecutors tell it, Dotcom is the Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman of illegal file sharing. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges that the defendants operated Megaupload as a criminal enterprise designed to profit from the illegal swapping of movies, music and software by users. A hearing is underway to determine whether New Zealand will extradite Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk, and Finn Batato to the US. Much is at stake for the four, who may eventually face lengthy prison sentences.

      • Megaupload Accuses U.S. of Unfair Tactics, Seeks Stay

        After the United States were given several days to state their case against Kim Dotcom and his former business associates, this morning lawyers for the Megaupload four stated why their clients should not be extradited to the United States. The U.S. has used unfair tactics to gain an advantage so the hearing should be brought to an end, the Court heard.

      • Google Must Expose eBook Pirate, Court Rules

        Google has to hand over the personal details of a user who published pirated eBooks online, a Dutch court has ruled. The information was requested by anti-piracy group BREIN, working on behalf of a local book publishers’ organization.

      • Happy Birthday And The Problem With The Copyright Office’s ‘Orphan Works’ Plan

        A few weeks ago, we wrote about the big ruling by Judge George King in a district court in California that Warner/Chappell does not hold a valid copyright in the song “Happy Birthday.” The press ran with the story, with nearly all of the coverage falsely stating that the judge had declared Happy Birthday to be in the public domain. As we noted in our post, however, that was not the case. While the plaintiffs had urged just such a finding, Judge King noted that there were issues related to this that a jury would need to answer, and he would not go that far. Instead, he merely stated that Warner did not hold a valid copyright. Many people assume that this is good enough. The likelihood of some third party magically showing up after all of these years and not just claiming the copyright, but having enough evidence to prove it seems very slim. Glenn Fleishman has done a nice job writing up a detailed explanation of this copyright mess for Fast Company, in which he notes the “uncertainty is maddening.”

      • Bat-tastic – Batmobile Protected by Copyright in the US

        Amongst the very old school and traditionalist judgments here in the UK, it is always refreshing to read ones that step outside of that dusty judicial demeanor, and often our friends across the pond in the US show us that even judges remember their youth with fondness.


        In applying the test judge Ikuta quickly saw that, as the Batmobile has appeared in many renditions in a variety of forms, it has conceptual and physical qualities. The vehicle has also maintained a sufficient amount of distinct features over the years, even with minor (or more major) difference in some iterations, along with its specific characteristics and features in equipment and technology, making it sufficiently delineated to be recognizable as the same vehicle. Finally, judge Ikuta saw that the vehicle was especially distinctive, containing unique elements of expression through its status as a key part of Batman’s crime-fighting repertoire, along with its very distinctive name. The Batmobile therefore was deemed to be protectable under copyright.

EPO Staff to Disrupt Administrative Council Meeting With Public Demonstration That Raises Awareness of Abuses

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Manchester architecture

Summary: The perception of collusion between the Administrative Council (AC) and the European Patent Office (EPO) leads to staff actions demanding investigation of illegal Board of Appeal (BoA) suspension/s (among many other things)

“Actions continue at the European Patent Office (EPO),” wrote SUEPO today, following a familiar script (the previous such call for action was accidentally posted this morning, either prematurely or while writing the latest call). This is probably designed to overlap with the Administrative Council’s meeting, which is due to take place starting on the very same date, as we noted before. Here is SUEPO’s message:

The next demonstration will take place on Wednesday 14 October, starting at 12.30h in front of the Isar building of the EPO in Munich.

According to SUEPO, the EPO has been transformed into a totalitarian state where the rights of staff and of those who defend the rights of staff or simply adhere to common sense are being crushed to the benefit of a few, mainly French, who are making rocket careers. The EPO is a civil service organisation and not a self-service organisation.

We wish to remind the Council delegates and the governments of the Member States that they are responsible for the European Patent Organisation, its mission and its staff.

The Administrative Council is too close (and loyal) to Benoît Battistelli, so without serious pressure there will just be more coverup, no regulatory action. They only interrogate the messengers — those who have the courage to complain about the abuses and call for action.

Van der Eijk’s situation was covered here before (in [1, 2]) and “sources suggest that Mr Wim van der Eijk, Chairman of the Enlarged Boards of Appeal is on long term absence,” SUEPO claims (probably citing either us or the sources that we, in turn, cited). Van der Eijk is Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (highest position at the top board), but he is not showing up for work anymore. The need for action in this case is imperative, e.g. the Council must investigate these illegal suspensions, at least that of a judge last year (it might not have been the only one), but it’s one that complaints were raised about).

SUEPO now highlights an article from the summer (a little outdated because of more recent developments), published by World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR). This was shared and archived locally (the full text) at SUEPO’s Web site. “Back in August,” says SUEPO, “WIPR reported on the events at the European Patent Office and especially on the lack of independence of the EPO’s appeal boards which is under public scrutiny since the house ban imposed on one of its members” (nothing was known about Wim van der Eijk at the time and we are still waiting for conformation about the status of this affair). To quote WIPR:

The independence of the EPO’s appeal boards appears to be under scrutiny, but establishing how to make them more autonomous is proving tricky, as WIPR reports.

A way from the strike action, demonstrations, and the continuing dispute between the European Patent Office’s (EPO) staff and management, it is easy to forget that the office actually has a job to do.

During much of the last year or so accusations were levelled against both EPO president Benoît Battistelli and his senior management.

Leaked documents apparently showing changes to staff guidelines, notices of strikes, public condemnation of the office’s management by its staff union, and murmurings of suspensions have punctuated what should have been an exciting few months for the EPO as it prepares for the arrival of the unitary patent.

SUEPO quotes text from behind the paywall/artificial limitation at WIPR, namely: “Battistelli has tried to increase the independence of the boards without actually amending the EPC itself, but his efforts are “not satisfactory. [...] Increasing the board’s independence without amending the EPC depends on Battistelli delegating the powers he has to the boards of appeal, but how permanent would that delegation be? If he can take the decision to delegate powers he can also undo it, so it is not the best guarantee. [...] with the EPC in its current form, there is an argument that the EPO is not compliant with the TRIPS Agreement.[...] TRIPS says that you need to have two instances of appeal. But if the boards of appeal at the EPO are merely an administrative function run by the president you could say there is in fact no level of appeal at all.”

The TRIPS Agreement is itself an abomination, much like TPP and ACTA, which contained TRIPS within it (we wrote a lot about this back in the ACTA days).

On a separate note, there continues to be a disturbing trend when it comes to software patents in Europe. There are principle no software patents in India and in Europe, but the EPO has been working to change that since the Brimelow days. India’s new government too seems to be making these undemocratic errors; “The new guidelines,” says this report about Modi in The Times of India, “will make it easier for companies to file for software patents in India. But software patenting has become hugely controversial globally” (and especially so in India, where many software developers work, sometimes remotely).

Patent lawyers try to spin that article as Indian companies actually wanting software patents. This was mentioned when we wrote about patent trolls against Android in Europe just two days ago. We also mentioned at the same time the official joining of the UK into the UPC despite the possibility of Brexit. As Benjamin Henrion put it yesterday “UK ratification of the Unitary Patent does not make sense if the ECJ have the last word over patents, as it was confirmed bu en [sic] EC official” (the UK just ignores the law and already jump-starts a UPC patent court in London).

In the coming weeks we are likely to invest more time researching and writing about the UPC. This too deserves a public protest, not just TPP (or ACTA before it).

We support the actions of EPO staff against their management as this is long overdue and it gets members of the European Parliament increasingly involved. All the above collusions thrive in secrecy and the more information we can put out there in the public domain, the more true democracy one can enable.

“The European Patent Office is an executive organisation, it deals especially with patent applicants, as such, its view of the world may be biased. As an executive organisation, its interpretative powers are very limited. The European Patent Convention excludes computer programs, it is outside the EPO’s power to change this.”

Ante Wessels, FFII

OIN Turns 10, IDG Floods the Web With Puff Pieces That ‘Normalise’ Software Patents

Posted in IBM, OIN, Patents at 1:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A conspiracy of silence over harmful software patenting

Three monkeys

Summary: The Open Invention Network (OIN) commissions or helps produce puff pieces in the corporate media because it has an anniversary and corporate interests to push forth (including the idea that software patents can coexist with Linux)

“OIN is a waste of time and money,” wrote the FFII’s President this week, “it was created by IBM [...] and collective shields don’t work against trolls” (we have explained this important point for nearly a decade).

Patent pools are not going to protect GNU and Linux, especially not from patent trolls. In private conversations between myself, the OIN and a potential patent trolls half a decade ago I was reminded of that. There is this press release titled “Open Invention Network Celebrates Its 10 Year Anniversary”, which even made it into Linux sites like LWN. OIN appears to have contacted journalists, as they did me on several occasions in the past. Katherine Noyes, who had worked for the Linux Foundation, was probably approached by OIN based on ‘exclusive’ (with quotations) coverage from IDG, which promoted OIN by throwing their stuff all over the place, in dozens of sites, to push their point of view [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12].

What we basically have here is a sort of front group for IBM, a proponent of (and lobbyist for) software patents, celebrating a massive software patents pact (not as effective as cross-licensing). Remember where the first person to head OIN came from…

OIN generally generated puff pieces in some other places, including mouthpiece of the plutocrats (like those who head large corporations, including IBM).

“Launched back in 2005,” Noyes wrote, “the OIN was formed by IBM, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony to create a protected zone of patents around core Linux and open source software technologies — functionality that’s essential for open source projects and companies like OpenStack, Linux, Red Hat, SUSE, Android and Apache.”

The only surprising name above might be Red Hat, but Red Hat's weird stance on software patents these days is a subject we tackled many times before (over half a decade ago).

There is no room in this world for software patents, not even with the excessively glorified OIN. There is no way to reconcile and to coexist with software patents because small independent developers don’t have a war chest of patents. Companies like IBM and Microsoft have enormous leverage over them. OIN helps perpetuate an injustice. Is there an alternative to OIN? Yes. Just get rid of software patents altogether.

Hypocrite Forks the Linux Kernel Because of Cultural Characteristics That He Himself is Guilty of

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 1:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Forking of Linux is misleadingly reported in the media because of a couple of very loud people, who are not even quitting their jobs

THIS post is not a personal attack, so we shall refrain from naming names (no direct reference to individuals). This post isn’t about news either, just some rants that infiltrated so-called ‘news’ sites because drama ‘sells’.

It all started with the original rant [1] from one among many thousands of Linux developers (she didn’t even leave her employer, just changed projects to focus on). This was picked up by few sites the following day and became a topic of discussion in LWN [2], which is close to LKML (people/subscribers overlap). Linux media then picked it up [3-7], followed by the corporate media [8-12]. Some Microsoft boosters were all over it as this was a rare opportunity to characterise Linux as rude and condescending (as if this never happens in proprietary software, they just hide it better in their culture of infamous secrecy, no public mailing lists either).

This in itself was bad enough in the publicity sense and then a longtime vocal supporter of feminism added more fuel to the fire [13], causing some stir in Linux media [14], having done this against Intel before. Intel is the former person’s employer by the way; the company whom he decided to effectively boycott over chauvinism — a problem that the former person seems to not even want to address at all because that’s where her large salary comes from. Double standard much?

This outburst against Linux has nothing to do with women’s rights or manners. There is no threat of violence (as once alleged) and there is no language directly offensive to women (no more than it can be offensive to men). Some people have too thin a skin, especially where free speech is highly valued.

The latter person is a Microsoft apologist (based on his own words) and the fact that he technically supports UEFI (i.e. attacking computing freedom) is why Torvalds famously lashed out and used sexual connotations.

The latter person is provocative, confrontational (even against former employers like Canonical), and foul-mouthed (look how he behaves on sites like Twitter), so who is he to use ‘brutal’ culture as a pretext for forking Linux? Yes, large news sites now frame this as Linux being forked [15,16], as if this will ever truly fly. It’s just a cycle of provocation, resulting in little more than harmful publicity, e.g. stereotyping and reinforced stigma for Linux.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Closing a door
  2. Sharp: Closing a door
  3. Sarah Sharp: “I’m not a Linux kernel developer any more”
  4. Sarah Sharp Quits as a Linux Kernel Developer, Blames the Toxic Behavior of the Community
  5. Sarah Sharp Steps Down As Linux Kernel Developer
  6. Kernel Anniversary Marked by “Without Linux” and Resignation

    Today marks 24 years since Linux Torvalds released version 0.01 of the Linux kernel to the benefit of humanity. The day was marred by the resignation of Sarah Sharp saying, “I am no longer a part of the Linux kernel community” due to “blunt, rude, or brutal” communication. The Linux Foundation today announced a new video series titled World Without Linux that will highlight the vast ecosystem spawned from that original 10,239 lines of code.

  7. Linux kernel developer Sarah Sharp quits over bad culture in LKML
  8. Linux kernel dev Sarah Sharp quits, citing ‘brutal’ communications style
  9. Linux kernel dev who asked Linus Torvalds to stop verbal abuse quits over verbal abuse
  10. ​Linux developer who took on Linus Torvalds over abuse quits ‘toxic’ kernel community
  11. Linux: Is Sarah Sharp a Social Justice Warrior?
  12. Key Linux geekette walks over community abuse
  13. Going my own way
  14. Another Longtime Linux Developer Looks To Distance Himself From The Kernel Community

    A day after Sarah Sharp formally announced she’s stepping away from Linux kernel development due to the arguably toxic community, well known kernel developer Matthew Garrett announced he too is planning to cease his personal contributions to the upstream Linux kernel.

  15. Matthew Garrett Forks the Linux Kernel

    Just like Sarah Sharp, Linux developer Matthew Garrett has gotten fed up with the unprofessional development culture surrounding the kernel. “I remember having to deal with interminable arguments over the naming of an interface because Linus has an undying hatred of BSD securelevel, or having my name forever associated with the deepthroating of Microsoft because Linus couldn’t be bothered asking questions about the reasoning behind a design before trashing it,” Garrett writes. He has chosen to go his own way, and has forked the Linux kernel and added patches that implement a BSD-style securelevel interface. Over time it is expected to pick up some of the power management code that Garrett is working on, and we shall see where it goes from there.

  16. Matthew Garrett Leaves Linux Kernel and Forks It

    Now, another Linux kernel developer has decided to move away from the project. Matthew Garrett has been in the news a lot this past year, but surprisingly, not for the Linux kernel. He’s been a constant critic of Canonical IP policy, and he has criticized the company more than once. In fact, he’s a rather well-known kernel developer, and he had his fair share of disputes with Linus Torvalds. Unlike Sarah, he made his reasons a lot more clear.


Željko Topić Attacks EPO Staff for ‘Daring’ to Legally Challenge the EPO’s Management Over Its Gross Abuses in Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I hope that German police will arrest this corrupt Balkans gangster [Željko Topić] and transfer him to Croatia for trial soon” –Rikard Frgačić, an early victim of Topić (in Croatia)

Summary: Benoît Battistelli’s right-hand man, Željko Topić, is under the false impression that yet more threats against staff of the EPO will help contain the crisis rather than further inflame it

Željko Topić must never have heard of or learned about the Streisand Effect. He and his circle of bullies (which includes several people and is headed by Battistelli) just don’t know a thing about crisis management.

Topić is finding himself in the shoes of Richard Nixon (recall Watergate), falling deeper into the mud at every step as he attempts to cover up the abuses, usually with even worse abuses than before.

Based on this letter just published by IP Kat, Topić and by extension the EPO’s management as a whole decided continue with aggression, having refused to conduct some kind of peace negotiations with the union.

“Topić has quite a history bullying his critics in his home country, Croatia, only to formally lose against them (after costing them a lot of money, agony, and several years in court.”The management’s aggression shows poor taste and zero tact. Over the past year or two the name of the EPO have been associated with negative things and the reputation is thoroughly tarnished; rather than respond politely and calmly the management chose to become even more aggressive, proving and at times further legitimising their critics’ gripes. So they really think that more threats are going to be constructive and actually help end the revolt? Of course it is only going to inflame (and get involved) more members or staff and ultimately serve to discredit the abuser, proving yet again that this circular and wide-ranging cycle of gagging/muzzling/censorship by retribution (or threats thereof) remains impractical and counterproductive. It doesn’t even work because despite threats from Battistelli, SUEPO is back to publicly posting new material today (see the SUEPO site for updates).

Topić has quite a history bullying his critics in his home country, Croatia [1, 2, 3], only to formally lose against them (after costing them a lot of money, agony, and several years in court [1, 2, 3, 4]). Strategic lawsuit against public participation, or SLAPP, is what this strategy is best known as.

Here is the latest from Topić and Raimund Lutz, another member of Battistelli’s mob:

Your rights
To all staff 
It has been recently brought to our attention that colleagues who turn to SUEPO for their pending legal cases against the Office are asked by SUEPO to sign a standard agreement in order to obtain financial support for the lawyer’s fees. 
Out of its duty of care towards EPO employees, the Office requested an external legal advice to assess the conformity of this agreement to the applicable national law and has concluded that it does not fulfil the required standards of legality. 
Unions may be entitled to provide legal support to colleagues and to propose standard contracts to that effect. However, such contracts must comply with the applicable law and basic fundamental rights as recognised in all European countries and under general principles of law. 
More specifically, several clauses of this agreement seem to be against good faith and/or national law under which such contract is signed and are thus unlawful and void. 
For example, Article 13 of the agreement reads as follows:

‘Where an external lawyer has been retained, as defined above,

  • (a) The Applicant shall at all times entrust the whole procedure to the lawyer, either directly or through SUEPO’s Legal Advisor.
  • (b) The Applicant shall at no time communicate directly with the Office on matters concerning the litigation without the prior and express approval of the external lawyer or the Legal Advisor.
  • (c) If the Applicant fails to meet the two requirements (a) and (b) above, financial aid by SUEPO may be revoked at any time and stage of the procedure.’
This standard clause prohibiting the staff member from communicating with the administration and therefore from taking any steps without requesting the express prior permission of SUEPO or SUEPO’s lawyers restricts unlawfully the staff member’s freedom of self-determination of his/her own case, infringes basic principles of the Law on general terms and conditions of employment, restricts his/her freedom of communication and constitutes an infringement of basic rights of occupational freedom in a dubious way. 
In case such unlawful clauses are used to block the possibility of amicable settlement or to exercise pressure to file further unjustified or unwanted litigation, this could be considered detrimental to the general interests of justice as well as an infringement of basic human rights of the staff member.
As a result, staff may consider contesting such contracts as void. 
In view of the above, the Office recommends staff to check with independent external lawyers of their choice the specific agreements they are asked to sign before doing so. 
If staff members are already engaged under such contract, they are in the same way and to the same extent also invited to check the lawfulness of the invoicing (proportionality of invoice against services, applicable fees under national law) as cases of overcharged legal fees/ invoices came to the attention of the Office. 
The Office’s services remain at the staff’s disposal for confidential consultation in case colleagues have already signed such documents and are not certain about the exact legal and financial obligations they have assumed from them. In such a case please contact the Conflict Resolution Unit.
Željko Topić
Vice-President DG 4
   Raimund Lutz
   Vice-President DG 5

As Merpel points out, “the EPO urges its litigious colleagues to take great care to guard against the breach of its human rights by staff union SUEPO. Both real and fictional Kats have memories that are admittedly fallible, but Merpel has this vague recollection that EPO’s concern for human rights has been demonstrated more vividly by its defiance of them than by their protection. Was this organisation not called to account earlier this year by a Dutch court, in a judgment that the EPO ignored, trumpeting its immunity from national law? Yet it is the very same national law to which the EPO now, extraordinarily, turns.”

Watch this space for follow-ups as so far this month we have been writing about the EPO more than once per day. It’s only getting worse for them by the day. Battistelli’s EPO is a force of occupation (by corporate interests), much like TPP. People are clever enough to see this and there is hard evidence becoming available. If any of our readers has the EPO’s “Closer contacts with major applicants” document, please consider anonymously leaking it to us. We have some important articles on the way.

Media Reports Based on New Patents Suggest That Microsoft Continues to Attack Google and Android/Linux, Trying to Tax and Delete Android

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 12:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Embrace and Extend
Credit: unknown (Twitter)

Summary: Reports and patent applications serve to show that Microsoft not only tries to infiltrate (“embrace”) Android to put its apps there (“extend”) but ultimately to delete (“extinguish”) Android


Like rabbits love snakes.

Microsoft is open…

Like a bear trap.

Microsoft is still trying to delete Android from Android phones, based on speculations such as this new one, citing a patent application from Microsoft, a company with financial troubles whose last remaining chance may be playing dirty, even blackmailing companies (using patents) into pre-installing Microsoft software. To quote the report:

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a seemingly strange partnership with Xiaomi for beta testing Windows 10 mobile. The company proved that it can easily install a Windows ROM on an Android device, suggesting in the future it might decide to compete against Google this way. Rather than launch new Windows hardware, Microsoft might one day provide just the software that would make possible installing Windows on any Android handset.


Titled User Selectable Operating Systems, a new patent application published a few days ago describes smartphones and tablets that would let users select what operating system to boot.

Microsoft’s technology would let phone makers preinstall multiple operating systems on a device in a compressed form, with the user able to select which operating system he or she would like to boot. For example, a phone could have Windows 10 and Android ROMs – though the patent doesn’t explicitly mention any of them – and users would be able to select which OS they prefer and perform a full install for one of them. There would also be the option of deleting the others.

Microsoft is also using patents against Android, still. CBS continues to spread the sanitised take from Microsoft’s Mouth on the latest example of Microsoft racketeering. Is nobody paying attention to what Microsoft does to Android these days, other than "embrace, extend, extinguish"? ASUS is just the latest victim among several (after Samsung, Kyocera, and Dell).

Microsoft hates Linux, Android, and Free software (especially copyrleft). It feels this way and it shows it every week. It takes a blind man’s wishful thinking to pretend otherwise.

Commenters Provide Possible Explanations for Mr Van der Eijk Being on Unlimited Sick Leave

Posted in Europe, Patents, Rumour at 12:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wim Van der Eijk

Photo from EPO.org

Summary: Rumours are swirling around Wim Van der Eijk’s absence, suggesting that he too may be a victim of Benoît Battistelli’s iron fist

THE EPO is out of touch and Van der Eijk may be out of work, based on the latest rumours.

“Still it is not clear what are the long term plans as a move would lead to mass resignations from DG3, replacing DG3 with the UPC appears to be impossible without a diplomatic conference?”
Several days ago we wrote about Van der Eijk's unlimited sick leave, which seems likely to have little or nothing to do with sickness (as we explained yesterday). As Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) and DG3 VP, Van der Eijk is probably the only remaining potent threat to Benoît Battistelli because the boards are, in principle, independent from Battistelli’s corruptible EPO (in practice Battistelli just breaks the rules).

Over at IP Kat we are seeing some interesting comments. Among them:

Mr Battistelli’s plan:
Get rid of the present VP 3,
Introduce “his” reform of the Boards of Appeal;
Install there his choice of new VP3.
The new chapter in the EPOsaga: “Taming the boards”
The present VP3, Mr Van der Eijk, is on unlimited sick leave and thus out of function. Nervous breakdown? Most likely.

Another comment says:

According to what I have heard from multiple sources the move of DG3 is not for reasons of independence, but simply retaliation for having angered the top management, mainly by R19/12 and refusal of the enlarged board to agree to the dismissal of the DG3 member under investigation.

Still it is not clear what are the long term plans as a move would lead to mass resignations from DG3, replacing DG3 with the UPC appears to be impossible without a diplomatic conference?

Also quite obviously the german delegation in the AC would be strongly against weakening Munich as Europe’s patent capital, so all those plans might go nowhere as the other delegations will be very reluctant to outvote Germany in that matter.

Perhaps the best possible explanation is this:

1) EPO Enlarged Board tells Chairman: “disobey President when necessary”

The European Patent Office (EPO) Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) has issued an interlocutory decision in case R2/14

2) The present VP3, Mr Van der Eijk, is on unlimited sick leave and thus out of function.

who would ever think that there is any connection between 1) and 2)

One can see more context in the threads, but most comments are of no relevance to this. We kindly ask anyone with information to conside contacting us anonymously. We really wish to get to the bottom of this and end the uncertainty.

“The EPO should be a member of the Council of Europe,” Florian Müller wrote today, “but it’s not because it wants free rein to violate human rights.”

Links 6/10/2015: Linux 4.3 RC4, HP OpenSwitch, Wind River Linux 8

Posted in News Roundup at 11:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Spider scare causes bus crash

    A child was transported to a hospital with minor head injuries after a shock from spider caused a crash involving a school bus and a “driverless” car, according to the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department.

    Around 4:15 p.m. Friday, deputies, along with Syracuse Police and Fire Units, responded to the area of 5571 E CR 1400 N on reports of a vehicle striking a school bus.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Adobe Fixes 18 Critical Flaws in Latest Flash Player Release: Update Now

      This is a very tiny application that usually does its thing behind the scenes, without interfering with the normal functioning of a phone, tablet or PC.

    • Incompetence, not Linux, is behind the XOR DDoS botnet

      First, no operating system or program is secure. Some are more secure than others. So sure, Linux is inherently more secure than Windows. But a badly managed Linux server will still be more insecure than a well-administered Windows system.

    • Linux.Wifatch ‘malware’ is actually making routers more secure

      We seem to have a vigilante white hat hacker on our hands, as newly discovered ‘malware’ aimed at Internet of Things devices and certain routers appears to be making these devices more secure. The Linux.Wifatch virus is doing the exact opposite of what most viruses would, rather than stealing user information or holding systems for ransom, it is actually improving security.

    • Linux vigilante fixes your router

      A new form of “malware” appears to have been set up by a Linux vigilante who wants to improve your security.

      Software called Linux.Wifatch compromises routers and other Internet of Things devices and appears to try and improve infected devices’ security.

    • Linux routers under attack — for their own good

      Symantec reports on an unusual “Linux.Wifatch” threat that improves the security of old Linux routers. Meanwhile, a new XOR botnet poses a deadlier threat.

      Linux may still be the most secure general-purpose OS in existence, but as its presence grows in the embedded and Internet of Things (IoT) market, it’s increasingly being targeted by malware. Linux-based routers with outdated firmware (see farther below) and wireless enabled home automaton devices seem particularly vulnerable.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The US decision to send weapons to Syria repeats a historical mistake

      Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?

      As pretty much everyone who was paying attention predicted, the $500m program to train and arm “moderate” Syrian rebels is an unmitigated, Bay of Pigs-style disaster, with the head of US central command admitting to Congress this week that the year-old program now only has “four or five” rebels fighting inside Syria, with dozens more killed or captured.

      Even more bizarre, the White House is claiming little to do with it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest attempted to distance Obama from the program, claiming that it was actually the president’s “critics” who “were wrong.” The New York Times reported, “In effect, Mr Obama is arguing that he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now has been vindicated in his original judgment.”

    • Russia’s False Hopes — Paul Craig Roberts

      Russia miscalculated that diplomacy could solve the crisis that Washington created in Ukraine and placed its hopes on the Minsk Agreement, which has no Western support whatsoever, neither in Kiev nor in Washington, London, and NATO.

      Russia can end the Ukraine crisis by simply accepting the requests of the former Russian territories to reunite with Russia. Once the breakaway republics are again part of Russia, the crisis is over. Ukraine is not going to attack Russia.

      Russia doesn’t end the crisis, because Russia thinks it would be provocative and upset Europe. Actually, that is what Russia needs to do—upset Europe. Russia needs to make Europe aware that being Washington’s tool against Russia is risky and has costs for Europe.

    • Media Are Blamed as US Bombing of Afghan Hospital Is Covered Up

      A US-led NATO military coalition bombed a hospital run by international humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders (known internationally as Medecins Sans Frontières, MSF) in Afghanistan, killing at least 22 people—12 staff members and 10 patients, including three children—and wounding 37 more.

  • Finance

    • Prof. Wolff on TRNN: 38% of American Workforce Still Jobless.

      Prof. Wolff discusses discusses why labor force participation is the lowest since 1977 and what’s really needed to stimulate the economy.

    • Why Debates Over the Fed’s Interest Rate Miss the Point

      Sometimes public debates focus on important social issues; at other times, debates distract from them. Disputes over whether the Federal Reserve System should raise interest rates illustrate that second sort. Yes, “serious people” take strong positions for or against interest rate hikes. They sharply question one another’s motives to spice up what passes for mainstream media economic news. But it is not the debate we could and should have, not even close.

      Both sides of that debate celebrate capitalism. They differ only on how best to have government serve the reproduction of capitalism: by leaving it alone, by intervening intensely or somewhere in between. These days they hassle over raising, lowering or leaving interest rates unchanged. The possibility that capitalism – rather than the Fed or interest rates – might be the problem troubles none of these folks. It does not occur to them. Nor is that surprising given the monotonous mantra of academic economics departments and the journalists and politicians trained by them.

    • Developing Countries Especially Vulnerable to TPP Deal – Trade Union

      Developing countries are most likely to suffer from the effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, Daniel Bertossa, director of policy and governance at the Public Services International (PSI) global trade union, told Sputnik Monday.

      Earlier on Monday, 12 Pacific Rim countries, including the United States, reached a consensus on the wording and subject matter of the TPP free trade agreement.

    • Canada’s auto industry could lose 20,000 jobs because of TPP trade deal, union says

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal could have major ramifications for Canada’s already struggling auto industry, resulting in cheaper vehicles for consumers, but a more competitive landscape for Canadian manufacturers.

      Unifor, the union that represents Canadian workers at the Detroit Three, said the deal would put an estimated 20,000 auto jobs at risk by eliminating tariffs and significantly reducing content rules for vehicles and auto parts.

      Under the TPP agreement, Canada will phase out its existing 6.1 per cent tariff on imported passenger vehicles over the next five years — a move that is expected to lower the cost of Japanese-made vehicles for Canadian consumers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • How Larry Lessig’s one-year presidency platform is winning over Silicon Valley

      He’s the only presidential candidate that’s been called a freedom fighter and a geek guru.

      In Silicon Valley, Harvard professor Larry Lessig’s following goes back almost two decades and is rooted in his devotion to a free and open internet.

      As Lessig struggles to be included in the national presidential polls and win a spot in the upcoming democratic debates, he’s banking on his loyal high-tech followers to step out from behind their computers and rally around his election and campaign finance reform platform.

    • 5 Ways Donald Trump Perfectly Mirrors Hitler’s Rise To Power

      … where I’m joined by my Cracked co-worker Randol Maynard and comic/activist/word doctor Genevieve Mueller. Specifically, we talk about all of the terrifyingly real ways that, no matter how crazy it sounds, Donald Trump is the closest the United States has ever come to producing our very own version of Adolf Hitler. Here are a few reasons why.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • How a Canadian scientist became the voice of the anti-Harper movement

      As protest songs go, it wasn’t exactly Pussy Riot. Harperman is a jaunty folk song with acoustic guitars, an amateur choir, and a chorus politely telling Canada’s prime minister Stephen Harper, “It’s time for you to go.”

      But the five-minute protest song became a viral hit, got its mild-mannered creator suspended from his job at the country’s environment department – and gave voice to the pent-up frustrations of Canada’s public servants who say they have found themselves at the receiving end of Harper’s policies.

    • Social media post leads to 2 arrests, drug bust, seizure of guns

      The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office arrested two people Friday after one of the suspects posted video of himself committing a crime to social media, according to the sheriff’s office.

      On Thursday night, the sheriff’s office says road signs were shot on the west end of the bridge on CR 400 N, east of US 31.

    • White kid builds nuclear reactor and Homeland Security offers help

      Wilson, now 21 years old, later won $50,000 at a science fair for an anti-terrorism device he invented that can detect nuclear materials in cargo containers.

    • How Hungary’s Prime Minister Turned From Young Liberal Into Refugee-Bashing Autocrat

      Unshaven, without a tie, the young dissident surveyed the crowd before him. It was June 16, 1989, and 250,000 people had gathered in Heroes’ Square for the reburial of Imre Nagy, the leader of the failed 1956 revolution. Viktor Orban demanded that Soviet troops leave Hungary. Soon afterward, they did.

      “It proved to be the right sentence, because it was true and came from the people’s hearts,” Orban told me a decade later.

    • Hungary: New Border Regime Threatens Asylum Seekers

      Hungary’s new border regime denies access to asylum and exposes vulnerable people to violence and prosecution, Human Rights Watch said today.

    • British State Viciously Abuses Child Fantasist

      The sentencing of a 15 year old Blackburn boy – 14 at the time he committed his thought crimes – to life imprisonment is grossly inhuman. It is not quite as evil as the decision of the appalling Saudi regime to crucify and behead a child dissident, but it is recognisably a product of the same world view. History books will look back on this era as one of astonishing state cruelty.

    • Racism Works In the Tories

      That is why Theresa May is going today to give a bloodcurdling speech attempting to stir up racism against immigrants by saying they are making us poor and making our society less cohesive. She will even pander to the ludicrous notion that an economy is of a fixed size no matter how many people are in it, with a fixed number of jobs, so “they” are taking “our” jobs. Doubtless she will also outline yet more definitions of thought crime and new reasons to lock up young Muslims.

    • Hillary Clinton wants gun firms liable for shootings

      She proposes abolishing legislation that protects gun makers and dealers from being sued by shooting victims.

    • Rush Limbaugh Falsely Claims That 92 Percent Of Mass Shootings Since 2009 Have Occurred In Gun-Free Zones
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Company hikes price 5,000% for drug that fights complication of AIDS, cancer

      A drug treating a common parasite that attacks people with weakened immune systems increased in cost 5,000% to $750 per pill.

      At a time of heightened attention to the rising cost of prescription drugs, doctors who treat patients with AIDS and cancer are denouncing the new cost to treat a condition that can be life-threatening.

    • Copyrights

      • Greek court says that it doesn’t matter whether the content you link to is lawful or unlawful

        Did you think that the story with hyperlinks and copyright was over?

        Of course it’s not.

        On the one hand, there is a new case currently pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union(CJEU): GS Media v Sanoma, C-160/15). This Dutch reference is seeking clarification as to how linking to content (leaked Playboy photographs in this case) freely accessible online, but which is communicated to the public without the consent of the copyright holder, should be qualified.

      • Intellectual Property? Why Words Matter In The Copyright Debate

        Language matters. Whether we get to keep our liberties or not depends on whether those liberties are generally named in positive words. The same thing goes for the privileges of corporations.

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