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03.10.16

Links 10/3/2016: Qubes OS 3.1, Linux Kernel 4.4.5

Posted in News Roundup at 8:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Elastic Stack makes searching easy, fast and open source

    The Elastic stack is the search engine you’ve been using without knowing it. Powering some popular and big names – Facebook and Netflix, Atlassian, SEEK and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia to name just five – Elastic provides an open source and freely available operating system-agnostic search engine. It retrieves data at high-speed, freeing a business from the arduous task of managing mass volumes of data to actually working with meaningful, insightful information. It opens the possibilities of exploring and finding trends, something which can only happen when your basic reporting requirements are so well met that they are no longer a pressing issue.

  • 9 open source alternatives to Picasa

    Sadly, this isn’t the first time we’ve had to recommend alternatives to a discontinued Google product; three years ago, we helped you find open source alternatives to Google Reader for your RSS reading needs.

    While there’s no word yet on whether Google will release the code for Picasa under an open source license now that it has been discontinued, fortunately for you, there are many open source alternatives already out there to help you with your photo organizing and editing needs.

  • Open Source Initiative says standards aren’t open unless they protect security researchers and interoperability

    The OSI’s new document, Principles of DRM Nonaggression for Open Standards, deals with standards bodies that are dealing with DRM, as the World Wide Web Consortium has been doing, rather controversially. The problem is that DRM is protected by laws like the DMCA, that prohibit breaking DRM even for legitimate reasons — like making interoperable products or doing basic security research. This is the opposite of how open standards are supposed to work: an open standard should be implementable by anyone, and there should be no barriers to improving it by pointing out security problems with it.

  • Standards Are Only Open If They Protect Security and Interoperability

    The Open Source Initiative, a nonprofit that certifies open source licenses, has adopted an important principle about standards, DRM, and openness, and just in time, too.

    The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which makes the core standards that the Internet runs on, is in the midst of a long, contentious effort to add “DRM” (Digital Rights Management1) to HTML5, the next version of the Web. Laws like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (which has analogs all over the world) give companies the power to make legal threats against people engaged in important, legitimate activities. Because the DMCA regulates breaking DRM, even for legal reasons, companies use it to threaten and silence security researchers who embarrass them by pointing out their mistakes, and to shut down competitors who improve their products by adding legitimate features, add-ons, parts, or service options. The Web relies on the distributed efforts of independent security researchers, and its historic strength has been the ability of companies and individuals to innovate without permission, even when they were disrupting an existing business.

  • Docker Claims Performance Advantage Over Kubernetes

    Docker had its Swarm orchestration product tested against Kubernetes and claims the results show a 5X advantage in speed to initiation.

  • Is Open Source Eating the World?

    The phrase, “Software is eating the world,” first showed up in 2011. In 2015, open source took its rightful seat at the table.

    “If the theory pervades deeper – and software does eat the world – then surely open source software will swallow it, right?” Forbes hesitantly prodded in early 2015. Later in the year they more confidently thrusted with a piece titled It’s Actually Open Source Software That’s Eating the World.

    This isn’t a movement spearheaded by a single voice. Wired joined with articles like, Open Source Software Went Nuclear This Year. Replete with quotes like: “This is not just a turning point, but a tipping point,” says Brandon Keepers, the head of open source at GitHub

  • ‘Black magic’ mystery of open computing being dispelled for consumers
  • The evolution of open source and the data center

    Society today runs on information, and the tech world is no small part of this data revolution. However, it’s easy to forget that these programs and online services people use every day all run on black boxes, blinking away in a room somewhere. This is the data center, the core of computing technology in the modern world. While data centers have traditionally run on software and hardware from monolithic vendors, new technologies from the open-source community are creeping in under the door.

  • Events

    • Ultimate unconference survival guide

      If there is one area in which open source has never suffered it is a lack of events. From your big professional conferences right down to your friendly, local meetups, there is just something so delightfully fun about getting together in person to share ideas, learn from each other, and have fun.

      One of the most popular types of event are unconferences, and there are more and more of them cropping up all over the world.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 45.0 Lands in All Supported Ubuntu OSes Without GTK3 Integration

        As reported yesterday, Mozilla pushed the Firefox 45.0 web browser to the stable channel for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows.

        Firefox 45.0 is not a worthy update, but we still recommend users to upgrade as soon as possible if they want to receive the latest security patches, which keep their data and privacy safe from prying eyes or online scammers.

        In the last 24 hours, since our previous blog post with the direct download links for Firefox 45.0, we have noticed that several popular Linux kernel-based operating systems have updated their Firefox packages to the new version.

        Ubuntu is, of course, among them, and users of the Ubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf), Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr), and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Precise Pangolin) should know that they need to update their systems to Mozilla Firefox 45.0 as soon as possible.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Ubuntu Choice, Linux Movies, LibreOffice Documentation

      The big story today was the decision by Ubuntu developers to discontinue providing AMD proprietary graphic drivers. Olivier Hallot has been appointed to lead the new LibreOffice documentation project and Jun Auza has a round-up of Hollywood movies that use Linux in some way. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is heading for Qualcomm ARM server and Linux is back on PlayStations.

    • LibreOffice documentation, help and beyond

      Today, I’d like to talk about what is going on at the LibreOffice documentation project. My name is Olivier Hallot and I am a French national living in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, since my infancy. Back in 2002, I got involved in the OOo project leading the software translation team for Brazilian Portuguese. My background includes being an executive in two of the major software companies before going on my own and joining the open source community.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Microsoft is removing Android, iOS, and Windows support from Visual Studio Application Insights [Ed: After embrace and extend… extinguish]

      Microsoft today announced that it will be cutting support for Android, iOS, Windows Store, and Windows Phone app in the Application Insights tool for its Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE). Application Insights, which offers analytics on performance and usage, will stop accepting new apps for those platforms on April 15, and on June 15, the feature will stop showing data for apps on those platforms.

    • How We Build Code at Netflix

      How does Netflix build code before it’s deployed to the cloud? While pieces of this story have been told in the past, we decided it was time we shared more details. In this post, we describe the tools and techniques used to go from source code to a deployed service serving movies and TV shows to more than 75 million global Netflix members.

    • R you ready? Open source stats come to Visual Studio [Ed: As expected, Microsoft is embracing, extending, extinguishing R to make it tied to proprietary software]

      To get cracking on the business of shipping code, devs need Visual Studio, RTVS, and Microsoft R Open. The division between the last two is necessary for licensing reasons: R is licensed under the GLPv2, while Redmond’s favourite open source license is the MIT license.

    • How to DCEPT your Attackers [Ed: Windows]

      Catching attackers in their tracks sounds harder than it actually could be. Last week MSSP Dell Secureworks launched what it called the “open source honeytoken tripwire” DCEPT, to prevent those attacks which do not use malware.

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing

    • ICFJ Knight Fellows share 12 open source tools for any newsroom

      During their fellowships, the ICFJ Knight Fellows help spur a culture of media innovation and experimentation. Through their work, fellows develop and build a variety of new tools and technologies that have helped revolutionize newsrooms across the globe.

      The tools range from HackDash, a platform that helps keep track of ideas and participants during hackathons and other collaborative projects, to Yo Quiero Saber, which helps voters compare their views with those of political candidates. In addition to the newsrooms from which they originated, the tools can help media organizations everywhere adapt to the latest technologies and better engage their readers.

    • Designers release open source manifesto heralding a 3D fashion revolution

      Dutch fashion designers Martijn van Strien​ and Vera du Pont​ have proposed a “third industrial revolution” and “democratisation of production” using 3D printing and other technology.

      Published in a limited edition of 20 copies and available to order online for free, the duo’s Open Source Fashion Manifesto shifts our gaze to what the designers deem the three most important issues facing fashion today – our dwindling planetary resources, the disposability of clothing and the questionable conditions under which that clothing is produced ­–­ only to propose a complete shake-up.

  • Programming

    • Eclipse Che Rethinks Open Source IDEs by Leveraging Containers, Cloud

      he Eclipse Foundation, which develops open source programming tools for developers, has rolled out what it says is a next-generation development platform that leverages the cloud, containers and a plug-in framework in the form of Eclipse Che.

    • SAP lures developers with Eclipse Che IDE

      SAP continues to demonstrate its commitment to open source with the announcement at EclipseCon that SAP Web IDE for SAP HANA is based on Eclipse Che. Eclipse Che is an open source developer workspace server and cloud IDE.

      This next edition complements the existing SAP Web IDE. It will allow developers familiar with the workspace to develop applications, database models and user interfaces on SAP HANA software, including the development of SAP Fiori apps. SAP along with Codenvy are two of the first companies to offer the new workspace to developers. For those developers and companies looking to develop their own environment the open source is available on Github.

    • SAP web IDE for HANA is based on Eclipse Che

      No but seriously, SAP has announced the availability of its SAP Web IDE for SAP HANA.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Sweden updates list of mandatory IT standards

      The ‘Open IT standards’ list includes only those standards that fit the open standard definition in the European Interoperability Framework (version 1.0). The Swedish National Procurement Services (Statens inköpscentral, NPS) asked the University of Skövde to check which IT standards meet the definition’s requirements.

    • Making Use Of Vulkan’s Validation Layers

      AMD’s Daniel Rakos has written a blog post for GPUOpen concerning Vulkan’s validation layers and making use of them for debugging and testing your code using this new high-performance graphics API.

      The plug-able validation layers is one of the big design differences compared to OpenGL. Rakos’ blog post on the matter covers different error types, preparing code for the validation support, and more.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Zika Virus R&D: No Vaccine Before 3 To 5 Years, Sample Sharing Needs Incentives

      International experts convened by the World Health Organization this week on the Zika virus said vaccine development is a priority for the future but the most pressing need is to get diagnostic and prevention tools. Over 60 groups are hard at work on experimental products, according to the WHO, while a system of incentives to share virus samples is being considered.

      At a 9 March press briefing, Marie-Paule Kieny, WHO assistant director-general, Health Systems and Innovation, said the meeting took place from 7-9 March, and provided the first global platform for scientists working on Zika virology and immunology, as well as clinicians, product developers, regulators, funders and policy experts, “to take stock of the R&D (Research and Development) pipeline.”

    • WHO Welcomes UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel, Offers Suggestions

      The World Health Organization has provided a list of suggestions to the United Nations Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, highlighting WHO activities in this area and making suggestions on areas the WHO has not yet been able to complete. It also describes several new proposals by WHO, including a global “fair pricing forum,” a pooled health product R&D fund, and a global antibiotic research and development facility.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • encrypt all the things: blogs
    • Changes to password policies

      In reaction to the recent attacks on Linux Mint, many measures were taken to reduce the risk of future intrusions, but we also worked on the eventuality of being hacked again. In particular, additional measures were taken to detect issues faster, to reduce their impact and to recover from them more efficiently. Today, we’re implementing a final set of measures aimed at lowering the value of the information stored on our servers.

    • The rise of IoT hacking: New dangers, new solutions

      The explosive growth of the Internet of Things has created a host of new threats for the enterprise. Here’s how hackers are targeting your connected devices and what you can do about it.

    • Google Offers Tool to Help Evaluate Vendor Security

      The vendor security evaluation framework provides questions that organizations need to ask to accurately assess a third-party’s security and privacy readiness, Google said.

      Google has released a framework to open source that it implements internally to evaluate the security posture of the numerous vendors it uses for various services each year.

    • A new name and roadmap for the Let’s Encrypt client

      Yesterday, the Let’s Encrypt CA issued its millionth certificate. This is a perfect occasion for us to talk about some plans for the CA and client software through the rest of 2016.

      In April of this year, all of the clients for Let’s Encrypt will be renamed to be clearly distinct from the CA service offered by ISRG. The Let’s Encrypt python client has primarily been an EFF project, so we’ll start hosting it to make that clear.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • “Moderate Rebels” Use Yellow Phosphorus on Kurds in Aleppo

      Cameron’s “moderate rebels” – Saudi supplied Wahhabi jihadists – have this past 48 hours been bombing civilian areas of Aleppo with yellow phosphorus. The BBC, which went to such extraordinary lengths to fake reports of chemical attacks by Assad, has not reported these genuine chemical attacks at all. Probably because it is too difficult to explain not just why Cameron’s allies are using chemical weapons – and who gave them the chemical weapons – but also why these “friendly” jihadists are attacking Cameron’s other allies, the Kurds, all during a ceasefire.

      This video of Robert Stuart is a must see. Let me pin my colours to the mast and say that I am absolutely convinced that the BBC did deliberately and knowingly fake evidence of chemical attacks.

      [...]

      It is clever propaganda because careful analysis of the text reveals a story very different to the overall picture being deliberately portrayed. Just after the women appear, the reporter slips in that the hardship is caused by hoarding by rebels – i.e. it is actually David Cameron’s moderate forces, not the government, who are causing suffering to the civilians. But you would have to be following very closely and analysing very carefully to pick up on that.

      The BBC really has become one of the more outrageous vehicles of government propaganda on the international scene.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • New FOIA Documents Confirm FBI Used Dirtboxes on Planes Without Any Policies or Legal Guidance

      EFF recently received records in response to our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Justice for information on how the US Marshals—and perhaps other agencies—have been flying small, fixed-wing Cessna planes equipped with “dirtboxes”: IMSI catchers that imitate cell towers and are able to capture the locational data of tens of thousands of cell phones during a single flight. The records we received confirm the agencies were using these invasive surveillance tools with little oversight or legal guidance.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Shocker: WaPo Investigates Itself for Anti-Sanders Bias, Finds There Was None

      Right off, the framing is inaccurate: The scope wasn’t “this week,” it was a 16-hour period after the Flint, Michigan, debate—and following a weekend in which Sanders won three of four state contests with Hillary Clinton. The do-or-die stakes for Sanders in Michigan couldn’t have been higher, and how one of the most influential newspapers in the United States covered his debate performance and his primary showing was important.

      [...]

      At a moment when even the Koch brothers are coming out against overincarceration, a story that thumbnails it as “releasing lots of criminals” can indeed be considered a negative framing, if not more importantly one that shortchanges readers’ intelligence and understanding.

      Still, note that “negative” is not intended as the opposite of “factual.” When the George Bush Sr. campaign focused on Michael Dukakis’ prison furlough program—the so-called “Willie Horton” issue—its attacks were nominally fact-based. Yet many people saw them as an unfair exploitation of racial fears, and it was relevant to address them on those terms.

      Bigger picture: The reason the graphic and FAIR’s blog post went so viral is because people can intuitively look at a litany of stories over such a short period and see bias. Nature made us pattern-seeking mammals for a reason, and the Washington Post’s post-debate coverage post-debate displays an obvious pattern.

    • It should be over for Hillary: Party elites and MSNBC can’t prop her up after Bernie’s Michigan miracle

      You wouldn’t know it from watching TV last night or reading the national papers this morning but Bernie Sanders’ Michigan win ranks among the greatest upsets in presidential primary history.

      Should he win the nomination it will be go down as the biggest upset of any kind in American political history.

      If he wins the election it will change the fundamental direction of the nation and the world.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Five things about David Cameron and sovereignty

      Here are five things to remember when you hear the Prime Minister praise the “sovereignty of parliament”.

      First, ministers and officials are encouraged to use statutory instruments as much as possible, which do not get proper parliamentary scrutiny.

      Second, the government has sought to cut the “Short money” which funds the scrutiny work of opposition parties in parliament.

      Third, the government is seeking to push through the Investigatory Powers Bill through parliament at speed, just as it did with the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act.

      Fourth, when the House of Lords (sensibly) rejected cuts to certain benefits (which were later dropped), Cameron sought to limit the power of the Lords.

    • This Women’s History Month, Celebrate Title VII for Banning Sex Discrimination in the Workplace

      The last-minute addition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made a few giant leaps toward gender parity possible.

    • Univision Asked Hillary Clinton And Bernie Sanders If Donald Trump Is A Racist. Here’s What They Said.

      “And let us not forget that several years ago Trump was in the middle of the so-called Birther movement trying to delegitimize the President of the United States of America,” Sanders continued, to applause. “My dad was born in Poland and I know a little bit about the immigrant experience. Nobody has ever asked me for my birth certificate. Maybe it has something to do with the color of my skin.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • German court refuses amendments filed on appeal

      Patent attorneys in Europe have become accustomed in recent years to the EPO appeal boards refusing to consider on appeal claim amendments that could have been, but were not, filed in first instance proceedings.

      Katfriend Heiko Sendrowski tells us that this approach is now being adopted by the German courts also. Just so we have our acronyms straight, the tale involves nullity proceedings which were decided at first instance in the Federal Patents Court, or Bundespatentgericht (BPatG) and which were appealed to the Federal Court of Justice, or Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) which is in effect the Supreme Court other than in constitutional matters.

    • Gene Sequencing Giant Tries To Use Patents To Block Rising Star’s Pocket-Sized Unit From US

      Last year, Techdirt wrote about how one of the most significant breakthroughs in the field of genomics is already embroiled in a nasty patent battle. But it’s not just the fundamental techniques in this field that are being held back by selfish attempts to “own” key technologies.

    • Copyrights

      • Supreme Court Declines To Hear Batmobile Copyright Case

        We wrote last year about a copyright dispute between DC Comics and guy by the name of Mark Towle, who had been custom producing Batmobiles for Batman fans. Mike’s analysis in that post is wonderfully detailed and you should read it if you want a deep dive into the specifics of how the court ruled, but I will summarize it here for you as well. The 9th Circuit ruled that the Batmobile was deserving of the same copyright protections as other fictional characters, despite it being a depiction of an inanimate object, and it completely ignored the entire expression/idea dichotomy that is supposed to govern copyright law. That dichotomy can be explained as giving copyright protection to specific expressions of an idea without protecting the idea itself. For instance, the depiction of HAL the homicidal computer in 2001 A Space Odyssey may be covered under copyright, but the idea of a homicidal artificial intelligence is not.

      • Usenet Provider and BREIN Continue Battle Over Piracy Keyword Filter

        The legal dispute between Hollywood-backed anti-piracy group BREIN and Usenet provider News-Service.com will continue after a Dutch court delayed its decision over a requested piracy filter. The court wants both parties to answer detailed questions about the efficacy and costs associated with such a filtering mechanism.

03.09.16

Patent Attorney Joeri Beetz Explains Why EPO Results Are a Lie

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 8:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Joeri Beetz's chart
Image credit: Joeri Beetz

Summary: What the EPO’s PR team, which is leaning on the media along with FTI Consulting (which enjoys a secret budget of nearly 80,000 euros per month), tells us about EPO “results” is basically just a big lie, or propaganda hinged on misleading statistics

THE abuses by the EPO’s management are rarely being justified, except being painted as a necessary consequence of improving productivity, output, results, or something along these lines. People who insist on justice and human rights are being portrayed as obstructions to productivity and an obstacle on the road to necessary reform. But anyone who’s smart enough to work as a patent examiner at the EPO knows that it’s poppycock. I did review papers for international journals in the past and I know that rushed jobs under pressure yield nothing but inaccurate, sloppy, worthless work. Poor papers can fall through the net and an unhappy peer reviewer can wrongly reject decent papers or lose track of them.

Over the past year we repeatedly mentioned (several times in fact) the reasons why the EPO’s “results” are just worthless lies. We alluded to that, based on numerous sources, both external and internal. It’s just propaganda, as we even noted last year. The numbers don’t mean a thing. Or alternatively, they don’t mean what gullible journalist are (mis)led to believe.

“This also includes PCT applications filed in China, that will never be translated into any European language.”
      –Joeri Beetz
Well, thankfully enough patent lawyers took note of Joeri Beetz’s article, which can be found here. In his own words: “In the first week of March, just like in any other year, the EPO has published its patent filing statistics for the previous year. Just like in any other year, the main goal is to show that the EPO has become even more important. Although the number of direct EP filings has been more or less constant over the last decade (+2.7% in 2015, similar level to 2005), a year over year growth scenario is presented by adding all PCT applications. With ‘all’, I don’t mean just the PCT applications filed at the EPO or entering the European phase (fees paid, examination requested, …), but really ‘all’. This also includes PCT applications filed in China, that will never be translated into any European language. Of last year’s growth of 4,500 applications (+1.6%), 2,821 are PCT (+1.3%) and 1,679 direct EP (+2.8%). [...] Other interesting numbers from the WIPO: Last year the EPO as PCT Receiving Office, received 7.2% less applications and the EPO was selected as International Searching Authority in 11.1% less applications. With a decreasing amount of total PCT applications (-9.4%), this is of course not a surprise. It is, however, interesting to see that the use of the EPO as ISA goes down faster than the number of filed PCT applications (both total and with the EPO as rO). Apparently, the EPO is becoming less popular as a searching authority. EP regional entries for PCT applications grew 6% this year (EPO count). It has to be taken into account that regional entries represent PCT applications that were already filed about one and a half year before. Therefore this number does not only reflect the preferences of applicants in 2015, but also in the two or three years before.”

That’s just the gist of it. There are even more angles from which to tackle this and people who actually work inside the EPO told us that these numbers are misleading. Nevertheless, the EPO’s Twitter account is reposting and recycling them several times per day (since the 3/3 propaganda day). Here is the British media mindlessly parroting what the EPO's PR team probably told them to write (they also lie to journalists and staff). Corporate lobbyists’ media did the same by issuing/reposting a press release (as we noted before, the EPO actually paid for press releases to spread its misleading “results” propaganda).

“Apparently, the EPO is becoming less popular as a searching authority.”
      –Joeri Beetz
Relaying EPO “results” propaganda in Switzerland or in Swiss media too is a ‘thing’, based on these two new examples [1, 2]. Did authors actually fact-check? of course they didn’t. They don’t behave like journalists but more like EPO writers ‘on loan’. This is why we’re seeing a lot of the media unquestionably passing around the claims.

By the way, the reason Switzerland has many patents per capita isn’t what the EPO wants us to believe. Patents are indicative of wealth, not innovation, as those with money are patenting stuff spsringly, unlike those who actually implement stuff, like Indian programmers (where software patents are aptly verboten).

“EPO insiders, one of whom has access to such data, admits that there’s something amiss and yet — all facts be damned! — the media keeps falling for it.”Francis Jeffrey, who has patents assigned to him, told us the other day: “This effect was worsened by the addition of renewal fees: USPTO has imposed quadrennial fee since Clinton/Bush administration.”

Don’t think that only the above demonstrates the invalidity of the EPO’s “results”. We previously covered other such indicators. EPO insiders, one of whom has access to such data, admits that there’s something amiss and yet — all facts be damned! — the media keeps falling for it.

Rumours and Unverified Claims Suggest That EPO President is “Bribing” for Perceived Support

Posted in Europe, Patents, Rumour at 7:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Battistelli wouldn’t do what Blatter did, would he?

Whispering
Whispering about what people close to Battistelli (his ‘clergymen’) have allegedly been whispering to directors at the EPO

Summary: A growing number of claims that directors at the EPO are being promised big favours in exchange for the pretense that they support the megalomaniacal President, whose days are numbered

SOME things are mere rumours, but when heard from several sources that agree with one another independently, then these “rumours” may in fact be real, or something close enough to a reality.

For quite some time we’ve abstained from remarking about rumours sent to us in comments. It’s about potentially more alleged bribery at the EPO. Several people have told us that Battistelli uses not only scare tactics and intimidation to get support but also bribes. Based on some of the latest rumours, Battistelli is more or less bribing people (e.g. with promotion) to support him. If anyone can leak material proof to us, that would help a great deal, but all we have for now are the claims sent to us, as well as the following new comment:

How can you work for an organisation, where the so called President is trying to bribe senior managers and directors, and vice presidents to support him against his fight with the Administrative Council, Unions and staff?

I happened to be in an area last week, where a vice president was speaking with some directors, and I heard him say “The president will reward you for your support during this matter”. What is that meant to mean, that the President is paying for support, as he knows that he has overstepped the mark this time, and certainly not the first time. Unfortunately, it is not his personal money that he pays with, no it’s the office money, which he is giving away as though there is an endless supply.

Another new comment says:

Not all employers are allowed to vote.

Anyway it states that 91 per cent of the 4062 employees who voted, voted to strike.

We have had enough, as now the Vice Presidents are using bribery as their new weapon. “You support the President, and l will see that you are rewarded”.

Time for a change, not just the President, but also the Vice Presidents!

We have been getting even more reports that the EPO’s President, Battistelli, is incentivising/bribing managers, but concrete proof is needed. Here is another new comment which relates to the documents we leaked an hour ago:

According to an article in the SDZ

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/behoerde-in-muenchen-europaeisches-patentamt-behoerde-am-abgrund-1.2889015

“Battistelli is said to be prepared to compromise on four out of six issues [of the letter of Board 28], but significantly not with regard to disciplinary procedures and external monitoring – the key points.”

It’s a lose-lose situation for him: either straightforward reject any request of review and risk dismissal by the AC now, or accept an independent review that will show the disgraceful way in which the staff reps were dismissed, and suffer a public humiliation AND dismissal later.

And we have not yet heard about the fate of the DG3 member: a second failure in obtaining his dismissal would only add to the embarrassment of the AC that was misled by the president …

Grab the popcorns and a beer, sit back and enjoy the spectacle of the next AC …

There will be a protest that day.

Another EPO Protest Next Week, Strategically Planned to Coincide With the Administrative Council’s Meeting

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A manifestation-

Summary: Unrest at the European Patent Office will be on display next week when the President’s bosses are convening and discussing him

THE EPO scandals led to an imminent strike (date to be decided on and confirmed pretty soon). It’s the beginning of the end of Battistelli’s regime. Not even an earthquake can stop it because more and more people in the Administrative Council now have the courage to stand up to the bully (this earthquake joke’s context being a really dumb statement from Battistelli).

Based on MIP, “EPO action latest: demonstration due next Weds to coincide with Admin Council meeting. Decision on timing of strike after that.”

“The cause for the strike is being made up by trolls, or those who deliberately misinform about the cause (it doesn’t look as though they speak innocently, i.e. out of ignorance).”Bergot and her relatives (or their friends) gave a requirement of 5 working days before the strike, so this probably leaves (maybe deliberately) too little time to make the strike coincide with the Administrative Council’s meeting, especially if there’s induced procrastination (like not receiving or opening letters on time). We saw these tactics before. Either way, the Administrative Council will again be reminded that its members are expected to help staff, not the oppressors (Battistelli et al) — something which is very likely to happen based on newly-leaked documents.

The strike action is already being trolled. The cause for the strike is being made up by trolls, or those who deliberately misinform about the cause (it doesn’t look as though they speak innocently, i.e. out of ignorance). We don’t want to entertain or feed the trolls, giving them more visibility than they deserve, but some of our readers probably know what’s being alluded to here.

Anyway, here is WIPR‘s report on the upcoming strike:

Calls for the reinstatement of union officials dismissed from their posts at the European Patent Office (EPO) intensified yesterday after members of staff voted overwhelmingly in favour of a strike.

In a vote for strike action, 91% (3,701) of those who voted backed industrial action, it was confirmed yesterday, March 8.

In order to strike, at least 40% of staff are required to vote on whether to take action. In total, 4,062 out of 6,738 staff voted, representing 60%.

[...]

A spokesperson for the EPO told WIPR that a social dialogue between staff and management at the EPO is important, but noted that strikes do happen.

“Battistelli under pressure like never before after EPO union members overwhelmingly back strike action” was the headline from an EPO apologist, who wrote:

The firing and downgrading of the SUEPO officials, though, has changed the entire dynamic at the office. In retrospect, it seems that Battistelli misread previous lack of support for industrial action among the examiner corps for acceptance of his changes; while at the same time over-estimating the backing he had on the Administrative Council, a body that has always been extremely political. Now he finds himself in a very difficult situation. He may seek to point to the fact that 50% of staff members have not supported strike action, but the obvious comeback is that over 90% of the members of the office’s biggest union – the only ones who took part in the vote – did. It is unlikely that they are unique in their discontent. If, though, Battistelli accedes to the Administrative Council’s request for an external review of the disciplinary measures he took, that will be seen as a significant dent to his authority.

[...]

We will have to wait to see how this plays out. But one thing is certain: Benoît Battistelli is under pressure like he never has been before; today his leadership of the EPO is in crisis.

If anyone can provide us information about the timing of the strike and why it does not coincide with the Administrative Council’s meeting, we would truly appreciate it. No doubt Bergot and Battistelli can come up with all sorts of lies to sabotage — in hope of altogether preventing — the strike.

Exclusive: Leaked Document Refutes Battistelli’s Words and Shows He is Still Deplored by the Board

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

B28 leak

Summary: Board 28 (B28), which is rumoured to be in the process of ejecting the EPO’s President (Battistelli), has a rather revealing set of conclusions

THE EPO is about to go on strike (more on that later tonight). When Battistelli said his relationships were excellent he was either delusional or lying through his teeth. Based on documents leaked to Techrights today, there is no major rewording of the Board's stance on Battistelli. We hereby present the agenda of the B28 meeting (after conclusions were drawn up), dated 9th of March, 2016 (that’s today). The following is the agenda and minutes of the rather secretive B28 meeting (15th of February).

B28/4/16
Orig.: en
Munich, 09.03.2016

SUMMARY
OF
CONCLUSIONS

of the

71st meeting of

BOARD OF THE
ADMINISTRATIVE COUNCIL

Munich, 17 February 2016

SUBMITTED BY: Council Secretariat

ADDRESSEES: Administrative Council (for information)


This document has been issued in electronic form only.


1. The Board of the Administrative Council (“the Board”) held its 71st meeting in Munich on 17 February 2016, with Mr Kongstad in the chair.
Ms Erlingsdóttir, Mr Asan and Mr Kratochvíl had informed the Chairman that they were not able to attend.

2. The Board adopted the provisional agenda set out in B28/3/16 e.

3. The Board presented the President with a paper, drawn up by the members shortly before the present meeting, which listed the Board’s very precise expectations from the Office management regarding the items on today’s agenda – in particular on the social and disciplinary issues.

4. The President considered that there was no major issue with four of the five topics which were addressed in this draft but asked for clarification regarding the legal basis for the direct instructions given to the President for individual procedures under his competence. He drew attention to the potentially huge risks in terms of governance.

5. The Board members considered the document to be self-explanatory. They stressed that it should not have come as a surprise, taking into account the numerous signals given by the Administrative Council over a significant period of time. The document is simply meant to achieve clarity. It is deemed necessary as it appears that there are no other means of conveying the Council’s recurring concerns expressed over the past months. Beyond the formal (undisputed) issue of Article 10 EPC, the Board has to deplore an obvious lack of willingness from the part of the President to embark on an overdue open discussion with the Council on contentious issues — foremost the social dialogue.

6. The President disagreed and reminded his letter sent to the AC delegations on 15 February explaining the possible ways forward but has to maintain his position for legal reasons concerning the instructions related to the disciplinary cases.

7. The meeting was adjourned before the other issues on the agenda could be examined.

Next week will be historic for the EPO, so I took several days off work. We have a lot of stuff in our backlog, so stay tuned.

Links 9/3/2016: Tails 2.2, Developer Preview Of “Android N”

Posted in News Roundup at 5:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Flash and Open Source in Datacenter: The Next Frontier

    Open Source Stacks: Both cloud providers and hyperscale companies have driven the use of open source in the data center. They have made it ready for production environments at scale. This creates an abundance of available open source projects for use in the modern data center with reference models to emulate.

  • Open Source Mathematica Compatible Mathics 0.9

    Mathematica is a big powerful math package, but what do you do when you can’t justify its cost? Mathics is an open source math package that has just reached version 0.9 and it is a possible alternative.

    The Mathics project is small compared to the resources that Wolfram can throw at Mathematica so don’t expect a full clone of the commercial program. However, it is close enough for many purposes.

  • Open Source SDN Orchestration: Real Time OSS Foundation for ICT Service Agility

    Next-generation networking technologies such as SDN, NFV and cloud computing are enabling autonomous, real-time telecom operations. However, many conventional operational support systems (OSS) are based on proprietary software, which leads to fragmented technologies and interoperability issues for carriers.

    To address this issue, The Linux Foundation, China Mobile and Huawei in February held a press conference, together with China Telecom, KT and 10 other industry partners, announcing the OPEN-Orchestrator Project (OPEN-O) to develop the first open source software framework and orchestrator.

  • Open source is programming the digital future

    What do Uber, Facebook, Alibaba, and AirBnB all have in common? They’re all digital-first businesses and new leaders in long-established industries. They’re proof that every industry is going digital, and at tremendous speed. Consider this:

    “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate,” writes Tom Goodwin, senior vice president of strategy and innovation at Havas Media.

  • Events

    • The twisted road through right-to-left language support

      English is written left to right. Hebrew is written right to left. We know that. Browsers—for the most part—know that too, just like they know that the default directionality of a web page is left-to-right (LTR), and that if there is a setting that explicitly defines the direction to right-to-left, the page should flip like a mirror. Browsers are smart like that. Mostly.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Firefox 45 Removes Tab Groups, Provides Security Updates

        Mozilla provides 21 security advisories for its Firefox 45 browser. New features in the browser include improvements to the Firefox Hello communication tool.
        Mozilla today released the Firefox 45 Web browser, which provides users with incremental feature updates and security fixes.

      • Updates to Firefox Hello Beta

        Firefox Hello Beta is a communication tool that lets you share tabs you’re browsing in Firefox with others and chat over video or text, free and without needing an account or login. Firefox Hello Beta in Windows, Mac and Linux helps you discuss and make decisions about anything online by sharing the website you’re browsing in your conversation. This makes it easier and faster to do things like to shop online together with friends, plan a vacation with the family or collaborate on work with a colleague.

      • Encryption, Journalism and Free Expression

        Over the past several weeks, Mozilla has been running an educational campaign about encryption. We believe it’s essential for everyday Internet users to better understand the technology that helps keep the Web a more secure platform.

        So far, we’ve explored encryption’s role in helping protect users’ personal, intimate information. We’ve created an animated short that uses plain language to explain how encryption works. And we’ve expressed our support for Apple in its ongoing case against the FBI.

        Today, we’re spotlighting how encryption can support not only our personal security, but also how it can play a role in promoting values like free expression that most of us hold dear.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Talligent Survey Points to More OpenStack Adoption, but Security is an Issue

      Talligent, which focuses on cost and capacity management solutions for OpenStack and hybrid clouds, has announced the results of its inaugural ‘2016 State of OpenStack Report,’ an independent survey focused on identifying the key use cases, barriers and what’s driving OpenStack adoption.

      Survey results were commissioned by Talligent through media firms CloudCow and VMblog, and the State of OpenStack Report surveyed 647 virtualization and cloud IT leaders from across the globe. The most notable finding was about shifts from evaluation of OpenStack to concrete usage: Respondents stated they expect use of OpenStack to quickly expand beyond development environments, with lab growth moving from 43 percent to 89 percent and QA/Test to grow from 47 percent to 91 percent, both within the next 12 months.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Java evangelist leaves Oracle to save Java

      Java evangelist Reza Rahman has left Oracle, to help save Java.

      Rahman writes, on an Oracle blog, that he is “… certain that this is the way I personally can best help continue to advance the Java and Java EE communities.”

      On his personal blog he’s more candid, saying he joined Oracle in part because he’d have the chance to work with Cameron Purdy, once senior veep of development at Big Red.

  • CMS

    • A Drupal-based platform for collaborative research

      Collaborating on scholarly research projects can sometimes become complicated and disorganized. For example, using Flickr for sharing and commenting on images while communicating via email and editing documents together in Google Docs works, but it places information about the research in way too many places.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Programming

    • Help us integrate GitLab and the Open Science Framework

      For years, the benefits of open source code development have been self-evident to the software development community: Transparency leads to collaboration, and collaboration leads to better and more secure code. The scientific community is just starting to understand these benefits.

      The growing open science movement is using these same lessons to make the scientific process more transparent, so that research findings will be more reproducible. In order to realize the benefits of open science, we must use a wide set of research tools to enable transparency, which will lead to increased discoverability, reuse, and collaboration.

      To that end, the Center for Open Science (COS) is funding the development of an integration between GitLab and the Open Science Framework (OSF), and is seeking interested members of the open source community to contribute to this effort.

    • Software dev 101: ‘The best time to understand how your system works is when it is dying’

      William Hill is a Java shop; but its next-generation bet settlement system under development is written in Erlang, which is designed for concurrency. “The syntax is simple,” said Stevenson, “and the supervisor hierarchy makes it really nice to work with.”

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Local government and GDS open consultation for common digital standard

      The Government Digital Service (GDS) is asking council staff and other interested parties for their views on a draft standard for delivering digital services.

      The draft local government digital service standard has 18 key recommendations, including creating a service using the agile, iterative and user-centred methods set out in the Government Service Design Manual, using open source tools, making source code open where possible, and using open standards where available.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Gilead Solvaldi Case Reveals Patent-Health Fissures In India

      Are patient groups, health activists and manufacturers of low-cost generic drugs always on the same page? Do India’s generic companies think alike? The short answer: not necessarily, though their interests have overlapped on many occasions.

      Both questions are once again being debated in India in the wake of the patent opposition hearings in case involving sofosbuvir (brand name Sovaldi).

      Last month, the Indian Patent Office in Delhi heard arguments by several parties on why US pharmaceutical Gilead Sciences’ patent application for the hepatitis C drug Sovaldi should be rejected. Sovaldi costs $1,000 per pill in the United States.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Limit the Next President’s Power to Wage Drone Warfare

      WHEN Barack Obama took office as the reluctant heir to George W. Bush’s “war on terror,” he renounced some of his predecessor’s most extreme policies. There is one Bush-era policy, though, that President Obama made emphatically his own: the summary killing of suspected militants and terrorists, usually by drone.

      In less than a year, the president will bequeath this policy, and the sweeping legal claims that underlie it, to someone who may see the world very differently from him. Before that happens, he should bring the drone campaign out of the shadows and do what he can to constrain the power he unleashed.

    • Now That We Know These Disturbing Numbers, Can We Trust Air Marshals?

      Seven and a half years ago, as a new reporter at ProPublica, I filed a Freedom of Information Act request for all reports of misconduct by federal air marshals.

      It had been several years since the US government rapidly expanded its force of undercover agents trained to intervene in hijackings after 9/11. And a source within the agency told me that a number of air marshals had recently been arrested or gotten in trouble for hiring prostitutes on missions overseas.

      I knew the FOIA request would take a while—perhaps a few months—but I figured I’d have the records in times for my first ProPublica project.

      Instead, I heard nothing but crickets from the Transportation Security Administration.

    • ‘Hate-Motivated Terrorism Is a Serious Problem in This Country’

      White supremacy in its various strains is among the most significant, least discussed phenomena in US media discourse. A news report may note that a pundit stated that black people are lazier and more violent than other people, and urged public policies premised on that idea, or that a candidate’s followers singled out African-Americans or Latinos to harass or assault, and that these things are concerning.

    • Nobody Knows the Identities of the 150 People Killed by U.S. in Somalia, but Most Are Certain They Deserved It

      The U.S. used drones and manned aircraft yesterday to drop bombs and missiles on Somalia, ending the lives of at least 150 people. As it virtually always does, the Obama administration instantly claimed that the people killed were “terrorists” and militants — members of the Somali group al Shabaab — but provided no evidence to support that assertion.

    • Tel Aviv Pins Hopes on Clinton

      There has never been such a fascinating US Presidential race, both I a good way and in a bad way. I would never have believed somebody as genuine and bright as Bernie Sanders could get this close to becoming President. I would never have believed something as florid and off the wall as Donald Trump could become this close to becoming President.

      One of the things that makes both Trump and Sanders so entirely different from the mainstream US political class is that neither of them genuflects to Tel Aviv and both of them take the idea that Palestinians have rights too. In fact the only chance of Israeli dominance of US foreign policy appears to rest with Hillary Clinton. She may be Goldman Sachs’ dog in this fight, but she is also Tel Aviv’s.

      Unfortunately, despite continuing wins and trouncing Clinton in debate, it seems most unlikely Sanders will get the nomination. Clinton control of party machinery and firm position with those who have made an extremely fat living for themselves personally out of identity politics (sorry heroes of the civil rights movement), should ensure that. Can I commend you to read The Catholic Orangemen of Togo to see how just one ride in a car with Jesse Jackson put me right off him.

    • Canada’s Changing Mission in Iraq

      Canada formally announced it had stopped all air strikes in Iraq and Syria on 15 February. They will continue to fly aerial refueling missions, and conduct reconnaissance from the air. More significantly, Canada will up its small ground forces, who are engaged in what has to be the longest and most thorough training mission in human history, inside Iraq.

    • Pink-Slipping Hillary: On Remembering the Victims of the Iraq War

      In March 2003, just before the US invasion of Iraq, about one hundred CODEPINK women dressed in pink slips weaved in and out of congressional offices demanding to meet with representatives. Those representatives who pledged to oppose going to war with Iraq were given hugs and pink badges of courage; those hell-bent on taking the US to war were given pink slips emblazoned with the words “YOU’RE FIRED.”

  • Transparency Reporting

    • It Took a FOIA Lawsuit to Uncover How the Obama Administration Killed FOIA Reform

      The Obama administration has long called itself the most transparent administration in history. But newly released Department of Justice (DOJ) documents show that the White House has actually worked aggressively behind the scenes to scuttle congressional reforms designed to give the public better access to information possessed by the federal government.

      The documents were obtained by the Freedom of the Press Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports journalism in the public interest, which in turn shared them exclusively with VICE News. They were obtained using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) — the same law Congress was attempting to reform. The group sued the DOJ last December after its FOIA requests went unanswered for more than a year.

    • FOIA Request Results In Details Of Administration’s War On FOIA Reform

      Do you like irony? Documents obtained by the Freedom of the Press Foundation (and shared with Jason Leopold of Vice) through an FOIA request show how the Obama administration and various agencies worked together to dismantle FOIA reform efforts. “Presumption of openness,” my [REDACTED].

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Sanders scores Michigan upset; Trump tightens grip with wins

      Bernie Sanders won a huge upset in Michigan on Tuesday night, giving his campaign a jolt of momentum even as Donald Trump tightened his grip on the Republican nomination by scoring victories in Michigan and Mississippi.

      Entering Tuesday, not one public poll had shown Sanders leading in Michigan, and most had him down by double-digits, creating expectations that Hillary Clinton would cruise to victory.

      But Sanders took the lead from the moment polls closed in the state and never let go. News networks projected him the winner just before midnight, with the Vermont senator leading 50 to 48 percent.

    • Washington Post Ran 16 Negative Stories on Bernie Sanders in 16 Hours

      All of these posts paint his candidacy in a negative light, mainly by advancing the narrative that he’s a clueless white man incapable of winning over people of color or speaking to women. Even the one article about Sanders beating Trump implies this is somehow a surprise—despite the fact that Sanders consistently out-polls Hillary Clinton against the New York businessman.

  • Censorship

    • Standing up to censorship

      Students who find themselves on the second floor of Moffett Library are likely to see a poster featuring a stack of books with the question “Have you seen us?” in bold. The books in the stack have all been censored or restricted at some point since publication, and the poster is promoting the anti-censorship movement.

      Since 1990 there have been more than 18,000 attempts to remove books from libraries and schools across the United States. A significant number of these attempts are done by parent groups or religious organizations.

    • AG begs for time over ‘censorship’ law

      GIBA specifically wants the court to expunge regulations 3 to 12 and 22 of the NMC (Content Standards) Regulations 2015 (LI 2224) as being inconsistent with the 1992 Constitution which guarantees unfettered media freedom.

      The regulations in contention basically require media owners to apply for content authorization, submit programme guide and content for approval and go by a set of rules stipulated by the NMC or in default pay a fine or serve between two and five years in jail.

    • Digital TV broadcasting prone to censorship, says expert

      The House of Representatives has outlined a policy to digitize broadcasting in a draft revision of the 2002 Broadcasting Law, which could make it easier for the government to control television programs in the future, according to an expert.

      The revision was first proposed to the House in 2010, but has yet to make it into law. Last January, the House’s Legislation Body included the same bill in the 2016 National Legislation Program (Prolegnas). The House then started work on the draft before eventually discussing it with the government.

      “The migration of analog to digital TV broadcasting is one of the main points in the revision of the law,” lawmaker Meutya Hafid said on Monday.

    • SCMP’s online presence in mainland China completely wiped out

      Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post has become the latest casualty of China’s tightening grip on the media as internet censors shut down its microblogging accounts on Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, as well as its WeChat page on Tuesday.

      The broadsheet’s official Sina Weibo page now leads to an error message that reads, “Sorry, there is something wrong with the account you are currently trying to access, and it is temporarily inaccessible.” A similar error message can be seen on what used to be SCMP’s Tencent Weibo page.

      Over at SCMP’s official WeChat account, an empty shell is all that remains as all previous posts published on the page have been deleted.

      If past history is any indication, the shutdown doesn’t appear temporary, and there is little chance that the accounts will be restored.

    • Censorship Is Not All Bad [Ed: not that I agree with this...]

      Thus, hate speech is really anti-speech because it aims to shut down the speech of others. And in the United States, hate speech has shut down the speech of minorities and women for hundreds of years. Defenders of hate speech often disguise it as “pride,” “state’s rights” or “religious freedom.” But we are mistaken to treat anti-speech as if it were normal speech, deserving of protection. We can and should be intolerant of intolerance.

    • Chinese govt deletes article, magazine publishes rejoinder in defiance
    • Caixin ‘Won’t Comment’ on Deletion of Anti-Censorship Article
    • Chinese Financial Magazine Challenges Content Censorship
    • Top China Adviser Pushes for More Freedom of Speech
    • Caixin Challenges Censors After Xi Demands Loyalty
    • Article exposing censorship of interview on free speech gets censored
    • Article denouncing censorship censored from Chinese magazine’s English website
    • Caixin, censored by govt, exposes article’s removal
    • China magazine Caixin defiant on censorship of article

      Prominent Chinese financial magazine Caixin has highlighted censorship of its content, in a rare defiant move against the government.

      It claimed on Monday, in an article published on its English-language website, that censors had deleted an interview on the issue of free speech.

      But by Tuesday evening that article appeared to have been deleted as well.

      Chinese media is heavily regulated with government censors often removing content on websites and social media.

    • Chinese magazine challenges government over censorship

      One of China’s most respected current affairs magazines has lashed out at Communist party censorship of its work, just weeks after the president, Xi Jinping, demanded absolute loyalty from his country’s media.

    • Caixin ‘Won’t Comment’ on Deletion of Anti-Censorship Article

      A spokesman for the highly regarded Chinese financial and economic magazine Caixin on Wednesday declined to comment on the deletion of a recent article hitting out at government censorship from its website in recent days.

    • UD faculty artist, student address creative censorship
    • Creating freedom in censorship

      In our last editorial, the Flyer News staff restated our ded­ication to the pursuit of truths in the Dayton community. We pledged our support to the Mountain Echo, the student news­paper of Mount St. Mary’s University, as they countered cen­sorship from their new president, Simon Newman–as well as the University of Dayton faculty and students who petitioned against the president’s actions. Since our last issue was published, President Newman resigned–a testament to the power of collec­tively speaking out against censorship.

    • Valley News: Man flies Confederate flag to fight censorship, but neighbors object

      At the dead end of Latham Works Lane, a flagpole bears a rectangle of red cloth dominated by a big blue X and 13 white stars.

      It’s the Confederate flag, a symbol of the Civil War-era American South that is increasingly seen as a sign of the South’s resistance to civil rights.

    • White House’s Claims that the TPP Would Curb Internet Censorship are Fantasy

      One of the United States government’s priorities in Internet policy is encapsulated by a term that’s recently been making the rounds; the “free flow of information.” It appears almost every time U.S. officials describe how they intend to protect the free and open Internet, especially when it comes to international law. The general idea is that bits of online data should not be discriminated against, hindered, or regulated across national boundaries. As a general principle, this sounds positive. It could be a helpful antidote against arbitrary data localization rules that threaten to break up the global Internet, or attempts by governments’ to block and censor foreign websites using nationwide filters.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • ‘A woman died in my arms: her crime? To refuse FGM’

      Gift Abu is describing what she says was her most harrowing experience working as an anti-FGM activist in Nigeria. A mother-to-be was having complications but the cutters wouldn’t help her give birth safely unless she allowed them to cut her. “They left her for dead when she said no, and blamed me because I tried to stop them.”

    • What’s Wrong With Feminism: Why I Call Myself A Humanist, Not A Feminist

      Above all, I am for what feminism is said to be — equal rights for men and women. Yes, men, too.

      I see, far too often, that feminism is about hating, demeaning, and denying rights to men.

      I am for rights — like the First Amendment right — for neo-nazis (who marched in Skokie back when I was a young teen), and for all sorts of people I think are assholes and idiots.

      I am certainly for rights of people I like, and I like men.

    • Police warn women not to go out alone in Swedish town after spate of sex attacks

      Police in the icy Northern Swedish city of Ostersund have warned single women against venturing out alone after dark, following a space of violent attacks, with nine cases reported in less than three weeks.

      As yet another attack was reported on Tuesday, the local police chief Stephen Jerand told state broadcaster SVT that he was convinced that his warning, highly unusual in Sweden, had been justified.

      “It is always a consideration whether to go out with this kind of thing or not. But we don’t want to sit here for another week and have more crime victims on our desk,” he said.

    • New Mexico Attorney General Would Rather See Sexting Teens Treated As Sex Offenders Than See His Funding ‘Jeopardized’

      Teens sexting can’t be addressed by existing laws. Law enforcement — which far too often chooses to involve itself in matters best left to parents — bends child pornography laws to “fit” the crime. They often state they’re only doing this to save kids from the harm that might result by further distribution of explicit photos. How exactly turning a teen into a child pornographer who must add his or herself to the sex offender registries is less harmful than the imagined outcomes cited by law enforcement is never explained.

    • New Mexico Attorney General Protests Bill That Would Decriminalize Teen Sexting

      New Mexico’s state legislature is considering a bill that would stiffen the penalties for people caught with child pornography while also legalizing consensual sexting between underage teenagers. But that’s an unacceptable tradeoff for the state’s Democratic attorney general, whose staff walked out of a hearing in protest of the bill’s leniency toward teen offenders.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Governments Agree To ICANN Accountability Proposals, Giving Green Light For IANA Transition

      Governments gathered at the 55th meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) in Marrakesh this week have agreed to not object to the final proposal on enhancing ICANN accountability. By the move, the governments cleared the way to allow a potential handover of the management of the central root zone of the domain name system and other core databases to ICANN from the United States Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

  • DRM

    • Show them the world is watching. Stop DRM in HTML.

      For years, Defective by Design and the anti-DRM movement have been fighting media and proprietary software companies who want to weave Digital Restrictions Management into the HTML standard that undergirds the Web. Winning this is a top priority for us — the DRM proposal, known as EME (Encrypted Media Extensions), would make it cheaper and more politically acceptable to impose restrictions on Web users, opening the floodgates to a new wave of DRM throughout the Internet.

      The battle is coming to a head as EME approaches a final vote by the Web’s standardization organization, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). We need to make our voices heard now — the W3C is convening March 20-22 and is scheduled to discuss the proposal.

    • Join the struggle to keep digital restrictions out of Web standards
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • BREAKING – Louboutin case referred to CJEU: can a colour be a shape?

      This Kat understands that not all language versions of the directive speak of ‘shape’. Indeed, the French version refers to ‘forme’, the German version speaks of ‘form’, and the Italian version speaks of ‘forma’. In Italian a ‘forma’ is not necessarily three-dimensional, but can also be two-dimensional, and the same is true in French and German as well.

    • Copyrights

      • Pub fined for illegal Sky transmission

        A UK pub has been fined nearly £24,000 ($34,100) for illegally showing Sky television, following an investigation by trade body the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT).

      • Norwegian Police Seize Popcorn-Time “Information” Site

        Norwegian economic crime police have seized the domain name of a local Popcorn-Time website. The site in question didn’t offer any copyright infringing material, but featured news articles and links to external sites where the popular application could be downloaded. No arrests were made.

      • Stripping 4K Content Protection is Fair Use, Court Hears

        LegendSky, a hardware manufacturer that creates devices enabling consumers to bypass 4K copy protection, has informed a New York federal court that they’re not breaking any laws. The company is being sued by Warner Bros. and Intel daughter company Digital Content Protection, who want to shut down their sales.

Team Battistelli’s Bergot Reacts to Strike Action

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bergot letter on strike

Summary: Elodie Bergot (PD Human Resources) circulates a message regarding the overwhelming call for strike action at the European Patent Office

THE EPO cannot withstand Battistelli. That’s rather clear at this point, based on yesterday's ballot (which we covered very briefly last night). We actually knew the results 3 hours before the article from The Register, but there was no official source. Now there is and we want to accurately document this for future record.

No less than 5 people (yes, that’s right) sent us the letter from Bergot, in addition to those telling us the results, but we wanted to get it all organised for publication as this is an historic moment. One comment said last night that “Result of ballot: 55% of ask[ed] staff voted for strike. Far more than membership of both unions combined.”

“If someone is interested about the results of the ballot at the EPO,” said another person: “4062 voters (60%), of which 3701 in favor of the strike (91%). I notice that none of the above values is a “minority”.”

It’s likely that everyone who voted already found out the outcome last night. “Congratulations EPO,” added another person. This is a big win for the staff, but not for the management, which is subservient to Battistelli. As one person told us at 7 last night: “The results of the vote at the EPO: 4062 voters (60%), of which 3701 in favor of the strike (91%)! If you consider that most propably the Directors, Managers tec. were “kindly” requested not to vote, it’ an impressive result. So much for the minority!”

So if everyone could vote without fear (almost everyone who voted was voting against, so the mere act of voting itself says a lot), there would be even better a turnout and greater an opposition. “Just in case that you did not yet receive it,” told us one person, here are the official words. “Ballot result,” as this source put it, are outlined below:

Strike ballot of 8 March 2016

08.03.2016

Publication of the result

Dear colleagues,

I hereby announce the result of the vote on the call for strike signed by 754 staff members and received by the Office on 10.02.2016.

The number of employees entitled to vote is 6738. The necessary quorum is 40% representing 2696 votes.

The total number of votes cast is 4062 representing 60,3% of the employees entitled to vote.

The quorum has therefore been reached.

The result of the vote is as follows:

· Votes in favour of a strike = 3701

· Votes against a strike = 219

· No opinion = 142

The number of votes cast in favour of a strike is 3701 representing 91,1% of the total votes cast.

Staff have therefore voted in favour of a strike.

Following our rules, before a strike can go ahead, the President must receive a prior notice at least 5 working days before commencement of the strike. The prior notice shall specify the following;

· The grounds for having to resort to the strike;

· The beginning and duration of the strike;

· The scope of the strike, including which sites are concerned.

Elodie Bergot

PD Human Resources

“This is the internal Elodie Bergot version,” told us another person, laughing at the words “Dear Colleagues”…

“There was no embargo indication,” told us this person, “but I suggest you Wait until tomorrow morning, just in case. I don’t know how many could have read it this evening already.”

Well, based on our sources, it’s safe to say that a lot of people read it and passed it around. Even in the evening. Perhaps thousands of people already saw it and later on we’ll show that some even posted it online (on the public Web).

Here is the second version we were sent (without formatting). It’s identical to the above.

Strike ballot of 8 March 2016

08.03.2016

Publication of the result

Dear colleagues,

I hereby announce the result of the vote on the call for strike signed by 754 staff members and received by the Office on 10.02.2016.

The number of employees entitled to vote is 6738. The necessary quorum is 40% representing 2696 votes.

The total number of votes cast is 4062 representing 60,3% of the employees entitled to vote.

The quorum has therefore been reached.

The result of the vote is as follows:

· Votes in favour of a strike = 3701

· Votes against a strike = 219

· No opinion = 142

The number of votes cast in favour of a strike is 3701 representing 91,1% of the total votes cast.

Staff have therefore voted in favour of a strike.

Following our rules, before a strike can go ahead, the President must receive a prior notice at least 5 working days before commencement of the strike. The prior notice shall specify the following;

· The grounds for having to resort to the strike;

· The beginning and duration of the strike;

· The scope of the strike, including which sites are concerned.

Elodie Bergot

A partial text was posted online and only hours ago authorised by the moderator of IP Kat. Here it is:

Meanwhile…
The EPO has tonight announced, as reported by Suepo, concerning a strike call by 754 EPO staff:

“Dear colleagues,

I hereby announce the result of the vote on the call for strike signed by 754 staff members and received by the Office on 10.02.2016.

The number of employees entitled to vote is 6738. The necessary quorum is 40% representing 2696 votes.

The total number of votes cast is 4062 representing 60,3% of the employees entitled to vote.

The quorum has therefore been reached.

The result of the vote is as follows:

Votes in favour of a strike = 3701
Votes against a strike = 219
No opinion = 142
The number of votes cast in favour of a strike is 3701 representing 91,1% of the total votes cast.

Staff have therefore voted in favour of a strike.

Following our rules, before a strike can go ahead, the President must receive a prior notice at least 5 working days before commencement of the strike.”

The AC meets on Wed 16th March and there are 5 working days before that.

The formatting is even more deficient there. Another source sent us a screenshot, which we included at the top. This will hopefully help convince journalists that none of the text was tinkered so as to ridicule Bergot, who is extremely unpopular inside the Office. “That is the official notice from Elodie about the strike,” told us one source. “Next week is going to be fun :-)”

It looks like the next meeting of the Administrative Council will coincide with the strike. Will staff be marching in Brussels on their day off?

Caricature of the Day: Recognising FFPE EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A new cartoon about FFPE EPO receiving recognition from Team Battistelli, or rather, Team Battistelli getting recognised by a very small union

As the EPO‘s Benny and Willy already have their caricatures, it would be unfair to leave FFPE EPO, which signed an MoU with them [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], unloved. “In case you want to use it,” someone told us, here is the latest cartoon/caricature.

FFPE EPO cartoon

In the meantime, glancing over at IP Kat, the following new comments stand out:

Munich examiner

As examiner in the EPO Munich since over 10 years I have barely heard of FFPE. Never have I received a document, publication, communication, invitation from this union.
So when they were being reported upon in the press, I rushed to their website to see who they were and what they were up to. Maybe I would consider joining a second union too, why not, the more opposition the better. Imagine my surprise when I found out the website was frozen at 2008.
What have they been doing all this time? What do they stand for? What do they stand against?
How can a group of people claim to be a union, when staff do not know what they are up to?
Then I was told by some older colleagues that FFPE was created in The Hague for Dutch colleagues. Fair enough, then it’s not for me I conclude.

Again, not the end of the story, when on this blog the Chairman of FFPE insists that they have more nationalities among their members and are open for membership at all places of employment.
They have never informed me of that. Interesting they should use a public platform to broadcast this important information.

This seems a very unusual way of representing staff’s interests. How can they know what my interests are if they never sought contact with me? Not once since 2002, when I joined the office.
On the other hand I was very quickly informed by Suepo on how to join Suepo, what their views were and how to find their publications. Also, which union official to ask for help in different cases. I had all the information to make a choice.

Very, very unusual “union” this FFPE.

And also:

Did anyone notice Art 12 of the MoU :
“The parties have to agree on the subject matters that will be subject to negotiations” then it is easy for the President to discard an important topic by saying that the management does not agree to discuss it.
Furthermore, a time limit for negociating will be fixed at the beginning; 1 month with a single meeting for example may be called negociations.
No good faith from the EPO clearly in this MoU.

As we are about to show, Team Battistelli is extremely unpopular right now. It’s desperate for anything that can help it look otherwise.

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