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03.26.14

Links 26/3/2014: Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 3:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 26/3/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 3:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Amended Comment Regarding ODF as Document Standard in the UK

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 11:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

British flag

Summary: The long battle against comment censorship and the outcome of watering down of text regarding Microsoft’s OOXML abuses

TODAY is the annual celebration of ODF, as we noted earlier this week. This means that we need to remind ourselves of the importance of ODF, or contrariwise for OOXML and other binary formats, the travesty which is corruption-backed and monopoly-enabling lock-in.

Here in the UK there is some policy to be proud of. Despite a history of Microsoft lock-in, there are many moves right now which indicate that the government is changing its colours. In my daytime job I have about 5 British government clients, so I can see that they are genuinely transitioning/migrating to Free software (without announcing it), little by little, piece by piece. Liam Maxwell was quoted yesterday in the press as suggesting that the British government’s open source code is one of UK’s best exports [1]. This may as well be true. Coming out of the projects with British government clients there’s some source code and expertise. One day in the future, when the fury of proprietary software giants becomes a lesser powerful force (just see what happened in Munich), the British public will probably hear more about this.

Out of sincere concern, a month or so ago I wrote to Cabinet Office and exchanged numerous E-mails with Cabinet Office staff. The staff was polite and conversational, but it was reluctant to facilitate free speech to its fullest. Here is the story in full.

In posts that we published in some recent weeks we called for people to submit comments on a consultation which suggested ODF as the document standard in the UK. After publishing a comment we were rather appalled to see continuous attempts to censor and then, after some pressure from us, to water down the comment and finally not to even publish the watered-down comment (until further insistence from us). This should be noted because the Cabinet Office is funded by taxpayers like myself; it oughtn’t act as a gatekeeper against frank assessment from those who are funding it. People like Andy Updegrove [2] and Susan Linton [3] at OStatic [4] (who wrote about this) are US citizens, so they are not funding the Cabinet Office and it would be almost acceptable for the Cabinet Office, which is designed to serves UK interests, to discard comments from them (no offence intended to US citizens). The same goes for Microsoft’s comments and arguably for the FSFE, which is mostly Germany-based but submitted comments [5], adding to hundreds more [6]. There is some belated coverage of this from the British news sites like Computer Weekly [7,8] and PC Pro [9], which paraphrases LibreOffice as saying “ignore Microsoft’s “nonsense” on government’s open source plans” (Microsoft cares only about Microsoft, not British citizens).

I would like to outline my conversations (behind the scenes) with Cabinet Office staff, at the very least because it can serve as a warning to anyone who thinks that Cabinet Office is open to feedback from all British citizens, even those who know what they are talking about, are polite, and if I dare say professional (my connections to the Cabinet Office are indirectly professional and contractual).

Putting it a little more chronologically but also contextually, the Cabinet Office staff told me after my comment had been rejected:

Hi Roy

We’ve extended the comment period to 5pm Friday due to the server issues we encountered last night.

One of our moderator’s is currently reviewing the email draft you sent in last night – we’ll get back to you on that before you resubmit through the Hub just in case there is anything else that doesn’t meet the moderation policy.

Thank you so much for your patience and persistence.

I resubmitted earlier that day when it was made possible again. This was after some failed attempts to do so. It probably took me 5 times more time revising my comment than it took me to originally write and ghost-read it.

Submitting a comment should not be as hard and time-consuming as submitting an academic article to a top journal, but when barriers are put up it discourages participation and waters down a message. This is the kind of thing that led me to quitting Datamation, where I had done some journalism around the time of OOXML scandals. Entire sentences would be omitted by the editors and inflammatory/provocative headlines replace my own, removing my ability to give an accurate assessment of the situation, knowing that Microsoft was an advertiser but not letting this induce self-censorship. This is how the gatekeepers of business-friendly people (supposed gentleman’s style) typically work, marginalising voices of honesty and reason.

It’s worth repeating: I spent about five times more time revising the text to appease the moderators than I did actually writing my original text. I was close to just giving up at numerous points during the process, but knowing that this ordeal in itself would be useful to report on kept me going. A submission to the Standards Hub is not easy, unless one posts ‘softball’ points that challenge little or nothing, bringing nothing new to the table.

Here again is what I was told:

Thanks, Roy

Please could you also ensure that anything that might be considered defamatory that is an allegation rather than a proven (legal) point is clearly described as such.

But there was nothing defamatory. To say “defamatory” is to simply claim that any strong claim is not worthy of consideration, irrespective of evidence that supports it.

Here is my response:

Without a specific pointer this is too broad for me to address. Allegations, e.g. in a court case, are points which are yet to be affirmed by lengthy judgment, based on presented evidence. I have a lot of evidence but no judge to assert that it establishes guilt and punishment. The OOXML-related misconduct already took the BSI to court in the UK — a case which was no longer pursued because of the associated costs. The plaintiff was deterred by financial costs incurred by each motion. I am not trying to be cynical about the justice system, just to say that requirements such as “proven (legal) point” would basically disqualify almost every comment left in the consultation so far.

What I am also trying to point out is, sometimes we need to accept statements even without an expensive trial process. Without this leeway we can reject almost every view which we do not like or do not wish to take responsibility for.

I will gladly modify any item you specify, but the above paragraph is vague enough to apply to nearly 100 points that I made. Feel free to water down my comment as you see fit; I am not trying to cause trouble, just to share my findings based on thousands of hours of research/readings (mostly in 2006-2009).

And more from Cabinet Office:

As mentioned, we are trying to keep the focus on the standards and the proposal rather than on wider issues. However, we are also keen that you can express your views on anything that you consider is relevant to our consideration of the standards proposed.

I replied as follows:

My response was focused on a fallacy which was perpetuated and even manufactured by one single entity — the notion that ODF is somehow “anti-corporate” (although it is backed by many corporations) and that OOXML was on equal footing while many who were involved in standardation efforts know this to be charade of misconduct. The ISO came under enormous pressure at the time. I wanted to tackle attempts at revisionism, capitalising on people’s short memory span and loss of journalism from around that time (so-called ‘Internet rot’).

Lobbying along these lines is common and it exploits people’s trust in brands. Several years ago Wikileaks released diplomatic cables which showed that Microsoft had used state representatives to lobby governments and other officials around the world to drop ODF, based on complete fabrications. I want to ensure those who are involved in the process in the UK do not get bamboozled, or at least have access to information of relevance, refuting false claims.

I asked a friend for an opinion regarding my original text and he said:

This part hits one something really important.

The European Commission said it would investigate this, but the huge extent of Microsoft’s abuses are,*according to the Commission itself*, why it no longer pursued this, even after it said it would (too many resources would be required because of the international scale)

MS basically overwhelms with its ability to be corrupt and act illegally and unethically. The result is that most people and governments throw up their hands and give in. That’s the opposite reaction as what is needed.

Also this:

It’s not a British company and it is not an ethical company

both points need to be accepted by the government. The interests of the government should take into account only the benefits of its citizens and agencies, not hostile, foreign companies. It’s not British. (Then again, neither am I.)

Microsoft tried using other British companies as proxies, trying to make it seem as though Microsoft’s interests were Britain’s interests (maybe for a fraction who are Microsoft partners).

Well, a day later, seeing that they had not published my comment, I assumed it could have been lost by mistake, so I posted it again.

Still nothing. Stonewalled.

I then mentioned it in social networks including Twitter. I chastised Cabinet Office in public, whereupon I got a private E-mail from Cabinet Office. If I hadn’t criticised Cabinet Office’s deleltionism (and had thousands of followers in Twitter) I probably wouldn’t have heard anything from them. That’s a crucial point. Silent censorship is probably the worst type of censorship. Nobody even knows about it.

Towards the end of the correspondence with Cabinet Office there was more watering down of words, e.g.;

Hi Roy

Thank you for spending time on this. Much appreciated.

Just one remaining concern:

“Bribed officials (e.g. costs covered to stuff panels) are just the tip of the iceberg.”

As bribery is a legal term, please could you consider expressing this differently?

“Sure,” I said. “I will amend the wording and resubmit.” And so I did. I was also given this assurance:

Hi Roy

I’ve copied your text below and highlighted the statements in response to your request.

The Standards Hub is able to feature links to external sources in comments. You should not encounter any issues with a spam filter.

Regards, Linda

I spent a long time revising the text based on comments and then replied as follows:

Thank you for taking the time highlighting the bits of text which you thought would benefit from links. Many of the links I had gathered 7 years ago are no longer accessible (sites offline or change of CMS), but I spent the past hour trying to find alternative URLs, Web Archive URLs, and various reports that are still online.

I posted the amended comment.

“Many thanks for your contribution. It will appear on the site very shortly, just as soon as we have confirmed that it meets the Terms and Conditions.

Thanks for your consideration.

Best regards,

Roy

The references ought to have been enough to support my claims, addressing concerns that that they may be “defamatory or libellous.” To quote the first message that I received:

Dear Dr Schestowitz

Thank you for providing input to the Standards Hub on the document format proposal.

We are keen to publish as many views as possible so that we can make sure that the debate is transparent.

Our moderation policy includes the following statements about what users of the site should not do:

* Make any personal or professional references which might reasonably be considered inappropriate, defamatory or misleading * Break the law (this includes libel, condoning illegal activity and contempt of court)

Regarding your submission, there are a few statements that may be considered to be defamatory or libellous.

We value all contributions and would therefore be grateful if you could either:

1) Amend and resubmit your response to remove statements that could be considered to be defamatory or libellous; or

2) Edit your response to include links to support the information presented such as court cases or Commission statements which offer evidence of these events having occurred.

I appreciate this may be frustrating but we need to keep the focus on the standards being considered.

*Please remember the submissions will close by end of day today – Wednesday 26 February.*

My response was as follows:

Thank you for responding. Can you please highlight the part which you deem in need of references and those which you prefer omitted? I usually omit links from such submissions simply because excessive use of links tends to be treated — automatically — as spam. I can link to the original sources where you deem it necessary or omit sentences altogether.

I appreciate you try to cover yourselves in case a complaint is made, but if we do not allow strong statements to be made, then we are limiting free speech in such a way that can be exploited by wrongdoers (UK libel law has probably spiked many important articles we’ll never know about).

I have accepted about 50,000 comments over the years and never deleted a single one (except spam), even when I was faced with libelous and racist personal attacks. Free speech means free speech; libel is another thing. There are laws to deal with libel. There are also laws to deal with identity theft, copyright infringement, etc.

I asked an old friend for his assessment of this situation and he said the following:

Interesting – I recall they have done this before, so they’re obviously v cautious here. Also, MS might seize on it as “proof” of the process’s lack of legitimacy etc etc, so perhaps moderating it would ultimately be more effective…

My response at the time was:

I can see the point, but it goes something along the lines of “Microsoft can portray ODF proponent as “radicals” (against crime)” and sometimes it’s more important to show the crime than to hide it for the sake of “professionalism”.

I’d rather amend my comment (if they send me guidance to that effect) than let it be marginalised altogether.

If they don’t help amend it to their “standards” (they have not mailed me back yet), then I will politely point this out. Censorship is one of those things that have “repeat offenders” and unless you speak about censorship it’ll never be noticed. You’d be shocked to see the kind of comments of mine that ZDNet deleted. People contacted me later to say that they too had been censored (by CBS/ZDNet).

Eventually, after several iterations, I amended all the text as Cabinet Office suggested. I could not access the site at that moment in order to submit the comment before midnight. The site was not responding; It was totally down. Thankfully, the deadline got extended.

Here is my near-final text (which would be moderated/watered down further):

The only opposition to ODF comes from one single entity: Microsoft. It’s not a British company and it is not an ethical company, to say the very least.

Microsoft would like us to believe that “Open” XML (an Orwellian name) is a “standard” without telling how it became a “standard”, starting with ECMA, where key officials publicly gloated about the bad process (e.g. watch this video starting 4:10; that is Jan van den Beld, former Secretary General of ECMA, saying that the mentality is: “You are well paid, shut up”), and the ISO, from which key/top members resigned following what Microsoft had done (while specifically citing what Microsoft had done). To give one notable example, the very Convenor (top position) of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 WG1 wrote about the vote-rigging: “This year WG1 have had another major development that has made it almost impossible to continue with our work within ISO. The influx of P members whose only interest is the fast-tracking of ECMA 376 as ISO 29500 has led to the failure of a number of key ballots. Though P members are required to vote, 50% of our current members, and some 66% of our new members, blatantly ignore this rule despite weekly email reminders and reminders on our website. As ISO require at least 50% of P members to vote before they start to count the votes we have had to reballot standards that should have been passed and completed their publication stages at Kyoto. This delay will mean that these standards will appear on the list of WG1 standards that have not been produced within the time limits set by ISO, despite our best efforts.

“The disparity of rules for PAS, Fast-Track and ISO committee generated standards is fast making ISO a laughing stock in IT circles. The days of open standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are getting “standardization by corporation”, something I have been fighting against for the 20 years I have served on ISO committees. I am glad to be retiring before the situation becomes impossible. I wish my colleagues every success for their future efforts, which I sincerely hope will not prove to be as wasted as I fear they could be.”

Systematic corruption cannot be ignored and the debate cannot be framed as one where we look at stamps of approval alone.

As a researcher, a former journalist, and a webmaster of sites which receive hundreds of millions of hits annually, I already wrote almost 1,000 articles on the topic of OOXML, sacrificing a lot of my time because this classic case of a bad process was too serious to be ignored. The European Commission said it would investigate this (one of several different investigations in Europe).

Microsoft allegedly went as far as pushing senior people out of their jobs if they dared to oppose OOXML (one notable example is Peter Quinn because it was widely covered at the time). There are documented examples as such. Sadly, as much of this happened 7 years ago, many of the links are now broken/articles gone and the Web Archive (let alone search engines) does not always retain a copy.

This is not atypical for Microsoft; Microsoft had done similar things (and got caught) a decade earlier when it faced antitrust charges (c/f US DOJ vs Microsoft). Alleged ballot stuffing, alleged insiders in committees, alleged financial favours etc. are Microsoft’s way of doing business and here too we should expect to see it.

I wrote extensively about technical issues in OOXML, as well as legal issues such as patents. Some of the letters to you may have already covered at least a small subset of those. There were protests in numerous places including Poland and Norway, where members of the standardisation process marched the streets in protest. That’s how bad it was.

There was a BRM in Switzerland — a jaw-dropping case of a ludicrous process. This was part of how Microsoft got its “standard”, ignoring thousands of listed and properly enumerated issues. It would be impossible to list these exhaustively in a letter because there were literally thousands of pages detailing technical issues. These were discarded, ignored, and the attendees appalled by what they clearly considered to be a deeply rigged process.

Microsoft was flying journalists to Seattle (at Microsoft’s expense) in order to manufacture favourable articles (“Brett Winterford [the author] travelled to Redmond as a guest of Microsoft”). Microsoft offered delivered presentations and studies from so-called ‘independent’ experts who would soon thereafter be hired to work full time at Microsoft. There were attempts to equate ODF with one single company (notably IBM) and attempts to equate ODF with a particular piece of software when ODF was in fact backed by hundreds of entities, both from the private and public sector. Many programs support ODF, and they support is very well. OOXML is just a rebranding of closed Microsoft formats (legacy), propped up by companies which Microsoft paid specifically for the purpose of backing OOXML (there are publicly accessible documents that clearly support these allegations). OOXML is about protecting the common carrier, Windows, creating lock-in for a cash cow. British taxpayers cannot bear these costs anymore.

I would like to quote a leaked Microsoft document which was presented in a case against Microsoft in the United States. The internal document stated: “A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to select die panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can’t expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to get the moderator to agree to having only “independent ISVs” on the panel. No one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the competing technologies would be allowed -just ISVs who have to use this stuff in the “real world.” Sounds marvellously independent doesn’t it? In feet, it allows us to stack the panel with ISVs that back our cause. Thus, the “independent” panel ends up telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover this panel, and you’ve got a major win on your hands.”

This basically sums up what Microsoft is allegedly trying to do in order to derail British standard policies at this moment. This was done before in many places and at different times. As one who works for British government clients I am very familiar with some of the ways in which Microsoft tries to interfere with standards and with competition, claiming to pursue “choice”. Do not be misled by claims of victimhood and appeals to fairness which are actually just self interest, designed to increase licensing costs and dependence of software from the United States.

Microsoft’s OOXML is so “open” that when I leaked it on my Web site (should be fine for “open” document) I received legal threats. The purpose of the leak was to highlight many technical flaws which Microsoft hid using restrictive access and prohibitive costs, leaving information to only a few insiders in the know, much like TPP and other secret “free trade” negotiations.

Be strong in the face of bullying and pressure. Microsoft would not permit open standards to be accepted. That would give people a choice of platform, a choice of an office suite, and the choice of long-term preservation of their data.

Further modification to change words (notice how it’s made more gentle):

The only opposition to ODF comes from one single entity: Microsoft. It’s not a British company and it is not an ethical company, to say the very least.

Microsoft would like us to believe that “Open” XML (an Orwellian name) is a “standard” without telling how it became a “standard”, starting with ECMA, where key officials publicly gloated about the dodgy process (e.g. watch this video starting 4:10; that is Jan van den Beld, former Secretary General of ECMA, saying that the mentality is: “You are well paid, shut up”), and the ISO, from which key/top members resigned following what Microsoft had done (while specifically citing what Microsoft had done). To give one notable example, the very Convenor (top position) of ISO/IEC JTC1/SC34 WG1 wrote about the vote-rigging: “This year WG1 have had another major development that has made it almost impossible to continue with our work within ISO. The influx of P members whose only interest is the fast-tracking of ECMA 376 as ISO 29500 has led to the failure of a number of key ballots. Though P members are required to vote, 50% of our current members, and some 66% of our new members, blatantly ignore this rule despite weekly email reminders and reminders on our website. As ISO require at least 50% of P members to vote before they start to count the votes we have had to reballot standards that should have been passed and completed their publication stages at Kyoto. This delay will mean that these standards will appear on the list of WG1 standards that have not been produced within the time limits set by ISO, despite our best efforts.

“The disparity of rules for PAS, Fast-Track and ISO committee generated standards is fast making ISO a laughing stock in IT circles. The days of open standards development are fast disappearing. Instead we are getting “standardization by corporation”, something I have been fighting against for the 20 years I have served on ISO committees. I am glad to be retiring before the situation becomes impossible. I wish my colleagues every success for their future efforts, which I sincerely hope will not prove to be as wasted as I fear they could be.”

Systematic corruption cannot be ignored and the debate cannot be framed as one where we look at stamps of approval alone.

As a researcher, a former journalist, and a webmaster of sites which receive hundreds of millions of hits annually, I already wrote almost 1,000 articles on the topic of OOXML, sacrificing a lot of my time because this classic case of bad process was too serious to be ignored. The European Commission said it would investigate this (one of several different investigations in Europe), but the huge extent of Microsoft’s abuses are, according to the Commission itself (as reported at the time by the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure’s (FFII)), why it no longer pursued this, even after it said it would (too many resources would be required because of the international scale).

Financially incentivised officials (e.g. costs covered to stuff panels) are just the tip of the iceberg. Spamming officials with letters (not just through partners but also lobbyists, “sockpuppets” who are operated by peripheral staff etc.) is just one of many tactics as well. Microsoft went as far as pushing senior people out of their jobs if they dared to oppose OOXML (one notable example is Peter Quinn because it was widely covered at the time). There are documented examples as such, such as Lassi Nirhamo in Finland. Sadly, as much of this happened 7 years ago, many of the links are now broken/articles gone and the Web Archive (let alone search engines) does not always retain a copy.

This is not atypical for Microsoft; Microsoft had done similar things (and got caught) a decade earlier when it faced antitrust charges. Ballot stuffing, insiders in committees, financial favours etc. are Microsoft’s way of doing business and here too we should expect to see it.

I wrote extensively about technical issues in OOXML, as well as legal issues such as patents. Some of the letters to you may have already covered at least a small subset of those. There were protests in numerous places including Poland and Norway, where members of the standardisation process marched the streets in protest. That’s how bad it was.

There was a BRM in Switzerland — a jaw-dropping case of bad process. This was part of how Microsoft got its “standard”, ignoring thousands of listed and properly enumerated issues. It would be impossible to list these exhaustively in a letter because there were literally thousands of pages detailing technical issues. These were discarded, ignored, and the attendees appalled by what they clearly considered to be a deeply rigged process.

Microsoft was flying journalists to Seattle (at Microsoft’s expense) in order to manufacture favourable articles (“Brett Winterford [the author] travelled to Redmond as a guest of Microsoft”). It seems to be doing something similar in the British press right now (e.g. The Register, which had a search and advertising deal with Microsoft some years back, collectively calls ODF proponents “zealots”). Microsoft offered delivered presentations and studies from so-called ‘independent’ experts who would soon thereafter be hired to work full time at Microsoft. There were attempts to equate ODF with one single company (notably IBM) and attempts to equate ODF with a particular piece of software when ODF was in fact backed by hundreds of entities, both from the private and public sector. Many programs support ODF, and they support is very well. OOXML is just a rebranding of closed Microsoft formats (legacy), propped up by companies which Microsoft paid specifically for the purpose of backing OOXML (there are publicly accessible documents that clearly support these allegations). OOXML is about protecting the common carrier, Windows, creating lock-in for a cash cow. British taxpayers cannot bear these costs anymore.

I would like to quote a leaked Microsoft document which was presented in a case against Microsoft in the United States. The internal document stated: “A stacked panel, on the other hand, is like a stacked deck: it is packed with people who, on the face of things, should be neutral, but who are in fact strong supporters of our technology. The key to stacking a panel is being able to choose the moderator. Most conference organizers allow the moderator to select die panel, so if you can pick the moderator, you win. Since you can’t expect representatives of our competitors to speak on your behalf, you have to get the moderator to agree to having only “independent ISVs” on the panel. No one from Microsoft or any other formal backer of the competing technologies would be allowed -just ISVs who have to use this stuff in the “real world.” Sounds marvellously independent doesn’t it? In feet, it allows us to stack the panel with ISVs that back our cause. Thus, the “independent” panel ends up telling the audience that our technology beats the others hands down. Get the press to cover this panel, and you’ve got a major win on your hands.”

This basically sums up what Microsoft is trying to do in order to derail British standard policies at this moment. This was done before in many places and at different times. As one who works for British government clients I am very familiar with some of the ways in which Microsoft tries to interfere with standards and with competition, claiming to pursue “choice” when what it actually means is proprietary software, privacy infringement, lock-in etc. disguised as “choice”. Do not be misled by claims of victimhood and appeals to fairness which are actually just self interest, designed to increase licensing costs and dependence of software from the United States.

Microsoft’s OOXML is so “open” that when I leaked it on my Web site (should be fine for “open” document) I received legal threats. The purpose of the leak was to highlight many technical flaws which Microsoft hid using restrictive access and prohibitive costs, leaving information to only a few insiders in the know, much like TPP and other secret “free trade” negotiations.

Be strong in the face of bullying and pressure. Microsoft would not permit open standards to be accepted. That would give people a choice of platform, a choice of an office suite, and the choice of long-term preservation of their data.

The top of the page said “View published”, but I was unable to find my submission or to even submit it again when the site was back online. This was a frustrating experience. It felt like submitting an academic paper, not a comment.

Here is Cabinet Office explaining the issues of delay:

Since sending my previous email, I’ve had another moderator take a look at your latest comment. I’m afraid that we do have remaining concerns that mean that I’m not able to publish the current version.

We are keen to include views from everyone with an interest and expertise on the topic but we cannot edit submissions on behalf of respondents.

Unfortunately time is also against us. This is frustrating for us all, especially considering the time and effort you have put in.

I’ve pasted below highlighted text which shows where the remaining concerns are – it appears that many of these are allegations. If they could be described as such, this would help to address these concerns.

I appreciate it may become too late for you to amend and resubmit your response through the comment functionality on the Hub as this automatically closes around midnight. For information we are currently experiencing some difficulties accessing the site so would be unable to moderate a new version (you may also be unable to submit).

If it’s not possible to submit through the Comment functionality, please send your comments via Contact Us on the site or directly via email to me and we will still consider your comment in our review.

If you would like to discuss this, perhaps we could speak in the morning.

Thanks for your patience so far.

Another E-mail:

There are just a couple of highlighted areas that you may have missed.

The first (below) we think may be open to interpretation – describing this as what you consider to be a bad process may be a less inflammatory statement.

On the second, we think this may be suspected abuses, rather than proven.

Apologies for asking you to submit again, but grateful if you could consider these comments.

This was actually due to so many versions being abound, after several cycles of revision. I could soon see what had happened. The moderation process led to a confusion, which caused even more frustration. I had two versions of the text in view and I edited both by mistake, so some changes were made in the wrong version. I later submitted what I believed to be a new version incorporating all the changes (lots of work going into it).

The good news came days later:

Hi Roy

Many thanks, just passing it through the moderation and onto the site now. It may take up to 15 minutes to appear.

So this is how hard it has been to post a comment, one among hundreds of comments.

My very watered-down comment was published in this page (nearly the last comment). I had exchanged about a dozen emails with Cabinet Office staff in order to get this done. It’s good in a sense because my arguments penetrated their minds and they followed links. This exposed them to information they would otherwise not be aware of.

“Excellent,” said one of our readers. “I hope that they no longer feel that they have to give Microsoft any favors.” One month later (today), when things have mostly calmed down, I decided write about my ordeal trying to just leave a comment. It’s a long story. “I wonder how many other people they tried to pressure into changing their comments,” said a reader to us, alluding to silent censorship (as mentioned before). Mind the fact that they only tried to change it after I had protested in social media such as twitter, accusing them of censorship. They would not have bothered giving it a chance if I hadn’t worked hard for 5 hours, e.g. fetching old referefences from Web Archive (thankfully it still exists). Whether it was all worth it remains in doubt, even in my own mind (if I knew how much effort this would take I never would have bothered). I hope it stays a prominent comment in the page as it gives Microsoft’s behaviour more visibility. Either way, Cabinet Office staff (several people) read it numerous times and followed the links. In a sense, they had first tried to delete it, but persistence from me and bad publicity for them changed the course of events. I submitted my comment about half a dozen times and it never showed up until the very last attempts. I only received the E-mail offering feedback after I had shamed them over it in public — something that most people cannot do as they don’t have a large audience.

As a side note, our reader argues that “[i]t’s amazing how little coverage Google News gives ODF. None of the recent articles are listed.

“Interesting. Can you spot what’s excluded?”

At the time (end of February) there was very scarce coverage of ODF, irrespective of the Google News algorithm. What we need today is lots of blog posts about ODF and document freedom. This matter has been largely neglected by much of the FOSS community.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Liam Maxwell: Government open source code is one of UK’s best exports

    The open source code that the government runs is one of Britain’s “great” exports, according to government CTO Liam Maxwell.

    Maxwell told the Think Cloud for Government conference in London that the UK benefits from an exchange of knowledge by being open. Most of Gov.uk code is open source, allowing other countries to use it for their own government digital services.

  2. My Comments as Posted to the UK Cabinet Office Standards Hub (now it’s your turn)

    Last week I highlighted the fact that Microsoft was urging its business partners to comment at the British Cabinet Office’s Standards Hub on a standards-related proposal. That proposal would limit government procurement to office software that complied with the ISO ODF standard, but makes no mention of the ISO OOXML standard promoted by Microsoft. I also noted that anyone could comment on the proposal, and that the deadline for comments would close on February 26, Greenwich time. I closed by urging readers to let their opinions on the subject be heard.

  3. Ignore Microsoft, Dice on Linux, and Ubuntu Menus
  4. England’s Open Standards Plans May Not Sit Well with Microsoft

    The U.K. government is considering a broad move to Open Document Format (ODF), and possibly Libre Office instead of Microsoft Office. That’s not sitting so well with Microsoft, though.

  5. The UK attempts to break free from vendor lock-in

    The UK government is making progress towards less vendor lock-in. In January, they published a few principles for future government IT contracts. They want to break the dominance of the big software companies who provided the vast majority of software and services to the UK government.

    Now they are asking for comments on the standards they should use for “sharing or collaborating with government documents”. Among other things, the government proposes to make ODF the sole standard for office-type documents. The FSFE has submitted comments on a proposal by the UK government to use only document formats based on Open Standards in the future. Microsoft also submitted a lengthy comment, urging the government to include OOXML in its list of standards, to which we responded as well.

  6. UK Gov garners 400 comments on ODF proposal, extends deadline

    On 28 January, the UK government asked for public comments on its proposal for standards involved in sharing and working with government documents. Introducing the proposal to use ODF and HTML: “Citizens, businesses and delivery partners, such as charities and voluntary groups, need to be able to interact with government officials, sharing and editing documents. Officials within government departments also need to work efficiently, sharing and collaborating with documents. Users must not have costs imposed upon them due to the format in which editable government information is shared or requested.”

  7. Searching for the signal of open standards amid the growing noise of agile

    It’s now almost six years since I wrote a paper entitled Open Source and Open Standards: Reforming IT Procurement in Government for George Osborne, suggesting that, if elected, the Tories should place the rigorous pursuit of open standards at the heart of their approach to IT.

  8. Now comes the acid test for the government’s open standards policy

    The UK government’s consultation on the use of open document formats has closed, and we now wait for the acid test of the Cabinet Office commitment to open standards.

  9. LibreOffice: ignore Microsoft’s “nonsense” on government’s open source plans

    The makers of LibreOffice have slammed attempts by Microsoft to derail the government’s move to open source, accusing the company of protecting its own interests rather than users.

The Politics of Openwashing: How Microsoft Pretends That Windows Has ‘Open Source’, Generates Self-Congratulatory Coverage

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Windows at 5:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Deceiving manoeuvres from Microsoft, which is trying to put an “open” label on its common carrier, despite the fact that it is as proprietary as anything can be

MICROSOFT MUST be very desperate to appear as “open” as GNU/Linux/Android even though Windows is definitely not. Several journalists got bamboozled by Microsoft’s latest PR charade, which involved exposing source code of legacy stuff that’s of no use and nobody uses. Microsoft’s thugs are once again interjecting themselves into museums (public space), just as Bill Gates did over the past decade or so (the Gates Foundation was paying establishments like these to glorify Gates and warp computer history, omitting all the crimes).

The OSI’s president stresses that “Microsoft has NOT “open sourced” MS-DOS or Word v1. Both are under a restrictive & non-open-source license,” with reference to this licence.

As David Gerard (Wikipedia) put it to me last night, “even hacker news doesn’t think it’s safe to look at these downloads” (nothing from Microsoft is safe these days).

Dr. Donnie Berkholz, a Gentoo developer who now works as an analyst, responded to the OSI’s president by saying that Microsoft rejecting Open Source licences “is frankly just weird. Who’s going to benefit off code that old anyway. Why wouldn’t MS actually open-source it?”

I responded by saying that making it FOSS would weaken some patents and other such stuff that Microsoft may need to attack rivals with. “Because suing your customers is great business,” Berkholz replied and the OSI’s president added: “Not just rivals; also those they wish to, uh, monetise.” He alluded to patent extortion. “Or to force into Windows, e.g. Barnes and Noble,” was my followup. We already saw how Microsoft used patents to sue Barnes and Noble and when challenged in court Microsoft then bribed Barnes and Noble to embrace Windows instead of Android. That’s the modus operandi of Microsoft nowadays. Microsoft abuses patents and copyrights for blackmail purposes.

To see some poor coverage of the latest non-event (or even worse [1], with pro-Microsoft/XP propaganda [2] and misuse of the word “free”), just consider what Engadget wrote. Making useless old code seem ‘open’ is good for nothing except openwashing, but some news sites pretend it’s great news for “geeks”. They are basically printing/transmitting Microsoft talking points/PR, citing Microsoft press releases which are calling crimes that led to monopoly “open” (look, but don’t touch) and trying to pass off the PR as goodwill. Here is Will Hill’s response to the nonsense from Engadget:

It is bad and could be very bad in various ways. It is historical revisionism and copyright propaganda. It may also be a trap for free software developers.

We can be sure that the source code is washed of sabotage for competitors. That would be revisionism. The Engadget article itself is either revisionism or ignorant – Gates simply purchased/licensed/stole QDoS, the Quick and Dirty Operating System to make MS DO.

From a copyright perspective, Microsoft is pretending binary code finally enriches the public domain but that’s a farce. We can’t verify that this is the source code they worked with, nor should we trust companies to finally come clean decades later. This is very important because copyright protection is only granted in the US if it advances the state of the art and public domain. None of that happens here. This will be used as propaganda the same way the Gates Foundation is – a germ of truth will be blown out of proportion to conceal an ugly reality.

Finally, Microsoft never really gives anything away -this code is poison and should be avoided by free software developers and competitors alike. Let’s look at their “agreement”. Oh yeah, you don’t even have freedom zero because there are limits on personal use. Personal use if only for “non commercial purposes,” it appears that even consulting based on results of tests are prohibited. You may not share your copy or your modified copies. It’s like they looked at the four freedoms and negated each, and that’s just the first of eight restrictions. One of the nastier restrictions limits damage to $5 for anything, including things Microsoft should have known about – like anti-competitive sabotage.

FU Microsoft, I’ll stick with DosBox and other free software. You can keep your fake old crap and I still don’t think you have legitimate grounds for copyright monopoly.

In summary, Microsoft did nothing commendable. It’s just a PR charade which contributes nothing to computing. It distorts public museums and warps history. Again.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft open-sources MS-DOS. ’80s kids dance in the streets

    Microsoft actually bought the rights for QDOS (stands for “quick and dirty operating system) from Seattle Computer Products in 1981 for a paltry $25,000. What happened next is computer history.

  2. As WinXP death looms, Microsoft releases its operating system SOURCE CODE for free

More Economic Injustices and New Bitcoin FUD

Posted in Finance at 4:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Forex

UK

  • Six More Years of Tory Rule

    The raison d’etre of the Tories is to ensure the state runs smoothly in the interest of the 1% of the population who own 70% of the wealth. Blair made sure New Labour had the same objective, the only purpose of the party structures now being as career ladders for the likes of Blair to join the 1%.

  • DWP plans to ditch ridiculed jobs website

    Universal Jobmatch set to be jettisoned after it was found to be carrying a series of fake, repeat or fraudulent jobs ads

  • Councils using controversial lie detector tests to catch benefit fraudsters

    ‘Voice risk analysis’ being used by 24 English authorities at a cost of millions – despite scientists’ claims that it ‘does nothing’

  • Figures show huge rise in zero-hours contracts

    The scale of the use of zero-hours contracts has been revealed after a revision of official figures showed that nearly 583,000 employees – more than double the government’s estimate – were forced to sign up to the controversial conditions last year.

    A “rising tide of insecurity” in the job market since the last election was allowing employers to turn a “once marginal and niche element of the labour market” into the norm, Labour claimed on Sunday evening.

  • Age UK sounds alarm over cuts to care for older people
  • Report reveals little evidence foreign migrants put British workers out of jobs

    Conservatives insist official study, previously blocked by Downing St, supports their policy of reducing net immigration

  • London’s Laundry Business

    The city has changed. The buses are still dirty, the people are still passive-aggressive, but something about London has changed. You can see signs of it everywhere. The townhouses in the capital’s poshest districts are empty; they have been sold to Russian oligarchs and Qatari princes.

    [..]

    But Britain has already undermined any unified action by putting bankers’ profits first.

Europe

  • Profiting from crisis – How corporations and lawyers are scavenging profits from Europe’s crisis countries

    Since the economic crisis hit Europe, international investors have begun suing EU countries struggling under austerity and recession for a loss of expected profits, using international trade and investment agreements. This is revealed by a new report released today by the Transnational Institute and Corporate Europe Observatory. The investors – and the lawyers involved – are scavenging for profits amidst crisis-hit nations, providing a salutary warning of the potential high costsof the proposed trade deal between the US and the EU, which start its fourth round of negotiations today in Brussels.

US

  • WOW! Look at 10 Years of Fast Food Price Inflation!
  • Wealth Over Work
  • Who Needs a Boss?

    Arizmendi and its five sister bakeries in the Bay Area are worker-owned cooperatives, an age-old business model that has lately attracted renewed interest as a possible antidote to some of our most persistent economic ills. Most co-ops in the U.S. are smaller than Arizmendi, with around a dozen employees, but the largest, Cooperative Home Care Associates in the Bronx, has about 2,000. That’s hardly the organizational structure’s upper limit. In fact, Arizmendi was named for a Spanish priest and labor organizer in Basque country, José María Arizmendiarrieta. He founded what eventually became the Mondragon Corporation, now one of the region’s biggest employers, with more than 60,000 members and 14 billion euro in revenue. And it’s still a co-op.

  • What I learned from a shoeless Mark Cuban at SXSW

    To join EO, your company must be raking in at least $1 million in revenue, so I suddenly found myself surrounded by well-dressed, well-connected go-getters in fancy shoes, mingling and networking while waiting to pick the brain of one of America’s most charismatic billionaires. I rolled up in a hotel shuttle van, wearing dirty, fake-leather boots and a giant backpack of phone chargers and miscellaneous swag—the only person wearing a SXSW badge, my event nametag handwritten with Sharpie instead of laser-printed, my thrifted jacket soggy with the rain that had pelted downtown’s festival grounds all morning.

  • Regulator’s 10% spending rule set to ‘take the crowd out of crowdfunding’

    Financial Conduct Authority wants to prevent ordinary investors using more than 10% of their savings buying shares in peer-to-peer funded companies

  • Box IPO papers reveal it’s losing money in a big way

    Box has capitalized on the growing popularity among businesses of storing data in the cloud, where it can be accessed from a variety of devices including smartphones and tablets, giving employees more flexibility.

Bitcoin

Law No Longer Matters When it Comes to Copyrights, as the Copyright Monopoly is Above the Law, Uses Anti-Terrorism Instruments

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Law at 4:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Counterterrorism becomes terrorism

Apache raid

Summary: More new examples of the draconian and unthinkable state of copyright law and especially its enforcement, which now co-opts anti-terror laws

A READER has diverted our attention to “secret evidence in NZ courts,” in reference to [1] and [2]. Read [3] (a news site not blocked by default by some British ISPs, unlike [1,2]). It’s amazing. Here we have not just SWAP-type raiders being used by the copyright monopoly (Hollywood) but also secrecy laws, clearly confusing/conflating terrorism with copyright allegations. What have we come to?! Copyright allegations are now equated not just with “piracy” (misnomer) but with “terrorism”. Also see [4] for ransom/bounty examples; monetary rewards are put on the heads of alleged copyright infringers. If some of these alleged copyright infringers are suitable to run for European Parliament [5], then surely they are not as bad as pirates or terrorists. A “European Pirate Party” may well be on its way [6] as reforms for copyright law are sought. Groups like Chilling Effects [7] and the British Open Rights Group also join such efforts [8-10], boosted to some degree by some recent court cases [11], including the billion-dollar YouTube lawsuit against Google [12,13]. Just watch how copyright continues to induce censorship inside Google [14]; and it’s spiraling out of control (“Google Takedown Notices Surge 711,887 Percent in Four Years”). Does anyone think this really makes sense?

When copyright infringement (or allegation thereof) is treated as an offence as serious as terrorism it should be rather clear that the law is broken and needs fixing.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Sssh! Dotcom’s Use of Twitter Problematic, Court Told

    Days after the Supreme Court denied Kim Dotcom access to evidence held by the FBI, the Megaupload founder’s legal team were back in court seeking other documents in connection with a compensation claim. During the hearing, however, a Crown lawyer took the opportunity to complain about Dotcom’s use of Twitter.

  2. Supreme Court Denies Kim Dotcom Access to U.S. Evidence

    Kim Dotcom and his alleged Megaupload co-conspirators have been denied access to the evidence gathered by U.S. authorities against them. Megaupload’s legal team argued that this information is essential to mount a solid defense, but the Supreme Court ruled that full disclosure is not required under New Zealand law.

  3. Kim Dotcom loses key evidence ruling at NZ Supreme Court

    Dotcom and his lawyers have lost a bid to force the United States to show them the evidence they plan to use in making their argument that he should be extradited. The Supreme Court of New Zealand published a 123-page ruling today, detailing their decision that the US isn’t required to hand over to Dotcom and his lawyers copies of the documents it refers to in its arguments.

  4. WWE Lawyer Offers Gifts to Obtain Streaming Pirate’s Home Address

    World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) “apologized” last week to a streaming links site owner for wrongfully taking down his Facebook page on copyright grounds. On offer was a compensatory WWE gift bag, but it quickly became clear that nicely wrapped presents were probably the last thing the wrestling outfit had in mind.

  5. Pirate Bay Founder Gets Ready to Run for European Parliament

    In two months time citizens of all European Union member states will vote on who can represent them in the European Parliament. Pirate Parties will join the election race In several countries, with Finland having the most prominent candidate in Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde, who is also picked by the European Pirate Party as candidate for the European Commission presidency.

  6. My Address To The European Pirates

    This weekend, hundreds of pirates from all over Europe gathered in the European Parliament to formally found the European Pirate Party. It was an amazing gathering of determined activists, many of which were absolutely electrified at realizing the sheer scale of this movement, seeing 400 of Europe’s brightest activists gathering for the occasion. I had the honor of giving one of the opening keynotes (below).

  7. Copyright Alliance Attacks ChillingEffects.org As ‘Repugnant,’ Wants DMCA System With No Public Accountability

    Sandra Aistars of the Copyright Alliance issued a statement during the recent DMCA-related hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee. As was noted earlier, a bunch of effort was made to turn the “notice and takedown” system into a “notice and stay down” system, and weirdly, the word “free” was thrown about as if it was synonymous with “infringement.”

  8. Will ‘voluntary’ copyright enforcement protect users’ rights?

    It is approaching four years since the Digital Economy Act was passed, and still measures within it to deal with individuals alleged to have infringed copyright have not been implemented. It’s an Act that was so poorly conceived, planned and written that it has proven almost impossible to implement in practice.

  9. Why UK copyright reform is needed

    It is fitting that last week heralded the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Web. It is also 25 years since the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act received Royal Assent. Since 1989, the Internet and other types of new technology have changed the world dramatically. The copyright framework needs to reflect these changes and fit with the digital world so that information is preserved, respect for the law is regained and opportunities are not lost to competitor countries who have more flexible frameworks.

  10. Bingo and beer spoofs show that our copyright laws are a joke

    Unlike Germany, France, the Netherlands, Australia and the USA, the UK does not have an exception from copyright law for parody. This means that thousands of us are engaging in illegal activity everyday. Upload a film of you singing Adele’s Someone Like You, create a Downfall spoof or make a meme based on a well-known advert, and you’re infringing copyright law.

  11. Judge Highlights Bogus Collusion By ASCAP, Publishers In Rejecting Their Attempt To Jack Up Pandora’s Rates

    Last month, we wrote about the rate court fight between ASCAP and Pandora as ASCAP attempted to massively increase Pandora’s rates through moves that were quite clearly collusive. ASCAP had already lost an earlier ruling showing that it had violated its consent decree by letting publishers selectively remove certain works in order to force Pandora into paying much, much higher rates. However, the details of ASCAP and the publishers’ deception became much clearer during the rate court battle. Last week, the judge handed ASCAP a huge loss, keeping the rate where it had been, at 1.85%, rather than jacking it up to ASCAP’s requested 3%.

  12. Billion-Dollar YouTube Suit Ends With a Whimper
  13. Viacom, Google settle long-running YouTube copyright lawsuit

    Ending a long-running legal battle, search giant Google has settled a landmark copyright lawsuit in which Viacom, the parent company of such television networks as MTV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon, accused the former of posting its films and television shows on YouTube without permission.

  14. Google Takedown Notices Surge 711,887 Percent in Four Years

Public Services in Europe Are Increasingly Free Software-Based

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 4:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Seagulls

Summary: News about European public sector bodies which are embracing Free software, open standards, and sometimes even GNU/Linux

EUROPE is changing. Some governments have already moved to GNU/Linux (on the desktops, not just the servers) and based on some news from the Canary Islands [1,2] and elsewhere in Europe [3], it is becoming common for public-facing systems to be Free software. Owing to Edward Snowden’s leaks, even the European Parliament may soon move to GNU/Linux [4], following baby steps of local governments and national governments [5] (yes, even the British government is slowly moving towards Free software). We are going through a phase where Free software isn’t just departing from “underdog” status; it is growing to be “dominant”. All that proprietary software giants like Microsoft can do now is sue, lie, blackmail, and bribe. But that too is a failed strategy as it leads to more backlash than benefit.

Microsoft is starting to look like a small/rookie shop that’s delivering/shipping just dozens of products out to individual clients. It’s close to the truth and Microsoft therefore makes simple errors (which mass production is robust to). Remember the type of KIN issues that buyers reported (reportedly just hundreds of buyers existed)? Well, Microsoft can’t even ship products with the correct processor. Yes, it has to be read to be believed. Tablets from Microsoft are a niche market so small that wrong processors are being put inside them! It’s worse than incompetence and in a sense it’s hilarious.

Microsoft is in a state of disarray/mess with many managers leaving, no central coordination, and instead just litigation, FUD campaigns like “Scroogled”, and perhaps even GNU/Linux security FUD campaigns, motivated by looming mass migrations to GNU/Linux, e.g. in highly security-sensitive areas.

Based on inside knowledge, some British businesses and parts of the public sector are quietly moving to GNU/Linux, even on the desktops. Microsoft must already be aware of that because it is reading people's private E-mails.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Canary Islands make Postgres default database

    Postgresql, an open source relational database management system, is now the default RDBMS for Spain’s Canary Islands, it was decided last Friday. Public administrations on the islands will also switch to OpenOffice, an open source suite of office productivity tools. Moving away from proprietary software solutions is in the public administration’s interest, the Canary Islands government’s High Commission for Information Technology explained in a statement.

  2. Canary Islands Goes Free

    The GNU Public Licence and variations cover a lot of FLOSS, like GNU/Linux operating systems. Then there is the database, PostgreSQL. It comes with its own FLOSS licence, allowing, “Permission to use, copy, modify, and distribute this software and its documentation for any purpose, without fee, and without a written agreement is hereby granted, provided that the above copyright notice and this paragraph and the following two paragraphs appear in all copies.” Piece of cake, eh? This is the way to do IT.

  3. Open source gets ‘major role in Future Internet’

    Open source software solutions will play a major role in Internet development research projects that are funded by the European Commission, says Federico Facca a computer scientist involved in the EC’s XIFI project, preparing large-scale test infrastructures for a next generation Internet and smart-cities. “XIFI is committed to open source.”

  4. The Trials and Tribulations of Secure Free Software for the European Parliament

    After months of hearing about their own vulnerability at the hands of intelligence agencies like the NSA and GCHQ, next Wednesday, European Parliamentarians and their staff will have an opportunity to learn about defending Internet communications using strong encryption and trusted hardware and software. Unfortunately, unless the Parliament’s own IT department shifts ground, it will be a theoretical discussion, rather than the practical first steps to a secure European Parliament that its organizers had hoped.

    DebianParl is a version of the popular free software Linux distribution Debian, intended for use in parliaments around the world. It is intended to be bundled with tools to deal with tracking legislation, manage constituent correspondence, and most importantly allow lawmakers to use strong encryption to communicate securely with each other and with external parties.

  5. Should Governments switch to open source?

    Two months ago, the UK Government revealed that some £200 million (US$ 300 million) has been spent on Microsoft’s Office suite alone since 2010. Cabinet Minister Francis Maude believes this figure could have been significantly reduced by switching to open source software.

03.25.14

Microsoft Partners/Allies Are Attacking Net Neutrality

Posted in Apple, DRM, Microsoft at 3:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Transmitting DRM-emcumbered and proprietary software-bound packets first

Vintage TV

Summary: Those who advocate DRM and proprietary software dislike net neutrality, as demonstrated by Apple’s and Netflix’s opposition to the principle of packet delivery without discrimination

Microsoft has, for a long time in fact, been an opponent of net neutrality, based on its actions (we covered those). No company wants to be seen as anti-net neutrality, so they all pretend to be for it while their actions speak for themselves.

Netflix is clearly against net neutrality based on its actions and a reader sent us this article about Netflix’s CEO, noting that “ISPs are already getting paid for both ends of the connection. What ISPs are trying to get now is paying twice at both ends, that is to say collecting four ways for the same connection.”

The corporate press recently ran the story “Netflix Just Opened the Door to Paying ISPs More Access Fees” [1]. Disregard the spin and PR from the CEO of Netflix [2,3], who is basically claiming that he is against what he is doing. Also ignore the nonsense from AT&T [4] and other cable companies [5]; they just fear client alienation, so they tell to the public (existing or prospective customers) what the public wants to hear while doing exactly the opposite.

Apple, being Apple, is a lot more arrogant and selfish, hardly ever trying to hide its real agenda. Apple not only helps Microsoft [6] but it also helps cable companies kill net neutrality [7,8]. Apple is following the lead of Netflix in this case, ending what we once knew as a network which treats packets equally.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Netflix Just Opened the Door to Paying ISPs More Access Fees

    Netflix (NFLX) Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings is seeking your help to keep Internet service providers from charging higher fees to stream all the video its customers watch. In the process, he may have just opened his wallet to any Cox, Time Warner Cable (TWC), Verizon Communications (VZ), or AT&T (T) across the nation.

  2. Netflix CEO lashes out against ISPs like Comcast that do not follow ‘net neutrality’
  3. Netflix CEO Slams US ISPs Over Net Neutrality

    Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says it reluctantly pays US ISPs for interconnection fees, but argues providers shouldn’t be allowed to abuse their position

  4. AT&T promises to lower your Internet bill if FCC kills net neutrality

    If the Federal Communications Commission lets Internet service providers charge Web companies like Netflix for faster delivery of content to consumers, AT&T will lower its customers’ Internet bills. That’s what AT&T said Friday in a filing in the FCC’s “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet” proceeding.

  5. Level 3 and Cogent ask FCC for protection against ISP “tolls”

    Network operators Level 3 and Cogent Communications today urged the Federal Communications Commission to prevent Internet service providers from charging what they deem to be excessive fees for interconnection.

  6. Windows 8 picks up an unlikely ally in Apple

    Windows 8 picks up an unlikely ally in Apple

    Apple is dropping Windows 7 support in Boot Camp — and Mac-based Windows users won’t like the reasons why

  7. Apple courts Comcast for net neutrality-evading TV service

    GADGET MAKER Apple and ISP Comcast are planning a joint venture for streaming TV service, in a move that might ramp up the net neutrality debate.

    According to the Wall Street Journal, the companies are in talks to create a service that will provide the Apple TV with a direct connection to a new video on demand (VOD) channel, bypassing internet congestion that could otherwise cause buffering or pixelation to customers.

  8. Apple in talks with Comcast for priority services for its set-top box

    We recently reported Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings talk about the essence of net neutrality saying that ISPs such as AT&T and Comcast should not restrict, influence, or otherwise meddle with the choices consumers make. If reports are to be believed, Apple is talking to Comcast to get priority services for its set-top box that will bypass any congestion created by internet traffic.

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