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12.09.14

Exclusive: The Enlarged Board of Appeal Complains About Battistelli’s Corrupt Management to the Administrative Council (Updated)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

That was then…

Software patents protest against EPO

Summary: Text of the complaint from the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) reaches Techrights, demonstrating just how rampant the abuse in Battistelli’s EPO has become

FIVE YEARS ago the EPO was in a state of turmoil and the Enlarged Board of Appeal got involved after important changes and a continual battle for restoration of the EPO’s integrity. Unrest at the EPO is not exceptionally novel, but it does help show the systemic presence of dissent, which emanates from genuine concerns. There is often a battle within and outside the EPO; the greedy parties want to prey on and exploit the EPO, whereas the smart people inside the organisation just wish to do their job with professional integrity. Patent examiners are not to be confused with patent lawyers; in fact, patent examiners are scientists, not lawyers.

“It sure looks like Battistelli and his cronies have begun attacking the Enlarged Board of Appeal…”A new article has been published by IPKat, where one of the bloggers has been covering the EPO scandals for a while. Titled “Enlarged Board appeals – direct to the Administrative Council,” the article speaks of a curious “suspension of a Board of Appeal member by the EPO President, under the guise of a “house ban” [which] has generated enormous disquiet, not only among bloggers, attorneys and EPO union officials, but now also within the Enlarged Board of Appeal.”

It sure looks like Battistelli and his cronies have begun attacking the Enlarged Board of Appeal as well, having shut down some other departments whose purpose was to oversee them. It’s like some kind of slow-motion coup d’état. Sooner or later there will be nobody left to topple or even investigate Battistelli. He is systemically eradicating dissent, hopefully not quickly enough to eradicate many hundreds of his staff who march against him in numerous streets in Europe.

The IPKat blogger “cannot remember any such internal EPO dispute spilling out into the public domain with such vehemence. The letter from the Enlarged Board should dispel any preconceptions that the current troubles at the EPO and the complaints about Mr Battistelli are confined to a few disgruntled examiners looking to protect their cushy jobs (a view she has heard from several quarters).”

Anyone who claims it was a grudge “confined to a few disgruntled examiners” (or anything along those lines) was either the editor of the Establishment media in Europe or someone from within Battistelli’s circles. Techrights has been in contact with numerous people from the EPO (people who work at high levels too) and there is no denying that there is a massive issue. It’s shocking that Battistelli still keeps his job. His dismissal or resignation should be imminent and sources tell us that he already resorts to desperate “damage control” measures.

Someone has just passed to us a copy of a new letter from the Enlarged Board of Appeal. It highlights what has been going on at the EPO and it comes from a high authority. Many people added their signatures to it. We are working to get a textual (plain text) version of it, but in the mean time we present the scanned pages below. Updates likely to follow.

Update: Here is the full letter as text.

CONFIDENTIAL

Members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal
of the European Patent Office
c/o Secretariat Room 206

Munich, 8 December 2014

To the Representatives of the Delegations to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organization

And

To the External Members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal.

On December 2014, a member of the Boards of Appeal was escorted out of the Office by the Investigation Unit (0.6.1.1), a unit operating directly under the responsibility of the President. As the other members of staff wer informed by Communique 64 on the Internet on the same day, the President has imposed a “house ban” on him. It appears from this communique that the staff member is accused of having disseminated defamatory material.

A house ban may very well be considered a de facto suspension, because the Board member can no longer perform his duties.

The provisions unde which the above action has been taken, namely the Investigation Guidelines, do not – and cannot – provide a legal basis for such actions. According to Part 1, their purpose is to establish, in cases of possible misconduct, the underlying facts on the basis of which the President can come to a reasoned assessment regarding the initiation of disciplinary proceedings.

Article 95 of Service Regulations provides that if an allegation of serious misconduct is made against a permanent employee and if the misconduct alleged is of its nature incompatible with his continuing in service, the “appointing authority” may decide to suspend him forthwith.

The appointing authority for this purpose is the Administrative Council (Article 11 (3) EPC). The President may propose such a disciplinary measure to the Administrative Council (Article 10(2)(h) EPC). It is however the Administrative Council as the disciplinary authority who has to decide on it (Article 11(4) EPC).

This specific distribution of roles is part of the concept of separation of powers and the independence of the Board of members as enshrined in Article 23 EPC. However, in the present case, the President decided in lieu of the Administrative Council, for which no provision appears to exist.

To this is added the fact that his computer was confiscated by the investigation unit, which has given them access to possibly confidential information regarding the preparation and deliberation of cases by the member’s board, without proper legally sound guarantees.

The undersigned members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal are deeply concerned about this conduct which could affect the validity of the whole proceedings if the results of the enquiry were in fact to lead to disciplinary proceedings. They are aware that independence does not imply impunity.

The actions of the investigation unit on the orders of the President also appear to be a clear challenge to the judicial independence of the Boards of Appeal.

It is therefore urgently requested that the Administrative Council in its capacity as appointing and disciplinary authority ensures the independence of the Boards of Appeal, one of the pillars of the European patent system. What is needed is a clear limitation on the executive power, as far as the Boards of Appeal are concerned, in situations like the present, so as to avoid any impression of undue influence on their judicial work, contrary to the independence requirements of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Yours sincerely,
Gabriele Alt
Graham Ashley
Gianni Assi
Ingo Beckedorf
Fritz Blumer
Tamas Bokor
Brnhard Czech
Albert de Vires
Eugene Dufrasne
Franz Edilinger
Gunnar Eiasson
Kevin Garnett
Pascal Gryozka
Andre Klein
Thomas Kriner
Albert Linder
Hugo Meinders
Rainer Moufang
Ulrich Oswald
Michael Poock
Giovanni Pricolo
Gaston Raths
Joseph Riolo
Marco Ruggiu
Werner Sieber
Fred van der Voort
Bianca ter Laan
Claude Vallet
Martin Vogel
Gerard Weiss
Stefan Wibergh
Manfred Wieser
Michael Harrison
Marie-Bernadette Tardo-Dino
Wolfgang Seretaruk

cc Mr. Benoit Battistelli
annex: Circular 342 with the Investigation Guidelines


EBoA letter regarding EPO


EBoA letter regarding EPO


EBoA letter regarding EPO

Update: Here are the enclosed rules (part of the EBoA letter regarding EPO) which show how Battistelli et al. are breaking the law in an attempt to silence their critics.

EPO rules


EPO rules


EPO rules


EPO rules


EPO rules


EPO rules


EPO rules


EPO rules


EPO rules


EPO rules


EPO rules


EPO rules

Protests Against EPO Corruption Approach 1,000 in Attendance

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Protest in one location among several

EPO protest
Protest image via IPKat (click image for a larger version)

Summary: EPO staff at all levels is revolting against the management of the EPO, whose dismissal seems to be only a matter of time

IT NEED not be emphasised that EPO staff can be free-thinking and suitably educated. Many inside the institution (except management perhaps) have doctoral degrees and/or extensive experience in very specialised fields. Nobody who is serious would dare label EPO staff a herd, a mob, or a bunch of hooligans with vengeance. These people are barely nationalists either, so using the race card (or xenophobia) won’t work here. Management is not being witch-hunted by so-called ‘disgruntled’ staff because of their nationality/ies. The EPO’s staff (many thousands of people) has legitimate concerns and these are widely shared across the institution, albeit individuals dread identifying themselves as they are very much fearful; a thug’s tactic (or the Mob’s modus operandi) involves aggressively and publicly punishing people (like public hanging) to earn a sort of bogus “respect”, earned through fear alone. This is where the EPO stands at the moment, due to a large degree to President Battistelli and his cronies (with a notorious track record, preceding their time at the EPO and involving bullying too).

Techrights has covered EPO staff revolts for about 7 years and intensified coverage in recent years, got involved by writing letters to regulators, and identified the culprits who have stooped far lower (very low!) than Brimelow ever did. The EPO has become a laughing stock and the corporate/establishment press is finally covering this, perhaps motivated by some reporting in smaller, independent sites. The recklessness of the media can be characterised by its longstanding pattern of dismissal, i.e. ignoring the genuine grievances of European citizens, EPO staff included. This ought to change.

At Techrights we going to accelerate our coverage of the EPO fiasco, as material leaked to us is piling up faster than we can publish it and the EPO is now in state of rapid collapse (especially the management), based on several separate sources inside the EPO.

Microsoft Florian, who lives in the area of the EPO, wrote about the protests which we covered yesterday (pro-actively). IPKat has done a decent job covering parts of these protests and preceding ones (there are several simultaneous ones and it’s a recurrent event), which are long overdue given the long series of serious abuses inside the EPO (especially its management). According to this other post from IPKat, there is a lot going on very fast. To give some recent figures, “600 participants joined the peaceful demonstration organised yesterday by SUEPO in front of the French and the Danish Embassies.”

“The recklessness of the media can be characterised by its longstanding pattern of dismissal, i.e. ignoring the genuine grievances of European citizens, EPO staff included.”There’s a lot going on in Munich and The Hague. It is spreading. Staff in large numbers becomes better equipped and better able to defend itself from identification, singling out, etc. thereby shielding itself against retribution. SUEPO did a good job. It’s growing to be somewhat of a revolution and we are being contacted by more and more people from the EPO — people who put at risk their career because they are so eager to cause changes at the institution, at the very least toppling the corrupt management (that alone would not be enough, albeit a good start).

Quoting IPKat again: “The suspension of a patent examiner who was also a former member of the Internal Appeals Committee (IAC) that handles internal disputes, working in Munich, that apparently happened in October.”

There is also this: “The reported suspension of another former IAC member, who worked in The Hague office, and was allegedly suspended last month.”

Finally they add “[t]he departure of the head of communications Oswald Schröder in October.” We covered that at the time. Oswald Schröder has been in touch with IPKat, but he is now being gagged. That’s what these surprise suspensions seem to be all about. As one activist site puts it, “a whistle-blower informed me that if following a specific link on the Intranet, one could observe and possible record the EPO’s promises and the surrounding public traffic at their branch in Rijswijk, 24/7, via the EPO’s security cameras! Is the Dutch governement and public informed about those practices?”

Be sure to also read the anonymous comments in this article (EPO staff is afraid to be identified, hence the anonymity).

To quote just one comment: “President Battistelli likes to eliminate free thinkers. For example in 2011 he got rid of the Principal Director responsible for the Internal Audit, in 2012 of the Principal Director responsible for Quality Management and in 2014 of the Principal Director responsible for Communication. He also destroyed the appeal system, weakened the staff representation and now is attacking the Boards of Appeals. The administrative council is silent and thus is not fulfilling its role. What else should happen before somebody in the council wakes up and stops Battistelli?”

In the next post we are going to show one of the latest debacles. We are, in general, going to write a lot more about the EPO in weeks to come, so anyone who is interested in the topic is advised to subscribe and where applicable contact us with information. We have a 100% track record of protecting our sources in 8+ years of existence.

12.08.14

Links 9/12/2014: Greg Kroah-Hartman Interview, Fedora 21 Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 10:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Marines ask Northrop Grumman to switch G/ATOR radar computers from Windows to Linux software

    U.S. Marine Corps leaders are ready to switch software operating systems in a radar system designed to protect Marines on attack beaches from rockets, artillery, mortars, cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and other low observables.

  • Linux Mobile-Desktop Convergence

    Over the past couple of years there has been talk of mobile-desktop convergence from various mobile and desktop OS providers. As a general concept, this sounds fantastic! Unfortunately once we dive into things a bit deeper, it appears this is easier said than done.

  • Server

    • Docker: Here, take the wheel – now YOU can run your own containers

      Docker is all the rage among hip startups and early adopters, but Docker the company would like to get its tech into enterprises, too – which is why it’s working on adapting its hosted Docker Hub service into a product specifically targeting large business customers.

    • Docker Founder Must Right His Ship

      Success can build a feedback loop that sustains its own momentum, making those who are successful certain they are doing the right thing. I don’t want to charge Docker with such hubris, but recent events illustrate why open source code projects function the way they do.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Randa Meetings 2014 – Another Great Success

        It’s been quite some time since the Randa Meetings 2014 and even this year’s edition of the KDE Community Summit called Akademy has already happened, but it’s still nice to look back and see what was accomplished at this KDE Tech Summit in the middle of the Swiss Alps.

      • On porting Fcitx KCM module to KF5

        Porting Fcitx KCM to KF5 is not that easy. It’s not only about porting kcm itself, but also porting missing part of fcitx-qt5 to Qt5 (mostly widgets). The old pkgconfig file is quite messed up, so I decided to experiment with extra-cmake-modules (ECM) a bit.

      • Dolphin Overlay Icons for ownCloud Sync Client

        Our recent ownCloud Client 1.7.0 release contains the new feature of overlay icons in GNOME nautilus, MacOSX and Windows. That is nice, but that makes us as old KDE guys sad as Dolphin was missing on the list.

      • Why do(n’t) you use Activities?

        On our quest for improving the concept of Virtual Desktops and Activities on the KDE Desktop, we once again ask you to share your experiences.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Ultimate Edition 4.3

        What is Ultimate Edition 4.3? Ultimate Edition 4.3 was built from the ground up debootstrapped from the Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Thar tree using Tmosb (TheeMahn’s Operating System Builder) which is also included in this release. This release is a Long Term Supported (LTS) release, supported until the year 2019. This release is most certainly worthy of the Ultimate Edition title. I personally hate KDE, and found it very visually attractive in all its “Wobbly Windowness” that I miss from the Mate desktop environment. I must admit I do miss the eyecandy that it provides off the rip. I have included many, many tools I am constructing that reside under the hood of virtually all Ultimate Edition releases, most newer and upgraded.

      • SparkyLinux 3.6 LXDE, MATE, Razor-Qt & Xfce

        I am happy to announce the fourth and the last this year iso images of SparkyLinux 3.6 “Annagerman” LXDE, MATE, Razor-Qt and Xfce. At the beginning, I’d like to thank to all of our small but strong community members for their help with searching and solving bugs and problems.

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Devuan: Unto Us a Fork Is Born

          We knew it was possible; the signs were all there. The Systemd Inferno, after all, had been raging for far too long.

          But more than a few of us were still holding out hope. “Things will surely get better,” we thought.

          Then the news came. The rumored Debian fork has now become real, and its name is “Devuan.”

        • MX-14.3 Is an OS Based on Debian That Can Bring Old Computers Back to Life

          MX-14, a fast, lightweight, and easy-to-install Linux Live CD distribution based on Debian stable, for Intel-AMD x86-compatible systems, has been upgraded to version 14.3 and is now available for download.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 15.04 to Get GTK+ 3.14 and Updated GNOME Packages

            The Ubuntu devs are considering upgrading the GTK+ packages to the latest 3.14 version, which was made available just a couple of months ago, a decision that would really help a number of other Ubuntu flavors as well.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 17.1 Freshens Up Linux Desktop

              Linux Mint 17.1, which was officially released on Nov. 29, provides users of the popular Linux desktop with an incremental update and some additional polish. Code-named Rebecca, Linux Mint 17.1 offers a choice of desktop user interfaces, the two primary ones being MATE and Cinnamon. The MATE desktop is a fork of the GNOME 2 desktop environment. The GNOME Linux desktop community moved to the GNOME 3 desktop in 2011, a move that some desktop users did not embrace. In the Linux Mint 17.1 MATE edition, support has been added for the Compiz window manager, which can enable a desktop with multiple special effects for window transitions and events. The Cinnamon desktop, which was created by Linux Mint creator Celement Lefebvre, provides users with a familiar GNOME 2 look but also adds some of the advanced capabilities of newer GNOME releases. Linux Mint 17.1 builds on the innovations that first debuted in Linux Mint 17 earlier this year, with usability, interface and performance gains in several areas. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at some of the improvements in the Linux Mint 17.1 release.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • How to get the most out of a Raspberry Pi? Your tech questions answered

      From robotics kits and ultrasound sensors to Arduino-based accessories and Lego Mindstorms

    • Tinkering with the Raspberry Pi A+

      The Raspberry Pi team is on fire (in a good way), making new Raspberry Pi models faster than we can review them.

    • $6 quad core SoC targets low cost 4K set-top boxes

      Allwinner unveiled a $6 “H3″ SoC targeting $35 to $50 OTT STBs, featuring four Cortex-A7 cores, a Mali-400 GPU, 4K HDMI output, and 5MP camera support.

      [...]

      Android and Linux are the most likely platforms here.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Samsung’s Gear VR headset is on sale now for $199

          The Gear VR, Samsung’s virtual reality headset, is now on sale through AT&T and Samsung’s US sites. The $199 headset fits around a Galaxy Note 4 smartphone, turning it into a mobile VR display. It was originally announced in September, but it’s so far only been slated for a vague early December launch, though it’s been available to try at a handful of malls around the country. The Gear VR was built in partnership with Oculus, and it incorporates a tracking sensor from the first Oculus Rift development kit, as well as a custom “Oculus Home” interface app. Unlike the Rift, though, it’s wireless and fairly light, and if you’ve already got a Note 4, it’s somewhat cheaper (if you don’t, you’ll have to add an extra $800 to the price above.) While it’s more polished than the current version of the Oculus Rift, however, it’s still an “Innovator Edition,” so be warned that you’re still essentially participating in a mass beta test of virtual reality.

        • Tizen DevLab and portathon coming to London 13 December
      • Android

        • A hacker’s journey: freeing a phone from the ground up, first part

          Every once in a while, an unexpected combination of circumstances ends up enabling us to do something pretty awesome. This is the story of one of those times. About a year ago, a member of the Replicant community started evaluating a few targets from CyanogenMod and noticed some interesting ones. After some early research, he picked a device: the LG Optimus Black (P970), bought one and started porting Replicant to it. After a few encouraging results, he was left facing issues he couldn’t overcome and decided to give up with the port. As the device could still be an interesting target for Replicant, we decided to buy the phone from him so that I could pick up the work where he stalled.

        • Commercials for Amazon’s crappy phone in Amazon Prime videos?

          If you want your phone to sell, make it better. If it’s as good as other Android-based phones or as good as the iPhone then people will buy it. But you DO NOT disrupt someone’s TV show to peddle your second-rate phone or any of your other products.

          I canceled Amazon Prime tonight. If you want my business back, Amazon, then make sure you remove all commercial interruptions from Prime programming. Otherwise, I’ll be using Netflix exclusively. If I wanted commercials, I’d watch network TV or cable.

        • The best Android phones for the holiday season

          There are lots of Android phones out there, but sometimes it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Fortunately, Android Central has a holiday guide to help you complete your Android shopping list.

        • The best Android phones

          These are the best Android smartphones that are currently available. Price listed is for each carrier’s monthly payment over 24 months. Up-front, on-contract pricing will be higher, usually between $100 and $300, depending on the phone. Click through to each carrier’s listing for off-contract costs.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Channel 4 chose open-source MuleSoft over ‘prohibitively expensive’ Oracle and Microsoft

    Channel 4 is using MuleSoft open-source Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) in order to more efficiently share information on application program interfaces (API) with businesses outside the broadcaster.

  • SK Telecom develops open-source oneM2M IoT platform

    SK Telecom has completed the development of an open-source Internet of Things platform based on OneM2M, the M2M and IoT standards partnership, Business Korea reports. SK Telecom launched an M2M platform in 2008. The operator has also participated in the development of open-source platform Mobius from late 2011 as a national project, together with the Korea Electronics Technology Institute and Ntels. As oneM2M announced a candidate for an IoT/M2M standard in August of this year, SK Telecom implemented the standard with the Mobius, finishing the development of a commercialization-ready platform.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Leverage Strong Development Tools from Your Browser

        There continues to be very strong demand for web and application development skills in the job market, and there is especially demand for people familiar with open development tools. One of the biggest trends going among developers is leveraging browser extensions focused on developers.

      • Mozilla Joins Hour of Code

        This campaign launched in 2013, to align with Computer Science Education Week, and to demystify code and show that anyone can learn the basics. While we’re surrounded by technology and the web in our daily lives, few people understand how it all works. In our mission to protect the open web as a global resource for all, we must educate others about how and why the web exists, but also how the web is a creative platform with endless possibilities and opportunities now and for our future.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Funding

    • Errplane Snags $8.1M To Continue Building Open Source InfluxDB Time Series Database

      Errplane founders Paul Dix and Todd Persen had an idea for a company last year around anomaly detection in data center monitoring, but they soon realized that field was crowded and it would take a long time to build out the infrastructure for the company. At the same, time they heard from customers they were more interested in the underlying infrastructure than the service they were offering, and they did something brave. They decided to pivot and build an open source product that would meet the needs of the entire market, rather than try to compete directly.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • European Commission to update its open source policy

      The European Commission wants to make it easier for its software developers to submit patches and add new functionalities to open source projects. Contributing to open source communities will be made central to the EC’s new open source policy, expects Pierre Damas, Head of Sector at the Directorate General for IT (DIGIT). “We use a lot of open source components that we adapt and integrate, and it is time that we contribute back.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • OpenMotics improves home automation

      OpenMotics is an open source home automation hardware and software system that offers features like switching lights and outputs, multi-zone heating and cooling, power measurements, and automated actions. The system encompases both open source software and hardware. For interoperability with other systems, the OpenMotics Gateway provides an API through which various actions can be executed.

    • Wanted: a tinkerer’s charter

      Users should be allowed to fiddle with the way consumer products work without suffering penalties from governments or sanctions from manufacturers

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Lithuania e-government cloud gets document management tools

      “Out of 3500 public administrations and government institutions in the country, 2500 do not yet have a DMS”, says Arelija Orlova, a specialist working for Lithuania’s Information Society Development Committee. “By including this in SIRIP, we expect an increase in the use of e-documents, boosting electronic government services.”

Leftovers

  • More than a billion dollars a week in lost data

    Australian businesses lose over $65 billion a year from data loss and downtime per year, according to major new global study.

    Storage vendor EMC has published its annual global Data Protection Index, which includes data specifically on Australia.

    It found that more than three quarters (78%) of Australian IT professionals are not fully confident in their ability to recover information following an incident, and that 58% of organisations in Australia still lack a disaster recovery plan for emerging workloads, and just 7% have plans for big data, hybrid cloud and mobile.

  • Science

    • Germany: ‘International competitiveness depends on ICT’

      Germany’s international industrial position will rely on its increasing use of ICT, the Digital Economy Working Group writes in a report prepared for an IT summit in Hamburg last October. In all classic industries, innovation will rely on the use of ICT, the working group reports: “The digital economy is crucial for the future of Germany.”

  • Security

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Why aren’t more news outlets covering Sen. Rockefeller’s shameful attempt to kill FOIA reform?

      An uncontroverisal, mild Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reform bill may die on Monday, despite passing 410-0 in the House earlier this year, and with a similar bipartisan vote expected in the Senate. The bill had already been stripped of its most substantive provisions that government agencies objected to, but on Thursday, Democractic Senator Jay Rockefeller—who is set to retire at the end of the year—unilaterally placed a hold on the bill, apparently doing the bidding of federal agencies who don’t want any more of their communications subject to public scrutiny. (Senate rules allow a single Senator to hold up votes on bills in certain situations.)

    • Julian Assange clocks up four years at the Ecuadorian embassy

      WIKILEAKER Julian Assange is entering his fifth year as a man with a travel toothbrush and the heavy weight of legal charges over his head.

      Assange is languishing in luxury or spending his time between chair and treadmill, depending on who you listen to. He most certainly is not at liberty, however, and has been living in a room at the Ecuadorian embassy.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Chicken farmer who spoke out about factory farm abuses immediately audited by Perdue

      Almost immediately after the animal welfare group Compassion in World Farming released a video exposing the “humane” (read: atrocious) conditions for chickens raised on a factory farm for Perdue, the poultry giant audited the farmer who opened his doors to the cameras.

    • The Pentagon — the climate elephant: Expose the Pentagon, the world’s largest & most dangerous climate criminal!

      There is an elephant in the climate debate that by U.S. demand cannot be discussed or even seen. This agreement to ignore the elephant is now the accepted basis of all international negotiations on climate change.

      It is well understood by every possible measurement that the Pentagon, the U.S. military machine, is the world’s biggest institutional consumer of petroleum products and the world’s worst polluter of greenhouse gas emissions and many other toxic pollutants. Yet the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements.

      Ever since the Kyoto Accords or Kyoto Protocol negotiations in 1998, in an effort to gain U.S. compliance, all U.S. military operations worldwide and within the U.S. are exempt from measurement or agreements on reduction. The U.S. Congress passed an explicit provision guaranteeing U.S. military exemptions. (Interpress Service, May 20, 1998)

  • Finance

  • Privacy

    • Response to the HASC report on RIPA

      “When a senior Parliamentary Committee says that the current legislation is not fit for purpose, then this simply cannot be ignored. It is now abundantly clear that the law is out of date, the oversight is weak and the recording of how the powers are used is patchy at best. The public is right to expect better.

      “The conclusion of the Committee that the level of secrecy surrounding the use of these powers is permitting investigations that are deemed ”unacceptable in a democracy”, should make the defenders of these powers sit up and take notice. At present, the inadequacy and inconsistency of the records being kept by public authorities regarding the use of these powers is woefully inadequate. New laws would not be required to correct this.

    • HASC concludes that surveillance legislation is “not fit for purpose”.

      The Home Affairs Select Committee has published a report today into the use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, concluding that the legislation “is not fit for purpose” and “needs a complete overhaul”.

    • A shadowy consortium opposes your Internet privacy

      It should be obvious why we need SPDY. Ever since Edward Snowden demonstrated that Internet paranoia is justified, a stream of discoveries has made always-on, end-to-end encryption even more desirable. The recent move by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla, and others, who announced they will back a new nonprofit to promote and enable secure communications on the Internet, was welcome – by most of us.

    • Secretive UK Court That Approves Of GCHQ Surveillance Says That GCHQ Surveillance Doesn’t Violate Human Rights

      For a while now, we’ve been covering various legal challenges in Europe related to the GCHQ’s surveillance activities. One of the main cases, brought by Amnesty International and Privacy International, argued that the surveillance violated the European Convention on Human Rights (specifically article 8, on right to privacy, and article 10, on freedom of expression). While it was always expected that the case would eventually go to the European Court of Human Rights, the first step was the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in the UK — a secretive court that reviews complaints about surveillance, but (as with nearly all “secretive courts” charged with “oversight” on the intelligence community) almost always sides with the intelligence community. Between 2000 and 2012 the IPT only sided against the intelligence community 10 times out of 1468 cases brought (about half of one percent of all cases). In other words, this is a court that (in secret) regularly okays GCHQ’s surveillance efforts on UK citizens.

    • Court finds that GCHQ’s Tempora is fine and dandy

      THE UK COURTS have found that GCHQ’s Tempora system is legal in principle under the inglorious Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

      Pressure group Privacy International challenged Tempora in the courts, and this weekend it got its answer. It did not like it.

    • The beginning of the end of the private mail server

      Thanks to overzealous filtering by mail relays, the small mail server is becoming an endangered species

    • NSA warrantless bulk phone metadata spying continues unabated

      The NSA’s bulk phone metadata spying program was renewed for another 90 days, the fourth time the warrantless snooping has been reauthorized following President Barack Obama promising reform last January, the government said Monday.

  • Civil Rights

    • New York City Officer Cleared In Chokehold Death Was Sued By Other Black Men

      The white New York City police officer who put unarmed black Staten Island resident Eric Garner in a chokehold moments before his death has been accused by other black men of violating their civil rights while he was on patrol.

      A grand jury’s decision on Wednesday not to indict officer Daniel Pantaleo for his role in the videotaped confrontation that left 43-year-old Garner dead has sparked days of protests by groups claiming U.S. law enforcement unfairly targets African-Americans and other minorities.

    • Farage blames immigration for traffic on M4 after no-show at Ukip reception

      The Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, has blamed his late arrival at an event on immigration. He was due to appear at a “meet the leader” drinks reception as Ukip prepared to host its first Welsh conference. But he was running more than two hours late and failed to show.

    • No felony charges for SPD cop’s bone-breaking punch of handcuffed woman

      Federal prosecutors say they will review an incident in which a Seattle police officer punched and seriously injured a handcuffed, intoxicated woman, after King County prosecutors said Friday they won’t charge the officer.

    • Another Batch Of Baggage Handlers Accused Of Stealing From Luggage; Because Airport ‘Security’ Isn’t

      Now, if this were a one time thing, it might not even be that noteworthy. But this seems like fairly common practice at airports. A few years ago, we wrote about TSA agents stealing iPads and stories of TSA agents and baggage handlers stealing stuff from luggage are not at all hard to find. In fact, reports from a few years ago noted that over 400 TSA employees have been fired for stealing from passnegers in the past decade.

    • Kennedy Airport bag handlers accused of stealing from passengers’ luggage

      Seven bag handlers at Kennedy Airport have been charged with stealing electronics, jewelry and other items worth more than $20,000 from checked luggage, Queens prosecutors said Wednesday.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Piracy ≠ Theft? Movie Industry Workers Speak Out

        The mantra often heard from Hollywood’s leaders is that pirates are thieves. However, not all people in the industry feel that way. Today we present the views of four regular filmmakers on this controversial topic, what the impact is on the industry, and what can be done in response.

      • Concern Over Russian “Piracy Buster” Internet Tax

        Russian officials have expressed caution over proposals to introduce an Internet tax to compensate copyright holders for online piracy. The proposals, which were put forward by the Russian Union of Rightsholders, are said to be worth around $860m a year to creators.

EPO Staff Protests Today and Protested Last Week, Targeting Corruption in the Institution

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benoît Battistelli
Photo from the European Commission

Summary: EPO staff is demonstrating against abuse by the management of the EPO, today we well as in prior days

THOSE who have not been paying close attention over the weekend may wish to read yesterday's article about Benoît Battistelli, who last week was reported to have ousted yet another regulator (once again in his very aggression-filled and abrupt fashion). Battistelli is trying to oust his opposition quicker than any opposition is able to take him down. It is a classic sign of collapse and misery — the acts of fallen tyrant. Staff is trying to seek help from the outside (European authorities and anti-corruption groups) and it does so anonymously for fear of retribution. Those who do this publicly under their own name are being tossed out.

“Staff is trying to seek help from the outside (European authorities and anti-corruption groups) and it does so anonymously for fear of retribution.”One week ago we heard from an EPO insider. “You are probably aware of what is going on at the EPO,” he said, having followed our long series of articles about the EPO. He sent us a demonstration poster/flyer for last week’s solidarity demonstrations in The Hague and Munich. He further attached a publication (by an unknown group of authors) illustrating the worksphere within the Office.

“The background,” explained our source, “is that two colleagues currently face disciplinary measures for their activity as members of the Internal Appeals Committee although persons carrying out such duties are protected against such measures.” This may relate to what we covered some days ago. Battistelli and his cronies are totally out of control. “It is simply another example of an abuse of power of EPO president Benoît Battistelli,” explained our source.

Today there is another demonstration going on if all goes as planned. The EPO flyer (pamphlet) is joined by an open letter to the Administrative Council. This is the second demonstration in December alone (EPO staff has been marching in protests for years now, for one reason or another, usually the extension of patent scope, as outlined below).

The documents included herein were distributed to EPO staff this morning (via private E-mail addresses) and this was the text of the message:

Dear colleagues,

Please find enclosed EPO-FLIER No. 13 – The spirit of the regulations

It comes together with an Open Letter to the Administrative Council dated 5 December.

If you are not on strike today, it would be good if you could bring a few copies to the Office in order to enhance the oil-spill-effect.

Many thanks for your support!

With our best regards,

The EPO-FLIER team

For completeness we include below the text of these documents, as they also help explain the nature of the abuse and reasons for dissatisfaction.

Full text (flyer #1)

EPO flyer 1

Aurélien Pétiaud (Munich, FR) and Michael Lund (The Hague, DK) are members of the EPO’s Internal Appeal Committee nominated by the Central Staff Committee. They have highlighted the deficits in the legal protection of EPO employees with means at their disposal, namely IAC opinions and appeals filed by members of the IAC. This is interpreted as misconduct by the president, who is threatening the two with disciplinary measures, in Aurélien’s case with dismissal.

The restrictive policies used and abused have been introduced by Benoît Battistelli (FR) with the consent of the Administrative Council, chaired by Jesper Kongstad (DK).

The Demonstration on 2 December 2014 organised by SUEPO TH gives us the opportunity to show solidarity with our colleagues. It starts at 11:00 h at the French Embassy and comprises a march to the Danish Embassy. It ends at about 12:30 hrs. Munich is simultaneously marching to the Palace of Justice to show the public what goes on in an international organisation in the heart of Europe
in the 21st century – under the knowing eyes of the governments of the Member States. It starts at 13:00 hrs in front of PH 8.

“With the slogan “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité”, the French revolution started a long-lasting and difficult development to today’s understanding of human rights. A European organization must set an example of the principles of democracy and freedom of opinion.“
(Zimmermann & Partner, November 2014, http://www.zimpat.com/en/strike/page.html )

We have nothing to add to that, other than thanking them for so clearly voicing their support. Come and voice your dissatisfaction with the prevailing management by fear and intimidation!

Full text (flyer #2)

8 December 2014

EPO FLIIER No. 13

The EPO-FLIER wants to provide staff with uncensored, independent information at times of social conflict.

The spirit of the regulations

“We are not here trying to build a reform which is compatible with each of your nation’s, with each of your state’s law. We are trying to build something which is useful for the Office, for the Organisation. So, if in some cases, it is not compatible with the German law, or the UK law, or the French law, this is not the issue. The issue is: is it useful for the Organisation?” 1

This statement of the president raises a number of questions:

1. If Mr Battistelli thinks that a (career) reform does NOT need to comply with national law, does he take care that it respects any other (labour) law standard, such as the European Convention on Human Rights, or conventions of the International Labour Organization?

There is no evidence that he does.

Modern democracies usually work by the rule according to a higher law. It means that no law may be enforced unless it conforms with certain universal (written or unwritten) principles of fairness, morality, and justice 2.

Mr Battistelli does not see a need to respect this general rule 3:

During the past two years, the president has repeatedly demonstrated that he respects no standards other than his own. He has managed to win the delegations over to support regulations which can only survive in the context of the Office’s immunity 4. He undertakes a structural dismantling of legal recourse. He introduced investigation guidelines that would have made Securitate, Stasi or NSA happy. He undermined the right to freedom of association. When the president introduced the strike regulations, he showed that international conventions ratified by the Member States do not count. He muzzles unions and staff representatives. He abuses powers to discipline dissenting voices 5. He shows a complete disregard for (even unanimous) opinions of the Internal Appeals Committee or the Disciplinary Committees by passing harsher judgment than recommended 4, 6. He repeatedly demonstrated that neither the letter nor the spirit of the Service Regulations count 7. This applies to those parts of the regulations he inherited and even to those he wrote himself 8.

______
1 Mr Battistelli, commenting on the career reform during the BFC meeting on 20 November 2014
2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_According_to_Higher_Law
3 SOCIAL CONFLICT AT THE EUROPEAN PATENT OFFICE, http://www.suepo.org/public/su14294cp.pdf
4 EPO-FLIER No. 8 – Balancing views, Annex: “Des Sonnenkönigs neue Kleider”
5 http://www.worldipreview.com/news/epo-suspends-former-committee-member-7363
6 Letter of Union Syndicale Fédérale to the Administrative Council’s chairman (21.03.2014), http://suepo.org/public/su14076cp.pdf
7 Communiqué No. 41 and IFLRE strike notification, www.suepo.org/archive/sc13173cl.pdf
8 http://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/europaeisches-patentamt-beschaeftigte-begehren-auf-
1.1826233


The above clearly shows that – for Mr Battistelli – standards for legal recourse as defined for instance by the European Court of Human Rights do not count.

Also public observers, represented by newspapers 9 and patent attorneys’ homepages 10, come to realise that – under the presidency of Mr Battistelli – there is an absence of the rule of law at the EPO.

2. Is the proposed reform useful for the Organisation? Can the EPO examiners – in the absence of the rule of law – still correctly and consistently apply the EPC and Guidelines to patent examination? Can the EPO still fulfill its mandate of providing legal certainty to the public?

The SUEPO Central Committee recently posed a similar question:

“If the EPO is granting patent rights to inventors and European industry, how credible
are those rights if delivered by an institution that is ostensibly unable to comply with the
rule of law in its own internal affairs?” 3

Let’s try to find an answer to these questions. Mr Battistelli recently said:

“Most of our managers have not been chosen for their managerial capacities. They have been chosen because they were acknowledged experts in their field. We have to transform these managers into real managers.” 1

What does the president have in mind when he talks about “real managers”? Technical expertise is obviously no longer required. Are “real managers” expected to follow the example of our VPs and PDs, who (already) obey and blindly follow our larger-than-life president? 11 An entirely performance-based career system puts managers and employees under pressure to increase production. With the rule of law being absent, and in a working environment being dominated by fear and intimidation, not only ill-motivated managers but also weak and intimidated ones are tempted to put their subordinate employees under pressure to fulfill even the most unrealistic targets. And in the presence of threats, many of them will fulfill these expectations, while lowering the search and examination standards.

Mr Battistelli further said:

“Except an exceptional professional conscience and personal motivation, nothing incents them to work harder or to work less.” … “By opening this technical career … we will provide incentives until the very last day of their professional life.” 1

Mr Battistelli has apparently no respect for the professional attitude of EPO employees which made the European patent system a success. The EPO is not listed at the stock exchange. It is a public service provider. And blotting out professional conscience and ethics produces adverse effects. Some examiners already started distancing themselves from their work. This leads to a lower examination quality, and – consequently – to less legal certainty of the granted patents.12 A consequence of a lack of dialogue. The New Career System was developed without acknowledging receipt of, without discussing, and certainly without taking account of any of the elements and arguments of the career counterproposal of the CSC.

_____
9 Revolte an der Isar, FAZ am Sonntag, 23.11.2014, http://www.suepo.org/public/ex14289cp.pdf
10 http://www.fosspatents.com/2014/12/european-patent-office-pays-for-health.html
11 EPO-FLIER No. 11 – “You break every rule of good man-management”
12 Patent examiners more likely to approve marginal inventions when pressed for time

http://news.illinois.edu/news/14/0813patent_examiners_MelissaWasserman.html


If voted by the Administrative Council this week, the New Career System will be introduced without any transitional period. All current EPO staff will be exposed to a radical change of their working contract. For the examiners, this means that – due to the entirely income-based incentives – the EPO abruptly stops rewarding efforts for compliance with the EPC mandate. Being pushed by their managers, they will be forced to fulfill unrealistic targets, and many will react to this pressure by lowering their quality standards for search and examination.

Mr Battistelli can consult the spirit of the regulations whenever he runs out of arguments 7. But it would possibly lead to some irritation amongst the patent applicants if examiners – being pressed for time – would rather generally refer to the spirit of the EPC, instead of developing a sound reasoning based on the Articles and Rules of the EPC.

Mr Battistelli’s decision to introduce a fully performance-based career system has either been taken on the ground of wrong assumptions, or for ulterior motives. He still insists to introduce this system, against the will of staff, and in an environment where the rule of law is absent. It is already difficult to deliver high quality work in the current hostile working climate. If the New Career System is introduced in its current form, the EPO will no longer be able to fulfill its mandate of providing legal certainty to the public.

3. Is Mr Battistelli good for the Office, for the Organisation?

The EPO employees have already given their answer. During a staff union General Assembly held on 4 March 2014 in Munich, 750 staff members voted for the following resolution:

“The staff has lost trust in Mr Battistelli and is concerned not only about its own future, but also about the negative repercussions on the functioning of the European patent system as a whole. It has become clear that the proper performance of the tasks of the individual staff members, and therefore of the European Patent Office, is incompatible with the continuing presidency of Mr Battistelli.” 13

The answer to this question should normally be given by the members of the Administrative Council who are responsible for ensuring good governance in the Organisation. Voting for the New Career System on 11 December would implicitly confirm a mandate to the president to continue on a destructive course. At least some delegations seem to share the discomfort of staff and interested circles. And the EPO employees are not the only ones waiting for their answer. Also the stakeholders of the European patent system and others being interested in intellectual property rights expect an answer to this question 14.

The attached Open Letter to the delegations in the Administrative Council, of 5 December 2014, elaborates on the implicit change of patent law entailed in the New Career System.

_____
13 http://munich.suepo.org/archive/su14047ml.pdf
14 http://ipkitten.blogspot.de/2014/12/in-suspense-about-european-patent.html

Full text (flyer #3)

18 November 2014

EPO FLIER No. 11

The EPO-FLIER wants to provide staff with uncensored, independent information at times of social conflict.

“You break every rule of good man-management …”

In 1981, John Hoskyns, advisor to the UK Prime Minister at the time, wrote the following words to Margaret Thatcher:

You break every rule of good man-management. You bully your weaker colleagues. You criticise colleagues in front of each other and in front of their officials. They can’t answer back without appearing disrespectful … You abuse that situation. This demoralisation is hidden only from you. People are beginning to feel that everything is a waste of time. You have an absolute duty to change the way you operate.

This text will strike a chord with staff at the European Patent Office. What annoys them so much about their president is not only WHAT he is doing, but HOW he is doing it. The EPO is out there with the best when it comes to employing well-educated professionals. And yet the president1 treats this body of decent, intelligent people like fools. He is fooling no one, except perhaps the Administrative Council, but even there it looks more like he is coercing rather than convincing.

It is sickening to observe how one dictate after another is implemented, how constructive ideas are crushed and how nothing may get in the way of the leader’s will. He has not modified any proposal of any importance by as much as one word as a result of feedback from the Office’s staff representatives. For all his preaching about “social democracy”, the president does not discuss anything; in effect, his modus operandi is to ask, “Are you in favour, or do I have to threaten you (for staff), or reward you (for Administrative Council delegations)?”

Mistakes in life usually come back to haunt you. The mistakes this president is making will be no exception. He is setting a ticking time-bomb that has the potential to destroy the European Patent Office the day it explodes. Staff at the EPO understand the complexities of European politics, they understand economical arguments and they understand that change comes to any organisation that has been in operation for as long as the EPO has.

But they do NOT understand rights being taken away from them that they had as European citizens before joining the EPO. They do not understand an arrogant prima donna style of leadership based on oppression, threats, propaganda and manipulation. They do NOT understand the piece-by-piece dismantling of their working conditions without any effort to explain to them why this should be necessary. They do NOT understand what they have done that gives the president and his cohorts the right to treat them like pariahs or parasites. By his actions, Battistelli is demoralising a workforce that has served the European public with remarkable commitment and loyalty for nearly four decades. He is the catalyst for legal battles that will pass through national, and international courts, leaving a trail of unknown damage

____
1 There is no reason in English grammar to use a capital letter at the beginning of “president”, and no moral reason either. Reverence does not come with office, but has to be deserved.


behind them. It may take ten years or more for some of the judgments in these cases to be finalised, but there will be chaos if the Office loses and is forced to wind back ten years of unacceptable behaviour and decisions. He is risking that the entire governance of the European Patent Organisation will be put into question and that the Office will be subject to political scrutiny at the highest levels. In the meantime, he, at some point, will depart, presumably to a cosy life of retirement divided between Biarritz, or some such luxury coastal town, and Paris. Behind him, he will leave an exhausted, emotionalised, demotivated staff, led by top managers who were weak under his leadership and are unlikely to find their spines back after he left.

Today, these managers – these feeble yes-men and yes-women – allow themselves to be reduced to uncritical mouthpieces, pathetically regurgitating the latest mantras coming from the tenth floor of the Isar Building and loyally toeing the party line. They repeat over and over again what they have been instructed to say, but are not able to answer any challenging questions. Can they ever regain credibility as capable managers once Battistelli is gone?

The Ivey Business Journal has a fascinating article on toxic leadership2. It says:

The real tragedy of the human condition is not that we all must die, but, rather, that we choose to live by grand illusions, rather than to face our fears. Hence, we fall into the clutches of toxic leaders who promise us the moon, knowing full well they cannot deliver. In the worst of all cases, toxic leaders fall under the spell of their own grand illusions and believe that they can.

Battistelli is worse than this. He doesn’t promise the moon; he can’t be bothered with trying to convince us, but prefers straightforward nastiness.

Some staff say they cannot afford to go on strike.

We ask:

Can staff afford NOT to go on strike?
Make this Thursday count!

Please help to distribute this flyer, especially to anyone who may still be hesitating!

____
2 http://www.iveybusinessjournal.com/topics/leadership/the-allure-of-toxic-leaders-why-followers-rarelyescape-
their-clutches#.VFExr4ddC6

Open letter to Heads of Delegation

By email to Heads of Delegation 5 December 2014

From EPO-FLIER team
mailto:epoflier@runbox.com

Open letter

EPO examiners will no longer be able to ensure appropriate quality standards

Dear Heads and members of the Member States’ delegations to the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation, dear Chairman, dear Mr Grandjean,

The European Commission’s Industrial Property Rights Strategy for Europe of 20081 summarises

“High quality rights are an essential requirement for all aspects of the system – support for business including SMEs, facilitation of knowledge transfer and effective enforcement of rights to combat counterfeiting and piracy. Only with a quality system can Europe benefit from new opportunities in the global economy and fulfill its responsibilities.”

The Commission had already stressed in 2006 that an innovation-friendly, modern Europe2 urgently needs “IPRs based on tough examination standards for novelty and inventive step. A low-quality patent system is a source of legal uncertainty and litigation”.

The Commission’s stated aim of strengthening IP matches the motivation and ethics of EPO examiners since 40 years. The EPO’s career systems so far have secured a predictable compensation package and career progression based on a mix of merit and seniority. This allowed examiners to focus on delivering high quality search and examination in a team effort rather than on competing for the sake of income differentiation.

The proposal for a New Career System (NCS) is a strong push for more production. Absolute production already counts more than reliable grants. Priorities are set for best effect on presentation of production to the Administrative Council (AC) rather than for serving the European public. But so far, the seniority-criterion in career-advancement gave examiners – being motivated to deliver work that adds value to society – the necessary leeway to attain reliable quality levels despite management pressure, despite insufficient IT tools and despite short-termist policy-making.

Is this about to change? The EPO’s president has already received strong support for the principle of the NCS in the Budget and Finance Committee (BFC). Are you going to decide on 11 December 2014 to introduce an entirely performance-based career proposal? This proposal is based on elements which will shift the focus of attention. Salary increases and bonuses depend only on performance. Seniority will no longer be a balancing factor. Those who do not enter into competition or fail to deliver what is defined by their manager (whose bonus is also dependent on the production achieved), will suffer economic losses. Due to the margin of discretion the examiner can apply, the level of quality is not strictly defined. Applying a higher quality level can be interpreted as excessive by the manager and can lead to a lower appreciation. Securing attractive remuneration will rely on maintaining an individual advantage in competition with colleagues, by comparison of production.

It is not as if the negative effects of such policies weren’t known. There is an abundance of academic studies on the undesired effects of performance-related pay systems on public service

____
1 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=COM:2008:0465:FIN:EN:PDF
2 http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:52006DC0589&from=EN


motivation. It is not suitable for work requiring cognitive skills. The article (based on an US study) „Patent examiners more likely to approve marginal inventions when pressed for time”3 puts it in a nutshell. Yet, the change will still be purported to be in line with ISO 9001 for compliance with rules set by the Office. But it will not deliver quality results.

Should you decide in favour of the proposal on 11 December, examiners of the EPO

· will no longer be able to give their main attention, during prior art search and the examination of the presence of novelty and inventive step, to legal certainty of patents without directly eroding their individual remuneration and pension prospects

· will no longer be able to support the priorities of the EU by delivering high quality patents, as maintaining the required professional standards seems to be against the political will of the EPO’s president, and apparently of most of the member states

The interventions in the BFC meeting show that the delegations are not unaware of these issues. It is worrying that most of them still supported the proposal.

Low quality patents will harm business, primarily SMEs, private inventors and Universities, since the legal costs for an infringement and/or litigation procedure are so high that they normally threaten their financial foundation.

The European Commission, BusinessEurope and epi are observer delegations on the AC of the European Patent Organisation. There appeared to be declining interest amongst the observer delegations for attending AC meetings recently. The intended change in labour law is at the same time an implicit change in the (effect of) patent law. On this there should be stakeholder consultation beyond purely the members of the European Patent Organisation.

EPO staff have this year been on strong industrial action including strikes and high profile demonstrations, but Mr Battistelli seems unimpressed. EPO staff has got used to being ignored by the AC delegations. The president has now ensured that the staff’s perspective can no longer be voiced by our elected representatives during meetings of our Governing Body4. Concerned examiners had in mind to present you with a petition signed by the colleagues, but the president’s brisk pace in pushing through proposals did not allow for organising it in time for your meeting, hence this open letter.

There now is very little the EPO’s employees can do to fence off the perverse effects – of what on the surface looks like ‘only’ a change to employment conditions – on the quality of patents. Are Member States committed to the Industrial Property Rights Strategy for Europe in the framework of the Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs? If so, we fail to see how at least those amongst you also representing EU Member States could possibly vote for the NCS proposal during your meeting in Munich on 11 December.

Please do not support this quality erosion. Vote against.

The EPO-FLIER Team,
a group of concerned staff of the EPO who wish to remain anonymous due to the prevailing harsh social climate and absence of rule of law at the European Patent Office

Copies to: Competent Ministries of the Member States
President of the European Patent Office

____
3 http://news.illinois.edu/news/14/0813patent_examiners_MelissaWasserman.html
4 Central Staff Committee illegitimacy?, 14.11.2014, sc14273cp

List of attached files:

12.07.14

Links 7/12/2014: New Linux Release, Marines and Prisoners on GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 9:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • November 2014 OSI Newsletter

    The OSI Board met in San Francisco, CA USA on November 11th and 12th, 2014 with a focus on strengthening the organization’s current outreach efforts and building new bridges between open source communities. The Board was excited to review five new applications for Affiliate Membership as well as implement several new initiatives to help drive Individual Membership through the recognition of various roles and levels of access among our community. This included new Individual Membership discounts for students, volunteers working on OSI supported activities, those already members of OSI Affiliate organizations, members of Free Software Foundation and complimentary memberships based on need.

  • Pydio: open source alternative to Dropbox & Box

    Pydio 6.0 an open source file sharing solution that is said to offer “tight control of information” on the scale demanded by enterprises and service providers.

  • Open Source Continues its March into the Enterprise

    These include LibreOffice and OpenOffice for front-office productivity tools, MySQL, PostgreSQL and Ingres for databases, Pentaho for decision support, SugarCRM and Hipergate for customer relationship management, Apache Lucene, Opentext, Filenet, and Documentum for content management, and RedHat JBoss as an application server.

    While open source applications specifically for the core functions of the insurance industry are still few and far between, there are a few options, such as OpenUnderwriter.

    The main issue with open source is that while the software provides all the components needed for IT operations, expertise is needed to pull it all together for the business. But there’s always a good case to be made for open source, and often, this comes right from commercial IT vendors themselves. Prashant Parikh of CA Technologies, for instance, recently posted the reasons why open source makes sense.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Hotspots: My Firefox OS phone saved the day

        However, and as paradoxical as it may be, I own a ZTE Open Firefox OS phone, which I use basically to check my email and calendar on the go, quickly browse a web page, and receive messages from family members.

        I practically never use the function that gives the device its name (telephone), that, is, making calls. I see my phone as a tiny tablet thingie and use it as such.

        But today, I had to take care of my 4-year-old daughter. It was raining and she is recovering from a bad flu, so going out was out of the question. The cable was not working, so no TV for her… which she did not really mind. But she wanted to use her computer to see her favorite videos online and we had no connection.

        What to do? I used the phone as a hotspot to share its Internet connection with my laptop.

      • Mozilla All Hands: They can’t hold us!

        I also spent some time talking to folks about Firefox in Ubuntu and rebranding Iceweasel to Firefox in Debian (fingers crossed something will happen here in 2015). Also it was great to participate in discussions around making all of the Firefox channels offer more stability and quality to our users.

      • Mozilla will finally bring Firefox to iOS

        I used to be a big fan of Firefox, and I still use it for certain things. But it just doesn’t have the mindshare that it used to have back when it’s big claim to fame was being the alternative to Internet Explorer. Mobile has been where the growth is, and many mobile users have gravitated to Safari, Chrome and other browsers on their phones and tablets.

      • Mozilla wants to put Firefox on iOS

        Mozilla has been staunchly opposed to an iOS version of its Firefox browser for a while. It wants to use its own web engine, but Apple will only let companies use its in-house code in the name of security. However, the organization is clearly having a change of heart — VP Jonathan Nightingale has revealed that Mozilla wants to bring Firefox to iOS. He didn’t say how it would happen, but it’s most likely that the company will use Apple’s engine and layer a custom interface on top, like Google does with Chrome. We’ve reached out to Mozilla and will let you know if it can say more.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • Long Time No See – DevAssistant 0.10 is Here

      DevAssistant 0.10.0 is sort of pre-1.0.0, so for next release, we’re planning to go from Beta to Stable. That’s a big promise, but I think at this point DevAssistant can afford that. There will be some backwards incompatible changes between 0.10.0 and 1.0.0, but after that we’ll keep things stable until 2.0.0. In addition to that, we’re planning a major GUI overhaul – basically we’ll rewrite it from scratch, since we want it to look completely different. We’re working with Mo Duffy on the design and while it’s not finished yet, some preliminary sketches can be found at Mo’s fedorapeople page.

    • Weblate 2.1

      Weblate 2.1 has been released today.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Pesticides May Contribute to Farmers’ Depression and Suicides

      According to Bienkowski’s report, an Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson, Cathy Milbourn, writes that of the seven pesticides examined, “only aluminum phosphide, diazinon, and malathion are still registered and in use.” The EPA cancelled the registrations of ethylene dibromide, 2,4,5-T, dieldrin, and parathion, Milbourn said. Aluminum phosphide, diazinon, and malathion are undergoing EPA review.

    • China looking to curb fertilizer, pesticide use

      China, the world’s top producer of rice and wheat, is seeking to cap the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that have helped to contaminate large swathes of its arable land and threaten its ability to keep up with domestic food demand.

      More than 19 percent of soil samples taken from Chinese farmland have been found to contain excessive levels of heavy metals or chemical waste. In central Hunan province, more than three quarters of the ricefields have been contaminated, government research has shown.

    • Delay in law on plain packs for cigarettes angers MPs

      Failure to push through law in time for general election would be seen as ‘victory’ for big tobacco and lobbyists

    • Please Write to Your MP about Plain Packaging for Cigarettes

      I was disturbed to read in the Guardian that the UK government may be wavering on introducing plain packs for cigarettes. Failing to do so before the General Election would be seen as a huge victory for the tobacco companies, and have knock-on effects around the world.

      [...]

      As you know, what is particularly interesting about these cases is that they use the highly controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process in order to claim an indirect expropriation of property. Since the company is doing this through subsidiaries – one in Switzerland, the other in Hong Kong – it is not even clear whether those cases can proceed. However, it is evident that one of the main reasons Philip Morris is taking this route is to intimidate other countries thinking about bringing in plain packs measures. Indeed, New Zealand has put its own plans on hold pending the result of the Australian case, which shows that strategy is having its effect.

  • Security

    • North Korea calls claims of its Sony Pictures hacking ‘false rumor’

      North Korea on Sunday denied claims that it had hacked into Sony Pictures, calling the allegations a “false rumor” spread by South Korea.

      The U.S. film company had come under cyber attack late last month after a series of threats from North Korea for its comedy movie “The Interview,” in which the CIA plots to assassinate the country’s young leader Kim Jong-un.

    • U.S. movie about killing N.K. leader will likely be ‘blockbuster’

      A soon-to-be-released comedy film about a plot to kill North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will likely be a “blockbuster” thanks to the strong protests Pyongyang has raised about it, the U.S. human rights envoy said Friday.

    • OpEdNews Hacked, I Meet With an FBI Agent

      On Tuesday, it appears that OEN was hacked. An article that was not submitted by an editor, not submitted through the queue and not submitted by a trusted author, was published by someone who signed up the same day. The article reported that a hacker group, Cyberberkut, had hacked the phone of a member of Joe Biden’s diplomatic entourage to Ukraine.

      The anomaly– an article published outside the usual routes– led me to investigate and discover that one of the IP addresses the submitter used was associated with malware– SQL insertion, spam, even blackmail.

      I checked the name of the purported author and found someone in Ukraine with that name. But the photo used in the author ID did not match. I did a reverse image search using tineye.com and there were no other copies anywhere. I hid the article and checked google Webmaster tools, which is my first go-to place to check for malware on the site. Our webmaster also checked his tracking system. No malware was detected. I had already removed one image from Reuters because it violated copyrights. Vidya removed another image that had been included and a link, because they are higher risk for SQL insertion of malware.

    • FBI investigates threatening emails sent to Sony employees at Culver City studio

      The company has been scrambling to repair the damage to its computer system after a hack by a group calling itself Guardians of Peace.

    • Hacking at Sony has similarities with earlier attacks in Middle East and South Korea

      In 2012, Saudi Arabia’s national oil company and Qatar’s RasGas were hit by a virus known as Shamoon that damaged tens of thousands of computers. In 2013, more than 30,000 PCs at South Korean banks and broadcasting companies were hit by a similar attack by a virus dubbed DarkSeoul malware.

    • Friday’s security updates
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Suspension of Zoabi from Knesset Raises Questions about Israeli Democracy

      In July 2014 Haneen Zoabi, the first Arab Israeli woman to be elected to the Israeli legislative body, the Knesset, was banned by the Knesset Ethics Committee from all Knesset activities. As Lahav Harkov reported in October 2014, this was a direct response to her declaration that the June kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers (later found murdered) was not an act of terrorism.

      [...]

      They covered Zoabi’s initial suspension and followed her story of failed appeals to the Knesset and the High Court. Corporate news sources such as CNN and the New York Times, on the other hand, have not reported on any aspect of the matter, while Al-Jazeera America briefly mentions Zoabi’s suspension at the end of an article about Hamas’ terms for a ceasefire.

    • ​Watching the watchmen: US shield to protect drones from ‘spoofing’ cyber-attacks
    • Chile’s Neoliberal Flip Flop

      The infamous general overthrew Salvador Allende’s socialist Chilean government in a coup d’état in 1973 with help from classified CIA support as well as cloak-and-dagger cheerleading from distant corners of the world, Milton Friedman in Chicago and Henry Kissinger in Washington, D.C.

    • Prefer cautious presidents

      I prefer a cautious president to a reckless one. Invading Iraq was reckless, doubling down on that is foolish.

    • Ukraine: Lethal Aid And Weapons Authorized By U.S. House Resolution 758, Will Obama Take On Vladimir Putin?

      Lethal aid to Ukraine has been authorized by recently passed United States House Resolution 758, which calls for President Barack Obama to send both lethal and non-lethal aid to the Ukrainian military. If the U.S. Senate passes similar legislation, it’s possible Obama may choose to escalate the confrontation with Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

    • Better for the US to stop costly wars, nuke upgrade

      The American people ought to realize — and critically respond to — the dangers involved in two directions of national-security policy that their government is pursuing:

      1) It is escalating the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (while extending its war in Afghanistan), and 2) discarding a previously espoused disarmament agenda in order to push a “massive modernization of nuclear-armed missiles, bombers and submarines,” to cost beyond $1 trillion over 30 years.

      These are concerns not only of Americans. They also affect the rest of the world’s peoples.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The C.I.A.’s Power to Purge

      Not only that, Mr. Aftergood found out the National Archives and Records Administration had already offered tentative approval in August of the plan to — as a spy might put it — disappear the email of every worker but the C.I.A.’s top 22 managers, three years after they left the agency.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • U-S Petro Dollar Hegemony and Global Imperialism
    • Why Shell could buy BP for just £5 a share

      One of Britain’s oldest oil companies BP could be about to be sold to its biggest rival for a fiver per share.

      The rumoured deal, if realised, would complete one of the most ignominious falls for the once great Persian Oil company that powered Britain’s Navy to victory during the First World War.

    • Fracking Footprint Visible from Space

      Methane gas, a main component linked to damaging climate change, is being released in record amounts in the Four Corners region where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah meet. The Four Corners regions is one of the prime location for fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, the process of extracting natural gas from shale rock layers deep within the earth. A joint study by researchers at the University of Michigan and NASA finds that the environmental impacts of fracking are more significant than previously documented. With the help of a new satellite instrument — the European Space Agency’s SCIAMACHY — a team at University of Michigan has been able to get regional methane measurements over the entire United States back in 2009. Using this tool, they were able to identify the hotspot at the Four Corners. The footprint is so large it is visible from space.

  • Finance

    • Supplemental Poverty Measure Provides More Accurate Measure of U.S. Poverty

      Currently the official government measure of poverty under-represents the number of poor in the United States. The seemingly simple formula, created in the 1960s, has set the national poverty threshold for decades. Last year the official poverty threshold was about $23,600 for a family of two adults and two children. Yet our official poverty yardstick fails to recognize the difference in standards of living across the United States. Whether a family lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming or San Francisco, California, where the average housing costs are 225% higher than Cheyenne, the government standard makes no adjustment for regional variations in cost of living.

    • California, the Golden State, Is Actually the Poorest of All

      It has the Silicon Valley, Hollywood and Napa Valley wineries. It has something else, according to the Census Bureau. It’s the poorest state in the world’s largest economy.

    • Does China Really Have The Most Powerful Economy In The World?

      Market Watch columnist Brett Arends wrote that China has surpassed America as the number one economy, a move he claims may lead to a collapse of U.S. political and military hegemony. But does China truly have the strongest economy in the world?

      [...]

      We have lived in a world dominated by the U.S. since at least 1945 and, in many ways, since the late 19th century. And we have lived for 200 years — since the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 — in a world dominated by two reasonably democratic, constitutional countries in Great Britain and the U.S.A.

    • Costs of Global Capitalism

      The ILO report’s key chart below summarizes the key wage results of global capitalism over the last decade. Economic growth, rising real wages, and rising standards of living are the economic reality of China. Economic crisis, stagnant wages, and deepening inequalities of income and wealth are the economic realities for western Europe, the US, and Japan.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • 5 Most Insidious Conspiracy Theories of 2014

      I’ve found that the conspiracy theories spread most widely — and the ones that seem plausible to many, unfortunately — are those based on current headlines and often propagated by public figures such as politicians, celebrities and media figures. They travel by word-of-mouth at light speed and become “a known fact.” These theories are often believed by those who assume there must be a coherence behind world events and occurrences don’t just happen randomly. Using that as our criteria, here are the most insidious conspiracy theories of 2014.

  • Censorship

    • No female ejaculation, please, we’re British

      Though this compendium is strangely lacking in frogs or any other animals (perhaps they’re catalogued elsewhere), it is a list of the new pornography restrictions that the UK government—through the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014, something I’d never heard of before today—introduced on 1 December to ‘safeguard children.’ Which is the same reason five major UK Internet service providers (ISPs) gave for blocking my own website, even though it’s more about literature, publishing, and current affairs than it is about pornography. (Most of these ISPs unblocked the site when I told them that there were no words on it that could be ‘deemed sensitive to a young audience.’)

    • New world for Britain’s online smut: censorship
    • British Censors Ban Spanking, Female Ejaculation And Other Sex Acts From Online Porn

      Lawmakers in the United Kingdom have deemed face-sitting to be a “life-endangering” act worthy of censorship, the Independent reports.

    • U.K. Censors Online Porn; Spanking, Rough Sex, Other Assorted Kink Banned

      Continuing on its recent censorship-happy path, the U.K. government amended regulations this week to prohibit online porn from depicting a variety of erotic activities. Now-illicit acts range from the very specific (female ejaculation; “spanking, caning, and whipping beyond a gentle level”) to the incredibly broad (“verbal abuse”). But basically, the U.K. has banned BDSM and certain forms of fetish porn—or at least, charging money for that sort of porn.

    • The UK’s sexist new pornography restrictions aren’t just an act of state censorship, but could be the first step towards something even worse

      As you might have already heard, an act of state censorship has been declared against British pornography in the guise of innocuous regulation. But what you might not know is that it has also marked the first stage in a campaign to impose global trade sanctions. Strangely, this proposition has received less coverage.

    • The Spectator at war: Censorship and mystification

      Let us say that we have not ourselves suffered from the Censorship at all. We have never submitted, and have never been asked to submit, any article to the Press Bureau. Such censorship as has been exercised in our columns has been the purely voluntary censorship which is exercised at all times, whether in war or in peace, by every editor who has any sense of public duty, and that remark, we believe, applies to the whole British Press, daily and weekly. We have, of course, constantly asked ourselves whether it would be wise on general grounds to make this or that comment, or whether we ought to refrain from comment which we thought sound in itself because we knew or believed it to run counter to the Government view, and to be likely to interfere with their action and policy. Our feeling was that, as the Government and not we were responsible for the conduct of the war, it was our business as good citizens to support their action, even when we did not think it wise. There can be only one driver of a coach, and as long as he is on the box he must be trusted, and no effort must be made to jog his elbow or snatch at the reins. For example, there are certain things which we believe it would be to the public interest to say about foreign States, and which it would be practically impossible for the Government to suppress even under the most exaggerated interpretation of the rights of the Censor ; but these comments we have not made on the ground just given—that it is the Government who are responsible for foreign affairs, and we must not do anything which in their opinion, whether right or wrong is no matter, would injure or weaken them in the difficult task before them.

    • Russia and Turkey Lead on Internet Censorship Growth, Survey Shows

      Internet users in Russia and Turkey have been subjected to the greatest increase in web censorship over the past year, according to the latest Freedom on the Net survey.

    • Pakistan, China among top 10 worst countries for Internet freedom

      Majority among the top ten worst countries are from Asia, including Iran, Syria, China, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

    • Copyright Law as a Tool for State Censorship of the Internet

      When state officials seek to censor online speech, they’re going to use the quickest and easiest method available. For many, copyright takedown notices do the trick. After years of lobbying and increasing pressure from content industries on policymakers and tech companies, sending copyright notices to take media offline is easier than ever.

    • Independent news portals now popular due to government’s censorship

      The government crackdown on the media during the anti-government protest and corruption scandals of last year and the two elections this year have led to the growth of a number of independent news portals as an alternative source of information for many in Turkey.

  • Civil Rights

    • Sean Hannity Finds A Way To Make Eric Garner’s Death About Benghazi

      Hannity Indignant Over Boehner’s Calls For Congressional Hearings On Garner’s Death Rather Than Benghazi

    • You Can’t Live With Us: 53 Britons Stripped of Citizenship

      The issue of UK citizens being stripped of their nationality has not been well covered, especially in major US news outlets. For example, since 2003 the New York Times has published only three stories on the topic, while the Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, and USA Today have published just one story each, for a total of just six stories over the course of eleven years in major US newspapers. Instead, significant coverage of this issue comes from the independent sources, such as the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which maintains an ongoing series of reports under the title, “Citizenship Revoked.”

    • An MRAP Is Not a Blanket

      Americans watched in horror as the police descended on peaceful protesters in Ferguson…

    • Long-awaited CIA torture report could pose risks to hostages: State Department

      Secretary of state John Kerry has asked Senator Dianne Feinstein to “consider” the timing of the expected release of a long-awaited report on the CIA’s harsh interrogation techniques.

    • Kerry asks Feinstein to consider CIA report timing
    • CIA Won’t Defend Its One-Time Torturers
    • Kerry to Feinstein: Consider timing of CIA report
    • WHITE HOUSE GETTING COLD FEET OVER EXPOSING CIA’S TORTURE SECRETS
    • Inside the Battle Over the CIA Torture Report
    • John Kerry asks to delay CIA torture report
    • Lawmakers Insist On Release Of CIA Torture Report, Despite Administration’s Objections
    • As CIA, senators settle feuds, long-awaited ‘torture’ report imminent
    • New Obstacle Arises to Release of CIA Torture Report
    • MARK UDALL PROMISES AMERICA WILL “BE DISGUSTED” AT CIA TORTURE REPORT

      The Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Dianne Feinstein of California, is soon expected to release its summary of the so-called CIA Torture Report, the committee’s four-year-long investigation into the CIA’s Bush-era torture practices. Release of the summary is the result of months of wrangling and negotiating with the White House on what would be released to the public and when—and it will likely be heavily redacted. During an interview conducted on Friday, November 21, by Esquire writer at large Scott Raab, outgoing senator Mark Udall of Colorado, who lost his reelection race on November 4, once again said that if the report is not released in a way he deems transparent, he would consider all options to make it public. In this excerpt from the interview, Raab asks Udall if he will read the document into the record on the floor of the Senate before he leaves in January, an act for which he cannot be prosecuted.

    • ARE YOU THERE, CIA? IT’S ME, SIOBHAN.

      These are boom times for national security reporters, with government surveillance becoming a major topic after Edward Snowden leaked a trove of NSA documents, but one of the most well-known journalists on the intelligence beat, Siobhan Gorman of the Wall Street Journal, has decided to throw in the towel and join the Dark Side—in Gorman’s case, a global communications company called Brunswick, where she will reportedly focus on privacy and data security.

      Gorman has done very solid reporting for the Journal and her previous employer, The Baltimore Sun. She has been prolific–and not just on the printed page. It turns out that she has had a lot of correspondence with the Central Intelligency Agency’s public affairs office, 246 pages of which were provided to us under a Freedom of Information Act request. We published the emails without comment earlier this year, as part of a story about reporter Ken Dilanian’s eyebrow-raising interchanges with the CIA, but in the event Gorman or her employers need a copy of her correspondence with our spymasters (perhaps the Journal has already revoked her access to its computers), we are re-upping them.

      It’s colorful reading—Gorman shows a lot of interest in learning about the CIA’s gym facilities (“I was just told that the facilities at the black sites were better than the ones at CIA”), and a year to the day after the killing of Osama bin Laden she cheerily began an email to the agency by asking, “So do I wish you a ‘happy anniversary’ today’?” There’s also this mysterious missive she sent the CIA about an apparent meeting she had with an agency official: “What prompted my guest to leave so suddenly? Bat phone rang twice, and then he excused himself?” And a word of warning to her next boss at Brunswick—watch what you say, because Gorman, when asking the agency for guidance on a rumor that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad had been killed, explained to the CIA that the info came from the editor of her paper “but his tips aren’t always accurate.”

    • US: Release Torture Report

      The US Senate’s intelligence committee should release as planned its report summary on the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)’s detention and interrogation program, Human Rights Watch said today. The White House’s expressed support for the release has been undermined by statements from the State Department raising concerns over the timing of the release and possible foreign policy implications.

    • Udall plays with a loaded deck

      Udall can wield a lot of power, forcing even classified portions of the report into the spotlight.

    • Rand Paul — from ophthalmologist to US Constitution guardian

      The 51-year-old doctor was sent to Washington by voters furious with a system that kept swelling the national debt, and anxious over what Paul sees as government zeal for war and encroachment on American civil liberties.

    • Feinstein fights to release torture report before GOP takeover

      The full report runs 6,700 pages, covering the committee’s review of 6.2 million pages of documents from the CIA and the Defense Department. Feinstein met fierce resistance from the CIA during the entire investigation, and now with less than a week before she hands the Intelligence Committee gavel to North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr, she is battling the White House over its refusal to declassify the report.

    • Anger against police tops Sunday talk shows
    • Police violence in US UN documents torture

      The United Nations Committee Against Torture issued a lengthy report today assessing the performance of the 156 countries whose governments have ratified the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which took effect two decades ago.

    • Top police officer: many viewing child abuse images should be treated on NHS

      Norfolk chief constable Simon Bailey believes thousands on police database ‘pose no threat’ and don’t belong in prison

    • New York’s Next Killer-Cop Grand Jury

      Mass protests in New York were stretching into their third day when a new grand jury was announced on Friday. Not for the case of Eric Garner—a previous grand jury’s decision earlier this week not to indict the officer seen choking him on film before he died sparked the current protests. The latest grand jury will investigate the death of Akai Gurley, another unarmed black man who was killed by a police officer months after Garner’s death, in what the department says was an accidental shooting.

    • Abject failure of US to come clean on torture

      Now, more than ever, it is vital to show the world that real democracies are not like terrorist groups because they demand real accountability

    • Why Hosting Rudy Giuliani To Talk About Race Is A Bad Idea
    • Reporting the News Like Black Lives Don’t Matter

      “Black lives matter” is the rallying cry of the burgeoning nationwide movement against police killings. The Associated Press (12/5/14), covering that movement, has produced a perfect example of what journalism looks like when black lives don’t matter.

      [...]

      Or even to make the basic medical point that being able to talk is a sign that you don’t need the Heimlich maneuver–not that you don’t need a cop to stop administering a notoriously lethal chokehold.

      You don’t get any of those points in the article, because AP didn’t feel any need to quote (or, seemingly, talk to) anyone who thought that the life of Eric Garner was more important than the feelings of New York Police Department officers. Because, one has to assume, to AP black lives don’t matter.

  • DRM

    • Why Marvin has become my favorite ebook app

      Oh, and if you need to you can move your Kindle books over to Marvin via Calibre by removing the DRM. I, of course, do not advise you to do this one way or the other. It’s entirely your choice and may be affected by whatever the relevant laws are for that sort of thing. ;)

EPO Scandal: Benoît Battistelli’s Arrogance Recognised by European Delegations

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“That’s why I am president!” –Benoît Battistelli in self-centric mood

Nixon

Summary: Battistelli’s Nixon moment and the evasive nature of his approach towards external delegations that are troubled by his behaviour

THE EPO is a rotten institution where Željko Topić, Benoît Battistelli and other cronies of theirs basically oust everyone who does not agree with them or is tasked with a process of regulation/oversight. It’s more than an attitude issue. Not to be overly dramatic here, there should be toppling, and the sooner the better. The leadership is the problem, not its many critics. See what we wrote about Battistelli over the past few months. We attached sensitive documents to prove or at least strongly support our allegations. Battistelli’s deputy is even worse than Battistelli and he faces many criminal charges which he is eager to hide from his colleagues. What we have currently at the EPO is "Balkan standards" (to borrow a phrase from a respected person who is familiar with the culprits). This phrase alludes to corruption and it mostly relates to Željko Topić’s actions, not just his boss and colleague, the full-of-himself “President” Battistelli (some law/patent blogs sarcastically comment on the capitalisation of the word “President”, which he seemingly deems his new first name).

Battistelli and Topić are out of control. There are numerous complaints and calls for investigation for they reign like tyrants and they are hardly even hiding it. They are wasteful (wasting European tax money) and subservient to interests other than Europe’s. No wonder their staff hates them with a passion, let aside those who have to interact with them.

Techrights is now in possession of recordings where Mr. Battistelli gets grilled by delegations (people representing part of the European Union). Techrights has studied the recordings and produced this Ogg-formatted file, which most Web browsers may automatically embed below (if not, download and playback should be possible).

The audio was recorded at a meeting with delegations of the Administrative Council (which we wrote about before).

“Those who surround him join in the response squad, suppressing the delegations or preventing them from receiving any real answers.”Apart from the megalomaniac “that’s why I am president” there is a lot of stuff worth listening to, especially the nature of the concerns raised by the delegations and the response (of lack thereof) from Battistelli, EPO President, to these. Those who surround him join in the response squad, suppressing the delegations or preventing them from receiving any real answers. The audio is full of examples of this. Just because there are ‘too many’ issues doesn’t mean that Battistelli is obliged to address none.

“At the beginning,” tells us one who listened to the recording, “one can hear an intervention of the Slovenian delegation. It says that the EPO is not a company on the stock exchange and should focus on quality and careful handling of human resources. Battistelli insults and threatens the delegation. Then, Battistelli says that the career system will make “hundreds of millions for the office” and that “the Office should not care about FR, UK and DE law” but rather think only in terms of “what is good for the office”.”

Yes, this is typical Battistelli. He is very aggressive against critics and where possible he sacks or at the very least threatens them. There is a pattern here. In future parts of this long series (guaranteed to go on well into 2015) we will show more of Battistelli’s abusive behaviour, Topić’s allegedly criminal scandals, and output from the internal uprise (there are very strong sentiments within the EPO against Topić and Battistelli and one of them is internally compared to Vladimir Putin).

CBS Brushing Aside and Away Microsoft’s History of Blackmail and Bribes Against Linux

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 10:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Putting in context some of the poor reporting (or whitewash) regarding Microsoft’s bribe (disguised as “partnership”) to Barnes & Noble

TECHRIGHTS sincerely regrets to report that the media is letting down the historical record, letting down facts, and ultimately letting down Free software, which has been under a massive patent attack from Microsoft since the Microsoft-Novell deal (November of 2006). While the corporate press would have us believe that Microsoft now “loves” GNU/Linux and is embracing FOSS (like a python embraces sheep maybe), the truth could not be further from that. Day after day this form of propaganda or conditioning would have us believe that white is black and black is white. It’s the same in technology as it is in politics.

Microsoft’s hatred of GNU/Linux and FOSS is best understood, objectively, by looking at Microsoft’s actions, especially backroom deals that it hides from journalists or prevents (through abuse and trolling) journalists from revealing to the public. One cannot judge an action by assessing only what the subject of scrutiny presents. Microsoft is great at media manipulation and today’s example is an excellent one. History is being rewritten before our eyes.

“Several years down the line the press suffers amnesia and something that resembles Nokia revisionism (blaming Nokia rather than Microsoft for Nokia’s demise).”Several years ago we explained why Microsoft’s ‘partnership’ with Barnes & Noble was essentially a bribe against Linux. Groklaw covered this repeatedly in about half a dozen long articles. Several years down the line the press suffers amnesia and something that resembles Nokia revisionism (blaming Nokia rather than Microsoft for Nokia’s demise).

Truthfully, we have already said almost everything that there is to be said about the latest news, but the CBS-owned CNET has just published a peculiar piece with Microsoft’s statement embedded. It’s revisionism from Don Reisinger, who relays the most omissions-filled story we have found so far (no need for an extensive articles roundup here). Absolutely nothing is said about the patent battle that Microsoft tried to end as it put in jeopardy the whole racket operation that Microsoft had been running against many companies. Nothing! It makes it sound like an innocent ‘deal’ where Barnes & Noble is the loser and Microsoft is the supposed ‘rescuer’.

In our assessment, which may seem blunt, Barnes & Noble should take Microsoft to court again, both for extortion and for bribery (intended to hide the extortion and keep it going). Here is Reisinger’s ‘article’ acting as a Microsoft platform with Microsoft taking points:

“As the respective business strategies of each company evolved, we mutually agreed that it made sense to terminate the agreement,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in an e-mailed statement, providing little insignt into the decision to nix the marriage with Barnes & Noble.

Translation: we no longer needed to suppress our victim, which we had been blackmailing, so we swiftly went away, having left in tatters yet another so-called ‘partner’. We successfully completed a “divide and rule” Mafia routine, accomplishing sustainable of our profitable, fear-inducing racket.

This it was not a “partnership” as Microsoft boosters try to label it; it’s a disguise for a bribe to be passed over and stay in tact while the company dies and is no longer willing to battle Microsoft in court over the blackmail from Microsoft’s Mafia thugs.

Will Hill wrote about that report (and ones like it) as well, noting that it’s a form of bribe. He pieced together older bits of coverage about that.

Microsoft Damage to Barnes and Noble

News about the end of Microsoft’s software patent extortion schemes is being used to broadcast old talking points. OEMs big and small are ending their “deals” with Microsoft in the wake of recent US court decisions and the complete failure of Apple’s “thermonuclear” patent assault on Android. Now that we start to hear about Barnes and Noble, the Microsoft press is cranking up and people might be tempted to wade through endless chains of Microsoft nonsense. Go straight to your favorite search engine and read through Groklaw or Techrights instead.

Microsoft booster, Peter Bright, reports the end of the Barnes and Noble software patent extortion. The article is relatively fact and history free but the news has stirred up all sorts of misinformation, as is always the case when Microsoft destroys things. That’s a shame because the B&N case taught us a great deal about Microsoft’s extortion tactics and how they ruin companies.

Barnes and Noble was unusual because the company initially refused Microsoft and refused to sign a non disclosure agreement. When they fought Microsoft’s advances, they were free to tell the world what was happening. Groklaw and Techrights followed the case closely. It only ended when Microsoft paid B&N a $300 million dollar bribe to settle.

Two damaging pieces of misinformation showing up are that Microsoft made a billion dollars a year from Samsung over software patents and that Nook was always a loser. This was an estimate irresponsibly presented as fact by Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols,

What we didn’t know was just how much Microsoft profits from its patent deals from any single vendor. Now we do. In 2013 alone, Microsoft made a billion dollars from its Samsung Android patent licensing deal alone.

If you click through the author’s self cite, you see the same number presented as an estimate, along with quotes from the paid Microsoft shill, Florian Mueller. Behind that is six levels of Microsoft press obfuscation and self referencing nonsense. There’s a a Yahoo reprint of a BGR article which itself references a Digital Trends article from August 2013, rife with wild guesses and misinformation from Garner, $1 per device, and crazier estimates from Goldman Sachs (2011) and Trefis (2012). That’s the way the Microsoft pres works to establish complete bullshit as common knowledge and smear competitors with wild talking points like, “Google’s message to device makers has been Android is free and open, but you’re on your own if someone sues,” while Google was working with Motorola to fight the same lawsuits.

The bit about Nook being a loser is presented as a fact without citations but is easily disproved. Techrights documented the precipitous decline that followed the Microsoft deal. Microsoft boosters say the same things about Nokia before Elop and every other company Microsoft destroys.

What B&N really showed us is conveniently hidden behind a cloud of Microsoft press bullshit. They proved it was better to fight Microsoft’s flimsy patents and that licensing deal speculation is pure hogwash. How could anyone believe Microsoft is paid some money per device when it’s obvious that B&N was paid to shut up and no one else is talking? That’s the magic of Microsoft press perception management.

I have a feeling that the only thing keeping Microsoft out of bankruptcy is US government money. Besides the usual flow of government and big dumb company spending, we know that Microsoft got their share of “bail out” in the 2008 mortgage fraud meltdown and wealth transfer. We also know that Microsoft has been getting their share of NSA money which, of course, was carefully obfuscated in annual reports.

Thanks, Dr. Roy Schestowitz (罗伊) for following B&N so well over the years.

To summarise, Barnes & Noble is not just a victim of a Microsoft ‘partnership’. It was first the victim of Microsoft racketeering, whereupon it challenged Microsoft in court and then received a large bribe from Microsoft to allow Microsoft to carry on the racket (against companies other than Barnes & Noble).

And some say (and even insist) that Microsoft has changed…

Microsoft and the Mafia share a lot more than the first letter.

12.06.14

Links 7/12/2014: Typhoon Hagupit, AURORAGOLD

Posted in News Roundup at 7:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Separating The Opportunities From The Obstacles In Open-Source Networking

    Open standards have driven the networking market since the earliest days of the Internet. While the use of open source for networking is a more recent phenomenon, it is no less important. A major industry transition to open source for software-defined networking (SDN) is under way, and users and vendors stand to benefit. Some expectations, however, may need to change.

    While the original idea behind SDN — separating the control from the data plane in network switches — has turned out to be just one of many architectural approaches that have emerged, it did catalyze massive interest in software and open source within the networking world. Things like APIs and DevOps tools became relevant to network engineers, and open source movements emerged to fulfill the need for increased automation and flexibility as organizations moved deeper into the cloud.

  • Google’s New Open Source Project Lets You Add Live Streaming to Your App

    The numbers all point to the same conclusion: When it comes to modern communication mediums, videoconferencing is becoming increasingly popular.

  • 11 open source tools to make the most of machine learning

    These 11 machine learning tools provide functionality for individual apps or whole frameworks, such as Hadoop. Some are more polyglot than others: Scikit, for instance, is exclusively for Python, while Shogun sports interfaces to many languages, from general-purpose to domain-specific.

  • Samsung’s strategic commitment to upstream open source development

    The Linux Foundation’s Linux.com website reports that Samsung’s open source group is now “hiring aggressively” and plans to double the size of the group in the coming years.

  • The 10 Coolest Open Source Apps of 2014
  • Open-source tools will benefit military and Wisconsin vehicle makers

    All of the software Negrut’s team develops will eventually be made publicly available through a website. “We believe making it all open source is the best way to ensure this transfer of technology from us to industry, where people can take advantage of the techniques and the software that we develop as part of this project, so as to foster innovation here or elsewhere in industry,” Negrut says.

  • Intel announces new Stephen Hawking speech system will be open source
  • Hawking’s speech software goes open source for disabled

    The system that helps Stephen Hawking communicate with the outside world will be made available online from January in a move that could help millions of motor neurone disease sufferers, scientists said Tuesday.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • HP Steps Up Big Data Game with Cloud-Based Helion Offering

      Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) made another significant move within the Big Data market this week with the announcement of Haven OnDemand, which brings the data analytics and app development features of the company’s Vertica and IDOL platforms to the cloud.

      The tools, which are hosted on the Helion cloud, provide access to Vertica’s data analytics functionality, as well as the capabilities of IDOL, which is designed to assist developers in building apps that leverage big data.

    • Mirantis Targets Developers with Hosted OpenStack Solution

      Mirantis is betting that ease of use and simple documentation will speed OpenStack adoption. That’s the goal behind the new “Developer Edition” of Mirantis OpenStack Express, which the company calls “the fastest and easiest way to get an OpenStack cloud.”

  • Databases

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Reclaiming the PDF from Adobe Reader

      In October, it was discovered that Adobe had removed the link to download Adobe Reader, its proprietary PDF file viewer, for use with a GNU/Linux operating system.

      While it is still possible to install Adobe Reader on GNU/Linux, Adobe’s attempts to hide access to the product for certain users is only one example of its systematic neglect of its GNU/Linux user base, and falls in line with many others as a demonstration of the importance of free software–software that no company or developer can neglect or hide. As the Windows and OSX versions of the software were developed through version 11, the GNU/Linux version was long stuck at version nine. For several years the software has lacked important features, security improvements, and support against malware attacks and other intrusions. Yet, by “locking in” Adobe Reader users and making it difficult for them to migrate to a free software PDF viewer, Adobe has, in effect, degraded the power of the PDF as a free document format, a standard the purpose of which is to be implemented by any potential piece of software and to be compatible with all. The company has abandoned the principle of program-agnostic documents, bringing about a lose-lose situation for all.

      By being led to rely on the proprietary software for tasks like sharing documents and filling out forms without the option to use a free software reader in its place, entreprises, the public sector, and institutions of higher learning have also fallen victim to this neglect, all as Adobe insidiously seeks to maintain a hold on its market share. Within institutions such as government–institutions that ought not to rely on any proprietary software, to begin with–it is concerning that Adobe Reader has often been taken to be the only option for interacting with PDF files and for communicating with the electorate.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Valve and Steam broadcasting, Dolphin emulator, and more

      Hello, open gaming fans! In this week’s edition, we take a look at Steam Broadcasting beta, the open source Dolphin emulator, QEMU’s advent calendar, and game releases for Linux.

    • An open source future for synthetic biology

      If the controversy over genetically modified organisms (GMOs) tells us something indisputable, it is this: GMO food products from corporations like Monsanto are suspected to endanger health. On the other hand, an individual’s right to genetically modify and even synthesize entire organisms as part of his dietary or medical regimen could someday be a human right.

    • Open-source gadget lets you invent your own Internet of Things

      This is why Ville Ylläsjärvi thinks Thingsee One, the open source, Internet of Things gadget his company is Kickstarting, will have staying power. Thingsee One isn’t just a sensor-stuffed piece of hardware, it’s a developer kit for other hardware makers. “We’re solving the hardware equation for them,” he says. “Startups can develop their solution using Thingsee One, get on with tests and pilots on the field using Thingsee One, and in many cases get their first customers using Thingsee One.”

    • Open Data

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fox’s John Stossel Thinks Secondhand Smoke Isn’t Deadly

      Fox’s John Stossel claimed that “there is no good data showing secondhand smoke kills people,” ignoring years of studies and a 2014 Surgeon General report that determined millions of Americans have died as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke.

    • Monsanto Seeks to Bring GM Corn to the Ukraine

      Monsanto has been making headway toward bringing GMOs (genetically modified organisms) into Ukraine. Former Ukraine President, Viktor Yanukovych, rejected a proposed $17 billion loan to Ukraine from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in late 2013, because the loan required the introduction of GMO seeds and Ukrainian law bars farmers from growing GM crops. Long considered “the bread basket of Europe,” Ukraine’s rich black soil is ideal for growing grains, and in 2012 Ukrainian farmers harvested more than 20 million tons of corn.

  • Security

    • Report: 31 percent of detected threats in 2014 attributed to Conficker

      Six years after first being spotted in the wild, Conficker is still making its rounds online, and new research suggests that 31 percent of this year’s top threats involved the worm.

      Conficker capitalizes on unpatched machines that are still running Windows XP, as well as systems operating pirated versions of Windows, according to F-Secure’s Threat Report H1 2014, which identifies the top 10 threats of the first half of 2014. The countries most at risk for the worm are Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Malaysia and France.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • “U.S. Drones Kill 28 ‘Unknowns’ for Every Intended Target”
    • U.S. drones kill 28 innocents for every ‘bad guy’
    • November Drone Report: Strikes Spike in Yemen, Children Reportedly Killed in Pakistan
    • Arithmetic of Precision Drone Strikes: Kill 28 to Eliminate 1 Target
    • The Drone War: Mitigating Collateral Damage
    • A “Precise” U.S. Drone War? Report Says 28 Unidentified Victims Killed for Every 1 Target

      A new report finds U.S. drone strikes kill 28 unidentified people for every intended target. While the Obama administration has claimed its drone strikes are precise, the group Reprieve found that strikes targeting 41 people in Yemen and Pakistan have killed more than 1,000 other, unnamed people. In its attempts to kill al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri alone, the CIA killed 76 children and 29 adults; al-Zawahiri remains alive. We are joined by Jennifer Gibson, staff attorney at Reprieve and author of the new report, “You Never Die Twice: Multiple Kills in the U.S. Drone Program.”

    • Obama’s Drone Campaign: Portrait of a Failed War on Terror

      Murderous US Foreign Policy Only Recruits More Terrorists

    • Shaky drones

      The US has always dodged questions about the legality of its drone strikes by arguing on grounds of efficiency.

    • The dirty consequences of our clean wars

      The fact that only 25% of airstrikes in Iraq and 5% of airstrikes in Syria are pre-planned, with the vast majority being undertaken by aircraft and drones ‘on the fly’ (i.e. when a ‘target of opportunity’ is spotted) will no doubt impact on the number of civilian casualties killed in this air war.

    • In Yemen, al Qaeda’s Greatest Enemy Is Not America’s Friend

      Locals describe Manasa as a village, but it’s little more than a complex of houses loosely clustered around an earthen courtyard at the end of a bumpy dirt track five hours from Yemen’s capital of Sanaa.

    • Former PM slams US Vice President for comments on M’sian judiciary

      Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pix) slammed US Vice President Joe Biden for his comment on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial in which he said that the appeal against the conviction was a chance for Malaysia to “promote confidence” in its judiciary.

      “The Vice President needs to look at his own country first. In America, citizens are given life sentences and they do not even know about it, the government sentences them and uses drones to kill them.

      “This is the country that is advising us about the sanctity of law? It seems that they have an ulterior motive for Anwar to become the Prime Minister,” said Mahathir.

      Biden was unusually direct about his remarks on Twitter recently saying that the Malaysian government’s use of legal system & Sedition Act to stifle the opposition raises rule of law concerns.

    • From Ferguson to Yemen: What If We Aren’t So Different After All?

      While saddened by the news out of Ferguson, Missouri this past week, I am not surprised. Once again an unarmed black teen was shot dead by an “other than” black man, and the legal industry was used to exonerate the killer. I say legal industry, because it is no longer a system of due process and equal protection, and no longer seeking justice. It is merely an industry which allows experts and insiders to use the law to further their own agenda.

    • Drone strikes kill nine in Yemen

      A suspected US drone strike in Yemen killed nine alleged al-Qaida militants early on Saturday, a security official said, as authorities continue their search for an American photojournalist held by the extremists.

    • War by media and the triumph of propaganda

      Why has so much journalism succumbed to propaganda? Why are censorship and distortion standard practice? Why is the BBC so often a mouthpiece of rapacious power? Why do the New York Times and the Washington Post deceive their readers?

      Why are young journalists not taught to understand media agendas and to challenge the high claims and low purpose of fake objectivity? And why are they not taught that the essence of so much of what’s called the mainstream media is not information, but power?

      These are urgent questions. The world is facing the prospect of major war, perhaps nuclear war – with the United States clearly determined to isolate and provoke Russia and eventually China. This truth is being turned upside down and inside out by journalists, including those who promoted the lies that led to the bloodbath in Iraq in 2003.

      The times we live in are so dangerous and so distorted in public perception that propaganda is no longer, as Edward Bernays called it, an “invisible government”. It is the government. It rules directly without fear of contradiction and its principal aim is the conquest of us: our sense of the world, our ability to separate truth from lies.

    • Navy Seeks to Practice Using Electromagnetic Radiation Weapons Over U.S. Soil

      It is estimated that enough electromagnetic radiation will be emitted to melt human eye tissue and cause breast cancer, not to mention the damage to the environment and wildlife on lands ostensibly under federal protection. The Growler planes employ electronic technology to jam enemy radar. Navy officials aim to fly training programs over U.S. lands some 260 days a year. As Jamail writes, “What is at stake is not just whether the military is allowed to use protected public lands in the Pacific Northwest for its war games, but a precedent being set for them to do so across the entire country.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • The Vatican has found hundreds of millions of euro “tucked away”

      THE VATICAN’S ACCOUNTS czar said last night that he had stumbled across hundred of millions of euros “tucked away” in various accounts, describing the windfall as a relic of the papacy’s medieval but soon-to-be reformed financial set-up.

      “We have discovered that the (Vatican’s financial) situation is much healthier than it seemed,” the Australian cardinal Pell told Britain’s Catholic Herald.

  • Censorship

    • Russia Threatens To Ban BuzzFeed

      Russia has warned BuzzFeed that it will ban access to the entire site over a post published on Wednesday about a deadly gunfight in the capital of Chechnya.

      BuzzFeed received an email on Friday from Roskomnadzor, Russia’s federal communications agency, saying that the post “contains appeals to mass riots, extremist activities or participation in mass (public) actions held with infringement of the established order.” It cited statutes laid out by the prosecutor general’s office and said access to the site “is restricted by communications service providers in the territory of the Russian Federation.” It has given BuzzFeed 24 hours to remove the post or face a total ban.

    • Chaos Computer Club on the blocking of our website in UK

      A significant portion of British citizens are currently blocked from accessing the Chaos Computer Club’s (CCC) website. On top of that, Vodafone customers are blocked from accessing the ticket sale to this year’s Chaos Communication Congress (31C3). [1]

      Since July 2013, a government-backed so-called opt out list censors the open internet. These internet filters, authorized by Prime Minister David Cameron, are implemented by UK’s major internet service providers (ISPs). Dubbed as the “Great Firewall of Britain”, the lists block adult content as well as material related to alcohol, drugs, smoking, and even opinions deemed “extremist”.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Green activists from Ecuador harassed by police on way to climate summit

      Activists say their presence at the meeting in Peru would be embarrassing to President Rafael Correa, who wants to drill for oil in the Amazon

    • If Eric Garner’s killer can’t be indicted, what cop possibly could? It’s time to fix grand juries

      Grand juries were designed to be a check on prosecutors and law enforcement. Instead, they’ve become a corrupt shield to protect those with power and another sword to strike down those without. And it’s now all too obviously past time the system was overhauled to fix that.

    • British military base in Bahrain is a ‘reward’ for UK’s silence on human rights, say campaigners

      The Royal Navy will set up a permanent base in Bahrain, to the dismay of human rights campaigners who say the base is a “reward” for the British’s government silence over torture, attacks on peaceful protesters and arbitrary detention in the tiny kingdom.

    • Rookie NYPD officer who shot Akai Gurley in Brooklyn stairwell was texting union rep as victim lay dying

      In the six and a half minutes after Peter Liang discharged a single bullet that struck Gurley, 28, he and his partner couldn’t be reached, sources told the Daily News. And instead of calling for help for the dying man, Liang was texting his union representative. What’s more, the sources said, the pair of officers weren’t supposed to be patrolling the stairways of the Pink Houses that night.

    • SAFE hosts de-hired professor from University of Illinois

      Salaita, who was set to begin a tenured position at Illinois this fall, had his job offer retracted after a number of donors, students and faculty at the school contended that he was anti-Semitic.

    • The Police in America Are Becoming Illegitimate

      Nobody’s willing to say it yet. But after Ferguson, and especially after the Eric Garner case that exploded in New York yesterday after yet another non-indictment following a minority death-in-custody, the police suddenly have a legitimacy problem in this country.

    • Man who filmed Eric Garner in chokehold says grand jury was rigged

      Ramsey Orta — who recorded the July 17 incident in which Officer Daniel Pantaleo put Eric Garner in a chokehold shortly before he died on his cellphone — told the Daily News the grand jury ‘wasn’t fair from the start,’ and claims his testimony only lasted 10 minutes. ‘I think they already had their minds made up,’ he said.

    • Sunday Explainer: The unprecedented immigration powers awarded to Scott Morrison

      In the words of Motoring Enthusiast Party Senator Ricky Muir, the upper house was faced with a choice between a “bad decision or a worse decision”. He opted for what he decided was the former, and gave the government the final vote it needed for the controversial Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment bill to pass the Senate, 34 votes to 32. The amended legislation was then rushed through the House of Representatives, which was due to have its final sitting day of the year on Thursday, but returned on Friday to pass it into law in just 12 minutes.

    • Stephen Colbert Slams Fox News’ Willful Ignorance On Race Relations

      Colbert: Non-Indictments For Police Shootings Could Be Seen “As Part Of A Larger Troubling Trend. Or, You Could Be Fox News.”

    • Violence erupts in Greece

      A march through central Athens to mark the sixth anniversary of the fatal police shooting of an unarmed teenager quickly turned violent Saturday, as marchers damaged store fronts and bus stations, and set fire to clothes looted from a shop.

      Clashes also broke out between police and demonstrators marching through the northern city of Thessaloniki. At night, police fired tear gas and stun grenades after a crowd of marchers beat up two plainclothes policemen there.

    • As protests mount, Athens braces for the worst

      For more than 20 days now, 21-year-old anarchist Nikos Romanos has been on hunger strike, demanding prison leave to attend lectures after he passed university entrance exams.

    • Theresa May’s child sexual abuse inquiry faces new storm

      Two members of Theresa May’s panel inquiring into child sex abuse are facing calls to resign after being accused of sending threatening or insulting emails to victims who had criticised the inquiry.

      Lawyers for one abuse survivor have written to the home secretary to complain of a string ofunsolicited communications, including an allegedly threatening email sent two days before an official meeting that both panellists and an abuse survivor were due to attend.

    • Body Cameras Worn by Police Officers Are No ‘Safeguard of Truth,’ Experts Say

      Michael Brown’s family, on the night of the Ferguson grand jury decision, called for all police in the United States to wear body cameras.

      Mayor Bill de Blasio, in announcing that some of New York’s police officers would begin wearing them, said “body cameras are one of the ways to create a real sense of transparency and accountability.”

      And on Monday, President Obama said he would request $75 million in federal funds to distribute 50,000 body cameras to police departments nationwide, saying they would improve police relations with the public.

    • Kerry Puts Brakes on CIA Torture Report

      Secretary of State John Kerry personally phoned Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Friday morning to ask her to delay the imminent release of her committee’s report on CIA torture and rendition during the George W. Bush administration, according to administration and Congressional officials.

      [...]

      But those concerns are not new, and Kerry’s 11th-hour effort to secure a delay in the report’s release places Feinstein in a difficult position: She must decide whether to set aside the administration’s concerns and accept the risk, or scuttle the roll-out of the investigation she fought for years to preserve.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

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