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11.16.15

EPO: It’s Like a Family Business – Part I

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Elodie BergotSummary: An investigation of the notorious connections between different well-paid members of the EPO’s management, including some who are family members and former colleagues

THE EPO coverage continues with a series focusing on dubious appointments inside this organisation (which quickly morphed into what we called "Team Battistelli").

“For your information,” told us a reader, “according to the rumour mill at the EPO, John Martin who is the current Principal Director of Internal Audit and Oversight at the EPO is close to retirement.” It’s him who militiarised the EPO (against its very own staff).

“Since October 2012, her direct superior and reporting officer has been the Vice-President of Directorate General 4 (VP4), Mr Željko Topić.”
      –Anonymous
“This is fuelling speculation as to who his successor might be,” this reader added. “Two of the names being bandied about are those of Ms Elodie Bergot and her husband Mr Gilles Requena.”

Bergot already sends threatening letters to staff, so she would not be a misfit here.

Our reader gave us some background information about this duo, starting with Elodie Bergot (warning: don’t click this link if tracking by epo.org can unmask a meaningful — mappable to ID — IP address, use this archive instead). Ms Bergot is currently the Principal Director of Human Resources at the EPO (PD 4.3). We have learned, based on numerous sources, that staff isn’t particularly fond of her, in part because of how she reached her current position.

“She was recruited as an administrator at the EPO in Munich,” told us one source, indicating that this happened on the 1st of December 2010, “and started off her career at grade A3 in Department 4.3.1 (Regulations and Change Management).

“Such an extraordinary “promotion” is without precedent at the EPO.”
      –Anonymous
“Shortly before the completion of the normal one-year probation period foreseen for category A staff, Ms Bergot was transferred to Department 4.3 on 1 October 2011.

“Since October 2012, her direct superior and reporting officer has been the Vice-President of Directorate General 4 (VP4), Mr Željko Topić.” That’s the man who faces criminal charges and also intimidates EPO staff.

Here comes the interesting part. According to ours source, Bergot achieved the unthinkable. “On 30 January 2013,” we were told, “Ms Bergot was promoted to grade A6 with effect from 1 February 2013.

“Such an extraordinary “promotion” is without precedent at the EPO.”

In the next part we are going to look into complaints about this promotion. We will take a closer look into possibly reasons why such a magical promotion could be facilitated. It’s not purely speculative, so facts will be presented and readers will be left to reach their own conclusions.

Links 16/11/2015: Linux 4.4 RC1, DockerConEU

Posted in News Roundup at 3:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Windows 3.1 Is Still Alive, And It Just Killed a French Airport

    A computer glitch that brought the Paris airport of Orly to a standstill Saturday has been traced back to the airport’s “prehistoric” operating system. In an article published Wednesday, French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné (which often writes serious stories, such as this one) said the computer failure had affected a system known as DECOR, which is used by air traffic controllers to communicate weather information to pilots. Pilots rely on the system when weather conditions are poor.

    DECOR, which is used in takeoff and landings, runs on Windows 3.1, an operating system that came onto the market in 1992. Hardly state-of-the-art technology. One of the highlights of Windows 3.1 when it came out was the inclusion of Minesweeper — a single-player video game that was responsible for wasting hours of PC owners’ time in the early ’90s.

  • Spaghetti Strainer Helmet Driver’s License Photo Approved On Religious Grounds

    Just over the border from New Hampshire in the Massachusetts city of Lowell, a woman identifying herself as a follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), otherwise known as Pastafarianism, has been approved by the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to wear a spaghetti strainer on top of her head in her state issued driver’s ID.

    The approval to wear the helmet was initially denied. However, citing religious grounds, Lowell resident Lindsay Miller filed an appeal. Following intervention by the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, the RMV reversed their decision and allowed her to put on her colander and get her driver’s license picture taken.

  • What today’s CIO needs to succeed tomorrow, and more news for IT pros

    It’s that time of year when technology predictions start to infiltrate your social networks, inbox, and news feeds. To kick off prediction season, ZME Science reminds us of perhaps the most accurate tech prediction of all time, coming from Ray Kurzweil in 1908. He says, “An inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch, will enable its bearer to hear anywhere, on sea or land, music or song, the speech of a political leader, the address of an eminent man of science, or the sermon of an eloquent clergyman, delivered in some other place, however distant.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Before Paris Terrorist Attacks, CIA Director Brennan Met With French Intelligence DGSE Chief Bernard Bajolet: Report

      The White House correspondent for French television network Canal+, Laura Haim, reported an interesting tidbit during a live report with MSNBC’s Brian Williams Friday evening.

      Haim stated that Central Intelligence Agency director, John O. Brennan, recently met with his counterpart, French intelligence (DGSE) director Bernard Bajolet.

    • CIA Director Brennan Met With French Security Chief Before Paris Attacks – Report
    • Next Terrorist Plot in France Hard to Detect – Ex-CIA Officer

      The French authorities will face serious problems in detecting additional terrorist plots despite the current state of emergency after the attack in Paris, former US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Paul Pillar told Sputnik.

    • ‘Terrorists chose Paris as iconic target like twin towers’ – ex-CIA officer

      The series of apparent Islamic State attacks in Paris can be compared to the 2001 destruction of the WTC towers in the US, says Jack Rice, a former CIA officer. The French capital is an iconic European city, and terrorists target icons.

    • Child porn, war crimes & fraud: Internal CIA probes reveal shocking findings

      Documents released by the CIA show details of over a dozen investigations into serious allegations of misconduct by agency employees, including child pornography, torture and war crimes. In many cases, the Justice Department decided not to prosecute.

      Redacted records of the investigations, part of the 111 probes conducted by the CIA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) between January 2013 and May 2014, were obtained by Vice News under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

    • Former CIA director loves comparing ISIS airstrikes to casual sex

      This may be one of the more interesting ways to describe an airstrike against ISIS and it comes courtesy of former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

      Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Hayden was talking about how airstrikes are being used to go after the terror organization’s infrastructure.

    • Former CIA Director Compares ISIS Airstrikes to Casual Sex on Morning Joe

      Then General Hayden made an unexpected comparison that seemed to temporarily stun Brzezinski and elicit a too-eager response from Deutsch. Hayden continued, “Airstrikes without ground power is a lot like casual sex: it offers gratification without commitment!”

      Deutsch hopped in unabashedly, “Sign me up for that!”.

      “Oh, my god,” responded Brzezinski.

      As Mediaite reported over a year ago, General Hayden has made similar suggestions to this military approach before.

    • Rebels Have CIA Weapons Capable of Downing Planes Flying Above 10Km Range

      The CIA urged Turkey and Saudi Arabia to provide certain Syrian rebels with anti-aircraft weapons capable of shooting down airplanes, including high-flying passenger jets, Hildegard von Hessen am Rhein wrote for Boulevard Voltaire.

      The fact that Syrian rebels fighting against Bashar al-Assad, a Russian ally, had CIA-sponsored weapons capable of downing a commercial airliner flying above 10,000 meters, makes a very uncomfortable situation for the US government amid the crash of the Airbus A321 operated by the Russian airliner Kogalymavia on October 31, the author said.

    • CIA, Saudis Launch Proxy War Against Syria, Iraq, Iran, Russia; U.S. Checkmated in Syria?

      This all comes at a time when opinion polls in the West show a majority favor Russia’s Syria intervention.

    • Former CIA Director Reveals He Approved Drone Attack He Knew Would Kill Innocent Children

      The CIA’s targeted killing program has long been shrouded in secrecy. Recent leaks given to the Intercept, as well as thorough reporting by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, have shed light on the execution of such attacks, but interviews with former CIA directors for an upcoming documentary puts the ethical quandaries of the program, which has few regulations, in stark relief.

      “We do not know what the rules of engagement are,” former CIA director Porter Goss, who resigned under George W. Bush due to frustration, told Chris Whipple for the documentary The Spymasters: CIA in the Crosshairs. “Are we dealing with enemy combatants? Are we dealing with criminals? Are the rules shoot first? Do we only shoot when we get shot at? Can we ask questions? Do we have to Mirandize people?”

    • UAE illegally shipped arms to Libya to support CIA-linked Haftar

      The UN Special Envoy to Libya became involved in conflict of interest after he was offered a high-paying job by the UAE while still a supposedly impartial head of dialogue talks to forge a peace agreement between the two rival Libyan governments.

    • Beirut, Also the Site of Deadly Attacks, Feels Forgotten

      Ali Awad, 14, was chopping vegetables when the first bomb struck. Adel Tormous, who would die tackling the second bomber, was sitting at a nearby coffee stand. Khodr Alaa Deen, a registered nurse, was on his way to work his night shift at the teaching hospital of the American University at Beirut, in Lebanon.

      All three lost their lives in a double suicide attack in Beirut on Thursday, along with 40 others, and much like the scores who died a day later in Paris, they were killed at random, in a bustling urban area, while going about their normal evening business.

    • PETER HITCHENS: Really want to beat terror? Then calm down and THINK

      Could we please skip the empty bravado? This is a time for grief above all else, and a time to refrain from soundbites and posturing. France – our closest neighbour, oldest friend, beloved rival, what Philip Sidney called ‘that sweet enemy’ – France is stricken, and we should weep with her.

      Over the past 40 years or so, most of us have heard quite enough politicians and others pledging to stand firm against terror, hunt down the vile perpetrators, ensure that it never happens again, and the rest.

      Then there have been the emergency meetings of grandly titled committees, the crackdowns, the increased surveillance, the billions spent on spying and snooping, not to mention the various wars on terror which have certainly killed a lot of our troops, but never seem to make us any safer. It is remarkably hard to defend yourself against an enemy whose language few of us speak, yet who speaks ours and can move freely in our world, and who is willing, even happy, to die at our hands – or his own – if he can kill us first.

    • Anonymous Has Declared War on ISIS in Revenge for the Paris Attacks

      The hacker collective Anonymous released a video message on YouTube Sunday declaring war on the Islamic State in the wake of Friday’s bloody terror attacks in Paris.

      The video, posted in French, announces the beginning of #OpParis, a coordinated campaign to neutralize ISIS’s social media channels.

      “Anonymous from all over the world will hunt you down,” an (anonymous) Anonymous spokesperson, his face shrouded in the group’s signature Guy Fawkes mask, says in French. “Expect massive cyber attacks. War is declared. Get prepared.”

  • Transparency Reporting

    • WikiLeaks Provides CIA Brennan’s Hacked Emails Online

      On October 21, 2015, WikiLeaks (1) posted emails that were supposedly taken from the hacked AOL account of CIA Director John Brennan. The private email account was hacked by a supposed teenager who allegedly posed as a Verizon agent in order to gain access (2).

      According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), some of the information that’s been released is correct. The journal attempted to contact many on the contact list as well as verify other pieces of information leaked. The WSJ also reported that some of the people whose addresses appeared on the list were actually contacted “by intelligence officials telling them their information had been compromised” (3).

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • The “Carlile Doctrine”

      For example, France already has more extensive surveillance laws than UK, and the atrocities still happened.

    • Finland mulls constitution changes, web surveillance powers for intelligence police

      The Interior, Justice and Defence ministries are considering constitutional changes to facilitate more effective civilian and military intelligence operations. Web surveillance powers for the security and intelligence police Supo are among the reforms on the table. Meanwhile President Sauli Niinistö says it’s time to raise the level of Finnish intelligence work to meet European standards.

    • Germany says it will (mostly) stop spying on EU citizens and institutions

      The German government plans to make it illegal for the country’s intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), to spy on citizens or institutions in EU countries. This follows revelations that the BND has been helping the NSA to snoop on European politicians and companies, as Ars reported in April. More recently, it has emerged that the BND’s own spying extended far more widely than thought: those kept under surveillance included the interior ministries of EU member states, the Vatican, and non-governmental organisations such as Care International, Oxfam and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

    • Surveillance Hawk Stewart Baker Confirms Dragnet Didn’t Work as Designed

      The French authorities are just a day into investigating the horrid events in Paris on Friday. We’ll know, over time, who did this and how they pulled it off. For that reason, I’m of the mind to avoid any grand claims that surveillance failed to find the perpetrators (thus far, French authorities say they know one of the attackers, who is a French guy they had IDed as an extremist, but did not know of people identified by passports found at the Stade — though predictably those have now been confirmed to be fake [update: now authorities say the Syrian one is genuine, though it’s not yet clear it belonged to the attacker], so authorities may turn out to know their real identity). In any case, Glenn Greenwald takes care of that here. I think it’s possible the terrorists did manage to avoid detection via countersurveillance — though the key ways they might have done so were available and known before Edward Snowden’s leaks (as Glenn points out).

    • Together in Sorrow, Looking at the Future

      Unfortunately, given recent political statements, we fear that the only response will lie in further bombings in the Middle-East and the escalation of security measures evermore harmful to fundamental rights. But when will we take the time to carefully analyse the failed policies carried on for the past fifteen years on a global scale, and through dozens of laws in France?

      In the light of the declaration of the state of emergency and of political statements made over the weekend, La Quadrature du Net solemnly asks political leaders to take the time to reflect and engage in a rigorous, critical and transparent evaluation of France’s international, diplomatic, military, geo-strategic and commercial commitments; to think about the strategy of intelligence services and to complete a thorough examination of their workings; to defeat a warmongering rhetoric drive us towards a “clash of civilisations” doubled with an internal civil conflict within our society; to also address the tensions that ripple through French society, the discriminations stirred by a part of the political and media elite, the shared responsibilities into the largely misunderstood phenomenon of violent radicalisation, the dissolving of perspectives for social progress.

    • How Edward Snowden Changed Everything

      Ben Wizner, who is perhaps best known as Edward Snowden’s lawyer, directs the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. Wizner, who joined the ACLU in August 2001, one month before the 9/11 attacks, has been a force in the legal battles against torture, watch lists, and extraordinary rendition since the beginning of the global “war on terror.”

      On October 15, we met with Wizner in an upstate New York pub to discuss the state of privacy advocacy today. In sometimes sardonic tones, he talked about the transition from litigating on issues of torture to privacy advocacy, differences between corporate and state-sponsored surveillance, recent developments in state legislatures and the federal government, and some of the obstacles impeding civil liberties litigation. The interview has been edited and abridged for publication.

    • FBI: “The allegation that we paid CMU $1M to hack into Tor is inaccurate”

      The FBI is denying that it paid $1 million to Carnegie Mellon University to exploit a vulnerability in Tor.

      “The allegation that we paid [Carnegie Mellon University] $1 million to hack into Tor is inaccurate,” an FBI spokeswoman told Ars in a Friday morning phone call.

      Two days ago, the head of the Tor Project accused the FBI of paying Carnegie Mellon computer security researchers at least $1 million to de-anonymize Tor users and reveal their IP addresses as part of a large criminal investigation.

  • Civil Rights

    • ‘Extremely rational’ Anonymous hacktivist Matt DeHart avoids 70-year prison term with child porn plea deal

      Matt DeHart, the former U.S. airman and Anonymous hacktivist who made a failed asylum bid in Canada — claiming torture over his access to secret U.S. government documents — has accepted a plea deal in a Tennessee court, avoiding a possible 70-year prison term but admitting to having explicit photos of under-aged teenagers.

    • The Terrible Truth About Secret CIA Prisons

      According to Investigative journalist Will Potter, the secret prisons emerged during the last Bush administration in response to the 9/11 destruction of the New York Twin Towers.

    • Classified Report on the C.I.A.’s Secret Prisons Is Caught in Limbo

      A Senate security officer stepped out of the December chill last year and delivered envelopes marked Top Secret to the Pentagon, the C.I.A., the State Department and the Justice Department. Inside each packet was a disc containing a 6,700-page classified report on the C.I.A.s secret prison program and a letter from Senator Dianne Feinstein, urging officials to read the report to ensure that the lessons were not lost to time.

    • Classified Report on the C.I.A.’s Secret Prisons Is Caught in Limbo

      The report tells the story of how, in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the C.I.A. began capturing people and interrogating them in secret prisons beyond the reach of the American judicial and military legal systems. The report’s central conclusion is that the spy agency’s interrogation methods — including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other kinds of torture — were far more brutal and far less effective than the C.I.A. acknowledged to policy makers, Congress and the public.

    • New Zealand spy watchdog probes possible complicity in CIA torture

      As the complicity of US allies in CIA torture comes to light, New Zealand has become the next nation to investigate its own possible ties to the secretive programs and illegal tactics that found favor with Washington in a post-9/11 frenzy.

      New Zealand’s spy watchdog is acting on information disclosed in last year’s controversial US Senate Intelligence Committee Report, which outlined both the torture methods used and the countries that made it all possible; although “the names of those countries have been redacted,” according to Cheryl Gwyn, New Zealand’s Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

    • Spooks, banks and drug money laundering

      On the strength of a claimed turnover of $1 billion, the Australian Financial Review reported in early February 1978: “At this sort of growth rate Nugan Hand will soon be bigger than BHP.”

      But two years later, on January 27, 1980, one of the bank’s two founders, Frank Nugan, was found dead near Lithgow in NSW from a gunshot wound to the head. An inquest found it was suicide. Meanwhile, the other founder of the bank, Michael Hand, was busy shredding documents, including “files identifying clients regarded as sensitive”.

    • Intelligence agency friends hide corruption

      Most of us who recall the extraordinary story of the Nugan Hand Bank never expected to live to hear an explanation for some of its notorious activities, never mind see anyone prosecuted for their conduct.

      But now, thanks to Sydney investigative journalist Peter Butt, one of the bank’s co-founders, Michael Hand, has been found and we might at last get some answers.

      Hand slipped out of Australia in June 1980 following the apparent suicide of his partner, Frank Nugan.

      Butt, researching his book, Merchants of Menace, discovered him living under the name Michael Jon Fuller in the small US town of Idaho Falls where Channel Nine’s Sixty Minutes confronted him

      After the body of Nugan was found in his Mercedes-Benz on a deserted road outside Lithgow on January 27, 1980, the bank collapsed, costing Australian investors millions of dollars.

    • Former CIA Detainees Sue CIA Contractors Under The Alien Tort Statute For Alleged Torture

      Last month, the ACLU filed a civil action in the Eastern District of Washington on behalf of Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud and Gul Rahman. They assert that the CIA secretly detained them in Afghanistan and subjected them to torture. Two of the plaintiffs, Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, survived their time in CIA detention, were eventually released and now reside in Libya and Tanzania. The third plaintiff, Gul Rahman, died in CIA custody in November 2002. The complaint names as defendants James Mitchell and John Jessen, former military psychologists. Plaintiffs claim that while serving as CIA contractors, defendants helped design and implement the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Mitchell and Jessen are both described in the controversial December 2014 report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

    • The DoJ won’t let anyone in the Executive Branch read the CIA Torture Report

      The Senate’s 6,700 page, $40M report on the CIA’s participation in torture has apparently never been read by a single member of the Executive Branch of the US Government, because the Department of Justice has ordered them all to stay away from it.

      Why does the DoJ want to keep the Executive from finding out about the CIA’s use of torture? Because Senate documents are not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, but Executive documents are, and the DoJ is so pants-wettingly afraid of the public discovering official wrongdoing that they have banned anyone subject to FOIA from touching the document, lest it become subject to transparency rules.

    • Book events include Paula Deen and CIA whistleblower

      CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou and psychologist Bradley Olson will headline two free events Thursday bringing torture into the spotlight.

    • Letter: CIA whistleblower prosecuted for truth

      My drive was worth it. Kiriakou’s revelations in 2007 led to exposure of crimes, lies and cover-up all the way to the top of the Bush White House. It also brought the full weight of the federal government down on Kiriakou. We knew then that torture was illegal (against U.S. and international law), ineffective (yielding no actionable intelligence), and immoral (brutally sadistic). We know now from the Senate Intelligence Committee Summary Report, American Psychological Association’s Hoffman Report, flight logs of extraordinary rendition flights (many from Johnston County airport), and personal testimony that torture was widespread, systematic, orchestrated from the top, falsely justified by White House legal counsel, and counterproductive to fighting terrorism. Yet, no one except the person who spoke truth to power is being prosecuted. Even Bush and Cheney boast in their memoirs that they endorsed torture.

    • The torture report

      Multiple government agencies are doing their best to ignore a 6,900-page elephant in the room: a mammoth report, authored by the Senate Intelligence Committee, detailing the horrors of the CIA’s post-9/11 torture programme.

    • Fox’s Ralph Peters Endorses Closing Borders To Muslim Refugees
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

The EPO is Criticised Again for Serving the Monsanto (and Syngenta) Agenda

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Some people might actually believe them…

Monsanto - bones logo

Summary: The EPO’s selfish expansion of the scope of patents comes under fire, as it not only serves to proliferate toxins and carcinogens but also gives state-enforced monopolies on forms of life (and basic foods)

SEPARATION between law-making regarding patents and actual patent examination (and grants) is absolutely necessary because one branch should never be tempted to practically expand the law so as to give more power and money to itself. The EPO has make a mockery of this separation when it turned into a part-time lobbyist, as we have shown here over the past few months.

How does the EPO plan to artificially elevate the number of patents and pretend there is ‘business’ expansion or more ‘innovation’? Well, one obvious way is to broaden the scope pf patents, including for instance software patents and patents on life. We wrote a great deal here about Monsanto (and patents on life) several years ago, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] (we dedicated a whole series of articles to this subject), but now it’s the EPO that’s at the centre of this kind of controversy, not prominent supporters from bogus charities.

“Retarding innovation seems to be the goal now, in the interests of worldwide monopolies and oligopolies.”The EPO is nowadays monopolising everything for profit, irrespective of the impact of these monopolies on science and technology, not just in Europe but in the entire world. Facts-based analysis does not matter to the EPO. Retarding innovation seems to be the goal now, in the interests of worldwide monopolies and oligopolies.

As a lobbyists’ Web site (it often has lobbyists in there) put it, “European fruit and vegetables threatened by patent” and it “was quite a shock for plant breeders when the European Patent Office decided this spring to allow the patenting of natural plant properties. Since then, multinationals such as Syngenta and Monsanto have bought so many patents that we are on the brink of a dangerous monopoly of plant patents.”

This has also just been covered by IP Kat, which wrote:

The biggest problem created by the patenting of plant characteristics is that further innovation is blocked in the breeding sector [is there any evidence to support this assertion?]. The development of new plant varieties stops [does this mean that Monsanto, Syngenta and the other multinationals are no longer competing with one another]. After all, the holder of a patent has the exclusive right to a certain plant characteristic, so other breeders cannot use that property without permission and financial compensation [if that were the case, would we not have an instance of "essential facilities" with the European Commission already getting excited about this?]. This is a serious matter because by doing so, big companies are now pushing small businesses out of the market.

Surely we are going to hear a lot more about this in weeks or months to come. We welcome input on the subject, including related news links (we focus on software, so we often overlook news relating to this).

We are going to cover many more (and relatively new) EPO scandals in the week to come, so stay tuned and protect our right to free speech. There is actually a backlog of EPO articles, due to personal reasons (we’ll be away in Yorkshire with relatives this week).

Those who still don’t know what’s wrong with Monsanto can make a start by watching this informative video.

“The antitrust litigation currently in the federal courts in the U.S. against Monsanto will be the test case in the life sciences, just as the Microsoft case was the test case in the information sciences.”

Jeremy Rifkin

11.15.15

Links 15/11/2015: Wine 1.7.55 and KDE Frameworks 5.16 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Swedish gym goers hit with ‘Bieber torture’

    “Every time you don’t clean up after yourselves, we’ll add another Justin Bieber song to the playlist.”

  • Gatwick terminal evacuated as explosive experts inspect item

    Police were called on Saturday morning to reports of “suspicious actions” on the man’s part. They said explosives ordinance disposal specialist officers at the airport but that it was too early to determine what the item was.

  • [False/drama] Breaking news: Gatwick North Terminal evacuated after armed police arrest a man with a ‘gun in his bag’

    Police said they were called at around 9.30am on Saturday morning following ‘suspicious actions by a man who discarded an item at the airport’.

    In a statement they said that the man was arrested and EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) specialists have been called to the airport to investigate the item.

    Eyewitness Tim Unwin tweeted that the terminal is in a ‘shutdown situation’.

  • BREAKING: Gatwick’s North Terminal evacuated

    GATWICK’S North Terminal has been evacuated this morning.

    There are unconfirmed reported of a “suspicious package” at the site.

  • Warren Mitchell obituary: Alf Garnett and much more

    It was a role he relished and he often returned to it over a period of four decades.

    He was a consummate character actor who took on a wide variety of roles on stage, screen and television.

    And despite playing Johnny Speight’s infamous creation for such a long time, he managed to avoid being typecast as Britain’s favourite bigot.

    Warren Mitchell was actually born as Warren Misell on 14 January 1926 in north London.

  • Ten dead as high-speed TGV train crashes near Strasbourg during test run

    There were sixty technicians on board the high speed TGV train on Saturday when it crashed near Eckwersheim, leaving ten people dead. Local authorities said the train appeared to have “derailed because of excessive speed.”

    The train derailed and caught fire at about 6:15p.m. local time (1700 UTC) according to local press reports. The wreckage fell into a canal.

    The crash happened on the second section of the Paris to Strasbourg high-speed TGV line, which is due to open in April 2016.

  • Strasbourg train crash: Carriages derail and plunge into river during France’s highest ever terror alert

    Five people died and at least seven were injured when a high speed train derailed in France during the country’s highest ever terror alert.

    Early reports suggest the TGV 2369 test train caught fire before overturning and smashing onto its side in Eckwersheim, near to Strasbourg this afternoon.

    The train is thought to have been undergoing a trial run when witnesses said it hit a nearby bridge just before setting fire.

    Crash scene investigators are probing whether the derailment was caused by “excessive speed”.

  • Science

    • In Memoriam: Gene Amdahl 1922-2015

      American computer architect and high-tech entrepreneur Gene Myron Amdahl died Tuesday at the age of 92.

      Amdahl’s wife Marian said he had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for about five years, before succumbing to pneumonia. “We are thankful for his kind spirit and brilliant mind. He was a devout Christian and a loving father and husband. I was blessed with having him as my husband and my best friend. I praise God for His faithfulness to us for more than 69 years.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • On Terror, We’re All Right-wingers Now

      Remember the mood in America just after 9/11? The surge of super-patriotism (dare we say jingoism)? The pall of political correctness (you’re fired, Bill Maher). The phrases that so resonated: “Let’s roll.” “You’re either with us or against us.” “Bring ‘em on.” Something like that is taking hold in France right now after Friday night’s horror, one of the worst terrorist attacks on Western soil since that terrible day 14 years ago.

    • Paris turns to #PorteOuverte to seek, offer shelter
    • Dozens Dead, Scores of Hostages Reported, in “Night of Terror” in Paris

      Meanwhile, an explosion also occurred near the Stade de France, where the French national soccer team was playing against Germany. Hollande, who was attending the game, was evacuated according to French television station iTELE. The explosion could be heard clearly during the game, as captured by the live feed of the match.

    • Hellfire missile ‘evaporated’ Jihadi John: Details of ISIS terror nut’s death revealed

      Mohammed Emwazi was blown up as he climbed into a car near a clock tower in Isis’s Syrian stronghold city of Raqqa where its jihadists have staged hundreds of brutal public executions.

      Last night US officials were “99 per cent sure” the 27 year old from London – branded the world’s most wanted man for the videoed beheadings of at least seven prisoners including two Brits – had been killed.

    • Non-French War Deaths Matter

      We are all France. Apparently. Though we are never all Lebanon or Syria or Iraq for some reason. Or a long, long list of additional places.

      We are led to believe that U.S. wars are not tolerated and cheered because of the color or culture of the people being bombed and occupied. But let a relatively tiny number of people be murdered in a white, Christian, Western-European land, with a pro-war government, and suddenly sympathy is the order of the day.

      “This is not just an attack on the French people, it is an attack on human decency and all things that we hold dear,” says U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. I’m not sure I hold ALL the same things dear as the senator, but for the most part I think he’s exactly right and that sympathy damn well ought to be the order of the day following a horrific mass killing in France.

      I just think the same should apply to everywhere else on earth as well. The majority of deaths in all recent wars are civilian. The majority of civilians are not hard to sympathize with once superficial barriers are overcome. Yet, the U.S. media never seems to declare deaths in Yemen or Pakistan or Palestine to be attacks on our common humanity.

    • China’s Xi says willing to join France in combating terrorism

      China is ready to join France and the international community in stepping up security cooperation and combating terrorism, President Xi Jinping told French President Francois Hollande on Saturday, after attacks in Paris that killed about 120 people.

    • Paris and the Lessons of 9/11

      As terrorists murdered scores of people in Paris on Friday, Americans watching in horror from afar immediately began to show solidarity with the French people. Many harkened back to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when Le Monde declared, “Nous sommes tous Américains,” and French President Jacques Chirac issued repeated expressions of his country’s solidarity with the United States.

      “I have no doubt for a single moment that terrorism, which is always fanatical, mindless, and mad, clearly represents the evil in today’s world. And so we must combat it with the greatest energy,” he told CNN in a representative interview. “The Americans are currently making a great effort, a very effective one, it seems to me, with the search for all the clues and then those to blame, so that they can determine who is at the origin of this murderous folly. And when subsequently it comes to punishment for this murderous folly, yes France will be at the United States’ side.”

    • Stop Patronizing Vets and Start Helping Them

      In the annals of shame and hypocrisy, few things match America’s duplicity toward its veterans.

      For their troubles, they earn lip service from politicians, are allowed to board some airplanes first, receive a few bucks off at restaurants and, once a year, get their own holiday on which everybody expresses support for them. They are also honored at sporting events in ceremonies that, despite appearances, are actually paid for with taxpayer dollars.

      But step away from these feel-good exercises, and you get a bucket of cold water in your face. Let’s take a frank look at the serious problems that veterans are facing every day — and what is or isn’t being done about them.

    • S. Korea-US intelligence cooperation: all the hallmarks of unrequited love

      Relationship can be described as a paradox, where cooperation is more about the US’s own interests

      In an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel, Thomas Drake, a former employee for the US’s National Security Agency (NSA), described the NSA’s relationship with Germany by saying, “It’s a sort of paradox in that relationship.”

      Drake was drawing attention to the fact that, while Germany and the NSA are partners, the NSA does not hesitate to spy on Germany when the US’s national interest is on the line.

    • [Interview] Whistleblower Thomas Drake

      When it comes to the whistleblowing on the NSA, Edward Snowden is not the first one. According to NGO ‘GAP(Governmental Accountability Project)’, Thomas Drake has dedicated his life to safeguarding his country. He served in the Air Force specializing in intelligence, and then worked as a CIA analyst and contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA)for 12 years before joining the NSA full time in 2001. Drake worked at the agency as a software contractor until 2008. When he saw abuse in the billions of dollars spent on the allegedly illegal surveillance program, he took his concerns to his superiors at NSA, to Congress and to the Department of Defense Inspectors General, but nothing changed. Finally, Drake made legal disclosures of unclassified information to a Baltimore Sun reporter. He was prosecuted by Department of Justice under the Espionage Act. He faced the possibility of decades in prison. NGOs and media made this issue public. The DOJ finally dropped all of the Espionage Act charges. Drake pled guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to one year of probation and community service, but lost his pension. The Hankyoreh interviewed with Drake on Oct. 12 for one and half hours through video chat. He declined to disclose specific declassified information but provided worthwhile insight.

    • This government’s inexplicable lack of action on illicit surveillance

      South Korea and the South Korean public have been under complete surveillance from every possible direction. The scope of wiretapping around the world revealed by Edward Snowden, former contractor for the US’s National Security Agency (NSA) and the results of the Hankyoreh’s investigative reporting into the documents he leaked bring about that feeling of shock and horror.

      The “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing group that was led by the US and included four other English-speaking countries was able to monitor online information for anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time. South Korea was no exception.

      This snooping took place at any time that these countries deemed it necessary for their national interest, even when there was no legitimate excuse.

    • Snowden leaks: Lack of homegrown equipment leaves S. Korea vulnerable to hacking
    • Xkeyscore – a form of “intelligence imperialism”

      Xkeyscore is a key program used by the US National Security Agency (NSA) to collect, organize, and search data. Internal NSA documents released by the Intercept describe it as a “DNI [digital network intelligence] exploitation/analytic framework.” It can be used by the NSA to search for information through specific email addresses or keywords. A document stating that the candidate names, genders, email addresses, and the term “candidacy” were used as keywords to search for information during the 2013 election for World Trade Organization director-general gives a hint of the program‘s capabilities.

    • S. Korean government stays mum as Foreign Ministry and SNU are hacked
    • Nicolas Maduro to Denounce US Violation of Venezuelan Airspace

      The Venezuelan president will resort to various international organizations to denounce Washington’s recent violation of the country’s territory.

      Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he will denounce Washington’s new threats against the South American country to international organizations after a United States intelligence plane violated the country’s airspace twice on Friday.

    • Russian plane crash: flight recorder captured ‘sound of explosion’

      The sound of an apparent explosion can be heard on the flight recorder of the Russian-operated plane that came down over the Sinai peninsula, killing all 224 people on board, adding to the evidence that a bomb was smuggled aboard, French media sources said on Friday.

      Giving further credence to the idea that the plane crash was a terrorist act rather than because of structural failure, Russia, which for a week has been resistant to speculation about a bomb, suspended flights to all Egyptian airports.

      An Egyptian-led international team of aviation experts, including some from France, successfully recovered the black box, the flight recorder, from the crash site. Several French media outlets, including the television station France 2, reported that the investigators had listened to it and concluded that a bomb had detonated, which would seem to rule out structural failure or pilot error. The pilots can be heard chatting normally, including contact with airport controllers, up until the apparent explosion.

    • Doctors Without Borders Describes ‘Relentless and Brutal’ U.S. Attack in Afghanistan

      “Patients burned in their beds, medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs, and others were shot by the circling AC- 130 gunship while fleeing the burning building. At least 30 MSF staff and patients were killed,” the introduction to the report says. The dead include 10 patients, 13 staff and seven more bodies that were so badly burned they have not yet been identified.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • EFF files brief calling for greater law enforcement transparency

      EFF has long fought for the public’s right to use federal and state public records laws to uncover controversial and illegal law enforcement techniques. That’s why we filed an amicus brief in a federal appellate court case this week asking it to reconsider a decision that makes it much easier for law enforcement agencies such as the FBI to conceal their activities.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Koch Group Dumps Half Million Dollars in Florida Anti-Solar Campaign

      Consumers for Smart Solar, the group promoting an anti-home-solar constitutional amendment in Florida, has collected half a million dollars from the 60 Plus Association, a group that has itself received at least $34 million since 2010 from organizations financially backed by the Koch brothers.

      Unlike most states, Florida does not allow homeowners to enter into contracts for the no-upfront-cost installation of solar on their homes. In other states, this freedom has contributed to the dramatic 80% increase in home solar installations across the US in 2014, and seen large financial investments from corporations like Google.

      Rival constitutional amendments are being proposed for the Florida ballot in 2016.

      One of these would allow homeowners increased rights to install solar energy; that one is backed by consumer and environmental organizations.

    • Network Evening News Programs Yet To Address What Exxon Knew About Climate Change
    • Magnitude-7 earthquake strikes off southwest Japan

      A tsunami advisory was issued for parts of southern Japan on Saturday after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Kyushu.

    • Japan earthquake: Small tsunami triggered

      A magnitude 7.0 earthquake has struck off Japan’s south-western coast, triggering a small tsunami.

      The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said a 30cm (1ft) tsunami was registered on the southern Nakanoshima island, part of Kagoshima prefecture.

      There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

      A tsunami warning issued for Kagoshima and Satsunan islands was later lifted. The quake happened at a depth of about 10km (six miles).

    • The US Still Hands Out $20 Billion a Year to Fossil Fuel Companies

      Over the years, President Obama has repeatedly called on Congress to kill the sizable subsidies the federal government annually grants to oil companies. “It’s outrageous,” he said in a 2012 speech. “It’s inexcusable. I’m asking Congress: Eliminate this oil industry giveaway right away.”

    • Scientists Warn of Health Damage From Indonesia’s Haze Fires

      Toxic fumes from the Indonesian fires that have spread a choking haze across Southeast Asia may be doing more harm to human and plant health than officials have indicated, scientists measuring the pollution say.

      Farmers are expecting a poor harvest because plants have too little sunlight for normal photosynthesis, while government figures of half a million sickened by the smoke are only the “tip of the iceberg”, said Louis Verchot, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

    • Indonesia says forest fires could be back in weeks

      Indonesia’s forest fires, which this year sent vast plumes of smoke across the region described by climate officials as a “crime against humanity”, could return as early as February, the forestry minister said on Friday, but on not such a large scale.

      Slash-and-burn agriculture, much of it clearing land for palm oil crops, blanketed Singapore, Malaysia and northern Indonesia in a choking “haze” for months, pushing up pollution levels and disrupting flights, as it does every year.

      But this year was unusually severe.

    • Japanese tech used to extinguish Sumatran blazes

      Major Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas Group, in a tie-up with the central government, conducted a forest-fire extinguishing test on Nov. 5 using a product developed by several small Japanese companies. The exercise puts Japan’s technology into practical use as Indonesia struggles to cope with forest fires and the smoke emanating from them, which pose an ever-worsening problem for Indonesia and neighboring countries.

      The test took place on the outskirts of Palembang, a city on Sumatra Island, in a forest plantation owned by Asia Pulp and Paper Group, where a fire had continued to burn. Asia Pulp and Paper is a member of Sinar Mas Group, which is run by ethnic Chinese.

  • Finance

    • Trans-Pacific Partnership Text Released – a Look at What’s Inside

      The New Zealand government released the final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, the White House followed suit hours later. The massive trade deal, which includes 12 countries and 40% of the world’s economy, has been shrouded in secrecy until now. Parts of the deal have been leaked along the way, but it’s the first time the public has had a chance to read what may become the the most broad reaching trade deal in history if all the interested countries ratify the treaty. The agreement has enormous implications for global labor, food and product safety, access to affordable medications, the environment and much more. For a look at how the TPP agreement would affect the internet and what access to redress would look like under the corporate-driven agreement, FSRN’s Shannon Young spoke with Evan Greer, Campaign Director of Fight for the Future, a group best known for its advocacy of an open and neutral internet.

    • GOP & Dems just puppets of wealthiest US families – Justice party leader

      The US faces lots of issues right now, from being sucked into a war in Syria to stagnating salaries and a shrinking middle class – and ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, people are looking for a candidate who can actually bring change to the way the country’s been going on in domestic and foreign policies. But what games are the candidates playing? Is the choice of candidates wide enough, or too limited? We ask the former mayor of Salt Lake City and founder of the U.S. Justice party.

    • Aide to Sanders Rips CBS On Last Minute Debate Change to National

      Though careful never to mention Clinton by name, Sanders has drawn a series of contrasts with the former secretary of state on issues that include her backing of the war in Iraq, trade and the minimum wage.

    • US State legislators ‘shocked’ by EU trade deal implications

      When State Senator Virginia Lyons thought it would be wise to develop legislation to reduce harmful electronics waste in her state of Vermont, the last complaint she expected to receive was from the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese it seemed, had issue with how new E-Waste reduction measures for Vermont would impact their sales of electronics to the USA.

    • EU Commission TTIP proposal attacked by MEPs and campaigners

      The European Commission has formally presented its proposed reforms on the controversial investment protection and dispute resolution for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

      The ‘more transparent’ investment court system will replace the so-called investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. It aims to safeguard the right to regulate and create a court-like system with an appeal mechanism based on clearly defined rules, with qualified judges and transparent proceedings.

    • Holly Sklar on Minimum Wage Economics, Nicholas Kusnetz on State Government Transparency
    • With ‘Off-Planet’ Mining Bill, US Congress Seeks to Privatize Outer Space

      In a bipartisan bid to encourage commercial exploitation of outer space, the U.S. Senate this week unanimously passed the Space Act of 2015, which grants U.S. citizens or corporations the right to legally claim non-living natural resources—including water and minerals—mined in the final frontier.

      The legislation—described by IGN’s Jenna Pitcher as “a celestial ‘Finders Keepers’ law”—could be a direct affront to an international treaty that bars nations from owning property in space. The bill will now be sent back to the House of Representatives, which is expected to approve the changes, and then on to President Barack Obama for his anticipated signature.

    • H-1B visa reform bill introduced in US Senate to check ‘abuse of the system’

      The bill would prohibit companies from hiring H-1B employees if they employ more than 50 people and more than 50 per cent of their employees are H-1B and L-1 visa holders.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Five things to watch in tonight’s Democratic debate

      There’s a reason Sanders’ online fundraising operation has caught the eye of Democratic Party leaders nationwide: He raised $3.2 million in just the two days after the last debate — roughly as much as O’Malley raised over June, July, August, and September combined.

    • Prominent Gun Advocate John Lott Was Twice Interviewed By Anti-Semitic Newspaper

      Lott is a well-known pro-gun advocate and frequent source of conservative misinformation about gun violence. He rose to prominence during the 1990s with the publication of his book, More Guns, Less Crime, although his conclusion that permissive gun laws reduce crime rates was later debunked by academics who found serious flaws in his research. (Reputable research indicates that permissive concealed carry laws do not reduce crime and may actually increase the occurrence of aggravated assault.)

    • Media Turn Civilian ISIS Victims in Beirut Into Hezbollah Human Shields

      When civilians are killed, media reaction is often contingent upon who did the killing and why. Instead of blanketly condemning such attacks, the bombing of civilians can be implicitly justified if those civilians were in the wrong place at the wrong time—say, in a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan, or, more recently, in a neighborhood in Lebanon.

      Two ISIS suicide bombers killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 230 in attacks on a heavily Shia Muslim community in Beirut on November 12. This was the worst attack on the city in years.

    • Right-Wing Media Immediately Criticize Obama After He Condemned Paris Attacks

      After President Obama condemned the attacks in Paris, France, calling the attacks “terror” and an “attack on all humanity,” right-wing media personalities immediately attacked Obama, in particular for not criticizing Islam.

    • Ben Carson: Please Believe Me When I Tell You I’m Psycho

      Probably because he’s ahead in the polls, attention is currently focused on Ben Carson’s distant relationship with the truth, most interestingly his story of getting offered a scholarship to West Point. It’s a ridiculous tale given the fact that many young Americans try to get into the military academies (I applied to Annapolis), so a lot of people know the real deal. If you gain acceptance after a grueling application process — I remember a battery of physicals that took all day and having to obtain a sponsorship from a member of Congress — tuition, room and board is free. But you’re committed to serving as a junior officer for six years after graduation.

    • Ben Carson’s New Book Contains Some Surprisingly Progressive Ideas
  • Censorship

    • Quebec Bets on Internet Blocking: New Bill Mandates ISP Blocking of Gambling Websites

      The Government of Quebec has introduced new legislation that requires Internet service providers to block access to unlicensed online gambling sites. The provisions are contained in an omnibus bill implementing elements of the government’s spring budget, which included a promise to establish website blocking requirements. The bill provides that “an Internet service provider may not give access to an online gambling site whose operation is not authorized under Québec law.” The government’s lottery commission will establish the list of banned websites:

    • Post arguing for separation of church and state gets pulled by Facebook

      Earlier this week, an administrator for a private Facebook group called “Winchester, MA Residents” received a notification from Facebook that a comment made on the group’s site had been removed.

      The comment was made beneath a controversial post about a local high school not using the pledge of allegiance, but what was unusual was that the comment in question neither incited violence nor was it harassing—in fact it seemed quite measured in its tone.

      ”Yeah that’s an unfortunate conflation of government and religion,” the commenter wrote. “I’m in favor of removing all references to god from all governmental documents and instruments, including our legal tender.”

      In the notification to the group administrator, Facebook said only that the post had been removed because it didn’t “follow the Facebook Community Standards.”

    • Pirate Bay Censorship Marks the End of Open Internet, ISP Warns

      The ISP under legal pressure to block The Pirate Bay in Sweden has criticized efforts to make the provider an accomplice in other people’s crimes. In a joint statement two key executives of Telenor / Bredbandsbolaget warn that folding to the wishes of private copyright holder interests could mark the beginning of the end for the open Internet.

    • Blocking The Pirate Bay (TPB), Similar Torrent Sites Is Severe Censorship & Will Lead To Demise of Open Internet

      Blocking The Pirate Bay and other file-sharing or torrent sites is glaring example of severe censorship that a Swedish internet service provider or ISP said will eventually curtail the free flow of information that users enjoy. Sweden denying access to TPB will doom the Open Internet concept, a new report said.

    • Can ISPs be asked to block access to The Pirate Bay?

      Can an internet service provider (ISP) be requested to block access to a torrent site like The Pirate bay?

    • Killing of journalists as the cheapest form of censorship

      When we look at the number of resolved crimes against journalists, it turns out that in more than 90 percent of murder cases, those killings are left unresolved, which keeps the executioners safe while the killing of journalist becomes one of the cheapest form of establishing censorship, along with blocking investigative journalism, preventing distribution of progressive ideas and opening the space for debate, etc.

    • When the campus PC police are conservative: why media ignored the free speech meltdown at William & Mary

      Conservative alumni, already suspicion of Nichol, saw this as the long-feared first strike against their heritage and the school’s rightfully Christian identity. They launched a grassroots campaign to pressure the college to reinstate the cross and, if necessary, fire Nichol.

      One of the organizers of this campaign was a former college board member. While writing for the student paper, I once found that she had been ghostwriting student op-eds criticizing Nichol, passing them off to conservative students and encouraging them to publish them in the school paper under their own names. When I asked her about it, she told me that if I reported what she’d done she would use her “connections” in Washington media to make sure I was “toxic” and thus would never find work as a journalist. I mention this not to insert myself into the story, but rather to illustrate that this larger campaign was not some high-minded intellectual debate but rather was experienced on campus as a bitter fight in which activist alumni were not above threatening students.

    • Students Fight Against Censorship in Indiana

      Members of the Portage High School Thespians had been rehearsing Bad Seed for two weeks when they received word from administrators that the play would have to be rewritten to expurgate references to drugs, alcohol, and sex. The students would have none of that.

    • How to deal with censorship? ‘Resist it’

      The best way to address censorship is to resist it, veteran Indonesian writer Goenawan Mohamad said.

    • Salman Khan on ‘religious intolerance’ and PRDP censorship
    • Shocking: Indian Television Censorship Rules That Won’t Let You Say ‘Sex’ And ‘Jesus’

      It was just another lazy afternoon when I was watching a rerun of one of the episodes of my favourite sitcom, Friends, when I heard the beeping of the word ‘boobies’ throughout the entire episode. In the 21st century, it is hard to believe that the ‘watchdogs’ of our Indian society would believe the audience to be this easily excitable when exposed to this word. Not only is it inconvenient for the viewers to watch the same, but it also downrightly rejects their level of intelligence.

    • Boycotting Sam Harris’s ads: Atheist freedom of speech vs. religious censorship

      The truth is, religious groups are granted a unique concession when it comes to the right to be offended. This is not so much about the battle between believers and non-believers, this is a battle between censorship and freedom of speech.

    • The censors must not win: Campus thought police have run amok — but all is not lost

      Yale and the University of Missouri both made headlines last week after students who started out passionately protesting allegations of racism and cultural insensitivity wound up attacking professors’ speech rights and freedom of the press.

    • Trigger or treat: Campus censorship

      The recent debates over free speech and “safe spaces” in the academy may have reached a watershed with last week’s debacle at Yale University, where a group of students had a meltdown over an email defending culturally “insensitive” Halloween costumes. Several video clips of a confrontation in which protesters mobbed a beleaguered administrator went viral on the Internet — serving, one hopes, as a wake-up call for the nation.

    • Protesting Censorship at MACBA, Trio Quits International Museum Committee’s Board
    • How free is the media in Turkey?

      The pre- and post-election period in Turkey has seen a mass of violations meted out against media workers. Here are just five examples of how press freedom is on the wane in Turkey

    • Iran’s Revolutionary Guards target popular messaging app in widening crackdown

      In recent weeks, Iran’s powerful hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has rounded up a number of artists, journalists and U.S. citizens, citing fears of Western “infiltration”.

    • Can Bitcoin Be Censorship-resistant and Regulatory-compliant At The Same Time?

      Over the past few years, there has been an interesting debate going on regarding how Bitcoin should position itself in the regulatory landscape. While the opinions are divided as to how the solution should look like, there may be a third solution hardly anyone has ever thought of. Sometimes it’s not about picking sides, but trying to collaborate with every party involved.

    • Why does Facebook keep censoring atheists in India?

      Three days ago a petition popped up on the website Change.org urging Mark Zuckerberg to “support freedom of expression in India” by unblocking an atheist Facebook group there with over 13,000 members.

      Facebook, the petition said, had not given any reason for the blockade. One day users in India who tried to visit the site were simply hit with a message that the content was “unavailable.” This was not the first time a Facebook page for atheists had been censored in the secular state. In June, another atheist Facebook group was reportedly labeled “unsafe” and its members were unable to share its content.

    • Spotify’s Political Censorship Should Worry Us All
    • Reddit Moderators Censor, Then Un-Censor Video on Campus Censorship

      A video from The Rubin Report discussing the growing culture of censorship on U.S. campuses was recently censored by a moderator on Reddit, despite its popularity among users.

    • A penis and ‘Hootie and the Blowfish’: Colbert’s art censorship bit was a classic

      Last night Stephen Colbert showed a penis on CBS’s The Late Show. Don’t worry, he showed it for only two seconds, the maximum length of time that the network’s censors would allow. He also attempted to show numerous sets of female primary and secondary sex organs, but they were blurred out. For those getting their knickers in a twist and preparing to complain to the FCC about how Colbert is corrupting your children (but, seriously, what were your kids doing up at 11.30pm on a school night?) all of these organs were on works of art. Yes, Colbert can show the statue of David, but only at far remove and only for two whole seconds because that is the country we Americans live in.

    • Watch Stephen Colbert Troll the Censors by Demonstrating What You Can and Can’t Show on CBS

      It’s no secret that TV censors can be arbitrary, bewildering, and sometimes downright goofy. But on Thursday’s Late Show, Stephen Colbert demonstrated just how bizarre—and specific—some of these policies can be. As he discussed the recent sale of Modigliani’s “Nu Couché” (“Reclining Nude”), Colbert noted that several networks, CBS included, won’t display the painting without blurring out, as Colbert put it, “both Hootie and the Blowfish.”

    • Stephen Colbert Answers the Age-Old Question: What Is Porn?
    • Stephen Colbert mocks CBS censorship on ‘The Late Show’ (Video)
    • Yes, The Censorship Of Nude Art Today Is Completely Arbitrary
    • Watch Stephen Colbert Explain CBS’ Odd Censorship Policy
    • Stephen Colbert dares to test the limits of TV censorship on the ‘Late Show’
    • Russia: Blasphemy law has aided the growth of religious censorship
    • Turkish government blocks Reddit
    • Turkey bans Reddit under Internet censorship law
    • Turkey bans access to Reddit under Internet censorship law
    • Turkey blocks Reddit through its internet censorship law
    • Reddit blocked in Turkey under Internet Censorship law
    • Turkey blocks Reddit under its Internet censorship law

      Turkey’s government has blocked Reddit under its Internet censorship law 5651. Under this law, the country’s officials are allowed to ban sites that contain content that is pirated, is pornographic in nature or contains criticism of the current President Mustafa Ataturk.

    • Turkey blocks access to Reddit under controversial censorship law
    • Publishers under pressure as China’s censors reach for red pen

      It was the scrawl of red ink snaking around paragraphs that told novelist Sheng Keyi how much things had changed. Just over a decade ago, Sheng’s best-selling breakthrough novel, Northern Girls, was published uncensored in mainland China to critical acclaim.

      But last month, as editors prepared to launch a third edition of the book, the author was informed that parts of her text were no longer publishable.

      “It is ridiculous,” Sheng complained, pointing to an editors’ manuscript on which a red ballpoint pen had been used to highlight sections that now needed excising. “It doesn’t feel like something that could happen in real life and it makes me quite angry.”

    • Censorship and Criticism

      Don’t get me wrong, my favorite comedian is Louis CK, probably one of the most offensive, least politically correct comedians ever. I personally love his jokes, but maybe others don’t, and guess what? That’s okay. I will not attempt to convince people otherwise. Not everyone likes what everyone else has to say, but labeling criticism of speech as an attack on freedom of speech is a bit overzealous. You can’t tell people what they can and cannot say, but you also can’t mandate how they should respond. We all come from differing backgrounds, which means some buttons are a bit easier to push than others. You might think a rape joke is “funny,” but a sexual assault survivor will not. (I would sincerely hope anyone reading thing does not find rape jokes funny, but, I don’t know, different strokes).

    • TPP trade pact spreads SOPA-like censorship worldwide

      Details of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement were finally released late last week following a secretive, seven-year negotiating process. The purported trade deal’s 6,194 pages of mind-numbing legalese actually cover a wide range of policy questions that have little to do with tariffs, imports, or exports — including a chapter on intellectual property that will likely dismay supporters of an open Internet.

      President Obama may boast that the trade bill eliminates more than 18,000 taxes that countries impose on U.S. exports, but TPP also enshrines the very measures sought by SOPA, a controversial copyright infringement bill that failed in Congress three years ago.

    • Quebec Moves Closer to Censoring Online Gambling
    • Quebec plan to block gambling sites draws cries of censorship

      Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao tabled legislation on Thursday to implement the provincial budget that was announced in March, including amendments to the province’s Consumer Protection Act that direct Internet service providers (ISPs) to “block access” to a list of “unauthorized gambling sites” to be drawn up by Loto-Québec. Failure to comply could lead to a fine of up to $100,000 and twice that for subsequent offences.

    • Making Movies for Democracy in Myanmar

      Myanmar’s government has been notorious for its censorship.

    • As Myanmar counts votes, a Yangon musician pushes political music past censors

      American musicians have it tough, but try making it work in Myanmar. To be an artist in the isolated Southeast Asian country is to face nearly impossible barriers. The Internet is spotty, the music scene virtually nonexistent and every original song must still be approved for release by a government-affiliated censorship board.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • “Heads up, Quentin Tarantino”: Fox News’ Bolling ominously warns “everyone thinks they don’t need a cop until they do”

      Days after the head of the largest police union in the country issued a threat to filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, warning that “something is in the works” after the director dared to speak out against police brutality, Fox News Eric Bolling followed suit, reminding Tarantino that “everyone thinks they don’t need a cop until they do.”

      Bolling, co-host of “The Five,” has repeatedly railed against Tarantino for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Tarantino has recently come under conservative fire after speaking at an anti-police brutality protest last month.

      “Remember the two guys who were executed over here in Brooklyn? In days after that, that protest. People, as Dana [Perino] points out, people look up to Quentin Tarantino,” Bolling asked during a recent show. “They look up to Hollywood actors and directors, and it feeds into that narrative. Cop violence is going up.”

    • Why Hackers Must Eject the SJWs

      The hacker culture, and STEM in general, are under ideological attack. Recently I blogged a safety warning that according to a source I consider reliable, a “women in tech” pressure group has made multiple efforts to set Linus Torvalds up for a sexual assault accusation. I interpreted this as an attempt to beat the hacker culture into political pliability, and advised anyone in a leadership position to beware of similar attempts.

    • Leak Hypocrisy: CIA Employee, Contractor Who Committed Security Breaches Weren’t Prosecuted

      The CIA was relentless in their pursuit of CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who confirmed the name of an undercover operative to a reporter and was successfully prosecuted and jailed by the Justice Department. However, at least one CIA employee and one CIA contractor committed similar breaches of classified information and were not put on trial by the United States government.

      VICE News journalist Jason Leopold obtained documents from the Office of the Inspector General at the CIA, which show the OIG completed 111 investigations of alleged crimes between January 2013 and 2014.

      The Justice Department, according to Leopold, “declined to prosecute a case in lieu of CIA administrative action involving a CIA Special Activities Staff employee who ‘misused government systems by conducting unauthorized, non-official searches on sensitive Agency databases.’ The employee was warned “on more than one occasion to cease [the] behavior but [the employee] continued to conduct unauthorized searches.’”

    • In terrorism war, as in domestic crime fight, lawful policing matters [Ed: Pro-NSA, pro-surveillance]
    • Elite fed interrogation unit training local police, other agencies

      The U.S. government’s elite interrogation unit, formed in the aftermath of the al-Qaeda suspect torture scandal, has been providing extensive training to local police, other federal agencies and friendly foreign governments.

      Since its creation in 2009, the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, overseen by the FBI with members drawn from the bureau, Defense Department and CIA, has sponsored instruction and research for at least 40 agencies, including the Los Angeles and Philadelphia police departments.

      While members of the so-called HIG have been involved in controversial encounters with terror suspects, including interrogations aboard U.S. war ships, HIG Director Frazier Thompson asserted that the group’s techniques bear no resemblance to the abusive treatment exposed following the capture of al-Qaeda suspects wanted for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks and during the Iraq War.

    • A Plan to Close Guantánamo Is Coming, Just Not This Week

      Another week has gone by, and the White House still has not rolled out its long-awaited plan to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

      Chatter that the release was imminent picked up over the past week after defense and White House officials said they expected the Obama administration to deliver the document to Congress soon, likely by Friday. But several defense officials confirmed to Foreign Policy on Friday that the plan will not come this week, and they are unsure when President Barack Obama will sign off on it.

    • Police Body Camera Issues and Concerns

      According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, while the federal government is pushing local and state law enforcement agencies to use body cameras for their law enforcement officers, federal law enforcement officers are not using such cameras when performing their own LE duties. According to the article, this is because the federal government hasn’t adapted policies for the use of body cams and the storage of the video.

    • Lee Robert Moore, Secret Service member, arrested on child-sex charges

      A Secret Service officer attached to the White House has been arrested on suspicion of soliciting a child for sex, CNN reported Thursday afternoon.

      Lee Robert Moore turned himself in to federal authorities in Maryland on Monday and has admitted his guilt.

      According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware, Mr. Moore, 37, sent nude pictures of himself and lewd messages to a “14-year-old girl” who was actually an undercover cop. He also asked to meet the “girl” in person for sex.

    • Obama’s Double-Standard on Leaks

      Though President Obama touts America as a nation of laws and evenhanded justice, there is a blatant double-standard regarding how people are punished for national security breaches – whistleblowers are harshly punished but the well-connected get a pass, writes John Hanrahan.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • T-Mobile is writing the manual on how to fuck up the internet

      T-Mobile has just announced “Binge On,” a deal that gives customers unlimited access to Netflix, HBO Go, ESPN, Showtime, and video from most other huge media brands (but not YouTube!). It’s just like T-Mobile’s “Music Freedom” promotion, which gives customers unlimited high-speed data, as long as they’re listening to music from Spotify, Google Play Music, or one of T-Mobile’s other partners. It sounds like a sweet deal, and many customers will benefit! But it’s dangerous for the internet. When John Herrman writes that the next internet is TV — and you should believe him — this is part of how we get there. You know that viral picture that shows ISP internet bundles being sold as cable packages? That’s basically what’s happening here, except it’s more difficult to stop because, as the FCC might say, there’s “no obvious consumer harm” in giving people free stuff.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • U.S. and MPAA Protest Return of Megaupload’s Servers

        A possible release of Megaupload’s servers, containing millions of files of former users as well as critical evidence for Kim Dotcom’s defense, is still far away. Responding to questions from the federal court, the MPAA says that it’s gravely concerned about the copyrighted works stored on there. The U.S. Government, meanwhile, doesn’t want Megaupload to use ‘illicit’ money to retrieve any data.

      • The Reprobel decision: fair compensation justified by actual harm (so is it OK to have a levy-free private copying exception?)

        This reference originated in the context of litigation between Hewlett-Packard (HP) and collective management rights organisation Reprobel.

        In 2004 the latter informed HP that the sale of multifunction devices entailed payment of a levy of EUR 49.20 per printer, and – from what this Kat understands – this should apply retrospectively.

        In 2010 HP summoned Reprobel before the Court of First Instance of Brussels, seeking a declaration that no remuneration was owed for the printers which it had offered for sale, or, in the alternative, that the remuneration which it had paid corresponded to the fair compensation owed pursuant to the Belgian legislation, interpreted in the light of the InfoSoc Directive.

11.14.15

Red Hat and BlackBerry: Companies That Use Linux But Also Hoard Software Patents and Use These Against Rivals in the Linux Space

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Patents, Red Hat, Servers at 12:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

On carving out parts of the market using patent monopolies…

“Inventive people [at Novell] write more software patents per capita than anywhere else.”

Jeff Jaffe, Novell’s CTO before these patents got passed to CPTN (Linux foes)

Summary: The use of a patent portfolio in the Free software world for divisive and discriminatory purposes, as demonstrated by Red Hat in servers and BlackBerry in phones

IN OUR previous articles which mentioned Microsoft’s patent agreement with Red Hat [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] we noted that:

  1. The patent “standstill” (implies temporary and falsely insinuates there was a two-way war) applies only to Red Hat and its customers, unless Red Hat can prove otherwise;
  2. The deal does not shield Red Hat and and its customers from satellites of Microsoft.

“We both know we have very different positions on software patents. We weren’t expecting each other to compromise.”
      –Paul Cormier, Red Hat
Well, we are still waiting for Red Hat’s lawyers to speak out (Tiller and Piana were involved in this) or for Red Hat’s management to get back to us (if it decides to). They need to go “open” (like an “Open Organization” [sic]), or at least clarify in some other way what exactly Red Hat did with Microsoft regarding patents. The FAQ is far too vague and it raises more questions than it answers. If we don’t hear some time later this month, we shall assume that Red Hat is hiding something and we’ll rally Free software people (urging them to comment on this subject), set up a public petition, etc. Transparency is extremely important here. This new article quotes Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s president for products and technologies, as saying: “We both know we have very different positions on software patents. We weren’t expecting each other to compromise.”

Well, both are applying for software patents, so it’s not clear what he meant by that. Also, they compromised only among themselves; what about other entities that use the same software as Red Hat does? Are they too enjoying a patent “standstill”? Probably not. Only says ago Microsoft extorted — using patents — yet another company that was using Linux (Android was mentioned in the announcement).

“Nothing prevents Intellectual Ventures from going after Red Hat just like Acacia repeatedly did, so it’s a fool’s settlement.”What has Red Hat really achieved here? It was a selfish deal and the inclusion of patents in it was totally spurious; it does a lot more harm than good. Ian Bruce, Novell’s PR Director, once said that the Novell/Microsoft package “provides IP peace of mind for organizations operating in mixed source environments.”

Meanwhile, the Microsoft-friendly media gives a platform to the world’s biggest patent troll, Intellectual Ventures, without even calling it “patent troll”. This troll recently sued a lot of companies that distributed Linux. Nothing prevents Intellectual Ventures from going after Red Hat just like Acacia repeatedly did, so it’s a fool’s settlement.

“Remember that BlackBerry habitually speaks about using patents for revenue and for market advantage.”Speaking of potential patent dangers to Linux, recall that BlackBerry pays Microsoft for patents (including FAT, which relates to TomTom/Linux) and recall our articles about BlackBerry potentially becoming a troll [1, 2, 3, 4]. Some people’s loyalty to this Canadian brand and its newfound support for Android can blind them to the risk which BlackBerry remains, especially because of its patents stockpile.

This new article [1, 2] serves to remind us that BlackBerry still has “Software And Patent Monetization” in mind (we covered this some weeks ago, quoting the CEO). This means that, failing the strategy with Priv and Venice (BlackBerry’s Android devices and Linux-centric strategy), it could end up like Sony-Ericsson, suing Android players whilst also selling their own (unsuccessful) Android handsets.

“BlackBerry is proprietary to the core.”Remember that BlackBerry habitually speaks about using patents for revenue and for market advantage. Also remember that BlackBerry is not — at least not yet — an Android company. BlackBerry is proprietary to the core. “The QNX division could also face higher competition from open source software such as Linux,” wrote a financial site, “which many customers find more flexible and economical, limiting its potential in the burgeoning IoT and connected device market. For instance, Tesla reportedly uses Linux for its Model S sedan.”

Don’t be too shocked if BlackBerry eventually sells its patents to hostile actors, asserts them against competitors that use Android, or uses aggressive lawyers to compel various OEMs to remove features from their Android devices (both hardware and software features).

Law education

“I’ve heard from Novell sales representatives that Microsoft sales executives have started calling the Suse Linux Enterprise Server coupons “royalty payments”…”

Matt Asay, April 21st, 2008

Firms of Patent Lawyers Continue Their Battle to Restore Software Patentability in the United States

Posted in Law, Patents at 10:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[The EPO] can’t distinguish between hardware and software so the patents get issued anyway.”

Marshall Phelps, Microsoft

Sitting lawyer

Summary: The biggest parasites in the software domain (not patent trolls but lawyers who help instantiate weapons for patent aggressors large and small) are looking for new and ‘creative’ ways to bypass the rules

THE USPTO and SCOTUS have both come to terms with the fact that software patents aren’t a defensible feeding frenzy. The EPO will need to realise this too, but that’s a story for another day. Is started with Bilski versus David Kappos (a software patents booster) and now we have Alice, which has vast implications for every company which still believes in software patenting as a business strategy (Trading Technologies for instance).

Jacek Wnuk has this new article in lawyers’ media. He explains the history of software patents and then offers “strategies” for getting them. Patent lawyers generally like giving tips to other patent lawyers on how to cheat the system and patent software even when there’s precedence against them. Here is Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP doing it. Watch them complain about the status quo: “One of the main functions of law should be to provide relatively predictable rules that allow people to order their affairs with as much certainty as possible. The development of patent law in the field of software, however, has not provided the relative predictability that minimizes unnecessary patent prosecution and litigation costs. The courts have not given much guidance on what constitutes an “abstract idea”2 but have made “abstract idea” one of the key criteria for subject matter eligibility under 35 U.S.C. § 101, and this situation has produced real-world detriments. Innovators waste money and time either seeking patents they should not seek or defending themselves from patents that should be invalid. This article proposes a new rule for software patent eligibility that could help b1ing more clarity to the field.”

What they mean to say is not “more clarity” but more business for themselves. It’s about money. Some companies ceased pursuing patents on software, so patent lawyers already feel the pinch.

Looking more closely at Wnuk’s long article, here is how he framed the situation: “The Supreme Court finally returned its attention to the “abstract idea” question by affirming its importance in a narrow 2010 ruling rejecting a patent application directed to hedging energy investment risks, Bilski v. Kappos, 561 U.S. 593 (2010). In 2014, the Supreme Court modified the “abstract idea” subject matter eligibility rule by asserting that an abstract idea could, in fact, be patentable, so long as the patent application in question claims “significantly more” than the abstract idea, which the Court decided was not present in several patent applications directed to formulation and trading of risk management contracts. Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International, 573 U.S. ___ (2014).”

Fast-forwarding to 2015, Wnuk writes: “For patent practitioners, the Supreme Court’s Alice decision produced more questions than answers, as the Court expressly declined to define “something more” and stated that it “need not labor to delimit the precise contours of the ‘abstract ideas’ category.”

“The USPTO stepped in by publishing two sets of “abstract idea” examples based alternately on caselaw and on hypothetical claims. The first set of examples was published in January 27, 2015 (“Abstract Idea Examples”, Examples 1-5) and the second on July 30, 2015 (“July 2015 PTO Update Appendix 1: Examples”, Examples 21-27).

“The table below identifies and categorizes the examples provided by the USPTO in January and July of 2015 based on their patentability or unpatentability, and based on the reasoning provided therefore. Some examples are categorized under multiple columns where the USPTO provided multiple claims with different conclusions.”

We wish to highlight the fact that patent lawyers are big enemies here. They are trying to find clever new ways to perpetuate software patentability, defying a high court’s decision and also ignoring what software developers actually want.

Patent lawyers are — bluntly speaking — parasites.

“Other than Bill Gates, I don’t know of any high tech CEO that sits down to review the company’s IP portfolio”

Marshall Phelps, Microsoft

Microsoft BitLocker Has Bug/Back Doors, Windows Laptop/Desktop Encryption Just a Farce

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 9:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It doesn’t even look tough

Unlocked door

Summary: Unlocking the bogus encryption of the proprietary (secret code) BitLocker is surprisingly trivial, as Ian Haken has just revealed and demonstrated at Black Hat Europe

WE previously showed that BitLocker was not designed for security because of government intervention. Microsoft ‘encryption’ and ‘security’ patches are basically intended for an illusion of security — not real security – because Microsoft sits on zero-day flaws with the NSA. In simple terms, Microsoft ensures that the NSA and its affiliates have ways by which to remotely exploit Microsoft-made software and there is nothing that people can do to protect themselves from this, except deletion of Microsoft-made software.

“There is no patch for this and all BitLocker instances to date are affected.”Microsoft encryption continues to be an utter joke if one takes this article seriously. “A researcher” — one who is not from Microsoft — is said to have “disclosed a trivial Windows authentication bypass that puts data on BitLocker-encrypted laptops at risk.” There is no patch for this and all BitLocker instances to date are affected. Remember COFEE? Microsoft basically assumes that all people are criminals and it shows.

For those who think about relying on patches, caution is advised. Microsoft patches are broken again and users are advised not to apply them. This includes last Tuesday’s security patches, which helped reveal Microsoft’s ‘enterprise’ ‘professional’ ‘quality’:

The El Reg inbox has been flooded with reports of a serious cock-up by Microsoft’s patching squad, with one of Tuesday’s fixes causing killer problems for Outlook.

“We are looking into reports from some customers who are experiencing difficulties with Outlook after installing Windows KB 3097877. An immediate review is under way,” a Microsoft spokesperson told us.

The problem is with software in one of the four critical patches issued in yesterday’s Patch Tuesday bundle – MS15-115. This was supposed to fix a flaw in the way Windows handles fonts, but has had some unexpected side effects for some Outlook users.

“Today I’ve deployed latest Outlook patch to all of my clients, and now Outlook is crashing every 10 minutes and then restarting itself. I tried on fresh Win10, no AV with latest patches applied and here we go, Outlook crashing there too,” complained one TechNet user.

“Come on guys, do you EVER do proper QA before releasing anything Office 2013 related? This is the worst version of Outlook ever. Sorry for negative attitude but this is how things are.”

People should remember that Outlook (Webmail) itself has back doors, so for anything that requires a level of privacy (not just legal work and journalism) Windows must be avoided. Microsoft is a foe of privacy and it’s not an accident. Vista 10 takes privacy violations to a whole new level.

“Two security researchers have developed a new technique that essentially bypasses all of the memory protection safeguards in the Windows Vista operating system…”

Dennis Fisher, August 7th, 2008

11.13.15

New Academic Paper Explains Why Europe Has Virtually No Patent Trolls, Italian Patent Troll Sisvel Makes a Comeback, Patent Lawyers Belittle the Problem

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 6:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brian J. LovePhoto source: Brian J. Love’s official page

Summary: Analysis regarding patent trolls explains why Europe is so different from the United States and shows that academics think differently from patent lawyers, who basically monetise patent chaos

A new paper, titled “Patent Assertion Entities in Europe”, is about to be published and presented by Brian J. Love from Santa Clara University School of Law, Christian Helmers, Fabian Gaessler, and Maximilian Ernicke (the latter are associated with European universities or other institutions). It has already been mentioned by James Bessen (prolific and influential writer in this area [1, 2, 3, 4]) and opponents of software patents and patent trolls in Europe (to whom the EPO is increasingly helping). The paper’s asbstract is as follows: “This book chapter presents the findings of an empirical study of U.K. and German patent litigation involving patent assertion entities (PAEs). Overall, we find that PAEs account for roughly ten percent of patent suits filed in these countries during the time periods covered by our study: 2000-2013 for the UK and 2000-2008 for Germany. We also present a variety of additional data on the characteristics of European PAE suits and PAE-asserted patents and, finally, consider what our findings suggest are the most important reasons PAEs tend to avoid European courts. We conclude that, while many factors likely contribute to the relative scarcity of PAEs in Europe, the continent’s fee-shifting regimes stand out as a key deterrent to patent monetization.”

“We conclude that, while many factors likely contribute to the relative scarcity of PAEs in Europe, the continent’s fee-shifting regimes stand out as a key deterrent to patent monetization.”
      –Brian J. Love et al
We hope that decision-making politicians will pay attention to this; the patent maximalists from IAM (profiting from anarchic wars over patents) call the European patent troll Sisvel [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] an “NPE”. Why are they calling a troll “NPE”? Because they try to legitimise the status quo and make what they profit a lot from seem acceptable. Sisvel is an Italian patent troll which we previously called the "European Patent Mafia" and a “German court awards injunction to [this troll] in first post-Huawei v ZTE standard essential patent decision,” according to this article. It’s based on a new announcement and it says: “A press release sent out this afternoon by German law firm Arnold Ruess reveals that its client Sisvel, the Italian patent licensing business, has secured a significant victory in the German courts. In the country’s first decision relating to FRAND and standards essential patents (SEPs) since the European Court of Justice’s judgment in the Huawei v ZTE case, Sisvel has been granted injunctions after the Düsseldorf Regional Court found that its patents had been infringed by Chinese company Haier.”

Meanwhile, other patent lawyers also try to defend patent trolls (or NPEs as the lawyers call them). Here is one who will be “speaking at the upcoming IAM Patent Law and Policy event on November 17, 2015, in Washington, DC.” She dismisses the labeling/stereotyping of many notorious entities, insisting that they are not patent trolls. To quote:

The “patent troll” narrative — fueled by anecdotal tales of mom-and-pop operations snared by fraudulent patent suits and the image of ugly green trolls paraded from the House floor to the White House – became the conventional wisdom on patents almost overnight. As readers of IPWatchdog know well, the only “data” offered to support the narrative were compiled from surveys with unscientific methodologies, nonrandomized survey bases and ill-defined notions of a “troll” that swept in universities, small inventors and anyone who owned a patent but didn’t manufacture, market and distribute the related product.

Well, that is by definition a patent troll. We have seen patent lawyers and trolls’ apologists insisting that even world’s largest patent troll (Intellectual Ventures) is not a patent troll. That was some days ago in Twitter; it happened as a result of this article of ours. Software patents boosters (profiteers or proponents who are patent lawyers) define “trolls” the way that suits their financial agenda and if terminology was left for them to decide on, no patent sharks and patent trolls would exist at all. They already distort popular languages and legal terminology with a lot of their euphemisms. Should we continue to let them have their way? Brian J. Love refers to patent trolls as “PAEs”, but why not use familiar (and popular) terms like “patent trolls”? Do these not sound professional enough? Will a peer review process suppress these?

“Software patents boosters (profiteers or proponents who are patent lawyers) define “trolls” the way that suits their financial agenda and if terminology was left for them to decide on, no patent sharks and patent trolls would exist at all.”The US has a very serious patent trolls problem. Public discourse including politicians and a top judge use the term “patent trolls”. Let’s insist on the use of this term. “Lawyers rank East Texas as worst jurisdiction in US,” wrote a patent trolls opposition group, “based on judges’ low impartiality scores.” The EFF hopes to shut it down, but patent lawyers just keep pretending that no such problem exist. They refuse to even use the term “patent trolls”.

GOP-centric sites are meanwhile trying to frame patent aggressors like Apple as the victims of patent trolls, with narratives like this one which says: “Remember how one small business spent $100,000 to tackle a single frivolous patent lawsuit? Imagine being Apple, which has to deal with over 800 of them every year. That means that if Apple fought every single one of those and won, it’d still spend close to $80 million. In fact, even paying a lowball settlement cost for such lawsuits would still end up costing millions. That’s millions of dollars that could be spent on jobs or research and development every year.”

The reality of the matter is, the principal victims of patent trolls are small businesses and groups of software developers, to whom an attack by one single troll can be the cause of bankruptcy. We shouldn’t let patent lawyers dominate the media and claim that patent trolls don’t exist and aren’t a problem of high severity. They most certainty are, and their weapon of choice is software patents.

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