Links 22/4/2016: New Stable Kernels, Nvidia 364.19 Driver

Posted in News Roundup at 7:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Cloud Apps: 65 Cloudy Apps

    Open source cloud apps are the wave of the future — and the present. Cloud computing itself is no longer just a buzzword, it’s becoming simply the ways things are done. IDC predicts that public cloud spending will grow from $70 billion in 2015 to more than $141 billion in 2019, a compound annual growth rate of 19.4 percent. That is six times faster growth than the firm expects to see for IT spending as a whole.

    The open source community is playing a major role in the growth of the cloud with projects like OpenStack, CloudStack and others providing some of the fundamental building blocks that enable both public and private cloud computing. In addition, many open source project owners make cloud-hosted versions of their software available on a software as a service (SaaS) basis, which gives them a way to monetize their projects and simplifies deployment and support for users.

  • EBSCO Supports New Open Source Project

    Software for academic libraries will be developed collaboratively

  • Putting open source to work

    A few years ago, at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention, I talked about the fact that it’s a mistake only to look at companies that have implicitly monetized open source when thinking about the commercial open source ecosystem; there are many others who have built their businesses on open source software, and you wouldn’t know it to look at them. This is even truer today. You’d be hard pressed to find a single business that doesn’t rely on open source for some part of its operations.


    Open source technologies are now an integral part of the enterprise. The people, companies, and technologies have changed. Developers face new challenges, and the stack has grown infinitely more complex.

  • The gift economy at the heart of open source
  • Open Source Kafka Connect Adds More Than a Dozen Connectors

    Confluent, founded by the creators of Apache™ Kafka™, today announced growing support within the Kafka and Confluent Partner ecosystem to build and deploy new, Confluent-certified connectors through Kafka Connect. Since Kafka Connect was released in February, Confluent, Kafka core committers, the open source community and ecosystem partners have developed more than a dozen connectors including HDFS, JDBC, Cassandra and S3, with more in development from leading technology companies. Now, Kafka developers can quickly and easily connect various data sources into their stream data platforms.

  • A Protocol for Dying [Ed: Former FFII President]

    Technically, I have metastasis of bile duct cancer, in both lungs. Since February I’ve had this dry cough, and been increasingly tired and unfocused on work. In March my Father died and we rushed around arranging that. My cough took a back seat. On April 8 I went to my oncologist to say that I was really not well. She organized a rush CAT scan and blood tests.


    My kids are twelve, nine, five. Tragic, etc. etc. Growing up without a father. It is a fact. They will grow up with me in their DNA, on Youtube as endless conference talks, and in writing.

  • Automate your home with openHAB

    OpenHAB is an open source automation platform designed to use a pluggable architecture, which means that new devices and protocols can be added easily. This pluggability extends also to the persistence layer, so your system can maintain its state information on your choice of platform

  • OpenIndiana 2016.04 Released To Let OpenSolaris Live On

    OpenIndiana 2016.04 has been released as the newest version of this operating system based on Illumos and originally derived from OpenSolaris.

    OpenIndiana Hipster 2016.04 is the project’s first OS release in a half-year. Unfortunately, there aren’t many details about the new release. The release announcement simply says, “As always, there were a lot of changes since last snapshot.”

  • SaaS/Back End

    • OpenStack Summit in Austin is almost here!

      OpenStack comes home to Austin on Monday for the OpenStack Summit! I will be there with plenty of other Rackers to learn, collaborate, and share our story.

    • How the science of happiness can improve OpenStack teams

      What does the science of happiness have to do with OpenStack? As it turns out, a lot. An international community of contributors works on OpenStack, so the overall health of the large pool of community members influences the direction of OpenStack projects. In this interview, OpenStack Summit speaker Alexis Monville (Director, Improvement & Dissemination of the Red Hat Cloud Innovation Practice) explains how contributors can increase their happiness on individual and team levels, and he offers a few resources for building healthier teams.

    • What’s the total cost of ownership for an OpenStack cloud?

      Technical discussions around OpenStack, its features, and adoption are copious. Customers, specifically their finance managers, have a bigger question: “What will OpenStack really cost me?” OpenStack is open source, but its adoption and deployment incur costs otherwise. So, what is the OpenStack TCO (total cost of ownership)? There has been no systematic answer to this question—until now. Massimo Ferrari and Erich Morisse, strategy directors at Red Hat, embarked on a project to calculate the TCO of OpenStack-based private cloud over the years of its useful life.

    • Yahoo Japan plans to build world’s largest open source private cloud

      Yahoo Japan has partnered with Pivotal to create what it calls the world’s largest private cloud platform built on open source technology. The site will run Pivotal’s Cloud Foundry on OpenStack.

    • TCS launches Network Function Virtualization (NFV) Management framework

      Tata Consultancy Services announced the launch of Mobile Network Function Virtualization (NFV) Management framework for anytime – anywhere monitoring and management for Red Hat OpenStack Platform.

    • Is open source the only road for NFV?

      Every vendor and operator seeking to play in the new world of virtualization and software -defined networking (SDN) must claim to be ‘open’. One of the driving motives for carriers to move towards a software-dominated environment is to escape the old proprietary platforms and lock-ins.

    • From Concept to Cloud: How to Leverage Open Tools

      There are many ongoing projects for producing free open source-related documentation, such as FLOSS Manuals, and there are good guides to open source tools all around the Internet.

    • On the Artificial Intelligence Front, Open Source Tools are Proliferating

      If you ask many people to name the technology categories that are creating sweeping change right now, cloud computing and Big Data analytics would probably be top of mind for a lot of them. However, there is an absolute renaissance going on right now in the field of artificial intelligence and the closely related field of machine learning.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • JavaZone Sells Open Source in TV Parodies

      When I found out that I was going to have the opportunity to substitute for Phil Shapiro for today’s video column, I jumped at the chance. Why? Because I want to share with you one of the great TV parodies that the JavaZone conference produces each year.

  • Healthcare

    • Open source machine learning tools as good as humans in detecting cancer cases

      Machine learning has come of age in public health reporting according to researchers from the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. They have found that existing algorithms and open source machine learning tools were as good as, or better than, human reviewers in detecting cancer cases using data from free-text pathology reports. The computerized approach was also faster and less resource intensive in comparison to human counterparts.

    • Machine learning can help detect presence of cancer, improve public health reporting

      To support public health reporting, the use of computers and machine learning can better help with access to unstructured clinical data–including in cancer case detection, according to a recent study.

  • Funding


  • Public Services/Government

    • Lower costs nudge Irish police towards open source

      Ireland’s police force, An Garda Síochána, is tentatively considering using the open source version of SugarCMR for more of its web services. The police force has been using the software for its eVetting project since 2013, after comparing its costs and support options with proprietary alternatives.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • UI faculty move toward open source text

        University of Idaho students may soon find themselves among the 1.2 million of their peers saving big money on required texts, thanks to an organization offering open source alternatives to pricey books.

      • UI celebrates Open Education Week as movement to adopt open resources picks up pace

        With the beginning of every new semester, one thing never seems to change — college textbooks are expensive, heavy, mostly required and often useless.

        At the University of Idaho, many are trying to do their part to ease that burden and Open Education Week is an attempt to demonstrate that.

        ASUI President Max Cowan said signing onto a partnership with OpenStax is one step forward the university has made this semester.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Not just for software: Bringing open-source philosophy to hardware

        Zannos spoke about Google’s announcement and what that foreshadows for OpenPOWER. “Google obviously is talking about Power9 [an IBM processor] and announced some plans that they’ll continue to share over time,” he said, adding that this speaks broadly to the wide adoption of alternative platforms.

  • Programming/Development

    • With the Rise of DevOps, Perl Shows Its Muscle

      Perl is seeing a real revival in interest. Why? Because Perl is a fantastic DevOps tool. With the rise of DevOps, Perl has once again solidified its long held reputation as the duct tape of the Internet.

      Since February 2016 Perl is back in the top 10 of the TIOBE Index and in the most recent monthly year-on-year comparison sees a healthy gain of 1.18%.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Maxwell moves on from GDS to national technology advisor role

      New position will see former government CTO expand government relationships with digital and technology industry to boost UK digital economy

      Government chief technology officer Liam Maxwell is to leave his role to take up a new post as national technology advisor.

      Maxwell’s new role is intended to beef up the government’s relationships with the digital and technical industry to boost the UK’s digital economy and provide better public services for citizens.

    • LocalGovDigital agrees 15 service standards

      Agile methodologies, consistency with other government digital services, open standards and making use of common platforms are among the key features of the final draft of the Digital Service Standard for local government, which was released by the practitioners’ group LocalGovDigital late last week.


  • Microsoft’s quiet attack on Google with Windows 10 appears to be working
  • Science

  • Layoffs

    • Microsoft shares drop as results miss expectations

      Shares in Microsoft dropped more than 5 per cent after the software company reported lower than expected revenues and earnings for its fiscal third quarter.

    • Intel’s lay-offs and how they may affect start-ups in Silicon Forest

      These announced lay-offs are part of Intel’s plan to move away, belatedly perhaps, from its reliance on the personal computer industry, in favor of such new growing markets as the internet of things, data centers, gaming, and programmable chips. While the jury is still out whether Intel will ultimately succeed in this pivoting of the company in the direction of these new markets, it is presumed that these centers of R&D activity will generate a lot of Intel-originating patent and related work.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Let’s Encrypt Reaches 2,000,000 Certificates

      Earlier today, the Let’s Encrypt certificate authority issued its two millionth certificate, less than two months after the millionth certificate. As we noted when the millionth certificate was issued, each certificate can cover several web sites, so the certificates Let’s Encrypt has issued are already protecting millions and millions of sites.

    • Hackers Make This Search Engine Out Of 70 Million Voters’ Data

      Did you ever imagine an easily-browsable hacked data available to public and that too in the form of a search engine? Well, here is one of those interesting hacking cases where hackers made a search engine out of the hacked data of the 70 million citizens of Philippines and anyone can easily search for everybody else.

    • How Big Is Your Target?

      In his 2014 TED presentation Cory Doctorow compares an open system of development to the scientific method and credits the methods for bringing mankind out of the dark ages. Tim Berners-Lee has a very credible claim to patent the technology that runs the internet, but instead has championed for its open development. This open development has launched us forward into a brave new world. Nearly one third of all internet traffic rides on just one openly developed project. Its place of dominance may be unsure as we approach a world with cybersecurity headlines. Those headlines do much to feed the industry of fear resulting in government efforts to close doors on open source efforts.

      This paper is a qualitative theoretical discussion regarding cyber security and open source solutions written in three parts. Its goal is to demonstrate that the use of open source technologies reduces vulnerability to cyber attacks. The first part of this paper identifies the difficulties in presenting a software consideration model capable of illustrating the full spectrum of expectations for the performance of today’s code. Previous models merely address basic requirements for execution namely security, functionality & usability. While these aspects are important they fail to take into account modern requirements for maintenance, scalability, price, reliability and accessibility of software. This part of the paper modernizes the model developed by Andrew Waite and presents a clear model for software discussion.

    • 5 Features to Look For In A Next-Generation Firewall

      Sure, the term next-generation firewall (NGFW) has been around since 2007 and the vendors have been hyping these products for a close to a decade.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • How a Simple Request Got Me Blacklisted by the Pentagon

      The Department of Defense has a lot of problems — a series of wars in Iraq that never seem to fully end, a conflict in Afghanistan that just won’t end, quasi-wars in Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia with no end in sight; a proliferation of terror groups around the globe; and its numerous failed, failing, and scuttled training efforts to create local proxy armies.

    • Senator Says Bombing Yemen Is Distracting Saudis From Fighting Terror

      AS PRESIDENT OBAMA meets with Gulf State leaders in Riyadh, Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., is questioning the Saudi commitment to fighting Al Qaeda and ISIS, warning that the war in Yemen is distracting Saudi Arabia from operations against extremists.

      The White House has defended Saudi Arabia as an “effective national security partner.” Responding to a question about Yemen on Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that the “United States and Saudi Arabia have worked together to apply pressure to Al Qaeda plotters in Yemen.”

      But at a Brookings Institution discussion about the U.S.-Saudi relationship on Thursday, Murphy questioned the kingdom’s commitment to combating Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and ISIS, in light of the war in Yemen.

    • Obama Should Go to Hiroshima, But Not Empty Handed

      Clearly, Secretary Kerry was deeply moved, calling it “gut-wrenching” and saying “everyone” including his boss, President Barack Obama, should go there. While Kerry said he would tell the president this when he gets back to Washington, he refrained from publicly advocating the president go to Hiroshima next month when the G-7 economic summit convenes in Japan.

    • Playing Off Europe’s Muslim Fears

      Turkey and the Islamic State are exploiting the Syrian refugee flow into Europe to achieve their own ends, playing off the Continent’s fear of what a Muslim influx will do to political stability, explains Andrés Cala.

    • Obama’s UK visit: The hostile reception for US president over Brexit vote ‘meddling’

      US President Barack Obama arrives in the UK on Thursday to urge the British public to vote to ‘remain’ in the European Union in the June 23 Brexit referendum. Since the presidential visit was announced, however, critics have told him to “butt out.”

      His appearance will be welcomed by the pro-EU campaign and Prime Minister David Cameron.

      Obama is expected to reiterate his view that Britain’s “special relationship” with the US is best served by remaining in the union.

    • Trump’s Putin Fantasy

      More extraordinary still, Trump has indicated, in his selection last month of Carter Page as a foreign policy adviser, that American policy to Europe will be guided by Russian interests. Page, heretofore known as an adviser to Russia’s state gas company, has been among the prominent Americans spreading Russian propaganda about Ukraine’s revolution in 2014 and the Russian invasion that followed. In his writings he has questioned Ukraine’s status as an independent state, which is precisely the line that Moscow took to justify its invasion. He maintains—preposterously—that Ukraine is like Quebec inside a Russia that is like Canada. Quebec is a province and Ukraine is a country. He has referred to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, a signal violation of international law, as the “so-called annexation.”

    • The Imbalanced US-Saudi ‘Alliance’

      The Saudi displeasure centers in particular on wanting the United States to take its side in regional rivalries, especially its rivalry with Iran. It is not in the U.S. interest to take either side in such a contest for local influence, any more than it is for the United States to succumb to the zero-summing proclivities of Pakistan and India in their rivalry in South Asia.

    • The Fifth Estate: Foreign Lobbyists

      The American people are waking up to the fact that the 9/11 hijackers – who came to this country with little knowledge of English, and few resources – had some significant assistance from at least one foreign intelligence agency, and the Saudi connection, which is the subject of the redacted 28 pages, is now in the spotlight. In response, the Saudi lobby is manning the barricades, with articles like “Saudi Arabia Is a Great American Ally” in Foreign Policy magazine, which basically argues that we need these head-chopping barbarians because Iran is worse. On the legislative front, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Perpetual War) is blocking a Senate bill that would give the green light to a lawsuit by the families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudis. Graham and Senator John McCain have long worked hand-in-hand with the Saudis to garner US support for “moderate” Islamist rebels fighting to overthrow the government of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. And when the Saudis launched their terror-bombing of Yemen, Graham was right there cheering them on – and lamenting that “they no longer trust us” because they didn’t give us a heads up.

    • Inside the Devastation of America’s Drone Wars

      In our part of the world, it’s not often that potential “collateral damage” speaks, but it happened last week. A Pakistani tribal leader, Malik Jalal, flew to England to plead in a newspaper piece he wrote and in media interviews to be taken off the Obama White House’s “kill list.” (“I am in England this week because I decided that if Westerners wanted to kill me without bothering to come to speak with me first, perhaps I should come to speak to them instead.”) Jalal, who lives in Pakistan’s tribal borderlands, is a local leader and part of a peace committee sanctioned by the Pakistani government that is trying to tamp down the violence in the region. He believes that he’s been targeted for assassination by Washington. (Four drone missiles, he claims, have just missed him or his car.) His family, he says, is traumatized by the drones. “I don’t want to end up a ‘Bugsplat’ – the ugly word that is used for what remains of a human being after being blown up by a Hellfire missile fired from a Predator drone,” he writes. “More importantly, I don’t want my family to become victims, or even to live with the droning engines overhead, knowing that at any moment they could be vaporized.”

    • Watch: Tribeca Film Festival’s ‘The Bomb’ Puts Viewers at the Center of a Nuclear Explosion

      “The Bomb” is a multimedia lesson in the unsettling reality of nuclear weapons today and premieres this Saturday in the Tribeca Film Festival. The closing night event of the festival, “The Bomb” is as much a movie as it is a white-knuckle experience.

    • Baghdad After the Fall of Saddam Hussein

      There are 55,000 US troops in and around Baghdad but they seem curiously vulnerable. They largely stick to their vehicles; there are very few foot-patrols. They establish checkpoints and search cars, but usually have no interpreters. “Mou mushkila (no problem),” one driver said when asked to open the boot of his car. “Don’t contradict me,” a soldier shouted. Military vehicles are often stuck in horrendous traffic jams (because of the electricity shortage the traffic lights are not working) making them an easy target for grenades. Just before the attack in Haifa Street, I was talking to an American soldier outside the National Museum. The tag on his shoulder read “Old Ironsides”. I asked him what unit this referred to. He replied: “The First Armoured Division, the finest armoured division in the world.” But tanks and heavy armour are not much use in Baghdad. A few hours later, a sniper shot dead another soldier as he sat in his Bradley Fighting Vehicle by the gates of the museum.

    • Canada’s $15 Billion Saudi Arms Deal: What History Tells Us

      Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it is a “matter of principle” that Canada follows through with a $15 billion armaments deal with Saudi Arabia, a totalitarian state which funds international terrorism, stones women to death for the crime of being raped, and that leads the world in public beheadings. This decision has been sharply criticized by journalists, activists, and international organizations. In a public statement Amnesty International said that it has “good reason to fear that light armored vehicles supplied” to Saudi Arabia by Canada “are likely to be used in situations that would violate human rights” in both “neighboring countries” and for ‘suppressing demonstrations and unrest within Saudi Arabia” [1]. Montreal students and a former Bloc Quebecois MP and law professor have filed a class action lawsuit to block the deal, citing that by selling weapons to countries with poor human rights records Canada is violating its own laws [2].

    • Wall Street Journal Runs Ad Denying Genocide That Killed Over 650,000 People

      April 24 is the remembrance day of the Armenian genocide, and to mark the date, a group ran a full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, implying that Turks and Armenians lost a similar number of lives in 1915.

      One hundred and one years ago, between 664,000 and 1.2 million Armenians were systematically massacred or died from abuse by Ottoman officials. Survivors who fled have kept the story alive of what many call the 20th century’s first massacre.

    • Meet The ‘Jewish Terrorist Network’ In The West Bank

      Israeli police and security officials have announced the discovery of a right-wing network of “Jewish terrorists” in the occupied West Bank, saying they have arrested several accused of plotting and enacting attacks against Palestinians and their homes.

      On Wednesday, representatives of Israel’s internal security agency Shin Bet revealed they had apprehended several members of a “Jewish terrorist network” in the Palestinian territories over the past few weeks. According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the group includes six settlers and an Israeli soldier who reportedly confessed to tossing a tear gas grenade into the home of a Palestinian family and throwing firebombs at another house in Mazraa al-Qabliyah.

    • The EU-Turkey deal: unjust and short-sighted

      I am pretty sure that EU politicians do not watch ISIS videos – at least not the ones in Arabic that do not feature beheadings and blood. Instead, they feature a crowd of second or third generation Europeans speaking Arabic with French, Flemish, German accents: the offspring of our ‘progressive Europe’ hating their own homeland because of a never-forgotten past of violent colonialism and an endless present of exclusion and racism. If our politicians watched these videos they would perhaps not be so confident in their approach to containing extremism and preventing terrorism.

    • The Terribly Annoyed Saudis

      Riyadh lobbied hard for a military confrontation with the Islamic Republic and was keenly disappointed by that landmark accord. President Obama’s visit to Riyadh was designed to alleviate these strains and to reinvigorate the supposed alliance. Apparently, he may follow up with a proposal for some sort of security understanding between NATO and the GCC.

    • What does a left foreign policy look like?

      Sanders’s confusion has often seemed preferable to Hillary Clinton’s murderous certainty: as secretary of state she sank an early peace deal in Syria to deepen the US proxy war, and as a candidate has outdone her hawkish self in calling for a no-fly zone, an insane policy that could lead to war with Russia. But Sanders’s ultimate lack of a policy doesn’t promise an end to the conflict, and it’s not always clear that Sanders is as war-averse as he first appears.

    • Americans Are Killing Themselves at the Highest Rate in 30 Years

      More than 42,000 Americans killed themselves in 2014, and roughly half used a firearm. These and others statistics are likely to fall below the actual rate because many suicides are recorded as accidents.

    • Major Study: Suicide Rates in the U.S. Are Soaring

      In 1999, 10.5 of every 100,000 people committed suicide. In 2014, that number increased to 24 percent, or 13 out of every 100,000 people. In the 80’s, however, the suicide rate had been dropping. The most eye-catching increases were among middle-aged people.

    • Russia’s regions: federalism and its discontents

      Creating the appearance of stability is the Russian political elite’s primary goal. Yet colonial-like rule over the country’s regions, combined with a lack of civic activity, harms the Kremlin’s legitimacy on the ground.

    • How Chernobyl Led to Austria’s Nuclear-Free Utopia

      It began with a hefty dose of Mancunian envy. Manchester, it turned out, was and is “The Radical City.” On day one we visited the historic Manchester Town Hall, where presentations were made to some of the 95 city council members, every last one of whom is a member of the Labour party.

      In the entranceway, radical Mancunian women had “yarnbombed” four of the exclusively male statues with crocheted masks representing a quartet of Manchester’s top female boffins. Scenes from the Harry Potter films, we learned, were filmed in the Victorian gothic building.

      The mosaic floors feature images of bees — a nod to the city’s industrious past — and cotton flowers. Cotton milling was the region’s big industry, but when the U.S. Civil War broke out, Manchester chose to boycott imports of cotton from the pro-slavery South, at great sacrifice to jobs and livelihoods at home. A statue of Abraham Lincoln stands in the square outside, a gift of thanks to the city.


      Nuclear power plants are banned in Austria under the country’s constitution after a 1978 referendum. (Yes, Virginia, it is actually illegal to build nuclear power plants there.)

      Nuclear weapons are also banned. So is the storage of nuclear waste.

      Transportation through Austria of civil or military nuclear materials or waste has been outlawed. Any attempt to revive nuclear power in that country cannot happen without a national referendum.

    • China ‘tests terrifyingly powerful Dongfeng-41 nuclear missile’ which could destroy London in HALF AN HOUR

      China has allegedly tested a weapon of mass destruction capable of hitting London and other major European or American cities in just 30 minutes.

      The People’s Republic reportedly fired a nuke called the Dongfeng-41, which has the longest range of any missile in the world.

      It can carry up to 10 warheads over a distance of roughly 7,450 miles in just half an hour before hitting several targets at once.

      This would mean Beijing could destroy the whole of London – which is slightly more than 5,000 miles from the Chinese capital – or wipe out any city in the West.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Ruling Unsealed: National Security Letters Upheld As Constitutional

      A federal judge has unsealed her ruling that National Security Letter (NSL) provisions in federal law—as amended by the USA FREEDOM Act—don’t violate the Constitution. The ruling allows the FBI to continue to issue the letters with accompanying gag orders that silence anyone from disclosing they have received an NSL, often for years. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) represents two service providers in challenging the NSL statutes, who will appeal this decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

    • Trilogues: the system that undermines EU democracy and transparency

      The EU body in charge of fighting against maladministration, the European Ombudsman, decided to open an investigation to assess the need for a trilogues reform. As part of this inquiry, she opened a consultation to ask the public about its opinion and experience regarding the transparency of trilogues. On 31 March, EDRi submitted its response, where we ask for an urgent reform of trilogues, echoing the concerns voiced by an open joint civil society letter sent to the three institutions.

    • Reporter Makes FOIA Request For Obama’s Game Of Thrones Screeners

      Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests are a popular topic here on Techdirt. We’ve discussed how important FOIA rules are… and how the government seems to go out of its way to try to ignore both the letter and spirit of the law. Because that’s just how secretive governments act. However, it’s certainly true that some FOIA requests are a little more ridiculous than others. Take, for example, Refinery29 reporter Vanessa Golembewski’s amusing decision to file a FOIA request for Game of Thrones Screeners after finding out that the producers have been sending advance screeners to President Obama.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • US-Canada pact eases Arctic fears

      A joint pledge by the US and Canada to reduce methane emissions for oil and gas activities in the Arctic and limit fossil fuel extraction is putting pressure on Russia to follow suit.

      The pledge was in response to increasing concern across the world at the intention of the eight nations with territorial claims in the Arctic to exploit its resources, even though this risks making climate change far worse.

    • Did The Paris Climate Accord Start A Low-Carbon Landslide?

      Many years from now, the historic international Paris climate agreement could easily be seen as the moment the conversation changed.

      “One of the cool things coming out of Paris was the idea of moving from a ‘woe-is-me’ narrative to talking about the possibilities,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of the Earth Day Network. “This change of attitudes is where I think the momentum is. We are in motion.’’

      The Paris accord seems to have turned climate change “from an insurmountable problem to an opportunity,” agreed Richard Kauffman, chairman of energy and finance for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose administration has been at the forefront of climate change mitigation. “People in Paris witnessed a hinge of history taking place. There is a broad range of actors committed to change, and we can see the ways in which change can be made.”

    • This Earth Day, Listen Up: Mother Earth Is Calling Us Back

      Those of us who succumbed to the false promises of Western consumerism at great cost to the planet and to ourselves are Earth’s prodigal children now returning home.

    • Paris Climate Pact Signed on Earth Day: How the 2016 Election Is Critical to Its Success

      If a Republican administration is elected in November, the Paris agreement would be severely undermined.

    • Scientists Who Are Questioning Fracking’s Impact Have Oil Industry Ties, Groups Say

      As the SAB’s final peer review nears, a draft dissent from at least four board members with ties to the oil and gas industry is being challenged by the Americans Against Fracking Coalition. In a letter sent Wednesday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, the advocacy group, which includes Food and Water Watch along with hundreds of other organizations, said dissenting members’ connections with the fracking industry mean they “have clear conflicts of interest.” While urging the EPA to reject the dissent, the coalition claimed members “do not have any scientific basis for their dissent.”

      “The [EPA’s statement] itself is a political line without scientific basis, and so as a result, it becomes a political statement,” Hugh MacMillan, senior researcher at Food and Water Watch, told ThinkProgress.


      The letter is the latest attempt by organizations to sway the EPA against hydraulic fracturing. It comes as the industry has been on the offensive since an assistant professor of geology at the University of Cincinnati said she couldn’t detect one instance of contamination after a three-year study in Ohio. Elsewhere, however, multiple states and counties are growing wary about the consequences of unearthing oil and gas from rock by injecting water and chemicals into wells. Water contamination has been linked to oil and gas operations in Texas, Ohio, California, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, a major fracking location, two families who had been fighting to prove their water well won a multimillion-dollar lawsuit last March.

  • Finance

    • As Support Plummets, Is EU Moving Closer to Becoming ‘TTIP Free Zone’?

      Intercontinental opposition to the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) continues to grow, with a new poll out Thursday showing that support for the controversial deal has “plummeted” in Germany and the U.S. over the last two years.

      The survey (pdf), conducted by YouGov for Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation, showed that only 17 percent of Germans believe the corporate-friendly trade agreement is a good thing, down from 55 percent in 2014. Likewise, in the United States, only 18 percent support the deal, compared to 53 percent two years ago—though nearly half of U.S. respondents said they did not know enough about the agreement to voice an opinion.

    • Massive shift to freelancers from full-time employment in U.S. market

      Fifty percent (50%) of the workforce in the United States is expected to be freelancers by 2020, according to a new research report that reveals that long-term, full-time employment in the US is no longer the norm, and organisations need to make “crucial adjustments” to cope with the changing work environment.

    • ‘A Global Industry Is Raiding Treasuries All Over the Planet’

      Janine Jackson: The worry about media reaction to the Panama Papers was that the press would treat revelations of the rich and powerful’s ability to hide their wealth as somehow new or exotic. But we’re moving beyond that now with acknowledgement of, for instance, the US role as a tax haven. A few have pointed to a Reuters piece from 2011 that dubbed Cheyenne, Wyoming, “a little Cayman Island on the Great Plains.” And a piece in the Las Vegas Review Journal noted that as money launderers, Nevada’s shell companies leave its casinos in the dust.

    • Don’t Know Much About Economy–but WaPo Likes Kasich Anyway

      People who follow politics and economics would have little difficulty answering that question. For example, Mr. Kasich signed a bill prohibiting the state of Ohio from contracting for health services with Planned Parenthood or any other organization that performs abortions.

      Kasich also has bizarre views on economic policy. In addition to supporting tax cuts for the rich, which the Post criticized because of the impact on the deficit, Kasich also criticized the Fed for its quantitative easing policy. According to Kasich, this only led to companies “buying up more of their stock and making the rich richer.” It is difficult to envision how Kasich thinks this process works.

      Most immediately, quantitative easing leads to lower interest rates. For believers in economics, this lead to more borrowing for things like buying homes, and both public and private investment. It also frees up money for homeowners who refinance their mortgages. This allows them to spend money on other things. Lower interest rates also mean a lower-valued dollar, other things equal. This makes our goods and services more competitive internationally, reducing our trade deficit.

    • Uber Agrees to Pay $100 Million to Drivers in Historic Class Action Settlement

      Ride-sharing giant Uber announced that it has agreed to pay $100 million to settle two class action lawsuits, in which thousands of drivers alleged that they were improperly classified as independent contractors instead of employees.

      The California and Massachusetts lawsuits were set to go to trial in June.

      As part of the agreement, which was announced Thursday evening, drivers will keep the contractor classification, but Uber will pay out $84 million to the drivers, and an additional $16 million if the company goes public and the Uber’s valuation hits certain growth levels.

    • Harriet Tubman and the Currency of Resistance

      U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced Wednesday that the revised $20 bill will feature the portrait of the legendary abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Tubman was born a slave, escaped to freedom and became a conductor on the Underground Railroad, as well as a campaigner for women’s right to vote. She will be replacing President Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. He was a contemporary of hers, who owned slaves (one of 18 presidents who did so) and became wealthy from their forced labor. The decision was influenced by grass-roots action, Lew said, as hundreds of thousands weighed in with their suggestions for which women to honor. It also was not without controversy.

    • Why Is the Progressive Left Helping the Elite Elect Hillary?

      This is astounding. Here we are faced with the corrupt media and the corrupt party establishments determined to put in the Oval Office a tried and proven agent of the One Percent, and the progressive left is beating up on the only two alternatives!

    • New Zealand Government Trying To Streamroller TPP Through Ratification Without Proper Scrutiny Or Public Input

      Back in February, we noted that the TPP has been officially signed, and that the focus now moves on to ratification by each of the 12 participating countries. On this score, there’s been plenty of sound and fury in the US, including bizarre demands to re-negotiate TPP, but less coverage of what is happening elsewhere. As we noted, Canada’s ratification has ground to a halt as the new government there launches “widespread consultations.”

    • Blockchain Technology Could Help Solve $75 Billion Counterfeit Drug Problem

      Counterfeit drugs are a growing problem, but one company wants to use blockchain technology, which underpins bitcoin, to help eradicate it by creating an open and trusted record of where drugs have come from.

      According to CoinDesk, management consulting services company Accenture proposed the initiative at a meeting of the HyperLedger Project, which is run by the Linux Foundation and seeks to build an open-source repository of blockchain code that will address current gaps in the technology.

    • The Racist, Twisted History of Tipping

      Very few of America’s 11 million restaurant workers share my story. The federal minimum wage is a paltry $7.25 an hour, but in 18 states servers, bussers, and hosts are paid just $2.13—less than the price of a Big Mac. This is known as the federal “tipped minimum wage” because, in theory, these food workers will make up the difference in tips. Twenty-five states and DC have their own slightly higher tipped minimums. The remaining seven, including California, guarantee the full state minimum wage to all workers.

    • To See the Real Story in Brazil, Look at Who Is Being Installed as President — and Finance Chiefs

      But there’s one more vital motive driving all of this. Look at who is going to take over Brazil’s economy and finances once Dilma’s election victory is nullified. Two weeks ago, Reuters reported that Temer’s leading choice to run the central bank is the chair of Goldman Sachs in Brazil, Paulo Leme. Today, Reuters reported that “Murilo Portugal, the head of Brazil’s most powerful banking industry lobby” — and a long-time IMF official — “has emerged as a strong candidate to become finance minister if Temer takes power.” Temer also vowed that he would embrace austerity for Brazil’s already-suffering population: He “intends to downsize the government” and “slash spending.”

    • The Real Reason Dilma Rousseff’s Enemies Want Her Impeached

      Corruption is just the pretext for a wealthy elite who failed to defeat Brazil’s president at the ballot box

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • It’s Time to Acknowledge the Immense Power Twitter and Facebook Now Have in U.S. Elections

      A new survey from the Media Insight Project, for example, shows that just 6 percent of Americans “say they have great confidence in the press.”

    • This Poll Of Latino Voters Should Terrify The Republican Party

      The Republican presidential nominee will need as many as 40 percent of Latino voters in some states to clinch a win in November. But ever since Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump built his campaign on promises to deport the country’s 11.3 million undocumented population and claims of Mexican immigrant rapists and drug dealers, his unpopularity has soared among Latinos.

    • Watch: Trump Supporters Threaten Potential Armed Insurrection at Contested GOP Convention

      Trump says there will be riots if he is denied the nomination, a warning his supporters echo in this video.

    • New York Primary: Why is Exit Poll Data Adjusted to Match Final Voting Results?

      Tuesday night CNN projected a 52-48 Clinton win based on exit polling data at 9pm when polls closed in New York. Very similar numbers from ABC at the same time said voters by a 52-47 margin thought Clinton was more inspiring, a number you’d think would closely reflect how people voted. Clinton won the final reported tally by 16%, and by late night and early this morning, exit polling data available at CNN and elsewhere much more closely matched a mid-double digit margin for Clinton. Some of the turn arounds in terms of specific demographics were rather remarkable, especially since just 24 respondents were added to the relevant sample size.

      Earlier, Clinton lead Sanders by 14% (57-43%) with Latina and Latino voters as I reported in my exit poll live blog. This was consistent with my 56-44% projection based primarily on the average of a half a dozen polls from the week and a half before New York voted. The final exit poll, however, shows Clinton doubling her lead to a 28% win with hispanic voters. Early reports suggested Sanders was winning 69-31% with voters under 45. Final exit polling shows him winning by just 10%, 55-45%, and included him losing the 30-39 year old demographic by 4%. Sanders has not lost 30-39-year-olds anywhere outside the South, including Ohio where he won with them by 18% but lost the overall vote by 14%.

    • Bernie Sanders’ Revolution Might Win in New York After All

      The first real sign of what awaited Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential race came two years ago, when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo found himself in an unexpectedly heated primary fight with a liberal gadfly from Vermont. Cuomo’s opponent, Zephyr Teachout, was a Fordham law professor who volunteered at Occupy Wall Street and wrote a book about political corruption. Teachout considered the governor too corporate and too conservative. Cuomo paid her so little attention that on election night, she struggled to find a phone number to call the governor to concede.

      But Cuomo couldn’t ignore the results. Despite losing by nearly 30 points, Teachout exposed a deep fissure within the state Democratic Party. She won 32 of 62 counties, carrying some upstate areas by more than 50 points. Her running mate, Columbia law professor Tim Wu, called the primary “the first of what will be a long-running series of contests within the Democratic Party which really divide on the issue of inequality and private power.”

    • How CBS News Aided the JFK Cover-up

      With the Warren Report on JFK’s assassination under attack in the mid-1960s, there was a chance to correct the errors and reassess the findings, but CBS News intervened to silence the critics, reports James DiEugenio.

    • The Story of the Great Brooklyn Voter Purge Keeps Getting Weirder

      The first head has rolled after more than 100,000 voters were mistakenly purged from the Brooklyn voter rolls ahead of this week’s New York primary, which handed Hillary Clinton a much-needed win over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Diane Haslett-Rudiano, the chief clerk of the New York Board of Elections, was suspended “without pay, effective immediately, pending an internal investigation into the administration of the voter rolls in the Borough of Brooklyn,” the agency said in a statement, according to the New York Daily News.

      Anonymous city elections officials said that Haslett-Rudiano, who was in charge of the city’s Republican voter rolls, had been “scapegoated,” according to the New York Post. “It sounds like they cut a deal to make the Republican the scapegoat and protect Betty Ann,” an anonymous Democratic elected official from Brooklyn told the Post, referring to Betty Ann Canizio, who was in charge of the Democratic voter rolls.

    • New Strategy For Pro-Clinton SuperPAC: Argue With Everyone On Social Media

      We’ve seen a lot of silliness this political season, most of which I happily lay the blame for at the feet of what has to be the lamest group of candidates for President this esteemed country has ever seen. What these good-for-nothings have bred is a deeper level of hateful rhetoric and toxic partisanship than what was present already, which I didn’t even think was possible. Yet they achieved it anyway, meaning that my social media feeds are overflowing with the kind of know-nothing memes and claims about all of the candidates that have me thinking about downing a bottle of rat poison just to make my brain stop hurting. Add to all of it the involvement of SuperPACs for all of these candidates, with their un-subtle messages and self-serving advertising, and it’s enough to wonder if we should scrap this whole America thing and try to start something new from scratch.


      So, yeah, this Hillary PAC is spending a million dollars to apparently argue with people on social media, which is the kind of thing some of us do for free every day, because we’re obsessive jack-wagons unable to let anyone anywhere say something stupid and think they got away with it. But I know that I’m almost certainly wasting my time, whereas this superPAC is boasting about all of this.

    • Clinton’s Digital Task Force Breaks Barriers To Defend Her Donors

      A super political action committee, Correct The Record, which has direct ties with Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign, launched a “digital task force” to push out “positive content” and respond to “negative attacks” and “false narratives” spread within “online progressive communities.” The super PAC also plans to use the “task force” to “thank” and show support for superdelegates, who the campaign contends are under attack by supporters of her opponent, Bernie Sanders.

      The announcement comes as the Clinton campaign has taken on a much more strident tone. Jennifer Palmieri, communications director for the Clinton campaign, contended Sanders “has been destructive and is not productive to Democrats.” After Clinton won the New York primary, a senior Clinton aide told POLITICO reporter Glenn Thrush, “We kicked his ass tonight,” and, “I hope this convinces Bernie to tone it down. If not, fuck him.”

    • Bernie Sanders: the Candidate Who Came in From the Cold

      Bernie Sanders lost the moment he became entranced by the prospect that he might win.

    • Fair Game: Why Bernie Should Keep Going

      Predictably, after New York, the establishment is demanding that Bernie bow out.

    • Lying Is the Business of Right-Wing Propagandists

      Author Ari Rabin-Havt explains how modern conservatism is built on an entire industry built to lie.

    • Why Candidates Need the CIA, NSA and Their Mother to Vet Their Veep [Ed: Establishment only?]
    • How to Pick a Veep Candidate, in 5 Steps
    • ‘Historic Day for Democracy’: Voting Rights Restored for over 200,000 Virginians

      Civil rights organizations are applauding Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s order on Friday restoring voting rights to roughly 200,000 Virginians by eliminating what they call a “vestige of our nation’s Jim Crow past.”

      Using his authority allowed by the state’s constitution, the governor’s Restoration of Rights order allows convicted felons who’ve served their time and finished any required supervised release, parole or probation, to be able to vote, as well as be able to run for office, serve on a jury, or be a notary public.

    • In Trumpland, Who’s Conning Whom?
    • Concentrated Media Power is Real Power: We’ve Let Markets Rule the Public’s Airwaves
    • Bernie’s Sleepy Giant
    • After Sanders — a Path to Electoral Revolution
    • Sanders Campaign’s Commitment To Victory Irritates Media, Offends Clinton Campaign
  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Racially Charged Testimony Helped Put Duane Buck on Death Row. Will the Supreme Court Step In?

      THERE IS NO QUESTION that Duane Buck is responsible for the double murder of his ex-girlfriend and her friend in Houston, Texas, on July 30, 1995.

      That morning, Debra Gardner was at home with her two kids and three friends, including Buck’s stepsister, when Buck stormed into the home armed with a shotgun and a rifle. He began shooting: He fired at one of the friends and missed; he shot his stepsister point blank in the chest (she survived); and he fatally wounded another of Gardner’s friends, Kenneth Butler. Gardner fled from the house and Buck followed, killing her in the street as her two children looked on. Buck was arrested at the scene and laughed as he was taken away, according to one law enforcement officer. “The bitch deserved what she got,” Buck allegedly said. In 1997, Buck was tried and convicted of capital murder. He was sentenced to die.

    • What Happened When I Pushed Myself to Interview More Women

      I’m pissed at myself right now.

      I’m a science writer, and I just turned in one of my biggest articles to date. Over the course of several months I interviewed nearly a dozen researchers and scientists around the globe to get the scoop on the pretty cool uses of a new technology.

      But as my editor and I made the finishing touches on the piece, I realized something very important was off about the article.

      I didn’t interview a single woman.

      Therein we find one of journalism’s roles in the silicon divide: journalists simply don’t interview enough female sources. I’ve never found a real study of male versus female sources in science reporting, but in other topics—such as presidential politics—the number of female sources is sometimes as low as 20 percent.

    • Confirmation: the Not-So Independent Women’s Forum Was Born in Defense of Clarence Thomas and the Far Right

      HBO’s new film on demand, “Confirmation,” revisits the painful battle over the appointment of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court in spite of the testimony of Anita Hill that he sexually harassed her.

      Some pundits have attempted to disparage the film, even though it has several scenes that portray Thomas and his wife Ginny as quiet, sympathetic figures and not as the outspoken right-wing political activists that they were and are.

    • The Government Breaks Its Streak of Cutting Off CIA Torture Lawsuits

      While President Obama acted quickly to dismantle the CIA’s torture program when he took office, his administration has consistently shut the courthouse doors to the victims. But a recent government filing in a lawsuit against the two psychologists who designed the torture program — and profited enormously from it — suggests that this policy may finally be changing. For the first time, the government will not try preemptively to shut down accountability for those legally responsible for torture. As a result, in another first, on Friday those responsible for devising the CIA’s torture program will have to answer for their actions in a federal courtroom.

    • The World’s Indigenous Suicide Crises, By The Numbers

      A state of emergency was declared after 11 members of a single, remote community of Aboriginal Canadians tried to take their lives earlier this month. But as many indigenous and political leaders noted, the issue isn’t isolated to Attawapiskat Canada — it isn’t even limited to Canada.

    • Secret Court Takes Another Bite Out of the Fourth Amendment

      Defenders of the NSA’s mass spying have lost an important talking point: that the erosion of our privacy and associational rights is justified given the focus of surveillance efforts on combating terrorism and protecting the national security. That argument has always been dubious for a number of reasons. But after a November 2015 ruling [.pdf] by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) was unsealed this week, it’s lost another chunk of its credibility. The ruling confirms that NSA’s warrantless spying has been formally approved for use in general criminal investigations. The national security justification has been entirely blown.

    • Once-Undocumented Wall Street Executive Now Is Helping Others Live the American Dream

      The American dream has become a harder sell in America. But Julissa Arce still believes that everyone in the United States should have the right to work hard and prosper.

    • Judge Grants Torture Victims Their First Chance to Pursue Justice

      A CIVIL SUIT against the architects of the CIA’s torture program, psychologists James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, will be allowed to proceed, a federal judge in Spokane decided on Friday.

      District Judge Justin Quackenbush denied the pair’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit launched against them on behalf of three victims, one dead, of the brutal tactics they designed.

      “This is amazing, this is unprecedented,” Steven Watt, a senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union representing the plaintiffs told The Intercept after the hearing. “This is the first step towards accountability.”

      What’s so unprecedented is that this is the first time opponents of the program will have the chance to seek discovery evidence in the case unimpeded by the government. In every other past torture accountability lawsuit, the government has invoked its special state-secrets privileges to purportedly protect national security.

    • Court Rules ACLU Lawsuit Against CIA Torture Psychologists Can Proceed
    • CIA ​torture program: victims’ lawsuit can move forward, judge says
    • Journalist Matthew Keys Faces Prison Time Over a Law You’ve Probably Broken

      Matthew Keys, a 29-year-old California-based journalist, tells Reason that he believes he was aggressively prosecuted over a rather innocuous case of internet vandalism because a federal prosecutor needed to justify the continued existence of his own job, and thus used a broad and literal interpretation of a “antiquated and draconian law” to throw the book at Keys.

      Keys, who was sentenced to two years in prison last week, was indicted in 2013 under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) for the alleged crime of sharing a password with hackers affiliated with Anonymous — the decentralized network of activist techo-criminals known for creating digital mischief at the expense of governments, corporations and other poweful institutions — who briefly defaced a single page on the Los Angeles Times’ website in 2010.

      Considering Keys faced a maximum of 25 years in prison and $500,000 in fines for his three felony convictions of conspiracy to transmit information to damage a protected computer, transmitting information to damage a protected computer, and attempted transmission of information to damage a protected computer, one could argue his sentence was light. But when you examine the minimal damage done by his alleged crime, any hard time at all seems excessive.

    • Why Internet voting is a terrible idea, explained in small words anyone can understand

      In this 20 minute video, Princeton computer science prof Andrew Appel lays out the problems with Internet-based voting in crisp, nontechnical language that anyone can understand.

    • Court Says Government Needs More Than The Permission Of A Couple Of Underperforming Drug Dogs To Justify Seizure Of $276,000

      The Seventh Circuit Appeals Court has done something few courts do: told law enforcement it can’t have that sweet, sweet “drug” money it lifted from two brothers for no other reason than that it felt there was something shady about its very existence.

      Police responded to a call about a home invasion at the residence of Pedro and Abraham Cruz-Hernandez. While inside the house, officers came across a handgun, a small amount of marijuana and a scale. This apparently prompted the arrival of two drug dogs, considering they’re not usually standard equipment for home invasion investigations.

      When searching the brothers’ van, police found $276,080. So, they took it. Why? Because their dogs said they could.

    • US-Funded Conservation in African Rainforests is Resounding Failure: Report

      Meanwhile, there is consistent neglect or violation of mechanisms in place to safeguard the surrounding communities’ rights to “lands, livelihoods, participation, and consultation as well as fundamental rights and freedoms, including in the context of conservation,” the group found. Communities in several protected areas reported abuse and other human rights violations, particularly by park rangers.

    • FBI warned agents not to share tech secrets with prosecutors

      The FBI guards its high-tech secrets so carefully that officials once warned agents not to share details even with federal prosecutors for fear they might eventually go on to work as defense attorneys, newly disclosed records show.

      A supervisor also cautioned the bureau’s “technically trained agents” in a 2003 memo not to reveal techniques for secretly entering and bugging a suspect’s home to other agents who might be forced to reveal them in court. “We need to protect how our equipment is concealed,” the unnamed supervisor wrote.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • At WIPO: All-Women Panel Of Broadcast Journalists Discuss Revolution In Industry

      An international panel of women at the front edge of broadcast journalism discussed the rapid changes in the broadcasting industry and the balance between quality content and the digital “snacking” that drives so much traffic. And Facebook came in for some criticism.

    • Trademarks

      • Ex-Game Maker Atari To Argue To The US PTO That Only It Can Make ‘Haunted House’ Games

        And that fall will now include going in front of the PTO’s Appeal Board to explain why Atari and Atari alone should be allowed to title a game using the phrase “Haunted House.”

      • Cadbury suffers another blow in the battle to protect purple trade marks

        Cadbury is on a seemingly perennial mission both to secure new as well as to protect existing trade mark rights in their signature purple colour for use on their chocolate products, most famously, their Dairy Milk bars. Following an opposition filed by Nestlé to the registration of one of Cadbury’s purple marks in Société Des Produits Nestlé S.A v Cadbury UK Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 1174, Cadbury adopted a proactive defensive strategy with the aim of preventing revocation of another existing registration for the same purple mark.

    • Copyrights

      • CJEU says that failure to pay fair compensation for private copying is a tort

        Where can one (read: a collective management organisation) sue to obtain missing payments of the fair remuneration due for private copying?

      • UK Govt Pushes 10 Years Jail For Online Pirates

        The UK government has published its conclusions following a consultation into punishments for online copyright infringement offenses. At the earliest opportunity Parliament will be asked to increase custodial sentences up to a maximum of 10 years while ensuring that unwitting pirates are protected.

      • Kim Dotcom Warns Mega Users to Backup Their Files

        Kim Dotcom is warning users of Mega, the cloud storage company he founded in 2013, to back up their files. According to the entrepreneur, Mega is now under the control of Bill Liu, a New Zealand-based Chinese national that is currently fifth on China’s most-wanted criminal list.

Fighting Back Against Limitations on Software Development in Europe

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 9:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The undemocratic patent conspiracy (UPC): We'll just call it something misleading

Summary: A discussion about the latest threats to software developers in Europe, notably the expansion of patents to software (watch out for UPC), so-called ‘trade secrets’, and not just copyrights (or copyleft) that are the only thing programmers really need

EARLIER this year we showed who was lobbying for the UPC inside the UK (not surprisingly, those who stand to benefit from litigation) and also showed some cognitive dissonance. Some want us to believe that the UPC will come to the UK irrespective of Brexit.

Brexit would definitely undermine the UPC, say UPC proponents. To quote: “Hinging on the result is the immediate – and perhaps permanent – future of the EU unitary patent and Unified Patent Court (UPC).”

“Some want us to believe that the UPC will come to the UK irrespective of Brexit.”The EPO may think that it’s alright to promote software patents in Europe and to also promote the UPC (which helps bring them to every European country), but it won’t be as easy as it hopes. It’s certainly still an uncertainty whether or not UPC will ever become a reality at all.

In its first part, IP Kat alluded to matters of “user interface designs” patentability (related to software patents) and in this second part it focuses on “the German approach” rather than “the EPO approach” (the latter is less permissive). Another new article from IP Kat correctly points out that: “In the United States elements of software have traditionally been protected by patent law, copyright law and trade secret law.”

“Generally speaking, every software developer (whether FOSS or proprietary) should be deeply concerned about efforts to pass more and more laws which purport to ‘protect’ but actually just criminalise more and more aspects of software development.”Well, software is already protected from copying/plagiarism owing to copyright law. Patents should not at all be necessary and trade secret law is totally unnecessary for most purposes. It treats mere communication of ideas as “property”. The article also says: “The overlapping protection provided by multiple disciplines of intellectual property over software is relatively routine. However, copyright preemption–federal copyright law essentially blocking an overlapping state claim–can sometimes preempt a trade secret claim covering software. To the extent there is lingering doubt about copyright preemption of trade secret claims covering software, federalizing a private cause of action for trade secret misappropriation through the Defend Trade Secrets Act likely removes any remaining doubt.”

This basically speaks of proprietary software paradigms where there’s presumption of code secrecy. Generally speaking, every software developer (whether FOSS or proprietary) should be deeply concerned about efforts to pass more and more laws which purport to ‘protect’ but actually just criminalise more and more aspects of software development. To whose benefit?

More Patents Don’t Mean More Innovation, Just More Money for Patent Lawyers and Patent Offices

Posted in America, Patents at 8:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USPTO patent quality has become farcical since David Kappos (IBM) became its Director

Patents Granted
Credit: Patently-O (but annotated)

Summary: A look at the expansion of patent scope (and permissiveness) in the United States and what can really be deduced from that

A patents exploitation firm, Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC, has just written about “Utility Patent Applications” — a subject we touched here some days ago because of figures released by Patently-O.

“There is not much more innovation in this domain, but a lot more patents each year (see the chart above), so one might rightly suspect there’s a bubble in the making.”“In almost every U.S. patent suit,” said the law firm, “the patentee’s counsel considers how the case could have been facilitated had the patent at issue been drafted and prosecuted differently. These considerations demonstrate that patents should be drafted and prosecuted with an eye toward the possibility of litigation. There have been several landmark decisions in patent cases that directly impact patent prosecution. This article analyzes some of those decisions in chronological order to provide suggestions for a patent prosecutor in drafting or prosecuting a patent application.”

Patently-O, in the mean time, continues to write about such patents and says: “The below graph shows the number of UPR patent applications filed over the past several fiscal years (which run from October 1 to September 30), along with a simple projection of the applications for FY 2016. The vast majority of these are utility patent applications.”

There is not much more innovation in this domain, but a lot more patents each year (see the chart above), so one might rightly suspect there’s a bubble in the making. What good is a patent system like the USPTO if there's little or virtually no quality control? This lack of quality is why many firms ended up seeing their software patents devalued after the decision on Alice, which correctly asserted that many software patents are abstract and should thus be deemed invalid. The same could be said about the financial crisis caused by lack of quality control or slack/lenient criteria (no rigidness) when it comes to mortgages.

“Remember that the original purpose of the patent system was to provide an incentive for publication in exchange for a temporary monopoly.”Consider this new comment from Nicola Searle who said “my brain started screaming when I saw “patents as a proxy for innovation.””

It sure angered the crowd of patent lawyers, who wish to believe that the more patents get filed (or more lawsuits), the better off and more innovative society will become.

Remember that the original purpose of the patent system was to provide an incentive for publication in exchange for a temporary monopoly. In light of that long-forgotten premise consider this new post from Patently-O that says: “So far in 2016, the USPTO has issued three patents that claim priority pre-GATT. These three are grandfathered in under the old 17-year-from-issuance patent term because they were filed before June 8, 1995.”

“It sure angered the crowd of patent lawyers, who wish to believe that the more patents get filed (or more lawsuits), the better off and more innovative society will become.”To give one example, see one patent which was “filed in 1973 but was held under a secrecy order until 2010.”

Well, patents were about PUBLICATION originally. If they’re not even being published for so many years, how is one supposed to think of the USPTO as seeking to maximise innovation (as opposed to maximising the number of granted patents)?

China, like the US (SIPO like USPTO), has lowered patent quality and now it’s another Texas with a litigation mess, based on those who love patent lawsuits (IAM ‘magazine’). One can only hope that Battistelli won’t get his way at the EPO and cause similar damage inside Europe, e.g. with the UPC. More on that in our next post…

Korean Companies Make the Case for Design Patents While the Bigger One Asks the US Supreme Court to Shoot Some of Them Down

Posted in America, Asia, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 8:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Reaching the conclusion that these patents (related to software patents) are excessive and counterproductive?

Samsung phone

Summary: In spite of amassing many design patents of its own, Samsung is willing to intercept/undermine all of them, in order to shoot down Apple’s demands against Android/Linux

THE United States’ patent office, the USPTO, continues to grant design patents, which are rather controversial in Europe.

Design patentees by scale/number have just been presented by Patently-O, which said: “Design patents continue to be a popular protection scheme for developers of consumer products and screen displays. Top ten assignees thus-far in 2016 with most recent examples…”

“Samsung has not (historically at least) been aggressive with patents.”It’s Samsung at the top, then LGE (which Apple was often accused of copying — design-wise — when it first introduced the iPhone). Both are Korean companies and one comment rightly points out: “One might not be surprised to notice Samsung highly aware of the potent properties of design patents.” Samsung currently challenges the potency of such patents, taking it all the way up to the Supreme Court. If anything, this may indicate that Samsung only begrudgingly patents designs, maybe in the hope of leveling these for defensive purposes when companies like Apple strike (with nuclear connotations). Samsung has not (historically at least) been aggressive with patents.

“A Federal Circuit ruling has placed Coleman Co. in a stronger position to sue a competitor for infringement of its design patent relating to personal flotation devices.”
      –Bloomberg BNA
Harness, Dickey & Pierce, PLC, a lawyers’ firm (obviously), has just published this article about design patent constriction as figures about design patents suggest a sharp increase amid a SCOTUS case about/against it. As we explained here a few times before, many design patents are similar and related to software patents (interfaces in particular). Their very existence is challenged in courts again, as this new article serves to show. It seems as though once again it’s CAFC deciding on the matter. To quote: “A Federal Circuit ruling has placed Coleman Co. in a stronger position to sue a competitor for infringement of its design patent relating to personal flotation devices.”

The fate of design patents has billions at stake; not just billions of dollars/pounds/yen but also billions of people.

In Battistelli’s Mini Union (Minion) It Takes Less Than 10 Votes to ‘Win’ an Election

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Minion
Reference: The Minion

Summary: A look at the minuscule size of Battistelli’s endorsed union, which seems to have just a few dozen active members

THE FFPE’s EPO branch, which is management-leaning, was mentioned here before in various articles such as:

  1. In the EPO’s Official Photo Op, “Only One of the Faces is Actually FFPE-EPO”
  2. Further Evidence Suggests and Shows Stronger Evidence That Team Battistelli Uses FFPE-EPO as ‘Yellow Union’ Against SUEPO
  3. “FFPE-EPO Was Set up About 9 Years Ago With Management Encouragement”
  4. Fallout of the FFPE EPO MoU With Battistelli’s Circle
  5. The EPO’s Media Strategy at Work: Union Feuds and Group Fracturing
  6. Caricature of the Day: Recognising FFPE EPO
  7. Union Syndicale Federale Slams FFPE-EPO for Helping Abusive EPO Management by Signing a Malicious, Divisive Document
  8. FFPE-EPO Says MoU With Battistelli Will “Defend Employment Conditions” (Updated)
  9. Their Masters’ Voice (Who Block Techrights): FFPE-EPO Openly Discourages Members From Reading Techrights
  10. Letter Says EPO MoU “Raises Questions About FFPE’s Credibility as a Federation of Genuine Staff Unions”
  11. On Day of Strike FFPE-EPO Reaffirms Status as Yellow (Fake/Management-Leaning) Union, Receives ‘Gifts’
  12. Needed Urgently: Information About the Secret Meeting of Board 28 and Battistelli’s Yellow Union, FFPE-EPO

“Amazing numbers for a “recognised social partners”!!!”
“Results of the FFPE-EPO elections held [this week] in The Hague,” one source told us. “To get an idea,” added this source, “here are some hallucinating figures about the FFPE-EPO and their elections held [this week] in The Hague. Amazing numbers for a “recognised social partners”!!!”

There is “no further comments needed,” our source said, quoting just the text below:

Dear members of FFPE EPO,

Today the elections for the new FFPE EPO committee took place. The results of the elections are the following:

· Participation rate: 41% ————> 76*0.41 = 31

· Valid ballots: 97% ——————> 31*0.97 = 30

Results per candidate:

1. Michiel Sonius: 29% —————->30*0.29 = 9

2. Aldert Jan de Haan: 23% ———->30*0.23 = 7

3. Samuel van der Bijl: 16% ———>30*0.16 = 5

4. Andrey Afanasiev: 16% ————>30*0.16 = 5

5. Gyorgy Vida: 13% —————–>30*0.13 = 4

With apparently just 76 members it seems clear that nobody is likely to have joined since the deal with Battistelli. One is left wondering why more than half the members didn’t even bother voting; maybe they’re still registered (annual membership) but were among those whom we were told left in anger (as a direct result of the MoU).

The Chaos in the EPO Impacts Stakeholders

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Even the French National Institute for Industrial Property (INPI) is complaining…

Paris, france

Summary: The service at the EPO is quickly becoming unsatisfactory and leads to complaints even from Battistelli’s home country

Nearly a week after we published a translation which reveals an upcoming lawsuit against the EPO SUEPO provides its own English translation and adds this second translation of an article mentioned here earlier this week. Amid “crisis” (the word used by Board 28) it tackles a problem which was covered before by Merpel (French workload lowered in priority) and here is the full article in English, complete with quotes from Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’.

European Patent Office backlog causing concern for France

An industrial dispute weighing down the European Patent Office (EPO) is increasingly causing concern for its contracting states, particularly France, where delays in reviewing applications submitted to the institution are worsening.

According to several sources, for the last year, some applications sent to the European Patent Office (EPO) by the French National Institute for Industrial Property (INPI) are being returned with delays of one to two months compared with the usual turnaround time, which could have consequences for patent applicants.

The EPO carries out the “prior art search” for French companies: a comprehensive review of the state of knowledge and technology to assess whether something is a genuine invention, Alain Michelet, President of the French Patent and Trademark Attorneys Institute (CNCPI) told AFP.

Companies have one year from the start of the search to initiate protection procedures abroad. So, the longer the research takes — lately, up to 11 months, compared with the usual nine — the less time the company has to decide, which especially penalizes small entities that do not have the same financial footing and expertise in industrial property as large corporate groups.

What is causing the delays? “Last year the EPO completely overhauled its working procedures”, it says, which “may have caused delays for specific user groups.” “We are working to put this right and we foresee the delay will be gone in a few months’ time.”


But for Yves Le Borgn, the Socialist Party MP for French nationals living abroad, whose constituency includes Germany where the EPO has its headquarters, “it is not ruled out that this could be retaliation” on the part of the institution’s President, the Frenchman Benoît Battistelli, against France, critical of his methods as the head of an institution with a poisonous social climate. Other sources interviewed have the same interpretation.

Does this mean that Mr. Battistelli has given the express instruction to let the French applications slip? “I have no evidence as such, but putting together everything that I have heard, I cannot rule out the idea of a causal link,” says Mr. Le Borgn.

Michelet refuses to speak of deliberate delays.

He argues that France is one of the few among the 38 member countries to have the EPO carry out the “prior art search”. This is subcontracting work which understandably does not have the same priority for the EPO as reviewing its own files.

>> Read: Benoît Battistelli: Many Apple patents would not have been granted in Europe

Occupying the post since 2010, Mr Battistelli, formerly of the Ministry of Finance and the former INPI chief executive, has been working to reform the institution with its 7,000 highly qualified, well paid employees, who enjoy many benefits including generous welfare and pension schemes.

Battistelli has launched a series of reforms of, for example, career management or sick leave rules.

Demonstrations and strikes

“I don’t want to raise the charges. So the only solution (to stay competitive) is to increase efficiency, which implies reforms”, he told AFP recently. “My policy is not to reduce the package of social benefits. It is a policy of developing activities, of cost control and improved efficiency to pay for our social system in the long term.”

It is, though, a difficult pill to swallow. The Office has for several years been the arena for social tension punctuated with strikes, demonstrations and alleged smear campaigns. The workers’ union Suepo condemns the “dictatorial” methods.

“There is a small group of people with Suepo at the centre, who resist change”, is Mr Battistelli’s analysis.

His successor at INPI, Yves Lapierre, who represents France on the EPO’s Administrative Council, says: “the reforms are necessary, it is important to put them in place, but I do wonder about the methods used”.

In mid-March, the Administrative Council of the EPO, which had reappointed Mr. Battistelli in June, asked the two sides to “work to find a solution.”

Michelet seeks to reassure. “I have a commitment from Mr Battistelli that by autumn the problem will be resolved.”

However, Mr Le Borgn sees a much deeper problem of governance in an organization “which is not sufficiently controlled by its member states.”

The above serves to reaffirm something we learned about last year. Citing another French text (“L’érosion de l’obligation, pour les Etats membres, de garantir le droit d’accès au juge au sein des organisations internationales?”), SUEPO quotes an opinion/commentary and states:

See here for a critical commentary Ms. Anne-Marie THEVENOT-WERNER on two recent ECHR judgments that concern violations of human rights in international government organisations. The article is in French.


In its decisions Perez and Klausecker rendered on 6 January 2015, the European Court of Human Rights reaffirms its case law derived from the decisions Waite and Kennedy and Bosphorus. However, the way it applies the principles allowing the Court to engage a State’s responsibility for violations of the human rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights may lead to an erosion of the obligation of a State to protect these rights, as the Court seems to require implicitly their protection to be “manifestly deficient”, including in the framework of the proportionality test developed in the decision Waite and Kennedy. In the end, the Court protects in any way possible the autonomy of International Organisations. This might lead however to the hardly desirable consequence that International Organisations and their Member States are free not to apply the same standard of human rights protection as the Convention offers to acts and omissions of the Organisation – even to Organisations where all Member States are a Party to the Convention.

For all we know, a Munich State Attorney is now pursuing criminal charges against the European Patent Office, so things are about to get interesting.

EPO Integrity on the Line: The Story of Željko Topić’s Controversial Diploma – Part V

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The final part about a cause for concern and a cause for backlash against EPO management, which has a growing legitimacy problem

In part one and in part two we showed reports about the controversial certificate of Željko Topić, the EPO Vice-President who is embroiled in many scandals in Croatia. Part three showed Topić’s response and part four showed that it left the Croatian press unconvinced. On the 30th of March the following year (2013) a letter was sent from German media, Süddeutsche Zeitung to be precise (they now do coverage of the Panama Papers mega-leak), to Croatian media in an effort to corroborate or establish the accuracy of accusations. The text which follows is a translation from the original Croatian. The accuracy of the translation is not guaranteed. The original article can be found at tjedno.hr.

We have added highlights in yellow in order to make quick reading simpler.

Topić's certificate
The German media are following the Master from Banja Luka with interest.


Written by: Franjo Dobrović

Saturday, 30 March 2013

In late February this year, the internet portal Tjedno received an official e-mail enquiry from the reputable German daily newspaper, the Süddeutsche Zeitung. It contained a request for facts and information relating to several articles which we had published about Željko Topić, the former Director of the State Intellectual Property Office of the Republic of Croatia (DZIV) and currently a Vice-President of the European Patent Office (EPO) whose headquarters are located in Munich.

The e-mail from the newspaper’s Belgrade office was signed by Mr. Florian Hassel, who introduced himself as the Balkans correspondent for the Süddeutsche Zeitung. We complied with his request and below we bring you the text of the e-mail received from the leading Bavarian daily newspaper (which is read throughout Germany):

“Dear Sir,
I am Florian Hassel, the Balkans correspondent for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, a leading German newspaper. Together with my colleague Christopher Schrader I have been following all of the charges and allegations against Mr. Željko Topić, an assistant director of the EPO in Munich.
On 11 April 2012, Franjo Dobrović published an article on Željko Topić, the then director of the State Intellectual Property Office (DZIV), in which he stated that there were six investigations or court proceedings being conducted against him.

We would be interested to know which attorney or judge conducted/has been conducting these investigations/court proceedings, as well as how many cases are involved.
Also, Mr. Dobrović wrote about a case heard in the European Court of Human Rights, in which it has been said that Mr Topić allegedly paid 500,000 HRK to the then Minister of Education Dragan Primorac in order to obtain his position at the DZIV. Could you please tell us which case Mr Dobrović is referring to?
Thirdly, Mr. Dobrović wrote that the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and other ministers of the Croatian Government were in the possession of confidential documents concerning these and other allegations against Mr. Topić.
Would you be able to tell us more about who drafted these documents and when?
Finally, we would like to know what happened after the publication of your article in Croatia?
Was the investigation completed or stopped, and was there or will there be a lawsuit against Mr. Topić? I would also like to ask you to direct me to someone from the Croatian Government or the judiciary whom I could contact with further questions.
Any information or assistance that you provide to us will mean that every article published in Süddeutsche Zeitung will clearly state that the portal “Tjedno” was the first to publish information regarding this case.
Florian Hassel, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Correspondent for the Balkans”

The same journalist recently published an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung describing how corruption still rules in Croatia [1]. This article attracted a lot of attention in the Croatian media. And as we have indicated above, prior to that he also expressed interest in the specific case of Željko Topić.

To remind our readers, Željko Topić, the former Director of the DZIV, voluntarily handed in his notice on 30 April 2012, only several months after having been re-appointed by the newly elected government of Zoran Milanović. He subsequently departed for Munich to take up a new position as a Vice-President of the European Patent Office (EPO). To begin with, it would be helpful to know who recommended Mr Topić for re-appointment and whose signature is to be found on the document submitted to the Prime Minister Zoran Milanović for initialling on 26 January 2012. It would also be worthwhile to hear the opinion of the EPO on the subject of Croatian copyright protection. Of particular interest is the information that the current director of the DZIV, Ljiljana Kuterovac, was appointed a couple of days ago as a member of the supervisory board of the EPO Academy in Munich for a term of three years!

In passing we mention that the description of Mr. Topić’s current position and other details about his person can be found on the official website of that international organisation: www.epo.org

According to the information that we received from our German journalist colleagues, Topić’s net monthly salary in his new job at EPO in Germany amounts to approximately 15,000 EUR.


Željko Topić acquired his master’s degree in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In Croatia the holder of a master’s degree is exempted from the requirement to sit the state examination, irrespective of whether or not the master’s degree is in any way relevant to the official duties performed in the civil service. In practice, the present case indicates a complete ignorance on the part of the former DZIV Director Topić concerning the basic principles governing the functioning of the civil service in Croatia. Failure to fulfil official obligations constitutes a serious violation of official duty as specified in detail in Article 99 of the Civil Servants Act [2].

Furthermore, in the case of an omission or inappropriate conduct by any member of staff, including the Director, the procedure concerning violations of official duty in the civil service is prescribed in detail. Disciplinary proceedings are to be instituted by the competent Minister of the state agency under whose remit the DZIV falls, which in this particular case is Minister Željko Jovanović.

The failings on the part of Minister Jovanović in relation to the supervision of the DZIV are not accidental. This assertion on our part is not baseless and without foundation because Minister Željko Jovanović of the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport of the Republic of Croatia has himself stated unofficially that Topić enjoys the protection of President Ivo Josipović and a political-legal clique in whose vanguard the state leadership itself stands. Jovanović ‘s statement was made in the middle of last year on the premises of the Croatian Social Democratic Party in Zagreb and in the presence of several witnesses, one of whom was a correspondent of the Deutsche Welle [i.e. the German public-sector international broadcasting service]. And while our honourable Minister sticks pedantically to the letter of the law, mercilessly dismissing primary and secondary school principals from office throughout the length and breadth of “our beautiful homeland” [3] merely because they have transgressed by enrolling one or two students more than they should have or due to other banalities, he does not dare to interfere with such a corrupt bigwig or to take any action concerning the operations of the DZIV.

However, Jovanović is not the only person entrusted with the task of providing cover for this “intellectual Taliban”. The lever of protection has been transferred from the Pantovčak [4] to Gajeva Street 30 in Zagreb, which is to say to the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia (DORH) and the Bureau for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK). Despite the fact that they have been inundated with complaints of a manifestly serious nature against the former Director of the DZIV, these two institutions that are responsible for criminal prosecutions have thus far valiantly resisted the barrage of fire from the aggrieved citizens of the Republic of Croatia in their attempt to call both Željko Topić and the DZIV to account on the basis of substantially similar charges relating to activities of an inherently corrupt nature. According to the information provided by foreign legal experts, there is a distinct prospect of international criminal proceedings against Mladen Bajić, as well as his recently discovered “relative” Dinko Cvitan (their wives are related), because of the blatant obstruction of investigations and the damage which they are causing to Croatian citizens and to the common good in the present case [5].

Against this background nobody was surprised by the recent statement of the President of the Republic of Croatia that he would like to see his powers extended to include the right to personally nominate the State Attorney General. This was perceived by the general public and in legal circles as a demand to fulfil some kind of a “musical request” and, as we can see, it would be a perfectly fitting extension of the prevailing practices of patronage and clientelism. Perhaps he would like to extend the existing “family connections” which have already been exposed to other “family” members …

For those who are not so knowledgeable about the secrets of the Pantovčak, let it be noted that our honourable President Josipović recently started a similar initiative to impose his preferred candidate, in the person of his security advisor Saša Perković, as the head of the Security and Intelligence Agency (SOA). However, that proposal was blocked politically and met with forthright and unanimous rejection [by the government of Zoran Milanović].


Željko Topić, being an economist who completed all of his academic studies, including the “famous” master’s degree, in Banja Luka, submitted the documents issued by the University of Banja Luka when taking up employment in the civil service of the Republic of Croatia. Some of these documents, in particular his “degree certificate”, were published by our portal in an article in June last year.

According to unofficial sources, as in other cases of DZIV supervision, the competent Ministry under the control of Željko Jovanović did not find anything amiss in this particular instance ! However, an analysis of the disputed documentation issued by the University of Banja Luka in the case of “Mr.Sc.” Topić, as well as several preliminary “field inquiries” on our part, have revealed a number of inconsistencies to which we would like draw attention. In order to assist the reader in understanding our analysis of the contentious master’s degree certificate which led to a complaint about Željko Topić being submitted to the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports, we have published this document alongside the present text for reference.

Let’s go through the details one step at a time …

  • Two different years, i.e. dates, are indicated on the degree certificate.
  • One year is indicated as the date of the oral examination. The year of issue is different, with no indication of the precise date on which the certificate was awarded.
  • The difference between the date of the oral examination and the year in which the certificate was issued is 12 years.
  • It is highly unusual that the certificate for a master’s degree which was completed in 1989 does not bear the attributes of the former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) but rather those of the Republika Srpska [an autonomous administrative region of Bosnia and Herzegovina].
  • It remains unclear why the degree was issued in 2001, i.e. twelve years after the oral examination, and only indicates the year, but not the precise date on which the certificate was awarded.
  • The thesis title stated on the certificate differs from the title stated on the thesis itself.
  • Given that the date of the oral examination falls within the period of hard-line socialist self-management [i.e. in the SFRY], the title of the master’s thesis on the degree certificate sounds rather futuristic and is “outside of time and space”.

Taking account of the various points that are noted above, there seems to be little doubt that Topić’s degree certificate is a forgery. Perhaps the mysterious visitor to the Pantovčak, who commutes regularly between Banja Luka and the Presidential Palace once a month could provide more information about this matter and he might be able to assist us in arriving at the final answer to the open questions. On whose account this enigmatic gentleman travels between Banja Luka and Zagreb and who pays his monthly expenses, whether this comes from the national budget or from the Office of the President, these are things which are at present unknown. But let us hope that the official Visitor’s Book at the Presidential Palace will not disappear mysteriously as it did during the era of the former President, Stjepan Mesić.

We conclude by noting that it is not the role of the media to draw up a bill of indictment nor is it our intention to defame anyone. Our task is merely to draw attention to irregularities, to provide news coverage about them and to protect the public interest. We leave everything else, including the drawing of conclusions and the taking of appropriate measures, to the competent national institutions subject to the proviso that they function properly and in accordance with the fundamental principles of a constitutional republic governed by the rule of law.


[1] “Zaghafte Reformen reichen für den EU-Klubausweis”, 26 March 2013. [“Half-hearted reforms suffice to secure EU club membership”] http://www.sueddeutsche.de/politik/kroatien-zaghafte-reformen-reichen-fuer-den-eu-klubausweis-1.1634355
[2] Article 99 of the Croatian Civil Servants Act relates to “Severe Breaches of Official Duties”. Article 99(1)(j) categorises “the use of inauthentic documents to secure privileges in the service” as a severe violation of official duties. http://www.vsrh.hr/CustomPages/Static/HRV/Files/Legislation__Civil-Servants-Act.pdf
[3] An ironic reference to the Croatian national anthem.
[4] “Pantovčak” refers to the Presidential Palace in Zagreb.
[5] Mladen Bajić is the current State Attorney General and Dinko Cvitan is the current head of the Office for the Suppression of Corruption and Organised Crime (USKOK).

Based on the above, there’s still some cause for concern and for suspicion about the academic past of Topić, set aside many of those other issues. EPO has done itself a great disservice by adding Topić to its ranks.

Microsoft’s Patent Blackmail Against Linux Not Enough to Keep Microsoft Afloat, Many More Layoffs Coming

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 3:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Many thousands of additional layoffs at Microsoft are reported as the effort to extract lots of ‘protection money’ from Linux falls short of expectations

Matt Rosoff, a Microsoft booster who is professionally close to Microsoft as we pointed out before [1, 2, 3, 4], says “A huge shift in the Android market is hurting Microsoft” (previous headline was, “Microsoft Android patent-licensing revenue falling”).

“In the release,” he wrote, “Microsoft noted that its patent-licensing revenue was down 26% from a year ago. And it’s because of Android.”

“Microsoft may be a dying/rapidly declining company, but it doesn’t mean it won’t try to poach GNU/Linux professionals and ‘steal’ the industry as part of the “extend” phase of E.E.E.”Nevertheless, this strategy evidently continues. Yes, Microsoft’s extortion against Linux is still a core business now that layoffs are unstoppable, in spite of massive tax evasion.

According to this new article, “18,000 Job Cuts Loom in Sight for Microsoft Employees” and to quote: “Microsoft is also cutting 5.500 more jobs because they want to focus on its mobile and cloud productivity software, including Windows Phone, Office 36, Skype, Windows Azure, Bing and OneDrive.”

Microsoft may be a dying/rapidly declining company, but it doesn’t mean it won’t try to poach GNU/Linux professionals and ‘steal’ the industry as part of the “extend” phase of E.E.E. Vigilance is required here.

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