Caught in a Lie Again: EPO Management Just Cannot Stop Lying, Even About People Whom It Gags Using Threats (to Cover Up Battistelli’s Abuses)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Liar in Chief

Benoît Battistelli
“A fish rots from the head down”

Summary: Benoît Battistelli’s decision to dismiss staff representatives (in complete violation of what the Administrative Council demanded) is accompanied by yet more face-saving lies (clearly a sackable offense in a public institution which is functional and not a global laughing stock)

NOTHING that we see at the EPO surprises us anymore. In fact, we’ve become accustomed to assuming (and safely so, based on recent experiences) that everything EPO management says is a lie. It’s no exaggeration to say that the EPO is now in “Blatter mode” as the epic scandal continues to deepen.

Laurent Prunier responds to the EPO’s claims in a followup article from WIPR. Here is a portion:

Laurent Prunier, former elected member of the central staff committee and secretary of the Staff Union of the European Patent Office (SUEPO) in The Hague, has responded to statements made by the European Patent Office (EPO).

Earlier this month, Prunier was dismissed. He had been accused of harassment and defamation, but denied the claims.

Yesterday, November 24, WIPR reported staff members were holding a demonstration to show solidarity with “dismissed, downgraded and targeted staff representatives and SUEPO officials”.

Now Prunier has responded to a number of assertions made by a spokesperson for the EPO, stating that they presented a number of “incorrect facts”.

According to Prunier, the EPO’s spokesperson has no access to the investigation reports and to the disciplinary files, as they are confidential, meaning that they are in no position to certify that “all the rules were followed”.

The EPO got caught lying again, as its nasty PR department (with that TI conflict of interests) prefers to just say what sounds good rather than what’s true; it lies all the time and it gets caught even in circular lies or chaining of lies (one lie that helps cover up another). What a total mess!

Here is how one comment put it the other day:

WIPR published yesterday an article article about the dismissal of Prunier, and cited the statement of the Office that “The procedures were conducted according to our rules, which compare favourably to other international organisations [...]” etc. etc.

Today, they published the response of Prunier, who notices that “the EPO’s spokesperson has no access to the investigation reports and to the disciplinary files, as they are confidential, meaning that they are in no position to certify that “all the rules were followed” and further challenges every statement of the EPO spokeperson.

The EPO declined to further comment.

It’s worth reading.

Here is what another person said, regarding leaks that we openly called for (leaks related to this case):

Some honest and brave AC members who understand what is going on here should ask BB for the investigation reports of Prunier and for an overview in detail of which rules were followed. BB will never give the reports and that overview. It is clear why. Be honest, should you put your head in a guillotine? Leaking of that information is urgently desired. The EPO should further urgently sign the European Convention on Human Rights.

If anyone other than Prunier leaks these documents to us, Prunier himself cannot be punished as the leaks are not within his control or his own fault. We welcome any information readers may have on this case. The world deserves to know what goes on before Battistelli proceeds to dismissals of more staff representatives at The Hague (disciplinary procedures have already been initiated against more of them and they are not allowed to speak about that). It’s a reign of terror.

As Prunier made abundantly clear, these procedures against him were initiated not by ordinary staff but by a close associate of Battistelli, possibly Bergot (it’s hard to know without leaked documents).

Here is one quoteworthy comment from today. It makes a good case for the dismissal of Battistelli and reinstatement/compensation to those whom he attacked for attempting to save the EPO:

In March the Council requested the President:
1)to ensure that disciplinary sanctions and proceedings are not only fair but also seen to be so, and to consider the possibility of involvement of an external reviewer or of arbitration or mediation
2)pending the outcome of this process and before further decisions in disciplinary cases are taken, to inform the AC in appropriate detail and make proposals that enhance confidence in fair and reasonable proceedings and sanctions;
3)to submit to the AC a draft revision of the Staff Regulations which incorporates investigation guidelines (including the investigation unit) and disciplinary procedures which have been reviewed and amended;
4)to achieve, within the framework of the tripartite negotiations, an MOU simultaneously with both trade unions, which would have no pre-conditions or exclude any topics from future discussions;
5)to submit proposals to the AC at its June 2016 meeting, after discussion in B28, for immediate implementation of the structural reform of the BOA, on the lines of the 5 points agreed by the AC at its December 2015 meeting and of the legal advice given by Prof. Sarooshi, and taking into account comments from the Presidium of the BOA;
6)to submit proposals to the AC at its June 2016 meeting, after discussion in B28, for reinforcement of the AC secretariat and a clarification of its position in terms of governance.

Nine months afterwards he managed point 5 only with great help from the Council and with a widely criticized text, which the Council accepted only because they desperately needed some kind of reform.

In points 1,2,3,4,6 he completely failed.

Is it time to look for a President with the skills and will to carry out his mandate?

We welcome leaks related to the case. Surely there are at least a handful of people who have access to the documents and can send portions anonymously to us. Remember that in over 10 years we never compromised a source.

Benoît Battistelli’s Affinity for Tiny Countries Exploits the Ease of ‘Buying’ Their Votes

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Good “bang for the buck” when cooperation money (or something along those lines) is granted (‘gifted’) to countries with low overall capital

Nice gift

Summary: The tyrannical boss of the EPO keeps his job by ensuring that small nations with a vote of equal weight to that of nations like France or Germany simply behave like “yes men” or at worst abstain from voting

LIKE the American patent system, the EPO has a big budget, but it’s often misused in favour of large corporations (or rich investors) rather than actual inventors.

What’s more, in the EPO at least, President Battistelli is said to be buying votes where he can. Tiny countries like Monaco get visited (new epo.org link to a new puff piece) for photo ops and as someone told us in the comments, it’s a country that got filed just FOUR (yes, 4!) EPO patents, so its relevance to the EPO is close to zero. But it’s only the country’s vote that Battistelli must be after. We wrote about this as recently as a week ago in relation to Lithuania. Battistelli — being the extremely unpopular chief of the EPO — likes small, tiny, corruptible countries because their votes count as much as big countries’ votes. This is the only way he can survive in his job. Watch this obscure blog that’s being promoted by the EPO (yesterday). It’s called “Monaco Life” and it’s a useless puff piece which says: “On the sidelines of the second meeting of the European Patent Office online users’ days, being held in Monaco from November 24 to 25, the Principality, represented by Jean Castellini, Minister of Finance and Economy, and the European Patent Organisation, represented by the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli, have signed a working agreement that will bring the two sides closer.”

“People at the EPO are rightly concerned about their employer becoming a banana republic.”Yes, for 4 patents!

People at the EPO are rightly concerned about their employer becoming a banana republic. It does, after all, put their job and their whole career in jeopardy. It’s no longer much of a badge of honour to say you work (or worked) for the EPO and this new comment takes stock of the lies about the staff, courtesy of PwC. To quote: “Maybe there is a Triumvirate in the making with 3 President’s, e.g. BB for protocol matters, a new one for the executive EPO part and one for the BoA. The advantages would be that its suits BB’s royal ambitions and he can focus on his visits to Monaco, etc and high state visits according to protocol. Furthermore the AC can appoint somebody that really knows how an organisation with social partners works. Finally the story with BoA we all know. (Remark: to whom it may concern there is also a HR make-over in the pipe line, basically masking the social mess with a perfume of new PwC business clichés)…”

Speaking of small countries, a second article about the EPO came from Luxembourg this past week (not the first this year), in spite of being a very small nation. The German media is conspicuously quiet, but this article is in German yet not from Germany. Can anyone from Luxembourg or Germany translate this for us? SUEPO seems to have taken note of this second article, so perhaps they too intend to produce a translation. Here is the first article, which we have already mentioned the other day (SUEPO has already taken note of both articles).

Related article: Benoît Battistelli: “An Earthquake Would be Needed for the Administrative Council… Not to Support My Major Proposals.”

The Sad State of German Anti-Corruption Authorities and Investigative Journalism, as Demonstrated by the EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The EPO in Munich enjoys apathy and toothlessness that prevails in media and watchdogs around it


Summary: A personal view on why the EPO manages to get away with so many abuses while the media and watchdogs like Transparency International (TI) play along by doing nothing at all about it

THE EPO is very difficult to trust nowadays because the management routinely lies and the liars are sometimes former staff of the growingly-defunct Transparency International (TI), which was supposed to combat corruption but is increasingly participating in it (or helping to cover it up).

One reader told us, “referring to your article [the above] there’s another interference with TI by the person of Hedda van Wedel. The wikipedia article about CORRECTIV names her as member of the supervisory board. If you follow the link to the German wiki about Hedda [see Hedda_von_Wedel] it is noted that she was elected vice president of TI Germany in 2007…”

One has to wonder then who is left to expose the abuses at the EPO, as the government of Germany seems entirely disinterested and the media does a terrible job. The EPO and EUIPO are promoting a big lie, still in pursuit of ‘cheap’ (no fact-checking) press coverage (sometimes they get it), yet almost nobody in the German media speaks about the latest scandals. There was a long discussion about who’s a good journalist to contact about this and one person wrote:

for investigative journalism one golden rule : follow the money.

EPO has plenty ( EUR / year budget and ZERO decent check-and-balances comparable to what can be found at UNO or EU)

They are currently building expensive in NL aren’t they ;o)

Be seeing you

Remember that the EPO effectively bribes/attacks media. It’s basically operating in a very corrupt and aggressive manner (like shipping/dishing libel through journalists while threatening others with libel lawsuits) and today someone posted this good point about why EPO scandals’ media coverage is so scarce. It’s “giving aid and comfort to “…exiteers”,” the person said. Here is the full comment:

Indeed it is difficult, for the reasons given by Sam McClure, to interest investigative journalists. I know, I’ve tried and so have others to my knowledge. There is an additional barrier he did not mention: anything “European” is considered by the media in many countries, even those with a “free” press, to be a sacred cow that cannot be criticized for fear of giving aid and comfort to “..exiteers”. Even if one could find a keen journalist, what mainstream media would touch this story?

Probably just about no “mainstream media” (corporate media), which is why many people still rely on Techrights for information and our Wiki page about the EPO is approaching half a million page views.

China Creates a Patent Bubble That Contributes to Patent Inflation

Posted in Asia, Patents at 3:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Worth of patents is declining as quality goes down and quantity goes up

Reference: Hyperinflation

Summary: China’s obsession with patent quantity rather than quality (a disease that has infected the current boss of the EPO) is a cause for concern, except perhaps to patent lawyers who in the short term enjoy the temporary inflation (before hyper-inflation and implosion)

IN GERMANY at the end of the week we found this new article from Stefan Krempl (who often covers EPO scandals) — an article which deals with the subject we wrote about 2 days ago. IAM wrote about it as well and it was rather refreshing because, for a change, IAM actually explained that patents are a terrible measure of “innovation” — however one defines it. To quote IAM:

This blog has said it before.; but it is worth saying again: patent filing statistics are not a measure of innovation. They may be indicative of a country’s capacity for invention and innovation, they may tell us something about efforts to transition to a more ‘knowledge-based’ economy; but, then again, they may not. In fact, all they can really tell us with certainty is how many patent applications are being filed. Innovation is something of a qualitative, subjective concept. Patent filings, on the other hand, are a simple and objective matter of whole numbers. The latter is at best an inadequate metric for understanding the former.

Meanwhile, in another German site/blog called FOSS Patents, this time (for the first time as far as we’re aware) not composed by Florian Müller, “more rationality and a shift to China” was covered. Actually, as we noted here the other day, China shoots itself in the foot with patents and it will pay for that in the long run. China has adopted patent maximalism to the point where almost every crappy application becomes a granted patent and lends to a global inflation (if not hyper inflation) that will devalue all patents. Wait and watch what happens in the coming years/decade. China is already fast becoming a hotbed of patent trolls.

Links 26/11/2016: VLC 360, Wine 1.9.23

Posted in News Roundup at 2:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Microsoft & Linux & Patents & Tweets [Ed: Microsoft Loves Linux Patent Tax]

    Fact-checking some tweets about Linux Foundation’s newest member and their harvesting of other members’ money.


    The revenue Microsoft gains comes a range of targets than can be colloquially called “Linux” with varying qualification. That includes embedded Linux and things that use it such as Android and shared SMB filesystems as well as Linux as a server and things that use it. Again, identifying the ratio of income per usage is impossible for anyone outside Microsoft (and probably for most people inside).

    Certainly the range of patents Microsoft is known to be attempting to monetise includes a broad range of functions. The best list I have found appears to have been inadvertently published by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce in 2014. But licensing activity is certainly not limited to Android; Microsoft also targets ChromeOS, Linux servers, Linux in consumer devices (each of those is a sample; there are plenty of other press releases) and much of the Android licensing actually appears to related to xFAT filesystem interoperability as in the Tom Tom case.

  • Desktop

    • Meet Pinebook, A Low Cost Linux Laptop That Looks Like A MacBook

      PineBook is a budget laptop running an Allwinner quad-core 64-bit processor. The device comes in two screen sizes both of them having 2GB RAM and 16GB eMMC storage along various ports and connectivity options. PineBook supports a number of Linux distros and Android versions.

    • Meet the Pinebook, a $89 ARM Laptop That Runs Ubuntu

      The Pine64 Pinebook is an ARM laptop priced from $89. It can run Android, ChromiumOS and various flavours of Linux, including Ubuntu.

    • Light and Thin 64-bit ARM based Open Source Notebook
    • The 12 Most Ridiculous Windows Errors of All Time

      Computers and humans are so different. While computers are infinitely faster at processing information, they run into trouble if they try to stray from their course. These “fast idiots” contrast to people, who can’t think as fast as machines but can adapt much more easily.

      These relations have produced some hilarious situations where novice users failed to grasp the basics of using Windows. On the other side of this are error messages. When a computer runs into an unexpected scenario, it usually throws up a message box for the user to review.

  • Server

    • Japan plans 130-petaflops China-beating number-crunching supercomputer

      Like 498 out of the top 500 systems, Japan’s 27 supercomputers in the Top 500 list all run Linux, and it is highly likely the new system will do so as well. It is not yet known who will construct the system for the Japanese government—bidding for the project is open until December 8.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • RadeonSI’s Gallium3D Driver Performance Has Improved Massively In The Past Year

        As some more exciting benchmarks to carry out this US holiday week, here are benchmarks of all major Mesa releases from Mesa 11.0 from mid 2015 through the latest Mesa 13.1-dev code as of this week. Additionally, the latest AMDGPU-PRO numbers are provided too for easy comparison of how the open-source AMD GCN 3D driver performance has evolved over the past year. It’s a huge difference!

      • LLVM 4.0 Causes Slow Performance For RadeonSI?

        Several times in the past few weeks I’ve heard Phoronix readers claim the LLVM 4.0 SVN code causes “slow performance” or has rendering issues. Yet it’s gone on for weeks and I haven’t seen such myself, so I decided to run some definitive tests at least for the OpenGL games most relevant to our benchmarking here.

      • It Looks Like We’ll Still See A GUI Control Panel For AMD Linux

        Earlier this year I exclusively reported on the “Radeon Settings” GUI control panel may be open-sourced for AMD Linux users but since then I hadn’t heard anything publicly or privately about getting this graphics driver control panel on Linux for AMDGPU-PRO and the fully-open AMDGPU stack. But it looks like that it’s still being worked on internally at AMD.

      • Yet More AMDGPU DAL Patches This Week For Testing

        It had been a few weeks since last seeing any new enablement patches for AMD’s DAL display abstraction layer code, which is a big requirement for HDMI/DP audio, HDMI 2.0, potential FreeSync support, and also needed for next-generation GPUs. The lack of fresh DAL patches changed though this week when new patches were sent out and already another round of revising to this display code has now been mailed out for review.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • An Everyday Linux User Review Of Q4OS 1.8

        Q4OS is fairly straight forward to get to grips with and it runs like a dream.

        When I tried it last year it was on a much older machine and really worked well. On this machine it performs magnificently.

        The Windows look and feel might not be to everybody’s taste especially the use of “My Documents” and “My Pictures” etc but you can easily rename them.

        The desktop environment is Trinity and it lacks certain features such as window snapping.

        I haven’t tried Q4OS out with my NAS drive or printer and other hardware yet but I did last time around and it had no issues so I suspect it will be the same this time. I will update you in the next blog post about this. I will also update you as to whether Steam works or not.

        As with last time around I can’t really fault Q4OS on anything. Well I suppoes there are a couple of things that could be improved such as dual booting and the network manager should be installed by default as the one that comes with Q4OS is a bit inconsistent.

        After just a couple of hours effort I had Q4OS installed with every application I need including PyCharm. I am now able to listen to music, watch films, surf the web, write software, edit documents, read and send mail, use DropBox, use Skype and play games.

        Q4OS also comes with WINE which is useful for running Windows software.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 5 Support Extension and General Update

        With the delays to Mageia 6 and the approaching initial end of life (EOL) for Mageia 5 (initially planned for early December), we felt that it would be good to give an update on where things were with both Mageia 5 and 6.

        Firstly, every release so far has been supported until 3 months after the next release, and Mageia 5 will be no different. Since Mageia 6 is being delayed, Mageia 5’s support is automatically extended in order to give users 3 months to upgrade before Mageia 5 stops receiving security updates.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Red Hat Family

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Korora 25 Upgrades, Mageia 6 Delays, Gift Ideas

          The Korora project announced a bit of good news for user waiting for the latest release while Mageia users will have to continue to wait. opensource.com published a gift buying guide for Open Source fans and it looks like the netbook is back is back. Gary Newell reviewed Q4OS 1.8 and makeuseof.com today reminded us of why we use Linux.

        • Impatient for Korora 25?

          We are busy preparing Korora 25 ‘Gurgle’ for release but those who already have Korora 64 bit 24 or 23 installations don’t have to wait.

        • Running Fedora 25 Design Suite on ASUS X550ZE laptop
        • Summary report on FUDCon APAC, Phnom Penh

          This year FUDCon APAC happened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for two days 5th and 6th of November. This FUDCon happened as part of bigger conference called as BarCamp, ASEAN 2016. This BarCamp happened at Norton university from 4th to 6th November.

          On the first day of this BarCamp/FUDCon when we reach to the venue, we found it to be very nice place, full of people like students, volunteers, banners of BarCamp everywhere. It was a five floor building and the inauguration talk happened at the top 5th floor where all the honourable guests including Brian Exelbierd, Fedora Community Action and Impact Coordinator talked about FOSS.

        • Upgraded to Fedora 25

          Generally I used to upgrade after the Alpha releases, but this time I decided to wait till the final release. Reason: just being lazy. The other point is of course the nightly cloud images, which I am using for a long time.

          Before I upgraded my laptop, the first step was to sync the gold release of Everything repo, and then the updates repo for x86_84. The Everything repo is around 55GB, and the updates was 14GB+ when I synced. After I managed to get the local mirror at home fully synced, I upgraded using dnf system-upgrade.

    • Debian Family

      • Starting the faster, more secure APT 1.4 series

        We just released the first beta of APT 1.4 to Debian unstable (beta here means that we don’t know any other big stuff to add to it, but are still open to further extensions). This is the release series that will be released with Debian stretch, Ubuntu zesty, and possibly Ubuntu zesty+1 (if the Debian freeze takes a very long time, even zesty+2 is possible). It should reach the master archive in a few hours, and your mirrors shortly after that.

      • Debian package build tools

        When I was first introduced to Debian packaging, people recommended I use pbuilder. Given how complex the toolchain is in the pbuilder case, I don’t understand why that is (was?) a common recommendation.

      • vmdebootstrap Sprint Report

        This is now a little overdue, but here it is. On the 10th and 11th of November, the second vmdebootstrap sprint took place. Lars Wirzenius (liw), Ana Custura (ana_c) and myself were present. liw focussed on the core of vmdebootstrap, where he sketched out what the future of vmdebootstrap may look like. He documented this in a mailing list post and also presented (video).

        Ana and myself worked on live-wrapper, which uses vmdebootstrap internally for the squashfs generation. I worked on improving logging, using a better method for getting paths within the image, enabling generation of Packages and Release files for the image archive and also made the images installable (live-wrapper 0.5 onwards will include an installer by default).

      • Quicker Debian installations using eatmydata

        Two years ago, I did some experiments with eatmydata and the Debian installation system, observing how using eatmydata could speed up the installation quite a bit. My testing measured speedup around 20-40 percent for Debian Edu, where we install around 1000 packages from within the installer. The eatmydata package provide a way to disable/delay file system flushing. This is a bit risky in the general case, as files that should be stored on disk will stay only in memory a bit longer than expected, causing problems if a machine crashes at an inconvenient time. But for an installation, if the machine crashes during installation the process is normally restarted, and avoiding disk operations as much as possible to speed up the process make perfect sense.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Deepstream: an Open-source Server for Building Realtime Apps

    Realtime apps are getting really popular, but they’re also hard to build. Wolfram Hempel introduces deepstream, an open-source server he co-founded to make data-sync, request-response and publish-subscribe a whole lot easier.

  • Open Source Email Marketing with phpList

    Email marketing has been exploding in popularity. You might have heard of the likes of MailChimp and Emma advertising the use of their services to send a whole bunch of messages for prospects and profit. The number of ways to promote goods online is forever growing, and research shows emails are still the most effective. I like to compare it with the “desktop is dead” myth; while mobile is on the rise, desktop is here to stay. I believe the same about email.

    Having said that, it’s no surprise that the number of services competing in the field have mushroomed in recent years, capitalising on demand from firms of all sizes to get access to that most personal of places, the email inbox.

    While big brand proprietary platforms and their sponsorship deals have been busy establishing themselves, an Open Source alternative has been minding its own business, making regular releases and accumulating a committed base of users since the year 2000. Enter phpList, the email marketing app you can run yourself without paying for messages, subscribers, or additional features.

  • 3 alternative reasons why you should test Nextcloud 11 Beta

    And many of the folks about to be put in power by President-elect Trump favor more spying, including on US citizens, expansion of the NSA, a crackdown on whistleblowers and more. Trump’s pick for CIA director calls for Snowden’s execution. For, what I can only guess must be giving proof of illegal government spying to dangerous terrorists like the Washington Post and the Guardian, who proceeded to win a Pulitzer prize by disclosing this information irresponsibly to the US public.

  • Mickey Mouse Open Source, Close Call at WordPress, and More…

    These days we’re seeing a lot of companies that aren’t officially in the software business releasing code developed in-house for internal use under open source licenses. You can now add Disney to that list, which includes Capital One, Walmart and others.

    This was pointed out on Wednesday by InfoWorld’s Paul Krill, who notes that in addition to Mickey Mouse, Pinocchio and Nemo, the company has given us advanced image projects such as OpenEXR, as well as DevOps tools for the Mac, such as Munki. More information on Disney’s open source projects can be found on its GitHub page.

  • Plans Unveiled for R3s Corda to Move to Open Source

    Head over to corda.net on November 30 for links to the codebase, simple sample applications and a tutorial to get started writing your own CorDapps.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • How to Get Certified for Top Open Source Platforms and Applications

      The cloud computing and Big Data scenes are absolutely flooded with talk of shortages in people with deployment and management expertise. There just are not enough skilled workers to go around. The OpenStack Foundation, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation and other organizations are now taking some important steps to address the situation.

      As 2017 approaches, here are some of the best ways to get certified for the open source cloud and Big Data tools that are makng a difference.

      As part of its efforts to grow the OpenStack talent pool and global community, the OpenStack Foundation has announced professional certification programs that are meant to provide a baseline assessment of knowledge and be accessible to OpenStack professionals around the world. Some of the first steps in advancing the program are taking place now, and Red Hat is also advancing OpenStack certification plans.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)


    • More Offloading Code Hits GCC Mainline For Both HSA & NVPTX

      For those following GCC’s offloading capabilities to devices like GPUs, more work continued being mainline this week. We are onto stage 3 development of GCC 7 but items that were still being reviewed at that time are still being allowed to land. It looks like in 2017 we may finally see more GCC support come to reality when it comes to AMD HSA support and OpenMP / OpenACC offloading to NVIDIA GPUs.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Data

      • Dutch Drecht cities published first batch of open datasets

        The Drecht cities (Drechtsteden), a collaboration of six municipalities in the delta region of the Netherlands, have published a first batch of open datasets. The data has been made available on several public open government data platforms. It includes information on complaints, monumental trees, groundwater levels, monuments, playgrounds, dumpsters, and real estate values. More datasets will follow in the near future.


  • Science

    • Sweden publishes report on ‘The Social Contract in Digital Times’

      Last month, the Swedish Digitalisation Commission (Digitaliseringskommissionen) published a theme report on ‘The Social Contract in Digital Times’. The report comprises a collection of articles contributed by a dozen authors working in academia, science and innovation.

      The report highlights social issues such as the meaning of equality for the individual.
      Welfare, healthcare and education, for example, can be provided in new, more personalised ways. What can and should be the State’s commitment in this setting, and what rights and obligations should the individual have?

    • Two new planets for neuroscientists

      Those that have been around the free and open source community will already know what planets are. They’re web pages that aggregate feeds from various sources – usually community members’ blogs. There are quite a few around and I follow a few myself – Planet Fedora, Planet GNOME, and Planet Mozilla, for example. They’re extremely useful to keep onesself up to date with the happenings in the communities.

      So, I’ve gone ahead and set up two new planet instances to aggregate information from a myriad of neuroscience sources. The first is Planet neuroscience. The feeds this one aggregates are all from peer reviewed journals. So, pure research on this one. It’s one long list of new publications.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Tens of thousands of children at risk of starvation in Nigeria crisis

      More than 120,000 people, most of them children, are at risk of starving to death next year in areas of Nigeria affected by the Boko Haram insurgency, the United Nations is warning.

      Intense fighting in parts of Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon has left more than 2 million people displaced, farmers unable to harvest their crops and aid groups unable to reach isolated communities. One small state in Nigeria has more displaced people than the entire refugee influx that arrived in Europe last year.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Linux hardening: a 15-step checklist for a secure Linux server [Ed: paywall]

      Most people assume Linux is secure, and that’s a false assumption. Imagine your laptop is stolen without first being hardened. A thief would probably assume your username is “root” and your password is “toor” since that’s the default password on Kali and most people continue to use it. Do you? I hope not.

    • Homeland Security Issues ‘Strategic Principles’ For Securing The Internet Of Broken Things

      For much of the last year, we’ve noted how the rush to connect everything from toasters to refrigerators to the internet — without adequate (ok, any) security safeguards — has resulted in a security, privacy and public safety crisis. At first, the fact that everything from Barbies to tea kettles were now hackable was kind of funny. But in the wake of the realization that these hacked devices are contributing to massive new DDoS botnet attacks (on top of just leaking your data or exposing you to hacks) the conversation has quickly turned serious.

      Security researchers have been noting for a while that it’s only a matter of time before the internet-of-not-so-smart-things contributes to human fatalities, potentially on a significant scale if necessary infrastructure is attacked. As such, the Department of Homeland Security recently released what they called “strategic principles” for securing the Internet of Things; an apparent attempt to get the conversation started with industry on how best to avoid a dumb device cyber apocalypse.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Analysis: Why Sweden is giving an award to the ‘White Helmets’?

      Sweden did not succeed in getting Bob Dylan to come to Stockholm to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. Nevertheless as a consolation the “White Helmets” did arrive to get the Right Livelihood Award.

      This article examines a likely geopolitical rationale that the Swedish elites had for selecting that organization. Also, facts suggest a congruence between the stances of those elites on Syria and the declared political aims of the organization White Helmets. The reviewing of the institutions involved in the award-decision and process can also result relevant in pondering the reason for the event. Finally, to inquire into the role of Carl Bildt, as member of the board of directors in the institution ultimately deciding, is interesting against the backdrop of his opposition regarding the participation of Julian Assange and Edward Snowden in previous international events organized by the same institutions –all of them under the umbrella of the Swedish Foreign Office.

    • Obama administration expands elite military unit’s powers to hunt foreign fighters globally

      The Obama administration is giving the elite Joint Special Operations Command — the same organization that helped kill Osama bin Laden in a 2011 raid by Navy SEALs — expanded power to track, plan and potentially launch attacks on terrorist cells around the globe, a move driven by concerns of a dispersed terrorist threat as Islamic State militants are driven from strongholds in Iraq and Syria, U.S. officials said.

      The missions could occur well beyond the battlefields of places like Iraq, Syria and Libya where Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) has carried out clandestine operations in the past. When finalized, it will elevate JSOC from being a highly-valued strike tool used by regional military commands to leading a new multiagency intelligence and action force. Known as the “Counter-External Operations Task Force,” the group will be designed to take JSOC’s targeting model — honed over the last 15 years of conflict — and export it globally to go after terrorist networks plotting attacks against the West.

    • How Donald Trump responded to Fidel Castro’s death

      Trump came under intense scrutiny in September following allegations that he knowingly violated the U.S. Cuban embargo in the 1990s, news that threatened to sour Cuban-Americans’ opinion of him.

      A Newsweek story said the now-president elect spent $68,000 to send business consultants to Cuba despite the embargo. Trump Hotels reimbursed Seven Arrows Investment & Development Corp. shortly after Trump launched his bid for the White House.

    • Fidel Castro dies at 90

      Cuban leader Fidel Castro has died at age 90, his brother Raul announced on state television in the early morning hours Saturday.

      Raul Castro made a brief TV statement around 12:30 a.m. Eastern.

      “It is with great pain I come to inform our country, friends of our America, and the world that today, Nov. 25, 2016 at 10:29 p.m., the commander in chief of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro Ruz, died,” he said.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Setting the World to Rights

      Julian is very aware of the persistent rumours about his position or health. He is fine apart from a cold, and buoyed by recent events.

    • Readers choose Assange over Trump as Time’s Person of the Year

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has overtaken President-elect Donald Trump for the lead in the online poll that allowed Time magazine readers to choose who the next person of the year should be.

      As of 1:00 pm (eastern time) on Monday, Assange and Trump were deadlocked with 9 per cent of all the “yes” votes cast by participants, but Assange pulled ahead to 10 per cent shortly after noon, Time reported.

      Wikileaks made headlines regularly during 2016 presidential election by releasing information, including leaked internal Democratic National Committee correspondence and messages from the account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Arctic ice melt could trigger uncontrollable climate change at global level

      Arctic scientists have warned that the increasingly rapid melting of the ice cap risks triggering 19 “tipping points” in the region that could have catastrophic consequences around the globe.

      The Arctic Resilience Report found that the effects of Arctic warming could be felt as far away as the Indian Ocean, in a stark warning that changes in the region could cause uncontrollable climate change at a global level.

    • Despite tough talk, Indonesia’s government is struggling to stem deforestation

      TEGUH, chief of the village of Henda, in the Indonesian portion of Borneo, enters his office brimming with apologies for being late. The acrid scent of smoke wafts from his clothes. He explains that he was guiding police and firefighters to a fire just outside the village. A farmer had decided to clear his land by burning it. Henda sits amid Borneo’s vast peatlands; the fire had set the fertile soil smouldering for nearly 24 hours. It was a small fire, he says—perhaps a couple of hectares—but Mr Teguh still struggled to contain his exasperation, given the destruction wrought by fires set for land-clearance just a year ago.

      Last year, in the autumn for the most part, at least 2.6m hectares of Indonesia’s forests burned—an area the size of Sicily. The fires blanketed much of South-East Asia in a noxious haze and released a vast plume of greenhouse gases. Much of the island’s interior was reduced to sickly scrub; along its roads stand skeletal trees, reproachful witnesses to the ravages they endured. Indonesia’s forest fires alone emitted more greenhouse gases in just three weeks last year than Germany did over the whole year. The World Bank estimates that they cost Indonesia $16bn in losses to forestry, agriculture, tourism and other industries. The haze sickened hundreds of thousands across the region, and according to one study, hastened over 100,000 deaths.

    • Scientists Across the World Are Nervous About Trump, Survey Says

      With Donald Trump set to step into the Oval Office this January, we’ve reported before that scientists are concerned his policies could mean an attack on America’s scientific prowess and integrity.

      In fact, 72 percent of scientists surveyed in a recent worldwide poll said the results of the election would have a negative impact on research and science in the US. The survey was conducted by the Science Advisory Board, a panel of over 75,000 doctors, researchers, and scientific experts. It polled 3,289 scientists from every continent, except Antarctica. Of the American scientists, 85 percent said they voted for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and about 10 percent said they voted for Trump.

    • Health Canada proposes ban on pesticide linked to bee deaths

      Canada’s health regulator is planning to ban a controversial neonicotinoid pesticide, which it says has contaminated waterways and killed important aquatic insects.

    • Feds move to ban common neonicotinoid insecticide, say use ‘not sustainable’

      The federal government is moving to phase out a common neonicotinoid insecticide after finding that it accumulates in waterways and harms aquatic insects.

      Health Canada has announced a 90-day public consultation period on imidacloprid, which is used on everything from cereals, grains, pulses and oilseeds to forestry woodlots and flea infestations on pets.

      Neonicotinoids as a class of pesticides have come under heavy scrutiny in recent years for their potential impact on bee populations.

  • Finance

    • TiSA-Leaks: Fundamental rights shall be levered out for free trade – also in the internet

      Today we publish new TiSA documents in cooperation with Greenpeace which have been kept secret until now. The „Trade in Services Agreement“ is a proposed trade treaty for services between 23 Parties, including the EU and the United States.

      The new leaks include the Annexes about Electronic Commerce and Telecommunications Services. Those will have a noticeable impact on net politics in the EU. They point to negative effects on data protection, net neutrality, freedom of speech and IT security.

      If the EU does not manage to defend its positions and grovels to the interests of industry lobbyists it will become unreliable and show that it prefers trade to fundamental rights.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Wisconsin is preparing to recount election votes after receiving petition from Jill Stein

      True to her word, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein filed for an election recount in the state of Wisconsin this afternoon, just 90 minutes before the deadline to file, according to the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The move comes after Stein raised over $5 million through a fundraising effort to cover the cost of recounts in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan — three key battleground states that helped Donald Trump gain the 270 electoral college votes needed to win the election. Trump won Wisconsin by a margin of just over 25,000 votes.

    • Trump election: Wisconsin prepares for vote recount

      Officials in Wisconsin are preparing to conduct a full recount of the votes from the US election in the state, which was narrowly won by Donald Trump.

      A formal request for the recount was filed by the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

      Dr Stein, the Green Party’s candidate, has also pledged to file for recounts in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

      The result would need to be overturned in all three states to change the outcome of the election, something analysts say is highly unlikely.

      Dr Jill Stein reportedly wants to make sure computer hackers did not skew the poll in favour of Mr Trump.

    • Wisconsin to recount presidential votes

      Wisconsin will undertake a recount of its presidential election votes after two requests from third-party candidates.

      Green Party nominee Jill Stein filed her request just before the deadline Friday afternoon, the Wisconsin Elections Commission announced. Reform Party candidate Rocky De La Fuente also filed for a recount.

      “We are standing up for an election system that we can trust; for voting systems that respect and encourage our vote, and make it possible for all of us to exercise our constitutional right to vote,” Stein said in a statement.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Now Reddit is ‘censoring the alt-right’ after founder got fed up of being called a PAEDO

      THE CHIEF executive of Reddit has admitted to anonymously editing posts that were critical of him – changing them to refer to president-elect Donald Trump instead.

      Steve Huffman, posting under his username Spez on the discussion forum, told users that he was sick of being constantly called a paedophile in their discussions on the site.

    • Internet, a Double-Edged Sword Stained With Fake News and Censorship [Ed: The problem isn’t “fake news” but people not knowing how to validate news based on reputation of sources]

      By AsiaToday reporter Kim Eun-young – The Internet has created a new landscape of social change as an outlet for open communication. However, it also threatens Millennials with false information and censorship.

      Both Google and Facebook announced on Nov. 15 that they will ban fake news sites from using their ad networks to prevent the spread of false information, AFP reported. The shift comes as they face a backlash over the role they played in the U.S. presidential election by allowing the spread of false information supporting a particular candidate that might have contributed to the outcome of the election.

    • China Uses US Concern Over Fake News To Push For More Control Of The Internet

      In the context of this sentence, “reward” and “punish” both sound like they have the same definition. Unless the government official is hinting that those spreading fake news stories more aligned with the government’s aims will be given… something for their assistance in pushing the party line.

      The United States has long been looked to as a free speech ideal, something other countries can strive for in their own governance. But countries opposed to those ideals are watching much more closely, looking for anything that belies the ideals the US government claims to hold dear. So, when President Obama suggests fake news is an actual threat to democracy, countries like China are going to use this to justify further control of citizens’ communications and stricter regulation of news sources — for the “good of the nation.”

    • Election Prompts More Aggressive Twitter Censorship

      And according to some conservatives whose accounts have been suspended, Twitter has looked the other way when it comes to those on the Left who have bullied conservatives. An example discovered by USA Today was a California college student, Ariana Rowlands, who said she received personal attacks and death threats after Tweeting about her pride in her Hispanic heritage and her support for Trump. She said she reported the posts, but Twitter did nothing about the abusive account holders.

    • Gambia: Ahead of polls, digital media skirt censorship

      While state media in Gambia is government controlled and the private media practices self-censorship, political opponents of the small West African country’s strongman President Yahya Jammeh are using digital media to bypass the hurdles they face in reaching audiences.

      Gambians are heading to presidential polls next week, on Dec. 1, and campaigns are already in motion, with the incumbent facing his former ally and a coalition of seven opposition parties.

    • Major Journalism Trade Unions Stand with Sputnik Against Censorship

      Sputnik News Agency and Radio Broadcaster has received the support of both the International Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) following the passing of a controversial resolution by the European Parliament.

    • Nataliya Rostova: In Russia’s media, censorship is silent

      The idea of conducting a survey of Russian journalists came to me after seeing something similar in New York magazine, which earlier this year polled 113 people working in the US media on the problems and challenges they face. I thought it’d be interesting to compare the responses of journalists working on opposite sides of the Atlantic. On the one hand, you have the experience of a country where every schoolchild feels pride in the First Amendment, which forbids Congress to pass any legislation limiting freedom of speech and the press, and, on the other, experience from a country where censorship was officially banned only 26 years ago.

    • Will new censorship kill Chinese filmmaking?

      China’s new film censorship laws would, at first blush, be enough to make a director cry.

      Movies must not promote gambling, superstition, drug abuse, violence nor teach criminal methods. What’s more they should “serve the people and socialism”. The horror!

      So will this mean the end of great Chinese cinema and the drowning of dwindling audiences in sea of dull, paternalistic fare?

      Not necessarily.

    • Dodgy Age Verification And Censorship Are Not The Answer

      Open Rights Group has got to know a disastrous policy when it sees it. Back in 2010, during the last Digital Economy Bill, music companies demanded that people be cut off the Internet after “three strikes” if they were accused of file sharing.

      Even then, it was clear that this was a disproportionate response that wouldn’t bring any of the supposed benefits.

      “Three strikes” and disconnection was never put into action. It crashed and burned, and everyone does their best to forget it.

      Now, I am experiencing a strong sense of déja vu. The new incarnation of the Digital Economy Bill starts with a real concern, that children can access pornography online, and puts forward a ‘modest proposal”. This is a deserving group whose interests are indisputably important.

    • Brazilian Activists Outsmart Facebook’s Censorship of the Female Nipple

      Gradually this has been challenged in Brazil, with many feminist movements doing marches attended by many women who, in protest against hypersexualization and shaming of women’s bodies, bare their chests in public. This has been accompanied by increased frustration with Facebook and Instagram’s Community Standards, which allow specific non-sexual images of women’s nipples (they make exceptions for breast feeding and post-mastectomy photos), but not others. They also allow some images of graphic violence, such as photos of people who have been tortured. Hypersexualized images of female breasts are also considered appropriate (as long as the nipple is not clearly visible), while photos including women’s nipples ranging from indigenous ceremonies in Australia to campaigns against breast cancer are prohibited.

    • Facebook doesn’t need to ban fake news to fight it

      Mark Zuckerberg’s social media site doesn’t have to become a censor to help tackle false stories. It can do a lot by helping its own users with context

    • On Blacklists and Russia ‘Hacking’ American Democracy
    • MacWorld, PCWorld Kill Site Comments Because They ‘Value And Welcome Feedback’

      For a while now the trend du jour in online media is to not only block your readers from making news story comments, but to insult their intelligence by claiming this muzzling is driven by a deep-rooted love of community and conversation. NPR, for example, muted its entire readership because, it claimed, it “adored reader relationships.” Reuters and Recode, in contrast, prevented their own users from speaking on site thanks to a never-ending dedication to “conversation.” Motherboard similarly banned all on-site reader feedback because it greatly “values discussion.”

      There’s a number of reasons to ban comments, but few if any have anything to do with giving a damn about your community. Most websites, writers and editors simply don’t want to spend the time or money to moderate trolls or cultivate local community because it takes a little effort, and quality human discourse can’t be monetized on a pie chart. Instead, it’s easier and cheaper to simply outsource all public human interactivity to Facebook. In addition to being simpler, it avoids the added pitfalls of a public comment section where corrections to your story errors are posted a little too visibly.

    • Will Facebook’s China Censorship Tool Work?
    • Facebook ‘quietly developing censorship tool’ for China
    • Facebook is ready to censor posts in China — should users around the world be worried?
    • Court (Again) Tosses Lawsuit Seeking To Hold Twitter Accountable For ISIS Terrorism
    • The 5 Worst Places To Be An Internet User In Southeast Asia
    • Top 10 Countries With Highest Internet Censorship in 2016
    • ‘It’s like they were selling heroin to schoolkids’: censorship hits booksellers at Kuwait book fair
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Microsoft gives third-parties access to Windows 10 Telemetry data

      Microsoft struck a deal with security company FireEye recently according to a report on Australian news magazin Arn which gives FireEye access to all Windows 10 Telemetry data.

    • European Union wants to regulate cryptography?

      Regulating cryptography is of course a bad idea. It’s true that cryptography can be an obstacle for collecting digital evidence. Generally, that’s one of the aims of cryptographic methods: make it difficult to obtain plain-text data. It can be used for the good, as well as for the bad, as with many other tools or technologies. But it’s unclear if policy makers can achieve reasonable regulatory frameworks. And the stakes are high. Weakening cryptography would ultimately lead to far reaching negative impact on digital markets, society, trust, cybersecurity and privacy.
      Intentional weakening of cryptography and security solutions – whether by requiring weaker algorithms or key sizes, or introducing backdoors – in order to make life easier for local law enforcement agencies means that criminals and foreign powers will also benefit from those measures.
      Good cryptography is strong cryptography.

    • Edward Snowden’s extradition lawsuit is rejected by Norway’s Supreme Court

      Norway’s Supreme Court has rejected Edward Snowden’s attempt to win free passage to visit the country and receive an award for free speech.

      Mr Snowden, who currently resides in Russia, copied and leaked thousands of classified NSA documents in 2013, revealing the scale of US government surveillance after the 9/11 attacks.

      In April, the 33-year-old took Norway to court in an attempt secure free passage, through Oslo’s District Court, an appeals court and finally the country’s Supreme Court.

    • Edward Snowden loses Norway safe passage case

      Edward Snowden’s bid to guarantee that he would not be extradited to the US if he visited Norway has been rejected by the Norwegian supreme court.

      The former National Security Agency contractor filed the lawsuit in April, attempting to secure safe passage to Norway to pick up a free speech award.

      It had already been rejected by Oslo District court and an appeals court.

      Mr Snowden is a former NSA analyst who leaked secret US surveillance details three years ago.

      As a result, he is facing charges in the US which could put him in prison for up to 30 years.

    • Twitter Says Its API Can’t Be Used For Surveillance, But What Does It Think The FBI’s Going To Do With It?

      Dataminr, the company whose Twitter firehose access has become somewhat of cause celebre on both sides of the privacy fence, is back in the news. After being told it couldn’t sell this access to government agencies for surveillance purposes, Dataminr had to disconnect the CIA from its 500 million tweets-per-day faucet.

      Twitter was pretty specific about what this buffed-up API could and could not be used for. The CIA’s surveillance efforts were on the “Don’t” list. This rejection of the CIA’s access was linked to existing Twitter policies — policies often enforced inconsistently or belatedly. What the CIA had access to was public tweets from public accounts — something accessible to anyone on the web, albeit with a better front-end for managing the flow and an API roughly 100x more robust than those made available to the general public.

    • Here’s how to delete yourself from the internet – at the click of a button

      In our smartphone-obsessed digital age, we effectively live our entire lives online, which makes us increasingly vulnerable to unseen threats.

      Cyber crime, fraud and identity theft are exponentially growing concerns. Our personal lives, locations, and increasingly our passwords are made public online for anyone to find.

      If the highly invasive Investigatory Powers Bill (AKA the Snooper’s Charter) isn’t blocked, then every single digital move you make will be recorded for up to 12 months.

    • Germany planning to ‘massively’ limit privacy rights

      A draft law released by the German union for data protection (DVD) this week revealed that the interior ministry was proposing to drastically limit the powers of Germany’s data protection authorities, banning them from investigating suspected breaches of people’s medical and legal records.

      As well as expanding video surveillance with facial recognition software, the bill would limit the government’s own data protection commissioners to checking that the technical prerequisites are in place to ensure that doctors’ and lawyers’ files are secure, but it stops them from following up when citizens report concerns that their data has been leaked.

      The bill would also shut down citizens’ right to know what data is being collected about them – even by private firms, if releasing that information would “seriously endanger” a company’s “business purposes,” the SZ quoted the draft as saying. Thilo Weichert, former data protection commissioner for the state of Schleswig-Holstein and now DVD board member, condemned de Maiziere’s plans as a “massive” erosion of privacy in Germany.

    • Donald Trump’s national security chief ‘took money from Putin and Erdogan’, says former NSA employee

      A former NSA employee has accused Donald Trump’s selection for National Security Advisor of taking money from both Russia and Turkey and of breaching information security regulations.

      John Schindler said Michael Flynn, who Mr Trump has nominated for the senior post, had taken money from the governments of Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdogan. Mr Schindler claimed on Twitter that Mr Trump would be a “hypocrite” if he stood by his nomination of the former general given his promise to “drain the swamp” of Washington.

      “Flynn took money from Putin & Erdoğan AND he broke important INFOSEC laws+regs,” he said. “If Trump stands by him now, he is a monstrous hypocrite.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Bill Introduced To Push Back Approval Of DOJ’s Proposed Rule 41 Changes

      In addition, the DOJ wants permission to break into “compromised” computers and poke around inside them without the permission or knowledge of the owners of these computers. It also wants to treat anything that anonymizes internet users or hides their locations to be presumed acts of a guilty mind. The stripping of jurisdictional limits not only grants the FBI worldwide access for digital seizures and searches, but also encourages it to go venue shopping for judicial rubber stamps.

    • Jakarta’s violent identity crisis: behind the vilification of Chinese-Indonesians

      Before Jakarta, there was Batavia, the 17th-century capital city of the Dutch East Indies, built with the skill of just a few hundred ethnic Chinese artisans who had settled as traders along the shore.

      How little has changed.

      Many big projects in modern day Jakarta, a city of more than 10 million, have been built by developers from the minority group, the descendants of the original merchants and other Chinese who have arrived since.

      Chinese-Indonesians – estimated to make up 1% to 4% of the country’s 250 million people – have had an impact on Jakarta which is vastly disproportionate to their physical numbers. The economic success of the group’s small elite has led to repeated bouts of resentment, discrimination and even violent assaults.

    • Dozens injured, hundreds arrested in riot at Bulgaria refugee camp

      Around 1,500 migrants have rioted in Bulgaria’s largest refugee camp, triggering clashes that left two dozen police injured and prompted the arrest of hundreds of protesters, officials said.

      “Around 300 migrants, six of them considered a threat to national security, have been arrested,” Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told BNR public radio after visiting the camp in early hours of Friday.

      He added that 24 police officers and two migrants had been injured and that the situation had been brought under control.

    • Migrants Clash With Police in Bulgaria; 200 Detained

      Police detained 200 migrants after they clashed with police at a refugee camp in southern Bulgaria on Thursday, injuring several officers.

    • President Erdogan: I will open gates for migrants to enter Europe if EU blocks membership talks

      President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned Turkey could open its border for refugees to stream into Europe after EU MEPs voted for a temporary halt to membership talks.

      Speaking at a congress on womens’ justice in Istanbul, the president warned: “If you go any further, these border gates will be opened. Neither me nor my people will be affected by these dry threats. It wouldn’t matter if all of you approved the vote”.

      He said the EU had “wailed” for help controlling the flow of refugees and migrants in 2015 and the bloc worried what would happen if Turkey opened its borders. Mr Erdogan made specific reference to Turkey’s main border crossing with EU member Bulgaria.

    • North Dakota Pipeline camp prepares for winter with donations
    • Islamic banking is the another name of destruction of civilization through Economic Jihad.

      Islamic banking traces its roots to the 1920s, but did not start until the late 1970s, and owes much of its foundation to the Islamist doctrine of two people: Indian-born Abul Ala Maududi of the Jamaat-e-Islami and Hassan al-Banna of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. While these two pillars of the Pan-Islamist movement propagated jihad and war against the West, they also recognised the role international financial institutions could play in carrying out their political objectives.

    • Hacker who helped expose Ohio rape case pleads guilty, faces more prison time than rapists

      Earlier this week, Deric Lostutter, 29, known online as “KYAnonymous,” pleaded guilty in federal court in Kentucky to one count of conspiracy and one count of making false statements to law enforcement agents for his hack of the Steubenville (Ohio) High School football fan website Roll Red Roll in December 2012.

      Lostutter has said he hacked into the site to expose information about the gang rape of an unconscious teenage girl from West Virginia by members of the football team. Two of those team members, Trent Mays and Malik Richmond, were eventually sentenced to serve time — two years and one year, respectively — in a juvenile detention center for rape and kidnap.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Amended TRIPS Agreement Close To Ratification, Says WTO’s Azevêdo

      For Roberto Azevêdo, director general of the World Trade Organization, an amendment to the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement that affects access to pharmaceuticals for developing countries remains a priority of the WTO.

      It was witnessed this week by Benin, which signed up to an amendment to the agreement this week in Geneva, joining several other nations that have signed in 2016.

    • Copyrights

      • Court Freezes Megaupload’s MPAA and RIAA Lawsuits

        A federal court in Virginia has granted Megaupload’s request to place the cases filed by the music and movie companies on hold until April next year, while the criminal case remains pending. Meanwhile, Megaupload is working hard to ensure that critical evidence on decaying hard drives is preserved.

      • $1bn Getty Images Public Domain Photograph Dispute is Over

        Earlier this year, photographer Carol Highsmith received a $120 settlement demand from Getty Images after she used one of her own public domain images on her website. Highsmith responded with a $1bn lawsuit but after a few short months the case is all over, with neither side a clear winner.

Duplicate Events for Lobbying by Team UPC Meddle in Politics in an Effort to Enrich Itself at Europe’s Expense

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UPC lobbying event

Summary: Observing the latest attempts by Team UPC (Winfried Tilmann etc.) to ram the UPC down politicians’ throats, even though it is neither desirable nor legal/constitutional as things stand

TECHRIGHTS spent many years covering the UPC (also in its previous incarnations) and earlier this month we wrote about imminent attempts (at the end of this month) to revive this zombie of a treaty-like sham — something which European citizens would strongly disapprove of if they actually knew anything about it. Team UPC likes to keep it sort of secret, or simply lie about it, insisting that it’s good for SMEs when in fact the very opposite is true. The UPC is a huge, gross injustice, but thugs and liars like Battistelli (and those blindly loyal to him, maybe out of fear) keep pushing for it (see the screenshot above, including the quote from Battistelli).

“The post-Brexit vote future of Europe’s unitary patent system is set to become much clearer on Monday,” IAM’s editor wrote yesterday (his headline in fact). Our expectation is that on Monday the UPC will remain as dead as it is now, but Team UPC will deny it. Here are the concluding words from IAM, which in the past organised pro-UPC events, supported by the EPO and sponsored by the EPO's PR firm:

In addition to the above, there are undoubtedly other scenarios that might play out; while it is also quite possible that contrary to expectations the UK will not say anything definitive on Monday. If I were to place a bet, though, I would plump for a confirmation of non-ratification and the other EU member states then refining the UPC agreement to make the UK’s participation non-essential. But I would not put a lot of money on it. The best advice is to avoid betting shops and to keep a look out for an announcement sometime late Monday afternoon or evening Central European Time. Early next week, a period of post-Brexit IP uncertainty could well come to an end.

Previously, the same author said that it would take another 2 years (or more) before there is sufficient clarity for the UPC to proceed (if at all). As we noted here just a couple of days ago, IAM is now organising another UPC-centric event. They won’t give up until the EPO runs out of budget or Battistelli gets admitted into a mental asylum.

“Yet another echo chamber for the UPC,” wrote Benjamin Henrion (FFII) yesterday, adding: “can we have a real debate please?”

Henrion referred to “yet another echo chamber” as he called it when he told us about it. “There seems to be the same conference with the same speakers next week 30th Nov (in my latest tweets). Council meeting is 28th Nov, they expect UK to say something…”

The “same conference with the same speakers” is being advertised via E-mail and this one too is titled “Finalising the Unitary Patent Package,” to take place on the 8th of February in Brussels.

They are sending this around via E-mail:

Finalizing the Unitary Patent Package:
Challenges and Ways Forward
Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre, Brussels
Wednesday 8th February 2017

Willem A. Hoyng
Hoyng Rokh Monegier

Pierre Véron
Lawyer, Member of the Paris Bar
Véron & Associés

Katalin Lubóczki,
Member, UPC Preparatory Committee, Attaché for Intellectual Property, Audiovisual Policy and Consumer Protection
Permanent Representation of Hungary to the EU

Prof. Dr. Winfried Tilmann
Of Counsel
Hogan Lovells, Düsseldorf

Darren Smyth
Partner, Patent and Design Attorney, London, EIP Europe LLP
Author for The IPKat & IP Alchemist
Member of the Editorial team for the Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice

The introduction is as follows:

In December 2012, after a 40 year long quest, the European Parliament and the European Council finally reached a formal agreement on two EU regulations, making the European Patent with Unitary Effect (EPUE) an achievable prospect. With almost all EU member states – except for Spain and Croatia – participating in the enhanced cooperation, the legislation is supposed to come into force by the end of the year 2016/beginning 2017.

Experts, however, argue about the intended cost saving factor as well as the theoretical simplicity the EPUE package will bring, being mostly concerned about the patchwork nature of the system. Also, with the recent Brexit vote, additional straits are adding up, making the future of the Unitary Patent unclear.

This timely Symposium will offer an opportunity to inform and find out more about the current developments and challenges regarding the Unitary Patent and the Unitary Patent Court. The conference will evaluate advantages and disadvantages, build strategies for businesses on how to proceed and support the exchange of information and best practices with experts, practitioners and policymakers at EU level.

We saw — and covered something similar to this — before. Pay attention to the pricing; as we noted here before, these events are also priced out of reach, with concession to the ‘choir’. So it looks like it’s open to everyone, but it’s not. It’s like a paywall for the rich, by the rich. The price is the gatekeeper.

Yesterday someone left this comment in IP Kat, in relation to another event. “Good grief that is a lot,” said this person. “Go to one of cheaper seminars or even the free ones -Brussels is full of free ones as well which are just as good. Ok not so many corporates crammed into one place but if it is the Commission speakers you want to hear -these particular individuals are the regulars and turn up anywhere.So save your money and go to those e.g which the Lander host for free, are smaller and so you get to talk to the speakers and where the food is excellent.”

Well, Team UPC isn’t interested in a large audience; it just wants to ensure that the audience is in the same bed, it doesn’t want dissent. This pretty much says what the event is all about: lobbying.

SLAPP-Happy EPO Vice-President Slapped Out of the Municipal Criminal Court in Zagreb for the Third Time!

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We recently received the following news from sources in Croatia, after Topić had lost the lawsuit for the second time (early this year)

Audi EPO

Summary: The latest in the Topić saga is more bad news for Topić, with potentially a lot more on the way

According to information received from reliable sources in Croatia, on November 21st at the Municipal Criminal Court in Zagreb a further round took place in the long-drawn out defamation lawsuit which Mr. Topić has been pursuing against a former Assistant Director of the SIPO.

“Mr. Topić was leading the prosecution as a private plaintiff.”The original lawsuit was filed as a private complaint on February 4th, 2011 which means that the Public Prosecutor was not responsible for the case. In other words, Mr. Topić was leading the prosecution as a private plaintiff.

The first round ended in January 2015 with a resounding defeat for Topić as the defendant was acquitted of all charges in the judgment of January 26, 2015 (file number 7.K-26/11).
At that time Topić was represented by Mr. Janjko Grlic from Gajski, Grlic, Prka and Partners, a leading Zagreb law firm with a lot of high-level political connections.

“At that time Topić was represented by Mr. Janjko Grlic from Gajski, Grlic, Prka and Partners, a leading Zagreb law firm with a lot of high-level political connections.”It seems that Topić filed an appeal against this judgment and tried to have the case sent back to a different judge. The appeal court did not grant that request but sent the case back to the same judge for the correction of a number of minor formal errors in the original judgment concerning the paragraphs of criminal law which had been cited. Some confusion seems to have arisen here because there had been amendments of the criminal law between the filing of the complaint in February 2011 and the passing of the judgment in January 2015.

The case went back to the same judge (Marijan Bertalanić) at the Municipal Criminal Court for a second round, this time with the file number 7.K-586/15.

In the meantime Topić had switched his attorney and was now represented by another prominent Zagreb lawyer Branko Šeric.

“In the meantime Topić had switched his attorney and was now represented by another prominent Zagreb lawyer Branko Šeric.”At a hearing which took place on January 14, 2016 neither Mr. Topić nor his lawyer showed up in court.

The judge decided to discontinue the proceedings.

“But this seems to have been a deliberate strategic move on the part of Topić to delay the proceedings.”It may seem like strange behavior on the part of a private prosecutor not to show up in court to prosecute the lawsuit he has filed himself. But this seems to have been a deliberate strategic move on the part of Topić to delay the proceedings.

Afterwards Topić filed an appeal against the decision to discontinue the proceedings and the case was reopened before the same judge at the Municipal Criminal Court.

Round three took place during a hearing held on November 21st.

Once again Topić had switched his representative and was now represented by another attorney.

“The judge seems to have finally lost patience with Topić’s time-wasting tactics because he closed the case by adjourning the hearing indefinitely and noting that the statute of limitations was due to expire on the following day.”Although he had been duly summoned to appear as a witness Topić failed to turn up in court and apparently did not even acknowledge the summons. His attorney claimed that his absence was due to “urgent business” which had prevented him from attending.

The judge seems to have finally lost patience with Topić’s time-wasting tactics because he closed the case by adjourning the hearing indefinitely and noting that the statute of limitations was due to expire on the following day.

For the moment, only the official minutes of the hearing are available but there may be a more detailed judgment issued later on. Sources in Zagreb have indicated that the final judgment of the Municipal Criminal Court may be published on the Internet.

A redacted copy of the minutes is available to us [PDF] with a translation in English below.

Municipal Criminal Court in Zagreb
Zagreb, Ilica-Selska, Ilica 207

File number: 7. K-586/15

of 21 November 2016
the discussion held at the Municipal Criminal Court in Zagreb

Present for the Court:
Marijan Bertalanić
Presiding Judge – Judge

Ankica Zorić

Criminal case:
Private prosecutor: Ž. T.

For the criminal offence pursuant to
Article 200/2 et alia of the Criminal Code

The President of the Council – the judge opens the session at 11.45 hours and announces the subject of the main debate.

The presence of the parties is established as follows:

1. For the private prosecutor – nobody, legal representative of the private prosecutor, *****
2. Injured party:
3. Defendant: V. S. legal representative of the defendant, attorney-at-law ******
4. Witnesses:

It is established that the witness Ž. T., for whom a summons to his address in Germany has not been acknowledged, failed to appear. His legal representative submits for the file a certificate from which it follows that the private prosecutor was unable to attend today’s hearing due to urgent business.

The Judge delivers the following


There will be a debate. Due to the passage of time the debate is re-opened anew.

The identity of the defendant is established.

Defendant V.S., personal data as in the minutes of 4th February 2013.

The debate begins with a reading of the private complaint.

The defendant states that she understands the charges and will be defended in the presence of her chosen defence counsel.

- 2 -

Invited to make a statement on the merits of the private complaint she states: I do not consider myself guilty of the offences with which I am charged.

The Judge calls on the parties to submit their evidence.

The legal representative of the private prosecutor proposes once again a direct examination of the private prosecutor Ž. T. at the hearing, also suggests that the minutes of the previous examination of the already heard witness be read at the hearing, and no further evidence.

The counsel for the defence states that she does not oppose the evidentiary proposals on behalf of the prosecution.

Since the parties were not in agreement following the reading of the minutes of the previous examination of the private prosecutor Ž. T. as a witness,

the Judge delivers the following


Today’s debate will be adjourned, and no further hearing will be scheduled since on 22nd November 2016 statute of limitations for a criminal prosecution takes effect.

Completed at 11.55 hours.



RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts