The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Covers Software Patents Again

Posted in America, EFF, Law, Patents at 11:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cory Doctorow
By Dominik Butzmann / re:publica – re:publica faces 2019, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Summary: Cory Doctorow and Joe Mullin (EFF) wrote about software patents this week; this shows that the EFF can still pivot in the right direction if it really wants to

As it turns out, Joe Mullin is fortunately still around (at the EFF, he used to be in the media) and the other day he cautioned “the U.S. Solicitor General Trying To Change The Law To Benefit Patent Trolls”. His EFF colleague, Mr. Doctorow, said at almost the same time: “In theory, patents are for novel, useful inventions that aren’t obvious “to a skilled practitioner of the art.” But as computers ate our society, grifters began to receive patents for “doing something we’ve done for centuries…with a computer.” “With a computer”: those three words had the power to cloud patent examiners’ minds.”

He then changed the subject from software patents to patent trolls (the EFF habitually changes the subject to “bad patents” or “trolls”). To quote: “Patent trolls – who secure “with a computer” patents and then extract ransoms from people doing normal things on threat of a lawsuit – are an underappreciated form of “tech exceptionalism.” Normally, “tech exceptionalism” refers to bros who wave away things like privacy invasions by arguing that “with a computer” makes it all different.”

Quoting Mr. Mullin, regarding the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and 35 U.S.C. § 101: “Government officials should be working to reduce, not increase, the burden that low-quality patent lawsuits impose on innovators. So we’re concerned and dismayed by recent briefs filed by the U.S. Solicitor General, asking the Supreme Court to reexamine and throw out the best legal defenses regular people have against “patent trolls”—companies that don’t make products or provide services, but simply use patents to sue and threaten others.

“To truly stop patent trolls, we’ll need wholesale reform, including legislative change. But the current framework of rules governing Section 101 of the U.S. patent laws, including the Supreme Court’s 2014 CLS Bank v. Alice decision, were important victories for common-sense patent reform.

“The Alice decision made clear that you can’t simply add generic computer language to basic ideas and get a patent. The ruling has been consistently applied to get the worst-of-the-worst software patents kicked out of the system. For the most part, it allows courts to state, clearly and correctly, that these patents are a form of abstract idea, and should be thrown out at an early stage of litigation. A win under the Alice rules spares the targets of patent trolls not just from an unjust trial, but from an invasive and expensive discovery process, fueled by a patent that never should have been issued in the first place.”

It’s encouraging to see that the EFF still covers this issue, however seldom, and we hope it’ll do so as frequently as it used to do.


EFF Takes Money From US Nazis to Speak for Prostitutes and Frame Privacy (or Net Liability) as a Sex Issue

Posted in Deception, EFF, Finance at 7:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How is this man even remotely compatible with the EFF’s original mission? Sciencewash as a revenue model?

Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr. history

Fixing the net for prostitution:

Fixing the net for sex

Thanking Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr.:

Fixing the net

Thanking Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr. yet again:

Thanking Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr.

Summary: The EFF is becoming more about sex than about digital rights, based on yesterday’s podcast (two blog posts about it, with the episodes distributed through centralised, proprietary platforms with DRM). Does the EFF really want to frame privacy activism as fighting for prostitutes (“Safer Sex Work Makes a Safer Internet”)? The people who took control of the EFF canceled a co-founder because of an alleged sex scandal (he wasn’t the first) and the EFF now produces shows with prostitutes as “experts” in them. This helps stigmatise privacy advocates. The EFF has been in the red (losses), probably for the first time in its history, for several years now. When the original founder ran it they fought against power and raised money from members. Now it’s run by billionaires, gives awards to Microsofters, and gives a voice to people who promote prostitution. The above shows the EFF repeatedly thanking “Alfred P. Sloan Foundation” (“Let’s take a quick moment to say thank you to our sponsor. “How to Fix the Internet” is supported by The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation” and then again towards the end; screenshots above). Does the EFF know or care that General Motors under Alfred P. Sloan helped the Nazis? This isn’t the first example of EFF acting as a front for billionaires, or the powerful instead of the powerless.


More Than Half a Dozen Copyright Litigation Threats Sent to Techrights in Less Than Six Months Over EPO and UPC Articles (Misusing Copyrights for Censorship/Intimidation)

Posted in Deception, EFF, Europe, Patents at 2:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 4284b6c8bada7f9eec70cb35ae8bb0a4
Censorship by Threats
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: Freedom of speech is under threat; the few who still cover EPO corruption are routinely subjected to threatening letters, misusing “copyright” in spite of Fair Use provisions; Europe’s patent system is now dominated by a bunch of gangsters like the ones who roam Malta

THE state of the EPO is as dire as it was under Benoît Battistelli if not a lot worse (the problem is that the media no longer talks about it!) and we’re being attacked for covering EPO scandals. We’ve been subjected to copyright trolling last year [1, 2] and the start of this year (belatedly).

“Please do not donate to the EFF; it’s money down the drain as the EFF is run by (and for) the billionaires who pay a lot more.”Regarding the latest example (only happened about 12 hours ago), I’ve since then spoken to three people. I told them about this latest example and they’ve ridiculed the censorship attempts. I also contacted 3-4 people in the EFF and so far they have of course had nothing to say, let alone do. Even since one co-founder died and another was ousted the EFF has barely done anything about patents and SLAPPed/bullied bloggers. Please do not donate to the EFF; it’s money down the drain as the EFF is run by (and for) the billionaires who pay a lot more. The EFF never helped me; the best it did was, it responded to an E-mail (about 4 years ago). The EFF was infiltrated a few years ago. It’s not coming back.


Sirius ‘Open Source’ Abuses Grey Areas

Posted in Deception, EFF, Free/Libre Software at 12:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Earl Grey for the grey little fella', please

'I know someone is cooking...'
Maybe Sirius management wants its staff to also starve to death (the above is based on a real quote from a fake imposter boss)

Summary: Sirius ‘Open Source’ will continue to occupy time and space in January and February of this year; we’re starting to wrap up the series that’s based around the report (sent to 3 managers before we left the company)

THE new year has begun! For some, in Sirius at least, the future is unclear. We can imagine that there are ongoing or impending disputes among managers and remaining stakeholders (e.g. “owner of Sirius”), seeing that the company is not what it claims to be. We envision a bitter end to the company, very likely in 2023. The company is basically insolvent if one chooses to judge it by its unaudited financial filings. The way it was treating its staff towards the end of the year serves to suggest it’s also broke, looking for excuses not to pay staff what the staff is fully entitled to.

“There are particular rights that are treated differently when the job is performed just digitally, e.g. “remote” work, spying, access to machines, management of company “assets” and so on.”We must stress that the company wasn’t always like this! The company acted a lot more professionally a decade ago, whereas the way things were handled towards the end got truly grim, with conniving, back-stabbing, and profound betrayal of long-serving staff. The goal wasn’t to end things on a positive note; the way things were done was likely in breach of British law, as noted below. We’re going to shed some more light later this month when handling some of the nitty-gritty stuff. Many of those tricks are from the same cloth or the same playbook of other failing companies. It’s worth learning and understanding them.

During lockdowns some companies asked staff to sleep inside datacentres (oh, hi, Microsoft!). Are those sleep deprivation experiments? Was this truly consensual (when one can lose the job for declining to obey; Azure was already laying off staff that year*)? Can money overcome law, as well as health & safety regulations?

As a site named Techrights (since 2010, i.e. about 13 years already) we think it’s perfectly appropriate and we deem it suitable to cover these issues; many “Tech” jobs are impacted by matters of labour “rights” (a la EPO, where such fundamental rights are routinely denied without consequences for perpetrators!). There are particular rights that are treated differently when the job is performed just digitally, e.g. “remote” work, spying, access to machines, management of company “assets” and so on. What about lunch breaks? What happens when you do non-stop monitoring (and reporting of incidents, response/mitigation included)? What happens when you work from home? What if you work overnight (1AM to 9AM shifts)? The meme above exemplifies the absurdity of some existing policies, right? At times I worked 16-hour shifts, albeit that was a long time ago and only with my explicit consent. The mainstream media does not explore these pertinent issues in the context of “knowledge workers” as often as it ought to. The EFF habitually dabbles in this domain, as we’ll show later this month when we cover “bossware” [1, 2]. Sadly, the EFF has been mostly asleep at the wheel in recent years (after one co-founder had died and another was ousted).

Below is a portion of the report:

Further Discussion of the Issues

There are lots of issues that cannot be brought up without infringing the confidentiality of Sirius clients. However important they are, it’s regretful that they cannot be mentioned in this document.

What facts have shown thus far is astounding and hopefully a cautionary tale. No company should hire people and keep them on the same salary in their 40s for the same job they were hired to do in their 20s, not to mention inflation being ignored as if it’s not happening. On top of that, bullying is not acceptable, especially in light of working conditions, which may be in breach of British law for some of the aforementioned reasons.

Management figures, lacking any technical skills trying to get staff to study things like containers despite Sirius clients not using these is an unfortunate ploy. They are just hoping to fake their staff possessing some skills and then netting a contract based on it. As we saw earlier, this results in the company, Sirius, hopelessly left to support systems it is unable to support, as the skills being bragged about aren’t in fact to be found inside the company. So hopefully that will change. If Sirius does not net contracts based on an old (and long-lost) reputation for skills it does not have, then maybe staff can actually meet clients’ expectations.
* Even today there’s talk about imminent Microsoft layoffs. It seems like these rumours spread fast at Microsoft this past week, based on traffic patterns in Techrights.


Don’t Waste Your Money on EFF, It’s Not Fighting for Its Original Supporters

Posted in Deception, EFF, Microsoft at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 94f2999377d61a3fe04356cb9f0c294d
EFF is Unsafe
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The EFF as a lobbying arm of billionaires* is a new kind of development; it has gotten a lot worse since one co-founder died and another got ousted

THIS MORNING we mentioned why the Electronic Frontier Foundation deserves to be called "Microsoft Enterprise" Frontier Foundation (MEFF), based on a source that gave us a headsup/scoop. Unless this can be refuted or disproved, it seems safe to assert that today’s EFF sends a lot of its data and/or communications to Microsoft and hence to the US government (which it’s supposed to confront in court). Who is responsible for this travesty? That’s a betrayal or at best abandonment of many EFF supporters (sponsors) of the past few decades. Where’s the commitment? What happened to principles?

“It pays its Executive Director over $300,000 per year (quite a lot for an organisation that loses millions of dollars per year, partly due to poor leadership after many years of success stories).”We can only encourage people not to give any more money to the EFF, seeing that it gets handouts from tech monopolies and oligarchs, who use the EFF as a lobbying arm of their own.
* The latest available IRS filing says [PDF] that the EFF has swung into losses for the first time in at least a decade and has been losing money for two years in a row, but it still has about 40 million dollars in the bank. It lives off its past goodwill and digests the reserves of cash — not a sustainable strategy at all. It pays its Executive Director over $300,000 per year (quite a lot for an organisation that loses millions of dollars per year, partly due to poor leadership after many years of success stories).

EFF finances

The EFF Has Been Subsumed by Microsoft

Posted in EFF, Microsoft at 3:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EFF and Microsoft

Summary: The EFF uses Microsoft Enterprise; that follows leadership changes and might help explain why it keeps endorsing Microsoft products, gives awards to Microsoft staff, and even openly attacks the FSF by defaming Richard Stallman; the EFF is changing, and not for the better


[Meme] EFF Stopped Worrying About Corruption and Monopolies

Posted in EFF at 5:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

EPO corruption? Don't care... EFF USA: We ignore international problems

Summary: Political activity by the EFF and neglect of technical issues can show that the EFF is soft on the private sector (it funds the EFF)

When It Comes to Patent Policy, EFF Has Become Utterly Useless This Year (and It Refuses to Mention EPO Scandals)

Posted in EFF, Europe, Patents at 4:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 4803208301bfe9450cfb04470c57c286
What Does the EFF Even Do These Days?
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The EFF never talked about EPO corruption under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; it never even named them and it doesn’t talk about their campaign to spread software patents worldwide

OVER the years we wrote many articles about the EFF. In recent years our articles were mostly critical because there seems to be a coup, staged by people who don’t truly care for the EFF’s values and original mission. Suddenly the EFF is acting hostile towards the FSF/Richard Stallman and Wikileaks/Julian Assange, despite an historically amicable relationship. So what is going on? And why does the EFF act so soft on Microsoft? What does the EFF work for? Who does it raise money from? (The big sponsors, not individual members)

“As far as patent reform is concerned, the EFF has been severely weakened.”This seems like a pattern that we saw before in the OSI, the Linux Foundation, and several other organisations. They register for special status with the IRS and then pay astronomically wages to people who serve monopolies instead of the organisations they claim to serve. The watchdogs fall asleep.

The video above shows that the EFF says almost nothing about EPO and about European software patents. It has not mentioned software patents in Europe or the EPO since about a decade ago. It covered the subject mostly 17.5 years ago in relation to the EU. To make matters worse, today’s EFF hardly says anything about patents at all. It has said nothing about patents since last month and we could find only one post (blog post) about it in the past 50 days; no press release on patents since last year (December)!

The EFF used to write about patents almost every day and staff that used to deal with the issue no longer seems to be employed by the EFF, except perhaps one person. As far as patent reform is concerned, the EFF has been severely weakened. Common wisdom says, “follow the money…”

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