Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish


Syndicate content
Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 16 min ago

Puff Pieces of the EPO-IPO (EPO+EUIPO) Have Begun to Appear Amid New Evidence of Brain Drain, Lowered Standards

Tuesday 25th of October 2016 10:17:39 PM

Entering a rather advanced propaganda mode

Summary: The grim vision of the EPO which is losing all its talent (over time), becomes more like a production line (quality does not matter), and produces propaganda for "media positioning" (or “placements”) — all under the guise of ‘studies’

“Who will be stupid enough to apply to be hired under these conditions?”

This was the question asked earlier today in relation to the EPO under Battistelli’s regime. The full comment says:

1: so they can fire you at will and prohibit you to work afterwards or they keep your pensions? Who will be stupid enough to apply to be hired under these conditions?

2: the EPO will decrease costs but not lower the fees? What will they do with the excess money?

Given the decline in patent quality under Battistelli, we expect fees to have to decline and the same goes for salaries. The EPO is becoming another USPTO and some people believe that eventually it will be another INPI (i.e. no patent examination at all, or only a truly superficial check before filing). Regarding the notion of “excess money”, some figures from the secretive Office actually suggest financial losses/deficit. There’s no likely rebound now or ever, until or unless pensions (long-term liabilities) get gradually cut, well-paid staff replaced by new and relatively unskilled/underpaid/overworked workers (there is lack of interest in EPO jobs either way), and patent applications flow in like water and granted in bulk while they last (to the point of exhaustion, whereupon examiners become redundant). Watch this new EPO job ad (from today). Pay attention to the skills required (just two languages and a Masters degree). The EPO is experiencing brain drain. Managers know it. They’re desperate for job applications now, but they’re failing to attract enough of them, or so we’re told by insiders. Standards have truly declined.

“Staff of the EPO isn’t even being told what’s going on; examiners are constantly being lied to by the management.”How can they possibly attract more interest from the public amid unprecedented scandals? How about puff pieces resulting from a so-called ‘study’ (stooping so low as to generate bogus, self-commissioned ‘studies’ is the latest trend), such as the one we mentioned last night?

The EPO-IPO (EPO+EUIPO) already finds some clueless (or docile, or without any critical skills) stenographers to parrot claims from this ‘study’ of theirs (which they paid for). To quote: “The study, published on 25 October, says this number equates to almost €5.7 trillion annually. It covers a broad range of IP rights, including patents, trademarks, designs, copyright, geographical indications and plant variety rights.”

Wow! “€5.7 trillion annually.” Big numbers there, but what does that allude to? Just a big number to occupy some headlines and add some prestige to institutions with a turnover/profit 5 orders of magnitude lower (i.e. about 100,000th of the above figure). Here is the laughably shallow part (among others):

António Campinos, executive director of the EUIPO, said: “The rapidly changing nature of business in the 21st century means that the EU and global economy relies strongly on intellectual property rights such as trademarks, designs, patents and other rights.”

Will you take over all the above, António? As some believe you would? There’s no telling, only speculations. Staff of the EPO isn’t even being told what’s going on; examiners are constantly being lied to by the management.

“Maybe the EPO will just fire a lot of examiners and hire some more “paper pushers” to cope with the increased throughput (or inflow) of crappy applications and crappy grants.”In other (more minor) news, the EPO is said to have changed requirements. “In the past,” says the article, “it was common for a patent holder to execute an assignment in favor of an assignee, without the assignee signing the document. Under the new Guidelines, the EPO will no longer accept an assignment document that uses the single-signature format.”

Maybe the EPO will just fire a lot of examiners and hire some more “paper pushers” to cope with the increased throughput (or inflow) of crappy applications and crappy grants. After all, it’s not as though detailed, thorough, comprehensive and even exhaustive search (potentially with several appeals to the boards) are what Battistelli wants. He just wants a Chinese production line, akin to what he sees in SIPO (for which he has profound affinity). Work conditions, correspondingly, degrade greatly.

Leaked: Minutes From the Administrative Council of the EPO Regarding the ‘Reform’ (Exile) of the Boards of Appeal

Tuesday 25th of October 2016 09:10:47 PM

Exile is to “independence” what prison is to “freedom”

Summary: Details of the relatively secret proceedings back in June (belatedly released only a short while ago), carefully abbreviated to demonstrate which delegations helped Battistelli crush the Boards of Appeal and which ones insisted on maintaining the status quo, as per the EPC

EARLIER TODAY we published one particular part of the Minutes referred to herein. The Minutes of the Administrative Council’s meeting at the EPO form the basis of the discussion and outcome, which is usually so abbreviated that it’s rendered quite useless (further sanitised when published in the public site rather than the Intranet).

Below is a very abbreviated version of the Minutes, which we have taken some time to analyse. This is just about the Reform on the Boards of Appeal, whereas the previous article was about the staff representatives. Reform of the Boards of Appeal, or rather the removal of those boards from the EPO’s building, is a subject we covered here many times before. In the EPO’s public site there was nothing but hogwash about it and AMBA’s Web site, understandably afraid, posted a polite protest, refuting that the EPO’s site had told stakeholders like applicants, attorneys, journalists and so on.

Here are the ‘gory’ details from the Minutes of day 1:


DAY 1:

On Day 1 of the meeting document CA/43/16 (Reform of the Boards of Appeal) was discussed. It has four parts: A (Structural Reform of the BOA), B (Career of Members and Chairmen of the BOA), C (Location of the Boards of Appeal), D (New Fee Policy for Appeals), and E (Conflict of Interest Rules).

The President started by explaining that transferring powers would mean revising the EPC, so “the only possible solution was a delegation of powers” to the new BOA President. He stated that there were two issues: the perception of independence and the boards’ efficiency. He added that “careers on the boards would be governed by special new rules reflecting the need to make board members aware that their career depended also on how they performed their duties”. Regarding the boards’ location he “remained convinced that a separation from the rest of the Office would increase the perception of the boards’ independence. But in view of the objections raised he was now proposing that although the boards would move to a separate building they would stay in Munich”. Also important was the boards’ rate of cost coverage, and he proposed that “the boards should aim at 20 to 25% cost coverage”.


The Croatian delegation was the only delegation that thought that a reform “should cover all aspects, not just independence”. It stated that “the President was always being attacked for various reasons, but to its knowledge he had never been accused of trying to interfere in any of the boards’ cases or decisions”. It added that “some people suspected the President of wanting to interfere in how the boards functioned and took their decisions, but this was completely unfounded and absurd.” The Bulgarian delegation thought that “the boards’ independence had been clearly shown by the disciplinary proceedings exercising the Council for over two years now, with the Enlarged Board so far refusing to take a substantial decision on the matter and give the disciplinary ruling requested by the Council”.

The Irish delegation “noted concerns expressed in some documents about the possibility of the President being able to withdraw his delegation of powers and that the consequence of the delegation being withdrawn is that the independence is withdrawn”. The French delegation agreed, stating that “revocation should not be possible without the Council’s consent”. The Swedish delegation said that “the EPO President should not be able to revoke his delegation of powers solely at his own initiative”. The Austrian, Swiss, German, Slovakian, Icelandic, Danish and UK delegations agreed.


The Irish delegation was “concerned about the proposals which introduce a performance-related system which appears contrary to the exercise of judicial functions”. The Italian delegation said that “(re) appointment of board members and chairman should be exclusively a matter for the boards’ President: the EPO President should have nothing to do with them”. The Netherlands delegation said that “the Office’s proposal that reappointment should in future depend on a board member’s performance could only be detrimental to independence”.


The Swiss delegation “suggests leaving them where they are”. The Irish delegation stated that “even a relocation within Munich would give rise to unnecessary expense”. The Swedish delegation considered that “the boards’ location had little to do with their independence, and the cost of any move also had to be taken into consideration”. The Austrian delegation said that “as far as relocating the boards was concerned, those most immediately affected, i.e. BOA members and users, would have to agree”. The Netherlands delegation stated that “there was no point relocating the boards”, because “this would merely waste money”. The Czech delegation said that “if the majority was in favour of a move, it would oppose it”.


The Irish delegation was “strongly opposed to any increase in appeal fees at the present time and was appalled at the original proposal for a fivefold fee increase which would be tantamount to a barrier to justice”. The Italian delegation said that “cost coverage had no direct bearing on the boards’ independence”. The German delegation said that “the fees issue had nothing to do with the boards’ independence.” It thought that “the Office’s proposals here were completely unacceptable”.


The French delegation said that “any former board member or other EPO employee temporarily refused permission to undertake paid work would have to receive appropriate financial compensation”. The German delegation said it would be necessary to “provide at least for financial compensation”. The Polish, Swedish and Austrian delegations agreed. The UK delegation said that the measures proposed “had caused surprise and even concern among UK user circles”. The Danish delegation “could not support at all” the proposal.

The President said that the proposed reform was “a package, to be approved or rejected as such. The post-service integrity measures were an integral part of that package”.

Here are the ‘gory’ details from the Minutes of day 2:

DAY 2:

On Day 2 an amended document, CA/43/16 Rev. 1 was presented. Amended were in particular Parts A (more information about “delegation of powers”), D (“new fee policy” changed to “better cost coverage”) and E (now only limited to the BOA).

The Swedish delegation was “not 100% satisfied” but “was prepared to accept it if its effects were reviewed in three years’ time”. The French delegation and the epi representative agreed. The Austrian delegation said that “increasing the fees should be the very last resort”. The Irish delegation remained convinced that the proposals in Section D “had nothing at all to do with the boards’ independence”. The Slovakian delegation agreed that “the measures in Section D had no bearing on the boards’ independence”. The Netherlands delegation said that Section D had to be deleted, and its vote would depend on that.

The President said that he was not 100% happy either, but this was a compromise.

CA/43/16 Rev. 1 was approved, with the Netherlands voting against, and Hungary and Italy abstaining.

The Council also said the reform and its effects should be reviewed in a few years’ time.

One can see the role played by the Netherlands (opposition), the Croatian delegation (associated with Battistelli’s ‘bulldog’), and the Irish delegation (which might want to protect the persecuted Irish judge). We think the most important message is that the proposal was only agreed on because it should (or would) be looked at again in a few years, probably when it’s too late to salvage the EPO because applications have run out and many workers (examiners in particular) will have been laid off to be replaced by unskilled workers (if any, maybe just machines).

No Promising Future For the EPO Under Battistelli (If Any Future At All)

Tuesday 25th of October 2016 03:32:51 PM

Summary: Pessimism becomes realism at the European Patent Office as units are being torn apart, patent quality discarded, “unified” patent courts dreamed of (more patent lawsuits, higher damages), and EUIPO (EU-associated, unlike Eponia) gets closer to the EPO

THOSE WHO have followed this Web site for the past decade know we’re no enemy of the EPO. We actually used to take pride in it, especially after software patents were rejected (2005), assuring the high quality of patents (emphasis on quality, not quantity). We also sent letters and constructive feedback to the Organisation. This is all in the public record.

“Battistelli has already decided — with the usual complicity of the Administrative Council — to eject/kick out the appeal boards out of the EPO’s main building.”We fear that the EPO’s days may be numbered. Maybe it’s intentional, as we shall explain in this post in light of this morning’s announcement from the EPO (as expected).

We will share some of our observations and leave it for readers to decide what on Earth goes on at the EPO. Frankly, it does not look too good and we (even I personally) worry about the fate of the bright minds of EPO examiners (who are scientists like myself), not politicians/managers like Battistelli.

“Remember that EPO judges are already under attack (in a perpetual limbo with a warning sign that’s judge P. C.) and early next year they will have moved out, even though the UPC (the unified court — a threat to their very existence) is definitely not happening (with or without “hard” Brexit).”Battistelli has already decided — with the usual complicity of the Administrative Council — to eject/kick out the appeal boards out of the EPO’s main building. The temporary/rented office space that was allocated to them is meager and there are no long-term assurances, based on articles from the German media (there were very few of those as the EPO’s spokesperson used sordidly evasive language). Remember that EPO judges are already under attack (in a perpetual limbo with a warning sign that’s judge P. C.) and early next year they will have moved out, even though the UPC (the unified court — a threat to their very existence) is definitely not happening (with or without “hard” Brexit).

What does Battistelli envision here? Certainly nothing like the vision of those who actually signed the EPC. Now there’s the EU in place (with the EC) and along with that comes EUIPO (a new name or a rebrand for something older). Here they go again, as expected, strutting together hand in hand this morning, boasting a so-called ‘study’ (link above, but it’s and it’s propaganda, so don’t bother clicking).

For a moment there, based on tweets like this one, the EPO ‘forgot’ that it’s not really supposed to be part of the EUIPO (trademarks and patents are inherently very different and entirely separable, even if one attempts to lump them together under the propaganda/umbrella term “Intellectual Property”, as in the EPO’s new headline). Here is what the EPO wrote: “Joint @EPOorg @EU_IPO study confirms the economic benefits of IP rights for Europe #IPvalue”

Here is what EUIPO wrote: “How are #IPR-intensive industries contributing to the #EU economy? Find out in a soon-to-be-released study by #EUIPO and @EPOorg”

“How do existing grantees of EPs feel about the status quo?”For a moment there, again, one can easily be led to believe that those two bodies are conjoined, not just in the staff/management sense (there are overlaps which we covered here before). One might crudely ask, when does Battistelli flush the EPO down the toilet and let the EU-centric EUIPO take over? When all impending applications are over? Layoffs imminent? For a while now we have been hearing about end of proper examination and expectation of large-scale examiner layoffs. Insiders tell us it won't be long before EPO workload/backlog/queue runs dry. What happens then? Two key data points cannot be overlooked here; one is the EPO loosening/ending examination and the other is the massive EPO layoffs that are expected unless there’s a dramatic change of course. Yesterday I spoke in length with Mancunian research head (a large local university). We spoke about the EPO and he now compares erosion in patent (EP) quality to rigging of the degree-granting process (undergraduate or postgraduate). How do existing grantees of EPs feel about the status quo? Or about files flying off the shelves and patents getting granted in bulk irrespective of their quality (or only with shallow/superficial checks due to unrealistic deadlines/quotas)? They should be up in arms and demand some kind of refund or compensation from the EPO. They’re not even being consulted about this, even though they’re the primary stakeholders. Battistelli lowered the perceived value of EPs. He ought to know it. So-called intellectual “assets” of corporations took a massive hit because of him. “Production” he says? Tell that to someone with an actual science degree, not an honorary Ph.D. from a university connected to his buddy from Spain.

“Think of software patents, among other families of patents.”A lot of EPO workers rightly feel as though big plans are afoot (other than the UPC, which is a disaster) and nobody has informed them about long-term ‘reforms’. Right now they just see their staff representatives and even judges coming under unprecedented (in the entire history of the Office!) attacks.

“Correct me if I am wrong,” one person wrote yesterday, “but wasn’t the concept of “cheaper patents” (of lower quality) [...] via the UPC?”

Think of software patents, among other families of patents. Here is the entire comment with more complete context:

Correct me if I am wrong but wasn’t the concept of “cheaper patents” (of lower quality) part of an integral package including the vital component of “cheaper litigation” (for the big players) via the UPC?

Now that the second part of the formula has apparently been “put on ice” for the foreseeable future it seems that we are going to be left with “cheaper patents” (of lower quality).

But “cheaper” for whom exactly ?

Roll up! Roll up! Get your cheap patents ‘ere!
One for everybody in the audience !

At the EPO, as another person put it, “to discuss or disclose a procedure is in itself a crime.” Here is the full comment:

Don’t know if he was/is a union member (DG3 tend not to be), but he was said to have had contact with a staff rep who has since been fired. Whether he did or didn’t and whether that was improper or not I don’t know – all such allegations are not allowed to be revealed by the parties hence any discussion between them could also have been a disciplinary matter in its own right. Such is the system in place – to discuss or disclose a procedure is in itself a crime.

Regarding the illegally-suspended judge, this one commenter says it should be “enough for him to be re-instated, probably with compensation, however in Eponia… ”

It is not actually known what he did as the merits on the case have never been heard. It has been thrown out by the EBoA on at least two occasions due to incompetence and interference by the senior management of the EPO. In any other legal system in the EU this would have been enough for him to be re-instated, probably with compensation, however in Eponia…

“The overpowering stench emanating from the manner in which the Office is being managed and overseen” is noted in the following comment:

When do we expect the decision of the Bundesverfassungsgericht in 2 BvR 2480/10 and 2 BvR 421/13?

Also, could the evident failure of the Office to carry out instructions of the Enlarged Board of Appeal undermine any argument that the Boards are independent of the Office?

The overpowering stench emanating from the manner in which the Office is being managed and overseen could well yet reach the noses of the judges in Karlsruhe.

Another person ponders aloud: “So union representatives were fired for reasons they cannot explain to the staff they represent?”

The full comment:

So union representatives were fired for reasons they cannot explain to the staff they represent? What precludes them to do so, if they are out anyway?

History tells us that the only reason union representatives are attacked by management is that management plans to degrade the staff working conditions considerably: reduce salaries, increase working hours or simply fire everyone and get cheaper staff. Probably present staff members should start looking for another job.

It is not necessarily a bad thing for the customers, by the way. Patents will be cheaper if the staff is replaced by cheaper employees.

Some people then brought up the subject of money, as the EPO reportedly has losses (it’s hard to verify this due to the secrecy the Office enjoys). To quote:

What precludes them?
A. Any appeal against dismissal would be before the ILO. It is an administrative tribunal I.e. It only checks that the rules were followed. To do something against the rules, no matter how lacking in justice they are, would be a negative point and endanger the appeal.
B. To do so would endanger the member of the Board of Appeal as it would provide ‘evidence’ to be used against him/her.
C. The EPO pays the sacked person’s pension. That can be reduced by the office so they are still under EPO control.
D. The office is also seeking to veto employment after leaving the office employment. Annoying them is a risky idea.

Does that answer your question?

PS Cheaper staff = cheaper patents? Really? Why? Do you think the saving will be passed on? Remember BB has studies that show the office has financial problems. Saving costs may save money but will that not be needed for his problems? I will leave the issue of whether cheaper staff means lower quality means more litigation means more cost – that needs another and deeper analysis.

Judging by his behaviour (e.g. cutting benefits, reducing illness days, short-term contracts to new staff), Battistelli has been acting more like an EPO liquidator (especially of the unions and appeal boards) than a manager. He threw the EPC down the trash and now he throws the EPO down the trash. If EPO workers genuinely want to save the EPO and secure their jobs, then they’ll need to overthrow Team Battistelli before it lays them off (which will probably happen given the present trajectory which extinguishes a backlog never to be replenished).

Here is a fiscal optimist (whose claims we’re unable to verify):

“We” are making more than 1.000.000 EUR per working day. We are self-financing, not more, not less.
Yet, we are making money on a scale that everyone could go on maximum pensions right now, and for the next ten years there will be absolutely no need for reforms.
And the last reforms (career) already means a saving of several hundred millions per year in 2035….

Nope, you will not see a single cent of any saved money. You can withdraw and get a full refund on exam fees.
That is as far as the AC will go, as that is not their money…

“We are self-financing, not more, not less,” says the above. Even if that was true, for how long? Applications are running out! The backlog will will have reached zero in a couple of year. The writings on the wall are pretty clear to some insiders, who believe EPO layoffs are coming. There is even the belief that examiners will be replaced by machines. Whatever goes on at the EPO these days is rather horrific; many things are happening (all of them bad), the future is growingly grim, and anyone who dares speak about it gets fired (or first “disciplined”, so as to induce depression if not bankruptcy too).

Will someone ever reprimand battistelli or even fire him? He should have been sacked quite a while back, but nobody seems bold enough to do it, certainly not his pet chinchilla. To close this off with a comment:

What did the guy do to justify all this nonsense?

Lèse-majesté ?

See more on Wikipedia:

This link to Wikipedia yields the following image. Picture Battistelli’s face on the wall and it will be a perfect metaphor for the way EPO workers feel about Battistelli and how they get treated for their views about the ‘king’.

Leaked Minutes From the EPO Reveal That Battistelli is Detached From Reality and Blames Everything on “Union Officials”

Tuesday 25th of October 2016 02:13:08 PM

Trying to decapitate the unions of the European Patent Office (EPO) before he attacks the staff these unions represent

Reference: Reality Deficiency Syndrome

Summary: Minutes of the Administrative Council’s meeting reveal some truly bizarre rants from Battistelli, who simply refuses to accept that the European Patent Office is burning (without a future direction, only burnout and brain drain) under his poor and abusive leadership

THE EPO is secretive to most people, but it’s transparent to us because thousands of disgruntled employee keep us informed/abreast of whatever happens inside the EPO, in particular when the management is trying to hide things.

People who can you send us material often do (this can be done quite securely) and in 10 years we have never compromised a single source, not even accidentally.

“It’s the crushing of the only major staff union, probably intended to leave the staff totally unprotected amid horrible impending changes.”Our source, or the source of today’s leak, needed to do “a bit of digging” as it wasn’t so easy for one to come across, especially given the age of the material (we have a lot more from that time, though not enough time to prepare and publish). “It makes an interesting comparison with how the meeting was perceived at the time,” the source told us. “Turns out that the BoA reform only just got through. Some great quotes from Battistelli as well about SUEPO.”

In order to keep this punctual and compact, we have decided to just publish a summary of the June Administrative Council (AC) Minutes. We have split it into two themes — “The Social Situation” and “Reform of the BoA”. We shall deal with the social situation first. It should be duly stressed that these are very short summaries, not the complete thing.

Here it is:


The President made an oral activities report, in which he mentioned that “sick leave rates were well down, to an average of 9.5 days per staff member. The number of staff suffering from psychological disorders had halved since 2011. Social dialogue had intensified”.

In response to this, the UK, Swedish, German, Polish, Netherlands and Italian delegations made comments such as “it was good to know that sick leave was falling, but that was the only crumb of comfort in a social climate that remained extremely worrying”, “the EPO social climate remained awful”, “in the long term, the work atmosphere could have very bad effects on quality and productivity”, and “the continued deterioration in the social situation remained an extremely serious matter”.

Replying to the various speakers, the President said that “EPO management was being subjected to a disgraceful campaign of defamation conducted by a handful of irresponsible union officials who, despite a dwindling following within the Office, managed their political connections in some member states effectively enough to give their outrageous attacks some plausibility in the eyes of the credulous and uninformed”.

Well, this is patently untrue. A lot of the criticisms of the EPO come from outside the Office and from ordinary people inside the office who are in no way affiliated with SUEPO (they are not even members of this union or any union). It is quite telling and it is ever more apparent that Battistelli tries to blame all of his own failings on “union officials” and is in complete denial (unless he maliciously lies) about the social climate inside the Office. It’s like the Democratic [sic] party blaming everything on “Russia!” these days, even if/when there is no evidence to prove/support it. SUEPO has become a boogeyman.

The following meme (taking into account the old bicycle tale) seems apt. Is it just an EPO “reform”? No. It’s the crushing of the only major staff union, probably intended to leave the staff totally unprotected amid horrible impending changes. Isolated, misinformed (by Battistelli's cronies) and helpless staff is what Battistelli wants.

Tata/TCS is Still Pushing for Software Patents in India

Tuesday 25th of October 2016 01:02:59 PM

Summary: The obnoxious company that is promoting Microsoft and software patents in a country that needs neither makes the headlines again (Financial Express)

THE SUBJECT of software patents in India has not been explored here in a while. It seems safe to say that the latest massive effort/push/lobbying by Microsoft, IBM et al failed and India will continue to reject/decline/refuse to patent software.

“Tata has spent years pushing for software patents and promoting Microsoft’s interests/lock-in.”The Microsoft partners from Tata (or TCS), however, are still lobbying for software patents in India, in essence painting themselves a foe of the country’s interests. Based on this new article (published earlier today): “In yet another instance of saying no to exclusivity for innovations in software development, the country’s patent office has rejected a patent application by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) seeking protection to its claimed invention relating to organisation and development of technical documents, with few defects, minimal effort and less cost.”

Good. Tata has spent years pushing for software patents (see e.g. [1, 2]) and promoting Microsoft's interests/lock-in. We hope that our readers in India (a large proportion of our readers is from there) will push back against the likes of Tata. The country is better off without such corporations. Tata is often peripheral/adjunct/extension of foreign multinationals and it’s not alone. This harms Indian startups.

Links 25/10/2016: Rackspace’s Praise of FOSS, Chain Chooses the GPL(v3)

Tuesday 25th of October 2016 12:38:43 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Kernel Space
  • Applications
    • Krita 3.1 Digital Painting App Now in Development, Promises Cool New Features

      The Krita development team announced this past weekend that a second Beta pre-release version of the upcoming Krita 3.1 point release is now available for public testing.

      The current stable release of the Krita 3.x branch is version 3.0.1, and the Krita 3.0.2 maintenance update was planned for this fall, but it looks like it gained so many cool new features and improvements that the development team decided to bump the version number to 3.1.

    • Using Twitter From the Command Line Is Actually Really Fun

      The command line remains so incredibly popular because it’s so incredibly versatile. You can do a lot in a terminal.

    • FFmpeg 3.1.5 “Laplace” Multimedia Framework Released for GNU/Linux Distributions

      The fifth maintenance update to the latest stable FFmpeg 3.1 “Laplace” open-source multimedia framework was announced the other day for GNU/Linux systems, bringing more bug fixes and improvements.

      FFmpeg 3.1.5 was released on October 22, and it’s now considered the latest stable and most FFmpeg release from the 3.1 release branch, dubbed “Laplace,” which was officially released at the end of June 2016 and currently used in almost all GNU/Linux distributions.

    • Instructionals/Technical
    • Games
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK
      • GTK+ 3.22.2 Deprecates APIs That Will Be Removed in GTK+ 4, Improves Win32 Theme

        Today, October 24, 2016, the GTK+ development team released the second stable maintenance update to the GTK+ 3.22 GUI (Graphical User Interface) toolkit for GNOME-based desktop environments.

        GTK+ 3.22.2 comes just two weeks after the release of GNOME 3.22.1 and in time for the upcoming GNOME 3.22.2 milestone, which will also be the last one pushed for the GNOME 3.22 series. GTK+ 3.22.2 is mostly a bugfix release, but also adds various improvements to the win32 theme and deprecates APIs (Application Programming Interface) that’ll be removed in the next major branch, GTK+ 4.

  • Distributions
    • Gentoo Family
    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Upgrading to Yakkety

            I UPGRADED the operating system on my MacBook Air last week and I figured I ought to do the same on my Linux desktop.

            Moving from Ubuntu 16.04 (Xenial Xerus) to 16.10 (Yakkety Yak) on my desktop PC was nowhere as quick and easy as it was to upgrade from OS X 10.11 to macOS 10.12, but the process was nonetheless pretty straightforward and relatively trouble-free.

            While it took less than an hour to perform the upgrade on my Mac, it took several hours to download and install the latest version of Ubuntu.

            Much has already been written about how Unity 8, the new converged interface being developed for mobile and desktop devices, again failed to make it to the latest version of Ubuntu—although a rough preview of it is built into Yakkety (just log out and choose Unity 8 in the log-in screen).

            On the surface, Ubuntu 16.10 doesn’t look very different than previous releases, and its built-in Unity 7.5 interface features just minor improvements and a few bug fixes.

            To find out what’s new about Ubuntu 16.10, you have to look inside.

          • Ubuntu 17.04 “Zesty Zapus” Is Open for Development, GCC Linaro Used for ARM Port
          • Canonical Pushes First Live Kernel Patch to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Users, Update Now
          • Ubuntu 16.10 Review

            The list of major new features in Ubuntu 16.10 is impressive and interesting, but only if you are using the server product. Very little has changed on the desktop side of things other than the included packages being slightly newer. In fact, other than touting the number of applications available as Snaps, the only desktop-focused feature in the release announcement is a developer preview of Unity 8 desktop.

            To see what the desktop version of Ubuntu 16.10 has to offer compared to the previous 16.04 LTS release, I downloaded the 1.48GB ISO and gave it a try. Below, I take a look at what is new and different. I also take a look at the Unity 8 developer preview.

          • Why is Ubuntu’s Unity 8 development taking so long?

            Canonical has included a preview version of the Unity 8 desktop in Ubuntu 16.10. But that has not stopped some Linux users from wondering why Unity 8 still hasn’t been finished.

            The topic came up in a recent post on the Linux subreddit, and folks there shared their thoughts about why Unity 8 still hasn’t been released in final form.

          • Ubuntu Snappy Core 16 Up to Release Candidate State, Raspberry Pi 3 Image Is Out

            This past weekend, Ubuntu Snappy developer Michael Vogt announced the availability of the Release Candidate (RC) development milestone of the upcoming Ubuntu Snappy Core 16 operating system.

          • Tool That Lets You Install Ubuntu Touch on Your Mobile Device Now Supports Maru

            It’s been a little over a week since we told you all about Marius Quabeck’s awesome new tool that lets you easily install the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system on your device, and it looks like the developer was quite busy adding new functionality.

          • Flavours and Variants
            • Black Lab Enterprise Linux 8 Service Pack 1 Supports Rebootless Kernel Installs

              Softpedia was informed by the Black Lab Linux development team about the immediate availability of the first Service Pack (SP) of the Black Lab Enterprise Linux 8 OS.

              Based on the long-term supported Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, Black Lab Enterprise Linux 8 Service Pack 1 (SP1) is now powered by Linux kernel 4.4.0-45.66, the same version used upstream, which is patched against the nasty “Dirty COW” bug that could have allowed a local attacker to gain administrative privileges.

              Now that Canonical is offering kernel live patch services for its Ubuntu 16.04 LTS release, Black Lab Linux developers also implemented the well-known Kspice tool for offering users rebootless kernel installs. Additionally, Black Lab Enterprise Linux 8 SP1 adds full UEFI support and the ability to install Snap packages.

              “Service Pack 1 is jam packed full of innovations and features,” reads the announcement. “Black Lab Enterprise Linux is the fastest growing Enterprise desktop Linux offering on the market today. Black Lab Enterprise Linux 8.0 SP1 is a hybrid operating system meaning you can deploy local applications that you need as well as the cloud-based applications that you want.”

  • Devices/Embedded
    • ARM/FPGA module runs Linux on Arria 10 SoC

      iWave’s rugged, Linux-friendly, 95 x 75mm “Arria 10 SoC Module” expands upon the dual-core, ARM/FPGA SoC from Altera with DDR4 and 24 transceivers.

    • Phones
      • Android
        • No One Is Buying Smartwatches Anymore

          Remember how smartwatches were supposed to be the next big thing? About that…

          The market intelligence firm IDC reported on Monday that smartwatch shipments are down 51.6 percent year-over-year for the third quarter of 2016. This is bad news for all smartwatch vendors (except maybe Garmin), but it’s especially bad for Apple, which saw shipments drop 71.6 percent, according to the IDC report

          Apple is still the overall smartwatch market leader, with an estimated 41.3-percent of the market, but IDC estimates it shipped only 1.1 million Apple Watches in Q3 2016, compared with 3.9 million in 2015. To a degree, that’s to be expected, since the new Apple Watch Series 2 came out at the tail-end of the quarter. But the news is still a blow, when you consider how huge the Apple Watch hype was just 18 months ago.

        • 10 must-have Android apps for Halloween
Free Software/Open Source
  • 3 open source time management tools

    For many people, one of the reasons they cite for using a Linux-based operating system is productivity. If you’re a power user who has tweaked your system just to your liking, and particularly if you adept at the command line, chances are you’ve realized significant gains in productivity.

    But do you have to be an extreme power user to make use of open source software’s ability to boost your productivity? Absolutely not!

  • The Rackspace State of Open Source

    As the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona kicks off, Rackspace has released a report entitled ‘The State of Open Source’. With every conference seemingly extolling the virtues of open source software, this report is timely. It manages to differentiate between enterprise open source and the wider open source software market.

  • Why digital transformation needs open source

    As if there wasn’t already ample reason for businesses to switch to open source, Forrester analysts Paul Miller and Lauren E Nelson released a report in April 2016, entitled Open Source Powers Enterprise Digital Transformation — CIOs Need To Embrace Open Source Software To Drive Change, which further drives the point.

  • Despite Security Fears, Open Source Is Fuelling Innovation and Cost Savings in UK Businesses
  • Security concerns fail to hold back UK open source success

    However, despite its increasingly common use, many (54%) still perceive external security threats to be a big barrier to adoption, that’s according to a report published by Rackspace.

    The State of Open Source study, which was conducted among IT decision makers in UK businesses with over 1,000 employees and revenues over £500m, and looks at the ways open source is being used, its benefits, but also what is holding back adoption and business concerns.

    According to the report open source has come of age with 85% using open source technology to migrate a closed source project to open source.

    Open source also isn’t just a tool for small businesses; the vast majority (90%) of large businesses are now deploying open source-based enterprise applications, with 25% being completely open source.

    The reason for the growing adoption is because of the money and time savings. Rackspace found that for each project that had been migrated to open source technology, six out of ten organisations saved on average £30,146 and reduced project lifecycle by six months.

    Greater innovation was reported by many (49%), and 46% were driven to open source because of the competitive opportunities. Additionally, just under half (45%) said that it enabled them to get products and services to market faster.

    John Engates, Chief Technology Officer at Rackspace, said: “While open source technologies have been around for many years, it is great to see that enterprise businesses are finally dipping their toes in and seeing the tangible benefits.

  • Visa’s Blockchain Bet Opens Up to Developers

    Banks and financial firms have been tinkering for the past few years with the code that powers cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, with the intention of potentially overhauling their moldering infrastructure. Now they’re preparing to release their code into the wild.

    Chain, a two-year-old startup based in San Francisco, has decided to make its platform available to the public. The company is releasing an open source version of its Chain Core software to developers, any of who as of Monday can find the source code for its proprietary blockchain, or distributed ledger, on its webpage on Github, a code-sharing website.

  • As blockchain tech takes off, Visa preps a new pilot
  • Visa intros international B2B payment service built on blockchain technology
  • Chain opens up systems to ambitious blockchain developers
  • Visa Inc. (NYSE:V) Introduces International B2B Payment Solution Built on Chain’s Blockchain Technology
  • In Milestone Release, Chain Open-Sources its Blockchain Tech
  • Visa Introduces Blockchain-based Solution for Payment Services
  • Visa’s Massive Bet On B2B Blockchain Payments
  • Chain unchains open source blockchain platform
  • Blockchain hype takes hit as Chain releases code for anyone to use

    Software developers, engineers, traders and executives can now build and test any type of application they think will help improve efficiency in their business, said Adam Ludwin, Chain’s chief executive officer. Michael Nagle.

  • Chain Releases Open-Source Version of Distributed-Ledger Platform

    Chain, a fintech company focused on blockchain solutions, released Chain Core Developer Edition, an open-source version of Chain Core, its distributed-ledger platform.

  • R3 Corda Platform Is Open Sourced to the HyperLedger Effort
  • R3 blockchain code goes open source
  • R3 to Contribute Corda Code to Hyperledger Project
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • An introduction to Mozilla’s Secure Open Source Fund

        Thanks Mark. Mozilla is a unique institution—it’s both a nonprofit mission-driven organization and a technology industry corporation. We build open source software (most notably the Firefox Web browser) and we are champions for the open Internet in technical and political fora. We’ve been a global leader on well-known policy issues like privacy and net neutrality, and we’re also very active on most of today’s big topics including copyright reform, encryption, and software vulnerabilities.

  • Programming/Development
    • What’s wrong with Git? A conceptual design analysis

      We finished up last week talking about the how to find good concepts / abstractions in a software design and what good modularization looks like. Today’s paper jumps 40+ years to look at some of those issues in a modern context and a tool that many readers of this blog will be very familiar with: Git. With many thanks to Glyn Normington for the recommendation.


      The results of the reworking are made available in a tool called gitless, which I’ve installed on my system to try out for a few days. (Note: if you use oh-my-zsh with the git plugin then this defines an alias for gl which you’ll need to unalias). As of this paper (2013), Gitless was only just beginning as a project, but it continues to this day and tomorrow we’ll look at the 2016 paper that brings the story up to date.

      The kinds of concepts the authors are interested in are those which are essential to the design, to an understanding of the workings of the system, and hence will be apparent in the external interface of the system, as well as in the implementation.

  • ‘Nobody calls it Czechia’: Czech Republic’s new name fails to catch on

    With its imposing statue of the Czech patron saint and wide avenues leading toward historic Prague, Wenceslas Square should be the ideal place for defining a country’s national identity – or at least its name.

    So when the authorities decided to tamper with Czech Republic’s official branding they may have done well to road test the idea here, where national aspirations have often been asserted, and occasionally crushed, in dramatic fashion.

    Yet, six months after the shorter and supposedly punchier name of Czechia was officially adopted by the country’s leaders, citizens of the central European country of 10 million people seem in little doubt over what it should be called.

  • IT departments are the first line of defence for businesses

    “With hackers on the loose we need to secure our online defences” (Editorial, 22 October). Whilst I applaud and wholeheartedly support your point on why we must all secure our devices and agree with you that the hubris from entities in handling these issues has a large part to play, I must correct you on the picture you paint about IT departments.

    They don’t all shrug and they don’t all just say “switch it off and on again”. They are currently a lone voice in many organisations on this topic, often discounted as being alarmist (usually because the fix requires investment and no one really likes to invest in compliance type activity).

    The perception that digital is cool but technologists are boring is one of the most dangerous cultural vulnerabilities we have in many organisations. The rift between the two needs mending and the need for speed to market needs to be balanced by ensuring we are selling goods that are delivered wisely and safely.

  • MYOB demands users upgrade Microsoft software

    In a notice that has been described as unconscionable, Australian accounting software provider MYOB has sent out a notice to its users, asking them to upgrade their Microsoft Windows 7 operating systems and SQL Server database software before the end of the year.

    The company provides tax, accounting and other services to small and medium-sized businesses.

    Windows 7 has extended support from Microsoft until 14 January 2020.

    In a notice sent to users, which is also on its website, MYOB said:

    “Microsoft is making changes to the technologies that are covered under mainstream support. This will impact our ability to provide support if you are using MYOB software on those technologies.

  • Science
    • Seventy Years Ago, Humans Saw Earth from Space for the First Time

      The view of Earth from outer space has utterly transformed perspectives on our civilization, our planet, and our relationship to the universe beyond our skies. This Monday marks the 70th anniversary of the day we first saw the planet from this extraordinary, quasi-alien vantagepoint; a pivotal event that occurred on October 24, 1946, at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

      Snapped from an altitude of 65 miles by a Devry 35-millimeter motion picture camera, the black-and-white image captures the Earth’s curvature and the sweep of cloud cover over the American Southwest.

      The camera was mounted on a V-2 rocket, a Nazi-developed series of long-range ballistic missiles that Hitler had deployed against Allied targets in London, Antwerp, and Liège during World War II, resulting in the deaths of thousands of civilians.

      In the final months of the war, American forces accepted the surrender of key German rocket scientists, including Wernher von Braun, who later became the architect of the Saturn V Apollo Program rockets. These spaceflight experts immigrated to the United States in secret under Operation Paperclip, and they brought dozens of their V-2 rockets with them to help kickstart the American space program.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Horrific flesh-eating bacteria that killed man in four days expected to rise

      “It’s like something out of a horror movie,” Marcia Funk told the Daily Times of Salisbury, Maryland last week. In September, Funk watched helplessly as her husband of 46 years succumbed to an infection of flesh-eating bacteria in a mere four days.

      Michael Funk, her husband, became infected on September 11 while cleaning crab traps in the Assawoman Bay outside their Ocean City, Maryland condominium. The deadly bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, had slipped into a small cut on his leg as he waded into the bay’s still, warm, and brackish waters—ideal breeding grounds for the bacteria. Within hours, Funk fell ill and went to a nearby hospital where a surgeon removed infected, rotting skin from his leg. But with the flesh-eating bacteria circulating in his bloodstream, his condition quickly worsened. He was flown to a trauma hospital in Baltimore where surgeons amputated his leg. Still, the lesions spread and, on September 15, he died.

      Funk’s case is among the more severe examples of V. vulnificus infections—but it still could have been worse. In July, scientists reported that a 59-year-old man showed up at a hospital with a painful ankle lesion that expanded before their eyes (see photo above). His V. vulnificus infection, caught from warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico, turned deadly even faster. Within hours, his whole body was covered in lesions. A little more than 48 hours later, he was dead.

    • New study looks at the health effects of Wi-Fi

      The answer to this question is, unfortunately, ‘we don’t know’…yet. This is because most studies on people need to be longitudinal. Studying the long-term effect of radiation can only be achieved after significant time has elapsed. It should be pointed out that the general scientific consensus is that Wi-Fi is safe. Although Wi-Fi has been anecdotally linked to electromagnetic hypersensitivity, no study has proven this.
      In addition, most governments have studies on-going looking at the thermal (and sometimes non-thermal) effects of electric magnetic fields.
      Trying a different data gathering approach to those set-up by most government backed laboratories, a research group have used bacteria to assess what might be happening in the context of the modern, urbanized environment. Wherever people go there is exposure to a similar range of unlicensed radio signals from baby alarms, radio-controlled cars, cordless (DECT) phones, Bluetooth headsets, security alarms and many other things. Wi-Fi (wireless local area network) at 2.45GHz falls in the microwave band along with baby monitors and mobile phones, although the radiation level is 100,000 times less than a microwave oven.
      With the new research, scientists from the Swansea University led National Research Network (NRN) in Advanced Engineering and Materials have looked at the effects occurring at the molecular level in relation to Wi-Fi.
      In a research brief, the person leading up the review, Dr. Catrin F Williams explains: “We are adopting a ‘bottom-up’ approach. In the first instance, we want to understand what interactions are occurring at the sub-cellular or molecular level.”

  • Security
    • The internet apocalypse map hides the major vulnerability that created it

      During Friday’s massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on DNS service provider Dyn, one might be forgiven for mistaking the maps of network outages for images of some post-apocalyptic nuclear fallout. Screenshots from sites like showed menacingly red, fuzzy heat maps of, well, effectively just population centers of the United States experiencing serious difficulty accessing Twitter, Github, Etsy, or any of Dyn’s other high-profile clients. Aside from offering little detail and making a DDoS literally into a glowing red menace, they also obscured the reality of just how centralized a lot of internet infrastructure really is. DNS is ground zero for the uneasy tension of the internet’s presumed decentralized resilience and the reality that as of now, translating IP addresses into domain names requires some kind of centralized, hierarchical platform, and that’s probably not going to radically change anytime soon.

      Other maps provided by various business to business network infrastructure companies weren’t much more helpful. These maps seem to exist mostly to signal that the companies in question have lots of cool data and that it can be made into a flashy map — which might impress potential customers, but that doesn’t offer a ton of insights for the layperson. For example, threat intelligence company Norse’s map appears to be mostly a homage to the Matthew Broderick movie War Games: a constant barrage of DDoS attacks beaming like space invader rockets across a world map. Akamai has an impressive 3D visualization that renders traffic as points beaming into the atmosphere. And website monitoring service Pingdom offers a dot map at such a far-out zoom level that it’s essentially useless for seeking out more meaningful patterns than “outages happen in population centers, also there are a lot of outages.”

    • CoreOS Patched Against the “Dirty COW” Linux Kernel Vulnerability, Update Now
    • World’s first hack-proof router launched

      Turris Omnia router, tagged the world’s first hack-proof router, was launched yesterday at the CES Unveiled Show in Prague, Czech Republic.

      As an essential part of any home internet network, routers are rather poorly secured and protected against cyber attack. More often than not, the only security feature is the default password. With easily required internet knowledge and some skills, these routers can be hacked, providing unauthorized access to a complete internet network. From there on, anything is possible.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis

      Löfven met representatives of the royal family – King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayif and Vice Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman – on Sunday.

      “We have brought up issues such as women’s rights, the death penalty, even corporal punishment. We’re doing it in the way that we believe will have the greatest effect,” Löfven told Swedish media after the meeting.

      The absolute monarchy Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Stockholm in March 2015 after what it called “flagrant interference in internal affairs” by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström.

      The foreign minister had criticized the kingdom’s treatment of blogger Raef Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and ten years in prison for insulting Islam. “One must protest against what are nearly medieval methods” of punishment, Wallström said.

    • Sweden and Saudi Arabia — a Treacherous Romance

      Today, on October 23, a Swedish delegation consisting of key government officials, led by PM Stefan Löfvén will meet their Saudi counterparts. The delegation also includes Marcus Wallenberg and Maria Rankka, chair and vice chair of «Saudi-Swedish joint Business Council». More importantly, Marcus Wallenberg is chairman of the board of SAAB, Sweden’s most important arms manufacturer and exporter. In essence, Sweden’s top political leadership and among the most important representatives of the arms export lobby of Sweden will meet the most heinous war criminals of our time to discuss issues of common interest, such as Sweden’s role as new member of the UN Security Council, as well as (arms) business opportunities.

      To understand the current situation, a recap of the main events in the Saudi/Swedish entanglement is necessary. It dates back to at least 2005 when Sweden and Saudi Arabia concluded an agreement of «extended» defence cooperation, including the secret building of an advanced missile factory in Saudi Arabia with the assistance of Swedish expertise. The agreement was so sensitive that it was kept as a state secret, and an obscure front company was set up to hide the affair, which was nevertheless leaked to the public in 2012. The ensuing scandal killed the weapon’s factory project and lead to the resignation of the Swedish minister of defence. However, the abundant arms export from Sweden to Saudi Arabia remained «business as usual», as well as the extended defence agreement. This concludes phase one of the scandal, in Sweden denoted as the «Saudi Affair».

    • At least 58 killed as Pakistan militants storm police training centre in Quetta

      At least 58 people were killed when militants attacked a police training college near Pakistan’s south-western city of Quetta late on Monday, officials said.

      More than 100 people were also injured as commandos conducted a five-hour operation to rescue cadets who being held hostage inside the complex.

      Major General Sher Afgan, Inspector General of the Frontier Corps (FC), said after the operation had ended that six terrorists carried out the attack, three of whom were wearing suicide vests.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Climate change could spark the world’s next financial crisis, former Bank of England executive warns

      ‘You don’t need to believe in climate change, you don’t need to believe that it is man-made. You just need to believe that governments are going to do stuff and that is going to affect your business. And then it is a material risk’

    • CO2 levels mark ‘new era’ in the world’s changing climate

      Levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have surged past an important threshold and may not dip below it for “many generations”.

      The 400 parts per million benchmark was broken globally for the first time in recorded history in 2015.

      But according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), 2016 will likely be the first full year to exceed the mark.

      The high levels can be partly attributed to a strong El Niño event.

    • Testing the climate-drought-conflict connection

      Academics do not agree on the relationship between climate change and armed conflicts. Weather events driven by climate change, like droughts and extreme precipitation, might be societally destabilizing. But attempts to determine whether this connection is happening in the real world have produced ambiguous and sometimes contradictory results.

      A new study published in PNAS looks at up-to-date conflict data from 1989-2014 in Asia and Africa, examining the relationship between these events and droughts. The study finds that droughts affect the level of conflict, but only in poor societies that are dependent on agriculture.

      Drought can incite conflict because it can cause food scarcity, but is that actually happening today? To probe this relationship, the authors used geo-referenced data on armed conflict events between ethnic groups. The procedure used to link the ethnic groups to conflict behavior included consideration of how localized drought affected groups’ behavior regardless of the physical location of the fighting relative to the drought. In other words, if the group suffered a drought but ended up fighting in a region that received sufficient rain, that still counted. For this analysis, “ethnic group” was defined as discrete groups of humans with a shared culture and language living in the same geographic space.

  • Finance
    • Microsoft Hikes U.K. Prices of Enterprise Products Amid Brexit

      Microsoft Corp. will increase the price of its enterprise software and cloud offerings in the U.K. by as much as 22 percent to adjust to the falling pound in the aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

      From Jan. 1, prices of on-premises enterprise software will be hiked 13 percent, while those of cloud services will increase 22 percent, all to realign with euro-based contracts, the company said in a blog post. Consumer software or cloud products won’t be affected, Microsoft said.

      The slump of the pound since the Brexit vote has translated into a series of price hikes for consumers in the U.K. In the technology space, British consumers found out last month they’d pay as much as 16 percent more for the latest iPhone models compared to previous versions, a bigger inflation than for buyers in the U.S. or Germany.

    • Brexit: Microsoft jacks up prices, SAP sees UK growth, and Adobe doesn’t blink

      The precipitous drop in the value of the pound caused by Brexit has led to rocketing prices for Microsoft’s cloud and on-premise business services in the UK.

      From the start of next year, Microsoft’s enterprise software will be 13 percent more expensive, while enterprise cloud services will be hiked by 22 percent, the company has warned.

    • Corporate Sovereignty Helps To Bring EU-Canada Trade Deal To Brink Of Collapse

      The trade deal between the EU and Canada, known as CETA — the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement — is remarkable for the fact that it has still not been signed and ratified, even though its completion was “celebrated” over two years ago. That’s partly because of growing resistance to the inclusion of a corporate sovereignty chapter — also known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). In an attempt to head that off, the European Commission persuaded Canada to swap out vanilla ISDS for a new, “improved” version called the Investor Court System (ICS). As Techdirt noted before, this is really just putting lipstick on the pig, and doesn’t change the fact that companies are being given unique privileges to sue a country for alleged harm to their investments using special tribunals, as well as in national courts.

      CETA has faced other problems, notably from Bulgaria, Romania and Belgium. The first two said they wouldn’t sign because of Canada’s refusal to lift visa requirements for their citizens. That blackmail seems to have paid off. The Sofia Globe reports that Canada has agreed to remove the visa requirements from December 2017, and Bulgaria and Romania now say that they will sign CETA.

    • Belgium given EU ultimatum to secure Canada trade deal, but Wallonia defiant

      The European Union has given Belgium’s federal government until late on Monday to secure backing for an EU-Canada trade deal from the region of Wallonia or a planned summit to sign the pact will be cancelled.

      European Council president Donald Tusk, who chairs the collective body of the EU’s 28 national leaders, will speak to Belgian prime minister Charles Michel by late on Monday, an EU source told Reuters, so that Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau can decide whether to fly to Brussels for the signing on Thursday.

      If Michel cannot assure Tusk that Belgium will be able to let the EU sign the Ceta agreement, then Thursday’s EU-Canada summit will be postponed.

    • The truth about trade

      To keep a scorecard on TPP, TTIP, and other related trade policy measures, it’s important to keep track of four components of international economics. The first is trade in goods and services, when the US exports or imports merchandise (like coffee) or services (like shipping). The second is the movement of foreign capital, such as when General Motors opens a subsidiary to manufacture parts in Mexico. The third is offshoring of jobs, such as when Apple contracts with the Taiwanese company Foxconn to assemble iPhones in China. And the fourth are global regulatory policies such as the terms of patents and copyrights. Modern trade agreements are not just about trade; they include all four parts of the international economic system.

    • Trans-Pacific Partnership makes Australia vulnerable to court challenges, report claims

      Australia could face a growing number of expensive legal claims from foreign corporations if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) comes into force, a new report has warned.

      Dr Kyla Tienhaara, from the Australian National University, said Australia ought to learn from Canada’s experience after it signed the North America Free Trade Agreement (Nafta), which came into force in 1994 and led to dozens of legal cases against Canada by US corporations.

      She said the frequency of trade-based legal cases against Canada had increased significantly since 2006, in line with the global trend of such disputes, and warned a similar thing might happen to Australia under the TPP, because it has an investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision similar to Nafta’s.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • [Old] ‘FOBs’: How Hillary’s State Dept. Gave Special Attention to ‘Friends of Bill’ After Haiti Quake

      In a series of candid email exchanges with top Clinton Foundation officials during the hours after the massive 2010 Haiti earthquake, a senior aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly gave special attention to those identified by the abbreviations “FOB” (friends of Bill Clinton) or “WJC VIPs” (William Jefferson Clinton VIPs).

      “Need you to flag when people are friends of WJC,” wrote Caitlin Klevorick, then a senior State Department official who was juggling incoming offers of assistance being funneled to the State Department by the Clinton Foundation. “Most I can probably ID but not all.”

    • State IT official repeatedly takes Fifth Amendment in Clinton email lawsuit

      A retired State Department information technology official asserted his Fifth Amendment rights more than 90 times during a deposition Monday in a civil lawsuit related to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, according to the conservative group that brought the litigation.

      In August, a federal judge ordered John Bentel — former director of the Information Resources Management staff in Secretary of State Clinton’s office — to submit to a sworn deposition in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch.

    • Reddit Exposes Hillary Clinton Staff Trying To Frame Assange As ‘Pedo’

      A Reddit investigation has directly linked a pro-Democrat Super PAC and a tech company with employees with close ties to Hillary Clinton with a smear campaign plot to falsely accuse Julian Assange of pedophilia.

      The investigation was sparked after WikiLeaks released a series of tweets on Wednesday outlining an elaborate plot by a dating website currently attempting to frame and smear Assange.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Facebook Needs to Fix Its Censorship Double Standards

      Facebook has finally accepted that its algorithms that decide whether or not a post is “acceptable” may not be that good, and has announced that over the next few weeks it will start allowing more items that people find newsworthy and significant onto Facebook, even if they violate its community standards.

      The about turn comes as the social network has in recent months come under fire for deleting posts such as the iconic Vietnam War image of anapalm-burnt Kim Phúc and a Le Monde news feature that showed an image of a cancer victim’s mammogram.

      It’s understandable that dealing with the subjective nature of historically and culturally significant images or news stories is a complex task, but it’s so far been clear that the task should not be left to computer algorithms at their current stage of intelligence. Facebook also has to deal with differing cultural norms and laws in countries around the world—another problem that is not yet best left to algorithms. On top of this, as I explained in September, Facebook must not overstep its role of a news aggregator to become a gatekeeper.

    • PINAC Director Sues Miami Beach Mayor Over Refusal To Release Social Media Blocklists

      Executive director of Photography is Not a Crime (PINAC) Grant Stern is taking Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine to court over public records request denials. As Fusion’s Ethan Chiel reports, the mayor has been busy blocking critics on both Twitter and Facebook, and Stern aims to find out just how many constituents the mayor is tuning out.

    • YouTube vs. Conservative Speech
    • Petition of 65000 Demand YouTube Remove Video Restrictions on PragerU’s Videos
    • Google/YouTube Censorship Alive and Well in Prager U Case
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • China wants to give all of its citizens a score – and their rating could affect every area of their lives

      Imagine a world where an authoritarian government monitors everything you do, amasses huge amounts of data on almost every interaction you make, and awards you a single score that measures how “trustworthy” you are.

      In this world, anything from defaulting on a loan to criticising the ruling party, from running a red light to failing to care for your parents properly, could cause you to lose points. And in this world, your score becomes the ultimate truth of who you are – determining whether you can borrow money, get your children into the best schools or travel abroad; whether you get a room in a fancy hotel, a seat in a top restaurant – or even just get a date.

      This is not the dystopian superstate of Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, in which all-knowing police stop crime before it happens. But it could be China by 2020. It is the scenario contained in China’s ambitious plans to develop a far-reaching social credit system, a plan that the Communist Party hopes will build a culture of “sincerity” and a “harmonious socialist society” where “keeping trust is glorious.”

    • From Personality To Property: Data Protection Needs Competition, Consumer Protection Law, Conference Says

      for the public sector, will go some way to protect users’ autonomy in deciding over his personal data. Provisions on data portability and transparency, coupled with considerable sanctions in case of violations, all would try to hand back some control to the users, Manon Ootvees. from the Institute for Information Law of the University of Amsterdam, said before 40 international young researchers from fields as diversified as IP, competition and antitrust law, economy and consumer protection.

      Still data protection could not do it alone. “It might not work in the context of big data, or at least be less strong than we expect,” Ootvees said. Will people exercise the rights, will they be lured by the benefits platforms offer and how difficult will it be to proove, for example, that their personally identifiable data, spilled in aggregated versions to third party providers all over and used to construct profiles again for personalised adds or personalized pricing? “I see a lot of scepticism here,” said Ootvees.

    • Alibaba’s Jack Ma Urges China to Use Data to Combat Crime

      Chinese billionaire Jack Ma proposed that the nation’s top security bureau use big data to prevent crime, endorsing the country’s nascent effort to build unparalleled online surveillance of its billion-plus people.

    • PayPal payments and notifications are coming to Facebook Messenger [Ed: Facebook Messenger is malware on people’s phones (spying every few seconds), will soon spy on payments too]

      PayPal has been pushing to expand its reach into the consumer realm, having struck partnerships with MasterCard, Visa, Vodafone, and Alibaba, among other companies in the past few months alone. With Facebook Messenger on board, this opens PayPal up to a potential one billion users.

      Facebook first unveiled plans to expand Messenger beyond a messaging app and into a platform last year, letting retailers connect with customers on one of the world’s most popular messaging services. Retailers including Everlane and Zulily were among the first partners announced, while big-name brands such as KLM have since signed up to embrace Messenger as a platform.

    • U.S. courts: Electronic surveillance up 500 percent in D.C.-area since 2011, almost all sealed cases

      Secret law enforcement requests to conduct electronic surveillance in domestic criminal cases have surged in federal courts for Northern Virginia and the District, but only one in a thousand of the applications ever becomes public, newly released data show.

      The bare-bones release by the courts leaves unanswered how long, in what ways and for what crimes federal investigators tracked individuals’ data and whether long-running investigations result in charges.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Douglas Murray: “First They Came for Asia Bibi”

      The same week that (Humza) Yousaf was extolling the idea that Britain is a proto-Nazi state and Pakistan a potential safe-haven, the Pakistani authorities saw the latest round of the interminable and unforgivable saga of Asia Bibi. This is the woman who has been on death-row in Pakistan for no crime other than the crime of being a Christian. Bibi has been awaiting execution for five years, purely because a neighbour claimed that Bibi had insulted Mohammed during an argument.

      …While the Conservative party in Westminster is portrayed by these supposed defenders of human rights as some kind of Nazi offshoot, life is, in fact, unequalled in Britain for being good for people of any faith or background. It would be hard to find a society anywhere that has been more tolerant of mass immigration or tried to make life good for the immigrants who arrive, whatever background they are from. Pakistan, on the other hand, is a country which could hardly have a worse record on all of these matters. It is a country where racism and ethnic and religious hatred are rife. People of the “wrong” background, caste, or ethnicity experience infinitely more racism in Pakistan than in any country in Europe. Even people who are the “wrong” type of Muslim, such as Ahmadiyya Muslims, are the subject of constant and routine persecution and bigotry. The persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslims is so rife in Pakistan that this July, it even spilled out onto the streets of Glasgow in the murder of an Ahmadiyyan shopkeeper, Asad Shah.

    • Pakistani policeman slaps female journalist and assaults cameraman in public (VIDEO)

      A shocking video has emerged of a policeman violently slapping a female journalist during a scuffle at a government office in Karachi.

      The officer from the Frontier Constabulary was seen arguing with Saima Kanwal from channel K-21 as she was doing a live program.

      The journalist was doing a report on the issues people face at Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) when she got into a rift with the guard after he grabbed hold of the camera man.

    • Leaked Audio: Austin Police Chief Threatens to Fire Commanders who don’t keep Officers from Abusing Citizens

      “If your heart isn’t in this job, either step down or step out,” Austin Police Chief Hubert “Art” Acevedo said to his top brass during a private meeting on August 10 where he expressed his anger over the way his cops treat minorities, urging his commanders to push new community-friendly styles of policing to their officers – or lose their jobs.

      The recording from the meeting, leaked this week by an unknown commander, reveals tension between Acevedo and a number of his 18 commanders and their subordinates as he apparently attempts to cross the thin blue line for the first time during his 9-year tenure as the Austin Police Chief.

      Acevedo can be heard in the recording calling some of his commanders out for not supporting his decision to take disciplinary action against one of his cops for shooting an unarmed black kid, which is something he hasn’t done much since landing the job as chief in 2007.

      It’s not clear which specific officers Acevedo is referring to, but he indicates details may be forthcoming.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • AT&T’s Time Warner Deal Is For Shareholders, Not You

      This weekend brought about the biggest media merger of the year: AT&T will buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion. So Batman, Tony Soprano and CNN may end up under the ownership of the largest pay-TV operator in the country.

      The news is notable for many reasons, starting with the hefty price tag. AT&T will pay a 35% premium above Time Warner’s value before reports of the merger surfaced last week. But the deal could also affect consumers who subscribe to DirecTV, surf online via AT&T’s U-verse or pay for content from Warner Brothers’ media empire.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Shadow Warrior 2 Developers: We’d Rather Spend Our Time Making A Great Game Than Worrying About Piracy

        With the time we spend discussing the scourge of DRM that has invaded the video game industry for some time, it can at times be easy to lose sight of those in the industry who understand just how pointless the whole enterprise is. There are indeed those who understand that DRM has only a minimal impact on piracy numbers, yet stands to have a profound impact on legitimate customers, making the whole thing not only pointless, but actively detrimental to the gaming business. Studios like CD Projekt Red, makers of the Witcher series, and Lab Zero Games, makers of the SkullGirls franchise, have come to the realization that focusing on DRM rather than focusing on making great games and connecting with their fans doesn’t make any sense.

        And now we can add Polish game studio Flying Wild Hog to the list of developers that get it. The makers of the recently released Shadow Warrior 2 game have indicated that it basically has zero time for DRM for its new game because it’s entirely too busy making great games and engaging with its fans. On the Steam forum, one gamer noticed that SW2 did not come with any embedded DRM, such as Denudo, and asked the studio why it wasn’t worried about piracy.

      • Police Confiscate Hundreds of Computers Over Movie Piracy Allegations

        Copyright trolling is usually handled in the civil courts but over in Poland, things are getting out of control. Police have reportedly visited hundreds of homes and seized hundreds of computers, each alleged to have shared a movie without permission. There are fears that up to 40,000 people could eventually be affected.

        During the summer, Poland became entangled in what is likely to be one of the world’s most important copyright battles. Alleged KickassTorrents founder Artem Vaulin was arrested in the country, where he continues to fight extradition to the United States.

Links 24/10/2016: Linux 4.9 RC2

Tuesday 25th of October 2016 01:11:11 AM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Distributing encryption software may break the law

    Developers, distributors, and users of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) often face a host of legal issues which they need to keep in mind. Although areas of law such as copyright, trademark, and patents are frequently discussed, these are not the only legal concerns for FOSS. One area that often escapes notice is export controls. It may come as a surprise that sharing software that performs or uses cryptographic functions on a public website could be a violation of U.S. export control law.

    Export controls is a term for the various legal rules which together have the effect of placing restrictions, conditions, or even wholesale prohibitions on certain types of export as a means to promote national security interests and foreign policy objectives. Export control has a long history in the United States that goes back to the Revolutionary War with an embargo of trade with Great Britain by the First Continental Congress. The modern United States export control regime includes the Department of State’s regulations covering export of munitions, the Treasury Department’s enforcement of United States’ foreign embargoes and sanctions regimes, and the Department of Commerce’s regulations applying to exports of “dual-use” items, i.e. items which have civil applications as well as terrorism, military, or weapons of mass destruction-related applications.

  • GitHub open-sources tool to track and preview Puppet changes

    If tweaks to your Puppet setups are causing breakage across your deployments, GitHub’s Octocatalog-diff ensures that new Puppet settings don’t wreck old ones

  • Puppet Unveils New Docker Build and Phased Deployments

    Puppet released a number of announcements today including the availability of Puppet Docker Image Build and a new version of Puppet Enterprise, which features phased deployments and situational awareness.

    In April, Puppet began helping people deploy and manage things like Docker, Kubernetes, Mesosphere, and CoreOS. Now the shift is helping people manage the services that are running on top of those environments.

  • 9 reasons not to install Nagios in your company
  • Top 5 Reasons to Love Kubernetes

    At LinuxCon Europe in Berlin I gave a talk about Kubernetes titled “Why I love Kubernetes? Top 10 reasons.” The response was great, and several folks asked me to write a blog about it. So here it is, with the first five reasons in this article and the others to follow. As a quick introduction, Kubernetes is “an open-source system for automating deployment, scaling and management of containerized applications” often referred to as a container orchestrator.

  • Website-blocking attack used open-source software

    Mirai gained notoriety after the Krebs attack because of the bandwidth it was able to generate — a record at well over 600 gigabits a second, enough to send the English text of Wikipedia three times in two seconds. Two weeks later, the source code for Mirai was posted online for free.

  • Alibaba’s Blockchain Email Repository Gains Technology from Chinese Open Source Startup

    Onchain, an open-source blockchain based in Shanghai, will provide technology for Alibaba’s first blockchain supported email evidence repository.

    Onchain allows fast re-constructions for public, permissioned (consortium) or private blockchains and will eventually enable interoperability among these modes. Its consortium chain product, the Law Chain, will provide technology for Ali Cloud, Alibaba’s computing branch.

    Ali Cloud has integrated Onchain’s Antshares blockchain technology to provide an enterprise-grade email repository. Onchain provides the bottom-layer framework for Ali Cloud, including its open-source blockchain capabilities, to enable any company to customize its own enterprise-level blockchain.

  • Events
    • CloudNativeCon Unites Leaders in Open Source, Container and Cloud Native Tech

      Today’s cloud native ecosystem is growing at an incredibly rapid pace – as new technologies are continuously introduced and current applications are ever-evolving.

      Taking the lead in bringing together the industry’s top developers, end users, and vendors, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) hosts critical components of the cloud native software stacks including Kubernetes, Prometheus, and OpenTracing and serves as a neutral home for collaboration.

      To help spread cloud native practices and technology across the world, CNCF is hosting CloudNativeCon to bring together leading contributors in cloud native applications and computing, containers, microservices, central orchestration processing, and more November 8-9 in Seattle.

    • Spark on Kubernetes at Spark Summit EU

      I’ll be speaking about Spark on Kubernetes at Spark Summit EU this week. The main thesis of my talk is that the old way of running Spark in a dedicated cluster that is shared between applications makes sense when analytics is a separate workload. However, analytics is no longer a separate workload — instead, analytics is now an essential part of long-running data-driven applications. This realization motivated my team to switch from a shared Spark cluster to multiple logical clusters that are co-scheduled with the applications that depend on them.

    • Meet writers, moderators, and interviewees at All Things Open
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Netflix on Firefox for Linux

        If you’re a Firefox user and you’re a little fed up with going to Google Chrome every time in order to watch Netflix on your Linux machine, the good news is since Firefox 49 landed, HTML5 DRM (through the Google Widevine CDM (Content Decryption Manager) plugin) is now supported. Services that use DRM for HTML5 media should now just work, such as Amazon Prime Video. Unfortunately, the Netflix crew haven’t ‘flicked a switch’ yet behind the scenes for Firefox on Linux, meaning if you run Netflix in the Mozilla browser at the moment, you’ll likely just come across the old Silverlight error page. But there is a workaround.

        For some reason, Netflix still expects Silverlight when it detects the user is running Firefox, despite the fact that the latest Firefox builds for Linux now support the HTML5 DRM plugin.

  • SaaS/Back End
    • AtScale Delivers Findings on BI-Plus-Hadoop

      Business intelligence is the dominant use-case for IT organizations implementing Hadoop, according to a report from the folks at AtScale. The benchmark study also shows which tools in the Haddop ecosystem are best for particular types of BI queries.

      As we’ve reported before, tools that demystify and function as useful front-ends and connectors for the open source Hadoop project are much in demand. AtScale, billed as “the first company to allow business users to do business intelligence on Hadoop,” focused its study on the strengths and weaknesses of the industry’s most popular analytical engines for Hadoop – Impala, SparkSQL, Hive and Presto.

    • Study Says OpenStack at Scale Can Produce Surprising Savings

      Revenues from OpenStack-based businesses are poised to grow by 35 percent a year to more than $5 billion by 2020, according to analysts at 451 Research. In its latest Cloud Price Index, 451 Research analyzes the costs associated with using various cloud options to determine when it becomes better value to use a self-managed private cloud instead of public or managed cloud services.

      The idea is to createa complex pricing model that takes into consideration the major factors impacting total cost of ownership (TCO), including salaries and workload requirements.The 451 study found that because of the prevalence of suitably qualified administrators, commercial private cloud offerings such as VMware and Microsoft currently offer a lower TCO when labor efficiency is below 400 virtual machines managed per engineer. But where labor efficiency is greater than this, OpenStack becomes more financially attractive. In fact, past this tipping point, all private cloud options are cheaper than both public cloud and managed private cloud options.

    • How OpenStack mentoring breaks down cultural barriers

      Victoria Martinez de la Cruz is no stranger to OpenStack’s mentorship opportunities. It’s how she got her own start in OpenStack, and now a few years later is helping to coordinate many of these opportunities herself. She is speaking on a panel on mentoring and internships later this week at OpenStack Summit in Barcelona, Spain. In this interview, we catch up with Victoria to learn more about the details of what it’s like to be a part of an open source internship, as well as some helpful advice for people on both sides of the mentoring process.

  • Databases
    • IBM Power Systems solution for EnterpriseDB Postgres Advanced Server

      The primary focus of this article is on the use, configuration, and optimization of PostgreSQL and EnterpriseDB Postgres Advanced Server running on the IBM® Power Systems™ servers featuring the new IBM POWER8® processor technology.

      Note: The Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 7.2 operating system was used. The scope of this article is to provide information on how to build and set up of PostgreSQL database from open source and also install and configure EnterpriseDB Postgres Advanced Server on an IBM Power® server for better use. EnterpriseDB Postgres Advanced Server on IBM Power Systems running Linux® is based on the open source database, PostgreSQL, and is capable of handling a wide variety of high-transaction and heavy-reporting workloads.

  • Valgrind
  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • What is the GRUB2 boot loader?

      There are various things that make up an operating system. In any operating system, one of the most critical parts is powering on the machine. During this process, the computer will execute a small program in read-only memory (ROM) to begin initiating the startup process. This small program is known by many names, but most often called a boot loader. In almost every Linux distribution, including Fedora, GRUB2 (or GRand Unified Bootloader 2) is the default boot loader. Even though it is a critical piece of the operating system, many people aren’t aware of the boot loader, all that goes into it, or how it can be customized.

  • Public Services/Government
    • Study: Administrations unaware of IT vendor lock-in

      Public policy makers in Sweden have limited insight on how IT project can lead to IT vendor lock-in, a study conducted for the Swedish Competition Authority shows. “An overwhelming majority of the IT projects conducted by schools and public sector organisations refer to specific software without considering lock-in and different possible negative consequences”, the authors conclude.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Access/Content
      • How open access content helps fuel growth in Indian-language Wikipedias

        Mobile Internet connectivity is growing rapidly in rural India, and because most Internet users are more comfortable in their native languages, websites producing content in Indian languages are going to drive this growth. In a country like India in which only a handful of journals are available in Indian languages, open access to research and educational resources is hugely important for populating content for the various Indian language Wikipedias.

  • Programming/Development
    • Where to find the world’s best programmers

      One source of data about programmers’ skills is HackerRank, a company that poses programming challenges to a community of more than a million coders and also offers recruitment services to businesses. Using information about how successful coders from different countries are at solving problems across a wide range of domains (such as “algorithms” or “data structures” or specific languages such as C++ or Java), HackerRank’s data suggests that, overall, the best developers come from China, followed closely by Russia. Alarmingly, and perhaps unexpectedly, the United States comes in at 28th place.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Iraq parliament bans alcohol in surprise vote

      Iraq’s parliament has voted to ban the sale, import and production of alcohol in a surprise move. Proponents of the ban argue the ban is justified by the constitution, which prohibits any law contradicting Islam.

      Opponents say it violates the same constitution which guarantees the traditions of religious minorities such as Christians and have vowed to appeal against the decision.

      Those violating the law will be fined between 10 million and 25 million dinars (roughly £7,000 to £17,500).

    • Court of Appeal on Pregabalin – Pfizer still in pain, but Swiss claims re-interpreted again [Ed: Poor Pfizer "still in pain" because it cannot globally defend a monopoly that harms the poor and ill using patents]

      While this moggy was struggling to get back from Indonesia, the Court of Appeal handed down its decision in the pregabalin appeal Warner-Lambert Company LLC v Generics (UK) Ltd (t/a Mylan) & Ors [2016] EWCA Civ 1006 (13 October 2016), and finally the IPKat has managed to blog about it (the lateness by no means reflecting on the importance of the judgment).

      It is very much a judgment of three halves.

      In the first part of the judgment (up to [135]), which substantively disposes of the case, Lord Justice Floyd (with whom Lord Justic Kitchin and Lord Justice Patten agreed) upheld the decision of Mr Justice Arnold on the validity of the patent. Arnold J had considered that the claims of the patent that were alleged to be infringed were insufficient, and in particular claim 3 directed towards use of pregabalin for neuropathic pain, because the patent did not render it plausible that pregabalin would be effective at treating central neuropathic pain, only peripheral neuropathic pain. Floyd LJ agreed with Arnold J’s construction of the claims, and rejected the challenge to the finding that claim 3 was not plausible across its breadth.

  • Security
    • How your DVR was hijacked to help epic cyberattack

      Technology experts warned for years that the millions of Internet-connected “smart” devices we use every day are weak, easily hijacked and could be turned against us.

      The massive siege on Dyn, a New Hampshire-based company that monitors and routes Internet traffic, shows those ominous predictions are now a reality.

      An unknown attacker intermittently knocked many popular websites offline for hours Friday, from Amazon to Twitter and Netflix to Etsy. How the breach occurred is a cautionary tale of the how the rush to make humdrum devices “smart” while sometimes leaving out crucial security can have major consequences.

    • Find Out If One of Your Devices Helped Break the Internet

      Security experts have been warning for years that the growing number of unsecured Internet of Things devices would bring a wave of unprecedented and catastrophic cyber attacks. Just last month, a hacker publicly released malware code used in a record-breaking attack that hijacked 1.5 million internet-connected security cameras, refrigerators, and other so-called “smart” devices that were using default usernames and passwords.

      On Friday, the shit finally hit the fan.

    • Once more, with passion: Fingerprints suck as passwords

      Fingerprints aren’t authentication.

      Fingerprints are identity. They are usernames.

      Fingerprints are something public, which is why it should really bother nobody with a sense of security that the FBI used them to unlock seized phones. You’re literally leaving your fingerprints on every object you touch. That makes for an abysmally awful authentication token.

    • Strengthen cyber-security with Linux

      Using open source software is a viable and proven method of combatting cyber-crime

      It’s encouraging to read that the government understands the seriousness of the loss of $81 million dollars via the hacking of Bangladesh Bank, and that a cyber-security agency is going to be formed to prevent further disasters. Currently, information security in each government department is up to the internal IT staff of that department.

    • Canonical announces live kernel patching for Ubuntu

      Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution, has announced that it will provide a live kernel patching services for version 16.04 which was released in April.

    • Everything you know about security is wrong

      If I asked everyone to tell me what security is, what do you do about it, and why you do it. I wouldn’t get two answers that were the same. I probably wouldn’t even get two that are similar. Why is this? After recording Episode 9 of the Open Source Security Podcast I co-host, I started thinking about measuring a lot. It came up in the podcast in the context of bug bounties, which get exactly what they measure. But do they measure the right things? I don’t know the answer, nor does it really matter. It’s just important to keep this in mind as in any system, you will get exactly what you measure.


      If you have 2000 employees, 200 systems, 4 million lines of code, and 2 security people, that’s clearly a disaster waiting to happen. If you have 20, there may be hope. I have no idea what the proper ratios should be, if you’re willing to share ratios with me I’d love to start collecting data. As I said, I don’t have scientific proof behind this, it’s just something I suspect is true.

    • Home Automation: Coping with Insecurity in the IoT

      Reading Matthew Garret’s exposés of home automation IoT devices makes most engineers think “hell no!” or “over my dead body!”. However, there’s also the siren lure that the ability to program your home, or update its settings from anywhere in the world is phenomenally useful: for instance, the outside lights in my house used to depend on two timers (located about 50m from each other). They were old, loud (to the point the neighbours used to wonder what the buzzing was when they visited) and almost always wrongly set for turning the lights on at sunset. The final precipitating factor for me was the need to replace our thermostat, whose thermistor got so eccentric it started cooling in winter; so away went all the timers and their loud noises and in came a z-wave based home automation system, and the guilty pleasure of having an IoT based home automation system. Now the lights precisely and quietly turn on at sunset and off at 23:00 (adjusting themselves for daylight savings); the thermostat is accessible from my phone, meaning I can adjust it from wherever I happen to be (including Hong Kong airport when I realised I’d forgotten to set it to energy saving mode before we went on holiday). Finally, there’s waking up at 3am to realise your wife has fallen asleep over her book again and being able to turn off her reading light from your alarm clock without having to get out of bed … Automation bliss!

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Reproducible Builds: week 78 in Stretch cycle
    • Murphy’s Law: The security version

      Since the first of the month, I’ve heard colleagues and others report each of the 10 security variants to Murphy’s Law listed below. Murphy is not only alive but has been reincarnated.

    • Easy-to-exploit rooting flaw puts Linux computers at risk [Ed: The latest CVE is very scary. It’s scary because it has a scary name, a logo, and even a dedicated Web site. Barely anything happened. Should we start assessing the severity of bugs by the investment that goes into their marketing, e.g. site, logo, and scary branding?]
    • Linux has had a huge bug for nine years
    • Linux Bug Could Cause Linux Users to be Hacked in Seconds
    • ‘Dirty Cow’ Linux Vulnerability
    • Linux & Open Source News Of The Week — “Dirty COW” In Linux, JS Foundation, Fedora on RPi And More
    • ‘Dirty COW’ flaw lets hackers gain control of Linux systems every single time
    • Linux Exploit in the Wild; Gives Any User Root Access in Less Than Five Seconds
    • An 11-year old bug is threatening the whole Linux ecosystem. Update now!
    • Linux exploit gives any user full access in five seconds [Ed: Another case of attractive headlines that mislead (need local access, locally exploitable only)]
    • Red Hat Virtualization and Security

      The usage of open source technologies has grown significantly in the public sector. In fact, according to a published memo, open source technologies allow the Department of Defense to “develop and update its software-based capabilities faster than ever, to anticipate new threats and respond to continuously changing requirements”. Cybersecurity threats are on the rise and organizations need to ensure that the software they use in their environments is safe. IT teams need the ability to quickly identify and mitigate breaches. They also need to deploy preventative measures and ensure that all stakeholders are protected.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Report: Middle East now Finland’s biggest arms export market

      The Middle East has become Finland’s most important market for arms exports. According to a new report by the think tank SaferGlobe Finland, local arms manufacturers sold some 99 million euros of mainly armoured vehicles and mortars in 2015, the bulk of it to countries outside the European Union.

    • ‘Civilization VI’ Found Religion, So I Responded With Genocide

      My glorious Roman Empire ignored religion for too long and it almost destroyed me. While I built roads, raised armies and sought trade deals with nearby city-states and rivals, my neighbor Spain kept to itself, built churches and spread the good word of Protestantism. Which was fine. As the Roman Emperor Trajan, I’d established a religion based on the worship of the mighty turtle and then forgotten about my people’s spiritual needs as I concentrated on getting tanks before my rivals.

      “Foolish Spain,” I thought. “This is a Civilization game. Glory and riches goes to the ruler who builds a spaceport or conquers their rivals. There’s no easy path to victory through the gods.” Then, almost too late, I checked the scorecard and realized Spain was about to declare victory … a religious victory.

      Civilization 6 is very different and much better than its predecessors.

    • Victory over Isis will stream live on Facebook. But defeat won’t

      Some 34 years ago, almost by accident, Britain’s ministry of defence solved the pesky problem that had laid the Pentagon low in Vietnam. What do you do about journalists running wild in your warzone? You put them on a long, slow boat to the other side of the world. You – ahem! – take control.

      And so, from Grenada to Panama to Iraq War One, journalists were locked in little boxes as far from the action as possible before (Iraq Two) being cautiously “embedded” with units they depended on to keep them safe. No freelance trips here. No unwanted questions asked. Control was still the theme of each and every fighting day.

      So what are we to make of Mosul, as Kurds and Iraqis advance on the city via 24/7 streaming on Facebook Live from Al-Jazeera, Channel 4 News and a Kurdish agency? Do we want an emoji on every blast of destruction? “Like”, “like”, “like” the carnage … Is this some sort of macabre computer game?

      You’d expect tabloid foes of Channel 4 News to have a predictable view on that – and they do. The Sun is apocalyptic as usual. But there’s a deeper, continuing theme here. As David Patrikarakos, a specialist on the use of social media in war, blogs for CNN, this battle is about more than just a military defeat of Isis: it’s also about “winning the hearts and minds of the local population” – “it becomes not just a military war, but also a narrative war, in which the latter is arguably more important”.

    • Malta plane crash: All five people on board killed as light aircraft goes down at airport in ‘take-off accident’

      A plane has crashed in Malta, killing all five people on board in the country’s worst peacetime air disaster.

      The light aircraft went down during take-off from Malta International Airport at around 7.20am local time (6.20am BST) on Monday morning.

      A witness told the Times of Malta newspaper the propeller plane suddenly tipped to its right side and “went straight down to the ground”.

    • Appeals Court Says Government Doesn’t Have To Disclose Contents Of Its Secret Terrorist Organization List

      An attempt to force the government to reveal its secret list of terrorist groups has been shot down by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals [PDF]. The Heartland Alliance Immigrant Justice Center’s FOIA request for “Tier III” terrorist groups can remain unfulfilled. [h/t Brad Heath]

      Without giving too much away (and neither the court nor the government does), “Tier III” is apparently more nebulous and fluid than tiers I and II.

    • Philippines’ Duterte ends US ties, embraces China

      During his recent visit to China, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte declared “it’s time to say goodbye” to the United States. The Philippine leader and Chinese President Xi Jinping are getting closer, while Washington now is ignored.

      Duterte spoke to the press in Beijing on Wednesday and his conference coincided with talks of unprecedented agreements, mainly granting the Philippines the use of Scarborough Shoal territories.

      Duterte declared in allusion to Washington, “Your stay in my country was for your own benefit. So time to say goodbye, my friend.”

      “No more American interference. No more American exercises. What for,” Duterte told the Filipino expat community in Beijing.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • WikiLeaks, political hacks and the US election

      Is Julian Assange playing a political role, meddling with US electoral affairs, or is WikiLeaks a neutral mouthpiece?


      Some say the revelations are valuable information for voters. Others have accused Russia of being behind the hack and argue WikiLeaks is aiding foreign interference in the elections. Julian Assange’s haven, Ecuador, has recently pulled the plug on his internet usage, claiming that interference with other countries’ electoral processes is against their policies.

      Putting aside the agendas of all the players involved, one institution comes out undeniably sullied by the publication of the emails: the US news media. While some of the emails released presented typical behaviours, with the Clinton campaign reaching out to particular publications with stories, others are more problematic.

    • Greenpeace, others sought US intervention after action by India: Wikileaks

      Environmental groups such as Greenpeace and other international NGOs working in India had sought US government intervention after their funding came under increased scrutiny of the Modi government, according to emails released by the Wikileaks.

      The emails, hacked from the email account of John Podesta, who is the chairman of the Clinton Campaign, also indicates the global funding links of these NGOs, including those environmental groups opposing a massive mining project in Australia being undertaken by the Adani Group.

    • How To Help Defend WikiLeaks

      As I said at the start, this is just one example of media spreading lies about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. It happens every day, all round the world. WikiLeaks represents a serious threat to the status quo, exposing the corruption of politicians and corporations. They are constantly targeted by journalists who choose to act as stenographers and gate-keepers of power. While these so-called journalists survive in their jobs at the mercy of the boardroom, WikiLeaks is 100% funded by people like you and me. Please help keep them strong.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • A Hotter World Is Poorer and More Violent

      What will a planet plagued by escalating climate change look like? No one really knows. But speaking at EmTech MIT 2016, Solomon Hsiang, a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley, presented results based on his recent analysis of economic and climate data that begin to more clearly define what the world might look like as it gets hotter.

    • Feeling Paleolithic? We’re On The Way Back In Time.

      Further south, about 40% of USAians apparently support Trump and his denial of global warming so I expect it will take another generation suffering even larger effects before real action is taken.

  • Finance
    • Tens of Thousands Protest TTIP, CETA Across Europe

      An estimated 8,000 people hit the streets in Paris, chanting against police brutality, labor reform, deportations and airport construction in Nantes that will displace dozens of farmers. The converged on the site of Nuit Debout protests, an occupation that lasted months against pro-business labor reforms and drew direct parallels with Occupy Wall Street and the Indignados.

      Tens of thousands also rallied across Spain, Belgium, Germany and other countries that will be affected by the deals.

    • Canada’s two Trump towers facing troubles

      In Vancouver, the developer of a new Trump Tower has been under pressure for months to drop the Republican presidential candidate’s name from the project. Meanwhile, the Trump Tower in Toronto is the subject of a lawsuit after facing years of controversy.

      Donald Trump’s controversial run for US president is having an impact on his businesses in Canada and knock-on effects for those who have partnered with his brand.

      The opening date for the Vancouver hotel has been delayed until 2017, well after November’s US election. A contest offering a chance to meet with the Trump family for the grand opening caused a stir.

      Across the country, the Toronto building, which opened in 2012, has been the target of a lawsuit by small investors who claim they were misled into buying into the project. Its developer, Talon Development Inc, has tried to remove the Trump name from the troubled hotel and condominium complex.

      The story is similar in other countries.

    • Bulgarian expert: CETA to lead to loss of jobs, domination of big business, and countries like Bulgaria to be most affected

      “The EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) is in fact a political agreement that will decrease the value of European democracy.”

      This is what economist Professor Boyan Durankev said speaking for Radio FOCUS.

      In his words, there are too serious concerns that the agreement will lead to loss of jobs, lower standards in the ecology, domination of the big business, while the countries like Bulgaria will be most affected.

    • Wallonia’s red card for CETA is a chance for the EU to be a beacon to the world

      We are at a crossroads for international trade policy. The failure of TTIP and CETA would pave the way for a fairer and more democratic world, argues Paul de Clerck.

      Paul de Clerck is the economic justice programme coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe.

      The European Union, the world’s biggest trading bloc, is, for the second time in a matter of months, on the verge of seeing one of its mega trade deals fall into disarray.

      If the objections of several regions in Belgium are upheld, the signing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada planned for next week will most likely be cancelled. This follows the near collapse of TTIP, the EU’s proposed agreement with the US. Rather than despairing at the state of the EU, we should see how these developments provide a unique opportunity for the EU to take the lead in shaping new trade regimes for the future that are beneficial for people and the environment.

      The opposition to CETA and TTIP has been unprecedented in the history of the EU. Concerns have been expressed by millions of people across the continent, including lawyers, academics, political parties, local authorities and virtually all sectors of civil society. Many governments have also expressed reservations on CETA. Only the Walloons, however, had the guts to show it the red card.

    • Trade Deals and the Paris Climate Agreement

      The Paris Climate Agreement is now a reality. More than 55 countries representing over 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions have ratified the pact, which means the historic agreement is set to enter into force faster than was ever anticipated. As we celebrate this landmark and get ready to grapple with the next steps of how to implement it—a key topic of discussion at COP 22, the upcoming international climate conference in Marrakesh, Morocco—the U.S. Congress may soon vote on the massive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 11 other countries, and the administration continues to negotiate the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the European Union.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • Clinton’s WikiLeaks strategy: Doubt, delay, distract

      The emails are full of potential damage for Hillary Clinton. She weighed the political implications of policies. She is close to Wall Street. Her aides gathered information to discredit a woman who’d accused her husband of rape.

      So how has she so far remained largely unscathed by the unprecedented release of hacked emails? It’s one part a deliberate strategy of casting doubt on the authenticity and distracting from the content of the emails, one part fatigue by Americans who already have seen tens of thousands of Clinton’s emails and one part a whole lot of luck.

      With Clinton leading in both national polls and battleground-state surveys, the Democrat is in some ways trying to run out the clock on the election.

      The WikiLeaks emails do threaten to reinforce voter doubts about Clinton’s honesty. But her strategy – refuse to confirm the authenticity of the emails, blame Russia for the hack and say little else – has so far successfully defused the impact by avoiding any talk that would keep voters looking at the content of the messages. Her undisciplined opponent has taken care of the rest.

      “When you start explaining, you’re in trouble,” said G. Terry Madonna, the director of the Franklin & Marshall College poll in Pennsylvania. “They are handling it the best way they can. It’s about as an effective argument you can make.”

    • Donna Brazile Complains She’s Being ‘Persecuted’ Over Leak To Clinton Campaign [VIDEO]

      Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile complained during an interview on Wednesday that she is being “persecuted” by being asked questions about leaking a town hall question to the Clinton campaign.

      And during the interview, conducted on Fox News after the presidential debate, Brazile said that her interviewer, Megyn Kelly, was “like a thief” because her questions cited emails that were stolen from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and released by Wikileaks.

      Kelly grilled Brazile, who was a CNN and ABC News contributor prior to taking over the DNC in July, about an email revealed by Wikileaks showing her providing a tip about a March 13 town hall question to the Clinton campaign.

    • Green Party’s Baraka: Obama has been ‘moral disaster’

      Voters who want to fight against racial profiling, human rights violations, war and the two-party system should cast their ballots for the Green Party, vice presidential nominee Ajamu Baraka said Tuesday.

      Baraka, Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s running mate and a self-described socialist from Atlanta, spoke to about 55 people at Wayne State University in a campaign stop. A Glengariff Group poll released last week to The Detroit News and WDIV showed the Green Party ticket receiving 4.6 percent of support from 600 likely Michigan voters, trailing Democrat Hillary Clinton, Republican Donald Trump and Libertarian Gary Johnson.

      A Stein-Baraka presidency, he said, would be focused on using executive powers to create an “emergency jobs bill” to address inner cities and rural areas, notify the “right-wing” government in Israel “that we’re no longer going to allow for them to have unfettered freedom to expand settlements and undermine the rights to Palestinians” and reverse the attempt at regime change in Syria.

    • Your Vote For Jill Stein Is Not A Wasted Vote

      When Jill Stein ran as the Green Party’s presidential nominee in 2012, media attention to her candidacy was rare. Now, with two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in history, she has received widespread attention. There seems to be record interest in third party campaigns, including Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.

      The Nation published a debate between Socialist Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant and Nation contributor Joshua Holland.

      The editors gave Sawant’s column the negative headline—”Don’t Waste Your Vote On the Corporate Agenda—Vote for Jill Stein and the Greens”—but column does not hinge on loathing Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Rather, it makes a positive case for supporting Stein by primarily arguing the need for progressives to build an alternative to the two pro-capitalist political parties in America. It has a long-term focus on bringing about radical change.

    • Clinton Ally Aided Campaign of FBI Official’s Wife

      The political organization of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an influential Democrat with longstanding ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, gave nearly $500,000 to the election campaign of the wife of an official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who later helped oversee the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email use.

    • And the winner is … crony capitalism: Choosing between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is no choice at all

      It is as Bernie Sanders has foreseen it, you might say.

      With its publication of thousands of less-than-flattering emails from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta over the past two weeks, Wikileaks has done much to undermine Hillary Clinton in her ongoing effort to appeal to millennials who see Washington as a corrupt town where big business and big government are deeply intertwined.

      Excerpts from various six-figure speeches that Clinton made in 2013 and 2014 reveal a politician who is not only quite friendly with Wall Street in private, but somewhat resentful of the American public for constantly attacking and scapegoating big banks for the financial crisis.

      “The people who know the industry better than anybody are the people who work in the industry,” said Clinton in one speech. Reform, she continued, “really has to come from the industry itself.” In another speech, Clinton stated that you have to have “both a public and a private position,” which has cast further doubt on her trustworthiness among young voters.

    • WikiLeaks reveals Clinton considered a Texas Republican for the Supreme Court

      Hours after conservative Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia passed away, the Clinton campaign floated a Texan as a possible replacement.

      Wallace Jefferson, a former chief justice on the Texas Supreme Court, was the subject of an email titled “Scalia replacement” written by the president of a George Soros-backed grant-making organization.

      “Remember our discussion of Wallace Jefferson, Chief Justice in Texas?” said Open Society Foundations president Chris Stone in the email.

      “Yup,” replied Clinton campaign chief John Podesta.

      The hacked email was one of thousands released by WikiLeaks in recent weeks and the authenticity of the email could not be independently confirmed. The Clinton campaign declined to confirm the authenticity of the email mentioning Jefferson.

    • TYT’s Jimmy Dore: Democrats Are Restarting The Cold War To Hide From WikiLeaks

      Jimmy Dore, host of ‘Aggressive Progressives’ on ‘The Young Turks’ network, says he is disappointed to see the Democratic Party using Russia as a scapegoat for the information revealed by WikiLeaks.

      “This is a complete distraction,” he said about the DNC’s pivot to blaming Russia for WikiLeaks. “I hate that it is the Democrats now. We now have two parties of war. And now the Democrats are saber-rattling and building up a boogie-man in Putin, instead of what they should be doing, saying we both have a common enemy: ISIS. Let’s join hands and work to defeat them. That’s not what they’re doing because it makes more political sense for the Democrats to ratchet it up, to ratchet up the Cold War, which is what they’re doing now.”

      “By the way, when the [Berlin] Wall went down, Reagan assured them that we would not expand NATO, and we’re expanding NATO,” he said. “So we are the ones right now, we are the expanders… This McCarthyism that they’re trying to smear Trump with. There’s so much, you don’t have to smear that guy. But Trump has said he wanted to work with Putin to fight ISIS, while Hillary Clinton has called for a no-fly zone in Syria, which means dead people on the ground, and boots on the ground. And who are we going to shoot down? ISIS doesn’t have any planes. That means a war with Russia. This is beating the drums for war, in fact.”

      “I’m bothered by this more than anything: A lot of people are saying that we’re closer to nuclear war now than we ever were during the Cold War,” Dore said.

    • The media — and many Democrats — need to stop attacking Jill Stein unfairly

      There is both a principled and strategic component to voting choices in presidential elections. In principle, citizens should cast their votes for whichever candidate’s views align most with their own. Strategic voting, on the other hand, includes a voter’s assessment of the probability that various voting choices will lead to desired outcomes.

      These components are related to some degree; voters are more likely to agree about which candidate to vote for if they agree in principle on which candidate is best. Yet principled and strategic voting are not the same. One might believe a third-party candidate to be optimal, for example, but still vote for a major party candidate because of the higher probability that the major party candidate will win the election.

      This decision can be a self-fulfilling prophecy —third-party candidates would be more electable if their supporters decided to vote for them — but it can also be rational, depending on how one evaluates the differences between major party candidates and the downside risk to voting for a bad nominee.

    • Wasserman Schultz Tells Sanders Protesters Dems Are ‘Completely United’

      Disgraced former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has mostly attempted to avoid the spotlight after her resignation in the wake of emails released by WikiLeaks.

      Throughout the primaries, Wasserman Schultz was viewed unfavorably by Bernie Sanders supporters for overtly favoring Hillary Clinton, despite the DNC charter stipulating her and fellow DNC staff remain neutral to ensure a fair and balanced primary election. When indefensible evidence exposed the pro-Clinton environment at the DNC that Wasserman Schultz created, she and several other top DNC leaders were forced to resign—but there were almost no repercussions or changes made as a result of these resignations.

      Instead, Clinton immediately hired Wasserman Schultz as honorary chair of the Clinton campaign’s 50-state program, while President Obama, VP Joe Biden, and other establishment Democrats made unprecedented appearances to help Wasserman Schultz survive her re-election bid to Congress. Another Clinton surrogate, Donna Brazile, was appointed interim DNC chair to take Wasserman Schultz’s place.


      However, Sanders supporters refuse to forget Wasserman Schultz’s role in rigging the primaries, and made sure to demonstrate that they wouldn’t let her off the hook as easily as the Democratic Party had.

      Around 20 Sanders protesters showed up with signs outside the event in contrast to the 50 or 60 Clinton supporters attending the inside. A few minutes into Wasserman Schultz’s speech, the protesters interrupted her, at which point the regional organizing director for the Florida Democratic Party and former field organizer for Clinton campaign, Omar Rashid, ran up to one of the two protesters and began yelling “Hillary” while fist pumping in their face face. Other Clinton supporters joined in the “Hillary” chant. While there are several constructive ways to de-escalate an interruption by protesters, this certainly wasn’t one of them.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • NSA Says Federal Cyber Strategy Needs More NSA More Often, And On The Information Sharing Ground Floor

      The NSA doesn’t like the fact that it didn’t get a big enough slice of the tax-dollar-grabbing cyber pie. After much discussion about which agencies would oversee what aspects of the US government’s cyberwar defense systems, the NSA — despite all of its computing power and hoarded exploits — ended up with the unenviable task of protecting the home turf rather than engaging in more offensive maneuvers.

    • Taxpayer-funded grants to NZ tech firm used to build surveillance equipment for UK government

      Taxpayer-funded grants to a private New Zealand tech firm were used to build mass surveillance equipment for Britain’s largest intelligence agency, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

    • ‘Germany kowtowing to NSA & US to amplify spying capabilities across Europe’

      Annie Machon is a former intelligence officer for MI5, the UK Security Service, who resigned in the late 1990s to blow the whistle on the spies’ incompetence and crimes with her ex-partner, David Shayler.

    • German spy law infringing privacy rights: Expert

      The German parliament has approved a controversial legislation to tighten the oversight of the BND spy agency amid criticism that the law violates the privacy rights of people.

    • UK spy agency GCHQ paid NZ firm Endace to power Internet fiber-optic taps

      The 2013 Snowden documents revealed UK intelligence agency GCHQ to be tapping into the undersea cables that carry Internet traffic, covertly gathering vast amounts of digital comms data under a surveillance program code-named Tempora — apparently with the help of commercial partners.

      Now leaked documents obtained by The Intercept confirm GCHQ paid New Zealand-based Endace to create data capture systems to enable it to tap high speed Internet traffic.

    • The Little-Known Company That Enables Worldwide Mass Surveillance

      It was a powerful piece of technology created for an important customer. The Medusa system, named after the mythical Greek monster with snakes instead of hair, had one main purpose: to vacuum up vast quantities of internet data at an astonishing speed.

      The technology was designed by Endace, a little-known New Zealand company. And the important customer was the British electronic eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.

      Dozens of internal documents and emails from Endace, obtained by The Intercept and reported in cooperation with Television New Zealand, reveal the firm’s key role helping governments across the world harvest vast amounts of information on people’s private emails, online chats, social media conversations, and internet browsing histories.

      The leaked files, which were provided by a source through SecureDrop, show that Endace listed a Moroccan security agency implicated in torture as one of its customers. They also indicate that the company sold its surveillance gear to more than half a dozen other government agencies, including in the United States, Israel, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Spain, and India.

    • China’s plan to organize its society relies on ‘big data’ to rate everyone

      How China tamed the Internet |This is part of a series examining the impact of China’s Great Firewall, a mechanism of Internet censorship and surveillance that affects nearly 700 million users.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Pardon the American Taliban

      In the mid-1960s a young American teacher in a small central African country became involved with a group of political rebels — former government ministers mostly — who had been active in the struggle for independence. They had fallen out with the authoritarian prime minister, objecting to his dictatorial style. The country was newly independent, hardly a year old. The men advocated democratic elections and feared that the prime minister would declare himself leader for life in a one-party state.

      Fluent in the local language, obscure because he was a teacher in a bush school, and easily able to travel in and out of the country on his United States passport, the American performed various favors for the rebels, small rescues for their families, money transfers, and in one effort drove a car over 2,000 miles on back roads to Uganda to deliver the vehicle to one of the dissidents in exile. On that visit he was asked to bring a message back to the country. He did so, without understanding its implications. It was a cryptic order to activate a plot to assassinate the intransigent prime minister.

    • Shailene Woodley: The Truth About My Arrest

      I was arrested on Oct. 10, on Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a holiday where America is meant to celebrate the indigenous people of North America.

      I was in North Dakota, standing in solidarity, side-by-side with a group of over 200 water protectors, people who are fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline.

      People who carry a rainbow of colors on their skin. People who gathered together because they realize that if we don’t begin taking genuine steps to protect our precious resources—our soil, our water, our essential elements—we will not have a healthy or thriving planet to pass on to future generations.

    • Actor Shailene Woodley on Her Arrest, Strip Search and Dakota Access Pipeline Resistance

      At least 27 people, including Hollywood actress Shailene Woodley, were arrested during the Standoff at Standing Rock on October 10, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, while attempting to blockade the Dakota Access pipeline construction at two separate worksites. Footage of Woodley’s arrest was streamed live to roughly 40,000 viewers on her Facebook page. She was later strip-searched in jail. She says her dedication to protest with indigenous people who are at the forefront of the fight remains strong: “Every time we allow another pipeline … we are endorsing the fossil fuel industry and only prolonging the time it is going to take to switch to renewable energy.” Woodley recently starred in the new Edward Snowden film, “Snowden.” She has appeared in the TV series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and has also starred in films including “The Divergent Series” and “The Fault in Our Stars.” She received a Golden Globe nomination for her role as Alex King in “The Descendants.”

    • RIP Gavin MacFadyen, 1940-2016

      Courage founding Trustee and Centre for Investigative Journalism founder and director Gavin MacFadyen has passed away at the age of 76, after a few months of illness.

      Gavin devoted his life to independent, investigative journalism, exposing truths, challenging power and championing truthtellers at every turn. Gavin championed the rights and principles of the persecuted, even when it was controversial to do so. He supported WikiLeaks when it was targeted by US prosecutors and he cofounded Courage, to assist those most in danger for shining a light on the powerful.

    • 105 British MPs call on Obama to stop Lauri Love’s extradition

      A cross-party coalition of 105 backbench Members of Parliament have signed a letter asking US President Barack Obama to withdraw the extradition requests for British activist Lauri Love before he leaves office.

      The letter, whose initial signatories were David Burrowes MP, Barry Sheerman MP and Alistair Carmichael MP, has been signed by more than a fifth of the Parliamentarians able to do so. By convention, government ministers and their opposition shadows do not sign letters of this type, although Culture Minister Matt Hancock MP – the Love family’s local constituency MP – has also added his name to the appeal.

      The 105 signatories demonstrate strong opposition to Lauri Love’s extradition across the political spectrum. The letter has been signed by 39 Conservative MPs, 39 MPs from Labour, 22 MPs from the Scottish National Party, three Liberal Democrat MPs, Mark Durkin MP from the SDLP and Green MP Caroline Lucas.

    • UN Meeting Looks At Legally Binding Instrument On Corporations And Human Rights

      A gathering at the United Nations in Geneva this week is hearing a litany of views on a prospective legally binding international instrument to regulate within human rights law the activities of transnational corporations and other businesses. The meeting is being webcast live.

    • Judge Orders FBI To Turn Over Information On How Many People Around The World It Snagged With Its Playpen NIT

      This might be big, depending on how much of this information is passed on to the general public, rather than delivered ex parte or under seal. Joseph Cox of Vice/Motherboard was the first to snag this ruling [PDF] by a Washington district court judge ordering the FBI to turn over tons of info about the NIT it deployed in the Playpen child porn investigation.

      As we’re already aware, the NIT was deployed by the FBI in Virginia but obtained identifying information about Tor-cloaked site visitors not just all over this country, but all over the world. The motion to compel discovery asked for several details about the NIT and its deployment and most of them have been granted.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • AT&T Doubles Down on the Ampersand [Ed: zero-rating. Shame on AT&T.]

      But even beyond this ad campaign, AT&T is talking up the value of getting this and that, and on the consumer side this has its most concrete instantiation in what AT&T has done with DirecTV since the merger. This isn’t just about traditional bundling and the discounts that come with it, but about additional benefits you get when you bundle. The two main examples are the availability of unlimited data to those who bundle AT&T and DirecTV, and the zero-rating of data for DirecTV content on AT&T wireless networks. Yes, AT&T argues, you can watch DirecTV content on any device on any network, but when you watch it on the AT&T network it’s free. The specific slogan here was “All your channels on all your devices, data free when you have AT&T”.

    • AT&T’s $85 Billion Time Warner Buy Could Be An Anti-Consumer Shit Show Of Monumental Proportions

      As fixed and wireless broadband growth crawls to a halt and cord cutting begins to hammer TV numbers, incumbent telecom giants have been trying to pivot into the media and advertising game with mixed results. Verizon so far has shelled out billions to acquire aging 90s internet brands Yahoo and AOL, believing this can somehow transform the stodgy duopolist into a sexy, sleeker Facebook and Google competitor. So far these efforts to woo Millennials have been arguably underwhelming and occassionally comical, highlighting how innovation and disruption is somewhat foreign to these companies’ DNA.

      AT&T has decided to follow a similar tack, over the weekend announcing a mammoth $85 billion deal to acquire Time Warner (not to be confused with Time Warner Cable) and its media properties (CNN, HBO). AT&T was quick to proclaim that the deal would be a “perfect match of two companies with complementary strengths,” who can bring a “fresh approach to how the media and communications industry works for customers, content creators, distributors and advertisers.” The deal comes not too long after AT&T decided to spend $79 billion to acquire DirecTV, adding notable debt for the already giant company.

    • VIDEOS: AT&T to acquire Time Warner for US$85 billion in major media/comms shakeup

      Remember when AT&T was broken up in the US? Whether you do, or don’t, AT&T is on the verge of becoming the most powerful telco and media organisation in the world.

      It’s the stuff of Telstra’s dreams: a telco servicing a population of more than 300 million, with enough clout and earnings to support a US$85 billion buyout of Time Warner – and that’s after spending US$49 billion to buy DirecTV.

      Talk about relegating dumb pipes to the dustbin of history, AT&T wants to own the content, create it, serve it, charge for it and everything in between and beyond.

      Telstra’s half share of Foxtel looks like a tiny molehill against AT&T’s Everest-size mountain in comparison.

    • Dumb & Dumber Claims About Last Week’s Internet Attack (SOPA?!? Really?)

      As you know, last week, large chunks of the internet spent hours writhing on the ground and totally inaccessible thanks to a giant DDoS attack that appears to have been launched via a botnet involving insecure DVR hardware (which can’t be patched — but that’s another post for later). Of course, whenever this kind of thing happens, you know that some people on the politics side of things are going to come up with dumb responses, but there were some real whoppers on Friday. I’m going to focus on just two, because I honestly can’t decide which one of these is dumber. I’ll discuss each of them, and then you guys can vote and let us know: which of these is dumber.

      First up, we’ve got Marsha Blackburn, who is not just a member of Congress, but (incredibly) on the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which is often considered to the subcommittee that handles internet related issues. We’ve written about her quite a few times before, highlighting her efforts to block broadband competition and gut net neutrality. She’s also argued that fair use is just a buzzword and we need stronger copyright laws. Not surprisingly, she was one of the most vocal supporters of SOPA who only finally agreed to dump the bill days after the giant online protest.

      And apparently she’s still upset about all that.

      On Friday she went on CNN to discuss a variety of things, and the first question from Wolf Blitzer was about the DDoS attacks, and her answer is the sort of nonsense word salad that is becoming all too common in politics these days, but where she appears to suggest that if we’d passed SOPA this kind of attack wouldn’t have happened. She’s not just wrong, she’s incredibly clueless.

    • Chinese Company Recalls Cameras, DVRs Used In Last Week’s Massive DDoS Attack

      For some time now, security researchers have been warning that our lackadaisical approach to Internet of Things security would soon be coming home to roost. Initially it was kind of funny to read how “smart” fridges, tea kettles and Barbie dolls did an arguably worse job than their dumb counterparts with a greater risk to privacy and security. But as we collectively realized that these devices not only created millions of new home and business attack vectors, but could also be used to wage historically-unprecedented DDoS attacks, things quickly became less amusing.

      Last week, the theoretical became very real with the massive attack on DNS provider DYN, which knocked a swath of companies and services off the internet for a large portion of Friday. In a piece discussing the attack over at Flashpoint, the security firm (which worked with Akamai to help DYN) notes that the DDoS was indeed thanks to compromised IoT devices, and the Mirai botnet malware recently released to make compromising and harnessing such devices easier than ever. But the group also notes that targeted devices included everything from cameras to…

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • IP Rights, Corporate Interests Threaten Small Farmers’ Right To Seeds, Biodiversity

      A new report by civil society groups defending the right to food and nutrition lays bare threats to seeds and biodiversity created by intellectual property rights, and calls for states to respect their human right obligations to protect small farmers’ right to seeds and food security.

    • Freedom To Utilize Genetic Resources? The Nagoya Protocol Two Years Later

      Two years ago this month, the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits from their Utilization to the Convention on Biological Diversity (“Protocol”) entered into international force. To date, 87 countries have ratified or acceded to the agreement, and that number is expected to reach 100 by the end of this year. With its entry into force, the Protocol is ushering in a new international system to govern research, development and intellectual property rights surrounding a potentially vast array of products derived from non-human genetic resources. Those products include, among others, pharmaceuticals, products of synthetic biology and biotechnology, seeds, biocides, horticultural and microbiome products, nutritionals, supplements, cosmetics, perfumes, fragrances and industrial enzymes.

    • Copyrights
      • US Copyright Office: Pallante Moved To Digital Strategy Advisor; Search On For New Register

        The United States Copyright Office Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante has changed roles to become senior advisor for digital strategy. In her place, Karyn Temple Claggett will move up to serve as acting register of copyrights while a search is conducted for the next permanent register.

        The announcement, available here, was made on 21 October by the US Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

        A news report suggested Pallante was asked to step down and was locked out of the Library of Congress computer system on 21 October. At press time, details on that assertion were unconfirmed, but the official press release gives little indication of a problem.

      • iKeepSafe Inadvertently Gives Students a Valuable Lesson in Creators’ Rights

        In partnership with pro-copyright group Creative Future, iKeepSafe has launched a competition asking students to submit projects that promote the creation and ethical sharing of content. Whether kids will take the time to read the small print is debatable, but doing so will provide a valuable lesson in getting a fair price for creative works.

        Children and students of all kinds are some of the most valuable assets to society. After all, they’re literally the future of the planet. As a result, hundreds of groups around the world dedicate themselves to protecting their interests, from general welfare and healthcare to Internet safety.

      • US acting register of copyrights announced as Pallante takes new role

        Maria Pallante has been appointed senior adviser for digital strategy by the Librarian of Congress after serving as register of copyright since 2011, with Karyn Temple Claggett appointed acting register of copyrights

      • The new French law targeting “automated image referencing services”: does EU law allow it?

        As explained by Brad Spitz in a post published on the Kluwer Copyright Blog, “the new provisions will apply to ‘automated image search services’, which Article L.136-1 IPC defines as any online public communication service that reproduces and makes available to the public for purposes of indexing and SEO, plastic, graphic or photographic works, collected in an automated way from online public communication services (i.e. internet websites). In other words, these provisions target search engine services like Google Images.”

Battistelli Plans to Expand the Social [sic] ‘Study’ (Then ‘Conference’) Propaganda Until Next Month, Under the ‘Workshop’ Umbrella

Monday 24th of October 2016 02:05:25 PM

This has just appeared on the Intranet:

Summary: Milking his shameless propaganda (paid-for ‘studies’), Battistelli wants to rewrite the record by all means possible, then pretend that EPO staff participates in it

THE EPO‘s management has stooped down to full-blown propaganda mode. It’s not even funny, especially when truth itself becomes a casualty and victims are people this propaganda is about. By endless repetition the circle of Battistelli believes it can fool everyone, but instead it just enrages everyone. The examiners are not ignorant and their tolerance for propaganda is understandably low.

Watch how the announcement (above) from the EPO tries to cast this latest upcoming stunt as a participatory thing. It also did it last week and the week before that, by shamelessly stating how many people watched the so-called ‘conference’ (while SUEPO was locked out), even if they watched it out of disgust rather than support. They certainly don’t play along. It’s like Battistelli’s circle basically trolls them and then brags about the amount of attention it gets for the trolling. As usual, quality and quantity are not the same thing.

Injustice and abuse prevail at the EPO. In fact, it’s still getting worse. Things are escalating and exacerbating. About the suspended BoA judge one person asked this morning: “I still don’t understand. What did the guy do to justify all this nonsense? Is he active in the union like the others who were fired?”

As far as we know, he wasn’t in any way associated, but he’s accused of — gasp! — communicating with someone from SUEPO.

As a side note, the EPO’s Twitter account is truly strong poison. The other day it wrote: “Access patent documents to find out more about the technical aspects of your competitors’ work” (link to the EPO’s site).

Everyone who works in this area/domain and is honest enough would say that it’s a bad idea. Even legal councils/departments in large corporations openly say so. If one looks into a rival’s patent, then it becomes WILLFUL infringement, i.e. an infringement for which one is liable with vastly higher damages (fees/penalty).

When will the EPO quit lying? Tomorrow we expect it to jointly (with the EUIPO) start a new propaganda push.

EPO and EUIPO Join Hands to Release Propaganda (for European Media to Parrot) Some Time Tomorrow

Monday 24th of October 2016 11:05:11 AM

Summary: EPO and EUIPO in collaboration for the promotion of the notion that they are both necessary (and reinforced speculations about growing overlap between them)

RUMOURS have been swirling for quite some time — both within and outside the EPO — that growing overlap between the EUIPO and the EPO is likely if not inevitable. This does not necessarily imply unification; at the very least it means collaboration. There are already some HR overlaps, as we pointed out earlier this year [1, 2].

EPO collaborations are not out of the ordinary. When the EPO does not privately boast collaborations with Stasi-connected spying agencies (Desa/Control Risks) and PR firms it publicly brags about collaboration with other patent offices. Watch this new article from the Korea Herald:

Korea, EU see surge in intellectual property rights exchange


In 2015, the EPO proceeded 6,400 applications from Korea, making the country the fifth-largest source of European patent applications, according to Pihlajamaa.

In EPO’s company rankings, Samsung and LG have been among the four largest company applicants for six years.

These are incorrect English terms, starting in the headline and continuing inside the article. Not “exchange” is at stake here but expansion. And it mostly benefits large/multinational corporations, like those which the EPO gives preferential treatment to. Imagine if the public at large knew this. The EPO has been trying to change the story since; it was an act of revisionism and damage control. Now they say that this preferential treatment is available to everyone, everywhere, which practically defeats the purpose of it. In a sense, this programme was undermined once exposed publicly.

Going back to the EUIPO, the EPO said: “What is the contribution of IPR-intensive sectors to the European economy? Stay tuned & you’ll find out on Tuesday.”

“The EPO has been trying to change the story since; it was an act of revisionism and damage control.”The tweet says Tuesday after it said Monday (tweet deleted for the mistake in it). So that’s tomorrow, not today. Expect lots of hogwash and protectionism advocacy. Why is this significant? See this other tweet which demonstrates overlaps between the EPO and EUIPO: “#EUIPO and @EPOorg will shortly launch a new study on the contribution of #IPR-intensive industries to the #EU economy. Stay tuned!”

The EPO retweeted this, adding to growing evidence of the overlap.

The EPO also wrote: “What are the economic benefits for Europe of patents, trademarks, designs and other forms of IP? Find out on Tuesday #IPvalue #IPRindustries”

As the EPO under Battistelli threw away the notion patent quality (for “production”, i.e. quantity), all of this is doomed. It’s just beneficial to trolls (wait and watch!) and to large corporations that patent in bulk. Given the reputation of EPO ‘studies’ as of late, we don’t expect the above to be anything but propaganda — something to be used to ‘plant’ puff pieces in the media later this week.

“It’s possible that something pretty big is happening (other than the relentless UPC efforts) and only few people at the top are “in the know”…”“Just #3daysleft until we publish a further EU-wide study of the impact of IP rights on the European economy,” EPO PR people wrote, adding hashtags like #IPvalue #IPRindustries (which themselves smack of propaganda, not true studies).

Imagine what would happen if the EPO was shut down and folded into the EUIPO (the USPTO already deals with patents and trademarks in tandem). Would patent applications be dealt with by a process of registration only (like in France)? The US, based on this new post from Patently-O, moves in a similar direction (“Maria Pallante Out as Chief of Copyright Office: New Calls for Unified US Intellectual Property Office”).

Never say never. It’s possible that something pretty big is happening (other than the relentless UPC efforts) and only few people at the top are “in the know”…

UPC Preparatory Committee Puts the Brakes on UPC Amid Brexit and Growing Uncertainty

Monday 24th of October 2016 10:28:59 AM

Self-fulfilling prophecies? Not so much anymore…

Reference: Self-fulfilling prophecy (a dirty tactic routinely exploited by businesses)

Summary: The Unified Patent Court (UPC) preparatory committee recognises that the UPC isn’t going anywhere (any time soon) and false job advertisements — or advertisements for jobs that will never exist — are withdrawn

THE EPO, and Battistelli in particular, has been the principal cheerleader and lobbyist for the UPC. Battistelli has done that for at least 6 years, even preceding his job as ‘king’ of EPO. Worth noting is the role played by Michel Barnier, a fellow Frenchman now pivotal in the talks over Brexit.

Patent maximalists, IP Europe (for big businesses), reportedly cite the abusive WIPO‘s ‘study’ to sell the illusion of patents for the ‘small guy’. This is reminiscent of the lies told to us about the UPC’s impact on SMEs [1, 2] and we remind readers that IP Europe is a key UPC lobbyist which plays a key role in pro-UPC events.

And speaking of pro-UPC events, nobody does it better than IAM (with money from the EPO's PR firm!) and Managing IP, which over the past month alone has had about 3 pro-UPC events, webiners, and now an alleged survey. Let’s be honest here; what good is a survey which asks only one particular tiny subset of the population about UPC? And the one that’s biased in favour of the UPC? Well, that’s precisely what Battistelli’s engager, James Nurton, has just done, under the headline “Brexit and the Unitary Patent: where are we now?”

“Team UPC basically advertised jobs (i.e. recruitment) for positions that do not exist and will never exist. Accountability for anyone who did this is not likely, but such are the tactics of patent law firms that disregard democracy.”Well, we’re nowhere as the UPC is practically dead, if not just in the UK then in the whole of Europe (as the UPC was codified with London in mind and in the text). The UPC is rapidly collapsing and WIPR, which is London-based, says that “[t]he Unified Patent Court (UPC) preparatory committee has decided to postpone the recruitment of UPC judges, in light of Brexit.” A Team UPC Web site now says the same. This means that even Team UPC is putting the brakes on the UPC now.

Team UPC basically advertised jobs (i.e. recruitment) for positions that do not exist and will never exist. Accountability for anyone who did this is not likely, but such are the tactics of patent law firms that disregard democracy.

Updates Regarding EPO and BoAC: Unrest and Injustice Carry on

Monday 24th of October 2016 10:00:58 AM

Hanging in the balance of Battistelli’s gross injustice

Summary: Some of the latest information which is publicly and privately available to us, in particular regarding the case of a suspended judge which represents unprecedented erosion of the appeal boards’ independence (and hence lack of justice in the Organisation)

THE EPO is in a very sad state. The culprits — those who have ruined it — still keep their jobs and even have their contracts extended/renewed. Insiders can now get the Administrative Council’s minutes from June. They came out several days ago. What took so long? Are those minutes so secretive and is the EPO afraid that outsiders will exploit them? We are going to publish these quite soon. June’s meeting was all about BoAC, whereas back in March Battistelli came under fire (or the pretense of it). Things don’t appear to have moved onwards; the latest (October) meeting gave room for hope, but December is unlikely to bring the well-overdue sacking of Battistelli. The crowdfunding of a Battistelli departure (or firing) party just continues and the money piles up. Fireworks?

“One day we hope to release more material from the March and June meetings of the Administrative Council.”For those who forgot, the June meeting was all about BoAC, brushing aside the social issues as if they didn’t matter, after the March meeting promised they would be dealt with urgently and even sort of set an ultimatum for Battistelli — one which he obviously ignored.

A person who has seen the Administrative Council’s minutes from June told us that “[i]t makes an interesting comparison with how the meeting was perceived at the time. Turns out that the BoA reform only just got through. Some great quotes from Battistelli as well about SUEPO.”

One day we hope to release more material from the March and June meetings of the Administrative Council. We already have such material, but we never got around to publishing it due to lack of time (no urgency at the time).

We have meanwhile noticed an additional comment with some links in it, relating to claims that the EPO lied about what had happened in the midst of the above meeting. The comment in IP Watch says:

The entire text of the AC’s March resolution can be found at

The background of the issue is explained here:

Looking over at IP Kat for updates (the site itself is self-censoring, but comments continue to come out), we have:

Why is this post still in the top 5? What happened afterwards? Is the guy dismissed or not?

There is no coverage anymore. The people from IP Kat seem to not care about the EPO scandals, especially after the EPO banned the site for a day. They are self-censoring, specifically regarding EPO scandals (they still mention the EPO, but only in a positive context and UPC promotion). Not by accident, certainly!

Here is one response to the above:

No. Battistelli is still there.
The AC didn’t take any disciplinary action against him.
Casado and Topic were also renewed.

Another person wrote:

Not dismissed. Under the new regulations adopted in June, he remains suspended. Without any running procedure.
In a clear violation of judiciary independence….

So, it looks like he’ll remain suspended until his end of term, and with current management no chance of reappointment.
This is a hidden disciplinary measure…
If new allegations pop up, these are likely to be the result of the previous investigation, which under national procedures would not be permitted to be used during a different procedure…

“Is there something rotten in the state of Denmark,” another comment added, linking to “Danish Press Coverage of the EPO by Berlingske” (Techrights).

A few more (newer) comments say:

Quite frankly, this is unacceptable. The EPO’s whole purpose is to uphold the law (on patents). How can they be trusted to do that properly when they do not even follow their own internal rules and procedures, let alone common principles on the rule of law (or human rights)?

The EPO (and the AC) would do well to remember the importance of ensuring that not only is justice done but that it is seen to be done. The damage to the EPO’s reputation (and to that of all professionals working in the patent sphere) could be immense if this is not handled properly. Indeed, that ship may well have already sailed.

Quite frankly, this is unacceptable. The EPO’s whole purpose [etc. etc.]

[Yawn] …

Trop c’est trop. Battistelli doit partir (Philip Cordery, 11.10.2016)

[double Yawn] …

“Enlarged Board publishes decision: EPO President violated judicial independence”

[more Yawns] …

Et sinon, ces croquettes, ca vient?

A bit of sarcasm:

The EPO’s whole purpose is to uphold the law (on patents).

Sorry, that was yesterday, before the “much needed” reforms to “modernize” the European Patent Office.

Now the whole purpose seems to be lining the pockets of the Representatives of the AC so that they can fake [mild] outrage at what is going on – or no outrage at all at the President violating judicial independence.

The ship sailed a long time ago…..3 years ago

And the silence here is not just embarrassing its highly suspicious

The above comment says that “Casado and Topic were also renewed” — a subject we’ll explore again later this week. These renewals were publicly mentioned in the EPO’s latest update regarding the meeting of the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation. The overview was published online several days later (the following week in fact) and it says:

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 149th meeting in Munich on 12 and 13 October 2016 under the chairmanship of Jesper Kongstad, Director General of the Danish Patent and Trademark Office.

After the Chairman’s report on the most recent meetings of the Board of the Administrative Council, the Council noted the activities report given by the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît Battistelli (to be published shortly on this website). The Council was pleased with the excellent results achieved by the Office in terms of efficiency and productivity but again stressed the need to be conscious of any possible impact on quality. The Council urged staff and management to use the momentum of the Social Conference, held just ahead of the Council meeting, in order to further the social dialogue and work together to find solutions.

The Council then proceeded with a series of appointments and reappointments of members of the Enlarged Board of Appeal and a Chairman and of legally and technically qualified members of the Board of Appeals.

Later, under the heading Legal and International Affairs, the Council heard a status report on the Unitary patent and related developments, given by the Slovak delegation, representing the country holding the EU presidency for the second half of 2016.

The Council made the following appointments to the Boards of Appeal Committee each for a three-year term, starting on 13 October 2016

a) from among the delegations:

Mr Roland Grossenbacher(CH) and his alternate Mr Derk-Jan De Groot (NL),

Ms Patricia García-Escudero (ES) and her alternate Mr Jorma Hanski (FI),

Ms Bucura Ionescu (RO) and her alternate Ms Catherine Margellou (GR)

b) from among former or serving judges:

Mr Klaus Bacher (DE), Mr Justice Birss (GB) and Mr Are Stenvik (NO). Alternate members in this category would be appointed at the next Council meeting. The Council noted that the Board of Appeals Committee and the President would make a joint proposal for appointment of the President of the Boards of Appeal in time for the next Council meeting.

By way of further appointments to the Council’s own bodies, in each case for a three-year term, starting on 15 December 2016, the Council:

-elected Mr Josef Kratochvíl (CZ) deputy chairman of the Council,

re-elected Mr Lex Kaufhold (LU) deputy chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee; and

-elected Mr Vojko Toman (SI) member of the Board of the Administrative Council.

It also elected Ms Delfina Autiero (IT) member representing the Administrative Council within the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS) with effect from 12 October 2016.

On a proposal from the President, the Council decided to extend until 31 December 2018 the appointments of Mr Alberto Casado (ES) and Mr ZeljkoTopic (HR), Vice-Presidents in charge of Directorate-General 2 and 4 respectively.

Finally, the Council noted, as a first step in a longer process, comprehensive social and financial studies and had an exchange of views on reviewing the disciplinary procedures framework.

The above is a somewhat ‘sanitised’ version of what was posted internally (and we leaked earlier this month).

Regarding that last line, stay tuned as later this week we have much to reveal about Željko Topić. It’s not a done deal; Battistelli was rumoured to be behind this renewal.

EPO and the “Iberian Connection”: Patricia García-Escudero Márquez – Battistelli’s Pet Chinchilla on the Boards of Appeal Committee?

Monday 24th of October 2016 12:32:35 AM

Next installment (second of the bunch) among three

Summary: Why the Boards of Appeal Committee has begun showing prominent signs that it is anything but independent and capable of standing up to Battistelli (or his circle at the Office, which includes the “Iberian Connection”)

THE closer we look at the EPO, the more we uncover political scandals. The two (EPO and EU/national politics) are inherently inseparable because politicians and bureaucrats are joining the EPO (key positions in particular). There’s plenty of politics at play and in fact, more so than ever before, some supporters and critics of the EPO do so for political reasons (gains or losses). We have been told so for a while, with examples from Belgium, France, etc. Battistelli himself, for example, is a politician who has not left his political life behind.

Editorial Notes

Today we shall look a little deeper into Iberian/Spanish politics. In part one and its addendum we wrote about one of the EPO’s Vice-Presidents — the only one who comes from Spain. In the teaser of this part we shared 13 photos which relate to today’s coverage but are not essential enough for in-line inclusion.

“García-Escudero is the current Director General of the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (OEPM) and head of the Spanish delegation to the EPO’s Administrative Council.”Without further ado, here’s the next part, the one about the “Iberian connection” and the connections to Pío García-Escudero Márquez, Count of Badarán. It makes it easier to digest when separated into parts as readers tend to have limited attention spans. Some more information/photos will follow by separate post/article (addendum) as they are less crucial and more peripheral to the substance of this article. The final article, probably to be ready later this week, will be an update about the “Balkan Express” which is still chugging along despite expectations that it was about to be derailed.

García-Escudero Márquez

A previous posting referred to Patricia García-Escudero Márquez and her recent appointment to the new supervisory body of the EPO Boards of Appeal which is known as the Boards of Appeal Committee (or “BOAC”) in EPO jargon. García-Escudero is the current Director General of the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office (OEPM) and head of the Spanish delegation to the EPO’s Administrative Council.

“Following her most recent appointment to the new supervisory body of the EPO Boards of Appeal questions are already being asked inside the EPO about whether or not her close links to the Vice-President Casado and Battistelli’s “UIMP club” (whose members include Casado and Campinos) might be an indication that she is destined to be Battistelli’s pet chinchilla on the BOAC.”Her appointment as Director General of the OEPM was shrouded in controversy and rumours of procedural irregularities.

Following her most recent appointment to the new supervisory body of the EPO Boards of Appeal questions are already being asked inside the EPO about whether or not her close links to the Vice-President Casado and Battistelli’s “UIMP club” (whose members include Casado and Campinos) might be an indication that she is destined to be Battistelli’s pet chinchilla on the BOAC.

The connection between EPO Vice-President Casado and the Spanish Administrative Council delegate García-Escudero bears an uncanny resemblance to the link between EPO Vice-President Željko Topić and the Croatian Administrative Council delegate Ljiljana Kuterovac which we will examine in more detail in a separate article.

In both cases a former head of an Administrative Council delegation got appointed to a position as EPO Vice-President and the successor as head of delegation was his former subordinate and deputy. This creates the suspicion that these EPO Vice-Presidents might now be in a position to exert an inappropriate level of influence on individual members of their oversight body in view of the previous professional relationship. Some people see this as a potential conflict of interest situation which doesn’t seem to have attracted much attention so far but it might be worth looking into it. EPO insiders reckon that it could give a clue as to how Battistelli has been able to influence at least some of the Council delegations by “parachuting” Council delegates into key positions as EPO Vice-Presidents.

Iberian Connection

“Battistelli’s close connections to the French party “Les Républicains” (formerly the UIMP) and the as yet unsubstantiated rumours which have been floating around for some time about EPO monies being diverted to finance Sarkozy’s election campaign.”With the help of his “Iberian connection” via the “UIMP club” it is seems likely that Battistelli can rely on the support of the Spanish and Portuguese delegations and perhaps also Monaco which seems to be on his side most of the time. According to EPO insiders, the “Balkan connection” via Željko Topić and the Croatian delegation is relied on for drumming up support amongst the south-eastern European delegations from the territory of the former Yugoslavia and its neighbouring states.

But the reason for concern here is not just the risk of undue influence being exerted over some Council delegations by EPO Vice-Presidents.

The “Iberian connection” is sometimes spoken about inside the EPO in the context of the allegations about Battistelli’s close connections to the French party “Les Républicains” (formerly the UIMP) and the as yet unsubstantiated rumours which have been floating around for some time about EPO monies being diverted to finance Sarkozy’s election campaign. This is because Vice-President Casado is reputed to be politically close to the Spanish conservative party Partido Popular although it is currently not known if he is actually a party member. The Administrative Council delegate García-Escudero, who is a former subordinate and close professional associate of Casado and a member of the “UIMP club”, is known to have a close family connection to the upper echelons of the party.

“The Partido Popular is the Spanish equivalent of the French “Les Républicains” and it has been implicated in a number of recent scandals in Spain which have centred around allegations of wide-scale bribery and corruption and the use of secret “slush funds”.”To be more precise, Patricia García-Escudero Márquez is the sister of Pío García-Escudero Márquez, Count of Badarán, a scion of the Spanish aristocracy and a leading figure in the Partido Popular who has been the Chairman of the Spanish Senate since 2011. Details can be found in the English or Spanish Wikipedia pages.

Spanish-French Connections

The Partido Popular is the Spanish equivalent of the French “Les Républicains” and it has been implicated in a number of recent scandals in Spain which have centred around allegations of wide-scale bribery and corruption and the use of secret “slush funds”. These revelations have caused some EPO insiders to speculate that EPO cash surpluses might be under risk of diversion not only to “deserving causes” in France but also in other parts of Europe including the Iberian peninsula and perhaps even the Balkans. It is easy to discount such speculation as the paranoid ramblings of the “tinfoil hat brigade” but the lack of any effective independent oversight at the EPO raises the awkward question as to who — if anybody — would be in a position to uncover such irregularities if they were in fact to take place.

Spanish Corruption

For the moment there is no answer to this question but the recent political scandals surrounding the Partido Popular in Spain suggest that Battistelli’s “Iberian connection” deserves to be kept under careful observation.

“The name of Pío García-Escudero Márquez who is a leading figure in the Partido Popular and the Chairman of the Spanish Senate since 2011 has cropped up at various times in connection with the investigations into some of these affairs, in particular the Bárcenas affair where he admitted to receiving one of the payments detailed in the secret accounting records known as the “Bárcenas Papers”.”The political landscape of Spain was shaken in recent years by a series of corruption scandals beginning with the Bárcenas affair which broke in January 2013 when the Spanish daily El Mundo revealed that the former treasurer of the Partido Popular Luis Bárcenas had, up until 2009, used a slush fund to pay out monthly amounts, ranging from €5,000 to €15,000, to leading members of the party. Soon afterwards the Spanish daily El País published what became known as the “Bárcenas’ Papers”, facsimile excerpts from handwritten ledgers in Bárcenas’ hand. Among the recipients were the party leader and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and Secretary General María Dolores de Cospedal.

At around the same time a corruption scandal involving the Duke of Palma resulted in his spouse Cristina de Borbón, the sister of King Felipe VI, being charged for tax fraud and money laundering. These corruption allegations severely eroded the Spanish Royal Family’s popularity within Spain; according to an opinion poll by the CIS, between 1995 and 2013 the Spanish monarchy’s approval rating dropped sharply amongst Spaniards.

As a result of these scandals Spain’s position in the annual global corruption ranking published by Transparency International, the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), plummeted sharply in 2013.

The emergence in 2014 of further episodes of corruption that had taken place over the course of the past years and decades was compared to the Italian Tangentopoli episode in the 1990s leading to the episode being dubbed by some media as ‘the Spanish Tangentopoli’ or ‘Black October’.

“Although some of his political associates have not been so fortunate, it seems that Mr. García-Escudero has so far emerged with only a few minor scratches from the various political scandals which have seriously tarnished the public image of the Partido Popular.”In October 2014, the judge Pablo Ruz charged a former Partido Popular Secretary General and Minister, Ángel Acebes, with a possible misappropriation of public funds as a result of the Barcenas affair. A few days later, an inquiry led by Ruz unveiled that the Partido Popular could have spent as much as €1.7 million of undeclared money on works of its national headquarters in Madrid between 2006 and 2008. On 27 October, a large anti-corruption operation, Operation Punica, resulted in 51 people arrested because of their involvement in a major scandal of public work contract kickbacks, amounting at least €250 million. Among those arrested were notable municipal and regional figures, many from the Partido Popular, as well as a large number of politicians, councilors, officials and businessmen in Madrid, Murcia, Castile and León and Valencia.


By 2016 Spain had dropped even further in the Transparency International CPI and is currently ranked 36th out of 168 countries.

Ana García-Escudero

The name of Pío García-Escudero Márquez who is a leading figure in the Partido Popular and the Chairman of the Spanish Senate since 2011 has cropped up at various times in connection with the investigations into some of these affairs, in particular the Bárcenas affair where he admitted to receiving one of the payments detailed in the secret accounting records known as the “Bárcenas Papers”. He said the figure matched a loan of €24,000 Euros which he was given to repair bomb damage to his home after a terrorist attack in 2001 and which he later repaid. However, in 2013 during court proceedings he admitted to the judge that he had not declared the loan to the tax authorities and claimed that this was because he did not know he that he was required to declare it. Details can be found here.

“Considered in the light of the more recent Bárcenas affair and the related cases of “the Spanish Tangentopoli” this was a comparatively minor affair which involved the alleged waste of public funds as a result of the payment of €218,000 in software licensing fees in connection with the official website of the Spanish Senate.”Although some of his political associates have not been so fortunate, it seems that Mr. García-Escudero has so far emerged with only a few minor scratches from the various political scandals which have seriously tarnished the public image of the Partido Popular. He is still very much active in Spanish politics and is frequently seen in the company of the party leader and acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy. He also appears to enjoy the favour of the Royal Family and regularly appears in photo-ops with King Felipe and his consort Queen Letizia (see our teaser for this article).

The name of a further member of the García-Escudero family has cropped up in relation to another scandal which dates back to 2012. Considered in the light of the more recent Bárcenas affair and the related cases of “the Spanish Tangentopoli” this was a comparatively minor affair which involved the alleged waste of public funds as a result of the payment of €218,000 in software licensing fees in connection with the official website of the Spanish Senate. It turned out that the beneficiary of the Senate’s largess was the software company Oracle and that the paperwork for the deal was signed off by Jose Angel Alonso Lopez, director of Information Technology and Communications of the Senate and former president of Oracle Users Circle of Spain.

“The only reason for mentioning these matters is to create public awareness of the political context in which certain members of Battistelli’s inner circle operate and to encourage observers of the EPO to keep a vigilant and watchful eye on the “Iberian connection”.”Although the Spanish media reported critically on this affair at the time, it failed to mention one small but potentially interesting detail which was subsequently spotted by an observant reader of a Spanish political discussion forum, namely that one of the principal sales consultants at Oracle’s Madrid office at the time was a person by the name of Ana García-Escudero who coincidentally happens to be another sister of the Senate Chairman. The details can be found here.

It is important to emphasise that none of the above is intended to indicate that the Spanish delegate to the Administrative Council and recent BOAC appointee, Patricia García-Escudero Márquez, has been in any way involved in any of the aforementioned political scandals or that any allegation of corruption has been brought against her in Spain or elsewhere in this regard.

The only reason for mentioning these matters is to create public awareness of the political context in which certain members of Battistelli’s inner circle operate and to encourage observers of the EPO to keep a vigilant and watchful eye on the “Iberian connection”.

Links 23/10/2016: Alcatel’s New Android Smartphones, Another Honorary Doctorate for Stallman

Sunday 23rd of October 2016 04:12:58 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • The basics of open source quality assurance

    Open source depends on a sustainable community to develop code rapidly, debug code effectively, and build out new features. Because community involvement is voluntary, people’s skills, levels of involvement, and time commitments can vary. Given the variable nature of these factors, along with the fact that open source often relies on a philosophy of “release early, release often,” quality assurance can be become challenging.

  • An Open Source, Self-Hosted Heroku

    Running our own Heroku… It shouldn’t be that hard, right?

    We have a small set of servers we use to run our internal applications. Nothing too complex, just monitoring, our ELK stack, Jenkins, and a few internal services.

    Given our rather modest requirements it may seem obvious that our first attempt at deployment automation, Chef, was a bit overkill for our needs. Not only that, we also wanted our engineers to be able to easily deploy applications to our servers without having to set up a Chef recipe — like the role Heroku plays in many of our client projects. We could have decided to run our internal applications on Heroku as well, but their pricing model wasn’t compatible with our relatively small-scale requirements.

  • The role of Free Software in a world that doesn’t care

    The Free Software movement is about personal and social liberties. Giving the owner and user of a computer control over it. But most people don’t see the problem with a small number of multinational mega-corporations having control over everyone’s computers. They think: “Apple and Microsoft know what they’re doing, and they do a good job, so why would I need Free Software?”

    Accepting that most people reject the Free Software message, what can the Free Software movement contribute to the world?

  • 5 Best Open Source Mobile Test Automation Tools

    There is a wide range of devices and platforms one needs to account for when developing a mobile app. An automation app for Mobile Testing can save development and testing time. Here are 5 top open source automated mobile testing frameworks to use, including the likes of Appium, Robotium, and Selendroid.

  • Could open-source coding ‘save the world’?

    Open Source Day is one of the most popular events at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. This year, a day-long open-source hackathon was devoted to participants developing open-source projects for humanitarian causes.

    Neetu Jain, product manager at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, and Daniela Dorneanu, solution developer and product trainer at Appway, joined Rebecca Knight (@knightrm), co-host of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, during the Grace Hopper event to discuss the mission of Open Source Day and the goal of the hackathon for humanity.

  • Yahoo open sources NSFW neural network porn detector

    Embattled former darling of the search wars Yahoo has open sourced its neural network porn detector software.

    The firm has explained that it is in fact tremendously difficult to automatically identifying that an image is not suitable/safe for work (NSFW).

  • Events
    • An introduction to color spaces

      The Kernel Recipes conference is, unsurprisingly, focused on kernel-related topics, but one of the potentially most useful talks given there was only marginally about the kernel. Applications that deal with the acquisition or display of video data must be aware of color spaces, but few developers really understand what color spaces are or how they work. Media subsystem maintainer Hans Verkuil sought to improve this situation with an overview of the color-space abstraction.

    • A tale of two conferences

      The “small” criterion can be a bit of a problem since it, naturally, limits the number of people who can participate in this kind of event. The Linux Plumbers Conference (now just a few weeks away) is always trying to find the right balance between size and quality of the event, and there, too, tickets tend to sell out quickly. The nice thing about an event like Kernel Recipes, though, is that it ought to be reproducible in other parts of the world. We have a ready supply of good speakers and interesting things to talk about in our community, and it doesn’t take that many speakers to make an event like this work.

      In the end, it was a privilege to be able to attend both events. Your editor’s only regret was being unable to stay in Berlin for the Embedded Linux Conference Europe the following week. Conferences are an opportunity to get a sense for what is happening in our community and to renew one’s enthusiasm and energy; both LinuxCon and Kernel Recipes succeeded on all of those fronts. A diverse community needs a diverse range of events; happily, that is just what was in store in Europe during these weeks.

    • All Things Open Next Week – MCing, Talks, and More

      I was really impressed with All Things Open last year and have subsequently become friends with the principle organizer, Todd Lewis. I loved how the team put together a show with the right balance of community and corporation, great content, exhibition and more.

  • Web Browsers
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • Seafile and Collabora make LibreOffice Online available for Seafile Pro

      Collabora Productivity, the driving force behind putting LibreOffice in the Cloud, and Seafile, a leading open source file sharing vendor, announce the availability of Collabora Online in the newly released Seafile pro edition 6.0.

    • Office Binary Document RC4 CryptoAPI Encryption

      In LibreOffice we’ve long supported Microsoft Office’s “Office Binary Document RC4 Encryption” for decrypting xls, doc and ppt. But somewhere along the line the Microsoft Office encryption scheme was replaced by a new one, “Office Binary Document RC4 CryptoAPI Encryption”, which we didn’t support. This is what the error dialog of…

  • CMS
    • Open Source CMS Pros and Cons – a Developer’s Perspective

      The phrase “Open Source CMS” lingers in the minds and hearts of many developers. CMSes are today’s talk of the Internet, and you won’t miss the discussion in local schools and private offices either. I don’t remember for how long I have used Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS) to manage local and international websites. However, I have implemented CMS-based solutions long enough, and I can tell you from experience these tools did become the big digital craze for many professional reasons.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
  • Programming/Development
    • Eclipse Foundation Collaboration Yields Open Source Technology for Computational Science

      The gap between the computational science and open source software communities just got smaller – thanks to a collaboration among national laboratories, universities and industry.

    • PyCon India 2016

      “This is awesome!”, this was my first reaction when I boarded my first flight to Delhi. I was having trouble in finding a proper accommodation Kushal, Sayan and Chandan helped me a lot in that part, I finally got honour of bunking with Sayan , Subho and Rtnpro which I will never forget. So, I landed and directly went to JNU convention center. I met the whole Red Hat intern gang . It was fun to meet them all. I had proposed Pagure for Dev Sprint and I pulled in Vivek to do the same.

      The dev sprint started and there was no sign of Vivek or Saptak, Saptak is FOSSASIA contributor and Vivek contributes to Pagure with me. Finally it was my turn to talk about Pagure on stage , it was beautiful the experience and the energy. We got a lot of young and new contributors and we tried to guide them and make them send at least one PR. One of them was lucky enough to actually make a PR and it got readily merged.

    • Hack This: An Overdue Python Primer

      In writing the most recent Hack This (“Scrape the Web with Beautiful Soup”) I again found myself trapped between the competing causes of blog-brevity and making sure everything is totally clear for non-programmers. It’s a tough spot! Recapping every little Python (the default language of Hack This) concept is tiring for everyone, but what’s the point in the first place if no one can follow what’s going on?

      This post is then intended then as a sort of in-between edition of Hack This, covering a handful of Python features that are going to recur in pretty much every programming tutorial that we do under the Hack This name. A nice thing about Python is that it makes many things much clearer than is possible in almost any other language.

    • Why I won’t be attending Systems We Love

      Here’s one way to put it: to me, Bryan Cantrill is the opposite of another person I admire in operating systems (whom I will leave unnamed). This person makes me feel excited and welcome and safe to talk about and explore operating systems. I’ve never seen them shame or insult or put down anyone. They enthusiastically and openly talk about learning new systems concepts, even when other people think they should already know them. By doing this, they show others that it’s safe to admit that they don’t know something, which is the first step to learning new things. They are helping create the kind of culture I want in systems programming – the kind of culture promoted by Papers We Love, which Bryan cites as the inspiration for Systems We Love.

      By contrast, when I’m talking to Bryan I feel afraid, cautious, and fearful. Over the years I worked with Bryan, I watched him shame and insult hundreds of people, in public and in private, over email and in person, in papers and talks. Bryan is no Linus Torvalds – Bryan’s insults are usually subtle, insinuating, and beautifully phrased, whereas Linus’ insults tend towards the crude and direct. Even as you are blushing in shame from what Bryan just said about you, you are also admiring his vocabulary, cadence, and command of classical allusion. When I talked to Bryan about any topic, I felt like I was engaging in combat with a much stronger foe who only wanted to win, not help me learn. I always had the nagging fear that I probably wouldn’t even know how cleverly he had insulted me until hours later. I’m sure other people had more positive experiences with Bryan, but my experience matches that of many others. In summary, Bryan is supporting the status quo of the existing culture of systems programming, which is a culture of combat, humiliation, and domination.


      He gaily recounts the time he gave a highly critical keynote speech at USENIX, bashfully links to a video praising him at a Papers We Love event, elegantly puts down most of the existing operating systems research community, and does it all while using the words “ancillary,” “verve,” and “quadrennial.” Once you know the underlying structure – a layer cake of vituperation and braggadocio, frosted with eloquence – you can see the same pattern in most of his writing and talks.

  • Hardware
    • Macs are 3 times cheaper to own than Windows PCs, says IBM’s IT guy

      Fletcher Previn could be one of the funniest IBM vice presidents the company employs.

      Before achieving what he jokes as his “true life-long ambition of middle management at IBM” he worked as an intern on the “Late Show with David Letterman” and did a stint for Conan O’Brian, too, he told attendees at the Jamf tech conference.

    • You guys, I got my Ono-Sendai working again!

      I’ve had this terminal sitting under my desk gathering dust for… close to two decades, I think. This is an Ann Arbor Ambassador 60, manufactured in 1982 or 1983. It is a terminal. You probably think that word means “a GUI window that runs a command line shell in it”. You think this thing must be a computer because it looks like what computers used to look like. But it is not a computer, it is a peripheral. This object consists of a keyboard, a serial port, and a CRT screen, and that’s about it. A screen, I must emphasize, that is capable of displaying only text, and that text can be in any two colors you like, as long as those colors are green and black.

      Look at the sustain on that phosphor. Just look at it! The video is a little long, but it’s moody.

      You plug the serial port on the back into the serial port of your mainframe, or into a modem, and boom, Thus We Go Forth Into Cyberspace.

  • Health/Nutrition
    • Your groceries may be cheaper, but farmers and supermarkets feel the pain

      If you’re just a little irked that gasoline prices have edged up recently, maybe this will cheer you up: Groceries are a bargain.

      Average supermarket prices fell 2.2% in September from a year ago, the most since late 2009, and they’ve been down on an annual basis for 10 straight months, the longest such streak since 1959-60, Labor Department figures this week showed.

      But while that breakfast of eggs, toast and bacon may not be putting as big of a dent in your wallet, falling prices at the checkout are spreading hardship across the nation’s farm belt and hammering the earnings of grocery chains.

    • ‘If I could afford to leave, I would.’ In Flint, a water crisis with no end in sight.

      Even now, the people of Flint, Mich., cannot trust what flows from their taps.

      More than one year after government officials finally acknowledged that an entire city’s water system was contaminated by lead, many residents still rely on bottled water for drinking, cooking and bathing.

      Parents still worry about their kids. Promised aid has yet to arrive. In ways large and small, the crisis continues to shape daily life.

    • EPA Bows to Industry in Delay of Glyphosate Cancer Review

      However, the EPA Scientific Advisory Panel (SAP) meetings were “postponed,” just four days before they were suppose to meet, after intense lobbying by the agrichemical industry, including Monsanto. The industry first fought to keep the meetings from being held at all, and argued that if they were held, several leading international experts should be excluded from participating, including “any person who has publicly expressed an opinion regarding the carcinogenicity of glyphosate.”

      As the meetings drew near, CropLife America, which represents the interests of Monsanto and other agribusinesses, specifically took issue with at least two scientists chosen for the panel, alleging the experts might be unfavorably biased against industry interests. On Oct. 12, the group sent a letter to the EPA calling for Dr. Kenneth Portier of the American Cancer Society to be more deeply scrutinized for any “pre-formed conclusions” about glyphosate. More notably, CropLife called for leading epidemiologist Dr. Peter Infante to be completely disqualified from panel participation.

      “EPA should replace Dr. Infante with an epidemiologist without such patent bias,” CropLife told the EPA. The chemical industry group said Infante was unlikely to give industry-sponsored research studies the credibility the industry believes they deserve. CropLife said Infante has testified in the past for plaintiffs in chemical exposure cases against Monsanto.

    • ‘Drug Dependence Hasn’t Been Stopped by 45 Years of the War on Drugs’

      Janine Jackson: “Police Arrest More People for Marijuana Use than for All Violent Crimes Combined” is the headline in the Washington Post. In the New York Times, it’s “Marijuana Arrests Outnumber Those for Violent Crimes, Study Finds.”

  • Security
    • Friday’s security updates
    • World’s first hack-proof Wi-Fi router with open source firmware is here

      Turris Omnia WiFi Router, the world’s first hack-proof router with open source firmware launched yesterday at the CES Unveiled Show in Prague, Czech Republic.

    • Open-source hack-proof router aims to close cyber security gap

      Routers are the gateway of every home internet network. Yet, while many computers run antivirus software, little has been done thus far to protect routers against cyber threats. A new device, described as the world’s first hack-proof router, was launched on Thursday at the CES Unveiled Show in Prague.

      The main strength of the Turris Omnia router, a spin-out of a cyber security research project by Czech Republic’s domain administrator, is the fact that it automatically updates and patches vulnerabilities as they become known.

    • Adding a phone number to your Google account can make it LESS secure.

      Recently, account takeovers, email hacking, and targeted phishing attacks have been all over the news. Hacks of various politicians, allegedly carried out by Russian hackers, have yielded troves of data. Despite the supposed involvement of state-sponsored agents, some hacks were not reliant on complex zero-day attacks, but involved social engineering unsuspecting victims. These kinds of attacks are increasingly likely to be used against regular people. This recently happened to a friend of mine:

      Two weeks ago, an ex-colleague (actually, my officemate at Google way back in 2002) — let’s call him Bob — had his Google account compromised while on vacation in Hawaii. With his primary email account compromised, the attacker could have:

    • “Dirty COW”, the most dangerous Linux Bug for the last 9 years

      Red Hat, the leading open source software developer firm, has revealed that Linux Kernel has been infected with a serious bug for the past 9 years. The bug has been dubbed as Dirty Cow. It is deemed dangerous because through this bug, an attacker can get write access to read-only memory.

    • Serious Dirty COW bug leaves millions of Linux users vulnerable to attack
    • Cyber attack: hackers ‘weaponised’ everyday devices with malware to mount assault

      The huge attack on global internet access, which blocked some of the world’s most popular websites, is believed to have been unleashed by hackers using common devices like webcams and digital recorders.

      Among the sites targeted on Friday were Twitter, Paypal and Spotify. All were customers of Dyn, an infrastructure company in New Hampshire in the US that acts as a switchboard for internet traffic.

      Outages were intermittent and varied by geography, but reportedly began in the eastern US before spreading to other parts of the country and Europe.

      Users complained they could not reach dozens of internet destinations, including Mashable, CNN, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Yelp and some businesses hosted by Amazon.

    • Homeland Security Is ‘Investigating All Potential Causes’ of Internet Disruptions

      Cyber attacks targeting a little known internet infrastructure company, Dyn, disrupted access to dozens of websites on Friday, preventing some users from accessing PayPal, Twitter and Spotify.

      It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the outages that began in the Eastern United States, and then spread to other parts of the country and Western Europe.

      The outages were intermittent, making it difficult to identify all the victims. But technology news site Gizmodo named some five dozen sites that were affected by the attack. They included CNN, HBO Now, Mashable, the New York Times,, the Wall Street Journal and Yelp.

    • Blame the Internet of Things for Destroying the Internet Today

      A massive botnet of hacked Internet of Things devices has been implicated in the cyberattack that caused a significant internet outage on Friday.

      The botnet, which is powered by the malware known as Mirai, is in part responsible for the attack that intermittently knocked some popular websites offline, according to Level 3 Communications, one of the world’s largest internet backbone providers, and security firm Flashpoint.

      “We are seeing attacks coming from a number of different locations. We’re seeing attacks coming from an Internet of Things botnet that we identified called Mirai, also involved in this attack,” Dale Drew, chief security officer at Level 3 Communications, said on a livestream on Friday afternoon.

    • How to Understand Today’s Internet Outage in 4 Words

      A massive DDoS attack against a major DNS service likely using a botnet of IoT devices resulted in Internet issues across the eastern United States Friday, making it hard for many users to access their favorite sites.

      Phew. That’s a lot of acronyms.

    • IoT Can Never Be Fixed

      This title is a bit click baity, but it’s true, not for the reason you think. Keep reading to see why.

      If you’ve ever been involved in keeping a software product updated, I mean from the development side of things, you know it’s not a simple task. It’s nearly impossible really. The biggest problem is that even after you’ve tested it to death and gone out of your way to ensure the update is as small as possible, things break. Something always breaks.

      If you’re using a typical computer, when something breaks, you sit down in front of it, type away on the keyboard, and you fix the problem. More often than not you just roll back the update and things go back to the way they used to be.

    • Hacked Cameras, DVRs Powered Today’s Massive Internet Outage

      A massive and sustained Internet attack that has caused outages and network congestion today for a large number of Web sites was launched with the help of hacked “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices, such as CCTV video cameras and digital video recorders, new data suggests.

      Earlier today cyber criminals began training their attack cannons on Dyn, an Internet infrastructure company that provides critical technology services to some of the Internet’s top destinations. The attack began creating problems for Internet users reaching an array of sites, including Twitter, Amazon, Tumblr, Reddit, Spotify and Netflix.

    • How an army of vulnerable gadgets took down the web today

      At some point this morning, one of the US’s critical internet infrastructure players was hit with a staggering distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that has taken out huge swaths of the web. Sites like Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, Reddit, and many others — all clients of a domain registration service provider called Dyn — have suffered crippling interruptions and, in some cases, blanket outages.

      Details are now emerging about the nature of the attack. It appears the cause is what’s known as a Mirai-based IoT botnet, according to security journalist Brian Krebs, who cited cyber-threat intelligence firm Flashpoint. Dyn’s chief strategy officer Kyle Owen, who spoke with reporters this afternoon, later confirmed Flashpoint’s claim, revealing that traffic to its servers was clogged with malicious requests from tens of millions of IP addresses in what the company is calling a “very sophisticated and complex attack.”

    • Fixing the IoT isn’t going to be easy

      A large part of the internet became inaccessible today after a botnet made up of IP cameras and digital video recorders was used to DoS a major DNS provider. This highlighted a bunch of things including how maybe having all your DNS handled by a single provider is not the best of plans, but in the long run there’s no real amount of diversification that can fix this – malicious actors have control of a sufficiently large number of hosts that they could easily take out multiple providers simultaneously.

      To fix this properly we need to get rid of the compromised systems. The question is how. Many of these devices are sold by resellers who have no resources to handle any kind of recall. The manufacturer may not have any kind of legal presence in many of the countries where their products are sold. There’s no way anybody can compel a recall, and even if they could it probably wouldn’t help. If I’ve paid a contractor to install a security camera in my office, and if I get a notification that my camera is being used to take down Twitter, what do I do? Pay someone to come and take the camera down again, wait for a fixed one and pay to get that put up? That’s probably not going to happen. As long as the device carries on working, many users are going to ignore any voluntary request.

    • Indiscreet Logs: Persistent Diffie-Hellman Backdoors in TLS

      Software implementations of discrete logarithm based cryptosystems over finite fields typically make the assumption that any domain parameters they are presented with are trustworthy, i.e., the parameters implement cyclic groups where the discrete logarithm problem is assumed to be hard. An informal and widespread justification for this seemingly exists that says validating parameters at run time is too computationally expensive relative to the perceived risk of a server sabotaging the privacy of its own connection. In this paper we explore this trust assumption and examine situations where it may not always be justified.

      We conducted an investigation of discrete logarithm domain parameters in use across the Internet and discovered evidence of a multitude of potentially backdoored moduli of unknown order in TLS and STARTTLS spanning numerous countries, organizations, and protocols. Although our disclosures resulted in a number of organizations taking down suspicious parameters, we argue the potential for TLS backdoors is systematic and will persist until either until better parameter hygiene is taken up by the community, or finite field based cryptography is eliminated altogether.

    • Rigging the Election [Ed: too much Microsoft [1, 2]]

      When Dorothy discovers fraud in the land of Oz, she is told by the Wizard, “Don’t look behind the curtain.” But she does. In America, we demand truth and accountability in so many aspects of our daily lives, and yet somehow there’s little public outcry for transparency within voting, the sacred cornerstone of our democracy. For the most part, we sleep soundly under the blanket of assurances from government officials. FBI Director James Comey even attempted a spin of irony recently, noting that our “clunky” voting process actually makes wholesale rigging more difficult. However, Comey misses the bigger picture.


      Hardly anyone uses the same computer from 12 years ago, yet large sections of the country currently vote on aging electronic systems which utilize proprietary software that cannot be publicly examined. Unverifiable technology remains deployed in 29 states – including Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida – and other key battleground states, which may determine our next president. Races in these areas are not evidence based, and consequently, we cannot be certain ballots reflect voter intent. Bereft of such knowledge, how can we put faith in the legitimacy of our government?

    • How to Hack a Presidential Election
    • ‘Nice Internet You’ve Got There… You Wouldn’t Want Something To Happen To It…’

      Last month, we wrote about Bruce Schneier’s warning that certain unknown parties were carefully testing ways to take down the internet. They were doing carefully configured DDoS attacks, testing core internet infrastructure, focusing on key DNS servers. And, of course, we’ve also been talking about the rise of truly massive DDoS attacks, thanks to poorly secured Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and ancient, unpatched bugs.

    • Update Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Linux Kernel Without Rebooting With The Canonical Livepatch Service
    • Livepatch – Apply Critical Security Patches to Ubuntu Linux Kernel Without Rebooting
    • GitLab reinstates list of servers that have malware

      Willem de Groot published a list of web stores that contain malware. He first hosted this list on GitHub but it was deleted. Then he hosted it on GitLab where it was also deleted. The reason we gave him for the deletion was “GitLab views the exposure of the vulnerable systems as egregious and will not abide it.”. Willem wrote about his experience in a blog post.

    • Dirty COW — Critical Linux Kernel Flaw Being Exploited in the Wild
    • CVE-2016-5195 Found in Every Linux Version (for the Last 9 Years)
    • Explaining Dirty COW local root exploit – CVE-2016-5195
    • CVE Request: OpenSSH: Memory exhaustion issue found in OpenSSH
    • OpenSSL after Heartbleed

      Rich Salz and Tim Hudson started off their LinuxCon Europe 2016 talk by stating that April 3, 2014 shall forever be known as the “re-key the Internet date.” That, of course, was the day that the Heartbleed vulnerability in the OpenSSL library was disclosed. A lot has happened with OpenSSL since that day, to the point that, Salz said, this should be the last talk he gives that ever mentions that particular vulnerability. In the last two years, the project has recovered from Heartbleed and is now more vital than ever before.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • Philippines not really severing ties with US, Duterte says

      Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has clarified his comments that seemed to call for a split from the United States, saying he was advocating a “separation of foreign policy” rather than “a severance of ties.”
      Addressing a press conference in Davao City after his return from a state visit to China, Duterte said:

      “It is not severance of ties. You say severance of ties, you cut the diplomatic relations. I cannot do that.
      “Why? It is in the best interest of my country that we maintain that relationship. Why? Because there are many Filipinos in the United States. Well, Americans of Filipino ancestry.
      “Why? Because the people of my country [are] not ready to accept. I said separation — what I was really saying was separation of a foreign policy.”

    • Jilted Muslim man killed a Dalit Hindu girl by acid attack in Nadia, West Bengal.

      It’s a tragic death of 17 year old Hindu schoolgirl, Mou Rajak on Tuesday in NRS Hospital in Kolkata after her eight day’s long struggle for life since she was admitted here for a critical care being a victim of acid attack. Her lungs were almost damaged as the acid thrown by a Muslim man Imran entered into lung through trachea.

    • Asia Bibi appeal adjourned — her death row ordeal drags on

      Release International urges Pakistan to take a stand against intimidation and release Asia Bibi, following the Supreme Court appeal setback. Release calls for courage to confront intolerance and repeal the blasphemy law. Pakistan’s Supreme Court has adjourned Asia Bibi’s appeal against her death sentence, following the decision of a leading judge to withdraw from the trial.

      Justice Muhammad Iqbal Hameed Ur Rehman stepped back from the case on the grounds that he had been a judge in the case of the Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer who was murdered for taking a stand against the blasphemy laws.

      “It seems strange to pull out on the day of the appeal,” says Paul Robinson, Chief Executive of Release International. “Surely any potential conflict would have been known in advance? What is clear is that it will take immense courage to withstand intimidation and release Asia Bibi — a fact underlined by the presence of so many riot police at the court.”

    • French police chief orders investigation after officers hold Paris protest

      The head of France’s national police force on Tuesday ordered an internal investigation after hundreds of police officers held an unauthorized protest in central Paris overnight.

      Angry police officers marched on the iconic Champs Elysées boulevard in the French capital after dark on Monday, complaining that they are understaffed and ill-equipped.

      The rebel police officers, who held the demonstration without permission or backing of their labour unions, accused Prime Minister Manuel Valls and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve of grandstanding while failing to provide the resources they need to do their jobs.

    • Investigators find no evidence Muslim child was attacked on school bus

      The Wake County school system and the Cary Police Department say they haven’t found evidence that a 7-year-old Muslim student was assaulted by classmates on a school bus last week.

      Zeeshan-ul-hassan Usmani says his son Abdul Aziz was bullied and beaten by classmates at Weatherstone Elementary School in Cary while riding home on the bus last Friday because the first-grade student is Muslim.

      Usmani’s Facebook post, with the words “Welcome to the United States of America of Donald Trump” and a picture of Abdul Aziz’s left arm in a sling, has sparked worldwide social media and news media attention about Islamophobia.

      School and law enforcement officials say they’ve taken the allegations seriously and don’t tolerate bullying. But they say their investigations don’t confirm an assault even occurred.

    • Revealed: The UK is training Saudi pilots amid accusations of war crimes in Yemen

      The Saudi Air Force is being trained by the British Government amid accusations that it is carrying out atrocities in neighbouring Yemen, it has emerged.

      The Liberal Democrats – who uncovered the instruction being given, in both Saudi Arabia and the UK itself – described the revelation as “shameful”.

      Tom Brake, the party’s foreign affairs spokesman, called on the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to end the training immediately and for much stricter controls on arms exports to the oil-rich kingdom.

    • Thousands of California soldiers forced to repay enlistment bonuses a decade after going to war

      Short of troops to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan a decade ago, the California National Guard enticed thousands of soldiers with bonuses of $15,000 or more to reenlist and go to war.

      Now the Pentagon is demanding the money back.

      Nearly 10,000 soldiers, many of whom served multiple combat tours, have been ordered to repay large enlistment bonuses — and slapped with interest charges, wage garnishments and tax liens if they refuse — after audits revealed widespread overpayments by the California Guard at the height of the wars last decade.

      Investigations have determined that lack of oversight allowed for widespread fraud and mismanagement by California Guard officials under pressure to meet enlistment targets.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition In A Nutshell. “Regime Change” in Russia… Putin is an Obstacle

      It has become crystal clear.

      For the record, here it is.

      She has big ambitions, which she does not spell out for fear of frightening part of the electorate, but which are perfectly understood by her closest aides and biggest donors.

      She wants to achieve regime change in Russia.

      She enjoys the support of most of the State Department and much of the Pentagon, and Congress is ready to go.

      The method: a repeat of the 1979 Brezinski ploy, which consisted of luring Moscow into Afghanistan, in order to get the Russians bogged down in their “Vietnam”. As the Russians are a much more peace-loving people, largely because of what they suffered in two World Wars, the Russian involvement in Afghanistan was very unpopular and can be seen as a cause of the collapse of the Soviet Union.

      This led to the temporary reign of the drunken Boris Yeltsin who – as recounted in Strobe Talbott’s memoirs – was putty in the hands of Bill Clinton. Hillary would like to renew that sort of relationship. Putin is an obstacle.

    • Hillary’s War Crime

      Muammar Gaddafi was the most progressive political leader in the world. Gaddafi used Libya’s oil wealth for the benefit of the Libyan people. He lived in a tent, a nice tent, but not in a palace, and he did not have collections of European exotic cars or any of the other paraphernalia associated with the ruling families in Saudi Arabia and the oil emirates that are Washington’s Middle Eastern allies.

      In Libya, education, medical treatment, and electricity were free. Gasoline was practically free, selling for 14 US cents per litre. Women who gave birth were supported with cash grants and couples received cash grants upon marriage. Libya’s state bank provided loans without interest and provided free startup capital to farmers.


      Washington organized mercenaries, termed them “rebels” as in Syria, and sicced them on Libya. When it became clear that Gaddafi’s forces would prevail, Washington tricked naive and gullible Russian and Chinese governments and secured a UN no-fly zone over Libya to be enforced by NATO. The express purpose of the no-fly zone was to prevent Gaddafi from attacking civilian targets, which he was not doing. The real reason was to prevent a sovereign state from using its own air space so that the Libyan Air Force could not support the troops on the ground. Once the gullible Russians and Chinese failed to veto the Security Council’s action, the US and NATO themselves violated the resolution by using Western air power to attack Gaddafi’s forces, thus throwing the conflict to the CIA-organized mercenaries. Gaddafi was captured and brutally murdered. Ever since, Libya, formerly a prosperous and successful society, has been in chaos, which is where the Obama regime wanted it.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • WikiLeaks urges supporters to ‘stop taking down the US internet’

      The site WikiLeaks asked its “supporters” on Friday to stop taking down the internet in the U.S. following a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that disrupted a number of major sites.

      “Mr. Assange is still alive and WikiLeaks is still publishing,” the site tweeted. “We ask supporters to stop taking down the US internet. You proved your point.”

    • Why Did WikiLeaks Tweet a Picture of Gavin MacFadyen?

      MacFadyen has a long history as a journalist who’s friendly to WikiLeaks. He was the director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London, an adviser to The Whistler, and focused much of his work on discussing and protecting whistleblowing activities. He even created the Julian Assange Defence Committee to raise funds to help pay for Assange’s legal expenses.

      WikiLeaks had been releasing a series of emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta. Just this past week, Julian Assange’s Internet connection was cut, leading to speculation as to whether Assange is even still at the embassy. These rumors and conspiracy theories, combined with other rumors about WikiLeaks’ Twitter account itself, led to a lot of questioning about why WikiLeaks tweeted MacFadyen’s photo without an explanation.

    • George W. Bush’s White House ‘lost’ 22 million emails

      For 18 months, Republican strategists, political pundits, reporters and Americans who follow them have been pursuing Hillary Clinton’s personal email habits, and no evidence of a crime has been found. But now they at least have the skills and interest to focus on a much larger and deeper email conspiracy, one involving war, lies, a private server run by the Republican Party and contempt of Congress citations—all of it still unsolved and unpunished.

    • FOI Coalition assesses state of FOI in the first 100 days of Duterte administration

      Prof. Solomon Lumba of the UP College of Law, who is working with the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism in conducting research on FOI, reported a brief analysis on the issue of exceptions. According to Atty. Lumba, one way to simplify the plethora of exceptions included in the initial exception inventories from the Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor General is to group them into conceptual categories, as was done in jurisdictions such as the US and Australia.

      Lastly, Atty. Eirene Jhone E. Aguila, co-convenor of R2KRN, delivered the Coalition’s Statement on the state of FOI in President Duterte’s first 100 days in office. The Coalition acknowledges the issuance of EO No. 2 as significant step towards guaranteeing the people’s right to know, but stresses the huge amount of work left to be done, particularly: completing the People’s FOI Manuals and implementing details of EO No. 2 for each agency, clarifying the issue of exceptions, and passing a long sought-for Freedom of Information law by the Congress.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • Remember When We Thought Climate Change Would Matter This Election?

      This was supposed to be the election where climate change really mattered. Only, anyone watching the presidential debates wouldn’t have a clue that 1) 2016 has been history’s hottest year on record, and 2) our future leaders give any sort of crap about it.

      Climate change was mostly ignored during the last three debates, mentioned only in passing, and never discussed directly or at length. In fact, I’m fairly sure that Americans know more about Donald Trump’s sexual proclivities than his environmental policies (hint, hint: he doesn’t have any).

      But should we really feign surprise? Surely even the most hopeful of us didn’t expect global warming to compete with jobs, the border, or national security on the campaign trail. After all, this has been an election based on political identity, and when Americans can’t even agree on whether climate change is real, what’s incentivizing our candidates to fight for it?

      Just one question, posed during a town-hall by Ken Bone, a coal industry worker, shed any sort of light on the climate agendas of our two vastly different candidates. (And even then, Bone was criticized for not asking anything of real substance, as if energy policy, which lies at the heart of our climate change catastrophe, matters less than whether a candidate is a fan or not of science.)

    • 6 Sinking Cities to Visit Before It’s Too Late

      With the growing threats due to climate change – rising sea levels, devastating storms and tidal flooding – it’s no mystery why some of the world’s most iconic cities and natural wonders are at risk. And while there’s no clear-cut answer on the rate at which many cherished places the world over will be underwater, with the impending long-term effects of climate change – including the melting polar ice cap – we have a very narrow window before there will be dramatic repercussions, says Costas Christ, Chairman of the National Geographic World Legacy Awards and sustainable travel expert. “We have a window of 10 or 20 years at most before we set in motion the temperatures that we can’t turn back,” he says.

      Happily, the outlook isn’t all bleak. Our travel choices and actions make a difference, Christ says. “What can we do as travelers? We can choose those companies that are practicing and embracing sustainability,” he explains. By rewarding companies that are substituting plastics, generating less waste, offsetting their carbon footprint, using renewable energy and supporting national parks and fragile ecosystems, among other sustainable practices, we can advance conservation efforts, travel responsibly and have a positive long-term impact. With that in mind, here are six cities starting to submerge, and expert-endorsed tips for limiting your carbon footprint and aiding conservation efforts on your next trip.

  • Finance
    • Shop steward: Yle lay-offs “just the start”

      The Finnish Broadcasting Company (Yle) announced on Thursday that it plans to cut more than a third of current staff in its production unit. That will free up resources to spend more on outside acquisitions, which is a key goal of a parliamentary report published earlier this year. Employee representatives say that these lay-offs are only the beginning of an extended period of change for the company.

    • Ceta talks: EU hopes to unblock Canada trade deal

      The European Parliament president says he is optimistic that a free-trade deal between the EU and Canada can be signed soon despite last-minute obstacles.

      Objections by a Belgian region, which opposes the deal, “are for us Europeans to solve”, Martin Schulz said.

      He was speaking after meetings in Brussels with Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and the head of Belgium’s Wallonia region.

      Ms Freeland said: “It’s time for Europe to finish doing its job.”

      After seven years of negotiations on the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta), talks broke down on Friday.

    • Left Alliance pushes to criminalize underpayment of wages

      The Left Alliance political party has proposed that employers found guilty of paying a wage below the lowest acceptable level agreed upon in Finland’s collective wage agreements should be subject to criminal charges.

    • Ari Berman on Rigging Elections, Dean Baker on the Debt Bogeyman

      Also on the show: Explosive entitlement spending! Runaway national debt! These are familiar bogeymen for elite media, but how much there is there? Dean Baker will join us to unpack the oft-heard media phrase “debt and entitlements,” and explain what it really means to call for cutting them. He’s co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research and writes the blog Beat the Press.

    • CETA: A way out of European self-dwarfism

      Anti-CETA campaigns and mass protests have put the EU-Canada deal under constant pressure. Daniel Caspary MEP asks: What are we going to do if the European Union buries its common trade policy?

      Daniel Caspary is a German MEP and is the EPP group’s coordinator on the Committee on International Trade (INTA) in the European Parliament and Parliamentary Secretary (Chief-Whip) of the German CDU/CSU Delegation.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • WikiLeaks: Clinton-Kaine Even Lied About Timing of Veep Pick

      A conversation between Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and political consultant Erick Mullen leaked by WikiLeaks suggests that Tim Kaine — and Hillary Clinton — lied to the American people about the Virginia senator’s selection as Clinton’s running mate.

      In the email, Mullen complains to Podesta that attorney Bob Glennon “won’t stop assuring Sens Brown and Heitkamp (at dinner now) that HRC has personally told Tim Kaine he’s the veep.” The email was sent on July 15, 2015 — over one full year before the campaign’s official announcement.

      Clinton announced Kaine’s selection on July 22, 2016. The Clinton campaign behaved as if it were still sifting through possible VP picks until practically that very day. “Just got off the phone with Hillary. I’m honored to be her running mate. Can’t wait to hit the trail tomorrow in Miami!” Kaine tweeted.

    • No comment: Clinton has ‘nothing to say’ about Wikileaks email revealing $12M quid-pro-quo with Morocco’s king that an aide said was a ‘mess’ of her own making

      A stone-faced Hillary Clinton refused to comment tonight on an email a top aide sent calling a Clinton Foundation quid pro qou a ‘mess’ of the former secretary of state’s own making.

      ‘I have nothing to say about Wikileaks, other than I think we should all be concerned about what the Russians are trying to do to our election and using Wikileaks very blatantly to try to influence the outcome of the election,’ Clinton said.

      The Democratic nominee was responding to a question posed by during a question and answer session with reporters riding on her campaign plane.

    • Megyn Kelly hits Donna Brazile on feeding Clinton debate question

      Interim Democratic National Committee chair Donna Brazile accused Megyn Kelly of “persecution” Wednesday evening when the Fox News anchor asked Brazile about an email, published by WikiLeaks, that indicated Brazile provided Hillary Clinton’s campaign with a question in advance of a CNN town hall.

      “As a Christian woman, I understand persecution, but I will not sit here and be persecuted because your information is totally false,” Brazile said during an interview conducted shortly after the third presidential debate.

      “Since I play straight up and I’ll play straight up with you, I did not receive any questions from CNN,” she said. “First of all, what information are you providing to me that will allow me to see what you’re talking about?”

      Kelly cited an email made public by WikiLeaks last week that indicated Brazile had informed high-level Clinton campaign aides that she sometimes received “questions in advance” before relaying a question about the death penalty that closely matched a question later asked during the CNN town hall. Roland Martin, a TV One host who partnered with CNN for the event, sent CNN a question containing the same language the day after Brazile sent it to the Clinton campaign.

    • Blanket Corporate Media Corruption

      It is disconcerting to be praised by a website whose next article warns of a “plague of sodomites”. Sometimes truth-telling is a difficult act because truth is a simple matter of fact; who might seek to exploit that truth is a different question. I almost certainly have little in common with the anti-gay people who chose to commend me.

      It is however incumbent on those who know truth to reveal it to the best of their ability, particularly if it contradicts an untruth being put about widely. The lie that WikiLeaks is acting as an agent of the Russian state is one that needs to be countered. Wikileaks is much more important than a mere state propaganda organisation, and needs to be protected.

      Political lying is a sad fact of modern life, but some lies are more dangerous than others. Hillary Clinton’s lies that the Podesta and Democratic National Congress email leaks are hacks by the Russian state, should be countered because they are untrue, and because their intention is to distract attention from her own corrupt abuse of power and money. But even more so because they recklessly feed in to a Russophobia which is starting to exceed Cold War levels in terms of open public abuse.

      Clinton has made no secret of her view that Obama has not been forceful enough in his dealings in Syria, and within her immediate circle she has frequently referred to the Cuban missile crisis as the precedent for how she believes Russia must be faced down. It is her intention to restore US international prestige by such a confrontation with Putin in Syria early in her Presidency, and perhaps more to the point to restore the prestige of the office of POTUS and thus enhance her chances of getting her way with a probable Republican controlled senate and congress.


      It is worth noting that Hillary’s claim that 17 US Intelligence Agencies agree that Russia was the source of the leaks is plainly untrue. All they have said is that the leaks “are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed attacks.” Under extreme White House pressure to state that the Russians did it, that extremely weak statement was the only thing that the US Intelligence chiefs could cobble together. It is very plainly an admission there is no evidence that Russia did it, but the appalling corporate media have reported it as though it “proves” Hillary’s accusation of Russia is true.

      Bill Binney is like myself a former recipient of the Sam Adams Award – the World’s foremost whistleblowing award. Bill was the senior NSA Director who actually oversaw the design of their current mass surveillance software, and Bill has been telling anybody who will listen exactly what I have been telling – that this material was not hacked from Russia. Bill believes – and nobody has better contacts or understanding of capability than Bill – that the material was leaked from within the US intelligence services.

    • Media’s Debate Agenda: Push Russia, ISIS, Taxes; Downplay Climate, Poverty, Campaign Finance

      Russia, ISIS and taxes overwhelmed all other topics during the four presidential and vice-presidential debates, totaling 429 mentions from both candidates and questioners.

      Russia (and Putin) alone came up in the four debates 178 times, more than national debt/entitlements, Social Security, the Supreme Court, race/racism, education, abortion, drugs, poverty, LGBTQ people, climate change, campaign finance/Citizens United and the environment combined, with the latter topics totaling 164 mentions.

      Clinton’s emails were mentioned less than half as often as Trump’s tax returns (30 vs. 80 mentions), but still more than topics such as Social Security, the Supreme Court and education.

      Domestic issues that were mentioned somewhat frequently were immigration, police brutality/race, and Obamacare. Immigration is obviously a hot button issue given Trump’s calls to forcefully cleanse 11 million largely Latino immigrants from the United States.

    • Most Americans want Hillary indicted for email scandal – poll

      Over half of American voters surveyed in a recent poll disagree with the FBI’s decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton over her emails scandal.

      A survey of 1,000 likely voters was conducted on October 18 and 19 by the polling company Rasmussen Reports. Voters were asked whether they agreed with the FBI’s decision not to file criminal charges against Hillary Clinton, despite acknowledging that she had been reckless and potentially exposed classified information to hostile countries. The results were released on Friday.

    • Rigged Elections Are An American Tradition

      It is an obvious fact that the oligarchic One Percent have anointed Hillary, despite her myriad problems to be President of the US. There are reports that her staff are already moving into their White House offices. This much confidence before the vote does suggest that the skids have been greased.

      The current cause celebre against Trump is his conditional statement that he might not accept the election results if they appear to have been rigged. The presstitutes immediately jumped on him for “discrediting American democracy” and for “breaking American tradition of accepting the people’s will.”

      What nonsense! Stolen elections are the American tradition. Elections are stolen at every level—state, local, and federal. Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley’s theft of the Chicago and, thereby, Illinois vote for John F. Kennedy is legendary. The Republican US Supreme Court’s theft of the 2000 presidential election from Al Gore by preventing the Florida vote recount is another legendary example. The discrepancies between exit polls and the vote count of the secretly programmed electronic voting machines that have no paper trails are also legendary.

      So what’s the big deal about Trump’s suspicion of election rigging?

    • October 2016: The Month Political Journalism Died

      On Wednesday evening during the final presidential debate of the campaign, Hell did not freeze over. Moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News, where climate denial plays nothing but home games, passed on the final opportunity to ask Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton about climate change.

      This presidential campaign has been a catastrophe for American democracy and for American political journalism.

      Amid the relentlessly tawdry campaign news, most Americans haven’t even noticed the absence of virtually any high-level campaign discussion of environmental issues, let alone what many have called the biggest challenge of the 21st century.

      For now.

      But I invite you to think ahead to that “oh crap” moment that awaits us all, five, ten or 25 years from now, when America looks back to reckon with our self-imposed climate silence in the debates.

      Journalism—and the memes of our day—have failed us.

      I don’t mean to condemn all journalists, or even all political journalists. This campaign has seen Pulitzer-worthy investigative work, notably by old-media giants like the New York Times and Washington Post, on both major party candidates and their respective problems with veracity and transparency. But the horse-race coverage, driven by Twitter, bluster and clickbait, has predictably left important issues in the lurch.

    • Get Ready to Ignore Donald Trump Starting on November 9, or He’ll Never Go Away

      Donald Trump’s true gift is his uncanny ability to capture the attention of the news media.

      His declaration during Wednesday night’s third and final presidential debate that he may not accept defeat in three weeks captured global headlines, once again making him the lead story in the world, even as his chances of winning are essentially vanishing.

      But this is nothing new. There are countless other examples of successful attention-getting in Trump’s past, including his crusade against the Central Park Five in 2005, and the six weeks in 2011 where he monopolized TV news with his quest to find Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

      In fact, one way to look at Trump’s run for the presidency is as an attention-getting, brand-building exercise from start to finish. And in that context, this latest twist makes even more sense: It turns his otherwise sputtering campaign into a sort of dystopian season of “The Apprentice” where viewers watch for the cliffhanger: Will Trump bow out gracefully, or will he rally his supporters to declare his loss the result of a grand conspiracy?

      Not coincidentally, a half hour before the start of Wednesday’s debate, his campaign launched #TrumpTV, a livestream on his Facebook featuring Trump surrogates — leading to speculation that this served as a sort of a beta test for a rumored Trump-helmed television network. With that network, Trump could seek to monetize a panicked support base.

      On November 9, when Trump likely loses the presidential election in a big way, the news media will face a moment of truth: Will they continue to obsessively cover him and his post-election antics? Or will they ignore him?

      They should ignore him.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • NLG and ACLU Submit FOIA and Open Records Requests to Investigate Unconstitutional Surveillance of Water Protectors at Standing Rock

      Today, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), in conjunction with the ACLU of North Dakota, sent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and North Dakota Open Records Act requests to multiple state and federal agencies in response to the surveillance and arrests of the Native-led Water Protectors attempting to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). In an affront to First Amendment rights, Water Protectors and allies have been continuously surveilled by low-flying planes, helicopters, and drones, and have had local cell phone communications jammed and possibly recorded. Dozens of local and out-of-state law enforcement have been called in, maintaining a heavily militarized presence at the site in an effort to intimidate activists and chill dissent.

    • How Could NSA Contractor Harold Martin Have Been Taking Home Classified Info For 20 Years Without NSA Noticing?

      A few weeks back, we wrote about the arrest of Harold Martin, an NSA contractor working at Booz Allen, for apparently taking “highly classified information” from the NSA and storing it electronically and physically in his home. There were a lot of questions about whether or not Martin was connected to the Shadow Brokers release of NSA hacking tools, though as more info comes out, it sounds like perhaps Martin was just found because of an investigation into Shadow Brokers, but not because he was connected to them. Soon after the arrest was made public (after being kept sealed for a little over a month), reports came out suggesting that Martin was basically a digital hoarder, but not a leaker (or a whistleblower).

    • Geofeedia, In Damage Control Mode, Issues Bogus DMCA Over Brochure Posted By Reporter

      And it’s time for yet another story of copyright being used for out and out censorship. Remember Geofeedia? That’s the creepy company that was selling its services to law enforcement agencies and school districts promising to spy on social media feeds to let law enforcement/schools know when people are planning bad stuff. After a big ACLU investigative report, basically all the major social media companies cut ties with Geofeedia, claiming that it was violating their terms of service. I’d imagine that the various law enforcement agencies and school districts who paid tens of thousands of dollars for this data may be asking for their money back.

      So what does Geofeedia do? Well, for starters, it abuses the DMCA to try to take down information. The Daily Dot’s Dell Cameron had actually written about how the Denver police spent $30k on Geofeedia back in September, a few weeks before the ACLU report dropped (nice scoop and great timing). Cameron then followed up with a detailed story following the ACLU report as well, noting that there were still plenty of other Geofeedia competitors on the market. At the end of that post, Cameron included a brochure that Geofeedia had apparently sent to a police department last year. But you can’t see it now, because (yup) Geofeedia issued a DMCA takedown to Scribd, the company that was hosting it.

    • Victory for the Exegetes Amateurs! French Surveillance Censured by Constitutional Council

      The French Constitutional Council has censored this morning the article of the 2015 French Surveillance Law on radio wave surveillance. Following a Priority Preliminary ruling on the issue of constitutionality (QPC) tabled by the Exegetes Amateurs (FDN Federation, FDN and La Quadrature du Net and the NGO), this is a clear victory for advocates of privacy against disproportionate surveillance promoted by Manuel Valls’ government. La Quadrature du Net is glad with this decision which effects are to be applied immediately (although regretting the extended time given to the legislator to conform to this decision in the long term) and calls on all citizens concerned with civil rights to support the tireless judicial and technical work accomplished with our friends of FDN and the FDN Federation.

    • Google’s Allo Sends The Wrong Message About Encryption

      When Google announced its new Allo messaging app, we were initially pleased to see the company responding to long-standing consumer demand for user-friendly, secure messaging. Unfortunately, it now seems that Google’s response may cause more harm than good. While Allo does expose more users to end-to-end encrypted messaging, this potential benefit is outweighed by the cost of Allo’s mixed signals about what secure messaging is and how it works. This has significance for secure messaging app developers and users beyond Google or Allo: if we want to protect all users, we must make encryption our automatic, straightforward, easy-to-use status quo.

      The new messaging app from Google offers two modes: a default mode, and an end-to-end encrypted “incognito” mode. The default mode features two new enhancements: Google Assistant, an AI virtual assistant that responds to queries and searches (like “What restaurants are nearby?”), and Smart Reply, which analyzes how a user texts and generates likely responses to the messages they receive. The machine learning that drives these features resides on Google’s servers and needs access to chat content to “learn” over time and personalize services. So, while this less secure mode is encrypted in transit, it is not encrypted end-to-end, giving Google access to the content of messages as they pass unencrypted through Google servers.

      Allo’s separate “incognito” mode provides end-to-end encryption, using a darker background to distinguish it from the default mode. Messages sent in this mode are not readable on Google’s servers, and can be set to auto-delete from your phone after a certain period of time. The Assistant and Smart Reply features, which depend on Google having access to message content, don’t work in “incognito” mode.

    • Half of All American Adults Have Pictures in Police Facial Recognition Systems

      If you’re already worried about the growth of the surveillance state, a new study may give you pause. Researchers from Georgetown Law’s Center on Privacy and Technology have found that half of Americans have photos in facial recognition networks used by law enforcement around the country—and many are likely unaware of it. The resulting report notes that the study is “the most comprehensive survey to date of law enforcement face recognition and the risks that it poses to privacy, civil liberties, and civil rights.”

      Study authors Alvaro Bedoya, Jonathan Frankle and Clare Garvie queried more than 100 police departments across the nation over the course of a year to come to their conclusions. They found that more than 117 million adults—overwhelmingly law-abiding citizens of these United States—have pictures in these systems. Amassing such a large number of photos of American adults is a result of interagency collaboration. In addition to mugshot photos taken following arrests, “26 states (and potentially as many as 30) allow law enforcement to run or request searches against their databases of driver’s license and ID photos.” They also write that big-city police departments—Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles among them—are looking into real-time recognition on live street surveillance cameras, which allow “police [to] continuously scan the faces of pedestrians walking by a street surveillance camera.”

    • Using search warrants to get into fingerprint-locked phones

      A peculiar legal workaround might give federal authorities the right to access an individual’s phone data.

      Investigators in Lancaster, Calif., were granted a search warrant last May with a scope that allowed them to force anyone inside the premises at the time of search to open up their phones via fingerprint recognition, Forbes reported Sunday.

      The government argued that this did not violate the citizens’ Fifth Amendment protection against self incrimination because no actual passcode was handed over to authorities. Forbes was able to confirm with the residents of the building that the warrant was served, but the residents did not give any more details about whether their phones were successfully accessed by the investigators.

      “I was frankly a bit shocked,” said Andrew Crocker, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), when he learned about the scope of search warrant. “As far as I know, this warrant application was unprecedented.”

    • Virtual lineup: Your face is already on file

      If local police showed up at your door requesting fingerprints and DNA samples, would you passively and unquestioningly comply? Or would you ask what crime you’re suspected of committing and demand probable cause for making the request or proof of a search warrant?

      The fact is, there’s a 50 percent chance your photo is already part of a biometric database. And law enforcement agencies across the country are using facial recognition software to regularly search this “virtual lineup” with little to no regulation or limits, according to an eye-opening 150-page report, “The Perpetual Line-Up: Unregulated Police Face Recognition in America,” published this week by the Georgetown Center on Privacy & Technology.

    • Supreme Court rules that IP address allocation is personal data, but to what use?

      The European Supreme Court rules that the subscriber identity behind an IP address is personal data, making such data protected by privacy laws. However, the court rules in a very narrow context of a web site operator, and says that the protection of personal data takes second place to a so-called “legitimate objective”. This may be an important verdict for future case law, but right now, it looks rather narrow.

      The European Court of Justice, the highest court in the EU, has ruled that the information about who was allocated a certain IP address at a certain time is personal data. This is a very important key word in European legislation, which means the data’s availability and use is protected by a mountain and a half of regulations and laws.

      The case was brought to the European Court of Justice by Patrick Breyer, a Pirate Party MP in the German State Parliament of Schleswig-Holstein, who is also a lawyer. Mr. Breyer was suing the Federal Government of Germany to prevent them from storing and recording his every visit to federal authorities’ websites.

    • Google is now tracking your private, personally identifiable information from all sources possible (ie; Gmail, Chrome, DoubleClick) by default

      Since this summer, new users are now being tracked to Google’s fullest potential unless they opt-out. Google has bought many tech companies over the last few decades. One such purpose, in 2007, of DoubleClick, prompted many concerns. Google, which had the promising slogan “Do no evil,” back then, promised that they would not combine Google’s already monolithic stack of user internet browsing history data with new acquisitions such as DoubleClick. DoubleClick is an extensive ad network that is used on half of the Internet’s top 1 million most popular sites. Now, Now that DoubleClick’s data is available to Google, Google can easily build a complete profile of you, the customer. This profile could include name, search history, and keywords used in email, all of which will expressly be used to target you for advertising or handed over to the government at the drop of a rubber stamp.

    • Google Has Quietly Dropped Ban on Personally Identifiable Web Tracking

      After we published this story, Google reached out to say that it doesn’t currently use Gmail keywords to target web ads. We’ve updated the story to reflect that.

      When Google bought the advertising network DoubleClick in 2007, Google founder Sergey Brin said that privacy would be the company’s “number one priority when we contemplate new kinds of advertising products.”

      And, for nearly a decade, Google did in fact keep DoubleClick’s massive database of web-browsing records separate by default from the names and other personally identifiable information Google has collected from Gmail and its other login accounts.

      But this summer, Google quietly erased that last privacy line in the sand – literally crossing out the lines in its privacy policy that promised to keep the two pots of data separate by default. In its place, Google substituted new language that says browsing habits “may be” combined with what the company learns from the use Gmail and other tools.

    • Argentine Soccer Club Wanted to Implant Microchips in Fans, Until They Revolted

      How do you solve a problem like blood-thirsty football hooligans? According to one Buenos Aires-based football club, just stick microchips in spectators’ arms and scan the bad apples away.

      Back in April, first division club CA Tigre proposed surgically implanting microchips—or “passion tickets,” as they called them—into fans’ bodies to expedite their access to the stadium and curb violence during games. The initiative was rejected after a brief trial period, CA Tigre informed Motherboard, and though the club wouldn’t say why, we expect public outrage had something to do with it.

      “Passion ticket allows fans to enter the stadium without anything else, just their passion for their team, and allows the club to maintain a trustworthy level of control over fans,” CA Tigre tweeted at the time to explain the initiative.

    • Internet Privacy: “You’re Only Anonymous On The Internet Because Nobody’s Tried Very Hard To Figure Out Who You Are”
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Imprisoned Saudi blogger faces more lashes: supporters

      Imprisoned Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, whose public flogging in the kingdom last year generated a global outcry, now risks a new round of lashes, a co-founder of a Canadian foundation advocating his release said on Tuesday.

      Evelyne Abitbol, who founded the Raif Badawi Foundation with Badawi’s wife, said a “reliable source” in Saudi Arabia claims he faces a new flogging after being sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and 1,000 lashes in 2014 for breaking the kingdom’s technology laws and insulting Islam.

      Saudi embassy officials in Ottawa and Saudi government officials in Riyadh were not immediately available for comment.

    • Raif Badawi: Atheist Saudi blogger faces further round of lashes, supporters say

      Saudi blogger Raif Badawi is facing a new round of lashes, according to his supporters.

      A Canadian foundation campaigning for his release said a “reliable source” in Saudi Arabia told them he faces a renewed threat of flogging.

      The 32-year-old was handed 1,000 lashes and a ten-year jail term in 2014 for insulting Islam online.

    • ‘He didn’t know the boy didn’t want to be raped’ court throws out migrant child sex charge

      When the youngster went to the showers, Amir A. allegedly followed him, pushed him into a toilet cubicle, and violently sexually assaulted him.

      Following the attack, the accused rapist returned to the pool and was practising on the diving board when police arrived, after the 10-year-old raised the alarm with the lifeguard.

      The child suffered severe anal injuries which had to be treated at a local children’s hospital, and is still plagued by serious post-traumatic stress disorder.

      In a police interview, Amir A. confessed to the crime; telling officers the incident had been “a sexual emergency”, as his wife had remained in Iraq and he “had not had sex in four months”.

    • Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament

      I have just finished giving evidence to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament on torture and extraordinary rendition. I am dashing off now and will give a fuller account later of what I said only. But I will just say that I was very happily surprised by how genuine the committee were, by the acuity of their questioning and by what was revealed of the general trend of their thinking. I perceived no hostility at all. I rather hope, and believe I have grounds to hope, that their eventual report will contain more of both truth and wisdom than is generally expected.

    • Homeland Security Must Stop Using Private Prisons for Immigration Detention. Here’s How to Do It.

      ACLU policy paper explains why detaining fewer immigrants must be part of the plan to stop using private prisons.

      This August, the Justice Department made history when it announced that the Bureau of Prisons would curtail — and eventually end — its use of private prisons. As the Justice Department noted, this change was made possible by criminal justice reforms that reduced its prison population. Now the ACLU is releasing a policy paper that calls on the Department of Homeland Security to follow suit by reducing its detention population and then ending its own use of private prisons.

      The paper, “Shutting Down the Profiteers: Why and How the Department of Homeland Security Should Stop Using Private Prisons,” provides a concrete plan for how ICE can and should phase out its reliance on private prisons. The number of immigrants in detention has skyrocketed in the past two decades, and without these unnecessary detentions, there would be no need for private prison beds. The paper describes the human toll of over-detention and privatization and lays out ICE’s dangerously close relationship with the private prison industry.

    • Police Want to 3D Print a Dead Man’s Fingers to Unlock His Phone

      I’ll unpack the Constitutional issues in a bit, but first, the technology. Michigan State University professor who holds six U.S. patents for fingerprint recognition technology was asked by police to help catch a murderer. The cops scans of the victim’s fingerprints and thought that unlocking his phone might provide clues as to who killed him.

    • Police arrest more people for marijuana use than for all violent crimes — combined

      On any given day in the United States, at least 137,000 people sit behind bars on simple drug-possession charges, according to a report released Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch.

      Nearly two-thirds of them are in local jails. The report says that most of these jailed inmates have not been convicted of any crime: They’re sitting in a cell, awaiting a day in court, an appearance that may be months or even years off, because they can’t afford to post bail.

      “It’s been 45 years since the war on drugs was declared, and it hasn’t been a success,” lead author Tess Borden of Human Rights Watch said in an interview. “Rates of drug use are not down. Drug dependency has not stopped. Every 25 seconds, we’re arresting someone for drug use.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Harris Faulkner Suit Against Hasbro Over A Toy Hamster Ends In Settlement, Hasbro To Discontinue The Toy

      While we cover a lot of silly intellectual property disputes here, none has the potential to upend our society into a circus of hilarious litigious stupidity as much as publicity rights do. This barely-arrived form of intellectual property has been the star of all kinds of legal insanity, with one needing only to note its use by such upstanding denizens of our reality as Lindsay Lohan and the brother of Pablo Escobar. But I have to admit I had reserved a special place in my humor-heart for Harris Faulkner, the Fox News anchor that sued toy-maker Hasbro for making a a hamster figurine that shared her name. Because the sharing of a name isn’t sufficient to arise to a publicity rights violation, the IRL-non-hamster-Faulkner had to claim that the ficticious-hamster-Faulkner also borrowed from her physical likeness, an argument which her legal team actually made. As a reminder, here are images of both.

    • Trademarks
      • No One Owns Invisible Disabilities

        The purpose of registered trademarks is to protect people. When you buy a bottle of Club-Mate, the trademark affords you some certainty that what you’re buying is the product you already know and love and not that of a sneaky impostor. But when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues overly broad or generic trademarks, those trademarks do just the opposite: they can expose us to the risk of legal bullying. One recent round of bullying over a trademark on “invisible disabilities” has shown how a bad trademark can even be used to threaten people’s right to assemble and express themselves online.

        It started in late 2015 when a group called Invisible Disability Project (IDP) applied for a trademark on its name. A lawyer representing the Invisible Disabilities Association (IDA) sent IDP a letter threatening to sue it over the use of the term “invisible disability.” (IDA had received a trademark on the term in 2013). In July 2016, IDA used Facebook’s trademark report form to have IDP’s Facebook page—the main place where IDP’s members and supporters congregate—taken down. IDA even registered the domain names and .net and directed visitors to those sites to its own website.

    • Copyrights
      • Anti-Piracy Outfits Agree to Strengthen International Cooperation

        Government officials and representatives from anti-piracy outfits from the United States, Europe and Russia met up in Brussels this week. The roundtable, “Combating Internet Piracy: International Practice”, focused on the need for international cooperation and the strengthening of copyright legislation.

        With the Internet and therefore online piracy having developed into a truly global phenomenon, anti-piracy groups everywhere are expanding their reach.

        What was once a semi-isolated affair has become a multi-agency, cross-continent operation, with governments and rights holders alike striving to share information and pool resources.

      • The Bernie Sanders of Iceland is a Pirate, a poet and possibly the country’s next leader

        Birgitta Jónsdóttir is a poet, a Web developer and a former WikiLeaks activist. She’s also founder and leader of Iceland’s Pirate Party, which has been at or near the top of polls ahead of national elections Oct. 29.

        Washington Post London Bureau Chief Griff Witte sat down with Jónsdóttir for an interview at her office in Reykjavik on Oct. 19. The following are excerpts from their conversation.

      • Cisco Develops System To Automatically Cut-Off Pirate Video Streams

        Cisco says it has developed a system to disable live pirate streams . The network equipment company says its Streaming Piracy Prevention platform utilizes third-party forensic watermarking to shut down pirate streams in real-time, without any need to send takedown notices to hosts or receive cooperation from third parties.

      • Team Prenda Loses Big Again: Told To Pay Over $650k For Bogus Defamation Lawsuit

        Welp, it looks like another bad day for Team Prenda. The law firm that went around uploading its own porn films and then shaking down people on the internet has had a bad few years in terms of courts blasting them for abusing the court system and ordering them to pay up for all sorts of awful things. Every few weeks it seems like we read about another loss for John Steele and Paul Hansmeier (the third “partner” in this mess, Paul Duffy, passed away). The latest is not only a pretty big hit, it’s also a complete “own goal” by Team Prenda. This one wasn’t in one of their crappy shakedown lawsuits where a defendant hit back. No, this was in the case where Prenda tried to sue all of its critics for defamation in both Illinois and Florida. The Florida case, filed by John Steele, was quickly dismissed once Steele realized it broke all kinds of rules. But the Illinois cases moved forward. There was some bouncing around between state and federal court, before the case was dismissed and some sanctions were added.

      • Prenda lawyers’ careers are up in smoke, but sanctions keep coming

        After a few years suing Internet users over piracy claims, the lawyers behind the Prenda law copyright-trolling operation had made millions. But beginning in 2013, they were hit with repeated sanctions from federal judges. Now, their careers are in shambles—Paul Hansmeier had his law license suspended, John Steele is facing a bar complaint, and both may be facing an FBI investigation. (A third lawyer who was involved, Paul Duffy, passed away last year.)

        Even as their scheme collapses, they continue to be hit with sanctions. This week, Hansmeier and Steele got hit with a big one. US District Judge John Darrah oversaw litigation related to one of Prenda’s most audacious moves—their defamation lawsuit against their critics. They sued Steele’s former housekeeper, Alan Cooper, and his lawyer, Paul Godfread, for accusing Steele of identity theft. For good measure, they also sued anonymous blog commenters who called Prenda attorneys “brain-dead” and “assclowns.”

Open Letter Exposing the Farce Which Was Battistelli’s ‘Social Conference’ Coinciding With Further (New) Attacks on EPO Staff Representatives

Sunday 23rd of October 2016 05:33:38 AM

Reaffirming his position that he is in a war against truth itself

Source (original): Rospatent

Summary: A detailed letter reveals legitimate concerns expressed by staff representatives at the EPO ahead of the so-called Social Conference, in which we have highlighted severe factual flaws

WE PREVIOUSLY mentioned that SUEPO had sent a letter to Battistelli last month, with a copy sent to the Delegations of the Administrative Council. It was about their exclusion from the propaganda/lobbying event known as “Social Conference” (first of its kind, made up by Team Battistelli to cover their collective behinds).

Another letter, an open letter in fact, was sent to Mr Battistelli. “SUEPO officials from Berlin and Munich write to the President,” a source quoted for us, “indicating that in the current circumstances they will not attend the “Social Conference”.”

Here are the contents of this open letter (which is apparently not open to the wider public, probably due to fear of retribution):


Central Bureau
Bureau central

28 September2016
su16117cl – 0.3.1/0.2.1

OPEN LETTER to the President of the European Patent Office, Mr Battistelli

Subject: “Social Conference” 11 October 2016

Dear Mr Battistelli,

we have learned that a “social conference” will take place on 11 October in Munich with the alleged goal of improving the social dialog in the EPO.

Meanwhile we take note that after 6 disciplinary measures have been hanged on EPO Staff Representatives, comprising two dismissals and four demotions, over the past 2 years, further three colleagues are being targeted, according to the minutes of the last B28 session1

As elected union officials of SUEPO, the union representing roughly half of the Staff in the EPO, we share the concerns and questions raised by the Local Staff Committee in The Hague (see Annex 1) regarding the so-called “Social Conference”. We take note that at this date these questions remain unanswered.

In light of the above, and in combination with the fact that the systematic persecution of Staff Representatives continues unabated, the undersigned consider that none of the conditions are met for such a conference to bear fruits. Further the undersigned consider that their participation will be misused as a “fig leaf” to cover the toxic nature of the present “social dialog” and management policies.

In solidarity with our colleagues of the Local SUEPO Branch in The Hague (see Annex 2), and Chairmen of SUEPO Central (su16116cl, see Annex 3), the undersigned will not attend the Social Conference.

The elected SUEPO Officials:
Thomas Franchitti
Mathieu Guillaume
Florent Béraud

Cc: B28 Members, PD 4.3

1 : “The Board noted information provided by the President about 3 current investigations/disciplinary proceedings involving SUEPO members in The Hague Staff Representatives


Dear Colleagues:

The Office has announced on intranet that the so-called “Social Conference” will take place on 11 October 2016. Concomitantly, an update has been published in the latest Gazette (page 11).

From these announcements we learn:

1. The Conference will be led by consultants

2. The stakeholders are: representatives from the Office’s management and staff, as well as members of the Staff Committees and recognized trade union, and delegates of the Administrative Council.

3. The Conference will include presentations about the Social Study (PwC), the OHSRA (WellKom et al) and the Financial Report (Deloitte).

4. Some 8-12 workshops will follow to “identify key elements of each study and the next steps for a sustainable EPO”.

5. Topics of discussion explicitly mentioned are:

-Social dialogue;
-Financial sustainability and social package;
-Well-being at the workplace;
-Change management and readiness to change.

In the Gazette, the President referred to a number of topics on the “social agenda” but it remains unclear whether these topics will be subject of discussion. For instance:

- The Technologia study is not mentioned as being part of the agenda.
- The President is silent about Council resolution CA/26/16, and about the fate of a number of staff representatives and union officials subjected to investigations/disciplinary proceedings.

Putting the cart before the horse?

The Social Conference ought to be the starting point for restoring social peace, justice and respect for fundamental rights and values.

We wonder whether it is wise to start discussing and comparing details like social packages and change management at this juncture. Are we not putting the cart before the horse? Should we not first discuss and agree on the principles that should pull the cart?

In our opinion, a useful starting point would be to agree that the fundamental rights and the values deriving therefrom govern our dealing with each other and discuss how to make all of our laws and practices subject to them. The second step would be to design and agree on an effective mechanism to enforce compliance with the said rights and values. Once that is in place, all details should fall into place without too much effort, and with little discord.


Having said this, if the Office and the Administrative Council are serious in wanting to involve staff (and to be seen/perceived by staff as doing so), and in wanting to identify key elements to move forward, then the Social Conference must:

- be well prepared,
- be endowed with sufficient resources and safeguards
- address the essential topics and
- have a clear follow up.

a) Preparation

The outcome of all three studies, including the essential raw data, conclusions and recommendations by the consultants should be ready by now. All stakeholders should have time to study them and collect feedback, such that the participants in the conference can represent their respective groups and not merely express their personal opinions.

- When are staff representatives and staff going to receive the studies?
- Is the Technologia study going to form part of the studies to be discussed and evaluated? If not, why?

For an efficient and productive process, it would be helpful if the stakeholders (the Administrative Council, Management, the Staff Representation and the Unions) submitted in writing, as far as possible, their comments and proposals on the various topics. However we have not seen or heard any such call from the organiser of the event (the President). Obviously it will be impossible to collect feedback on the spot.

- Is Management willing to take up such an initiative and to create a respective intranet platform as it did on other occasions?

- What measures has Management foreseen to enable the remaining staff representatives to collect feedback from staff? Is it going to give more time resources in the weeks before the event? Is it going to allow

general assemblies? If not, how are staff representatives supposed to collect feedback?

- The status of some stakeholders invited (“representatives from the Office’s management and staff”, the “recognized union”) is unclear given the vocabulary used in the intranet announcement and the Gazette interview.

- What is the difference in role during the conference between “representatives from staff” and “staff representatives”?

- Are the President and the AC aware that such expressions undermine the statutory role of staff representation?

- Are they aware that such phrasing raises concerns that the conference will be abused for bypassing the statutory consultation requirements and bodies, especially since the President in the Gazette sees this Conference as a “tool” to restore social peace?

b) Resources & Safeguards

- Clearly, ONE DAY is insufficient for a proper, meaningful conference, unless stakeholders have had the opportunity to get thoroughly acquainted with the outcome of the studies. There will obviously be no time for a proper dialogue, especially in view of the extensive topics on the agenda.

From what we know so far it appears that about half a day will be spent on the presentation of the studies. Management and its Representatives will have had all time necessary to study them, whereas staff participating will have to digest the material via oral information in a few hours.

- Is this a good starting point to convince all parties involved that a proper dialogue is feasible?

- A number of workshops will be held wherein staff representatives will be expected to participate. The number of workshop is such that the remaining staff representatives will inevitably be isolated from each other, having to improvise on new information. They could be systematically outnumbered or ignored, making them virtually irrelevant in the discussions.

- How does the Office intend to conduct the workshops so that they prove to be a solid forum to identify the key issues identified by all stakeholders?

- As for the safeguards, it is clear that all stakeholders should feel free and safe to discuss. An essential first step would be, in our opinion, to fulfil the mandate given by the Council resolution CA/26/16.

How is the President going to implement resolution CA/26/16? When?

c) Essential topics

- It is unclear what topics will actually be treated. We note that the President, in his Gazette interview, refers several times to a Social Agenda and mentions its various points. However only very few of the burning issues are mentioned in said interview.

-Who has chosen the topics to be treated in the workshops?
-Will the topics of discussion consist exclusively of points chosen by the President?
-Will other stakeholders – the AC, the consultants, staff representation – be asked to give their input, and/or be allowed to put other topics on the agenda? If so, when?

- The latest developments on the juridical front (the decision of the EBoA on the suspended DG3 judge; recent ATILO cases; Dutch Court of Appeal decision) indicate that a number of Office decisions and practices cast doubt on the Office’s ability to comply with a number of generally accepted principles of due process. Also internally, serious concerns have been voiced about the adequacy and lawfulness of the investigation unit’s operation, the disciplinary procedures, and of our conflict resolution system.

- Will these be among the main issues to be discussed?

One of the main grievances of staff is that the AC has chosen a rather passive stance for a very long time; that it hasn’t made any visible effort to listen to staff’s version of the story, that it hasn’t given staff the same attention it has given to the President and that it hasn’t exercised its supervising role as it should have given the seriousness of the conflict. In particular, although the AC regularly holds meetings with the President, it has never given the same chances to staff to bring forward their cases.

-Does the AC consider setting up a forum for this purpose?
-If not, through what statutory mechanisms can it guarantee to receive complete and adequate feedback from staff?
-Which social partner does the AC recognise as official?

d) Follow up

Given the many open wounds it appears impossible to process all burning issues.

-Are there any next steps that will treat the individual / specific topics in depth and substance? Or is the current event supposed to be the one and only medicine for all ailments?
-What is the realistic expectation of the practical outcome of the Conference?

Our preliminary conclusions:

We are of the opinion that the current crisis will only come to a good end if enough time and true volition are invested without delay to listen to each other’s grievances and to reconcile different views. We urge the Administrative Council to guarantee a proper conference and the President to act accordingly.

It would be most unfortunate if the event proved to be nothing more than yet another self-serving PR event to sweep the problems under the carpet.

Given the current policy in respect of the Staff Representation, it is very difficult to be optimistic in this respect. Nevertheless, we, the few remaining members of LSCTH, are willing to put our energy and creativity in sorting things out and honouring our mandate. However, we are not prepared to play the role of the President’s fig leaf.

Therefore, we invite the President and the Administrative to answer our questions without delay, and take all measures necessary to have staff meaningfully involved, and to ensure that the conference can be held in a constructive atmosphere.

We want to make it clear that we are not going to contribute to

-futile PR exercises,
-bypassing the consultative procedures foreseen in the Codex,
-justifying the current tendency to disregard the prerogatives and functions of the staff representation,
-whitewashing arbitrariness.

Your Local Staff Committee The Hague


Ortssektion Den Haag
Local section The Hague
Section locale La Haye

20 September 2016

“Social Conference” of 11 October 2016

Dear Mr Battistelli,

We have learned about the Social Conference scheduled for 11 October.

SUEPO, who represents about half of the EPO workforce, has not been invited. Over the past two and half years you have consistently threatened and/or heavily sanctioned the majority of the elected officials of a Union you called in public a “mafia like organisation“. In the circumstances, we will obviously not attend voluntarily. (If you want to oblige any of us to attend as “members of Staff Committees”, we would only participate under duress).

We truly regret seeing that, rather than fostering social dialogue by respecting the terms of the March resolution of the Administrative Council (CA/26/16), you have chosen to continue persecuting SUEPO and its elected officials, most recently in The Hague.

We also regret that you do not seem to take seriously the requirements of a bona-fide social conference. If its aim is to launch a program to restore social peace, it is inconsistent for you to refuse to discuss the results of the Technologia survey, or to consider our counterproposal for a framework agreement between the EPO and SUEPO.

Alain Rosé
Jesús Areso
Philippe Couckuyt
François Brévier

cc: B28 members


Central Bureau
Bureau central

27 September 2016
su16116cl – 4.6

“Social Conference” of 11 October 2016

Dear Mr Battistelli,

We refer to the letter addressed to you on 20.09.2016 from SUEPO The Hague on the subject of the Social Conference, which remains unanswered.

SUEPO, who represents about half of the EPO workforce, has not been invited. Over the past two and half years you have consistently threatened and/or heavily sanctioned the majority of the elected officials of a Union you called in public a “mafia like organisation“. In the circumstances, we will obviously not attend voluntarily. (If you want to oblige any of us to attend as “members of Staff Committees”, we would only participate under duress)

We truly regret seeing that, rather than fostering social dialogue by respecting the terms of the March resolution of the Administrative Council (CA/26/16), you have chosen to continue persecuting SUEPO and its elected officials, most recently in The Hague, cf. minutes of the Board 28 meeting of 8 September.

We also regret that you do not seem to take seriously the requirements of a bona-fide social conference. If its aim is to launch a program to restore social peace, it is inconsistent for you to refuse to discuss the results of the Technologia survey, or to consider our counterproposal for a framework agreement between the EPO and SUEPO.

Yours sincerely,
Joachim Michels
Chair SUEPO Central
Elizabeth Hardon
Vice-Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO Munich Alain Rosé
Vice-Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO The Hague
Wolfgang Manntz
Vice-Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO Berlin David Dickinson
Vice-Chair SUEPO Central
Chair SUEPO Vienna

cc: Delegations of the Administrative Council

This whole PR exercise from Battistelli seems to have only exacerbated things and made the EPO associated with propaganda mills. If Battistelli thought he could simply buy an alternate reality and fool the well-educated examiners, than he thinks too much like a politician addressing (and lying to) “the masses”.

Translation of Latest Rant From French MP Philip Cordery About Benoît Battistelli’s Abuses at the EPO

Sunday 23rd of October 2016 04:36:58 AM

The likes of Laurent Prunier may still have someone to turn to

Summary: Philip Cordery crosses horns with Benoît Battistelli, who has become a source of embarrassment for France with his autocratic tendencies and misguided policies that rapidly ruin the European Patent Office (EPO)

AS we noted here last week and the week before that, a French politician had intervened and supported EPO protesters. He is not Pierre-Yves Le Borgn’, the politician who represents or is responsible for French staff working abroad (usually in Europe/EU, not overseas) but another one, whom we also wrote about in the past [1, 2]. He wrote about the subject earlier this month.

Earlier today on we asked if someone can translate from French (to English) for Techrights to publish. Petra Kramer is a Dutch speaker who understands EPO terminology, so she provided the following imperfect translation:

On October 13, I was backed some 600 employees of the European Patent Office (EPO) marching peacefully through the streets of The Hague to express dissatisfaction with the authoritarian and arbitrary management of the organization.

Unhealthy production pressure, drastic limitation of the right to strike, varied threats of sanctions, Trade union representatives of staff laid off. This is the daily life in this international organization that has been abusively hiding for 3 years behind the functional immunity to violate with impunity basic and fundamental principles of labor law.

The EPO, like many other international organizations, enjoys immunity from jurisdiction and execution that no law or decision can be imposed, in order to guard against any national interference, this part the performance of his duties (i.e. Batistelli’s mission to impose patent maximalism and increasing of production thereby lowering patent quality, PK) . Immunity as the main official, the French President Benoît Battistelli brandished as a defense. However, as I have said and repeated many times: “Immunity should not mean impunity.”

I prefer to speak of the EPO which is at the heart of this mission, that is to say, a great organization of which all employees are devoted to the service of industry and innovation in Europe for almost 40 years, including the seriousness of their work is a measure of competence in the highly demanding business of intellectual property rights. Unfortunately, the social pressure coupled with the brutal imposition of ever higher productivity of recent years finally rub off on the quality of the work, the risk ultimately seriously affects the trust of users.

In this poisonous atmosphere and anxiety, I went several times to The Hague to support staff there. I stood face to face with many staff members who informed me all about what happens behind the beautiful facade of this organization. I interacted tirelessly for 3 years with the French authorities to alert them of the industrial, social, and moral implications.

The latest developments are both disturbing and unacceptable. In January, three staff representatives were dismissed or degraded in Munich. Today is the turn of those from The Hague to be under threat. It may be a coincidence. This hunt on representatives of all members of staff of the majority union is unworthy of an organization in a democratic country.

The governance [or mismanagement, PK] of the management team is not only a pain for staff and limiting the effectiveness of the EPO, it has also has become long overdue to intervene for the image of France in Europe and the world. Enough is enough. Battistelli has to go.

NB. I was forced to blur the photo to protect employees who have had the courage to come to the event.

This is similar to what he also posted in Facebook (and we quoted here before). Kramer asked how to reform the Office [1, 2], but this is a question best addressed at actual EPO staff, not clueless management that forms Battistelli’s circle. My personal view is that i) patent scope must be tightened, ii) appeal boards strengthened/broadened (to help with (i)), iii) the Administrative Council needs to be flushed (particularly at the top) to ensure it’s not in the pocket of the Office, iv) the whole of Team Battistelli needs to be dismissed and v) the Office should seek to recruit lost staff and attract new talent while making their unions stronger and recognising that the Office should be staff-driven, not Battistelli-driven. All of these changes would bring the EPO closer in line with the law, with the EPC, and with human dignity.

Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Leaked Document Shows PwC’s Dishonesty and Misrepresentation of EPO Staff

Sunday 23rd of October 2016 03:47:26 AM

Summary: An in-depth analysis (but not comprehensive, just preliminary) of the so-called ‘study’ from PwC, which basically did what it was paid for (pay to say)

THE OTHER day we published some raw material from PwC. Soon afterwards, in part 2 of this little 'series', we presented a comparison that had been leaked to us. Well, an insider has also just leaked to us a much more comprehensive document (from which the latter material had been snapped), pertaining to those so-called 'studies' which are accessible only internally. With literally thousands of disgruntled employees it’s no wonder almost everything ends up being sent to us.

We have uploaded the leaked document [PDF] and wish to highlight some bits from it: “Obviously, the EPO management’s usual “market-driven” mantra has been taken on board by PwC without any form of critical analysis. In doing so, PwC has simply missed the elephant in the room which is the original mission of the EPO as defined in the preamble of the EPC: the EPO is a public service entity put in place to protect inventions and serve innovation in the interest of the public at large. The real aim of a public service is not to “win”, or to “compete”, or to “grow” or to “propel business forward”.” [page 1]

“At the start, the study is presented as being based on an objective survey, solid fact-finding and the application of genuine, independent analysis. Further reading begins to cast serious doubts about these three assertions.” [page 2]

Second, the study is remarkable for what it conceals: it is incomprehensible how a consultant can produce a 300-page analysis of the EPO social situation without once mentioning the main union SUEPO who represent more than 50% of its staff. [page 2]

“Last, most of the key starting-points of the study, such as the information produced by the administration 8 , present policy mantra and top management philosophy, are simply taken for granted i without question.” [page 2]

As a conclusion, criticising the “us and them” mentality in the Office comes in handy when identifying the culprits in the Office. By coincidence, PwC shares the approach used by top management over the last years over and over again to always never blame themselves but instead point fingers at others. [page 4]

Fact is that, leaving the PwC comments and recommendations aside, the objective parts of the social study correlates well with the outcome of the Technologia survey in 2016; it confirms the clear worsening of the situation, in particular in terms of Staff dissatisfaction (see Annex). It is in line with the opinion expressed on numerous occasions by Staff and their Representatives and complements the ample media coverage on the present situation. It is all the more remarkable then that at no stage the reforms themselves come under scrutiny. [page 5]

We may have a lot more to say about PwC’s so-called ‘study’. EPO staff is rightly angry about blatant propaganda being cast as “study”. Propaganda mills or liars for hire have no room in an inherently scientific institution such as the EPO.

Links 22/10/2016: Deus Ex for GNU/Linux, Global DDoS (DNS)

Saturday 22nd of October 2016 04:24:56 PM

Contents GNU/Linux
  • Server
    • Puppet Rolls Out New Docker Image Builds

      Folks who are focused on container technology and virtual machines as they are implemented today might want to give a hat tip to some of the early technologies and platforms that arrived in the same arena. Among those, Puppet, which was built on the legacy of the venerable Cfengine system, was an early platform that helped automate lots of virtual machine implementations. We covered it in depth all the way back in 2008.

      Earlier this year, Puppet Labs rebranded as simply Puppet, and also named its first president and COO, Sanjay Mirchandani, who came to the company from VMware, where he was a senior vice-president. Now, at PuppetConf, the company has announced the availability of Puppet Docker Image Build, which “automates the container build process to help organizations as they define, build and deploy containers into production environments.” This new set of capabilities adds to existing Puppet functionality for installing and managing container infrastructure, including Docker, Kubernetes and Mesos, among others.

  • Kernel Space
    • Intel Has Been Working On MIPI SoundWire Support For Linux

      An Intel developer has published testing patches for providing a SoundWire bus driver within the Linux kernel, which implements the MIPI SoundWire 1.1 specification.

      For those unfamiliar with SoundWire as was I when coming across these patches, “The SoundWire protocol is a robust, scalable, low complexity, low power, low latency, two-pin (clock and data) multi-drop bus that allows for the transfer of multiple audio streams and embedded control/commands. SoundWire provides synchronization capabilities and supports both PCM and PDM, multichannel data, isochronous and asynchronous modes. SoundWire does borrow a number of concepts from existing interfaces such as HDAudio, AC97, SLIMbus, which already provide control/audio on the same wires, or legacy interfaces such as I2C/I2S, TDM, PDM.”

    • Linux Perf Gets New “C2C” Tool For False Sharing Detection

      The perf code for Linux 4.10 is set to receive a new “c2c” tool.

      The C2C tool within the perf subsystem is aimed to track down cacheline contention and has already been used by developers in tracking down false sharing of large applications, readers/writes to cachelines, and related information to assist NUMA shared-memory applications.

    • OpenTracing: Turning the Lights On for Microservices

      Those building microservices at scale understand the role and importance of distributed tracing: after all, it’s the most direct way to understand how and why complex systems misbehave. When we deployed Dapper at Google in 2005, it was like someone finally turned the lights on: everything from ordinary programming errors to broken caches to bad network hardware to unknown dependencies came into plain view.

    • Linux Foundation Spurs JavaScript Development
    • Graphics Stack
      • Radeon vs. Nouveau Open-Source Drivers On Mesa Git + Linux 4.9

        For your viewing pleasure this Friday are some open-source AMD vs. NVIDIA numbers when using the latest open-source code on each side. Linux 4.9-rc1 was used while Ubuntu 16.10 paired with the Padoka PPA led to Mesa Git as of earlier this week plus LLVM 4.0 SVN. As covered recently, there are no Nouveau driver changes for Linux 4.9 while we had hoped the boost patches would land. Thus the re-clocking is still quite poor for this open-source NVIDIA driver stack. For the Nouveau tests I manually re-clocked each graphics card to the highest performance state (0f) after first re-clocking the cards to the 0a performance state for helping some of the GPUs that otherwise fail with memory re-clocking at 0f, as Nouveau developers have expressed this is the preferred approach for testing.

      • NVIDIA 375.10 Linux Driver Released, Supports GTX 1050 Series
      • Nvidia 375.10 Beta Linux Graphics Driver Released with GeForce GTX 1050 Support

        On October 20, 2016, Nvidia published a new Beta graphics driver for the Linux platform, adding support for some new GPUs the company launched recently, as well as various improvements and bug fixes.

        The Nvidia 375.10 Beta is now available for early adopters, but we don’t recommend installing it just yet if you’re looking for a stable and reliable gaming experience, adding support for Nvidia’s recently announced Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 and GeForce GTX 1050 Ti graphics cards, as well as Nvidia Quadro P6000 and Nvidia Quadro P5000 GPUs.

        Another interesting change implemented in the new Beta video driver, which should hit the stable channels next month, is the addition of two new X11 configuration options, namely ForceCompositionPipeline and ForceFullCompositionPipeline, overriding the MetaMode tokens with the same names.

  • Applications
  • Desktop Environments/WMs
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt
  • Distributions
    • New Releases
      • Open-Source Budgie Desktop Sees New Release

        The pet parakeet of the Linux world, Budgie has a new release available for download. in this post we lookout what’s new and tell you how you can get it.

      • Solus Linux Making Performance Gains With Its BLAS Configuration

        Those making use of the promising Solus Linux distribution will soon find their BLAS-based workloads are faster.

        Solus developer Peter O’Connor tweeted this week that he’s found some issues with the BLAS linking on the distribution and he’s made fixes for Solus. He also mentioned that he uncovered these BLAS issues by using our Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

      • SalentOS “Luppìu” 1.0 released!

        With great pleasure the team announces the release of SalentOS “Luppìu” 1.0.

      • Slackel “Live kde” 4.14.21

        This release is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures, while the 64-bit iso supports booting on UEFI systems.
        The 64-bit iso images support booting on UEFI systems.
        The 32-bit iso images support both i686 PAE SMP and i486, non-PAE capable systems.
        Iso images are isohybrid.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE
      • openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the Week 2016/42

        This was week 42 – The openSUSE LEAP week of the Year. It can’t be a co-incidence that the Release Candidate 1 was announced in Week 42, on the 2nd day (42.2 – European counting, we start our week on Monday, not on Sunday).

        But also in Tumbleweed things are not standing still: of course many of the things are well in line with what Leap received (like for example Plasma updates), but Tumbleweed rolls at a different pace ahead of the game.

    • Red Hat Family
    • Debian Family
      • Derivatives
        • Canonical/Ubuntu
          • Flavours and Variants
            • Ubuntu MATE, Not Just a Whim

              I’ve stated for years how much I dislike Ubuntu’s Unity interface. Yes, it’s become more polished through the years, but it’s just not an interface that thinks the same way I do. That’s likely because I’m old and inflexible, but nevertheless, I’ve done everything I could to avoid using Unity, which usually means switching to Xubuntu. I actually really like Xubuntu, and the Xfce interface is close enough to the GNOME 2 look, that I hardly miss the way my laptop used to look before Unity.

              I wasn’t alone in my disdain for Ubuntu’s flagship desktop manager switch, and many folks either switched to Xubuntu or moved to another Debian/Ubuntu-based distro like Linux Mint. The MATE desktop started as a hack, in fact, because GNOME 3 and Unity were such drastic changes. I never really got into MATE, however, because I thought it was going to be nothing more than a hack and eventually would be unusable due to old GNOME 2 libraries phasing out and so forth.

  • Devices/Embedded
    • Renesas spins 3rd Gen automotive starter kits, adds new M3 SoC

      Renesas has launched two Linux-ready R-Car starter kits optimized for AGL and GENIVI: an R-Car H3 based “Premier” and a “Pro” with a lower-end M3 SoC.

      Later this month, Renesas will begin selling two third-generation starter kits for its 64-bit ARM-based R-Car automotive SoCs. The kits are designed for ADAS, infotainment, reconfigurable digital clusters, and integrated digital cockpits.

      The two kits are optimized for open source Linux standards like Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) and GENIVI, but they also support QNX. Earlier R-Car automotive starter kits include last year’s R-Car H2 ADAS Starter Kit, based on its earlier H2 automotive SoC.

    • Yocto driven camera design taps octa-core Snapdragon

      Qualcomm and Thundercomm unveiled a Linux-supported, 4K camera reference design with an octa-core Snapdragon 625 and video analytics software.

      Qualcomm and hardware partner Thundercomm Technology announced an IP Connected Camera reference design called the Snapdragon 625 IP Camera built around its 14nm-fabricated, octa-core Cortex-A53 Snapdragon 625 system-on-chip. This is Qualcomm’s first Connected Camera design to support Linux instead of Android.

Free Software/Open Source
  • The Open Source Way

    “Open source”, in the world of IT, is program code that is meant for collaboration and open contribution. Intended to be modified and shared, because by design and spirit, it is meant for the public at large.

    It’s been said that “”open source” intimates a broader set of values—what we call “the open source way.” Open source projects, products, or initiatives embrace and celebrate principles of open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency, meritocracy, and community-oriented development.” So it is a natural conclusion that in this age of open and transparent government, that the government IT manager or technician would be one of the first to want to embrace this new role of collaborative team member within a larger community.

  • Another rift in the open source BPM market: @FlowableBPM forks from @Alfresco Activiti

    In early 2013, Camunda – at the time, a value-added Activiti consulting partner as well as a significant contributor to the open source project – created a fork from Activiti to form what is now the Camunda open source BPM platform as well as their commercial version based on the open source core.

  • Pydio, an Open Source File Sharing and Sync Solution, Out in New Version

    If you’ve followed us here at OStatic, you’ve probably seen our coverage of open source file sharing, cloud and synchronization tools. For example, we’ve covered ownCloud and Nextcloud extensively.

    Not so many people know about Pydio, though, which is out in a new version Pydio7. It’s an open source file sharing & sync solution that now has a host of new features and performance upgrades. It’s worth downloading and trying.

    Through a new partnership with Collabora Productivity (the LibreOffice Cloud provider), Pydio7 now combines file sharing, document editing and online collaboration. Users can now not only access documents online, but also co-author new content and work collaboratively.

  • Web Browsers
  • SaaS/Back End
    • Open-Source Innovations Driving Demand for Hadoop

      AtScale, provider of BI (Business Intelligence) on Hadoop, has released its study titled “The Business Intelligence Benchmark for SQL-on-Hadoop engines,” which is a performance test of BI workloads on Hadoop. The report also studies the strengths and weaknesses of Hive, Presto, Impala and Spark SQL, which are the most popular analytical engines for Hadoop.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Lumina Desktop 1.1 Released

      The BSD-focused, Qt-powered Lumina Desktop Environment is out with its version 1.1 update.

      The developers behind the Lumina Desktop Environment consider it a “significant update” with both new and reworked utilities, infrastructure improvements, and other enhancements.

      Lumina 1.1 adds a pure Qt5 calculator, text editor improvements, the file manager has been completely overhauled, system application list management is much improved, and there is a range of other improvements.

  • Public Services/Government
    • EU-Fossa project submits results of code audits

      The European Commission’s ‘EU Free and Open Source Software Auditing’ project (EU-Fossa) has sent its code review results to the developers of Apache HTTP server target and KeePass. The audit results are not yet made public, however, no critical vulnerabilities were found.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Hardware/Modding
      • New SafariSeat wheelchairs made from bicycle parts help East Africans roam rough terrain
      • SafariSeat, an Open Source Wheelchair for Rural Offroading

        If you’re disabled in a poorly developed part of the world, even a great modern wheelchair may be next to useless. What’s needed is a more off-road design that’s made to be easy to manufacture and repair than something built for a city with sidewalks.

        SafariSeat is a newly designed open-source wheelchair that hopes to make a big impact for disabled people the world over. It uses push bars for power and has large front wheels and small rear ones to easily roll over large objects.

        In a novel move, the designers included a moving seat that shifts bit every time you push the bars to help prevent pressure sores on the butt.

      • Five 3D printing projects for Halloween

        With Halloween fast approaching I figured it was time to add some 3D printed decorations to the office. Below are some of my pictures for fun Halloween-themed prints. I tried to pick some models that demonstrate varied printing techniques.

  • Health/Nutrition
  • Security
    • OOPS! Sometimes Even Linus Gets It Wrong!
    • Free tool protects PCs from master boot record attacks [Ed: UEFI has repeatedly been found to be both a detriment to security and enabler of Microsoft lock-in]

      Cisco’s Talos team has developed an open-source tool that can protect the master boot record of Windows computers from modification by ransomware and other malicious attacks.

      The tool, called MBRFilter, functions as a signed system driver and puts the disk’s sector 0 into a read-only state. It is available for both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows versions and its source code has been published on GitHub.

      The master boot record (MBR) consists of executable code that’s stored in the first sector (sector 0) of a hard disk drive and launches the operating system’s boot loader. The MBR also contains information about the disk’s partitions and their file systems.

      Since the MBR code is executed before the OS itself, it can be abused by malware programs to increase their persistence and gain a head start before antivirus programs. Malware programs that infect the MBR to hide from antivirus programs have historically been known as bootkits — boot-level rootkits.

      Microsoft attempted to solve the bootkit problem by implementing cryptographic verification of the bootloader in Windows 8 and later. This feature is known as Secure Boot and is based on the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) — the modern BIOS.

    • DDOS Attack On Internet Infrastructure

      I hope somebody’s paying attention. There’s been another big DDOS attack, this time against the infrastructure of the Internet. It began at 7:10 a.m. EDT today against Dyn, a major DNS host, and was brought under control at 9:36 a.m. According to Gizmodo, which was the first to report the story, at least 40 sites were made unreachable to users on the US East Coast. Many of the sites affected are among the most trafficed on the web, and included CNN, Twitter, PayPal, Pinterest and Reddit to name a few. The developer community was also touched, as GitHub was also made unreachable.

      This event comes on the heels of a record breaking 620 Gbps DDOS attack about a month ago that brought down security expert Brian Krebs’ website, KrebsonSecurity. In that attack, Krebs determined the attack had been launched by botnets that primarily utilized compromised IoT devices, and was seen by some as ushering in a new era of Internet security woes.

    • This Is Why Half the Internet Shut Down Today [Update: It’s Getting Worse]

      Twitter, Spotify and Reddit, and a huge swath of other websites were down or screwed up this morning. This was happening as hackers unleashed a large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the servers of Dyn, a major DNS host. It’s probably safe to assume that the two situations are related.

    • Major DNS provider Dyn hit with DDoS attack

      Attacks against DNS provider Dyn continued into Friday afternoon. Shortly before noon, the company said it began “monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack” against its Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure. The attack may also have impacted Managed DNS advanced service “with possible delays in monitoring.”

    • What We Know About Friday’s Massive East Coast Internet Outage

      Friday morning is prime time for some casual news reading, tweeting, and general Internet browsing, but you may have had some trouble accessing your usual sites and services this morning and throughout the day, from Spotify and Reddit to the New York Times and even good ol’ For that, you can thank a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) that took down a big chunk of the Internet for most of the Eastern seaboard.

      This morning’s attack started around 7 am ET and was aimed at Dyn, an Internet infrastructure company headquartered in New Hampshire. That first bout was resolved after about two hours; a second attack began just before noon. Dyn reported a third wave of attacks a little after 4 pm ET. In all cases, traffic to Dyn’s Internet directory servers throughout the US—primarily on the East Coast but later on the opposite end of the country as well—was stopped by a flood of malicious requests from tens of millions of IP addresses disrupting the system. Late in the day, Dyn described the events as a “very sophisticated and complex attack.” Still ongoing, the situation is a definite reminder of the fragility of the web, and the power of the forces that aim to disrupt it.

    • Either IoT will be secure or the internet will be crippled forever

      First things first a disclaimer. I neither like nor trust the National Security Agency (NSA). I believe them to be mainly engaged in economic spying for the corporate American empire. Glenn Greenwald has clearly proven that in his book No Place to Hide. At the NSA, profit and power come first and I have no fucking clue as to how high they prioritize national security. Having said that, the NSA should hack the Internet of (insecure) Things (IoT) to death. I know Homeland Security and the FBI are investigating where the DDoS of doomsday proportions is coming from and the commentariat is already screaming RUSSIA! But it is really no secret what is enabling this clusterfuck. It’s the Mirai botnet. If you buy a “smart camera” from the Chinese company Hangzhou XiongMai Technologies and do not change the default password, it will be part of a botnet five minutes after you connect it to the internet. We were promised a future where we would have flying cars but we’re living in a future where camera’s, light-bulbs, doorbells and fridges can get you in serious trouble because your home appliances are breaking the law.

    • IoT at the Network Edge

      Fog computing, also known as fog networking, is a decentralized computing infrastructure. Computing resources and application services are distributed in logical, efficient places at any points along the connection from the data source (endpoint) to the cloud. The concept is to process data locally and then use the network for communicating with other resources for further processing and analysis. Data could be sent to a data center or a cloud service. A worthwhile reference published by Cisco is the white paper, “Fog Computing and the Internet of Things: Extend the Cloud to Where the Things Are.”

    • Canonical now offers live kernel patching for Ubuntu 16.04 LTS users

      Canonical has announced its ‘Livepatch Service’ which any user can enable on their current installations to eliminate the need for rebooting their machine after installing an update for the Linux kernel. With the release of Linux 4.0, users have been able to update their kernel packages without rebooting, however, Ubuntu will be the first distribution to offer this feature for free.

    • ​The Dirty Cow Linux bug: A silly name for a serious problem

      Dirty Cow is a silly name, but it’s a serious Linux kernel problem. According to the Red Hat bug report, “a race condition was found in the way the Linux kernel’s memory subsystem handled the copy-on-write (COW) breakage of private read-only memory mappings. An unprivileged local user could use this flaw to gain write access to otherwise read-only memory mappings and thus increase their privileges on the system.”

    • Ancient Privilege Escalation Bug Haunts Linux
    • October 21, 2016 Is Dirty COW a serious concern for Linux?
    • There is a Dirty Cow in Linux
    • Red Hat Discovers Dirty COW Archaic Linux Kernel Flaw Exploited In The Wild
    • Linux kernel bug being exploited in the wild
    • Update Linux now: Critical privilege escalation security flaw gives hackers full root access
    • Linux kernel bug: DirtyCOW “easyroot” hole and what you need to know
    • ‘Most serious’ Linux privilege-escalation bug ever discovered
    • New ‘Dirty Cow’ vulnerability threatens Linux systems
    • Serious Dirty Cow Linux Vulnerability Under Attack
    • Easy-to-exploit rooting flaw puts Linux PCs at risk
    • Linux just patched a vulnerability it’s had for 9 years
    • Dirty COW Linux vulnerability has existed for nine years
    • ‘Dirty Cow’ Linux Vulnerability Found
    • ‘Dirty Cow’ Linux Vulnerability Found After Nine Years
    • FakeFile Trojan Opens Backdoors on Linux Computers, Except openSUSE

      Malware authors are taking aim at Linux computers, more precisely desktops and not servers, with a new trojan named FakeFile, currently distributed in live attacks.

      Russian antivirus vendor Dr.Web discovered this new trojan in October. The company’s malware analysts say the trojan is spread in the form of an archived PDF, Microsoft Office, or OpenOffice file.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • [Older] US Air Force Carries Out Mock Nuclear Bomb Tests in Nevada Desert

      Two surveillance flight tests using mock B61-7 and B61-11 nuclear bombs were successfully carried out in the Nevada desert several weeks ago, according to a release last week.

      The mock bombs did not carry any nuclear devices but instead recorded information on how the bombs performed during the test runs. The tests were jointly conducted at Tonopah Test Range by the U.S. Air Force’s Global Strike Command and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).

      Two B-2A Spirit stealth bombers dropped the mock bombs to “allow scientists and engineers from national laboratories to assess their performance” and they “contain no nuclear materials and are not capable of nuclear yield,” the NNSA said in a news release on Oct. 6.

    • Sweden’s unethical – and unlawful ­­– arms deals with ISIS-backing Saudis

      Prime Minister of Sweden Stefan Löfven, and with him the Swedish arms-dealer magnate Jacob Wallenberg, are travelling to Saudi Arabia in official visit. The meetings with the Saudis, as announced by the Swedish Radio, shall aim to “increase the exchange” between the two countries. [1] At the same time, the Chairman of the Defence Committee in the Swedish Parliament, Mr Allan Widman, is now demanding that Sweden should send arms to US-backed Pershmerga, integrating the US & Saudi-led coalition in Iraq. [2]

      The above-mentioned issues are not only connected in its timing, but also produced against the backdrop of the US and Saudi’s instigated Syria war aimed to depose the legitimate government of Assad, and the confrontation pursued by NATO and its political front EU against Russia. Evidence put forward in the US, among other by Senator Richard Black, show that Saudi Arabia has been financing/arming ISIS jihadists. [3] The Senator revealed also that “Saudi Arabia and Turkey formed the Army of Conquer and coordinated ISIS and Al-Qaida”. Further, emails published by WikiLeaks’ Podesta series revealed that Hillary Clinton has been fully aware – already since 2014 – of the fact that both Saudi Arabia and Qatar were financing ISIS.[3] On the other hand, the US government has claimed the responsibility for financing, training and arming so-called “moderate rebels” – the “moderate terrorists” – which together with ISIS maintain a common war against the government of Syria.

    • Philippine President’s Most Searing Insults to World Leaders

      Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is known for saying things that are quite scandalous and many would consider unsayable. However, his outspoken style and crime-fighting record is making him quite popular with many Filipinos. Here are some of his most outrageous statements.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • A Quick Logic Lesson For Confused WikiLeaks Haters

      I know the following might be difficult to grasp for all you amateur internet logicians out there, but give it the ol’ college try anyhow. (I also know there’s a strand of Ironic Twitter commentary which immediately discounts the invocation of “Logic!” as somehow inherently foolhardy, and while I’ve often found such memes funny, logic is an important field of philosophy and everyone should study it. For serious.)

      Tonight, in his infinite wisdom, Sean Hannity tweeted out an approbation of WikiLeaks.


      Drawing attention to Hannity’s change of heart on WikiLeaks — he unsurprisingly called Chelsea Manning treasonous back in 2010 when WikiLeaks published the Iraq/Afghanistan logs and the State Department cable trove — is just the heroes’ latest attempt to show that WikiLeaks is now Bad with a capital B, after having previously been Good with a capital G. Let’s work out how their logical theorem progresses.

      Sean Hannity is Bad
      Sean Hannity likes WikiLeaks
      WikiLeaks is therefore bad

      Wow, good stuff here — the type of staggeringly incisive philosophizing that would’ve made W. V. Quine envious. I guess we should briefly “unpack” why this logic is faulty, for the edification of very desperately confused people on the internet.

      Hannity might indeed be bad with a capital B, but his being Bad doesn’t ipso facto make anything he likes Bad. For instance, Hannity may well also like dogs. I’ll be damned if dogs are Bad because Bad Hannity likes them. Please do not sully our canine friends by dint of their association with Hannity.

      Let’s go to another extreme. Genocide is not bad because Hitler did it, genocide is bad because there are all sorts of reasons that can be marshaled to prove its badness: it’s bad to kill people on account of their inborn characteristics, etc. Hitler is also bad, but his being bad is not what inherently makes genocide bad.

    • Just How Wise Is It When Marco Rubio Promises To Swear Off Factual Information From Wikileaks?

      Amidst the reporting and fervor over the email hack of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, there has been something of a recent discussion that has begun over the ethics of circulating what is in that hacked cache. Some within the media itself have worried about about reporting either too much on the hacked emails, or even at all in some cases, with still others going for a more nuanced position of encouraging the reporting of information in the public interest while leaving all the personal stuff in the emails undisclosed to whatever degree is possible.

  • Finance
    • What’s scarier than Donald Trump? Hillary Clinton’s plans to gut Social Security

      As the sun sets on Donald Trump’s presidential ambitions, a likely Hillary Clinton victory means her intent to defund Social Security may come to fruition.

      The Democratic nominee recently came under fire in revealing articles by Naked Capitalism’s Yves Smith and International Business Times’ David Sirota, for her potential plans to introduce mandatory retirement savings accounts set up to enrich Wall Street — rather than expanding Social Security.

    • CETA Talks Break Down: “It is Evident that the EU Is Incapable of Reaching an Agreement”

      International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland has walked out of talks aimed at addressing Belgian opposition to the Canada-EU Trade Agreement, stating:

      I have personally worked very hard, but it is now evident to me, evident to Canada, that the European Union is incapable of reaching an agreement – even with a country with European values such as Canada, even with a country as nice and as patient as Canada. Canada is disappointed and I personally am disappointed, but I think it’s impossible. We are returning home.

      Leaving aside the odd reference to how nice Canada is, this is remarkable language that lays bare the obvious frustration and disappointment for the government which prioritized the CETA agreement above all others. The prospect of the deal falling apart has been evident for months. I wrote in July that the agreement was in more trouble than the Canadian government would admit, noting that opposition from any national or regional government could kill CETA altogether. Canadian officials downplayed the risk, but it was obvious that CETA faced stiff opposition that would not be easy to overcome.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • WikiLeaks: Bill Clinton took home ‘expensive gifts’ from foundation donors

      Emails made public Thursday by WikiLeaks suggest Bill Clinton accepted “expensive gifts” from Clinton Global Initiative donors and kept them at his home.
      In a November 2011 email to John Podesta, currently Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, complaining of the conflicts of interest that plagued the Clinton Global Initiative, longtime confidante Doug Band mentioned that the former president had several undisclosed conflicts.

      “He is personally paid by 3 cgi sponsors [sic], gets many expensive gifts from them, some that are at home etc,” Band wrote.

      Band had recently left a position at the foundation to co-found a consulting firm called Teneo Strategies. In his email, he lamented that he had been forced to sign a disclosure form as a board member of the Clinton Global Initiative, while Bill Clinton had not.

    • Leaked Email Reveals Sady Doyle, Other Liberal Bloggers Coordinated with Clinton Campaign on Sanders Hits

      As WikiLeaks continues to leak emails from the Clinton campaign, new lights are shed on the tactics that the campaign has employed. In one such email, the Clinton campaign describes a call with several bloggers who discussed attacks that could be made against Clinton’s primary opponent Bernie Sanders related to racial and reproductive rights.


      With Clinton’s lead in the polls solid, it’s unclear if these new leaks will do substantial damage, even if they don’t necessarily help her. After all, her opponent is degrading democracy itself by spurning the peaceful transition of presidential power.

    • WikiLeaks emails part curtain on a nearly elected Obama considering White House staff

      The anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks on Thursday released a handful of Barack Obama’s emails from a period immediately before he was elected in 2008, including several that revealed names of people Obama was considering for senior roles and one that reflected care in avoiding a transition conflict with President George W. Bush.

      The emails span a period from Oct. 6, 2008, until Election Day that year, Nov. 4, and several include comments from “Barack,” who used the email address:

    • No, Hillary, 17 U.S. Intelligence Agencies Did Not Say Russia Hacked Dem E-mails

      Hillary Clinton in last night’s presidential debate tried to avoid talking about the substance of the damaging WikiLeaks disclosures of DNC and Clinton campaign officials by claiming 17 U.S. intelligence agencies determined that Russia was responsible for this. After Clinton made this claim, she scolded Trump for challenging U.S. intelligence professionals who have taken an oath to help defend this country.

      What Clinton said was false and misleading. First of all, only two intelligence entities – the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) – have weighed in on this issue, not 17 intelligence agencies. And what they said was ambiguous about Russian involvement.

    • WikiLeaks: Clinton Foundation Paid Women Less Than Men

      The Clinton Foundation in 2011 employed more women than men but paid them less, on average, according to a salary schedule included in an email released Friday by WikiLeaks.

      A foundation employee emailed the payroll schedule to board Chairman Bruce Lindsey and John Podesta, who currently chairs Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. It included then-Chief Operating Office and Chief of Staff Laura Graham’s salary recommendations for 2012 for rank-and-file employees.

    • Dublin school board member linked to WikiLeaks

      A local school board member, whose father is head of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, has been connected to allegations sprung from WikiLeaks.

      Megan Rouse, a Dublin school board member elected in 2014, was mentioned in the hacked email allegations that her father, John Podesta, at one time had stocks connected to a firm that had ties to Russia. Documents show that Podesta received 75,000 shares of Joule Unlimited Technologies. Podesta is Clinton’s campaign chair.

      The hacked Jan. 3, 2014 document shows that Podesta transferred more than 25,000 of these shares to Leonidio Holdings LLC, which had an address listed as Rouse’s Shannon Court home in Dublin. Rouse operates Megan Rouse Financial Planning from that same address.

    • What The WikiLeaks Emails Reveal About Branding Hillary

      Pundits all across America are poring over the Podesta emails, emails released by WikiLeaks that show the behind-the-scenes dealings of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. At the end of the day, those emails might end up containing more tasty risotto recipes than actual scandals.

      But for design lovers, there’s at least one bombshell: If not for a passionate email written by one of Coca-Cola’s chief marketing gurus, renowned design firm Pentagram could have lost Hillary Clinton as a client just two months before her logo debuted to the world.

      Reporting on leaked emails is justifiably contentious, as conversations that participants had every reason to believe were private are given scrutiny they were never meant to have. (Pentagram partner Michael Bierut, who oversaw designing the identity, declined to comment on the record when we reached out to him.) Still, we think this exchange—already, at this point, a matter of public record as part of the greater Podesta email leaks—is worth highlighting. Not just because it’s a rare glimpse behind the design process of a major political campaign, but because some of the arguments could be assigned reading in any branding class.

      The exchange in question involves Wendy Clark, a Coca-Cola marketing veteran who consulted on Hillary’s branding before becoming the North American president and CEO of the ad agency DDB Worldwide, and Joel Benenson, the chief strategist for the Clinton 2016 campaign.

    • Leaked email: Hillary Clinton told “radical environmentalists” to “get a life,” defended fracking and pipelines

      Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton condemned the “radical environmentalists” behind Bernie Sanders’ campaign, indicating they should “get a life,” according to a transcript of her comments at a September 2015 meeting with a construction union.

      Clinton also reaffirmed her support for fracking and pipelines and made it clear that her opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline was a calculated political move.

      The transcript was included in an email to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta released this week in a trove of documents by the whistleblowing journalism organization WikiLeaks.

      “You know from my perspective, this is just one of these issues,” Clinton said of the Keystone XL pipeline at the meeting. “It’s symbolic and it’s not going to go away.”

      “They’re all hanging on to it,” she continued. “So you know Bernie Sanders is getting lots of support from the most radical environmentalists because he’s out there every day bashing the Keystone pipeline.”

    • WikiLeaks Reveals DNC Elevated Trump to Help Clinton

      In June 2015, Donald Trump announced his presidential campaign.

      According to an email from Marissa Astor, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook’s assistant, to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, the campaign knew Trump was going to run, and pushed his legitimacy as a candidate. WikiLeaks’ release shows that it was seen as in Clinton’s best interest to run against Trump in the general election. The memo, sent to the Democratic National Committee (DNC) also reveals the DNC and Clinton campaign were strategizing on behalf of their candidate at the very beginning of the primaries. “We think our goals mirror those of the DNC,” stated the memo, attached to the email under the title “muddying the waters.”

      The memo named Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, and Ben Carson as wanted candidates. “We need to be elevating the Pied Piper candidates so that they are leaders of the pack and tell the press to them seriously,” the memo noted.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Freedom Of Expression Under Attack, Says UN Special Rapporteur

      Governments worldwide are engaging in censorship and punishing those who report or post opinions, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, says in a report on the widespread global assault on the freedom of expression to be presented to the UN General Assembly today.

    • Tripura: No magisterial-level interference in media censorship and news dissimination

      According to the video footage, Jhumu Sarkar, Barjala candidate fielded by the ruling party was seen fighting with females in drunken condition. The incident occurred at Lankamura on October 12 centering immersion of Durga idol.

      After that, the TV channel was censored in visuals for few minutes. The by-elections in Barjala seat and Khowai seat would be held on November 19. Results of the elections would be declared on November 22.

    • Blocking of RT Accounts in UK is ‘Censorship and Example of Double Standards’

      RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said Monday that the international broadcaster’s accounts had been blocked in the United Kingdom. RT UK said it had been informed by NatWest that its banking arrangements with RT were null and void.

  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • Google’s ad tracking is as creepy as Facebook’s. Here’s how to disable it

      Google has changed the way it tracks users across the internet so that it can now link people’s personally identifiable information from Gmail, YouTube and other accounts with their browsing records across the web. The company had previously pledged to keep these two data sets separate to protect individuals’ privacy.

      As first reported by Propublica, Google quietly updated its privacy settings in June to delete a clause that said “we will not combine DoubleClick cookie information with personally identifiable information unless we have your opt-in consent”.

      DoubleClick is an advertising serving and tracking company that Google bought in 2007. DoubleClick uses web cookies to track browsing behaviour online by their IP address to deliver targeted ads. It can make a good guess about your location and habits, but it doesn’t know your true identity.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • S’pore prison to look into alleged abuse of jailed blogger Amos Yee

      Singapore prison authorities said today that investigations are being launched into allegations that jailed teenage blogger Amos Yee has been assaulted by prison inmates.

      Yee began a six-week jail term on Sept 29 after he pleaded guilty to six charges of wounding the religious feelings of Muslims and Christians, through comments made on social media.

      But on Wednesday a Facebook post from the activist group Community Action Network (CAN) said that the group had been informed that Yee had been threatened, slapped and kicked by inmates.

      In a statement to dpa, the Singapore Prisons Service confirmed they were “aware” of the allegations made by Amos Yee, emphasising that the prison is committed to inmate safety and security.

    • Actress Shailene Woodley Reveals She Was Strip-Searched After Her Arrest Protesting Dakota Pipeline

      Actress Shailene Woodley pleaded not guilty on charges related to the resistance to the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline on Wednesday. She was arrested along with 27 others in North Dakota on October 10 during actions to mark Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Woodley was strip-searched and then put in an orange jump suit in the Morton County jail, which appears to be a common practice even for low-level misdemeanor charges. Woodley told Democracy Now!, “Never did it cross my mind that while trying to protect clean water, trying to ensure a future where our children have access to an element essential for human survival, would I be strip-searched. I was just shocked.” Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chair Dave Archambault II and others have also been strip-searched after being arrested for nonviolent civil disobedience against the pipeline.

    • FBI Director: We Need More Data On Police Shootings So Law Enforcement Can ‘Change The Narrative’

      FBI Director James Comey didn’t dig into his bag of “Ferguson Effect” rhetorical devices during his comments to a law enforcement conference on Sunday, but he came close. Under that theory, the possibility of being held accountable by citizens and their recording devices has apparently been holding officers back from enforcing laws, making arrests, or otherwise earning their paychecks.

      The problem now is a lack of data, Comey claims. Law enforcement has lost control of the narrative, he stated, as if a one-sided portrayal of every police use of excessive/deadly force was somehow beneficial to the nation.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • FTC Warns AT&T Court Victory On Throttling Could Screw Consumers For Decades

      AT&T stopped selling unlimited wireless data plans back in 2011, and instead started pushing more expensive capped and metered plans. Existing unlimited users at the time were “grandfathered,” but AT&T went out of its way to make life as unpleasant as possible for these users, ranging from blocking them from using Facetime unless they subscribed to metered plans, to throttling these “unlimited” users after only consuming a few gigabytes of data. Ultimately AT&T faced a $100 million fine by the FCC (currently being contested by AT&T), and a 2014 lawsuit by the FTC for misleading consumers and dramatically changing the terms of service while users were under contract.

Battistelli-Commissioned PwC ‘Study’: Survey Comparison Shows Serious Deterioration and Efforts by PwC to Disguise the Truth

Saturday 22nd of October 2016 02:57:31 AM

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC): best propaganda money can buy?

Survey Comparison. Large version.

Summary: The latest output from PwC turns out to be even worse than initially thought, indicating that not only did it find a degradation in the EPO but also attempted to hide/obscure it

THE situation at the EPO is getting out of hand, to the point where Battistelli has made up some new and truly silly “Social Conference” (more waste of money which corrupts truth and journalism) in which to lie and deny the crisis.

In no sane institution where accountability exists would Battistelli have kept his job this long.

“We are hoping that more people will leak to us material that’s related to this.”Looking at a comparison of surveys, it becomes ever more apparent that not only Battistelli lies; the people whom he hired are lying as well.

The picture “Survey Comparison” (it’s really self-explanatory), as shown above, is quite revealing and it relates to the study’s criticism (see “Battistelli-Commissioned PwC 'Study': The Raw Outcome Shows Distortion of the Facts at the EPO's Notorious 'Social Conference'“).

“Survey Comparison” is a comparison of the 2016 results with those of 2011 and it “reveals that the deterioration of the social climate is reflected also by the data collected by PwC, despite their efforts of hiding the truth,” a source told us. We are hoping that more people will leak to us material that’s related to this. We actually got some leaks on the very same day the 'studies' got published internally. We rely on these leaks to tell the truth. Properly scrutinised, these surveys can actually be used against Battistelli, which is perhaps why these never got released to the public (only flawed “conclusions” were advertised and linked to 3 times over the past week in Twitter).

EPO Teaser – The “Iberian Connection” – Some Photos of García-Escudero and His Royal/Government Connections

Saturday 22nd of October 2016 01:40:20 AM

Summary: A look at the undeniably close connections between Mr. García-Escudero and the most powerful people in Spain

IN spite of the issues we have been having, tomorrow we intend to publish part two of the Iberian connections that relate to the EPO, incorporating text and images collected throughout our research.

Here are some photos of Pio García-Escudero Márquez, including photos with the Spanish PM Rajoy and members of the Royal Family. The connection to the EPO will be made apparent soon.


García-Escudero Wine Reception

Rajoy and García-Escudero, Madrid, Election Campaign

PM Rajoy and García-Escudero

Queen Letizia and García-Escudero

King Felipe and García-Escudero

Disruption to Site’s Service

Friday 21st of October 2016 04:29:54 PM

Summary: A technical note about why Techrights has not been publishing many articles recently

WE HAVE A LOT to publish (drowning in material). We have a lot to publish specifically about the EPO, but I am home-bound due to the site being overloaded with crap traffic (some things cannot be automated and must be done manually in order to keep the site available). A series we are trying to publish (see part one and its addendum) is well overdue, but as I stated a couple of nights ago, it is difficult to even keep the site online (since just over a week ago when the Kongstad series had hit the Danish press). The site is having severe issues whenever I go to sleep and I have had to cancel many things, making a lot of personal sacrifices for this. I slept only 2 hours 2 nights ago.

We are, sooner or later, going to publish all that we intended to publish. All this mess only makes me ever more eager to get it out of the way (or put it out in the open).

Some people ask us about the issues. One message we received a few hours ago said: “I notice that there are a lot of 503 messages with Varnish at Techrights lately. I suppose that is because of a DDoS of the backend server or just of key daemons (esp MySQL). The DDoS is usually an indication that you are on the right track and that the recent posts are effective and timely.”

As of today, for example, “European Patent Office” (e.g. is hammering Techrights (IPs are being banned by our defenses, but it’s not enough). As we stated here before, we are not sure if it’s their filtering equipment that does this (we explained the technical reasons it might be so). We’re managing to keep Techrights afloat only by banning lots of IP addresses and it’s usually not enough. My wife and I monitor the server and intervene almost 24/7. I canceled the gym today.

Among the IP addresses banned today for excessive access (requests) we also have, which belongs to:

NetRange: –
NetHandle: NET-155-201-0-0-1
Parent: NET155 (NET-155-0-0-0-0)
NetType: Direct Assignment
Organization: PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLP (PRICEW-16)
RegDate: 1991-11-22
Updated: 2012-02-24

“PriceWaterhouseCoopers” is Battistelli’s liars for hire (the so-called ‘social’ ‘study’). They are still hammering the site today, for the second day in a row in fact. Whether it’s abuse or abusive traffic (or excessive requests that may be related to this article which tarnishes their image) we leave others to decide on. “PricewaterhouseCoopers” was automatically banned from the site for traffic abuse, but the addresses keep changing and our system automatically bans them.

We have had yet another IP address auto-banned for traffic floods that render the site unaccessible. Here is the report (notice the number of attempts, in a short period of time):

The IP has just been banned by Fail2Ban after
216 attempts against VARNISH.


NetRange: –
NetHandle: NET-155-201-0-0-1
Parent: NET155 (NET-155-0-0-0-0)
NetType: Direct Assignment
Organization: PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLP (PRICEW-16)
RegDate: 1991-11-22
Updated: 2012-02-24


The IP has just been banned by Fail2Ban after
183 attempts against VARNISH.

person: DCS Gov
address: PricewaterhouseCoopers UK
address: 161 Marsh Wall
address: Docklands
address: London
address: E14 9SQ
address: United Kingdom
phone: +44 207 583 5000
fax-no: +44 207 212 2921
nic-hdl: DCS17-RIPE
mnt-by: AS1849-MNT
created: 2005-09-09T14:46:07Z
last-modified: 2005-09-09T14:46:07Z
source: RIPE # Filtere

I have to go to work now, but when I finish I intend to work hard (well into the weekend), with the goal is releasing many EPO articles (if the state of the site/server permits). Stay tuned and be sympathetic not to Battistelli and his goons but to those trying hard — at a great personal cost (and pro bono) — to expose them.

More in Tux Machines

A History Of Everyday Linux User's 350 Blog Posts

This article is something of a landmark as it is the 350th post on Everyday Linux User. I took last week off to celebrate. Well actually I went away with the family down to England for a few days and didn't take a computer with me. I did take in Alnwick Castle however which is the location for Hogwarts from the Harry Potter films. Read more

Kodi 17 "Krypton" Beta 4 Released with ARMv8A 64-bit Builds for Android, Fixes

Today, October 25, 2016, Martijn Kaijser had the great pleasure of announcing the release and immediate availability of the fourth, and probably the last Beta milestone of the upcoming Kodi 17 open-source and cross-platform media center software. Read more

GNOME's Epiphany 3.24 Web Browser to Use Firefox Sync Service, HTTPS Everywhere

The GNOME developers are preparing to release the first development version of the upcoming GNOME 3.24 desktop environment, versioned 3.23.1, and we can't help but notice that some of the core apps were updated recently. Read more

Suse: Question. What do you call second-place in ARM enterprise server linux? Answer: Red Hat

ARM TechCon Suse is claiming victory over Red Hat by announcing – and these caveats are all crucial – "the first commercial enterprise Linux distribution optimized for ARM AArch64 architecture servers." In plainer English, Suse has developed an enterprise-grade Linux distribution that runs on 64-bit ARM servers (should you happen to ever find one). Suse claims this software is a world first because it is a finished commercial product, thus beating Red Hat to the punch: Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server for ARM is still only available as a beta-like development preview. Read more