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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 2 hours 18 min ago

Benoît Battistelli’s Office Accused of Institutional Harassment Against EPO Staff in New Letter to the Administrative Council, Calling for External Investigation

Saturday 10th of October 2015 12:36:19 AM

Summary: A probe by an external and independent entity is sought with the aim of looking into systematic harassment against EPO employees who simply ‘dare’ to point out gross violations by their managers; staff protests at EPO headquarters in the Netherlands and Germany are scheduled

Solicitors, who are expensive and usually non-technical, appear to have entered the zone now that Battistelli’s repressive leadership resorts to union-busting, SLAPP, censorship, and even illegal terminations of staff which is outside the sphere of control of the EPO. To think that people who do this are allowed to walk free (with private bodyguards) into publicly-funded offices in Europe is to basically accept that Europe is no better than China or Russia when it comes to human rights.

The EPO's internal investigation was a sham (the oversight is in bed with the subject of oversight), so outsiders need to objectively assess the situation and rationalise corrective action, however difficult this can be, at least politically.

Attacks (in the form of grilling/interrogations) against Elizabeth Hardon from SUEPO turned out to have had an enormous personal toll (not just financially but health too). It was gone for a very long time in an effort to silence/censor her using threats (not just termination but also legal action/s). We are now learning that Hardon is making a complaint of harassment against Benoît Battistelli et al, on behalf of or aided by her representatives. Here is what we have so far (no plain text yet, but it should be self-explanatory we hope):

SUEPO has meanwhile come out with a more formal plan for staff demonstrations next week, stating at some stage on Friday (at the public site of SUEPO) the following (along with a schedule):

During the coming meeting of the Administrative Council (13/14 October) staff of the European Patent Office will demonstrate in The Netherlands and Germany.

In The Netherlands EPO staff will demonstrate on Tuesday 13 October at 12.00h in front of the Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs in The Hague (Parnassusplein 5, next to the Central Station).

We request an urgent labour inspection of the EPO by the Dutch Arbeidsinpectie in conformity with the Article 20 of the Protocol on Privileges and Immunities (PPI) of the EPOrg.

In Germany EPO staff will demonstrate on Wednesday 14 October at 13.00h in front of the EPO Isar building in Munich (Bob-van-Benthem-Platz 1).

According to SUEPO, the EPO has been transformed into a totalitarian state where the rights of staff and of those who defend the rights of staff – or simply adhere to common sense – are being crushed to the benefit of a few, mainly French, who are making rocket careers.
The EPO is a civil service organisation and not a self-service organisation.

We wish to remind the Council delegates and the governments of the Member States that they are responsible for the European Patent Organisation, its mission and its staff.

“Merpel is curious to know why the @EPOorg President is apparently so anxious to send the Boards of Appeal into exile,” IP Kat wrote, whereas the President of the FFII said: “Let’s crowdfund legal support of poor Examiners against the rich EPO” (linking to Techrights).

Maybe it’s worth considering a fund-raiser for Hardon’s defence. A war on her rights should be treated as a war on the rights of all European citizens. It is a race to the bottom at the EPO these days, and it’s already at gutter level.

Responses to Software Patents in India Though Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions

Friday 9th of October 2015 09:42:17 AM

Summary: India’s famous skills, which revolve around software services and software development, are under attack by new laws which strive to grant foreign corporations de facto monopolies on software, even inside India

GROUPS in India continue to fight back against what’s correctly perceived as distortion of law and betrayal of Indians. It’s regarding India’s patent policy, which has come under attack from foreign multinationals for as long as Techrights existed. India moves closer to officially endorsing software patents, despite the US cracking down on many of them (Alice/§101 [1, 2]), and the media-shaping IBM is happy about it. Microsoft patents software in India even when it's not legal.

The Indian media did not always give space (and a voice) to large foreign corporations. See for example this article titled “How the Patent Office is Intent on Killing Innovation in India?”

“Newsclick interviews Venkatesh Hariharan,” says the author, “Outreach lead for the Open Invention Network and a member of the Ispirits expert group on software patents, to discuss the issue of software patenting, the effects this can have on society, as well as the specific guidelines issues by the IPO.”

Well, the Open Invention Network (OIN) is not against software patents, so it’s baffling that they chose to speak to OIN, a de facto front group of IBM et al..

“Software Patents Refuse to Die” was a better article from the same publication (Newsclick). It said that “Software patents are like the “living dead” in the zombie film genre that Hollywood has made popular. They just refuse to die. As many time you kill them, they revive again and keep coming back. In India, we thought we had killed and buried software patents with the Amended Patent Act in 2005, and again in the Patents Manual, 2011, both of which effectively deny software patents. The recent Guidelines on Computer Related Invention (CRI) issued by the Indian Patents Office last month, has brought them back again, with an interpretation that not only violates the Act, but also the English language.”

Perhaps the best response that we found in recent weeks is this joint letter to the PMO. Here are some quotes from this letter:

This concerns the “Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions (CRIs)” issued on August 21, 2015 by the Office of the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks. We, the undersigned, wish to share with you some of our concerns over this document, particularly in context of its potential repercussions on Indian industry and innovation. The Guidelines in their current form, by providing for patenting of software, could place the Indian software industry, especially software product companies and startups, at the mercy of Multinational Corporations and patent holding entities who have amassed many patents in the area and continue to do so. The Guidelines by allowing for software patents will make writing code and innovating in the area of software a dangerous proposition due to the chance of infringing on the patents held by big corporations.

The stated intent of the document is to provide guidelines for the examination of patent applications relating to CRIs by the Patent Office so as to further foster uniformity and consistency in their examination. However, we submit that the Guidelines in their current form run counter to the object of Section 3(k) of the Patents Act, 1970, which is to unconditionally exclude mathematical and business methods, computer programs per se, and algorithms from patentable subject matter.

Well, more actions may be needed in order to stop the plutocrats because their lobbyists have a lot of influence in India, which has notoriety for political corruption. The conglomerates in India (not even Indian) are conspiring against software developers, including Indians, trying to essentially destroy any chances of software independence in the country where programmers are renowned for their skills and sheer number. To keep Indian software companies marginalised (unable to effectively compete with Western software corporations) one needs to threaten and occasionally sue, e.g. with software patents.

Sadhana Chathurvedula wrote an article in a few places — an article that proponents of software patents (like IBM) like to cite. “Revised guidelines say software that demonstrates a technical application or improves hardware may also be patented, widening the scope of patents,” the article says.

It seems likely that unless some very major backlash disrupts the political system, foreign corporations will cement their occupation of India (in the software sense), bolstered by monopolies on algorithms. Activism is sorely needed now.

Mobile Linux (e.g. Android) Still a Victim of Software Patents, No Peace in Sight

Friday 9th of October 2015 09:13:24 AM

Retarding innovation in the name of profit

Summary: A look at recent developments in the fight against mobile Linux (notably Android these days) and whoever is behind the patent attacks (not always as obvious as people are led to believe)

THERE IS A lot to be said about the impact of software patents on Free (as in freedom) software, such as Linux or Android. Yet another OIN ‘ad’ (among others) has just been published because the OIN turned 10 and decided to start a publicity campaign, approaching journalists and yanking out press releases in a lot of Web sites. The OIN is, in simple terms, a conglomerate of software patent holders, led by lobbyists for software patents (notably IBM). It is trying to make software patents and Free software look mutually compatible, reconciling or ignoring the fact that the two are inherently in conflict. SJVN wrote that “One reason why Linux weathered patent attacks and trolls to become today’s dominant server and cloud operating system is because the Open Invention Network united its supporters into a strong patent consortium.”

No, that’s not the reason. OIN might try to take credit for it, but that’s utter nonsense. Free software and GNU/Linux succeeded despite OIN and software patents. In many ways, Free software and GNU/Linux continue to suffer from software patents and this will be the subject of today’s post.

IBM is not the only company that supports GNU/Linux and software patents at the same time. As patent maximalists remind us right now, other large companies, even in China, are doing this. Consider Xiaomi’s story. “Responding to a question about recent high-profile executive hires,” writes IAM, “Lei said: “Former Qualcomm global senior vice president Wang Xiang joined Xiaomi in July. He’s in charge of our IP. We should be able to make progress in this. Xiaomi pays great attention to innovation. Last year we applied for 2,700 patents. This year’s goal is 4,000.””

This won’t protect them. The matter of fact is, those overall (aggregate) numbers are low compared to the likes of Microsoft, which uses patents to extort GNU/Linux and Android backers like Xiaomi (it’s allegedly, based on numerous recent reports, working on a GNU/Linux laptop, not just Android devices).

Microsoft Versus Android

Microsoft continues to attack Free software using patents. Ewan Spence wrote about this the other day. He is syndicated in some large sites and most prominent was probably this article from Forbes, titled “Microsoft’s Slow Yet Successful Infection Of Android”. Spence is right to claim that “Once more Microsoft has announced an updated patent licensing deal around smartphone technology, and once more a Microsoft deal includes the pre-loading of Microsoft’s productivity software on a smartphone. As more partners come on board, Microsoft’s cloud-based services and applications are becoming more prevalent within the Android platform.”

As we explained at the time, this is not a “patent licensing deal” but an extortion which targets a company from Taiwan, PRC. Microsoft is using blackmail (with patents) to get its way. Spence continued: “The more occasions that users encounter the software, the better the sign-up rate will be for Microsoft. Look back over the last year at Microsoft’s deals and you will find that many of the major manufacturers in the Android space have deals that include bundling Microsoft apps, with Sony, LG, Dell, and a number of other smaller manufacturers all signed up.”

This is a large-scale campaign of extortion and it continues to widen. If it wasn’t for software patents, this probably wouldn’t be possible. China’s government is trying to counter this (e.g. by publishing a secret list of Microsoft patents asserted against Linux/Android), but will this really help shield Chinese giants like Xiaomi and Huawei? It has not protected ZTE.

Speaking of patent attacks on Android, how about patent trolls? How about Microsoft’s troll, Intellectual Ventures? It has been attacking Android backers over their use of Android this year. Such patent bullies obviously help Microsoft against Android while Microsoft says it opposes these (Microsoft is clearly supporting them, even arming them, or at least those that are working for Microsoft or attacking Google, e.g. MOSAID and Vringo).

There is a silent war on Android and Google going on, paralleling Microsoft’s war on privacy.

Apple Versus Android

Several weeks ago the appeals court granted an injunction to Apple, banning some features from Samsung‘s Android phones, which are the world’s best sellers. Here is another take on it, aptly titled “Appeals Court: It Is In The Public’s Interest That Samsung Not Be Allowed To ‘Slide To Unlock’ Devices” (software patents).

To quote TechDirt: “The patent fight between Apple and Samsung has been going on for many years now with Samsung being told to pay a lot of money to Apple. But on one point Apple has been unsuccessful: getting an injunction barring Samsung from offering products for sale that include the “infringing” inventions — such as the concept of “slide to unlock.” I still have trouble understanding how “slide to unlock” could possibly be patentable, but there it is: US Patent 8,046,721 on “unlocking a device by performing gestures on an unlock image.””

It’s a very simple concept, much like opening a gate that keeps cattle confined. The CAFC (Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit) is once again helping software patents and Android antagonists like Florian Müller are visibly jubilant [1, 2, 3], even though this lobbyist with history of doing activism against Android (for money) seemingly flip-flops at times and occasionally criticises Apple, though not yet Oracle.

Just remember that Apple uses software patents against Linux. Here is an article titled “Samsung Infringed Apple Software Patent”. It was very big news at the time. Even the BBC covered it, but poorly (too shallow). Britain’s leading technology news site chose the clever headline “Apple VICTORY: Old Samsung phones not sold any more can’t be sold any more”.

What Apple did to Linux with patents in this case is more or less the same as patent trolling, except the size of the plaintiff is a lot larger and there are phones with the “Apple” name/logo on them (even though it’s not Apple that makes them, Apple is not an Asian company and it has no factories of its own).

Watch this space for followups as this legal fight is far from over. Apple won this round [1, 2, 3], but Samsung continues to outsell Apple.

Bogus ‘Peace’

At the end of last month some people were left with the false impression that Google and Microsoft had reached some kind of peace. See this analysis titled “Microsoft: Sacrificing Android Patents Licensing In Favor Of Platform-Agnostic Growth”.

Well, Microsoft is not “Sacrificing Android Patents Licensing”, it still attacks (with software patents) many companies. The Microsoft-Google deal is only applicable to the Motorola litigation; every other company that uses Android is still attacked, sometimes by proxy.

FOSS Force wrote that “[a]lthough it’s certain that some money is exchanging hands in the process — an appeals court in July ruled against Motorola in a case Google was defending — no terms of the agreement have been released.”

This kind of patent ‘peace’ between Microsoft and Google means that Microsoft proxies will do more suing. Android OEMs (not Google) will take the burden of extortion.

There were many articles about this, e.g. [1, 2, 3] and Müller, whom Microsoft had paid for Android FUD, wrote: “There’s nothing in it that would suggest Microsoft made any headway in five years of suing. This one is structurally reminiscent of the second-class settlement Google reached with Apple last year from a position of mutual weakness: neither do Android’s enemies hold patents that would represent a serious threat to the world’s most widely-distributed mobile operating system nor are the patents for which Google bought Motorola powerful enough to force Apple or Microsoft into a cross-license covering the entire Android ecosystem.”

The part that we didn’t like to see reappearing is this: “Microsoft has the industry’s best IP licensing team and is generating billions of dollars per year in Android patent licenses.”

This is not true; nobody has evidence to that Microsoft earns anything this way. It’s a leverage card for extortion and FUD.

BlackBerry Edging Towards Patent Trolling

BlackBerry is moving to Android these days (it won’t admit that its own proprietary operating system is on its death throes yet), but it doesn’t mean that it won’t be using patents to attack competitors who use Android (like Sony does for instance). It is still possible that BlackBerry will become a patent troll based on some recent reports [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], the most principal of which came from Reuters and was titled “BlackBerry CEO sees company patents as key to turnaround strategy”.

BlackBerry’s CEO has spoken of other things too [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. It may be premature to judge BlackBerry’s future direction, but either way, just like Nokia, it has the potential to do a lot of harm with its patents arm.

What we sorely need right now is a universal (global) end to software patents. Our next post will focus on India’s patent policy and US patent policy we shall cover some time in the coming days.

Bad News for the EPO’s Judicial Independence and Due Process in Next Week’s Administrative Council (AC) Meeting

Friday 9th of October 2015 08:05:24 AM

…And Britain’s bureaucrats contacted for action

Summary: A quick update about what’s expected to happen next week when the Administrative Council holds a two-day meeting

“Blatterstelli [meaning Blatter-like Battistelli] is planning something very bad,” Florian Müller told me this morning, “(regarding judicial independence, due process) at next week’s Admin Council meeting.”

There is a staff protest planned for that time. “I’ve seen a document from Admin[istrative] Council meeting preparation,” he added, “but I’m presently not blogging about patents (just copyright).”

John Alty, Head of the UK’s Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO), is meanwhile being urged to take action (he has just responded too). If anyone has documents to share with us, please consider doing so anonymously (e.g. using Tails).

More Back Doors Found in Microsoft’s Entrapments (Proprietary Software)

Thursday 8th of October 2015 04:02:37 PM

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

–Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Windows are famously easy to smash

Summary: Security flaws and even blatantly obvious loopholes for surveillance are identified in several of Microsoft’s so-called ‘products’, which turn users (and their data) into the real product (to be sold to private companies or shared with spies)

THOSE who pay close attention to the news (as we typically do) have lost count of the number of Microsoft back doors, affecting a large number of products and vast number of people. The whole spectrum of application has a plethora of ways to take over PCs and intercept messages. That’s not even an accident.

Neel Gupta wrote a month ago about Microsoft and the NSA, including the way this relates to UEFI (remote takeover at hardware level, aided by secret software and keys). Gupta wrote: “As Microsoft Windows has already lost this ‘trust’ through Spams, Blackmails, _NSAKEY, and not fixing critical bugs. So Microsoft changed it’s definition of ‘trust’ in computing: devices with dedicated microprocessor designed to secure the hardware against consumers, and only allow software signed(authorized) by the device manufacturer to run on the device.”

“There is not even a denial that there are back doors and wiretapping (without warrant). They just excuse themselves by saying “law enforcement”.”Curiously enough, based on [1] (below), Microsoft continues to expose users on the Web, making its use of HTTPS a total sham, almost definitely by design (and intention). When users go to Outlook to read their E-mails things get even worse [2,3]. “Backdoor in Outlook Web Application operates inside target’s firewall,” to quote a Microsoft-friendly writer/publication.

Microsoft ‘privacy’ is a lie, as software like Skype serves to demonstrate. There is not even a denial that there are back doors and wiretapping (without warrant). They just excuse themselves by saying “law enforcement”. The FBI never complains about encryption in Microsoft or Windows because there is none that’s truly effective.

Don’t believe what the media is saying right now about Vista 10 figures (e.g. number of devices or users) because these are lies, as we explained last week (many who tried Vista 10 moved away from it afterwards).

As Gupta’s SAP blog concludes: “Note that Windows XP, Vista, 7, and 8 are all going down. With the exodus from Windows, if we as SAP don’t create solutions on Linux and Mac/iOS, we will loose customers to those who do.”

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Microsoft sites expose visitors’ profile info in plain text

    If you think using secure HTTP would be enough to protect your privacy when checking webmail, think again. When users connect to their Microsoft user account page,, or even when using HTTPS, the connection leaks a unique identifier that can be used to retrieve their name and profile photo in plaintext.

    A unique identifier called a CID is exposed because it’s sent as part of a Domain Name Service lookup for the address of the storage server containing profile data and as part of the initiation of an encrypted connection. As a result, it could be used to track users when they connect to services from both computers and mobile devices, possibly even identifying users as their requests leave the Tor anonymizing network.

  2. Microsoft OWA falls victim to password-pinching APT attack

    SECURITY RESEARCHERS FROM Cybereason have sounded a klaxon over a problem with the Microsoft Outlook Web Application (OWA) that could let attackers swoop in and tag and bag data and documents through the use of APT techniques.

    Cybereason discovered the bug when a customer with some 19,000 endpoints suspected that it was the victim of infection.

  3. New Outlook mailserver attack steals massive number of passwords

    Backdoor in Outlook Web Application operates inside target’s firewall.

NASA Gives Back What It Took Away in the Form of Patent Monopolies for Private Gain

Thursday 8th of October 2015 03:36:55 PM

Summary: Criticism of NASA’s habit of clinging onto patents when it is actually the public which pays for everything

THE ISSUE that we occasionally tackle here in Techrights (and the #techrights IRC channel) is unjust monopoly acquired or protected by hoarding of patents. It is especially unjust when it’s public money (tax) subsidising this kind of monopoly. Such was the case with NASA when it sold patents (paid for by the public) to patent trolls about 3 years ago. NASA had previously helped protect and expand Microsoft’s illegal monopoly [1, 2, 3].

“Some of the people who helped NASA build its rockets are the same people (and by extension their teams) that helped launch rockets into London in the second world war.”This time, for a change, NASA decides to give these patents back to those who paid for them, setting these patents free to all [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. It is claimed that as many as 1200 patents (if not more) will be set free, but there are some caveats (see headlines that mention “free access to its patents for startup entrepreneurs”).

NASA’s work is funded by taxpayers, so the very idea of them ‘donating’ patents is ludicrous (or indicative of corruption). NASA shouldn’t waste its time on patents in the first place; it can just publish its ideas and inventions in its public-facing Web site.

Don’t romanticise too much over NASA and its glorified patents. Yours truly used to believe the popular lie that space exploration of NASA gave us Teflon. Well, Teflon was made for nuclear weapons (cold war), so even this isn’t a good example of NASA’s so-called ‘inventions’. Some of the people who helped NASA build its rockets are the same people (and by extension their teams) that helped launch rockets into London in the second world war.

The Coup D’état of Benoît Battistelli Follows an Imperialist Model, Threatens Opposition and Dissent

Thursday 8th of October 2015 03:16:28 PM

Battistelli wants to ‘pacify’ the office by means of threats, bullying, and even exile

Summary: SUEPO, the staff union, and boards that are independent from the EPO are both under attack and are constantly threatened by Benoît Battistelli and his goons

THE misconduct at the EPO is becoming an urgent issue to tackle. We wrote about patent trolls fighting against Android (i.e. Linux) in Europe just a few days ago and the UPC may soon become a reality, joining blatant injustices like the TPP.

“The EPO wants staff to blindly obey its decisions on patents and workers’ rights while the EPO itself does not obey the law.”Earlier this week the FFII’s President Benjamin Henrion wrote that “EPO does not follow the “rule of law” principle, which means any of its acts are not challengeable in front of a court” (i.e. above the law).

The EPO wants staff to blindly obey its decisions on patents and workers’ rights while the EPO itself does not obey the law. This is double standard of the highest order.

In “March of this year alone, the IPKat welcomed 212,040 site visitors,” it wrote earlier this month. Well, that’s obviously because of EPO scandals, especially the news from the Netherlands which made it a very busy month for EPO-related news. We are gratified to see that Merpel is back to covering this topic. Last week she wrote about some new developments and yesterday she wrote about Željko Topić's latest attacks on workers' rights, preceding next week's demonstration.

“We are gratified to see that Merpel is back to covering this topic.”“On this world day against software patents,” Henrion wrote, “we have to wake up sleeping Europeans against swpatv3 via the Unitary Patent Court” (UPC is just the latest among many plots or ploys that can further legitimise software patents in Europe from the back door).

“Cisco and Samsung cross-license to ignore the harm of patents,” he noted, but the “option [is] not available to small companies and developers” (it’s very much like OIN, which helps large corprations legitimise and preserve software patents, as we last explained last night).

SUEPO, the staff union at the EPO, seems eager to fight back and challenge the gangster of the management, Mr. Topić.

“Mr Zeljko Topic (VP4),” it wrote, “and Mr Raimund Lutz (VP5) issued on 2 October 2015 a Communiqué to EPO staff titled “Your rights” which was later published here by IPKat.

“SUEPO was sorely tempted to rebut the slanderous allegations of VP4 and VP5, but the public ridicule to which they are subjected speaks volumes on our behalf, see for instance the comments on IPKat.

“Based on the very latest from IP Kat, the EPO’s Battistelli is now destroying the boards (of appeal) that are supposed to provide an independent last resort when the EPO is misbehaving.”“If anyone has doubts about the legality of SUEPO’s actions or about the sincerity of the EPO’s offer of impartial legal assistance, the SUEPO committee will be happy to answer questions. At this moment, it will suffice to say that SUEPO applauds VP4 and VP5 for finally grasping the notion of the applicability of “basic fundamental rights” and “general principles of law”, and look forward to further progress reports about their seemingly ongoing study of fundamental legal doctrines.”

Based on the very latest from IP Kat, the EPO’s Battistelli is now destroying the boards (of appeal) that are supposed to provide an independent last resort when the EPO is misbehaving. As Merpel put it: “The drive to get the Boards out of Munich strikes Merpel as either deeply stupid or entirely cynical, and she doesn’t believe Mr. Battistelli is at all stupid. The purported problem identified in Mr Battistelli’s proposal to reform the Boards of Appeal was the “perception of independence”. You couldn’t, he argued, have Boards in the same building as other EPO employees whose decisions a Board might be reviewing — which is an odd argument, since there are no Examining or Opposition Divisions based in the Isar building.

“A rather more widespread perception around the EPO is that Mr Battistelli can’t bear to have the Boards in “his” building (Merpel seems to recall that they were there first, though), and/or that he wanted to teach the Boards a lesson. Even having his own private express lift from car park to the sumptuously appointed presidential floor does not always exclude the chance that he might encounter one face-to-face during his working day.

“The relationship was poisoned when the Enlarged Board decided Case R19/12, a decision about judicial independence about which Mr Battistelli was furious. You see, far from lacking independence, the real problem for EPO management is that the Boards are sometimes too damn independent and this cannot be tolerated. Yes, there’s a structural issue in how the Boards fit into the European Patent Organisation, which would require amendment of the Convention to fully remedy, but this did not seem to cause problems in practice until now. Nobody should pretend that this proposal to move the Boards out of Munich serves the interests of judicial independence. It is really the opposite: showing this group of ungrateful judges who’s really the boss, who’s in control of their careers.

“There are many things that are rotten at the EPO and the rest of the month will be spent putting some more ‘dirty laundry’ out there.”“Having established that the Boards had to get out of the current Munich headquarters, Mr Battistelli identified two options: find another building in Munich, or relocate the members of the Boards to Berlin (Vienna, which is now the front runner, appears to have been arranged behind the backs of the Administrative Council (AC) and of the Boards, since it never formed part of the formal proposal).”

So Battistelli wants them exiled like Napoleon. See what we recently (earlier this month) wrote about these attacks on the boards. There are many things that are rotten at the EPO and the rest of the month will be spent putting some more ‘dirty laundry’ out there.

Links 8/10/2015: Manjaro Linux Releases, Linksys WRT1900ACS, FOSS at NHS

Thursday 8th of October 2015 02:46:30 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • Developer creates an open source glucose monitoring and tracking app he can trust

    According to, in 2012 over 29.1 million Americans (that’s 9.3% of the population) had diabetes. Chances are, you know someone who has diabetes and you can help them by supporting an open source project that they can trust. If you are a developer, contribute to improve the code; you can help with documentation, or language so it can be translated.

    That’s the only way any open source project succeeds – through collaboration and contribution; through people.

  • Open Source for Log Analytics – Let’s get serious

    “Making machine data accessible, usable, and valuable to everyone” was the main theme at the Splunk .conf2015 last month in Las Vegas. The thousands attending this event are a clear proof of the growing importance and interest in collecting, analyzing and gaining insights from machine data. This interest started years ago mostly with IT related logs but will spread to cover all types of machine generated data. The growing IoT space will make today’s pile of machine data dwarf compared to what else is coming our way in the form of logs and other data generated by machines and sensors.

  • Fears Grow For Safety of Imprisoned Syrian Open Source Developer, Bassel Khartabil

    Bassel sent his letters from Adra prison, a civilian jail in the northeast outskirts of Damascus. Even representatives of the Assad government admit that conditions in Adra are overcrowded and inhumane. The prison was designed for 2,500 and now houses 9-11,000 prisoners. Single rooms hold fifty to a hundred cellmates. Food rations are minimal and prisoners must often pay bribes for sleeping materials. Nearby, according to reports, anti-regime forces attempted to seize the compound.

  • SYRIA: Disclose Whereabouts of Detained Freedom of Expression Advocate Bassel Khartabil
  • Syria: Disclose Whereabouts of Detained Freedom of Expression Advocate

    EFF has joined with organizations around the world in calling for Syria to reveal the whereabouts of detained technologist Bassel Khartabil. Khartabil’s arbitrary detention and treatment by the Syrian authorities have been cause for concern since his initial arrest three and a half years ago. Fears have grown for his safety after he was taken from civil prison to an unknown destination on Saturday. He is one of the five current cases that EFF tracks in our Offline campaign to protect unjustly imprisoned technologists and bloggers.

  • Google AMP: “Instant Articles”-style mobile news plans unveiled – an open source standard for publishers’ content to be immediately in search
  • Google (GOOG) Releases Faster Mobile Web Browsing In New Open-Source Initiative With Twitter And 38 News Organizations

    We’re increasingly living in a mobile world, and Google wants to make it a better experience. The search giant on Wednesday announced an initiative called “Accelerated Mobile Pages” (AMP) that makes viewing news articles on a smartphone even faster, the company said at a New York City event.

  • VoiceNation Releases Revolutionary Open Source Live Answering Software. Georgia CALLS is an Early Adopter

    OpenAnswer is built on familiar open source technology like Asterisk, FreePBX, Apache, Linux, PF Sense, SIP and more.

  • Open Source Needs Enterprise Developers

    Open source projects have risen in prominence over the past few years and are becoming important assets to enterprises. A recent report indicates that some 78 percent of enterprises use open source, and two-thirds build software for their customers that is based on open source software.

  • Making B2B Open To Open Source

    The eCommerce software space is a crowded one, with vendors offering any number of ways to track product data. B2C may grab the spotlight with innovation and omnichannel initiatives, and B2B has some catching up to do. But as small businesses recognize the need to adapt quickly to satisfy both their customers and suppliers, flexible software can make all the difference, according to Yoav Kutner.

  • Events
  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Proposed Principles for Content Blocking

        Content is not inherently good or bad – with some notable exceptions, such as malware. So these principles aren’t about what content is OK to block and what isn’t. They speak to how and why content can be blocked, and how the user can be maintained at the center through that process.

        At Mozilla, our mission is to ensure a Web that is open and trusted and that puts our users in control. For content blocking, here is what we think that means.

      • Thunderbird 38.3.0 Lands in All Ubuntu OSes

        Details about a number of Thunderbird vulnerabilities in Ubuntu 15.04, Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, and Ubuntu 12.04 LTS operating systems have been revealed by Canonical in a short security notice.

  • SaaS/Big Data
  • Databases
    • Industry Outlook: Open-Source Databases and IoT

      This week, Industry Outlook talks with Pierre Fricke about open-source databases and their role in the Internet of Things (IoT). Pierre has a long history in open-source software. He spent 10 years as director of product marketing for JBoss Middleware. He had joined JBoss Inc. just over a year before its acquisition by Red Hat in 2006 and stayed on until he joined EDB. Pierre first became involved in open-source software in 1998 during his 17 years at IBM. He played a critical role in establishing IBM’s Linux and open-source strategy, being one of seven team leaders whose contributions are still used today. He also spent five years as an industry analyst with an emphasis on Java and Microsoft application development and integration software.


      PF: No. “Open source” does not equate to “less secure.” Enterprise open-source solutions such as EDB Postgres boast the same level of security as traditional solutions, including enhanced auditing, row-level security, SQL-injection-attack guard and other capabilities. In addition, better-managed open-source solutions also have fewer vulnerabilities than commercial products owing to the strict reviews and testing process that these types of systems must undergo. Furthermore, the inherent nature of open source—in which the code kernel is available to a large community of developers—means more individuals are looking for potential bugs and problems (an open process that is often prohibited in propriety systems).

  • Healthcare
  • Business
  • BSD
    • NetBSD 7.0 Released With New ARM Board Support, Lua Kernel Scripting

      NetBSD 7.0 was quietly released at the end of September.

      NetBSD 7.0 is a big release for this BSD operating system and it features Lua kernel scripting support, GCC 4.8.4 is the default compiler, DRM/KMS graphics support, multi-core support for ARM, Raspberry Pi 2 with SMP support, NPF improvements, and a variety of other enhancements.

  • Project Releases
  • Openness/Sharing
  • Programming
  • Standards/Consortia
    • EU digital policy moves into public comment phase

      The normal procedural step that the Commission takes after the introduction of such a strategy is to seek specific input and feedback—via a public consultation process—for the general ideas and proposals that they are presenting. A public consultation, as the phrase implies, is an invitation to answer a long list of wide ranging questions on these issues. Although procedural, the information gleaned from the consultation will help shape any formal legislation or other actions and regulations that the Commission deems necessary to achieve the goals of the DSM.

  • Security
    • Malware Peddling Vigilantes behind Linux.Wifatch Speak Up

      The group also add that Linux.Wifatch was never intended to be secretive and added that to be “truly ethical, it needs to have a free license.” However, the developers did not go out of their way to make the Wifatch’s presence known in the wider community, to avoid detection by other malware authors.

      The group haven’t revealed their identity and contend that they are “nobody important,” while adding that although they can be trusted not to do “evil things” with users’ devices anybody could steal the key (speaking figuratively), no matter how well the group protects it.

    • Government Accountability Offices Finds Government Still Mostly Terrible When It Comes To Cybersecurity

      The government has done a spectacularly terrible job at protecting sensitive personal information over the past couple of years. Since 2013, the FDA, US Postal Service, Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the IRS and the Office of Personnel Management have all given up personal information. So, it’s no surprise the Government Accountability Office’s latest report on information security contains little in the way of properly-secured information.

    • This New ‘Secure’ App for Journalists May Not Be Secure At All

      When I started working as a journalist in Colombia in 2006, “What do I do if I get kidnapped?” was a common topic at parties. In fact in 2007, my brother (not a journalist) got kidnapped in a small town outside of Medellín. The Colombian anti-kidnapping squad (GAULA) rescued him.

      So let’s just say I take an interest in journalist security tools. New apps have the potential to help journalists do their jobs, and stay safe while doing so.

      Unfortunately, Reporta, a new app from the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) billed as “the only comprehensive security app available worldwide created specifically for journalists,” sounds like it may put journalists in danger.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • NYT Plays Up Risks to Bomber Pilots, Downplays the Civilians They Kill

      Cooper does her best nevertheless to make the reader empathize with the risks faced by bomber pilots, despite a former flyer’s admission that “if you stay above 10,000 feet, you’re not going to be hit.” Though the mechanical difficulties faced by Yip Yip dominate the story, Cooper asserts that “engine troubles are not the only risk at 25,000 feet.” What else is there? Well, there’s acceleration: “The F/A-18s today require more G-forces than the planes of the Top Gun era, and pilots today pull nine Gs instead of four and five Gs”—so pilots have to make sure they are “not dehydrated or hungover from drinking and crooning the Righteous Brothers to Kelly McGillis at a bar the night before.”

      For comparison purposes, riders on the Shock Wave roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas experience six Gs–placing the amusement park-goers somewhere between Maverick and Bones on the toughness scale.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
  • Privacy
    • What’s in a Boarding Pass Barcode? A Lot

      The next time you’re thinking of throwing away a used boarding pass with a barcode on it, consider tossing the boarding pass into a document shredder instead. Two-dimensional barcodes and QR codes can hold a great deal of information, and the codes printed on airline boarding passes may allow someone to discover more about you, your future travel plans, and your frequent flyer account.

    • US Secret Service Violated Privacy Policy to Embarrass Congressman

      The Secret Service thought we all needed a reminder that databases of personal information will be exploited for political gain. The chair of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, was leading the investigation into one of the recent cases of Secret Service misconduct. Agents within the service accessed records concerning Chaffetz’ application to the Secret Service (which was not acted upon) and then disseminated that information within the agency and talked to the press about it.

    • Anti-Piracy Activities Get VPNs Banned at Torrent Sites

      This week users of popular torrent sites found that they could no longer access them using their VPN. Speaking with TorrentFreak the operator of one of the affected sites revealed that the IP ranges of a popular VPN provider had been banned after they were used for massive anti-piracy activities. Using a VPN for copyright enforcement is apparently quite common.

    • In China, Your Credit Score Is Now Affected By Your Political Opinions – And Your Friends’ Political Opinions

      China just introduced a universal credit score, where everybody is measured as a number between 350 and 950. But this credit score isn’t just affected by how well you manage credit – it also reflects how well your political opinions are in line with Chinese official opinions, and whether your friends’ are, too.

    • Rise of ad-blockers shows advertising does not understand mobile, say experts

      Apple has made ad-blocking mainstream, prompting fears in the $31.9bn mobile ad market. But those grappling with the problem say the user must come first

  • Civil Rights
    • Rupert Murdoch hints that Barack Obama isn’t ‘real black president’

      Murdoch was praising Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and his wife on Twitter Wednesday evening when he wrote: “Ben and Candy Carson terrific. What about a real black President who can properly address the racial divide?”

    • Saudi husband is caught groping and forcing himself on his maid after his suspicious wife set up a hidden camera… but now SHE faces going to jail

      A Saudi woman may face going to jail after she caught her husband cheating with the family maid and posted it on social media.

      The woman used a hidden camera to catch her husband in the act, but despite his proven infidelity, she may be the one who ends up being punished.

      The video, which she uploaded to YouTube, shows the man forcing himself on one of the family’s members of staff, while the maid appears to attempt to resist his advances.

    • Tacoma Police Sued Over Heavily-Redacted Stingray Non-Disclosure Agreement

      Despite there being multiple copies of nearly-identical FBI/Stingray non-disclosure agreements in the public domain at this point, the Tacoma (WA) Police Department still refuses to provide FOIA requesters with an unredacted version of its own NDA.

      In late 2014, the Tacoma Police Dept. handed Seattle’s Phil Mocek a copy of its NDA, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, failed to disclose much about the non-disclosure agreement. The only things left unredacted were the two opening paragraphs of the agreement and the signatures at the end of it. In the middle was a solid wall of black ink.

    • Sweden is shifting to a 6-hour work day

      Despite research telling us it’s a really bad idea, many of us end up working 50-hour weeks or more because we think we’ll get more done and reap the benefits later. And according to a study published last month involving 600,000 people, those of us who clock up a 55-hour week will have a 33 percent greater risk of having a stroke than those who maintain a 35- to 40-hour week.

      With this in mind, Sweden is moving towards a standard 6-hour work day, with businesses across the country having already implemented the change, and a retirement home embarking on a year-long experiment to compare the costs and benefits of a shorter working day.

  • DRM
    • TPP Also Locks In Broken Anti-Circumvention Rules That Destroy Your Freedoms

      We already wrote about how New Zealand has released some of the details about the finalized TPP agreement before the official text is released. The one we discussed is forcing participants into a “life plus 70 years” copyright term, even as the US had been exploring going back towards a life plus 50 regime like much of the rest of the world. That won’t be possible any more.

    • [Apple] What is the “rootless” feature in El Capitan, really?

      I have just learned about the “Rootless” feature in El Capitan, and I am hearing things like “There is no root user”, “Nothing can modify /System” and “The world will end because we can’t get root”.

      What is the “Rootless” feature of El Capitan at a technical level? What does it actually mean for the user experience and the developer experience? Will sudo -s still work, and, if so, how will the experience of using a shell as root change?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Links 8/10/2015: KDE Plasma 5.4.2 Released, Linux Drama Queens

Wednesday 7th of October 2015 11:10:27 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • 5 Popular Safety Measures That Don’t Make You Any Safer

    Thus the no fly list was established. It is estimated to have around 1 million names but nobody knows for sure. Keeping the list secret is a matter of national security, so the only way to find out if you’re on it is to be detained in the airport. Or in the air. For instance, in 2005 a 747 flight from Amsterdam to Mexico was turned back before it could reach its destination. The reason? Two of the plane’s passengers were on the no fly list and the flight crossed over US airspace. Well, better safe than sorry, right?

  • Stephen King’s practical advice for tech writers

    Even if you don’t enjoy writing and have no intentions of becoming a professional tech writer, chances are you’ll have to draft reports, mailing list updates, or technical articles at some point in your career. With a few practical tips in mind—along with solid writing advice from Stephen King—you can improve your writing before you start writing. And, with proper planning, you can easily repurpose your content for multiple audiences.

  • Avoiding tap water has become a way of life in Flint

    Outside a taco shop on Flint’s Fifth Street, Estella Walker balances a gallon jug of water on top of the stroller that holds her 3-month-old son, DeWayne. She’s mixing bottles of formula for DeWayne and his 19-month-old sister Vanessa.

    Nadene Strickland sits outside her home on the city’s north side, watching her grandsons play basketball. She still drinks the water. She can’t afford bottled.

    Shopping at the local farmers market with five of her seven children, Tena Fransioli says she hasn’t used tap water in a long time.

  • Security
    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • LinuxCon 2015 Report: Shrinking the Security Holes in OSS

      Dublin native James Joyce famously wrote that “mistakes are the portals of discovery.” LinuxCon 2015 keynote speaker Leigh Honeywell grabbed hold of the same theme here in Dublin, reminding hundreds of open source professionals that “you’re going to make mistakes; you’re going to introduce security bugs.” The goal, said Honeywell, who works as a senior security engineer at Slack Technologies, shouldn’t be the all-out elimination of these mistakes. Instead, security engineers should strive to make different mistakes next time around.

    • The perils of free digital certificates

      The current certificate is not cross-signed, so loading the page over HTTPS will give visitors an untrusted warning. The warning goes away once the ISRG root is added to the trust store. ISRG expects the certificate to be cross-signed by IdenTrusts’s root in about a month, at which point the certificates will work nearly anywhere. The project also submitted initial applications to the root programs for Mozilla, Google, Microsoft, and Apple so that Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Safari would recognize Let’s Encrypt certificates.

    • Get Simplified Web Encrytion For Your Website With Let’s Encrypt
    • InvizBox Go Offers Open Source Online Privacy And Security (video)

      Team InvizBox have unveiled a new pocket sized device which has been created to provide an open source solution to online privacy and security.

      The small InvizBox box is capable of offering users a broad range of privacy options, allowing secure connectivity to the Internet from both desktop and mobile devices.

    • New programmer pow-wow for coders paranoid about Android

      DevSecCon is a newly formed, non-profit conference for DevOps and SecOps practitioners, run by practitioners. By creating a neutral platform, it will exchange and create new ideas on how to leverage the best of both worlds and adopt a new mind-set of inclusiveness and collaboration.

    • Cisco disrupts $30 million browser plug-in hacking operation
    • ​Cisco: notorious hackers using Linux cloak earn $30m a year

      Cisco notes that Linux servers were being managed remotely via SSH using root, adding that they were likely compromised systems in Europe and Asia.

    • Linux.Wifatch: The Wireless Router Malware that Increases IoT Security
    • Vigilante Malware
    • Creators of the Benevolent Linux.Wifatch Malware Reveal Themselves

      The Linux.Wifatch malware, also dubbed as the “vigilante malware” has been going around the Internet, infecting IoT devices, cleaning out malware infections, and boosting the devices’ security.

    • Linux.Wifatch Is Protecting Unpatched Routers, Devices

      Today’s topics include how vigilante malware is protecting unpatched routers, HP launches its Open-Source Network OS, Twitter locks in Jack Dorsey as its permanent CEO, and Cisco is driving its investments in network chip startup Aquantia.

      Countless numbers of routers and Internet-connected devices around the world are not properly updated, leaving the devices, their owners and the Internet at large at risk. A new code infection, however, dubbed Linux.Wifatch, is taking unpatched routers and devices a different route, protecting them, rather than exploiting them.

    • Microsoft OWA falls victim to password-pinching APT attack

      SECURITY RESEARCHERS FROM Cybereason have sounded a klaxon over a problem with the Microsoft Outlook Web Application (OWA) that could let attackers swoop in and tag and bag data and documents through the use of APT techniques.

      Cybereason discovered the bug when a customer with some 19,000 endpoints suspected that it was the victim of infection.

    • New Outlook mailserver attack steals massive number of passwords

      Backdoor in Outlook Web Application operates inside target’s firewall.

    • Vint Cerf: The Headline I Fear Is ’100,000 Fridges Hack Bank of America’

      When the ILOVEYOU worm struck on May 4, 2000, it thrust the reality of computer vulnerabilities into the public consciousness in a very big way.

      Sure, computer worms had spread before, but some estimates pegged this particular worm as causing billions of dollars in damage. Entire government departments were crippled. The nature of its spread was unprecedented in scale.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • US Denies WikiLeaks Claims of Plot To Topple Bolivian President

      Bolivia says it is launching a thorough investigation into revelations made public by a WikiLeaks report.

      The U.S. has refuted reports that it planned to topple the government of Bolivia.

      The controversy started after a report surfaced on WikiLeaks that the U.S. government had plotted an assassination attempt against President Evo Morales in 2008.

      A representative described the WikiLeaks accusations as “absolutely false and absurd.”

    • NYT Continues to Obscure Responsibility in US’s Bombing of Hospital

      The New York Times followed up its euphemistic and equivocal coverage (FAIR Blog, 10/5/15) of the US bombing of the Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, with an article (10/6/15) that continued to downplay the US’s responsibility for the deaths of 12 hospital staffers and 10 patients.

    • Down the Memory Hole: NYT Erases CIA’s Efforts to Overthrow Syria’s Government

      FAIR has noted before how America’s well-documented clandestine activities in Syria have been routinely ignored when the corporate media discuss the Obama administration’s “hands-off” approach to the four-and-a-half-year-long conflict. This past week, two pieces—one in the New York Times detailing the “finger pointing” over Obama’s “failed” Syria policy, and a Vox “explainer” of the Syrian civil war—did one better: They didn’t just omit the fact that the CIA has been arming, training and funding rebels since 2012, they heavily implied they had never done so.

      First, let’s establish what we do know. Based on multiple reports over the past three-and-a-half years, we know that the Central Intelligence Agency set up a secret program of arming, funding and training anti-Assad forces. This has been reported by major outlets, including the New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel and, most recently, the Washington Post, which—partly thanks to the Snowden revelations—detailed a program that trained approximately 10,000 rebel fighters at a cost of $1 billion a year, or roughly 1/15th of the CIA’s official annual budget.

    • ‘Military Intervention in the Middle East Started This Crisis in the First Place’ – CounterSpin interview with Raed Jarrar on the refugee crisis

      Janine Jackson: A recent CNN report said that the worsening Syrian refugee crisis highlights the differences among countries that welcome what they called “desperate migrants” and those that don’t; but if US audiences think that the crisis, some 11 million people now displaced, reflects only on the action or inaction of countries “over there,” they’re misunderstanding the situation. What more do we need to know about this crisis, its roots and possible ways forward? Raed Jarrar is government relations manager at the American Friends Service Committee. He joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Raed Jarrar.

    • 9/11 and the Rise of Neoconservative Foreign Policy

      9/11 and the Rise of Neoconservative Foreign Policy. For this 14th anniversary 9/11 special program, co-hosts Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips speak with Media Roots journalist and filmmaker Robbie Martin about his new film “A Very Heavy Agenda.” The film looks in depth at the Kagan family and the rise of neoconservative foreign policy prior to and since the events of 9/11. Tune in for a detailed discussion about the development of the US policy driving American Empire.

  • Finance
    • TPP Negotiations Conclude: What Next for the Trade Deal Without a Public Text?

      The Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations concluded early this morning in Atlanta with the 12 countries reaching agreement on the remaining outstanding issues. The U.S. quickly posted a summary of the TPP and the Canadian government has followed with its own package on the deal. At a just-concluded ministerial press conference, the ministers noted that this is one step in a longer process. The text itself must still be finalized and then each country will have its own rules before signing onto it. In the U.S., there is a review period with the full text, so this will be a 2016 issue. In Canada, new treaties must be tabled for review in the House of Commons, so there will be a Parliamentary review.

    • 12 countries strike Pacific Rim trade accord

      Trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region have reached a deal on the Pacific trade pact that is intended to cut trade barriers and establish common standards for 12 countries, This is the largest trade pact in 20 years and has been a long-term goal of the Obama administration.

    • Users Have Been Betrayed in the Final TPP Deal—Help Us Tell Washington How You Feel

      Trade negotiators from the U.S. and its 11 Pacific Rim partners announced their agreement on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) today, concluding the final round of closed negotiations in Atlanta and marking the culmination of seven years of secrecy. Throughout all that time, the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has acted as a de facto representative of the Hollywood big media lobbies in pushing other countries to adopt the most punitive aspects of U.S. copyright policies—such as our over-the-top civil and criminal penalties—while at best giving lip service to pro-user aspects such as fair use.

    • ‘Massive’ Media Hype for TPP

      It is amazing how the elite media can be dragged along by their noses into accepting that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) can have a big impact on trade and growth. If I had a dollar for every time the deal was described as “massive,” or that we were told what share of world trade will be covered by the TPP, I would be richer than Bill Gates.

    • A Solution To Bitcoin’s Governance Problem

      A key aspect of Bitcoin’s value proposition is that it’s an open source protocol independent of any particular corporation or government.

      Similar to other open source initiatives, the software that runs the Bitcoin network is managed and improved upon by a group of volunteer developers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
  • Censorship
    • State Court Says University Can’t Punish Student For Off-Campus Tweets

      The Appeals Court of Kansas has upheld a lower court’s decision finding it beyond the reach of a university to expel a student for off-campus behavior.

      Beneath this logical conclusion are some not-so-pretty facts. The origin of the lawsuit is a “bad breakup” that resulted in criminal charges for the former boyfriend, Navid Yeasin.

    • Motherboard’s Version Of ‘Valuing Discussion’ Involves No Longer Letting You Comment

      Add Motherboard to the quickly growing list of news websites killing their comment section because they’re so breathlessly in love with reader interaction and visitor conversation. Like The Verge, Recode, Popular Science, The Daily Beast and numerous other websites before it, Motherboard has decided that there’s simply no value whatsoever to having a healthy, on-site local community.

    • Why are students now cheering about the massacre at Charlie Hebdo?

      I witnessed something genuinely disturbing at Trinity College Dublin last night: trendy, middle-class, liberal students cheering and whooping a man who had just given the closest thing I have yet heard to a justification for the massacre at Charlie Hebdo.

      It was as part of a debate on the right to offend. I was on the side of people having the right to say whatever the hell they want, no matter whose panties it bunches. The man on the other side who implied that Charlie Hebdo got what it deserved, and that the right to offend is a poisonous, dangerous notion, was one Asghar Bukhari of the Muslim Public Affairs Committee.

    • Scholarship, Security, and ‘Spillage’ on Campus

      On September 24 I gave a keynote presentation at Purdue University about the NSA, Edward Snowden, and national security journalism in the age of surveillance. It was part of the excellent Dawn or Doom colloquium, which I greatly enjoyed. The organizers live-streamed my talk and promised to provide me with a permalink to share.

      After unexplained delays, I received a terse email from the university last week. Upon advice of counsel, it said, Purdue “will not be able to publish your particular video” and will not be sending me a copy. The conference hosts, once warm and hospitable, stopped replying to my emails and telephone calls. I don’t hold it against them. Very likely they are under lockdown by spokesmen and lawyers.

  • Privacy
    • Landmark EU ruling says US privacy protections are inadequate

      Europe’s highest court today ruled that Facebook cannot send personal information on European users to data centers in the US, invalidating a 15-year trans-Atlantic data transfer agreement. In a decision that could have far-reaching implications for many US tech companies, the European Court of Justice said that the EU’s Safe Harbor agreement with the US is “invalid” because the country does not guarantee adequate privacy protections. The agreement allows technology companies to transfer data from Europe to the US, provided that certain privacy requirements are met. According to The Wall Street Journal, today’s ruling could impact around 4,500 companies that currently rely on the laws to transfer data to the US.

    • EU-US Safe Harbour For Personal Data Eliminated

      The European Court of Justice (CJEU) handed down a decision declaring EU-US safe harbour for personal data invalid this morning. It has far-reaching implications for cloud services in particular and may presage increased opportunity for open source solutions from non-US suppliers. Looks like a real gift to companies like Kolab.

    • Interview with Kirsten Johnson, Director of “The Above”

      Kirsten Johnson talks with Eric Hynes about her new film, which documents a military surveillance blimp over Kabul and its impact on the Afghans living beneath it.

    • Adblock Plus to appoint whitelist watchdog

      The company behind the internet’s most popular advert-blocking plug-in has pledged to open up its controversial “whitelist” to outside scrutiny.

    • Data Transfer Pact Between U.S. and Europe Is Ruled Invalid
    • Verizon’s Sneaky Zombie Cookies Now Being Used Across The Entire AOL Ad Empire

      Poor Verizon. Telco executives for years have sat in their board rooms bored by the billions to be made on telecom and transit, jealously eyeing Facebook and Google ad revenue, and desperately dreaming of being seen as more than just a dull old phone company. That’s why the telecom giant recently paid $4.4 billion to acquire AOL, and is now throwing tens of millions at a new Internet video service aimed squarely at Millennials (hey kids, why get Internet video right from the source or a disruptive content company when you can get it from the phone company?).

    • Facebook can be blocked from passing data to US after treaty ruled invalid

      Facebook, Google and thousands of other US companies can be barred from transferring private information about European citizens across the Atlantic after Europe’s highest court struck down a 15-year-old data sharing treaty.

      The European Court of Justice has declared that the “Safe Harbour” agreement, which gives more than 4,400 US businesses free reign to send data about Europeans to American servers, is invalid.

    • Ireland, Facebook’s European base, pushed to act on ‘safe harbour’ ruling

      Ireland has said it plans to investigate the transfer of data on Facebook users in Europe to the United States after an EU court invalidated the “safe harbour” provisions under which it took place.

      It follows a request by Austrian citizen Max Schrems to the Irish data protection commissioner to investigate if there was adequate protection of his data transferred to the US by Facebook, which has its European headquarters in Dublin.

    • EU ruling means Facebook and Google can’t send data to the US

      If you live in Europe, your online life changed this morning. The European Union’s highest court, the EU Court of Justice, has invalidated the legal agreement by which personal data can be moved from the EU to the US for processing.

      The ruling against the 15-year-old law, known as Safe Harbour, threatens the business models of more than 3000 companies that use it to ship data to the US, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook.

    • No Safe Harbor: How NSA Spying Undermined U.S. Tech and Europeans’ Privacy
    • Microsoft sites expose visitors’ profile info in plain text

      If you think using secure HTTP would be enough to protect your privacy when checking webmail, think again. When users connect to their Microsoft user account page,, or even when using HTTPS, the connection leaks a unique identifier that can be used to retrieve their name and profile photo in plaintext.

      A unique identifier called a CID is exposed because it’s sent as part of a Domain Name Service lookup for the address of the storage server containing profile data and as part of the initiation of an encrypted connection. As a result, it could be used to track users when they connect to services from both computers and mobile devices, possibly even identifying users as their requests leave the Tor anonymizing network.

    • EFF joins Nameless Coalition and demands that Facebook kills its real names policy

      Facebook has come under heavy criticism for its real names (or ‘authentic identities’ as they are known to the social network) policy. Over the last year, all manner of rights groups and advocates have tried to convince Facebook to allow users to drop their real name in favor of a pseudonym if they want.

      Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation is part of the 74-member strong Nameless Coalition and has written to Facebook demanding a rethink on the ground of safety, privacy, and equality. This is far from being the first time Facebook has been called on to allow the use of ‘fake names’, and the latest letter is signed by LGBT groups, freedom advocates, privacy supporters, and feminist organizations.

    • Thousands of “Spies” Are Watching Trackerless Torrents

      BitTorrent is a very efficient way to share large files, but not a very private one. It’s commonly known that anti-piracy outfits monitor users through public trackers. However, new research reveals that BitTorrent’s DHT is also full of “spies” who actively harvest IP-addresses.


      Through DHT, BitTorrent users share IP-addresses with other peers. Thus far, little was known about the volume of monitoring through DHT, but research from Peersm’s Aymeric Vitte shows that it’s rampant.

      Through various experiments Vitte consistently ran into hundreds of thousands of IP-addresses that show clear signs of spying behavior.

      The spies are not hard to find and many monitor pretty much all torrents hashes they can find. Blocking them is not straightforward though, as they frequently rotate IP-addresses and pollute swarms.

    • Open Rights Group welcomes CJEU Safe Harbor ruling

      Open Rights Group welcomes today’s decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) that the Safe Harbor agreement is invalid.

    • Why the CJEU ruling on #SafeHarbor is a landmark victory for privacy rights

      In 2013, Austrian law student, Max Schrems brought a case against Facebook in Ireland, where the company has its European headquarters. He argued that revelations by NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden, showed that the NSA were accessing data held by companies like Facebook. As US law did not offer enough protection against this surveillance, his privacy was being violated.

      The Irish Data Protection Commissioner rejected Schrems’ case because the Safe Harbor agreement governed the transfer of data. The case was then referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).


      The ruling places greater obligations on data protection authorities – such as the UK’s Information Commissioner – as it says that they must ensure that fundamental rights are respected in data transfer arrangements to the US by private companies. It also limits the ability of the Commission to claim everything is OK and persuade European regulators to look away.

    • Safe harbor: abusive data collection and mass surveillance repealed by the European Court of Justice!

      By a decision published this morning, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the highest European jurisdiction, repealed the Safe Harbor agreement. This agreement in effect since 2000, allows data transfers between Europe and the United States under different versions, authorised the processing of European citizens’ data by US companies, with fewer guarantees than those existing in Europe. Max Schrems, an Austrian citizen, has put Facebook on trial since the monitoring by the NSA of his data hosted by Facebook had an impact on his freedom and privacy. The CJEU today confirmed his viewpoint by invalidating the Safe Harbor and held that the European Commission abused its power by approving it. The CJEU also affirmed that a local data protection authority may dissent a European agreement if guarantees granted to citizens were modified.

  • Civil Rights
    • Valencia Woman Files Suit Alleging She Was Punched By Police In Front Of Her Kids

      A Valencia woman has sued the city of Carlsbad and several of its officers over allegations that she was pinned to the ground and punched by police in 2013.

      Cindy Hahn said the incident on July 31 – a day she calls the worst one of her life – was caught on cellphone video.

    • Google drops ‘Don’t be evil’ mantra as it becomes Alphabet

      EVIL-DOING HAS HAD A BOOST. Google is no longer opposing it in its official company code of conduct for new and improved big brother company Alphabet, where employees will be expected to ‘do the right thing’.

    • Second Saudi Juvenile Faces Beheading As Cameron Tries To Justify “Squalid” Deal

      According to the campaign group Reprieve, “Dawoud al-Marhoon was 17 when he was arrested without a warrant by Saudi security forces in May 2012, at the height of protests in the country’s Eastern Province.”

      The campaign group claims that al-Marhoon signed a “confession”, which was used to convict him, after he was tortured. In a press release the group said: “He has been held in solitary confinement, and has been barred from speaking to his lawyer.

    • David Cameron attacks Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘terrorist-sympathising, Britain-hating ideology’ – live [Ed: opposition compared to terrorism]
    • Leon Brittan vs Julian Assange

      Indeed, the BBC has decided that, given the accusations against Assange are so risible, it would be wrong for any detail at all of the accusations to be given out. Therefore the BBC has never reported the fact that the allegation they describe as “rape” is that, during the act of consensual sex, Assange allegedly tore a condom with his fingers whilst wearing it (of which I doubt the physical possibility). The second sexual molestation accusation is that again consensual sex took place, but after they fell asleep in each others arms, Assange awoke and initiated a repeat of the sex act without requesting permission again.

      Despite the fact that Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen have given press conferences in Sweden promoting their allegations, the BBC has made no attempt to interview them. The BBC has not reported that, the day after the condom splitting “rape”, Anna Ardin hosted a crayfish party for Assange and tweeted her friends from it that she was with the coolest man in the world. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin had invited Assange to share her flat and her bed. The BBC has not reported that Anna Ardin and Sofia Wilen only made accusations after the two of them got together and cooked up the story. The BBC has not reported that Stockholm’s chief prosecutor dismissed it as no case to answer, and that Ardin then took it, as Swedish law allows, to another prosecutor, Marianne Ny who has a campaigning feminist agenda.

      The BBC has not reported any of that because it would be quite wrong to doubt the word of victims of sexual abuse. It would be wrong to put them under pressure, or look sceptically at the evidence for their stories, both direct and circumstantial. It would be quite wrong to prejudice possible legal proceedings.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality
    • Hey, Remember How Net Neutrality Was Supposed To Destroy The Internet?

      Before and after the FCC imposed new net neutrality rules, you’ll recall there was no limit of hand-wringing from major ISPs and net neutrality opponents about how these “draconian regulations from a bygone era” would utterly decimate the Internet. We were told investment would freeze, innovation would dry up like dehydrated jerky, and in no time at all net neutrality would have us all collectively crying over our busted, congested, tubes.

      And, of course, shockingly, absolutely none of that is happening. Because what the ISPs feared about net neutrality rules wasn’t that it would senselessly hurt their ability to invest, but that it would harm their ability to take aggressive and punitive advantage of the lack of competition in last mile broadband networks. Obviously ISPs can’t just come out and admit that, so what we get instead is oodles of nonsense, including bogus claims that net neutrality violates ISPs’ First Amendment rights.

    • Facebook Will Beam the Internet to Africa Using this Satellite [iophk: "zero-rating"]

      Africa’s current state of Internet access is stark: the lowest levels of broadband connectivity, according to the United Nation’s State of Broadband report, are mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the UN, Internet availability reaches less than 2% of the populations in Guinea, Somalia, Burundi and Eritrea.

  • DRM
    • FCC clarifies third-party router firmware is allowed — but with restrictions

      A few weeks ago, we covered news that the FCC was considering rules that could ban the use of third-party router firmware. The FCC has issued new draft rules that would prevent customers from making changes to certain radio settings that would allow for operation outside of certain parameters. Typically these restrictions are designed to prevent multiple devices in the same geographical area from overlapping and conflicting with each other.

      The FCC has now revealed more details on these new policies, which could theoretically be read to prevent the installation of all third-party router firmware. The FCC’s initial order specifies, for example, that programs like DD-WRT should not be allowed, which is part of why people have been concerned about new restrictions in the first place. According to the FCC, manufacturers don’t need to lock out third-party firmware — they just need to prevent the third party firmware from changing settings the FCC doesn’t allow consumers to modify.

    • The Stagnation Of eBooks Due To Closed Platforms And DRM

      Craig Mod has a fascinating article for Aeon, talking about the unfortunate stagnation in digital books. He spent years reading books almost exclusively in ebook form, but has gradually moved back to physical books, and the article is a long and detailed exploration into the limits of ebooks today — nearly all of which are not due to actual limitations of the medium, but deliberate choices by the platform providers (mainly Amazon, obviously) to create closed, limited, DRM-laden platforms for ebooks.

    • Sorry, Unix fans: OS X El Capitan kills root

      If you haven’t heard, Apple has locked out root from various file system paths and core functions in Mac OS X 10.11 El Capitan. The new sheriff here is System Integrity Protection (SIP), which reduces root privileges in an attempt to increase security.

      The gist is that no user — not even root — can write to /usr, /bin, /System, and /sbin or debug protected processes. Apple has also removed the ability to use unsigned kernel extensions through boot-time flags. It’s important to note that SIP can be disabled, through the recovery partition, but this will typically be done only for development and testing purposes.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Copyrights
      • Megaupload prosecutor wraps up arguments to extradite Kim Dotcom to the US

        For two weeks, Kim Dotcom and three other former Megaupload staffers accused of criminal copyright infringement were bombarded by accusations from New Zealand prosecutors.

        To hear prosecutors tell it, Dotcom is the Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman of illegal file sharing. The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) alleges that the defendants operated Megaupload as a criminal enterprise designed to profit from the illegal swapping of movies, music and software by users. A hearing is underway to determine whether New Zealand will extradite Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk, and Finn Batato to the US. Much is at stake for the four, who may eventually face lengthy prison sentences.

      • Megaupload Accuses U.S. of Unfair Tactics, Seeks Stay

        After the United States were given several days to state their case against Kim Dotcom and his former business associates, this morning lawyers for the Megaupload four stated why their clients should not be extradited to the United States. The U.S. has used unfair tactics to gain an advantage so the hearing should be brought to an end, the Court heard.

      • Google Must Expose eBook Pirate, Court Rules

        Google has to hand over the personal details of a user who published pirated eBooks online, a Dutch court has ruled. The information was requested by anti-piracy group BREIN, working on behalf of a local book publishers’ organization.

      • Happy Birthday And The Problem With The Copyright Office’s ‘Orphan Works’ Plan

        A few weeks ago, we wrote about the big ruling by Judge George King in a district court in California that Warner/Chappell does not hold a valid copyright in the song “Happy Birthday.” The press ran with the story, with nearly all of the coverage falsely stating that the judge had declared Happy Birthday to be in the public domain. As we noted in our post, however, that was not the case. While the plaintiffs had urged just such a finding, Judge King noted that there were issues related to this that a jury would need to answer, and he would not go that far. Instead, he merely stated that Warner did not hold a valid copyright. Many people assume that this is good enough. The likelihood of some third party magically showing up after all of these years and not just claiming the copyright, but having enough evidence to prove it seems very slim. Glenn Fleishman has done a nice job writing up a detailed explanation of this copyright mess for Fast Company, in which he notes the “uncertainty is maddening.”

      • Bat-tastic – Batmobile Protected by Copyright in the US

        Amongst the very old school and traditionalist judgments here in the UK, it is always refreshing to read ones that step outside of that dusty judicial demeanor, and often our friends across the pond in the US show us that even judges remember their youth with fondness.


        In applying the test judge Ikuta quickly saw that, as the Batmobile has appeared in many renditions in a variety of forms, it has conceptual and physical qualities. The vehicle has also maintained a sufficient amount of distinct features over the years, even with minor (or more major) difference in some iterations, along with its specific characteristics and features in equipment and technology, making it sufficiently delineated to be recognizable as the same vehicle. Finally, judge Ikuta saw that the vehicle was especially distinctive, containing unique elements of expression through its status as a key part of Batman’s crime-fighting repertoire, along with its very distinctive name. The Batmobile therefore was deemed to be protectable under copyright.

EPO Staff to Disrupt Administrative Council Meeting With Public Demonstration That Raises Awareness of Abuses

Wednesday 7th of October 2015 07:30:52 PM

Summary: The perception of collusion between the Administrative Council (AC) and the European Patent Office (EPO) leads to staff actions demanding investigation of illegal Board of Appeal (BoA) suspension/s (among many other things)

“Actions continue at the European Patent Office (EPO),” wrote SUEPO today, following a familiar script (the previous such call for action was accidentally posted this morning, either prematurely or while writing the latest call). This is probably designed to overlap with the Administrative Council’s meeting, which is due to take place starting on the very same date, as we noted before. Here is SUEPO’s message:

The next demonstration will take place on Wednesday 14 October, starting at 12.30h in front of the Isar building of the EPO in Munich.

According to SUEPO, the EPO has been transformed into a totalitarian state where the rights of staff and of those who defend the rights of staff or simply adhere to common sense are being crushed to the benefit of a few, mainly French, who are making rocket careers. The EPO is a civil service organisation and not a self-service organisation.

We wish to remind the Council delegates and the governments of the Member States that they are responsible for the European Patent Organisation, its mission and its staff.

The Administrative Council is too close (and loyal) to Benoît Battistelli, so without serious pressure there will just be more coverup, no regulatory action. They only interrogate the messengers — those who have the courage to complain about the abuses and call for action.

Van der Eijk’s situation was covered here before (in [1, 2]) and “sources suggest that Mr Wim van der Eijk, Chairman of the Enlarged Boards of Appeal is on long term absence,” SUEPO claims (probably citing either us or the sources that we, in turn, cited). Van der Eijk is Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (highest position at the top board), but he is not showing up for work anymore. The need for action in this case is imperative, e.g. the Council must investigate these illegal suspensions, at least that of a judge last year (it might not have been the only one), but it’s one that complaints were raised about).

SUEPO now highlights an article from the summer (a little outdated because of more recent developments), published by World Intellectual Property Review (WIPR). This was shared and archived locally (the full text) at SUEPO’s Web site. “Back in August,” says SUEPO, “WIPR reported on the events at the European Patent Office and especially on the lack of independence of the EPO’s appeal boards which is under public scrutiny since the house ban imposed on one of its members” (nothing was known about Wim van der Eijk at the time and we are still waiting for conformation about the status of this affair). To quote WIPR:

The independence of the EPO’s appeal boards appears to be under scrutiny, but establishing how to make them more autonomous is proving tricky, as WIPR reports.

A way from the strike action, demonstrations, and the continuing dispute between the European Patent Office’s (EPO) staff and management, it is easy to forget that the office actually has a job to do.

During much of the last year or so accusations were levelled against both EPO president Benoît Battistelli and his senior management.

Leaked documents apparently showing changes to staff guidelines, notices of strikes, public condemnation of the office’s management by its staff union, and murmurings of suspensions have punctuated what should have been an exciting few months for the EPO as it prepares for the arrival of the unitary patent.

SUEPO quotes text from behind the paywall/artificial limitation at WIPR, namely: “Battistelli has tried to increase the independence of the boards without actually amending the EPC itself, but his efforts are “not satisfactory. [...] Increasing the board’s independence without amending the EPC depends on Battistelli delegating the powers he has to the boards of appeal, but how permanent would that delegation be? If he can take the decision to delegate powers he can also undo it, so it is not the best guarantee. [...] with the EPC in its current form, there is an argument that the EPO is not compliant with the TRIPS Agreement.[...] TRIPS says that you need to have two instances of appeal. But if the boards of appeal at the EPO are merely an administrative function run by the president you could say there is in fact no level of appeal at all.”

The TRIPS Agreement is itself an abomination, much like TPP and ACTA, which contained TRIPS within it (we wrote a lot about this back in the ACTA days).

On a separate note, there continues to be a disturbing trend when it comes to software patents in Europe. There are principle no software patents in India and in Europe, but the EPO has been working to change that since the Brimelow days. India’s new government too seems to be making these undemocratic errors; “The new guidelines,” says this report about Modi in The Times of India, “will make it easier for companies to file for software patents in India. But software patenting has become hugely controversial globally” (and especially so in India, where many software developers work, sometimes remotely).

Patent lawyers try to spin that article as Indian companies actually wanting software patents. This was mentioned when we wrote about patent trolls against Android in Europe just two days ago. We also mentioned at the same time the official joining of the UK into the UPC despite the possibility of Brexit. As Benjamin Henrion put it yesterday “UK ratification of the Unitary Patent does not make sense if the ECJ have the last word over patents, as it was confirmed bu en [sic] EC official” (the UK just ignores the law and already jump-starts a UPC patent court in London).

In the coming weeks we are likely to invest more time researching and writing about the UPC. This too deserves a public protest, not just TPP (or ACTA before it).

We support the actions of EPO staff against their management as this is long overdue and it gets members of the European Parliament increasingly involved. All the above collusions thrive in secrecy and the more information we can put out there in the public domain, the more true democracy one can enable.

“The European Patent Office is an executive organisation, it deals especially with patent applicants, as such, its view of the world may be biased. As an executive organisation, its interpretative powers are very limited. The European Patent Convention excludes computer programs, it is outside the EPO’s power to change this.”

Ante Wessels, FFII

OIN Turns 10, IDG Floods the Web With Puff Pieces That ‘Normalise’ Software Patents

Wednesday 7th of October 2015 06:35:29 PM

A conspiracy of silence over harmful software patenting

Summary: The Open Invention Network (OIN) commissions or helps produce puff pieces in the corporate media because it has an anniversary and corporate interests to push forth (including the idea that software patents can coexist with Linux)

“OIN is a waste of time and money,” wrote the FFII’s President this week, “it was created by IBM [...] and collective shields don’t work against trolls” (we have explained this important point for nearly a decade).

Patent pools are not going to protect GNU and Linux, especially not from patent trolls. In private conversations between myself, the OIN and a potential patent trolls half a decade ago I was reminded of that. There is this press release titled “Open Invention Network Celebrates Its 10 Year Anniversary”, which even made it into Linux sites like LWN. OIN appears to have contacted journalists, as they did me on several occasions in the past. Katherine Noyes, who had worked for the Linux Foundation, was probably approached by OIN based on ‘exclusive’ (with quotations) coverage from IDG, which promoted OIN by throwing their stuff all over the place, in dozens of sites, to push their point of view [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12].

What we basically have here is a sort of front group for IBM, a proponent of (and lobbyist for) software patents, celebrating a massive software patents pact (not as effective as cross-licensing). Remember where the first person to head OIN came from…

OIN generally generated puff pieces in some other places, including mouthpiece of the plutocrats (like those who head large corporations, including IBM).

“Launched back in 2005,” Noyes wrote, “the OIN was formed by IBM, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony to create a protected zone of patents around core Linux and open source software technologies — functionality that’s essential for open source projects and companies like OpenStack, Linux, Red Hat, SUSE, Android and Apache.”

The only surprising name above might be Red Hat, but Red Hat's weird stance on software patents these days is a subject we tackled many times before (over half a decade ago).

There is no room in this world for software patents, not even with the excessively glorified OIN. There is no way to reconcile and to coexist with software patents because small independent developers don’t have a war chest of patents. Companies like IBM and Microsoft have enormous leverage over them. OIN helps perpetuate an injustice. Is there an alternative to OIN? Yes. Just get rid of software patents altogether.

Hypocrite Forks the Linux Kernel Because of Cultural Characteristics That He Himself is Guilty of

Wednesday 7th of October 2015 06:00:16 PM

Summary: Forking of Linux is misleadingly reported in the media because of a couple of very loud people, who are not even quitting their jobs

THIS post is not a personal attack, so we shall refrain from naming names (no direct reference to individuals). This post isn’t about news either, just some rants that infiltrated so-called ‘news’ sites because drama ‘sells’.

It all started with the original rant [1] from one among many thousands of Linux developers (she didn’t even leave her employer, just changed projects to focus on). This was picked up by few sites the following day and became a topic of discussion in LWN [2], which is close to LKML (people/subscribers overlap). Linux media then picked it up [3-7], followed by the corporate media [8-12]. Some Microsoft boosters were all over it as this was a rare opportunity to characterise Linux as rude and condescending (as if this never happens in proprietary software, they just hide it better in their culture of infamous secrecy, no public mailing lists either).

This in itself was bad enough in the publicity sense and then a longtime vocal supporter of feminism added more fuel to the fire [13], causing some stir in Linux media [14], having done this against Intel before. Intel is the former person’s employer by the way; the company whom he decided to effectively boycott over chauvinism — a problem that the former person seems to not even want to address at all because that’s where her large salary comes from. Double standard much?

This outburst against Linux has nothing to do with women’s rights or manners. There is no threat of violence (as once alleged) and there is no language directly offensive to women (no more than it can be offensive to men). Some people have too thin a skin, especially where free speech is highly valued.

The latter person is a Microsoft apologist (based on his own words) and the fact that he technically supports UEFI (i.e. attacking computing freedom) is why Torvalds famously lashed out and used sexual connotations.

The latter person is provocative, confrontational (even against former employers like Canonical), and foul-mouthed (look how he behaves on sites like Twitter), so who is he to use ‘brutal’ culture as a pretext for forking Linux? Yes, large news sites now frame this as Linux being forked [15,16], as if this will ever truly fly. It’s just a cycle of provocation, resulting in little more than harmful publicity, e.g. stereotyping and reinforced stigma for Linux.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Closing a door
  2. Sharp: Closing a door
  3. Sarah Sharp: “I’m not a Linux kernel developer any more”
  4. Sarah Sharp Quits as a Linux Kernel Developer, Blames the Toxic Behavior of the Community
  5. Sarah Sharp Steps Down As Linux Kernel Developer
  6. Kernel Anniversary Marked by “Without Linux” and Resignation

    Today marks 24 years since Linux Torvalds released version 0.01 of the Linux kernel to the benefit of humanity. The day was marred by the resignation of Sarah Sharp saying, “I am no longer a part of the Linux kernel community” due to “blunt, rude, or brutal” communication. The Linux Foundation today announced a new video series titled World Without Linux that will highlight the vast ecosystem spawned from that original 10,239 lines of code.

  7. Linux kernel developer Sarah Sharp quits over bad culture in LKML
  8. Linux kernel dev Sarah Sharp quits, citing ‘brutal’ communications style
  9. Linux kernel dev who asked Linus Torvalds to stop verbal abuse quits over verbal abuse
  10. ​Linux developer who took on Linus Torvalds over abuse quits ‘toxic’ kernel community
  11. Linux: Is Sarah Sharp a Social Justice Warrior?
  12. Key Linux geekette walks over community abuse
  13. Going my own way
  14. Another Longtime Linux Developer Looks To Distance Himself From The Kernel Community

    A day after Sarah Sharp formally announced she’s stepping away from Linux kernel development due to the arguably toxic community, well known kernel developer Matthew Garrett announced he too is planning to cease his personal contributions to the upstream Linux kernel.

  15. Matthew Garrett Forks the Linux Kernel

    Just like Sarah Sharp, Linux developer Matthew Garrett has gotten fed up with the unprofessional development culture surrounding the kernel. “I remember having to deal with interminable arguments over the naming of an interface because Linus has an undying hatred of BSD securelevel, or having my name forever associated with the deepthroating of Microsoft because Linus couldn’t be bothered asking questions about the reasoning behind a design before trashing it,” Garrett writes. He has chosen to go his own way, and has forked the Linux kernel and added patches that implement a BSD-style securelevel interface. Over time it is expected to pick up some of the power management code that Garrett is working on, and we shall see where it goes from there.

  16. Matthew Garrett Leaves Linux Kernel and Forks It

    Now, another Linux kernel developer has decided to move away from the project. Matthew Garrett has been in the news a lot this past year, but surprisingly, not for the Linux kernel. He’s been a constant critic of Canonical IP policy, and he has criticized the company more than once. In fact, he’s a rather well-known kernel developer, and he had his fair share of disputes with Linus Torvalds. Unlike Sarah, he made his reasons a lot more clear.

Željko Topić Attacks EPO Staff for ‘Daring’ to Legally Challenge the EPO’s Management Over Its Gross Abuses in Europe

Tuesday 6th of October 2015 08:08:20 PM

“I hope that German police will arrest this corrupt Balkans gangster [Željko Topić] and transfer him to Croatia for trial soon” –Rikard Frgačić, an early victim of Topić (in Croatia)

Summary: Benoît Battistelli’s right-hand man, Željko Topić, is under the false impression that yet more threats against staff of the EPO will help contain the crisis rather than further inflame it

Željko Topić must never have heard of or learned about the Streisand Effect. He and his circle of bullies (which includes several people and is headed by Battistelli) just don’t know a thing about crisis management.

Topić is finding himself in the shoes of Richard Nixon (recall Watergate), falling deeper into the mud at every step as he attempts to cover up the abuses, usually with even worse abuses than before.

Based on this letter just published by IP Kat, Topić and by extension the EPO’s management as a whole decided continue with aggression, having refused to conduct some kind of peace negotiations with the union.

“Topić has quite a history bullying his critics in his home country, Croatia, only to formally lose against them (after costing them a lot of money, agony, and several years in court.”The management’s aggression shows poor taste and zero tact. Over the past year or two the name of the EPO have been associated with negative things and the reputation is thoroughly tarnished; rather than respond politely and calmly the management chose to become even more aggressive, proving and at times further legitimising their critics’ gripes. So they really think that more threats are going to be constructive and actually help end the revolt? Of course it is only going to inflame (and get involved) more members or staff and ultimately serve to discredit the abuser, proving yet again that this circular and wide-ranging cycle of gagging/muzzling/censorship by retribution (or threats thereof) remains impractical and counterproductive. It doesn’t even work because despite threats from Battistelli, SUEPO is back to publicly posting new material today (see the SUEPO site for updates).

Topić has quite a history bullying his critics in his home country, Croatia [1, 2, 3], only to formally lose against them (after costing them a lot of money, agony, and several years in court [1, 2, 3, 4]). Strategic lawsuit against public participation, or SLAPP, is what this strategy is best known as.

Here is the latest from Topić and Raimund Lutz, another member of Battistelli’s mob:

Your rights 02.10.2015  To all staff  It has been recently brought to our attention that colleagues who turn to SUEPO for their pending legal cases against the Office are asked by SUEPO to sign a standard agreement in order to obtain financial support for the lawyer’s fees.  Out of its duty of care towards EPO employees, the Office requested an external legal advice to assess the conformity of this agreement to the applicable national law and has concluded that it does not fulfil the required standards of legality.  Unions may be entitled to provide legal support to colleagues and to propose standard contracts to that effect. However, such contracts must comply with the applicable law and basic fundamental rights as recognised in all European countries and under general principles of law.  More specifically, several clauses of this agreement seem to be against good faith and/or national law under which such contract is signed and are thus unlawful and void.  For example, Article 13 of the agreement reads as follows:

‘Where an external lawyer has been retained, as defined above,

  • (a) The Applicant shall at all times entrust the whole procedure to the lawyer, either directly or through SUEPO’s Legal Advisor.
  • (b) The Applicant shall at no time communicate directly with the Office on matters concerning the litigation without the prior and express approval of the external lawyer or the Legal Advisor.
  • (c) If the Applicant fails to meet the two requirements (a) and (b) above, financial aid by SUEPO may be revoked at any time and stage of the procedure.’
This standard clause prohibiting the staff member from communicating with the administration and therefore from taking any steps without requesting the express prior permission of SUEPO or SUEPO’s lawyers restricts unlawfully the staff member’s freedom of self-determination of his/her own case, infringes basic principles of the Law on general terms and conditions of employment, restricts his/her freedom of communication and constitutes an infringement of basic rights of occupational freedom in a dubious way.  In case such unlawful clauses are used to block the possibility of amicable settlement or to exercise pressure to file further unjustified or unwanted litigation, this could be considered detrimental to the general interests of justice as well as an infringement of basic human rights of the staff member. As a result, staff may consider contesting such contracts as void.  In view of the above, the Office recommends staff to check with independent external lawyers of their choice the specific agreements they are asked to sign before doing so.  If staff members are already engaged under such contract, they are in the same way and to the same extent also invited to check the lawfulness of the invoicing (proportionality of invoice against services, applicable fees under national law) as cases of overcharged legal fees/ invoices came to the attention of the Office.  The Office’s services remain at the staff’s disposal for confidential consultation in case colleagues have already signed such documents and are not certain about the exact legal and financial obligations they have assumed from them. In such a case please contact the Conflict Resolution Unit.   Željko Topić Vice-President DG 4      Raimund Lutz    Vice-President DG 5

As Merpel points out, “the EPO urges its litigious colleagues to take great care to guard against the breach of its human rights by staff union SUEPO. Both real and fictional Kats have memories that are admittedly fallible, but Merpel has this vague recollection that EPO’s concern for human rights has been demonstrated more vividly by its defiance of them than by their protection. Was this organisation not called to account earlier this year by a Dutch court, in a judgment that the EPO ignored, trumpeting its immunity from national law? Yet it is the very same national law to which the EPO now, extraordinarily, turns.”

Watch this space for follow-ups as so far this month we have been writing about the EPO more than once per day. It’s only getting worse for them by the day. Battistelli’s EPO is a force of occupation (by corporate interests), much like TPP. People are clever enough to see this and there is hard evidence becoming available. If any of our readers has the EPO’s “Closer contacts with major applicants” document, please consider anonymously leaking it to us. We have some important articles on the way.

Media Reports Based on New Patents Suggest That Microsoft Continues to Attack Google and Android/Linux, Trying to Tax and Delete Android

Tuesday 6th of October 2015 05:28:46 PM

Credit: unknown (Twitter)

Summary: Reports and patent applications serve to show that Microsoft not only tries to infiltrate (“embrace”) Android to put its apps there (“extend”) but ultimately to delete (“extinguish”) Android


Like rabbits love snakes.

Microsoft is open…

Like a bear trap.

Microsoft is still trying to delete Android from Android phones, based on speculations such as this new one, citing a patent application from Microsoft, a company with financial troubles whose last remaining chance may be playing dirty, even blackmailing companies (using patents) into pre-installing Microsoft software. To quote the report:

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a seemingly strange partnership with Xiaomi for beta testing Windows 10 mobile. The company proved that it can easily install a Windows ROM on an Android device, suggesting in the future it might decide to compete against Google this way. Rather than launch new Windows hardware, Microsoft might one day provide just the software that would make possible installing Windows on any Android handset.


Titled User Selectable Operating Systems, a new patent application published a few days ago describes smartphones and tablets that would let users select what operating system to boot.

Microsoft’s technology would let phone makers preinstall multiple operating systems on a device in a compressed form, with the user able to select which operating system he or she would like to boot. For example, a phone could have Windows 10 and Android ROMs – though the patent doesn’t explicitly mention any of them – and users would be able to select which OS they prefer and perform a full install for one of them. There would also be the option of deleting the others.

Microsoft is also using patents against Android, still. CBS continues to spread the sanitised take from Microsoft’s Mouth on the latest example of Microsoft racketeering. Is nobody paying attention to what Microsoft does to Android these days, other than "embrace, extend, extinguish"? ASUS is just the latest victim among several (after Samsung, Kyocera, and Dell).

Microsoft hates Linux, Android, and Free software (especially copyrleft). It feels this way and it shows it every week. It takes a blind man’s wishful thinking to pretend otherwise.

Commenters Provide Possible Explanations for Mr Van der Eijk Being on Unlimited Sick Leave

Tuesday 6th of October 2015 05:01:51 PM

Photo from

Summary: Rumours are swirling around Wim Van der Eijk’s absence, suggesting that he too may be a victim of Benoît Battistelli’s iron fist

THE EPO is out of touch and Van der Eijk may be out of work, based on the latest rumours.

“Still it is not clear what are the long term plans as a move would lead to mass resignations from DG3, replacing DG3 with the UPC appears to be impossible without a diplomatic conference?”
      –AnonymousSeveral days ago we wrote about Van der Eijk's unlimited sick leave, which seems likely to have little or nothing to do with sickness (as we explained yesterday). As Chairman of the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBoA) and DG3 VP, Van der Eijk is probably the only remaining potent threat to Benoît Battistelli because the boards are, in principle, independent from Battistelli’s corruptible EPO (in practice Battistelli just breaks the rules).

Over at IP Kat we are seeing some interesting comments. Among them:

Mr Battistelli’s plan:
Get rid of the present VP 3,
Introduce “his” reform of the Boards of Appeal;
Install there his choice of new VP3.
The new chapter in the EPOsaga: “Taming the boards”
The present VP3, Mr Van der Eijk, is on unlimited sick leave and thus out of function. Nervous breakdown? Most likely.

Another comment says:

According to what I have heard from multiple sources the move of DG3 is not for reasons of independence, but simply retaliation for having angered the top management, mainly by R19/12 and refusal of the enlarged board to agree to the dismissal of the DG3 member under investigation.

Still it is not clear what are the long term plans as a move would lead to mass resignations from DG3, replacing DG3 with the UPC appears to be impossible without a diplomatic conference?

Also quite obviously the german delegation in the AC would be strongly against weakening Munich as Europe’s patent capital, so all those plans might go nowhere as the other delegations will be very reluctant to outvote Germany in that matter.

Perhaps the best possible explanation is this:

1) EPO Enlarged Board tells Chairman: “disobey President when necessary”

The European Patent Office (EPO) Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) has issued an interlocutory decision in case R2/14

2) The present VP3, Mr Van der Eijk, is on unlimited sick leave and thus out of function.

who would ever think that there is any connection between 1) and 2)

One can see more context in the threads, but most comments are of no relevance to this. We kindly ask anyone with information to conside contacting us anonymously. We really wish to get to the bottom of this and end the uncertainty.

“The EPO should be a member of the Council of Europe,” Florian Müller wrote today, “but it’s not because it wants free rein to violate human rights.”

Links 6/10/2015: Linux 4.3 RC4, HP OpenSwitch, Wind River Linux 8

Tuesday 6th of October 2015 04:33:51 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source Leftovers
  • Spider scare causes bus crash

    A child was transported to a hospital with minor head injuries after a shock from spider caused a crash involving a school bus and a “driverless” car, according to the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department.

    Around 4:15 p.m. Friday, deputies, along with Syracuse Police and Fire Units, responded to the area of 5571 E CR 1400 N on reports of a vehicle striking a school bus.

  • Security
    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Adobe Fixes 18 Critical Flaws in Latest Flash Player Release: Update Now

      This is a very tiny application that usually does its thing behind the scenes, without interfering with the normal functioning of a phone, tablet or PC.

    • Incompetence, not Linux, is behind the XOR DDoS botnet

      First, no operating system or program is secure. Some are more secure than others. So sure, Linux is inherently more secure than Windows. But a badly managed Linux server will still be more insecure than a well-administered Windows system.

    • Linux.Wifatch ‘malware’ is actually making routers more secure

      We seem to have a vigilante white hat hacker on our hands, as newly discovered ‘malware’ aimed at Internet of Things devices and certain routers appears to be making these devices more secure. The Linux.Wifatch virus is doing the exact opposite of what most viruses would, rather than stealing user information or holding systems for ransom, it is actually improving security.

    • Linux vigilante fixes your router

      A new form of “malware” appears to have been set up by a Linux vigilante who wants to improve your security.

      Software called Linux.Wifatch compromises routers and other Internet of Things devices and appears to try and improve infected devices’ security.

    • Linux routers under attack — for their own good

      Symantec reports on an unusual “Linux.Wifatch” threat that improves the security of old Linux routers. Meanwhile, a new XOR botnet poses a deadlier threat.

      Linux may still be the most secure general-purpose OS in existence, but as its presence grows in the embedded and Internet of Things (IoT) market, it’s increasingly being targeted by malware. Linux-based routers with outdated firmware (see farther below) and wireless enabled home automaton devices seem particularly vulnerable.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression
    • The US decision to send weapons to Syria repeats a historical mistake

      Why does the US continually send deadly weapons to the Middle East, make things even more chaotic than they were before and expect better results the next time?

      As pretty much everyone who was paying attention predicted, the $500m program to train and arm “moderate” Syrian rebels is an unmitigated, Bay of Pigs-style disaster, with the head of US central command admitting to Congress this week that the year-old program now only has “four or five” rebels fighting inside Syria, with dozens more killed or captured.

      Even more bizarre, the White House is claiming little to do with it. White House spokesman Josh Earnest attempted to distance Obama from the program, claiming that it was actually the president’s “critics” who “were wrong.” The New York Times reported, “In effect, Mr Obama is arguing that he reluctantly went along with those who said it was the way to combat the Islamic State, but that he never wanted to do it and has now has been vindicated in his original judgment.”

    • Russia’s False Hopes — Paul Craig Roberts

      Russia miscalculated that diplomacy could solve the crisis that Washington created in Ukraine and placed its hopes on the Minsk Agreement, which has no Western support whatsoever, neither in Kiev nor in Washington, London, and NATO.

      Russia can end the Ukraine crisis by simply accepting the requests of the former Russian territories to reunite with Russia. Once the breakaway republics are again part of Russia, the crisis is over. Ukraine is not going to attack Russia.

      Russia doesn’t end the crisis, because Russia thinks it would be provocative and upset Europe. Actually, that is what Russia needs to do—upset Europe. Russia needs to make Europe aware that being Washington’s tool against Russia is risky and has costs for Europe.

    • Media Are Blamed as US Bombing of Afghan Hospital Is Covered Up

      A US-led NATO military coalition bombed a hospital run by international humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders (known internationally as Medecins Sans Frontières, MSF) in Afghanistan, killing at least 22 people—12 staff members and 10 patients, including three children—and wounding 37 more.

  • Finance
    • Prof. Wolff on TRNN: 38% of American Workforce Still Jobless.

      Prof. Wolff discusses discusses why labor force participation is the lowest since 1977 and what’s really needed to stimulate the economy.

    • Why Debates Over the Fed’s Interest Rate Miss the Point

      Sometimes public debates focus on important social issues; at other times, debates distract from them. Disputes over whether the Federal Reserve System should raise interest rates illustrate that second sort. Yes, “serious people” take strong positions for or against interest rate hikes. They sharply question one another’s motives to spice up what passes for mainstream media economic news. But it is not the debate we could and should have, not even close.

      Both sides of that debate celebrate capitalism. They differ only on how best to have government serve the reproduction of capitalism: by leaving it alone, by intervening intensely or somewhere in between. These days they hassle over raising, lowering or leaving interest rates unchanged. The possibility that capitalism – rather than the Fed or interest rates – might be the problem troubles none of these folks. It does not occur to them. Nor is that surprising given the monotonous mantra of academic economics departments and the journalists and politicians trained by them.

    • Developing Countries Especially Vulnerable to TPP Deal – Trade Union

      Developing countries are most likely to suffer from the effects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, Daniel Bertossa, director of policy and governance at the Public Services International (PSI) global trade union, told Sputnik Monday.

      Earlier on Monday, 12 Pacific Rim countries, including the United States, reached a consensus on the wording and subject matter of the TPP free trade agreement.

    • Canada’s auto industry could lose 20,000 jobs because of TPP trade deal, union says

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal could have major ramifications for Canada’s already struggling auto industry, resulting in cheaper vehicles for consumers, but a more competitive landscape for Canadian manufacturers.

      Unifor, the union that represents Canadian workers at the Detroit Three, said the deal would put an estimated 20,000 auto jobs at risk by eliminating tariffs and significantly reducing content rules for vehicles and auto parts.

      Under the TPP agreement, Canada will phase out its existing 6.1 per cent tariff on imported passenger vehicles over the next five years — a move that is expected to lower the cost of Japanese-made vehicles for Canadian consumers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying
    • How Larry Lessig’s one-year presidency platform is winning over Silicon Valley

      He’s the only presidential candidate that’s been called a freedom fighter and a geek guru.

      In Silicon Valley, Harvard professor Larry Lessig’s following goes back almost two decades and is rooted in his devotion to a free and open internet.

      As Lessig struggles to be included in the national presidential polls and win a spot in the upcoming democratic debates, he’s banking on his loyal high-tech followers to step out from behind their computers and rally around his election and campaign finance reform platform.

    • 5 Ways Donald Trump Perfectly Mirrors Hitler’s Rise To Power

      … where I’m joined by my Cracked co-worker Randol Maynard and comic/activist/word doctor Genevieve Mueller. Specifically, we talk about all of the terrifyingly real ways that, no matter how crazy it sounds, Donald Trump is the closest the United States has ever come to producing our very own version of Adolf Hitler. Here are a few reasons why.

  • Censorship
  • Privacy
  • Civil Rights
    • How a Canadian scientist became the voice of the anti-Harper movement

      As protest songs go, it wasn’t exactly Pussy Riot. Harperman is a jaunty folk song with acoustic guitars, an amateur choir, and a chorus politely telling Canada’s prime minister Stephen Harper, “It’s time for you to go.”

      But the five-minute protest song became a viral hit, got its mild-mannered creator suspended from his job at the country’s environment department – and gave voice to the pent-up frustrations of Canada’s public servants who say they have found themselves at the receiving end of Harper’s policies.

    • Social media post leads to 2 arrests, drug bust, seizure of guns

      The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office arrested two people Friday after one of the suspects posted video of himself committing a crime to social media, according to the sheriff’s office.

      On Thursday night, the sheriff’s office says road signs were shot on the west end of the bridge on CR 400 N, east of US 31.

    • White kid builds nuclear reactor and Homeland Security offers help

      Wilson, now 21 years old, later won $50,000 at a science fair for an anti-terrorism device he invented that can detect nuclear materials in cargo containers.

    • How Hungary’s Prime Minister Turned From Young Liberal Into Refugee-Bashing Autocrat

      Unshaven, without a tie, the young dissident surveyed the crowd before him. It was June 16, 1989, and 250,000 people had gathered in Heroes’ Square for the reburial of Imre Nagy, the leader of the failed 1956 revolution. Viktor Orban demanded that Soviet troops leave Hungary. Soon afterward, they did.

      “It proved to be the right sentence, because it was true and came from the people’s hearts,” Orban told me a decade later.

    • Hungary: New Border Regime Threatens Asylum Seekers

      Hungary’s new border regime denies access to asylum and exposes vulnerable people to violence and prosecution, Human Rights Watch said today.

    • British State Viciously Abuses Child Fantasist

      The sentencing of a 15 year old Blackburn boy – 14 at the time he committed his thought crimes – to life imprisonment is grossly inhuman. It is not quite as evil as the decision of the appalling Saudi regime to crucify and behead a child dissident, but it is recognisably a product of the same world view. History books will look back on this era as one of astonishing state cruelty.

    • Racism Works In the Tories

      That is why Theresa May is going today to give a bloodcurdling speech attempting to stir up racism against immigrants by saying they are making us poor and making our society less cohesive. She will even pander to the ludicrous notion that an economy is of a fixed size no matter how many people are in it, with a fixed number of jobs, so “they” are taking “our” jobs. Doubtless she will also outline yet more definitions of thought crime and new reasons to lock up young Muslims.

    • Hillary Clinton wants gun firms liable for shootings

      She proposes abolishing legislation that protects gun makers and dealers from being sued by shooting victims.

    • Rush Limbaugh Falsely Claims That 92 Percent Of Mass Shootings Since 2009 Have Occurred In Gun-Free Zones
  • Internet/Net Neutrality
  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Company hikes price 5,000% for drug that fights complication of AIDS, cancer

      A drug treating a common parasite that attacks people with weakened immune systems increased in cost 5,000% to $750 per pill.

      At a time of heightened attention to the rising cost of prescription drugs, doctors who treat patients with AIDS and cancer are denouncing the new cost to treat a condition that can be life-threatening.

    • Copyrights
      • Greek court says that it doesn’t matter whether the content you link to is lawful or unlawful

        Did you think that the story with hyperlinks and copyright was over?

        Of course it’s not.

        On the one hand, there is a new case currently pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union(CJEU): GS Media v Sanoma, C-160/15). This Dutch reference is seeking clarification as to how linking to content (leaked Playboy photographs in this case) freely accessible online, but which is communicated to the public without the consent of the copyright holder, should be qualified.

      • Intellectual Property? Why Words Matter In The Copyright Debate

        Language matters. Whether we get to keep our liberties or not depends on whether those liberties are generally named in positive words. The same thing goes for the privileges of corporations.

With Software Patents in Europe (and Pushes for the Same Thing in Australia and India) Patent Trolls Now Come to Europe, Attack Android/Linux

Monday 5th of October 2015 08:49:20 PM

The United Kingdom — and by extension Europe — now a platform of choice for some major patent trolls

Summary: Worst-case scenarios are becoming a reality as Android backers officially attacked by patent trolls using standard-essential patents in London, England

SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS across Europe hate software patents. Ask them. Seriously, just ask them. Programmers in general (with rare exceptions) don’t want software patents; they already have copyright law (or copyleft for Free software). It helps protect them and assert that their own work cannot be exploited/ripped off. That’s just the nature of software, which is a lot like poetry or musical compositions.

The Danish creator of Ruby on Rails (RoR), David Heinemeier Hansson, wrote the other day: “Software patents are a racket used by trolls/BigCos to shake down/stifle competition. If you file for patents, you’re arming the racketeers.”

“Programmers in general (with rare exceptions) don’t want software patents; they already have copyright law (or copyleft for Free software).”As we have shown here before, no software patents are “good”, hence there is no such thing as “bad patents” or “bad software patents” (a term often used by apologists of them, such as IBM). Patents in the hands of “good” companies are not secure either; they can be sold and fall into hostile hands. See Sun and Oracle for example (Sun patents are now being used against Linux/Android). See Novell’s patents, which fell into Microsoft’s hands through CPTN. There are many more examples like that.

“Software patents are a racket used by trolls/BigCos to shake down/stifle competition. If you file for patents, you’re arming the racketeers.”
      –David Heinemeier HanssonRoR’s creator, a hugely popular developer (not just in Europe), said a couple of days ago: “Shame on Ericsson for arming a patent troll with a large stockpile of outdated yet weaponized patents for a cut” (he spoke about Unwired Planet).

For those who are not familiar with Ericsson and Unwired Planet, here is an article from 3 days ago. It makes everything quite easy to follow: “Unwired Planet Inc. has 16 employees and no products. What it does have is a portfolio of more than 2,000 patents, mostly acquired from Ericsson AB, which it says on its website are “considered foundational to mobile communications.” The Nevada-based firm wants more than just recognition.”

So a European company, Ericsson, is now the motor of patent trolls, much like Nokia after Microsoft took over. How did this happen? Well, we covered this over the past few years and we warned that this was going to happen, despite software not (officially) being patentable in Europe.

London is now serving as the venue for patent trolls, attracting the litigation ‘business’ just like Eastern Texas. Huge damages are at stake and the target is Free software, not some proprietary software, hence free distribution itself is being threatened. Believe it or not, this may have the same impact on Free software on phones in Europe as the FCC on Free software on routers/hubs in the US. The Ericsson-backed troll is now attacking Android (Free software and Linux-powered). Making it impossible to dodge the lawsuit, we are dealing with standard-essential patents (SEP) here, meaning that in order to conform with standards one must infringe. The patents boosters say that Huawei, Google and Samsung are the target of the lawsuit. To quote: “Tomorrow Unwired Planet is scheduled to begin a series of face-offs against Huawei, Samsung and Google at the Patents Court in London. At issue are alleged infringements of five standard essential patents (SEPs) owned by the NPE that were transferred to it as the result of a deal done with Ericsson back in 2013.

“London is now serving as the venue for patent trolls, attracting the litigation ‘business’ just like Eastern Texas.”“Over on the ARS Technica website, Joe Mullin talks about coming to a UK court being “a high-cost, high-risk scenario that’s unappealing to trolls”. He’s right. And that’s why trolls – whose business model is based on asserting poor-quality patents to leverage the high cost of US patent litigation to extract relatively low-cost, pre-trial, licensing-based settlements from alleged infringers – would never take a case as far as a courtroom in the UK (or anywhere else for that matter).

“Unwired Planet, though, is not a troll. It is a patent licensing business looking to secure a global agreement from entities it believes are infringing high-quality SEPs. It may not like trials (who does?), but it is not afraid of them because it feels it has a good chance of winning and is willing to pay to find out if it is right, especially as the ultimate prize is potentially a collection of eight or even nine figure global licensing deals. Seen in such a light, its choice of the Patents Court in London makes a fair bit of sense.”

The proponents of software patents, people such as IAM's biased (for their own financial gain) writers, helped patent trolls come to Europe. IAM said that “Unwired Planet patent suit in London against Huawei, Google & Samsung again shows Europe is now NPE venue of choice”. Patent Buddy, a more moderate voice, noted the importance of this: “Unwired Planet Will Fight SEP Suit Against Huawei, Google and Samsung in London, Not a US Court” (where this typically takes place).

It’s easy to see what patent lawyers find desirable here. They can make money from the legal aftermath and the proceedings themselves, irrespective of the outcome (who wins). Now that there are some software patents in Europe, authorised by the corrupt EPO, large companies are using loopholes and cheats to get more of them and then sue. As Patently German clarified the other day, “the German court essentially follows the EPO, the language even being a bit more generous” (but it’s the EPO that led to it, even back in Brimelow’s days).

“It’s easy to see what patent lawyers find desirable here. They can make money from the legal aftermath and the proceedings themselves, irrespective of the outcome (who wins).”Germany’s exceptional lenience on software patents granting was mentioned here this morning and it is likely to be a topic we will revisit in the near future. Jonas Bosson (FFII Sweden) wrote that “#TPPA is “all fields of technology” a trick force patents on abstract matters, such as math and data processing? …”

These terrible ‘treaties’ play a growing role in corporate takeover of Europe and based on this latest update, “The UK has joined the Unified Patent Court (UPC) protocol agreement, representing a ‘milestone’ for the country.”

Yes, a ‘milestone’ for corporations taking over the country and most of the continent it’s technically a part of.

The FFII’s President expressed his concerns earlier today by stating: “FSF, despite its 30 years, still spending too few of its resources on fighting software patents and the unitary patent court #FSF30″

Australia Dubs It “Innovation Patent System”

This whole software patents and ‘treaties’ chaos (laws rewritten in bulk) is becoming a growing problem not just in Europe but also in Australia, where activists like Sturmfels (mentioned before in [1, 2, 3]) oppose a push for software patents. The patent maximalists ridicule the likes of him with insulting weasel phrases and belittling words. To quote a new blog post titled “‘Free Software’ Advocates Aside, Submissions to IP Australia Overwhelmingly Support Innovation Patent System”:

Needless to say, such comments lack anything resembling either evidence or detailed reasoning. They also fail to address the fact that abolition of innovation patents would affect all industries, and not just the ‘software industry’ (whatever that may be), including those represented by other submissions in support of innovation patents. In any event, these near-identical submissions are so clearly the result of an orchestrated campaign that they can hardly be regarded as constituting independent contributions to the consultation process. Furthermore, they are at odds with the submission made by BSA | The Software Alliance as noted above.

Other parties making submissions in favour of abolition of the innovation system include Melbourne-based free-software advocate Ben Sturmfels, on behalf of a group of nine like-minded individuals, and Open Source Industry Australia Ltd, which argues that ‘abolition of the innovation patent system will be an important first step towards delivering a more efficient, effective and equitable patent regime for Australia’.

Even Microsoft front groups like the Business Software Alliance (BSA) play a role in the lobbying. To quote:

“BSA | The Software Alliance, which represents the global commercial software industry (counting among its members Adobe, Altium, ANSYS, Apple, ARM, Autodesk, AVEVA, Bentley Systems, CA Technologies, Cisco, CNC/Mastercam, DataStax, Dell, Intel, Intuit, Minitab, Oracle, PTC,, Siemens PLM Software, Symantec, Tekla, The MathWorks, and Trend Micro), and which argues that the innovation patent system should be retained, and improved in line with a number of the recommendations in ACIP’s original report”

The above are all proprietary software giants, hardly small businesses. It’s clear whose interests are served by monopolies on algorithms.

IAM Not Speaking for India

IAM is meanwhile returning to the situation in India, claiming that India’s small businesses want software patents (citing this article which doesn’t really focus on patents) and saying in Twitter: “Limited scope of patent protection, rather than cost, is what is driving high-tech Indian SMEs out of the country” (total nonsense).

“Microsoft reportedly lobbies regarding the UPC in Europe, despite being a foreign company with no personal affection for Europe.”The patent lawyers (like the people who operate IAM) want patent trolls and large corporations that hire them to just carry on with patent chaos because patent lawyers profit from it. This is true not only in Europe but also in the US. Watch how IBM is lobbying for software patents in just about every country, India included. The same goes for Microsoft and other patent aggressors. Microsoft reportedly lobbies regarding the UPC in Europe, despite being a foreign company with no personal affection for Europe. Microsoft is not a person. It is also treated like a V.I.P. by the increasingly corruptible (up for sale to corporations) EPO.

New Information on Limbo in the Enlarged Board, Courtesy of Illegal Actions by the EPO’s Benoît Battistelli

Monday 5th of October 2015 07:22:45 PM

Revolt is much needed and justified right now

Summary: Battistelli’s bullying of people whom he is not even allowed to bully turns out to have gone on for a lot longer than promised, and there is no sign of light at the end of this tunnel

Battistelli is clearly out of control. What we wrote last week about the EBoA (enlarged board of appeals) was likely correct, based on what we are now learning in private (more on that another day). To make matters worse, the illegal suspension of a judge turns out to be an almost eternal limbo. It’s like garden leave, only much worse and nearly perpetual. As IP Kat put it this morning: “Following interventions from the Enlarged Board, external national judges and many other quarters, the Administrative Council took the matter in hand, formally suspended the Board Member until 31 March 2015, and promised a speedy and thorough investigation of the matter. ‘Speedy’ means different things in Eponia than where Merpel lives, but six months after that March date it appears that there has been progress of a sort.

“Among the items listed on the Agenda for the forthcoming AC meeting is this disciplinary case. The AC will review the allegations, then review the defence and response submitted by the person involved, and will then apparently review the decision of the Enlarged Board in this matter before coming to a decision.

“Battistelli just wants total control and he cannot stand the idea that Dutch courts deem his actions illegal or that judges whom he is not authorised to punish (because they’re structurally independent) say the truth about him and his corrupt reign.”“This could mean what is says, i.e. that the AC will come to a disciplinary decision this month. However, watch this space, as Merpel has reason to suspect that the story will not come to a neat close, or at least not this month.”

Well, the AC’s Jesper Kongstad is in pretty much in the pocket of Benoît Battistelli, who suspended this judge, and he is also connected to Zeljko Topić, whom the judge is alleged to have spoken about before he got illegally suspended. What kind of ‘justice’ can one expect to come out? As Merpal noted later in her analysis: “The EPO management has been seeking to reform the Boards of Appeal, and apparently a necessary part of this project is to get them out of Munich. The fact that the more senior members have family ties there, children in school and college, and may ultimately be forced to resign if there is a long-distance move, is neither here nor there (or is that the whole point?). Regardless, it was long understood that Mr Battistelli favoured sending the Boards to Berlin, but the little birdies hiding from Merpel in the trees along Erhardtstrasse are chirping that the new plan is to send the Boards to Vienna. Nice city to be sure, but it’s a long commute after dropping the kids to school in Munich each morning. Merpel will keep you posted.”

Battistelli just wants total control and he cannot stand the idea that Dutch courts deem his actions illegal or that judges whom he is not authorised to punish (because they’re structurally independent) say the truth about him and his corrupt reign.

Watch what commenters are going to say in the coming days at IP Kat. This might help provide new (but potentially unverifiable) information from within the EPO, currently one of Europe’s most corrupt institutions. Demonstrations and strikes are a non-issue, except when the staff union gets gagged by menacing threats from Battistelli.

Microsoft Customers Complain About ‘Inevitable’ Vista 10 Because Microsoft Nearly Forces Botched ‘Upgrades’

Monday 5th of October 2015 06:57:35 PM

A Windows train wreck of unprecedented proportions, despite zero-cost and sometimes forced ‘upgrades’

Summary: In a desperate effort to spread Vista 10, sometimes even against people’s will, Microsoft really upsets loyal customers, who are eventually eager to explore alternatives

THE WORD we often hear on the street* (or online) is that many people whom Microsoft counts as Vista 10 users actually abandoned it and either went back to previous versions of Vista or to another operating system, such as Chrome OS, Mac OS X, or GNU/Linux. Considering how aggressively Microsoft tries to spread Vista 10 — sometimes forcing it on people — Vista 10 is a failure like nothing before it. People inside Microsoft know this, but they won’t publicly admit it.

Microsoft’s problems go well beyond just Vista 10. Microsoft’s extensive products shutdown will result in Windows machines becoming bricks, or unsupported by Microsoft itself. Vista 7, which some people passionately hold on to, has its days numbered. Microsoft is trying to phase out Vista 7 by tacitly forced ‘upgrades’, i.e. transition to worse malware and even spyware (“10″). Genuine users with real names and registered accounts at Microsoft are moaning about Vista 10 bricking their PCs, defying their will, wasting their time, their bandwidth etc. Here are some examples from a thread at Microsoft’s forums:

This new, “great” operating system has ruined my computer. After a short period of time, my computer stops working. Nothing. Not a thing works. I am forced to do hard restarts several times a day. This is terrible. Windows 10 has ruined my computer. I am devastated.


Me too im trying to do a recovery now for 3 hours. This is a crock!!


My Acer 8930G suffered the same problem. I rolled it back to windows 7 and like magic it now performed as smooth as it ever did.

But it has left a legacy.

Microsoft keeps sending updates for a “new Windows 10 installation”, which I do not want; in fact I never need to know anything about Windows 10 EVER.

My machine has now been corrupted again with these upgrades, even though I am still running Windows 7, and it looks like I shall have to restore Windows 7 again.

Can someone tell me how I can prevent Windows Update from sending me unwanted Windows 10 updates because all it does is kill my machine.

Also will Microsoft please take note that updating to Windows 10 is not mandatory, and they should be aware that there are millions of private, enterprise and government users who will not want to touch Windows 10.

Will Microsoft please also consider that universal Windows 7/10 updates are not acceptable because they destabilise Windows 7 machines.

I’m sure Microsoft will get it right eventually, but they must listen to what people are reporting and saying about them, their software and the effect on third party hardware and associated drivers. It makes life so much easier for us all.

There are many more threads like it, but this one comes from Microsoft. The operating system was released very prematurely with many severe bugs and it was designed not to serve users but to serve Microsoft and to give it unjust power over users. Remember the marketing slogan Vista 7 “was my idea”? Well, Vista 10 was likely the idea of Microsoft and the NSA, even judging by the EULA alone. It disregards the needs of actual users.

Our message to the above people: Give a chance to GNU/Linux. It does not cost anything to try and it won’t spy on you. It won’t possibly render the PC dysfunctional. Try a Live CD first and see if you like it.
* I sometimes speak to Microsoft staff on the street, where eavesdropping is hard or impossible.

Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna Explains Why the UPC (“Unitary Patent“ System) is an Undemocratic Sham Whilst UPC Silently Advanced by Patent Lawyers and Politicians

Monday 5th of October 2015 11:44:52 AM

The international community, including the British and European communities but excepting international corporations, their patent lawyers and politicians whom they shrewdly lobby, is intentionally being kept in the dark

Manchester Community College at night

Summary: European patent laws are being covertly overridden so as to allow broader scope of litigation, higher financial damages, speedy injunctions, and even software patents; the European public is intentionally kept in the dark about it, hence kept unable to express scepticism or issue truly effective objections

WE recognise the fact that many of our readers these days work for the EPO. It is a European institution where secrecy prevails as it helps impede outside scrutiny (which is sorely needed). Other European institutions favour secrecy for the same reason (e.g. so-called ‘trade’ agreements). We started writing about the EPO because of lobbying for and emergence of software patents in Europe, well before the UPC (with prior names in the McCreevy and Barnier days) that ushers them in. As a software specialist myself, this affects me personally; as an activist, I know this affects many others, and not just in Europe. It is a huge injustice and it can potentially become a lot worse. Action right now is imperative because lobbyists are pushing very hard for the UPC and they try to shape it; this includes monopolists like Microsoft (based on last week’s Bloomberg report) — those that aren’t even European, let alone people (corporations are not people).

Several weeks ago we wrote that "EPO Managers, Patent Lawyers, Commissioners and Other Non-Technical Personnel Tackle Democracy, Alter Laws in Bulk and in Secret". Dr. Ingve Björn Stjerna (shown to the left) has since then sent us two links, noting that he wrote about this subject in his reasonably recent papers. “I just read your above-mentioned blog post,” he wrote to me. “Specifically with regard to transparency and democracy in the UPC context, do you know my papers “Law-making in camera” (accessible here) and “The sub-sub-suboptimal compromise of the EU Parliament” (accessible here) from 2013? Having a look might be worthwhile.”

I spent this weekend going through his papers and I warmly recommend that every single EPO employee does the same. They’re informative and not too lengthy. The topic is relevant and timely. It’s not an externality; the overall outcome is the direct impact of those who are involved in the patent ‘industry’; it’s all about protectionism for corporations and it is against democratic values. It is antithetical to the core values of Western nations.

“It is antithetical to the core values of Western nations.”The author, whom we mentioned here earlier this year, describes himself as “Certified Specialist for Intellectual Property Law [from] Düsseldorf” and the abstract of his first paper about it [PDF] states: “As it is well known, the “unitary patent“ package has been adopted and now the ratification of the inter-governmental Agreement on the court system by a certain quorum of the Member States is necessary for the “unitary patent“ system to enter into force. Less well known is the fact that, during the legislative process, circumstances were withheld from the public which the political front apparently regarded as dangerous for the entry into force of the “legislative package”. An exemplary case is Council document 15856/11, an opinion of the Council’s Legal Service on the compatibility of the “unitary patent” court system’s amended structure with opinion 1/09 of the European Court of Justice (CJEU). Until very recently, this document was available to the public only in extensively blackened form. Requests for complete access to the document filed on the basis of EC Regulation No 1049/2001 were repeatedly refused on the ground that this could delay the ratification process in the Member States or even call into question the entry into force of the Agreement. The document, additional parts of which were made accessible to the public shortly before the publication of this article, shows why: In it, the Legal Service notes that the structure of the adopted court system may still violate European law. A report on the strange understanding of transparency and democracy exercised in the legislative proceedings for the “unitary patent” package.”

The second paper [PDF] has the following abstract: “As is well known, in its meeting on 11 December 2012, the European Parliament adopted the so-called “patent package”, consisting of the Regulations on the “unitary patent” and the translation regime while agreeing to the conclusion of an intergovernmental Agreement for the creation of a “Unified Patent Court System”. The “unitary patent” Regulation is based on a compromise proposal of the (former) Cyprus Council Presidency which was discussed by Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament in a special meeting on 19 November 2012 from which the public was excluded. An audio recording of the meeting, which recently became available, shows the motives for the acceptance of this “compromise” which one of the rapporteurs called “sub-sub-suboptimal” and “a bad solution” there. The course of this meeting shall afterwards be described and assessed in more detail.”

“The so-called “patent package” is just another name for much of the same Trojan horse, which had various different names over the years (making it harder to find and grasp older criticisms thereof).”The so-called “patent package” is just another name for much of the same Trojan horse, which had various different names over the years (making it harder to find and grasp older criticisms thereof). Like with many secret ‘trade’ (corporate sovereignty) and censorship/surveillance bills, there is a notorious tendency to change the name of what’s being attempted (for passing), primarily in order to dodge negative associations and injurious publicity. These can be overnight stunts. Now it is known as UPC, but tomorrow politicians might decided to rename it again. Any politician knows this trick; another common trick is to wrap some piece of legislation or law with “pedophiles”, “terrorists”, “pirates”, and “drugs”.

Nobody (among the public) voted for the UPC but patent lawyers (as in “law”) ignore the law and rush ahead. To quote a British law blog: “The UK Government has now selected a location just on the edge of the City of London for the EU’s Unified Patents Court. This will house the London section of the Central Division, with specific jurisdiction in the life sciences areas, a major contributor to the UK economy. With this decision the Unified Patents Court looks one significant step closer to being a part of IP strategy for all innovative businesses wishing to do business in Europe.”

To quote another British law blog: “With the new court term looming, last week IPSoc, the society for junior IP practitioners, hosted its final educational event of 2015, “The UPC: A Panel Debate”. For those readers unfamiliar with the society, IPSoc is an intellectual property society run by juniors, for juniors (and for a nominal annual fee). The organization arranges four educational events, four social events and one fancy annual dinner each year for its members (which the AmeriKat was lucky to attend a couple of years ago).”

“Patent lawyers are understandably salivating over UPC (many more lawsuits with higher damages, from which they derive a loot’s share) and with very few exceptions they are constantly fast-tracking it, hoping for acceleration in a “self-fulfilling prophecy” fashion (increasing the complexity or cost of rollback).”Put in simple terms, AmeriKat (Annsley Merelle Ward, who likes to dissociate herself from her views), known to us for several years as IPKat‘s biggest software patents booster, pretends that the UPC is already in effect and is inevitably here. Patent lawyers are understandably salivating over UPC (many more lawsuits with higher damages, from which they derive a loot’s share) and with very few exceptions they are constantly fast-tracking it, hoping for acceleration in a “self-fulfilling prophecy” fashion (increasing the complexity or cost of rollback). They play a major role in giving momentum/inertia to politicians whose interests conflict with those of the public, which is mostly kept uninvolved (because it is uninformed, by design).

“The proposed Unified Patent Court fee for revocation proceedings is €20,000,” explains one patents-centric blog (of patent lawyers). “The EPO fee for opposition proceedings is €775. David Lewin expands on how and why you should be taking full strategic advantage of the EPO’s opposition procedure…”

To them it’s all about money. UPC means more power for large corporations and more money for lawyers who serve these corporations’ agenda (large clients pay the lion’s share of profit). At whose expense? European SMBs and European citizens at large. “And with it,” concludes the post, “completing the enhanced European patent system – will come the Unified Patent Court (UPC).”

Step by step they extinguish national sovereignty and abandon long-established laws, which were put there for a reason and evolved over time with public input and facts-based analyses (prioritising public interests, not private interests).

“This is the hallmark of an autocracy.”Why is UPC hardly mentioned in general news sites and newspapers? When did citizens ever vote on it, let alone been given the chance to vote on it (e.g. to oppose)? This is the hallmark of an autocracy.

“UPC will see major patent litigation,” explain patent lawyers, “which is resulting in a lot of ‘scaremongering’ going on” (well, obviously).

“EPLAW’s hon president Pierre Veron,” according to this, said that (probably paraphrased): “The first 4 or 5 preliminary injunctions under UPC will be issued quickly for legal certainty” (more injunctions, to whose advantage?).

Merck Sharp & Dohme’s James Horgan is quoted (or paraphrased) as saying that various “telecoms are most nervous about getting injunctions on preliminary actions under UPC [...] Opting out patents under UPC could be a ‘major headache’ [...] it won’t be patentees but law firms who shape the UPC system” (without even consulting the European public, which has nothing to gain from the UPC).

The patent lawyers are aided by their lawyer friends, who wear “politician” hats. “Ironically,” Managing IP (London-based) noted, “Commissioner EB [Elżbieta Bieńkowska] is from Poland – which has decided not to join the #UnitaryPatent (at least for now)!”

“It achieves the very opposite of competitiveness. It helps drive competition out of the market using patents.”Bieńkowska wrote: “Welcome Italy to #UnitaryPatent: a step further towards unitary protection of #innovation in Europe.#Competitiveness”

What is she talking about? It has nothing whatsoever to do with innovation and definitely not with competitiveness (the propaganda word used in It achieves the very opposite of competitiveness. It helps drive competition out of the market using patents. It harms European business. What was Bieńkowska thinking when she wrote this? Corporate tool or just gullible (or “useful idiot” as Stalinist Russia famously put it)? Other politicians, including some British ones like Lady Neville-Rolfe (Tory who fast-tracks/rams down the throats of Brits the UPC before consent is expressed or referendum takes place), are selling away democracy in Europe. It’s a horrible thing to witness, especially because many people don’t even know that this is silently going on. Passivity among the public, caused by lack of communication, drives the UPC. Managing IP joins the misleading “Competitiveness” chorus by writing: “EU Competitiveness Council to sign Protocol on provisional application of #UPC Agreement tomorrow … (w/ Family photo!)”

The family of lawyers (politicians, patent lawyers etc.) is working hard to serve itself at the expense of European citizens, who are kept almost totally in the dark. Amid uncertainty and darkness, Germany, where much of the EPO is based, is now authorising software patents. To quote Patently German: “It is thus quite clear that the FCJ would not have accepted the patent application in its original wording, related to a mathematical method for the determination of the state of a (not further defined) object. Only the restriction of the method to the attitude determination of an airplane provides the required concrete technical application. Would the application also be allowed if the claims were directed not to the attitude determination of a real airplane but one simulated on a computer ? My guess is yes, it would, as in accordance with the rationale expressed by headnote c) of the decision a more reliable knowledge about the attitude of an airplane and thereby influence on the functioning of the attitude detection system (thus the relation to the purposeful use of forces of nature) is obtained also by performing the method of the invention on a flight simulator.”

German pundits say “on ruling by top German court” that “math method patent-eligible if related to using forces of nature” (that is essentially applicable to many if not most software patents, including those in my fields).

Welcome to ‘new’ Europe, where people have no say and corporations get anything they ask for. They even bypass European laws, or rewrite them in private to better suit their interests/convenience, driving competition out of the market and artificially driving up prices.

“They [EPO examiners] claim that the organisation is decentralising and focusing on granting as many patents as possible to gain financially from fees generated.” —Expatica, European Patent Office staff on strike

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