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Free Software Sentry – watching and reporting maneuvers of those threatened by software freedom
Updated: 1 hour 17 min ago

EPO Judicial Crisis Has Not Ended, But the Administrative Council Certainly Tries to Sell That Impression

Thursday 21st of December 2017 11:09:58 AM

And nothing substantial will change when Campinos takes over the Office


2017 paper: Judicial Crisis in Portugal: The Constitution in relation to the State, Social and Labor Movements

Summary: The latest developments, including the latest lies, which pretend that the Patrick Corcoran affair is passé and that life goes on at the EPO

THE WEEK (and month) is about to end. The year is about to end. Yet the EPO said absolutely nothing about the Boards of Appeal scandal, only the Administrative Council (AC) did and it was a lie. Very cringe-worthy.

As JUVE’s Mathieu Klos‏ has just put it: “According to a communiqué published yesterday, “… the Council expressed its satisfaction at having closed the case. In particular, it underlined its expectation that now – …- legal peace would be restored” The judge might see that differently.”

Obviously. It was a wish or a lie, not reality. It’s almost like adding insult to injury. Where’s ILO in all this? “This is so sick,” one EPO insider wrote, as Battistelli and the “AC are degrading ILOAT! Furthermore, ILOAT has become the laughingstock of the tribunals worldwide! No respect of law anymore…there is nothing left of all that.”

Indeed. The EPO has already damaged a growing number of institutions, not just European ones but international ones too. The EPO has become a reputational cancer. Anything Battistelli touches turns to dirt.

The EPO now writes (warning: epo.org link) about the Enlarged Board of Appeal, which Battistelli is crushing. This is what it wrote yesterday:

On 18 December 2017, the Enlarged Board of Appeal issued a decision on the referral G 1/16.

The Office will now resume the examination and opposition proceedings that were stayed ex officio because the decision depended entirely on the outcome of the pending referral G 1/16.

Still not a word about the Boards of Appeal scandal. The AC alluded to it in vague terms and lied about it.

This morning, citing Klos‏ and others, The Register published a good overview or roundup of recent developments. Among these:

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Office (EPO) has inflamed already heightened tensions within the organization by failing to properly address an important accountability test case.

The ruling body of the international organization – made up of representatives of European governments – was formally criticized earlier this month for not doing its job and questioning the treatment of a patent judge by EPO management. It then considered the case of patent judge Patrick Corcoran at a closed-door meeting, going through two judgments from the International Labor Organisation (ILO) that ordered Corcoran immediately be reinstated from a three-year suspension.

As we reported last week, despite the EPO’s president Benoit Battistelli being explicitly and repeatedly criticized for inappropriately trying to influence Corcoran’s case, it appeared that Battistelli had again interfered by revising documents at the last minute that were then considered by the council.

The end result of that meeting was formally acknowledged in minutes released this week: Corcoran was reinstated but his position on the Boards of Appeal was not renewed.

[...]

Perhaps the most damning response to the EPO’s dysfunction and its seeming complete lack of accountability however came in a speech by former German constitutional court judge Prof Dr Siegfried Bross several weeks ago.

The speech – a translated version of which was published in English this week – tackles a subject that Bross has repeatedly raised this year – whether the planned Unitary Patent Court (UPC) for Europe is actually legal.

The UPC was due to be ratified earlier this year but Brexit and a legal challenge at the German Constitutional Court have stopped it in its tracks. Bross gives a lengthy explanation for why he feels that having a single court decide patent cases across Europe is not legal, most of which boils down to a single concept: the European Patent Office sits outside normal legal jurisdictions.

It’s a good article and the first comment is about Ireland’s indefinitely delayed referendum on UPC:

Ireland has to have a referendum on harmonisation of European patents jurisdiction as it involves a court that is not described in our constitution.

In different circumstances, I might agree with the concept as it would streamlines development processes and opens up an easier path to market, but with this joke shop in charge, I will be putting my X right next to the big box marked NO / NIL !

I’m happy with our own patents process, until there’s something properly organised to replace it. I would have no confidence in this body at all based on what I’ve been reading.

The European Commission needs to go back to the drawing board. This simply isn’t good enough.

Without the UK and Ireland in the UPC, what would even be the point of English as an official language? The UPC is dead. But don’t tell Bristows that. They must be on some very strong drugs down there in London, having just brought up France again (the land of corrupt Battistelli, which is already in it all; the UPC is contingent not upon France but Britain and Germany). Then again, we have become used to Bristows’ lies; maybe they profit from this (enticing the gullible into paying for UPC ‘advice’/’consultation’).

Watch the next comment in The Register (there were only two in total when we last checked):

Corruption is worth it, thats the problem.

Having just had experience of corruption in an org I was contracting at, you can fight it (costing money and personal life) or move on. You can’t beat someone who does this day in, day out and has the resources of an organisation.

Whistleblowers or civilians fighting against corruption never come off well.

We worry a great deal that the EPO tarnishes the reputation of Europe in general. This is being utilised by Brexit proponents, even though the EPO is not an EU ‘thing’. Things at the EPO need to be repaired as staff is in despair and there’s no hope over the horizon (no, Campinos won’t fix these issues).

Christoph Ernst’s Inability to Rein in the European Patent Organisation Will Doom Everything

Wednesday 20th of December 2017 07:14:02 PM

Being subservient to Benoît Battistelli is what allegedly got Jesper Kongstad fired

Summary: Benoît Battistelli’s endless bullying of critics (even outside the Office) has not ended; the extremely weak response from the Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation serves to show that it is still largely complicit

YESTERDAY’S report from the Administrative Council (AC) of the European Patent Organisation was very disappointing as it misrepresented the legal situation of Patrick Corcoran, a besieged judge who inadvertently helped demonstrate just how messed up or shambolic the EPO has become (by virtue of becoming Battistell’s scapegoat).

“Theory about [the] Administrative Council’s report” was sent to us by a reader. To quote: “Legal peace is Ernst telling Battistelli to leave Patrick Corcoran in peace when he is no longer a Board member. Battistelli does not like to leave people in peace.”

“We truly worry that the EPO may never recover from this (and rediscover its senses).”Certainly not. He and his Croatian ‘bulldog’ continue to bully Corcoran not only in a court in Munich but also in Croatia. It is strategic. It’s expensive.

We truly worry that the EPO may never recover from this (and rediscover its senses). Battistelli’s successor, whom Battistelli promoted behind closed doors, is another Frenchman who is a longtime colleague/friend of Battistell. He takes over in just over 6 months from now. What can possibly change radically by then or after that? Staff of great value, e.g. experience/credentials, is leaving the EPO in droves (we’ve heard stories; the numbers are shocking). The latest Patent Information News magazine (published and advertised by the the EPO this morning) is indicative of very serious brain drain. They feel the need to look out and reach out for job seekers. It used to be the applicants chasing the EPO, now it’s the other way around. They even put job adverts in the actual magazine (we never saw that before). This magazine also promotes the “SME” PR nonsense and more famous lies.

“We have better use for human activity/capacity; we need to create/develop/build things, not endlessly sue one another.”Look what the EPO has turned into. What has it become? I was never against the EPO. In fact, I think that a strong EPO is essential for Europe’s competitiveness in the world. Regarding the UPC, I was always against it not because of the word “unitary”, which is misleading anyway. I am pro-Union, but not pro-patent Armageddon that only lawyers would benefit from. We have better use for human activity/capacity; we need to create/develop/build things, not endlessly sue one another. For those whose livelihood depends on litigation this concept may be difficult to grasp (common sense says one thing, wallet says another). The EPO has just retweeted UPC accounts that are promoting the EPO’s ‘study’, which is actually UPC advocacy/lobbing disguised as ‘research’. Is the EPO working for the litigation ‘industry’ now? Or for science? Given the Office’s disdain for actual facts, justice and science (Battistelli fails on all three), it’s not hard to guess. Also recall the following four posts:

  1. Battistelli’s Home Country, France (Where He is a Politician in Defiance of the Rules), is a Patent Troll
  2. French Giants Resort to Patent Trolling While Battistelli Attracts Patent Trolls to Europe
  3. The 20% Rule: Patent Trolling Suffers Double-Digit Declines and Patent Troll Technicolor is Collapsing
  4. French and Korean Patent Trolls

“Should it be renamed the European Registration Office? Where patents are granted provided the text is legible enough and there’s no technical error in the submission?”Is the EPO trying to become the troll’s office? Like whatever happens in SIPO (China)? Does it not care about patent quality? Like INPI (France)? BPTO (Brazil), according to a post from this afternoon, considers making the terrible mistakes that INPI made by generally approving virtually every patent application. “The emergency procedure would grant 230,000 pending applications unless patent owners opt out,” Managing IP wrote. What’s truly incredible is that the EPO is going in this direction as well (eliminating backlog while disregarding quality), in effect becoming more like INPI and maybe to a lesser degree SIPO (China).

Goodbye, EPO? Should it be renamed the European Registration Office? Where patents are granted provided the text is legible enough and there’s no technical error in the submission? Where actual judges are treated like a nuisance and defamed out the door? And some “so called judges” (Trump’s famous mockery of judges whom he disagrees with) like Battistelli are put in charge of UPC to make arbitrary decisions that are far from impartial?

Companies Like Apple and ​Microsoft Benefit the Most From Patents as It’s a System of Protectionism

Wednesday 20th of December 2017 06:23:16 PM


Original paper [PDF}

Summary: By conflating inventors with patent holders, or perpetuating the myth that patents are all about innovation rather than protectionism, various sites maintain a status quo of monopoly or oligopoly

THE other day we saw IAM distorting some new study for its own purposes (IAM promotes patent trolls and so-called ‘monetisation’). We responded to that. Patents and inventions are not the same. Kevin Drum from Mother Jones (pseudo-progressive site) has just done the same. The underlying message (or take-home message) is that the patent system is a system for (and by) rich people. It’s no secret (or taboo subject). Many people frankly admit and accept that patents are a rich people’s game of protectionism and not about innovation at all. Sometimes it does just ‘happen’ to encourage some innovation (depending on the domain/discipline), but that’s not why patents exist these days, putting aside the genesis of this whole system. To quote Drum:

Over at the Equality of Opportunity Project, a team of researchers has written a new paper that tries to explain some of the root sources of innovation. In particular, what kinds of kids are likely to become inventors? The researchers study this by looking at patent applications and then linking the names with a tax database in order to tease out the demographics of children who grow up to become inventors. I’m not 100 percent convinced that patent applications are a good way of measuring innovation, but it’s a start.

I had a quick glance at this paper last week. It’s very long. It certainly seems like many people distort it for their own purposes/agenda/lobbying. The EPO is nowadays ‘buying’ studies (i.e. corrupting academia) for its lobbying.

For an actual understanding of what’s in that study, may we suggest people read the original rather than rely on the patent trolls’ lobby or neoliberals such as Drum?

“The EPO is nowadays ‘buying’ studies (i.e. corrupting academia) for its lobbying.”Look at this week’s news. Apple fan/advocacy sites mentioned new Apple patents several days ago and again yesterday (December 19th). Lots of prior art here. These are not Apple ‘inventions’ [sic] at all! Just another load of hot air and hype. This is so typical. The same is true for Microsoft, which pursued patents on a dual-screen foldable tablet — something I saw many years ago [1, 2, 3, 4]. Why are these patents being granted? Are the examiners at the USPTO eager to please a “frequent customer”? It doesn’t take more than a couple of Web searches to find prior art. But then again, as we said at the start, those patents aren’t granted for innovation but for protectionism. It’s for rich people. Or countries like Switzerland where the relative cost of patents is low.

Notorious Patent Troll, Erich Spangenberg, Has a New Target

Wednesday 20th of December 2017 05:51:53 PM

Summary: Erich Spangenberg, who used bogus patents to scam his way into many millions of dollars (‘protection’ money), enters the blockchain

THE EXTRAVAGANT troll known as Erich Spangenberg was covered here many times before, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. His former troll entity pretty much went out of existence after the patent/s in question got canned. But he is still around.

CNBC said yesterday that “patent trolls are digging into the blockchain” — a headline which speaks about a familiar troll who deserves to go bankrupt (ill-gotten wealth). As expected, blockchain is being targeted now. Techrights warned about it in past years, e.g. [1, 2, 3]. “The blockchain,” explains the report from CNBC, “the digital ledger system that underlies the boom in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, is an innovation born within the open-source software community, where software coders pride themselves on the sharing of information. But the blockchain’s open-source formative years may not stay that way.

“As bitcoin nears $20,000 and other digital currencies experience unprecedented gains, some of the biggest names in the corporate world are seeking patents related to the blockchain — financial companies like Visa, retailers like Walmart and the tech old guard like IBM. And in what likely would cause distress in the open-source movement, in late November one of the business world’s most notorious patent trolls hatched plans to create and amass a trove of blockchain patents.”

Then comes the key part: “Erich Spangenberg, who became notorious in Silicon Valley for challenging tech patents, has put together a new group to unlock the value in blockchain IP. Spangenberg wrote in a recent blog post, “The financial press is having fun talking about Bitcoin, but another important story that gets less attention is the technology underlying Bitcoin called ‘blockchain.’””

“His former troll entity pretty much went out of existence after the patent/s in question got canned. But he is still around.”Those are software patents. The only practical way to make something out of them is to avoid the courts and blackmail companies out of court. It doesn’t matter where really; software patents, especially in the financial domain, are the most fragile of all.

Yesterday “Bluefin Announce[d] the Issuance of their First Japanese Patent,” but this one too is financial. Patents like this one are hard to enforce (even in courts in Japan these days), so these are more like ‘trophy’ patents or something one uses to intimidate rather than sue companies.

Thankfully, with TC Heartland (2017, Supreme Court), it’s already getting very hard for trolls in the US. IAM’s Timothy Au has just posted this overview of patents from RPX (now that RPX is being sort of liquidated); the death of most patent trolls in the US makes RPX irrelevant as it explores/ponders a move to China (where trolling has shifted in recent years).

“Thankfully, with TC Heartland (2017, Supreme Court), it’s already getting very hard for trolls in the US.”There’s also the implosion of BlackBerry, which has become little more than a patent troll. Earlier today the Wall Street media said that the company’s CEO “Chen is also working to strike new licensing deals for the stable of patents BlackBerry has from its heyday as a smartphone pioneer.”

It’s trying to become a software company now. But at the same time a great share of its activity is dedicated to patent shakedown.

Links 20/12/2017: oVirt 4.2 I Released, Microsoft Censor/Blocks Chrome

Wednesday 20th of December 2017 04:34:11 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • The Free Software movement is Barking up the wrong tree

    “Computer technology is complicated and new. Education about computers is extremely poor among all age groups. Technology companies have taken advantage of this lack of education to brainwash people into accepting absurd abuses of their rights.”

  • Events
    • KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, Austin

      KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, North America took place in Austin, Texas from 6th to 8th December. But before that, I stumbled upon this great opportunity by Linux Foundation which would make it possible for me to attend and expand my knowledge about cloud computing, containers and all things cloud native!

    • Fedora Women Day in Lima, Peru

      I’ve just wrapped up and I wanted to say thanks for the support throughout the process in having a nice place. Thanks to the staff of the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru: Giohanny, Felipe Solari, Corrado and Walter. Congrats to the initiative of the Fedora Diversity team to foster more women involve in Linux. In addition, thanks to the help of Chhavi in the design and Bee for the help in planning the event. These were our FWD speakers:

    • Fedora Women Day in Prishtina

      We, the Fedora Diversity Team, were thinking where else we could help organize a Fedora Women Day. Of course, that Fedora Kosovo Community came in my mind and I thought to contact Ardian and Renata to see when we could organize a FWD at Prishtina Hackerspace. Since Renata and I had some exams during September we thought to organize it in October. At the same time, Daniel Pocock, part of the Debian community, was thinking to organize a Mini DebConf, the first one in Prishtina. After talking with him we decided to combine both activities and organize something together. Personally, I was very happy to see two Linux distributions organize an event together in Prishtina and having so many people interested in it.

    • Fedora 27 Release Party – Bengaluru
    • Internationalization FAD, Pune 2017

      For the second time in a short period of time I participated in an important Fedora event. November 20–22, 2017, an Internationalization FAD was organized by a group of Fedora contributors from Red Hat Pune. FAD stands for Fedora Activity Day, it is a mini-conference. It differs from large conferences like Flock because it is attended by small number of people and it is focused on one subject.

    • ATO2017 – A (late) summary

      This event – which happened way back in October – just keeps growing. It is already almost too big!

    • RISC-V Tokyo

      Today (was) RISC-V Day 2017 Tokyo at the University of Tokyo (programme in English, more information in English). My colleague Wei Fu gave a talk on the status of Fedora on RISC-V. I hope it was recorded somewhere. If it appears online I’ll update this post.

    • RISC-V Day 2017 Tokyo
    • #PeruRumboGSoC2018 – Session 6
  • Web Browsers
    • Chrome
      • Microsoft removes Google’s Chrome installer from the Windows Store [iophk: "paving the way for DRM and bug doors"]

        There are many reasons Google won’t likely bring Chrome to the Windows Store, but the primary reason is probably related to Microsoft’s Windows 10 S restrictions. Windows Store apps that browse the web must use HTML and JavaScript engines provided by Windows 10, and Google’s Chrome browser uses its own Blink rendering engine.

    • Mozilla
      • New Thunderbird Releases and New Thunderbird Staff

        In April 2017 Thunderbird released its successful Extended Service Release (ESR) version 52. This release has just seen it’s fifth “dot update” 52.5.0, where fixes, stability and minor functionality improvements were shipped.

        Thunderbird 57 beta was also very successful. While Thunderbird 58 is equally stable and offers further cutting-edge improvements to Thunderbird users, the user community is starting to feel the impact of Mozilla platform changes which are phasing out so-called legacy add-ons. The Thunderbird technical leadership is working closely with add-on authors who face the challenge of updating their add-ons to work with the Mozilla interface changes. With a few usually simple changes most add-ons can be made to work in Thunderbird 58 beta. https://wiki.mozilla.org/Thunderbird/Add-ons_Guide_57 explains what needs to be done, and Thunderbird developers are happy to lend a hand to add-on authors.

      • This Week in Rust 213

        Hello and welcome to another issue of This Week in Rust! Rust is a systems language pursuing the trifecta: safety, concurrency, and speed. This is a weekly summary of its progress and community. Want something mentioned? Tweet us at @ThisWeekInRust or send us a pull request. Want to get involved? We love contributions.

      • Firefox 57 delays requests to tracking domains

        Firefox Quantum – version 57 – introduced number of changes to the network requests scheduler. One of them is using data of the Tracking Protection database to delay load of scripts from tracking domains when possible during the time a page is actively loading and rendering – I call it tailing.

        This has a positive effect on page load performance as we save some of the network bandwidth, I/O and CPU for loading and processing of images and scripts running on the site so the web page is complete and ready sooner.

      • Taking a break from Adblock Plus development

        After twelve years of working on Adblock Plus, the time seems right for me to take a break. The project’s dependence on me has been on the decline for quite a while already. Six years ago we founded eyeo, a company that would put the former hobby project on a more solid foundation. Two years ago Felix Dahlke took over the CTO role from me. And a little more than a month ago we launched the new Adblock Plus 3.0 for Firefox based on the Web Extensions framework. As damaging as this move inevitably was for our extension’s quality and reputation, it had a positive side effect: our original Adblock Plus for Firefox codebase is now legacy code, not to be worked on. Consequently, my Firefox expertise is barely required any more; this was one of the last areas where replacing me would have been problematic.

      • Don Marti: quick question on tracking protection

        One quick question for anyone who still isn’t convinced that tracking protection needs to be a high priority for web browsers in 2018. Web tracking isn’t just about items from your online shopping cart following you to other sites. Users who are vulnerable to abusive practices for health or other reasons have tracking protection needs too.

  • Databases
    • MVCC and VACUUM

      Experienced PostgreSQL users and developers rattle off the terms “MVCC” and “VACUUM” as if everyone should know what they are and how they work, but in fact many people don’t. This blog post is my attempt to explain what MVCC is and why PostgreSQL uses it, what VACUUM is and how it works, and why we need VACUUM to implement MVCC. In addition, I’ll include a few useful links for further reading for those who may want to know more.

    • Dgraph raises $3M for its open-source distributed graph database, hits 1.0 release

      Dgraph is an increasingly popular open-source distributed graph database that uses a version of Facebook’s GraphQL as its default query language. Today, the company announced that it has raised $3 million in funding from Bain Capital Ventures, Atlassian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes, Blackbird Ventures and AirTree (this includes a $1.1 million seed round the company raised last year). The company also announced that its flagship database has hit the 1.0 stage.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
  • Public Services/Government
    • Introducing ICT in primary education

      Firstly, using a computer requires developing basic skills with a mouse and keyboard. That means that from age seven or eight, children could be shown how to use child-oriented simple painting software like the free/open-source TuxPaint (www.tuxpaint.org).

      This will teach the basics of controlling a cursor on the screen by moving a mouse and performing various actions with mouse clicks.

      Secondly, a basic familiarity with the keyboard has to be gained. This can be done with the free/open-source TuxType (https://tux4kids.alioth.debian.org/tuxtype/) software, which has created a number of free arcade games based on typing speed.

  • Licensing/Legal
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration
    • Open Data
      • Open Sourcing the Data Driven Revolution

        Open Source helped to provide promising ground for digital transformation. Not too long ago open source transformed software and now it is having an impact in larger areas of business. However, it is important to note that this generation dates back much further than the Big Data revolution that is being promoted today.

        Open source refers to software licenses that can be redistributed and used to create works. The code is made available for the public and can often end in collaboration between programmers.

  • Standards/Consortia
Leftovers
  • Microsoft ends arbitration in sexual harassment cases [Ed: Microsoft has a long and documented history of sexual abuse at the workplace, so this is 'damage control' or a publicity stunt]

    This week Microsoft has altered a longstanding corporate policy, eliminating forced arbitration agreements for employees who file claims of sexual harassment—it is believed to be the largest such tech firm to make this notable change.

    “The silencing of people’s voices has clearly had an impact in perpetuating sexual harassment,” Brad Smith, Microsoft’s president and chief legal officer, told The New York Times on Tuesday. In a blog post, Smith also said that the company would support new federal legislation to end the use of arbitration in sexual harassment cases.

  • Apple Is Purposely Slowing Down Older Phones , Says Geekbench

    From time to time, discussions which claim that Apple slows down old iPhones, intentionally, to boost sales keep on appearing on different online forums and discussion. A new report from Geekbench seems to support his narrative but it has got an important point that you shouldn’t miss.

    As per the finding of Geekbench’s John Poole, the iPhone slowdown reports are only going to get more common as phones like iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 continue to age. With time, we expect the battery capacity to decrease but we expect the processor performance to remain same. So, what’s happening here? Pretty confusing, right?

  • iPhone Performance and Battery Age

    A Reddit post from last week has sparked a discussion regarding iPhone performance as a function of battery age. While we expect battery capacity to decrease as batteries age, we expect processor performance to stay the same. However, users with older iPhones with lower-than-expected Geekbench 4 scores have reported that replacing the battery increases their score (as well as the performance of the phone). What’s going on here? How many phones are experiencing decreased Geekbench 4 score?

    To answer these questions I’ve plotted the kernel density of Geekbench 4 single-core scores for the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 7 running different versions of iOS. Scores obtained in low-power mode are not included in the distribution.

  • My Impossible Story

    Keeping up my bi-yearly blogging cadence, I thought it might be fun to write about what I’ve been doing since I left Mozilla. It’s also a convenient time, as it coincides with our work being open-sourced and made public (and of course, developed in public, because otherwise what’s the point, right?) Somewhat ironically, I’ve been working on another machine-learning project, though I’m loathe to call it that, as it uses no neural networks so far, and most people I’ve encountered consider those to be synonymous. I did also go on a month’s holiday to the home of bluegrass music, but that’s a story for another post. I’m getting ahead of myself here.

  • Security
  • Defence/Aggression
    • The Two Main Ways Corporate Media Will Whitewash McCain’s Legacy

      Washington Post editorial page editor and human avatar for DC national security orthodoxy Fred Hiatt published Sunday (12/17/17) what would be an otherwise non-sequitur love letter to John McCain, the DC national security state’s loudest champion and favorite branding exercise—if it weren’t for the obvious subtext that McCain’s health is rapidly deteriorating. As such, Hiatt’s proto-obituary sets the standard for all other flattering, ahistorical profiles of the senator that will invariably come down the pipe.

      US corporate media’s love affair with McCain has been well-documented by FAIR over the years (e.g., FAIR.org, 2/24/00; Extra!, 5–6/08; FAIR.org, 7/24/17). McCain has charmed the press to mold his brand as Moderate, Reasonable Man of Principle—despite decades of evidence to the contrary. H

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Resolution on Transparency of Trade Negotiations Endorsed at U.N. Internet Governance Forum Meeting

      All this week, EFF is at the 12th annual meeting of the global Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Geneva. Last year we co-organized the first ever main session of the IGF on trade and the Internet, recognizing how trade negotiations are incorporating an increasing number of Internet-related issues, many of which—such as copyright, domain name dispute resolution, and spam control—are already being dealt with in more transparent and inclusive fora.

      One of the key outcomes of that main session was the formation of a new IGF Dynamic Coalition on Trade and the Internet. This self-organized working group, currently led by EFF, carries on its work throughout the year, and reports back to the IGF annually. Although the Dynamic Coalition is new and its outputs do not have a formal status, its influence is already growing. For example, last month, the Dynamic Coalition was name-checked in the European Parliament’s new report on its digital trade policy.

    • Helsinki Police Raid Journalist’s Home

      Finnish police have raided the home of a Helsingin Sanomat journalist, apparently without a warrant, after the newspaper published a weekend article about an intelligence-gathering centre in Jyväskylä, based on secret leaked documents.

      The paper reports that officers spent four hours on Sunday evening searching the home of Laura Halminen, one of the journalists who wrote Saturday’s story.

      They showed up without a court order to authorise such a search, and confiscated phones, computers and memory sticks according to Helsingin Sanomat.

  • Finance
    • European Court Deals Latest Blow To Uber

      The European Court of Justice has ruled Uber is a taxi firm and should be regulated as such, dealing a regulatory blow to the American company.

      Wednesday’s decision came after taxi drivers in Barcelona launched a legal challenge. It will apply across the European Union, including in the UK.

      Uber has long argued it is a technology company, not a taxi firm, and the ruling will mean the company could potentially face new regulations limiting its operations.

      The court’s ruling said that, as a taxi firm, Uber “must be excluded from the scope of the freedom to provide services in general as well as the directive on services in the internal market and the directive on electronic commerce.”

    • ‘Watching Funds Be Depleted to Pay for This Tax Bill Is Unacceptable’

      A GAO report found that many states with voucher programs and education savings accounts don’t inform parents of students with disabilities how their rights change when a child transfers to private school through a “choice program.” Private schools aren’t subject to some of the same legal safeguards, like the requirement to provide something like speech therapy. About half of the private schools the GAO surveyed offered little or no information about special education services on their websites.

    • The Republican Plan Isn’t Just About Taxes—It’s About Shredding the Safety Net

      In a recent interview, Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) described the Republican approach to government as “survival of the fittest.”

      “If you’re well off, great, if you’re not—too bad,” he said.

      McGovern is right. The Republican tax bill, on which Congress is expected to vote on Tuesday, is effectively a bid to weed out people struggling to make ends meet. It could have dire consequences for the social safety net—and for the 70 percent of us who will turn to a means-tested program like Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at some point in our lives. And it could impact millions who expect to rely later in life on Medicare and Social Security.

    • The Billion-Dollar Loophole

      The most generous charitable deduction in the federal tax code is being manipulated to make big profits — and there’s no sign that Congress has any intention of fixing the problem.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The White House Is Shutting Down Its Petition Site to Save You 0.4 Cents a Year

      We The People, the petition section of the White House’s website, is shutting down for a promised January relaunch. Summarily ignored since Donald Trump took office, its a wonder anyone in the current administration is expending the effort to turn off the lights.

    • White House Temporarily Removes Petition Tool

      A White House official said all existing petitions and responses will be restored next year, when petitions that reach the required 100,000 signatures will begin receiving responses.

      The Trump administration has yet to respond to any of the 17 petitions that have reached that threshold since Trump took office on Jan. 20, 2017.

    • Trump’s Dark Deregulation

      At an event last Thursday to tout his administration’s efforts to rid the federal government of what he contends is burdensome red tape, President Donald Trump used oversized gold scissors to cut a piece of red ribbon strung between two stacks of paper.

      In short order, he promised, his administration would excise some 165,000 of the more than 185,000 pages in the Code of Federal Regulations.

      That’s no easy task. Changing federal regulatory laws can mean a congressional slog. And for federal agencies to rescind rules, they must engage in a time-consuming process that opens them to public scrutiny and potential legal challenges.

      But there are ways to get around these impediments. Collectively, you might call them dark deregulation.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
    • Theater buff tells Harry S. Truman students about dangers of censorship

      Howard Sherman, director of communications and education for the New York City-based Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, said decisions on what plays should be staged in American high schools should never be made from one scene or line taken out of context, or apart from the message the playwright means to convey.

    • Iowa Supreme Court Apparently Unfamiliar With First Amendment And Prior Restraint: Bars Newspaper From Publishing Info

      You would think that to become a state Supreme Court Justice you need to be familiar with the basics of the law — including famous legal rulings. For example, New York Times Company v. United States from 1971 is a pretty important and well known First Amendment case, in which the court specifically said that preventing newspapers from publishing information was unconstitutional prior restraint. That case relies on a number of other super famous First Amendment cases such as Near v. Minnesota and Bantam Books v. Sullivan. I mean, I’m not a lawyer and I know these cases. You would think that an Iowa Supreme Court Justice would as well.

    • Russia Threatens To Ban YouTube And Twitter, But Probably Won’t Try

      Last year, the Russian authorities ordered LinkedIn to be blocked in the country, supposedly for failing to store personal data locally. Since other US companies like Google and Facebook had also ignored this data localization requirement, it was curious that only LinkedIn was affected. Now the German news site Deutsche Welle is reporting that Twitter and YouTube risk being locked out of Russia, but for quite different reasons. These involve Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once the wealthiest person in Russia, and a long-time vocal opponent of President Putin. Khodorkovsky spent a number of years in prison, allegedly for fraud and embezzlement. He now lives outside Russia, and has set up the NGO Open Russia, which promotes democracy and human rights in Russia.

      Open Russia was put on the official list of “undesirable organizations” in April of this year. The Russian government has shut down Open Russia’s web site, and now it is demanding that the NGO’s presence on social media be deleted as well. Roskomnadzor, the country’s media regulatory agency, gave YouTube and Twitter a deadline to delete Open Russia’s accounts on their services, or be blocked entirely. The deadline has now passed, but the accounts are still accessible within Russia. The question is: what happens now?

    • Would-Be Congressman Wants A Law Forcing Social Media Platforms To Keep All His Alt-Right Buddies Online

      Wisconsin businessman Paul Nehlen is running for the other Paul’s (Ryan) House seat in next year’s midterm elections, and we can only hope this man is never allowed to operate law-making apparati at a federal level. He has big ideas for the nation — most of them sounding exactly like President Trump’s big ideas: A wall! Paid for by Mexico! Killing off Obamacare! Making abortions illegal! Bulk, untargeted deregulation!

      Nehlen also has big ideas about the First Amendment. Big ideas and a toddler-like grasp on tricky terms like “censorship.” Nehlen hates (HATES!) government regulation but feels the government should step in and, under the color of law, prevent internet companies from monitoring their platforms as they see fit.

      The highly-problematic Nehlen wants Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. to stop kicking like-minded people off their platforms. It’s undeniable Twitter has been deleting accounts held by far-right persons more often than those veering widely to the left. Some feel Facebook and Google have been doing the same thing, but the complaints of unfair moderation are loudest on Twitter. Nehlen is one of those complaining. But if he gets elected to Congress, he’ll be able to do actual damage.

    • Gov’t Committee: UK Should Move To Holding Platforms Liable For Third-Party Content Post-Brexit

      Going Brexit is to swear off logic, apparently. TorrentFreak reports that, in addition to everything else the UK’s newfound independence will muck up, it’s going to start doing an even more horrendous job policing the internet.

    • Kalter: Report sparks censorship fears at CDC

      A recent report that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were banned from using “science-based,” “transgender” and other terms has caused an uproar in the medical community, and local doctors say it could have a chilling effect on future research proposals.

    • The Deadly Cost of Censoring the CDC

      Do you want your medical treatment to be based on science? The Trump administration disagrees. It apparently banned the top US public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from using 7 words, including “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

      Prominent public health advocates have expressed outrage about these measures. For example, Sandro Galea, an epidemiologist and dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, tweeted “This is astonishing. It would be a parody of a flailing effort to limit the effectiveness of #publichealth if it did not suggest a real problem. #7words.” Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, stated that “Among the words forbidden to be used in CDC budget documents are ‘evidence-based’ and ‘science-based.’ I suppose one must not think those things either. Here’s a word that’s still allowed: ridiculous.”

    • New details emerge about the Trump administration’s censorship trends
    • Seven dirty words, according to the Trump administration
    • The CDC is banning certain words in budget documents. Is this 2017 or 1984?
    • No Words Are Actually Banned At The CDC, Its Director Says
    • CDC gets list of forbidden words: Fetus, transgender, diversity
    • In light of CDC censorship, why don’t we ban these words, too?
    • POV: How Censorship Can Harm Public Health
    • Uproar Over Purported Ban at C.D.C. of Words Like ‘Fetus’
  • Privacy/Surveillance
    • China Is Building The Ultimate Surveillance Tool: A DNA Database Of Every Adult Resident In Troubled Xinjiang Region

      It would be naïve to think that the authorities won’t use this massive DNA database in order to increase their surveillance of the Uyghur population. DNA is the ultimate identity number. It is present in nearly every cell in the body; it is difficult to change in a non-random way unless you have lots of money and top-flight CRISPR scientists at your disposal — unlikely in the case of Xinjiang residents; and we leave it everywhere we go, and on everything we touch. DNA also has the virtue — for the authorities — that it provides information about related individuals, since they all have some of their genetic code in common. That means it would be possible to determine everyone in the close family of a someone under investigation, by finding related DNA sequences. It’s the kind of information that could be abused by the police in multiple ways.

      As well as concerns about the human rights of Uyghurs being harmed, another issue is that Xinjiang’s Population Registration Program may be used as a trial before rolling out DNA collection to the entire Chinese adult population, just as is happening with a national facial recognition database. Although such a large-scale genetic database would have been infeasible a few years ago, advances in sequencing and dramatic falls in data storage and processing costs mean that it could probably be built now. And if China goes down this route, the fear has to be other countries will follow, just as they are doing in the realm of online surveillance.

    • Manhattan DA Cy Vance Makes His Annual Pitch For Anti-Encryption Legislation

      Two false assertions and we’re barely getting started:

      1. At best, the “much of today’s evidence” is an assumption. Locked devices can’t prove or disprove this theory, but the biggest courtroom battle over encryption ended with a third party cracking the San Bernardino shooter’s phone and the device yielding up a whole lot of nothing.

      2. Smartphone encryption is not “designed to keep law enforcement out.” It’s designed to keep everyone who isn’t the phone’s owner out. Law enforcement just happens to be in the “everyone who isn’t the phone’s owner” group. Maybe if people like Cy Vance stopped taking this so personally he might have more fruitful discussions with tech companies.

    • Another Court Says Compelled Password Production Doesn’t Violate The Fifth Amendment

      Another court has decided compelled password production isn’t a violation of the Fifth Amendment. The Massachusetts case [PDF], titled “In the Matter of a Grand Jury Investigation,” concerns allegations of child abuse. The grand jury requested access to the contents of the suspect’s phone. The government obtained a warrant but sought a court order compelling the suspect to produce a password to unlock it. The court granted it and the suspect challenged the order after being hit with contempt charges for failing to turn over the password. (via FourthAmendment.com)

      The court finds no problem with the government’s reasoning. According to the court, the ownership of the phone is the only “foregone conclusion” the government needs to reach.

    • Facebook abusing its power with ‘limitless’ collection of people’s data, Germany says

      The Federal Cartel Office (FCO) said Facebook was a “quasi-monopoly” that was abusing its position to force its users to give up data.

      The ruling is significant because it comes from a competition regulator.

    • German watchdog: Facebook abused dominant position in data collection

      “We are mostly concerned about the collection of data outside Facebook’s social network and the merging of this data into a user’s Facebook account,” said Andreas Mundt, the president of Germany’s competition authority. “This even happens when, for example, a user does not press a ‘like button’ but has called up a site into which such a button is embedded. Users are unaware of this.”

    • Facebook use of third-party apps ‘violates data protection principles’

      A statement released on Tuesday criticised the world’s largest social media site for collecting data via Facebook-owned services, such as WhatsApp or Instagram, and then absorbing it into users’ Facebook accounts.

      “We are mostly concerned about the collection of data outside Facebook’s social network and the merging of this data into a user’s Facebook account,” said Andreas Mundt, the president of the Bundeskartellamt, or federal cartel authority.

    • France orders WhatsApp to stop sharing user data with Facebook without consent

      The French data protection agency, Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), said on Monday that WhatsApp did not have a legal basis to share user data under French law for “business intelligence” purposes. The messaging app must cease data sharing within a month, paying particular attention to obtaining users’ consent.

    • France warns WhatsApp of fines over data-sharing with Facebook

      The National Data Protection Commission (CNIL) said on Monday that it had given WhatsApp a month to comply with the order. It emphasised that particular attention should be given to getting consent from users, Reuters reported.

    • WhatsApp ordered to stop sharing user data with Facebook

      France’s ultra-strict privacy watchdog CNIL has ordered WhatsApp to stop sharing user data with parent company Facebook. The app has a month to comply with the order, according to a public notice posted to the French website.

    • How to link Aadhaar with PAN

      Earlier this year, it was announced that PAN and Aadhaar had to be mandatorily to linked irrespective of whether one files income tax returns (ITR) or not. The government, in the previous budget, introduced a law which made it a must for everyone with a PAN to link it with Aadhaar.

    • Urgent: We Only Have Hours Left to Stop the NSA Expansion Bill

      According to reports published Tuesday evening by Politico, a group of surveillance hawks in the House of Representatives is trying to ram through a bill that would extend mass surveillance by the National Security Agency. We expect a vote to happen on the House floor as early as tomorrow, which means there are only a few hours to rally opposition.

      The backers of this bill are attempting to rush a vote on a bill that we’ve criticized for failing to secure Americans’ privacy. If this bill passes,we will miss the opportunity to prevent the FBI from searching through NSA databases for American communications without a warrant. Worse, nothing will be done to rein in the massive, unconstitutional surveillance of the NSA on Americans or innocent technology users worldwide.

      As we wrote, the bill, originally introduced by Chairman Devin Nunes before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, “allows warrantless search of American communications, expands how collected data can be used, and treats constitutional protections as voluntary.”

    • Stop the Newest Border Screening Bill

      Biometric screening, surveillance drones, social media snooping, license plate readers—all this and more would be required by new federal legislation to expand high-tech spying on U.S. citizens and immigrants alike at and near the U.S. border.

      Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) introduced “the SECURE Act” (S. 2192) on December 5. It borrows liberally from two other federal bills—H.R. 3548 and S. 1757—that EFF opposed earlier this year. Those bills were respectively introduced by Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) in the House of Representatives and Sen. John Coryn (R-TX) in the Senate.

      Sen. Coryn’s bill, called the Building America’s Trust Act, raises concerns about digital rights, many of which are likely to be ongoing issues in Sen. Grassley’s SECURE Act.

    • Republicans Push to Extend NSA Surveillance Expiring This Month

      Legislation to extend a major U.S. surveillance program that’s about to expire was being hashed out by Senate and House leaders, and details could be presented by Tuesday night, according to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.

      “It would be a combination” of pending proposals, Nunes of California told reporters. There are five proposals, including separate measures approved by the House Judiciary and Intelligence panels as well as versions offered in the Senate.

      The Rules Committee is expected to announce a hearing for Wednesday or Thursday for a measure that would be moved to the House floor as a standalone bill, according to an official familiar with the plans who asked not to be identified discussing the evolving plan. Congress is seeking to resolve the issue this week ahead of its year-end holiday break.

    • Court Says German Intelligence Agency Can No Longer Hoard Billions Of Metadata Records

      This is a big decision — somewhat on par with the revamp of the Section 215 metadata program here in the US that took place following the Snowden leaks. But it might be bigger than that. BND collects over 11 billion records every year. And it shares this haul with the NSA and GCHQ.
      This was revealed via documents leaked to German news agency Die Zeit. The BND was grabbing metadata at a rate of 220 million records per day. This is only a small part of the BND’s haul, much of which appears to be harvested from internet cables and satellite transmissions.
      These revelations caused some problems for the German government, which has generally been careful to keep Stasi comparisons to a minimum. The BND claimed these collections were lawful, but top government officials weren’t so sure. This lawsuit appears to have settled the “metadata” question at least.

    • Twelve Days in Xinjiang: How China’s Surveillance State Overwhelms Daily Life
    • Analog Equivalent Privacy Rights (6/21): Everything you do, say, or think today will be used against you in the future

      The current generation has utterly failed to preserve the presumption of innocence, as it applies to surveillance, in the shift from our analog parents to our digital children.

  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • Cop being investigated for sex with a minor fatally shoots himself

      Authorities say a San Francisco police officer shot and killed himself after a traffic stop in northern California. Law enforcement sources tell CBS San Francisco the officer was being investigated for sex with a minor in Las Vegas.

      Richmond police said they pulled the suspect — who was later identified as the police officer — over in the Hilltop Mall parking lot, near J.C. Penney.

    • Study Of Las Vegas PD Body Cameras Shows Reductions In Complaints, Use Of Force

      We’re nowhere closer to reaching a Unified Theory of Police Body Cameras, but at least we’re still compiling data. So far, there’s no definitive proof body cameras reduce police misconduct, but there’s at least some evidence they’re better than nothing at all.

      Early adopters showed a surprising amount of reduction in use of force by officers. A 2012 study in Rialto, California showed a 67% drop in force usage by officers wearing cameras. Since then, results have been all over the map. The largest study conducted to date — covering the Washington DC PD’s rollout of its body camera pilot program — suggested cameras weren’t reducing force usage or lowering the number of citizen complaints. A second study of the same group seemed to indicate the problem wasn’t that cameras had no deterrent effect, but that officers were still very selective about camera activation — hence the lack of improvement.

    • Florida Police Issue Hundreds of Bad Pedestrian Tickets Every Year Because They Don’t Seem to Know the Law

      On its face, Florida’s pedestrian statute 316.130(11) seems straightforward enough: fail to cross a street in a crosswalk where required, and you are liable for a ticket ranging from $51 to $77. The authorities across the state issue hundreds of the tickets every year with the public claim that they were trying to cut down Florida’s outsize number of pedestrian deaths.

      But a Times-Union/ProPublica examination of statute 316.130(11) tickets given in four large counties from 2012 to 2017 found them rife with mistakes — errors that can cost people not only money, but also put them at risk of losing their driver’s licenses or having their credit ratings damaged.

      In Broward County, for instance, around 70 percent of the more than 3,300 crosswalk tickets issued in those years were given in error, according to the Times-Union/ProPublica examination. In Hillsborough County, where more than 500 crosswalk tickets were given, the percentage of bad tickets was around 80 percent; in Orange County, around 56 percent of the almost 650 tickets were given erroneously.

    • Cop Shuts Off Dashcam During Drug Dog Sniff. Appeals Court: This Is Fine.

      If cops have the ability and opportunity to record a traffic stop, should it be held against them when they don’t? Arguments have been made to that effect for a few years now. Dashcams have been in wide use for at least a couple of decades. Law enforcement agencies all over the US are issuing body cameras to officers. But it seems whenever something questionable happens, footage is nowhere to be found, or what there is of it is almost useless.

      Unfortunately, years of discussion by (mainly) defense lawyers hasn’t resulted in policy changes. Worse, it hasn’t budged the judicial needle much. In rare cases, the absence of footage is used against officers, but in those cases, it mainly seems to be because efforts were made to destroy footage already captured.

      In this case [PDF] reviewed by the Sixth Circuit Appeals Court, no effort was made post facto to destroy footage. Instead, an officer proactively prevented footage from being created by disabling the dashcam recording the traffic stop.

    • New Documents And Testimony Shows Officers Lied About Their Role In An Arrested Teen’s Death

      Earlier this year, we covered the horrific story of the death of a 5’4″ 110-lb. 18-year-old at the hands of the Mesquite (TX) police department. The teen, suffering from a bad acid trip, was tased multiple times, threatened with death by an officer, and left to die in a jail cell with little more than a cursory nod towards his health and wellbeing.

      Graham Dyer’s parents were unable to obtain any details about their son’s death from the Mesquite PD. The department refused to turn over records, pointing to state law allowing it to withhold records on arrested suspects who never faced criminal charges. This exemption may have made sense to lawmakers at the point it was passed. But in-custody deaths are inherently questionable. This exemption does little more than give law enforcement agencies everything they need to cover up misconduct.

      Fortunately, Dyer’s parents didn’t stop there. They asked the FBI to open an investigation into their son’s death. The FBI closed its investigation without forwarding it to the DOJ for charges but the investigation did serve at least one purpose: it allowed Dyer’s parents to finally obtain records related to their son’s last night on earth.

      What they found was horrifying. Video showed their son thrashing around in the back of a police car, incoherent and completely unrestrained. Captured audio captured an officer threatening to kill their son if he didn’t calm down. The in-car video also showed the same officer repeatedly tasing their son in the testicles. (The officer claims he was aiming for the “inner thigh” but Dyer kept moving. Considering a taser is effective almost anywhere it’s placed, why place it so close to a person’s testicles unless you’re hoping to “accidentally” tase that part of the arrestee?) They also saw their son dragged from the police car at the jail sally port, laying on the floor with an officer’s foot on his head.

      Without these records from the FBI, the Dyers would never have known what led to their son’s death. The Mesquite PD’s refusal to turn over records also served its own purpose: it ran the clock on the statute of limitations. The state can no longer bring criminal charges against the officers — despite the DA saying there’s evidence of criminal behavior.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • We have abandoned every principle of the free and open internet
    • NAACP Fought Net Neutrality Until Last Week, Now Suddenly Supports The Idea

      For years now we’ve pointed out how one of the telecom industry’s sleazier lobbying tricks involves paying minority groups to parrot awful tech policy positions. That’s why you’ll often see groups like the “Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership” support competition-killing mergers or oppose consumer-centric policies like more cable box competition or increased wireless competition. This quid pro quo is never put into writing, so when these groups are asked why they’re supporting policies that undermine their constituents, they can deny it with a wave of breathless indignation.

      But this tactic remains very real, and very harmful all the same. It played a huge role in ginning up bogus support for the attack on net neutrality. AT&T and Comcast have co-opted countless minority groups in this fashion, with a lot of it coordinated through a telecom-funded organization dubbed the Multicultural Media, Telecom & Internet Council (MMTC). In short: if you want to keep the funding flowing, it’s expected that you’ll parrot telecom industry policies, even if they harm your constituents. This has been a problem for years that nobody much likes to talk about.

    • GOP net neutrality bill would allow paid fast lanes and preempt state laws

      A Republican lawmaker is proposing a net neutrality law that would ban blocking Recently the FCC voted down the previously held rules on net neutrality. I think that this is a bad decision by the FCC, but I don’t think that it will result in the amount of chaos that some people are suggesting. I thought I’d write about how I see the net changing, for better or worse, with these regulations removed.

      If we think about how the Internet is today, basically everyone pays to access the network individually. Both groups that want to host information and people who want to access those sites. Everyone pays a fee for ‘their connection’ which contributes to companies that create and connect the backbone together. An Internet connection by itself has very little value, but it is the definition of a “network effect”, because everyone is on the Internet it has value for you to connect there as well. Some services you connect to use a lot of your home Internet connection, and some of them charge different rates for it. Independent of how much they use or charge you, your ISP isn’t involved in any meaningful way. The key change here is that now your ISP will be associated with the services that you use.

      Let’s talk about a theoretical video streaming service that charged for their video service. Before they’d charge something like $10 a month for licensing and their hosting costs. Now they’re going to end up paying an access fee to get to consumer’s Internet connections, so their charges are going to change. They end up charging $20 a month and giving $10 of that to the ISPs of their customers. In the end consumers will end up paying for their Internet connection just as much, but it’d be bundled into other services they’re buying on the Internet. ISPs love this because suddenly they’re not the ones charging too much, they’re out of the billing here. They could even possibly charge less (free?) for home Internet access as it’d be subsidized by the services you use.and throttling, but the bill would allow ISPs to create paid fast lanes and prohibit state governments from enacting their own net neutrality laws. The bill would also prohibit the FCC from imposing any type of common carrier regulations on broadband providers.

      Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) announced the “Open Internet Preservation Act” in a video posted to Twitter.

      “We can do this now that [FCC] Chairman [Ajit] Pai has successfully done his job of getting the net neutrality rules off the books,” said Blackburn, who is chairperson of a congressional telecommunications subcommittee.

    • The Republican net neutrality bill doesn’t save net neutrality
    • FCC Boss Claims Net Neutrality Supporters Were Clearly Wrong Because Twitter Still Works The Day After Repeal

      By now you’ve probably noticed that FCC boss Ajit Pai isn’t particularly popular online after he voted last week to kill popular net neutrality protections. A big reason for that unpopularity is Pai’s tendency to simply make things up as he rushes to coddle broadband duopolists, whether we’re talking about his bogus claims that net neutrality killed broadband investment, his claims that net neutrality only emboldens tyrants in Iran and North Korea, or his claims that the broadband market is amazingly competitive.

      So in the wake of the repeal (which of course still needs to survive legal challenge) it’s not too surprising to see Pai engaging in more blatantly false nonsense as he tries to frame net neutrality supporters as hysterical hyperbolists. For example, Pai tried to argue last week on Fox and Friends that net neutrality supporters were clearly wrong to worry about the repeal because Twitter and Facebook still worked the day after the repeal…

    • Net change

      Recently the FCC voted down the previously held rules on net neutrality. I think that this is a bad decision by the FCC, but I don’t think that it will result in the amount of chaos that some people are suggesting. I thought I’d write about how I see the net changing, for better or worse, with these regulations removed.

      If we think about how the Internet is today, basically everyone pays to access the network individually. Both groups that want to host information and people who want to access those sites. Everyone pays a fee for ‘their connection’ which contributes to companies that create and connect the backbone together. An Internet connection by itself has very little value, but it is the definition of a “network effect”, because everyone is on the Internet it has value for you to connect there as well. Some services you connect to use a lot of your home Internet connection, and some of them charge different rates for it. Independent of how much they use or charge you, your ISP isn’t involved in any meaningful way. The key change here is that now your ISP will be associated with the services that you use.

      Let’s talk about a theoretical video streaming service that charged for their video service. Before they’d charge something like $10 a month for licensing and their hosting costs. Now they’re going to end up paying an access fee to get to consumer’s Internet connections, so their charges are going to change. They end up charging $20 a month and giving $10 of that to the ISPs of their customers. In the end consumers will end up paying for their Internet connection just as much, but it’d be bundled into other services they’re buying on the Internet. ISPs love this because suddenly they’re not the ones charging too much, they’re out of the billing here. They could even possibly charge less (free?) for home Internet access as it’d be subsidized by the services you use.

    • End of an FTP era

      It’s bittersweet, since I’ve been running an anonymous FTP server since some time around 1996 (longer than HTTP has been a widely-used thing), and at ftp.eyrie.org for nearly that long. The original service was wu-ftpd, as one did at the time, but it’s been vsftpd for the past decade plus. (Amusingly, I now work for the author of vsftpd.)

      All of the data is still there, at archives.eyrie.org as has been the case for more than a decade. I doubt anyone but me and a few people with ancient bookmarks will ever notice. The whole world switched over to HTTP many years ago, and about the only thing that ever connected to the anonymous FTP server was search engines. I was keeping it running out of nostalgia.

      Explaining why I finally pulled the plug requires a bit of background on the FTP protocol. Many of those reading this may already be familiar, but I bet some people aren’t, and it’s somewhat interesting. The short version is that FTP is a very old protocol from a much different era of the Internet, and it does things in some very odd ways that are partly incompatible with modern networking.

    • What does FCC Net Neutrality repeal mean to you?
    • Comcast’s Push For A Shitty New Net Neutrality Law Begins In Earnest

      As we’ve been noting for a while, the FCC’s 3-2 vote to kill net neutrality is really only the beginning of a new chapter in the fight for a healthy, competitive internet. The rules won’t truly be repealed until 60 days after they hit the federal register in January. And even then, the repeal will have to survive a multi-pronged legal assault against the FCC, accusing it of ignoring the public interest, ignoring feedback from countless experts, and turning a blind eye to all of the procedural oddities that occurred during its proceeding (like, oh, the fact that only dead and artificial people appear to support what the FCC is up to).

      ISPs know that this legal fight faces a steep uphill battle with all of the procedural missteps at the FCC. That’s why we’ve been warning for a while that ISPs (and their army of think tankers, sock puppets, consultants, and other allies) will soon begin pushing hard for a new net neutrality law. One that professes to “put this whole debate to bed,” but contains so many loopholes as to be useless. The real purpose of such a law? To codify federal net neutrality apathy into law, and to prevent the FCC from simply passing tougher rules down the road.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Trademarks
      • Five Below, Trendy Retailer, Sues 10 Below, Ice Cream Seller, For Trademark Infringement

        When it comes to frivolous trademark lawsuits, you think you’ve seen it all, but then one comes along that makes you throw up your hands. Here at Techdirt, we understand that the average individual might not know some of the broader nuances of trademark law, such as the focus on customer confusion, or the requirement, in most cases, that the parties reside within the same industry or market. But that understanding goes out the window when we’re talking about a lawsuit brought by a large corporation that, like, totally has lawyers and stuff. I use that tone and vernacular specifically as preparation for stating that Five Below, the large retailer with trendy products for less than five bucks, has sued 10 Below, a small chain of ice cream shops.

    • Copyrights
      • This Whole Mess With Ajit Pai, The Harlem Shake And Copyright Is Bad And Everyone’s Wrong.

        The video is bad and dumb and misleading and, yes, very, very cringeworthy. The pure awfulness of the video is what got people worked up initially, with Pai’s supporters gleefully laughing at Pai’s opponents for getting upset about it. If you can’t see it for some reason, it involves Pai claiming that nothing is going to change on the internet following his bad decision to kill the FCC’s net neutrality rules, and then attempts to show some examples: posting images of food and dogs to the internet, doing some online shopping, being a dorky Star Wars fan and, finally, “ruining a meme.”

        That meme? The Harlem Shake. If you were online in 2013, you almost certainly remember it. Because it was everywhere. For a couple months or so, everyone on the internet seemed to feel it was their obligation to create a video showing people crazy dancing to a snippet of the song “Harlem Shake” by “Baauer” the stage name of a music producer named Harry Rodrigues. The song, the Harlem Shake uses a sample from another song, Miller Time, by Philadelphia’s Plastic Little. Also, the “con los terroristas” line was sampled from a singer named Hector Delgado.

      • How The Muppets And A Font Choice Hurt The Star Trek / Dr. Seuss Mashup In Court

        A little over a year ago, we wrote about an unfortunate case in which Dr. Seuss Enterprises decided to sue for copyright and trademark infringement over an attempt to create a (pretty funny) parody that mashed up Dr. Seuss with Star Trek, called “Oh, The Places You’ll Boldly Go.” As we noted at the time, this seemed to be a clear parody (which is protected by fair use). It was clearly transformative, and was commenting on the differences between Trek and Seuss. We also noted some extraordinary (and extraordinarily silly) claims in the lawsuit. The defendants in the case, Comicmix, won a round earlier this year, when the judge tossed out the trademark claims. However, he let the copyright claims stand for the time being. After, Dr. Seuss Enterprises filed an amended complaint on all the claims, leading to a new motion to dismiss.

      • Facebook Rejects 31% of All Piracy Takedown Requests

        Facebook has published data on the number of piracy takedown notices the company receives. During the first half of 2017, the social media giant removed 1.8 million posts or files, following copyright holder requests. Interestingly, the company rejected nearly a third of all requests in their entirety.

PTAB Bashing in the US and the Attack on the Boards of Appeal in Europe All About Lowering Patent Quality

Wednesday 20th of December 2017 12:23:15 AM

How low can the bar go?

Summary: The aspiration to lower patent quality in order to saturate the space with patents and lawsuits is what controls exist for; but those who profit from lots of patents and lawsuits want these controls obliterated

THE USPTO‘s appeal boards are essential. The Board is known as PTAB, but it’s actually like a bunch of small tribunals. Like BoA at the EPO. They help ensure high patent quality and scare those whose patents are of low quality.

A few hours ago a law firm published this timely article (“The EPO Raises The Bar On Plausibility When Assessing Inventive Step: T488/16 – Dasatinib”).

This is why Battistelli attacks the Boards of Appeal. They raise the patent bar. The Office perpetually lowers it. The Boards also serve to highlight systematic decline/intentional reduction of quality at the Office (if work can be done at a high volume; the Boards have been grossly understaffed and under-equipped by the EPO; even their office space shrank a lot). From the new article:

On 1 February 2017 the Board of Appeal of the EPO upheld the revocation of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMS) patent for anti-cancer drug dasatinib due to a lack of inventive step. It is common for post-published data to be taken into account by the EPO when such data supports a technical effect rendered plausible by the application. In this case the Board decided that the original application did not make it plausible that the dasatinib had any useful properties, i.e. any technical effect. As a consequence, the post-filing data could not be taken into account when assessing inventive step and the patent was revoked for merely claiming an obvious further organic compound.

This finding raises the bar on whether a patent specification makes it plausible that a technical problem has been solved and could have far-reaching effects for the patentability of pharmaceutical and other inventions.

It’s no secret that patent quality at the EPO nosedived. Not a single insider publicly claims otherwise.

In the US, by contrast. patent quality seems to have improved. Even when the USPTO grants a patent, that patent may soon be invalidated by PTAB or by a court. That’s just happening so much these days that litigation frequency has gone down considerably. This is bad news for nobody but trolls, patent law firms, and opportunists whose patents are bunk.

Watch Sunday’s intellectually dishonest spin from Watchtroll. They just can’t stop PTAB-bashing. They do it all the time. Here’s Watchtroll trying to shift outcomes such as Alice in favour of patent trolls while slamming AIA (which birthed PTAB): “The America Invents Act (AIA) has laid waste many of the advantages of being an innovator, but the Supreme Court is currently considering the constitutionality and propriety of some of the more troublesome aspects of the AIA.”

Nonsense. This is like weapons manufacturers bemoaning peace and stability. They just need feuds for income. In absence of conflict, they’ll try to create some.

PTAB was also mentioned by Marie McKiernan the other day. This is being cited by the patent microcosm, including high-profile PTAB bashers. To quote:

As we discussed in May, PTAB decisions are a primary source for guidance regarding what constitutes a “printed publication” under § 102, because the PTAB faces the issue so frequently. Since that post, the PTAB has continued to define the scope of what is or is not a printed publication. In most instances, where the issue was contested, the PTAB found the petitioner failed to prove a document was a printed publication.

[...]

These PTAB decisions serve as an invaluable source of guidance for an issue often commonly contested before the PTAB, and their lesson continues to be that more evidence should be provided. In many instances, although the petitioner provides some evidence pointing toward the public accessibility of the alleged prior art, the evidence falls short of demonstrating that the document is a “printed publication.” When it comes to proving that a reference is a printed publication before the PTAB, less is not more.

Parties should take heed of the PTAB’s approach. Before filing their petitions, petitioners must think of all potential avenues of dissemination to connect all the dots between the prior art, its publication, and how that translates into public accessibility. Patent owners should not shy away from attacking petitioners’ evidence.

Owners? Attacking? Seriously biased spin.

PTAB bashing is in some sense akin to Battistelli’s attacks on the Boards. It’s intended to help reduce the patentability bar and facilitate more feuds (something a system like UPC would depend on).

PTAB bashers have also promoted these lies from the American Enterprise Institute (even the headline a lie, suggestive of outcome that won’t happen). The American Enterprise Institute is basically a pressure group for the maximalists; it’s just cleverly named. It cites Watchtroll as its source. That’s like Daily Caller citing Fox News. Here is what it says about Oil States: “So how will the case shake out? It’s difficult to tell at this stage, but Gene Quinn of IP Watchdog asserted after the argument that “a 9-0 decision that ratifies the constitutionality of IPR proceedings seems quite unlikely.” And a panel he interrogated also sounded divided. We’ll likely have to wait until June for the ruling, but Patent Office trials now seem more endangered than before.”

Not by a long shot. Even patent professionals are already accepting that SCOTUS, based on the hearings so far, leans towards PTAB.

Sadly, PTAB bashing continues to thrive in blogs of such extremists, whereas companies which create products are mostly apathetic and silent. The media is therefore dominated by PTAB-hostile voices, sometimes even a bunch of cowboys.

Today’s Report From the Administrative Council (AC) of the European Patent Organisation ‘Tackles’ the Most Important Issue: Judge Corcoran

Tuesday 19th of December 2017 11:20:39 PM

Lying about the nature of the case and its supposed ‘closure’


Idiom

Summary: The Administrative Council, whose job is to govern the Office, seems to be engaging in a rather disturbing ‘coverup’ job, which merely reinforces popular perceptions that Battistelli controls his so-called ‘bosses’

THE EPO is not honest, to say the least and to put it politely. Apart from the usual #IPforSMEs nonsense and some other fluff, there’s still nothing in the EPO’s timeline about the Judge. Nothing. Not even about last week’s meeting. At all! Isn’t that odd?

They find time to brag about paying German media for PR (“Together with @Handelsblatt Research Institute we looked at #4IR”) and corrupting academia for UPC lobbying (“Experts from the University of Colorado, London School of Economics”). They also wrote about holidays today (“We’d like to remind you that the EPO offices will be closed from 23.12.2017 to 1.1.2018 inclusively”), neglecting to say that EPO management canceled 3 holidays this year!

These are all tweets from today. Still nothing at all about the scarce media coverage of EPO scandals. Mathieu Klos and Christina Schulze of JUVE have just published this article about the scandals. The headline is something along the lines of “Disciplinary case at the European Patent Office: Pyrrhic victory for suspended judge” and the opening paragraph says:

Jahrelang durfte ein irischer Richter seinen früheren Arbeitsplatz beim Europäischen Partentamt nicht betreten, weil Behördenchef Benoît Battistelli ihm Hausverbot erteilt hatte – doch seit voriger Woche ist der Mann wieder als Mitglied der Beschwerdekammern beim Europäischen Patentamt (EPA) tätig. Damit hat der Präsident der Beschwerdekammern, Carl Josefsson, zwei Urteile des Verwaltungsgerichts der Internationalen Arbeitsorganisation (ILOAT) umgesetzt. Dieses hatte angeordnet, den Richter wieder einzusetzen. Allerdings wird er wohl nur noch wenige Tage bis zum Jahresende seine Richtertätigkeit ausüben. Denn der Verwaltungsrat verlängerte seine Amtszeit nicht.

Based on a rough translation, there’s not much in there (which we have not covered before). It says that according to an internal statement, Josefsson gave the judge the house access rights on 11 December. He then resumed his work. The judge had always asserted his innocence and, unlike before the decision of the board of directors, the judge is no longer open to re-entering the ILOAT. He now has to go through the lengthy internal complaint path first.”

Tough ‘luck’. eh?

So it’s far from a solved issue.

Now watch what the EPO said some hours ago (here and also here). To quote the minutes in full:

The Administrative Council of the European Patent Organisation held its 154th meeting in Munich on 13 and 14 December 2017 under the chairmanship of Christoph ERNST (DE).

The Administrative Council noted the activities reports given by its Chairman and by the President of the European Patent Office, Benoît BATTISTELLI. In the ensuing discussion the Council welcomed the very positive results the Office was expecting for 2017, praised the management and staff for their achievements and encouraged all to progress in terms of social dialogue. The Council further noted the oral reports by the chairpersons of the Supervisory Board of the Reserve Funds for Pensions and Social Security (RFPSS) and the Budget and Finance Committee on their recent meetings.

A series of elections and appointments was then on the agenda:

– the Council elected Gerard BARRETT (IE) as deputy Chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee. It further appointed Viktor LUSZCZ (HU) to the Boards of Appeal Committee;

– in the case of the RFPSS Supervisory Board in its new composition, the Council appointed with effect from 1 January 2018 its two own representatives and one alternate, as well as the four external expert members and one alternate, including the new Chairman Michel LIND;

– the Council also decided on appointments to the new Appeals Committee of its Chair, Paul MAHONEY, the two deputy Chairs and two further members. It also appointed the Chairman, Markus MOHLER, and the members of the Council Disciplinary Committee, all with effect from 1 January 2018;

– and finally, the Council decided on a number of appointments and re-appointments as technically qualified members of the Boards of Appeal and as external legally qualified members of the Enlarged Board.

In respect of legal affairs the Council adopted in particular the Office proposals on fees for 2018-2020 under the existing working agreements on search co-operation.

Turning to personnel policy matters the Council conducted a general debate on the orientation paper submitted by the Office, regarding modernisation of the employment framework. It supported the principle of introducing more flexibility and expected the strategic, legal and financial outcomes of the discussion to be reflected in the concrete assessments and proposed modalities the Office would submit in early 2018.

The Council also addressed a number of financial matters. Firstly, it unanimously approved the draft budget for 2018 as well as the budget estimates for the four following years. In particular it endorsed the related Office proposals regarding a substantial reduction in PCT fees and online filing fees and the increase in the appeal fee. It also approved the yearly outcome of applying the salary method and further measures in the field of pensions.

In a closed session, the Council took a final decision in a disciplinary case against an employee appointed by the Council – a case which had attracted significant public attention. This decision was taken with due regard to all relevant elements. The Council expressed its satisfaction at having closed the case. In particular, it underlined its expectation that now – after a long period of intense debate – legal peace would be restored.

Council Secretariat

What’s most relevant at the moment is that last paragraph. It says that the matter is resolved (“closed”), but it’s far from resolved; hence the statement is very misleading.

People at IP Kat (3 comments so far) noticed the above and one said:

Hmmm. “Final” decision? Curious that they do not say what that was or on what grounds it was taken. I expect we will see this heading to the ILOAT yet again… The expression of an expectation that “legal peace” will be restored takes some chutzpah, too.

It’s another lie from the EPO. We’ve lost count. They’re not credible or trustworthy anymore. Not even the AC.

Here’s the next comment:

AC, through its wise and respectable chairman, based on infallible information provided by the President of the Office, has decided that the ILOAT decissions are confidential, and that therefore neither staff, nor staff representation may discuss these descissions, and the implication that staff does not have access to any judicial remedies.
Therefore nobody can confirm that Mr. C has been, based on new confidential documents provided by the accuser, which has due to its confidential nature not been communicated to the accused, who has NOT been invited to present his view of the case, and in absence of the accused and in absence of anyone representing the accused, suspended again.
But since the President of the Office was not present in the room (after he presented the CONFIDENTIAL, allegedly non-public ILOAT decissions, and the lessons to be learnt), when the AC made the vote, the ILOAT decissions and its implications have been fully recognised.

There is, in the new procedure, by decission of the AC, no procedural flaw present.

The incredible amount of lying from the EPO and the AC is worrisome. The coverup attempts from the EC are troubling and the silence from ILO isn’t helpful, either. Is this the best Europe can do when abject injustice is up on display?

Links 19/12/2017: Mesa 17.3.1 RC, Mozilla Apologises, Builder 3.27 Progress

Tuesday 19th of December 2017 10:08:07 PM

Contents GNU/Linux Free Software/Open Source
  • The Open Source Funding Conundrum in 2018

    Over the years, I’ve watched first hand as enterprise-centric companies took open source technologies and found ways to make millions (and sometimes many millions) by providing trustworthy support. But what about those open source applications that lack enterprise level financial backing, how are the developers of these applications supposed to pay their bills?

    In this article, I’m going to address one of the biggest issues facing those who want to see non-enterprise open source software – funding.

  • Open Source Software Is a 2017 Success Story

    As 2017 draws to a close, we look at some of the reasons why the use of open source software is growing and will continue to grow in the year ahead.

  • Best open source ecommerce software

    A solid ecommerce platform can help smooth out the whole shopping experience for your customers, from click, to cart to payment.

    From massive corporations to sole traders, ecommerce platforms can meet the needs of most businesses, and those that don’t are constantly improving operations to keep up with the fierce competition.

    So, why go open source? If you want total control and absolute customisation, open source software lets you inspect, copy and alter that software to make the perfect package for you.

  • Mastodon makes the internet feel like home again

    So, why Mastodon? The new social media service is a non-profit, open-source project that has attracted many Twitter refugees over the last year, including myself. Founder Eugen Rochko (gargron@mastodon.social) wrote in March that Mastodon was aiming to learn from the “mistakes” of Twitter and be an inclusive, decentralized microblogging platform. The result is a social media service where users actually feel comfortable being themselves, as opposed to a performative, more sarcastic version of who they actually are.

  • 4 notable open source projects at local maker faire

    The Rochester Mini Maker Faire is an annual event that takes place at the Joseph A. Floreano Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, NY. Each year, makers, creators, artists, and others from upstate New York and beyond show their crafts and creations to the community. Open source tools are popular at the Rochester Mini Maker Faire, where you’ll find countless Raspberry Pis, Arduino boards, and open source-powered projects and creations.

  • PowerfulSeal: A testing tool for Kubernetes clusters

    Bloomberg has adopted Kubernetes, the open source system for deploying and managing containerized applications which has gained a great deal of industry momentum, in its infrastructure. As a result, systems are becoming more distributed than ever before, running on machines scattered around the globe and across the cloud. This means there are more moving parts, any of which could fail for a long list of reasons.

    Systems engineers want to feel confident that the complex systems they’ve built will withstand problems and keep running. To do that, they run batteries of elaborate tests designed to simulate all sorts of problems. But it’s impossible to imagine every potential problem, let alone plan for all of them.

  • Events
    • Pittsburgh Technology Council co-hosts xTuple Open Source ERP Roadshow

      xTuple open source ERP ended their 2017 series of on-the-road events at the Pittsburgh Technology Council (PTC), the largest regional tech trade association in the nation. The open-forum discussion focused on digital marketing strategies for manufacturers using next generation business management software, including xTupleCommerce, the online Customer Web Portal.

  • Web Browsers
    • Mozilla
      • Firefox users are ticked after Mozilla secretly installed Mr. Robot add-on

        If you use Firefox instead of Chrome, do you do so because you prefer Mozilla’s stance on privacy? Some loyal Firefox users and even employees were up in arms after Mozilla surreptitiously installed the add-on Looking Glass last week. It didn’t happen to all Firefox users, but the ones affected did not give the browser permission to install it.

      • Update: Looking Glass Add-on

        Over the course of the year Firefox has enjoyed a growing relationship with the Mr. Robot television show and, as part of this relationship, we developed an unpaid collaboration to engage our users and viewers of the show in a new way: Fans could use Firefox to solve a puzzle as part of the alternate reality game (ARG) associated with the show.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice
    • LibreOffice 6.0 Release Candidate Will Arrive Just in Time for Christmas Testing

      LibreOffice 6.0 just exited beta testing and the development cycle will continue this week with the first Release Candidate, which should be available to download by the end of the week as The Document Foundation plans a third bug hunting session just before the Christmas holidays, on December 22, 2017.

      “On December 22 we will have an international Bug Hunting Session (BHS), testing the RC1 (first release candidate) of LibreOffice 6.0,” writes Mike Saunders. “You can download, try out and test this RC1 version – and if you spot any bugs, let our QA (Quality Assurance) community know.”

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)
  • BSD
    • Switching Distro’s

      Obviously I still use FreeBSD on the desktop; with the packages from area51 I have a full and modern KDE Plasma environment. We (as in, the KDE-FreeBSD team) are still wrestling with getting the full Plasma 5 into the official ports tree (stalled, as so often it has been, on concerns of backwards compatibility), but things like CMake 3.10.1 and Qt 5.9 are sliding into place. Slowly, like brontosauruses driving a ’57 Cadillac.

      In the meantime, I do most of my Calamares development work — it is a Linux installer, after all — in VMs with some Linux distro installed. Invariably — and especially when working on tools that do the most terrible things to the disks attached to a system — I totally break the system, the VM no longer starts at all, and my development environment is interrupted for a bit.

  • Programming/Development
    • Pipenv – The Officially Recommended Python Packaging Tool

      Yesterday, we published a beginners guide to manage Python packages using PIP. In that guide, we discussed how to install pip, and how to install, update, uninstall Python packages using pip. We also discussed the importance of virtual environments and how to create a virtual environment using venv and virtualvnv tools. However managing multiple environments using venv and virtualenv tools is tedious task. No worries! There is an another python package manager named pipenv, which is the new recommended Python Packaging tool by Python.org. It can be used to easily install and manage python dependencies without having to create virtual environments. Pipenv automatically creates and manages a virtualenv for your projects. It also adds/removes packages from your Pipfile as you install/uninstall packages.

    • An odd test failure
    • Builder 3.27 Progress (Again)

      As normal, I’ve been busy since our last update. Here are a few highlights of features in addition to all those bug fixes.

    • Builder IDE Becoming More Capable In GNOME 3.28

      The GNOME Builder development environment has already been working on many new features for next year’s GNOME 3.28 desktop environment while even more features are now on track.

      Work already being addressed is improved Flatpak support, pseudo-terminal support in the build pipeline, improved search, better CMake and Meson build system integration, support for unit tests, and more.

      Lead GNOME Builder IDE developer Christian Hergert has written another status update on his latest improvements for the project.

    • Compiler to convert Go language to JavaScript

      Developers wanting to use the Google Go language, aka Golang, for web programming can try the beta open source Joy compiler, which promises—when it reaches production release—to turn Go code into JavaScript code.

      With Joy, idiomatic Go code will be translated into JavaScript that will work in every browser (as ECMAScript 3 code, with ECMAScript 5 code on the roadmap as well), the open source project claims. It also means JavaScript developers will be able to use Go’s type system and tools. Joy project creator Matthew Mueller says the Go-to-JavaScript translation work is about 90 percent complete.

Leftovers
  • Two Brothers Shipwreck Added to National Register of Historic Places

    A diver examines an anchor at the Two Brothers shipwreck site, located on a reef off French Frigate Shoals, hundreds of miles northwest of Honolulu. Two Brothers was captained by George Pollard Jr., whose previous Nantucket whaling vessel, Essex, was rammed and sunk by a whale in the South Pacific, inspiring Herman Melville’s famous book, Moby-Dick.

  • Security
    • Hackers use NSA exploits to mine Monero

      Zealot campaign used Eternalblue and Eternalsynergy to mine cryptocurrency on networks.

      Security researchers have found a new hacking campaign that used NSA exploits to install cryptocurrency miners on victim’s systems and networks.

      They said that the campaign was a sophisticated multi-staged attack targeting internal networks with the NSA-attributed EternalBlue and EternalSynergy exploits.

    • NSA Cyberweapons Help Hackers Mine Cryptocurrency

      Hackers are using leaked NSA cyberweapons to mine cryptocurrency over vulnerable servers.

      The weapons can be used to take over Windows and Linux systems, and download malware that can mine the digital currency Monero, according to security provider F5 Networks.

    • Linux And Windows Machines Being Attacked By “Zealot” Campaign To Mine Cryptocurrency
    • How the Zealot Attack Uses Apache Struts Flaw to Mine Crypto-Currency

      Network security vendor F5 has discovered a new attack that makes use of known vulnerabilities including the same Apache Struts vulnerability linked to the Equifax breach to mine the Monero cryptocurrency.

      F5′s threat researchers have dubbed the campaign “Zealot”, which is also the name of a file that is part of multi-stage attack. The Zealot files include python scripts that trigger the EternalBlue and Eternal Synergy exploits that were first publicly disclosed by the Shadow Brokers hacking group and were allegedly first created by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) linked Equation Group.

    • HP’s Keylogger Not a Keylogger, Says Synaptics

      HP has recently come under fire for allegedly bundling a keylogger into its drivers, allowing the company or cybercriminals who could hijack it to record every keystroke of the user.

      But Synaptics, the company that builds and provides TouchPads for HP and other OEMs on the market, says the keylogger in question isn’t actually a keylogger, as it was implemented solely with the purpose of serving as a debug tool.

      In a security brief published recently, Synaptics says HP isn’t the only company that offers drivers with this debug tool included by default, but all OEMs featuring its hardware.

      “Each notebook OEM implements custom TouchPad features to deliver differentiation. We have been working with these OEMs to improve the quality of these drivers. To support these requirements and to improve the quality of the experience, Synaptics provides a custom debug tool in the driver to assist in the diagnostic, debug and tuning of the TouchPad. This debug feature is a standard tool in all Synaptics drivers across PC OEMs and is currently present in production versions,” the firm says.

    • Google: 25 per cent of black market passwords can access accounts

      The researchers used Google’s proprietary data to see whether or not stolen passwords could be used to gain access to user accounts, and found that an estimated 25 per cent of the stolen credentials can successfully be used by cyber crooks to gain access to functioning Google accounts.

    • Data breaches, phishing, or malware? Understanding the risks of stolen credentials

      Drawing upon Google as a case study, we find 7–25\% of exposed passwords match a victim’s Google account.

    • NSA Mark Sedwill calls for increased cyber security investment to thwart Russian hackers
    • New Monero Mining Campaign Uses NSA Exploits

      Security researchers have spotted a new multi-stage attack campaign using NSA exploits to infect victim machines with Monero mining malware.

      The attack begins by scanning for vulnerable servers: specifically ones that are still open to the Apache Struts flaw (CVE-2017-5638) which led to the infamous Equifax breach, and CVE-2017-9822, a DotNetNuke (DNN) content management system vulnerability.

      If a Windows machine is detected, the attackers deploy two NSA-linked exploits leaked by alleged Russian state hackers the Shadow Brokers earlier this year.

    • Remember WannaCry Ransomware Attack? This Country Has Been Publicly Blamed By The U.S.
    • Liberating SSH from Logjam leftovers

      A recent Request for Comment at the Internet Engineering Task Force calls for SSH developers to deprecate 1,024-bit moduli.

      RFC 8270 was authored by Mark Baushke (at Juniper Networks but working as an individual) and Loganaden Velvindron (of Mauritian group Hackers.mu) in response to demand for a response to the 2015 Logjam bug.

      Logjam, discovered by Johns Hopkins cryptoboffin Matthew Green, would let a state-level actor attack Diffie-Hellman cryptosystems using 1,024-bit primes.

  • Defence/Aggression
    • ‘Whether or Not the Presidents Change, the Generals Remain Connected’

      What just happened and what will happen in Honduras are painfully unclear right now. There’s still no resolution to the November 26 presidential election, in which opposition candidate Salvador Nasralla was leading when the electoral commission—controlled by allies of incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez—suspended the count for a day and a half, citing technical problems, only to resume it and declare that Hernandez had, in the meanwhile, overtaken his opponent and won. Hardly surprisingly, this was met with public protest, in turn met by a state crackdown. We hear at least 11 people have been killed by security forces, and there’s a public curfew, which at least some police are reportedly refusing to enforce.

    • Trump’s Muslim Ban Repeats the Constitutional Travesty Committed Against Japanese-Americans in World War II

      On Dec. 8, 2017, a lawyer for the U.S. government stood before a federal appeals court to defend President Donald Trump’s third attempt to ban immigrants and visitors from predominantly Muslim countries. He argued that while there may be legal limits on presidential power to ban noncitizens from the United States, the courts should still defer to the executive branch, taking Donald Trump’s word for it that he is no longer intent on banning Muslims from the United States.

      The judges might have asked, “What is the historical precedent that supports President Trump’s position on the travel ban?” None of them asked that precise question, but the President himself gave a chilling answer when he proposed the ban: Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 Supreme Court decision upholding Executive Order 9066, which banished Japanese Americans from their homes and forced them into prison camps. The Korematsu ruling came down 73 years ago today and the lessons from it could not be more relevant.

    • U.S. blames North Korea for ‘WannaCry’ cyber attack

      The Trump administration has publicly blamed North Korea for unleashing the so-called WannaCry cyber attack that crippled hospitals, banks and other companies across the globe earlier this year.

    • US declares North Korea the culprit behind devastating WannaCry ransomware attack

      The US has declared North Korea the perpetrator of the widespread and financially devastating WannaCry ransomware cyberattack that rapidly spread across the globe in May, hitting hospitals, companies, and other critical institutions in countries around the world. The announcement came in the form of an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal authored by President Donald Trump’s Homeland Security Advisor, Thomas Bossert.

    • US destabilising South Asia: NSA Janjua

      He said the world community needs to recognise Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war against terrorism as the country suffered the most as compared to other nations. “Pakistan has suffered a lot in the war on terror both in terms of lives lost and damage to economy, but international community has not looked upon our sacrifices in this war with a positive attitude,” Nasser complained.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting
    • Trump and WikiLeaks: Five things to know

      The revelation this week that Donald Trump Jr. corresponded with WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign has added a new wrinkle to the competing probes into Russian interference.

      Legal experts say the development is likely to intensify scrutiny of Trump’s eldest son, who is already under the microscope for a controversial June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer.

      Separately, a pair of senators revealed Thursday that Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had received correspondence about WikiLeaks prior to the election. They said Kushner has not yet turned over those documents to congressional investigators.

      Here are five things you need to know about Russia, WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature
    • The World’s Top Banana Is Doomed and Nobody Can Find a Replacement

      In June, a team of European researchers traveled to Papua New Guinea on a mission of global significance. They came to search for the Giant Banana plant.

      The scientists traveled through the jungles of the South Pacific nation, by car and on foot, accompanied by two armed guards. They were tantalized by images circulating online, purportedly taken by locals, that depict a towering banana corm, several stories high, with leaves about 5 yards long.

    • Local councils go plastic free

      Mendip District Council has voted to go NSUP (No Single Use Plastics) last night 19th December by passing the following motion:

      ‘That this council will become a ‘single-use plastic free’ council by phasing out the use of ‘single use plastic’ (SUP) products such as bottles, cups, cutlery and drinking straws in a council activities, where it is reasonable to do so, by April 2018 and to encourage our facilities’ users, local businesses and other local public agencies to do the same, by championing alternatives, such as reusable water bottles.’

  • Finance
    • Brexit is an economic catastrophe – the sooner it is dumped the better

      Eighteen months on from the Brexit referendum, the story that the ‘people have spoken’ is only one version of the truth. There was only a very small majority for leaving the EU: more than 16 million people were on the electoral register but did not vote, and a further 2 million were not even registered. It is now evident that many of those who voted to leave had no idea what this entailed, or the likely costs. Surveys confirm that enough people have now changed their position that, if there was a second referendum, a majority would now vote to remain in the EU.

      But both the Government and the Labour opposition seem determined not to have a second referendum, despite the mounting evidence of the massive destruction Brexit will cause to the British economy. There is a daily record of companies preparing to leave the UK and establish themselves elsewhere in the EU. Cumulatively, the impact on GDP, employment and the public finances are going to be extremely large and yet these costs are simply shrugged off as if they were obviously worth enduring.

    • The GOP Tax Plan Will Complete the Destruction of America’s Middle Class Wealth

      The wealth of America’s middle class, under siege for four decades, is now hanging on life support. That life will end if the basic Republican tax plan, as now envisioned by House and Senate majorities, ever becomes law.

      By “middle class,” we mean America’s “Middle 40,” that stratum of American households that has more wealth than the nation’s poorest 40 percent and less wealth than the nation’s most affluent 20 percent.

      In 2001, according to the Federal Reserve’s recently released Survey of Consumer Finances, the most systematic official survey of who owns what in the United States, the nation’s Middle 40 held 15.2 percent of the country’s wealth.

      The new century has not been kind. By 2016, that share had dropped to 10.6 percent, a figure that leaves the entire Middle 40 — about 128 million Americans in all — sharing slightly less wealth than the 32,000 exorbitantly wealthy individuals who make up the nation’s richest .01 percent. In other words, each American in that top .01 percent holds as much wealth as 4,000 of the Americans in the Middle 40.

      Those provisions in the GOP tax plan that reduce the tax benefits that come with mortgage interest and property tax payments and increase the effective tax homeowners pay when they sell their homes will depress the wealth of the middle class much more than the wealth of the wealthy.

    • House Set to Pass Tax Bill Benefiting Wealthiest Americans, Despite Protests

      The House of Representatives is poised to pass a massive rewrite of the U.S. tax code today that will overwhelmingly benefit corporations and the wealthiest Americans. The bill would also end the federal health insurance mandate, endangering the Affordable Care Act, while opening up drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. On Capitol Hill, hundreds of protesters flooded the offices of lawmakers Monday in civil disobedience protests. Among those arrested was Cincinnati resident Megan Anderson, who uses a wheelchair and has a degenerative neuromuscular disease. Anderson says the tax bill will lead to Medicaid cuts that could shorten her lifespan.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics
    • The House Just Voted to Bankrupt Graduate Students

      Republicans in the House of Representatives have just passed a tax bill that would devastate graduate research in the United States. Hidden in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a repeal of Section 117(d)(5) of the current tax code, a provision that is vital to all students who pursue master’s degrees or doctorates and are not independently wealthy.

    • Pushing Russia’s Buttons

      Assume for a moment that the popular allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election are all true. How should the US government retaliate?

      Short answer: it shouldn’t (any more than it already has). If the Kremlin sneakily helped Donald Trump to victory, then it is likely that our government’s longstanding and provocative “punishment” of Russia largely motivated the interference. To reduce the chances of something so appalling from happening in future elections, we should therefore move to relieve the dangerously high tensions that have been mounting between the US and Russia for decades.

      For détente to succeed, leaders in the US must try to understand and allay Russia’s legitimate security concerns. That begins with acknowledging the deep Russian trauma caused by World War II, a tragedy to which the Soviet Union lost hundreds of towns and more than 20 million people in less than a decade. Given the depth of that horror, the US should appreciate why Russians today get squeamish when foreign powers start flexing their muscles on Russia’s western border.

    • The President Plays with Matches

      Once again the country watches in horror as firefighters struggle to contain blazes of historic voracity — as we watched only a couple of months ago when at least 250 wildfires spread across the counties north of San Francisco. Even after long-awaited rains brought by an El Niño winter earlier in 2017, years of drought have left my state ready to explode in flames on an increasingly warming planet. All it takes is a spark.

      [...]

      The crazy comes so fast and furious these days, it’s easy to forget some of the smaller brushfires — like the one President Trump lit at the end of November when he retweeted three false and “inflammatory” videos about Muslims that he found on the Twitter feed of the leader of a British ultra-nationalist group.

      The president’s next move in the international arena — his “recognition” of Jerusalem as the capital of the state of Israel — hasn’t yet slipped from memory, in part because of the outrage it evoked around the world. As Moustafa Bayoumi, acclaimed author of How Does It Feel to be a Problem? Being Young and Arab in America, wrote in the Guardian, “The entire Middle East, from Palestine to Yemen, appears set to burst into flames after this week.” Not surprisingly, his prediction has already begun to come true with demonstrations in the West Bank, Gaza, and Lebanon, where U.S. flags and posters of President Trump were set alight. We’ve also seen the first rockets fired from Gaza into Israel and the predictable reprisal Israeli air attacks.

    • Special Counsel Robert Mueller Obtains Trump Transition Emails

      Special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained tens of thousands of emails from members of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team, adding to speculation about whether more indictments could follow in the wake of the arrests of Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort and two other former Trump officials. Axios reports the emails include documents from seven different accounts, including one operated by Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. At the White House Sunday, President Trump blasted Mueller’s move, saying the situation was “not looking good.” But Trump said he has no plans to fire Mueller.

    • Who are we as a country? Time to decide: Sally Yates

      Over the course of our nation’s history, we have faced inflection points — times when we had to decide who we are as a country and what we stand for. Now is such a time. Beyond policy disagreements and partisan gamesmanship, there is something much more fundamental hanging in the balance. Will we remain faithful to our country’s core values?

      Our founding documents set forth the values that make us who we are, or at least who we aspire to be. I say aspire to be because we haven’t always lived up to our founding ideals — even at the time of our founding. When the Declaration of Independence proclaimed that all men are created equal, hundreds of thousands of African Americans were being enslaved by their fellow Americans.

  • Censorship/Free Speech
  • Civil Rights/Policing
    • How algorithms are pushing the tech giants into the danger zone
    • Watchdog Group Calls for Reform to Cook County Assessor’s Office

      A nonpartisan government watchdog group Monday announced it will push for reforms to the Cook County assessor’s office, citing Chicago Tribune/ProPublica Illinois findings that call into question the accuracy and fairness of the county’s property tax assessment system.

      The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, a nonprofit advocacy group, called for oversight of the assessor’s office, an explanation from Assessor Joseph Berrios of the methods his office used to value property and a plan to address inequities.

      If the assessor’s office fails to take those steps, the group said the county should create an independent board to increase transparency and improve fairness and accuracy.

      “We think these are some pretty basic measures that are absolutely necessary for the assessor’s office to engage in,” ICPR Executive Director Sarah Brune said in an interview.

      In urging change, the group cited reporting from “The Tax Divide” series, which launched in the Tribune in June and has continued this month in partnership with ProPublica Illinois.

    • MYANMAR GOVERNMENT SAYS IT AUTHORIZED JOURNALISTS’ ARREST

      Myanmar’s presidential spokesman said Monday that the president authorized the arrest last week of two Reuters reporters for allegedly violating the state secrets act.

      Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested Dec. 12 after police accused them of violating the Official Secret Act, which is punishable by up to 14 years in prison, for acquiring “important secret papers” from two policemen. The police officers had worked in Rakhine state, where abuses widely blamed on the military have driven more than 630,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee into neighboring Bangladesh.

    • Accused NSA leaker’s lawyers to appear in court again

      Tuesday, the lawyers for an accused NSA leaker are back in a Richmond County federal courtroom.

      Two hearings are being held for Reality Winner.

      Her attorneys are seeking more classified documents from the government to help them in building their case.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality
    • Open Garden wants to give you tokens for sharing your internet connection

      Open Garden launched its mesh networking platform at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2012. Since then, the company has gone through a few iterations and found unexpected success in its Firechat offline messaging service. Now, it’s ready for the next step in its evolution. The company now wants to make it easier for anybody with an Android phone to share their Wi-Fi connections with anyone who is nearby. And to incentivize people to do so, the company plans to launch its own Ethereum token (called OG…) in early 2018.

    • Open Garden Launches Decentralized ISP For Internet Sharing

      Open Garden Inc. announced today the launch of a new Internet service. Unlike traditional, centralized ISPs, where one large retailer delivers service, Open Garden is a peer-to-peer network that will grow to millions of crowdsourced providers. Participants download the Open Garden app from Google Play to get started – no additional hardware is required to build the network. The Open Garden app enables all users to turn their Android phones into Open Garden hotspots and securely share their WiFi connections with anyone nearby. In early 2018, Open Garden will launch its own cryptocurrency, an Ethereum token called OG, that enables each user to earn tokens in exchange for sharing their bandwidth.

    • Internal FCC Report Shows Republican Net Neutrality Narrative Is False

      A core Republican talking point during the net neutrality battle was that, in 2015, President Obama led a government takeover of the internet, and Obama illegally bullied the independent Federal Communications Commission into adopting the rules. In this version of the story, Ajit Pai’s rollback of those rules Thursday is a return to the good old days, before the FCC was forced to adopt rules it never wanted in the first place.

      “On express orders from the previous White House, the FCC scrapped the tried-and-true, light touch regulation of the Internet and replaced it with heavy-handed micromanagement,” Pai said Thursday prior to voting to repeal the regulations.

      But internal FCC documents obtained by Motherboard using a Freedom of Information Act request show that the independent, nonpartisan FCC Office of Inspector General—acting on orders from Congressional Republicans—investigated the claim that Obama interfered with the FCC’s net neutrality process and found it was nonsense. This Republican narrative of net neutrality as an Obama-led takeover of the internet, then, was wholly refuted by an independent investigation and its findings were not made public prior to Thursday’s vote.

    • Governments Must Provide More Transparency In Trade Negotiations, Coalition Says At IGF

      The Internet Governance Forum Dynamic Coalition on Trade and the Internet, a group formed in 2016, held its formal inaugural meeting today and adopted a resolution on transparency in trade negotiations, in particular on trade rules that affect the online and digital environment.

  • Intellectual Monopolies
    • Hypothesis alone Does not Make the Results Obvious

      For obviousness analysis, the first consideration is typically the scope-and-content of the prior art. Any reference used must qualify as prior art under Section 102 and must also be considered analogous or pertinent. The key prior art reference – Hendrix discussed the pharmacokinetics and use of plerixafor – but was focused on use of the drug in HIV treatment. The district court excluded Hendrix – finding that it was not analogous art since one of skill in the art would not have been looking for this type of drug in researching stem cell mobilization. On appeal, the Federal Circuit did not review that particular holding – instead finding that even if considered pertinent to an obviousness analysis, it still would not be sufficient to render the claim invalid.

    • Trademarks
      • Starbucks Trademark Dispute Brewing Over Bull Pulu Tapioca Logo

        Opposed mark (see below) designating goods of tapioca beverages, tapioca fruit juice beverages in class 32 and retail or wholesale services for tapioca beverages, tapioca fruit juice beverages in class 35 was applied for registration on May 10, 2016 by a Japanese individual. As a result of substantive examination, JPO granted a registration on October 28, 2016.

    • Copyrights
      • “The Commercial Usenet Stinks on All Sides,” Anti-Piracy Boss Says

        Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has responded to last week’s Usenet related raids. The Hollywood-backed group describes Usenet as a refuge for pirates of all ilks, with uploaders, site owners and resellers working in tandem to facilitate copyright infringement. “It’s stinking on all sides,” Kuik says.

      • The Truth Behind the “Kodi Boxes Can Kill Their Owners” Headlines

        This week, tabloid headlines screamed that so-called “Kodi Boxes” are a threat not only to the entertainment industries, but also to life itself. Claiming that devices could kill their owners due to electrical safety standards failures, we took a look at the actual report. Forget just throwing set-top boxes in the trash, it looks like anything electrical without a brand name needs to be discarded immediately.

Bavarian Regional Parliament Talks About the EPO’s Outrageous Decisions to Simply Disregard International Courts

Tuesday 19th of December 2017 06:10:39 PM

Summary: German politicians are still awed to discover that right there in Bavaria people claim to be exempted from the law and get away with snubbing court orders (without any consequences)

ONE week ago we complained that German media helped cover up rather than cover the latest EPO scandals. Prior to that SUEPO also linked to this original page in German (now it has English and French translations), quoting Gabi Schmidt and a colleague. Gabi Schmidt is no stranger to these scandals and she spoke about them before [1, 2, 3, 4].

Here is the English translation from SUEPO:

10.12.2017

FREIE WÄHLER, the Free Voters, demand immediate reinstatement ofsuspended judge at European Patent Office

In the name of a state governed by law: Geneva judgment must be implemented immediately

Munich. The European Patent Office (EPO) in Munich is refusing to reinstate a judge of the Boards of Appeal who had been wrongfully suspended. The Office executive is continuing to refuse the judge access to his workplace, and is so preventing him from exercising his role as an independent judge. An action which contravenes two rulings by the chambers of last instance at the Administrative Tribunal of the International Labour Organisation (ILOAT) of 6 December 2017.

For the FREIE WÄHLER, the Free Voters in the Bavarian Regional Parliament, this action is intolerable. Peter Meyer, Vice-President of the Provincial Parliament and member of the Constitutional Committee, sees this as a serious infringement of the free and democratic constitutional system of Germany: “The fact that the EPO executive is refusing to implement two indisputable judgments is simply beyond belief. It is inherent in our democratic process and our status as a state governed by law that a judgment which has been promulgated is binding on the authority which is to implement it. This foundation stone is now being simply torn away by an international organization based in Munich.”

Gabi Schmidt, Member of the Regional Parliament and member of the Parliament’s European Committee, has long been drawing attention to the intolerable situation of the staff at the EPO. But with this new development a new dimension has been reached: “Up to now, the EPO staff have still been able to count on the fact that decisions which are wrongful under labour law will be put right by the ILOAT in Geneva. Now it seems that not even recourse to law can help.”

The refusal to implement the judgment is particularly disturbing because it involves a member of the independent Boards of Appeal. For Meyer, this is going to have consequences for patent protection in Germany which still cannot be foreseen: “If the arbitrary suspension of judges and the refusal to respect judgments which run contrary to this is allowed to hold sway in the European Patent Office, we can no longer speak of independent Boards of Appeal. Germany has an obligation in this case, as a signatory to the European Patent Convention and as the host country of the European Patent Office, to press for the restoration of conditions which comply with the law. There is a favourable opportunity to do this now, since with Christoph Ernst a German now occupies the Chair of the Administrative Council. Ernst is a ministerial executive in the Federal Ministry of Justice.” Otherwise, Meyer says, the legal principles and values of the Basic Law are utterly called into question.

“We shall continue to fight in support of the demands of the staff, and strive to ensure that the EPO management can no longer hide behind their immunity as an international organization. We shall be raising this scandalous performance as an issue next week in the Bavarian Regional Parliament”, declares Schmidt.

If the EPO wasn’t so corrupt under Battistelli, none of this mess would have happened. A lot of the mess is the symptom or a side effect of trying to brush things under the rug.

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