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‘Balkan Express’ Teaser: EPO’s Željko Topić, Kuterovac, Campinos, Gurry, Battistelli and the DKPTO (Kongstad)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Various photos of Topić and Kuterovac. Some more photos with other IP “luminaries” such as Campinos of the EUIPO and Gurry of the WIPO.

Photos of Topić and Kuterovac etc. will become relevant to our upcoming long article as they visually demonstrate some of the points made therein (readers can see where we’re going with this based on this teaser).

Here are Topić and Campinos (EUIPO), who some believe will take over the EPO one day.

Topić Campinos 2011

Welcome Kuterovac.


Kuterovac and Gurry from the abusive WIPO (both Battistelli and him wanted and applied for this job).


Kuterovac with Campinos.

Kuterovac Campinos

Kuterovac Campinos 2013

Yes, that’s Topić and Battistelli, way back almost a decade ago (2008).


Here is Topić a decade ago (2006), meeting the DKPTO for the twinning project [PDF]. The head of the DKPTO is now the Chinchilla man of the Administrative Council.

PHARE_closure 2006 - twinning project with DKPTO

Kuterovac and Topić in tandem (2010).

Kuterovac Topić WIPO 2010

More of Kuterovac (WIPO, 2012).


Also the following year (WIPO, 2013).


Also a photo of Jadranka Oklobdžija who is a lead plaintiff in the civil lawsuit against the SIPO and Topić.

Jadranka Oklobdzija

A lot of the above will be tied together in our upcoming article on the subject (the gallery of accompanying photos isn’t as critical to the message we’ll tell and the evidence we’ll present).


The United States Pressures India to Broaden Patent Scope and Other Monopolies

Posted in Asia, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 6:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shades of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which can bring software patents to India

Gandhi spinning
Non-cooperation movement is needed here

Summary: The envoy of the US is trying to tell India how to run the country (stricter laws regarding copyrights, trademarks, and patents), as a condition for foreign investment by multinational corporations

PUTTING aside the EPO for a moment (we plan to cover Željko Topić later this week and USPTO over the weekend), earlier today we found some articles from Indian news sites. The US is, quite frankly as expected (see Cablegate to understand how it works), trying to bully India into the entrapment which is patent maximalism, maybe even software patents which are currently not legal in the country (and less so in the US as well, taking Alice into account).

“The US is, quite frankly as expected (see Cablegate to understand how it works), trying to bully India into the entrapment which is patent maximalism, maybe even software patents which are currently not legal in the country (and less so in the US as well, taking Alice into account).”Based on reports like this one [1, 2] (cross-posted), the US makes improving relationships with India contingent upon bending over to US corporations, changing patent laws for them. To quote one key paragraph: “He said that on the persuasion of the US government the present government of India has taken some initiatives to amend and make stronger IPR laws.” Other news reports [1, 2] look at another angle and the “USPTO continues to move forward with its Enhanced Patent Quality Initiative (EPQI),” says Patently-O today, “and is hosting a set of five Quality Forum events over the next month in DC, Milwaukee, KC, Baton Rouge, and Portland.”

So while the US itself acknowledges the problem with too broad a patent scope (see the recent report from GAO [1, 2]), it seems perfectly fine screwing around with patent scope in other continents, including Europe. Guess whose economies would be harmed and for whose benefit.

Budget and Finance Committee of the Administrative Council (EPO) Confirms Exile of the Boards of Appeal

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The “yes men” of Battistelli, led by his political pet chinchilla, do what’s expected from them

Yes man
Reference: Yes man

Summary: Crushing of highly-skilled staff, propaganda in the form of new press releases, and recruitment attempts that won’t succeed because the world now knows what goes on inside the European Patent Office

THIS WOULD take a miracle not to happen, given everything we’ve seen so far at the European Patent Office (EPO). This would be almost unthinkable and irrational to suggest that the Administrative Council can say “no” to Battistelli. At best they say nothing and indeed that’s what just happened.

According to this new comment: “Latest news from is that the Budget & Finance Committee of the Admin Council has approved the “resettlement” of the Boards of Appeal to Haar.”

Another person told us [1, 2, 3]: “European Patent Office-BFC meeting: BoA removal/relocation to Haar – Munich Approved! Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Norway, France voted against, 13 voted for and 15 abstained! It’s a shame that 15 (yeah read fifteen) countries abstained!!! BIG FAIL! Gruss an Frau Merkel, wir schaffen das!”

Again, we cannot honestly say that we’re surprised. But now it’s confirmed. The future of the boards does not look independent or even promising. Quite the contrary is true…

At the EPO, as another new comment put it today, “most of the people being fired joined long before these new rules” created by Battistelli. This means that some of the experienced and better paid workers and being let go. Here is the full comment:

1. Now you are beginning to understand the problem. To be fair most of the people being fired joined long before these new rules applied so I don’t think you can call them stupid.

2. Don’t forget that this largesse is in the hands of the President. So… Bonuses to the wonderful senior management to start. National offices will be able to find something to do with what is left over.

“Don’t forget that there’s an election campaign coming up in France,” another person added. Remember that Battistelli is Sarkozy-connected and mind this new comment from Benjamin Henrion, who today said that the “EPO is a political animal.” It really is, but it oughtn’t have been. In fact, Battistelli’s involvement in politics should have immediately disqualified him; he should never have worked at the EPO — an unaccountable institution where he pulls political tricks and brings the world of political corruption to an inherently scientific working place. The EPO, working with a secretive budget, is now pushing PRESS RELEASES (i.e. paid-for ‘articles’) into various sites across Europe in order to promote its so-called ‘study’ (self-promotional, paid-for fiction). Here is the latest example of that. Yesterday we wrote about yet another puff piece from the EUIPO and EPO [1, 2]. It smacks of marketing, it’s not a study at all (we rebutted parts of the whole). Is this intended to help recruitment, which is in a very sad state?

As one more comment put it earlier today, “only stupid people would chose to work for the EPO today.” Here is the full comment:

1: I am not saying the people already in are stupid, but that only stupid people would chose to work for the EPO today. Who is going to apply for a job under these conditions? Besides, there are plenty of “normal” employers looking for engineers in Munich, BMW for example. Don’t you think it is a much smarter move to work for BMW, which will pay your pensions and where any experience you get will be valuable in your career than for the EPO? The pay is not that different, especially if one has a few years experience, which the EPO will not take into account. The question is therefore: how can the EPO expect to recruit?

2: “largesses and election campaign”: the EPO is a public administration. That would be embezzlement. Surely, there must be some rules and controls of the finances?

Here is a new comment about the lack of supervision or oversight at the EPO, by Battistelli’s own making (he eliminated the Audit Committee shortly after he had gained/seized power):

“largesses and election campaign”: the EPO is a public administration. That would be embezzlement. Surely, there must be some rules and controls of the finances?

Dream on. The Administrative Council abolished its Audit Committee back in 2011 (about a year or so after it had been set up …).

But yes, there are “rules and controls of the finances”.
There’s even an “internal audit” department (which is mostly occupied with investigations against staff reps these days).

And just for good measure, all internal audit functions are under the control of the President …

Honi soit qui mal y pense.

The EPO is in a very bad state, even "a crisis" by the Board's private admission. Right now they do everything to just deepen this crisis. It’s painful to watch.

Links 26/10/2016: “softWaves” in Debian 9, Rust in GNOME

Posted in News Roundup at 6:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop/Microsoft

    • Update: Convictions Upheld, Sentences Extended In Romanian Microsoft Bribery Trial

      According to the blog post, the trial ended on October 3rd, and investigators found that more than 100 people, including former ministers, the mayor of Bucharest, and various businessmen were involved in this latest corruption scandal involving Microsoft. More than 20 million euros were paid by Microsoft there as bribes.


      These bribery convictions are just the tip of the iceberg. Multiple news outlets are reporting on investigations of bribery in other countries as well as separate investigations by the US Department of Justice and the US Securities And Exchange Commission.

    • A History Of Everyday Linux User’s 350 Blog Posts

      This article is something of a landmark as it is the 350th post on Everyday Linux User.

      I took last week off to celebrate. Well actually I went away with the family down to England for a few days and didn’t take a computer with me. I did take in Alnwick Castle however which is the location for Hogwarts from the Harry Potter films.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Rblpapi 0.3.5

      A new release of Rblpapi is now on CRAN. Rblpapi provides a direct interface between R and the Bloomberg Terminal via the C++ API provided by Bloomberg Labs (but note that a valid Bloomberg license and installation is required).

    • Flatpak 0.6.13

      These used to take an application id and an optional branch name as two arguments. This meant you could not specify multiple apps to install in a single command. So, instead of having the branch as a separate argument we now support partial references. If you only specify an id we try to match the rest as best we can depending on what is installed/available, but if this matches multiple things you have to specify more details.

    • New features on Hosted Weblate

      Today, new version has been deployed on Hosted Weblate. It brings many long requested features and enhancements.

    • A Wild Desktop Reddit App for Linux Appears

      Reddit is …Well it’s Reddit: there’s little else like it on the internet.

      Thos of us who use Reddit probably do so a tab, in a browser, because that’s how the site works best.

      Many desktop Reddit apps exist, but few translate the unique experience of using the service to the desktop in a way that really works.

    • darktable 2.0.7 Open-Source Image Editor Supports New Canon EOS 80D RAW Formats

      The powerful, open-source, and cross-platform darktable RAW image editor has just been updated today, October 25, 2016, to version 2.0.7, a major release that adds numerous new features and improvements.

    • Proprietary

      • Opera 41 Browser Brings Performance Improvements

        For those still using the Opera web-browser, Opera 41 is now available as the latest stable release and seems primarily focused on performance improvements.

      • Faster and better browsing – Welcome Opera 41

        We all know the feeling. You want to check out your favorite website, but when you open your laptop or turn on your computer, you realize the browser is closed. You click on the browser icon and then have to wait while the browser opens all your previously opened sites…

        We have a solution for you that makes your browsing faster: Opera 41 includes a new, smarter startup sequence that cuts away almost all the wait time, no matter how many tabs you open on startup.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • ‘Deus Ex: Mankind Divided’ Coming To Linux In November, Mac Port On Hold

        Feral Interactive has confirmed that Eidos Montreal’s cyberpunk action role playing game “Deus Ex: Mankind Divided” will be making its way to Linux next week.

      • PlayStation 4 hacked again? Linux shown running on 4.01 firmware

        Hackers attending the GeekPwn conference in Shanghai have revealed a new exploit for PlayStation 4 running on the 4.01 firmware. In a live demo you can see below, once again the Webkit browser is utilised in order to inject the exploit, which – after a conspicuous cut in the edit – jumps to a command line prompt, after which Linux is booted. NES emulation hilarity courtesy of Super Mario Bros duly follows.

        Assuming the hack is authentic – and showcasing it at GeekPwn makes the odds here likely – it’s the first time we’ve seen the PlayStation 4′s system software security compromised since previous holes in the older 1.76 firmware came to light, utilised by noted hacker group fail0verflow in the first PS4 Linux demo, shown in January this year.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • New features in GNOME To Do

        Some of you might have noticed that GNOME To Do wasn’t released with GNOME 3.22. There is a reason for that: I didn’t have enough time to add new features, or fix any bugs. But that changed, and in fact big things happened.

      • CUDA 8, cuDNN, Nvidia drivers and GNOME Software metadata

        The Nvidia driver repository has been updated with AppStream metadata. From Fedora 25 onward, you will be able to search for Nvidia, CUDA, GeForce or Quadro to make the driver, control panel and other programs appear in the Gnome Software window.

        As far as I know, this should be enabled by default on Fedora 25.

      • Builder Rust

        With Federico’s wonderful post on Rust’ifying librsvg I guess it makes sense to share what I’ve been doing the last couple of days.

        I’ve been keeping my eye on Rust for quite a while. However, I’ve been so heads down with Builder the last two years that I haven’t really gotten to write any or help on integration into our platform. Rust appears to take a very pragmatic stance on integration with systems code (which is primarily C). The C calling convention is not going anywhere, so at some point, you will be integrating with some part of a system that is “C-like”. Allowing us to piecemeal upgrade the “Safety” of our systems is much smarter than rewrite-the-universe. This pragmatism is likely due to the realities of Rust’s birth at Mozilla. It’s a huge code-base, and incrementally modernizing it is the only reality that is approachable.

      • Librsvg gets Rusty

        I’ve been wanting to learn Rust for some time. It has frustrated me for a number of years that it is quite possible to write GNOME applications in high-level languages, but for the libraries that everything else uses (“the GNOME platform”), we are pretty much stuck with C. Vala is a very nice effort, but to me it never seemed to catch much momentum outside of GNOME.

        After reading this presentation called “Rust out your C”, I got excited. It *is* possible to port C code to Rust, small bits at a time! You rewrite some functions in Rust, make them linkable to the C code, and keep calling them from C as usual. The contortions you need to do to make C types accessible from Rust are no worse than for any other language.

      • GNOME’s Epiphany 3.24 Web Browser to Use Firefox Sync Service, HTTPS Everywhere

        The GNOME developers are preparing to release the first development version of the upcoming GNOME 3.24 desktop environment, versioned 3.23.1, and we can’t help but notice that some of the core apps were updated recently.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Zorin OS 12 Beta – Flat white, no sugar

        I did not do any other testing, no extensive tweaking, no customization. I felt no need or desire to do so. Now, do remember Zorin OS 12 is still in beta, so we can excuse some of the problems we see here. But others are purely Ubuntu, and have been ported over from the parent distro without any discrimination or any improvements and fixes introduced in the last six months. The big offenders include: multimedia and smartphone support, poor software management, and then the somewhat heavy utilization and slow performance.

        Zorin is quite pretty but weary on the eyes, it tries perhaps too hard to be more than it is, and overall, the value it brings is negatively offset by the myriad papercuts of its design and the implementation of its unique style, plus the failings of the Ubuntu family. It’s an okay choice, if you will, but there’s nothing too special about it anymore. It’s not as fun as it used to be. Gone is the character, gone is the glamor. This aligns well with the overall despair in the Linux desktop world. Maybe the official release will be better, but I doubt it. Why would suddenly one distro excel where 50 others of the same crop had failed with the exact same problems? Final grade, 5/10. Test if you like the looks, other than that, there’s no incentive in really using Zorin. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

    • New Releases

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • Suse: Question. What do you call second-place in ARM enterprise server linux? Answer: Red Hat

        ARM TechCon Suse is claiming victory over Red Hat by announcing – and these caveats are all crucial – “the first commercial enterprise Linux distribution optimized for ARM AArch64 architecture servers.”

        In plainer English, Suse has developed an enterprise-grade Linux distribution that runs on 64-bit ARM servers (should you happen to ever find one). Suse claims this software is a world first because it is a finished commercial product, thus beating Red Hat to the punch: Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server for ARM is still only available as a beta-like development preview.

      • SUSE Preps Linux for ARM Servers

        The move toward ARM-based servers took another step forward this week as SUSE announced plans for server and storage versions of Linux supporting 64-bit ARM SoCs. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Enterprise Storage will be available before the end of the year.

        Intel currently dominates the server sector, one of its most profitable markets, with its x86 Xeon processors.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • “softWaves” will be the default theme for Debian 9

        After the Debian Desktop Team made the call for proposing themes, a total of twelve choices have been submitted, and any Debian contributor has received the opportunity to vote on them in a survey. We received 3,479 responses ranking the different choices, and softWaves has been the winner among them.

      • This Is the Final Artwork of the Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” Operating System

        Today, October 25, 2016, Debian Project’s Laura Arjona Reina and Niels Thykier proudly announced Juliette Taka Belin as the official artwork winner for the upcoming Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system.

      • Rankings, Condorcet and free software: Calculating the results for the Stretch Artwork Survey

        We had 12 candidates for the Debian Stretch Artwork and a survey was set up for allowing people to vote which one they prefer.

        The survey was run in my LimeSurvey instance, surveys.larjona.net. LimeSurvey its a nice free software with a lot of features. It provides a “Ranking” question type, and it was very easy for allowing people to “vote” in the Debian style (Debian uses the Condorcet method in its elections).

        However, although LimeSurvey offers statistics and even graphics to show the results of many type of questions, its output for the Ranking type is not useful, so I had to export the data and use another tool to find the winner.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Reviews: Quirky Zorin and Boring Ubuntu

            Perhaps not so coincidentally, Joshua Allen Holm reached nearly the same conclusion today with Ubuntu 16.10. He began, “At first glance, little has changed in Ubuntu 16.10. It looks almost exactly like every other recent release of Ubuntu.” He spent most of his article looking at Unity 8, which is still just a preview, and said it does show promise with its early “polish.” Holm concluded there was little reason to recommend an upgrade unless you need a fix provided or wish the newer software. In addition, Chin Wong recently upgraded and came to nearly the same exact conclusions.

          • Canonical explains Ubuntu Advantage benefits — could your business switch to Linux?

            Linux-based desktop operating systems are better than Windows because they are free, right? Whoa there, folks. Neither are necessarily better or worse — it really depends on your needs. Cost-free operating systems, such as Ubuntu and Fedora, are definitely great for home consumers looking to breathe new life into old machines. With that said, the benefits of Linux extend beyond money and cost-savings.

            Linux being free is sort of misleading when it comes to business use too. While a small business with a few employees can get by with free support, larger companies would be crazy to go it entirely alone — paid support is a necessity for success. Today, Canonical releases a well-designed infographic that explains the benefits of its paid support, called ‘Ubuntu Advantage’.

            “Ubuntu Advantage is the commercial support package from Canonical. It includes Landscape, the Ubuntu systems management tool, and the Canonical Livepatch Service, which enables you to apply kernel fixes without restarting your Ubuntu 16.04 LTS systems”, says Canonical.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Nantes: Open source cuts off recurring charges

    Switching to open source means the end of the periodic recurring charges from proprietary software vendors, says Eric Ficheux, change management specialist at Nantes Métropole, France’s 6th largest city. “The total cost of ownership of LibreOffice is far lower than of its proprietary predecessor”, he says.

  • Keeping up the fight for free software

    Here’s John Sullivan’s vision for a more just world: You pop into your favorite electronics retailer and encounter a panoply of new gadgets, each one more alluring and astounding than the last—and each one guaranteed to respect your freedom. Your freedom to inspect its software. Your freedom to modify that software. Your freedom to have that software collect only the data you wish.

  • How Walmart Is Embracing the Open-Source OpenStack Model

    Walmart wasn’t always an open-source advocate, but now it’s one of the biggest consumers of open-source technology and is actively building a culture that fosters open-source development.
    BARCELONA, Spain—Walmart, the world largest retailer and one the largest employers, aims to give back to the OpenStack community. In a session at the OpenStack Summit here, Andrew Mitry, lead architect for Walmart’s OpenStack effort, and Megan Rossetti, part of the OpenStack Operations team at Walmart, detailed how the open-source model is working for the retail giant.

  • PUFIN Open Source Blockchain Tech May Be Marketplace Lending Answer
  • Chain Releases Open-Source Version of Chain Core Technology Powering Visa’s New B2B Connect

    On October 21, 2016, Visa announced a new partnership with blockchain enterprise company Chain that will develop “a simple, fast and secure way to process B2B payments globally.” Dubbed Visa B2B Connect, the system will offer participating pilot financial institutions a consistent process for managing settlement through Visa’s standard practices.

    “The time has never been better for the global business community to take advantage of new payment technologies and improve some of the most fundamental processes needed to run their businesses,” said McCarthy. “We are developing our new solution to give our financial institution partners an efficient, transparent way for payments to be made across the world.”

  • Chain Launches Open Source Developer Platform

    Chain, a provider of blockchain technology solutions, today released Chain Core Developer Edition, a free and open source version of its distributed ledger platform that enables organizations to issue and transfer assets on permissioned blockchain networks.

    For the first time, developers can download and install Chain Core to start or join a blockchain network, build financial applications, and access in-depth technical documentation and tutorials. Users have the option to run their prototypes on a test network, or “testnet,” operated by Chain, Microsoft, and the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3), a collaboration of Cornell University, Cornell Tech, UC Berkeley, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Technion.

  • Open Source ERP Options For Small and Medium Businesses

    Open source ERP (enterprise resource planning) holds a small portion of the overall ERP market, which is mainly ruled by few commercial products provided by well-known enterprise software vendors such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Sage.

  • Steering Kubernetes Through Uncharted Territory

    Taylor Thomas is a Cloud Software Engineer for the Software Defined Infrastructure team at Intel working on Kubernetes, CI/CD, and the Snap open telemetry framework. The team also uses Kubernetes to run a large part of their services, and Thomas will describe this work in his upcoming talk “Off the Beaten Path: An Explorer’s Guide to Kubernetes ” at KubeCon. In this article, however, he provides a preview of some challenges that the team has encountered.

  • Events

    • Software Freedom Kosova 2016

      Software Freedom Kosova (SFK) 2016 took place in Prishtina from October 21-23, 2016. We were able to push a special Fedora badge for SFK to be awarded to SFK attendees who vist the Fedora booth. The badge was awarded 14 times out of which 12 were existing contributors while 2 new contributors were onboarded at the event ! Yaay – we look forward to seeing you in the community nafieshehu and marianab.

    • OpenStack Summit Barcelona


  • Health/Nutrition

    • US ‘could legalise cannabis across country’ in wake of California decriminalisation vote

      The decriminalisation of recreational cannabis use in California could be a milestone towards ending the drug’s prohibition nationally, it has been suggested.

      Alongside the presidential election, California will vote over whether to make recreational marijuana use legal on 8 November.

      If approved, as polls suggest it will be, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) will allow adults aged over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and cultivate up to six plants for personal use, the National Organisation of the Reform of Marijuana Laws explains.

      Legalisation of recreational cannabis has already taken place in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington, but experts believe decriminalisation in California could present a strong challenge to the federal government’s cannabis ban.

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • We Got Phished

      She logged into her account but couldn’t find the document and, with other more urgent emails to deal with, she quickly moved on and put this brief event out of mind.

      This staff member will henceforth be known as PZ, or “patient zero.”

      The login page wasn’t really a login page. It was a decoy webpage, designed to look legitimate in order to trick unsuspecting recipients into typing in their private login credentials. Having fallen for the ruse, PZ had effectively handed over her email username and password to an unknown party outside the Exploratorium.

      This type of attack is known as “phishing.” Much like putting a lure into a lake and waiting to see what bites, a phishing attack puts out phony prompts, such as a fake login page, hoping that unwitting recipients can be manipulated into giving up personal information.

    • DDoS attacks against Dyn the work of ‘script kiddies’

      Last week’s distributed denial of service attack in the US against domain name services provider Dynamic Network Services are more likely to have been the work of “script kiddies”, and not state actors.

      Security researchers at threat intelligence firm Flashpoint dismissed reports that linked the attack to WikiLeaks, the Russian government or the New World Hackers group.

      Instead, Flashpoint said, it was “moderately confident” that the Hackforums community was behind the attack which led to well-known sites like Twitter, Spotify, Netflix and Paypal being inaccessible on 21 October (US time).

    • How one rent-a-botnet army of cameras, DVRs caused Internet chaos

      Welcome to the Internet of Evil Things. The attack that disrupted much of the Internet on October 21 is still being teased apart by investigators, but evidence thus far points to multiple “botnets” of Internet-connected gadgets being responsible for blocking access to the Domain Name Service (DNS) infrastructure at DNS provider Dyn. Most of these botnets—coordinated armies of compromised devices that sent malicious network traffic to their targets—were controlled by Mirai, a self-spreading malware for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

      in a blog post on the attack, Dyn reported “tens of millions” of devices were involved in the attack

      But other systems not matching the signature of Mirai were also involved in the coordinated attack on Dyn. “We believe that there might be one or more additional botnets involved in these attacks,” Dale Drew, CSO of Level 3 Communications, told Ars. “This could mean that they are ‘renting’ several different botnets to launch an attack against a specific victim, in which multiple other sites have been impacted.”

      The motive may have been blackmail, since the attacker sought a payout by Dyn to stop. But Drew warned that the huge disruption caused by the attack “could result in large copycat attacks, and [a] higher [number of] victim payouts [so] as to not be impacted in the same way. It could also be a signal that the bad guy is using multiple botnets in order to better avoid detection since they are not orchestrating the attack from a single botnet source.”

    • ARM builds up security in the tiniest Internet of Things chips

      IoT is making devices smaller, smarter, and – we hope – safer. It’s not easy to make all those things happen at once, but chips that can help are starting to emerge.

      On Tuesday at ARM TechCon in Silicon Valley, ARM will introduce processors that are just a fraction of a millimeter across and incorporate the company’s TrustZone technology. TrustZone is hardware-based security built into SoC (system on chip) processors to establish a root of trust.

      It’s designed to prevent devices from being hacked and taken over by intruders, a danger that’s been in the news since the discovery of the Mirai botnet, which recently took over thousands of IP cameras to mount denial-of-service attacks.

    • Antique Kernel Flaw Opens Door to New Dirty Cow Exploit
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Russia Reveals ‘Satan 2′ Nuclear Missile Capable of Destroying Texas in One Blow

      Russia is flexing its military muscle as tensions with the US simmer in the wake of a heated third presidential debate, where Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton called Republican candidate Donald Trump a “puppet” for Russian President Vladimir Putin. Now, Russia has declassified the first image of its new thermonuclear intercontinental ballistic missile.

      The RS-28 Sarmat missile—better known as the Satan 2 nuclear missile—has finally been revealed after years of being hyped by the Russian government. According to a Russian publication aligned with the Kremlin called Sputnik, the super-nuke has a payload capable of destroying an area “the size of Texas.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Murder of Brazil official marks new low in war on Amazon environmentalists

      Before he could get out of his car, two men on a motorcycle pulled up and the passenger shot seven bullets into the 54-year-old, who was still sitting in the driver’s seat.

      The killer got off the bike, opened the car door and shot him twice more. Araújo slumped on to his wife, who was seated beside him. Neither she, nor his two stepchildren, were injured. No attempt was made to steal anything.

      The killing, on Thursday 13 October, had all the hallmarks of the sort of assassination that is common in the lawless Pará state, in the eastern Amazon, where illegal logging, clandestine mining and modern slavery are rife.

      More than 150 environmental activists have been killed in Brazil since 2012, with studies showing the country accounts for half the global toll of such murders.

    • Scientists Warn the Collapse of This Glacier Could Be Globally Catastrophic

      The hulking West Antarctic ice sheet has been worrying scientists for decades. Global warming, as we already know, is causing very massive glaciers to melt a very rapid pace. But if this ice sheet goes, as some climate models have formidably simulated, sea levels could rise by as much as 12 feet. That’s enough to flood 28,800 square miles of coastal land in the United States alone.

      For many experts, the question isn’t if this is going to happen, but when.

      Since the 1950s, West Antarctica’s glaciers have been called “unstable,” “unstoppable,” and the region’s “weak underbelly” by researchers who recognized their unique vulnerabilities and immense potential for catastrophe.

      In particular, the Thwaites and Pine Island glaciers near the Amundsen Sea are of utmost concern because they possess the ability to destabilize the entire ice sheet, setting off a careening chain of events. According to Washington Post, while both glaciers are capable of causing up to two feet of sea level rise, each depositing nearly “45 billion tons of ice into the ocean annually,” their structural integrity makes them especially dangerous.

  • Finance

    • Not just bigots and boors oppose trade deals: McQuaig

      The decision of British voters to leave Europe has been treated as evidence that they’re intolerant xenophobes keen to seal themselves off from the world. That Donald Trump is on their side only helps make the case that they represent a boorish throwback, a desire to make the English-speaking world great again by turning it into a giant gated community surrounded by sky-high walls.

      Having such a collection of bigots and boors opposing “globalization” may turn out to be a boon for those promoting globalization — that is, the laws that govern the global economy.

      This is unfortunate, since these laws — and the international trade deals that enforce them — have delivered benefits almost exclusively to those at the top in recent years, and should be thoroughly overhauled.

      But with Neanderthal wall-builders lurking in the background, it may be easier for the Trudeau government to convince Canadians to accept these badly flawed and increasingly unpopular trade deals as part of living in an open, modern world.

      U.S. President Barack Obama helped make this case in his address to Parliament last week, urging us to resist “sealing ourselves off from the world,” as he derided opposition to foreigners and opposition to international trade deals with the same broad brush.

      But whoa, Nelly! Let’s not lump Trump’s scurrilous Muslim ban in with legitimate resistance to trade deals such as NAFTA, as well as the highly contentious new Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the sweeping 12-nation trade deal Obama is keenly promoting.

    • Twitter Planning Hundreds More Job Cuts as Soon as This Week

      Twitter Inc., having failed to sell itself, is planning to fire about 8 percent of its workforce as the struggling social-media company prepares to go it alone for the time being.

      Twitter may eliminate about 300 people, the same percentage it did last year when co-founder Jack Dorsey took over as chief executive officer, according to people familiar with the matter. Planning for the cuts is still fluid and the number could change, they added. The people asked not to be identified talking about private company plans.

      An announcement about the job reductions may come before Twitter releases third-quarter earnings on Thursday, one of the people said. A Twitter representative declined to comment.

    • Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback’s trickle-down economics experiment is so bad the state stopped reporting on it

      Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, the Republican responsible for the state’s business-friendly tax policies, is now trying to erase any evidence of just how wildly unsuccessful his Reaganomics experiment has proved.

      Last month the state’s Council of Economic Advisors, which Brownback created in 2011 and still chairs, quietly discontinued quarterly reports originally intended to showcase the state’s rapid economic growth. (During Brownback’s re-election campaign in 2014, the reports were scrubbed from the internet and subsequently available only upon request.)

      The council issued what ended up being its last report in May.

      Brownback “specifically asked the council to hold him accountable through rigorous performance metrics,” Heidi Holliday, executive director of the Kansas Center for Economic Growth, told The Topeka Capital-Journal. “Five years later, the metrics clearly show his tax experiment has failed while business leaders and local chambers of commerce across the state openly ask him to change course.”

      Holliday’s Kansas Center for Economic Growth noted the reports’ discontinuation and in April, the nonprofit issued its own economic proposal outlining the proven economic benefits of investing in public kindergarten-through-grade 12 education.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • A Good Year to Go Green (Party)

      The video of Donald Trump crowing that his celebrity status entitles him to assault women slightly eclipsed Hillary Clinton’s leaked speeches. But we still learned that Clinton holds “public and private positions,” that her populist promises regarding free trade, preserving Social Security, and checking the power of Wall Street probably won’t survive Inauguration Day.

      Millions of voters have figured out that the two major parties don’t represent them. They’re right. It’s not a two-party system, it’s a two-party racket.

      They’re frustrated with a choice that, we’re told, is limited to two nominees with deep disapproval ratings. Voter dissatisfaction is reflected in polls that show broad support for a choice of more than two on the ballot.

      Despite such sentiments, Democrats are scolding Green Party candidates: “This isn’t your year. We must defeat Trump.”

      Meanwhile, we’re seeing indications that Clinton is heading towards a solid win, as the Trump campaign sinks deeper into disgrace.

      2016 might turn out to be the safest year ever to vote Green, right? No, say Democrats.

      Dems will never admit it’s a good time to go Green. They want a field permanently limited to two parties of war and Wall Street.

      To understand what we’ve lost under the two-party racket, compare the cringeworthy Clinton-Trump debates with Green nominee Jill Stein’s rebuttals.

    • After DNC chair suggests WikiLeaks emails were ‘doctored,’ technology blog calls her bluff

      Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile said last week that a number of her WikiLeaks emails were “doctored,” implying that she either didn’t send them or the messages she did send were altered. But a technology blog is now calling her bluff.

      “I have seen so many doctored emails. I have seen things that come from me at two in the morning that I don’t even send,” Brazile told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly following Wednesday’s third and final presidential debate in Las Vegas. Brazile had been asked specifically about one email that indicated Hillary Clinton may have received a Democratic primary debate question ahead of the event, which aired on CNN in March.

    • I’m voting for Jill Stein. It’s a moral choice. It reflects who I am as a person.

      I was 19 when Eric Garner was choked to death by the police. Seeing that video of his death over and over again as it spread across Facebook felt like waking up to reality. Within days, I joined my first political protest: a “die-in” in my college’s student center, symbolizing our stand against police brutality.

      I’m now 21 years old, in the midst of my senior year at Simpson College in Iowa, and this will be my first time voting in a presidential election. Systemic racism is the most important issue to me, and my views on that topic and many others are far to the left of both Trump and Clinton. That’s why I’m choosing to vote for Jill Stein in my home battleground state of Iowa.

      I face a lot of stigma for my choice to vote third party. People tell me I’m wasting my vote, or that I’m just trying to be different. But they are completely missing the point of why I’m choosing to do this. To me, my vote represents a moral choice. It reflects who I am as a person.


      I am a Marxist, a radical feminist, and the child of a Laotian immigrant, so it’s obvious why Trump doesn’t speak to me. His hateful and bigoted language, such as the recent recordings where he discussed sexually assaulting women, is appalling. I’m particularly disturbed by his law-and-order rhetoric. I read that he claimed police are the most discriminated-against group in America right now. I’m truly flabbergasted at that statement.

    • Clinton ally speculates why Clinton used private server
    • Iceland’s Pirate Party prepares for power as polls suggest election triumph

      The party that could be on the cusp of winning Iceland’s national elections on Saturday didn’t exist four years ago.

      Its members are a collection of anarchists, hackers, libertarians and web geeks. It sets policy through online polls – and thinks the government should do the same. It wants to make Iceland “a Switzerland of bits,” free of digital snooping. It has offered Edward Snowden a new place to call home.

      And then there’s the name: in this land of Vikings, the Pirate Party may soon be king.

      The rise of the Pirates – from radical fringe to focal point of Icelandic politics – has astonished even the party’s founder, a poet, web programmer and former WikiLeaks activist.

    • Iceland, a land of Vikings, braces for a Pirate Party takeover

      The party that could be on the cusp of winning Iceland’s national elections on Saturday didn’t exist four years ago.

      Its members are a collection of anarchists, hackers, libertarians and Web geeks. It sets policy through online polls — and thinks the government should do the same. It wants to make Iceland “a Switzerland of bits,” free of digital snooping. It has offered Edward Snowden a new place to call home.

      And then there’s the name: In this land of Vikings, the Pirate Party may soon be king.

    • Nearly All Of Silicon Valley’s Political Dollars Are Going To Hillary Clinton

      Aditya Agarwal, the newly promoted chief technology officer of Dropbox, the cloud storage company, will vote in his first U.S. election on Nov. 8. Though he’s worked for U.S. tech companies for years, it hasn’t been easy to stay abreast of the paperwork he needed to get visas and become a citizen.

      “Over the course of being in the United States for the last 16 years, I have had an F-1 [student] visa, an OPT, a CPT,” he said. “I’ve had, like, four H-1Bs [a visa used for high-skilled workers, often in the technology industry]. I’ve had, like, a green-card process that took like five or six years. I’ve gone through the citizenship process.”

      The process is “deeply personal for me,” he said, speaking as a newly minted American citizen about to cast a ballot, “so I’m really excited about it.”

    • WikiLeaks reveals fears and frustrations inside Clinton world

      “Speaking of transparency, our friends Kendall, Cheryl and Phillipe sure weren’t forthcoming on the facts here,” John Podesta complained in the March 2015 note, referring to Clinton’s personal lawyer, David Kendall, as well as former State Department staffers Cheryl Mills and Philippe Reines.

      “Why didn’t they get this stuff out like 18 months ago? So crazy,” replied Neera Tanden, a longtime Podesta friend who also has worked for Clinton. Then, answering her own question, Tanden wrote again: “I guess I know the answer. They wanted to get away with it.”

      The exchange, found in hacked emails from Podesta’s account and released Tuesday by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks, provides a striking window into how the revelation of Clinton’s email setup roiled her nascent campaign team in the weeks before its official April 2015 kickoff.

    • Facebook Heavily Biased Toward Hillary Clinton? WikiLeaks Latest Reveal Shows Possible Direct Correlation

      As we quickly approach the November 8th elections, email leaks from the Clinton camp continue to loom over the presidential candidate. The latest data dump from WikiLeaks shines a light on emails between Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

      In one email exchange, dated June 6th, 2015, Sandberg expresses her desire for Clinton to become president, writing to Podesta, “And I still want HRC to win badly. I am still here to help as I can.” While that was a private exchange, Sandberg also made her zest for seeing Clinton as the 45th President of the United States publicly known in a Facebook post on July 28th of this year.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Smith College Opens A Tattletale Phone Line So Students Can Snitch On Campus Speech Criminals

      “Stop it! Don’t! I’m telling!” is, understandably, a part of some kids’ lives — when they’re 8. At 18, you’d think that proto-adult debating thingie would kick in.

      Well, it used to.

      But now, Smith College has eliminated the need to, you know, talk things out — tell somebody when they’re being kind of a dickbag — with a 24/7 speech crime hotline.

    • Chickenshit American Bar Association Scared Out Of Publishing Report Calling Trump A Libel Bully

      We’ve talked a lot about Donald Trump and his ridiculous views on defamation and the First Amendment — including his penchant for threatening defamation lawsuits against basically everyone who says something he dislikes. He rarely follows through, though he certainly does sue sometimes.

      In fact, someone has set up Trump-clock.com which lists out every known legal threat against the press or critics since his Presidential campaign began (ignoring the long list that predates the campaign). It also has a clock showing how long it’s been since Trump’s last threat.

      So it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that a group of media lawyers at the American Bar Association commissioned a report on Trump’s litigation history, and the report (correctly) concluded that Donald Trump is a “libel bully” making a bunch of bogus threats and with a history of filing bogus defamation lawsuits in court (something he’s outright bragged about). This shouldn’t be controversial. Trump is, clearly, a libel bully, and even he has more or less admitted that with his comments on why he sued author Tim O’Brien.

      But, apparently, the American Bar Association was too chickenshit and refused to publish the report, out of a fear that (wait for it…) Trump would sue them.

    • Is banning gambling ads censorship? You bet

      For those of a certain age, like me, you only need to mention the words ‘shake’ and ‘vac’ in the same breath before one of advertising’s greatest earworms plays on loop in your brain: ‘Do the Shake n’ Vac and put the freshness back, do the Shake n’ Vac and put the freshness back…’, all accompanied by the mental image of a woman in a long skirt dancing about with a vacuum cleaner. The advert played for years, and even people too young to remember it have doubtless picked up the tune through some form of cultural osmosis. And yet, I have never bought Shake n’ Vac. Why would I want to scatter powder imbued with some artificial fragrance on to my carpet and then hoover it up? It sounds like a terrible idea.


      Only a small minority of people in the UK have a problem with gambling to the extent that it threatens their finances or becomes a mental-health problem. And the problem isn’t even growing. As Christopher Snowdon pointed out recently: ‘There are fewer people gambling and no change in the rate of problem gambling. The rise of online gambling, the introduction of fixed-odds betting terminals and a dramatic increase in gambling advertising has had no effect on rates of problem gambling.’

      So what could possibly justify yet more draconian measures against gambling? Companies should be free to advertise their products unless there is a seriously good reason not to – and no such problem has been demonstrated. Most of those who gamble do so at a level that amounts to harmless entertainment. Given the pitifully low levels of excitement in England football matches recently, anything that can add a bit of spice to proceedings is to be welcomed. But most of us recognise that, in the long run, gambling is a mug’s game: the house (almost) always wins.

    • Why shouldn’t Louis Smith take the piss out of Islam?

      Topknotted pommel-horse enthusiast Louis Smith has irked the Twitterati and the governing body of British gymnastics. No, not with his atrocious haircut; the Rio 2016 silver medallist filmed himself and fellow gymnast Luke Carson ‘mocking Islam’ at a friend’s wedding. The video was subsequently obtained by the Sun and now the internet has gone wild, calling for Louis to be stripped of his MBE.

      In the footage, a clearly inebriated Smith can be seen filming himself and his even more whammed mate yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’ while performing a mock Islamic prayer. He then makes some reference to 60 virgins – it’s actually 72 maids that jihadi maniacs are promised when they get to Jannah, but that’s beside the point. Moments later in the video, a female wedding guest admonishes the pair, telling them they’re taking the piss.

      Well, obviously they are! And when did taking the piss become a crime? In a free society people should be allowed to ridicule ideas; in fact, that is arguably the most important aspect of a free society. Dictators fear the sound of laughter because it means someone somewhere is going off script.

    • Kid needs permission slip to read ‘Fahrenheit 451,’ his dad’s response is brilliant

      But those objections miss the point of the novel—they could only be more ironic if parents were calling for copies of Bradbury’s book to be destroyed. And Radosh is practically an irony-spotter by profession, so this wasn’t lost on him. He signed the slip and attached his own note, praising Milo’s teacher for immersing the kids so thoroughly in the world of Fahrenheit 451.

    • Dad Has Perfect Burn for Book Club Permission Slip

      Rain on your wedding day? Not really ironic. Not being allowed to read a dystopian novel about book censorship without getting the green light from your parents? Maybe a little ironic. That’s the situation Milo Radosh found himself in when he had to get a permission slip signed so he’d be allowed to read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 for a school book club, the Daily Dot reports. And his dad, Daily Show writer Daniel Radosh, met this rubber-stamp request with a most appropriate online burn. “tfw your kid’s school makes you sign a permission slip so he can read Fahrenheit 451,” the elder Radosh lamented Monday on Twitter, including emoji depicting a stack of tomes and fire.

    • Dad’s reply to authoritarian permission slip request goes viral
    • A permission slip to read ‘Fahrenheit 451′? This dad can’t resist the irony
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • New Docs Detail How AT&T Planned To Profit Massively By Helping Law Enforcement Spy On The Public

      Back in 2013 the New York Times profiled just the latest in AT&T-related surveillance scandals, revealing the existence of “Project Hemisphere.” The original report detailed how Project Hemisphere is a joint program between AT&T and the DEA that provides a variety of federal and state law enforcement agencies with nearly real-time access to logs and location data on nearly every single call that touches the AT&T network. Unlike AT&T’s NSA-related scandals, in many ways this system is much larger than anything covered previously. It’s also much older, with the project having roots as far back as 1987.

      Making the revelations even more notable was the fact that the report indicated that AT&T had employees embedded with the DEA to help expedite access to this data. This difficulty in trying to determine where the government begins and AT&T ends isn’t new; AT&T has long helped the FBI tap dance around privacy and surveillance law, often having its own employees actively working as government intelligence analysts.

    • Edward Snowden is a saint, not a sinner [Ed: By Jimmy Wales]

      Wikipedia is founded on a bedrock principle of neutrality, seeking to describe all relevant sides without taking a political stance. As an individual, I, too, try to stay out of most political debates — except where they directly impact my personal passion for the free flow of information. This is one of those times.

      When I founded Wikipedia in 2001, the Internet was a place where ordinary people could freely create and share with one another. Wikipedia emerged from that egalitarian spirit, as a community committed to the free exchange of knowledge. Our mission was and continues to be to collect the sum total of all human knowledge and make it available to everybody in their own language.


      Some of the world’s biggest tech companies have stood up against government attempts to enlist them in surveillance operations. Nowhere was that more clearly on display than earlier this year, when Apple refused FBI demands that it insert malware into an iPhone, which would have weakened its technology for everyone.
      But what may be even more important than legal reforms and technical changes is the public debate Snowden instigated. His disclosures brought about a change in consciousness, reinstating privacy as a central value, and newly incentivizing the protection of information activists and dissidents abroad. Young people in the United States are more judicious in what they publicly share online. Activist groups like Black Lives Matter are taking pains to protect their communications. And the United Nations has recognized that encryption is vital to the protection of global human rights.

    • Spies for Hire

      pIn July, Simone Margaritelli, an Italian security researcher, boarded a Boeing 777 in Rome headed for Dubai, a city now billing itself as a tech startup hub.

      He had a big job interview with a new, well-funded cybersecurity company called DarkMatter, whose self-described mission is to “safeguard the most complex organizations,” from government to the private sector, by preventing and fighting malicious cyberattacks and providing secure methods of communication — defensive cybersecurity, rather than offensive, which involves breaking into online systems and devices for espionage or destruction.

      A friend of a friend had recommended Margaritelli, who was invited to spend five days in the United Arab Emirates at the company’s expense to learn more about the job. When he arrived in Dubai, the City of Gold, he found a full schedule of outings and a deluxe suite at the Jannah Marina Bay Suites hotel.


      Margaritelli declined to pursue the job offer. After his post, titled “How the United Arab Emirates Intelligence Tried to Hire Me to Spy on Its People,” began circulating, DarkMatter issued a single terse Twitter reply. The company said it preferred “talking reality & not fantasy.”

      “No one from DarkMatter or its subsidiaries have ever interviewed Mr. Margaritelli,” Kevin Healy, director of communications for DarkMatter, wrote in an email to The Intercept. The man Margaritelli says interviewed him, Healy continued, was only an advisory consultant to DarkMatter — and that relationship has since ended (though several sources say he was employed by the company and had a DarkMatter email address).

      “While we respect an author’s right to express a personal opinion, we do not view the content in question as credible, and therefore have no further comment,” Healy wrote.

      DarkMatter denied outright Margaritelli’s assertions that it was recruiting hackers to research offensive security techniques. “Neither DarkMatter – nor any subsidiary, subset, research wing, or advisory department—engage in the activities described,” Healy wrote. “We conduct rigorous testing on all our products to ensure they do not include any vulnerabilities.”

    • Yahoo scanning order unlikely to be made public: sources

      Obama administration officials briefed key congressional staffers last week about a secret court order to Yahoo Inc (YHOO.O) that prompted it to search all users’ incoming emails for a still undisclosed digital signature, but they remain reluctant to discuss the unusual case with a broader audience.

      Executive branch officials spoke to staff for members of the Senate and House of Representatives committees overseeing intelligence operations and the judiciary, according to people briefed on the events, which followed Reuters’ disclosure of the massive search.[nL2N1C601L]

      But attempts by other members of Congress and civil society groups to learn more about the Yahoo order are unlikely to meet with success anytime soon, because its details remain a sensitive national security matter, U.S. officials told Reuters. Release of any declassified version of the order is unlikely in the foreseeable future, the officials said.

      The decision to keep details of the order secret comes amid mounting pressure on the U.S. government to be more transparent about its data-collection activities ahead of a congressional deadline next year to reauthorize some foreign intelligence authorities.

    • AT&T Is Spying on Americans for Profit, New Documents Reveal

      On Nov. 11, 2013, Victorville, California, sheriff’s deputies and a coroner responded to a motorcyclist’s report of human remains outside of town.

      They identified the partially bleached skull of a child, and later discovered the remains of the McStay family who had been missing for the past three years. Joseph, 40, his wife Summer, 43, Gianni, 4, and Joseph Jr., 3, had been bludgeoned to death and buried in shallow graves in the desert.

      Investigators long suspected Charles Merritt in the family’s disappearance, interviewing him days after they went missing. Merritt was McStay’s business partner and the last person known to see him alive. Merritt had also borrowed $30,000 from McStay to cover a gambling debt, a mutual business partner told police. None of it was enough to make an arrest.

      Even after the gravesite was discovered and McStay’s DNA was found inside Merritt’s vehicle, police were far from pinning the quadruple homicide on him.

      Until they turned to Project Hemisphere.

      Hemisphere is a secretive program run by AT&T that searches trillions of call records and analyzes cellular data to determine where a target is located, with whom he speaks, and potentially why.

      “Merritt was in a position to access the cellular telephone tower northeast of the McStay family gravesite on February 6th, 2010, two days after the family disappeared,” an affidavit for his girlfriend’s call records reports Hemisphere finding (PDF). Merritt was arrested almost a year to the date after the McStay family’s remains were discovered, and is awaiting trial for the murders.

    • Military Warns Chinese Computer Gear Poses Cyber Spy Threat

      The Pentagon’s Joint Staff recently warned against using equipment made by China’s Lenovo computer manufacturer amid concerns about cyber spying against Pentagon networks, according to defense officials.

      A recent internal report produced by the J-2 intelligence directorate stated that cyber security officials are concerned that Lenovo computers and handheld devices could introduce compromised hardware into the Defense Department supply chain, posing cyber espionage risks, said officials familiar with the report. The “supply chain” is how the Pentagon refers to its global network of suppliers that provide key components for weapons and other military systems.

    • Documents show AT&T secretly sells customer data to law enforcement

      It accesses the trove of telephone metadata available to AT&T, who control a large proportion of America’s landline and cellphone infrastructure. Unlike other providers, who delete their stored metadata after a certain time, AT&T keeps information like call time, duration, and even location data on file for years, with records dating back to 2008.

      But according to internal company documents revealed Monday by the Daily Beast, Hemisphere is being sold to local police departments and used to investigate everything from murder to Medicaid fraud, costing US taxpayers millions of dollars every year even while riding roughshod over privacy concerns.

      Access to Hemisphere costs local police between $100,000 and more than $1m a year, the documents reveal, and its use requires just an administrative subpoena – a much lower judicial bar than a search warrant because it does not need to be issued by a judge.

      Until Monday, Hemisphere’s use was kept secret from the public – and even from judges, defense attorneys and lawmakers – by an agreement between law enforcement and AT&T which means police must not risk disclosing its use in public or even in court.

    • Washington Post Reports Huge Surge in Secret Electronic Surveillance Requests

      The Washington Post’s data looked at two federal courts—one in Northern Virginia and one for the District of Columbia. According to the Post’s report, these two courts are some of the most active in the country and are the only ones to disclose any surveillance information.


      The data release comes at a time of increased anxiety over secret government internet surveillance. Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Yahoo Inc. had built a software to scan users’ incoming emails for information provided by U.S. intelligence officials. Facing backlash, the general counsel of Yahoo sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on Oct. 19 requesting more transparency into the details of the FBI’s investigation.

    • Ex-Deputy Director of NSA discredits ‘story’ spun by Snowden [Ed: Some suits at the NSA don’t understand that movies are not meant to be accurate accounts of true stories]

      There is a scene in the Snowden movie where the Deputy Director of the NSA, played by Patrick Joseph Byrnes, sends Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Snowden on a mission to Hawaii. The man portrayed by Patrick Joseph Byrnes is Chris Inglis, the now ex-Deputy Director of the NSA who disputes ever meeting Edward Snowden and questions whether the Oliver Stone biopic is more fabrication than dramatisation.

    • UK’s Mass Surveillance Connection to New-Zealand

      Almost everybody knows about the massive surveillance program carried out by UK’s GCHQ. It’s an open secret now. It continued with zero accountability in the years before Edward Snowden’s leaks. Until today it was not known that who or which companies were helping UK’s GCHQ to upgrade and expand its spying campaign. Newly obtained documents by The Intercept and Television New Zealand shows that GCHQ purchased large amounts of “data acquisition” systems and “probes” from Endace which is a New-Zealand company that specializes in network data recording. UK’s GCHQ wanted to improve its monitoring of high-speed internet cables from 87 10Gbps lines in 2009 to 800 by 2013 and this New-Zealand company helped attain this goal.

    • Mass Government Surveillance Worldwide Made Possible By NZ Company Endace

      We already knew from the Snowden leaks in 2013 that governments around the world had been spying on their citizens through the use of various technologies. We now know that at least one spy agency, GCHQ in the UK, enlisted the help of New Zealand network monitoring vendor Endace. Here’s what we know.

      The company helped the GCHQ develop interception technology that allowed the agency to capture vast amounts of data at speeds of up to 100Gbps from trans-continental undersea cables that carried internet traffic. Endace had reportedly used New Zealand taxpayer money to help fund the development of this technology.

      Endace is known for its network monitoring offerings and it recently began getting into the Internet-of-things (IoT) business by partnering with Cisco. On the surface, it’s just a vendor dealing with technology to help businesses secure their networks by offering them visibility. Behind the scenes, Endace has been dabbling in the lucrative global spy trade for the past decade, according to leaked documents obtained by The Intercept.

    • New Zealand surveillance company helps enable worldwide mass surveillance

      New Zealand-based surveillance company Endace has created the Medusa system, a program that enables the collection of vast amounts of data possible at record speed. The company is an integral partner in assisting any government from around the world to harvest information about their citizens.

      With its motto ”Power to see all,” the company is alleged to have sold its surveillance technology to countries like India, Spain, Canada, Australia, Israel and the United States. The company enables partners to intercept and monitor 100 percent of the traffic on networks, and it’s alleged that one of their biggest customers in recent years is the British agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

      Endace is known for its network monitoring offerings and it recently began getting into the Internet-of-things (IoT) business by partnering with Cisco. On paper, it’s just a vendor dealing with technology to help businesses secure their networks by offering them visibility. Behind the scenes, Endace has been dabbling in the lucrative global spy trade for the past decade, according to leaked documents obtained by The Intercept .

    • Report: New Zealand company selling surveillance tech to global spies

      A company headquartered in Auckland, New Zealand has played an integral role in global mass surveillance, according to a new report.

      Based on documents and emails leaked to The Intercept, Endace has quietly been selling its technology to government agencies, allowing them to gather vast quantities of “private emails, online chats, social media conversations, and internet browsing histories.”

      Founded in 2001, the company claims to deliver “the world’s best network monitoring and recording systems,” producing technology that can help clients intercept and monitor online traffic. It boasts “100 percent accurate capture and storage of network traffic.”

    • Endace: This Unknown Company Powers Massive Surveillance Around The World

      The government security agencies try to intercept information about people on the internet. The agency takes the help of companies which provide network recording products to suck information from the internet. According to leaked documents, GCHQ took the help of Endace to create mass surveillance systems.

    • GCHQ hired New Zealand firm for mass hack capabilities – Snowden leak

      Documents obtained by the Intercept show UK spies got the NZ-based firm Endace to create data capture technology that scooped up information.

    • Tax-funded NZ company sold mass surveillance tech to torturers and GCHQ

      A whistleblower has provided The Intercept with leaked documents about Endace, an obscure New Zealand company based in Auckland, revealing that the company — which received millions in government funding — developed the mass surveillance equipment used by the UK spy agency to engage in illegal mass surveillance on fiber-optic lines that traverse the UK, and that Endace’s customer list also includes a who’s-who of telcoms companies, spy agencies, and the Moroccan secret police, who make a practice of spying on people, then kidnapping and torturing them.

    • UK Intelligence agency GCHQ paid New Zealand firm Endace to tap key internet lines

      According to the 2013 Snowden documents, UK intelligence agency GCHQ took the help of commercial partners to tap into undersea cables that carry Internet traffic, enabling them to secretly gather vast amounts of digital communications data under a surveillance program code-named Tempora.

    • UK spies paid a New Zealand firm to help tap key internet lines
    • UK Intelligence Agency GCHQ Harvested Data From Undersea Internet Cables
    • Leaked Documents Show New Zealand Company’s Connection To GCHQ’s Internet Dragnet

      Other info in the documents shows Endace and GCHQ were (are?) aiming for deployment of 300-500 of these systems, allowing the agency to pull in a large percentage of the traffic traveling through tapped underseas cables. There are also hints that suggest some data is more useful to the GCHQ than others, with WhatsApp, Facebook, Gmail, and Hotmail being specifically named. Also of importance to GCHQ: the ability to track targets by MAC address.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Beta Wayback Machine – Now with Site Search!

      For the last 15 years, users of the Wayback Machine have browsed past versions of websites by entering in URLs into the main search box and clicking on Browse History. With the generous support of The Laura and John Arnold Foundation, we’re adding an exciting new feature to this search box: keyword search!

    • The Top 15 Internet Freedom Influencers to Follow

      Want to know who’s leading the fight to protect your internet rights? Then don’t miss our round up of the Top 15 Internet Freedom Influencers!

      Our right to Internet freedom is constantly being challenged by governmental suppression of accessibility and organized infringement on our ability to openly express and share ideas. Luckily forward-thinking human rights and internet freedom activists are boldly fighting to maintain our freedoms online.

      Here’s our selection of the Top 15 Internet Freedom Influencers taking the lead. Follow these organizations and individuals to stay up-to-date on what they’re doing to secure your rights!

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom’s Megaupload 2/BitCache Reaches Funding Target. Now What?

        While fighting the U.S. in a New Zealand courtroom, Kim has seen fit to launch a funding campaign for his newest project, MegaUpload 2 (MU2) and BitCache, on BnkToTheFuture.

        Over the weekend, Kim’s project was funded successfully. Kim spoke with CoinTelegraph about what comes next.

      • Megaupload 2.0 Will Outsource File-Hosting and Prevent Takedown Abuse

        The third incarnation of the popular Megaupload service just completed its first investment round, crowdfunding over a million dollars. With Kim Dotcom as the chief evangelist, the service hopes to revolutionize the file-sharing space next year. Interestingly, Megaupload 2.0 plans to outsource most of the storage to third-party providers and will manually review all takedown requests

      • Shake Up At The Copyright Office A Possible Preview To Fight Over Copyright Reform

        There are all sorts of rumors flying about this. Pallante has, apparently, been advocating strongly for moving the Copyright Office out of the Library of Congress, and either making it an independent agency or linking it up with the Patent & Trademark Office under the Commerce Department. That would be a big mistake, frankly, because copyright is not supposed to be about “commerce” and “industry” but about benefiting the public. That’s why it makes sense to leave it as part of the Library of Congress.

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

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Leaked: EPO’s Vice-President Willie Minnoye Saying the Unsayable, Then Threatening Anyone Who Keeps Record (Evidence) of It

Posted in Europe, Patents at 3:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sounds like a threat…

VP1 E-mail

Summary: E-mail that would leave Vice-President Willie Minnoye bashful, as it helps show not only bad policy but also attempts at suppression of discussion about it

THE ABOVE message is almost self-explanatory (it’s an old E-mail). We understand that Willie Minnoye is very concerned about EPO material ending up in Techrights (for reporting that highlights EPO abuses) and it’s not hard to see why he has been vocal about it; the more we find out about him, the more embarrassing it gets for him and some insiders consider Minnoye to be worse than Battistelli.

The above, showing a May 2014 B99 E-mail (cleaned up a bit for obvious reasons), is interesting for numerous reasons. The purpose of the E-mail VP1 sent to a Principal Director in May 2014 was to limit the effect of the industrial actions — which consisted in the retardation of the delivery of granted patents by examiners — on EPO production. He further warned not to forward the E-mail “to avoid any abuse by the staff reps on the statements made about the lack of published patents.”

“He further warned not to forward the E-mail “to avoid any abuse by the staff reps on the statements made about the lack of published patents.””VP1 tried to intimidate individual examiners in order to force them to stop participating in the industrial actions by ranking the examiners with the highest number in retarded dossiers and declaring that “Retaining files on purpose is illegal.”

Nice move, eh?

From the man who boasted he would disregard a ruling from the highest Dutch court.

In addition to this, see the below announcement from this week. It was created and signed by Willie Minnoye (DG1 Strategic Directions 2017).

VP1 message

VP1 message

VP1 message

The text of DG1 Strategic Directions 2017 shows Willie Minnoye’s continuous drive for production. Watch out for terms like “efficiency”, “coping with our workload”, “improving … timeliness”, “Enhancing legal certainty by improving timeliness …”, ”focus on efficiency” and ”continued progress in efficiency”…

In simply term, he encourages degradation of examination and thus patent quality. It makes Minnoye a very major (top-down) part of the EPO’s problems.


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

Posted in Deception, Europe, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 5:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Entering a rather advanced propaganda mode


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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


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

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

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

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


DAY 1:

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

DAY 2:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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

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

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

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

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

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

For a moment there, based on tweets like this one, the EPO ‘forgot’ that it’s not really supposed to be part of the EUIPO (trademarks and patents are inherently very different and entirely separable, even if one attempts to lump them together under the propaganda/umbrella term “Intellectual Property”, as in the EPO’s new headline). Here is what the EPO wrote: “Joint @EPOorg @EU_IPO study confirms the economic benefits of IP rights for Europe http://buzz.mw/b199m_f #IPvalue pic.twitter.com/REJQsJ5NKF”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But “cheaper” for whom exactly ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The full comment:

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

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

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

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

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

Does that answer your question?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What did the guy do to justify all this nonsense?

Lèse-majesté ?

See more on Wikipedia:

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

Newton Bull farts

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