The Minefields of Patents

Torrent of legal suits between tech firms reflects a system running amok and threatens to stifle ideas
By Richard Waters 04:45 AM May 16, 2012

Judith Masthoff, a Dutch researcher in artificial intelligence, was a doctoral student in the mid-1990s when she came up with her first invention.
The outline of the idea – a way of “enabling a user to fetch a specific information item from a set of information items” – hardly hinted at the starring role her brainwave would play in the legal battles sweeping through the technology industry.
Ms Masthoff still remembers the excitement she felt writing her patent application, one of the first in the software field for Philips, the Dutch electronics company to which she assigned the work. Providing a form of personalisation, it was an early attempt to help users make sense of the flood of online information, a critical issue for many websites.
But she lost track of it as her career moved on and only recently discovered that her application had eventually been approved in 2001.
The idea – now known as US patent number 6,216,133 – has been on a long journey since then. It was sold to the subsidiary of an American company that deals in intellectual property before finding its way, late last year, to its current owner: Facebook.
It is now playing a prominent role in the social network’s first big legal fight. It is the oldest of 10 patents the company used last month to mount a legal action against Yahoo! – a counterstroke against a patent infringement suit brought by the Internet search and media company this year.
COLOSSAL WASTE OF MONEY
Depending on your point of view, Facebook’s ability to co-opt old ideas such as this to defend itself against an assault on the legal foundations of its business could be a sign that, in an economy increasingly based on ideas, an efficient market in intellectual property is at work.
Alternatively, it indicates that the system is running amok, threatening to suffocate the innovation that makes breakthrough ideas such as Facebook’s social network possible in the first place.
With suits flying among some of the best-known tech names, companies such as Facebook, Apple, Google and Microsoft have been forced to spend heavily in the past year or so to arm themselves legally, in turn pushing up prices for patents such as Ms Masthoff’s as they change hands.
In the smartphone business alone – centre of much of the action – US$15 billion (S$18.8 billion) to US$20 billion has been spent buying patents, with legal bills reaching US$500 million on a “conservative estimate”, says Professor Mark Lemley of Stanford Law School.
It is hard to find anyone in the industry or in legal circles prepared to argue this is anything other than a colossal waste of money.
“It’s highly inefficient and antithetical to what patents are meant to achieve,” says Mr David Martin, chairman of M-Cam, a US patent analysis company. Lawsuits such as those brought by Yahoo! are “a de facto utility charge on someone else’s business success”, he adds.
Worse, the rising costs faced by companies arming themselves against legal attack could hamper innovation. Those that cannot pay this new “tax” risk being in effect barred from competing in the most promising new areas, such as smartphones.
WORTH MORE DEAD THAN ALIVE
Patent battles in tech – and the costs of building a strong intellectual property position – are not new. In recent years, executives have complained about the emergence of “trolls”, companies set up specifically to buy patents and mount opportunistic lawsuits against successful groups.
But proof of dramatic new forces at work came nearly a year ago, when patents owned by Nortel Networks, a bankrupt Canadian telecoms equipment maker, were auctioned for US$4.5 billion. The price, five times higher than initial estimates, showed Nortel was worth more dead than alive.
Having lost out in this case – and been left in a weak patent position compared with Apple and Microsoft, which were among the auction’s winners – Google agreed six weeks later to pay US$12.5 billion for Motorola Mobility, mainly to get its hands on the telecoms group’s intellectual property.
Behind these deals lay a rash of suits over smartphones, as Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and others angled for advantage in the sector’s biggest new market since the advent of the personal computer. Along with a spate of other transactions leading to Microsoft’s US$1.1billion purchase of patents from AOL last month, they reflect “a perfect storm” in tech patent circles, says Mr Ron Laurie of Inflexion Point, which advises on patent sales.
On one side are cash-rich companies, including Apple, Google and Microsoft, with the wherewithal and incentive to pay large amounts for legal protection.
On the other is a group of former stars forced to turn prized intangible assets into cash. They include bankrupt companies such as Nortel and Eastman Kodak, whose digital imaging patents are expected to end up being among its most valuable holdings, as well as struggling concerns such as Motorola and AOL, both of which came under pressure from activist shareholders to jump on the patent-sale bandwagon.
Companies in decline could yet shed their reluctance to take legal action against those once considered potential partners.
Yahoo! went as far as preparing a lawsuit against Google in 2006 over its core search technology, according to someone familiar with the initiative, but called it off after senior managers shrank from the business risks. Now, as Yahoo’s position in the search market falls further, a new management group with little to lose has landed a blow against Facebook in the Masthoff case.
ONE VIEW: MARKET AT WORK
There are various explanations for the escalation in both lawsuits and patent sales. To some, they are the by-product of an inevitable shift in the tech world, with intellectual property assuming its rightful central place in an economy revolving around ideas.
According to this view, the more active market for patents is bringing much-needed liquidity to intellectual property, helping it find its way to those best able to extract value.
When Microsoft immediately resold part of its new AOL patent holding to Facebook last month for US$550 million, recycling dotcom-era ideas into the hands of the latest internet company to transfix Wall Street, it seemed a fitting confirmation of how industry leadership has been transferred.
Supporters of this view argue that aggressive legal actions and high prices are often symptoms of a market – albeit an imperfect one – at work.
A wave of start-ups has been launched on the idea that the “ideas economy” needs a stronger infrastructure and new approaches to make the market work better. It includes Intellectual Ventures, which aims to foster invention by separating the creation and patenting of ideas from their commercialisation; and RPX, which buys patents for defensive purposes on behalf of its customers.
Critics, however, claim such businesses lubricate a system that encourages litigation and forces companies to buy protection against opportunistic lawsuits.
NEW MARKETS SYNDROME
A second view holds that the outbreak of legal hostilities simply reflects the inevitable upheaval from the emergence of big new markets.
The smartphone patent wars have become the clearest example of this, pitting companies from the computing and mobile communications worlds against each other for the first time. More than 250,000 patents, often overlapping, are potentially brought into play by smartphones drawing on technologies from several parts of the industry, according to RPX.
Such legal battles were seen with the emergence of the telegraph and the radio – and even mechanical farm equipment – as companies stake claims to the new markets. Eventually a stalemate is reached, and rivals conclude there is more to be gained from cross-licensing their ideas.
Whether that pattern will hold in smartphones – or in areas such as social networking and online advertising – has yet to be seen. “Maybe this time it isn’t a usual cycle,” says Prof Doug Lichtman of University of California, Los Angeles. “Patents are much more front and centre: People realise they can be sold and traded, they are much more visible.”
FUNDAMENTALLY BROKEN?
Another sign that a deeper change is occurring has been the rise in patent litigation in industries far removed from the latest hot tech markets, says Prof Meurer. Even relatively stable businesses such as food, cars and mining seem to be facing a secular increase in lawsuits, he adds.
That leads to a third explanation for the change in the patent world: That a systemic shift has taken place. The sheer number of lawsuits being filed, and the large amounts of money being thrown around to buy protection, suggest “there is something fundamentally broken here”, says Prof Lemley.
According to this view, long-running weaknesses in the approval process – making it too easy to obtain recognition for marginal or unoriginal ideas – lie at the heart of the problem, along with court decisions that have handed the advantage to plaintiffs.
If so, it could take years to fix: The US’s first legislation in this area in more than half a century, enacted last year, was widely seen as having brought only marginal improvement. It brought US filing procedures more into line with international practice, but limited the ability to bring nuisance lawsuits only modestly.
SPILLING INTO ONLINE WORLD
The cycle of lawsuits, meanwhile, is unlikely to abate: Rather, it shows every sign of being about to spill from the smartphone industry into the broader online world.
If Yahoo succeeds in extracting patent royalties from Facebook, for instance, it would almost certainly make similar claims against other Internet companies, particularly newcomers such as Twitter that lack significant patent holdings, according to one experienced litigator.
Others warn Facebook could soon face bigger legal challenges of its own. Amazon’s ownership of a seminal social networking patent predating Facebook’s own intellectual property in the area could leave the social network facing a lawsuit over its core business, says Mr Martin.
Amazon itself has risked a legal morass by branching beyond e-readers into mobile devices, such as the Kindle Fire, with a broader range of uses, another legal expert says. Lawyers will be rubbing their hands at the prospect.
For the inventors whose ideas set the whole system in motion, meanwhile, all of this conjures up a certain air of unreality.
“I’m interested in people using my ideas,” says Ms Masthoff, echoing the age-old cry of inventors everywhere – before adding, with resignation: “But then, of course, companies also have to protect their businesses.” The Financial Times Limited
Richard Waters heads the Financial Times’ San Francisco bureau.

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A Patent is just the registration of an idea that has little value unless it is brought to the markets to complete a product, where it’s instrinsic value is fully realised, then to protect your market share, it is a very valuable holding to exert your legal rights to prevent other’s from copying your ideas thru proper licensing, not as a barrier for innovations. Therefore not every Patent is valuable unless it is brought to the markets, by registration of an idea to prevent competition is the most stupid way to waste money, and existing laws cannot differentiate the value of Patents, combined with complexity of different markets, make patent laws very in-efficient for innovations.
A Patent has great value when it can derive an income from a potential market thru licensing and cross agreements, but if the market has passed, where will the value comes from? So there will always be a lifetime for patents, and after expiration the value is almost nil. Even Patents is subject to the laws of Demand and Supply eg would you buy an oldie song from the 60s, and collect royalties even though the licence has already expired? I would if there is a potential to make an income, but if there is no demand, I will stay far from it.
At times, unless the income justifies, I might just CC the license instead of patent.
A Creative Commons license is one of several copyright licenses that allow the distribution of copyrighted works. The licenses differ by several combinations that condition the terms of distribution. They were initially released on December 16, 2002 by Creative Commons, a U.S. non-profit corporation founded in 2001.
As of July 2011, Creative Commons licenses have been “ported” over 50 different jurisdictions worldwide. No new ports are being started as preparations for version 4.0 of the license suite begin.[1]

– Contributed by Oogle.

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Majority of S’poreans ‘will not be directly affected by inflation’ – What an irresponsible statement from a Trade Minister (Who do you want to bluff?)

SINGAPORE – Headline inflation is expected to remain at 5 per cent for the next few months but the majority of Singaporean households will not be directly affected, said Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang in Parliament yesterday.
This is because inflation is largely driven by imputed rentals from owner-occupied accommodation and car prices, and most Singaporean households own their own homes while new car buyers are in the minority, said Mr Lim.
However, analysts Today spoke to disagreed, citing spillover effects from these two components into other costs households and businesses face.
Mr Lim, who was responding to Members of Parliament (MPs) concerned about inflation, had highlighted a “slightly positive note” this year: Unlike in 2008, when food prices rose 8 per cent due to weather events and a global supply shortage, recent food price inflation has been lower.
Last year, food price rose by 3.1 per cent and in February and March this year, food prices remained at below 3 per cent. he said.
However, CIMB-GK Research economist Song Seng Wun pointed out that the average Singaporean will still feel the weight of inflation, as businesses facing spiralling costs pass that on to consumers.
The tight labour market has pushed wages up, while rentals for commercial properties have only eased recently, resulting in higher business costs, he said.
“So when you go see a doctor at a clinic, or send your kids to a tuition centre, you notice you pay a little more,” said Mr Song.
OCBC economist Selena Ling agreed, noting the logistics sector has been hit by higher transport costs, which are passed on to customers across a wide range of sectors.
“It may be true to say COE (Certificate of Entitlement) premiums doesn’t affect most Singaporeans, but there’s a second and third round effect,” she said.
The Government would need to continue to create jobs and ensure wage growth to help the middle-income group keep pace with inflation, she said.
In Parliament, Mr Lim said the Government recognises that the rate of inflation is still higher than what was experienced historically and reiterated it was committed to help cushion the impact on households, such as through the U-Save rebates, which help to offset utility bills.
While MPs yesterday questioned if the Government could review its taxes and fees to address rising costs, Minister of State for Finance Josephine Teo sought to put its impact on inflation “in perspective”.
While headline inflation has increased 5.2 per cent over the past one year, government fees and charges accounted for 0.1 percentage points of inflation in March, she said. COEs, meanwhile, contributed 1.2 percentage points.
Acknowledging that a main cost driver has been the recent increases in the foreign worker levy, Mrs Teo reiterated that increases are necessary to manage Singapore’s dependence on foreign workers and support economic restructuring.

Video of Ferrari crash

 

And rumours around the Internet says they were found in an erotic position in a messed up Ferrari, probably clowning around before the accident happens, anyone really knows what business or job is the dead driver involved? A Financial Advisor from Sichuan can afford to buy a Ferrari? I will find all the links to prove otherwise. If he is stealing other people’s technologies, this is God’s punishment for everyone to see. Every single one will face death.
“The ST then went further to “flaunt” the wealth of Ma Chi, citing from his wife that Ma Chi had bought a $3 million condominium in the East Coast, a $400,000 BMW and the limited edition Ferrari that he was driving was worth a cool $1.8 million which he bought for himself on his 30th birthday last year”
Didn’t you read? He could be linked to his brother who is a mafia boss. I don’t believe a financial adviser can afford billions. His money is from money laundering, it should be frozen to pay compensation for those he killed. There is a PR cover up why the accident happen. He is not drunk but having sex in his car with the PRC girl from the nightclub when it happens. It is pure negligence and no insurance company will payout. His estate should be frozen to pay compensation.
The problem is that they removed the airbags from the taxi to save costs, that results in both deaths when the accident happens, maybe the airbags could at least save a life, what a pity, someone is going to take the fall for this.
– Contributed by Oogle.

Covert Operations tracking your mobile

Mobile phone (cell phone) microphones can be activated remotely, without any need for physical access.[1][2][3][4][5][6] This “roving bug” feature has been used by law enforcement agencies and intelligence services to listen in on nearby conversations.[7] A United States court ruled in 1988 that a similar technique used by the FBI against reputed former Gulfport, Mississippi cocaine dealers after having obtained a court order was permissible.[8]

Technology makes it easier to connect with the people in your life, but it can also enable others to connect to you without your knowledge.
People can learn all about your private life through your cell phone, and one woman said she was stalked for three years because of it. Susan, who asked that her real name be kept private because of worry over her safety, said her ex-boyfriend tormented her using only her cell phone to do it.
“He knew where I was all the time,” Susan said. “If I was at dinner somewhere. He would text me and ask me how dinner was. I had no idea how he knew where I was.”
Most people know that the GPS in a cell phone can track your every move, but that’s just the beginning. Widely available software that can be installed on almost any cell phone can track not just your whereabouts but also your private conversations and personal information.
“I thought I was going crazy,” Susan said. “It’s just unnerving knowing that somebody 24/7 knows where you’re at, what you’re talking about, what’s going on, everything about you.”
At the time, Susan didn’t know that her ex-boyfriend installed spying software on her phone when she wasn’t looking. Once installed, he could be anywhere — even in a different state — and follow her every move.

Cell Phone Spying Nightmare: ‘You’re Never the Same’ Woman’s Ex-Boyfriend Stalked Her for Years Using Software on Her Cell Phone

But what was worse, it didn’t just track her whereabouts. He could listen in on her phone calls, read her text messages and turn her personal cell phone into a bugging device. From anywhere, he could activate her speaker phone and listen to everything she was doing.
“He would text me, ‘How was dinner? Was the date good?'” she recalled.
Susan’s ex-boyfriend would also show up places where she was. She feared for her life and called the police, who put her in protective custody. When her ex-boyfriend violated the restraining order, he was put in jail on felony stalking charges.
“He had every intention of killing me,” she said. “Within 20 minutes of getting out of jail, he was outside my hotel room.”
Security expert Robert Siciliano says he gets countless e-mails from victims of cell phone spying.
“When somebody remotely activates your phone, you’re not going to know it and they can use that phone to monitor the conversations in the room you’re in,” he said. “Your phone could be sitting next to you while you are watching TV, and somebody can actually log into your phone and can actually watch what you are watching on television.”

Cell Phone Spying Software Affordable, Powerful

A 2009 report from the Department of Justice found that one-quarter of the 3.4 million stalking victims in the U.S. reported cyberstalking, and GPS technology and other forms of electronic monitoring were used to stalk one in 13 victims.
“GMA” found thousands of sites promoting cell phone spying software, boasting products to “catch cheating spouses,” “bug meeting rooms” or “track your kids.” Basic cell phone spying software costs as little as $50, but for a higher price the software enables anyone to do exactly what Susan’s ex-boyfriend did.
“Someone can easily install a spyware program on your phone that allows them to see every single thing you do all day long, via the phone’s video camera,” Siciliano said.
“GMA” spent $350 to get the features that remotely activate speaker phones, intercept live calls and instantly notify you every time a call is made. 

We installed the software on a colleague’s phone, with her permission, and sent her out to see how it worked. We were able to intercept and listen in to a live phone call without her knowledge, and she didn’t even have to be on the phone for us to spy on her. We could also turn her phone into a remote listening device no matter where she was. If the phone was on, we heard everything she said.
“This is no sci-fi flick,” Siciliano said. “This is the real thing and it’s happening to people right now.”
It’s perfectly legal to sell the software but not necessarily legal to use it, although that’s in the fine print.
For people like Susan, the laws, which vary from state to state, haven’t caught up to the technology. Police say there aren’t specific laws on the books to address this type of stalking, as opposed to the physical stalking that led to the restraining order.
When it comes to cell phone spying, “The cops kept telling me there’s nothing we can do,” Susan said. “He’s not breaking the law.”

Protect Yourself from Cell Phone Spying

Susan changed her number 10 times, but it didn’t help because the spyware was on the phone itself.
“I’d go and change my number at the cell phone store, and he would be calling me on my way home on my new cell phone number.”

After three terrifying years, Susan realized the software was on her phone. She got a new one and it seems the nightmare has ended.
“You’re never the same after this,” she said. “I think you become a lot more aware of your surroundings, you’re not as trusting. You just make it day to day and keep living.”
Safety experts say that if you believe you’ve been the target of cyberstalking, trust your instincts and ask for help. Organizations such as the National Center for Victims of Crime’s Stalking Resource Center and the National Network to End Domestic Violence’s Safety Net Project advocate for victims.
Indications that spyware might be on your cell phone:
The screen lights up for no reason
The flash on the camera goes off when you’re not taking a picture
You notice ambient noise in the background when you’re on a phone call
You repeatedly get strange text messages from an unknown origin
Tips:
Never let your cell phone out of your control — spyware can be installed on it in as little as a few minutes.
If you think spyware is on your phone, security expert Robert Siciliano says you have two options: Get a a new phone or call your cell phone service provider. They will tell you how to reinstall the operating system. Reinstalling the operating system should wipe out the spyware. 
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Network World – The meteoric rise in the smartphone market is creating a dangerous vulnerability in smartphone security – one that may not be patched until the problem expands into what has been dubbed an “apocalypse.”

Dan Auerbach, a staff technologist at the Electronics Frontier Foundation, points to outdated encryption standards and the inherent vulnerabilities of the baseband processor found on modern smartphones as the makings for a security hole through which users can be exploited at large.
The situation is similar to the PC boom of the late 1990s, Auerbach says. Just as PCs were designed to communicate freely with any and all network elements at the time, the baseband processors found on many of today’s smartphones interact with any base station with which they come into contact.
At the same time, “the cost of having portable base stations has decreased quite a bit,” Auerbach says. This has already enabled some police-state government agencies to create false base stations to monitor cellphone communications, he added.
“So you have just kind of a fake base station, and then you get a user’s cellphone to interact with that instead of the real base station,” Auerbach says.
This idea is known as the “baseband apocalypse,” and it is nothing new. At last year’s Black Hat DC Conference, security researcher Ralf-Philipp Weinmann presented the vulnerability and warned that new open source tools for establishing mobile base stations will make smartphones easier to exploit than in the past, when the code for base stations was retained by the service providers that managed them.
What’s scarier, though, is that smartphone developers since have focused on features like user interface and screen resolution, as opposed to fixing a fundamental vulnerability that has been public knowledge for at least the past 16 months, Auerbach says. The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard for 3G cellphones still employs the A5/1 encryption algorithm, which Auerbach says is “incredibly broken” and “basically worthless.” Indeed, the industry has been aware of an attack against A5/1 that can intercept voice and text communications since 2009.
“So, in light of that, controlling the base station and the network elements really does give you access to users’ communications,” Auerbach says.
Another similarity between the mobile industry of today and the PC security outlook at the turn of the century is that OEMs and mobile carriers have no incentive to secure this vulnerability during the product development life cycle, Auerbach says. The faster smartphones are developed and pushed out to market, the more money companies like Qualcomm and Apple stand to make. With the way the smartphone market has grown lately, they likely won’t be slowing down any time soon – a recent IDC report showed 42.5% year-over-year growth in worldwide smartphone shipments in the first quarter of 2012.

Although he says he does not know the exact cost it would entail, Auerbach believes that “it would be significant to overhaul the encryption that’s used.” As long as OEMs and carriers aren’t feeling any pressure to make such a significant change, they will continue pushing more smartphones through the assembly line as is.
Herein lies the difference in security for smartphones and PCs. Just over a decade ago, then Microsoft CEO Bill Gates wrote a memo to the company’s employees that set off the industry-changing Trustworthy Computing initiative. From 2000 to 2003, the number of Internet users across the globe nearly doubled, from 389 million to 759 million, and a large-enough security threat could affect roughly 12% of the world population. With numbers this staggering, Gates was compelled to ensure Microsoft “customers will always be able to rely on these systems to be available and to secure their information.”
Ten years and 1.5 billion new web users later, Trustworthy Computing seems to have made a difference. Microsoft has since come up with the Security Development Lifecycle, for example, to instill security and privacy considerations before new products come to market.
Whether the mobile industry will receive a similar call to arms remains to be seen, but Auerbach, for one, is less than optimistic. Because the smartphone market is not showing any signs of becoming as monopolized as the PC market was in 2002, Auerbach says any federal legislation aimed at improving cybersecurity, such as CISPA or the SECURE IT Act, “should at least be thinking about incentivizing companies to care about security.” So far, partially because lawmakers are unaware of these threats and partially because those tasked with educating them have their own agenda, solutions to that problem are “nowhere to be found,” Auerbach says.
“I think, unfortunately, members of Congress are not very educated about real security issues and real problems, and instead they are taking their cues from interested parties, for example the intelligence community, as to what needs to get passed,” Auerbach says. “Unfortunately, the result is that the legislation is not focused on the relevant issues, such as mobile, and instead it tends to become blanket legislation.”
An increase in user education about the privacy and security issues with their smartphones could help the problem, as could improvements in sharing information about and patching newly discovered mobile software vulnerabilities, Auerbach says. However, OEMs and carriers are unlikely to respond until they have to, after a major security issue puts their customers directly at risk, he says.
“Unfortunately, it might be the case where it will require some sort of big, newsworthy event where users’ privacy is compromised in a big way,” Auerbach says. “I hope that’s not the case. I hope that we can kind of improve security without that, but unfortunately I think it’s going to take a lot of press coverage to get mobile platform vendors and manufacturers to really start caring about this issue.”
Colin Neagle covers emerging technologies, privacy and enterprise mobility for Network World. Follow him on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/ntwrkwrldneagle and keep up with the Microsoft, Cisco https://twitter.com/#!/ciscosubnet and Open Source community blogs. Colin’s email address is cneagle@nww.com.
 

A look into Fifth Generation Trainning Fighter Jets Technology

 
No use looking at the exterior of jet fighter technology. It is the interior that matters.  With so much information on the Internet, I can easily design an Air Defence System against all your capabilities, with easily available solutions provided by Defence contractors, even modifying my own technologies to break every barrier. Forget about American Technology, it is lost and gone. America has interfered with so many countries so they can sell their arms will now have to sit back and be silenced, I would rather buy from Isreal or USSR where there is no technology breech.       
US=No more Nuclear deterent.
– Contributed by Oogle.

“WIKI” STYLE ESPIONAGE LANDS $300 BILLION DOLLAR SUPER-PLANE PLANS

By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

“Another spy disaster like Pollard, shoved under the rug too long due to pressure from the powerful Israeli lobby.”

On April 21, 2009, the Department of Defense announced the theft of 1.5 terabytes of data on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the platform meant give the United States and her allies air superiority for the next 40 years.  In a flash, all that was gone, $300 billion dollars of funding down the drain, every system, defense, offense, stealth, everything needed to build one or shoot it down, all gone.  Day one, China was accused but it wasn’t China, it wasn’t Iran, it wasn’t Pakistan.  The theft left a clear signature, one identical to the data Wikileaks has been receiving, sources inside the Pentagon repeating the actions of Israeli-Soviet spy, Jonathan Pollard.  As vital as the F-35 is to America’s defense, Pollard’s triumph on behalf of Soviet Russia and Israel dwarfs the current espionage coup.

Since the 2009 announcement, there has been nothing but silence.

When the theft was announced, Pentagon “damage control” went into action immediately branding the disaster as “unimportant” while scrambling to look for any possible way to “put the toothpaste back into the tube.”  What Secretary Gates came up with was a simple denial and to pretend it never happened.  With the continual efforts by the Israeli government to secure the release of master spy Jonathan Pollard, a “witch hunt” for another Israeli spy would endanger America’s hopes of winning a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

There was no real question, this was another Israeli operation, their “signature” was all over it.

“AN UNPRECEDENTED DISASTER”

What did America lose?  15 years of research and development?  That doesn’t come close.  Key components of the F-35, from stealth materials, flight and weapons systems, to tens of thousands of man-hours of systems programming are now

“out there,” available to any potential rival, military or commercial.  At best, it could be considered a $300 billion dollar bank robbery, by American standards, nothing new in today’s financial world.

At worst, nations whose defense capabilities were decades behind the US can now be at par, as the F-35 was estimated to be “air superiority capable” until at least 2040. Data stolen could make production of a comparable aircraft possible in as little as 36 months, particularly with several projects in the offing, Russia/India and in China, each of which are capable of quickly adapting upgraded systems.

The JSF (Joint Strike Fighter) in its three variants, conventional takeoff/landing (CTOL), carrier variant (CV) and short takeoff/vertical landing (STOLV), are scheduled for production through 2026 with estimates of service life until 2060 and beyond.  Export versions of the F-35, “detuned” are available for American allies, NATO and Israel.  The F-35 delivers more “punch” per dollar than any current “legacy” fighter by a margin of as much as 8 to 1.  The economics of “stealing” the F-35 and auctioning it off, system at a time, is tremendous.

Any nation with a substantial defense industry will have immediately gained a decade or more in, not just stealth fighter/bomber design, but hundreds of areas of science applicable to UAV drones, missiles, including nuclear ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missiles), and smaller missile systems, not only air defense but against helicopters and armour as well.  Every advanced technology America has is in the F-35 somewhere.

Stealth technology from the F-35 can be adapted to the guidance systems stolen and transferred to China, believed by Israel also, technology that threatens America’s ability to project air superiority through use of its aircraft carriers.  Conventional missiles, not believed capable of “taking out” America’s carriers can be upgraded to defeat air defense systems years from being off the drawing boards.

AIR DEFENSE VULNERABILITY

In March, 1999, on the 4th day of American involvement in the Bosnian war, Serbian forces shot down an F-117 stealth bomber using a Soviet SA 300 air defense system with radar modifications based on data secured through espionage.

Data on the resonant frequencies of the materials and surfaces of the F-117 made it possible for radar to, not only detect a plane previously believed “invisible’ at a range of 13 kilometers, but to successfully destroy one, an embarrassment the US feels the sting of even today.

The stolen data on the F-35 covers more than simple materials but all jamming and other defensive systems and performance characteristics.  Air defense systems can now be tuned specifically to find only the F-35 if so required.

INITIAL SECURITY BREACHES IGNORED

In 2008, British based BAE Systems, a subcontractor for Lockheed Martin, was discovered to have allowed access to highly classified F-35 technologies through, not only physical access to its facilities but lack of normal computer safeguards.  POGO (Project On Government Oversight), a whistleblower/watchdog group, learned of the Pentagon’s lack of normal project security safeguards and requested a copy of the Inspector General’s security report.  Though documents showed the Pentagon was aware that key weapons systems had been compromised in Britain, well before 2008, security at project facilities in the United States was not brought up to required standards.

Defense Security Service audits from as early as 2001 had not been filed and the agreement with British contractors allowed them to refuse to report to the Department of Defense on an “at will” basis.  In fact, the agreement with Britain contained no guarantees of any kind for security and no functioning authority to limit spying.

THE TRAIL OF THE SNAIL

Wikileaks are called “leaks.”  Julian Assange darts from country to country, hotel to TV studio, always ahead of the security forces hunting him down, a veritable “Nordic” bin Laden.    Newspapers are peppered with photographs of a boyish face in the uniform of the American army, identified as the potential “leaker.”  The 46,000 intelligence/counter-intelligence officers of the Department of Defense, supplemented by the FBI and 16 other agencies and 40 other departments, more “bodies” than currently serve in Afghanistan, we are told, are unable to rein in this “dangerous duo.”

Documents by the hundreds of thousands are leaked, upon qualified examination, showing careful screening with many documents edited and more selected out of series with careful gaps and omissions.  A single non-commissioned officer, watched 24 hours a day by tens of thousands of security officers and threatened with life in prison, is an unlikely suspect.  However, there has been no mention of any others nor has there been a mention of an investigation of any kind.  In fact, there seems to me no attempt whatsoever to curtail these current leaks.

What does this tell us?

WHEN IS A LEAK “HACKING” AND WHEN IS HACKING A  “LEAK” AND WHAT IS “ESPIONAGE?”

It was never announced when, exactly, the theft of the F-35 data occurred.  The press release was April 21. 2009, long enough after President Bush left office for the blame to evade his administration, one infamous for “leaks” such as the “Scooter” Libby (Liebowitz) “outing” of CIA nuclear proliferation specialist Valerie Plame.

Israeli citizen, Jonathan Pollard, convicted for spying on America and sentenced to life in prison in 1987, is, we believe but can never be sure of, the most successful spy in world history.  As with the F-35, the “cover story” is always carefully deceptive as to not panic the public or cause a lack of confidence, perhaps rightly so, in America’s ability to secure secrets.  Pollard had two primary targets, our nuclear response capability and NATO’s defense capabilities against the Soviet Union.  Both were destroyed by Pollard whose materials were passed through Israel directly to the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

Every weapon design, yes, our stealth aircraft capabilities and our NATO battle plans were among the truckload of papers Pollard sold to Israel, a country where he is considered a national hero.  Pollard may have been our last “paper” spy.  Everything today is electronic and spies who steal American secrets can be compared to unruly chatroom members or video game enthusiasts.

Despite the “cute” attempt by the Department of Defense and Secretary Gates to refer to espionage as “hacking,” there is nothing either innocent or harmless about it.  As all data is formatted for electronic media and secured by firewalls and passwords, all espionage is “hacking.”

The difference between “leaking” and “spying” is semantics.  The goal is the same, destruction of the defense capabilities of the United States, except “spying” pays better.

The people responsible for each, particularly when they access the same systems and overcome the same roadblocks, all requiring the same physical access, are one in the same.  Those who “leak” perform an identical task to those who spy. Those who leak, those who have leaked appear to be, to any reasonable person, exactly the same people who are spying now and who were supporting Pollard.

The first place we look, before new Russian, Indian, Iranian or Chinese version of the F-35 take flight or our first F-35 meets a fiery end is Israel.  No Chinese or Pakistani’s or Iranians have gained by the F-35 espionage “clone” operations styled after “Wikileaks.”  Wikileaks has proven one thing, there is a major spy operation in the Pentagon with broad access.  It is immune to investigation.  Only political power can generate this kind of protection.

Assange is a recipient of information he likely believes is real.  Our investigations prove different.  The Pentagon leaks were carefully edited, thousands of reports were reconstructed and falsified and hundreds of thousands were removed as inconsistent with an unknown political agenda.  This requires full access to Pentagon computer systems, PROMIS software and hundreds of man hours.

It requires, in fact, a broad spy operation inside the Pentagon that enjoys its ability to operate with impunity.  Wikileaks carries an Israeli signature, the leaks damn only Israeli enemies, shield Israeli operations and are time to serve Israeli interests.  Hundreds of Israeli citizens work in the Pentagon.  None of this should be a surprise to anyone.

The F-35 debacle is exactly the same.  Where there was some cursory discussion of investigation Wikileaks, the F-35 thefts were, can we say “forgiven?”

On 5 January 2001, Raptor 4005 flew with the Block 3.0 software, which was the first combat-capable avionics version.[100] In June 2009, Increment 3.1 was tested at Edwards Air Force Base. This provided a basic ground-attack capability through Synthetic Aperture Radar mapping, Electronic attack and the GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb. The Increment 3.1 Modification Team with the 412th Test Wing received the Chief of Staff Team Excellence Award for upgrading 149 Raptors.[101][102] The fleet upgrade should start at the end of 2011.[103] An additional $808 million will be spent in 2013 to implement the 3.1 upgrade.[104] The first upgraded aircraft were delivered in early 2012.[105] Increment 3.2 was to add an improved SDB capability, an automatic ground collision avoidance system for low level operations and enable use of the AIM-9X Sidewinder and AIM-120D AMRAAM missiles. However, a helmet mounted cueing system has been deferred by technical issues.[106][107] Increment 3.2 was expected to be fielded in FY15,[108] possibly including the Multifunction Advanced Data Link (MADL).[109][110] In July 2009 the USAF announced the modification of three business jets with the interim Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) to allow communication between F-22s and other platforms until MADL is installed.[111] 
In March 2010, the USAF accelerated software portions of the Increment 3.2 upgrades to be completed in FY 2013, other upgrades will be completed later.[112] Upgrading the first 183 aircraft to the 3.2 upgrade is estimated to cost $8 billion.[113] In May 2009, Gen. Norton A. Schwartz and Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley gave testimony to Congress that this would be paid for through the early retirement of legacy fighters.[114] A total of 249 fourth-generation fighters were retired during Fiscal Year 2010.[115] On 16 September 2009, Gates said “Our commitment to this aircraft is underscored by the 6 and-a half billion dollars… to upgrade the existing F-22 fleet to be fully mission-capable.”[116] The USAF opened the Raptor enhancement, development and integration (REDI) contract to other bidders in January 2011 with a total budget of $16 billion.[117] 
On 18 November 2011, the upgrade contract with Lockheed Martin was increased by $1.4 billion to a maximum value of $7.4 billion. This increment opens the way for further upgrades in 2012.[118][119][120] Lockheed Martin has proposed upgrades to add capabilities from the newer F-35.[121] Elements such as MADL are delayed until the F-35 program is completed to reduce risk.[122] One upgrade from the F-35 is new high-durability stealth coatings to lower maintenance.[123] The Ada software language was blamed for slow progress and increased costs on the program, leading to a reorganization in 2011.[124] Increment 3.2A in 2014 focuses on electronic warfare, communications and identification. Increment 3.2B in 2017 will support the AIM-9X and AIM-120D missiles. Increment 3.2C in 2019 may migrate some avionics to an open platform, allowing features to be added by various companies.[125] Lockheed Martin is working on upgrading the AN/AAR-56 Missile Launch Detector (MLD) to provide situational awareness and defensive Infrared Search and Track similar to the F-35’s SAIRST.[126] The current upgrade schedule is: Increment 3.1 now entering service adds capabilities for SDB, SAR, and electronic attack. Update 4 in 2012 will add a rudimentary capability for the AIM-120D. Increment 3.2A will be fielded in 2014 with Link 16 and electronic warfare improvements. Update 5 in 2015 will add an initial capability for the AIM-9X. In 2016 the fleet will be upgraded to 36 Block 20 training aircraft and 149 Block 30/35 operational aircraft. Increment 3.2B in 2017 will add full capability for the air to air missiles, and improved geolocation. This schedule has slipped seven years because of “requirements and funding instability”.[127] Because of this delay the upgrade will be applied to fielded aircraft that have already consumed a significant fraction of their useful airframe lifespan.[128] Increment 3.2C is still being defined.[129] Features that are not currently planned for upgrades include: Adding in the previously planned side-mounted AESA radar arrays infrared search and track (IRST) helmet-mounted sight Powered air to surface missiles or the GBU-53 Small Diameter Bomb II in order to engage moving ground targets.[130] 
The Raptor is designed with a lifespan of 30 years and 8000 flight hours, but investigations are being made for upgrades to extend this.[131][132] The F-22 is expected to eventually be replaced by the fighter from the Next Generation Air Dominance program.[133] While no definitive cause has been found for the frequent oxygen deprivation issues that have killed at least one pilot, the F-22 will be upgraded with a ten pound backup oxygen system, software upgrades and oxygen sensors to allow the pilots to operate normally in spite of the problem.[134] 
The F-22’s avionics include BAE Systems E&IS radar warning receiver (RWR) AN/ALR-94,[147] AN/AAR 56 Infra-Red and Ultra-Violet MAWS (Missile Approach Warning System) and the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-77 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. The AN/ALR-94 is a passive receiver system to detect radar signals; composed of more than 30 antennas blended into the wings and fuselage that provide all around coverage. It was described by Tom Burbage, former F-22 program head at Lockheed Martin, as “the most technically complex piece of equipment on the aircraft.” It has a greater range (250+ nmi) than the radar, allowing the F-22 to limit its own radar emissions to maximise stealth. As a target approaches, the receiver can cue the AN/APG-77 radar to track the target with a narrow beam, which can be as focused down to 2° by 2° in azimuth and elevation.[148] Two personnel in white apparel handing a radar The AN/APG-77 AESA radar The AN/APG-77 radar, designed for air superiority and strike operations, features a low-observable, active-aperture, electronically-scanned array that can track multiple targets in any weather. The AN/APG-77 changes frequencies more than 1,000 times per second to lower interception probability. Additionally, radar emissions can be focused in an electronic-attack capability to overload enemy sensors.[149][150] The radar’s information is processed by two Raytheon Common Integrated Processor (CIP)s. Each CIP can process 10.5 billion instructions per second and has 300 megabytes of memory. Information can be gathered from the radar and other onboard and offboard systems, filtered by the CIP, and offered in easy-to-digest ways on several cockpit displays, enabling the pilot to remain on top of complicated situations. 
The F-22s avionics software has some 1.7 million lines of code, the majority involving processing data from the radar.[151] The radar has an estimated range of 125–150 miles, though planned upgrades will allow a range of 250 miles (400 km) or more in narrow beams.[145] In 2007, tests by Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, and L-3 Communications enabled the AESA system of a Raptor to act like a WiFi access point, able to transmit data at 548 megabits per second and receive at gigabit speed; this is far faster than the Link 16 system used by US and allied aircraft, which transfers data at just over 1 Mbit/s.[152] The F-22 has a threat detection and identification capability comparative with the RC-135 Rivet Joint.[145] The F-22’s stealth allows it to safely operate far closer to the battlefield, compensating for the reduced capability.[145] The F-22 is capable of functioning as a “mini-AWACS”, however the radar is less powerful than dedicated platforms such as the E-3 Sentry.[139] The F-22 allows its pilot to designate targets for cooperating F-15s and F-16s, and determine whether two friendly aircraft are targeting the same aircraft.[139][145] This radar system can sometimes identify targets “many times quicker than the AWACS”.[145] The radar is capable of high-bandwidth data transmission; conventional radio “chatter” can be reduced via these alternative means.[145] The IEEE-1394B data bus developed for the F-22 was derived from the commercial IEEE-1394 “FireWire” bus system.[153] Sensor fusion combines data from all onboard and offboard sensors into a common view to prevent the pilot from being overwhelmed.[154] In a critical article former Navy Secretary John Lehman wrote “[a]t least [the F-22s] are safe from cyberattack. No one in China knows how to program the ’83 vintage IBM software that runs them.”[155] Former Secretary of the USAF Michael Wynne blamed the use of the DoD’s Ada as a reason for cost overruns and schedule slippages on many major military projects, including the F-22 Raptor.[156] 
The F-22 uses the INTEGRITY-178B operating system from Green Hills Software, which is also used on the F-35, several commercial airliners and the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle.[157] Herbert J. Carlisle has said that the F-22 can datalink with the Tomahawk (missile).[158] The F-22 uses a glass cockpit with no analog flight instruments.[159] A side-stick controller and two throttles are the main flight controls. The stick is force sensitive and has limited movement. The cockpit interior lighting is fully night-vision goggle compatible.[citation needed] The monochrome head-up display by GEC (which has since become BAE Systems) offers a wide field of view and serves as a primary flight instrument for the pilot; information is also displayed upon six color liquid crystal display (LCD) panels.[159] The integrated control panel (ICP) is a keypad system for entering communications, navigation, and autopilot data. Two 3 × 4 in (7.6 × 10 cm) up-front displays located around the ICP are used to display integrated caution advisory/warning data, communications, navigation and identification (CNI) data[citation needed] and also serve as the stand-by flight instrumentation group and fuel quantity indicator.[160] The stand-by flight group displays an artificial horizon, for basic instrument meteorological conditions. The 8 × 8 in (20 × 20 cm) primary multi-function display is located under the ICP, and is used for navigation and situation assessment.[160] Three 6.25 × 6.25 in (15.9 × 15.9 cm) secondary multi-function displays are located around the PMFD for tactical information and stores management.[160] The canopy is approximately 140 inches long, 45 inches wide, and 27 inches tall; it lacks a canopy bow for improved vision. An iridium-tin oxide coating gives the canopy a gold color and reflects radar waves.[161] The ejection seat is a version of the ACES II (Advanced Concept Ejection Seat) commonly used in USAF aircraft, with a center-mounted ejection control. Improvements over the previous models include an active arm restraint system to reduce injury.[citation needed] The life support system integrates critical components to sustain the pilot, such as the on-board oxygen generation system (OBOGS), and a breathing regulator/anti-g valve that controls flow and pressure to the mask and garments. The pilot’s protective garments are designed for chemical/biological/cold-water immersion protection, to counter g-forces and high altitudes, and provide thermal relief. The helmet incorporates active noise reduction for hearing protection.[citation needed] Suspicions regarding the performance of the OBOGS and life support equipment have been raised by several crashes.[162]

WP candidates diluting the votes? This is not a good sign

SINGAPORE: Four Political Donation Certificates have been issued for the May 26 by-election in Hougang constituency.
The Elections Department said on Tuesday that certificates were issued to Mr Desmond Choo, Mr Png Eng Huat, Dr Poh Lee Guan and Mr Zeng Guoyuan.
Mr Choo has been announced as the People’s Action Party candidate for the constituency.
Mr Png is running on the Workers’ Party ticket.
Dr Poh, a member of the Workers’ Party, has also been granted a Political Donation Certificate. The adjunct lecturer stood in last year’s general election as part of a five-man Workers’ Party team in Nee Soon GRC.
Responding to queries from Channel NewsAsia, the Workers’ Party said it has only nominated Mr Png as its candidate in Hougang, and that Dr Poh had not informed the party of any intention to contest.
Mr Zeng, a former Workers’ Party member, tried unsuccessfully to contest the General Election last year as an independent candidate in Mountbatten.
To be validly nominated as a candidate for election in a constituency, the nominee needs to, amongst other requirements, submit to the Returning Officer on Nomination Day on 16 May the Political Donation Certificate issued by the Registrar of Political Donations.

– CNA/cc
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If there is a 3 corner fight in Hougang SMC, there is a chance WP’s votes will be diluted, and a very high outsider chance PAP will win by a fluke shot, what is happening to WP, trying to take a shot at it’s own feet?
– Contributed by Oogle.