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12.12.10

Links 12/12/2010: The JCP Is Dead, Chrome OS Galore, Wikileaks Galore

Posted in News Roundup at 5:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Computer Engineer Barbie has a penguin
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Google

    • A Year of Extensions

      It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been a full year since we launched the Google Chrome extensions gallery.

    • I have one!
    • Cloud computing: the latest chapter in an epic journey

      On Tuesday, we announced a number of updates to Chrome and Chrome OS. For me, these announcements were among the most important of my working life—demonstrating the real power of computer science to transform people’s lives. It’s extraordinary how very complex platforms can produce beautifully simple solutions like Chrome and Chrome OS, which anyone can use from the get-go—as long as you get it right. And that’s very, very hard indeed as history has taught.

    • The Browser Takes All

      This week, Google unveiled a computer like no other: the Cr-48, a notebook that relies on the Web for all its software applications. Yet the Web search giant thinks the notebook can compete with computers that run all kinds of installed software.

      The matte black Cr-48 won’t be sold to the public, but thousands are being sent to consumers and businesses who have volunteered to test it. It introduces a new kind of operating system, called Chrome OS, that turns to the Web for almost everything. Google is pitching Chrome OS as its vision for a new form of computing—one that shifts the data, functionality and almost everything else you would expect from your desktop computer into the cloud. Chrome OS will get its biggest test when Acer and Samsung start selling notebook computers customized to run the software in mid-2011.

    • Keep calm and carry on: Chrome notebook

      At our Chrome event on Tuesday, we showed how Chrome notebooks can make computing simpler.

    • Why I’m *not* Signing Up for Google Chrome OS Pilot Program

      You must let them take statistics about your browsing.

    • Google’s Video Promoting Chrome Notebook
    • Google Chrome OS: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Cloud

      Free Software community has been working hard to get control over our computing. Free Software Foundation and similar organizations have been running various projects to release us from the clutches of proprietary technologies. Now, we have reached a point where are quite rich when it comes to the wealth of free and open source software.

      Suddenly, we see the emergence of cloud computing — arrival of Google Chrome netbooks and JoliCloud. How much should I, as a free software user, be concerned? Very much.

      As an individual user, cloud computing means I lose control from the computation, processing of my data as I don’t run/own the software which process my data. I will never be able to see the code or tweak it to improve performance if I want, because it runs on the servers of some giant corporate far far away in a distant galaxy. Cloud renders mute the whole concept of FOSS, the fun of hacking.

  • Kernel Space

    • Hacking on Kinect gets a whole lot easier

      PrimeSense, the company behind Kinect has released open-source drivers and established an Natural Interaction devices, applications and middleware organisation named OpenNI.

    • Kinect 3D Tech Company PrimeSense Releases Open Source PC/Mac Drivers

      PrimeSense, the company behind the 3D depth sensing technology in Microsoft’s Kinect accessory, has joined with two other companies to release a set of open source drivers for the device.

      The OpenNI project — a joint effort between PrimeSense, robotics company Willow Garage and motion control game developer Side-Kick — is a not-for-profit organization created to “certify and promote the compatibility and interoperability of Natural Interaction devices, applications and middleware,” according to its Web site.

    • PrimeSense releases open-source drivers for Kinect technology
    • HTG Explains: Which Linux File System Should You Choose?

      File systems are one of the layers beneath your operating system that you don’t think about—unless you’re faced with the plethora of options in Linux. Here’s how to make an educated decision on which file system to use.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD’s Linux Team Takes Another Blow

        It was just one year ago that AMD lost its core Linux engineering manager, Matthew Tippett, who had been with ATI Technologies for the better part of a decade and had built up the ATI Linux driver team that went on to make all of the major improvements while Matthew introduced many changes along the way. Tippett left AMD for the United States to head the Linux kernel development of Palm’s (now HP) WebOS software platform and also a pivotal role with us on the Phoronix Test Suite. Today now marks the last day for another ATI/AMD Linux veteran, Piranavan Selvanandan, who is now heading to the same boat after relocating to California.

      • HPL-GPU 1.0 Released For GPU Super Computing

        Matthias Bach, a researcher and developer on high-performance computing with the Goethe Universitaet Frankfurt am Main, has written in to inform us of this German university’s release of HPL-GPU 1.0. The HPL-GPU software package is a rewritten version of the LINPACK library that is re-engineered to run atop CALDGEMM, which is a DGEMM implementation developed at this university designed to run atop the latest AMD graphics processors.

        The HPL-GPU 1.0 package is the code that’s running atop LOEWE-CSC, which is a 832-node CPU/GPU cluster at Frankfurt University’s Center for Scientific Computing. This LOEWE-CSC cluster HPL performance was measured at 285 TeraFLOPS this year making it one of the fastest super-computers in the world. LOEWE-CSC was ranked 22nd on this year’s top 500 super-computer list and took the 8th spot on the green 500 list for the most energy efficient super-computers. This Frankfurt super-computer put outs out a massive 741 MFlops per Watt.

  • Applications

    • Top 5 Open Source Backup Software

      Back up softwares for Linux are not a rarity and there are quite a number of them available for free to download and use. And this is probably because, Linux is mostly used as servers which apparently has the highest need for tools to backup and similar. Here is our compilation of 5 awesome back up softwares for Ubuntu and Linux.

    • 5 Open Source Music Games for GNU/Linux

      When a website gets too big, with thousands and millions of documents, it gets harder and harder to manage the entire thing. Some people to keep things organized buy expensive commercial products to regularly index their documents for quick search but there are also some who take advantage of what’s available for free and open source.

      In this article, we’ve put together a list of top 20 most popular open source search and indexing packages that you can use on your website for just that and much more.

    • Fotoxx – Simple, Lightweight Photo Editor for Linux

      Fotoxx is a simple, open source photo editing application for Linux. Fotoxx image editor is incredibly lightweight and packed with all the basic features you could expect in an image editor application. If you haven’t tried Fotoxx yet, it is definitely worth your attention.

    • Social browser Rockmelt is coming to Linux – just not yet

      Rockmelt, the much hyped social web browser famously backed by by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, is heading to Linux – only not just yet.

    • Proprietary

      • Opera Cruises While “Going To 11”

        Any fan of the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap certainly knows, the tongue-in-cheek bit about how the band’s amplifiers are better than anyone else’s is because when they need that last bit of oomph, theirs go to 11. You know, 1 number past 10.

        Well, Opera is getting things together nicely and proving that it is up to the task of outperforming anyone else in the browser field. Always a leader, Opera is leading again, almost effortlessly.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

      • Wine 1.3.9 Brings An OpenCL 1.0 Library Wrapper

        Wine 1.2.2 was released last week as the second point release in the Wine 1.2 stable series, but this week the Wine developers are back to working on Wine 1.4 in the Wine 1.3 development series. Wine 1.3.9 was just-issued and it’s back to bringing some more interesting changes to this free software project, including in-browser ActiveX support and an OpenCL 1.0 library wrapper.

    • Games

      • Linux Can Deliver A Faster Gaming Experience Than Mac OS X

        Besides falling behind in frame-rates, Apple’s NVIDIA driver also only supports the full OpenGL 2.1 specification where as NVIDIA’s proprietary driver on Linux supports OpenGL 3.3 and other functionality not currently exposed on Mac OS X.

      • Alien Arena 2011 Is Coming Next Week

        John Diamond, the lead developer of the open-source Alien Arena game, has emailed in tipping us off that Alien Arena 2011 will be released next week. Alien Arena is a science-fiction first person shooter game that’s powered by a modified id Tech 2 game engine. We first reported on Alien Arena 2011 in October when talking about some of the planned features we were informed of, but as of next week it will be available to all Linux gamers (and those on Windows too) as an early Christmas present — it was just in May that Alien Arena 2010 was released.

      • Blub Volley – a nice little volleyball game for Ubuntu

        A reader by the name of Markus sent us an email to let us know of Blub Volley, a small, free and fun volleyball game.

      • 5 Open Source Music Games for GNU/Linux

        Believe it or not, GNU/Linux is already an amazing game platform. You might find this statement entirely implausible or rather incredulous but I really mean it. I didn’t know this until last evening when I was desperately looking for an open source alternative for the popular game “Guitar Hero”. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much, in fact, I was preparing myself for a total flop, or yet another monotonous copycat of GH. Oh boy… how wrong was I. Not only did I found the sort of game I was looking for, but also, I stumbled upon some other cool open source music games that totally changed my perception about open source games. But don’t take my words for it, just go and search for a very specific genre of games. I assure you that eventually you will find some quality open source alternatives. I do believe some of these games can be competent competitors to their commercial counterparts if they get more attention from the community.

      • Best online games (for Linux users, too!)

        I have chosen a tricky title. Online games are available for anyone using a modern browser, be they Windows, Linux, Mac, BSD, or Solaris users. All that is required is either a Flash Player or the Java plugin, so if you have those, you can start enjoying online games instantly.

        [...]

        All right, that would be all. If you’ve read all my gaming articles, most of the stuff written here is not really new. Furthermore, some of the reviewed titles are actually large game repositories, where you will find hundreds of cute games to play. Others are usually more complex standalone games, with in-depth plot and long gameplay. For example, you can RuneScape longer than you can WoW.

        The collection is fine-tuned to my own tastes and whims, so you may not like it all, but I think my best of the best list is fairly fair. It has a bit of everything, from classic first person shooters via artillery practice to solid British humor in ASCII. In between, you have some online roleplaying, arcade fighting, puzzles, physics, just take your pick. I honestly believe you’ll find a suitable game for just about anyone and anywhere.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • ‘Colors’ Is An Impressive Dark Gnome Theme With 12 Color Variations

        ‘Colors’ is an amazing – dare I say the best (or at least in top 3) – dark GNOME theme. I’ve found out about it from Nick, the Orta theme author who posted a link to ‘Colors’ in a comment on our last Orta post and even though I was a bit skeptic as I don’t like dark themes, after trying it out I must say I am truly impressed. Sure, it’s a matter of taste so you may not like it, but give it a try anyway because you can’t really get the real “feeling” by just looking at the screenshots.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Distro as Song ?

      After the article “Linux Distro as Food” which has been very successful i’ve decided to think this time: If every Linux distribution was a song, which would you choose to listen ?

      I’ll try to resume for every distro the keywords that come to my mind thinking at it; add to these keyword the year of publication and the word song, we’ll see what’s the first music video of an artist doing a search in google video.

    • Introducing UberBang 10.04

      Here is the download link. Also, here is the project page, where I’ve also uploaded things like the Openbox theme and icon set from #! 9.04.01 for my own use in creating UberBang 10.04. I hope you enjoy using this as much as I did creating it. That said, given all this random issues, as a #! developer would say, “please do not use this as your main stable system, as it may make your system go CRUNCH! BANG!”

    • New Releases

      • New ArchBang Live CD “Symbiosis” in January 2011

        Another newly found favorite, ArchBang, is going to release a new version in January 2011. Here’s a screenshot. Not that I needed a new release because it is just Arch Linux under the hood and that’s been updating perfectly here for the last two months without any stability problems or other issues. I am now running the latest 2.6.36 kernel etc. with wireless still working.

    • Red Hat Family

      • ripping out the safeties

        There have been the endless bull session threads on the CentOS main mailing list, nominally on the subjects of SELinux and IPv6 the last couple of weeks. I am just not of a mind to tolerate cr*ppy content on mailing lists anymore. On one such list, a ‘regular’ whom I identify as ‘…’ had the misfortune of being the ‘designated bad example’ of the day

      • Scientific Linux 6 Alpha 2 Out

        I’m not going to try and turn into Distrowatch and announce every release, but it’s quite exciting to see something moving on this front and have a free clone hopefully rather sooner than later. Also, the SL guys are always making some small additions to RHEL that I appreciate.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 15: A Potential Savior?

          One of my friends was showing me today a Gource-created video of his semester’s work that he made on his Fedora 14 “Laughlin” laptop. It looks really nice, but even though it has a quad-core processor, 4 GB of RAM, and a very nice AMD ATI dedicated graphics card (I don’t know exactly what model/specs), it still took a couple hours to do (i.e. far longer than it should have).

    • Debian Family

      • People behind Debian: David Kalnischkies, an APT developer

        The two first interviews were dedicated to long-time Debian developers. This time I took the opposite approach, I interviewed David Kalnischkies who is not (yet) a Debian developer. But he’s contributing to one of the most important software within Debian—the APT package manager—since 2009. You can already see him in many places in Debian sharing his APT knowledge when needed.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Alpha 1 Unity Checkpoint

          While attending a sprint this week, I’ve gone ahead and updated my Dell mini 10v to Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1, and also took some updates on Tuesday.

          I have to say, I am finding Unity to be running really really well on this computer. I can use the spider diagram to provide a more structured description to what I think is going well, and also, how far we still have to go before we have a shippable product.

        • A nice autohide fix for the Unity launcher

          Jason Smith sends this along:

          So there was a seemingly simple bug, the launcher would autohide when the quicklist was open.This was due to the fact that the launcher was entirely unaware of when a quicklist was open.

        • PPA Updates: Minitube, gThumb, Launchpad Getkeys, Dropbox Share

          This post is just a short summary of some updated packages in the WebUpd8 PPAs.

        • Ubuntu Linux Gets a Manga Fan Magazine – Ubunchu!

          How many Ubuntu fans also like Japanese Manga comics? My guess would be that it’s a pretty high percentage. The author of this comic series, Hiroshi Seo, is apparently a big fan of Ubuntu, the Linux operating system that many of us have come to love.

        • Eva’s Great Guide to Ubuntu – Part 1
        • Ubuntu to Drop GDM for LightDM
        • Certification of HP Desktops

          Starting with these 11 desktop models is a great step and I would like to thank the team at HP for their cooperation, at the same time calling out the work of our unsung heroes in Victor Palau’s Canonical certification team.

        • Ubuntu Brainstorm Top 10 for December 2010

          As I mentioned recently, the Ubuntu Technical Board is reviewing the most popular topics in Ubuntu Brainstorm and coordinating official responses on behalf of the project. This means that the most popular topics on Ubuntu Brainstorm receive expert answers from the people working in these areas.

          [...]

          Allison Randal, Ubuntu Technical Architect, answers with an analysis of the problem and the proposed solutions, an overview of current activity in this area, and pointers for getting involved.

        • Top Ideas for Upcoming Ubuntu Releases

          Ubuntu Brainstorm is a wiki-like interface that allows the Ubuntu community to input ideas that might make Ubuntu more usable, friendly, or fun. Almost 20,000 ideas have been entered and have received 2.5 million votes in the two years since its introduction. Entries can be sorted by all ideas, popular ideas, ideas in development, or implemented ideas. Matt Zimmerman, Debian developer and Canonical employee, thinks it might be a good idea to periodically collect and discuss the current status and future possibilities of the most popular ideas.

        • 3 Awesome Ubuntu/Linux Multi Touch Demo Videos

          Here are a bunch of interesting video demos showcasing native multitouch support in Linux. I especially liked the one which demoed a good looking Dell touch pad running Ubuntu Unity. Edit: A new video has been added taking the total count to 4.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Super OS – Do we really need it?

            Super OS, formerly Super Ubuntu, is a remastered (modified) Ubuntu, a Ubuntu clone if you will, designed to make Ubuntu more usable out of the box. As such, Super OS joins a long line of Ubuntu derivatives, all of which try to extend, enhance and pimpify the basic Ubuntu release.

            My personal experience shows that this benevolent and seemingly simple task is in fact a very complex and difficult project that very few can manage successfully and without lots of inconsistencies. For instance, Zorin, mFatOS and UberStudent are all Ubuntu modifications, but neither managed to quite beat the original. You gain a handful of improvements, in some cases, massive improvements, but each new layer of functionality adds problems and bugs that small teams with virtually no QA behind their projects cannot really manage that well.

          • Jolicloud 1.1 review

            Jolicloud comes with enough applications out of the box to satisfy the vast majority of users. The most important is, of course, the browser. Jolicloud offers you three to choose from. Chromium, by the way, is the default.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Why Nokia Is in Deep Trouble With MeeGo

          Since that time, Nokia has been heralding Maemo and then MeeGo as the future of its phone business, and in doing so have put significant faith in the open source universe.

          What Nokia really needs right now is a killer smartphone OS–n phones it’s selling at this very moment, during this holiday season, which is sure to go down in history as being the defining moment for smartphone sales. The revolution starts here, but Nokia isn’t 100 percent present.

      • Android

        • BioLock Coming Along Nicely, Biometric Authentication Not Far Off for Android

          Now that front-facing cameras are all the rage, there is a bit more than just video conferencing that they can be useful for. A promising and interesting use of the now common hardware is biometric authentication, through eye and/or facial scanning as a mean to unlock a device or private files stored on the device. Blue Planet Apps has been working away on their own BioLock, and from the latest demo video they have offered up, it is coming along quite nicely.

        • Android OS is on 80 percent of smartphones sold via Verizon

          ITG Investment Research analyst Matthew Goodman has noted this week that Android has quickly become the top selling smartphone OS on Verizon’s network, far outpacing RIM’s BlackBerry.
          In October of 2009, RIM BlackBerries controlled a full 93 percent of Verizon’s smartphone sales, with Windows Mobile controlling the rest.

        • fring Launches Smart DVQ For Android

          fring is rolling out its network-optimized DVQ mobile video calling technology. DVQ technology is compatible with all mobile data bearers: 3G, 4G, WIMax and WiFi.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why we use and contribute to open source software

    We do utilize some commercial software but there is often the alternative choice of utilizing open source software, preferably open source software that implements an open standard. Open source software projects often originate as a labor of love by software developers who are tired of seeing a shared problem solved over and over again in one off solutions, or perhaps they realize that they can offer a more simple and elegant alternative to a commercial product. The great thing about a good open source project that solves a shared challenge is that it develops it’s own momentum and it is sustained for a long time by a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement. At Netflix we jumped on for the ride a long time ago and we have benefited enormously from the virtuous cycles of actively evolving open source projects. We benefit from the continuous improvements provided by the community of contributors outside of Netflix. We also benefit by contributing back the changes we make to the projects. By sharing our bug fixes and new features back out into the community, the community then in turn continues to improve upon bug fixes and new features that originated at Netflix and then we complete the cycle by bring those improvements back into Netflix.

  • On Symbian, Communities, and Motivation

    It seems strange. Considering the great successes of Gnome, KDE, Eclipse, and many other groups, it is curious that Symbian was not able to follow along the same path. I have always been a great believer in OSS consortia, because I think that the sharing of research and development is a main strength of the open source model, and I think that consortia are among the best ways to implement R&D sharing efficiently.
    However, to work well, Consortia need to provide benefits in terms of efficiency or visibility to all the actors that participate in them, not only to the original developer group. For Nokia, we know that one of the reasons to open up Symbian was to reduce the porting effort. As Eric Raymond reports, “they did a cost analysis and concluded they couldn’t afford the engineering hours needed to port Symbian to all the hardware they needed to support. (I had this straight from a Symbian executive, face-to-face, around 2002).”

  • What is the purpose of OpenWLANMap?

    To ensure the data to be free and to avoid abuse of commercial providers we have several security mechanisms. Beside of that all the data are licensed and published using the therms of the GNU Free Documentation License (GNU FDL).

    This license gives users the possibility to use data out of the database with no need to get the permission from the originator. So for these data in every case the conditions of the GNU FDL are valid. A “document” according to the definitions of this license is a single data set out of the database (not the database structure and organisation itself).

  • The frustration is mounting

    About 56% of our office now uses OpenOffice for all their documents.

  • A lot of investment banks are using open source software, but techies shouldn’t worry

    One of the more interesting revelations to come out from the (imminently decided upon) Sergey Aleynikov trial is that Goldman Sachs’ code may not even have been worth stealing.

    Benjamin Goldberg, an associate professor in New York University’s computer science department, testified that the code Aleynikov took contained “lots of open source software”.

    Or, as Aleynikov’s lawyer Kevin Marino said: “The general common notion that Goldman Sachs is the New York Yankees and Goldman’s systems are the best ain’t necessarily so.”

  • LibreOffice: Document Foundation Steering Committee Public Phone Conference 11-Dec-2010

    Current agenda items:

    * Support models and how to organise this on an international basis
    * Bylaws State of Affairs

  • Open source news slowing down?

    I just did a tweet saying that I thought the number of news stories about open source seems to have slowed down quite a bit in the last month or so, outside of the major projects and companies. Indeed, the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 was big news.

  • Events

    • FOSS.in [schedule up]
    • GSM: global social menace?

      What will be the outcome of 68% of all human beings relying on a communication system that is insecure, unconfidential and closed to inspection and understanding? GSM looks like a disaster waiting to happen; watch this space!

    • RLUG meet, December 2010

      Yesterday we had the last LUG meet for this year, and the last in this current location (from next month we need another place, still looking for it). One above another, it was a good one.

    • New US cybersecurity bill could threaten free software

      RMS recently called our attention to the Homeland Security Cyber and Physical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2010. This bill, currently being considered in a House subcommittee, has the potential to threaten free software.

      Its loose wording would allow bad measures like requiring companies, institutions, or even just major Web sites, to use specific proprietary software.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Response to Apache Departure from JCP
    • The JCP Is Dead

      Of course, we had hoped that our previous blog post would have spun up more support, but being the pragmatists that we are, we also knew that the other EC members were being seriously pressured by Oracle to vote YES, and so we held out little hope. We also hoped for a better response from Oracle, but what we got was basically self-serving lip-service with what is most likely the funniest and yet most inaccurate line yet in the whole ordeal:

      “Oracle provides TCK licenses under fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms consistent with its obligations under the JSPA.”

      If that little nugget doesn’t show that Accuracy and Oracle don’t mix, I don’t know what will.

    • Apache is being forced into a Java Fork
    • Oracle set to launch MySQL 5.5 GA release

      Oracle is expected to launch the general-availability version of MySQL 5.5 during a webcast event on Wednesday, December 15.

      The event will be hosted by Tomas Ulin, vice president of MySQL development, and Rob Young, senior MySQL product manager, who will update attendees on the latest developments with the open-source database.

  • CMS

    • One Drupal to rule them all

      More and more, I see large organizations standardize on Drupal. Drupal’s low-cost entry point and open, modular architecture provides the perfect foundation. Drupal is one of the few solutions that can scale from very small to extremely large, and has the depth and breadth of functionality to support thousands of different use cases. Drupal sites can span a wide range of functionality; from blogs, to marketing microsites, social business community sites, corporate intranets, e-commerce sites and more. There are incredible success stories for each of these use cases already. Plus, we’ve now reached a point where many open source content management systems outperform proprietary solutions on technical superiority and pace of innovation. Drupal is in a very unique position.

    • Telenet using Drupal for knowledge base

      Telenet, the largest provider of broadband cable services in Belgium, wants happy customers, and customers are happy when they can solve any problems or answer any questions concerning a company’s products on their own, or by simply calling a friendly helpful client advisor.

  • Business

    • Conflicts in open source business models

      I can’t imagine a world in which compromise and collaboration could be more important than in an open source business model. The model itself opens a Pandora’s Box of issues that create a minefield that must be navigated on a daily basis and makes those concepts critical to success. Think, for an instance, about a world in which one or many of the possible points of differentiation are freely shared—and some even given away—without condition to parties whose interests are naturally misaligned with yours. The hope is through sharing that the collective community or society will be better served.

    • Conflicts in open source business models

      My suggestions to solve these three challenges are rather simplistic. Disavow those community members who do not take their responsibility seriously. Continue to educate the lawmakers of the world about the changes and challenges that the current environment presents to true innovation and collaboration. And finally, be wary of simply following the crowd, because true leadership isn’t about only doing what is popular. It is about way more than that. But those are mine, and quite frankly I’m more interested in listening to yours, so please let me know what you think. To be continued…

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • “What free software licence should I use?”

      I often ask questions and answer them on Stackoverflow – an Open site available to anyone to who has programming questions. It’s so successful that over about 2-3 years it has had over 1MILLION questions. Yes, one million. That’s a wonderful example of crowdsourcing meeting a need.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • Britain’s billions of individual human interactions, visualised.

        A team of researchers from MIT, Cornell University and University College London have combined to utilize one of the world’s largest telecommunications records to visualise calls made between individual towns and cities, indicating how tightly connected some of them are.

      • What “open data” means – and what it doesn’t

        Last week, an article in the Wall Street Journal talked about the Open Data Partnership, which “will allow consumers to edit the interests, demographics and other profile information collected about them. It also will allow people to choose to not be tracked at all.” The article goes on to discuss data mining and privacy issues, which are hot topics in today’s digital world, where we all wonder just how much of our personal data is out there and how it’s being used. These are valid concerns being talked about in other, more appropriate fora. I, however, would like to address my personal pet peeve about the dilution of the term open data.

        The Open Knowledge Definition says it this way, “A piece of content or data is open if you are free to use, reuse, and redistribute it — subject only, at most, to the requirement to attribute and share-alike.” Generally, this means that the data should be released in a format that is free of royalties and other IP restrictions. The problem is that an increasing number of people are using the term open data to mean publicly available data.

  • Programming

    • Ranking Programming Languages by Size of Community and Number of Projects

      Drew Conway and John Myles White of the website Dataists decided to try ranking programming languages using a new system: the size of the community and the number of projects. In Conway’s blog post about the results, he admits that there’s no perfect way to find data about either measure. He and Myles settled on using the number of questions in StackOverflow as a measure of the community and the number of projects in Github as a measure of the number of projects.

    • Top 50 Programming Quotes of All Time
  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Aurora: $190k seized because brothers were drug suspects

    Two brothers who say police unlawfully seized more than $190,000 from them during a traffic stop had been under surveillance and were suspected of drug-dealing, a lawyer for the city of Aurora said today during a court hearing.

    Though neither Jose nor Jesus Martinez is charged with a crime, authorities are seeking forfeiture of $190,040 found in Jesus’ truck when he was stopped by an Aurora police officer on Oct. 18.

  • Amazon, P2P and non-centralised infrastructure

    Now it’s clear Amazon, Paypal and others will disconnect their customers without many questions asked, perhaps it’s time to explore other approaches to networked infrastructure. The field is immature, but there are exciting experiments in progress.

  • MasterCard and Visa cut off Wikileaks, but the KKK is still OK!

    That’s right. MasterCard and Visa reportedly stopped transactions for those wishing to donate money to WikiLeaks, due to a “technicality”. But anyone who wants to do some Christmas shopping and buy “Klan Novelties” like this lovely little ceramic tchotchke, can visit the official Ku Klux Klan web site and put it on their credit card.

  • Phone hacking: Andy Coulson will not be charged says DPP

    Andy Coulson, the prime minister’s director of communications, will not face prosecution over allegations he knew of phone hacking while he was editor of the News of the World, it was announced today.

    The Crown Prosecution Service announced the decision after spending the last four weeks studying material from a renewed Scotland Yard investigation into the claims.

  • Germany and France vow tighter policy coordination

    Germany and France pledged on Friday to better align their tax and labor policies to foster convergence in the euro zone, but rejected calls for an increase in the bloc’s rescue fund and joint sovereign bonds.

  • Top 10 worst products ever
  • Silvio Berlusconi accused of buying MPs’ votes

    Investigation opens into claims of ‘transfer market’ defections as Italian PM’s party faces censure motions in parliament

  • Seven Thoughts on Wikileaks

    The wikileaks saga gives the lie to the claim of United States omnipotence over the naming and numbering system via ICANN. Even assuming the United States could order ICANN (through its contractual arrangements and de facto control) to shut down all wikileaks sites (something that is far from obvious), ICANN could not follow through because its main leverage over unwanted wikileaks websites is its threat to de-list top-level domain names where the wikileaks sites appear. It is doubtful that ICANN could make that threat credibly for many reasons, including (a) the sites are shifting across top-level domains too quickly, (b) ICANN is not going to shut down a top-level domain to get at a handful of sites, and (c) alternative and perhaps root-splitting DNS alternatives might arise if it did.

  • Jeremy Marks “Attempted Lynching” Case

    On Dec. 2, Jeremy Marks, a Verdugo Hills High School special education student, was offered a new plea offer by the L.A. County District Attorney: If he pled guilty to charges of obstructing an officer, resisting arrest, criminal threats and “attempted lynching,” he’d serve only 32 months in prison.

    That actually was an improvement from the previous offer made to the young, black high schooler — seven years in prison.

  • Invaders from Mars

    The rot set in back in the 19th century, when the US legal system began recognizing corporations as de facto people. Fast forward past the collapse of the ancien regime, and into modern second-wave colonialism: once the USA grabbed the mantle of global hegemon from the bankrupt British empire in 1945, they naturally exported their corporate model worldwide, as US diplomatic (and military) muscle was used to promote access to markets on behalf of US corporations.

    Corporations do not share our priorities. They are hive organisms constructed out of teeming workers who join or leave the collective: those who participate within it subordinate their goals to that of the collective, which pursues the three corporate objectives of growth, profitability, and pain avoidance. (The sources of pain a corporate organism seeks to avoid are lawsuits, prosecution, and a drop in shareholder value.)

    Corporations have a mean life expectancy of around 30 years, but are potentially immortal; they live only in the present, having little regard for past or (thanks to short term accounting regulations) the deep future: and they generally exhibit a sociopathic lack of empathy.

  • Bill of Rights in Cyberspace, amended

    I’m still refining my thoughts on a Bill of Rights in Cyberspace — the latest version in preparation for tomorrow’s PDF symposium on WIkileaks and transparency. The idea is to have principles we can point to when dealing with such events as Wikileaks, Google/Verizon, Google/China, and so on.

  • Amazon invites 5 terabyte mondo-files into the heavens

    Amazon has increased the maximum object size on its S3 online storage service to 5 terabytes. Previously, S3 users were forced to store large files in chunks no larger than about 5 gigabytes.

  • US suspects North Korea and Burma participating in ‘covert military’ activities

    In diplomatic cables released by the whistle blowing website Wikileaks on Friday, it is revealed that the United States embassy in Rangoon suspects the North Korean and Burmese military are participating in “covert military or military-industrial” activities. In the cables dating back as early as January 2004, the embassy reports the military activities could include the construction of a nuclear reactor in or near Minbu, along with “SAM missiles” and an underground facility with as many as 300 North Korean military personnel assisting the Burmese military in the construction. Burma is primarily controlled by its military.

  • Hyperdemocracy

    For the past three hundred years, the relationship between the press and the state has been straightforward: the press tries to publish, the state uses its various mechanisms to thwart those efforts. This has produced a cat-and-mouse steady-state, a balance where selection pressures kept the press tamed and the state – in many circumstances – somewhat accountable to the governed. There are, as always, exceptions.

    In the last few months, the press has become hyperconnected, using that hyperconnectivity to pierce the veil of secrecy which surrounds the state; using the means available to it to hyperdistribute those secrets. The press has become hyperempowered, an actor unlike anything ever experienced before.

  • Underage Labor Around The World (PHOTOS): 2011 Child Labor Index

    According to the Guardian, there are more than 200 million children working throughout the world — and of these, roughly one in 12 is in a hazardous job such as mining. “Not only is child labour wrong, but the existence of child labour within a company’s value chain can have significant impacts on reputation and profits and it is critical that companies undertake stringent monitoring of all suppliers,” principal analyst Monique Bianchi is quoted as saying on the Maplecroft website.

  • Child labour most widespread in the key emerging economies – Maplecroft study

    A new study has identified the key emerging economies that supply the world with manufactured goods and natural resources, and that are fueling the global economic recovery, as the countries with the worst record of underage workers within their labour markets.

    The Child Labour Index and map, produced by global risks advisory firm Maplecroft, rates 68 countries as ‘extreme risk’ with Bangladesh, China, India, Nigeria and Pakistan amongst those with the most widespread abuses of child workers.

  • “Revenge of the Electric Car” trailer released

    “Revenge of the Electric Car” is a new documentary from director Chris Paine, who also directed “Who Killed the Electric Car.” The new film, coming in Spring 2011, focuses on the dramatic resurgence of the electric car around the world, “tracks the electrifying race to challenge the age of gasoline,” according to its promoters.

    Quoting from the introduction to its trailer on YouTube…

    “In 2006, as many as 5,000 modern electric cars were destroyed by the major car companies that built them.

  • Science

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • 15 year old Tells Establishment to Stick-it.
    • DiManno: How long can Blair stay shackled?

      Anybody got the keys to Police Chief Bill Blair’s handcuffs?

      Because Toronto’s top cop — indisputably the most powerful municipal law enforcement official in Canada — has got a bad case of the shackles.

      Five officers identified by late Wednesday afternoon as cop-on-civilian combatants during the G20 Summit protests and there’s apparently precious little Blair can do about it.

      Can’t fire ’em. Can’t suspend ’em without pay, pending a disciplinary hearing. Can’t compel them — if designated by the Special Investigations Unit as subject officers, which hasn’t happened yet with this quintet — to come forth for interviewing by the independent agency.

    • DiManno: New tape backs up protester’s beating allegation

      When he is finally allowed up off the ground after being stomped and pummeled by cops, Adam Nobody appears to have suffered no significant facial injuries — at least none that show.

      There isn’t any blood, nary evidence of wounds, and the nose — which Nobody suspects was snapped during that pile-on melee — is exactly where it’s supposed to be.

    • Ontario Ombudsman statement on G20 arrests and detentions

      Ontario Ombudsman André Marin today issued a brief additional statement about his special report Caught in the Act. The statement addresses issues and questions surrounding the use of police powers granted by the province’s enactment of Regulation 233/10 under the Public Works Protection Act.

    • 14 officers identified in G20 takedown

      The Special Investigations Unit has the name of the officer who used a baton to hit a G20 protester, as well as those of 13 other officers who were present or nearby at the time.

      The police watchdog is still gathering information and tracking down civilian witnesses, said spokesman Frank Phillips.

      By Thursday, investigators also identified one civilian witness, armed with a video camera, for whom they had made a public plea earlier this week.

    • Adam Nobody Vs Bill Blair -Man suffered Broken Nose at G20 Toronto
    • Build Settlements, Be Intransigent, Get Weaponry

      On Dec. 9, 2010, Haaretz, one of Israel’s top newspapers and news sources, reported that the United States would allocate some $205 million for something called an “Iron Dome anti-rocket system.” As a reward, then, for the non-stop building of settlements, Israel was showered with weapons by the U.S., thanks mostly to the Pro-Israel lobby, which has remained a huge obstacle in solving the Israel-Palestine conflict from time immemorial to begin with.

    • The Key to Majority Government in Canada
    • Liu Xiaobo and the Nobel Peace Prize

      Obviously it is deplorable on its own terms that the Chinese government continues to imprison the winner, Liu Xiaobo (left, from Reuters); that it will not allow his wife or other family members or representatives to attend; that it is pressuring so many other countries to boycott the event; and that it is preparing to block news coverage of the award within China. The Chinese central authorities no doubt intend all these as demonstrations of strength. In the rest of the world’s eyes, of course, there could be no more dramatic demonstration of weakness and insecurity. As would have been the case if the U.S. government had kept Martin Luther King in prison after his Nobel Peace Prize, blocked all coverage of his award, kept his family under house arrest, pressured other countries not to go to Oslo, etc. And as it was when South Africa jailed Nelson Mandela.

    • WikiLeaks continues to fund itself via tech startup Flattr

      WikiLeaks, which publishes anonymous leaks of secret material (most recently 250,000 previously secret US embassy cables) still has a trick up its sleeve. In the last few days its sources of funding have been gradually cut off. MasterCard, PayPal and now Visa have all suspended payments to the organsation and founder Julian Assange has been remanded in custody in London without bail (so far).

    • Lying is Not Patriotic
    • Wikileaks War: Anonymous Releases Heinlin-esque “Operation:Payback” Video
    • Police chief one of The Untouchables

      Despite being humiliated by Ontario’s top watchdog for a state of “martial law” that in some cases led to unacceptable strip searches and police beatings, Chief Bill Blair appears to be either a provincial government fall guy or someone in the sweet spot where no one above him has the courage to sanction him.

    • Human Rights Day

      Ordinary people may be able to make such comments as calling on Presidents to assassinate people as a “joke,” but people with strong ties to a sitting government should not be making such statements on news magazine programs that are being broadcast across Canadian’s national television broadcaster, CBC.

      No doubt Mr. Flanagan was on the program in question because of his strong ties to the Canadian government.

    • G20 report changes nothing: York cops

      Political fallout over the G20 summit in Toronto will not make York Regional Police less likely to lend a hand in other jurisdictions during major events, the force’s deputy chief said.
      About 400 York officers were deployed to Toronto sites, including the fence that separated demonstrators from world leaders and a detention centre, during the June summit.
      York police often assist during high-profile events in Toronto. For example, local officers helped police large-scale protests by the Tamil-Canadian community in 2009.

    • Arrest, Detention and the G20: There is More to Civil Liberties than Freedom From Arrest
    • Schoolboy warned by police over picket plan at David Cameron’s office

      The mother of a 12-year-old boy has criticised Thames Valley police for taking her son out of lessons because he was planning to picket David Cameron’s constituency office today.

      Nicky Wishart, a pupil at Bartholomew School, Eynsham, Oxfordshire, organised the event on Facebook to highlight the plight of his youth centre, which is due to close in March next year due to budget cuts.

      The protest, which was due to take place today, has attracted over 130 people on Facebook, most of whom are children who use youth centres in Cameron’s constituency, Witney.

    • Railgun developed by U.S. Navy can hit targets 100 miles away

      According to Fox News, the United States Navy has been developing a weapon called the railgun that has cost $211 million since 2005.

    • Espionage Act: How the Government Can Engage in Serious Aggression Against the People of the United States

      This week, Senators Joe Lieberman and Dianne Feinstein engaged in acts of serious aggression against their own constituents, and the American people in general. They both invoked the 1917 Espionage Act and urged its use in going after Julian Assange. For good measure, Lieberman extended his invocation of the Espionage Act to include a call to use it to investigate the New York Times, which published WikiLeaks’ diplomatic cables. Reports yesterday suggest that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder may seek to invoke the Espionage Act against Assange.

      These two Senators, and the rest of the Congressional and White House leadership who are coming forward in support of this appalling development, are cynically counting on Americans’ ignorance of their own history — an ignorance that is stoked and manipulated by those who wish to strip rights and freedoms from the American people. They are manipulatively counting on Americans to have no knowledge or memory of the dark history of the Espionage Act — a history that should alert us all at once to the fact that this Act has only ever been used — was designed deliberately to be used — specifically and viciously to silence people like you and me.

    • John Pilger: Why are wars not being reported honestly?

      In the US Army manual on counterinsurgency, the American commander General David Petraeus describes Afghanistan as a “war of perception . . . conducted continuously using the news media”. What really matters is not so much the day-to-day battles against the Taliban as the way the adventure is sold in America where “the media directly influence the attitude of key audiences”. Reading this, I was reminded of the Venezuelan general who led a coup against the democratic government in 2002. “We had a secret weapon,” he boasted. “We had the media, especially TV. You got to have the media.”

  • Cablegate

    • Wikileaks – USA

      Julian Assange has been labelled one of the most dangerous men on earth. With the most comprehensive archive of background reports in the world, we get right inside the guarded world of the whistle-blower.

    • The Sunshine Policy

      The United States has quietly asked allies like Yemen and Pakistan for some extraordinary favors in its war on terrorism. Is it really so terrible if WikiLeaks forces them to explain those demands?

    • [Search for Wikileaks]
    • Julia Gillard’s Left flank revolts over Julian Assange

      JULIA Gillard is facing a revolt from MPs in her left-wing parliamentary faction, enraged at the treatment of Julian Assange.

      The MPs are demanding the government stop treating Mr Assange as a criminal and protect his rights as an Australian citizen and whistleblower.

      A large number of MPs have spoken to The Weekend Australian to express grave concerns at the language ministers and the Prime Minister are using in relation to Mr Assange.

      Laurie Ferguson, a friend and factional colleague of Ms Gillard who was dumped as parliamentary secretary for multicultural affairs and settlement services, told The Weekend Australian the government had overreacted to the WikiLeaks release of secret US documents. He said the information that had been released was crucial to democracy and exposing the truth.

    • Military bans disks, threatens courts-martial to stop new leaks

      It’s too late to stop WikiLeaks from publishing thousands more classified documents, nabbed from the Pentagon’s secret network.

      But the U.S. military is telling its troops to stop using CDs, DVDs, thumb drives and every other form of removable media — or risk a court martial.

    • American exceptionalism, American hypocrisy

      AMERICA’S reaction to WikiLeaks’ recent trickle of confidential diplomatic messages has not improved its reputation in Europe, at least according to this article by Steven Erlanger in the New York Times. Mr Erlanger offers an entertaining run-down of sharply critical opinions from pundits and politicos across the pond. Their theme, as Mr Erlanger puts it in his lede, is that “Washington’s fierce reaction to the flood of secret diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks displays imperial arrogance and hypocrisy, indicating a post-9/11 obsession with secrecy that contradicts American principles”.

    • A question of restraint: what prevents police officers from killing protesters?

      When asked about the (idiotic) attack by protesters on the car carrying the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, he praised the “restraint” of the firearms officers who were there.

      The implication appeared to be that, but for this “restraint”, the protesters would have quite properly been shot dead. The Commissioner furthermore described the restraint of his officers generally, not by reference to the officers following training, policies and procedures, but in terms which meant he could commend the officers’ moral qualities.

    • Leaks and Leakers

      The WikiLeaks plus Manning story has truly revealed that the US government will do anything necessary to silence its critics, legally or illegally. The way in which it is orchestrating a highly questionable international effort against both WikiLeaks and Julian Assange is despicable. There exists a sharp divide between those who believe government secrets should always be protected at all costs and those who believe that secrecy in government exists only to conceal official misbehavior. Obviously there is a middle ground hidden somewhere between the two, but those who favor the narrative that accepts that there is a nefarious government in Washington ruthlessly manipulating a world empire have pretty much gotten it right. The documents and the Obama Administration behavior together tell the tale.

    • Predicting the future of WikiLeaks: Follow the media!

      The argument I’m making in the Times piece rests on three premises:

      a) WikiLeaks, at least in its post-Cablegate reincarnation, has two major assets: an easily recognizable brand and an extensive network of contacts in the media

      b) If the Cablegate release ends up having significant global repercussions — resignations of politicians, alterations in the behavior of governments and corporations — this is bound to encourage more people to take risks and start leaking

      c) The buzz generated by the Cablegate makes it clear that WikiLeaks is only as effective as their media partners: they are the ones screening the cables, identifying narrative threads, redacting the names, and, most importantly, embarrassing the parties involved.

    • Activist on Wikileaks: ‘This is a war… a war of data’
    • WikiLeaks cables: Pope wanted Muslim Turkey kept out of EU

      The pope is responsible for the Vatican’s growing hostility towards Turkey joining the EU, previously secret cables sent from the US embassy to the Holy See in Rome claim.

      In 2004 Cardinal Ratzinger, the future pope, spoke out against letting a Muslim state join, although at the time the Vatican was formally neutral on the question.

      The Vatican’s acting foreign minister, Monsignor Pietro Parolin, responded by telling US diplomats that Ratzinger’s comments were his own rather than the official Vatican position.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Vatican refused to engage with child sex abuse inquiry

      The Vatican refused to allow its officials to testify before an Irish commission investigating the clerical abuse of children and was angered when they were summoned from Rome, US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks reveal.

      Requests for information from the 2009 Murphy commission into sexual and physical abuse by clergy “offended many in the Vatican” who felt that the Irish government had “failed to respect and protect Vatican sovereignty during the investigations”, a cable says.

    • State Department: We did not ask PayPal to cut off WikiLeaks
    • Pakistani media publishes fake WikiLeaks scoops
    • Paypal shut my account today because my business donated money to wikileaks.

      I go to log into my business account, and it’s locked. The girl on the phone told me it’s because my account handles a large amount of money (it’s a biz account), I recently sent a lot of money ($4000) overseas, and I also sent money to wikileaks. My account is being investigated for illegal activities and I have to account for what the money was used for. They want invoices and such.

      I sweep my money out of there daily because paypal sucks balls, so I am only out $30. We sure are heading towards an orwellian future, real fucking fast.

      –update–

      I’ve been blacklisted as well. “This account has been permanently locked. All information associated with this account has been blocked from the PayPal system and cannot be registered with another account.”

      –update2– I will record my conversation on monday, paypal has no support on the weekend. Billion dollar company with no weekend phone support.

    • State Department: We did not ask PayPal to cut off WikiLeaks

      The State Department denied a report today that it contacted the online money transfer service PayPal and asked them to cut ties with WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, who remains behind bars in the United Kingdom.

      “It is not true,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told The Cable. “We have not been in touch with PayPal.”

      Osama Bedier, vice president at PayPal, told an audience Wednesday at Paris’ tech conference Le Web’10 that PayPal had shut down its business with WikiLeaks, which used the electronic money transfer service to collect donations, at the request of the State Department.

    • Wikileaks exposing a lot more than cable dispatches

      What do the leaks reveal? One opinion: WikiLeaks Shows the Skills of U.S. Diplomats. So what’s the real furor about? I’d say control.

    • Bye bye, #Paypal! You should not have harassed #Wikileaks

      I’ve just cancelled my Paypal account because I can’t agree with their actions regarding #Wikileaks. They should not have prevented them from getting donations, either by harassing them or harassing other customers who donated (if true).

    • WikiLeaks row: why Amazon’s desertion has ominous implications for democracy

      One of the most interesting aspects of the WikiLeaks controversy is the light it has shed on the providers of cloud computing. One after another they have fallen over like dominoes when the going got rough. First, some of the ISPs hosting WikiLeaks caved in; then EveryDNS, the company that mapped its domain names (eg wikileaks.org) on to machine addresses, dropped it; then Amazon, which had enough computer power and bandwidth to resist even the most determined cyber-attacks, took it off its computers; then PayPal and later Mastercard, the online conduits for donations, cancelled its accounts. The rationalisations these outfits gave for dropping WikiLeaks had a common theme, namely that it had violated the terms and conditions under which the terminated services had been provided.

    • Libération hosts WikiLeaks mirror: Statement

      Prominent French newspaper Libération is now hosting a WikiLeaks mirror at http://wikileaks.liberation.fr . Please find below a translation of the media group’s statement:

      ‘We have chosen to help prevent the asphyxiation of WikiLeaks at a time when governments and companies try to block its operation without even a legal order. Like thousands of other sites, Libération.fr decided to participate in the support movement that is being put into place on the internet, replicating WikiLeaks content fully. These sites, called mirrors, can be hosted by anyone who has server space available. This is what we did, in order to prevent the disappearance from the public record of WikiLeaks documents selected with partner media organizations. We have therefore opened this site: wikileaks.liberation.fr’

    • The right reaction

      BIG crimes deserve tough responses.

      [...]

      But calibrating that response raises questions of principle, practice and priority. Businesses will go their own way. Some, such as PayPal, Visa and MasterCard, which handled donations to WikiLeaks, and Amazon, which provided web-hosting services, have dumped it as a customer in response to American outrage. More may follow. They risk attacks from its fans, just as those that refuse face hostility from their customers in America. Too bad: business is full of hard choices.

    • Freedom is not terrorism [IMG]
    • WikiRebels – The Documentary
    • Arrest of WikiLeaks leader indicates lack of democracy: Putin

      The arrest of enigmatic Wikileaks founder Julian Assange indicates a problem with democracy, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

      “If they have a full democracy, why have they hidden mister Assange away in prison? Is that what democracy is?” the premier said at a briefing with his French counterpart Francois Fillon.

      “In Russian villages they say `some people`s cows can moo, but yours should keep quiet.` So I would like to shoot the puck back at our American colleagues,” Putin added.

    • Anonymous’ Operation Payback IRC Operator Arrested

      A teenager was arrested yesterday on suspicion of being involved with the Anonymous’ Operation Payback. The operation orchestrated DDoS attacks on anti-piracy targets in the last months, and more recently against those who obstructed Wikileaks’ work. Sources have informed TorrentFreak that the arrestee is one of the IRC-operators of Anonymous, known under the nickname Jeroenz0r.

    • The Anonymous group is taking aim at the wrong target
    • How to Think About WikiLeaks
    • Truth by ~Gamekiller48 [IMG]
    • Transparency | Flickr – Photo Sharing! [IMG]
    • First They Came for the Jews

      First they came for the hackers.
      But I never did anything illegal with my computer,
      so I didn’t speak up.

      Then they came for the pornographers.
      But I thought there was too much smut on the Internet anyway,
      so I didn’t speak up

      [...]

    • Manifestación a las 18:00 Sábado, 11 de Diciembre 2010
    • 2600 Magazine condemns DDoS attacks against Wikileaks censors

      2600: The Hacker Quarterly, has published a public statement opposing the Anonymous denial-of-service attacks on the services that abetted the censorship of Wikileaks. 2600′s position is that the inexcusable moral cowardice of Visa and Mastercard and PayPal, etc, do not justify the use of brute force. Additionally, 2600 says that DDoS attacks are tactically unsound, as they create sympathy for these companies, and are used as a pretense for more attacks on Internet freedom

    • Who Anonymous is. By Anonymous
    • Wikileaks founder Julian Assange to get limited internet access in jail

      WIKILEAKS chief Julian Assange was in a segregation unit of a London jail for his own safety today as new secret US diplomatic cables were made public.

      The 39-year-old Australian has been transferred from the main section of Wandsworth prison to an isolation unit, Jennifer Robinson, one of his legal team, said Friday.

      “The prison authorities are doing it for his own safety, presumably,” she told AFP.

    • John Bolton demands obliteration of Wikileaks’ electrons

      John Bolton, former U.N. Ambassador and President of the Presidium of the Supreme Stacheviet, has an opinion on Wikileaks! It is quite a predictable one, but his editorial in The Guardian offers this deathless, Thiessenesque proposition:

      The Pentagon’s cyber-warriors need target practice in this new form of combat, and they could long ago have practised by obliterating WikiLeaks’ electrons.

    • Predicting the future of WikiLeaks: Follow the media!

      What would happen to WikiLeaks pieces once they are written? One option is for WikiLeaks to become something like ProPublica and either try to syndicate their articles to whatever media would take them or strike exclusive deals with select few media partners. This won’t be terribly profitable and no U.S. foundation would want to touch WikiLeaks for a very long time (private donors, on the other hand, are a different case; there are plenty of rich oddballs like Peter Thiel who may find the idea of funding WikiLeaks very appealing — too bad he won’t be able to use PayPal to wire his dues though). On the other hand, the WikiLeaks brand right now may be strong enough for them to run on donations for quite some time — this seems to work with Wikipedia (but the latter do receive a lot of non-donations money as well).

      As the above should have made obvious by now, I clearly don’t think that the story of WikiLeaks is nearing its end with the full release of all the cables. I know for a fact that Assange has been thinking about the kind of relationship that WikiLeaks needs to have with their media partners for years. I suspect his thinking has evolved quite a bit this year, not least because WikiLeaks has become a media’s darling after spending a few years in relative obscurity.

      Whatever strategy Assange chooses to pursue, I don’t think it’s possible to get the future of WikiLeaks right without first addressing the media relationship piece of the puzzle.

    • Photos of pro-Wikileaks, pro-Assange protesters in Pakistan
    • Wikileaks: Espionage charges against Assange said to be “imminent”

      Lawyers for Julian Assange expect the United States to file spying charges against the Wikileaks frontman soon.

    • Operation Payback and online war over Wikileaks
    • 2600 Magazine Condemns Denial Of Service Attacks

      2600 Magazine, a quarterly journal for the hacker community that has published since 1984, is speaking out against numerous media reports that hackers are responsible for a spate of attacks on numerous e-commerce corporations as part of the ongoing Wikileaks controversy.

    • SU, the youth league of the second largest party in Norways coalition government, is now mirroring WikiLeaks!
    • Internet Press Vulnerable After WikiLeaks

      Some things truly haven’t been seen before. WikiLeaks might be one of them.

      It’s hard to believe that the founding fathers could have ever imagined the possibilities of the Internet or a journalist like Julian Assange when they crafted the First Amendment.

      If they were with us today they might well say they knew publishers they despised as much as some of our leaders today apparently do the editor-in-chief of the notorious website.

    • Wikileaks only exists because the mainstream media failed

      Readers of this blog will know we have been following the whole Wikileaks saga this week, and my intial annoyance with Wikileaks for (in my view) being too “gung ho” (see here) has been counterbalanced with an annoyance at the “chattering classes” – the Media and Politicians – in their attempts to misinform, misreport, and muzzle by veiled threat rather than legal action (because that they would likely lose a court case).

    • The Politics and Economics of Julian Assange

      WikiLeaks is designed to make capitalism more free and ethical.

    • Cables Show Ireland Ceded to Vatican Pressure

      Newly released U.S. diplomatic cables indicate that Ireland caved in to Vatican pressure to grant immunity to church officials in the government probe of decades of sex abuse by Irish clergy in the predominantly Catholic nation.

      That the Holy See used its diplomatic immunity status as a tiny-city state to try to thwart Ireland’s government-led probe has long been known. But the WikiLeaks cables, published by Britain’s The Guardian newspaper on Saturday, contain delicate, behind-the-scenes diplomatic assessments of the highly charged situation.

    • Chavez’s socialist sandwich emporium

      Some will doubtless wonder if President Obama is using this valuable intel to implement a sinister socialist sandwich agenda of his own.

    • Bunkering down, sans Assange

      LIFE without Julian Assange began for WikiLeaks yesterday.

      The website’s remaining staff and volunteers grappled with the absence of the Australian “editor-in-chief” who serves as its public face and private leader.

      Mr Assange’s lawyers were allowed just a three-minute phone call to him in Wandsworth Prison, in south London, yesterday and he has no internet or phone access to his colleagues on the world’s most controversial website.

      The group confirmed yesterday that Icelandic television journalist Kristinn Hrafnsson had taken over as WikiLeaks’ temporary leader and main spokesman, while other members of the secretive group began an organisation revamp and change of work locations to cope with Mr Assange’s detention.

    • Updated Notes on WikiLeaks

      A Dig trace on wikileaks.org now returns an IP Address of 208.165.55.20, which is an address a Dynadot web host(It should be noted that the actual Datacenter provider is Silicon Valley Web Hosting, which is located in Southern California). The Dynadot web host, however, is not actually hosting the wikileaks web site; it’s been configured to redirect requests for wikileaks.org to mirror.wikileaks.info, which is actually being hosted by Heihachi LTD in Russia. This actually the same hosting provider that was hosting anonops.net(Operation Payback) before it was shut down yesterday.

    • 6 Companies That Haven’t Wussed Out of Working with WikiLeaks
    • WikiLeaks – not so dull, after all

      In previous posts, I dismissed WikiLeaks as not such a big deal. Well, that was obviously wrong. I argued that everybody already knew that – for example – Nicolas Sarkozy is vain or Russia is a brutal and corrupt place, so the cables did not add much to the sum of human knowledge.

      But that was wrong on two counts. First, there is a difference between an idea being conventional wisdom in the media, and spelled out in a diplomatic cable – both in terms of authority and in terms of political impact. You can see that in the angry reactions to the leaks from everybody from Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey to Kevin Rudd, the foreign minister of Australia. (Apparently Rudd is a “mistake-prone control freak”.) Second, with the arrest of Julian Assange on dubious-sounding sexual assault charges – and now the attack on Mastercard’s web-site, apparently by Assange supporters, the whole thing is shaping up into an unpredictable conflict between western governments and internet-based anarchists.And, as more and more material is released, there are some genuine surprises emerging.

    • The Wikileaks Revolution
    • What It’s Like to Participate in Anonymous’ Actions

      Anonymous, who have been on a week long sprint/spree to paralyze website sites like Mastercard and Paypal, are often described in the news as a “group” with “members.” This is usually followed by a series of prolonged qualifications and caveats because many characteristics we usually associate with groups don’t seem to apply comfortably with Anonymous: there are no leaders, anyone can seemingly join, and participants are spread across the globe, although many of them can be found on any number of Internet Relay Chat Channels where they discuss strategy, plan attacks, crack jokes, and often pose critical commentary on the unfolding events they have just engendered. Earlier this week, The Economist listened in on the IRC channels, opening a fascinating window into the order behind the seeming chaos of Anonymous and providing a sense of how the Distributed Denial-of-Service attacks are coordinated by a trusted group of Ops who leverage the labor of thousands of other contributors.

    • Melbourne’s Rally for Wikileaks

      There was a great turn out yesterday. We met at the State Library in front of the statue of the guy who hunted Ned Kelly. I’m not sure it that’s ironic or fitting.

    • The Julian Assange before WikiLeaks

      Now in a rare interview, a friend of Julian Assange has described what he was like in the years before WikiLeaks.

      He was apparently a brilliant, socially awkward crusader, a ‘hard-core geek’ who would rather interact with a machine than a person but who was also determined to change the world, reports News.com.au.

      Assange was described as a humanist, a man who serves no masters, a Renaissance man with 21st-century tools at his disposal, who ‘decided early on that the world is not as fair a place as it could be, but that Internet provides a way of creating a more level playing field in terms of justice’.

      When asked about Assange’s political beliefs, the friend said he flirted with the Left but became disillusioned.

    • WikiLeaks row: why Amazon’s desertion has ominous implications for democracy
    • Musing on Misinformation & Morons.

      The net is abuzz with a rumor claiming that the CIA is behind a Wikileaks mirror that was hosted at http://wikileaks.psytek.net. This rumor lacked any real evidence, yet was reported by many in the hacker/hacktivist community as fact.

    • Attacks by “Anonymous” WikiLeaks proponents not anonymous
    • ‘Anonymous’ WikiLeaks Proponents Not So Anonymous
    • Did he or didn’t he? The murky politics of sex and consent

      IT WAS 2pm in central Westminster Magistrates Court No. 6, a modern chamber, done in blond wood, looking curiously Scandinavian in style, and the world’s press were so focused on celebrities such as John Pilger and Jemima Khan crowded behind the defence desk, that few noticed Julian Assange slip into the room. Neatly dressed, more solid than he appears on screen, his white hair neatly clipped, he took his seat behind the semi-circular glass screen.

    • Is Wikileaks a Good Thing or a Bad Thing?

      I have been following the unfolding of events related to the latest Wikileaks release with growing fascination. I am not going to comment here on the political implications of the cables’ contents – others have done so elsewhere, and will continue to do so, far better than I ever could. What I am going to comment on is the debate around Wikileaks, and a trend I have observed within that debate that I find very concerning.

      [...]

      You think that Wikileaks was wrong to publish confidential documents that might put innocent individuals at risk? Then the government is right to do “whatever it takes” to stop Wikileaks, due process is a luxury we cannot afford in the face of this (or any) crisis, and Julian Assange should have been assassinated a long time ago.

      Of course I am exaggerating to some degree, but these are the general lines along which much of the discussion seems to happen. I have been bothered by this for the last few days, and decided to write this article to collect my thoughts, and perhaps even contribute to a more differentiated discussion. Please note this is in many ways a brain-dump, and not an attempt at a final answer in any way (hence the title).

    • Media Without Margins: To WikiLeak or not to WikiLeak — that is the question

      The United States has never used the law to charge a recipient who has published classified information. To date, the only charges against WikiLeaks or Assange are two counts of sexual assault by two Swedish women.

    • Letter From Canada: Why Is America So Furious About Wikileaks?

      Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, has called for Julian Assange’s prosecution, despite the general consensus that he hasn’t actually committed any American crime. Mitch McConnell, a Republican, has a slightly clearer-eyed view; he wants the law changed so that Assange can be prosecuted as a terrorist. Joe Lieberman wants a criminal investigation of not just Assange but also the New York Times.

      What exactly do they hope to accomplish? Do they think that if they do somehow manage to convict Assange—who, remember, was only the publisher, not the leaker—they will have eliminated the threat of Internet information dissemination forever? Don’t they realize that with every boneheaded speech and op-ed, they ratchet up the free publicity and do Wikileaks a huge favor, when a dignified silence plus a few veiled threats would have been far more effective? Can they really be so stupid?

    • WikiLeaks’ Assange moved to isolation

      Police moved WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange to the segregation unit of a London jail for his safety, a lawyer said Friday as new cables showed the U.S. suspects Myanmar has a secret nuclear program.

      The 39-year-old Australian has been transferred from the main section of Wandsworth prison to an isolation unit, said Jennifer Robinson, one of his legal team.

      “The prison authorities are doing it for his own safety, presumably,” she said.

    • WikiLeaks: Advancing an Israeli Agenda?

      Asked on the night of September 11, 2001 what the terrorist attacks meant for U.S.-Israel relations, Benjamin Netanyahu, the then former prime minister, tactlessly but accurately replied, “It’s very good.” And on the day after WikiLeaks’ publication of U.S. diplomatic cables, Netanyahu “strode” into a press conference at the Israeli Journalists Association, looking “undoubtedly delighted” with the group’s latest embarrassment of U.S. President Barack Obama.

      “Thanks to WikiLeaks,” Aluf Benn wrote in Haaretz, “there is now no fear Washington will exert heavy pressure on Israel to freeze settlement construction or to accelerate negotiations on a withdrawal from the territories.” Instead, also courtesy of WikiLeaks, the world’s attention had been shifted exactly where a “vindicated” Netanyahu wanted it – toward Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons programme.

    • PdF Presents: A Symposium on Wikileaks and Internet Freedom
    • Assange’s Lawyer: He’s Upbeat, Surprised By Cyber-Attacks (EXCLUSIVE)

      Since he first landed in a London jail upon his arrest on Tuesday, the only thing that WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange has been requesting is access to a computer.

    • Pentagon Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg: Julian Assange is Not a Terrorist

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will remain in a London prison until a British court takes up a Swedish request for extradition for questioning on sexual crime allegations. An international group of former intelligence officers and ex-government officials have released a statement in support of Assange. We speak to one of the signatories, Daniel Ellsberg, the famous whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam War in 1971. “If I released the Pentagon Papers today, the same rhetoric and the same calls would be made about me,” Ellsberg says. “I would be called not only a traitor—which I was then, which was false and slanderous—but I would be called a terrorist… Assange and Bradley Manning are no more terrorists than I am.” [includes rush transcript]

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Bolivia’s defiant leader sets radical tone at Cancún climate talks

      Of all the ministers and politicians parading the world stage in Cancún last week, President Evo Morales of Bolivia knows best the impact of a theatrical entrance. His entourage includes 15 colourfully dressed, bowler-hatted indigenous Aymara, an admiral in gold braid, teams of advisers and white-coated bodyguards, Mayan priests and ambassadors.

      When the mop-haired, chubby-faced poster boy of Latin American socialist politics speaks, they stand around him, filling the stage with the physical embodiment of what is now called the “plurinational” state of Bolivia.

    • Leaked Memo Sheds Light on Mysterious Bee Die-Offs and Who’s to Blame

      A new leaked memo from the EPA has the beekeeping world buzzing. Bad puns aside, the failure of the EPA to protect the environment — in this case, bees — jeopardizes beekeepers’ ability to continue in their work. Beekeeper Tom Theobald, who exposed the leaked memo, says that beekeepers now lose 30 to 40 percent or more of their hives each year, and it takes two years to recover each one. Theobald has been a beekeeper in Boulder County, Colorado for 35 years, but now he says he’s not sure he can continue. “I can’t afford to subsidize this as a hobby. I’ll fold the tent,” he says. “Commercial beekeepers will work themselves to death,” he continues, noting that it’s only the passion and commitment of beekeepers that has staved off a complete collapse of the entire beekeeping industry this long.

    • “Outbreak”: Fungus hits Alabama marshes — Something has “gone haywire”
    • OpenLeaks to mimic WikiLeaks—minus the “political agenda”

      The alternative whistleblower site created by WikiLeaks defectors may launch sooner than later, according to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN). The project is being referred to as “OpenLeaks” and is reportedly on track to launch this coming Monday. Though the newspaper didn’t name its sources, it’s clear from the group’s goals that the founders essentially want to be the anti-WikiLeaks.

      “Our long-term goal is to build a strong, transparent platform to support whistleblowers—both in terms of technology and politics—while at the same time encouraging others to start similar projects,” an anonymous person told DN. “As a short-term goal, this is about completing the technical infrastructure and ensuring that the organization continues to be democratically governed by all its members, rather than limited to one group or individual.”

    • WikiLeaks sold classified intel, claims website’s co-founder

      John Young, whose name was listed as the public face of WikiLeaks in the site’s original domain registration, also alleged that the website is a lucrative business.

      Young said he left the site in 2007 due to concerns over its finances and that WikiLeaks was engaged in the selling of documents.

    • Ex-WikiLeaker Explains His Spinoff Group, OpenLeaks

      Former WikiLeaks staffer Daniel Domscheit-Berg has always considered Julian Assange’s whistle-blowing site a two-pipe operation: One pipe takes submissions in from anonymous leakers, another publishes them out to an uncensorable web site.

      But since defecting from WikiLeaks in September and watching the global controversy build around the secret-spilling organization, he’s taking a different approach with his own leak-focused project: Keep the anonymous submissions channel. Ditch the controversial and resource-draining publishing piece altogether.

  • Finance

    • Cartoon on power grab [IMG]
    • Quietly Ticking Time Bomb in Fed Data

      The Fed data supports our long-held contention that the Congressionally-approved and much despised $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was only a small fraction of the total bailout. By our count, and as we illustrate below below, TARP funds were a mere seven percent of total funds disbursed by federal government to aid the financial sector since 2007. Why does this matter? Because the more we focus on the much-despised TARP, the less we see the invisible hand of the Fed doing the heavy lifting.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Tobacco lobbying preceded label retreat

      Health Canada’s abrupt decision in September to back down from expanding warning labels on cigarette packages came after tobacco company lobbyists waged a co-ordinated, sometimes secretive lobbying campaign, CBC News has learned.

      An analysis by CBC News of lobby registry filings and other documents reveals tobacco executives and their paid lobbyists communicated dozens of times with key government ministries and their policy advisers, including the Prime Minister’s Office.

    • Uproar Over Government-Only Internet Governance Forum

      Civil Society and industry stakeholder groups are up in arms against a decision by the bureau of the United Nations Committee on Science and Technology for Development to task only governments with the decision on improvements for the Internet Governance Forum. Having a multistakeholder nature was said to be the biggest achievement of the non-decision making IGF – and a model for other UN and political processes – because it allowed governments, industry representatives, non-commercial organisations and the academic and technical community to share knowledge and jointly look for best practices in the field of Internet governance. Civil society representatives, according to Wolfgang Kleinwaechter from the University of Aarhus (Denmark), are very concerned that a government-only approach might do away with the multistakeholder model.

    • Here come the Wikileaks clones: BrusselsLeaks wants to blow the lid off the EU

      Even if Wikileaks does end up getting closed down for good it has a legacy. We could be about to see the dawning of a new age of Wikileaks-inspired sites, each with their own take on the idea.

      As we’ve already reported, OpenLeaks is a site hoping to open as soon as Monday, now it looks like European politics could be getting its own specific whistleblowing destination.

    • Porn Site Gave Federal Agents Free Rein

      The operators of a notorious pornography web site granted federal agents administrative access to the site, giving investigators the ability to monitor traffic and public and private chats in an effort to identify users trading “a significant amount of child pornography,” records show.

      Beginning in October 2008, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents secretly monitored activity on Free6.com from inside the porn site, which launched in 1998. That covert operation ended earlier this year when Los Angeles-based ICE agents discovered that the web site “had been removed from the Internet by the company responsible for hosting the website.”

    • “Friendly Reminder”: Fox’s Unbalanced Ethics Threaten Democracy

      Anyone who still clings to the notion that Fox News is actually a news organization rather than a propaganda machine for special interests — and that it actually is led by journalists who adhere to the code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists — must read the leaked memos Media Matters disclosed this morning.

    • Some Appointees to Oil and Gas Commission Are Industry Execs, Lobbyists

      Joseph Pettey is the owner of Pettey Oilfield Services Inc., and the 2003 Virginia Oil and Gas Festival Man of the Year. Thomas E. Stewart is a third-generation driller who lobbies the government on behalf of energy companies. Both sit on the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission, which is increasingly positioning itself as an authority on drilling-related issues like hydraulic fracturing.

      The 38-state commission was created in 1935 to promote the efficient harvesting of oil and gas. Its mission was later expanded to acknowledge the need to protect health, safety and the environment while accomplishing that goal. It is funded by government grants and fees from the states. The commission members are appointed by the member governors. Most are state regulators who oversee gas and oil drilling, but at least seven states have representatives who are either lobbyists or energy executives.

    • More on Fox “News” and its Party

      In light of the new memos out about Fox News helping to orchestrate the Republican’s deceptive PR campaign on the health care bill that that Wendell Potter wrote about this week, the Center for Media and Democracy is reprinting and updating an excerpt from one of my personal encounters with Fox News’ efforts to stage-manage political theatre. The piece below also includes material from documented sources compiled in SourceWatch.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Tell FCC Commissioner Copps via our free fax service: Be a hero and save the Internet
    • WWF Is a New Green File Format That’s Impossible To Print

      WWF is currently only savable and readable on Mac, but a Windows version should be coming soon.

    • More than 80 Groups Demand Real Net Neutrality

      More than 80 organizations and businesses are today urging Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski to enact real Net Neutrality rules, not the empty compromise the chairman has proposed.

      The letter highlights five key areas in the rules that should be improved to protect the free and open Internet. The Commission is slated to vote on Net Neutrality on Dec. 21.

      The signers include Reporters without Borders, Daily Kos, Common Cause, Entertainment Consumers Association, Nonprofit Technology Network, ColorofChange.org, Center for Media Justice, National Hispanic Media Coalition, New America Foundation, Media Access Project and Public Knowledge.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Music/Copyrights

      • International Music Software Trade Association Asks – Why Are We Loosing Sales – Gets Answer Wrong.

        But when I started serious recording, I used Rosegarden and Audacity, both of which are licensed under the GNU General Public License, and which were, and are free downloads. After my experience with Cakewalk, I wasn’t willing to spend money on something that might or might not work (for excellent lists of DAW and MIDI software see Wikipedia here and here also).

        And then some friends introduced me to Garage Band… I quickly bought a Mac. Sure, I could have tried to contribute to the Rosegarden or Audacity, but it’s a time thing. I had to make a decision as to what would get me to where I wanted to be, and going Mac was the best choice. And switching from Linux to Mac OS X on the desktop was easy. My servers still run Linux of course – I don’t trust Windows.

      • Copyright Trolls: The Meaner Stepsister of Patent Trolls

        Maybe even willfully, so not unlike like the false marking troll suits, isn’t USCG kind of right? A little shady and totally groan-inspiring? Perhaps. But unlawful? I’m not so sure. I suppose they shouldn’t be sending out settlement letters threatening statutory damages if statutory damages aren’t on the table, but meh, I’m not sure how far one could stretch that argument in this case. At any rate, the blogosphere is on fire with this one, leading me to believe that popular opinion is USCG had it coming.

      • Democratic Underground Responds to Righthaven Copyright Troll Lawsuit

        Righthaven is attempting to make a business out of suing Internet websites for copyright infringement. It has filed 180 copyright actions so far —without ever first asking that a work be removed from the target website—in each case alleging “willful infringement” and attempting to extract settlements by threats of statutory damages (up to $150,000), attorneys’ fees and seizure of the domain name.

        Democratic Underground — represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Fenwick & West LLP, and attorney Chad Bowers — was sued by Righthaven on August 10 for a five-sentence excerpt of a Las Vegas Review-Journal news story that a user posted on the forum, with a link back to the Review-Journal website.

      • Irish ISP’s “Three-Strikes” Disconnects File-Sharers for 12mos

        Eircom, Ireland’s largest ISP, has provided a clarification of its voluntary “three-strikes” regime to coincide with the launch of its new online music service called MusicHub which it says will offer downloads “up to 75% cheaper than iTunes.”

        Eircom, Ireland’s largest ISP, has announced the launch of its new online music service MusicHub while reconfirming its commitment to disconnecting illegal file-sharing as part of its voluntary partnership with the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA).

      • Copyright Troll Demands Drudge Report Domain Name

        One of the litigation scare tactics employed by copyright troll Righthaven is it routinely demands allegedly infringing sites to forfeit their domain names.

        But in private, civil copyright litigation, there is no legal basis for such a demand, even if an allegedly infringing website is ultimately found liable for breaching copyright law. The Electronic Frontier Foundation maintains the tactic is a method to coerce settlements from rank-and-file websites that cannot afford to defend themselves from the newspaper-lawsuit factory that is Righthaven.

      • Mininova Pays Settlement to BREIN to End BitTorrent Lawsuit

        Mininova, once the largest BitTorrent site on the Internet, has paid a settlement fee to Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN to end the legal clash between the two parties. In return, BREIN dropped the damages claim they were preparing and Mininova has withdrawn their appeal, making it impossible for the site to return to full swing.

      • uTorrent Adds VLC Media Player and Torrent Broadcast Apps

        The BitTorrent Inc. team has just added two of the most interesting apps yet to the popular uTorrent client. The first one allows users to integrate the all-round media player VLC to uTorrent, making it possible for users to play media files from within the client. The second is uCast, an exciting new app which enables users to share a ‘live’ RSS feed of selected torrents with friends.

      • PRs Appeal UK High Court’s Pay-For-Links Ruling

        The Public Relations Consultants Association is appealing the ruling made in November by a High Court judge, who said PRs should pay newspapers a copying license for receiving targeted intelligence via monitors like Meltwater.

      • News aggregators will have to pay for linking

        A UK Court has recently issued a decision which may have an impact on the online news market. According to the Court, providers of paid news monitoring and aggregation services which send their customers links to news published by others commit an act of copyright infringement if they do not obtain the consent from the relevant publishers. In the Court reasoning, there appears to be no distinction between content reproduced and merely linked and as a result linking has been held equivalent to reproducing.

      • Warner Bros. Finally Realizes That ‘Pirates’ Are Underserved Customers

        Apparently, they just started looking at this data only 18 months ago. Frankly, the fact that they weren’t looking at that data seven or eight years ago suggests a dysfunctional management team. What’s really silly, of course, is that plenty of folks have made this exact point to people at Warner Bros. and elsewhere for years, and were told that we were just “defending pirates.”

      • ACTA

      • Canada

        • Bill C-32 enshrines planned obsolescence

          Bill C-32, the Canadian copyright bill currently before Parliament, is a fairly balanced piece of legislation. It gives we consumers the right to format shift media for our own consumption, instead of re-buying that media. And it gives the entertainment industry broad rights to prosecute content thieves — those who never bought the content in the first place.

          The big flaw in Bill C-32 is in the section on digital locks. A content owner can lock a piece of digital media, and this bill would make it illegal to unlock it, even to make a backup copy. With a simply digital lock, the content owner can take away all the rights that a consumer has under the law. It’s a return to the early days of the United States Digital Millenium Copyright Act just as the US is relaxing key provisions of that legislation as they relate to locks. It’s a step in the wrong direction, and out of step with evolving industry practice today.

          A lot of folks are urging the government to pass C-32. The argument is that we, as a nation, can’t afford to wait any longer for copyright reform. Apparently we’re becoming digital pariah’s because folks like Hulu won’t provide their service in Canada.

        • “Canadians told us the TPM provisions in C-61 were too far reaching”

          According to documents I recently obtained under the Access to Information Act, this quote was part of a draft speech for Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore. The quote was removed by department officials before approval of the final version.

        • Of course fair dealing for education is fair

          As discussion over Bill C-32, the federal government’s controversial copyright bill, heats up in Ottawa, educators, publishers, and authors remain concerned over what consequences await them if the proposed bill becomes law.

          One aspect of the legislation that has sparked a fierce debate between the publishing world and the education community is the addition of “education” as a category under the bill’s fair dealing provision. Fair dealing gives permission to use copyrighted materials without the permission of or payment to the copyright holder for specific purposes covered by the Copyright Act. Currently, only materials used for research, private study, criticism, review and news reporting are covered under fair dealing.

        • University decides not to renew Access Copyright licence

          In order to protect students from a more than ten-fold increase in copyright fees, Athabasca University, like the majority of universities in Canada, has decided not to renew its licence with Access Copyright, a Canadian copyright licencing agency. The current agreement will expire on December 31, 2010.

        • Important Copyright Notice for Faculty and Staff

          Medicine Hat College’s existing photocopying licence with Access Copyright officially expired on August 31, 2010; however, the college did sign an extension of that licence to December 31, 2010. The college will not be renewing the licence beyond December 31, 2010 based on advice from the Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC) and on changes to the licence structure initiated by Access Copyright.

        • Objections to AC’s proposed Interim Tarifff – December 10, 2010

Clip of the Day

Student Protesters Attack Treasury, Supreme Court In London [Ed: selling the impression students are dangerous anarchists]


Credit: TinyOgg

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