Summary: A few hot topics from the past few days are debated and we also make a mention of Mono proponents
TODAY’S show was a short one as it was not scheduled and erratic work schedule harmed our regular pace. Gordon was absent, but he will be back in the next show. OpenBytes has published the show notes just now.
Speaking of partitions, it has twelve! The first is the “state” partition that stores all of your local data. Interesting to note is that all of your Chrome data (history, passwords, etc) is encrypted with eCryptfs and is mounted on login, so if someone were to steal your notebook you’d still be safe.
Since we launched the Chromium project over two years ago, we’ve been hearing a lot of feedback from IT administrators who want to manage and configure Google Chrome. Of course, we were eager to do what we could to help them get Chrome deployed inside their organizations.
Today, after talking directly to administrators and testing the features extensively with other organizations, we believe the first set of features is ready for prime-time. Both Chrome and Chromium are now manageable through Group Policy objects on Windows, plist/MCX configuration on Mac, and special JSON configuration files on Linux. We polished up the NTLM and Kerberos protocol support, and created a list of supported policies and administrative templates to help administrators deploy. For users needing access to older web applications not yet qualified for Chrome, we also developed Chrome Frame, an Internet Explorer (TM) plug-in that provides Chrome-quality rendering for the broader Web, while defaulting to host rendering for any web applications that still require IE.
When we announced that Chrome is now used by over 120 million users and showed off some of its latest features last week, we saw a tremendous amount of excitement from both users and businesses. Many businesses asked how they can get the benefits of increased security, speed and the modern browser capabilities that Chrome offers with the configurability and customizations they need.
By now, you may have seen the latest promo for the upcoming Chrome notebook. Advocating the advantages of the cloud-based Chrome OS, the video is mildly amusing and largely irrelevant — a case at least as strong could be made for preferring locally-installed applications, and I suspect that what people really want to see are close-ups of Chrome OS.
However, those close-ups can be harder to see than you might expect. Since Google is not releasing any official downloads, you need to either compile your own code, or to sort through the unofficial releases until you find one that is not only reasonably current, but whose source also seems trustworthy. After struggling to determine if you have the latest version and learning how to convert it for a virtualization tool like VirtualBox, you might conclude that the easiest way to satisfy your curiosity about Chrome OS is to apply for the Chrome Netbook Pilot Program in the hopes of receiving a test machine.
RMS has been a stalwart promoter of Free Software. His take on cloud computing is that it is “worse than stupidity”. In principle, he is right; trusting someone is worse than stupidity but we humans do it all the time. Not trusting anyone is paranoia. It is possible to use IT in the real world while being paranoid but a lot less gets done, networking, for instance. We should not trust our firewalls but we do. We trust other drivers to follow the rules of the road when that trust is obviously misplaced but the reward of getting from A to B is greater than the slight risk of a collision.
Earlier this week we published benchmarks comparing Oracle VM VirtualBox to Linux KVM and the Linux system host performance. Some of the feedback from individuals said that it was a bad idea using the Intel Core i7 “Gulftown” with all twelve of its CPU threads available to the hardware-virtualized guest since virtualization technologies are bad in dealing with multiple virtual CPUs. But is this really the case? With not being able to find any concrete benchmarks in that area, we carried out another set of tests to see how well the Linux Kernel-based Virtual Machine scales against the host as the number of CPU cores available to each is increased. It can be both good and bad for Linux virtualization.
It’s a cliché that most computer users care more about bells and whistles than how software performs “under the hood.” And while there may be some truth in such a view, it’s also clear that the backend affects users in important ways, whether they realize it or not. To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at some recently introduced features in the Linux kernel, and what they mean for the desktop user experience.
Two weeks after NVIDIA had put out their unannounced 260.19.21 Linux driver, they have returned to the web and have officially released the NVIDIA 260.19.26 graphics driver for Linux x86/x86_64 along with Solaris and FreeBSD operating systems.
The NVIDIA 260.19.29 driver adds support for new NVIDIA GPUs, fixes a bug that causes some OpenGL applications to become unresponsive, adds support for NVIDIA 3D Vision Pro, and adds a new 3D Vision Pro configuration file option to the xorg.conf.
Coming just as anticipated, Apple’s Jeremy Huddleston has announced the release of X.Org Server 1.9.3. This is the third maintenance release in the 1.9 series, which was originally introduced in August.
You could already get live window previews in Avant Window Navigator thanks to DockBarX, bu the latest Avant Window Navigator from the AWN Trunk PPA got window previews for the AWN taskmanager so it’s no longer required to install additional packages to get this feature in AWN.
NTM (Network Traffic Monitor) is a great application for those who have a limited internet plan. It can monitor the inbound, outbound and total traffic, the time spent online and various other very useful features for limited / mobile internet connections. Futher more, it can automatically disconnect your computer when the limit is reached (for cases when exceeding the limit is very expensive).
Ghost plugin is awesome. Above screencast will give you the idea. There are a ton of other plugins too like Anaglyph, Minimize Effect, Fireflies, Stars, Elements etc. And you can install them all by doing the following.
The first Amarok 2.4 beta, codenamed “Closer”, was released just a few days ago, on December 7, and it looks very promising. It comes with quite long list of new features, improvements and bug fixes, and among the top highlights are a collection scanner rewritten from scratch, option to transcode tracks when dragging and dropping them to the local collection, support for iPod Touch 3G devices, writing statistics and covers directly in files. These are not all though.
All in all, this release could just be one of the most exceptional releases in a long time, and it’s only a beta yet.
Eucalyptus Systems, creators of the Eucalyptus private cloud platform, today announced a partnership with Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, to offer the freedom of cross-cloud compatibility and expanded customer choice in the cloud. The two companies are collaborating to provide Eucalyptus support for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization and Eucalyptus compatibility with the Apache Deltacloud application programming interface (API). These technology integrations will enable enterprises to easily transform Red Hat virtualized environments into a secure Eucalyptus private cloud, while increasing cloud interoperability and customer freedom through Deltacloud. End users will gain the ability to run applications and workloads on Eucalyptus or on public clouds supported by Deltacloud.
Eucalyptus Systems has struck a partnership with Red Hat that should ultimately ease the deployment of Eucalyptus private cloud platform on Red Hat software.
With this new arrangement, Eucalyptus Systems engineers, with the help of Red Hat engineers, will make Eucalyptus easily accessible through Red Hat’s Deltacloud, which is a set of overlay APIs designed to facilitate cloud platform interoperability.
Yet another year is coming to an end. As far as Ubuntu and Canonical are concerned, 2010 is perhaps *the* most eventful year in their history. Let us take a quick flashback and analyse the most important changes Ubuntu has made during the year.
So far the Linux presence at CES 2011 looks to be mostly in the form of Android and other Linux-based operating systems appearing on new tablets and other mobile devices. Though there should be the assortment of usual companies innovating atop of open-source software / Linux, like SplashTop and others. There will also be the release of Intel’s Sandy Bridge, which already has open-source Linux support, among other PC hardware happenings at this event.
Linaro added HP, Canonical, the Limo Foundation, Montavista and GENIVI to its already impressive roster of industry partners. The fab five have become advisors to the organisation, which includes Linux heavyweights, IBM and Texas Instruments (TI).
That’s a pretty bold claim. Three’s One Plan currently lets you have the likes of the HTC Desire HD for £35 per month if you fancy having a go at testing these new claims. The company’s site still has the 1GB allowance attached to its plans, mind, so make sure you check your small print before signing up to anything.
We were contacted by a representative this afternoon regarding thealleged NOOKcolor updatedue in January. As we feared, the news was too good to be true. The NOOKcolor isnot getting the Android Marketas part of any update, nor has one been announced for January. We heard at launch time that B&N were going to offer their own apps and distribution model for users and that is still the case. However, don’t look for access to the 100,000 strong library that handsets currently enjoy.
uzzwords, these concepts, utilized by open source communities and projects such as Linux, Apache and Subversion, are driving tremendous value when applied to internal government development efforts. Specifically, community-driven collaborative development builds better software in shorter timeframes, allowing agencies to do more with less.
When Google acquired Instantiations in August 2010, everyone knew about our Java Eclipse products. Shortly after we joined, we talked about how best to help developers now that we are part of Google. We have always wanted to get these tools in more developers’ hands. So, back in September we decided to give them away for free! The community response has been fantastic. With that done, we asked ourselves, how could we make a good thing even better? How about by open sourcing the code and creating two new Eclipse projects!
NESSI, is the “European Technology Platforms” – i.e. industry-led consortia considered by the EU relevant discussion partners to discuss how to achieve Europe’s future growth, competitiveness and sustainability objectives – and its declared strategic objective was to support the evolution from software to services. Not suprisingly open source was supposed to play a major role, but things went differently.
In 2010 the Ushahidi community managed to shift the way information flows in this world, just a little bit, and these repercussions will be felt for a long time to come. This year has been an exciting year for the Ushahidi organization, with major upgrades in the platform(s), greater visibility globally and amazing deployments around the world.
Open source Web development tools have come a long way. The open source community offers a huge array of applications that are useful to Web developers and designers. In many cases, these open source tools are even more widely used than their closed source counterparts. And some open source Web tools don’t even have any real closed source competitors.
As these tools mature, it’s becoming more and more difficult to sort them into categories. Some blogging platforms are robust enough to build an entire site. Content management systems often have some features you usually find in Web app development frameworks, and text editors begin to look more and more like full integrated development environments (IDEs).
As the number of open source content management products on the market has grown, choosing a system has become more difficult for discerning IT and marketing shops. Much of the product confusion stems from the various open source licensing and business models out in the market; but once a company chooses a product which aligns with its licensing needs, there are other things to consider.
Last week’s post from Netflix on its use of open source has gotten a lot of coverage from the tech press. Too bad nobody’s called the video giant out on its hypocrisy: They benefit greatly from open source, but really don’t care to let their customers do the same.
Bitcoin is an open source peer-to-peer digital currency project. Peer-to-peer (P2P) in this context means that there is no central authority to issue new money or keep track of transactions. Instead, these tasks are managed collectively by the nodes of the network. This is one important open source project that holds a lot promises for the future.
SaaS has proven popular for programmers. In 1999, a company named VA Linux created a site called SourceForge with the classic SaaS goal of centralizing the administration of computer systems and taking that burden off programmers’ hands. A programmer could upload his program there and, as is typical for free software and open source, accept code contributions from anyone else who chose to download the program.
VA Linux at that time made its money selling computers that ran the GNU/Linux operating system. It set up SourceForge as a donation to the free software community, to facilitate the creation of more free software and therefore foster greater use of Linux. Eventually the hardware business dried up, so SourceForge became the center of the company’s business: corporate history anticipated cloud computing history.
The Swiss Myriad Group and Oracle are each suing each other. Myriad is accusing Oracle of charging unreasonable licensing fees for HotSpot Java Virtual Machine (JVM). Oracle in turn alleges that the mobile software specialist has made unauthorised use of Java trademarks. It’s also accusing Myriad of failing to adhere to licensing requirements.
Myriad is demanding at least $120 million in damages – a sum made up of $20 million the company has paid in licensing fees since 2004 and $100 million the company’s customers are alleged to have overpaid.
Oracle today introduced Oracle Cloud Office and Open Office 3.3, two complete, open standards-based office productivity suites for the desktop, web and mobile devices – helping users significantly improve productivity, reduce costs and achieve greater innovation across the enterprise.
Based on the Open Document Format (ODF) and open web standards, Oracle Office enables users to share files on any system as it is compatible with both legacy Microsoft Office documents and modern web 2.0 publishing.
The Berkman Center for Internet and Society today announced that it will host a research and planning initiative for a “Digital Public Library of America.” With funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Berkman will convene a large and diverse group of stakeholders in a planning program to define the scope, architecture, costs and administration for a proposed Digital Public Library of America.
Comment: Many commenters supported including a reference to open educational resources in proposed Priority 13 (new Priority 16). Two commenters recommended revising the definition of this term to include language that makes clear that resources released under an intellectual property license should permit sharing, accessing, repurposing (including for commercial purposes), and collaborating with others.
Discussion: We appreciate the commenters’ support for including open educational resources in proposed Priority 13 (new Priority 16). We believe that the proposed definition of open educational resources includes the characteristics of open educational resources that the commenters recommended including in the definition and, therefore, do not believe it is necessary to change the definition in the manner recommended by the commenter.
The disaster response network CrisisCommons announced today that it has been funded to the tune of $1.2 million from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. CrisisCommons is the organization behind scores of CrisisCamps in locations around the world, informal gatherings where technologists have developed mobile, data, analysis, mapping and other tools to use in response to crisis.
OpenBSD’s Theo de Raadt brought to light via an email from Gregory Perry, the former CTO of NETSEC, that the FBI paid several open-source developers to compromise the IPSEC stack. “the FBI implemented a number of backdoors and side channel key leaking mechanisms into the OCF, for the express purpose of monitoring the site to site VPN encryption system implemented by EOUSA, the parent organization to the FBI. Jason Wright and several other developers were responsible for those backdoors, and you would be well advised to review any and all code commits by Wright as well as the other developers he worked with originating from NETSEC.”
This serious stuff – not just because it means that open source code may have been unwittingly complicit in who knows how many acts of surveillance, but because it calls into question the basic development model of open source, which places a high value on trust. If it is confirmed that hackers put a backdoor in open source code for money – and some doubts have already been expressed – then that will cast some doubt on that principle.
Moreover, if eventually such backdoors are found, it will raise questions about the whole “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” philosophy. It’s true that backdoors aren’t exactly bugs, but there is still the issue of how something this serious – if confirmed – could lay undetected for a decade.
Amidst startling accusations revealed by OpenBSD founder and lead developer Theo de Raadt today that 10 years ago the US Federal Bureau of Investigations paid developers to insert security holes into OpenBSD code, some confusion about the accusations has already emerged, with one named party strongly denying any involvement.
A former government contractor says that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation installed a number of back doors into the encryption software used by the OpenBSD operating system.
The allegations were made public Tuesday by Theo de Raadt, the lead developer in the OpenBSD project. DeRaadt posted an email sent by the former contractor, Gregory Perry, so that the matter could be publicly scrutinized.
As soon as I post this blog entry, I’m going to log on to PayPal and make a small donation to the Free Software Foundation. The Foundation can sometimes be too inflexible, and it often starts far more than it can properly continue, but it’s still the closest thing the community has to an organization that has stayed focused on its basic goal. For that reason, I think I’m overdue to show support — even though I’m a Canadian, and won’t be able to write off a donation to a non-profit that’s registered only in the United States.
Lightspark, one of the most recent yet most promising free software projects to provide an open-source Adobe Flash/SWF player and plug-in, just had its 0.4.5 milestone hit. Lightspark 0.4.5 is the release that brings its new advanced graphics engine for greater GPU acceleration by leveraging OpenGL and Cairo more heavily.
I think we are all aware that the economic crisis and demographic changes are forcing Governments to rethink how they operate. At the same time hundreds of millions of citizens not only depend on public services, they also want a new and more interactive relationship with their governments. These dual pressures make it inevitable that governments must make smarter use of ICT; the real question is how and when.
Our job is to make it known that smarter spending does not have to mean getting less. ICT can actually transform and improve public services while materially reducing government debt burdens. The role of the Digital Agenda is to support this holistically by getting rid of barriers to successful eGovernment.
Yesterday, The New York Times reported that Google invested an undisclosed sum in RelayRides, a service that let’s members rent their cars to other members. The traditional model of carsharing, exemplified by Zipcar, allows members to rent from a company which owns and manages a fleet.
We just received the exciting news that Tucows, a company that started offering free downloads of shareware and freeware on the Internet in 1993, will take part in a matching challenge of up to $10,000. This means that whatever you donate right now will automatically be doubled. We need your help to meet their challenge and turn $10,000 into $20,000 for CC.
In one month, Wikipedia will observe its 10th anniversary. On and around January 15th 2011, we will celebrate with volunteers, donors, and other supporters on six continents. From the launch of a new outreach project in Kenya to a film screening in Tel Aviv, there are currently 65 events of all kinds you can attend.
The complete list of anniversary activities can be found at ten.wikipedia.org, the public collaboration space where we’re cataloging everything the Wikipedia community is doing to commemorate our first decade. Most events are free to attend or very low cost. All are open to participation by anyone who wants to join in reflecting on our collective accomplishments and goals for the future.
Creative Commons has filed comments in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Inquiry on Copyright Policy, Creativity, and Innovation in the Internet Economy. The Department received nearly 900 submissions over the comment period, which ended December 10.
Parliament has adopted a policy to use open technology standards to increase public participation in political debate.
The Parliamentary Information Communication and Technology office (Pict) policy is part of proposed plan to distribute broadcasts of parliamentary debates in a form that people can embed in their own websites, in a similar manner to the way YouTube allows video content to be displayed on blogs and other sites.
Sometimes it feels like the US government likes to take incompetence to new levels. It should come as little surprise that foreign tourism to the US is way down. Basically ever since the Patriot Act, visiting the US has become a huge pain for foreign tourists, and with our lovely new “we see you naked or we touch your private parts” strategy for airline passengers (thank you, TSA), it appears that things are getting even worse. So, if you’re the US government, how do you respond? Do you start thinking about modifying such policies to make visiting the US less unwelcoming? Do you start thinking about more effective, but less insulting security procedures? Do you start looking at why those foreign tourists are staying away in droves? The answer appears to be no, no and no.
It’s critical for any small business to be able to rely on the hardware they pay for to do the job without a ton of maintenance. Many small businesses don’t even pay a full time IT guy, much less keep up to date on the latest in security flaws that are found. They rely on companies like HP, who offer complete solutions in security, warranty, and maintenance to handle a lot of their day to day activities. So, what happens when relying on a solution like this results in ignoring a great big security hole that was created by the very group protecting you?
Here’s what should now happen, and let’s see if it does. Henry Kissinger should have the door shut in his face by every decent person and should be shamed, ostracized, and excluded. No more dinners in his honor; no more respectful audiences for his absurdly overpriced public appearances; no more smirking photographs with hostesses and celebrities; no more soliciting of his worthless opinions by sycophantic editors and producers. One could have demanded this at almost any time during the years since his role as the only unindicted conspirator in the Nixon/Watergate gang, and since the exposure of his war crimes and crimes against humanity in Indochina, Chile, Argentina, Cyprus, East Timor, and several other places.
The “secret” law used by police to search and arrest during the June G20 summit in Toronto is so anachronistic that Ontario is the last province in Canada to have such legislation.
That’s why the Liberal government is eager to receive former Ontario chief justice Roy McMurtry’s review of the 1939 Public Works Protection Act and move on his advice, says Community Safety Minister Jim Bradley.
“He’s got a very wide scope to look at the law. My expectation is he will make recommendations about how to amend the act or replace it altogether,” Bradley said in an interview Monday.
In the aftermath of the G20 fiasco here last summer, one thing Torontonians agreed on was that such summits should be held in isolated venues — on military bases, on ocean-going vessels, on melting glaciers — anywhere but where lots of people reside.
But beyond being upset with the expense and disorder that weekend, many Torontonians (and city council) sided with the police, assuming that the arrest of 1,105 people must have somehow been justified, given the rampage of a small group through the downtown core.
The Canadian Senate Friday passed the Conservative government’s crime bill, S-10, which institutes mandatory minimum sentences for a number of non-violent drug offenses, including a six-month sentence for growing five pot plants. The bill now heads to the House of Commons for hearings and a vote.
Humans are animals of protocol. Our behavior is determined by rules – conscious and not. Until recently, the protocol was an instrument of hegemonic power: the rule-ing elites were makers and masters of the protocols that were used to control the people. The writing and policing of protocol was reserved for the elite.
The Internet today is the place through which humanity is coming to realise that liberty will require that we – the collective we – take control of the building and re-design of protocol. Wikileaks is a real milestone in that process. The word “Wikileaks” has two components, each important. “Leaks”: the hermetically sealed circles of power, those that once seemed as solid as rock, are liquifying and losing their aura. “Wiki”: each and all of us can contribute to the process of active demystification of protocol.
Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of that crime, nor of any other crime. Despite that, he has been detained at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for five months — and for two months before that in a military jail in Kuwait — under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture. Interviews with several people directly familiar with the conditions of Manning’s detention, ultimately including a Quantico brig official (Lt. Brian Villiard) who confirmed much of what they conveyed, establishes that the accused leaker is subjected to detention conditions likely to create long-term psychological injuries.
Manning is barred from communicating with any reporters, even indirectly, so nothing he has said can be quoted here. But David House, a 23-year-old MIT researcher who befriended Manning after his detention (and then had his laptops, camera and cellphone seized by Homeland Security when entering the U.S.) is one of the few people to have visited Manning several times at Quantico. He describes palpable changes in Manning’s physical appearance and behavior just over the course of the several months that he’s been visiting him. Like most individuals held in severe isolation, Manning sleeps much of the day, is particularly frustrated by the petty, vindictive denial of a pillow or sheets, and suffers from less and less outdoor time as part of his one-hour daily removal from his cage.
Anyone who has studied tactics, for battle or otherwise, knows Sun Tzu’s legendary work, The Art Of War. Or at least they should. In reviewing what the first chapter of that work teaches about the five factors a battling faction must consider when endeavoring to battle, you have to scratch your head and wonder if the United States government might need a refresher course.
We find it very disturbing that Spamhaus labels a site as dangerous without even checking if there is any malware on it. We monitor the wikileaks.info site and we can guarantee that there is no malware on it. We do not know who else is hosted with Heihachi Ltd and it is none of our business. They provide reliable hosting to us. That’s it.
The battle has always been between the state and market, or man’s ability to circumvent the tentacles of government through economic progress. Until only very recently, man has been at a technological disadvantage. The ability to evade book burnings amounted to the ability to hide the book. The end of censorship in Germany, for example, came only with the end of the Nazi regime.
Presently, our ability to attain knowledge is threatened because said knowledge represents a threat to the state — not to “national security,” as is claimed, but to the legitimacy of the state itself. Julian Assange, through WikiLeaks, has made available to society a vast collection of information that undermines the state’s legitimacy. Assange cracked the government’s veil of benignity and brought into question the state’s tactics. His website undermines its moral authority.
The threat posed by Assange is underscored by the government’s seemingly disproportionate response. Senator Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, successfully used the power of the state to shut down part of WikiLeaks. He did so by threatening to sanction Amazon, which at the time hosted that part of Assange’s operation.
That said, I’ve personally gone back and forth about how I feel about DDoS. It is important to note that this is being used as a means for young people to have their voice heard in a political climate which otherwise ignores or labels them as “politically insensitive.” While they have now demonstrated that this is not true, I really can’t find justification for making a criminal of a 16 year old net activist.
The young man, known by the nick Jeroenz0r, had been participating in DDoS activism, along with the rest of Anonymous Operation Payback activists, ”to protect anonymity and freedom of speech.”
A recent batch of WikiLeaks cables led Der Spiegel and The New York Times to print front-page stories on China’s cyber-espionage capabilities Dec. 4 and 5. While China’s offensive capabilities on the Internet are widely recognized, the country is discovering the other edge of the sword.
China is no doubt facing a paradox as it tries to manipulate and confront the growing capabilities of Internet users. Recent arrests of Chinese hackers and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) pronouncements suggest that China fears that its own computer experts, nationalist hackers and social media could turn against the government. While the exact cause of Beijing’s new focus on network security is unclear, it comes at a time when other countries are developing their own defenses against cyber attacks and hot topics like Stuxnet and WikiLeaks are generating new concerns about Internet security.
While the professional diplomats come through with their reputation in good order, their political masters do not. The American political class comes across as two-faced, accusing China of human rights abuses, while committing their own human rights abuses, accusing other regimes of secrecy, and losing their temper when their own secrets are exposed.
Let’s take Defense Secretary Robert Gates who called Assange’s arrest on a Swedish warrant for having unprotected sex with two women Good News. And that’s the Gospel Truth (Gospel is a derivative of Old English gōd-spell  (rarely godspel), meaning “good news” or “glad tidings”). Exactly why would an ex-Eagle Scout say something like this? Possibly he’s not Eagle Scout material any more.
How about the orders that diplomats act as spies? Everyone understands that diplomats report what they see. That’s part of their job. But ordering them to collect credit card numbers and DNA on United Nations staff? Hillary Clinton should be ashamed. Heck, Hillary Clinton should step down from her post as Secretary of State.
And then we’ve got politicians calling Amazon, complaining that Amazon was hosting Wikileaks, and Amazon pulling the plug. We have the U.S. Government interfering with the .ORG domain system. The U.S. Military is now blocking serving members from the New York Times website (possibly the first time that an American government institution has blocked online access to an American newspaper).
Andrew McAfee has come out quite strongly against wikileaks and Assange’s principles and motives in particular. We disagree.
However, like Andrew, I’m a fan of computer and political history and I often use ancient quotes to make an argument. This post will be no different, and I may ramble a bit.
Andrew quotes Babbage,
I’ll outsource my answer to the legendary Victorian computer pioneer Charles Babbage: “On two occasions I have been asked, ‘Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?’ I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.”
The secret cables, seen by The Daily Telegraph, disclose how Swedish officials wanted discussions about anti-terrorism operations kept from public scrutiny.
They describe how officials from the Swedish Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign Affairs had a “strong degree of satisfaction with current informal information sharing arrangements” with the American government.
The US government should not prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for releasing classified US State Department cables as this would imperil media freedom everywhere, Human Rights Watch said in a letter today to President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. Human Rights Watch urged the US government to reject overbroad interpretations of national security that clash with the freedom of expression guarantees of the US Constitution and international law.
“This is a signature moment for freedom of expression and information in both the US and abroad,” said Dinah PoKempner, general counsel at Human Rights Watch. “Prosecuting WikiLeaks for publishing leaked documents would set a terrible precedent that will be eagerly grasped by other governments, particularly those with a record of trying to muzzle legitimate political reporting.”
The decision to have Julian Assange sent to a London jail and kept there was taken by the British authorities and not by prosecutors in Sweden, as previously thought, the Guardian has learned.
The Crown Prosecution Service will go to the high court tomorrow to seek the reversal of a decision to free the WikiLeaks founder on bail, made yesterday by a judge at City of Westminster magistrates court.
It had been widely thought Sweden had made the decision to oppose bail, with the CPS acting merely as its representative. But today the Swedish prosecutor’s office told the Guardian it had “not got a view at all on bail” and that Britain had made the decision to oppose bail.
Recent decisions by some technology companies to restrict access to or sever ties with Wikileaks highlight the difficulties companies face when governments attempt to restrict controversial information.
The full House Committee on the Judiciary will hold a hearing on the Espionage Act and legal and constitutional issues raised by WikiLeaks tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. EST. You can watch the hearing live here. We’ll also be tweeting our impressions throughout the morning.
This morning, MediaMatters released the bombshell e-mail “sent by Fox News Washington managing editor Bill Sammon … less than 15 minutes after Fox correspondent Wendell Goler accurately reported on-air that the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization announced that 2000-2009 was ‘on track to be the warmest [decade] on record.‘ ”
Well, okay, this would be a bombshell email coming from any other news organization in the world (see Howell Raines: “Why has our profession … helped Fox legitimize a style of journalism that is dishonest in its intellectual process, untrustworthy in its conclusions and biased in its gestalt?”) So maybe the only bombshell is that Sammon was foolish enough to put this egregious Fox News policy into an email.
UPDATE: Al Gore blogs, “Fox News has consistently delivered false and misleading information to its viewers about the climate crisis. The leaked emails now suggest that this bias comes directly from the executives responsible for their news coverage.”
China is seizing on Europe’s debt problems to expand its influence on the continent with large-scale investments and purchases of government bonds issued by highly-indebted states. The strategy could push Europe into the same financial dependency on China that is posing a dilemma for the US.
Gary Andres, a lobbyist for Dutko Worldwide, has been hired by incoming chairman Fred Upton to be the staff director for the House Energy & Commerce Committee.
The Energy & Commerce Committee is one of the central committees in the House and Andres’ former clients are going to be involved in many of the most contentious debates that the committee will engage in over the next two years.
In 2010 Andres represented health care groups including the Coalition to Advance Healthcare Reform and UnitedHealth Corp., technology titan Google, General Motors, FedEx Corp., HSBC, Union Pacific Corp. and the National Ground Water Association.
What, then, can digital activists do to protect speech on the internet? Fortunately, there are a bunch of technical projects dedicated to reducing centralization in the internet infrastructure. Some are in the idea stage, some are up and running, and some are in-between. All of them could use help: development, documentation, security review, server infrastructure, testing, and evangelizing. EFF urges technologists of all stripes and skill levels to work on potential solutions to the centralization problem.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has once again delayed plans to rule on whether or not to charge either Phorm and or BT over the broadband ISPs secret 2006/2007 trials of Phorm’s technology, which tracked customers private website visits (not unlike Spyware) for use in targeted advertising campaigns; this was done without end-users consent.
The U.S. Air Force has blocked employees from visiting media websites carrying leaked WikiLeaks documents, including The New York Times and the Guardian, a spokesman said on Tuesday.
Major Toni Tones, a spokeswoman at Air Force Space Command in Colorado, said the command had blocked employees whose computers are connected to the Air Force network from accessing at least 25 websites that have posted WikiLeaks documents.
Just ignoring all the facts about censorship,copyrights-killer and an outrageos privacy violator, TIME magazine is “proud” to announce Mark Zuckerberg as Person of the Year 2010 by connecting half billion facebookers, What the fuck!?
In EFF’s second major privacy victory in as many days, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals today denied the government’s request that it reconsider its September decision regarding government access to cell phone company records that reveal your past locations. That means the court’s original opinion — holding that federal magistrates have the discretion to require the government to get a search warrant based on probable cause before obtaining cell phone location records — is now the settled law of the Third Circuit, assuming the government doesn’t seek review by the Supreme Court. Importantly, this victory won’t just provide greater protection for the privacy of your cell phone records but for all other communications records that the government currently obtains without warrants.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a previous ruling that those who bought and played World of Warcraft did not actually own the software, but were merely licensing the game, per the included End User Licensing Agreement.
This past October France’s “Creation and Internet” law formally went into effect and it seems that it has yet to warn as many suspected file-sharers as the music industry had hoped.
The “Creation and Internet” law is the the controversial “three-strikes” measure to fight P2P in that country that was first proposed back in June of 2008. It was formally passed last September, but not after first before being ruled unconstitutional over the fact that an agency (HADOPI), and not a judge, was allowed to disconnect people from the Internet.
A British judge has ruled that running an unsecured wireless broadband connection is not equivalent to facilitating illegal file sharing.
It is believed to be the first time a judge has ruled on this element of the Digital Economy Act which the previous Labour Government was widely accused of rushing through in its last week of power. The Act was designed to allow ISPs to seek ‘technical measures’ (including, ultimately, disconnection) to prevent illegal file sharing.
The UK Federation Against Software Theft (FAST), a not-for-profit group that campaigns for the legitimate use of software, has said that it plans to involve its “lawyers in the thought processes to link with the debate” on the controversial Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA).
Posted in Site News at 6:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz
Summary: A tad philosophical take on what needs achieving and how
The absolute goalposts which define personal freedom never truly change; it’s the obstructions on the way to the goal which keep moving away and showing up, so the struggle for freedom is eternal. Humans and animals are innately motivated by power — the will to impose on others views/actions which they do not want to carry out. Slavery in the classical sense is of out of fashion in the modernised, supposedly civilised world, but new forms of slavery (notably wage slavery in the hands of lenders) filled its room. Despite distractions like imaginary outside enemies, people engage in a class battle to further restore balance in power and those who are least powerful are usually isolated geographically because — as the famous saying goes — out of sight, out of mind.
“Many things are interconnected and separating politics from technology is wishful thinking at best.”In 2010, many people rose up and spoke up. Rather than wave banners at a roadside people utilised the Internet, so once again those in power set up new barriers, which include censorship (e.g. blacklists), Net neutrality, bandwidth caps, domain seizures, battles against transparency, financial deprivation, and so on. And that’s hardly scratching the surface of protectionist measures like copyrights and patents. Many things are interconnected and separating politics from technology is wishful thinking at best.
Freedom is relative and means of achieving freedom depend on what prevents its fulfillment/achievement. Instruments like patents may no longer exist within a few decades, but that does not mean that problems associated with creativity and knowledge-sharing will be solved. Just look at how drug bans change over the decades or centuries, sometimes to readjust and account for class factors.
In 2006 this site was established to tackle Novell and scope expanded to the extent where it touches many of the technological mechanisms for control and power (over the population at large). This hardly scratches the surface as personal freedom depends not only on the digital world. But that’s why we’re called “Techrights” and not just “Rights”. █
Goldman Sachs technology analyst Sarah Friar sees challenging times ahead for Microsoft in 2011 as it attempts to address the threat from tablet computers such as the iPad and mobile operating systems such as Android. In a research note released this weekend, Friar wrote that it will be a “more challenging year” for Microsoft with top-line growth slowing from 12 percent to seven percent.
We no longer cover Microsoft as much as before because the company grew weaker. It’s not worth the time for the same reason that covering Novell is somewhat wasteful (because it’s a goner). “Microsoft seems set to announce another generation of doomed tablets at CES New Windows Tablets Coming Out This CES” says this other new headline, which helps remind people that it’s an arena where GNU/Linux or Android compete with Apple.
News has broken that Microsoft will announce a large set of new slate computers to compete with Apple’s iPad and the river of launched and forthcoming Android tablets next month at CES.
Judging from what the rumors have said, the tablets are already more or less doomed, and they are going to fail for the exact same reasons that every other Microsoft tablet concept has failed before. It’s almost frustrating.
Microsoft suggested that Vista Phony 7 [sic] was supposed to target tablets, but without basic functionality like tethering or copy & paste, no such platform is designated for today’s market.
Microsoft is losing its grip on software while failing to become a hardware seller or online player (not as a profitable contender). That’s why it turns to patents right now. When products fail to bear fruit all that’s left are ideas and lawyers. █
Red Hat’s Harish Pillay redents the message from a Red Hat colleague, Mr. Fontana, one of the key lawyers. “(WARNING Asayroll),” says the message, “Matt Asay suggests FSF caved in to Google pressure in GPLv3 <Completely and utterly false!”
Needless to say, Google is not a fan of AGPL and in general Google prefers licences like Apache. Google has some reasons for disliking GPLv3 because Google is not against software patents. Red Hat’s Jan Wildeboer writes: “#USPTO fails again. Googles newest patent “highlight terms in docs” http://is.gd/iKbKE – this is what emacs et al can do since like the 60s”
Microsoft Windows owned 91 percent of the PC operating system market in 2009, and IDC expects it to drop by 1 percent by 2014. Mac, which had 4 percent in 2009, is expected to increase to 5 percent by 2014. Linux is expected to hold steady at 4 percent.
Give the Gift of Linux – The best thing you can do for your non-computer-savvy relative or friend is install Linux. Before you laugh, hear me out. Linux is great if all you’re doing is surfing the Internet and maybe writing some documents. Everything else, including photo sharing, is all cloud-based now anyway. Best of all, you won’t have to spend hours deleting junk out of the browser cache and you can do it all remotely via a VNC or an SSH connection. What more could you ask for?
Many people only think about it from the fans perspective, without realizing the different steps it’s taken to get to them. ThistleWeb talks about the current copyright cartel thinking in how it affects musicians. The same people who claim to speak on behalf of artists, lobby to enshrine laws supposedly for the artists. He talks through the process of starting a band and how often these laws crop up forcing the next generation of musicians to spend a LOT of money to stay legal, or be criminalized. Staying legal means coughing up to maintain the status quo.
Google’s new cloud computing ChromeOS looks like a plan “to push people into careless computing” by forcing them to store their data in the cloud rather than on machines directly under their control, warns Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and creator of the operating system GNU.
Two years ago Stallman, a computing veteran who is a strong advocate of free software via his Free Software Foundation, warned that making extensive use of cloud computing was “worse than stupidity” because it meant a loss of control of data.
Now he says he is increasingly concerned about the release by Google of its ChromeOS operating system, which is based on GNU/Linux and designed to store the minimum possible data locally. Instead it relies on a data connection to link to Google’s “cloud” of servers, which are at unknown locations, to store documents and other information.
Yesterday we talked about Frozenbyte wanting Linux gamers to help test their Linux game port of Trine. We also mentioned that Frozenbyte’s Trine 2 would likely be coming to Linux and that this work for Frozenbyte was being done by Alternative Games, a company we never heard of. We have now received an email from Tapio Honkonen, the CEO of this company that’s said to be all about Linux gaming.
It seems the biggest problem that the project is facing is the lack of time. As this is a community driven project, it effectively takes a back seat to everything else that is going on in people’s lives. Personally, I do not know what can be done to change the situation. I too have limited time as well, but I do my best, as do many others involved in the project. Thank you to all those people. Your help is greatly appreciated.
For this cycle, we discussed that the Ubuntu Artwork Team should do more for the community. The misconception that the team has anything to do with Ubuntu-the-product’s visual design and default theme has to die. I lean towards the same for the hope this could change.
Following completion of its first major release in November, Linaro announces the expansion of its ecosystem to include Advisory Partners Canonical, GENIVI, HP, LiMo Foundation and MontaVista Software all of whom are involved in building complex Linux based software. The Advisors will help to guide the Linaro Technical Steering Committee (TSC) on critical industry needs, facilitating the alignment of requirements.
“Today, IBM is shipping Lotus Notes Traveler 184.108.40.206. New in this release — the Notes Traveler client for Android OS,” wrote Ed Brill, IBM’s director of product management for Lotus software, in a blog post Tuesday.
We’ve now open sourced the exact versions of Apache Hadoop we run in production at Facebook. These branches are based on the Apache Hadoop 0.20 release, but have a number of new features which haven’t yet made it into any official Hadoop release. Our engineering team contributes changes (such as the patches in these branches) upstream to the Hadoop project and you’ll find that we’ve listed JIRA tasks along with most of the changes.
Apache Hadoop is being used in three broad types of systems: as a warehouse for web analytics, as storage for a distributed database and for MySQL database backups.
The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) today announced apache-extras.org, the Google-hosted site for code associated with Apache projects that are not part of the Foundation’s more than eighty Top-level Projects and dozens of initiatives in the Apache Incubator and Labs.
It’s the holiday season, many people are buying gifts. Gifts for co-workers, friends, family and even strangers.
Recently I received a gift from a stranger — a copy of Blood Bowl for Windows. Based on the fantasy football board game of the same name, the gift may have seemed like a no-brainer for someone who doesn’t know you very well, and may be forced to buy a gift based on your apparent likes and dislikes from your posts on a forum or website. What was intended as an innocent gift from a well-wishing anonymous giver was actually an instrument of DRM. What kind of DRM, I don’t know, but that the game proudly announces online activation is an indication that there’s some.
Here is my opening keynote to the Open Government Data Camp held in London earlier this year (2010) on Nov 18th. Pasted below is the day two keynote by the always excellent Tom Steinberg of mysociety.org.
The Cupcake CNC is an example of open hardware: the design, from its electronics to its physical build, is licensed in an open manner. Given its low cost and small size (compared to many commercial 3D printers), it is possible to introduce students to the marvels of modern manufacture on a budget, even in the classroom.
As a member of the Teaching Open Source community, I’ve watched the evolution of the POSSE programme as it reaches out to computer science faculty around the world. However, computer science graduates make up a very small percentage of the graduates of higher education, and I want to find ways for more students from more backgrounds to experience the benefits and rewards of communicating with and contributing to free and open source communities.
It is hard work, finding ways to introduce fundamentally non-technical students into open communities that assume, coming in the door, that you know how to use a version control system. While projects like OpenHatch are excellent, I find myself looking for more tangible ways to get students from outside computing involved in things they can see and feel.
In light of these findings, researchers concluded that a defense mechanism, which they labeled “backfire”, was preventing individuals from producing pure rational thought. The result is a self-delusion that appears so regularly in normal thinking that we fail to detect it in ourselves, and often in others: When faced with facts that do not fit seamlessly into our individual belief systems, our minds automatically reject (or backfire) the presented facts. The result of backfire is that we become even more entrenched in our beliefs, even if those beliefs are totally or partially false.
“The general idea is that it’s absolutely threatening to admit you’re wrong,” said Brendan Nyhan, the lead researcher of the Michigan study. The occurrence of backfire, he noted, is “a natural defense mechanism to avoid that cognitive dissonance.”
Kosovo’s prime minister is the head of a “mafia-like” Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report on organised crime.
The European Commission has revised its rules for the assessment of co-operation agreements between competitors, so called horizontal co-operation agreements. As it is often vital for companies to work together to achieve synergies, there exist a vast number of horizontal co-operation agreements in many industries. The texts update and further clarify the application of competition rules in this area so that companies can better assess whether their co-operation agreements are in line with those rules. Modifications concern mainly the areas of standardisation, information exchange, and research and development (R&D).
There’s something exciting afoot in the world of cosmology. Last month, Roger Penrose at the University of Oxford and Vahe Gurzadyan at Yerevan State University in Armenia announced that they had found patterns of concentric circles in the cosmic microwave background, the echo of the Big Bang.
This, they say, is exactly what you’d expect if the universe were eternally cyclical. By that, they mean that each cycle ends with a big bang that starts the next cycle. In this model, the universe is a kind of cosmic Russian Doll, with all previous universes contained within the current one.
THE natural and social sciences exert a huge influence on the ways our societies develop. At present most of the funding for scientific research is controlled by the state and the private economy. Perhaps it is time to look at their track record and consider an alternative.
In economics, we already have damning evidence that the funding system isn’t working. As the investment banker turned financial reformer Philip Augar has pointed out, over a period of 30 years the discipline became a servant of the financial sector. “Finance wrapped its tentacles around the relevant parts of the academic world… it is little wonder that so much academic research was supportive of the financial system.”
New software developed by ESA makes available online to everyone, everywhere at anytime, the entire library of images from the SOHO solar and heliospheric observatory. Just download the viewer and begin exploring the Sun.
JHelioviewer is new visualization software that enables everyone to explore the Sun. Developed as part of the ESA/NASA Helioviewer Project, it provides a desktop program that enables users to call up images of the Sun from the past 15 years.
This could be useful for people who are paralysed, and are unable to control parts of their body enough to physically activate the joystick of an electric wheelchair. Many people may be able to use this technology to gain some independence, and to take a break from needing an attendant to push their wheelchair so they can get some fresh air.
The parts of this system include an electric wheelchair, a laptop computer, an Arduino, an interface circuit, an EEG headset, and a collection of ready-made and custom software.
The website-attacking group “Anonymous” tried and failed to take down Amazon.com on Thursday. The group’s vengeance horde quickly found out something techies have known for years: Amazon, which has built one of the world’s most invincible websites, is almost impossible to crash.
This month’s online struggles between Wikileaks supporters participating in the ephemeral group called Anonymous and international corporations like Visa, Mastercard and PayPal, who have stopped allowing their customers to donate money to Wikileaks, have brought electronic disruptions like Distributed Denials of Service (DDOS) to the forefront of peoples’ minds all over the world.
Pointing to the Cameron government’s growing impatience over student protests, British officials have reportedly moved against 12-year-old Nicky Wishart, henceforth known as the Notorious Nicky of Oxfordshire, threatening him with arrest for threatening the public peace.
The Foreign Office was planning for the possibility that Britain might attack Iraq without UN approval more than six months before the invasion, according to a hitherto classified document written shortly before a meeting between Tony Blair and George Bush at Camp David.
The document, drawn up by John Williams, press adviser to the then foreign secretary, Jack Straw, spells out ways to soften up the media, including “critics like the Guardian”. Under the heading Not taking the UN route, Williams wrote: “Our argument should be narrow, and put with vigour – Iraq is uniquely dangerous.”
His memo, titled Iraq Media Strategy, is dated 4 September 2002, when the government was still trying to get UN support for military action and when Lord Goldsmith, the attorney general, was advising that clear UN authority was needed. The document was also written as Whitehall and MI6 were being wound up by No 10 to provide much-needed ammunition for the government’s Iraq weapons dossier.
Declassified CIA files reveal that U.S. intelligence officials went to great lengths to protect a Ukrainian fascist leader and suspected Nazi collaborator from prosecution after World War II and set him up in a New York office to wage covert war against the Soviet Union, according to a new report to Congress.
Mykola Lebed led an underground movement to undermine the Kremlin and conduct guerrilla operations for the CIA during the Cold War, says the report, prepared by two scholars under the supervision of the National Archives. It was given to Congress on Thursday and posted online.
In Western democracies, we may well work under the belief that the state is legitimate, but we surely don’t operate under the view that everything it does is legitimate. That is our job — isn’t it? — to find and expose its illegitimate acts.
I do not think I can accept as journalistic canon the idea that reporters and editors in every nation should view their states as legitimate. To the contrary, we root for them to challenge the legitimacy of illegitimate states; don’t we expect them to be the first, best hammer on the walls of secrecy built by the tyrannical and the corrupt?
Expensive, realistic masks — the kind that are the hit of the costume party — are increasingly being used out of season, and not always for laughs.
A white bank robber in Ohio recently used a “hyper-realistic” mask manufactured by a small Van Nuys company to disguise himself as a black man, prompting police there to mistakenly arrest an African American man for the crimes.
In the aftermath of the G20 fiasco here last summer, one thing Torontonians agreed on was that such summits should be held in isolated venues — on military bases, on ocean-going vessels, on melting glaciers — anywhere but where lots of people reside.
Lovers necessarily keep or share secrets. Being in a healthy relationship means achieving a certain level of intimacy, where shared knowledge of each others’ weaknesses and insecurities is protected by a bond of mutual trust. Sometimes lovers might do devilish things that outsiders wouldn’t understand, or shouldn’t be privy to, and this is fine. But by and large, what they do is simply no one else’s business.
But imagine that the man in the relationship kept it a secret that he had other women on the side, kids, a criminal record, venereal disease, and basically betrayed his lover in every way imaginable, unbeknownst to her?
Now imagine a third party felt it was their moral duty to reveal it?
No one questions that governments must maintain a certain level of secrecy, including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who told Time that “Secrecy is important for many things … [but it] shouldn’t be used to cover up abuses.” The entire premise of Assange’s whistleblower organization is this: To what degree is government secrecy justified? And when particular secrets could be damaging to the other partner in the United States government’s relationship — the American people — should these secrets be revealed in the name of protecting the public?
Senior US officials urged British banking regulators two years ago to take more draconian action against Iranian banks suspected of financing nuclear and missile programmes, US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks show.
Hector Sants, chief executive of the Financial Services Authority, was forced to defend the regulator’s record on Iran – particularly with regard to Bank Sepah – to the state department under-secretary Reuben Jeffrey and the US treasury assistant Patrick O’Brien.
WikiLeaks has released its first confidential cable written by diplomats from the U.S. mission to the United Nations. While the December 2009 cable — which discusses U.S. efforts on a range of issues before the U.N. General Assembly — provides no major news revelations, it contains some valuable insights into the way America conducts its business here.
The confidential U.S. diplomatic communication — which was approved by U.S. ambassador Susan E. Rice — shows how reliant the U.S. is on its allies, particularly in Europe, to take the lead on politically sensitive issues like the promotion of human rights, where the U.S. often faces criticism for its military and detention policies. The cable credits the European Union with “collaborating pragmatically” with the Obama administration on its top priorities, including efforts to require emerging economic powers to pay a larger share of the U.N.’s administrative and peacekeeping costs, and to adopt U.N. resolutions criticizing the human rights record of Burma, Iran, and North Korea.
Judging by the last two weeks, being an enemy of Julian Assange is only marginally less stressful than being Julian Assange. Amazon, PayPal, MasterCard, and Visa, which all moved to cut ties with Assange’s WikiLeaks after the site’s release of diplomatic cables, have been the targets of distributed denial-of-service attacks from a group that calls itself “Anonymous.” There is nothing fancy going on here. DDoS attacks simply aim to send more traffic to a target site than it can handle, slowing it down or making it temporarily unavailable.
Many prominent Internet personalities, including John Perry Barlow and Cory Doctorow, have spoken out against DDoS on the sensible-sounding grounds that one can’t fight for free speech by limiting it for others. How, then, does Anonymous defend its actions? In a press release (PDF), the self-described “Internet gathering” explains that its “goal is to raise awareness about WikiLeaks and the underhanded methods employed by … companies to impair WikiLeaks’ ability to function.” For this author, however, the most interesting bit of the press release comes in the next paragraph: “[A DDoS attack] is a symbolic action—as blogger and academic Evgeny Morozov put it, a legitimate expression of dissent” (italics theirs).
JULIA Gillard is confronting a growing backlash within her own party, with more Labor MPs yesterday attacking the Prime Minister’s language and declaring their support for WikiLeaks’s founder Julian Assange and free speech.
Ms Gillard said the latest WikiLeaks information dump was based on an illegal act, but Canberra has since insisted that was a reference to the original theft of the material by a junior US serviceman rather than any action by Mr Assange.
A bloke named Alex Tapanaris, whose name appeared on the PDF press release circulated by online trouble-makers Anonymous has had his web site disappeared from the web and, according to a post on pastebin.com, the unfortunate chap has been arrested.
The leaking of confidential documents by whistle-blower WikiLeaks is a case of information terrorism, Hungarian parliamentary speaker Laszlo Kover said late on Sunday.
Kover, who was minister without a portfolio overseeing the secret services between 1998 and 2000, said the WikiLeaks affair shows that “it is necessary to tackle” the taboo that surrounds the lack of control in online news reporting and “it is necessary to devise a method to prevent similar cases in the future.”
“We now know that Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and others are instruments of U.S. foreign policy. It’s not something we knew before,” he charged in the statement provided by his mother. “I am calling for the world to protect my work and my people from these illegal and immoral attacks.”
By any standard, these and other calls for Assange’s death constitute incitements to murder as much as Ayatollah Khomeini’s fatwa did. The question is whether such speech is protected under the First Amendment. I personally believe that all speech is protected—when it is speech. Julian Assange has the right to publish documents, as do the newspapers with which he shared the them. Salman Rushdie has the right to offend those who read The Satanic Verses—even to offend the many who haven’t read a word of it. In theory, Sarah Palin, Mike Flanagan, and Bob Beckel have the right to say what they think about Julian Assange.
Mark told me that Julian Assange is currently in the very same cell that was occupied by Oscar Wilde before the latter’s transfer to Reading Gaol. His client is not allowed to have any internet access, and nor has the library trolley come round. He is being kept in isolation, even though he is a model prisoner. He did have access to a television but this has now been removed (though he loathed having to watch British daytime television). All he has now is a wind-up radio.
How do I know that Interpol, Britain and Sweden’s treatment of Julian Assange is a form of theater? Because I know what happens in rape accusations against men that don’t involve the embarrassing of powerful governments.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is in solitary confinement in Wandsworth prison in advance of questioning on state charges of sexual molestation. Lots of people have opinions about the charges. But I increasingly believe that only those of us who have spent years working with rape and sexual assault survivors worldwide, and know the standard legal response to sex crime accusations, fully understand what a travesty this situation is against those who have to live through how sex crime charges are ordinarily handled — and what a deep, even nauseating insult this situation is to survivors of rape and sexual assault worldwide.
# WikiLeaks boss will remain in jail ahead of appeal by Swedish prosecutors
# Appeal will be heard within 48 hours by senior High Court judge
# Assange desperately trying to raise £200,000 cash to meet bail security
# His lawyer says ‘The begging bowl is out’
# Michael Moore, Bianca Jagger and Jemima Khan show their support
# Judge allows live ‘Twitters’ from court
Oh, goody. Perhaps upset that his last film, Capitalism, was a dud and he hasn’t been in the news for a while, filmmaker Michael Moore is now offering to post bail for WikiLeaks frontman Julian Assange, who is currently languishing in a British prison while the Brits work out his extradition to Sweden, where he’s wanted for questioning.
Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that I have put up $20,000 of my own money to help bail Mr. Assange out of jail.
Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.
Here is a very interesting document titled “Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information” by Jennifer K. Elsea, Legislative Attorney from October 18, 2010. It gives you insight into how the US is struggling to find ways to prosecute Julian Assange for leaking documents.
It’s helping us all understand that the Internet isn’t just for tweeting what you had for lunch, watching (and making) viral YouTube videos, sharing family pictures on Facebook and buying stuff on Amazon.
Yet again, I’m left noticing the similarities between the US government’s reaction to Wikileaks and the entertainment industry’s reaction to file sharing”, says Mike Masnick (right) on TechDirt.
“Each move that it made, including going legal, backfired in a big, bad way. It’s really quite stunning to watch the US government make the same mistakes.”
Stunning, but hardly surprising, particularly when one considers just how close the Obama administration is to the corporate entertainment industry, and how frequently Big 4 record label and Hollywood demands end up as US government policy.
Amazingly, the Obama administration is surpassing its predecessor when it comes to assaults on whistle-blowing and a free press. As Politico’s Josh Gerstein reported, “President Barack Obama’s Justice Department has taken a hard line against leakers. . . .’They’re going after this at every opportunity and with unmatched vigor,’ said Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists.” The New York Times similarly documented: “the Obama administration is proving more aggressive than the Bush administration in seeking to punish unauthorized leaks.” The Obama DOJ has launched nothing less than a full-on war against whistleblowers; its magnanimous “Look Forward, Not Backward” decree used to shield high-level Bush criminals from investigations is manifestly tossed to the side when it comes to those who reveal such criminality. And they even revitalized an abandoned Bush-era subpoena issued to The New York Times’ James Risen, demanding that he disclose his source for an article in which he revealed an embarrassingly botched attempt to infiltrate and sabotage Iran’s nuclear program.
I find it fascinating how US government has chosen to try to dismantle the support network that makes wikileaks possible – pressuring paypal, amazon and numerous others into refusing to enable wikileaks to work.
They have pressured pretty much every stakeholder with one exception. The traditional media.
The Bank of England governor, Mervyn King, was so concerned about the health of the world’s banks in March 2008 that he plotted a secret bailout of the system using funds from cash-rich nations, according to a US embassy cable released by WikiLeaks.
Six months before the world financial crisis reached its peak, forcing taxpayers to rescue collapsing financial institutions, King told US officials in London that the UK, US, Switzerland and Japan could jointly enable a multibillion-pound cash injection into global banks, overriding the “dysfunctional” G7 nations.
I have a legal question about the Wikileaks case, prompted by this this Guardian piece, by John Naughton, linked in Henry’s comments. I must confess: I wasn’t surprised or particularly scandalized when Amazon kicked Wikileaks off its cloud, because I figured Amazon was probably technically in the right. Wikileaks had probably violated whatever terms of service were in place. I thought this sounded like the sort of thing any private company was likely to do, whether or not Joe Lieberman actually brought pressure to bear. If you have a problem customer who has violated your terms of service, you terminate service. (Just to be clear: I think ongoing attempts to shut down Wikileaks in patently legally dodgy ways are an utter scandal. Joe Lieberman pressuring Amazon is a scandal. I’m with Glenn Greenwald. I also think existing intellectual property laws are, by and large, an atrocious mess. Still, the law is what it is, so the question of how a private company like Amazon can and should be expected to react to this sort of situation is narrower than certain other more general questions about free speech and the press and so forth.)
The magazine said it decided to feature the Australian whistle-blower on its front cover because although he is not a musician, he “is the person who best embodied a rock’n'roll behaviour” during 2010.
He is portrayed bare-chested and bathed in a mysterious white light in front of a bank of television screens.
The division in Crowley’s mind between Bad Wikileaks and Responsible New York Times is entirely arbitrary. Each is a publisher; each routinely takes advantage of stolen goods and information. That one does so with an agenda that’s free for all to see and the other pretends it’s a disinterested observer makes no difference at all.
Okay, this post is going to take the extreme cynical view, which I don’t believe is true, but since it’s being suggested, we might as well flesh it out. In my post about how the US government’s response to Wikileaks has caused more harm than anything actually in the leaks so far, one of the commenters pointed to a Larry Lessig talk from a few years back, where he mentioned a conversation with Richard Clarke — the former anti-terrorism government official, who, more recently, has been selling his book on “Cyberwar” — where he said that the US government has had an “iPatriot Act” sitting in a drawer, ready to go at a moment’s notice whenever there was “an i-9/11 event.”
A dramatic day in and around City of Westminster magistrates court saw Assange win bail, but then be forced to return to what his lawyer Mark Stephens described as “Dickensian conditions” at Wandsworth prison while the international legal battle played out.
Sweden has decided to contest the granting of bail to Assange, who is being held pending an extradition hearing, on the grounds that no conditions imposed by a judge could guarantee that he would not flee, a legal source told the Guardian.
Colorado beekeeper Tom Theobald never expected to become embroiled in a controversy between the EPA and the pesticide industry. But that’s exactly what happened when Theobald got hold of an EPA document revealing that the agency is allowing the widespread use of a bee-toxic pesticide, in spite of warnings from EPA scientists.
So how did Theobald (pictured above) end up with such a contentious document?
The Office of Fair Trading has fired a shot across the bows of marketing companies that buy blog posts and tweets for sponsored promotions without disclosing the fact, after finding that a London-based company broke its code on disclosure.
But it declined to say whether it will be going after other companies in the next few months, despite the insistence of Handpicked Media, an 18-month-old startup based in Carnaby Street which the OFT censured on Monday, that the practice is widespread.
In a landmark decision issued today in the criminal appeal of U.S. v. Warshak, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the government must have a search warrant before it can secretly seize and search emails stored by email service providers. Closely tracking arguments made by EFF in its amicus brief, the court found that email users have the same reasonable expectation of privacy in their stored email as they do in their phone calls and postal mail.
I think one of the problems that people have in discussing DRM is that they only look at one type of error, and never bother to compare the two. As a result of that, those who support strong DRM tend to focus only on the “error” of letting people get a “free ride,” and ignore all of the collateral damage, as Phipps explains. Yet, when you compare the two, it’s difficult to see how one can argue that the “free ride” problem is worse than the problem of collateral damage from limiting legitimate uses. And that is why so many people have such problems with DRM. It’s not that we want a “free ride.” It’s that we worry about the costs associated with all of those collateral damage points.
Today USTR provided some additional insight into negotiations of a regional, Asia-Pacific trade agreement, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement. The USTR web page on the TPP negotiations is http://www.ustry.gov/tpp. At present, the TPP negotiators include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Japan and Canada have expressed interest in joining the negotiations, and USTR clearly would like to design an agreement that will be open to other countries. Our discussions focused on the intellectual property chapter in the agreement. According to USTR, the only text that has been tabled for the IP chapter concerns trademarks and general provisions — the patents, copyrights, test data and enforcement sections of the IP chapter are being designed now. USTR expects a number of health related issues to be raised in the upcoming Santiago Chile meeting in February 2011.
The Supreme Court on Monday said Costco could be liable for copyright infringement for selling foreign-made watches without the manufacturer’s authorization.
True – the Court split 4 to 4 and offered no reasoning for the vote, which technically means that no legal precedent by the high court is created. But on a practical level, it leaves in place the lower court’s opinion which said that copyright law prevents Costco from re-selling foreign-made watches that it lawfully purchased.
It’s amusing to see defenders of current copyright law often making final declarations about how copyright is a “right” for artists, and thus protecting those rights absolutely makes sense. What they never seem to talk about is how, at the same time, copyright quite frequently is removing rights from the public. Julian Sanchez points us to a fascinating new paper from law professor John Tehranian, which tries to bring user rights back into the discussion of copyright
A government advisory panel on Monday basically approved a plan to tolerate the unlicensed use of copyrighted works unless the use unduly infringes on the interest of the copyright holder, government officials said.
The report includes a detailed discussion of ACTA-like agreements that emphasize cooperation, information sharing, and enforcement activities. It notes what should be obvious to many participating countries, including Canada – “most of the benefits to IP rights holders from measures to promote adherence to existing rules in partner countries can be expected to accrue to third parties, such as rights holders in the United States.”