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06.20.12

Links – NATO protest slapdown, Nokia collapsing.

Posted in Site News at 3:36 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • 500 Free Movies Online: Great Classics, Indies, Noir, Westerns, etc.
  • Innovation under Austerity

    This is a transcription of a speech given by Eben Moglen at the 2012 Freedom to Connect conference in Washington DC on May 22, 2012.

  • Bat rescuer awarded $6.1 million in libel suit

    A former intern accused of cyberstalking a Mineral Wells bat sanctuary and its president was ordered to pay about $6.1 million in damages Thursday for what a judge called egregious, malicious and intentional defamatory statements she spread across the Internet, court documents say. … The videos and statements, the suit said, were pervasive on the Internet, using “robots” to game Google and other search engines so the defamatory material would appear high in search results.

  • Security

    • Microsoft XML vulnerability under active exploitation

      These attacks are being distributed both via malicious web pages intended for Internet Explorer users and through Office documents. Users running Windows XP up to and including Windows 7 are known to be vulnerable.

      Nothing changes in Windows land.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Newly Released FBI “Domestic Terrorism” Training on Anarchists, Environmentalists, Show COINTELPRO Tactics

      The FBI considers free speech and protest criminal.

    • Tribune Company Moves to Seize Occupied Chicago Tribune’s Website

      they wanted the paper to change the font, the masthead and the paper could not be any name that began with a “T” (e.g. Occupied Chicago Times). When they realized how the company was coming after the paper, they decided to get legal representation.

    • A rehab job on the criminals in blue
    • BYRON SONNE, FOUND NOT GUILTY ON ALL CHARGES, HAS PLANS FOR THE FUTURE

      Meanwhile, in Canada, another activist charged with terrorism is free from jail, curfews and not using a cell phone that lasted two years.

    • Attorney: “NATO 3″ Activists Detained on Terror Charges in Chicago Are Victims of Police Entrapment

      … they were set up by government informants who planted the explosives. Supporters also say police seized equipment that was used for brewing homemade beer.

    • Occupy Journalists Stopped, Searched, Handcuffed & Interrogated at Gunpoint

      Under cover of the night around twelve police cars stopped five journalists when they were heading back to where they are staying in Chicago during the NATO summit. All five have been covering protests against the NATO summit for the past few days. … Chicago PD took the journalists’ hard drives and slammed them against “running boards four or five times.” They took Pool’s alternate batteries and slammed them too. Content recorded by the journalists was deleted from Ustream. … The episode was not an isolated incident. @Ghostpickles and @Korgasm who have both been covering Occupy since the early days, reported being interrogated by CPD with others in the middle of the night. … The Chicago police, possibly with help from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI or other federal agencies, appear to be working off a list of “suspected” people or spaces where they must go “check in” on what is happening simply to ensure all is safe.

    • CPD, FBI & Secret Service Claim NATO 3 Came to Chicago to Commit ‘Terrorist Acts of Violence’

      Deutsch called the investigation, targeting and raid of these activists “worse than entrapment.” According to the NLG, two police informants infiltrated the group. The NLG believes “they’re the ones who provoked this and they’re the ones,” who committed the “illegal activity” and had the “illegal materials.”
      Additionally, they said the informants didn’t provide the materials and convince the activists to engage in some plot. The activists did not take the bait. The informants simply left the materials in the apartment ahead of the raid so the materials would be there for police to find.

    • Thousands march to oppose police repression in run-up to NATO summit

      supporters of three men arrested in a Wednesday night raid at the Bridgeport apartment of Occupy Chicago activists were gathering at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California for the arrestees’ noon bail hearing. Each was slapped with a bond of $1.5 million; Cook County States’ Attorney Anita Alvarez had originally asked for $5 million bonds for each, and trotted out a litany of charges deployed in the first-ever use of the state’s anti-terrorism statutes …the afternoon’s boisterous but peaceful protest marches marred by sweeping police violence. … Neither action was permitted, in keeping with Occupy Chicago’s standing opposition to the city’s ‘Sit Down & Shut Up” protest ordinances, which were tightened earlier this year to make it virtually impossible to stage permitted actions without at least a million dollars in insurance, massive ‘marshall’ presence, and a commitment to register all signs and banners with the authorities — draconian restrictions on free speech and civil liberties that the Occupy movement and its allies have refused to embrace. The police used batons, bikes and their fists to beat people and push protesters back repeatedly today, with medics reporting numerous injuries.

    • Activists Charged With Providing Material Support for Terrorism Ahead of NATO Summit

      The details I have been able to gather from speaking to arrestees personally make it seem like the police have, in the past 48 hours, fabricated all of these details about having some investigation in progress. … the three activists remaining — Bryan Church, Jarred Chase, Brent Betterly — appear in the video posted of police threatening violence during the NATO summit. It now seems clear that police are charging them in retaliation for posting the video.

    • Activists Disappeared Ahead of NATO Summit Continue To Be Held Without Charge

      the Chicago police had “disappeared” activists. … The local news reporters and journalists have been utter cowards. Because the police would not admit the police carried out a raid, the media refused to “confirm” the story. They instead ran stories that communicated lawyers or protesters were alleging.

    • Will Occupy activists get a fair trial?

      OVER 70 criminal cases against Occupy Portland activists remain in limbo following continued attempts by the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office to deprive defendants of the right to a jury trial and court-appointed legal counsel.
      Over the past several months, prosecutors have specifically sought to avoid allowing defendants to exercise such rights by repeatedly changing the charges filed against them.

    • See original crack down and mass arrests

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • Anti-Trust

    • Nokia CEO: Our Microsoft Phones Just Aren’t Selling That Well

      “We aren’t getting the traction we prefer.” … Elop admitted that Microsoft was giving Nokia “specific support” so it can drop the price.

      The trash bag blamed retail salespeople.

    • Nokia to end ‘Meltemi’ effort for low-end smartphones

      One of the casualties of Nokia’s latest cuts is Meltemi, the company’s effort to create a new Linux-based operating system for low-end smartphones. The project was aimed at offering smartphones at prices that neither Android or Windows Phone could easily reach…

      Is there a reason they can’t do the same thing with MeGo?

    • A questionable source reports,
      Nokia to End “Meltemi” Effort for Low-End Smartphones

      Nokia is also exploring alternatives for another of its development environments, known as Qt, which today is used largely in embedded devices. “We’re fans of Qt, and we’ll continue to support it in the near term, but are being open about looking for opportunities which may be best for this developer framework,” Kerris said.

    • U.S. Probes Cable for Limits on Net Video

      The Justice Department is conducting a wide-ranging antitrust investigation into whether cable companies are acting improperly to quash nascent competition from online video … investigators are taking a particularly close look at the data caps that pay-TV providers like Comcast and AT&T Inc. have used to deal with surging video traffic on the Internet. … Comcast fanned those fears in March, when it said that videos viewed on its own Xfinity app on Microsoft’s Xbox wouldn’t be counted against subscribers’ data caps in the same way as videos viewed using Netflix, Hulu or other apps

      This article is from Fox News and is highly slanted towards the interests of monopolists. The only reason we are hearing about this is because Microsoft’s interests are clashing with those of Fox.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Microsoft Sorry For Gaffe That Gives New Meaning to Norwegian Wood

      Loud music with a disembodied voice rapping goofy lyrics while a half-dozen women in shorts dance in front of a roomful of bemused Norweigian software geeks, who have each paid about $1,500 to attend the three-day event. … The offending couplet: “I’m a computer gen-i-us / The words micro and soft don’t apply to my penis” On the teleprompter, genius is misspelled “genious” and the words “(or vagina)” are added below “penis” in the spirit of gender equality.

      More monkey business from Microsoft. The cost of this kind of “training” is inevitably passed on in the cost of good sold and makes us all pay the Windows Tax.

    • S-COMM to be implemented in Massachusetts over state objections

      over 70 percent of the people deported through S-COMM have never been convicted of a crime or have only minor offenses such as traffic violations. Furthermore, increases racial profiling and causes undocumented immigrants—who are more often the victims of crimes than the perpetrators—to be afraid of contacting police in an emergency situation.

    • US government’s right to torture

      The Supreme Court upheld the US government’s right to torture with impunity for “national security”.
      It also abandoned the rights of prisoners in Guantanamo, even though most of them are acknowledged to have been imprisoned for no reason. Why should anyone hold the US government in higher esteem than the Chinese government?

  • Education Watch

    • States to Residents: Forget Promises to Restore School Funding

      “Over and over, we heard from our elected officials that this was the worst recession since the Great Depression, and they had no choice but to cut school funding,” he said. “We were told that once the economy improves, our funding would be restored. But this year, when they did have a choice, a very clear choice, they decided that tax cuts were more important than education.” … In at least 30 states, funding for K-12 education was lower in fiscal year 2012 than in 2008, despite growing student populations. …

  • Network Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Microsoft Suffocates the Free Software Foundation (FSF)

Posted in FSF, Microsoft at 1:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The software mafia pretends that FSF is a casino

GNU father

Summary: The donations page of the FSF is being blocked by Microsoft, ironically labelled “gambling”

FIRMS such as Black Duck have been discrediting GNU/FSF’s GPL for quite a few years, essentially by repeating the same dubious talking points over and over again. Black Duck has roots in Microsoft.

Is the following incident a case of mischievous staff or innocent mistake?

  • How Microsoft Threat Management Gateway Classifies donate.fsf.org

    After reading about RMS having his laptop stolen, I clicked the link to donate.fsf.org. I’m at work at the moment, and our IT department uses Microsoft Threat Management Gateway to prevent access to certain types of sites. If you’re not familiar with this software, it’s essentially a proxy that assigns websites to categories and can be configured to block any set of categories. This is the response when connecting to donate.fsf.org:

    Network Access Message: Access Denied
    Explanation:

    [Explanation on who to contact in our company for more info redacted]

    The page you are trying to browse to is categorized as “Gambling”

    If you believe you are getting this message by mistake, try contacting your administrator or Helpdesk.

    Technical Information (for support personnel)

    Error Code: 403 Forbidden. Forefront TMG denied the specified Uniform Resource Locator (URL). (12233)
    IP Address: [IP Redacted]
    Date: 6/14/2012 6:31:39 PM [GMT]
    Server: [server name redacted]
    Source: proxy

The FSF recently lost another valued employee, the licensing and compliance officer (or one who specialises in the GPL). Choking the FSF’s only life supply is rude to say the least. See the comments posted in response to the posting above (there’s more in other sites).

OpenSUSE: It’s the Final Meltdown

Posted in Novell, OpenSUSE at 1:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Emo signs

Summary: OpenSUSE makes its signs of distress public, probably for the first time in years

THE OPENSUSE project product wants to ignore the deal that SUSE signed with Microsoft, but the matter of fact is, Microsoft’s dollars help drive the project, ignoring past lessons of what Microsoft did to Novell (Pamela Jones can help remind them [1, 2, 3]).

Based on some reports about SUSE, there is a gathering in the pipeline:

Today, the most ambitious Free Software event of the Czech Republic officially opens registration! We’ve got an awesome event for you in store with sessions on all major subjects in Free Software and around it. Entry will be free of charge for everyone and we’ll give you 4 events AND a bonus track for that money! Read on to find out why you MUST be in Prague on October 20-23 2012.

Some of SUSE’s development had moved there before SUSE signed the deal with Microsoft (almost exactly one year ago). There are clearly signs of trouble and even SUSE sympathisers such as Swapnil Bhartiya are unable to deny it. He writes:

openSUSE seems to be going through some challenging times.

Here is a press report about it:

On top of these growing pains, there are other issues that afflict the openSUSE release process. The build service needed to create images is breaking down frequently, causing more delays. All of this has led to every milestone of openSUSE 12.2 having been delayed so far. Poortvliet and Kulow seem to agree that these delays are not temporary and are symptomatic of deeper problems within the project that need to be addressed.

With some influence and moles, it is no wonder that OpenSUSE goes south. They need to reorganise. Here’s more: “In the longer term some suggestions that seem to be getting positive nods are a project staging areas or forgetting releases and going to the rolling release model. But it’s all speculation at this point.”

The damage control from Stephan Kulow can be found here:

It’s time we realize delaying milestones is not a solution. Instead, let’s use the delay of 12.2 as a reason to challenge our current development model and look at new ways. Rather than continue to delay milestones, let’s re-think how we work.

As one magazine put it, the dev team is “soul searching” as a result and September 2012 is named as the target month. IDG commentary says the development model may be revised:

In an early-morning e-mail message from openSUSE Release Manager Stephan “Coolo” Kulow to the [opensuse-factory] mailing list, Kulow urged his fellow developers to “re-think how we work.” Among Kulow’s suggestions? Dumping the current release cycle schedule for openSUSE and moving to an annual or even unscheduled release system.

Factory is the development project for the openSUSE distribution of Linux, which is the community counterpart to the SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) product line.

Citing more delayed milestones than any other previous release, Kulow lamented that “every week I fight the same battle: Making sure that the mess generated by updates of random packages generates a working system. Very fortunately we have an increasing number of contributors that update versions or fix bugs in packages, but the end result gets worse.”

Here is more damage control:

But for openSUSE, the recent delay in the debut of version 12.2 is about more than simply pushing back a deadline. In Poortvliet’s words, the announcement, and other recent difficulties, are a signal that “we need to re-think how we’re working.”

The bottom line is, a sign of distress comes out of OpenSUSE. So far it has been rare, but several years ago OpenSUSE did seek donations because it had server issues.

Germany Against Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Patents at 12:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Germany's flag

Summary: Paper in Germany squashes patents on software

THE bully from Redmond has been lobbying for software patents in Europe and at one point it managed to legitimise its FAT patent in Germany. In a discussion against software patents in Germany we find some encouraging news (text in German, here is an English translation).

This was highlighted by the FFII’s mailing lists and a response was posted by a patent lawyer from Germany, who unhappily says:

On an Official blog website blogfraktion.de of the parliamentary group of the Christian Democratic Union / Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) in the German Bundestag I recently stumbled upon a green paper concerning copyright in the digital society (Diskussionspapier der CDU/CSU-Bundestagsfraktion zum Urheberrecht in der digitalen Gesellschaft) presented by Deputy Party Whips Mr Michael Kretschmer and Mr Günter Krings. While the main topic of this text, of course, is directed to copyright issues, we also can find a single paragraph devoted to so-called software patents or, more technically, patents on computer-implemented (respectively implementable) inventions as follows…

[...]

The first sentence of this statement asserting that computer programs are rightly protected by copyright is one of the few snippets of information from the text as quoted above which is by and large correct insofar historically the Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs had stipulated in its Article 1 that Member States shall protect computer programs, by copyright, as literary works within the meaning of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. However, the term “rightly” (“richtigerweise” in German) might, at least for German ears, be construed like suggesting that software protection by copyright is the only (proper and legitimate) way to define software-related Intellectual Property.

“This is hyprocrisy,” writes Benjamin Henrion, “since Germany is pushing hard for a central patent court.” He wrote about it in in German as well. Needless to say, the lawyers want patents on everything. But Germany seems to be keeping distinct from the USPTO, for now.

Vista 8 Fails Miserably in Official Demo (Video)

Posted in Videos, Vista 8, Windows at 12:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Early proof that Microsoft’s vapourware is embarrassingly bad

Skype in Microsoft’s Hands Gives NSA Access to International Phonecalls

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 12:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Why the new version of Skype (with a new EULA) is a lot scarier than most people realise

LAST year we wrote about why Skype, once it’s based in the US, is subjected to scary laws that let the NSA spy on the whole world more effectively than ever before (it already has around 20 trillion items of information on US citizens alone, based on a now-largely-gagged whistleblower). Some of this is against the law, but the NSA is above the law anyway and we’ll produce some supporting links if someone insists on them (it’s not the main focus of this site though, so I am adding just a video at the top, for some context).

We already know that those who use Windows live in a universe of remote control by third party and blobs (the cost to society is vast), but now that a new version of Microsoft Skype is made available for GNU/Linux they offer us another back door (for our communication, address books, etc.).

Last year we explained the dangerous power that Skype gives to Microsoft (the original managers left), so we need not repeat it, but now that we know that Stuxnet was created by the US government we do know that Windows is being actively used by the US government for remote control. Some whitewash pieces such as this (blame-shifting) claim that the government is actually well inside Microsoft:

US government officials could be working under cover at Microsoft to help the country’s cyber-espionage programme, according to one leading security expert.

The warning comes in the wake of the Flame virus that targeted key computers in the Middle East, and in part used confidential Microsoft certificates in order to access machines.

With that in mind, do you trust the Microsoft-owned Skype?

The Alternative Press Explains What the Gates Foundation Et Al. Are Doing

Posted in Bill Gates at 12:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gates at Harper's Magazine

Summary: A long, investigative piece explores the role of foundations such as Bill Gates’

A READER of ours brought to our attention this new article which helps explain how the Gates Foundation and fellow tax evaders really operate and why we, the public, should not be fooled by the stories they push into the mainstream media by buying out this media. To quote:

In June of 1889, Andrew Carnegie published his essay “Wealth” in the North American Review: a famous document, as remarkable for the author’s delusional self-regard as it is for the case he makes for private philanthropy. The steel baron launched his argument with the dumbfounding claim that until “the past few hundred years [of human history] there was little difference between the dwelling, dress, food, environment of the chief and those of his retainers.” He then sails blithely along to insist that we should all welcome the changes in society that make violent wealth inequality inevitable, because the benefits of wealth must inevitably trickle down to the least fortunate, etc., an assertion that many of later generations have come to view with a certain skepticism.

Despite the self-congratulatory hallucinations, “Wealth” contains a genuinely noble philanthropic message. The rich man has a duty to live unostentatiously, Carnegie argues—to provide modestly for his own dependents, and “to consider [the balance of his wealth] simply as trust funds, which he is called upon to administer [...] to produce the most beneficial results for the community.” He goes on to say, unblushingly, that the man of wealth is the ablest, best kind of man, who should therefore become “agent and trustee for his poorer brethren, bringing to their service his superior wisdom, experience, and ability to administer, doing for them better than they would or could do for themselves.” One may wonder how these last remarks would have been received by the jailed and brutalized strikers of Carnegie’s Homestead Mill.

[..]

Private foundations pay almost no taxes. In exchange for their expansive tax breaks, they are required to distribute 5 percent of their assets every year. And with wealth consolidating ever upward in America, private foundations are growing like topsy. More than 120,000 such groups controlled around $583 billion in 2010.

Foundations provide about 13 percent of the money given to charity in the United States, a proportion that currently works out to around $41 billion annually. The rest comes from bequests and individual philanthropists—ordinary people who write checks to Doctors Without Borders at the end of each year, or to the Red Cross when there is a disaster.

The total given to charity in the U.S. amounts to about 1.7 percent of GDP, a far higher proportion than in other developed nations. In the UK the figure is about 0.7 percent, in Germany 0.22 percent, and in France 0.14 percent.

[...]

In other words, what‘s needed most of all is a recognition that philanthropy must do more than provide charity, as Oscar Wilde suggested in 1891. Foundations still need to supply the desperately needed overcoat, as Wilde did himself, and do whatever they can to address the immediate needs of people in distress. But the real task is to come to grips with the reasons why so many people are left out in the cold in the first place.

Ask Gates how many people he put out of a job (e.g. Netscape, Novell staff) while he conducted his criminal activities inside Microsoft. It’s not as though his current activities are no longer destroying jobs (unless those are jobs that adhere to his over-encompassing agenda). Monoculture or monopoly has a massive cost and it’s not just financial.

“The chief of malaria for the World Health Organization has complained that the growing dominance of malaria research by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation risks stifling a diversity of views among scientists and wiping out the world health agency’s policy-making function.

“In a memorandum, the malaria chief, Dr. Arata Kochi, complained to his boss, Dr. Margaret Chan, the director general of the W.H.O., that the foundation’s money, while crucial, could have “far-reaching, largely unintended consequences.”

“Many of the world’s leading malaria scientists are now “locked up in a ‘cartel’ with their own research funding being linked to those of others within the group,” Dr. Kochi wrote. Because “each has a vested interest to safeguard the work of the others,” he wrote, getting independent reviews of research proposals “is becoming increasingly difficult.”

“Also, he argued, the foundation’s determination to have its favored research used to guide the health organization’s recommendations “could have implicitly dangerous consequences on the policy-making process in world health.””

New York Times, 2008

Microsoft Has a Material New Product, It Claims, But It’s Just Vapourware

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft at 12:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent troll pretending to be a practising entity

Steve Ballmer FAT

Summary: Patent shakedown and racketeering giant Microsoft claims to be working on its own tablet, but it’s looking like a farce

“The hyped tablet with Vista8 does not ship yet,” wrote a contributor of ours, “it’s also likely to have dreadful battery life. Also, ARM is probably going to have locked bootloaders preventing the installation of a useful OS like Android.”

Yes, the patent racketeers from Redmond claim to actually have products even though they don’t. In this particular area of rapid growth, they just don’t have hardware products after Zune, SideKick, KIN etc. died a shameful death.

Here is a reminder of how Microsoft is planning to restrict these devices such that they only run Vista 8 (so much for UEFI [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] for ‘security’).

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols ridicules this vapourware, naming “Vista 8″ as a joke as well (our meme is spreading):

Here’s the best part of Microsoft’s lame attempt to surprise us with a significant announcement:

Windows Embedded, Drone Edition
IPad for Xbox
Clippy for Metro
Minesweeper 2013
Windows Vista 8 Metro Edition
Microsoft Works for Blackberry 10
Vista, Second Edition

Those are among the names that the bored tech press came up with for Microsoft’s new product on Twitter while we were waiting for Microsoft to get its act together and make its announcement.

When Microsoft has real products — not just vapourware — they will fail just like Microsoft’s other hardware products, Surface included.

Microhard

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