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08.21.13

Links 21/8/2013: Diversity on the Desktop, Android as Distro

Posted in News Roundup at 5:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Brackets, The Open Source Editor Created By Adobe Is Now Available For Linux Systems

    Brackets, the open-source editor created by Adobe is now available for Linux systems. It is very usefull for web designers and developers, because it has support for HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

  • Open Source CAD Software List Now Published, Boffin Announces
  • How NOT to organize a FOSS workshop

    This “Open Source” organization did a lot of cool projects along the time, I participated myself in a few and reported positively about them, one such project was a summer program with many workshops (mostly about development) at a local university. So I gladly accepted when I was invited as a guest at the ‘graphics design and editing’ workshop, which as the title says, it didn’t went that smooth…

  • List of Open Source Data Back-Up Software Published by Boffin
  • Mailpile Is A Pro-Privacy, Open Source Webmail Project That’s Raised ~$100,000 On Indiegogo

    Mailpile is a relatively rare thing: a software project that looks certain to achieve its crowdfunding goal. The Mailpile Indiegogo campaign is less than $5,000 away from its $100,000 target, still with 22 days left to run, so it’s clearly struck a chord with its close to 2,000 backers. Still, it’s not hugely surprising — given how timely this pro-privacy project is.

  • Install an Open Source Dropbox Alternative on Linux in 10 Steps

    Dropbox has made its mark as an integral productivity tool. Simple file sharing and syncing makes it easy to keep all your important documents and files on hand, wherever you are.

    If you’re anything like me, you’ve hit the space limit of your free Dropbox account, and wondered if the Open Source world has any alternatives. Good news! Sparkleshare has you covered. Combined with a Bitbucket account and a little effort, you can have practically unlimited storage, for free!

    What would you not use Sparkleshare for? Git is not designed for large files. Bitbucket will not allow you to upload a file bigger than a 100MB, and you may see a significant performance impact for files over 10MB. Sparkleshare may not be the best choice if you’re sharing your MP3 collection, or other sizeable files.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Which Web browser crashes the most?

      When it comes to crashing, just like with speed, Sauce Labs finds that not all Web browsers are created equally.

    • Chrome

      • Google updates Chrome for Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux

        SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google has released the latest version of its Chrome web browser for the Android, Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems with security fixes and improvements.

        A blog post from Google project manager Jason Kersey said that there are 25 security fixes and that a number of them came from the reporting community.

        Also fresh are improved Omnibox suggestions, and Google said that these will be based more closely on previous searches. The Omnibox, by the way, is what Google calls the Chrome search box or website address field.

      • Google Releases Chrome 29 Stable for Linux, Mac OS X and Windows

        Google was proud to announce a few minutes ago, August 20, the promotion of the Google Chrome 29 web browser to the stable channel, supporting the Linux, Mac OS X, Windows and Chrome Frame platforms.

    • Mozilla

      • North America Mozilla Reps Meetup

        This past weekend myself and reps from across North America spent the weekend working from Mozilla’s San Francisco office to collaborate on a plan for North America. During these two days, we built a plan that will help us grow the contributor community in North America and focus on areas we feel are priorities.

      • Firefox takes top marks in browser stability tests

        Web app testing-as-a-service company Sauce Labs has released its latest browser crash data, and remarkably enough, the least stable web browser today probably isn’t the one you think it is.

      • Mozilla Firefox launches in Tamil

        A group of over 10 volunteers have completed a near full translation of the free opensource Internet browser after more than a year’s work.

      • How to Re-Enable the Blink Effect in Mozilla Firefox 23

        The following tutorial will teach all Mozilla Firefox users how to re-enable the Blink Tag (also known as the blink element) and the blink effect from the text-decoration: blink; CSS property on the latest stable version of the Mozilla Firefox web browser.

      • Chrome 29 Improves the Omnibox, Adds a Browser Reset Option

        The Google Chrome browser is out in a new version 29 and it includes fixes for at least 25 vulnerabilities in addition to a few cool new features. Most significantly, Goole has improved omnibox suggestions for what you may be searching for or interested in based on your recent activity. There is also a nearly instant way to reset the browser back to original settings, which can be useful if extensions or any other components are presenting problems.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Tokutek’s John Partridge: Open Source Is Vested in Big Data

      “One problem about Big Data is that people want to deal with a bunch of data that is not neatly structured into columns with fields that hold a person’s first name, last name, etc. That structured data works well for information that does not change very often. In the world of Big Data, a lot of the data comes from server logs or the navigation history of a particular visitor to your website.”

    • Morphlabs Gets $10 Million to Expand its OpenStack Push in Asia

      Morphlabs, which has focused on enabling Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) functions through public and private OpenStack cloud deployments, has announced a new new $10 million Series D investment that will help it expand its OpenStack efforts in Asia. The company had already been offering training services for OpenStack in both the U.S. and Asia, and is also working in partnership with NEC on OpenStack public cloud services for Asia.

  • Databases

    • HP’s Brian Aker: Open Cloud Gains Importance Post-PRISM

      Since the National Security Agency’s PRISM surveillence program was leaked to the press in June, the public and corporate backlash has some analysts estimating billions of dollars in losses for the IT services industry. In this context, developing an open source alternative to commercial cloud platforms becomes even more important, argues Brian Aker, a fellow in the HP cloud services division.

    • SPIDER in MariaDB
    • Use MySQL Utilities for better MySQL administration

      Oracle, the company behind MySQL, provides MySQL Utilities, a collection of command-line scripts for accomplishing some common database administration tasks. We put the utilities through their paces on CentOS 6 and MySQL 5.6.

    • FoundationDB ACID-lovers price up NoSQL database

      NoSQL database startup FoundationDB has made its ACID-compliant tech generally available, after an extended beta that has seen over 2,000 people try out the company’s unorthodox database.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Development Howto

      Questions about LibreOffice development efforts or how to implement specific improvements are among the most frequent requests we see at Lanedo. As a result, this LibreOffice development howto summarizes steps and tips to allow everyone interested to easily get involved.

  • CMS

  • Education

    • Open Source Education Projects

      As of this writing, there are only 28 hours left in the indiegogo campaign to build the Ubuntu Edge phone, and the campaign looks to be $20 million short of the goal. On the bright side, this also means that there were 10,760 people willing to pay a good chunk of money for a phone that they most likely didn’t need. For the past month, Larry the Free Software Guy has been posting a list of worthy projects that are in need of funds every time he mentions Ubuntu Edge. If you are disappointed in the fund raising campaign this list might be worth a look.

  • Healthcare

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • VLC 2.1 Rincewind about to enter the arena

      For quite a long time now, I have been compiling VLC packages in the 2.0 series (nicknamed “Twoflower”). My standard way of working is to prepare tarballs with pre-compiled code for the internally used libraries (the “contribs” in VideoLAN terms – stuff like ffmpeg, matroska, dvdcss etcetera) and then leave those precompiled tarballs relatively unchanged while I update the VLC version between builds. That way I can kind of guarantee that the internal encoding and decoding capabilities do not break all of a sudden – new bugs are usually easily tracked down to VLC bugs.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Talking open source sense in the public sector

      Open source evangelists are arguing that the government should pursue wholesale open source adoption as soon as possible. Is this approach the best route to take for sustained, long term government use of open source?

    • Open Source in the UK: Sharing the Fire

      As even a cursory glance at articles on Open Enterprise over the last few years will indicate, open source is a massive success in practically every market. Except, unfortunately, on the desktop (famously) and more, generally, for consumers. And as Aral Balkan points out in an important post from a few weeks ago, that’s a real problem….

      [...]

      A company based around open source and privacy, inspired by Snowden’s leaks and GCHQ’s massive surveillance programme? That’s pretty remarkable, and on its own would make the endeavour worth supporting. But there’s another hugely important reason why we should get behind this idea: this is a British project, based in Brighton.

      Silicon Roundabout is all very well, but it’s largely driven by giant US companies and their agendas. What the UK’s computing industry needs is a vision and a platform that is suitable for a wide variety of startups offering both local and global products. It’s hard to tell from the rather scant details we have, but the premise of Codename Prometheus is certainly promising, since it would allow new entrants to use open source to address the mainstream consumer market – something that has been hard to do so far.

  • Licensing

    • Busted for Dodging Linux License, Samsung Makes Nice With Free Code

      Samsung has released software that could help a brand new class of storage devices work with Linux-based smartphones and computers.

      Made late last week, the code release is the result of a mini-saga involving Samsung and the open source software community. It might never have happened — at least not officially — if not for an anonymous hacker who calls herself “rxrz.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Can there be open source music?

      We have seen this happen in the world of creative content with Creative Commons. Larry Lessig, following a straightforward reading of the US Constitution and building on many of the insights published years earlier by Lewis Hyde in the book The Gift, realized that while there was nothing wrong with commercializing content per se, there was something very wrong about treating cultural resources as private, alienable property forever. Lessig believed, and I agree, that there is a benefit to giving the public some agency over the content that defines their culture, just as open source gives other developers—even users—agency over the software they have. Look at how the public has used that agency to create Wikipedia, a phenomenal collection of one of our most valuable cultural artifacts: human knowledge.

    • Heart failure breakthrough may come from “open source” cancer drug development: Discoveries

      Dr. James Bradner and Jun Qi work together in a lab at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. They have been using “crowd-sourcing” – asking for ideas from scientists everywhere – in developing JQ1, a new cancer drug named for Qi. Bradner’s lab worked with Dr. Saptarsi Haldar at Case to publish his recent results using JQ1 to treat mice with heart failure. (Sam Ogden, Dana-Farber)

    • Open civic dialogue with text messaging

      Last year, our team of Code for America Fellows received a call to action. Our partners at the City of Philadelphia needed a way to reach out to citizens left out of traditional public engagement. So we built a tool that used the simple power of text messaging to help government and citizens connect. We called it Textizen.

    • Open Access/Content

      • City of Boston teams up with edX to create BostonX

        The City of Boston has teamed with edX to create BostonX. It will offer free online college courses throughout the city. And it will make MOOCs (massive open online courses) available at community colleges and libraries throughout the city.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Open-Source PHP Gets Updates for Stability, Security

      The open-source PHP language is one of the most widely deployed technologies on the Web today, powering millions of Websites (including eWEEK). This past week, two important updates were issued for PHP, providing both security and bug fixes. Like many things in the open-source world (and technology in general), there isn’t just one version of PHP that is currently in use—in fact, there are now at least three main stable releases, including PHP 5.5, 5.4 and 5.3. The new security updates are for the 5.5 and 5.4 branches.

    • A viable way of building decentralized web apps

      Despite all the programming languages, the thousands of libraries, and the millions (or so it seems) of JavaScript libraries in the web ecosystem, there is still one path to building modern web applications: store everything on a server and when users open up their web browser, the “client”—the code running inside the browser—displays the data and receives user input that is sent back to the server.

    • The Eventual Evolution of Build Systems

      Build systems are deeply siloed by development language and primarily rely on the ’80s model of spelling out targets and instructions. But new tools, such as Gradle, that cater to polyglot apps and the needs of continuous delivery are finally emerging.

Leftovers

  • The Entire History of the World—Really, All of It—Distilled Into a Single Gorgeous Chart

    This giant, ambitious chart fit neatly with a trend in nonfiction book publishing of the 1920s and 1930s: the “outline,” in which large subjects (the history of the world! every school of philosophy! all of modern physics!) were distilled into a form comprehensible to the most uneducated layman.

  • USENIX 2013 Flame Award

    I wonder if it is good tiding NOW not to restrict singular contribution celebrated by Advanced Computing Systems Association to UNIX but to return to older and simpler computing design principles, like the FORTH dimension , empowering individual programmers across all social domains?

  • Italian skipper says Cup champ Oracle cheated

    Oracle Team USA is owned by software billionaire Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle Corp.

  • Athletes’ Rainbow Nails Will Not Be Tolerated At The Olympics, Sweden Warns

    Paint your nails rainbow colors and face disqualification, the Swedish Olympic Committee warned athletes Tuesday.

    Officials are taking a strong stance on Olympic attire after two Swedish athletes sported rainbow nails to support gay rights during the IAAF World Athletics Championships in Moscow last week.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Richard Engel and U.S. Aid to Egypt

      It’s not that journalists shouldn’t have opinions–they inevitably do, and they reveal them in numerous ways. But weighing in like this seems especially permissible when a journalist is taking a position that supports existing U.S. policy. It’s only opposing such policies that’s considered “advocacy.”

    • Stepped-up US drone strikes in Yemen spark massive protests

      Thousands have taken to the streets of Yemen to protest deadly US drone strikes which killed dozens of people over the last two weeks, Iranian media reported. Critics say Washington’s secretive policy is only pushing Yemenis to favor radical groups.

    • The Case Against Drone Strikes on People Who Only ‘Act’ Like Terrorists
    • Senator: Obama Administration Secretly Suspended Military Aid to Egypt

      The White House has quietly placed military aid to Egypt on hold, despite not saying publicly whether the Egyptian military takeover was a coup, Josh Rogin reports exclusively.

    • Obama Administration Secretly Suspends Military Aid To Egypt, Patrick Leahy Says
    • US soldier behind Afghanistan massacre laughs at murder charges

      Sgt. Robert Bales and his wife laughed at the charges brought against him for the murder of 16 Afghan civilians in a phone conversation. Prosecutors say they have a recording of the exchange which they will use to demonstrate Bales’ lack of remorse.

    • Frisking Bill Kristol

      Kristol soon enough weighed in on the the politics of New York police department’s stop-and-frisk program, which had just been declared unconstitutional and amounted to, in the words of federal judge Shira Scheindlin, a “policy of indirect racial profiling.”

    • The Permanent ‘War on Terror’

      In January 2012, former war correspondent Christopher Hedges and others, including Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg, filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and specifically the Act’s Section 1021(b)(2), which allows for indefinite detention by the US military of people “who are part of or substantially support Al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces engaged in hostilities against the United States.”

      This detention denies those held of the ability to “contest the allegations against them because they have no right to be notified of the specific charges against them,” according to the complaint. The particular issue in question was the vagueness of the terms “substantially support” and “associated forces.”

    • Drone warfare: a new generation of deadly unmanned weapons

      Business is booming at the vast base in Nevada, where tomorrow’s Top Guns are learning to target terrorists from afar

    • The Perpetual Drone War in Yemen

      “The use of drones is heavily constrained,” said President Obama during his May speech about national security matters, held in response to growing criticism of the U.S. drone program. “Before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured.” Obama went on to promise to repeal some of his own war powers, saying that he intends to “engage Congress about the existing Authorization to Use Military Force, or AUMF, to determine how we can continue to fight terrorism without keeping America on a perpetual wartime footing.”

    • Drone-ing on in Yemen counter-productive

      Somewhere in Yemen are about two dozen individuals whom the United States is looking to capture or kill. These are al-Qaida’s senior operational leaders, the men administration officials think are plotting to attack the U.S. and its interests abroad.

    • Teaneck Peace Vigil Calls for End to ‘Cowardly’ Drone Strikes

      Group brings mock drone aircraft to National Guard Armory

    • Drone Murders: Geography and Justice

      Murder is murder.

    • Palace defends use of US drones in PH

      Valte deferred to the defense officials to respond to questions on whether Philippine laws are clear on the operation of drones in the archipelago.

    • Drones and the law

      More often than not, the United Nations secretariat is perceived to be pliable to American pressures – but not always, at least not on the question in relation to legality of armed drone strikes. And that we learnt first-hand on Tuesday when Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was urged to comment on the frequent use of drones by the CIA against targets in Pakistan’s restive tribal areas. “I have often said, the use of armed drones, like any other weapon, should be subject to long-standing rules of international law including humanitarian law,” he said, and added “This is a very clear position of the United Nations. Every effort should be made to avoid mistakes and civilian casualties”. Of course, he was not as categorical as another UN official who was here sometime back to investigate the impact of drone attacks, Ben Emerson, that the drone strikes ‘contravene international law because they violate Pakistan’s sovereignty’. Not that UN’s rejection is absolute; it does have a role for it and that’s that it is a ‘flying camera’ and that it would shortly put into use unarmed surveillance drones in eastern Congo that is beset with war for the last 20 years or so. But beyond that parallelism, if you please, there is nothing common between what the UN thinks of drones and how the CIA operates them against targets in Pakistan. The US is not at war with Pakistan, nor do its drone operations carry the UN mandate. As to who gets killed there is no accountability; even the CIA is blank about who the drones kill in Pakistan.

    • Obama Seems Unable To Limit the Counterproductive U.S. War on Terror

      A true cynic would question the timing of Middle East-wide U.S. embassy closings and a barrage of drone attacks in Yemen when the Obama administration is defending its intrusive spying on Americans after exposure by an intelligence agency contractor. Although in May, President Obama told us that he would wind down the war against Al Qaeda and its affiliates, perhaps his newly “outed” unconstitutional domestic spying programs required a threat refresher to justify them. Yet one doesn’t even have to be that cynical to question Obama’s recently reinvigorated war on terrorism.

    • 5 myths used to justify drone assassinations

      Only 2 percent of drone strikes have killed “high value targets,” former counter-terror adviser to David Petraeus, David Kilcullen, notoriously remarked in a New York Times column early in the Obama presidency, where he said that 50 civilians were killed for every “high-value target” assassinated. That means that 98 percent of drone-caused deaths have been a mix of low-level militants, civilians, or another dubious Pentagon classification called “unknown militants.”

    • Angela Merkel ignites furious political row by becoming first post-war German leader to visit former Nazi concentration camp at Dachau

      Chancellor Angela Merkel has ignited a furious political row by becoming the first post-war German leader to visit the former Nazi concentration camp at Dachau and then went on to address a campaign rally for her conservative party in a noisy beer tent at a nearby fair.

      Ms Merkel, who faces a general election on 22 September, had been invited to speak at a Bavarian conservative rally in the town of Dachau outside Munich. She agreed to spend an hour at the site of the town’s infamous Nazi concentration camp where 41,500 people were murdered, before her campaign appearance.

    • The Lessons of Classified Information: From Mossadegh to Snowden

      As for us, there are least two lessons to draw. First, we should pay more attention to history. In watching the events convulsing the Middle East, and thinking about how to react to them, it is essential to be aware of how we got to this juncture. Second, the official version of history is often very different from what really happened. During the Cold War, as now, the reality of what the U.S. government was doing was often hidden in classified documents. In the case of the coup against Mossadegh, it’s taken sixty years for the full truth to emerge. Doubtless, it will take almost as long for us to learn everything about the spying agencies’ electronic prosecution of the “War on Terror.” But thanks to Edward Snowden and journalists like Glenn Greenwald, we’ve at least had an advance briefing.

    • Iran, Egypt, the CIA and the consequences of our actions

      What is happening today in Egypt has many parallels to the events of 1953 in Iran.

    • Amazon legal filing flames IBM’s ‘materially deficient’ CIA cloud

      There’s a war going on for the future CPU cycles of the US Central Intelligence Agency, and behind closed doors and under fluorescent lights, representatives of IBM and Amazon are spitting blood at each other as they vie for the contract.

    • Guantanamo defense lawyers ask to restrict CIA’s use of information in 9/11 case

      Virtually every secrecy debate in the 9/11 case involves the CIA and the overseas prisons where it held and interrogated the five alleged al Qaeda conspirators for three or four years before they were sent to the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba in 2006.

      The government maintains everything about that now-defunct program is top secret and that disclosure could jeopardize national security, although some details have leaked or been disclosed by the CIA itself.

    • Thanks, CIA

      When the Russians moved into Afghanistan, the United States saw that war was an opportunity to mobilize the Muslim world against communism. So the CIA recruited Mujahdeen like Osama bin Laden from all over the Muslin world and they came from Algeria, the Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Palestine.

      These fighters were given an ideology and told that the armed struggle is a virtuous thing to do and the notion of jihad as an Islamic terrorist movement was born.

      They were trained and armed by the CIA in Afghanistan. And America has been reaping the harvest of war that the CIA planted.

    • Judicial Watch Asks Supreme Court to Review Lawsuit Against CIA and DOD to Force Release of bin Laden Death Images

      Judicial Watch announced that it has filed a certiorari petition with the Supreme Court of the United States to review a 2013 Appeals Court ruling against the Judicial Watch lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Dept. of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency (No. 12-5137)). The suit seeks to force the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to release more than 50 photographs and video recordings of Osama bin Laden taken during and after the U.S. raid upon the terrorist leader’s compound in Pakistan on May 1, 2011.

    • CIA was involved with alleged assassin of John F Kennedy

      Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963 in Dallas, and five decades later the US government and the CIA have yet to disclose the documents pertaining to the incident.

      Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post reporter, is currently suing the CIA to release a file containing about 300 pages on Joannides, whom he thinks may have had contact with Oswald prior to the assassination.

    • Declassified CIA documents

      The concept of Remote Viewing is so bizarre that I can’t comprehend what it is or how it is done. In fact, I think that it embraces forces that we don’t understand. I liken it to playing with radioactive materials. At best, it may be fascinating, but the effects can be long-lasting and harmful.

    • Mapped: The 7 Governments the U.S. Has Overthrown
    • US shows no remorse for drone attack

      On Tuesday, Medea Benjamin led a dozen protesters outside the Walter E. Convention Center in Washington D. C. against the United States’ use of drones. Inside, the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, including manufacturers who made the drones, was meeting with participants from all over the world.

    • The Many Contradictions at the Heart of America’s Drone Policy
    • Yemen drone strikes ‘counterproductive’

      Yemen has seen a major surge in drone strikes in the past two weeks, as the US hunts for al Qaeda-affiliated insurgents. But the secretive and indiscriminate attacks are terrorizing and radicalizing Yemenis, say critics.

    • Feeding the Flame

      If one can understand that President Obama’s administration has sought to avert yet another “Benghazi” debacle—an incident like the death of US ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and several others at the hands of militants in 2012—by pulling out its staff and ordering an unparalleled military mobilization in Yemen, one cannot shy away from acknowledging the danger of a “trigger-happy” strategy in a country as fragile and geo-strategically important as Yemen. Both the Netherlands’ and German intelligence services have disputed the US’s perceived over-reaction at what they viewed as a diffuse threat from Yemen.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • ALEC in Chicago: 10 Photographs that Tell the Story

      Some of the banners read: “ALEC Makes For-Profit Prisons,” “Moral Monday: No To ALEC,” and “ALEC Attacks All Workers.” The Chicago Moral Monday Coalition partners include: local clergy and laypeople, the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU), National Nurses United (NNU), US Uncut, Chicago Youth Climate Coalition, Chicago Fracking Working Group, Communities United Against Foreclosures and Evictions, Young People’s Assembly on Violence and Youth Services Project, Southside Together Organizing for Power.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • First they came for the hard drives …

      As long as a journalist doesn’t report anything other than official government propaganda, they’ll be just fine.

    • School District Ends Policy Of Forcing Students To Kneel Down For Dismissal
    • Miranda’s Rights: How Europe Can Learn from Latin America’s Independence

      It is clear that Miranda was not suspected of any connection to terrorism. To detain and rob Miranda on this pretext is no more legal than to have done so on trumped-up allegations that he was transporting cocaine. The White House has admitted that Washington had advance knowledge of the crime, and so we can infer approval – if not active collaboration.

      It is interesting, too, because the UK government had previously kept a relatively low public profile on the Snowden case, despite the fact that Snowden had leaked files from its own intelligence-gathering and not just the NSA’s. Until Sunday, it looked as though the British authorities had learned at least a little bit about public relations after their international embarrassment last year, when they threatened to invade Ecuador’s embassy in order to capture Julian Assange. Nevertheless, they are still keeping Assange trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, illegally, and presumably at the behest of you-know-who.

    • UK ordered Guardian to destroy hard drives in effort to stop Snowden revelations

      UK authorities reportedly raided the Guardian’s office in London to destroy hard drives in an effort to stop future publications of leaks from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. The action is unlikely to prevent new materials coming out.

      Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger revealed in a Monday article posted on the British newspaper’s website that intelligence officials from the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) told him that he would either have to hand over all the classified documents or have the newspaper’s hard drives destroyed.

      After more talks, two “security experts” from GCHQ – the British version of the National Security Agency – visited the Guardian’s London offices.

      Rusbridger wrote that the government officials then watched as computers, which contained classified information passed on by Snowden, were physically destroyed in one of the newspaper building’s basements.

    • Federal judge grants California permission to force-feed inmates on hunger strike

      A US federal judge ruled that state and federal prison officials in California will be allowed to start force-feeding inmates participating in a nearly two-month-long hunger strike, if the prisoners appear to be approaching their death.

    • How the NDAA Suspends Habeas Corpus

      Tom Eddlem, writer for The New American magazine, talks about the National Defense Authorization Act and how it specifically infringes upon American citizens’ rights.

    • The Terrorism Act 2000, David Miranda and the rule of law.

      Further details continue to emerge about the case of David Miranda. There are those who think that it is acceptable to use the Terrorism Act 2000 to pursue someone carrying information that may or may not be sensitive to the UK.

      However, even if David Miranda was carrying documents to Glenn Greenwald, on a ticket paid for by the Guardian, it doesn’t change the fundamental facts.

    • Greenwald partner sues Home Office as UK defends ‘Miranda op’

      he UK Home Office says it has “to protect the public”, but Miranda has accused Britain of a “total abuse of power” and has said he will take legal action against the Home Office. The Guardian is “supportive” of his action.

      David Miranda, the partner of US journalist Glenn Greenwald, who published documents about the NSA and GCHQ spying activities leaked by Edward Snowden, in Britain’s Guardian newspaper was questioned for nine hours in London’s Heathrow airport on Sunday under Schedule 7 of the UK’s anti-terrorism law.

      Miranda’s lawyer, Gwendolen Morgan, said her client was seeking a judicial review of the legal basis for his detention and wanted assurances that the property seized from him by police would not be examined.

    • UK must account for its actions to repress Guardian reporting on surveillance
    • When the State Attacks Journalism

      None of these tactics would appear to discourage the journalists who are being targeted. But the stories, taken together, represent a direct attack on news gathering. This should outrage every single journalist, and anyone who believes in freedom of expression.

    • Groklaw Shuts Down, Cites Government Surveillance
    • Groklaw shuts down rather than risk feds snooping through e-mail

      PJ plans to “get off the Internet to the degree it’s possible.”

    • Groklaw shutting down due to government surveillance

      The award-winning and much respectable website Groklaw which covers legal news around free and open source software and provides critical information in complex cases is shutting down.

      Groklaw played a very pivotal role during the SCO-Linux case, Micorosft’s lawsuite in Europe, Micrsoft’s OOXML standardization and then it’s once again providing users with better understanding of the Android – Oracle lawsuit. The site plays a very important role to fight FUD spreading Microsoft backed blogs like FOSSPatents.

    • District Court Holds That Intentionally Circumventing IP Address Ban Is “Access Without Authorization” Under the CFAA

      During the debate over the Aaron Swartz case, one of the legal issues was whether Swartz had committed an unauthorized access under the CFAA when he changed his IP address to circumvent IP address blocking imposed by system administrators trying to keep Swartz off the network. There was significantly more to the CFAA charges than that, to be clear, including circumventing a subsequent MAC address block and (most significantly) entering an MIT storage closet to install his computer directly. But changing IP addresses to get around IP address blocking was at least one of the possible grounds of unauthorized access. On Friday, Judge Breyer of the Northern District of California handed down the first decision directly addressing the issue. Judge Breyer ruled that changing IP addresses to get around a block is an unauthorized access in violation of the CFAA. The decision is here: Craigslist v. 3taps, Inc..

    • Changing IP address to access public website ruled violation of US law
    • The Strange Case of Barrett Brown Just Got Stranger

      The prosecution made a motion for a “Gag Order” (a motion to disallow media) in the case of Barrett Brown. Brown is one of the subjects of my film, The Reality Wars, which is about the targeting of hacktivists, activists and journalists by the US government. Brown is both a journalist and a hacktivitst. He does not possess technical hacking skills though he does promote the public’s right to information. He is facing 105 years in federal prison primarily for doing his job as a journalist.

      Brown’s counsel, Ahmed Ghappour and Charles Swift, moved to continue (postpone trial date), explaining that more time is required in order to prepare his defense. There are two terabytes of electronic evidence to be reviewed. The government opposed on August 8, 2013, and, in its opposition, surprisingly requested a Gag Order. The Gag Order is for all parties to refrain from talking to members of any television, radio, newspaper, magazine, website (including bloggers), or other media organization about this case, other than in matters of public record.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Russia Prepares To Block Tor And Anonymizing Proxies

      As more and more countries start introducing Web blocks, some people console themselves with the “at least there’s always Tor” argument. Politicians may be slow, but they are not all completely stupid, and they are beginning to get the message that Tor and other anonymous services potentially render their Web blocks moot.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright Troll Ran Pirate Bay Honeypot, Comcast Confirms

        Evidence is stacking up that Prenda Law has been operating a honeypot in order to lure Internet users into downloading copyrighted material. A subpoena just returned by Comcast confirms that a Pirate Bay user called “Sharkmp4″ is directly linked to the infamous anti-piracy law firm. The case is controversial in many ways, not least because The Pirate Bay actively helped to expose the copyright troll in question.

      • White House IP Chief Victoria Espinel Steps Down

        President Barack Obama’s chief intellectual property adviser has stepped down from her post after more than three years on the job.

        [..]

        Espinel could be one of the top candidates to head BSA

      • Comcast says its attempt to shut down TorrentFreak by claiming copyright on court filing was “error”

        This morning, I posted about a series of legal threats sent to TorrentFreak by Comcast’s (creepy) enforcers Cyveillance. At the time I posted, TorrentFreak had less than 24 hours to resolve the issue before being booted off its webhost, and was unable to get anyone at Cyveillance or Comcast to answer its repeated emails.

08.20.13

Actions of US Government Shut Down Groklaw Pre-emptively; Observing the US’ Sanctions Economy and the Danger of Expansion to Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Intimidation, assassination, blackmail, torture, and sanctions

“We’re under the control of the empire of the corporations. The governments that rule our countries are governments of occupation. They don’t work for us, they don’t represent us. They pretend to, but they’re really working for the empire. And so they seek to criminalise protest whenever they can.”Richard Stallman

Mossadeq

Summary: The military/corporate coup in the United States (what Stallman calls a “government of occupation”) continues to damage the population and especially those speak out for public interests; The unitary patent (think US patent regime) threatens to spread in Europe even faster now that Austria bends over

THE harassment of David Miranda, who preferred to remain out of the public eye on the face of it (Wikipedia still links/strings him to the article on Glenn Greenwald), showed us that nowhere in the world can one be safe from the wrath of the CIA/NSA. Not in Brazil and certainly not in Europe, especially not in US allies like the UK. In places like Italy, which are filled with US army bases, one can even be abducted and tortured by a CIA agent, despite being innocent (famous legal case right now). Germany, which is the other European nation absolutely filled with US army bases (see a publicly-disclosed list of bases or a map, bear in mind some are unlisted), there is a similar case. This is scary. You no longer have to be Muslim to be treated like this; you can be captured under laws originally passed to combat “terrorism” and then be sent overseas to be silently killed (yes, this happened), sodomised, be forced through torture to say you’re part of Al-Qaeda (even if you’re not), and sometimes have loved ones threatened or used for blackmail (the Nazis did this). Having been stopped a lot at airports recently, I can’t help being bothered by this. Surveillance is not a selective thing anymore; everyone is under surveillance. We’re living in a mass surveillance society. In the UK, for example, there are at least two US bases (covertly run by the NSA), one in Gloucestershire, another in Yorkshire. They’re both vast. They’re a surveillance hub that assists drone strikes, among other things like global surveillance and satellite signals interception. Phone calls are being recorded indiscriminately and fibre optic cables have all of their data (very high throughput) saved indefinitely, analysed, and habitually used to profile people who are law-abiding citizens.

“In the UK, for example, there are at least two US bases (covertly run by the NSA), one in Gloucestershire, another in Yorkshire.”This is the symptom of a system that’s totally out of control. It’s debt-saddled, it has no stability because of class disparity that inevitably breeds unrest, and it faces high inflation rates. It’s reminiscent of Germany in the mid 1930s when many political dissenters and later ethic groups were prosecuted, some later executed. The drums of wars were widely beaten and IBM was helping the Nazis profile the population. Months ago IBM was fighting Amazon over a massive contract with the CIA, which says it wants to amass heaps of data and keep it “forever” (think of the NSA facility in Utah). The current system is frightening to those of us who speak out against people in power. It resorts to intimidation and the CIA/NSA covertly serve the interests of corporations and plutocrats, totally disregarding 99.99% of the population. This week documents are being declassified (after 60 years) to confirm what many already knew — that the CIA forcible removed (in a coup) Iran’s democratically-elected government (there have been many more actions like that since then, continuing to this date in Syria), kick-starting a cycle of oppression which serves the interests of large corporations (oil companies).

Techrights does not write political posts. When politicians are named it is not because of their political orientation or the party they’re affiliated with. Both major parties in the US are bought and paid for; everyone knows that. We don’t need another site to point this out. Some matters, however, are bipartisan and we deal with them separately. To us, for instance, the USPTO is relevant. The US ITC has come under increased pressure from Groklaw, which has just shut down due to surveillance (see news links at the bottom) for its role in protectionism rather than law enforcement. Lawyers offering services of protectionism say that even outside the realm of patents there is protectionism that’s facilitated by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Those who do not think this whole legal framework is fundamentally corrupt and dysfunctional might need to do some further reading. If they don’t change their minds, then perhaps they need to read outside the echo chamber of the lawyer-writer microcosm. Patent trolls are thriving and blogs keep emerging to confront those trolls. It’s not just trolls though:

Again, we get it. And in fact, that’s one reason that the term NPE is not the same as the term Patent Troll. All patent trolls are NPE’s, but not all NPE’s are patent trolls.

RPX or OIN are NPEs and they don’t achieve much except create more cartels, dominated of course by multinational corporations, mostly US-based corporations.

Currently, this issue is limited to the United States and it mostly serves large corporations by blocking imports of competitors. We saw Microsoft doing that half a decade ago, essentially using patents aggressively, and not just for FUD.

The president of the FFII warns that US patent culture is approaching Europe, noting that:

Austria becomes the first country to ratify the Unitary Patent Court, software patents through the backcourt

Here is his source, which says:

The Agreement on establishing the Unified Patent Court (UPC) was signed in February 2013 and seeks to establish a unified patent court system across Europe to handle the enforcement of new EU Unitary Patents when they come into effect. A list of the countries who signed the agreement can be found here.

The Unified Patent Court will not have competence over national patent rights such as those granted by the UK Intellectual Property Office.

However, the Unified Patent Court will ultimately assume competence in relation to infringement and validity disputes in respect of regular (i.e. non-Unitary) European patents as currently granted by the European Patent Office.

In order for the Unified Patent Court system to become a reality it is necessary for 13 member states who signed the Agreement to take the subsequent step of ratifying the Agreement. It is also a requirement that the Agreement is ratified by the UK, France and Germany.

Austria became the first member state to ratify the Agreement by depositing its instrument of ratification in Brussels on 7 August 2013. A press release from the Austrian Foreign Ministry can be found here.

Given this disturbing trend of assimilation we might sooner or later see the grip of massive American corporations expanding to other continents. Remember which nation expanded to Austria before it decided to take over Europe and by extension the whole world? No, this isn’t Godwin’s Law creeping in, that’s just my personal opinion and I increasingly worry about — not resent — what the US is doing to the world as an irresponsible and arrogant empire/superpower. This system is not good for US citizens. It tears apart both domestic and foreign populations. It’s class warfare and extreme socoipathy.

Techrights has published well over a thousand items (mostly in daily links) about NSA surveillance, going a couple of years into the past. Binney and Drake, two brave NSA whistleblowers, opened my eyes to this massive problem, which led me to researching the CIA too. Prior to them I learned a lot from Chalmers Johnson (he died years later). Those don’t understand the severity of this problem should patiently read the articles below. Pamela Jones is not exaggerating and I admire her decision to compromise her online “baby” for the sake of principles. Techrights is going to fight the NSA; shutting down is letting the NSA get its way.

The Conservancy Behind Samsung’s Decision to Embrace GPL After Violating the GPL

Posted in GPL, Microsoft, Samsung at 10:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Software Freedom Conservancy did well

Summary: The fuller story behind Samsung choosing the GPL for a previously-proprietary piece of software that helps Microsoft

A few days ago we wrote about Samsung [1, 2, 3. 4] deciding to make it seem like it never violated the GPL licence, having done so before. Well, the group which years ago told us not to taunt Samsung over it claims to have just played a role. To quote:

Conservancy’s GPL Compliance Project for Linux Developers worked collaboratively with Ibrahim Haddad, the Group Leader for Open Source at Samsung Research America, and fellow community leaders, throughout the process after this code first appeared on GitHub. Conservancy’s primary goal, as always, was to assist and advise toward the best possible resolution to the matter that complied fully with the GPL. Conservancy is delighted that the correct outcome has been reached: a legitimate, full release from Samsung of all relevant source code under the terms of Linux’s license, the GPL, version 2.

LWN wrote:

The Software Freedom Conservancy has announced that it has helped Samsung to release a version of its exFAT filesystem implementation under the GPL. This filesystem had previously been unofficially released after a copy leaked out of Samsung.

This is good work, but without the leak, would it have happened? Without some public shaming, would Samsung have cared? Sometimes there’s no choice but to be brave (blowing some whistles) and potentially rude/crude.

IRC Proceedings: August 11th-August 17th, 2013

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: June 11th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: June 12th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: June 13th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: June 14th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: June 15th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: June 16th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: June 17th, 2013

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Enter the IRC channels now

08.19.13

Links 19/8/2013: Linux Foundation on ‘Hobbyists’, Heathrow Row Over Miranda

Posted in News Roundup at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • The Success of Firefox OS Will Depend on the Success of Apps for It

        Mozilla continues to move rapidly ahead with its Firefox OS mobile operating system, which is arriving on phones in many markets around the world. In fact, the OS is gaining enough traction that many observers see it as eventually being competitive with iOS and Android phones, but If Firefox OS is to be a resounding success, it’s going to need a very healthy ecosystem of apps to attract users.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Denemo – News: Release 1.0.6 is now available

      Import MusicXML
      Direct import of music XML.
      Improved Rhythm Entry
      Dotted rhythms in two keypresses

    • August 2013 GNU Toolchain update

      This feature causes runtime data structures to be built at program start up which are used for verifying the vtable pointers. The options std and preinit control the timing of when these data structures are built. In both cases the data structures are built before execution reaches ‘main’. Using std causes these data structure to be built after the shared libraries have been loaded and initialized. Using preinit causes them to be built before the shared libraries have been loaded and initialized.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • OpenDesk.cc Is Like Ikea For Open Source Zealots

        Furniture is probably the last thing on the mind of most open source proponents but now it doesn’t have to be. OpenDesk is a free, open source line of furniture that you can make yourself or order unassembled from a maker with a CNC machine. Not only is the furniture cheap – free if you have the wood and hardware – it’s actually cool-looking.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open Standards show and tell

      Last year, we established our definition of an open standard for software interoperability, data and document formats, and the Open Standards Principles that explain our rationale for putting them into government IT.

      Now we are working on identifying the specific open standards that will most benefit users of government technology and services. That process depends on suggestions and recommendations from experts on the field — many of whom are outside of government. We need your help.

Leftovers

  • 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Are American Drones Al Qaeda’s Strongest Weapon in Yemen?

      Things are getting really messy in Yemen at the moment. With soldiers being murdered in their sleep and embassies closing en masse in fear of an imminent wave of attacks and multiple drone strikes, the country seems to be the latest sandbox full of blood in our war on terror.

      Not that this warz one is all that new. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have had a presence in the area for years, their membership rose from around 300 in 2009 up to an estimated 1,000 today. In an attempt to combat this rise in manpower, the US has escalated its infamous drone program, allegedly targeting high-ranking AQAP members. Although, according to reports, they’ve yet to actually kill any of them.

      Is this hit-and-hope policy really the best way to fight al Qaeda in Yemen? Or are these drone strikes, which have a habit of killing civilians, exactly the PR ammo al Qaeda need to lure new recruits in a country that is already as politically stable as a gang of jihadists on a bouncy castle?

    • Obama has not delivered on May’s promise of transparency on drones

      An escalation of drone strikes in Yemen highlights the fact that the US public is still in the dark about this use of lethal force

    • CIA admits role in 1953 Iran coup: report

      Today, on the 60th anniversary of the coup against Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh, Foreign Policy Magazine (FPM) reported that the National Security Archive website — an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington DC — has published a document in which the CIA openly acknowledges its involvement in the overthrow of the man who was elected as Iran’s prime minister.

    • Ex-CIA official to ask Italy for pardon over rendition – lawyer

      Lady was among 23 Americans sentenced at an Italian trial in
      2009, the first time U.S. nationals had been convicted over the
      programme, operated by the administration of former U.S.
      President George W. Bush during the so-called war on terror.

    • CIA Admits It Was Behind Iran Coup

      Mossadeq was a democratically elected prime minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953, when his government was overthrown through the coup. His successor, said to have been chosen by Britain’s MI6 and the CIA, was Fazlollah Zahedi, an Iranian general. General Zahedi had resigned as minister of interior in 1951 because of the criticism he received in handling a demonstration, according to the CIA history.

    • Zahid Sarfraz labels Musharraf as CIA agent

      Former Interior Minister and former leader of APML Mian Zahid Sarfaraz has claimed that Osama bin Laden was not killed during 2nd May, 2011 Abbottabad action by the US Seals and he was arrested in injured condition.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Michael Grunwald and the Assange Precedent Problem

      People say reckless things on Twitter, as Grunwald’s defenders pointed out and as some of his more extreme critics, who posted that they couldn’t wait to write a similar defense regarding the drone strike that hit him and other gruesome things, demonstrated. If dumbness were the only issue we’d be done. But this one deserves being talked about a bit more, less because Grunwald still seems a bit oblivious as to what was wrong with what he said (though there’s that) than because it encapsulated something hazardous about the current moment, for journalists, for anyone who cares about civil liberties, and for the political culture more generally. And there’s the issue of the lack of civility on Twitter—but we already knew that one.

    • Wikileaks Just Released A Massive ‘Insurance’ File That No One Can Open

      The group, which has been assisting ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden after he leaked top-secret documents to the media, posted links for about 400 gigabytes of files on their Facebook page Saturday, and asked their fans to download and mirror them elsewhere.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • How To Avoid Data Surveillance Programs
    • Capitol Hill Republicans disagree on future of NSA spying, King attacks Paul

      Two of congressional Republicans’ most outspoken members on the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs on Sunday highlighted the sharp divide within the party on the issue.

    • Paranoid Browsing: anti-profiling plugin seeks feedback
    • The NSA Makes 600,000-Plus Database Queries Every Single Day

      Holy crap. They perform 20 million surveillance queries per month? On the bright side, if you assume that their internal auditing really does catch every “incident,” it means they have a violation rate of about 0.001 percent. On the less bright side, they perform 20 million surveillance queries per month.

      That’s genuinely hard to fathom. Is some of that automated? Or is that truly 600,000-plus human queries each and every day? The mind boggles.

    • N.S.A. Calls Violations of Privacy ‘Minuscule’
    • EFF Supports Human Rights Case Against Cisco for Selling Surveillance Technologies to China

      EFF filed an amicus brief in an important case known as Du v. Cisco, where Chinese human rights activists have sued the US tech giant Cisco in Maryland federal court. The case alleges that Cisco knowingly customized, marketed, sold, and provided continued support and service for technologies used by the Chinese government to facilitate human rights abuses.

      The case arises in part from the publication several years ago of a presentation in which Cisco confirms that the Golden Shield is helpful to the Chinese government to “Combat Falun Gong Evil Religion and Other Hostilities.” This shocking statement indicated not only that Cisco knew of the Chinese government’s strategy of repression of dissident groups, but that it was marketing and customizing its Golden Shield technologies to meet those goals. Shortly after this case was filed in August 2011, China detained the lead plaintiff, Du Daobin, and interrogated him about his involvement in the case. EFF called on Cisco to intervene to help protect the plaintiffs.

    • Climate Skeptic Asks NSA For Access To Former EPA Director’s Emails

      An attorney best known for his prodding environmental regulators over their email usage has turned to a new potential ally in the war against climate science: the National Security Agency.

      While the NSA has been getting flack in recent months after reports on its secret surveillence programs, Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he’s so pleased with the practice that he’s using it to further his pursuit of emails and other documents from former Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson. Horner first revealed in June what many conservatives decried as a “secret email account” that Jackson utilized in her time at the EPA.

    • EPA critic to NSA: Hey, want to share?

      A conservative gadfly who has made a crusade of uncovering embarrassing emails at the Environmental Protection Agency wants to tap a new potential evidence trove: the National Security Agency’s electronic snooping program.

    • NSA-dodging mail service explains why email can never truly be private and secure
    • Among the NSA’s Own Tips for Securing Computers: Remove the Webcam

      Seems like everything gets hacked these days. Baby monitors. White House employees’ personal email. Toilets.

    • Let Non-Secret Courts Decide if NSA Surveillance Is Constitutional

      Deputy NSA Director John Inglis recently told Congress that analysts “try to be judicious” in analyzing telephone metadata so as not to waste their name studying phone records from “the pizza delivery man.” But there are other groups of American citizens whose telephone records likely interest the intelligence community far more than takeout restaurants: attorneys who represent Guantanamo detainees. Journalists. Whistleblowers. Human rights researchers.

    • EU privacy watchdogs seek details on NSA spying

      Europe’s privacy watchdogs are demanding details on the extent of U.S. surveillance efforts in the wake of NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations about the PRISM spying program.

      The National Security Agency’s PRISM operation compels major Internet firms to hand over detailed contents of communications such as emails, video chats and more.

    • Rand Paul Wants Supreme Court to Review Constitutionality of NSA’s Surveillance Programs

      Arguing that congressional hearings and new safeguards recently announced by President Barack Obama might not be enough to ensure privacy rights, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called for the Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

    • Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Abolish The NSA And Give Snowden A Parade

      There was a showing of the new documentary, Terms and Conditions May Apply late last week in Washington DC, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich stopped by and made some very pointed remarks while discussing the NSA’s surveillance activities. The (well-timed) documentary, of course, looks at how companies and the government use and abuse everyone’s digital data. Kucinich’s remarks are well worth listening to, as he suggests that Congress should abolish the NSA, while also saying that Ed Snowden deserves a ticker-tape parade.

    • NSA Violations ‘Just the Tip of a Larger Iceberg,’ Say Wyden, Udall
    • How to Keep the NSA Out of Your Computer

      Sick of government spying, corporate monitoring, and overpriced ISPs? There’s a cure for that.

    • Outrage at Violations Adds Fuel to NSA Opposition

      Amash Seeks New Vote on Ending Surveillance

  • Civil Rights

    • NSA journo’s partner ‘detained’

      The partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, who revealed mass surveillance by US and British security agencies, has been detained under the Terrorism Act, the Guardian reports. He was reportedly stopped at Heathrow Airport but has since been released.

    • Glenn Greenwald’s partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours

      David Miranda, partner of Guardian interviewer of whistleblower Edward Snowden, questioned under Terrorism Act

    • Detaining my partner: a failed attempt at intimidation

      The detention of my partner, David Miranda, by UK authorities will have the opposite effect of the one intended

    • Investigating Acts of Journalism Under ‘Terrorism’ Laws Is A Hallmark of Authoritarian Regimes

      In an outrageous and unacceptable attack on press freedom, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, was detained for almost nine hours at Heathrow airport in London earlier today under section 7 of the UK’s pernicious Terrorism Act. Miranda was returning to his home in Brazil after a week-long visit with documentarian Laura Poitras. Miranda, whose flights were paid for by the Guardian, was reportedly bringing important documents back to Greenwald on USB thumbdrives.

      [...]

      It is unclear what the UK government was trying to accomplish by detaining Miranda. Likely, it was meant as some form of intimidation. But surely, it will backfire. Investigating acts of journalism under “terrorism” laws and detaining family members of reporters are hallmarks of authoritarian regimes.

      [...]

      Take, for example, this report from Human Rights Watch from a year ago: “The Iranian government has been intimidating and detaining relatives and friends of foreign-based Persian-language journalists to obtain information or silence them.”

      And until UK government takes swift action to rectify this injustice, other journalists — and their loved ones — should be on alert. Not only was Miranda detained, but Greenwald’s journalistic work-product was seized. As Andrew Sullivan wrote, “So any journalist passing through London’s Heathrow has now been warned: do not take any documents with you. Britain is now a police state when it comes to journalists, just like Russia is.”

      [...]

      Ironically, this incident comes the same day as a long profile in New York Times Magazine of Poitras, who has shamefully been the subject of similar harassment at the border by the US for years, solely because she produces journalism that the United States government apparently does not like. It’s unknown whether the US had any involvement in the detention of Miranda but questions should be asked as to what they knew and when.

    • How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets

      The stranger responded with instructions for creating an even more secure system to protect their exchanges. Promising sensitive information, the stranger told Poitras to select long pass phrases that could withstand a brute-force attack by networked computers. “Assume that your adversary is capable of a trillion guesses per second,” the stranger wrote.

    • Next Time, Pay Attention.

      On a few occasions, I stood outside in a protest of Arab registration in America where a still unknown number of men went into DHS offices, and never came home. We all watched the surveillance and intimidation of Muslim and Arab communities in America, the UK and Europe and said to those governments, it’s ok, because those communities have extremists.

      Now the extra-judicial harassment of journalists has begun. And a bunch of folks are saying “How could this happen?”

    • Detention of Guardian journalist’s partner ‘extraordinary’, says Keith Vaz

      Senior MP to seek explanation from police after detention of Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, at Heathrow airport

    • Press comment: David Miranda arrest

      Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: “This is a direct attack on freedom of the press and a chilling reminder that our anti-terror laws are in desperate need of reform. Whoever took the decision to have David Miranda arrested and detained should be named and held publicly accountable for this flagrant abuse of anti-terrorism laws.

    • Miranda’s detention is a direct attack on freedom of the press

      Today’s detention of David Miranda, the partner of The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald who interviewed whistleblower Edward Snowden, is a direct attack on freedom of the press and a chilling reminder that our anti-terror laws are in desperate need of reform. Whoever took the decision to have Miranda arrested and detained should be named and held publicly accountable for this flagrant abuse of anti-terrorism laws.

      The law Miranda was detained under provides powers to deal with those suspected of involvement with acts of terrorism, not a license to interrogate those with knowledge of the activity of journalists. If a foreign government detained the partner of a British journalist we would rightly be up in arms.

    • NSA Scandal: UK Condemned for ‘Unlawful, Petty’ Treatment of Glenn Greenwald’s Partner David Miranda

      The British government has received international condemnation after the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald was questioned for nine hours over Edward Snowden’s NSA and GCHQ leaks.

      Brazilian national David Miranda, who was in Heathrow airport en route to Rio de Janeiro, was held under the 2000 Terrorism Act – although Greenwald claims the interrogation had nothing to do with terrorism.

    • Britain Detains Partner Of Journalist Who Exposed NSA Spying. Are They Crazy Or Stupid?

      The partner of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who published classified information on U.S. government surveillance, was detained for 9 hours in London’s Heathrow Airport. On Sunday morning, David Miranda was detained for the maximum allowable time under British Law; his property was confiscated and has yet to be returned, according to Greenwald.

    • Partner of reporter who broke NSA stories detained

      The domestic partner of the journalist who broke a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programs by the U.S. National Security Agency was held for almost nine hours Sunday by British authorities at London’s Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro.

    • Partner of NSA leaks reporter held in UK, MP seeks explanation

      London: British police have detained the live-in partner of a Guardian journalist responsible for leaking reports on US surveillance programme for nine hours under terror laws, prompting Indian-origin lawmaker Keith Vaz to seek an explanation from Scotland Yard on the issue.

      [...]

      “It is an extraordinary twist to a very complicated story,” Vaz told BBC today. “I will write to the police to ask for the justification of the use of terrorism legislation they may have a perfectly reasonable explanation.”

      Greenwald has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency.

    • NSA spy-program reporter slams U.K. detention
    • Brazil ‘concerned’ over NSA journalist’s partner’s 9-hour detention at UK airport under Terrorism Act
    • NDAA Nullification Bill Headed to Floor of California State Senate

      On August 12 the California Senate Appropriations Committee sent to the floor a bill making it more difficult for residents of the Golden State to be indefinitely detained under provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The Internet: We’re Doing It Wrong

      This week Facebook’s ban-bot went berserk; Github went down; and all Google services collapsed for a few minutes, taking 40% of the Internet with them. Just another week on the Internet, then. We love our centralized services, until they let us down.

Microsoft + Oracle = NSA Surveillance (e.g. Espionage) on Servers

Posted in Database, Microsoft, Oracle at 8:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Proprietary software giants love to spy

Lab

Summary: Proprietary software from the dominant database players (which recently got together) is expected to further violate privacy

After a recent interview with Larry Ellison it is no longer secret or just mere speculation that he is an NSA proponent (Oracle’s founders and the business have a renowned CIA-assisted/subsidised past), but what’s noteworthy is Microsoft’s view, which based on the company’s relationship with the NSA is more than happy and even eager to strengthen the NSA. How would China feel if it knew all those facts*? It is already investigating some US companies like IBM over privacy intrusions and it should know that HP has back doors in its storage servers (caught red handed).

Oracle recently got closer to Microsoft, which helped devour Java and add NSA surveillance to it (on the ‘cloud’). It is being noted by IDG that:

The new Microsoft-Oracle partnership benefits both companies, as Oracle gets access to Azure and Microsoft can finally license Java. Will the deal have any effect on either company’s enterprise customers?

Anyone who runs a program or a GNU/Linux distribution on Microsoft’s ‘cloud’ should expect NSA surveillance. But it’s not like this would bother Larry Ellison. More and more people will, over time, realise that the PATRIOT Act made it risky to host with US companies (or US-made software) anywhere, respective of the datacentre’s location (the Internet is global).
___
* Having just spent 2 hours at a Chinese superstore, it seems evident that we in the West increasingly come to depend on China for everything, rather than the other way around. The US and UK governments are openly worried right now about dependence on Chinese hardware which could facilitate back doors.

Richard Stallman on Corporate Press

Posted in TechBytes Video at 3:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TechBytes with Stallman

Direct download as Ogg (00:00:50, 2.8 MB)

Summary: Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation’s founder, explains how the press in the US is controlled


Made entirely using Free/libre software, heavily compressed for performance on the Web at quality’s expense

08.18.13

Links 18/8/2013: Amarok 2.8, Linux Fund-raising Record

Posted in News Roundup at 3:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Free software for free markets

    Co-inciding with the first DebConf in Switzerland, one of the world’s leading financial centers, the first official packaging of open messaging and market data distribution framework OpenMAMA for a Linux distribution has just been uploaded. The packages, along with the Avis low-latency event-router middleware/transport were uploaded to the Debian unstable catalog this week and will soon be available conveniently to install with apt-get.

  • PLVision’s Open Source Solution for Enabling OpenWRT-Routers with SDN Functionality

    For the past years, PLVision has been working on technologies in the Networking domain, namely Software Defined Networks. Apart from assimilating already existing solutions, the company has developed its own Open vSwitch package for OpenWrt which considerably extends router functionality and adaptability, and is completely free.

  • The big challenge with open source: Workflow, not code quality
  • 10 Most Popular Open Source Software Ever!

    Open Source software are never the less one of the biggest innovations in the history of technology. Simply buy an all new computer device and install any software you want without spending a single penny (except the internet datacharges). It offers you everything from a free word processor, free image editor, media player, sound editor, file archiver, PDF creator and what not.

    Although a few of these software might not stand parallel to its commercial rivals in terms of functionality, there are many that stand far beyond of everything else on the market in terms of features and capabilities.

  • VMware’s Love-Hate Relationship With OpenStack

    VMware, perhaps more-so than any other vendor on the planet, is responsible for helping enterprises move to more agile and efficient virtualized server infrastructure. Simply put, VMware is the vendor to beat in the enterprise virtualized server space.

    When it comes to the cloud though, VMware’s dominance is not a foregone conclusion, with Amazon and perhaps more importantly OpenStack, leading the charge. OpenStack is an open-source multi-stakeholder effort that is building an open-cloud platform solution.

  • Questions to ask before choosing an open source hypervisor
  • Open-source project Pixy aims to give vision to hobbyists’ robots

    An open-source project aims to give a rudimentary eye to robots with the help of a camera that can detect, identify and track the movement of specific objects.

  • Open source code management: How to safely use open source libraries
  • No-Cost Transfer of Files is Possible With the Boffin Open Source iPod Software List
  • Open Source Data Recovery Software List Released By Boffin Reviewers
  • Boffin Now Provides An Open Source Email Marketing Software List
  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Do cloud right: Four critical steps to selecting the provider for you

      When Edward Snowden leaked intelligence files, a storm was triggered in the cloud, leaving a path of destruction. Snowden’s email provider Lavabit shut down. So has the email offering of Silent Circle. The Guardian ran a story declaring: Lavabit’s closure marks the death of secure cloud computing in the U.S. And the EU is not entirely unaffected either. Be it by the Tempora program in the UK or the U.S. National Security Agency facilities that reportedly reside in Germany.

    • ownCloud Client 1.4.0 beta 2
  • Databases

    • Where Are NoSQL Database Partner Programs?

      As NoSQL databases catch on for Big Data applications, where are the NoSQL partner programs for resellers, integrators and VARs? So far, 10gen seems to be the only company shouting an answer.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Battle of the Office Suites
    • Battle of the Office Suites: Microsoft Office and LibreOffice Compared

      For a long time, Microsoft Office has been the reigning champ of office suites, but that doesn’t mean the free alternative, LibreOffice, isn’t worth considering. Let’s take a look at how the two compare, and if it’s finally possible to ditch the paid option for the free one.

    • Microsoft Uses DMCA To Block Many Links To Competing Open Office

      Another day, another example of excessive DMCA takedown actions. The latest is that Microsoft has been issuing DMCA takedowns to Google directing the search engine to remove links to Open Office.

    • Microsoft Continues Its Anti-competitive Behaviour

      It’s to be expected. M$ is still run by the same people who thought up every dirty trick they could over the decades to prevent having to compete on price/performance. The latest deed covers demanding removal of links to downloads of OpenOffice.org under the DMCA nonsense. “Office” is in the name, right? Grounds for banning it… What’s next? Banning downloads of */Linux because there’s an “X” in the name? Nope. This is grounds for further anti-trust action. US Department of inJustice, Are you paying attention?

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

    • QEMU 1.6 Brings A Whole Lot Of Changes

      QEMU 1.6.0 has been released and with this open-source processor emulator commonly used with Linux KVM are a whole lot of new features and capabilities.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Source Collaboration in Museum Exhibit Design

      In the last few years, audience participation and collaboration has been an increasingly discussed topic among museum professionals worldwide. Emerging technologies and the open source movement provide an opportunity for new forms of collaboration, namely collaboration among individuals with different areas of expertise using an online platform. In this blog post, I briefly describe two open source initiatives that focus on collaboration in Museum Exhibit Design, and share my conversation with Bob Ketner, an independent curator and an expert on open source collaboration methods, who was actively involved in both initiatives.

    • Open Access/Content

      • IIMs should start open-source class-ware …

        India graduates nearly 400,000 to 500,000 MBAs annually from some 3300-odd business schools. Based on an extensive study, The Wall Street Journal (December 2012) estimated that only 10% of Indian management graduates are employable! Given that a larger proportion of the ‘employable’ graduates must understandably be from the IIMs and other handful of high-rated business schools, the large majority of lower ranked business schools must be adding little value to the MBA graduates.

  • Programming

    • Free and Inexpensive Ways to Pick Up Open Source Tech Skills

      This week Twitter was in the news for buying San Francisco-based company Marakana, which has focused on tech training, including training many people to use open source technology platforms and tools. As ZDNet reported, “Twitter is in the process of building its own engineering education program, dubbed Twitter University.” Marakana’s team will help build out this effort and the company will no longer train any individuals or organizations who want training.

    • Even more curry for C++11
    • SDL2 Plans With Wayland, SDL3 Already On The Mind

      While SDL 2.0 was finally released this week after being in development for years, future SDL 2.x features and changes are already being plotted and even some early thoughts concerning SDL 3.x for game developers and other cross-platform developers relying upon this important Simple DirectMedia Layer library.

Leftovers

  • Crowd asked to fund a colossal statue of Steve Jobs

    APPLE GADGET FANS can kick in to pay for the construction of a gigantic statue of Steve Jobs through the Indiegogo crowdfunding website.

    Jobs passed away from cancer in 2011, but since then his influence has still been seen in Apple’s designs, so much so that the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S have been credited to him. Some people want to make sure that he will always be remembered and would like to erect a huge – think Statue of Liberty proportions – statue of the late Apple co-founder.

  • Google engineers insist 20% time is not dead—it’s just turned into 120% time

    A lively debate among current and former Google engineers is raging on Hacker News about Quartz’s piece on the death of 20% time at Google—that formerly hallowed portion of an engineer’s week set aside for his or her own projects, which brought us innovations such as Gmail and Adsense.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Beekeeping dog in ‘astronaut’ suit detects infected hives by smell

      Bees are extremely important. We’ve been writing about for years about the various threats that they face (Margaret has a great timeline of bee articles between 2005 and 2013), and about various ways to protect them. But this story from Australia might be the most original yet, or at the very least the cutest.

  • Finance

    • Every Important Person In Bitcoin Just Got Subpoenaed By New York’s Financial Regulator

      Things are getting serious for Bitcoin this month: a federal judge declared it real money, Bloomberg gave it an experimental ticker (XBT), and New York’s financial regulator announced an interest in regulating it. Declaring Bitcoin “a virtual Wild West for narcotraffickers and other criminals,” the New York State Department of Financial Services is stepping into the sheriff’s boots.

    • NYT Sees Shift in Global Economy–by Using a Lot of Imagination

      We learn that “the gross domestic product of the 17-nation euro zone grew at an annualized rate of about 1.2 percent in the second quarter,” and that Brazil has gone from a 7.6 percent growth rate two years ago to a projected 2.3 percent rate this year–though the alert reader will notice that 2.3 percent for a year is better than 1.2 percent for a quarter.

    • Was ‘The New York Times’ Hacked?

      There are many different kinds of Web attacks today. The one that The New York Times admitted to in January was an infiltration by attackers going after usernames and passwords for email accounts. That type of attack is about information gathering and isn’t about taking a site offline.

      There are also distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, where hundreds of millions of data packets slam into a service in order to render it inaccessible. In my experience in a DDoS attack, Web browsers simply time out and no response comes back from the given site.

    • Judge Rules Against Icahn’s Efforts to Reschedule Dell Meeting

      A Delaware judge on Friday denied a request by Carl Icahn to reschedule Dell Inc.’s annual meeting, dealing a blow to the activist investor’s fight against a buyout offer led by the company’s founder, Michael S. Dell.

    • Rajiv Sethi: The Spider and the Fly

      Aleynikov was hired by Goldman to help improve its relatively weak position in what is rather euphemistically called the market-making business. In principle, this is the business of offering quotes on both sides of an asset market in order that investors wishing to buy or sell will find willing counterparties. It was once a protected oligopoly in which specialists and dealers made money on substantial spreads between bid and ask prices, in return for which they provided some measure of price continuity.

    • Taken

      Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • CMD Fights Back Against ALEC’s Effort to Evade Open Records Law in Texas

      The Center for Media and Democracy filed a letter with the Texas Attorney General on Thursday refuting efforts by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to declare itself immune from the state’s open records law. Texas is the first known state where ALEC has formally asked an Attorney General for an exemption from sunshine-in-government laws, and it marks a new low in the organization’s attempts to advance its legislative agenda in secret and avoid public accountability for facilitating special interest influence.

    • What Do You Call Edward Snowden?

      By highlighting this comment, CBS is suggesting that Snowden made some kind of important admission with his use of the word “spies.” Couple that with Pelley referencing the “collaboration” with an unnamed journalist–presumably Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian–and you can put the pieces together: Snowden, now “being harbored by Russia,” was acting as a spy when he “spilled” those secrets, with Greenwald his collaborator.

      Sure, it’s not as alarming as, say, NBC’s David Gregory musing about whether or not Greenwald should be arrested, but it’s striking language nonetheless.

    • Twitter joins Washington’s influence economy, forms PAC

      Twitter on Friday became an official member of Washington’s influence economy, with the formation of a political action committee and the appointment of its first registered lobbyist.

  • Censorship

    • Download the Pirate Bay’s free Pirate Browser to circumvent censorship

      Here’s the official description of the Pirate browser:

      “PirateBrowser is a bundle package of the Tor client (Vidalia), FireFox Portable browser (with foxyproxy addon) and some custom configs that allows you to circumvent censorship that certain countries such as Iran, North Korea, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Italy and Ireland impose onto their citizens.”

    • Wikipedia Co-Founder Refuses to Comply With China’s Censorship

      Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales said he would rather have no Wikipedia in China than comply with any form of censorship.

      In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, Mr. Wales said the company will always refuse to comply with government requests to restrict information, calling access to knowledge and education a human right.

    • The Pirate Bay Releases Censorship-Busting ‘PirateBrowser’

      If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to circumvent any filters or blocks that your ISP (or country) has put into place on your Web browsing, The Pirate Bay might have a solution for you. As part of the commemoration around the site’s ten-year anniversary, which it officially celebrated yesterday, The Pirate Bay has officially released its own web browser. Sort-of.

  • Privacy

    • The NSA’s technical fouls

      If the leak of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order requiring Verizon to provide the FBI and NSA with millions of call records was the most important in advancing the debate about privacy and surveillance, Barton Gellman’s report in the Washington Post about NSA’s internal compliance audits should count as a close second.

    • Lawmakers Demand More NSA Oversight Amid Privacy Concerns

      National Security Agency spy programs need better oversight to prevent excesses in collecting Americans’ voice and data communications, lawmakers said after the disclosure of an audit showing privacy rules were broken thousands of times.

    • NSA Leaker Charged Under 96-Year-Old Law

      Former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is now living in exile in Russia, fearful that if he returns to the United States he’ll be arrested on espionage charges.

      The irony is that the charges against Snowden, who was a computer expert at the high-tech National Security Agency, come from a law that dates back to before most Americans could listen to the radio, much less watch TV or surf the web.

    • Court: Ability to police U.S. spying program limited

      The leader of the secret court that is supposed to provide critical oversight of the government’s vast spying programs said that its ability do so is limited and that it must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans.

    • China to investigate IBM, EMC and Oracle over NSA security fears

      Tables are turned as China raises security concerns about US IT firms following reports of mass surveillance by the NSA

    • China mulls probe into IBM, Oracle, EMC after NSA hack claims – report
    • Snowden downloaded NSA secrets while working for Dell, sources say

      Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden began downloading documents describing the U.S. government’s electronic spying programs while he was working for Dell Inc in April 2012, almost a year earlier than previously reported, according to U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the matter.

    • NSA Spying: The Three Pillars of Government Trust Have Fallen

      With each recent revelation about the NSA’s spying programs government officials have tried to reassure the American people that all three branches of government—the Executive branch, the Judiciary branch, and the Congress—knowingly approved these programs and exercised rigorous oversight over them. President Obama recited this talking point just last week, saying: “as President, I’ve taken steps to make sure they have strong oversight by all three branches of government and clear safeguards to prevent abuse and protect the rights of the American people.” With these three pillars of oversight in place, the argument goes, how could the activities possibly be illegal or invasive of our privacy?

    • NSA Lies

      In the modern art wing, we have Obama’s brilliantly nonsensical, Dadaist argument that Snowden isn’t a patriot because, among other equally schizophrenic reasons, “he is convicted of three felonies.” This is a leitmotif pervading Obama’s work: equating illegal with immoral. He notably employed this technique when asked about Bradley Manning, saying that “He broke the law.” (Scholars are trying to reconcile this technique with Obama’s professed admiration of MLK, Jr., who famously remarked that “I disobeyed an unjust law.”)

    • The NSA Oversteps Its Legal Authority and the Court Can’t Stop It

      The Washington Post dropped two reports that exposes the recklessness of the NSA’s spying program. The first report is insane: the NSA has “broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority” thousands of times a year and the second report explains the insanity: the FISC court that’s supposed to be in charge of government spying programs has said that “its ability do so is limited and that it must trust the government” to report when the government has screwed up.

    • Things the Authorities Say to Mislead You About NSA Surveillance

      When government officials can’t directly answer a question with a secret definition, officials will often answer a different question than they were asked. For example, if asked, “can you readAmericans’ email without a warrant,” officials will answer: “we cannot target Americans’ email without a warrant.” As we explained last week, the NSA’s warped definition of word “target” is full of so many holes that it allows the NSA to reach into untold number of Americans’ emails, some which can be purely domestic.

    • Wyden considered disclosing National Security Agency secrets on Senate floor

      Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a longtime critic of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs, told Rolling Stone that he considered disclosing classified information on the Senate floor prior to the leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden.

    • How Ron Wyden nearly became an NSA leaker

      One of the intelligence community’s most outspoken critics says he considered talking about the National Security Agency’s bulk surveillance program on the Senate floor.

    • Snowden’s dad reaches out to son despite danger

      Lon Snowden, the father of fugitive U.S. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, has reached out to his son via the Internet, officials said.

      The older Snowden communicated with his son through a protected Internet channel using encrypted messages, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.

    • An Educated Guess About How the NSA Is Structured

      NUCLEON: Global telephone content database

    • NSA domestic spying “built on lies”

      Reuters broke another report about the way the government lies to us entitled, “U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans.” From the report: “‘I have never heard of anything like this at all,’ said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

    • NSA hopes that people do not do the maths

      However it turns out that dime is still 29.21 petabytes of data a day. That means NSA is “touching” more data than Google processes every day. Google only has 20 petabytes. Also the packet analyzer gear at the front-end of XKeyscore (can pick out a very small fraction of the actual packets sent over the wire while still extracting a great deal of information (or metadata) about who is sending what to who.

    • Heidi Boghosian on ‘Spying on Democracy,’ Laura Gottesdiener on Foreclosures

      This week on CounterSpin: Edward Snowden’s NSA’s surveillance disclosures have sparked a debate over privacy, spying and civil liberties. A new book tells the history of those issues, and warns about the threat to democracy posed by snooping government agencies and corporations. We’ll talk to author Heidi Boghosian about her book ‘Spying on Democracy.’

    • NSA spied on thousands of Americans
    • China mulls probe into IBM, Oracle, EMC after NSA hack claims – report
    • Feds Threaten To Arrest Lavabit Founder For Shutting Down His Service

      The saga of Lavabit founder Ladar Levison is getting even more ridiculous, as he explains that the government has threatened him with criminal charges for his decision to shut down the business, rather than agree to some mysterious court order.

    • Lavabit.com owner: ‘I could be arrested’ for resisting surveillance order

      The owner of an encrypted email service used by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden said he has been threatened with criminal charges for refusing to comply with a secret surveillance order to turn over information about his customers.

    • Hacker posts Facebook bug report on Zuckerberg’s wall

      Just minutes after the post, Khalil says he received a response from a Facebook engineer requesting all the details about the vulnerability. His account was blocked while the security team rushed to close the loophole.

      After receiving the third bug report, a Facebook security engineer finally admitted the vulnerability but said that Khalil won’t be paid for reporting it because his actions violated the website’s security terms of service.

      Although Facebook’s White Hat security feedback program sets no reward cap for the most “severe” and “creative” bugs, it sets a number of rules that security analysts should follow in order to be eligible for a cash reward. Facebook did not specify which of the rules Khalil had broken.

    • Institutionalized US Spying: More Than NSA Involved

      Washington has 16 known US spy agencies. NSA and CIA are best known. Perhaps few Americans know much about the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

      It calls itself “first in all-source defense intelligence to prevent strategic surprise and deliver a decision advantage to warfighters, defense planners, and policymakers.”

      “DIA deploys globally alongside warfighters and interagency partners to defend America’s national security interests.”

    • The NSA Thinks It’s Above the Law — and the Obama Administration Knew It

      Thursday night, The Washington Post published an internal audit of the NSA surveillance programs leaked by Edward Snowden, which show that the NSA has violated the privacy rules in place to protect Americans’ communications 2,776 times in one year. The infringements relate to the restrictions enacted by executive orders, which supposedly prevent the surveillance of American individuals without legal authorization. It has been determined that the majority of mistakes have been made by intelligence operators and computers.

    • NSA revelations galvanize Congress

      Allegations of chronic violations renew calls for serious change

    • NSA breached privacy rules, despite Obama’s promises

      President Barack Obama’s promises to protect Americans from domestic spying came under fresh scrutiny Friday after an internal audit showed the National Security Agency had repeatedly violated privacy rules in its electronic surveillance.

      The revelations appeared to challenge Obama’s reassurances that strict oversight of NSA snooping had prevented abuses.

      The Washington Post, citing NSA documents and the audit, reported that the eavesdropping service had breached privacy restrictions thousands of times and in some cases withheld details from other government departments.

    • Google introduces encryption to Google Cloud Storage – but NSA will still have easy access

      The server-side encryption means that the data will seamlessly be encrypted without the users having to do anything.

      However, while that encryption will make the data held in Google’s cloud more secure from attack, the keys will still be held by Google. That means that the US National Security Agency (NSA) will still be able to access customers’ data with a simple order approved by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

      For that, Barth recommends that customers encrypt their data before uploading it to the Google Cloud.

    • WaPo: NSA Broke Privacy Rules Thousands Of Times, Harms Uncertain

      According to documents obtained by The Washington Post, the National Security Agency broke its own privacy rules thousands of times per year. Many of the violations seem like unintentional infractions, such as a typo while searching telephone area codes, which results in a swath of phone records that shouldn’t have otherwise been scanned. It is unclear whether any of the wrongly obtained information was used for illegal or illicit purposes.

    • US NSA defends surveillance programs as lawful

      Under increasing pressure to justify electronic surveillance programs that at times capture communications of American citizens, the U.S. National Security Agency went to unusual lengths on Friday to insist its activities are lawful and any mistakes largely unintentional.

    • NSA revelations of privacy breaches ‘the tip of the iceberg’ – Senate duo

      Leading critics of NSA Ron Wyden and Mark Udall say ‘public deserves to know more about violations of secret court orders’

    • Cloud market destined to change following NSA leaks

      “The reason I say this is unrealistic is because in order for this $180 billion to play out, then companies need to aggressively start pulling back from using outsourcers, using [hosting firms], using cloud providers,” Staten told CSOonlineA’A on Friday. “And frankly, we don’t see any evidence that suggests they’re going to start doing that.”

    • Chinese Spring Festival tourists targeted by NSA

      An internal audit carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA) and leaked to the Washington Post reveals that Chinese Spring Festival tourists were targeted while on holiday in the US.

    • NSA under renewed fire after report finds it violated its own privacy rules

      Revelations that NSA collected records it was not permitted to acquire pile further pressure on intelligence chief James Clapper

    • LA Church Joins Lawsuit Against NSA Over Surveillance Programs

      The church says this type of surveillance is reminiscent of that felt by the congregation during the McCarthy era

    • Inhofe wants to investigate NSA, following new report about surveillance

      Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, says new revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance program suggest the Obama administration has “abused the authority granted to them by Congress” and that he will investigate the matter.

    • White House Denials of NSA Privacy Violations Prompt Legislative Furor

      Reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) routinely breaks the law and violates court orders and the Constitution in order to collect private data of hundreds of millions of Americans has prompted some federal lawmakers to finally exercise a little oversight.

    • I asked the NSA for its file on me, and here’s what I got back

      Though it took two and a half pages to do so, the NSA denied my application. “[Y]our request is denied because the fact of the existence or non-existence of responsive records is a currently and properly classified matter,” it wrote.

      Oh. Thanks anyway, NSA.

    • Paul: NSA practices are unconstitutional, should be subject of hearing

      An internal audit from leaker Edward Snowden — now enjoying asylum in Russia — also revealed that the agency intercepted phone calls and emails from U.S. citizens during that time, and often did not report the intrusion.

    • Lawmakers: NSA reform needed

      Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan said Sunday he’s hopeful the House will have another chance to vote on a measure that would curb the National Security Agency.

    • Obama’s post-vacation blues: Egypt and NSA spying on Americans
    • NSA blames 3,000 leaked privacy violations on ‘employee mistakes’

      Nearly 3,000 violations of Americans’ privacy, mentioned in the National Security Agency’s internal audit recently leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden, weren’t “willful” and are results of mistakes by employees, the agency claimed.

    • New NSA Leak Should Prompt Even More Distrust of Government

      Because the NSA’s activities are largely classified, we can never truly know what we’re paying.

    • James Fields: Protect online, mobile conversations

      Snowden. PRISM. XKey­score. It seems that you can’t turn around these days without reading another story about government surveillance.

      [...]

      If as a society we don’t start fighting government snooping laws, they are only going to become more restrictive. For example, recently, the Obama administration pushed to make it a felony to stream copyrighted material over the Internet, which was a key part of the tabled Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) of last year. SOPA targeted user-generated content sites like Tumblr and YouTube and Internet startups in the social and online search space.

    • Lavabit chief predicts ‘long fight’ with feds (Q&A)

      Ladar Levison, who shuttered the Web mail service he founded — and his only e-mail account — when the U.S. government demanded access to his company’s servers, tells CNET he created Lavabit because of the Patriot Act.

    • Will PayPal’s Face Verification System Kick Off the Future of Payment Technology?

      Ever been standing in a checkout line only to realize that you’re unable to pay because you’ve left your wallet, cash, or credit card elsewhere? Or perhaps you’re like the 83% of respondents to a recent PayPal survey who said you’d rather not carry a wallet at all. If PayPal’s latest technology using face recognition to facilitate payment transactions is successful, wallets may soon become a relic of the past.

    • Q. & A.: Edward Snowden Speaks to Peter Maass

      Edward Snowden: After 9/11, many of the most important news outlets in America abdicated their role as a check to power — the journalistic responsibility to challenge the excesses of government — for fear of being seen as unpatriotic and punished in the market during a period of heightened nationalism. From a business perspective, this was the obvious strategy, but what benefited the institutions ended up costing the public dearly. The major outlets are still only beginning to recover from this cold period.

      Laura and Glenn are among the few who reported fearlessly on controversial topics throughout this period, even in the face of withering personal criticism, and resulted in Laura specifically becoming targeted by the very programs involved in the recent disclosures. She had demonstrated the courage, personal experience and skill needed to handle what is probably the most dangerous assignment any journalist can be given — reporting on the secret misdeeds of the most powerful government in the world — making her an obvious choice.

  • Civil Rights

    • Detainee Challenges Constitutionality of NDAA Transfer Restrictions

      Ajam’s case takes a new approach to Guantanamo habeas litigation: Ajam challenges Section 1028 of the National Defense Authorization Act—the section which imposes detainee transfer restrictions on the President—as an unconstitutional Congressional intrusion into plenary Presidential foreign policy power.

    • Indefinite detention is definitely wrong

      When the government gives itself the power to deny a person his or her constitutional rights, it is alarming, to say the least. When the government prevents the people it governs from being able to do anything about it, it is truly frightening.

    • In the Matter of Hedges v. Obama

      What we have in the Hedges v. Obama case is yet another very bad precedent. As Judge Forrest had pointed out, “Courts must safeguard core constitutional rights.” The 2nd Circuit Appeals Court, clearly not applying the principle of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) to this situation, has sold out that obligation for a handful of dubious promises. Recent history provides no confidence that such promises are given in good faith. No, it is bad faith we are witnessing here. The government lawyers should hang their heads in shame for obviously undermining the Constitution they are sworn to uphold. It just goes to show there are always those, be they soldiers, police, or lawyers who will simply follow orders no matter what the consequences.

    • America No Longer the Land of the Free

      The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that the government may not take the life, liberty or property of any person without due process.

    • The Most Powerful Dissent in American History

      A smart new book reveals precisely how and why Oliver Wendell Holmes changed his mind about the first amendment.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Prenda parties ordered to pay more than $63K to Doe Defendants in Minnesota

        Remember Guava LLC v. Merkel? A collusive Prenda’s lawsuit filed in Hennepin County court in Minneapolis? I thought that this lawsuit was over, and I was gladly surprised to learn (hat tip to Jason Sweet) that yesterday Judge Tanya M. Bransford ordered Prenda parties (Guava LLC, Michael Dugas and Paul Hansmeier’s Alpha Law Firm) to jointly and severally pay $63,367.02 in attorney fees.

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