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02.13.13

Links 13/2/2013: Vivaldi KDE Tablet Still on Its Way

Posted in News Roundup at 9:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux-based Lernstift Smartpen Corrects Errors and Makes You Write Well

    Writing is not a thing of the past, with several technological advancements happening in this arena too. The latest development corresponds to Lernstift, a company destined to create smart-products for a better living and they have just rolled out a pen of the same name as them.

  • Linux Top 3: KDE 4.10, LibreOffice 4 and Secure Boot Loader Shim
  • Is 2013, the year of Linux gaming?

    For a long time the Linux gaming scene was stagnating, relegated to a limited number of open source games and a few popular but very old closed source games such as Doom 3, Quake 4, Unreal Tournament 2004 and whatever game you could force to run using WINE, an open source software for running Windows applications on Linux. Let’s face it, most gamers who have attempted to run games on Linux in the past probably spent more time wrestling with installers and searching for the right drivers than actually playing the game on their specific Linux configuration.

  • Seven Features I Fantasize About Seeing on the Linux Desktop
  • HP And “MultiOS”
  • Reports Emerge Regarding Chrome’s Malware Warnings
  • Perforce: Linux, Open Source Commitment High

    Should companies that produce mostly proprietary software invest in Linux development? In one sense, that seems as illogical as the artisanal-organic bread guy from the local farmers’ market buying shares in Wonder Bread. But in a move that reveals the growing influence of open source beyond its traditional space, Perforce has joined the Linux Foundation and is very committed to supporting and protecting open-source code. Here’s what Don Marti, technical marketing manager, had to say.

  • Computer whiz

    “The computer came back two days later. The computer started up in less than a minute in Ubuntu where it used to take up to five minutes in Windows Vista. It had all the software we needed – word processor, spreadsheet and more and it is all legal without licence payments,” said Mr Mullen.

  • Small Business Thrives With GNU/Linux
  • Desktop

    • Newegg

      My wife needs a new PC. Her old machine is quite competent, if dated — a 1 GHz Athlon 64, with 1 GB of RAM. Running Debian Linux with LXDE it is quite fast, and indeed she has no problem with OpenOffice or Thunderbird or any application save one: web browsing with Firefox. And I don’t think it’s Firefox’s fault. The problem is, for her work she needs to visit a lot of websites, and as I’ve commented before, too many websites are now larded up with the crappiest Javascript code you can imagine. Sure, she has NoScript installed, but she needs to enable Javascript to view these sites, and they’re sites she can’t avoid. (Like CNN.com, and several other news sites.)

      So about a month ago we decided she needs a computer fast enough to run CNN’s pig-awful Javascript. I missed a great post-Christmas deal at Staples, but I found the same deal at Newegg.ca: a refurbished HP DC5850 desktop for $209. It has a dual-core 2.3 GHz Athlon 64, and 4 GB of RAM — I always like to upgrade by a factor of 4 when I can — and a monster 750 GB hard drive. It’s capable of running Windows 7, so it should fly under Linux.

  • Server

    • Patching Servers Still An Issue

      I don’t know about your environment, but in mine, keeping up to date with available patches is hard. It is tempting to just ignore the patches and keep the server up for as long as possible, but doing so might leave your system open to attacks, or cumulative bugs in the running daemons. On the other hand, patching means an interruption in service, and introducing a change into the environment, which further means that the patches need to be tested before production. But, test for too long, and by the time the patches are applied to production, they might be an entirely new batch of patches.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Vivaldi Linux tablet gets a hardware upgrade
      • Vivaldi KDE open source Linux tablet gets new hardware, could launch this spring
      • New KDE Vivaldi Tablet May Be Announced In March

        Aaron Seigo tried to break into the tablet space with the KDE powered ‘Sparks’ tablet, which due to trademark issues was re-christened as Vivaldi. When he announced the tablet, there as a huge demand for the devices but the devices never saw the light of the day due to problems with supply chain.

        The OEM changed some hardware which made it impossible for the OS to run on those device. There was a long silence and Seigo has started talking about it. He gave me hints about some big announcement around Vivaldi when I asked him about meeting at FOSDEM and he said that he was canceling the FOSDEM trip due to Vivaldi.

      • LoFS Episode 3 .. tomorrow!

        It’s been a silly busy week for me, and I’ll be working into the night to get reasonably through my “must be done by today” list .. but I finally got to this one: blog about tomorrows Luminosity of Free Software Google Hangout. This will be the third one and hopefully the best yet.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Classic Fights to Win Users Back

        A few months ago GNOME announced that they would be dropping the fallback mode, but met with a bit of resistance. To appease the peasants, developers said they would start supporting extensions that mimicked classic GNOME 2 features. Well, Matthias Clasen announced the early results of their efforts.

      • A Quick Look At The New GNOME Classic Session (Now Available In The GNOME Testing PPA)

        As you probably know, the fallback mode will be dropped with GNOME 3.8 and instead, users will be able to use a set of GNOME Shell extensions that provide a GNOME2-like layout. Recently, these changes have landed in the GNOME Testing PPA for Ubuntu 12.10 and 13.04.

  • Distributions

    • Recent Linux Happenings: openSUSE, ROSA, and Frugalware
    • Chakra Linux 2013.02 delivers KDE 4.10

      The latest release of Chakra Linux brings the recently released KDE 4.10 to the users of the Arch Linux based distribution. Chakra Linux 2013.02, code-named “Benz”, also includes updates to the distribution’s own tools such as its installation assistant and its theme. Chakra was originally aimed at providing a live CD that allowed for easy uptake by new users but still maintained the powerful roots and extensive package selection of Arch. The distribution can be installed and provides a modern Linux desktop; although it is still based on Arch Linux, it now uses its own repositories.

    • New Releases

      • Snowlinux 4 Cinnamon & E17 non-PAE released!

        Snowlinux 4 Cinnamon & E17 non-PAE are based upon Debian GNU/Linux 7.0 “Wheezy”. There are two ISO images available, one with Cinnamon, the other with E17 non-PAE. While the Cinnamon edition is using Linux 3.5, the E17 edition is using Linux 3.2 non-PAE to support older PCs, too. The Cinnamon edition is using Cinnamon 1.6.7 and the E17 edition is using E17.1. There were introduced much new features like snowMount, the Snowlinux mount tool for drives. We changed the default color of our Snowlinux-Metal-Theme from green to blue and updated our Icon set.

      • ROSA Desktop Fresh 2012 GNOME

        Traditionally, original versions of ROSA Desktop operating system are provided with KDE desktop environment which includes a lot of design modifications and functionality enhancements. A nice-looking ROSA theme and a set of brand-name applications highly integrated with KDE (TimeFrame, StackFolder, RocketBar, KLook, KDM) have already become recognizable ROSA features and made ROSA familiar to Linux users.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia’s upgrade script vs FedUp

        If you are running a rolling-release distribution, this short article will likely be of no use to you, but if you are running an installation of Mageia 2, you’ll learn that is brings good tidings, when it comes to upgrading an existing installation of Mageia.

    • Arch Family

      • Arch Linux (Day 6 of 20 days of SCALE)

        In today’s post in my prep for my yearly weekend at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) I’m going to cover the subject of Arch Linux.

        I’m going to have to admit to a little bias on this one. I’ve never really cared for Arch Linux. I gave it a try when I used to listen to a popular Linux podcast I liked called the Linux Link Tech Show. They loved this Linux distribution and I felt exactly the opposite. I discussed in an earlier blog post what a package manager is. Well, this one uses one called pacman. I can not show how much I don’t like this package manager. I had to struggle with a media system I had hooked to my computer that I absolutely loved. Mythtv (well actually a MythTV variant call Linhes). Don’t get me wrong. I really liked that system a lot HOWEVER, whenever I tried to go deep into the guts and update stuff it would either make it crash or break. I hated that. I had to backup often. I ended up just not trying to add features to it because I was scared to touch it. I’m not one to be scared of touching any technology.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Google Says Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 Is Obsolete [Updated]

        Chrome, the browser in question here, is based on the open source project Chromium. Chromium developers seems to prefer the new C++11 for the obvious security reasons and ease of maintenance but it also means adopting a new toolchain and upgrading to GCC 4.6. This makes it hard to support those operating systems that ship with older C++ standard libraries. RHEL 6, among many others, is one such operating system.

        That’s the reason why such operating systems won’t be supported by the newer versions of Chrome. Chrome will continue to work on such distributions but it won’t get any updates for the above mentioned reasons. So, the notification WildeBoer saw was Google telling such users that their OS won’t be supported unless they are upgraded to newer toolchains and GCC.

        I think Google and Red Hat can work together to solve this issue.

      • Red Hat Prognostications Focus on Big Data and OpenStack

        Red Hat and its top officials have recently come out with some technology predictions that are worth taking note of. To begin with, the company has released its Top 10 IT Predictions for 2013, including some big possible shifts in cloud computing norms and data storage practices. And, CEO Jim Whitehurst is quoted in a widely read story predicting that Big Data won’t just transform how we yield meaningful results from data but will also shake up the way that upper management structures at many companies work.

      • RHEL 6 Is Not Obsolete: Google Chrome

        Google generated quite a lot of heat recently when its Chrome started showing “Google Chrome is no longer updating because your operating system is obsolete.” message on those GNU/Linux based systems which were using older C++ standard libraries. We covered the story in detail here.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Minecraft Now Available On Raspberry Pi For Free

      Raspberry Pi users have another reason to rejoice; the popular game Minecraft is now available for Raspberry Pi. Good news is this game is available for free to download.

    • N900 with a Slice of Raspberry Pi

      It may not come as a surprise to anyone who regularly reads my column that I tried to be first in line to order the Raspberry Pi. I mean, what’s not to like in a $35, 700MHz, 256MB of RAM computer with HDMI out that runs Linux? In the end, I didn’t make the first batch of 10,000, but I wasn’t too far behind either. So, now that I’ve had a Raspberry Pi for a week, I’ve already found a number of interesting uses for it. You can expect more Raspberry Pi columns from me in the future (possibly including an update to my beer fridge article), but to start, in this article, I talk about a combination of two of my favorite pocket-size Linux computers: the Raspberry Pi and my Nokia N900.

      At first you may wonder why combine the two computers. After all, both are around the same size and have similar initial hardware specs. Each computer has its own strengths, such as cellular networking and a touchscreen on the N900 and an Ethernet port and HDMI video output on the Raspberry Pi. In this article, I explain how to connect the N900 to the Raspberry Pi in a private USB network, share the N900′s cellular connection, and even use the N900 as a pocket-size display. In all of the examples, I use the default Debian Squeeze Raspberry Pi image linked off the main http://www.raspberrypi.org page.

    • Mojang releases Minecraft: Pi Edition for the Raspberry Pi Linux computer

      Before our sun collapses and goes supernova, Minecraft developer Mojang will probably release its brick-building games on all available platforms — and then some that aren’t available, like toasters and cats.

    • The Raspberry Pi rival has arrived; Odroid U2 available worldwide

      The main Raspberry Pi rival that was announced last year is now available! It’s called Odroid U2, and it’s powered by a 1.7GHz Exynos4412 Prime quad-core CPU and an also quad-core Mali-400 GPU that clocks at 440MHz! And the price for this baby is $89, worldwide shipping being available (so about $110 with the shipping).

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source economic model: Sell the license or charge a consulting fee?

    The kernel of the two stories is: “Software is not a manufacturing industry” and therefore, “software is not a product.” As Eric Raymond rightly pointed out a long time ago in his book, The Cathedral and the Bazaar: “Software is a service industry” and to be more precise, software itself is only a platform for delivering services. Just like highways, waterways, the power grid, the phone network, and the piping of the water supply.

    Once we understand that what matters in the software industry is simply to have robust software that supports the delivery of the services that flow through it, then it becomes clear that the economics of software cannot possibly be based on one-time payments for licenses, nor “selling software by the unit.”

    Software is built and maintained through a very labor intensive process. Therefore, to properly account for its cost, we must use an approach based on the hourly cost of professional services that developers dedicate to building and maintaining such service.

    This is nothing new. Charging an hourly rate for professional services is how lawyers, doctors, accountants, mechanics, pilots, and nurses have operated in the economic system for many decades (and some for centuries).

  • Robotic latex tentacle code open sourced, at last!

    The majority of robotic latex tentacle users have, up until this point, had to make do with locked in proprietary software code to power their mechanical rubber appendages.

    Users have had no other option than to opt for a pre-boxed heavily corporate-registered code base.

    Many who want to be able to operate a potentially mentally disturbing rubber arm on either their workplace desk… or, alternatively, as some part of a decorative piece and talking point inside a home dwelling have had to go proprietary when it comes to management code.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Opera Switches To WebKit, Chromium
    • 300 million users strong, Opera moves to WebKit

      Today, we announced that Opera has reached 300 million active users. At the same time, we made the official announcement that Opera will move from Presto to WebKit as the engine at the core of the browser.

      With this, Opera will be the first major browser to switch to a completely new rendering engine.

    • Opera commits to Chromium and WebKit
    • Opera, Until Now a Holdout, Dumps Presto and Standardizes on WebKit

      Today, Opera has announced that its browser has reached 300 million active users, but perhaps the biggest news is that the browser will be dropping the longstanding Presto rendering engine and moving to WebKit.This means that the number of browsing rendering engines to take seriously moves down to only three players, and WebKit–already legendary in the open source world–gets even more momentum and community involvement.

    • Mozilla

      • Early Apps for Mozilla’s Firefox OS Are Taking Shape

        For several weeks now, Mozilla has been aggressively sponsoring events–including a series of hack days–to woo app developers to its emerging Firefox OS for mobile devices. Called “Firefox OS App Days,” hack day events took place in more than 25 locations around the world, starting on 19 January in Mountain View, California and ending on 2 February in Berlin, Germany.

      • Interview: Brandon Burton

        Brandon Burton of Mozilla will be speaking on Simple Patterns for Scaling Websites: Some lessons learned at Mozilla with Chris Turra on Friday, Feb. 22, at 4:30 p.m. in the La Jolla room. Here is a Q-and-A from a member of the SCALE Publicity Team:

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Cloud Babble

      I have yet to meet a sysadmin who is happy about the proliferation of the marketing term known as “The Cloud”. Perhaps it is because we are too close to the metal, because we see how the sausage is made. Maybe it is because we share a common dislike for non-descriptive marketing terminology. Whatever the cause, and if we are happy about it or not, the cloud is here, and it is important to understand its implications.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • OpenClipart – Part II
    • $21 Million per Day

      Apache OpenOffice is a project within the Apache Software Foundation, a non-profit organization. We don’t charge for Apache OpenOffice; we make it available to all for free. We don’t pay developers; we rely on volunteers.

      People need office productivity software. Among our users are students, teachers, doctors, lawyers, ministers, public servants, and business people from all industries. Perhaps 20 years ago it was only businesses that needed this kind of software. In 1992 the price of a spreadsheet application alone, not even a complete suite, was $595. Only business could afford it at that price. But today almost everyone with a computer needs a word processor, a spreadsheet and/or a presentation editor. Office productivity applications are used in the home, at school and in the office.

    • New LibreOffice turns up the heat on Microsoft
    • LibreOffice 4.0: First Take
    • Working For Yourself Or Being Enslaved By M$
  • CMS

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • NASA open source project back on track

      NASA’s shift to open-source content management is back on after the incumbent contractor withdrew a bid protest on Feb. 4.

      The withdrawal of the protest, filed by e-Touch Federal Systems on Dec. 28 after NASA awarded Rockville-Md.-based InfoZen a $40 million blanket purchase agreement, allows InfoZen to begin replacing NASA’s existing content management system with open source architecture to run its 140 websites and 1,600 web assets and applications.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Next Generation of Open Source Smart Grid

      Open source software — code that’s free for anyone to use, as long as they share what they’re doing with it — plays a small, but growing, role in the smart grid. Examples include OpenADR, a Berkeley Labs-California Energy Commission-backed standard for automating demand response, and OpenPDC, a Tennessee Valley Authority’s Hadoop-based data management tool for transmission grid synchrophasor data.

    • OnRamp, A Free, Open Source Ad Server From OpenX, Gets Shut Down After Getting Besieged By Hackers

      Another victory for ill-intentioned hackers and a blow for the security of open source systems: OpenX, the online and mobile advertising company that announced a $22.5 million fund raising just last month, says that it is closing down its OnRamp open source ad serving platform, after the service was hacked on February 9, and the company determined that it would be too risky and costly to continue using it securely.

    • This Open-Source, Robotic Tentacle Will Haunt Your Dreams
    • Open-source EE design tools
    • Open-source unites the innovative

      With the cost of software programs such as Photoshop and antivirus suites rising, many people turn to alternative software they can legally download from the Internet for free.

      But penny-pinching students are not the only people turning to Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Many software developers use these programs to study and improve their peers’ programs, which cannot be done with licensed software.

    • Open Data

      • Europe’s ‘Database Right’ Could Throttle Open Data Moves There

        One of the more benighted moves by the European Union was the introduction of a special kind of copyright for databases in 1996: not for their contents, but for their compilation. This means that even if the contents are in the public domain, the database may not be. Thanks to a recent court judgment in France, this “database right” now threatens to become a real danger for the burgeoning open data movement in Europe (original in French).

    • Open Access/Content

      • White House Owes Response To Petition To Fire Prosecutor Of Aaron Swartz And Other Hackers

        Over the weekend, a petition on Whitehouse.gov calling for the dismissal of Heymann reached 25,000 signatures, the threshold that requires a response from the administration under the rules outlined on the site. The outcry follows the suicide of activist Aaron Swartz last month, who was being prosecuted by Heymann for allegedly violating computer crime laws in his downloading of millions of academic papers from the website JSTOR.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Google Summer of Code 2013 announced

      The annual Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is now preparing for the 2013 cycle of the program which sees Google offer student developers stipends to write code for a wide range of open source projects. Google is assisted by a number of mentoring organisations around the world who help the students achieve their goal of completing enhancements and improvements to open source projects. This will be the ninth year that GSoC has run; over the past eight years, six thousand students have completed the program.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • One Step Closer to the Open eBook Tipping Point: O’Reilly Joins the EPUB 3.0 Ecosystem

      Anyone who reads eBooks is aware that a number of content vendors are using proprietary platforms in an effort to lock you into their content libraries: most obviously, Amazon, with its Kindle line, Barnes & Noble with its Nook devices, and Apple with its iPads and iPhones. But there are many non-content vendors that would love to sell you an eReader as well, such as Kobo, and Pocketbook, not to mention the smartphone vendors that would be happy to have you use their devices as eReaders, too.

Leftovers

  • Why Police Lie Under Oath
  • Repairing the rungs on the ladder

    “MERITOCRACY” tends to be spoken of approvingly these days. Its ascendancy is seen as a measure of progress. In the dark ages, the dumb scions of the aristocracy inherited their seats on cabinets and on the boards of great companies. These days, people succeed through brains and hard work.

  • State of the Union: Will Obama Tell Young People He’s Screwing Them Big Time?

    For at least the next 36 hours, the political media will be talking about President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address (SOTU) as if it’s a meaningful event. Will Obama go bold or timid into this good night, will he make the case for more taxes and fewer guns, for engaging North Korea or ignoring the Hermit Kingdom, for stuffing versus potatoes? – that sort of thing. As my colleague Matt Welch pointed out yesterday, SOTUs are equal parts WTF and completely forgettable, so it’ll all be over soon except for the ardent declarations that we can make lifesaving machines more quickly in a zero-gravity environment.

  • Hardware

    • Processor Whispers: About ups and downs

      Is the PC market collapsing or is that not true at all and the ARM hype is on the retreat? In either case, the PC manufacturers have to reorientate themselves – Dell, for instance, went public 25 years ago and now intends to go private again – lots of movement in the IT scene.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Finance

    • The Moral Order

      Nor will it. There is no record of a dying civilization reassessing its values (or lack of values, in our case) and altering its trajectory. Whether the type of moral order that Professor Barber has in mind actually exists, or might someday exist somewhere on the planet, is certainly worth debating. But what is not worth debating is whether such a moral order might make an appearance on American soil. History is about many things, but one thing it is not about is miracles.

    • Back-to-work scheme breached laws, says Court of Appeal

      A university graduate has won a legal challenge on appeal, claiming that a government scheme forces people to work without pay.

      Cait Reilly, 24, claimed that requiring her to work for free at a Poundland store breached laws banning slavery and forced labour.

      The University of Birmingham geology graduate lost her original case at the High Court, but has now won on appeal.

    • Ethical Markets: Transforming Finance Still Top Priority
    • Minimum Wage (Blog)

      The argument for an increase in the minimum wage ought not to rely on or focus on economics. The political, ethical, and social reasons for higher minimum wages make the case better, more clearly and more definitively.

      Economists have accumulated a vast literature on the minimum wage. That literature is divided into two opposing schools. The first, comprised of paid spokespersons for business and their various allies in politics, media and the academy, strives to establish the following sort of argument. Raising minimum wages will reduce the number of jobs available to those earning the pre-rise minimum wage. This is because of the “law” of supply and demand which holds that demand for anything fall as its price rises. Raise the price of labor power, less will be demanded. In short, raising the minimum wage will push more workers out of jobs into unemployment. It is thus bad for just those in whose name the minimum wage is to be raised.

    • The Futures of Farming

      Just off of Country Road 518 in Hopewell, New Jersey, sits Double Brook Farm. It’s run by a self-exiled New Yorker but it’s not one of those now-standard upstart farms, with roving bands of earnest college kids tending rocket and a hearty couple of ex-Brooklynites overseeing the whole grass-fed operation. Double Brook’s turn-of-the-century-barn, its grazing cattle, and its hundreds of Rhode Island Reds clucking and strutting about all belong to Jon McConaughy, a 46-year-old with an all-American face, a football player’s build, money to blow, and a beautiful wife. Last year, McConaughy exchanged a two-decade long career as a commodities trader on Wall Street for these two hundred acres.

      Double Brook, a small farm specializing in grass-fed meat, free range poultry, and various vegetables symbolizes one of the most unexpected turns the American economy has taken in recent years. For decades, banks have shied away from granting loans to farmers because, like restaurants, farms are considered risky investments. But the tides might be turning as the price of nearly every commodity on the face of the earth is on the rise.

    • OCCUPIED GREEK FACTORY BEGINS PRODUCTION UNDER WORKERS CONTROL. OCCUPY, RESIST, PRODUCE!
    • Graduate’s Poundland victory leaves government work schemes in tatters

      The government’s employment strategy lies in tatters after judges declared that almost all work-for-your-benefit schemes were unlawful due to a lack of basic information given to the unemployed.

    • Students oppose university reform

      Scantily dressed male students from Kasetsart University gathered at the entrance to parliament on Wednesday to protest against a privatisation plan, demanding all parties involved first be consulted.

      Some of the students were clad in only boxer shorts, with protest banners wrapped around the lower half of their body. They also held up written messages opposing the privatisation of their university.

    • The ‘Politically Divisive’ Minimum Wage

      It’s important to step back and figure out what “divisive” means here. As Annie Lowrey reports, Republicans and corporate interests are opposed to this idea, and there is some research that suggests that raising the wage floor might hurt more than it helps (as well as research that says the opposite; I guess we call it a tie?).

    • The Pentagon’s Budget Crunch: No Dissenting Views

      We’ve noted many times that when it comes to corporate media coverage of the so-called budget “sequester”–the immediate cuts to military and social spending set to hit in a matter of weeks–what matters most is what will happen to the military. The Washington Post had a whole piece (2/13/13) devoted to yet another round of complaints from military leaders–without a single comment from anyone who might take the view that cutting military spending would not be such a disaster.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • EU Data Protection: Proposed Amendments Written by US Lobbyists

      It’s becoming clear that the lobbying around the proposed EU directive on Data Protection is some of the most intense ever seen – some activists have said it’s even worse than during ACTA, while on the US side there’s mutterings about starting a “trade war” if it’s passed in its present form.

      Given that pressure to water down protection for our privacy, a key issue is: who is fighting our corner? The obvious answer would be the MEPs, since they are our elected representatives in the European Parliament. Their job is exactly that: to represent and defend us in just these circumstances. And some, like the Green MEP Jan Albrecht, are certainly doing their best, as I noted in a previous column. But what about the rest – what exactly are they up to?

    • We Can Fix This? In SOTU, Obama Shoves Voting Reform into ‘Sock Drawer,’ Leaving Many Disappointed

      President Obama announced plans for a nonpartisan commission to “improve the Election Day experience” in his State of the Union address, a response to the long lines and heavy burdens that states imposed on voters during the 2012 elections. But his proposal — which some have called “the policy equivalent of a sock drawer” — falls short of what many had hoped.

    • PBS Goes to Israel and Palestine–Mostly Israel
  • Censorship

    • China Tightens Concert Rules After Elton John Incident

      Prominent artists touring in China may be stuck between a rock critic and a hard place: between censure from China for making “disrespectful” political gestures, and Western condemnation for failing to. Bob Dylan faced harsh criticism in 2011 for alleged self-censorship at Chinese concerts, which according to Maureen Dowd at The New York Times was “a whole new kind of sellout — even worse than […] Elton John raking in a fortune to serenade gay-bashers at Rush Limbaugh’s fourth wedding.”

    • UCC sued over sim card registration

      Journalists under the Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda – Chapter (HRNJ-U) have gone to Court to block the planned switching off of unregistered sim cards by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).

      Through Web Advocates and Legal Brain Trust (LBT), HRNJ-U on Thursday filed a civil suit seeking, among other things, a declaration that the UCC order to switch off unregistered SIM-cards by March 1, 2013 or any other deadline set without obtaining parliamentary approval is inoperative, null and void.

    • Obama keeps newspaper reporters at arm’s length

      Albuquerque radio station KOB-FM’s “Morning Mayhem” crew interviewed him in August. The last time the Wall Street Journal did so was in 2009.

      America’s newspapers have trouble enough these days, what with shrinking ad revenue and straying readers. But the daily print-and-pixel press also hasn’t gotten much love lately from the biggest newsmaker in the business: President Obama.

    • Obama Drones Memo Disclosure Could Change FOIA Cases

      Until last week, the Obama administration’s official position was that it had never technically acknowledged the existence of a memo from the Office of Legal Counsel laying out the legal framework for the targeted killing of an American citizen.

      “The very fact of the existence or nonexistence of such documents is itself classified,” the Justice Department wrote in a previous letter, despite wide discussion from members of the administration on the general principles of the targeted killing program.

      Even a broader document — a so-called “white paper” — that spelled out the less-specific legal basis for targeted killings was “protected by the deliberative process privilege” though it was turned over to select members of Congress, a Justice Department official wrote late last month to a reporter from The New York Times who had requested that document.

      But once the white paper was disclosed by Michael Isikoff of NBC News, the government had a change of heart. Jason Leopold, a reporter for Truthout who had submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for the white paper in August, contacted DOJ after the leak, reminding them he was granted expedited processing. An official called to tell him it would take three months to disclose the already-public paper but wound up turning over the document in an email to Leopold late Friday as a matter of “agency discretion.” Other requestors got the same document on Friday.

  • Privacy

    • As Secretive “Stingray” Surveillance Tool Becomes More Pervasive, Questions Over Its Illegality Increase

      A few months ago, EFF warned of a secretive new surveillance tool being used by the FBI in cases around the country commonly referred to as a “Stingray.” Recently, more information on the device has come to light and it makes us even more concerned than before.

    • The intelligence establishment’s dream supercomputer will make Raytheon’s RIOT program seem like child’s play

      The US intelligence community is obsessed with data. The NSA wants it all, and is prepared to keep it for as long as 100 years. The National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) last year told us it’s now dipping into or collating every bit of information we give to federal government agencies under one roof, to mine it for ‘suspicious’ information that may be linked to terrorism. State and local law enforcement, with help from the Department of Homeland Security, have established so-called intelligence “fusion centers” in most states nationwide — little spy centers of their own, where they can view surveillance camera feeds and access intelligence databases. United States surveillance drones at home and abroad collect impossibly enormous quantities of data. Satellites do, too.

    • Here’s how governments might stalk you via social media
    • Big Brother, Big Data and you
    • CISPA Claws Back to Life

      The House cybersecurity bill that allows the National Security Agency (NSA) and the military to collect your private internet records is scheduled for an encore appearance on Wednesday. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) will reintroduce the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which news reports say will be the same bill that passed the House of Representatives last year.

    • CISPA creeps back to the House
    • Obama to ‘bypass Congress’ on CISPA with cybersecurity executive order

      Unable to reach a deal with Congress, President Obama plans to use his power to exert executive actions against the will of lawmakers. The president will issue orders addressing controversial topics including cybersecurity.

      Although President Obama has issued fewer executive orders than any president in over 100 years, he is making extensive plans to change that, Washington Post reports quoting people outside the White House involved in discussions on the issues. Due to conflicts with a Congress that too often disagrees on proposed legislation, Obama plans to act alone and is likely “to rely heavily” on his executive powers in future, according to the newspaper.

    • CISPA creeps back to the House
    • Government killing online surveillance bill

      Federal Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says the controversial Bill C-30, known as the online surveillance or warrantless wiretapping bill, won’t go ahead due to opposition from the public.

      The bill, which was known as the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, was designed to help police combat child pornography. But civil liberties and privacy groups — even the federal privacy commissioner — said the bill violated the rights of Canadians.

      Opponents lobbied strenuously against C-30, saying it was an overly broad, “Big Brother” piece of legislation that would strip all Canadians of the right to privacy.

    • Federal government kills Internet-snooping bill
    • Leaking Classified Information to Resurrect ‘Cybersecurity Bill’ That Will Further Endanger Privacy
    • They really don’t know clouds at all

      Every new computing technology seems to bring with it a privacy flap. Cloud computing is going through that phase right now, at least outside the United States. Canadian and European elites fear that putting data in the cloud will somehow let the US government paw through it at will, a fear that usually centers on Section 215 of the USA PATRIOT Act.

    • Raytheon Riot: Defense spying is coming to social networks

      Multi-national defense company Raytheon is getting ready to ship a big data social networking spy system. But they are far from the only ones tracking you.

    • At Guantanamo, microphones hidden in attorney-client meeting rooms

      A military lawyer at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, acknowledged Tuesday that microphones are hidden inside devices that look like smoke detectors in the rooms where defense lawyers meet detainees, but he said the government does not listen in on attorney-client communications.

      Both civilian and military defense lawyers at Guantanamo Bay meet their clients at a facility known as Echo 2, a camp that has about eight meeting huts.

    • Attorney-client meeting room was bugged, Navy lawyer testifies at Guantánamo
  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Sources: White House to issue cybersecurity order Wednesday

      The White House is poised to release an executive order aimed at thwarting cyberattacks against critical infrastructure on Wednesday, two people familiar with the matter told The Hill.

    • House panel to reintroduce controversial cyber bill, setting up White House fight

      The leaders of the House Intelligence Committee plan to re-introduce on Wednesday a controversial cybersecurity bill that has faced pushback from the White House.

      House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and ranking member Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) said Friday that they plan to re-introduce the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) next week during a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. The bill is aimed at improving information-sharing about cyber threats between government and industry so cyberattacks can be thwarted in real time.

    • Obama signs long-awaited cybersecurity executive order

      President Obama invoked the pageantry of his State of the Union address this evening to announce a long-anticipated executive order on cybersecurity, a move that caps months of discussions with technology companies and could reduce pressure on Congress to move forward with controversial new legislation.

    • Full Show: Who’s Widening America’s Digital Divide?

      Internet scholar Susan Crawford explains how media conglomerates put profit ahead of the public interest, and author Nick Turse shares what we never knew about the Vietnam War.

    • Is your MP on the naughty list?

      The Government claims the bill is necessary to address three data types: Reconcile IP addresses, capture weblogs and to deal with third party data.

      In practice, what would this mean? Well, the first data type is required to give the police “the ability to reconcile an Internet Protocol (IP) address to an individual”

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • iPhone Brand Not Exclusive In Brazil Anymore

        Brazil’s Institute of Industrial Property has decided that Apple cannot hold exclusive rights to the “iPhone” trademark in the country. Apple lost the trademark after a long fight with Gradiente, the company that registered the iPhone trademark seven years before the Apple device came out.

    • Copyrights

        Following in the steps of other courts around Europe, Finland’s Court of Appeal has now confirmed that two ISPs previously ordered to block The Pirate Bay must continue doing so. With another ISP’s appeal to the Supreme Court just rejected it now seems likely that anti-piracy company CIAPC has succeeding in its quest to deny 80% of the country direct access to the world’s most infamous torrent site. But still the downloading continues.

      • Canadian anti-privacy bill didn’t pass

        The already controversial Bill C-30, that’s actually more known as the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act, didn’t passed because of the public opposition. The bill, as its known name says, was designed to aid in solving the child pornography problem, but at what cost?

      • The Pirate Bay still banned in Finland
      • U.S. Govt: Harsh Punishments Needed to Deter File-Sharers
      • Music Publishers: We Need Strong Copyright Laws Because We Don’t Like The Consumer Electronics Association
      • Obama administration defends $222,000 file-sharing verdict

        The Obama Administration has stepped into a long-running file-sharing lawsuit in Minnesota, urging the United States Supreme Court not to get involved in a six-figure verdict against a young mother from Northern Minnesota. The feds don’t buy the woman’s argument that the massive size of the award makes it unconstitutional.

      • Bad cyber security bill CISPA heading back to the House

        Rumors of CISPA’s demise were apparently greatly exaggerated, according to various privacy rights advocates and organizations today.

        CISPA, or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, initially sought to give American companies more legal breathing room (protection against lawsuits) when collecting and sharing consumer/user data for the purpose of preventing massive Internet security threats. It passed a House vote with few guarantees that it wouldn’t grossly violate a person’s privacy rights (even in the face of a presidential veto threat). The White House eventually put a stamp of approval on the bill, pending certain amendments. But the Senate vote failed, and the president resorted to other methods for the time being.

      • TPB AFK and why I started Flattr
      • Five Basic Misconceptions About The Copyright Monopoly And Sharing Of Culture

        Five erroneous assertions have kept appearing in the public debate since 1990 about file-sharing vs. the copyright monopoly. These assertions have persisted for 25 years, despite being obviously false. This is a reference article to link to and point at whenever one of them pops up the next time.

      • Getting the most from online films

        In so many areas, I see digital tools disrupt longstanding practices. That disruption brings challenges – but many opportunities, too, with new innovative ways suddenly available to meet specialised consumer needs. The overall effect is a benefit for consumers, for our economy, and our society – as long as you can adapt properly to digital developments.

        The film sector is a very good example. Currently some rules and practices in that sector restrict flexibility – like rigid ‘release windows’. (‘Release windows’ set out when films can be released in cinemas, on DVD, online and so on – so that, for example, a film can’t be shown online until a certain number of weeks after the cinema release. Such “windows” can be based on regulation, public funding conditions, industry practice or individual negotiations). For me, while such “exclusive” periods may be important to finance some films, or get the most out of them, rigid and uniform rules can make it harder for the sector to capture digital benefits.

      • European Court Of Human Rights: No, Copyright Does Not Automatically Trump Freedom Of Expression

        As many know, copyright had its origins in censorship and control. But over the last few hundred years, that fact has been obscured by the rise of the powerful publishing industry and the great works it has helped bring to the public. More recently, though, laws and treaties like SOPA and ACTA have represented a return to the roots of copyright, posing very real threats to what can be said online. That’s not because their intent was necessarily to crimp freedom of expression, but as a knock-on effect of turning risk-averse ISPs into the copyright industry’s private police force.

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