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02.15.13

Links 15/2/2013: Steam’s Official Arrival and Ubuntu Phone Previews

Posted in News Roundup at 9:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Four Questions (And Answers) About Open Source Software In Finance
  • Apache snapshots hunted down

    Recovery-as-a-Service in open cloud country is on the way.

    Vision Solutions has taken its replication and disaster recovery services into sharper open computing territory by adding a Recovery-as-a-Service (RaaS) option to Apache CloudStack as well as Citrix CloudPlatform.

  • Events

    • Interview: Mark Hinkle

      Mark Hinkle works for Citrix as the Senior Director of Cloud Computing and will be speaking a couple times at SCALE11X. We had some time to talk to Mark about his talk at SCALE11X, Open Source, and Cloud.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Using CryptoStick as an HSM

        Mozilla maintains a wide range of services which are secured using different solutions. For internal repositories, our Operations Security team has chosen to use the low-cost, open source and open hardware CryptoStick from the German Privacy Foundation.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Public Services/Government

    • New open-source website highlights local startups

      Local business leaders can either issue a request using Github—which is an online location where developers house their open-source code—or they can email the Nooga Startups team to be included.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • FASTR introduced in U.S. Congress to drastically expand public access to federally funded research

        Today marks an historic step forward for public access to publicly funded research in the United States. The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) was introduced in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. FASTR requires federal agencies with annual extramural research budgets of $100 million or more to provide the public with online access to the research articles stemming from that funded research no later than six months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

      • US Department of State unveils Open Book Project
      • New Bill Helps Expand Public Access to Scientific Knowledge

        Internet users around the world got a Valentine’s Day present yesterday in the form of new legislation that requires U.S. government agencies to improve public access to federally funded research.

        The proposed mandate, called the Fair Access to Science & Technology Research Act, or FASTR (PDF), is simple. Agencies like the National Science Foundation, which invests millions of taxpayer dollars in scientific research every year, must design and implement a plan to facilitate public access to—and robust reuse of—the results of that investment. The contours of the plans are equally simple: researchers who receive funding from most federal agencies must submit a copy of any resulting journal articles to the funding agency, which will then make that research freely available to the world within six months.

  • Programming

    • PHP 5.5 to Include Open Source Zend Optimizer+ ?

      PHP 5.5 is now in its development cycle, currently at the Alpha 4 release. According to the initial release roadmap for PHP 5.5, this is the point where the feature freeze was supposed to happen, but that’s not necessarily going to happen, as at least one key feature may yet still land.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Big Brother’s Greek Tragedy: State-Deployed Malware & Trojans
    • Cypherpunks: a conversation that both articulates and challenges the case for Internet freedom

      Cypherpunks — a quick, stirring, scary read — transcribes a wide-ranging conversation between Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, Jacob Appelbaum (Wikileaks/Tor Project), Andy Müller-Maguhn (Chaos Computer Club) and Jérémie Zimmermann (La Quadrature Du Net).

      Edited together in thematic chapters (The Militarization of Cyberspace, Fighting Total Surveillance With the Laws of Physics, Private Sector Spying), Cypherpunks exceeded my expectations. I know some of the book’s protagonists personally and know how smart and principled they are. But I was afraid, going into this, that what would emerge would be a kind of preaching-to-the-choir consensus, because all four of the participants are on the same side.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Are Iranian Magnets the New Aluminum Tubes?

      In the run up to the Iraq War, the New York Times (9/8/02) famously reported on an Iraqi scheme to procure special aluminum tubes that could only have one purpose: Iraq’s secret nuclear weapons program. Saddam Hussein was attempting to “buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes,” and the “diameter, thickness and other technical specifications of the aluminum tubes had persuaded American intelligence experts that they were meant for Iraq’s nuclear program.” The claims were false–Iraq, as it turned out, had no nuclear program–but still hugely influential.

    • Mecca photo, FBI agent’s book, pen refill seized in Guantánamo search of 9/11 plotters’ cells

      While the 9/11 accused were in court, prison camp guards seized from their cells a banned copy of a former FBI agent’s memoirs, toilet paper with English words scrawled on it and a pen refill hidden inside the binding of a book belonging to alleged mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, a prison camps lawyer testified Thursday.

      Guards also seized bins full of legal documents that will be returned shortly, said Navy Lt. Cmdr. George Massucco, the prison camps lawyer. These actions capped a week of testimony about whether the government has violated the confidentiality of the alleged terrorists’ communications with their lawyers — from the courthouse to meeting rooms and now inside the prison itself.

    • Zygier ‘close to spilling on Israel’

      An interim report to Senator Carr has reportedly advised that Australian intelligence agencies told DFAT officials about Mr Zygier’s detention shortly after his arrest in February 2010. However, officials were unclear whether then foreign minister Stephen Smith was briefed.
      Senator Carr’s office declined to respond when asked about the government’s precise knowledge of Israeli allegations about Mr Zygier.
      As no request for consular assistance was made by Mr Zygier or his family, the matter was left to be dealt with through intelligence channels. No consular contact was made with Mr Zygier. It became involved on his death in December 2010.
      Mr Zygier’s detention came at an increasingly tense time in Australian-Israeli relations.

    • Unmasking Prisoner X: Beating the censors

      Claims that suspected Australian Mossad operative Ben Zygier was secretly jailed before his death in prison have brought to a head years of resentment at the way Israel’s security services use court gag orders to suppress sensitive information from the media.

      Israeli intelligence services were aware that our Foreign Correspondent story was airing last Tuesday. The promo was going viral on social media, and airing on ABC TV in Australia. A press release had gone out the previous week, mentioning “Prisoner X”.

    • Zygier ‘planned to expose deadly use of passports’
    • Stratfor’s Colby Martin posed as fake journalist in Oaxaca, Mexico
    • DOJ: John Brennan Didn’t Officially Disclose CIA Drones Program

      John Brennan, President Barack Obama’s nominee to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, didn’t officially acknowledge the CIA’s role in the use of drones in the targeted killing of suspected terrorists overseas during his testimony last week, a Justice Department lawyer contended in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit this week.

    • ‘America Doesn’t Torture’—It Kills

      If the president can order the killing of
      American citizens abroad should he decide they are involved with Al Qaeda, can he assassinate suspected Al Qaeda–connected US citizens in London or Berlin? What about a suspect’s teenage son, a junior in a Canadian boarding school? If he can drop hellfire missiles on a house in northwestern Pakistan because he believes a terrorist cell is meeting inside, could he blow up a motel in Florida where supposed terrorists are staying and chalk up any dead vacationers as “collateral damage”? Of course not. Pakistan is completely different. Anwar al-Awlaki may have been a US citizen, but he was in Yemen, which is different too. As for his 16-year-old son, killed in Yemen in a drone attack some weeks later along with several other people, former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs put it well, if ungrammatically: “I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well-being of their children.” Unlike in the United States, in Yemen kids choose their parents.

    • Senate Intelligence Committee Oversight of CIA: It Would Be a Good Idea

      Different Senate committees are supposed to do oversight of different federal agencies. The Senate Judiciary Committee is supposed to oversee the Department of Justice. The Senate Armed Services committee is supposed to do oversight of the Pentagon. And the Senate Intelligence Committee is supposed to do oversight of the Central Intelligence Agency. Since the CIA is conducting drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and since this is, to say the least, a controversial policy, the Senate Intelligence Committee is supposed to be doing oversight of that.

    • Pentagon Creates Medal to Honor Drone Operators
    • Game of Drones
    • Army Deflates LEMV Airship; Cost And Schedule Cited

      While the service has not formally notified Capitol Hill, a congressional source was told unofficially of LEMV’s cancellation. The reason likely has to do with the program being behind schedule and over budget, the source told InsideDefense.com. The program has been funded through reprogrammings rather than through the normal budget since its inception, the source added, guessing that the funding “fell out of the fiscal year 2014 budget in order to pay other bills.”

    • The Execution of Christopher Dorner

      If the murder of Oscar Grant on an Oakland transit platform marked the dawn of the Obama era, the cold-blooded murder of former Naval reservist and Los Angeles Police officer Christopher Dorner might just mark the end of whatever optimistic hope people can muster in his administration. Whether an innocent young man just trying to get home, shot in the back after being racially profiled and slurred, or a man driven to his breaking point after being fired from a similar police force that operates according to its own warped morality and overarching objectives, the state of the union is a powder keg whose wick has gotten shorter due to decades of looking the other way.

    • Obama DOJ again refuses to tell a court whether CIA drone program even exists
    • The Benghazi Truthers and the OLC Hold-Outs

      Now, Lew’s role in Benghazi briefings really won’t affect his job as Treasury Secretary. But Brennan’s role might, particularly if the Murdoch boosted eBook alleging he was running ops in Libya out of the White House is true (I’m not saying it is).

      In any case, the persistence of the Benghazi truthers has introduced an interesting dynamic I didn’t expect. Of the Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee, only Susan Collins and possibly Tom Coburn are not full-on Benghazi truthers (and James Inhofe, who gets a vote if he wants one as Armed Services Committee Ranking member, could add another truther vote).

    • ‘Now What?’: As France Leaves Mali, the West’s New War Strategy Shows Peril
    • New medal for drone pilots outranks Bronze Star
    • Medal will honor troops engaged in cyber ops, drone strikes
    • North Korea: Missing the Forest for the Trees (Part 1/2)

      North Korea is again at the center of international attention due to assertions that its leadership is pursuing a program of enriching uranium in order to add more nuclear weapons to its current stockpile. In the context of the United States’ military’s ongoing “Asia Pivot,” and the disquiet of North Korea’s neighbors at the prospect of a nuclear arms race in East Asia, gaining a strong understanding of North Korea and its society remains a top priority for international affairs professionals and the global public alike.

    • Veterans attack ‘boneheaded’ medal for drone pilots

      Veterans have attacked a “boneheaded” new military medal for US drone pilots, arguing that it would unfairly outrank honours earned by soldiers serving on the front line.

    • Contra Costa Times editorial: Nation needs a policy on use of drone strikes

      President Barack Obama’s use of drones to kill people, including Americans, in other countries is at a minimum a failure of his often-repeated but seldom-honored commitment to government transparency. We also know that had President George W. Bush used drones to the extent Obama has done, the howling would have been deafening.

    • Checking Drone Power

      Yes, law enforcement drones are coming, but if Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, has his way they won’t leave the ground without a judge okaying it first.

    • Students and professors react to U.S. drone policy

      Kurt Piehler is an Associate Professor of History at FSU and director of the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience. He says that while drones are more sophisticated than air power in WWII, drones are no exception to the collateral damage that it air power creates.

      “I think there’s a larger question among historians as to the effectiveness of air power and that there’s a danger in seeing it as a panacea,” said Piehler. “You sometimes really do need boots on the ground. Airpower has rarely won a war and so you will need other covert forces.”

    • CIA Finds Some Extra Pics of bin Laden’s Corpse Lying Around the Office

      After Osama bin Laden was assassinated in 2011, there was perhaps no more hotly sought after document on the planet than a hypothetical photograph of bin Laden’s dead body, which had of course arrived at that sorry state as a result of the most tightly controlled and choreographed military operation in recent history. After some public hemming and hawing in response to an overwhelming cry for visual proof of the venture’s success, the Obama White House acknowledged the existence of such photos but refused to release them in response to Freedom of Information Act requests from various parties. So one would imagine that, given the intense interest in the images and the high-profile litigation surrounding them, the CIA would conduct a rigorous accounting of each such image, its provenance, and current location, right? No, of course not. In fact, they just found some under the couch.

    • PAUL: Who’s next on Obama’s drone hit list?

      The recent leak of a Department of Justice white paper on the legal justification for the use of drones to execute American citizens abroad accused of terrorism raises some very important constitutional and moral issues. Politicians should not decide the crime and the punishment for American citizens here or abroad. A trial by jury with a judge is a right to be prized by American citizens.

    • Drones aren’t “humane weapons”!
    • Drone Manufacturers Aim to Change Image

      The industry that supplies military robots and unmanned aerial vehicles has launched a rebranding campaign.

      Manufacturers of remotely piloted aircraft, particularly, worry that their products are known mostly for spying and killing and not for their beneficial attributes.

    • Drone Strikes and R2P

      R2P as a formal legal mechanism to justify intervention still requires the consent of the Security Council.

    • Libya needs international assistance, not drone attacks

      Two years to the day after the anti-Gadhafi uprisings began in Benghazi, the populace has again taken to the streets. This time they are protesting the new authorities failures to bring economic development and its prerequisite, security. Over the last two years, wide swathes of Libyan territory have been transformed into a non-governed space has indirectly facilitated the Islamist takeover in Mali and the attack by Al-Qaeda affiliates on Algeria’s In Amenas gas facility. If Libya is the fabled ‘gateway to Africa’, then the gate has been left wide open.

    • Is Obama’s Drone Policy Really Morally Superior to Torture?

      Here is the worst-kept secret in Washington: Instead of capturing and grilling suspected terrorists, as agents did during the 2000s, the United States now kills them from above. Yet where the morality of President Bush’s tactics chewed up years of public debate, Congress and the press seem less interested in the legitimacy of drone strikes than in the process (and secrecy) that surrounds them. Members questioned John Brennan, the CIA nominee who helped build the administration’s drone strategy, along exactly these lines. “[The debate] has really all been about the legality of targeting American citizens, not the overall moral issues raised by the drone program, or collateral casualties, or classifying any young men between a certain age-group default as terrorists,” says Bruce Hoffman, director of Georgetown University’s Center for Security Studies. In a CBS News poll last week, 71 percent of Americans said they support the strikes.

    • Brennan Sidesteps Query on Drone Kills in U.S.

      In written answers to Senate Intelligence Committee questions released Friday, CIA director nominee John Brennan would not say whether the U.S. could conduct drone strikes inside the United States — only that it did not intend to do so.
      Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., has placed a hold on Brennan’s nomination pending an answer to the question of when the government can use lethal force to target a U.S. citizen within the United States. Brennan, as the top White House counterterrorism and homeland security adviser to President Barack Obama, has guided administration policy on the use of drones on foreign battlefields.

    • Republicans threaten to block John Brennan for CIA

      Senators including John McCain, the former presidential candidate, said they would not allow the approval of John Brennan until they receive more details about Mr Obama’s response to the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last September.

    • Drone Trust the Government

      But we aren’t supposed to be bothered by this policy, because we are expected to have confidence in “our leaders,” at least as long as they are members of the right political party. Surely they would not abuse this terrifying power. At this point, any self-respecting American should be quoting Jefferson: “That confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism.” It is intolerable that the president can autocratically send unpiloted aircraft into foreign countries to kill people. And it is appalling that the administration feels it owes the people no detailed explanation of where this authority comes from. (A Justice Department white paper ostensibly describing a secret legal memo was obtained by NBC News.)

  • Cablegate

    • The FBI was going to use a hacker as bait in Iceland

      The Minister of the Interior said this morning, in parliament, that he thought that the FBI wanted to use an Icelandic computer hacker as bait to get closer to Wikileaks. Ms. Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of parliament, said that the Icelandic police authorities had believed a fictional story told by two hackers.

    • Twenty-three events planned in support of Bradley Manning who has been imprisoned 1000 days!
    • Balkanleaks and Bivol insurance file

      Reaction to the release was swift. Bivol was subject to a massive smearing campaign in the media and a recurring DDoS attack on the site. In response to threats made against its journalists, Bivol is now releasing this insurance file. The key will leak automatically if something happens to our staff.

    • Legislature needs to stop anti-whistleblower legislation in its tracks

      In response to last year’s undercover videotaping of a Wheatland hog farm,which rightfully sickened and outraged the public, state Rep. Sue Wallis, R-Recluse, drafted legislation which would outlaw the type of undercover investigation that led to arrests in the case.

    • From WikiLeaks to Senate seat? Julian Assange could make the jump
    • Julian Assange to headline WikiLeaks Party ticket, run for Australian senate from exile

      The Age reports that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has filed to run for a seat in the Australian senate as a member of the new WikiLeaks Party, which consists of a 10-member national council of Assange’s associates. Assange, a controversial international figure that has facilitated several embarrassments for the US government through whistleblower leaks, is currently in political asylum at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Assange has been an outspoken critic of the US in recent years, seeking to draw attention to the country’s use of drones and its justification for “targeted killings.”

    • WikiLeaks founder to stand for Senate in Victoria
    • Wikileaks: Secret Government Documentation

      And as demonstration of the truth of that statement actual documents have been posted on Wikileaks that embarrass world governments, politicians, military organizations, Intelligence Agencies, and major corporations and banking institutions. These documents have motivated any number of those embarrassed to attempt to shut down the website claiming one form of harm or another that may come from the publication of the evidence against them. Presumably the main harm is “someone told our secrets!”

    • Assange misunderstood, claims legal eagle

      Julian Assange, insists his legal confidante Jennifer Robinson, is terribly misunderstood.

      The WikiLeaks founder, holed up in a London embassy to elude Swedish prosecutors can, she concedes, be difficult. But Assange needs to be hardnosed “to achieve the things he’s done,” asserts Robinson.

    • Julian Assange and the Tilted Scales of Justice

      Justice is one of the most important virtues of a healthy society. The basic idea is that when a wrong is committed, there is a system to help right that wrong in a way that is equitably applied. Marcus Tullius Cicero, orator and statesman of Ancient Rome once said, “Justice commands us to have mercy upon all men, to consult the interests of the whole human race, to give to every one his due.” Justice is a scale that does not give favor to one side or the other, but stays in balance equally for everyone.

    • Julian Assange to run for office from an office
    • Australia: Julian Assange Has Electoral Possibilities
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Human Rights Group Lambasts Goldman Sachs Over Russia

      The Human Rights Foundation last week slammed Goldman Sachs for their ongoing relationship with the Russian government, saying the bulge bracket bank was basically aiding and abetting a criminal enterprise.

      They argued for Goldman Sachs to cease accepting payments from Russia, payments that go towards helping the bank make Russia look good to potential investors and international rating agencies. Russian officials last month announced that they will pay the Wall Street firm $500,000 over the next three years to help the Putin regime lure foreign cash.

      [...]

      Goldman Sachs says that in its new role it will seek to highlight Russia’s commitment to increasing government transparency. “But the truth is transparency and corruption won’t take hold as long as the regime flouts the rule of law and uses Russia’s financial system as its personal piggy bank,” Kasparov said. “Virtually every NGO warns that the human rights situation in Russia is at its worst since the fall of the Soviet Union over two decades ago. By doing business with Putin, Goldman Sachs is acting as an enemy of free enterprise and economic freedom.”

  • Censorship

    • ‘Japan Lies,’ documentary about veteran photojournalist, wins three awards

      A documentary about a Japanese photojournalist who shed light on the plight of atomic bomb victims and the oppressed during his nearly seven-decade career, has won three accolades in cinema.

      “Japan Lies: The Photojournalism of Kikujiro Fukushima, Age 90″ has proved so popular that a Hiroshima theater is showing the film before previously scheduled screening events in the prefecture this spring.

  • Privacy

    • CISPA, the Privacy-Invading Cybersecurity Spying Bill, is Back in Congress

      It’s official: The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act was reintroduced in the House of Representatives yesterday. CISPA is the contentious bill civil liberties advocates fought last year, which would provide a poorly-defined “cybersecurity” exception to existing privacy law. CISPA offers broad immunities to companies who choose to share data with government agencies (including the private communications of users) in the name of cybersecurity. It also creates avenues for companies to share data with any federal agencies, including military intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA).

    • What’s the Difference Between an Executive Order and a Directive?

      The Obama Administration issued policy statements this week on critical infrastructure protection and cyber security, including measures to encourage information sharing with the private sector and other steps to improve policy coordination. Curiously, the Administration issued both an Executive order and a Presidential directive devoted to these topics.

    • President Obama’s Cybersecurity Executive Order Scores Much Better Than CISPA On Privacy

      With the reintroduction of the much-maligned Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act scheduled for the day after the State of the Union, the House of Representatives may have hoped the President’s own cybersecurity initiative would divert some of the attention away from the controversial legislation known as CISPA.

    • Android Play Store Privacy

      The controversy is around how Google auomatically shares detailed personal information of everyone who purchases a paid app with the app’s developer.2

    • CBS 11 Investigates: State Sells Personal Information & You Can’t Opt Out

      The State of Texas made millions of dollars selling your private information last year. We’re talking about your name, address, and even what kind of car you drive.

    • Politics: Congress Is Trying to Kill Internet Privacy Again

      House lawmakers have reintroduced a bill that civil liberties groups say would destroy the right to Internet privacy as we know it. An earlier version of the CYBER INTELLIGENCE SHARING AND PROTECTION ACT, OR CISPA (PDF), passed the House back in April 2012; it died quickly UNDER THREAT OF PRESIDENTIAL VETO and widespread PROTEST FROM INTERNET ACTIVISTS. But this week, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland) brought it back. What’s going on?

    • Professor Droney
    • Consumers should be in charge of their data

      The latest Google privacy debacle comes courtesy of Dan Nolan, an Australian app-developer,who has found he’s being sent personal information – without users ever giving permission for him to have it.

      Dan spotted the issue when he logged into his ‘merchant’ section of his Google Play account and saw how for every customer who bought the app on Google play, he knew exactly who. “If you bought the app on Google Play (even if you cancelled the order) I have your email address, your suburb, and in many instances your full name.”

    • Google under fire for sending users’ information to developers
  • Civil Rights

    • “Two Years of Deaths and Detentions”: Bahraini Pro-Democracy Protesters Mark Anniversary of Uprising

      Bahraini security forces shot dead a teenager earlier today as pro-democracy activists marked the second anniversary of what has been described as the longest-running uprising of the Arab Spring. Since February 2011, at least 87 people have died at the hands of U.S.-backed security forces. We speak to Maryam Alkhawaja, daughter of imprisoned Bahraini human rights activist Abdulhadi Alkhawaja. Maryam has served as the acting president of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights ever since the group’s head, Nabeel Rajab, was arrested and jailed. The group has just published a new report titled “Two Years of Deaths and Detentions.” Maryam also serves as the co-director of the Gulf Center for Human Rights.

    • Under Cover of Security, Governments Jail Journalists

      Along an isolated stretch of Ethiopian desert, under a gray July sky, soldiers dragged journalist Martin Schibbye from a truck, stood him up, raised their Kalashnikovs, and fired. The shots whistled by his head. “I thought, just get it over with,” Schibbye said. “I’d given up.” By that time, he thought his colleague, photojournalist Johan Persson, was already dead. Soldiers had dragged Persson in a different direction and fired repeatedly. Those shots turned out to be near-misses as well, intended to intimidate and instill fear.

    • Radically Wrong: A Counterproductive Approach to Counterterrorism

      Governments often interpret radical ideas that challenge the existing social and political orthodoxy as threatening, which is why they often attempt to suppress them. Our country’s founders recognized that ideas considered radical – like their own ideas about self-governance – were necessary for social progress and essential to a vibrant democracy, so they sought to protect them with the First Amendment.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Python Software Foundation in trademark fight in Europe

        The Python Software Foundation (PSF) is calling for help from companies in Europe to help with a trademark problem with a UK company. The PSF is the US-based non-profit charged with protecting the intellectual property surrounding the Python language. This is the first time that the PSF has engaged in any legal action regarding the Python name.

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