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03.07.13

Links 7/3/2013: Ubuntu and Mir Criticisms, Android Big in China

Posted in News Roundup at 9:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Benefits of Distribution-Flexible Linux Training

    As someone who started using Red Hat Linux back in 1997, and then worked for Red Hat for six years, helping to deploy and support Red Hat Enterprise Linux on thousands of high-end servers for Wall Street investment banks, I often get questions when students find out that one of my laptops runs Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, Canonical’s enterprise Linux distribution. Likewise, the fact that I run OpenSUSE on my server seems to raise questions about where my preferences lie in the Linux ecosystem.

    If I’ve always been associated with Red Hat, why wouldn’t I just stick with their products? The answer that I give is that being familiar with a variety of distributions allows for greater flexibility.

  • Support Linux Advocates – Donate!
  • Desktop

    • How I survived 7 days in Chromebook exile

      I’m not a Google fangirl. I have Gmail accounts for personal and work use, and I spend some time in Google Docs and Calendar, but that’s about it. And until a few weeks ago, I had never even more than glanced at the Chrome OS or browser, let alone touched a Chromebook.

      I have, however, read the vitriol aimed at Chromebooks by my tech press colleagues. The low-cost laptops that make up the majority of the Chromebook market have been dismissed as disposable toys. The new Chromebook Pixel, meanwhile, has attracted much greater interest—and even greater disdain, because it’s seen as an outrageously expensive disposable toy.

      But is the Chromebook platform really such a bad idea?

    • HP Selling Direct All-in-One Desktop PC With GNU/Linux

      Only in the UK. Pity. The price? £349 VAT included and delivered.

    • The secret origins of Google’s Chrome OS

      Many people know that Chrome OS is based on Linux. But where did Google’s operating system actually come from — and what is it made of today? Here’s its story.

    • Dell’s Linux Ultrabook gets more pixels, European availability

      We last reported on Dell’s Ubuntu-powered XPS-13 Developer Edition at the tail end of November 2012, when the laptop was released. Comments from the Ars community on the device were generally positive, though one overwhelming sentiment seemed to dominate: the XPS-13′s 1366×768 resolution was totally insufficient for the laptop’s intended audience and use case.

    • The Puzzling Case of the Chromebook Pixel
  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.9-rc1
    • Having “Largeness of Mind” While Doing Linux Driver/Kernel Development

      Often we try and remain very focused on our goals and work hard to avoid distractions. Keeping a very narrow vision on our target can help shepherd a product to completion on schedule, a goal very important both to project managers and the engineers tasked with the work. However, it can also become tunnel vision and lead to unnecessary work, delays, and failed deadlines and ultimately a weak product.

      The more you understand about the Linux kernel as a whole, the better you can work on its individual components, including device drivers. Normally device drivers do not (and should not) explicitly address (much less modify or control) global kernel issues such as scheduling and memory management. However, a badly written driver can certainly sabotage a lot of good work done in these kernel arenas, disrupting performance, wasting memory, etc, and at the same time deliver weak fulfillment of its mandated device service.

    • Kernel Progress On Improving I/O Wait, Interactivity
    • ARM Ports Linux KVM To AArch64/ARM64

      Last year ARM Holdings published ARM KVM virtualization support. This support was for ARMv7 hardware using the ARM Cortex-A15 since it’s the first 32-bit ARM processor to support hardware virtualization. Ahead of the debut of any 64-bit ARM (AArch64) hardware, KVM has now been ported to ARM64.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Releases 304.84 Linux Driver

        While it’s not part of the NVIDIA 310 or even the latest NVIDIA 313 driver series, this morning was marked by the release of the 304.84 certified Linux graphics driver.

      • X.Org Server 1.14 “Keemun Mao Feng” Released

        Keith Packard tagged X.Org Server 1.14 in Git on Wednesday morning and issued this brief release announcement. Some of the changes in the past few weeks that landed as fixes since the earlier release candidate were fixes to the touch device, GPU hot-plugging bits, software rendering speed-ups due to taking advantage of new Pixman APIs, elimination of a lot of warning messages, and pointer barrier improvements.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Xfdesktop 4.10.1

      I just released Xfdesktop 4.10.1 which contains some bug fixes and updated translations which had been there for months. Congratulations to Eric Koegel who committed most of them!

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Kubuntu opens doors for the disappointed Ubuntu community

        More and more developers and long-time Ubuntu members are getting disappointed with the Canonical leadership and breaking their association with what they call the Canonical community. Martin Owens, popularly known as DoctorMo, is one such developer.

        There is special place for Ownes in my life as he directly affected me. He used to maintain the tablet pen drivers for Ubuntu. I have one such device and I was able to use it under Ubuntu because of the work he had done on it. I wrote about it extensively.

      • Can a direction in time be displayed by spatial signs?

        Redo and Undo are basic functions in almost every word processor. It is essential to be able to revisit your last actions, because human actions are error-prone. Simply using a function to go back and forth between actions is saving a lot of time and energy. The Tango and Oxygen icon sets use arrows pointing left or right. They are additionally colored yellow (Undo) and green (Redo). But these icons tend to get mixed up, as our Icon Test shows.

      • KDE 4.10.1 corrects over one hundred errors

        Over one hundred bug fixes and translation updates are in the first of the monthly stabilisation updates to KDE 4.10, KDE 4.10.1. The announcement notes bugs fixed in the Kontact PIM and KWin compositing window manager components of the KDE 4.10 desktop environment, which was released a month ago.

      • KDE Meetup 2013 – India

        On the 23rd of February, a crowd of about 330 enthusiastic people gathered to be a part of the first major open source event in the State of Gujarat, India. Some people traveled hundreds of kilometers to attend, coming from places such as Delhi, Durgapur (more than 1800 km), Nainital, Bardoli and Mumbai. Students from Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology (DA-IICT) in Gandhinagar organized the event—KDE Meetup 2013. It was an opportunity for passionate students to take their first steps towards becoming true software developers. The two day event was filled with talks on the latest KDE developments, sessions on how to start contributing, coding sessions, hands-on workshops, and a whole lot more, along with a big serving of the magic ingredient – fun!

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • gThumb 3.1.4 – mature “native” choice

        gThumb is one of Gnome’s great choices when it comes to image viewers and browsers, but I admit that we have overlooked it for far too long.

        With version 3.1.4 getting released a few hours ago, I had the chance to test the application new features and general abilities for a typical daily use.

      • Gnome Founder Miguel de Icaza Solves Identity Crisis, Moves To Mac
      • GNOME Software overall plan

        I’ve been asked by a few people now to outline my plans for improving software installation in GNOME. I’ve started to prototype a new app called ‘GNOME Software’. It exists in gnome git and currently uses PackageKit to manage packages. It’s alpha quality, but basically matches the mockups done by the awesome guys in #gnome-design. It’s designed to be an application management application. GNOME PackageKit lives on for people that know what a package is and want a pointy-clicky GUI, so I’m not interested in showing low level details for power users.

        Of course, packages are so 2012. It’s 2013, and people want to play with redistributable things like listaller and glick2 static blobs. People want to play with updating an OS image like ostree and that’s all awesome. Packages are pretty useful in some situations, but we don’t want to limit ourselves to being just another package installer. From a end-user point of view, packages are just an implementation detail.

      • Freedreno Driver Now Runs GNOME Shell

        Rob Clark shared yesterday that his reverse-engineered ARM Qualcomm graphics driver is successfully handling the GNOME Shell with the Mutter compositing window manager. In a time when the ARM Linux graphics space is rather closed-up and many of the ARM reverse-engineering graphics projects don’t actually have any code to show for it or any working end-user driver but just code demos, this is really great to see.

      • Taking GNOME 3 to the next level (again)

        GNOME 3 is making major progress with each and every release. Six months ago, when 3.6 was close to release, I wrote about how excited I was about the improvements that were on their way. That release was a big step up from the previous version in terms of user experience. Now we’re on the cusp of GNOME 3.8, and I find myself in exactly the same position. Testing GNOME 3.8, it is a huge improvement on 3.6. It’s more effective, satisfying and polished. Basic operations like selecting a window or launching an application have seen major improvements and the overall experience feels like yet another upgrade.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • How two volunteers built the Raspberry Pi’s operating system

      When you buy a Raspberry Pi, the $35 computer doesn’t come with an operating system. Loading your operating system of choice onto an SD card and then booting the Pi turns out to be pretty easy. But where do Pi-compatible operating systems come from?

      With the Raspberry Pi having just turned one year old, we decided to find out how Raspbian—the officially recommended Pi operating system—came into being. The project required 60-hour work weeks, a home-built cluster of ARM computers, and the rebuilding of 19,000 Linux software packages. And it was all accomplished by two volunteers.

    • Limited Edition Of Blue Raspberry Pis Now Available

      The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced the launch of a blue, one year anniversary edition of the low-cost, credit-card-sized single-board computer. The Foundation is celebrating the first anniversary of the launch of Raspberry Pi with the unveiling of a special limited edition of the Linux-based pocket computer.

    • Intro to Embedded Linux Part 1: Defining Android vs. Embedded Linux

      Is Android the new embedded Linux? Of course not, said Karim Yaghmour, OperSys founder, during the panel discussion on this topic at the Android Builders Summit last month in San Francisco. It was a question meant to spur discussion, he said, that’s all.

      It worked. The idea ignited a lively debate among embedded Linux pros with three of the four panelists ultimately siding with Yaghmour. What seemed to be their litmus test? If Android can conceivably be used in “classic” embedded projects, it is embedded Linux.

    • Star Trek-like Functional Tricorder Built with Raspberry Pi – Video

      Recantha, a known developer in the Raspberry Pi community, has managed to use the mini PC in an entirely unique way. He himself built a working tricorder, inspired by the devices in Start Trek.

      He used some sensors, two for temperature and one each for magnetism and distance, a simple LCD display, switches, a light-resistant resistor, a thermistor and an Arduino Leonardo clone. All of these were enclosed in a Lego case. A camera might be added later.

    • Modularly configurable M2M gateways run Angstrom Linux

      Systech recently demonstrated the first model in a new series of Linux-powered M2M (machine-to-machine) intelligent gateways at the Distributech smart grid conference in San Diego. The highly modular SysLink M2M Gateway series enables access to a wide variety of sensors and devices for monitoring and control purposes.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • 35 Open Source and Free Tools to Manage Your Online Store
  • Open Source’s Deep Dive Into the Enterprise

    Devops represents a dramatic change from the old siloed developers and script-heavy system administrators of yesterday. Any tools that can provide some common ground for developers and IT operations professionals can help, and it seems Chef and Puppet often do.

  • Ask Slashdot: What Does the FOSS Community Currently Need?
  • Exploring open source software developed for European libraries
  • How to self-promote your open source project

    Self-promotion in an open source world, it starts with a shameless plug—a simple way to make people aware of something you’re passionate about. Then, over time, you get more comfortable with using the shameless plug and that desire to make people aware transforms into purposeful marketing. At some time or another when working on an open source project, you’re bound to have to promote it. Self-promotion can be an uncomfortable topic for some people, but I’ve found word of mouth is the best way to promote open source.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Curvy, Chrome-Style Tabs Coming Soon to Firefox

        The new design will likely arrive in the Nightly Channel in the next few days, but if you’d like to test it today, you can download the Firefox UX branch. Retina MacBook Pro users should note that, thus far, the new curvy tabs don’t support high-DPI screens.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox OS vs. Ubuntu Phone OS: Which One Will Succeed?

        Though Android and iOS are currently ruling the roost as far as mobile operating systems are concerned, new players are emerging and disappearing each month in a feeble attempt to overthrow the giants. Being a third wheel to these top contenders is Microsoft’s own Windows Phone OS with an elegantly designed Metro interface. Such is the strength of iOS and Android though some people say that Windows Phone OS is better than Android feature-wise and performance-wise. That said, the market share that this new OS garnered leaves a lot to be desired and serves as a testimony to the fact that both Google and Apple are behemoths of the mobile world.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Why Open Source Matters, and the Limits of Pivotal HD

      Of the non-relational datastore technologies created in the past several years, none has been more successful or seen greater acceptance than Hadoop. Popular with startups, enterprise vendors and customers alike, Hadoop improved substantially the processing time associated with certain workloads. One early example, which came from a user of the technology as opposed to a vendor selling it, asserted that a customer profiling query which processed over a period of weeks in a traditional data warehouse executed in around thirteen minutes on a (sizable) Hadoop cluster. This type of performance guarantees relevance, even within the most conservative organizations.

    • IBM Unveils New Open Software: SmartCloud Orchestrator

      IBM has disclosed plans to make all of its cloud services and software based on an open cloud architecture.

      “This move will ensure that innovation in cloud computing is not hampered by locking businesses into proprietary islands of insecure and difficult-to-manage offerings. Without industry-wide open standards for cloud computing, businesses will not be able to fully take advantage of the opportunities associated with interconnected data, such as mobile computing and business analytics,” the company said.

    • Is Cloud PaaS Safe?

      The world of cloud based platform-as-a-service (PaaS) is about accelerating time to market for applications. With a PaaS, organizations can get up and running the cloud quickly, but one security researcher is warning that there may be an element of risk with that speed as well.

      eSecurity Planet met up with Nicholas Percoco, senior VP at Trustwave SpiderlLabs, during the RSA conference last week to discuss the state of PaaS security. Percoco specifically took aim at the Red Hat OpenShift PaaS in his demo, though he cautioned that OpenShift is not necessarily vulnerable.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

    • Digium Switchvox Cloud: Hosted PBX Service Launches

      Digium – which promotes Asterisk (the open source IP PBX) — has finally launched a cloud-based PBX service, aptly called Switchvox Cloud. No doubt, there’s demand for hosted voice services. And Digium partners can resell the new cloud service, which is based on Digium’s Switchvox brand. But how exactly will partner engagements work, and can partners earn recurring revenues? Bryan Johns (pictured), a product manager at Digium, offered some insights to The VAR Guy.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Announcing the Sourceforge Enterprise Directory

      SourceForge is pleased to announce our new Enterprise Directory – a sub-section of our site focused specifically on Enterprise projects. These are the projects that are geared specifically for use within a company. This might include areas such as project management, office suites, or customer relationship management (CRM) software. Often, software in this category is backed by a company, but this isn’t always the case, nor is it a requirement for inclusion in the directory.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The FBI’s shameful recruitment of Nazi war criminals

      A trove of recently declassified documents leads to several inescapable conclusions about the FBI’s role in protecting both proven and alleged Nazi war criminals in America. First, there can be no doubt that J. Edgar Hoover collected Nazis and Nazi collaborators like pennies from heaven. Unlike the military and its highly structured Operation Paperclip — with its specific targets, systematic falsification of visa applications, and creation of bogus biographies — Hoover had no organized program to find, vet, and recruit alleged Nazis and Nazi collaborators as confidential sources, informants, and unofficial spies in émigré communities around the country. America’s No. 1 crime buster was guided only by opportunism and moral indifference.

    • US senator says drones death toll is 4700
    • The question mourners in Venezuela are asking: Did the CIA kill president Hugo Chavez?v [spin warning]

      With Chavez’s death, Venezuela may rid itself of its international pariah status but the poor will always remember him as a hero

    • The CIA’s Latin American Program
    • UN expert urges release of inquiry findings on CIA interrogation practices
    • CIA drone attacks branded “illegal” in US House of Representatives Hearing

      AS MALIK Daud Khan rose with the glaring sun on a Pakistani spring morning two years ago, he was blissfully ignorant that this would be the last day his son had a father.

      As well as being a British citizen, Khan was a pillar of his North Waziristan community. On March 17 2011, he was living up to this role, presiding over a community meeting trying to settle a mining dispute. Both the young and the old from the village had come to meet, with a child as well as police officials among the scores assembled.

    • Ex-CIA officer Kiriakou ‘made peace’ with leak decision
    • Senate approves CIA nominee

      Senators voted by 12 votes to three to approve Brennan, putting him on track to be President Barack Obama’s third confirmed national security nominee, after Secretary of State John Kerry and Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel.

      A full Senate vote on Brennan’s confirmation is expected this week.

      “No one is better prepared to be CIA director than Mr Brennan,” committee chair Senator Dianne Feinstein said in a statement announcing the vote.

    • Golden Dawn’s “national awakening” sessions
    • They deny being neo-Nazis.

      A Golden Dawn candidate for parliament threatens the extermination of immigrants on camera (alt) (NSFW). There is also an interview with the filmmaker.

    • Administration debates stretching 9/11 law to go after new al-Qaeda offshoots

      Over the past few years, the Obama administration has institutionalized the use of armed drones and developed a counterterrorism infrastructure capable of sustaining a seemingly permanent war.

    • Rand Paul’s Drone Rant
    • CIA Seizes Bin Laden Son-In-Law In Turkey [Report]
    • CIA Captures Bin-Laden’s Son-in-Law
    • CIA nabs bin Laden’s son-in-law

      In February, he was arrested by Turkish authorities in Ankara. However, Turkey was unable to extradite him to the United States because no international warrant for his arrest had been issued, the newspaper said.

    • CIA Captures Bin-Laden’s Son-in-Law

      …he had not committed any crimes in Turkey.

      The U.S. asked Turkey to extradite Abu-Ghaith…

    • Little Reaction In Oil Market To Chavez Death
    • Drones over there, total surveillance over here

      The big story buried in all the commentary about the US government’s drone policy is that the old algorithm of the liberal state no longer works. Focusing on drones is almost a distraction, if it weren’t for the number of men, women and children they have killed in only a few years. What we should focus on is the deeper condition that enables the drone policy, and so much more, and that is the sharp increase in unaccountable executive power, no matter what party is in power.

    • Holder: 2001 AUMF authorizes use of military force in U.S.

      Yesterday, I spent some time defending Holder from what I believed to be false claims as to what he was asserting in his letter to Rand Paul. Today, there is no defense—Holder is wrong in what he said today. Egregiously wrong. And his testimony “can only breed fear and suspicion.”

    • Holder: Obama to talk about drones soon
    • Feds deny having drones that track guns, phones

      The federal government is pushing back against reports that it has drones specifically designed to track firearms and cellphone signals, the latest clash of an increasingly paranoid public and an administration trying to keep its unmanned aerial systems program under wraps.
      Citing U.S. Customs and Border Protection documents obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request, numerous media outlets have reported over the past 48 hours that the federal government was in possession of unmanned aerial vehicles capable of detecting guns and of tracking citizens via their cellphone signals.

    • AUMF Creep

      While the federal government had yesterday off, Congress came to life after its long slumber through all things terrorism. In a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing for the Justice Department and an historical filibuster over the nomination of John Brennan to head the CIA, a lot of the controversy discussed dealt with drones–a conversation that desperately needed to be had, and must continue with equal vigor. However, the real elephant in the room is the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which has been used to justify all manner of civil liberty-infringing, extralegal and often unconstitutional conduct and programs since 9/11.

    • Whistleblower speaks
    • Of Course President Obama Has Authority, Under Some Circumstances, to Order Lethal Force Against a U.S. Citizen on U.S. Soil (and a Free Draft Response to Senator Paul for John Brennan)
    • Sen. Durbin Objects to Resolution Opposing President’s Ability to Bomb Citizens on US Soil

      The proposal was a non-binding resolution opposing the President’s ability to kill Americans in drone strikes on US soil. Simple enough, you might think. Who could oppose that?

      The Democrats, that’s who.

      Senator Dick Durbin, speaking for the majority, rose to say he objects to Paul’s non-binding resolution. He objects to a unanimous statement from the Senate that the President cannot drop bombs on Americans on US soil. Durbin said he doesn’t want to make such a vote until we’ve had proper and thorough congressional hearings on all the issues Senator Paul has brought up today.

    • The Obama Administration’s Reluctance to Say Drone Strikes on US Soil Against US Citizens Are Illegal

      Much of the motivation for standing on the Senate floor for the past hours has to do with the fact that Attorney General Eric Holder has declined to say outright that targeting and killing a US citizen suspected of plotting a terrorist attack on US soil, who did not pose an imminent threat, would be illegal. Paul submitted three letters and finally on March 5 Holder gave him an answer. However, it did not rule out the use of drone strikes and say this would be unconstitutional.

    • Petraeus and His Police Advisors Tied to Iraq Death Squads, Torture

      Former U.S. and Iraqi officials have implicated Gen. David Petraeus and his two top civilian police advisors in the operations of Shiite death squads and secret torture centers.

    • Rand Paul’s Filibuster; Holder’s Defense of “Immoral, Illegal” Drone Assassination Program
    • Dan Johnson – Hour 1 – People Against the National Defense Authorization Act
    • Dick Cheney Book Tour: 11 Questions Reporters Should Be Asking

      Dick Cheney has spent his career not revealing himself, and in his new memoir and the ensuing PR blitz, he appears to be staying largely in character.

      But as the former vice president uses media interviews to sell books, reporters have an unprecedented opportunity to confront him about his highly controversial legacy and push him to divulge more about how he pursued his agenda.

    • Report: Most of the $60 Billion In Iraqi Aid Wasted

      In the last few weeks, the Administration has been pushing hard to show how sequestration has produced dire consequences even though it involved only $85 billion (including the implausible claim that thousands of illegal aliens had to be released due to the cuts). For some of us who have complained about the Administration giving billions to Israel and other countries, it was a hard sell even if you do not agree with sequestration. Now a report has come out showing, as has been discussed for years on this blog and other sites, most of the $60 billion given to Iraq in the last ten years was wasted or lost to open corruption. The long documented waste of billions did not cause either the Bush or Obama Administration (or Congress) to take meaningful steps to stop the funding or, better yet, pull out of the country.

    • Winning Our Own Hearts and Minds, Again
    • Tomgram: Peter Van Buren, One Day Even the Drones Will Have to Land

      We don’t get it. We really don’t. We may not, in military terms, know how to win any more, but as a society we don’t get losing either. We don’t recognize it, even when it’s staring us in the face, when nothing — and I mean nothing — works out as planned. Take the upcoming 10th anniversary of George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq as Exhibit A. You could describe what happened in that country as an unmitigated disaster — from the moment, in April 2003, U.S. troops first entered a Baghdad in flames and being looted (“stuff happens”) and were assigned to guard only the Interior Ministry (i.e. the secret police) and the Oil Ministry (well, you know what that is) to the moment in December 2011 when the last American combat unit slipped out of that land in the dead of the night (after lying to Iraqi colleagues about what they were doing).

    • Göring’s List: Should Israel Honor a Leading Nazi’s Brother?

      Leading Nazi Hermann Göring was instrumental to Hitler’s reign of terror, but research suggests his brother Albert saved the lives of dozens of Jews. Israel must now decide whether he deserves to be honored as one of the “Righteous Among the Nations.”

  • Cablegate

  • Finance

    • The Legacy of Hugo Chavez: The Revolution Within the Revolution Will Continue

      Chávez grew up a campesino, a peasant, raised in poverty. His parents were teachers, his grandmother an Indian whom he credits with teaching him solidarity with the people. During his military service, he learned about Simon Bolivar, who freed Latin America from Spanish Empire. This gradually led to the modern Bolivarian Revolution he led with the people. The Chávez transformation was built on many years of a mass political movement that continued after his election, indeed saved him when a 2002 coup briefly removed him from office. The reality is Venezuela’s 21st Century democracy is bigger than Chávez. This will become more evident now that he is gone.

    • Conservative lobby group behind push to lower minimum wage, report says

      Politicians backed by conservative group Alec have introduced 67 laws in 25 states aimed at reducing minimum wage levels

    • The Government Still Doesn’t Want You to Know What Caused the Financial Crisis

      In January 2011, the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission (FCIC) created by Congress put out its final report. But it only released a portion of all the source documents it scoured, so last year the government accountability group Cause of Action filed a lawsuit seeking the release of those documents, including emails, memoranda, and draft reports. Last week, the DC district court announced it was dismissing the case. But it’s not over yet: COA vowed on Tuesday that it will appeal the decision. In a statement, the group said the judge’s ruling that the documents were not subject to the Freedom of Information Act was “a misapplication of the law,” and said that “COA will continue to fight to shed light on the workings of our government.”

    • Eric Holder: Some Banks Are So Large That It Is Difficult For Us To Prosecute Them

      While it is widely assumed that the too-big-to-fail banks in the US (and elsewhere) are beyond the criminal justice system – based on simple empirical fact – when the Attorney General of the United States openly admits to the fact that he is “concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them,” since, “it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy,” one has to stare open-mouthed at the state of our union. It appears, just as the proletariat assumed, that too-big-to-fail banks are indeed too-big-to-jail.

    • Senate Banking Committee Hearing – Bank Money Laundering
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • AP: Chavez Wasted His Money on Healthcare When He Could Have Built Gigantic Skyscrapers

      That’s right: Chavez squandered his nation’s oil money on healthcare, education and nutrition when he could have been building the world’s tallest building or his own branch of the Louvre. What kind of monster has priorities like that?

    • Golden Dawn film: Greek police probe neo-Nazi hate speech

      A Greek criminal prosecutor has launched an investigation after a report on Channel 4 News showed a member of the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party threatening to turn immigrants into soap.

    • Greek neo-Nazi MP on trial over robbery
    • Propaganda against Scotland

      A particularly sickening trick from the BBC a few weeks back raised my blood pressure whilst in hospital and almost finished me off. A French Euro MP was asked for “the French view” on Scottish independence. She said that France would oppose it and the French government takes the view that an independent Scotland would be outside the European Union. I was absolutely astonished that the BBC had managed to find the only French person in the entire world who is against Scottish independence, and that she was telling an outright lie about the position of the French government.

      Then I realised who she was – the former research assistant (and rather more) of New Labour minister and criminal invoice forger Denis Macshane. She worked for years in the UK parliament for New Labour, in a Monica Lewinsky kind of way. All of which the BBC hid, presenting her simply as a French Euro MP. There are seventy million French people. How remarkable that the one the BBC chose to give the French view of Scottish independence was a New Labour hack!

  • Censorship

    • European Parliament censors citizens trying to contact MEPs

      The IT department of the European Parliament is blocking the delivery of the emails on this issue, after some members of the parliament complained about getting emails from citizens.

      This is an absolute disgrace, in my opinion. A parliament that views input from citizens on a current issue as spam, has very little democratic legitimacy in my opinion.

      I will be writing a letter to the President of the European Parliament to complain about this totally undemocratic practice.

      In the meantime, please continue to email members of the parliament on both the issue of the porn ban and on any other issW

  • Privacy

    • Government plans to take over possession of BlackBerry infrastructure

      New Delhi: The Government plans to take possession of the server and other infrastructure placed by BlackBerry in Mumbai to test the solution offered by the smartphone maker for legal interception of Internet communication.

    • Google says the FBI is secretly spying on some of its customers
    • FBI ‘secretly spying’ on Google users, company reveals

      The FBI used National Security Letters — a form of surveillance that privacy watchdogs call “frightening and invasive” — to surreptitiously seek information on Google users, the web giant has just revealed.

    • Google Says FBI Watching Web Users
    • Background on the Communications Data Bill

      Open Rights Group is asking organisations and individuals to ask the Home Office for a consultation on communications data and the Communications Data Bill. This briefing lays out some background to the Communications Data Bill and why a new consultation is needed.

    • My interview of head of SPD’s public surveillance camera program

      On February 21, 2013, I conducted a brief, impromptu, interview with Monty E. Moss #5598 of the Seattle Police Department about security technology, policies, and procedures for the set of surveillance cameras the department recently began installing on Alki Beach in Seattle. Of particular interest are Moss’ belief that it is important to keep secret the details about this system, such as the make and model of the equipment used, and that the SPD have been given direct access to various privately-owned and privately-operated surveillance cameras throughout the city.

    • Feds Demand Dismissal of Dragnet-Surveillance Challenge

      Citing week-old Supreme Court precedent, the President Barack Obama administration told a federal judge Wednesday that it should quash a federal lawsuit accusing the government of secretly siphoning Americans’ electronic communications to the National Security Agency without warrants.

      The San Francisco federal court legal filing was in response to U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White’s written question (.pdf) to the government asking what to make of the high court’s Feb. 26 decision halting a legal challenge to a once-secret warrantless surveillance project that gobbles up Americans’ electronic communications — a program that Congress eventually legalized in 2008 and again in 2012.

    • EU privacy regulators take aim at Google privacy policy

      European data watchdogs said on Monday they plan to take action against Google by this summer for its privacy policy, which allows the search engine to pool user data from across all its services ranging from YouTube to Gmail.

    • Google Is Working On Making Your Actual Life Searchable

      Last summer, we took a look at how Google plans to see through your eyes (literally). This has a lot to do with Google Glass, but that’s not the only piece of the puzzle.
      Do you like the direction Google is going in? Is it getting too up close and personal, or is it taking the necessary steps to make users’ lives easier? Share your thoughts in the comments.

    • Administration Moves To Quash Challenge to NSA Surveillance

      Citing week-old Supreme Court precedent, the President Barack Obama administration told a federal judge Wednesday that it should quash a federal lawsuit accusing the government of secretly siphoning Americans’ electronic communications to the National Security Agency without warrants.

      [...]

      The justices ruled the plaintiffs submitted no evidence they were being targeted by that law.

    • Surveillance Legislation Passes Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee

      A couple weeks ago you may recall that I wrote about my efforts to draft legislation relating to the City use of surveillance cameras.

      Passed today by the Public Safety, Civil Rights, and Technology Committee, Council Bill 117730 will require all City departments to obtain Council approval prior to acquiring surveillance equipment of any type. The respective department must also proactively conduct outreach in each community in which the department intends to use the equipment. In addition, the legislation requires that operational protocols will be developed and passed by ordinance. Separately, data management and retention protocols are required to be developed and presented to the City Council, but approval of that set of separate protocols by ordinance will be optional.

    • Cypherpunk rising: WikiLeaks, encryption, and the coming surveillance dystopia

      In 1989, when the internet was predominantly ASCII-based and HyperCard had yet to give birth (or at least act as a midwife) to the world wide web, R.U. Sirius launched Mondo 2000. “I’d say it was arguably the representative underground magazine of its pre-web day,” William Gibson said in a recent interview. “Posterity, looking at this, should also consider Mondo 2000 as a focus of something that was happening.”

    • Espionage Everywhere: Spying in the News and Popular Culture

      All is not as it appears … Chalk marks on a mailbox, a button on a stranger’s coat … all around you things that seem unimportant are actually changing world events.

      The shadow world of espionage is thrilling, and makes a great “hook” to engage students in the classroom.

      As educators at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., though, we not only bank on the “cool factor” inherent in the subject, we view the world of intelligence as a len

    • Snoopers’ Charter: We need a consultation!

      The Joint Committee on the Communications Data Bill instructed the Home Office to run a consultation on communications data. They’ve failed to do so. We need your help to tell the Home Office why we need a consultation.

    • How the FBI Intercepts Cell Phone Data

      Good article on “Stingrays,” which the FBI uses to monitor cell phone data. Basically, they trick the phone into joining a fake network. And, since cell phones inherently trust the network — as opposed to computers which inherently do not trust the Internet — it’s easy to track people and collect data. There are lots of questions about whether or not it is illegal for the FBI to do this without a warrant. We know that the FBI has been doing this for almost twenty years, and that they know that they’re on shaky legal ground.

    • Texas proposes one of nation’s “most sweeping” mobile privacy laws

      If signed into law, cops would finally need a warrant to get location data.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Community-Owned Internet, Long Targeted by ALEC and Big Telecom, Under Fire in Georgia

      Members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in the Georgia Legislature are pushing a bill to thwart locally-owned internet in underserved communities, an industry-sponsored effort that effectively reinforces the digital divide. A vote in the Georgia Assembly is scheduled for Thursday, March 7; if Georgia passes the bill it would be the twentieth state to eliminate community control over internet access.

  • Ownership

    • Two And A Half Minute Video Explains How The Ability To Sell Stuff You Legally Purchased Is At Risk

      As we wait patiently for the Supreme Court to decide the Kirtsaeng case, concerning whether or not you can resell goods that were made outside the US but that can be covered by copyright inside the US, the folks at Demand Progress have put together a nice two and a half minute video highlighting the possible consequences of a ruling that goes against first sale rights and limits your ability to freely sell items you legally purchased.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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