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Links 9/5/2013: Facebook Exploitation of Android, Copyright and Privacy Legal Threats

Posted in News Roundup at 11:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source for software taxation

    Finance Act 2012 introduced several retrospective amendments, purportedly ‘clarificatory’, to the Income-tax Act, 1961, with respect to non-resident taxpayers. A key amendment was the extension of ‘royalty’ to include payment toward shrink-wrapped software, connectivity charges, transponder hire charges and so on. Another significant amendment related to “indirect transfer” of capital assets located in India, thereby overcoming the Supreme Court decision in the case of Vodafone.

  • Continuent Tungsten Replicator Is Now 100% Open Source
  • Using open source to build sustainable communities

    A forthcoming documentary from Filament Features will feature the work of the Open Source Ecology project, which aims to produce a set of open source tools capable of building environmentally sustainable communities.

  • Open-source goes RF

    Radio frequency (RF) signals run from about 3kHz to 300GHz. As a test and measurement designer, some of my data acquisition rates will get into the 100s of kHz, or perhaps up to 10s of MHz with a digital oscilloscope, but usually that’s all. I also typically try to use existing protocols for as much of the communication as I can, typically USB, Serial, GPIB, SPI, I2C or occasionally Ethernet, Wi-Fi or radio.

  • Advantages of open source for SMEs

    More and more SMEs are turning to open source IT and telephony solutions for a variety of reasons, among them cost savings and the flexibility to manage systems such as scaling up or down, according to business needs.

  • Open Source Homomorphic Cryptography

    How fast things move from theoretical, through experimental to implementation. It was only recently that a semi-practical scheme for homomorphic encryption was invented and we already have an open source implementation in C++.

  • Open Source Geospatial Laboratory established at the University of Southampton, UK

    We are pleased to announce the establishment of the Open Source Geospatial Laboratory at the University of Southampton, United Kingdom.

  • Gluu Provides Toshiba Open Source Authorization and Authentication Platform for New Cloud TV Services

    Gluu’s open source authorization and authentication platform, OX, will enable the next generation of Toshiba Cloud TV Services to authenticate consumers and integrate with popular Internet apps.

  • MapR releases M7, its commercial HBase distro
  • “Open Source Technology Will Bring In A Services-Based Model With A Reasonable Opex, Zero Capex”

    OSS facilitates the preservation of a wide range of information for future developments and it comes with considerable financial savings. Government institutes and PSUs are looking forward to more adoption and implementation of OSS in their IT infrastructure. The increasing awareness of open source in the public and government sector has been one of the significant developments in IT technology.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Packaged apps now available in Chrome Web Store

        Chrome users can have enhanced experience with what Google calls the packaged apps which are now available throuh the Chrome Web Store. Google had announced the developer preview of Chrome packaged apps and the Chrome App Launcher a few months ago. Google enabled developers to upload their packaged apps to the Chrome Web Store and test them, but there was no way for users to find those apps an install them.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • MySQL storage engine TokuDB goes open source

      Version 7 of TokuDB, Tokutek’s high performance MySQL Database storage engine, has been released as an open source community edition and as a new supported TokuDB Enterprise Edition. TokuDB has previously been a proprietary storage engine for MySQL which has specialised in handling write-intensive workloads. Developed orignally by researchers at MIT, Rutgers and the State University of New York, the storage engine uses Fractal Tree indexing, a technique based on cache-oblivious algorithms.

    • Another Open-Source Win with Tokutek’s MySQL Storage Engine
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • New Project to Create the First Java Open Source Office Suite

      At the moment most of the office suite are developed in C++ or in JavaScript. Joeffice is the first open source office suite in Java. Japplis has chosen the Apache license 2.0 which makes it possible to change the code without the need to share the modified code.

  • CMS

    • The Four Worst Myths about Open Source CMS

      4. There is no training or support if you choose open source.

      Um, no. Any developer who has spent time honing his open source craft can tell you that this is untrue. Just because some well-funded proprietary CMS hosts an annual conference doesn’t mean that the open source users lacks support. Open source users can find online help, forums, paid classes, local meet ups, YouTube how-tos, expensive manuals, more expensive consultants, and whizz-bang contract developers. The support and training are there; they just don’t get packaged into some monthly fee along with the CMS itself.

    • Victoria Legal aid taps Drupal for website redesign

      Victoria Legal Aid has gone live with a new Web presence based on Drupal. Previously the organisation, which provides legal aid to disadvantaged Victorians, used the proprietary RedDot content management system.

    • Arlington Board OKs Sharing Website Code with Open-Source Community

      With a nod to the open government movement, the Arlington County Board this weekend unanimously approved making portions of the programming behind the county website publicly available.

    • Joomla! 3.1 Released; Open Source Content Management System (CMS) Adds Tags to Its Core

      Joomla, one of the world’s most popular open source content management systems (CMS) used for everything from websites to blogs to Intranets, today announced the immediate availability of Joomla 3.1. The biggest feature of Joomla 3.1 is Tags, a built-in tagging system that allows dynamic tagging across content-types. Tags hasn’t been created for articles only, but rather Joomla integrated tagging into other areas of its core that made sense (e.g. contacts, feeds, etc). For example, Tags allow end-users to create lists, blogs, or other layouts that combine articles with other content types any way they like. These tags can be dynamically created from the content, without having to navigate to the Tags component, thus bringing both power and simplicity.

    • Joomla finally gets built-in tagging

      Administrators of the Joomla blogging platform and content management system can now tag their content so it will be better indexed and automatically routed to the correct locations on their websites.

    • Alert: What’s Coming Up for Open Source CMS in May 2013
  • Education

  • Healthcare

  • Business

  • Funding


  • Project Releases

    • Blender 2.67 renders cartoons

      For about 2 years, the Blender open source 3D modelling package has included Cycles, a render engine that uses path tracing. This engine can be used to produce photorealistic images with little effort. Until now, those who wanted to render a graphical or cartoon-like image for a 3D model had to use Blender’s internal render engine for such Non-Photorealistic Rendering (NPR). However, this engine is quite old and doesn’t always produce convincing results. The new version 2.67 of Blender closes the gap by offering the Freestyle cartoon render engine. Freestyle uses 3D geometry to calculate lines that can either be used on their own or combined with the surface rendering results from other engines.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Just how secure is open source software?

      The US government is also a vocal supporter of open source software. Examples of recent initiatives include whitehouse.gov, the Federal Register and data.gov. Much of the internet is run using open source tools such as Linux, Apache, PHP and MySQL, while a plethora of companies have found good business cases for using open source software. Don Smith, director of technology at Dell SecureWorks, says the main reason businesses would pick free and open source software (FOSS) over proprietary technology is to save money. He also suggests that open source software frequently offers greater innovation than proprietary systems.


      So, good reasons to go for open source software, but what about security? Many people view open source software as something that can be changed or edited by anybody, much like a Wikipedia entry. That generally isn’t the case, however, as open source communities usually have mechanisms in place to prevent such random tinkering – for example, submitting new code to a peer review before it is entered into a particular project. Furthermore, Smith says one of the most common misconceptions about FOSS is the belief that it is written by amateur coders – again, typically untrue.

      “The vast majority of FOSS is written by software professionals, very often employed by a company that is making money from that same software, either through subscriptions, support or professional services. It is obviously in the interest of these businesses to ensure their software works well and their coding is of high quality,” he says.

    • Government can reap benefits of IT commoditisation by embracing open source

      Government departments can improve competitiveness in procurement by increasing use of open source software in an increasingly commoditised IT market, according to Tariq Rashid , head of IT reform at the Cabinet Office.

    • Second Open Gov Summit hosted by Zaizi challenges UK public sector to put users at the centre of the IT universe

      The second Open Gov Summit took place yesterday April 25th at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, in the heart of Westminster. London-based open source consultancy Zaizi hosted the fully-booked Summit, which attracted IT professionals from central and local government and third sector organisations. The Summit revealed encouraging progress for open source in the public sector, helped by the government’s decision to adopt open standards last November. This year’s debate also emphasised the growing relevance of Cloud as organisations migrate to more open, flexible architectures and deliver applications through a wider range of devices.

    • Study: Greek authorities need education on open source and its procurement

      Public administrations in Greece would benefit from a campaign to increase their knowledge on open source, including how to best procure such solutions, recommends a study published on Joinup yesterday. In procurement, public administrations should request experience in managing open source projects.

    • Open source software quality floated

      Pham Hong Quang, Chair of the Vietnam Free and Open Source Software Association (VFOSSA) has confirmed that the quality of products is the greatest concern of the agencies and enterprises planning to use open source software.

    • Spanish region saves a fortune by moving to open source

      In a victory for the free software movement, the Spanish autonomous region of Extremadura has started to switch more than 40,000 government PCs to open source.

    • Open Gov Summit: Bristol aspires to match New York’s smart use of data

      We caught up with Gavin Beckett, chief enterprise architect at Bristol city council, to discuss open data and designing smart cities

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Health/Nutrition

    • EU retailers pledge support for Brazilian non-GMO soy

      Today (8 May 2013) major European retailers from five countries, including Germany’s REWE Group, EDEKA and LIDL have released the Brussels Soy Declaration in which they have pledged support for the non-GMO soy production system of Brazil.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Jehovah’s Witnesses could face civil service duty

      Jehovah’s Witnesses’ current exemption from military service could extend to other groups with strong convictions, if one proposal in a new report on the matter is accepted. Alternatively, they could be required to perform civil, rather than military, service.

    • Deputy to NSA Donilon: a sweet stepping stone

      Others in the Donilon-Deputy Alumni Club include Denis McDonough, who’s now Obama’s chief of staff, and CIA Director John Brennan, who was Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. (And it’s worth noting that Donilon himself was the Deputy NSA before becoming the head honcho.)

    • Pakistan’s court declares US drone strikes as illegal

      A Pakistani court on Thursday declared that US drone strikes in the country’s lawless tribal belt were illegal and directed the Foreign Ministry to move a resolution against the attacks in the United Nations.

    • PHC orders govt to move resolution against drone attacks in UN

      PESHAWAR: Branding drone attacks on Pakistani territory as war crimes, the Peshawar High Court on Thursday ordered the foreign ministry to move a resolution in the United Nations against the strikes.

    • Dealing remote-control drone death, the US has lost its moral compass

      The armed drone is being heralded as the next generation of American military technology. It can fly overheard with its unblinking eye, almost invisible to its targets below. Without warning, its missiles will strike, bringing certain death and destruction on the ground. All the while, the military pilot, sitting in a cushioned recliner in an air-conditioned room halfway across the world, is immune from the violence wrought from his or her single keystroke.

    • Yemeni anti-Qaeda cleric killed in US drone strike

      Yemen has quickly become one of the most active theaters of operations for America’s drone fleet, though the killing of a local anti Al-Qaeda cleric underscores the rising collateral damage of the unmanned attacks.

      Sheik Salem Ahmed bin Ali Jaber, a prominent cleric within his small village in Yemen, was known for preaching of the evils of the al-Qaida network, warning villagers to stay out of the group and renounce their military ideology.

    • Drone Strikes Fuelling Fear in the Middle East

      Drone Strikes Fuelling Anti-U.S Hatred as Fear Spreads in Middle East

    • RAF’s role in US drone attacks that killed hundreds of Iraqis: MoD admits for first time that Britain helped pilot the aircraft from American bases
    • Armed drones in Afghanistan flown from UK for first time
    • UK Is Using Drones In Afghanistan, Ministry Of Defence Confirms

      After the Ministry of Defence confirmed the UK’s use of armed drones in Afghanistan, anti-war protestors are set to gather outside an RAF base in Lincolnshire.

      The RAF began remotely operating its Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles deployed to Afghanistan from the Lincolnshire airbase earlier this week.

    • Israel Drone Strikes: There’s Another Drone War You’re Not Paying Attention To, and It’s Not Obama’s

      While the lethal drone strikes carried out by the U.S. in Afghanistan (where Britain is also operating armed drones), Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen, get the vast majority of media attention, and rightly so, when it comes to the issue of drones being used to carry out extrajudicial killings, other countries are also engaged in the practice. On Tuesday an Israeli drone attack on Gaza City killed 29-year-old Haitham al-Mishal and wounded another Palestinian man. The attack was the “the first targeted assassination carried out by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip since an Egyptian-brokered truce went into effect on Nov. 22, 2012.”

    • Afghanistan: Karzai says CIA funding will continue

      Afghan president Hamid Karzai says the director of the CIA has assured him that regular funding his government receives from the agency will not be cut off.

    • Failing At Its Job Is The Best Thing the CIA Has Ever Done

      No organization in U.S. history has amassed a reputation quite like that of the Central Intelligence Agency. Often referred to by its acronym, CIA, or simply just “the Agency,” it is often regarded as the long and shadowy arm of the U.S. government’s foreign policy. It can be tempting to see the agency as force for good in the world, or at the very least a necessary evil, especially when publicly vaunted heroes like Mike Spann join because in doing so they believed they “would be able to make the world a better place to live in.” The problem is that the CIA really does not do that. In fact, most of the agency’s activities are underhanded and dishonest when they are not misguided or simply futile. Even with a poor reputation at home and abroad, the CIA has done some things that actually resulted in long-term benefits to the rest of the world, mainly by publicly failing to carry out an operation to its intended end and exposing its misdeeds to the rest of the world.

    • ’67 Interview With Famous Spook About US Coup In Syria Could Easily Apply Today

      Western diplomats, politicians and analysts have combined to float quite a few options to supposedly resolve the two-year civil war engulfing much of Syria right now.

      Talk of everything from a no-fly zone to an all-out intervention has flown around the digital media and political sphere, and yet, it seems a very few have stated the obvious option: do nothing.

    • The CIA, the FCPA and the double standard on policing corruption

      It’s been a busy couple of weeks for the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the Justice Department’s versatile and hard-working anti-bribery law. On April 22, Ralph Lauren paid an $882,000 penalty in a non-prosecution agreement that resolved FCPA allegations of bribing a customs official in Argentina to permit the import of Ralph Lauren products. On May 7, prosecutors in Manhattan unsealed a criminal complaint accusing two Florida brokers of paying kickbacks to a Venezuelan state bank official who directed the bank’s financial trading business to them. The FCPA has taken some recent lumps from judges, and last year prosecutions fell off slightly from their blistering pace in 2009, 2010 and 2011. But as Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher noted in its January report on FCPA enforcement, bribery prosecution has become routine. “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” the report said, warning businesses not to let down their guard.

    • FBI, CIA, and DOD Experts Share Information Security Secrets with San Diego Companies at a Two Day Conference in La Jolla
  • Cablegate

    • Listen: Chris Hedges Interviews Julian Assange

      In these audio excerpts from their extended conversation in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London, Chris Hedges asks Julian Assange about legal strategy and the WikiLeaks founder’s thoughts on Pfc. Bradley Manning.

    • An Interview With Julian Assange
    • Julian Assange: The Internet threatens civilization

      However disappointing, the Wikileaks founder’s new book offers a fascinating — and discomfiting — thesis

    • Julian Assange plans to develop new crypto system
    • Special: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Open’s Up … On George Bush’s Library and Bradley Manning’s Trial
    • WikiLeaks Threat: Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen

      But context matters, too. How different would the reaction have been, from Western governments in particular, if WikiLeaks had published stolen classified documents from the regimes in Venezuela, North Korea and Iran? If Bradley Manning, the alleged source of WikiLeaks’ materials about the United States government and military, had been a North Korean border guard or a defector from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, how differently would politicians and pundits in the United States have viewed him? Were a string of whistle-blowing websites dedicated to exposing abuses within those countries to appear, surely the tone of the Western political class would shift. Taking into account the precedent President Barack Obama set in his first term in office— a clear “zero tolerance” approach toward unauthorized leaks of classified information from U.S. officials— we would expect that future Western governments would ultimately adopt a dissonant posture toward digital disclosures, encouraging them abroad in adversarial countries, but prosecuting them ferociously at home.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Sonora, Mex. Bans Bullfighting, a First for the Country

      Sonora has become the first Mexican state to ban bullfighting, recently passing the long-awaited Animal Protection Law addressing cruelty to animals.

      In a statement on Formato 21 radio, Perez Rubio hailed the unanimous vote on May 2 by the legislature of Mexico’s northwestern border state.

      “It has caused quite a stir because we are the first state of the republic to pass this law. I really didn’t expect–I say this with all the honesty in the world–I didn’t expect the repercussion this would have, nationally and internationally,” said local lawmaker of the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico, or PVEM, Vernon Perez Rubio, the Global Post reports.

  • Finance

    • Between Two Economists Lies the American Center

      Where media define the “center” or the “middle” tells you a lot about the worldview they are promoting. The “center” doesn’t usually indicate where most of the public is, but rather where elites have determined an appropriate middle between opposing arguments. Confusing the two concepts is common (and not an accident).

    • Goldman Sachs must face fraud claims from insurer – New York court

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc must face fraud claims brought by CIFG Assurance North America over insurance it provided for $275 million (177 million pounds) in mortgage-backed securities, a New York state appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

    • Social Security’s Explosive Injustices

      People over 65, a growing share of the US population, are suffering a crisis-ridden capitalist system. High unemployment, reduced private pensions, fewer job benefits, less job security, high personal debt levels, and falling real wages make Social Security payments more important than ever. Yet President Obama and Congress recently agreed to bargain over how much to reduce Social Security payments from current levels. That would not only hurt seniors – but also the children who help them.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

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