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05.31.13

Links 31/5/2013: Vivaldi Tablet is Coming, GNU/Linux Growing In China

Posted in News Roundup at 10:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Ask Slashdot: Is GNU/Linux Malware a Real Threat?
  • GNU/Linux flag at the top of the Americas

    GNU/Linux enthusiast Sebastian Satke has taken GNU/Linux to new heights — literally. He summited Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas, with a GNU/Linux flag in tow.

  • In Case You Missed It: Linux In Space!
  • GNU/Linux Doing Well In China

    16.84 million of 55.01 million PCs shipped with an OS in 2011 bore GNU/Linux. That’s 30.6%. Only a million or so shipped without an OS but I would bet a good share of them had GNU/Linux as well. Good show, China. I doubt “8″ would have helped M$’s numbers in 2012.

  • GNU/Linux News From Brazil

    If a national government of a substantial nation can run on GNU/Linux, FLOSS and open standards, anyone can.

  • Desktop

    • Google Chromebook Pixel Review

      Earlier this year, Google did something almost ground-breaking when it introduced the Chromebook Pixel. Sure, the Chromebook line as a whole has existed for a few years, but the entire premise of such a range of notebooks revolved around only a couple of design goals. One of those was accessibility, and almost by default, the other was affordability. The original Chromebooks were priced at $500 or less — in some cases, far less. The reason seemed obvious: Chrome OS was a great operating system for those who did little more than browse the Web and connect to cloud-based services such as Evernote, but it served less of a purpose in the productivity-minded “real world.”

    • Why I bought a Samsung Chromebook

      It’s no secret that I find Chromebooks to be extremely useful laptops. I have come to that conclusion from actually using them, and most of them on the market at that. All of that hands-on usage led to my hitting the One-Click button on Amazon to buy the Samsung Chromebook for $249.

      It’s the end of the month and that means packing up test laptops to send back to the companies that sent them for review. This month the returns include the HP Pavilion 14 Chromebook, the Chromebook Pixel, and the Lenovo ThinkPad T432s.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 5 Episode 9

      In this episode: Mint 15 is here! There’s a new Fedora-based respin for the Raspberry Pi. The city of Munich and the country of Australia make great progress in moving towards open source and there’s a new Humble Bundle. Hear our discoveries and your own Open Ballot opinions, plus, we welcome a new member to the team.

    • Mayan EDMS
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Thermal Daemon Monitors and Controls Temperature in Tablets, Laptops

      Intel’s Open Source Technology Center has released an open source tool to monitor and control temperature in tablets, ultrabooks and laptops. The Linux Thermal Daemon can use the latest thermal drivers in the Linux kernel, not just the standard cpufreq subsystem, to provide CPU temperature control.

      Due to constrained system size, small form factor devices reach their maximum temperature with relatively less load than desktops and servers. And as they get smaller and thinner, traditional cooling methods such as heat sinks and fans are being designed out of the devices. Developers can’t rely only on hardware and BIOS to regulate temperature without negatively impacting performance.

    • What IT Managers Can Learn About Retention From 2013 Linux Job Report
    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Introduces $400 GeForce GTX 770 GPU

        To join the GeForce GTX TITAN and GTX 780 as the newest high-performance NVIDIA GPUs, rolled out this morning was the GeForce GTX 770. NVIDIA has introduced the GTX 770 as a new high-performance graphics card that’s priced at $399 USD.

      • Intel HD 2000/2500/3000/4000 Linux OpenGL Comparison

        For seeing where the current OpenGL driver performance stands for Intel’s open-source Linux graphics driver on Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge processors, the very latest Linux kernel and Mesa development code were tested across four different processors to stress the HD 2000, HD 2500, HD 3000, and HD 4000 graphics capabilities atop Ubuntu.

      • X.Org Foundation BoD Summaries
      • X.Org Has Some Interesting Summer GSoC Projects

        The accepted Google Summer of Code 2013 projects concerning X.Org, Nouveau, and Mesa / Gallium3D is now known. There’s some exciting stuff!

        Martin Peres on the behalf of the X.Org Foundation has shared the X.Org GSoC 2013 projects on the X.Org mailing list. The projects to be attempted this summer include:

      • Intel Begins Lining Up Graphics Changes For Linux 3.11

        While the Linux 3.10 kernel is only mid-way through its development cycle, the Intel Open-Source Technology Center has already begun piling up many changes they would like merged for their DRM graphics driver into Linux 3.11.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • wattOS R7 – release

        wattOS-R7 has been released – . The 64bit and 32bit versions are available for download immediately. Spread the words to friends and have fun with the latest version. Help is always welcome in the forums.

      • Chakra-2013.05-Benz ISO released

        The Chakra Project team is very happy to announce the third release of Chakra Benz. “Benz” is the name of a series of Chakra releases that follow the KDE Software Compilation 4.10 series.

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Hands on with Mageia 3

        But if you want to look at an alternative for any reason (perhaps you just don’t like Ubuntu/Canonical/Shuttleworth, you don’t like Cinnamon or MATE, you prefer a smaller, more “personal” distribution, one where you might be able to get involved and really make a contribution, or you are just curious), I would strongly encourage anyone to give Mageia 3 a try, it is very likely to impress you, as it did me.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Has Ubuntu bitten off more than it can chew?

            Canonical wants to put Ubuntu onto our TVs, tablets and smartphones, as well as our PCs. Barry Collins weighs up its chances of success.

          • Printing with Ubuntu and Why Microsoft Will Never Be Obsoleted

            Recently my Olivetti Olibook S1300 – a gift of Salvo Mizzi, of the Working Capital fame – died. I decided it was great time to face the experience of making my Acer Aspire one printing. While below you’ll find a detailed report about my journey to make possible to print via Linux with a Canon LBP 810, first I wish to share my thoughts about what all this means.

            Plug&Play maybe a frustrating experience if something goes wrong for some reason, since most of the times you have little chances to fix an issue if that arise. On the contrary with Linux you’re given the unique opportunity to be in full control of your destiny, and you can litterally build your own future (no pun intended).

            As you can easily figure out yourself – or if you don’t have the time just go on and read my painful experience to make it print – freedom really come at a price here. Note that the problem is not that by bad luck my old Canon printer for some weird reason doesn’t come with Linux drivers. To be honest the LBP810 doesn’t even come with Mac drivers.

          • Has Ubuntu bitten off more than it can chew?

            Canonical wants to put Ubuntu onto our TVs, tablets and smartphones, as well as our PCs. Barry Collins weighs up its chances of success.

          • You Want Ubuntu On Your Phone Says Poll

            The votes have been counted and most of you want Ubuntu on your smartphones, according to our unscientific poll. This doesn’t come as a surprise, since an earlier poll showed a preference for Ubuntu on tablets as well. Not bad for an OS that’s not really available yet on those hardware platforms.

          • Create your second QML app for Ubuntu touch
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 15 “Olivia” released
            • Linux Mint 15 “Olivia” released ! May 29th, 2013
            • Linux Mint 15 review

              Linux Mint is a comprehensive and beginner-friendly Linux distribution. To that extent it’s a rival to Ubuntu – and in fact it’s derived from the Ubuntu codebase, which means all the same software and drivers can be used. Releases run to a similar six-monthly schedule, with periodic long-term support releases following Ubuntu’s. This newest release is Linux Mint 15, known to its friends as Olivia.

            • Linux Mint 15

              The Linux Mint project has released the latest version of its Ubuntu-based Linux distribution and its developers are setting their sights on making the distribution the go-to choice for all Linux users on the desktop. With Ubuntu and Canonical apparently being focused on the mobile and entertainment spaces, Linux Mint 15 has a shot at accomplishing this goal. The H investigates whether “the most ambitious release since the start of the project” delivers on it.

            • First Look: Linux Mint 15 “Olivia”
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Enea AB: Real-time Friendly Linux for Communications

      Enea® (NASDAQ OMX Nordic:ENEA), is today announcing Enea Linux v3.0 – a comprehensive cross-development tool chain and runtime environment with guaranteed performance and quality of service (QoS), flexible support offerings, worldwide support and maintenance, and expert professional services.

    • Hacker-friendly SBC runs Linux on ARM+FPGA SoC

      Avnet Electronics Marketing has begun shipping an improved, production-grade version of its community-supported, Linux-ready Xilinx Zynq-7020-based development kit. The $395 ZedBoard includes a Zynq-7020 SoC with dual 667MHz Cortex-A9 cores and FPGA programmable logic, and offers gigabit Ethernet, USB OTG, HDMI, A/V ports, and more.

    • Quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 SoC integrates 3G and WiFi
    • Enea Linux turns 3.0, offers real-time and QoS features

      Enea announced a new version of its embedded Linux distribution compatible with Yocto Project 1.4 code, and available with extensive service and customization options. The Enea Linux 3.0 cross-development tool chain and runtime environment also features varying levels of real-time Linux support for guaranteed performance and quality of service (QoS).

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

      • Android

        • Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini Is On The Way

          Samsung has officially confirmed the Galaxy S4 mini, a smaller version of the flagship smartphone Galaxy S4. The android phone manufacturer will target the mid range market with this moderate version of its flagship phone.

        • DARPA unveils Android-based ground sensor device

          DARPA announced a sensor reference system device based on a new Android-based sensor processing core called the Adaptable Sensor System (ADAPT). The initial ADAPT reference device, called UGS (unattended ground sensor), is designed as the basis for a series of lower-cost, more upgradable sensor devices for military applications.

        • Is Android a Suitable Software Platform For Home Phones?

          A growing number of manufacturers are integrating smartphone operating systems into home phone handsets. But is this software actually appropriate for use as part of a landline setup in the domestic environment? Here is an overview of the ins and outs of this trend.

        • Google Makes Android Design Decisions Using ‘Jars of Emotion’

          According to the noted psychologist Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, it takes three positive emotions to balance out a single negative. As Fast Company reports, Fredrickson’s findings are at the heart of Google’s Android design philosophy. When considering any user interface decision, designers working on Android have to work out how to inform users of an issue — such as reaching the final homescreen — without making them feel like they’ve done something wrong, meaning pop-ups and other invasive techniques are a no-go. For the homescreen problem, Google settled on the now-familiar glimmering animation, which subtly shows that a user has no more homescreens to swipe across to, while rewarding them with an artistic flourish.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • An update on KDE’s ambitious Vivaldi tablet

        A KDE Plasma Active powered tablet has been in works for quite some time. Aaron Seigo, the lead behind the project has given a quick update on the Plasma Active powered tablet hardware.

      • Vivaldi Tablet Finally (Almost) Finalized

        Per Aaron Seigo, the once-hotly anticipated –and still hotly-anticipated-by-me — Vivaldi tablet is in the very final stages of design. Many of the necessary components are in place and the new design belongs almost entirely to the Plasma Active team. Many of you might remember that we’ve covered Plasma Active and the Vivaldi tablet quite a bit when it was a hot topic. We even went so far as to purchase the reference hardware that most closely resembled the Vivaldi tablet. Aaron will have you think that was only months ago, and he’s not lying, but those months are now dangerously close to turning into years.

      • Vivaldi “Flying Squirrel” Linux tablet is making progress (still not ready to ship)

        It’s been more than a year since KDE developer Aaron Seigo announced plans to build a tablet designed to run open Mer Linux and the KDE Plasma Active environment. The Vivaldi tablet project’s hit a few speed bumps since then, but this week the team has a mostly working prototype.

      • KDE Vivaldi Tablet Upgraded, Closer To Release

        The KDE Vivaldi Tablet, which has been a project led by Aaron Seigo for having a Linux-friendly tablet powered by Plasma Active and Mer Core, is finally getting closer to hopefully seeing the light of day.

        This project has been going on for more than a year and originally was conceived as the KDE Spark Tablet, but then renamed to Vivaldi. In September of last year as the tablet project was struggling, they switched to a new design.

      • quick update on vivaldi hardware
      • theming plasma

        Lately I’ve noticed a number of new themes popping up for Plasma Desktop, which is quite cool.

      • Android poised to overtake Apple in tablets, ABI says

        Apple shipped half of all tablets in the first quarter, but the popularity of low-cost Android tablets in China is boosting that OS.

Free Software/Open Source

  • MIT’s Einsteinian game engine goes open source

    OpenRelativity, the game engine designed by the MIT Game Lab for its educational game A Slower Speed of Light, is being released as an open-source toolset.

    The engine was designed to model Einstein’s special relativity in a game environment, to communicate its principles in an exploratory format. “Education can be assisted through the use of games and other interactive media,” says MIT Game Lab’s Rik Eberhardt. “Especially for topics that frequently are hard to understand and visualize.”

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Tests In-App Payments Functionality for Chrome

        Several users of the latest build of Chromium, the open source core of the Chrome browser from Google, have taken note of the fact that Google is adding in-app payment functionality to Chrome. As noted on The Next Web: “The addition was first spotted by developer and Google open-source Chromium evangelist François Beaufort. He points to a Chromium code review titled ‘Make sure the Google wallet in-app payment support app is always installed.”

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Branches Out with ‘Messaging as a Service’

      It’s a rare enterprise cloud manager today who isn’t already familiar with OpenStack, the open source Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) cloud computing project for building public, private and hybrid clouds. Included in OpenStack are several key components dedicated to virtual machine provisioning and management, storage, virtual disk management and more, but recently a new service made its debut.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Exiting new design initiative

      Through out the last couple of years we have seem quite a few suggestions to a new and more modern look and feel for LibreOffice. Some of these initiatives has already found its way into the product, and you can e.g., see a much more light weight ruler in Writer and the whole sphere around using and handling templates has been reworked with a new design. Each of these examples are small steps ahead towards a more modern layout. But when will we see something more like a jump into the future?

  • CMS

    • Drupal.org compromised

      The Drupal.org security team says it has discovered unauthorised access to Drupal.org and groups.drupal.org account information which has exposed user names, country, and email addresses along with hashed passwords. No credit card information was stored on the servers, but the investigation is ongoing and the team says it “may learn about other types of information compromised”.According to Drupal.org, there are over 967,000 registered users on the Drupal.org.

    • Important Security Update: Reset Your Drupal.org Password
    • Semantria Announces an Innovative Open Source Plug-in for WordPress

      Semantria announces a new innovative Open Source Plug-in for WordPress that will assist bloggers, writers, and authors in streamlining their publication processes. As a leader in cloud based text and sentiment analysis, Semantria is excited about the application of its services to a major blogging and publishing platform.

  • Education

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Government supports open-source RF initiative

      Universities and companies are being given the opportunity to use the open source RF hardware platform, MyriadRF and configurable transceiver technology developed by Lime Microsystems as a result of a tie-up with Europractice, a government-funded project of the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council.

      Europractice will promote Lime’s LMS6002D field programmable RF transceiver and associated boards for use in research and teaching of wireless technology to its member establishments throughout Europe.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Prank Resulting In 2 NFL GMs Talking To Each Other Results In Up To 5 Years Of Prison, $500k Fine

    Insane legal actions over relatively mild pranks are coming fast and furious these days. We just recently discussed the 17 years old high school girl staring down felony charges over a childish year book prank. There have also been several cases of those that fall victim to pranks turning to intellectual property law as a way to hide their gullibility. There’s something — embarrassment perhaps — that spurs victims into unreasonable legal action once the trap has been sprung.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Hackers Disable Monsanto’s Web Site

      Protesters from at least 268 cities in 40 countries participated in the May 25 international outcry against that company.

    • Monsanto website downed as Anonymous claims hack

      Hackers from the Anonymous collective claimed to have infiltrated the website for the biotech giant Monsanto, which has been the subject of recent international protests.

    • Russians Proving That Small-Scale, Organic Gardening Can Feed the World

      When it’s suggested that our food system be comprised of millions of small, organic gardens, there’s almost always someone who says that it isn’t realistic. And they’ll quip something along the lines of, “There’s no way you could feed the world’s growing population with just gardens, let alone organically.” Really? Has anybody told Russia this?

  • Security

    • Log file vulnerability in Apache server
    • Robert Kugler and Paypal’s bug bounty eligibility requirements

      For professional security researchers, participating in bug bounty programs is one means of earning money on the side. It is also the easiest means of building up street-cred. And many companies take advantage of their skills, recognizing that its either they find and fix bugs in their products first or the bad guys do and exploit them. For Black Hats, the underground market for exploit code is a very lucrative one.

    • PayPal vulnerability finally closed

      On Wednesday night, payment processor PayPal closed the security hole in its portal that had been publicly known for five days. The company had been aware of the vulnerability for about two weeks. The hole was a critical one: it allowed attackers to inject arbitrary JavaScript code into the PayPal site, potentially enabling them to harvest users’ access credentials.

    • Judge orders porn suspect to decrypt his hard drives

      After having first decided against forcing a suspect to decrypt a number of hard drives that were believed to be his and to contain child pornography, a U.S. judge has changed his mind and has now ordered the suspect to provide law enforcement agents heading the investigation with a decrypted version of the contents of his encrypted data storage system, or the passwords needed to decrypt forensic copies of those storage devices.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • CIA Thwarts Polio Vaccination Campaign

      A polio vaccination campaign worker was shot to death in Pakistan on Tuesday, which The New York Times wasted no time in reporting. What the Times article neglected to mention was that the killing followed a CIA operation in which agents orchestrated a fake vaccination program in order to gain entry to Osama Bin Laden’s home.

      [...]

      Like some kind of Billy Mays infomercial—‘But wait, there’s more!’—the Times’ shameful coverage doesn’t end there. They go on to say that, “Also [in addition to the Taliban], religious extremists claim that the real aim of vaccination campaigns is to sterilize Pakistan’s Muslim population.” The implication is again that Pakistan is populated with menacing religious zealots whose fundamentalism stands in the way of scientific progress. Characterizations such as these conform very nicely to the view that clashes between the West (i.e. NATO) and the Middle East are not rooted in any sort of real economic or political grievances (e.g., the U.S.’ installation of dictators like the Shah in Iran; or the U.S.’ theft of oil resources), but rather “a clash of civilizations”, as Foreign Affairs once put it. The view that there are irrevocable religious differences between the West and the Middle East is very useful to Western leaders seeking to justify acts of aggression, like the invasion of Iraq.

    • Guns in the home proving deadly for kids

      While efforts at gun control are still being fought, children’s advocates are urging parents and communities to take their own steps to protect kids.

    • Gun Deaths Since Newtown Now Surpass Number of Americans Killed in Iraq

      The number of gun deaths in the U.S. since the Newtown elementary school massacre has exceeded the total number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war.

      According to a tally of gun deaths from Slate, the number of people killed since the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary is now 4,499. The number of U.S. armed forces killed during the Iraq war was 4,409, according to the Defense Department.

    • CIA Nominee John Brennan Had Detailed Knowledge of Bush-Era Torture

      While serving as deputy executive director of the CIA under the Bush administration, President Obama’s nominee for CIA chief and current counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan “had detailed, contemporaneous knowledge” of the use of torture on detainees in US prisons, Reuters reports.

    • SNP demands answers over alleged CIA torture planes

      The UK Government faced fresh questions last night over what it knew about CIA-linked flights which landed in the north and north-east at the height of the US “extraordinary rendition” programme.

    • CIA rendition flights ‘landed at north of Scotland airports’

      Researchers looking at the use of CIA-linked planes for prisoner transfers in the “war on terror” have highlighted “conclusive” evidence of landings at Scottish airports.

    • The Danger of Overcorrecting on Terror

      Thus, in the mid-1970s the Church and Pike Committees revealed abuses by the CIA, FBI and NSA, including “domestic spying on Americans, harassment and disruption of targeted individuals and groups, assassination plots targeting foreign leaders, infiltration and manipulation of media and business.” As a result, Congress created in 1978 the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which greatly limited the surveillance of U.S. citizens.

    • US military bases in Australia: The role of Pine Gap

      The purpose of the stepped-up military activity and basing arrangements are surrounded in secrecy, misinformation and outright lies—including the claim by Defence Minister Stephen Smith that “there are no US bases in Australia.” In fact, the new facilities being opened up represent an expansion of the US military’s longstanding use of Australia, facilitated by successive Labor and Liberal-led governments since World War II, for some of its most critical bases in the world.

      Chief among them is what is known as Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap, which was established in central Australia near the town of Alice Springs in 1970. Pine Gap is one of three major satellite tracking stations operated by US intelligence agencies and military. The others are located in Colorado and Britain.

    • 5 Reasons to Challenge Obama’s War on Terror Speech
    • CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou shares prison experience in open letter
    • CIA whistle-blower John Kiriakou shares letter from prison

      Through his lawyer, the former agent who spoke out against torture, details federal prison experience

    • CIA Global Renditions: Abductions and Extrajudicial Transfers from one Country to Another

      Extraordinary renditions include arbitrary abductions and extrajudicial transfers from one country to another. Targeted individuals are called terrorists.

      Corroborating evidence isn’t needed. What Washington says goes. Rogue hegemons operate that way.

      International, constitutional, and US statute laws don’t matter. They’re spurned. Victims are guilty by accusation. It’s official US policy.

    • The CIA And The Comedy Of Errors

      The CIA recently had another embarrassing reminder that it remains a spy agency without many competent spies. This incident occurred in Russia where a CIA agent was expelled from the country on May 14th after getting caught while trying to carry out an embarrassingly amateur operation. The man (operating as a junior State Department employee at the U.S. embassy) had been arrested earlier while trying to recruit a senior Russian security official. That offer failed and the CIA man did not detect a trap. Russia later revealed that this also happened back in January but was kept quiet so as to maintain good relations with the U.S. But now the Russians saw an opportunity to use these sloppy CIA operations for domestic propaganda, to remind Russians that in one area at least they are better than the Americans. To add insult to injury the Russians also showed their displeasure by revealing the name of the senior CIA official (the “resident” in spy-speak) in Russia. This fellow will also have to leave now, which is what the Russians apparently want. They hold the CIA resident responsible for this sloppy and embarrassing use of spy craft. By mutual consent, Russia and the U.S. usually keep the names of their own and the other nation’s residents secret. That rule is only breached when you want to send an important message to the other side.

  • Cablegate

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Walker’s Dismal Jobs Performance Gets a Gold Star in ALEC’s “Rich States, Poor States” Report

      Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker got a boost last week from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in its annual Rich States, Poor States report. Despite Bureau of Labor Statistics data putting Wisconsin in 44th place for private-sector job creation, ALEC placed the state as 15th in the country in its ranking of economic outlook, giving Walker — a former ALEC member — a boost as he lays the groundwork for a re-election campaign and a possible Presidential bid.

    • WI Appellate Judge Upholds WI Voter ID, But Indicates Another Challenge Could be Successful

      A Wisconsin appellate court has overturned one decision by a lower court finding the state’s voter ID law unconstitutional, but the legislation remains blocked, with a separate challenge to the law pending before a different appellate court. Despite upholding the voter ID law, the judge deciding today’s case appeared to imply that there could be a different outcome for a challenge that provides more evidence of the law’s burdens on the right to vote.

  • Censorship

    • Raspberry Pi puts holes in China’s Great Firewall

      A tech-savvy China-based Redditor has spotted a hassle-free way of ensuring he or she is always able to bypass the Great Firewall, even when out and about, using the Raspberry Pi to connect to a virtual private network (VPN).

      VPNs are a necessity for foreigners living in the People’s Republic who want to access sites prohibited by the country’s ubiquitous internet censorship apparatus – business users and consumers alike have come to rely on them to connect to a banned site.

    • Singapore Seeks Even More Control Over Online Media

      Currently ranked 149th globally in terms of press freedom, alongside Iraq and Myanmar, the Singapore government has chosen to further tighten its grip on the media instead of letting up.

    • Singapore to regulate Yahoo, other online news sites

      Websites that regularly report on Singapore including Yahoo News will have to get a license from June 1, putting them on par with newspapers and television news outlets, in a move seen by some as a bid to rein in free-wheeling Internet news.

    • Matthew Rhys interview for The Americans: ‘Our scripts go to the CIA for approval’

      Most actors are good at deception. But Matthew Rhys – a Welshman playing a Russian pretending to be American – takes things to extremes in ITV’s new US spy thriller, The Americans. He talks to Craig McLean.

  • Privacy

    • CIA’s sugar daddies shovel MEELLLIONS into Pure Storage

      All-flash array upstart Pure Storage has received the blessing of the CIA after the spooks’ venture capital arm In-Q-Tel made an investment in the firm.

    • How Chinese hackers steal U.S. secrets [example of CBS government propaganda]

      While no computer networks are impenetrable, federal agencies like the FBI, DOD and NSA devote significant resources to guard their computer networks, and also have in place rules to protect sensitive data.

    • Leak investigations: What happens to those under the microscope?

      It is not clear how often the government has obtained communications records of reporters. While Fox News was informed nearly three years ago about the subpoena for call logs for five lines related to Rosen – apparently after the phone company had already provided them – it did not publicly disclose the action. Instead, it emerged only this month when court papers were unsealed that also showed that the government had separately obtained a warrant for the contents of Rosen’s private email account. A lawyer and spokesmen for Fox did not respond to requests for comment.

    • Do we already live in a police state?

      Many people fear that the government will use the Boston Marathon bombings as an excuse to push more surveillance on us. However, the National Security Agency has spied on American citizens since at least 2001, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    • Don’t freak out, but the government records and stores every phone call and email
    • Snoopers’ Charter debate at ORGCon

      This week has seen an extraordinary deluge of comment on the Snooper’s Charter, seemingly co-ordinated by the Home Office. A succession of hardline Home Office sympathisers have sought to link the events at Woolwich with a need to spy on every citizen: despite the fact that the perpetrator was known to the police.

      Even MI5 agents have declared that the Snooper’s Charter could not have prevented Woolwich, and that calls for its revival are a “cheap argument”

    • NSA Hacking Unit Targets Computers Worldwide

      New details have emerged about a secretive unit inside the National Security Agency called Tailored Access Operations that hacks into foreign computers to conduct cyber-espionage. According to a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article titled “How the U.S. Government Hacks the World,” the Pentagon hackers harvest nearly 2.1 million gigabytes every hour.

    • How the U.S. Government Hacks the World

      The key role NSA hackers play in intelligence gathering makes it difficult for Washington to pressure other nations—China in particular—to stop hacking U.S. companies to mine their databanks for product details and trade secrets. In recent months the Obama administration has tried to shame China by publicly calling attention to its cyber-espionage program, which has targeted numerous companies, including Google (GOOG), Yahoo! (YHOO), and Intel (INTC), to steal source code and other secrets. This spring, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, traveled to Beijing to press Chinese officials about the hacking. National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon is scheduled to visit China on May 26.

    • NSA Caught Unawares By Data Center Tax

      The whole purpose of an organization like the National Security Agency (NSA) is to know things far enough ahead of time that its human nodes are never surprised. Certainly that’s a big part of the reason the agency has been building a heavily fortified, $2 billion data center on the thinly populated, dry mountain plain just south of Salt Lake City.

    • Looking back at Tony Scott’s Enemy Of The State

      Dreamt up by Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson in 1991, Enemy Of The State follows the exploits of naughty NSA director Thomas Reynolds (played by professional scene chewer Jon Voight), who, angry that he can’t blackmail a congressman into supporting a law giving the NSA greater snooping powers, decides to kill him instead and make it look like a heart attack.

    • Would you like the truth about the NSA? Watch this one minute video

      Much of the details of NSA’s work must be kept secret, but processes are in place to let leaders like John talk about the agency, which means when he speaks it can be a great opportunity to learn about an important agency.

    • White House has legitimate concerns in press cases

      Almost needless to say, Republicans sensing an Obama weakness are going along for the ride — even many who thought Bush attorney general Alberto Gonzales’ threat to prosecute New York Times reporters for revealing the existence of a massive NSA eavesdropping operation was a terrific idea.

    • The FBI’s New Wiretapping Plan Is Great News for Criminals

      The FBI wants a new law that will make it easier to wiretap the Internet. Although its claim is that the new law will only maintain the status quo, it’s really much worse than that. This law will result in less-secure Internet products and create a foreign industry in more-secure alternatives. It will impose costly burdens on affected companies. It will assist totalitarian governments in spying on their own citizens. And it won’t do much to hinder actual criminals and terrorists.

    • Will journalists take any steps to defend against attacks on press freedom?

      Media outlets have awakened to the serious threats posed to journalism, but show little sign of doing anything about it

    • Shaming Chinese hackers won’t work because cyber-espionage is here to stay

      Economic cyber-espionage is particularly thorny point of discussion because the US, unlike China, distinguishes between attacks on private industry and more bread and butter political and military espionage. The US would like to limit Chinese theft of intellectual property from American companies, but is not particularly interested in negotiating any constraints over US intelligence gathering. As Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, put it: “You spy, we spy, but you just steal the wrong stuff.’ That’s a hard conversation.”

    • What a REAL White House Scandal Looked Like: James Comey’s Riveting 2007 Testimony

      AP and others are reporting that President Obama plans to nominate, for FBI Director, Republican James Comey, former Deputy Attorney General under then AG John Ashcroft, during some of the darkest days of the George W. Bush Administration.

      The news offer a moment to revisit what a real White House scandal looked like — back when Republicans had no interest in them and back when there were real investigative Congressional hearings and no need to create pretend “whistleblowers” in order to gin up political “outrage” and “scandal”!

    • Revealed: Australian spies seek power to break into Tor

      In a major admission, the Attorney-General’s Department has revealed Australia’s intelligence and law enforcement agencies are seeking the legal power to break into internet routing encryption services such as Tor, after admitting the centerpiece of its proposed national security reforms, data retention, will be “trivially easy” to defeat.

      The admission by officials to Senate Estimates last night will give rise to further concerns that the department, which has systematically and aggressively expanded the powers of intelligence and law enforcement agencies at the expense of civil liberties and privacy, wants far stronger powers to regulate the internet and break into encrypted systems in order to keep an eye on what Australians are doing online.

    • Bridgewater Counsel Comey Is Lead Pick For New FBI Director

      Comey resigned from Bridgewater in February and is currently serving at Columbia University as senior researcher and lecturer. Comey is a registered Republican and has served as Deputy Attorney General under the Bush administration. During that time, Comey received high praise for his vicious opposition of Bush’s no holds barred surveillance program. Reports say that he had threatened to quit if the NSA implemented the intrusive program. He was also against the interrogation tactics practiced under the Bush regime.

    • A Contrarian Futurist

      Indeed, the stigma associated with offensive cyber activity is breaking down, now that cyber attacks have exploded in frequency and scale. The banks are now asking the Feds to join the fight, so DHS, FBI and NSA are trying to figure out how to collaborate, without going to jail themselves for hacking or disclosing classified data.

    • The White House War Against Whistleblowers
    • What can government snoops get by with?

      Big Brother has become more emboldened than ever with the recent revelation that the Justice Department had obtained from telephone companies the records of Associated Press and other reporters to investigate an alleged national security leak, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.

    • Government still spying on emails and phone calls with no stinkin’ warrant
    • Secret Court Document Finds Spy Techniques Unconstitutional, Justice Department Fights To Keep It Hidden

      The Justice Department may soon be forced to reveal a classified document that details unconstitutional surveillance of American citizens. The Justice Department has fought to keep the document secret for about a year, but a recent court order demands that they respond to a formal request filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation by next week, June 7, 2013.

    • Kotarski: The snoop factor is shocking

      In October 2008, a 39-year-old former U.S. navy linguist who worked at a National Security Agency (NSA) centre in Georgia went on ABC News and blew the whistle on himself and his fellow NSA operators for listening in on the private conversations of hundreds of American aid workers and soldiers calling home to the United States from Iraq.

      “Hey, check this out,” David Murfee Faulk says he would be told. “There’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out.”

    • TechMan Texts: Take advice from the National Security Agency

      Well, put out is not quite the right phrase, because the super-secret NSA won’t tell you anything about what they are doing with your tax money unless forced to.

  • Civil Rights

    • Father of man FBI shot claims his son was executed

      The father of a Chechen immigrant killed in Florida while being interrogated by the FBI about his ties to a Boston Marathon bombings suspect said Thursday that the U.S. agents killed his son ‘‘execution-style.’’

      At news conference in Moscow, Abdul-Baki Todashev showed journalists 16 photographs that he said were of his son, Ibragim, in a Florida morgue. He said his son had six gunshot wounds to his torso and one to the back of his head and the pictures were taken by his son’s friend, Khusen Taramov.

    • ‘Why did the FBI execute my boy?’ Father of Boston bomber’s friend displays gruesome photos of his son’s corpse showing unarmed man was shot SEVEN times during questioning – including once in the back of the head
    • What’s Happening at ORGCon2013: Digital Arms Trade Debate

      ORGCon2013 is a great place to find about new threats to our online rights – and ways to combat them. One of these issues is the Digital Arms Trade, a new area for ORG, but one that is increasingly gaining attention and action. We’re delighted that Eric King of Privacy International, Hauke Gierow, Reporters without Borders and Simone Halink, Bits of Freedom will be sharing their expertise at the conference.

      The Internet is a tool for communication that has been shown over and over again to be a source of empowerment. It connects the LGBT teenager who is being bullied to find support and a network of friends online, it connects the activists suffering under oppressive regimes to one another, and allows groups on the ground to communicate human rights abuses to the world.

      But the trade in surveillance technology undermines this potential and treats this technology as a tool for governments to surveil citizens and control their communications.

    • The U.S. media muddle

      …governmental action against leaks and the constitutional right of the press to inform the public.

    • Constitutional Sheriffs Convention Focus: States’ Rights, 2nd Amendment
    • “Conservative” Magazine Counsels Rand Paul to Join the CFR

      Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is currently on his nationwide “I’m probably running for president” tour. He’s made the requisite stops in the early election states of Iowa and New Hampshire, courting the GOP faithful and bringing the figurative freezers full of red meat to throw their way. Demonstrating impressive political savvy, he’s also making a habit of making bold statements that set him apart from potential Establishment competitors from both sides of the aisle.

    • The Obama Doctrine: Kill civilians to save them from ‘terrorism’

      Obama’s speech included a full-throated defense of drone strikes. Disturbingly, the speech all but wrote off the hundreds – if not thousands – of civilians who died from U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and other nations. Obama claimed that as president, he “must weigh these heartbreaking tragedies [civilian causalities from drone strikes] against the alternatives.” He followed this assertion with the equally bizarre justification, “Let us remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians.” This is the Barack Doctrine: To save the civilians who would die in terrorist attacks, we need to kill them before the terrorists do.

      Although the U.S. media already clamors over the very minor changes to the president’s drone program – the Los Angeles Times called it “throttling back on drones” – these changes will do little to nothing in reducing civilian casualties. The president calls for tougher standards when deciding to launch drone strikes. This requires “a near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured,” according to White House staff.

    • Media Gets Targeted by Obama, Discovers No One Cares Except the Media

      This leads me to more salient matters. While my local press corps was babbling about some ancient history-Michael Jackson-related minutia bullshit, another media storm was brewing. Apparently the Associated Press and Fox News recently found themselves on the business end of the Obama Administration’s hostility toward journalists. The AP learned the Justice Department searched troves of their phone records. Meantime, Fox News’ James Rosen had his personal email account scoured by the DOJ and he’s being called an “aider and abettor” and “co-conspirator” in a criminal case regarding classified document leaks.

    • Priests in training allegedly gave Nazi salutes

      A Catholic seminary in Germany says it is investigating claims that trainee priests made anti-Semitic jokes, played far-right music and gave Nazi salutes.

    • Is This Nazi-Killing Video Game Hero Jewish? Maybe.

      In one level, Blazkowicz discovers some Nazi plans. He looks over some documents. They’re written in Hebrew. He’s able to translate.

      The hints are there that B.J. Blazkowicz, video game killer of Nazis since his debut in 1992′s Wolfenstein 3D, is Jewish.

    • President Obama uses a sledgehammer against dissent

      From Jeremy Hammond to Bradley Manning and the AP, Obama’s ‘assault on journalism’ is a threat to our democracy

    • Reporter Who Connected CIA, Crack Epidemic Now the Subject of a Film

      In 1996, the newspaper and its fledgling website published a jaw-dropping series called “Dark Alliance,” in which Webb drew a connection between the Central Intelligence Agency and the crack cocaine epidemic plaguing U.S. inner cities.

      The series was not well received by the nation’s top newspapers. The New York Times, the Washington Post and the L.A. Times all attacked Webb’s reporting, and his career sharply declined. He committed suicide in 2004.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Innovators, Public Interest Groups & Open Access Supporters Pull Out Of Talks On EU Copyright In Protest

        Back in February we reported on a worrying attempt by the European Commission to reframe the discussion about modernizing copyright in Europe purely in terms of licensing, reflected in the name of the initiative, “Licences for Europe”. Although originally a series of discussions were promised to “explore the potential and limits of innovative licensing and technological solutions in making EU copyright law and practice fit for the digital age,” in practice moderators shut down discussions of things like exceptions or even Creative Commons licensing. As far as the Commission was concerned, it seemed the answer to updating copyright for the modern age was just old-style licensing and nothing else.

      • Taiwan’s Copyright Proposals Would Combine SOPA With A Dash Of The Great Firewall Of China

        The new measures will move Taiwan closer to China’s Great Firewall in terms of censorship, and will therefore probably be well-received on the mainland as a result. But there are surely better ways of improving relations between the two countries than instituting these kind of measures that won’t stop people sharing unauthorized copies online, but will damage the Internet, and not just in Taiwan.

      • FBI and New Zealand police ordered to return all personal data seized from Megaupload

        The FBI and authorities in New Zealand have suffered a blow in their pursuit of Kim Dotcom and Megaupload, after a New Zealand court ordered them to return all personal data from the service that was seized during raids last year. Furthermore, they must specify exactly what information is at the core of their case against the file-sharing service.

        High Court Justice Helen Winkelmann ruled (once again) that the raid on Dotcom’s mansion in January 2012 was illegal due to incorrect warrants. Today, the Justice ordered the national police to return to Megaupload any digital data they possess that is not relevant to the case, as Stuff NZ reports.

      • Rapidgator Not Responsible for Pirating Users, Court Lifts ISP Blockade

        As part of a criminal investigation by Italian authorities, 27 file-sharing related sites had their domains blocked by local ISPs last month. Rapidgator, one of the largest cyberlockers on the Internet, was among the targeted sites and chose to appeal the verdict. This week Rome’s Court of Appeal ruled that the Rapidgator blockade should be lifted as the site’s operators are not responsible for alleged copyright infringements carried out by their users.

      • Universal Music Tells Gangnam Parody Mayors: Pay $42,000 By Tomorrow, Or Else

        The guys over at Humble Bundle are offering another set of great games to users, for which they can pay as much or as little they want and as always the money raised is used to support good causes.

        This package, the Humble Indie Bundle 8, includes five games for those who pay below the average (which stands at $5.69 at the time of writing) and seven for those who pay above the average.

        The five games that are unlocked, through Steam, to those who pay between $1 and the average are Little Inferno, Awesomenauts, Capsized, Thomas Was Alone and Dear Esther, with the two extra unlockable games that come with a payment larger than the average being Hotline Miami and Proteus.

      • CBS Tells Court: No One Could Possibly Read Our Statements ‘We Will Sue Aereo’ To Mean We Will Sue Aereo

        Aereo then did exactly what it should: it sued first, seeking a declaratory judgment that its service was legal and that it could launch in other markets without fear of expensive lawsuits from CBS. This is what the whole declaratory judgment setup is for. Exactly cases like this where one party threatens another in an effort to scare them off by the threat of expensive court battles.

      • Italian Court Overturns Seizure Of Cyberlocker Rapidgator

        In April we wrote about how Italian law enforcement had blocked over two dozen websites after the industry claimed they were responsible for copyright infringement. There was no trial, no adversarial hearing where the sites were able to defend themselves. Just: entertainment industry complains, law enforcement buys the complaints, tells a judge and boom, site gone. One of the cyberlockers blocked in this effort, Rapidgator, challenged this blockade, and it has quickly won a reversal. Rapidgator’s lawyer, Fulvio Sarzana, was kind enough to send us the details, and it appears the court understood why the initial blockade was hugely problematic.

      • IP Commission Thinks YOU Should Pay For China’s Infringement

        As Mike discussed in a previous post, the IP Commission’s report on “theft of American IP” points a finger almost exclusively at China. And, as was pointed out in another post, the report is also loaded with some genuinely terrible ideas (protect IP with malware, anyone?). Here’s another one: starting a trade war with China over intellectual property. This recommendation, taken from the final pages of the document, is both a broadside against China and a genuinely terrible idea.

        Generally speaking, instigating a trade war is a bad idea, even when you have the upper hand. Instigating a trade war over something as poorly defined (especially in this report) as “IP theft” is a worse idea. Instigating a trade war with a country that already has you staring down the barrel of a steep trade deficit is just asking for trouble. The US has tried this sort of thing before (to protect the American steel industry) and found itself facing retaliatory tariffs from European nations as well as having its tariffs declared illegal by the World Trade Organization.

      • Massive Growth In Independent Musicians & Singers Over The Past Decade

        We’ve discussed in the past a favorite talking point of the RIAA, claiming a 40% decline in employment for musicians over the past decade or so, which simply isn’t supported by the numbers. We’ve been seeing a lot of people claiming this again lately, so we decided to take a look at what the numbers actually showed, and can’t seem to figure out where that decline is coming from, because the numbers show a very different story — one that suggests things are actually much better for independent musicians than in the past, just as we would expect. In fact, there’s been an astounding 510% increase in independent musicians making their full time living from music in just the past decade.

      • John Steele’s Claims About Alan Cooper Contradicted By History

        Earlier this week, we wrote about John Steele’s attempt at the character assassination of Alan Cooper, his former home caretaker who accused Steele of forging his name on various documents concerning shell companies associated with Prenda, the law firm Steele worked for. As part of that filing, Steele tried to suggest that Cooper was a willing participant, and that Steele was merely helping his “friend” get introduced into the porn copyright trolling business. As we noted, Steele’s story directly contradicts Cooper’s story, which certainly suggests that one of them is not telling the truth in court. That’s generally a bad idea. As more people look into Steele’s claims, they don’t seem to hold up under scrutiny, suggesting that if one of the two has a credibility problem, it’s probably Steele.

      • RIAA: There’s Been No Innovation Stifling Here!

        In the end, though, the crux of the RIAA’s argument entirely misses the point of Carrier’s piece. It basically says “look, there are lots of services today, what are you complaining about?” But the point was never that killing Napster stopped innovation, but rather that it hindered the pace and nature of that innovation. And the RIAA doesn’t address it at all. There’s a difference between the direction of change and the rate of change, and the key point is the rate of change, but all the RIAA wants to discuss is the direction, which is meaningless. Innovation can’t be denied forever, so of course the direction will move forward. What Carrier’s piece discussed, quite clearly, was the pace — and the RIAA wants to avoid that, and pretend that everything that happened between 15 years ago and now didn’t happen to get here. If we were at the point we’re at today in 2003, they might have a point. The fact that it’s taken us this long and we’re still just reinventing radio… well, we’ve got a long way to go and should have been much further along.

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