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06.10.13

PRISM Lite: Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch Collecting Information About Everybody’s Children

Posted in Bill Gates at 3:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pinky and the Brain

Rupert Murdoch with Bill Gates

Summary: A surveillance scheme for juniors and how it is being used to program the young generation to support patent monopolies of Bill Gates, such as GMO

PRISM, as exposed by an EFF and Tor (perhaps also FOSS by extension) enthusiast, gives governments across the world access to profiles (personal dossiers trained from data) for all individuals, enabling them to classify members of the population and highlight those deviating from the norm. Any instrument of power through control requires one-way surveillance, meaning secrecy for the government and none for the rest of us. How about if you wanted to highlight children who are not properly indoctrinated, i.e. people whose minds are not absorbing the propaganda decided on by plutocrats in ‘education’ boards? Well, here too they try to exploit technology for mass control. Who’s they? Those with money, power, and no morality. It is a no-brainer. Technology is a wonderful thing, but under the guise of advancement those at the top of the food chain try to introduce more user-hostile facilities by which to conduct en masse surveillance in the classroom, using cameras too (one of Gates’ latest adventures).

There are some bad things happening other than PRISM (which we had alluded to before someone leaked the documents for confirmation), including this trend of removing privacy from one’s own device, even if it is not connected to the Internet.

The Dept. of Homeland Security has finally coughed up its Civil Rights/Civil Liberties Impact Assessment of its suspicionless electronic device searches performed at border crossings by ICE and CBP agents. It’s been a long time coming.

Right now the US is also attacking people’s right to encrypt their hard drive/s. The tablet I am using to write this post on will, by default, upload all its content to Google servers for ‘backup’ (and access by governments). The point to be made here is, personal computing is under attack and we oughtn’t assume that letting kids be used by proprietary software is a good idea.

Earlier this month we showed Gates Foundation PR like this and keynote speeches from the female Gates, who is now lobbying in education (not just women’s issues as before) despite having no qualifications in this area. She is a powerful lobbyist now and on her agenda is her husband’s attempt to privatise schools.

Our recent posts explained PRISM and how it relates to freedom, emphasising why Microsoft is a vital part of PRISM, probably more so than Google (Microsoft controls Windows, i.e. many people’s computers, not to mention the partly Microsoft-owned Facebook). One thing we noted once before is that Gates found partners like Murdoch to share spying ambitions with. As Seattle-based teachers put it last week:

Gates and others have begun to collect information about our children from New York to LA and it is about to happen in Seattle thanks to the efforts of the Road Map project, et al, falling all over themselves to receive a pittance of educational funding, $40 M to be split between 7 districts in our state. That’s $5.7M if it were to be divided equally.

[...]

The Gates Foundation is building a national “data store” of such information, and intends to hand all this information to a new, separate corporation, which in turn plans to make it available to commercial vendors to help them develop and market their “learning products.”[1][1] The operating system of this “data store” is being built by Wireless Generation, a subsidiary of the News Corporation, which has been investigated for violating the privacy of individuals both here in the United States and in Great Britain.[2][2]

[...]

The database is a joint project of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which provided most of the funding, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and school officials from several states. Amplify Education, a division of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, built the infrastructure over the past 18 months. When it was ready, the Gates Foundation turned the database over to a newly created nonprofit, inBloom Inc, which will run it.

As we showed before, indoctrinating children in favour of Gates investments like GMO is part of the agenda. The corporate press in the area, some of it having been bribed by Gates, is already doing that. Watch this coverage for example:

The Seattle group gathered at Westlake Park and marched to the Gates Foundation in the Seattle Center area for a rally.

The author ‘forgets’ to point out the significance of this. Gates is a Monsanto lobbyist and investor. The protest organisers almost definitely know this.

It should be noted that Gates’ latest exposed lobby, Common Core, is still at it. They are actually intervening with the curriculum itself:

In case you missed it, about two weeks ago the Pearson Foundation announced that it was receiving funds from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to create a national K-12 curriculum. Gates ponied up $3 million to have Pearson develop 24 courses, 11 in math and 13 in English-Language Arts. At the announcement, both foundations positioned it as the next logical step in the adoption of Common Core State Standards.

The announcement seemed to go over with a bit of a thud. First, it met some people’s fears that a Common Core would undoubtedly lead to a common curriculum. And for the growing chorus that believes in local control and local decisionmaking, having bureaucrats in Washington (or even with a non-partisan foundation) determine what fifth grade math needed to look like on the third Tuesday of March just reeked of the nationalism folks have pushed back on for decades (or even since the creation of public education in the United States itself).

The word school has nothing to do with education. The word is derived from Greek. What we increasingly see in the United States is that schools are used for social programming (for somebody’s gain), not for genuine education. Since 400 people in the United States (people including Gates and Murdoch) have more in combined wealth than 60% of the population (with this gap increasing over time), this is only to be expected.

Surveillance is about control and facilities like the NSA or schools boards are taxpayers-funded means of controlling the taxpayers (the rich don’t pay tax; in fact, they hardly pay anything back). This is class war, not a brands war.

White House Should Go After the Trolls’ Ringleaders, Not Just Patent Trolls

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 3:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Knocker

Summary: Why the stance of the White House is misguided and short-sighted in an age when trolls are like mercenaries for players in conspiracies and pyramid schemes of patents

Patent trolls have stolen all public attention from issues associated with software parents. Since large corporations lobbied their elected Congress on this matter, Change We Can Believe in was inevitable. Now that patent trolls are a big deal in the news (this issue has become very prevalent) we are at least reassured that one single aspect of the problem, for instance the patent proxies Microsoft uses, will get addressed. But it’s only the start. How big does a troll have to be to get exempted? If Microsoft uses Nokia to feed patent trolls like MOSAID, does that mean that Nokia and Microsoft too will come under the hammer or the gavel? If Bill Gates’ and Microsoft allies like Intellectual Ventures (IV) litigate through small proxies (potentially thousands of them), how will those two giant racketeering operations be handled? Well, it depends on the proposals put forth and accepted. Some proposals only go after trolls at the litigation level, leaving racketeers at the top more or less immune to federal action. As pointed out the other day, shell entities are at it again, serving Microsoft, Gates, and IV. To quote:

Intellectual Ventures Responds To This American Life & President Obama By… Filing More Patent Lawsuits

Ah, Intellectual Ventures. Over the weekend, This American Life ran their report updating a critical look at Intellectual Ventures from two years ago by showing that the shell company, whose patent IV had insisted was a perfect example of IV helping small inventors get their due was (a) completely bunk and invalidated in court, and (b) despite IV “selling it off,” 90% of the profits from the approximate $100+ million that was raised via shakedown threats with that patent… went back to IV. On Tuesday, President Obama came out strongly against patent trolling, and part of his proposal would require revealing who was really behind various shell companies.

The many articles regarding this reform don’t delve into the subject of trolls as proxies. Moreover, as pointed out here, opportunities to actually tackle the problem and not just allude to it were previously missed. About Rader, TechDirt writes:

Also, you’d think that, as the chief judge on the court that handles all patent appeals, Judge Rader would have had a chance to not just do what he suggests judges should do… but to create a precedent for district courts to adhere to on that point, rather than just writing about it in the NY Times.

Here is the latest from the New York Times and Red Hat’s take on it. They both seem not to concentrate on proxy strategies. Dan Mitchel, writing for CNN, says “There are parallels between today’s trolls and the so-called sharks of the 19th century.”

He closes with the following remarks: “In fact, that’s already occurring. It could be that the panic we’re seeing among champions of innovation is actually the beginning of the end of patent trolls, at least in the current era.”

Patent trolls are far from the only issue. Simon Phipps acknowledged that by writing:

The president’s follow-up to his frank condemnation of patent trolls is welcome, but we need more

More can be found in Simon’s blog.

When corporations and lobbyists (not developers) call the shots it is hardly surprising that only small patent aggressors but never the large ones get chased by the government. Pamela Jones, a paralegal, wrote about the abundance of lawyers (many lobbyists too are lawyers by training and trade) when she said:

The President is a lawyer, after all. So it’s not a total surprise that he understands what Lemley wrote. Here’s the paper [PDF], if you’d like to read it for yourself. And here’s Professor Lemley tweeting that he noticed that the President’s suggestions included one about functional claiming.

The stance of the White House [1, 2] on this matter has not been ideal because the debate is still dominated by lawyers, the non-practising stakeholders. Here we have McDermott Will & Emery writing about the selling of patents/copyrifghts, advising against FOSS:

Buyers are becoming more and more aware of the risks and potential liabilities associated with open source code—and the increasing use of open source code as developers “cut and paste” code from various projects.

These are some of the talking points emanating from Microsoft friends like Black Duck and OpenLogic.

Novell’s Acquirer Says the Brand Was Tarnished

Posted in Boycott Novell, Novell at 2:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hole in the wall

Summary: Attachmate’s CEO acknowledges that Novell lost much of its lustre when it was acquired

Techrights deliberately avoids Novell these days, with few exceptions. Daily links never contain anything about Novell and SUSE (which descended to obscurity anyway as many contributors walked away from SUSE, either to other distros or personalised alternatives).

Bison slayer (Mr. Hawn) provides no specific details when asked about Novell’s business, except his claim that the brand (which hardly exists anymore) is no longer declining:

Two years after it acquired Novell and took the company private, the Attachmate Group says its decline has been arrested. It anticipates being able to hold that line next year.

Jeff Hawn, president and chief executive of the group, told iTWire on Wednesday that the Novell brand had lost its lustre by the time Attachmate acquired it.

Boycott Novell must have played a small role in this. It does not pay off to sell out to Microsoft, selling one’s patents to Microsoft, leaving one's distro to be funded and thus remotely run (for self gain) by Microsoft.

~$10,000 Per Windows Desktop Per Year in the British Government, and Microsoft Wants to Deny Us Choice

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft at 2:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

David Cameron

Image from the 10 Downing Street Web site

Summary: The insane spendings that accompany Microsoft in computing, based on new revelations from the UK

There are some outrageous reports about our government spending about 10,000 US dollars for each Windows-running machine in government, essentially flushing taxpayers’ money down the loo. One article put it like this:

The government has always faced criticism that its IT is slow, unwieldy, inflexible, unnecessarily complex and overpriced. It’s one thing when you face this criticism from your rivals, the press or members of the public – but you know you’ve reached a dire point when it’s your own chief operating officer (COO) twisting the knife.

At a government spending review attended earlier this week by V3, the government’s new COO Stephen Kelly shed some light into the world of technology at Whitehall and across the public sector.

Munich could do far better than that!

Over the years we covered many examples where the British public sector favours Microsoft for no good reason.This is used to funnel public money into private hands. The NHS and BECTA are just two examples of this.

Here is my co-host’s take on this latest outrage. He points the finger at Microsoft:

People still running a Windows system in the home will probably be able to appreciate the almost full time job of securing it against the latest malware, fixing nonsensical bugs which suddenly appear for no reasons and creating their own imaginative workarounds just to get the desktop functioning. For the home user this may be seen as run-of-the-mill home computing, but put the same issues into government systems where your tax money goes and the problem becomes less of an annoyance and more a costly exercise – at your expense.

[...]

Now user’s of Windows can appreciate that boot up (and shut down) can take a long time. Here’s your Government (in the UK)

“I came into the office and I pressed my PC and it took me seven minutes to boot up,” he told attendees. “That’s government in the old world, that’s three days of the year I waste of my time booting up.”

Computers are needed in government, but why do they run Windows? Mr. Pogson says bundling is still the issue. To quote:

Ask yourself, why did M$ insist it’s customers not ship bare metal? Did M$ want to ensure end-users had less choice of OS? Did M$ want to ensure it had a larger market-share than it was otherwise earning on price/performance? Were they afraid people would realize the price they paid for that OS?

A market that does not offer choice of OS is broken and governments should have smacked M$, OEMs and retailers long ago over the practice of bundling the OS. It’s clearly an anti-competitive act. Where I live one can buy a bare-metal PC but only as a “bare bones” system to which you must add components or as parts. That worked for ATX PCs but it does not for notebooks and tablets which so far don’t have many user-changeable parts. Freedom in ATX is fading with the decline in “desktop” PCs. They’ll likely be available for years longer but unless we demand notebooks and other PCs offer a choice of OS, bundling will be coming back in a big way. M$ may yet try to get OEMs to ship nothing but M$’s OS.

Why is there no government action against it? Microsoft is too big to jail; for other illegal practices too there has been no punishment, AstroTurfing and racketeering included. What about UEFI, the latest scheme to keep GNU/Linux out of desktops? UEFI is again being covered in ZDNet, owing to J.A. Watson, a Brit who was approached by UEFI Forum after he had criticised UEFI. Here is his latest problem:

I have written a number of times recently about UEFI Boot, and how much trouble I have had getting it set up and getting it to stay the way I want it.

It is important to remember that system manufacturers sometimes make BIOS firmware updates available, and installing such updates can sometimes be of significant help with existing problems.

An example is my Acer Aspire One 725. I have installed several different Linux distributions on it (openSuSE, Fedora, Ubuntu and Debian), and I had run into two related problems.

First, when the Linux installation was finished the system still only booted Windows, and second, even when I changed the UEFI Boot parameters in NVRAM (using efibootmgr), the changes would be lost on the next reboot (which was actually the root cause of the first problem).

All this complication sure is enough to discourage most people from installing GNU/Linux, There is an antitrust complaint in Europe.

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