CNN: Where Agenda and Lobbying Trump Facts and Justice

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Patents at 10:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Corporate propaganda channel is being used by a Microsoft lobbyist to demonise Android — not companies that attack Android — by essentially twisting reality

CNN, a supposedly “liberal” or “leftist” channel, has been exceptionally instrumental in demonising the NSA leaker and the messengers (some examples covered elsewhere, I would rather than link to them), but recently we also saw this propaganda outlet letting Microsoft Florian, a lobbyist, spread lies there. Now that patent armaments from Google and Apple are being used to determine who inherits the void left by Microsoft’s fall, the lobbyist keeps trying to distort the facts about Android, which never sought to pick up an axe (not a single Android player). It was attacked by Apple’s embargo attempts (see just some of the latest); it’s Apple which wanted a "thermonuclear" war. Apple and Samsung are battling in court now while the lobbyist is mass-mailing journalists, groomed by Microsoft which pays him for his services (lobbying). Here is the CNN nonsense which starts with this disclosure: “His clients include Microsoft, Oracle, financial services companies and law firms.”

That being the case, why let the man write against Microsoft’s and Oracle’s rival? That is an error of judgment at CNN unless it was intentional and thus malicious. Pamela Jones already found factual errors and pointed some of them out in News Picks, summarising as follows:

I’m sorry, but this is incorrect information, or you could describe it as propaganda. No one can say getting injunctions for FRAND patents is universally outlawed, because that’s not true. And Apple did *not* say that to the ITC. In fact the article goes on to ask Congress to outlaw them, as you can see with your own eyes, proving my point.

And the ITC itself submitted a brief [PDF] in the case, stating that an exclusion order is perfectly appropriate in cases involving standards-essential patents, or SEPs.

Mueller has been pushing the idea that there should be no injunctions on FRAND patents. Microsoft pays him, and Microsoft would like FRAND patents to be unable to be used for injunctions, and so would Apple, but that’s because companies like Samsung and Motorola built the mobile world before Microsoft or Apple entered it, and so they want to defang the weapons the ones who created the standards can use to protect themselves from the patent jihad against Linux and Android (and because Microsoft and Apple don’t want to pay the traditional price), while keeping their utility patents to use as weapons against Samsung and Motorola. It’s that simple, to me. So take this opinion piece as propaganda, if you like. Here’s an article with more details, if you are curious as to what Apple really told the ITC, and with a link to the Apple filing, by an attorney, Matt Rizzolo on the Essential Patent Blog. What they really said was they hoped FRAND patents couldn’t be used for injunctions. It was their public interest
argument. Or as Rizzolo puts it, “Apple, on the other hand, argues that competitive conditions in the U.S. weigh in favor of no exclusion order issuing in this case.”

See what I mean? It’s misleading what Mueller wrote, and since he didn’t provide a link, you have no way to check what he wrote as to its accuracy.

Further, since the bio on Mueller says “His clients include Microsoft, Oracle, financial services companies and law firms,” I think he should tell the world what financial services companies and law firms he also does work for. If any of them are involved in the patent smartphone litigation wars, for example, either directly or indirectly via betting on the outcome, so to speak, or because they have an interest in the share price, he really should reveal his clients more fully.

Perhaps patent trolls and respective backers of theirs are the ‘other’ clients, perhaps Microsoft proxies also. One news site (Muktware) said that Apple was paying him.

The point of this whole matter is that corporate news sites like CNN are more interested in agenda than in facts. CNN coverage of PRISM has proven this marvellously well. One can find better information in today’s blogs than in the corporate media. Watch the following video with Greenwald, the journalist behind the latest NSA coverage (he is to Snowden what Assange is to Manning, The Guardian being analogous to Wikileaks).

There was another such shameful report from CNN’s Jessica Yellin, where she distorted the facts about Wikileaks and annoyed a great deal of people.

Here is the latest video CNN did of him:

CNN is delivering government talking points, defending the collective of corporations — everyone except actual citizens.

Obama Administration Misuses the ‘T Word’ (Troll) to Dodge Serious Issues

Posted in Patents at 10:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Perpetual siege: Only the large corporations always get their way

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

Summary: Failing to see how patents themselves actually distort the market for everyone (not just some large corporations), Obama wants to wash his hands with legislation that will resolve nothing and legitimise the notoriously unsupervised patent regime

The debate about privacy notwithstanding (it’s not quite a partisan/political issue, as the policy was actually put in place by Bush/Republicans, then expanded by Obama/Democrats), we must focus on the ongoing progress when it comes to patent monopolies. Just before the whole press got flooded by PRISM coverage the White House said it would target patent trolls [1, 2, 3].

Patent trolls are a bit of a phantom enemy, or an enemy to large corporations. Well, this is why they are being tackled by the government which is funded and run by large corporations, directly or by proxy (lobbyists).

According to this recent post, a troll is targeting some large corporations again — the hallmark of a true troll. To quote:

On June 4, a patent holding company named PatentMarks Communications LLC filed patent infringement lawsuits in the District of Delaware against a slew of electronics companies. The companies accused of infringement include at least Dell, Futurewei, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola Mobility, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, and ZTE. (The complaint against HTC [LINK here] is exemplary). PatentMarks — who is the assignee of six U.S. patents, according the USPTO — accuses these companies of infringing U.S. Patent No. 8,400,926, which is titled “Multi-Protocol Telecommunications Routing Optimization” — and which just issued as a patent on March 19, 2013. The ’926 patent generally claims an optimized method and system for transferring files over a telecommunications network.

A lot of the companies above are Android vendors. It’s hard to miss that. Pamela Jones asked: “Now do you see why the President wants to retrain patent examiners on the topic of making sure claims are specific to the invention and not as broad as a Nebraska sky? This patent just issued in March.”

What about the targets of litigation?

Anyway, trolls are not the main issue, never mind the support for Obama from large corporations and their lobbies. Expectedly, patent lawyers are trying to get their views in sites syndicated by news aggregators, contributing to a mixed debate where both ‘sides’ do not speak for the public at large, just for minority interests in business. Here is another example of the Android leader (Motorola/Google) getting sued and extorted massively over software patents. Therein lies the issue: patenting scope.

At the same time we find lawyers bickering over sales of patents as if that’s a good idea when we see companies like Microsoft arming trolls like Vringo and MOSAID. One lawyers’ site reveals this:

New Patent Exchange Hopes to Be Nasdaq for IP

Are companies ready to buy and sell patent rights the way investors buy shares of stock?

That’s the idea behind a new financial exchange, Intellectual Property Exchange International Inc., that launched Wednesday with the aim of creating a standard marketplace for patent licenses.

The Chicago-based IPXI is structuring the licensing process like a public equity offering, bringing familiar financial principles and standards to the murkier world of patent licensing by assigning values that are market-driven and transparent.

This is what we find in Intellectual Ventures, Microsoft’s biggest patent troll. Will Obama tackle the real issues based on market realities rather than broad generalisations and simplified classifications? Trolls are a symptom, not the problem. The President of the OSI agrees on this and I might be meeting him tomorrow.

Links 11/6/2013: More on PRISM and Snowden, Linux Mint Increasingly Praised

Posted in News Roundup at 7:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 2013: Software Freedom Blossoms

    Spring is in the air. Trees all around are full of flowers: apricot, lilac, apple… all preparing to give forth sweet, nutritious fruit. The same is happening with GNU/Linux. According to StatCounter, GNU/Linux has seen 100% per annum growth worldwide since Christmas:

  • Testing the Faith of the Linux Masses
  • If Linux is so bad then why is it everywhere?

    There are 10 camps in the world, those for Linux and those against it. However, now that quantum computing is here that logic is getting fuzzy. Not to put a spintronic on things but in real life there are a lot of people who take pride in the fact that windows is king of the desktop and sneer at the very low take up of Linux in a home computing scenario.

  • Desktop

    • It’s Happening Over There And Will Be Here Soon

      When discussion of the “end of the PC-era” broke out recently there were lots of opinions but little data. Sure, there were niches discovered like Japan where ~10% of Internet users used smart thingies and did not own a legacy PC. There seemed to be two large camps:

      * those claiming the legacy PC was the anchor to all IT with those gadgets just being accessories, and

      * those claiming the legacy PC was dying and the new smart thingies were the new “personal computer”.

  • Server

    • BeyondTrust Introduces PowerBroker Server for Linux

      BeyondTrust, the global leader in privilege delegation and access control for physical, virtual and cloud computing environments, today announced PowerBroker Servers – Linux Edition. This new offering brings industry- leading PowerBroker capabilities to customers standardizing on a Linux server infrastructure at an attractive price-point. As Linux based computing environments scale, PowerBroker Servers – Linux Edition offers granular privilege delegation and centralized keystroke logging for enhanced security and compliance for regulations like SOX, PCI-DSS, HIPAA, COBIT and ISO 27001.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds to find new ways to curse developers, their mothers

      Linus Torvalds released Linux 3.10-rc5 and the changes merged last week aren’t impressing him and he is definitely not happy with way things are progressing.

      The rc5 is bigger than the rc4 and in the release announcement Torvalds noted, “I wish I could say that things are calming down, but I’d be lying. rc5 is noticeably bigger than rc4, both in number of commits and in files changed (although rc4 actually had more lines changed, so there’s that).”

    • Linux 3.10-rc5 Kernel Continues A Worrying Trend
    • The Best Features Of The Linux 3.10 Kernel

      The Linux 3.10 kernel is slowly getting ready for release in the coming weeks. If you haven’t been closely following Phoronix in the past few months of Linux 3.10 feature development, here’s a brief overview of some of the best and most interesting features to be found in the next version of the Linux kernel.

    • Download Linux Kernel 3.10 Release Candidate 5

      Last evening, June 8, 2013, Linus Torvalds announced the immediate availability for download and testing of the fifth Release Candidate version of the upcoming Linux kernel 3.10.

    • Torvalds to Developers: I’ll Come Up with New Ways to Insult Your Mother
    • The Best Features Of The Linux 3.10 Kernel

      The Linux 3.10 kernel is slowly getting ready for release in the coming weeks. If you haven’t been closely following Phoronix in the past few months of Linux 3.10 feature development, here’s a brief overview of some of the best and most interesting features to be found in the next version of the Linux kernel.

    • Torvalds furious at latest Linux kernel

      Linus Torvalds has made it clear that he is not a happy bunny at the latest release candidate for the Linux kernel.

    • 30 Linux Kernel Developer Work Spaces in 30 Weeks: Shuah Khan

      Shuah Khan is a Senior Linux Kernel Developer at Samsung’s Open Source Group. She has contributed to various kernel sub-systems including the Android mainlining project, LED class drivers, IOMMU, DMA, and more. Her current focus areas are Power Management and PCIe ASPM. She also helps with stable kernel release maintenance testing and bug fixes. In this Q&A she describes her work space and the hardware she uses for kernel development.

      This is the third article in a series on kernel developer work spaces — a new take on the popular 30 Linux Kernel Developers in 30 Weeks series. Previous posts featured kernel developers Steve Rostedt and Greg Kroah-Hartman.

    • Linux Top 3: Linux 3.10 Gets Bigger

      Some Linux kernel releases are larger than others. Than there is Linux 3.10

      Linus Torvalds released the fifth release candidate for Linux 3.10 on Saturday and he isn’t impressed.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Freedreno Driver Gains Qualcomm A3XX Support

        Freedreno, the reverse-engineered community-based open-source driver for Qualcomm Adreno graphics hardware, now has support for the newer A300 series of graphics cores as found in the Google Nexus 4.

      • Core i7 4770K – HD Graphics 4600 On New Linux Kernels

        For the past week on Phoronix since the public debut of Intel’s Haswell processors there has been a lot of coverage. The CPU performance is generally great but the Haswell Linux graphics support is still a work-in-progress even though its performance has already evolved a lot. This Sunday are some extra Core i7 4770K benchmarks.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Resistance is futile

        So, If anyone interested to work on either Choqok or Blogilo I would be really appreciated

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • New isos available for Mageia 3 (classical installer)

        Despite the care we take to test isos for new versions of Mageia, we missed a potentially huge bug… It concerned the isos using the classical installer. If the user chose to add online media at the beginning of the installation, it would result in the system being updated to Cauldron, the development version of Mageia. This was due to the initial isos including a partial misidentification, referring to the development version (and not the Official one). The update media added pointed to Mageia Cauldron and not to the Mageia 3 repositories. Please note that users who chose to add online media only at the end of the installation would not be affected by this problem.

      • Whoops, Mageia Releases Fixed ISOs
    • Slackware Family

      • Ten reasons to choose Slackware Linux

        This summer, the Slackware Linux distribution will celebrate its twentieth anniversary. Patrick Volkerding’s official release announcement for Slackware 1.0 on July16th 1993 is still online. Read it here.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Project News – June 10th, 2013
      • Clonezilla Comes To Debian
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Shuttleworth in court over SA exchange controls

            Shuttleworth blames the existing system of exchange control in South Africa for forcing him to emigrate from South Africa in 2001. He says in court papers the system made it impossible to conduct his entrepreneurial and philanthropic ventures.

            He had assets worth over R4.27-billion in South Africa when he emigrated, but transferred the assets out of the country in 2008 and 2009, each time paying a 10% levy.

            Shuttleworth currently lives on the Isle of Man and holds dual South African and United Kingdom citizenship.

          • Mark Shuttleworth takes SA government to court
          • Things to Consider when Purchasing Ubuntu Laptops

            Getting a new laptop is always fun, no matter which OS you prefer. However, getting Ubuntu installed on a new notebook can be a hit or miss process. Despite those who downplay the compatibility issue, installing Ubuntu on a laptop designed for Windows doesn’t always go as planned.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint does it for the diehard geek

              My confession is simple: Linux has been a part of my life for over 10 years. Granted, Linux never was a cup of tea for everyone but the curious. Once you got it to work right, it was the closest thing you got to perfection.

            • Linux Mint 15 Olivia Cinnamon review – Fantastic

              Linux Mint 15 Olivia is a very good distribution.

            • First Impressions of Linux Mint 15 “Olivia”

              The Linux Mint distribution has gained a reputation over the years as a powerful and user friendly desktop operating system. The project takes packages from the Ubuntu repositories and adds its own utilities, themes and customizations to create a distribution which is designed to perform most tasks out of the box. The Mint team has also pleased many people by adjusting their distribution to fix perceived problems with the underlying Ubuntu packages. Where Ubuntu tends to be experimental — switching from using the GNOME desktop to introducing Unity and adding advertisements to the desktop — Mint tends to walk a more conservative line. The Mint distribution maintains a classic style of desktop and tends to avoid revolutionary changes or eye-catching effects. The latest offering from the Mint team, version 15, was released in May and is based on the Ubuntu 13.04 repositories. Mint is offered in two basic flavours, one which comes with the Cinnamon desktop environment and the other ships with the MATE desktop. Both flavours can be downloaded either with or without third-party software which may be subject to non-free software licenses or patent laws. Each edition of Mint is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit builds and the download images are approximately 1GB in size. I decided to take the 32-bit MATE edition of Mint for a spin.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Innovation in the age of austerity

    Tim Willoughby: “We didn’t have the money we used to have and saw open-source packages could do the job of proprietary software at a fraction of the cost.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Is OpenStack the next Linux?

      It was interesting to hear last week that Mirantis scored $10 million in financing from Red Hat, Ericsson and SAP Ventures. But it was Red Hat, and the Linux connection to OpenStack, that started to jog my memory.

  • Databases

    • Can PostgreSQL break Salesforce’s love/hate Oracle bind?

      As a former Oracle employee, Benioff famously split off to start up Salesforce from a rented apartment in San Francisco with the intention of breaking many of the traditional perceptions of not only enterprise software but also, crucially, its delivery via a Software-as-a-Service delivery mechanism.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Government Doing the Right Thing, Switching to LibreOffice

      My experience in schools was similar. It is foolish to throw tons of money at M$ for an office suite when one can use LibreOffice for little more than the effort of installation. In knowledge businesses like education, an office suite may be one of the basic tools of communication, collaboration and presentation. So many organizations are locked into M$’s web-browser or office suite when there are plenty of good alternatives. Without that lock-in there is no need for M$’s OS so the savings resulting from migration are compounded. Governments can more easily migrate to GNU/Linux when there’s no use of M$’s office suite or browser. Then there is proper support of open standards which M$ lacked for many years creating a backlog of garbage that burdens governments with being slaves of M$ forever. That’s not silly. That’s wrong.

    • Best new feature in LibreOffice 4.1?
  • Education

    • Swiss schools use Kolab, open source email suite

      Over 36,000 students, teachers, and staffers at more than 20 schools in the Swiss capital of Basel are using Kolab, an open source email and collaboration suite.

      Using no more than just three ordinary servers, the system last year managed the sending of 4.25 million emails and received 5.2 million emails, said Torsten Grote, promoting the Kolab software at Linux Tag in Berlin, last week Wednesday.

    • Wintel, Office 365, education, and other observations

      I doubt that many users here will like the idea to “rent” their Office and pay monthly, especially now that it is well known that you can produce documents for free with LibreOffice or other options.

      So, the argument of business productivity might not work for Microsoft now as it used to. I guess that this company’s greatest hope to remain relevant will be to appeal to the sector where, sadly, the most technology-ignorant people are found: education. It’s already happening.

      It’s sad to say it but, unfortunately, teachers are the easiest prey for companies like Microsoft because educators normally lack information about free software and they are brainwashed to accept blindly that technology enhances learning. In addition, most teachers are the product of a monoculture in which “technology” is equivalent to “Windows”.

  • Healthcare

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Open Source SugarCRM consultancy opens London office

        The new office in Covent Garden, which will formally begin operations in July, will be managed by Celia McMillan, who is highly experienced in CRM project management.

        The office will provide SugarCRM Community Edition users with specialist consultancy services for planning, design and execution of SugarCRM Community Edition implementations in the South East of England.

      • Project Clearwater floats open-source IMS core for the cloud

        Metaswitch Networks is hoping its free, cloud-based, open-source IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) core will help more telecom service providers embrace IMS and, in turn, adopt other products from the company’s portfolio.


  • Project Releases

    • FLAC Audio Format gets First Update in 6 Years

      The Free Lossless Audio Codec, FLAC, loved by audiophiles for it’s lossless fidelity has been updated to version 1.3.0. FLAC is an audio format similar to MP3, but “lossless”, meaning that audio compressed in FLAC doesn’t suffer any loss in quality. Technically, MP3 is lower quality, since it’s lost data from its original format. FLAC v1.3.0 is the first update in almost 6 years and it is also the first release from the new Xiph.Org maintainer team.

  • Public Services/Government

    • New York City transparency website goes open source

      New York City Comptroller John Liu recently published the source code for the city’s financial transparency website called Checkbook NYC, as part of on-going efforts to promote openness and transparency.

  • Programming

    • Xonotic 0.7 Has New Compiler, Game Features

      It’s been over one year of waiting for Xonotic 1.0. The popular open-source game’s 1.0 release still isn’t here, but Xonotic 0.7 has been released this weekend. Xonotic 0.7 brings forward a lot of in-game updates, including a new QuakeC compiler.

    • LLVM / Clang 3.3 Is Running Late, But It’s Good

      For those that didn’t realize, the LLVM/Clang 3.3 release is running a bit behind schedule, but the wait should be worth it with this hefty upgrade.

    • LLVM / Clang 3.3 Is Running Late, But It’s Good

      For those that didn’t realize, the LLVM/Clang 3.3 release is running a bit behind schedule, but the wait should be worth it with this hefty upgrade.

      LLVM 3.3 was supposed to be released last Tuesday, which also happened to be the 9th birthday of Phoronix, but that release target was missed.


  • OpenSXCE Continues OpenSolaris Tradition

    Posted under “things I hope get traction and thrive”, OpenSXCE is the latest iteration of the once popular OpenSolaris Community Edition. OpenSXCE is based on Illumos, the operating system descendent from OpenSolaris, and as such inherits some of the great stuff that originated at Sun, like DTrace, ZFS, and zones virtualization. OpenSXCEs main claim to fame seems to be that it supports standard Intel x86 architecture as well as the all Sun Sparc architectures.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Front Groups Exposed—50 Industry Groups Form a New Alliance to Manipulate Public Opinion About Junk Food, GMOs, and Harmful Additives

      If you think it’s tough sorting truth from industry propaganda and lies, get ready for even tougher times ahead. More than 50 front groups, working on behalf of food and biotechnology trade groups―Monsanto being the most prominent―have formed a new coalition called Alliance to Feed the Future.

      The alliance, which is being coordinated by the International Food Information Council (IFIC), was created to “balance the public dialogue” on modern agriculture and large-scale food production and technology, i.e. this group will aim to become the go-to source for “real” information about the junk being sold as “food.”

    • U.S. farmer lawsuit filed against Monsanto over GMO wheat

      American wheat farmers and a food safety advocacy group filed a lawsuit Thursday against biotech seed developer Monsanto Co, accusing the company of failing to protect the U.S. wheat market from contamination by its unauthorized wheat.

      The petition, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, seeks class-action status to represent other farmers it says were harmed by lower wheat prices as some foreign buyers have shied away from U.S. wheat.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Exclusive: Leader of Anonymous Steubenville Op on Being Raided by the FBI

      A 26-year-old corporate cybersecurity consultant, Lostutter lives on a farm with his pit bull, Thor, and hunts turkeys, goes fishing, and rides motorcycles in his free time. He considers himself to be a patriotic American; he flies an American flag and enjoys Bud Light. He’s also a rapper with the stage name Shadow, and recently released a solo album under the aegis of his own label, Nightshade Records. The name dovetails with that of his Anonymous faction, KnightSec.

      Lostutter first got involved in Anonymous about a year ago, after watching the documentary We Are Legion. “This is me,” he thought as he learned about the group’s commitment to government accountability and transparency. “It was everything that I’d ever preached, and now there’s this group of people getting off the couch and doing something about it. I wanted to be part of the movement.”

    • Classified documents reveal CIA drone strikes often killed unknown people

      Of the 14 months worth of classified documents reviewed, 26 out of 114 attacks designate fatalities as “other militants,” while in four other attacks those killed are only described as “foreign fighters.”

    • US drone strike kill 5 people in Yemen

      The victims were all men, the report said.

    • Scotland’s stand over CIA torture flights must be seen through

      Perhaps the big moments that will define the Scottish independence referendum debate have still to occur. Certainly, the SNP’s referendum white paper, expected at the end of the year, ought to be one of them. Will it be the blueprint for a modern and inclusive Scotland, containing ideas that are genuinely radical and visionary? Or will the nationalists fall into the Better Together trap and reduce it merely to a number-crunching exercise about the extent of North Sea oil revenues and our share of the UK debt?

    • Whistleblower Edward Snowden Describes The Time The CIA Got A Swiss Banker Drunk And Put Him Behind The Wheel

      The 29-year-old former NSA/CIA employee who leaked documents about several invasive government spying programs, Edward Snowden has had growing doubts about the government for a long time, according to a bombshell interview in the Guardian.

    • A push to dial back CIA’s involvement in targeted killings: Mark Mazzetti

      Pulitzer winner explores how the US developed a new way of war how after the 11 September 2001 attacks

    • CIA report shows Taiwan concerns

      It says that the native population of Taiwan would welcome release from Chinese control, but was not strong enough to stage a successful revolt.

    • Ex-CIA Officer Baer: China Could be Behind NSA Leaks

      Officials in Washington are looking at Thursday’s leak of National Security Agency information as a possible case of Chinese espionage, says a former CIA agent.

      Edward Snowden, the 29-year-old NSA contractor who admitted on Sunday he was the leaker of top secret information on the U.S. government’s program to cull information from Internet sources such as Facebook and Google, was unwise to flee to Hong Kong, former CIA agent Robert Baer told CNN on Sunday.


      “We’ll never get him from China. There’s not a chance. He’ll disappear there,” he said.

    • Memory from Nazi Germany and Images of the Trial of Bradley Manning

      I am listening to news right now about the military trial of Bradley Manning, which is taking place in my homeland, the USA. Bradley Manning is on trial for “aiding the enemy”–an incredibly broad statute that can be abused–and has been misused historically by horrible regimes to put people–including soldiers–in prison.

    • US drone strikes kill dozens in Yemen, Pakistan

      In the two and a half weeks since President Barack Obama’s speech at the National Defense University justifying his policy of drone assassination, as many as 25 people have been killed and as many as 12 others injured in four US drone missile attacks in Pakistan and Yemen. The attacks demonstrate that the Obama administration intends to continue indefinitely its illegal assassination campaign.

    • Families of drone attack victims urge Nawaz to halt strikes

      Mohammad Nazir, whose son was killed in a US drone strike in June 2006 in North Waziristan tribal district, a haven for insurgents, endorsed the demand and said he wanted revenge for his son’s death.

      “My son was 25 years old, he was a labourer and was working in a house with other labourers in the night when the drone strike took place,” he told AFP.

      “According to tribal law, you kill the son of that person who kills your son, so I will take revenge of my son’s killing whenever I have the opportunity.”

      According to the British Bureau of Investigative Journalism, since 2004 up to 3,587 people have been killed in Pakistan by drone attacks, which Washington says are an effective weapon in the fight against Islamist militancy.

    • What Did Samantha Power Say About Iraq Invasion?

      Obama National Security Council adviser Samantha Power has been named the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. That news prompted a piece in the New York Times (6/9/13) headlined “A Golden Age for Intervention?” by Neil MacFarquhar. The article raises some of the usual issues surrounding Power’s work– most prominently the notion that the United States should use military intervention in the name of humanitarianism.


      At that time, bonafide critics of the Iraq War were much clearer than that, and it’s hard to find much else that would suggest that Power had a particularly clear anti-war case she made publicly–though she did, like many others, come around to articulating a more forceful critique of the Bush administration by the time that administration was almost over.

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The extreme anti-extremist: Raheem Kassam’s climate-sceptic ‘GreenCEASE’ project

      In the wake of the Woolwich murder, the press has been very receptive to arguments in favour of banning “hate preachers” from universities, arguments espoused by, among others, a group called Student Rights. Despite this pressure group’s non-transparency, shoddy research methods, and lack of legitimacy among actual students, the press continues to take it seriously and it has featured on the front pages of the Times, the Guardian and in a number of other media outlets.

    • Tim Yeo denies claims he offered to advise solar energy lobbyists for cash

      Conservative MP and chair of energy and climate change committee is latest politician to be pulled into lobbying scandal

    • Argentine court revokes US$19 bln embargo on Chevron

      Argentina’s Supreme Court revoked a US$19 billion embargo on the assets and future income of Chevron Corp.’s Argentina subsidiary, giving the US oil giant a victory in a decades-old battle with indigenous groups in Ecuador.

      The court’s decision is also a victory for Argentina’s government, which has been encouraging Chevron to invest in its vast but almost entirely untapped unconventional oil and gas reserves.

  • Finance

    • EU commissioners attend ‘secret’ Bilderberg summits on expenses

      If European commissioners attend the Bilderberg ‘shadow world government’ events at the taxpayers’ expense, doesn’t the public have a right to know what goes on behind the closed doors? PublicServiceEurope.com dissects the commissioners’ latest expenses claims, including first-class flights

    • David Cameron could be forced to explain Bilderberg talks

      David Cameron could be forced to give details of private talks he is holding with world leaders at the secretive meeting of the Bilderberg Group.

    • One Voice United Albany education rally draws thousands from Hudson Valley

      Standing on the edge of Albany’s Empire Plaza Saturday afternoon, Lakeland teacher Michael Lillis surveyed a crowd of thousands that included students, parents and fellow teachers from school districts across New York protesting what they say is excessive state testing and insufficient funding.

    • Hedge Funds Win Collateral Reprieve in SEC Dodd-Frank Shift (1)

      Hedge funds and asset managers won relief from Dodd-Frank Act collateral requirements for credit-default swaps under a policy shift disclosed today in letters posted on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s website.

      The letters to banks including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) revised a measure released in March that called for some clients to put up double the collateral dealers post for portfolio margin accounts at Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange Inc. (ICE) The banks instead will be able collect collateral from clients according to clearinghouse rules for six months.

    • Africa, let us help – just like in 1884

      From the Conference of Berlin to today’s G8, ‘helping’ Africans looks suspiciously like grabbing their resources

    • Goldman Says They Don’t Benefit From A Too Big To Fail Funding Advantage

      Goldman Sachs wants you to believe that Too Big To Fail banks do not actually enjoy a funding advantage.

      The Wall Street firm recently put out a paper with the mild title of “Measuring the TBTF effect on bond pricing.” It argues that the commonly-held view that TBTF banks can borrow cheaply because bond investors expect the government will support them used to be a little bit correct. Then it became very correct during the financial crisis. But now is totally incorrect.

      The study argues that that six banks with more than $500 billion in assets paid interest rates on their bonds that were an average six basis-points lower than smaller banks from 1999 to mid-2007. When the financial crisis struck, the funding advantage grew far wider. But beginning in 2011, the funding difference reversed, with the biggest banks now paying an average of 10 basis points more than smaller banks.

    • Switzerland Furious About Snowden’s Charge That the CIA Conducts Economic Espionage Against Formerly Secret Swiss Banks
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wisconsin GOP Sneaks ALEC-Supported For-Profit Bail Bonding Into Budget Bill

      Republican lawmakers have squeezed a provision into the Wisconsin budget to reintroduce bail bondsmen (and bounty hunters) to the state, a corruptive practice that has been banned since 1979, faces nearly universal opposition from the state’s criminal justice system, and is promoted heavily by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

  • Censorship

    • Media freedom in Finland and Greece

      Last week I was in Egypt – meeting a lot of bloggers and activists working for reform. Online tools played a big part in Egypt’s fight for freedom; and they are still hard at work.

  • Privacy

    • Clapper: Leaks are ‘literally gut-wrenching,’ leaker being sought
    • U.S., company officials: Internet surveillance does not indiscriminately mine data

      The director of national intelligence on Saturday stepped up his public defense of a top-secret government data surveillance program as technology companies began privately explaining the mechanics of its use.

      The program, code-named PRISM, has enabled national security officials to collect e-mail, videos, documents and other material from at least nine U.S. companies over six years, including Google, Microsoft and Apple, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.

    • Boundless Informant: NSA’s complex tool for classifying global intelligence

      A new batch of classified NSA docs leaked to the media reveals the details of a comprehensive piece of software used by NSA to analyze and evaluate intelligence gathered across the globe as well as data extraction methods.

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’ – video
    • Former CIA assistant Edward Snowden outs himself as NSA whistleblower
    • Ex-CIA man says exposed spy scheme for better world
    • NSA whistleblower steps forward
    • NSA Whistleblower Revealed
    • Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind revelations of NSA surveillance

      The 29-year-old source behind the biggest intelligence leak in the NSA’s history explains his motives, his uncertain future and why he never intended on hiding in the shadows

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I do not expect to see home again’

      Source for the Guardian’s NSA files on why he carried out the biggest intelligence leak in a generation – and what comes next

    • NSA surveillance whistleblower Edward Snowden outs himself
    • PRISM whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals himself, reasons for leaking surveillance program (updated)
    • Media reports on PRISM ‘contain numerous inaccuracies’ : DNI

      Oh dear! The webpage devoted to the wisdom of James R. Clapper, the US director of National Intelligence, is down. :(

      But that didn’t stop him from issuing a statement claiming reports about the NSA monitoring Americans’ Internet and phone communications are inaccurate.

      The fact his webpage is off-line also means his statement can no longer be accessed.

    • Google is close to ending the speculation and buying Waze for $1.3 billion, according to Israeli media

      Google is close to completing a $1.3 billion deal to acquire social mapping firm Waze — finally ending months of speculation about the startup — according to media reports out of its native Israel.

      Globes, a leading online newspaper in the country, reports that Google is currently tying up final deals and ‘will soon’ announce that it has captured the much sought after startup — which both Apple and Facebook have been linked with in recent times.

    • Rand Paul vows to take NSA spying to SCOTUS

      The senator says he plans to ask telecomm, Internet firms to ask clients to join his class action

    • Rand Paul Says He May Sue Over NSA Program
    • Inside the United States

      Human rights activists say revelations that the US regime has expanded its domestic surveillance program to private phone carriers is more evidence of the North American country’s pivot toward authoritarianism.

      The Guardian, a British newspaper, reported this week that a wing of the country’s feared intelligence and security apparatus ordered major telecommunications companies to hand over data on phone calls made by private citizens.

      “The US leadership in Washington continues to erode basic human rights,” said one activist, who asked to remain anonymous, fearing that speaking out publicly could endanger his organization. “If the US government is unwilling to change course, it’s time the international community considered economic sanctions.”

      Over the last decade, the United States has passed a series of emergency laws that give security forces sweeping powers to combat “terrorism.” But foreign observers say the authorities abuse those laws, using them instead to monitor ordinary Americans.

      While the so-called Patriot Act passed in 2001 is perhaps the most dramatic legislation to date curbing freedoms here, numerous lesser-known laws have expanded monitoring of news outlets, email, social media platforms and even opposition groups — like the Occupy and Tea Party movements — that are critical of the regime.

    • This abuse of the Patriot Act must end

      President Obama falsely claims Congress authorised all NSA surveillance. In fact, our law was designed to protect liberties

    • Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican Author Of Patriot Act, Says NSA PRISM Surveillance Goes Too Far
    • Greenwald Apparently Has Some Technical Details of NSA Intercept Operations but Won’t Publish Them
    • Technology giants struggle to maintain credibility over NSA Prism surveillance

      Strongly-worded denials issued by Apple, Facebook and Google about their co-operation are followed by further revelations

    • US surveillance has ‘expanded’ under Obama, says Bush’s NSA director

      William Hague to address parliament on UK intelligence use of Prism as US politicians speak out over secret surveillance

    • William Hague on spying scandal: what he said … and what he didn’t say
    • New NSA tool to quantify, track intelligence collection revealed – live
    • Orwell’s fears refracted through the NSA’s Prism
    • NSA surveillance: lawmakers urge disclosure as Obama ‘welcomes’ debate

      A key senator responsible for the oversight US intelligence programs has questioned the Obama administration’s truthfulness about its widespread spying on Americans’ communications, as the White House continued to insist it “welcomed” debate on the issue.

    • NSA scandal: what data is being monitored and how does it work?

      Everything you need to know about data gathering from internet companies by the US National Security Agency

    • Obama defends secret NSA surveillance programs – as it happened
    • NSA Prism: Why I’m boycotting US cloud tech – and you should too

      So, America’s National Security Agency has been tapping up US internet giants to gather information about foreigners online, allegedly sharing that data with Britain’s GCHQ – and gobbling up details about US citizens’ phone calls.

      When I was a kid my world was full of pro-America propaganda; I never once questioned American exceptionalism and I cheered for the “good guys” in red, white and blue.

    • Prism whistleblower outs himself, claims NSA are ‘ingesting everything’

      ‘I don’t want to live in a society like this’ says former CIA employee

    • Horrible timing: National Security Agency lists ‘Digital Network Exploitation Analyst’ internship opening as controversy swirls over digital snooping scandal

      It’s either a cruel joke or the world’s worst timing: An internship listing for a ‘Digital Network Exploitation Analyst’ appeared Thursday on the National Security Agency’s job-opening Twitter feed, just as the cyber spy directorate was caught up in an international scandal involving snooping on millions of telephone, email and social networking accounts.

    • How The NSA Hunts For Startups Through A VC Firm Dedicated To Serving Intelligence Community

      In-Q-Tel (IQT) is a not-for-profit venture capital group that helps the NSA and other agencies hunt for startup and young companies that develop core technology for the U.S. intelligence community.

      These young companies are often outside the reach of the intelligence community — about 70 percent of them have never worked with the government before. IQT often co-invests with venture capital groups, giving the CIA, NSA and other intelligence agencies access to the most new and innovative technologies on the market.

    • Senator Feinstein: NSA phone call data collection in place ‘since 2006′
    • Feinstein Supports Hearings on NSA Data Programs
    • The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center, “Watch What You Say”

      Today Bluffdale is home to one of the nation’s largest sects of polygamists, the Apostolic United Brethren, with upwards of 9,000 members. The brethren’s complex includes a chapel, a school, a sports field, and an archive. Membership has doubled since 1978—and the number of plural marriages has tripled—so the sect has recently been looking for ways to purchase more land and expand throughout the town.

      But new pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who say little and keep to themselves. Like the pious polygamists, they are focused on deciphering cryptic messages that only they have the power to understand. Just off Beef Hollow Road, less than a mile from brethren headquarters, thousands of hard-hatted construction workers in sweat-soaked T-shirts are laying the groundwork for the newcomers’ own temple and archive, a massive complex so large that it necessitated expanding the town’s boundaries. Once built, it will be more than five times the size of the US Capitol.

    • Edward Snowden has blown the whistle on this presidency. You have to wonder: Will Obama see out his full term?

      “They could pay off the Triads,” says Edward Snowden, the NSA whistleblower interviewed by the Guardian in his Hong Kong hideout. Meaning: the CIA could use a proxy to kill him for revealing that Barack Obama has presided over an unimaginable – to the ordinary citizen – expansion of the Federal government’s powers of surveillance over anyone.

    • 10 famous/infamous whistleblowers
    • Hong Kong Baffled by Snowden’s Hideout Choice

      Hong Kong politicians and lawyers questioned why the man behind the National Security Administration surveillance leak picked the former British colony as a refuge, noting the territory’s longstanding cooperation with the U.S. on legal and economic matters.

      According to an interview with The Guardian, 29-year-old Edward Snowden, whose revelations have created a political uproar, has stashed himself in an unidentified luxury hotel in Hong Kong, a city he said he chose as the best place to hunker down given its “spirited commitment to free speech and the right of political dissent.”

    • Icelandic Legislator: I’m Ready To Help NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Seek Asylum

      When WikiLeaks burst onto the international stage in 2010, the small Nordic nation of Iceland offered it a safe haven. Now American whistleblower Edward Snowden may be seeking that country’s protection, and at least one member of its parliament says she’s ready to help.

      On Sunday evening Icelandic member of parliament Birgitta Jonsdottir and Smari McCarthy, executive director of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, issued a statement of support for Snowden, the Booz Allen Hamilton staffer who identified himself to the Guardian newspaper as the source of a series of top secret documents outlining the NSA’s massive surveillance of foreigners and Americans.

    • Code name ‘Verax’: Snowden, in exchanges with Post reporter, made clear he knew risks
    • Edward Snowden: Republicans call for NSA whistleblower to be extradited
    • Edward Snowden in Hong Kong

      I’m glad we have this information; I am sorry we are getting it from Hong Kong.

    • Edward Snowden: Whistleblower Behind Leaks Outs Himself

      There’s plenty more in both the article and the interview that’s worth reading. I’m sure there will be much more on this, but this truly does seem like a classic whistleblower case, though I doubt that’s how Snowden will be portrayed by many in power.

    • A Few Good Men: PRISM Whistle-blower Edward Snowden reveals his identity

      Snowden joined the US army in 2003. He said he joined the army because he was driven by the same principle which drove him to leak the surveillance documents – to help free people from oppression. In 2003 he wanted to fight the Iraq war because he wanted to free Iraqi people from oppression. But when he trained for the war in 2003 he was devastated as the people training him were not driven by the same principle as he was, “Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone.”

    • The European response to PRISM must be protecting privacy

      Once again we have a whistle-blower to thank for making us aware of the sort of monitoring and surveillance we are subject to, bringing to light evidence of something that has so far only been guessed at. United States officials have been shamed into acknowledging the existence of PRISM, an in-depth surveillance programme snooping on live communications and stored information held by many of the worlds largest internet companies – including data that belongs to European citizens and organisations.

    • GCHQ ‘broke law if it asked for NSA intelligence on UK citizens’

      Chairman of security and intelligence committee makes assertion as William Hague prepares to make statement to MPs

    • Intelligence officials overheard joking about how NSA leaker should be ‘disappeared’ after handing classified documents to press
    • NSA surveillance as told through classic children’s books
    • Edward Snowden, American Hero

      At the end of the eighteenth century, the laissez-faire-philosopher-turned-statist Jeremy Bentham devised a scheme for the design of a prison he called the Panopticon: a circular building at the center of which is a watchtower made of glass from which it is possible to observe the inmates at all times. If we look at America as one vast prison, with ourselves as the inmates, we can get some idea of what the national security bureaucracy was envisioning when they conceived PRISM, “Boundless Informant,” and the program that records the details (minus content) of every phone call made in the US (which, as far as I know, doesn’t have a name). Derived from documents leaked to the Guardian newspaper columnist Glenn Greenwald, these revelations throw back the curtain on a modern day, hi tech Panopticon, with the high priests of the National Security State sitting at the center of it, relentlessly observing us, the prisoners—who don’t even know we’re prisoners – 24/7.

    • CIA-funded upstart: THE TRUTH about Prism and NSA’s web snooping

      Palantir and HBGary Federal worked together to develop a strategy for Bank of America to deal with the threatened exposure of secret documents from the bank. HBGary Federal proposed a smear campaign against journalist Glenn Greenwald as part of these proposals, a move Palantir repudiated and said was solely HBGary’s idea. They severed their links with HBGary Federal in February 2011, soon after the infamous LulzSec pwnage of HBGary Federal and its chief exec, Aaron Barr.

    • Time for Europe to stop being complicit in NSA’s crimes

      A hero walks among us, and his name is Edward Snowden. He exposed a widespread wiretapping of ordinary people’s lives by the United States NSA that goes far, far beyond anything the East German Stasi ever did. While we cannot and should not control agencies in the United States, we can stop being complicit in their crimes against European citizens.

      It has now come to light that the United States NSA – National Security Agency – wiretaps the social life of pretty much every European citizen as they use Facebook, Google, Gmail, Skype, phonecalls, video conferences, and a number of other services. This is a crime under European legislation. It’s not just “bad guys” and “rogue states” that are wiretapped; detailed leaked maps reveal that they have wiretapped people in Germany as much as they have wiretapped people in, say, Iraq. This is more than cause for concern; this is an outrage.

    • Anthony Pellicano Wiretap Lawsuit Nears Settlement

      A source tells THR that AT&T will pay out more than 500 unintentional victims whose calls with ex-THR editor Anita Busch were illegally recorded.

    • Xbox One: Microsoft will require Internet connection for new console

      As a sort of prerequisite to play on one’s home console, the Xbox One will need to be connected to the Internet at least once every 24 hours if one wishes to game offline. If a user tries to access a game library on a friend’s Xbox One, then the system will require a network connection at least once per hour.

    • Internet Shattered: Spies, Spooks, and Disgust

      I’ve spent literally my entire adult life (and even before) working on Internet technologies and policies, one way or another, reaching back to early ARPANET days at UCLA — a project rooted in Department of Defense funding, it’s worthwhile to remember.

      Over that time, there have been many related high points and low points, events joyful or upsetting, but never — not even close — have I felt so completely, utterly disgusted with a situation associated with the Net as I am today.

      The apparently true facts we’re learning about our own government’s spying abuses against its own citizens are bad enough. But we also are faced with stomaching the incredibly hypocritical and disingenuous pronouncements of intelligence agencies, administration officials, and Congressional leaders, as they point fingers back and forth about who knew what when, who approved which program, and why we citizens shouldn’t be at all concerned.

    • Lauren Weinstein’s Blog Update: Internet Shattered: Spies, Spooks, and Disgust

      I wish I believed that all the internet companies were as innocent as Lauren believes. History has shown this is not always the truth. (remember ATT and the massive tap etc.). Seems in practice the Government, many companies, and others forgot about the Bill of Rights. It leaves it up to individuals, EPIC, EFF, ACLU and many other organizations to remember the Constitution and Ben Franklins comments — “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    • Minimization and the “Collection First” Surveillance Model

      The Director of National Intelligence issued a statement late last night about the NSA collection flap. It’s the smartest thing the government has released so far, and its justification for the program in question seems to confirm my speculation in Foreign Policy yesterday.

      First, large-scale collections give the government a way to screen for patterns in communications that will bring to light terrorists who are unknown to the government. As the DNI puts it, ”The collection is broad in scope because more narrow collection would limit our ability to screen for and identify terrorism-related communications. Acquiring this information allows us to make connections related to terrorist activities over time.”

    • Edward Snowden comes forward as source of NSA leaks

      The Guardian was the first to publicly identify Snowden, at his request.

      The White House said late Sunday that it would not have any comment on the matter.

    • Obama warns Xi that continued cybertheft would damage relations, U.S. officials said
    • So Just Exactly What Is NSA’s Prism, More Than Reprehensibly Evil?

      The US NSA’s PRISM program appears to be a set of specialized deep-packet inspection filters combined with pre-existing wiretapping points at high-level Internet carriers in the United States. Since the program’s revelation the day before yesterday, speculations have ranged far and wide about who does what to make this surveillance state nightmare possible. Adding it all together, it would appear that the social tech companies did not, repeat not, supply bulk data about their users at the US Government’s will – but that the situation for you as an end user remains just as if they had.

    • On whistleblowers and government threats of investigation

      The way things are supposed to work is that we’re supposed to know virtually everything about what they do: that’s why they’re called public servants. They’re supposed to know virtually nothing about what we do: that’s why we’re called private individuals.

    • All the Infrastructure a Tyrant Would Need, Courtesy of Bush and Obama

      Let’s assume that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, their staffers, and every member of Congress for the last dozen years has always acted with pure motives in the realm of national security. Say they’ve used the power they’ve claimed, the technology they’ve developed, and the precedents they’ve established exclusively to fight al-Qaeda terrorists intent on killing us, that they’ve succeeded in disrupting what would’ve been successful attacks, and that Americans are lucky to have had men and women so moral, prudent, and incorruptible in charge.

    • Is the PRISM Surveillance Program Legal?
    • Web Inventor Speaks Out On PRISM

      Sir Tim Berners-Lee, founding director of the World Wide Web Foundation said:

      “Today’s revelations are deeply concerning. Unwarranted government surveillance is an intrusion on basic human rights that threatens the very foundations of a democratic society.

      “I call on all Web users to demand better legal protection and due process safeguards for the privacy of their online communications, including their right to be informed when someone requests or stores their data. Over the last two decades, the Web has become an integral part of our lives. A trace of our use of it can reveal very intimate personal things. A store of this information about each person is a huge liability: Whom would you trust to decide when to access it, or even to keep it secure?”

    • Seize It All, And Trust the Government To Sort It Out

      And the place is in an uproar. Because the reality of what we’ve allowed and approved, even if tacitly, for decades has come to light? Grow up.

      Congress enacted FISA in 1978. The riff raff, like us, didn’t know about its existence until sometime in the 1980s, at which point we pulled our hair out, yelled and screamed, over this outrageous violation of basic principles of freedom, privacy, liberty. And it was news for a few hours until everybody went back to watching TV and the stock market.

      And all was forgotten, because the truth is that we don’t care all that much, our attention span is brief and shiny things are more fascinating to the American public. They always have been.

      It’s been extended and expanded since then, including a paradigm shift in how it worked back in 2004, during the mid-second-Bush years. The New York Times wrote about it. The few who were interested knew about it. The rest were busy scrambling to get their new iToys. Remember that? No, I didn’t think so.

    • Why Metadata Matters

      Sorry, your phone records—oops, “so-called metadata”—can reveal a lot more about the content of your calls than the government is implying. Metadata provides enough context to know some of the most intimate details of your lives. And the government has given no assurances that this data will never be correlated with other easily obtained data. They may start out with just a phone number, but a reverse telephone directory is not hard to find. Given the public positions the government has taken on location information, it would be no surprise if they include location information demands in Section 215 orders for metadata.

    • Government Says Secret Court Opinion on Law Underlying PRISM Program Needs to Stay Secret

      In a rare public filing in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the Justice Department today urged continued secrecy for a 2011 FISC opinion that found the National Security Agency’s surveillance under the FISA Amendments Act to be unconstitutional. Significantly, the surveillance at issue was carried out under the same controversial legal authority that underlies the NSA’s recently-revealed PRISM program.

    • The Guardian’s Bombshell Revelation About NSA Domestic Spying Is Only The Tip Of The Iceberg

      Although the revelation doesn’t surprise privacy advocates, the fact that Greenwald obtained a top secret court order compelling Verizon to give the NSA information on all telephone calls in its systems is the first concrete piece of evidence exposing dragnet domestic surveillance.

      But, unfortunately for U.S. citizens who don’t want their government routinely spying on them, that’s just the beginning.

    • PRISM vs Tor

      By now, just about everybody has heard about the PRISM surveillance program, and many are beginning to speculate on its impact on Tor.

      Unfortunately, there still are a lot of gaps to fill in terms of understanding what is really going on, especially in the face of conflicting information between the primary source material and Google, Facebook, and Apple’s claims of non-involvement.

      This apparent conflict means that it is still hard to pin down exactly how the program impacts Tor, and is leading many to assume worst-case scenarios.

    • The Omniscient State

      The world needs whistleblowers. Now more than ever.

    • Government Secrets and the Need for Whistle-blowers

      Yesterday, we learned that the NSA received all calling records from Verizon customers for a three-month period starting in April. That’s everything except the voice content: who called who, where they were, how long the call lasted — for millions of people, both Americans and foreigners. This “metadata” allows the government to track the movements of everyone during that period, and a build a detailed picture of who talks to whom. It’s exactly the same data the Justice Department collected about AP journalists.


      The leaker for at least some of this is Edward Snowden. I consider him an American hero.

    • Prism scandal: European commission to seek privacy guarantees from US
    • Edward Snowden’s chutzpah.
    • What William Hague and Theresa May need to tell us

      While admiration for Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing grows in the USA and abroad, in the UK we are listening to Sir Malcolm Rifkind and William Hague with increasing scepticism.


      The government cannot simply insist that US-based surveillance, wich is both secret and pervasive, is just a US problem. PRISM in particular seems to be targeted at non-US citizens, for very broad ‘foreign policy’ considerations. Additionally, the legal position in the US is that there are no constitutional protections for non-US citizens. Caspar Bowden outlined these points in detail (PDF) at ORGCon on Saturday.

    • For web users around the world, everything is different now

      As details of the U.S. government’s PRISM program continue to emerge, much of the debate in the United States has focused on the constitutionality of the program. This is only right for people within those borders, but it’s a debate that sounds a lot less relevant to many of us in the outside world.

    • Yes, NSA surveillance should worry the law-abiding

      Many internet users will be feeling slightly bemused by the worldwide reaction to the revelations about US surveillance technology. As President Obama, the UK foreign secretary, William Hague, and many other senior politicians have said, what do the innocent have to fear? Why would the National Security Agency (NSA), or anyone else, care about your search history, Facebook updates, Skype calls, emails, instant messages, and so on?

      Data mining tools have developed quickly over the past decade, and a detailed picture can now be painted of people’s lives with even small amounts of such information. This picture can ultimately have real-world consequences. Ever had problems getting an electronic visa to travel to countries such as the US and Australia, who pre-screen foreign visitors, or had to go through lengthy additional security at the airport? Thought about getting a job with a government agency or contractor that will do background checks first? Or perhaps you’ve had difficulty getting medical insurance or credit despite a healthy lifestyle and prompt payment of your bills?

      So-called “big data” approaches are revolutionising the way these processes work, in government and the private sector. By crunching through large quantities of data, all sorts of interesting patterns can be found inside people’s everyday activities. You might already realise that fatty and sugary foods showing up on your supermarket loyalty card could be interesting to insurers, financial service providers, and even employers concerned about sick days – but did you know significant time spent commuting and watching television are also good predictors of a shorter lifespan?

    • Edward Snowden: Saving Us from the United Stasi of America

      In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release of NSA material – and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago. Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an “executive coup” against the US constitution.

      Since 9/11, there has been, at first secretly but increasingly openly, a revocation of the bill of rights for which this country fought over 200 years ago. In particular, the fourth and fifth amendments of the US constitution, which safeguard citizens from unwarranted intrusion by the government into their private lives, have been virtually suspended.

    • Who Is Edward Snowden, The Self-Styled NSA Leaker?
    • NSA data surveillance: how much is too much?

      The NSA claims its data collection is innocuous, but even the most basic detail can reveal a person’s most sensitive secrets

    • How Does Prism Change the Way We See Things?

      The extraordinary revelations about the NSA’s global spying programme Prism have only just started – was it really just last Thursday that things began? So it would be extremely rash to attempt any kind of definitive statement about what is going on. But that doesn’t preclude a few preliminary comments, as well as initial thoughts on what action those of us in Europe might take in response.

    • Inside the ‘Q Group,’ the Directorate Hunting Down Edward Snowden

      The top-secret ‘Q Group’ has been chasing Edward Snowden since he disappeared in May. Eli Lake on the intel community’s internal police—and why the agency is in ‘complete freakout mode.’

    • NSA snooping: Obama under pressure as senator denounces ‘act of treason’
    • NSA ‘offers intelligence to British counterparts to skirt UK law’

      The US National Security Agency circumvents UK law by offering, rather than being asked for, intelligence from global websites to their British counterparts, according to David Blunkett, who was home secretary at the time of the 9/11 attacks.

    • Thinking critically about Edward Snowden

      Edward Snowden is now a famous man.

      He has been praised as a hero and as one of the greatest whistleblowers of his generation.

      He may well be; but it is too soon to tell.

    • PRISM, the NSA and internet privacy: questions for the UK
    • Why didn’t tech company leaders blow the whistle?

      Dave asks some great questions about why the people who had power over these networks didn’t blow the whistle instead of some anonymous insider having to do it. Here’s one possible answer.

    • Statement regarding involvement of IMMI in Edward Snowden asylum request
    • Post PRISM, India’s ISP Association wants Google, Facebook to setup local servers

      Last week technology giants Facebook and Google were accused of participating in US government’s PRISM project that collects emails, documents, photos and other material for US spy agencies to review.

      The Prism system allows agents at the NSA to send queries “directly to equipment installed at company-controlled locations”, rather than directly to company servers (Guardian).

    • Whistleblower Edward Snowden hailed as hero on social media

      The response on social media to the unveiling of NSA’s biggest intelligence leak source, Edward Snowden, has been divided with some calling him a traitor, however the response to his coming out has been overwhelmingly positive, with the majority calling him a hero.

    • Pardon Edward Snowden

      Edward Snowden is a national hero and should be immediately issued a a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.

    • NSA Prism scandal: Russia ‘would consider Edward Snowden asylum claim’ – live coverage
    • Google, Facebook and others in battle to salvage reputations after NSA leak

      Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple have been floundering for a response

    • Cyber Command, NSA leadership may be reassessed under fiscal 2014 NDAA

      The implications of having one person lead both Cyber Command and the National Security Agency would be explored under the fiscal 2014 national defense authorization act that the House Armed Services Committee approved June 6.

      The bill (H.R. 1960), which the committee passed by a 59-2 vote, would have the Defense Science Board complete the assessment within 300 days of its enactment into law.

      Read more: Cyber Command, NSA leadership may be reassessed under fiscal 2014 NDAA – FierceGovernmentIT http://www.fiercegovernmentit.com/story/cyber-command-nsa-leadership-may-be-reassessed-under-fiscal-2014-ndaa/2013-06-10#ixzz2VtfxGEa1
      Subscribe at FierceGovernmentIT

    • Cryptic Overtures and a Clandestine Meeting Gave Birth to a Blockbuster Story

      So three people — Glenn Greenwald, a civil-liberties writer who recently moved his blog to The Guardian; Laura Poitras, a documentary filmmaker who specializes in surveillance; and Ewen MacAskill, a Guardian reporter — flew from New York to Hong Kong about 12 days ago. They followed the directions. A man with a Rubik’s Cube appeared.

      It was Edward J. Snowden, who looked even younger than his 29 years — an appearance, Mr. Greenwald recalled in an interview from Hong Kong on Monday, that shocked him because he had been expecting, given the classified surveillance programs the man had access to, someone far more senior. Mr. Snowden has now turned over archives of “thousands” of documents, according to Mr. Greenwald, and “dozens” are newsworthy.


      Mr. Snowden, Mr. Greenwald said, had first reached out to Ms. Poitras in January. Her work has focused on national-security issues like surveillance, including a short documentary she made for The New York Times Op-Ed page in August. She and Mr. Greenwald, along with Mr. Ellsberg, are also helping with a new organization devoted to whistle-blowers and transparency, the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

      The next month, Mr. Greenwald said, Mr. Snowden contacted him with an enigmatic e-mail identifying himself as a reader and saying he wanted to communicate about a potential story using encryption. Mr. Greenwald wrote back that he did not have such software. Mr. Snowden later sent him a homemade video with step-by-step instructions for installing it, which Mr. Greenwald watched but never completed.

      Frustrated, Mr. Snowden is said to have told Ms. Poitras that he had a major story about the National Security Agency that required both technical and legal expertise, proposing that they work together with Mr. Greenwald. Ms. Poitras, who did not respond to an interview request, told Salon on Monday that she had contacted Barton Gellman, a former Washington Post reporter, around that time for his opinion of the whether the purported source seemed legitimate.

    • CIA says it ‘wants to know everything’

      So far, the Central Intelligence Agency largely has remained out of the spotlight of snooping scandals that have touched agencies such at the National Security Agency and the Justice Department.

      So far.

    • Code names and pseudonyms: personal risks were clear to whistleblower Edward Snowden

      He called me BRASSBANNER, a code name in the double-barrelled style of the National Security Agency, where he worked in the signals intelligence directorate.

    • Rules For Living In The Total Surveillance State

      Snowden says, I and I agree, that we have a short window of time to dismantle the government’s surveillance machine. If we wait too long it’ll be too late, and nothing the people of the world can do will be able to stop it.

    • European Parliament lashes out at “shocking” U.S. surveillance program

      Ahead of a U.S.-EU summit this coming Friday, the European Parliament had a brief debate about the PRISM surveillance scandal on Tuesday morning. With near unanimity, the speakers raised strong concerns with the program’s mass collection of Europeans’ personal data.

    • On Prism

      News of PRISM is spreading rapidly, and with realization of just how serious this is. This isn’t the first time that there’s been the revelation of government spying, but more than ever we’re seeing clearly how broad and wide government and corporate surveillance are growing over our lives.

    • Inside the United States

      This is satire. Although the news is real, very little actual reporting was done for this story and the quotes are imagined. It is the first installment of an ongoing series that examines the language journalists use to cover foreign countries. What if we wrote that way about the United States?

  • Civil Rights

    • PRISM fallout in Europe: Don’t expect the Commission to save the day

      What should Europeans expect from the European Commission in response to the PRISM scandal? Not a lot, unfortunately, because it’s mostly a matter for individual countries.

    • How the US Turned Three Pacifists into Violent Terrorists

      In just ten months, the United States managed to transform an 82 year-old Catholic nun and two pacifists from non-violent anti-nuclear peace protestors accused of misdemeanor trespassing into federal felons convicted of violent crimes of terrorism. Now in jail awaiting sentencing for their acts at an Oak Ridge, TN nuclear weapons production facility, their story should chill every person concerned about dissent in the US.

    • What happened to Tank Man, China’s most famous Tiananmen Square protester?

      A day after Chinese military killed at least hundreds, if not thousands of demonstrators in Beijing in 1989, a wiry man in a white shirt stepped in front of a line of moving tanks near Tiananmen Square and become one of the most famous protesters of the 20th century.

    • NDAA: Indefinite Detention, Guantanamo Bay Battles Emerge Amid NSA Spying Scandal

      With the nation already alarmed over revelations of massive National Security Agency data collection, Congress is set to act next week on two other contentious issues — the power to indefinitely detain Americans and keeping open the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects.

      With very little notice early Thursday, the House Armed Services Committee passed the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act, overshadowed by news that the NSA has gathered up phone records for millions of Americans and data-mined the nation’s largest Internet sites.

    • Expanding Guantanamo

      In 2008, candidate Obama promised to close Guantanamo. Straightaway as president, he issued Executive Order titled “Review and Disposition of Individuals Detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base and Closure of Detention Facilities.”

    • Obama’s Orwellian Police-State draws fire

      Government phone, Internet snooping demands immediate, dramatic downsizing of all spy agencies, repeal of Patriot Act, FISA, NDAA. Taking its cue from George Orwell’s famous novel 1984, the Obama administration is mining customer data from major Internet vendors and collecting telephone records of millions of U.S. [and Canadian] citizens indiscriminately — regardless of whether they are suspected of a crime.

    • The Next American Revolution Has Already Begun: An Interview With Gar Alperovitz

      Gar A: The concentration of wealth in this country is astonishing. 400 individuals—you could seat them all on a single airplane—own as much wealth as 60 percent of the rest of the country taken together. I was describing this distribution as “medieval” until a medieval historian set me straight: wealth was far more evenly distributed in the Middle Ages. When you ask where power lies in our system, you are asking who owns the productive assets. And that’s the top 1 percent—in fact, the top 1 percent of the 1 percent. It is a feudalistic structure of extreme power. It is anathema to a democracy to have that kind of concentration of wealth. More and more people are beginning to realize the extent and reach of corporate power and the power of those who own the corporations. The Koch brothers get a lot of publicity, but it’s a much wider phenomenon.

  • DRM

    • My Open Letter to Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web Consortium

      One reason DRM is dangerous is that it can hide all manner of spyware and malware from users. Another is that most people don’t even know what it is, or if they do, how to recognize it. While governments have allowed large corporations and media conglomerates to cripple digital products with DRM, there is no requirement anywhere in the world to to inform customers or computer users of such application.

    • Web inventor Berners-Lee: Governments and companies are ‘trying to take control of the Internet’

      Terming the recent revelations about the US government “spying” on Internet users as “deeply concerning,” Sir Tim Berners-Lee – the inventor of the World Wide Web – has warned that the founding principles of the web are being undermined by the attempts which are being made by governments and companies “to take control of the Internet.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Police Visit Pirate Bay Proxy Owner’s Home Demanding a Shutdown

        The UK’s aggressive stance towards online piracy was taken to new heights this week through a combination of police threats and backroom deals between industry groups. One of the main targets identified were Pirate Bay proxy sites and TorrentFreak has been informed that the police and FACT recently turned up on the doorstep of one called PirateSniper in the UK. According to a report from the site’s owner he was handed a letter and ordered to shutter the site or face criminal action.

      • Pirate Bay suggests Prenda did create “honeypot” for downloaders

        Prenda Law has become the most-recognized and most controversial of several “porn-trolling” operations filing lawsuits against thousands of John Does over alleged illegal downloads. Lawyers linked to the company were slapped with sanctions last month; while it’s appealing those sanctions, Prenda is losing cases left and right.

      • Warner Bros. Ramps Up War on Piracy

        Through agents, the studio tells accused pirates to pay $20 per infringed title or face up to $150,000 per infringement in civil penalties.

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