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06.17.13

Links 17/6/2013: Android’s Extended Lead Over iOS, Sony Smartwatch Gets FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 4:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 2009: “IDC research finds that Linux users are clearly satisfied about their choice to deploy Linux”

    It’s definitely happening on small mobile devices, but how about the thick clients and thin clients on desks of business, schools and governments?

  • Windows Blue Blues, Symantec’s Kernel Confusion & More…
  • Strategic Test releases data acquisition software for Linux

    The sixth generation of the SBench 6 data acquisition software has now been released by Strategic Test, and now the software is available for both Windows or Linux users. SBench continues to support all of the companies PCI Express, PCI, PXI and CompactPCI digitizer, waveform generator and high-speed digital I/O cards, some 300 variants in total. The Base version of Sbench 6 is supplied at no-cost with each UltraFast card. In addition, a fully functional demo version of the Professional Version with a limited run time is also included. The software is also able to run simulated demo cards to allow full software test even without hardware.

  • Reality Check: Defining The True Success of Linux

    Editor’s Note: This is the second article in a new series by SUSE community marketing manager Brian Proffitt for Linux.com called “Reality Check” that will take a look at Linux in the real world. The first, 5 Linux Features You Want in Your Company, was published in May.

  • Pondering Life in a PRISM World

    “Terrorists can adapt to non-use of telephone/Internet just as Osama bin Laden did,” countered blogger Robert Pogson. “Despite $billions spent, it took many years to hunt him down.

    “PRISM and other such blunt instruments will not discourage alert terrorists,” he opined. “Further, terrorists could use PRISM to set false alarms or to entrap responders.”

    [...]

    “There is NO difference between left and right; all we have in this country is right-wing and ultra right-wing, nothing else,” he explained.

  • Desktop

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Stable kernels 3.9.6, 3.4.49, and 3.0.82
    • Linux 3.10-rc6 Kernel Brings In More Fixes

      Linus Torvalds has released the Linux 3.10-rc6 kernel on Saturday afternoon. While there’s still some time ahead before the official Linux 3.10 kernel release, the rate of change appears to be slowing.

      After worrying last week about all of the changes still being pushed for Linux 3.10, Torvalds threatened to be more strict about the changes he would permit. A week has passed and the rate of pull requests to take care of only regressions has decreased.

    • Linux 3.10-rc6
    • NSA Has Legitimate Code Running in Linux Kernel and Android

      The National Security Agency or NSA is now in the public eye for some nefarious surveillance, but Linux users should know that the agency also had an active role the Linux kernel development, with the addition of SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux).

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org XDC2013 Announced For X, Wayland, Mesa

        The X.Org Foundation has finally announced the details concerning the 2013 X.Org Developers’ Conference.

      • Google Pushes More Mesa / Gallium3D Patches

        More Mesa / Gallium3D patches out of Google have come about this month for improving the open-source graphics stack.

        Google has been using Mesa/Gallium3D drivers for use on their Intel-powered Chromebooks. Google had invested heavily in the Intel Gallium3D driver for use on their older Chromebooks, but now they are starting to push more of their Mesa/Gallium3D changes that have been building up in months past.

    • Benchmarks

      • Optimized Binaries Provide Great Benefits For Intel Haswell

        Utilizing the core-avx2 CPU optimizations offered by the GCC 4.8 compiler can provide real benefits for the Intel Core i7 4770K processor and other new “Haswell” CPUs. For some computational workloads, the new Haswell instruction set extensions can offer tremendous speed-ups compared to what’s offered by the previous-generation Ivy Bridge CPUs.

      • Intel Haswell-Based Apple MacBook Air, HD 5000 Benchmarks
      • Min / Max FPS Comes To Test Results

        With Phoronix Test Suite 4.8 “Sokndal”, the minimum and maximum performance results are now being commonly displayed along side the rest of the results.

        Aside from showing the average performance result, the standard error, the actual result values, and other data already displayed through the Phoronix Test Suite and OpenBenchmarking.org has been to also display the minimum and maximum results. This min/max request has most commonly been for when displaying the frames-per-second (FPS) results on graphics tests. With Phoronix Test Suite 4.8, due out next quarter, this will commonly happen.

      • Intel Haswell HD Graphics 4600 vs. AMD Radeon Graphics On Linux

        Already published on Phoronix have been Intel HD Graphics 4600 benchmarks on Ubuntu Linux from the Intel Core i7 4770K “Haswell” processor and compared against previous generations of Intel HD Graphics. Being benchmarked today is the Intel HD Graphics 4600 on Linux compared against various AMD Radeon graphics cards using both the open and closed-source graphics drivers.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNUstep Mythbusting
    • Freedesktop Summit

      A few days back I attended the first freedesktop summit/sprint where a few hackers from different free desktops met with the objective of working together. We were people from Razord-qt, GNOME, Unity and of course KDE.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE 4.11 beta brings Wayland support to KWin

        The developers at the KDE project have released a first beta version of KDE 4.11 – including Plasma Workspaces, the KDE Platform and its associated applications. New features include experimental Wayland support in the KDE window manager KWin, the introduction of more Qt Quick elements to Plasma Workspaces and several improvements to file indexing and the desktop’s contact management application.

      • KDE Releases Beta of Plasma Workspaces, Applications and Platform 4.11

        With the large number of changes, the 4.11 releases need a thorough testing in order to maintain and improve the quality and user experience. Actual users are critical to maintaining high KDE quality, because developers simply cannot test every possible configuration. We’re counting on you to help find bugs early so they can be squashed before the final release. Please consider joining the 4.11 team by installing the beta and reporting any bugs.

      • First beta of KDE SC 4.11 released

        The KDE team have announced the release of first beta of KDE SC 4.11, which includes Workspaces (desktop environment), Applications and development platform. The KDE team will now focus on fixing bugs and polishing the software as API, feature and dependencies have been frozen.

      • Mastering Interfaces with QT
      • Finding Information in Human-Entered Search Queries
      • Plasma Workspace: present and future

        We saw last week the release of the first beta of KDE Plasma Workspace and applications 4.11

        From my side, that’s a very important milestone, because it’s pretty much the coronation of what we intended the 4.x series of the workspace to be. It was a long ride, but I think this future release will be pretty stable and “defined” in its own identity.

      • Hello World! Me, the blog, and GSoC

        The main purpose of this blog, or rather the reason it came into existence, is to write about Google Summer of Code, more specifically about my own GSoC project. The title of this proposal is Reimplement Amarok 1.4 (FastForward) & iTunes importers on top of Statistics Synchronization framework, and add Amarok 2.x and Rhythmbox as synchronization targets. Amarok is a legendary music player, part of the KDE software suite (I’d say it’s a Linux music player, but that’s not entirely true).

      • What KDE can learn from Cinnamon

        Well, this ought to be interesting. Battle royale, except we have no gentry, just the two seemingly and arguably dominant desktop environments for Linux. In my humble and narrow perception, there has been a dramatic shift in the Linux desktop usage in the past several years. Come the season of Gnome 3, a split happened in the community, breaking the decade old Gnome-KDE dominance. A whole generation of desktop environments was born, forked and knifed. Unity took its own path, Gnome 2 returned as MATE, and Gnome 3 was eclipsed by Cinnamon. Only KDE remained as it was, and now it was facing a new rival.

      • Choqok-devel mailing list
      • News from the 2013/05 Gentoo KDE team meeting

        Independent of the meeting, a stabilization request has already been filed for KDE 4.10.3; thanks to the work of the kde stable testers, we can keep everyone uptodate. And as a final note, my laptop is back to kmail1… Cheers!

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 26th May 2013
      • Coordinate Systems in KStars

        This post describes a few of the coordinate systems that KStars uses to keep track of the positions of various astronomical objects, and how they relate to one another.

        All of the points used in KStars can be thought of as lying on a sphere, because it really makes no difference how far away a sky object like a star is – we only care about the direction. We can then imagine that these points “live” on the celestial sphere, an imaginary sphere surrounding the Earth. The problem of rendering a map of the night sky is then the problem of figuring out how to transform this sphere onto the screen.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Linux Community Distro Poll

      Any distribution of GNU/Linux could be said to be a “community distro” in that it’s FLOSS and anyone including end-users could run, examine, modify and distribute it. The question really boils down to the health and vitality of the community surrounding particular distros. I recommend distros that have been around a while with large repositories and large numbers of contributors. Debian GNU/Linux is my particular favourite because, with the APT package management system, huge repository and huge fleet of mirrors around the globe there’s very little that can’t be accomplished with it and one person can easily manage a system large or small. What more can be asked of a distro? Debian is completely open with a large core of package managers, users able to examine and post bug-reports often with immediate responses and great documentation both within packages and on Debian sites. Of particular value to people who actually depend on IT to work or study or enjoyment is that Debian is serious about the quality of each package and the compatibility of the whole system with formal rules for packaging and releasing distros that all but guarantee working systems indefinitely. It is a healthy and vital community.

    • Do-over for Linux Community Distro Poll
    • New Releases

      • CRUX PPC GNU/Linux Project

        CRUX PPC is a volunteer driven non-profit project based on the releases of CRUX for x86. It contains software written by a lot of different people, each software comes with its own license, chosen by its author. Parts written by CRUX PPC Team are to intend as free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

      • 2013-06-15: CRUX PPC 3.0 released!
    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

      • Stock Downgrades: Red Hat Inc Goes Cap in Hand

        It felt fitting that an upgraded Groupon (GRPN) jumped 10.23% last week, for the market overall reduced many investors to coupon-clipping penury. Shares slumped as a global trail of tears extended from Tokyo to Istanbul, whose customs officials have happily maintained an enduring faith in unicorns amid a crisis in the capital’s central square.

      • Will Red Hat Beat Earnings in 1Q?

        Red Hat Inc. (RHT – Snapshot Report) is set to report its first-quarter 2014 results on Jun 19. In the previous quarter, the company’s earnings of 25 cents beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 19.05%. Let’s see how things are shaping up for the company in this quarter.

      • Can Red Hat do for OpenStack what it did for Linux?

        Red Hat made its first $1 billion commercializing Linux. Now, it hopes to make even more doing the same for OpenStack.

        Red Hat executives say OpenStack – the open source cloud computing platform – is just like Linux. The code just needs to be massaged into a commercially-hardened package before enterprises will really use it. But just because Red Hat successfully commercialized Linux does not guarantee its OpenStack effort will go as well.

      • For Red Hat, the Cloud Beckons

        Red Hat has made a name for itself as the only U.S.-based public company that is exclusively focused on open source, and it has proven that its Linux-focused strategy is very profitable. In fact, the company is the first open source-focused company to hit the $1 billion revenue mark. That said, though, Wall Street has been questioning where else the company might be able to generate revenues in the future.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 19/20 logfile explosions

          PSA: if you’re running Fedora 19 or 20, I highly recommend you stop what you’re doing right now and do this instead. There are a couple of unfortunate bugs in F19/F20 right now which may well be screwing the hell out of your log files.

    • Debian Family

      • Updated Debian 7: 7.1 released

        The Debian project is pleased to announce the first update of its stable distribution Debian 7 (codename “wheezy”). This update mainly adds corrections for security problems to the stable release, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories were already published separately and are referenced where available.

      • Debian 7.1 Rounds In Some Bug-Fixes
      • Debian 7.1 coughs up first Wheezy fixes
      • The Linux Setup – Gregor Herrmann, Debian Developer
      • Debian is missing a tool, want to write it?
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • System76 Galago UltraPro Runs On Haswell Processor And Ubuntu

            Intel’s latest mobile processor to see action in majority of the coming Ultrabooks out there in the market has been given the codename Haswell, and this time around, we are treated to the System76 Galago UltraPro which is powered by an Intel Haswell processor no less (it offers more than decent processing performance without sipping up too much juice along the way), with Ubuntu as the operating system of choice. The System76 Galago UltraPro is a sleek new notebook which is touted to be the first notebook that measures under 1″ of thickness, all the while sporting Intel’s Iris Pro graphics. Anyone out there who wants to dispute that particular claim?

          • Ubuntu now available for Mini PCs powered by RK3188 Processors

            For any PC powered by Rockchip’s RK3188 quad-core processor, Ubuntu and other Linux operating systems are now available to run on the devices as well as the standard Android OS that probably came with the device.

          • Ubuntu Support: How to Get Help

            For those of us Linux users who are more adventurous, switching to a new operating system can be pretty exciting. Unfortunately, problems tend to crop up when a new user seeking help isn’t familiar with the best practices for finding support.

          • Ubuntu Unity tips

            A FUNNY thing happened on my Macbook Air the other day. Out of habit, I went to the left side of the screen to look for my launcher.

            Now any Mac user will consider this strange behavior, because the default location for the dock on OS X—and many other user interfaces—is at the bottom of the screen. You can change this to any of the other three sides of the screen, but it’s an option most folks will leave alone.

          • The Ubuntu PC Case Mod Pt. 2 Pick a Case

            Since my last post i’ve got a lot more done towards this project. I’ve made a crowdfunding account so i can get sponsored. I’ve got a shortlist of cases, the poll is here. I also have a PSU and sleeving is on it’s way. If you have advice or want more frequent updates, either use the comments here, my email ( noskcaj@ubuntu.com ) or http://forums.atomicmpc.com.au/index.php?showtopic=54532

          • Main Machine: Finally on Ubuntu 13.04

            When Ubuntu 13.04 was released I had been running the OS on my Lenovo T500 for almost five months, but I was not able to migrate my main laptop due to two bugs.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 3 Portable Options For The Raspberry Pi

      The Raspberry Pi – I just can’t stop tinkering with it. Fresh from setting it up as a media centre and a retro games console, I’ve recently started looking at the possibilities of the device as something more important.

      You may have seen one of our earlier posts about the unusual uses for a Raspberry Pi. One of these was using it as the computer in a low-budget space program, something that would make the Pi more portable than most computers on earth! Sticking to the point, however – there are several ways in which a grounded Raspberry Pi can break free of power supply and its compact little Perspex or Lego case and be used as a an actual laptop computer.

    • Linux-based surveillance cameras start at $70

      D-Link has begun shipping four new models in its line of Linux powered surveillance-oriented “Cloud Cameras,” and has updated its web-based “Mydlink” software with new remote monitoring and video management features. The new cameras boast improved sound/motion detection, 802.11n WiFi extender capabilities, enhanced night vision, and weatherproof casing.

      The new cloud cameras, which include the Cloud Camera 1050 and 1150, the Pan & Tilt Day/Night Network Camera, and the Outdoor HD Wireless Day/Night Network Camera boost D-Link’s embedded Linux-based Cloud Camera line from 10 to 14 models. All the devices connect via WiFi to the company’s cloud-based Mydlink monitoring and control platform.

    • Phones

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Researcher To Open-Source Tools For Finding Odd Authentication Behavior

    Rather than watching for communications between infected systems and command-and-control servers, companies can detect stealthy malware when it attempts to spread

  • Experimental coding project opens up Sony SmartWatch

    Sony has pushed its Bluetooth SmartWatch project to a more open status with an invitation to software application developers to now design, develop and code applications and ancillary firmware and/or other extensions to the device.

  • Sony SmartWatch goes open-source, looking for more innovation
  • Sony allows hacking of its unloved SmartWatch
  • Sony Opens Up Its SmartWatch for Developers
  • Sony Smartwatch now open-sourced

    Wearable gadgets have become a real trend. While the other giants like Google, Apple, Microsoft and Samsung are busying with their wearable gadget plans, Sony already has a smartwatch in the market. Although the small device didn’t get too much attention from the tech fans when it launched but it may get a little more from now with Sony’s recent announcement that its smartwatch has now become open-sourced.

  • Open-source software aids NPOs

    Three years later, the foundation’s thesis has given rise to an open-source software platform called Mobile Technology for Community Health (Motech), which an increasing number of nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations and humanitarian groups are using to address pandemics such as tuberculosis and HIV.

  • Sony Smartwatch Gets Open Source Treatment
  • Sony’s SmartWatch goes open source
  • Joeffice, an open source office suite one developer built in 30 days

    Don’t like Microsoft Office? Just build your own office suite—this guy did.

  • S.H.O.V.E.L. Is An Open Source Multi-Tool

    S.H.O.V.E.L. is yet another multitool, but an unusual one. It sports a combined fork/spoon for eating, a serrated edge for cutting things, a bottle opener and a length of paracord. It’s also open source so you can customise it yourself.

  • WANdisco Snaps Up Dev Site to Boost Open-Source Mojo

    WANdisco announced that it has snagged TortoiseSVN.net, the website that hosts the open source Subversion client of the same name. According to the company, this domain attracts 500,000 unique visitors each month and supports over five million downloads each year. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but WANDisco revealed that lead developer Stefan Küng will be joining its ranks.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • VP9 Codec Now Enabled By Default In Chrome

        Google has just enabled their new, royalty-free VP9 video codec within their Chromium / Chrome web-browser.

        We have known for a while that VP9 was coming, the codec successor to the increasingly-used VP8 codec. In May we learned that VP9 was nearly ready and now as of today it’s enabled by default within the latest Chrome web-browser.

    • Mozilla

      • Introducing the Mozilla Science Lab

        We’re excited to announce the launch of the Mozilla Science Lab, a new initiative that will help researchers around the world use the open web to shape science’s future.

        Scientists created the web — but the open web still hasn’t transformed scientific practice to the same extent we’ve seen in other areas like media, education and business. For all of the incredible discoveries of the last century, science is still largely rooted in the “analog” age. Credit systems in science are still largely based around “papers,” for example, and as a result researchers are often discouraged from sharing, learning, reusing, and adopting the type of open and collaborative learning that the web makes possible.

      • Mozilla-backed Stop Watching Us blows past 100,000 signatures to fight NSA surveillance

        The legal battle over PRISM and the NSA’s phone records program is only getting under way, but advocacy groups are striking while the issue is hot. Stop Watching Us, a website that encourages citizens to digitally sign a letter that will be emailed to their elected representatives, today passed the 100,000 signature mark.

        That milestone, passed this morning, comes less than 48 hours after the start of the program. Currently Stop Watching Us has collected 112,279 total signatures. A quick multiplication indicates that 336,837 emails will be generated, at a minimum; each person has two Representatives and one Senator.

      • Mozilla Launches Science Lab Project, Seeks Better Scientific Collaboration
  • Databases

    • Red Hat to ditch MySQL for MariaDB in RHEL 7

      In a surprise move, Red Hat has announced that version 7 of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) will ship with the MariaDB database installed by default, in place of MySQL.

    • Ditching MySQL: Red Hat shows its prowess in spin

      In the aftermath of one of its most dramatic announcements, Red Hat, the premier Linux company, continues to demonstrate that its main strengths lie in things other than technology.

    • Report: Red Hat to Switch Up MySQL for MariaDB

      Back in 2010, when Oracle acquired Sun Microsystems, MySQL founder Monty Widenius (shown) was very vocal about the acquisition, and raised many questions about the future of the open MySQL database, which he founded. In fact, we did an interview with Monty here on OStatic, where he said, “It’s clear that Oracle is in the game for the profit and it’s in their interest to get out as much money from MySQL as they can over the long term.”

      Monty went on to become the lead developer of MariaDB, a fork of MySQL, and now there are reports that Red Hat will switch the default database in its RHEL enterprise product, from MySQL to MariaDB, upon the release of version 7. That’s a big vote of confidence in MariaDB.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Java EE 7 at a glance

      Around three and a half years have passed since the last major version jump of the Java Enterprise Edition (Java EE). It was intended that Java EE 6, which was designed with developer performance and simplification in mind, would become technologically more powerful in Java EE 7 through the addition of cloud support. These plans proved too ambitions at quite a late stage. As a result, the version that was completed in mid-April contains very few fundamentally new aspects and just represents a consistent effort to round off existing features.

  • CMS

  • Funding

    • Leadwerks crowdfunding native Linux development

      Middleware outfit looking to help facilitate expansion of Linux games library

      Game engine provider Leadwerks is attempting to crowdfund native Linux development using its tech on Kickstarter.

      The company is looking for $20,000 to fund the engine’s compatibility with Linux operating systems, starting with Ubuntu 12.04.

  • Public Services/Government

    • NYC opens the books, and the source code, on Checkbook 2.0

      Checkbook NYC illustrates how the city government spends its nearly $70 billion annual budget. Using a dashboard that combines graphs and user-friendly tables, the site displays up-to-date information about the city’s revenues, expenditures, contracts, payroll and budget. It also offers that information programmatically via APIs.

    • Open source by default?

      “Over the last ten years, open source has become unremarkable. I think that’s a great achievement. We no longer argue about whether it’s secure or not, or whether it’s safe to use. We focus now on how best to use open source to get the best value for every tax dollar,” said Gunnar Hellekson, Chief Technology Strategist for Red Hat’s US Public Sector Group.

  • Licensing

    • Should Governments Specify Licence Conditions?

      I have been made aware of a meme passing around Government purchasing circles to the effect that Government ought not to be dictating licence terms in the course of procurement. This has two variants, a strong variant that Government ought not be specifying, for example, a class of licence that ought to apply to the procurement and a less strong variant to the effect that Government ought not be specifying particular licence terms.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • X-Cube 3D Printed Open Source Puzzle Cube: Rubikulous

        Dane Christianson’s X-Cube is not the weirdest, most complex or most sophisticated puzzle cube I’ve ever seen. But Dane didn’t really want to make the world’s most difficult or intimidating take on the Rubik’s cube. His aim with the X-Cube was to make a fun and relatable product to raise people’s awareness about 3D printing.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Business donations to judges’ campaigns often equal friendly rulings

    State supreme court justices are favoring the corporate interests that finance their election campaigns, a comprehensive new study concludes.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Monsanto Wins Again in Federal Circuit: Organic Farmers Have No Standing to Challenge Patent

      In 2011, Dan Ravicher at PubPat led a group of 23 plaintiffs in a lawsuit against Monsanto seeking declaratory judgment of non-infringement and invalidity of Monsanto’s genetically modified seed patents. Although not directly related, the patents challenged here are the same as those that Monsanto has asserted against dozens of farmers for growing unlicensed versions of its Round-Up Ready Soybeans. See, e.g., Bowman v. Monsanto (2013). In the present case, however, none of the plaintiffs want to grow genetically modified crops. Instead, the case asserts that the organic and heritage seed growers are in fear of becoming liable for inadvertently growing patented seeds. In many ways, patent infringement can be considered a strict liability tort and, as such, the unknowing use of another’s patented invention still creates liability for patent infringement. Thus far, Monsanto has promised that it will not sue farmers who inadvertently grow its patented crops so long as the farmers do not take
      advantage of their glyphosate resistant properties and so long as the farmer’s do not intentionally re-plant GM progeny. However, Monsanto has not offered any clear covenant-not-to-sue for inadvertent growing. Recent news that Monsanto’s experimentally genetically modified and non-FDA approved wheat has inadvertently spread even though Monsanto had attempted to destroy all of the crops.

  • Security

    • Patients Put at Risk By Computer Viruses
    • ICS-CERT issues warning about unsafe medical devices

      Industrial Control System CERT (ICS-CERT) of US-CERT and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have published an advisory that some 300 medical devices from around 40 firms can be easily manipulated because they use hard-coded passwords. A growing number of medical devices have embedded web servers that are connected to the internet or the hospital’s network and could potentially be open to attack.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Koch brothers blast Reed Hundt’s remarks on newspaper ownership

      Hundt, a Democrat, said in an interview that the Koch statement “proves my point that they distort public dialogue.” He reiterated from his remarks last week that a lot has changed in the media landscape over the past decade as new platforms have emerged and led the way for more diversity of news and analysis.

    • Join CMD for ALEC Exposed Panel at Netroots Nation 2013

      Join the Center for Media and Democracy at this year’s Netroots Nation conference in San Jose, California. On Friday, June 21, CMD is hosting a panel called “ALECexposed: Strategies and Tactics for our 2013 Campaign” taking place at 10:30am in the Town Square. See the panel description here.

      This session will focus on the strategies and tactics being used by groups and individuals working to expose ALEC, including our work on ALECexposed.org and our reporting on ALEC at PRWatch.org. It will include new angles to our corporate campaign, new tactics in our outreach to legislators and new research on ALEC “stink tanks” and on immigration, guns, voting, climate, federal legislation among other issues.

    • ALEC Tours Tar Sands, Works with Industry Groups to Block Low-Carbon Fuel Standards

      The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) recently adopted a “model” bill from an oil-industry lobby group, that would limit the ability of states to negotiate regional “low-carbon fuel standards” (LCFS), a mechanism designed to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels. If agreed by states, LCFS could have a significant impact on the sale of fuels derived from Canadian tar sands in the United States, regardless of any decision the Obama administration makes over the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

  • Censorship

    • ISPs to include porn filters as default in the UK by 2014

      Parental filters for pornographic content will come as a default setting for all homes in the UK by the end of 2013, says David Cameron’s special advisor on preventing the sexualization and commercialization of childhood, Claire Perry MP.

      Internet service providers (ISP) will be expected to provide filtering technology to new and existing customers with an emphasis on opting out, rather than opting in.

      “[In the UK] we will have filters where if you do nothing, the parental filters will come pre-ticked,” said Perry, speaking at a Westminster eForum on 14 June.

      The move is part of a government effort to force ISPs to make filtering a standard option across industry and to make the technology easier for consumers to use. As ISPs are voluntarily rolling out filtering technology, it will require no new legislation or regulations.

    • Jargon File blocked by O2, Youtube by Orange

      We regularly collect blocking reports from mobile users, via blocked.org.uk – and we’ve recently had some interesting ones.

  • Privacy

    • Slides from Simon Phipps Communications Data Bill Zombie Talk

      The slides from this weeks talk on the ‘Snoopers Charter’ are available here : wmk.me/10bdcFq

    • Google: The Thin Line between Search and Surveillance

      One could argue that Google is a corporation whose content and cash flow results from their ability to survey the Internet with unfettered access to users’ information under protection of the Safe Harbor Provision of the DMCA. The provision is a corporate loop-hole that allows Google to not be held responsible for content that might otherwise be personal, private, or illegal as defined by the U.S. Constitution and The Geneva Accords. Google claims to be software without moral judgment and purposely refuses to admit that it may be facilitating mafia-style corporations counterfeiting without license and thus profiting through illegal gain by eradicating people’s property rights as otherwise guaranteed.

    • Seeking Surveillance Safe Search Engines

      While helping our colleague Dave Bean as he worked to get his essay on Google and the NSA ready for publication, I found myself wondering if any of this latest news on the government’s forcing their nose into everybody-in-the-world’s business would have any lasting effect. Sadly, I figured not–if there was any change, it’d only be temporary. I’ve spent too many years on this planet to expect too much in the way of permanent change for the better.

    • NSA admits listening to U.S. phone calls without warrants

      National Security Agency discloses in secret Capitol Hill briefing that thousands of analysts can listen to domestic phone calls. That authorization appears to extend to e-mail and text messages too.

    • Six ways to protect yourself from the NSA and other eavesdroppers

      1) Abandon the cloud

    • How Long Can Edward Snowden Stay in Hong Kong?

      Such criticism of the treatment of Manning could make Hong Kong judges less willing to accept any U.S. request for extradition.

    • Why We’re ‘Shocked, Shocked’ At NSA Surveillance Revelations

      For those of us who had been following the story for a decade, this was no “bombshell.” No “leak” was required. There was no need for an “expose” of what had long since been exposed.

      As the Cato Institute’s Julian Sanchez and others reminded us, the NSA’s surveillance activities, and many of the details breathlessly reported last week, weren’t even secret. They come up regularly in Congress, during hearings, for example, about renewal of the USA Patriot Act and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the principal laws that govern the activity.

    • How the U.S. PRISM and Blarney Programs Mine Your Data for Intelligence

      Two programs go beyond phone calls to email and cloud storage to gather info about terrorism and provide it to the NSA and British intelligence.

    • Why PRISM kills the cloud

      The migration from desktop computing to the cloud is on every tech firm’s playlist this season, with Apple [AAPL] expected to deliver improvements to its iCloud service later today — but recent revelations regarding the US government’s PRISM surveillance technology could be the kiss of death to these future tech promises. (You may also wish to read this more recent report).

    • To understand Edward Snowden’s motivations, look to Aaron Swartz

      Since the 29-year-old intelligence contractor Edward Snowden outed himself as the source of the NSA leaks on Sunday, reporters and pundits—heck, even Snowden himself—have compared him with Bradley Manning, the Army private on trial for passing classified material about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to Wikileaks. There’s obviously something to the comparison—both men were apparently dedicated enough to the cause of transparency to risk their lives for it. But, after reading the early biographical reporting about Snowden, I can’t help recalling another transparency activist in the news recently: Aaron Swartz, who committed suicide in January while awaiting trial for downloading millions of pages from JSTOR, the online database of academic articles.

    • The PRISM Details Matter

      Glenn Greenwald and Ewan MacAskill’s account of the NSA’s “PRISM” program in the Guardian is woefully short on technical details of how the program works. This lack of clarity should be troublesome to those attempting to decide whether they should be outraged. Does this program allow the government to look at private communications on a company’s central servers without a valid court order, or is it something more benign?

      [...]

      These details matter. These details completely change the nature of the story, and they shouldn’t just be brushed aside as a minor technical footnote. Serious accusations were made, and have been roundly denied by the implicated parties. There is no aspect of this story more important than finding out which account is accurate.

    • Expert says Kiwis under constant surveillance

      An Otago University-based security expert believes Kiwis are under constant surveillance and the Government should own up to its part in the operation.

      University of Otago information science Associate Professor Hank Wolfe made the comments today after ex-CIA whistle blower Edward Snowden revealed electronic data was being collected from around the globe by a massive US intelligence monitoring programme called Prism.

      “The [National Security Agency] has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything,” Snowden said.

      “With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.’’

    • Patents Illustrate Crafty Surveillance Techniques
    • Who watches the watchers? Apparently, no one

      And yet Booz Allen, and through the company the NSA, gave Snowden a $200,000 salary and access to and apparent operational control over the most sensitive, powerful surveillance instrument ever devised by man. By Snowden’s account, he had no trouble whatsoever in assembling the data about the program and taking it out of the office. He claims to have had “full access to the rosters of everyone working at the NSA, the entire intelligence community, and undercover assets all around the world, the locations of every station we have, what their missions are and so forth.”

      If he had wanted to turn that data over to the Chinese or Russians, he could have done so. As he described his operational authority, he could have tapped into the email stream of any person in the world, up to and including President Obama, without oversight. And presumably he could have used information gathered through the program as he saw fit, from leaking it to celebrity magazines to turning it to blackmail to using it for financial gain in the markets.

      Now, is all that true? Former NSA employees have told the media that it’s highly doubtful, but they also express astonishment at the range of material, including a subpoena from a top-secret federal court, that Snowden was clearly able to acquire. So the truth is that we don’t know, and that’s kind of the point. When you give these agencies immense power and huge budgets and cloak them in invisibility, accountability disappears.

    • How Big Is the NSA Police State, Really?

      Early last month, even while he was finalizing his discussions with Edward Snowden, The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald reported on a conversation between Tim Clemente, a former FBI agent, and CNN host Carol Costello. In the interview about the Boston Marathon investigation, as seen at right, Clemente makes the claim that “all digital communications are — there’s a way to look at digital communications in the past.” Costello refers to a previous appearance in which Clemente claimed the government could access phone calls, even “exactly what was said in that conversation.”

    • ACLU Files Lawsuit Challenging NSA’s Patriot Act Phone Surveillance
    • Senators propose bill to declassify orders behind NSA spying

      A bipartisan group of eight prominent US senators announced a new bill today to declassify the court opinions that give the US National Security Agency the legal power to carry out the sweeping internet surveillance program known as PRISM and the separate phone records surveillance program, both revealed last week by leaked documents. “Americans deserve to know how much information about their private communications the government believes it’s allowed to take under the law,” said Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), the architect of the bill, a version of which he originally introduced last December, but which failed to gain traction at the time.

    • Europe warns US: you must respect the privacy of our citizens

      EU officials demand answers on what data snooping programmes entail and whether they breach human rights

    • Edward Snowden: “I am not here to hide”

      Edward Snowden has surfaced again, according to a local Hong Kong newspaper, telling them he has no intention of hiding from whatever may come next….”People who think I made a mistake in picking Hong Kong as a location misunderstand my intentions. I am not here to hide from justice; I am here to reveal criminality,” Snowden told the paper.

    • Treason charges for Snowden would be rare, challenging

      Several key U.S. senators are lobbying for treason charges against Edward Snowden, the former analyst who leaked information about government spy programs. So how rare and unusual would that be?

    • No, Edward Snowden probably didn’t commit treason
    • FISA Court Rejects Catch-22 Secrecy Argument in FOIA Case

      In the first publicly known victory by a non-government party before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), the secret court today granted a motion filed by EFF related to an ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

    • Europe rallies against PRISM

      German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger characterised PRISM as “dangerous”.

    • The Government’s Word Games When Talking About NSA Domestic Spying

      Government officials have made many statements about the warrantless surveillance since it became public in 2005. They’ve done so in court, in Congress, and in the media. Unfortunately, their words have too often served to evade or obscure, rather than clarify, their actions.

    • Feds May Have To Reveal FISA Phone Records In Murder Case

      There’s been a lot of focus elsewhere concerning the FISA rulings that were leaked, showing that the government is scooping up the details of pretty much every phone call. However, a case concerning some guys who were trying to rob an armored truck may lead to some interesting revelations related to what the government collects. Daryl Davis, Hasam Williams, Terrance Brown, Toriano Johnson, and Joseph K. Simmons were charged with trying to rob a bunch of armored Brink’s trucks, in which one of the robberies went wrong and a Brink’s employee was shot and killed. As part of the case against the group, the DOJ obtained call records. However, during discovery, the government refused to hand over call records for July of 2010, claiming that when they sought them from the telco, the DOJ was told that those records had been purged. Terrance Brown’s lawyer is now claiming that since it appears the NSA has sucked up all of this data for quite some time, it would appear that the government should, in fact,
      already have the phone records from July 2010, which he argues would show that he was nowhere near the robbery when it happened.

    • Secret Court Ruling Put Tech Companies in Data Bind

      In a secret court in Washington, Yahoo’s top lawyers made their case. The government had sought help in spying on certain foreign users, without a warrant, and Yahoo had refused, saying the broad requests were unconstitutional.

      [...]

      But the decision has had lasting repercussions for the dozens of companies that store troves of their users’ personal information and receive these national security requests — it puts them on notice that they need not even try to test their legality. And despite the murky details, the case offers a glimpse of the push and pull among tech companies and the intelligence and law enforcement agencies that try to tap into the reams of personal data stored on their servers.

      It also highlights a paradox of Silicon Valley: while tech companies eagerly vacuum up user data to track their users and sell ever more targeted ads, many also have a libertarian streak ingrained in their corporate cultures that resists sharing that data with the government.

    • Reddit co-founder on NSA snooping

      Alexis Ohanian discusses the NSA’s controversial surveillance program and says it’s time to ‘draw a line in the sand’ for what’s off-limits in the digital age.

    • GAP Statement on Edward Snowden & NSA Domestic Surveillance

      Snowden disclosed information about a secret program that he reasonably believed to be illegal. Consequently, he meets the legal definition of a whistleblower, despite statements to the contrary made by numerous government officials and security pundits. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky), Sen. Mark Udall (D-Co), Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Ca), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) have also expressed concern about the potential illegality of the secret program. Moreover, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wi) who is one of the original authors of the Patriot Act – the oft-cited justification for this pervasive surveillance – has expressed similar misgiving.

    • GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians’ communications at G20 summits

      Foreign politicians and officials who took part in two G20 summit meetings in London in 2009 had their computers monitored and their phone calls intercepted on the instructions of their British government hosts, according to documents seen by the Guardian. Some delegates were tricked into using internet cafes which had been set up by British intelligence agencies to read their email traffic.

      The revelation comes as Britain prepares to host another summit on Monday – for the G8 nations, all of whom attended the 2009 meetings which were the object of the systematic spying. It is likely to lead to some tension among visiting delegates who will want the prime minister to explain whether they were targets in 2009 and whether the exercise is to be repeated this week.

      The disclosure raises new questions about the boundaries of surveillance by GCHQ and its American sister organisation, the National Security Agency, whose access to phone records and internet data has been defended as necessary in the fight against terrorism and serious crime. The G20 spying appears to have been organised for the more mundane purpose of securing an advantage in meetings. Named targets include long-standing allies such as South Africa and Turkey.

      [...]

      A second review implies that the analysts’ findings were being relayed rapidly to British representatives in the G20 meetings, a negotiating advantage of which their allies and opposite numbers may not have been aware: “In a live situation such as this, intelligence received may be used to influence events on the ground taking place just minutes or hours later. This means that it is not sufficient to mine call records afterwards – real-time tip-off is essential.”

      In the week after the September meeting, a group of analysts sent an internal message to the GCHQ section which had organised this live monitoring: “Thank you very much for getting the application ready for the G20 finance meeting last weekend … The call records activity pilot was very successful and was well received as a current indicator of delegate activity …

    • G20 summit: NSA targeted Russian president Medvedev in London

      American spies based in the UK intercepted the top-secret communications of the then Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, during his visit to Britain for the G20 summit in London, leaked documents reveal.

      The details of the intercept were set out in a briefing prepared by the National Security Agency (NSA), America’s biggest surveillance and eavesdropping organisation, and shared with high-ranking officials from Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

    • 3 NSA veterans speak out on whistle-blower: We told you so

      In a roundtable discussion, a trio of former National Security Agency whistle-blowers tell USA TODAY that Edward Snowden succeeded where they failed.

    • Edward Snowden Q and A: NSA whistleblower answers your questions

      The whistleblower behind the biggest intelligence leak in NSA history answered your questions about the NSA surveillance revelations

    • The Government says NO to blanket pub snooping

      Having recently posted about local councils reducing the number of CCTV cameras in their local area it seems that the Government has taken the additional step to ensure that pub landlords aren’t forced into using CCTV when it is not necessary to do so.

    • Work for the UN

      GCHQ and the NSA between them employ tens of thousands of people. I am bemused by the shock at the “revelation” they have been spying. What on Earth did journalists think that spies do all day? That includes electronics spies.

    • Jerrold Nadler Does Not Think the NSA Can Listen to U.S. Phone Calls

      An exchange between Rep. Jerrold Nadler and FBI director Robert Mueller is coming under some scrutiny after a reporter claimed it concretely proves that NSA analysts can listen to domestic phone calls without a warrant.

      CNet’s Declan McCullugh published a story Saturday night purporting to prove Edward Snowden’s claim that NSA analysts can wiretap domestic phone calls without a warrant. His case was built entirely around an exchange between Rep. Jerrold Nadler and FBI director Robert Mueller that happened during an FBI oversight hearing with the House Judiciary committee on Thursday.

  • Civil Rights

  • DRM

    • Apple’s Cue Says Publishers Pushed for Higher E-Book Prices

      According to the government, Cue was the main intermediary between Apple and five major publishers, and the “chief ringleader” of an alleged conspiracy to shift the e-book industry from the wholesale pricing model established by Amazon to an agency model where publishers, not retailers, set e-book prices, sending them higher than they had been in the past. But on the witness stand Thursday, Cue maintained he was anything but.

    • Apple Executive Denies E-Books Conspiracy

      Apple is the last defendant standing in the government’s antitrust case against six of the world’s leading publishers and two subsidiaries. Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster all settled in April 2012. Penguin joined the settling bandwagon in December, and Macmillan copped to its role in the scheme two months later.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Filmmaker picks a copyright fight with “Happy Birthday”

        The copyright on the world’s most popular song? A new lawsuit says it’s bogus.

      • File-Sharers Are Well Educated and Earn More Money

        New research commissioned by the Australasian Performing Right Association reveals that Australian file-sharers are more affluent and better educated than their non-downloading counterparts. One in three Aussie Internet pirates earn more than $100,000 and one in four enjoyed a university education. The results further confirm that pirates tend to be relatively young, with 44% of file-sharers under 30 years of age.

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