EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS


CBS is Censoring Its Writers’ Articles, Not Just Polite Comments It Disagrees With

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 3:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Money determines agenda and regulates the message, apparently

Canadian money

Summary: Evidence of interference with editorial independence in a network notoriously friendly towards Microsoft, its large client

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is a great writer (highly knowledgeable, technical yet eloquent) and I want to start this post by clarifying that none of it came from him. It was really just me who inquired for answers. He never complained about his employer to me. He is sincere and he wanted to respond to me frankly. I will refer to him as the “author” from here onwards as I can no longer hide his identity as I attempted before (the context gives it away now).

“Several days ago I wrote, without dropping any names, that an article got deleted from ZDNet.”Several days ago I wrote, without dropping any names, that an article got deleted from ZDNet. It was very critical of Microsoft. “The short version is it shouldn’t have been published until we knew more about what was going to be revealed at Build 2013 about Windows 8.1, RT and WP8,” the author explained to me. “What appeared on Sunday was an early draft.” Okay, but if it got published, then it’s not a draft anymore. In fact, it got published and syndicated in several sites, which means it was up there for quite some time. Some Windows-friendly sites posted fragments of it. I asked the author: “Couldn’t something be modified as new information surfaced? And what is it that so dramatically changed the headline?

“From what I can make of it, you published an article – even somewhat speculatively perhaps – and other CBS staff did not like the message, so they pressured you to change the message or withhold it (requiring alternations even if by self-censorship), which means editorial interference, and not the first I would see from this network. Is that fair to say?

“I worked for Datamation and I saw how self-censorship works. I stopped writing for them and started focusing on my own platform where I can’t be bossed around like that, even by implicit deterrence.”

I remain quite convinced, based on what I found out, that the author faced opposition from other people. Maybe even people who fired other FOSS writers in ZDNet (he is the only one left after Paula left and Dana got fired).

“I remain quite convinced, based on what I found out, that the author faced opposition from other people.”Our contributor iophk says: “An acquaintance is on university faculty [....] ostensibly has the topic of media manipulation. I’m not sure if I can re-establish contact but this is the kind of thing I would expect him to cover.

“In another direction, exposing these kind of shenanigans is similar to what Dvorak was asking about. Someone on the inside coming clean with the dirty tricks.

“Going back to a very old discussion about bait headlines, I suspect that editorial staff have been pressuring authors for a while. Of late, they seem to have been stocking the author pool with their trolls (Perlow, Whittaker, etc)”

Those two names are of people who work for Microsoft or were working for Microsoft. Now they are writers for ZDNet.

“Those two names are of people who work for Microsoft or were working for Microsoft. Now they are writers for ZDNet.”The author of the above piece says: “This piece really did go out prematurely and I really did decide to switch the focus and headline as we got more info about what was what from MSFT and Intel.”

He had said that there was an editorial challenge from within, so withdrawal of the original article was not purely his choice. “The conclusion is still the same,” he said, “RT and WP8 will soon be history.”

It no longer says it in the headline like it used to. This is de-emphasised, but I agree, it still conveys a similar message. The main issue here is this: colleagues should not have interfered, or perhaps these were superiors. The culture in ZDNet is hostile towards FOSS and it shows. The author says “that’s the Web in action, once something is up you can never really pull it down.”

I responded with: “There are ways to correct or enhance by updating. Even MSM sites like Reuters do this excessively to match new information as it arrives.”

“ZDNet is rubbish and it’s well-documented that it’s a self-inflicted prognosis.”Everything I have heard from the author reassures my suspicion that they are censoring articles critical of Microsoft at CBS sites like ZDNet, even just by discouraging writers. It is self-censorship as we called it the other day. Here is the modified article. It says: “In time, Microsoft’s mobile operating systems, WP8 and RT, will be left to wither and die. They’ll be replaced by Windows 8.1/Windows 9 as the next-generation x86 chip family becomes more tablet- and smartphone-friendly. Then, no matter who “wins” the mobile platform wars–Android, iOS or Windows; ARM or Intel–Microsoft will still find profits.”

Watch the comment that says: “Your comment contains words or phrases associated with spam and will not appear on the site until it has been checked by a moderator.”

The thing about ZDNet moderators is, they deleted my comments despite these comment violating no policy and just because the moderators did not agree with what I said. ZDNet is practising censorship at several levels, not just when it comes to comments. Microsoft is a client of CBS, but for ZDNet to sell out like this or give up on integrity because of that simply means that it’s not news/journalism, it’s agenda or propaganda with a tinge of truth for posturing as “balance” or “facts”. It’s like Rupert Murdoch’s Fox ‘news’.

Techrights, by contrast, in almost seven years of existence, never deleted a single post or even a single comment. Moreover, I tend to publish all site-related E-mail that I receive, e.g. in IRC (publicly archived), sometimes anonymised or trimmed to respect privacy. There is no room for ‘leaks’ against us as we are as transparent as can be. We did receive several leaks in the past and we did publish them without ever failing to protect their source. So, we cannot be accused of hypocrisy here. ZDNet is rubbish and it’s well-documented that it’s a self-inflicted prognosis.

2013: When Apple Realised That Patents Just Don’t Work

Posted in Apple, Patents at 3:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple will need to give up litigation


Summary: Apple can’t get its way with patents anymore, or barely at all

Apple’s patents chief left after he had apparently advised Jobs and Cook to use patents offensively. That is rather telling. Right now Apple is losing a motion to block the best-selling Android device. Groklaw says “Magistrate Judge Paul Grewall has denied Apple’s motion asking for leave to add Samsung’s Galaxy S4 to Apple v. Samsung II. The presiding judge already ordered the parties to streamline the case and adding it would necessitate massive discovery. Also, he noted Samsung’s argument that as a very new product, the financial data needed for litigation is not yet available.”

Also from Groklaw we learn that the SCO case may soon be over again. SCO has no case, but it keeps trying to revive the FUD. On the list of least trusted companies, based on a new poll, Microsoft has many votes (39% of them) with SCO also being on the table, listed as more trustworthy than even Microsoft. Watch how Apple climbed so rapidly, nearly matching Microsoft, probably just because of its litigation strategy. What an utterly misguided and counterproductive move. Many people who are now against Apple actually used to support Apple. This includes Pamela Jones, who wrote the above Groklaw analyses. She even bought Apple products. Apple is the aggressor now, not just the target of litigation, as some sites try to paint it. To quote the summary:

Opinion: As long as there is patent law, Apple will be in courts.

Yes, well, but as an aggressor, not a victim. As long as there are software patents Apple can always find something silly to harass competitors with, especially weaker competitors like HTC. When it comes to companies with incentive to defend themselves, Apple won’t get far, it will will just get distracted.

Debate About Software Patents in New Zealand Dominated by the United States’ Voices

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 2:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NZICT logo

Summary: US press, US companies and US lobbyists dominate the debate over software patents in the large island that is scarcely populated (sheep outnumber humans)

A nation of sheep New Zealand (NZ) is certainly not, as I know many clever people from there, including former colleagues. The problem NZ has got is that it is too small to stand up to the US, as the whole Kim Dotcom saga proves. It’s more of a poodle of the US than the Blair-led UK ever was.

Stephen Bell, a New Zealand-based writer for IDG (US company with obvious bias), writes about software patents in NZ and frames it like this in his essay “Long running software patent debate looks close to resolution”:

In writing about the computer industry, particularly in a seat of government (and I’ve worked in London and Wellington) one of the most persistent themes is the law and how it deals with the new concepts, new artefacts or new ways of doing familiar things that technology frequently creates.

Among the many instances of this to emerge in recent years is the application of intellectual property laws. The knotty problems of copyright and new forms of copying is one issue, but an equally prominent debate has centred on the patentability of software.

Patent used to be a comparatively straightforward matter; it applied to inventions — ideas that had material expression in the form of a new machine or device that affected physical things.

If, on the other hand, you wrote or drew something original – a literary or artistic work or a textbook — protecting it was the province of copyright, which prevented others from imitating only the precise mode of expression of the idea – or something so close to it that it had obviously been produced by adaptation from the protected original.

Patent, by contrast, protects the idea itself.

Then computer technology produced software – which became an increasingly important component of any computer system. Here was essentially an idea expressed as a piece of text, but which could behave – or rather induce the computer to behave – as though it were a new kind of machine.

He takes note of NZICT, which actually is a lobbyist for non-NZ interests (large US corporations):

US alignment
A persistent background to the patent debate, as it is with the copyright/file-sharing question, has been the merit of aligning with US law and the possible role of such an accommodation as a bargaining chip in free-trade agreement negotiations.

Meanwhile in NZ, software patents lobbyist Martin Goetz is having a go, also hosted by IDG. The problem is, this man is from the US, not NZ. Why give them coverage in US-controlled (IDG) NZ-flavoured press? Sadly, this is the only coverage on this topic this month. US press is covering it ‘on behalf’ of NZ, apparently. The local press cannot keep up.

One may generally hold the belied that the corporate press exists not to generate money but to serve the agenda of large owners of the media or hidden subsidiarity who benefit from controlling and manipulating public perceptions. Even leading papers like the New York Times are heavily reliant and debt-saddled. They operate in a vacuum, serving agenda like promoting wars, corporate interests, and nationalism. Can the population of NZ give IDG the boot? Imagine an Iranian company running a US-centric TV channel or NZ getting its own aerial spot for covering local news in Manchester. This expansionism helps show where empires are based and who calls the shots.

Europe is Moving to Freedom-Respecting Software After the PRISM Scandal

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software at 2:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More success stories for Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) across Europe come amid serious revelations that give ammunition against the use of proprietary software, including Microsoft software where back door access by the NSA is now a fact

Earlier this month we published several posts about European politicians expressing deep concerns over spying by the NSA, which is essentially, based on law professors (days ago in the New York Times), criminal. Here in England and also in Berlin there have recently been some odd policy changes that are easy to attribute to lobbyists of proprietary software or some moles. Someone has just used IDG to anonymously tell the story which names no specific place. It says: “Years of successful open source development are dumped after a directive comes down from on high — without discussion allowed or reasons given” (that’s just the summary).

“As procurement becomes more visible to the public, pressure will be put to move to FOSS and lawsuits filed when that doesn’t happen (not necessarily due to privacy concerns, at least not yet).”This sounds like a typical story, similar to many others that we covered; these are stories where Microsoft crushes FOSS using corruption, e.g. bribes. There is this new report about a region in Italy “replacing Microsoft Office on 7,000 machines with the open source alternative, saving up to €600,000 in licensing costs.”

As procurement becomes more visible to the public, pressure will be put to move to FOSS and lawsuits filed when that doesn't happen (not necessarily due to privacy concerns, at least not yet).

Over in France right now we observe the same thing which recently happened in the UK. Pro-FOSS policy gets watered down, or as an FSFE blog puts it:

On June 25 the French Senat voted the final version of the law on education, accepting a governmental amendment weakening the bill’s Free Software provision. Procurement for e-learning services now has to “consider Free Software and open format offers, if any”. No more priority given to Free Software solutions, unfortunately.

This is fortunately being reversed again, revealing an ongoing fight over policy:

French parliament says free software is a priority in education

France’s Senate and National Assembly agree to make free software a priority for education. This Wednesday the National Assembly confirmed a proposal by the Senate, urging institutions of higher educations to prefer this type of solution. The plan still needs to be accepted by the government.

We shall see how it ends up. Given that companies like Microsoft share personal data of EU citizens with the NSA (Microsoft generates more spin as it gets sued for privacy violations in Europe) and the NSA has back doors for Microsoft software, no nation should use this type of software, especially not in defence or education (public sector).

There are many stories this month about parts of Europe abandoning Microsoft for FOSS and one has to wonder what role PRISM plays in debates over it. As a token of advice, when arguing with people over software freedom, cite privacy issues, noting autonomy and security. People do care about it now.

Latest Android ‘Malware’ Claims Come From Former Microsoft Staff, Who Conveniently Ignore Microsoft’s Huge Security Problem With Back Doors

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Security at 2:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bias by overlooking fundamental flaws in binary-only operating systems

Summary: Targeting of the leading Linux-powered operating system attributed to a company controlled by many executives who came from Microsoft

Techrights has been writing about Juniper for almost half a decade, covering for the most part the influx of Microsoft executives joining that company [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] (some count as many 12 Microsoft executives entering Juniper), especially the very highest positions therein. There is yet more badmouthing of Android, which comes after previous Android FUD from the same company not too long ago (the end of last year). This generates press coverage even where Linux-focused writers dominate. To quote: “According to the new 2013 Mobile Threats Report from the Juniper Networks Mobile Threat Center, 92 percent of mobile threats are now targeted at Android. That’s up from 47 percent in 2012.”

How are those numbers being put together and measured? Why is there no scaling or normalisation based on share? Where are desktops? How is malware defined? If the user installs malware as a download from the Web and not through a trusted repository like Google Play, what does that count as? Many of these questions can be treated with great bias to say just about anything one wants about Android security. Google and non-Google professionals have repeatedly labeled such claims FUD. Other former Microsoft staff [1, 2] is doing the same type of thing, dedicating entire projects just to showing security threats in Android (whilst ignoring other platforms). They don’t call out Windows and they dare not mention the danger which is NSA access (see the new post titled “NSA Built Back Door In All Windows Software by 1999″ or confirmation that NSA is in bed with Microsoft). It is perfectly possible that NSA back doors are what enabled Stuxnet to be put on computers in Iran — something which is not just a theory anymore. As one man put it for the uninitiated: “You may recall last year that the NY Times revealed details on how US intelligence created the Stuxnet virus and got it into Iranian computers, leading to screwing up Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. There were some questions at the time about who leaked that information and how the Obama administration didn’t seem to mind nearly as much when the leaks made them look good. However, given the siege mentality the administration appears to have about any kind of leaks, to the point at which the Defense Department directly claims that “leaking is tantamount to aiding the enemies of the United States,” it appears that the administration may be looking to go after the leaker of the Stuxnet info.”

The BBC covers this too right now. For an agency so ruthless and lawless, where everything is seen as permitted, even cracking and sabotage of computers in another country, this should not be off limits. There is an admission that they did this when they claim to have found a leaker, a 4-star general. Al Jazeera is having a field day with this unintended confirmation that the US cracked computers running Windows.

Reports say retired general is being probed for leaks linked to 2010 cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear programme.

Maybe Juniper should put more focus on Windows back doors and their huge national security threat, not some petty ‘malware’ that Android users need to insist on installing, which is not easy by the way (actively discouraged by the operating system).

After the NSA leaks we must insist that security professionals take more seriously the immediate need to uncover back doors, such as this HP backup server back door. The debate needs to change.

Links 29/6/2013: Fedora 19 Due July 2nd, Android 4.3 Ousted

Posted in News Roundup at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Logic Supply partners with Linux developer for digital signage, kiosks

    Industrial and embedded computer provider Logic Supply recently announced a new partnership for with RapidRollout, a developer of custom Linux platforms for computing appliances. This partnership will allow Logic Supply to offer customers complete Linux operating system solutions in addition to its computer hardware, the company said.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Releases Second Beta Of Plasma Workspaces, Applications and Platform 4.11

        The KDE community has released the second beta version of their new Plasma Workspaces, Applications and Development platforms. The KDE team is now focusing on bug fixing and polishing, while API, dependency and features remain fixed.u

      • QUndoStack versus Kate’s Undo System
      • qt-signal-tools 0.2
      • More Software Compositing

        One of the most often repeated misconceptions about Wayland is that it requires hardware acceleration. I would have thought that this issues would have been resolved once the reference compositor, Weston, supported rendering through Pixman. The reason for this misconception is most likely that the earlier versions of Weston required hardware acceleration.

      • Qt 5.2 Plans Are Laid With New Features

        With Qt 5.1 finally being released soon, Digia has begun to formalize plans for the Qt 5.2 tool-kit successor. Qt 5.2 is anticipated for a November release and will carry new features and functionality.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat’s OpenShift Online Expands the Company’s Cloud Horizons

        In June, Red Hat has steadily taken its next significant steps in the cloud computing arena, as it expanded the focus of its OpenShift open source Platform-as-a-Service hybrid cloud computing offering, launching a new cloud-hosted commercial edition called OpenShift Online. OpenShift Online is Red Hat’s public cloud application development and hosting platform for automating the provisioning, management and scaling of applications. Now, Red Hat runs private and public versions of OpenShift, and note that there is a free usage policy for OpenShift Online, although more resource-intensive applications will probably require subscription services.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 19 Go for July 2 Release

          Since the June 25 release candidate a couple more internal releases have been tested. Several major bugs have been squashed and while some issues remain, there are none blocking final release. At last night’s Go/No-Go meeting, it was decided to release July 2.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mir in Ubuntu 13.10, Benchmarking, and More

            Many of you will have seen the recent news about Mir coming to Ubuntu 13.10 in October 2013. For those of you who are unaware of Mir, it is an Open Source display server we are building that we will use across desktops, phones, tablets, and TV. It currently works with Open Source drivers and we are currently in discussions with the major GPU manufacturers to discuss Mir support in their proprietary drivers.

          • Ubuntu Planning on Shipping Mir in 13.10

            ubuntu_logoIn Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, the giant, insane, cyborg bear named Shardik is known by the forest dwelling people around his territory as Mir, the world beneath the world. Ubuntu’s naming of Mir probably leans more towards the African heritage deriving the name from “Mayor”, or “Leader”, but personally I like the insane bear analogy better. ThePowerBase.com has a story linked to fridge.ubuntu.com reporting that Ubuntu plans to ship their controversial replacement for X11 in the next version of Ubuntu, 13.10, by default, along with XMir, an X11 compatibility layer running on top of Mir.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • München and Monaco go Lubuntized

              These are good news for the open software. And it demonstrates that Lubuntu isn’t at all the “little brother” of Ubuntu. Well, maybe yes talking about setup size or memory requierements, but not less considered. So I want to thank Julien Lavergne, the coordinator of the Lubuntu Team, and their respective collaborators (and users) for a rewarded great job.

            • Linux MintBox 2 priced at $600
            • The MintBox 2
            • MintBox 2 announced, runs Linux Mint 15 Olivia on a Core i5

              If you are considering a switch to Linux as an operating system, then giving it a trial run first couldn’t be easier. There are multiple distributions that have the option of running the OS from a USB stick or dual booting with your existing OS before deciding to replace it completely. It’s actually more difficult to buy a new PC with Linux preinstalled than it is to replace a copy of Windows, but Linux Mint is trying to change that.

            • Intel Core i5 CPU update sweetens MintBox mini-PC

              The Linux Mint project and CompuLab announced an updated version of their MintBox mini-PC, which comes with Linux Mint pre-installed. The MintBox 2 switches to a faster Intel Core i5 processor, doubles the storage to a 500GB HDD, adds a second gigabit Ethernet port, and bumps the price up to $599.

            • A Quick Look at Linux Deepin 12.12

              When I learned of Linux Deepin about a week ago, I jumped to the conclusion that it was just “another Ubuntu derivative”. As it turns out, I was way off-the-mark. While Deepin is based on Canonical’s ultra-popular distribution, Deepin has been around since at least 2004. Originally, the distro was based on Debian, but it shifted over to the Ubuntu base in 2006, and through its time, 11 major versions have been released.

              The reason most of us haven’t heard of Deepin until now is that it’s Chinese-based, although English versions have been offered since at least 2009. After hitting up the main website, you’ll want to click on the “English” link at the top to be able to navigate around (unless of course, you can read Mandarin). Once translated to English, we can see what Deepin is about: “Fast, Elegant and easy to use.“

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Get into Linux in under an hour on a Raspberry Pi
    • EOMA-68 PC-on-a-card goes dual-core, supports Debian Linux, has new accessories in the works

      Rhombus Tech‘s EOMA-68 project involves cramming all the key components of a PC onto a small board out the size of an old-school PCMCIA card. Then you can slot that card into a desktop, laptop, or tablet dock to function as the brains of a computer, and when you want to replace or upgrade you can just swap out the card for a new one.

    • Tiny control computer runs Linux on Atmel ARM9 SoC
    • Rugged Mini-ITX board runs quad-core AMD Kabini SoC

      Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) announced a ruggedized Mini-ITX motherboard based on an AMD A6-5200 Kabini system-on-chip processor, which integrates four 2GHz Jaguar CPU cores plus a Radeon HD 8400 GPU. The KBN-I/5200 offers PCIe and mini-PCIe expansion, along with interfaces for dual SATA, HDMI, VGA, serial, gigabit Ethernet, six USB ports, and more.

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Backup program allows root access to LG smartphones

          At least 40 LG Android smartphones are vulnerable as a result of security vulnerabilities in the pre-installed backup program Sprite Backup. Crafted backups can be used to execute commands as a root user, apparently without the user’s knowledge – that at least is the suggestion in an advisory, which states that this is possible “under specific circumstances”. An exploit (CVE-2013-3685) is already available on GitHub.

      • Android

        • Android 4.3 Leaked!

          While we were waiting for Google to officially announce the latest Android Jelly Bean 4.3, folks over at SamMobile got their hands on Android 4.3 test build firmware for the Google Pay Edition Galaxy S4(GT-19505G). This news tells us that indeed Android Jelly Bean 4.3 will make its way to devices soon.

        • New MIPS processors coming, may target Android

          Imagination Technologies announced a MIPS “Warrior” family of 32/64-bit processors designed for everything from high-end networking equipment to Android tablets, and also announced updates to its embedded-focused MIPS Aptiv 32-bit processor line. The Warrior IP will feature multi-core hardware virtualization and multi-threading, MIPS SIMD architecture, and Imagination’s security framework.

          The new Warrior and updated Aptiv product lines are the first new MIPS processors to be announced since MIPS Technologies was acquired by Imagination Technologies for $100 million in early February (see farther below for background).

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Free Software post-PRISM

    The news has been full of talk of spying, whistleblowing and data mining. Glyn Moody looks at how open source has been used to threaten freedom and privacy and how it could be used to defend them.

  • Adobe open sources Flash C++ compiler

    Adobe has open sourced its Flash C++ compiler, FlasCC. An open source version of the tool is now hosted as part of the CrossBridge project on GitHub; previously, FlasCC was part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud product. Adobe is hoping that the move to open source will deliver faster development and plenty of innovation from an active community. The software company has said it will itself remain actively involved in the development of the code as part of CrossBridge.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 22 offers real-time video communications and faster JavaScript

        Firefox 22 has been released by Mozilla and, unlike recent updates to Firefox which have been feature-light, the new release offers some important enhancements for future web development. Leading the feature list is full WebRTC support, which will allow web developers to integrate real-time audio and video connections between browsers. Working with JavaScript-based applications, WebRTC can potentially be used for anything from multiplayer interactive games on the web, like Mozilla’s own BananaBread game or Google’s Cube Slam demo, to simple user-to-user chatting with video calls and file sharing. More information on WebRTC can be found in a post on the Mozilla Hacks blog.

      • Serious accusations against AdBlock Plus

        The plugin, which is available for Chrome and Firefox, introduced a whitelist for web sites with non-obtrusive ads in version 2.0 and Pallenberg is questioning how this list of “acceptable ads” is compiled. Pallenberg is accusing the ABP developers of having connections to advertising and affiliate programmes and that their advertisements are included in the whitelist as a result.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Healthcare

    • Two deep dives into open source EHR

      As meaningful use and the various components of the Affordable Care Act begin to activate, medical professionals and facilities are beginning to face the same proprietary vs. open source choice that many other IT operations have faced over the years.


    • Your input needed: Questions for panel w/ Eben Moglen, RMS, 4 MEPs

      For this discussion we’re bringing some of the Free Software movement’s leading minds together with the people who represent us in the European Parliament. We’re extremely happy to have a list of first-rate participants:

      Eben Moglen (Columbia University / Software Freedom Law Center)
      Richard M Stallman (FSF)
      Judith Sargentini (MEP Greens/EFA)
      Marc Tarabella (MEP S&D – tbc)
      Nils Torvalds (MEP ALDE)
      Ioannis A. Tsoukalas (MEP EPP)

    • GNU lightning 2 second alpha is available
    • Hi, I’m Sankha, summer campaigns intern

      I am Sankha Narayan Guria, a second-year undergraduate in India. I will be working with the Free Software Foundation as an intern this summer. I am primarily a developer and contribute to Mozilla Firefox. I have also been a Mozilla Rep and have been involved in creating communities in different software-related fields.

  • Programming

    • Rails 4.0 rolls out to reduce client-side coding

      Focusing on a need to build modern web applications without having to create client-side JavaScript applications that talk to a server with JSON, the new version of Ruby on Rails, version 4.0, has arrived. To achieve this goal, the new release uses techniques such as Russian Doll caching to make caching much more efficient by maximising cache hits, Turbolinks that turn links into JavaScript-driven content reloading, and declarative ETags (entity-tags) so that servers can quickly determine if content is up to date. In combination, this should mean that sites which don’t use the JavaScript/JSON route for performance should run much faster, especially under load.


  • The Big Comparison Of Google Reader RSS Feed Alternatives
  • A hail and farewell to AltaVista

    It once was the best of the bunch, in the era before Internet search meant Google and three guys named Moe. Ancient history by now.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • 120,000 People Cut Off From Aid

      An estimated 120,000 people have fled fighting in and around the main towns in Pibor County in South Sudan’s Jonglei state and are now hiding in unsafe and malaria-infested swamps without access to safe drinking water, food, or medical care, the international medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today.

  • Security

    • Google’s Transparency Report shows malware spread

      It is now possible to see the statistics on the presence of malware and of sites linking to malware, thanks to Google’s latest move to make its data more transparent. Google has announced that it is expanding its transparency reporting to include statistics from its Safe Browsing programme. The Transparency Report, which also carries information about copyright removal requests and government agencies’ and courts’ demands for user data now has a Safe Browsing section. As part of that Safe Browsing data, Google is identifying autonomous systems (AS) on the internet and how much malware they contain. This is available through a Malware Dashboard.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • U.S. Begins Shipping Arms for Syrian Rebels
    • American killed in Egypt rival demonstrations
    • US student among dead as riot-ridden Egypt descents into ‘security crisis’

      Tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of President Morsi join protests across Egypt with violent clashes between the rival parties reported in Alexandria, where police used tear gas as at least two people were killed and nearly 90 injured.

    • Governor seeks to delay freeing 10K Calif. inmates

      Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration on Friday asked a panel of federal judges to delay its order that California release nearly 10,000 additional inmates by year’s end, granting him time to appeal the decision to the nation’s high court.

      The judges have said they will permit no further delays in reducing prison crowding, which they previously found was the leading cause of an unconstitutional level of inmate medical care. The judges have threatened to cite Brown for contempt if he does not immediately begin complying.

    • Hollywood helped Adolf Hitler with Nazis’ propaganda drive, academic claims

      Historian Ben Urwand says he has cache of documents that prove Tinseltown enthusiastically cooperated with Nazis’ global propaganda effort

    • Rogue drone crashes, gives up operator’s secrets

      “I am disturbed by the revelation that the FBI has unilaterally decided to begin using drone surveillance technology without a governance policy, and thus without the requisite assurances that the constitutional rights of Americans are being protected,” Paul said.

    • Drone protest planned at Horsham Air Guard Station

      The protesters will toll a bell, read the names of drone-strike victims, and carry a 10-foot drone replica as part of the action.

    • The NYPD Embedded Four CIA Officers After 9/11

      In the decade after 9/11, the New York Police Department embedded four Central Intelligence Agency Officers, including one who assisted with surveillance in the United States, reports the New York Times.

    • UK ‘must come clean’ on GCHQ support for CIA drone strikes, says Reprieve

      Speaking in Los Angeles on 25 June, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said of the UK’s policy on intelligence-sharing with the United States: “We operate under the rule of law and are accountable for it. In some countries secret intelligence is used to control their people. In ours, it only exists to protect their freedoms.”

      His comments come as the UK government is locked in a battle to avoid revealing what GCHQs policy is on providing intelligence to support CIA drone strikes.

    • Assange: US waging war against whistleblowers

      US federal prosecutors have charged whistleblower Edward Snowden with espionage, theft and conversion of government property in a criminal complaint after he revealed to the Guardian newspaper the extent of the NSA’s surveillance programs, including PRISM, which can monitor email and phone calls of anyone in the world and has been shared with the British surveillance center GCHQ.

    • CIA Report to US Congress Justifies Torture Programs

      Brennan now faces the possibility of incurring the wrath of Congress if they perceive a program he stands condemned by public opinion, or, conversely, can earn the rejection of his colleagues if strength protects the views of their subordinates.

    • CIA Presence in NYPD Leads to Charges of Domestic Spying

      “The CIA is not permitted to engage in domestic surveillance,” Ginger McCall, director of the group’s Open Government Project, told The Times. “Despite the assurances of the CIA’s press office, the activities documented in this report cross the line and highlight the need for more oversight.”

    • CIA Classifies NFL As Domestic Terrorist Organization [Satire]

      “Oh no, we’re just classifying them as a terrorist organization. We are required by law to do so based on the number of people NFL players have killed or injured. But I assure you that the NFL is far too important to this country to actually do anything about it. Besides, as a Cincinnati Bengals fan I would hate to destroy the league now that the team is finally turning it around.”

    • Polish Authorities Must Ensure Independent Investigation Into Secret CIA Prison – OpEd

      Global human rights organization Amnesty International called for immediate completion of the investigation into Poland’s involvement in the US-led secret detention programs and bringing to justice in fair trials those responsible for human rights violations.

      According to the published information, the Polish government is accused of colluding with the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to establish a secret prison at Stare Kiejkuty, 180 km north of Warsaw, where suspects were subjected to enforced disappearance and tortured between 2002 and 2005. The investigation has dragged on since 2008 and has been repeatedly delayed due to changes in prosecution personnel, a shift in location from Warsaw to Krakow, and claims that cooperation from the US government has not been forthcoming.

    • Pentagon Helicopters Purchased from Syrian Enabler May Never Fly

      Human Rights First today denounced news that the Pentagon is spending millions of taxpayer dollars to purchase helicopters from a congressionally-barred Russian arms dealer that is fueling atrocities in Syria and then sending the aircraft to Afghanistan, where there are not enough troops with the expertise to fly them. The group notes that the irresponsible and wasteful Pentagon contracts will have lethal implications for the people of Syria and threaten U.S. national security interests.

    • Senate lays out $625.1 billion for the National Defense Authorization Act

      That amount includes $526.6 billion for DoD base budget and $17.8 billion for the Energy Department, which is the same topline levels as the House version (H.R. 1960). A difference in the two bills is with the overseas contingency operations funding which is set at $80.7 billion in the Senate bill and $85.8 billion in the House bill.

  • Cablegate

  • Finance

    • Will the Fed chair finally crack down on Wall Street?

      If appointed, US Central Bank Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen is likely to be a tougher regulator than Bernanke

    • Thinking Utopian: How about a universal basic income?

      In light of the recent Oregon Medicaid study, several people have discussed the idea of taking parts of the social insurance system and replacing them with cash benefits. This naturally brings up the debate about whether it should be a policy goal for the United States to adopt a universal basic income (UBI). These poverty-level targeted incomes are universal and unconditional, so everyone would get them regardless of their income, status or work participation. Wonkblog’s Dylan Matthews wrote an overview of universal basic incomes and some proposals for such a system last year.

    • U.S. feds make their first-ever Bitcoin seizure

      It may be the currency of the future, but it now appears that Bitcoin is not immune to the U.S. government’s prying eyes and hands — especially when it’s being used to fuel black market activities.

  • Censorship

    • Dentist Threatens Patient Who Left Yelp Criticism With Criminal Charges

      As Ken White points out, Texas repealed its criminal libel law in 1974. Also, just recently Texas passed what is probably the strongest anti-SLAPP law in the country, even better than the one in California. While de la Riva’s letter initially worked in stifling Jen B’s speech — scaring her into pulling the review — after White connected her with Leif Olson, a lawyer in Texas who was willing to help her out pro bono, things are looking up. Olson sent de la Riva and Coppola quite the epic reply.

  • Privacy

    • Who is Leaking More: Edward Snowden or the Government Officials Condemning Him?

      In the month since the Guardian first started reporting on the surveillance documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the government has taken to the media to condemn his leaks and insist he is flagrantly violating the law. To prove this, the government has been incessantly leaking information itself.

      Huffington Post’s Michael Calderone extensively detailed this week’s NSA media counteroffensive against Snowden, as officials have tried to explain—anonymously and without real proof—that Snowden’s leaks have hurt national security. On Wednesday, intelligence officials described to ABC News, Washington Post, Reuters, and AP about the how terrorists are allegedly “changing their tactics” now that they’ve been tipped off the US is monitoring the Internet.

    • The Daily News has officially committed this week the most heinous act in contemporary journalism.

      I want to say Greenwald is now even braver than he was before the smears, in contextualizing these smears, hanging tough, and refusing to be cowed by slurs that are so disgusting and inappropriate — that is, for other ‘journalists’ to traffic in. And the Guardian is gutsy too in carrying on with the proper focus — on getting the news out.

      All of us, all of us have done things that are not illegal or even relevant to our professional lives but that could be used against us, to embarrass or discredit us.

      I think we should start a movement to tweet our ‘embarrassing’ revelations from our pasts in support of Glenn Greenwald.

      I applaud Greenwald’s defense of his and by extension everyone’s right to have lived complex, adult lives.THAT IS WHAT THE FOURTH AMENDMENT IS FOR. I deplore this smearing and effort at distraction politics, aimed at a courageous journalist; and it is truly despicable to see other journalists or news outlets give any air or space to a form of attempted destruction of reputation that could any day, any moment, be aimed at them — now, post NSA revelations, with more ammunition than ever.

    • Senators’ letter to US director of national intelligence James Clapper

      Bipartisan group of 26 US senators complain that the Obama administration is relying on a ‘body of secret law’ to collect massive amounts of data on US citizens

    • Ex-Microsoft adviser backs Snowden leaks

      British MPs and a former Microsoft privacy chief say Brussels must stand up to America to protect European citizens from illegal internet surveillance. VoR’s Vivienne Nunis reports from Westminster.

    • Royal Family granted new right of secrecy

      Special exemptions to be written into Freedom of Information Act

    • Glenn Greenwald: NSA Can Store A Billion Cell Phone Calls Every Day

      Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald says he has another big scoop about the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices up his sleeve.

      Speaking over Skype to the Socialism Conference in Chicago, Greenwald claimed that the NSA has the ability to store one billion phone calls each day.

    • The NSA Can’t Tell the Difference Between an American and a Foreigner

      The National Security Agency has said for years that its global surveillance apparatus is only aimed at foreigners, and that ordinary Americans are only captured by accident. There’s only one problem with this long-standing contention, people who’ve worked within the system say: it’s more-or-less technically impossible to keep average Americans out of the surveillance driftnet.

    • Guardian editors discuss NSA surveillance with Charlie Rose – video
    • India’s new surveillance network will make the NSA green with envy

      India doesn’t seem to worry that the surveillance scandal recently rocking the US might perturb its own citizens. The country is going ahead with an ambitious program that will let it monitor any one of its 900 million telecom subscribers and 120 million internet users.

      The Centralised Monitoring System (CMS) will be operational in 10 of the country’s 22 telecom “circles” (i.e., regions) by the end of the year, according to the Press Trust of India. The far-reaching surveillance program rivals the worst in the world, and makes the US National Security Agency (NSA) look like a model of restraint.

    • U.S. Prism, Meet China’s Golden Shield

      On Tuesday, shortly before China escalated its criticism of the United States over its global surveillance programs, saying they showed not just the “hypocrisy” but also the “true face” of the U.S., a Beijing lawyer named Xie Yanyi filed a public information request with the police asking about China’s own surveillance operations.

    • What It’s Like to Get a National-Security Letter

      In the summer of 2011, while he was fighting an indictment for alleged computer crimes, Aaron Swartz, an information activist, read Kafka’s “The Trial” and commented on it at his Web site.

    • If PRISM doesn’t freak you out about cloud computing, maybe it should, says privacy expert

      Caspar Bowden warned Parliament that governmental snooping should make companies think twice before going to cloud.

    • Why Monopolies Make Spying Easier

      These days, America has one dominant search engine, one dominant social-networking site, and four phone companies. The structure of the information industry often goes unnoticed, but it has an enormous effect on the ease with which the government spies on citizens. The remarkable consolidation of the communications and Web industries into a handful of firms has made spying much simpler and, therefore, more likely to happen.

    • Oliver Stone, Noam Chomsky, Tom Hayden Urge President Correa to Grant Snowden Asylum
    • Revealed: Whistleblower Edward Snowden posted comments attacking citizen surveillance while working for CIA

      The ex-CIA employee and whistleblower Edward Snowden posted hundreds of messages on a public internet forum railing against citizen surveillance and corporate greed, it was revealed today.

    • Senators accuse government of using ‘secret law’ to collect Americans’ data

      Bipartisan group seeks answers from intelligence chief James Clapper over scale of and justification for NSA surveillance

    • Stellar Wind: NSA collected US email records for more than two years under Obama
    • Total Surveillance

      In 1952, in a famous Supreme Court case that arose when President Truman attempted to seize control of the steel industry to support the Korean War effort when workers threatened to continue striking…

    • Contra George Mitchell, NSA Surveillance Is Not a Minor Issue

      In an item yesterday, I praised the considerable accomplishments and reflectiveness of statesman George Mitchell. I also noted that I often disagree with his politics without giving an example. A statement of his that touched on the NSA controversy captures the differences in our perspectives.

    • Obama Defends NSA Surveillance, But Is Anyone Buying It?

      President Obama brags about the situation as proof of his “transparency,” but the reality is that he got caught, well into his second term in office, in a decidedly secret scheme, and has been fighting vigorously to punish the whistleblower who uncovered it.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The Miracle in Marrakesh: Copyright Reform to End the “Book Famine”

        An international copyright treaty, adopted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Marrakesh on June 27, will dramatically increase access to reading materials for the 300 million visually impaired people around the world. This is a historic moment for the blind. The treaty was adopted 32 years after WIPO and UNESCO first investigated the need for a solution to end the “book famine”—the fact that blind people have access to only 1–5 percent of published works.

      • Police plot against intellectual property profiteers

        City of London launches IP crime unit

      • UK Government Announces New Intellectual Property Crime Unit

        Following news earlier this month that UK police had begun sending threatening letters to torrent site operators, today the government has announced the creation of a brand new unit dedicated to cracking down on intellectual property offenses. The Intellectual Property Crime Unit at the City of London Police will be funded with £2.5m of public funds and is set to launch in September, targeted those said to be illegally profiteering on the back of content creators’ work.

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts