06.24.13

Microsoft “Gets Them Addicted”, Then Raids Them, and Finally Gets Sued

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft at 4:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

Pills

Summary: Microsoft’s drug dealer-like tactics are facing backlash and lead to a lawsuit, too

“I don’t think Microsoft has a belief in free,” Tim writes. He reminds us that Bill Gates said he would give software to children “to get sort of addicted” (famous quote by now). He also writes about how well “Microsoft knows that the new generation of customers, the ones in school or college are getting competitors products. Microsoft in my view can see that if left unchecked very shortly Microsoft will be an afterthought – Just look at the tablet and smartphone market now, Microsoft barely registers on the scale and has to get a living from Android “licenses” and if these form-factors are the mainstream of the future as the current market stands, Microsoft has a very small and unremarkable future.”

Several years ago we showed that Microsoft started chasing poor people for revenue. Using a proxy, the Business Software Alliance (BSA), Microsoft sued poor people and now it gets sued back:

Microsoft Sued Over ‘Mafia-Like’ Anti-Piracy Raid

One of the largest insurance companies in Guatemala has sued Microsoft over an unwarranted and extortion-like anti-piracy raid. With the help of local law enforcement Microsoft allegedly demanded an on the spot payment of $70,000 for the use of pirated software or the alternative of confiscating all of the company’s computers. These types of raids are not isolated incidents in the software industry. Just last week the BSA and Microsoft lost a similar case in which the court described their raids as “deceptive.”

“Law enforcement helping with Microsoft raids” is iophk calls it and a look at Cablegate diplomatic cables shows how Microsoft, its lobbyists, and of course politicians coerced the police abroad into this. We gave many examples from different poor nations. What we generally see here is a pushback against Microsoft Mafia tactics at another level, not just patents. Microsoft is a Mafia-like company.

More Grooming of Patent Trolls in Slashdot

Posted in Patents at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nathan Myhrvold

Summary: Misinterpretations of the law, mixing completely disparate concepts, used by patent trolls to justify what they do in Slashdot

Slashdot is a weird beast. I recently re-subscribed just to get a taste of where it’s at after doing all the Microsoft PR [1, 2, 3, 4] (there is a bit less of that now). When it comes to patent news, Slashdot used to be good a decade ago, but recently it became a platform for grooming villains, aiding some ill patent agenda [1, 2]. It is not as though software patents are promoted, but sometimes it seems like trolls are. How truly baffling.

A decision made by CAFC last weeks helped validate some horrific software patent from Ultramercial, leading to rants such as this:

Patent Court Stands By Its Claim That Adding ‘On The Internet’ Can Make An Abstract Idea Patentable

We’ve been following the Ultramercial case quite closely over the past few years. If you’re not aware, this involved a company that more or less patented the idea of “you must watch this ad to get this content” (US Patent 7,346,545) and then sued pretty much everyone. Most of the companies it sued settled rather than fight (which happens all the time), including YouTube and Hulu, but one company, WildTangent, has continued the fight. Eventually, though, the case reached the Supreme Court with the key question being does taking an abstract idea like “watch this before getting that” and adding “on the internet” to it make it patentable? It’s well established that you can’t patent an abstract idea, but for some reason many seem to think that if you say “on the internet” it’s no longer abstract. The Supreme Court did not do a full hearing on the case, but asked the appeals court of the federal circuit (CAFC — known as the patent appeals court) to reconsider its original ruling in light of the Supreme Court’s
ruling in the Prometheus case, where it said that you can’t patent broad medical diagnostics. The rule there was that you “could not simply recite a law of nature and then add the instruction ‘apply the law.’” So, is the same true for “abstract idea” plus “on the internet”?

Therein lies a key problem. Software should not be patentable. There are those, however, who single out trolls as the culprit (culling out trolls is better than nothing), noting/highlighting for instance notorious entities like Intellectual Ventures with its 2,000 or so proxies. According to this report from Pamela Jones, the FTC might fail to challenge those most critical elements of abuse, unless they somehow manage to probe Bill Gates’ close friend, who is by far the biggest troll in the world. As Jones put it:

Now that we know that the FTC is interested in whether patent trolls’ business practices are hurting competition and is planning to investigate, I thought I’d point out something I found interesting in a recent motion for a protective order [PDF] by Intellectual Ventures’ CEO Nathan Myhrvold in a dispute with Lodsys, the patent troll trying to sue multiple companies and Apple app developers in two of the Lodsys litigations in Texas, Lodsys v. Brother International Corp. et al. and Lodsys v. Combay, Inc., et al.. The dispute is being handled separately, as Myhrvold v. Lodsys Inc et al, in Washington State, docketed as 2:13-mc-00088-RSL. The presiding judge is Robert S. Lasnik, hence the RSL in the docket line.

Myhrvold’s lawyer has filed a Declaration in Support, as well some exhibits [PDF], one of them under seal. Myhrvold’s trying to avoid a deposition by Lodsys, and the battle over it has been going on since last October.

From these documents, I learned that the patents Lodsys is using to sue everyone did indeed come from Intellectual Ventures, as we had heard, but there was a middle man, fellow patent troll Webvention LLC. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Webvention in the news going after multiple victims with goofy, broad-stroke patents it got from IV. Anyway, IV sold the patents Lodsys is using to Webvention first, and Webvention then sold them to Lodsys. Lodsys has some questions it would like Myhrvold to answer about all that.

He also allegedly had some conversations with Bill Gates that they’d like to ask him about, and there is an email to Gates and others at Microsoft dealing with “combinations” that they say came from Myhrvold’s email account that they are interested in asking him about. Finally, there is an IV license with Microsoft that Lodsys would like more information about.

Me, too, and I hope the FTC will feel the same. A subpoena from the FTC would be harder to avoid complying with than one from Lodsys.

This is interesting because it helps show the unique role of Microsoft in the trolls’ shell game. There are other notorious trolls out there (exposed time after time, many connected to Microsoft) and just like Myhrvold, this one too receives grooming from a long-lost ‘geek’ site. To quote the latest: “A few weeks ago you had the chance to ask James Logan, the founder of Personal Audio, about the business, the patents the company holds, and the lawsuits it has filed.” (Slashdot called for questions here)

iophk says: “It seems that /. [Slashdot] has wandered very far of the path it started out on. I wonder if that is part of the reason that Malda got forced out.”

If You Use Microsoft Windows, the NSA Can Brick Your Computer Hardware Remotely

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 3:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cluster of bricks is all you have left

Brick

Summary: Legions of cyberattack staff from the NSA can engage not only in espionage but also remote mass-vandalism of hardware in foreign nations

Now that we know calling out Windows is a serious matter of national security (the NSA regularly gets back doors for access, as noted in more and more articles right now), we should consider what it really means. With UEFI it has been demonstrated that motherboards can be bricked [1, 2, 3], irrespective of the platform (provided there is remote access to it). Imagine what can happen at times of war. If the NSA can take over Windows, which it can, it can brick any computer with such motherboards. This is serious because it means that not even reinstalling the operating system or swapping operating systems would help. This is what one gets when the most ferocious cyberarmy has back door access to the system. This new article about restricted boot covers antitrust issues as well:

We take a look at the most recent controversial feature to emerge from Redmond

[...]

But there is another angle to it all. Microsoft probably couldn’t have insisted that manufacturers lock the boot loader on x86 machines. In the EU at least, this would almost certainly be construed as abusing a dominant market position, and that has got Microsoft in trouble before.

With ARM though, they don’t have a dominant market position so are legally free to abuse their non-dominant position as much as they wish. With this in mind, some people have speculated that Secure Boot on ARM is what Microsoft want to do, and on x86 it’s what they’ve been forced to do.

In the future, these people speculate, the x86 version will creep closer and closer to how it is on ARM until it finally locks users out of their own computers.

Fortunately, Microsoft in ARM is dying breed. Some reports from Taiwan say that Windows RT is a failure (links posted in daily links) and it is being dumped right now (so-called ‘discounts’) with speculation that it might die:

Reports that Windows RT is headed for the dustbin of failed Microsoft operating systems has become a month — if not weekly — ritual for Asia-based sources.

This time Digitimes has gone so far to compare RT to the fate of Hewlett-Packard’s failed WebOS.

“Microsoft’s Windows RT operating system may fall to the same fate as Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) WebOS as most brand vendors have already stopped developing related products,” Digitimes wrote on Wednesday, citing sources at hardware suppliers.

Microsoft is on its way out, but the damage it causes on its way out is immense. When wars are waged by geeks like Turing and cryptology is where a lot of potential for domination lies, using Windows in any government other than the United States’ is simply unthinkable. Countries like Germany should complete the migration to Free software.

Project Chess Teaches Us That the Government is Indeed Listening to Skype Calls

Posted in Microsoft at 3:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chess

Summary: Antifeatures of Skype continue to be revealed thanks to the leaks from Edward Snowden

We have heard a lot recently about Skype snooping. “See why you just can’t trust proprietary software,” says this post about Project Chess, which is a programme for the NSA to pull in Skype data. It goes quite a long way back. According to this, calls themselves — not just metadata — get included in the bundle. To quote:

In yet another instance of a report indicating that tech giants worked directly with intelligence agencies to enable government surveillance, it is now being reported that Skype began a secret program called Project Chess to enable intelligence agencies and law enforcement to easily get a hold of calls.

This comes after it was revealed that Skype was part of the massive National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance program known as PRISM.

The latest revelation about Skype’s secret program is quite interesting given the controversy surrounding the privacy and security of Skype. Indeed, the NSA leaks hinted that Microsoft may have lied about the security of Skype, though many suspicions were raised last year after they filed for a patent for “legal intercept” technology.

Lies from Microsoft are hardly newsworthy, whereas the strong proof that the government listens to Skype calls is worth documenting. For those are still using Skype, try Jitsi on the desktop or Linphone on smartphones. I tested a lot of different SIP software before settling with those; I use them around 15 hours per day (permanent in daytime over Ethernet and 3G).

Links 24/6/2013: Cumulus Networks, More GNU/Linux Migrations in Germany, PHP 5.5.0 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 12:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Small Brick Open Source PLC

    The OSPLC SMALL BRICK is an open-source PLC (programmable logic controller) that can be programmed using open source C language programming tools.

    The PLC is a general-purpose controller with a wide variety of applications. It is useful to the engineer, technician, student and hobbyist.

  • Open source summer reading list

    Earlier this month, Facebook officially announced its implementation of hashtags, prompting both celebration and outcry from users. But the event also sparked a spate of critical analyses addressing the nature of conversations today, as well as the ways technologies facilitate and organize even the most banal ones. Love them or hate them, hashtags have become an overwhelmingly popular convention for pursuing those recurring questions: What’s going on right now? And how should we make sense of it?

  • Opensource.com summer book Twitter drawing rules

    Enter for your chance to win a book from our summer reading list. Here’s what you need to do:

  • JDownloader Court Ruling Worries Open Source Software Developers

    This week news broke that the popular JDownloader download tool had been declared illegal by a German court. The headline was open for debate since the court only took exception to one particular and long-since removed feature which allowed the downloading of encrypted video streams. However, the ruling has concerned the creators of JDownloader who say that it represents a threat to the development of Open Source Software.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 24 for Linux gets native MP3, AAC and H.264 support

        Firefox users who use the Windows 7 or Windows 8 operating system benefit from support for H.264, Mp3 and AAC formats that Mozilla implemented in version 21 of the web browser. Support means that users of the browser on those systems can play audio and video files requiring these formats in the browser without plugins.

      • Launching Maker Party 2013
      • Mozilla checks in with Cookie Clearinghouse for better cookie handling

        The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School has announced a list-based exception platform for managing cookies, called the Cookie Clearinghouse (CCH). Mozilla has committed to work with the CCH Advisory Board to develop the platform.

        Mozilla’s recent attempts to bring in better handling of cookies – in the form of Safari’s third-party cookie block – and reduce the tracking of users ended up in “development hell” a month ago. This was not, though, a result of criticism from advertising groups, but because it was generating too many false positives and false negatives when deciding whether to block cookies from third-party sites.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Rackspace, Fidelity: OpenStack Hybrid Cloud Partnership

      The public cloud’s heyday has passed, and enterprises should focus on hybrid cloud investment. So say executives at Rackspace (RAX), the OpenStack-powered cloud hosting vendor. And if deals like the one Rackspace just announced with Fidelity Investments to build an OpenStack cloud is any indication, Rackspace’s vision is on the mark. Here’s the scoop.

  • Databases

    • Oracle Databases: From MySQL to NoSQL Switch?

      Is the NoSQL database trend a threat to Oracle (ORCL)? This is a big week for the company, which announced somewhat disappointing Q4 new software licenses yesterday. While cloud computing and hardware sales are Oracle’s big challenges, you can’t overlook the open source database wars as well. Indeed, Oracle and MySQL faces challenges from smaller NoSQL vendors.

    • MongoDB GUIs that Shine

      MongoDB is a high performance, open source, non-relational NoSQL database written in C++. MongoDB stores structured data as JSON-like documents with dynamic schemas (MongoDB calls the format BSON). This property helps make the integration of data in certain types of applications easier and faster. MongoDB is network accessible, has full index support, query profiling, replication and fail-over support, indexing, auto-sharding for cloud-level scalability, load balancing and more.

    • Oracle Advances Open Source MySQL Clustering
    • TokuMX brings “Fractal Tree indexing” to MongoDB

      Tokutek has announced version 1.0 of TokuMX, a version of MongoDB that has its storage layer replaced with Tokutek’s storage engine. The storage engine, which is available for MySQL and MariaDB, uses the company’s patented Fractal Tree indexing. In developing TokuMX, the developers have also replaced the locking and replication code of MongoDB to get better workload performance as the client count increases. The focus for TokuMX is on large databases of over 50GB, where its indexing technology can bring the most benefit to performance.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice is getting better, even better

      The group responsible for overseeing the development of the LibreOffice free and open source “Office”-style productivity suite of applications has confirmed its latest release.

      The Document Foundation says that 98 bug reports and improvements have been included in LibreOffice 4.0.4, with the 4.1.x (and onward) set of releases due to follow as soon as this July.

  • CMS

    • WordPress 3.5.2 Released – Maintenance and Security Fixes

      WordPress 3.5.2 is now available. This is the second maintenance release of 3.5, fixing 12 bugs. This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately.

      The WordPress security team resolved seven security issues, and this release also contains some additional security hardening.

    • CMSs mostly vulnerable through addons says German security agency

      Unpatched vulnerabilities not closed by the developers in time or the lack of a crisis communication plan or brute force protection did have the biggest negative impact on the BSI’s overall rating, while a clunky integration into existing management software only brought down the score a little. However, the security experts did not conduct a penetration test for the study.

  • Education

    • How libraries can be a haven for makers

      I work at a public library in the Washington DC-area and often think about what needs to be designed into the space of future public libraries. I was recently visiting the MAKE magazine website when I saw a fascinating how-to video about building your own portable Raspberry Pi game system.

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • Suricata 1.4.3 released!

      Photo by Eric LeblondThe OISF development team is pleased to announce Suricata 1.4.3. This is a small but important update over the 1.4.2 release, fixing some important bugs.

    • Touch-aware Magnolia 5.0 released

      Version 5.0 of the open source Magnolia CMS has been released after a year and a half spent redeveloping the front end tools that deliver content to the CMS’s users. Talking with The H, Pascal Mangold, CEO of Magnolia, explained that Magnolia 4.5 had seen the redevelopment of the backend of Magnolia to create a foundation for the work that has been delivered in Magnolia 5.0. Magnolia is a Java CMS that is built around the concept of being an enterprise integration platform, connecting users with enterprise systems in an accessible way.

    • Google’s Dart hits beta

      Google has released the first beta version of its scripting language Dart, which it originally unveiled as its alternative to JavaScript in October 2011. Google’s new programming language essentially aims to replace JavaScript – unlike Microsoft’s TypeScript and CoffeeScript, two supersets that add important features to the older scripting language.

    • Build Tool Version 0.6.8 Released
  • Openness/Sharing

    • The most inspiring introduction to Open Science. Ever.

      The video never went viral, probably because it has an unexplained ‘interlude’ after 42 minutes 57 seconds which makes it seem to end at a random point. This bizarre showstopping moment didn’t deter your intrepid iij innovation hunters (it actually resumes after about a minute of serious onscreen weirdness) from recognizing a gem and it certainly shouldn’t stop you watching it

    • Open Access/Content

      • Funders have all the power in OA negotiations. So why aren’t they using it?

        A few days ago I explained why I don’t think “hybrid OA” is a legitimate path to the full-open-access world we all want. The TL;DR is first that it’s offered at stupidly high prices, and secondly that it’s completely impossible to detect or prevent double-dipping because journal subscriptions are the most opaquely priced good in the known universe.

        Then I found that Stuart Shieber had written much the same article but much better four years ago, from the perspective of explaining why the Harvard open-access fund does not cover hybrid fees.

  • Programming

    • 13 Linux Debuggers for C++ Reviewed

      Most time in debuggers is spent doing the same few things: setting breakpoints, stepping through code, looking at variables. Which products make those features supremely accessible and useful? We compare 13 debuggers and find out.

      Have you compared debuggers lately? Until recently, I’d been programming using only one debugger — the one supplied by my compiler vendor. Suddenly, with a new job programming on Linux, I find the range of choices in debuggers is dizzying. Wikipedia lists 18 GUI front ends for GDB alone. This article is the result of my effort to choose a debugger with a good GUI front end for my first UNIX/Linux job in several years.

    • Zend Framework 2.2.1 Released

      The Zend Framework community announced the immediate availability of Zend Framework 2.2.1!

      Packages and installation instructions are available at: http://framework.zend.com/downloads/latest

    • Google’s JavaScript challenger gains better tools, performance

      Like TypeScript, Dart is a language aimed at making it easier to develop large, complex web applications that are efficient, secure, and maintainable. It compiles into JavaScript, so it can run in any modern web browser, but its syntax is designed to ameliorate some of JavaScript’s more glaring flaws.

    • PHP 5.5.0 Released
    • PHP 5.5.0 adds optimizer and drops Windows XP support
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google’s VP9 web video codec enters home straight

      As planned in May, Google has now finalised the bit stream for VP9, its open video compression format. Chromium has included a beta VP9 decoder for some time and this has now been activated by default according to an entry in the issue tracker reading “Remove VP9 flag, and enable VP9 by default”. VP9 can also be enabled in the developer version of Chromium and Chrome (“Enable VP9 playback in video elements”). Google is planning to incorporate the final version of VP9 into Chrome 29 and enable it by default by 20 August. It is nonetheless likely to be some time before VP9 achieves a critical mass on YouTube – to date VP9 is limited to a few demo videos.

Leftovers

  • Second Life turns 10: what it did wrong, and why it may have its own second life
  • Silvio Berlusconi sentenced to seven years in jail in bunga bunga sex trial
  • Science

    • Black hole mysteries

      Scientists are just getting to know the black holes that help anchor our cosmos

  • Health/Nutrition

    • EU Approves the Use of Laser “Tattoos” on Fruit as Replacement for Sticky Labels

      Sticky fruit labels may soon be things of the past thanks to a new EU ruling that allows grocers and retailers to make laser marks on the skin of citrus fruit, melons and pomegranates. Laser branding, previously banned because of the use of iron oxides and hydroxides, was approved after three years of liaising between the EU and Laser Food – the company behind the technology. The new law will come into effect on June 23rd.

      Read more: EU Approves the Use of Laser “Tattoos” on Fruit as Replacement for Sticky Labels | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

    • When Jeremy Hunt can become health secretary, it’s a sign Britain is sick

      How can one have faith in the democratic process and the ruling elite when such a man is passing judgment as health secretary?

  • Security

    • Kaspersky Secure OS vs China, Iran, North Korea Hackers?

      Kaspersky Lab is developing a cyber secure operating system to combat state-sponsored hackers in China, Iran, North Korea and more. But when will CEO Eugene Kaspersky offer updates?

    • DNS provider’s error caused LinkedIn “hack” and affected 5,000 more

      LinkedIn, the professional networking site which had been reported as hacked or hijacked yesterday, was in fact the victim of human error at the company’s DNS provider, Network Solutions, an error which appears to have affected up to 5,000 domains in all. Network Solutions has said in a blog posting that while trying to resolve a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack, it accidentally changed the DNS records of a “small number” of customers.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Report: Stronger Border Led to More Migrant Deaths

      Tucson, Arizona – As immigration reform debates run hot on Capitol Hill, many members of Congress say a more secure border has to be part of any bill they approve. One of those is Arizona Sen. John McCain, one of the “Gang of Eight” of bipartisan lawmakers pushing reform.

    • First State Department Benghazi photos released
    • Latest Brazil protests bring 250,000 on to streets

      More than 250,000 anti-government protesters have again taken to the streets in several Brazilian cities and engaged police in isolated intense conflicts. Demonstrators vowed to stay in the streets until concrete steps are taken to reform the political system.

      Across Brazil protesters gathered to denounce legislation known as PEC 37 that would limit the power of federal prosecutors to investigate crimes. Many fear the laws would hinder attempts to jail corrupt politicians.

    • Turkish police use water cannon to disperse remembrance gathering

      Turkish police used water cannon to disperse thousands who had gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Saturday to observe a memorial for four people killed during recent anti-government protests. The officers later fired teargas and rubber bullets to scatter demonstrators who regrouped in side streets.

      The police move came as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared that foreign-led conspirators he alleges are behind the anti-government movement in his country also are fomenting the recent unrest in Brazil.

    • Guevara’s ‘betrayer’ tells his story: ‘When I heard Che had died it was like a bullet had hit me’

      He was one of Guevara’s most trusted collaborators, yet he has been framed by some as the man who betrayed him. Now Ciro Bustos tells his story

    • Boy’s death highlights anger some Yemenis feel over U.S. drone strikes

      If an apparent U.S. drone strike this month in the village of Mahashama had killed only its intended targets – an al Qaida chief and some of his men – locals might’ve grumbled about a violation of Yemen’s national sovereignty and gone on with their lives.

      But the strike also killed a 10-year-old named Abdulaziz, the younger brother of the targeted militant, Saleh Hassan Huraydan, according to local tribal leaders and Yemenis with close ties to the al Qaida branch here. And that set off a firestorm of complaints that underscores how American airstrikes can so outrage a community that even though al Qaida loses some foot soldiers, it gains dozens of sympathizers.

    • Ex-CIA chief to Obama: Strike North Korea

      The Obama administration should “seriously consider” a surgical strike to prevent North Korea from developing long-range missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, argued former CIA director James Woolsey.

      In a radio interview Sunday night, Woolsey warned the U.S. is currently wide open and virtually defenseless against a missile coming from a southerly direction, and that both Iran and North Korea made advances toward firing missiles in that direction.

    • Obama’s Secret CIA Hit Squad Detailed in “The Way of the Knife”

      The story behind the development and deployment of this presidential killing corps is told inThe Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth, the latest book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mark Mazzetti.

    • Jihawg Ammo: Pork-laced Bullets Designed To Send Muslims Straight ‘To Hell’
    • How Barrett Brown shone light on the murky world of security contractors

      Unlike Edward Snowden or Bradley Manning, Brown is not a celebrity. But after helping expose a dirty tricks plot, he faces jail

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • California sends a cease and desist order to the Bitcoin Foundation

      California’s Department of Financial Institutions has issued a cease and desist letter to the Bitcoin Foundation for “allegedly engaging in the business of money transmission without a license or proper authorization,” according to Forbes. The news comes after Bitcoin held its “Future of Payments” conference in San Jose last month. (The license information is available on CA.gov and Forbes placed the cease and desist letter on Scribd.)

      If found in violation, penalties range from $1,000 to $2,500 per violation per day plus criminal prosecution (which could lead to more fines and possibly imprisonment). Under federal law, it’s also a felony “to engage in the business of money transmission without the appropriate state license or failure to register with the US Treasury Department,” according to Forbes. Penalties under that law could be up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

    • Starbucks pays corporation tax in UK for first time in five years

      Starbucks, one of the companies exhorted by the prime minister to “wake up and smell the coffee” over tax, has handed over £5m to HM Revenue and Customs – its first payment in five years.

      But the cash has only gone some way towards assuaging critics, one of whom complained that companies should not be able to “pick and choose” how much tax they wanted to pay.

      The coffee shop chain said on Sunday it had made the contribution to please its customers and would be paying a second £5m instalment in the last half of the year despite claiming the business overall continued to make a financial loss in Britain.

    • Why Spain And Italy Are Like Cyprus, Slovenia, And Greece

      The “XXXXX is not YYYYY” jokes aside, Europe’s union of nations is beginning to separate increasingly between the haves and the have-nots. The sad truth, as Bloomberg’s Niraj Shah notes, is that recession/depression has pushed Spanish and Italian GDP-per-capita below the EU average in purchasing power terms – just like Cyprus, Slovenia, and Greece. Irish GDP per capita was 29% above the average, while Greek and Portuguese per capita output were 25% below. Output per head for the EU ranged between 47% (Bulgaria) and 271% (Luxembourg) of the average. With today’s news that retroactive ESM recaps are unlikely, the banking-sovereign symbiosis of Spain and Italy will increasingly come under pressure and with productivity so dismal, there is little hope for now.

    • Southeast Asia: The Next Crisis?

      Southeast Asia, so long a byway of the world economy, has become a well-worn path for foreign investors seeking refuge from the continuing after-effects of the global financial crisis. They have come because the region has been surging ahead over the last few years, even as the West slumped, China readjusted and India stuttered.

      As confidence grew in Southeast Asia’s newfound ability to realize its potential, success followed success: Indonesia is on the cusp of becoming the region’s first trillion-dollar economy, and achieved an investment-grade credit rating for the first time in 14 years in late 2011, something the Philippines also attained for the first time ever earlier this year; manufacturing has been booming in Malaysia and Thailand; and the Philippines began to challenge India as the top destination for offshore services, while posting first-quarter GDP growth of 7.8%, Asia’s best performance.

    • Bitcoin Foundation Receives Cease And Desist Order From California

      Directly following last month’s Bitcoin 2013 conference event in San Jose, CA that brought decent revenue into the state, California’s Department of Financial Institutions decided to issue a cease and desist warning to conference organizer Bitcoin Foundation for allegedly engaging in the business of money transmission without a license or proper authorization.

      If found to be in violation of California Financial Code, penalties can be severe ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 per violation per day plus criminal prosecution which could result in fines and/or imprisonment. Additionally, it is a felony violation of federal law to engage in the business of money transmission without the appropriate state license or failure to register with the U.S. Treasury Department. Convictions under the federal statute are punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

    • Bernanke’s stand-off with markets: who will blink first?

      US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is playing a potentially dangerous game of chicken with global financial markets sent reeling by his threat to scale back the central bank’s huge stimulus program.

    • China stocks tumble on credit tightening fears

      Chinese stock markets have fallen sharply as the country’s central bank indicated its credit tightening policy would continue.

      The Shanghai Composite SSE index fell 5.3% to 1,963.24 points, over 1,540 points below its 52-week high.

    • How Austerity Has Failed

      Austerity has failed. It turned a nascent recovery into stagnation. That imposes huge and unnecessary costs, not just in the short run, but also in the long term: the costs of investments unmade, of businesses not started, of skills atrophied, and of hopes destroyed.

    • U.S. Seemingly Unaware of Irony in Accusing Snowden of Spying

      At a press conference to discuss the accusations, an N.S.A. spokesman surprised observers by announcing the spying charges against Mr. Snowden with a totally straight face.

      “These charges send a clear message,” the spokesman said. “In the United States, you can’t spy on people.”

    • 6 Facts About Hunger That Demonstrate the Shameful Excesses of American Capitalism

      Of all the miseries placed on human beings in their everyday lives, the lack of food may be the most inexcusable. Even in a world controlled by unbending attitudes of self-reliance and individual responsibility, the reality of children and seniors and disabled citizens going hungry is a stain on humanity, a shameful testament to the capitalist goal of profit without conscience.

    • Teachers to close schools with strike against cuts

      The strike, which will be followed by regional strikes elsewhere in the UK next term leading to a one-day national stoppage before Christmas if the dispute is not solved, is over government curbs on teachers’ pay, cuts to their pension and changes to their working conditions.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Brazil Protests Peaceful, And Not About Bus Fares

      In preparation for FISL (where I hope to be speaking next week), I have been continuing to try to understand the protests in Brazil, which are now regularly bringing crowds the size of a European town onto the streets. They aren’t really about “bus fares” — and as far as I have been told are free of violence by the protesters apart from a statistically insignificant number of them. With so many people on the streets, there are bound to be a few disorderly encounters; to focus on them is try to distract from the real issues.

      The real issues every Brazilian friend I have spoken to cares about relate to a sequence of governments failing to address structural issues and widespread corruption, and even perhaps joining in. The protesters are people just like you and me, who just won’t take it any more and are peacefully but loudly saying so.

  • Privacy

    • Edward Snowden seeks asylum in Ecuador amid diplomatic storm

      The intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden will on Monday attempt to complete an audacious escape to the relative safety of South America after his departure from Hong Kong escalated already fraught diplomatic relations between the United States and China.

    • NSA leaker Snowden arrives in Moscow en route to ‘third country’ with WikiLeaks help

      The plane carrying whistleblower Edward Snowden has landed at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. The former CIA contractor, who left Hong Kong in a bid to elude US extradition on espionage charges, is on his way to a ‘third country’ via Russia.

    • RT interview re Snowden flying to Russia

      As the news broke that NSA whis­tleblower, Edward Snowden, had fled Hong Kong for Rus­sia today, I was invited on RT to do an inter­view. At that point few people had any idea of his plans. How­ever, it appears that the USA had charged Snowden under the Espi­on­age Act 1917 (no sur­prises) and then asked Hong Kong to arrest and hold him, pending extra­di­tion. Equally unsur­pris­ingly, Hong Kong found mis­takes in the paper­work and used the oppor­tun­ity to com­plain about US spy­ing activ­ity in its territory.

    • WikiLeaks Statement On Edward Snowden’s Exit From Hong Kong

      Mr Edward Snowden, the American whistleblower who exposed evidence of a global surveillance regime conducted by US and UK intelligence agencies, has left Hong Kong legally. He is bound for the Republic of Ecuador via a safe route for the purposes of asylum, and is being escorted by diplomats and legal advisors from WikiLeaks.

      [...]

      “The WikiLeaks legal team and I are interested in preserving Mr Snowden’s rights and protecting him as a person. What is being done to Mr Snowden and to Mr Julian Assange – for making or facilitating disclosures in the public interest – is an assault against the people”.

    • Edward Snowden asks for asylum in Ecuador: live updates

      The NSA whistleblower left Hong Kong on an Aeroflot flight to Moscow, two days after the US charged him with espionage, before applying for asylum in Ecuador

    • Now the Government Knows You’re a Dog

      “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” That phrase is ingrained in web culture, stemming from a Peter Steiner comic that was published in a 1993 issue of The New Yorker.

    • Anger mounts after Facebook’s ‘shadow profiles’ leak in bug

      Facebook said Friday it fixed a bug that exposed contact info for over six million accounts. The admission revealed its ‘shadow profile’ data collection activities, and users are furious.

      [...]

      …users behind closed doors, without their consent.

      [...]

      One man commented this afternoon, “I just downloaded the “extended backup” and I’m still viewing emails and phone numbers that are NOT PUBLIC!!!!”

      [...]

      The yearlong gap of exposure as described by Reuters creates a scenario of horrifying possibilities for any woman who has begin to experience harassment, abuse or stalking by an ex within the past year. Or, anyone being maliciously stalked and harassed by a tech-savvy aggressor (or a stalker’s Facebook sock puppet) they may have accidentally friended over the past year.

    • Obama’s ‘Insider Threat’ Program a ‘Sweeping’ Crackdown on Leakers

      A program being implemented by the Obama administration titled “Insider Threat” requires millions of federal employees to keep a close watch on each other—a “sweeping” effort to crackdown on whistleblowers and leakers across the U.S. government, McClatchy reports Friday after obtaining a series of government documents.

    • We can use European law to challenge this spying

      If the law says you can do whatever you like, saying that everything you do is “in accordance with the law” doesn’t mean anything. If “supervision” over state spying is done in secret, by “trusted” cronies appointed by the executive itself, it offers no safeguards either. We need strict legal rules, transparency at least about the law and the basics of practice, and spies who are accountable to parliament and to the general public.

    • Bush’s Foiled NSA Blackmail Scheme

      In early 2003, as the U.S. and British governments were seeking international acquiescence to their aggressive war on Iraq, an unexpected cog throw into the propaganda machine was the disclosure that the National Security Agency was spying on UN Security Council members in search of blackmail material.

      The revelation received little attention in the mainstream U.S. news media, which was almost fully onboard the pro-war bandwagon, but the disclosure received wide international attention and stopped the blackmail scheme. U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were forced to abandon a UN resolution and invade Iraq with a ragtag “coalition of the willing.”

    • EXCLUSIVE: Snowden reveals more US cyberspying details
    • Greenwald Tears Into Gregory: With Newsmen Like You, ‘Who Needs Government To Criminalize Reporting?’

      Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald took Meet The Press host David Gregory head on in an interview Sunday morning, after Gregory asked if Greenwald would be criminally culpable for “aiding and abetting” NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

      “I think it’s pretty extraordinary that anybody who would call themselves a journalist would publicly muse about whether or not other journalists should be charged with felonies,” Greenwald said. “The assumptions in your question, David, is completely without evidence, the idea I’ve aided and abetted him in any way. The scandal that arose in Washington before our stories began was about the fact that the Obama administration is trying to criminalize investigative journalism by going through the e-mails and records of AP reporters, accusing a Fox News journalist of the theory you just embraced, being co-conspirator in felonies for working with sources.”

      “If you want to embrace that theory,” Greenwald continued, “it means that every investigative journalist in the United States who works with their sources, who receives classified information, is a criminal. It’s precisely those theories and precisely that climate that has become so menacing in the United States. It’s why the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer said investigative reporting has come to a standstill, as a result of the questions you just mentioned.”

    • Obama says FBI nominee Comey will balance privacy, security

      In nominating Jim Comey to be the next FBI director on Friday, President Barack Obama said the former Justice Department official will help strike a balance between the need for information on terrorist plots and respecting Americans’ privacy.

    • An Apology to my European IT Team

      As more information comes out on Prism, two criteria consistently show up that we would have consistently triggered oversight…

    • NSA director: Edward Snowden has caused irreversible damage to US

      Keith Alexander defends agency’s broad surveillance as being in line with Americans’ expectations for preventing another 9/11

    • Edward Snowden and the NSA files – timeline
    • Former Facebook security chief is now working for the NSA
    • Support NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, says Julian Assange

      The WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, has called on the world to “step forward and stand with” Edward Snowden, after the NSA whistleblower was charged with espionage by US federal prosecutors.

      According to a statement on the WikiLeaks website, Assange said: “A few weeks ago, Edward Snowden blew the whistle on an ongoing program – involving the Obama administration, the intelligence community and the internet services giants – to spy on everyone in the world. As if by clockwork, he has been charged with espionage by the Obama administration.”

    • Venezuela or Ecuador: where next for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden?
    • NSA leaks: US and Britain team up on mass surveillance

      Latest revelations from Edward Snowden show that the state risks crossing ever more ethical and legal boundaries

    • NSA Targeted Communications in China and Hong Kong – Snowden

      Earlier, he had said that the British agency, GCHQ, is worse than the NSA when it comes to cyber-snooping on worldwide communications.

    • NSA Now Revealing A Lot More About What It Does Than Snowden Leaks Did; So Is That Harming America?

      One of the key refrains that has come out from those who are unhappy about the revelation of details around the NSA’s surveillance efforts is that Edward Snowden’s leaks are somehow harmful to America. During hearings about all of this, NSA boss Keith Alexander claimed that “Americans will die” because of these sorts of leaks. But… between those same hearings and other revelations from the administration and Congress, we’re actually learning much more about the various programs directly from the government, as information is now being “declassified.” And, apparently, President Obama is asking the NSA and the Justice Department to look into declassifying even more. So while the initial shove to declassify information may have come via Snowden, the stuff that we’re really learning about is coming through revelations following Snowden’s leaks — revelations that never would have happened without his leaks.

    • Snowden’s plane leaves Moscow, NSA leaker not seen aboard

      Ex-CIA contractor, Edward Snowden, has not been seen aboard the plane to Havana on which he would reportedly be traveling, reports RT’s correspondent on the flight. The plane has already departed from Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.

    • Edward Snowden due to fly to Cuba in Ecuador asylum bid
    • LinkedIn DNS hijacked, traffic rerouted for an hour, and users’ cookies read in plain text

      According to Berg, that site does not require SSL (secure sockets layer), which means that anyone who visited in the last hour or so sent it their long-lived session cookies in plain text … a potential security risk.

    • To the Guardian – why PRISM? ECHELON has been around since 1948 supported by US, UK, Canada, Australia

      It is not at all clear to me why everyone is so excited about PRISM and the apparently new ability to monitor private communications that the Guardian got all excited about last week. It took me a day or two to remember the name, but I have this piece (below) from 2003 which documents ECHELON which has been around since 1948. PRISM reads like an extension/ subset/ addition to ECHELON.

    • NSA PRISM puts “public” cloud in a new light

      It’s all those other three-letter acronym (TLAs) organizations, such as the FBI, IRS, and SEC, which might have access to my data that I worry about.

    • Snowden receives refugee document of passage from Ecuador
    • Google must delete last of UK Street View data

      The payload data was collected by Google’s Street View cars when driving around the countryside; the software that was mapping out the location of Wi-Fi access points was also recording any data packets it could see which could include fragments of Wi-Fi users’ email, passwords or other personal data. The decision to enforce and prosecute over the payload data came as a result of investigations started when ICO reopened the case in April 2012 after concerns about the engineer’s actions working with the data. This then immediately raised questions about how the search company has handled the data.

    • Why A Special Congressional Committee Must Be Created To Investigate NSA’s Unconstitutional Domestic Spying

      In the past couple of weeks, the NSA has, unsurprisingly, responded with a series of secret briefings to Congress that have left the public in the dark and vulnerable to misstatements and word games. Congress has many options at its disposal, but for true accountability any response must start with a special investigative committee. A coalition of over 100 civil liberties groups agrees. Such a committee is the right way the American people can make informed decisions about the level of transparency and the reform needed.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Snowden sought Booz Allen job to gather evidence on NSA surveillance
    • Rep. Rogers: Snowden’s Secrets ‘Belong To The People Of The US’ & He’s A Traitor For Giving Them What They Own

      Over the past few years, we’ve found that Rep. Mike Rogers, the head of the House Intelligence Committee, has an incredible knack for spewing pure bullshit in defense of whatever he’s supporting, rarely even bothering to make sure his statements are internally consistent. Still, his statements on Meet the Press this weekend take that nonsense to a new high.

    • GCHQ Revelations Destroy Case for Snooper’s Charter

      So the revelations from Edward Snowden keep on coming, exposing ever-more profound attacks on privacy and democracy in the UK and elsewhere. News that GCHQ is essentially downloading, storing and searching through the entire flow of Internet traffic that comes into and goes out of the UK without any specific warrant to do so is one side of that. That seems to be taking place through an extremely generous interpretation of the out-of-date RIPA law that is supposed to bring some level of accountability to just this sort of thing. The fact that it doesn’t shows that we must reform RIPA and make it fit for the Internet age.

  • Civil Rights

    • Civil liberties: Guarding the guards
    • to understand terrorism and threat assessment, look to Aum

      Just as important was what the Japanese government and people did not do. They didn’t panic. They didn’t make sweeping changes to their way of life. They didn’t implement a vast system of domestic surveillance. They didn’t suspend basic civil rights. They didn’t begin to capture, torture, and kill without due process. They didn’t, in other words, allow themselves to be terrorized. Instead, they addressed the threat. They investigated and arrested the cult’s leadership. They tried them in civilian courts and earned convictions through due process. They buried their dead. They mourned. And they moved on. In every sense, it was a rational, adult, mature response to a terrible terrorist act, one that remained largely in keeping with liberal democratic ideals.

    • Stephen Lawrence family and friends targeted by police ‘smear’ campaign

      Exclusive: former undercover officer Peter Francis says superiors wanted him to find ‘dirt’ shortly after 1993 murder

    • Journalist Hastings Sent Out Mysterious Email Hours Before Death
    • Meet The Man In Charge Of America’s Secret Cyber Army (In Which “Bonesaw” Makes A Mockery Of PRISM)

      With his revelations exposing the extent of potential, and actual, pervasive NSA surveillance over the American population, Edward Snowden has done a great service for the public by finally forcing it to answer the question: is having Big Brother peek at every private communication and electronic information, a fair exchange for the alleged benefit of the state’s security. Alas, without further action form a population that appears largely numb and apathetic to disclosures that until recently would have sparked mass protests and toppled presidents, the best we can hope for within a political regime that has hijacked the democratic process, is some intense introspection as to what the concept of “America” truly means.

      However, and more importantly, what Snowden’s revelations have confirmed, is that behind the scenes, America is now actively engaged in a new kind of war: an unprecedented cyber war, where collecting, deciphering, intercepting, and abusing information is the only thing that matters and leads to unprecedented power, and where enemies both foreign and domestic may be targeted without due process based on a lowly analyst’s “whim.”

      It has also put spotlight on the man, who until recently deep in the shadows, has been responsible for building America’s secret, absolutely massive cyber army, and which according to a just released Wired profile is “capable of launching devastating cyberattacks. Now it’s ready to unleash hell.”

    • Obama’s crackdown views leaks as aiding enemies of U.S.

      Even before a former U.S. intelligence contractor exposed the secret collection of Americans’ phone records, the Obama administration was pressing a government-wide crackdown on security threats that requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions.

      President Barack Obama’s unprecedented initiative, known as the Insider Threat Program, is sweeping in its reach. It has received scant public attention even though it extends beyond the U.S. national security bureaucracies to most federal departments and agencies nationwide, including the Peace Corps, the Social Security Administration and the Education and Agriculture departments. It emphasizes leaks of classified material, but catchall definitions of “insider threat” give agencies latitude to pursue and penalize a range of other conduct.

    • Time to repeal the Patriot Act, NDAA and abolish DHS

      Many Americans have known for a long time that the IRS is a rogue agency that will readily break the law to accomplish its “mission.”

      A friend of ours tells the story: He got a call from the local police department in the pre-dawn hours of a dark night. The dispatcher told him he needed to go immediately to his business, a heating and air conditioning business. When he arrived he learned that his business had been burglarized. The investigating police wanted him to determine what had been taken. After a couple of hours of searching he could find nothing noticeable missing. Even some cash had been left behind. “Well, you need to get ready for an IRS audit,” the policeman said. Sure enough, a few days later when he arrived at work he found a chain and padlock on his door and a notice from the IRS to contact them.

      In case you’re interested, the audit revealed that he was due a refund. Nobody paid any attention, even the Congressman whom the business man contacted.The result of what happens when government operates in secret—whether it be the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Department and the Washington Police Department or the FBI/CIA, can be seen in the FISA Court. That’s the apparatus set up by the Patriot Act to review government eavesdropping. We now learn that the “Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act” Court approved 99.97% of the government’s request to snoop, and that many of them were aimed at Americans, within America, not foreigners outside the USA.

    • Who’d try to smear Stephen Lawrence’s family? A Met that’s out of control

      The Met is out of control. The revelation that it sought to smear the Lawrence family in the hunt for Stephen Lawrence’s killers – perhaps to stifle racist aspersions on its detectives – beggars belief. Less surprising is that the operation was unknown to the then police chief, Sir Paul Condon, to the home secretary and to the Macpherson inquiry. It is merely further evidence of the Met’s gift for malpractice and skulduggery.

    • Global protest grows as citizens lose faith in politics and the state

      The myriad protests from Istanbul to São Paulo have one thing in common – growing dissent among the young, educated and better-off protesting against the very system that once enriched them. And therein lies the danger for governments

  • Intellectual Monopolies

TechBytes Episode 78: Richard Stallman Speaks About Surveillance in the Post-Leaks Era

Posted in TechBytes at 6:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Stallman on Snowden, NSA, etc.

Techbytes 2013

Direct download as Ogg (00:08:15, 5.9 MB)

Summary: The first part of a series about privacy

TODAY we officially begin a series of interviews with Dr. Richard Stallman, as promised last week. Stallman was proven to be right on the issues of privacy and freedom as more information was being shown for everyone to see how surveillance is used to control users’ behaviour and distort/impede communications in some cases. As more evidence came to light, showing in concrete form what a lot of people already knew but could not always prove, there was a lot to be discussed not hypothetically but realistically.

This is the first part of many and the transcript follows (some parts were too incomprehensible due to low recording quality, so we duly apologise for inaccuracies).


Dr. Roy S. Schestowitz: As I said before, I think the plan was mostly to focus on things that we hadn’t touched before and primarily things to do with privacy. I think we were — and many people were — advocating for freedom in technology were proven to be correct in the sense that on the issue of privacy and freedom everything seems to be very symbiotic and I think in recent weeks we found that more and more people have woken up to the fact that they need to assure they can control their software.

Richard StallmanDr. Richard M. Stallman: It’s not just about what happens in your computer. With Free software you control what happens in your computer, but of course there are other systems of snooping. The NSA is setting up snooping that we have been reading about recently. They don’t work through software in your computer. So, what this shows is, a) they have {users must have} control over the software in your computer; b) we need to work politically to make sure that the software that’s not in our computer — the systems that are not ours — are nonetheless not being used to snoop on us.

RSS: I think information is increasingly being used to change behaviour in people and also to distort the ways of communication between entities and I think that routers, for example, play a role in the way in which we interact with computers, so I wonder what your take is on the [snooping] in routers, many of them [are] Cisco ones.

“Of course encryption in itself doesn’t disguise who we are talking to and it’s been played out that if the government knows who knows who, then it is a tremendous start on breaking any dissident movement.”RMS: Ed Snowden, I think, said that the NSA takes control of routers in order to monitor Internet traffic in other countries.

RSS: It is actually proven to be the case and any interested person who researched this subject before would know that Cisco was working with the Chinese government to enable things like sending E-mail port back to communication and such things, so we do know that there is a degree of collusion between them. I think we’ll touch on this later when we’re just thinking the possibility of back doors. But I think it’s more evident now that it comes to light, showing in concrete terms what we already know was probably happening all these years.

RMS: There are many routers you can get that you can then install free software into. So if we are talking about your router, then yeah, you should put Free software into it. But when you talk to other [incomprehensible] it’s critical to ask first if they are not yours. And some of them will belong to companies that might very well be collaborating with surveillance. And Free software is not going to fix that problem, because if that company which [incomprehensible] for its switch/routers was to collaborate with the NSA, it is going to collaborate with the NSA or the Chinese government or whatever. So, Free software means you can control over the software or what your computer is doing or your computers are doing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other organisations you deal with are going to respect your privacy.

RSS: Unless of course we use encryption, for example.

RMS: Yes. Of course encryption in itself doesn’t disguise who we are talking to and it’s been played out that if the government knows who knows who, then it is a tremendous start on breaking any dissident movement.


The next part will be published in a few days.

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

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06.23.13

IRC Proceedings: June 16th, 2013-June 22nd, 2013

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: June 16th, 2013

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#techrights log

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IRC Proceedings: June 17th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: June 18th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: June 19th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: June 20th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: June 21st, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: June 22nd, 2013

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Enter the IRC channels now

Links 23/6/2013: Russian-Based OpenMandriva Goes Alpha, Snowden in Russia

Posted in News Roundup at 11:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • New and amazing features of Linux

    The Linux operating system has been around since the beginning of the first computers and the first operating systems. Since its first formation in the form of a small operating system running on the command line interface it has been constantly evolving into a much more powerful and robust operating system capable of sustaining heavy workload and performing multiple tasks at once.

  • Uruguay Fights For GNU/Linux

    Uruguay is a small country, only 3 million people. That explains the fluctuations on the graph but the trend and substance is clear. According to Statcounter Uruguayans are using GNU/Linux regularly and in great numbers. That almost certainly means government, business and consumers have ready access.

  • Linux on Film: Dredd (2012)

    One of the elements that made the original RoboCop (1987) so good was seeing Alex Murphy deal out some major butt-kicking in spite of the losing battle he was facing against the city, politicians and his makers. And Dredd (2012) serves this very experience ala carte. I don’t think the reboot of Robocop can come close to the sheer audacity of Dredd. Dredd is a straightforward no-nonsense cop-thriller set in the future. Judge Dredd is presented as he should be – a dedicated, incorruptible cop with a powerful firearm.

  • When it comes to a new networking OS, Linux is the Linux of networking

    How is networking like farming? JR Rivers, the co-founder and CEO of Cumulus Networks, which launched earlier today, tried to use our evolution from a hunter-gatherer society to today’s food acquisition environment to explain how technological advances that speed up distribution and make distribution or product manufacturing cheaper change societies.

  • Why Every GNU/Linux User Should Support Tesla Motors
  • Desktop

    • Could Google Deliver a Chrome OS-based Tiny Stick PC?

      While the Raspberry Pi has grabbed many headlines as a tiny, ultra-inexpensive, pocketable computer that runs various open source operating systems, it’s actually only one of many tiny LInux computers being touted as part of a new “Linux punk ethic.” As we’ve noted, there are various pocket-size Android devices selling online for under $100 (see the photo).

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Hardware, Past, Present, and Future.

      Here’s some thoughts about some hardware I was going to use, hardware I use daily, and hardware I’ll probably use someday in the future.

    • The People Who Support Linux: 19-Year-Old Aims to be a Kernel Developer
    • Linux Foundation sees broadening role for developers

      Linux developers were once just that, developers. But their role is changing says the Linux Foundation, which is expanding its training options to help them.

      The foundation, an industry supported non-profit, has added two courses to its program, OpenStack Cloud Architecture and Deployment and Linux Enterprise Automation.

    • Linux-3.9.7

      I don’t need to have the latest and greatest from the bleeding edge of FLOSS but I do like the polish being put on the Linux kernel…

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Driver Soon Likely To Support EGL, Mir

        With NVIDIA entering the GPU IP licensing business, the need to support EGL by their binary display driver — and with that the Ubuntu Mir display server and Wayland — has become more pressing.

        While there hasn’t been any official communication out of NVIDIA yet, it’s likely that their binary display driver will soon be bearing EGL support to complement their GLX windowing system support. The EGL interface is for sitting between OpenGL and the windowing system. EGL is used by Google’s Android operating system for mobile devices. Beyond that, both the Mir Display Server and Wayland/Weston are using EGL rather than the GLX windowing system API.

      • Oracle To Work On Mesa Driver For VirtualBox
    • Benchmarks

      • Ubuntu 13.10 Performance On Intel Core i7 “Haswell”

        The many Intel Haswell Linux benchmarks delivered on Phoronix this month have been from updated Ubuntu 13.04 configurations. However, if you’re curious about what the performance is like when upgrading to an Ubuntu 13.10 “Saucy Salamander” daily development snapshot, here are some benchmarks.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Getting started on KDEPIM

        Or so they say. We developers are used to high-resolution screens but many users use netbooks with 1024×600 screens (the horror!). Unfortunately, KMail configuration dialog did not fit in such a small rectangle, so I massaged the various configuration pages to reduce the minimum necessary size for the dialog. The minimum size for the dialog is now 780×567 pixels on my machine (you may get different results depending on widget style and fonts).

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Gnome Shell 3.9.3 Release

        We are less than 100 days away from the official GS 3.10 release and another little step towards another amazing major release has been made yesterday with the release of 3.9.3. This new version brings some tweaks and fixes, while also porting to new technologies like the bluez 5.

      • Every Detail Matters is Open for Business

        Everyone’s favourite UX polish extravaganza is back for another round. For the next months we will be targeting a host of bugs that will add polish and finesse to the GNOME 3 user experience.

        This is the third time that I’ve run Every Detail Matters. Over the last two rounds, the initiative has gone from strength to strength. A total of 82 bugs have been fixed so far, and the GNOME 3 user experience has been massively improved as a result of everyone’s contributions.

  • Distributions

    • Fedora vs OpenSuse vs Gentoo vs Ubuntu vs OSX vs Windows

      Lets start with the honest truth right out of the blocks, there isn’t a best OS, there isn’t a worst OS, there is only preference and the right tool for the job you want it to do.

      [...]

      We are bound by our choices, find it hard to change them unless we have a reason to, but can do if the pain level is righ. There is no such thing as the perfect OS, only the right tool for us and the job we want them to perform. We find excuses, reasons to justify out choices however most to the time they are just that, sometimes they are based on experience, most of the time on FUD. Forcing an OS on someone is never going to work, and suggesting one might seem like a great idea, but usually ends in disaster.

    • Pisi Linux Beta: A Real-life Test

      I waited eagerly for the beta release of Pisi Linux. As soon as it was out, I downloaded it and installed it into a partition my ZaReason’s Alto 4330 had.

      The installation took about 25 minutes. Once it was over, I noticed a few bugs. For example, Pisi’s Grub 2 installed into the MBR, not into the partition I chose. Well, that’s not a show stopper to me. Besides, Pisi’s Grub is very well designed. Anyway, I booted my brand new Linux kitten to see what it looked like and what it was capable of.

      Those who used old-school Pardus will feel familiar with Pisi. Kaptan greets you and lets you choose your first-time settings. Yes, it was great to see Kaptan again!

    • AntiX 13.1 Will Resurrect Your Old Computer

      AntiX, a fast, lightweight and easy-to-install Linux Live CD distribution based on Debian Testing and MEPIS, for Intel-AMD x86 compatible systems, is now at version 13.1.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Gentoo Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat CEO: Expect Better Economy in 2013

        Red Hat (RHT), the largest provider of open-source software, noted that the IT spending environment isn’t as strong as everyone would like it to be. However, it’s not getting worse, either.

        In an interview with TheStreet, CEO Jim Whitehurst noted that it’s a “tough IT environment” right now, but nothing has fundamentally changed for Red Hat. “It’s a little bit of a slower IT environment right now, and projects are a little slower. Nothing has fundamentally changed about the business, though.”

      • Red Hat OpenStack: No Revenues This Year, But…

        Red Hat OpenStack will generate zero revenues, billings and bookings this year. Does that make the open source cloud platform a failure? Absolutely not. Here’s why Red Hat (RHT) partners need to pay attention.

      • Fedora

        • A Week With Fedora: End Of The Line

          So I’ve been working with Fedora for over a week now, and I have to say that it’s been fun. I haven’t hit any major issues that are deal breakers for me. I’ve fully personalised Fedora’s Gnome Shell desktop environment, and I’m really happy. However, I think it’s time to go back to Ubuntu,and here’s why…

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu community donation plans detailed

            Ubuntu Community Council member Elizabeth Krumbach and Community Manager Jono Bacon have detailed Canonical’s plans to distribute community-oriented donations from the donations page on the Ubuntu web site. After Canonical implemented a page asking for donations from users who download the Linux distribution, the company faced criticism for not making it sufficiently clear exactly how the money collected under the “community participation”, “better coordination with Debian and upstreams” and “better support for flavours” sliders would be used. Bacon promised to deliver a plan to make the process more transparent and accountability more clear and this plan has now been delivered and has been approved by the Community Council.

          • Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail review – best Linux OS shows why Unity interface was made

            With the Unity design aesthetic allied to a speedy and robust engine, Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail may just be the one Linux OS to rule them all. Read our Ubuntu 13.04 Raring Ringtail review to find out why.

          • Canonical denies move towards open core

            Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu GNU/Linux distribution, has reiterated its decision not to create a firm based on open core products.

          • First steps with a brand new Ubuntu virtual machine
          • Mir’s GPLv3 License Is Now Raising Concerns

            Taking a break from blogging about UEFI and Secure Boot, Linux kernel developer Matthew Garrett is now writing about how Canonical’s choice of license for their Mir Display Server is a bit scary. It’s not the GPLv3 license alone that’s raising eyebrows, but the GPLv3 combined with the Ubuntu Contributor’s License Agreement that is unfortunate in the mobile space.

            Basically, Matthew explains how Canonical is trying to push Ubuntu (in the form of Ubuntu Phone/Touch) into markets generally hostile towards the GPLv3 licensem since the license requires users be able to replace the GPLv3 code. Android and other open-source mobile platforms tend to be under a more liberal license that keeps open-source enthusiasts happy along with mobile phone vendors.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tiny ARM CPU module targets embedded Linux apps

      DAVE announced an SODIMM-style computer-on-module based on a Texas Instruments Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 system-on-chip, complete with dual CAN interfaces, Linux support, and two evaluation baseboard options. The Diva computer module is also available from U.S.-based Smart Embedded Systems, with turnkey support including Linux drivers and firmware for the processor’s programmable real-time unit (PRU).

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android smartwatch is loaded with wireless

          A Chinese startup called “Geak” (seriousy!) has developed an Android 4.1 smartwatch with built in WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, and GPS wireless communications. The China-targeted Geak Watch runs on a 1GHz MIPS architecture SoC equipped with 512MB RAM and 4GB flash, and features a 1.55-inch 240 x 240-pixel touchscreen and IPX3 water resistance.

        • Boxfish Hatches a Hot Idea for Searchable TV

Free Software/Open Source

  • Download Hosts Withdrawing

    With news this week that GitHub is banning storage of any file over 100Mb and discouraging files larger than 50Mb, their retreat from offering download services is complete. It’s not a surprising trend; dealing with downloads is unrewarding and costly. Not only is there a big risk of bad actors using download services to conceal malware downloads for their badware activities, but additionally anyone offering downloads is duty-bound to police them at the behest of the music and movie industries or be treated as a target of their paranoid attacks. Policing for both of these — for malware and for DMCA violations — is a costly exercise.

  • What it Takes to be an Open Source Expert

    OSFY speaks to industry leaders to bring you their thoughts on this hot topic…

  • Is that really the source code for this software?

    I’ve been looking into how easy it is to confirm that a binary package corresponds to a source package. It turns out that it is not easy at all. So I’ve written down my findings in this blog entry.
    I think that the topic of reproducible builds is one that is of fundamental importance to the free software and larger community; the trustworthiness of binaries based on source code is a topic quite neglected. We know about tivoization and the reality that code can be open yet unchangeable. What is not appreciated in sufficient measure is that parties can, quite unchecked, distribute binaries that do not correspond to the alleged source code.

  • State of OpenIndiana

    When Oracle announced it was discontinuing the development of OpenSolaris, there was shock among the free Unix community. OpenSolaris was popular and had a very loyal user-base and good support from developers, internal and community. A fork of OpenSolaris was quickly announced. A fork of the kernel would become what is known as Illumos. And the operating system would become OpenIndiana, which would use the Illumos kernel.

  • GlobalSign Pushes SSL for Open Source
  • Open-Source Off-Road Simulator Called Rigs of Rods Shows the Power of Free Software

    Scroll down and watch the selection of videos…

  • Cyber experts suggest using open source software to protect privacy

    One enterprising netizen has compiled a list of services, from social networks to email clients, and even web browsers, that offer better protection from surveillance. They are listed on a web page called prism-break.org.

    When asked about steps that a digital native can take to protect his privacy and online data, Sunil Abraham, executive director of Bangalore-based non-profit Center for Internet and Society said, “Stop using proprietary software, shift to free/open source software for your operating system and applications on your computer and phone. Android is not sufficiently free; shift to CyanogenMod. Encrypt all sensitive Internet traffic and email using software like TOR and GNU Privacy Guard. Use community based infrastructure such as Open Street Maps and Wikipedia. Opt for alternatives to mainstream services. For example, replace Google Search with DuckDuckGo.”

  • This week in open source news: 3D-printed hands, smart light bulbs, and more
  • 13 Things People Hate about Your Open Source Docs

    Most open source developers like to think about the quality of the software they build, but the quality of the documentation is often forgotten. Nobody talks about how great a project’s docs are, and yet documentation has a direct impact on your project’s success. Without good documentation, people either do not use your project, or they do not enjoy using it. Happy users are the ones who spread the news about your project – which they do only after they understand how it works, which they learn from the software’s documentation.

  • Small Brick Open Source PLC

    The OSPLC SMALL BRICK is an open-source PLC (programmable logic controller) that can be programmed using open source C language programming tools.

    The PLC is a general-purpose controller with a wide variety of applications. It is useful to the engineer, technician, student and hobbyist.

    All the source files for the small brick OSPLC are provided, including schematic diagrams so that you can build this project yourself or modify it.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox Web browser to move ahead plan to block tracking

        The maker of the popular Firefox browser is moving ahead with plans to block the most common forms of Internet tracking, allowing hundreds of millions of users to eventually limit who watches their movements across the Web, company officials said Wednesday.

        Firefox’s developers made the decision despite intense resistance from advertising groups, which have argued that tracking is essential to delivering well-targeted, lucrative ads that pay for many popular Internet services.

      • Mozilla again postpones Firefox third-party cookie-blocking, this time for months

        Decision to use blocking blacklists and whitelists means another delay in adding auto-blocking to browser

      • Mozilla Joins Forces with Stanford Group on Privacy Scheme

        If you’re like nearly everybody else, you get annoyed by how advertising cookies in your browser seem to know what your interests are and serve up creepy ads that hit a little too close to home. With that problem in mind, Mozilla has been steadily working toward standardizing Do Not Track features in the Firefix browser. The idea is not welcome to everyone, though. The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) has accused Mozilla of “undermining American small business” with the move.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Netflix open sources its Hadoop manager for AWS

      Netflix runs a lot of Hadoop jobs on the Amazon Web Services cloud computing platform, and on Friday the video-streaming leader open sourced its software to make running those jobs as easy as possible. Called Genie, it’s a RESTful API that makes it easy for developers to launch new MapReduce, Hive and Pig jobs and to monitor longer-running jobs on transient cloud resources.

    • What is OpenStack and what is its role in open source cloud computing?

      In an effort to commoditize the world of open source cloud computing, Red Hat is throwing their weight behind OpenStack in the same way they threw their weight behind Linux over a dozen years ago.

    • City of Chicago Joins Open Cloud Consortium

      Who says you have to be a vendor or a channel partner to get involved in industry associations driving the adoption of cloud computing? If there’s an unwritten rule somewhere, nobody bothered to tell the City of Chicago, which announced this week it had joined the Open Cloud Consortium (OCC).

      The OCC is a not-for-profit organization that manages and operates cloud computing infrastructure to support Big Data for scientific, medical, healthcare and environmental research. That’s quite the huge mandate, and the organization’s membership is made up of a variety of corporations (most in the technology sector in some way), universities, U.S. national laboratories and federal agencies, as well as international partners.

    • Fidelity Likes OpenStack, Despite High-Profile Departures

      In a major missive from Dell Computer recently, the company announced that its public cloud ecosystem and strategy will be centered on partners Joyent, ScaleMatrix and ZeroLag, and will emphasize recent acquisition Enstratius. That represented a very major reversal of its plans to deliver public cloud services based on the open source OpenStack cloud platform. Right on the heels of that news, IBM–which has been firmly in the OpenStack camp–announced that it is spending billions to buy SoftLayer for its cloud computing infrastructure tools and services.These were high level departures from the OpenStack camp, although IBM is still pursuing OpenStack cloud plans by pass-through, since SoftLayer delivers OpenStack services.

  • Databases

    • Comic Relief uses open cloud big data on MongoDB

      Comic Relief has confirmed its use of 10gen’s open source non-relational NoSQL database, MongoDB, to create a computing for this year’s event which raised £75 million.

      The charity enlisted cloud services firm Armakuni to build the platform so that it could handle 10,000 concurrent call centre operators and a peak of 500 donations per second.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • Business

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Free Software alternatives to help you outwit PRISM

      Just because your activities are being monitored by the powers that be does not mean that you should throw up your arms in the air and give up. Yes, complete privacy is almost impossible to achieve in the age of bits and bytes, but there are things you can do to minimize how much of your privacy you give up.

      Mostly, it comes down to the tools you employ to navigate this interconnected universe of ours. The most popular tools are owned by major technology companies, the same outfits that give government agencies free, warrantless access to your data.

    • GNU Parallel 20130622 (‘Snowden’) released

      GNU Parallel 20130622 (‘Snowden’) has been released. It is available for download at: http://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/parallel/

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open-Source Solution for Temperature Monitoring

      Here’s a nice example of the DIY spirit at work. A former Portland, OR, restaurant owner was looking for a way to better monitor food storage temperatures (which had to be regularly checked and written in a notebook). There didn’t seem to be a good automated system available, so he built his own, using open-source hardware to develop a unit that can monitor temperature, humidity and barometric pressure of a given location, then transmit the data via the Internet and a Wi-Fi network.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Robots Are on the Move This Month

        Open source robots are back in the news. In late May, we reported on the Arduino Robot (shown) — which puts much of the intelligence in the open hardware Arduino kit on wheels and includes an interface for creating custom robots. The Arduino Robot’s Motor Board controls motors, and the Control Board reads sensors and helps to operate. Each of the boards is a full Arduino board using the Arduino IDE. Now, there are robots arriving based on the open platform that you can control with swipes from your smartphone.

  • Programming

    • System Manageability

      The greatest need for improving the manageability of Linux systems is to provide a standard programming interface – an API – for system management functions.

      The API should be a low-level interface that provides the needed control over managed systems. It should also support a higher level abstraction, making it easy for system administrators to use it for routine tasks.

    • Open Source PHP 5.5 Released with Opscode Caching

      One of the biggest open source PHP releases in years is now out and you can count me among those that are excited and eager to deploy and use it.

    • Open Source Foundations in a Post-GitHub World
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Xiph unveils “next-next-generation” video codec

      The Xiph.Org Foundation has taken the wraps off Daala, a “next-next-generation” video codec that has been under development for some time; this was until recently overshadowed by development work on the Opus audio codec at Xiph. However, the developers at the foundation think that the right time has come to open up development of the codec to a wider audience, even though they still classify the software as “pre-pre-alpha”. According to Xiph, a prototype of the codec successfully encoded and decoded a video stream over the internet at the end of May.

Leftovers

  • English is no longer the language of the web
  • Colombia to Seal Agreement with NATO in Brussels

    Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzón will travel Sunday to Belgium where he is scheduled to sign Tuesday its first cooperation agreement with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

    According to El Tiempo newspaper, the two-page document will be signed by Pinzon and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, and will be broadened with a second chapter in the next two months.

  • No Traction For Windows On Arm
  • Windows RT facing pressure from being isolated

    Microsoft’s Windows RT operating system may fall to the same fate as Hewlett-Packard’s (HP) webOS as most brand vendors have already stopped developing related products, leaving Microsoft’s second-generation Surface RT, the only Windows RT-based device in the next-generation tablet competition, according to sources from the upstream supply chain.

  • Science

    • 3-D printed trachea splint saves baby’s life

      A Michigan baby’s life was saved by the insertion of a 3-D printed trachea at two months old.

    • How 3D printing will rebuild reality

      When Star Trek debuted in the mid-60s, everybody geeked out about the food synthesizers. Even my mom, a reluctant but compulsory Trek viewer, recognized the utility of this amazing gadget, particularly with two ravenous boys around the house. My brother and I knew, of course, that the real magic food box was the refrigerator.

    • Bacterial DNA in Human Genomes

      A team of scientists from the University of Maryland School of Medicine has found the strongest evidence yet that bacteria occasionally transfer their genes into human genomes, finding bacterial DNA sequences in about a third of healthy human genomes and in a far greater percentage of cancer cells. The results, published today (20 June) in PLOS Computational Biology, suggest that gene transfer from bacteria to humans is not only possible, but also somehow linked to over-proliferation: either cancer cells are prone to these intrusions or the incoming bacterial genes help to kick-start the transformation from healthy cells into cancerous ones.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Frankenfood Conspiracy: Secret summit where slick lobbyists for bio-tech giants seduced Tory Ministers into changing their tune on GM food

      Even by the standards of an industry that claims to be able to end hunger, prevent environmental catastrophe and bring prosperity to the developing world, it must have felt like a breathtakingly audacious move.

      Last summer, the world’s biggest biotech corporations decided the time was right to convince the Government to allow so-called Frankenstein food to be grown in its fields.

    • Breastfeeding figures fall as NHS budget is cut

      The number of new mothers attempting to breastfeed has fallen in England for the first time in almost a decade.

      New figures suggest that 5,700 fewer women initiated breastfeeding with their child in 2012-13 than the year before. It is the first recorded fall since the Department of Health began collecting and releasing the statistics in 2004.

    • U.S. Approves a Label for Meat From Animals Fed a Diet Free of Gene-Modified Products

      The Agriculture Department has approved a label for meat and liquid egg products that includes a claim about the absence of genetically engineered products.

      It is the first time that the department, which regulates meat and poultry processing, has approved a non-G.M.O. label claim, which attests that meat certified by the Non-GMO Project came from animals that never ate feed containing genetically engineered ingredients like corn, soy and alfalfa.

    • The upcoming EU-US and EU-Canada trade deals have serious implications for the NHS

      After the government pushed through its widely opposed privatisation regulations it is time now to focus on the big trade deals and look to the G8 meeting in June. There is a reason the public are being told nothing about them – because they won’t like what they hear.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • LA Times Reports Hastings Was Going Into Hiding Before His Death
    • Authorities, Media Dismiss Michael Hastings Assassination Claims

      Authorities and media outlets have predictably moved to dismiss claims that Rolling Stone journalist Michael Hastings – who complained of being under investigation by the FBI before his death in a fiery car crash on Tuesday – was murdered as a result of foul play, despite the vehicle’s engine being found 100 feet away from the scene of the blaze.

      [...]

      Following his role in bringing down Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, Hastings was told by a McChrystal staffer, “We’ll hunt you down and kill you if we don’t like what you write.” The Rolling Stone journalist also “had the Central Intelligence Agency in his sights” and was set to release an article exposing the agency, according to L.A. Weekly.

      Despite the fact that investigating whether or not a journalist who had made a number of enemies at the very top of the power structure could have been the target of an assassination is a perfectly legitimate question, news outlets have characterized such inquiry as being insensitive and crass.

    • The U.S. Policy Coup Explained by 4-Star General Wesley Clark

      General Wesley Clark, on the talk circuit in 2007, explained how the U.S. military planned to destroy the governments of seven countries in five years and enumerates them in this YouTube video.

    • Native Americans prepare to defend homelands, walk across America

      Native Americans focused on defending their homelands and upholding the Rights of Nature during June, as they prepared for non-violent resistance to the threats of the tarsands pipeline, uranium mining and coal-fired power plants.

    • Ruins of Maya City Discovered in Remote Jungle
    • From Afghanistan, Thank You Bradley Manning!

      Recognition that 95 million human beings were killed in World War I and II has helped the people of the world understand that the method of war is not cost-effective. An awakened world hoped the United Nations could, as determined in the UN Charter, eventually ‘save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’.

      The scourge of war in Afghanistan continues, with the United Nations reporting that more than 3,000 Afghan civilians have been killed and wounded in the first five months of this year, a fifth of whom were Afghan children. So, ordinary people should seize opportunities to tell the truth about war.

  • Cablegate

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Worst Hanford tank may be leaking into soil

      The first ever double-shell tank to have leaked at Hanford may be in far worse condition than anyone imagined. Hanford workers conducting routine maintenance on the tank, known as AY-102, Thursday were shocked to find readings of radioactivity from material outside the tank. Until now leaked nuclear sludge had only been detected in what’s known as the tank’s annulus — the hollow safety space between the tank’s two walls.

    • Goodbye, Miami

      By century’s end, rising sea levels will turn the nation’s urban fantasyland into an American Atlantis. But long before the city is completely underwater, chaos will begin

  • Finance

    • The Last Mystery of the Financial Crisis

      It’s long been suspected that ratings agencies like Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s helped trigger the meltdown. A new trove of embarrassing documents shows how they did it

    • Bank of Spain calls for elimination of the minimum wage

      The Bank of Spain has called for the elimination of the minimum wage, more flexibility in the labour market and other attacks on the working class.

      Its annual report states, “The seriousness of the labour market advises maintaining and intensifying reform momentum through the adoption of additional measures to promote job creation in the short term and facilitate wage flexibility.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The BBC Business Unit and the public interest

      The BBC’s reporting of issues from NHS reform, welfare reform and the looming EU US trade deal can be better understood by looking at the BBC’s Business Unit. A narrow and questionable ‘business perspective’ drives more coverage than viewers may think.

  • Privacy

    • When in doubt, NSA searches information on Americans

      According to newly revealed secret documents, the NSA retains wide discretion over targeting individuals for surveillance – including, potentially, Americans. Civil libertarians say ‘it confirms our worst fears.’

    • Arrest of N.S.A. Leaker Seen as Easier Than Transfer to U.S.

      The request from the United States that Hong Kong detain Edward J. Snowden, who has been accused of stealing government secrets, before it seeks his return to America is likely to set off a tangled and protracted fight, with Mr. Snowden and his legal advisers having multiple tools to delay or thwart his being surrendered to American officials.

    • The other hacking scandal: Suppressed report reveals that law firms, telecoms giants and insurance companies routinely hire criminals to steal rivals’ information

      Some of Britain’s most respected industries routinely employ criminals to hack, blag and steal personal information on business rivals and members of the public, according to a secret report leaked to The Independent.

      The Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) knew six years ago that law firms, telecoms giants and insurance were hiring private investigators to break the law and further their commercial interests, the report reveals, yet the agency did next to nothing to disrupt the unlawful trade.

      [...]

      Victims of computer hacking identified by Soca – who suffered eBlaster Trojan attacks which allowed private investigators to monitor their computer usage remotely – include the former British Army intelligence officer Ian Hurst. He was hacked by private investigators working for News of the World journalists who wanted to locate Freddie Scappaticci, a member of the IRA who worked as a double-agent codenamed “Stakeknife”.

    • Sheeple Waking Up To NSA Spying: Privacy Search Engines Booming

      StartPage and Ixquick, two strongly privacy oriented search engines owned by the same company, announced recently that they surpassed three million daily searches for the first time.

      According to information Startpage provided to Infowars, traffic to the Search Engine has grown from 2.8 million daily searches to now approaching 4 million.

    • Does NSA Surveillance Remind You of Anything?
    • GCHQ monitoring described as a ‘catastrophe’ by German politicians

      Britain’s European partners have described reports of Britain’s surveillance of international electronic communications as a catastrophe and will seek urgent clarification from London.

      Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, the German justice minister said the report in the Guardian read like the plot of a film.

      “If these accusations are correct, this would be a catastrophe,” Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said in a statement to Reuters. “The accusations against Great Britain sound like a Hollywood nightmare. The European institutions should seek straight away to clarify the situation.”

      Britain’s Tempora project enables it to intercept and store immense volumes of British and international communications for 30 days.

    • If you think GCHQ spying revelations don’t matter, it’s time to think again

      So is it a Milly Dowler moment? Will the revelation that GCHQ taps every internet communication that enters or leaves the UK mark the moment when ordinary citizens stop and say: “Oh, now I get it.” A moment when people realise that the stuff that nerds and activists had been droning on about might actually affect them?

      My hunch is that it isn’t such a moment. Most people will just shrug their shoulders and get on with life. They will accept the assurances of those in authority and move on. If they do, then they will have missed something important. It is that our democracies have indeed reached a pivotal point. Ever since it first became clear that the internet was going to become the nervous system of the planet, the 64 billion dollar question was whether it would be “captured” by giant corporations or by governments. Now we know the answer: it’s “both”.

    • MI5 feared GCHQ went ‘too far’ over phone and internet monitoring

      Senior figures inside British intelligence have been alarmed by GCHQ’s secret decision to tap into transatlantic cables in order to engage in the bulk interception of phone calls and internet traffic.

      According to one source who has been directly involved in GCHQ operations, concerns were expressed when the project was being discussed internally in 2008: “We felt we were starting to overstep the mark with some of it. People from MI5 were complaining that they were going too far from a civil liberties perspective … We all had reservations about it, because we all thought: ‘If this was used against us, we wouldn’t stand a chance’.”

    • Nancy Pelosi Booed, Heckled Over Edward Snowden, NSA Comments At Netroots Nation 2013
    • Pelosi Faces Questions, Criticism about NSA Surveillance at Netroots Nation

      At the Netroots Nation conference this weekend, Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was questioned publicly about her stance on NSA spying. While she was quick to defend the program as markedly different from the warrantless wiretapping program established under President Bush, she also noted that more needed to be done to improve transparency around the program.

      Pelosi’s comments were met with skepticism and disapproval from at least some members of the audience. Marc Perkel, a small business owner and technology activist, interrupted Pelosi when she was talking about finding a balance between security and civil liberties. According to Politico, Marc Perkel yelled, “It’s not a balance. It’s not constitutional!…No secret laws!”

    • EXCLUSIVE: US spies on Chinese mobile phone companies, steals SMS data: Edward Snowden
    • GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians’ communications at G20 summits
    • Skynet rising: Google acquires 512-qubit quantum computer; NSA surveillance to be turned over to AI machines
    • EXCLUSIVE: US hacked Pacnet, Asia Pacific fibre-optic network operator, in 2009
    • Facebook Bug Exposed 6 Million Users
    • Facebook Says Technical Flaw Exposed 6 Million Users

      Facebook has inadvertently exposed six million users’ phone numbers and e-mail addresses to unauthorized viewers over the last year, the company said late Friday.

    • Snowden spy row grows as US is accused of hacking China

      Edward Snowden, the former CIA technician who blew the whistle on global surveillance operations, has opened a new front against the US authorities, claiming they hacked into Chinese mobile phone companies to access millions of private text messages.

      His latest claims came as US officials, who have filed criminal charges against him, warned Hong Kong to comply with an extradition request or risk complicating diplomatic relations after some of the territory’s politicians called for Snowden to be protected.

      The latest developments will raise fears that the US’s action may have pushed Snowden into the hands of the Chinese, triggering what could be a tense and prolonged diplomatic and legal wrangle between the world’s two leading superpowers.

    • U.S. seeks Snowden’s extradition, urges Hong Kong to act quickly

      The United States said on Saturday it wants Hong Kong to extradite Edward Snowden and urged it to act quickly, paving the way for what could be a lengthy legal battle to prosecute the former National Security Agency contractor on espionage charges.

    • For Spiegel, Tempora is front page news. Apart from The Guardian the British press stays silent.

      Clearly a crashing ferry that injured no-one, and some high society wedding are more important than a programme which, if proven, would be equivalent to PRISM and conducted by the UK.

      A D-Notice has been issued to the press (see Guido Fawkes here) to not report on the leaks in this case, but when one newspaper is still leaking, surely a point has to come that others should report and debate it too?

    • GCHQ and security services ‘need parliamentary oversight’

      Labour’s Douglas Alexander says widespread surveillance allegations need to be addressed by intelligence agencies

    • House Committee Conducts Lovefest With NSA Chief

      The Kansas City man is Khalid Ouazzani, who, as part of a plea bargain in 2010, admitted that he sent money to Al Qaeda. He was never charged with planning any attacks inside the United States, and the NYSE bombing was described as “nascent plotting,” so it’s hard to know just how serious this was. Still, at least Ouazzani actually did something. The San Diego man merely planned to send money.

    • Web’s Reach Binds N.S.A. and Silicon Valley Leaders

      When Max Kelly, the chief security officer for Facebook, left the social media company in 2010, he did not go to Google, Twitter or a similar Silicon Valley concern. Instead the man who was responsible for protecting the personal information of Facebook’s more than one billion users from outside attacks went to work for another giant institution that manages and analyzes large pools of data: the National Security Agency.

      [...]

      The disclosure of the spy agency’s program called Prism, which is said to collect the e-mails and other Web activity of foreigners using major Internet companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook, has prompted the companies to deny that the agency has direct access to their computers, even as they acknowledge complying with secret N.S.A. court orders for specific data.

    • Petition To Preemptively Pardon Ed Snowden Reaches Goal Of 100k Signatures

      The Whitehouse petition to pre-emptively pardon NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden for “crimes he may have committed while blowing the whistle” has reached its goal of 100,000 signatures. This means that the U.S. Administration, by its own rules, need to take it seriously enough to craft a response to it. While that response is unlikely to be anything else than “we politely disagree and intend to impolitely hunt this man down”, it is still an important signal of dissent.

    • Communications Surveillance, Protest and Control…

      What is the real reason that certain of the authorities are so keen on universal surveillance of communications data? Is it the fight against terrorism? It doesn’t seem very likely. It’s a supremely ineffective method of dealing with terrorism at best – even the examples quoted by the security services as ‘proof’ that it works have pretty much all been swiftly debunked (see for example here). In practice, it seems, targeted, intelligence-driven, almost ‘traditional’ methods seem to do the job far better. So why do the authorities all around the globe seem to be so enthusiastic about communications surveillance? One word: control

    • Whistleblower Edward Snowden Lands In Moscow
    • Edward Snowden leaves Hong Kong for Moscow
    • Spy-leaker Snowden leaves Hong Kong
    • Edward Snowden leaves Hong Kong on Moscow flight

      US intelligence fugitive Edward Snowden has flown out of Hong Kong, from where the US was seeking his extradition on charges of espionage.

    • Bill Clinton on NSA: Americans need to be on guard for abuses of power by US
    • Liberal activists show irritation with Obama over surveillance
    • Pelosi booed for saying NSA leaker Snowden violated the law

      House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) was booed onstage Saturday when she said former government contractor Edward Snowden broke the law by leaking classified documents on National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance programs.

      Speaking at the NetRoots Nation conference in San Jose, Calif., Pelosi told the audience to reject comparisons between President Barack Obama and his predecessor, President George W. Bush, on their oversight of surveillance programs. The top House Democrat said Obama is poised to reveal “in another few days, a few more proceedings” of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

    • 5 Fun Facts From the Latest NSA Leak

      After a brief respite, the Guardian newspaper has resumed its publication of leaked NSA documents. The latest round provides a look at the secret rules the government follows for collecting data on U.S. persons.

  • Civil Rights

    • US steps up efforts to break Guantánamo hunger strike

      Shaker Aamer, last British resident held in camp, tells of harsh regime to break strikers’ resistance

    • Autonomy: an idea whose time has come
    • Million Protesters Demonstrate In 100 Brazilian Cities

      More than a million protesters have taken to the streets in Brazil as demonstrations over a range of social issues grow. Demonstrating people flooded into Rio de Janeiro and more than 100 cities. Violence and clashes erupted in many places and an 18-year-youth died when a car drove through a barricade in Sao Paulo state. This is the largest protests in the country in more than two decades.

      Government announcement to lower transport fares and promises of better public services failed to stem the tide of discontent in the country.

    • Candidate Obama Debating President Obama On Civil Liberties vs. Government Surveillance

      We recently had a video showing then Senator Joe Biden, from seven years ago, “debating” the current President Obama on government surveillance. I hadn’t seen this until now, but someone else has put together a much better video showing Presidential candidate Obama in 2008 vs. President Obama in 2013.

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