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07.04.13

Links 4/7/2013: Release of Fedora 19, Drone Strikes Resume

Posted in News Roundup at 5:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Fighting the misconceptions of open source

    After almost 10 years in open source, Robin Muilwijk is still fighting the misconceptions that come with working in the industry. He says the toughest part is finding the right balance between openness while continuing to promote the open source way of doing business.

  • Open source defies odds

    These are the words of Rob Lith, business development director at Connection Telecom, who adds that adopting an open approach to software engineering has become more popular.

    “In today’s operating system market, for example, Android leads with 42% share, and Apple is second with 24%,” he says, pointing out that Android is OSS, and Apple’s OS X has an integrated version of FreeBSD, an OSS operating system.

  • Concurrent’s Chris Wensel: The Open Source Path Is a Rocky Road

    “I want the same clout as Oracle. I just don’t want that same infrastructure as Oracle. Open sourcing is a great way to teach people how to write code, see how things work, and get contributions and get people to trust it. It is marketing as well, however. It is a lot of things. Just one thing is missing: It is not a very clean way to make money.”

  • Four tips to transition your open source project into a viable business

    Most open source projects start by scratching the developer’s own itch. They then spread to other developers based on functionality and stability, and the responsiveness of the community.

  • DoubleTwist Introduces MagicPlay as Open Source Alternative to AirPlay
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Firefox Takes the Performance Crown From Chrome

      Recent browser benchmarks are showing surprising results: in ‘a geometric mean of all four performance-based categories: Wait Times, JavaScript/DOM, HTML5/CSS3, and Hardware Acceleration,’ Firefox 22 ‘pulls off an upset, replacing the long-time performance champion Google Chrome 27 as the new speed king.’

    • RollApp scores $1M to bring Windows & Linux apps to any browser

      One year after its launch, RollApp has raised $1 million of funding to build out its platform for running Windows and Linux apps on any device with a web browser (yes, even the iPad).

    • Chrome

      • Chrome OS Build Allows Native Editing of Word and Excel Files

        Microsoft has been enjoying some success recently, as Windows 8 finally starts to grab more market share, but it may surprise some people to learn that a huge portion of the company’s revenues come from the Microsoft Office suite of applications, which many offices standardize on for compatibility reasons. As good as the free, open productivity suites have become, they still tend not to be totally compatible with applications like Word and Excel.

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • 9 LibreOffice Features You Should Avoid Using

      LibreOffice is essential to the Linux desktop. However, it is also burdened by useless baggage—features that are hopelessly obsolete today and should never be used by anyone hoping to create an impression.

      I’m not talking about features like master documents in Writer that have become less useful as the average amount of RAM on a workstation has risen into the gigabytes. Nor am I talking about the interface, which, although serviceable, is decidedly uninspired. Still less am I talking about features such as the fields for hidden text or paragraphs that have only a handful of users but remain essential for rare yet sophisticated purposes.

      Rather, I am talking about features that make users look clueless—features that encourage typographical nightmares of illegibility or excess. Some of these features look as though they might date to LibreOffice’s first incarnation as StarWriter in 1984, because they result in the kind of excess that people used to commit when office suites were new. Certainly, in the decade that Sun Microsystems oversaw the code, very little was done to update it with the result that much of the code has a nineties-like look to it.

    • AMD joins The Document Foundation Advisory Board to accelerate LibreOffice
    • Open documents formats and LibreOffice at FISL 14

      The 14th edition of the International Forum on Free Software FISL 14, from July 3rd to 6th in Porto Alegre, Brazil, will carry several LibreOffice and OpenDocument Formats (ODF) activities. This year, the good news are the participation of Italo Vignoli (Italy) and Bjoern Michaelsen (Germany) who will talk on the adoption of open standards and free software, respectively. Italo will present a lecture on LibreOffice: the History and A Reference Protocol for Migrations to Free Software and Open Document Standards. Bjoern will conduct the LibreOffice Workshop and will give the lecture LibreOffice Project: Getting Involved and LibreOffice – Continuous community integration.

    • LibreOffice users can use exploit GPU and APU for spreadsheet work

      The Document Foundation, the organization behind the development of LibreOffice, has announced the chip maker AMD as a member of its Advisory Board.

  • Healthcare

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • Ardour 3.2 released – Video comes to Ardour

      Über-developer Robin Gareus has worked for a couple of years to add video support to Ardour, and with this release, we are pleased to finally enable it. In addition there are a couple of new features (including the ability to chain MIDI processing plugins) and the usual assorted list of bug fixes.

    • GIMP 2.8.6 Released
  • Public Services/Government

    • German Parliament elections: The parties’ positions on Free Software

      Today, the Free Software Foundation Europe publishes its Free Software related election questions for this fall’s elections to the German parliament, which will take place on September 22. All political parties have responded to the questions, which cover issues like users’ control over their electronic devices, the release of publicly funded computer programs as Free Software, and software patents.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • $99 Supercomputer Parallella Now Fully Open Source Hardware

        While there is a open source alternative for almost every useful closed program out there, open source hardware are however rare. Parallella which started earlier as a Kickstarter campaign to create a really cheap, reliable supercomputer for masses, had promised earlier that they will make their hardware open source. The campaign is now over and now it seems that they have fulfilled their promise.

      • $99 Parallella Supercomputer is Now Open Source Hardware

        Parallella is a low cost supercomputer designed by Adapteva using Xilinx Zynq-7010/7020 FPGA+2x Cortex A9 SoC combined with Adapteva Ephipany 16 or 64 cores epiphany coprocessor. The project had a successful kickstarter campaign which allowed then to provide the 16-core version for $99, and the 64-core version for $750. The board will soon be shipped to people who pledged on kickstarter, and one of the promise of the campaign was to fully open source the platform, and today, they just fulfilled that.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Turkey court annuls park development

    A court in Turkey has scrapped a controversial plan to redevelop Istanbul’s Gezi Park that sparked protests which snowballed into deadly nationwide unrest, media reported on Wednesday.

  • You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake, and neither is your Instagram

    A new research project is using visualization techniques to tell us more about the world using our Instagram uploads. Phototrails explores the “visual patterns, dynamics, and structures” of over 2 million images shared on the popular photo-sharing service, helping researchers map the behavior of people in 13 cities across the globe.

  • Three good Google Reader replacements (Review)

    Google Reader, the most popular RSS news reader of all time, is now dead as a doornail. Here are three good alternatives.

  • Go Read – An Open Source Google Reader project

    An open source web reader created to copy Google Reader’s look and feel, go read is an interesting project

  • Science

    • USC Study Validates Large-Scale Quantum Chip

      Scientists demonstrated that the D-Wave processor housed at the USC-Lockheed Martin Quantum Computing Center behaves in a manner that indicates that quantum mechanics has a functional role in the way it works. The demonstration involved a small subset of the chip’s 128 qubits.

    • Harper’s attack on science: No science, no evidence, no truth, no democracy

      Science—and the culture of evidence and inquiry it supports—has a long relationship with democracy. Widely available facts have long served as a check on political power. Attacks on science, and on the ability of scientists to communicate freely, are ultimately attacks on democratic governance.

      It’s no secret the Harper government has a problem with science. In fact, Canada’s scientists are so frustrated with this government’s recent overhaul of scientific communications policies and cuts to research programs they took to the streets, marching on Parliament Hill last summer to decry the “Death of Evidence.” Their concerns— expressed on their protest banners—followed a precise logic: “no science, no evidence, no truth, no democracy.”

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Unapproved GMO rice trials in U.S. may have contaminated the world’s rice supply

      New evidence has emerged suggesting that the entire global supply of rice may have already been contaminated by unapproved, genetically-modified (GM) rice varieties manufactured by the American multinational corporation Bayer CropScience. A recent entry in the GM Contamination Register explains that between the years of 2006 and 2007, three different varieties of illegal GM rice, none of which have ever been approved for cultivation or consumption anywhere in the world, were identified in more than 30 countries worldwide.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • MasterCard breaks ranks in WikiLeaks blockade

      For almost three years, US financial giants VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, the Bank of America and Western Union have been engaged in an unlawful banking blockade against WikiLeaks. The blockade started in December 2010 in response to the start of WikiLeaks’ publication of US diplomatic cables.

    • Officer Seizes iPad and Threatens Arrest After Being Filmed in Public

      This is yet another video of a citizen confronting a police officer about his taking her iPad because she was using it to film him in the course of a stop or arrest. The officer tells her that she can pick it up tomorrow and that she is risking an arrest by continuing to confront him.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Edward Snowden and NSA: Worrying Times for Bilderberg Trade Lobbyists

      The first round of talks in the giant Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership deal are due to begin next week but the latest NSA spying claims have thrown negotiations into doubt.

      European Union officials have expressed outrage at the NSA for bugging embassies of a US allies including France, Japan and Turkey.

      “We can’t negotiate a large transatlantic market if there is any doubt that our partners are bugging the offices of European negotiators,” warned EU commissioner Viviane Reding.

    • France, Top Industrial Espionage Offender, Demands Answers Over NSA “Spying”

      But back in 2011, according to leaked U.S. diplomatic cables, France and not China or Russia, was found to be the country that conducted the most industrial espionage on other European countries. WikiLeaks also revealed that the spying network was so widespread that “damages it caused the German economy were larger as a whole than those caused by China or Russia.”

    • Coinsetter: Will a Better Virtual Currency Make Bitcoin Obsolete?
    • Mastercard and Visa Start Banning VPN Providers

      Following the introduction of restrictions against file-sharing services, Mastercard and Visa have now started to take action against VPN providers. This week, Swedish payment provider Payson cut access to anonymizing services after being ordered to do so by the credit card companies. VPN provider iPredator is one of the affected customers and founder Peter Sunde says that they are considering legal action to get the service unblocked.

    • Group Launches “Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda” to Reclaim Public Control over Public Assets and Destructive Outsourcing

      As cities and states struggle to raise revenue in a sagging economy, they have increasingly turned control of public services and assets over to for-profit corporations. But these short-term efforts to close budget gaps can have a disastrous long-term impact.

    • The Euro Zone’s Crisis is Over. You Got that Lisbon?

      You don’t have to wait very long nowadays before this or that euro zone luminary declares the currency bloc’s long crisis at an end, of concern only to historians.

      Oh, for sure, there are residual niggles, like the fact that nearly one in three Spanish workers has no job or that growth seems to have permanently abandoned the euro zone’s periphery. But never mind, the euro’s existential turmoil is finished. The euro is forever, whatever other ideas those dastardly speculators in the bond and currency markets might once have had.

    • Bitcoin Group to California: You Have No Jurisdiction Over Us

      A group that promotes the digital currency Bitcoin has thrown down the gauntlet with regulators, telling California officials that selling the digital currency does not require a state money transmitter license.

      In a July 1 letter to the California Department of Financial Institutions, lawyers for the Bitcoin Foundation also clarified that the nonprofit does not itself sell bitcoins to consumers or run an exchange. But even if it did, such activity would not be regulated in California, the foundation says, arguing that selling bitcoins does not meet the state law’s definition of “money transmission.”

    • ‘Pay It Forward’ Plan In Oregon Would Make Tuition Free At State’s Public Universities

      On college campuses across the United States, the eternal optimism of youth has been throttled out by a fear of crushing student debt. That’s certainly the case in Oregon, where the cost of tuition has soared as public funding for higher education has declined.

    • Child Poverty Has Risen Even As Unemployment Falls

      Even as unemployment has gradually declined, the child poverty rate has been on the rise, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Between 2010 and 2011, the number of children living in poverty rose from 15.7 million to 16.4 million. The child poverty rate also rose from 19 to 23 percent from 2005 to 2011, representing an increase of 3 million children.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • New York Times Blogger Demanded Travel and Expenses from Companies

      A blogger for The New York Times has been requesting thousands of dollars in “expenses” and travel airfare from a public relations firm trying to get its clients covered in the Times, according to emails obtained by Gawker.

    • CMD Calls for Nebraska Ethics Investigation over ALEC Keystone “Academy” Junket

      The Center for Media and Democracy filed a complaint yesterday with the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission alleging that Nebraska Senator Jim Smith, a major proponent of the Keystone XL pipeline, failed to disclose significant travel expenses paid for by the Government of Alberta, Canada during Smith’s participation in an “Oil Sands Academy” organized by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The trip was sponsored by the operator of the Keystone XL pipeline, TransCanada, which may raise additional concerns under the ethics and lobbying code.

  • Censorship

    • Clueless State AGs Attack Google Over YouTube Videos Instead Of Pursuing The Criminals Who Made Them

      Okay, well, here’s the obvious response: Digital Citizens Alliance Executive Director Tom Galvin has allowed bogus, censorious, anti-innovation screeds to be sent by states’ attorneys general. Worse, they have promoted this FUD-filled exercise with PR spam blasts to reporters trying to generate bogus faux-moral panics to promote their own anti-innovation agenda. Hopefully, the public and reporters will be able to get answers that others have failed to get. Namely, why such an obvious bullshit astroturfing group is putting anti-innovation, anti-free speech policies into the mouths of states attorneys general, and doing so in a manner that only leads to it being more difficult for law enforcement to track down actual criminals. When the Digital Citizens Alliance finally takes steps to ensure that it stops these bogus moral panics in targeting third parties and driving the actual crimes further underground, the internet will be a safer place.

    • Dick Durbin Wants to Stop You From Being a Journalist

      But Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and even Instagram are all, guess what, media outlets–that is, institutions whose primary purpose is to distribute information to the public. (Their names appear in bold in FAIR materials because we bold the names of media outlets.)

      They disseminate information gathered by their users; the medium they use to do so is known collectively as “social media.” The fact that “social media” doesn’t appear in Durbin’s “broadly defined” list of media is irrelevant–Durbin doesn’t present his list as exclusive. (That’s why he says “including.”) It’s hard to think of a definition of “medium” that would exclude Facebook and include, say, nonfiction book publishing–which in the 21st Century can be as hands-off as publishing a social media post (e.g., via Amazon’s Kindle store).

      The final part of Durbin’s definition is that the information is disseminated for public use–which is a simple matter of privacy settings on most social media sites.

  • Privacy

    • Edward Snowden affair diverts Bolivian president’s plane in Europe
    • Bolivian president’s treatment stirs up fury in Latin America
    • Bolivian Vice-President Álvaro García Linera: ‘today certain countries of Europe are subjected to the most terrible, ignominious obscurantism’

      Foreign powers -once again, as they did 500 years ago- mistreat and attack a people, the Bolivian people…

    • Snowden and Assange Targeted by Mysterious Hacker “The Jester”

      A shadowy, self-described “patriot” hacktivist has launched a series of cyberattacks against Ecuador and says he plans to direct a similar onslaught against any country considering granting asylum to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. The hacker, who calls himself the “th3J35t3r” (the Jester) and in the past has identified himself as a former soldier, has also taken aim at Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder has been assisting Snowden in his efforts to seek safe haven.

    • What the N.S.A. Knows About You
    • Restore the Fourth Campaign Organizes Protests Against Unconstitutional Surveillance

      This Fourth of July, groups of concerned individuals will be taking to the streets in dozens of cities across the United States in support of the Fourth Amendment. According to the official website, Restore the Fourth aims to end all forms of unconstitutional surveillance of digital communications by the United States government. The campaign calls particular attention to PRISM, a recently-revealed project of the National Security Agency that allows the government broad access to the Internet traffic and other electronic communications of many users – including many Americans. The Restore the Fourth movement has an active reddit community that is working cooperatively to organize protests across the country.

    • Barring of Bolivian Plane Infuriates Latin America as Snowden Case Widens

      The geopolitical storm churned up by Edward J. Snowden, the fugitive American intelligence contractor, continued to spread on Wednesday as Latin American leaders roundly condemned the refusal to let Bolivia’s president fly over several European nations, rallying to his side after Bolivian officials said the president’s plane had been thwarted because of suspicions that Mr. Snowden was on board.

    • ‘Imperial Skyjacking’: Bolivian presidential plane grounded in Austria over Snowden stowaway suspicions

      Spain has authorized Bolivia’s presidential jet to pass through its airspace and continue its journey to Bolivia, the Austrian President has said. The plane was grounded in Austria Wednesday morning over suspicions that Edward Snowden was on board.

      [...]

      Spanish authorities requested permission to search President Morales’ plane as a condition of transiting through the country, but Bolivian officials refused.

      “The Spanish ambassador has told us that his country hasn’t yet allowed the flight over its territory,” Defense Ministry head Ruben Saavedra pointed out.

      As for the demand to search the plane, he stressed, “This is blackmail, we are refusing these conditions.”

      The Bolivian vice president, Alvaro Garcia, said Morales had been “kidnapped by imperialism.”

    • Edward Snowden’s father writes open letter to NSA whistleblower in Moscow

      Lon Snowden pens open letter with his attorney in response to a statement issued by his son Edward Snowden from Moscow

    • Bolivian president’s jet rerouted amid suspicions Edward Snowden on board

      France and Portugal accused of refusing entry to their airspace, while plane lands in Vienna with no sign of Snowden

    • Bolivian plane suspected of carrying Snowden rerouted

      Bolivian officials deny he was on board the aircraft returning President Evo Morales home from Russia

    • South American nations furious over diversion of Bolivian president’s plane – live
    • Bolivian leader’s plane rerouted on Snowden fear
    • His Son Is ‘A Modern Day Paul Revere,’ Snowden’s Father Says

      Declaring that “you are a modern day Paul Revere; summoning the American people to confront the growing danger of tyranny and one-branch government,” the father of “NSA leaker” on Tuesday .

    • Edward Snowden’s Dad Calls Him ‘Modern Day Paul Revere’
    • Edward Snowden given possible lifeline as Bolivia hints it would grant asylum

      Evo Morales says his country is keen to ‘shield the denounced’ as Snowden’s father Lon compares son to Paul Revere

    • Bolivian President’s Jet Rerouted On Suspicions Snowden Could Be On Board; Multi-Country Outrage Ensues
    • Finland’s education ambassador spreads the word

      Imagine a country where children do nothing but play until they start compulsory schooling at age seven. Then, without exception, they attend comprehensives until the age of 16. Charging school fees is illegal, and so is sorting pupils into ability groups by streaming or setting. There are no inspectors, no exams until the age of 18, no school league tables, no private tuition industry, no school uniforms. Children address teachers by their first names. Even 15-year-olds do no more than 30 minutes’ homework a night.

    • Bolivia says it may offer asylum to NSA leaker Snowden

      Bolivian President Evo Morales Tuesday indicated his country is prepared to offer political asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.

    • Calif. attorney general: Time to crack down on companies that don’t encrypt

      State’s first data breach report finds that more 1.4 million residents’ data would have been safe had companies used encryption

    • US intelligence chief James Clapper apologises for ‘erroneous’ answer to Congress on NSA data collection

      Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has apologised for telling Congress earlier this year that the National Security Agency (NSA) does not collect data on millions of Americans, a response he now says was “clearly erroneous.”

    • Perjury By Permission: Clapper Apologizes For False Testimony And The Congress Remains Silent
    • INTELLIGENCE CHIEF: Yes I Lied To Congress, But Here’s Why
    • NSA revelations: why so many are keen to play down the debate

      Covering the Edward Snowden story has not been straightforward for many in the mainstream media, which is reflected in the disjointed coverage it has received in the UK so far. For the newspapers that campaigned so hard to get the communications data bill thrown out because of the implications for privacy, he should be a hero. But then the brash young American “stole” the material, came to the Guardian with it, and has ended up stranded in Russia, where he may or may not receive asylum with the help of Julian Assange. All of which makes him rather unpalatable to many in Fleet Street – and indeed the House of Commons. For many of them, the easier story to tell was the one about Snowden’s girlfriend, who was left bereft in Hawaii.

    • NSA officials ‘not always accurate’ in public statements over surveillance

      Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, members of NSA oversight panel, question claims on scope and utility of programs

    • Bolivian president Evo Morales’ plane diverted to Vienna: NSA whistleblower Snowden NOT on board say authorities

      French officials deny refusing to let Bolivian president’s plane cross its airspace

    • France denies blocking Bolivian plane amid rumours NSA leaker Snowden was aboard
    • Germany fears NSA stole industrial secrets

      The NSA espionage scandal has unsettled German companies. They are concerned that industrial secrets may have been stolen by US intelligence agencies.

    • John Cusack, Free Press Rallying to Demand NSA Accountability

      Actor John Cusack, a board member of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, has joined representatives from the Free Press, Mozilla, ColorofChange.org, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Restore the Fourth movement in demanding accountability from the National Security Agency (NSA), in light of revealed information about its PRISM surveillance program.

    • House members call for the release of court decisions behind NSA surveillance

      The Hill reports that that a bipartisan group of 16 members of the House of Representatives continued to pressure the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court today, urging it to turn over rulings that helped lead to the recent NSA surveillance controversy. “The American public cannot engage in a meaningful debate about liberty and surveillance until it knows what its government is doing,” Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) said.

    • Thousands to Join ‘Restore the Fourth’ Anti-NSA Rallies

      Thousands of Americans will fogo the traditional Fourth of July backyard barbecue or beach trip this week, instead choosing to join nationwide rallies against recently revealed National Security Agency surveillance programs.

    • Reddit, Mozilla, EFF and more join July 4th anti-NSA protests
    • Is the NSA monitoring Reddit?

      Apparently, the NSA doesn’t think terrorists use Reddit.

      As revealed by agency documents leaked by Edward Snowden, the NSA is hungry for information on the Internet. Under programs like PRISM, it taps Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and Yahoo to look at the communications of a literally unknowable number of their users. (It’s classified.)

      It’s inherently hard to talk about how the NSA gets this information because it obtains classified orders for surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which is administered by a secret court. Anyone who gets a FISA order is legally obliged to keep mum about it.

      But Reddit, despite being one of the most popular U.S.-based social sites in the world, has never gotten a letter from a FISA court. “We have not received any,” Erik Martin, the company’s General Manager, told the Daily Dot.

    • NSA Surveillance and the Failure of Intelligence Oversight
    • Why European nations must protect Edward Snowden

      The general secretary of Reporters Without Borders Christophe Deloire, and WikiLeaks foundator Julian Assange co-sign today an Op-Ed in Le Monde to call out the states of the European Union to protect Edward Snowden.

    • The Triumph of Culture Over Politics: Edward Snowden and American Independence

      Since tyranny must shape to itself both the law and the political institutions of its day, it stands to reason that when a governing elite has gone too far in abusing its power, the fight back for liberty by the people at large does not start directly in the political realm or in legislation, itself.

      [...]

      Why else have both the Left and the Right in our time sat relatively silent as our rights to due process, privacy, and free speech have been removed by such legislation as the Patriot Act and the NDAA, and yet become very vociferous over our right to smoke weed (on the Left) or own guns without restriction (on the Right)? The answer, at least in part, is that smoking and/or guns are part of the culture for many Americans, so government overreach into those areas actually feels like a personal infringement. In contrast, removing your right to due process doesn’t feel like anything until you need due process, and invading your privacy doesn’t feel like anything if you don’t know that it is even happening.

    • Op-Ed: Are oaths to defend the constitution a waste of breath?

      It’s reasonable for a government that illegally spies on Americans to also block its military personnel from viewing leaked NSA files on news agency websites like The Guardian. But who in the military would now dare to “defend” the US Constitution?

      [...]

      Unfortunately, there is an inherent contradiction built into this oath. How does one defend the Constitution from domestic enemies when these same entities are the ones giving orders? Likewise, following orders as a plea in legal proceedings hasn’t always worked out for officers and subordinates, either.

    • Mass protests planned over web NSA spying revelations
    • Angela Merkel: NSA snooping claims ‘extremely serious’

      German chancellor says fight against terrorism is essential but methods used must be proportionate

    • Oliver Stone on NSA Leaker Edward Snowden: ‘I Would Give Him Asylum’
    • Oliver Stone Calls Edward Snowden A ‘Hero,’ President Obama’s Tactics A ‘Disgrace’

      Politically outspoken director Oliver Stone called Edward Snowden a “hero” during a Fourth of July appearance at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival. The Oscar winner also blasted President Barack Obama for his “George Bush-style eavesdropping techniques,” calling the controversies a “disgrace.”

    • France wants to ‘temporarily suspend’ trade talks with US over NSA spying
    • The Post-PRISM Society: Totalitarian Clouds

      “Still,” most people think ‘I am living in a safe country and have no plans to overthrow my government.’

    • Europe’s Shame: Snowden and Morales

      Those of us who have been saying that the US has become a weak, or at least more ordinary power among many in the world because of its military failures in Iraq and Afghanistan, and because of its economic decline, will have to recalibrate our analysis after watching the pathetic behavior of the leaders of Russia, Germany and France under pressure from the Obama administration not to allow Edward Snowden to gain asylum in those countries or even to escape his purgatory in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport.

    • Understanding the latest leaks is understanding the rise of a new fascism

      In his book, ‘Propaganda’, published in 1928, Edward Bernays wrote: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

      The American nephew of Sigmund Freud, Bernays invented the term “public relations” as a euphemism for state propaganda. He warned that an enduring threat to the invisible government was the truth-teller and an enlightened public.

      In 1971, whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg leaked US government files known as The Pentagon Papers, revealing that the invasion of Vietnam was based on systematic lying. Four years later, Frank Church conducted sensational hearings in the US Senate: one of the last flickers of American democracy. These laid bare the full extent of the invisible government: the domestic spying and subversion and warmongering by intelligence and “security” agencies and the backing they received from big business and the media, both conservative and liberal.

      Speaking about the National Security Agency (NSA), Senator Church said: “I know that the capacity that there is to make tyranny in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law… so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”

      On 11 June 2013, following the revelations in the Guardian by NSA contractor Edward Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg wrote that the US had now fallen into “that abyss”.

    • NSA Spying in Germany: How Much Did the Chancellor Know?

      While the Chancellery appears to be outraged by the NSA’s spying tactics in Germany, the opposition doubts the revelations came as a surprise to Angela Merkel. Just how much could she have known?

    • Inside the Electronic Frontier Foundation

      Mike Saunders investigates how the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is protecting us from dodgy megacorps and surveillance-happy governments.

      [...]

      Taking on the United States Secret Service is a pretty risky venture… But that’s exactly what the EFF did, shortly after it was founded in July 1990. The Secret Service had raided a small videogames book publisher, looking for a stolen technical document that might fall into the wrong hands. Ultimately, it found no evidence to press charges, but the publisher ended up facing bankruptcy, after having its computers seized, missing deadlines, and being forced to lay off staff. Worst of all, the Secret Service erased much of the publisher’s valuable data.

    • Schieffer Hopes the Government Will Explain Its Secret Spying Program to Him

      This weekend CBS Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer (6/30/13) did a segment on the latest revelations about NSA surveillance. And who better to interview than… well, the former head of the NSA and CIA, Michael Hayden.

      Now, in an oppositional media culture, this could make some sense. Hayden oversaw domestic surveillance during some of the Bush years, which of course included the remarkably controversial warrantless wiretapping program. So a serious TV journalist might want to grill him on that history.

    • How we’re boosting trust in the cloud, post PRISM

      First, our cloud computing strategy is clear about the need for a transparent legal framework: like agreeing exactly the limited conditions under which third countries might access online information for law enforcement or national security. Reports about PRISM only increase the urgency. That would be a big step forward to rebuilding essential trust.

    • All Law is Gone: Naked Power Remains

      The forcing down of the Bolivian President’s jet was a clear breach of the Vienna Convention by Spain and Portugal, which closed their airspace to this Head of State while on a diplomatic mission. It has never been thought necessary to write down in a Treaty that Heads of State enjoy diplomatic immunity while engaged in diplomacy, as their representatives only enjoy diplomatic immunity as cyphers for their Head of State. But it is a hitherto unchallenged precept of customary international law, indeed arguably the oldest provision of international law.

    • ORG’s next challenge

      We’ve got a huge challenge on our hands. You’ve probably read about Edward Snowden’s leaks revealing the NSA’s PRISM and GCHQ’s Tempora mass surveillance programmes.

    • U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement

      Leslie James Pickering noticed something odd in his mail last September: a handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions for postal workers to pay special attention to the letters and packages sent to his home.

    • Trapped in the zone: Edward Snowden shouldn’t take everything Putin says at face value

      Like everything about this amazing case, Edward Snowden’s attempt to claim asylum has become an enormous story in itself.

      Reportedly still holed up in the “transit zone” of Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, Snowden’s WikiLeaks-assisted efforts to seek a place of political refuge are proving to be as fraught as you might expect in this increasingly strange affair. Snowden appears to have a good de facto case for receiving asylum – as the barrister Colin Yeo argues here – but, as Yeo also says, Snowden’s future place of residence is likely to be determined more by international politics than by the specific terms of the UN Refugee Convention.

    • European anger growing over extent of alleged U.S. electronic surveillance

      In the pages the German tabloid Bild, President Barack Obama on Tuesday had been renamed OHRbama (Ohr is the German word for ear). He was pictured leaning over to listen to German Chancellor Angela Merkel with a grossly oversized ear.

      In a televised interview, French President Francois Hollande used angry words to describe the United States and an eavesdropping program whose size and scope were revealed in weekend news stories that cited documents leaked by one-time NSA computer specialist Edward Snowden. Hollande said the spying must “cease immediately.”

    • Hints surface that NSA building massive, pervasive surveillance capability

      FBI Director Robert Mueller told a Senate committee on March 30, 2011, that “technological improvements” now enable the bureau “to pull together past emails and future ones as they come in so that it does not require an individualized search.”

    • Bug found at Ecuador’s embassy in London

      A hidden microphone is found in the ambassador’s office, during routine security search, Ecuador foreign minister says.

    • Hidden microphone found at Ecuador’s embassy in UK, says foreign minister

      Microphone was found last month inside office of Ecuadorean ambassador, in building where Julian Assange resides

    • State Department Facebook: DOS Spent $630,000 On ‘Likes’ For Social Media Pages, Report Indicates

      A striking finding in a recent Inspector General report revealed that the U.S. Department of State spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Facebook “likes” in the past two years, effectively buying fans.

    • Snowden

      We all knew this was happening.

      Anybody who worked in computer security looked at the NSA’s budget and the falling cost of hardware and simply said “they’re storing everything.”

    • German official: Stop using American websites to avoid NSA snooping

      Internet users worried about their personal information being intercepted by U.S. intelligence agencies should stop using websites that send data to the United States, Germany’s top security official said Wednesday.

    • Reveal Illegal Surveillance? Run For Your Life; Conduct Illegal Surveillance & Lie About It? No Biggie

      It really says a lot when you compare how Ed Snowden and James Clapper are being treated these days. Snowden, who revealed the NSA’s illegal and unconstitutional surveillance efforts is finding that US pressure and various “technicalities” mean that his asylum requests are getting quickly rejected, leaving him with dwindling options. Meanwhile, James Clapper, who ran the actual program and then flat out lied to Congress about is, can apparently get away with a ridiculous, staged “apology” to Congress for “clearly erroneous” statements.

    • John Kiriakou Writes Open Letter To Edward Snowden, Warns Leaker Against Cooperating With FBI

      John Kiriakou, the former Central Intelligence Agency officer currently serving jailtime for leaking the identity of a covert agent, has written an open letter to Edward Snowden, offering advice to the former government contractor who leaked classified information on the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

      The handwritten letter was published by FireDogLake on Tuesday.

      Writing from prison in Loretto, Pa., Kiriakou praises Snowden for his “heroic” actions.

      “I know that it feels like the weight of the world is on your shoulders right now, but as Americans begin to realize that we are devolving into a police state, with the loss of civil liberties that entails, they will see your actions for what they are: heroic,” he writes.

    • Why European nations must protect Edward Snowden

      The general secretary of Reporters Without Borders Christophe Deloire, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange co-sign today an Op-Ed in Le Monde to call out the states of the European Union to protect Edward Snowden.

      On October 12, 2012, the European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize for contributing to the “advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.” The EU should show itself worthy of this honor and show its will to defend freedom of information, regardless of fears of political pressure from its so-called closest ally, the United States.

    • Reddit, Mozilla to stage Fourth of July protest against NSA spying

      Reddit, Mozilla and a host of other websites are planning to launch an online protest this Fourth of July against the National Security Agency’s (NSA) sweeping surveillance of telephone records and Internet traffic.

      The participating sites, including 4chan and WordPress, will display anti-NSA spying messages on their home pages. They will also direct people to the site CallForFreedom.org, where supporters can donate money to help fund TV ads against the intelligence programs and press for action from lawmakers.

    • Reddit, Mozilla and WordPress back US NSA surveillance protests

      A host of some of the biggest names in tech; including Reddit, Mozilla and WordPress, have lent their backing to a series of mass protests planned to take place across the US on Thursday against US surveillance policy.

    • Fourth of July Anti-NSA-Snooping Rallies Coming to a City Near You
    • Mozilla backs hundreds of US-wide protests against NSA spying

      The organisation has set up around 100 protests across the US, taking place on 4 July in major cities such as New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. An interactive map specifying the locations of the protests is available on the Restore the Fourth website.

    • US and Germany to hold high-level talks over NSA surveillance

      President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed to hold a high-level meeting between security officials from their countries in the coming days to discuss in greater detail reports of surveillance activities by the U.S. National Security Agency, the White House said.

    • Going lo-tech to avoid NSA snooping? Unlucky – they read snailmail too

      US Postal Service scoops metadata from your letters: report

    • U.S. spy agency NSA hit with furloughs starting next week

      The National Security Agency, the spy agency thrown into the public eye following former contractor Edward Snowden’s disclosures, is getting hit with furloughs starting next week.

    • New PRISM Slides Revive Fears NSA Has Internet Back Doors

      Four new slides released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden through the Washington Post have revived fears that Google and other Internet giants give the US security services a “back door” to access their customers’ data by allowing government monitoring equipment on their premises.

    • Online giants unite for July 4 to curb US National Security Agency spying
    • Malware Uses Fake Jay-Z App to Highlight NSA Spying on Independence Day

      A fake version of a Jay-Z app is set to highlight the NSA spying scandal when it goes live on 4 July.

    • Trojanized Android app collects info, comments on NSA surveillance
    • How to talk to the NSA when they come recruiting
    • Civil rights groups plan July 4 protest against NSA surveillance

      A large coalition of civil rights and privacy groups and potentially thousands of websites will stage protests on the Fourth of July to protest surveillance programs at the U.S. National Security Agency.

    • NSA Scandal: As Tech Giants Fight Back, Phone Firms Stay Mum

      As the U.S. National Security Agency scandal has unfolded over the last few weeks, Internet giants Google, Facebook, and Yahoo have been falling over each other to publicly distance themselves from the NSA’s data collection programs, in some cases even going to a secret U.S. court to increase their transparency with the public. By contrast, the nation’s largest phone companies, including Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint, have remained stone-cold silent in the face of reports that they’ve participated in a vast, ongoing NSA data collection program targeting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans.

    • UK Warns EU: Don’t Blow $200bn US Trade Talks Over Edward Snowden NSA Scandal

      Britain’s government has warned the European Union not to squander “once-in-a-lifetime” trade talks with the US after Edward Snowden’s National Security Agency spying revelations.

    • NSA Leaker Edward Snowden In His Own Words: “You’re Being Watched”

      We begin today’s special on whistleblowers with Edward Snowden, who came forward in June as the man who leaked details about the National Security Agency secret programs to spy on Americans, foreign governments and individuals around the world. He was praised by the country’s best-known whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, the secret history of the Vietnam War. “I think there has not been a more significant or helpful leak or unauthorized disclosure in American history ever than what Edward Snowden shared with The Guardian about the NSA — and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers,” Ellsberg said. This is an excerpt of the interview Snowden did in June with Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian.

    • Hey Google and Facebook: where’s the outrage? #NSA

      The Fourth of July is about celebrating the freedom of the United States. This year, it’s marred by PRISM scandal that showed how the US government is collecting personal communications data on the citizens.

      High powered sites like WordPress, Reddit, and Mozilla are amongst the usual suspects of privacy-conscientious tech companies supporting the Independence Day protest being organized by non-profit organization Fight for the Future. Who’s not on the list of supporters? Facebook and Google.

    • Security-Enhanced Android: NSA Edition

      Tech giants listed as part of the National Security Agency’s Prism spying program have gone to some lengths to convince the world they aren’t in bed with the U.S. government. Google (GOOG) has filed a request with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court asking permission to disclose more information about the government’s data requests. So there’s a certain irony that NSA programmers are now refining code that Google has approved for the company’s mobile operating system, Android. Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano confirms that the company has already inserted some of the NSA’s programming in Android OS. “All Android code and contributors are publicly available for review at source.android.com,” Scigliano says, declining to comment further.

    • 4th Of July Protest: Reddit, Mozilla, WordPress Plan Anti-NSA Protest ‘Restore The Fourth’

      Thousands of websites, including Reddit, Mozilla and WordPress, will join a July 4 protest against the surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency, which have come under growing scrutiny since details were leaked by former technical contractor Edward Snowden. The protest, expected to take place in cities around the country including New York, Los Angeles and Washington, has been spearheaded by an organization called Restore the Fourth.

    • USA: nationwide anti-NSA spying protests on July 4
    • Restore The Fourth: Massive 4th Of July Protest Planned Against NSA Spying Program
    • CIA whistleblower to Snowden: ‘Do not cooperate with the FBI’

      NSA leaker Edward Snowden is the subject of an open letter of support just published from behind bars by John Kiriakou, a former CIA agent currently serving time for sharing state secrets.

      In a letter dated June 13 and published Tuesday by Firedoglake, the imprisoned CIA vet salutes Snowden for his recent disclosures of classified documents detailing some of the vast surveillance programs operated by the United States’ National Security Agency.

    • Want to Fight Government Domestic Spying? Join a ‘Restore the Fourth’ Protest This Independence Day
    • Students DESTROY NSA Recruiters Over Illegal Spying and Lies (Listen)

      When NSA recruiters went to the University of Wisconsin earlier this week to pitch language students on working for the agency, they got more than they bargained for.

      The informed students turned the question-and-answer session into a hearing. On trial were the NSA’s lies, their legality, and how they define “adversary”.

    • Wisconsin Students Drill NSA Recruiters – OUCH!
    • Top US spy chief claims “mistake” in lies about NSA programs

      On Tuesday, US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein apologizing for statements that he had made in March before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Clapper sought to justify lies he made at the time regarding National Security Agency spying programs by claiming he had made a “mistake.”

    • Web firms join anti-NSA protests

      Major web firms including WordPress, Reddit and Mozilla have backed a planned 4 July protest against NSA web snooping.

    • The NSA And Edward Snowden: The Boomerang Flies On

      Edward Snowden may become the most famous civil rights case this century, and throw up issues of data protection, intelligence, and the relationship between partners and allies that concern citizens of all free states.

    • Companies Turn to Switzerland for Cloud Storage Following NSA Spying Revelations

      Following revelations from whistleblower Edward Snowden about US government spying, businesses are turning away from US-based cloud services such as Dropbox.

    • Iceland Puts Forward Bill To Grant Snowden Citizenship

      One day before members of the Icelandic Parliament are due to break for summer vacation, leaders of three political parties have submitted a special piece of legislation which would make NSA whistleblower and fugitive, Edward Snowden, a citizen of Iceland.

    • French parties call for Snowden political asylum

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden should be given political asylum in France, party leaders from across the political spectrum have said in the wake of the latest US spying allegations.

    • Iceland Congress puts forward bill to grant Snowden citizenship

      One day before members of the Icelandic Parliament are due to break for summer vacation, leaders of three political parties have submitted a special piece of legislation which would make NSA whistleblower and fugitive, Edward Snowden, a citizen of Iceland.

    • Snowden Is No Trifling Matter

      The suspicion that Bolivian President Evo Morales’ jet was carrying Edward Snowden, the former intelligence contractor who has become Washington´s public enemy number one, triggered an unprecedented international incident.

      Four European countries – France, Italy, Spain and Portugal – denied Morales’ presidential jet permission to fly through their airspace on his way back from Moscow to La Paz.

    • Time For Our Independence Day. Independence From the US.

      The 4th of July is always a little bit odd for us here in the UK. It’s usually accompanied with wry jokes about how we should never have let the former colony go. Jokes that mask Britain’s enduring inability to see how the world, and our place in it, has changed. What has changed above all is that the balance of power is utterly reversed. Whether it is on foreign policy or on the domestic surveillance of our citizens, successive UK governments follow America’s lead unswervingly. We’re not quite Airstrip One yet, but the 4th is no cause for fireworks and parades this side of the pond as far as I’m concerned.

  • Civil Rights

    • Sudan Hits Hard at Female Activists
    • Fatwa for make-up: Islamists target women in rebel-controlled Syrian territories

      Syrian rebels have issued a ban on women using make up or wearing “immodest dress” in a neighborhood in the city of Aleppo. Critics have blasted the move as another attempt by Islamists to impose Sharia in rebel-controlled territory.

      The fatwa (an order based on Sharia law) was issued by the Islamic law council in Aleppo’s Fardous neighborhood.

    • The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of a White Male ‘Mainstream’

      To introduce interviews with the editors of the magazines New York, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, the New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair, Wired and GQ, Port editor Dan Crowe wrote:

    • Scaling back stop and search

      We have long warned against the risk of police powers being used far beyond how Parliament intended, and in situations where there is no real cause for suspicion. Stop and search powers have been one of the starkest example of how things can get out of control.

      The use of the powers have always been controversial, especially amongst ethnic minority communities, however there was public outrage after it came to light that between 2007-2009 450,000 people were stopped and searched under section 44 of the Terrorism Act; none were convicted or terrorism-related charges.

    • Movement on Guantanamo?

      Despite false starts in the past, there appears to be real momentum behind new efforts to reform Guantanamo policies.

    • Michigan makes a ‘roar of futility’

      Further, The World is asserting that the NDAA bill is undeniably a “nasty piece of legislative mischief” — “gives current and future presidents unprecedented power,” and is a “dramatic expansion of federal authority.” However, the newspaper is also asserting that this initiative, taken by the commissioners, is nothing but a “roar of futility” in which the commissioners “have no legitimate role.” We heard that same claptrap in Oakland County.

    • July 4: Show Your Support for the Fourth Amendment

      This Fourth of July, EFF will be demonstrating our commitment to your Constitutional right of privacy from government surveillance by displaying the text of the Fourth Amendment on our website. This demonstration is a visual symbol of our opposition to the illegal and unconstitutional surveillance by the National Security Agency, which the government now admits has been collecting data on millions of ordinary Americans not suspected of any crime. We, along with the Internet Defense League and many other organizations, are showing online solidarity with the Restore the Fourth movement, a nonpartisan, grassroots movement that is planning protests against NSA spying on July 4th in cities across the United States.

    • Moral bankruptcy

      Now, however, we are seeing an evil that has infected an entire society. In a moral society, Manning’s treatment would have been intolerable—absolutely unacceptable. In a moral society, the war crimes he has allegedly brought to light would be intolerable—absolutely unacceptable. Instead, people in the U.S. are, by and large, passive and complicit, as if the 9/11 attacks could in any way be construed to justify what is being done in their name. The consequences are nothing less than astonishing.

    • ‘Hideous and revolting’: Frederick Douglass on U.S. slavery

      Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms — of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse, and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival.

    • Guantánamo hunger strike: US to force-feed detainees during Ramadan

      The US government has refused to stop force-feeding detainees on hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay during the holy month of Ramadan.

      In court papers rejecting a petition by four of more than 100 detainees said to be refusing food, the US said the feedings provided “essential nutritional and medical care” and would not interfere with religious observance of Ramadan, which begins on Monday.

    • Ban qat? Theresa May might as well ban cats

      A simple analogy shows how absurd the basis for the home secretary’s drug prohibition plan really is

    • USA must not persecute whistleblower Edward Snowden

      The US authorities’ relentless campaign to hunt down and block whistleblower Edward Snowden’s attempts to seek asylum is deplorable and amounts to a gross violation of his human rights Amnesty International said today.

    • Ecuador – CONAIE Leader: “We will not defend wealthy media interests”
    • Kevin Frayer’s haunting portraits of women who survived the Bangladesh garment factory collapse

      A haunting series of portraits of women who had limbs amputated after the Rana Plaza factory building collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 24, 2013. It was the worst disaster in the history of the garment industry — 1,129 people were killed, and many others were grievously injured. Canadian photojournalist Kevin Frayer of The Associated Press photographed nine of these women in June 2013, as they recovered at Enam Medical College in Savar, Bangladesh.

    • 15-Year-Old Girl Charged With Child Porn Possession for Picture of Friends Having Sex

      “Any time you take a photograph or a video of children, anyone under the age of 18, engaged in sexual conduct, it’s considered production of child pornography,” detective William Lindsey told the Orlando Sentinel. “It’s illegal to take the photograph or the video, it’s illegal to possess it and it’s illegal to transmit it.”

    • Orin Kerr’s Appeal Brief for Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer – Another CFAA Case~pj Updated

      Orin Kerr has posted the appeal brief [PDF] just filed on behalf of Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer. It is a group work, with EFF’s Hanni M. Fakhoury, Marcia C. Hofmann, and Tor B. Ekeland and Mark H. Jaffe of the law firm Tor Ekeland, PC, also listed as representing the appellant. It’s another hair-pulling Computer Fraud and Abuse Act case, so I believe you’re interested in knowing about it. It’s a law in desperate need of adjustment, but in the meanwhile, because it’s so vague, it’s being stretched beyond what the law was intended to cover by overcharging and misunderstanding, the brief argues, and vagueness can reach the level of being a violation of the Constitution.

    • Judges reject state’s request for more time on prisoner release

      A panel of three federal judges overseeing California’s prison overcrowding case on Wednesday rejected Gov. Jerry Brown’s request for a stay of their order that the state immediately begin reducing its inmate population.

  • DRM

    • Customers streaming away from Netflix

      So, walk away from Netflix to get off the couch, sure, but more importantly, do it for the future of the World Wide Web. It’s time to do more than turn off the TV: It’s time to #CancelNetflix.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TAFTA: Illegitimate EU-US Agreement Will Begin Under Total US Surveillance

      Today, exactly one year after the final rejection of ACTA, the European Parliament adopted a resolution in strong reaction to the massive spying by the USA. Our representatives have failed to demand that the upcoming secret negotiations of trans-atlantic trade agreement be frozen. In a context where EU officials are being spied upon by US counterparts, this upcoming “super-ACTA” will be born with very little legitimacy.

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