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07.25.13

Links 25/7/2013: Richard Fontana in OSI, New Nexus 7

Posted in News Roundup at 6:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Fusion-io + Open Source : Drive New Flash-Aware Marketplace
  • FLOSS Manuals’ Latest Free Guides to Free Software

    Regularly here at OStatic, we compile documentation and guidance resources for popular open source platforms and applications. It’s worth remembering that one of the most common critcisms of open source creations is the lack of official project documentation. One of the best ongoing projects for producing free open source-related documentation is FLOSS Manuals. It’s an ambitious effort to build online guides for open source software. Recently, the site has added much useful documentation for some projects that may interest you, including Firefox and video editing applicaitons.

  • Fusion-io Open Source Contributions Force Flash Storage Issue
  • ource and the Gaming Indu

    RISCOSS, the European project developing open source decision support tools based on risk management methodologies, is showcased on the OW2 booth at OSCON.

  • Boffin Lists Its Recommended Open Source DVD Burning Software Today

    Boffin reviewers carefully evaluated different DVD burning software and have compiled a list of the top choices available now in the market. The much-anticipated list by Boffin includes usual suspects as well as unexpected entries, including DVDStyler and StarBurn Software.

  • Open source car telematics gains traction

    According to the most recent forecast from ABI Research, the number of OEM-installed connected car telematics systems will grow from roughly 78 lakh at the end of last year to 4.68 crore units globally by the end of 2018, with Linux/GENIVI platforms accounting for an increasing percentage of shipments during the period.

  • StrongLoop hopes to do for Node.js what Red Hat did for Linux

    One night in summer 2011, a group of 20 or so programmers were sitting by a fountain on the streets of Cologne, Germany, drinking beer and brainstorming code after a developer conference. They were the core members of the early open source Node.js community, a devout group of uber nerds obsessed with fixing Node in their spare time.

  • Baidu Turns to Open Source to Power Part of Its Empire

    Amazon and Google had to forge their own tools to handle the deluge of web traffic they face. They’ve kept those tools in-house, but others — including Facebook, NASA and Yahoo — have built clones of some of Amazon and Google’s most famous inventions. Now companies have a wide range of open source projects they can use to build clouds in their own data centers.

    The latest to turn to open source is Baidu, the fifth most popular website in the world. A recent presentation describes how the Chinese company is using an open source “platform cloud” called Cloud Foundry to power part of its web empire.

  • Nagmap: An awesome addon for Nagios and Icinga

    Nagios is one of the best open source IT infrastructure monitoring system available in market. The thing that makes it so powerful are the addons that can enhance its capabilities and give it some teeth. One such addon which is awesome in my view and one of the best I have seen recently is the Nagmap addon. It uses map from google map api version 3, and you don’t need a key for it. The installation is easy and you only need to know about latitude and longitude of the places you show up on the map (you can use Google to get those).

  • An elevator pitch for open source

    Every year I attend the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference as an exhibitor. This year’s conference was busier than any I’ve ever been to. So many people had either heard of us (ByWater Solutions) or Koha or just about open source in general. One librarian though approached our booth with caution. She informed me that she was told to come see what we were about by a manager but that she was very nervous. What she actually said was, “Open source scares me.”

  • Pluralsight Embraces Open-Source Community with Acquisition of PeepCode

    Online training platform Pluralsight is making a decisive foray into the open-source coding movement by acquiring Seattle-based PeepCode, the leading training resource for professional open-source developers. Announced today, the acquisition extends Pluralsight’s high-quality training content for Web and IT pros into the open-source domain of hardcore programmers.

  • Met Office shows some open source love for space weather project

    THE UK’S NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE the Met Office is flying the open source flag, favouring it for major projects like the prediction of “space weather”.

    The Met Office’s portfolio technical lead James Tomkins told The INQUIRER that open source software is growing in importance for the weather service. “Open source has become an increasing opportunity for us,” he explained. “The government was looking for a way to try and reduce its bills and that’s something we really embraced over the last couple of years.”

  • Events

    • Endurance International’s Bluehost Uses OSCON Sponsorship to Give Back — Encourages the Open Source Community to Do the Same
    • Wild Goose Chase: Chasing Your Way to LinuxCon Could Win You $500

      In the Linux and opgoose chase useen source software communities, there is something that is worth just as much as the paycheck developers and SysAdmins take home: it’s the reputation they earn among their peers for the quality of their code and their work.

      This summer we invite you to join us in the Great LinuxCon Wild Goose Chase, which could also help build your reputation (we’re not saying what kind of reputation!) among your peers. If you’re one of the winners, you’ll also take home some cash and be invited to share your story in a profile on Linux.com.

    • OSCON 2013 preview

      The 15th year of OSCON (Open Source Convention) kicked off last night with an opening reception at the Expo Hall. This year’s theme is Everything Open. And, the tracks reflect that: business, cloud, geek lifestyle, community, open hardware, tools & techniques, mobile, programming languages like PHP, Python, Perl, Java, and Javascript, and much more.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • The problem with NoSQL databases

      NoSQL databases, whether they are truly “no SQL” or “not only SQL,” defer from relational databases in one major respect; they tend to be easier to work with, and are better suited for use with real-time Web applications.

      That’s why major and minor technology outfits are throwing development effort in the NoSQL field.

      In the Free Software community, most people working with relational databases only have to contend with either MySQL (now increasingly MariaDB) or PostgreSQL or sometimes even SQLite. However, in the NoSQL arena, there are dozens of options to choose from.

    • Document Databases Relying on NoSQL Find an Enterprise Home

      There’s a revolution under way in the way documents are managed. Open-source platforms are rapidly replacing a host of proprietary systems as part of the rise of NoSQL databases in the enterprise.

      Most enterprise IT organizations would generally prefer not to support additional database formats, but developers are demanding it. They need lightweight, hierarchical frameworks that are not nearly as complex or expensive to manage as the traditional SQL databases.

  • Education

    • FLOSS Is A Winner For Education

      You know how it is. You are part of a large hierarchical organization and some boss sends a memo that makes your day…

      [...]

      Still, schools can and do use FLOSS to get the job done and they save greatly in money and time and get a better system.

  • Project Releases

    • Open source in the era of digital marketing

      When Drupal creator Dries Buytaert addressed the inaugural DrupalCon Sydney conference earlier this year he said the open source project’s community had to move beyond seeing it purely as a content-management system. Drupal can compete with the proprietary Web experience management solutions provided by companies like Adobe and Sitecore, Buytaert said.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Bolivian senator proposes national open-source software company
    • A Peek At What Some Governments Are Doing With FLOSS

      Free/Libre Open Source Software is the right way to do IT. Concrete examples of doing IT the right way can be seen in governments adopting FLOSS. For example, every government of any size needs a way to manage assets. A small organization might do it with index cards. That still works but it doesn’t scale. How many people can access that stack of index cards? IT is the right way to keep track of assets. A web interface to a database and web-applications is the way to go.

    • Three cities, one alpha, one day

      To demonstrate the pace of change in agile teams, we gave ourselves one day to rapidly prototype the service, working here and at offices in Plymouth and Leicester. 8 features were built and deployed on the day, iterated in response to testing with real users.

    • Developing With FLOSS Is All About The Product

      When using non-free software, one is always constrained by the licence. Do we have a copy? Do we have a licence to do this? What will be the ultimate cost of N licences? Do we have a budget? Do we need customization which will take longer?… All that gets in the way of development just as it does with actually using the code. Not so with Free Software that comes as a free download and permission to use, examine, modify and distribute for no extra charge.

    • US homeland security investing in OSS cybersecurity projects

      The Homeland Open Security Technology (HOST) project has begun a seven-week open call for investment applications that support open source software to improve cybersecurity. Applications will be accepted from July 2 to August 14, 2013. Award notifications will be sent out October 1.

  • Licensing

    • OSI Welcomes Member-Elected Director

      OSI recently held its first election for a director selected by its new Individual Membership. From a very strong field of candidates, a clear majority of Individual Members expressed preference for Richard Fontana to be elected as OSI’s newest Director.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Samsung and Other Companies Looking for Open Source, Mobile Skills

      Workers with skills in mobile open source technology and Linux are continuing to be in high demand in the workforce, and large technology companies such as Samsung are increasingly seeking them out. We’ve reported before on how acquiring skills with open source technologies can be an effective differentiator for the tech job seeker. Survey data from The Linux Foundation confirms the trend, and a recent “Linux by the Numbers” report from InfoWorld points to many big companies looking for Linux and open source skillsets.

    • Secure Development Is Much Easier Than You Think
    • GCC 4.9, Clang 3.4 Will Have Better C++14 Support

      We’re still many months out from seeing the release of GCC 4.9 and LLVM Clang 3.4 releases, but with the next major updates to these open-source code compilers will come better support for the C++14 (C++1y) language.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Khronos Releases OpenGL 4.4 Specification

      Anaheim, CA – The Khronos™ Group today announced the immediate release of the OpenGL® 4.4 specification, bringing the very latest graphics functionality to the most advanced and widely adopted cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics API (application programming interface). OpenGL 4.4 unlocks capabilities of today’s leading-edge graphics hardware while maintaining full backwards compatibility, enabling applications to incrementally use new features while portably accessing state-of-the-art graphics processing units (GPUs) across diverse operating systems and platforms. Also, OpenGL 4.4 defines new functionality to streamline the porting of applications and titles from other platforms and APIs. The full specification and reference materials are available for immediate download at http://www.opengl.org/registry.

Leftovers

  • Spanish train crash: seven days of mourning declared for victims

    Scores killed, more than 130 injured after train with 247 people on board derails near Santiago de Compostela

  • Santiago de Compostela train crash: Video footage emerges showing the moment train derails and kills 78, as police interview driver
  • Popehat Signal: Vengeful AIDS Denialist Sues Critic In Texas

    Today I light the signal to ask for help for a blogger who is being sued in federal court in Fort Worth for writing about and criticizing a thoroughly creepy AIDS denialist. By AIDS denialist, I mean someone who promotes the belief that HIV does not cause or lead to AIDS. The lawsuit is contemptible. The defendant needs help. Can you step up?

  • AIDS Denialist Files Defamation Suit In Hopes Of Silencing HIV-Positive Critic

    The bully in question is Clark Baker, former cop and current AIDS denialist (i.e., someone who believes HIV does not cause or lead to AIDS). He and his representation (Mark Weitz of Weitz Morgan PLLC) have filed a lawsuit against J. Todd Deshong, an HIV-positive blogger and activist, for “trademark infringement, defamation, ‘business disparagement,’ and for injunctive relief.”

  • Author Solutions’ Rep: People Complaining About Our Scammy ‘Services’ Are Engaged In ‘Racketeering’

    Before we get into this unintentionally hilarious response from an Author Solutions’ rep (via Nate Hoffelder), we’ll need a little background on the company itself.

  • Science

    • State Attorneys General Want To Sue Innovators ‘For The Children!’

      We warned this was coming last month, but it’s now official as 49 48 47 of the 50 state attorneys general have sent an absolutely ridiculous letter to Congress seeking to obliterate the very important Section 230 of the CDA. As has been discussed, at length, over the years, Section 230 has played a key role in allowing innovation to flourish online. What it does is guarantee that (a) liability is properly placed on the party breaking the law and that (b) internet services and innovators can quickly extricate themselves from bogus costly lawsuits filed by people who try to blame those services for how their users use them.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • No evidence behind British cigarette pack decision

      THE early signs were encouraging. When the current UK government took power, it seemed earnest about the need for rational policy-making. Sadly, the past couple of weeks have exploded that notion when it comes to health.

    • The Hazardous Truth about Factory Farming

      Factory farms are increasingly biohazards—biological breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria and viruses. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)—informally known as “factory farms”—pollute our air, waterways, and bodies. Poultry- and cattle-waste has devastating effects on waterways and often contribute to algae blooms. CAFOs produce “waste lagoons” with high concentrations of ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, among other harmful substances. Joseph Mercola reports, “Animals and workers have died or become seriously ill in swine IFAP [Industrial Farm Animal Production] facilities when hydrogen sulfide has risen from agitated manure in pits under the building.”

    • California state senator: Dangerous chemicals being pumped underground without oversight

      California oil and gas regulators have failed to monitor practices used to access shale oil, including the injection of dangerous chemicals underground, a state senator said Thursday, urging passage of her proposed oversight legislation.

  • Security

    • Visualizing The History Of Massive Data Breaches

      Though the ongoing revelations about the NSA have thrust government monitoring into the spotlight, we all know that’s just one of the concerning ways that our data is at risk. For many years, we’ve been tracking the various massive breaches that happen at companies, government agencies and anywhere else sensitive data is stored — no small task considering how frequent such breaches seem to be. A new interactive visualization from Information Is Beautiful puts the history of massive data breaches in perspective, going back nearly 10 years and comparing the scale of different events in terms of both the amount of information stolen and the sensitivity of that information. I’d embed a screenshot of the graphic, but it’s huge and the fun comes from the interactivity, so you should just check out the whole thing.

    • College Student Gets Year in Prison for Wire Fraud in Tampering With Student Election

      A former Cal State San Marcos student was sentenced to a year in prison this week for wire fraud and other charges related to election tampering by using keystroke loggers to grab student credentials and then vote for himself.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • CIA scales back bases in Afghanistan
    • CIA changes from ‘spooks’ to ‘assassins’

      New York Times national security correspondent, Mark Mazzetti, discusses the changing role of the CIA since 9/11 saying it has changed from being a spy agency into an organisation that conducts assassinations, often by using unmanned drones.

    • Mercury News editorial: Risen should not have to testify in CIA case

      Gregory said if the ruling stands, it will be a “serious threat” to investigative journalism. More like a death knell, we’d say. Who would talk to reporters in confidence?

    • Judge says family of bioweapons scientist can’t sue CIA over unsolved death

      Indeed, the exhumation of Olson’s body decades later revealed a blow to his head on par with what the CIA manual suggested, and the official cause of death was later changed from suicide to “unknown.” But even though Boasberg declined to rightfully dismiss the family’s claims, he wrote that the delayed filing coupled with an early settlement left him unable to move the case anymore forward.

    • Ex-CIA official to address government-wary hackers
    • Snowden Disclosures: What’s Behind Hidden CIA Base in Brazil?

      As whistle-blower Edward Snowden releases more and more sensitive National Security Agency (NSA) files, the public is gaining unique insights into Washington’s underhanded foreign policy in South America. It’s no secret that both the Bush and Obama administrations have viewed Venezuela as a threat, but Snowden’s disclosures suggest that Washington has a bead on Brazil, too. For some time I’ve been writing about such rivalry, and recent explosive reports merely confirm what many U.S. diplomats already concede privately: that is to say, Brazil is a force to be reckoned with and the country may even undermine or upset traditional regional U.S. dominance in the not too distant future.

    • CIA cutting down on drone strikes in Pakistan, fearing public outrage
    • The Rise of Fanatic Nationalism in America

      It’s the behavior of people throwing eggs while waving American flags at the funeral home in Worcester, Massachusetts and threatening even today to kill its funeral director Peter Stefan for providing funeral services for Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

      We have come to a time and place in history where it is politically correct to be Patriotic and Un-American if we are not. America, right or wrong, or America love it or leave it are familiar slogans of the fanatic nationalist. But to work we must have something to hate, something that will drive us. Just as in Nazis Germany the Jewish faith was those people causing Germans Fatherland it problems (sounds similar to Homeland-doesn’t it? ), so too today its Islam that is America’s evil enemy. The American response to terrorism is based on nationalism, unilateralism and control. Those that disagree as Orwell wrote are now “Enemies of the State”.

    • Soon, no more obstacles to the new Sykes-Picot

      You’ve probably noticed the change in tone of the atlanticist press on the Syrian issue. The “rebels”, these “champions of Freedom”, have suddenly turned into fanatical terrorists who tear each other apart. For Thierry Meyssan, there is nothing new under the sun: Washington has simply abandoned the idea of ​​overthrowing Assad and is heading to the Geneva II conference. Next step: the loss of French influence in the region.

    • The Birth of a Police State: UK Police to be Granted Sweeping New Powers

      The Bill introduces Injunctions to Prevent Nuisance and Annoyance (IPNAS) to replace ABSO’S. Almost no one will be sad to say goodbye to ASBO’s. The orders, designed to allow police to tackle anti-social behaviour, simply became a means of criminalising youthful indiscretion – and eventually a means of criminalising anything people found annoying.

    • First Leaked Pakistani Report on U.S. Drone War Undermines Claims of Low Civilian Toll

      A leaked Pakistani government report has bolstered claims that civilian casualties from U.S. drone strikes are far higher than the Obama administration has been willing to admit. The Bureau of Investigative Journalism has released figures from the Pakistani government’s own research into casualties from drone attacks in Pakistan’s tribal areas. The Pakistani report investigates 75 CIA drone strikes and five operations by NATO between 2006 and 2009. It finds that the attacks left at least 746 people dead, including at least 147 civilians, 94 of them children — a conservative count given the omission of key data. The high number of civilian casualties directly contradicts statements made by senior Obama administration officials and top lawmakers. We go London to speak with Chris Woods, a reporter with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s drones investigation team, which won the Martha Gellhorn Prize for journalism last month.

    • CIA closing down bases in Afghanistan: Report

      The war on terror has transformed CIA from an intelligence agency to a counter terrorism force with its own prison holding facilities, paramilitary teams and predator drones.

    • CIA closing bases in Afghanistan
    • CIA scales back bases in Afghanistan: report

      The Central Intelligence Agency has started scaling back its presence in Afghanistan, closing secret bases as US troops withdraw from the country, the Washington Post reported Wednesday, citing unnamed officials.

    • CIA closing bases in Afghanistan: WP

      The CIA has begun closing clandestine bases in Afghanistan, marking the start of a drawdown from a region that transformed the agency from an intelligence service struggling to emerge from the Cold War to a counterterrorism force with its own prisons, paramilitary teams and armed Predator drones.

    • Former CIA Chief: Snowden’s Leak Is ‘a Little Like the Boston Bombers’

      Michael Hayden likened an ideological preference for transparency to Islamic fundamentalism.

    • Former Supreme Court judge warns against Greens’ metadata Bill

      Former Supreme Court judge turned Police Integrity Commission (PIC) inspector for New South Wales, David Levine QC, has said that a Greens proposal to require law enforcement agencies to obtain warrants to access telecommunications metadata would be a disproportionate response to protecting individual privacy.

      Currently, government agencies can obtain access to the so-called telecommunications metadata — the time, location, and call number — from telecommunications companies through internal authorisation, without requiring the agencies to get a judge to approve the handover.

    • From Turkey with love: Another Israeli attack on Syria?

      Prime Minister Erdogan and his AK Party government have a track record of being deceitful, especially in regards to both Israel and Syria.

    • Debate rages as drone raids continue to kill civilians

      The US policy planners consider drones as a tool which has a significant impact on Washington’s counter-terrorism policy. They advocate their use in Pakistani tribal areas, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan to strike alleged terrorists but in the process many innocent people, including women and children, are killed. The blatant use of armed drones has had a ripple effect that has been observed from Islamabad to Washington. The use of drones is therefore being debated from the common man in Pakistan to the highest policy circles of different governments.

    • U.S. Cuts Back Pakistan Drone Program Amid Growing Criticism Of Deadly Strikes

      The United States has drastically scaled back the number of drone attacks against militants in Pakistan and limited strikes to high-value targets in response to growing criticism of the program in this country.

      Those actions appear to have temporarily appeased Pakistan’s powerful generals, who publicly oppose the covert CIA strikes, U.S. officials said. But some officials are still worried about pushback from Pakistan’s new civilian leaders, who took power in June with a strong stance on ending the attacks altogether.

    • Steps Pakistan can take to stop drone strikes

      Since times immemorial targeted killing has played a dominant role in shaping world history and destiny and while the legends of men and societies’ nomenclature hastily transferred from assassins to freedom fighters to founding fathers, the only change that the march of civilisation impressed upon the methodology was, ‘how to kill more effectively’. From a stone, to a club, to poison, to a blade, to a bullet then a bomb and now drones, the insatiable drive towards achieving objectives through targeted killing and by shedding human blood remains unabated.

    • Did the new RoboCop movie just replace robots with drones?

      The way our movie plays, it’s exactly like that. People become aware that drones are not accountable and so then drones are forbidden in America. So there’s a law in the future that forbids drones from puling the trigger. This drone manufacturer is losing a lot of money. And they circumvent the law by putting a man in the machine, [by which] you give the drone the drone a conscience.

    • Trayvon Martin’s Global Significance, America and the Drone

      Much has been said about the Trayvon Martin case. To me, it represents the normal, average, decent person going about his business and is hunted down with the help of the law and lawmakers. While certainly a racial issue — an issue about which the national discussions following are important for our country to have and keep having. This story goes deeper and is truly global in its significance.

      [...]

      The gun of Zimmerman is the drone of today. The gun that shot this young man thru the heart as he walked home speaking with his pal and digging the vibes of some loved band is what happens to many innocent young people in Yemen and Pakistan. They are just walking along and get vaporized. Yes, vaporized. Not through the heart but just as sad and painful as it is for the Martins, these innocent folks at the wrong place and wrong time are not different. They too are young, walking along innocently and hoping for a better day. They are heading home too to see their beloved parents, their crazy brothers and sisters and the pets they love.

    • Yemeni Reporter Who Exposed U.S. Drone Strike Freed from Prison After Jailing at Obama’s Request

      Prominent Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye has been released from prison after being held for three years on terrorism-related charges at the request of President Obama. Shaye helped expose the U.S. cruise missile attack on the Yemeni village of al-Majalah that killed 41 people, including 14 women and 21 children in December 2009. Then-Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced his intention to pardon Shaye in 2011, but apparently changed his mind after a phone call from Obama. In a statement, the White House now says it is “concerned and disappointed” by Shaye’s release. “We should let that statement set in: The White House is saying that they are disappointed and concerned that a Yemeni journalist has been released from a Yemeni prison,” says Jeremy Scahill, national security correspondent for The Nation, who covers Shaye’s case in “Dirty Wars,” his new book and film by the same name. “This is a man who was put in prison because he had the audacity to expose a U.S. cruise missile attack that killed three dozen women and children.” We’re also joined by Rooj Alwazir, a Yemeni-American activist who co-founded the Support Yemen media collective and campaigned for Shaye’s release.

    • Lethal autonomous robots: who’s really in control?

      Anxiety about lethal autonomous robots has some substance. The state of play as currently constituted, however, already provides enough cause for concern. The Terminator scenario Monash associate professor Robert Sparrow evokes in his recent article – in which the machines decide humanity is no longer useful – is a long way from reality.

      [...]

      As other researchers have pointed out, “it is possible to conceive of agency beyond the human”. The crucial threshold for robots is when they write the code, but that presumes interests or values beyond self-defence. The machines are a long way yet from honour. At the moment states decide, but as Machiavelli pointed out in The Prince, states have their own sense of honour and their own moral code. And no-one is fully in control of them.

    • In vigilantes we trust

      One of the basic elements of a democratic society is that the police have a monopoly on force; any citizen who uses force is subject to a process of punishment carried out by judges, attorneys and prosecutors. This monopoly ensures that any prejudices that exist in the society will be insulated from the use of force. However, domestically, in the United States, there has been a diversion of this monopoly with provincial laws that allow common citizens to “stand their ground” and shoot at a threatening person, rather than calling the police for assistance. Internationally, the US has its own ‘stand your ground’ policy with its unilateral vigilante drone strikes that circumvent the criminal justice process in each country they strike, killing all in their vicinity.

      In perfect scenarios, both policies seem beneficial: whether it’s a citizen who rightfully defends himself or the US droning an extremist to death before he can execute a mission that kills scores of people. However, for the imperfect scenarios, like the George Zimmerman case, one begins to wonder whether the criminal justice process may be preferable to the short-cut vigilante justice that ‘stand your ground’ laws and drone wars facilitate.

    • Killing of civilians in US drone strikes

      THOUGH it is a known fact that civilians are being killed in the drone attacks carried out by the United States yet a classified Pakistani government document has revealed that scores of civilians including children were killed between 2006 and late 2009 in FATA in such attacks. The London Bureau of Investigative Journalism (LBIJ) quoting the document said it contradicts claims by the United States that the number of civilian casualties was not high.

    • Senate Looks At Closing Guantanamo, But Will It Really Happen?

      Durbin, meanwhile, suggested that there was no need to worry about releasing Guantanamo detainees, because the U.S. could always kill them using drones if necessary – as happened earlier this year with Saeed al-Shihri, a top operative in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It was an unintentionally revealing statement that gave credence to human rights advocates’ belief that Obama and his Congressional allies favor killing terror suspects over detaining them.

    • Veterans share their ‘Coming Home’

      Black and grey drones formed by the words of former drone pilots litter the wall of the gallery’s main installation. One drone reads: “Did we just kill a kid?…Yeah, I guess that was a kid,…Was that a kid?…No. That was a dog,…A dog on two legs?” In the foreground, penguins stand with their young flying what would be kites. But instead, attached to threads of red yarn, they fly drones in the air above. Elsewhere in the gallery, photo transfers of soldiers in desert scenes and Iraqi civilians hang side-by-side, grainy and faint as the memories themselves. A video of American soldiers moving their bodies in expression of the chaos, terror, shock and confusion of their experience overseas plays in the gallery loft. And a collection of books by veterans depict stories like the project former U.S. Marine Ehron Tool started, sending tea cups as peace offerings to United Nations ambassadors such as John Negroponte of the U.S. and Adolfo Aguilar Zinser of Mexico.

    • Tools of War Come Home to America

      Others have written about the rise of warrior cops. Armored military-style vehicles are now part of most big-city police forces, as are military-style weapons. The FBI has admitted to using drones over America. In a 2010 Department of Homeland Security report, the Customs and Border Protection agency suggests arming their fleet of drones to “immobilize TOIs,” or targets of interest.

    • Federal Judge Challenges White House Authority on Drone Killings

      Insisting that the United States is still “a nation of laws,” a federal judge in Washington, D.C., Friday sharply challenged the Obama administration’s claim that the president’s decision to target Americans overseas for killing by drone strikes may not be subject to judicial review.

      “Are you saying that a U.S. citizen targeted by the United States in a foreign country has no constitutional rights?” Judge Rosemary M. Collyer asked Brian Hauck, a deputy assistant attorney general at a hearing in U.S. District Court. “How broadly are you asserting the right of the United States to target an American citizen? Where is the limit to this?”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • North Pole Now a Lake

      Instead of snow and ice whirling on the wind, a foot-deep aquamarine lake now sloshes around a webcam stationed at the North Pole. The meltwater lake started forming July 13, following two weeks of warm weather in the high Arctic. In early July, temperatures were 2 to 5 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 3 degrees Celsius) higher than average over much of the Arctic Ocean, according to the National Snow & Ice Data Center.

    • North Pole Melting Leaves Small Lake At The Top Of The World (VIDEO)

      The time-lapse video below comes from a webcam set up by the North Pole Environmental Observatory that has monitored the state of Arctic sea ice since the spring of 2000. Surprisingly, the pole has been melting since at least 2002, according to photos on the project’s website.

      July is usually the warmest month in the area, but temperatures were 1 to 3 degrees Celsius above average this year. The shallow lake you see at the pole is made of meltwater sitting on top of a layer of ice, according to the observatory.

    • ‘Like Butter’: Study Explains Surprising Acceleration of Greenland’s Inland Ice
    • Polar thaw opens shortcut for Russian natural gas
    • More steam rising from Fukushima reactor

      Camera feed shows more steam escaping from Japanese nuclear plant but officials say levels of radioactivity unchanged.

    • New worries for Fukushima workers

      Workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan say they have seen steam rising from one of the damaged reactor buildings, for the second time in less than a week.

      The company that runs the plant – Tokyo Electric Power Company, also known as Tepco, says it has not been able to establish where the steam is coming from.

    • Fukushima crisis rolls on as TEPCO admits radiation leaks
    • Fukushima operator acknowledges plant leaks
    • The Biggest Oil Discovery In 50 Years?

      In a virtually uninhabitable section of South Australia, a discovery has been made which could rock the world. Some are calling it the biggest discovery of oil in 50 years. Earlier this year, a company called Linc Energy announced that tests had revealed that there was a minimum of 3.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent sitting under more than 65,000 square kilometres of land that it owns in the Arckaringa Basin.

    • Huge methane belch in Arctic could cost $60 trillion

      Billions of tonnes of the greenhouse gas methane are trapped just below the surface of the East Siberian Arctic shelf. Melting means the area is poised to deliver a giant gaseous belch at any moment  – one that could bring global warming forward 35 years and cost the equivalent of almost a year’s global GDP.

      These are the conclusions of the first systematic analysis of the economic cost of Arctic melting, which delivers a sobering antidote to other, more upbeat assessments that say melting in this area would improve access to minerals on the ocean bed, increase fishing and create ice-free shipping lanes.

    • Arctic methane ‘time bomb’ could have huge economic costs
    • 20130723 – Hercules Platform Explosion in Gulf of Mexico

      News came to us just as we landed from a picturesque six-hour flight on the Sabine River between Texas and Louisiana tracking endangered swallow-tailed kites: the Hercules Offshore drilling platform #265 located about 100 nm south of New Orleans had experienced a blowout this morning around 10am CDT. Lifeboats were used to evacuate 44 workers, none of whom experienced serious injuries. We flew out there at around 2pm and found only about a mile of very light surface sheen to the east of the platform, which would support public statements that “only” natural gas is leaking at this time.

    • Peru To Provide Free Solar Power To 2 Million Of Its Poorest Residents

      Peru has initiated a new solar panel program that will provide electricity to more than 2 million of its poorest residents, Don Lieber over at Planetsave has reported.

      Currently, only 66% of Peru’s 24 million people has access to electricity, according to the country’s Energy and Mining Minister Jorge Merino. By 2016, the plan is to provide electricity to 95% of residents through The National Photovoltaic Household Electrification Program.

    • Dereliction of Duty: Invoking ‘Natural Law’ to Force Our Leaders to do What’s Right

      Last year Nestlé Canada Inc., Ontario’s largest purveyor of bottled water, asked the provincial government to amend one of its licenses to draw water from two wells it owns near Guelph. The license required Nestlé to reduce the amount of water it takes from the well in times of drought. The company sought relief from that constraint. The Ontario government was negotiating a compromise settlement when, in April, the environmental law NGO Ecojustice intervened, asking the province’s Environmental Law Tribunal to ensure that the proposed settlement didn’t weaken the license drought restriction.

  • Finance

    • A Growth Strategy for Post-Bankruptcy Detroit

      Americans are riveted by Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy—the largest in the country’s history. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Detroit emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr are engaged in a historic intervention with serious implications for Detroit’s citizens and businesses, pensioners and creditors. Yet they know that getting Detroit’s fiscal house in order—as difficult as that is—will not be sufficient to renew Detroit. Detroit needs a strong growth strategy to complement the state’s intervention on debt and deficits. Absent an economic revival, the city’s fiscal problems will be recurring and inescapable.

    • The Bankruptcy of Detroit is the Future of America under the GOP

      Today it was announced that Detroit was filing for bankruptcy, making it the largest US city to go belly-up in our history. While it was no surprise that this was something that would eventually happen, the scary thing is that many other cities and even our own country are headed in this same direction. This is not an isolated incident, this is the shape of things to come if we don’t adjust our course very rapidly.

    • Malls Raise Consumer Debt for the “Sheeple”
    • Detroit Red Wings Get New $400 Million Taxpayer-Financed Stadium While the City Goes Bankrupt
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • With Voting Rights Act in Shambles, North Carolina Kicks Voter Suppression Into High Gear

      North Carolina Republicans have introduced a major overhaul of the state’s election system, adding dozens of amendments to a voter ID bill that will authorize voter vigilantes, end election day registration, cut early voting, make it harder to register, and even create loony protections against “zombie voters.”

    • The “Other NRA,” the National Restaurant Association, Pushes Preemption of Paid Sick Days

      Today, the feisty advocates at the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC), an organization founded in honor of the 73 employees of the Windows on the World restaurant who died on Sept. 11th, will be paying surprise visits to restaurants across the country that are members of the National Restaurant Association, including Capital Grille, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster. ROC and its allies will be calling on these employers to increase the minimum wage and allow workers to escape poverty.

    • Not Much Diversity Among Media’s ‘Stay-at-Home Dads’

      The media also continue to glorify affluent workers, treating the extremely privileged as typical examples (FAIR Blog, 7/11/13; Extra!, 8/13). For instance, “stay-at-home dad” Tom Stocky, the product manager of Facebook, went on ABC’s Good Morning America (7/10/13) to reflect on the low parenting expectations people had for him when he took the four months of paternity leave offered by Facebook so his wife could return to work as a Google executive.

    • Nate Silver Didn’t Fit In at the New York Times Because He Believed in the Real World

      This is what I like to describe as the difference between objectivity and “objectivity.” Objectivity is the belief that there is a real world out there that’s more or less knowable; the “objectivity” that journalists practice holds that it’s impossible to know what’s real, so all you can do is report the claims made by various (powerful) people. The chief benefit of “objectivity” is that it means you will never have to tell any powerful person that they’re wrong about anything.

    • Maddow Tells the Story of ALEC and Gun Laws–But Leaves Out One Character

      Why on Earth does Comcast want a shoot-first-and-ask-questions-later bill on its legislative agenda? Maybe Maddow could ask here employers that.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • World+Dog hates PRISM: Cloud Security Alliance

      Edward Snowden’s PRISM revelations will soon impact the balance sheets of US cloud vendors, according to the Cloud Security Alliance.

      The group claims the latest survey (PDF) of its 500 members suggests the NSA leaks would make more than half non-US the respondents think twice about hosting their data with American-based providers, and more than 90 percent believe companies should be able to publish transparency-style reports about Patriot Act requests for customer data.

    • House Vote 412 – Rejects Limits on N.S.A. Data Collection
    • House Fails to Repeal NSA’s Dragnet Phone Surveillance Authority

      The House today narrowly defeated an amendment to a defense spending package that would have repealed authorization for the National Security Agency’s dragnet collection of phone-call metadata in the United States.

      The amendment to the roughly $600 billion Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014 would have ended authority for the once-secret spy program the White House insists is necessary to protect national security.

      The amendment (.pdf), one of dozens considered, was proposed by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan). “The government collects the phone records without suspicion of every single American of the United States,” he said during heated debate on the measure.

      Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan), in urging a no vote, said “Passing this amendment takes us back to September 10.”

      The vote was 205-217. Here is the vote count.

      The Obama administration lobbied hard to stop the amendment’s passage.

    • Surveillance detection for journalists in the field

      Much has been made recently about the digital surveillance of journalists–and rightly so–but physical surveillance remains a key tactic of security forces, law enforcement, and private entities. These operatives are monitoring journalists, gathering intelligence on them, and potentially obstructing journalists’ work or putting them at risk.

      Understanding how to detect surveillance can improve your safety in the field and the odds of completing your assignment successfully. As a 10-year veteran of the U.S. Secret Service who now works as a private security analyst and consultant, I’m offering this basic primer on surveillance detection. Be aware, though, that you should speak with your editors and colleagues and seek direct consultation with security experts whenever you believe you are at risk.

    • Feds put heat on Web firms for master encryption keys

      Whether the FBI and NSA have the legal authority to obtain the master keys that companies use for Web encryption remains an open question, but it hasn’t stopped the U.S. government from trying.

    • Feds Trying To Get Master Encryption Keys From Tech Companies
    • Pirate Bay founder plans NSA-proof messaging app

      Peter Sunde evidently knows a thing or two about secrecy.

      The co-founder of the song and film-sharing website The Pirate Bay revealed the venue for an interview for this article by emailing a Google Maps link, which when opened, shows a nondescript Konditori, the Swedish equivalent of an old-fashioned diner.

    • Extremely Compartmentalized Information?

      You guys are funny. Good try, though. The earliest reference I could find to SCI on Cryptogon is from 2003. There might be earlier ones.

    • Attorney denies Snowden has been allowed to leave Moscow airport
    • Washington Post: Russia may grant NSA leaker Edward Snowden formal entry
    • Update: NSA leaker Snowden (not yet) granted entry to Russia
    • Snowden asylum still under review, stays in airport for now

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden will have to stay at a Moscow airport for a little longer as his asylum plea is still being reviewed by Russian immigration authorities, according to his lawyer.

    • As Feds Demand the Keys, Preparing for the Death of Public-Key Encryption

      With further confirmation of the longstanding rumor that the U.S. government (and, we can safely assume, other governments around the world) have been pressuring major Internet firms to provide their “master” SSL keys for government surveillance purposes, we are rapidly approaching a critical technological crossroad.

      It is now abundantly clear — as many of us have suspected all along — that governments and surveillance agencies of all stripes — Western, Eastern, democratic, and authoritarian, will pour essentially unlimited funds into efforts to monitor Internet communications.

      This goes far beyond the targeted wiretaps of yesteryear. It is now a fundamental doctrine of surveillance religion — bolstered by anti-terrorism hysteria and opportunism — that it is the purview of government to capture and store virtually all communications, for both real-time and ideally retrospective analysis on demand.

    • These Are The 217 People Who Voted To Preserve NSA Surveillance

      Presenting the full roll call breakdown of the Amash Amendment (as described previously) to shutter the NSA’s surveillance function.

    • NSA: how did each representative vote?
    • The 217 Representatives Who Voted To Keep NSA Spying On All Your Data
    • The NSA Hated Civilian Encrypted Data Way Back in the 1970s

      In the 1970s, civilian researchers at places like IBM, Stanford and MIT were developing encryption to ensure that digital data sent between businesses, academics and private citizens couldn’t be intercepted and understood by a third party. This concerned folks in the U.S. intelligence community who didn’t want to get locked out of potentially eavesdropping on anyone, regardless of their preferred communications method. Despite their most valiant efforts, agencies like the NSA ultimately lost out to commercial interests. But it wasn’t for lack of trying.

    • Edward Snowden latest: NSA whistleblower will stay in Moscow airport, says lawyer
    • Edward Snowden: Obama Urges Congress to Vote against Curbing NSA Snooping Powers [VIDEO]
    • US politicians fail to rein in NSA PRISM snooping

      THE UNITED STATES House of Representatives has voted by a thin majority in favour of letting the US National Security Agency (NSA) continue snooping on the American people without reason.

      The US government has been asked repeatedly to release more information about the NSA PRISM data collection programme, apparently to no avail.

    • What the N.S.A. Wants in Brazil

      But Alexander’s second act of declassification was much more interesting. Hayden pointed to Alexander’s comments about Brazil, and his point about not being interested in the communications of Brazilians. He asked me to think about the geography of Brazil, which bulges out eastward into the Atlantic Ocean. I still didn’t understand. “That’s where the transatlantic cables come ashore,” he finally explained.

      [...]

      The map on this slide is a less detailed version of the one mentioned above, but it indicates the many submarine cables going to and from Brazil, and explains that the N.S.A. uses these programs for the “collection of communications on fiber cables and infrastructure as data flows past.”

      Finally, Greenwald has reported that Snowden downloaded N.S.A. documents described as the “crown jewels” of the agency. There has been much speculation about what these sensitive documents might be. Three former government officials told me that they likely contain details of our relationships with foreign intelligence agencies, and, if so, that there might be explosive revelations about surveillance practices undertaken by Western allies that violate privacy laws and other statutes within those countries.

    • White House scrambles to stop NSA surveillance ban
    • Germany seeks EU support for online privacy charter after NSA revelations

      Data protection watchdogs in Germany call for suspension of agreement with US amid concern about surveillance

    • House vote reflects growing revolt over NSA surveillance

      Six weeks ago, only a few in Congress were ready to challenge the government on surveillance – but opposition has grown

    • NSA Spying Row in Congress Ushers in Debate Over Big Data

      The clash in Congress over limiting U.S. surveillance powers is spurring a broader public debate over managing the billions of e-mails, telephone calls and texts generated globally every day.

      Lawmaker efforts yesterday to curb the National Security Agency’s collection of telephone records from companies such as Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) marked a step in that larger discussion over the gathering, use and storage of vast amounts of data, say current and former U.S. officials, company representatives and privacy advocates.

    • White House scrambles to shut down imminent vote to defund NSA spying
    • Clapper warns against measure to rein in NSA
    • The Talking Points for NSA’s Dragnet Don’t Hold Up

      A bipartisan group of legislators in the House—spearheaded by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich) and John Conyers (D-Mich)—is bucking both the Obama administration and Republican party leadership to push an appropriations measure defunding the National Security Agency’s dragnet phone records programs. The measure would forbid the government from using any resources to execute a Patriot Act §215 “business records” order unless it is limited to the specific targets of specific investigations—effectively barring use of that authority to vacuum up the phone records of millions of innocent Americans.

    • Bachmann defends NSA spying on Americans
    • NSA snooping will hurt digital trade: US lawmaker

      A US lawmaker said on Wednesday he was worried revelations about US surveillance activity on the Internet could encourage governments to erect new barriers to digital trade just as United States is pushing to tear existing ones down.

      “That should be part of the equation when we’re think how we should balance security and privacy. We should think about (how such surveillance activities affect) public perception in allied countries and … how public perception impacts trade,” said Representative Jared Polis, a Democrat.

    • NSA: Sure We Can Search Your Emails, But Not Ours

      The NSA. They’re the no-such-agency with the time-honored tradition of looking through the metadata we all leave behind, like the scum-trail of a slug. Also, our emails, social media communications, recipe exchanges, and those obituaries we write up for our enemies in nearly-sexual anticipation of their demise (editor’s note: damn it, Timothy, nobody does that but you!). They have the kind of technological hardware and software that would make an IT admin’s pants explode. They can search through approximately all the stuff, ever, anywhere, to root out terrorist plots and reality TV spoilers.

    • The NSA Can’t Search Its Own Employees’ Email
    • Can You Hide Anything from the NSA?

      Efforts to protect your data from prying eyes may actually earn you even more government scrutiny, according to new leaked documents from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA).

    • NSA Spying on Chinese Citizens? US/China Relations Again in the Spotlight

      From his vantage point at Peking University, Dr. Thorsten Pattberg breaks down the latest developments and what they mean for global geopolitics.

    • Leaked blueprints of NSA data storage facility reveal ‘less capacity than thought’

      Only a small portion of the floor space in the NSA’s new facility will be used for data storage

    • NSA claims inability to search agency’s own emails

      Despite the ability to monitor the Internet and cell phone activities of millions, the National Security Agency says it lacks the technology necessary to sift through its own employees’ personal email accounts, according to a new report.

    • Jackboot dangled over NSA’s throat for US spy dragnet outrage

      What part of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act do you not understand?

    • The Amash Amendment Could Have Ended The Era Of Free Phone Metadata For The NSA

      Metadata does not include the content of calls (which are also collected and stored) but does have the potential to track a person’s movements and associations. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the bulk collection of metadata, and supports Amash’s amendment.

    • Forbes Publishes Blueprints Of NSA’s Massive Datacenter In Utah
    • Congress Challenges the NSA

      The stirrings of rebellion in the House are a welcome sign. Obama has not simply abdicated leadership on civil liberties, but is actively endorsing policies that undermine them. It is up to Congress to stop him.

    • Snowden’s Lawyer: ‘Russia Will Not Hand Him Over’

      Now that Russian authorities have provided him with papers, Edward Snowden will soon be able to leave the transit zone of the Moscow airport, where he has been holed up for weeks. In an interview, his lawyer discusses the whistleblower’s plans and how Russia is testing the US.

    • Tor Hack Day, Munich, Germany

      The agenda and conversations will be determined by you and Tor’s team of developers and researchers – so bring your ideas, questions, projects and technical expertise with you!

    • Court Gives Chevron Access To Nine Years Of Americans’ Email Metadata

      For a few years now, we’ve been following a rather troubling legal fight between people in Ecuador and Chevron — the oil giant that has been in a long-term legal battle with people in Ecuador over some of its actions in that country. A few years ago, we wrote about how Chevron was ordering a documentary filmmaker to turn over cut footage, claiming that it might exonerate the company (the filmmaker tried to hold it back, claiming it was protected under journalist shield rules). However, last fall, we noted something perhaps even more troubling. Chevron had issued subpoenas seeking various email info from Google, Yahoo and Microsoft going back years. As we noted at the time, they weren’t seeking the content of the email, but the were seeking what many more people are now familiar with as “metadata.” But, metadata can be quite revealing.

    • Court: Chevron Can Seize Americans’ Email Data

      Thanks to disclosures made by Edward Snowden, Americans have learned that their email records are not necessarily safe from the National Security Agency—but a new ruling shows that they’re not safe from big oil companies, either.

    • Wyden on NSA Domestic Surveillance at Center for American Progress
    • Senator Wyden: Public Has Been Actively Mislead By Government Officials Over Surveillance
    • National Intelligence Lawyer Wonders Why People Are Fine With Sharing Data On Facebook But Not With The Government
    • The Director of National Intelligence Asks Why People Trust Facebook More Than the Government

      At the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., Robert S. Litt, General Counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, delivered a speech Friday morning, to discuss the DNI’s stance on PRISM and FISA.

      A veteran of “FISA applications, covert action reviews,” computer security, and national security matters, Litt spent 1993 to 1999 as a Deputy to the Attorney General at the Department of Justice. He, better than most, has a deep legal understanding of how these data collection programs work.

    • Even Powering Down A Cell Phone Can’t Keep The NSA From Tracking Its Location

      We know how much information the NSA can grab in terms of cell phone usage — namely, calls made and received and length of conversations, along with phone and phone card metadata like IMSI and IMEI numbers. It can even grab location data, although for some reason, it claims it never does. (No matter, plenty of law enforcement agencies like gathering location data, so it’s not like that information is going to waste [bleak approximation of laughter]).

      [...]

      The FBI’s use, in which cell phones’ microphones were remotely activated to record conversations (even with the phones turned off), probably had some bearing on Snowden’s request that journalists power down their phones and place them in the fridge.

      According to Gallagher, the NSA may be using mass updates to infect phones of targets overseas (and presumably, any “non-targets” applying the same faux update). This would be difficult, but not impossible, and considering what we’ve learned about the NSA’s far-reaching surveillance net, certainly not implausible. A couple of details in support of that theory:

      First, two telcos that provide service to millions of cell phone users are known to be overly cooperative with intelligence agencies. You may recall the fact that Verizon and AT&T notably did not sign the collective letter asking the government to allow affected companies to release information on government requests for data. Given this background, it’s not unimaginable that Verizon and AT&T would accommodate the NSA (and FBI) if it wished to use their update systems to push these trojans.

      Add to this the fact that Microsoft and others have allowed intelligence agencies early access to security flaws, allowing them to exploit these for a certain length of time before informing the public and patching the holes. Add these two together and you’ve got the means and the opportunity to serve snooping malware to millions of unsuspecting cell phone users.

    • German Minister Calls Security A ‘Super Fundamental Right’ That Outranks Privacy; German Press Call Him ‘Idiot In Charge’

      One of the striking features of the Snowden story is that there has been no serious attempt to deny the main claims about massive, global spying. Instead, the fall-back position has become: well, yeah, maybe we did some of that, but look how many lives were saved as a result. For example, the day after the first leaks appeared, it was suggested that PRISM was responsible for stopping a plot to bomb the NYC subways. However, further investigation showed that probably wasn’t the case.

    • America’s real subversives: FBI spying then, NSA surveillance now

      As the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington nears, let’s not forget the history of agency overreach and abuse of power

    • NSA amendment’s narrow defeat spurs privacy advocates for surveillance fight

      Democratic congresswoman hails ‘great beginning’ as bipartisan coalition looks to reset balance between liberty and security

    • Justice Department fails in bid to delay landmark case on NSA collection

      ACLU, who brought lawsuit arguing that NSA programme is unconstitional, welcomes judge’s decision to set a court date

    • Under America’s Surveillance Dome

      The Times story shows that President Obama is not about observing “the rule of law,” but about pushing buttons and twisting arms. “And all across the region,” the piece states, “American embassies have communicated Washington’s message that letting Mr. Snowden into Latin America, even if he shows up unexpectedly, would have lasting consequences.” (Ibid)

      “The rule of law?” Tell that to the government and citizens of Pakistan, who have overwhelmingly condemned the United States’ repeated violation of their national sovereignty with its criminal drone warfare. Tell that to the loved ones of all the innocent Pakistani—and Afghan and Yemeni and Somali—victims of the Obama administration’s illegal drone warfare.

    • And You Thought the NSA and CIA Were Secretive…

      A Finance Committee aide said that keeping the submissions confidential for a half century was “standard operating procedure for sensitive materials including investigation materials,” according to The Hill.

      The “blank slate” process illustrates, according to The Hill, “the enormous pressure being brought to bear by K Street lobbyists, who are working furiously to protect their clients and the tax provisions that benefit them.”

    • Texas School District Drops RFID Chips, Will Track Kids With Surveillance Cameras Instead
    • Texas School District Drops Embattled RFID Student IDs; Opts For Tons Of Cameras Instead

      The Northside Independent School District (NISD) of Texas, best known for being sued by a student over its mandatory RFID card policy, is dropping the technology that originally landed it in the courtroom.

    • Architect Of Obama’s War On Whistleblowers: ‘It’s Good To Hang An Admiral Once In A While As An Example’

      Basically, the long term intelligence insiders were sick of leaks — such as the revealing of their warrantless wiretapping — meaning that they actually have to answer to the public for overreaching into everyone’s private lives. Given the combination of those intelligence agencies and Feinstein (who has always parroted whatever the intelligence agencies have to say), President Obama put his first Director of National Intelligence on the job of “solving” this issue of whistleblowers.

    • Why Won’t Cops Share the License Plate Data They Collect?

      A report released this week by the ACLU explores the widespread deployment of automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) scanners by law enforcement across the country. As police tout the advantages of ALPR and seek millions in federal funds to the equipment, many departments insist that license plate and vehicle location information don’t require special protection or oversight.

    • License Plate Data Isn’t ‘Personally Identifiable’ Until The Public Asks Police For Access To It

      Law enforcement agencies display a deliberate cognitive dissonance when it comes to data they claim has no “expectation of privacy.” As was recently detailed here, license plate scanners are in operation across the United States, most with little to no oversight over the use of the location information obtained. Even worse, disposal of “non-hit” data seems to be an afterthought — in some cases, the information is held onto indefinitely. One law enforcement agency was even quoted as saying the use of the data was “limited only by the officers’ imagination.”

  • Ex-CIA/NSA Boss Says Snowden Worse Than Every Spy From Benedict Arnold To The Rosenbergs
  • Civil Rights

    • Yemeni investigative journalist finally free but serious issues remain

      The Yemeni authorities must respond to allegations that an investigative journalist was ill-treated and arbitrarily imprisoned based on his work to reveal the US military’s role in a deadly 2009 attack, Amnesty International said following his release on Tuesday.

      Abdul Ilah Haydar Shayi’ was finally set free following international pressure, but the Yemeni authorities have kept in place a two-year travel ban on the journalist.

      “Abdul Ilah Haydar Shayi’ appeared to be a prisoner of conscience, imprisoned solely for his legitimate work as a journalist. Having released him, the Yemeni authorities must now conduct an independent and impartial investigation into the 2009 attack which he helped expose,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

    • Russian court leaves Pussy Riot singer behind bars

      A Russian appeal court decision to refuse parole to Maria Alekhina, one of the Pussy Riot punk group singers jailed for singing a protest song in an Orthodox cathedral is a further travesty of justice, Amnesty International said today.

    • Police use of ANPR in Royston ruled illegal

      Today the Information Commissioner has ruled on a joint complaint from Big Brother Watch, No CCTV and Privacy International, concerning the use of automatic number plate recognition technology in Royston?

    • In Texas guns don’t kill people, tampons do: State troopers confiscating tampons from females in the capitol

      Well this is insulting as hell. Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, speaking from the floor of the Texas Senate this afternoon said, “We have beefed up security today. We will not tolerate any outbursts.” Then State Troopers proceeded to confiscate tampons from females while at the same time guns are allowed.

      In Texas, guns don’t kill people, tampons do. Volunteers were rounding up all the tampons throughout the capitol, asking women to surrender their weapons of mass destruction, because State Troopers were confiscating them. So the volunteers were trying to speed up the process because the search took hours.

    • U.S. reviewing 27 death penalty convictions for FBI forensic testimony errors

      An unprecedented federal review of old criminal cases has uncovered as many as 27 death penalty convictions in which FBI forensic experts may have mistakenly linked defendants to crimes with exaggerated scientific testimony, U.S. officials said.

    • DOJ/FBI Admit They May Have Abused Hair Analysis To Convict Hundreds To Thousands Of Innocent People
    • Tom Diaz on Dangerous Gun Laws

      The death of Trayvon Martin has ignited a debate not just over our justice system, but on laws such as “stand your ground” that contributed to the tragic result. Bill talks with author and gun industry analyst Tom Diaz about how a lethal combination of self-defense laws and concealed carry laws — championed by the NRA and the gun industry — makes us more vulnerable to gun violence. He warns that the genie is out of the bottle and we should be gravely concerned about the unrelenting marketing of guns. Diaz’s latest book is The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry Are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • “Shut Down The Pirate Bay,” Founder Says

        Currently on a speech tour in Brazil, Tobias Andersson, one of the original founders of The Pirate Bay, says the site should shut down to make room for something better. “The Pirate Bay in its current form must end. It’s not built and meant for what is coming. The future copy fights will need something better, safer, faster,” he says.

      • Wait, I Thought The Next Congressional Copyright Hearing Was Supposed To Be About Hearing From Creators?

        We already pointed out that it appears that the IP Subcommittee in the House Judiciary Committee is taking the exact wrong approach with its next two hearings, in which they are trying to set up a bogus framework of “creators” vs. “technologists” when it comes to copyright reform. The idea was to have one hearing where “creators” talk about how wonderful copyright is and another for technologists to talk about how wonderful innovation is (though that one’s not yet scheduled). As we explained, that’s a ridiculous dichotomy, because it’s not “one side vs the other” here. It’s about what sort of copyright policy benefits the public the most. And content creators and technologists shouldn’t be opposite each other on that front. Great new innovations in technology tend to help content creators, and an overbearing copyright policy can hurt content creators. The right way to do this isn’t to set it up as one vs. the other, but to bring together actual stakeholders and figure out what’s the best overall policy.

      • Court Says Broadcasters Can’t Use Copyright To Block Commercial Skipping

        This morning there was a huge victory for common sense in the Ninth Circuit appeals court ruling in the Fox v. Dish case over Dish’s AutoHopper technology. As you may recall, pretty much all the major broadcasters sued Dish a year ago, claiming that its AutoHopper technology with the PrimeTime Anytime feature — which would record the entire primetime lineup, and allow Dish customers to watch everything (starting the next day) while automatically skipping the commercials — was infringement (and breach of contract). As we noted at the time, the broadcasters’ arguments made very little sense. The basis of the argument was that skipping commercials is a form of copyright infringement. We couldn’t see how skipping commercials violated the copyright in any way at all, and while Fox pretended it won the initial ruling at the district court level, the reality was that Dish won big.

      • Local Newscast Uses DMCA to Erase Air Crash Reporting Blunder

        Local San Francisco television news station KTVU has embarked on a novel use of copyright law to cover up embarrassing footage. It has been issuing takedown notices to YouTube for videos showing its anchor literally reading fake names of pilots involved in the recent airline crash at San Francisco International Airport.

      • TV Station Issues DMCA Takedowns On Videos Of Its Fake Asian Pilot Names Debacle
      • Maybe The Answer To The $200 Million Movie Question Is To Not Focus On $200 Million Movies?

        For almost a decade, we’ve been dealing with variations on the question an executive from NBC Universal once asked me during a panel discussion about copyright: “But how will we keep being able to make $200 million movies?” As we’ve explained over and over in the years since, that’s a ridiculous question. Would anyone in the tech industry ever ask “but how will we continue to make our $5,000 computers?” Of course not, because the focus is on making something profitable that’s good and serves a need. Focusing on the cost is exactly the wrong way to go about things. That doesn’t mean that no movies should cost $200 million. If you can come up with a movie that can make more than that in response, then sure. But Hollywood seems built not around figuring out how to make something profitable, but by following a formula. And part of that formula is “every summer we release some big budget, action-packed ~$200 million films that we call blockbusters” and that’s the focus.

      • More Sanctions Issued Against Team Prenda

        Late last week we noted that Judge Edward Chen was becoming as suspicious of Team Prenda as Judge Wright, and so it didn’t take long for Judge Chen to add to the pile of sanctions against the key players, this time ordering another $22,531.93 in legal fees to Joe Navasca.

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  7. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  8. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  9. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  10. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  11. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  12. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  13. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  14. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  15. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  16. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  17. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  18. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  19. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  20. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  21. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  22. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  23. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  24. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  25. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  26. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  27. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  28. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  29. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  30. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day


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