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08.18.13

Links 18/8/2013: Amarok 2.8, Linux Fund-raising Record

Posted in News Roundup at 3:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Free software for free markets

    Co-inciding with the first DebConf in Switzerland, one of the world’s leading financial centers, the first official packaging of open messaging and market data distribution framework OpenMAMA for a Linux distribution has just been uploaded. The packages, along with the Avis low-latency event-router middleware/transport were uploaded to the Debian unstable catalog this week and will soon be available conveniently to install with apt-get.

  • PLVision’s Open Source Solution for Enabling OpenWRT-Routers with SDN Functionality

    For the past years, PLVision has been working on technologies in the Networking domain, namely Software Defined Networks. Apart from assimilating already existing solutions, the company has developed its own Open vSwitch package for OpenWrt which considerably extends router functionality and adaptability, and is completely free.

  • The big challenge with open source: Workflow, not code quality
  • 10 Most Popular Open Source Software Ever!

    Open Source software are never the less one of the biggest innovations in the history of technology. Simply buy an all new computer device and install any software you want without spending a single penny (except the internet datacharges). It offers you everything from a free word processor, free image editor, media player, sound editor, file archiver, PDF creator and what not.

    Although a few of these software might not stand parallel to its commercial rivals in terms of functionality, there are many that stand far beyond of everything else on the market in terms of features and capabilities.

  • VMware’s Love-Hate Relationship With OpenStack

    VMware, perhaps more-so than any other vendor on the planet, is responsible for helping enterprises move to more agile and efficient virtualized server infrastructure. Simply put, VMware is the vendor to beat in the enterprise virtualized server space.

    When it comes to the cloud though, VMware’s dominance is not a foregone conclusion, with Amazon and perhaps more importantly OpenStack, leading the charge. OpenStack is an open-source multi-stakeholder effort that is building an open-cloud platform solution.

  • Questions to ask before choosing an open source hypervisor
  • Open-source project Pixy aims to give vision to hobbyists’ robots

    An open-source project aims to give a rudimentary eye to robots with the help of a camera that can detect, identify and track the movement of specific objects.

  • Open source code management: How to safely use open source libraries
  • No-Cost Transfer of Files is Possible With the Boffin Open Source iPod Software List
  • Open Source Data Recovery Software List Released By Boffin Reviewers
  • Boffin Now Provides An Open Source Email Marketing Software List
  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Do cloud right: Four critical steps to selecting the provider for you

      When Edward Snowden leaked intelligence files, a storm was triggered in the cloud, leaving a path of destruction. Snowden’s email provider Lavabit shut down. So has the email offering of Silent Circle. The Guardian ran a story declaring: Lavabit’s closure marks the death of secure cloud computing in the U.S. And the EU is not entirely unaffected either. Be it by the Tempora program in the UK or the U.S. National Security Agency facilities that reportedly reside in Germany.

    • ownCloud Client 1.4.0 beta 2
  • Databases

    • Where Are NoSQL Database Partner Programs?

      As NoSQL databases catch on for Big Data applications, where are the NoSQL partner programs for resellers, integrators and VARs? So far, 10gen seems to be the only company shouting an answer.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Battle of the Office Suites
    • Battle of the Office Suites: Microsoft Office and LibreOffice Compared

      For a long time, Microsoft Office has been the reigning champ of office suites, but that doesn’t mean the free alternative, LibreOffice, isn’t worth considering. Let’s take a look at how the two compare, and if it’s finally possible to ditch the paid option for the free one.

    • Microsoft Uses DMCA To Block Many Links To Competing Open Office

      Another day, another example of excessive DMCA takedown actions. The latest is that Microsoft has been issuing DMCA takedowns to Google directing the search engine to remove links to Open Office.

    • Microsoft Continues Its Anti-competitive Behaviour

      It’s to be expected. M$ is still run by the same people who thought up every dirty trick they could over the decades to prevent having to compete on price/performance. The latest deed covers demanding removal of links to downloads of OpenOffice.org under the DMCA nonsense. “Office” is in the name, right? Grounds for banning it… What’s next? Banning downloads of */Linux because there’s an “X” in the name? Nope. This is grounds for further anti-trust action. US Department of inJustice, Are you paying attention?

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

    • QEMU 1.6 Brings A Whole Lot Of Changes

      QEMU 1.6.0 has been released and with this open-source processor emulator commonly used with Linux KVM are a whole lot of new features and capabilities.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Source Collaboration in Museum Exhibit Design

      In the last few years, audience participation and collaboration has been an increasingly discussed topic among museum professionals worldwide. Emerging technologies and the open source movement provide an opportunity for new forms of collaboration, namely collaboration among individuals with different areas of expertise using an online platform. In this blog post, I briefly describe two open source initiatives that focus on collaboration in Museum Exhibit Design, and share my conversation with Bob Ketner, an independent curator and an expert on open source collaboration methods, who was actively involved in both initiatives.

    • Open Access/Content

      • IIMs should start open-source class-ware …

        India graduates nearly 400,000 to 500,000 MBAs annually from some 3300-odd business schools. Based on an extensive study, The Wall Street Journal (December 2012) estimated that only 10% of Indian management graduates are employable! Given that a larger proportion of the ‘employable’ graduates must understandably be from the IIMs and other handful of high-rated business schools, the large majority of lower ranked business schools must be adding little value to the MBA graduates.

  • Programming

    • Free and Inexpensive Ways to Pick Up Open Source Tech Skills

      This week Twitter was in the news for buying San Francisco-based company Marakana, which has focused on tech training, including training many people to use open source technology platforms and tools. As ZDNet reported, “Twitter is in the process of building its own engineering education program, dubbed Twitter University.” Marakana’s team will help build out this effort and the company will no longer train any individuals or organizations who want training.

    • Even more curry for C++11
    • SDL2 Plans With Wayland, SDL3 Already On The Mind

      While SDL 2.0 was finally released this week after being in development for years, future SDL 2.x features and changes are already being plotted and even some early thoughts concerning SDL 3.x for game developers and other cross-platform developers relying upon this important Simple DirectMedia Layer library.

Leftovers

  • Crowd asked to fund a colossal statue of Steve Jobs

    APPLE GADGET FANS can kick in to pay for the construction of a gigantic statue of Steve Jobs through the Indiegogo crowdfunding website.

    Jobs passed away from cancer in 2011, but since then his influence has still been seen in Apple’s designs, so much so that the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5S have been credited to him. Some people want to make sure that he will always be remembered and would like to erect a huge – think Statue of Liberty proportions – statue of the late Apple co-founder.

  • Google engineers insist 20% time is not dead—it’s just turned into 120% time

    A lively debate among current and former Google engineers is raging on Hacker News about Quartz’s piece on the death of 20% time at Google—that formerly hallowed portion of an engineer’s week set aside for his or her own projects, which brought us innovations such as Gmail and Adsense.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Beekeeping dog in ‘astronaut’ suit detects infected hives by smell

      Bees are extremely important. We’ve been writing about for years about the various threats that they face (Margaret has a great timeline of bee articles between 2005 and 2013), and about various ways to protect them. But this story from Australia might be the most original yet, or at the very least the cutest.

  • Finance

    • Every Important Person In Bitcoin Just Got Subpoenaed By New York’s Financial Regulator

      Things are getting serious for Bitcoin this month: a federal judge declared it real money, Bloomberg gave it an experimental ticker (XBT), and New York’s financial regulator announced an interest in regulating it. Declaring Bitcoin “a virtual Wild West for narcotraffickers and other criminals,” the New York State Department of Financial Services is stepping into the sheriff’s boots.

    • NYT Sees Shift in Global Economy–by Using a Lot of Imagination

      We learn that “the gross domestic product of the 17-nation euro zone grew at an annualized rate of about 1.2 percent in the second quarter,” and that Brazil has gone from a 7.6 percent growth rate two years ago to a projected 2.3 percent rate this year–though the alert reader will notice that 2.3 percent for a year is better than 1.2 percent for a quarter.

    • Was ‘The New York Times’ Hacked?

      There are many different kinds of Web attacks today. The one that The New York Times admitted to in January was an infiltration by attackers going after usernames and passwords for email accounts. That type of attack is about information gathering and isn’t about taking a site offline.

      There are also distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, where hundreds of millions of data packets slam into a service in order to render it inaccessible. In my experience in a DDoS attack, Web browsers simply time out and no response comes back from the given site.

    • Judge Rules Against Icahn’s Efforts to Reschedule Dell Meeting

      A Delaware judge on Friday denied a request by Carl Icahn to reschedule Dell Inc.’s annual meeting, dealing a blow to the activist investor’s fight against a buyout offer led by the company’s founder, Michael S. Dell.

    • Rajiv Sethi: The Spider and the Fly

      Aleynikov was hired by Goldman to help improve its relatively weak position in what is rather euphemistically called the market-making business. In principle, this is the business of offering quotes on both sides of an asset market in order that investors wishing to buy or sell will find willing counterparties. It was once a protected oligopoly in which specialists and dealers made money on substantial spreads between bid and ask prices, in return for which they provided some measure of price continuity.

    • Taken

      Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • CMD Fights Back Against ALEC’s Effort to Evade Open Records Law in Texas

      The Center for Media and Democracy filed a letter with the Texas Attorney General on Thursday refuting efforts by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to declare itself immune from the state’s open records law. Texas is the first known state where ALEC has formally asked an Attorney General for an exemption from sunshine-in-government laws, and it marks a new low in the organization’s attempts to advance its legislative agenda in secret and avoid public accountability for facilitating special interest influence.

    • What Do You Call Edward Snowden?

      By highlighting this comment, CBS is suggesting that Snowden made some kind of important admission with his use of the word “spies.” Couple that with Pelley referencing the “collaboration” with an unnamed journalist–presumably Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian–and you can put the pieces together: Snowden, now “being harbored by Russia,” was acting as a spy when he “spilled” those secrets, with Greenwald his collaborator.

      Sure, it’s not as alarming as, say, NBC’s David Gregory musing about whether or not Greenwald should be arrested, but it’s striking language nonetheless.

    • Twitter joins Washington’s influence economy, forms PAC

      Twitter on Friday became an official member of Washington’s influence economy, with the formation of a political action committee and the appointment of its first registered lobbyist.

  • Censorship

    • Download the Pirate Bay’s free Pirate Browser to circumvent censorship

      Here’s the official description of the Pirate browser:

      “PirateBrowser is a bundle package of the Tor client (Vidalia), FireFox Portable browser (with foxyproxy addon) and some custom configs that allows you to circumvent censorship that certain countries such as Iran, North Korea, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Italy and Ireland impose onto their citizens.”

    • Wikipedia Co-Founder Refuses to Comply With China’s Censorship

      Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales said he would rather have no Wikipedia in China than comply with any form of censorship.

      In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in Hong Kong, Mr. Wales said the company will always refuse to comply with government requests to restrict information, calling access to knowledge and education a human right.

    • The Pirate Bay Releases Censorship-Busting ‘PirateBrowser’

      If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to circumvent any filters or blocks that your ISP (or country) has put into place on your Web browsing, The Pirate Bay might have a solution for you. As part of the commemoration around the site’s ten-year anniversary, which it officially celebrated yesterday, The Pirate Bay has officially released its own web browser. Sort-of.

  • Privacy

    • The NSA’s technical fouls

      If the leak of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court order requiring Verizon to provide the FBI and NSA with millions of call records was the most important in advancing the debate about privacy and surveillance, Barton Gellman’s report in the Washington Post about NSA’s internal compliance audits should count as a close second.

    • Lawmakers Demand More NSA Oversight Amid Privacy Concerns

      National Security Agency spy programs need better oversight to prevent excesses in collecting Americans’ voice and data communications, lawmakers said after the disclosure of an audit showing privacy rules were broken thousands of times.

    • NSA Leaker Charged Under 96-Year-Old Law

      Former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is now living in exile in Russia, fearful that if he returns to the United States he’ll be arrested on espionage charges.

      The irony is that the charges against Snowden, who was a computer expert at the high-tech National Security Agency, come from a law that dates back to before most Americans could listen to the radio, much less watch TV or surf the web.

    • Court: Ability to police U.S. spying program limited

      The leader of the secret court that is supposed to provide critical oversight of the government’s vast spying programs said that its ability do so is limited and that it must trust the government to report when it improperly spies on Americans.

    • China to investigate IBM, EMC and Oracle over NSA security fears

      Tables are turned as China raises security concerns about US IT firms following reports of mass surveillance by the NSA

    • China mulls probe into IBM, Oracle, EMC after NSA hack claims – report
    • Snowden downloaded NSA secrets while working for Dell, sources say

      Former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden began downloading documents describing the U.S. government’s electronic spying programs while he was working for Dell Inc in April 2012, almost a year earlier than previously reported, according to U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the matter.

    • NSA Spying: The Three Pillars of Government Trust Have Fallen

      With each recent revelation about the NSA’s spying programs government officials have tried to reassure the American people that all three branches of government—the Executive branch, the Judiciary branch, and the Congress—knowingly approved these programs and exercised rigorous oversight over them. President Obama recited this talking point just last week, saying: “as President, I’ve taken steps to make sure they have strong oversight by all three branches of government and clear safeguards to prevent abuse and protect the rights of the American people.” With these three pillars of oversight in place, the argument goes, how could the activities possibly be illegal or invasive of our privacy?

    • NSA Lies

      In the modern art wing, we have Obama’s brilliantly nonsensical, Dadaist argument that Snowden isn’t a patriot because, among other equally schizophrenic reasons, “he is convicted of three felonies.” This is a leitmotif pervading Obama’s work: equating illegal with immoral. He notably employed this technique when asked about Bradley Manning, saying that “He broke the law.” (Scholars are trying to reconcile this technique with Obama’s professed admiration of MLK, Jr., who famously remarked that “I disobeyed an unjust law.”)

    • The NSA Oversteps Its Legal Authority and the Court Can’t Stop It

      The Washington Post dropped two reports that exposes the recklessness of the NSA’s spying program. The first report is insane: the NSA has “broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority” thousands of times a year and the second report explains the insanity: the FISC court that’s supposed to be in charge of government spying programs has said that “its ability do so is limited and that it must trust the government” to report when the government has screwed up.

    • Things the Authorities Say to Mislead You About NSA Surveillance

      When government officials can’t directly answer a question with a secret definition, officials will often answer a different question than they were asked. For example, if asked, “can you readAmericans’ email without a warrant,” officials will answer: “we cannot target Americans’ email without a warrant.” As we explained last week, the NSA’s warped definition of word “target” is full of so many holes that it allows the NSA to reach into untold number of Americans’ emails, some which can be purely domestic.

    • Wyden considered disclosing National Security Agency secrets on Senate floor

      Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), a longtime critic of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) surveillance programs, told Rolling Stone that he considered disclosing classified information on the Senate floor prior to the leaks by former contractor Edward Snowden.

    • How Ron Wyden nearly became an NSA leaker

      One of the intelligence community’s most outspoken critics says he considered talking about the National Security Agency’s bulk surveillance program on the Senate floor.

    • Snowden’s dad reaches out to son despite danger

      Lon Snowden, the father of fugitive U.S. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, has reached out to his son via the Internet, officials said.

      The older Snowden communicated with his son through a protected Internet channel using encrypted messages, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.

    • An Educated Guess About How the NSA Is Structured

      NUCLEON: Global telephone content database

    • NSA domestic spying “built on lies”

      Reuters broke another report about the way the government lies to us entitled, “U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans.” From the report: “‘I have never heard of anything like this at all,’ said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

    • NSA hopes that people do not do the maths

      However it turns out that dime is still 29.21 petabytes of data a day. That means NSA is “touching” more data than Google processes every day. Google only has 20 petabytes. Also the packet analyzer gear at the front-end of XKeyscore (can pick out a very small fraction of the actual packets sent over the wire while still extracting a great deal of information (or metadata) about who is sending what to who.

    • Heidi Boghosian on ‘Spying on Democracy,’ Laura Gottesdiener on Foreclosures

      This week on CounterSpin: Edward Snowden’s NSA’s surveillance disclosures have sparked a debate over privacy, spying and civil liberties. A new book tells the history of those issues, and warns about the threat to democracy posed by snooping government agencies and corporations. We’ll talk to author Heidi Boghosian about her book ‘Spying on Democracy.’

    • NSA spied on thousands of Americans
    • China mulls probe into IBM, Oracle, EMC after NSA hack claims – report
    • Feds Threaten To Arrest Lavabit Founder For Shutting Down His Service

      The saga of Lavabit founder Ladar Levison is getting even more ridiculous, as he explains that the government has threatened him with criminal charges for his decision to shut down the business, rather than agree to some mysterious court order.

    • Lavabit.com owner: ‘I could be arrested’ for resisting surveillance order

      The owner of an encrypted email service used by ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden said he has been threatened with criminal charges for refusing to comply with a secret surveillance order to turn over information about his customers.

    • Hacker posts Facebook bug report on Zuckerberg’s wall

      Just minutes after the post, Khalil says he received a response from a Facebook engineer requesting all the details about the vulnerability. His account was blocked while the security team rushed to close the loophole.

      After receiving the third bug report, a Facebook security engineer finally admitted the vulnerability but said that Khalil won’t be paid for reporting it because his actions violated the website’s security terms of service.

      Although Facebook’s White Hat security feedback program sets no reward cap for the most “severe” and “creative” bugs, it sets a number of rules that security analysts should follow in order to be eligible for a cash reward. Facebook did not specify which of the rules Khalil had broken.

    • Institutionalized US Spying: More Than NSA Involved

      Washington has 16 known US spy agencies. NSA and CIA are best known. Perhaps few Americans know much about the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

      It calls itself “first in all-source defense intelligence to prevent strategic surprise and deliver a decision advantage to warfighters, defense planners, and policymakers.”

      “DIA deploys globally alongside warfighters and interagency partners to defend America’s national security interests.”

    • The NSA Thinks It’s Above the Law — and the Obama Administration Knew It

      Thursday night, The Washington Post published an internal audit of the NSA surveillance programs leaked by Edward Snowden, which show that the NSA has violated the privacy rules in place to protect Americans’ communications 2,776 times in one year. The infringements relate to the restrictions enacted by executive orders, which supposedly prevent the surveillance of American individuals without legal authorization. It has been determined that the majority of mistakes have been made by intelligence operators and computers.

    • NSA revelations galvanize Congress

      Allegations of chronic violations renew calls for serious change

    • NSA breached privacy rules, despite Obama’s promises

      President Barack Obama’s promises to protect Americans from domestic spying came under fresh scrutiny Friday after an internal audit showed the National Security Agency had repeatedly violated privacy rules in its electronic surveillance.

      The revelations appeared to challenge Obama’s reassurances that strict oversight of NSA snooping had prevented abuses.

      The Washington Post, citing NSA documents and the audit, reported that the eavesdropping service had breached privacy restrictions thousands of times and in some cases withheld details from other government departments.

    • Google introduces encryption to Google Cloud Storage – but NSA will still have easy access

      The server-side encryption means that the data will seamlessly be encrypted without the users having to do anything.

      However, while that encryption will make the data held in Google’s cloud more secure from attack, the keys will still be held by Google. That means that the US National Security Agency (NSA) will still be able to access customers’ data with a simple order approved by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

      For that, Barth recommends that customers encrypt their data before uploading it to the Google Cloud.

    • WaPo: NSA Broke Privacy Rules Thousands Of Times, Harms Uncertain

      According to documents obtained by The Washington Post, the National Security Agency broke its own privacy rules thousands of times per year. Many of the violations seem like unintentional infractions, such as a typo while searching telephone area codes, which results in a swath of phone records that shouldn’t have otherwise been scanned. It is unclear whether any of the wrongly obtained information was used for illegal or illicit purposes.

    • US NSA defends surveillance programs as lawful

      Under increasing pressure to justify electronic surveillance programs that at times capture communications of American citizens, the U.S. National Security Agency went to unusual lengths on Friday to insist its activities are lawful and any mistakes largely unintentional.

    • NSA revelations of privacy breaches ‘the tip of the iceberg’ – Senate duo

      Leading critics of NSA Ron Wyden and Mark Udall say ‘public deserves to know more about violations of secret court orders’

    • Cloud market destined to change following NSA leaks

      “The reason I say this is unrealistic is because in order for this $180 billion to play out, then companies need to aggressively start pulling back from using outsourcers, using [hosting firms], using cloud providers,” Staten told CSOonlineA’A on Friday. “And frankly, we don’t see any evidence that suggests they’re going to start doing that.”

    • Chinese Spring Festival tourists targeted by NSA

      An internal audit carried out by the National Security Agency (NSA) and leaked to the Washington Post reveals that Chinese Spring Festival tourists were targeted while on holiday in the US.

    • NSA under renewed fire after report finds it violated its own privacy rules

      Revelations that NSA collected records it was not permitted to acquire pile further pressure on intelligence chief James Clapper

    • LA Church Joins Lawsuit Against NSA Over Surveillance Programs

      The church says this type of surveillance is reminiscent of that felt by the congregation during the McCarthy era

    • Inhofe wants to investigate NSA, following new report about surveillance

      Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, says new revelations about the National Security Agency’s surveillance program suggest the Obama administration has “abused the authority granted to them by Congress” and that he will investigate the matter.

    • White House Denials of NSA Privacy Violations Prompt Legislative Furor

      Reports that the National Security Agency (NSA) routinely breaks the law and violates court orders and the Constitution in order to collect private data of hundreds of millions of Americans has prompted some federal lawmakers to finally exercise a little oversight.

    • I asked the NSA for its file on me, and here’s what I got back

      Though it took two and a half pages to do so, the NSA denied my application. “[Y]our request is denied because the fact of the existence or non-existence of responsive records is a currently and properly classified matter,” it wrote.

      Oh. Thanks anyway, NSA.

    • Paul: NSA practices are unconstitutional, should be subject of hearing

      An internal audit from leaker Edward Snowden — now enjoying asylum in Russia — also revealed that the agency intercepted phone calls and emails from U.S. citizens during that time, and often did not report the intrusion.

    • Lawmakers: NSA reform needed

      Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan said Sunday he’s hopeful the House will have another chance to vote on a measure that would curb the National Security Agency.

    • Obama’s post-vacation blues: Egypt and NSA spying on Americans
    • NSA blames 3,000 leaked privacy violations on ‘employee mistakes’

      Nearly 3,000 violations of Americans’ privacy, mentioned in the National Security Agency’s internal audit recently leaked by former contractor Edward Snowden, weren’t “willful” and are results of mistakes by employees, the agency claimed.

    • New NSA Leak Should Prompt Even More Distrust of Government

      Because the NSA’s activities are largely classified, we can never truly know what we’re paying.

    • James Fields: Protect online, mobile conversations

      Snowden. PRISM. XKey­score. It seems that you can’t turn around these days without reading another story about government surveillance.

      [...]

      If as a society we don’t start fighting government snooping laws, they are only going to become more restrictive. For example, recently, the Obama administration pushed to make it a felony to stream copyrighted material over the Internet, which was a key part of the tabled Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) of last year. SOPA targeted user-generated content sites like Tumblr and YouTube and Internet startups in the social and online search space.

    • Lavabit chief predicts ‘long fight’ with feds (Q&A)

      Ladar Levison, who shuttered the Web mail service he founded — and his only e-mail account — when the U.S. government demanded access to his company’s servers, tells CNET he created Lavabit because of the Patriot Act.

    • Will PayPal’s Face Verification System Kick Off the Future of Payment Technology?

      Ever been standing in a checkout line only to realize that you’re unable to pay because you’ve left your wallet, cash, or credit card elsewhere? Or perhaps you’re like the 83% of respondents to a recent PayPal survey who said you’d rather not carry a wallet at all. If PayPal’s latest technology using face recognition to facilitate payment transactions is successful, wallets may soon become a relic of the past.

    • Q. & A.: Edward Snowden Speaks to Peter Maass

      Edward Snowden: After 9/11, many of the most important news outlets in America abdicated their role as a check to power — the journalistic responsibility to challenge the excesses of government — for fear of being seen as unpatriotic and punished in the market during a period of heightened nationalism. From a business perspective, this was the obvious strategy, but what benefited the institutions ended up costing the public dearly. The major outlets are still only beginning to recover from this cold period.

      Laura and Glenn are among the few who reported fearlessly on controversial topics throughout this period, even in the face of withering personal criticism, and resulted in Laura specifically becoming targeted by the very programs involved in the recent disclosures. She had demonstrated the courage, personal experience and skill needed to handle what is probably the most dangerous assignment any journalist can be given — reporting on the secret misdeeds of the most powerful government in the world — making her an obvious choice.

  • Civil Rights

    • Detainee Challenges Constitutionality of NDAA Transfer Restrictions

      Ajam’s case takes a new approach to Guantanamo habeas litigation: Ajam challenges Section 1028 of the National Defense Authorization Act—the section which imposes detainee transfer restrictions on the President—as an unconstitutional Congressional intrusion into plenary Presidential foreign policy power.

    • Indefinite detention is definitely wrong

      When the government gives itself the power to deny a person his or her constitutional rights, it is alarming, to say the least. When the government prevents the people it governs from being able to do anything about it, it is truly frightening.

    • In the Matter of Hedges v. Obama

      What we have in the Hedges v. Obama case is yet another very bad precedent. As Judge Forrest had pointed out, “Courts must safeguard core constitutional rights.” The 2nd Circuit Appeals Court, clearly not applying the principle of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) to this situation, has sold out that obligation for a handful of dubious promises. Recent history provides no confidence that such promises are given in good faith. No, it is bad faith we are witnessing here. The government lawyers should hang their heads in shame for obviously undermining the Constitution they are sworn to uphold. It just goes to show there are always those, be they soldiers, police, or lawyers who will simply follow orders no matter what the consequences.

    • America No Longer the Land of the Free

      The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution states that the government may not take the life, liberty or property of any person without due process.

    • The Most Powerful Dissent in American History

      A smart new book reveals precisely how and why Oliver Wendell Holmes changed his mind about the first amendment.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Prenda parties ordered to pay more than $63K to Doe Defendants in Minnesota

        Remember Guava LLC v. Merkel? A collusive Prenda’s lawsuit filed in Hennepin County court in Minneapolis? I thought that this lawsuit was over, and I was gladly surprised to learn (hat tip to Jason Sweet) that yesterday Judge Tanya M. Bransford ordered Prenda parties (Guava LLC, Michael Dugas and Paul Hansmeier’s Alpha Law Firm) to jointly and severally pay $63,367.02 in attorney fees.

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    Links for the day



  8. Links 22/4/2015: Fedora 22 Beta, Atlassian Acquires BlueJimp

    Links for the day



  9. The Dying Debate Over Patent Scope (Including Software Patents) Replaced by 'Trolls' (But Not the Biggest Ones)

    The corporate media and Web sites or people who are funded by large corporations have essentially suppressed any debate about issues in the patent granting process, thereby guarding software patents and preventing criticism of large corporations' power grab



  10. The Patents Gold Rush Continues

    The morbid obsession with monopolising mere ideas still dominates the media, even increasingly in China



  11. 9 Millionth US Patent Tells a Story of Failure and USPTO Misconduct

    The USPTO, much like FISA (notorious court for surveillance/espionage authorisation), has become a rubber-stamping operation rather than a patents examination centre, as new evidence and old evidence serve to show



  12. HBO Helps Shift Debate Over Patents to 'Trolls' (Scale), Not Scope

    More of that awkward shifting of the patent debate towards small actors who are misusing patents, not large conglomerates like Apple and Microsoft which use patents to destroy competitors, crush startups, drive up prices, and so on



  13. Software Patents Are Still Menacing to Free Software: OIN Expands Scope, HEVC Adds to MPEG-LA Burden/Tax, Google and Facebook Give in on Patents

    A look at recent news about software patents and especially Free/libre software, which is inherently incompatible with them



  14. The Latest Developments Around Microsoft's Clever Attack on Android/Linux

    Microsoft's campaign of destruction, extortion, etc. against the most widely used Linux-powered operating system is revisited in light of new reports



  15. The Microsoft 'Community' is Maligning the Free Software Community

    Dishonest generalisations and baseless deductions portray the Free/Open Source software communities as a nasty place that leads to poverty and despair



  16. Googlebombing 'Microsoft Open Source' Even When Microsoft Shuts Down Its 'Open Source' Proxy

    A massive failure by the press to cover the most basic news, which is Microsoft putting an end to a supposedly 'Open Source' effort



  17. Links 22/4/2015: Calculate Linux 14.16, SparkyLinux 4.0 RC KDE

    Links for the day



  18. Links 21/4/2015: Project Photon, Ubuntu Touch Buzz

    Links for the day



  19. Embrace, Extend, Extinguish: How Microsoft Plans to Get Rid of Linux/Android

    Microsoft's sheer abuse against Android is laying bare for everyone to see now that Microsoft has paralysed Google's legal department with potential antitrust action in Europe



  20. Yahoo's Current CEO (Mayer, Formerly of Google) is Trying to End Yahoo! Status as Microsoft Proxy

    There are signs of relinquishing Microsoft's control over Yahoo! after Marissa Mayer worked to end the company's suicidal/abusive relationship with Steve Ballmer's Microsoft



  21. Repeating Microsoft's Lies Without Any Journalistic Assessment

    Poor fact-checking by relatively large media/news sites results in Microsoft's patently false claims being repeated uncritically



  22. Links 19/4/2015: New KaOS (2015.04), Manjaro Linux 0.8.13 Pre1

    Links for the day



  23. Links 18/4/2015: ExTiX 15.2, RaspArch

    Links for the day



  24. Microsoft Tired of Pretending to be Nice to Free/Open Source Software (FOSS), Microsoft 'Open' Technologies Dumped

    Microsoft dumps its proxy (misleadingly named 'Open Tech') and other attacks on Free software persist from the inside, often through so-called 'experts' whose agenda is to sell proprietary software



  25. More Translations of French Article About the EPO

    German and Dutch translations of the Le Monde article are now available



  26. Links 17/4/2015: Wipro and the Netherlands Want FOSS

    Links for the day



  27. Microsoft's Multi-Dimensional Assault on Android/Linux: Extortion, Lobbying of Regulators, and Bribes

    Microsoft's vicious war on Linux (and Android in its current incarnation) takes more sophisticated -- albeit illegal (as per the RICO Act) -- forms



  28. Microsoft's Plot to Associate Windows with 'Open Source' is Proving Effective, Despite Being Just a Big Lie

    A look at the latest headlines which can lead to a false perception that Microsoft is now in bed with 'Open Source'



  29. Microsoft Windows Remotely Crashed, Remotely Hijacked, But Still No Logo and No Branding for the Bugs

    Windows maintains its reputation as a back doors haven, but the media is still not highlighting the severity of this issue, instead focusing on accidental bugs in Free software, even very old (and already fixed) bugs



  30. Black Duck's Latest Self-Promotional Propaganda (for Proprietary Software) Still Fools Journalists

    Under the traditionally misleading title "Future of Open Source" Black Duck expresses its desire for proprietary software sales, salivating over fearful managers who may get bamboozled into buying the patents-'protected' Black Duck 'product'


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