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Links 19/8/2013: Linux Foundation on ‘Hobbyists’, Heathrow Row Over Miranda

Posted in News Roundup at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • The Success of Firefox OS Will Depend on the Success of Apps for It

        Mozilla continues to move rapidly ahead with its Firefox OS mobile operating system, which is arriving on phones in many markets around the world. In fact, the OS is gaining enough traction that many observers see it as eventually being competitive with iOS and Android phones, but If Firefox OS is to be a resounding success, it’s going to need a very healthy ecosystem of apps to attract users.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice


    • Denemo – News: Release 1.0.6 is now available

      Import MusicXML
      Direct import of music XML.
      Improved Rhythm Entry
      Dotted rhythms in two keypresses

    • August 2013 GNU Toolchain update

      This feature causes runtime data structures to be built at program start up which are used for verifying the vtable pointers. The options std and preinit control the timing of when these data structures are built. In both cases the data structures are built before execution reaches ‘main’. Using std causes these data structure to be built after the shared libraries have been loaded and initialized. Using preinit causes them to be built before the shared libraries have been loaded and initialized.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • OpenDesk.cc Is Like Ikea For Open Source Zealots

        Furniture is probably the last thing on the mind of most open source proponents but now it doesn’t have to be. OpenDesk is a free, open source line of furniture that you can make yourself or order unassembled from a maker with a CNC machine. Not only is the furniture cheap – free if you have the wood and hardware – it’s actually cool-looking.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open Standards show and tell

      Last year, we established our definition of an open standard for software interoperability, data and document formats, and the Open Standards Principles that explain our rationale for putting them into government IT.

      Now we are working on identifying the specific open standards that will most benefit users of government technology and services. That process depends on suggestions and recommendations from experts on the field — many of whom are outside of government. We need your help.


  • 40 Maps That Will Help You Make Sense of the World
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Are American Drones Al Qaeda’s Strongest Weapon in Yemen?

      Things are getting really messy in Yemen at the moment. With soldiers being murdered in their sleep and embassies closing en masse in fear of an imminent wave of attacks and multiple drone strikes, the country seems to be the latest sandbox full of blood in our war on terror.

      Not that this warz one is all that new. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have had a presence in the area for years, their membership rose from around 300 in 2009 up to an estimated 1,000 today. In an attempt to combat this rise in manpower, the US has escalated its infamous drone program, allegedly targeting high-ranking AQAP members. Although, according to reports, they’ve yet to actually kill any of them.

      Is this hit-and-hope policy really the best way to fight al Qaeda in Yemen? Or are these drone strikes, which have a habit of killing civilians, exactly the PR ammo al Qaeda need to lure new recruits in a country that is already as politically stable as a gang of jihadists on a bouncy castle?

    • Obama has not delivered on May’s promise of transparency on drones

      An escalation of drone strikes in Yemen highlights the fact that the US public is still in the dark about this use of lethal force

    • CIA admits role in 1953 Iran coup: report

      Today, on the 60th anniversary of the coup against Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh, Foreign Policy Magazine (FPM) reported that the National Security Archive website — an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The George Washington University in Washington DC — has published a document in which the CIA openly acknowledges its involvement in the overthrow of the man who was elected as Iran’s prime minister.

    • Ex-CIA official to ask Italy for pardon over rendition – lawyer

      Lady was among 23 Americans sentenced at an Italian trial in
      2009, the first time U.S. nationals had been convicted over the
      programme, operated by the administration of former U.S.
      President George W. Bush during the so-called war on terror.

    • CIA Admits It Was Behind Iran Coup

      Mossadeq was a democratically elected prime minister of Iran from 1951 to 1953, when his government was overthrown through the coup. His successor, said to have been chosen by Britain’s MI6 and the CIA, was Fazlollah Zahedi, an Iranian general. General Zahedi had resigned as minister of interior in 1951 because of the criticism he received in handling a demonstration, according to the CIA history.

    • Zahid Sarfraz labels Musharraf as CIA agent

      Former Interior Minister and former leader of APML Mian Zahid Sarfaraz has claimed that Osama bin Laden was not killed during 2nd May, 2011 Abbottabad action by the US Seals and he was arrested in injured condition.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Michael Grunwald and the Assange Precedent Problem

      People say reckless things on Twitter, as Grunwald’s defenders pointed out and as some of his more extreme critics, who posted that they couldn’t wait to write a similar defense regarding the drone strike that hit him and other gruesome things, demonstrated. If dumbness were the only issue we’d be done. But this one deserves being talked about a bit more, less because Grunwald still seems a bit oblivious as to what was wrong with what he said (though there’s that) than because it encapsulated something hazardous about the current moment, for journalists, for anyone who cares about civil liberties, and for the political culture more generally. And there’s the issue of the lack of civility on Twitter—but we already knew that one.

    • Wikileaks Just Released A Massive ‘Insurance’ File That No One Can Open

      The group, which has been assisting ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden after he leaked top-secret documents to the media, posted links for about 400 gigabytes of files on their Facebook page Saturday, and asked their fans to download and mirror them elsewhere.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • How To Avoid Data Surveillance Programs
    • Capitol Hill Republicans disagree on future of NSA spying, King attacks Paul

      Two of congressional Republicans’ most outspoken members on the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs on Sunday highlighted the sharp divide within the party on the issue.

    • Paranoid Browsing: anti-profiling plugin seeks feedback
    • The NSA Makes 600,000-Plus Database Queries Every Single Day

      Holy crap. They perform 20 million surveillance queries per month? On the bright side, if you assume that their internal auditing really does catch every “incident,” it means they have a violation rate of about 0.001 percent. On the less bright side, they perform 20 million surveillance queries per month.

      That’s genuinely hard to fathom. Is some of that automated? Or is that truly 600,000-plus human queries each and every day? The mind boggles.

    • N.S.A. Calls Violations of Privacy ‘Minuscule’
    • EFF Supports Human Rights Case Against Cisco for Selling Surveillance Technologies to China

      EFF filed an amicus brief in an important case known as Du v. Cisco, where Chinese human rights activists have sued the US tech giant Cisco in Maryland federal court. The case alleges that Cisco knowingly customized, marketed, sold, and provided continued support and service for technologies used by the Chinese government to facilitate human rights abuses.

      The case arises in part from the publication several years ago of a presentation in which Cisco confirms that the Golden Shield is helpful to the Chinese government to “Combat Falun Gong Evil Religion and Other Hostilities.” This shocking statement indicated not only that Cisco knew of the Chinese government’s strategy of repression of dissident groups, but that it was marketing and customizing its Golden Shield technologies to meet those goals. Shortly after this case was filed in August 2011, China detained the lead plaintiff, Du Daobin, and interrogated him about his involvement in the case. EFF called on Cisco to intervene to help protect the plaintiffs.

    • Climate Skeptic Asks NSA For Access To Former EPA Director’s Emails

      An attorney best known for his prodding environmental regulators over their email usage has turned to a new potential ally in the war against climate science: the National Security Agency.

      While the NSA has been getting flack in recent months after reports on its secret surveillence programs, Chris Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, doesn’t seem to mind. In fact, he’s so pleased with the practice that he’s using it to further his pursuit of emails and other documents from former Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson. Horner first revealed in June what many conservatives decried as a “secret email account” that Jackson utilized in her time at the EPA.

    • EPA critic to NSA: Hey, want to share?

      A conservative gadfly who has made a crusade of uncovering embarrassing emails at the Environmental Protection Agency wants to tap a new potential evidence trove: the National Security Agency’s electronic snooping program.

    • NSA-dodging mail service explains why email can never truly be private and secure
    • Among the NSA’s Own Tips for Securing Computers: Remove the Webcam

      Seems like everything gets hacked these days. Baby monitors. White House employees’ personal email. Toilets.

    • Let Non-Secret Courts Decide if NSA Surveillance Is Constitutional

      Deputy NSA Director John Inglis recently told Congress that analysts “try to be judicious” in analyzing telephone metadata so as not to waste their name studying phone records from “the pizza delivery man.” But there are other groups of American citizens whose telephone records likely interest the intelligence community far more than takeout restaurants: attorneys who represent Guantanamo detainees. Journalists. Whistleblowers. Human rights researchers.

    • EU privacy watchdogs seek details on NSA spying

      Europe’s privacy watchdogs are demanding details on the extent of U.S. surveillance efforts in the wake of NSA leaker Edward Snowden’s revelations about the PRISM spying program.

      The National Security Agency’s PRISM operation compels major Internet firms to hand over detailed contents of communications such as emails, video chats and more.

    • Rand Paul Wants Supreme Court to Review Constitutionality of NSA’s Surveillance Programs

      Arguing that congressional hearings and new safeguards recently announced by President Barack Obama might not be enough to ensure privacy rights, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called for the Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs.

    • Rep. Dennis Kucinich: Abolish The NSA And Give Snowden A Parade

      There was a showing of the new documentary, Terms and Conditions May Apply late last week in Washington DC, and Rep. Dennis Kucinich stopped by and made some very pointed remarks while discussing the NSA’s surveillance activities. The (well-timed) documentary, of course, looks at how companies and the government use and abuse everyone’s digital data. Kucinich’s remarks are well worth listening to, as he suggests that Congress should abolish the NSA, while also saying that Ed Snowden deserves a ticker-tape parade.

    • NSA Violations ‘Just the Tip of a Larger Iceberg,’ Say Wyden, Udall
    • How to Keep the NSA Out of Your Computer

      Sick of government spying, corporate monitoring, and overpriced ISPs? There’s a cure for that.

    • Outrage at Violations Adds Fuel to NSA Opposition

      Amash Seeks New Vote on Ending Surveillance

  • Civil Rights

    • NSA journo’s partner ‘detained’

      The partner of journalist Glenn Greenwald, who revealed mass surveillance by US and British security agencies, has been detained under the Terrorism Act, the Guardian reports. He was reportedly stopped at Heathrow Airport but has since been released.

    • Glenn Greenwald’s partner detained at Heathrow airport for nine hours

      David Miranda, partner of Guardian interviewer of whistleblower Edward Snowden, questioned under Terrorism Act

    • Detaining my partner: a failed attempt at intimidation

      The detention of my partner, David Miranda, by UK authorities will have the opposite effect of the one intended

    • Investigating Acts of Journalism Under ‘Terrorism’ Laws Is A Hallmark of Authoritarian Regimes

      In an outrageous and unacceptable attack on press freedom, Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, was detained for almost nine hours at Heathrow airport in London earlier today under section 7 of the UK’s pernicious Terrorism Act. Miranda was returning to his home in Brazil after a week-long visit with documentarian Laura Poitras. Miranda, whose flights were paid for by the Guardian, was reportedly bringing important documents back to Greenwald on USB thumbdrives.


      It is unclear what the UK government was trying to accomplish by detaining Miranda. Likely, it was meant as some form of intimidation. But surely, it will backfire. Investigating acts of journalism under “terrorism” laws and detaining family members of reporters are hallmarks of authoritarian regimes.


      Take, for example, this report from Human Rights Watch from a year ago: “The Iranian government has been intimidating and detaining relatives and friends of foreign-based Persian-language journalists to obtain information or silence them.”

      And until UK government takes swift action to rectify this injustice, other journalists — and their loved ones — should be on alert. Not only was Miranda detained, but Greenwald’s journalistic work-product was seized. As Andrew Sullivan wrote, “So any journalist passing through London’s Heathrow has now been warned: do not take any documents with you. Britain is now a police state when it comes to journalists, just like Russia is.”


      Ironically, this incident comes the same day as a long profile in New York Times Magazine of Poitras, who has shamefully been the subject of similar harassment at the border by the US for years, solely because she produces journalism that the United States government apparently does not like. It’s unknown whether the US had any involvement in the detention of Miranda but questions should be asked as to what they knew and when.

    • How Laura Poitras Helped Snowden Spill His Secrets

      The stranger responded with instructions for creating an even more secure system to protect their exchanges. Promising sensitive information, the stranger told Poitras to select long pass phrases that could withstand a brute-force attack by networked computers. “Assume that your adversary is capable of a trillion guesses per second,” the stranger wrote.

    • Next Time, Pay Attention.

      On a few occasions, I stood outside in a protest of Arab registration in America where a still unknown number of men went into DHS offices, and never came home. We all watched the surveillance and intimidation of Muslim and Arab communities in America, the UK and Europe and said to those governments, it’s ok, because those communities have extremists.

      Now the extra-judicial harassment of journalists has begun. And a bunch of folks are saying “How could this happen?”

    • Detention of Guardian journalist’s partner ‘extraordinary’, says Keith Vaz

      Senior MP to seek explanation from police after detention of Glenn Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, at Heathrow airport

    • Press comment: David Miranda arrest

      Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: “This is a direct attack on freedom of the press and a chilling reminder that our anti-terror laws are in desperate need of reform. Whoever took the decision to have David Miranda arrested and detained should be named and held publicly accountable for this flagrant abuse of anti-terrorism laws.

    • Miranda’s detention is a direct attack on freedom of the press

      Today’s detention of David Miranda, the partner of The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald who interviewed whistleblower Edward Snowden, is a direct attack on freedom of the press and a chilling reminder that our anti-terror laws are in desperate need of reform. Whoever took the decision to have Miranda arrested and detained should be named and held publicly accountable for this flagrant abuse of anti-terrorism laws.

      The law Miranda was detained under provides powers to deal with those suspected of involvement with acts of terrorism, not a license to interrogate those with knowledge of the activity of journalists. If a foreign government detained the partner of a British journalist we would rightly be up in arms.

    • NSA Scandal: UK Condemned for ‘Unlawful, Petty’ Treatment of Glenn Greenwald’s Partner David Miranda

      The British government has received international condemnation after the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald was questioned for nine hours over Edward Snowden’s NSA and GCHQ leaks.

      Brazilian national David Miranda, who was in Heathrow airport en route to Rio de Janeiro, was held under the 2000 Terrorism Act – although Greenwald claims the interrogation had nothing to do with terrorism.

    • Britain Detains Partner Of Journalist Who Exposed NSA Spying. Are They Crazy Or Stupid?

      The partner of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who published classified information on U.S. government surveillance, was detained for 9 hours in London’s Heathrow Airport. On Sunday morning, David Miranda was detained for the maximum allowable time under British Law; his property was confiscated and has yet to be returned, according to Greenwald.

    • Partner of reporter who broke NSA stories detained

      The domestic partner of the journalist who broke a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programs by the U.S. National Security Agency was held for almost nine hours Sunday by British authorities at London’s Heathrow airport on his way home to Rio de Janeiro.

    • Partner of NSA leaks reporter held in UK, MP seeks explanation

      London: British police have detained the live-in partner of a Guardian journalist responsible for leaking reports on US surveillance programme for nine hours under terror laws, prompting Indian-origin lawmaker Keith Vaz to seek an explanation from Scotland Yard on the issue.


      “It is an extraordinary twist to a very complicated story,” Vaz told BBC today. “I will write to the police to ask for the justification of the use of terrorism legislation they may have a perfectly reasonable explanation.”

      Greenwald has written a series of stories revealing mass surveillance programmes by the US National Security Agency.

    • NSA spy-program reporter slams U.K. detention
    • Brazil ‘concerned’ over NSA journalist’s partner’s 9-hour detention at UK airport under Terrorism Act
    • NDAA Nullification Bill Headed to Floor of California State Senate

      On August 12 the California Senate Appropriations Committee sent to the floor a bill making it more difficult for residents of the Golden State to be indefinitely detained under provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The Internet: We’re Doing It Wrong

      This week Facebook’s ban-bot went berserk; Github went down; and all Google services collapsed for a few minutes, taking 40% of the Internet with them. Just another week on the Internet, then. We love our centralized services, until they let us down.

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