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08.24.13

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Wants to Become More Secretive in the Age of the Internet

Posted in Deception at 11:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Central Intelligence Agency

Summary: Despite the opening up of data (or freeing of data) in the age of digital abundance, the Central Intelligence Agency fights unavoidable disclosures

Transparency reporting, or reports that advocate public knowledge/awareness and call for transparency where secrecy prevails, is abundantly important. Some of the most secretive operations in the world are carried out by the CIA, which reportedly tries to end transparency [1-4], citing budget constraints (the CIA has black — i.e. hidden — budget). How convenient an excuse. No transparency, no accountability. Recently, the world received confirmation from the CIA about the CIA’s coup in Iran and in coming years or decades we’ll receive confirmation of CIA coups in Latin America and Asia. Good time for the CIA to kill transparency, no? Assuming a 60-year classification period…

“Recently, the world received confirmation from the CIA about the CIA’s coup in Iran and in coming years or decades we’ll receive confirmation of CIA coups in Latin America and Asia.”Domestic violations of human rights are being noticed in the United States [5] and racism is seemingly on the rise [6], not on the decline (the economic issues must have contributed to xenophobia). This racism is motivated in part by the narration of “terrorism”, which CIA intervention abroad plays a role in (it created “blowback”, to use the CIA’s own term). No wonder terrorists recruitment is seemingly rising [7], given the CIA’s abuses abroad [8-9], arming of so-called ‘rebels’ who kill a lot of people (the Arab Spring is seemingly over [10], now it’s just a CIA-run coup, by proxy as in Syria), and of course torture and assassinations (typically by imprecise, wide-ranging Hellfire missiles shot from UAVs).

It seems like those who speak out against these abuses are being portrayed as America’s worst enemies (see Manning’s prosecution [11] and response [12]) while those who commit serious crimes are hardly being portrayed as anything as they go into the darkness and disappear. The new head of the Clandestine Service at the Central Intelligence Agency is not even being named because of corporate press complicity in hiding her identity, which is Francis “Frank” Archibald. Some call her “Covert Head” of the CIA and she has waterboarding (torture) past, so the CIA knows very well what it’s hiding and why (there is no photo of hers on the Web).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Blaming Sequestration, CIA Closes Historical Document Declassification Office

    The forced cuts of the sequester are hitting everywhere, apparently even at agencies with black budgets. With the budgets not open for public inspection, whatever’s cut by those agencies will take on the appearance of being “discretionary.” The latest cut by the CIA certainly looks to be a cut of convenience, rather than one of necessity.

  2. CIA author’s ‘secret key’ unlocks CIA redactions

    “I was in the belly of the beast. I began to see the lengths to which the CIA will go to conceal unconstitutional operations, hide information from Congress and silence anyone inside who challenges it.” Those are the words of Kevin M. Shipp, a former category 1, highly decorated CIA agent who held positions as an agent on the protective detail of the director and deputy director of the CIA, a manager of ongoing operations, an internal Security Officer, a counterintelligence investigator tasked to ferret moles out of the CIA, a Counter Terrorism Center (CTC) officer, a protective operations team leader and a polygraph examiner.

    [...]

    As any loving husband and father would do, Kevin Shipp took his family to several doctors and immunologists for their diagnosis and treatment at his own expense to avoid discovery by the CIA. Once, he flew his son to a specialist, and was shaken by what he was told. He learned that his son and his entire family was exposed to some significant toxin that was damaging their immune systems. Continued exposure would certainly be fatal.

  3. The CIA Is Closing the Office That Declassifies Historical Documents

    As a result of the sequester-induced budget cuts, the CIA is closing the Historical Collections Division office, which declassifies historical documents, and transferring the division’s responsibilities to the office that handles FOIA requests.

  4. CIA shuts office that declassified old documents

    The CIA office that declassifies agency documents on top Soviet spies and the Cuban missile crisis is closing due to federal sequester budget cuts.

  5. Bait-and-Switch on Stop-and-Frisk

    As Peter Hart has pointed out (FAIR Blog, 2/25/13, 8/20/13), there’s a lot of misinformation coming from the media on the unconstitutional police strategy known as stop-and-frisk. There’s a powerful urge to believe, it seems, that abusing the Fourth Amendment rights of young men of color somehow makes the rest of us safer.

  6. Neo-Nazis plan to build all-white city in North Dakota
  7. CIA seeks Pak help to track down wanted Sheikh

    The Americans have sought Pakistan’s help to track down Sheikh Aminullah, the founder of the Peshawar-based Ganj Madrassa which has been slapped with economic sanctions by the US Treasury Department for being a ‘terrorist training centre’.

  8. Inside the CIA’s Role in Pakistan’s Polio Outbreak

    An opinion piece in Scientific American from May 2 outlined, in more detail and stronger language, why the CIA shouldn’t have used a sham-vaccination ruse. “Few mourn [bin Laden] the man responsible for the slaughter of many thousands of innocent people worldwide over the years,” the article said. “But the operation that led to his death may yet kill hundreds of thousands more.”

  9. Human rights, the CIA and Jimmy Gralton

    Previous human rights lawyer Laverty spoke about the hurt and deaths the CIA have caused in a number of countries.

  10. The Bitter End of the Arab Spring

    Over the weekend of August 16-18, 30,0000 Syrians crossed into Iraq over the Peshkhabour Bridge that spans River Tigris. They left the towns of Aleppo, Efrin, Hassake and Qamishly for the Kurdish region, where UNHCR field officers were stunned to see them. “The factors allowing this sudden movement are not fully clear to us,” said spokesperson Adrian Edwards. Thousands continue to make the transit, leaving a Syria paralysed by what U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi calls “a civil war, a sectarian war, and a proxy war,” and entering Iraq, where a string of car bombs over the past month has brought the highest death toll since 2008. A major bomb blast in Beirut’s southern district of Dahieh (which means suburb) rattled Lebanon, where one million Syrians have sought refuge — now one in four of the people who live in this small Levantine country. Sounds of gunfire and bombs have become routine from the Mediterranean coast to the Iranian border, from the souqs of Egypt to the small coastal towns of Libya.

  11. Manning Sentence: A Crisis Of Conscience

    …we now give longer sentences to those who expose war crimes than those who commit them.

  12. FULL TEXT: Bradley Manning’s Letter To President Obama Requesting Pardon

    Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

    Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy — the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment camps — to mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

    As the late Howard Zinn once said, “There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

    [...]

    If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.

The NSA ‘Violates’ Society Worldwide, But We Need to Fight It, Not Surrender to It

Posted in Database, Deception at 11:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.”

Edmund Burke

Edmund Burke

Summary: A roundup of the latest NSA violations and what they mean to us

GROKLAW wrote a heart-breaking post, but I do not share Pamela’s views when it comes to the response. When anonymous E-mail services decided to shut down it was supposed to protect the services legally and also protect the users’ privacy. With Groklaw it is an inherently different problem, so comparing the shutdowns is impossible. As early as 2006 or 2007 myself and others in Techrights advised Pamela to encrypt her mails (I sent her around 1,000 messages), but she declined. When it comes to setting things up to receive encrypted mail on her Apple Mac, that too was not embraced. So in a way, E-mail privacy cannot be truly blamed; not when you’re refusing to embrace privacy-preserving hooks which are fully facilitated. My wife and I donated to Groklaw some months ago, but this wasn’t enough to keep the site going.

In any event, several months ago (before the NSA leaks) we asked readers if we should increase focus on privacy. Techrights helped defeat Novell, Microsoft is now rather feeble (poor prospects), software patents are not quite spreading as quickly as we feared, and Linux is a victor through Android, with GNU and Free software becoming so commonplace that they are taken for granted and hardly even named anymore (they are definitely more widely used than ever before).

Once in a day or two we will try to summarise the latest NSA abuses, highlighting everything which readers ought to know about the Espionage Department which has bases all around the world, protecting the empire and surveying populations in secrecy (it has to remain secret because it’s illegal, alas with no accountability).

Today’s most troubling story shows that the war on Tor is advancing [1], banning IP masking under some circumstances. The NSA would absolutely love that, criminalising Web use that subverts surveillance.

The second bunch of articles proved that the NSA deliberately broke the law, with impunity of course [2-8]. Obama tried to hide it on their behalf [9-10]. Some “Hope”, eh?

FAIR TV covered some of the latest [11] and we also found the CIA approaching the NSA’s territories [12-13] (remember when IBM helped the Nazis put ‘barcodes’ on people after surveying them?).

The latest revelations are likely to change legal cases [14-15] and some fake “investigations” are being used by government in an attempt to suppress scrutiny from the outside [16-19]. Some ‘investigators’ are from the CIA. That sure inspires confidence. Interestingly enough, the New York Times predicted 3 decades ago that this would happen [20-23]. NSA employees correctly feel like they are above the law [24].

According to Snowden, the ‘Independent‘ is now ‘leaking’ on behalf of Britain’s (NSA’s) GCHQ and the United States, trying to subvert publication by The Guardian [25-29].

Politicians and plutocrats still try to evoke “9/11″ to justify the NSA’s abusive acts [30-31] while Julian Assange deals a blow to the Chairman of Google, Mr. Schmidt [32]. There are a couple more posts that deal with general issues (not news) [33-34] and pro-FOSS sites cover these matters, also addressing no news in particular [35-37].

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. US court rules masking IP address to access blocked Website violates law

    But the verdict is probably far narrower in its implications that some believe. Still, it’s a troubling decision about a controversial law.

  2. The Trickle of NSA Revelations Now Includes Intentional Privacy Violations

    The giant jigsaw puzzle that is the NSA-led surveillance state had a few more pieces added on Friday, including the revelation that NSA analysts have intentionally violated privacy protections on multiple occasions.

    Despite repeated and adamant claims from the security agencies and members of Congress that any such violations have been accidental or technical, Bloomberg reports that’s not always the case.

  3. NSA analysts deliberately broke rules to spy on Americans, agency reveals

    US intelligence analysts have deliberately broken rules designed to prevent them from spying on Americans, according to an admission by the National Security Agency that undermines fresh insistences from Barack Obama on Friday that all breaches were inadvertent.

    A report by the NSA’s inspector general is understood to have uncovered a number of examples of analysts choosing to ignore so-called “minimisation procedures” aimed at protecting privacy, according to officials speaking to Bloomberg.

  4. NSA employees spied on their lovers using eavesdropping programme
  5. NSA officers ‘spy on love interests’

    NSA officers have been using agency tools to keep tabs on their partner or spouse for at least the past decade, according to a Wall Street Journal report Friday. The spying isn’t often, but is has been given its own code name, according to the Journal, ‘LOVEINT.’

  6. NSA admits rare willful surveillance violations
  7. NSA analysts ‘wilfully’ skirted policy to spy on Americans, agency admits
  8. NSA Admits: Okay, Okay, There Have Been A Bunch Of Intentional Abuses, Including Spying On Love Interests

    So, this week, we wrote about the NSA quietly admitting that there had been intentional abuses of its surveillance infrastructure, despite earlier claims by NSA boss Keith Alexander and various folks in Congress that there had been absolutely no “intentional” abuses. Late on Friday (of course) the NSA finally put out an official statement admitting to an average of one intentional abuser per year over the past ten years. The AP is reporting that at least one of the abuses involved an NSA employee spying on a former spouse.

  9. NSA report reveals some agents abused power, while Obama says improvements needed
  10. NSA Admits Abusing Spy Powers, Contradicts Obama, NSA Head, Members of Congress

    The National Security Agency (NSA) admitted today that some NSA employees have abused their power to spy on the American people.

    This statement contradicts President Obama, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and National Security Agency head Army General Keith Alexander, who have all denied the NSA has abused its spying powers on Americans.

  11. FAIR TV: Snowden the ‘Spy,’ Stop-and-Frisk Factcheck, Student Loan Rates
  12. CIA Wrestles With Analytics Challenges

    While there is a lot of controversy these days about the amount of data that the National Security Agency and other intelligence groups are collecting, analyzing all that data in ways that make it actionable is still a major challenge, regardless of how omnipotent an organization is perceived to be.

  13. Amazon legal filing flames IBM’s ‘materially deficient’ CIA cloud

    Redacted document reveals seething hatred in spook cloud battle

  14. Ruling Reveals NSA Lies to Courts, Congress About Scope of Surveillance

    In an 85-page ruling handed down by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (commonly known as the FISA court) judge John D. Bates, the NSA was called out “for repeatedly misleading the court that oversees its surveillance on domestic soil, including a program that is collecting tens of thousands of domestic e-mails and other Internet communications of Americans each year,” the New York Times reported on Thursday.

  15. Latest NSA revelations could help pending lawsuits

    On Wednesday, the Obama administration released three opinions issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

  16. NSA Abuses of Spying Power Probed by U.S. Lawmakers

    The leaders of U.S. congressional intelligence committees said they want to probe the intentional abuses of surveillance authority committed by some National Security Agency analysts in the past decade.

    [...]

    Most of the cases didn’t involve the communications of Americans, Feinstein said.

  17. Three Illusory “Investigations” of the NSA Spying Are Unable to Succeed

    Since the revelations of confirmed National Security Agency spying in June, three different “investigations” have been announced. One by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB), another by the Director of National Intelligence, Gen. James Clapper, and the third by the Senate Intelligence Committee, formally called the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI).

  18. White House picks names for NSA review panel, led by former CIA chief

    The White House has named its choices for the NSA review panel, charged with investigating data collection practices in the wake of the Snowden leaks. According to an ABC News report, the panel will be lead by Michael Morell, who served as acting director of the CIA until March of this year. Morell will be joined on the panel by legal scholar Cass Sunstein, State Department veteran Richard Clarke, and privacy advocate Peter Swire. The group plans to file an interim report to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in 60 days, followed by a full report to be filed by the end of the year. As per earlier White House statements, the panel will not officially report to Clapper, but file its findings directly to the president.

  19. Obama Appoints Four White House Insiders To NSA Review Panel

    Two weeks ago today, President Obama proposed a number of reforms to the NSA and FISA court in response to the Snowden leak. The reforms were largely cosmetic changes meant to give the illusion of real change, but there was one proposal that could actually do some good. He proposed the creation of an independent review board that would determine if the NSA ever overstepped its boundaries.

  20. The New York Times Predicted the NSA Scandal 30 Years Ago
  21. This Incredible Last Paragraph From A 1983 New York Times Article Predicted The NSA Scandal
  22. No laws define the limits of NSA’s power – David Burnham, 1983
  23. The silent power of the NSA, circa 1983
  24. NSA admits to some deliberate privacy violations

    Despite characterizations of domestic data-gathering as accidental, the agency says some of its analysts engaged in “willful violations” of legal restrictions.

  25. Exclusive: UK’s secret Mid-East internet surveillance base is revealed in Edward Snowden leaks

    Data-gathering operation is part of a £1bn web project still being assembled by GCHQ

  26. Four ways the Guardian could have protected Snowden – by THE NSA
  27. Edward Snowden: Guardian and Independent Row over NSA and GCHQ Middle East Leaks

    The Guardian and the Independent newspapers are embroiled in a row over the latter’s exclusive story which claims the UK runs a secret internet monitoring station in the Middle East to intercept data on behalf of Britain’s GCHQ and America’s National Security Agency (NSA).

  28. Snowden accuses UK government of leaking documents about itself in smear campaign

    This morning, Glenn Greenwald and Edward Snowden responded, bluntly denying that Snowden had worked with The Independent and suggesting that the UK government intentionally leaked information in a smear campaign. “I have never spoken with, worked with, or provided any journalistic materials to the Independent. The journalists I have worked with have, at my request, been judicious and careful in ensuring that the only things disclosed are what the public should know but that does not place any person in danger,” said Snowden in a statement. While Snowden has revealed details of several surveillance programs, he has stopped short of describing anything as concrete as a base location.

  29. NSA leaks reveal UK passes ‘snoop-data’ through secret Middle East station

    London: The leaked NSA documents have brought forth another key element to the US’ mega ‘snoop-op’ suggesting that UK’s spy agency runs a secret internet monitoring station in the Middle East and passes the surveillance data through its channel and shares it with the US.

  30. The Defense of NSA Spying that Wasn’t

    Mueller vaguely cited “various programs,” giving them a retroactive chance of preventing “a part of 9/11.” But even this defense of post-9/11 powers is insufficient.

    [...]

    That absence of foresight is a twin with retrospective assessments like Mueller’s, which fail to account for the fact that nobody knew ahead of 9/11 what devastation might occur. Immediately after the 9/11 attacks, everybody knew what such an attack could cause, and everybody began responding to the problem of terrorism.

    Would Patriot Act programs have prevented at least a part of 9/11? Almost certainly not, given pre-9/11 perceptions that terrorism was at the low end of threats to safety and security. A dozen years since 9/11, terrorism is again at the low end of threats to safety and security because of multiplicitous efforts worldwide and among all segments of society. It is not Patriot Act programs and certainly not mass domestic surveillance that make us safe. Even Mueller didn’t defend NSA spying.

  31. NSA spied on Americans to prevent another 9/11 attack, Bloomberg reports

    About 10 times in the past decade, National Security Agency employees intentionally abused access to the organization’s surveillance systems to spy on Americans, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.

  32. Google and the NSA: Who’s holding the ‘shit-bag’ now?

    So just how close is Google to the US securitocracy? Back in 2011 I had a meeting with Eric Schmidt, the then Chairman of Google, who came out to see me with three other people while I was under house arrest. You might suppose that coming to see me was gesture that he and the other big boys at Google were secretly on our side: that they support what we at WikiLeaks are struggling for: justice, government transparency, and privacy for individuals. But that would be a false supposition. Their agenda was much more complex, and as we found out, was inextricable from that of the US State Department. The full transcript of our meeting is available online through the WikiLeaks website.

    The pretext for their visit was that Schmidt was then researching a new book, a banal tome which has since come out as The New Digital Age. My less than enthusiastic review of this book was published in the New York Times in late May of this year. On the back of that book are a series of pre-publication endorsements: Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Michael Hayden (former head of the CIA and NSA) and Tony Blair. Inside the book Henry Kissinger appears once again, this time given pride of place in the acknowledgements.

  33. US publishes revealing review on NSA surveillance

    Surveillance conducted by the NSA under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act was unconstitutional and violated ‘the spirit’ of federal law, the ruling found.

  34. This NSA Twitter Parody Account Is Both Hilarious And Upsetting

    When the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence launched its Tumblr account and accompanying Twitter feed two days ago, it was a little hard to believe that transparency initiative would truly shed light on the inner workings of the country’s spy programs. As with many of the recent National Security Agency developments, an online parody was born. And it’s pretty good, if not a bit unsettling.

  35. The End of the Internet…
  36. Paranoia Optimization for Our Modern Times
  37. Groklaw, Domestic Surveillance and the True Measure of Risk

The Press Has Been Exceptionally Cruel to Ubuntu Edge

Posted in Ubuntu at 11:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ubuntu Edge

Summary: Criticism of the negativism that’s so prevalent in Ubuntu Edge coverage, especially where corporate press is concerned

UBUNTU is in the headlines again. It’s about Ubuntu Edge, which I have been watching for over a month, even before the announcement about it (thousands of articles have been published since then). While it is true that Ubuntu Edge did not reach its target/goal [1-4] Canonical does not view it as a failure [5-8] and it also marks a new world record [9], so it is definitely not a “failure” [10]. Perhaps the only failure was setting the goal as high as $32,000,000. Had the goal been set at $12,000,000, which is a high number (also aiming at a world record), what would the whiners have complained about? There is a lot of negative coverage (see the latest in [11-29]) and Jono Bacon does the usual PR/damage control in his blog [30-32]. Ubuntu did, despite scepticism, make it past 12 million [33], thanks for the most part to US-based buyers [34] and development for the Ubuntu Edge platform definitely continues [35] (with or without a phone that is Canonical-branded), so why be so pessimistic and negative? Canonical already has several phone-producing partners. I am hardly known as a fan of Ubuntu, but the press coverage seemed crude, mean, and generally biased. Let’s be happy that Canonical proved enormous interest in GNU/Linux-based phones that also plug into larger machines (with peripherals) and thus act as desktops. Just like CrunchPad and other such products/concepts/prototypes which predate iPad and Android tablets, Ubuntu Edge can signal the way of the future. Linux and GNU derived a lot of good publicity from this, having been portrayed in some media as innovative, trailblazer, or whatever. Thanks for Ubuntu Edge, Canonical. Ignore those who envy the fund-raising record.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. RIP Ubuntu Edge, but Ubuntu is still coming to smartphones in 2014
  2. Ubuntu Edge smartphone misses crowdfunding goal by $19 million
  3. With $12.8M raised, Ubuntu Edge campaign fails, but it’s not all in vain
  4. Ubuntu Edge Campaign Admits $32 Million Goal Was ‘Crazy’
  5. Ubuntu Edge – What Happened?

    The Ubuntu Edge crowdfunding campaign finished today, which despite having more money pledged than any previous crowdfunding campaign, fell $20 million short of its massive $32 million target.

  6. Canonical doesn’t see Ubuntu Edge campaign as a failure

    The company didn’t make its goal, but its leaders still see the crowdsourced Ubuntu Edge campaign as a success.

  7. Ubuntu Edge: founder says failure isn’t the end of the dream
  8. Mark Shuttleworth: The Ubuntu Edge was a ‘time machine’

    Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth on how the Ubuntu Edge would have been a “time machine” offering a glimpse at the future of mobiles.

  9. As The Ubuntu Edge Project Breaks Records It Also Gives Canonical A New Direction
  10. Ubuntu Edge: A grand experiment for the future of computing does not constitute a failure
  11. Ubuntu Edge crowdfunding campaign falls short by $19M, founder keeps dreaming
  12. Canonical misses smartphone crowdfunding goal by $19 million

    Canonical raised only US$12.8 million of the $32 million it wanted for the production of the Ubuntu-based Edge smartphone.

  13. Ubuntu Linux Edge Misses Funding Goal: What’s Next?
  14. Ubuntu Edge misses chance for Linux alternative

    Just a quick flag-in-the-sand post to mark the fate of a possible Android-alternative – the Ubuntu Edge (“the next generation of personal computing: smartphone and desktop PC in one state-of-the-art device”) missed its crowdfunding target on Wednesday.

    It reached a record total of pledges – $12.6m – but was still far from its very high target, of $32m. Under the terms of the crowd funding project, run on IndieGoGo, all contributions will be returned.

  15. Ubuntu Edge Linux mobe: ‘Made you look,’ crows Shuttleworth

    Um Bongo boss looks on bright side of $32m fundraising flop

  16. Despite Record-Breaking Crowdfunding, Ubuntu Edge Smartphone Falls Almost $20 Million Short Of Goal
  17. Canonical’s Ubuntu Edge crowdfunding dream is over. So what’s next for Ubuntu mobile?
  18. Ubuntu Edge smartphone misses its crowdfunding goal by over $19 million
  19. Ubuntu Edge Indiegogo campaign ends with over $19 million outstanding

    When Canonical took to Indiegogo to crowdfund its Ubuntu Edge smartphone, the $32 million it sought seemed like an incredibly lofty goal. And, one that’s now proven unattainable. Despite quickly selling out of the lowest pledge tier that included a handset, reducing the price of more expensive tiers, then doing the same again as the deadline loomed, the campaign has closed over $19 million shy of its goal. Still, raising just over $12.8 million is a record of sorts, depending on whether you believe a failed effort qualifies. In total, a handful of high-cost bundles were pledged for, 5,674 backers coughed up enough for a lone Edge, and many more thousands offered small sums in support — or, some just really wanted a T-shirt. We’re not convinced the journey ends here, though. After all, there’s clearly some desire for the Edge. Will we see investors step in to make it happen? Or, perhaps Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth will finally see fit to pump some of his own substantial reserves into the project.

  20. Ubuntu Edge smartphone campaign ends in failure, raising less than half of $32m crowdfunding goal
  21. Ubuntu Edge falls short in crowdfunding bid

    The British software developer Canonical broke crowdfunding records on the site Indiegogo, but still fell around $20m (£12.8m) short of what it needed to develop the phone.

  22. Ubuntu Edge crowdsauce cash stash comes up short
  23. Ubuntu Edge — failure was inevitable
  24. Ubuntu Edge Funding Effort Fails
  25. Requiem for the Ubuntu Edge: The phone is dead, but the dream lives on
  26. Ubuntu Edge smartphone fails to reach $32m crowdfunding target
  27. The $32 million super-phone is dead

    Canonical, maker of the popular free operating system Ubuntu, wanted to produce a smartphone to showcase what its forthcoming mobile OS can do.

  28. Ubuntu Edge will not be — ambitious smartphone project misses funding goal on IndieGoGo
  29. Ubuntu Edge: ‘Formula One of Smartphones’ Failed Crowdfunding Campaign Not the End
  30. Onwards and Upwards

    I am not surprised that we didn’t hit this ambitious $32million target, but I am surprised at what we did achieve. We broke all the crowd-funding records, garnered media attention across CNBC, Engadget, The Independent, TechCrunch, the BBC, T3, Stuff, The Verge, The Guardian, Wired, pandodaily, Fast Company, Forbes, The Telegraph and more. Every single person who put their support into the Ubuntu Edge campaign should be proud of their achievements and we are all thankful for your tremendous and inspiring support.

  31. Ubuntu In a Nutshell: The Ubuntu SDK and Developer Story

    In my last article I talked about the new app upload process, but today I am going to talk about how developers write apps in the first place.

  32. Start With Art In Indianapolis

    My presentation focused on the intersection between art and community, and the many similar driving forces behind both. Art is meant to be created, distributed, shared, and enjoyed, and communities are a wonderful way to infuse artists with opportunity. Likewise creativity is the backbone of great community.

  33. Ubuntu Edge At $11M With Less Than Three Days Left
  34. United States Is the Biggest Contributor to Ubuntu Edge

    Canonical has shared some interesting statistics about the Ubuntu Edge IndiGoGo project and about the top contributors.

  35. The Ubuntu App Showdown Contest

    Welcome to the second Ubuntu App Showdown, an open contest to develop new Ubuntu applications from startup to deployment in just six weeks! This time we’ll have a mobile theme, asking developers to write apps for Ubuntu on phones, the exciting new platform introduced earlier this year.

Microsoft’s International Crimes, NSA Collusion, and Taxpayers’ Payments for Microsoft to Collude With the NSA

Posted in Europe, Microsoft at 10:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It all comes together now, revealing espionage, corruption, and collusion against nations and populations

National Security Agency

Summary: The highly criminal nature of Microsoft comes to light while Microsoft distracts many of us with news about Ballmer

Microsoft’s business sins are so many, but some are newer than others. Microsoft’s privacy policy is not benign at all because behind closed doors Microsoft acts as an informant on all customers. Germany has had enough and the news about it spreads to the English-speaking press right now. From Britain we have this:

The German Government is now deeply suspicious that the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) technology built into a growing number of Windows 8 PCs and tablets is creating a gigantic back door for NSA surveillance, leaked documents have suggested.

There is also this article from Britain.

The press is busy talking about why Ballmer leaves and what he said, neglecting to cover his crimes, including the latest evidence of crime in several counties. Ballmer has a lot to do with it. When it comes to surveillance too, remember that Microsoft is the first PRISM partner and maybe its ‘innovator’ (originator), subsidised by taxpayers to violate their privacy based on reports like this one:

Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Microsoft all received money to cover costs related to surveillance requests, the UK’s Guardian reports, citing documents provided by former contractor Edward Snowden.

Below [1-4] are some more reports about it. In the coming posts we shall add a lot more news about the NSA, including more on the above. We are going to start hammering quite hard on the NSA now that it has destroyed Groklaw.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. NSA PRISM Program: NSA Paid Facebook and Tech Companies Millions To Cover PRISM Costs
  2. NSA said to have paid ‘millions’ to cover costs for tech giants in PRISM program

    The tech giants implicated in the PRISM hubbub have repeatedly denied offering access, but new documents reveal the NSA footed the bill for compliance costs.

  3. NSA paid millions to cover Prism compliance costs for tech companies

    Top-secret files show first evidence of financial relationship

  4. Report: NSA Pays Tech Companies for Data

Confirmed: NSA Abused Its Power to Combat Kim Dotcom (Clearly Not a Terrorist)

Posted in DRM at 10:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NSA is for imperialism, corporatism, and espionage, not national security

Kim Dotcom
Art by Thierry Ehrmann

Summary: Example from the news of the ways NSA surveillance (justified by the vague concept of “national security”) gets used to silence people who legitimately challenge the system

NOBODY was terribly shocked or even surprised to see it confirmed that NSA had spied on Kim Dotcom [1,2], who is definitely not a threat to US national security. People spent a great deal of time discussing how NSA surveillance got misused in the war against drugs, but little attention has been paid to Kim’s complaints, maybe because he is far away in New Zealand (NZ), very far from the US. It should also be added that NZ police broke the law by using forces that had been created to fight terrorism and instead used excessive power to intimidate and destroy the lives of Kim and his family. This whole unbelievable episode (or set thereof) helps show that NZ is still besieged by the empire, which also tries to legalise software patents over there.

“This is neither capitalism nor democracy, never mind freedom.”It should be noted that the “empire” we speak of is run by large corporations (or megacorporations, some call them multinationals) whose heads operate covertly, through politicians. They gained power through a coup against the government and won a long time ago. The harassment of Kim has done nothing for small entities (it only harmed them based on new reports [3]) and messengers favourable to Kim are not just being silenced/censored by British ISPs but also intimidated by large corporations that attacked Kim [4].

This is neither capitalism nor democracy, never mind freedom. This is fascism. Remember why Groklaw could not go on anymore.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. NSA used PRISM surveillance on Kim Dotcom

    Ng said that he pored over the documents that were released by the courts in May and found a link between the New Zealand government intelligence agency and the US National Security Agency (NSA).

    He said that the New Zealand Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) provided assistance during the investigation of Kim Dotcom, adding that this means that nowhere is safe from prying eyes.

  2. New Zealand appears to have used NSA spy network to target Kim Dotcom
  3. Megaupload Shutdown Hurt Smaller Films, Helped Blockbusters

    While the major movie studios have all praised the demise of Megaupload, new data suggests that the shutdown has impacted part of the industry negatively. Extending previous work, European researchers show that the closure of the service had both positive and negative effects on box office revenues. Using weekly data from 10,272 movies in 50 countries spanning over several years, the researchers found that the Megaupload shutdown actually hurt smaller movies.

  4. Comcast Threatens to Sue TorrentFreak for Copyright Infringement (updated)

    Comcast has sent TorrentFreak a cease and desist letter, claiming copyright over contents of an article which revealed that Prenda Law was involved in operating a pirate honeypot. Failure to comply will result in a lawsuit in which the Internet provider will seek damages, a Comcast representative informs us. In addition, Comcast also alerted our hosting provider, who is now threatening to shut down our server.

US Government Accountability Office Refutes White House on Patent Reform, Identifies Software Patents — Not Trolls — as the Key Issue

Posted in Patents at 9:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Government Accountability Office

Summary: Study concludes that software patents are the source of the great problem which includes (but is not exclusive to) patent trolls

A new government report, produced by GAO in a timely fashion, helps support what we have been saying for years. As put in the words of one site:

Government report finds “patent troll” narrative not straightforward

Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office released a report on patent infringement litigation, but its findings didn’t align precisely with what fighters of “patent trolls” might have been hoping to hear.

Here is another take on it:

Our Flawed Patent Process Is What’s Feeding Patent Trolls

[...]

The GAO found that the quality of patents, along with the patent process itself, can in fact spur trolls. The study was originally slated for September 16, 2012, release, so it’s good know government bureaucracy, as always, took its sweet old time. For its part, the government is also promising that it didn’t suffer from any major dilution by way of corporate lobbying.

Steph already knew all that, but using a credible report we need to show to the public and to politicians that the White House is merely going after the symptoms, litigation and patent trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], not the core issue. The US Government Accountability Office should set Obama straight. Obama was already petitioned on software patents and he nearly ignored the petition, doing nothing concrete on the matter, not even giving “Hope” (except to corporations, especially when he appointed more pro-patents people).

Bloomberg’s business press filed it under “Intellectual Property” and said:

Software patents are the biggest reason for a rise in litigation over inventions, especially against companies that use the technology, the U.S. Government Accountability Office found.

Indeed.

Julie Samuels is doing her usual thing, saying “bad patents” rather than software patents, alluding in a way to her views that not all software patents are bad. Her headline was “GAO Study Confirms the Obvious: Bad Patents Lead to Trolls” and it said:

You might remember that in 2011, Congress passed the America Invents Act (AIA), which at the time, was heralded as it was heralded as “the first meaningful, comprehensive reforms to the nation’s patent system in nearly 60 years.” You might also have noticed that we haven’t talked much about it since then, since the law did next to nothing to really address many of the problems that users, consumers, small companies, and the tech community in general face because of a broken patent system, particularly the patent troll problem.

Mac Asay had this interesting article which puts the patent systems in an even broader context, citing Red Hat:

Why China And India Could Disrupt The US Patent System

Red Hat’s CEO thinks that the US patent regime’s dominance may diminish as developing economies grow.

There is no doubt about it. Patents are a way to drive businesses away. Software patents have already driven some companies out of the US.

The US Government Accountability Office hit the nail on the head this time. Let’s see if Obama and other corporate cronies (they are largely funded by patent-maximising corporations) will actually pay attention. Coming from the government which 5 years ago said it would close Guantánamo and in this week’s news [1] shows no progress, still, we hardly even expect patent trolls to be eliminated. As shown in [2] last week, Guantánamo does not even offer justice. If Guantánamo was ever to close under Obama’s reign, that would be because Obama just assassinates the same people Bush often detained indefinitely, leading only to more hatred towards to the United States [3], fewer “patriots” [4], and more backlash against what nations correctly perceive as violation of national sovereignty, or imperialism [5,6].

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. That “Secret” White House Plan to Close Guantanamo

    A few weeks ago, Daniel Klaidman noted in the Daily Beast the existence of a White House memo outlining its proposal to close Guantanamo. The two-page document was circulated to members of Congress in advance of a July 24th Senate Judiciary hearing on the matter.

  2. 9/11 trial lawyer: CIA had its finger on Guantánamo’s mute button1

    Mystery solved, if there was any doubt: It was the CIA that hit the mute button in the war court earlier this year when a defense lawyer for the accused 9/11 mastermind began talking about the CIA’s secret overseas prisons, the lawyer said Monday.

  3. How Drones Create More Terrorists

    The crux of my viewpoint is that drone attacks cannot be compared to “boots on ground” operations. They are two different methods of battling enemies. Wars are mainly about national interests — resources, territory, the balance of power, and religion. Drone strikes directed at terrorists perform a comparable but different role. In battling terrorism, physical elimination of the enemy matters but is not decisive.

  4. Why Can’t The U.S. Air Force Find Enough Pilots To Fly Its Drones?

    Perhaps that’s why the Air Force is having problems finding enough volunteers to fly its drones (or Remotely Piloted Aircraft, or RPAs, as the Air Force prefers to call them). And the problem will only get worse as the military flies more unmanned aircraft for surveillance and strike missions.

  5. Bishops, nuns back Duterte in slamming US drones in Davao
  6. Mindanao nun tags US military use of drones ‘killer program’

    Washington’s drone program was branded “killer program” by a Mindanao-based nuns’ association as it called on the government to reject attempts by the Americans to put up a base in the country.

    Sister Noemi Degala, executive secretary of the Sisters’ Association in Mindanao (Samin), said in a statement e-mailed to the Inquirer that in Pakistan alone, under the so-called global war on terror, US drone strikes have killed as many as 3,549 people, 197 of them children.

Patent Troll Parallel Iron LLC Wants an Expert Witness

Posted in Patents at 9:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Iron railings

Summary: A glimpse at the patent-trolling ‘business’ and some new examples from the news

On Friday night I received the following E-mail with several large attachments. It was from a sleazy kind of lawyer, who naturally floats where business means the opposite of ethics, it means crushing real businesses. Here is the mail — sent by proxy for this troll (whose business is litigation) — in full:

Hello Dr. Schestowitz,

My name is Chris Gum. I work for Beche Group IP Services, an expert witness referral firm. Attached is the Beche Group IP Services brochure to provide you with additional information about our company.

I have an urgent need for an Expert Witness for Parallel Iron LLC v. Adobe Systems Incorporated DED-1-12-cv-00874. My client is the Plaintiff Team for Parallel Iron, LLC.

I need an expert witness that has both the necessary technical knowledge and experience to testify at trial. An expert with expertise in distributed file systems, such as Hadoop and familiar with the Markman Hearing. It appears as if that is within your expertise, correct? Is this something that you might be interested in pursuing? Do you have testifying experience?

Since this is such an urgent need I am attaching the complaint and 3 patents involved with this email. I usually wait until I hear back from you and we have had a conversation but time is of the essence. Let me know your findings after you have reviewed the attachments. We can discuss timing, conflicts, parties and the specific patents when we talk.

Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions as I am always happy to help.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Chris

Chris Gum
Case Manager
Beche Group IP Services
San Francisco/Silicon Valley CA
www.BecheIP.com
Direct: 415.539.3072
Mobile: 925.548.3727

They are probably mass-mailing these. They should know I don’t specialise in distributed file systems. They would know if they actually checked.

Suffice to say, I never opened the attachments; I never replied either. I just wanted to show victims of such trolls (or potential pret) what the predators are up to behind the scenes. Secretive parasites. Schoenbaum from Rackspace has a recent enough post about this troll. He wrote:

One thing the article did not discuss was why IPNav’s and Parallel Iron’s patent assertions are so egregious. We have talked many times about patents that should never have been granted. An equal abuse is the overbroad application of patents to technology that was never invented or even contemplated by the original patentees.

The Parallel Iron patents are a good example of this overreach. This next part is somewhat technical, but hang with me and keep reading. Parallel Iron’s patents are about hardware, and are tightly coupled to the underlying design of a storage area network. For example, Figure 5 of US Patent 7,197,662 (click image to enlarge) shows a memory section controller, including specific memory control interface and timing circuitry.

A Web site that I sort of grew up with, HowStuffWorks, is now under attack by trolls like the above. To quote the EFF:

Beloved podcasts like the Adam Carolla Show and HowStuffWorks are under attack. They and other podcasts are getting sued for, well, podcasting. And they’re not the only victims—developers are being targeted for building mobile apps, and offices around the nation are being attacked for using ordinary networked scanners. These creators are only a few of the thousands of victims of one of the biggest threats to innovation: patent trolls.

Here is another new example of such trolls.

Trolls Aren’t Welcome in Lake Wobegon

[...]

Earlier this week, the Minnesota Attorney General’s office announced a landmark settlement with patent troll MPHJ Technology Investments, LLC. MPHJ is infamous for suing small businesses for using basic office equipment to scan and email documents. MPHJ sent letters demanding $1,000 – $1,200 per employee for this simple task. According to the settlement terms, MPHJ cannot send further demand letters without seeking approval from the state attorney general office. In addition, if any Minnesota residents or businesses have been found to have paid MPHJ, then MPHJ will have to fully refund all payments and pay a $50,000 civil penalty.

These firms that do nothing but sue are killing the producing economy. We need to expose them and crush them. Taking aim at their patents would work if we tackled scope. Almost every patent troll uses software patents. And this related to our next post.

MeeGo Outlives Nokia, Which Dies With Microsoft

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Windows at 8:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tomb

Summary: Proof that Nokia’s Linux endeavours were not a dead end, unlike Windows, which is dying on devices

THE platform whose development was originally led by Nokia (Maemo, then MeeGo/Moblin, and now Sailfish or Tizen) is not dead, based on news reports we recently posted in daily links. In fact, it is joined by other platforms that are Linux-based, including one from Mozilla (sales [1] and partnerships [2] show true health).

Nokia is a lost company with Microsoft and it is diving deeper into the abyss with a tablet adventure that involves the scnadalous Surface maker:

The Only Thing Worse for Nokia to Do, than Launch a Tablet Now – Is to launch a Windows based tablet

[...]

The Nokia share price was $9.36 on the day before this mad Microsoftian misadventure was announced. Nokia’s share price is now $4.06.

Had Nokia stayed with Linux, it would have possibly stayed a giant. Instead it is going extinct. Nokia could go with Android and it nearly did so. Microsoft gave a bribe and it had also planted a mole, Mr. Elop. Nokia could have been in the privileged position Motorola is in [3,4] (rather than hack at Android with patents it could help defend Android), remain a top contributor to Linux [5] (which it was), and even connect Qt (which it had acquired) with Android, the same way KDE does right now [6,7]. Nokia is a living (for now) lesson about the destructive nature of Microsoft, the world’s leader in corruption, fraud, and destruction of competition.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Firefox OS smartphone sells out on eBay in US and UK

    ZTE turned to eBay in the US and UK to sell its first Firefox OS handset, with the first batch going up on Friday, August 16. However, all of this initial stock has now sold out in just three days.

  2. LG signs up for a Firefox phone

    Mozilla’s Firefox based mobile operating system is starting to gain some momentum.

    LG has announced that it is going join Alcatel, GeeksPhone and ZTE in the Firefox OS market.

    During an interview with Bulgarian tech press, LG’s mobile communications head in Bulgaria, Dimitar Valev, has spilled the beans on the company’s plans for the future.

  3. Android Open Source Project now has latest 4.3 fixes for most Nexus hardware

    The latest Android 4.3 updates brought a slate of unfortunate software bugs to the party and to Google’s own Nexus devices, ironically enough. Thankfully, the Mountain View crew is hard at work patching things up, as evidenced by the Nexus 7 update earlier today that resolved its multi-touch and GPS issues.

  4. Motorola Touchless Control appears in Google Play Store

    Motorola has just put up on Google Play Store its Touchless Control app. This is the very same app available on Motorola’s Moto X flagship smartphone and latest DROID devices which lets users control the phone and get information with nothing but the sound of their voice.

  5. Key Lime Pie could boost Android to Linux Kernel 3.10

    We don’t know what number or name the next version of Android will be, but if all signs are pointing in the right direction we’ll likely see Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie here soon from Google. There’s no question they’re hard at work on the next major release, possibly set for later this year, and today we’re seeing some interesting tidbits on the Kernel side.

  6. KDE Connect brings together your Android phone, Linux desktop

    Say you’ve got an Android phone in your pocket and a Linux computer on your desk. Ever wonder why you have to pick up your phone to see notifications, or use your PC keyboard to control media playback on your computer?

  7. Video: KDE Connect Android (mobile) with Linux (desktop)

    KDE Connect can best be described as a utility that allows your Linux desktop to receive Android phone notifications, while transforming your smarpthone into a remote control for music and video players.

    As Liliputing’s Brad Linder notes, developer Albert Vaca is working on KDE Connect as a Google Summer of Code project.

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