EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

08.28.13

Techrights in 2013-2014 (Eighth Year)

Posted in Site News at 3:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Completing the seventh year soon…

Cards

Summary: As its motto claims, or as the old saying goes, Techrights vows to fight the good fight in the increasingly-oppressed digital landscape

The war on dissent is being fought against computer programmers and other such folks who are technical, recognising — quite correctly — that they have power to fight back against abusers of power. This goes beyond digital protests and extends to journalism. Abuses of the secret services, for example, are getting hard to hide because people out there facilitate anonymous Internet usage and truly private chats. In their book, Julian Assange and co-authors stressed the importance of ciphers, focusing on one particular cornerstone of online activism. Here in Techrights, key members have been encrypting E-mail for quite some time and using anonymisation tools (we received important leaks and scoops over the years). Whatever makes a group harder to map makes it harder to disrupt. It doesn’t mean that given enough effort it will stay impossible to map, but it sure helps discourage that. One key member of the site — someone whom I have known since around 2005 — complained in several E-mails today that LinkedIn somehow still managed to link him to me (he works from Internet cafes and is very privacy-conscious). When data gets passed around and moreover sold, even the most prudent among us find ourselves unable to stay low key. Pamela Jones had a legitimate point to be concerned about. When people put their job on the line and reach out to reporters we must have some safe harbours and assurances that not everything is being tracked. Surveillance deters sources from coming forth, drying up investigative journalism as a result.

“Everything is peaceful and stable now, but the world is not. There is a lot of work to be done.”Those who have followed this site since 2006 have seen it going through harder times. Threats, DDOS attacks, smear campaigns etc. probably peaked around 5 years ago and even members of the site suffered from it (insults and threats were common). In recent years we have suffered from almost not a single troll. The focus on the site was not defence from opponents’ attacks (this was common in early days) but the subjects we wish to tackle. Everything is peaceful and stable now, but the world is not. There is a lot of work to be done.

Over the past few days we have gathered some new stories that show how corporations and/or the people who lead them control politics and gain an increasing level of power over everything (see links at the bottom). This in itself is not news and it is not shocking. But it is helping to show where many of society’s fears like war, famine, climate change etc. come from, directly or indirectly.

A lot of people think that pollution, war, and economic disparity (among many issues that would take a paragraph just to name) can be addressed by selecting a political party which big businesses control through money. It’s not an election, it’s selection, where one typically gets just two choices (the choice between spokespeople elected by plutocrats).

Bill Gates is not the devil and he is not the world’s only problem. Microsoft is not daemonic and eliminating just Microsoft would not render software benign overnight or the computer industry more fair over time. In my discussions with Stallman it repeatedly comes up that Apple worries him more than Microsoft. I don’t share this view, but I can accept the premise laid out by him. While I’m away (summer vacation, will take photos as usual) a scheduled story will appear where Stallman speaks to me about Steve Jobs and Apple.

“Over the coming year we will cover more Apple news from a sceptical eye, but Microsoft will stay the centre of focus.”Several weeks ago Obama served Apple like no president before him. In a sense, this was a troubling reminder of the rising power of Apple, which only Android seems to be effectively limiting. At the stores here in the UK I saw just Android and Apple products on the shelves (I bought something for the tablet earlier today). Apple is far from dead here. The Apple brand may be diminishing, but Apple still has some momentum.

Over the coming year we will cover more Apple news from a sceptical eye, but Microsoft will stay the centre of focus. Microsoft does far worse things to FOSS and now that Ballmer is expected to leave, the company will be able to do this with more impunity (if a CEO gets chosen from a minority ethic group and/or is female, that would not be surprising). Other topics of interest meriting blog posts are formerly sections of daily links; assuming it is sustainable (time-wise), we will cover surveillance, devices, copyright, lobbying, patents, operating systems, and pertinent software. Expansion of coverage is further defended by those who generously support the site financially (readers), so if you want to keep us strong for years to come, please consider making a contribution. Personal sacrifice cannot be gratis for a lifetime. Independent writing cost me a career. I do need support from readers, but I don’t wish to be seen as begging for support. In return for this support we will publish Stallman interviews until the end of the year (editing takes a lot of time) and post about 50 stories per week. My existing workstation is faulty (hardware issue since two days ago), so I will need to purchase a replacement shortly.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Africa’s food sovereignty under attack by corporate Interests

    Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA), a coalition of pan-African networks, with members in 50 African countries and representing smallholder farmers, indigenous peoples and civil society, met in Addis Ababa 12-16th August 2013 to formulate an action plan to safeguard Africa’s sovereignty over its food, seeds and natural resources from the assault on Africa’s food systems.

  2. Pursuing Profits – or Power?

    Do corporations seek to maximize profits? Or do they seek to maximize power? The two may be complementary—wealth begets power, power begets wealth—but they’re not the same. One important difference is that profits can come from an expanding economic “pie,” whereas the size of the power pie is fixed. Power is a zero-sum game: more for me means less for you. And for corporations, the pursuit of power sometimes trumps the pursuit of profits.

  3. Newt and CNN: Working the Refs Works

    There’s a kind of right-wing media criticism we’ve often called “working the refs.” The point is not to make complaints with a basis in reality; rather, the hope is that by complaining that your “side” isn’t getting a fair shake, someone in the media will want to avoid further scolding and so next time cut you break.

  4. Top Quotes from ALEC’s 40th Birthday Party in Chicago

    The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) annual meeting in Chicago earlier this month was marked by massive protests outside, but inside the walls of the Palmer House Hotel, the business of this notoriously secretive organization went forward as usual. The few quotes that have trickled out from inside the ALEC meeting are revealing.

  5. Stop the CEO March on Washington

    In the decades that have followed, those struggling for justice are not the only ones who have rallied in Washington. CEOs from Wall Street and large corporations have of course been a powerful presence. They don’t march to Washington but instead fly in corporate jets. They don’t come with millions by their side, but rather with millions in their pockets. And they don’t come to demand greater inclusion and opportunity for all, but for more tax breaks for their businesses, to be paid for by cuts to services provided to ordinary families.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    August 29, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Gravatar

    Bill Gates may not be the devil himself, but they are at least acquainted on a first name basis.

What Else is New


  1. Links 21/11/2014: Problems at Debian, Jolla Tablet

    Links for the day



  2. Links 18/11/2014: Linux 3.18 RC 5, New DigiKam

    Links for the day



  3. Special Report: Many Criminal Charges Against EPO Vice-President Željko Topić

    The abuses of Željko Topić, who has gained notoriety in his home country, are rapidly becoming public knowledge across all of Europe



  4. Links 16/11/2014: Xfdesktop 4.10.3, GNU Hello 2.10

    Links for the day



  5. Microsoft is Going Into the Anti-Whistleblowing Business, Dodges Criticism Over 19-Year Bug Door in Windows

    With Aorato acquisition Microsoft helps protect the criminals (from whistleblowers) and with lies about .NET Microsoft distracts from a bug that has facilitated remote access into Windows (by those in the know) for nearly two decades



  6. Reaffirming Microsoft's Long-Known Hostility Towards Net Neutrality, Microsoft Crashed Juniper

    Steve Ballmer is ranting against net neutrality and Juniper's business is in trouble after a lot of executives from Microsoft took over most top positions there



  7. Another Massive Step Towards Elimination of Software Patents as Even CAFC Rules Against Them

    After SCOTUS gets involved in the Ultramercial case, the CAFC finally decides to actually serve justice rather than dogma



  8. The GOP's Patent Reform Plan Not Effective Enough to Stop Massive Patent Trolls Like Microsoft/Nokia

    The corporations-serving GOP says that it wants a patent reform, but another reminder is needed of the futility of the suggested changes



  9. How the EPO's Executive Branch (Battistelli and Topić) Banned Scrutiny and Created Authoritarian Model of Control: Part X

    A look at highly dubious moves by EPO President Battistelli and his right-hand man Topić, whose abuses are becoming hard to oversee or even report



  10. Links 15/11/2014: Linux Mint 17.1 Release Candidate, Popcorn Time 0.3.5

    Links for the day



  11. IRC Proceedings: October 26th, 2014 – November 8th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  12. The Terrible Joke Which is Microsoft 'Loving' Linux: Nightmares With UEFI 'Secure' Boot (i.e. Windows Monopoly Imposed) Continue to Affect GNU/Linux Users

    A reminder of Microsoft's sheer hostility towards GNU/Linux and long-reaching sabotage of GNU/Linux installations



  13. Patent Lawyers Worry About Section 101 in 'Alice' (and Other Patent News)

    A quick roundup of news of interest regarding software patents



  14. Will Write for FUD (Against FOSS)

    Black Duck rears its ugly head again, serving to show that it is in the business of changing perceptions and not in the information or analysis business



  15. Debunking Several Days of Never-Ending Lies About Microsoft and .NET

    .NET is not "Open Source", it cannot be forked (there remains patent threat), Visual Studio is still completely proprietary and it is expected to come to other platforms only because Windows has lost its dominance and Microsoft wants to perpetually control APIs (with software patents) and hence reign over developers



  16. Links 14/11/2014: LibreOffice 4.3.4, Ads Now in Firefox

    Links for the day



  17. Links 14/11/2014: GNOME 3.14.2, PulseAudio 6.0

    Links for the day



  18. Microsoft Windows is Still Designed as a Paradise of Back Doors, Intrusion, Wiretaps, and Interception

    At many levels -- from communication to storage and encryption -- Windows is designed for the very opposite of security



  19. Forget the FUD About Bash and OpenSSL, Microsoft Windows Blamed for Massive Credit Cards Heist

    Home Depot learns its lesson from a Microsoft Windows disaster, but it stays with proprietary software rather than move to software that is actively audited by many people and is inherently better maintained (Free/libre software)



  20. Windows 'Update' and NSA Back Doors, Including a 19-Year Bug Door in Microsoft Windows

    The back doors-enabled Microsoft Windows is being revealed and portrayed as the Swiss cheese that it really is after massive holes are discovered (mostly to be buried by a .NET propaganda blitz)



  21. Revealed: Microsoft is Trying to Corrupt the UK in Order to Eliminate Its OpenDocument Format-Oriented Standards Policy

    Microsoft interference with Britain's preference for ODF is now confirmed, thanks to a valuable news report from Computer Weekly; OOXML lock-in is being unleashed by Microsoft on Android users



  22. Links 13/11/2014: Ubuntu MATE 14.04.1 LTS, New KDE Plasma

    Links for the day



  23. .NET is NOT "Open Source", But Microsoft's Minions Shamelessly Openwash It Right Now

    The openwashing of .NET continues with yet another publicity stunt that is intended to lock in developers



  24. Links 11/11/2014: GNOME Trademark Dispute Settled, Mozilla Embraces Tor

    Links for the day



  25. Patent Reform Subversion After Republican (GOP) 'Win' in US Senate

    The Grand Corporations Party, or the political party which serves large businesses that are funding it, continues to just focus on a mirage of a 'reform' rather than tackle the real issues where culprits include very large businesses such as Microsoft and Apple



  26. Microsoft-Armed Patent Troll MOSAID (Now Conversant) Wants to Sweep up More Patents for Litigation

    Reports about patent trolls and scope of patents serve to show what the foes of Free software are up to right now



  27. When Courts in the US Attack the Right to Reuse APIs

    Challenging the clueless ruling from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in the United States (very pro-software patents and anti-computer science), notable programmers write to the highest court



  28. Links 10/11/2014: 2015 GNU/Linux Forecasts, Debian Shakeup

    Links for the day



  29. Links 7/11/2014: War Thunder on GNU/Linux, KaOS ISO 2014.11

    Links for the day



  30. Links 6/11/2014: Ubuntu Tablet Confirmed, Compiz 0.9.12 Released

    Links for the day


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts