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09.26.13

People Trust Mozilla, Show Confidence Regarding Security and Privacy

Posted in Security at 11:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mozilla in Europe
London Mozilla Workspace; photo by Mozilla in Europe

Summary: Mozilla keeps its Web browser (Firefox) secure from surveillance and “anyone who actively trusts Chrome is a good subject for psychological study,” says one commenter

EVER since Edward Snowden left his mark on the world’s news we have found out to what degree complicity (between corporations and the NSA) helped infringe people’s privacy. Nobody does it like Microsoft, the unbeatable champion of lies and corruption.

Several years ago Mozilla was losing its way. This drove me further away to Konqueror and Rekonq, which I still use. For similar reasons I also dumped Google Search. But Firefox changed technically and also changed its staff (e.g. not just getting rid of Microsoft folks but also hiring some privacy advocates). Nothing served as a better recruitment and advocacy tool for Firefox than the advertising ‘industry’ smearing Firefox and protesting blocking of ads, cookies, etc. It seemed like Mozilla was really fighting for us and taking the beatings from surveillance moguls. So earlier this year I returned to using Firefox.

Firefox version 24.0 is coming to Ubuntu GNU/Linux, which is said to be the first distribution to adopt it [1]. It has already been updated for security reasons [2] while versions 25 and 26 are being actively developed [3]. Given some of Mozilla’s policies in recent years, especially when it come to privacy, no wonder people trust Firefox far more than they trust Chrome [4]. Here is a good comment which is both factually correct and humourous:

I don’t trust Google as far as I could throw ‘em. As a company, it’s entirely uninterested in my security or privacy, especially if it can make money by selling my personal information.

Trusting any software completely is a bit foolish, but anyone who actively trusts Chrome is a good subject for psychological study.

Chromium too should not be trusted all that much, either. Just because it bears the “Open Source” label doesn’t mean it’s harmless. On Android devices, always install and use Firefox. It’s a solid browser for Android and it respects privacy by default.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Ubuntu Is the First Linux Distribution with Firefox 24

    Canonical has announced a few minutes ago, September 17, that they’ve updated the Mozilla Firefox packages to version 24.0, on all their supported Ubuntu operating systems, making Ubuntu the first Linux distribution with Firefox 24.

  2. Mozilla Updates Firefox 24 With 17 Security Advisories

    The latest open-source Firefox browser release adds new user features and patches critical security vulnerabilities.

  3. Mozilla Resets for Firefox 25 and 26

    The open-source browser effort is aimed at fixing flaws and improving security in upcoming releases of Firefox.

  4. Firefox burns Chrome in our trustworthy browser poll

    About a month ago I asked Naked Security readers Which web browser do you trust? Your answer was emphatic: it’s Firefox.

    [...]

    The poor showing of Internet Explorer is notable but perhaps not surprising given that it is often imposed on users as a matter of corporate policy.

    What stands out at me is the difference between the Mozilla and Google products. Both browsers are well established and well known open source projects, they both run on Windows, Mac and Linux and unlike Explorer or Safari neither come bundled with an operating system.

    Perhaps Chrome users are more cynical or more realistic about where they place their trust. Or perhaps people who choose Chrome are also people who don’t vote in internet polls.

    We don’t know but I suspect, as the comments on our poll seem to suggest, that the reason for Chrome’s poor showing is that Google’s claim to Do No Evil is simply no longer convincing.

File Sharing Can Never be Stopped, So a Wise Company Would Not Bother Trying

Posted in Courtroom at 10:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Obey

Summary: The latest news regarding copyright and a perpetual war on the act of passing zeroes and ones around

COPYRIGHT infringement is illegal and that is not the question at stake. What’s at stake is our ability to share data with our peers, family, and friends. If data sharing can be suppressed, then we are left dependent on a so-called “content industry” which sells us temporary access to its so-called “content”. We become so-called “consumers” who distrust our friends and only ever go to multinational corporations for our so-called “entertainment”. A few days ago we mentioned how copyright infringement gets used to shut down medium after medium to suppress dissemination of data, be it family videos or whatever else. It seems like people nowadays choose surveillance platforms like Facebook to share such stuff (with the NSA and also perhaps with some other people who registered with the same surveillance platform).

“Sometimes a flaw needs to be treated like a given, then worked around, like an alternative business model.”The argument here is not over copyright law or copyright infringement. It’s about how far the copyright monopoly/cartel should be allowed to go and subvert our laws using the magical “copyright infringement” wand. The monopoly/cartel is already disrupting search engines [1], indoctrinating our children at our expense (taxpayers fund schools) [2], and sending people to prison for many years [3] for merely managing a service that can be used legally or illegally (depending on its users). Fortunately, however, the monopoly/cartel is losing this war. It’s a game of whack-a-mole. When I discovered that DropBox was flirting with the NSA I deleted the account (although the NSA can probably access data retroactively, even after account deletion) and moved to Mega. I never upload anything which constitutes copyright infringement, but this is a matter of principles. Enough is enough.

Next month there is going to be an event here in Manchester, organised by the Pirate Party UK. In the UK, more than in most other nations, the monopoly/cartel has been very conveniently rewriting the law to reduce online sharing, kill Web anonymity, and generally keep a digital dossier on everyone. Clearly, however, when it comes to copyright infringement the monopoly/cartel has hardly been successful. The Internet’s userbase being eavesdropped on would not suffice; people can also copy files using storage devices (some laws try to tax these under the presumption of copyright infringement), so activity associated with sharing just evolves and goes underground. DRM is the plague infecting those who try the monopoly’s “official” channels, so in a sense it has the effect of driving many people away from these channels. Some companies might feel very angry about copyright infringement. They might feel like great injustice is happening, but that in its own right is no assurance that a remedy or a solution will ever be made available. Sometimes a flaw needs to be treated like a given, then worked around, like an alternative business model.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. How Google Algorithm Changes Hit Torrent Site Traffic

    During the past week the MPAA has been reiterating its complaints that Google doesn’t do enough to slow down Internet piracy. However, speaking with TorrentFreak the admin of one of the world’s largest torrent sites claims that the world’s largest search engine has made numerous tweaks to its algorithms over the past 18 months that have had quite an impact on search traffic.

  2. Downloading Is Mean! Content Industry Drafts Anti-Piracy Curriculum for Elementary Schools

    Listen up children: Cheating on your homework or cribbing notes from another student is bad, but not as bad as sharing a music track with a friend, or otherwise depriving the content-industry of its well-earned profits.

  3. BitTorrent Admins Face Six Years in Jail After Spanish Govt. Approves New Bill

    From previously being exceptionally lenient on those publishing links to copyrighted files without permission, Spain is now well on its way to cracking down on the problem. Amendments to the country’s penal code approved yesterday means that admins of sites offering links to copyrighted works without the owners’ permission could face jail sentences of up to six years. For individual file-sharers and those operating P2P software, the outlook is much better.

  4. Mega Relives Megaupload Fame, Overtakes RapidShare

    Just eight months after its launch Kim Dotcom’s Mega has established itself as one of the dominant players in the secure file-storage business. The site has now earned a spot among the top 1,000 most-visited websites on the Internet, overtaking its direct competitor RapidShare. Kim Dotcom says that Mega is already 50% of Megaupload in terms of the number of files stored, and that’s just the beginning.

  5. Opinion: Why we need to get together

    But it will all be worth it if you can get down to Manchester, take a look at what is happening, and let us know what you want to do next. There is lots to do and we need people to help us do it, the more people we have the faster we can achieve our aims. Our Party is doing more, more effectively, it is managing to have an impact in local elections and we punch above our weight on the national stage, whether it’s in the press, or in meetings with OFCOM, that isn’t going to stop. The leaks from Edward Snowden over the last months show that so many of the things we do and work on are vital.

Software Freedom and Accountability

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 8:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Justice

Summary: Justice can only be served if we are told the truth and for that we need a full trail leading back to the source

As software becomes more sophisticated, its methods of controlling users and giving control to developers (or their employers) become highly sophisticated as well. Restricting and observing users is important to those who wish to keep society in check (i.e. enslaved). What they want is obedient workers and consumers. Non-conformity — in their view at least — needs to be identified, caught, reprimanded or even punished for. Proprietary software is to Big Brother what fishing is to a fisherman. Proprietary software is the facilitator of social injustice through imposition. The proprietor is usually misusing code as an instrument of subjugation.

“Proprietary software is the facilitator or social injustice. The proprietor is usually misusing code as an instrument of subjugation.”Globalists have been using outsourcing as a tool for driving wages down. Minimum wages have fallen over time as in recent decades the minimal rates hardly caught up with inflation and some public services got withdrawn. Workers are trying to get a pay surge, leaping to $15 per hour in the United States [1], but they are up against executives who are essentially above the law [2] because they enjoy immunity from the police, at least here in the UK, a key part of the financial empire [3]. In this age of class war we are being distracted by politicians who use possibly false pretexts to ‘sell’ us war in Syria [4] and in Iran [5]. The state-run or corporate media, which is controlled by the globalists, helps demonise people who deal with social/domestic affairs and put on a pedestal those who take us to wars based on lies, killing foreigners for private profits [6,7]. Here in the UK we have lobbying by the rich to control our policy [8-10] and in the US too there are lobbies which serve plutocrats [11,12], including Bill Gates, who actively funds such lobbies until caught (at which point the cost of “doing business” with bribery is too great).

It is probably time to accept the fact that the biggest war in the world and the most concrete threat is class war. Many other wars are motivated by greed, are the side-effect if greed (like imperialism), or are manufactured to help distract from the real struggles.

Going back to software, if we want justice, then we are going to need transparency, which is necessary for accountability through truth. Free software is not enough through. Free access to data is also required and new developments in this area (e.g. [13,14]) are definitely noteworthy.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Wisconsin Workers “Fight For Fifteen”

    Wisconsin workers are joining the “Fight for Fifteen” — better wages for those at the bottom of the U.S. payscale. Three cities in Wisconsin were among 58 across the United States where thousands of low-wage fast-food workers walked off their jobs to demand a living wage, safe working conditions, and the right to unionize without being penalized. The coordinated actions on August 29 constituted the largest fast food strike in U.S. history.

  2. Neil Wallis: Why no 6am raids for city execs?

    So why not those City executives? Why not the crisply-shirted bosses from City finance firms, the rich celebrities, the expensively-dressed solicitors from world-famous law firms?

    What is the difference between me and other journalists arrested on conspiracy charges but never accused of actual phone-hacking, and these “respectable” businessmen from blue-chip firms?

    Ever since the Independent’s excellent young reporter Tom Harper revealed SOCA’s secret list of shame several months ago, I and many others have struggled for an answer.

  3. We Can Rule the World – Err, No We Can’t

    I worked in multilateral negotiations in both the UN and EU and found colleagues from countries like Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada to be professional competent and influential. The Scots certainly can be all of those. Small countries contribute to policy, to peacekeeping and to humanitarian effort.

  4. Anti-Assad Death Squads Responsible for Gas Attack

    Assad’s wrongfully blamed for Ghouta’s gas attack. Evidence shows insurgents bear full responsibility. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was clear and unequivocal, saying:

    “We have the most serious grounds to believe (Ghouta’s attack) was a provocation.” Assad had nothing to do with it.

    “There is no answer to a number of questions we have asked, such as where the weapon was made – at an official factory or using homemade methods,” Lavrov added.

  5. NBC’s News on Iran and Nukes Is Old News

    But an Iranian president saying Iran isn’t developing nuclear weapons isn’t new–though it might seem that way to a U.S. corporate media that constantly refers to Iran’s “nuclear weapons program” as if there were proof that such a thing exists.

  6. Unfortunate BBC moustache for Nigel Farage
  7. Gordon Brown

    I have a guilty political secret. I do not detest Gordon Brown. That is such an unfashionable opinion that I don’t really expect any comments at all to agree with it. And yes, I do realise that he went along with the Iraq War and all the other horrors of the Blair era. Interestingly, I don’t remember the question of what Gordon Brown really thought about Iraq ever being discussed; he deserves condemnation for having not tried to stop it, and perhaps he was indeed an enthusiast. And I am well aware that the Private Finance Initiative is a terrible disaster, and that he oversaw creeping privatisation in the health services, and – worst of all – the introduction of tuition fees.

  8. An Open Letter on the UK’s proposed Lobbying Bill

    ORG joins organisations working for greater government transparency and openness in the UK and around the world in an open letter to the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister about the UK’s proposed Lobbying Bill.

  9. This Lobbying Bill must not pass.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, we give you the “Transparency of Lobbying, Non-Party Campaigning and Trade Union Administration Bill” Specifically, Part 2 of the Bill, which covers non-political party campaigning.

  10. Part 2 of the Lobbying Bill should be withdrawn

    Part 2 of the Lobbying Bill is a significant change and proposes regulating a broad swathe of those most active in public debate. It poses a major threat to freedom of speech and public debate, and must be considered in the most delicate manner. It has already achieved unprecedented cross-party, non-partisan agreement in opposition to its current drafting.

  11. $500,000 Sweetheart Deal for Koch-Tied GOP Lobby Group Moves Forward

    A Republican-dominated committee voted Thursday to recommend a half-million-dollar grant for promoting hunting and fishing to a group with no record in outdoors training, but with plenty of lobbying experience and close ties to outgoing Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder. The group, United Sportsmen of Wisconsin, will spend most of the $500,000 in taxpayer dollars on salaries for Tea Party leaders who have long railed against government spending.

  12. Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas Files Brief in Opposition to ALEC’s Effort to Evade Open Records Law

    The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas has filed a brief with state Attorney General Greg Abbott in support of the Center for Media and Democracy’s request for records pertaining to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and further refuting ALEC’s effort to declare its communications immune from the state public records law.

  13. NC Datapalooza 2013: Why publicly available data is innovative

    If you live in the southeastern US (aka the Bible Belt) as I do, you’ve probably been to a church revival or two (or twenty). Revival is an event intended to light a fire under the ‘faithful,’ as opposed to the newcomer. As I sat at NC Datapalooza last week, I felt that I was in a revival, without the obvious religious overtones, of course. I was amazed at how far the Raleigh area has come in terms of understanding and accepting open data principles.

  14. Response to Royal Mail PAF licensing consultation

    The Royal Mail has asked about new licensing approach for the ‘PAF’, or Postcode Address File. We have responded by calling for the PAF to be published as open data under an open license.

GNOME Desktop Approaches 3.10 and Finds Wider Acceptance

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux at 6:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Karen SandlerSummary: GNOME, the popular GNU/Linux suite of applications, is back in the groove

GNOME, as a desktop environment, suffered some backlash when the third branch came out. It’s similar to KDE when its fourth branch came out. But things appear to be changing for the better in GNOME [1] and a new release is fast approaching [2-6] under the leadership of Karen Sandler [7] who is a strong advocate of software freedom. GNOME Music is being introduced [8] and GNOME applications generally reach out to more environments like MATE and XFCE [9], not just KDE (through QtCurve and other bridges). Other GNOME projects [10,11] show signs of life in this age when we can easily forget GNOME or simply take it for granted, just like KDE.

Several years ago we criticised GNOME for its stance on Mono. After Miguel de Icaza had stepped down things gradually improved and GTK-based Mono-dependent applications mostly died (no longer maintained). Techrights has no opposition to GNOME or the GNOME Foundation.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Gnome 3 Love

    Anyway, Gnome 3 shell is everyone’s favorite punching bag. For us old-timers, it certainly is unusual in its approach to work flow. But, I tried to adapt to vanilla Gnome Shell. I really did. I don’t want to live in the past.

    Nope. Still don’t love the vanilla Gnome 3 experience.

  2. CSDs came to stay in GNOME 3.10!

    Today I installed Fedora 20 (from Nightly Build) that comes with GNOME 3.10 Beta and it (Fedora) feels amazingly stable (except the really buggy installer) for a pre-alpha release.

  3. GNOME Shell 3.10 Is Ready To Shine On Wayland

    GNOME Shell 3.9.92 was released this morning as the GNOME Shell 3.10 release candidate. With this latest release of the core GNOME 3 user-interface, the Wayland branch has been merged!

  4. What Should You Expect from GNOME 3.10

    GNOME 3.10 should be released this month, on September 25, and every Linux users who uses it expects the unexpected, so we thought it would be a very good idea to preview some of its upcoming features.

  5. GNOME Shell 3.10 RC Getting Ready for Full Wayland Support
  6. Gnome upcoming features

    Gnome 3.10 is just about a week away and the upcoming features list of version 3.12 is already forming. What are the new features that will empower and extend Gnome’s usability on the “good ten” that’s coming, and what kind of new features are seeing complete fruition on the next version?

  7. Interview: Karen Sandler (part 1)

    In Linux Format issue 176, Graham Morrison and Andrew Gregory spoke to Karen Sandler, executive director of the Gnome Foundation. We were so absorbed by what she had to say that we almost missed the free lunch in the canteen. Of the many subjects that the conversation touched upon (we’ll be putting the full interview up on TuxRadar soon), the most time-sensitive is the Gnome Outreach Programme For Women. This does pretty much what it says on the tin: it’s an initiative aimed at getting more women into free software, not just Gnome.

  8. GNOME Music
  9. GNOME Software on MATE and XFCE

    Long version: In the software application we have the problem where applications have the same name and summary, but are targeted against different desktops. We know when an app targets a specific desktop from the AppStream metadata (which currently uses a heuristic from the .desktop file) so we could filter these out client side. At the moment searching for notes gives you two similarly looking results results provided by two different applications: bijiben (GNOME) and xfce4-notes (XFCE). Also, because of the shared history, a lot of the MATE applications have the same name as the GNOME ones. This makes bad UI.

  10. GNOME Break Timer: Week 13

    I’m nearing the end of a very busy few weeks, and getting very close to that soft pencils down date! With school starting up again this hasn’t been my most productive week on the GNOME Break Timer front, but I’m pretty happy with what’s been done.

  11. AppData validation tool

    A upstream maintainers have contacted me about some kind of validation tool for AppData files. I’ve spent a couple of days creating and then packaging appdata-tools which includes the appdata-validate command. This returns non-zero if there are any syntax or style issues with the AppData file.

Microsoft Moles in HP, the Bill Hilf Edition

Posted in HP, Microsoft at 5:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Working for the b0rg more effectively through another company

Bill Hilf

Summary: Bill Hilf is joining several other Microsoft executives who now occupy key positions inside HP; the ugly details behind Elop’s entryism begin to lay bear

HP, a massive company in the desktops and servers sectors (and back doors facilitator [1, 2]), has already had some Microsoft executives occupy key positions in recent years (Ozzie is a recent example). Remember this when HP is rationalising FOSS-hostile decisions inside the company. HP recently collaborated in Microsoft’s anti-GNU/Linux FUD [1, 2] and based on this reported it hired Microsoft’s anti-Linux and pro-patents, fear-mongering bully Bill Hilf [1, 2]. The conflict of interest is clear because this man pushed hard for Windows on servers and patent tax on GNU/Linux servers. Several years ago he was probably the most hated guy (alongside Ballmer) to have come from Microsoft, as viewed by the GNU/Linux community.

We really ought to learn from experience the threat of Microsoft moles and entryism.

“San Francisco investment firm takes more active role as CEO Steve Ballmer plans retirement,” says this report. But as one of our readers put it, “who is behind ValueAct Capital?” Gates-funded sites (with Microsoft spyware on page) say “Microsoft averts proxy battle” and Microsoft friends like Dina Bass call ValueAct an “activist”. The timing was interesting: “Redmond announced the “cooperation agreement” in the late hours of Friday afternoon in San Francisco before the Labor Day three day weekend, which is an ideal time to bury news.”

Let’s also recall the case of Nokia, where Elop’s involvement now starts to smell like fraud.

Nokia Admits Giving Misleading Information About Elop’s Compensation

Nokia’s board of directors seems caught in a tragicomedy of epic proportions. The latest twist is Finland’s largest newspaper claiming that Nokia made a false statement about CEO’s bonus package last Friday. Pressed by Finnish and international media last week, chairman Siilasmaa had claimed then that the bonus structure of Stephen Elop’s contract in 2010 was “essentially the same” as the one the previous CEO had received. But the largest daily of the country, “Helsingin Sanomat”, decided to dig into SEC filings to investigate the matter. By early Tuesday morning, the newspaper had uncovered evidence that Nokia’s board had made fundamental changes in Elop’s contract compared to his predecessors.

Check out this other article about Elop, who wants to be compensated having totally destroyed Nokia. To quote an English version: “According to the early Wednesday morning edition of Finland’s biggest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Nokia has pleaded with former CEO Stephen Elop to accept a smaller bonus in order to silence the roar of disapproval and protest now roiling Finland. Drama in Nokia’s home country escalated on Tuesday as it was revealed that Risto Siilasmaa, Nokiia’s chairman of the board, had misrepresented facts last weeks when he claimed that Elop’s bonus arrangements were similar to those of previous chief executives. Nokia was forced to admit on Tuesday morning that Elop had in fact received a contract that seemed to have been designed to guarantee a quick $25 million pay-off if Elop was able to sell the handset unit. According to Helsingin Sanomat, Nokia is now scrambling to contain the public relations damage the ongoing drama is causing. Asking Elop to accept a smaller bonus might silence some of the critics — on Tuesday, the head of Finland’s Equity Investor Association called Siilasmaa’s mistaken claims about Elop’s bonus package “unforgivable.””

Elop should be sued for more than $25 million. He pretended to serve Nokia, but in reality he was a Microsoft investor, whose house remains near Microsoft and whose only goal is to feed Nokia to Microsoft and feed patent trolls who pose a threat to Android/Linux. There should be prosecution here, not compensation. If anyone deserves compensation here, it’s Nokia’s shareholders. Elop should personally compensate them. He was Ballmer’s henchman.

Another Financial ‘Collapse’ is Coming, We Need to Facilitate Banking Whistleblowers

Posted in Finance at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Will you help this man?

Rudolf Elmer

Summary: Why the world needs more conscientious people who speak out against banks and show where fraud is used to facilitate pillaging and plundering by plutocrats who ‘crash’ the economy (privatise/confiscate whatever is still public)

SEVERAL years ago Rudolf Elmer (shown above) gave Wikileaks material which showed serious crimes of banks. In a sense, Wikileaks’ technical skills helped combat corruption. This is where geeks can really help fix the world.

For those who don’t pay much attention to financial news (by “news” we don’t mean channels bankrolled — indirectly — by the financial sector), there’s indication that the plutocrats will crash the economy again in their never-ending pursuit of total ownership of everything, even what was publicly-owned (nationalised). To give some examples from this month’s news, Detroit is being stolen [1] by the rich and powerful (privatisation) and here in Britain the 500-year-old mail service is now being considered for privatisation [2]. China, which sells debt to much of the West, is buying sizeable chunks of Ukraine [3], which is ironic and sad because in the land of tragic famine they now help prevent Chinese famine (as if the problem can be addressed by feeding another nation).

“Pessimists say that there is no way to fight all this corruption and pillaging will always prevail.”The rich and powerful are doing extremely well [4,5] (no financial crisis) and the rest of us sink to oblivion [6]. Plutocrats share the religion of greed [7], which they have private meetings about [8] as well as propaganda campaigns [9]. The corporate media is using propaganda right at this very moment in order to usher in a man responsible for the previous financial ‘collapse’ (Larry Summers) into the Fed [10-15]. Higher education is being relegated again to a luxury of rich kids [16] (perpetuating poverty cycles) and Forbes, perhaps the worst offender when it comes to glorification of greed, allegedly “Calls Goldman CEO Holier Than Mother Teresa” [17].

Pessimists say that there is no way to fight all this corruption and pillaging will always prevail. They say that even Occupy protests failed. The truth of the matter is, what we need are the facts; we need to expose the perpetrators and make them step out in shame. For this, we need technical edge and we need to facilitate whistleblowers. They do exist even if at present they are some sort of conscientious objectors who are potential whistleblowers (afraid to ruin future careers). If tools are created and deployed to facilitate secure and private passage of data (the NSA would loathe such a thing with deep conviction and passion), then we will win the information war and leave no crooked executive unaccountable.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Forced Bankruptcy and Privatization of the City of Detroit: Law Suit in Federal Court

    This extraordinary hearing had provided only a small window of time for legal action. Many of the people that testified were retirees, city workers, community organizers and professionals who met the deadline set by the Judge Steven Rhodes to submit their objections.

  2. Britain to float Royal Mail within weeks

    Britain embarked on its largest privatization in decades on Thursday as the government unveiled plans to sell the majority of the near 500-year-old state-owned Royal Mail postal service.

  3. China just bought 5% of Ukraine

    China has inked a deal to farm three million hectares (paywall), or about 11, 583 square miles of Ukrainian land over the span of half a century—which means the eastern European country will give up about 5% of its total land, or 9% of its arable farmland to feed China’s burgeoning population.

  4. Rich Man’s Recovery

    A few days ago, The Times published a report on a society that is being undermined by extreme inequality. This society claims to reward the best and brightest regardless of family background. In practice, however, the children of the wealthy benefit from opportunities and connections unavailable to children of the middle and working classes. And it was clear from the article that the gap between the society’s meritocratic ideology and its increasingly oligarchic reality is having a deeply demoralizing effect.

  5. Executive Excess 2013: Bailed out, Booted, and Busted

    Nearly 40 percent of the CEOs on the highest-paid lists from the past 20 years were eventually “bailed out, booted, or busted.”

  6. Organized labor’s decline in the US is well-known. But what drove it?
  7. Don’t Celebrate Yet

    There is no obvious reason why the Western powers should care whether it was the friends or the family of Mohammed which took over the leadership of his movement upon his death. However there is plainly an agenda led by the USA to support the Sunnis in their spiralling regional conflict with the Shia.

    This is not hard to rationalise. The ultra wealthy members of the Gulf regimes continue to act as the West’s proxies in the region and provide harbour to its neo-imperialist armed forces, while at the same time maintaining themselves a obscurantist version of Islam which would have horrified Mohammed and breaks virtually every precept of the Koran, particularly as regards treatment of women and of minority religions within their territory.

  8. Fears of Changing Global Economy Underscore G20 Summit
  9. Bill Black: Not with a Bang but a Whimper – the SEC Enforcement Team’s Propaganda Campaign

    The New York Times has one of those “inside” stories that unintentionally demonstrate the collapse of justice and financial reporting. This genre involves the media reporting gravely (and uncritically) the administration’s claims that its failure to prosecute any elite for the largest and most destructive financial frauds in history actually demonstrates the exceptional ethical rectitude of the non-prosecutors and non-enforcers. Journalists, unlike alchemists, can transmute dross into gold. In the NYT’s account a pathetic failure of competence, integrity, and courage at the SEC is reimagined as a fantastic triumph of vigor and ethics on the part of the SEC enforcement attorney who refused to seek to hold Lehman’s senior officers accountable for their violations but otherwise became the scourge of elite frauds. In the end, he is promoted for his dedication to “justice” and is now the anti-enforcement leader of the SEC’s enforcement group.

  10. The media’s disgraceful acquiescence to Larry Summers’ White House boosters

    Summers’ record should bar him from the Fed chair. Why is the press letting anonymous administration officials promote him?

  11. Larry Summers and Financial Crises: Is He Being Graded on Attendance?

    In short, if we look at Larry Summers track record in dealing with crises it is pretty abysmal. But on attendance, he gets an “A.”

  12. Joseph Stiglitz: Why Janet Yellen, Not Larry Summers, Should Lead the Fed
  13. The Confidential Memo at the Heart of the Global Financial Crisis

    The Treasury official playing the bankers’ secret End Game was Larry Summers. Today, Summers is Barack Obama’s leading choice for Chairman of the US Federal Reserve, the world’s central bank. If the confidential memo is authentic, then Summers shouldn’t be serving on the Fed, he should be serving hard time in some dungeon reserved for the criminally insane of the finance world.

    The memo is authentic.

  14. Failing Up to the Fed, A Reporters’ Guide to the Paper Trail Surrounding Larry Summers

    The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein reports that Larry Summers is the “overwhelming favorite” of the Obama team for the job as Federal Reserve chairman. To convince the American public that one of the chief architects of the 2008 financial crisis should be the chief regulator of the U.S. financial system, supporters of Summers have their work cut out for them.

  15. FIVE YEARS AFTER LEHMAN’S: DID WE LEARN ANYTHING?

    Or, at least, not much. While it would be nice to believe that Larry Summers had to withdraw from the race to take over the Fed because of his substantial role in creating the global financial collapse, I think it had more to do with his outsized personality. Before you start celebrating his defeat remember that Goldman Sachs still must approve any choice and President Obama may yet choose one of its anointed candidates over Janet Yellin.

  16. The student loan bubble is starting to burst

    The largest bank in the United States will stop making student loans in a few weeks.

    JPMorgan Chase has sent a memorandum to colleges notifying them that the bank will stop making new student loans in October, according to Reuters.

  17. Forbes Calls Goldman CEO Holier Than Mother Teresa

    I got a lot of letters from folks this week about an online column for Forbes written by a self-proclaimed Ayn Rand devotee named Harry Binswanger (if that’s a nom de plume, it’s not bad, although I might have gone for “Harry Kingbanger” or “Harry Wandwanker”). The piece had the entertainingly provocative title, “Give Back? Yes, It’s Time for the 99% to Give Back to the 1%” and contained a number of innovatively slavish proposals to aid the beleaguered and misunderstood rich, including a not-kidding-at-all plan to exempt anyone who makes over a million dollars from income taxes.

Former Novell Staff Still Pushing the Linux Foundation Into Restricted Boot Territory, Ignoring the Real Threat (Back Doors)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Novell, Security at 3:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Greg Kroah-Hartman
Photo by Sebastian Oliva

Summary: Back doors in code, embedded in blobs, and even shoehorned into encryption is the overlooked security threat, which gets pushed aside in favour of phantom threats which Microsoft ‘sells’ through former Novell staff (i.e. funded by Microsoft)

A MONTH or two ago we mostly ignored exaggerated (sexed-up) reports about something called “Hand of Thief”. When there’s a Windows security threat the press does not call out Windows, but when it relates to GNU/Linux then tabloids like ZDNet scream from the rooftops. This thing called “Hand of Thief” is basically a malicious program which GNU/Linux users need to install themselves in order for it to do malicious things. It is not a virus, it does not spread, and it hardly even uses social engineering to get itself installed. We cited some reports which stress these facts and now comes a belated one too [1]. LynuxWorks is now offering some “Linux rootkit detector” [2] as if rootkits on GNU/Linux are a common issue. In a sense, since the Linux Foundation seems to insist on helping UEFI restricted boot, we are led to the belief that bootkits are a common threat to Linux. As the Linux Foundation’s site put it, as in the words of the employee it acquired from Novell:

Now that The Linux Foundation is a member of the UEFI.org group, I’ve been working on the procedures for how to boot a self-signed Linux kernel on a platform so that you do not have to rely on any external signing authority.

Greg K-H has been working on all sorts of other kernel-level projects that help Microsoft. He did this while being paid by Novell, which was in turn being given money by Microsoft. That’s the power of money. Other former Novell employees also helped promote UEFI restricted boot, as we showed before. Rogue influence by Novell in the Linux Foundation is a subject we have written about for half a decade, showing numerous examples.

The bigger security issue right now might be back doors, which might also exist in Linux, even in encryption form [3] (giving away passwords over the network for example), so hard-to-crack passwords [4] might not be enough. Microsoft’s and Sony’s network compromises sure reveal the massive financial effects of system intrusions, so this subject should not be taken lightly.

UEFI restricted boot is actually a security threat, not a security solution, especially when a signature is provided and managed by some rogue company in the United States — one which has been secretly in bed with the NSA. With UEFI restricted boot, hardware can be bricked remotely. In a way, UEFI restricted boot deserves the name “unsecure boot”. In some devices it can block the user from accessing his/her own computer. Nobody should promote such treacherous computing.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Hand of Thief, Not

    Linux’s biggest vulnerability is the software that users install with full “superuser” privileges. If you just install applications from your distro’s official repository, that’s not a problem. But if you download software from dubious web sites, or if you add a mysterious repository to your package manager, you’re opening yourself up for an infection. Always, always make sure you know what software you are installing, why you are installing it, and where it’s from.

  2. Linux rootkit detector adds hardware punch to security scanning

    LynuxWorks is stepping up the battle with the release of the first hardware-based rootkit detection system powered by the LynxSecure separation kernel. Called the RDS5201, it combats and detects stealthy advanced persistent threats. Built on the LynxSecure 5.2 separation kernel and hypervisor, this small form factor appliance has been designed to offer a unique detection capability that complements traditional security mechanisms as they try to protect against the growing number and complexity of cyber threats.

  3. RSA warns developers not to use RSA products

    In today’s news of the weird, RSA (a division of EMC) has recommended that developers desist from using the (allegedly) ‘backdoored’ Dual_EC_DRBG random number generator — which happens to be the default in RSA’s BSafe cryptographic toolkit. Youch.

  4. How-to make hard-to-crack passwords you can easily remember
  5. Australian who boasted of hacking to plead not guilty to charges stemming from raid

    Dylan Wheeler, who claimed in February to have breached Microsoft’s and Sony’s networks, has not been charged with hacking

Coming Soon: Richard Stallman Interview for 30th GNU Anniversary

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 2:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The GNU operating system does not depend on Linux

HURD Live CD

Summary: A glance at the GNU project, whose important anniversary is coming at the end of this month

GNU is turning 30 this week. It is nearly as old as yours truly and it is a source of inspiration to many, including the founder of the World Wide Web.

GNU’s anniversary is mostly mentioned by FSF/GNU-related sites [1-5] because the corporate press chooses to ignore it, for reasons that are the subject worth dealing with another day. Stallman is going to give many talks very shortly and events are being organised [6-11]. Be sure to check if an event is being organised near you. As new updates from the GNU project show us (e.g. [12-18]), GNU is very much alive and we oughtn’t confuse that with Linux, which is a smaller part of the GNU/Linux operating system (many people erroneously refer to it just as “Linux”).

“Stallman is going to give many talks very shortly and events are being organised.”We should soon publish an interview regarding the anniversary of GNU and then resume video interviews with Stallman.

Those who ignore or dismiss the importance of the GNU project don’t seem to care about what’s true and important; instead they promote their own agenda, which sometimes gets motivated by corporate interests (the corporate press deserves much of the blame). This is why Linux has been so highly regarded (and groomed) over the past decade or two, essentially overriding and taking a lot of credit away from GNU. To use an analogy, imagine a laptop being referred to as “Wi-Fi”.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. GNU system, free software celebrate 30 years

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced plans to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the GNU operating system. The celebratory activities will include a 30th anniversary hackathon at MIT in Cambridge, MA, satellite events around the world, and ways for people to celebrate online.

  2. GNU

    30 years. Think of it. 3 decades. A whole generation of programmers and users have benefitted from what started as an annoying printer and became a movement to keep software, developers and users free of stupid, boring, expensive, complicated and irrelevant restrictions on how software can be obtained and used.

  3. Software Freedom Is Spreading
  4. Celebrate GNU’s big “three-o”
  5. GNU 30
  6. Let’s have dinner at the GNU 30th!

    The FSF has made some reservations at local restaurants for the GNU 30th in Cambridge on Saturday September 28th. If you’re in the area please sign up and come have Indian food with me and other GNOME folks. Sign up soon so I can get excited about seeing you.

  7. “Digital technology: free (libero) or subjugating (soggiogante)”

    This speech by Richard Stallman will be nontechnical, admission is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

  8. Richard Stallman to speak in San Francisco
  9. 30th anniversary celebration: GNU get-together/workshop on Saturday September 21 in Paris, France
  10. Richard Stallman to speak at GNU Project 30th anniversary celebration
  11. Richard Stallman to speak at Paris’s GNU 30th anniversary celebration
  12. Proposed Antisipate UI Visual Introduction

    Antisipate, our first GNU Free Call client, is not like most other sip user agents.

  13. GNU Aris 2.1.1 Released

    GNU Aris is a logical proof program.

  14. GNU’s Framework for Secure Peer-to-Peer Networking: New Developer Documentation for HOSTLIST
  15. FreeIPMI 1.3.2 Released
  16. GnuCash 2.5.5 (Unstable) released

    The GnuCash development team proudly announces GnuCash 2.5.5, the sixth release in the 2.5.x series of the GnuCash Free Accounting Software which will eventually lead to the stable version 2.6.0. It runs on GNU/Linux, *BSD, Solaris and Mac OSX.

  17. GNU Alive 2.0.2 available
  18. How to participate in GNU Telephony Development

    Sometimes people ask how they can participate in the development of our packages, such as sipwitch and antisipate. We have worked on making it very easy for people to participate directly on our code. One of the special things we have done is create a git repo that checks out and builds all our packages together in a single source tree.

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