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

10.22.13

Free Software Helps Privacy, Which Helps Whistleblowers, Who in Turn Help Battle Financial Fraud

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software at 11:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hervé Falciani
Photo from The International Herald Tribune

Summary: In the age of imminent national bankruptcies and whistleblowers like Hervé Falciani (naming those who robbed these nations) we need better cryptology, which necessitates Free/libre software

SEVERAL weeks ago we explained the correlation between Free/libre software and justice, stressing that financial crimes will inevitably be hampered by transparency, or the forced transparency that comes about through real reporters with valuable, protected sources. We need to help people like Rudolf Elmer, who witness and report illegal activities that cost society trillions of dollars. Those who don’t agree that helping Elmer is a good thing probably have other issues, or maybe they just don’t understand how serious the financial issues really are. Wealth is being transfered to billionaires by creating greater national debt that emburdens the middle and low classes for generations to come (austerity).

“Wealth is being transfered to billionaires by creating greater national debt that emburdens the middle and low classes for generations to come (austerity).”According to The Economist, another kind of ‘Elmer’ is out there now [1] (an Italian one, not the Greek one) and Greenspan, one of the engineers of the aforementioned transfer of wealth, tells the BBC [2] that he foresees the possibility of the US defaulting after the plutocrats robbed the nation (with his help). No wonder that, according to the Russian press, people are starting to get seriously fed up with capitalism [3]. All they see is what Greenspan calls “crony capitalism”; he says that the US is starting to join the ranks of nations like China and Russia (which barely have any debt) when it comes to “crony capitalism”, perhaps distancing himself from the reality that he himself helped usher in “crony capitalism”. Economists are more like clergymen than artists; they’re definitely not scientists and their creed assumes the world is an infinite object with infinite resources. Bailout is like rapture to these people; oh, and they don’t care about people, either. In business schools they are trained to have little value for people, which makes them sociopaths, lacking empathy (good for business).

The bottom line is, the world enters a phase of serious turmoil due to class warfare and colossal theft. If we don’t manage to expose those who perpetrate these crimes (theft) by releasing authentic information, then we, the 99.[9]*%, will lose this battle — a long and excruciating battle for justice. Software audits (with build process that requires source code to be free) and cryptology are prerequisites in the fight for a real, functioning democracy, not a corporocracy ruled by plutocracy and opportunistic wolves who call themselves politicians.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The fall-out from Falciani
  2. Greenspan fears US government set for more debt stalemate

    Former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has said that a repeat of the crisis that brought the country close to default is “perfectly conceivable”.

  3. About 60 percent of Russians see communism as good system – poll

Open Forum Europe Publishes New Report That Highlights Degree of Microsoft Corruption in Governments

Posted in Europe, Microsoft at 10:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Governments Cannot Say That They Require Microsoft

Open Forum Europe

Summary: A look at the degree of distortion in tenders (if any exist) when software for government is procured as part of multi-bllion-dollar (grossly overpriced) deals behind taxpayers’ backs

Carlo Piana, the excellent lawyer who represented Samba and hates software patents, makes this important observation, confirming what many of us already knew or at least suspected based on plenty of evidence and even court cases. As Will Hill put it:

Carlo Piana says EU procurement favors Microsoft, OFE report on public procurement: practice of naming companies/products persists. Guess who’s most named?

https://plus.google.com/u/0/115445134403759043734/posts/1c4UDDePJ4b

This is government they are talking about using your tax money to force you to use non free software. The report has 17% of tender notices containing brand names and trademarks instead of real specifications. Practices vary by country but Microsoft get’s the lions share of the corruption, mentioned in more than half of notices that use trademarks. The study admits to under reporting and the impact of this goes far beyond 17% by network effect. When the government only accepts Microsoft junk, it forces regulated industry to use the same. This kind of subversion is how Microsoft became a monopoly. It’s good to see the proportion of tainted tenders is down slightly, but sane government would only use free software in the first place.

http://www.openforumeurope.org/openprocurement/openprocurement/open-procurement-library/Report_2013_1stSnapshot%20final3.pdf

This is corruption. It is corruption because there is no equal opportunity, just the blind handover of taxpayers’ money (or money derived from the public through national debt) to corrupt, ultra-wealthy executives at Microsoft, which we know uses bribery to get governments to sign deals. It’s not just about fair competition anymore; a lot of the time it’s about holding criminals accountable (on both sides, the giving and the receiving). We previously covered a lot more evidence and stories which are relevant to this. Open Forum Europe (OFE) adds fuel to the fire, which isn’t just smoke anymore.

Windows Vista 8.1, or Windows ‘Brick Edition’, Shows That UEFI is Malicious, Opposite of ‘Secure’

Posted in Microsoft, Security at 10:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brick pile

Photo by Thegreenj

Summary: Microsoft’s business hits the bricks as the launch of Vista 8.1 meets the ugly side of UEFI ‘secure’ boot

Microsoft’s UEFI ‘secure’ boot is not legal in some parts of Europe, especially in government. UEFI gives too much control to several dubious parties in the United States and they can even brick hardware remotely in some cases, essentially making it impossible to boot with anything (including GNU/Linux) by merely transmitting some packets down the wire (or wirelessly). The criminal NSA must be licking its lips. And if Stalin was still alive, then UEFI would be “Stalin’s dream,” to borrow a phrase from Richard Stallman. Nobody should be apathetic — let alone sympathetic — towards the lie and the trap which is deceivingly labeled “secure boot”. When a researcher from New Zealand, Peter Gutmann, published those PDFs about DRM in Windows Vista the world was rather shocked, but for some reason we hardly see much antagonism out there towards UEFI ‘secure’ boot. Maybe it was better marketed and maybe it wasn’t so well understood by the masses (DRM had gained notoriety among almost everyone who watch films and listen to music).

With all that said, let’s explore the news and see how Vista 8.1 (rebranded and newly-marketed Vista 8) is doing when we don’t look at advertisements masquearading as reports (from Microsoft’s badgeless and shameless boosters like Peter Bright at Ars Technica). Well, “Microsoft yanks Windows RT 8.1 update after users report machine-bricking boot errors,” according to one headline. Microsoft confirms this and Microsoft boosting sites are doing some damage control. Even IDG, which receives a lot of money from Microsoft and advertises Vista 8.1 quite a lot at the moment, covered this embarrassment. “We’re at day six in the ongoing Windows/RT 8.1 upgrade debacle, and many of the problems aren’t going away,” IDG says.

Enjoy UEFI with ‘secure’ boot, Microsoft.

Privacy Focus Increased, New Site Design

Posted in Site News at 9:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Improved structural breakdown following a long-awaited overhaul

Westminster

Yours truly in London just 1.5 weeks ago

Summary: Techrights eschews surveillance and embraces Drupal for better site structure

TODAY is the first day that Techrights is officially powered by Drupal (see this preview of the new site, which is still work in progress). For those who are not familiar with Drupal, it is a great CMS that’s licensed under the GPL. It claims to power over 1% of the Web’s active sites. I actually wish to improve my Drupal skills because of some clients in government (London) that use Drupal. But that’s not the main reason for moving to Drupal. iophk, who is a valuable source of links and information to us, suggested that we organise the material we have amassed more effectively (the full story can be learned from IRC logs, which are to be published in the weekend). Taxonomy is better facilitated in a proper CMS that’s not a blogging platform masquerading as a CMS (WordPress). This was also an opportunity to do overhaul and modernisation, all while leaving the older systems in tact (they can co-exist, running in tandem).

“Running a Web site is not free (gratis), even if it’s a hobby.”As the new site hopefully makes apparent, we shall emphasise privacy more and more in years to come. Earlier today I improved privacy in this site, going a little further (but short of forcing HTTPS). The server already shreds server logs after a few weeks (logrotate moves them out of disk for good, ever since the site was set up) and earlier today I ended up deleting a lot of CMS-associated fields which involuntarily collected IP addresses in the MySQL databases (I hadn’t noticed this before). Varnish is now assuring that IP addresses are not visible to the CMS side, only to itself (Varnish is a Free/libre caching proxy).

Our site launch coincides with the sad news that one of my favourite sites (Tuxmachines.org), a Drupal-powered site, is putting itself up for sale, which probably means lack of motivation to run it anymore. I recently donated to that site, hoping to motivate Susan, its creator/founder/administrator/author, at least a little bit. Put in the words of the mother of Tuxmachines.org:

I’ve decided to try and see if anyone might be interested in buying and doing something with my domain and site. So, today, I’m posting this ad here: tuxmachines.org for sale.

I’m just getting too old and tired to keep the site up with way it and its loyal visitors deserve. It may get better next spring, but this fall I’ll end up losing all my visitors I’m afraid.

Running a Web site is not free (gratis), even if it’s a hobby. There’s no free lunch. Hosting on another network such as Google bears hidden costs. No site — not even a charity — is exempted from running/operating costs. There are actual fees which are obligatory, putting aside cost of ‘labour’, even if it’s a labour of love.

If you can afford to support Techrights to keep it strong and to support its goals, don’t hesitate to make a contribution. It doesn’t have to be financial; it can be promotion of the site, guest articles, etc.

Our sponsor for hosting of Techrights and the party people can rely on for privacy and security is CoPilotCo, which is fantastic and responds to any query — no more how hard — at any time of the day. For all your hosting needs (not just web servers) consider CoPilotCo. It is managed and run by a Free software enthusiast with a lot of experience and credentials.

Great Britain Great at Surveillance and Great at Crushing Journalism

Posted in Courtroom at 8:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CBC journalists in Montreal

Summary: People who commit the act of journalism and inform the public (bringing new information to light) are being hunted down by the British government

IT IS very disappointing to see this new letter [PDF] which suggests that the UK’s war on journalism is getting worse and worse [1, 2]. As a British resident who runs a Web site which challenges surveillance, I can’t say I’m pleased to see this. For a nation that prides itself in the freedom of the press, this is beyond bad; it’s horrible and it resembles what we are accustomed to seeing in nations like China or Russia, and increasingly the United States too.

“They want all the privacy in the world for themselves and none for the rest of us.”There are many important things to be learned from the NSA leaks [1], which reveal criminal activities and even espionage [2]. How can the showing of crime (for scrutiny) itself be a crime? The US should consider disbanding the NSA, DHS, etc. [3] after all those scandals, which so-called ‘democratic’ politicians choose to defend under the false premise of “against terror” [4,5].

New reports help reveal that proprietary software is part of the problem [6] and that Tor, which is Free software, is really loathed by spies. No wonder liberal/freedom-leaning journalism too is despised so much by spies. They want all the privacy in the world for themselves and none for the rest of us. It should be noted that without Tor, these NSA leaks from Edward Snowden probably wouldn’t have happened. The war on privacy, as Richard Stallman stresses, is crushing journalism and defends injustice. For those whose journalistic work is actually about justice and is basically real journalism (not funded by corporations — directly or through the state — to serve an agenda) this is troubling news. Reportrrs in the West, including in the UK, is being given the chilling effect. In fact, there is a parallel strong effort to label anything which is real journalism not journalism and whatever distracts the public from real issues “professional” journalism (meaning that someone pays a salary in return for something).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The top 5 things we’ve learned about the NSA thanks to Edward Snowden

    What we’ve learned:

    American telcos are compelled to routinely hand over metadata to the government
    Digital surveillance programs capture vast amounts of data: PRISM and XKeyscore
    US companies have done little to resist government pressure
    NSA’s sister organization, GCHQ, does what the NSA can’t
    NSA analysts even used capabilities to spy on their exes

  2. Fresh Leak on US Spying: NSA Accessed Mexican President’s Email

    The NSA has been systematically eavesdropping on the Mexican government for years. It hacked into the president’s public email account and gained deep insight into policymaking and the political system. The news is likely to hurt ties between the US and Mexico.

  3. Instead Of Nominating New DHS Boss, Obama Should Look At Disbanding DHS

    As you may have heard, last week President Obama nominated Jeh Johnson, the former General Counsel of the Defense Department, to be the new head of the Department of Homeland Security. While he’s certainly better than some other proposed candidates, he’s not exactly known as a supporter for civil liberties. He’s been a point person defending the use of drone-strikes, even on US citizens. He also has defended the collection of metadata by the NSA. Oh, and in his remarks after President Obama announced the nomination, he talked all about 9/11 and how he’s spent his time since then trying to act in response to that.

  4. Feinstein defends NSA data collection and insists program is ‘not surveillance’
  5. In Wall Street Journal, Senator Dianne Feinstein Insidiously Defends NSA Surveillance
  6. How Apple’s Address Book app could allow the NSA to harvest your contacts

    When syncing your Address Book to Gmail, HTTPS encryption isn’t an option.

  7. ‘Tor Stinks’ presentation – read the full document

    Top-secret presentation says ‘We will never be able to de-anonymize all Tor users all the time’ but ‘with manual analysis we can de-anonymize a very small fraction of Tor users’

The History of Nokia — Like Yahoo’s History — Gets Rewritten by the Microsoft Camp

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 8:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Historia

Summary: Microsoft’s pattern of destroying companies and then blaming those companies for their destruction seen in Nokia’s case, too

Microsoft apologists tried telling us that Yahoo was “dying anyway” after Microsoft had crushed this company. The same happened to Netscape many years earlier. Now we see Nokia getting this revisionists’ treatment as well. A highly knowledgeable (about Nokia) blogger responds and presents all the figures needed to support his claims. To quote some parts:

There are some who are trying to write revisionist history about Nokia now, as they head to their shareholder meeting about the handset unit sale. I want to post these three pictures from Nokia results, to show just very clearly, yes there is obviously an Elop Effect, all Nokia data totally agree that in the smartphone unit there was clear unit sales growth before Elop Effect, which turns into decline. There was clear revenue growth before Elop Effect, which collapsed.

[...]

And if you want to know how Elop could have gotten such a bizarre ‘assassination bonus’ into his contract, this is my speculation of how it happened. And for those who think that Nokia was in trouble before Elop, he had a hopeless mission – here is the comparison of previous CEO Kallasvuo vs Elop. Yes, Nokia had problems before Elop came in – totally fixable problems and the smartphone unit was not the sick puppy at Nokia at the time. Elop decided to destroy the smartphone unit, because it was the easy way for him to collect 25 million dollars.

The criminal takeover of Nokia needs to be remembered in order for companies to avoid similar disasters in the future. Skype should have known better too. Watchdogs in Luxembourg are concerned about NSA role and new leaks from the French press (what the British press could not show us about PRISM) suggest that only shortly after Microsoft had bought Skype the NSA got it under its wing, proving the most insidious NSA relationship.

According to this new report, “Yahoo tried to slow Microsoft search rollout,” but Microsoft’s coup was too much to stop. It is worth adding that Yahoo had fought the NSA over privacy, but as soon as Microsoft preyed on Yahoo the NSA basically gained access to Yahoo’s treasure trove of secrets (lots of browsing history, mail, and other personal data from all around the world, including search terms with IPs/real IDs).

Fifth Estate: Another Imperialistic Propaganda Film

Posted in Cablegate, Deception at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The propagandist in chief

Benedict Cumberbatch

Summary: New North America-centric (US) movie tries to paint Wikileaks an “enemy” rather than let Wikileaks speak for itself (interviews, facts)

A disgusting propaganda film called Fifth Estate recently came out. It is already a big failure across cinemas, which perhaps helps indicate that bad press over bad factual assessment, misrepresentations, omissions, etc. did its thing. Wikileaks demonisation is not a side effect but an agenda of this ‘film’ and it’s easy to see why propaganda films of this kind are needed. Wikileaks helps expose international corruption [1]. US State Department employees are barred from Wikileaks‘ Web site (or voice), but this anti-Wikileaks film is just fine for them [2]. To better understand what kind of people work for the State Department watch this fairly recent discussion with the press. It is disheartening to see political films misusing/distorting facts not just when it comes to war revisionism but also journalism.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. 8 Ways WikiLeaks Cables About a Tiny Country Like Iceland Expose the Dark Depths of American Empire

    A Chelsea Manning-leaked cable showed how Iceland asked the U.S. to stop European “bullying,” just the first of a deluge of revelations detailing how America throws around its weight.

  2. State Department Employees Cleared to Watch WikiLeaks Movie

    Ever since WikiLeaks.org began releasing thousands of classified cables, State Department employees have been forbidden from visiting the website without explicit authorization. (Sure, it was a silly prohibition given the proliferation of mainstream newspaper stories based on the WikiLeaks cables, but them’s the rules). So how about viewing WikiLeaks the movie?

    Not a problem, the State Department tells The Cable. Watching the hotly anticipated WikiLeaks drama Fifth Estate will not place employees on the naughty list.

    “The department hasn’t issued any sort of guidance on the movie, so there would be no prohibition against the movie,” a State Department official said of the film, which debuts nationwide on Friday. “Employees would be free to watch whatever movie they’re interested in.”

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 Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts