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01.20.14

Linking Surveillance to Assassinations

Posted in News Roundup at 4:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Very recent news about privacy infringement, mass surveillance, government coverup, and assassinations

NSA Dropbox (PRISM)

Privacy

  • LCA 2014: Keynote by Dr. Suelette Dreyfus on mass surveillance and whitleblowers [MP4]
  • The Whistle-Blower Who Freed Dreyfus

    Picquart, like many of his contemporaries, was casually anti-Semitic. It came as no surprise to him when Dreyfus — the only Jew on the general staff — was suspected of passing secret intelligence to the Germans. It was Picquart who provided a sample of Dreyfus’s handwriting to the investigators. And when expert analysis seemed to confirm Dreyfus’s guilt, it was Picquart who met his unsuspecting former pupil in the Ministry of War so he could be quietly bundled off to prison.

    [...]

    It was then that Picquart, after 25 years’ army service, realized he had no alternative but to break ranks. He passed his evidence against Esterhazy to a senior politician, the vice president of the senate, Auguste Scheurer-Kestner. Then, at the end of 1897, he provided Émile Zola with the information that enabled the novelist to write his celebrated exposé of the affair, “J’Accuse …!” Picquart’s reward was to be dismissed from the army, framed as a forger and locked up in solitary confinement for more than a year.

    It was not until 1906 that justice was finally done; Dreyfus’s conviction was quashed, and Picquart was restored to the army with the rank of brigadier general. That fall, when his friend and fellow Dreyfusard, Georges Clemenceau — the owner of the newspaper that published “J’Accuse …!” became prime minister, he made Picquart minister of war, a post he held for three years.

    [...]

    And yet the injustices against which he fought so courageously — the inherent unreliability of secret courts and secret evidence, the dangers of rogue intelligence agencies becoming laws unto themselves, the instinctive response of governments and national security organizations to cover up their mistakes, the easy flourishing of “national security” to stifle democratic scrutiny — all these continue. “Dreyfus was the victim,” Clemenceau observed, “but Picquart was the hero.” On this day, he deserves to be remembered.

  • Google working on smart contact lens for diabetes patients

    Google has a highly secretive ‘X’ division which works on futuristic technologies and the ‘smart contact lens’ is emerging from this division. Unlike Google Glass which is ‘wearable’ computer for entertainment and communication, ‘smart contact lens’ initially (as the company is projecting it right now) looks like a medical solution for patients with diabetes.

NSA

  • NSA Spying and Search Engine “Tracking Technologies”
  • NSA surveillance: American debate, British denial

    Barack Obama’s speech on NSA surveillance was in many ways the Democratic president at his best and the United States at its best too. George Bush would certainly not have made the speech. Nor, arguably, would Bill Clinton. What is more, no modern British prime minister of either party would have come anywhere near it. And no Chinese or Russian leader would even think of such a thing. It would be hard to imagine, outside the realm of Hollywood fiction, a more balanced and serious response to the vexed issues of security and privacy abuse than the one Mr Obama offered today .

  • NSA as Massa of the Global Sigint Plantation

    Craig Murray caused quite a fuss in 2004 when, as UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, he openly criticized the systemic and severe human rights abuses of the Karimov regime. He was publicly and pointedly stomped on by the British government, with the full encouragement of the Bush administration, for complicating Western access to the Karshi-Khanabad airbase and queering the Global War on Terror pitch.

    [...]

    Murray had complained that intel provided by the Uzbek government through the CIA to the UK was tainted by the fact that it was obtained through torture. Beyond the fact that tortured detainees often provide false information in order to stop their mistreatment, the UK is a signatory to the UN Convention Against Torture and, by the interpretation of Murray and others, was precluded from possessing (as well as using in a court of law) evidence obtained under torture.

  • The strange connection between the NSA and an Ontario tech firm

    And since 1995, any software developer building encryption for technology they intended to sell to the American or Canadian government has had to consult something called the Cryptographic Module Validation Program. It’s a list of algorithms blessed by the CMVP that are, according to the government agencies that publish it, “accepted by the Federal Agencies of both countries for the protection of sensitive information.”

  • Why the NSA’s Spying on Offline Computers Is Less Scary Than Mass Surveillance

    The relevant NSA documents hosted on Cryptome date back to 2008, which means the NSA’s capabilities have undoubtedly improved beyond the technologies described in the documents. But the documents still provide a useful glimpse of how the agency might go about planting such spy tools—which are mostly made from off-the-shelf components—inside computers that don’t have wired or wireless Internet connections. They also show why such frighteningly precise spying is far more limited than the NSA’s broader mass surveillance of Internet data and cellphones.

  • Jimmy Wales says he’d go “ballistic” if NSA tried to gain backdoor into his new mobile operator

    Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has told TechDigest that he will go “ballistic” if the NSA try to gain backdoor access into The People’s Operator, the new mobile phone network that it has just been announced Wales will become co-chair of.

  • The NSA Is Scary Good

    Many of these same conversations also occurred in 2006, when it was reveled that the NSA was collecting data from billions of phone calls made by normal citizens. Curiously, the support for these programs seems to be very closely tied to the political leanings of the commander-in-chief. In 2006, with a Republican in office, 71% of Republicans supported the actions of the NSA. Conversely, with a Democrat in office, Republican approval plummeted to 32%.

  • Alan Rusbridger defends Snowden leaks as Obama prepares to announce NSA reforms

    Good morning. Barack Obama will today set out his plans for reforming the NSA in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations – published in the Guardian and elsewhere – about the vast scope of the US intelligence agency’s secret surveillance of Americans and foreigners.

    Briefings to US media organisations have suggested the president may introduce changes to the way the NSA collects telephone metadata regarding every American phone call – who called whom and when – although an idea put forward by a White House review panel that the telecom companies rather than the NSA should store this data has faced opposition from the companies themselves. It is thought Obama may pass this issue to Congress to resolve – easier said than done, since Congress is deeply divided over the issues raised by Snowden.

  • NSA goes on declassification spree ahead of Obama reform

    US National Intelligence director James Clapper has thrown open the books on hundreds of previously classified documents detailing national and international surveillance, as President Obama’s scheme to reform the NSA goes into operation. The new batch of declassified files brings the total number of released documents to around 2,300 pages, DNI Clapper wrote, including orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), documents the NSA and others have previously submitted to Congress, and data about the legality of the ways in which the NSA collects telephone metadata and other programs currently operating.

Obama Speech/Statement

Germany

Brazil

Shane Todd

  • Singapore’s IME audited for spying

    Singapore says US officials invited to inspect the work of a local research institute to probe spy claims have been ‘satisfied’ with the audit findings.

    The state-linked Institute of Microelectronics (IME) was first thrust into the spotlight in February when the London-based Financial Times cast doubt on the apparent suicide of one of its former researchers – US electronics engineer Shane Todd, who was found hanged in his Singapore flat in June 2012.

  • Shane Todd’s death: US govt satisfied with IME audit results

    Responding to media queries, an MFA spokesman said the voluntary audit of IME was an offer made by Minister for Foreign Affairs K. Shanmugam to US Secretary of State John Kerry in March this year. The offer was made “in the spirit of cooperation and openness to satisfy the US that allegations of illegal transfers of US technology from IME to the Chinese company Huawei were completely untrue and without basis,” said the MFA spokesman.

  • ‘Satisfied’ US audits Singapore institute over spy claims

Assassination Based on NSA Kill Lists

  • Pentagon & NSA Officials say They Want Snowden Extrajudicially Assassinated

    President Obama claims the right to extrajudicially execute American citizens, keeps a so-called “kill list,” and has bragged he’s “really good at killing people.” This isn’t bluster. Obama has backed this up with action, having killed U.S. citizens — including a 16-year-old boy – without charging, much less convicting, any of them with a single crime.

    The implications are profound (and profoundly disturbing), and raise questions about Americans’ constitutional right to due process, the most basic constraints on presidential power, and our treatment of whistleblowers. Indeed, how can anyone expect those who witness executive-branch crimes to blow the whistle when the head of the executive branch asserts the right to instantly execute anyone he pleases at any time?

    All of this may sound theoretical, academic, or even fantastical, straight out of a dystopian sci-fi flick. But it isn’t. It is very real. After all, only a few months ago, the chairman of the U.S. House Intelligence Committee publicly offered to help extrajudicially assassinate NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. And now, according to a harrowing new report that just hit the Internet, top NSA and Pentagon officials are doing much the same, even after court rulings and disclosures have concluded that Snowden is a whistleblower who exposed serious government crimes.

  • US has taken targeted killings to new high: Author Mark Mazzetti

    Agreeing that targeted killings have been used by certain countries, notably Israel, Mazzetti said Israel also invented drones but never used both of these to the extent US has employed them.

  • Humanitarian aspect of drone attacks
  • Washington’s Terrorism or Counterterrorism in Somalia

Gaza

  • Israeli drone strike wounds two

    In Extra-Judicial Execution Attempt, Israeli Drone Targets Motorbike Wounding Member of Palestinian Armed Group and Child in North Gaza

  • Two Gazans hurt as Israel strike targets Islamic Jihad

    Gaza emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said the strike had hit a motorcycle in the northern neighbourhood of Saftawi, leaving its rider, a 22-year-old man, in critical condition.

    A 12-year-old boy who was standing nearby suffered moderate head wounds in the raid, he told AFP.

UK

Yemen

Laws to Allow Abuse of Domestic Population

Fraudulent Microsoft Reportedly Pays OEMs Not to Entertain Linux

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 2:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft is reportedly paying billions of dollars (negative pricing) for unfair competition against Free (as in freedom) software that it is extorting using patents to induce fees

II sure seems like Microsoft has done enough, especially with moles in the national healthcare programme, to undermine FOSS and GNU/Linux in key areas of government operations. When people leave Microsoft they often turn into moles. Stephen Elop is one among many examples; in recent years he became the most famous such mole, and people generally know about him because the corporate media covers it. There are many more examples like him. It is now being reported that another entity, a fraud partner of Enron (to which Microsoft is similar because of confirmed financial misconduct), will get involved in the same programme. What an effective way to discredit national healthcare. Fraudsters are being put in charge. It’s corruption, just like repeated financial fraud at Microsoft (maybe it’s collaborations/collusion with the NSA that gave Microsoft immunity from criminal prosecution/legal actions, not to mention funneling of public money from black budget).

Microsoft’s illegal actions are not a thing of the past though.

Now that there is “damage control”, following reports that Microsoft is bribing companies like B&N, not just dumping ‘free’ (gratis) traps, we should keep an eye open for potentially new moles like Blair Westlake. The reports are denied by Shaw, who is a proven liar (it’s formally his job and we proved him to be a liar quite a few times before), but there is most likely substance to this (Microsoft paying billions to OEMs to prevent them from choosing Linux, only the numbers are being challenged). As the author puts it, “Mobile-Review.com’s Eldar Murtazin, who has provided some accurate Windows Phone scoops before, reports Microsoft (MSFT) will be making $2.6B in “support” payments (likely including marketing spend) to OEM partners in 2014 to compel them to make one Windows Phone apiece.

“Samsung (SSNLF, SSNLF) is said to be receiving $1.2B, Sony (SNE) $500M, Huawei $600M, and other firms $300M.”

Windows Mobile was such a failure that Microsoft is now struggling to keep any presence at all in mobile. As iophk puts it, “what are the real numbers then?”

Sosumi said, “windows mobile is so bad that MS has to bribe OEMs” and iophk said, “like with regular windows, too.” (e.g, in netbooks)

MinceR said, “hopefully that android won’t have to be virtualized on top of winblows (building a castle on a swamp…)”

Where are antitrust regulators? Bribes as a business model are not an acceptable strategy. It’s a serious abuse and there are laws against it. Sure, Microsoft’s close partners at the NSA are confirmed to be spying (espionage) on EU regulators under pretexts like “terrorism” (reported months ago), but these people should still be able to do their job.

Apple is Becoming More and More Like a Patent Troll

Posted in Apple, Patents at 2:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Retardation of research and a total lack of development (Apple is branding, not developing or manufacturing) leaves Apple mostly with litigation and branding, which more or less define the behaviour of famous patent trolls

When Apple talks about “research” it mostly talks about selecting components that are made by east Asian companies. When it talks about “development” it speaks about exploiting and integrating FOSS projects. Apple is not a real company, it is a badge like Coca Cola. It advertises a perceived lifestyle.

Apple has become in some ways worse than Microsoft, for various reasons that we covered before. Microsoft is renowned for corruption, whereas Apple champions crackdown on user freedoms (which some Apple fans foolishly welcome). Apple is also engaging in high-profile legal cases against Linux. Apple never had the crown, except its own (a hero in its own mind), so this headline is erroneous. Apple is a branding company, or an integrator at best. Even its own supporters step away. To quote: “In a somewhat alarming statement to Apple fans, Walter Isaacson, author of the best-selling biography ‘Steve Jobs’, said Google takes clear lead when it comes to innovation in the tech industry.”

Apple is now a litigation company, quickly assimilating to patent trolls. The brand may still be strong, but what does this brand represent really? Arrogant litigation based on megalomania?

Boston University, once known for excellence in research (also on patent trolling, as studied by Bessen’s group), has engaged in patent trolling and it now “wins cash from Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft” (all three are exceptionally unethical companies), so trolling seems to have become fashionable. Apple and Microsoft made some people proponents of the practice, wielding propaganda words like “innovation”.

Soverain, another patent troll, would not meet SCOTUS; instead it will need to go away. “On Monday,” as Christine Hall put it, “the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a patent case between online retailer Newegg and patent troll Soverain Software. The case involved three patents held by Soverain dealing with online shopping carts. Newegg, which has vowed to fight all software patent cases, initially lost in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, which is infamous for favoring plaintiffs in patent cases. However, Newegg went on to score a victory when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled all three patents invalid because they were obvious.”

Patent trolls are a real problem, but the problem is that companies like Apple rarely get included in the definition of “trolls”. Common usage of the term troll just means “small company that uses patents”. Large companies lobby to ensure nothing changes to restrict their actions.

Happy GNU Year: Richard Stallman on Meeting Goals of GNU

Posted in TechBytes Video at 2:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TechBytes with Stallman

Direct download as Ogg

Summary: Dr. Richard Stallman, the Free Software Foundation’s founder, explains the perception that popularity alone — not level of freedom — counts when it comes to free/libre software


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