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02.13.14

Skynet Watch: Oppression Grows, New Smears (Libel) Against Snowden

Posted in News Roundup at 5:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Afternoon and evening news picks about an apparatus of indiscriminate surveillance and merciless assassination

  • How The Copyright Industry Made Your Computer Less Safe

    I’ve already written one piece about Cory Doctorow’s incredible column at the Guardian concerning digital rights management and anti-circumvention, in which I focused on how the combination of DRM and anti-circumvention laws allows companies to make up their own copyright laws in a way that removes the rights of the public. Those rights are fairly important, and the reason we have them encoded within our copyright laws is to make sure that copyright isn’t abused to stifle speech. But, anti-circumvention laws combined with DRM allow the industry to route around that entirely.

  • I challenged hackers to investigate me and what they found out is chilling

    A decade and a half later, and given the recent Edward Snowden-fueled brouhaha over the National Security Agency’s snooping on Americans, I wondered how much had changed. Today, about 250 million Americans are on the Internet, and spend an average of 23 hours a week online and texting, with 27 percent of that engaged in social media. Like most people, I’m on the Internet, in some fashion, most of my waking hours, if not through a computer then via a tablet or smart phone.

  • Good Leaks and Bad Leaks

    The fall of the United States in Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index seems attributable mostly to the war on whistleblowers. “The whistleblower is the enemy,” the report states, singling out the harsh treatment of Barrett Brown, Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.

  • Leaked NSA Memo: Fueling the Perception Snowden Did Not Work Alone & Is No Whistleblower

    A number of media organizations have published stories based on a leaked National Security Agency memo that suggests NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden “swiped” the password of a co-worker, a civilian NSA employee, who has been forced to resign for sharing his password. The forced resignation by the civilian NSA employee is being reported as part of disciplining people for allowing breaches of security to happen, not as a part of the NSA’s effort to find people to take the fall for something the agency did not prevent from happening.

  • A piracy tool rehabilitated by the NSA spying scandal

    BitTorrent has no more control over how others use the code its founder developed than Google has over what people search for, but it has spent the past few years struggling to shake off the stigma of its technology being used by pirates.

  • Huawei may be one of the few winners of the NSA revelations

    I am used to very polite answers from Huawei executives about how they want to be more open, transparent and gain the trust of the wider community outside of its home market, and Dr Li didn’t disappoint. However, as he continued, it dawned on me there had been at least one winner following the revelations of Edward Snowden in 2013…

  • How Mobile Advertisers Help the NSA Gather User Data

    “Let us be very clear: Millennial Media has not and does not work with, nor pass information to, the NSA, GCHQ, or any other such agencies,” stated a Millennial spokesperson who said the company did not want to be interviewed for this story.

  • Former NSA chief Hayden praises Obama for “doubling down” on Bush-era spying

    Michael Hayden, the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and National Security Agency (NSA), used a lecture at Oxford University Monday to candidly praise the Obama administration for constructing and exponentially strengthening the NSA’s illegal spying apparatus.

  • NSA official says proposed reforms ‘not putting us out of business’
  • Is drone war losing its fire in shadow of NSA scandals?

    After an ambitious year marked by an explosion of privacy and accountability legislation nationwide, the drone war marches on in 2014.

    But has another, more urgent privacy battle — the global snooping assault by the U.S. National Security Agency — taken some of the fire out of the anti-drone movement?

  • NSA ‘probably developing Mask-type malware’

    As reported previously, Mask was discovered recently by Kaspersky Lab as hitting targets in more than 30 countries and infecting at least 380 separate organisations. The malware uses several techniques to compromise PCs and servers, reportedly tapping various undocumented vulnerabilities in software to ensure success.

  • Why the WH says NSA surveillance ‘is lawful’

    Obama asked Holder and Clapper to develop additional possible reforms by the time the NSA’s phone records programs needs to be reauthorized in March.

  • The NSA isn’t concerned with dorms; there’s no privacy to invade

    The key is finding a way to reap the benefits of self-reflection and letting your guard down outside the walls of the dorm. In other words, replicating the effects of “privacy” without literal privacy. It could be in a library, coffee shop, Chipotle, Bascom (when it isn’t an arctic precipice), a friend’s apartment, the handicap stall or during a long walk or run.

  • The Dangerous Seduction of Drones

    Senior Obama administration officials say our government is sharply scaling back its drone strikes in Pakistan. That’s a step in the right direction. It would be even better if the entire U.S. program of targeted killings in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia were scrapped.

  • NSA-based drone strikes: A deep philosophical problem

    A target that emerges from electronic surveillance cannot be assumed to align with a body on the ground to kill

  • Podcast: Due process, lethal drones and American citizens
  • World churches condemn use of drones

    The World Council of Churches (WCC) today issued a statement condemning the use of drones which indiscriminately target civilian populations, injuring and killing innocent civilians in complete violation of international human right law

  • Too Secret for Congress

    The Los Angeles Times had a great story today that helps explain why few Americans — including the ones who make the country’s laws — know much about the drone program that is the vanguard of the endless war against terror. The basic reason, of course, is that the Obama administration wants to keep everyone in the dark, but the lengths to which officials will go can sometimes be surprising.

  • How Nazi Scientists Taught The CIA To Use LSD Against Soviet Spies
  • U.S. hired Nazis to test LSD and CIA interrogation techniques, book says
  • CIA ‘Hired Top Nazi Doctors to Test LSD on Russian Spies’

Elusive Freedom: How Society is Growing More Oppressive Rather Than Progressive

Posted in Law at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Items of news from the past week, demonstrating quite clearly that dehumanisation of people starts not only abroad but also at the borders

  • I’m No @ioerror But the Border Still Broke My Phone To Silence Me

    Yesterday upon returning to the United States from Canada, the United States Customs and Border Protections ruined my HTC One by breaking off the charger inside the phone. This was after I refused to delete recordings I had of them from the device.

  • U.S. NSA: diplomat issue shouldn’t derail India ties

    The diplomat, Devyani Khobragade, was arrested on December 12 on charges of visa fraud and lying to U.S. authorities about what she paid her housekeeper. She was stripped-searched while detained in a Manhattan federal courthouse, an incident that triggered a major rift between India and the United States.

  • DEA-CIA Drug Trafficking Exposed by Whistleblower DEA Pilot Beau Abbott

    This interview with Beau Abbott was done by John Gentry, a wannabe cameraman, at Stew Webb’s request in the 1990s and recently loaded on YouTube by John Gentry of Dallas, Texas.

    I, Stew Webb was held as a Political Prisoner from 1992-1993 and met and talked for weeks with Beau Abbott, who was also a Political Prisoner at the Federal Prison in Springfield, Missouri, also known as Siberia- USA.

  • Real-life Iron Man armor to be ready by June – US admiral

    In an attempt by fact to imitate fiction, the US military’s “Iron Man” armor will take an important step towards reality in June, when multiple prototypes will be revealed and tested.

    According to a report by Defense Tech, Navy Admiral William McRaven said three prototypes of the TALOS – Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit – are currently being put together in the hopes that they’ll be ready for testing this summer.

Ed: Cops in Manchester, in particular the Tactical Aid Unit (TAU), have had something similar for a number of years (Iron Man-like armor) and they act like private thugs of the state, beating up people people in the street with no oversight (a bit like death squads)

Censorship Watch: Turkey Follows the UK, France, Not the Other Way Around

Posted in Law at 12:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The shame of Western society is intolerance towards particular ideas and their elimination by censorship without due process

  • Ron Miller: Restricting the Internet is a business killer

    Turkey is the latest country to mess with the Internet, passing a law that, according to GigaOM, enables authorities to block content at the URL level. When will countries learn that limiting the Internet is a horrible idea?

  • Frenchman Fined For ‘Theft’ And ‘Fraudulent Retention’ For Finding Health Docs Via A Google Search
  • French journalist “hacks” govt by inputting correct URL, later fined $4,000+

    In 2012, French blogger, activist, and businessman Olivier Laurelli sat down at his computer. It automatically connected to his VPN on boot (he owns a small security services company, called Toonux, which was providing a connection via a Panamanian IP address) and began surfing the Web.

    Laurelli, who goes by the alias “Bluetouff” in most circles (including on Ars Technica), is something of a presence among the French tech-savvy community. Besides managing Toonux, he also co-founded the French-language activist news site Reflets.info, which describes itself as a “community project to connect journalists and computer networking specialists.” As such, Laurelli initiated a Google search on other subjects, but what he stumbled on was perhaps more interesting: a link that led to 7.7 Gb of internal documents from the French National Agency for Food Safety, Environment, and Labor (the acronym is ANSES in French).

  • Adult content takedowns need judicial ruling, says former public prosecutor

    Plans to expand the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) – a UK-based Hotline to report the most serious cases of child abuse on the Internet – have been severely criticised in a report by the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Ken (now Lord) MacDonald. His recently-released report states that there are serious risks to free speech rights when a privately-funded body is given Internet take-down powers.

Mozilla Sells Out

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Marketing at 12:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Mozilla is imitating the business model of Formula One drivers, wearing corporate stickers as covert marketing

YEARS before abandoning Google I also abandoned Firefox, which I had used since before the 1.0 release (I was a very early and happy adopter). The reason for abandonment was mostly technical and I returned to Firefox partly for idealogical reasons. Mozilla started talking about privacy (also hiring privacy advocates), it publicly shunned advertisers (thanks to these new hires), it adopted (and hired) standards, and it even embraced Linux, which was no longer an afterthought for the company. Mozilla also said goodbye to people whom it had hired from Microsoft — people who would later use their Mozilla hat to promote NSA Windows for ‘security’.

I was truly shocked to learn, despite the deceiving language from Mozilla [1], that it decided to sell out [2] (even longtime supporters of Mozilla think so) after I switched to Firefox even on mobile devices. Mozilla claims to offer better privacy these days [3], it has a new focus on mobile [4], and it even has its own homegrown mobile OS that is based on Linux and coming soon to many phones [5] (not to mention the huge popularity of the desktops/laptops browser [6]). What is going on at Mozilla and how could this be? Mozilla spends $300,000 trying to buy the community’s support [7] and now it’s throwing it all away by saying it will soon be embedding “sponsored content from hand-picked partners” inside the browser? Is Mozilla so desperate for cash or has its management lost its mind? This whole strategy needs to be abandoned fast (if it’s not too late to revoke deals).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Publisher Transformation with Users at the Center

    Directory Tiles will instead suggest pre-packaged content for first-time users. Some of these tile placements will be from the Mozilla ecosystem, some will be popular websites in a given geographic location, and some will be sponsored content from hand-picked partners to help support Mozilla’s pursuit of our mission. The sponsored tiles will be clearly labeled as such, while still leading to content we think users will enjoy.

  2. Ads in Firefox, Debian init, and Rolling Releases

    Lots of folks are lamenting the latest news from Mozilla stating they’ll soon be showing users “sponsored content from hand-picked partners.” In other news, a recent Debian decision leaves Ubuntu on its own with upstart. Matt Hartley recently compared the ease of Ubuntu to the flexibility of rolling release distributions.

  3. HTTPS Everywhere for Firefox for Android Secures Your Mobile Browsing

    Like its desktop counterpart, HTTPS Everywhere makes sure that you’re using HTTPS whenever possible, and kicks your browsing session over to HTTPS on its list of sites that support it, even if you click a link or are routed to a page that’s not SSL encrypted. To install, visit the link below using Firefox for Android, and the add-on will be automatically installed for you. Firefox will prompt you to accept the installation, restart to complete the changes, and when it’s back up, you’ll see the HTTPS Everywhere logo in the address bar.

  4. Mozilla Previews New Firefox Launcher for Android

    At this week’s InContext Conference, Mozilla and EverythingMe showed a preview of the upcoming release of Firefox Launcher for Android. Firefox OS, Mozilla’s mobile platform has already used EverythingMe’s tools for presenting easy to get at collections of links to web apps. Firefox Launcher for Android is intended to make it easy to discover content you want and get it optimized for the way you use your phone.

  5. A Look At The New Firefox UI On Ubuntu Linux

    After yesterday’s article about the new Firefox UI landing in the Aurora channel, here’s some screenshots showing what the new Firefox marked at 29.0a2 looks like on Ubuntu Linux.

  6. Mageia 4, Firefox 27 & 29, and a Linux Language Barrier

    Mageia 4 was released on schedule last weekend and got the full treatment by friend Jamie Watson at ZDNet while Sean Kerner posted a screenshot tour and brief introduction. Firefox 27 and 29 are getting some attention. Red Hat’s Chris Mendler is planning to open a run distillery in his spare time. And Jack Wallen thinks geek speak is keeping Linux out of the mainsteam.

  7. $300,000 Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund launched

    “Gigabit networks have the potential to change how we live, work, learn and interact on the web, much like the switch from dial-up to broadband did,” says Mark Surman, executive director of Mozilla. “The educators, developers, students and other inventive thinkers in these leading gigabit economies have a unique opportunity to help shape the web of the future, in ways that can help us all know more, do more and do better.”

The Unethical Business of Semi ‘Open Source’ (Proprietary Disguised as Open)

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 11:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Examples of some bits of software that are not really FOSS but sure are (mis)using the “Open Source” brand

I RECENTLY had the horrible experience of spending weeks of my life wrestling with proprietary software that masquerades as “open” (for marketing). I needed to reverse-engineer some bits. A simple upgrade script, for example, is sold for just over $10,000. Without naming the company at hand, I only wish to say that fake ‘open source’ companies can be worse than proprietary because they use false marketing to seduce people and then act like predators. Over the past few weeks we have accumulated the articles below, highlighting what we believe to be fake ‘open source’ software and traps to watch out for. If we misclassified some of the examples below, then it simply means that the companies have done a terrible marketing job or are simply refusing to talk about freedom.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Best Free Shopping Carts

    The shopping cart software allows online shopping customers to accumulate a list of items for purchase, described metaphorically as “placing items in the shopping cart” or “add to cart”. Upon checkout, the software typically calculates a total for the order, including shipping and handling (i.e. postage and packing) charges and the associated taxes, as applicable.

  2. A New Philosophy for opentaps

    Make opentaps Benefit the Maximum Number of People

  3. The Role of Open Source in Orchestration

    The most challenging part of managing a complex IT infrastructure is not in the silos but the boundaries between those silos. Tools, processes, and even people have to be particularly flexible at the points where workflows intersect. And once these intersection points are codified (through tooling infrastructure, specific procedures, or training), they are exceedingly difficult to change.

  4. How enterprises drive innovation through open source technologies

    Conference to illustrate how businesses in the region can transform their IT infrastructures and drive strategic impact for their business through deployment of open source technologies.

  5. Goldman Sachs, with 10,000 tech workers, embraces open systems

    A surprising thing about Goldman Sachs, one of the globe’s most influential investment banks, may be the sheer size of its technology organization. It makes up a major part of its workforce.

  6. OpenCRX: An open source Salesforce alternative

    Which CRM tool is best for your business? While Salesforce has a smooth, attractive interface and is easier to use in almost every aspect, openCRX offers features Salesforce lacks, such as invoicing capabilities, CalDAV support, integration with any email client, and support for LibreOffice, and arranges its key functionality into a more logical tab hierarchy. Because it’s Java-based, openCRX can run on any Linux, Windows, or Mac OS server in your data center. And because it’s open source software, you can modify the application to customize it for your needs. Though Salesforce has a lot going in its favor, openCRX is worth evaluating for its unique strengths.

  7. What to consider when transitioning your open source business to a revenue-based model
  8. 5 lessons for any open source business transitioning to a revenue-based model

    In a recent article on Opensource.com, I introduced Data Geekery, the company behind jOOQ, and talked about the challenges we faced when transitioning our products from open source to a revenue-based business model last year. Our team learned a lot about running a business in general as well as making a big transition in our structure. Here, I’ll share the top 5 lessons we learned that every open source business making this kind of change should know.

  9. Nuxeo Platform 5.9.1 Is Out
  10. Pentaho launches open source community edition 5.0

    Newest version of Pentaho’s open source data integration and business analytics platform

  11. Sequenom Chose Open Source EDC System ClinCapture for Cost Efficiency and Team Commitment
  12. Department for Business Innovation and Skills deploys open source electronic document management

    Open source consultancy Zaizi has been brought in by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to deploy the Alfresco Collaboration and Records Management service.

  13. What’s the problem with DevOps?

    There’s a small problem with DevOps; for some at least… DevOps is just a bit too much Ops and not quite enough Dev.

  14. Thales and MagTek Offer Open Source Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) Solution for Independent Payment Gateways
  15. Nginx Plus 2.0 Includes Improved Java Apps Support, Other Enhancements

    With more than 120 million Websites now powered by the Nginx Web server, commercial efforts to bring more features continue to grow.

Dice is Dicing Slashdot to Bits

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft at 11:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Slashdot is being liquidated and the community of Slashdot threatens a boycott of the site

SELLING OUT IS VERY EASY. Earning status and maintaining one’s integrity in the face of temptation is hard. There are always some Sugar Daddies out there, looking to buy themselves positive coverage from seemingly credible sources that would otherwise criticise them. Examples from the UK include The ‘Guardian’ and BBC, both of which accepted a bribe from Bill Gates’ shell entity in an implicit exchange of favours (agenda-pushing for money).

A new report today reveals that The ‘Guardian’ opens its doors even further for the agenda of rich and powerful companies [1]. This trend not limited to such general news sites though; even technology sites go down the same route in pursuit of Sugar Daddies. A lot of them justify it by saying that reporting requires money, hence sellout as a business model is ‘just’.

Not too long ago we covered the mess which was going on at Slashdot and SourceForge, which turned into Microsoft and Bill Gates promotion tools. They even hired longtime Microsoft boosters and former Microsoft staff, just like the BBC had done.

Following the latest scandals at SourceForge [2,3] we had a lot of discussion about it in Techrights IRC (Slashdot managers even came to the channel in attempts to appease) and last week we got a lot of discussion about Dice driving Slashdot into its death with video ads, Microsoft agenda, etc. Slashdot without a community is a dead site because it derives its value from readers and their comments. Our readers who used to like Slashdot said that Dice was essentially liquidating the sites (squeezing the goose for golden eggs) by making the best moves to alienate the readers, i.e. annoy them in exchange for some money/a “quick buck”. Bruce Pernes, who has been very prolific in Slashdot, is saying now in Slashdot that he’s seriously thinking about bringing Technocrat back (Slashdot for grown-ups as he calls it). Last night we made significant changes in Tux Machines, adopting a more Slashdot-like style (in the format/layout sense). It is still the site to follow for very quick and high-quality selection of GNU/Linux and FOSS news — something which Techrights has not been doing as of late (news is not covered quickly enough anymore).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Guardian’s seven-figure deal to build on ‘shared values’ & provide branded content 4 Unilever
  2. Has SourceForge been judged unfairly?

    While it’s generally better not to judge too quickly, I think it’s reasonable that people are holding SourceForge to account for some of their decisions. People who download open source software do not expect to get other applications bundled with them.

  3. The Reddit – SourceForge Lynch Mob

    It was like Cooks Source all over again, just without the catchphrase “But honestly Monica.”

    It’s been all over the web for the last week or two that the photo imaging program GIMP, a FOSS crown jewel, has dropped SourceForge as a download site. Although the GIMP folks had been a little concerned over some advertisements on SourceForge, the real reason appears to be DevShare, which bundles third party offers with open source downloads for install on Windows machines.

DRM is Protectionism and Misuse of Laws, Nothing Technical

Posted in DRM at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Interpretation of recent, truly troubling news about DRM and back doors, which are being promoted at a political level

ONE OF the world’s best known critics of DRM recently explained why the W3C lost credibility with its DRM moves. A week ago he explained [1] (getting applause/hat tip from the original Pirate Party’s founder [2] and TechDirt [3]) why DRM without corruption in politics is a pointless exercise of futility. DRM can, by definition, easily be circumvented, but it’s new laws that ban circumvention that make DRM what it is. It’s criminalisation of copying — even copying of what’s legally copyable. It’s a war on sharing. Apple is a big proponent of this and Microsoft became the biggest facilitator when it dumped Vista (and its predecessors) on this world. We need to fight back against those who are waging a war against our rights.

Sony, another infamous DRM booster (going as far as illegally sabotaging people’s computers with rogue DRM), is still fighting to spread DRM to books/literature [4] and Valve proved itself to be equally guilty (like Sony and Microsoft in consoles) by using the courts to prevent passage of digital data [5] (not even copying, just passage of ‘purchased’ — in reality rented — media). Meanwhile, as we learn from the press, “OEM “Kill-switch” anti theft bill proposed by California State” (criminalising devices with no back doors) [6].

If this is where technology is going, namely the enforcement of back doors and suspension of ability to copy and pass data (disguised as ‘technological solution’ when it’s actually political), then we are seriously destroyed. We are losing power over technology to a bunch of tyrannical technophobic plutocrats. DRM is their weapon of choice and it is one among several. DRM helps censor and divide the population, making everyone exceedingly dependent on copyright ‘masters’.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. What happens with digital rights management in the real world?

    In the real world, “bare” DRM doesn’t really do much. Before governments enacted laws making compromising DRM illegal (even if no copyright infringement took place), DRM didn’t survive contact with the market for long. That’s because technologically, DRM doesn’t make any sense. For DRM to work, you have to send a scrambled message (say, a movie) to your customer, then give your customer a program to unscramble it. Anyone who wants to can become your customer simply by downloading your player or buying your device – “anyone” in this case includes the most skilled technical people in the world. From there, your adversary’s job is to figure out where in the player you’ve hidden the key that is used to unscramble the message (the movie, the ebook, song, etc). Once she does that, she can make her own player that unscrambles your files. And unless it’s illegal to do this, she can sell her app or device, which will be better than yours, because it will do a bunch of things you don’t want it to do: allow your customers to use the media they buy on whatever devices they own, allow them to share the media with friends, to play it in other countries, to sell it on as a used good, and so on.

    The only reason to use DRM is because your customers want to do something and you don’t want them to do it. If someone else can offer your customers a player that does the stuff you hate and they love, they’ll buy it. So your DRM vanishes.

    A good analogue to this is inkjet cartridges. Printer companies make a lot more money when you buy your ink from them, because they can mark it up like crazy (millilitre for millilitre, HP ink costs more than vintage Champagne). So they do a bunch of stuff to stop you from refilling your cartridges and putting them in your printer. Nevertheless, you can easily and legally buy cheap, refilled and third-party cartridges for your printer. Same for phone unlocking: obviously phone companies keep you as a customer longer and make more money if you have to throw away your phone when you change carriers, so they try to lock the phone you buy with your plan to their networks. But phone unlocking is legal in the UK, so practically every newsagent and dry cleaner in my neighbourhood will unlock your phone for a fiver (you can also download free programs from the net to do this if you are willing to trade hassle for money).

  2. Because Of DRM, The Entire Copyright Monopoly Legislation Is A Lie

    Would you consider it reasonable if the copyright monopoly legislation ended with the words “but if publishers think this law is too permissive, they can rewrite it as they like, and we’ll enforce that instead”? Because that’s exactly what the law looks like.

  3. DRM Is The Right To Make Up Your Own Copyright Laws

    We’ve written about the problems of DRM and anti-circumvention laws since basically when we started way back in 1997. Cory Doctorow has been writing about the same stuff for just about as long (or perhaps longer). And yet, just when you think everything that can be said about this stuff has been said, Doctorow comes along and writes what may be the best column describing why DRM, combined with anti-circumvention laws, is so incredibly nefarious. Read the whole thing. It’s so well done, and so important, I’m actually going to write two posts about it, because there are two separate issues that deserve highlighting.

  4. Sony and Barnes & Noble look like their ebook days are numbered
  5. You can’t resell Valve games in Germany – court

    A German court has dismissed a ‘reselling’ case in favour of Valve Software, the maker of Steam OS. German consumer group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (vzbv) had filed a complaint against Valve as Valve’s EULA (End User Licence Agreement) prohibits users from re-selling their games.

  6. OEM “Kill-switch” anti theft bill proposed by California State

    As more and more persons become owners of smart phones, thieves have found an ever increasing number of targets to prey on. Theft of cellphones is at an all time high in major urban centers across the US and many other countries, and the Californian government has decided to take a stance against it. With cellphones taking a more prominent roll in our lives, we all store sensitive information on our devices, and this is what the bill proposes to address.

‘Windroid’ is NSA-Powered, Not Linux-powered, and Real Nokia Phones (Not Microsoft ‘Nokia’) Are Only Jolla

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 10:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft marketing from The Verge and some history lessons about Nokia’s Linux endeavours

THERE has been some silly press coverage about a pointless Nokia-branded Microsoft phone, which basically serves the NSA and acts as an enhanced surveillance device. It’s even named after a war (or location of a famous war). We don’t want to feed those who hype it up (some FOSS sites do this foolishly as though it’s good for Android), but we’ll only cite FOSS Force, which explains: “Tom Warren reported on The Verge yesterday that he’s been hearing some skinny that Microsoft is considering making some changes to Windows Phone to allow it to run Android apps.”

No, this is not news. Microsoft has been trying to do that for quite some time (years!), but the entity that got close to it was MeeGo, which only days apart from the official abduction of Nokia by Elop finally got a fantastic tool for running key apps from Android’s broad market, using Alien Dalvik from the Myriad Group (we covered that at the time, back in February of 2011). Right now Jolla enjoys it.

To quote another decent new article from FOSS Force: “Since at least 2007, Microsoft has claimed that 235 of its patents are infringed by Linux. The trouble is, nobody knows what patents are being infringed because Redmond has been keeping that a secret, leaving us to assume that these are imaginary patents. Linux developers only want to see the patents, if they exist, so they can create workarounds to bring Linux into compliance. So far, Microsoft has refused.

“With Ross Gardler, current president of the Apache Foundation and paid spokesperson for Microsoft, running around telling everyone who will listen that “Microsoft is a changed company” and “Microsoft is much more open,” now would be the time to prove it. Show us the patents or promise not to use them against Linux,” wrote Christine Hall.

Why do some bloggers insist that Microsoft ‘embracing’ Android is good while Microsoft reportedly extorts Android backers? This is more of a strategy for concealing one’s predatory and probably illegal behaviour. Microsoft is not there to befriend Android. Microsoft wants to destroy Android. It hardly even makes any pretences about it.

A lot of the hype really comes from The Verge, a site managed by one who gave a platform to Microsoft’s anti-Android lobbyists (Patel). Be sceptical of promotional pieces like this new one which says: “Of Microsoft’s many challenges in mobile, none loom larger than the app deficit: it only takes a popular new title like Flappy Bird to highlight what the company is missing out on. Windows 8 apps are also few and far between, and Microsoft is stuck in a position where it’s struggling to generate developer interest in its latest style of apps across phones and tablets. Some argue Microsoft should dump Windows Phone and create its own “forked” version of Android — not unlike what Amazon has done with its Kindle Fire tablets — while others claim that’s an unreasonably difficult task. With a new, mobile- and cloud-focused CEO in place, Nokia’s decision to build an Android phone, and rumors of Android apps coming to Windows, could we finally see Microsoft experimenting with Google’s forbidden fruit?”

No, it’s racketeering and extortion. The stream of rubbish from The Verge has become inane Microsoft marketing and it’s not hard to see it. Floating all sorts of rumours and “exclusives” serves Microsoft’s agenda here. Other Microsoft boosters have been floating or debunking the idea of Microsoft ‘forking’ Android. Everything for attention, eh?

Half a decade ago Nokia had said that it would put Linux on all of its smartphones (Symbian for the rest). That was before a mole made it into the company. If people want what would have been Nokia’s product (if it hadn’t been destroyed by Microsoft entryism), then they should turn to Jolla and Sailfish OS (former Nokia staff and a Linux-powered operating system). They are already best sellers in Finland, they now land on Android devices [1], and they even open up their designs [2].

Nokia did not die. The brand died. Nokia staff moved on and continued working on MeeGo under another brand. They deserve our support. My wife says her next phone will be a Sailfish OS phone because the features are impressive and she used to love Nokia before Microsoft destroyed it.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Sailfish OS is coming to Android Devices

    If you are impressed with Jolla’s Sailfish OS but do not want to exchange your current Android phone for the Jolla smartphone, the finnish company has some good news for you. In a recent blog post, Jolla has announced that they are bringing Sailfish OS to Android devices.

  2. Jolla’s 3D files let you print your own smart covers

    Willing to change the look and feel of your Sailfish OS device? Here’s some good news. Finnish smartphone manufacturer Jolla has released a pair of smart covers dubbed ‘The Other Half’ that not only change the way your phone looks like, but also facilitates a number of UI changes. Jolla has also released the Other Half developers kit, which includes 3D files and technical specs for developers and fans to print their own smart covers.

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