Security News: Education, DDoS, Linksys, SpamAssassin Release…

Posted in News Roundup at 12:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Some security-related news of interest

Anti-’Terror’ Squads for the War on Sharing

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly at 11:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The state-sanctioned forces are being (mis)used to crack down on those who are challenging the real criminals, even when it comes to copyright

ON NUMEROUS occasions before we covered the war on digital sharing, which has basically justified surveillance, back doors, classification of particular software as “illegal” and certain digital data as “theft” or whatever. What we have here is a war waged by corporations and governments (those in power) on the increasingly connected and digitalised population. It’s neo-feudalism, or put more simply: digital oppression.

One story that we covered before was the violent raid on Kim Dotcom’s house. As expected, and as we saw in Britain just now (regarding David Miranda), those in power give a stamp of approval to violent/fearsome overreach (zealous actions) that misuse the label “terrorism” to basically harass, imprison, strip, rob, discredit and terrify or not terrorise law-abiding citizens whom those in power don’t like. In New Zealand, the disgraceful raids have just been given a blessing by a state-controlled court [1] and the host sued [2] as if merely hosting a sharing site (which was not even found guilty of anything) makes one a criminal. Another new report from New Zealand [3] shows that the US lobby (copyright monopoly/cartel) is currently making appalling new moves in Australia, threatening to make copyright infringement (meaning downloading, e.g. to cache, a copyrighted image in the browser) the equivalent of some kind of crime like substance abuse. This is beyond disgusting, it’s corruption. The system is corrupt and it’s clear who it is serving. The oligarchs, people who manage from their Manhattan apartments a conglomerate like CBS (a US-based propaganda channel/network), pretend that there is some issue like “struggling” networks [5] at stake even when the numbers contradict these claims and then, arguing that they fight for survival, they are fighting against free speech, dissemination of information, and free culture. It’s class war. It’s a war against people.

If there was justice there would be raids. Those Manhattan apartments would be raided and those behind the copyright cartel would be put in prison for many years for colluding, conspiring, and abusing state powers. No government (with army and police) should exist for the purpose of delivering corporate welfare and corporal punishment against innocent citizens.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Kim Dotcom Raid Warrants Legal, Court of Appeal Rules

    The New Zealand Court of Appeal has this morning ruled that the search warrants used by police during the raid on Kim Dotcom’s mansion contained errors, but were valid.

  2. LeaseWeb Sued For Hosting Megaupload and Other “Pirate” Websites

    Megaupload’s former hosting provider LeaseWeb has been sued for copyright infringement at a federal court in California. A complaint filed by adult magazine publisher Perfect 10 accuses the hosting provider of servicing several “pirate” websites. The publisher also holds LeaseWeb liable for the infringements of Megaupload, demanding up to $188 million in damages.

  3. Pat Pilcher: Aussies to get three strikes law and Internet blockade?

    The Aussies are looking at an Internet blockade and setting up a 3 strikes law as the Abbott Government seeks to crack down on piracy.

    The move was signalled by Aussie Attorney-General George Brandis, who said he would make ISPs block access to piracy related websites and set up a 3 strikes law.

  4. CBS Admits Aereo Supreme Court Win Wouldn’t Hurt CBS, Might Make Things Better For Everybody

    Last year CBS joined a number of broadcasters in whining incessantly about how if Aereo was allowed to continue living, the “struggling” networks would be forced to pull their content from over the air broadcasts and move to cable. It’s part of a long, long history of broadcasters pretending that if things don’t go just they way they want them to, they’ll surely go out of business. The threat to pull broadcasts was aimed at scaring Congress into passing protectionist legislation, and as we noted at the time it’s something CBS should just shut up and do — given the public could probably come up for better uses for their spectrum.

Free Software News Roundup: Careers, Liberations, and Lots More

Posted in News Roundup at 11:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Recent news stories about Free/Open Source software (FOSS)

  • Open source internships make great career starters

    For most students, an internship presents a major opportunity to learn and grow in a real-world environment. Interns who join an open source company or project also seem to learn a lot about themselves along the way. Recently, I asked some former Red Hat interns—both newly hired and long-time Red Hat associates—what lessons they learned by working in an open source culture and what advice they have for our next group of interns.

  • The Trend To “Open Source” Software And What It Means For Businesses And Consumers

    Wikipedia defines “open-source” software as computer software with its source code made available and licensed with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose. Translated into English this just means it’s free to anyone who wants to download it. Linux, Mozilla Firefox, and Google’s Android are open source operating systems and are available and easy to download even for computer illiterates like myself.

  • Plan 9 is open sauced

    The University of California, Berkeley, has been authorised by Alcatel-Lucent to open sauce all Plan 9 software under the GNU General Public License, Version 2.

  • Good Enough Is Great

    The takeaway from this presentation should be that , not necessarily because of the usual claims of superior quality (Many eyes make fewer bugs etc.) but because FLOSS emphasizes Freedom and flexibility. I agree with FLOSS being the right way to do IT but I still believe the FLOSS that users will use from solid distros like Debian will be featureful and of high quality as well as being Free. The Debian developers filter out most of the crud included in the depressing statistics of median number of developers and such. It’s a part of their social contract: “We will give back to the free software community

  • 5 ways open source is transforming tech in 2014

    For the last decade we’ve watched an epic contest unfold between open source and proprietary technology, and 2014 is the year that this dynamic will radically transform. The lines between open source and proprietary are becoming irrevocably blurred as proprietary firms pour resources into open source development and open source companies dial in their revenue models. Above all else, the open source community is producing the technologies businesses need to be competitive in the data-rich 21st century.

  • OpenStreetMap competes in the Olympics, SourceForge revamps, and more
  • Report and results from our Youth In Open Source Week
  • Get started in open source online and offline
  • Why Open Source Is Disappearing From Open Source Companies
  • Open source startups: Don’t try to be Red Hat

    VCs are realizing the next billion-dollar software company won’t make money from software, but from what open source enables it to deliver

  • Open source alternatives for small businesses

    These were some of the questions asked by Amandeep, a New Delhi based owner of a small scale clothing company, when I pitched to him a few open source solutions that could make his day-to-day operations more efficient. For someone without any IT background (but a sharp business sense), these were brilliant and relevant questions. The answers to these questions won’t just help Amandeep, but if shared broadly may help reduce the apprehension of a significant number of small scale business owners, especially in India. My interactions have shown that a lot of these businesses are looking to grow, enhance their productivity, and most importantly, save costs.

  • Scientific analysis and visualization is better with open source

    Marcus Hanwell is a physicist by training, but his background in science led him down a different path than most reseachers. Today he is a contributer to a number of open source projects aimed at helping the scientific community better analyze and visualize their data. If you’ve got a question about finding the right open source tool for a scientific application, Marcus can point you in the right direction.

  • Open Source Storage Buying Guide

    Red Hat is perhaps the most recognized player in the entire open source field. As addition to promoting its operating systems, the company has been involved in storage for quite some time. Red Hat Storage is an open platform that is available for on-premise, public clouds such as Amazon, and hybrid cloud deployment. Pricing is by annual subscription based on the number of storage nodes.

  • The Day the Light Came On for Eddie…

    He went on to tell me how he had looked up “Linux” on the Internet and became interested in the “free” part of software. It took him a bit to get his head around the fact that people from around the globe are contributing to FOSS for not much more than the spirit of kinship and giving. From that moment, in Eddie Baker’s eyes software became more than things you click on to make other things happen.

No Need for Microsoft Inside GNU/Linux, Demand for Microsoft/Windows is Diminishing

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono at 11:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Eradicating the Microsoft APIs (e.g. Mono, MonoGame, Unity 3D) now that the world of computing — including gaming — is moving to standards (like OpenGL), Free software (in some cases, for some parts), and GNU/Linux

THERE ARE plenty of jobs in FOSS because Windows and by extension Microsoft are becoming irrelevant to many. Well, even a former Microsoft employee who founded a gaming company is now using GNU/Linux as the de facto (default) platform, which is based on Debian (Steam OS). In its own bizarre way, Valve now makes some source code of Steam visible (not copyleft), too. The world is quickly changing.

What we found baffling is that the other day something called MonoGame, calling itself “an open source implementation of the Microsoft XNA 4.x Framework,” made a headline [1] (Unity 3D hardly makes headlines anymore). Why would anyone still pursue Microsoft APIs when developing for different platforms? Mono is a dying project with Microsoft connections, so anything which incorporates Mono tends to be either from Microsoft, a Microsoft partner, or something along those lines.

As new reports help show [2-4], the world of management and development is moving towards GNU/Linux and away from Windows and Microsoft lock-in. We don’t need to prop Microsoft up by increasing dependence on it. It’s not just a patent risk but also loss of control or autonomy.

While some people suggest installing Windows alongside Steam OS [5], it seems evident that Steam OS is quickly improving [6] and attracting/foostering more GNU/Linux interest from game developers [7] (the portfolio of games for GNU/Linux is quickly broadening [8]). Some rivals are becoming Free software [9,10] (announcements this week), signalling a wonderful trend.

The world is changing. We don’t need to include Microsoft in it.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Ethan Lee Othwerwise Known As Flibitijibibo Proposes A Full Fork Of MonoGame
  2. Linux Jobs Report: Linux Pros Work For the Love of Linux, Cutting-Edge Tech

    Linux professionals are well paid and highly sought after by job recruiters, but that’s not why they chose their careers. They are motivated by their love of Linux and working with the latest, cutting edge technology, according to the annual Dice.com and Linux Foundation Linux Jobs Report released today.

  3. Linux job market heats up

    Dice, the leading career site for technology and engineering professionals, and The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the growth of Linux and collaborative development, has just released the 2014 Linux Jobs Report (PDF Link). The two found that “The explosive demand for Linux talent is intensifying.”

  4. As Tech Jobs Increase, Linux Skills Top Priority List for Hiring Managers

    US News & World Report recently published its annual ranking of the world’s “100 Best Jobs,” which orders the best occupations by demand, salary and employment rate, among other factors. For the very first time, Software Developer ranked #1 on the list, and systems administrator positions, from computer systems analyst to database administrator and more, ranked among the top 20.

  5. Why you should dual-boot SteamOS and Windows 7
  6. Steam OS, client update brings audio improvements

    Valve has pushed yet another update to its stable version which brings many audio related improvements. Some of the GNU/Linux client and Steam OS related improvements include addition of “an auto-detect step for audio outputs when booting SteamOS for the first time. You can change the selected output device using the Audio option under settings,” according to changelog.

  7. CD Projekt RED Considering The Witcher 3 For Linux If SteamOS Takes Off
  8. Valve introduces ‘Steam Tags’ for easier sorting and discovery
  9. Godot Game Engine Is Now Open Source

    Good news developers, Godot Engine is now open source for you to tinker with. Could this be a real alternative to Unity for developers who want to develop games directly on Linux?

  10. Nothing to Hide goes Open Source

    Nothing to Hide is a queer game that is being developed by an indie developer called Nicky Liow following an even more queer approach to distribution. He intends to keep the game as open to public as possible, as such the game, even though it is still in its initial state of development, has all of its assets like the art, sound and even the code open to the public, accessible and ready to be modified as they see fit, no strings attached.

Samsung Capitulates to Rights Violations Amid Undermined Federal Laws and Obligatory Kill Switches

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Samsung at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Samsung is treading bravely towards an oppressive digital world and is playing a role in this oppression

SEVERAL politicians are making mandatory the inclusion of nasty back doors, or at least trying to do so [1,2]. “Apple has actually already implemented a kill-switch like feature on its iPhones, as of the iOS 7,” quotes iophk from the CIA-connected press, and “Samsung has also said it’s working on a similar feature.” Sosumi adds that “the killswitch and features of remote lock and wipe on the iPhone have been around since the iPhone 3G, aka 2008″ (that’s six years ago).

Proprietary software tends to be inherently malicious. Is it said that an Android backer like Samsung goes down the same route. We already called for a boycott of Samsung in 2007 and reiterated the call last year. The company is freedom-hostile in several other areas and it mimics the Orwellian 'features' of Apple. Samsung is now helping the surveillance state [3] and it’s a shame because it shines a negative light on Android (already surveillance-leaning), Samsung being the biggest seller of Android devices [4] (the biggest/most popular operating system in the world [5]). Not only Android is affected because Samsung now makes Tizen-based wearable surveillance [6], too.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Smartphone Kill Switch Could Become Federal Law
  2. Federal smartphone kill-switch legislation proposed
  3. Galaxy S5 finger print scanner confirmed and explained

    It seems like Samsung will go head to head with Apple again this year, and they will, barring some unforeseen catastrophe, maintain their spot as the ‘King of Android’. I just wish that they would have implemented on screen buttons like so many others are doing, but, they are the world wide leaders in sales after all; who am I to judge? Here’s to hoping that their implementation of the scanner works a lot better than HTC’s recent attempt with the One Max, and that their users grow to love it.

  4. Samsung leads Android pack in enterprise, but Lenovo looms

    Samsung dominates the Android enterprise charge, but Motorola has a sizeable chunk of the devices in the field, according to data compiled by Fiberlink. The real fun for Android in the enterprise will come when Lenovo closes its Motorola Mobility acquisition from Google.

  5. Android: The Most Popular OS In The World

    We have been having the biggest debate of the mobile world for a few years now… Android, or iOS? Each of them have their own major perks. Android has its insane amount of customization possibilities, and iOS has its ease of use (just to name a few). However, a new report from the IDC shows us some irrefutable proof: Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world. Over the last three years, the Android operating system market share, in percentages of global unit shipments, has increased by roughly 29.6%, while iOS has dropped 3.6%. Windows Phone has surprisingly gained 1.5%, and BlackBerry has dropped 9.4%. As of May of last year, Samsung held the title of the first place, but that is to be expected.

  6. Tizen-based Samsung smartwatch rumored

    The next version of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch will run the Linux-based Tizen operating system instead of Android, suggests a USA Today report.

Verizon Makes the Death of Net Neutrality in the US More Official

Posted in Law at 9:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Another blow from Verizon helps show that Net Neutrality is going the way of the dodo, destroying the very principles of the Internet as we once knew it


Summary: Net Neutrality is under serious attacks in the United States, where giant corporations try to make up new fees for Internet utility, putting enormous burden even on poor publishers

EUROPE, and by extension the rest of the world, typically follows the trajectory of the US lawmaking when it comes to law. US corporations, backed by NSA espionage which they secretly love, spread their legislation to countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK, and then to the rest of Europe, Asia, and even Africa (which depends on all those).

Defending Europe from Tiered Web has become important because there are lobbying attempts which try to destroy any chance of “Internet for the People”, or an Internet which serves anyone but the telecom backbones in the US (originally set up with Pentagon involvement). A French Internet advocacy site says that Net Neutrality talks in Europe are “taking a disastrous turn” [1] after the EU Parliament Civil Liberties Committee reportedly “pave[d] the way for real Net Neutrality.” [2]

The European Commission recently tried to gain more control over the Internet, capitalising on the NSA fiasco [3] that we have covered here very closely for years (even before Snowden showed up).

Net Neutrality is gradually dying even in Europe and clearly quite dead in the US (despite empty rhetoric from the FCC [4] and weak action from politicians [5]). We previously covered the topic in posts such as:

The ever-growing Comcast [6] and companies like AT&T or Verizon [7] are now going a step further and pass costs of traffic to the transmitter (publisher), not the receiver, in their greedy attempts to boost their profits at expense of users of the Internet. One headline states that “Verizon wants Netflix to pay for traffic”. Is this the official end of Net Neutrality in the US?

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. EU Parliament Negotiations on Net Neutrality Taking a Disastrous Turn

    On 24 February, the “Industry” (ITRE) committee of the European Parliament will take a crucial decision for the future of Net Neutrality in Europe, by adopting its report, on the basis of which the whole Parliament will vote. As things currently stand, Members of the European Parliament in ITRE still have the possibility to ensure a genuine and unconditional Net Neutrality principle, as proposed by others committees, so as to protect freedom of expression and online innovation. But instead, all might be lost because the liberal (ALDE) and socio-democrat (S&D) political groups seem ready to adopt the disastrous proposals made by Pilar Del Castillo Vera, the lead rapporteur in charge of this dossier. Unless citizens act and key MEPs show political leadership, we may be about to lose the Internet as we know it.

  2. EU Parliament Civil Liberties Committee Paves the Way for Real Net Neutrality

    Today, the “Civil Liberties” (LIBE) committee of the European Parliament adopted its opinion report on the European single market for electronic communications. Key amendments were adopted which, if included in the final text, would guarantee that network neutrality becomes an enforceable rule across all of the European Union. La Quadrature du Net warns against attempts in the Industry committee (ITRE), the lead committee on this dossier, to adopt watered-down amendments that would allow telecommunication operators to distribute specialised services in a way that would radically undermine freedom of communication and innovation on the Internet.

  3. European Commission declares itself an “Honest broker in future global negotiations on Internet Governance”

    For more than a decade there has been active resistance in some quarters to the continuing custody by the U.S. of the root domain registries of the Internet. Those directories (which control the routing of Internet traffic into and out of nations) are administered by ICANN, which in turn exists under the authority of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Today, Neelie Kroes, the strong-willed European Commission Vice-President in charge of the E.C.’s Digital Agenda, has put the question of “Internet Governance” (read: control of these registries) back into the news. Specifically, Kroes announced in a press release that the Commission will pursue a “role as honest broker in future global negotiations on Internet Governance.”

  4. FCC Chairman Promises Action on Net Neutrality

    FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will soon release his plan for how to proceed on net neutrality.

    Wheeler did not provide specifics on how the commission will proceed, instead making the case for why the FCC has the right to step in on this issue.

  5. Glimmer of hope or dying embers? Net neutrality flares up again

    Politicos get behind Net neutrality with the Open Internet Preservation Act of 2014, but the real power lies with us

  6. Comcast: Allowing Us To Get Immensely, Inconceivably, Ridiculously Massive Is ‘Pro Consumer’

    Comcast has confirmed reports that the company will be acquiring Time Warner Cable in a deal estimated to be worth around $45 billion. With the ink on their NBC acquisition only just dry to the touch, the deal will tack 8 million broadband subscribers onto the company’s existing 22 million broadband customers. Comcast is already the nation’s largest fixed-line broadband company, largest cable TV provider, and third largest fixed-line phone company — and that’s before you include the company’s NBC or other assets. From a geographical perspective the deal makes sense; Time Warner Cable filling in Comcast’s coverage gaps and in particular giving Comcast the prized markets of Los Angeles and New York City, where Time Warner Cable has traditionally under-performed.

  7. Netflix performance on Verizon and Comcast has been dropping for months

    Netflix’s speed rankings show that video streaming performance on Verizon and Comcast has been dropping for the past three to four months.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday News: The Descent to Totality

Posted in News Roundup at 8:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Closure of society, assassination, surveillance, and rendering of certain speech “a crime”


  • YaCy Team Celebrates Successful Campaign

    YaCy is a Linux OS and software stack designed to de-centralize the Internet by allowing users to build their own peer-to-peer search portals, limiting its potential only by the number of active users connected to the Internet. The technology can also be used for Intranet searches on corporate and school sites. The user only needs to download and install the software stack on a dedicated machine in order to contribute to the network.

Corporate Spying

  • NSA Authorized Monitoring of Pirate Bay and Proxy Users

    New leaked documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden reveal that the NSA authorized the monitoring of torrent sites including “malicious foreign actor” The Pirate Bay. The internal discussions further indicate that tracking people through multiple proxies is possible and suggest that once a release is made on Pirate Bay it’s possible to go back over old traffic to see where it originated from.

  • Gabe Newell denies Valve Anti-Cheat tracks your browser history

    Addressing recent concerns that its Steam anti-cheat program Valve Anti-Cheat (VAC) is sending users’ browsing history back to the company, co-founder Gabe Newell took to Reddit to calm these fears.

  • Bad for Business: Five Companies Release Numbers Concerning NSA Spying

    Requests to LinkedIn from the government for information affected fewer than 250 accounts. This number reflects the choice that LinkedIn made with regard to the disclosure of information request statistics. The government gave companies two choices for revealing national security request numbers. Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, and Facebook all chose to report “content” and “non-content” requests separately, which the government required be done in increments of 1,000. LinkedIn opted to lump both types of requests together in their report, which allowed them to report in increments of 250.

War on Journalism

  • The Security State Crushes Ever Tighter

    The disgraceful judges of Britain’s High Court – who have gone along with torture, extraordinary rendition, every single argument for mass surveillance and hiding information from the public, and even secret courts – have ruled that it was lawful for the Home Office to detain David Miranda, a journalist as information he was carrying might in some undefined way, and if communicated to them, aid “terrorists”.

  • UK Court: David Miranda Detention Legal Under Terrorism Law

    A British lower court has ruled that London police acted lawfully in employing an anti-terror statute to detain and interrogate David Miranda for nearly nine hours at Heathrow Airport last summer, even while recognizing that the detention was “an indirect interference with press freedom.”

  • NSA (and GCHQ) spying: Targeting WikiLeaks, Snowden lawyer, etc.
  • NSA Surveillance: Not For Terrorism, Not Even to Curb Privacy
  • NSA, GCHQ targeted WikiLeaks network
  • Julian Assange on Being Placed on NSA “Manhunting” List and Secret Targeting of WikiLeaks Supporters

    Top-secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden have revealed new details about how the United States and Britain targeted the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks after it published leaked documents about the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan. According to a new article by The Intercept, Britain’s top spy agency, the Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, secretly monitored visitors to a WikiLeaks website by collecting their IP addresses in real time, as well as the search terms used to reach the site. One document from 2010 shows that the National Security Agency added WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange to a “manhunting” target list, together with suspected members of al-Qaeda. We speak to Assange live from the Ecuadorean embassy in London, where he has sought political asylum since 2012. Also joining us is his lawyer Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Edward Snowden

War on Free Speech (“for the Children!”)

  • With Porn Filters Going Oh So Well, UK Roars Ahead In Expanding Them To Include ‘Extremist’ Content

    The UK government’s futile and ham-fisted attempts to purge the Internet of all of its rough edges and naughty bits are about to see international escalation. The country is only really just kicking off their campaign to impose porn filters that not only often don’t work, but also have so far managed to accidentally block numerous entirely legal and useful websites including technology news sites like Slashdot, digital rights groups like the EFF, rape counseling websites, and more. David Cameron’s government has long-stated they want this filtering to eventually extend to websites deemed “extremist” by the government, and it appears that new proposals being drafted hope to make that a reality sooner rather than later.

    Just as child porn is used to justify broader porn filters, beheading videos appear to be the magic bullet into scaring people into accepting filters that move well beyond porn. According to the BBC, government-funded operations within the counter-terrorism referral unit will soon order UK broadband ISPs like TalkTalk, Virgin Media and BSkyB to expand filters to include websites declared to be promoting terrorism. As most filter opponents have warned, the slope in the UK is moving beyond slippery and is getting downright muddy thanks in part to new UK Immigration Minister James Brokenshire…

  • Working together for a better Internet for children

    Because there are many different actors involved – all with their role to play. There’s a lot that can be done by the ICT sector itself – after all, they make a lot of the tools, devices and services that kids use. The coalition of CEOs I set up is looking at areas from reporting harmful content to age classification – now I’m hoping we can scale up actions, reach out to and inform everyone – including with durable public-private partnerships.

War on Critics

Spin and Admissions

  • Reading Between the Lines of Redacted NSA Documents

    Responding to the revelations from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the U.S. government has provided unprecedented transparency about the nation’s spying apparatus—all in a bid to quell public dissent—by releasing thousands of pages of once-classified documents.

    The government even has released formerly secret documents criticizing itself for breaching Americans’ privacy rights while also divulging the once-secret legal basis for its bulk telephone metadata collection program. But many documents contain redactions—or black marks—in key places.

  • US intelligence chief: NSA should have been more open about data collection
  • National Intelligence Director Finally Says He’s Sorry For NSA Overstep, But Is It Too Late?

    “I probably shouldn’t say this, but I will,” National Intelligence Director James Clapper said in an exclusive Daily Beast interview on government surveillance.He continued, “had we been transparent about this from the outset right after 9/11—which is the genesis of the 215 program [part of the Patriot Act]—and said both to the American people and to their elected representatives, we need to cover this gap, we need to make sure this never happens to us again, so here is what we are going to set up, here is how it’s going to work, and why we have to do it, and here are the safeguards…We wouldn’t have had the problem we had [with the Snowden revelations].”

  • Intelligence chief says NSA should have been transparent about mass surveillance

    Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has weathered a firestorm of criticism in the months since Edward Snowden leaked documents detailing the NSA’s bulk surveillance activity. Since then, he has declassified numerous documents as a means of showing transparency on the part of the government. However, in an interview with The Daily Beast, Clapper goes so far as to say that had the agency been transparent about data collection from the beginning, the issue would not have exploded into a scandal.

Anti-Social Official

Getting the Word Out

  • Seeing secrets: Trevor Paglen on photographing the NSA’s headquarters

    Artist Trevor Paglen spends much of his time photographing places you’re not supposed to see, whether that’s desert military bases or mountainside listening posts or classified spacecraft. His first photographic monograph, Invisible: Covert Operations and Classified Landscapes, captured those secret spaces as hazy, nearly unreadable images: a collection of lights on the horizon, or a dark smear across the sky. He’s also reported on the CIA’s covert rendition flights and collected 70 military patches representing secret government projects.


NSA Expansion

  • NSA reaches its tentacles into space

    On Dec. 5, the National Security Agency (NSA) launched a spy satellite called NROL-39 into space. In the midst of the Snowden scandal coupled with the revelations of NSA’s extensive spying, the NSA earned itself an Orwellian “Big Brother is watching you” reputation. Rather than try to curb this reputation, the NSA chose a logo for the rocket that reinforced it. The logo depicts a giant octopus with its tentacles wrapped around planet Earth. Beneath this image, a motto reads, “Nothing is beyond our reach.”

  • Homeland Security wants to be the NSA of car snooping

    DHS wants to implement a nationwide license plate tracking system. And yes, that means tracking everyone, everywhere.

Illegal Behaviour/Surveillance as “Anti-Crime”

  • NSA weighs enlarging collection of Americans’ phone records: media

    The U.S. government is considering enlarging its National Security Agency’s (NSA) controversial collection of Americans’ phone records — an unintended consequence of lawsuits seeking to stop the surveillance program, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

  • Judicial Rules May Force Feds to Save Old NSA Phone Records

    The government is considering hording old phone records that have been amassed as part of the National Security Agency’s controversial data dragnet, the Wall Street Journal reported on its website Wednesday night.

    The newspaper said that with a lawsuit filed, federal court rules may force the spy agency to stop what has been a routine purge of records older than five years — setting up an awkward choice for the government to either hold onto data that some argue has been collected unconstitutionally, or ditch it and be accused of criminal destruction of evidence.

  • Will US expand NSA surveillance?


  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein defends NSA and need for intelligence gathering

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) offered a full-throated defense of the government’s collection of data on billions of American phone calls, saying Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s practices have safeguarded the nation without trampling on civil liberties.

    “What keeps me up at night, candidly, is another attack against the United States. And I see enough of the threat stream to know that is possible,” Feinstein said at a Pacific Council on International Policy dinner in Century City.

  • Stop NSA snooping
  • Americans must fight back against NSA invasions of privacy

    America is the “land of the free.” Or so we thought. The National Security Agency’s constant monitoring of American citizens through their Internet use has led many Americans to feel like their freedom and rights are at risk.

    Until last year, many people were unaware that the American government was tracking their every move. Some were not even sure what the NSA actually was. When Edward Snowden released NSA secrets to the public in 2013, citizens were outraged. I remember feeling violated by the government when I found out that the NSA tracks pretty much everything we do through technology.

War on Silent Protest

  • Ex CIA analyst sues US State Dept for charging him with anti-war activism

    A former CIA analyst claims in court that police at George Washington University “forcibly and falsely” arrested him for turning his back to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a 2011 speech on Internet freedom. McGovern says the arrest violated his First Amendment rights, as Clinton “was not impeded or disrupted in any way” because of his “silent expression of dissent.” As he was being dragged out of the auditorium by the police, Hillary Clinton was encouraging other governments to be tolerant to protestors and respect freedom of speech.

  • Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern Sues State Dept. For Putting Him On Watch List
  • Antiwar Activist Decries Arrest for ‘Silent Dissent’

    A former CIA analyst and antiwar activist claims in court that police at George Washington University “forcibly and falsely” arrested him for turning his back to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a 2011 speech on Internet freedom.

  • The Brutal Arrest and Political Targeting of Ray McGovern: McGovern v. Kerry et al.

    The circumstances of McGovern’s 2011 arrest were marked by stinging irony. McGovern was brutalized and arrested after peacefully and silently standing with his back to Hillary Clinton as she gave a policy speech condemning authoritarian governments who repress dissenters and internet freedom.

    As described in the Civil Complaint: “As Secretary Clinton was reading from her prepared remarks regarding Egypt’s dictatorship saying, ‘Then the government pulled the plug,’ the then-71-year-old McGovern was forcibly and falsely arrested by GWU police officers, grabbed by the head, assaulted, and as Secretary Clinton continued undisturbed stating, ‘the government … did not want the world to watch,’ Mr. McGovern was removed from public view with excessive and brutal force, taken to jail, and left bleeding with bruises and contusions.”

War on Due Process (Drones)

  • Presidential Restraint Is Alive and Well

    The petition reads:

    “Mr. President, Without making any exception for the president, the Constitution requires adherence to the Fifth Amendment. ‘Due process’ is mandatory, not optional. Legality is a question of law, not policy. You are not allowed to kill whoever you want on your own say-so.”

    Within the first several hours, over 10,000 people had signed.

  • The Movement is in Silos – Medea Benjamin on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)

    Medea Benjamin is co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK and the human rights organization Global Exchange. She has been organizing against U.S. military interventions, promoting the rights of Palestinians and calling for no war on Iran. Her latest work includes an effort to stop CIA drone attacks, and she is the author of a new book, “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.”

  • How the White House Became a Killing Machine

    Imagine this: a president and his top officials as self-professed assassins — and proud of it, even attempting to gain political capital from it. It’s not that American presidents have never been associated with assassination attempts before. At a National Security Council meeting, Dwight D. Eisenhower personally ordered the CIA to “eliminate” Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, then feared as a future “Castro of Africa.” “After a dead silence of fifteen seconds,” Tim Weiner tells us in Legacy of Ashes, his history of the CIA, “the meeting went on.” And the Kennedy brothers were evidently involved in at least one attempt to kill Fidel Castro, while the CIA of Lyndon Johnson’s era mounted a massive assassination program in Vietnam. Still, in those days, something dark and distasteful clung to the idea and presidents preferred to maintain what was called “plausible deniability” when it came to such efforts. (In 1981, by Executive Order, President Ronald Reagan actually banned assassination by the U.S. government.)

  • US drone operators do not know who they kill

    Pakistani human rights organizations have evidence that the real scale of attacks of US drones on Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan is much higher than what the official reports are saying. This means that the number of victims of these attacks (and these victims are usually civilians) is also much higher than it is commonly believed.

  • America’s drone attacks in Pakistan

    Civilians are dying. Campaigners are being kidnapped. The world cannot turn a blind eye to America’s drone attacks in Pakistan

  • Pakistan drone strike pause is the longest of Obama’s presidency
  • No drone attack for 55 days
  • McCain Vows New Fight Over Control of US Armed Drone Program

    A senior US lawmaker intends to renew his fight to require the Obama administration to fully shift its armed drone program from the CIA to the Defense Department.

  • HRW urges U.S. to probe deadly drone strike in Yemen
  • Report: US drone may have killed dozen civilians
  • Report: Deadly drone strike in Yemen failed to comply with Obama’s rules to protect civilians
  • New report contradicts US version of deadly drone strike
  • US: Yemen Drone Strike May Violate Obama Policy

    A deadly US drone strike on a December 2013 wedding procession in Yemen raises serious concerns about US forces’ compliance with President Barack Obama’s targeted killing policy, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

  • Complaint Filed at International Criminal Court Over NATO Allies’ Complicity in US Drone Strikes
  • UK shared ops room where drone targets were identified – Yemen president

    Yemen’s president has said that the UK is a participant in a secret ‘joint operations control room’ in Yemen’s capital, from which individuals who are ‘going to be targeted’ are identified.

    President Abdel Rabbo Mansur al Hadi made the claim while speaking to Human Rights Watch (HRW) researchers about covert US drone operations in his country.

    The US, Yemen and Nato were also participants in the control room, the president added. A Yemeni government official told the researchers the room was used for ‘intelligence-sharing activities’ rather than purely for counter-terror operations.

  • Congress Unconscionably Silent on Obama’s Constitutional Crimes

    The president’s willingness to violate the Constitution publicly calls into question his fitness for office.

  • Drone Morality

    Kinane is from Syracuse. He was arrested outside the gates of Hancock Field.

  • Why is the world turning a blind eye to US drone strikes?

    Karim Khan is a lucky man. When you’re picked up by 20 armed thugs, some in police uniform – aka the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – you can be “disappeared” forever. A mass grave in Balochistan, in the south-west of the country, has just been found, filled with the “missing” from previous arrests. But eight days after he was lifted and – by his own testimony, that of his lawyer Shasad Akbar and the marks still visible on his body – tortured, Mr Khan is back at his Pakistani home. His crime: complaining about US drone attacks – American missiles fired by pilotless aircraft – on civilians inside Pakistan in President Obama’s Strangelove-style operation against al-Qaeda.

  • Report: Yemen drone strike possibly violated international law

    Human rights group condemns missile strike allegedly carried out by the U.S. in December for killing civilians

  • Stewart Blasts Obama on Drones: He’s the ‘All-Time Leader in Outside Battlefield Sky-Killing!’

    Stewart called Obama our “all-time leader in outside battlefield sky-killing’ and mocked the idea that he realizes it’s unconstitutional to kill an American citizen, unless it’s “an American we’d really like to kill.” And the maneuvering around this “aerial citizen reduction program” shows exactly how this White House conducts themselves.


  • Is the CIA Messing With Venezuela?

    Democracy and covert machinations on the scale we see today are incompatible.

  • Venezuela: Twitter Photos Blocked as Protests Continue
  • The Libyan Bedlam: General Hifter, the CIA and the Unfinished Coup

    On Friday, Feb. 14, 92 prisoners escaped from their prison in the Libyan town of Zliten. 19 of them were eventually recaptured, two of whom were wounded in clashes with the guards. It was just another daily episode highlighting the utter chaos which has engulfed Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Ghaddafi in 2011.

    Much of this is often reported with cliché explanations as in the country’s “security vacuum,” or Libya’s lack of a true national identity. Indeed, tribe and region seem to supersede any other affiliation, but it is hardly that simple.

    On that same Friday, Feb. 14, Maj. Gen. Khalifa Hifter announced a coup in Libya. “The national command of the Libyan Army is declaring a movement for a new road map” (to rescue the country), Hifter declared through a video post. Oddly enough, little followed by way of a major military deployment in any part of the country. The country’s Prime Minister Ali Zeidan described the attempted coup as “ridiculous”.

    Others in the military called it a “lie.” One of those who attended a meeting with Hifter prior to the announcement told Al Jazeera that they simply attempted to enforce the national agenda of bringing order, not staging a coup.

  • Vietnam whitewash! How the Pentagon is trying to water down history

    Look to your right, and you see happy Iraqis pulling down Saddam’s statue and showering U.S. Marines with flowers and candy. Was that exactly how it happened? Who really remembers? Now, you’re walking on the flight deck of what they used to call an aircraft carrier behind a flight-suit-clad President George W. Bush. He turns and shoots you a thumbs-up under a “mission accomplished” banner. A voice beamed into your head says that Bush proclaimed victory that day, but that for years afterward, valiant U.S. troops would have to re-win the war again and again. Sounds a little strange, but okay.


    Take the August 2, 1964, “Gulf of Tonkin Incident.” It was a key moment of American escalation and, by the looks of the Pentagon’s historical timeline, just what President Lyndon Johnson made it out to be when he went on television to inform the American people of “open aggression” on the part of North Vietnam. “The USS Maddox was attacked by North Vietnamese gunboats in the Gulf of Tonkin,” reads the entry. A later one mentions “U.S. Naval Vessels being fired upon by North Vietnamese on two separate occassions [sic].” Case closed. Or is it?

  • The crazy CIA ship that became an engineering historical landmark

    In 1970s, the CIA used this ship to capture a sunken Russian nuclear submarine — i.e., lifting a 2000-ton object from a depth of three miles to the surface. It was the most expensive intelligence operation ever and it only kind of worked.

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