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


Links: Latest Reports on Modernised (Digitised) Oppression

Posted in News Roundup at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz



Snowden and Greenwald

Staged ‘Leaks’ (Washington Post)

  • Greenwald goads NSA over ‘staged leaks’

    Reeling from the leak of classified data, NSA officials have anticipated future leaks by sometimes announcing them to the media preemptively, a minimization tactic according to one of the journalists still holding the intel agency’s documents.

  • The NSA’s Been Spying on Every Single Call, Text, and Email in Iraq

    A couple weeks ago, we learned from leaked documents that the NSA has the capability to record an entire country’s calls, texts, and email in real time. That’s a hell of a capability, and those documents revealed that it was being used in one country. Now, thanks to a retired NSA leader, we know which country that is: Iraq.

  • Ex-NSA Official Breezily Reveals Details Of NSA Surveillance Capabilities In Iraq

    The entire article is a weak (and grossly transparent) attempt to recast General Keith Alexander’s legacy — and thus it seems that Inglis, Alexander and the NSA have no problem at all revealing the details of its capabilities in Iraq when the entire purpose in doing so is an attempt to show how good Alexander was for the NSA. Rest assured, however, had the same bit of information come out from one of the reporters with access to the Snowden documents, the NSA and all its defenders would be screaming as loud as possible about how the publication of such information would cost lives and create immense damage to American interests while aiding our enemies. Yet, apparently, it’s all fine and dandy to reveal such information… when it’s part of the effort to canonize the NSA retired leader.

  • NSA Leaks Secret Program to Brag About NSA

    The former head of the NSA, General Keith Alexander, has claimed numerous times that Edward Snowden’s leaks about the NSA’s vast spying programs on innocent American citizens and overseas allies has put the U.S. at serious risk.


  • Smart psychoanalysis: What your metadata can tell the NSA about you

    One of the expected concessions to civil society is the promise to leave records at the telephone companies, so that the government would allegedly be able to obtain them only in an emergency situation. But in the cold light of the day, records will still be kept. So, what could the ‘metadata’ –information on personal phone calls, claimed to contain no names or content – reveal to the NSA or just to the people who have access to them?

  • IT, Security Questions Linger for Telecoms Contemplating Obama’s NSA Plan

    A proposal that would require telecom companies to store phone records and make them easily accessible to the U.S. government may not be an insurmountable IT challenge, analysts say. But should that proposal become law, the way companies choose to implement the needed technology raises a number of questions about how that data will be transmitted and secured, and what steps telecoms will take to protect customer privacy.

  • Contracting and Expanding the NSA’s Powers

    A few plans are now on the table. There is the USA Freedom Act (Leahy-Sensenbrenner bill), the House Intelligence Committee Bill and the President’s own proposal. The latter has yet to find legislative form. President Obama’s proposal involves allowing phone companies to retain their databases of records in standardised, interoperable format. The focus on storage will shift from government agencies to telephony companies. The NSA would, in obtaining access, have to seek an order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. In turn, the FISC would have to be satisfied that the records pertained to a person connected with a terrorist organisation.

  • Senate NSA critic urges Barack Obama to end bulk data collection now

    Ron Wyden, the senator who is a leading voice in attempts to rein in the National Security Agency, has urged President Barack Obama to order an immediate halt to the bulk collection of domestic telephone metadata records.

  • NSA head Gen. Keith Alexander steps down, stays mum on Snowden affair

    Gen. Keith Alexander, the head of the US high-profile National Security Agency, stepped down from his post Friday, amid turmoil at the besieged spy agency.

  • NSA reform plans seek to offer similar data to investigators without bulk collection

    Some other proposals to eliminate bulk data collection, but still offer the same sort of data on potential terrorists and their phone calls have now surfaced. One of the plans is offered by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and backed by Obama. It would require a new authority to be created that would duplicate the core capability of the NSA program without having to collect bulk data.

  • Feinstein Pushes Court Approvals for NSA Phone Records Bill

    Senate intelligence committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein said she supports requiring court approval for all searches of U.S. telephone records, setting the stage for a legislative fight over how to rein in the powers of the National Security Agency.


Response From Business

Toward Real NSA Reform

  • Victory! NSA water records to be released in Utah

    This month, the Utah State Records Committee ruled that the City of Bluffdale must release water records pertaining to the massive NSA data center located there.

  • What I Told the NSA
  • NSA class action reaches critical mass

    Indeed, we have gone a long way down the road of violating American’s basic civil rights, as most recently revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden who exposed the National Security Agency’s massive spy program, which Judge Richard J. Leon ruled Dec. 16, 2013, a violation of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and “almost-Orwellian.” This egregious violation of the privacy rights of American citizens has prompted Freedom Watch to file for class action certification in its epic lawsuit against the NSA, the first of its kind, in order to open it up to all the Americans whose constitutional rights have been defiled. The new class action suit expands the allegations of constitutional violations to include the NSA’s collection of Internet metadata, social media and its spying on overseas phone calls under its so-called PRISM program.



  • As homes plug in to Internet, hackers plug into homes

    TO keep an eye on his child via his smartphone, Marc Gilbert installed Internet-connected video baby monitors in his home in Houston. One evening, Gilbert heard a stranger’s voice bellowing obscenities from the monitor. He disconnected the device after realizing that it had been hacked.


Back Doors



  • Request for details of CIA chief’s visit turned down

    The Defence Ministry refused on Monday to share details of CIA chief’s visit to Pakistan with the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

    The committee had asked for details of the visit of CIA Director John Brennan to Pakistan in the last week of February for meetings with Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif and ISI Director General Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam.

  • NATO mission fails in Afghanistan due to its wrong military priorities
  • The President as Pharaoh: Drones reveal hardness of heart

    There are many other arenas where we could explore the tension between proclaimed individual values and the contradiction of policies which emanate from the White House. The one I wish to focus on is the use of drones – unmanned aerial vehicles – now becoming the go-to strategy for fighting “the war on terror”, even as that name has now fallen out of favor.

  • Yemenis affected by U.S. drone strikes to launch victims’ union
  • International ‘Days of Action’ Campaign Aims at Permanent Halt to U.S. Drone Strikes, Drone Spying and Targeted Killing
  • ‘Killer Robots’: A New Era of Warfare?

    Drone missiles may have prompted outcry from international human rights groups and controversy in the media, but unmanned air vehicles could be on the verge of being upstaged by a new weapon on the block: Lethal Autonomous Robotics (LARs). This emerging breed of technology will be able to select a target, aim and fire with no intervention from human beings beyond programming and deployment. War could be about to get a lot cheaper, a lot less bloody… and a lot more frequent.

  • In Times of Government Surveillance, Whose ‘Security’ Is at Stake?

    The drone assassination campaigns are one device by which state policy knowingly endangers security. The same is true of murderous special-forces operations. And of the invasion of Iraq, which sharply increased terror in the West, confirming the predictions of British and American intelligence.

  • Drone debate

    Armed drones, more than any other weapons system, need international regulation because their very nature makes it easier to stealthily wage war. Since the use of drones can cancel out the need for boots on the ground, they can be used to target countries even when the attacker has not declared war on them. Pakistan, along with Yemen, has most suffered from this new kind of war that drones facilitate and so it is no surprise that we have consistently taken the lead at international forums to have the drone war declared illegal and the use of the weapon be strictly regulated by the UN.

  • Local Views: Urge Washington to stop drone attacks

    What would you do if you witnessed someone killing innocent people? Would you be brave enough to do something to make them stop? We all hope we would be that brave. But if that “someone” is our government and the weapons are missiles and unmanned aerial drones, it seems that our answer is different.

  • Lynch Law: The Root of US Imperialism

    The political and economic foundation of the United States is built on the corpses of legal lynching, or “lynch law”. Without the genocide and enslavement of Black and indigenous peoples, the US capitalist class could not have amassed its profits, wealth, or power. Following the passage of the 13th Amendment that supposedly ended Black chattel slavery at the close of the Civil War, the US capitalist class moved quickly to reorganize the capitalist economy so newly “freed” Blacks would remain enslaved. Convict-leasing, sharecropping, and legalized segregation ensured Black exploitation and white power. These brutal forms of exploitation were kept intact by white terrorism in the form of lynching.

Civil Rights


  • America is the Greatest Purveyor of Violence in the World – Where Are the Calls for Boycotts and Sanctions?
  • The Unknown Known: Errol Morris’ New Doc Tackles Unrepentant Iraq War Architect Donald Rumsfeld

    Academy Award-winning documentary filmmaker Errol Morris joins us to talk about his new film, “The Unknown Known,” based on 33 hours of interviews with former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The title refers to an infamous press briefing in 2002 when Rumsfeld faced questions from reporters about the lack of evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. “The Unknown Known” is Morris’ 10th documentary feature. He won a Best Documentary Oscar for his film “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara.” His other films include “Standard Operating Procedure,” about alleged U.S. torture of terror suspects in Abu Ghraib prison, and “The Thin Blue Line,” about the wrongful conviction of Randall Adams for the murder of a Dallas policeman. The release of “The Unknown Known” comes in a month marking 11 years since the U.S. invaded Iraq, leaving an estimated half a million Iraqis dead, along with at least 4,400 American troops.

  • Wall Street Journal ♥ Pakistani Army

    The Journal leaves out one other parallel with Vietnam: war crimes. The Pakistan army is responsible for disappearances, unlawful detention, extrajudicial killing, bombardment of villages, and mass displacement of Pakistan’s tribal peoples..

  • Viral meme says United States has ‘invaded’ 22 countries in the past 20 years

    A Facebook meme argues that Americans are pretty two-faced when it comes to Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea.

    The meme says, “22 Countries Invaded by the U.S. in 20 Years. Russia Does It and Everyone Loses Their Mind,” illustrating its point with a photograph of Heath Ledger’s Joker character from Batman movie The Dark Knight.

    A reader asked us to check this claim, so we did. Fortunately, the post that accompanied the meme listed the nations that had been “invaded,” along with the years of the purported invasion.


Screenshots: Ubuntu Family (Beta 2), Tails 0.23

Posted in News Roundup at 6:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 1/4/2014: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 6:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 1/4/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 1/4/2014: Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 6:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UEFI is Bricking Computers When One Removes Spyware With Back Doors (Microsoft Windows)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 5:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UEFI logo with monopoly

Summary: UEFI ‘secure’ boot is bricking laptops again, showing that there are worse aspects to UEFI than the anti-competitive (anti-GNU/Linux) nature of it

THERE IS a new UEFI nightmare scenario, which relates somewhat to the fact that the NSA can remotely destroy (as in brick) computers with UEFI, provided they use a ‘faulty’ implementation of UEFI [1] (UEFI ‘secure’ boot is faulty by design). “”Beware Samsung laptops” is a lesson the Linux community has already learned,” says the author of the article, but why not name UEFI also? “For Swedish Linux users,” he says, “the main lesson seems to be “Ask your big-box store salesperson to certify in writing that the machine she sells you is capable of running Linux equally well as it runs Windows”.”

This is becoming a serious issue. Germany has already pretty much banned machines with UEFI ‘secure’ boot, perhaps realising the potential hazards. Here in the UK there is concern about Windows in general, even among CESG staff (the CESG’s Web site has been down for half a day now, seemingly after getting cracked, following a migration to Windows 2 years ago). To quote CESG: “Local authorities connect to central government systems through a Public Services Network (PSN), via which they can share essential services in an effort to drive efficiency. GCHQ IT security arm CESG provides advice and certification for councils using the PSN.

“According to Gartner’s public sector research director Neville Cannon, CESG rules state that in order to connect to the PSN, authorities must run “patchable” software, which means those running XP after D-day could be in serious trouble.”

This again is an NSA back door. The security panic leads some major entities to migrating to Linux [2,3] and Microsoft’s UEFI-equipped (and Linux-hostile) hardware is now declared dead, perhaps because nobody really wanted it and it self-bricked, due to UEFI 'secure' boot'. This is a “so-so article but points to an interesting attitude,” iophk said, but it basically shows that the ‘new’ “Surface” is a failure as big as the ‘old’ and clumsy “Surface”, which was dubbed a “big ass table” and vanished quietly about half a decade ago.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Swedish Linux Users: Avoid Elgiganten

    As detailed here before, a few Samsung laptop models have a firmware bug that makes them liable to becoming inert bricks if you install Linux. It’s a one-way process. This happened to me when I bought an ultrabook from the Elgiganten big-box store last summer. Both Samsung and the store refused to reimburse me for the loss of my machine’s use. At the suggestion of my home municipality’s consumer advisor (konsumentrådgivare), I took the matter to Allmänna reklamationsnämnden, the National Board for Consumer Disputes (complaint no 2013-10081).

  2. The Death of Windows XP Won’t Kill the ATM Industry, or Help Bitcoin

    The second alternative is to go for an alternative OS altogether.

    This is not as farfetched as it sounds: Linux has a much smaller footprint than Windows 7 and, as a result, some ATM operators are considering a switch to Linux rather than the Microsoft product.

    This would not be the first time ATMs have transitioned to a different OS. Before the industry moved to XP, most ATM’s were running IBM’s OS/2 operating system.

  3. Banks turning to Linux to replace Windows XP on their ATMs

False Spokespeople for Free Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 5:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Still speaking ‘on behalf’ of Free/Open Source software (FOSS)

Future of Open Source Forum

Summary: Companies with a history of FOSS bashing are presenting themselves as representatives of FOSS

Last year we wrote about some relatively new entity called WhiteSource spreading FUD against FOSS. It is now running something called “Open Source Usage Practices Survey” [1] while presenting itself as “a leading provider of automated tools for open-source license compliance and security risk management” (misleading).

WhiteSource has nothing to do with Open Source, it is just exploiting FOSS and uses fear of FOSS to make money. It is similar to Microsoft-tied entities like Black Duck, which is also claiming to be running a survey under the banner “Future of Open Source” (we showed what it really is about). The only new (ish) thing here is the involvement of another entity, North Bridge. To quote the press release: “North Bridge Venture Partners, an early-stage venture capital firm, together with Black Duck Software, the trusted partner for open source software adoption, management and governance, will unveil the findings of the eighth annual Future of Open Source survey during a webinar, “2014 Future of Open Source Survey Results Revealed,” scheduled for Thursday, April 3rd, at 2 p.m. ET.”

So later this week we will be told what to think about FOSS based on a proprietary software company and a financial firm. How apt. This is becoming a real issue and more journalists should look into it. Since real journalism is dying whereas corporate press is thriving, it is likely that many sites will just parrot whatever Black Duck says.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Open Source Usage Practices Survey: Last Chance to Participate

DMCA Offender Microsoft Has a Culture of Censorship Inside the Company, Not Just Customer-facing

Posted in Microsoft at 5:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft demonstrates its embrace of excessive censorship and its disregard for copyright law, which it abuses in order to censor the competition, too

SITES such as BoingBoing point out that not only British ISPs are censoring news sites like TorrentFreak. According to TorrentFreak, “Microsoft Censors TorrentFreak For Security Reasons” (news sites are not a security risk).

“Same “security” reasons Microsoft flunkies remove FB and TB from work computers,” iophk pointed out, adding links to show just how far the British police now goes to censor sites without even a court order [1,2,3].

“Maybe there should also be some criminal charges against companies like Microsoft, e.g. for issuing bogus DMCA takedowns against Google.”Next time when discussing Bing censorship we should remember that Microsoft very much welcomes censorship, even within the company. Microsoft went as far as using bogus DMCA takedown requests against Google, essentially trying to censor the competition. It’s no wonder that sites which reported this, such as TorrentFreak, are being blocked by Microsoft. TorrentFreak is also reporting right now that Google DMCA takedowns are hurting real companies.

“They should be billing for processing takedowns with higher fees for false reports,” iophk notes. Maybe there should also be some criminal charges against companies like Microsoft, e.g. for issuing bogus DMCA takedowns against Google. It is widely known that bogus DMCA takedowns are an offence, but the law is rarely enforced against commercial entities (especially large ones) that resort to bogus DMCA takedowns.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Police blacklist aims to cut off ad funding to piracy sites
  2. London police want to stop good firms from advertising on bad websites

    THE CITY OF LONDON POLICE is asking advertisers to stop hawking their wares on what are viewed as “illegal websites”.

  3. UK Police Launch Pirate Site Blacklist for Advertisers

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts