Links 20/4/2014: EFF FOSS, Easter Drone Strikes, Copyright Industry Fear of Google

Posted in News Roundup at 4:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Safety you can bank on: Chromebook, Linux, phone

    If you’re not deterred by learning strange software, you can save hundreds of dollars by downloading a copy of the open-source Linux operating system and burning it to a CD or copying it to a flash drive. As security journalist Brian Krebs explained in the summer of 2012, you can pop that into your Windows PC, boot the machine off it, and go online insulated from whatever might lurk in your copy of Windows.

    (In that post, Krebs endorsed a version of Linux with the charming name Puppy Linux; I usually recommend a different variety called Ubuntu, but the differences don’t amount to much in this context.)

    Using Linux just for online banking also insulates you from most of its potential complexity: You’re only running a browser.

    But if installing new apps in Windows already fills you with dread, or the thought of picking one version of Linux out of dozens makes your head hurt, spend money instead of time. A Chromebook just might work — and might be all the computer you needed in the first place.

  • Emmabuntüs: A philanthropist’s GNU/Linux

    Emmabuntüs is a desktop GNU/Linux distribution which originated in France with a humanitarian mission. It was designed with 4 primary objectives – refurbishing of computers given to humanitarian organizations like the Emmaüs communities, promoting GNU/Linux among beginners, extending the life of older equipments and reducing waste by over-consumption of raw materials.

    The latest version, Emmabuntüs 2 is based on Xubuntu 12.04 LTS and is very user-friendly. Though it is designed to work on older computers it includes many modern features like a large number of pre-configured programs, dockbar to launch applications, easy installation of non-free software and multimedia codecs and quick setup through automated scripts. It also supports 6 languages.

  • 50 Open Source Replacements for Windows XP

    Fortunately, the open source community has free operating systems that meet the needs of users in all of these situations. This month we’ve put together a list of 50 different applications that can replace Windows XP. It’s organized into several different categories. Those that are easiest for beginners to use come first, followed by lightweight operating systems that can run on old hardware, then operating systems that are particularly tailored for business users and open source operating systems that aren’t based on Linux. The list ends with a few applications that aren’t complete operating systems but do allow users to run their existing XP software from Linux.

  • Kernel Space

    • Easter Yields The Linux 3.15-rc2 Kernel Release

      There’s many new features to the Linux 3.15 kernel with some of my favorite features being AMD VCE 2.0 video encoding support, EFI mixed mode support, file-system improvements, continued power management / ACPI work, virtualization improvements, near-complete support for building the Linux kernel with LLVM’s Clang, and many other additions and new hardware driver support.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD Is Disabling DPM Support For RV770 GPUs

        AMD’s Alex Deucher sent out a patch on Friday to disable Dynamic Power Management on the RV770 by default. The DPM for the RV770 was enabled by default with the Linux 3.13 kernel and it yields better/lower power consumption while idling, better performance if the video BIOS sets lower clock speeds at boot time, and with the lower power consumption can also come lower heat output. However, some users have reported issues with RV770 GPUs in using the Linux 3.13 kernel and newer. (In my personal testing of several different RV770 GPUs, I haven’t encountered any issues with Linux 3.13+.)

      • Linux 3.15 Lands Some DRM Graphics Driver Fixes

        Likely most notable from this latest DRM fixes series entering the Linux kernel is the microcode fixes for some newer graphics cards, mainly fixing up the dynamic power management support for the AMD Radeon R7 260X graphics card. Besides the microcode fixes to stabilize newer GCN-era hardware, there’s also some run-time power management fixes, and PLL regression fixes for the Radeon driver. Hopefully this pull will fix a Radeon DRM problem previously mentioned on Phoronix during the early Linux 3.15 benchmarking. Many more Linux 3.15 kernel benchmarks are forthcoming on Phoronix.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Weeeee, Kubuntu 14.04 is out! and already looking to the future

        It is really fabulous to be able to present the latest KDE software into our Kubuntu LTS. This will give us the freedom to try out the newest stuff from KDE based on the sparkly new Frameworks, Plasma Next and so forth, in our next release. So, our users will be able to use software supported for five years if they want, while also having the option to install 14.10 (if all goes well) and check out the newest.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Jolla’s Confidence and Marketing Grows Through Monthly OS Updates

        Once more, Finnish smartphone manufacturer Jolla has updated the Sailfish OS for the Jolla handsets. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who is intensely following the adventures of the boutique mobile platform as Jolla has promised to update the OS every month. Not just ‘next month’ but ‘every month’ .

Free Software/Open Source


  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • 6 of Dick Cheney’s Biggest Whoppers Since Leaving Office

      The good news is that Dick Cheney is not our Vice President anymore. The bad news is that he continues to say evil, blatantly false things to the press. We didn’t appreciate his opinions when he was in the White House, and we certainly don’t appreciate them any better now. Here are six more recent quotations that leave us wishing Cheney would just shut up altogether…


      George Soros and Bill Gates – both supporters of immigration reform – are investors in a controversial private prison firm…

    • Bill Gates Foundation’s Investments Questioned In Street Protest

      For-profit prison company accused of lobbying for harsher sentences and holding deportees longer than necessary

    • Bill Gates attacked over G4S child prisoners ‘shame’

      The philanthropic body run by the world’s richest person, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, today faced accusations that the charity is complicit in the torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian detainees, including child prisoners.

    • Bill Gates Criticised for Investment in G4S’ Israel Torture Prisons
    • What Really Happened at the Bay of Pigs
    • US Nuclear Weapons Proliferation: We’re No. 1!

      The corporate media is focused on the question of how or if Iran could ever break out of its promise under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to eschew nuclear weapons to use reactors only for civilian purposes. So many headlines refer to sanctions imposed against Iran that millions of people mistakenly think Iran has a nuclear arsenal. It doesn’t.

    • Star-Spangled Baggage: How America’s Wars Came Home With the Troops

      After an argument about a leave denied, Specialist Ivan Lopez pulled out a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and began a shooting spree at Fort Hood, America’s biggest stateside base, that left three soldiers dead and 16 wounded. When he did so, he also pulled America’s fading wars out of the closet. This time, a Fort Hood mass killing, the second in four and a half years, was committed by a man who was neither a religious nor a political “extremist.” He seems to have been merely one of America’s injured and troubled veterans who now number in the hundreds of thousands.

    • On Nazis, Jews & Ukraine ‘de-escalation’

      For starters; the regime changers in power in Kiev did not commit themselves, explicitly, to constitutional reform (the draft language is slippery, to say the least); they did not commit, explicitly, to leaving Ukraine out of NATO; and a minor but still significant point – this was not a joint press conference by the two key players, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry.

      Arguably, the US State Department is bound to interpret ‘de-escalation’ as a sort of ultimatum to every anti-fascist, pro-autonomy and pro-Russia group in eastern Ukraine, as in ‘disarm or else’. That’s the same logic behind the nefarious March 2011 UN approval of a no-fly zone over Libya.


      Expectations were not high for Thursday’s four-party Ukraine talks, and we were not denied. While the illegal, violent coup-meisters were represented by themselves and their two major benefactors, the US and EU, the East Ukrainians were not invited. Imagine that.

    • Twin Shocks Shake Foundation of German Power

      That shocking news — “snooping among friends, that just doesn’t work,” as Ms. Merkel put it — is still reverberating through the political elite and most recently spurred Parliament to appoint a committee to look into the case.

    • Geneva deal appears meaningless on battle lines

      The agreement signed by the foreign ministers of Russia, Ukraine, the United States and the European Union suggested that people such as Alexander, a 31-year-old unemployed man who joined the pro-Russian protests in this industrial city should have been making preparations to head home. Instead, he was patrolling the entrance to the Donetsk regional headquarters as usual, clutching a club and wearing a balaclava.

    • CIA Working On Proxy War Against Russia in Ukraine

      The primary reason CIA boss John Brennan went to Kyiv on Sunday was not to talk about intelligence sharing as the establishment media has reported. This was the paper thin cover story floated by Rep. Mike Rogers, the out-going chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. It is propaganda.

    • Hidden Agenda behind CIA Director Brennan’s Trip to Kiev: “Initiate the Use Of Force” in Eastern Ukraine
    • Imperial overreach

      However, the most significant event unfolding before our eyes, which has undermined US dominance in the world, is occurring in Ukraine. The US engineered the outcome in Ukraine, which led to the toppling of the previous government and installation of the current regime. In the past, the contest was always between an overwhelmingly superior force and an opponent that was weak, isolated or defenceless. This time, however, it is the feathers of Russia that have been ruffled from the interference in Ukraine. And Russia is not weak, isolated or defenceless. Neither the US nor Russia will back down from the conflict in Ukraine as a matter of international prestige and domestic reputation. If that is not wrong and the escalation leads to a proxy war between the two, to be played out as a civil war in Ukraine, will the US be able to win in Russia’s backyard, where the armies of Charles XII, Napoleon and Hitler all failed?

    • The Ukraine Imbroglio and the Decline of the American Empire

      When discussing the Ukraine-Crimea “crisis” it might be hygienic for Americans, including their political class, think-tank pundits, and talking heads, to recall two striking moments in “the dawn’s early light” of the U. S. Empire: in 1903, in the wake of the Spanish-American War, under President Theodore Roosevelt America seized control of the southern part of Guantanamo Bay by way of a Cuban-American Treaty which recognizes Cuba’s ultimate sovereignty over this base; a year after the Bolshevik Revolution, in 1918, President Woodrow Wilson dispatched 5,000 U. S. troops to Arkhangelsk in Northern Russia to participate in the Allied intervention in Russia’s Civil War, which raised the curtain on the First Cold War. Incidentally, in 1903 there was no Fidel Castro in Havana and in 1918 no Joseph Stalin in the Kremlin.

    • Anti-Semitic ‘provocation’ signals dangerous game in Ukraine city

      Rabbi Pinchas Vishedski was chatting outside this city’s lone synagogue after Passover prayers on Wednesday night when three men in masks approached. They were unarmed, Rabbi Vishedski says, but carrying something hateful in their hands: a leaflet demanding that Jews living in Donetsk come to the regional administration building “to be registered,” or face expulsion.

    • Boston and Baghdad

      All this carnage, following the destruction of Iraq by George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and the aftermath, is occurring in a country less than one twenty-third the size of the United States with less than one ninth the population, and far fewer emergency and hospital facilities.

    • Drone strikes: We’re humans, not bugs waiting to be squashed
    • Air strike in Yemen kills suspected militants

      A drone strike in Yemen on Saturday killed at least 10 suspected al Qaeda militants but also inadvertently resulted in the deaths of three civilian day laborers, a high-level Yemeni government official told CNN.

    • Documentary reveals US Air Force unit recruits gamers to kill with drones in Pakistan
    • 11 detained during drone protest at Beale AFB

      Eleven people protesting the U.S. government’s use of unmanned drones were detained at Beale Air Force Base on Friday, base officials said.

    • Jack Tame: Remote death by drone, so 2014

      So we killed a dude and no one seems too fazed. What’s the deal with that? You’ll excuse my casualness, I hope, but it seems to be the way we’re approaching this. A Kiwi dude got killed by a drone. It took months to even identify him. But meh, it is what it is. Back to your brioche and latte.

    • Haunting Instagrams Show What Drone Operators Would See if They Targeted Americans
    • US drone pilots are ‘stressed’ and ‘demoralized’ – official report

      ​The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) has produced a scathing report detailing the Air Force’s mismanagement of its active-duty drone pilots, who are responsible for the most demanding and deadly missions in the entire US military.

    • LETTERS: Anger against Bundy misdirected

      Ask yourself what is worse: execution by drone without due process, or private cattle grazing on public lands?

    • The Obama Drama

      The Obama drama means that the president can easily decide to kill bin Laden, resort to drones, establish his own kill list, and refuse to prosecute the torture mongers of the Bush administration, but the president cannot beat the NRA and get sensible gun laws passed in Congress, and he cannot force Israel to stop its illegal settlement policy, which, in the long run, will be harmful to Israel itself, and in the short term is brutal for the Palestinians and disastrous for the image of both the U.S. and Israel.

    • America’s “Exceptional” Reality

      Mainstream media are intensively focused on last year’s Boston Marathon victims in their run-up stories to this year’s April 21st Marathon. It is enough to divert people’s attention from what our government does to countless more human beings in our name—which would explain why so-called “terrorists” would want to hurt us Americans. This statement is not meant, in any way, to minimize what happened in Boston in 2013. The lives of the four persons killed and over 260 injured last year are most precious, and words will never adequately express the terrible loss of loved ones and devastating injuries suffered. Nor is the intent to minimize the culpability of the alleged Marathon bombers. But something else is going on here—and it is not in the best interest of last year’s bombing victims, nor the rest of us citizens.

    • U.S. drone strike kills 5 terror suspects in Yemen

      But critics said the drone strikes often violate international law and cause heavy civilian casualties. Last December, a U.S. drone strike mistakenly hit a wedding party in Yemen’s southeastern province of al-Bayda, killing 11 Yemeni civilians and wounding another 21.

    • People panic as drones fly over Hangu

      Those killed were mostly Afghan refugees.

    • URGENT – Yemen-Drone-Target

      Nobody killed in the strike was believed to be among AQAP’s senior leadership, the source said.

    • Benghazi Mystery Explained!?!

      Answer offered by Seymour Hersh Gets Little Public Attention

    • Did Israel steal bomb-grade uranium from the United States?

      Nearly 50 years have passed since the events in question. It is time to level with the public. At this point it is up to the president himself to decide whether to declassify completely the NUMEC documents, all of which are over 30 years old. He should do so. We know that is asking a lot given the president’s sensitivity about anything involving Israel, and especially anything relating to Israeli nuclear weapons. But none of his political concerns outweigh his responsibility to tell the US public the historical truth it deserves to know.

    • Guantánamo trial judge orders CIA to account for treatment of detainee

      A judge overseeing the trials of terror suspects at Guantánamo Bay has ordered the CIA to turn over details of its treatment of a detainee in one of its secret prisons, a watershed ruling that sets the stage for the military commissions to learn much more than the US public about the agency’s brutal interrogations.

    • Military Judge Orders CIA To Turn Over Details On ‘Black Site’ Prisons
    • James Mitchell: ‘I’m just a guy who got asked to do something for his country’

      Dr James Elmer Mitchell has been called a war criminal and a torturer. He has been the subject of an ethics complaint, and his methods have been criticized in reports by two congressional committees and by the CIA’s internal watchdog.

    • On CIA abuses, denial does Americans no favors

      Instinct pushes us away from reckoning with the mindset that led our country into disastrous foreign adventures over the last few decades. We prefer not to ask why we misjudged the world and our ability to change it. This form of denial is dangerous. Pretending that nothing went seriously wrong can only lead us to future trouble.

    • US Drone Strike Kills 21 in Yemen, Including Civilians

      The strike targeted a pickup truck carrying 16 people, and was apparently a “signature strike” on the assumption the truck was carrying al-Qaeda. Though none of the slain were identified, reports dubbed all 16 “suspected militants.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It’s Not a Democracy

      And they’ve found that in fact, America is basically an oligarchy.

    • Save the World, Work Less

      With climate change threatening life as we know it, perhaps it’s time to revive the forgotten goal of spending less time on our jobs

    • Lessons from corporatized college: Even PhDs are being squeezed out of the middle class

      In our US of A, those words ought never be juxtaposed. The very concept of paying poverty wages in the richest nation in the history of the planet is an abomination–a mark of societal failure. Yet, not only have millions of our people been shoved into the abyss of the working poor, but our soulless corporate and political elites tell us to get used to it, for the Walmartization of work is our nation’s future.

    • Wall Street market rigged!

      More bluntly, Michael (of Liar’s Poker and The Big Short fame) claimed on TV’s 60 Minutes in early April that the US’s US$22 trillion stock market is rigged by HFTs. It’s not surprising that some Wall Street titans, including Charles Schwab (founder of the old established discount brokerage house) agreed, describing the practice of HFT as “a cancer undermining confidence in the free enterprise system.” To be fair, other high profiles on Wall Street also insist that few investors are actually hurt by the activities of HFTs; in fact, these “New Barbarians” do have redeeming features, including injecting competition, generating market liquidity and lowering transaction costs.

    • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Censorship

    • Privacy

      • Snowden Calls BS On Putin’s Answer: Says He Was Playing The Role Of Ron Wyden

        Yesterday we, like many, were perplexed by Ed Snowden’s decision to go on a Russian television program, and to ask Vladimir Putin a question about whether or not the Russians do mass surveillance like the NSA does (which was, of course, exposed by Ed Snowden). It was clearly playing into Putin’s propaganda efforts, because Putin immediately took the opportunity to insist that no, Russia does not do mass surveillance like that. Of course, Putin’s answer was not true. Many of Snowden’s detractors immediately jumped on this as an example of how he was working for the Putin propaganda machine — and many (including us), wondered if he was, at the very least, pressured to play a role in order to keep his temporary asylum. Others thought he was just being naive. Some Snowden supporters, however, insisted that we should hear him out, and see if there was some more specific motive behind his question.

        Apparently, we didn’t have to wait long. Snowden himself has now directly called Putin out for lying about Russian surveillance, and said that his question was designed to act similar to Senator Ron Wyden’s now famous question to James Clapper, leading to Clapper’s lie, which (in part) sparked Snowden’s decision to finally release the files he’d been collecting.

      • The End Of Facebook

        It’s taken five years to get the Booooooom Facebook page to the size it is now and after all that it appears, due to Facebook’s greed, it’s a complete waste of time to continue using it. The other day I made a post, and of the 155,000 people following our page, only 400 people saw it. That’s not even 1% of our followers! That’s kinda insane if you think about it. There was a time when 60,000 people would see a post, and we had less followers then!

      • US, India are the top offenders on Facebook

        Facebook released its global government transparency report. USA the oldest democracy, UK the representative democracy and India the largest democracy are the biggest offenders of its citizen’s privacy. For the first time it is revealed that how often countries have restricted or removed content from the site.

      • Covert Inquiry by F.B.I. Rattles 9/11 Tribunals
      • Judge in Sept. 11 case confirms FBI is investigating defense lawyers

        The sudden turn of events has frustrated prosecutors, who want to move the case closer to trial, and angered relatives of the victims, some them coming away from this week’s hearings believing the pretrial process has been “sabotaged.”

      • The mentality of J Edgar Hoover’s FBI undergirds today’s surveillance state

        The new documentary 1971, about the formerly anonymous FBI burglars who exposed the crimes of former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, debuted to a rapt audience at the Tribecca film festival last night. As the filmmakers noted in an interview with the AP, the parallels between Nixon-era FBI whistleblowers and Edward Snowden’s NSA revelations are almost eerie in their similarity.

      • Is Data Hoarding Necessary for Lawful Surveillance?

        The answer is emphatically no. Well understood cryptographic techniques can enable lawful intercept and surveillance without the creation of centralized hoards of personal information. This is not a geeky footnote in the mass surveillance saga. Such hoards are dangerous as well as unnecessary; they could be leaked or sold to a foreign state or criminal gang by a future, more venal incarnation of Edward Snowden.

      • Edward Snowden’s vindication: Burman

        The Pulitzer Prize in public service journalism is ultimately a tribute to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, once regarded as an American traitor.

      • Student Data: Moving Past Transparent to Tangible

        The one-stop data warehouse provider inBloom, despite its non-profit status and open source code, suffered a series of setbacks thanks to a combination of unfortunate timing (that NSA thing), guilt-by-association (controversial statements by Bill Gates about teachers as the Gates Foundation provided funding, and coding work done by an edtech company owned by Rupert Murdoch), and self-inflicted wounds (initial sluggishness in directly responding to criticism or clearly explaining what inBloom-the-service was).

      • The Rise of Big Data Brings Tremendous Possibilities and Frightening Perils

        In my mind, there is no doubt that data analytics will one day help to improve health care and crime detection, design better products, and improve traffic patterns and agricultural yields. My concern is about how we will one day use all the data we are gathering — and the skeletons it will uncover. Think about how DNA technology is being used to free people who were wrongfully imprisoned decades ago. Imagine what supercomputers of the future will be able to do with the data that present-day data gatherers haven’t yet learned to use.

      • Xinhua Insight: China on frontlines of cyber security threat

        The situation became more urgent after Edward Snowden, a former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, said the U.S. had been hacking into institutions based on the Chinese mainland.

        The NSA has also been spying into the servers of Chinese company Huawei’s sealed headquarters, according to revelations by The New York Times and Der Spiegel, which the U.S. has not denied.

      • Tribeca Docs on Government Spying: ‘What Was Illegal Under Nixon Is Legal Under Obama’

        “Silenced” and “1971” deal with 43 years of surveillance and retaliation against whistleblowers

        Government surveillance, abuses of power and the supression of dissent kicked into high gear after 9/11, one documentary argued at the Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday night.

        But the whistleblowers who exposed recent activities were hardly breaking new ground, because some of the same things were going on more than four decades ago, another Tribeca doc pointed out.

      • FALLOUT: The Geopolitics of the Snowden Files

        ON JULY 2 LAST YEAR, the governments of Portugal, France, Italy, and Spain bowed to US orders and refused airspace to the plane carrying Bolivian president Evo Morales. He’d been traveling from Russia to South America until his presidential jet was forced to land in Vienna. Morales and his ministers were stranded there for 15 hours. Acting on bad intelligence or mere suspicions, the higher-ups in the Obama administration, and perhaps President Obama himself, decreed this embarrassing, unprecedented, and illegal detention of a foreign sovereign. The lies fed to Morales and his pilots in Vienna — that there were “technical” issues for the emergency landing — fooled no one: American authorities suspected that the Bolivians were helping NSA whistleblower Edward J. Snowden’s escape from Russia to South America.

      • Lavabit Complies With U.S. Government Request — In A Teeny, Tiny Font

        U.S. based secure email provider Lavabit has been fighting its government for months now, after shutting down to avoid having to provide information about its clients. But, unable to fight any longer, it finally relinquished its SSL keys — in a less-than-readable font size.

        It seems like a troll move. But, known for his stance on a free internet, Lavabit founder Ladar Levison is clearly not joking around when putting any obstacle he can in the government’s path of snooping on his email clients. The provider was set up with total security in mind for its users, and Levison claims that handing over his encryption keys would “compromise all of the secure communications in and out of my network, including my own administrative traffic.”

      • You Are Being Watched

        Secret NSA courts, established in 1978, called Federal Intelligence Surveillance Courts or FISA courts, grant warrants to the NSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for secret searches.

      • Bill to protect e-data advances

        Voters in November could be asked by the General Assembly whether to protect electronic data from unreasonable search and seizure, under a measure introduced this week at the state capitol.

        The measure, Senate Concurrent Resolution 14-002, is sponsored by perhaps the most unlikely pairing of senators: Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray) and Senate President Morgan Carroll (D-Aurora). In the House, Rep. Dan Nordberg (R-Colorado Springs) is its sponsor. The measure would amend the state constitution to add electronic data to “persons and papers” that are not subject to unreasonable search and seizure.

        SCR 002 is in part a response to re

      • In a MaidSafe state of mind
      • Justices Ginsburg, Scalia says Supreme Court to rule over NSA surveillance despite lack of know-how

        Two US Supreme Court justices have admitted in front of the National Press Club that the country’s to court has no choice but to decide on the controversial surveillance activities of the National Security Agency, TechCrunch said.

        Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told the club that the US’ high court is the least qualified institution to decide on the federal agency’s activities.

      • GCHQ Names New Director Amidst Snowden Controversy

        Senior Foreign Office official Robert Hannigan has been named new head of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the British intelligence and surveillance agency that came under scrutiny alongside its US counterpart, the National Security Agency (NSA), following the damaging disclosures of highly classified SIGINT by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      • Joint Letter from Civil Society Organizations to Foreign Ministers of Freedom Online Coalition Member States

        Snowden explicitly told PACE members that the NSA had “specifically targeted the communications of either leaders or staff members in a number of purely civil or human rights organizations … including domestically, within the borders of the United States.”

      • Governments up the ante on cyberspying styles

        We don’t mean to imply that all forms of technospying are this advanced, though. Russia was busted last year after putting infected memory sticks in gift baskets presented to world leaders at a G-20 summit (lat.ms/1gWn3Ra). And among the NSA’s many tricks were intercepting shipping deliveries, planting bugs or back doors in the packaged hardware, then sending the packages on their way (bit.ly/1iiDw7e).

      • ‘1971’, An Early Echo Of NSA, Snowden
      • TECH TOYS: What would George Orwell think of the new Gmail update?

        And Google is promising that it won’t allow Glass facial recognition apps that tap into Google tell the wearer who someone is, who they work for, what football team they like, when was the last time they changed their underwear and things like that. That’s the only reason I’d want to buy Google Glass, but Google is worried about the perception it’s the world’s No. 1 corporate voyeur.

      • Looking for Terrorists? Why Not Check the Extreme Right Website Linked to 100 Hate Crime Killings

        The Southern Poverty Law Center found that users on the White Nationalist Web forum Stormfront.org were responsible for something like a hundred slayings that related to discrimination. Among the infamous killers the site boasts as users are the man responsible for the 2011 Norway massacre, Anders Behring Breivik, and Wade Michael Page, who shot six people dead at a Sikh temple in 2012 in Wisconsin.

      • Greenwald Reacts to Pulitzer Win: They ‘Had to Recognize’ Snowden Reporting in Some Way

        On this Sunday morning’s Reliable Sources, CNN’s Brian Stelter will conduct the first interview with Glenn Greenwald since his reporting based on NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks, along with that of The Washington Post, won the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. In a preview from the upcoming segment, Greenwald said he know the Pulitzer committee “had to recognize” the Snowden-based work in some way, and he’s pleased with how they chose to do it.

      • State of control

        As the world celebrates the 25th birthday of Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s invention of the World Wide Web, the fight for an open and free internet gains more momentum. Although the openness – and scrutiny – of the internet has always been a cause for concern for digital rights advocates, things got pretty messy after Edward Snowden’s (ongoing) leaks about NSA and GCHQ’s snooping tactics.

      • Protests continue against Dropbox after appointment of Condoleezza Rice

        The decision by Dropbox this month to appoint Condoleezza Rice, the former secretary of state, to the company’s board of directors sparked a heated online debate about her views on Internet surveillance and the role of the National Security Agency.

      • In brief: Dropbox won’t drop Condoleezza Rice over surveillance concerns
      • Australian VPN Offers Anonymity to Citizens Concerned About Their Online Privacy
      • Stephan Lesher: Thank you, Edward Snowden

        But as a whistleblower who has revealed government machinations on a scale not seen since Daniel Ellsberg gave America the Pentagon Papers, he does deserve, at the very least, a thank you, a pat on the back, and a get out of jail free card.

      • Clapper Goes on Tour to Persuade University Students Snowden Is No Whistleblower, Not a Hero

        Director of National Intelligence James Clapper is touring universities and colleges in the United States in an attempt to persuade students that they should not consider former NSA contractor Edward Snowden a whistleblower or a hero.

      • Former CIA Director: Snowden Is Obviously A ‘Prop’ For Putin
      • Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: ‘Why all the criticism?’

        Fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden has written an op-ed column in the Guardian justifying his decision to go on live TV to question Russian President Vladimir Putin about his country’s policies on mass surveillance.

      • Documentary ’1971′ explores break-in of FBI office in Pa.

        “They’re ordinary Americans who decided to take a stand,” says Hamilton, a producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Pray the Devil Back to Hell.”

      • Way to go DHS! And Shame on the Rest of You

        If the FBI is collecting and using cyber data in the same way the NSA deals with phone calls – we are in trouble.

      • The U.S. Government: Paying to Undermine Internet Security, Not to Fix It

        The United States spends more than $50 billion a year on spying and intelligence, while the folks who build important defense software 2014 in this case a program called OpenSSL that ensures that your connection to a website is encrypted 2014 are four core programmers, only one of whom calls it a full-time job.

      • The UK’s response to Snowden’s revelations lets Putin off the hook

        The surveillance watchdog report clearing GCHQ provides a worrying precedent for the Russian president and other autocrats

      • IRS, other agencies award contracts to license plate tracking company

        The Internal Revenue Service and other agencies awarded about $415,000 in contracts to a license plate-tracking company before Homeland Security leaders dropped a plan for similar work amid privacy complaints.

    • Civil Rights

      • Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: Boxer whose wrongful conviction for murder caused international outrage, dies aged 76

        Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, the boxer whose wrongful murder conviction became an international symbol of racial injustice, has died at 76.

      • World Cup 2014: Brazil’s plans for anti-terror law alarm rights groups

        Human rights campaigners have sounded the alarm about proposed Brazilian anti-terrorism legislation that they fear will be used to crack down on legal protests during the World Cup.

        The government says that it needs the new law before the tournament, which kicks off on 12 June, because the high-profile international event could be a target for violent extremists. But lawyers, politicians, NGOs and protest organisers warn that the current wording of a bill submitted to the Brazilian National Congress is dangerously vague and could allow security forces unprecedented powers to arrest demonstrators.

      • The militarization of the police

        Recently a black family was awakened to the thunderous sounds of their front door crashing in and Gestapo-like footsteps fanning throughout their home. It was the St. Louis SWAT Team with no search warrant or explanation of their intrusion.

        This is just one example of the militarization of domestic police which has accelerated over the years with little public scrutiny or restraint. And now, Police Chief Sam Dotson wants to add drones to his arsenal.

        The mother in the no-knock raid was temporarily put in hand-cuffs and the father was thrown on the floor. Their juvenile son was taken to police headquarters and questioned without the presence or permission of his parents.

      • Hillary Clinton and the Future Failure of Progressive Hope and Change

        The crowd cheered when she said it; the party seems to be teeing up issues like gender equality to facilitate it; and with the McCutcheon decision, the way seems paved for a DLC Democrat like Hillary to waltz into the nomination. And yes, gender equality is a critical issue, but don’t hold your breath looking for progress from Hillary. She’s likely to do as much for women, as Barack Obama has done for African Americans – which is to say damn little, other than a better brand of rhetoric.

      • Washington’s Corruption and Mendacity Is What Makes America “Exceptional” — Paul Craig Roberts

        The Los Angeles Times has acquired its own Judith Miller. His name is Sergei L. Loiko. An incompetent Obama regime has botched its takeover of Ukraine with its Kiev coup. The White House Fool is embarrassed that so many Ukrainians prefer to be part of Russia than part of Washington’s stooge “freedom and democracy” government in Kiev. The prostitute American and European media have thrown the propaganda into overdrive, demonizing Russia and President Putin, in order to cover up Washington’s blunder.

      • The Psychologist Behind the CIA’s Torture Program Desperately Wants to Speak Out

        The psychologist who wrote the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program wants to tell his story to the world, if only non-disclosure agreements with the U.S. government weren’t holding him back.

      • Why Constitutionalists Should Celebrate April 18

        Throughout 1774 and the Spring of 1775, Paul Revere was hired by the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety to serve as an “express rider,” an 18th-century mailman of sorts. Revere’s job was to carry information — news, letters, dispatches, copies of proposed resolutions — to dispersed patriots throughout New England and as far away as New York and Philadelphia.

        This day, April 18, Dr. Joseph Warren notified Revere that he was to ride to Lexington, Massachusetts, and alert local patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock that British regulars were marching to arrest them.

    • Intellectual Monopolies

      • Bill Gates Files Anti Google Glass Patent Application

        Google Glass, recently put on limited sale to the general public, has raised privacy concerns because it may record video and audio with little indication to outside parties. There are instances where individuals may not want or expect to be recorded by strangers in public. Embarrassing or incriminating recordings of an individual may be obtained at locations such as restaurants, bars, or support groups without an individual’s knowledge. Further, sensitive information on laptop or ATM screens may be compromised by Google Glass wearers peeking over one’s shoulder and recording what they see.

      • Copyrights

        • Android Pirate gets busted, agrees to go undercover for the Feds – but is this the right approach?

          Two years ago, TechDirt did a fantastic job covering the seizure of a domain named Dajaz1. It took the Department of Justice over a year to admit that they had no evidence. In fact, after the site had been withheld by the government for over a year, Congress seemed to finally take notice that the government was holding the site hostage without bring an actual lawsuit.

          The Department of Justice seems to handle all the alleged “piracy” sites the same way: Pull down with no warning, give no hearing and give no due process. Before last year’s Super Bowl, ICE seized 313 websites without any adversarial hearing along with a “few” arrests for counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise. ICE did not publicize the fact that they also had seized legitimate merchandise.

          Several weeks ago, the Homeland Security’s ICE division joined with GoDaddy to censor a Mexican political protest site. GoDaddy suspended the domain and ICE would not give an explanation as to why they were taking down the site. When Mike Masnick over at TechDirt was looking into filing FOIA requests about this case, he asked for a fee waiver, which is standard procedure. Under FOIA, government agencies can charge for the requested work, but they’re supposed to waive the fees if the request is for the public interest or reporting. ICE rejected his fee waiver request. Why? Because…ICE actually told him they rejected his request “because” with no additional information.

        • ‘We Are Afraid of Google’: A German Media Mogul Tells It Like It Is

          It’s not like Google’s impending world domination isn’t already well-known or well-documented, as a cursory Google search clearly shows. But few prominent public figures have stood up and really ripped into the tech giant for holding a terrifying amount of power—not to its face, anyway. And not as candidly as Germany’s largest publisher Mathias Döpfner, CEO of the German media empire Axel Springer, did earlier this week.

        • Why we fear Google

          In your text you refer to the marketing cooperation between Google and Axel Springer. We were also happy with it. But some of our readers have now interpreted this to mean that Axel Springer is evidently schizophrenic. On the one hand, Axel Springer is part of a European antitrust action against Google, and is in dispute with them regarding the issue of enforcement of German ancillary copyright prohibiting the stealing of content; on the other hand, Axel Springer not only benefits from the traffic it receives via Google but from Google’s algorithm for marketing the remaining space in its online advertising. You can call it schizophrenic – or liberal. Or, to use one of our Federal Chancellor’s favorite phrases: there is no alternative.

        • Google is building up a digital superstate, says German media boss

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