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05.24.14

Links 24/5/2014: Many Games on GNU/Linux, Thai Coup

Posted in News Roundup, Site News at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • YouTube to acquire Twitch for more than $1 billion

    In March 2014 alone, Twitch was single handedly responsible for 1.35% of all downstream traffic in North America.

  • 9 Things That Didn’t Happen to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

    The evidence is mounting that a deliberate action by someone on board caused the diversion and disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. But over the past week and a half since the plane vanished, as contradictory information came in from various sources, people floated plenty of crazier ideas about the plane’s fate.

  • Security

    • EBAY… You keep using that word ‘ENCRYPTION’ – it does not mean what you think it means

      A day has passed since the online tat bazaar admitted its customer database was hacked back in February, and the method of encryption is still not known. We do what wasn’t encrypted: millions of people’s names, home addresses, dates of birth, phone numbers and email addresses, which were stored in the ransacked database alongside the passwords.

    • Researcher finds vulnerability in eBay and claims he uploaded a shell

      Jordan said in his tweet that he notified about the vulnerability to eBay. A screenshot published in his twitter account shows that he is able to upload a ‘shell.php’ file in the following location…

    • eBay Security Breach Delivers 10 Lessons for Enterprise IT Executives

      Another day, another company that has disclosed that one of its main databases has been hacked and user information has been compromised. So far eBay hasn’t divulged full details of the breach. Reportedly the attackers accessed about 145 million records. Now, the online auction company is urging its 128 million active users to change their passwords. The attackers were able to access everything from users’ full names and addresses to email addresses. But eBay asserts that the compromised database didn’t contain financial information, which the company encrypts anyway. The company also said PayPal users weren’t impacted. The breach, which is just the latest in a long list of security issues that have affected large enterprises with large customer bases, should teach us a lot about security, or the general lack of it, across the Web. The massive Target breach in December showed what can happen when huge databases containing customer information are breached and the data stolen. Reports about eBay demonstrate, once again, how even a huge Internet business, which should know how to defend itself against sophisticated cyber-attacks, can be compromised. This eWEEK slide show highlights what we can learn from this latest attack.

    • eBay Breach Isn’t Just About Passwords
    • EPFL researchers crack unassailable encryption algorithm in two hours

      A protocol based on “discrete logarithms”, deemed as one of the candidates for the Internet’s future security systems, was decrypted by EPFL researchers. Allegedly tamper-proof, it could only stand up to the school machines’ decryption attempts for two hours.

    • Duo Security Review

      Traditional password authentication has long been recognised as the weak link in the security chain, even before the Heartbleed vulnerability exposed the private keys of millions of servers worldwide. A password the user can easily remember is rarely a good password, while a good password is rarely easy to remember.

    • DARPA IS WEAPONIZING VIRTUAL REALITY FOR CYBER WAR

      Andy Greenberg has an online article in this morning’s (May 23, 2014) Wired.com, with the title above. Mr. Greenberg writes that, “for the past two years, DARPA has been working to make waging cyber war — as easy as playing a video game.” “On Wednesday,” he notes, “DARPA showed off its latest demos for Plan X, a long-standing software platform designed to unify digital attack and defense tools into a single, easy-to-use interface for American military hackers. And for the last few months: that program has had a new toy. The agency is experimenting with using Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset — to give cyber warriors a new way to visualize three-dimensional network simulations — in some cases with the goal of better targeting for them to attack.”

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Anna Politkovskaya killing: five men convicted of murder

      The defendants were three Chechen brothers, one of whom was accused of shooting Politkovskaya in the lobby of her Moscow apartment building on 7 October 2006, as well as their uncle and a former police officer.

    • New Zealand, Australian governments complicit in US drone attacks

      In a New Zealand television interview last week, American investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill said in that the National Party government is “extremely aware” of US drone attacks, including one which killed NZ citizen Daryl Jones (also known as Muslim bin John) in Yemen last year. Scahill, author of Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield, who was in Auckland at a writers’ festival, also implicated the Australian government.

    • A Year On, What’s Changed (And What Hasn’t) On Drone Oversight
    • Most US drone strikes in Pakistan attack houses
    • Why Have US Drones Targeted So Many Houses in Pakistan?
    • Why Have US Drones Targeted So Many Houses in Pakistan?
    • E-cigarette ban among bills governor signs

      Gov. Terry Branstad signed 11 bills into law Friday, including a ban the sale of electronic cigarettes and alternative nicotine products to minors in Iowa and a separate measure designed to create parameters for the use of drones, otherwise known as unmanned aerial vehicles.

    • Experts debate ‘killer robots’
    • Despite Obama’s new rules, no end in sight for drone war
    • Obama has put Pakistan drone war on hold

      A year ago, President Obama delivered a speech at the National Defense University in Washington in which he made the case that it was time to wind down the “boundless global war on terror ” and “perpetual wartime footing” that has been a feature of American life since 9/11.

      Indeed, the CIA drone program in Pakistan has stopped completely since the beginning of this year. This is a noteworthy development given the fact that there have been 370 drone strikes in Pakistan over the past decade that have killed somewhere between 2,080 to 3,428 people; most of whom were suspected militants, but also a smaller number of civilians.

    • Judge Napolitano: Obama’s Drones Killed More Girls than Boko Haram Kidnapped

      During a discussion on President Obama sending troops into Chad to help the search for the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, Fox’s Judge Andrew Napolitano told Shepard Smith that American drone strikes have done more damage than the terrorist organization.

    • The year of living more dangerously: Obama’s drone speech was a sham

      Twelve months ago today, Barack Obama gave a landmark national security speech in which he frankly acknowledged that the United States had at least in some cases compromised its values in the years since 9/11 – and offered his vision of a US national security policy more directly in line with “the freedoms and ideals that we defend.” It was widely praised as “a momentous turning point in post-9/11 America”.

      Addressing an audience at the National Defense University (NDU) in Washington, the president pledged greater transparency about targeted killings, rededicated himself to closing the detention center at Guantánamo Bay and urged Congress to refine and ultimately repeal the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which has been invoked to justify everything from military detention to drones strikes.

    • UK’s new Reaper drones remain grounded, months before Afghan withdrawal

      Five new Reaper drones announced by David Cameron in December 2010 to support British troops in Afghanistan are still not yet in operation, the Bureau can reveal.

      The new drones were bought as an urgent purchase and were part of a £135m package intended to effectively double the size of the UK’s fleet of armed drones in Afghanistan, and its surveillance capacity. But more than three years after the purchase was announced, and with just months to go before the UK’s troops are due to leave the conflict, the additional Reapers are yet to take to the skies.

    • Protests Against US Drone War Planned at West Point

      Anti-war protesters displaying model drones and photos of known victims of the US military and secret CIA targeted assignation program will greet family and friends of the graduates as they enter West Point gates at 7 am. The protest will extend to 9:30 am; graduation ceremonies begin at 10:00 am.

      The protest has special meaning for those in the US Army because the MQ-1C Gray Eagle drone, a more deadly version of the infamous Predator drone, is being integrated into use in every Army division.

    • Drone strikes on U.S. citizens defy justification

      That President Obama, formerly a professor of constitutional law, and David J. Barron, “one of the memo’s authors” and an Obama nominee to a federal appeals court judgeship, could conceive of even a shred of justification for such crimes boggles the mind.

    • Tell Congress And President Obama: No Money For More War

      President Obama gave an eloquent speech on May 23, 2013 on the issues of endless war, US drone strikes, Guantanamo, and the 12-year old AUMF (Authorization for the Use of Military Force). Compare his words then with the reality one year later.

      “For over the last decade, our nation has spent well over a trillion dollars on war, helping to explode our debts and constraining our ability to nation-build here at home.”Reality? The “direct” cost of our Iraq & Afghan wars is over $1.5 trillion, and the Administration wants a $79 billion blank check for fighting undefined wars in FY 2015. (That’s on top of a “basic” Pentagon budget of $495 billion).

      “…there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility (Guantanamo) that should never have been opened.” Reality? There were 166 prisoners at Guantanamo a year ago, 154 now. Most of them have been formally cleared for release, and most of the rest have not been formally charged. Hunger strikes there are on-going. Efforts to secure the release of US Army POW Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for Afghan Guantanamo prisoners have not succeeded.

    • US drone promises – One year on

      A year after President Obama laid out new conditions for drone attacks around the world, US forces are failing to comply fully with the rules he set for them.

    • Commentary: The Government Isn’t Very Good at Deciding What to Keep Secret
    • Old CIA links return to haunt Libya’s Haftar

      Libya’s renegade General Khalifa Haftar is leading a military campaign against the country’s Islamist-led government and militants; however, his past life in America and old ties to the CIA are likely to be a stumbling block on his road to power.

      Following his botched February coup attempt –when he appeared on television announcing the dissolution of the government only to be scoffed at by the-then Prime Minister Ali Zeidan as “ridiculous” – launched this week “Operation Dignity” to rid Libya of “terrorists” and “corrupt” officials.

    • Khalifa Haftar: renegade general causing upheaval in Libya

      Commander has managed to rally influential bodies in offensive against post-Gaddafi government but is dogged by old CIA link

    • The CIA’s Bay of Pigs Documents Can Be Kept Secret Indefinitely, Court Rules

      The American public might never get to know the entire history of the events that occurred during the failed Bay of Pigs invasion, not at least until the Central Intelligence Agency is finished revising the draft copy of its history, which seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.

    • U.S. Court of Appeals Joins the CIA’s Cover-Up of its Bay of Pigs Disaster

      The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit yesterday joined the CIA’s cover-up of its Bay of Pigs disaster in 1961 by ruling that a 30-year-old volume of the CIA’s draft “official history” could be withheld from the public under the “deliberative process” privilege, even though four of the five volumes have previously been released with no harm either to national security or any government deliberation.

    • Why is Glenn Greenwald Protecting the CIA?

      Every day across the planet the CIA instigates the arrest, torture and murder of people whose only wrongdoing is opposing the crimes being committed by those in league with Pax Americana. Arms trafficking, drug trafficking, human trafficking, all of the most evil activities on this planet are being instigated and directed by the CIA. So why is Glenn Greenwald protecting these bastards?

    • The CIA Coordinates Nazis and Jihadists

      The confrontation between the Kiev putschists, backed by NATO and Ukrainian federalists, supported by Russia, has reached a point of no return.

    • Senators Feinstein and Levin on 9/11 Case Delay, RDI Declassification

      Made available today: a letter from Senators Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin, which was sent to President Obama in January of this year and urged him to speed things up in the 9/11 case—chiefly by declassifying additional information regarding the CIA’s long-since-discontinued program of rendition, detention and interrogation.

    • CIA secrecy over detention program threatens 9/11 prosecutions, senators warned Obama
    • U.S. Covert Intervention in Chile: Planning to Block Allende Began Long before September 1970 Election

      Covert U.S. planning to block the democratic election of Salvador Allende in Chile began weeks before his September 4, 1970, victory, according to just declassified minutes of an August 19, 1970, meeting of the high-level interagency committee known as the Special Review Group, chaired by National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. “Kissinger asked that the plan be as precise as possible and include what orders would be given September 5, to whom, and in what way,” as the summary recorded Kissinger’s instructions to CIA Director Richard Helms. “Kissinger said we should present to the President an action plan to prevent [the Chilean Congress from ratifying] an Allende victory…and noted that the President may decide to move even if we do not recommend it.” – See more at: http://hnn.us/article/155768#sthash.svf3Lrin.dpuf

    • What Really Happened in Chile

      The CIA, the Coup Against Allende, and the Rise of Pinochet

    • Thailand army chief confirms military coup and suspends constitution
    • A Military Coup in Thailand

      In fact, that’s why America’s Founding Fathers opposed a standing army for the United States. It’s also why President Eisenhower warned the American people about the dangers that the military-industrial complex pose to America’s democratic processes. It’s also why President Truman, thirty days after the Kennedy assassination, authored an op-ed in the Washington Post that talked about the sinister nature of the CIA.

    • A Former Congressman Is Making Explosive Allegations After Allegedly Being Told the ‘Ground Truth’ About Benghazi by Source

      West also said he was told the attackers were with Ansar al-Sharia and government officials are being threatened with their pensions being cut if they speak out about Benghazi.

      As far as why U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was in Benghazi at the time, West claims he was informed that there was a “covert weapons scheme going on in Libya, Benghazi.”

      “We had been supplying radical Islamists with weapons against Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi, effectively supplying the enemy and destabilizing that country,” he added.

      “And it seems that there was a CIA weapons buy-back program, the aim of which was to ship the retrieved weapons out of Libya through Turkey, and to the Islamist forces in Syria.”

      West apparently believes in his source enough to allege Benghazi will “make Iran-Contra look like Romper Room.” However, due to the unanswered questions about the source, it’s impossible to verify the claims at this time.

    • Elias Groll: How much economic espionage is too much?

      Those were the words not of an aggressive Chinese spy, but none other than Stansfield Turner, the Carter-era CIA director, who in 1992 argued that the United States should more aggressively carry out intelligence operations aimed at securing America’s leading economic position in the world.

      If it weren’t for matters of patriotism, the former CIA director probably wouldn’t raise an eyebrow at allegations of Chinese spying unveiled by a Pennsylvania grand jury and the Department of Justice this week.

      Indeed, the tactics the Obama administration has accused China of using have also been debated at the highest levels of the U.S. government as possible instruments of American power. Other countries  have carried out operations similar to those the Pennsylvania grand jury have accused Chinese spies of carrying out.

    • Robert Gates: Most Countries Conduct Economic Espionage
  • Transparency Reporting

    • Whistleblowers deserve full coverage

      Of course, thanks to Wikileaks this even­ing, we now know the coun­try that Glenn Gre­en­wald redac­ted from his ori­ginal report was Afghanistan.

      Why on earth should the Afgh­anis not be allowed to know the sheer scale of sur­veil­lance they live under? In fact, would many be sur­prised? This is an excel­lent related art­icle, do read.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • At least 21 dead in Vietnam anti-China protests over oil rig

      At least 21 people were killed and nearly 100 injured in Vietnam on Thursday during violent protests against China in one of the deadliest confrontations between the two neighbours since 1979.

      Crowds set fire to industrial parks and factories, hunted down Chinese workers and attacked police during the riots, which have spread from the south to the central part of the country following the start of the protests on Tuesday.

      The violence has been sparked by the dispute concerning China stationing an oil rig in an area of the South China Sea claimed by Vietnam. The two nations have been fighting out a maritime battle over sovereignty and that battle has now seemingly come ashore.

    • Green party support is surging – but the media prefer to talk about Ukip
    • This Ice Sheet Will Unleash a Global Superstorm Sandy That Never Ends

      Glaciologist Richard Alley explains that losing West Antarctica would produce 10 feet of sea level rise in coming centuries. That’s comparable to the flooding from Sandy—but permanent.

    • Why Do So Many Books About Africa Have the Same Cover Design?
    • Meet Jess Spear, the Socialist Climate Scientist Running for the State House

      Sawant and Spear are buddies because she left her scientific research to help run Sawant’s victorious Socialist Alternative campaign for City Council last year. She also spent much of that time as Organizing Director of the $15 Now campaign, which is somehow magically about to pass just a year after it began, to the collective bewilderment of the rest of the United States.

    • Climate Change As a Weapon of Mass Destruction

      Who could forget? At the time, in the fall of 2002, there was such a drumbeat of “information” from top figures in the Bush administration about the secret Iraqi program to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and so endanger the United States. And who—other than a few suckers—could have doubted that Saddam Hussein was eventually going to get a nuclear weapon? The only question, as our vice president suggested on “Meet the Press,” was: Would it take one year or five? And he wasn’t alone in his fears, since there was plenty of proof of what was going on. For starters, there were those “specially designed aluminum tubes” that the Iraqi autocrat had ordered as components for centrifuges to enrich uranium in his thriving nuclear weapons program. Reporters Judith Miller and Michael Gordon hit the front page of the New York Times with that story on September 8, 2002.

    • Landmark sites in the US at risk from climate change – in pictures
  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Labour Party has tanked in the English council elections

      Labour played the game of negative expectations in a massive way, claiming a net gain of 150 seats would be a victory for them. So far they have a net gain of just 82. But the extraordinary thing is that the BBC have, throughout the Breakfast News period – the largest TV news watch of the day – been unable to add up all the council seats yet. Sky has totaled every single one of the council seats declared overnight, while the BBC has been able to total under half – and the BBC has come up with a Labour net gain of 102. This has enabled the BBC to show a three figure Labour gain on its strapline all morning, and lead every news bulletin: “Major gains for UKIP in English local elections. Labour has also made gains. A poor night for the Conservatives and Lib Dems”.

    • BBC New Labour Orgasm

      The BBC are way behind in their totalizing, and cherry picking the Labour gains. The BBC have consistently been showing about 7% of all seats contested as Labour gains. Sky consistently shows under 3% of all seats contested as Labor gains.

    • First Amendment for Whom? Press Fights for Access to Scott Walker John Doe Docs

      The public may be on the cusp of learning more about the two “John Doe” investigations into Scott Walker, his associates, and groups that spent millions to get him elected.

      On May 21, the Wisconsin judge in the now-closed 2010-2013 “John Doe I” investigation into Walker’s County Executive during his 2010 run for governor ordered the release of all records gathered in the probe that pertain to county business. That probe resulted in six convictions for Walker aides and associates, including for political fundraising on the taxpayer’s dime. Now, the decision about what records to release rests with Walker’s successor as County Executive, Chris Abele.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • LG Will Take The ‘Smart’ Out Of Your Smart TV If You Don’t Agree To Share Your Viewing And Search Data With Third Parties

      LG certainly feels it has the right to do this. In fact, it makes no secret of this in its long Privacy Policy — a document that spends more time discussing the lack thereof, rather than privacy itself. The opening paragraph makes this perfectly clear.

      [...]

      LG seems very concerned that Smart TV owners won’t allow it to provide them with “relevant ads.” This focus on advertising might give one the impression that a Smart TV is subsidized by ad sales, rather than paid for completely by the end user.

      When LG was caught sending plaintext data on files stored on customers’ USB devices, it amended its policies and data collection tactics to exclude this data. This happened not on the strength of a customer complaint (in fact, LG told the customer to take it up with the store that sold him the TV) but because the UK government announced its intention to dig into LG’s practices and see if they conformed with the Data Protection Act.

    • DNI James Clapper Says US Intel Community About to Experience Technological Revolution With New Satellites and Advanced Sensors

      COLORADO SPRINGS: The intelligence community is on the verge of “revolutionary” technical advances. Spy satellites and other systems will be able to watch a place or a person for long periods of time and warn intelligence analysts and operatives when target changes its behavior. Satellites and their sensors could be redirected automatically to ensure nothing is missed.

    • NSA surveillance reform bill passes House by 303 votes to 121

      The first legislation aimed specifically at curbing US surveillance abuses revealed by Edward Snowden passed the House of Representatives on Thursday, with a majority of both Republicans and Democrats.

      But last-minute efforts by intelligence community loyalists to weaken key language in the USA Freedom Act led to a larger-than-expected rebellion by members of Congress, with the measure passing by 303 votes to 121.

    • No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald – review
    • A Response to Michael Kinsley

      Do I need to continue to participate in the debate over whether many U.S. journalists are pitifully obeisant to the U.S. government? Did they not just resolve that debate for me? What better evidence can that argument find than multiple influential American journalists standing up and cheering while a fellow journalist is given space in The New York Times to argue that those who publish information against the government’s wishes are not only acting immorally but criminally?

    • Assange names country targeted by NSA’s MYSTIC mass phone tapping program

      The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has been recording and storing nearly all domestic and international phone calls from Afghanistan, according to Wikileaks’ front man Julian Assange.

      Wikileaks revealed the name of the country after The Intercept reported Monday that the NSA was actively recording and archiving “virtually every” cellphone call in the Bahamas and one other country under a program called SOMALGET. The Intercept said it did not name the second country because of concerns that doing so could lead to increased violence.

    • WikiLeaks statement on the mass recording of Afghan telephone calls by the NSA

      The National Security Agency has been recording and storing nearly all the domestic (and international) phone calls from two or more target countries as of 2013. Both the Washington Post and The Intercept (based in the US and published by eBay chairman Pierre Omidyar) have censored the name of one of the victim states, which the latter publication refers to as country “X”.

    • With or Without WikiLeaks’ NSA Revelation, Violence Reigns in Afghanistan
    • WikiLeaks names ‘entire’ nation under NSA gaze
    • WikiLeaks Claims NSA Is Recording ‘Nearly All’ of Afghanistan’s Phone Calls
    • New NYT editor spiked NSA spying story

      Mostly lost in the past week’s media gossip around NYT executive editor Jill Abramson’s ouster, and Dean Baquet’s promotion to her role: Baquet is the former LA Times editor who killed the biggest NSA leak pre-Edward Snowden.

    • How the NSA may have tapped Merkel’s phone

      The seven-page secret report by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), seen by Bild newspaper, discusses five possible ways the NSA could have gained access to Merkel’s phone. The story caused outrage in Germany when it came to light in October last year.

    • ​NSA spies on OSCE HQ in Vienna – report
    • NSA Spying In Austria Beyond Unacceptable: Analyst

      The National Security Agency [NSA] has reportedly gained direct access to the fiber optic network linking Vienna, Austria to the Internet, and has been spying on the roughly 17,000 diplomats stationed in the Austrian capital city, where several important international organizations are headquartered, including the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, the International Atomic Energy Agency and Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
      Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/us/news/2014_05_24/NSA-Spying-In-Austria-Beyond-Unacceptable-Analyst-9767/

    • Another Former NSA Lawyer Says He Wouldn’t Have Listened To Concerns About The Agency’s Surveillance Programs

      Frontline’s expansive report on the NSA in the wake of the Snowden leaks (United States of Secrets) has uncovered some rather amazing stuff about the agency’s mindset. The post-9/11 decision to deflect every question or concern with conjecture about how “thousands of lives” will be lost if its programs are rolled back or altered in any way continues to this day — rehashed in every government hearing and set of talking points since the leaks began.

      “Live in fear” is the motto. Every question about domestic surveillance is greeted with nods to its legality and assertions that even acknowledging known facts about the NSA’s programs gives our nation’s enemies the upper hand.

    • Pentagon report: scope of intelligence compromised by Snowden ‘staggering’
    • China responds to NSA tampering with network gear vetting process

      The US government used security concerns to essentially drive Chinese companies out of the American networking marketplace. Now China is doing the same thing, as the Chinese government is planning to require all products sold in the country to pass a “cyber security vetting process,” the state-controlled Xinhua News Agency reported.

    • The NSA wins again. You lose
    • Who Leaked NSA Documents to WikiLeaks?

      Julian Assange’s whistle-blowing group announced plans to publish an NSA report that allegedly could get people killed. The question is: How did they get the documents?

    • NSA panel invites US tech chiefs as witnesses
    • Germany wants Zuckerberg to testify in NSA case – report

      Members of the German parliamentary commission, which is investigating the US National Security Agency’s (NSA) questionable activity, want the heads of US high-tech companies, including Apple, Facebook, Twitter and Google, to testify to the Bundestag, writes Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

      In March, the German parliament’s lower house voted to investigate the NSA’s operations in Germany. According to the documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, the NSA monitored the telephone conversations of Chancellor Angela Merkel and other members of the German political and economic elite.

    • How the NSA Can Get Onto Your Computer

      But as The New York Times and others reported earlier this year, there is a suite of programs, codenamed QUANTUM, which allows the NSA access to a much wider variety of computers.

    • Letter: Americans should be furious over the extent of NSA spying

      Over the past two weeks, I watched the two-part PBS “Frontline” investigation broadcast locally on WNED titled, “The United States of Secrets.” This was an engrossing yet chilling report on the secret NSA spy program that encompasses the intrusions into the privacy of all U.S. citizens as well as foreign entities. This is the program that began after 9/11 under President George W. Bush and has been expanded upon under President Obama.

      I found myself becoming very angry while watching this program, perhaps more for the fact that both presidents continue to mislead and even lie to the American public about the scope of the spying rather than the actual privacy intrusion itself. Yes, many people will say: “Oh, it doesn’t affect me. I have nothing to hide.” But this country was built upon the Constitution and our rights are being trampled under the guise of security from terrorism. Major U.S. Internet and communications providers are cooperating with the NSA in granting access to our emails, phone calls, messages, Skype calls and even our financial transactions.

      I think the thing that may disturb me the most is the silence over this issue from the American public. In my opinion, Edward Snowden is a whistle-blower and should be applauded for his disclosures rather than ostracized and condemned as a criminal. Wake up, America, before it’s too late.

    • Irony alert: Google labels NSA data centre a ‘backup service’

      Irony alert! Google Maps has labelled the now infamous NSA data centre in Utah a “hard drive backup service.”

      While not technically inaccurate, it’s also hardly descriptive.

      The NSA’s data centre in Utah is the focal point of many of the surveillance operations brought to light by the Edward Snowden leaks in 2013. It was popularized after an article in Wired Magazine last year profiled its construction and purpose. It includes four 25,000-square-foot buildings just to hold servers. It has its own power plant and substation. Security is intense and nobody gets close to it without proper clearance.

    • With the NSA Reform Bill, Privacy Is Not on the Menu
    • House of Representatives passes ‘gutted’ NSA surveillance reform
    • House Members Join Hands to Pass ‘Weak’ NSA Reform
    • Feinstein: ‘Open’ to Considering House NSA Reform Bill

      Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said she is willing to consider the surveillance reform bill passed by the House on Thursday, which would end the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection of phone records.

    • Glenn Greenwald: U.S. Corporate Media is “Neutered, Impotent and Obsolete”

      In the final part of our extended interview, Glenn Greenwald reflects on the Pulitzer Prize, adversarial journalism and the corporate media’s response to his reporting on Edward Snowden’s leaked National Security Agency documents. “We knew that once we started publishing not one or two stories, but dozens of stories … that not just the government, but even fellow journalists were going to start to look at what we were doing with increasing levels of hostility and to start to say, ‘This doesn’t actually seem like journalism anymore,’ because it’s not the kind of journalism that they do,” Greenwald says. “It doesn’t abide by these unspoken rules that are designed to protect the government.”

    • We need to know why DHS is an NSA intelligence “customer”, and what that means

      One of the results of the endless propagation of this myth was the creation of so-called “intelligence fusion centers” throughout the United States, initially funded by the Department of Homeland Security. Now sustained by state and local governments, with occasional aid from DHS, fusion centers are staffed by representatives from federal, local, and state agencies, as well as members of private industry. They have cost the United States hundreds of millions of dollars over the last ten years, but even though they were set up as anti-terrorism intelligence offices, none has thus far produced any useful information about terrorism.

    • Peter Watts on the Harms of Surveillance

      This is interesting. People accept government surveillance out of fear: fear of the terrorists, fear of the criminals. If Watts is right, then there’s a conflict of fears. Because terrorists and criminals — kidnappers, child pornographers, drug dealers, whatever — is more evocative than the nebulous fear of being stalked, it wins.

    • Edward Snowden is giving his first American TV interview on May 28th
  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Open Source Chief at Redhat Hit With Bogus Copyright Claims

        Bogus copyright claims on YouTube are getting more and more prevalent, but they only get exposure when they do damage to high-profile targets. Michael Tiemann is the Chief of Open Source Affairs at Redhat Inc. and apparently he can’t use Creative Commons music in his uploads without being bombarded with copyright claims.

      • Red Square, Moscow
        “Why I’m Voting Pirate” – A Testimony From An Ex-Soviet

        This testimony – “Why I’m Voting Pirate” – was published by Leila Borg, a person who grew up in the Soviet Union but moved to Sweden after the fall of the Iron Curtain. It has been translated to English and reposted here for a wider audience.

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  1. Patents Roundup: IAM's Claims About India, Lawyers' Patent Bias, ITC for Microsoft, and PTAB Against Kyle Bass

    Another weekly summary, focusing on issues that pertain to or affect Free software in particular



  2. Microsoft Crowd Rocks the Media With Misleading Claims and Deliberate Lies About GNU/Linux, Vista 10, and Free/Open Source Software

    A roundup of rigged press coverage, intended purely to serve Microsoft's agenda



  3. Links 31/8/2015: Linux 4.2, LXLE 14.04.3

    Links for the day



  4. IRC Proceedings: August 9th, 2015 – August 29th, 2015

    Many IRC logs



  5. “Conservative” Site Responds (Yet Again) to Misguided “Conservative” Efforts to Derail Patent Reform in the US

    Patent trolls throw stones in glass houses, contributing to their own unpopularity, but some influential “Conservatives” continue to defend (conserve) them



  6. Increase in Lobbying for Software Patents in Europe and Its Trojan Horse, the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The relentless campaigns to bring software patents into Europe have not stopped and so-called 'unification' -- much like so-called 'trade' deals -- serves to support them



  7. Microsoft Technology Crashes Financial Markets, Again

    SunGard, which is a Microsoft shop, is clearly failing to provide what it calls mission-ciriticaal [sic] solutions



  8. Alice v. CLS Bank (Alice/§101) Comes to Squash Software Patents Even in Eastern District of Texas

    The crackdown on software patents is coming along nicely and the Alice case is now being utilised even in the capital of patent trolls



  9. Apple's Patent Cases Against Android Are Falling Apart, as Acknowledged Even by the Anti-Android Lobby





  10. Links 29/8/2015: NetworkManager 1.0.6, Systemd Merges “su” Command Replacement

    Links for the day



  11. Microsoft Loves Linux to Death and Still Tries to Kill GNU/Linux

    Microsoft's relentless attacks on GNU/Linux and Free software in general (even if it runs on Windows) are so evident that claims of 'love' remain laughable at best (if not infuriating)



  12. Censorship, Self-Censorship and Intimidation Now the Modus Operandi at EPO

    The European Patent Office has ceased even trying to pretend that it respects human rights, including the right to free speech



  13. Patent Practitioners: "The Unitary Patent Might be Able to Open the Floodgates for Software Patents in Europe"

    The EPO-backed Unitary Patent scheme threatens to bring software patents to Europe and along with them a lot of patent trolls from all around the world (especially the United States)



  14. Microsoft Lies About Vista 10 and Increases Microsoft Surveillance (Even Beyond Vista 10 and Into Android, Vista 7/8)

    Windows surveillance expands retroactively, making its way into platforms other than Windows and also expanding to predecessors of Vista 10



  15. Another Suicide at the EPO, Fifth by Our Count

    Yet another EPO member of staff has just committed suicide, leading to the inevitable question: how many people need to die before Battistelli and his minions are out of the Office for good?



  16. Links 27/8/2015: ownCloud Desktop Client 2.0, Red Hat Downgraded

    Links for the day



  17. Microsoft-connected Mesosphere Threatens to Eliminate Free Software in the Datacentre

    Hiding behind a misleading 'open' label while actually backed by Microsoft (and based on new rumours may join Microsoft), Mesosphere wishes to eradicate Free and back doors-free software in large datacentres hosting a lot of physical and virtual servers



  18. Microsoft Aggression Against GNU/Linux Amid Vista 10's Failure

    A look at the recent assault on GNU/Linux in Munich and the likely cause for this assault (in such a timely fashion, too)



  19. Message to LinuxCon Regarding Microsoft: “It is Necessary to Get Behind Someone in Order to Stab Them in the Back.” -Sir Humphrey Appleby

    Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, helps Microsoft gain influence in the Foundation after payments are received



  20. Market Share Estimates Confirm That Vista 10 Failed in a Major Way

    Confirmatory evidence that Vista 10 is failing in the market about a month after its much-hyped (paid coverage) release



  21. When Microsoft, the Master of Patent Trolls, Complains About Trolls

    Possibly the world's biggest patent abuser and monopolist, which also creates many patent trolls (including by far the biggest one), takes on a far smaller abuser in Court



  22. Letter Signed by Two German Officials Becomes a Microsoft Weapon of Propaganda

    Microsoft and its minions refuse to leave Munich alone, even though the vast majority in Munich are perfectly happy with Free/libre software



  23. Links 25/8/2015: Linux Kernel 4.2 Final RC, KDE Ships Plasma 5.4.0

    Links for the day



  24. Sabine Pfeiler and Otto Seidl Should Take Note as Russia -- Like China -- is in the Process of Banning Microsoft Windows for Security Reasons

    A look at a strange suggestion, signed by Sabine Pfeiler and Otto Seidl, who suggest going back to Microsoft which is basically a spyware company now



  25. Microsoft Windows Leads to Espionage and Blackmail: Latest Examples

    Another news overview, detailing high-profile examples of high-cost Windows deployments (including the cost of litigation and settlement)



  26. Links 23/8/2015: BcacheFS Benchmarks, Blackphone 2

    Links for the day



  27. Links 22/8/2015: Chromebook Gains, GNOME 3.18 Clues

    Links for the day



  28. Alice v. CLS Bank (the Alice Case/§101) Continues to Crush Software Patents in the United States

    Patent scope in the United States continues to be narrowed down as more software patents get their wings clipped



  29. Company of Hype and 'Fanbois' Continues Its Patent Attacks on Android/Linux

    Apple's attacks on Android (using bogus patents) may be soon be escalated to the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS)



  30. EPO Corruption of Patent Boundaries: Business Methods and Algorithms Patented

    How the European Patent Office (EPO) not only turns a blind eye to European law while patenting or granting patents on software but also openly advocates this now


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