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05.28.14

Links 28/5/2014: TogetherJS, PHP Next Generation

Posted in News Roundup at 1:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is ‘Open’ the ‘Organic’ of the IT Industry?

    First let’s talk about what ‘open’ is not. Open is not merely publishing an API, it’s not submitting your proprietary way of doing things to a standards body, nor is it throwing some code on GitHub. These things aren’t enough.

    Open isn’t about fundamentally changing the equation for the end user. What end users of technology are looking for is the ability to select technology from multiple vendors and have it work together. The ability to not be dependent on a single vendor and to switch non-disruptively if a vendor chooses to go in a different direction.

    So what is ‘open’? First of all it’s something everyone can see, everyone can access, the community can change and anyone can build on. It’s not easy, it’s hard. Good open source is open. How do you know good open source? Look at the community. If there is diversity, meritocracy and a high level of activity it’s probably ‘open’. Hadoop, MySQL, Linux, and OpenStack all make the grade. Cloud Foundry is getting there; Open vSwitch has really come a long way.

  • Nginx passes Apache as Web server of choice among top sites

    According to W3Techs’ figures, Nginx runs 38.8 percent of the top 1,000 sites, with Apache Httpd running 33.7 percent and Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) running 9.2 percent. The overall rankings still put Apache at the top, though, with 60.5 percent of all known sites running Apache and only 20.7 percent running Nginx. But the closer one gets to the top of Alexa’s rankings, the greater the odds the site in question is running Nginx.

  • Top 4 open source alternatives to LDAP

    When you want to set up an application, most likely you will need to create an administrative account and add users with different privileges. This scenario happens frequently with content management, wiki, file sharing, and mailing lists as well as code versioning and continuous integration tools. When thinking about user and group centralization, you will need to select an application that fits your needs.

  • Blender 2.71 Test Release Issued With New Features

    Blender 2.71 with its Cycles rendering now supports fire and smoke rendering, deformation motion blur, various optimizations, and support for NVIDIA Maxwell cards when it comes to CUDA support. Blender 2.71 also adds OpenGL render options to its UI, animation improvements, multi-threaded animations within the Blender Game Engine, and many improvements within the Freestyle NPR Rendering.

  • Open Source in high integrity systems

    For example, the Linux operating system is pervasive and open source tools such as the GCC compiler collection are widely used. I even have a copy of Linux running the refrigerator in my kitchen.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Can you name all ten OpenStack releases?

      Can you name all of the OpenStack releases? It’s harder than you think, even for some of the core members of the development team.

      During OpenStack Summit, a sampling of attendees were surveyed to see if they could. The results were, well, mixed.

  • Databases

    • Oracle Expands Open-Source High-Availability with MySQL Database Fabric

      Oracle is aiming to make it easier for open-source users of its MySQL database to scale.

      Today Oracle announced the new MySQL Fabric technology as an open-source tool that is available in the MySQL Utilities 1.4 release.

      “If you want to build a high-availability MySQL database, you typically have to setup replication, manage the failover and write some scripts to manage the failover,” Tomas Ulin, vice president, MySQL Engineering explained toDatabaseJournal. “MySQL Fabric hides most of that and will manage the high-availability for you.”

    • Oracle launches database scalability service MySQL Fabric
    • Met Office selects 2ndQuadrant to help with data migration to open source

      The Met Office has selected PostgreSQL specialists 2ndQuadrant to provide training, support and consultancy as the weather service bids to shift from proprietary database solutions that require a licence fee to other alternatives.

      The selection of 2ndQuadrant comes after two pilot projects went into production in April when the Met Office’s locations management database (Strabo) and LIDAR (light detector) data capture system were implemented again into object-relational database management system PostgreSQL and open source software program PostGIS.

  • CMS

    • Open source CMS Tendenci launches service provider program

      The creators of open source CMS project Tendenci want to free up time to focus on developing the platform, so they’ve launched the Web Alliance Marketing Program to partner with service providers to help organizations with their post-deployment needs.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • TogetherJS

      Want to add real-time collaboration to your Web application? Mozilla’s TogetherJS is worth a look.

    • PHP Next Generation

      Over the last year, some research into the possibility of introducing JIT compilation capabilities to PHP has been conducted.

      During this research, the realization was made that in order to achieve optimal performance from PHP, some internal API’s should be changed.

      This necessitated the birth of the phpng branch, initially authored by Dmitry Stogov, Xinchen Hui, and Nikita Popov. This branch does not include JIT capabilities, but rather seeks to solve those problems that prohibit the current, and any future implementation of a JIT capable executor achieving optimal performance by improving memory usage and cleaning up some core API’s.

    • PHP Working On A “Next Generation” Branch

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Counties sue narcotics makers, alleging ‘campaign of deception’

      Two California counties sued five of the world’s largest narcotics manufacturers on Wednesday, accusing the companies of causing the nation’s prescription drug epidemic by waging a “campaign of deception” aimed at boosting sales of potent painkillers such as OxyContin.

  • Security

    • The Half-Baked Security Of Our ‘Internet of Things’

      It is a strange series of events that link two Armenian software engineers; a Shenzen, China-based webcam company; two sets of new parents in the U.S.; and an unknown creep who likes to hack baby monitors to yell obscenities at children. “Wake up, you little slut,” the hacker screamed at the top of his digital lungs last summer when a two-year-old in Houston wouldn’t stir; she happened to be deaf. A year later, a baby monitor hacker struck again yelling obscenities at a 10-month-old in Ohio.

    • Apps on your Android phone can take photos without you knowing

      A researcher has demonstrated that it’s possible for malicious attackers to create an Android app that will surreptitiously take pictures and upload them to a remote server without the user being aware of or noticing it.

    • Avast Takes Down User Forum After Breach
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • No UK troops for Nato’s Ukraine war games

      We note with great concern that UK and US troops will participate alongside Ukrainian troops in joint military exercises on Ukrainian territory in July as part of NATO’s Rapid Trident manoeuvres. Ukraine is not a member of NATO. Its participation in military exercises by a nuclear-armed alliance with a first-strike policy can only further destabilise the situation in the Ukraine, making it more difficult to achieve a political resolution to the crisis.

    • One Year After Obama’s Big Drone Speech, Many Promises Left Unkept

      One year ago last Friday, President Barack Obama gave a major address on drones, targeted killing and terrorism. The president and administration officials promised that the drone program would operate within limits protecting civilians, control would be transferred from the CIA to the Pentagon, and a new era of transparency would begin.

      The number of drone strikes has fallen since then, but it is far from clear that the drop was a result of a shift in administration policy. Frustrated in part by Congress and the facts on the ground in Pakistan and Yemen, when it comes to drones, Obama has fulfilled few of his promises.

    • Drones will be focus of protests at Obama’s speech
    • NYPD Renews Push For Drones To Help Police The City

      While unmanned aircraft could offer outstanding benefits to both the NYPD and the city’s fire department, these benefits may not outweigh the concerns of citizens and civil liberties groups.

    • Robot Warfare: What Happens When Humans Cede Combat Duty to Automated Forces?

      With the increasing use of drones in military operations, it is perhaps only a matter of time before robots replace soldiers. Whether fully automated war is on the immediate horizon, one researcher says it’s not too early to start examining the ethical issues that robot armies raise. In her recent thesis on the ethics of automation in war, Linda Johansson, a researcher in robot ethics at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, suggests that it is necessary to reconsider the international laws of war, and to begin examining whether advanced robots should be held accountable for their actions.

    • Is US Domestic Case Law Providing a Moral Hazard for Covert Killings of Americans Overseas?

      One of the most controversial decisions of the Obama presidency has been his authorization to target and kill Americans overseas who decide to take up arms against the United States. In 2011, a drone strike killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen who moved to Yemen and became a high level cleric within al-Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate, which has been deemed by the United States to be al-Qaeda’s most dangerous branch. According to US officials, Awlaki was too dangerous to be left alive as his work and teachings were radicalizing others to join in jihad.

    • White House Can’t Regain a Deterrence It Never Had

      The stories previewing President Obama’s upcoming foreign-policy address at West Point leaves the impression that the president might somehow just verbalize a word cloud of catchphrases instead of an actual speech. The New York Times story over the weekend, for example, explains that the president will seek to “chart a middle course between isolationism and military intervention.” It quotes national-security aide Ben Rhodes as saying the speech, at tomorrow’s commencement ceremony, is “a case for interventionism but not overreach.”

    • The Uncomfortable Truth Is That Targeted Killings Are Legal Until Congress Says Otherwise

      At the most superficial level, Judge David Barron, who the Senate confirmed last week to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit, is easy to compare to the infamous Bush Administration attorney John Yoo. Yoo authored several infamous memos while he was a senior attorney in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, which argued that it was perfectly legal to torture so-called “enemy combatants” captured during the Bush Administration’s efforts to fight terrorism. Barron, also as a senior attorney in the same Justice Department office, authored several memos concerning the use of drones to target suspected terrorists during the Obama Administration — including at least two concerning whether the president may order a senior enemy combatant who is also an American citizen killed without trial.

    • Feds seek extra redactions in drone memo

      The Justice Department plans to ask a federal appeals court to delete additional material from a drone-related legal opinion before it’s made public—redactions that would go beyond those the court approved last month, a government lawyer said in a legal filing Tuesday night.

      Last week, officials speaking on condititon of anonymity said the Obama Administration had decided not to appeal the pro-disclosure ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. Word of the decision to acquiesce in the the appeals court ruling and release the Office of Legal Counsel memo in redacted form came on the eve of a Senate vote on the confirmation of former DOJ official David Barron to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit. Indeed, word of the decision to make some of the legal opinion public may have helped clear the way for Barron’s confirmation by the Senate, 53-45.

    • UK government faces legal action over failure to investigate BT drones link

      The legal charity Reprieve has threatened legal action against the British government over its failure to investigate the role of UK telecoms giant BT in facilitating covert US drone strikes in Yemen.

      BT has earned an estimated $23 million from a US government contract to supply key communications infrastructure between RAF Croughton – a US military base in Northamptonshire – and Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, the secret base from which armed drones reportedly carry out lethal strikes in Yemen. According to the US military, American forces stationed at RAF Croughton provide “global strike operations.”

      Legal investigations have begun on behalf of Mohammed al-Qawli, a Yemeni civil servant who lost his brother, a primary school teacher, and cousin, a 20-year-old student, in a drone strike in January 2013. They follow a July 2013 complaint by Reprieve to the UK government watchdog, the National Contact Point (NCP) for the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) Guidelines. That complaint was rejected after the NCP said it had no duty to “conduct research or interrogate” BT.

    • An Advocate For One-Branch Tyranny

      President Barack Obama has employed the limitless executive power defended by Mr. McCarthy…

    • Yemen’s Military Really Doesn’t Want Anyone to Know About Civilian Casualties

      It’s clear that when journalists and activists have been prevented by the governments of Yemen and the US from covering conflicts in Yemen — or persecuted for challenging official versions of events — the goal of authorities has repeatedly been to conceal atrocities against civilians. As the Yemeni military, backed by the US, continues both its fight against al Qaeda and its persecution of journalists, we must continue to ask: What are they trying to hide this time?

    • Conor Friedersdorf: Killing of American a dangerous precedent

      Consider the most extremist act President Barack Obama has taken: he put an American on a secret kill list, sent a drone to find the man, and blew him up. No judge. No jury. Just a summary execution. The target might have deserved to die. But he had a right to a trial, even in absentia. The Fifth Amendment guarantees that no one will be deprived of life without due process.

    • Posterity Will Hate Us: Building a Lasting Legacy of Death

      What do we aim at? Houses! Who do we kill? Everyone inside the houses!

    • 10K troops to ‘finish’ Afghan job

      President Obama revealed his long-awaited plan for Afghanistan on Tuesday, announcing that a residual force of 9,800 U.S. troops will remain there for one year after the end of combat operations in December. That number will be cut in half at the end of 2015 and reduced at the end of 2016 to a small military presence at the U.S. Embassy.

    • Monster Capitalism and the Complicit State

      The phrase “close-embrace” to describe the incestuous relationship between business and government in advanced capitalism is by Masao Maryuma, a Japanese political scientist to describe corporate concentration under the blessing and encouragement of government. This is, along with the centrality of war and market expansion, among the most salient integral features of capitalist development in its progression to monopolism, hierarchical class structure, and establishing a full-blown partnership with government: the Corporate and National-Security States merging, with national security concerned as much with protecting the market share and freedom from adverse regulation of the dominant firms in the industrial and financial sectors, as with putatively repelling a foreign foe and protecting the “homeland”. The upshot, fascism without, necessarily, the concentration camp—fascism predicated on the internalized repression of the populace, conditioned to look to the business system as the genius of the nation, its arbiter of taste, its salvation. The trickle-down paradigm follows, as does the moral superiority of those at the top AND the enterprises they lead—conversely, justified class-stratification where the lazy and/or subversive (i.e., those maladapted to the incentives offered by capitalism) fall deservedly into an underclass.

    • 50 Years Later, CIA Still Refuses to Release One Volume of Report on Invasion of Cuba

      The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been granted the legal authority to refuse to release an historical report on the failed Bay of Pigs invasion more than 50 years ago.

      The matter arose after the National Security Archive, a nonprofit historical organization at George Washington University, sued the CIA to obtain the last portion of an internal history about the April 1961 mission to overthrow Fidel Castro of Cuba.

      The first four volumes of the report, written by CIA staff historian Jack Pfeiffer, have been released over the years. But the CIA refused to release the Volume V draft, claiming it was authorized under an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act to withhold the information. A final version of the report has not been produced.

  • Finance

    • Can capitalism ever be ethical?

      Bank of England governor Mark Carney says capitalism is doomed if ethics vanish

    • Thomas Paine, Our Contemporary

      Cornel West, Richard D. Wolff and I, along with moderator Laura Flanders, next Sunday will inaugurate “The Anatomy of Revolution,” a series of panel discussions focusing on modern revolutionary theorists. This first event will be part of a two-day conference in New York City sponsored by the Left Forum, and nine other discussions by West, Wolff and me will follow in other venues later this year.

      Sunday’s event will be about Thomas Paine, the author of “Common Sense,” “The Rights of Man” and “The Age of Reason”—the most widely read political essays of the 18th century, works that established the standards by which rebellion is morally and legally permissible. We will ask whether the conditions for revolt set by Paine have been met with the rise of the corporate state. Should Paine’s call for the overthrow of British tyranny inspire our own call for revolution? And if it should, to echo Vladimir Lenin, what must be done?

      Thomas Paine is America’s one great revolutionary theorist. We have produced a slew of admirable anarchists—Alexander Berkman, Emma Goldman, Dorothy Day and Noam Chomsky—and radical leaders have arisen out of oppressed groups—Sitting Bull, Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Fannie Lou Hamer, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Cornel West and bell hooks—but we don’t have a tradition of revolutionists. This makes Paine unique.

    • Is David Koch Getting a Tax Writeoff for Dropping $900K on the Walker Race?

      The “charitable” wing of David Koch’s Americans for Prosperity has dropped nearly $900,000 on ads to boost Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s reelection campaign, just days after polls showed Walker tied with his Democratic challenger, Mary Burke.

  • Censorship

    • Europe On The Verge Of Destroying Online Comments And Free Speech

      We’ve written many times about the importance of protection against secondary liability for websites, such that they’re not held liable for what their users do. In the US, thankfully, we have Section 230 of the CDA, which clearly states that websites cannot be held liable for speech made by their users. Frankly, we shouldn’t need such a law, because it should be obvious: you don’t blame the site for the comments made by others. That’s just a basic question of properly placing liability on those responsible. But, in a world of Steve Dallas lawsuits, in which people will always sue companies with deep pockets, it makes sense to have explicit safe harbors to stop bogus litigation.

    • BBC Accused Of Censorship After Editing Out ‘Girl’ For Fear Of Offending
    • OSCE against Internet censorship in Serbia

      OSCE representative in charge of media freedom, Dunja Mijatovic, criticized today Serbian authorities over a disturbing trend of efforts to censor media content on the Internet.

    • Censorship in an online age
    • Film Censorship Board set to revise outdated fees

      Filmmakers and importers will soon have to dip deeper into their pockets to have their film certified by the Film Censorship Board.

    • Saudi Arabia Steps Up Censorship, Snaring Activists

      Since the surprise Arab uprisings of 2011, the Saudi government has worked assiduously to ensure it has all the tools of censorship it needs to control dissent. These tools — a combination of special courts, laws, and regulatory authorities — are starting to fire on all cylinders. The result has been a string of arrests and prosecutions in recent months of independent and dissident voices.

    • In Kansas, Professors Must Now Watch What They Tweet

      The Kansas Board of Regents gave final approval Wednesday to a strict new policy on what employees may say on social media. Critics say the policy violates both the First Amendment and academic freedom, but school officials say providing faculty with more specific guidelines will actually bolster academic freedom on campus.

  • Privacy

    • FBI Says Free App Could Help In Child Abduction Cases
    • Saving Time & Lives: FBI Unveils New Child ID App
    • FBI Joins The 20th Century, Will Begin Using Recording Equipment During Custodial Interviews

      No, that’s not a typo. The FBI has finally reached the 20th century when it comes to advancements in recording technology. No longer will records of custodial questionings be limited to agents’ handwritten notes — the sort of thing that’s impossible to independently verify and prone to “spin” by the transcriptionist. (via emptywheel)

    • DOJ reverses no-recording policy for interrogations

      Since the FBI began under President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908, agents have not only shunned the use of tape recorders, they’ve been prohibited by policy from making audio records of statements by criminal suspects without special approval.

    • NSA aims for absolute surveillance

      He said the NSA aims to have utter surveillance of everything it wants, and there is no boundary or limit to what it wants to do.

    • Deputy Pm: ‘Fnm Govt Knew Of N.S.A. Spying’

      DEPUTY Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis suggested yesterday that the former government “was aware of” an arrangement to accommodate alleged cell phone spying conducted by the United State’s National Security Agency (NSA) on the Bahamas.

    • Where was the NSA before the Isla Vista Mass Shooting?

      He stabbed three men to death in his apartment and shot the others as he opened fire on bystanders on the crowded streets of Isla Vista, California. Rodger then killed himself. Three semi automatic handguns, along with 41 loaded ten-round magazines— all bought at local gun stores— were found in his car. There could have been many more dead.

    • Do Personal Computers Come With NSA Surveillance Devices Built-In As Standard?

      Just over a year ago, only the most paranoid would have worried about the fact that the GCHQ sent two people to destroy these seemingly trivial components. But in the wake of Snowden’s revelations about the astonishing range of technologies that the NSA has developed in order to infiltrate hardware systems — things like radio transmitters built into USB leads — the GCHQ’s actions immediately raise a troubling thought: that most or all mainstream computers routinely contain various components that can be used to spy on us.

    • Importing network gear from the US is “a big f***ing mistake”

      Ever since the revelations from Edward Snowden regarding the United States’ National Security Agency (NSA) mass interception of online communications, many individuals have taken measures to secure their data connections. Use of services designed to improve personal privacy has spiked, and many companies – like Google and Facebook – have begun fully encrypting traffic on their networks to try and avoid the prying eyes of spooks.

    • What’s Wrong With Cisco and IBM Today? Blame the NSA
    • China Said to Study IBM Servers for Bank Security Risks

      The Chinese government is reviewing whether domestic banks’ reliance on high-end servers from International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) compromises the nation’s financial security, people familiar with the matter said, in an escalation of the dispute with the U.S. over spying claims.

      Government agencies, including the People’s Bank of China and the Ministry of Finance, are asking banks to remove the IBM servers and replace them with a local brand as part of a trial program, said the four people, who asked not to be identified because the review hasn’t been made public.

    • Google’s Brin says NSA surveillance revelations were a ‘huge disappointment’
    • Google’s Brin Says NSA Surveillance Revelations Were a “Huge Disappointment”

      Onstage at Code Conference, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said that recent revelations of National Security Agency surveillance were “a huge disappointment, certainly to me and obviously to the world as a whole.”

      He suggested that some level of surveillance for national security may be appropriate, but that limited spying on a few foreign generals to prevent “total nuclear annihilation” during the Cold War is not the same as mass surveillance of Internet traffic in the modern age.

    • Privacy under attack: the NSA files revealed new threats to democracy

      Thanks to Edward Snowden, we know the apparatus of repression has been covertly attached to the democratic state. However, our struggle to retain privacy is far from hopeless

    • Edward Snowden Says He Assisted NSA and CIA as Undercover Agent Overseas

      Edward Snowden, former contractor at the US National Security Agency who leaked top secret documents about massive surveillance programmes conducted by the US government, said he “was trained as a spy” and rejected claims that he was a low-level analyst.

    • Snowden: I Was a Spy, Given a Fake Name

      Edward Snowden wants the world to know he was more than the “low-level systems administrator” US authorities have described him as—he was a trained spy and technical expert. In an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams, the National Security Agency leaker says he was a spy “in sort of the traditional sense of the word in that I lived and worked undercover overseas—pretending to work in a job that I’m not—and even being assigned a name that was not mine.” He says he has worked for the CIA as well as the NSA, and as a lecturer at a counterintelligence academy for the Defense Intelligence Agency and for the CIA as well as the NSA..

    • Edward Snowden: ‘I Worked As A Spy Overseas’
    • Edward Snowden: I was a spy ‘at all levels’

      Fugitive leaker disputes US government claims he was a low-level administrator

    • Why it’s impossible to make an NSA-proof computer

      The past year has not been a great one for computer security. Last summer, Edward Snowden revealed how the NSA has been exploiting vulnerabilities to spy on people, Target suffered a massive security breach that exposed the credit card information for as much as a third of the American population, the Heartbleed bug was a major vulnerability found in the Internet’s most common encryption standard, and eBay just asked all 145 million of its customers to change their passwords after a security breach. But that was just the tip of the iceberg.

      [...]

      She argues that every computer and every piece of software we use is vulnerable to hackers because of terrible security flaws. The reason for all these flaws, Norton says, it that these programs are being written by developers who face immense pressure to ship software quickly. Security is simply not a top priority in this context. Even the people who focus on computer security struggle to keep track of every vulnerability.

    • Spectacular NSA-saga finale coming: Greenwald

      Glenn Greenwald, one of the main journalists behind the exposé of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA)’s global mass surveillance of Internet and telephone communications, said that the “biggest yet” revelations were yet to come in days ahead — the names of numerous U.S. persons and organisations who were the targets of the automated mega-snooping.

    • Names of American citizens spied on by NSA to be published
    • ‘Biggest yet’: Greenwald to publish names of Americans whom NSA is spying on
    • House Moves to Sever Crypto-ties Between NSA and NIST
    • House Committee Initiates NIST-NSA Separation on Crypto Standards

      Eight months after an explosive revelation that encryption standards developed and evaluated by the National Security Agency were allegedly subverted by the intelligence outfit, a House committee has moved to sever the NSA’s involvement in the standards process.

      An amendment to the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act, or FIRST Act, was passed by the House Science and Technology Committee late last week that strikes a requirement that the NSA and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) work hand-in-hand on encryption standards.

    • Secrets and Lies: Should we know how far surveillance goes?
  • Civil Rights

    • Karl Rove Whitewashes His Role In Outing CIA Agent

      Fox News contributor Karl Rove exploited the Obama administration’s accidental exposure of a CIA operative’s identity to absolve his own culpability in deliberately leaking former CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity during the Bush administration.

    • Oops … the CIA does it again!

      The resultant chaos in the wake of Arab Spring, however, tops the chart. In other words, it is very rare to read anything positive about the CIA in any US paper. So, from where does these sleuths receive positive reports about their achievements to satisfy the US Senate Intelligence Committee or the White House?

    • The CIA and the Misuse of Public Health

      After the deception was revealed by the British newspaper, however, the ruse had an unexpected outcome. Angry villagers in several tribal areas on the Afghan border chased away legitimate health workers. They accused those workers of being spies who wanted to gather information on the people living in that region.

    • US asks judge to reconsider his CIA prison order

      Pohl ordered prosecutors last month to turn over never-revealed details about al-Nashiri’s treatment. A CIA inspector general’s report says he was waterboarded and threatened with a gun and power drill.

    • Right-Wing Media Draw False Equivalence To Downplay Bush Administration’s Deliberate Leak Of CIA Covert Agent’s Identity
    • Expensive TSA Nudie Scanners Find A New Home: Prisons

      It’s been quite a while since we’ve had much news about the TSA’s nudie scanners, other than the admission by one TSA employee that they, you know, don’t work to do anything other than show people being naked. Yes, the federal government’s oddly belated overreaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which they don’t think will be attempted again, required a massive influx of taxpayer cash to pay for all this uselessness. That would be your money, my money, all of our money going into a program that didn’t work, wasn’t needed, and violated our rights. But a story of this kind of futility and waste needs a nice little bow put on it for an ending. The federal government never seems to fail us in this kind of request.

  • DRM

    • Accepting Amazon’s DRM Makes It Impossible To Challenge Its Monopoly

      Amazon was the target of some well-deserved criticism this past week for making the anti-customer move of suspending sales of books published by Hachette, reportedly as a hardball tactic in its ongoing negotiations over ebook revenue splits. In an excellent article, Mathew Ingram connects this with other recent bad behavior by Internet giants leveraging their monopolies. Others have made the connection between this move and a similar one in 2010, when Amazon pulled Macmillan books off its digital shelves.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Microsoft Back to Bribery as a Business Model in Search

Posted in Microsoft at 11:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft — like FIFA — follows corruption

Brazil flag

Summary: Microsoft turns to Brazil for some bribery, expecting people to dump Google in exchange for some virtual currency that funds NSA-eavesdropped telephony

Bribery by Microsoft comes in many forms and types; some is "soft" bribery (e.g. revolving doors), some is more overt and criminal. Microsoft was even investigated by the government last year for bribing government officials in several countries around the world (no verdict on that yet). Other types of bribe go towards people in committees, or in order to stuff ballots. In some cases, as we have covered before, Microsoft offers bribes or predatory discounts to undermine the competition, essentially exploiting a monopoly position in a way that breaks the law. Microsoft occasionally bribes preselected reviewers of its products, giving them high-end laptops, for example, to keep as gifts. In some ways, Microsoft even bribes so-called ‘customers’, as it did with search several years ago (and failed nonetheless) [1, 2].

“Microsoft occasionally bribes preselected reviewers of its products, giving them high-end laptops, for example, to keep as gifts.”When Microsoft is accused of bribery (at any level) it should not come as a surprise. It’s merely more of the same. But as one of President Obama’s top funders (top 3), people at Microsoft’s management don’t expect to end up in prison. They’re like the big banks. They’re legalised criminals, above the law, and too “big” for jail.

A lot of the world is looking at Brazil right now. FIFA is running a festival there and the FBI uses that as an opportunity to militarise Brazil’s police, which often needs to deal with massive protests and unrest. Brazil has plenty to be angry about, especially corruption. So, perhaps it’s not surprising that Microsoft finds Brazil a convenient enough demography in which to bribe people to stop using Google, according to Slashdot. Microsoft has been very naughty in Brazil and nothing has changed.

Microsoft is not really a software company. Like Goldman Sachs, it is part of a well-organised ‘political’ movement and it would corrupt/bribe/destroy anyone who stands in the way of its political goals that include mass surveillance.

Microsoft is Hiring More Moles to Attack Free/Open Source Software From the Inside

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 11:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer’s strategy with a new face

Satya Ballmer

Summary: Job advertisements reveal that Microsoft is looking for some more moles to help portray Microsoft as part of Free/Open Source software (FOSS)

Microsoft-tied groups such as Xamarin or Black Duck represent one of Microsoft’s most effective strategies for undermining FOSS. Microsoft is trying to occupy FOSS like it occupied Nokia for years (it took over at the end, leaving Nokia’s patents for Android-hostile patent trolls to exploit).

Microsoft’s strategy of infiltration, moles, bribery etc. is not new. It has gone on for decades and there are many examples. FOSS is just one of those rivals that Microsoft can’t seem to destroy or to buy. It is amorphous. Microsoft tried to hire Jono Bacon and several other people in the FOSS communities (the OSI’s President Simon Phipps openly complained about this) in order to fracture the community and confuse/mislead people. There is a lot of Microsoft openwashing this year, including the examples we gave earlier today [1, 2] and earlier this month [1, 2, 3, 4], not to mention in earlier years [1, 2]. Microsoft likes to call FOSS people to join Microsoft’s payroll and then pretend that Microsoft is a FOSS player. They are basically paid to lie. They sell out. And now, based on this report, Microsoft is doing much of the same in secrecy, using CSI. As a recap: “This is a subtle yet important shift for CSI, which was formed during the heyday of Microsoft’s controversial ‘Get The Facts’ campaign against Linux, which ran from 2002 to 2007. While CSI has kept a low profile in recent years, Microsoft has posted job listings that suggested the team is still fighting against open source.

“In a CSI job posting in December, Microsoft said candidates would need to be able to “Win share against Open Source Software (OSS) in the cloud, on devices, and in traditional workloads by changing perceptions of Microsoft and winning the socket.”

“In a separate CSI listing in February, Microsoft said it’s looking for candidates who can “positively change perceptions” about Microsoft’s support for open source software. “The core of this role is to win mind-share so that Microsoft can win market-share,” Microsoft said in the job listing.”

Notice terms like “change perceptions” — terms that are rather telling. It’s propaganda and it’s part of the openwashing strategy used by the company that is suing Linux and trying to control, spy on, and extort GNU/Linux users, even under the supposedly ‘new’ leadership [1, 2, 3, 4].

Microsoft is an aggressor and a vandal. It is a mole. Just look what Microsoft did to Nokia. The sooner Microsoft goes bankrupt, the better.

CAFC Historically a Facilitator of Software Patents and Other Abusive Means of Monopolisation

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Google, Intellectual Monopoly at 10:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CAFC

Summary: The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s judgments on software historically based on dogma and misunderstanding/misrepresentation/misinterpretation of facts, not adherence to rules, logic, or even public interest

NOW THAT Ballnux giant Samsung hoards more patents we should take a moment to remember that not all companies that are using GNU/Linux are actually friends. Even Microsoft claims to be embracing Linux in Android (through Nokia), but its intents are malicious, as we have explained numerous times before. Then there is Oracle, which joined Apple and Microsoft in hoarding Novell patents for malicious purposes. It also sued Google over Android and did some damage to Red Hat with Unbreakable, never mind all the damage Oracle did to Sun projects.

Deb Nicholson (FSF), writing for an established Web site, explained “How The Changing Legal Landscape Impacts Free And Open Source Software Development”. She correctly pointed out the following: “A patent is a limited monopoly granted for certain amount of time (20 years in many places) in exchange for full disclosure. Based on the description in the patent application, a person who is knowledgeable in that field should be able to recreate the invention. Patents used to be reserved for physical processes, new devices and sometimes a limited monopoly on a particular business opportunity. The scope of patentability has expanded in the last few decades and can now include software, as well as business methods and even certain medical procedures. The intent of patents is purportedly to encourage inventors to make investments and create new inventions that might have otherwise been too financially risky to complete. As soon as a patent expires the idea can be freely implemented by anyone.”

Patents, however, are no longer the only risk factor. Consider what the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) recently did. The FSF has just come out with this formal statement:

FSF statement on Court of Appeals ruling in Oracle v Google

[...]

The situation then is substantially similar to the situation today. The key difference is that some of Google’s affirmative defenses to claim non-infringement have been eliminated by this new ruling. The FSF now sincerely hopes for the next best thing to Alsup’s original ruling: that Google is successful in its fair use defense.

Notwithstanding our support of Google’s fair use defense, the FSF urges caution to all prospective Android users. Even though the core of the Android system is free, every Android device sold comes pre-loaded with a variety of proprietary applications and proprietary hardware drivers. The FSF encourages users to support the development of Replicant, a distribution of Android that is 100% free software. The FSF also encourages users of any Android-based system to install F-Droid, a free replacement for the Google Play app that allows users to browse, install, and receive updates from a repository of free software Android apps. Replicant uses F-Droid as its default repository.

Generally speaking, CAFC has been a sham for many years as it was also responsible for making software patents legitimate in the United States, before this trend/precedent spread to other countries. In 2012 it was points out that the court stood in the way of stopping software patents and a week or so ago TechDirt cited this article, accusing the person who did this in the court. As TechDirt put it: “Tim Lee recently got to talk to Michel following a talk he gave, and what becomes clear is that Michel is completely out of touch with how much of a problem patents are in the tech world today. Lee knows this subject better than probably anyone else, and when he tried to dig in on key points, it was obvious that Michel’s knowledge of what actually is happening in the industry is based on myths and imagination, rather than reality. For example, when Michel pointed out that he’s “a facts and figures guy” rather than one who focuses on “anecdotes and assumptions,” Lee quickly points to James Bessen and Michael Meurer’s comprehensive book on why patents hurt the tech industry.”

Lawyers defy logic.

Here is the latest relevant article about this, an article from TechDirt about CAFC:

For many years we’ve written about the serious problems with CAFC, the court of appeals for the federal circuit, which is better known as the appeals court where all patent cases go. CAFC was created in the early 1980s under the belief that a more “specialized” court could better handle the more complicated technical issues related to patents. But what really happened is that it basically built a club of patent-friendly judges, who spent nearly all of their time with patent lawyers, and thus took an increasingly patent-friendly view of the world. That one of the key original judges on CAFC was also a long-time well known patent lawyer who almost single-handedly wrote the 1952 Patent Act, seemed to set the tone that has remained throughout the court’s existence.

It is not unusual for this disgraceful court to do this type of thing. TechDirt also gave this other new example one week ago:

A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court smacked down the Federal Circuit (CAFC) for its made up rules that made it almost impossible to enable victims of patent trolls to get the courts to order the trolls to pay legal fees. As the Supreme Court noted, CAFC seemed to set up arbitrary rules for no reasons at all. And this is important, because courts almost never award legal fees, and with the untimely death of patent reform, hopefully this small change will at least help in the meantime.

Notice the tend. CAFC is a not a legitimate court, it has become a pack of software patents (and more broadly patents) boosters. Its latest judgment, as before, should be appealed and brought to SCOTUS, but this is expensive and can take years.

‘Wired’ Under New Management (Condé Nast) is a Microsoft and Bill Gates Grooming Operation

Posted in Deception, Microsoft at 10:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Condé Nast: the nastiest purchaser of independent media that you may never have heard of

Condé Nast
Photo by Doc Searls from Santa Barbara, USA

Summary: Attacks on Free/libre software and propagandised coverage of Microsoft now the standard practice (or consensus) at Condé Nast

MOST PEOPLE probably don’t know what Condé Nast is. It’s not a publication, so a lot of people never even heard of it. Residing near Wall Street in New York City, Condé Nast is the quiet owner of many publications. One can guess what the business model is. It’s not really about publication, it is about profit. It is owned by a company with a revenue of 6.56 billion dollars (as of 2013). It is part of the corporate media, which is basically made of just a few giant corporations that control information or build (one might say “manufacture” even) public perception. A lot of people don’t seem to know that even Reddit sold out to Condé Nast, which might explain Reddit’s special service to Microsoft since then and also the extensive censorship that gains media attention these days. Prior to buying Wired, this magazine was actually quite well known for being a thorn on Microsoft’s side, especially amid antitrust battles. Now we have a Wired that’s a Microsoft propaganda outlet a lot of the time.

We are deeply disturbed by the disappearance of independent media and the purchase of even communities such as Reddit by the corporate media that’s a neighbour of Wall Street. It’s too easy to see how the acquired sites and publications are changing. Ars Technica was purchased by Condé Nast only a few years ago and the difference has been stunning since then.

To give just the latest example among many, here is a very long Microsoft advertisement and hogwash. A lot of effort went into this propaganda. It is very personalised. It is one of a series of these articles, one of which was portraying Bill Gates, who wrote his Letter to Hobbyists (famous attack on FOSS) as an “open source” proponent. As usual, it is a pack of lies and spin, painting the NSA’a biggest software partner as an NSA sceptic with sentences like: “This is why, when the NSA story broke, Russinovich was part of the small team that worked to remake Microsoft’s online security.”

Nonsense like this you don’t read every day. Mind the author’s portrayal of Russinovich as a Microsoft “critic”. He must be joking, if not lying (which is worse). So a man who is on Microsoft’s payroll is now being introduced (in the headline even) as its foe, only to sell an article which is basically a Microsoft advertisement for the most NSA-friendly platform (Azure). It’s worse than deceiving because Microsoft voluntarily passes data from Azure to the NSA and to paint Microsoft as an NSA sceptic while promoting Azure is basically to entrap people and businesses, maybe even governments. But anyway, that’s Condé Nast.

Watch who used to write for Wired and who writes for it today. Condé Nast hired Microsoft boosters from The Register and when they are not busy seeding FUD against GNU/Linux (as Goodin does) they conveniently distract from Microsoft’s complicity with the NSA and the company’s utter incomptence when it comes to security. Just look at all the people who cover Microsoft, FOSS, etc. at Ars, which is run by the same owner (parent company). They are all pro-Microsoft, even those who run the so-called ‘FOSS’ section. It is quite easy to see. Cade’s series of whitewashing (Bill Hilf, Bill Gates and now Russinovich) is very telling because someone is assigning him to write such advertisements. Who are the bosses and who are their mates?

Wired, the sister publication of Ars Technica and a longtime Microsoft whitewashing powerhouse (since purchase), is on a roll this year and in some prior years. Readers of Techrights routinely show us the bias and it almost always comes down to Condé Nast.

Apple Debacle a Timely Reminder That Any So-called ‘Kill Switch’ is a Dangerous Back Door

Posted in Apple, Security at 9:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Smartphone kill switches, which by definition require remote control of systems, turn out to be Trojan horses that reduce security by facilitating crackers (not just government-sanctioned crackers)

AMID lots of advocacy and inane promotion of kill switches (claiming that they were “against theft”) we repeatedly called them back doors, which is technically what they are.

Now that “Apple”-branded phones get hijacked by crackers we are reminded that these back doors (incorporated by design) are nothing but trouble and for Apple iPhone ‘users’ who don’t know it yet, Snowden released evidence to show that iPhone (more than other phones) has NSA back doors. It’s no coincidence that Obama was barred from using iPhone. Back doors (and so-called “kill switches”) are now being exploited by crackers who try to use ransom for profit. Microsoft’s NSA back doors are equally problematic, but in this post we will focus just on Apple. As iPhones are being “frozen” by crackers demanding ransom we should again ask ourselves, is it really safe to let so-called ‘security’ agencies acquire back doors? Should anyone other than the physical user have access granted to the system and subsystems? These are the questions which motivated the Free Software Foundation to battle against DRM, proprietary software, and for privacy, freedom, etc.

According to the corporate press: “It appears that the hacker [sic] … has managed to exploit the Find My iPhone feature which can track and remotely lock stolen devices. Users have been told to send ransoms of between $50 and $100 Australian dollars (up to £55) to a PayPal account in order to have their devices unlocked.”

Watch CBS (which Apple pays) trying to relay the Apple ‘damage control’. Apple tells users to change passwords as if back doors can be circumvented by choice of passwords. Apple should apologise to (and compensate) users for helping to build back doors that are now falling into the hands of non-government crackers. The kill switch is the ultimate weapon against people whose phones have back doors. It’s not about thieves and security; it’s the ability to destroy/switch off phones at protests and other venues, of course in the interests of “national security”. So much for security, eh?

Microsoft’s Openwashing Propaganda Effective in Blocking Government Use of Free/Open Source Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 8:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Wiper

Summary: Microsoft is trying to wipe FOSS off the agenda of the United Kingdom by essentially labeling its proprietary software “open” and claiming it to be cheaper (perhaps using bribes/predatory discounts)

AS ONE who works with the public sector in the UK, I know a lot of managers who grasp the value of Free/libre software and proudly speak about it. Only a minority seems to be dogmatic about proprietary software. The British corporate press, however, is more interested in talking to Microsoft minions and partners. Perhaps that’s where the money is (for the press). Selective quoting and selective approaches sure serve the agenda. Based on many years of reading the British press (especially on the subject of FOSS), I hold a strong conviction and certainty that the press is very much complicit in Microsoft propaganda whose purpose is to push back against ODF and Free software.

Recently we saw lots of the British media quoting only a man or two men (in suits, e.g. a local CIO), extrapolating/generalising their words to come up with sensationalist pro-Microsoft headlines, alleging quite weirdly that Microsoft is cheaper than Free software. Well, Microsoft sure seems to have infiltrated Newham, as we showed repeatedly for many years when Mr. Steele was the CIO there. Now we’re dealing not with a Microsoft MOU but with suits who claim Microsoft to be “open” (shared), spreading TCO FUD as well (see [1] at the bottom for a little portion of the propaganda). This is a disgrace.

In the previous post we showed Microsoft's latest attempt to derail GNU/Linux in the Middle Kingdom by openwashing Windows (there has been a lot of Microsoft-coordinated openwashing this year [1, 2, 3, 4] and there are many older examples [1, 2]). We are saddened to see that this trend is growing as the Microsoft booster Darryl K. Taft is back to eWeek for some of the Mirosoft propaganda of “cross-platform” .NET. Now, here is a pattern to watch out for: what does the current CIO of Newham say about Microsoft? According to the article, “Microsoft’s Shared Source Initiative, which sees qualified customers licensed with product source for debugging and reference purposes, is one example of this says Connell.”

This is utter nonsense. It’s marketing and hogwash. Everyone in the FOSS world knows this. Then it continues: “Regardless of the provenance of any underlying code in a service, cost will always be the key factor in sourcing it, he claims.”

So now we are told that not only is Microsoft “cheaper” but also “open”. Yes, it’s only make believe. Read this article from one year ago. Connell is contradicting even himself. To quote: “Local authorities are faced with a choice of either forking out for costly software licence upgrades or keeping staff, Geoff Connell, CIO at Newham Borough Council, has told Computer Weekly.”

To quote the company that brought this contradiction to our attention: “Didn’t Geoff Connell said the opposite last year? … Is Stockholm syndrome slowing #opensource adoption?”

Watch what he says a year later. To quote: “London authorities are working together to look at how they can procure best. “We’ve got support from the Government Procurement Service to help us buy collectively and improve the deal that way,” said Connell.

““However, with the likes of Oracle and Microsoft the prices are set, so they are not so open to discussion,” he added.”

And yes, Connell advocates paying Microsoft for spyware with back doors. In the public sector! This is beyond dangerous, it’s vandalism.

“*If* this is true,” writes Mark Taylor, “Newham’s ‘Proprietary cheaper than Open Source’ claim looks a little shaky… what are the facts?”

Ask Microsoft. It ran a “Get the Facts” campaign, with figures paid for by Microsoft.

Taylor also asks: “what kind of special deal would make this true?”

We already know that Microsoft is trying to kill the threat of FOSS selectively, e.g. with bribes (or special discounts) in places such as Munich. This is monopoly abuse and Newham is now part of the problem, helped by the British (corporate) press.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Use of money saving open source software skyrockets

    One London CIO has claimed to the UK press that in cases where the public sector can no longer provide competitive cost savings with proprietary systems, it may choose to adopt open source alternatives.

    According to Geoff Connell, Havering and Newham joint head of ICT, despite the government’s open source drive, even after all this time open source tends to only be used for niche solutions.

    TCO (total cost of ownership) is the biggest problem in adopting open source technology and software in the public sector, Connell contends.

Bill Gates’ Plot to Enslave China With ‘Free’ Back Doors is Failing, But Microsoft Strikes Back With Openwashing

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 8:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates about the Chinese (1998)

National Security Agency

Summary: Microsoft is trying to portray itself and Windows as “open” because China is dumping the NSA Trojan horse that Bill Gates put there a couple of decades ago

BILL GATES is quite openly an NSA proponent and one thing that Gates and the NSA have in common is that they both use the Chinese as whipping boys. Gates likes to urge Chinese billionaires to give away (despite the fact that he himself is hoarding, not giving away) and the NSA pressures China to not do what the US has been doing for decades. Remember that Windows is an NSA Trojan horse, based on Edward Snowden’s invaluable leaks.

Bill Gates’ Microsoft has collaborated with the NSA like no other technology company (Microsoft is the #1 company in PRISM) and we recently wrote about China's ban on the latest Windows. This is a massive turning point — one that even Gates lobbying trips to China might not be able to tackle.

Glyn Moody, writing about China’s relationship with Linux, has just made some important points alluding to China’s relation to Android, some forks of mobile operating systems (e.g. COS), and various GNU/Linux distributions, managed and developed by the world’s largest population. Here is his opening paragraph (the article as a whole is worth a read):

The history of Linux in China is chequered. Android is doing extremely well there, even if it tends to be varieties that are more or less independent from Google (no bad thing.) But on the desktop, GNU/Linux has had a pretty disastrous showing. That’s strange, because you would think that the Chinese authorities would jump at the chance to adopt a free operating system that was independent of the US, and which could be inspected for NSA backdoors even before the current Snowden leaks showed why that would be a good idea.

Moody quotes Gates on China, hopefully reminding the Chinese how Gates is really viewing them. He uses an old trick for disguising colonialism/imperialism as “charity” — a trick that the CIA, USAID and various other covert operations have used for decades. Gates does this not only in China but especially in Africa and there are new articles about it [1] in the mass media [2] (finally it’s acceptable to say the truth about Gates in some circles of corporate press). Don’t forget how Bill Gates advances GMO in Africa through proxies like AGRA (new article about it in [3]) and has lobbied for it in India, apparently with success (new depressing article confirms some successes [4]). In the US, Gates is now seeking to monopolise and profit from schools, prisons, and police (people are complaining these days [5,6]). The ‘gift’ of private US monopolies is all that Gates seems to be offering, especially because he is a principal shareholder of these monopolies. Some call it profiteering. It’s all just a ploy.

Speaking of ploys, watch the Microsoft-funded IDG pushing some Microsoft propaganda in China. Someone called Sheila Lam is apparently trying to respond to China’s escape from Windows by openwashing Windows. She writes that “Microsoft is embracing open source in China.”

Utter nonsense. Marketing disguised as journalism.

Lam is referring to the malicious proxy known as "Microsoft Open Technologies" (we also wrote about it in [1, 2]). “Earlier this year,” writes Lam, “the software giant launched China Microsoft Open Technologies Shanghai to extend its existing open source development to the Middle Kingdom.”

This is nonsense marketing and everyone in the Free/Open Source world knows that “Microsoft Open Technologies” exists to whitewash and openwash proprietary software from Microsoft. But don’t let facts get in the way of so-called ‘journalists’ with agenda and bosses who receive payments from Microsoft.

“In 2012,” adds Lam, “Microsoft set up a subsidiary–Microsoft Open Technologies–to help bridge the gap between Redmond’s proprietary products and non-Microsoft technologies.”

Notice that term “non-Microsoft technologies”; it’s almost offensive. This is how Microsoft views competition. Microsoft uses the same tactics in the British government right now, as we shall show in the next post. Microsoft just keeps pretending to be the opposite of what it is in order to fit procurement criteria, not only in the UK but also in China.

“Gates has created a huge blood-buying operation that only cares about money, not about people.”

AIDS organisation manager, December 2009 (New York Times)

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Why Bill Gates gets it wrong

    Worse, Munk’s observations frequently seem to have been, at the very least, greatly exaggerated for narrative effect. Does Bill Gates really believe that I advocated specific crops without worrying about whether there was a market for them, or that I failed to consider national taxation in my ongoing advice to government leaders? Moreover, the agricultural strategies and choices in the MVP have been led by African agronomists, some of the very best in Africa — often working hand in hand with Bill’s own agricultural staff in the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).

  2. Bill Gates is wrong on Africa

    These are just two of many current examples. Despite Gates being factually wrong, the worst part is that his message steers people and policy makers away from the most critical problem facing Africa: corruption. Not speaking up where such abuses occur and propagating a false message in his letter is dishonest.

  3. GMO Crops and Labeling: Barack Obama and the Monsanto Betrayal

    Nor is it coincidental that two of the Obama’s biggest supporters, Bill Gates and George Soros, purchased 900,000 and 500,000 shares of Monsanto, respectively, in 2010.

  4. Punjab shortlists Monsanto, two others to provide subsidised HYV maize seeds

    The Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday approved a proposal of the State agriculture department, which shortlisted Monsanto and two other companies to provide high yielding varieties (HYV) of maize seeds to farmers at subsidised rates during the current Kharif season.

  5. It’s Time for Bill Gates to Throw in the Education Towel

    Anthony Cody points out that for the past dozen years or so, Bill Gates has had his fun experimenting with education reform. Obsessed as he is with measurement and data, he imagined that he could impose his narrow ideas on American public schools and bring about a magical transformation.

    Does American education need reform and improvement? Absolutely. Stuck as it is in the paradigm of testing and punishment, it sorely needs a revival of humanism and attention to the needs of children, families, and communities. It needs teachers who are well-prepared. It needs a recommitment o the health and happiness of children and to a deeper love of learning.

    Yet Gates used HS vast wealth to steer national policy to the dry and loveless task of higher scores on tests of dubious value.

    He wanted charter schools, and Arne Duncan, his faithful liege, demanded more charter schools,even if it was central to the Republican agenda.

    He wanted national standards and quite willingly paid out over $2 billion to prove that one man could create the nation’s academic standards by buying off almost every group that mattered.

    He wanted teachers to be evaluated based on test scores, and Ducan gave that to him too.

    But says Cody, everything failed.

  6. Gates Foundation, divest from G4S

    The Stanford Class of 2014 Commencement speakers, Bill and Melinda Gates, are currently facing global scrutiny for their foundation’s $172 million investment in G4S, the world’s largest private military and security company. As graduating seniors, we would like to enumerate these concerns and discuss a new campaign, composed of a broad coalition of students that has formed to call upon the Gates Foundation to divest from G4S and other compromising industries and practices, such as privatized prisons, military contracting and labor exploitation.

    Because the Gates Foundation has been such a strong force in almost every area of philanthropy, it is very disturbing that it invests in a company like G4S, which is responsible for a litany of human rights abuses affecting many of the same communities that the Foundation targets for assistance. G4S operates private juvenile detention facilities in the United States as well as over 100 vehicles that bring captured undocumented immigrants to detention centers on the U.S./Mexico border. The company fails to properly house asylum seekers in UK detention centers, which resulted in the death of Jimmy Mubenga, who was killed while being deported to Angola, as well as the death of 15-year-old Gareth Myatt, who was killed while being restrained at a youth detention center.

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