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07.07.14

The NSA’s Top (and First) PRISM Partner, Microsoft, Lies to Governments and Businesses as Office Gets Banned in China

Posted in Asia, Deception, Microsoft, Office Suites, Security at 6:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No Microsoft Office in China

Office

Summary: Developments in China reveal that security and privacy threats posed by reliance on Microsoft are so great that a ban becomes inevitable and continues to expand (Microsoft put on more and more block lists and blacklists)

Let’s face it. Microsoft is in very serious trouble. Citing security, China already bans Windows (latest version), a top cash cow of Microsoft Corporation, which has only a few profitable products. Microsoft is now trying to warp the debate and deny back doors, even though Snowden provided evidence that speaks for itself. Windows has back doors that the NSA is exploiting. The other cash cow, Office (latest version), is also being banned in China, again for security reasons. Microsoft as a whole is being banned and censored, little by little (even its surveillance proxy, Yahoo, is being censored). This will be a big gain for free/libre office suites, including some Chinese versions (IBM employed people in China to work on OpenOffice with ODF). We will write more about the FOSS angle some time tomorrow as it’s a broad (and rapidly-broadening) subject.

Watch the Microsoft propaganda and vengeance in Microsoft media. For instance, says a Microsoft MVP and longtime booster (without mentioning Microsoft’s strong connection with the NSA), there is “malicious intent” here. It is actually a matter of national security because the NSA breaks into networks of companies like Huawei. Who is really malicious then? Here is a better and newer article about the ban of Microsoft Office 360 (5 days downtime). “Microsoft is working very hard to change the way that people see them,” says one article (part of this latest propaganda campaign [1, 2, 3, 4]) and the key word is “see”. No changed behaviour is part of the plan, especially when it comes to security and privacy. It is about perception. Some influential publishers who were paid by Microsoft are helping this perception management campaign right now, which proves that to Microsoft it’s all about marketing, not policy. The article “Microsoft Office Banned by China” generalises to make it seem like Office on the desktop too is banned and since it is written by a Microsoft MVP in a Microsoft sites we can expect the usual ridicule of China. Here is part of the full article from the Microsoft booster:

In April of this year, Microsoft made Office 365 available in China through a partnership with 21Vianet. Office 365, of course, is Microsoft’s online, Cloud edition of the industry leading office productivity software.

China represents a huge potential market for Microsoft. In addition to the launch of Office 365 in the country, Microsoft cut the ribbon on a new Azure datacenter in March.

But, Microsoft’s march to China dominance has been severely hampered as of late, and it seems with malicious intent by the country’s leadership.

This is great news, but a lot of the Western media has not picked this up. Interesting. Maybe there’s fear that this might inspire other governments.

Microsoft’s Propaganda Machine Tries to Shift Security Debate Amid Serious Catastrophes

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Security, Site News at 5:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Observations and analysis of some recent deception in corporate news sites (like Condé Nasty), trying to pretend that Microsoft is secure, that Microsoft is pursuing security, and that FOSS and Android security or privacy are inherently poor

THE KARMA (or blowback) that Microsoft is meeting right now is a result of it sucking up (for government subsidies) to the NSA et al. for a decade and a half. Putting back doors in one’s software is not a safe bet for a business.

As longtime Internet saboteur (most recently Microsoft broke No-IP and offered no real apology, knowing perhaps it would fuel lawsuits by admission) Microsoft should never be trusted for anything Web-based. This is perhaps why China has put Microsoft’s latest Office push on the blacklist. “Yesterday,” said one article “Microsoft convinced a judge to let it take over No-IP’s DNS service, shutting down name service for many websites, in order to stop a malware attack. Today, the company fake-pologized.”

Never mind the fact that, as we explained before, the malware was partly Microsoft’s fault, for making a piece of software that’s insecure by design (and with back doors). “Microsoft’s PR mailout says that “some customers” experienced “temporary” loss of service but that everything was fine now; shortly after, the company’s PR emailed journalists again to say that things were still massively screwed up. It blamed the whole mess on a “technical error,” but when you look at what the judge believed about No-IP when the order came down, it’s clear that the “technical error” was a gross overstatement of both No-IP’s involvement in Microsoft’s woes, and the best way to sort them out.”

Notice how Microsoft is rallying so-called journalists. It is a company of liars and cover-ups. Why would anyone believe a single word?

The very fact that Microsoft was able to shut down millions of legitimate services shows just how much Microsoft corrupted its government. It used the Court for powers like hijacking a whole network. The No-IP story turned out to be far more outrageous than most people realised, as the press had been deceiving them at Microsoft’s behest. People should be fuming and Microsoft sued out of existence, but we just don’t know if this is actually going to happen. If Tux Machines was still on No-IP (as it had been for year, until recently), then it would have been one among millions of victims, potentially down for days.

Now, watch the audacity of Microsoft. With help from Gates’ fan press it pretends to be “against the NSA” and “transparent”. A lie bigger than that is hard to imagine, but this is marketing. This is part of a propaganda campaign which is going on at the moment (in many countries) and would have the gullible believe that Microsoft ‘fights back’ against the NSA, or something along those lines. One piece of propaganda was titled “Microsoft mocks NSA” and another doubts that it is “NSA-proof” (it is not, as with PRISM Microsoft can provide direct access, never mind NSLs).

Corporate media is meanwhile trying hard to push FOSS as “insecure” back into the debate. Gates’ fan press recently did this (citing familiar FOSS-hostile firms) and ‘Information’ Age conflates “proprietary” with “enterprise”, insinuating that FOSS is inherently not for enterprises (this is another type of FUD). Apparently, in addition to all that, a few lines of code (one bug) are the beginning of a new world. It’s that “Heartbleed” nonsense — a word coined by a Microsoft-linked firm for greater impact in an already-FOSS-hostile media (here is Adrian Bridgwater’s cheeky attacks on FOSS, using/exploiting news from 3 months ago, and here is another example). What corporate press rarely tells reader about “Heartbleed” is the insidious connection to Microsoft. There are those who look for bugs in old versions of Android which can leak location data because of the Wi-Fi stack, but these are not critical. “Android phones running 3.1 and newer versions of Google’s mobile operating system are leaking Wi-Fi connection histories, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has discovered,” says one source. Furthermore, says The Mukt, “Android seems to be the center of attention when it comes to mobile security concerns. In the latest, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has made claims that if you are an Android smartphones user, there is a high risk that your location history is being broadcasted to those within your Wi-Fi range.”

So basically, when it comes to FOSS there is nothing to really complain about except privacy bugs and some security bug from three months ago. As Ryan pointed out some days ago in IRC (citing IDG): “UPDATE: IBM on Monday corrected its report to say that the problem is not as widespread as originally thought. “The vulnerability affects Android 4.3 only. Thanks for the Android Security Team for correcting our advisory,” IBM said. About 10.3 percent of Android devices run Android 4.3.”

“That’s some sloppy reporting,” Ryan wrote. “First they reported that 86% of Android devices were affected by a critical security hole. Then they issued a correction, that it was only one version of Android that represents 10% of devices, and not even the latest version. We also don’t know that all Android 4.3 devices are affected, because OEMs can backport patches to their current firmware even when they don’t want to do a major Android upgrade at the moment. Archos kept backporting patches to Android 4.0 for a long time.

The original report, as far as we can tell, came from Android and Linux basher Dan Goodin. He led the way for writers, including in his former employer, to hide up an Android vulnerability. “It’s hard to exploit,” said his former employer, but in Condé Nasty it is called “serious”. This, in our view, is part of the hype which seeks to paint FOSS as ” insecure”, never mind the many back doors we now know of in proprietary software like Microsoft’s.

Just remember that Condé Nasty, and especially its writer Dan Goodin, has been on some kind of villainous Jihad against GNU/Linux for months now, distorting facts to make it seem as thought FOSS cannot be trusted.

To us it seems clear why all this FUD is being disseminated. Citing security concerns, large governments are moving away from pricey proprietary software with back doors, notably Microsoft’s. Watch Microsoft lying to governments of the world:

No backdoors in our code: Microsoft bid to convince governments

[...]

In yet another sign that the revelations about blanket NSA spying are biting into business revenue, Microsoft is offering to open up its source code to governments so they can satisfy themselves that there are no backdoors implanted.

[...]

There appears to be a fear among technology companies that if Microsoft is forced to do the government’s bidding, then American cloud businesses which operate in other countries could stand to lose a lot of business.

Snowden’s revelations have led to a drop in overseas business for at least two technology firms – Cisco and IBM. Additionally, the Boeing company lost an order from Brazil, which opted to go with Sweden’s Saab for $US4.5 billion worth of aircraft.

These are lies and Snowden’s revelations provided enough hard evidence to prove this. Expect many more attacks on FOSS from a security angle. Microsoft will try to save its cash cows, using a new ‘flavour’ of disinformation, as usual.

Despite SCOTUS Ruling, Microsoft Still Extorts Companies and Product Buyers Using FAT Software Patents, Latest Victim is Canon

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Patents at 4:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The FAT police is at it again

Steve Ballmer FAT

Summary: Canon and Microsoft sign a patent deal which relates to patents on FAT file systems and impacts some of Canon’s products, potentially Linux products as well (Canon makes drivers for Linux but does not develop products with Android or GNU/Linux just yet)

While we are unaware of any Android- or Linux-based products from Canon, the company does deliver drivers for FOSS platforms, especially since under a decade ago (we covered this quite often at the time of a turnaround). Therefore it is regretful to learn about FAT patents, which were disgraced by entities and people including Torvalds (there is prior art and TomTom never pushed the case to the end), are used to tax Canon products or legitimise FAT patents.

Linux-centric sites hardly paid attention to it last week, but someone in IRC told us about it. Looking it up very quickly we found Microsoft’s booster Mary Jo Foley at ZDNet saying: “Today’s patent agreement isn’t the first forged by the two companies. Canon previously licensed Microsoft exFAT file system technology for an undisclosed amount.”

Sometimes companies pay for it via Microsoft partners such as Tuxera, but sometimes there are deals like this one. The OIN’s CEO told us over the telephone that Microsoft has been using FAT patents while calling them “Linux-related” or something along those line in the case of LG and maybe Samsung also (Samsung’s deal seems to have been broader than that the second time around).

Nikon's deal with Microsoft was quite different and the booster correctly pointed out: “Today’s agreement also is not part of Microsoft’s ongoing campaign to convince companies using Linux, Android and ChromeOS to license its patents. Nikon announced an Android-related patent licensing deal with Microsoft in February 2013.”

This is not entirely true because the deal practically serves to legitimise exFAT, which is a common attack vector on embedded Linux. The post from the booster (hogwash of sorts) attracts comments from Microsoft sceptics, who know a lot better what Microsoft has been up to. There are comments such as: “Do we need a repeat of FAT? If I see a product’s filesystem using exFAT I will return it.”

Another person says: “The fact the the US Supreme Court recently re-addressed software patents is a move in the positive direction, even though it was not a large move. While much damage has already been done since these huge giants like Microsoft and IBM already have an enormous software patent portfolio, at least there is hope in future software patent releases. Eventually, technology will advance forward and the current software patent portfolios will probably start to become stale, at which point I can see the general public begin to feel the advantages if we make the right decisions today moving forward. But, we must end the monopolies that this huge companies get with their enormous patent portfolios. The trend in software patents granted within the past 30 years or so is staggering, just do some searches on this subject as it is well worth the reads. My hope is that we don’t continue to make the same mistakes moving forward.”

Canon has many patents on physical and mechanical or optical things like lenses. Microsoft has mostly software patents, which may be utterly worthless in the eyes of SCOTUS, as opposed to the USPTO that granted them without scrutiny. The USPTO has just become even more zealous about patents and it approves almost every patent application, even though SCOTUS deems many of those patents too abstract to be patentable (patent lawyers don't quite agree).

Carl Erickson, the “co-founder and president of Atomic Object, a software design and development company founded in 2001,” (based on his introduction) says that “Investors in software startups need to understand that such companies are unlikely to have strong IP protection through patents. Instead, investors should look for evidence of engaged, delighted users, significant market share or the potential for rapid growth, exclusive relationships or special market channels. For a software startup and their investors, these will beat patent pending, any day.”

His whole analysis, however, sometimes (in the text) claims that patents too are needed, with phrases such as:

As I wrote in my last post, protecting your intellectual property isn’t just about patents. It’s important for companies to ensure they own the copyright on their software.

Copyright protects a particular expression, patents protect an idea. The nature of software is such that an idea can be implemented in many different ways, in many different languages, and therefore patent protection on an idea is potentially legitimate and important. So when should you worry about a software patent?

If you’re confused by software patents, you’re not alone. While our legal and business structures will eventually adapt, technology, as usual, is moving faster, and the results aren’t always good or predictable. A recent Supreme Court decision didn’t radically alter the status quo, but reinforced a trend away from some of the sillier past decisions.

Software patents should be dragged to courts and defeated there. There is a valuable precedent now. All these FAT patent deals (Microsoft has been signing them for years) may be as valuable as estate on the Mars.

Links 7/7/2014: CentOS 7 Released, Linux 3.16 RC4

Posted in News Roundup at 4:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Lamassu Brings Rakía, a Brand-spanking-new Open Source Back-end System for their ATMs

    Lamassu which has revolutionized the in-person acquisition of Bitcoin via a streamlined thirty-second process earlier introduced a modular two-Bitcoin ATM system; has now brought in Rakía, a brand-spanking-new open source back-end system for its ATMs. The decision is aimed to continue providing A better experience for its clients.

  • Out in the Open: The Crusade To Bring More Women to Open Source

    Recent reports from Facebook and Google confirmed what we’ve known all along: the giants of tech have a diversity problem. But in the world of open source, the problem is even worse.

    According to a survey conducted last year, only about 11 percent of open source contributors are women. Meanwhile, women account for 23 percent of all computer programmers and 39.5 percent of web developers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • Oculus Acquires RakNet Middleware & Open-Sources It
  • Announcing Oculus Connect, RakNet Open Source, and E3 2014 Awards

    We’re thrilled to announce Oculus Connect, a developer conference that brings together engineers, designers, and creatives from around the world to share and collaborate in the interest of creating the best virtual reality experiences possible.

  • Oculus VR acquires game-networking engine RakNet — and makes it open-source

    The company announced today that it is acquiring RakNet, which specializes in a software-development engine for connecting games across an online network. RakNet, which is also the name of the technology, enables studios to quickly add voice chat, network patching, and secure connections to their products. Oculus VR, which is building its Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, notes that thousands of indie developers and major companies like Everquest developer Sony Online Entertainment and Minecraft studio Mojang licensed the tech for their games. Oculus isn’t just purchasing RakNet, it is also making it open source, which means other developers can see the code, add to it, and use it for free.

  • Mellanox Contributes the World’s First Open Source Ethernet Switch MLAG Implementation

    Mellanox® Technologies, Ltd. (NASDAQ:MLNX), a leading supplier of high-performance, end-to-end interconnect solutions for data center servers and storage systems, today announced that Ethernet Switch MLAG functionality is now available as open source as part of the community driven Open Ethernet program. MLAG provides the ability for a host to connect to two standalone switches with a pair of load balanced bonded interfaces. Now open and freely available, the MLAG functionality allows for faster failure recovery. The open source code is available at https://github.com/open-ethernet/mlag and can be installed and run on a Linux host.

  • Open Xchange: The internet wouldn’t have happened without Linux

    Open Xchange acts as an open-source rival to Microsoft’s Office 365. With more companies moving to open source, we ask Mr Laguna if he believes that Microsoft’s proprietary system is viable.

  • Open source tool could sniff out most heavily censored websites

    Georgia Tech researchers enlist owners of websites — and website users — via Encore project

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox’s Share Falls as Chrome’s Continues to Rise

        While Mozilla was mostly in the headlines during the early part of this year for news related to Brendan Eich and for the company’s newfound focus on smartphones and Firefox OS, another piece of meaningful news regarding the company is largely being ignored: In April, Google Chrome moved past Firefox to take second place in desktop browser market share, according to web traffic stats from Net Applications.

  • Funding

    • From zero to Spark Core in two years

      As for open source, I think that the electronics world has been proprietary for a very long time, but open source is taking its hold, and will eventually play a huge role, just like it does in software. The Internet is built on open source underpinnings like GNU/Linux, and I hope that soon the hardware world will be too.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 9.3-RC3 Now Available

      The third RC build of the 9.3-RELEASE release cycle is now available on the FTP servers for the amd64, i386, ia64, powerpc, powerpc64 and sparc64 architectures.

      This is expected to be the final RC build of the 9.3-RELEASE cycle.

    • FreeBSD 9.3 RC3 Released
    • FreeBSD 9.3 RC3 Released with Several Bug Fixes

      Glen Barber has announced the immediate availability for download of the third and probably the last RC (Release Candidate) version of the upcoming FreeBSD 9.3 operating system.

    • The Linux Kernel Might Use FreeBSD’s Capsicum Security Framework

      A Linux kernel developer is working on porting FreeBSD’s CAPSICUM security framework over to the Linux kernel.

      In announcing his work at the end of June that’s now being discussed amongst kernel stakeholders, David Drysdale wrote, “The last couple of versions of FreeBSD (9.x/10.x) have included the Capsicum security framework, which allows security-aware applications to sandbox themselves in a very fine-grained way. For example, OpenSSH now uses Capsicum in its FreeBSD version to restrict sshd’s credentials checking process, to reduce the chances of credential leakage. It would be good to have equivalent functionality in Linux, so I’ve been working on getting the Capsicum framework running in the kernel, and I’d appreciate some feedback/opinions on the general design approach.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Unifont 7.0 Update Covers The Unicode 7.0 Basic Multilingual Plane

      Following last month’s release of Unicode 7.0, the GNU Unifont project is out with an open-source glyph for each printable code point in the Unicode 7.0 Plane 0 standard.

    • Unifont 7.0.03 Released
    • Wanted: A Purpose for Open Source

      Free and open source software is a way of life for thousands of people. Yet, as we trudge the endless treadmill of release upon release, there’s one question you don’t hear much any more: where is open source heading? Or, perhaps, should it have a purpose at all?

      Not too long ago, the answer to either question was obvious. The goal was to provide a free alternative to proprietary systems. But progress got stalled at a good-enough ninety percent or so, and looks likely to stay there for the foreseeable future.

  • Licensing

    • Open source’s identity crisis

      For Karen Sandler, software freedom isn’t simply a technical matter. Nor is it a purely ideological one.

      It’s a matter of life and death.

      Sandler, Executive Director of the non-profit Software Freedom Conservancy, says software freedom became personal when she realized her pacemaker/defibrillator was running code she couldn’t analyze. For nearly a decade—first at the Software Feedom Law Center, then at the GNOME Foundation before Conservancy—she’s been an advocate for the right to examine the software on which our lives depend.

    • IRS: Yorba Open Source Software Project Must Pay Taxes

      Should open source software projects that give their products away freely have to pay taxes? Although the answer to that question traditionally has been “no,” the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may be changing its mind, if the case of the Yorba desktop Linux software project is an indication.

    • The IRS wages war on open source nonprofits
  • Openness/Sharing

    • Why OpenStack matters, celebrating four years, and more

      Interested in keeping track of what’s happening in the open source cloud? Opensource.com is your source for what’s happening right now in OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure project.

    • Intel Wants Open-Source Analytics

      Intel wants to drive big-data analytics toward open-source software accelerated on its processors.

      In a first step in that direction, it is working on an upgrade of its version of Hadoop that blends in features from the distribution provided by Cloudera, a leading open-source supplier of the code. Meanwhile it has already started working with customers to determine what sort of analytics apps they want on top of Hadoop and how to accelerate them on x86 chips.

    • Secure Bitcoin Hardware Wallet With Open Source Smart Card: PRISMicide Crowdfunding Campaign

      PRISMicide, the first security solution based on open source smart cards, protects the privacy of its users… starting with their Bitcoin wallet.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • North Korean and North American tensions could create the Cold War II

      These statements are reminiscent of Cold War propaganda and show how North Korea is neutralized in American eyes: North American media interprets their responses as madness.

      Even if the republic’s response to this film is threatening, they haven’t threatened war, something which The Huffington Post and several other prominent media outlets reported. The Huffington Post even quotes The Christian Science Monitor, saying that Kim himself threatens “all-out war” upon release of the movie, though there aren’t any sources cited to prove this.

    • DHS’s Risky Airport Alerts

      When DHS releases details to the worried public, it also releases them to jihadists.

    • Blackwater’s Death Machine

      I’m sorry Moniem and fellow Iraqis participate in this farce. They are hoodwinked. There will be no justice, merely damage control. And what of countless other unjustified killings, which will not even see the semblance of prosecution? Blackwater on one hand, Obama, with his hit list and targeted assassination on the other, and in between, CIA-JSOC paramilitary operations geared to regime change, together constitute the package of Obama’s liberal humanitarianism, bringing democracy to the ignorant at gunpoint.

    • UK Trains Nigerian Security Forces on Crisis Response Strategies

      The United Kingdom Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBR) has trained the Nigerian security forces on crisis response strategies.

    • Editorial:New rules needed for use of drones

      Thirteen months ago, during a speech at the National Defense University, President Barack Obama promised greater transparency and new guidelines for drone use as part of his counterterrorism strategy.

      So much for promises.

      An authoritative, bipartisan report released recently by the Stimson Center charged that the U.S. use of drones threatens to destabilize legal and moral norms worldwide. It also chastised the Obama administration’s failure to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of drone use and questioned drones’ effectiveness.

    • Reining In the Drones

      Targeted killings by drones may be justified at times against terrorist threats to the United States, but the “blow back” from unintended civilian killings in places like Pakistan and Yemen is becoming “a potent recruiting tool for terrorist organizations,” the report noted. The panel, which had experienced specialists from the George W. Bush and Clinton administrations, concluded that there was no indication that drone attacks on suspected terrorists had advanced “long-term U.S. security interests.”

    • Israel Air Strikes Kill Seven Gaza Militants
    • Five Gaza militants killed by Israel drones: medics
    • Six Israelis held over ‘revenge’ killing of Palestinian teen

      Israel has arrested a group of Jewish extremists suspected of kidnapping and murdering a Palestinian teenager in a revenge killing, triggering violent clashes spreading from east Jerusalem throughout Israel.

      Tensions were already peaking early Monday in the south after two Israeli strikes on Gaza left five militants dead, following continuous mortar and rocket fire at southern Israel.

    • Two Palestinians killed by Israeli drone in Gaza
    • Another two Gazans killed by Israeli drone
    • Israel launches deadly airstrikes in Gaza
    • Nine Palestinian killed after Israeli deadly attacks
    • Israel’s Lieberman and Netanyahu to end political deal: Reports

      Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is gearing up to dissolve the Likud-Beitrinu ruling partnership in Israel, local media reported on Monday.

      Lieberman is scheduled to hold a press conference at 12pm local time (10am GMT) at which he is widely expected to officially terminate the political deal.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • WikiLeaks, Bringing The First Amendment To The World
    • Two Years Later, WikiLeaks’ Assange Still Pushing For Freedom, Transparency

      While Americans celebrated the adoption of the Declaration of Independence over the weekend, there were people around the globe, including in the United States, celebrating the birth of a man who is fighting for his freedom and the freedom of information: Julian Assange, who turned 43 years old on July 3.

      Widely known for his roles as co-founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, Assange sought to create an organization that aligns with his belief that a transparent government reduces corruption and in turn creates a stronger democracy, which explains why WikiLeaks has released more classified intelligence documents than all other media organizations around the world combined.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • The Right to Be Forgotten

      The “right to be forgotten” in European law has now taken the place of what people in the past used to call “the forgiveness of sins”. Formerly it was believed that old offenses, especially when these did not result in prosecution or suit, were somehow effaced by the passage of time. “Long dormant claims have often more of cruelty than of justice in them”, says Halsbury’s Laws of England.

    • Google Restores Some Links To Articles Removed In ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ Mess

      Last week, of course, there was a lot of attention around Google alerting publications that some of their stories had been removed from its index over “right to be forgotten” requests, following a dangerous European Court of Justice ruling. Various publications in the UK complained about some of the removals, and requested if there was any sort of appeals process. The BBC was initially told that there was no such process, though the Guardian claimed it was looking for ways to appeal.

    • Hollywood Studios Tried To Add File Sharing Sites To New Zealand’s Child Porn Blacklist

      We just wrote about the UK’s filtering systems blocking access to 20% of the world’s top 100,000 sites, even though only about 4% of those host the porn Prime Minister David Cameron seems so obsessed with blocking. Also noted in that story was the fact that many “pirate sites” are being blocked at ISP level via secret court orders.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Rulebook needed for U.S. drone strikes

      To understand why U.S. drone strikes outside traditional battlefields make so many people so uneasy, look to the past and look to the future.

      Start with the past. In 1976, exiled Chilean dissident Orlando Letelier was driving to work in Washington when a car bomb planted by Chilean agents ripped through his vehicle, killing Letelier and his young American assistant. From the viewpoint of Chile’s ruling military junta, the killing was justifiable: Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s regime considered itself at war with leftist insurgents and viewed Letelier as a security threat.

      U.S. authorities saw things differently, of course: They condemned the bombing as an assassination. The FBI opened a murder investigation, and a Senate committee launched an inquiry into illegal foreign intelligence activities on U.S. soil.

    • Sri Lanka: Hate verses in Islam’s religious text is the main cause of global Islamic issues

      Muslims the world over must introspect. There were no Americans, US State Department or CIA when the spread of Islam took place violently with the core mission to ‘kill infidels” or non-believers. Islam via sword cut across entire continents and destroyed entire civilizations. These natives did not even have time to defend against the attacks. Undeniably, the acts were not in self-defense and the use of sword were inspired by the Quran. It is these factors that raise the existential fears of non-Muslims once more. The fear of history repeating itself prevails when 95% of violent conflicts around the world involve Muslims even if these conflicts are mischievously ignited by Western Christian countries. These conflicts are drawn using Koranic verses by numerous Islamic groups. That Islamic groups/Islamic leaders uses verses from the Koran to instill mayhem and draw Muslims into their fold raises the question of how far Islam is being manipulated by Islamic leaders as well as how far the West is manipulating this weakness. That these groups have no shortage of followers and these groups are heavily funded and are able to easily manipulate moderate Muslims makes any to wonder how many Muslims are able to go against the tide without submitting themselves to their religion and those who are leading them. What needs to be said is that Muslims leaders and the West are manipulating Islam’s Koranic verses because there are verses that can be manipulated. Herein lies the core issue and root cause for the violence. With no central authority to control doctrine in Islam, a proliferation of bizarre religious edicts has resulted in chaos the world over.

    • UK airport terror measures: Passengers warned to keep mobile phones and laptops charged or lose them at security for US-bound flights

      Passengers hoping to fly to the US this summer will be turned away at airport security checkpoints if they have forgotten to put their mobile phone on to charge the night before.

    • TSA will not allow passengers with discharged cellphones onboard
    • Devices with flat batteries banned from transatlantic flights

      THE UNITED STATES Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced security measures that might cause serious problems for air travellers who forget their chargers.

    • Foreign airport scrutiny focuses on electronic devices

      Don’t bring dead phones or laptops to those overseas airports for flights heading to the USA.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Pew Report: 65 percent believe Internet will be more open in the future

      A research report published by the Pew Research Center revealed that among 1,400 experts, 65 percent believe that the Internet will be more open by the year 2025.

      The respondents hope that, more than 10 years from now, there will be no major changes that will negatively affect how people obtain and share content on the Internet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Our single market is crying out for copyright reform

        Our duty as lawmakers is to find a balance between creators and the justified interests of society. Yet that balance is changing. Transforming technology is changing how people use and re-use information. And disrupting a longstanding legal framework.

      • Tough New Piracy Law Sees No Takers in More Than a Year

        For years Norway was pressured to do something drastic against pirates and 12 months ago this week the country introduced tough new legislation. But one year on and not a single file-sharer has been inquired about nor has a single site blocking request been filed. What’s going on in Scandinavia?

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