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07.20.14

Links 20/7/2014: Jolla in India, Mega Censored in Italy

Posted in News Roundup at 4:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • EFF releases experimental open wireless router firmware

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has announced the release of the alpha version of an Open Wireless Router firmware. It was officially announced at the HOPE X (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference in New York City.

  • Standardized open source products are the key to unlocking the lock-in trap

    Mårten Mickos, CEO of Eucalyptus Systems, argues that when companies lock in to their own design and customizations, it’s as harmful as when they lock in to a vendor. Mickos explains why he thinks using standardized open source products is the best way to avoid both types of lock-in.

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • Geneva class-rooms switching to free software

      All primary and secondary public schools in the Swiss Canton of Geneva are switching to using Ubuntu GNU/Linux for the PCs used by teachers and students. The switch has been completed by all of the 170 primary public schools, and the migration of the canton’s 20 secondary schools is planned for the next school year. Ubuntu GNU/Linux offers powerful services to the teachers, is easier to maintain, faster, safer and more stable than the decade-old proprietary operating system it is replacing, the canton’s school IT department concludes, based on several four-year long pilots.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Makeblock Starter Robot Kit Review

        The Makeblock kit is all about assembling building blocks in three major parts: putting together the Arduino caddy, constructing a chassis for it and finally programming it via Arduino IDE.

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • FedEx Indicted For Failing To Look Into Its Packages To See If Any Online Pharmacies Were Sending Drugs

      Back in March of last year, we were somewhat disturbed by UPS agreeing to forfeit $40 million to the US government for shipping drugs from “illegal internet pharmacies.” Not that such drugs or pharmacies should be legal (that’s a whole different discussion), but it’s insane to pin the blame for the shipments on the shipping company, whose sole job is to get packages from point A to point B. In fact, we don’t want shipping companies to be liable for what’s in packages, because then they have not just the incentive, but the mandate to snoop through all our packages.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • ‘Mysterious’ Plane Crash – Who benefits?
    • Facts Needed on Malaysian Plane Shoot-Down

      It will likely take some time to determine who downed the Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 over eastern Ukraine on Thursday, killing all 298 people onboard. Initial speculation is that someone with a missile battery mistook the plane as a military aircraft, but the precise motive may be even harder to discern.

    • Airline Horror Spurs New Rush to Judgment

      President Obama and the State Department’s “anti-diplomats” are fanning flames of anger against Russia after the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine. But some U.S. intelligence analysts doubt the popular “blame-the-Russians” scenario, reports Robert Parry.

    • Three Lessons We Need to Heed from the Soviet Downing of KAL 007
    • MH17 makes the situation in Ukraine an American crisis and an EU catastrophe
    • Rebels, extremists have easy access to advanced missiles
    • Russia: US implicating rebels

      On Saturday, Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said the US administration sought to pin the blame on separatists and Russia without waiting for the results of an investigation. “The statements of representatives of the US administration are evidence of a deep political aberration of Washington’s perception of what is going on in Ukraine,” he told Russian news agencies. “At least, that is how the relevant statements can be interpreted,” he said. “Despite an obvious and indisputable nature of the arguments provided by rebels and Moscow, the US administration is pushing its own agenda,” he said. Meanwhile, a rebel leader appealed to Russia for help with worsening conditions at the crash site of a Malaysian airliner, accusing the Ukrainian government of preventing experts from arriving and allowing bodies to rot.

    • MH17 joins long list of commercial planes shot down

      Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that was blown out of the sky while flying across eastern Ukraine, was not a sole casualty of warfare.

    • Missiles are now so easy to get that it’s a miracle more planes haven’t been shot down

      Stinger man-portable missiles may also threaten the U.S. Army crews of Apache helicopter gunships recently dispatched to Baghdad to secure the airport and defend the U.S. embassy. Intelligence reports say that the Islamic State organization, also known as ISIS, has likely captured U.S.-made Stingers. In seizing major cities such as Mosul and Tikrit, and overrunning four Iraqi army divisions, Islamic State fighters have reportedly taken control of two major weapons depots, where Stingers were likely stored along with other sophisticated U.S.-manufactured armaments.

    • Russia’s Missiles Stung the World Long Before MH17

      On May 1, 1960, a U-2 spy plane operated by the CIA took off from an airbase in Peshawar, Pakistan. The existence of the U-2 was a secret. It had an unusual appearance created by its long, slender wings. These wings gave it the ability to fly at heights beyond 70,000 feet to the edge of the stratosphere, way above any other airplanes.

    • All hands stained with blood

      Ricardo and Lugo flew back to Trinidad and checked in at the then Holiday Inn in Port of Spain. There, that said evening, that local police under Randolph Burroughs arrested them and found incriminating evidence that linked them to anti-Castro CIA operative Luis Carriles.

      It turned out that the CIA, and possibly higher officials in Washington, were aware of the plot to blow up the Cubana plane. Even worse, Washington helped Carriles escape and evade prosecution in Venezuela and/or Cuba (Ricardo and Lugo were jailed in Caracas).

    • Ex-Shin Bet Chief: Israeli Illusions Fueled Blowup

      Yuval Diskin, who served as director of Israel’s Shin Bet security service from 2005 to 2011, posted some rather blunt observations on his Facebook page this morning regarding the tit-for-tat murders of teenagers, the Palestinian rioting in East Jerusalem and the Triangle (the Arab population center south of Haifa) and what he fears is coming down the pike.

      It strikes me that he’s probably saying a lot of what IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz was thinking at this week’s security cabinet meeting, when Gantz’s far more restrained comments led to a tongue-lashing from Naftali Bennett. In other words, this is how the current meltdown looks to much of the top Israeli military and intelligence brass. It’s what they’ve been saying privately while in uniform and publicly after retiring (and occasionally even while still in uniform). I’ve taken the liberty of translating Diskin’s Hebrew into English.

    • Hacker Group Anonymous launches #OpSaveGaza, an intensive online offensive against Israel

      In an online offensive against Israel, the global hacker group took down hundreds of Israeli websites including that of Tel Aviv Police Department, which is still not available, at the time of writing this report

    • Israel Vows to Escalate Gaza Offensive: 341 Killed
    • Israel using flechette shells in Gaza

      The munitions are not prohibited under international humanitarian law, but according to B’Tselem, “other rules of humanitarian law render their use in the Gaza Strip illegal. One of the most fundamental principles is the obligation to distinguish between those who are involved and those who are not involved in the fighting, and to avoid to the extent possible injury to those who are not involved. Deriving from this principle is the prohibition of the use of an imprecise weapon which is likely to result in civilian injuries.”

    • Israeli envoy to US lands in hot water

      Dubai- Israel’s Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer landed himself in hot water Thursday when Palestine activists posted a barrage of sarcastic questions to his Twitter Q&A #AskDermer thread. The Q&A was held amid escalating violence between Israel and Hamas forces in Gaza. The hashtag, which was used more than 20,000 times, included questions that were harshly critical of Israel’s strategy in Gaza. Many tweets by activists were snarky, and others were angry. Eli Clifton wrote: IDF says houses, hospitals, schools and mosques are weapons depots. What were the “human shields” shielding on the beach? #AskDermer US Dept of Drone War wrote: A Palestinian walks into a bar. Do you A) Blow up the bar, B) Blow up the person’s home, or C) Kill 4 random kids on a beach? #AskDermer

    • Israel-Gaza conflict: Baby killed by tank as IDF begins ground offensive
    • Hamas raid kills two Israeli soldiers

      In their most audacious attack Saturday, Hamas fighters dressed in Israeli army uniforms slipped from central Gaza into Israel through a tunnel and attacked an Israeli army patrol, killing two soldiers and injuring two others. The army returned fire, killing one militant and forcing the rest back through the tunnel into the Palestinian territory.

    • Despite Israeli Push in Gaza, Hamas Fighters Slip Through Tunnels

      Eight Palestinian militants emerged from a tunnel some 300 yards inside Israel on Saturday morning, armed with automatic weapons and wearing Israeli military uniforms, the Israeli military said. The gunmen fired a rocket-propelled grenade at two Israeli military jeeps on patrol, starting a battle that killed two Israeli officers and one of the militants, according to the military. The rest then retreated underground, back to Gaza.

    • Hamas Fighters Infiltrate Israel Through Tunnel and Kill Two Soldiers

      As Israel continued its deadly assault on the Gaza Strip, Hamas militants sneaked into the country on Saturday and killed two soldiers, delivering the worst blow to the Israeli military on its side of the Gaza border in years.

    • Pakistan condemns US drone strike in NWA
    • US drone stike on Pakistan compound kills 11

      Pakistan has condemned the US drone strike in North Waziristan in which 15 suspected militants were reportedly killed early Saturday, saying these strikes would have a negative impact on its efforts to bring peace and stability in the country and the region.

    • Death toll rises to 11 in U.S. drone strike in NW Pakistan
    • New York officer in fatal arrest placed on desk duty
    • Complaints About Chokeholds Are Focus of Study
    • Outrage Mounts Over Death of Staten Island Man Placed in NYPD Chokehold [Updated]

      When LIRR workers and the MTA reached an agreement to avoid the strike that would have begun on Sunday, it seemed that Mayor de Blasio and his family would be able to leave for their ten-day Italian vacation on Friday, as scheduled. But on Friday evening, De Blasio’s office announced that the mayor would remain in New York until Saturday “to attend to City business.” According to the New York Times, the mayor wanted to “spend more time making calls to elected officials, community leaders and members of the clergy, and talking to the police” about Eric Garner, the 43-year-old Staten Island man who went into cardiac arrest and died after NYPD officers put him in a chokehold on Thursday. Anyone who has seen the cell phone video of five cops piling onto an unarmed Garner can probably understand why De Blasio felt the need to at least briefly postpone his trip.

    • Israel begins heaviest bombardment yet in Gaza, sending residents fleeing
    • Opinion: Self-righteousness is the siren song of war

      Even the educated are not immune to these feelings. Consider, for instance, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, a well-paid speaker and author, respected by many as an expert in international affairs. Yet, in an interview with Charlie Rose on May 29, 2003, Friedman justified his support of the U.S. invasion of Iraq on the grounds that if we killed enough Iraqis, Arab terrorists would give up believing they can attack us without repercussions. He concluded by saying that “they” needed to see “American boys and girls going from house to house from Basra to Baghdad” and telling people to “suck on this!”

    • Of Planes and Proxies

      In the nineteen-eighties, the C.I.A. handed out Stinger surface-to-air missiles to the mujahideen

    • Clinton papers on Iraq, Haiti released

      President Bill Clinton’s advisers carefully considered how to explain the president’s military action against Iraq in 1998 as the House was debating his impeachment, according to records from the Clinton White House that were released Friday. The documents also touched upon al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, consideration of military action in Haiti in 1994 and preparations for Supreme Court nomination hearings.

    • Top 6 takeaways from the Clinton document dump
    • Clinton had asked for Bin Laden info in 1988 Clinton had asked for Bin Laden info in 1998

      The latest batch shows Mr Clinton asked his national security aides whether the CIA overstated bin Laden’s role in the August 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

    • Markus R. case highlights spy game between Washington, Moscow and Berlin
    • Can the US accept allies as equals?

      By expelling the CIA station chief in Berlin recently, Germany hoped to jolt the United States into paying attention. Germans are outraged by reports that American spies may have been working inside their security services. Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that hostile operations like this “contradict everything that I understand to be a trusting cooperation between friendly partners.”

    • Loss of trust

      A specialist on German foreign policy at the European Council on Foreign Relations has described the US as a “weak superpower” whose spying methods and surveillance on other countries is solely driven by a feeling of insecurity.

  • Finance

    • US states with higher minimum wages gain more jobs

      The 13 U.S. states that raised their minimum wages at the beginning of this year are adding jobs at a faster pace than those that did not, providing some counter-intuitive fuel to the debate over what impact a higher minimum has on hiring trends.

    • Income Inequality Is Not Rising Globally. It’s Falling.

      The finding comes from a recent investigation by Christoph Lakner, a consultant at the World Bank, and Branko Milanovic, senior scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study Center. And while such a framing may sound startling at first, it should be intuitive upon reflection. The economic surges of China, India and some other nations have been among the most egalitarian developments in history.

    • When the Boss Says, ‘Don’t Tell Your Coworkers How Much You Get Paid’

      Whether I was working as a barista or a paralegal, the story was the same: My employers wanted me to keep my mouth shut about money.

    • What Happens When Detroit Shuts Off the Water of 100,000 People

      When the water trucks arrived near Arlyssa Heard’s home on the west side of Detroit at the end of June, the 42-year-old single mother of two said it felt like the entire neighborhood was being taken over. “There were water trucks literally circling up and down blocks. I’d never seen so many in my life,” she says. “It’s like they were the police hunting down a criminal.”

  • Censorship

    • ‘Friendly Wi-Fi’ Aims To Stop Porn Access In Public Hotspots

      The UK government has launched the ‘Friendly Wi-Fi’ licensing scheme – an effort to make harmful and pornographic content inaccessible through public Wi-Fi networks.

    • ‘Pirate’ Site ISP Blockades Reversed By Court

      As Spain struggles with its continuing online piracy problems, a local court has issued an order for several file-sharing sites to be unblocked by ISPs. The decision overturns a ruling in May which required the service providers to censor torrent and download sites on copyright infringement grounds.

    • Dotcom’s MEGA Blocked in Italy Over Piracy Concerns

      The Court of Rome has issued a nation-wide block of two dozen sites that facilitated the distribution of pirated movies. Among the blocked domains is Kim Dotcom’s cloud hosting service Mega, Firedrive (formerly known as Putlocker), and even Russia’s largest email provider Mail.ru.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • That Comcast Customer Service Rep Wasn’t Going Rogue

      During her time at Comcast, Bruce attended an all-day training session, on a Sunday, four times a year. At the training session, 40 people would be lectured by a trainer who would give “pep talks” about the importance of retaining customers and making sales. In addition to managing calls, Bruce also worked at the counter, where she was instructed to try to convince customers to keep their service, even as they were returning cable gear following a processed cancellation.

    • Verizon made an enemy tonight

      This Netflix video streams at 375 kbps (or 0.375 mbps – 0.5% of the speed I pay for) at the fastest. I was shocked. Then I decided to try connecting to a VPN service to compare.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • RIAA Now Bullying Fully Licensed, Zero Revenue Music Site

        Earlier this week it was reported how the RIAA had decided to turn the licensing thumbscrews on a site offering decades-old radio archives for download. Now another archival site, one that pays thousands of dollars in license fees to BMI, ASCAP and SoundExchange yet makes not a cent, is now in the RIAA spotlight.

      • [Old] Dotcom’s Mega Plans $179m Public Listing Via Reverse Takeover

        Mega.co.nz, the cloud storage company founded by Kim Dotcom, has announced its intention to go public with a backdoor listing on the New Zealand stock exchange. The deal, worth a cool NZ$210m ($179m), will be actioned via a reverse takeover of a local investment shell company.

      • Chrome Blocks uTorrent as Malicious and Harmful Software

        Google’s Chrome browser has started to block downloads of the popular BitTorrent client uTorrent. Those who attempt to download the software are told that it’s malicious and harmful, hinting that the website might have been hacked.

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