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Links 3/8/2014: Wine 1.7.23 Out, New Linux Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 6:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Free Software/Open Source


  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Experts to expose flaws in cyber security devices

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      Internet-connected cameras, USB sticks and even a web browser promising anonymity have serious security flaws, according to researchers preparing to lay bare the dangers of online life at conferences in Las Vegas this week

      Cyber security researchers from across the world will gather for the Black Hat and Def Con conferences, aiming to expose vulnerabilities in devices and software that people trust in order to fix the problems and try to make companies more careful when designing technology.

    • Hackers show the dangers of USB Thumb Drives. But this may be nothing new
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Israel withdraws most troops from Gaza as it seeks to wind down monthlong war

      Israel withdrew most of its ground troops from the Gaza Strip on Sunday in an apparent winding down of the nearly monthlong operation against Hamas that has left more than 1,800 Palestinians and 60 Israelis dead.

    • Gaza is not as I expected. Amid the terror, there is hope

      The world is not so blessed that it can afford to waste the lives of the 1.8 million Palestinians who live there

    • Sainsbury’s forced to close stores after pro-Palestine demonstrations

      SUPERMARKET giant Sainsbury’s were forced to close several stores after pro-Palestine demonstrations were held in response to the retailer stocking Israeli goods.

    • Terra Incognita: Hypocrisy of the first order

      Why do people who self-identify as “Jewish Americans” not subject the “American” part of that identity to the same high standards?

    • Report: Israel tapped John Kerry’s phone when he was brokering peace talks

      Several sources in the intelligence community confirm to ‘Der Spiegel’ that Israel listened to US Secretary of State’s unencrypted calls.

    • Ed Miliband accuses David Cameron of ‘inexplicable silence’ in row over Gaza

      “Sustainable security for Israel cannot be achieved simply by permanent blockade, aeriel bombardment and periodic ground incursion. Instead, it requires acknowledging the legitimate claims of Palestinians to statehood, and sustained efforts to secure a viable Palestine alongside a secure Israel.

    • Gaza crisis: Ed Miliband demands David Cameron ‘stands up to Israel’ after air strike on school
    • How Gaza became one big suicide bomb

      Gaza is a suicide bomb. It is rigged by its leaders to explode.

      This is not a metaphor. It is a war crime. It makes the calculus of proportionality in the use of armed force by the Israeli Defence Forces complex and uncertain.

      The Hamas use of suicide bombings is well-developed. A decade ago, it involved the leadership preparing vulnerable Arab individuals to end their lives by blowing up Jews in Israeli cities. The use of Hamas towns and local populations in their entirety as huge suicide bombs to kill Israeli soldiers drawn into them by repeated Hamas provocations is an innovation.

    • You learn a lot very quickly in Gaza…

      Remember one other fact: about half of Gaza’s people are under the age of 18. No one fights in Gaza without maiming, killing, displacing or traumatising legions of children. This not a campaign waged in empty desert, mountain or plain – forget Iraq or Afghanistan – but a battle fought in narrow alleyways crowded with infants and families.

    • Israeli air strike hits UN school in Gaza

      An Israeli air strike has killed at least 10 people and wounded about 30 others in a UN-run school in the southern Gaza Strip, witnesses and medics said, as dozens died in renewed Israeli shelling of the enclave.

      The Israeli military declined immediate comment on the attack, the second to hit a UN school in less than a week.

    • Israel-Gaza conflict: At least 100 dead in 24 hours in Rafah

      The death toll in Rafah has risen to more than 100 in 24 hours since the Israeli military unleashed its fury on the town after announcing that one of its soldiers, Second Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, had been captured and two others killed in an ambush in which a suicide bomber was used. Last night, Israel’s military declared that the missing 23-year-old had been killed in battle on Friday.

    • British drones kill hundreds of Taliban fighters in secret SAS attacks in Afghanistan

      British drones have killed ­hundreds of Taliban fighters in secret SAS attacks, reveals the Sunday People.

    • British drones kill hundreds of militants

      Since 2008 RAF Reapers have been armed with smart weapons like Hellfire anti-tank missiles and 500lb bombs. They can fly unseen and unheard for 18 hours a day at altitudes of 30,000ft, transmitting real-time video of suspects to their controllers.

    • Secrets kill

      Why Pakistan must declassify wars in order to stop them

      It was 2004 when a bird like object turned into a missile mid-air and killed Nek Muhammad, who was a tribesman leading a tribal revolution with allies in the government and the Taliban. The drone strike was one of the first where CIA had agreed to kill him and Pakistan government allowed them to enter the air space of Pakistan to hunt down the American enemies on the soil.

    • On Roboethics and the Robotic Human

      Let me begin with whether robots can kill, since whether we should or should not kill another person is ultimately a moral question. Unmanned and remotely operated Predator drones (Telerobots as they are sometimes referred to) have, in the last five years, killed more than 2,400 people. However, since Predator drones are robots programmed and remotely controlled by human soldiers, it would be more accurate to say they are the proximate not the ultimate cause of death. Given this, moral accountability and the bestowal of praise or blame continues to remain with the human soldier-pilot. Recently, however, the UN hosted a debate between two robotics experts on the efficacy and necessity of “killer robots.” In a report on the debate, the BBC described the latter as “fully autonomous weapons that can select and engage targets without any human intervention.” Although such robots do not presently exist the authors assure us that “advances in technology are bringing them closer to reality.”

    • After US, British involvement in arming Israel revealed

      The documents, which were obtained by the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) under the Freedom of Information Act, showed that the weapons used by Israel against Gaza contain British-made components.

    • [Scotland] Yes vote will distance us from bloody foreign policy
    • UK involvement in arming Israel revealed
    • Britain to review arms sales to Israel after criticism of Gaza war

      British government’s Business Innovation and Skills Department (BIS) to review all UK export licenses for arms sales to the Jewish state.

    • Israel gets boost from US, UK

      US Congress okays $225m fresh aid to strengthen Israel’s anti-missile defence system

    • Israeli Soldier With UK Links ‘May Have Been Killed’ In Gaza, Hamas Say, As Britain’s ‘Role’ In Arming Israel Is Revealed

      Hamas have said an Israeli soldier with links to the UK may have been killed in a strike on his captors by the Israeli military, Hamas has said.

    • US aid, Pakistani anger

      The US Mission in Pakistan started requiring the display of US flags along with its logo so that illiterate Pakistanis became aware of the origin of assistance

    • Alleged terrorist worked for airlines

      Jones, 30, and Australian Christopher Havard were killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in November. They were not the primary targets of the attack, but were described as “collateral damage”. Australian media have quoted anonymous intelligence officials as saying Jones, also known as Muslim bin John and Abu Suhaib al-Australi, and Havard were “foot soldiers” for al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

    • US drone strike kills three people in Afghanistan

      Another US-led assassination drone strike in Afghanistan’s eastern Khost Province has reportedly left at least three people dead.

    • Op-Ed: Libya’s new parliament holds crisis meeting in Tobruk

      Libya’s new parliament elected earlier this year held an emergency meeting to discuss Libya’s deteriorating security situation in the eastern city of Tobruk. Handover of power to the new parliament was scheduled to happen August 4 in Benghazi.

    • Throw the Book at Him

      W.’s fear of being unmanned led to America actually being unmanned. We’re in a crouch now. His rebellion against and competition with Bush senior led directly to President Obama struggling at a news conference Friday on the subject of torture. After 9/11, Obama noted, people were afraid. “We tortured some folks,” he said. “We did some things that were contrary to our values.”

      And yet the president stood by his C.I.A. director, John Brennan, a cheerleader for torture during the Bush years, who continues to do things that are contrary to our values.

      Obama defended the C.I.A. director even though Brennan blatantly lied to the Senate when he denied that the C.I.A. had hacked into Senate Intelligence Committee computers while staffers were on agency property investigating torture in the W. era. And now the administration, protecting a favorite of the president, is heavily censoring the torture report under the pretense of national security.

      The Bushes did not want to be put on the couch, but the thin-skinned Obama jumped on the couch at his news conference, defensively whining about Republicans, Putin, Israel and Hamas and explaining academically and anemically how he’s trying to do the right thing but it’s all beyond his control.

      Class is over, professor. Send in the president.

    • Police files reveal ‘endemic corruption’ at the Met

      Scotland Yard holds an astonishing 260 crates of documents on police corruption in one corner of London alone – and very few of the rogue detectives have ever been successfully prosecuted.

      A review led by one of Britain’s most senior police officers has unearthed a mammoth amount of intelligence spawned by Operation Tiberius, a secret police report written in 2002 that concluded there was “endemic corruption” inside the Metropolitan Police.

      The file found organised crime networks in north-east London were able to infiltrate the Met “at will” to frustrate the criminal justice system.

      The huge number of crates, revealed in a letter by Craig Mackey, the Met’s deputy commissioner, indicates the scale of criminality inside Scotland Yard’s north-east London units, which appears to have gone almost unchallenged since Tiberius was compiled 12 years ago.

      Research suggests that only a tiny number of the scores of then-serving and former police officers named as corrupt by Tiberius have been convicted.

    • July 2014 Update: US covert actions in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia

      At least 32 people died in three CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, making this the bloodiest month since July 2012.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Slow and steady: Hungary’s media clampdown

      “Soft censorship,” including actions such as quiet dismissals, punitive tax laws, denied radio frequencies and abuse of privacy legislation, is arguably the most worrisome type. It creeps and grows in small increments and therefore often goes unnoticed until it has become institutionalized, at which point it is difficult to reverse. Over the past four years, Hungary has seen dozens of small, and not so small, encroachments on the right to free expression. Taken en masse, certain developments in Hungary indicate a clear trajectory towards authoritarian regulation of the media, and the situation is becoming increasingly dire.

    • Book censorship prompts freedom of expression fears for Indian publishers

      Dinanath Batra, dubbed “the book police” and “the Ban Man” by local media, is a self-appointed censor with wide influence. When he sends a legal notice to publishing houses informing them that their authors have injured Hindus’ feelings, they listen. Fearing long court battles and violent protests by Hindu activists, they have withdrawn and pulped titles or asked authors to rewrite.

    • Why Canadian media embraced censorship during WWI: Ira Basen

      “The first casualty when war comes,” U.S. Senator Hiram Johnson reportedly declared in 1918, “is truth.”

      Johnson was an isolationist who opposed U.S. entry into the First World War, and his concern over the fate of truth in that conflict was justified.

    • Censorship and Myth-Making About Hiroshima and the Bomb

      The US atomic destruction of 140,000 people at Hiroshima and 70,000 at Nagasaki was never “necessary” because Japan was already smashed, no land invasion was needed and Japan was suing for peace. The official myth that “the bombs saved lives” by hurrying Japan’s surrender can no longer be believed except by those who love to be fooled. The long-standing fiction has been destroyed by the historical record kept in US, Soviet, Japanese and British archives — now mostly declassified — and detailed by Ward Wilson in his book “Five Myths about Nuclear Weapons” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013).

    • Mahathir calls for Internet censorship

      Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad has called for the Internet to be censored to preserve “public morality”, in what the opposition suggested on Saturday was an attempt to silence government critics.

    • Dr Mahathir calls for Internet censorship
    • Censoring the Internet
    • Times Foreign Editor Responds on Israeli Censorship

      Still, the very idea of censorship or gag orders by a foreign government is a disturbing one, not only for journalists but for all who value the free flow of information. It’s heartening to hear that The Times has not submitted any articles for review, and I hope that that will remain the case as this situation develops.

    • Israel Censor Wants To Pre-Approve New York Times Coverage Of Soldier

      The Israeli military told The New York Times on Friday to withhold publishing additional information about an Israeli soldier reportedly captured by Palestinian militants until it is first reviewed by a censor.

    • Censorship in Your Doctor’s Office

      WHEN a doctor asks her patient a question, is the doctor engaged in free speech protected by the Constitution? If you think the answer is obvious, think again. According to a recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, everything a doctor says to a patient is “treatment,” not speech, and the government has broad authority to prohibit doctors from asking questions on particular topics without any First Amendment scrutiny at all.

  • Privacy

    • Surveillance paradise: How one man spied on NSA in Bahamas (VIDEO)

      Following reports the Bahamas are under total NSA surveillance, Nimrod Kamer went to the Caribbean state to investigate for RT how its people cope without any privacy and why local authorities refuse to lift a finger to restore it.

    • Privacy as a premium: Why it’s time to say goodbye to the free internet

      The concept of privacy changed once it went online. What was once a sacred tomb of personal information has been twisted and altered by the digital age, like so many analog and now antiquated concepts before it.

    • Foundation supporting Snowden asks Russian goverment to extend his asylum

      The Courage Foundation dedicated to supporting former U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIS) employee and National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden has forwarded a letter to the Russian embassy to the U.S. to extend his asylum in Russia.

    • Dear America, Would You Please Give Edward Snowden His Medal Of Freedom Already?

      What happened? You guessed it: everyone’s favorite hero/villain/demon/saint, Edward Snowden, who was granted asylum in Russia exactly one year ago. This week, the tech industry threw its weight behind a bill that proposes “sweeping curbs on NSA surveillance” and “would represent the most significant reform of government surveillance authorities since Congress passed the USA Patriot Act 13 years ago.” And it could actually pass — again, thanks to Snowden.

    • Glenn Greenwald says Germany’s NSA investigation is an illusion to keep US happy

      Glenn Greenwald has refused to go to Germany as a witness for their investigation into NSA spying. He has released a full statement where he says that Germany is conducting an illusion of investigation to keep the German public satisfied.

    • The death of privacy

      Google knows what you’re looking for. Facebook knows what you like. Sharing is the norm, and secrecy is out. But what is the psychological and cultural fallout from the end of privacy?

    • Students at Oxford will learn to spy from the NSA’s best friends

      Students in the UK can now get graduate degrees in cyber-spying approved by the masters of the craft at the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters, the British counterpart of the US National Security Agency. Students at the University of Oxford and five other universities can get masters in cyber-security signed off by the best eavesdroppers in the country, the BBC reported.

    • Computers still vulnerable to hackers of start-up codes

      And in December, Der Spiegel reported that a leaked internal NSA catalogue described a tool called DeityBounce that attacked the BIOS of Dell Inc servers.

    • Eye of the spy, there is no escape

      Google has rolled out the beta version of an anonymising proxy service, called uProxy. But Google is allegedly a partner to the NSA in PRISM project. There are other anonymiser browsers like Tor.

      But then while the NSA is trying to take it down, U.S. agencies are funding it.

      Germany and Brazil want a U.N. Resolution for internet privacy. European and Latin American countries are thinking of joining the effort.

      Russia and Germany have switched to typewriters to type out important documents, to avoid electronic snooping.

    • Letters: Bill targets surveillance of Americans

      On Aug. 6 bill SB-828 (4th Amendment Protection Act) will move to keep California from co-opting with the National Security Agency and its massive surveillance programs, many of which will end up in California if this bill is not passed.

    • Twitter insists government precision over user data requests

      In the first half of this year, Twitter’s seen a 46% increase in user data requests from 2013: the majority of these have come from the US (1,257), followed by Japan (192) and Saudi Arabia (189). Due to the large increase in user data requests, Twitter’s talking to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in an effort to have more transparency about what user data the Federal Government wants when it makes requests about Twitter users.

    • Free VPN to surf anonymously and protect your privacy

      Digital security is more important than it’s ever been. Hacks and other digital attacks are on the rise, and to no one’s surprise the NSA is snooping as much as ever.

    • Time India woke up to US surveillance

      AT&T has partnered the NSA since 1985. US court records in the class action suit Hepting Vs. NSA are revealing. (Details at https://www.eff.org/cases/hepting). Page 102 of a “top secret” slide presentation of the NSA shows AT&T as one of the “80 major global corporations” supporting its missions. Page 103 shows the NSA has a ‘Special Source Operation’ which has a list of three major corporates giving it access to various kinds of telecommunication facilities.

    • Google alerts police to man with child abuse images in his emails

      So where does this leave the average user? Does one give up certain privacies for the greater good, or is what someone does online entirely their own business, even if it’s illegal? Only time will tell, but hopefully if Google is watching they’ll continue to help put men like Skillern away.

    • New revelations about Cuban spy Ana Montes

      She “unhesitatingly agreed” to work with them and travel clandestinely to Cuba as soon as possible. The following March, she went there via Spain and Czechoslovakia. The Pentagon report does not state the obvious: while there, she must have received specialized training in intelligence tradecraft.

    • Breach of privilege

      The Sarkozy case raises important questions about the issue of technology and lawyer-client confidentiality.

    • 20140803-torbrowser-launcher
    • What happens during Facebook outage? People dial 911 and turn to Twitter

      While some of us are comfortable with the fact that we can eat breakfast without having to tell our 429 Facebook friends about it, a few users apparently think it is an emergency if Facebook goes down for 30 minutes and prevents them from sharing pictures of the soggy cereal and milk they had for breakfast.

      That is what happened on Friday when Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram experienced a brief outage affecting millions of users around the world and prompting them to take to Twitter to complain. One user, Sgt. Burton Brink of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, posted the following tweet.

    • John Kerry Just Visited. But Should We Just Forget About India?

      Here’s how bad things are between Washington and New Delhi these days: It’s news that Kerry even made the trip. Why this reluctant partnership might be best left to wither.

    • Senate bill on spying strikes a balance

      A pan-ideological group of senators this week unveiled the most high-profile bill yet for reforming the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs. The proposal does not go far enough for many civil liberties advocates. But that’s fine: The bill represents a careful, politically achievable balance, advancing several worthwhile reforms without seeking to dismantle the nation’s intelligence capabilities. Just as important, it would insist on the public release of much more information about U.S. intelligence collection, and it would provide a clear timeline for renewed debate on a range of NSA and FBI activities so the country would be able to take another crack at the issue if the bill’s balance proves unsatisfactory.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Quantifying Comcast’s Monopoly Power

      Comcast is a monopoly. The question is, how much of a monopoly is Comcast, and how much of a monopoly will it be after it absorbs Time-Warner Cable (TWC)?

      To help quantify market influence, economists use the Herfindahl–Hirschman Index (HHI), a metric that is calculated by adding the squares of the market shares of every firm in an industry. HHI produces a number between 0 (for a perfectly competitive industry) and 10,000 (for an industry with just one firm).

    • What is net neutrality?
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