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08.13.14

Links 13/8/2014: GNU/Linux as Winner, New Snowden Interview

Posted in News Roundup at 5:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 9 Signs You Should Use Linux on Your Computer

    One way or another you’re actually using Linux every day. Linux is the dominant platform on web servers, including the one you’re on right now, and it is also the core of the Android operating system that you’re tapping away at all the time if you own an Android smartphone or tablet. Besides that it’s also running everything from top supercomputers to small specialized devices, like that ADSL router you’re probably connected through to the internet.

  • Linux Format 188 – Speed up Linux
  • Are the Linux versus Windows flame wars finally coming to an end?

    Frankly, I’d be quite happy if there were no more Windows versus Linux flame wars online. But if they are tapering off then I don’t think it’s because Linux is winning and Windows is losing. I think it might be because many of the flame warriors have moved onto mobile and are deep into the Android versus iOS wars instead of Linux versus Windows.

  • Linux vs. Windows Internet Battle No Longer Exists Because Linux Is Winning

    Windows and Linux communities used to virtually battle each other regarding the superiority of one platform or the other, but that is no longer happening, at least not at the same scale. One of the reasons for that might be that Linux is actually gaining ground.

  • Desktop

    • Gartner Predicts 5.2 Million Chromebook Sales in 2014 | Maximum PC

      We’ve pointed out before how Chromebooks are some of the best selling laptops on Amazon, and though these cloud-based systems aren’t as capable as their Windows-based counterparts, they’ve having no trouble finding an audience, particularly in education circles. In fact, market research firm Gartner forecasts 5.2 million Chromebook sales by the end of the year, which would translate into a 79 percent jump compared to 2013.

  • Server

    • IBM’s Doug Balog: Infrastructure Matters More Than Ever

      IT infrastructure has long been an enterprise commodity – relatively cheap and abundant. But hardware is no less important in solving today’s IT challenges, from big data and the cloud, to mobile, social and security, says Doug Balog, the general manager for IBM Power Systems.

    • Comparing Virtual Machines and Linux Containers Performance

      IBM Research Division has published a paper comparing the performance of container and virtual machine environments, using Docker and KVM, highlighting the cost of using Docker with NAT or AUFS, and questioning the practice of running containers inside of virtual machines.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux APIC Code Prepares For A Major Overhaul

      The x86 APIC subsystem within the Linux kernel is beginning the process of a major overhaul with the Linux 3.17 kernel.

      The Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller (APIC) support is being overhauled to support physical IOAPIC hot-plugging. Within the Linux 3.17 kernel this feature isn’t present but the prepatory work is moving forward after a first attempt at the hot-plug support was rejected on technical grounds. In prepping for the APIC hot-plug support, obsolete driver abstractions were removed and other changes made for this merge window.

      Those concerned about the Linux APIC code can find out more about the forthcoming changes via this lengthy mailing list message.

    • Facebook Is Hiring A New Kernel Engineer To Make The Linux Kernel Exceed The FreeBSD One
    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Distros, Damned Lies, and Statistics

        There are lots of stories to report today starting with the top five lies Linux-haters tend to spread. Next up is Gary Newell with the top five easiest modern distributions to use. We’ve got five tips for Vim users and how to deal with missing ifconfig. Paul Adams’ been blogging the story of KDEPIM and Dead Island may be coming to Linux. OpenSource.com and Linux.com are all about education these days and Red Hat released a beta of upcoming RHEL 6.6.

      • The Book

        When inviting to the Randa 2014 meeting, Mario had the idea to write a book about KDE Frameworks. Valorie picked up this idea and kicked off a small team to tackle the task. So in the middle of August, Valorie, Rohan, Mirko and me gathered in a small room under the roof of the Randa house and started to ponder how to accomplish writing a book in the week of the meeting. Three days later and with the help of many others, Valorie showed around the first version of the book on her Kindle at breakfast. Mission accomplished.

      • KDE Frameworks Sprint – How to Release a Platform

        KDE Frameworks 5 is the result of two years of hard work porting, tidying, modularizing and refactoring KDELibs4 into a new addition to the Qt 5 platform. In January, Alex Fiestas announced The KDE Barcelona Hub—an office where anyone is welcome to come and work on KDE projects. It was just what the Frameworks team needed to finish off the code so it could be released to the world. Read on for some of what happened.

      • Upstream and Downstream: why packaging takes time

        Here in the KDE office in Barcelona some people spend their time on purely upstream KDE projects and some of us are primarily interested in making distros work which mean our users can get all the stuff we make. I’ve been asked why we don’t just automate the packaging and go and do more productive things. One view of making on a distro like Kubuntu is that its just a way to package up the hard work done by others to take all the credit. I don’t deny that, but there’s quite a lot to the packaging of all that hard work, for a start there’s a lot of it these days.

      • themukt.com Editor on Kubuntu ← Kubuntu Wire
      • Randa report: Artikulate KF5 port (almost) done

        It is the Randa-Sprint week again. If you never heard about this, then imagine a lot of KDE developers, meeting somewhere in the mid of the Swiss Alps, in a deep valley with a rather slow internet connection. These people are coming from all over the world and are here for exactly one week, to work, to discuss, and to create the future of KDE. To name only a few of the current meeting’s topics, there are people working on a KDE SDK, porting to KF5, writing the KF5 book (aka putting documentation to the KF5), reaching out for new platforms, and many more exciting things are happening here. If you want to know more about all the goods that the Randa meeting brings, you should probably have an eye on the planetkde.org posts for the next days.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Evolution 3.12.5 Arrives with Lots of Fixes

        Evolution 3.12.5, a complete solution that provides integrated mail, address book, and calendaring functionality to users of the GNOME desktop environment, is available for download.

      • GSOC REPORT #5

        As mentioned in the previous report GNOME Books Library exposes WebKit WebView and the functionality needed for the interaction with epub.js. There are some new features. The library implements navigation bar and page controlling (total number of pages, status of the current page) as well as table of contents (links to the book chapters).

  • Distributions

    • Zorin OS 9 Business Is a Good Replacement for Companies That Don’t Want to Pay for Window

      The final version of Zorin OS 9 Business, an Ubuntu-based operating system aimed at Windows users who are switching over to Linux, has been released and is available for purchase.

    • Black Lab Linux 6.0 Preview 2 Is Now Based on Xfce and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS – Gallery

      Black Lab Linux 6.0 Preview 2, a distribution based on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS, has been released and is now ready for testing.

    • Slackware Family

      • First preview for Slackware of Plasma 5

        Today is my son’s 16th birthday, and I do have a gift for all of you, not just for him. I present to you a first preview for Slackware, of the KDE Frameworks 5.1.0 libraries, combined with Plasma 5.0.1, the next-generation desktop workspace from KDE.

        I wrote about this in my previous post, but now you can experience it first-hand: Plasma 5.0 improves support for high-DPI displays and comes with a “converged shell”, i.e. one Plasma codebase for different target devices like desktop computers, laptops, tablet, phones etc. Plasma 5 uses a new fully hardware-accelerated OpenGL(ES) graphics stack. Plasma 5 is built using Qt 5 and Frameworks 5.

        And with the Breeze themed artwork and its own Oxygen font, this desktop looks clean and modern.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta Features Improved System Performance
      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta Brings New Features

        Although Red Hat already released RHEL 7, RHEL 6.x users can still benefit from new platform features.

        Red Hat came out today with a beta release of its Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 (RHEL 6.6) platform. The new beta follows Red Hat’s June release of RHEL 7 and inherits a few of its features.

      • Time to take profits in Red Hat
      • Red Hat spruces up 2011′s enterprise Linux with RHEL 6.6 Beta
      • Fedora

        • Fedora 21 and ARM device support

          As we slowly meander our way towards the pointy end of the Fedora 21 release, with Alpha speeding up in the rear view mirror, the Fedora ARM team are starting to discuss the best way to deal with the blossoming amount of ARMv7 devices that can and do run out of the box on Fedora.

          With our 3.16 kernel containing device tree blobs for 200+ devices, the Fedora 3.17 rawhide kernel already containing 230+, it’s truly impossible to actively test and support all of those devices. So much like previous releases we’ll be focusing on testing a group of “primary devices” with the remainder being considered as secondary. This doesn’t mean they won’t work, it just means they’re not necessarily a testing focus of the regular contributors or they might not be readily available to purchase.

        • Fedora:Alpha Change Deadline to slip one more week

          Alpha Change Deadline slips one more week due to requested glibc/GCC mass rebuild [1]. Alpha Change Deadline is now 2014-08-19.

        • Fedora Flock 2014

          Overall the Flock was awesome. The quality of all technical presentations/workshops was really high. It’s amazing how many things currently going on at the Fedora community, not just related to our Operation System (the distribution) but also innovative things that we develop or lead that in the long run benefit the whole Free Software community. As always I had the chance to meet, talk and collaborate in person with many Fedorians and that’s always motivating for my contribution to the project.

        • Fedora Security Team

          Vulnerabilities in software happen. When they get fixed it’s up to the packager to make those fixes available to the systems using the software. Duplicating much of the response efforts that Red Hat Product Security performs for Red Hat products, the Fedora Security Team (FST) has recently been created to assist packagers get vulnerability fixes downstream in a timely manner.

        • Fedora 21 Will Support A Lot Of ARM Hardware

          The Fedora ARM team has been doing a great job at testing and seeing a wide-range of ARM development boards and other consumer devices will work with the upcoming Fedora 21 release.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Closes a pyCADF Exploit in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS

            Canonical has published details in a security notice about a pyCADF vulnerability in Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) that has been identified and corrected.

          • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS – Trusty Tahr

            We are pleased to announce that our build infrastructure has been upgraded to Ubuntu Trusty. This means that your builds will run in an updated and more stable environment. We worked hard during the past couple of months to make this upgrade as smooth as possible.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • The Connected Car, Part 2: Wired For Wireless – It’s All Business
    • Raspberry Pi-powered Bigtrak

      The Raspberry Pi is a small, low-cost computer designed to promote an interest in computing and programming – but it doesn’t have to be straight-laced computing. In fact, in this article we’ll be showing you how you can use it to turn a Bigtrak into a robot. That’s educational, right?

      The Bigtrak is a toy that takes in a list of straightforward commands (Go forwards, turn left, turn right) and then executes them. To make things more interesting we’re going to remove the existing circuitry and replace it with a Raspberry Pi, using a small motor driver to safely control the motors in the Bigtrak, which we’ll then set up to be controlled via a PlayStation 3 DualShock controller.

      Everything required on the software side comes pre- installed on the latest Raspbian OS images, so all we need to translate changes from the controller to the motors is a small Python script that uses the Pygame and RPI.GPIO modules.

    • Linux-based controller mixes Atom SoC with Kintex-7 FPGA

      NI’s new 4-slot CompactRIO control system combines a dual-core Atom E3825 with a Kintex-7 FPGA, and features industrial temperatures and NI Real-Time Linux.

    • Phones

      • sailing in search of fresh waters

        I’ve had a long, quiet time on this blog over the past few years while I’ve been frantically helping Jolla to launch their self-named product: the Jolla. I’ve enjoyed (almost) every day I’ve been there: they really are a great bunch of people and the work has been plentiful and challenging.

      • Android

        • In the Android Ecosystem, Fragmentation is Nothing New

          All the way back in 2011, before Android marched to the top of the mobile platform wars, developers were voicing concerns about the fragmentation of the platform. In a post back then, I noted this quote from a study that Appcelerator and IDC did: “The Appcelerator-IDC Q2 2011 Mobile Developer Survey Report, taken April 11-13, shows that interest in Android has recently plateaued as concerns around fragmentation and disappointing results from early tablet sales have caused developers to pull back from their previous steadily increasing enthusiasm for Google’s mobile operating system.”

        • 64-bit mobile processors for Android L is coming

          Back in 2011, Nvidia announced to the world that they had acquired a license for the latest ARM instruction set, the ARM v8. But the most exciting part of the deal was that the new ARM instruction set is 64-bit. After making 32-bit mobile CPUs, Nvidia was set to take their Tegra K1 platform to the next level with a 64-bit mobile CPU. At the Hot Chips conference this year, Nvidia revealed their little project that they have been quietly working in for all these year. The Tegra K1 ARM v8 64-bit chip from Nvidia is ready for a release later next year. The new chip is codenamed Project Denver.

        • Nvidia’s 64-bit Tegra K1 processor may take Android to new heights

Free Software/Open Source

  • Business essentials: the open source software movement

    Research carried out by CWJobs.co.uk found that 62 per cent of IT professionals think that businesses are already missing out on the opportunities that open source technology presents. This is laid bare further by the fact that of the 300 IT professionals surveyed, 48 per cent think that there are already more jobs in open source than a year ago.

  • Open Potential

    Research from CWJobs has found that almost half (48 per cent) of IT professionals believe there are more jobs in open source than there were a year ago. Moreover, the survey of over 300 IT professionals found 62 per cent of the opinion that businesses were missing out on the opportunities generated by open source. The survey also found 71 per cent of respondents believe open source will be required more widely in future, with the biggest growth expected to be in advertising and media, telecoms and financial services.

  • CenturyLink Panamax Eases Docker Management
  • Panamax Open Source Tool Simplifies Docker Management

    In a very short amount of time, Docker–an open source tool for managing applications in containers–has become all the rage, and now CenturyLink has announced that it is releasing its Docker management tool Panamax to the open source community. Panamax is targeted to give developers one management platform to create, share and deploy Docker-containerized applications.

  • ClusterHQ brings databases to Docker with Flocker

    While it’s clear that Docker and container-based architecture is rapidly becoming a popular development and deployment paradigm, there are still a number of areas where containers still struggle compared to traditional bare-metal or virtualized solutions.

    One of these areas is data-centric applications. While virtual machines have developed a number of tools for snapshotting, migrating, resizing, and other management tasks, the management side of Docker containers and their related volumes isn’t necessarily at the same level of maturity. Yet. There are still some unanswered questions about how best to build a containerized application capable of dealing with machine failure, scalability, and other issues without introducing unnecessary complexity. These challenges are particularly difficult when applied to databases associated with containers.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome 38 Dev Features Better Copy/Paste

        The Development branch of Google Chrome, a browser built on the Blink layout engine that aims to be minimalistic and versatile at the same time, is now at version 38.0.2121.3 and is available for all platforms.

      • Google+ Update brings support for Chromecast

        As a rule of thumb Google typically offer updates to its services and products on Wednesdays. However google+ was given a surprise update today with a neat albeit a debatable limited update.

  • Education

    • Professors embed students directly into open source communities

      Ellis, whose students have contributed to Caribou, an on-screen keyboard that’s part of the GNOME desktop, explained that seasoned students often prefer to submit patches to projects, while beginner-level students are more content to interview existing contributors, explore collaboration technologies like Git or IRC, and embark on what Ellis calls open source “field trips”—toe-dipping excursions into various communities…

    • Everyday I help libraries make the switch to open source

      My first serious introduction to open source software came with my first summer work-study job. I was working on my undergraduate degree in computer science, and applied to my local library to work in the children’s area. But the library’s network admin, Cindy Murdock, snapped me up as soon as she saw “shell scripting” on my resume. From there I began to learn about all the ways open source software can be used in libraries.

      My library began using it with BSD-based routers in our small, rural libraries. At the time, dial-up was the only option for Internet access there. By the time I arrived, the library was already using open source software for routers, web servers, and content filters. From there we began branching out into other software. We set up a digital repository using Greenstone, and we were looking for an open source intergrated library system (ILS). We streamlined our people-counting system with a setup including wireless sensors that report to a server. I was able to write a more advanced reporting system using its API, which I also released.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The Lenovo X200 Now Works With Coreboot

      The X200 model supported in particular right now is the 7458CY9, which is an older X200 variant. This X200 model has a 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor with 4GB of RAM and 160GB HDD. The X200S and X200T are also listed as being supported.

  • Programming

    • Why developers should not be testing

      When somebody asks about their missing pet feature in KDE or ownCloud software, I always trow in a request for help in the answer. Software development is hard work and these features don’t appear out of nowhere. There are only so many hours in a day to work on the a million things we all agree are important. There are many ways to help out and speed things up a little. In this blog I’d like to highlight testing because I see developers spend a lot of time testing their own software – and that is not as good as it sounds.

Leftovers

  • Twitter Refutes Report That 23 Million Active Users Are Bots

    Twitter is defending itself after reports this morning suggested that the company admitted up to 8.5%, or 23 million, of its active users are automated bots.

  • Eight Twitterbots worth following
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Libya unravels: The U.S. is not good at repairing broken countries

      Developments in Libya continue to underline sharply the foreign affairs catastrophe in which the United States under President Barack Obama participated, with the country’s former colonial masters France, Italy and the United Kingdom, in engineering regime change there in 2011.

    • Former NSA spook resigns from Naval War College in dick-pic scandal

      John Schindler was a prof at the College; he slammed Snowden as a traitor and compared Greenwald to Hitler, and was generally dismissive about concerns about network surveillance; he also sent pictures of his dick to a woman who wasn’t his wife. He also co-wrote the report that stated that Sadam Hussein had WMDs, and helped send America to war.

    • PROFFESOR AT NAVAL WAR COLLEGE RESIGNS AFTER PHOTOS OF HIS ALLEGED JOHNSON APPEAR ON LINE
    • Look at past airliner shootings so we can learn about government lies

      Airliners are occasionally shot down (collateral damage) by modern air defense systems. Like children run over cross the street, it’s an ugly fact of modern life. These extreme (but fortunately rare) events reveal much about the behavior of governments — and about us. Governments lie; they do so because we believe them (no matter how much we pretend no to).

    • 14 Pulitzer Prize Winners Ask Justice Department Not to Jail Reporter
    • When will Obama’s administration stop trying to send this man to jail for telling the truth about spies, nukes and Iran?

      James Risen is out of chances. It’s time for the government to stop harassing a journalist for doing his job

    • Pulitzer Prize winners demand DOJ stops threatening New York Times journalist with jail
    • Many Pulitzer Prize Winners Demand DOJ Stop Threatening Reporter James Risen With Jail If He Protects His Sources
    • Grandmother Sentenced to Prison for Protesting US Drone Base

      Judge David Gideon’s words refer not to the use of drones, but the activities of anti-drone activists. He has uttered this phrase from the bench repeatedly in recent months as activists have appeared before him, and the words must have been echoing through his mind as he sentenced Mary Anne Grady Flores, a 58-year-old grandmother from Ithaca, New York, to one year in prison on July 10. Her crime? Participating in a nonviolent anti-drone protest at an upstate New York military base after being ordered by the local courts to stay away from the site. The base is used to train drone pilots and technicians, and to control drone surveillance and strikes in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

    • Judge Jails Anti-Drone Granny

      Judge David Gideon’s words refer not to the use of drones, but the activities of anti-drone activists. He has uttered this phrase from the bench repeatedly in recent months as activists have appeared before him, and the words must have been echoing through his mind as he sentenced Mary Anne Grady Flores, a 58-year-old grandmother from Ithaca, New York, to one year in prison on July 10. Her crime? Participating in a nonviolent anti-drone protest at an upstate New York military base after being ordered by the local courts to stay away from the site. The base is used to train drone pilots and technicians, and to control drone surveillance and strikes in Afghanistan and elsewhere.

    • Wisdom in Obama’s ‘Don’t Do Stupid Stuff’

      The current clear preference of the American public to avoid new entangling military encounters naturally gives rise to the charge that President Barack Obama is merely bowing to that public opinion rather than exerting leadership.

    • The murky world of military aid

      “Normally speaking, the Defense Department deals with governments, and the CIA deals with non-state actors,” explains Stephen Biddle, a professor of political science and international affairs at The George Washington University.

      [...]

      “As far as we can tell, yes, the CIA is now committed to provide weapons and ammunition directly to the peshmerga,” Biddle says. That has been widely reported, but a CIA spokesman declined Marketplace’s request for comment.

    • Top 9 Reasons to Stop Bombing Iraq

      1. It’s not a rescue mission. The U.S. personnel could be evacuated without the 500-pound bombs. The persecuted minorities could be supplied, moved, or their enemy dissuaded, or all three, without the 500-pound bombs or the hundreds of “advisors” (trained and armed to kill, and never instructed in how to give advice — Have you ever tried taking urgent advice from 430 people?). The boy who cried rescue mission should not be allowed to get away with it after the documented deception in Libya where a fictional threat to civilians was used to launch an all-out aggressive attack that has left that nation in ruins. Not to mention the false claims about Syrian chemical weapons and the false claim that missiles were the only option left for Syria — the latter claims being exposed when the former weren’t believed, the missiles didn’t launch, and less violent but perfectly obvious alternative courses of action were recognized. If the U.S. government were driven by a desire to rescue the innocent, why would it be arming Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain? The U.S. government destroyed the nation of Iraq between 2003 and 2011, with results including the near elimination of various minority groups. If preventing genocide were a dominant U.S. interest, it could have halted its participation in and aggravation of that war at any time, a war in which 97% of the dead were on one side, just as in Gaza this month — the distinction between war and genocide being one of perspective, not proportions. Or, of course, the U.S. could have left well alone. Ever since President Carter declared that the U.S. would kill for Iraqi oil, each of his successors has believed that course of action justified, and each has made matters significantly worse.

    • Iraqi Helicopter Crashes While Delivering Aid

      An Iraqi helicopter delivering aid to stranded Yazidis crashed Tuesday killing the pilot and injuring some of the passengers including a New York Times reporter. The Yazidis are a religious minority trapped by ISIS – the Islamic militants advancing through Northern Iraq.

    • ‘My wife thinks I will come home in a box’ – and three days later Gaza bomb disposal expert was dead

      Rahed Taysir al’Hom was buried in the sandy soil of the cemetery of Jabaliya, the rough Gaza neighbourhood where he had grown up, at 1pm on the third day of the ceasefire.

      His funeral was quick, attended by a hundred or so mourners, and accompanied by a quick sermon from a white-turbaned cleric, a sobbing father and some shots fired from a Kalashnikov by a skinny teenager.

    • We’re human fodder caught in the crossfire of armed groups and armed governments

      “Her father was killed in Helmand amidst fighting between the Taliban and the Afghan/U.S.-NATO forces,” said a relative about Gul Jumma, who looked down, shy and full of angst, sensing a future that’s not promising.

      Gul Jumma, together with the Afghan Peace Volunteers, expressed their opposition to wars in this video. Gul Jumma (in photo above, at right) holds up the sign for Ukraine, indicating “No to wars in Ukraine.” She understands what it is like to be caught in the crossfire, as happened to her father when he was killed in battle.

    • US airstrikes counterproductive in Yemen, Iraq

      The human rights groups in Yemen repeatedly accused the United States of breaking international law and perhaps committing war crimes by killing civilians in missile and drone strikes that were intended to hit militants.

    • Pine Gap communications facility’s operations ‘ethically unacceptable’, Professor Des Ball says

      A senior strategic analyst has called for the Federal Government to rethink the Pine Gap communications facility, saying some of its work now is “ethically unacceptable”.

    • Top intelligence analyst slams Pine Gap’s role in American drone strikes

      The joint US-Australian defence base at Pine Gap is accused of helping direct American drone strikes leading to Australia’s leading intelligence expert to call its work ‘ethically unacceptable’.

    • Video: Glenn Greenwald Criticizes NPR for Relying on CIA-Linked Firm in Report on Impact of Snowden Leaks
    • Glenn Greenwald Criticizes NPR for Relying on CIA-Linked Firm in Report on Impact of Snowden Leaks
    • Professor Boyle: Islamic State is US covert intelligence operation

      “All the implications so far in the public record are that ISIS [IS] is a covert US intelligence operation,” Boyle told RIA Novosti Tuesday. “Head of ISIS Abu Bakr Baghdadi spent five years in an American detention facility, and also three of the four military commanders were also in detention by the US forces. So, my guess is that ISIS is indeed a covert US military intervention to set precedent for US escalation in Iraq.”

    • Obama sends 130 armed military advisers to Iraq

      U.S. military forces continued to engage ISIL terrorists in Iraq today, successfully conducting an airstrike on an ISIL armed truck west of the village of Sinjar. NBC News has confirmed that at approximately 12:20 p.m. EST, the U.S. remotely piloted an aircraft that struck and destroyed an ISIL armed vehicle west of Sinjar. All aircraft exited the strike area safely.

    • Mass Murder as Political Marketing – The Phoenix Program and U.S. Foreign Policy

      The CIA’s infamous program to crush the resistance to U.S. occupation of South Vietnam is largely remembered as a gigantic campaign of assassination that claimed tens of thousands of lives. However, the Phoenix Program is best understood as an extension of U.S. propaganda.

    • Did Egypt alert Washington to impending 9/11 attacks? Former Intelligence chief slams El-Adly’s claims

      Mubarak’s interior minister claims he warned American intelligence twice about 9/11 attacks

    • Snowden Certain US Secret Services Spy on Him in Russia – Reports

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is certain that the United States’ secret services spy on him in Russia where his temporary asylum was extended for three years starting August 1, Snowden said in an interview with WIRED online magazine.

      “They’ve [NSA, CIA] got a team of guys whose job is just to hack me,” Snowden said. “I don’t think they’ve geolocated me, but they almost certainly monitor who I’m talking to online. Even if they don’t know what you’re saying, because it’s encrypted, they can still get a lot from who you’re talking to and when you’re talking to them.”

    • Snowden considered leaks earlier, held off for Obama election

      Edward Snowden has revealed this week that if it had not been for an impending election of Barack Obama in 2008 as President of the United States, he might have leaked NSA documents earlier. He speaks up this week on how he began to consider whistle-blowing in 2007, during “the Bush period, when the war on terror had gotten really dark.”

    • A Most Dire Question, How to Prevent the Real War to End All Wars? Part II

      The American people when polled recently overwhelmingly said they didn’t want any new war in Iraq.

      To that acknowledgement, “dear leader” Barack Obama authorized air strikes last Thursday in Iraq but endlessly repeated, “No ground forces will be sent”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • How the Commission ‘blocked’ key environmental plans

      Plans to crack down on endocrine disruptors and illegal timber being imported into the EU, were buried by the outgoing President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and his secretary-general Catherine Day, according to a senior EU source.

    • But does fossil fuel know it’s the problem?

      Why then are we unable to stop using fossil fuels? Our inability to deal with the problem of fuel invites a perverse question; does fossil fuel know that we don’t need it? This is a version of a joke told by Slavoj Zizek. Briefly, a man believes that he is a piece of grain who is under constant threat that he will be eaten by a chicken. He goes to a psychologist and he is cured of this delusion. Time passes, and one day he returns to the analyst and tells him, “There is a chicken outside of my house! I am afraid he will eat me!” The analyst says, “But you are cured of your delusion; you know that you are a man, not a piece of grain.” The man replies, “Yes, I know. But does the chicken know?”

    • ‘Big Oil’ is making too much noise

      The Supreme Court says money is speech. With the chance of losing the biggest tax break of the new century to Ballot Proposition 1, oil giants ConocoPhillips, BP, and ExxonMobil are making it seem more like money is screech.

      The Supreme Court also says corporations are “persons” so, under the First Amendment to the Constitution, oil money is “protected” speech.

    • The U.S. Is Bombing Iraq And Not Syria For Reasons That Look Really Familiar

      Erbil is also home to many major American oil wells.

  • Finance

    • John Oliver’s amazing takedown of payday lenders: ‘Even cluster@#$%s are bigger in Texas’

      John Oliver continues to do the work of real journalists, blowing the lid of the complicated and corrupt world of payday lenders in Sunday’s “Last Week Tonight.”

    • SEC Aggressively Investigates Media Leaks

      Since 2008, one particular federal government agency has aggressively investigated leaks to the media, examining some one million emails sent by nearly 300 members of its staff, interviewing some 100 of its own employees and trolling the phone records of scores more. It’s not the CIA, the Department of Justice or the National Security Agency.

    • Winter Is Coming: As the World Crumbles, We Must Re-Engage with Russia

      Like it or not, in such a setting we cannot afford to deepen our rift with Russia. Our airstrikes on Iraq, necessary as they are, have also furnished an ideal pretext for Russian President Vladimir Putin to initiate some type of militarized intervention in eastern Ukraine that he can argue falls under the banner of “peacekeeping” and “protection.” Case in point: Western politicians are openly wondering if the 260-truck convoy that set out from the Moscow region Tuesday is possibly carrying something other than what Russians profess is only “humanitarian aid” for the besieged city of Luhansk – and whether the trucks will actually stop, as claimed, at the Ukrainian border and hand control of the mission over to the International Red Cross.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Anti-Immigrant Fox Guest Stokes Fears Of ISIS Crossing Border: “I Would Guarantee You, They’re Already Here”
    • Decision Halting Walker Criminal Probe “Completely Unmoored”

      A slew of election law experts and Wisconsin’s elections board have filed briefs with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals sharply critiquing federal Judge Rudolph Randa’s decision halting Wisconsin’s criminal campaign finance probe, describing the ruling as “erroneous,” and as “completely unmoored” from U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

      On May 6, Judge Randa — a George Bush appointee who is on the board of advisors to the Milwaukee Federalist Society — halted the “John Doe” investigation into alleged illegal coordination between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s campaign and outside political groups like Wisconsin Club for Growth (WiCFG) during the 2011-2012 recall elections. WiCFG spent $9.1 million during the recalls on electoral “issue ads” that stopped short of expressly telling viewers how to vote, and funneled millions more to other groups that also ran issue ads.

  • Censorship

    • UK Police Hijack Ads of 74 Pirate Websites, Refuse to Name Them

      New data obtained through a Freedom of Information request reveals that the UK’s ‘piracy police’ are hijacking the ads of 74 suspected pirate sites. The police are refusing to reveal the domain names as that would “raise the profile of these sites.” Fearing cyber-attacks, the names of participating advertising agencies are also being withheld.

    • Forcing Commenters to Use Real Names Won’t Root Out the Trolls

      They say never to read the comments. But I do. Every day. I read every comment—the good, the bad, the so ugly it needs to be deleted—because it’s my job. I’m a community management consultant. And, believe it or not, my favorite commenters are anonymous.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Fulsome prison blues

      Attorney General Eric Holder said he believes the shooting in Ferguson (Mo.) “deserves fulsome review.”

      [...]I have advised readers in the past to take deep breaths about the skunking of words. “Enormity” now means hugeness. “Bemused” now means slightly amused. Get over it.

      So it is with this self-awareness that I stamp my feet about the creeping loss of fulsome. We simply don’t need a new $20 synonym for “full,” whereas a crisp two-syllable word meaning unpleasantly excessive, why that we do need.

    • Truths and Falsehoods About Ralph Nader’s New Book

      Have progressives made a mistake of lumping all conservatives together and fueling their political energies into hating them? Or are there what Ralph Nader calls “anti-corporatist conservatives,” who loathe undeclared, endless wars as much as progressives? And should progressives seek alliances with these anti-corporatist conservatives to oppose unnecessary wars, corporate welfare, NSA violations of our privacy, and many other issues where there is what Nader calls “convergence?”

    • Where in Constitution is CIA absolved of its myriad crimes?

      As I’ve often reported, the list of the agency’s wrongdoings is long, continuous and deeply documented in such books as “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA” by Tim Weiner, and “Globalizing Torture: CIA Secret Detention And Extraordinary Rendition” by Amrit Singh and published by The Open Society Foundations.

    • The CIA Activities and the Huge U.S. Military Offensive in Africa

      The CIA’s activities in Africa go and in hand with the huge U.S. military offensive on the continent. The agency “has maintained a continuing presence on the African continent into the 21st Century, engaging in various nefarious activities, including supporting foes of the Gadhafi government in Libya.”

    • The Senate report on CIA might lead to reform, but don’t hold your breath
    • Lawless at the CIA

      CIA spying on the Senate is the constitutional equivalent of the Watergate break-in. In both cases, the executive branch attacked the very foundations of our system of checks and balances.

    • Why Does John Brennan Still Have a Job?
    • Public Interest Groups Call For Brennan’s Resignation
    • 20 watchdog groups call for Brennan’s resignation

      A coalition of 20 transparency and ethics watchdog groups are fed up with CIA Director John Brennan’s leadership and are calling on President Obama to ask him to step down.

      The group, which includes the Project on Government Oversight, the Sunlight Foundation and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, among many others, on Tuesday accused the CIA of abusing its power and obstructing the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into agency’s use of torture in the years following the Sept. 11 attacks.

    • ‘National security’ candidate: Former CIA officer runs for U.S. House seat in Texas

      He is a former clandestine officer who’s gone into Lone Star politics. That would be conservative Will Hurd, who has joined the list of “national security” candidates who’ve caught the notice of John Bolton. Indeed, Mr. Hurd is challenging Democrat Rep. Pete Gallego in the 23rd District of Texas, which includes much of the Mexican-American border, in a pivotal area where voter support is much coveted by the GOP.

    • Ben Carson’s pledge of allegiance
    • Data Protection Issues in TISA’s First Leak

      Last week I wrote about the baby steps that the European Commission is taking to bring more transparency to the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) currently being negotiated. One of the things that the Commission is unlikely to publish – because the US won’t let it – is the negotiating text. Fortunately, we live in the age of whistleblowers and leakers, and one of them kindly supplied Wikileaks with a copy of the Financial Services Annex of TISA back in June…

    • US wanted Britain to build 2nd Guantanamo – report

      The prison, which could have been built in the British territory of Diego Garcia, would have hosted up to 500 detainees, and like the Cuban prison, would have been allowed to operate outside the normal parameters of international law.

    • Could the CIA have run a ‘black site’ detention centre on Diego Garcia?

      For years there have been rumours and reports of a CIA “black site” on Diego Garcia but two British officers who served on the island after the September 11 attacks have cast doubt on some of the more outlandish claims

    • Britain ‘discussed’ US request to build Guantanamo-style prison on Diego Garcia after September 11 attacks, officials say

      As Democrats fight for information about the CIA’s secret kidnap and torture programme to be published in a landmark report, The Telegraph has learnt details of America’s requests to use British territory of Diego Garcia in network of secret prison sites

    • Nice work: G4S wins $118 million Guantánamo contract

      G4S, the UK government outsourcer that supports Israeli security functions in the West Bank, will now supply ‘custodial services’ to Guantánamo Bay Naval Base, writes Clare Sambrook. Shocked? You shouldn’t be. G4S is impervious to public criticism and defies international law with impunity.

    • Doctor Complicity in Torture

      The Senate’s report on torture by the Central Intelligence Agency is expected to shed further light on the complicity of health professionals in the systematic torture and ill treatment of detainees. Much of this information is already public and documented in reports by Physicians for Human Rights and others.

    • Democrats battle with CIA conjures up old question: What constitutes torture?
    • Op-Ed: The CIA needs to win hearts and minds as well as gather intel
    • CIA no longer a state tax delinquent

      The state Treasury Department has released three tax liens posted against the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency for failing to pay almost $21,000 in withholding tax for its Michigan employees.

      A Treasury spokesman said state law prohibits him from discussing details of the tax delinquency – or even confirming the CIA paid its debt.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Internet hiccups today? You’re not alone. Here’s why

      It’s not just you. Many Internet providers have been having trouble as they run into long expected (but not adequately prepared for) routing table problems.

    • Why I’m willing to pay an early termination fee to leave Verizon

      Verizon’s throttling. Usually companies deny it until they get caught, but Verizon has come right out and said it will throttle certain users. Oh sure, they said only unlimited bandwidth users only. They also cooperated with the NSA after umpteen promises of protection our privacy. Quite frankly, I don’t trust you.

    • Walmart to sell Facebook only phone

      Wal-Mart, the US company whose employees are so poor that they live off food stamps while the owners are among the richest in the country, is now offering a new phone plan for $12 that allows users to access only Facebook. They are being offered by Virgin and initially you’re offered 20 minutes and 20 texts, then for $5 each on top you can add Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

      This plan effectively takes away net neutrality for it’s users as they can only access white-listed services and if more carriers see this they may decide to implement something like this themselves.

  • DRM

    • California passes cellphone ‘kill switch’ bill

      California is one step away from requiring cellphones to come with “kill switches.”

      The state Senate voted 27-8 on Monday to pass the newest version of a bill requiring cellphones sold within the state to allow users to make their phones inoperable if stolen, according to a report from CNET.

Reader’s Article: Skype Spying Reaches New Levels of Blatant

Posted in Microsoft at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shortly after the CIA got caught remotely taking screenshots of Senate desktops in the process of preparing a report on torture

Senate spying

Summary: Forced ‘upgrades’ of Skype give useds [sic.] of Skype more than they asked for

I have caught Skype in the most egregious example of spying I have seen from any software except stealthily delivered Trojans.

Last evening, I had a c2c conversation with a friend. After we disconnected, she texted me that she could see my computer desktop, and told me what I was doing on my computer.

I did not even realize that Skype had the capability to see my desktop – and the fact that it not only sees, but is shipping it over the Internet…

“The system is overall heavily secured, and while I knew there was a risk to Skype, I had no idea the danger was so great – and many people with whom I correspond use it, so I do too.”This goes beyond any reasonable limits into what can only be described as willfully criminal activity.

This was the new version 4.3 of Skype running on Mageia 4 64 bit. The system is overall heavily secured, and while I knew there was a risk to Skype, I had no idea the danger was so great – and many people with whom I correspond use it, so I do too.

I have uninstalled it. Until such time as I can convince those people with whom I must communicate to use another platform, I must use it. So I have deployed a virtual machine just for Skype. It can spy on that; the machine will be empty but for it.

I am, however, trying to get the word out. It may be that MSFT won’t care, but a good old fashioned shitstorm might be beneficial.

The Problem is Software Patents (and Scope), Not Patent Trolls Who Abuse Them Just Like Large Corporations

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 3:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Just as weapons proliferation is an issue, not merely those who may use them

Fallout shelter

Summary: Reminder of the dangers of losing sight of the real patent problem, which is the patents themselves, not necessarily those who use them

Abusive, frivolous lawsuits against Linux by Apple and by Microsoft should make it perfectly clear that not only patent trolls are the problem. TechDirt now focuses on Innovative Display Technologies, noting that it is a troll, but what about Microsoft and Apple? Are they any better just because there are a few products coming out from them? Or because they are not based in Texas only for the purpose of litigation? As TechDirt points out, “Innovative Technologies, LLC of Austin, Texas doesn’t make any products or even have its own website. What it does have, however, is a handful of weaponized patents its parent company, Acacia, acquired from “we’re not a patent troll” Rambus. It’s using a handful of display-related patents to sue anyone who utilizes an integrated LCD screen. Its latest targets are cell phone distributors like Verizon, AT&T and Apple, but other lawsuits have also been filed against auto manufacturers (Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda), camera companies (Canon, Nikon) and GPS suppliers (TomTom, Garmin).”

“It is not too shocking to find that lobby groups of corporations would rather divert all the attention to trolls in an effort to distract constructive debates.”But how is this troll different from Apple and Microsoft? All of them abusively sue companies that succeed at selling products, usually in very large numbers. The problem here is the patent themselves, not the person or the entity using them. “Software patents called into question” is the title of this new article that mostly quotes patent lawyers (like asking BP and Shell about green/alternative energy sources) but at least, quite correctly, contends that software patents (the favourite weapon of patent trolls) are now in trouble. To quote from one among 3 pages that largely contain quotes from patent lawyers: “Last month’s Supreme Court decision in the case of Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. vs. CLS Bank International is one of the more interesting findings applicable to businesspeople among software cases, according to von Simson. It’s yet another decision showing that software patents are being cut back.”

Techrights has consistently opposed the line of reform that goes after trolls rather than the real problem, which is rather clear to see and very simple to resolve (provided corporations, which control the US government, wish to resolve it). It is not too shocking to find that lobby groups of corporations would rather divert all the attention to trolls in an effort to distract constructive debates.

Fraud in the USPTO and CAFC Helped Apple Launch Frivolous Patent Lawsuits Against Linux/Android, Based on New Withdrawals

Posted in Apple, Fraud, Patents, Samsung at 3:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Inherent corruption in the US system has aided Apple’s assault on east Asian electronics giants that use Linux at the core of their products

A COUPLE of months ago we showed that in fighting Linux/Android Apple relied on the corrupt CAFC and the corrupt USPTO (never mind gross overreach by ITC with its xenophobic embargoes). There was no real review of patent applications on the face of it (there was fraud at the USPTO). Upon actual look at the patents in question the “Patent Office Shoots Down Apple Infringement Claims Against Samsung”, but not before a lot of damage (never mind legal fees) was done. As reported by an Apple boosting site:

Apple just hit a stumbling block in its second U.S. patent infringement case against Samsung thanks to a Patent and Trademark Office ruling that rejects some of the iPhone and iPad maker’s claims. The ruling targeted the summary judgement Federal Judge Lucy Koh issued ahead of Apple and Samsung’s trial this spring, and relates to infringement claims for Apple’s autocomplete patent.

These patent attacks are not going to work if enough money is spent by Samsung showing that Apple merely copies the competition (prior art). In fact, Apple already lost its biggest Samsung case and dropped all of its cases outside the US. It’s quite revealing. Can HTC claim compensation from Apple (legal fees and potentially other fees, as well as various damages to reputation and sales)?

Now that Android commands the lion’s share of the key market (85% of all sales, according to one source) all that Apple can do is lie and rely on trolls who claim “Apple’s resurgence” for some hits/clicks bait. Here is a new example:

In recent weeks, a drumbeat has grown among tech analysts that Apple’s iPhone is poised for massive uptake while Android smartphone sales may have peaked in developed nations. Also, Android is threatened in the developing world from a Google creation called AOSP, which strips out Google’s services (where Google makes its money) and lets any device maker avoid paying Google service royalties. This is especially significant in China, the world’s biggest emerging market, where AOSP is the top-selling mobile OS and which accounts for 20 percent or more of global “Android” sales. At the same time, various analysts have noted that Samsung is being squeezed by both Apple and AOSP, and Samsung may have already peaked in mobile, with 2012′s Galaxy S III representing the high point.

This is all speculative mambo-jumbo bearing the headline “Android has good reason to fear Apple’s resurgence”. Thankfully there is already a rebuttal to this, which says:

Partisan holy wars are part of the history of technology, and there have been few as bitter as Android versus Apple. While Android has had an amazing run of success over the last few years, some analysts are beginning to think that an Apple resurgence is at hand that could do serious damage to Android.

[...]

However, I also understand the need for a horse race in the media. Writers are under pressure to deliver traffic and page views, and a platform battle between Google and Apple certainly offers articles with compelling clickability for readers. And many analysts simply seem to go whichever way they think the wind is blowing without looking deeper into what’s actually happening.

Just remember that a lot of these analysts probably predicted Apple’s doom over the last few years, and now they’ve switched to predicting Android’s doom. So take everything they say with a gigantic grain of salt. I’m sure they’ll flip back over to the other side at some point in the future if they think it will get them attention, clicks and traffic.

Apple is not doing well and even people inside Apple (or fans of Apple) know this. The recent revelations about iOS back doors, the China ‘ban’, etc. are just some of the symptoms and contributing factors/causes. Hopefully, as Apple continues to lose market share, its ability to just sue with patents (frivolously) is going to diminish and the same goes for Microsoft, which is doing what Apple did a couple of years ago (suing Samsung with crappy software patents).

Investigation Reveals That USPTO is Corrupt, Time to Abolish It or Annul Nearly a Million Patents

Posted in Law, Patents at 3:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More fraud and abuse in the monopolies-granting bodies that large corporations are utilising

Kappos in Center for American Progress
Photo credit: Center for American Progress

Summary: Corruption is found at the heart of the USPTO and the USPTO works hard to hide it, despite attempt by whistleblowers to bring this corruption to light

OVER the years we have covered many issues and scandals in the USPTO. Not only the copyright system is rigged (managed by and serving the large copyright monopolies); the USPTO is more or less the same. It is a government body that is run by corporations and their minions (like David Kappos). Some months ago we showed that the USPTO was approving 92% of all applications, which makes it little more than a rubber-stamping establishment.

Well, how can it be that so much prior art and triviality got overlooked by the Kappos-run USPTO?

Perhaps now we know.

“For quite some time now, we’ve discussed how the USPTO had a massive backlog,” says Mike Masnick, “and that former boss David Kappos solved this “problem” by getting examiners to approve more patents faster, mainly by lowering their standards and granting more patents.”

“Whenever we write about this, we hear about overworked patent examiners who are really trying their best. Except, it appears that the system is actually rife with abuse and fraud by patent examiners,” Masnick added, linking to a highly-cited report.

To quote the report: “Prompted by multiple whistleblower complaints, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office began an internal investigation two years ago of an award-winning program that’s been praised in and outside government: Employees are allowed to work from home.

“What the inquiry uncovered was alarming.

“Some of the 8,300 patent examiners, about half of whom work from home full time, repeatedly lied about the hours they were putting in, and many were receiving bonuses for work they didn’t do. And when supervisors had evidence of fraud and asked to have the employee’s computer records pulled, they were rebuffed by top agency officials, ensuring that few cheaters were disciplined, investigators found.”

Here again we see whistleblowers in action and cover-up attempts by the USPTO.

The attempted cover-up attempts show that rather than deal with the abuses the USPTO became very much complicit. Perhaps it’s time to shut down the USPTO in its current form and annul all the patents approved in the past few years, revising and reviewing them as they may never have been reviewed at all, just blindly approved. To quote Masnick: “So, we just wrote about the fact that there was apparently fairly widespread abuse and fraud by patent examiners, mostly those working from home, in lying about the hours they put in and getting paid for work they didn’t do. However, what may be much more concerning was the fact that the USPTO tried to hide this from the Inspector General who was investigating this. As the Washington Post notes, an initial internal report detailed many more examples of fraud and abuse, which disappeared from the final report that was handed over. ”

The whistleblowers at the USPTO deserve some credit and they remind us the importance of whistleblowers, who so often rely on Free software.

The CCIA's Matt Levy now admits in his belated disclosure that “my wife is a patent examiner who teleworks.” Teleworking has been the source of abuse, but Levy keeps chastising “The PTO’s Culture of Poor Quality Patents” rather than corruption.

“The problem,” he says, “is not simply a bunch of crooked people trying to get away with something. There is clearly a cultural problem at the USPTO.”

No, the problem is that the USPTO — just like CCIA — is serving corporations. It does not serve public interests. Patent scope is one of the symptoms.

We currently talk to someone who wishes to blow the whistle on the EPO but it trying to set up encryption. It is clear that the NSA and its partners in Europe have done a lot to deter whistleblowers.

Links 13/8/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta, Tizen in Watches

Posted in News Roundup at 1:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Want a fulfilling IT career? Learn Linux

    How can understanding Linux enhance a career? This question is interesting because there are two drastically different answers. The first is the obvious answer that you can find through websites and studies everywhere, but the second is a little more subtle. And a lot more awesome.

  • How learning Linux can help your IT career
  • Desktop

    • Low Cost Chromebooks Force Microsoft’s Hand in the Portables Market

      Chromebooks, low-cost portable computers that run Google’s Chrome operating system, are quickly becoming market movers as sales are poised to reach almost 15 million units in 2017. That’s the forecast from Gartner researchers, which also reproted that sales will hit 5.2 million units this year, up 70 percent from sales in 2013. Gartner has also reported that the U.S. education sector is playing a big part in this, noting that it accounted for 85 percent of Chromebook sales in 2013.

      There are strong signs that Microsoft is taking this trend seriously, and we may see unprecedented prices on new Windows portables designed to compete with Chromebooks.

    • Acer Chromebook 13 has NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor inside

      Chromebook 13 is the latest Chromebook from Acer. It is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor and is the first Tegra K1-powered Chromebook.

      The Tegra K1 is a mobile processor built atop NVIDIA’s Kepler™ architecture that features a 4-Plus-1™ quad-core ARM® Cortex™-A15 CPU. It is the same processor inside the NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

  • Server

    • Supercomputer speed

      It wasn’t always that way. Whizz back to 1998 when Linux was still clawing its way out of the primordial binary ooze and just a single supercomputer ran it. Jump forward six years and that figure had exploded to 291 of the top-500 supercomputers and Linux never looked back. Now, I’m no expert (we could probably stop the sentence there) in supercomputers, but the benefits of a GNU/Linux OS apply as much to your home user as they do to supercomputer manufacturers. There’s no per-core licence to worry about – which becomes a big worry if you have 3.1 million processors to power.

  • Kernel Space

    • Scholarships Help Increase Access to Linux Education

      What does a file system engineer living in Minnesota have in common with a woman from Uganda working on maintaining Linux systems and a research and computing scientist working at a medical university? They were among the five Linux Training Scholarship winners in 2013.

      Now in its fourth year, the Linux training scholarships from The Linux Foundation have become highly-sought honors by many of the most talented up-and-coming Linux pro’s in the world. With nearly 700 submissions received last year we’re very excited to review this year’s applicants in September (the submission deadline is Sept 2).

    • XFS Introduces A Sysfs Interface With Linux 3.17

      The latest noteworthy pull request worth covering for the Linux 3.17 kernel merge window is of the XFS file-system updates.

    • UEFI Forum Officially Announces ACPI 5.1

      While Linux kernel developers have already been working on ACPI 5.1 support since it brings ACPI on ARM, and there’s partial support in the Linux 3.17 kernel, the UEFI Forum today finally announced the official release of the ACPI 5.1 specification.

    • The Linux Plumbers Conference is almost full

      The 2014 Linux Plumbers Conference (October 15-17, Düsseldorf, Germany) has sent out an advisory that the registration limit is about to be reached. “We are very rapidly approaching our attendance limit, this year faster than in any past editions of the conference. We expect that the conference general registration will be sold out soon, possibly even within a few days. If you have a vested interest in participating in the discussions, please register now, to guarantee that you will obtain a ticket for the conference.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD’s Radeon DDX Enables Hawaii Acceleration By Default

        We’ve long been monitoring the AMD Hawaii Linux support situation. AMD did provide same-day Catalyst Linux support for the R9 290 but took a while to get cleaned up. However, on the open-source side, it wasn’t until recently that the R9 290 open-source support got into shape with working 2D/3D hardware acceleration.

      • BPTC Texture Compression Support Lands In Mesa

        Last month we reported on Intel working out patches for BPTC texture compression support with their open-source 3D driver and as of today that support has been mainlined to Mesa.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Phonon + GStreamer + VLC 4.8 Beta
      • KDE Applications and Development Platform 4.13.3

        Packages for the release of KDE SC 4.13.3 are available for Kubuntu 14.04LTS. You will recieve them from the regular update channel.

      • First Bugfix Update to Plasma 5

        KDE is now getting into the swing of releases numbered 5. Today we add Plasma 5′s first bugfix update. The release features KDE’s flagship desktop project as well as the base software needed to keep your computer running. Plasma will have feature releases every three months and bugfix releases in the months in between.

      • Kig on Frameworks!

        But the port to KDE Frameworks 5 is not the only exciting thing happening in Kig: the Google Summer of Code coding period is almost over and Aniket’s project about Geogebra support is in good shape, so you will soon see this integrated into the code; although we still need to decide about the right strategy to make this available to our user base. Keep tuned for more Kig info!

      • Monday Report: Old Style In New Form

        The basis of this theme is the old oxygen style, so he was able to reuse most of the code. Below are some screenshots of his work (without the Breeze window decoration).

      • KDE Frameworks Book Sprint at the Randa Meeting 2014
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GTK+ 3.13.6 Updated To Work With Newer Wayland

        The GTK+ tool-kit is out with a new release this week that offers a lot of bug fixes but also several new improvements.

        First up, the new GTK+ 3.13.6 release has been updated to support newer versions of the Wayland protocol. Beyond that as the only Wayland change for this GTK+ 3.14 development release, there’s Adwaita theme improvements, a faster blur implementation for shadows, and a variety of other GTK improvements. There’s a total of 37 known bug-fixes in the GTK+ 3.13.6 release.

      • GTK+ 3.13.6 Arrives with More Adwaita Improvements
      • Teachers explain why they’re ditching iPads for ‘much more useful’ Chromebooks

        As popular as the iPad has been for end consumers, schools have also been a major part of the tablet’s success. Ever since Apple launched the iPad in 2010, schools all over the country have experimented with placing them in classrooms or giving them to students to bring home with them. The Atlantic reports that although many institutions were initially satisfied with the results, many are now beginning to see the potential upshot of affordable laptops over expensive tablets.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • NI CompactRIO controller runs Linux RTOS on Intel Atom

      NI’s latest CompactRIO controller is supported by LabVIEW 2014 and NI Linux real-time for applications in harsh, industrial environments.

      This software-design controller provides data processing, custom timing and triggering, and data transfer from modular C Series I/O.

      The controller has an Intel Atom processor and a Kintex-7 FPGA for implementing complex filtering and control algorithms.

    • Media player dev kits run Ubuntu, Android on Cortex-A9

      Toshiba announced wireless-enabled development kits based on its dual-core Cortex-A9 “TZ5000 ApP Lite” SoC, supporting Ubuntu and Android 4.4, respectively.

    • Raspberry Pi based media player offers 1TB hard drive

      FiveNinjas has launched a “Slice” media player on Kickstarter based on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, with a 1TB HDD and a customized version of XBMC.

      UK-based startup FiveNinjas developed the Slice because the developers found it annoying when their media players became useless when carried beyond an Internet connection. Unlike most media players, the Slice ships with a 1TB hard disk drive for storing plenty of video for offine playback.

    • 12 Linux-Based Home Automation Systems for Under $300

      Home automation hubs have emerged as the tech startup product of choice in 2014, and most run on embedded Linux. The category has been re-energized with the dropping costs of wireless radios and embedded processors, as well as the ubiquity of readymade touchscreen interfaces in the form of Android and iOS devices. This slide show presentation covers 10 Linux-based and two Android-based home automation systems starting at under $300.

      Home automation systems have been around for more than a decade, but were usually affordable only to a few. Early Linux-based products include the circa-2002 CorAccess Companion, as well as later tuxified products from Control4, such as the Control4 Home Controller HC-500. While the HC-500′s $1,500 was a price breakthrough back in 2008, Control4′s entry level system is now an HC-250 model selling for under $500 plus licensing. You’ll find most of the systems listed here starting at under $200, with some hubs selling for as little as $49. Of course, you’ll likely spend much more than that on compatible smart devices, and equipping a large home could easily push you over the $1,000 mark.

    • Top 12 Linux-Based Home Automation Systems
    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Navigate using your Tizen Samsung Gear 2 / Neo with DMA Navi Watch

          DMA Navi Watch uses Google Navigation notifications from your device and displays them to your wrist. To setup the app you need to enable the notification listener on your Android Smartphone and your good to go, video instructions on how to do this are below. When your not navigating anywhere, the clock face works like a standard Gear 2 clock face. The App is available now to download from Samsung Galaxy Apps (depending on country and network availability).

      • Android

        • Android motorcycle helmet/HUD gains funding

          Skully has achieved Indiegogo funding for an Android 4.4 based motorcycle helmet with a head-up display, GPS navigation, and a 180-degree rearview camera.

        • Project Denver SoC will be the first 64-bit ARM processor for Android

          NVIDIA has revealed architectural details of the 64-bit version of the Tegra K1 System-on-Chip (SoC). Being developed under the Project Denver code name, it will be the first 64-bit ARM SoC for Android.

          The 32-bit version of Tegra K1 already powers several notable mobile devices, including the NVIDIA Shield tablet and the just announced Acer Chromebook 13.

        • Hurry! Aug 17th next closing date for Project Ara development boards

          Yesterday we reported on the upcoming and possible game-changing Project Ara. If you missed the post then follow the link to read our report in full.

          To quickly recap Google’s Project Ara is a completely new take on what a smartphone is. Google next year will launch a Modular phone which consists of small interchangeable modules (MOD’s). Each MOD will have a different purpose i.e. camera, identity, speakers and users will simply be able to change the modules at will and upgrade only the parts they want to upgrade.

Free Software/Open Source

  • How to Overcome Hidden Barriers to Open Source Adoption

    Even when procurement policies don’t rule out open source solutions explicitly in this way, they often still have an unintentional bias towards proprietary software, according to Mark Johnson, development manager at OSS Watch, a body that provides advice on open source software.

    “It may be that the way solutions are investigated by organizations actually favors companies that get license fees and are therefore able to offer presales support. Because the business models work differently, you may have to pay a company to come in and do a demonstration of an open source solution,” Johnson says.

    “What that means is that companies may need to be aware that they have to be more hands on (with open source software),” he adds. “They can’t just expect to sit down and watch a PowerPoint presentation.”

  • CenturyLink releases Panamax open-source Docker management platform

    CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) today announced the contribution of Panamax, a Docker management platform, to the open-source community. Ideal for even the most complex Docker architectures, Panamax gives developers a single management platform to easily create, share and deploy any Docker-containerized application.

  • OSI and Conservancy Announce US Tax Exemption Working Group

    Software Freedom Conservancy and the Open Source Initiative are pleased to announce that they are the founding members of a working group focused on tax exemption issues for organizations in the United States.

    Recent activity by the Internal Revenue Service in response to applications for tax exempt status have sparked a lot of interest and discussion amongst free and open source software communities.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • UbuConLA: Firefox OS on show in Cartagena

        If you are attending UbuConLA I would strongly encourage you to check out the talks on Firefox OS and Webmaker. In addition to the talks, there will also be a Firefox OS workshop where attendees can go more hands on.

        When the organizers of UbuConLA reached out to me several months ago, I knew we really had to have a Mozilla presence at this event so that Ubuntu Users who are already using Firefox as their browser of choice could learn about other initiatives like Firefox OS and Webmaker.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos Cozies Up to OpenStack

      All the way back in 2008, before it was a commercial product, OStatic broke the news about an open source project at U.C. Santa Barbara called Eucalyptus, which we described as “for implementing ‘cloud computing’ on clusters.” Of course, fast-forward to today, and Eucalyptus Systems is one of the most discussed companies on the cloud computing scene.

    • New Open-Source Tool Makes it Easy to Tap Into Docker, the Cloud’s Next Big Thing

      Your new app is brilliant; the code you’ve spent six months writing is beautiful. But when you upload it from your laptop to the web server, it just doesn’t work. You know why: your laptop’s is configured slightly differently than the server, and now you’re now going to have to spend hours — maybe days — figuring out what you need to change to make it run properly.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • How the Open Source Election Technology Foundation is Remaking the Voter Experience

      “The commissioners and others don’t want the recommendations to just sit on the shelf but to get these recommendations into the states to move them along, ” John Fortier, director of the Democracy Project, said in an interview with techPresident last week.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Spain’s Ill-Conceived ‘Google Tax’ Law Likely To Cause Immense Damage To Digital Commons And Open Access

        Techdirt recently wrote about Spain’s imminent and almost unbelievably foolish new copyright law designed to prop up old and failing business models in the publishing sector. Mike mentioned that it was potentially disastrous for things like fair use, Creative Commons and public domain material — so broad is the reach of this new law’s “inalienable right” for publishers to be paid when snippets of works appear elsewhere.

      • Did Spain just declare war on the commons?

        Two weeks ago the lower chamber of the Spanish parliament approved a number of changes to Spain’s Intellectual Property Law that directly threaten the ability of Spanish internet users to contribute to the commons. The law introduces a number of modifications to copyright law that expand the scope of exclusive rights over areas that were previously outside of the exclusive rights of copyright holders at the expense of users rights and the public domain.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OpenGL 4.5 update brings desktop like graphics on Mobile

      Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques or SIGGRAPH is the annual event where graphics industry professional comes together to unveil their tricks that they have been working on for the year. This year at SIGGRAPH 2014, as is customary for them, Khronos Group took the stage to reveal their latest version of OpenGL, OpenGL 4.5. The announcement also included updates on their OpenGL ES as well as WebGL, all offshoots and parts of the OpenGL standard.

    • After OpenGL 4.5, The Mesa OpenGL 4 Support Matrix

      Now that OpenGL 4.5 was released yesterday by the Khronos Group, while NVIDIA already has an OpenGL 4.5 driver, it will be a longtime before the open-source Mesa/Gallium3D drivers are able to claim OpenGL 4.5 compliance.

Leftovers

  • JFK’s Popularity Endures: John F. Kennedy Remains High in Presidential Polls, Surveys

    Todd J. Gillman of The Dallas Morning News observed that “historians rate Kennedy as a middling president. The public puts him on a pedestal with Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. His loving image has survived tawdry revelations and bookshelves of critical reassessments.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Dear Mr Cameron: US and EU politicians had been drumming up the conflict in Ukraine

      The British Prime Minister shows a staggering arrogance and frightening lack of historical perspective in supporting the neo-Nazi regime of the Ukrainian government, and luring the Russian Federation into a conflict with the European Union and the West by blaming it for condoning the shooting down of Flight MH17 on 1 August over the disputed territory of eastern Ukraine.

      Last month, David Cameron published an article in The Sunday Times that, in a series of sweeping accusations, marked a high point in interventions by the West which fuel conflict in Ukraine and, eventually, could drag Russia into a war with the European Union.

      Even before this intervention, US and EU politicians had been drumming up the conflict, first by helping neo-fascists in Ukraine into power, who then committed atrocities against the people of eastern Ukraine.

    • CIA Intervention In Ukraine Has Been Taking Place For Decades

      Of all the aspects of the current crisis over the NATO/Russia standoff in Ukraine, the determined intervention into Ukrainian political affairs by the United States has been the least reported, at least until recently. While new reports have appeared concerning CIA Director John Brennan’s mid-April trip to Kiev, and CIA/FBI sending “dozens” of advisers to the Ukrainian security services, very few reports mention that U.S. intervention in Ukraine affairs goes back to the end of World War II. It has hardly let up since then.

    • Sen. Nelson headed to Ukraine; says U.S. should arm Kiev government

      Sen. Bill Nelson, gearing up for a trip this week that will take him to Ukraine, the Baltic states and Turkey, departed from the Obama administration’s more measured approach and called for providing lethal arms to Ukraine’s military, which is battling Russian-backed rebels and facing down 20,000 Russian troops amassed along the border.

    • How, and maybe why, US contributes to Saudi police state

      On July 6, human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair was sentenced to 15 years in prison in the Saudi Specialized Criminal Court. Al-Khair was convicted of making statements to the news media and issuing tweets criticizing human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. In addition, al-Khair is subject to a 15-year travel ban after his sentence is completed and a fine of 200,000 riyals ($53,327.65 USD).

      The state’s case against al-Khair centered around al-Khair’s establishment of and participation in the “Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia” — a civil rights advocacy group in Saudi Arabia. Al-Khair spoke out internationally against Saudi Arabia’s history of human rights violations and participated in several human rights defense cases — including the case of Samar Badawi, who was accused of disobeying the Saudi male guardianship system.

    • #IfTheyGunnedMeDown protests portrayal of black youth after Michael Brown’s death

      Many Twitter users posted pictures of themselves with #IfTheyGunnedMeDown to challenge the way the media portrays African-Americans. The hashtag was a response to coverage of Michael Brown’s death in suburban St. Louis over the weekend.

    • Droning On

      A botched drone mission in Afghanistan kills 13 civilians, mostly women and children. Pilot Darwin Cole, controlling the unmanned aircraft from a bunker in Nevada, watches in horror as his anti-terrorist strike becomes a massacre.

      One year later, Cole is a drunken recluse, ejected from the military with a dishonorable discharge, living in a trailer with “broken windows, [and] bottles in the yard.” He has lost his nerve, his wings, his career, and his wife and kids. He has been unmanned.

    • The Fallacious Human Shield and Collateral Damage Arguments

      If we apply our ethics, as Justitia, we would protect our civilians, children, and infirm, in Phoenix, Arizona, just as we should do everything we can to protect the civilians in rural Afghanistan, Iraq, or in Gaza or Israel. At the very least, we should contribute nothing to hurting those children. All civilians deserve the freedom from being treated like expendables by any military anywhere. Anything short of respecting that freedom makes us all terrorists.

    • Death in Gaza: Some Counts More Controversial than Others

      Determining whether deaths are civilian or military is the heart of the matter. “No other number is as contentious as the ratio of civilians to combatants killed,” Rudoren explains. So what is the truth, then?

    • Journalists are complicit in Gaza’s suffering by ignoring context

      Reporters seize upon the list of Gaza’s most recent victims, only to parse their death certificates for proof that they, too, did not deserve to die.

      “Journalism,” wrote the Swedish war correspondent Stig Dagerman, “is the art of coming too late as early as possible.” The dictum resounds in Gaza, where an eight-year Israeli siege – which has left this land all but unlivable – went woefully underreported well before Gaza was is in the throes of war. As Palestinian families again count their dead, that journalistic negligence, say human rights workers, leaves much of the reporting here dangerously devoid of context.

    • War Is Our Most Urgent Problem. Let’s Solve It

      Is there a more urgent problem in the world today than war? And when I say “war” in this post, I mean also militarism, the culture of war, the armies, arms, industries, policies, plans, propaganda, prejudices, rationalizations that make lethal group conflict not only possible but also likely.

    • Report: Obama told lawmakers that Syria criticism was ‘horse ****’

      President Obama recently told lawmakers that their criticism of his policy in Syria is “horse ****,” according to a report published late Monday.

      A member of Congress told The Daily Beast Obama used the expletive during a July 31 meeting at the White House just before the August recess.

    • Report: Obama Uses Expletive to Lash Mideast Policy Critics

      President Barack Obama did not take kindly to lawmakers from both parties saying the United States might not be facing the problems it is with ISIS had he armed the Syrian rebels years ago, calling the suggestion “horses–t,” reports The Daily Beast.

    • McCain Syndrome

      Senator McCain, are you openly advocating the dangerous weapon proliferation to your former deadly enemy?

    • Former CIA Officer: US Should Give Heavy Weapons to Kurds

      Retired United States Air Force intelligence officer and Middle East specialist, Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona has told BasNews that the US government should send heavy weapons to Iraqi Kurds to fight IS Militants.

    • New PM Candidate for Iraq; 247 Killed in Battles, Airstrikes
    • US sends arms to Iraq – to solve problems Washington helped create

      The US is conducting air strikes and supplies weapons to help outgunned Iraqi Kurds fight off the offensive of Islamist militants. The Kurds are battling against extremists armed with American arms and nurtured thanks to America’s policies.

      The airstrikes aimed at positions of the militants from the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS or ISIL, in northern Iraq are not expected to seriously undermine their strength, US generals say.

    • History Repeating Itself? U.S. Bombing Iraq While Jockeying to Oust Leader It Once Favored

      As a U.S. bombing campaign in northern Iraq enters its fifth day, Baghdad is in a state of political crisis. Eight years ago, Nouri al-Maliki rose to prime minister with the help of the United States. Now the United States has helped pick his replacement. But al-Maliki is refusing to go — deploying his forces around Baghdad and accusing critics of staging a coup. The political crisis is worsening as U.S. airstrikes continue on Islamic State militants in the north. President Obama authorized the strikes last week in what he called an effort to halt the militants’ advance on Erbil, where the U.S. has a consulate and military personnel, as well as to prevent a massacre of the Yazidi minority. U.S. officials have confirmed the CIA is also secretly sending arms and ammunition directly to Kurdish forces known as the Peshmerga. We are joined by Spencer Ackerman, national security editor at The Guardian.

    • Bush didn’t know anything about Maliki, but put him in charge of Iraq anyway
    • Barack Obama And George Bush: Flashback On Iraq

      “MISSION (NOT) ACCOMPLISHED …”

    • America’s past foreign policy blunders still haunt us: Letter

      It’s sad to report that “American exceptionalism” is a myth. The CIA sponsored a 1953 coup in Iran against a democratically elected prime minister that led to the Shah of Iran and finally to today’s Islamic government.

      How well did that work out for us?

      The George W. Bush war in Iraq against a secular strongman for the oil companies, Saddam Hussein, which led to a Shia-majority “democracy” there aligned with Iran now has tea-party types quaking in their boots over a possible Iraqi “caliphate” led by a radical Islamic group known as ISIS.

      How well has this “democracy at the point of a gun” worked out for us?

    • Former Chief historian of the CIA explains why he nixed a secret history of the Bay of Pigs

      In late 1984, not long before he retired from the CIA, Jack Pfeiffer filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the CIA to release the classified five-volume draft history of the 1961 Bay of Pigs operation that he had begun as a CIA History Staff monograph in 1973. In late 1987 and early 1988, after Pfeiffer had appealed the CIA’s denial of this request, the CIA’s Office of General Counsel asked me, as chief historian, to prepare a declaration and later a supplement concerning Pfeiffer’s appeal for declassification and release of this top secret draft history. A few years later, I recall hearing that the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had rejected Pfeiffer’s FOIA appeal and his entire five-volume draft history remained classified.

      I heard nothing more about the fate of Pfeiffer’s draft history until May of this year, when I read a copy of the recent US Court of Appeals denial of the National Security Archive’s FOIA appeal for the declassification and release of Volume V of this Bay of Pigs draft history. Although Judge Rogers’s dissenting opinion in this case quotes excerpts from my 1980s declarations, I have nothing useful to say now about the continued denial of Volume V. I can, however, provide some explanation for how it was that Jack Pfeiffer produced this massive draft history in the years 1973-1981 and how I came to review that draft in December 1981. I must rely on memory for this account of matters that took place in the 1970s and 1980s, since I am now retired and no longer have access to CIA records concerning Jack Pfeiffer, his history, or my work at the CIA.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Media Ignore Reports Debunking The Keystone XL Talking Point They Trumpeted

      President Obama has stated that he would not approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport tar sands crude from Canada through the United States, if it “significantly exacerbate[s] the problem of carbon pollution.” So when the U.S. State Department released its environmental impact statement concluding that the Keystone XL would not have a significant impact on climate change, the media touted State’s findings as justification for the contentious pipeline’s approval.

  • Finance

    • The Changing Map of Latin America

      Latin America is currently experiencing a brand of neocolonialism based on opening new possibilities for extraction. “Capital needs a reordering of territory – considering this as a type of historical-social construction – in order to continue reproducing itself, as much in terms of materials as in power relations, of accumulation of capital and profits. The ordering enables access on a large scale to certain types of material from the earth,” added Ceceña.

    • Is It A Shakedown When The Gov’t Does It? SEC Much Less Likely To Prosecute You If You’re A Big Campaign Funder

      In the past, we’ve highlighted some questionable activities by the SEC, which is supposed to be stopping financial fraud, but often seems to be both arbitrary and capricious in its activities. However, reporter David Sirota is highlighting how the SEC is much less likely to prosecute a company if that company happens to be a big political contributor, because, well, duh. This is based on some recent research by Maria Correira at the London Business School on Political Connections and SEC Enforcement, which found that there’s a pretty clear correlation.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • U.S. Government Tried to Alter Transcript in NSA Surveillance Case

      The federal government in June asked to secretly remove information from a high-profile NSA spying case, prompting outrage from privacy experts and attorneys, according to unsealed court documents.

      The documents recently released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation detail a government request to remove information from the transcript of a June 6 hearing in Jewel v. NSA, a case fighting the NSA’s surveillance of U.S. Internet and phone records.

    • What are the odds for Europe-v-Facebook’s latest challenge over personal data?

      The Austria-based Europe-v-Facebook has begun a class action suit seeking damages from Facebook’s European operation. It alleges multiple breaches of European privacy and data protection laws.

    • EU Lawyers Confirm ‘General And Blanket Data Retention Is No Longer Possible’ In European Union

      As we commented back in June, one of the key questions posed by the important ruling of Europe’s highest court that the EU’s current data retention requirements were “invalid” is: so what will the EU’s Member States do now? Will they simply repeal their national legislation that was passed to implement the EU Directive, or will they claim that broad-based data retention is nonetheless still possible, as the UK has done?

    • Cell Phones Need A Warrant, But Cell Site Location Info Doesn’t? Appellants Challenge Government’s Assertions

      The Supreme Court’s recent finding that warrantless cell phone searches are unconstitutional is already generating some pretty interesting arguments in ongoing cases. The government obviously wishes to mitigate the “damage” done by this decision by still doggedly pursuing data through warrantless methods.

    • Judge Gives DOJ Until The End Of The Month To Submit Declassified Opinion Containing FISA Court’s Justifications For The Section 215 Program
    • Did UK Gov’t Already Effectively Outlaw Anonymity Online With Its New Defamation Law?

      We just recently wrote about a report by the UK House of Lords that recommends ending anonymity online by requiring that any web services collect real names and information at signup, while then allowing users to use a pseudonym. The thinking, then, is that if there is a criminal act or other violation of the law, it’s easier to track down who’s responsible. As we noted, there are all sorts of problems with this kind of logic, including both massive chilling effects against free speech, and the simple fact that it’s not nearly as hard as some technologically clueless people believe to track down online users, even if they’re “anonymous.” Either way, this proposal is a big problem, and EFF spoke out against the plan.

    • DEA Paid Amtrak Secretary $850,000 To Hand Over Confidential Passenger Lists For No Reason

      We’ve already written about the DEA’s deep involvement with the intelligence community, including them being trained to lie about getting info from the intelligence community when it uses it to bust drug dealers — a system known as parallel construction, which is encouraged throughout the agency. We also know that AT&T (and possibly others) have employees embedded at the DEA to provide it with even faster access to any information that the DEA wants. We’ve also covered how the DEA often gets unchecked access to private information and has been caught circumventing laws to get medical records without a warrant. The DEA is also the force behind the NSA’s recording of every phone call in the Bahamas.

    • Hacker finds suspicious programs in Apple’s iOS

      Essentially, Zdziarski is accusing Apple of intentionally adding some services to the iOS firmware that bypass backup encryption and copy personal data that should not come off users’ phones. The hacker stated that to the company’s credit, Apple has made the iPhone 5 and iOS 7 more secure against everyone — except the government and Apple itself.

    • Hackers learn some new tricks at Def Con on avoiding surveillance

      Are you being spied on? That worry is a top focus of discussion at the Def Con 22 hackers conference. High-tech surveillance is a top interest for hackers given the past 18 months of news regarding illegal national surveillance reports tied to the National Security Agency’s PRISM surveillance program.

    • VIDEO: Surveillance impact ‘severe’: Jillian York

      Crikey politics editor Bernard Keane and Jillian York, Director for International Freedom of Expression at Electronic Freedom Foundation, discuss data retention and privacy.

    • Federal judge rules that U.S. can keep surveillance court orders secret
    • U.S. Can Keep Secret Phone Companies Helping NSA Spying
    • Judge won’t force U.S. to release spying program documents

      Despite public revelations about surveillance of U.S. citizens, a federal judge in Oakland said Monday that she will not force the government to release more documents about its spying program, including court rulings and the names of cooperating telecommunications companies.

    • Snowden critic resigns Naval War College after online penis photo flap

      John Schindler, the former National Security Agency analyst and an outspoken critic of Edward Snowden, resigned Monday from his position as a professor at the US Naval War College months after a picture of his alleged penis surfaced online. The professor of national security affairs announced via Twitter his resignation from the Rhode Island institution, effective August 29.

    • Are Google and Facebook Doing the NSA’s Dirty Work?

      Your Consent to Corporate Spying May Be All the Loophole the State Needs

    • Facebook Messenger App Creates Massive Controversy

      The new Facebook messenger app is creating massive controversy among Facebook users, with people practically coming to virtual blows over the new requirement. The main fight is between people who feel that the new app is a huge privacy violation and those who say the app is no different from those that most people already have loaded onto their phones. Facebook is demanding that users download the new app if they want to be able to read and respond to messages sent through Facebook on mobile devices such as smart phones. Facebook users are still able to get their messages the “old fashioned” way directly through Facebook on a computer.

    • Facebook is Facing Class Action Suit by Max Schrems

      Schrems will claim damage of around $670 per user who files for his support. It may affect 1.1 billion active Facebook users which is more than 84 per cent of its entire users base. So far, 5686 people are verified to join the campaign.

    • NSA Partners With Universities, ‘Model’ Legislation To Block Cooperation Fails

      The National Security Agency, now defined largely by Edward Snowden’s revelations about its pervasive reach into every sphere of digital life, is aiming to put a positive light on its work by growing its educational presence in universities nationwide.

      Five new universities were added to the NSA’s National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations Program. New York University, Towson University, West Point, University of Cincinnati and University of New Orleans qualified to receive the designation for the 2014-2019 academic years, the NSA said last month.

    • US can keep court orders, phone cos secret in NSA spy case

      The US government need not turn over a secret surveillance court’s orders or the names of phone companies helping it collect call records, because it might reveal methods needed to protect national security, a federal judge decided on Monday.

      US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, rejected the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s argument that the US Department of Justice should turn over the materials, in the wake of unauthorised disclosures last year by a former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden.

    • Did the NSA ‘create’ Satoshi Nakamoto?

      But do the CIA Project’s claims have any merit?

      As it stands, their argument is not very compelling. The meaning of Satoshi Nakamoto can be loosely interpreted as something that pertains to a highly organized and intelligent agency, but the name could also have chosen simply because it has a nice ring to it. And would the NSA really have given the creator of its ‘secret project’ such an obvious name? If the NSA really is behind Bitcoin, naming it “Central Intelligence” would not be a very intelligent move.

      Claims that the NSA created Bitcoin have actually been flung around for years. People have questioned why it uses the SHA-256 hash function, which was designed by the NSA and published by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). The fact that the NSA is tied to SHA-256 leads some to assume it’s created a backdoor to the hash function that no one has ever identified, which allows it to spy on Bitcoin users.

    • Op-Ed: No, Bitcoin Was Not Created By The CIA
    • Partial hack of Blackphone unveiled at Def Con

      The privacy-focussed Blackphone has been cracked by a security researcher at the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, though the exploits require physical access.

      The privacy-focussed Blackphone has been cracked by a security researcher at the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, though the exploits require physical access.

    • Backbytes: Unhackable Blackphone, err, hacked
    • Blackphone rooted in just five minutes at DEF CON. NSA-proof? Forget it.
  • Civil Rights

    • An Even Worse Constitutional Scandal Than Iran-Contra and Watergate

      The latest break in actually may be more serious if the Obama White House didn’t know about it, which is probably the likely scenario. Although Obama declined to investigate the CIA and hold it responsible for its illegal rendition, detention, and torture program during the Bush administration, the Senate Committee report – which has concluded that the CIA’s harsh detention and interrogation techniques yielded little information that couldn’t have been gained by means of legal interrogation methods and that the CIA consistently misled the White House and Congress about the effectiveness of those methods – is more damning to the Bush administration than itself. The Obama administration would probably have little incentive to authorize obstruction and a risky break in of a committee controlled by Democrats to protect material that would mainly be embarrassing to a former Republican administration. In contrast, the CIA would have an institutional incentive to protect the secret history of its illegal and unconstitutional actions. Unlike the CIA’s harsh rendition, detention, and torture programs and the NSA’s phone monitoring program, which had authorization by the White House and/or Congress, an unauthorized CIA break in may mean the CIA is bold enough to go rogue in order to protect itself.

    • World class liars

      The Director of America’s Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, is a liar. He was recently found out in a mega-lie in denying the CIA’s illegal actions in “improperly penetrating a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee in preparing its report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme,” which he had rebutted with his hand lying on the area of his chest that would in most people indicate a heart beneath. But he has no heart beneath his lying hand. And no conscience, either. Which is why he was chosen to head the CIA.

    • The Rear-Guard Defense of Torture

      John Rizzo, the CIA’s former Acting Counsel General, is feeling the heat for his role in blessing what President Barack Obama has now admitted was “torture” during the Bush/Cheney administration. Rizzo went on friendly Fox News to charge that the (still withheld) Senate Intelligence Committee investigation report on torture reflects a “Star Chamber proceeding” and accused some lawmakers of “craven backtracking,” claiming that they had been briefed on the interrogation program years ago.

    • The United States and Torture

      Two of the things that governments tend to cover-up or lie about the most are assassinations and torture, both of which are widely looked upon as exceedingly immoral and unlawful, even uncivilized. Since the end of the Second World War the United States has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders and has led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance and encouragement by American instructors, particularly in Latin America.

    • Guantánamo prisoner to publish ‘harrowing’ memoirs

      Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian who has been detained in Guantánamo since 2002 despite never having been charged with a crime by the US, is to publish an account of his experiences next year, detailing the multiple forms of torture to which he has been subjected and “shatter[ing]” the secrecy that surrounds the Cuban prison.

    • Mikulski Statement on Delaying the Release of Senate Intelligence Committee Study on CIA Interrogati

      “I strongly support delaying the release of the executive summary of the committee’s study examining the CIA’s detention and interrogation program until issues over CIA redactions can be properly resolved. The redaction process can be done in a way to protect national security without hiding the fundamental findings and conclusions of the report. To do otherwise is unacceptable. Given that this is such an historic report and oversight effort, I urge the White House to act swiftly to resolve these issues so we can finally share the report with the American people.”

    • Liz Cheney’s defense of dad is getting weaker
    • CIA shouldn’t get away with redacting torture report
    • Editorial: The full truth must come out on torture

      President Barack Obama has promised that a long-awaited report on torture during the war on terror will be made public. He has yet to keep that pledge, and the latest signs are discouraging.

    • CIA attempts to censor report into its use, abuse of torture

      The whole Intelligence Committee investigation would never have happened if it was not for the destruction of key evidence. In one key incident that has been revealed, a CIA official destroyed more than 100 video recordings of the interrogations at the centre of the controversy. That agent, Jose Rodriguez, was but one of several to openly defy investigations. The agency’s reluctance to hand over evidence to investigators has been the subject of some controversy. The report may detail exactly how recalcitrant the secretive organisation has been towards its own oversight committee.

    • Editorial: CIA spying on Senate crossed line

      The upcoming release of a Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation techniques in the wake 9/11 will not settle the debate over the agency’s techniques. Some will say that agency’s interrogation techniques, which have been called torturous, saved lives. Others will say the treatment of prisoners gained the United States nothing.

    • Obama Wants to Put Torture Behind Us, But It Still Haunts Guantanamo Every Single Day

      It’s taken over a decade, but the U.S. government is starting to acknowledge the moral and strategic failure of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. In a press conference earlier this month, President Barack Obama conceded that “we tortured some folks”—a deliberate departure from the government’s well-worn euphemism, “enhanced interrogation.” “We crossed a line,” he said. “And we have to, as a country, take responsibility for that.”

    • NYPD Officer Chokes Man To Death; Cops Blame Cellphone Recordings And People ‘Feeling They Have More Rights’

      In the wake of Eric Garner’s death via cop chokehold, the NYPD is coming under all sorts of additional scrutiny. This is in addition to the appointed oversight ordered by Judge Scheindlin after finding that elements of its infamous stop-and-frisk program were unconstitutional. Scott Greenfield has a very stark recounting of the incident, as well as a recording of Eric Garner’s last moments. (Here’s additional footage, which includes the officer who applied the lethal chokehold waving at the camera, as well as several officers gamely pretending Garner is simply passed out.)

    • NYPD Denies Request For Open-Source Counterterrorism Reports

      Chalk another one up for secrecy at the New York City Police Department. The NYPD has rejected a HuffPost request to give the public a look at open-source counterterrorism reports the department regularly shares with thousands of private security honchos.

      The department denied HuffPost’s public records request for open-source assessments produced by the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau’s Terrorism Threat Analysis Group on the grounds that they could “reveal non-routine techniques and procedures.”

    • Outflanking The Murder of Eric Garner

      Those who are inclined to believe police will embrace the narrative that Orta had a gun and, inexplicably, decided to put it into the waistband of a 17-year-old female teenager while the cops were watching. Those who are not so inclined will see this as a set up, payback to Orta, and refuse to credit anything about this bust. In the absence of information, both views are speculative at this point, and reflect only the bias of their holders rather than the facts of what happened.

      But when time comes to introduce the videotape of Eric Garner in court, and Ramsey Orta is called as a witness, you can bet there will be questions aplenty about his being a criminal bent on demonizing the police, as if anything Orta could have done shooting the video had anything whatsoever to do with Pantaleo’s chokehold or Garner’s death.

    • DOJ Report Details The Massive Amount Of Violence Committed By Rikers Island Staff Against Adolescent Inmates

      Late in 2012, two mentally-ill minors were taken from their cells at Rikers and beaten by a shift captain and multiple guards, who took turns punching the two inmates while they were restrained. A jail clinician reported seeing one of them being punched in the head while handcuffed to a gurney. Another clinician said she saw staff striking the other while he screamed for them to stop hurting him. One of the two told consultants he was still spitting up blood “more than a month after the incident.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • A magic place of literary memory

      When tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web in 1999, his proposal – presented the year before – was that “a global hypertext space be created in which any network-accessible information could be referred to by a single ‘universal Document Identifier’”.

      The idea was beautifully simple. On the server side, there were webpages written in a hypertext markup language (HTML) that followed simple conventions and rules. On the client side, there was a browser that was able to translate the HTML code into a readable format. The web of browsable pages was knitted together by hypertext links, which became known as URLs.

      Berners-Lee had an unfashionable vision of “the Web’s potential to foster a global village, not its potential to earn him a villa and a fleet of cars”, but he was not the first to have that vision. He credits his inspiration for the Web to Professor Ted Nelson, the man who coined the term ‘hyperlink’ back in the Sixties and described the whole messy concept in Dream Machines, published in 1974.

    • Andrew Cuomo Trying To Bankrupt Upstart Campaign Against Him From Zephyr Teachout And Tim Wu

      There’s been some attention (especially in tech circles) to the upstart primary challenge in NY against Governor Andrew Cuomo (and his preferred Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul), coming from law professors Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu. Both Teachout and Wu have been in and around a variety of tech and internet issues for years, and are pretty well-known in the community.

    • Behind The Veil Part 3: Comcast Rep Confirms That You Should Always Record Customer Service Calls

      As you probably know by now, Comcast has been in the news quite a bit lately for all the wrong reasons. It started with a recorded call of one Comcast customer attempting to cancel his service before being passed over to a “customer retention” representative who had watched entirely too much Boiler Room. Comcast made a great deal of noise about how this wasn’t how they told their reps to conduct their business, which, thanks to the Verge’s call for input from past and current Comcast employees, was shown pretty conclusively to a complete lie.

    • Comcast, Time Warner Cable Spend Big To ‘Honor’ FCC Commissioner Overseeing Their Merger Review

      We’ve written in the past about the idea of “soft corruption,” in which the direct exchange of money isn’t necessarily obvious, but the very clear appearance of conflicts of interest certainly erode the trust of the public in the policy makers. Even when everything is technically above-board, these actions attack the credibility of the policy process. Witness the latest example. Comcast and Time Warner Cable are each shelling out significant cash to “sponsor” an event which is honoring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn who, of course, is in the midst of a review over the merger proposal between the two companies. As Politico reports:

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The Copyright Folly: Making A Living As A Creator Has Always Been Difficult, Stronger Copyright Doesn’t Fix It

        Dan Hunter and Nicolas Suzor (two Australian academics) have a great article for The Conversation, which officially is looking at the latest copyright reform proposals in Australia, but makes a much bigger point: Making a living as a content creator has always been massively difficult, and it’s foolish to think that stronger copyright will change that. Unfortunately, in a campaign driven by the legacy gatekeepers (who often do benefit from stronger copyrights), many artists (especially independent ones) have been misled into thinking that the internet is the problem and stronger copyright laws will fix things. What’s left out is that it’s always been difficult, and the internet has actually made it easier to build a successful independent career. That doesn’t mean it’s easy and many will still fail, but it’s not the problem of the internet and copyright laws being too weak.

      • Performance Rights Organizations Again ‘Protecting’ Artists By Killing Off Revenue Streams

        While attempting to do nothing more “infringing” than listen to (fully licensed) music, I ran into the sort of bizarre, pointless restrictions I thought only German citizens had to deal with.

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