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09.11.14

Links 11/9/2014: Linux Toilet Project, Linux-Based Wheelchair Project

Posted in News Roundup at 2:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Dell buys into the open-source network

    Dell doesn’t wants to be just your data center server provider. In partnership with Cumulus Networks, they want to be your open-source network services provider as well.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Piston OpenStack Takes on AWS with Low-Cost Private Clouds

      OpenStack orchestration vendor Piston is shooting to make do-it-yourself private-cloud computing easier with the release this week of a new version of its Piston OpenStack platform, which it says offers all the benefits of the AWS public cloud without the costs or security vulnerabilities.

  • Databases

    • FoundationDB Adds Open Source SQL Storage Tool

      FoundationDB, the company so far known mainly for its NoSQL data storage platform, expanded into the SQL world this week with the release of SQL Layer, a free and open source database engine that runs on top of the FoundationDB NoSQL platform.

  • Education

    • Gibbon sees demand for open education grow

      Version 8 also saw a range of other new features, including a simple WordPress-style installer, which reduces the technical demands of getting Gibbon up and running. It is hoped that this new feature will enable more schools and companies to trial Gibbon as a solution to their information management and online learning needs. In addition, Linguist sees the introduction of improved visuals, system update alerts, personalised Markbook targets, better mass mailing, quicker staff finding, support for cutting edge code, improved Markbook interface and close to one hundred other tweaks, fixes and enhancements.

  • Funding

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Creating Test Gear With Software-Defined Radios

      Two years ago, I wrote about using an inexpensive RTL2832-based DVB/DAB USB dongle as a spectrum analyzer and receiver. (See “Software-Defined Radios Help Explore RF Spectrum,” July 11, 2012). It is still part of my travel toolkit, but when I can, I make room for an Ettus Research USRP B200. As with the RTL2832 dongles, software is available to use it as a receiver or spectrum analyzer. Unlike the cheap dongles, it includes a transmitter that allows it to be used as a simple antenna or filter analyzer with the addition of a directional coupler.

  • Project Releases

    • New Release: Elektra 0.8.8

      Great news! I am very happy to announce that we have reached a new milestone for Elektra and released a new version, 0.8.8! This release comes right on the tail of the 0.8.7 release and it might just be our biggest release yet! We already have a great article covering all the changes from the previous release on our News documentation on GitHub. I just wanted to focus on a few of those changes on this blog, especially the ones that pertain to my Google Summer of Code Project.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open source: Blendhub offers ‘fingerprint’ library for nutrient blends

      Spanish supplier Blendhub is taking the rare step of offering customers access to its new library of near infra-red (NIR) spectroscopy analyses from more than 300 raw materials.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open source education materials need to replace textbooks

        There are few things more frustrating or dread-inspiring than staring at a brand new $100 textbook only to know that in a few months it will not only be useless, but almost worthless.

        With a never-ending demand for textbooks and no clear alternative established, textbook publishers have turned into modern day robber barons. As prices for textbooks and other school materials rise, students are left helpless only to accept the glutinous punishment doled out on them at the start of every new semester.

      • A global shift to open source at the university

        Historically, universities were not inclusive places. While you can find free traditional university education (Norway’s much-lauded education system comes to mind, as well as some other European countries), the vast majority of the world simply didn’t have access to higher education before the emergence of online technologies. This made higher education largely an exercise in class and gender role reinforcement. In more recent decades, universities have been aggressively monetizing, which theoretically eliminates class and gender as exclusionary factors but more realistically simply acts to reinforce the exclusivity and inaccessibility of further study.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Why GitHub is not your resume

      We talk to a lot of great engineers and developers at Metacloud. Many seek us out as an amazing place to work, some we find and reach out to. There’s a growing trend to let your GitHub profile be the source of truth for your talents and experience, and I wanted to touch on why that’s a bad idea.

Leftovers

  • Michael Moore talks 25th anniversary of ‘Roger & Me’

    The latest episode of the Free Press-produced “The Documentary Podcast” chats with filmmaker and rabble-rouser Michael Moore, whose “Roger & Me” is being celebrated this week at the Toronto International Film Festival.

  • Michael Moore Slams Obama, Says He Will Only Be Remembered As First Black President (WATCH)

    Controversial documentary filmmaker Michael Moore slammed President Barack Obama during a discussion at The Hollywood Reporter’s video lounge at the Toronto Film Festival Wednesday, expressing a “huge disappointment” with the legislative accomplishments of the politician.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Russia challenges post-Cold War order

      Diverging views on global matters between the West and Russia in a new poll don’t signal the advent of a new Cold War, German Marshall Fund president Karen Donfried tells DW. But there is still cause for concern.

    • The Mainstream Media Calls War Criminal Henry Kissinger “the Most Celebrated Foreign-Policy Strategist of our Time”
    • And Now, a Word From Henry Kissinger…

      Kissinger is most closely associated with the wars in Vietnam and Cambodia. Of the latter, he famously delivered this order: “A massive bombing campaign in Cambodia. Anything that flies on anything that moves.” Credible estimates of the number of people killed as a result of this order range as high as 800,000.

    • To NYT, ‘Full Range of Views’ on War Is Pretty Narrow

      So what does a “full range of views” look like to the New York Times? Powerful people who worked for Republicans and Democrats.

    • Our New War Will Be Different Because…

      It is not that hard to come up with examples of US attacks that were not designed to strike at leaders. The use of “signature strikes”–attacks launched based on movements or behaviors the United States thought looked like the sort of thing a militant might do–was well-documented in Pakistan until widespread criticism reportedly forced US officials to curtail that policy (AP, 7/25/13).

      Whether or not they meant to refer to current US drone attacks exclusively, it is misleading for the Times to talk about US war policies this way.

    • Rand Paul Says Obama’s ISIS Plan Definitely Unconstitutional

      Republican Sen. Rand Paul expressed support for President Obama’s latest round of military action against terrorist state ISIS while insisting that the operation is nevertheless technically unconstitutional.

    • They’re students, not recruits

      Keep the military’s base of operations out our education system

    • Protesters Rally Against Militarized Drones in Des Moines

      The 132nd Fighter Wing of the Iowa Air National Guard is coming under an attack, of sorts, today with a rally from protesters opposed to the use of militarized drones. The mission of the fighter wing had always been manned aircraft, but those F-16 jets were a victim of budget cuts and the mission of the airmen was shifted to include a piloting-and-control center for weaponized drones.

      Ed Flaherty, director Iowa Chapter 161 with Veterans for Peace, says that could turn the “Field of Dreams” into the “Killing Fields.”

    • Analysis: President who wanted end wars tries to justify a new one

      Nearly six years into a presidency devoted to ending U.S. wars in the Muslim world, President Barack Obama faced the nation Wednesday night to explain why he has decided to engage in a new one.

    • Victorians, you are about to get slugged

      If we are going to condemn, and rightly so, actions we do not condone, then we need to do it with conviction and not selectively. Who used napalm and depleted uranium weapons in Iraq, killing many women and children? Is that not barbaric? Who uses drones, which kill the innocent along with the guilty? We all know that the posturing on the world stage calling for war, albeit without ”feet on the ground”, will not resolve the problems.

    • ‘Good Kill’ Director Andrew Niccol Slams CIA’s Drone Policy, Explains Ethan Hawke Casting

      Ethan Hawke stars in the film as Major Thomas Egan, a fighter pilot turned drone pilot who “begins to question the U.S. policy on the use of drones after being ordered to hit civilians.”

    • US bombing defended

      The United States’ controversial bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam War killed fewer civilians than American drone attacks under President Barack Obama have done, former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger said on the weekend, a claim labelled as “disingenuous”, foolish and plain wrong by historians and experts.

      In a National Public Radio (NPR) interview aired Saturday, Kissinger also said decisions taken by the US during the war, including the massive aerial bombing of Cambodia and Laos, were correct and would be taken by anyone faced with the same circumstances today.

      Estimates for the number of civilian casualties of the US bombardment of Cambodia targeting North Vietnamese communists and later the Khmer Rouge – which saw some 2.75 million tonnes of ordnance dropped between 1965 and 1973 – vary greatly, however most scholars agree that they are at least in the tens of thousands.

    • Beheaded or bombed, which is worse?

      I stand dumbfounded at our nation even considering putting US citizens back into Iraq — when we were lied to with grotesque fabrications of reality to persuade us to make war on them in the first place. Now, our leaders are “making the case” for making war on Syria while the distortions of reality continue.

    • US Drone Campaign In Somalia Creates More Enemies

      Ahmed Abdi Godane, one of the State Department’s most wanted men was killed by US drone strikes outside Mogadishu last week. Godane, who was also known as Abu Zubeyr was the leader of al-Shabab, an Islamist militant group based in Somalia. He had a $7 million bounty placed on his head by the US government after he pledged formal allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2012. Eleven other men were also killed in the traveling convoy which was attacked by up to 10 Hellfire missiles.

    • Somalia: Amisom failures show that Godane’s death is no quick fix

      The death by drone of Al Shabaab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane was “a delightful victory” for Somalia’s struggling transitional government, and a major boost for a new anti-Al Shabaab military offensive. But as African Union troops push further in south-central Somalia, Human Rights Watch has reported horrific sexual abuse and exploitation at the Amisom base in Mogadishu. So much for the moral high ground.

    • 11 Afghan Civilians Killed in NATO Bombing Raid

      At least 11 civilians died and 13 others were injured in a raid by NATO warplanes in eastern Kunar province, an Afghan official confirmed to Efe on Wednesday.

      The strike took place Tuesday as the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force was targeting Taliban strongholds in cooperation with Afghan units, government spokesman Abdullah Gani said.

    • The Department of Defense ‘respectfully declined’ to participate in new drone movie

      The folks behind “Good Kill,” a new movie about the U.S. military’s drone operations in the Middle East, hope the film becomes a cinematic flash point (think “Zero Dark Thirty”). And that’s probably why the Department of Defense RSVP’d no when invited to participate.

    • Abbas Threatens to Break Deal with Hamas

      Tensions between the two rival Palestinian factions of Fatah, headed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and the Islamist Hamas movement were stepped up this weekend after Abbas said he will break off his partnership with Hamas if they don’t make some changes. Speaking on a visit to Egypt, where indirect talks between Israel and the Palestinains are expected to resume in the next few weeks. Abbas said that Hamas must accept a Palestinian state must have “one government, one law and one weapon”, meaning that Hamas must subordinate its military forces to those of Fatah. The two groups inaugurated a unity government in July, but it has yet to function. Over the weekend, Hamas officials claimed that Abbas’s security forces in the West Bank were arresting its men for no reason, and Hamas today called on its operatives in the West Bank not to cooperate with Palestinian Authority security investigations. Support for Hamas has increased dramatically since the end of the fighting between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Hamas is also demanding a “new unity government” meaning it wants to renegotiate the terms of it’s agreement with Fatah.

    • A Nation Addicted To War & Other Big Takeaways From Obama’s ISIS Address
    • Pentagon Funds New Data-Mining Tools to Track and Kill Activists

      One flagship project established at Arizona State University (ASU) since 2009 examines “radical” and “counter-radical” movements in Southeast Asia, West Africa and Western Europe. This month, I obtained exclusive access to some of the online research tools being used by the Pentagon-funded project, disclosing a list of 36 mostly Muslim organizations in the UK targeted for assessment as to their relationship to radicalism.

    • DOJ memo reveals legal rationale for drone assassination of American citizen
    • The death by drone memos (Part II)
    • A Justice Department Memo Provides the CIA’s Legal Justification to Kill a US Citizen

      So begins a 22-page, heavily redacted, previously top-secret document titled “Legality of a Lethal Operation by the Central Intelligence Agency Against a US Citizen,” which provides the first detailed look at the legal rationale behind lethal operations conducted by the agency. The white paper [pdf below] was turned over to VICE News in response to a long-running Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department.

    • The politics of Islam cannot be bombed away

      Before the warmongers have a cow, keep in mind that Obama’s idea of managing a terrorism problem involves killing people, without warning, even in countries where we are not at war. Just this week he authorized an airstrike in Somalia in an attempt to kill the leader of al-Shabab, an al-Qaeda offshoot. Obama’s fondness for drones as instruments of surveillance and assassination is such that any terrorist leader is foolhardy if he ventures to take out the garbage.

    • Shabaab’s new leader ‘devout, ruthless’

      The new leader of Somalia’s al-Qaeda-linked Shebab rebels is thought to be a devout and ruthless hardliner who was one of the most trusted lieutenants of the group’s late chief, according to experts and analysts.

    • Al-Shabaab confirms leader’s death, names successor
    • Somalia’s Al Shabab rebels appoint new leader, vow revenge

      Somalia’s Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabab militants have announced the appointment of a successor to their former leader who was killed in a US air strike.

      The Islamist group named Ahmad Umar, also known as Abu Ubaidah, as its new head.

      Abu Ubaidah is thought to be a devout and ruthless hardliner who was one of the most trusted lieutenants of the group’s late chief Ahmed Abdi Godane, according to experts and analysts.

    • Eugene Robinson: Our challenge with Islam
    • Eugene Robinson: Challenge with Islam not as easy at it may seem
    • US air attacks on ISIS are ineffective, illogical, immoral
    • Dan Simpson: The U.S. keeps risking retribution

      We cannot forever attack people in other countries with impunity

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Fracking Away the Climate Crisis

      It’s not that fracking or oil drilling aren’t controversial; the Times’ Nelson Schwartz notes that the “environmental consequences of the American energy boom…are being fiercely debated nationwide.” But Ohio isn’t like other parts of the country where opposition to fracking is intense, “because residents are so desperate for the kind of economic growth that fracking can bring, whatever the risks.”

    • VIDEO: Fox’s Defense Overruled, BP To Blame For Gulf Oil Spill

      When BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in 2010, Fox News pundits rushed to the corporation’s defense with excuses ranging from pitiful to conspiratorial. But now the ruling is out, exposing the falsities of Fox’s defense: BP was to blame for the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • NRO Misinforms On Money In Politics And Proposed Citizens United Amendment

      On September 8, the Senate voted to debate the proposed constitutional amendment, which would re-establish campaign finance laws that the conservative justices of the Supreme Court struck down in Citizens United in 2010. That decision overturned part of the McCain-Feingold Act — much-needed bipartisan campaign finance reforms instituted to prevent corruption of the political process and level the playing field between small donors and the wealthy — and effectively eliminated limits for independent corporate spending in federal elections. Specifically, Citizens United radically rewrote First Amendment precedent and expanded the legal concept of “corporate personhood,” with the court ultimately deciding that the political spending by corporations was constitutionally equivalent to the free speech of actual human voters. The conservative justices chipped away at campaign finance limits even further this year in McCutcheon v. FEC, which abolished direct contribution limits that worked to control the corrupting influence of multimillion-dollar donations.

    • New NPR Boss: ‘We’re Going to Be Talking About Brands That Matter a Little Bit More’

      Anyone who listens to NPR has heard plenty of corporate sponsorship announcements, and some listeners have raised substantive questions about whether those financial ties compromise NPR’s journalism (Extra!, 3/14). According to the new boss, nothing’s going to change–you’re just going to hear more about “brands that matter” because you’ll be “interested” in them. That is, as long as you’re part of the “not just affluent” audience that the supposedly noncommercial network is so proud of–for the “larger commitments” from sponsors they can command.

  • Censorship

    • Google Changes Its Mind And Bans ‘Disconnect Mobile’ AGAIN

      Looks like Disconnect won a battle but lost the war to sell its app in Google’s Android app store.

      One day after lifting a ban on Disconnect Mobile and allowing the app back into the Play store, Google reinstated the ban and booted the app out again, CEO Casey Oppenheim told Business Insider.

  • Privacy

    • Assistant Professor of Mathematics Djordje Milićević Receives NSA Grant

      Assistant Professor of Mathematics Djordje Milićević has received a Young Investigator Grant from the National Security Agency’s Mathematical Sciences Program. This award is available to promising investigators within ten years after receiving the Ph.D.

    • Hezbollah fighter killed by Israeli spy device

      Hezbollah is constantly searching for such spy devices planted by the Israelis in strategic places in southern Lebanon and many have been found, sometimes with the help of the Lebanese Army, in places such as Barouk, Sanine, Sarifa Valley, Houla Valley and Zararieh Valley.

    • No Place to Hide

      Greenwald was a constitutional and civil right lawyer, who became a blogger in 2005 alarmed at “the radical and extremist theories of power the US government had adopted in the wake of 9/11” and shocked at revelations about “warrantless eavesdropping” by the US National Security Agency on electronic communications of Americans. He then became a columnist for the Guardian and bestselling author. It was this background that prompted Snowden to choose Greenwald as his first contact person for revealing NSA wrong doing.

    • Why Web Giants Are Struggling To Stop Snoops Spying On Thousands Of Websites

      Not long after Edward Snowden revealed just how the world’s spy agencies were trying to crack encryption protecting citizens’ private messages zipping around the internet, various organisations sought to enforce better standards across the web. Many programs were already in place, they just needed fresh impetus, which the NSA files duly provided.

    • Tech Industry Tries Again on Surveillance Reform
    • Tech groups press Congress to pass USA Freedom Act
    • Guaranteed safety, Snowden to testify in Switzerland against the NSA
    • The Beginners Guide to using TOR
    • Tech coalition urges support for Senate bill banning bulk collection of phone, Internet data
    • Tech associations renew push for USA Freedom Act
    • Xbox One Getting Wireless Home Security Surveillance Device
    • The NSA Gives Birth To Start-Ups

      Former NSA chief Keith Alexander has been sweating it out in the spotlight this summer for converting his spy cred into a lucrative security consulting business shortly after stepping down from the National Security Agency. The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf calls Alexander’s new IronNet Cybersecurity firm an “unethical get-rich quick plan” because it will charge hundreds of thousands of dollars a month for “ new” technologies the firm is patenting. “What could make [Alexander] so valuable, save the highly classified secrets in his head?” wrote Friedersdorf. But Alexander is far from the first to realize that the NSA’s area of expertise is in high demand in the commercial sector these days as more and more of our information is being digitized and concerns about security and privacy mount. NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden may have immersed the agency in controversy but it hasn’t stopped it from becoming a fertile breeding ground for privacy and security entrepreneurs who are leaving the agency and quickly raking in millions from venture capitalists. Synack, Virtru, Area 1 Security and Morta Security are a few of the start-ups in recent years whose twenty- and thirty-something founders got their engineering training at the NSA.

    • Senators Tasked With NSA Oversight Urge Appeals Court To End Call Records Collection
    • Senators and Other Experts to Appeals Court: NSA’s Phone Records Program Is a Massive Invasion of Privacy
    • Letter: Quit passing around my email, Demos

      It wasn’t that long ago that Democrats nationwide were angry over NSA privacy violations. But Democrats are violating citizens’ privacy, too.

    • Concerns over civil liberties, security flip

      Fifty percent of people believe the government’s anti-terrorism policies have not gone far enough to protect the United States, according to a new poll, a 15-point shift since last year.

    • Senator: We’re not any safer today than we were pre-9/11

      On the eve of the 13th anniversary of 9/11, American Senators and intelligence officials met today in public and private hearings to discuss cybersecurity and real world terrorist threats posed the United States domestically and abroad.

    • From The Editor

      In this week’s issue, though, Yasha Levine explains why we don’t need the government to make us paranoid. It’s got nothing, Levine argues, on the for-profit surveillance being run by tech companies like Google. Oh, and if you thought technologies like Tor were keeping your data safe and anonymous, think again.

    • Watch List

      Little wonder then that Google, and the rest of Surveillance Valley, is terrified that the conversation about surveillance could soon broaden to include not only government espionage, but for-profit spying as well.

    • Germans drift away from US, finds transatlantic poll
    • ​Germans want more independence from US

      The majority of German citizens, for the first time in history, insist on less dependence on the United States in terms of their national security and diplomacy, according to a major survey released by the German Marshall Fund think-tank.

      The study published on Wednesday shows that most Germans want their country to take a more independent position from the United States, especially on issues as vital as national security and sovereign diplomacy.

      A majority of 57 percent of German respondents opted for a more independent approach, according to the Transatlantic Trends survey, which is up from only 40 percent back in 2013. What is even more interesting is that just 19 percent of Germans say they want to have a closer relationship with the United States – compared to 34 percent of Americans who wanted their country to get cosier with Germany.

    • Someone’s always watching, especially in a campaign

      At a recent Republican rally in Dawsonville, Tisdale was shooting video of speeches by statewide candidates. She taped Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens making this comment about Democratic Senate candidate Michelle Nunn: “I thought I was gonna absolutely puke, listening to her.”

      A few minutes after Tisdale recorded that humorous remark, she was suddenly told to stop taping by a Dawson County sheriff’s deputy. When she continued to shoot video, the deputy grabbed her, dragged her away from the meeting area, and had her arrested on charges of obstructing an officer.

    • Op-Ed: How the U.S. government used 9/11 to attack freedom

      Just six weeks after 9/11, with virtually no debate and a bipartisan demand for more executive power, the Patriot Act was passed in October 2001. The country wanted revenge, safety, and action to prevent another act of terrorism. While their media propped up everything the Bush administration did, the freedoms Americans cherished slowly become a distant memory.

    • Former NSA chief’s plan to patent anti-hacker technology raises questions of ethics

      A 5-month-old company in Washington has developed what it calls ground-breaking technology to thwart cyberattacks before they’ve been identified — a significant advancement over current systems, which react to known threats.

      Yet, the effort itself is under a more conventional attack. The founder of the company, Keith Alexander, had led the National Security Agency until March, and his plan to patent the technology is drawing criticism from people who say he’s profiting from work he did for the government.

    • Ex-NSA Chief’s Anti-Hacker Patent Sparks Ethics Questions
    • SEPT. 11 ANNIVERSARY: 13 years later, are we safe?

      A near majority of Americans feel less safe today than they did 13 years ago on 9/11.

    • How to secure the Internet of Things

      The potential lifestyle and business benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) are huge. How great would it be in this future IoT world where information flows freely around us, that a business could pull data on any process, any time, anywhere in real time?

    • The BND and relations with Germany

      The problems with Germany are growing. During German President Joachim Gauck’s visit, we saw the tip of the iceberg. The image of Turkey in Germany was seriously undermined during the Gezi protests. The reactions were so out of control that an adviser argued that the protests had been provoked by Germany to prevent the construction of a third airport in İstanbul. He was given an annual award for paranoia in Germany.

    • Lindsey Graham: Liberty Lovers Are “Crazy”

      To keep up with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham‘s logic, you’ve got to be able to run around in circles … really, really fast .

      Seriously … one week Graham wants to bomb one group, the next week he wants to bomb another. And it’s always in response to some totally ridiculous fearmongering.

    • Restoring cloud confidence

      The iCloud naked photos leak, the AWS casualty Code Spaces, and the NSA PRISM Surveillance Programme… all have caused a crisis of confidence in the cloud. These highly publicised incidents have caused us to question the security of the model as a whole. But are these fears justified?

    • 9/11 Vs. Snowden: My Students’ Surprising Debate About Privacy And Government

      “I don’t know why I would need that,” said one student. “I don’t have anything to hide.”

      When I hear something like that from a journalism student, I try very hard to slow down my reactions. If I jump into the discussion too soon, it has a chilling effect and nothing is learned except my own view of this subject.

    • Michael Stipe Blasts Bush Administration and the Media in Essay About 9/11

      “Are we that afraid of others? Of ourselves? Of the possibility of genuine change?”

  • Civil Rights

    • Ferguson Shooting Protest Continues And Rage Against The Machine Guitarist Tom Morello Debuts A New Song To Show His Support Against Inequality

      The Ferguson shooting protest continues to hunt the American government and the whole nation. Although the unrest has died down a bit, its psychological effects to lives of ordinary citizens have dented people’s trust to the police forces. The very first public meeting since the shooting in the Missouri city has been held and it was filled with anger, mostly from the camp of the 18-year old victim, Michael Brown.

    • We’re Giving Police Body Cameras—but Who’s Controlling Their Footage?

      America is rushing to outfit cops with cameras, but even experts aren’t sure of the laws regulating the storage of the videos they capture—or determining who exactly has access.

    • A Nation of Laws?

      If you watched this drama closely, you surely noticed how narrowly we conceptualize corruption in America. A government official is guilty of corruption only if he or she was given a gift, favor or cash in direct exchange for an official action that favored the business in question. In effect, general influence peddling and election purchasing, which we see more commonly, are legitimate.

    • ‘Evidence’ Surfaces on How FBI Broke Law in Obtaining Silk Road Server Location
    • Are the FBI and “weev” both hackers?

      If what “weev” did could be considered hacking, the FBI just might be a hacker, too, a former federal prosecutor says.

      The trial attorney for Andrew “weev” Auernheimer, Orin Kerr, says the actions the FBI took to find the servers of the online drug haven Silk Road could fall under the same hacking statute in which his high-profile client was charged.

    • Law Enforcement Related Deaths in the US: “Justifiable Homicides” and the Impacts on Families

      According to newspaper accounts over 1,500 people die annually in the US in law enforcement related deaths. These are all deaths in the presence of law enforcement personnel both on the street and in local jails. Infamous cases such as Andy Lopez, Oscar Grant, and Michael Brown are only the tip of the iceberg. Many hundreds more are killed annually and these deaths by police are almost always ruled justifiable, even when victims are unarmed or shot in the back running away. We interviewed 14 families who lost loved ones in law enforcement related deaths in the SF Bay Area from 2000-2010. All the families believe their loved one should not have been killed and most felt that the police over-reacted and murdered their family member. All families reported abuse by police after the deaths. Most also reported that the corporate media was biased in favor of the police and failed to accurately report the real circumstances of the death.

    • Transparently bad: U.S. whistleblowers feel blowback

      Federal employees who expose government waste, fraud and abuse are having a tough time in the “most transparent administration in history.”

      Robert MacLean, a former air marshal, told a House subcommittee Tuesday that managers at the Transportation Security Administration “thumb their nose” at whistleblower protection laws.

      MacLean, who complained that air marshals were improperly grounded by the TSA, is taking his termination to the U.S. Supreme Court after losing a series of lopsided proceedings at the agency. He said the TSA branded him “an organizational terrorist.”

    • A Whistleblower’s Story

      I have been called the whistleblower who “conquered Countrywide” by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Gretchen Morgenson of the New York Times. I have also been referred to as “Wall-Street’s Greatest Enemy: The Man Who Knows Too Much” in a revelatory article by David Dayen in Salon. However, I do not feel like a conqueror at all. I feel like a victim who has been repeatedly re-victimized by a system that allows legal loopholes, misrepresentations, and fraud on a trial and appellate court.

    • US bans Europol from releasing its own documents to European officials

      The United States has instructed Europol, the European Union’s police agency, to withhold its own annual internal data-protection review from EU lawmakers because the report was written without the US Treasury Department’s permission.

    • Op-ed: Reflections on the ramifications of 9/11

      In violation of the Army’s Code of Ethics, “enhanced interrogation” (torture) has been carried out; and a majority of the U.S. public has been convinced that these methods are both essential and acceptable. However, General Stanley Mcchrystal, who headed operations in Iraq, opposes the use of torture because, he has contended, “it corrodes the torturer more than the tortured.”

    • Paradox of an American predicament

      In 2006, George Bush Jr was caught at a G8 dinner in St Petersburg on an open mic, laying out his plan to halt the strife in Lebanon: “See the irony is that what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this s*** and it’s over,” he told Tony Blair. It was high time, Bush thought, for the then United Nations secretary-general, Kofi Annan, to get on the phone with the Syrian President, Bashar Al Assad, and “make something happen”.

    • Is Guantánamo Navy base part of the USA? Well, that depends…

      U.S. troops blare The Star Spangled Banner across this 45-square-mile base each morning at 8 o’clock sharp. Fireworks crackle overhead on the Fourth of July.

      Marines control the fenceline opposite Cuba’s minefield and American sailors check visitors’ passports or Pentagon ID cards as they arrive by plane.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Spotify: Aussie Music Piracy Down 20% The Year After Our Launch

        New research from Spotify shows that music piracy via BitTorrent dropped 20% in Australia during the first year the streaming platform was operational. The drop was mostly driven by casual file-sharers, and the number of hard-core pirates remains stable.

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    Links for the day



  2. Links 18/9/2017: Linux 4.14 RC1, Mesa 17.2.1, and GNOME 3.26 on Ubuntu Artful

    Links for the day



  3. Patent Trolls Update: Eolas, Conversant (MOSAID), Leigh Rothschild, and Electronic Communication Technologies

    Patent trolls are still being watched -- as they ought to be -- even though some of them shy away, hide from the media, engage in dirty tricks, and file more lawsuits



  4. Microsoft is Promoting Software Patents in India in Another Effort to Undermine Free/Open Source Software, Microsoft-Connected Trolls Are Still Suing

    The ongoing patent threat to Free/libre Open Source software (FLOSS) and the role played by Microsoft in at least much of this threat



  5. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Under Attack by IBM and Other Patent Parasites Who Undermine Patent Quality

    The PTAB, which has thus far invalidated thousands of abstract/software patents, is under a coordinated attack not by those who produce things but those who produce a lot of lawsuit



  6. Why the Mohawk Tribe Should Fire Its Lawyers and Dump the Patents Which Now Tarnish Its Name

    In order to dodge the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) with its Inter Partes Reviews (IPRs), the Mohawk tribe is being exploited -- very much in direct detriment to its reputation and status



  7. Amazon and Google Have Both Become Part of the Software Patents Problem

    The transition from so-called 'defensive' patents to offensive patents (ones that are used to suppress competition) as seen in Amazon and in Google, which is already suing rivals and is pursuing additional patents by acquisition



  8. Unless Physical, Inventions Are No Longer Patent-Eligible in US Courts, But USPTO Ignores Precedence

    Even though the ability to enforce software patents against a rival (or many targets, especially in the case of patent trolls) is vastly diminished, the US patent office continues to grant these



  9. Citing the European Patent Convention, Spanish Court Tosses Lawsuit With EPO-Granted European Patent

    The quality of European Patents (EPs) -- a subject of growing levels of scrutiny -- as demonstrated in Barcelona this summer



  10. Links 16/9/2017: More of “Public Money, Public Code”, Equifax Failed to Patch for Months

    Links for the day



  11. BlackBerry Has Turned Into a Patents and Licensing Company

    The Canadian company that made fairly reputable phones early in this century is left with nothing but the power to sue other companies -- a power to which it increasingly gravitates



  12. European Patent Office Continues to Paint a Rosy UPC Picture Even Though the UPC May Already be Dead

    The European Patent Office (EPO) doesn't let facts get in the way as another week passes with UPC promotion and further staff repressions



  13. Tax Evasion by Patent Boxes and Lies About Small Businesses (SMEs) in the Corporate Media

    The lobbying effort of the patent 'industry' -- and its largest beneficiaries -- paints its own perks as something that's intended for their small/minuscule competitors (whom they actually attempt to misrepresent and crush)



  14. Links 15/9/2017: Mesa 17.2.1 RC, Wine 2.17, WordPress to Ditch React Over Patents

    Links for the day



  15. The UPC Fantasy is Going Nowhere as Complaints and Paperwork Pile Up

    Many submissions and complaints about the Unitary Patent have time to arrive before the end of October as a decision on the matter seems as distant as 2018



  16. At Event of EPO SLAPP Firm, a Suggestion That the UPC Should be Scrapped Because It's Stuck

    Just like the TPP, the UPC is now in a potentially fatal deadlock, so people with a stake in the outcome consider starting again (almost from scratch)



  17. Watchtroll Helps the EPO Peddle Fake News About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) isn't happening; the EPO, however, keeps on pretending that it can already operate as though the UPC got the green light



  18. Links 14/9/2017: Plasma 5.11 Beta, Q4OS 1.8.8, Orion

    Links for the day



  19. Links 13/9/2017: Blender 2.79, Qt 5.10 Alpha, GNOME 3.26 “Manchester”, Parrot 3.8

    Links for the day



  20. Amazon's Infamous Patent is Dead and the World's Richest Man Failed to Fulfill His Promise on Software Patents

    Amazon continues piling up a lot of software patents even though its founder once pretended (only after enormous public backlash) that he would pursue far shorter terms for software patents



  21. EPO Gets Together With Patent Radicals to Promote Software Patents

    Watchtroll, a widely-known site of patent extremists with the agenda of promoting software patents, gets together with the EPO for a puff piece in the form of an "exclusive" interview



  22. Patent Boxes Are for Tax Avoidance, But in the Land of Tax Avoidance (Switzerland) No Avoidance for Software Patents

    The world leader in European Patents (EPs) refuses to acknowledge software patents or barely respects these



  23. Latest Attempts to Blow Air Into the Sails of the Sinking Unitary Patent (UPC)

    A survey of the latest media mentions and interpretations of the UPC, which don't quite stack up when compared to reality



  24. Links 12/9/2017: Linux 4.13.1, digiKam 5.7.0

    Links for the day



  25. Patent Maximalism Duo: Watchtroll and Patently-O Now Conjoined and Mutually Referencing One Another

    Radical sites like Watchtroll are spreading their ideology and harassment tactics to sites such as Patently-O, run by Dennis Crouch from the University of Missouri School of Law



  26. Complaints About Google Patents, R3 Patents, and the EFF's Campaign of Exposing/Disarming Patent Trolls

    A mix of interesting developments surrounding patents, including a nasty campaign by Dominion Harbor Group to smear patent reformers



  27. Latest Assaults on PTAB and More PTAB Bashing, This Time by Anticipat

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), which helps eliminate patents granted in error (a lot of software patents), is still besieged by the patent 'industry'



  28. “Reprehensible” Judge Rodney Gilstrap Ignores the Supreme Court of the United States

    In spite of the TC Heartland case, Rodney Gilstrap continues to facilitate and embolden patent trolls, whose experience suggests that Gilstrap is their ally, not quite an objective judge



  29. Ingve Stjerna's Complaint Casts a Shadow Over the Unconstitutional Unified Patent Court (UPC)

    The Unitary Patent is un-Constitutional, according to a lawyer who used to work for UPC-friendly firms but can now say the truth about this abomination



  30. Upcoming EPO Series: Benoît Battistelli's 'Club Med'

    Ahead of the expected coronation of António Campinos Techrights will publish a long series regarding Battistelli and his network of connections (politics the École nationale d'administration way)


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