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10.31.14

Links 31/10/2014: Rubin Leaves Google, Neelie Kroes Ends EU Career

Posted in News Roundup at 5:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Sad News! ;-)

    So, XP is dead, “7” is dying, “8” is a zombie, and “10” is vapourware with nowhere to call home. M$ continues layoffs. POOF! It all falls down. In the meantime Google and the OEMs will crank out many millions of ChromeBooks. Canonical, Linpus, RedHat, Suse… and the OEMs will crank out many millions of GNU/Linux PCs. Several OEMs will crank out many millions of GNU/Linux thin clients. Android/Linux will reverberate with another billion or so units of small cheap computers(tablets, smartphones). This looks like good news to me.

  • Desktop

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Desktop Linux users beware: the boss thinks you need to be managed

      Desktop Linux users beware: IT has noticed you and decided it;s time you were properly managed.

      So says VMware, which yesterday at its vForum event in China let it be know that it will deliver a desktop virtualisation (VDI) solution for Linux desktops.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Window and Desktop Switcher moved to Look’n’Feel Package

        Today we did an important change in how KWin will distribute its assets in the upcoming 5.2 release. When we started our thoughts about the Look’n’Feel Package and how we want to have meta themes for the complete Plasma workspace we also wanted to have this for the Window and Desktop switcher provided by KWin. So the structure of the Look’n’Feel Package already has all the pieces for including the Window and Desktop Switcher, but it was not used. Now we finally addressed this for the 5.2 release and moved the default switcher into the Look’n’Feel Package and KWin can locate the switchers from the Look’n’Feel Package.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GTK+ 3.16′s New GtkGLArea Widget Gets Improved

        Earlier this month GTK+ 3.16 development code gained native OpenGL support. This GTK+ OpenGL support involved adding support for wrapping an OpenGL context for native windows with GLX on X11 and EGL on Wayland to use OpenGL to paint everything. A GtkGLArea widget was also added for providing OpenGL drawing access within GTK+ applications. The GtkGLArea has already seen some more improvements to better GTK’s OpenGL support.

      • Recent improvements in libnice

        For the past several months, Olivier Crête and I have been working on a project using libnice at Collabora, which is now coming to a close. Through the project we’ve managed to add a number of large, new features to libnice, and implement hundreds (no exaggeration) of cleanups and bug fixes. All of this work was done upstream, and is available in libnice 0.1.8, released recently! GLib has also gained a number of networking fixes, API additions and documentation improvements.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Quick Look: Puppy Linux 6.0

        Puppy Linux 6.0 is a lightweight Linux distribution that can easily be run off a USB stick, SD card or live disc. This version has been dubbed “Tahrpup” by the Puppy Linux developers, and it is based on Ubuntu 14.04. It also uses Linux kernel 3.14.20.

      • Security-Minded Qubes OS Will Satisfy Your Yen for Xen

        It has advanced far beyond the primitive proof of concept demonstrated more than four years ago. Release 2 (beta), which arrived in late September, is a powerful desktop OS.

        Qubes succeeds in seamless integrating security by isolation into the user experience. However, comparing Qubes to a typical Linux distro is akin to comparing the Linux OS to Unix.

    • New Releases

      • Black Lab Education Desktop 6.0.1 to Be Supported Until 2022

        There are numerous Linux distributions that are oriented towards education, but you can never have too many in a domain such as this one. It’s based on the Black Lab Professional Desktop, which is a very good and powerful solution. Interestingly enough, Black Lab Linux is actually based on Ubuntu, and the latest one uses the 14.04.1 base (Trusty Tahr).

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Atom-based Ubuntu Touch tablet specs leaked

            Specs have been leaked for a 10.1-inch Ubuntu Touch tablet called “UT One” that runs on an Intel Atom Z3735D SoC, with shipments expected in December.

          • The Wide World of Canonical

            I thought perhaps it was a one-off mistake made by a marketing department flunky who perhaps had too much Red Bull while writing a press release. Being the responsible company that Canonical/Ubuntu is, and being the good FOSS community member that it portrays itself to be, I assumed they’d fix the error right away and make sure that ludicrous hyperbole was not the order of the day.
            Would that be asking too much?

            Perhaps. Sadly, a company that claims to be a FOSS leader can’t be bothered with getting simple facts correct. An ad on LinkedIn posted a week ago today makes the same claim for a job in London. You can click on the photo to the right and read, “It is used by over 20 million people in 240 countries in 80 languages.”

          • NVIDIA’s Linux Driver On Ubuntu 14.10 Can Deliver Better OpenGL Performance Than Windows 8.1

            The same Intel Core i7 4770K system used for yesterday’s Windows vs. Linux graphics benchmarks were used when benchmarking the GeForce GTX 780 Ti, 970, and 980 graphics cards. Windows 8.1 Pro x64 had all available system updates at the time and was running the NVIDIA 344.48 WHQL binary driver that was their latest release at the time of testing. When running Ubuntu 14.10 x86_64 on the system with its Linux 3.16 kernel, the NVIDIA 343.22 driver was used. The 343.22 driver was the latest publicly available proprietary Linux driver at the time of testing and their first to support the GTX 970/980 under Linux. All of the same hardware was used under each operating system and each OS was with its software default settings as were the driver settings.

          • The First Vivid-Based Ubuntu Touch Image Has Been Released

            As I have previously announced, the Ubuntu Touch development branch is based on Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet, while the Ubuntu RTM branch is still using Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn as code base, because it has already received stability improvements and will by default on the first Ubuntu powered Meizu phone. Currently, all the new features are implemented on the Ubuntu-Devel branch, the RTM one receiving only fixes.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Linux accessory adds web access to dumb cameras

      Lumera Labs is aiming to Kickstarter an open source Linux camera attachment for one-click transfers to the cloud via WiFi, plus GPS tagging, HDR, and 3D.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Google’s surprise Nexus 6 preorders anger some Android users

          The Nexus 6 is Google’s biggest phone, and judging by the initial reaction from Android users, it may end up being its best-selling phone ever. Creating the Nexus 6 was a bold move by Google and it has resulted in pandemonium as Google’s initial supplies of the phone were quickly depleted by enthusiastic buyers. However, Google gave no warning about Nexus 6 preorders and that has angered some Android users who tried to buy it.

        • Nexus 6 Pre-Orders Were A Joke

          Today, the Nexus 6 went up for pre-order on the Google Play Store for a grand total of five minutes by my count. No warning, no announcements, no broadcasts from the Nexus Twitter account, no excitement from Sundar Pichai or any other Android leaders, nothing. I, like many of you, had no idea that pre-orders had even started. And by the time I tried to go order, it was too late. Sold out, gone. Nexus 4 all over again.

        • Download APKs From Google Play To Your Computer With Google Play Downloader

          Google Play Downloader is a simple open source application which can be used to download APKs from Google Play to your computer.

        • Android creator Andy Rubin is leaving Google

          The move is, perhaps, not a total surprise. Last March, Rubin left the Android group and was replaced by Sundar Pichai. His latest project, as detailed in a lengthy New York Times report in December, was creating robots for a project outside of the company’s Google X lab, something that dovetailed with Google’s shopping spree of robotics companies. In 2012, there were also rumors abound that Rubin planned to leave for a stealth-mode startup called CloudCar, though they were vehemently denied.

Free Software/Open Source

  • We All Work For Open Source Companies Now

    But here’s another, equally salient fact: Every company on the planet must embrace open source to varying degrees, including vendors that make their money selling proprietary software or services.

  • New Projects from the Ever-Protean World of Open Source

    In my previous column, I pointed out that free software was now so successful, and in so many fields, that people might wonder whether there’s anything left to do. The question was rhetorical, of course, of course: the ingenuity of the open source community means that people there will always find new and exciting projects. And not just the big one that I suggested of baking strong crypto into all our communication tools. There are countless other novel uses for open source, as these three very different examples below indicate.

  • Events

    • Ohio LinuxFest 2014 – A Look At Tomorrow

      I went to the Ohio Linux Fest this year to give the closing keynote address to somewhere around 300 folks. And trust me…this will show up later so you’ll know what I mean…the last two minutes of my keynote were the best part. Wait for it…soon.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Simplifying application development in the cloud

      Everett is also a core contributor to the Apache jclouds project, an open source tool designed to make it easier for developers to build applications which are able to reap the benefits of cloud computing while being agnostic to which cloud infrastructure project lies underneath.

    • PLUMgrid Delivers Suite of Tools for OpenStack Clouds

      This week, PLUMgrid, which specializes in virtual network infrastructure for OpenStack cloud deployments, announced the availability of its Open Networking Suite (ONS) version 2.0 with expanded support for OpenStack distributions and network functions. The company claims that “PLUMgrid ONS for OpenStack is the industry’s first software-only virtual networking suite that provides terabits of scale out performance, production-grade resiliency, and secure multi-tenancy for businesses to build agile cloud networks.”

  • CMS

    • Boycott Linux, Fedora Beta a Go, and Drupal Yikes

      The top story tonight is a highly critical flaw in Drupal 7 that may have allowed a lot of compromised websites. At tonight’s Go/No-Go meeting, Fedora 21 Beta was approved for next week. The folks at ROSA have released an LXDE version and LibreOffices 4.3.3 and 4.2.7 were released. Red Hat Software Collections 1.2 was released and Jack Wallen looks at the “science behind Ubuntu Unity’s popularity.”

    • Drupal Hack & WordPress Users

      The current situation being faced by Drupal users is evidence of just how determined the black hats are in their quest to find vulnerable sites and exploit them. According to Drupal, “Automated attacks began compromising Drupal 7 websites that were not patched or updated to Drupal 7.32 within hours of the announcement of” the vulnerability. On any site on any platform, paying attention to security is just as important as paying attention to content.

    • What you need to know about the Drupal vulnerability CVE-2014-3704

      For those that fall into the affected category we’re looking at 264,265 live sites that are currently running Drupal version 7, as a CMS at least, as of this writing. The advisory outlining this problem was originally posted on October 15th, 2014. Within 7 hours there were multiple exploits circulating in the wild. A safe assumption that if you are running an affected version that you were compromised unless you managed to have your site updated or patched before Oct 15th, 11pm UTC.

    • Drupal Users Had Seven Hours to Patch or Be Hacked

      Whenever a security exploit is fixed, users are advised to patch quickly to reduce the risk of attack. In the case of a recent open-source Drupal content management system (CMS) vulnerability, the window in which users needed to patch before being exploited has been quantified as being only seven hours.

  • Healthcare

    • How to train your doctor… to use open source

      The federal hospitals are running a system that was released in to the public domain called VistA, written in MUMPS. This is the same language that the $100 million software is written in! Except there is a huge difference in price. OSEHRA was founded to protect this software.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Go 1.4 Beta Release Brings Big Runtime Changes

      Google’s Go language implementation is now in beta for the upcoming 1.4 major release.

      Go 1.4 is bringing Android ARM support, NaCL on ARM support, big changes to the Go runtime, minor performance improvements, changes to Go’s existing libraries, and a ton of other improvements.

    • Rocker: Run R in Docker containers

      Rocker is hosted on GitHub, with three containers already available in the repository – r-base, r-devel and rstudio. The last container (rstudio) provides R and an instance of RStudio Server. RStudio is an integrated development environment (IDE) for R.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C Declares HTML5 Standard Complete

      More than four years ago, Steve Jobs declared war on Flash and heralded HTML5 as the way to go. You could be forgiven if you thought the HTML5 standard — the follow-up to 1997’s HTML 4 — has long been set in stone, given that developers, browser vendors and the press have been talking about it for years now. In reality, however, HTML5 was still in flux — until today. The W3C today published its Recommendation of HTML5 — the final version of the standard after years of adding features and making changes to it.

Leftovers

  • Farewell from Neelie Kroes

    Today is my last day in office at the European Commission.

    Over the years, I have met a lot of people – people who have inspired, encouraged, and energised.

    In fact over 5 years in digital policy there have almost been too many to thank. But that is what I would like to today.

  • Security

    • Google Accounts Now Support Security Keys

      People who use Gmail and other Google services now have an extra layer of security available when logging into Google accounts. The company today incorporated into these services the open Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) standard, a physical USB-based second factor sign-in component that only works after verifying the login site is truly a Google site.

    • Friday’s security updates
    • More Failures Of The Wintel Monopoly

      Of course, this damage could have been mitigated by promptly patching when M$ releases their “Patch Tuesday” updates or sooner in an emergency. That’s the point. Consumers are not IT-people. They don’t know about this stuff. They just know about the speed and convenience of PCs on the web. That other OS is supposed to be “easy to use” but that’s just PR in the ads. It’s also easy to lose all security, have the system slow to a halt or crash. Sometimes, M$ gets it wrong and the patches don’t work. Consumers eventually buy another machine or take the box in for repairs to get it working again.

      [...]

      Of course, one should patch GNU/Linux systems too, but they do very well unpatched. The great beauty of GNU/Linux for consumers is that there are hundreds of distros and the typical malware-artist can’t hack them all simultaneously whereas “the monopoly” is a single big fat target. So, better code, fewer malwares and diversity all work together to protect consumers whereas the salesmen running M$ seek to make life “easy” for both consumers and malware-writers. I choose freedom. I use Debian GNU/Linux.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The Ottawa Shootings — my RT interview

      Yes­ter­day I was asked to do an inter­view on RT in the imme­di­ate after­math of the Ott­awa shoot­ings. As I said, there needs to be a full forensic invest­ig­a­tion, and I would hope that the gov­ern­ment does not use this ter­rible crime as a pre­text for yet fur­ther erosion of con­sti­tu­tional rights and civil liber­ties. Calm heads and the rule of law need to pre­vail.

    • The war on drugs funds terrorism

      Here is a short excerpt from a panel dis­cus­sion I took part in after the Lon­don première of the new cult anti-prohibition film, “The Cul­ture High”. This is an amaz­ing film that pulls together so many big issues around the failed global 50 year policy of the war on drugs. I ser­i­ously recom­mend watch­ing it.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • ALEC Tampers with Wisconsin Constitution

      On November 4, Wisconsin voters will decide if the state constitution should be amended to require that “revenues generated by use of the state transportation system be deposited into a transportation fund administered by a department of transportation for the exclusive purpose of funding Wisconsin’s transportation systems and to prohibit any transfers or lapses from this fund.” The ballot measure reflects model legislation pushed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) that is intended to prioritize road funding over all other types of transportation spending.

    • Media Cry Foul When Democrats Talk About Race

      epublicans are accusing Democrats of race-baiting? It sounds like the Times’ Jeremy Peters is making that accusation–isn’t that what “race-baiting” means, to “play on fears” with “racially charged messages”?

    • Rick Berman Exposed in New Audio; Hear His Tactics against Environmentalists and Workers Rights

      Rick Berman, the king of corporate front groups and propaganda, has been caught on tape detailing his attacks on public interest groups in the labor and environmental movements, including on efforts to increase the minimum wage for workers.

      As noted in a new story by Eric Lipton at The New York Times, Berman met with energy company executives at the posh Broadmoor Hotel earlier this year to raise money from them to attack groups representing citizens concerned about clean water, clean air, and the future of the planet. But Berman’s “win ugly” tactics apparently did not persuade all of his prospective clients for his lucrative business of creating tax-exempt non-profit front groups that then contract with his for-profit PR firm to give corporations cover for his attacks on their opponents. The way Berman profits from this arrangement has spawned a legal complaint to the IRS.

      An audio tape of Berman and his associate, Jack Hubbard, has been provided by a person at the Broadmoor event to the Center for Media and Democracy, which publishes PRWatch and has long tracked Berman’s deceptive PR operations.

    • Journalists need a point of view if they want to stay relevant

      If extreme polarization is now an enduring feature of American politics — not just a bug — how does that change the game for journalists? I have some ideas, but mainly I want to put that question on the table. “Conflict makes news,” it is often said. But when gridlock becomes the norm the conflicts are endless, infinite, predictable and just plain dull: in a way, the opposite of news. This dynamic has already ruined the Sunday talk shows. Who can stand that spectacle anymore?

    • How Facebook Could End Up Controlling Everything You Watch and Read Online

      How many of you are reading this because of a link you clicked on Facebook? In the online publishing industry (which WIRED obviously is part of), Facebook’s influence on site traffic—and therefore ad revenue—is difficult to overstate. Over the past year especially, “the homepage is dead” has become a standard line among media pundits. And more than anything else, it’s Facebook that killed it.

      Given that links appear to be more clickable when shared on Facebook, online publishers have scrambled to become savvy gamers of Facebook’s News Feed, seeking to divine the secret rules that push some stories higher than others. But all this genuflection at the altar of Facebook’s algorithms may be but a prelude to a more fundamental shift in how content is produced, shared, and consumed online. Instead of going to all this trouble to get people to click a link on Facebook that takes them somewhere else, the future of Internet content may be a world in which no video, article, or cat GIF gallery lives outside of Facebook at all.

  • Censorship

    • BBC refuses to include Green party in general election TV leader debates

      The BBC has rejected a demand from the Green party to be included in the proposed TV leader election debates, saying that it, unlike Ukip, has not demonstrated any substantial increase in support.

      The broadcasters have proposed three debates, one including Ukip, the Liberal Democrats, Labour and the Conservatives, a second involving the Lib Dems, Labour and the Conservatives, and finally one between Ed Miliband and David Cameron.

      The Green Party was infuriated that they had been excluded and won support in online petitions.

  • Privacy

    • GCHQ views data without a warrant, government admits

      British intelligence services can access raw material collected in bulk by the NSA and other foreign spy agencies without a warrant, the government has confirmed for the first time.

      GCHQ’s secret “arrangements” for accessing bulk material are revealed in documents submitted to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, the UK surveillance watchdog, in response to a joint legal challenge by Privacy International, Liberty and Amnesty International. The legal action was launched in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations published by the Guardian and other news organisations last year.

    • More RIPA Revelations

      Yet more evidence has come to light to show that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) is woefully out of date.

      It has been revealed that GCHQ, has the ability to request large amounts of un-analysed communications from foreign intelligence agencies without first obtaining a warrant. The documents, obtained in the course of a case brought before the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), show that the use of a warrant was not necessary if it is “not technically feasible” for GCHQ to obtain one.

    • Sony Xperia devices are sendng your data to China

      If you are using a Sony Xperia device running either Android 4.4.2 or 4.4.4 it’s advised (by me) that you install a custom ROM on your device. Several reports have appeared online that the stock firmware on these devices contains Baidu spyware that is discreetly sending data back to servers in China, you do not need to have installed any software on your phone as it’s bundled into the firmware.

    • Congress Still Has No Idea How Much the NSA Spies on Americans

      Adequate oversight is impossible when even diligent members of the Senate Intelligence Committee can’t get basic facts about surveillance.

    • 49 Orgs Call on Congress to Restore Whistleblower Rights for Intelligence Contractors

      Congress should quickly restore whistleblower rights for government contractors who work in the intelligence community (IC), 49 ideologically diverse organizations and the Make It Safe Coalition told lawmakers in a letter today.

    • Liberty exposes secret links between GCHQ and the NSA
    • The NSA Scandal May Have Just Gotten Even Worse

      The National Security Agency might not have only collected personal information belonging to millions of Americans. It may very well have shared it too – with at least one foreign government.

      A report released yesterday by the U.K.-based human rights organization Liberty reveals Britain’s intelligence agencies can access information which the NSA has already collected whenever and wherever it wants – and without a warrant.

    • Brazil-to-Portugal Cable Shapes Up as Anti-NSA Case Study

      Brazil is planning a $185 million project to lay fiber-optic cable across the Atlantic Ocean, which could entail buying gear from multiple vendors. What it won’t need: U.S.-made technology.

    • Brazil greenlights $200m internet cable to Europe in bid to outfox NSA

      Brazil is moving ahead with plans to build an “anti-NSA” internet cable to Europe, even though it won’t make the slightest difference to spying efforts.

      Francisco Ziober Filho, president of state-run telecoms company Telebras, announced earlier this week that the company will form a joint venture with Spain’s IslaLink to run the submarine connection between Fortaleza at the northern tip of Brazil and Lisbon, Portugal. Filho also strongly suggested that the cable will not include any equipment from US manufacturers – take that, NSA.

      Despite the rhetoric, however, one expert in cable infrastructure told The Register that not only does the cable not make economic sense but it amounts to little more than “a $185m propaganda statement” on the part of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff.

    • How NSA Director Wants to Build an IoT Security Coalition

      Admiral Michael Rogers is preparing a coalition of government, military and commercial interests to fight a global cyber war if necessary.

    • NSA chief calls for more “permeable” barrier between state and tech corporations

      In two speeches this month, US National Security Agency (NSA) Director Admiral Mike Rogers called for a further integration between the NSA and major technology and communications companies.

    • National Journal: NSA Outsources Surveillance of Americans to British Intelligence
    • A Secret Policy Lets the UK Suck Up Any Bulk NSA Data It Wants
    • Court: UK spies get bulk access to U.S.’s NSA data
    • GCHQ Can Access Raw Data From NSA Without a Warrant, Secret Policies Disclose
    • Comforting the NSA and Afflicting Its Dissenters

      No serious defense of the surveillance state can ignores its anti-democratic abuses, its lawbreaking, and its record of punishing whistleblowers.

    • FBI Seeks New Powers To Hack And Spy

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is seeking more powers to hack into a suspect computer no matter where it is located, and carry out surveillance.

    • New NSA Documents Shine More Light into Black Box of Executive Order 12333

      Today, we’re releasing a new set of documents concerning Executive Order 12333 that we — alongside the Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic at Yale Law School — obtained in an ongoing Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. EO 12333 hasn’t received much public attention to date, but the government’s prior disclosures in our suit have shown that the executive order in fact governs most of the NSA’s surveillance. In the NSA’s own words, EO 12333 is “the primary source of the NSA’s foreign intelligence-gathering authority.”

    • Cricket Revealed As Mobile ISP That Was Blocking Encrypted Emails

      A few weeks ago, we wrote about how VPN company Golden Frog had quietly revealed in an FCC filing that an unnamed mobile broadband provider had been (even more) quietly blocking people from sending encrypted emails — basically blocking users from making use of STARTTLS encryption. The Washington Post has now revealed that the mobile operator in question was Cricket — a subsidiary of AT&T, and that it stopped blocking such encryption a few days after our post was published.

    • Mobile ISP Cricket was thwarting encrypted emails, researchers find

      Some customers of popular prepaid-mobile company Cricket were unable to send or receive encrypted e-mails for many months, according to security researchers, raising concerns that consumers may find that protecting their privacy is not always in their hands.

    • Swedish regulator orders ISP to retain customer data despite death of EU directive

      The Swedish Telecoms Regulator PTS has threatened Kista-based ISP Bahnhof to continue storing records of its customer communications, even though the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled the 2006 Data Retention Directive invalid [PDF] in April of this year.

    • Vermont’s Automatic License Plate Readers: 7.9 Million Plates Captured, Five Crimes Solved

      The sales pitch for automatic license plate readers is how great they are at helping cops solve crimes. From hunting down stolen cars to tracking pedophiles across jurisdictions, ALPRs supposedly make policing a breeze by gathering millions of time/date/location records every single day and making it all available to any law enforcement agency willing to buy the software and pay the licensing fees.

    • License Plate Scanners Raise Privacy Concerns, But Do They Help Police?

      Over the past five years, law enforcement agencies in Vermont have invested more than $1 million in technology that gathers millions of data points every year about the whereabouts of vehicles across the state.

    • Amazon-CIA $600 Million Deal Facing Scrutiny: “What’s the CIA Doing on Amazon’s Cloud?”

      A billboard challenging Amazon to fully disclose the terms of its $600 million contract to provide cloud computing services for the Central Intelligence Agency has been unveiled at a busy intersection near Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.

    • FBI’s Use Of ‘Sneak And Peek’ Warrants Still Steadily Increasing, Still Has Nearly Nothing To Do With Fighting Terrorism

      Another tool supposedly “crucial” to the War on Terror is just another lowly footsoldier in the War on Drugs. Some long-delayed reports on Section 213 “sneak and peek” warrants have finally been released by the US government, providing more detail on the constantly-expanding use of delayed-notification warrants by the FBI.

    • Government Authority Intended for Terrorism is Used for Other Purposes

      The Patriot Act continues to wreak its havoc on civil liberties. Section 213 was included in the Patriot Act over the protests of privacy advocates and granted law enforcement the power to conduct a search while delaying notice to the suspect of the search. Known as a “sneak and peek” warrant, law enforcement was adamant Section 213 was needed to protect against terrorism. But the latest government report detailing the numbers of “sneak and peek” warrants reveals that out of a total of over 11,000 sneak and peek requests, only 51 were used for terrorism. Yet again, terrorism concerns appear to be trampling our civil liberties.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • New Zealand’s Trade Minister Admits They Keep TPP Documents Secret To Avoid ‘Public Debate’

      A couple years ago, then US Trade Representative Ron Kirk explained why the negotiating text of trade agreements like the TPP needed to be kept secret: because if the public debated it, the agreement probably wouldn’t be approved. He used, as an example, a failed trade agreement where the text had been public. Beyond the “small sample size” problem of this explanation, the much more troubling aspect is the obvious question of recognizing that if public debate would kill the agreement, perhaps it’s the agreement that’s the problem and not the public.

    • Response to EU Ombudsman’s Consultation on TTIP Transparency

      The EU Ombudsman is running a consultation on how to improve the transparency of the TTIP negotiations. This shouldn’t be hard, since there is currently vanishingly small openness about these secret talks.

    • Trademarks

      • Pizzeria Attempts To Trademark The Flavor Of Pizza. Yes, Seriously.

        Trademark, while generally one of the better forms of intellectual property as used in practice and in purpose, can certainly still be abused. It can also fall victim to an ever-growing ownership culture that seems to have invaded the American mind like some kind of brain-eating amoeba. And that’s how we’ve arrived here today, a day in which I get to tell you about how there is currently a trademark dispute over the flavor of pizza.

    • Copyrights

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  9. Buying the Voices of 'Linux' People to Repeat Microsoft's Talking Points While Removing Our Icons and Leaders (Calling Them Sexist)

    The dirty games leveraged by several companies including Microsoft target charismatic people who are essential for morale and leadership; these tactics aren't particularly novel



  10. When the EPO Sees Itself as Above European Law, Grants Patents in Defiance of the EPC (Its Founding Document) and Violates Staff's Labour Rights/Protections (International Law)

    The absurd state of affairs at the EPO has reached the point where laws at every level are being violated and even judges are being threatened or vainly ignored; the EU is belatedly trying to tackle these issues, which have actually cost its credibility a great deal and threaten the perception of Rule of Law at multiple levels



  11. Links 19/9/2019: Samba 4.11.0 and Kubernetes 1.16

    Links for the day



  12. Update on Koch v EPO: Internal Appeals Committee (IAC) Composition Still Likely Illegal

    An important EPO case, concerning a dismissed staff representative, shows what ILO-AT and the EPO's Internal Appeals Committee boil down to



  13. Links 18/9/2019: Fedora Linux 31 Beta, PCLinuxOS 2019.09 Update

    Links for the day



  14. Links 17/9/2019: CentOS 7.7 and Funtoo Linux 1.4 Released

    Links for the day



  15. EPO is Not European

    Internationalists and patent trolls are those who stand to benefit from the 'globalisation' of low-quality and law-breaking patents such as patents on algorithms, nature and life itself; the EPO isn't equipped to serve its original goals anymore



  16. The EPO's Central Staff Committee and SUEPO (Staff Union) Respond to “Fascist Bills” Supported by EPO President António Campinos

    Raw material pertaining to the latest Campinos "scandal"; what Campinos said, what the Central Staff Committee (CSC) said, and what SUEPO said



  17. Storm Brewing in the European Patent Office After a Hot Summer

    Things aren't rosy in EPOnia (to say the least); in fact, things have been getting a lot worse lately, but the public wouldn't know judging by what media tells the public (almost nothing)



  18. Why I Once Called for Richard Stallman to Step Down

    Guest post from the developer who recently authored "Getting Stallman Wrong Means Getting The 21st Century Wrong"



  19. As Richard Stallman Resigns Let's Consider Why GNU/Linux Without Stallman and Torvalds Would be a Victory to Microsoft

    Stallman has been ejected after a lot of intentionally misleading press coverage; this is a dark day for Software Freedom



  20. Links 16/9/2019: GNU Linux-libre 5.3, GNU World Order 13×38, Vista 10 Breaks Itself Again

    Links for the day



  21. Links 16/9/2019: Qt Quick on Vulkan, Metal, and Direct3D; BlackWeb 1.2 Reviewed

    Links for the day



  22. Richard Stallman's Controversial Views Are Nothing New and They Distract From Bill Gates' Vastly Worse Role

    It's easier to attack Richard Stallman (RMS) using politics (than using his views on software) and media focus on Stallman's personal views on sexuality bears some resemblance to the push against Linus Torvalds, which leans largely on the false perception that he is sexist, rude and intolerant



  23. Links 16/9/2019: Linux 5.3, EasyOS Releases, Media Backlash Against RMS

    Links for the day



  24. Openwashing Report on Open Networking Foundation (ONF): When Open Source Means Collaboration Among Giant Spying Companies

    Massive telecommunications oligopolies (telecoms) are being described as ethical and responsible by means of openwashing; they even have their own front groups for that obscene mischaracterisation and ONF is one of those



  25. 'Open Source' You Cannot Run Without Renting or 'Licensing' Windows From Microsoft

    When so-called ‘open source’ programs strictly require Vista 10 (or similar) to run, how open are they really and does that not redefine the nature of Open Source while betraying everything Free/libre software stands for?



  26. All About Control: Microsoft is Not Open Source But an Open Source Censor/Spy and GitHub/LinkedIn/Skype Are Its Proprietary Censorship/Surveillance Tools

    All the big companies which Microsoft bought in recent years are proprietary software and all of the company’s big products remain proprietary software; all that “Open Source” is to Microsoft is “something to control and censor“



  27. The Sad State of GNU/Linux News Sites

    The ‘media coup’ of corporate giants (that claim to be 'friends') means that history of GNU/Linux is being distorted and lied about; it also explains prevalent lies such as "Microsoft loves Linux" and denial of GNU/Free software



  28. EPO President Along With Bristows, Managing IP and Other Team UPC Boosters Are Lobbying for Software Patents in Clear and Direct Violation of the EPC

    A calm interpretation of the latest wave of lobbying from litigation professionals, i.e. people who profit when there are lots of patent disputes and even expensive lawsuits which may be totally frivolous (for example, based upon fake patents that aren't EPC-compliant)



  29. Links 15/9/2019: Radeon ROCm 2.7.2, KDE Frameworks 5.62.0, PineTime and Bison 3.4.2

    Links for the day



  30. Illegal/Invalid Patents (IPs) Have Become the 'Norm' in Europe

    Normalisation of invalid patents (granted by the EPO in defiance of the EPC) is a serious problem, but patent law firms continue to exploit that while this whole 'patent bubble' lasts (apparently the number of applications will continue to decrease because the perceived value of European Patents diminishes)


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