11.30.14

IRC Proceedings: November 9th, 2014 – November 29th, 2014

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: November 9th, – November 15th, 2014

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#techrights log

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: November 16th, – November 22nd, 2014

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#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

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#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: November 23rd, – November 29th, 2014

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Enter the IRC channels now

Links 30/11/2014: Debian Fork, New Mint Linux Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Issue 10 Out Now!

    Once we’ve finished boasting about the prowess of Linux, we search out the best light-weight distro, look into the murky world of patent litigation, uncover the secrets of systemd, play with Google Cardboard, add more forms of input to a Raspberry Pi and program autonomous battle droids.

  • Server

    • Docker: Sorry, you’re just going to have to learn about it. Today we begin

      Containers aren’t a new idea, and Docker isn’t remotely the only company working on productising containers. It is, however, the one that has captured hearts and minds.

      Docker started out with the standard LXC containers that are part of virtually every Linux distribution out there, but eventually transitioned to libcontainer, its own creation. Normally, nobody would have cared about libcontainer, but as we’ll dig into later, it was exactly the right move at the right time.

  • Kernel Space

    • Nasty Lockup Issue Still Being Investigated For Linux 3.18

      When Linux 3.18-rc6 was released last Sunday, Linus Torvalds noted in the release announcement that a “a big unknown worry in a regression” remained. Nearly one week later, kernel developers are still figuring out what’s going on with this regression that can cause frequent lockups. Worse off, it looks like it might affect the Linux 3.17 kernel too.

    • Generic TrustZone Driver Proposed For Linux Kernel

      ARM’s security extensions are in the process of being bettered on Linux.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Mesa Git Yields Performance Improvements For Newer AMD GPUs

        Earlier this week I published some benchmark results showing Mesa 10.5-devel delivering Intel performance changes compared to Mesa 10.3 as found in Ubuntu 14.10. The next logical step to this testing is looking at the AMD Radeon graphics results for the R600g and RadeonSI drivers using multiple graphics cards while seeing what the open-source Radeon Linux driver has to offer if upgrading past what’s shipped in Ubuntu 14.10 and other recent Linux distribution releases.

    • Benchmarks

      • OS X 10.10 vs. Ubuntu 14.10 vs. Fedora 21 vs. openSUSE Factory

        This week I posted some OS X 10.10 vs. Ubuntu 14.10 performance results that were quite interesting and showed Ubuntu Linux largely dominating over OS X Yosemite with a Haswell-based MacBook Air. For those curious how other Linux distributions compare in this performance showdown, here are some results when also testing Fedora 21 in its near-final state and also openSUSE in its rolling-release form.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Google Code In 2014 : Call for Participation

        The Google Code-in is a contest to introduce pre-university students (ages 13-17) to the many kinds of contributions that make open source software development possible. The contest runs from December 1, 2014 to January 19, 2015. For many students the Google Code-in contest is their first introduction to open source development.

      • KDE at LISA 2014 conference

        KDE was one of about 50 exhibitors at the LISA (Large Installation System Administration) Conference November 12th and 13th in Seattle. The expo was part of the week-long conference for system administrators that has been held annually since 1986. Expo participants included big name tech companies and smaller niche organizations offering products and services to this audience of professional technical people. As we discovered, KDE is well known among this audience.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Material Design Adorns Desktop Thanks to a Custom Linux OS

      Google introduced the clean new design language this year naming it Material Design. The design ideology of Material Design was loved by many thanks to its clean and simple UI. If you too are one of those in love with Lollipop’s Material Design, chances are you will soon be able to get the design for your desktop. Currently being developed by Michael Spencer, this upcoming Linux distribution is being called Quantum OS (previously Quartz OS).

    • Red Hat Family

      • [Red Hat JBoss Unified Push] Now Available on Openshift

        The Unified Push Server allows developers to send native push messages to Apple’s Push Notification Service (APNS) and Google’s Cloud Messaging (GCM). It features a built-in administration console that makes it easy for developers to create and manage push related aspects of their applications for any mobile development environment. Includes client SDKs (iOS, Android, & Cordova), and a REST based sender service with an available Java sender library.

      • Fedora

        • To Do

          OK, there are endless to-do list applications, each with its own plusses and deltas. I tried the emacs todo without a lot of joy. I more or less settled on using bugzilla since it allowed me to not only capture relationships and estimates, but also to keep notes on various projects or bits of projects. I tend to have lots of things that I need to do “right now”, but even more things that I would like to do if I ever get one of them round tuit thingies. BZ works well for this in terms of capturing things, and especially capturing thoughts on those things I want to get around to some day.

        • It’s a good thing they pay me to break stuff

          Yesterday’s was triggered by me messing up the Fedora kernel package git repository – whoops. I keep Fedlet’s kernel as a branch that only exists in my checkout; it’s not pushed anywhere (I should just push it out on my git server now I have one, but I keep forgetting). I accidentally ran git push from that branch yesterday, and it promptly pushed all the changes on it to master, effectively turning Fedora’s kernel into the Fedlet kernel for a few glorious hours until Josh reverted it.

        • [Test-Announce] Fedora 21 Final Release Candidate 1 (RC1) Available Now!
    • Debian Family

      • Systemd fallout: Debian fork Devuan set up

        A group styling itself as veteran UNIX administrators has announced that it has set up a fork of the Debian GNU/Linux project.

      • Fork Debian Project Announces the Systemd-less OS Devuan

        A group of unknown developers have proposed a while ago to fork Debian in an effort to create a parallel project that would go on without Systemd. It seemed ridiculous at the time and many have thought that it was just just some kind of pressure, but it looks like the project is real enough.

      • Debian Forked, Ubuntu MATE Fabulous, and Fedora 21 RC1

        Everybody went back to work today and there is so much news I hardly know where to start. The top story tonight is bound to be the official forking of Debian. In other news, Dediomedio.com says Ubuntu 14.10 MATE is “almost fabulous” and the Free Software Foundation released their 2014 gift buying guide. Mint 17.1 is almost here and a Fedora 21 release candidate has been released. Carla Schroder has an exclusive on Linux.com about being a maker instead of a user and, finally, a bunch of too-good-to-resist tidbits.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Meizu’s first Ubuntu phones coming in early 2015
          • Ubuntu powered Meizu smartphones could arrive in early 2015
          • A Ubuntu Phone will finally go on sale next year

            Fans of Ubuntu have been waiting patiently for a phone running Canonical’s mobile OS to make its way to retail shelves. Thanks to Chinese OEM Meizu, they may only have a few more months to wait.

          • Ubuntu 14.10 MATE edition – Almost fabulous

            Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn with the MATE desktop environment is a very cool distro. It suffers from two big problems, one of which has been inherited from its Unity parent, and that would be the inability to format old partitions, created by previous versions of Ubuntu. This is somewhat worrying. Samba printing is another disappointment. There was no screenshot problem like with some other distros, though.

            Besides these issues, everything else was perfect. Familiar, friendly, extremely productive. Super fast and super stable, too. There was nothing out of ordinary, no problems. Suspend and resume worked without any issues, the system blazed at the speed of light, and with maybe ten minutes of work, you can transform it into anything you want. Docks, menus, new fonts, new themes, all there, just waiting for you. Total freedom and fun.

            There can’t be a perfect score, because the associated problems do not allow it. But assuming you had this distro given to you, and someone bothered to install the needed Samba package that normal people require, it would be an excellent alternative to many other mainstream releases. Highly polished, slick, and almost overwhelmingly simple and easy to use. The grade is something like 9.0/10, but it can do better. I demand it. For you, this is an excellent test bed. Go for it.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 17.1 `Rebecca` Available For Download

              Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” has been released and is available as usual in two main editions: MATE and Cinnamon. Let’s take a look at what’s new!

            • Just a few more days before 17.1

              The ISO images for the Cinnamon and MATE editions of Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” just passed QA testing and were approved for a stable release. This release should go public in the coming days.

              If you are running Linux Mint 17.1 RC, you do not need to wait for the stable release, and you do not need to reinstall. You can simply use the Update Manager to install any level 1 update you haven’t installed already.

            • Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” Cinnamon released!
            • Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” MATE released!
            • Do you smell the minty goodness? Linux Mint 17.1 ‘Rebecca’ is finally here!

              Christmas is coming, which means lots of festivities are about to happen. For me, however, the holiday is all about one thing — smells. No, I’m not crazy, although many will disagree. What I mean to say is, the smells of Christmas resonate with me more than any other aspect. Of course, the smell of pine trees conjure images of decorated trees with gifts underneath, but don’t forget the smells of cookies baking and grandma’s perfume. All of these scents comes together to culminate Christmastime.

            • Linux Mint 17.1 Cinnamon Is Out and the Best So Far – Screenshot Tour

              Linux Mint 17.1 “Rebecca” Cinnamon has been released and is now available for download. The new version of the operating system features a major update for the desktop environment, along with a multitude of other upgrades.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Imagination brings virtualised Linux security to the Internet of Things

      IMAGINATION TECHNOLOGIES has announced the creation of a tiny hypervisor rig to power its MIPS-based CPUs.

      The joint venture with Japanese firm Seltech saw the Fexerox hypervisor embedded firmware from Seltech paired with an Imagination MIPSM5150 CPU to create a virtualised environment, allowing multiple operating systems to run independently off a single unit packed into a tiny space.

    • Rugged box-PC runs Linux on quad-core 2.1GHz Core i7

      An MPL spokesperson confirmed in an email that the “PIP39 as well as all other MPL CPU products are fully Linux supported.” Although a specific version was not mentioned, the PIP39 presumably is supported with the same Debian Linux distribution that’s available with the company’s CEC10 system.

    • Hands-on with the Raspberry Pi Model B+

      There have been a several interesting new hardware announcements from the Raspberry Pi Foundation this year. Sometimes I wonder how they do it all – with so much involvement in education, development of new hardware and software, and the many Pi user groups and events. It really is quite impressive.

    • Raspberry Pi and Coder by Google for beginners and kids

      Coder is an experiment for Raspberry Pi, built by a small team of Googlers in New York. It converts a Raspberry Pi into a friendly environment for learning web programming. It is ideal for beginners and requires absolutely no experience with coding.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Preview: Office for Android tablets is like Office for iPad, but on Android

          Google’s Docs, Sheets, and Slides apps are a lot of things—they’re fast, they’re convenient, and they’re available on both iOS and Android—but you couldn’t call them “powerful.” Even the Web versions of Google’s productivity software are pretty basic compared with the feature-stuffed behemoth that is Microsoft Office, and the mobile apps are minimalist by comparison.

        • CuBox-i4Pro: A whole lotta Linux or Android for not a whole lotta cash

          I recently reviewed the Hummingboard, an excellent, low-priced single board computer that competes in the same market as the the Raspberry Pi. Recently the manufacturer of the Hummingboard, SolidRun, sent me one of their new products to check out: The CuBox-i4Pro.

        • 35 Android Apps for Pure Fun

          Why, yes, of course you have apps on your Android phone and tablet. But most of these Android apps are for work or purely practical reasons, right? All work and no play not only makes you dull but it’s actually bad for your health. (Isn’t there a study somewhere that supports that?) So, in the interest of health and the joy of nonsense, here are 35 Android apps that have only one purpose: fun!

Free Software/Open Source

  • Robocoin Bitcoin ATMs Can Now Run Lamassu Open Source Software

    Robocoin Bitcoin ATM operators now have a new attractive alternative to abiding by Robocoin’s new compliance standards. In response to Robocoin’s move to enforce AML/KYC compliance for all of its ATM operators (even non-American ones), some Bitcoin enthusiasts have banded together to port Lamassu’s open source Bitcoin ATM software to run on Robocoin’s hardware.

  • Enjoy the New ReactOS Explorer

    The new ReactOS Explorer is much more compatible, stable, and comes with more features than the current (and now old) explorer. We expect it to be a big quality jump in terms of usability, and the rockstar feature of the upcoming 0.4 release. Just keep reading to discover more about it!

  • India’s offline mobile internet is going open source

    “By giving away the source code, we can ignite the creative energies of the entire developer community and fuel unprecedented levels of innovation in the SMS market. Customers can benefit from world-class technology advancements, the development community gains access to a whole new market opportunity and Innoz core businesses benefit from licensing it with telecom operators.”

  • Events

    • LinuxDay 2014 Dornbirn

      Again the Fedora Project was present at the LinuxDay at Dornbirn (a small linux event near the German, Swiss, and Austrian border beside the Lake Constance). I arrived some minutes before the event started. Matthias Summer was already there and prepared the booth. Well, there was not much to prepare.

    • Learn about open source software in Bernardsville
  • Web Browsers

    • 4 Cutting Edge Web Browsers

      The usage share of web browsers is dominated by a few mature applications. Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Opera account for around 95% of all desktop web browsing activity. However, there are a myriad of other web browsers that are worth investigating.

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Open Cloud Alliance Rallies Open Source Community

      To assist with maintaining the interoperability of open source software, IBM and Univention have formed the Open Cloud Alliance (OCA), a consortium that is dedicated to reducing the cost of open source interoperability of open source software deployed in cloud computing environments.

  • BSD

    • Failed attempts to dual-boot PC-BSD 10.1 with Windows 8

      So it appears that the installation attempt failed at that point because the correct gpart option was not specified. The -i option is used to run gpart interactively, but why it’s necessary to use it in the graphical application? In any case, I’ll be logging a bug report.

    • FreeBSD Plans For The Next Ten Years

      Jordan Hubbard, the co-founder of FreeBSD and CTO of iXsystems, gave a talk at this month’s MeetBSD California 2014 conference about the next ten years of FreeBSD.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The 2014 Giving Guide is here!

      Today, we’re launching the 2014 Giving Guide, the Free Software Foundation (FSF) guide to smarter gifts, compared with their restrictive counterparts.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Pigs can’t fly: Passenger escorted off US flight after 80-pound ‘emotional support’ hog is disruptive
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Letter: US military’s drone policy worth fighting

      “(My husband Michael Pike died in September of Agent Orange related cancer.) My husband was Special Forces in Vietnam and came to regret his role in the war and what the U.S. government did. I am here today in loving memory of that fine man to ask you to stop your role in the kill chain which uses the Northrup Grumman Global Hawk drone to identify human targets for extrajudicial execution. This is neither lawful (international and higher law) nor moral and you must know that. Horrible acts, like drone strikes, lead to the atrocities we see now. Inhumanity engenders inhumanity.

    • Egyptian Judges Dismiss Charges Against Mubarak
    • Obama’s dangerous embrace of war

      The fact that the U.S. today is increasing its military action in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, after a decade of intense warfare in the region, should be a reason for American officials and the public alike to ask some serious questions about how they use their military power around the world. The biggest problem that we see confirmed again this week is that American military action in distant lands usually only turns those lands into chaotic, dysfunctional, ungoverned and violent places. In the chaos that follows such warfare a new danger now steps in – militant Islamist killers such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

    • In Congo, peacekeepers at war

      Since Congo’s civil war broke out in 1994, it has become the world’s deadliest conflict, pitting neighboring governments and dozens of local warlords in a free-for-all over the prodigious profits to be made in eastern Congo’s mines. According to demographers, 5.4 million Congolese died during just one stretch from 1998 to 2006.

    • New Australian terrorism bill to facilitate targeted military killings

      …Australian Senate has signed off another “counter-terrorism” bill that grants unprecedented powers to the intelligence and military apparatus.

    • £120m deal to promote a form of terror

      The International Business Times reported this month that British and French governments have signed a £120 million pound deal to develop a military drone – aka unmanned combat air system – following a two-year feasibility study. The combat drone could be deployed from 2030.

    • “Global” Terrorism

      Sure enough, there are now half a dozen Canadian planes bombing ISIS jihadis in Iraq (although it’s unlikely that either of the Canadian attackers, both converts to radical Islam, had any contact with foreign terrorist organizations). But Harper has got the logic completely backwards.

      The purpose of major terrorist activities directed at the West, from the 9/11 attacks to ISIS videos, is not to “cow” or “intimidate” Western countries. It is to get those countries to bomb Muslim countries or, better yet, invade them. The terrorists want to come to power in Muslim countries, not in Canada or Britain or the US. And the best way to establish your revolutionary credentials and recruit local supporters is to get the West to attack you.

    • Terrorists actually welcome attacks from the West
    • Giving terrorists what they want
    • Why terrorists love Western intervention
  • Transparency Reporting

    • Icelandic hacker says guilty of stealing money from Wikileaks

      An Icelandic computer hacker and former associate of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange unexpectedly pleaded guilty on Wednesday to embezzling 30 million Icelandic crowns ($240,000) from the organization.

    • Siggi “The Hacker” ad­mits guilty to all charges

      The case against Siggi “The Hacker” has un­der­gone a sharp turn-around. Siggi has de­cided to change his plea to “Guilty”. Charges against him amount to thirty pages of em­bez­zle­ment and fraud amount­ing to thirty mil­lion kro­nas.

      Orig­i­nally Siggi pleaded “Not Guilty” and the main trial was to take place in Reyk­janes dis­trict court next week. His lawyer, Vil­hjál­mur H.Vil­hjálms­son said at court to­day that “Af­ter go­ing over the charges thor­oughly and speak­ing with my client he has de­cided to plead guilty to all charges.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Oil Price Fall: Saudi Arabia Targets U.S. Shale Oil, Iran, Iraq, Russia

      It is clear that among the major losers in the fall in the price of Brent crude petroleum from $115 a barrel last summer to about $75 a barrel today are Russia, Iraq and Iran. Petroleum sales are 50% of Russia’s income, and are also central for Iran and Iraq.

      But the big loser will likely be shale oil producers and prospectors in the US, who probably cannot make a profit if the price falls into the 60s.

      The cause of the fall, by $40 a barrel, in petroleum prices since last summer is almost completely on the demand side. Asian economies, especially China, are dramatically slowing, and won’t be requiring as much petroleum to fuel trucks, trains and cars to deliver people and goods around the country. Most petroleum is used to fuel transport. Some is used for heating or cooling, as in Saudi Arabia and Hawaii, but that practice is relatively rare. US journalists seem to feel it obligatory to mention US shale oil production as a contributor to the price fall, since prices are a matter of supply and demand, and US supply has increased by a couple million barrels a day. But frankly that is a minor increase in world terms– global production is roughly 90 million barrels a day. Between Iran, Iraq (Kirkuk), Libya and Syria, enough oil has gone out of production to more than offset the additional American oil. It isn’t that there is more oil being pumped, it is that the world doesn’t want it as much because of cooling economies.

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • China writer goes on trial for media censorship protest after long delay

      The long-awaited trial of a prominent Chinese writer and activist resumed in southern China on Friday, more than two months after his lawyers boycotted an earlier hearing with Beijing showing little sign of easing its clampdown against rights campaigners.

    • Chinese Activists Go on Trial for Protesting Media Censorship; Lawyers Claim Human Rights Violation

      Feixiong, whose original name is Yang Maodong, was charged for ‘gathering crowds to disturb public order’ after he organized protests outside the office of the Southern Weekly newspaper last January. Activist Sun Desheng, who was part of the protest, was also arrested.

    • Censorship distortion of ‘comfort women’

      The U.S. Occupation censored Taijiro Tamura’s 1947 story “The Life of an Alluring Woman” (Shunpu den) for describing Korean prostitutes in a war zone. The Civil Information and Education Section with censorship power decided that identifying the nationality of the prostitutes constituted “criticism” of that nation.

    • Lessons On Censorship From Syria’s Internet Filter Machines

      Organizations such as Reporters Without Borders, Freedom House, or the Open Net Initiative periodically report on the extent of censorship worldwide. But as countries that are fond of censorship are not particularly keen to share details, we must resort to probing filtered networks, that is, generating requests from within them to see what gets blocked and what gets through. We cannot hope to record all the possible censorship-triggering events, so our understanding of what is or isn’t acceptable to the censor will only ever be partial. And of course it’s risky, even outright illegal, to probe the censor’s limits within countries with strict censorship and surveillance programs.

      This is why the leak of 600GB of logs from hardware appliances used to filter internet traffic in and out of Syria is a unique opportunity to examine the workings of a real-world internet censorship apparatus.

    • Council member objects to museum’s “pornographic” photo

      A nude photo of a pregnant woman at a local art museum has drawn the ire of a Jacksonville council member.

      Emails obtained by First Coast News shed light on the nude photo that has city council member Clay Yarborough calling for the City of Jacksonville to pull nearly $233,000 worth of funding designated for the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art.

    • The Story Behind Iran’s Censorship Redirect Page
    • Morehshin Allahyari’s Art on Iranian Censorship Will Soon Be Out of This World
    • Europe wants Google to expand ‘right to be forgotten’ censorship to global search

      Google should start applying the European Union’s “right to be forgotten” to its global, .com domain, European privacy regulators say.

      European data protection authorities in the so-called Article 29 Working Party (WP29) have compiled a set of guidelines detailing how search engines should apply a court ruling that gave Europeans the right to be forgotten by search engines. As of the May decision, EU citizens have the right to compel search engines to remove search results in Europe for queries that include their names if the results are “inadequate, irrelevant or no longer relevant, or excessive.”

    • EU demands “right to be forgotten” goes international
    • EU wants ‘right to be forgotten’ applied globally

      Privacy watchdogs in Europe say the controversial ruling, which affects only local European versions of Google’s search engine, should be applied more broadly.

    • When (if ever) is media censorship justifiable?

      How does one measure the degree to which content is ‘inappropriate’ or ‘harmful’? Are there cases where media censorship is justifiable?

    • Russia’s Freest Website Now Lives in Latvia

      Moscow-based Editor in Chief Galina Timchenko was fired for ‘extremism’ after running an article on Ukraine. So she and her staff packed up shop and moved west.

  • Privacy

    • Germany Signs No-Spy Deal with BlackBerry

      Germany has approved BlackBerry’s purchase of encryption firm Secusmart after signing a “no-spy” agreement with the Canadian smartphone maker.

      Duesseldorf-based Secusmart provides special smartphones to German government officials that are meant to be safe from eavesdropping.

    • Big Data Ethics and Your Privacy [INFOGRAPHIC]

      But access to data is not the only important aspect of Big Data ethics. The fact that our privacy is not for granted any more became quite clear after the NSA files were made public in the summer of 2013. All of a sudden it was public knowledge that the governments basically had unlimited acces to all of your data. But not only governments have access to your data. Many of the largest organisations that you interact with every day know probably more about you than you do yourself. Google, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn know a lot about you, because you provide that information to them. Although Facebook just released a new, simpeler, privacy policy that does not mean that they collect less data about you. On the contrary; they want to collect a lot more data about you.

    • UK spy base GCHQ tapped Irish internet cables

      New documents released this week via the National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden outline how Irish subsea telecommunications cables have been targeted by British intelligence.

      The documents detail a whole series of underwater cables – essentially the backbone that connects Ireland to the globe – that are being tapped.

    • Europe’s next privacy war is with websites silently tracking users

      The pan-European data regulator group Article 29 has issued new opinion on how websites and advertisers can track users and the permissions they require.

      The new opinion dictates that “device fingerprinting” – a process of silently collecting information about a user – requires the same level of consent as cookies that are used to track users across the internet.

    • The UK’s Real Intelligence Failure

      That is, the Home Office wants CSPs based outside the UK (Internet companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter etc.) to co-operate with the UK government in the same way as UK-based ones by handing over any requested information. But the Home Office itself admits that any US company doing so would breach the US Wiretap Act. Which means that the Home Office seriously expects US companies and their officers to risk punishment by the US government just because the UK wants easy access to information.

    • No Halt to the Sharing of Medical Records

      Despite uncovering thousands of cases of patient information being wrongly disclosed to third parties a recent review into the sharing of medical records with private sector companies endorses the practice.

    • NHS to carry on selling patient records to insurers

      The National Health Service will continue to sell medical data to insurers and other third parties despite an investigation that has discovered tens of thousands of patient records were unlawfully sold.

      Fears were raised earlier this year that patient records were being misused and sold to insurers, and the Government amended the law to restrict access to data.

      The report from an eight-month inquiry has found tens of thousands of records were wrongly passed to third parties.

    • Germans end investigation into Merkel phone tapping
    • How to stop NSA from snooping on you

      The first thing to know about securing your phone is that you can’t secure your phone.

    • Panel probing NSA surveillance finds legal loophole that lets German intel spy on own citizens

      German lawmakers probing the surveillance activities of the U.S. National Security Agency have uncovered a legal loophole that allows the country’s foreign intelligence agency to spy on its own citizens.

      The agency, known by its German acronym BND, is normally forbidden from eavesdropping on Germans or German companies.

      But a former BND lawyer told Parliament this week that Germans aren’t protected while working abroad for foreign companies.

      The government confirmed Saturday to The Associated Press that work-related calls or emails are attributed to the employer. If the employer is foreign, the BND can intercept them.

    • Edward Snowden Revelations Not Having Much Impact on Internet Users

      Despite the shocking revelations by Edward Snowden about the degree of surveillance carried out by the US National Security Agency (NSA), most internet users across the world do not appear to be taking proper measures to be safe online.

    • The bigger the haystack, the harder the terrorist is to find

      The UK parliament’s intelligence and security committee report this week into the murder of Lee Rigby described British intelligence and law enforcement agencies’ multiple failures to prevent the terrible crime.

      Rigby’s killers together had figured in seven prior surveillance operations during the course of which officials learned that one of them had travelled to Kenya in an attempt to join the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabaab.

      The shocking failures and bungling that ensued in the years the two men were tracked is, tellingly, chalked up to the “extreme pressure” brought on by the fact that at any one time, MI5 is investigating several thousand individuals suspected of links to Islamic extremist activities in Britain.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Global net neutrality pact hopes to silence European malcontents

      THE ELECTRONIC FREEDOM FOUNDATION has announced a worldwide coalition of organisations dedicated to the fight for net neutrality.

      The Global Net Neutrality Coalition defines the term thus: “Net neutrality requires that the internet be maintained as an open platform, on which network providers treat all content, applications and services equally, without discrimination.”

      Comprising 25 organisations from 19 countries, the coalition will use its site as a repository for information regarding net neutrality laws and legislation in given territories, along with advice on petitioning the relevant authorities to preserve an equal internet for all.

  • DRM

    • Buy from Amazon and Apple and it’s you that ends up owned

      Readers of Nick Hornby’s debut novel High Fidelity will remember that much of it takes place in a record shop on Holloway Road called Championship Vinyl. Not surprisingly, Hollywood deemed Holloway a postcode too far when it adapted the 1995 book. The studio installed John Cusack and his music-buff sidekick in a sunny gaff in Chicago. At least, in 2000, Hornby’s obsessive blokes still sold rotating plastic discs. A decade later, the film business would have treated any story set in a music or bookshop as an antique period piece to feature (if at all) alongside samurai yarns or Roman sword-and-sandal epics.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Music publishers finally pull the trigger, sue an ISP over piracy

        BMG Rights Management and Round Hill Music have sued Cox Communications for copyright infringement, arguing that the Internet service provider doesn’t do enough to punish those who download music illegally.

        Both BMG and Round Hill are clients of Rightscorp, a copyright enforcement agent whose business is based on threatening ISPs with a high-stakes lawsuit if they don’t forward settlement notices to users that Rightscorp believes are “repeat infringers” of copyright.

      • Cox Communications Sued For Not Disconnecting Pirates

        Cox Communications, one of the largest telecoms companies in the U.S., is being sued by a pair of music publishers for refusing to disconnect persistent music pirates. Evidence in the case is being provided by Rightscorp, who say that ISPs lose their safe harbor protections if they fail to take action against repeat infringers.

11.29.14

The Latest Bug Door in Windows ‘Patched’, But the Patch Breaks Systems

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 9:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

AND THEN WE TOLD CHINA THEY CAN SEE WINDOWS CODE WHILE INVITING THE NSA TO THE FINAL BUILD PROCESS

Summary: Errors in Windows that facilitate remote access and privilege escalation (affecting every version of Windows) continue to surface and those who fix these errors risk bricking their systems/services

Having just made (generated rather, using an online tool) the above meme to make an important point (pardon the “Windows” typo), we wish to bring together some recent news about Microsoft Windows, probably the least secure operating system in the world (by design). The NSA is involved in finalising Windows development and knowing what many people finally know about the NSA, it oughtn’t be shocking that Windows uses weakened/flawed encryption, enables remote access, etc.

Earlier this month there was a lot of press coverage about a massive flaw and an “emergency” patch for Windows. The NSA, for a fact (based on Snowden’s leaks), already knew about this. It knew about before it was patched, as Microsoft tells the NSA about every flaw before patches are applied and flaws become common knowledge.

Stephen Withers, a booster of Microsoft from Australia, said that a “very old but only just fixed Windows vulnerability is the key to a new in-the-wild attack.

“Security vendor ESET says it has detected a real-life exploit for a vulnerability that’s been part of Windows for nearly two decades.”

So it’s not just exploitable by the NSA anymore.

Over at IDG, this flaw was said to have a botched ‘solution’. As the author put it: “Last Tuesday’s MS14-066 causes some servers to inexplicably hang, AWS or IIS to break, and Microsoft Access to roll over and play dead”

So patch or don’t patch, you are in a serious problem either way. Welcome to the “professional” and “enterprise-ready” world of Microsoft.

As Microsoft boosters put it, “Microsoft has announced that they will be pushing an out-of-band security patch today. The patch, which affects nearly all of the company’s major platforms, is rated ‘critical’ and it is recommended that you install the patch immediately.”

To brick one’s system?

Here is what British press wrote about it:

MICROSOFT HAS ISSUED an emergency patch for the Kerberos Bug that could allow an attacker to perform privilege escalation in several versions of Windows.

In what will be the firm’s third emergency patch in the past three months, the fix arrives just a week after the monthly Patch Tuesday release.

In other curious news from the same source, British taxpayers’ money has just been wasted cleaning up the mess of Microsoft Windows with its baked-in back doors. Windows is being hijacked en masse, but the corporate media refers to it as “PC”, not Windows. This is a crucial omission. The insecurity of Windows is not always accidental. It was designed to be easy to access (only by the “Good Guys”, of course!). “THE UK NATIONAL CRIME AGENCY (NCA) has arrested five people,” said the British press, “as part of a crackdown on hackers who hijack computers using Remote Access Trojans (RATs).” It’s a shame that they don’t point out that it’s a Windows-only problem. It doesn’t even take much in terms of skill to hijack Windows, as many hackers and crackers can attest to. To quote this report: “The NCA said on Friday that it has arrested two 33-year-old men and a 30-year-old woman from Leeds, along with a 20 year-old man from Chatham in Kent and a 40-year-old from Darlington in Yorkshire.”

This 20 year-old cracker is about as old as the latest bug door from Microsoft. With 19-year-old flaws in Windows (“critical” too) it oughtn’t be hard to hijack Windows-running PCs by the millions and even by the billions. As this article put it, the flaw is very severe and “Microsoft’s out-of-band update yesterday fixes a profoundly serious bug: Any user logged into the domain can elevate their own privilege to any other, up to and including Domain Administrator.”

Robert Pogson wrote that Microsoft “told the world they were naked and now system administrators are scurrying around to make sure every system running InActive Directory has a patch.”

As usual, no logos and brand names for this bug, not even the huge media hype that we saw when GNU Bash and OpenSSL had a bug in them. Perhaps the media learned to accept that Windows is Swiss cheese, or more likely it is unconsciously complicit in Microsoft’s PR.

The NSA’s Openwashing Efforts Assisted by Apache

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 8:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Apache’s liaison with the agency that is cracking Apache leaves much to be concerned about

The ASF – which is now led by a Microsoft employee, has done something a bit dubious. Ignoring some stupid and misleading headlines from The Register [1], the original can be found in NSA.gov. The NSA is now openwashing itself in the very front page of its site. The Apache folks, in the mean time, ‘pull a Microsoft’ and liaise with NSA to do all this. As SJVN put it in one of the earliest reports on this subject, “NSA partners with Apache to release open-source data traffic program”. Later coverage of this [1, 2, 3] played a slightly different tune, but either way, NiFi is now an Apache Incubator Project. Does Apache really want to associate itself with a group of people who are actively cracking Apache all around the world? It discredits Apache. What next? NSA contributing patches to Apache? NSA getting involved in the Apache build process for binaries (this usually means adding some back doors or weakening – not hardening – some parts)?

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online

    The NSA has decided to let the public have a peek at what it’s been up to, for a change, by promising to release some of its data analysis tools under an open-source license.

    On Tuesday, intelligence-gobbling agency said it hopes to make the code to NiFi – a project previously known internally as Niagarafiles – available as an Apache Incubator Project under an Apache License.

11.28.14

Links 28/11/2014: Debian Fork, Fedora 21 RC, Git 2.2.0

Posted in News Roundup at 9:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Meet Feminist Hacker Barbie, avenger of girl nerds

    So great: Feminist Hacker Barbie, a viral response to the total sexist disaster that was the Barbie “computer engineer” book. Follow the hashtag.

  • get GNU/Linux!

    Well, the site would be just about perfect if they recommended Debian GNU/Linux but they recommend Ubuntu GNU/Linux. I think a site emphasizing freedom should mention that Debian gives the users more control of everything than Ubuntu. Debian has a few defaults I don’t like but at least I have the option of changing them at installation. Good luck doing that with Ubuntu’s installer. You may get one or two options Debian doesn’t have but you don’t get to choose desktops at all. It’s disUnity or nothing. Ubuntu hides choices from the newbie just like M$. Of course, newbies may not know much about desktop choices but an installer could give some hints.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 22nd June 2014
      • Qt 5.4 Release Candidate Available

        I am happy to announce that Qt 5.4 Release Candidate is now available.

      • KWayland Server Component Coming For KDE Plasma 5.2

        KWayland was introduced last month with the KDE Plasma 5.1 release but it lacked the server-side code. With the upcoming release of Plasma 5.2, that will change with the server component to KWayland having been merged.

      • Season of KDE

        This is my first SoK and hence I am equally excited and motivated to make a niche for myself with my work. The task allotted to me was to finish test.kubuntu.co.uk . My task was to use a WordPress theme and finish the site but I am not a big fan of WordPress themes. So I decided to make my own theme and thankfully my mentor , Jonathan Riddell was on the same page with me. Thus began the first lap , thinking and coming up with a new design.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GTK+ Inspector Gains More Features Ahead Of GNOME 3.16

        For those doing much development in GTK+, the GtkInspector integrated debugger continues making much progress and will offer a wealth of more development and debug capabilities with GNOME 3.16.

        GtkInspector officially premiered in GNOME 3.14 while Matthias Clasen of Red Hat and other GNOME developers continue making this interactive debugger even better for the GNOME 3.16 release due out in March.

      • GNOME 3.15.2 Released

        GNOME 3.15.2 incorporates GTK+ Inspector improvements, more GTK+ OpenGL support (including GTK+ OpenGL support for the Mir back-end), support for Epiphany to open web page sources in the default text editor, improved thumbnail handling for the GNOME Desktop, updated themes, numerous improvements to GNOME Boxes, various enhancements to GNOME Maps, many bug fixes, and the usual assortment of translation updates.

      • Python 3 Support Added To The GNOME Shell

        The GNOME Shell 3.15.2 release fixes some visual glitching, improves the layout of the extension installation dialog, supports the CSS margin property, and offers other bug fixes and minor enhancements. Most notable to GNOME Shell 3.15.2 though is there’s finally Python 3 support.

  • Distributions

    • 5 Distros, 11 Tools, 800 Games, and 32 Bits

      Today in Linux news, Swapnil Bhartiya features five distributions you might like. OMG!Ubuntu! found eleven utilities to beef up your Ubuntu experience and Steam now has over 800 Linux games. Larry Cafiero says he’s “a 32-bit guy in a 64-bit world” and Docker users are urged to upgrade due to new found vulnerability.

    • Q4OS Is the Perfect Distro for People Who Want a Windows OS, Only Safer – Gallery

      Q4OS is a Linux distribution built to offer a similar experience to Windows XP. It’s been around for a long time and now the developers have released yet another update for the operating system.

    • Quantum OS Promises a Prettier Linux, Based on Google’s Material Design
    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Let’s say goodbye to Mageia 3

        It’s been a great run, but all good things must end. Or at least, upgrade to a greater thing.

        Since Mageia 3 was released in May 2013 our packaging and security teams have provided hundreds of updates (actually 1136 source packages in the Core repository, that accounts for almost 9000 binary packages), all of them tested and validated by our QA team.

    • Red Hat Family

      • ClearOS Community 6.6.0 Beta 2 Released

        ClearOS Community 6.6.0 Beta 2 has been released! Along with the usual round of bug fixes and enhancements, the 6.6.0 Beta 2 release introduces WPAD, QoS, YouTube School ID support, and an upgrade to the Intrusion Detection engine. Some of the server-based apps introduced in beta 1 have been added to the ClearOS 7 roadmap. The PHP/MySQL/Web Server stack is more modern in ClearOS 7 and these server-based apps will run better on the new platform.

      • Server temp error

        I’m running windows 2012 hyper-v on the server, and it’s only since I’ve been running this that I’ve been getting the error. When I was using CentOS/KVM everything was ok. It could just be coincidence but I’m going to try an experiment. I’ve moving back to CentOS/KVM to see if it makes any difference. Perhaps MS is just over working the server and CentOS doesn’t? If it makes no difference that’s fine, it’s just an experiment and seeing as I backup my servers, converting from vhdx to qcow2 isn’t going to be much of a problem.

        Any one else had similar issues? Can it be that MS does cause the system to work harder than CentOS?

      • How packages are added to EPEL-7

        I’ve seen a number of people ask things like: “Foo is in EPEL-6, why isn’t it in EPEL-7?” so I thought I would share a detailed answer:

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Council election results

          The votes are in! Two seats were open on the newly formed Fedora Council, and we had five candidates to fill them. The new Fedora Council members are Rex Dieter and Langdon White.

          Matthew Miller sent out the election results quickly after the election ended on 26 November at 00:00 UTC.

          The election was held from 18 November to 26 November, and 192 Fedora contributors voted. (The June 2013 Fedora Board election had 157 voters, and the December 2012 election had 202 voters.)

        • FAD Phnom Penh 2014 Report

          Over one week ago, I attended FAD Phnom Penh 2014 in Cambodia. This Fedora Activitiy Day event was for APAC ambassadors to discuss budget planning, event planning, swag production and so on. Below is my full report of the two-day event.

        • Join Fedora Workshop Phnom Penh II
        • Fedora 21 RC Is Out and Ready for Testing

          The Fedora project has announced that Fedora 21 RC is now available for download and testing, for all the new flavors, Workstation, Server, and Cloud.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • IMP Launches As Another Open-Source Computer Attempt

      “Open-source computers” seem to be the latest promoted concept up for funding on popular crowd-funding sites.

    • Make Your Mark on the World With Linux

      Linux and FOSS have already changed the world, and we’re just at the beginning. This is a great time to learn to be a maker, in contrast to being a mere consumer. Clicking buttons on a smartphone is not being tech-savvy; hacking and building the phone is.

      Some people give Make Magazine the credit for launching the Maker Movement. Whether they launched it or just gave it a name, it is a real phenomenon, a natural evolution of do-it-yourselfers, inventors, and hackers in every generation. Remember Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Hands-On (for Shopsmith projects), photography magazines, woodworking magazines, electronics…remember Heathkit? Remember when Radio Shack was still an electronics store? How about Edmund Scientific? That is still a wonderful playground of anatomical models, microscopes, telescopes, dinosaurs, prisms, lenses, chemistry sets, lasers, geology stuff, and tons more. All of these still exist, and have moved online like everything else. It’s a feast of riches, plus we have all the cool new stuff that Make Magazine covers. This is absolutely the best time to be a curious tech adventurer.

    • Raspberry Pi and Coder by Google for beginners and kids

      Coder is a fantastic resource for learning programming. It simplifies the process of getting started, requires very inexpensive components, and provides fun and engaging activities. If you are planning on gettting a Raspberry Pi for the holidays, (or already have one), Coder is a great addition to get extra fun and learning from that little board.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android 5.0 Lollipop Test Firmware Leaks For The Sprint Galaxy S5

          If you’re willing to throw caution to the wind and void your warranty, you can have Android 5.0 on your Sprint Galaxy S5 right now. An early build of Lollipop for this device has leaked on XDA, and it’s flashable with Odin. Expect bugs, but hey, it’s Lollipop.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mokotów real estate dept.: ‘Open source encourages innovation’

    The Department of Real Estate Management of Mokotów, a district of the city of Warsaw (Poland), is increasingly turning to free and open source software solutions to providing flexible, innovative new ICT services. “Our management values innovations, and so supports the use of open source software,” says Jacek Wolski, the IT department’s team manager, “this encourages the IT department to implement new solutions and tools.”

  • Open source projects that warrant data center managers’ attention

    When you’re making the case to a data center manager about tech that is worthy of her consideration, make sure these three open source options are on your list.

  • GenodeOS 14.11 Now Supports Intel’s Wireless Hardware

    Released today was version 14.11 of the Genode OS Framework, an interesting open-source OS research project we’ve been following for a few years now.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Getting OpenStack Ready for the Enterprise

      OpenStack is gaining popularity as the cloud platform of choice for IT organizations. This was reflected in a 2013 IDG survey that found as much as 64 percent of IT managers including OpenStack in their technology roadmap. In the current fast-paced IT market, the massive scalability and flexible, modular architecture of OpenStack can help give organizations the agility they need.

    • OpenStack Has Its Issues but it’s Worth a Fortune

      The OpenStack user survey published earlier this month shows the frailties of the project and why customers using it become reliant on vendors. These issues stretch across different aspects of OpenStack, discussed in detail at the Kilo Design Summit at the OpenStack Summit in Paris. Full details of the user pain points can be found here.

    • Inside Cisco’s OpenStack Cloud Strategy

      Cisco first got involved with the open-source OpenStack cloud platform in 2011 with the Bexar release and initially was focused mostly on networking. Over the last several years, Cisco’s OpenStack involvement and product portfolio have grown beyond just networking.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • ‘Where is the nearest?’: Spain shares code for web map-tool

      The government of Spain is making available as open source the code for Ciudadania Europea, a web site that pointed citizens to the nearest embassies and consular services in European countries. That service was closed this summer, but the code is now freely available for other similar projects.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Docker Security Flaw Found

      The Docker Linux container format has a major exposure that could allow malicious code to assume unassigned privileges with the host server and order the extraction of files that are not intended to be accessible to the container’s code.

    • Thanksgiving security updates
    • CBC, NHL websites briefly affected by Syrian Electronic Army hack

      In the past, the Syrian Electronic Army has claimed responsibility for hacking into Twitter accounts and posting pro-Assad messages, has redirected popular websites to their own pages, and defaced some sites with their own text and images.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Shell Lied to Dutch Court About Oil Spills in Nigeria

      The significance of the Newsweek article is therefore threefold: firstly Shell appears to have misled the court in the Hague which from a reputational perspective is extremely damaging (hence the headline of the article), secondly the case will now return to court for a retrial, and thirdly the lawyers and witnesses in the original case may be subject to legal action by the Dutch authorities.

    • Shell Lied to Dutch Court About Oil Spills in Nigeria, Say Friends of the Earth

      The oil company Shell lied to a Dutch court about steps taken to minimize the risk of oil spills during a court case brought against the multinational oil and gas company by four Nigerian farmers and Friends of the Earth, lawyers acting for the claimants alleged today.

  • Finance

    • Why You Never Need to Shop on Black Friday Again

      The erosion of Black Friday started several years ago, when major retailers started opening their doors to shoppers on Thanksgiving Day. That meant the big sales started early, giving less importance to Friday. This year, many stores, including Toys R Us, Best Buy and JCPenney, will open for business at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving.

    • The Odious Smith Commission

      No, this was the very worst kind of deal-making by callous political operatives, where party interests came first, second and last. I do not give a fig for the result. Income tax devolution is of minimal use if other major taxes are set from London and most income still comes from a Westminster “grant”. Revenue from oil and whisky will still be treated in government accounts as “UK” rather than arising in Scotland. It is far short of the quasi Federal powers which No voters were promised and the Lib Dems pretend to believe in.

    • ‘Wild west’ taxi drivers face tough new rules

      Stockholm taxis have a reputation for being among the most expensive in the world, but new regulations designed to make costs more transparent have been agreed on by Stockholm’s Traffic Committee.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • On Israel/Palestine, NYT’s Public Editor Seems Reluctant to Heed Own Advice

      This is what you call “working the refs”: The Times had gotten so much criticism that “they show the suffering of Palestinians only” that it was afraid to accurately report that Palestinians were, in fact, enduring far more suffering. So they added the false “symmetry” of a rocket count–false not only because Israeli weapons were far more lethal, but also because when Israel “struck” a “target” in Gaza, it often did so with far more than a single weapon. One could have as accurately conveyed the “symmetry” of a massacre of a Native American tribe by comparing the number of arrows fired with number of US Army cannon.

    • Vloggers must clearly tell fans when they’re getting paid by advertisers, ASA rules

      Advertising Standards Authority rules that video paid for by Oreos brand that featured YouTube stars broke advertising code

    • Legislation Targets Advertisers That Deploy ‘Weapons of Mass Perfection’

      In March 2014, Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced the Truth in Advertising Act of 2014, which calls on the Federal Trade Commission to regulate and reduce altered images of bodies in advertising. As Elizabeth Zwerling reports for Women’s E-News, the bill (HR 4341) has the potential to positively impact the self-perceptions of women and men everywhere. “We need to give young people the tools they need to distinguish fact from fiction,” said U.S. Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) who is cosponsoring the bill with Rep. Ros-Lehtinen and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL). “This bill is a first step.”

  • Censorship

    • UK Piracy Blocklist Expands With Demonoid, Isohunt, IPTorrents and More

      The UK website blocking bonanza continues with the High Court adding 32 “pirate” sites to the country’s unofficial ban list. The new order requires six major ISPs to block access to public and private torrent sites, warez sites and streaming portals.

    • Censoring the Web Isn’t the Solution to Terrorism or Counterfeiting. It’s the Problem.

      In politics, as with Internet memes, ideas don’t spread because they are good—they spread because they are good at spreading. One of the most virulent ideas in Internet regulation in recent years has been the idea that if a social problem manifests on the Web, the best thing that you can do to address that problem is to censor the Web.

      It’s an attractive idea because if you don’t think too hard, it appears to be a political no-brainer. It allows governments to avoid addressing the underlying social problem—a long and costly process—and instead simply pass the buck to Internet providers, who can quickly make whatever content has raised rankles “go away.” Problem solved! Except, of course, that it isn’t.

  • Privacy

    • Let’s Encrypt Partnership Promises Open, Better Web Security

      There’s a good chance the software that runs your cloud, stores your data and serves your websites is open source. Soon, the SSL/TSL certificate that encrypts it can be, too — or something close to it, at least, if Let’s Encrypt, an initiative back by Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai and others to build an open certificate authority, succeeds.

    • Reaction to the Home Secretary’s speech to RUSI on the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill

      Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “The Home Secretary’s speech today highlights that the “snoopers charter” is anything but dead and buried.

    • BRIEFING NOTE: Counter Terrorism and Security Bill and IP address matching

      The Government has announced that it will bring forward proposals to enable IP address matching. The measures would require internet firms to keep records of customer information, to enable law enforcement bodies to decipher who was using a device, such as a smart phone or computer, at a given time.

    • Counter Terrorism and Security Bill

      The Counter Terrorism and Security Bill is due to be published today, making it the seventh major counter terrorism law introduced in Britain since 9/11. The Bill can be accessed here.

    • Reaction to the Intelligence and Security Committee Report

      Renate Samson, Chief Executive of Big Brother Watch, said: “The conclusion that a failing of an unnamed technology company should determine future legislation, whilst the catalogue of errors by the intelligence agencies is all but excused, is of grave concern.

    • Murder-for-hire suspect gets new ACLU ally in battle against phone spying

      In a new court filing, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has jumped into the criminal case of a man who federal prosecutors allege orchestrated a murder-for-hire earlier this year in Baltimore, Maryland.

      Specifically, in its 29-page amicus (friend of the court) brief filed on Tuesday, the ACLU supports the defendant’s earlier motion that the government be required to disclose information about how it used a stingray, or cell-site simulator, without a warrant, and therefore the court should suppress evidence gathered as a result of its use.

    • Social network Twitter has revealed it will make a list of every app on a user’s phone or tablet

      In a post on its help centre web page, Twitter said it would target people who use its app on all mobile devices that run Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems.

      “To help build a more personal Twitter experience for you, we are collecting and occasionally updating the list of apps installed on your mobile device so we can deliver tailored content that you might be interested in,” the company said.

    • Facebook can gain direct access to your mobile and take pictures or make videos at any time, MPs warn

      The MPs on the Science and Technology select committee called for the Government to draw up new guidelines for websites and apps explaining clearly how they use personal data, warning that laws will be needed if companies fail to comply.

    • The Internet of Things Is Far Bigger Than Anyone Realizes (Part 2)

      Last week I talked about how people are thinking too small when they think about the Internet of Things (See Part 1). When we truly consider the ramifications of connecting a vast array of data-gathering sensors, devices, and machines together, what’s important to realize is that information will be translated into action at a rate that we have never seen before. We are closing in on a world with infinitesimal reaction times, immediate responses to changing conditions, and unparalleled control in managing assets and resources.

    • GCHQ’s ‘jihad on tech firms’ can only fail

      Some will have assumed this week’s headlines blaming Facebook for Lee Rigby’s murder were just the usual spin, diverting the attention from the agencies’ own incompetence. Yet it is part of a growing pattern.

    • ISC report on Woolwich attack gets its maths wrong

      We have reviewed the whole report by the Intelligence Security Committee on the killing of Fusilier Rigby, and found the conclusion that only Facebook is to blame very difficult to justify.

    • Guest Post: NSA Reform — The Consequences of Failure

      In the absence of real reform, people and institutions at home and abroad are taking matters into their own hands. In America, the NSA’s overreach is changing the way we communicate with and relate to each other. In order to evade government surveillance, more and more Americans are employing encryption technology.

    • Obama facing uphill battle in curbing NSA snooping

      With the lame-duck Congress failing to advance bipartisan surveillance-reform legislation, President Obama faces an uphill climb next year with his plans to end the National Security Agency’s mass collection of phone records.

    • LAWMAKERS SEEKING NSA REFORM COULD USE THE PATRIOT ACT AS LEVERAGE

      Privacy advocates, facing an uphill battle in a Republican-controlled Congress next year, will have to make a difficult choice.

    • BND spied on Germans living abroad

      The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence service, spied on some citizens living abroad, a former lawyer for the spies told MPs on Thursday.

    • Book review: Australia Under Surveillance, by Frank Moorhouse

      ASIO has for long had a negative reputation among Australians old enough to remember the Cold War, to have seen their file, and to know if they lost a job, a promotion, or a government grant because of its contents, accurate or not. Younger Australians, however, may approach Moorhouse with reasonable, contemporary questions: if I have nothing to hide, why should I fear ASIO surveillance? If others plan acts of violence, shouldn’t ASIO intercept them by whatever means? If national security is endangered, isn’t it appropriate to reverse the onus of proof onto the suspect? Doesn’t ASIO need to operate in secrecy?

    • Briefing on Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill

      The legislation is being rushed through on a fast-track timetable, as the government similarly rushed through the DRIPA legislation on an emergency timetable. The subject matter of this legislation deserves comprehensive parliamentary scrutiny.

    • Europe passes vote to break up Google to stop search monopoly

      THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has voted in favour of breaking Google into separate companies to put an end to the online firm’s dominance.

      In a vote on Thursday, 384 members of the European Parliament voted in favour of taking drastic measures to stop Google’s dominance in online search results and enforcing a split between its search business and other services. Around half that number, 174, voted against the measures.

    • Police Brutality Towards Black People Has Historically Gone Unchecked

      Professor Gerald Horne and civil rights organizer Kevin Alexander Gray say the Ferguson grand jury decision is in line with U.S. history, and discuss whether a Department of Justice investigation would yield different results

    • How the West plays good cop, bad cop

      The West is trying to split the BRICS while also trying to weaken individual members.

    • GCHQ Former Boss Issues Smartphone Data Warning

      “I don’t know what happens to my personal data when I use it on a smartphone,” Sir John was reported by the BBC as telling MPs. “If you go to an ATM and put in your credit or debit card, that system is supervised by the bank in some way,” he said in evidence to the Commons Science and Technology Committee, which is examining the use of biometric technology.

    • THE SNOWDEN EFFECT CONTINUES

      NSA reform died in the U.S. Senate two weeks after the 2014 midterm election. The lame duck Democratic majority and Libertarian minded Republicans produced 58 of the 60 votes needed, agonizingly close to collaring an agency that has clearly run amuck. This seeming ideological dividing line is a bit puzzling, given the broader effects Snowden‘s revelations have had on the U.S. defense industry.

    • Study finds those aware of leaker-at-large harden up and surf smarter

      A good deal of folk aware of NSA leaker Edward Snowden have improved the security of their online activity after learning of his exploits, a large survey has found.

      Researchers from think tank The Centre for International Governance Innovation collected responses from 23,376 users between October and November and found 60 percent had heard of Snowden.

  • Civil Rights

    • Obama’s Record on Defending Civil and Constitutional Rights Abysmal

      Michael Ratner and Paul Jay discuss Obama administration’s policy towards Ferguson, Guantanamo, the NSA and torture

    • DC Police Department Budgets Its Asset Forfeiture Proceeds Years In Advance

      Asset forfeiture may be the greatest scam perpetuated on the American people by their government — and it’s all legal. For the most part, assets seized translate directly to monetary or physical gains for the agencies doing the seizing, an act often wholly separated from any American ideals of due process.

    • Man arrested for pointing a banana at deputies

      A man is facing a felony charge of menacing for allegedly pointing a banana at two sheriff’s deputies in western Colorado.

    • ‘Has the “Libertarian Moment” Finally Arrived?’

      “Gillespie likes to point out that unlike the words ‘Democrat’ and ‘Republican,’ ‘libertarian’ should be seen as a modifier rather than a noun-an attitude, not a fixed object. A cynic might assert that this is exactly the kind of semantic cop-out that relegates Gillespie’s too-cool-for-school sect to the margins. Not surprisingly, he begged to differ. ‘It’s wedded to an epistemological humility,’ he told me, ‘that proceeds from the assumption that we don’t know as much as we think we do, and so you have to be really cautious about policies that seek to completely reshape the world. It’s better to run trials and experiments, as John Stuart Mill talked about. The whole point of America-and this is an admixture of Saul Bellow and Heidegger and Jim Morrison lyrics-is that it’s in a constant state of becoming, constantly changing and mongrelizing. We’re doing exactly what free minds and free markets allow you to do. Part of why I’m a libertarian is that if you restrict people less, interesting stuff happens.’”

    • Cornel West: The Age of Obama Is Over

      On CNN Wednesday, leftist Professor Cornel West, given the chance to bloviate about the non-indictment of Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown, decided to impart his perspective with a vengeance, even targeting President Barack Obama and blurting that the Ferguson affair signaled the “end of the age of Obama.”

    • Coming soon: Murder by Internet

      Security experts believe the Internet of Things will be used to kill someone

    • The Decline of the CIA

      CIA director John Brennan is promoting a reorganization scheme at the Central Intelligence Agency that will make it more likely that intelligence analysis will be politicized to support the interests of the White House and senior policymakers. The organizational change that he favors would abolish the directorates of intelligence and operations, which were designed to maintain a bureaucratic wall between intelligence analysis and clandestine actions, in order to create regional and functional “centers” that would place analysts and operatives side-by-side. There is no doubt that such centers would do great harm to the production of strategic intelligence and would increase the likelihood of politicizing all intelligence production.

    • Karl Wagner, CIA officer who questioned Watergate-related spy activities, dies at 90

      The mission was later revealed to be the staged break-in of the office of Lewis Fielding, the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg was a former Pentagon official who had angered the Nixon administration by leaking the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret history of the Vietnam War, to the media.

    • UN rights experts urge US President Obama to release report on CIA torture allegations

      The United States must rise to meet the high human rights standards it has set for itself and others around the world, a group of United Nations human rights experts urged on Wednesday, as they called on President Obama to support “the fullest possible release” of a report detailing Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) interrogation practices.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Torrent Site ‘Hijacks’ MPAA’s Movie Search Engine

        The MPAA’s search engine for movies and TV-shows “WhereToWatch” can now be upgraded with torrents, thanks to PopcornCab. The deviant torrent site, run by former U.S. Pirate Party leader Travis McCrea, decided to add torrent support so it can reach a wider audience.

      • Kim Dotcom Leaves Bail Hearing a Free Man, For Now

        Following an all day hearing in the Auckland District Court, Kim Dotcom left the building a free man today. Officially broke and unable to comment on his case due to a news blackout, the Megaupload founder will have to wait until tomorrow to discover if he’ll be put back behind bars.

Mozilla Will Relay Firefox User Input (Even Keystrokes) to Microsoft and the NSA Through Yahoo in the US

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft, Search at 7:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The fall of the Gecko (Mozilla)

Gecko

Summary: Mozilla is letting Microsoft manage users’ data in Firefox, including keystrokes in the address bar

TECHRIGHTS has published plenty of pro-Mozilla and pro-Firefox articles over the years. Speaking for myself, I have posted literally thousands of pro-Firefox links over the past decade as I viewed Firefox as the software that rescued the Web from Microsoft’s monopoly and iron grip. It was Firefox that had Web developers cease their Internet Explorer-only mentality (or dogma). It is with deep regrets that I have to revoke my support for Firefox, not just because of its treatment of Eich, the company’s pro-DRM apologists, the ads, and now the privacy compromises. This post is an accumulation of a fortnight of sad news about Mozilla. The saddest thing is that Mozilla does not view this as sad news, or at least doesn’t want the public to view it that way.

Let us agree that the relationship between surveillance and ads is a close one, but one must not be treated as interchangeable with the other. This post is not a rant about ads, which to be realistic is truly a growing business model, especially on the Web. That alone is not the problem. This post is also not provocation or trolling but the expression of genuine concern for a project and a company I have loved and wish to still love (if they rectify their act, despite the seemingly irrevocable nature of some recent moves).

The Ads

Ads are not the main problem with Mozilla, even though it sure helps discredit Free software projects like Fedora, so Fedora is planning to dump Firefox (except if one installs it from the repositories). Free software does not go well with ads (Linux Mint received flak for a controversial approach to such a business model), so it is not too shocking that Fedorans are unhappy with the move. This serves to show that Mozilla’s appeal to advertisers is in fact backfiring. They’re losing market share that way. As Internet News put it, “Fedora Linux [is] Set to Abandon Firefox over Advertising Issue”. Not everyone has a problem with ads, especially when these can be blocked. As one pro-GNU/Linux and BSD site put it: “That Sponsored Tiles program from Mozilla, which I first wrote about in Mozilla to sell ads in Firefox browser via the Directory Tiles program, has gone live.”

One might have to download a cutting-edge build to see it. Again, it’s not the ads that we’re worried about.

The NSA

Putting aside the fact that spies use ads for surveillance (a good example might be something along the lines of Angry Birds), the NSA sure works very closely with Microsoft. It’s a strong relationship that goes back to the 1990s. A lot of people, perhaps influenced by Microsoft’s massive (multi-million) anti-Google PR campaign, look the other way and accuse only Google of privacy violations in search, E-mail etc. There is news right now that says Google allows privacy for a fee (or at least removal of privacy-infringing ads). It’s a substitute for the ads business model. To quote the Romania-based SoftPedia: “Google is always looking to diversify its online advertising policy and you might think that there is little left to do in this regard. It appears that Google has found yet another way to monetize ads, both for itself and for the website, but this time the power rests in the users’ hands.”

That is actually a good thing, no matter how Microsoft’s anti-Google PR tries to spin it.

Then comes the news about Mozilla breaking up with Google despite the fact that “Mozilla gets more than 90 percent of its revenues from Google” (which was a good thing, as it helped fund Free software).

One longtime Firefox observer wrote that “Firefox maker remains ‘utterly confident’ as revenue growth sputters”. What are they so confident about? Firefox has been Google-reliant for quite some time; it’s no secret. To remove that reliance one needs to find hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue (or otherwise shrink considerably). What other than selling out to the “devil we don’t know” (or the devil we do know in the case of Microsoft) can possibly achieve that? Thunderbird already sold its users out in that horrible way by linking to Microsoft (“Bing”) just before Mozilla abandoned Thunderbird development. Firefox is now going down a similar route, putting aside attempts to raise donations (now in Bitcoin form, too). According to this article, Mozilla was really loaded with money up until now. A reader of ours asked us: “What is the money spent on? Not Thunderbird or Firefox, obviously.”

Marketing, or perhaps even face-saving projects, used up much of the budget, not important projects (with PGP support) such as Thunderbird. As Mozilla had hundreds of millions of dollars coming in, the old excuses about not maintaining Thunderbird because people use GMail (PRISM) are utter nonsense. Yes, when Mozilla stopped Thunderbird development (with easy-to-use PGP support through Enigmail) it said people were moving to to hosted mail (PRISM/NSA), naming GMail by name. Guess who bankrolled Mozilla at the time…

Either way, the problem with the move away from Google is that Mozilla now actively helps a sworn enemy of FOSS and GNU/Linux (ignore the PR nonsense about Microsoft “loving” Linux and other such self-serving lies that we debunked last month and earlier this month). In addition there’s the privacy factor, but it’s not the main point. “Why Mozilla is scared of Google” was one headline of interest and the respective article said: “For the last 10 years, Google has had that business almost entirely to itself. Every time you make a search through that bar, Google makes a little bit of money from ads and passes a piece of that money on to the browser through AdSense’s revenue sharing deal. That adds up to hundreds of millions of dollars for companies like Mozilla, but the money can produce some strange incentives. Google’s making a browser too, and it may not want to support Chrome’s competitors forever. Suddenly, the short-term money starts to look like a long-term liability.”

But Microsoft makes a Web browser too. There’s no point using “Chrome” as a reason for Mozilla to fear Google but not Microsoft, which makes the much worse and standards-hostile Internet Explorer that Windows imposes on PC buyers. Chrome is at least based on Free software (which Chormium is), whereas Internet Explorer is purely proprietary. Firefox can reuse code from Chrome.

According to this article, things are getting worse with the shift to Microsoft because Mozilla now lets Microsoft log keystrokes in the address bar (see the screenshot). How ridiculous is that (even if that behaviour can be disabled)? Very sad.

One pundit says that “despite losing Google as its cash cow, Mozilla isn’t dead yet”, noting: “Its Google advertising contract was coming to an end. With 90 percent of Mozilla’s income coming from Google, it was far from good news. With the contract ending in November, and no reason for Google to renew the deal with its Chrome Web browser success, things were looking dark as an overcast, moonless night for Mozilla.”

So what? Moving to Microsoft (through Yahoo) is not independence, it’s even worse than before. Mozilla cannot assert independence by becoming dependent on Microsoft and the NSA through Yahoo. Microsoft is not “Choice and Innovation” (as Mozilla tries to frame it), it’s espionage and blackmail (with patents). The company’s head said: “In evaluating our search partnerships, our primary consideration was to ensure our strategy aligned with our values of choice and independence”

Microsoft?

Choice?

Independence?

That’s a joke, right?

Yahoo is now just a front end of “Bing” (in the US, where the Mozilla deal was signed for), so we might as well just speak about Microsoft here, not Yahoo (the covert façade). If Mozilla continues to sell out its users, now by diverting users’ searches to Microsoft (via Yahoo) like Canonical tried several years ago, then we as users need to speak out. The boosters of the monopolist, people like Microsoft Peter, sure love this deal. It is good for Microsoft.

It’s Not About Yahoo, It’s Microsoft

Mozilla has clearly learned nothing about Ubuntu’s mistake with Yahoo — a mistake that was realised later and the plan undone. As Lirodon put it in our IRC channels, “Microsoft’s Yahoo-branded front-end of Bing is going to be Firefox’s new default search engine,” but we do not see enough people willing to chastise Mozilla over this. Microsoft only (by default) is not “multiple-search-partner” as LWN put it, and this should be rather clear. Putting aside the DRM, the ads and other controversies and scandals, this is quite serious and merely the latest step. It is just one among other misguided decisions that turned a once-awesome company into a one that compromises and even abandons principles, hopelessly thinking it would help it gain market share rather than the very opposite.

Sam Dean wrote about this deal and recalled that Mozilla “has historically gotten more than 90 percent of its revenues from Google, to the tune of $300 million recently, in exchange for search placement in the Firefox browser. That has completely changed, and now Mozilla has struck a similar five-year deal with Yahoo.”

5 years being stuck with Microsoft. And they probably cannot even revoke this deal. It’s similar to the 5-year (since 2006) Microsoft-Novell deal (also irrevocable, despite huge amounts of criticism). Some years ago Mozilla put some pressure on Google by flirting with the idea of a Microsoft deal. Can Google perhaps still save Mozilla from this horrible dependency? Press reports make that seem unlikely and few articles even point out that Yahoo is a relay for Microsoft (US searches done purely by Microsoft, meaning that Yahoo search is essentially just “Bing” in the US), after a corruptions parade and a corporate coup. Those who are implying that Google is in Yahoo because of the CEO (see the sneaky remarks about the CEO) must not have followed recent events closely enough. To quote one take on this:

It had been reported that Google and Mozilla were still negotiating on renewing their deal, but apparently that has failed (in the U.S) at least. No word (yet) on how much the Yahoo deal is worth to Mozilla, but it’s likely a good deal for Yahoo.

No, for Microsoft. Yahoo searches in the US are Microsoft’s business.

Christine Hall wrote:

There’s just one teeny-tiny little problem. For the last several years, Yahoo has been obtaining its search results from Bing, owned by Microsoft, with no indication this will change. I’m not exactly sure how the Microsoft/Yahoo deal works, but you can be sure that some money goes to Redmond each and every time a search is done via the web portal, something that many FOSS supporters might find unacceptable.

She is right. If only more people got this story right, perhaps there would be an uproar big enough and Mozilla would cancel the Microsoft (through Yahoo!) deal. Tell Mozilla what you think; get this mess undone before it’s too late and even incorporated into new stable releases.

Microsoft Found to Have Broken the Law in China (Tax Evasion), Just Like Practically Everywhere

Posted in Asia, Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 5:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Things must be grim when China is upholding the law whereas the West refuses to

HK, China

Summary: China is reportedly taking action against Microsoft’s notorious habit of tax evasion and fining the company well over $100 million

NOW THAT Microsoft has been found to be evading tax (a crime, but not one that executives of large corporations often go to jail for) and fined for it in a nation as large as China (just like in India half a decade ago, as well as in other places) is the US going to follow suit? Last week we showed that the IRS was on this case, so Microsoft began bullying the IRS (the vanity of corporations that control their government).

“”Remember when Microsoft China offices were raided (just earlier this year on numerous occasions and its patent extortion plot was targeted by the Chinese authorities? Well, it sure seems like China enforcing the law against massive criminals like Microsoft, setting a good precedent that US and Europe should follow. To quote the new report: “Microsoft has reportedly been issued with a charge for £87 million in back-taxes following an investigation into alleged tax evasion by the Chinese authorities.”

For those who still associate Microsoft with something other than crime and corruption, the news report above can serve as a valuable wake-up call.

11.26.14

Links 26/11/2014: Docker Patched, New DragonFlyBSD

Posted in News Roundup at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • About Linux Weekly News – 24th November 2014
  • Desktop

    • Expensive “Free/Libre Software Laptop” Uses A NVIDIA GPU

      While there’s been an ongoing discussion this week about delivering a $500 “open to the core” laptop that runs Ubuntu Linux and would be comprised of open-source software down to the firmware and Coreboot, announced last week was a high-end laptop that also aims to promote free/libre software. Though don’t get out your wallets quite yet.

  • Server

    • Docker Update Fixes Pair of Critical Security flaws

      The open-source Docker container virtualization technology has emerged as one of the hottest and most hyped technologies of the year. Docker, however, isn’t immune from security vulnerabilities, as a pair of recent updates illustrate.

    • AMD & PathScale Join OpenACC Group

      Up to now the OpenACC parallel programming standard has mostly been perceived as a NVIDIA affair along with backing from the likes of Cray and PGI. Now, however, AMD and PathScale are joining the OpenACC Standards Group so hopefully we’ll see greater, multi-vendor adoption of it going forward.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • PowerVR SGX Driver Code Gets Leaked
      • Valve’s VOGL Is Finally Back To Having New Commits, OS X Support

        While Valve’s VOGL open-source OpenGL debugger was off to a great start when announced at the start of the year, recently it fell into a bit of a dry period when it didn’t see any new work for more than a month. Fortunately, that dry spell is over and there’s new commits flowing back into VOGL.

      • Nouveau Might Have A Logo

        A designer, Valeria Aguilera, has been working to make a Nouveau logo. Last night she posted her first draft of the proposed Nouveau logo, “I would like to highlight that the logo incorporates a penguin corresponding to the linux kernel components used to create this open source driver. The 3D cube/shape represents the 2D and 3D acceleration capability. The ‘n’ simply stands for the first letter in Nouveau and the green colour was chosen because the driver is for NVIDIA video cards.”

      • Mesa 10.4 RC1 Is Here, Lands Direct3D 9 State Tracker

        Emil Velikov has announced the first release candidate for the upcoming Mesa 10.4 release.

      • Freedreno MSM Driver Has Big Changes For Linux 3.19 Kernel

        Most notable for this MSM DRM driver that’s associated with the Freedreno driver project is the support for the Qualcomm Adreno A4xx series. The Qualcomm Innovation Center added the A4xx hardware support to the open-source DRM/KMS driver as a surprise move. Meanwhile, Rob Clark of Red Hat took to writing the Gallium3D support that’s now in Mesa Git master following the recent Mesa 10.4 branching.

      • NEMO-UX Shell Is A Futuristic, Multi-User Wayland Experience

        Demonstrated at the ACM Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces (ACM ITS) event in Dresden, Germany the past few deays was the “NEMOSHELL” that looks like a futuristic user experience supported by Wayland.

    • Benchmarks

      • Apple OS X 10.10 vs. Ubuntu 14.10 Performance

        While I delivered some OS X 10.10 Yosemite preview benchmarks back in August, here’s my first tests of the official release of Apple OS X 10.10.1 compared to Ubuntu 14.10 Linux. Tests were done of OS X 10.9.5 and OS X 10.10.1 against Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn when running the benchmarks under both GCC and LLVM Clang compilers.

      • AMD Radeon Gallium3D Is Catching Up & Sometimes Beating Catalyst On Linux

        Last week I shared some preview benchmarks from Steam on Linux showing Radeon Gallium3D starting to beat Catalyst. In this article are the full results from comparing the open and closed-source AMD Linux graphics cards with sixteen Radeon graphics cards while testing Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Linux. The results yield a very close race!

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Colorpick

        Colorpick is a color picker and contrast checker. I originally wrote it to help me check and fix the background and foreground colors of the Oxygen palette to ensure text was readable. Since then I have been using it to steal colors from various places and as a magnifier to inspect tiny details.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • Rescatux Is a Useful Tool to Fix Grub and Promote Windows Users to Admin

      Rescatux, a Linux distribution that allows users to perform all kinds of rescue operations with the help of an easy-to-use wizard called Rescapp, has been upgraded to version 0.32 Beta 3, and the developer has made a number of important fixes.

    • Ready to give Linux a try? These are the 5 distros you need to consider

      There are so many Linux distributions that choosing one can be overwhelming for a new user. One might be too intimidating for a user to even try, while another might be too simplified, blocking that user from knowing how Linux systems actually function.

      I have been using Linux as my primary OS since 2005 and have tried all major (and quite a lot of minor) distributions. I have learned that not every distribution is for everyone. Since I also assist people in migrating to Linux, I have chosen the 5 distros that I recommend to new users based on their level of comfort and desire to learn (or not learn) more about Linux.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Linux: The Safest Operating System on the Planet
        • Open Seat on the Fedora Server Working Group

          This past week, David Strauss chose to step down from his position on the Fedora Server Working Group, citing a lack of alignment with his current work usage. The Fedora Server SIG would like to thank David for his contributions up to this point and wish him well.

          This means that there is currently a vacancy in the Fedora Server Working Group. The Working Group is the nine-person volunteer body that oversees the development, testing, release, documentation, marketing and evangelism of the Fedora Server. Membership on this Working Group is a moderate commitment requiring a participation of a minimum of two hours a week, one hour of which being the (usually) weekly meeting.

        • Fedora Good, Bad, & Ugly and Debian’s Rise

          Pádraig Brady today offered up his assessment of Fedora 21 in comparison to Fedora 16 from which he upgraded. Bruce Byfield is back with a look at the “rise of Debian technology” and Softpedia is reporting that CentOS was used to make the black hole in hit movie Interstellar. Gunnar Hellekson refutes the assertions in a recent GCN article declaring Open Source poorly designed and, finally today, Linux powered submersible says polar caps thicker than estimated.

        • Fedora 21 Innovates in Docker Cloud Virtualization with Project Atomic

          Docker, OpenStack, EC2 and “Project Atomic” are among the leading buzzwords for Fedora Linux 21, the upcoming release of the community-developed open source operating system that serves as the basis for Red Hat’s enterprise Linux platforms. Due out next month, the release is now receiving its final tweaks from developers, who have revealed further details on the cloud and virtualization innovations in the new version.

        • Important Fedora vote concludes today!
        • Fedora Council Election Results
        • Fedora Will Begin Upgrading The X.Org Server As A Distribution Update

          While Fedora is working to migrate over to Wayland by default, the X.Org Server won’t disappear anytime soon for legacy X11 application support and other purposes. With Fedora 21 and going forward, Fedora is likely to be getting in-place X.Org Server updates upon new releases.

    • Debian Family

      • The rise of Debian technology

        Out of 285 active distributions on Distrowatch, 132 are based on Debian and 67 on Ubuntu. This predominance is not only unrivalled in a field as diverse as Linux distros, but has been true now for several years. I’ve cited it several times, but until now, I haven’t addressed the question this observation also raises: how did this state of affairs come about?

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Bq Introduces More Android Devices, But Still No Ubuntu Phones

            Bq held a media event today where many were hoping the first Ubuntu Phone would be officially unveiled, but that was not the case with Ubuntu receiving no mentions during the event.

            Bq is one of Canonical’s first two Ubuntu Phone partners and they had plans to ship the first Ubuntu Phone by the end of 2014. The other phone partner, Meizu, has previously said the MX4 with Ubuntu Touch would come in December.

          • Canonical Is Still Considering Turning the Phone into a Mini-PC

            Canonical is working to complete their idea of convergence with the launch of Ubuntu Touch, a new operating system for mobile devices. The desktop flavor of Ubuntu will eventually share the same code with the mobile one, and their plans go even further than that.

          • Tiny quad-core ARM mini-PC runs Ubuntu with Cinnamon

            A startup is pitching a $129-$199 “Imp” mini-PC on Indiegogo based on a quad-core Odroid-U3 SBC, with HDMI streaming and an Ubuntu/Cinnamon Linux desktop.

            A day after reporting on one Israeli-based, non-Android ARM mini-PC — SolidRun’s $100 CuBoxTV with OpenElec Linux — here comes another. Aside from the usual hyperbole found on crowdfunding pages — are we really “democratizing the digital home experience” or just buying an embedded ARM computer? — the Ubuntu-based Imp mini-PC looks like a pretty good deal.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Quad-core media player runs Kodi/XBMC on OpenElec Linux

      SolidRun’s tiny, $100 “CuBoxTV” media player runs OpenElec Linux and Kodi (formerly XBMC) on a quad-core i.MX6 SoC, and offers 100Mbps+ video decoding.

      The CuBoxTV is the first Freescale i.MX6 based media player to run the Kodi (formerly XBMC) multimedia distribution, says Israel-based SolidRun. CuBoxTV is closely based on the company’s latest i.MX6 based CuBox mini-PC, which now sells for $80 to $140, depending on the number of Cortex-A9 i.MX6 cores and other features. The CuBoxTV, which is available only with the quad-core i.MX6 SoC, goes for a sale price of $100.

    • CuBoxTV: Tiny $100 Linux-based XBMC media center

      SolidRun’s CuBox line of tiny desktop computers are cubes that measure just 2 inches across. But the little boxes sport Ethernet jacks, optical audio output, 2 USB ports and a micro USB port.

    • Linux-based AUV maps Antarctic sea ice thickness

      Woods Hole Oceanographic used a Linux-based “SeaBED” AUV to build the first 3D map of Antarctic sea ice — and found it’s thicker than had been estimated.

      Every now and then we see some good news about climate change sprinkled in with all the increasingly dire warnings. Yesterday, the New York Times reported that solar and wind energy are starting to become competitive with natural gas. On the same day, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI), based in Massachusetts, announced it had published a paper in Nature Geoscience on experiments run by an autonomous, Linux-based submarine called the SeaBED. The underwater survey indicated that Antarctic sea ice was thicker than had been previously estimated.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

Free Software/Open Source

  • Hey, here’s some face-tracking tech from Samsung you probably won’t find creepy at all

    Samsung says it’ll release the source code to software that allows physically disabled people to move a mouse pointer with their eyes.

  • Samsung ‘eye mouse’ helps the paralyzed use PCs, will be made open-source

    From his adjustable bed, Shin made the words appear on the computer screen using Eyecan+, an eye-tracking device developed by Samsung Electronics.

    “I’m happy that eye mouse is developed in Korea,” he continued. “The eye mouse is not just an IT product, but limbs for the disabled. Hope this kind of research will continue.”

  • Assembly Helps Developers Find, Monetize Open Source Contributions
  • An open source Christmas with Kano

    So this season, what every open sourc-erer wants might just be Kano, a computer kit that comes will all the functions needed to build it and learn to code afterwards.

  • Mapping the world with open source

    In the world of geospatial technology, closed source solutions have been the norm for decades. But the tides are slowly turning as open source GIS software is gaining increasing prominence. Paul Ramsey, senior strategist at the open source company Boundless, is one of the people trying to change that.

    Ramsey has been working with geospatial software for over ten years, as programmer and consultant. He founded the PostGIS spatial database project in 2001, and is currently an active developer and member of the project steering committee. Ramsey serves as an evangelist for OpenGeo Suite, works with the Boundless business development team to share about their collection of offerigns, and speaks and teaches regularly at conferences around the world.

  • Google Brings Open Source Security Gifts

    ‘Tis the season for giving, and search giant Google wants to give security researchers and end-users some new tools. Over the past few weeks Google has released multiple security tools and open source efforts to help end-users and organizations defend themselves from modern threats.

  • OPNFV Does Telecom/Open Source ‘Mind Meld’

    The Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. is growing rapidly — ZTE joined just last week and more new members will be announced in December — while trying to meet an aggressive schedule of new software releases every six months, beginning in the first half of 2015. (See Open NFV Group Uncloaks Its Platform Plan and Will Carriers Step Up to Open Challenge?)

  • Particulate sensor developed using open source approach

    A New York based start up company has used an open source approach, as well as funding from Kickstarter, to develop AirBeam – a handheld sensor which determines the concentration of particles in the air measuring 2.5µm or less.

    [...]

    The AirCasting app and website code is available on GitHub as open source, along with the AirBeam firmware and electronic schematics. The STL files for 3D printing the AirBeam and LiteBeam enclosures can be downloaded from www.shapeways.com.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google will kill Microsoft Silverlight in Chrome by disabling NPAPI plug-in

        GOOGLE IS MOVING ahead with plans to kill off support for Microsoft Silverlight in its Chrome browser.

        The Microsoft runtime depends on an ageing plug-in protocol called Netscape Plugin Application Programming Interface (NPAPI), for which Google is currently phasing out support in its browser.

      • What’s the Difference Between Chromium and Chrome?

        Chromium is the open-source project that forms the basis for Google Chrome. Because it’s completely open source, Chromium is available in many Linux distributions’ software repositories for easier installation.

    • Mozilla

      • Review of the new Firefox browser built for developers

        Mozilla recently announced a new browser version for developers on the 10th anniversary of the Firefox browser. The Usersnap team and I took a look at whether it works well for the web development process, offers developers a variety of possible applications, and if it keeps up with the Google Chrome dev tools.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • First Beta Version of LibreOffice 4.4 Is Now Ready for Testing

      The work for LibreOffice never stops and this is actually one of the perks of being open source software. The application is constantly improved and the users can easily see what is being done in this regard. Usually, new major updates for a new branch will have several devel versions before the stable one is released, and that means we are still pretty far away from that milestone.

    • VirtualBox 4.3.20 Arrives, Still No Sign Of VirtualBox 4.4

      VirtualBox 4.3 was released in October of 2013 and since then VirtualBox from an external look appears to be largely in maintenance mode. The 20th point release was put out today with just stability and regression fixes. There’s not yet any public development releases of VirtualBox 4.4 or any other next-generation series to this virtualization software born during the Sun Microsystems days. Thankfully, during this time, KVM and Xen along with components like Virt-Manager and QEMU continue advancing in a steadfast manner for those interested in open-source virtualization.

  • CMS

  • Business

  • Funding

    • Open-Source Chat Platform Scrollback Raises $400,000 Seed Round

      Scrollback, a free open-source chat platform for online communities, has raised $500,000 Singaporean dollars (about $400,000) led by Jungle Ventures, with participation from Singapore’s National Research Foundation, Crystal Horse Investments, Singapore Angel Network, Roland Turner, and other angel investors.

  • BSD

    • DragonFlyBSD 4.0 Drops i386 Support, Improves Graphics

      The much anticipated release of DragonFlyBSD 4.0 is now available.

      The biggest “big ticket item” of DragonFlyBSD 4.0 include improving graphics support with the Linux-ported Intel DRM driver now handling Intel “Haswell” graphics complete with OpenGL support, well more than one year after it’s been optimized for Linux users. DragonFlyBSD 4.0 is also significant in that it drops 32-bit i386 support in making it 64-bit only for x86 systems. While the DRM driver porting takes a while across all BSD distributions right now, at least DragonFlyBSD developers can take a stand for pushing forward and focusing on 64-bit support rather than 32-bit.

    • DragonFly 4.0.1 released

      Version 4 of DragonFly brings Haswell graphics support, 3D acceleration, and improved performance in extremely high-traffic networks. DragonFly now supports up to 256 CPUs, Haswell graphics (i915), concurrent pf operation, and a variety of other devices. Check the full release notes for details, and visit the mirrors page for download links.

    • 64-bit ARM FreeBSD Support Is Taking Shape

      While Linux/Android on AArch64 is what’s usually talked about, FreeBSD developers continue making progress on porting their kernel to 64-bit ARM.

    • A review of PC-BSD 10.1
    • Google Now Uses Clang As Their Production Compiler For Chrome Linux Builds

      For just over one month Google’s Chrome/Chromium team has been using Clang as their production compiler on Linux in place of GCC.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The FSF is hiring: Seeking a full-time outreach and communication coordinator

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF), a Boston-based 501(c)(3) charity with a world wide mission to protect freedoms critical to the computer-using public, seeks a motivated and organized tech-friendly Boston-based individual to be its full-time outreach and communication coordinator.

    • GNU Guix 0.8 Has A New Visual UI In Emacs

      The GNU Guix functional package manager has been updated to version 0.8 and incorporates four months of changes.

      GNU Guix 0.8 features a new visual user interface in Emacs, a variety of new Guix sub-commands, improved reporting of package upgrades, and various improvements to the Linux-libre distribution portion of Guix.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Finland’s Innovillage spurs open development of e-gov services

      Finlands Innovillage – an online collaborative platform for the development and implementation of new government service models and practices – shows that innovation demands an open process that involves users, professionals, managers, experts and policy-makers. “Fundamentally, e-government innovation needs to be open and allow participation”, says Pasi Pohjola, coordinator of Finland’s Development Programme for Social Welfare and Healthcare.

    • Glitch takes down DOD’s open source IT collaboration environment

      “On Sunday, 23 Nov, our hosting provider executed an automated script that inadvertently corrupted all Forge.mil systems,” DISA said in an email notification obtained by FedScoop. “We’ve been working with their SysAdmins since then to bring Forge.mil back into service. We were expecting all systems back up Monday afternoon but problems with recovering from our backup systems have prevented that. We continue to work with our hosting provider to escalate issues and apply necessary resources to achieve resolution until all systems are back up and available.”

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Free the Seed – The Open Source Seed Initiative

      With the slogan, “Free the Seed”, a group of plant breeders, academics, among others, have formed an Open Source Seeds Initiative to prevent the down stream restrictions to germ plasm, genetic material, breeding and seeds in general. Based in the open software philosophy, the initiative seeks to create a common pool of seeds. Like open source software, these seeds are expected to be free for all kinds of use and distribution.

    • Dinner can be like open source too
    • Startup to Open Source Parallel CPU

      A startup founded by two teenagers is designing a parallel processor that it hopes delivers a 10x leap in performance per watt for high-end systems. Rex Computing will make open source its instruction set architecture in hopes of rallying supporters around it.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Berners-Lee: new HTML5 ‘open web’ milestones

      The Computer Weekly Open Source Insider blog noted on January 1 2013 that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) made note that a stable specification of the HTML5 web markup language has been laid down for web application developers to now focus on.

    • ZigBee Announces New Internet of Things Standard

      The ZigBee Alliance, has announced the unification of its wireless standards to a single standard named ZigBee 3.0, which will provide interoperability among the widest range of smart devices, providing consumers and businesses access to innovative products and services.

    • OpenCL & SYCL Updated For Heterogeneous Parallel Programming

      The Khronos Group has released updated versions of the OpenCL and SYCL specifications from the Super Computing 2014 conference in New Orleans.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • US Department of Defense Militarizes Social Science

      In 2008, the US Department of Defense founded the Minerva Initiative, a “social science research initiative” which focused on regions of “strategic importance to US national security policy.” The initiative focuses on results that can be used in the field (that are “warfighter relevant,” in the words of the Minerva Initiative website). The DoD is issuing $17 million to fund twelve new projects for 2014-17. As Nafeez Ahmed reports in the Guardian, the DoD funding social science is a conflict of interest and certain proposed projects raise questions about how the social science might be used in warzones.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Video Analysis of Fatal West Bank Shooting Said to Implicate Israeli Officer

      One day after Israel charged an officer from its border police force with manslaughter in the shooting of a Palestinian teenager at a protest in the West Bank last May, the boy’s father and an Israeli architect who helped reconstruct the killing based on video evidence argued that the officer should be indicted on a murder charge instead.

  • Finance

    • HOTEL 22: The Dark Side Of Silicon Valley

      Jimmy hands $2 worth of dimes to the conductor and finds a seat at the back of the bus.

      He settles himself in for what is going to be a long night – taking off his scuffed leather shoes and resting his head against a window opaque with condensation.

      Jimmy, 47, has had the same routine for the last three years since losing his job as a chef at Microsoft.

    • Save the Fatcats

      CEO Justin Forsyth £139,950
      COO Anabel Hoult £139,950
      COO / CFO & Strategic Initiatives Rachel Parr £131,970
      Global Programmes Director Fergus Drake £113,300
      Fundraising Director Tanya Steele £112,2001

      [...]

      StC has just given Tony Blair its “Global Legacy” award. What kind of people like Tony Blair? People who earn over 100,000. I am not sure that if you put money in a tin, or bought from their charity shop, you thought you were paying that many fat salaries. There are also gold plated pensions and other benefits. Justin Forsyth, the CEO, of course worked in Tony Blair’s neo-con policy unit.

    • NYT Columnist’s Faulty Attack on Elizabeth Warren’s ‘Rage’

      New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin has earned a reputation over the years for being friendly with the Wall Street giants he covers. If you read his bizarre rant against Senator Elizabeth Warren, it’s not hard to see why.

    • Millions in Poverty Get Less Media Coverage than 482 Billionaires

      In June 2014, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) published a study showing that ABC World News, CBS Evening News, and NBC Nightly News give more media coverage to the 482 billionaires in the U.S. than to the 50 million people in poverty, airing almost four times as many stories that include the term “billionaire” as stories including terms such as “homeless” or “welfare.” According to the report, an average of only 2.7 seconds per 22-minute nightly news program were devoted to covering stories where poverty was mentioned.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Google Asked to Censor Three Million Pirate Bay URLs

      The Pirate Bay reached a questionable milestone today when copyright holders asked Google to remove the three millionth Pirate Bay URL from search results. While most requests are valid, Google also removed several non-infringing pages.

  • Privacy

    • Want to avoid government malware? Ask a former NSA hacker

      A young British company called Darktrace, whose technology was spawned in the classrooms and bedrooms of Cambridge University, can now boast a covey of former spies among their executive ranks. Jim Penrose, who spent 17 years at the NSA and was involved in the much-feared Tailored Access Operations group (TAO), is one of Darktrace’s latest hires.

    • UK Pirate Party slams government plans for IP address identification

      THE UK PIRATE PARTY has slammed government plans which could see IP addresses linked to individuals in the same way as phone numbers.

      Loz Kaye, outspoken leader of the party, said: “It’s extraordinary that the Home Office did not consult [the] industry about these plans.

      “To me it shows they don’t care whether they will work or not. They are just interested in headlines.”

      He went on to criticise the Liberal Democrats, which had earlier welcomed the move, saying it provides proof that there will be no return to snooping in this Parliament.

    • Slack now letting employers tap workers’ private chats

      Slack, whose chat app aims to help workers get stuff done, might now have them running scared, knowing the boss could access their chats.

      The company’s upcoming paid Plus plan will include an optional feature called Compliance Exports, announced Monday, which will let administrators access their team’s communications, encompassing public and private messages.

    • Most people have heard of Snowden, few have changed habits as a result

      New worldwide survey results conducted by a Canadian think tank show that most people around the world (60 percent) have heard of Edward Snowden, but just over a third “have taken steps to protect their online privacy and security as a result of his revelations.”

    • Thinking of buying a security camera? Read this first

      Most security cameras and their software aren’t built with computer security in mind. None of the vendors could provide me with a clear understanding of code reviews and penetration testing. In fact, most of my security inquiries were met with befuddlement. Often I was called back by someone days later who either did not know the answers to my questions or said yes to everything I asked so often, you knew they were not telling the truth.

    • Truly private surfing

      In my previous post i recommended to use two firefox plugins to truly surf through Internet whoes pages are “infected” with social network embedded widgets that only report about our presense in those pages and if we are lucky, only that, but i also identifies us because the propagation of cookies.

      In this post i will give some recommendations about how to stop Firefox from surfing the web without us knowing it, yes, in the background. The other day i was analyzing what happens in the background in the network with Firefox open, and i was worried for a minute or two because i saw connections going out of my computer but i was not surfing anything… i had one page open, so i closed it incase that that page had some javascript with a loop doing some connections without me knowing…. but the connections kept being done.

    • Report On UK Terrorist Murder: MI5 Absolved, Facebook Guilty

      Of course, that would mean finding some way to win support for an intrusive Communications Data Bill, which provoked such a strong reaction the last time it was discussed. So it’s interesting coincidence that the day after that place-marker by the Home Secretary, a new report (pdf, and embedded below) has been published on a particularly brutal terrorist attack that took place on the streets of London last year. The report comes from the UK’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), which was roundly condemned by a Parliamentary committee earlier this year for being out of touch and ineffectual. It was asked to examine what lessons could be learned from the failure to stop the attack, given that both the two men convicted of murdering the British soldier Fusilier Rigby were known to the UK intelligence service.

      [...]

      Well, that’s because they are communications companies: they provide ways to communicate, just like phone companies or the post system. There’s no more reason they should be monitoring every piece of content on their systems than telephone companies should monitor the content of calls, or post offices the content of letters. It’s not their job, and would in any case be an extraordinary invasion of privacy.

      [...]

      That the ISC’s report into the attack turns out to be a whitewash is no surprise. Earlier this month, the UK’s leading human rights groups decided to boycott another inquiry that it would be conducting, since they had “lost all trust in the committee’s ability to uncover the truth.” And just before the ISC report was published, it was claimed that the committee had “failed to speak to witnesses who say the plot’s leader was repeatedly contacted by the security services before the attack”…

      [...]

      So who gave that information to GCHQ? The statement above makes it clear it wasn’t Facebook itself but a “third party”. Who else had access to such private messages? Someone at the company? Maybe, although that seems very unlikely given the company’s awareness of how big an issue this would be.

      Another obvious candidate is the NSA. Snowden has told us that it accesses and stores vast quantities of messages as they flow across the Internet; given the nature of the conversation, and the keywords it contains, it seems quite likely that it was added to a database somewhere, “just in case”. Perhaps it was dug out at the request of GCHQ, which then passed it on to the company concerned — in order to land it in hot water, and get MI5 off the hook. Just another benefit of being part of the Five Eyes club.

    • Lee Rigby: inquiry into murder of fusilier ‘failed to seek out witnesses’

      The official inquiry into the jihadi-inspired murder of Lee Rigby in 2013 is poised to clear the security services of major criticisms but is facing claims that it failed to speak to witnesses who say the plot’s leader was repeatedly contacted by the security services before the attack.

    • Survey: Public Clouds, File Syncing and Data Privacy Dangers

      Lots of employees use public cloud services, like Dropbox and Box, to sync and share files even if they contain sensitive data. That’s not too surprising, but what is is the finding that more than half of organizations don’t have policies in place to keep important data out of the public cloud, at least according to their employees. So says M-Files, which has released interesting survey results on this topic.

    • The Coming War on Encryption, Tor, and VPNs

      And that, of course, will not go down well with the world’s spy agencies. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, there is a clear move to demonise strong encryption using a crude “if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear”-type argument: only bad people could possibly want to hide their communications. I predict that things will only get worse – not just because of Let’s Encrypt, but also following the Home Secretary’s announcement this week of yet more counter-terrorism measures.

      One of them claims to address the fictional “capabilities gap the authorities face when it comes to communications data.” There is no such gap, because the volume of communications data has grown so hugely that any *percentage* loss of capabilities is more than made up for by the greater total quantity of information now available. For example, even if the authorities were only able to access a half of all communications data, say, that would still represent hundreds of times more raw information than previously because overall traffic has probably increased many thousands of times thanks to the rise of the Internet (those figures are plucked from the air, but the point remains valid.)

      [...]

      But it is, of course, trivial to avoid this surveillance using Tor or a VPN. And so inevitably the next stage of this assault on online digital liberties will be to attack those too, even though both have perfectly legitimate uses, especially the latter. Indeed, now would be a good time for businesses to make it known to the UK government that they require VPNs to function properly in the online world, just as they require strong encryption; and that trying to outlaw any of these, or to restrict or weaken them in the name of “counter-terrorism” would be yet another deeply disproportionate response with serious adverse consequences for the economy and society.

    • How to Encrypt the Entire Web for Free
    • Secret Malware in European Union Attack Linked to U.S. and British Intelligence

      Complex malware known as Regin is the suspected technology behind sophisticated cyberattacks conducted by U.S. and British intelligence agencies on the European Union and a Belgian telecommunications company, according to security industry sources and technical analysis conducted by The Intercept.

    • NSA privacy director defends agency’s surveillance

      The U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance programs are legal and under close scrutiny by other parts of the government, the agency’s internal privacy watchdog said Monday in an online Q&A.

    • EC-Council President Warns Global Leaders of Cyber Pandemic at World Internet Conference

      In a rousing speech made to a packed audience at the World Internet Conference held November 19th – 21st in the historic city of Wuzhen in Zhejiang Province, Jay Bavisi, President and Founder of EC-Council, pushed for emphasis on solving cybersecurity threats by focusing on secure coding, the creation of a global legal framework, and better education initiatives. The theme of the event, “Interconnected World, Shared and Governed By All” resonates on the information security industry as cyber crime is a global problem in need of global solutions. Top executives from Chinese tech firms, including Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, as well as representatives from Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Samsung, LinkedIn, and non-profit organization ICANN attended the conference.

    • Regin Spyware Likely Made by NSA, UK
    • NSA, GCHQ or both behind Stuxnet-like Regin malware?
    • Sophisticated Regin Malware Could be the Child of GCHQ or NSA
    • NSA, GCHQ or both behind Stuxnet-like Regin malware?
    • Sophisticated Malware Regin Linked To NSA, British Intelligence
    • ‘Elegant’ Regin Malware Linked to Brits, NSA

      A sophisticated malware program called “Regin” has been used in systematic spying campaigns against a range of international targets since at least 2008, Symantec reported on Sunday.

    • Patriot Act Deadline Threatens to Splinter NSA Reformers

      Privacy advocates, facing an uphill battle in a Republican-controlled Congress next year, will have to make a difficult choice.

      Some argue that their best shot to curb the National Security Agency’s powers will be to kill core provisions of the USA Patriot Act altogether. But other reformers aren’t ready to take the post-9/11 law hostage.

    • NSA Reform Could Pit GOP Hawks Against Party’s Libertarian Wing

      Efforts to curb the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of American phone metadata were dealt a blow with the defeat of the USA Freedom Act on Nov. 18. With a 58-42 vote, the bill failed to attract the 60 votes necessary to clear the Senate filibuster.

    • Cryptocurrency News: NSA ‘Outlined Bitcoin-Like System’ and 70% of Bitcoins Unspent

      Most other major cryptocurrencies have seen a similar upturn in fortunes, with litecoin, dogecoin, peercoin and darkcoin all rising in price by between 3% and 6%.

    • “Big Data Ethics” Sound Great, But They Won’t Stop The NSA—Or Facebook

      It was worth a shot. At the recent Strata Conference in Barcelona, Hadoop founder Doug Cutting took to the stage to argue for a new era of Big Data ethics.

      “It’s time for us to reflect as we enter this new data age on how we want it to work,” Cutting declared. “This is the time when the practices and policies we want will be set for the coming decades.”

    • Edward Snowden Receives Stuttgart Peace Prize 2014

      Edward Snowden has been awarded Stuttgart Peace Prize 2014, but could not attend the ceremony and sent a message via a video, urging to fight for the observation of human rights.

    • NSA leaker Snowden feted in Stuttgart

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden accepted the Stuttgart Peace Prize and called on the public to keep fighting for peace in a speech via video uplink on Sunday.

    • Utah is considering shutting off water to the NSA

      What happens when a US state government directly opposes the operations of one of the most powerful agencies in the country? Utah might be about to find out, with a bill going forward early next year proposing Utah shuts off water to the NSA’s massive data collection center in Bluffdale.

      Republican Marc Roberts proposed the bill, which states municipalities in Utah must “refuse support to any federal agency which collects electronic data within this state.”

    • NSA Spies Recruit Teenage Kids: We Can Stop It

      As if the creepy spy-guy wandering around your kid’s college campus trying to recruit her into the NSA wasn’t bad enough, now you can find him wandering the halls of your local high school and middle school as well.

      According to a recent article in the Intercept, the NSA recently established cybersecurity camps for middle school and high school students, and hopes to eventually have a presence in schools in all 50 states.

    • NSA ‘privacy director’ went on Tumblr to convince people ‘this is a real job’

      The NSA’s “Civil Liberties and Privacy Director” Rebecca Richards did a Tumblr Q&A Monday, answering a number of questions about her job and the agency’s privacy practices.

      Someone cut right to the chase and asked what we were all thinking: “Is ‘NSA Civil Liberties and Privacy Director’ a real position or is this all a joke?”

    • Memo to NSA: Stop Saying You Apply the FIPPs

      The intelligence community has no set of general principles for judging the privacy impact of their programs. Some privacy scholars believe that the Fair Information Protection Principles (FIPPs) serve this purpose and can apply to intelligence programs as they do to myriad other government programs. The NSA itself said in a recent report on collection under Executive Order 12333 that it was applying the FIPPs for the first time. But however appealing it may seem to apply generally applicable privacy principles to intelligence programs, it is simply impossible for the intelligence community to apply the FIPPs literally.

    • Ex-NSA and GCHQ spooks showcase Intel platform

      Darktrace, a cybersecurity company comprised of ex-spooks from NSA and GCHQ, has revealed details of its new behavioural analytics software.

    • Insight into the mind of a former NSA programmer/hacker

      Many cybersecurity specialists working for the NSA and GCHQ tend to get burned out, and then head to the private sector. It provides a unique opportunity to hear more about some of the efforts the US government have employed to conduct organized cyberespionage against foreign governments.

    • Wyden pledges to pursue NSA reform

      Legislation that would have ended the National Security Agency’s bulk data collection program stalled in the Senate last week, falling two votes short of the 60 needed to advance.

      Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a proponent of reining in what he views as the NSA’s overly broad surveillance powers, was undeterred by the setback. He was disappointed that senators were unable to debate the bill’s merits, because Republicans filibustered a motion to proceed, but pledged to return to the issue.

    • Viewpoint: Silicon Valley must step up privacy fight

      It’s unlikely the valley will be able to innovate itself out of this mess. The right to privacy is one of the nation’s most treasured principles. Silicon Valley needs to take a more active role in protecting Americans’ privacy and restoring public trust in its products.

    • UN calls digital spying ‘highly intrusive’ and a violation of human rights

      The UN has expressed deep concerns about online spying – particularly on a mass scale – as it violates people’s rights to privacy

    • Massive surveillance operations possible with explicit help from telecom companies

      U.S. and U.K. spy agencies including the NSA and GCHQ, respectively, have performed a variety of sophisticated spy operations, collecting massive amounts of personal data, as many Edward Snowden leaks revealed in the past year. German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung has published a new report that reveals that as far back as 2009 the GCHQ, and thus also the NSA, had massive access to submarine cable links around the globe with help from now Vodafone-owned Cable & Wireless.

    • GCHQ Paid Millions to Spy on UK Submarine Data Cables, Edward Snowden Reveals

      New documents leaked by Edward Snowden reveal Cable & Wireless, a UK company which is now part of Vodafone, was paid millions of pounds by the British government’s spy agency GCHQ to tap into its undersea communications cables.

    • Five-eyes partners dilute UN resolution criticising metadata collection

      The “five eyes” surveillance partners – the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – have joined forces to nobble a UN General Assembly committee’s statements on digital privacy.

      While the General Assembly’s human rights committee has adopted a non-binding resolution saying that “unlawful or arbitrary” mass surveillance, interception and data collection are “highly intrusive acts” and a violation of the right to privacy.

    • UN human rights panel passes resolution to protect privacy

      A landmark resolution demanding privacy protection in the digital age and urging governments to offer redress to citizens targeted by mass surveillance has been approved by the UN general assembly’s human rights committee, the Guardian reports.

      The resolution, which was adopted Tuesday, Nov 25, in the face of attempts by the U.S. and others to water it down and which comes at a time when the UK government is calling for increased surveillance powers, had been put forward by Brazil and Germany in the wake of revelations by U.S. intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden about large-scale U.S. surveillance.

    • Should Schools Monitor Students’ Social Media Use?

      The electronic devices that give students instant access to the world for educational purposes are also their conduit to social media, and that presents a host of problems for school administrators.

    • Lee Rigby report expected Facebook to break US law

      Yesterday saw the publication of the Intelligence and Security Committee report into the events leading up to the murder of Lee Rigby. On reading it, one gets a sense of naivety from the members of the committee on how the Internet works, particularly when it comes to international jurisdictions. (Communications data is p139 onwards)

    • The US should not be allowed to run the internet

      A VACUUM HAS emerged over exactly who should manage and maintain the internet.

      A poll by CIGI and Ipsos showed that only 57 percent of respondents would be happy with ‘a combined body of technology companies, engineers, non-governmental organisations and institutions that represent the interests and will of ordinary citizens and governments to play an important role in running the internet’.

      Even fewer are willing to let the geeks inherit the Earth, as only 54 percent approved of ‘an international body of engineers and technical experts’.

      But the worst score of all was for the US government. Just 36 percent liked the idea of letting the nation run the show unilaterally.

    • UN Resolution Warns of ‘Intrusive’ Digital Spying

      Privacy concerns highlighted by UN Committee in wake of mass surveillance and data interception revelations

      A committee at the United Nations has expressed its deep concern over digital spying and surveillance, in the wake of the NSA revelations by Edward Snowden.

    • Lee Rigby murder should not be used as excuse for an increase in state power

      Yesterday, the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) issued its report into the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in Woolwich. Despite cataloguing a number of failures, the report claims that the security services couldn’t have prevented Lee Rigby’s killing, while appearing to claim that Facebook could have.

    • Open Rights Group response to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill

      ORG has also pointed out that parts of the legislation aimed at preventing extremism in educational and other institutions, “are so open-ended that they could easily lead to work-place surveillance, where employers would be obliged by guidelines to check their employees’ email and web history.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Amnesty International USA: Ferguson, the World is Watching

      Nearly 24 hours after the grand jury decision was announced, and after an initial night which included peaceful protests as well as widespread incidents of looting, arson and vandalism, Amnesty International USA Executive Director Steven W. Hawkins issued the following statement:

      “This has to be made clear – the burden to keep protests peaceful is shared. Armored vehicles, tear gas and smoke bombs used large-scale against largely peaceful protesters in order to quell acts of violence by a minority only serves to escalate and exacerbate an already incredibly tense environment.

      “Law enforcement officers have a right to defend themselves and a duty to protect the safety of the public, but this role should be carried out in a way that ensures full respect for the right to life, liberty and security of all persons, including those suspected of crime. Even when confronting violence, they must work within the law and in conformity with international standards governing the use of force.

      “The eyes of the world continue to watch the events in Ferguson as a measure of the United States’ capacity to respect the fundamental human right to assemble. Our right to protest peacefully should be bolstered by law enforcement, not inhibited through intimidation.”

    • Two More ‘Police Incidents,’ Shrouded in Media Euphemism

      The policies, practices and attitudes that lead to so many black people being killed by law enforcement have to be confronted. There are some things euphemism can’t cover up.

    • Mexico: Revolution Day Protests End in Violent Police Repression; Protesters Charged with Terrorism

      Día de la Revolución 2014 (Revolution Day) was a national holiday that Mexican citizens will not soon forget. People in more than 16 Mexican states protested on November 20th including Campeche, Chiapas, Morelos, Michoacán, Sonora, Veracruz, Nuevo León, Coahuila, Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Nayarit and Jalisco. Activists in Mexico tell us they estimate half a million people participated in peaceful protests on November 20 demanding justice for the 43 missing normalista students from Ayotzinapa. The largest protests in Mexico City ended in a very violent police repression and arbitrary arrests by granaderos and 11 protesters are now charged with terrorism.

    • Oops: After Threatening Hacker With 440 Years, Prosecutors Settle for a Misdemeanor

      Thanks in part to America’s ill-defined hacking laws, prosecutors have enormous discretion to determine a hacker defendant’s fate. But in one young Texan’s case in particular, the Department of Justice stretched prosecutorial overreach to a new extreme: about 440 years too far.

    • New Security Bill will force online service providers to keep log of users’ activity

      Major online service providers, such as Google, will be legally obliged to retain a log of users and the mobile phones or computers they have accessed in case police and security agencies later need the information to help them locate criminals. This measure will be included in the Counter-terrorism and Security Bill that is being introduced in the wake of Isis’s beheadings of prisoners, including British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, this year

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Global coalition from 19 countries launches Thisisnetneutrality.org website

      Anyone who thinks that net neutrality is a boring technical issue for computer geeks needs to look outside the U.S. Netizens around the world aren’t fooled by the confusing misdirection of industry lobbyists—they’re championing the cause of an open internet by pushing for laws and policies that protect the features that made the internet what it is today. And they are just as fired up as President Obama himself was just this month, when he gave his full support for the open net. Net neutrality is not an American issue, or a European issue, or an African issue. It is increasingly a global human rights issue.

    • Letter to the Council of the European Union: “Don’t Turn Your Backs on Net Neutrality!”

      Tomorrow on Thursday November 27th, the “Transport, Telecommunications and Energy” (TTE) Council will meet in Brussels to discuss the general approach on Telecom Single Market the Italian Presidency sent to the delegations of the Member States on November 14th. This text, which aims at protecting Net Neutrality and therefore the freedom of our communications, unfortunately lost the innovative and revolutionary features of the resolution voted by the European Parliament on April 3rd. The Italian Presidency, in fact, gives way to the industrial lobbies’ interests and ignores the massive citizen mobilization which has taken place in the spring of 2014. Jeopardizing Net Neutrality means infringing the fundamental rights and freedoms of every single European citizen; for this reason and to remind our representatives their responsibilities, La Quadrature du Net and its European partners sent a letter to the Council of the European Union in order to call its ministers to reject the text under discussion and come back to a real protection of everyone’s indicidual rights and freedoms.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Senator Uses Piracy Report to Pressure Visa, Mastercard

        Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has sent letters to Visa and MasterCard on the topic of online piracy. Citing a report from Netnames detailing the activities of the world’s top cyberlockers, Leahy urges the services to stop doing business with all ‘pirate’ sites.

      • How an eBay bookseller defeated a publishing giant at the Supreme Court

        Sometimes all it takes to alter the course of history is one pissed-off person. Supap Kirtsaeng wasn’t a crusader or lone nut; he was just an eBay trader who got backed into a legal corner and refused to give up.

        To help pay for grad school at USC, he sold textbooks online—legitimate copies that he’d purchased overseas. But academic publishing behemoth John Wiley & Sons sued Supap, claiming that his trade in Wiley’s foreign-market textbooks constituted copyright infringement.

        The implications were enormous. If publishers had the right to control resale of books that they printed and sold overseas, then it stood to reason that manufacturers could restrain trade in countless products—especially tech goods, most of which are made in Asia and contain copyrightable elements such as embedded software.

      • UK music industry seeks review of law allowing fans to copy music

        The UK music industry is seeking a judicial review of new legislation allowing music fans to make copies of legally-purchased music, arguing that musicians must be compensated as a result of lost sales.

        The Musicians’ Union, the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors and industry body UK Music are taking legal action over the government’s new copyright legislation, which came into force on 1 October.

      • BT Starts Blocking Private Torrent Sites

        UK Internet provider BT blocked two dozen torrent sites this past weekend, including IPTorrents and TorrentDay, two of the largest private trackers. This is the first time that a UK ISP has blocked private torrent sites, and there doesn’t appear to be a court order underlying their decision.

      • White House Admits That It Still Supports Parts Of SOPA: Wants To Make Streaming A Felony

        Last week, we wrote that Senator (and still for the next few weeks, Majority Leader) Harry Reid was looking for ways to push for a piece of SOPA, making streaming a felony, into law. The story we’d heard from multiple sources was that he was looking to attach it to the USA Freedom Act. His office came out and denied that claim vehemently. Still, multiple sources insisted not only that it was true, but that Reid was still looking for other vehicles to push that through. And… just days later, the White House responded to some (somewhat pointless) White House “We The People” petitions by… announcing that it, too, wanted to turn unauthorized streaming into a felony. This was in response to two separate petitions, Stop SOPA 2013 and Stop SOPA 2014. Neither petition made much sense, as SOPA has been long dead since early 2012. There was never any specific bill in either 2013 or 2014. And yet, Alex Niejelow, the chief of staff to the IP Czar (a position that is in limbo, as the new czar has been nominated, but not yet approved), used those petitions as an opportunity to reiterate that the White House, like Reid, supports making unauthorized streaming a felony.

      • Kim Dotcom: I Regret Not Taking Threat of Copyright Law and MPAA More Seriously

        Kim Dotcom has spoken out about his long battle over copyright with the US government and his regrets about the events that have led to his arrest ahead of his bail breach hearing on Thursday that could see him return to jail in New Zealand.

        “Would I have done things differently? Of course. My biggest regret is I didn’t take the threat of the copyright law and the MPAA seriously enough,” Dotcom said via live video link from his mansion in Auckland, New Zealand at the Unbound Digital conference in London on Tuesday.

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