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11.05.14

Links 5/11/2014: Pisi Linux 1.1 KDE, Nexus 9

Posted in News Roundup at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Hands-on with the Kano: The Linux kit that wants to help kids love coding

    Kano, a small British start up with strong Israeli ties, set out to make the inside workings of a modern computer accessible to children again. The idea behind the project is get kids coding and hacking themselves, and was inspired by one of the founders’ seven-year-old cousin who wanted to build a computer and wondered if it could be made as easy as playing with Lego.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE at LISA 2014 – Seattle, November 12 and 13
      • digiKam Recipes 4.1.1 Released

        Another month, another digiKam Recipes update. This version features the updated and expanded Edit Photos with the Levels and Curves Adjustment Tools recipe which now covers the powerful curves tool.

      • Diving into Plasma’s 2015

        In terms of user demographic, we’re almost certain to see one thing happening with the new Plasma 5 UI, as distros start to ship it by default, this is what these new users are going to see. Not everybody in this group of users is interested in how cool the technology stack lines up, they just want to get their work done and certainly not feel impeded in their daily workflows. This is the target group which we’ve been focusing our work on in months since summer, since the release of Plasma 5.0. Wider group of users sounds pretty abstract, so let’s take some numbers: While Plasma 5 is run by a group of people already, the number of users who get it via Linux distributions is much larger than the group of early adopters. This means by the end of next year, Plasma 5 will be in the hands of millions of users, probably around 10 million, and increasing. (This is interpolated from an estimation of Plasma users in the tens of millions, with the technology adaption lifecycle taken as base.)

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Pisi Linux 1.1 KDE

        Pisi Linux has continued its activities after 1.0 and we reached our second stable version 1.1. This version resulting from intensive studies; strong, stable, comfortable to use, safe and so fast. The strength of the structure to prevent damage to your system uses hardware safely to the end. Also in this release, along with many innovations were offered to us.

    • Screenshots

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • openSUSE 13.2 and Fedora 21 Beta Released

        The top stories today were the releases of openSUSE 13.2 and Fedora 21 Beta. WRAL looks at Red Hat at 20 and Matt Hartley guides folks to Ubuntu laptops. The openSUSE Tumbleweed/Factory merger is complete and a migration guide has been posted. Other tidbits include OpenBSD replacing OpenSSL with LibreSSL and The Register joking about a character on The Code named Sgt L. Torvalds.

    • Slackware Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • The Perfect Business Desktop – CentOS 7

        This tutorial shows how you can set up CentOS 7 desktop. The CentOS 7 have high quality of desktop environment which is fully suited for day to day business needs of a corporate culture. I will also show some of the specific features from Thunderbird which makes the day to day business use easier.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch RTM Gets Major Update – Video Tour

            A new Ubuntu Touch RTM version has been released and the developers have made a number of important fixes, not to mention all the improvements that have been made to the backend.

          • Ubuntu MATE 14.10 Utopic Unicorn : Lightweight and Configurable

            “Ubuntu MATE is a stable, easy-to-use operating system with a configurable desktop environment. Ideal for those who want the most out of their desktops, laptops and netbooks and prefer a traditional desktop metaphor. With modest hardware requirements it is suitable for modern workstations and older hardware alike.” About ubuntu MATE

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Trisquel 7.0 LTS Belenos released

              If you haven’t used Trisquel before then be sure to read the Trisquel FAQ. There’s also a Trisquel discussion forum if you need assistance, and a Trisquel subreddit on Reddit if you want to connect with fellow Trisquel users there.

              You can download Trisquel right now in 32-bit or 64-bit versions. You can also choose between the main version, which uses GNOME as the desktop, and a lighter version called Trisquel Mini that uses LXDE instead of GNOME. There’s even a smaller version for kids called Trisquel Sugar Toast.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • ReactOS Finally Supports Reading NTFS Volumes

    Pierre Schweitzer of ReactOS shared, “ReactOS now supports reading files from NTFS volume. This was a long awaited feature people were asking for.” A new ReactOS ISO re-spin is now available containing this support.

  • Obsidian supports OSSSA in driving open source

    Open source software specialist Obsidian Systems has been listed as an official supporter of the Open Source Software for South Africa (OSSSA) organisation, and has joined a growing network of supporters and collaborators championing the value of OS in trade, industry and government.

  • A debate on open source of virtual currency

    With the popularization of knowledge on the online virtual money, more and more virtual money are produced. Since the Bitcoin made the Web money in fashion and gained global attention, the virtual money after Bitcoin were called “Copycat Coins”. While these virtual money use different names merely to differentiate with Bitcoin, like the different names of currencies in the real world, such as the US dollar, the Euro, etc.

  • ON.Lab Unveils Open-Source SDN OS

    The ONOS initiative joins other open-source efforts like OpenDaylight and ONF in trying to accelerate adoption of SDN and NFV.

    A nonprofit group led by some of the earliest developers of software-defined networking next month will make available an open operating system for the industry, the latest effort to bring the open-source model into the SDN world.

  • Events

    • Eskimo conserves resources with igloo applications

      The face of web development has changed. No longer does the term dredge up images of a lonely hacker in a basement—nowadays, everyone from business executives to schoolchildren enjoy learning how to code. This is, in part, thanks to the development of increasingly easier to use boilerplate tools. The goal of these tools is to enable coders to build rapid Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) in an organized and reliable, yet creative, fashion.

      [...]

      In the GitHub repository, the user will find all the necessary information to begin developing their own fast MVP: installation files, examples, templates, file an issue feature, contributors, and license type. Eskimo: You’ll want to get snowed in.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Tools Cauldron 2014 videos posted online

      Presentation videos from GNU Tools Cauldron 2014 have now been posted online. The conference, which this year was held from July 18 – 20, 2014 in Cambridge, England at the University of Cambridge, featured nearly thirty presentations on tools in the GNU toolchain including GCC, the GNU Compiler Collection, and GDB, the GNU Project Debugger. Developers shared tutorials and insights in addition to discussing development plans for various projects within the GNU toolchain.

    • GNU LibreJS 6.0.5 released

      There’s a new version of LibreJS.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • UAV policy from across the pond (pro-drones)

      While the United States remains tightly caught in the grip of mid-term madness, and will continue to writhe and lash about until 8 November 2016, the United Kingdom is looking beyond short-term, cheap, and policy-free political fodder. It has taken a stab at addressing longer-term ethical, legal, social, political and economic issues – such as the consequences raised by use of what the UK calls Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPAs) or drones.

    • Primary Sources: New Documents on US Citizen Killed in CIA Drone Strike

      The latest batch of heavily redacted investigative files reveal that the bureau had grown increasingly concerned over Khan’s anti-American screeds posted to his blog and determined he was a serious threat.

    • Yemen: U.S. Drone Strikes Kill Up to 20 People

      While recent attention has focused on the U.S. wars in Iraq and Syria, the United States has continued its covert bombardment of supposed militants in Yemen and Pakistan.

    • China develops anti-drone laser system

      Engineers in China have successfully developed a laser weapon able to shoot down low-flying, slow-moving drones, according to the country’s state media on Tuesday.

    • China Has Unveiled a New Laser System to Shoot Down Drones
    • District Court Orders Release Of Another DOJ Drone-Killing Memo, Cites [REDACTED] In Support

      New York’s Southern District Court — which has been hosting (along with the Second Circuit Appeals Court) the ACLU and New York Times’ long-running, concurrent FOIA lawsuits against the government over its drone killing memos — has reached a partial decision on some of the embattled documents.

      The court’s decision was actually delivered on Sept. 30th, but its conclusion and order have spent the last month under seal while the government applied its redactions. An accompanying memo from the presiding judge [pdf link] notes that the court isn’t buying all the government’s redaction arguments.

    • Ukraine Elections Bring Society Closer to Brink of all Out War and Economic Collapse

      The parliamentary elections in Ukraine has been lavished with praise by Western politicians and the mainstream media as confirmation of the country’s turn towards democracy and a rejection of Putin’s evil Russian empire. What the media drones and corporate politicians won’t tell you is that these elections represent a disaster for the ordinary people of Ukraine.

    • U.S. Accuses ‘Russia-Backed’ Separatists of Firing at OSCE Drone

      European security watchdog OSCE said numerous anti-aircraft rounds were fired at one of its drones monitoring a shaky truce in eastern Ukraine, and the United States blamed pro-Russian rebels for Sunday’s incident.

      The unmanned aerial vehicle — deployed to help monitor the cease-fire between government forces and separatists — was not hit and it later landed safely, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or OSCE, said Monday

    • Pakistan sees highest drone barrage in a month since October 2011

      Nine drone strikes were recorded in October, the most strikes in a month since October 2011, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

    • US Navy Cancels Port Calls Amid Philippine Anger Over Killing

      The US Navy has canceled visits to the Philippine port of Subic amid public anger over accusations that a US Marine killed a Filipino on the city’s outskirts, officials said Monday.

      Foreign Department spokesman Charles Jose said the visits of three US ships to Subic this month had been canceled, while the head of the Subic freeport said nine such visits scheduled for this year had been called off.

    • Does New Zealand have its own secret court?

      Thanks to Edward Snowden, there has been an enormous amount of news about the US intelligence community and the court – the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Court (FISA) – that governs it. Following the stunning revelations that FISA approved the wiretapping of millions of US domestic phone calls, the court is now viewed as a ‘almost a parallel Supreme Court,’ whose decisions are made ‘with almost no public scrutiny.’

      Despite New Zealand’s deep involvement in the Five Eyes network, and the revelations that a surveillance warrant was held on New Zealander Daryl Jones who was later killed in a US drone strike in Yemen, there has been no discussion or examination of the role of the Commissioner of Warrants who issues surveillance warrants to the GCSB and NZSIS. The decisions of that office remain entirely opaque, creating a body of law that is not subject to challenge in any public forum.

    • Peace groups plan drone protest at Battle Creek Air National Guard on Saturday
    • Father and daughter arrested protesting world’s most hated weapon

      There was the anthrax letters shell game, Blackwater, Halliburton and pallets of money that disappeared much like Iraqi treasure. The greed and slaughter continued with Obama, presidential ordered secret assassinations, the NSA, telecoms, banks and other corporations conspiring against and committing crimes against US Citizens and the Militarization of the every day cop.

      But it is the drone strike that makes Americans the most hated people and nation on Earth. It is a cowardly act that disregards whatever rules of war that ever existed in the however misguided “honor” of men. These bombs not only have killed children, teenagers, mothers, fathers grandparents, neighbors and entire wedding parties; they have created a level of anxiety and fear across vast regions. Mentally they are a torture of mass destruction. The pictures, eye witness accounts and journalist verifications on the ground are infinitely more believable than ANY White House in my lifetime.

    • New tapes show Israel’s attack on USS Liberty was deliberate

      The translated words of Israeli commanders and Israeli pilots from tapes can be heard, numerous times, as confirming the identity of the Liberty as “American.” The tapes include a timeline in the background which fixes the times of transmissions, and establishes that confirmation was made before and during the attack. In 2004 the Jerusalem Post published a transcript of Israeli radio transmissions on that day, critical parts of which match the transmissions in the tape obtained by the film-maker, Richard Belfield.

    • The Deep State Plots the 1980 Defeat of Jimmy Carter

      How do Wall Street, oil companies and the shadow government agencies like the CIA and NSA really shape the global political order?

      That’s the question author Peter Dale Scott examines in his forthcoming book “The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil and the Attack on U.S. Democracy,” due out on Nov. 12. Scott, a professor emeritus of English at Berkeley and former Canadian diplomat, is considered the father of “deep politics”—the study of hidden permanent institutions and interests whose influence on the political realm transcends the elected.

    • The Empire of Chaos and the War on Drugs

      President Putin’s recent Valdai Speech contained a striking phrase about the counter-productive nature of much of US foreign policy: “We sometimes get the impression that our colleagues and friends are constantly fighting the consequences of their own policies, throw all their effort into addressing the risks they themselves have created, and pay an ever-greater price.”

      President Putin was referring to terrorism, but an equally valid example of the same point is the so-called “War on Drugs” that the US announced in 1971 and which it has been waging with no success ever since.

    • Noam Chomsky calls US ‘world’s leading terrorist state’

      The United States is the “world’s leading terrorist state,” based on its deadly, CIA-run operations in the likes of Nicaragua and Cuba, according to new op-ed by historian and social philosopher Noam Chomsky.

      In a new piece posted at Truthout.org, Chomsky pointed to the Central Intelligence Agency’s classified review of its own efforts to arm insurgencies across the globe in its 67-year history. As RT previously reported, the CIA conducted the effectiveness analyses while the Obama administration contemplated arming rebels fighting against President Bashar Assad’s forces in Syria.

    • The Leading Terrorist State
    • Noam Chomsky Slams The US For Being the Greatest Terrorist State That Has Fostered Violence and Aggression

      In TruthOut, Chomsky described the Central Intelligence Agency’s classified review of its attempts to arm insurgencies across the world in its 67-year history. RT News reported that the CIA conducted the “effectiveness analyses” but the Obama government armed rebels fighting President Bashar Assad’s Syrian forces.

    • Hagel’s Syria Memo

      Let’s imagine a world in which the military-industrial complex controlled by the 1%, so mired in dishonesty and responsible for so much suffering, is decisively overthrown. It shouldn’t take thirty years to topple it.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The Pierre Omidyar Insurgency

      Omidyar was an admirer of Obama’s right up to the moment the Snowden story broke, and many people who know him well, the types you might meet at CGI, struggle to explain his sudden turn toward confrontation. “He’s a very serious and public-spirited person,” says General Wesley Clark, who has been friendly with Omidyar since he raised money for his 2004 presidential campaign. Clark has publicly dismissed concerns about NSA surveillance and told me he couldn’t really explain why Omidyar was so agitated. Omidyar is mellow by nature; he lives in Hawaii and is a devotee of Buddhism. “He’s not this hard-core, radical maverick,” Greenwald says. “Back before this all happened, he just seemed like the normal, average, amicable billionaire.” Omidyar has communicated little about his motivations beyond a handful of abstruse public statements. He remains a remote and somewhat mysterious figure, even to his collaborators.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Global warming’s early victims: Watch live as polar bears wait for sea ice to form

      We’re approaching the end of an era for the polar bears of Canada’s Western Hudson Bay – or, in the more straightforward way of putting it, we’re approaching the end of the polar bears, period. Typically, as the weather turns cold and sea ice forms, the region’s bears migrate out onto the bay, where they spend the winter filling up on enough seals to last them through the ice-free summer months. But that sea ice has been tending to melt earlier and earlier each spring, and to form later and later each fall. This year, like every year, the bears are ready to get moving. But so far the Hudson Bay, which used to be traversable by as early as November 8, remains largely ice-free.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • ABC Campaign Coverage–or GOP Campaign Commercial?

      ABC-ERNST-2The right-wing Media Research Center released a study (10/22/14) slamming the evening newscasts for not giving the midterm election much airtime. It has a partisan interest here; the group wants more attention paid to the Republicans’ impending victories. ABC World News, it said, was notable for having nothing on the election over the study period.

    • You Will Be Amazed at How Much Influence You Can Have,” Billionaire Pours $9.5M Into MO Elections

      Rex Sinquefield, who has been described as a “new American oligarch,” has reported spending almost $9.5 million on Missouri state politics in 2014 alone, bringing Sinquefield’s total spending in the state to nearly $41 million since 2006.

      “If you get involved at the local level with the route I described, you will be amazed at how much influence you can have,” Sinquefield told his business school alumni earlier this year.

    • How the CIA brought Animal Farm to the screen

      The truth about the CIA’s involvement was kept hidden for 20 years until, in 1974, Everette Howard Hunt revealed the story in his book Undercover: Memoirs of an American Secret Agent. In January 1950, when Orwell died at the age of 46, New Yorker Hunt had been part of the CIA’s Psychological Warfare Workshop and he had been sent to obtain the screen rights to Animal Farm from Orwell’s widow Sonia. Some people believe that Hunt exaggerated his own role in sealing the deal – he supposedly promised Mrs Orwell that he would arrange for her to meet her favourite star, Clark Gable – but he was certainly involved in getting the film off the ground.

    • Facebook Boosts News Feeds of Top 100 Media Outlets in Secret Political Experiment

      What is the point of a social network that doesn’t share your content with friends and followers? Oh, yeah, for profit, government spying, emotional experiments and now, political manipulation.

      Since they went public, Facebook has been playing with their algorithms to prevent “viral” content from occurring naturally in favor of charging users to show content to their followers. This profit-seeking strategy destroyed the only thing that made Facebook useful. Now it seems to serve as little more than an oversized telephone or IM app. But underneath, in the shadows, it’s still so much more than that.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Virginia Police Departments Have Been Collaborating On An Ad Hoc, Secret Phone Record Database

      Do you ever get the feeling that some law enforcement agencies just do whatever the hell they want? In most areas, this is the exception rather than the rule. In Virginia, however, that ratio seems to be reversed. Last year, an ACLU FOIA request uncovered the Virginia State Police’s wholesale harvesting of license plates from political rallies.

    • Here’s Hoping Judge Ignores The Nutty Plaintiff With An Important Case On NSA Surveillance Of Business Records

      Many of us were excited, 11 months ago, when District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled that the NSA’s bulk collection of phone metadata was unconstitutional. This was the first program revealed via the documents from Ed Snowden, and it involved the US using Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act, approved by the FISA Court with little explanation (until much later) to say that it’s okay to request all phone records from Verizon. What had been often mentioned as a brief aside, is the fact that the plaintiff in the case, Larry Klayman is a bit of a conspiracy-theorist nutjob.

    • US National Security Agency probably has your Windows Bitlocker recovery keys

      Cryptome highlight that the Windows FAQs on drive encryption says that a recovery key for your encrypted device is uploaded to your SkyDrive (now named OneDrive) account to make sure that you have a means of logging into your device should you forget your password. This would be a reasonable expectation as the encryption was passively turn on, however it goes on to remind us that Microsoft’s SkyDrive/OneDrive was a target/collaborator of the NSA’s PRISM program which means tha NSA have keys to decrypt your computer.

    • The Senate just lost one of its most prominent critics of the NSA and CIA

      Colorado Sen. Mark Udall lost his seat on Tuesday, the Associated Press is projecting. He lost a hard-fought race against Republican challenger Rep. Cory Gardner.

      The candidates sparred over a variety of the issues, from Obamacare to birth control. But the biggest impact of Udall’s defeat could be on civil liberties.

    • With Udall’s defeat, NSA reformers lose an ally on the inside

      With Colorado Sen. Mark Udall’s defeat Tuesday night, the Senate will lose one of its most vocal, most active and most powerfully positioned advocates for dialing back the intelligence community’s surveillance powers.

    • Judges Skeptical NSA Spying Violates Privacy Rights

      In reviewing a post-Snowden case Tuesday, an appeals court questioned whether the government’s bulk collection of phone records needs to be reined in.

    • NSA Metadata Collection Case in Court Today

      A case challenging the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) metadata collection efforts against United States citizens made its way into an appellate court today, where lawyer and opponent of domestic spying Larry Klayman was grilled by a three-judge panel. At issue is the collection of metadata in a massive program run by the National Security Agency known as PRISM, which was first revealed to the public by Edward Snowden.

    • Embattled NSA under fire in court

      Critics of the National Security Agency’s most embattled program harshly condemned the spying in a top appeals court on Tuesday.

      Judges, however, seemed largely skeptical of their claims that the spy agency’s bulk collection of Americans’ phone records was unconstitutional.

      Instead, they seemed to express a desire to reverse a lower court ruling nearly one year ago that called the NSA program “almost Orwellian.”

    • Anti-NSA ruling in jeopardy
    • Privacy advocates urge appeals court to halt NSA phone collection
    • Appeals court to weigh NSA phone data program
    • Oral Arguments In Lawsuit Against NSA Focus on Plaintiffs’ Standing
    • Judges weigh NSA’s sweep of phone numbers
    • Appeals court steps into debate over NSA surveillance program
    • Appeals Court Hears NSA Mass Surveillance Arguments
    • 4th Amendment Fight Against NSA Continues
    • House Dem calls for undiluted NSA reforms
    • Appellate Judge Panel Seen Hostile to Anti-NSA Ruling

      The December ruling that the NSA telephone surveillance program was unconstitutional looks to be in serious jeopardy, as the US Appellate Court challenge to the ruling has drawn a three-judge panel that seems extremely hostile to the idea of limiting federal surveillance powers.

    • Brazil’s New Underwater Data Cable to Portugal Is Still Likely Not NSA-Proof

      Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s remarks at an October campaign event, in which she said a new underwater data cable being built from Brazil to Portugal would be made by Brazilian companies to protect it from US “espionage,” were widely seen as a slam on the US National Security Agency’s spying tactics.

    • Will Tom Cotton Be the New Face of Surveillance Reform Opposition in the Senate?

      House Republican Tom Cotton looks set to defeat Democratic incumbent Mark Pryor in Arkansas and take over his seat in the United States Senate. If this happens, it is a distinct possibility that Cotton will become one of the most vocal opponents of any efforts to reform surveillance and constrain the National Security Agency or any other government agency’s power.

    • Hacking Team Defends Spyware, Attacks Researchers’ Methods

      Privacy advocates and anti-surveillance activists have been taking a close look at the way that some vendors of so-called lawful intercept and surveillance software and hardware systems conduct their business and which customers and governments they sell their wares to. Now, some of those vendors–and the customers they work with–are mounting their own criticisms of the researchers and their tactics.

      [...]

      Hacking Team is an Italian company that develops and sells surveillance equipment and spyware to government clients.

    • Rogers downplays NSA moonlighting controversy

      Earlier this month the NSA was forced to launch an internal review of the practice after Reuters published a story detailing how the agency allowed Patrick Dowd, the NSA’s chief technical officer, to work 20 hours per week for IronNet Cybersecurity Inc., a private cybersecurity firm founded by former NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander. The company reportedly charges financial institutions up to $1 million per month for cybersecurity services based on technology patents Alexander developed while he was employed as NSA director. Under pressure, Alexander terminated the agreement with Dowd last week.

    • You’ve been permacookied and don’t even know it

      I’ve long warned that no one is truly anonymous on the Internet. Tor guarantees anonymous downloads about as much as naming your hacking collective “Anonymous” guarantees you won’t be arrested. Those private snaps on your smartphone? If anyone cares to see them, they can be stolen and posted publicly. Repeat after me: When you use the Internet, anonymity is not a feature.

    • Cell carrier was weakest link in hack of Google, Instagram accounts

      If you think the two-factor authentication offered by Google and other cloud services will keep your account out of the hands of an attacker, think again. One developer found out this weekend the hard way; Google’s account protection scheme can be bypassed by going after something most people would consider an even harder target—the user’s cell phone account.

    • The Government is in Pursuit of a Less Secure Internet

      A government proposal to change the rules for obtaining search warrants risks making all of us more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

      The FBI wants to be able to infect computers with malware when it doesn’t know where exactly they’re located. The implications for computer security, and for constitutional limits on the government’s search powers, are drastic.

      The Department of Justice is asking a judicial committee to amend Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which generally permits magistrate judges to issue search warrants to the government only for searches within their judicial district. The government wants to lift the geographical limitation to allow it to conduct electronic surveillance of devices whose locations are unknown.

    • Dropbox’s Drew Houston Responds To Snowden’s Privacy Criticism: It’s A Trade-Off

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden sparked controversy when he advised consumers (twice) to “get rid of Dropbox” if they want to protect their privacy. Today, Drew Houston, CEO of the cloud storage startup, responded to the accusations. People can do more to encrypt their data, he admitted, but It’s “a trade-off between usability/convenience and security,” he said. “We offer people choice.”

    • Police misuse of Ripa powers to spy on journalists is systemic, MPs told

      The National Union of Journalists has told parliament that police misuse of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to snoop on journalists and their sources is “systemic and institutionalised” and is doing “irreparable damage” to the industry.

      Michelle Stanistreet, the NUJ’s general secretary, told the home affairs select committee that police were routinely bypassing the need for judicial scrutiny to discover journalistic sources by using Ripa to go through phone records and other data.

    • How mobiles can hack our most sensitive data

      The data can be picked up by a mobile phone up to 23 feet away and then transmitted over Wi-Fi or a cellular network to an attacker’s command-and-control server. The victim’s own mobile phone can be used to receive and transmit the stolen data, or an attacker lurking outside an office or lab can use his own phone to pick up the transmission.

    • Activist lawyer takes NSA surveillance case to federal appeals court

      A conservative gadfly lawyer who has made a career of skewering Democratic administrations is taking his battle against the National Security Agency’s telephone surveillance programme to a federal appeals court.

    • Ex-NSA chief invested heavily in tech firm tied to AT&T

      As questions continue to be raised about the legality concerning the National Security Agency’s vast surveillance apparatus, the NSA’s ex spy chief is now coming under attack for ties he had to a tech company while in office.

      A report published on Monday this week by Shane Harris at the Daily Beast revealed that Gen. Keith Alexander, the recently retired head of the NSA, bought and sold tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of stock in a firm called Synchronoss Technologies Inc. while he ran the United States’ intelligence gathering agency.

    • ACLU on Executive Order 12333: NSA may be laughing at your sex tape

      Snowden told The Guardian that when some NSA analysts intercept photos of a sexual nature, they cannot pass up the temptation to pass the images around. He witnessed this privacy invasion “numerous” times and called the occurrences “routine enough” to be considered “fringe benefits of surveillance positions.”

    • Pizza delivery man for Senate: Delete all the NSA’s files

      Haugh is just as absolutist when it comes to ending foreign wars and bringing home troops from far-off outposts. Not only does he advocate stopping the current air strikes against ISIL and other extremist groups in Iraq and Syria, but he’s also quick to draw a connection between winding down wars and removing prohibitions on recreational drug use.

    • Former NSA lawyer: the cyberwar is between tech firms and the US government

      The battle over encryption of consumer internet users’ data has pitched US technology companies against the US government itself, former NSA general counsel Stewart Baker said on Tuesday.

  • Civil Rights

    • No prospect of NYT journalist testifying at ex-CIA officer’s trial, prosecutors say

      In a motion filed in US district court in Alexandria, Virginia, prosecutors say attorneys for the journalist James Risen have told them that, even if subpoenaed, Risen will refuse to provide any substantive testimony at the pending trial of the former CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling.

    • Prosecutors Say There’s Still No Deal In Place With James Risen

      Federal prosecutors said Monday they have no deal in place with a New York Times reporter whose testimony they want as they prosecute a former CIA officer accused of leaking classified information.

      In a motion filed in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, prosecutors say attorneys for journalist James Risen have told them that, even if subpoenaed, Risen will refuse to provide any substantive testimony at the pending trial of former CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling.

    • Reporter still refusing to testify in CIA Iran leak case

      ALEXANDRIA, Virginia — Federal prosecutors said Monday they have no deal in place with a New York Times reporter whose testimony they want as they prosecute a former CIA officer accused of leaking classified information about covert operations against Iran.

    • Prosecutors: No deal with reporter on leak case

      Federal prosecutors say they have no deal in place with a New York Times reporter whose testimony they want as they prosecute a former CIA officer accused of leaking sensitive information.

      In a motion filed Monday in federal court in Alexandria, prosecutors say attorneys for journalist James Risen have told them that, even if subpoenaed, Risen will refuse to provide any substantive testimony at the pending trial of former CIA operative Jeffrey Sterling.

    • The CIA in Texas

      Even the documented account by James Risen of the White House orchestrated plot in the wake of 9/11 to circumvent (indeed, ignore) legal restrictions on domestic wire-tapping has not crossed the threshold of public attention.

    • War. Torture. The NSA. And Jerusalem? The American president’s addiction to king-like power must end

      President Bush signed the bill into law, but – this being George W Bush, who saw his office as above the law on issues from going to war to torturing during an endless war and even spying on his own citizens – he also issued an adjoining statement expressing his view that the statute is an unconstitutional encroachment on presidential power. The Obama administration has taken the same position, in reasserting the White House’s official neutrality as to which sovereign controls Jerusalem – and in resisting the power for Congress to keep the president’s power in check.

    • Ex-CIA officer unseats Dem Rep. Gallego
    • Wyden: CIA Demand To Black Out Torture Report Details Would Be Unprecedented

      The Central Intelligence Agency’s call to black out all pseudonyms from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on torture would be unprecedented – and represents an unacceptable effort to obscure key facts, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said last week.

    • You know who else won the 2014 election? The CIA.

      With Republicans taking control of the Senate, there’s a good chance the CIA won’t be held accountable for its crimes during the Bush era

    • Milwaukee Students Disrupt CIA Recruitment on Campus

      On Oct. 29, students led by Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES) and Progressive Students of Milwaukee (PSM) disrupted a CIA recruitment event held on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee campus.

      The CIA is a defender of U.S. corporate interests against democratic people’s movements. Protest organizers say that for more than 60 years, the CIA has assassinated foreign leaders and civilians around the globe, systematically tortured, trained assassins to kill both US and foreign civilians, facilitated weapons and drug trafficking by terrorists and paramilitaries, influenced foreign elections with money and murder, and lied to congress about its activities.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • No Compromise: FCC Should Reject Risky, Confusing “Hybrid” Net Neutrality

      Back in May the Federal Communications Commission proposed flawed “net neutrality” rules that would effectively bless the creation of Internet “slow lanes.” After months of netroots protests the FCC is now reportedly considering a new “hybrid” proposal. EFF is deeply concerned, however, that this “compromise” risks too much, for too little.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Attention Kim Kardashian: You Can’t Sue Another Woman For Having A Big Ass And An Instagram Account

      Let’s pretend for a moment that for-some-reason-a-celebrity Kim Kardashian reads Techdirt. Someone needs to let her know that lawsuits and lawyers are not for temper tantrums over threats to your own celebrity. I’d have thought she’d have previously learned this lesson after Old Navy staved off the lawsuit she filed because the clothing company had the gall to hire a brunette woman for one of their commercials. It would appear not, now that she’s reportedly investigating whether or not she can sue a woman named Jen Selter for “copying” Kim’s poses (bwah?) and having a big ass.

    • Does Kim Kardashian have her eye on your bottom?

      To Los Angeles, where Lost in Showbiz learns that a landmark court case may be brewing. It derives this knowledge from a feature in leading legal periodical Closer magazine, headlined KIM KARDASHIAN FUMES OVER BOTTOM “COPYCAT”. We won’t go into too much detail here, because quite frankly, reading the whole article made Lost in Showbiz worry that civilisation as we know it is doomed and that brimstone is going to start raining from the sky any minute. Suffice to say, the general thrust is that Kim Kardashian is angry at a woman the piece refers to as “internet bottom sensation” Jen Selter. Selter has been posting photographs of her large buttocks on Instagram, an activity Kardashian apparently feels is an unacceptable infringement upon her very raison d’etre: one of the gangplanks of Kim Kardashian’s global celebrity being her nonpareil ability to take photographs of her own large buttocks with a cameraphone. “Kim thinks Jen copies all her poses … she is fuming as she feels her curvy bum is one of her most unique selling points and feels that Jen is just trying to cash in.”

    • EFF asks for the right to revive “abandoned” online games

      While playing the original versions of classic games on aging original hardware can sometimes be difficult, it’s at least typically possible. That’s not the case for many online games, which are functionally inoperable once the developer or publisher decides to shut down the official servers that provide the only way for players to communicate with each other. Unofficial hobbyist projects that try to create new servers for these abandoned games could run afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and its ban on “the circumvention of access control technologies.”

    • Why We’re Just Now Getting the 1960s Batman TV Show on DVD

      In 1998, a man named John Stacks formed a company, Johnny Resin, that sold model kits to a niche audience. His specialty was a line of sculpts bearing the likenesses of actors from 1966′s Batman television series: Adam West, Burt Ward, and an assortment of villains, all in costume.

    • To Nobody’s Surprise, Australian “Terrorism” Law May Be Used for Copyright Enforcement

      As we foreshadowed, a new law requiring mandatory data retention by ISPs was introduced into the Australian federal parliament last week. In the few days since then, there have been claims and counter-claims about whether data obtained under the new law would be limited to use in fighting major crimes (such as terrorism, as the government originally claimed), or if it could be used to target citizens who download and share files online.

      The current party line, from flip-flopping Attorney-General George Brandis (whom some may remember from this train-wreck interview in which he attempted to define “metadata”) is that the new laws “can’t be and they won’t be” used to prosecute file sharers, because copyright infringement is only a civil offense.

    • Copyrights

      • Dutch Parliament Wants Popup Warnings on Pirate Sites

        A majority of the Dutch Parliament has backed a proposal to target online piracy through warning popups on “pirate” sites. The warnings should inform Internet users that they’re breaking the law, while pointing out what the legal alternatives are. The opposition characterizes the plan as “stupid” and notes there are better ways to deal with the issue.

      • German Police Raid 121 Homes in Massive Pirate Site Crackdown

        Four hundred police officers raided 121 homes today in a crackdown on the popular linking site Boerse.bz. The homes are believed to be connected to active uploaders of the site but no arrests have been made. The Boerse.bz website itself switched to a new provider but remains online.

Microsoft Coup D’état: After Paying the Apache Software Foundation and Paying Apache Man to Become Microsoft Employee He Immediately Becomes President

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 7:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. “Independent” analyst’s report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent” consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). “Independent” courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: Microsoft staff installed as head of the Apache Software Foundation just half a decade after the Apache Software Foundation sold out

ABOUT six years ago, Apache (or ASF) made itself vulnerable to a Microsoft coup d’état by becoming financially dependent on Microsoft. Apache has, in some sense, sold out. Our previous posts about this include (to list just a subset):

  1. Embrace, Extend, and Apache
  2. Yesterday’s Microsoft Slashvertisement and Apache’s Trip to Redmond
  3. Microsoft Starts the Media Charade Ahead of Apache Conference
  4. Microsoft Pays for a More Microsoft-Obedient Apache
  5. Microsoft Now Tries to Invade Eclipse, Apache (Updated)
  6. Glyn Moody, Pam Jones: Apache Sponsorship Likely an Anti-GNU/Linux Move
  7. Does Apache Show That Money Talks?
  8. Haters of Software Freedom Inside Planet Apache
  9. Microsoft’s Path of LAMP Destruction: From Novell to Apache (the L to the A)
  10. Microsoft Hates Apache, Wanted to Sue It, Now Wants to Ruin It

Apache has since then been trying to pretend it Microsoft would not corrupt the foundation, but readers have sent us links to this new press release asking for money (making the foundation inherently vulnerable), signed by Microsoft’s Ross Gardler, acting as “President”. The word “President” in the press release could just as well be substituted with the word “Microsoft”, as if the press release actually comes from Microsoft. To put it in Gardler’s own words, “I work at Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc.”

He also represents Microsoft at events and “Microsoft Open Technologies” is basically a Trojan horse inside FOSS, dedicated to derailing Free software and injecting Microsoft influence. It’s a shrewd proxy strategy.

This appointment is apparently not quite so new, it’s just that the media didn’t cover it. Based on Wikipedia:

Shortly after joining Microsoft Open Technologies, Inc. the Apache Software Foundation board elected Gardler to act as President…

Wow, what a timing! Reverse Elop?

It apparently dates back to last year. We have heard from some prominent FOSS luminaries that Microsoft tried to buy them off (bribe) too, either with bizarre job offers or some funding (which some may often accept with or without disclosure). Sadly, not all of them are principled and disciplined enough to decline. Microsoft uses its money to crush its competition from the inside (divide and rule) and it’s proving rather effective so far.

Ridiculous Patents at the USPTO, Trolls as ‘NPEs’, and an Update on Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls

Posted in Law, Patents at 6:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of patent news and in particular news pertaining to software patents, trolls that threaten Free software, and media bias

EVERY NOW and then Techrights covers examples of patents — not necessarily software patents — which show how ridiculous the patent system has become, especially the USPTO.

Some days ago the EFF wrote about a patent on how to film a yoga class — a patent similar in some sense to Amazon’s patent on photographing objects with a white background at the back.

EFF recently learned about a patent that covered a method of filming a yoga class. We reviewed the patent and discovered that it was just as ridiculous as it sounded. Despite our familiarity with absurd patents and our concerns about cursory review at the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), we were still surprised that this one issued. It seemed the so-called “invention” wasn’t the kind of thing that should be patented at all—or at the very least, was not something novel or nonobvious. Yet another stupid patent, and winner of our October accolades.

Another new article from the EFF says that a “patent troll [was] hit with double fee award”. “Lumen View is a typical patent troll,” says the EFF. “Armed with a vague patent on “facilitating bilateral and multilateral decision-making,” it sent out aggressive letters demanding payment. It refused to explain how its targets actually infringed its patent. Instead, it made shakedown offers it knew would be less than the cost of defending a lawsuit. When startup FindTheBest spoke up about Lumen View’s tactics, the troll asked for a gag order. Thankfully, Judge Denise Cote of the Southern District of New York refused the troll’s censorship demand.”

Now everyone is against patent trolls. The plutocrats’ paper, Forbes, calls them “Non-Practicing Entities” in this “interview Shawn Ambawni the COO of Unified Patents.” (not to be confused with the proposed European Unified Patent Court)

“Unified Patents” issued some numbers on decrease in patent litigation although its numbers where not quite as encouraging as those from Lex Machina and they tried to paint it as a troll issue, not a patent scope issue. Here is the original spin with the “NPE” euphemism for trolls.

Instead of chastising the real patent aggressors, corporate media likes to pick on companies like Google (because Google stopped pursing real reform). It’s just too popular to pick on Google and not companies that are aggressive with patents and use them against Google, e.g. Apple, Oracle, and Microsoft.

The corporate media, USA Today for example, continues to reveal its support for abusive litigation with patents by big companies and trolls (referring to trolls as “NPEs”) and a patent maximalists’ Web site writes about Wi-LAN, a very notorious troll, as though it’s an “NPE” too:

Japan’s ROHM Semiconductor has entered into an agreement with Wi-LAN which will see it transfer a portfolio of patents to the Canadian firm. This is the latest deal in which a Japanese technology company – traditionally a very conservative bunch when it comes to aggressive IP monetisation – has teamed up with an NPE in an effort to improve returns from its patents.

From the same patent maximalists’ site comes an interview where Lemley says: “The tech industry is not monolithic – Apple and IBM, and increasingly Microsoft, are actually now fairly vocal proponents of patents as they become sort of more mature companies and see their market share being taken away by others. My guess is that if you asked engineers in the software world they would say, maybe not universally, but almost to a person, we’re on a roll lets just get rid of them.”

In other news about trolls, Acacia has just been defeated and here is an interesting observation about Intellectual Ventures (both are Microsoft-connected):

How can they have more subsidiaries than IV? Or rather, how can their fewer-than-IV-subsidiaries have filed more lawsuits than IV’s? It’s possible and highly likely because Joe’s a very thorough guy and wouldn’t say that if it weren’t true. It’s just surprising that I didn’t know that because I pride myself on knowing all the things about all the trolls.

One sure thing is, patent trolls and big trolls such as Microsoft continue to be defended by some of the largest (and corporations-run) media, leaving everyone in a state of anxiety and disarray. The patent system as it stands at the moment serves virtually nobody except the richest people and richest corporations. It’s a system of protectionism.

The Corrupt Judge Rader (of CAFC) Still Pursuing Bad (More Aggressive) Patent System in the US

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 5:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Randall R. Rader
Photo from Reuters

Summary: Randall R. Rader, the disgraced judge from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), is still trying to impose his patent agenda on the United States, despite the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) repeatedly throwing away his rulings

Amdocs, a very surveillance-oriented company (although not advertised as such), has just lost an important case. Dennis Crouch wrote about it in “Software as an Abstract Idea”. “In yet another case,” wrote Crouch, “a district court has invalidated a set of software patents as unduly abstract under Alice Corp., Mayo, and 35 U.S.C. 101. In this case, E.D. Va. Judge Brinkema issued a judgment-on-the-pleadings that all of the asserted claims of the four Amdocs patents were invalid as patent-ineligible. The Decision.”

Here again we are seeing the impact of the Alice case on software patents in the United States. “Alice Corp. Oral Argument Goes to the Dogs” is a new post from Matt Levy that’s basically a comical video. It has been widely agreed by now (except by the more delusional patent lawyers) that software patents are severely affected by the ruling in the Alice case on software patents in the United States.

Meanwhile, the CAFC‘s corrupt trolls apologist and software patents proponent Rader reportedly says that “The law makes no sense any more” because SCOTUS, ruling in the Alice case, has struck down many software patents (if not all). The site (source) is vigorously preventing copy/paste (we’ve tried many browsers and even page source), but it basically shows that Rader continues his zealous pursuit in the maximalists’ agenda (he himself has a serious conflict of interest, which is why he was ousted).

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