Links 14/11/2014: LibreOffice 4.3.4, Ads Now in Firefox

Posted in News Roundup at 7:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Here They Are: Ads in Firefox

        With the launch of version 33.1 of the venerable Firefox browser this week, we’re witnessing a momentous new playbook change from Mozilla. Specifically, there are now advertisements in Firefox.

      • Mozilla Cuts First Brand Deals With GroupM, CVS, Weinstein, Booking.com

        In its first major push into Madison Avenue, Web and mobile browser software developer Mozilla has cut its first deals with big advertisers and at least one big media-buying organization to help it develop ways for brands to participate in a major content play. The deals, which include agreements with GroupM’s Mindshare unit, its client CVS Health, and two independent brands — travel site Booking.com and Hollywood studio The Weinstein Co. — are toes in the water, but the free, open-source software giant has ambitious plans for transforming the way people create and share content across digital screens, including advertisers and agencies.

      • First Firefox OS Smartphones Available in the Philippines

        Mozilla, the mission-based organization dedicated to promoting openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web, is happy to announce that Cherry Mobile will launch the first Firefox OS smartphone in the Philippines in the coming days. Cherry Mobile will offer the customizable and affordable Firefox OS smartphone – ACE – to their customers providing unique Web experiences through its open source mobile OS. Moreover, key app providers including Easy Taxi and OLX will partner with Mozilla to enrich Firefox Marketplace and expand the Firefox OS ecosystem in the Philippines.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Open Cloud Alliance Joins Growing Crowd of Cloud Standards Setters

      As the momentum surrounding OpenStack, CloudStack and other open cloud computing platforms accelerates, there are increasing needs at many enterprises for certification and validation of services, standards, and guarantees of interoperability. We are starting to see cloud computing reference architectures arrive from players such as HP, and interoperability labs focused on determining which cloud tools work together properly.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

  • Public Services/Government

    • As open source goes mainstream, institutions collaborate differently

      Earlier this week, I saw what the future of building government services may look like when I stumbled upon a simple dashboard of projects-in-progress. The dashboard is hosted by 18F, the new development unit within the US General Services Administration.

      18F, which explicitly seeks to tap into the success of the UK’s Government Digital Services unit, is pursuing a similar strategy, trying to lure developers from Silicon Valley and the ranks of civic developers all over the country with a daunting mission: change how federal technology gets done, at a time when bad government websites now damage public faith in government. Behind the dashboard is 18F’s GitHub account, which exemplifies a quietly revolutionary idea that the UK has been pursuing with great success: build beautiful digital services for the public, in public.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Optimising the datacentre using open standards

      The exponential growth of enterprise data and corporate reliance on technology is placing enormous demands on the modern datacentre. Information must be transmitted rapidly, processed in real time, and stored securely. Service uptime and availability guarantees necessary for your business to compete in the global marketplace are increasing. While cloud computing solutions to these problems have steadily matured and adoption is now widespread, business leaders continue to demand greater efficiencies and ROIs from their IT investments. Intel believes that employing open standards is the key to unlocking the full potential of your datacentre infrastructure.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fox Devoted 57 Segments To Manufactured ACA Scandal

      This week Fox News devoted at least 57 segments to scandalizing MIT economist Jonathan Gruber’s statement that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) “was written in a tortured way” in a renewed effort to delegitimize the passage of health care reform.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Porno and Bloodbaths

      With a defense budget — hold on, let’s dispense with the spin — with a war budget that eats up at least 50 percent of federal tax dollars each year, did you ever wonder if all the legal tender being funneled away from social programs is making anyone except defense contractors safer?

    • Countries without militaries

      Not entirely by coincidence, these countries include seven of the world’s 10 smallest independent countries by land area—a list that, in addition to the Holy See, comprises small island nations like Tuvalu and Nauru, as well as San Marino, another landlocked city-state on the Italian peninsula. “Traditionally [those countries] weren’t subject to invasion,” explained Peter Stearns, a George Mason professor who edited the 2013 book Demilitarization in the Contemporary World. Some formerly US-administered territories, like the Marshall Islands and Palau, simply never established militaries after achieving independence, instead leaving the US in charge of their defense.

    • 1914-2014: One Hundred Years of Conflict, Presages an Age of Endless Wars

      Of course, if you’re in the arms industry these are good times indeed. Those Tomahawk missiles are in action again, thanks to the rag tag Islamists (or possibly CIA armed, trained and financed insurgents) known as “ISIS”. Nevertheless, somewhat ironically despite more armed conflicts world wide, defence budgets are stagnating. This seems to be the case in Europe, the theatre of the last two world wars or mass slaughters of the 20th century. The “old continent” overall, is reluctant to increase military spending. Yet despite the economic hardships of austerity, the victors of WWI (UK, France) are purchasing more weaponry. The allies’ former foes (Austria and especially Germany) are for obvious historical considerations, loath to boost outlays for the military establishment. Berlin and Vienna seek to use the powers of diplomacy and economic might to maximise their clout in the world. Guns and armed men seem to be a thing of the past as far as they are concerned. Both EU member states, have taken a more conciliatory and less confrontational tack with respect to the perceived foreign “incursions” and “meddling” next door in Eastern Ukraine.

    • Debating How–Not Whether–to Launch a New War

      Moments after Barack Obama’s September 10 primetime address laying out a military plan to attack ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria, CNN featured a debate between Republican Sen. John McCain and former White House press secretary Jay Carney. The somewhat contentious exchange went viral. “Carney, McCain Spar on CNN Over ISIS Strategy” was the headline on the NPR website. “John McCain Has a Huge Fight With Jay Carney on CNN” was how it was billed at the Huffington Post.

    • No Debate and the New War

      Study finds little opposition to US attacks on Iraq, Syria

    • ‘Stealth drone technology – ace in Tehran hands’

      The US will have to bite the bullet over Iran building a copy of its cutting-edge stealth drone, Kaveh Afra-siabi, a political scientist and author, told RT. The technology is a major plus for Tehran’s deterrent strategy vis-à-vis US power in the region.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The New York Times Won’t Cower to the Government, Except When It Does

      But they have certainly submitted to United States government coercion in the past. Here are a few recent instances that come to mind…

    • Who is the most influential person in your life? Edward.

      The 22d of November marks the 123d birth anniversary of Edward Bernays which is without doubt the single person that affected all our lives, often in a negative way.

      Some think that they make choices out of their free will but don’t realise that their free will has been conditioned by years of “propaganda”.

      But who is he and why he’s influencing my life?

    • ALEC Support Drops 19 Percent in 2013

      The embattled American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) lost nearly 20 percent in grant revenue between 2012 and 2013, according to new tax filings, reflecting the financial hit that the “corporate bill mill” has suffered as it has been dragged into the sunlight.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • London’s Third Wall And Surveillance Function Creep

      The UK is infamous for the Orwellian number of its CCTV cameras dotted around the land. And as the UK is to the world, so London is to the UK, with an even more extreme level of surveillance taking place 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As part of “an investigation into paranoia, electromagnetism, and infrastructure,” James Bridle decided to walk around the inner core of London known as the “Congestion Charge Zone,” which requires all vehicles that enter to pay a fee — the idea being that this will reduce unnecessary traffic and thus air pollution in the capital. For reasons explained in Bridle’s entertaining post, he never made it all the way around the London Congestion Charge Zone’s perimeter, but he did manage to record around half of the surveillance cameras he encountered on his way — all 427 of them — which he turned into an interactive map.

    • Government planes mimic cellphone towers to collect user data – report

      The US justice department is reportedly using electronic equipment on aircraft to simulate cellphone towers so it can collect phone location and identifying information on a mass scale from users on the ground below.

      The allegations, reported in the Wall Street Journal late on Thursday, suggest that the US Marshals Service has for seven years flown Cessna aircraft outfitted with “dirtbox” devices that mimic cellular towers, permitting the collection of thousands of unique IDs and location data from users.

    • US government spying on people’s cell phones using fake signal towers
    • WSJ: A Secret U.S. Spy Program Is Using Planes to Target Cell Phones
    • The Justice Department Has Been Spying on Your Phone From Airborne Cessnas
    • U.S. Authorities Are Reportedly Gathering Phone Data Using Fake Celltowers On Planes
    • Americans’ Cellphones Targeted in Secret U.S. Spy Program

      The Justice Department is scooping up data from thousands of mobile phones through devices deployed on airplanes that mimic cellphone towers, a high-tech hunt for criminal suspects that is snagging a large number of innocent Americans, according to people familiar with the operations.

    • Americans’ Cellphones Targeted in Secret U.S. Spy Program

      Devices on Planes that Mimic Cellphone Towers Used to Target Criminals, but Also Sift Through Thousands of Other Phones

    • US government is using planes to spy on cell phones, suck up data

      It’s the sort of thing that makes you want to hide in a cave with a tin foil hat: a new report reveals that the Justice Department is using airplanes to scan the cell phone data of suspected criminals, and anyone who might be standing near them.

    • Democracies US, UK and India Listed Among Enemies of Internet Freedom

      Internet censorship and monitoring are prevalent in authoritarian countries such as North Korea, China and Russia, and these countries are still regarded as the biggest enemies of internet freedom.

      Now, a few democratic countries have been added to the list of nations that monitor citizen’s activities online and pose a threat to internet freedom. Advocates of internet freedom are worried as democratic nations are heading towards a more authoritarian internet.

    • Senate may vote to cut NSA recording

      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., moved yesterday to take up legislation that would curtail some of the bulk collection of Americans’ telephone data.

      Reid filed notice that he would hold a procedural vote, probably next week, on a bill sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., to limit which records of domestic phone calls can be collected and stored by the FBI and the National Security Agency.

    • As It Stands, Feinstein Would Vote ‘No’ on Surveillance Reform

      In its current form, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, would vote against major legislation to reform the National Security Agency’s bulk metadata collection program, the California Democrat said Thursday.

      “Do I intend to vote for it? I’m giving that real consideration. Right now, no, but that’s subject to change,” she said, after walking out of a closed committee hearing. Her committee colleagues, including Sens. Angus King (I-Maine), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.) also expressed skepticism over the USA Freedom Act, which would end much of the government’s bulk data collection activities.

    • Quite Possibly the Worst Analysis of NSA Spying You Will Ever Hear

      In a bizarre application of the old “blame the victim” idea, the Guardian’s James Ball has decided that ordinary people with nosy neighbor syndrome are the fundamental cause of government spying. It’s a classic example of confusing the cultural problem of gossip with the political problem of surveillance.

      This comes in the wake of that viral video a guy took of a housekeeper cleaning his hotel room and riffling through his stuff. The question is, what makes us want to spy on a housekeeper and punish her with internet infamy when she dares to spend time looking at some videogames before making the bed? It’s probably the same urge that makes us gossip about celebrities, and spread vicious rumors about people that can harm their reputations and send them into deep depression. Call it nosy neighbor syndrome. It’s an ugly urge, and has only gotten more pernicious in the wake of easily-available cams and gossip-spreading services like YouTube and Facebook.

    • To stop the government from collecting our phone records, pass the USA Freedom Act

      Almost a year and a half after Edward Snowden revealed that the government was collecting the telephone records of millions of Americans, Congress may be about to end that program — if it doesn’t succumb to specious arguments from defenders of the status quo.

    • California police spent $45mn on spy gear with little oversight

      Police departments across California spent more than $45 million on surveillance equipment over the course of a decade with little to no legislative or public oversight – and without the public’s knowledge, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

      The ACLU report, titled ‘Making Smart Decisions about Surveillance: A Guide for Communities,’ reveals how California law enforcement took advantage of millions of dollars’ worth of federal surveillance gear to sidestep city council oversight and boards of supervisors. Police also avoided consideration of costs and benefits and left the public in the dark as to how law enforcement was using the equipment to track their lives.

    • Snowden media prize to be awarded in Moscow

      Winners of Russia’s first online media prize named after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden will be announced at a ceremony in Moscow on Friday, an event organizer said.

      The Russian Association of Electronic Communications told TASS that 83 applications from companies and 62 applications from Russian journalists had been received for the Internet Media Awards.

    • US Whistleblower Edward Snowden Reunites With Girlfriend And Pets A Dog, Flashes On Russian TV

      Edward Snowden has reunited with Lindsay Mills, his girlfriend, in Russia. The U.S. whistleblower, who is on the run, has also made another friend—a dog of strange breed. According to rtnews.com, the NSA ex-contractor’s lawyer, Anatoly Kucherena, flashed the picture of Snowden with his dog in Rossiya 24 TV channel, and revealed the animal’s name as Rick.

    • Pew Study Shows Americans Are Fed up with Government Surveillance

      It’s a fact: most Americans are concerned about their online privacy. According to a Pew study released on November 12th, 80% of surveyed participants believed that Americans should be fully concerned with the government’s monitoring of phone calls and internet activity. 82% of respondents believed that details regarding their physical location should be more protected. 91% of participants feel that they’ve “lost control” over how their personal data is collated and collected and utilized by private companies. By contrast, only 41% of respondents considered their online purchasing history to be “sensitive information”, and only 5% of participants were actually unaware of the government’s monitoring of American’s internet and communication activity….

    • Intel Subsidiary Agrees to $750,000 Penalty for Unauthorized Encryption Exports
    • Advanced persistent threats found in the TOR network

      There are suggestions that the malware code has been around for a while, and has predecessors, and F-Secure warned internet users, anonymous or otherwise, to tread carefully when they download.

      “However, it would seem that the OnionDuke family is much older, based on older compilation timestamps and on the fact that some of the embedded configuration data makes reference to an apparent version number of four, suggesting that at least three earlier versions of the family exist,” the firm added.

      “In any case, although much is still shrouded in mystery and speculation, one thing is certain: while using Tor may help you stay anonymous, it does at the same time paint a huge target on your back.

      “It’s never a good idea to download binaries via Tor (or anything else) without encryption.”

    • For a year, gang operating rogue Tor node infected Windows executables

      Three weeks ago, a security researcher uncovered a Tor exit node that added malware to uncompressed Windows executables passing through it. Officials with the privacy service promptly shut down the Russia-based node, but according to new research, the group behind the node had likely been infecting files for more than a year by that time, causing careless users to install a backdoor that gave attackers full control of their systems.

    • US privacy confidence at new low, survey indicates

      The vast majority – 91% – of Americans believe that consumers have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies, according to a survey.

    • EU DNA Database Back on the Agenda

      dna-3Following Monday night’s confused debate on EU Justice and Home Affairs powers it has been revealed that the Government is embarking upon a scheme that would give European states limited access to the UK DNA database and potentially pave the way to a linking of the UK and EU databases.

    • Nations want to be the ruler of the internet – at least within their own borders

      While there is only one world power on the internet, that situation will not last forever. The internet’s underpinning technologies were mostly created in the US, the initial networks were based there – and today the US hosts the majority of the most powerful internet companies. Although the international community has fought minor battles on internet sovereignty for years, the de facto power that stems from this US-centricism has for a long time seemed acceptable. But with the revelations – not even all following from Snowden – about international mass surveillance by the US and its allies, it’s inevitable the gloves have had to come off.

    • The GCHQ boss’s assault on privacy is promoting illegality on the net

      As he will have wished and we might have predicted, the bandwagon created by the GCHQ boss, Robert Hannigan, is gathering momentum. His demand that the internet companies abandon their stance on privacy now carries the weight of the British government.

      Addressing the Society of Editors conference on Tuesday, Sajid Javid, the culture secretary, dismissed the right to privacy – in the form of the right to be forgotten – as “little more than an excuse for well-paid lawyers to hide the shady pasts of wealthy businessmen and the sexual indiscretions of sporting celebrities”. Last weekend the former home secretary David Blunkett jumped on board, accusing technology companies that offer encryption of “helping terrorists to co-ordinate genocide and foster fear and instability around the world”. Bernard Hogan Howe, the Metropolitan police commissioner, said this month that space and technology firms must do more to frustrate paedophiles, murderers and terrorists.

  • Civil Rights

    • Why the Press Is Less Free Today

      In the worldwide movement away from democracy, perhaps the most vulnerable institution is the free press, and the most disposable people are journalists. If they’re doing their job right, they can have few friends in powerful places. Journalists become reliably useful to governments, corporations, or armed groups only when they betray their calling. They seldom even have a base of support within the general public. In some places, it’s impossible to report the truth without making oneself an object of hatred and a target of violence for one sector of society or another.

    • Senator Mark Udall plans to push on issues of CIA torture and snooping during final weeks in office

      U.S. Sen. Mark Udall has seven weeks left in office, but the Colorado Democrat isn’t prepared to go quietly — especially when it comes to the twin issues of CIA torture and government snooping.

    • Will Mark Udall release details of CIA torture report before he goes?

      Pentagon Papers redux?

      Even before Sen. Mark Udall’s Nov. 4 loss, transparency advocates were pushing him to take a dramatic stand: Disclose all the secret details of the CIA’s torture techniques.

      Now that he’s on his way out, the Colorado Democrat told The Denver Post, his hometown newspaper, that he’s considering it.

      “I’m going to keep all options on the table to ensure the truth comes out,” Udall said.

    • Udall: ‘All options’ on table with CIA report

      Outgoing Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) said he is keeping “all options on the table” when it comes to publicly releasing the Senate’s report on the CIA’s now-defunct interrogation program.

    • Outbound Udall Considers Spilling Torture Report Secrets

      The defeated Democrat is leaving open the possibility that he will take into his own hands release of a controversial study of Bush-era “enhanced interrogation” methods.

    • U.N. Commission Presses U.S. on Torture

      A United Nations panel that monitors compliance with an antitorture treaty expressed skepticism Thursday about American law enforcement and national security practices.

      In a two-day presentation in Geneva, the American delegation acknowledged that the United States had tortured terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks. It emphasized, however, that the government had since tightened its rules, including with a 2005 statute against using cruelty and a 2009 executive order by President Obama that limits interrogators to a list of techniques in an Army field manual.sed the delegation to explain Appendix M of the manual, which contains special procedures for separating captives in order to prevent them from communicating. The appendix says that prisoners shall receive at least four hours of sleep a day — an amount Mr. Bruni said would be sleep deprivation over prolonged periods and unrelated to preventing communication.

    • Release the Senate Torture Report

      In addition to the Torture Report, there is a CIA formal response defending the agency’s actions. A third report, commissioned by former CIA Director Leon Panetta, is reportedly consistent with Torture Report findings, but contradicts the CIA’s response to it. It is not clear whether these reports will be released.

    • Diego Garcia Dentention Questions

      The questions of Mr Tyrie also confirm that the US detention facility closed in 2007; the same year the UK holding cells were opened. The Ministers stops short of denying US forces have requested use of UK detention facilities on Deigo Garcia but does state that “there is no information to suggest that the US requested permission to use it during this period [2002 to 2009].”

    • Obama seeks human rights waiver on war funds

      The Obama administration has asked Congress repeatedly to exempt its military effort against the Islamic State from a longstanding ban on U.S. assistance to torturers and war criminals, highlighting doubts about finding “clean” American allies in a region wracked by ethnic animosity and religious extremism.

    • Laos: International donors must press government on human rights issues

      The Lao government’s failure to adequately investigate and attempt to solve most cases of enforced disappearances, including that of prominent civil society leader and human rights defender Sombath Somphone, remains an issue of serious concern. In addition, recently-enacted legislation adds to a body of existing repressive laws that severely restrict the people’s enjoyment of their civil and political rights. New regulations proposed by the government, if enacted, will negatively impact Lao people and adversely affect the operations of International Non-Government Organizations (INGOs) and Non-Profit Associations (NPAs).

    • Bolton: The search for intelligent life forms should start here

      Look at all the CIA coups where we undermine and/or overthrow governments to the detriment of its people as well as to ours, where it usually costs us in blood and treasure. However, the international bankers make out like bandits, which they are.

    • The Klan’s Call to Violence in Ferguson Blows the Lid Off Its Hypocritical Rebrand

      Despite the KKK’s recent attempts to soften its ‘burning crosses, bombing churches’ image, its call to violence against Ferguson protesters exposes the same old racist Klan mentality.

    • High School Kids Staring Down Child Porn Charges In Sexting Scandal

      Even as we recently discussed yet another case of law enforcement getting involved in cases of teens sexting, a behavior that is likely more common than we prudish adults can even fathom, it seems that a group of teens in the Chicago suburbs just weren’t getting the message. This isn’t to say, of course, that sexting is a recommended behavior. Still, it’s common enough that the existing laws and punishments in place are often more harmful than the behavior they’re trying to curtail.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality is not a liberal-vs.-conservative issue

      All hopes for a reasoned discussion on Net neutrality seemingly flew out the window this week, as President Obama issued a strong statement calling on the FCC to reclassify ISPs as Title II carriers in order to preserve a free and open Internet. And though a new poll shows Net neutrality is not a liberal-vs.-conservative issue, that’s undeniably how it will play out in Congress.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

Links 14/11/2014: GNOME 3.14.2, PulseAudio 6.0

Posted in News Roundup at 7:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 tips for adopting open source

    Open source code drives collaborative innovation from a larger pool of developers at a lower cost, which is why federal agencies are adopting the “open source first” model. In fact Sonny Hashmi, CIO of the General Services Administration, recently announced that implementing open source software is among his top priorities this year.

    So what’s the best way to increase your agency’s adoption of open source software and keep it secure?

  • Databricks Adds Certifications for Spark Big Data Integrators

    Apache Spark, the open source platform for in-memory, cluster-based big data processing, has taken another step toward readiness for prime time with the announcement of a new certification program from Databricks that focuses on Spark systems integrators.

  • GlobalSight shines with open source in the translation community

    Making GlobalSight open source in 2009 was a business decision by Welocalize, as it allowed users and clients the most options to support and create solutions that work best for them. As it turned out, clients liked the decision and Welocalize embraced the open source model as a business strategy. The GlobalSight community has been active since then and is a vibrant, active group of users, developers, and translation professionals. Users like GlobalSight because it is a fully featured TMS system, which is core to supporting localization and translation programs in large enterprises.

  • Adobe appoints former Reg man as open-source chief mobile lead

    Matt Asay has quietly been appointed Adobe’s vice president of mobile for the firm’s digital marketing business, The Reg has learned. He left his post as vice president of community at NoSQL database MongoDB on 31 October.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google’s Blink WebKit Engine Fork Is Doing Great

        A “State of Blink” presentation was shared during the conference and the short story is that this engine, which is used by Google’s Chrome/Chromium among other open-source web projects, is doing great.

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • ownCloud Enables True Universal File Access via Cloud Service

      ownCloud uses its own server-to-server sharing capability to bypass all the Web interfaces that trip up seamless file sharing across silos.

      Anybody who says there’s nothing new under the sun–or clouds–ought to read this story.

      Cloud storage and collaboration service provider ownCloud (yes, with a lower-case “o”) has found a way to sync up files from all over the place–from the cloud, to enterprise silos, to personal connected storage devices, to other disparate places–and make them easily available and sharable using its own cloud (hence, ownCloud) common file access layer.

  • Databases

    • Amazon: DROP DATABASE Oracle; INSERT our new fast cheap MySQL clone

      Amazon fired a volley at Oracle and other relational database vendors on Wednesday, with the launch of a new, cloud-hosted database service that it says can deliver better performance than on-premises installations at a fraction of the cost.

      Amazon Web Services senior VP Andy Jassy unveiled the new service, dubbed Amazon Aurora, during the opening keynote of the annual AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, arguing that traditional database software isn’t serving customers’ needs in a cloud-centric world.

    • Amazon Claims New Aurora DB Engine Screams With Speed

      Looks like the long-popular, open-source MySQL database, which runs inside so many IT systems now that there isn’t a good way to know exactly how many instances are out there, has a viable new competitor.


    • Leaving da Camera On: Introduction and Contents

      Which brings us to a very relevant point. The Gnu/Linux and Free Software Foundation people (we mean the real guys, the ‘amateur’ programmers, artists, writers, engineers — many of whom do not get paid for their ‘real work’ (“I’m a programmer, really. Acting in major motion pictures is just my day job”) — not the ‘Official Value-added Linux Distributors’ who package and dispense the product to supplement their substantial offerings of NSA-quality and price-tag corporate ‘offerings’) are totally responsible for Leaving da Camera On — though we’ll accept the blame; happy to take a bullet for GNU/FSF any time. The crude — but vehemently sincere — multi-media shtick we’ll be offering you — Hey all you people out there on Internet Land! Hi Mom! — would have cost thousands of dollars — per machine — had we been forced to knuckle under to MacWindows shake-down-ware. Which is and would have been impossible — in every sense of the term. And way beyond our humble dissents’ budget. A lot or GNU/Linux ‘day-to-day-routine’ processes are deliberately blocked, as anyone who’s been duped by the iPadphonepoddronelauncher PR hustle and ‘copyright law’ strong-arming via their congressional attorneys has experienced; which is why all of Free Media Offerings (FMCs) within these quercks and decs are ‘conceptually correct,’ the ‘production values’ would have been considered cheap and cheesy by Ed Wood.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Scholarship Winner Sandeep Aryal Aims to Bring Open Source to Nepal

      As a system administrator for the Government of Nepal in Kathmandu, Sandeep Aryal says it will be a formidable challenge to convince his employer to adopt Linux and open source software. But he believes the training he receives through his Linux Foundation scholarship will help him better make his case, he says.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • How open source is changing our food

      Our planet is currently inhabited by 7 billion people. And we believe open source holds a key to building better hardware, methods, and systems to help us grow, harvest, and share food with each other. Right where we live, and on a greater scale, with our global neighbors. Out of the sharing economy and the labors of love of open source communities have come innovative ideas that we need today and will need into the future.

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Celebrating 10 years of Lohit fonts project

      I am sure in open source it is rare to find people who are not aware of Lohit fonts [1] or not used it over the years. It is default fonts for number of Indian language in Most of the open source distribution including Fedora, Debian. It was used in early version of Android for Indian languages. It is used in Wikipedia as a Web fonts. Recently Unicode started using it for building Tamil code charts.


  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Activists Arrested for Protesting Drone Killings Speak Out

      Ellen Barfield and Marilyn Carlisle talk to the Real News about why they committed civil disobedience opposing drone strikes at the NSA headquarters in Ft. Meade, Maryland

    • World wary as bombs, not humans, pick whom to kill

      On a bright fall day last year off the coast of Southern California, an Air Force B-1 bomber launched an experimental missile that may herald the future of warfare.

      Initially, pilots aboard the plane directed the missile, but halfway to its destination, it severed communication with its operators. Alone, without human oversight, the missile decided which of three ships to attack, dropping to just above the sea surface and striking a 260-foot unmanned freighter.

    • Bombs Away: Weaponized Drones Flying High

      For a while it seemed that the drones project had been restrained following a flood of public criticism last year. Reports from United Nations Special Rapporteurs, and mainstream NGOs like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International clearly documented violations of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law by Drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, countries the US is not at war with. US attempts to justify the strikes were clearly inadequate but strikes dwindled so the discussion around Drones lost it’s allure. I warned last fall that this is was just a superficial misdirection while all the corporate and pentagon initiatives remained on track [1][2]. Today the drones are back in force and legality seems a forgotten issue.

    • If only America didn’t have those high-tech hammers

      Every time the US goes and pummels another Muslim country — by sending drones to conduct ‘signature strikes’ or using the NSA to eavesdrop — it reinforces the terrorists’ claim that the West has an insatiable desire to dominate the Arab and Islamic world and has no respect for Muslim life

    • Why’s Al Qaeda So Strong? Washington Has (Literally) No idea

      In the years since Bin Laden declared war on the West, we’ve learned how to kill his followers, but not how to defeat his ideology.

    • Secret Cash Pays for U.S. Drone Mistakes

      A Yemeni family was paid $100,000 for the death of relatives in a U.S. drone strike in 2012, according to a remarkable story yesterday from Yahoo News. Faisal bin Ali Jaber, a 56-year-old who works at Yemen’s environmental agency, has been on a mission to find out why his innocent nephew and brother-in-law were killed in a strike that also took out three suspected militants. He made it to Washington D.C. last fall, he told journalist Michael Isikoff, where he met with two White House national security aides. They listened, but said little in response.

    • US Drone Strike, Clashes Kill 40 in Yemen

      None of them have been identified.

    • U.S. sailors attacked in Turkey, have bags placed over heads

      Three U.S. Navy sailors were assaulted and had bags placed over their heads during a stop in Istanbul, Turkey, according to U.S. military officials.

      The incident, captured on video, happened Wednesday when sailors from the USS Ross were attacked by members of the Turkish Youth Union, according to local Turkish press accounts.

      A statement posted on the Turkish Youth Union website said the bags were placed on the sailors’ heads to protest American “imperialism” in the Middle East and other areas.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Republicans vow EPA fight as Obama touts China climate deal

      Republican congressional leaders on Wednesday wasted no time in criticizing what they called President Barack Obama’s “one-sided” climate deal with China, using the announcement to declare war on the administration’s plan to use executive actions to combat carbon emissions.

  • Finance

    • Welcome to Sweden – the most cash-free society on the planet

      Electronic payment evangelists say largely cash-free economy has cut costs and reduced crime rate

    • .1% of America Now Controls 22% of Wealth: The Wealth Gap Has Killed the Middle Class

      A new working paper by London School of Economics professors Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman sheds some very unflattering light on the American wealth gap, which has reached levels unseen since the Roaring ‘20s. The wealth gap has been overtaking the income gap as a popular cultural topic since Thomas Piketty’s splashy Capital in the 21st Century, and Saez and Zucman’s work fills in some crucial blanks to flesh out Piketty’s contentions. Saez and Zucman conclude that the top .1% of America now controls 22% of the aggregate wealth – an especially troubling figure when examined in the context of America’s stubbornly conservative political landscape.

    • Obama’s ‘Hot Anti-Wall Street Rhetoric’?

      So the evidence is Obama making a comment on 60 Minutes and apparently blaming Wall Street for the economic collapse. But while financiers would no doubt rather be referred to as “entrepreneur/philanthropists” than as “fat cat bankers”–a phrase that did not become a regular part of Obama’s vocabulary–there is little doubt that Wall Street does in fact deserve a major share of blame for the financial meltdown. It’s peculiar to classify a commonplace observations about the world as “hot rhetoric.”

      And there’s the fact that Obama made a joke about Goldman Sachs’ profitability–at a dinner where presidents make jokes!–right after the company just paid out a massive settlement for the kind of behavior that helped fuel the economic collapse.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Britain Poised to Muzzle ‘Extremist’ Speech

      In Britain, if you have extreme views on anything from Western democracy to women’s role in public life, you might soon require a licence from the government before you can speak in public. Seriously.

    • Kuwaiti Cartoonist Battles ISIS Death Threats, U.S. Bigots

      Seven years after the Kuwaiti psychologist and entrepreneur first launched his comic book series based on the 99 attributes of Allah, he’s facing a sudden onslaught of death threats, fatwas and lawsuits. His US distributor, meanwhile, continues to sit on a TV deal, in part because of pressure from conservative bloggers who object to any positive description of Islam.

  • Privacy

    • Twitter given junk credit rating

      Standard & Poor’s issues BB- score, saying social network is growing strongly but spending heavily at the same time

    • Student, 20, speaks of her fury after photos were stolen from her Facebook profile and used to promote a sex website

      A university student was furious when she found her Facebook profile pictures had been stolen and used to advertise a ‘no-strings attached’ casual sex website.

      Three pictures of Grace Marr, an English language student at Aston University, Birmingham, were used alongside a promotion offering ‘hot horny singles in your local area’.

      Embarrassingly, she only found out they were being used when she was contacted by a friend of her mother, who told her he had seen the advert while surfing the Internet last month.

    • 6 Reasons Why You Should Quit Facebook

      Entrepreneurs are often time and money poor, yet engage in a daily habit that diminishes both: Facebook.

      With over 750 million active accounts, an astounding one in nine people in the world log on to Facebook, arguably the most addictive social media site. Studies reveal that Facebook makes us spend more, work less and generally, discourages us. In this, has Facebook become a liability for budding entrepreneurs?

    • Race to revive NSA surveillance curbs before Congress handover

      The major post-Edward Snowden legislation meant to constrain the National Security Agency received a new lease on life Wednesday when the Senate majority leader paved the way for the USA Freedom Act to receive a vote before the congressional session expires.

      Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who will cease being majority leader when his party returns to the minority in January, filed a procedural motion that will permit the bill to receive a hearing on the Senate floor, perhaps as early as next week. Its supporters have feared that Senate inaction would quietly kill the only post-9/11 attempt at curtailing mass surveillance.

    • Harry Reid Moves for Senate Vote on NSA Reform

      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday moved to advance a bill that would usher in sweeping reforms to the government’s most controversial domestic-spying program, more than a year after Edward Snowden’s leaks exposed it publicly.

    • Tech, digital rights groups applaud Senate move on NSA reform

      “The legal reforms in the USA Freedom Act send a clear signal to U.S. citizens and Internet users around the world that Congress is serious about reforming government surveillance practices, and providing the judiciary and the public with tools that allow better oversight over remaining narrowed programs,” CCIA President and CEO Ed Black said by email. “The USA Freedom Act closes key loopholes on bulk call data collection and offers greater transparency, which is essential for citizens in a free democracy.”

    • Ex-NSA technical chief: How 9/11 created the surveillance state

      Former NSA technical director Brian Snow discusses the ethical issues around the use of mass surveillance and tells Sophie Curtis why citizens should be careful what they wish for

    • Plumbing the Depths of NSA’s Spying

      The complexity of the National Security Agency’s spying programs has made some of its ex-technical experts the most dangerous critics since they are among the few who understand the potential totalitarian risks involved, as ex-NSA analyst William Binney showed in an interview with journalist Lars Schall.

    • Google urges US government to extend the US Privacy Act to EU citizens

      The U.S. government should give European citizens whose personal data is sent to U.S. authorities the same privacy protections that American citizens already enjoy in the EU, Google’s top lawyer has said ahead of trans-Atlantic talks.

    • Google urges US to let Europeans sue over information disclosures
    • Who will save Europe’s privacy from the NSA? Oh God … it’s Google
    • Lame duck? Senate to vote on Keystone pipeline, NSA reform

      Republicans are set to take over the Senate next year, but the chamber is gearing up to make the lame duck session eventful: lawmakers will vote on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline bill next week, as well as another to curb domestic surveillance.

    • The Surveillance State’s Legalism Isn’t About Morals, It’s About Manipulating the Rules

      Margo Schlanger has written a great article forthcoming in the Harvard National Security Journal about intelligence legalism, an ethical framework she sees underlying NSA surveillance. Margo makes the case that NSA and the executive branch haven’t been asking what the right surveillance practices should be, but rather what surveillance practices are allowed to be. She takes the concept of legalism from political theorist Judith Shklar: “the ethical attitude that holds moral conduct to be a matter of rule following, and moral relationships to consist of duties and rights determined by rules.” In the model of legalism that Margo sees the NSA following, any spying that is not legally prohibited is also right and good because ethics is synonymous with following the rules. Her critique of “intelligence legalism” is that the rules are the bare minimum, and merely following the rules doesn’t take civil liberties concerns seriously enough.

    • The Mercenaries

      Ex-NSA hackers and their corporate clients are stretching legal boundaries and shaping the future of cyberwar.

    • Watch out: the US government wants to pass new spying laws behind your back

      Dangerous cybersecurity legislation would allow Google and Facebook to hand over even more of your information to the NSA and FBI

    • Ex-NSA Chief Urges Congress to Step Up Fight Against Cyberattacks [pro-surveillance scare]
    • TAKE ACTION: Hearing Set for Bill to Turn Off NSA Water in Utah

      A bill that would set the stage for turning off the water at the NSA datacenter facility in Bluffdale, Utah will get a public hearing this month, and your action can help move the legislation forward.

      Rep. Marc Roberts introduced the Utah Fourth Amendment Protection Act (HB0161) during the 2014 legislative session. The bill would ban the state and its political subdivisions from providing material support or resources to federal agencies engaged in mass warrantless surveillance programs. This would include the up to 1.7 million gallons of water per day being supplied to the datacenter by the city of Bluffdale.

    • Now the GOP Must Choose: Mass Surveillance or Privacy?

      Before May, Congress has no alternative but to endorse or end NSA spying on the phone calls of virtually every American. What does the new party in charge want?

    • Stalling on Surveillance Reform Could Cost the GOP

      Right now, there is a viable, bipartisan bill called the USA Freedom Act that would limit government spying on Americans and has received support from members of both parties, the tech industry, and the Obama Administration. Yet, there are few remaining legislative days left to allow a vote on the bill so that it can become law. Failure to move the bill in the lame duck session will leave some tough questions for the new Senate to deal with in 2015.

    • Greenwald to Share His NSA Secrets at the U

      Glenn Greenwald, a journalist famous for breaking the story of Edward Snowden’s leak of confidential information from the National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens, will be speaking at the U about topics concerning security and privacy.

      Matthew Potolsky, an English professor at the U, is teaching a course on secrecy Spring Semester, and Greenwald was selected to coincide with the class. Potolsky said he was also intrigued at the thought of Greenwald coming to Utah because of the NSA’s new data facility in Bluffdale.

    • Rep. Mike Rogers Is Taking His NSA Propaganda to the Airwaves

      Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the outgoing chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, has announced details of his plan to become a talk-radio host.

      Rogers, who didn’t run for re-election, will launch a thrice-daily radio segment on Cumulus media’s national radio network.

    • NSA Requests for Facebook Data Up By 24 Percent

      A new report has been released that requests for information on Facebook from federal spy agencies is up by 24 percent.

    • ‘There is but one way out for you’: Uncensored ‘suicide letter’ sent from FBI to Martin Luther King made public for the first time

      The uncensored contents of a letter sent from the FBI to Martin Luther King in which he is called an “evil, abnormal beast” and apparently encouraged to kill himself have been made public for the first time.

      In what appears to be a heavy-handed attempt to unsettle the civil rights leader, the anonymous letter was written by a deputy of the bureau’s director J Edgar Hoover, posing as a disappointed activist, and sent to King in the weeks before he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

    • Democrats face hefty to-do list in final weeks of Senate majority

      Isis, Ebola and NSA reform all make the list – but most important will be nominees the White House wants approved before Republicans take the Senate

    • Germany and Brazil propose UN resolution re-write to condemn ‘highly intrusive act’ of NSA surveillance

      Germany and Brazil have made alterations to a United Nations draft resolution on the issue of state surveillance, with the two countries calling for protection against government spying on communications and personal data.

    • Germany, Brazil Push the UN to be Tougher on Digital Spying

      Germany and Brazil are pushing the United Nations to be tougher on spying by beefing up an earlier UN resolution raising concerns that mass surveillance, interception of digital communications and personal data collection could harm human rights.

    • How quantum computers will undermine cryptography

      Quantum computing has many benefits, but it could also undermine the cryptographic algorithms that underpin the World Wide Web, according to a former NSA technical director

    • New Report: Patient confidentiality broken 6 times a day

      The report shows that between 2011 to 2014, there have been at least 7,255 breaches. This is the equivalent to 6 breaches every day. Examples of the data breaches include:

    • New OASIS Standard to Build Biometric Security Wonderwall

      Non-profit IT consortium OASIS is developing a server-based biometric authentication standard. Industry professionals, government officials, and academics have been invited to help develop the standard as part of the Identity-Based Attestation and Open Exchange Protocol Specification – or IBOPS – Technical Committee.

    • The U.S. must respect the rights of all users

      In the nearly 18 months since the first Snowden revelations, policymakers around the world have spent countless hours discussing the proper scope and reach of surveillance authorities. The United States has been at the center of these discussions, and for good cause. Many of the revelations have focused on U.S. activities and the U.S. maintains the largest budget for surveillance in the world many times over. However, frighteningly little has been said in these discussions about surveillance of people outside of America.

    • PRISM scandal threatens EU-US ‘Safe Harbour’ agreement

      The European Court of Justice (ECJ) could be tempted to invalidate “Safe Harbour” agreements on data retention between the United States and the European Union because of the PRISM spying scandal, writes Yann Padova.

    • Human Rights Watch calls on US to recognize all privacy rights

      The United States should recognize the right to privacy of other countries and stop its practice of spying on the communications of friendly nations, Human Rights Watch’s general counsel Dinah Pokempner said Thursday.

    • Want your privacy back? First, curb your own enthusiasm for snooping

      If we film everyone, all the time, that’s not merely a threat to trust in our society – it’s the end of it

    • New head of Britain’s GCHQ demands Internet companies act as state informers

      Within hours of Robert Hannigan becoming the new director of Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) spy centre last week, he demanded it be allotted even more draconian powers.

    • The mass surveillance scandal fallout

      Over the last year the extent of NSA and GCHQ monitoring of communications has come under increasing scrutiny and informed privacy policy in Europe.

    • US concerns about online privacy present opportunity, experts say

      A new survey saying an overwhelming majority of U.S. adults believe they have lost control over how private companies collect their personal information may be an opportunity in disguise for Web-based companies, some privacy experts said.

    • Art in a Time of Surveillance

      You can’t throw a rock these days without hitting a surveillance art project, and the remarkable thing is that so much of it is so good. Some of the Snowden era’s sharpest interrogations of collect-it-all tracking by corporations and the government are to be found in galleries and other art spaces. They are the opposite of the acronym-laden news stories we read: NSA, FISA, PGP, PRISM, ACLU, EFF, SIGINT, GCHQ, TOR, FOIA, HTTPS, are you still awake? They are playful, invasive and eerie, and best of all they are graphically visual. With a transgressive edge that journalism struggles to match, they creatively challenge what it means to be human in a time of data.

    • Stephen Walt: Without high-tech gadgetry, Washington might have to do real spying, and thinking

      If we didn’t have all these expensive high-tech capabilities, we might spend a lot more time thinking about how to discredit and delegitimize the terrorists’ message


      To be clear: I’m not suggesting we dismantle the NSA, fire all our cryptographers, and revert to Cordell Hull’s quaint belief that “gentlemen [or ladies] do not read each other’s mail.” But until we see more convincing evidence that the surveillance of the sort Hannigan was defending has really and truly kept a significant number of people safer from foreign dangers, I’m going to wonder if we aren’t overemphasizing these activities because they are relatively easy for us, and because they have a powerful but hard-to-monitor constituency in Washington and London. In short, we’re just doing what comes naturally, instead of doing what might be more effective.

    • Peak indifference-to-surveillance

      The Pew Internet Project has updated its must-read 2013 work on privacy perception in the post-Snowden era with a survey of American attitudes to privacy and surveillance that shows that the number of Americans who worry about privacy is steeply rising.

    • How much do we care about our online privacy?

      A year and a half after Snowden’s initial NSA revelations, internet privacy has become one of the most widely discussed topics in media and technology. But there is little evidence that snooping habits have diminished. Even apps that emerged to ensure consumer anonymity, such as Snapchat and Whisper, have been under investigation for breeching their own privacy specs. But how much has changed in the mindset of consumers, and are we genuinely concerned about privacy?

    • Is online privacy a lost cause?

      Nine in 10 Americans believe they have no control over their personal information, how it is collected and how it is used by companies, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

    • Pew Study: Americans Fear They’ve Lost Control of Personal Data

      A Pew Research study examined how Americans view the privacy of their personal information in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about online government snooping.

    • Senate poised to vote on USA Freedom Act as early as next week

      The Senate is poised to vote as early as next week on the USA Freedom Act, legislation that would end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of records about Americans’ phone calls.

    • Immigration hinders anti-terror efforts – UK police chief

      The influx of immigrants to the UK, with different languages and their own communities, are an obstacle for British police combating terrorism, the country’s most senior police chief said.

      Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said officers working in local communities aiming to combat radicalization often found it “more difficult to integrate with new populations.”

      This especially applies to multicultural London, where a disproportionately high number of migrants from overseas arrive each year.

    • How Obama Endangered Us All With Stuxnet

      A few months after President Obama took office in 2009, he announced that securing the nation’s critical infrastructure — its power generators, its dams, its airports, and its trading floors — was a top priority for his administration. Intruders had already probed the electrical grid, and Obama made it clear the status quo around unsecured systems was unacceptable. A year later, however, a sophisticated digital weapon was discovered on computers in Iran that was designed to attack a uranium enrichment plant near the town of Natanz. The virus, dubbed Stuxnet, would eventually be identified by journalists and security experts as a U.S.-engineered attack.

    • Germany plans early-warning defence against cyber attacks

      Germany is to develop a new cyber security “early-warning” system to detect impending foreign-based internet attacks before they are launched.

      The move reflects growing concern about possible cyber attacks being launched on German targets from a range of potential sources, including Islamist extremists, crime gangs, and state-backed hackers in Russia and China.

    • German spies want millions of Euros to buy zero-day code holes

      Germany’s spooks have come under fire for reportedly seeking funds to find bugs – not to fix them, but to hoard them.

      According to The Süddeutsche Zeitung, the country’s BND – its federal intelligence service – wants €300 million in funding for what it calls the Strategic Technical Initiative. The Local says €4.5 million of that will be spent seeking bugs in SSL and HTTPS.

  • Civil Rights

    • Mark Udall to consider all options to reveal CIA torture report

      U.S. Sen. Mark Udall has seven weeks left in office, but the Colorado Democrat isn’t prepared to go quietly — especially when it comes to the twin issues of CIA torture and government snooping.

      In his first interview since Election Day, Udall told The Denver Post that he would “keep all options on the table,” including a rarely-used right given to federal lawmakers, to publicize a secret report about the harsh interrogation techniques used by CIA agents in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

      He also vowed to make one final push to curb the National Security Agency and its power to gather information on ordinary Americans.

    • The U.S. Tells the World It’s Officially Done With Torture—But Is It Too Little Too Late?

      The U.S. made its most formal admission of torture yet to a United Nations panel in Geneva, telling the international community that “we crossed the line.”

    • US government sees off legal challenge over Guantánamo force-feeding

      The Obama administration has prevailed in the first court challenge to its controversial force-feedings of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, even as the judge ruling in the government’s favor criticized its lack of “common sense and compassion”.

      Gladys Kessler, a federal judge in Washington DC, denied Abu Wa’el Dhiab’s request to significantly change the manner in which the US military transfers, restrains and forcibly feeds detainees on hunger strike to protest their confinement. Kessler’s ruling, siding with the government in nearly every particular, is the denouement of a courtroom drama that in May saw a civilian judge ordering the military to briefly halt Dhiab’s forced feeding.

    • Report: NOLA PD failed to investigate hundreds of sex crimes

      In a shocking, enraging report released Wednesday by the New Orleans Office of Inspector General, the city’s special victims unit appears to have failed to investigate 1,111 sexual abuse reports over a three-year period – including those involving young children.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Columbia Pictures Wants Anti-Piracy Policies Kept Secret, Indefinitely

        Columbia Pictures has asked a Florida federal court to keep its anti-piracy policies secret forever. The records in question are part of the now closed case between Hotfile and the MPAA. Previously, U.S. District Judge Kathleen Williams ruled that the information should be unsealed in the public’s interest.

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