11.14.14

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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

Contents

GNU/Linux

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.

Leftovers

  • 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

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