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Links 24/11/2014: Linux 3.18-rc6, Qualcomm Eyes GNU/Linux Servers

Posted in News Roundup at 5:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Code Contains Fewer Defects, But There’s a Catch

    Research suggests that software developed using open source code contains fewer defects than that built with proprietary code. The catch is that open source code rarely benefits from security teams specifically tasked with looking for bugs.

  • With Assembly, anyone can contribute to open-source software and actually get paid

    The open-source movement has produced some of the most widely utilized software in the world, a huge economic value driven by a widely dispersed community who believe contributing good work is often its own reward. Outside of the world of computer science, however, these strategies are still relatively niche. A San Francisco startup called Assembly is trying to change all that, by evolving the open-source model to easily incorporate disciplines outside coding and to include a shared profit motive as well. Today the company is announcing a $2.9 million round of funding it will use to help expand its platform.

  • Events

    • Next improved release of Lohit Devanagari 2.95.0 with Latin and ttfautohinted.

      Last release of Lohit Devanagari we did in Feb 19, 2014. During the time number of improvements happened in Lohit Devanagari. Today releasing its next version with all the improvements. [1]

    • NetSurf Developer workshop IV

      Over the weekend the NetSurf developers met to make a concentrated effort on improving the browser. This time we were kindly hosted by Codethink in their Manchester office in a pleasant environment with plenty of refreshments.

    • Awesome BSP in München

      An awesome BSP just took place in München where teams from Kubuntu, Kolab, KDE PIM, Debian and LibreOffice came and planned the future and fixed bugs.

  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Norway phases out Java for tax, school and business eID

      The new BankID uses HTML5, CSS and Javascript, supported by all modern web browsers. For the time being, DIFI will support the use of older web browsers that cannot handle the new version of BankID.

    • Another Racket Run By M$

      The folly? Instead of beating a path to LibreOffice ASAP, they meekly paid for a new set of licences thus increasing their lock-in and delaying progress. This still exposes them to further audits, further rounds of licence-upgrading, and the longer they use M$’s stuff the harder it will become to escape. Already it’s tough because many of their other applications depend on M$’s office suite. You don’t solve a problem you created by continuing to make the same mistakes. They do have the future possibility of migrating to FLOSS like LibreOffice in the future but this is a missed opportunity and will raise the cost of future migrations to FLOSS.

  • CMS

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Clearing up muddied waters in the ‘Data Lakes’

        Four years ago when Pentaho first released Hadoop support, Dixon coined the term ‘Data Lake’ to describe a vessel for holding data from a single source. When selecting it, he thought very carefully about its suitability as both an analogy and a metaphor.

  • Funding

    • A price to pay – the Free Software column

      Open source is everywhere, but the term is often applied loosely. Free and open source software is attractive to hardware and software companies because it seems to be the cheap and efficient option and gives access to communities of users and developers who bring cost reductions and opportunities for high quality input from a variety of sources. Corporate involvement in open source software development works for developers as it pays their wages and, if properly managed, allows them the freedom to work on the code. But open source’s success is not without its drawbacks.

  • BSD


  • Project Releases

    • Upcoming Pulp Releases

      Since the version 2.4.0 release, Pulp is working to adhere to semantic versioning. Semantic versioning is important so that users can upgrade to a given version and have a correct expectation about what is in that new version ie: bugfix, features, or backwards incompatible changes. There are new features that are ready to be included in a release, so the next release planned will be 2.6.0.

    • HandBrake 0.10 Brings H.265 & VP8 Encoders

      Version 0.10 of the HandBrake open-source video transcoder has been released.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Introducing AcousticBrainz

      MusicBrainz, the not-for-profit project that maintains an assortment of “open content” music metadata databases, has announced a new effort named AcousticBrainz. AcousticBrainz is designed to be an open, crowd-sourced database cataloging various “audio features” of music, including “low-level spectral information such as tempo, and additional high level descriptors for genres, moods, keys, scales and much more.”

  • Standards/Consortia

    • EU Boosts Open Data; Open Contracting Data Standard Out

      As you will probably have noticed, open data is pretty hot these days. The EU has noticed, too, and is making some serious funds available for this area, as announced by the UK’s Open Data Institute:

    • Europe Commission approves Tradeshift data format for goverment purchasing

      A product of OASIS, the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards, UBL was developed in a transparent standards-setting process over a period of 13 years by hundreds of leading business experts. OASIS is the same organization that created ODF, the Open Document Format (ISO/IEC 26300), a widely used International Standard for word processing.

    • French, German, Dutch and Italian hackathons fuel UK ODF plugfest

      Hackathons in Toulouse (France), Munich (Germany), Woerden (the Netherlands) and Bologna (Italy) involving software developers and public administrations, are providing input for the ODF Plugfest taking place in London on 8 and 9 December. The first four meetings involve developers working on the Open Document Format ODF and the LibreOffice suite of office productivity tools. The ODF Plugfest brings together multiple implementers and stakeholders of this document standard. The plugfest is aimed at increasing interoperability, tests implementations and discuss new features.


  • Apple stops calling free apps ‘Free’

    SOFTWARE AND DESIGN COMPANY Apple has made a change to the way it displays applications on the App Store and is no longer labelling items as Free.

  • Immigration target unlikely to be met, says Theresa May

    The UK is “unlikely” to meet its target for reducing immigration, Home Secretary Theresa May has said.

    EU migration has “blown us off course” from cutting net migration to the tens of thousands before the general election, Mrs May told the Andrew Marr show.

    Mrs May said Britain’s strengthening economy had continued to attract people from across Europe.

  • My boys love 1986 computing

    Yesterday, Jacob (age 8) asked to help me put together a 30-year-old computer from parts in my basement. Meanwhile, Oliver (age 5) asked Laura to help him learn cursive. Somehow, this doesn’t seem odd for a Saturday at our place.

  • Hardware

    • Supercharge your PC’s storage with a RAID setup: Everything you need to know

      First off, storage performance tends to be one of the main bottlenecks in a typical PC, although the situation has vastly improved with the advent of solid state drives. (Yes, it’s probably your hard drive holding back your high-end PC from even greater glory.) Second, drive failure can lead to the loss of valuable data, and no one wants that.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Plague kills 40 people in Madagascar

      An outbreak of the plague has killed 40 people out of 119 confirmed cases in Madagascar since late August and there is a risk of the disease spreading rapidly in the capital, the World Health Organisation has said.

    • Rick Ross, the Ex-Drug Kingpin, Says CIA Behind Hip Hop’s Love Affair With Drugs

      The CIA is behind rap’s obsession with drugs. Rick Ross says so. No, not the rapper, but the actual cocaine kingpin whose artist name and persona was hijacked by Rick Ross the rapper. He should know.

      “They were the guys who were behind me when I was selling drugs,” Ross said of the CIA. “And now they’re behind hip hop and rock ‘n’ roll.”

      The CIA has been documented making enormous profits from the international drug trade, including the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s.

      Take the trade of opium for instance. The drug that is used to make heroin was almost nonexistent in Afghanistan before the U.S. invaded it in 2001. By 2006 the country’s opium trade had increased 3200% and was supplying 92% of the world’s supply according to www.globalresearch.ca.

    • Monsanto Is Using Big Data to Take Over the World

      That’s right: Monsanto is making a big move into big data. At stake is an opportunity to adapt to climate change by using computer science alongside the controversial genetic science that has been the company’s signature for a generation. Data stands to benefit Monsanto’s bottom line, too: In its 2013 annual report, the company blamed lost profits on knowledge gaps about both the climate and its customers’ farming practices. And information services could even help Monsanto get its foot (and its seeds) in the door of untapped global markets from Africa to South America.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Benghazi Is Over, But the Mainstream Media Just Yawns

      Still, this is a report endorsed by top Republicans that basically rebuts practically every Republican bit of hysteria over Benghazi spanning the past two years. Is it really good news judgment for editors to treat this the same way they would a dull study on the aging of America from the Brookings Institution?

    • Cops Decide Running Surprise School Shooter Drill During Class At A Middle School Is A Great Idea

      We’re going to have to go over this again: if your drills to prevent school tragedy actually leave school children traumatized, then don’t do those damned drills. What began with terrorism drills on school buses and then devolved into unannounced school-shooting drills is getting to be so full-on crazy that I sort of can’t believe that anyone thinks any of this is a good idea. The latest story involves police running an unannounced “active shooter drill” at a local middle school while classes were in session. As a part of this insane exercise, police officers went around bursting into classrooms filled with terrified students, weapons out, as they acted out their fun little thespian experience of horror. And, to add insult to injury, school officials notified parents of the drill long after unknowing students were informing their parents that an actual shooting was taking place at the school.

    • CIA Should Send Lethal Military Aid to Ukraine: Former Bush Advisor

      Former US President George W. Bush’s National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said stated that US should provide lethal military assistance to the Ukrainian government.

    • Drone Strikes Never Kill ‘Humans’

      News organizations should stop reporting that “militants” were killed when they can confirm no such thing.


      But what bothered even some intelligence officials at the agency carrying out the strikes seemed of no concern whatsoever to most major media outlets. As I documented days after the Times article, most large western media outlets continued to describe completely unknown victims of U.S. drone attacks as “militants”—even though they (a) had no idea who those victims were or what they had done and (b) were well-aware by that point that the term had been “re-defined” by the Obama administration into Alice in Wonderland-level nonsense.

    • We don’t need a more efficient killing machine

      A number of ideas have been put forward to mediate the amount of innocent victims. Technology philosopher Christine Boshuijzen cites technologically impaired military officials as a reason for civilian deaths. Doctoral student Dieuwertje Kuijpers calls for more democratic accountability for the CIA. Artificial intelligence professor Gustzi Eiben wants to improve drones’ face recognition and tracking software. Computer scientist Arnoud Visser claims the remedy is to fully automate the whole killing process by programming drones with algorithms governing the acceptable margins of error. These changes might very well reduce innocent deaths. Drone warfare would be far more efficient. But is efficiency really the goal?

    • US Airstrikes Kill 18 in Afghanistan

      Washington says the targets of the drones are “terrorists,” however locals and some international agencies report that civilians are the main victims of these raids.

    • Op-Ed: U.S. launches 500th drone strike in over a decade of the Third War
    • America Just Launched Its 500th Drone Strike
    • America’s 500th Drone Strike
    • Post 9/11 Stat You Should Know: America has now Conducted 500 Targeted Killings

      The most consistent and era-defining tactic of America’s post-9/11 counterterrorism strategies has been the targeted killing of suspected terrorists and militants outside of defined battlefields. As one senior Bush administration official explained in October 2001, “The president has given the [CIA] the green light to do whatever is necessary. Lethal operations that were unthinkable pre-September 11 are now underway.” Shortly thereafter, a former CIA official told the New Yorker, “There are five hundred guys out there you have to kill.” It is quaint to recall that such a position was considered extremist and even morally unthinkable. Today, these strikes are broadly popular with the public and totally uncontroversial in Washington, both within the executive branch and on Capitol Hill. Therefore, it is easy to forget that this tactic, envisioned to be rare and used exclusively for senior al-Qaeda leaders thirteen years ago, has become a completely accepted and routine foreign policy activity.

    • America’s 500th Drone Strike
    • Redefining “Imminent”

      How the U.S. Department of Justice Makes Murder Respectable, Kills the Innocent and Jails their Defenders

    • ‘Western policy of destroying ISIS completely unsuccessful’

      The US anti-ISIS policy only helps them recruit more people, while the only way to fight ISIS is to secure borders and re-examine immigration policies both in America and Europe, retired US Army Colonel Douglas MacGregor told RT.

    • Red Mist Rising: Inside the World’s Most Powerful Terrorist Organization

      Glenn Greenwald notes the blizzard of bellicose propaganda pieces pouring from the High Media lately concerning the Peace Laureate’s latest flurry of drone killings. In story after story, headline after headline, we hear of “militants” slaughtered by the dead-eyed machinery that floats above the distant villages of the “recalcitrant tribes” who bedevil the Empire with their disobedience — or, in the case of the drone campaign, which overwhelmingly kills innocent civilians, with their mere existence.


      That’s nice, isn’t it? Noble, worthy, honorable, isn’t it? Again, these are the mafia thug values being embraced, lauded, supported and reinforced at every turn by the most respectable figures throughout American politics and media, including of course the popular media, where TV shows and movies abound with tough guys “doing whatever it takes” to kill the dehumanized “enemy” and “keep us safe.” …

    • Author takes issue with assumption that religions cause war

      In modern Western society, says Karen Armstrong, “the idea that religion is inherently violent is now taken for granted.” As a writer and speaker on religion, she says that she constantly hears from a wide swath of society that “Religion has been the cause of all the major wars in history.”

    • CIA Director John Brennan considering sweeping organizational changes
    • US Used Al-Qaeda in Yemen to Blackmail Sanaa: President’s Adviser

      Yemeni president’s adviser Saleh Samad stated that US used the presence of al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist cells in Yemen to blackmail the government in Sanaa.

    • Rescue reunion: Cuban-American CIA team meets Congo hostages in Kendall

      The hostage rescue was just one chapter, albeit the most dramatic, of a little-known five-year CIA effort to shore up the pro-Western government of the country now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was under attack by guerrilla movements backed by China and the Soviet Union.

    • Israeli drone pilot admits to making some ‘wrong calls’ when dropping bombs in Gaza, but says: ‘You’ll see no smiling faces where kids are killed’

      A spy drone commander from Israel has admitted he had made some ‘wrong calls’ when it came to dropping bombs on targets in Gaza.

      Major Yair, one of the country’s most experienced unmanned drones commanders, said he had made mistakes but had ‘learnt to live’ with them.

    • Early Predator Drone Pilot: I Had Bin Laden in My Crosshairs

      A year before he was the first pilot to ever unleash a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone in combat, airman Scott Swanson said he was at the controls of another Predator back in 2000 when a man believed to be Osama bin Laden was directly in his crosshairs.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Julian Assange: Swedish court rejects appeal to lift arrest warrant

      Stockholm’s appeal court has rejected a demand by Julian Assange’s lawyers to lift the arrest warrant against him, leaving the WikiLeaks founder still facing extradition to Sweden should he renounce his asylum in Ecuador’s London embassy.

      “In making this assessment, account must be taken of the fact that Julian Assange is suspected of crimes of a relatively serious nature,” the court said in a statement on Thursday. A Swedish prosecutor first sought Assange’s arrest four years ago following sexual assault and rape allegations, which he denies.

    • Swedish Court Upholds Order for Arrest of Julian Assange
    • Court rejects Assange arrest warrant appeal

      A Stockholm court has upheld an arrest order for Julian Assange who is wanted for questioning over alleged sex crimes in Sweden. His lawyer has told The Local that he now plans to take the case to Sweden’s Supreme Court.

    • The siege of Julian Assange is a farce – an investigation by John Pilger

      The siege of Knightsbridge is a farce. For two years, an exaggerated, costly police presence around the Ecuadorean embassy in London has served no purpose other than to flaunt the power of the state.

      Their quarry is an Australian charged with no crime, a refugee from gross injustice whose only security is the room given him by a brave South American country. His true crime is to have initiated a wave of truth-telling in an era of lies, cynicism and war.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Handbook for fighting climate-denialism

      From 2011, Skeptical Science’s excellent Debunking Handbook, a short guide for having discussions about climate change denial that tries to signpost the common errors that advocates of the reality of anthropogenic global warming make when talking to people who disbelieve.

    • On Fox, Pundit From Oil-Funded Group Says Climate Scientists Are The Profiteers

      Fox News provided American Enterprise Institute (AEI) fellow Jonah Goldberg a platform to attack climate scientists as profiteers who are “financially incentivized” to advocate climate change action, without disclosing AEI’s own financial incentive to undercut action on climate change. AEI has taken over $3 million from ExxonMobil, and once offered money to scientists to write articles criticizing a UN climate change report.

  • Finance

    • Swarmops Approaching Launch. Want To Be Part Of It? Fund It Maybe?

      Swarmops is approaching launch. This is the back-end software that allowed the Swedish Pirate Party to beat its competition using less than one percent of their budget, but now generalized for any organization’s use – business or nonprofit. It’s also the only software in existence to do bitcoin-native automated accounting and cashflow.

    • Banking turns people into rotten cheats

      They are among the least trusted professions in the world and with good reason, according to new research. It seems people working for banks are more dishonest than employees from other sectors – though, to be fair, only when they are reminded whom they working for. The findings lend weight to arguments that the culture at the heart of the financial industry is rotten and needs to be drastically overhauled.

    • RBS prepares to be fined tens of millions pounds over IT breakdown

      Royal Bank of Scotland faces a fine of tens of millions of pounds as early as this week over the collapse of its IT systems that locked millions of customers out of their accounts for days.

    • System Change, or There and Back Again: Capitalism, Socialism, Fascism

      In the United States, a new kind of socialism may also be emerging. It is based on an insistence that the macro-dimensions of traditional socialism – an emphasis on ownership of the means of production and economic planning – be grounded on and interdependent with a micro-level reorganization of enterprises. Enterprises are to be democratized, ending the typical top-down hierarchical capitalist organization (major shareholders select the board of directors that hires the managers and mass of laborers and makes all the key enterprise decisions). Workers self-directed enterprises (WSDEs) would become the mass social and economic base where wealth is generated and revenues are provided to the state. Conjointly with democratically organized residential communities that are interdependent with the WSDEs, local decisions would be co-determined and all state actions held accountable. The state would facilitate economic, political and cultural coordination among WSDEs and residential communities, but the state power arising from that facilitation function would be ultimately determined by, accountable to and balanced by the economic and political power organized horizontally at the base of society.

  • Censorship

    • Lessons on censorship from Syria’s internet filter machines

      Norwegian writer Mette Newth once wrote that: “censorship has followed the free expressions of men and women like a shadow throughout history.” As we develop new means to gather and create information, new means to control, erase and censor that information evolve alongside it. Today that means access to information through the internet, which motivates us to study internet censorship.

    • What 600 gigs of Syrian censorship logs can teach us about digital freedom

      Norwegian writer Mette Newth once wrote that: “censorship has followed the free expressions of men and women like a shadow throughout history.” As we develop new means to gather and create information, new means to control, erase and censor that information evolve alongside it. Today that means access to information through the internet, which motivates us to study internet censorship.

    • China steps up web censorship and blocks HSBC

      China has blocked access to HSBC’s banking portal and possibly thousands of other websites in what appears to be a new censorship campaign days before it hosts a major internet industry conference.

    • Hashtag hate campaigns are leading us into the trap of censorship

      Last week, Jessica Ennis-Hill took the brave step of saying she would have her name removed from a stand at Bramall Lane if Sheffield United re-signed convicted rapist Ched Evans. The inevitable consequence was a blurt of rape threats from members of Evans’ fanbase. One prize specimen, @RickieLambert07, replied to criticism by saying: “Freedom of speech mate… I’ll say what I want when I want!” I cannot say for sure that @RickieLambert07 isn’t a lawyer but he certainly has a shaky grasp of Article 10 of the Human Rights Act.

    • Peter Sellars: ‘The United States is coming close to censorship’
    • Tony Abbott leads ‘a government of censorship’, Bill Shorten tells ABC rally

      The Coalition’s cuts to the ABC and SBS are “ripping at the heart” of vital public institutions, federal opposition leader, Bill Shorten, says.

      He also told a Save Our ABC rally at Melbourne’s Federation Square on Sunday that Australians are rightly angered by the budget cuts in breach of Tony Abbott’s pre-election promise.

    • China Says Internet Censorship Is Necessary to Fight Terrorism

      China laid out its reasons for controlling online content at the first government-sponsored Internet conference, saying it is crucial to thwart terrorist attacks in the country.

    • World Internet Conference: Has China overcome paranoia?
    • Not Fit to Print: An Insider Account of Pakistani Censorship

      The senior editorial staff, myself included, reluctantly agreed to the orders, which came from the CEO, because our jobs were on the line. Media groups in Pakistan are family-owned and make all decisions unilaterally — regardless of whether they concern marketing and finance or editorial content and policy — advancing their personal agendas through the influential mainstream outlets at their disposal. A majority of the CEOs and media house owners are businessmen, with no background (or interest) in the ethics of journalism. The owners and publishers make it very clear to their newsrooms and staff — including the editor — that any tilt or gloss they proscribe is non-negotiable. As a result, serious concerns persist about violence against and the intimidation of members of the media. In fact, Pakistan ranks 158 out of 180 countries in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index.

    • Dartmouth student: America must ‘fix free speech’ with censorship

      An Ivy League student says that America “has gone too far in allowing people to say whatever they want,” and asserts that the country needs to censor free speech.

    • Ecuador: Why are critics being shutdown on Twitter?

      A Spanish company — Ares Rights — has been targeting the social media accounts of critics of the Ecuadorean government.

  • Privacy

    • Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age

      One of the many bits of technology that attracts paranoia in a post-Snowden era is random number generation, and a New Zealand developer hopes to help solve that with an all-open entropy generator.

    • Glenn Greenwald: NSA-proofing your product is good for business

      Just because Congress can’t even pass minimal NSA reform, it doesn’t mean that privacy is dead: American tech companies are NSA-proofing their services because customers are demanding it.

      Glenn Greenwald’s editorial in The Intercept cites Whatsapp’s integration of Textsecure’s end-to-end crypto, Apple’s move to encrypt Ios devices by default, and Google’s similar moves for Android as a counter to the farcical deference of Congress to America’s spy-services, and the absurd “debate” that Congress engages in on the subject, in which elected officials basically just repeat “ISIS” and “terrorism” and “9/11″ until they run out of time.

    • Republicans block overhaul of NSA surveillance reform

      A bill to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of telephone records failed on a procedural vote in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday after senior Republicans said it would benefit enemies of the United States, including Islamic State militants.


      The NSA was one of the first organizations to describe a Bitcoin-like system. About twelve years before Satoshi Nakamoto published his legendary white paper to the Metzdowd.com cryptography mailing list, a group of NSA information security researchers published a paper entitled How to Make a Mint: the Cryptography of Anonymous Electronic Cash in two prominent places, the first being an MIT mailing list and the second being much more prominent, The American Law Review (Vol. 46, Issue 4 ).

    • Utah Considers Cutting Off Water to the NSA’s Monster Data Center

      Lawmakers are considering a bill that would shut off the water spigot to the massive data center operated by the National Security Agency in Bluffdale, Utah.

    • Utah may cut off NSA’s water in protest of mass surveillance
    • Utah lawmaker concerned over NSA spying on American citizens proposes cutting off the water supply to agency facility

      A Utah lawmaker concerned about government spying on its citizens wants to cut the water supply to a National Security Agency data storage facility outside Salt Lake City.

    • Utah Lawmakers Consider Bill That Would Cut Water To NSA Data Collection Center

      Utah lawmakers are considering a bill that would shut off the water supply to the National Security Agency’s data collection center in Bluffdale, Utah.

    • NSA reform advocates vow to fight on after Senate rejects USA Freedom Act

      Stunned and dejected by the death of a bill to restrain National Security Agency surveillance, civil libertarian groups vowed to return to the daunting effort in the next Congress.

    • NSA director: No changes in telephone record collection coming
    • On Keystone and the N.S.A., Clinton Remains Quiet

      On Friday, Ready for Hillary, a super PAC that has been described as “a make-work program for former Clinton hands,” and that is busy building a database of donors and volunteers that the group will eventually sell or rent to an official Clinton campaign, held an all-day meeting at the Sheraton on Fifty-third Street, in New York.

    • Automakers Like TOTALLY Promise Not To Abuse The Ocean Of Location Data Their Cars Now Collect

      Hoping to assuage growing fears that vehicle data won’t be abused, nineteen automakers recently got together and agreed to a set of voluntary principles they insist will protect consumer privacy in the new smart car age. Automakers promise that the principles, delivered in a letter to the FTC (pdf), require that they “implement reasonable measures” to protect collected consumer data, both now and as the industry works toward car-to-car communications. The principles “demonstrate the industry’s commitment to its customers” and “reflect a major step in protecting consumer information” insists the industry.

    • Snowden Docs.: UK Telecom Conspired to Turn over millions of our Emails to British Intelligence
    • Who’s watching your webcam?

      The Daily Mail has revealed that people could be being watched in their own homes or at work as hackers are targeting webcams and uploading the live footage to the internet. The warning comes from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is urging people to upgrade their passwords from the default setting.

    • EFF Joins the Call for a NIST We Can Trust

      It’s looking like we might be on the brink of another crypto war. The first one, in the 90s, was a misguided attempt to limit the public’s access to strong, secure cryptography. And since then, the reasons we need the good security provided by strong crypto have only multiplied. That’s why EFF has joined 20 civil society organizations and companies in sending a letter to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to “re-emphasize the importance of creating a process for establishing secure and resilient encryption standards, free from back doors or other known vulnerabilities.”

    • Reaction to the Home Secretary’s Proposals to introduce IP address matching powers

      Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, said: “It is perfectly reasonable that powers to provide the police with the ability to match an IP address to the person using that service is investigated. However, if such a power is required, then it should be subject to the widespread consultation and comprehensive scrutiny that has been sorely lacking to date with industry, civil society and the wider public when it comes to introducing new surveillance powers.

    • Home Secretary announces plans to introduce IP address matching powers

      When the Communications Data Bill was scrapped in 2013, one of the issues that appeared to have full political consensus was the ‘resolution of IP addresses’ – particularly where mobile phone operators may have millions of customers using just a few hundred IP addresses.

    • NSA Reform Blocked by Paranoid Republican Senators

      “God forbid we wake up tomorrow and [Islamic State] is in the United States,” Sen. Marco Rubio said as the USA Freedom Act, considered a “gift to terrorists” by critics, was rejected by the U.S. Senate on Tuesday. Despite the fact that the mass collection of Americans’ phone data that the bill attempted to restrict has likely not prevented a single terrorist attack, somehow terrorism is still being used as a justification for the National Security Agency’s violation of U.S. citizens’ privacy rights.

    • Ejecting the NSA from our private space

      The National Security Agency (NSA) has destroyed the right to be let alone —the most cherished right among civilized people.

    • Rand Paul takes heat for NSA vote

      Civil liberties advocates who usually view Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) as an ally are frustrated with his vote Tuesday against an intelligence reform bill.

      Paul voted against a procedural motion for the USA Freedom Act, which would have enacted the most sweeping changes to American intelligence agencies in more than a decade, on the grounds that it reauthorized some portions of the Patriot Act.

    • Keeping the Backdoor open… how the NSA’s collection of 0-day exploits hurts us all

      The world lives in fear of zero-day exploits although the average person does not even know it. A zero-day exploit is a bug or a flaw that has not been discovered by the developers yet, but is known to someone outside. This can be good guys, bad guys or other, but it is still a flaw that can be used to do harm to a computer system and no one has a patch for it yet. When the good guys (security researchers) know about them they work with companies to patch them. When the bad guys know about these things get very ugly indeed. But what happens if someone knows about one (or a bunch of them) and does not tell anyone at all?

    • AT&T wants the NSA to have a warrant when asking for location data
    • NSA scandals caused rift with U.S. allies

      No single issue has caused greater damage to the trust between the United States and its allies than the sweeping revelations of the National Security Agency’s global surveillance programs. This story continues to fuel the perception that we no longer care to uphold our values at home or abroad. Our credibility has suffered by failing to sufficiently justify our actions even to ourselves. It is finally time to undo the damage.

      Recent presidential and congressional measures concerning espionage and data privacy have the potential to bolster our credibility, counter these misperceptions and restore trust with our allies. Congress failed to vote on the USA Freedom Act last week, but the bill itself demonstrates our resolve to protect the privacy of all U.S. citizens and end bulk data collection. The NSA is also taking unprecedented steps to protect the rights of those at home and abroad. It is imperative that we explain and advance these evolving norms, particularly with our allies across the Atlantic.

    • Some NSA Officials Warned Agency of Surveillance Backlash in 2009

      In 2009, a major debate was going on behind the scenes at the NSA. A number of officials, including an unnamed top member of the agency, were warning that if the truth about their mass surveillance went public, it could cause a major backlash.

    • Senate shamefully gives NSA green light on phone records spying

      The Senate charade this week allowing the National Security Agency to continue spying on Americans’ phone records would be laughable if it didn’t have such dangerous implications for both the tech industry and consumer privacy.

    • Why did NSA reform and the Keystone pipeline fail in the Senate?

      It has been a week since the lame duck Congress reconvened in Washington, and two major bills have already seen defeat.

      Senate Republicans flexed their muscles Tuesday, voting not to advance the USA Freedom Act, which would have scaled back the reach of surveillance by the National Security Agency and the FBI.


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

    • A Terrified Nation Gets the NSA Debate It Deserves

      The worst, most specious, most dishonest piece of poorly constructed propaganda in this particular bill’s debate, though, came in the form of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal op-ed by twin terror titans Michael Hayden and Michael Mukasey entitled—prepare yourself for this—”NSA Reform That Only ISIS Could Love.” How indicative of the sober, journalistic quality of discussion surrounding this issue!

    • Wish You Had NSA’s Cool Spying Toys? Now You Can — As Low-Cost Open Hardware

      Alongside the disturbing revelations of indiscriminate, global surveillance carried out by the NSA and its Five Eyes friends, leaked documents have shown another side of modern spying: the high-tech gadgets created for the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations group, discussed by Techdirt at the end of last year. As its name suggests, these are targeted operations, and with many of the serious concerns about the use of blanket surveillance removed, it is hard not to be impressed by the ingenuity of the devices. Of course, a natural question is: could the rest of us have them too? According to a detailed and fascinating article in Vice’s Motherboard, the answer turns out to be “yes”.

    • This Legal Loophole Could Let NSA Spy On Americans Long After The Patriot Act Expires

      After the defeat of NSA reform in the Senate Tuesday, expectation for a change in government surveillance powers shifted to next year when the PATRIOT Act expires, taking bulk spying authority with it unless the Obama administration exploits a legal loophole that could expand the collection of Americans’ phone records far into the future.

    • NSA Phone Data Collection Could Go On, Even if a Law Expires
    • The Failed NSA Reform Bill Was a Sham Anyway

      “Data handshakes,” call records, and the NSA’s back door into telecom companies reveal that the Senate’s plan to protect Americans’ privacy would have done no such thing.

    • NSA reform: Not dead yet

      What happened on the Senate floor On Tuesday night is what often happens on the Senate floor: Senate surveillance hawks rounded up just enough votes to procedurally kill a bill that should have been brought up under a genuinely open process. As my Cato colleague Julian Sanchez noted, the bill–if it had been enacted in its current form–really wouldn’t have changed much as far as how the National Security Agency (NSA) operates its signals intelligence (SIGINT) programs. Therein lies both the problem and the opportunity.

    • Uber scandal: Worried about NSA spying? It’s Silicon Valley billionaires you need to watch

      Have you complained about Uber? Ever done anything shady? Then there’s a good chance that an Uber executive thinks it’s a good idea to go after you and your family, with “fair game” practices straight out of the Scientology playbook.

    • Rival steps into Uber row with ‘NSA’ accusation
    • Flywheel raises $12 million to take on Uber’s ‘army of mini assh*les’
    • What Does The NSA Think Of Cryptographers?

      A recently declassified NSA house magazine, CryptoLog, reveals some interesting attitudes between the redactions. What is the NSA take on cryptography?

      The fact that a 1994 issue of CryptoLog, an NSA internal newsletter, existed as a declassified document has come to light. Intially it reached the attnetion of specialists Shtetl-Optimized, the blog of everyone’s favourite quantum computer expert, Scott Aaronson. But it is too good not to publicise more widely.

    • AP Exclusive: Some in NSA warned of a backlash

      Dissenters within the National Security Agency, led by a senior agency executive, warned in 2009 that the program to secretly collect American phone records wasn’t providing enough intelligence to justify the backlash it would cause if revealed, current and former intelligence officials say.

      The NSA took the concerns seriously, and many senior officials shared them. But after an internal debate that has not been previously reported, NSA leaders, White House officials and key lawmakers opted to continue the collection and storage of American calling records, a domestic surveillance program without parallel in the agency’s recent history.

    • Yet more NSA officials whisper of an internal revolt over US spying. And yet it still goes on

      The NSA’s snooping programs aren’t just controversial to the public, it seems: we’re reminded other staff at the US agency also objected to prying into Americans’ phone records.

    • The good news about the ‘death’ of NSA reform: surveillance supporters may have dug their own grave

      Snowden haters may have blocked the USA Freedom Act, but the clock is ticking before the law that justifies vacuuming your phone records blows up in the face of newly conservative Washington

    • American Surveillance Now Threatens American Business

      A new study finds that a vast majority of Americans trust neither the government nor tech companies with their personal data.

    • Local judge unseals hundreds of highly secret cell tracking court records

      Stingray docs unsealed by North Carolina judge could prompt wave of new appeals.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Dear Senator Ted Cruz
    • 4 Stupid Conservative Arguments Against Net Neutrality, Debunked

      The comparison, so stupid on so many levels that it isn’t worth debunking, is not just an isolated example of partisan idiocy. In recent weeks, Republican operatives have trotted out a steaming heap of similar malarkey in an effort to ward off a popular revolt against the cable industry, which wants to charge big companies such as Google or Netflix for faster internet service while slowing it down for the rest of us. Here are four other ludicrous conservative arguments for why the Federal Communications Commission shouldn’t prevent this from happening:

    • FCC chief proposes hiking schools’ Internet subsidy by 62 percent

      U.S. communications regulators are expected to vote Dec. 11 on whether to boost funding for the largest U.S. educational technology subsidy program, E-Rate, by 62 percent to help connect more schools and libraries to high-speed Internet.

    • EU to water down net neutrality rules

      European Union governments are considering less stringent rules on how internet service providers manage traffic on their networks, according to a draft seen by Reuters, a move that could be welcomed by Europe’s large telecoms operators.

    • Leaked documents show net neutrality may be in danger!

      On 14 November 2014, the Italian Presidency presented amendments to the Telecommunications package for comment by the Member State delegations. We are hereby making the document and its annexes publicly available (Note and addendum). These documents show that the Italian Presidency is now back-pedalling on meaningful net neutrality protections – having previously made some much more meaningful and positive suggestions. It presented a “principles-based approach” to the Member States “in order not to inhibit innovation and to avoid” having an outdated regulation in the future. In reality, all the text would do is add confusion for freedom of communication and online innovation.

    • This Infographic Shows The Enemies Of An Open And Free Internet
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • When the Time Comes We’ll Need to Step Up the Fight Against TPP’s Secret, Anti-User Agenda

      If you missed our live teach-in yesterday on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement and its restrictive, anti-user provisions, you can still check out the video of our discussion. It’s embedded below. We invited experts from digital rights groups from several TPP countries—all members of the Fair Deal Coalition—and we discussed the various ways this massive, secret trade deal threatens our rights on the Internet and over our digital devices.

    • TTIP Update XLIII

      The problem of data flows, and why CETA’s ISDS is a disaster

    • Copyrights

      • The creative class is not screwed: Here’s how the Internet helps artists make a living

        The fundamental problem that “traditional media” is having is that its business was structured around expensive, resource-intensive undertakings and paying large dividends to investors. Newspapers bought purpose-built buildings in central New York and Tokyo; radio networks took over enormous towers next door to them; record labels built multimillion-dollar studios and employed titanic numbers of administrators, talent scouts, managers, and so forth.

        The net makes it possible to do things more cheaply. For one thing, the actual production costs for media have fallen drastically. It’s not easy to do professional typesetting, but if you know how to do it, you can make it happen with the computer under your arm, and you can pocket the difference between the cost of a computer you already own and the cost of a huge typesetting shop full of specialized equipment that cost a million dollars twenty years ago. The hyperexpensive shots that George Lucas stuck into “Star Wars” in 1977 can be rendered cheerfully and without complaint by a used PC that your local high school is throwing away. That doesn’t mean you, personally, know how to make it produce something as cool or lucrative as Lucas did, of course—but if you can, you have a lot more options than Lucas did back then for making money from it, because the cost is so low.

      • U.S. Government Seeks to Keep Megaupload Money Because Kim Dotcom Is a ‘Fugitive’

        On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice told a Virginia federal judge that Kim Dotcom and cohorts have no business challenging the seizure of an estimated $67 million in assets because the Megaupload founder is evading prosecution.

      • U.S. Brands Kim Dotcom a Fugitive, ‘Spies’ on Others

        The U.S. Government is trying to get its hands on the assets of Kim Dotcom and his fellow defendants through a civil lawsuit, with the DoJ branding them fugitives and asking the court to dismiss their claims . The new filing further reveals that law enforcement continued to tap conversations of some defendants months after the raids.

      • U.S. Copyright Alert System Security Could Be Improved, Review Finds

        This week the Center for Copyright Information released a new external review of its evidence gathering procedures. Overall the six-strikes Copyright Alert System gets a positive evaluation. However, more can be done to prevent false positives and protect the collected evidence from internal threats such as rogue employees.

      • Swedes Prepare Record File-Sharing Prosecution

        Swedish authorities say a case they are preparing against a so-called piracy ‘scene’ member will be their biggest prosecution to date. The man is accused of infringing copyright on more than 2,200 mainly Hollywood movies, with each carrying potential damages of up to $2.69m per movie.

      • Torrents Good For a Third of all Internet Traffic in Asia-Pacific

        New data published by the Canadian broadband management company Sandvine reveals that BitTorrent can be credited for one-third of all Internet traffic in the Asia-Pacific region during peak hours. That’s an increase of more than 50% compared to the previous year.

      • Artists and Labels Now Sue Chrysler Over CD-Ripping Cars

        The Alliance of Artists and Recording Companies has launched a new lawsuit targeting Chrysler for allowing car owners to rip CDs without paying royalties. The lawsuit follows a similar class action suit against Ford and General Motors, which is still ongoing.

      • If Illegal Sites Get Blocked Accidentally, Hard Luck Says Court

        In a case before the High Court, UK ISPs have raised concerns that ‘innocent’ sites might be taken offline due to them sharing IP addresses with other sites detailed in blocking orders. While sites will get a chance to complain, those operating illegally will get no sympathy from the High Court.

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