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12.13.14

Links 13/12/2014: Android Wear “Lollipop”, European Commission and FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 6:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Marking HTTP As Non-Secure

        We, the Chrome Security Team, propose that user agents (UAs) gradually change their UX to display non-secure origins as affirmatively non-secure. We intend to devise and begin deploying a transition plan for Chrome in 2015.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.2.8 and Other Must-have Apps

      The Document Foundation today announced the release of LibreOffice 4.2.8, the final update to the 4.2 branch. Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols brags on his favorite Linux applications and Chema Martin says “Fedora 21 absolutely rocks.” And finally today, Chris Hoffman said “2014 shattered the myth of Linux impenetrability.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Introductory tasks for new GNUnet hackers

      We sometimes get requests for easy tasks to get started and join the GNUnet hacker community. However, it is often difficult for potential new contributors which areas they might be able to contribute to, especially as not all tasks are suitable for people that are just starting to work with GNUnet.

    • GCC Has Been Ported To The Visium Architecture

      Never heard of Visium before? Neither have we, but it’s yet another platform where GCC can serve as the code compiler. Eric Botcazou of AdaCore explained Visium as “a 32-bit RISC architecture with an Extended Arithmetic Module implementing some 64-bit operations and an FPU designed for embedded systems…The Visium is a classic 32-bit RISC architecture whose branches have a delay slot and whose arithmetic and logical instructions all set the flags, and they comprise the moves between GP registers (which are inclusive ORs under the hood in the traditional RISC fashion).”

  • Public Services/Government

    • The European Commission Is Looking to Update Its Open Source Policy

      The European Commission is working to upgrade open source policy so that developers have a much easier time to contribute to upstream projects, by removing some of the current constraints.

    • European Commission Finally Engaging with Open Source?

      Earlier this year, I wrote about the European Commission’s stunning incompetence in procuring desktop software: it actually admitted that it was in a state of “effective captivity with Microsoft”, and that it wasn’t really going to try to do anything about it. Fortunately, a recent article on the Commission’s “Joinup” site, by Gijs Hillenius, paints a rather brighter picture as far as the server side is concerned:

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Standards/Consortia

    • QEMU, FFMPEG guru unleashes JPEG-slaying graphics compressor

      Bellard – who is known for creating the QEMU virtualization hypervisor and the FFMPEG multimedia libraries, among other achievements – says the new format, called Better Portable Graphics (BPG), is designed to replace JPEG “when quality or file size is an issue.”

Leftovers

  • Security

    • DDoS of unprecedented scale ‘stops Sweden working’. The target? A gaming site

      Much of Sweden’s fixed-line broadband became collateral damage as a result of a DDoS attack on a mystery gaming site this week.

      While DDoS attacks are par for the course for most online businesses these days, the vast majority of these attacks don’t go on to affect the broadband connections of an entire country. But that’s what happened to customers of Telia, Sweden’s largest ISP, for 45 minutes on Tuesday night and then again intermittently throughout Wednesday afternoon and evening.

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Now at the Sands Casino: An Iranian Hacker in Every Server

      Most gamblers were still asleep, and the gondoliers had yet to pole their way down the ersatz canal in front of the Venetian casino on the Las Vegas Strip. But early on the chilly morning of Feb. 10, just above the casino floor, the offices of the world’s largest gaming company were gripped by chaos. Computers were flatlining, e-mail was down, most phones didn’t work, and several of the technology systems that help run the $14 billion operation had sputtered to a halt.

    • Iranian hackers used Visual Basic malware to wipe Vegas casino’s network

      Stop us if this sounds familiar: a company executive does something that makes a foreign government’s leadership upset. A few months later, hackers break into the company’s network through a persistent cyber attack and plant malware that erases the contents of hard drives, shuts down e-mail servers and phone systems, and brings operations to a screeching halt.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • BBC writer Thom Phipps advocates the murder of Julian Assange

      Public executions exist in Saudia Arabia, as do police death squads in Kenya. Public executions and death squads are part of this country’s past too. Most of us are happy to keep such barbaric behaviours squarely in the past and through history many have given their lives for the recognition of human rights and the improvement of the human condition. Presumption of Innocence, Rule of Law, Protection of Life and Freedom we all value and take for granted.

      You would not therefore expect the British Broadcasting Corporation to employ Mr Phipps in writing a comedy about Julian Assange when the former has publicly advocated for the public extrajudicial assassination of the latter.

    • Ben Miller to star in BBC4 Assange-inspired comedy Asylum

      Written by Thom Phipps and Peter Bowden, the comedy is part of a BBC season next year called Taking Liberties, celebrating 800 years of Magna Carta and exploring democracy in the run-up to the general election.

    • Hayden: No One Ever Warned Us Against Overreacting to 9/11

      A damning admission from a former head of the CIA and NSA

    • Anti-NSA protesters barge into Peter Thiel speech

      Protesters angry about the NSA spying programs and recent controversial police shootings interrupted a speech given by PayPal founder Peter Thiel at UC Berkeley on Wednesday.

    • Dear Peter Thiel: This is what disruption looks like

      A speech by the PayPal co-founder and billionaire investor Peter Thiel at University of California Berkeley ended abruptly Wednesday night when a crowd protesting the recent deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police entered the lecture hall and overran the stage.

    • BERKELEY PROTESTS SHUT DOWN PETER THIEL SPEECH
  • Transparency Reporting

    • John Cusack visits Assange

      Hollywood actor John Cusack is the latest supporter to visit WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in his continued stay at the Ecuadorian Embassy.

      The American star joined US activist Daniel Ellsberg and Indian-born author and activist Arundhati Roy for a meeting inside the embassy in London.

      WikiLeaks said the three were marking the fourth anniversary of Assange being in “detention” without charge, as well as commenting on the round-the-clock police presence outside the embassy.

    • John Cusack visits Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in his Ecuadorian Embassy bolthole
    • ‘Assange case – a witch-hunt by Swedish govt pressed by US’

      The US, the UK, and Sweden feel threatened by the WikiLeaks data release in 2010, so they work in tandem to keep Julian Assange locked up in London in fear of being sent to the US to face a grand jury, social campaigner Clark Stoeckley told RT.

      It is four years since WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was accused of rape and sexual assault and two years since he fled into Ecuador’s embassy in London.

    • British Journalist Launches Kickstarter Campaign To Raise Funds For Assange, Snowden, & Manning Statues
    • ‘They’ll try to shut you down’: Meeting Assange & the non-stop ‘War on RT”They’ll try to shut you down’: Meeting Assange & the non-stop ‘War on RT’

      Assange shared an enlightening story about a Kurdish TV station that had been shut down in Denmark. The story, like so many others – from diplomatic cables with undiplomatic comments to hundreds of uninvestigated war crimes in Iraq – came to his attention through a leaked cryptogram.

    • Credit Cards Sued in VA for Wikileaks Blockade
    • Visa, MasterCard sued for blocking donations to WikiLeaks

      On Monday this week, American attorneys for Icelandic hosting provider DataCell ehf filed suit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in hopes of having a federal judge award the company upwards of $5 million for what it claims was a coordinated attempt between Visa and MasterCard to restrict funding to WikiLeaks after the secret-spilling organization started publishing classified US State Department cables over four years ago.

    • Former Swiss Banker Collapses During WikiLeaks Trial

      Rudolf Elmer has been under investigation since 2011 for allegedly giving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange two compact discs during a news conference in London; although he denies the charges, the trial was disrupted when the former banker fainted.Rudolf Elmer has been under investigation since 2011 for allegedly giving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange two compact discs during a news conference in London; although he denies the charges, the trial was disrupted when the former banker fainted.

    • Former Swiss banker collapses at start of WikiLeaks trial
    • Snowden Living ‘Ordinary’ Life in Moscow

      Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden said on Wednesday that he was leading an ordinary life in Moscow, where he has lived for over a year.

      Snowden caused an international uproar in 2013 when he disclosed details of the extent of surveillance and electronic monitoring by the NSA and its British equivalent, the General Communications Headquarters.

    • WikiLeaks exposes gov’t lies, shifts on India uranium deal

      Prime Minister Tony Abbott signed an agreement in September to allow sales of Australian uranium to India for the first time. Uranium sales were initially approved by then-Coalition PM John Howard in August 2007 but Howard’s successor, Kevin Rudd, reinstated the ban.

      Rudd’s action was in accordance with long-standing Labor Party policy that uranium should only be sold to countries that have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). A 2008 Lowy Institute poll found that 88% of Australians supported this policy.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance and Politics

    • The Speech That Could Make Elizabeth Warren the Next President of the United States

      Early Friday evening Sen. Elizabeth Warren took to the Senate floor and gave a plain-spoken, barn-burning speech that could make history and put her into serious contention to be the next President of the United States.

      There are only a handful of political speeches that have such historic impact. Barack Obama’s keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention comes readily to mind. It’s what catapulted an obscure Illinois state Senator into the national limelight and put him on the path to becoming President.

      Warren’s Senate speech was different, but just as electrifying.

    • Levin highlights bipartisanship in farewell address

      “I watched and observed — I didn’t say a whole lot at first because junior members aren’t supposed to. I watched, and I learned,” Manchin said. “And I saw the system the way I imagined it probably was twenty, thirty, forty years ago, when it did work. I saw the Senate. And I’m thinking, why can’t the rest of the Senate work the way the Armed Services Committee works? And there’s one reason — we don’t have enough Carl Levin’s.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Refusing to Take Sides, NPR Takes Sides With Torture Deniers

      NPR correspondent Tamara Keith went on to refer to Sen. Dianne Feinstein discussing “a CIA program that used techniques she says amounted to torture.” In her own words, Keith reports that “the CIA program of secret overseas detentions and so-called enhanced interrogation methods began shortly after the September 11 attacks.”

    • FAIR TV: US Victimology, Equal Time for Torturers and Hypocritical Factchecking Lectures

      This week: ABC World News prepared viewers for the Senate report on CIA torture…by warning that its publication could harm Americans. Plus TV news covers the torture report by giving a platform to torture advocates. And a pundit who was dead wrong about the Iraq War shares his thoughts about the need for Rolling Stone to do better factchecking.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • No proof so far that NSA bugged Merkel’s phone: prosecutor
    • German investigation says the NSA probably didn’t tap Merkel’s phone after all

      Over a year after an unidentified source released a document he said proved the NSA had tapped the personal cell phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, an investigation by Germany’s top prosecutor has found no evidence that the tapping ever occurred. He says he also believes that the document may not even be authentic.

    • No proof of Snowden allegation that NSA tapped phone of German Chancellor Angela Merkel says prosecutor
    • Former NSA Guys Just Launched This Startup To Stop Hackers’ Favorite Trick

      Area 1 Security, a two-year old Valley startup not yet out of stealth, just raised $8 million for a product that is meant to stop the most impossible hacker attacks, something called “social engineering.”

    • Can three ex-NSA snoops stop the worst hacks before they start
    • Ex-NSA Agents’ Security Startup Lands $8 Million In Funding
    • Ex-NSA Agents’ Start-Up Locks in $8m in Funding
    • Verizon’s New, Encrypted Calling App Plays Nice With the NSA

      Verizon is the latest big company to enter the post-Snowden market for secure communication, and it’s doing so with an encryption standard that comes with a way for law enforcement to access ostensibly secure phone conversations.

      Verizon Voice Cypher, the product introduced on Thursday with the encryption company Cellcrypt, offers business and government customers end-to-end encryption for voice calls on iOS, Android, or BlackBerry devices equipped with a special app. The encryption software provides secure communications for people speaking on devices with the app, regardless of their wireless carrier, and it can also connect to an organization’s secure phone system.

    • Google: We don’t spy on you
    • Schmidt: NSA revelations forced Google to lock down data
    • Your telltale video camera shake can identify you

      HERE’s a way to shake off anonymity – literally. Footage from wearable cameras contains a “motion signature” unique to you. The discovery could identify police wearing body cameras, but also let authorities single out protesters uploading footage, say.

    • How Congress Secretly Just Legitimized Questionable NSA Mass Surveillance Tool

      We recently noted that, despite it passing overwhelmingly, Congress quietly deleted a key bit of NSA reform that would have blocked the agency from using backdoors for surveillance. But this week something even more nefarious happened, and it likely would have gone almost entirely unnoticed if Rep. Justin Amash’s staffers hadn’t caught the details of a new provision quietly slipped into the Intelligence Authorization Act, which effectively “legitimized” the way the NSA conducts most of its mass surveillance.

    • Congress quietly expands NSA powers for spying on Americans

      The campaign to rein in the surveillance of Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA) has become even more difficult. Instead, Congress has used a set of provisions to expand the agency’s data-gathering power.

    • Rep. Justin Amash Rips Expanded NSA Spying OK’d by Congress

      In the middle of this week’s all-consuming deadline budget negotiations, Congress quietly passed a separate bill granting the National Security Agency broad new powers to collect Americans’ phone and email communications without warrants, share the data with the FBI and foreign governments, and, in some instances, retain the records indefinitely, according to reports.

    • Spy panel chairman confident NSA programs won’t die

      Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), who is retiring from Congress after more than a decade, told reporters at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor on Friday that “adults” would ensure that the bill goes through, despite opposition from the spy agency’s critics.

    • Forget North Korea – the real rogue cyber operator lies much closer to home

      A cyber-attack on Sony Pictures distracted attention from a more worrying story about a piece of malware used by GCHQ

    • RON PAUL: ABOLISH CIA & NSA, REMOVE ALL TROOPS STATIONED OVERSEAS

      In the wake of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA torture memo release, former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) has suggested that America should get rid of its premier intelligence agencies and bring all of our troops back home.

    • “NSA-Proof” Blackphone to Get its Own Secured App Store

      Blackphone, the privacy-and-security-obsessed smartphone, will be getting its very own privacy-and-security-obsessed app store full of vetted software in an attempt to increase the phone’s protection, the firm has confirmed.

    • How The Supreme Court Could Decide The Fate Of NSA Surveillance

      An Idaho nurse is leading the latest charge against the Obama administration for the U.S. National Security Agency’s dragnet phone data surveillance program.

      With legal help from the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, neonatal intensive care nurse Anna Smith contested the government’s spy programs Monday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

    • Judges hear arguments over NSA surveillance

      A federal appeals court heard arguments Monday in an Idaho woman’s challenge to the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records — the third time in recent months that appeals courts around the country have considered the controversial counterterrorism program.

    • Appeals Judges to Hear Idaho Woman’s NSA Phone Data Case
    • NSA, CIA reform efforts doomed by GOP leadership of Senate Intel Committee

      The Republican takeover of the Senate after the midterm elections threatens to stall attempts to reform the nation’s surveillance laws and avoid transparency about the CIA’s controversial interrogation program, experts and civil liberties campaigners believe.

    • Europe: The NSA’s snooping habit is good and bad for business
    • NSA’s surveillance a ‘trade barrier’ for EU companies

      The US National Security Agency’s mass surveillance is a trade barrier for European Internet companies trying to provide services in the United States, a top EU official said yesterday (8 December).

    • EU Worried NSA Snooping Will Hurt International Trade
    • DOJ Misleads Court About Medical And Financial Records In Appeals Over NSA Surveillance

      Earlier this week, the Ninth Circuit heard oral arguments in a challenge to the NSA’s phone metadata program. While watching, I noticed some quite misleading legal claims by the government’s counsel. I then reviewed last month’s oral arguments in the D.C. Circuit, and I spotted a similar assertion.

      In both cases, the government attorney waved away constitutional concerns about medical and financial records. Congress, he suggested, has already stepped in to protect those files.

      With respect to ordinary law enforcement investigations, that’s only slightly true. And with respect to national security investigations, that’s really not right.

    • OffNow Gets Recognition from Major NSA Whistleblower

      On Monday, William Binney was a guest on the Alex Jones Show. Since he’s a major whistleblower and the former chief technical director of the NSA, I thought it would be good to call in to talk about the OffNow plan to deny the spying giant the water it needs to perpetually violate the 4th Amendment.

    • Caricature Friday- former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden

      Former CIA director Michael Hayden claims during a CNN interview that rectal hydration is a legitimate medical procedure. Erik Wemple has the story here.

    • This Week, Judges in Seattle Heard the NSA Surveillance Case That Could Go to the Supreme Court

      Earlier this week, a real estate attorney from Coeur d’Alene stood up in front of a three-judge panel in Seattle’s Ninth Circuit courthouse to argue Smith vs. Obama—a case challenging NSA surveillance that began back in Idaho, and could be the one that ends up before the US Supreme Court.

    • U.S. Relations with South America Slow to Heal after NSA Spying

      Last week, in the aftermath of both Brazil and Uruguay’s presidential elections, the two countries switched to handling bilateral trade in their local currencies, rather than the previous policy of utilizing the U.S. dollar in their economic relationship. The change is being hailed as a “step forward” in Latin American economic independence and Mercosur is exploring the expansion of this policy to Paraguay, Bolivia, and Venezuela as a way for the region to move beyond economic regulations that have traditionally been dictated by the United States.

    • Laura Poitras on the NSA’s Most Disturbing Practice

      Poitras explains that the most disturbing NSA practice is the bulk collection of data from people who are not suspected of any crime. By collecting so much data, the organization is saturated with information and unable to accurately track real threats.

    • Judge Posner says the NSA should have unfettered access to your data
    • Federal Judge Gives Glimpse Into Authoritarian Mindset Behind NSA
    • Judge Posner: it should be illegal to make phones the government can’t search

      Speaking at a Georgetown law cybercrime conference, 7th circuit judge Richard Posner made a series of conscience-shocking, technologically illiterate statements about privacy that baffle and infuriate, starting with: “if the NSA wants to vacuum all the trillions of bits of information that are crawling through the electronic worldwide networks, I think that’s fine.”

    • Congress just enshrined into law a Reagan-era rule that lets the NSA spy on Americans

      Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on much these days, but members of Congress recently joined hands to codify a very worrisome national-security executive order into law.

      The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill authorizing funding for the intelligence community with large bipartisan support. The vote was 325-100. All tallied, 55 Democrats and 45 Republicans voted against it. The same bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent, meaning that the only thing standing in its way is a signature from President Barack Obama.

    • “Information Sharing” Should Include the Public

      It’s hard to think of a legitimate reason to keep this information secret. Everybody knows that this malware was used to attack Sony Pictures. And it must be obvious to the attackers that the postmortem at Sony will reveal the workings of the malware to Sony, its consultants, and the U.S. government. These facts are not secrets, let alone secrets that are worth protecting at the cost of putting the public at risk.

      The secrecy is probably designed to protect somebody from embarrassment. If that somebody is Sony, it’s not working—the Sony attack is well known at this point. Perhaps the goal is to keep from embarrassing somebody in the government. One effect of the secrecy is to make it harder for citizens to hold the government accountable for the consequences of its cybersecurity policy.

    • Mark Zuckerberg’s advice to parents: Don’t ban Facebook
    • Ninth Circuit hears NSA program challenge

      On Monday, the Ninth Circuit held oral argument in Smith v. Obama, a Fourth Amendment challenge to the Section 215 telephony metadata program. You can watch a video of the argument here. The panel consisted of Judges Hawkins, McKeown, and Tallman. This was the third argument by a federal circuit involving a challenge to the telephony metadata program. The others are the Second Circuit and the DC Circuit, neither of which has handed down a ruling yet.

    • Judges hear arguments over NSA surveillance
    • NSA’s phone spying program extended 90 days
    • EX-KGB AGENT CLAIMS RUSSIA TOLD ANNA CHAPMAN TO SEDUCE EDWARD SNOWDEN IN MOSCOW
    • Report: Russian Spy Anna Chapman Tried to Seduce Edward Snowden

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was targeted by flame-haired former spy Anna Chapman, The Sunday People reports.

      According to the British newspaper, former KGB agent Boris Karpichkov, who has defected to the West, says the Kremlin laid out a plan for Chapman, 32, to lure Snowden, 31, into staying in the country so Russian intelligence officials could try to talk to him about American security secrets.

    • Russian Spy ‘Tried To Seduce’ NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden Into Spilling U.S. Security Secrets, Former Agent Reveals

      The flame-haired 32-year-old was reportedly hired by the Kremlin to lure 31-year-old Snowden into staying in the country so that Russian intelligence officials could continue to question him about U.S. security secrets, The Sunday People reported.

    • Edward Snowden: Russian sex bomb spy Anna Chapman ordered to seduce US whistleblower, defector reveals

      Anna, 32, even proposed marriage to Snowden, 31, on the orders of Russian ­intelligence high command.

    • Udall will be missed on critical issues such as CIA torture, NSA spying

      Coincidence? Maybe. My sites haven’t crashed for months; then all of a sudden, I post a story on CIA torture and … poof. Offline for 12-plus hours. Then a black helicopter started circling my house and … JK on that last part.

      [...]

      If you voted for Gardner, you can expect that lack of public discourse and transparency for the next six years. Congratulations. Gardner doesn’t even bother to have his people email or call reporters back, especially if they have tough questions.

      And if you’re a Democrat who didn’t bother to get out and vote for Udall, you get the government you deserve, and clearly you’re OK with the CIA and the NSA watching your every move, torturing terrorism suspects without filing charges and executing U.S. citizens anywhere they want with illegal drone strikes.

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to address French public

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is to address the French public for the first time on Wednesday.

    • Bill to Halt NSA Warrantless Surveillance, Passed by House, Quietly Dropped before Going to Senate

      The do-nothing House of Representatives almost slipped up and did something to protect Americans’ privacy.

      The House passed a government funding bill that included an amendment that would have ended the ability of the National Security Agency to conduct “backdoor” warrantless surveillance of the content of Americans’ electronic communications under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act. The provisions also would have stopped a mandate for technology providers to give law enforcement and other agencies an easy way to tap citizens’ communications.

    • Backroom Move Strips ‘Backdoor’ NSA Spying Ban From Spending Bill

      Congressional leaders have quietly deleted a measure meant to stop the National Security Agency’s “backdoor” surveillance of American communications from a major spending bill.

      The House of Representatives overwhelmingly voted in June to ban the NSA from searching for Americans’ communications in surveillance collected while targeting foreigners. But the omnibus spending package unveiled Tuesday night — a piece of legislation that must pass to avoid a government showdown — chucks that NSA safeguard.

    • Wickr – A Top Secret Messenger App For Linux, Windows, Android, And iOS

      Wickr is free, peer-to-peer encrypted messaging application for Linux, Windows, iOS, and Android. It was founded by a group of security experts in San Francisco for private communication. They define Wicker as a top secret messenger which means that nobody can track down the wickr users activities. You can send text messages, documents, audio/video, and pictures to a single or group of users. Also, you can retain the ownership of your own messages or media you share with your group. It allows you to set the expiration time to your messages, so the messages will be completely wiped out after a particular period of time. Wickr team assures that no conversions can be tracked or monitored by anyone, even by the Wickr team themselves.

    • Drone footage of former NSA spy station in Germany

      Ruptly’s drone soared over a derelict site, once home to one of the NSA’s largest listening stations, located in the north of Berlin’s Grunewald Forest.

      The US National Security Agency (NSA) built one of its biggest listening stations on top of a hill, and began surveillance operations from there in 1961, while construction of a permanent facility, known as USM 620 Kilo, began in 1963. Giant 12-meter (39 ft) satellite dishes on the site’s two towers enabled the NSA to intercept satellite signals, radio waves, and other transmissions, before interpreting and analyzing their findings. As the hill was located in the British sector of Berlin, the British and Americans co-operated on spying progams as part of the worldwide ECHELON spy network.

    • Hidden Electronic Eavesdropping Equipment Discovered in Downtown Oslo, Norway

      Spy equipment that can be used to eavesdrop on the mobile phones of politicians and ordinary Norwegians has been discovered in several places in the Oslo area, including close to the country’s parliament, newspaper Aftenposten has revealed.

      The equipment, hidden in fake mobile base stations, can be used to monitor all mobile activity in the vicinity. The paper conducted tests close important buildings in central Oslo and discovered a number of the devices, including close to the prime minister’s residence on Parkveien and close to the government offices.

      The purpose of the equipment appears to have been to find out who was entering and passing parliament, the government offices and other buildings in the area. It could also be used to listen to phone calls and monitor data traffic of selected people in the area, the paper says.

  • Civil Rights

    • Amid Details on Torture, Data on 26 Who Were Held in Error
    • CIA torture: How do we stop the torture next time?

      After America was forced to face the CIA’s use of torture after 9/11 by the US Senate torture report, Peter Foster in Washington asks if enough has been done to prevent it ever happening again.

    • British Intelligence Agencies Come Under Scrutiny After CIA Report Released
    • UK denies ‘unlawful’ activity claims were hidden in CIA report
    • Britain convulsed by its dirty secret in wake of CIA torture report
    • CIA revelations put UK spies under scrutiny
    • CIA report: UK defends actions over interrogation claims

      None of the redactions from a CIA report on interrogation related to British involvement in the mistreatment of prisoners, Number 10 has said.

    • Jim Murphy, Torture Apologist
    • CIA Torture Report: Obama administration continues to torture Guantanamo Bay detainees, says Reprieve
    • CIA on the Couch

      Why there would have been no torture without the psychologists.

    • What happened to the CIA torture report’s cast of characters

      The report examines how agents brutally interrogated prisoners at black sites around the world in the aftermath of 9/11, and is a revealing look at the government officials who created the secret program and those who carried it out.

    • CIA torture report: Prosecute US officials, says UN chief

      Senior US officials found to have sanctioned the use of torture by the CIA should face the “gravest penalties”, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism said.

    • CIA torture report sparks renewed calls to prosecute senior US officials

      A UN expert on human rights has repeated his call for the US to live up to its international legal obligations and prosecute senior officials who authorised the use of torture.

      Ben Emmerson, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, said Eric Holder, the US attorney general, is under an international obligation to reopen inquiries into senior officials alleged to have breached human rights.

    • I interrogated the top terrorist in US custody. Then the CIA came to town

      The Senate report exposed an orchestrated campaign of deception and lies while I was an FBI agent. But here’s the worst part: the lies haven’t stopped

      [...]

      One of the hardest things we struggled to make sense of, back then, was why US officials were authorizing harsh techniques when our interrogations were working and their harsh techniques weren’t. The answer, as the long-awaited Senate Intelligence Committee report now makes clear, is that the architects of the program were taking credit for our success, from the unmasking of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed as the mastermind of 9/11 to the uncovering of the “dirty bomber” Jose Padilla. The claims made by government officials for years about the efficacy of “enhanced interrogation”, in secret memos and in public, are false. “Enhanced interrogation” doesn’t work.

    • President George W Bush ‘knew everything’ about CIA interrogation

      Former US President George W Bush was “fully informed” about CIA interrogation techniques condemned in a Senate report, his vice-president says.

    • Cheney: George W. Bush Was Fully Aware Of The CIA Torture Program

      President George W Bush was fully aware and an “integral part” of the CIA’s torture of terror suspects, his vice-president Dick Cheney said Wednesday.

    • CIA Torture Made Latin America Safe for China

      If you want to see how the use of torture has undermined U.S. influence and power, look at Latin America. From San Salvador to Santiago, the continent’s citizens are all too familiar with the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation techniques. Some still have the mental and physical scars to prove it.

    • Rectal rehydration and waterboarding: the CIA torture report’s grisliest findings
    • CIA ‘violated human rights’ – Afghan president

      Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has said the CIA’s brutal interrogation programme “violated all accepted norms of human rights in the world”.

      He is among many world leaders condemning how the agency imprisoned and questioned al-Qaeda suspects.

      A US Senate report on the programme has said the harsh methods did not lead to unique intelligence that foiled plots.

    • Why Dick Cheney and the CIA don’t need to worry about international criminal charges

      The release of portions of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s interrogation techniques added fine touches to a picture we already knew in broad strokes. The agency’s “enhanced interrogation” included physical abuse, sleep deprivation, waterboarding and something called “rectal feeding.”

      Though much of this was known, at least in the abstract, the added level of detail evoked a predictable international response. The United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on counter terrorism and human rights, Ben Emmerson, released a statement that presented the end game: criminal charges, not only for the CIA agents involved, but also for “former Bush Administration officials who have admitted their involvement in the programme.”

      [...]

      The International Criminal Court is the only international venue that could try an American for his or her actions in the CIA’s interrogation program. There are territorial and temporary courts — the tribunals dealing with Yugoslavia or Rwanda, for example — but only the ICC is poised to take action if an individual country won’t. That’s key: The ICC has “complementary” jurisdiction, meaning that it will step in only if a local or national court is unable or unwilling to do so.

    • Why won’t Barack Obama prosecute CIA torturers?

      The graphic and unsparing report released this week on the CIA’s use of torture has prompted widespread calls for criminal charges to be brought against American spies involved in the agency’s detention programme.

      But while the White House has said it condemns the use of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” it is steadfastly refusing to prosecute those who ordered the torture or carried it out.

    • Police union: Miami chief’s statements on Eric Garner’s death ‘do not reflect the views’ of local officers

      Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa appeared on South Florida’s ABC affiliate over the weekend for a discussion about law enforcement in America. During the WPLG show, Orosa noted that he had watched video of Eric Garner’s deadly encounter with a New York police officer.

    • Miami Police Union Slams Chief For Defending Eric Garner

      In the wake of this weekend’s boisterous protests that twice shut down 195 and clogged streets from Wynwood to Midtown, Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa sat down with Michael Putney on Channel 10 last night. Orosa was surprisingly blunt about the Eric Garner case in New York, telling Putney that he believes the NYC cops who put Garner in a chokehold before his death will be indicted for federal civil rights violations.

    • Cops use taser on woman while she recorded arrest of another man

      Video of the March 30 melee surfaced online this week. Police erased the 135-second recording from the woman’s phone, but it was recovered from her cloud account, according to the Circuit Court for Baltimore City lawsuit (PDF), which seeks $7 million.

      [...]

      Mwamba was arrested on charges of assault for allegedly trying to run over two officers. Charges were dropped, and she suffered cuts and bruises.

    • Silk Road Judge: I Won’t Reveal Witnesses Because Ulbricht Could Have Them Killed

      When alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht’s trial begins in less than a month, he’ll face charges of narcotics conspiracy, money laundering, and computer fraud—not murder. But the specter of violence is creeping into Ulbricht’s trial nonetheless. The prosecution and judge in his case have now refused to let him know which witnesses will be testifying against him for fear that he might orchestrate their killing from his jail cell.

    • I Was There When an Undercover Cop Pulled a Gun on Unarmed Protesters in Oakland. Here’s How It Happened.

      Over the past 24 hours, photos showing a plainclothes police officer pulling a gun on unarmed protesters in Oakland have gone viral. Tens of thousands of people, and news outlets like Gawker, Buzzfeed, The Guardian, and NBC have shared them, often including outraged comments. But there have been few accounts of what exactly happened, and how the incident came to pass.

    • Attorney General Won’t Force New York Times Reporter to Reveal Source

      Attorney General Eric Holder has decided against forcing a reporter for the New York Times to reveal the identity of a confidential source, according to a senior Justice Department official.

      The reporter, James Risen, has been battling for years to stop prosecutors from forcing him to name his source for a book that revealed a CIA effort to sabotage Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

      The government wanted Risen’s testimony in the trial of a former CIA official, Jeffrey Sterling, accused of leaking classified information.

    • CIA’s Brennan: I Think We’ve Had Enough Transparency For The Time Being

      The CIA’s Director John Brennan spoke out about this week’s release of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s CIA Torture Report — and to say he wasn’t pleased about the report would be an understatement. Rather amazingly, in real-time as Brennan spoke, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s staffers did a real time rebuttal/fact-check to his speech via Twitter, with each statement punctuated with the hashtag #ReadTheReport. Brennan’s tap dancing concerning the report included a number of jaw dropping statements, but I wanted to focus on two specific ones.

    • CIA’s Brennan has had enough torture talk, wants to move on
  • DRM

    • Telling people how to remove DRM isn’t illegal

      We all know that it’s against the law to sell copyrighted material, but is it also illegal to tell people about software that can strip DRM off e-books without the intention to distribute? New York Judge Denise Cote has recently ruled that it’s not. The lawsuit in question, which was never cut and dry to begin with, was filed by Penguin and Simon & Schuster against Abbey House Media, a company that used to sell e-books for them. Abbey House was bound by law to protect those files with DRM, but when it was a month away from shutting down its digital bookstore in 2013, someone in the company felt compelled to help customers gain control of the e-books they already bought.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Launching CollabMark Project to Hack Trademarks for Free Culture.

        oday, we launched CollabMark — a project to provide information about how open source and free culture communities can use trademarks.

        A project’s identity is important. Trademarks empower communities to protect their identity and build a strong reputation to recruit new members and distribute their work. But trademarks also impose some restrictions that are challenging for groups that thrive on freedom and decentralization. With CollabMark seeks to offer some strategies to collaborative communities, including a Collaborative Mark Policy that they can adopt to protect their name and logo in an open way.

    • Copyrights

      • Leak Exposes Hollywood’s Global Anti-Piracy Strategy

        Leaked documents reveal in detail how Hollywood plans to take on piracy in the years to come. One of the top priorities for the MPAA are cyberlockers and illegal streaming sites, with lawsuits planned in the UK, Germany and Canada. Torrent sites are a medium priority, which the MPAA hopes to fight with criminal prosecutions, domain seizures and site blocking.

      • Important “Innocence of Muslims” Copyright Case To Be Re-Argued Monday

        A panel of eleven Ninth Circuit federal judges will hear oral arguments Monday in a rehearing of Garcia v. Google, a copyright case arising from the notorious “Innocence of Muslims” video that was associated with violent protests around the world. The appellant, Cindy Lee Garcia, argues that she holds a copyright in her five-second performance in the video, and because she was tricked into participating, that the video uses that performance without permission. EFF and many other public interest groups have filed friend-of-the-court briefs in the case, noting (among other concerns) that it is a matter of firmly established law that actors generally do not have a copyright in their performances.

      • Project Goliath: Inside Hollywood’s secret war against Google

        What is “Goliath” and why are Hollywood’s most powerful lawyers working to kill it?

        In dozens of recently leaked emails from the Sony hack, lawyers from the MPAA and six major studios talk about “Goliath” as their most powerful and politically relevant adversary in the fight against online piracy. They speak of “the problems created by Goliath,” and worry “what Goliath could do if it went on the attack.” Together they mount a multi-year effort to “respond to / rebut Goliath’s public advocacy” and “amplify negative Goliath news.” And while it’s hard to say for sure, significant evidence suggests that the studio efforts may be directed against Google.

      • Furious Google Ended MPAA Anti-Piracy Cooperation

        After delivering a major blow to torrent sites during October, Google must’ve thought the MPAA would be pleased. Instead, however, the MPAA issued a ‘snarky’ press release. According to a leaked email, the press release so infuriated Google’s top brass that the company ended cooperation with the MPAA.

        Each week Google removes millions of ‘infringing’ links from search engine results at rightsholders’ request, 9.1m during the last documented week alone. In the main Google removes these links within hours of receiving a complaint, a record few other large sites can match.

        But no matter what Google does, no matter how it tweaks its search algorithms, it’s never been enough for the MPAA. For years the movie group has been piling on the pressure and whenever Google announces a new change, the MPAA (and often RIAA) tell the press that more can be done.

      • Surprise: Spanish Newspapers Beg Government And EU To Stop Google News Shutting Down

        What makes this situation even more ridiculous is that, according to the ABC.es newspaper, German publishers are now asking Angela Merkel to change the manifestly broken German approach to using news snippets online, by copying the even more backward-looking Spanish law (original in Spanish.) Once again, it seems that an obsession with “protecting” copyright from imaginary harm causes otherwise rational people to lose the ability to think properly.

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