01.07.15

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 7/1/2015: Android Dominant in CES, OSVR in the Press

Posted in News Roundup at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • ​CES 2015: Dell refreshes high-end XPS business laptop line

      If you’re a serious road warrior, and not a Chromebook Pixel fan like I am, you have two real choices: the Lenovo ThinkPad line and the Dell XPS line. Now, Dell has two new SPX versions and they’re looking sweet.

    • Michal Papis, Open Source Developer

      Michal has a very tweaked KDE setup. He discusses his use of Alt+Tab to switch between applications, rather than using virtual desktops, and I’m very glad he does. I too use Alt+Tab compulsively. I’ve experimented with virtual desktops, but Alt+Tab always does the job for me. I’ve always felt guilty that I didn’t do more with virtual desktops but Michal has given me the courage to officially give up on them. And for that, I’ll forever be grateful.

    • North Korea’s Red Star Linux OS: Made in Apple’s Image?

      Most of the recent headlines involving North Korea and computers have centered on whether the former was behind attacks against Sony. Here’s another fact about technology in North Korea that has been subject to less attention: The country has its own, home-grown Linux distribution, called Red Star OS, which happens to look a lot like Apple’s OS X.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation AllSeen Alliance Expands Internet of Things Efforts

      The AllSeen Alliance today announced new initiatives and momentum in its bid to help advance standards for the emerging landscape that is the Internet of Things (IoT).

      The AllSeen Alliance is a multi-stakeholder effort that is operated as a Linux Foundation Collaboration project. The Linux Foundation first announced the AllSeen Alliance effort in December 2013, with the AllJoyn code contribution from Qualcomm serving as the basis. AllJoyn is a framework for enabling secure and seamless connectivity, as well as access, for IoT devices.

      Now the AllSeen Alliance is expanding the framework with the AllJoyn Gateway Agent that expands the footprint of IoT features beyond a user’s local environment, all the way out to the cloud.

    • A Look Inside A Live Linux Kernel

      As web designer, student and open source advocate Shaun Gillies points out, successful industry leaders or project managers in the open source community “frequently employ” peer review techniques as a criteria for quality control in their development cycle.

    • Linux Kernel 3.19 RC3 Is Small and Uneventful and Linus Is Happy About That

      The third RC for the Linux Kernel 3.19 branch has been announced by Linus Torvalds and it’s now available for download and testing. The development cycle continues without interruption and everything is on track.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X.Org Server 1.17 Should Ship Soon, X.Org Server 1.18 Likely To Be A Quicker Cycle

        Keith Packard of Intel has provided a status update concerning the soon-to-be-out X.Org Server 1.17 and its successor, X.Org Server 1.18.

        Continuing to serve as the de facto xserver release manager, Keith Packard wrote on Sunday that he feels the release of 1.17 is “quite close” but is just waiting to make sure everyone is happy with it before the code ships. For months the 1.17 release has planned to ship around the new year.

      • The Intel Haswell OpenGL Performance Boosting Patch Is Published

        Back in November I wrote about a Major Performance Breakthrough Discovered For Intel’s Mesa Driver due to testing done by LunarG and uncovered with the help of Intel. That performance-boosting patch has been queued up for drm-intel-next thus meaning it will be present with the next major kernel cycle — the Linux 3.20 kernel.

    • Benchmarks

      • Test Driving The New Intel Haswell Linux Performance Patch

        For this quick on-the-spot comparison I ran some benchmarks of Linux 3.19-rc3 compared to the drm-intel nightly kernel state that is Linux 3.19 plus the Intel DRM kernel driver work under development that will ultimately be merged for Linux 3.20. This latest drm-intel code contains the anticipated Haswell specific performance patch.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Fluxbox 1.3.6 Released After Two-Year Wait

      After nearly two years since the previous release, the Fluxbox team has released Fluxbox 1.3.6 (codenamed “It’s about time”) to start off the new year.

      For new Linux users, Fluxbox is a long-standing X window manager derived from Blackbox. Fluxbox is lightweight and very fast yet offers a lot of functionality.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.16 To Have Foursquare Integration, Check-In On GNOME Maps

        Thanks to Damián Nohales’ work last summer on Foursquare support in GNOME via Google Summer of Code 2014, GNOME 3.16 has basic support for this location sharing service now focused on local search.

      • SQLite, VACUUM, and auto_vacuum

        The week before Christmas I hunkered down and took on a nagging issue in Geary I’m almost embarrassed to discuss. The long and short of it is, prior to this commit, Geary never deleted emails from its internal SQLite database, even if they were deleted on the server. It was a classic problem of garbage collection and reference counting. (If you’re interested in the problem and why Geary didn’t simply delete an email when it was not visible in a mail folder, the original ticket is a good place to start.)

      • GNOME MultiWriter and Large Hubs

        Today I released the first version of GNOME MultiWriter, and built it for Rawhide and F21. It’s good enough for a first release, although there are still a few things left to do. The most important now is probably the self-profiling mode so that we know the best number of parallel threads to use for the read and the write. I want this to Just Work without any user interaction, but I’ll have to wait for my shipment of USB drives to arrive before I can add that functionality.

      • GNOME MultiWriter Is an Awesome New App That Writes ISO Files to Multiple Devices

        The GNOME stack is getting all kind of interesting apps and now a new one is in the making, called the GNOME MultiWriter. This app is capable of writing an ISO to multiple devices at once and it’s doing it with a simple and clear interface.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Alpine Linux 3.1.1 released

        The Alpine Linux project is pleased to announce the immediate availability of version 3.1.1 of its Alpine Linux operating system.

        This is a bugfix release of the v3.1 musl based branch. This release is based on the 3.14.27 kernel which has some critical security fixes.

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • “That Other OS”

        PCLinuxOS even does a minimal installation more or less the way I like with most software installation after the first boot but they are not going the way I intend to move sooner rather than later, to ARM. I guess Debian has spoiled me for any other distro. It’s just hard to beat someone with that kind of depth and experience.

    • Arch Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Foresees Sprawling Cloud, Container Specs in 2015

        Meanwhile, as OpenStack and Linux container technologies begin to “collide” in 2015, greater consolidation in areas like workload orchestration (Heat, Kubernetes, Mesos and Yarn) is expected to accelerate. Mark Coggin, Red Hat’s senior director for platform product marketing, said containerization of OpenStack services would help address “the installation complexities of OpenStack, and also facilitate the building of more complex solutions like high availability and fail-over, workload clustering and load balancing, high performance storage infrastructure and application autoscaling.”

      • Ceph for Cinder in TripleO

        A wrap up on the status of TripleO’s Cinder HA spec. First, a link to the cinder-ha blueprint, where you can find even more links, to the actual spec (under review) and the code changes (again, still under review). Intent of the blueprint is for the TripleO deployments to keep Cinder volumes available and Cinder operational in case of failures of any node.

      • Time has come to support some important projects!

        If you read this blog entry it is very likely that you are a direct beneficiary of open source and free software. Like myself you probably have been able to get hold of, use and tinker with software that in the old world of closed source dominance would all together have cost you maybe ten thousand dollars or more. So with the spirit of the Yuletide season fresh in mind it is time to open your wallet and support some important open source fundraising campaigns.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 19 “Schrödinger’s Cat” Reaches EOL and Is Now Definitely Dead

          Fedora 19 “Schrödinger’s Cat” was initially released back in July 2013 and it was alive for a year and a half. Now, the distribution has reached end of file and it’s no longer supported by its developers.

        • Fedora 19 End of Life
        • Fedora 19 Reaches End Of Life State

          If you’re still running Fedora 19 for some reason, you better think about upgrading to Fedora 20/21 as F19 has now reached its end of life.

        • NetworkManager 1.0 released!

          A decade ago seems like a long time in open source. In those days, networking was not easy to configure in Linux systems like Fedora. Networking stacks didn’t play well with each other, and some used frequently today didn’t even exist then. Configuring a laptop for good mobility across networks was difficult, or sometimes impossible.

    • Debian Family

      • Bootstrapping arm64 in Debian

        arm64 is officially a release architecture for Jessie, aka Debian version 8. That’s taken a lot of manual porting and development effort over the last couple of years, and it’s also taken a lot of CPU time – there are ~21,000 source packages in Debian Jessie! As is often the case for a brand new architecture like arm64 (or AArch64, to use ARM’s own terminology), hardware can be really difficult to get hold of. In time this will cease to be an issue as hardware becomes more commoditised, but in Debian we really struggled to get hold of equipment for a very long time during the early part of the port.

      • 64-bit ARM Support Is Moving Along In Debian

        With the upcoming release of Debian 8.0 “Jessie”, AArch64/ARM64 will become an official release architecture.

      • Kodi from Debian

        As of today Kodi from Debian uses the FFmpeg packages instead of the Libav ones which have been used by XBMC from Debian. The reason for the switch was upstream’s decision of dropping the Libav compatibility code and FFmpeg becoming available again packaged in Debian (thanks to Andreas Cadhalpun). It is worth noting that while upstream Kodi 14.0 downloads and builds FFmpeg 2.4.4 by default, Debian ships FFmpeg 2.5.1 already and FFmpeg under Kodi will be updated independently from Kodi thanks to the packaging mechanism.

      • Use Module::Build::Tiny as Debian policy compliant
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Make Adds Google Go Support, Game Category

            Ubuntu Make, formerly known as the Ubuntu Developer Tools Center, is up to version 0.4 and it adds Go language support.

            Ubuntu Make is one of the newer Ubuntu Linux projects for making it easier for developers to quickly and easily setup development environments on the popular distribution. Ubuntu Make 0.4 was released today and it introduces Google Go support along with bringing a new game category. Ubuntu developers can run umake go to deploy the latest version of Google golang along with setting up the proper build environment.

          • Builder Update

            I’ve been really busy during the start of the Builder fundraising campaign trying to round up funds. We still have some larger donations planned that I hope to see land in the not to distant future. We are one week of four complete and have raised nearly 60% of the requested funds!

            This means that I haven’t got to write as much code the last week as I would have liked, but our contributors have picked up the slack.

            For a New Years gift, I put together some tools for those of you that work with HTML. The auto indentation engine now supports HTML, so you wont need to fuss about with alignments anymore. Just hit enter after your opening element and you’ll be properly indented. I also added the basis for what will be the HTML autocompletion engine. It’s not very complete yet, but if someone wants to own it, I’d be happy to hand it off. Longer term, I’d prefer to see it work of the document’s DTD.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • WeMo can now light your smart home from the inside and out

      Following Sunday’s expansion of the WeMo ecosystem with a bevy of sensors, Belkin’s home automation brand is today announcing an expanded lineup of smart lighting devices from Osram Sylvania and TCP (Technical Consumer Products).

    • All of Samsung’s 2015 Smart TVs will be powered by Tizen

      Samsung’s new SUHD TVs announced at CES today will be powered by it’s new Tizen OS.

    • [Developer] Samsung Tizen TV SDK 1.2

      With the launch of the Samsung Tizen TV, we also see the release of the updated Samsung Tizen TV SDK 1.2. This SDK has the tools you need to start developing applications for the Tizen TV Platform. The tools include an Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for HTML5, JavaScript, CSS code editing, a light-weight TV Simulator for testing webapps, and a TV Emulator. You also get templates for TV applications

    • Linux Representing at CES

      Linux at CES tops our news coverage for today. In other news OpenSource.com says installing Linux from Scratch can help users learn “the building blocks” of Linux and Softpedia.com says users “are going crazy” for circle icons. Elsewhere Jack Germain spoke to The Document Foundation and Open Source Business Alliance about reaching the goal of universal open document standards.

    • CES 2015: Microchip Technology shows off 30 demos

      Microchip Technology Inc. of Chandler announced Tuesday at CES 2015 that it has joined the Linux Foundation and Automotive Grade Linux to develop software for the connected car.

    • [Video] Samsung Gear S Apps

      This is an Interesting little 1 minute video that I found on the web. It takes you through the advantages of having a Tizen based Samsung Gear S or leaving your Smartphone at home. You have fitness capabilities as well as an App store that you can download applications that are suitable to you and your lifestyle.

    • Tizen TV is Launched with Samsung SUHD Models JS8500, JS9000 and JS9500

      It is with a huge smile that I say Samsung launched their SUHD Lineup of Tizen TVs at the packed Samsung Press Conference at CES 2015. The TVs hold the promise of a superior picture which has 64 times more color expression and will be 2.5 times brighter than conventional TVs. The TV will be running the Tizen OS, which will be optimised for the TV User Interface (UI) making it more responsive compared to previous UIs.

    • CES 2015: Linksys WRT1200AC Router Is a Beast with 512 MB and Official OpenWRT Support

      Linksys has just announced its new WRT1200AC 2×2 Dual Band Wireless AC Router at CES 2015. It might sound like just another router, but this is interesting because it also comes with OpenWrt support by default.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Apple Slapped With Another Lawsuit
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The greatest trick Obama ever pulled was convincing the world America isn’t still at war

      The holiday headlines blared without a hint of distrust: “End of War” and “Mission Ends” and “U.S. formally ends the war in Afghanistan”, as the US government and Nato celebrated the alleged end of the longest war in American history. Great news! Except, that is, when you read past the first paragraph: “the fighting is as intense as it has ever been since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001,” according to the Wall Street Journal. And about 10,000 troops will remain there for the foreseeable future (more than we had a year after the Afghan war started). Oh, and they’ll continue to engage in combat regularly. But other than that, yeah, the war is definitely over.

    • Open source intelligence (OSINT) iBrabo tracks Syrian tweet location of ISIS suspect

      Reports in the Independent newspaper and elsewhere suggest that the open source intelligence research group iBrabo has helped with information capture technology in the quest to pin down a suspected ISIS militant.

      A New Zealand born individual, Mark John Taylor (who uses the names Mohammad Daniel or Abu Abdul Rahman) is said to have now suspended his Twitter account after inadvertently tweeting his location while in Syria.

    • 12 Dead in Attack on Paris Newspaper; France Goes on Alert

      Masked gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar!” stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing 12 people before escaping. It was France’s deadliest terror attack in at least two decades.

      French President Francois Hollande called the attack on the Charlie Hebdo weekly, which has frequently drawn condemnation from Muslims, “a terrorist attack without a doubt” and said several other attacks have been thwarted in France “in recent weeks.”

    • France says ready to strike Libya militants

      France said Monday its troops south of Libya are ready to strike extremists crossing the border, but the speaker of Libya’s internationally recognized parliament rejected any Western military intervention in his country.

      French President Francois Hollande urged the United Nations to take action to stem growing violence in the North African country and the transit of arms from Libya to militant groups around the Sahel region.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Fracking in Ohio confirmed as cause of rare earthquake strong enough to be felt

      A new study links the March 2014 earthquakes in Poland Township, Ohio, to hydraulic fracturing that activated a previously unknown fault. The induced seismic sequence included a rare felt earthquake of magnitude 3.0, according to new research.

    • As Oil Drops Below $50, Can There Be Too Much of a Good Thing?

      Cheaper oil is still creating more winners than losers. Far more people live in oil-importing countries than live in oil-exporting countries. The U.S., for one, remains a net importer. The well-publicized travails of U.S. shale oil producers are small compared with the gains by American consumers and businesses that are paying less for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, petrochemicals, and the like. With fuel prices down, people are driving more miles and buying more cars and trucks.

  • Finance

    • USA Today Makes Sure Rich Don’t Get Blamed for Middle-Class Stagnation

      The “Nation’s Newspaper” boasts that most of its “editorials are coupled with an opposing view–a unique USA Today feature.” So you’re getting both sides, is the implication–when in fact what you’re more likely to get is perception management, as the Gannett-owned paper makes clear which opinions are to be taking seriously and which are beyond the pale.

      [...]

      That’s a good point, as far as it goes. Where doesn’t it go? For one thing, it doesn’t point out that this is not a problem that started in 1999, but at least 25 years earlier: US median household income has grown only 7 percent since 1973, even as per capita GDP has roughly doubled.

      And where has all that income gone? That phrase “for the non-wealthy” conceals it: While most people have seen little or no income growth over the past four decades, the rich have enjoyed a long-term boom. The top 1 percent of households, for example, have seen their real after-tax income rise by 200 percent since 1979.

    • The Coming War on Pensions

      On the Senate’s last day in session in December, it approved the government’s $1.1 trillion budget for coming fiscal year.

      Few people realize how radical the new U.S. budget law was. Budget laws are supposed to decide simply what to fund and what to cut. A budget is not supposed to make new law, or to rewrite the law. But that is what happened, and it was radical.

      Wall Street’s representatives in Congress – the Democratic leadership as well as Republicans – took the opportunity to create an artificial crisis. The press called this “holding the government hostage.” The House – backed by the Senate – said that it would shut the government down at some future date if two basic laws were not changed.

    • Nobel Laureate Stiglitz Blocked From SEC Panel After Faulting High-Speed Traders

      Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel laureate economist who called for a tax on high-frequency trading, has been blocked from a government panel that will advise regulators on issues facing U.S. equity markets, according to people familiar with the matter.

      Stiglitz’s rejection shows the partisan infighting that has bogged down Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White’s plan to set up a panel of experts to advise the agency on topics ranging from rapid-fire stock trading to dark pools.

    • Inequality and the American Child

      Children, it has long been recognized, are a special group. They do not choose their parents, let alone the broader conditions into which they are born. They do not have the same abilities as adults to protect or care for themselves. That is why the League of Nations approved the Geneva Declaration on the Rights of the Child in 1924, and why the international community adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989.

    • Authoritarianism, Class Warfare and the Advance of Neoliberal Austerity Policies

      Right-wing calls for austerity suggest more than a market-driven desire to punish the poor, working class and middle class by distributing wealth upwards to the 1%. They also point to a politics of disposability in which the social provisions, public spheres and institutions that nourish democratic values and social relations are being dismantled, including public and higher education. Neoliberal austerity policies embody an ideology that produces both zones of abandonment and forms of social and civil death while also infusing society with a culture of increasing hardship. It also makes clear that the weapons of class warfare do not reside only in oppressive modes of state terrorism such as the militarization of the police, but also in policies that inflict misery, immiseration and suffering on the vast majority of the population.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Inside Putin’s Information War

      There were more than 20 of us sitting around the long conference table: tanned broadcasters in white silk shirts, politics professors with sweaty beards and heavy breath, ad execs in trainers—and me. There were no women. Everyone was smoking. There was so much smoke it made my skin itch.

    • O’Reilly Hosts Former KKK Leader David Duke To Defend GOP Rep. For Speaking To White Supremacist Group

      Bill O’Reilly interviewed former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke about GOP Rep. Steve Scalise’s address to a white supremacist group in a segment Duke turned into a bizarre defense of his reputation.

      Scalise, who has a leadership position in the GOP as the House Majority Whip, has apologized for speaking to a white supremacist conference in 2002. Conservative media are divided on whether Scalise is a victim of the media, or made a mistake serious enough for him to resign his leadership post.

    • Web Journalist Who Broke Scalise Scandal: “I Knew It Was A Bombshell”

      “It was reassuring to me that this story became national and became international. It just demonstrates that America has very little patience for any politician that would associate with white nationalists and would speak in front of their conference,” he said. “What I was really blown away by was the respect the mainstream media afforded me … I thought that was really, for me as an independent journalist, it was really reassuring.”

  • Censorship

    • With Power of Social Media Growing, Police Now Monitoring and Criminalizing Online Speech

      The following day, Ahmed was arrested and “charged with a racially aggravated public order offense.” The police spokesman explained that “he didn’t make his point very well and that is why he has landed himself in bother.” The state proceeded to prosecute him, and in October of that year, he was convicted “of sending a grossly offensive communication,” fined and sentenced to 240 hours of community service.

    • Writers in “free” countries are chilled by government surveillance, study finds

      So says PEN America, which today released the results of a survey conducted in the fall of 2014, asking writers worldwide how their freedom of expression has been impacted by NSA surveillance. Perhaps most significantly, the survey results show that writers in countries designated “free” by the organization Freedom House are at least as worried—and in some cases, more worried—about government surveillance than writers in “non-free” countries. 75% of respondents from “free” countries told PEN they were “very” or “somewhat” concerned about government surveillance.

    • Writers Say They Feel Censored by Surveillance

      A survey of writers around the world by the PEN American Center has found that a significant majority said they were deeply concerned with government surveillance, with many reporting that they have avoided, or have considered avoiding, controversial topics in their work or in personal communications as a result.

    • Intel closes its Russian developer forums to escape Kremlin censorship

      Intel, the latest American tech firm to fall into the Kremlin’s crosshairs, closed the site and redirected users to its sites hosted outside of Russia, along with third-party forums hosting Intel discussions. The news follows a December decision by the Russian government to block GitHub after developers posted politicized code on the site.

  • Privacy

    • Let’s Encrypt (the Entire Web): 2014 in Review

      Last month we were very pleased to announce our work with Mozilla, the University of Michigan, Cisco, Akamai and IdentTust on Let’s Encrypt, a totally free and automated certificate authority that will be launching in summer 2015. In order to let mainstream browsers seamlessly connect securely to your web site, you need a digital certificate. Next year, we’ll provide you with that certificate at no charge, and, if you choose, our software will install it on your server in less than a minute. We’ve been pursuing the ideas that turned into Let’s Encrypt for three years, so it was a great pleasure to be able to share what we’ve been working on with the world.

    • The NSA’s Funny Numbers, Again

      While it appears NSA managed to give IOB (completely redacted) numbers for the files involved, it appears PCLOB never got a clear count of how many were involved. It’s not clear that NSA ever admitted this data may have gotten mixed in with Stellar Wind data. No one seems to care that this was a double violation, because techs are supposed to destroy data when they’re done with it.

      Though, if you ask me, you should wait to figure out why so many records were lying around a tech server before you destroy them all. But I’m kind of touchy that way.

      One thing I realize is consistent between the internal audit and the IOB report. The NSA, probably the owner of the most powerful computing power in the world, consistently uses the term “glitch” to describe software that doesn’t do what it is designed to to keep people out of data they’re not supposed to have access to.

    • The Government Spent a Lot of Time in Court Defending NSA Spying Last Year: 2014 in Review

      EFF continued litigation in our mass spying cases Jewel v. NSA for several spying methods and First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA for the mass telephone records collection. We also joined the legal team in Smith v. Obama when the case went to the Ninth Circuit on appeal, and joined Klayman v. Obama and ACLU v. Clapper as amici. Finally, we sued the Department of Justice for failing to respond to multiple Freedom of Information Act requests.

    • Protesters: The FBI is probably spying on your phone, and no, they didn’t get a warrant for that

      The FBI assures lawmakers that they obtain warrants to use controversial cell-site simulators, otherwise known as stingrays—except when they don’t, which is pretty much always, according to information obtained by Senators Leahy and Grassley.

    • Months later, key details about StingRay non-disclosures yet to be disclosed

      It’s been months since we learned of the seemingly compulsory non-disclosure agreement that the FBI hands police eager to use cell phone tracking equipment. But we still know precious little about which departments nationwide aren’t allowed to tell us what about their StingRays.

    • Writers in ‘Free’ Countries Now Share Surveillance Concerns With ‘Not-Free’ Brethren

      Writers living in liberal democracies are now nearly as worried about the government watching them as their colleagues in countries that have long histories of internal spying, according to an international survey conducted by PEN, a literary and human rights organization.

      Brave writers have historically stood up to even the gravest threats from authoritarian regimes. Conversely, there have always been some who willingly censor themselves.

    • FBI says search warrants not needed to use “stingrays” in public places

      The Federal Bureau of Investigation is taking the position that court warrants are not required when deploying cell-site simulators in public places. Nicknamed “stingrays,” the devices are decoy cell towers that capture locations and identities of mobile phone users and can intercept calls and texts.

      The FBI made its position known during private briefings with staff members of Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). In response, the two lawmakers wrote Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson, maintaining they were “concerned about whether the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have adequately considered the privacy interests” of Americans.

    • How Britain Exported Next-Generation Surveillance

      IT WAS A COOL, QUIET MONDAY EVENING in northeast England when the computer first told them about Peter Chapman. The clock read a little after five, and two officers from Cleveland police were cruising in their patrol car. A screen lit up next to them: the on-board computer was flashing an alert from the local police network. The message told them the target was a blue Ford Mondeo and gave them its registration number.

      It was only a few minutes before they came across the car and pulled it over with a sounding of their siren. Inside was Chapman, a 33-year-old convict wanted for questioning in connection with a string of offences, including arson and theft. The officers verified his identity and took him to a station just a few miles away.

      At 5:07 p.m. on October 26, 2009, just 20 minutes before he was arrested, Chapman had driven past an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera stationed next to the road. As his car passed, the camera recorded its registration number, together with the time and location, and sent the information to Cleveland Police’s internal computer network, where it was checked against a hotlist downloaded from Britain’s central police database.

    • Total online privacy

      Protect your privacy and your personal information from advertisers, doxxers and anyone you may feel threatened by

    • Privacy Not Included

      So, to help you navigate your way round this privacy jungle, we have created a simple 10 step guide to the little things you can do to help you stay safe and private. After all there’s no need to spoil a beautiful tech friendship before it’s even begun.

    • New Threat to Openness in the EU: Trade Secrets Directive

      Putting all that together, and it’s hard not to see these moves as part of a concerted, global action to make the protection of trade secrets much stronger, and to create new “rights” for companies, which can be used against openness in all its forms. That’s worrying, and swims against the prevailing historical current for more, not less, openness. We must resist it wherever it appears, lest it starts to roll back some of the hard-won gains of recent years – not just for areas like open data and open science, but even for open source itself.

    • Global Moves To Give Corporations Yet More Legal Weapons By Strengthening Laws Protecting Trade Secrets

      Techdirt often discusses the problems with intellectual monopolies such as copyrights, patents and trademarks. These grant powers to exclude others from using something — creative works, inventions, words and phrases. Increasingly, they create dense thickets of obligatory permissions that make it hard or even impossible for others to build on pre-existing work. That may serve the purposes of the monopolist, but is frequently to the detriment of society. Despite the fact that the enforcement options available to holders of such intellectual monopolies have been repeatedly and disproportionately strengthened in recent years, it seems that too much is never enough: there is now a move to boost another kind of monopoly right, that of trade secrets.

    • EFF: Law enforcement ‘desperately’ trying to hide use of surveillance cell towers

      Law enforcement organizations around the country are desperate to keep the public unaware of the use of Stringrays, a surveillance technology that secretly monitors cell phones, even as courts and lawmakers are starting to fight back.

      That’s the conclusion of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which tallied up a year’s worth of public records requests by American media organizations, as well as court and legislative actions, related to the government’s use of the technology, also known as IMSI catchers.

    • Of Course 23andMe’s Plan Has Been to Sell Your Genetic Data All Along

      Today, 23andMe announced what Forbes reports is only the first of ten deals with big biotech companies: Genentech will pay up to $60 million for access to 23andMe’s data to study Parkinson’s. You think 23andMe was about selling fun DNA spit tests for $99 a pop? Nope, it’s been about selling your data all along.

      Since 23andMe started in 2006, it’s convinced 800,000 customers to hand over their DNA, one vial of spit at a time. Personal DNA reports are the consumer-facing side of the business, and that’s the one we’re most familiar with. It all seems friendly and fun with a candy-colored logo and quirky reports that include the genetic variant for asparagus pee.

    • Court Asked Why There’s No Expectation Of Privacy In Cell Location Data, But An Expectation Of Privacy In The Cellphone Itself

      The government continues to argue that the Third Party Doctrine trumps the Fourth Amendment. Almost any “business record” created intentionally or inadvertently can be had by the government without a warrant. Even if the citizen in question has no ability to control what’s collected by third parties (without forgoing the service entirely) or is completely unaware that it’s happening, the government claims records of this type have no expectation of privacy.

  • Civil Rights

    • White Man Publishes Book! USA Today Mistakes This for News

      A collection of short stories published by entertainment lawyer Kevin Morris makes the front page of USA Today’s Money section (1/4/15). Why? The startling thing about the book, according to USA Today media writer Michael Wolff, is that it deals with “one of the least-popular media subjects, middle-aged white men.”

      Yes, “White Men Have Stories to Tell, Too,” as the headline of Wolff’s column declares.

      You might think that if you wrote about media for a living, you would notice that publishers mostly publish, and newspapers mostly review, books written by white men.

    • Senator Dianne Feinstein Proposes Legislation to Make Torture Extra Illegal

      There are already laws on the books in the US that prohibit the use of torture. But after the Senate Intelligence Committee released a summary last month of its 6,700-page torture report that revealed the CIA subjected some detainees it captured after 9/11 to “rectal rehydration” and “ice water baths,” the outgoing Democratic chairwoman of the committee said she will introduce legislation and call for a series of executive actions to ensure the US government never does it again.

    • Feinstein, after release of CIA report, urges measures to ban ‘abusive’ interrogations

      The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said she will seek to make “abusive” interrogation measures illegal and ban the CIA from holding prisoners under a series of measures shaped by the findings of a report released last month on the agency’s treatment of detainees after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    • The Path to Closing Guantánamo

      The reasons for closing Guantánamo are more compelling than ever. As a high-ranking security official from one of our staunchest allies on counterterrorism (not from Europe) once told me, “The greatest single action the United States can take to fight terrorism is to close Guantánamo.” I have seen firsthand the way in which Guantánamo frays and damages vitally important security relationships with countries around the world. The eye-popping cost — around $3 million per detainee last year, compared with roughly $75,000 at a “supermax” prison in the United States — drains vital resources.

    • Let’s All Do Something Useful Today: Write to Manning and Kiriakou

      Prison sucks. Being in prison because you blew the whistle on our government sucks harder. Getting a letter makes it suck less.

      So if you want to do something good today, write a short letter to one of these guys. It need not be anything more than good wishes, or just introducing yourself as a supporter (if you can’t say anything nice, go post your bile somewhere else).

    • From Drone Strikes to Black Sites, How U.S. Foreign Policy Runs Under a Cloak of Secrecy

      At least nine Pakistanis were killed Sunday in a U.S. drone strike in North Waziristan, the first reported drone strike of 2015. News accounts of the strike are based on unnamed Pakistani government and security officials. The Obama administration has said nothing so far. For years, the United States did not even publicly acknowledge the existence of the drone strikes. The drone program is just one example of the national security state’s reliance on secret operations. The recent Senate Intelligence Committee report revealed another example: the shadowy network of overseas CIA black sites where the United States held and tortured prisoners. The report also noted the CIA shrouded itself in a cloak of secrecy keeping policymakers largely in the dark about the brutality of its detainee interrogations. The agency reportedly deceived the White House, the National Security Council, the Justice Department and Congress about the efficacy of its controversial interrogation techniques. We are joined by a guest who has closely followed the debate over national security and secrecy: Scott Horton, a human rights attorney and contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine, whose new book is “Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy.”

    • In Defense of a CIA Whistleblower

      The trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, set to begin in mid-January, is shaping up as a major battle in the U.S. government’s siege against whistleblowing. With its use of the Espionage Act to intimidate and prosecute people for leaks in “national security” realms, the Obama administration is determined to keep hiding important facts that the public has a vital right to know.

      After fleeting coverage of Sterling’s indictment four years ago, news media have done little to illuminate his case – while occasionally reporting on the refusal of New York Times reporter James Risen to testify about whether Sterling was a source for his 2006 book State of War.

    • NYT Reporter Questioned at Hearing in CIA Leak Case

      It is not entirely clear how Risen’s stance affects the government’s case. The government possesses email and phone records that show extensive contact between Sterling and Risen. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema has previously suggested the government could rely on those records to establish what it needs without compelling Risen’s testimony.

    • Times Reporter Says He Won’t Testify as CIA Leak Trial Looms

      According to government lawyers, Holder authorized prosecutors to seek Risen’s testimony on three topics: that he has an unbreakable confidentiality agreement with his source for the ninth chapter of his book, that he wrote the chapter and two newspaper articles based on information from the source and that he previously had a non-confidential reporter-source relationship with Sterling.

    • Defiant on Witness Stand, Times Reporter Says Little

      After losing a seven-year legal battle, James Risen, a reporter for The New York Times, reluctantly took the witness stand in federal court here on Monday, but refused to answer any questions that could help the Justice Department identify his confidential sources.

      Mr. Risen said he would not say anything to help prosecutors bolster their case against Jeffrey A. Sterling, a former C.I.A. officer who is set to go on trial soon on charges of providing classified information to Mr. Risen for his 2006 book, “State of War.”

      [...]

      Judge Brinkema did not indicate how she would respond to such a request, and she said little during Mr. Risen’s testimony. She stepped in, however, when Mr. Risen posed questions of Mr. MacMahon and later Mr. Trump.

      “It doesn’t work that way,” Judge Brinkema said. “You can’t ask him questions. That’s the reporter in you.”

      Mr. Sterling’s trial is scheduled to begin next Monday. Prosecutors gave no indication in court whether, in light of Mr. Risen’s testimony Monday, they planned to call him as a witness.

    • NYT’s James Risen pushes back in hearing on leaks

      The Obama administration’s plan to defuse a First Amendment showdown with a New York Times reporter over his confidential sources was nearly derailed at a court hearing Monday when the journalist rebuffed a series of questions concerning his reporting.

      But he eventually agreed to answer some of the queries, allowing the at-times tense session to get back on track and avoiding for now a major confrontation over press freedom.

    • During Pretrial Hearing, Journalist James Risen Refuses to Help US Government with Leak Case

      New York Times journalist James Risen testified in a federal courtroom in Alexandria, Virginia, during a pretrial hearing in a leak case against former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling. The hearing was held so US District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema could determine what questions Risen would have to answer at trial as a subpoenaed witness.

      The former CIA officer is alleged to have given information to Risen on a classified program that the government claims was “intended to impede Iran’s efforts to acquire or develop nuclear weapons,” which Risen later published in his book, State of War. He is charged with committing ten felonies, seven of which fall under the Espionage Act. A trial is currently scheduled to begin in the middle of this month.

    • Risen Testifies at Sterling Pre-Trial Hearing

      James Risen sat alone in the far corner of the expansive hallway outside the courtroom. It was a fitting beginning for a day in which he seemed alone, even apart from his lawyers.

      [...]

      However, Risen had made clear before — and repeated today — that he would not reveal who his confidential source or sources were, and in the end no one actually asked that question.

    • Special Prostitution Courts and the Myth of ‘Rescuing’ Sex Workers

      Police took special advantage of sex workers with addiction issues. “If you’re one of those girls who’s begging, crying, and doesn’t want to go to jail,” Love told me, some officers will offer freedom in exchange for sex. But it’s always, said Love, “a deal with the Devil.” Afterward, cops will keep shaking you down—for information, easy arrests, or more sex.

      What would otherwise be called rape at gunpoint is, because the victims are sex workers, given the euphemism “sexual favors.”

    • Antonin Scalia: Torture’s Not Torture Unless He Says It Is

      Perhaps, as Justice Scalia told a Swiss university audience earlier this month, it is indeed “very facile” for Americans to declare that “torture is terrible.” The justice posited to his listeners a classic ticking-time-bomb scenario—this one involving “a person that you know for sure knows the location of a nuclear bomb that has been planted in Los Angeles and will kill millions of people”—and asked, “You think it’s clear that you cannot use extreme measures to get that information out of that person?” Now, I didn’t see that episode of 24, but I have read my Bill of Rights, and I’m far more inclined to align myself here with James Madison than with Jack Bauer—or with Antonin Scalia.

    • Exclusive: CIA says its inspector general is resigning at end of month

      The agency said in a statement that Buckley, who has served as the agency’s internal watchdog for more than four years, was leaving the agency to “pursue an opportunity in the private sector.”

    • No Impunity for Torturers [Updated]

      In a post called “The Torture Report is Only the First Step,” Harold Koh observed on Friday that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s account of the CIA’s interrogation and detention program should be “more than enough to reopen investigations at the Justice Department to see whether prosecutions are warranted.” Ken Roth, who leads Human Rights Watch, made the same point in a piece published by the Washington Post over the weekend.

    • Shifting Politics on the Death Penalty

      In January 1992, Bill Clinton, then the governor of Arkansas, left the presidential campaign trail to fly home for the execution of a man named Ricky Ray Rector. Mr. Clinton’s decision not to grant clemency to Mr. Rector, who had been sentenced to death for killing a police officer, was widely seen as an attempt to fend off the familiar charge that Democrats were soft on crime.

      On Dec. 31, Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland, whose name has been mentioned among potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidates, commuted the sentences of the last four inmates on the state’s death row.

      Maryland abolished the death penalty in 2013, but only for new sentences. In resentencing the condemned men to life without parole, Mr. O’Malley said that leaving their death sentences in place would “not serve the public good of the people of Maryland — present or future.”

    • Has the US Constitution Been Lost to Military Rule?

      Furthermore, according to Delahunty and Yoo, terrorists operate within the continental United States and “conceal themselves within the domestic society and economy,” which makes it difficult to identify them. By this logic, everyone is now “suspect.” Furthermore, they wrote, 9/11 created a situation “in which the battlefield has occurred, and may occur, at dispersed locations and intervals within the American homeland itself. As a result, efforts to fight terrorism may require not only the usual wartime regulations of domestic affairs, but also military actions that have normally occurred abroad.”

    • It’s time to abolish the CIA

      The CIA should be abolished.

      After a trial run of 67 years, the agency has proven a sorcerer’s apprentice. The director and his subordinates have became insufferably arrogant Platonic Guardians hiding behind secrecy in the belief that the rest of us are too stupid or naive to judge what risks to accept to preserve liberty and the rule of law. The CIA has made Americans less safe.

      Its incorrigible anti-democratic ethos was epitomized by legendary chief of counterintelligence James J. Angleton. He voiced contempt for the Church Committee’s investigation of chronic agency abuses, i.e., the “Family Jewels.” As reported in The New York Times, Angleton likened the CIA to a medieval city occupied by an invading army, i.e., the Congress of the United States. To the same effect, Director William J. Casey told Church Committee investigator Loch K. Johnson that the congressional role was to “stay the [expletive] out of my business.”

    • BAE Releases Social Media, Open Source Analysis Tool to Stop Data Leaks
    • Unarmed Montana Man Told to Raise Hands Before Officer Fired

      An unarmed man killed by a Montana police officer during a traffic stop was told repeatedly to raise his hands before the officer shot him three times, according to video footage shown Tuesday during an inquest into the shooting.

    • Let’s abolish West Point: Military academies serve no one, squander millions of tax dollars

      Many pundits have suggested that the Republicans’ midterm gains were fueled by discontent not merely with the president or with the (improving) state of the economy, but with government in general and the need to fund its programs with taxes. Indeed, the Republican Party of recent decades, inspired by Ronald Reagan’s exhortation to “starve the [government] beast,” has been anti-tax and anti-government. Government programs, as many of their thinkers note, primarily exist to perpetuate their own existence. At the very least, they have to justify that existence.

  • DRM

    • Kindle sales have ‘disappeared’, says UK’s largest book retailer

      Waterstones has admitted that sales of Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader had “disappeared” after seeing higher demand for physical books.

      The UK’s largest book retailing chain, which teamed up with Amazon in 2012 to sell the Kindle in its stores, saw sales of physical books rise 5pc in December, at the expense of the popular e-reader.

      Kindle sales had “disappeared to all intents and purposes”, Waterstones said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Cornish pasty ‘threatened by EU-US trade deal’

      German agriculture minister warns that laws protecting regional foods – such as Germany’s Black Forest Ham – may be at risk under a transatlantic trade agreement

    • Copyrights

      • Arrr: The only Pirate in European Parliament to weigh in on copyright

        As speculation and arguments mount over proposed EU copyright legislation, the Pirate Party MEP will publish her report on the matter on 19 January.

        Julia Reda, currently the only Pirate in the European Parliament, has been made “rapporteur” on the implementation of the previous directive on the so-called 2001 Infosoc Directive.

        Collecting societies, publishers and artists have likened this to putting the wolf in charge of the sheep. If we accept the analogy, it’s probably a lot like asking the wolf’s opinion on how the shepherd has been doing and then taking that into account when telling the shepherd what to do next.

      • Pirate Party: ‘We are literally rewriting EU copyright law’

        Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda is leading the revision of the EU’s Copyright Directive — a significant milestone for the self-described internet-freedom movement.

      • All Of These Works Should Be In The Public Domain, But Aren’t

        Every year for the past few years, the good folks at Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain have put up a list of works that should have gone into the public domain on January 1st had Congress not massively expanded the law. Each year, it’s a depressing look at what works should be in the public domain. As a reminder, when these works were created, the creators knew the terms under which they were created and knew that they would have gone into the public domain by now — and they found that to be more than enough incentive to create those works. Given that, it makes absolutely no sense that these works are not in the public domain. The latest list has many, many examples of classic works that should be in the public domain.

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DecorWhat Else is New


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  2. On the Internet, Trust Should Not Become Centralised

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  3. Microsoft-Connected Publishers Suffer and Perish With Microsoft (While Peddling 'Fake News' for Their Beloved Sponsor)

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  4. Links 27/1/2022: Mabox Linux 21.11 Herbolth and PipeWire 0.3.44

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  5. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 26, 2022

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  6. [Meme] EPO: Pursuing an Eastern and Western District of Europe (for Patent Trolls and Software Patents)

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  7. Gemini at 2,000: 86% of Capsules Use Self-Signed Certificate, Just Like the Techrights Web Site (WWW)

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  8. [Meme] UPC: Many Lies as Headlines, Almost Exclusively in Publishers Sponsored by EPO and Team UPC to Produce Fake News (Lobbying Through Misinformation)

    Lest we forget that EPO dictators, like Pinky and the Brainless Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos, have long littered the EPO's official Web site as well as publishers not directly connected to the EPO (but funded by it) with disinformation about the UPC



  9. EPO as the 'Ministry of Truth' of Team UPC and Special Interests

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  10. Microsoft 'Delighted' by Windows 11 (Vista 11) Usage, Which is Only 1% Three Months After Official Launch and Six Months After Release Online

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  11. Links 27/1/2022: Preinstalled GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) and Arch Linux-Powered Steam Deck 30 Days Away

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  12. Don't Fall for Microsoft's Spin That Says Everything is Not Secure and Cannot be Secured

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  13. At Long Last: 2,000 Known Gemini Capsules!

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  14. Links 26/1/2022: Gamebuntu 1.0, PiGear Nano, and Much More

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  15. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, January 25, 2022

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  16. Links 26/1/2022: No ARM for Nvidia, End of EasyArch, and WordPress 5.9 is Out

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  17. Why the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is Still Just a Fantasy and the UPC's Fake News Mill Merely Discredits the Whole Patent 'Profession'

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  18. Links 25/1/2022: Vulkan 1.3 Released, Kiwi TCMS 11.0, and antiX 19.5

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  19. Gemini Milestones and Growth (Almost 2,000 Known Gemini Servers Now, 39,000 Pages in Ours)

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  20. [Meme] Get Ready for Unified Patent Court (UPC) to be Taken to Court

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent system that’s crafted to empower EPO thugs isn’t legal and isn’t constitutional either; even a thousand fake news 'articles' (deliberate misinformation or disinformation) cannot change the simple facts because CJEU isn’t “trial by media”



  21. The EPO Needs High-Calibre Examiners, Not Politicians Who Pretend to Understand Patents and Science

    Examiners are meant to obstruct fake patents or reject meritless patent applications; why is it that working conditions deteriorate for those who are intellectually equipped to do the job?



  22. Free Software is Greener

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  23. Links 25/1/2022: Git 2.35 and New openSUSE Hardware

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  24. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 24, 2022

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  25. Links 25/1/2022: GPL Settlement With Patrick McHardy, Godot 4.0 Alpha 1, and DXVK 1.9.4 Released

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  26. Proprietary Software is Pollution

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  27. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part XV — Cover-Up and Defamation

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  28. [Meme] Alexander Ramsay and Team UPC Inciting Politicians to Break the Law and Violate Constitutions, Based on Misinformation, Fake News, and Deliberate Lies Wrapped up as 'Studies'

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  29. Has the Administrative Council Belatedly Realised What Its Job in the European Patent Organisation Really Is?

    The "Mafia" which took over the EPO (the EPO's own workers call it "Mafia") isn't getting its way with a proposal, so it's preventing the states from even voting on it!



  30. [Meme] Team UPC is Celebrating a Pyrrhic Victory

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