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Links 12/1/2015: Linux Mint 17.1 Xfce, Linux 3.19 RC4

Posted in News Roundup at 7:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • AllSeen Alliance Launches Open Source AllJoyn IoT Gateway Agent

    The AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry collaboration created to advance the Internet of Everything (IoT) through the AllJoyn open source software project, has released the AllJoyn Gateway Agent, an extension of the AllJoyn framework that delivers remote access, device management and fine-grained security and privacy control.

  • How the rise of open source could improve software security
  • Ori: Another Open-Source Distributed File-System

    Ori is a project out of Stanford and its features include peer-to-peer support, the ability to work offline, secure data transfers over SSH, and instant access with background synchronization.

  • Open Source History, Or Why Sharing Trumps Proprietary Society

    Is history open source? Not always, it seems, as Jonathan Band recently pointed out in an essay about copyright and legal issues surrounding the reproduction of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speeches for the film “Selma,” which parallels the key debates about open vs. closed software.

    Writing on Techdirt, Band observed that the producers of the film did not obtain the rights to King’s original Civil Rights-era speeches. Consequently, the speeches King is portrayed as giving in the movie are not those he actually delivered in the 1960s.

  • Events

    • Do You Work in the Data Center? Here Are Three Open Source Projects You Need to Know About

      For years, open source solutions have gained steam as programmers and decision makers began to see firsthand how they could benefit from the technology.

      From a coder’s point of view, open source solutions provide a foundation upon which new pieces of software can be built rather than starting from scratch. From a business manager’s perspective, open source tools will likely cost the company considerably less than proprietary solutions while at the same time providing a high level of security and functionality.

    • Boybanders ONE DIRECTION launch DoS attack on open-source bods

      One Direction has launched a denial of service attack on an open source coding conference in Cardiff, with the band maliciously pinging tens-of-thousands of its teenage fans at the city on the same day as DjangoCon 2015.

    • Lockheed Martin introduces open source software platform

      Simpler real-time analytics processing and analysis possible on web-based hosting service.

    • Announcing the Community Leadership Summit 2015!

      For those of you who are unfamiliar with the CLS, it is an entirely free event designed to bring together community leaders and managers and the projects and organizations that are interested in growing and empowering a strong community. The event provides an unconference-style schedule in which attendees can discuss, debate and explore topics. This is augmented with a range of scheduled talks, panel discussions, networking opportunities and more.

    • Drones, IoT, Containers and Cloud: CollabSummit 2015
  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Playing With Solaris In 2015

      This weekend when deciding what extra benchmarks to run and planning more tests for the week ahead, I decided to explore doing some fresh Oracle Solaris benchmarks since my most recent Solaris benchmarks were back in 2012. I also haven’t had much (any?) Solaris news to relay recently so wanted to see if there was anything new within the ex-Sun camp.

    • German City of Munich To Help Shape Future of LibreOffice

      Germany’s third largest city has a long history of using open-source software, much of it well documented.

      More than 16,000 PCs of public employees run the open-source “LiMux” Linux operating system, and the city makes heavy use of LibreOffice and its open file formats.

      The city will be represented on the board by Florian Haftmann, whose appointment swells the ranks to 17 members, among them Google, Intel, RedHat, and MIMO (‘Inter-Ministry Mutualisation for an Open Productivity Suite’ and made up of various French governmental departments).

    • LibreOffice 4.4 RC2 Is Now Ready for Testing

      The Document Foundation has just announced that the second Release Candidate for the new LibreOffice 4.4 branch has been made available and is now ready for testing.

  • BSD


  • Project Releases

  • Licensing

    • Top 10 FOSS legal developments of 2014

      The litigation surrounding Android continued this year, with significant developments in the patent litigation between Apple Computer, Inc. (Apple) and Samsung Electronics, Inc. (Samsung) and the copyright litigation over the Java APIs between Oracle Corporation (Oracle) and Google, Inc. (Google). Apple and Samsung have agreed to end patent disputes in nine countries, but they will continue the litigation in the US. As I stated last year, the Rockstar Consortium was a wild card in this dispute. However, the Rockstar Consortium settled its litigation with Google this year and sold off its patents, so it will no longer be a risk to the Android ecosystem.

      The copyright litigation regarding the copyrightability of the Java APIs was brought back to life by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) decision which overturned the District Court decision. The District Court had found that Google was not liable for copyright infringement for its admitted copying of the Java APIs: the court found that the Java APIs were either not copyrightable or their use by Google was protected by various defenses to copyright. The CAFC overturned both the decision and the analysis and remanded the case to the District Court for a review of the fair use defense raised by Google. Subsequently, Google filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. The impact of a finding that Google was liable for copyright infringement in this case would have a dramatic effect on Android and, depending on the reasoning, would have a ripple effect across the interpretation of the scope of the “copyleft” terms of the GPL family of licenses which use APIs.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Go 1.5 Is Still Working Towards Being Written In Go

      The plan for the upcoming release of Google’s Go 1.5 language is to have its tool-chain be written in Go. In order to bootstrap the new Go compiler tool-chain, they’ll depend on Go 1.4 to compile the new code.


  • Scottish storms: Power supplies still not restored to hundreds of homes

    About 600 homes are still without power after the storms which have swept Scotland, according to Scottish Hydro.

    Its power distribution division, SHEPD, said it had restored electricity to more than 120,000 customers since gale force winds hit power lines on Friday.

    Areas where power has yet to be fully restored include the Western Isles and rural areas around Dingwall and Wick.

  • Security

    • Thoughts – Not All Encryption Methods Live Up to Their Promises

      One example is the encryption featured in Skype, a program used by some 300 million users to conduct Internet video chat that is touted as secure.(3) It isn’t really. “Sustained Skype collection began in Feb 2011,” reads a National Security Agency (NSA) training document from the Edward Snowden archive.(4) Less than half a year later, in the fall, the code crackers declared their mission accomplished.(5) Since then, data from Skype has been accessible to the NSA snoops.(6) Software giant Microsoft, which acquired Skype in 2011, said in a statement: “We will not provide governments with direct or unfettered access to customer data or encryption keys.”(7) The NSA had been monitoring Skype even before that, but since February 2011 the service has been under order from the secret U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), to not only supply information to the NSA but also to make itself accessible as a source of data for the agency.(8)

    • Security is a Concern for The Internet of Things

      The Internet of Things (IoT) was big news at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and many of the biggest tech companies had related announcements. Apple wan’t demonstrating, but partners had the first set of devices that are HomeKit certified, which is Apple’s protocol for allowing smart home devices to work with the iOS platform. And, Google announced 15 new partners in “Work With Nest,” its developer program for adding third-party devices to Nest devices and networks.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Police Arrest Four People During Drone Protests at Airfield in UK

      The protesters have hung banners on the perimeter fence of the Royal Air Force in Waddington, calling to stop launch and use of drones from the air base. They have pointed out civilian casualties caused by UAVs during the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • Peace activists protest ‘brutal UK drone warfare’ at RAF base, 4 arrests

      Four peace activists were arrested at a Royal Air Force (RAF) base in Lincolnshire, northern England, on Monday while protesting against Britain’s use of armed drones. The site hosts the control center for UK drones abroad.

    • With Call To ‘End The Drone Wars,’ Activists Cut Their Way Into UK Air Force Base

      Four demonstrators opposed to Britain’s prolonged participation in foreign wars and use of armed drones were arrested on Monday after cutting through a fence at the Waddington Royal Air Force base near Lincolnshire, UK.

      According to the Guardian, RAF Waddington has been the growing focus of recent protests over Britain’s operation of unmanned aerial vehicles, which are controlled from the base.

      “Behind the rebranding, war is as brutal and deadly as it has always been with civilians killed, communities destroyed, and the next generation traumatized. And so we have come to RAF Waddington, the home of drone warfare here in the UK to say clearly and simply ‘End the Drone War’.”

    • Four peace campaigners arrested at drone protest

      The group: ‘ End The Drone Wars’ were Pax Christi executive member Chris Cole, 51, from Oxford, Katharina Karcher, 30, from Coventry, Gary Eagling, 52, from Nottingham and Penny Walker, 64, from Leicester. They are currently in police custody.

    • Drone protesters arrested at RAF base in Lincolnshire

      Four people campaigning against Britain’s use of armed drones have been arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass.

      Lincolnshire police said two men in their early 50s and two women aged 30 and 64 were detained at RAF Waddington on Monday.

    • CIA Behind France Attacks, Says Ex White House Official

      Attacks carried out by alleged Islamic gunmen in France last week that left 17 dead were the work of the CIA, “designed to shore up France’s vassal status to Washington,” a former White House official has claimed.

      Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and editor of the Wall Street Journal, Paul Craig Roberts, wrote on his blog Thursday that the atrocities were a “false flag” operation, similar to those carried out after World War II to frame communists.

      “Muslims are going to be framed for an inside job designed to pull France firmly back under Washington’s thumb,” he wrote.

      The tragedy began when two heavily armed brothers burst into the Paris office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo Wednesday, killing 12. The drama continued with the murder of a policewoman, and two concurrent sieges, one in a kosher supermarket.

    • Raif Badawi and Saudi Arabia’s intolerance

      One would be to create a mechanism to fully expose the situation. Some kind of international commission of inquiry, similar to the one that investigated North Korea, would be a good place to start. It could take testimony and build a record about the kingdom’s repression of dissent and the absence of rights for women. Just the discussion would signal to the Saudi leaders that, despite their storied relationship with the United States, abuses of human rights will not be forgotten, or ignored, as they have been for too long.

    • Terrorist acts not cartoons provoke Islamophobia

      In response to the appalling attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the cry of Je suis Charlie (I am Charlie) has gone up in France, the rest of Europe and around the world.

      The idea, of course, was been to express complete solidarity, to the point of total identification, with the slain journalists and their right to publish provocative and even offensive material. However, almost immediately a dissenting voice also emerged in western discourse, condemning some of the material and refusing to identify with it.

    • Charlie Hebdo Attack Investigator Commits Suicide: Reports

      Helric Fredou, 45, suffered from depression and experienced burn out. Shortly before committing suicide, he met with the family of a victim of the Charlie Hebdo attack and killed himself preparing the report.

    • NY Times (Again) Carries Water for Government’s Post Hoc Drone Assassination Justifications

      American Anwar al-Awlaki has been dead for over four years now, but The New York Times is still giving substantial ink to the U.S. government’s self-serving meme that Awlaki was an “operational” terrorist,” even though we still don’t know whether ISIS or AQAP is responsible for the recent attack on the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris.

      I called out New York Times reporter Scott Shane for carrying the government’s water by pimping the “Awlaki was operational” narrative last year. Yesterday, Shane penned another lengthy article rehashing the U.S. government’s post hoc justification for targeting and assassinating Awlaki without due process.

    • Some European Bloodbaths Are More Interesting Than Others

      On July 24, 2011, two days after Anders Breivik slaughtered 77 people, mostly teenagers, in Norway to call attention to his view that Muslim immigration was a bad thing, NBC’s Meet the Press didn’t mention the words “Breivik” or “Norway.” Nor did CBS’s Face the Nation.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 72 Percent of Republican Senators Are Climate Deniers

      On Thursday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) offered a simple amendment to the controversial bill that would authorize construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. Sanders’ measure, which he proposed to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, would have declared it the “sense of Congress” that climate change is real; that it is caused by humans; that it has already caused significant problems; and that the United States needs to shift its economy away from fossil fuels.

  • Finance

    • Study: Students often clueless about how much they owe

      Terrance Mitchell knows. Rebecca Williams doesn’t. Eric Simon isn’t sure, but he thinks he might.

      Mitchell, a junior at the University of Michigan, owes $13,500 in federal student loans. Williams, a sophomore at Eastern Michigan University, has no clue how much she owes. Simon, a senior at Wayne State University, thinks he owes about $20,000, but isn’t real sure.

      That range of knowledge about student loans is common, a new study has found.

      The study, conducted by the Brown Center on Education Policy at Brookings, found that about half of all students in the U.S. underestimate how much debt they have and less than a third can come within a few thousand dollars of the correct total. About a quarter overestimate their level of federal debt.


      A little more than 14% of Michigan students who started paying off their student loans in 2011 are already in default, just three years after they left college. That’s more than 25,000 borrowers who haven’t made a payment in at least 270 days. The national default rate for the class of 2011 is 13.7%, down from 14.7% for 2010.

    • Ivy League’s meritocracy lie: How Harvard and Yale cook the books for the 1 percent

      A special lottery is to be held to select the student who will live in the only deluxe room in a dormitory. There are 100 seniors, 150 juniors, and 200 sophomores who applied. Each senior’s name is placed in the lottery 3 times; each junior’s name, 2 times; and each sophomore’s name, 1 time. What is the probability that a senior’s name will be chosen?

    • Trial resumes for Swiss ex-banker charged with giving data to Wikileaks

      A former Julius Baer banker acknowledged that he passed confidential client data to WikiLeaks but argued his actions were not illegal, as his trial resumed on charges of breaching Swiss banking secrecy law.

      The trial of Rudolf Elmer, a self-described “Gandhi of Swiss tax law”, comes as banking secrecy in Switzerland is crumbling under international pressure from countries trying to recoup lost tax revenue.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • For Fox News’ Steve Emerson, Factchecking Seems to Be a No-Go Zone

      Birmingham is Britain’s second-largest city; needless to say, non-Muslims go there all the time, given that only 20 percent of the city’s residents are Muslim (Guardian, 1/12/15).

    • Fox News ‘terror expert’ says everyone in Birmingham is a Muslim

      An American “terrorism expert” on the right-wing Fox News channel has declared that Birmingham is “a totally Muslim” city “where non-Muslims just simply don’t go”.

      Steve Emerson made the claim, which may come as a surprise to the hundreds of thousands of non-Muslim residents of Britain’s second-largest city, during a television discussion about no-go zones in Europe where Muslims are apparently in complete control.

    • Fox News pundit claims that Birmingham is ‘totally Muslim’ city

      Non-Muslims do not go to the British city of Birmingham, which has become a “totally Muslim” city, it has been claimed. Speaking on US news channel Fox News, Steven Emerson – who claims to be a “terrorism expert” – also said that gangs of religious police in parts of London beat up people who are not wearing Islamic clothes.

    • Enforcing with a smile

      Enforcers of China’s one-child policy are trying a new, gentler approach

  • Censorship

    • No, Mark Zuckerberg you do not stand with Charlie Hebdo

      You started out your entire narrative by outlining a Pakistani fanatic that wanted you dead for an offensive video. However, within Pakistan alone you censored over 1,773 pieces of progressive content. During the last half of 2013 and the first half of 2014, censorship on Facebook saw a 19% hike. Why is this relevant? Because the content you’re censoring in this country comes from left-wing liberal pages targeting extremism and oppressive state policies. On the other hand, pages with actual hate speech targeting both Muslim minorities and non-Muslims continue to push out their displaceable [perhaps you meant despicable] content with complete freedom and ease.

      Pakistan desperately needs a counter narrative to tackle issues relating to extremism and terrorism. This is a country that feeds on conspiracy theories and not facts. When the murders in Paris first took place people began analyzing images to see how fake they could be, because everything is a conspiracy against religion, it causes no trouble or damage on its own. Do you see what we are living with?

    • Je Suis Facebook? Mark Zuckerberg’s Post Raises Free Speech Questions

      It also includes Jillian York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

      “When Mark Zuckerberg says that, he doesn’t mean it,” York told NBC News from Berlin. “I don’t think Facebook stands for free speech at all.”

      She pointed specifically to Pakistan.

      As a result of government requests, Facebook removed 1,773 pieces of content in Pakistan in the first half of 2014, according to the company’s most recent transparency report. That trails only India and Turkey, where 4,960 and 1,893 pieces of content were removed, respectively, in the same time period.

    • Israel to demand apology for ‘anti-Semitic’ Netanyahu cartoon

      Israel is planning to demand an apology for a controversial cartoon that appeared in the British Sunday Times, Israel’s ambassador to London said Monday, while one minister mulled steps against the paper.

    • On Charlie Hebdo: A letter to my British friends

      Of course, freedom of speech has its limits. I was astonished to read from one of you that UK, as opposed to France, had laws forbidding incitement to racial hatred. Was it Charlie’s cartoons that convinced him that France had no such laws? Be reassured: it does. Only we do not conflate religion and race. We are the country of Voltaire and Diderot: religion is fair game. Atheists can point out its ridicules, and believers have to learn to take a joke and a pun. They are welcome to drown us in return with sermons about the superficiality of our materialistic, hedonistic lifestyles. I like it that way. Of course, the day when everybody confuses “Arab” with “Muslim” and “Muslim” with “fundamentalist”, then any criticism of the latter will backfire on the former. That is why we must keep the distinctions clear.

    • Legendary Cartoonist Robert Crumb on the Massacre in Paris

      You don’t have journalists over there anymore, what they have is public relations people. That’s what they have over in America now.

    • ‘We vomit’ on Charlie’s sudden friends: staff cartoonist

      A prominent Dutch cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo heaped scorn on the French satirical weekly’s “new friends” since the massacre at its Paris offices on Wednesday.

      “We have a lot of new friends, like the pope, Queen Elizabeth and (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. It really makes me laugh,” Bernard Holtrop, whose pen name is Willem, told the Dutch centre-left daily Volkskrant in an interview published Saturday.

      France’s far-right National Front leader “Marine Le Pen is delighted when the Islamists start shooting all over the place,” said Willem, 73, a longtime Paris resident who also draws for the French leftist daily Liberation.

      He added: “We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends.”

      Commenting on the global outpouring of support for the weekly, Willem scoffed: “They’ve never seen Charlie Hebdo.”

    • Death threats follow publication of cartoon in Israeli newspaper

      In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last week Haaretz published a daring cartoon juxtaposing journalists* killed in Gaza by Israel during the brutal summer slaughter with the journalists killed at the office of the satirical magazine in Paris. This set off a chain reaction which ultimately led to calls for murdering Haaretz journalists after Ronen Shoval, founder of the neo-Zionist and proto-fascist Im Tirtzu movement, called for an investigation of the newspaper’s editors. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/01/journalists-publication-newspaper#sthash.qjHQxhhJ.dpuf

  • Privacy

    • David Cameron says new online data laws needed

      David Cameron has promised a “comprehensive piece of legislation” to close the “safe spaces” used by suspected terrorists to communicate online with each other.

    • UK’s Cameron won’t “allow” strong encryption of communications

      The British prime minister David Cameron has suggested that if his Conservative Party wins the upcoming general election, it will not allow encrypted communications that cannot be read by the security services.

      On Sunday, Cameron told ITV News: “I think we cannot allow modern forms of communication to be exempt from the ability, in extremis, with a warrant signed by the home secretary, to be exempt from being listened to. That is my very clear view and if I am prime minister after the next election I will make sure we legislate accordingly.” He repeated the sentiment again on Monday (video embedded below.)

    • Response to renewed calls for the Snoopers Charter
    • EU’s Tusk to push for airline data sharing after attack

      European Council President Donald Tusk will press EU lawmakers next week to drop their objections to states sharing airline passenger data as part of efforts to tighten security after the attack on Paris newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

      Speaking in Latvia on Friday, the former Polish prime minister who now chairs meetings of EU leaders, said he had discussed the response to the attack with French President Francois Hollande and would put the matter on the agenda of the next scheduled summit in Brussels on Feb. 12.

    • F.B.I. Is Broadening Surveillance Role, Report Shows

      Although the government’s warrantless surveillance program is associated with the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation has gradually become a significant player in administering it, a newly declassified report shows.

      In 2008, according to the report, the F.B.I. assumed the power to review email accounts the N.S.A. wanted to collect through the “Prism” system, which collects emails of foreigners from providers like Yahoo and Google. The bureau’s top lawyer, Valerie E. Caproni, who is now a Federal District Court judge, developed procedures to make sure no such accounts belonged to Americans.

    • Edward Snowden’s Father Speaks

      Lon Snowden on his son, on the courage of John and Bonnie Raines, and the price activists pay for exposing national secrets.

    • Charlie Hebdo: And Out Come The Surveillance Services Demanding More Budget, Powers

      Following the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris, everybody and their brother have come out in support of freedom of speech. The problem is, they don’t even know what it is when asked. Meanwhile, the surveillance services waste no time in trying to use the attack to claim more powers.

    • EU legal advisers cast doubt on data retention legality

      The European Parliament’s legal advisors have issued a report into the repercussions of last year’s ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, in which the CJEU struck down the E.U. Data Retention Directive. And the lawyers’ opinions suggest that surviving national data retention laws are on shaky ground.

    • EU response to free speech killings? More internet censorship

      In the wake of this week’s terrorist attacks in Paris, which began with the killing of 12 people at the offices of satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, the interior ministers of 12 EU countries have called for a limited increase in internet censorship.

    • Obama to Call for Laws Covering Data Hacking and Student Privacy

      President Obama on Monday called for federal legislation intended to force American companies to be more forthcoming when credit card data and other consumer information are lost in an online breach like the kind that hit Sony, Target and Home Depot last year.

    • Obama: Hackers pose a ‘direct threat’ to families

      President Obama on Monday unveiled a series of new bills designed to ratchet up cybersecurity protections in the wake of a massive data breach at Sony Pictures, warning the growing problem of online attacks “costs us billions of dollars.”

    • Why Your Websites And Email Newsletters Will Always Beat Facebook Pages

      Where should you focus your online marketing efforts during 2015? In previous year’s campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites would have been high up on the priority list. Thanks to new policies and a need to maximise their own revenue, everyone should be wary of handing over control of the conversations to the likes of Facebook and Twitter. This year should be the year you take back control of the conversation.


      Imagine if the marketing budgets for the Facebook Pages had been spent on bringing the audience to a property that was under the complete control of a brand. It might seem old-fashioned in a world of social media and user-created content indexes, but if these consumers had signed up to an email newsletter a year ago, the brand would still have that direct one-to-one relationship today, there would be no reliance on a mysterious traffic algorithm showing the content, and no extra budget would have to be spent to promote the message to try to get it read.

      I personally use Facebook, but many of the posts that I make are actually mirrors of the posts I make on my personal blog. With years of links, comments, and thoughts, my personal blog belongs to me, is under my control, and I have all the data of the posts, and the readers eyeballs, for my own use.

    • Motorola Moto E modifications

      The Motorola Moto E (model: XT1021 and related devices) is an affordable modern Android cellphone. It may be purchased in cash at your local MediaMarkt for around 100 Euros. It is easy to modify for your everyday surveillance detection, counter-surveillance and anti-surveillance needs. This phone is popular as it is compatible with SnoopSnitch. Nearly full information about the chips used on the phone are available. A high resolution tear-down image of the mainboard is floating around as well.

    • Any Revolution Can Be Repurposed

      The July Revolution comprised three days of fighting in Paris, primarily on free speech grounds against state censorship. Charles X, France’s last hereditary monarch, had imposed the death penalty for blasphemy against Christianity. He also suspended the liberty of the press and dissolved the newly elected Chamber of Deputies.

      Today, the column is used as a platform for surveillance cameras. We must be on our guard against similar repurposing today.

    • BBW reaction to the JCHR report into the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill
    • JCHR Report into the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill

      The Joint Committee on Human Rights has today published a report providing legislative scrutiny of the Counter Terrorism and Security Bill. In November last year we provided a breakdown of what was going to be contained in the Bill and our initial analysis.

  • Civil Rights

    • Watch ‘The Internet’s Own Boy’ on the 2-Year Anniversary of Aaron Swartz’s Death

      January 11, 2015 marks the two-year anniversary of Aaron Swartz’s death. The Reddit co-founder took his life at age 26, at a time he was ensnared in a legal battle that could have cost him $1 million and up to 35 years in prison if convicted.

    • A Saudi Whipping

      Badawi, who is thirty, ran a Web site called Saudi Liberal Network, which dared to discuss the country’s rigid Islamic restrictions on culture. One post mocked the prohibition against observing Valentine’s Day, which, like all non-Muslim holidays, is banned in Saudi Arabia. (Even foreigners aren’t allowed to buy trees for Christmas.) Religious police, known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, have reportedly patrolled flower shops and chocolate shops to warn against selling items that commemorate an infidel celebration. The Web site scoffed, “Congratulations to us for the Commission on the Promotion of Virtue for teaching us virtue and for its eagerness to insure that all members of the Saudi public are among the people of paradise.”

    • Saudi Arabia blogger flogged 50 times out of 1,000 for ‘insulting Islam’, to be continued weekly

      Saudi blogger Raif Badawi has received the first 50 lashes of public flogging out of 1,000 for “insulting Islam” via an online forum that he launched. Jailed for ten years in prison, he faces over $200,000 fine.

    • France asked Netanyahu not to attend Paris march: Report

      Hollande conveyed a message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the weekend asking him not to come to Paris to take part in the march against terror on Sunday

    • One Tweet from J.K. Rowling Perfectly Shuts Down Rupert Murdoch’s Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

      While it should be blatantly obvious that the attackers’ actions in no way represent a religion of roughly 1.6 billion people, Murdoch’s 140 character analysis clearly failed to grasp even the basic idea that an entire religion cannot be blamed for these attacks.

    • Exposing the ‘Unidentified Queen of Torture’ | Interview with Ray Nowosielski
    • The rights of whistleblowers vs. the Federal Government

      When information about the danger cigarettes posed to health began to circulate, tobacco companies did everything possible to suppress the information.

    • The War On Dodd-Frank Whistleblowers — How Wall Street Gags, Intimidates And Fights The Fraud Fighters

      Fearing the power and effectiveness of the Dodd-Frank whistleblower programs, big business has stepped up offensive tactics to prevent employees from exposing misconduct to federal regulators.

    • Egyptian student gets 3 years in jail for coming out as atheist on FB

      An Egyptian court has sentenced a 21-year-old student to three years in jail for insulting Islam after police discovered he declared his atheism on Facebook. The young man had been harassed for his atheist views and had his own father testify against him.

      Karim Ashraf Mohammed Al-Banna was tried in Idku city in northern Egypt. The student was arrested last November when he came to police to file a harassment complaint. It was revealed that Al-Banna was harassed in public for announcing he was an atheist online.

    • NY Times (Again) Carries Water for Government’s Post Hoc Drone Assassination Justifications
    • Hicks officially innocent, Pentagon admits

      The government lie that claimed David Hicks committed any crime is now done and dusted, officially.

      Hicks was, and is, innocent of any crime he has been charged with.

      The lie that he was a terrorist who had committed a crime was promoted by the Howard government, notably Prime Minister John Howard and Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, and by the Pentagon and US Administration. It has been perpetuated by the Abbott government, notably by AG George Brandis. But all their claims have now been officially admitted to be false and wrong in law.

    • Paris attacks: David Cameron to discuss greater spying powers with UK security chiefs as calls to revive ‘snooper’s charter’ grow

      David Cameron is to meet with UK security chiefs on Monday to discuss whether Britain will give greater powers to its police and spies in the wake of the Paris terror attacks.

      The Prime Minister said there were “things to learn” from the wave of violence that saw 17 killed across northern France from Wednesday to Friday – and he has faced pressure to revive the so-called “snooper’s charter” that would make it easier for GCHQ to monitor online communications.

    • Far too many Western Muslims speak of freedom as a sin

      Ill with flu last week, I watched the events unfolding in Paris with dread, rage and disbelief – feelings that surge every time there is an Islamicist atrocity. To kill so many over line drawings or as an expression of religious zeal? What drives these fanatics? In normal circumstances, I would have been on TV and radio channels providing immediate responses, soundbite explanations. Bedbound, I had time to reflect more deeply on this carnage and the question of freedom: what it means, how precious it is and how fragile. That fundamental human impulse and right has now become one of the most volatile and divisive concepts in the world today.

    • Lacey photographer refuses to turn over camera, gets arrested

      A freelance journalist for a local online news site was arrested Thursday while covering a motor vehicle crash, after he refused to turn over his camera to a detective from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.

      Andrew P. Flinchbaugh, 23, of Lacey, working for The Lacey Reporter, was charged with obstructing administration of law, which is a disorderly persons offense. He was taken into custody after he was repeatedly ordered by a detective to turn over the camera so whatever pictures or video Flinchbaugh had captured could be reviewed as potential evidence in the crash investigation.

    • Man arrested after refusing to give camera to police at crash scene

      “This is not a negotiation. Do I sound like I’m negotiating with you?”

      When you hear those words spoken by a police officer, their intention seems unmistakable. They mean: “Do what I tell you or I’ll arrest you.”

      This, indeed, is what happened when 23-year-old Andrew Flinchbaugh filmed the aftermath of a single-vehicle accident in Ocean County, N.J.

      Flinchbaugh, who has contributed in the past to a local news Web site, claims he was given permission to film by those first on the scene. However, one police officer seems to have taken exception to Flinchbaugh’s presence.

    • Careless Stereotyping

      So when we in the west who are not adherents to Islam speak of “Muslims”, who are we talking about? We are doing the same thing my acquaintance in the Levant did; taking countless unfamiliar people who we consider “different” and tagging them with a word that doesn’t mean much to us but does allow the application of a stereotype.

      More than that, it’s a bad stereotype. Just like calling everyone in the western world “Christian”, I have a problem with the attribution of any motive or collective responsibility to the 1.6 billion people who actually are Muslims, or of a unified strategy by the 49 countries where they are the majority, let alone to the others caught up in the stereotype’s dragnet (many of whom are in fact Christians, as well as other religions).

    • Dianne Feinstein, Strong Advocate of Leak Prosecutions, Demands Immunity For David Petraeus

      When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released his latest document trove—more than 250,000 secret State Department cables—he intentionally harmed the U.S. government. The release of these documents damages our national interests and puts innocent lives at risk. He should be vigorously prosecuted for espionage.

  • DRM

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