01.22.15

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 23/1/2015: Plasma 5.2, Manjaro 0.9-pre1

Posted in News Roundup at 10:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The most obvious user for Linux isn’t who you think

    And then it dawned on me … just who the ideal candidate for Linux should be. It’s not the developer (though they probably get more benefit out of the platform than any user type), it’s not the gamer, it’s not the geek, and it’s not the administrator. The ideal candidate is the average user.

  • Designing with Linux

    3-D printers are becoming popular tools, dropping in price and becoming available to almost everyone. They can be used to build parts that you can use around the house, but more and more, they also are being used to create instruments for scientific work. Although a growing library of objects are available in several on-line databases, there is nearly an infinite number of possible things you might want to build. This means you likely will want to design and build your own creations.

  • Desktop

    • Librem 15, the first free software GNU/Linux laptop, makes funding goal

      Purism, the company behind the Librem 15, promises that it will ship an Intel CPU fused to run unsigned BIOS code. The hope is that this will allow a future where free software can replace the proprietary, digitally signed, BIOS binaries.

    • Acer Designs Chromebooks for Students’ Rough Handling

      Acer on Wednesday announced two new ruggedized Chromebooks geared for classroom use. Both will go on sale in February.

      The Acer Chromebook C910 and C740 have a durable design built around reinforced covers and hinges. The new models support multiple user sign-ons and offline file access.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasma 5.2 – The Quintissential Breakdown

        KDE is one of the oldest open-source desktop projects which can be found today, and over the years it has established a rich history of highs and lows. During some points it has been the undisputed ruler of the desktop world, while other times it had fallen behind or faced hard trials.

        A memory everything but forgotten, just over 6 years ago KDE tore itself apart in spectacular fashion to assemble itself anew. Brave users who wandered through the rubble and wreckage saw developers rebuild the KDE before their eyes, witnessing the birth of ‘Plasma Desktop’ and it’s sister project ‘KDE Development Platform’. It was universally understood that this twisted gnarled creature of a computing experience was both hideous yet full of potential, and over 5 years of refining Plasma it had struggled, crawled, hobbled, walked, run, and eventually mature into a fine desktop.

      • KDEGames kf5

        My objective was to release some games for the ’15.04′.

      • GSoC student digikam sprint experience
      • Season of KDE 2014 Post #2: Nearing Completion
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Makes Progress On Sandboxed Applications

        GNOME has quietly been working on sandboxed applications support and for GNOME 3.16 they hope to ship an initial reference runtime implementation of their new technology.

        Matthias Clasen wrote a lengthy blog post tonight detailing the sandboxed applications for GNOME. The goal of sandboxed applications is to make it easy for third-parties to distribute applications that work on multiple distributions, give the applications as little access as possible to the host system, and to also make it easier to write applications.

      • GNOME 3.15.4

        GNOME 3.15.4 is out. This is a development snapshot, so use it with caution.

      • Cinnamon 2.6 Will Be Systemd-Compatible

        Not long ago, the Linux Mint team has decided to change their release policy and adopt only the LTS versions of Ubuntu, the systems released between to LTSs being only point releases that update the main components. Also, they have moved Linux Mint Debian Edition’s (LMDE) code base from Debian Testing to Debian Stable.

  • Distributions

    • A Look at Pentoo Linux and Its Security Analysis Tools

      There is no shortage of security-focused Linux distributions on the market, and among them is Pentoo Linux. While some security-focused Linux distributions concentrate on privacy, like Tails, others like Kali Linux and Pentoo focus on security research, providing tools that enable research and penetration testing. Pentoo Linux differentiates itself from other security Linux distributions in a number of ways. The primary difference is the fact that Pentoo is based on Gentoo Linux, which is a source-based Linux distribution that uses the Portage package-management system. Gentoo has capabilities known as “Hardened Gentoo,” which Pentoo also inherits, providing users with additional security configuration and control for the Linux distribution itself. Pentoo 2015 RC 3.7 was released Jan. 5, providing updated tools and features. Among the new features is the integrated ability to verify that the distribution files have not been corrupted. Pentoo provides many applications for security analysis, including wireless, database, exploit, cracking and forensic tools. In this slide show, eWEEK looks at key features and tools in the Pentoo 2015 RC3.7 release.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat: Security Makes Paying for Open Source Software Worth It

        Open source software vendors do something akin to selling air: They get people to pay for something that easily, and perfectly legally, can be had for free. But added security is becoming an increasingly important part of the value proposition, as Red Hat (RHT), maker of one of the leading Linux enterprise distributions, emphasized this week in a statement on its software subscriptions.

      • Red Hat Is Hiring More Developers To Work On Wayland, Open-Source Graphics

        Red Hat is hiring more developers that will focus on Fedora, especially the Fedora Workstation product, that in turn will flow back into RHEL and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation. Among the type of work that Red Hat is looking for in the candidates include experience with Wayland, LLVMpipe, X.Org, compiler optimizations, graphics driver enablement, etc.

      • Why A Maturing OpenStack Platform Will Lift Red Hat

        OpenStack is an open-source IaaS cloud platform that was developed through the collaborative efforts of Rackspace Hosting (NYSE:RAX) and NASA with the objective of countering the dominance of Amazon.com’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) AWS. The platform has AWS-like features including EC2 and S3 compatibility that allows businesses to build their own Amazon-like cloud services in their datacenters.

      • Fedora

        • More Changes Are In The Works For Fedora 22

          Ahead of evaluation by the Fedora Engineering and Steering Committee (FESCo), more of the planned changes for Fedora 22 are being discussed on the Fedora developers’ list. Here’s some more of the likely Fedora 22 changes that haven’t been covered by our earlier articles on F22 feature work.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Samsung Z1 SM-Z130HWRD Listed in Samsung India estore

          The Samsung Z1 is the first Tizen based Smartphone to be launched and we are hoping it is the first of many Tizen Smartphones to come. The Z1 has now made its way to the Samsung eStore in India and can be yours for the price of 5,700 INR, which is a very competitive price for such tech.

        • Tizen OS 2.3 Samsung Z1 Review

          This is an Interesting little video that I found on the net. Created by YouTube user TheGarchaHD, it walks you through the User Interface of the Tizen based Samsung Z1 and shows you some of the features of the Tizen 2.3 Operating System.

        • WhatsApp now has a Chrome web client

          Messaging apps these days don’t have to just live in your smartphone or your tablet, they need to be with you wherever you are, and that might be sitting with you at your computer. Messaging apps like facebook, WeChat and Line already have this option and it seems to be the best you really do need to include the PC in your platform choices.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Newsrooms see the light of open source

    Have you heard the one about the big media house whose new, proprietary content management system (CMS) handles its every need, worked straight out of the box and with which all the journalists are in love? No?

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Pays Big Bug Bounties in Chrome 40 Fix

        Google is out with its first stable Chrome browser update of 2015, with security vulnerabilities fixes topping the list of improvements in the new release. In total, Google is patching 62 different security flaws in the update.

        In contrast, Microsoft has yet to provide a single security patch for its Internet Explorer browser in 2015, while Mozilla’s Firefox 35 had nine security advisories attached to it.

      • Chrome 41 Beta: New ES6 Features and Improved DevTools for Service Workers and Web Animations

        Today’s Chrome Beta channel release includes new Javascript ES6 features and improved workflows for debugging Service Workers and Web Animations. Unless otherwise noted, changes described below apply to Chrome for Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, and Chrome OS.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Has IBM made (hard) Hadoop easier?

      IBM pays analyst firm Evans Data Corporation for what are widely regarded as worthy reports — in this role, Evans has cited IBM as an “industry leader” for making Hadoop more accessible, scalable and reliable for developers in a new analyst survey.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Danish open source early warning system for schools

      A system for smartphones, tablet computers and PCs that can warn students, teachers and school personnel of emergencies is to be developed for the Norwegian Akerhus county. The solution will be built by the Danish ICT service specialist Magenta, using open source components.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Mirantis Broadens OpenStack Training, Certification

      Mirantis, focused on the OpenStack cloud computing platform, has expanded its ambitious Mirantis Training for OpenStack course collection with two new courses and a Certificate Verification portal. Mirantis’ training platform has been running since 2011, and is differentiated from some other training platforms in that the coursework is OpenStack distribution-agnostic. According to Mirantis, Eighty eight percent of students rate it as better than other professional industry training offerings due to the quality of its instructors, its hands-on format, and its curriculum that is removed of vendor bias.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Moscow to Beijing in 2 days: China to build $242bn high-speed railway

      The railway will be 7,000 kilometers long and go through Kazakhstan, reports Bloomberg citing Beijing’s city government on the social networking site Weibo, China’s alternative to Twitter. The railway will make travel easier between Europe and Asia, the statement said.

  • Security

    • Our South Korean Allies Also Hack the U.S.—and We Don’t Seem to Care

      South Korea’s online espionage program may be primarily focused on the North, but it’s also targeting the United States—and the U.S. government isn’t making a stink about it.

    • Thursday’s security advisories
    • Just WHY is the FBI so sure North Korea hacked Sony? NSA: *BLUSH*

      The NSA wasn’t much interested in North Korea at the time but that changed – partly because the spy agency managed to get its hands on useful zero-day exploits used against the Norks, according to recently disclosed files. NBC News adds that US intel agencies had no forewarning of the Sony hack. After Sony reported the breach to the FBI’s cyber unit on 24 November, it became possible to trace back the attack.

      So even after comprehensively bugging North Korea’s ‘net connection, the best the spy agency had was the equivalent of a CCTV camera rather than a burglar alarm capable of detecting a crime in progress.

    • Doubts Persist Over North Korean Link to Sony Hack Despite NSA Claim

      “The pieces don’t add up,” said Tal Klein, vice president of strategy for Internet-security firm Adallom. “I cannot dispute the fact that the NSA hacked the North Koreans, because that is the ultimate trump card—there’s empirical evidence that I will never be able to see. But the attack does not fit the mold of a nation-state attack, but of a revenge-oriented attack.” – See more at: http://www.eweek.com/security/doubts-persist-over-north-korean-link-to-sony-hack-despite-nsa-claim.html#sthash.8k1lwUtf.dpuf

    • Steptoe cyberlaw podcast – interview with David Sanger

      Our guest for Episode 50 of the Steptoe Cyberlaw Podcast is David Sanger, the New York Times reporter who broke the detailed story of Stuxnet in his book, Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power. David talks about his latest story, recounting how North Korea developed its cyberattack network, and how the National Security Agency managed to compromise the network sufficiently to attribute the Sony attack. We talk about how understanding the White House helped him break a story that seemed to be about NSA and the FBI, North Korean hackers’ resemblance to East German Olympic swimmers, and the future of cyberwar.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • US Trainers To Deploy To Ukraine

      American soldiers will deploy to Ukraine this spring to begin training four companies of the Ukrainian National Guard, the head of US Army Europe Lt. Gen Ben Hodges said during his first visit to Kiev on Wednesday.

    • Video: Hillary Does a Putin Impression

      Did you hear the one about Hillary doing an impression of Vladimir Putin in Canada? Because it actually happened, Jackie Kucinich reports. During a wide ranging policy speech to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, Hillary answered a question about the American electoral system with an impression. The moderator began asking her “if for some reason you decided to be president” and then quickly corrected himself, “actually run for that because there is a process.”

      “There is a process, it’s not like Putin,” she said.

      Cue the laugh track.

    • The Threat of an Imploding Yemen

      It has taken decades of deteriorating politics and security for Yemen to reach its current level of crisis, though now the costs might come not just in the form of the suffering of the Yemeni people but also in regional instability and the proliferation of international terrorism. While the causes of Yemen’s crisis are intensely local—having to do with longstanding issues of corruption, tribal and North-South differences, and a constitution in need of amending—it is being amplified both by meddling regional actors and a menacing terrorist group with international reach.

    • Hezbollah, Iran threats to avenge ‘Israeli strike’ have Lebanon on edge

      The tensions in the North that have been heightened following this week’s alleged Israeli airstrike that killed senior Hezbollah officials in the Golan Heights are also being felt in Lebanon, where apprehension is growing over the specter of another cross-border war.

    • Obama’s State of the Union sidesteps mounting foreign policy setbacks

      Since Barack Obama’s previous State of the Union address, the US president has relaunched the Iraq war – this time with a Syrian appendix – ensured the presence of US troops in Afghanistan through 2024 and continued drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan. Yet if Obama’s 2015 State of the Union is to be believed, “tonight, we turn the page”.

      On foreign policy and national security, Obama cannot be blamed for wanting the page turned. Unlike in his previous States of the Union, there is no dead Osama bin Laden or Muammar Gaddafi to tout. His strongest foreign achievement in 2014 – an admittedly historic one – has been to normalize relations with Cuba, though, as with all things Obama does, congressional Republicans vow opposition.

    • Dirty Harry Goes To Iraq

      A similar observation might be made of Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper about Iraq. Like the Iraq War itself, Eastwood’s movie begins by exploiting a historically inaccurate delusion and, then, sustains itself for two hours on the mission to protect US soldiers against the insurgency that arose in opposition to the US invasion and occupation based on the initial delusion.

    • Flogging of Saudi blogger delayed again on medical grounds

      The planned flogging of a Saudi blogger convicted of insulting Islam has been delayed for a second straight week, a leading international rights group said Thursday, a move that comes amid mounting pressure from Saudi Arabia’s Western allies for authorities to cancel the punishment.

      The London-based Amnesty International said that around eight doctors carried out medical tests on Raif Badawi, 31, and recommended that he not be flogged this Friday. Saudi authorities postponed his flogging last week after a doctor concluded that his wounds from the first 50 lashes had not yet healed, according to Amnesty.

    • Saudi King Abdullah dies aged 91

      The announcement, made early on Friday, said his brother, Salman, had become king.

    • The drone operator who said ‘No’

      He was told that he helped to kill more than 1,600 people, but as time went by he felt uneasy with what he was doing. He found it hard to sleep and started dreaming in infra-red.

    • Drone attacks have become a hallmark of Barack Obama’s presidency, and the talk of ‘precision’ is deeply problematic

      In May 2009, a former adviser to General David Petraeus named David Kilcullen wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling for a moratorium on drone strikes carried out by the United States against al-Qaida and its associates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. The military advantages of using drones (the US Army defines a drone as a “land, sea or air vehicle that is remotely or automatically controlled”) are outweighed, Kilcullen argued, by their costs.

    • GUEST OPINION: Shining light on U.S. drone policy

      An estimated 3,500 people — hundreds of them children — have been killed by drones. While some of those killed were undoubtedly violent terrorists, fewer than 50 (2 percent) were confirmed to be high-level targets, according to a study undertaken by Stanford Law School and New York School of Law. There are numerous allegations, some confirmed by reliable news sources, of entire wedding parties and extended families being killed by U.S. drones.

    • Federal Prison Sentence Begins for Anti-Drone Activist

      On January 23, Kathy Kelly, co-coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence, a campaign to end U.S. military and economic warfare, will begin a three-month jail sentence in federal prison for a protest against drones (also known as “unmanned aerial vehicles”) at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. I had a chance to interview her before she had to turn herself in.

    • ‘We didn’t even really know who we were firing at’ – former US drone operator

      Former US drone sensor operator Brandon Bryant admits he “couldn’t stand” himself for his participation in the country’s drone program for six years – firing on targets whose identities often went unconfirmed.

    • The 2014 Drone Wars Death From the Sky

      In closing, here is a quote from the ACLU regarding the use of drones:

      “The executive branch has, in effect, claimed the unchecked authority to put the names of citizens and others on “kill lists” on the basis of a secret determination, based on secret evidence, that a person meets a secret definition of the enemy. The targeted killing program operates with virtually no oversight outside the executive branch, and essential details about the program remain secret, including what criteria are used to put people on CIA and military kill lists or how much evidence is required.

    • Mystery motive for Qunaitra drone strike

      While Lebanon and Israel await Hezbollah’s response to Sunday’s deadly Israeli drone strike in the Golan Heights, the motive for the provocative attack, which could yet trigger further violence, remains shrouded in confusion.

      The continued silence from the Israeli government and military over the airstrike combined with some ambiguous comments in the media from Israeli security sources have only added to the puzzlement and drawn criticism in Israel.

    • Despite ambiguity, Netanyahu must answer for Syria attack

      The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee devoted itself to an important issue on Tuesday: the Israel Defense Forces’ decision to stop stationing soldiers in communities near the Gaza Strip. But if these Knesset members aren’t too busy with the election campaign, perhaps they should also make some time in the near future to discuss what is beginning to look like a major security crisis: the open threats by Iran and Hezbollah to take revenge for Sunday’s assassination of senior officials from both Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, which they attribute to Israel.

    • Obama’s YouTube Interview Highlights: From Cyberbullying to SportsCenter

      The president said it was important to have legal constraints on the controversial drone program but that the program was aimed at minimizing casualties. “Under that our goal has always been: how do we target very specific terrorists who are proven to be trying to kill us — or more frequently kill innocent Muslims in their home countries,” he said.

    • Drone Warfare

      Yet there is something about drone warfare that is profoundly disturbing. How do our military and intelligence officials know if someone is a potential terrorist? Do we know the criteria by which a person or persons are targeted? Is it someone who is poised to kill, or is it someone who once killed? Is it prevention or revenge?

    • America’s Counterterrorism Policy Is Failing

      Our tactics produce more dangerous, more committed extremists

    • Don’t believe the U.S. military when it says it doesn’t keep body counts

      Since the Vietnam War, with its gruesome and inflated U.S. tallies of enemy dead, the Pentagon has denied keeping body counts. But, in fact, the military does add up the number of enemy fighters it believes it has killed — and proudly boasts of the totals in official documents that it never intends for public circulation.

    • American Sniper mirrors the war on terror propaganda

      American Sniper retells the story about four Iraq combat tours of the most lethal sniper in US military history, Chris Kyle. Despite having been nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, the Clint Eastwood directed film was better than I expected, and I still hated it.

      With a record breaking $105 million in box office earnings in its opening weekend, the film has arguably generated more controversy in the US than any movie I can recall.

      Much of the controversy has centred on the portrayal of the late Chris Kyle himself. Veterans who served with Kyle have praised the accuracy of actor Bradley Cooper’s impersonation, but a number of liberal journalists have lambasted the film for not staying true to Kyle’s autobiography. In fact, the film came close to portraying Kyle as a reluctant warrior. You know, the whole “I’m just doing my job” routine. In the book and in Kyle’s own words, however, killing 160 Iraqis, who were mostly the “civilian by day, soldiers by night” type, was something Kyle actually took great satisfaction from.

      “I don’t shoot people with Qurans. I’d like to but I don’t,” Kyle told a military investigator after being accused of killing an unarmed Iraqi civilian. In other parts of his book, Kyle writes: “I couldn’t give a fuck about the Iraqis” and “I hate the damn savages.”

    • American Justice?
    • Nick Turse, A Shadow War in 150 Countries

      From the point of view of the U.S. military and the national security state, the period from September 12, 2001, to late last night could be summed up in a single word: more. What Washington funded with your tax dollars was a bacchanalia of expansion intended, as is endlessly reiterated, to keep America “safe.” But here’s the odd thing: as the structure of what’s always called “security” is built out ever further into our world and our lives, that world only seems to become less secure. Odder yet, that “more” is rarely a focus of media coverage, though its reality is glaringly obvious. The details may get coverage but the larger reality — the thing being created in Washington — seems of remarkably little interest.

      That’s why websites like TomDispatch matter. They offer the larger picture of a world that’s being built right before our eyes but is somehow seldom actually seen — that is, taken in meaningfully. America’s Special Operations forces are a striking example of this phenomenon. The commando is, by now, a national culture hero, the guy who stands between Hell and us. But what special ops forces really do all — and I mean all — over the planet, doesn’t seem of any particular interest to Americans in general or the mainstream media in particular. The way those “elite” forces have parlayed their popularity into a staggering growth rate and just what that growth and the actions that go with it actually mean in terms of, say, blowback… well, that’s something you’re simply not going to read much about, other than at a website like this one.

    • As Fox News Apologizes, Jeremy Scahill on Fake “Terror Experts” & Challenges of Real War Reporting

      Fox News has apologized for broadcasting false information about Muslims in the wake of the Paris attacks. Last weekend, self-described terrorism expert Steve Emerson claimed on air that parts of Europe, including the entire English city of Birmingham, were totally Muslim areas where non-Muslims do not go. Emerson was forced to apologize, but the claim about so-called “no-go zones” was repeated by other Fox guests and anchors. On Saturday, according to a CNN Money tally, Fox News took time out of four broadcasts to apologize for reports on Muslims. Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept, discusses the rise of so-called “terrorism experts” by Fox News and other major cable networks. In two recent interviews with CNN, Scahill has criticized the news giant and others for their use of “on-air analysts who also work in the private sector and make money on the idea that we should be afraid.” He also responds to blistering criticism from FBI chief James Comey of using an anonymous al-Qaeda source in reporting on the Charlie Hebdo massacre, and analyzes what al-Qaeda’s claim of responsibility will mean for the U.S. drone war in Yemen.

    • Who speaks for an anti-war position?

      War, then, is to be sustained and expanded. Put simply, Western governments with large-scale militaries and jihadist organizations with violence central to their strategies are engaged in an asymmetric exchange of violence, wherein killing of both combatants and civilians is routine. Drone strikes and bombing raids over Iraq and Syria generate reciprocal responses from al-Qaeda and groups now associated with ISIS in the form of beheadings, kidnappings and killing of civilians through various means.

      It is an “a-symmetric” conflict because Western states’ strikes are far more lethal than those of jihadi organizations and ISIS. For every innocent civilian murdered by ISIS, U.S. drones and air strikes — and now French bombing raids — kill many, consequently rallying new recruits against the United States and France with each raid.

      [...]

      Who among our congressional leaders speaks for an anti-war position? Will we see an anti-war presidential candidate in 2016? It seems unlikely.

    • UK to launch enhanced “anti-terror measures” and domestic use of troops

      The former head of Britain’s intelligence agency MI5, Lord Evans, has added his voice to demands for a clampdown on the Internet and e-communications in the wake of the terror assaults on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris and a Jewish supermarket, in which 17 people were killed.

    • Charlie Hebdo: A Missed Bottom-Up, Kumbaya, Opportunity?

      We have allowed fear and hate to foster the rise of paranoiacs, demagogues, opportunists and fools, driving our attention and resources away from immediate, dire situations: climate change, globalism, economic inequality and the degradation of education and the national infrastructure.

    • Foreign Policy and the State of the Union: What to Expect, or Not

      White HouseWhite HouseWhat can we expect in President Obama’s State of the Union with regard to U.S. foreign policy in 2015? Not much. As in every every State of the Union since 2002, the president is expected to address foreign policy largely within the framework of the war on terror and counterterrorism operations. But the State of the Union is largely a vehicle for rhetoric, not honest explanations of policy. President Obama mentioned drones in a State of the Union for the first time last year, claiming his administration had “imposed prudent limits” on their use.

  • Finance

    • Ex-Swiss banker found guilty in WikiLeaks trial, avoids jail

      Tethong said she would appeal the ruling.

      During the trial, which began in December but was halted when Elmer collapsed outside the Zurich courtroom, Tethong argued that Elmer had not broken any Swiss laws because he had not obtained the information as an employee of a Swiss bank.

    • Inequality is at top of the agenda as global elites gather in Davos

      A new report from the anti-poverty group Oxfam has helped put inequality back near the top of the global agenda, just in time for the World Economic Forum’s annual gathering of global elites in Davos, Switzerland. In particular, one striking claim from the Oxfam report has generated headlines: By next year, the top 1% of the world’s population could own more wealth than the other 99%. The Oxfam report – just one of many attempts at measuring worldwide economic disparities – fits into a broader pattern of growing interest in, and concern about, inequality.

    • Braintree now lets all U.S. merchants accept Bitcoin

      Braintree first announced the v.zero SDK back in July last year. The SDK allowed automatic shopping cart integration with PayPal among other payment types. In September, Braintree revealed a partnership with Coinbase to accept Bitcoin, but this is the first implementation of their collaboration.

    • Oil jumps after Saudi king’s death amid huge market shifts

      Oil prices jumped in early Asian trading on Friday as news of the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah added to uncertainty in energy markets already facing some of the biggest shifts in decades.

      Abdullah died early on Friday and his brother Salman became king, the royal court in the world’s top oil exporter and birthplace of Islam said in a statement carried by state television.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • 5 Years After Citizens United, Newspapers Fail To Cover Its Impact On Judicial Elections

      Five years after the Supreme Court opened the floodgates of campaign spending with its Citizens United decision, top newspapers in the three states with the most expensive judicial campaigns, Ohio, Alabama, and Texas, have largely failed to connect Citizens United with major changes in these races. The influx of money into state judicial elections following the decision has accelerated negative advertisements and campaign financing that may influence judges’ decisions.

    • Progressive Policies Are Popular–So Why Should Democrats Be Afraid of Them?

      CNN’s post-speech discussion of Barack Obama’s State of the Union address included anchor Wolf Blitzer’s reaction to colleague Jake Tapper’s view that the president had outlined a liberal economic agenda. Blitzer’s analysis illustrates the logic behind corporate media’s longstanding efforts to dissuade politicians from advocating for progressive policies…

    • Poll Finds Agenda Gap Between Leaders, American People

      Republicans are trying to burnish their party’s image–and Congress’–by promising to “get things done” now that the GOP controls both the House and Senate. But a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows that the public doesn’t care much about some of the first things the GOP, or President Barack Obama, is trying to do.

    • Fox News Shows Ignore Scott Walker’s ACA Remarks After Months Of Gruber Coverage

      Despite dedicating numerous segments to comments made by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber about tax credits established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that appear to support a right-wing challenge to their legality, Fox News’ programming on weeknights has ignored remarks made by Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) that undermine the legal theory behind this upcoming Supreme Court case.

  • Censorship

    • Charlie Hebdo, The Interview, and Censoring Torture Photos

      In France and the United States, there seems to be near-universal agreement that to self-censor because of threats of violence is unwise and cowardly. The slogan “Je Suis Charlie,” which millions adopted in the wake of the Paris attacks, meant different things to different people, but its core, defiant message was that terrorists shouldn’t get to decide the boundaries of our political debate.

      This was also the perspective of many Americans when, at the end of last year, a mysterious group said to be associated with North Korea threatened to wreak havoc if Sony didn’t cancel “The Interview,” a comedy about a plot to assassinate Kim Jong-un. Political leaders of both national parties criticized Sony for withdrawing the film. Some particularly outraged Americans urged their fellow citizens not just to watch the film but to pay for the privilege on the theory that their doing so would convey an appropriate message to the dictator. President Obama weighed in, too, saying, “we cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States.”

  • Privacy

    • German TV documentary on the hunt for Edward Snowden

      The revelations of Edward Snowden have exposed to the world a massive breach of democratic rights by the US intelligence agencies and their allies. They have also unleashed protests and expressions of sympathy for Snowden’s efforts among broad social layers.

      [...]

      The documentary begins with a dramatic statement by US Senator Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California). The Senate Intelligence Committee chairman declares: “I want him to be captured. The hunt is on!” The programme assumes the guise of a spy thriller. The measures taken by the US authorities to remove Snowden from circulation are extraordinary and menacing. This is not only the view of the documentary, but of the protagonists themselves: Edward Snowden, as well as Julian Assange and Sarah Harrison of WikiLeaks.

    • Banning encryption is digital equivalent of banning books

      The widespread dissemination of ideas can disrupt society and subvert the power of those at its top.

      Gutenberg’s printing press, for example, helped spur the Protestant Reformation that over time helped overturn the religious and political order of Europe.

      In an often-bloody process that took about 400 years, the authoritarian empires that ruled the continent gave way to modern, democratic nation-states.

      Books have been banned (and burned) precisely because new ideas are a threat to the people in charge.

    • Sam Adams Award

      I am in Berlin for the annual Sam Adams Award – this time to William Binney, formerly Technical Director of the NSA. There will be an address by Edward Snowden (and a short contribution from me). It really is a tremendous event, with some very senior former intelligence professionals making revelations about the extent to which the security state is out of control, a tool of immoral governments dominated by corporate interests.

    • Snowden Documents Show NSA Can’t Keep Its Eyes On Its Own Papers; Harvests Data From Other Surveillance Agencies

      Another pile of Snowden documents has been released by Der Spiegel, detailing more of previously revealed NSA/GCHQ activities — like the harvesting of exploits and hardware shipment “interdiction” — along with some new stuff, including the NSA’s piggybacking on other countries’ surveillance to further buttress its massive haystacks.

    • NSA: We’re in YOUR BOTNET

      The NSA quietly commandeered a botnet targeting US Defence agencies to attack other victims including Chinese and Vietnamese dissidents, Snowden documents reveal.

    • Chris Christie, Port Authority Official Abused E-ZPass Data For Their Own Ends

      What data is harmless in the hands of the government? Apparently, not much. Case in point: the data collected by E-ZPass transponders. While the system helps alleviate traffic congestion, it also tracks drivers’ movements. If you thought it just triggered toll payments, you’re drastically underestimating the government’s desire for data.

    • A Little Snooping Never Killed Nobody: South Korea Spying on the US

      Edward Snowden, the infamous former NSA employee, leaked a number of secret documents. Just recently Der Spiegel released another one, revealing that South Korea’s cyber espionage program has been targeting the US for a while now, despite officially being aimed against North Korea.

    • New Snowden documents show that the NSA and its allies are laughing at the rest of the world

      A team of nine journalists including Jacob Appelbaum and Laura Poitras have just published another massive collection of classified records obtained by Edward Snowden. The trove of documents, published on Der Spiegel, show that the National Security Agency and its allies are methodically preparing for future wars carried out over the internet. Der Spiegel reports that the intelligence agencies are working towards the ability to infiltrate and disable computer networks — potentially giving them the ability to disrupt critical utilities and other infrastructure. And the NSA and GCHQ think they’re so far ahead of everyone else, they’re laughing about it.

    • How The NSA Gets Around Oversight

      Whistle-blowers like Bill Binny, Thomas Drake, and Edward Snowden, along with wrongly accused U.S. citizens, have been fighting for their rights. Not from terrorists, but from the U.S. government.

      While they fight, many Americans have become complacent with their diminished rights and lack of privacy.

      The Patriot Act passed 6 weeks after 9/11 in a climate of fear and imminent threat. It diminished freedom in the U.S., providing the government sweeping powers to spy on, arrest, and detain individuals. The original legislation provided little oversight. Since 2001, there has been a major struggle between protecting constitutional rights and increasing government powers to battle imminent terror.

    • Obama promises to release new NSA spying report next month
    • Obama: I haven’t forgotten NSA reform
    • Guest column: The NSA is hurting more than helping
    • Kim Dotcom launches NSA-proof MEGAchat with E2EE to take on Skype
    • ‘Anti-NSA’ messaging service MegaChat debuts in beta version
    • America’s Surveillance State: Docu-series exposes NSA’s long reach
    • Four and Counting: States Consider Bills to Turn off Resources to NSA
    • Alaska Bill Would Ban Material Support or Resources to NSA

      A bill filed in Alaska late last week would ban “material support or resources” to the NSA. This would not only support efforts to turn off NSA’s water in Utah, but have practical effects on federal surveillance programs if passed.

      Alaska Sen. Bill Wielechowski prefiled SB13 on Jan. 16. The legislation would prohibit the state and its municipalities from using assets, including personnel, to assist a federal agency in collecting certain telephone records or electronic data without a warrant, making it the fourth state to introduce legislation similar to a bill up for consideration in Utah this year.

    • NSA Cyber War Will Use Internet of Things as Weapons Platform; Your Home is the Battlefield

      “World War III is a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.” – Marshall McLuhan, Culture is Our Business, 1970

      New Snowden documents recently revealed that the NSA is getting ready for future digital wars as the agency postures itself in an aggressive manner towards the world. “The Five Eyes Alliance“, a cooperation between United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand, is working hard to develop these weapons of Cyber Warfare.

      So called “D” weapons, as reported by Der Spiegel, will paralyze computer networks and infrastructure that they monitor. Water supplies, factories, airports, as well as the flow of money are all potential targets.

    • The Latest Rules on How Long NSA Can Keep Americans’ Encrypted Data Look Too Familiar

      Does the National Security Agency (NSA) have the authority to collect and keep all encrypted Internet traffic for as long as is necessary to decrypt that traffic? That was a question first raised in June 2013, after the minimization procedures governing telephone and Internet records collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act were disclosed by Edward Snowden. The issue quickly receded into the background, however, as the world struggled to keep up with the deluge of surveillance disclosures. The Intelligence Authorization Act of 2015, which passed Congress this last December, should bring the question back to the fore. It established retention guidelines for communications collected under Executive Order 12333 and included an exception that allows NSA to keep ‘incidentally’ collected encrypted communications for an indefinite period of time. This creates a massive loophole in the guidelines.

    • ‘Citizenfour’ Hinted to the 2nd NSA ‘Whistleblower’

      The new Documentary ‘Citizenfour’ revealed the existence of another ‘whistleblower,’ someone even higher ranking than Snowden who came forward.

    • Surveillance Is Just First Phase as NSA Plans ‘Guerilla’ Tactics for Global Cyberwar

      As the team of journalists reporting for Der Spiegel describe it, “the US government is currently undertaking a massive effort to digitally arm itself for network warfare.” And, they report, the NSA—along with its intelligence partners around the world—”have adopted ‘plausible deniability’ as their guiding principle for Internet operations.”

    • ‘Snooper’s charter’: four Lords in bid to pass changed version before election

      A cross-party alliance of former defence ministers, police chiefs and intelligence commissioners will try to force a revised “snooper’s charter” into law before the general election.

      The proposals to amend the counter-terrorism bill currently in the Lords and due for debate on Monday have been tabled by a group led by former Conservative defence secretary Lord King. The other supporters are the Liberal Democrat former reviewer of counter-terror laws, Lord Carlile, the former Labour defence minister, Lord West, and the former Metropolitan police commissioner, Lord Blair.

    • Dutch secret services work for America: Edward Snowden

      Dutch intelligence services AIVD and MIVD walk on the leash of USA’s National Security Agency (NSA) and are “extremely docile” and seen as “subordinates”, says former NSA and CIA employee Edward Snowden in an interview to Volkskrant and Nieuwsuur.

    • Dutch security services ‘work for the US’, says whistleblower Snowden

      The Dutch security services AIVD and MIVD do whatever the US security service NSA tells them, according to whistleblower Edward Snowden in an interview with the Volkskrant.

    • ‘Social media encourages people to live lives online and accept Big Brother’s all seeing-eye’

      RT: Are people taking their privacy more seriously after all the Snowden revelations? Or are they just making a joke of it?

      AM: Yes, one of the jokes, of course, is “GCHQ is always listening to its customers.” I think people are beginning to take their privacy more seriously. It depends on which country you live in though because depending on the media coverage and the degree of media coverage people are more or less aware of what’s going on.

      For example, in Germany there is a historic understanding of the importance of privacy as the last defense against sliding towards tyrannical government. And also people are very conscious still of more recent history, things like the Stasi secret police. So they take these issues very seriously and in fact there are a number of initiatives in Germany to up the protection of citizens’ rights.

      However in places like the UK for example where the media has been largely censored around reporting some of the very serious disclosures which Mr. Snowden produced, there is less awareness; there is more a sort of complacency that the spies are always the good guys, that … if you do nothing wrong you have nothing to hide. But I think even in the UK people are waking up to this, so all we can do is thank Edward Snowden for all he has done for raising awareness of these various issues around the world.

    • A Spy in the Machine

      How a brutal government used cutting-edge spyware to hijack one activist’s life

    • Snowden: French spying didn’t stop terror attacks

      Edward Snowden is pointing to the recent terror attacks in Paris as proof that government surveillance can’t stop terrorism.

      “The problem with mass surveillance is that you’re burying people under too much data,” the government leaker said in an interview with a Dutch public broadcaster.

      “We see that France passed one of the most intrusive, expansive surveillance laws in all of Europe last year, and it didn’t stop the attack,” he added. “This is consistent with what we’ve seen in every country.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Press release: Barrett Brown will finally be sentenced tomorrow

      Concluding a controversial case that has dragged on for over two years, on Thursday morning the jailed journalist Barrett Brown will go before a federal judge to receive his sentence. He faces up to 8.5 years in prison.

    • EFF Statement on Barrett Brown Sentencing

      The charges relating to the hyperlink represented a serious threat to press freedom. EFF and other press organizations planned to file an amicus brief supporting Brown’s motion to dismiss eleven of the hyperlinking charges, noting that journalists routinely link to documents that, while illegally obtained, are of interest to the public. Thankfully, the government came to its senses in March 2014 and (before we could file our brief), dismissed eleven of the charges based on hyperlinking. The next month, Brown signed a sealed plea agreement that significantly reduced the remaining charges. Ultimately, he pleaded guilty to three crimes: being an accessory after the fact to the unauthorized access to Stratfor’s computers; interfering with the execution of a search warrant by hiding a laptop; and, most seriously, threatening an FBI agent.

    • European Court fast-tracks decision on challenge to state surveillance of journalists

      A campaign to stop the UK Government spying on journalists and their sources has today been given “priority” by the European Court of Human Rights (pictured, Shutterstock).

      The Bureau of Investigative Journalism submitted a legal challenge to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act prompted by Edward Snowden’s revelations over state mass electronic surveillance.

      It claims that the UK state is breaching European law by accessing the electronic communications and telecoms records of journalists.

      Today the Bureau learned that the ECHR has prioritised its legal challenge, meaning a judgment is expected with around a year rather than the usual four or five years.

    • Every UK national newspaper editor urges Prime Minister to stop RIPA spying on journalists

      Every national newspaper editor has backed the Press Gazette Save Our Sources campaign and signed a joint letter of protest to Prime Minister David Cameron over police spying on journalists’ phone records.

      Around 100 editors have signed a letter co-ordinated by Press Gazette and the Society of Editors to warn that the draft code of practice on use of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act puts journalists’ sources at risk.

      Politicians promised new controls in the code, but instead the new draft guidance states that police can continue to secretly view journalists’ phone records provided they give “special consideration” to the “proportionality” of doing so.

      The joint letter (full text below), submitted as part of the RIPA code consulation, states that the draft code “provides wholly inadequate protection for journalists’ sources”.

      And it warns that there is nothing in the new code to stop police again targeting the phone records of journalists in order to uncover lawful sources, as they did with The Sun.

      The draft code appears to encourage police to access journalists’ phone records by stating that they are not “privileged information”.

    • Israeli Government Watchdog Investigates Military’s Conduct in Gaza War

      Israel’s government watchdog, the state comptroller, said on Tuesday that he had opened an investigation into decisions made by military and political leaders during last summer’s 50-day war with the Hamas militant group in Gaza.

      The announcement was Israel’s latest effort to head off an International Criminal Court inquiry into its conduct during the war, and came days after prosecutors at the court opened a preliminary examination of possible war crimes committed in the Palestinian territories, the first formal step that could lead to charges against Israelis.

    • Your Home Is Your Prison

      On January 27th, domestic violence survivor Marissa Alexander will walk out of Florida’s Duval County jail — but she won’t be free.

      Alexander, whose case has gained some notoriety, endured three years of jail time and a year of house arrest while fighting off a prison sentence that would have seen her incarcerated for the rest of her life — all for firing a warning shot that injured no one to fend off her abusive husband. Like many black women before her, Alexander was framed as a perpetrator in a clear case of self-defense. In November, as her trial date drew close, Alexander accepted a plea deal that will likely give her credit for time served, requiring her to spend “just” 65 more days in jail. Media coverage of the development suggested that Alexander would soon have her “freedom,” that she would be “coming home.”

    • CIA leak trial enters final showdown

      But earlier Wednesday, the seventh day of the trial, defense attorneys poked holes in the government’s case. Hunt testified that around the time Risen began asking questions about the program in May 2003, she believed the most likely source for the leak was someone on the Senate Intelligence Committee. Sterling had talked to the panel’s staffers in March of that year about his concerns that Iran might be able to take advantage of flaws in the designs, in part because they were too obvious.

    • ISIS v. Saudi Arabia, Implementation of Sharia Law

      One is an enemy of America, a group of evil Sunni terrorists who ruthlessly employ their own twisted vision of Islamic Sharia Law to behead people, punish homosexuality and criminalize adultery.

      And the other’s one of America’s staunchest Sunni allies in the Middle East, on the road to democracy, albeit one that employs its own twisted vision of Islamic Sharia Law to behead people, punish homosexuality and criminalize adultery.

    • The CIA’s Most Important Overseer Is Abetting Its Torture Coverup

      Senator Richard Burr is acting like a man who doesn’t understand the role or duties that he now has. With the Republican Party assuming control of Congress, the North Carolinian is chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, the body charged with overseeing the CIA. His responsibilities are momentous. All senators are called to act as power-jealous checks on the executive branch. And the particular mission of the Senate intelligence committee, created in the wake of horrific CIA abuses, obligates Burr to “provide vigilant legislative oversight over the intelligence activities of the United States” and “to assure that such activities are in conformity with the Constitution and laws.”

    • ‘US govt trying to pursue those who show courage’ – Former CIA officer
    • ‘Politicians use the attacks in Paris for their own benefits’

      Edward Snowden blames politicians who ask for more powers for intelligence services after the Paris attacks of ‘seizing a catastrophe for their own benefits’. They need to remember recent history, he says, pointing to the Patriot Act as the American response after 9/11. ‘A quick law is never a good law’, Snowden says in an interview with Dutch daily newspaper De Volkskrant.

    • Thoughts – How is the NSA preparing the U.S. for a digital arms race and future battles?

      According to top secret documents from the archive of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden seen exclusively by SPIEGEL, they are planning for wars of the future in which the Internet will play a critical role, with the aim of being able to use the net to paralyze computer networks and, by doing so, potentially all the infrastructure they control, including power and water supplies, factories, airports or the flow of money.

    • Government Tries to Convict Jeffrey Sterling for Retroactively Classified Documents about Rotary Phones

      A court officer handed out a packet of these same documents with bright red SECRET markings on the front to each juror (the government had tried to include such a warning on the binders of other exhibits, but the defense pointed out that nothing in them was actually classified at all). Judge Leonie Brinkema, apparently responding to the confused look on jurors’ faces, explained these were still-classified documents intended for their eyes only. “You’ll get the context,” Judge Brinkema added. “The content is not really anything you have to worry about.” The government then explained these documents were seized from Jeffrey Sterling’s house in Missouri in 2006. Then the court officer collected the documents back up again, having introduced the jurors to the exclusive world of CIA’s secrets for just a few moments.

    • CIA leak trial now in jury’s hands

      Prosecutors asked a federal jury Thursday to convict former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling on leak charges to send a message that the spy agency’s secrets can be protected and that those who cooperate with the U.S. intelligence can be confident the government will do all it can to keep their identities under wraps.

      But in its closing statement, the defense argued that government lawyers were long on conjecture and short on proof — and a lawyer for Sterling presented an alternative theory of who leaked top-secret details of a CIA operation aimed at undermining Iran’s nuclear program.

    • Leak Trial Shows CIA Zeal to Hide Incompetence

      Six days of testimony at the trial of former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling have proven the agency’s obsession with proclaiming its competence. Many of the two-dozen witnesses from the Central Intelligence Agency conveyed smoldering resentment that a whistleblower or journalist might depict the institution as a bungling outfit unworthy of its middle name.

    • ‘Guantánamo Diary,’ by Mohamedou Ould Slahi

      “Guantánamo Diary” is the most profound account yet written of what it is like to be that collateral damage. One fall day 13 years ago Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a 30-year-old electrical engineer and telecommunications specialist, received a visit at his house in Noakchott, Mauritania, from two officers summoning him to come answer questions at the country’s intelligence ministry. “Take your car,” one of the men told him, as Slahi stood in front of his house with his mother and his aunt. “We hope you can come back today.” Listening to these words, Slahi’s mother fixed her eyes on her son. “It is the taste of helplessness,” he writes, “when you see your beloved fading away like a dream and you cannot help him. . . . I would watch both my mom and my aunt praying in my rearview mirror until we took the first turn and I saw my beloved ones disappear.”

    • Family Seeks Release of a Guantánamo Detainee Turned Author

      On one of the roughest days in Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s 14 years of captivity at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an American interrogator initially suggested that he pray out loud, then ridiculed him when he began reciting the Quran.

      Chained, barefoot and wearing only a thin uniform in an interrogation room chilled to 49 degrees, Mr. Slahi found himself on the receiving end of a barrage of questions. “Yes or no?” one interrogator shouted at him.

    • C.I.A. Report Found Value of Brutal Interrogation Was Inflated

      Years before the release in December of a Senate Intelligence Committee report detailing the C.I.A.’s use of torture and deceit in its detention program, an internal review by the agency found that the C.I.A. had repeatedly overstated the value of intelligence gained during the brutal interrogations of some of its detainees.

      The internal report, more than 1,000 pages in length, came to be known as the Panetta Review after Leon E. Panetta, who, as the C.I.A.’s director, ordered that it be done in 2009. At least one of its authors won an agency award for her work, according to a recent briefing that the agency’s inspector general gave to staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

    • Cooperation between British spies and Gaddafi’s Libya revealed in official papers

      Britain’s intelligence agencies engaged in a series of previously-unknown joint operations with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s government, and used the information extracted from rendition victims as evidence during partially-secret court proceedings in London, according to an analysis of official documents recovered in Tripoli since the Libyan revolution.

      The exhaustive study of the papers from the Libyan government archives shows the links between MI5, MI6 and Gaddafi’s security agencies to have been far more extensive and than previously thought, and to have involved a number of joint operations in which Libyan dissidents were unlawfully detained and allegedly tortured.

    • NY Attorney General Proposes Not Terrible Cybersecurity Legislation

      Most legislation that includes the word “cyber” is nothing more than an excuse to give the government a larger piece of the action — generally by redefining the term “information sharing” to mean a one-way street of data collection running from private companies (and their customers) to various law enforcement and security agencies.

    • ‘US government was subverting entire US constitution’ – NSA whistleblower

      Award winning whistleblower William Binney says his new job is to make the US government honest, make them face the truth publically, and to prevent further violation of the rights which America has never intended to stand for.

      The Sam Adams Award for Integrity and Intelligence is to be given in Berlin this Thursday. This is an annual ceremony where intelligence professional are rewarded for their contribution in sharing light on governments’ wrongdoings. Such whistleblowers as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning have got this award in the past. This year the prize goes to William Binney, retired NSA technical director. He left his high profile job in order to try to bring the NSA to account.

    • Snowden files reveal how GCHQ spies tracked iPhone users

      Former NSA contracter-turned-whistleblower, Edward Snowden gave the documents to a team of nine journalists including Laura Poitras, who directed the documentary Citizenfour, and they were published by Der Spiegel.

    • Here’s Why Edward Snowden Refuses To Use An iPhone
    • NSA leaker Edward Snowden refuses to use Apple’s iPhone over spying concerns – report
    • Edward Snowden News: NSA Whistleblower Reportedly Believes the Apple iPhone Spies on Users
    • Playing NSA, hardware hackers build USB cable that can attack

      Just over a year ago, Jacob Appelbaum and Der Spiegel revealed pages from the National Security Agency’s ANT catalog, a sort of “wish book” for spies that listed technology that could be used to exploit the computer and network hardware of targets for espionage. One of those tools was a USB cable with embedded hardware called Cottonmouth-I—a cable that can turn the computer’s USB connections into a remote wiretap or even a remote control.

    • Journalist Barrett Brown sentenced to 63 months in federal prison, must pay $890K in restitution

      A court in Dallas has sentenced Barrett Brown to 63 months in federal prison, minus 28 months already served. For count one in the case, he receives 48 months. For count 2, he receives 12 months. And for count 3, he receives 3 months. He is also ordered to pay $890,000 in restitution.

      The government’s charges against the intelligence and security reporter stemmed from his relationship with sources close to the hacker group Anonymous, and the fact that Brown published a link to publicly-available copies of leaked Stratfor documents.

    • Here’s the speech Barrett Brown will deliver at his sentencing

      His original indictment carried a maximum sentence of 105 years. But as per the terms of a 2014 plea deal, the journalist and firebrand now faces a maximum sentence of eight and half years in prison.

    • The Sterling Closing Arguments: Who Is the Hero, Who Is the Storyteller?

      “Jeffrey Sterling was the hero of Risen’s story,” prosecutor Eric Olshan finished his closing argument in the Jeffrey Sterling trial. “Don’t let him be the hero of this one.”

      “They are patriots,” prosecutor Jim Trump ended his remarks, speaking of the many CIA officers the jury had heard from. “They do their work without accolades.” He then compared Sterling with those patriots. “Sterling is not a patriot,” he described after accusing Sterling of betraying the CIA and his colleagues. “He is the defendant, he is guilty.”

    • British spy agency intercepted emails of journalists, considers them ‘threats’ alongside terrorists and hackers

      This is yet another outrageous violation of press freedom by the British government, which has increasingly shown contempt for newsgathering and the rights of journalists.

    • British Spy Agency Swept Up Emails of Major U.S. and UK Media Outlets; Investigative Journalists Viewed as Threat

      Britain’s cyber intelligence agency collected emails from numerous media outlets from Britain, the United States and other countries while also declaring in internal communications that investigative reports should be considered a threat to government operations.

      With documents provided by National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Guardian reported that Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) intercepted emails from journalists working for American and European news sources. Those affected by the email sweep included the BBC, Reuters, The Guardian, The New York Times, Le Monde, The Sun, NBC and The Washington Post.

    • Obama will fundamentally reshape the internet. But he hasn’t said how

      The president will have to address net neutrality, the Patriot Act and cybersecurity this year. The platitudes in the State of the Union aren’t reassuring

    • Barrett Brown sentenced to 63 months for ‘merely linking to hacked material’

      In a rebuke to a legion of online supporters and what the journalist and one-time member of Anonymous called a “dangerous precedent”, Barrett Brown was sentenced to 63 months in prison by a federal judge in Dallas on Thursday.

      Brown’s backers from across the web had hoped he would be able to walk free with his 31 months of time served for what they insist was “merely linking to hacked material”. But the 33-year-old, who was once considered something of a spokesman for the Anonymous movement, will face more than twice that sentence. The judge also ordered him to pay more $890,000 in restitution and fines.

    • Barrett Brown Sentenced To 63 Months In Jail For Daring To Do Journalism On Hacked Info

      We’ve written a few times about the ridiculous case against Barrett Brown, a journalist who took a deep interest in Anonymous and various hacking efforts. As we noted, a key part of the initial charges included the fact that Brown had organized an effort to comb through the documents that had been obtained from Stratfor via a hack. The key bit was that Brown had reposted a URL pointing to the documents to share via his “Project PM” — a setup to crowdsource the analysis of the leaked documents. Some of those documents included credit card info, so he was charged with “trafficking” in that information. Brown didn’t help his own cause early on with some immensely foolish actions, like threatening federal agents in a video posted to YouTube, but there were serious concerns about how the government had twisted what Brown had actually done in a way that could be used against all kinds of journalists.

    • Police to probe Leon Brittan’s alleged Westminster paedophile cover-up beyond the grave

      Child sex abuse campaigners have spoken of their fury that Leon Brittan has taken secrets of an alleged Westminster paedophile cover-up to his grave.

      The former Tory Home Secretary has died after a long fight with cancer – leaving unanswered questions about his role in the disappearance of a dossier said to reveal the existence of an abuse network at the top of government.

      And detectives declared they would still be investigating claims Lord Brittan raped a teenager in 1967.

      The dossier was handed to him in 1983 by Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens and the row over its “loss” led to Home Secretary Theresa May launching a wide-ranging public inquiry into the allegations of a paedophile ring.

    • British Company under Investigation for Offering Services to Guantanamo Base

      Internationally recognized agencies such as Amnesty International and Scotland Yard have undertaken an investigation into individuals who allegedly participated in acts of torture carried out in Cuba.

      I came across this startling bit of news in the British newspaper The Independent on January 14. There, I read that the British human rights group Reprieve submitted a report to the renowned police agency, asking that it investigate a British company for alleged complicity in extremely serious human rights violations.

      The accused company is named “G4S.” The British government, the newspaper adds, has been investigating G4S for some time to determine whether it has violated principles established by international conventions. According to the charges, the company offered administrative services to a harrowing prison, notorious for its abuses and for confining human beings without previous or due process: the United States’ Guantanamo Naval Base.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA Boss Chris Dodd Talks About Sony Hack & Free Speech… Ignoring How It Revealed MPAA’s Plan To Undermine Free Speech

        First of all, I’m not quite clear on how the Sony Hack was really an “attack on free speech” unless you really believe the point of the hack was to get Sony to not show The Interview (a storyline that only showed up well after the hack). But, considering that some of the only real news to come out of the hack was an elaborate mulit-pronged strategy by the MPAA to censor the internet by twisting various laws, that statement is kind of ridiculous.

      • UK Prime Minister’s special advisor wants prison for people who watch TV programmes the wrong way

        The UK Conservative MP Mike Weatherley spoke at a second reading of the Intellectual Property Bill in Parliament and called for prison sentences for “persistent” downloaders. Mr Weatherley is a former entertainment industry executive and is Prime Minister Cameron’s Intellectual Property advisor. He also defended the idea of disconnecting families from the Internet if their router is implicated in accused acts of copyright infringement.

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    Links for the day



  21. Scientific Excellence and the Debian Social Contract

    The Debian Project turns 30 next year; in spite of it being so ubiquitous (most of the important distros of GNU/Linux are based on Debian) it is suffering growing pains and some of that boils down to corporate cash and toxic, deeply divisive politics



  22. Links 14/1/2022: openSUSE Leap 15.2 EoL, VFX Designers Are Using GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  23. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 13, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 13, 2022



  24. 2022 Commences With Microsoft-Themed (and Microsoft-Connected) FUD Against GNU/Linux

    A psychopathic Microsoft, aided by operatives inside the mainstream and so-called 'tech' media, keeps spreading old and invalid stigma about "Linux" and Free software; few people still bother responding to these fact-free FUD campaigns, which boil down to ‘perception management’ PR/propaganda



  25. Between January 2021 and January 2022 the Number of Active Gemini Capsules Nearly Quadrupled Based on Publicly-Available Catalogue of Capsules

    Geminispace has grown to about 2,000 known capsules and 1,600 of them are active, permanently online, fully accessible; in January last year these numbers were about 4 times smaller



  26. Links 13/1/2022: NetworkManager 1.34 and Everett 3.0.0

    Links for the day



  27. Links 13/1/2022: Sparky 5.16, Fwupd 1.7.4, and KDE Plasma 5.24 Beta Released

    Links for the day



  28. Call a Spade a Spade (Microsoft 'Contributions' to Linux)

    Call a spade a spade; Microsoft does not love Linux and doesn’t try to help Linux, as it’s still all about Windows and proprietary software with surveillance, back doors, and worse things



  29. No Excuses for Using GitHub Anymore

    Software developers become living witnesses to more and more reasons to abandon Microsoft for good



  30. Links 13/1/2022: Slackware Linux 15.0 RC3 and More Microsoft Aggression Against Linux

    Links for the day


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