Links 25/1/2015: Android Wear 5.0, Tizen in Bangladesh

Posted in News Roundup at 5:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Google makes it easier to run Linux on a Chromebook via a USB drive…sort of…

      I have to give Google a lot of credit here. I noted in my earlier post how Chromebooks were all over , but now Google has potentially added even more value to them with these changes. The ability to easily run a Linux distribution would certainly add even more appeal to Chromebooks, particularly given their low price compared to the cost of some Linux-based laptops sold by certain vendors.

    • Forums Have Matured

      In craigslist people actually suggest installing GNU/Linux to fix things in the computer forum. No longer are they shooed away to the Linux forum. Well, there are some rude people but they don’t seem to get their way. It’s seems GNU/Linux is much more accepted than five years ago.

    • Completely open source, high-end laptop gets closer to reality

      If you’ve wanted a laptop where all the software is free and open source (FOSS), you’ve usually had to settle for mediocre hardware. Even FOSS champion Richard Stallman is making do with a ThinkPad that’s several years old. At last, though, it looks like you won’t have to compromise your ideology for the sake of keeping up with the Joneses. Purism has successfully crowdfunded the Librem 15, a portable PC that combines modern parts (such as a 3.4GHz Core i7 and an optional 4K display) with software that’s accessible from head to toe. The operating system (a variant of Trisquel GNU/Linux), hardware drivers and included apps are all free and open — Purism is even trying to loosen up the BIOS and firmware.

  • Kernel Space

    • Adventures in Embedded UEFI with Intel Galileo

      At one of the Intel Technology Days conferences a while ago, Intel gave us a gift of a Galileo board, which is based on the Quark SoC, just before the general announcement. The promise of the Quark SoC was that it would be a fully open (down to the firmware) embedded system based on UEFI. When the board first came out, though, the UEFI code was missing (promised for later), so I put it on a shelf and forgot about it. Recently, the UEFI Security Subteam has been considering issues that impinge on embedded architectures (mostly arm) so having an actual working embedded development board could prove useful. This is the first part of the story of trying to turn the Galileo into an embedded reference platform for UEFI.

    • Linus Torvalds diversity gaffe brings out the best (and worst) of the open source world

      Diversity is going to characterize a lot of the conversations about technology in 2015. The arrow of history is pointing towards greater inclusiveness, and the participatory nature of the open-source world places it in an excellent position to lead the way. But there’s a lot of friction, and a lot of pushback. It’s really up to the community to decide what it wants to be — and who it wants to represent its ideals to the world.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Broadwell HD Graphics 5500: Windows 8.1 vs. Linux

        Linux graphics tests of Intel’s Broadwell hardware are finally here! Going back to November of 2013 is when Intel began putting out open-source Broadwell HD Graphics code. Since the initial Broadwell code drop, I’ve written dozens of articles to date covering the Linux kernel work, Mesa DRI OpenGL driver progress, Beignet OpenCL compute support, and other key Linux components work on Intel Broadwell support. A few days ago I received the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon with Core i7 Broadwell CPU to finally see how the Linux support has panned out for this next-generation line-up succeeding Haswell.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Help test KDE Bomber game

        As Laurent mentioned we are moving some KDE games from kdelibs4-based to kf5-based for the next KDE Applications 15.04 relase.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 11.0 Allinone Edition FINAL released.

        The status of the 4MLinux 11.0 series has been changed to STABLE. Major changes in the core of the system, which now includes GNU C Library 2.20 and GNU Compiler Collection 4.9.2. The development of some of the 4MLinux editions has been dropped, but at the same time new 4MLinux spins have been announced. The most important one is 4MRescueKit, which has started its journey to become a lightweight alternative to other system rescue live CDs (there’s a detailed description on the 4MLinux Blog).

      • [IPCop Release]

        The latest stable IPCop version is 2.1.8, released on 2015-01-25.

      • IPFire 2.15 – Core Update 86 released

        This is the official release announcement of IPFire 2.15 – Core Update 86 which brings various security fixes across several packages. Hence we recommend installing this update as soon as possible and to execute a reboot afterwards.

      • Netrunner 14.1 OS Features a Different and Cool KDE Experience – Gallery

        Netrunner 14.1, a GNU/Linux distribution based on Kubuntu, featuring KDE as the default desktop environment, is now available for download and it comes with a number of important improvements.

    • Screenshots

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Tizen Samsung Z1, made in India and soon to be available in Bangladesh

          As we have reported Samsung has been sending the parts for its Samsung Z1 SM-Z130H/DS to be assembled at its Noida plant in India, which has the capacity to produce over 4 million handsets per month. The Samsung Z1 was launched in India as the first Tizen based commercial handset at a competitive price of 5,700 INR.

      • Android

        • Signs of progress: One month with Android Wear 5.0

          We take a look at how Android Wear works, and even manage to break some stuff.
          Android Wear 5.0 came out last month—it was the third noteworthy update to the wearable OS, following versions 4.4W.1 and 4.4W.2. It’s not a significant enough update to merit its own standalone review, but it’s been a while since our last check-in with the platform. Plus, the launch of the Apple Watch is just a few months away at most.

        • Which Android device works with Now TV?

          If you want to explore the world of TV streaming you may be better off spending a little more on a budget Android tablet with an HDMI output, says Rick Maybury

        • Android 5.0.2 Lollipop to roll out for Samsung Galaxy Note 4
        • Cyanogen Wants to Wrestle Android Away From Google

          Cyanogen, the company behind the popular open source operating system and the OS of choice for last year’s OnePlus One, wants to be even more independent from the Google-based software that lies at its foundation. According to Cyanogen’s CEO, Kirt McMaster “We’re attempting to take Android away from Google.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Your simple guide to Open Source technology

    What does this mean in practice? First and foremost, it means that unlike traditional software development that is done behind closed doors and with the windows barred and by a small team, Open Source software development by its nature has many eye balls on it all of the time. Anyone can submit bug fixes or improvements and this generally translates into fixes and improvements happening at a much faster rate. Security vulnerabilities and exploits are usually fixed quickly too, which is good for everyone.

  • LZHAM 1.0 Lossless Data Compression Codec Released

    Version 1.0 of LZHAM has been released, the lossless data compression codec spearheaded by Rich Geldreich, the former Valve developer involved in their Linux and OpenGL activities.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Linux Users Upset By Chromium’s Busted HiDPI Support

        While Chromium is usually quick to advance technology-wise and the Chrome/Chromium developers tend to be caring toward Linux, the support for HiDPI displays with the web-browser on Linux appears to be in bad shape.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

  • Project Releases

    • Rcpp 0.11.4

      A new release 0.11.4 of Rcpp is now on the CRAN network for GNU R, and an updated Debian package will be uploaded in due course.

      Rcpp has become the most popular way of enhancing GNU R with C++ code. As of today, 323 packages on CRAN depend on Rcpp for making analyses go faster and further; BioConductor adds another 41 packages, and casual searches on GitHub suggests dozens mores.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • Build Your Own Open-Source SmartWatch

        If you’re not up for spending your money on one of the less advanced smart watch models, you may want to check out maker Jonathan Cook’s DIY Open-Source SmartWatch, part of which is 3D printed, something the prognosticators of future tech surely didn’t forecast. Cook shared instructions for making his SmartWatch on the webzine “Make:” and also on his own website, DoNothingBox. You can download the STL files on the DNB site, too. For around $125 or less you can make your own smart phone and you can customize it, something that you wouldn’t be able to do with a store-bought version.


  • Health/Nutrition

    • Harper’s Planned Military Splurge Comes At The Expense Of Health Care

      Ottawa’s deficit is soon to be turned into a surplus, which could be used for a number of important purposes. For instance, some such purpose is to help bring tax relief or to help make their unaffordable health care more affordable. However, Canada’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, has decided that instead of spending the surplus money on health care, this extra money will be used for military purposes. Even though Canadians would prefer that this additional money be funded towards their health care. This plan that Harper has laid out was not announced until he secured his majority to be elected as Prime Minister again. The plan will cut in half Canada’s rate of growth of federal health transfers to the provinces at an estimated amount of thirty-six billion dollars in over ten years. Thus, it will make Canadians pay more for their health care, when health care could instead be made affordable for all people regardless of their income status. This is true notwithstanding that the Canadian health care system is the second most expensive in the world. Considering all this, chances are that not every Canadian knows or even heard about Prime Minister Harper’s plan due to other irrelevant subjects clogging the media pipeline such as the new iPhone or another future royal baby.

  • Security

    • OpenSSL 1.0.2 Released

      OpenSSL 1.0.2 features Suite B support for TLS 1.2 / DTLS 1.2, support for DTLS 1.2, TLS automatic EC curve selection, TLS Brainpool support, ALPN support, CMS support for more ciphers, and a number of other changes.

    • OpenSSL 1.0.2 Branch Release notes

      The major changes and known issues for the 1.0.2 branch of the OpenSSL toolkit are summarised below. The contents reflect the current state of the NEWS file inside the git repository.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • After Long Legal Fight, Inquest Is Set to Begin in Death of Putin Critic

      It has consumed more than eight years of maneuvering, obstruction and a widow’s dogged legal campaign, fought often on a shoestring. But finally, on Tuesday, a public inquiry is set to begin its quest for an answer to the question that has driven the whole process: Why did Alexander V. Litvinenko have to die?

    • Germany halts arms exports to Saudi Arabia

      Germany has decided to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia because of “instability in the region,” German daily Bild reported on Sunday.

      Weapons orders from Saudi Arabia have either been “rejected, pure and simple,” or deferred for further consideration, the newspaper said, adding that the information has not been officially confirmed.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Cyber questions for Obama’s AG nominee [attack on truth itself]

      Edward Snowden and perhaps co-conspirators in the conversion of 1.7 million classified government files for his use and that of his associates, or the media internationally, are also beyond the reach of the criminal law. Snowden remains in Russia and other infamous media figures associated with him, scattered around the globe. Wikileaks and Julian Assange have remained a menace to the United States over unauthorized disclosure of classified information also beyond the realm of a criminal prosecution. Ditto North Korea’s involvement with the Sony hacking incident.

      Worse is the chain of custody and control of stolen government property which is at best uncertain in the international cyber world. Last summer, FISA Court Judge Reggie Walton ruled that the NSA can’t keep metadata more than 5 years. However, no such injunction exists for Snowden, Assange, North Korea, the PLA, and the media in possession of stolen government information.

    • Google hands data to US Government in WikiLeaks espionage case

      Today, WikiLeaks’ lawyers have written to Google and the US Department of Justice concerning a serious violation of the privacy and journalistic rights of WikiLeaks’ staff. Investigations editor Sarah Harrison, Section Editor Joseph Farrell and senior journalist and spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson have received notice that Google had handed over all their emails and metadata to the United States government on the back of alleged ‘conspiracy’ and ‘espionage’ warrants carrying up to 45 years in prison.

    • Google provided Wikileaks journalists’ metadata in Julian Assange investigation

      Google secretly gave the emails of WikiLeaks journalists to the US government in response to an espionage investigation targeting Julian Assange, according to documents disclosed by the internet giant.

    • WikiLeaks demands answers after Google hands staff emails to US government

      Google took almost three years to disclose to the open information group WikiLeaks that it had handed over emails and other digital data belonging to three of its staffers to the US government, under a secret search warrant issued by a federal judge.

      WikiLeaks has written to Google’s executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, to protest that the search giant only revealed the warrants last month, having been served them in March 2012. In the letter, WikiLeaks says it is “astonished and disturbed” that Google waited more than two and a half years to notify its subscribers, potentially depriving them of their ability to protect their rights to “privacy, association and freedom from illegal searches”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • ‘It’s like a ghost town’: lights go out as foreign owners desert London homes

      Racine had everything a west London restaurant could ask for: beaming reviews, great cooking and an enviable location opposite the V&A on the Brompton Road. For 12 years it served immaculate French standards to discerning diners and from the outside it looked like an institution to last a century.

      But two weeks ago owner Henry Harris announced that Racine had moutarded its last lapin and would close. Qu’est-ce qui s’est passé?

      “It was inevitable. The site had become unsustainable,” says Harris. “A rent renewal was the catalyst, but the main cause was the shrinking residential population in what should be a saturated area. My original clients, who were 50 or 60 when we opened, were that bit older. Some of them couldn’t afford to eat out as often after the recession, but others saw what their houses were worth and decided to realise that asset. They were replaced by non-doms who didn’t live there. In some apartment blocks 20% were unoccupied – one in five of my potential client base. It makes a big difference. In the block behind the restaurant it even became easier to park. You never expect to hear that in Knightsbridge.”

    • London needs homes, not towers of ‘safe-deposit boxes’

      London is gloriously un-plannable and horribly unplanned. From the Romans to the Romanians, the immigrant tribes who now call themselves English have been drawn to our uniquely cosmopolitan capital. This heterogeneous cultural mixture may help to explain the lack of appetite for plan-led “improvements” or urban reshaping. There is no common cultural foundation upon which to create a formal grand plan.

      On my bedroom wall hangs an artist’s perspective of the plan Wren touted for the City after the Great Fire of 1666, fleshed out with buildings of classical design, looking like a beaux arts continental city. It is the first thing I see when I wake every morning andprovides a constant reminder of the dangers of “master-planning”. If Wren, or any other planner, had had their way London would have ended up like Paris, Bath or Milton Keynes – architecturally inspired, but difficult to adapt to changing and unforeseeable future needs. Paris is formally planned, lacking in cultural diversity and inward-looking – no one can become a Parisian. London is unplanned, culturally diverse and a world business centre – anyone can become a Londoner.

    • Syriza stood up to the money men – the UK left must do the same

      ‘When you study the successful experiences of transformative movements,” said Pablo Iglesias of Podemos, the new party of the Spanish left, “you realise that the key to success is to achieve a connection between the reality you have diagnosed and what the majority actually feels.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • When Calculus of Loss Doesn’t Add Up

      IF you start from the premise that every human life is of equal importance, then the judgments of news organizations will often be confounding.

      Because when it comes to coverage, some violent deaths — to misquote Orwell — are more equal than others.

      Such was the case earlier this month, when the Western news media, including The Times, was fixated on the attacks that left 17 victims and three gunmen dead in Paris. Coverage was wall to wall: In The Times, not a day went by, for 10 consecutive days, without at least one front-page story, usually two.

      Meanwhile, in a much more remote part of the world, the radical group Boko Haram had devastated the town of Baga in rural Nigeria. Early reports said that as many as 2,000 had been slain.

    • Ex-spies infiltrate Hollywood as espionage TV shows and movies multiply

      The place in Brooklyn looks like a CIA safehouse. Red brick office building with peeling metal awning. No sign. Inside, writers are plotting out the popular Cold War espionage show “The Americans” — one of an assortment of Hollywood spy and national security dramas being driven by ex-spies.

      The show’s creator and co-head writer, Joe Weisberg, is a former CIA officer who never fathomed that he would one day sit in an office with Soviet propaganda posters and a cutout figure of President Ronald Reagan, concocting television fiction.

    • Major Media Outlets Fail To Accurately Tell the Entire Story

      Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman who was terminally ill decided to terminate her life on November 1, 2014. Maynard was diagnosed with brain cancer on January 1, 2014 and was told she still had some years left to live. When Maynard started getting more headaches that kept getting more severe over time, she went to get another check up and found out she had Glioblastoma multi forma which is the most severe type of brain cancer and only gave her about six months to live.

  • Censorship

    • Charlie Hebdo Chief on Censorship of Controversial Cartoons: ‘They Blur Our Democracy’

      Appearing on “Meet the Press” Sunday, Charlie Hebdo Editor-in-Chief Gerard Briard claimed media who censor his satirical magazine’s cartoons are part of the problem.

      “This cartoon is not just a little figure. It’s a symbol. It’s the symbol of freedom of speech, of freedom of religion, of democracy and secularism,” he told Chuck Todd. “When they refuse to publish this cartoon, when they blur it out, when they decline to publish it, they blur out democracy, secularism, freedom of religion and they insult the [citizenry].”

    • Military censorship is serving Likud

      UN observers on Sunday noticed two drones crossing the border from Israel into Syria, and shortly afterward saw columns of smoke rising from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. It turned out those drones had attacked a convoy, killing Hezbollah commanders and fighters and a general from Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.

      Israel took responsibility via messages conveyed by semiofficial sources — government mouthpiece Israel Hayom, which praised the “precise and surprising action by our forces,” and a half-apology by a “security source” for the killing of the Iranian officer, delivered to a foreign media outlet.

    • Sky to censor customers’ broadband by default

      Sky will censor the internet connections of its 5.3 million broadband customers, unless they specifically choose to switch off the company’s Broadband Shield. The company, like all of Britain’s major broadband providers, has been offering the network-level content filters as an optional extra to customers since last year.

    • Sky Is The Limit For Pornography

      Internet provider TalkTalk is to block pornographic sites, leaving BT and Virgin as the only major internet service providers not to have filters for adult material turned on by default. UK Internet giant blocks porn by default to protect children, but IT security firms warn the move could create a new set of problems…

    • Freedom of speech campaigners claim automatic porn blocking ‘censorship by default’

      Freedom of speech campaigners and independent internet firms have issued a stark warning that the automatic blocking of pornographic websites is “censorship by default” and constitutes a “blunt tool” for dealing with inappropriate content.

      On Tuesday it was revealed that Sky had become the first major internet service provider (ISP) to start automatically blocking pornographic websites by default.

      The move, which has been condemned as a danger to freedom of expression by campaigners, was prompted by pressure from Prime Minister David Cameron for ISPs to make online filtering mandatory, saying that it was the best way to protect children online.

      According to Sky its customers will see a message reminding them to make a choice about filtering when they visit a page deemed unsuitable for children under the age of 13. At this point they can choice to accept the current setting or turn the filter off to visit the page.

    • Censorship is more dangerous than offence

      Twelve people were shot allegedly because of a picture of Mohammed. Much of the horror and outrage that we have since seen in the media comes from the horrific nature of the shooting. Yet much can also be attributed to the idea that just because people disagree with you, they can silence you – that just because you have spoken freely and offended somebody, your voice can be taken away. Vast crowds have come together – including more than a million in Paris, to condemn this assault on one of the most hard-won and treasured values in our society.

    • Self-censorship is biggest threat to free speech in Japan
    • Instagram Admits Pube Censorship Was a Mistake; Women’s Bodies Continue to Confound Them
    • Instagram pubic hair ‘censorship’ ignites sexism row
    • China blocks VPN services that skirt online censorship amid wider crackdown
    • China blocks VPN services that skirt online censorship
    • Guantanamo’s Detainee Library Won’t Carry a Guantanamo Detainee’s Acclaimed New Book

      A Guantanamo detainee who just published a critically acclaimed book about his life in captivity won’t get the opportunity to see his own book. Nor will 121 of the detainee’s fellow inmates.

      Guantanamo spokesman Captain Tom Gresback told VICE News that “at this time” the detainee library has no intention of purchasing Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s memoir Guantanamo Diary, which cracked Amazon’s top 100.

    • Air Force Maj. Gen. Attempts to Prevent Officers from Communicating with Congress

      Some in Congress are calling for an investigation into an Air Force major general who reportedly attempted to prevent officers from communicating with Congress and told them they are committing treason by doing so, according to the Air Force Times.

    • Censorship at the highest ranks of the U.S. military and the growing divide between the military and civilians
    • Inspector general rips TSA over redaction of JFK airport audit

      The Transportation Security Administration abused its authority to classify information as too sensitive for release when it blocked sections of a recent audit report from being published, according to the agency’s independent watchdog.

      Department of Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth protested TSA’s actions on Friday, saying in a statement that he suspects that agency officials wanted to “conceal negative information.”

    • V&A in row over self-censorship after Muhammad image is taken down

      The Victoria and Albert museum has attempted to conceal its ownership of a devotional image of the prophet Muhammad, citing security concerns, in what is part of a wider pattern of apparent self-censorship by British institutions that scholars fear could undermine public understanding of Islamic art and the diversity of Muslim traditions.

    • V&A removes depiction of Prophet Mohamed from website amid ‘severe security alert’

      The Victoria & Albert museum has removed a depiction of the Prophet Mohamed from its website amid security concerns just three weeks after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

      The gallery mistakenly claimed not to have had any depictions of the prophet in its collection following the violence by extremists in Paris earlier this month.

      But after a US expert drew attention to a poster with an Iranian artist’s view of the prophet in the V&A’s collection it was quickly removed.

  • Privacy

    • Even When Sharing Top Billing with Edward Snowden, the NSA Is Unrepentant

      The only testy moment came during the question period, when a student forced the issue with DeLong and asked him whether he thought the public debate triggered by Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing had social merit. As DeLong responded, “With regard to Snowden, all I will say is that we need to let the wheels of justice turn in his case.”

    • Who Can Control N.S.A. Surveillance?

      Since Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the N.S.A.’s activities in the summer of 2013, there have been a number of official reports on the troubled relationship between surveillance and privacy—one from the President’s Review Group, two from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, and another, last week, from the National Academy of Sciences. In August, 2013, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence started a Tumblr, on which they’ve posted many interesting and useful documents, including redacted orders from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA).

    • NIST pledges transparency in NSA dealings over crypto standards
    • Kim Dotcom’s NSA-Dodging MegaChat is HERE And It Wants To DESTROY Skype

      Kim Dotcom is BACK and he’s got a new Skype-killing tool for the masses. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Mega Chat

    • ‘Anti-NSA’ messaging service MegaChat debuts in beta version

      Registered Mega users can try the platform for free at mega.

    • Shut it Down: Utah Bill Would Turn Off Water to NSA Data Center

      A bill filed in the Utah state house yesterday would deny critical resources – like water – to the massive NSA data center there should it pass.

    • Indiana Action Alert: Help Stop NSA Spying, Support SB458
    • Utah Bill Would Turn Off Water to NSA Data Center

      House Bill 150 (HB150), introduced by Rep. Marc Roberts, would require that the water being supplied to the NSA’s data center in Bluffdale be shut off as soon as the city’s $3 million bond is paid off.

    • Netherlands not the NSA’s lapdog: Interior Minister

      The Dutch intelligence services AIVD and MIVD are not the whipping boys of the American intelligence community, in particular the NSA, states the Dutch Minister of Interior, Ronald Plasterk. The statement is a response to an accusation made by former NSA employee and US whistleblower Edward Snowden, who said Dutch intelligence services walk on an American leash and are “extremely docile.”

    • China to look at Apple products, fears NSA tampering

      China is concerned about the potential for NSA backdoors in Apple devices. To address that possibility, the Chinese government plans to scan products when they are imported. Apple has agreed to let China look at a device’s security, as Apple CEO Tim Cook has reportedly been more than willing to accommodate the Chinese government.

    • China will screen all Apple products for NSA backdoor

      Apple has agreed to accept the Chinese government’s demands to run network safety evaluations on all Apple products before they can be imported into the country.

    • The Many Problems with the DEA’s Bulk Phone Records Collection Program

      Think mass surveillance is just the wheelhouse of agencies like the NSA? Think again. One of the biggest concerns to come from the revelations about the NSA’s bulk collection of the phone records of millions of innocent Americans was that law enforcement agencies might be doing the same thing. It turns out this concern was valid, as last week the government let slip for the first time that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) had also been collecting the phone records of Americans in bulk since the 1990s.

    • Gormley: Nothing to fear but all those fearful things

      More terrifying than hackers, and only slightly less terrifying than terrorists, are investigative journalists.

    • Congressman Submits Bill To Prevent Police and Spy Agency From Tracking Americans Via Phone Locations

      The location function on smartphones is surprisingly strong. Having the ability to track an individual’s location via a pocket-sized is a tempting tool for police and other agencies, but a new bill from Congress could change that.

    • DOJ Pays $134,000 To Settle Case Of DEA Agents Impersonating A Woman On Facebook

      Back in the fall, we wrote about how the DEA impersonated a woman on Facebook, even posting photographs of her young children (which they had taken off of her phone), in order to try to track down drug dealers. The woman, Sondra Arquiett, had dated a guy who was convicted of drug dealing, and had herself been charged with letting her boyfriend store some drugs in her apartment, leading to a sentence of probation. DEA agent Timothy Sinnegen then took the photos off of her phone, set up a fake Facebook page pretending to be Arquiett and tried to “friend” people she knew, in trying to track down other drug dealers. Arquiett was totally unaware of this until a friend brought it up, leading her to sue the DEA.

    • How the CIA made Google

      Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet

    • Former Head of GCHQ Warns Of ‘Ethically Worse’ Kinds Of Spying If Unbreakable Encryption Is Allowed

      That’s remarkable for its implied threat: if you don’t let us ban or backdoor strong encryption, we’re going to start breaking into your homes. And it’s striking that Omand regards eavesdropping on all the Internet traffic flowing in to and out of the UK, or collecting thousands of sexually-explicit webcam pictures, as less reprehensible than a tightly-targeted operation against a few suspects. His framing also implies that he thinks those pesky civil liberties groups will protest more about the latter than the former. In fact, what defenders of privacy and liberty generally want is simply a proportionate response with judicial oversight — something that is straightforward with targeted “close access” work, but impossible with the blanket surveillance currently employed.

    • ​Web encryption leads to ‘unethical’ spy practices – ex-GCHQ chief

      The increased use of encryption technologies, particularly in everyday services such as email, will lead spy agencies to commit “ethically worse” behavior, such as hacking individual computers, a former GCHQ boss has warned.

      Speaking at the London School of Economics (LSE), Sir David Omand said increasingly secure encryption technologies, which currently allow users to message and email in private, mean agencies are unable to intercept mail, and could be forced into more direct spying methods, report the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.

    • UK government sneaks surveillance laws inside Counter Terrorism bill

      The UK government has been trying to impose new surveillance laws on the internet at large, but for the past four years privacy activists have thwarted attempts by Labour and the Conservatives.

      In a recent push, the government secretly added 18-pages to the Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill (CTSB), including a mirror image of the Communications Data Bill, rejected in 2012 for the potential of national surveillance on every person.

    • GOP faces Patriot Act choice

      Critics of the spy agency were quick to question Boehner’s take on the Capitol plot.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Jindal-Hate Group Relationship You Won’t Hear About This Weekend

      Louisiana Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal is the keynote speaker for a rally funded and organized by an anti-LGBT group that has blamed gay people for causing the Holocaust and advocated imprisoning homosexuals. So why isn’t his appearance garnering national media attention?

    • Standing Up for Secularism

      In Saudi Arabia this week, doctors advised that the next phase of the punishment of liberal blogger Raif Badawi be postponed until he has healed from the first. Badawi has been sentenced to ten years in prison, and 1,000 lashes, for openly advocating secularism on his blog “Free Saudi Liberals.” Badawi has received only 50 of those lashes so far, and it has already put his life in danger.

    • High court protects federal whistleblowers in case that had broad implications

      Winning a Supreme Court case can be like winning a championship football game without cheating.

      It’s exciting and thrilling, but Robert MacLean said he isn’t planning on visiting Disneyland anytime soon.

    • Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Federal Air Marshal Whistleblower & Upholds Whistleblower Law

      “Federal air marshal whistleblower Robert MacLean’s 7-2 victory means that, after defending his rights for more than eight years, he will have a chance to achieve justice. The only issue left is whether MacLean was reasonable to believe that the government’s decision to remove air marshals from targeted flights endangered the public, since the Department of Homeland Security had planned to go AWOL in the face of a more ambitious rerun of 9/11.”

    • Supreme Court: Feds can’t fire whistleblowers for preserving public safety

      In the 7-2 decision in DHS v. MacLean, the court ruled that Robert MacLean, a former federal air marshal, shouldn’t have been fired from the Department of Homeland Security for revealing that marshals were being pulled from flights in 2003. Due to budget concerns, for nearly two months the law enforcement agents were kept off flights deemed high-risk targets for terrorist attacks.

    • Justices Rule Dismissal of Air Marshal Unlawful

      The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in favor of a fired air marshal, saying he was covered by a federal law protecting whistle-blowers.

      Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority in the 7-to-2 decision, said that the ruling might create security problems by entrusting the confidentiality of sensitive security information to “the idiosyncratic judgment” of each of the Transportation Security Administration’s employees, but that Congress could address the issue by amending the law. The president could also prohibit disclosure of the information by executive order.

    • High court sides with whistle-blowing ex-air marshal

      Robert MacLean was an air marshal on commercial flights whose job was to protect passengers and crew from terrorism. When the government reduced overnight flights to save money, MacLean took his objection to supervisors who took no action. So he leaked the information to the media out of concern for passenger safety.

    • In Victory for Gov’t Whistleblowers, Supreme Court Sides with Fired TSA Air Marshal Who Spoke Out
    • BBG’s Andrew Lack ‘should be fired from his job’ – WikiLeaks spokesperson

      Comparing RT to a terrorist organization is “absurd” and “shameful” for a person in a position like BBG’s Andrew Lack, WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson told RT, adding that its “understandable” given how WikiLeaks was treated.

      Hrafnsson was refereeing to comments made earlier this week by the CEO of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, Andy Lack.

    • Introducing Mrs. Merlin: To Prosecute Jeffrey Sterling, CIA Exposed an Asset

      The government engaged in a great deal of security theater during the Jeffrey Sterling trial, most notably by having some CIA witnesses — including ones whose identities weren’t, technically, secret — testify behind a big office divider so the general public couldn’t see the witness.

      But along the way, the government revealed a great number of secrets, including a number of secrets about how its counterproliferation programs work.

      Perhaps most ironically, in a trial aiming to convict Jeffrey Sterling for revealing that the Russian scientist referred to as Merlin during the trial was a CIA asset, the government revealed that Merlin’s wife was also an asset.

    • David Hicks: US government agrees former Guantanamo Bay detainee is innocent, lawyer says

      The United States has agreed that former Guantanamo Bay detainee, Australian David Hicks, is innocent, his lawyer has said.

      Mr Hicks pleaded guilty in 2007 to providing “material support for terrorism” but his legal team claimed that he did so under duress and filed an appeal last year.

      Mr Hicks’s lawyer was confident his name was set to be cleared after the change of position by the US government.

    • Kippa-wearing Swedish reporter assaulted in Malmo

      A Swedish reporter who walked around Malmo while wearing a kippa to test attitudes toward Jews was hit and cursed at by passersby before he fled for fear of serious violence.

    • New Utah Law Instructs Cops To Seize Uninsured Vehicles

      Does the government really even need excuses to seize the assets of its citizens, especially for relatively minor crimes? Apparently it does, at least according to the state of Utah.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Why We Still Can’t Really Put Anything In The Public Domain… And Why That Needs To Change

        More than five years ago, we wrote about just how difficult it was to actually put something into the public domain legally. For years, we’ve said that all of our Techdirt posts (where we have the right to do so) are subject to a public domain dedication, but there’s nothing specifically in the law that says how or if you can really put something into the public domain. While you can make a public domain dedication or (more recently) use the Creative Commons CC0 tool to do so, there’s no clear way within the law to actually declare something in the public domain. Instead, the public domain declarations are really more of a promise not to make use of the exclusionary rights provided under copyright.

      • Zombie Pirate Bay Tracker Fuels Chinese DDoS Attacks

        On November 2009 The Pirate Bay announced that it would shut down its tracker for good.

        Trackers were outdated according to the site’s owners. Instead, they encouraged BitTorrent users to rely on DHT, PEX and other trackerless technologies.

        Despite the fact that the tracker is no longer functional, many old and some new torrents still include the tracker.thepiratebay.org announce address.

        While the tracker hasn’t responded to these calls for five years, for some server admins it has now risen from the dead.

IRC Proceedings: January 11th, 2015 – January 24th, 2015

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: January 11th – January 17th, 2015



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IRC Proceedings: January 18th – January 24th, 2015



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