02.04.15

German Translation of Ruling Against Željko Topić, the EPO’s Vice-President

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Judge Marijan Bertalanič
Judge Marijan Bertalanič, photo from vecernji.hr

Summary: Claims about the EPO’s Vice-President which the Court found not defamatory

Having just published an English translation of the decision against Željko Topić, a mere week after the ruling, here is the German translation that Topić’s employees in Munich can easily read:

REPUBLIK KROATIEN
GEMEINDE-/AMTSGERICHT FÜR STRAFRECHT ZAGREB
Ilica – Selska, Ilica 207

Aktenzeichen: 7. K-26/11

PROTOKOLL
der Urteilsverkündung vom 28. Januar 2015

Von Seiten des Gerichts haben teilgenommen:
MARIJAN BERTALANIČ
(Vorsitzender Richter des Richterrats)

(Mitglieder des Richterrats)
Jasminka Popović
(Protokollführerin)

Strafsache:
Kläger: Privatkläger Željko Topić
DIE ANGEKLAGTE: Vesna Stilin
Aufgrund des Tatvorwurfs aus Artikel 200/2
und anderer [Anm. d. Übers.: Artikel des] Strafgesetze[s]

Es wird festgestellt, dass [Anm. d. Übers.: folgende Personen] teilgenommen haben:
1. Kläger: Privatkläger – niemand, Prozessbevollmächtigte RAin Tina Čovo
2. Der Geschädigte:
3. Die Angeklagte: niemand – Prozessbevollmächtigter Verteidiger RA Zoran Zivotić
4. Zeuge:
5. Sachverständiger:

Es wird festgestellt, dass am heutigen, zur Urteilsverkündigung festgesetzten Gerichtstermin, weder der Privatkläger, noch die Angeklagte trotz ordnungsgemäßer Ladung erschienen sind.

Gemäß Artikel 356 Absatz 3 Strafprozessordnung wird dem Gerichtstermin zur Urteilsverkündung, trotz Abwesenheit der ordnungsgemäß Geladenen, des Privatklägers und der Angeklagten, stattgegeben.

Der Richter verkündet

IM NAMEN DER REPUBLIK KROATIEN DAS URTEIL

Die Angeklagte, STILIN VESNA, Tochter von Milan und Ružica, geb. Bekavac, geb. 21.4.1954 in Zagreb, aus Zagreb, Biokovske stube 4, Staatsbürgerin der Republik Kroatien, Diplom-Juristin, verheiratet, kinderlos, keine Vorstrafen,

WIRD gemäß Artikel 453 Punkt l Strafprozessgesetzbuch/08

FREIGESPROCHEN

von:

1. dass sie am 22. November 2010 in einem Schreiben an die Regierung der Republik Kroatien, z.H. der Ministerpräsidentin Jadranka Kosor, die das Schreiben zur Kenntnisnahme auch an das Parlament der Republik Kroatien (z.H. der Abgeordneten Bianka Matković) weitergeleitet hat, sowie an den Minister für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Unternehmertum, an den Minister für Wissenschaft, Bildung und Sport, an den Minister für Verwaltungsangelegenheiten, an den Minister für auswärtige Angelegenheiten und europäische Integration, an den Minister für Kultur und an den Minister für Finanzen sowie Miljenko Pavlaković von HEP [Anm. d. Übers.: Hrvatska elektroprivreda, die Kroatischen Elektrizitätswerke], das Ziel verfolgt habe, durch die Verbreitung unwahrer Tatsachen über den Privatkläger dessen Ansehen und Ehre zu schädigen; in diesem Schreiben hat sie unter anderem aufgeführt:

- „Wegen Topićs Ignoranz der aufgeführten Problematik haben die Schriftsteller finanziellen Schaden erlitten, da sie bereits seit mindestens 2 Jahren Tantiemen für den Verleih ihrer Bücher in öffentlichen Büchereien hätten bekommen sollten.“

- „Topić Željko hat sich sein zweites Mandat als Leiter des Staatlichen Amtes für intellektuelles Eigentum [Anm. d. Übers.: kroat. DZIV] mit der Zahlung von etwa 500.000,00 Kuna erkauft, die er über einem Zeitraum von über 2 Jahren erbracht hat (zwischen Mai 2007, als der erwähnte Vertrag unterzeichnet wurde, bis Juli 2009, als Primorac aus dem Ministerium ausgeschieden ist). Dies erwähne ich unter anderem auch in der Verfassungsklage Nr. U-III 5023/08, die noch anhängig ist und mit der ich die Ernennung von Topić zum Amtsleiter anfechte… … Ich habe für den Posten der Leiterin des Amtes [Anm. d. Übers. für intellektuelles Eigentum] kandidiert, nachdem der Genannte Ende 2007 … meinen Arbeitsbereich heimlich abgeschafft hatte …“

- „Topićs Vorgehensweise bezüglich des öffentlichen Verleihrechts, mit dem er den Schriftstellern finanziellen Schaden und mir eine schwerere Schädigung meines Rechts auf Arbeit zugefügt hat, erfüllt zugleich auch Aspekte des Strafrechts in Form von “Amts- und Befugnismissbrauch” sowie `skrupellose Tätigkeit bei einer Behörde`…“

- „dass er mit den finanziellen Mitteln des Staatlichen Amtes für intellektuelles Eigentum den Fuhrpark des Staatlichen Amtes für intellektuelles Eigentum in Form von 6 luxuriösen Fahrzeugen unterhalten hat, einschließlich der Kontrolle durch das Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Bildung und Sport, sowie sich neben einem Audi 6 auch einen luxuriösen Mercedes E-Klasse [Anm. d. Übers.: geleistet hat], was er zwischen den Archivregalen hütete, um die Verschwendung staatlicher Gelder zu vertuschen.“

- „Topić selbst hat dem Ministerium für Verwaltungsangelegenheiten jahrelang gefälschte Angaben über die Anzahl der Mitarbeiter meines Bereichs zugestellt (doppelt so viele, wie eigentlich dort beschäftigt waren), [Anm. d. Übers.: das Ministerium hat diese wiederum] an die Regierung der Republik Kroatien weitergeleitet.“

- „… aufgrund von Topićs Lügen und seiner Inkompetenz, die er durch Bestechung kompensiert hat sowie durch fehlende Kontrollinstanzen, führe ich dieses beschämend lange Verfahren…“

- „… dass ich jahrelang Überstunden geleistet habe, um den erwähnten Arbeitsbereich zu leiten, und dass ich niemals, im Gegensatz zu Topić und anderen, eine finanzielle Entschädigung dafür weder erhalten, noch gefordert habe.”

- „Vom strafrechtlichen Gesichtspunkt aus fallen Topićs Handlungsweisen in diesem Fall unter den trafrechtlichen Bereich: skrupellose Tätigkeit bei einer Behörde, Amts- und Befugnismissbrauch, missbräuchliche Amtsausübung, Diskriminierung, Schädigung des Rechts auf Arbeit und anderer Arbeitsrechte sowie Bestechung…“

- „Dass die Kontrollinstanzen ihrer Pflicht zur Kontrolle über das Amt nicht nachgekommen sind, d.h. wenn sie einen strafrechtlichen Prozess gegen Topić eingeleitet hätten, wäre Topić bereits Anfang 2008 von seinem Amt enthoben worden. Die angekündigte Umstrukturierung der Regierung der Republik Kroatien würde auch einen Wechsel von Topić selbstverständlich mit sich bringen, da eine Verkündigung des Genannten in der Öffentlichkeit sicherlich der Republik Kroatien schaden würde.“

All dies hat der Ehre und dem Ansehen des Privatklägers geschadet, mit der aufgeführten andlungsweise hat sie Unwahres über den anderen verkündet, was dessen Ehre schaden könnte, da die Verleumdung einer größeren Anzahl von Personen zugänglich gemacht wurde,

2. dass sie am 22. November 2010 in einem Schreiben an die Regierung der Republik Kroatien, z.H. der Ministerpräsidentin Jadranka Kosor, die das Schreiben zur Kenntnisnahme auch an das Parlament der Republik Kroatien (der Abgeordneten Bianka Matković) weitergeleitet hat, sowie an den Minister für Wirtschaft, Arbeit und Unternehmertum, an den Minister für Wissenschaft, Bildung und Sport, an den Minister für Verwaltungsangelegenheiten, an den Minister für auswärtige Angelegenheiten und europäische Integration, an den Minister für Kultur und an den Minister für Finanzen sowie Miljenko Pavlaković von HEP, das Ziel verfolgt hat, den Privatkläger zu schmähen und zu beleidigen, indem sie in ihrem Schreiben unter anderem aufgeführt hat:

- „Beim letzten Gespräch mit Topić (April 2008) antwortete er mir auf meine Frage, was mit dem öffentlichen Verleihrecht (aufgrund meiner Entlassung) nun geschehen solle, dass dies meine persönliche Angelegenheit sei. Dies kann jedoch nicht meine persönliche Angelegenheit sein und solch eine Reaktion ist vollkommen inkompetent, was aufgrund der Tatsache nicht verwundert, dass der Genannte seine gesamte Ausbildung in einem anderen Staat genossen hat (Wirtschaftswissenschaftler aus Bosnien) und keine staatliche Fachprüfung in Kroatien abgelegt hat. “, damit hat sie den Privatkläger beleidigt,”

durch die beschriebene Handlungsweise wurde der andere beleidigt, und die Beleidigung wurde einer größeren Anzahl von Personen zugänglich gemacht,

mit ihrer unter Punkt 1 aufgeführten Handlungsweise hat sie eine Straftat gegen die Ehre und das Ansehen – aufgrund von Verleumdung – begangen, gemäß Artikel 200, Absatz 2, Strafgesetzbuch/97; mit ihrer unter Punkt 2 aufgeführten Handlungweise hat sie hingegen eine Straftat gegen die Ehre und das Ansehen – aufgrund von Beleidigung – begangen, gemäß Artikel 199, Absatz 2, Strafgesetzbuch/97, unter Anwendung von Artikel 60, Absatz 1, Strafgesetzbuch/97.

Gemäß Artikel 149, Absatz 3, Strafprozessordnung/08 werden die Kosten des Strafverfahrens aus Artikel 145, Absatz 2, Punkt 1-6 Strafprozessordnung/08 dem Privatkläger auferlegt, ebenso die der Angeklagten entstandenen Kosten und die Kosten sowie das Honorar für deren Verteidiger.

Das Urteil wurde öffentlich verkündet und mündlich kurz erläutert, die Parteien wurden über ihr Recht auf Berufung und Wiederklage belehrt.

Fertiggestellt um 10.50 Uhr

Richter: [Anm. d. Übers.: keine Eintragung]

Protokollführerin: [Anm. d. Übers.: keine Eintragung]

There is also a PDF with formatting [PDF].

Thanks to our Techrights contributors who translated the original text.

English Translation of Ruling Against Željko Topić (EPO VP) in Croatian Court

Posted in Europe, Patents at 7:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Judge Marijan Bertalanič
Judge Marijan Bertalanič, photo from vecernji.hr

Summary: A look what what statements about EPO Vice-President Topić are deemed appropriate and true, as judged by a Croatian court

A WEEK AFTER Željko Topić had lost his case in his home country, Croatia, we finally got a translation of the ruling. Here it is in English, with formatting added in lieu with the original:

REPUBLIC OF CROATIA
Municipal Criminal Court in Zagreb
Ilica – Selska, Ilica 207

File ref. no.: 7. K-26/11

MINUTES
of the public pronouncement of the verdict of 28 January 2015

Present for the Court:
Marijan Bertalanić
(Presiding Judge – Judge)

(Members of Judicial Panel)
Jasminka Popović
(Registrar)

Criminal case:
Plaintiff: private prosecutor Željko Topić
Defendant: Vesna Stilin
For the crime from the Article 200/2 and other
of the Criminal Code

It has established that the following parties have been present:
1. Plaintiff: private prosecutor – no one, legal representative of the Party, attorney-at-law Tina Čovo
2. Damaged party:
3. Defendant: no one, legal representative of the Party, attorney-at-law Zoran Životić
4. Witness:
5. Expert witness:

It has been established that neither the private plaintiff nor the defendant, who have been duly summoned, have attended today’s hearing on the occasion of the public pronouncement of the Court’s decision

Pursuant to Article 356 para. 3 of the Criminal Procedure Code, this hearing for the purposes of the public pronouncement of the Court’s decision will be held in the absence of duly invited private plaintiff and the defendant.

The judge announces

IN THE NAME OF THE REPUBLIC OF CROATIA THIS JUDGEMENT

The defendant STILIN Vesna, the daughter of Milan and Ruzica born Bekavac, born on April 21, 1954 in Zagreb, Zagreb, Biokovske stube 4, a citizen of the Republic of Croatia, holder of a diploma in law [LL.B.], married, with no children and no criminal record, is

ACQUITTED OF THE CHARGES

That she, as follows:

1. On 22 November 2010 in the letter sent to the Croatian Government, the Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, which was also sent to the Croatian Parliament (deputy Bianca Matković) for information, as well as to the Minister of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship, the Minister of Science, Education and Sports, the Minister of Administration, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, the Minister of Culture and the Minister of Finance and Miljenko Pavlaković in HEP, in order to harm the reputation and honor of the private plaintiff by making false statements about him, among other things, stated:

- “Due to the manner in which Topić ignored the aforementioned problems, the writers have suffered financial damage because they should have been receiving compensation for the lending of their books in public libraries for at least the past two years.”

- “Željko Topić bought his second term as the Director of the State Intellectual Property Office by paying approximately 500,000.00 HRK to the Ministry of Education and Sports (MZOS) during the period of over two years (from May 2007, when the agreement in question was signed, until July 2009, when Primorac left the Ministry), which I also mention, among other things, in the Constitutional complaint no.: U-III 5023/08, which is still sub judice, and where I have challenged Topic’s appointment as the Director … ….. in fact, I also submitted my nomination for the position of the director of the Office after this person, at the end of 2007, secretly … abolished my department [of the State Intellectual Property Office] … “

- “Topic’s decisions concerning procedures relating to PLR, which have caused the writers to suffer financial damage and which led to a serious violation of my right to work, at the same time meet the criteria of the criminal offence of “abuse of position and authority” and “negligent performance of duty” … “

- That the financial resources of SIPO were used to pay for “the SIPO fleet of six luxury cars, including the supervision of the MZOS, and that he allowed himself to use, in addition to the Audi 6, also a new luxury E-class Mercedes which was hidden among the shelves in the archives in order to cover up the squandering of funds from the state budget.”

- “Topić himself has for years provided falsified information about the number of officials working in my department (he claimed that there were twice as many officials working there compared to the actual count) to the Ministry of Administration which forwarded the received information to the Government of the Republic of Croatia”

- “… Because of Topić’s lies and incompetence, which he compensated for by bribery, and due to the lack of supervision, I am obliged to conduct this disgracefully long-drawn out procedure …”

- “…. That for years I have worked overtime managing the previously mentioned department and that I have never, unlike Topić and others, neither received nor asked for any financial compensation”

- “From the perspective of criminal law, Topić’s actions in this case meet the criteria of criminal offences: negligent performance of duty, abuse of office, abuse in performance of duties, discrimination, violation of the right to work and other labor rights and corruption … “

- “If the supervisory bodies had conducted the due administrative control of the Office, i.e. of Mr. Topić, and criminally prosecuted him, he would have been dismissed from his position at the beginning of 2008. The announced reconstruction of the Government should also have entailed the dismissal of Mr. Topić, as the disclosure of this information in public would certainly harm the Government.”

all of which affected the honor and reputation of the private plaintiff,

that is, in the described manner, she made a false claim which could damage the honor of the other person as the defamation became accessible to a large number of persons,

2. On 22 November 2010 in the letter sent to the Croatian Government, the Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor, which was also sent to the Croatian Parliament (deputy Bianca Matković) for information, as well as to the Minister of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship, the Minister of Science, Education and Sports, the Minister of Administration, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, the Minister of Culture and the Minister of Finance and Miljenko Pavlaković in HEP, in order to belittle and insult the private plaintiff, among other things she stated:

- “In the last conversation with Topić (April 2008) in response to my inquiry about what was going to happen with the PLR (due to my dismissal), Topic answered that it was my personal thing. It simply cannot be my personal thing and such a reaction is completely incompetent, which should not come as a surprise, as the person in question completed his education in another country (economist from Bosnia) and has never passed the professional state exam in Croatia”,

which offended the private plaintiff,

that is, she offended the other person as described above due to the insult becoming accessible to a large number of persons,

and therefore, by acting in the previously described manner, she committed the crime against honor and reputation – by defamation – defined and punishable under Article 200 paragraph 2 of the CC 97, and partly under item 2 the criminal offense against honor and reputation – an insult – described and punishable under Article 199 paragraph 2 of the CC/97, all with the application of Article 60, paragraph 1 of the CC/97.

Pursuant to Article 143 paragraph 3 of the CPA/08 the private plaintiff is obliged to reimburse the costs of criminal proceedings from the Article 145 paragraph 2 points 1-6 of the CPA/08, all necessary expenses of the defendant and all the necessary expenses and the award of Defendant’s attorney.

The verdict was read in public and briefly explained verbally and the parties were informed of their right to appeal and the response to the appeal.

Completed at 10.50 hours.

Judge:

Registrar:

What’s in italics above is most interesting because it shows what the Court deemed (and ruled) not defamatory. Hence, it is likely to be very accurate and it shows how corrupt Topić can get.

There is also a PDF with formatting [PDF].

Thanks to our Techrights contributors who translated the original text.

Links 4/2/2015: X.Org Server 1.17, ContainerCon

Posted in News Roundup at 6:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Attention Linux gamers: Valve, Khronos to reveal next-gen OpenGL successor at GDC

    It’s a great time to be alive if you’re a fanatic about the particulars of various performance-boosting graphics APIs. AMD’s Mantle is here, Microsoft’s DirectX 12 is coming with Windows 10, and at GDC in early March we’ll hear the first news about a successor to the open-source, cross-platform OpenGL API.

    That’s not necessarily huge news if you’re using a Windows machine—unless this OpenGL successor is really special, most games will probably stick with DirectX 12 in a perpetual love/hate relationship. If you’re a Mac or Linux gamer, however, the next-generation OpenGL is potentially a huge deal.

  • Desktop

    • Ubuntu 14.10 running on my MacBook

      A few days ago I thought I’d never run something different than Mac OS X on my MacBook, but then I remembered how great Ubuntu ran some years ago on my old laptop. Apart from that my development environment was easily adoptable to Ubuntu and I really love customising stuff, so I made the switch to Ubuntu.

  • Server

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Support For The Broadwell Dell XPS 13 Isn’t Yet In Shape

      While the new Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon with Broadwell processor is playing fairly well under Linux, the new Dell XPS 13 laptop/ultrabook that’s been of interest to many Phoronix readers still has a lot of work ahead although it’s effectively usable right now.

    • The Linux Foundation Publishes Guide to the Open Cloud

      The 2015 “Guide to the Open Cloud: Open Cloud Projects Profiled” is The Linux Foundation’s second publication on the open cloud, which was first published in October 2013. The updated guide adds new projects and technology categories that have gained importance in the past year. The report covers well-known projects like Cloud Foundry, OpenStack, Docker and Xen Project, and up-and-comers such as Apache Mesos, CoreOS and Kubernetes.

    • Systemd has plans to include UEFI bootloader

      The system and service manager systemd has plans to include a bootloader that can support UEFI secure boot, according to a report of a talk given by the main systemd developer, Lennart Poettering.

      The bootloader Gummiboot is being considered, according to the talk that Poettering gave at the Free and Open Source Developers’ European Meeting in Brussels recently.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Wayland’s Weston Now Supports Maximizing XWayland Windows

        A change accepted into Wayland’s Weston compositor codebase on Monday allows for maximizing XWayland windows.

      • Libinput Looks To Dominate On Both X11 & Wayland

        While libinput is most frequently talked about in the context of an input library handling the needs of Wayland compositors (and potentially Mir), it’s set to also take on the roles of an input driver for the X.Org Server.

      • Gallium3D’s Direct3D 9 Support Is Coming Along Well

        Last weekend at FOSDEM 2015 there was a status update concerning Gallium3D Nine, the Direct3D 9 state tracker that runs Windows games in conjunction with Wine.

      • NVIDIA Has A “Great Experience” Working With Nouveau Community

        Alexandre Courbot spoke at FOSDEM this past weekend about enabling the NVIDIA Tegra K1′s “GKA20A” Kepler-based graphics processor with the open-source Nouveau driver.

      • X.Org Server 1.17 Officially Released

        Keith Packard took a break from his new job at Hewlett Packard working on Linux support for “The Machine” to put out the official release of X.Org Server 1.17.

        X.Org Server 1.17.0 was released a few minutes ago and is codenamed Côte de veau. This is a half-year update to the X.Org Server and features integration of the xf86-video-modesetting DDX driver, much improved GLAMOR support, and other improvements.

      • More AMD RadeonSI Improvements Land In Mesa Git

        Marek Olšák pushed out more RadeonSI Gallium3D driver improvements today for bettering the open-source Linux graphics driver support for the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series graphics cards and newer.

    • Benchmarks

      • A Five Year Old NVIDIA GPU Can Still Beat Broadwell HD Graphics 5500

        While the comparison due out later this week will have Ubuntu Linux benchmark results from close to a dozen systems, this one-page article is just a quick glance comparing the ThinkPad X1 Carbon to an aging ThinkPad W510. While the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a Core i7 5600U with HD Graphics 5500, the ThinkPad W510 has a Core i7 720QM processor with dedicated NVIDIA Quadro FX 880M GPU with 1GB of dedicated vRAM.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • End of an Era

        last week, I handed in my Master’s thesis. I was studying Physics for about 7.5 years now. I started using KDE 3.5.x while still in school and in my first student job as a web developer. At university, I taught myself C++ while working as a sysadmin at the faculty, in order to contribute to Kate, Quanta and KDevelop. I quickly discovered that Physics wasn’t so much my thing but the German education system doesn’t make it easy to switch fields. Thus, I endured and continued. And I kept coding though, mostly in my spare time, but also while working part-time for KDAB. Now, all these years later, I’m one of the official maintainers of KDevelop, and also contribute to KF5, esp. KTextEditor regularly. I created tools such as Massif-Visualizer and heaptrack. I became a Qt approver and maintainer of the Qt WebChannel module. And, starting from May this year, I’ll finally be working full-time for KDAB. Oh, how things have changed! Just compare Plasma 5.2 today to the KDE 4.0 alpha 1 or whatever it was that I tried in 2007 – a difference of night and day!

      • GCompris: crowdfunding campaign is over, time to start the work

        The crowdfunding campaign we ran on IndieGoGo to support the work on new unified graphics for GCompris finished yesterday. We didn’t reach the goal set to complete the whole new graphics, but thanks to 94 generous contributors, we collected 3642$. Also we got 260€ directly from the Hackadon 2014, many thanks to those contributors too! Thanks again to everyone who contributed and helped to spread the word!

      • digiKam 4.7.0 Is Out, Preparations Are Made for KDE Frameworks 5 Support

        digiKam Software Collection, the digital photo management application that works best on KDE desktops, has advanced to version 4.7.0 and is now available for download.

      • digiKam 4.7.0 Released, Still Being Ported To Qt5/KF5
      • How KDE Plasma 5 Optionally Uses systemd

        Another systemd component that can be used by Plasma 5 is timedated and its other daemons for allowing basic system admin tasks like time adjustment, locale management, managing the hostname, etc, through DBus interfaces.

      • The Linux Setup – Jonathan Riddell, Kubuntu Developer

        I’m all for free-as-in-freedom. Because of the number of interfaces that software has with the world (both human and programmer), it’s very easy to lock people into proprietary software and create monopolies. Not having free competition is a bad way for any economy to run. I’m surprised at how infrequently this economic argument is made.

        I’m also all for community-made software. It allows us to have control and fix problems that we find, to share knowledge, and to create professional and personal relationships. I love that I can go to almost any city in the world and meet up with someone who wants to chat about the code we work with.

      • TaskWarrior with activities

        A few days ago, Elias Probst asked me to provide some shell functions to easily fetch the current activity so that he could use it with the TaskWarrior – to separate tasks for different activities. These are now avilable in the KActivities repository and … I’m not going to explain them in this post. Maybe the next one.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME’s OPW Women Program Becomes Outreachy

        The GNOME OPW has been the program encouraging women and those associating as women to get involved with open-source software whether it be actual code development or other related tasks like working on documentation, graphics, etc. In return, the women gain experience and are provided with a few thousand dollars. This winter is when the X.Org Foundation became the latest project involved with the OPW.

  • Distributions

    • Are rolling release Linux distros better than fixed releases?
    • New Releases

      • OpenELEC 5.0.1 Is Based on Kodi (XBMC) 14.1

        OpenELEC is an embedded operating system built specifically to run the famous KODI (XBMC) media player solution. The developers have just pushed version 5.0.1 out the door, a day after the release of Kodi 14.1.

      • Q4OS 0.5.25 version released

        Firmware for many Broadcom wireless devices has been included, so Q4OS will automatically recognize and make ready most of the BCM43 and other wireless network cards. New command line tools ‘qrepoadd’, ‘qreporm’ and ‘qrepolist’ has been introduced to easily handle external repositories, for example ‘sudo qrepoadd trinity’ adds complete Trinity repository. Q4OS Development Pack is now able to create more comfortable password-less installers for privileged ‘sudo’ users. It will be used to update most of standard Q4OS application installers in the following weeks. A few another improvements and bug fixes is provided, particularly for alternative KDE4 desktop environment.

      • Plop Linux 4.3.0 released
      • BackBox Linux 4.1Keeps Security Researchers Anonymous

        There are many options available today for users looking at Linux distributions tailored for security research, and among them is BackBox Linux, which was updated to version 4.1 on Jan. 29. Backbox Linux 4.1 is based on the Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Long Term Support) distribution and uses the Xfce desktop environment. BackBox Linux is not intended to primarily be a user-focused privacy distribution, as is the case with Tails, but rather is more aligned with Pentoo, CAINE and Kali Linux, all of which focus on providing tools for security analysis. Though BackBox is not primarily a privacy distribution, it does have tools that enable security researchers to stay anonymous while conducting research. For example, a RAM wiping tool will erase the memory on the system that Backbox is running when the operating system shuts down. Plus, BackBox includes a command line interface wizard that provides users with options for enabling anonymous network traffic over Tor (The Onion Router), as well as masking a user’s hostname. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at some of the features in the BackBox Linux 4.1 release.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Life-cycle of a Security Vulnerability

        Security vulnerabilities, like most things, go through a life cycle from discovery to installation of a fix on an affected system. Red Hat devotes many hours a day to combing through code, researching vulnerabilities, working with the community, and testing fixes–often before customers even know a problem exists.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Signal analyzer runs Linux on BeagleBone Black-like core

      Data Translation unveiled a Linux-enabled dynamic signal analyzer for measuring noise and vibration, based on a BeagleBone Black-like embedded computer.

      The DT7837 is used for testing audio, acoustic, and vibration on mobile devices and other electronics gear. The dynamic signal analyzer can simultaneously measure four 24-bit IEPE sensor inputs at a sampling rate of 102.4 kS/s, says Data Translation.

    • Introducing the Raspberry Pi 2, and a new resource

      If you’re interested in open hardware, this one has been hard to miss: this week, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the release of the Raspberry Pi 2. This tiny open hardware project has grown so large that its new releases are now making headlines in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and on the BBC.

    • Should Linux users worry about no-cost Windows 10 for Raspberry Pi?

      Gone are the days when Linux users tried to run their free and open source operating system on Microsoft-controlled hardware: PCs. As Microsoft’s OS and Office market share is declining, and with an (almost) failed mobile platform, the company is now looking at open source for its survival.

    • OpenPi Raspberry Pi Powered Open Source Wireless System (video)

      Makers, hobbyists and developers that enjoy using the Raspberry Pi to create projects may be interested in OpenPi a new piece of hardware that is powered by the 32 bit ARM based Raspberry Pi Compute Module and soon the Quad core Raspberry Pi version 2.

    • Mesh-enabled WiFi router runs Linux, promises better coverage

      The Linux-based “Eero” WiFi router uses mesh networking and self-correcting code to reduce dead zones and optimize speed, and offers mobile app access.

      WiFi routers can be extended with WiFi repeaters or extenders to reduce dead zones and boost signal strength in large or multi-story homes, as well as long railroad apartments. Yet, these devise often don’t live up their claims, especially now that more and more people are simultaneously streaming video.

    • Hands-On: RaspberryPi NOOBS 1.3.12

      There’s plenty of excitement in the Raspberry Pi world this week: the big news is the announcement of the Raspberry Pi 2 hardware – the long-awaited and much-anticipated successor to the immensely popular original unit, which will now be known as the Raspberry Pi 1.

      But that’s not the only news: there is also a new release of the Raspbian operating system and the NOOBS (New Out Of Box Software) package. I am just back from a week in Amsterdam, and will be leaving in a few days for a short trip to Iceland, so I just have time to download and install the new software on my two Raspberry Pi 1 units (Model B and B+), and I have ordered a RPi 2 so I hope that will be waiting for me when I return. At least, the Swiss Pi-Shop says that it will be available on 3 February so I am keeping my fingers crossed – because almost all of the excitement is about the Raspberry Pi 2.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • The Next Android Revision Is Indeed ‘Android 5.1 Lollipop’, Shipping On Android One Phones, Coming To Nexus Devices

          A few hours ago, we spotted no less than five mentions of “Android 5.1″ on Google’s Indonesian Android One page. Considering that 5.1 is quite a jump from 5.0.2, and something like 5.0.3 seemed more likely as the next bug fixer, we were cautious to suggest it may have been a mistake or a very persistent typo.

        • AnandTech reviews Google’s Nexus 9 tablet

          The Nexus 9 tablet is Google’s attempt to take a stab at the high end of the tablet market. But did the company hit or miss the bull’s eye with the Nexus 9? AndandTech has a very deep and detailed review that reveals the good and bad of the Nexus 9.

        • The Google Nexus 9 Review

          For the past few years, we’ve seen Google place significant emphasis on price as a way of competing with other tablets on the market. The original Nexus 7 managed to deliver a good tablet experience without the conventional 500 USD price for a tablet. The successor to the Nexus 7 was even more incredible, as it pushed hardware that was equal to or better than most tablets on the market at a lower price. However, as with most of these low cost Nexus devices not everything was perfect as corners still had to be cut in order to hit these low price points.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The best open-source software for serious Linux users

    Everyone has their personal favorite programs, but some users are more serious about their software than others. One such group includes the people at LinuxQuestions. These are Linux experts who are kind enough to answer newbies’ endless questions. So when they pick out their favorite Linux distributions and open-source programs, I take their opinions seriously.

  • LinuxQuestions Survey Results Surface Top Open Source Projects

    Many people in the Linux community look forward to the always highly detailed and reliable results of the annual surveys from LinuxQuestions.org. As Susan covered in detail in this post, this year’s results, focused on what readers at the site deem to be the best open source projects, are now available. Most of the people at LinuxQuestions are expert-level users who are on the site to answer questions from newer Linux users.

  • Top 7 Reasons Developers Contribute to Open Source Projects

    Contributing to an open source project is free in two ways. In one aspect you are giving of your talents to something much greater, and here you are free to use and share ideas. The concept of money and price is a man-made invention. The best things in life really are free!

  • Facebook’s James Pearce: Open Source Creates More Quality Code

    Facebook has always used and contributed back to open source software. But over the past few years the company has become much more active in the open source community, releasing more of its own internal tools and participating in upstream development on the Linux kernel and many other projects. As a result, the company can more easily attract and retain developers, has increased code quality, and sees faster innovation, says James Pearce, head of open source at Facebook.

  • Docker-Rocket Conflict is a Good Sign

    Docker is an open source software tool that supports packaging of an application and its dependencies into a virtual container that can run on a variety of infrastructures. Docker’s modern, lightweight design enables flexibility and portability on where applications can run and allows for faster, more efficient application development and deployment approaches.

  • OsmocomBB: open source baseband software

    This project is doing amazing work, but despite all the effort, it only supports very small number of phones based on one particular baseband chip because this one happens to accept unsigned firmware. It only supports 2G (and not even completely), so 3G and 4G are completely out of the question. Don’t expect to flash this on your Samsung Galaxy Whatever any time soon.

  • Open Source: Still the Best Solution for Ensuring Safe Software

    As these companies prove by their steadfast commitment to open source, and despite the recently discovered Linux Ghost vulnerability, faith is still strong amongst leading U.S. technology companies that open source software is the best solution for keeping software safe.

  • Events

    • Under the SCALE Big Top

      As we get closer to the Southern California Linux Expo — SCALE 13x for those of you keeping score at home — it bears mentioning that the largest community-run Linux/FOSS show in North America has grown to host a lot of other sub-events during the course of the four-day expo.

      In years past, Ubuntu, Fedora, PostgreSQL and Chef held their own sessions at SCALE — Ubucon, Fedora Activity Day, PostgreSQL Days and Intro to Chef respectively — and they’ll be back this year. Highlighting the “event within an event” lineup at SCALE 13x are also a few others.

    • Digital Jersey to hold first ‘open source’ day

      The day will showcase open source solutions and technology, which offer an alternative to proprietary systems more commonly used by businesses.

    • 20150203 – FOSDEM talk

      Because of the vast scale of the event, around five thousand visitors, there is something for everybody, which again makes it possible for smaller FOSS communities, like Ada language practitioners, to meet at FOSDEM, rather than spending time arranging their own conference.

    • Linux Foundation Creates ContainerCon to Bring Together Top Open Source Developers With Top Container Users

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux and collaborative development, today is announcing the debut in 2015 of ContainerCon, a new event dedicated to bringing together leading developers and contributors of Linux containers with the Linux kernel developer community. The event will be co-located with LinuxCon + CloudOpen North America in Seattle, August 17-19, 2015.

    • Linux Foundation creates ContainerCon to bring vendors together

      Linux Foundation CMO Amanda McPherson said, “We believe it is important to offer a space for those working with containers, and those interested in learning more about them, to come together and share knowledge about this important new technology. Since Linux is the platform for containers, it’s a natural fit.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • FOSDEM Configuration Management: Open Source Infrastructure

      Spencer Krum and Elizabeth K. Joseph shared their experience both using and providing the public infrastructure used by OpenStack at the configuration management developer room at FOSDEM.

    • Tesora’s pivot to open source and the OpenStack Trove project

      Early in 2014, we launched our company Tesora as the OpenStack Trove company focused on the open source database-as-a-service project. This wasn’t, however, a brand new open source company. We began our life as ParElastic, developing a proprietary engine that could transparently scale-out MySQL.

    • What will Follow OpenStack Kilo? My Vote is for Liberty

      The open-source OpenStack cloud community is now choosing the name for what will be the second platform release later this year. The Kilo release is set to debut in May ahead of the OpenStack Vancouver Summit.

      The naming convention for OpenStack releases is to be somewhat related to the location of the design summit, so the ‘L’ name will need to have something to do with Vancouver, British Columbia or Canada even. The current list is now down to four candidate names:

    • VMware’s Cloud Strategy Matures, Focuses on OpenStack

      VMware is much in the news this week for its announcements on the cloud computing front. In a blog post, the company announced the launch of VMware Integrated OpenStack, which, notably, is available for use, free of charge, with VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus, vSphere with Operations Management Enterprise Plus and all editions of vCloud Suite. The company is also pushing its vision of “one cloud, any app, any device.”

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Paid development pays off for LibreOffice for Android

      At the huge FOSDEM conference in Brussels this weekend, the developers of LibreOffice for Android presented their work and road map. LibreOffice for Android is currently available as a file viewer in the Google Play Store, but the team is making rapid progress developing editing capabilities as well.

  • CMS

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • LLVM 3.6 Release Candidate 2 Now Available

      Hans Wennborg at Google has put out the second RC of LLVM 3.6 and its sub-projects like Clang. The RC2 version just has more bug-fixes over what the RC1 release contained a short time ago. LLVM 3.6 was branched in the middle of January.

    • Changes to the FreeBSD Support Model

      Over the past several months, the teams responsible for supporting the FreeBSD operating system discussed the current support model, and how that model can be improved to provide better support for FreeBSD users and consumers.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Don’t Want systemd? Try GNU Hurd, But It Still Lacks 64-bit, Audio & USB

      While it doesn’t get talked about too much these days, GNU Hurd remains under active development. A GNU Hurd developer has shared a status update about the state of Hurd in 2015 and how you can start contributing.

      Samuel Thibault spoke at FOSDEM this past weekend about getting involved with this free software kernel project as an alternative to Linux, although Thibault is also a Linux user/developer. While you can see his PDF slides if you’re curious about getting involved with Hurd development, the most interesting portion of his presentation to us was the status update on GNU Hurd.

    • GCC 5 Brings Some Performance Improvements For Intel Broadwell Systems

      My latest Intel Broadwell Linux benchmarks are looking at the performance of the in-development GCC 5 compared to GCC 4.9, the current stable release shipped by many Linux distributions throughout 2014.

    • GCC & Clang Now Support ARM’s New Cortex-A72

      Yesterday ARM announced the new high-end Cortex-A72 CPU and today it’s supported by the GCC and LLVM Clang compilers.

  • Project Releases

    • What is Shadow Daemon?

      Shadow Daemon is a collection of tools to detect, protocol and prevent attacks on web applications. Technically speaking, Shadow Daemon is a web application firewall that intercepts requests and filters out malicious parameters. It is a modular system that separates web application, analysis and interface to increase security, flexibility and expandability.

    • MongoDB 3.0 To Have WiredTiger, Big Performance Improvements

      MongoDB 3.0 was announced today with an expected GA release in March. MongoDB 3.0 has “massive improvements to performance and scalability, enabled by comprehensive improvements in the storage layer.”

  • Public Services/Government

  • Licensing

    • Good news: Compatibility of LGPLv2 and LGPLv3

      Two of the most used Free Software licenses are the GNU General Public License (GPL) and the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). Both are copyleft licenses, meaning that you can use them as long as you do not remove the Free Software rights from downstream users. The difference is that the LGPL can be linked unto non-free software (as long as the LGPL library itself stays free), but with the GPL everything needs to be free. In 2007, the FSF published an update to both licenses, so now we have version 2 (“GPLv2” and “LGPLv2.1”) and version 3 (“GPLv3” and “LGPLv3”).

  • Openness/Sharing

    • GE’s Open-Source Smart Refrigerator

      Smart refrigerators are not entirely new but General Electric’s (GE’s) ChillHub is the first to open-up its smarts with built-in USB ports for third-party smart accessories that let you use an app at the grocery store to tell you how much milk, soda, beer, eggs or even separate vegetables are left in the ChillHub. Plus, in collaboration with 3-D printer maker MakerBot Industries, LLC (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and rapid-manufacturer FirstBuild (a collaboration of GE and Local Motors in Louisville, Kentucky), the companies ran a contest to see which ideas from users could be made into serviceable, manufacturable accessories. The winners were announced at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2015, Jan. 6-9, Las Vegas).

    • Open Data

      • Open up as much social-good data as possible

        Most software produces data, and many data owners are currently working out how to release their data publicly as part of a wider “data for good” movement that includes groups like the Engine Room, NGOs, private individuals, communities, and companies.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Ford Foundation Joins Hewlett Foundation And Gates Foundation In Requiring Research They Fund To Be Released Under CC BY Licenses

        Over the last few months, a bunch of big foundations have officially stated that all research that they fund via their grants now has to be placed under an open Creative Commons license such as the CC BY license that says that the information can be freely shared and copied, even for commercial purposes, with the only restriction being that you have to attribute the content to the original authors. In September of last year, the Hewlett Foundation kicked it off when it announced that it was requiring CC BY licensing on all content that it funded, followed in November by the Gates Foundation making a similar announcement.

Leftovers

  • 10 reasons why Google should buy the remains of Radio Shack

    Everyone has known for years that RadioShack was dying. Heck, in 2007, the mainstream satirical Onion ran a story, Even CEO Can’t Figure Out How RadioShack Still In Business. That story hit between the time the iPhone was announced and when it was launched, to put it into perspective.

  • Amazon in Talks to Buy Some of RadioShack’s Stores

    Amazon.com Inc., aiming to bolster its brick-and-mortar operations, has discussed acquiring some RadioShack Corp. locations after the electronics chain files for bankruptcy, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

  • Science

    • BLETCHLEY PARK: Alan Turing Banbury sheets being used as roof insulation in Hut 6 at Bletchley Park

      The top secret documents used to break the Nazi’s Enigma Code were found during the restoration of Hut 6, which housed the unit dedicated to breaking German army and air force messages.

      The papers found in 2013 were frozen to prevent further decay, before being cleaned and repaired.

      The exhibition is called The Restoration of Historic Bletchley Park and the panels show the processes that were undertaken such as the paint analysis.

      Amongst the fragmented codebreaking documents located in the roof of Hut 6 were also parts of an Atlas, a pinboard and a fashion article form a magazine.

  • Security

    • KeePass Password management tool, Creates Strong Passwords and keeps them secure

      KeePass is a free, Open-Source and useful password manager that creates strong, random password and keep them encrypted on your HD. We to remember passwords, set same passwords for each website/services but that is making all of your accounts unsecure and exposing to hackers. Once any of the website that you’ve signed up on is compromised then most often hackers use username and passwords to open other accounts. So using same password is one way making account unsecured.

    • Serious bug in fully patched Internet Explorer puts user credentials at risk

      A vulnerability in fully patched versions of Internet Explorer allows attackers to steal login credentials and inject malicious content into users’ browsing sessions. Microsoft officials said they’re working on a fix for the bug, which works successfully on IE 11 running on both Windows 7 and 8.1.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • A Pointed Letter to Gen. Petraeus

      As retired Gen. and ex-CIA Director David Petraeus was about to speak in New York City last Oct. 30, someone decided to spare the “great man” from impertinent questions, so ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern was barred, arrested and brought to trial, prompting McGovern to ask some questions now in an open letter.

      Dear Gen. David Petraeus,

      As I prepare to appear in New York City Criminal Court on Wednesday facing charges of “criminal trespass” and “resisting arrest,” it struck me that we have something in common besides being former Army officers – and the fact that the charges against me resulted from my trying to attend a speech that you were giving, from which I was barred. As I understand it, you, too, may have to defend yourself in Court someday in the future.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Oil companies are dumping waste into California’s remaining drinkable water sources

      California has a drinking water problem on top of its drinking water problem. Oil companies, with the permission of state officials, have been injecting their wastewater into clean aquifers, according to a damning new report. The practice goes back decades, and is now threatening water quality at a time when the drought-plagued state needs every drop it can get.

  • Finance

    • Robert Reich: The sharing economy is hurtling us backwards

      How would you like to live in an economy where robots do everything that can be predictably programmed in advance, and almost all profits go to the robots’ owners?

      Meanwhile, human beings do the work that’s unpredictable – odd jobs, on-call projects, fetching and fixing, driving and delivering, tiny tasks needed at any and all hours – and patch together barely enough to live on.

      Brace yourself. This is the economy we’re now barreling toward.

      They’re Uber drivers, Instacart shoppers, and Airbnb hosts. They include Taskrabbit jobbers, Upcounsel’s on-demand attorneys, and Healthtap’s on-line doctors.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Why Media Shouldn’t Take GOP Attempts To Rebrand As Champions Of The Middle Class At Face Value

      Early news coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign has tacitly allowed the GOP to disingenuously rebrand itself as a party of the middle class, despite the fact that the party’s new rhetoric doesn’t align with its policy positions that continue to exacerbate income inequality. When highlighting Republican rhetoric about the need to reduce income inequality, media should take care to hold the GOP accountable for its actions, not just its words.

  • Censorship

    • The Cost Of Mark Zuckerberg’s Broken Censorship Promise Is Everyone Thinks They’re Winning When Nobody Is

      But the real issue isn’t really that an international company that happens to be led by an American has divorced itself from a moral stand. That kind of thing happens all the time and can be chalked up to the simple fact that, in capitalism, money is king and values are the jester entertaining the masses. And, just to be clear, I’m not arguing that there is even anything wrong with the above. The problem is the promise and what it is designed to do.

      That promise was meant to accomplish two things. The first is the obvious public relations benefit Facebook received from going all Western values in public. The audience that would read Zuckerberg’s proclamation was always going to be largely in favor of the values expressed. That same audience likely largely won’t ever make themselves aware of Facebook’s kneeling before the censorious Turkish government. And that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

  • Privacy

    • The US government bids adieu to Clipper Chip

      Never heard of FIPS-185? Perhaps you know it as the Escrowed Encryption Standard (EES). Its best-known implementation was a chipset known as the Clipper Chip. The Clipper Chip—and the lesser known implementation, Capstone—were developed by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) to be installed in communications devices, for the purpose of protecting private communications, but which also provided “back door” access to law enforcement agencies to conduct electronic surveillance, subject to court order. Naturally, this raised a lot of questions and concerns (some of which are worthy of a whole other blog post).

    • Chris Barton: Chilling privacy call from our Supreme Court

      Our Supreme Court has handed down a chilling ruling about the state’s right to invade individual privacy – particularly when it’s contained, as it is so often these days, on computers or mobile phones.

    • President Tweaks the Rules on Data Collection

      A year after President Obama ordered modest changes in how the nation’s intelligence agencies collect and hold data on Americans and foreigners, the administration will announce new rules requiring intelligence analysts to delete private information they may incidentally collect about Americans that has no intelligence purpose, and to delete similar information about foreigners within five years.

      The new rules to be announced Tuesday will also institutionalize a regular White House-led review of the National Security Agency’s monitoring of foreign leaders. Until the disclosures in the early summer of 2013 by Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor whose trove of intelligence documents is still leaking into public view, there was no continuing White House assessment of whether the intelligence garnered from listening to scores of leaders around the world was worth the potential embarrassment if the programs became public.

    • Need benefits? Say goodbye to privacy

      On the 13th of February The Social Security (Information-sharing in relation to Welfare Services etc.) Regulations 2015 come into force. On that date anyone claiming Universal Credit will lose control over who can see their most sensitive personal information. There was a consultation, of course. Sadly, the people who are affected by the new regulations don’t count as important enough to consult and the consultation ended on the 12th of January.

    • What ever happened to NSA officials who looked up lovers’ records?

      It’s been a year since Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Attorney General Eric Holder how it handled National Security Agency officials who abused the agency’s powers, and he still hasn’t gotten an answer.

      Now, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee is renewing his call for Holder to explain whether or not any of the dozen people who used spying tools to track their spouses or others without authorization have been punished.

    • New site: Canarywatch

      “Warrant canary” is a colloquial term for a regularly published statement that a service provider has not received legal process that it would be prohibited from saying it had received, such as a national security letter. Canarywatch tracks and documents these statements. This site lists warrant canaries we know about, tracks changes or disappearances of canaries, and allows submissions of canaries not listed on the site.

    • Germany’s Spies Store 11 Billion Pieces Of Phone Metadata A Year — And Pass On 6 Billion To The NSA

      Given Germany’s high-profile attachment to privacy, it’s always interesting to hear about ways in which its spies have been ignoring that tradition.

    • ‘When you collect everything, you understand nothing’ – Snowden

      National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden answered questions from Canadian students on Monday, telling them that mass surveillance can actually harm the ability to prevent terrorist attacks while also being detrimental to personal privacy.

      Speaking at Upper Canada College in Toronto via webcam from Russia, Snowden was joined by journalist Glenn Greenwald as the pair fielded questions from high school students. When asked about mass domestic surveillance – which new reports show Canada is engaged in – Snowden argued that the practice could divert attention and resources from more focused efforts that would yield better results.

    • Administration highlights surveillance reforms

      With legislation to overhaul a key surveillance program stalled on Capitol Hill, the Obama Administration issued a report Tuesday highlighting reforms it has made to the nation’s snooping efforts since Edward Snowden jump-started public debate on the issue with a series of unauthorized revelations more than a year ago.

    • Working Thread: New and Improved Dragnettery

      This section lays out all the independent advice the IC has sought in the last 18 months, from the advice largely ignored (President’s Review Group) to narrowly scoped (the National Academies of Science report that assessed whether the IC could get the same features of the current phone dragnet, without assessing whether it was effective) to the largely inane (Congressional hearings).

    • Experts decry “nibbling at the edges” rather than real surveillance reform

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) announced Tuesday that it would immediately implement new surveillance reforms, which it claims illustrate an “ongoing commitment to greater transparency.”

      These new changes, among others, stipulate that content interception cannot be used to intentionally target Americans and permanent residents, change secrecy limits on National Security Letters, require that non-intelligence related information collected on Americans be deleted, and restrict that similar data gathered on foreigners be deleted after no later than five years.

    • DOJ Says It’s Not Legally Required to Tell Wyden Whether Executive Branch Conduct Was Legal

      Via Ali Watkins’ story on Dianne Feinstein’s vindication by the Senate parliamentarian, Ron Wyden has written Eric Holder a letter listing all the unfinished business he’d like the Attorney General to finish before going off to his sinecure defending banks (my assessment, not Wyden’s).

      [...]

      Wyden has apparently been asking this for “several years.” While that doesn’t entirely rule out CIA spying on SSCI (which, after all, DOJ has answered by not prosecuting), it seems it is some other action he learned about under Obama’s tenure.

  • Civil Rights

    • NYPD Commissioner: Because Terrorism And Protests Are Roughly The Same Thing, A New Special Unit Will Handle Both

      So, they won’t carry machine guns while policing protests, but they’ll be in easy reach. Bratton stated that responding to protests and terrorist attacks require “overlapping skills,” hence the creation of a single unit. There has been no further clarification on what these “skills” might be, other than possibly being able to discern whether it’s a protest or terrorist attack they’re dealing with and, consequently, whether the machine gun stays in the squad car.

    • Silk Road trial closes: “It’s a hacker! It’s a virus! It’s ludicrous.”

      A federal jury saw a final clash between prosecutors and lawyers for Ross Ulbricht on Tuesday as the Silk Road drug-trafficking trial sped to a close.

      The case will be with the jury shortly, after a stunningly short defense case. Ulbricht’s lawyers put on three brief character witnesses yesterday. Today, they brought a private investigator who offered just a few minutes of testimony and a former roommate of Ulbricht’s in San Francisco who only knew him for a few months.

    • Eric Holder’s lawless legacy: Column

      Eric Holder is reaping applause as his six-year reign as Attorney General comes to a close. But Holder’s record is profoundly disappointing to anyone who expected the Obama administration to renounce the abuses of the previous administration. Instead, Holder championed a Nixonian-style legal philosophy that presumed that any action the president orders is legal.

      Holder championed President Obama’s power to assassinate people outside the United States — including Americans — based solely on the president’s secret decrees. On March 6, 2012, Holder defended presidentially-ordered killings: “Due process and judicial process are not one and the same, particularly when it comes to national security. The Constitution guarantees due process, it does not guarantee judicial process.” TV comedian Stephen Colbert mocked Holder: “Trial by jury, trial by fire, rock, paper scissors, who cares? Due process just means that there is a process that you do.” For Holder and the Obama administration, reciting certain legal phrases in secret memos was all it took to justify executions.

    • DEA teaches agents to recreate evidence chains to hide methods

      Drug Enforcement Administration training documents released to MuckRock user C.J. Ciaramella show how the agency constructs two chains of evidence to hide surveillance programs from defense teams, prosecutors, and a public wary of domestic intelligence practices.

    • CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Released from Prison: Here’s His Final ‘Letter from Loretto’

      CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou has been released from the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania. He checked into a halfway house on February 3 and then went home to be with his family and serve the remaining 86 days of his sentence on house arrest. And, to mark his departure from the facility, he penned a final letter acknowledging everything he will not miss about being incarcerated.

      Kiriakou was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under President George W. Bush’s administration. In October 2012, he pled guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) when he confirmed the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter. He was sentenced in January 2013 and reported to prison on February 28, 2013.

      For much of Kiriakou’s prison sentence, Firedoglake has published his “Letters from Loretto.” (Firedoglake even published an illustration of one of his letters, which was done by graphic artist Christopher Sabatini.)

      Kiriakou begins his final letter by expressing gratitude to all the people who supported him throughout his time in prison. He mentions a few of the friends he made while imprisoned.

    • Moussaoui Calls Saudi Princes Patrons of Al Qaeda

      In highly unusual testimony inside the federal supermax prison, a former operative for Al Qaeda has described prominent members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family as major donors to the terrorist network in the late 1990s and claimed that he discussed a plan to shoot down Air Force One with a Stinger missile with a staff member at the Saudi Embassy in Washington.

      The Qaeda member, Zacarias Moussaoui, wrote last year to Judge George B. Daniels of United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, who is presiding over a lawsuit filed against Saudi Arabia by relatives of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He said he wanted to testify in the case, and after lengthy negotiations with Justice Department officials and the federal Bureau of Prisons, a team of lawyers was permitted to enter the prison and question him for two days last October.

    • Editor of Major German Newspaper Says He Planted Stories for CIA

      Becoming the first credentialed, well-known media insider to step forward and state publicly that he was secretly a “propagandist,” an editor of a major German daily has said that he personally planted stories for the CIA.

      Saying he believes a medical condition gives him only a few years to live, and that he is filled with remorse, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germany’s largest newspapers, said in an interview that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war.

      Dr. Ulfkotte says the corruption of journalists and major news outlets by the CIA is routine, accepted, and widespread in the western media, and that journalists who do not comply either cannot get jobs at any news organization, or find their careers cut short.

    • The top secret Cold War countermeasure which would have brought the United States under martial law

      Starting on April 19, 1956, the federal government practiced and planned for a near-doomsday scenario known as Plan C. When activated, Plan C would have brought the United States under martial law, rounded up over ten thousand individuals connected to “subversive” organizations, implemented a censorship board, and prepared the country for life after nuclear attack.

    • The CIA Explains What They Redacted From the Senate Torture Report — and Why

      So says a CIA lawyer in court papers explaining why some redacted portions of the 499-page executive summary, released by the Senate Intelligence Committee last December, can never be revealed. The information includes the identifies of covert CIA officers, “code words” used to conceal the identities of countries, “pseudonyms,” “official titles,” the number of people employed by the CIA, and the salaries of people who work for the CIA. The public disclosure of this information, the CIA said, would “damage national security.”

    • More Women Than Ever in Congress, but With Less Power Than Before

      enator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, the new chairwoman of the Energy Committee, was at a reception in Hershey, Pa., last month when aides to Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the No. 2 Republican in the House, presented her with a party favor: a black windbreaker with the words “Chairman’s Table” on the back.

    • Homeland Insecurity: Checkpoints, Warrantless Searches and Security Theater

      Since June 2013, the American public, press, and policy-makers have been debating the implications of Edward Snowden’s disclosures of mass U.S. government surveillance programs, most established after the 9/11 attacks. Our reliance on modern communications technology and its connection with our basic constitutional rights of free speech and Fourth Amendment protections against warrantless seizures and searches is at the heart of that debate. But while that controversy has raged very publicly (even globally), another series of U.S. government search and seizure activities have only recently started to receive the scrutiny they deserve. And just as the over-reach by the NSA sparked what I have previously termed the “digital resistance movement,” these other searches—conducted by elements of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—have sparked a more traditional form of citizen resistance.

    • The Invisible Man: Jeffrey Sterling, CIA Whistleblower

      The mass media have suddenly discovered Jeffrey Sterling — after his conviction Monday afternoon as a CIA whistleblower.

      Sterling’s indictment four years ago received fleeting news coverage that recited the government’s charges. From the outset, the Justice Department portrayed him as bitter and vengeful — with the classic trash-the-whistleblower word “disgruntled” thrown in — all of which the mainline media dutifully recounted without any other perspective.

    • Walmart Cut My Hours, I Protested, and They Fired Me

      Today, the union-backed Our Walmart campaign will hold demonstrations across the country calling on Walmart managers to reverse disciplinary actions against 35 workers in nine states who participated in Black Friday protests against the retailer. Our Walmart will also add claims of illegal retaliation against the workers to an existing case filed with the National Labor Relations Board in October. One of the workers being added to the case is 26-year-old Kiana Howard of Sacramento, California.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Tim Berners-Lee: Net neutrality is critical to Europe’s future

      TIM BERNERS-LEE has spoken out in favour of net neutrality, calling it “critical for Europe’s future”.

      The World Wide Web pioneer was speaking in a blog on the European Commission website.

      The European Parliament has made a clear declaration in favour of net neutrality, but it is open to individual veto by country, and the UK is one of those investigating the pros and cons.

    • Web inventor warns against zero-rating net neutrality threat

      Zero-rating – where carriers charge nothing or very little for the data used by specific apps and web services – is a threat to net neutrality, web inventor Tim Berners-Lee has warned.

    • Oh, It’s On: FCC Boss Formally Throws Support Behind Title II Net Neutrality Rules

      FCC boss Tom Wheeler today confirmed weeks of media leaks by proclaiming he will, in fact, be pushing for Title II based net neutrality rules to be voted on at the agency’s meeting on February 26. In an editorial over at Wired, the FCC boss proclaims that the agency’s new rules will be the “strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC.” Given the FCC’s history, this isn’t saying much; in fact it’s kind of like saying you’re the best triathlete in a late-stage cancer hospice ward. Fortunately Wheeler also notes that, unlike the FCC’s previous rules, these new rules will apply to wired and wireless networks alike.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Even As Copyright Office Has Called For Shorter Copyright, USTR Tries Locking US Into Longer Terms

        This is hardly surprising, but even as the head of the US Copyright Office, Maria Pallante, has called for the US to roll back the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, so that copyright would last the life of an author plus an additional 50 years — rather than the 70 years it is today — the USTR is working to make sure that can’t happen. The latest report from the latest round of negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement says that the US has effectively bullied all the other participants into agreeing that the floor for copyright terms must be life + 70.

      • Reports Indicate Canada Has Caved on Copyright Term Extension in TPP Talks

        Last month, there were several Canadian media reports on how the work of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, had entered the public domain. While this was oddly described as a “copyright quirk”, it was no quirk. The term of copyright in Canada is presently life of the author plus an additional 50 years, a term that meets the international standard set by the Berne Convention. The issue of extending the term of copyright was discussed during the 2009 national copyright consultation, but the government wisely decided against it. Further, the European Union initially demanded that Canada extend the term of copyright in the Canada – EU Trade Agreement, but that too was effectively rebuffed.

      • ISP Doesn’t Have to Expose Pirating Subscribers, Judge Rules

        A federal court in Georgia has quashed a broad DMCA subpoena which required local Internet provider CBeyond to reveal the identities of alleged BitTorrent pirates. The magistrate judge ruled that ISPs don’t have to hand over personal information as they are not storing any infringing material themselves.

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