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02.12.15

Links 12/2/2015: Black Lab Linux KDE Edition, Android SmartWatches

Posted in News Roundup at 6:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Is GNU/Linux becoming too complex for its own good?

    A Debian developer, who faced issues with some minor tasks on his own machines, has now raised the question whether the distribution being built is too complex to understand and debug.

  • Server

    • Docker Popularity A Game-Changer For Cloud, Linux?

      What’s the next step for Docker, one of Silicon’s Valley’s hottest startups?

      It’s not an initial public offering — at least not this year, apparently. The well-funded, lean company says that it’s in no rush to go public.

  • Kernel Space

    • Top 10 Features of Linux Kernel 3.19

      Linux kernel 3.19 has been officially announced by none other than its father, Linus Torvalds, on February 8, 2015. It is a great release that brings some very interesting features. Because we didn’t have access to a complete list of its features at the moment of writing the news article about its availability, we have decided to drop another one that highlights Linux 3.19 kernel’s prominent features.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • A eulogy to CrunchBang, the Linux distro that time passed by

      DistroWatch.com is currently tracking 287 active Linux distributions. That’s a lot, but not every Linux distribution is a massive project. For every Ubuntu or Fedora, there are many more hobbyist distributions created and run by one or two people. Sometimes they grow into their own large projects, like Linux Mint did. And sometimes a developer decides to pull the plug, as CrunchBang’s developer recently did.

      [...]

      In the end, hobbyist Linux distributions are created to scratch an itch. Developers may eventually find that itch has been solved elsewhere, or may not want to put the long hours into scratching it anymore. CrunchBang no doubt has users who use and love it, even today—but the end of CrunchBang doesn’t have to be sad. CrunchBang’s developer now believes the larger Linux ecosystem has improved so much that CrunchBang is no longer necessary.

      That’s good news for everyone, including Newborough, who now gets to spend his valuable time on something else. Thanks for a killer run, Philip.

    • Security Onion: A Linux Distro For IDS, NSM, And Log Management

      Security Onion is a Linux distribution for intrusion detection, network security monitoring, and log management. It’s based on Ubuntu and contains Snort, Suricata, Bro, Sguil, Squert, Snorby, ELSA, Xplico, Network Miner, and many other security tools. Security Onion is a platform that allows you to monitor your network for security alerts. It’s simple enough to run in small environments without many issues and allows advanced users to deploy distributed systems that can be used in network enterprise type environments.

    • Getting Started with Linux: Another Look at UberStudent

      Time flies. It’s hard to believe it, but it’s been four years since I first took a look at a Linux distribution called UberStudent. Back then it was in its 1.0 release, called “Cicero.” The latest release, “Epicurus,” came out in mid-January, with a version number of 4.1.

      There are a lot of Linux distributions out there. What makes this one worth checking out?

      As with previous releases, what makes UberStudent unique is its target audience, and the software and little added touches it has as a result.

    • New Releases

      • Black Lab Linux Releases 32-bit Edition of Their KDE-Based Distro

        In a world where everyone tries to drop 32-bit support for their OSes, Black Lab Linux developers have announced on Twitter that they’ve released a 32-bit version of their KDE-based distribution in order to support installations of the Black Lab Linux KDE Edition 6.0 SR1 operating system on low-end computers or machines with old/semi-old hardware components.

    • Arch Family

      • Satire: Linus Torvalds awarded Arch Linux as the most consumer friendly distribution

        Richard M Stallman congratulated Arch for their achievement but also pointed out the areas where he thinks Arch needs improvement, “Arch’s lack of support of DRM and binary blobs are the only areas where I see hurdles in the wide-spread adoption of Linux. We have elevated the DRM implementation project at FSF to boost work on it. Today Arch is the second most popular operating system and this gap is only due to Arch’s bad philosophy of pure Open Source software. I think they should start offering proprietary and patented applications in their repositories.”

    • Red Hat Family

      • UAE Exchange consolidates data centres with Red Hat Linux

        Red Hat, Inc. (RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that UAE Exchange, a leading foreign exchange and money transfer brand, has successfully created a scalable, secure, robust and high-performance datacenter environment by consolidating its IT infrastructure on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

      • Red Hat Upgrades Virtualization Platform

        The prolific developers at Red Hat have been relatively quiet in the New Year. Now, the open source leader is picking up the pace with the introduction of the latest version of its enterprise virtualization tool.

        The company announced general availability this week of Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.5 aiming to offer tighter integration with OpenStack while promising to ease deployment of IT infrastructures for traditional virtualization workloads along with enterprise-level cloud infrastructure.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • CrunchBang, Elementary, and other Linux Complications

          The top stories today are more thoughts on CrunchBang and Elementary OS’ move to raise capital. My Linux Rig spoke to Matthew Miller from Fedora about his desktop and Adam Williamson announced Fedora 22 Anacoda/DNF testing day. Canonical pats itself on the back for a job well done in media production and John Goerzen hits the complexity nail on the head.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Raspberry Pi robot’s explained

      Is the Pi robot a specific product or just a concept? An easy answer for some, but not everyone knows the score

    • Hackable Pi-like SBC opts for 1.6GHz quad-core STB SoC

      Shenzhen Xunlong has launched a $59 open-spec “Orange Pi Plus” SBC with a 1.6GHz quad-core Allwinner H3 SoC, 40-pin Pi-compatible expansion, WiFi, and SATA.

      In December when Shenzhen Xunlong Software announced its open-spec, Linux- and Android-ready Orange Pi and Orange Pi Mini SBCs, both of which use the dual-core, Cortex-A7 Allwinner A20 system-on-chip, the company also briefly noted an upcoming, quad-core Orange Pi Plus. The Plus was said to offer a quad-core, Cortex-A7 Allwinner A31 SoC with a PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU. Instead, the shipping version, now available at AliExpress for $59, arrives with Allwinner’s new quad-core Cortex–A7 based H3 SoC and a Mali-400 MP2 GPU.

    • Linux-based mobile manipulation robots due soon

      Former Unbounded Robotics execs have launched “Fetch Robotics” with $3 million in funding, and will ship a ROS-on-Linux mobile manipulator bot in Q2 2015.

      A startup called Fetch Robotics has announced $3 million in Series A financing from O’Reilly AlphaTech Ventures (OATV) and Shasta Ventures, along with a development team that jumped from the apparently now defunct Unbounded Robotics. Fetch Robotics plans to announce and ship two mobile manipulation robots in the second quarter that are aimed principally at the logistics and light industrial markets, “as well as for other human-robot collaboration opportunities,” says the company.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • Russian Federation to help Tizen and Sailfish battle Android and iOS

          The Tizen Operating System has got unexpected interest from the Russian Federation, as the Minister of Communications and Mass Communications Nikolai Nikiforov showed his enthusiasm for the Tizen based Samsung Z1 and the “de-monopolization of the global IT-ecosystems”. When prompted about the lack of software, Nikiforov said that conditions will be created to promote the independent mobile OS.

        • Tizen Operating System in Samsung 2015 Smart TVs

          Samsung’s 2015 TV Line up will be Tizen, and they have confirmed that they will be dropping Android as a suitable TV platform for them. Using Tizen and EFL for its User Interface, Tizen TVs will have great multitasking between applications and movie streaming services, and great gaming potential with Sony’s PlayStation Now service, and much more!

        • Sony SmartWatch 3 Review: The Best-Performing Android Smartwatch Yet

          Sony’s been trying the smartwatch thing for years, but the original SmartWatch and the SmartWatch 2 both… what’s the word I’m looking for here? Sucked? Yeah. But the SmartWatch 3 has solid performance and two nifty features you won’t find on any other Android Wear. It’s the first with built-in GPS and a screen you can read without backlighting.

          Android Wear watches are off to a pretty decent start. The Moto 360, the LG G Watch R, and the Asus ZenWatch are all lovely and useful in their own ways. So why might you buy a Sony smartwatch instead?

      • Android

        • How Secure is Your Android? Mobile Antivirus Apps Tested

          Most of us will never see our Android antivirus apps spit out a warning because most of us will never encounter malware on our phones. So how can you tell if your Android antivirus is actually protecting your phone against the malware that sometimes sneaks onto Google Play or is installed by an overbearing spouse? Independent testing lab AV-Test is here with the answers.

        • Nokia’s HERE maps updated on Android and Windows Phone

          Nokia has announced that an update for its Windows Phone and Android Here mapping apps will be rolling out from today.

        • How to automatically unlock your Chromebook when your Android phone’s nearby

          Google is working hard to kill the password. If you want to live in that future now, you can turn on a feature that automatically unlocks your Chromebook whenever you wander near it with your Android phone in your pocket.

        • How to Download Android 5.0.2 Lollipop for Nexus 5?

          The Android Lollipop 5.0.2 update has been made available to some Nexus devices, including the Nexus 7 2012 and 2013 models and the Nexus 10. However, there is still no sign of the update for the Nexus 5 or the Nexus 4. While both the Nexus 6 and the Nexus 9 come with Android 5.0, apparently, the Nexus 5 Android 5.0 Lollipop update has been suspended because it was reported that the update causes the device’s battery to drain at a faster than normal rate.

        • Unofficial app opens up PS4 remote play on Android devices

          To this point, the PlayStation 4′s novel Remote Play function was only accessible on the PlayStation Vita, PlayStation TV, and certain Xperia mobile phones. That’s no longer the case, thanks to an unofficial port that lets the official PS4 Remote Play app work on practically any modern Android device.

        • HTC One M8 and LG G3 pick up Android 5.0 Lollipop

          AT&T began deploying Android 5.0.1 for its LG G3 variant on Tuesday. The carrier will automatically push the roughly 700MB update over the air, but eager users can also manually search for the file by navigating to Settings>General>About phone>Software Update.

        • Here are all of the phones that can get Google’s massive new Android update today

          Google started pushing out its latest version of Android in November, but most Android phone owners are still waiting for the update.

        • What’s Up With Android Wear?

          Research firm Canalys says just 720,000 smartwatches powered by Android Wear, Google’s operating system for wearable devices, shipped in the last six months of 2014.

        • HTC Could Be The Next Android Partner To Ditch Google In Smartwatches
        • JW Player Brings Its Video Player To Android Apps

          JW Player, the streaming video company that (in the words of its president Chris Mahl) helps online publishers find “life after YouTube, or life beyond YouTube,” has made a big move onto mobile with the general release of its Android SDK.

          The player already worked in mobile web browsers, so it wasn’t entirely absent from Android. But this will allow publishers to include the players directly in their apps, to customize its appearance, and to include video advertising.

        • Android Lollipop Review: Google’s Material Design Delivers The Goods

          Regardless of the tinkering Google’s engineers have done under the bonnet, the most noticeable improvement has to be the overall look. Google is calling Android’s fetching new aesthetic “Material Design” and it’s all about giving the OS a more welcoming look. It’s mostly flat colours, clever use of shadow and UI elements which look like layers of paper stacked on top of one another. Google has left behind the world of skeuomorphic design ­–– just like Apple did with iOS 7 –– and the end result is something that looks less cluttered and more eye-catching.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Finally: The best phablet in the world is getting Android Lollipop

        After releasing Android 5.0 Lollipop updates for a variety of top flagship handsets in the past weeks, including the Galaxy S5 and Galaxy Note 3, Samsung has started rolling out the one official Lollipop ROM certain smartphone buyers were waiting for, the one made for the Galaxy Note 4.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Puppet Labs community manager on setting expectations

    The other side of community involvement in an open source project is the end users. It’s hard to be a successful open source project if no one is using it! But aside from providing documentation and forums, how else can projects and users connect?

    Kara Sowles, community manager for Puppet LabsOne way is a users group, a type of club where the members all share an interest in a particular arena. SHARE is one of the oldest computer users group around. The basic idea behind a users group is to provide more resources and share information among a local cell, provide support, encouragement, new ideas, mailing lists, and more. There are some challenges with belonging to a users group, managing a users group, and representing your open source project in a users group.

  • Cisco Takes Open Source Route to Policy Revamp

    Cisco is developing open source tools designed to allow network operators to describe policy in more meaningful terms.

    The Noiro Networks team inside Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) is trying to solve the problem of network policy that doesn’t make sense in an application-centric world. Typical networking policy uses networking language — describing traffic flows or or whether specific ports are allowed to connect with each other. Instead, the Noiro Networks team is looking to describe policies in terms of how applications are allowed to interoperate, says Thomas Graf, a principal software engineer at Cisco working on Noiro Networks.

  • Without open source, there would be no DevOps

    If we’re going to do DevOps, we have to give up open source. Right? Wait, we’re an Agile shop, so we have to give that up, too. Right?

    Over the last five years or so, I’ve talked with a lot of people confused about what it means to “do DevOps,” and clearly concerned about having to give up other things that have already proven their value in order to adopt DevOps. The bad news is, we’ve not done a good job in the DevOps community of nailing down what DevOps is and what it isn’t at an earlier stage in our development.

  • Google Launches Open-Source, Cross-Cloud Benchmarking Tool

    Google today launched PerfKit, an open-source cloud-benchmarking tool that, in Google’s words, is an “effort to define a canonical set of benchmarks to measure and compare cloud offerings.” The PerfKit tools currently support Google’s own Compute Engine, Amazon’s AWS and Microsoft’s Azure clouds. Google says it has worked on this project with over 30 researchers, companies and customers, including ARM, Canonical, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Rackspace and Red Hat.

  • Events

    • Oregon State University Open Source Lab hosts 160 projects

      The South California Linux Expo (SCALE) is an annual event aiming to provide educational opportunities on the topic of open source software. This is SCALE13X, and prior to the event I caught up with one of the speakers, Emily Durham, who will give a talk called Human Hacking.

      Emily Dunham of Open Source Lab at OSUEmily is currently finishing her final year in computer science at Oregon State University (OSU), where she is the student systems engineer at the OSU Open Source Lab. Previous to that gig at OSU, she helped run the Robotics Club, Linux Users Group, and Security Club. Emily has 7 years of experience in open source communities, and I talked with her regarding her career and life, open hardware, community psychology, and of course, her upcoming talk at SCALE13X.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Myriad Project Marries YARN and Apache Mesos Resource Management

      There are a lot of interesting announcements arriving as the O’Reilly Strata event rolls out. In one notable example, MapR and Mesosphere have announced a new open source Big Data framework (called Myriad) that allows Apache YARN jobs to run alongside other applications and services in enterprise and cloud datacenters. The initiative was kicked off by a developer at Ebay and turned into a collaborative effort between multiple companies. The project is now approaching Apache incubation.

  • Funding

    • Hitachi’s Acquisition of Pentaho Makes it a Big Data Analytics Player

      We’ve been watching the Big Data space pick up momentum as 2015 begins, and now Hitachi Data Systems Corporation has announced its intent to acquire Pentaho in what is being billed as “the largest private Big Data acquisition transaction to date.” Hitachi claims that the acquisition will accelerate enterprise adoption of Big Data technologies and solutions through “easier, faster deployment, leading to faster ROI.”

  • BSD

  • Licensing

    • Open Source Debate: Copyleft vs. Permissive Licenses

      Most discussions of free software licenses bore listeners. In fact, licenses are usually of such little interest that 85%of the projects on Github fail to have one.

      However, one aspect of licensing never fails to stir partisan responses: the debate over the relative advantages of copyleft licenses such as the GNU General Public License (GPL), and permissive licenses such as the MIT or the Apache 2 licenses.

      You only have to follow the links to Occupy GPL! that are making the rounds to see the emotions that this unending debate can still stir. Calling for an end to “GPL purism,” and dismissing the GPL as “not a free license,” the site calls on readers to use permissive licenses instead, describing them as “truly OSS [Open Source Software] licenses and urging readers to “Join the Fight!”

      Occupy GPL! itself is unlikely to have a future. Anonymous calls to actions rarely succeed; people prefer to know who is giving the call to arms before they muster at the barricades. Nor is the site’s outdated name and inconsistent diction, nor the high number of exclamation and question marks likely to inspire many readers. Still, the fact that the site exists at all, and the counter-responses in comments on Google+ show that the old debate is still very much alive.

    • Confessions of a Recovering Proprietary Programmer, Part XIII

      As a recovering proprietary programmer, I can assure you that things work a bit differently in the open-source world, so some adjustment is required. But participation in an open-source project can be very rewarding and worthwhile!

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Wikileaks shows US funded Mamasapano operation – solon

      Secret embassy cables leaked by WikiLeaks in 2010 reveal the United States’ heavy involvement in the Philippines’ counter-terrorism efforts including the botched police operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, a party-list congressman claimed on Wednesday.

      Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon said the cables, which were from 2005 to early 2010, show how the US government planned to operate covertly within the ranks of Philippine forces.

    • Killing of 3 Muslims in US elicits criticism over media blackout

      A shooting in the US, which has reportedly left three Muslims dead in a North Carolina university town, has set social media buzzing over accusations of double standards, with major media outlets failing to report the story.

    • U.S. Dumps Massive Load, of Weapons and Ammunition, in Lebanon

      The U.S. ambassador to Lebanon announced a new shipment of weapons and ammunition have arrived in Beirut, the latest American assistance to Lebanon’s army as it fights ISIS along its border with Syria. The Ambassador said the equipment includes more than 70 M198 howitzers and over 26 million rounds of ammunition and artillery “of all shapes and sizes, including heavy artillery.”

      “We are very proud of this top-of-the-line equipment. This is the best that there is in the marketplace. It’s what our soldiers use,” the Ambassador continued. “I know that in a matter of days it’s going to be what your brave soldiers are using in the battle to defeat terrorism and extremism.”

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Ecuador to Take Assange Case to UN Human Rights Council

      The Republic of Ecuador will take the case of its most famous asylum seeker, Julian Assange, to the U.N. Human Rights Council, according to reports this week.

    • Britain: Julian Assange Duty Is Draining Police Coffers, London Chief Says

      London’s police chief said Tuesday that the cost of keeping watch on Julian Assange, who is holed up in the Ecuadorean Embassy there, was draining resources and must be reviewed. Mr. Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, sought refuge in the embassy in June 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden for questioning on sexual assault allegations, which he denies. London’s Metropolitan Police have been standing guard around the clock to prevent him from fleeing, at a cost of about $15 million since the operation began. Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe told LBC Radio that officials were considering “how we can do that differently in the future, because it’s sucking our resources in.” Mr. Assange says the allegations were trumped up to facilitate his extradition ultimately to the United States, where he could be put on trial over huge leaks of information to WikiLeaks.

    • Cameras could cut £10m bill for watching Assange

      A review of the round-the-clock operation to guard Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy, was announced by Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe yesterday.

    • Met Chief considering pulling the plug on £10m Assange operation

      The UK’s most senior police chief says he is reviewing the operation to guard WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange because it is “sucking” their resources. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg last week revealed the cost of the surveillance operation outside the Ecuadorian Embassy in London had reached around £10m. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe told LBC radio: “We are reviewing the way forward there.” Mr Assange, who has been granted political asylum by Ecuador, has been living at the embassy since June 2012.

    • Julian Assange security ‘sucking Met Police resources’

      Security costs for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange are to be reviewed, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has said.

      Maintaining a guard for Assange at the Ecuadorean Embassy in central London has cost £10m, according to figures disclosed to LBC radio.

  • Finance

    • Hidden cards in HSBC game of leaks

      The newspaper argued that similar policies would be followed by journalists in other parts of the globe, saying that it wouldn’t be responsible to just dump information on all account holders, as this could unnecesarily expose them to criminals after the extent of their wealth became public. Although no relevant accounts were tied to government officials by La Nación yet, investigations were said to be ongoing.

    • HSBC files show Tories raised over £5m from HSBC Swiss account holders

      Conservative donors, peers and a high profile MP are listed among the wealthy who legally held accounts in Switzerland with HSBC’s private bank, for a wide variety of reasons.

      Their ranks include Zac Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park, plus his brother the financier Ben Goldsmith, and a Swiss resident, German-born automotive heir Georg von Opel, who has donated six-figure sums in the past two years.

      Peers named in the HSBC files include Lord Sterling of Plaistow, the P&O shipping and ports entrepreneur who was ennobled by Margaret Thatcher, and Lord Fink, who was a party treasurer under David Cameron and has given £3m to the Conservatives.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • How Reality TV Is Teaching Us to Accept the American Police State

      February 04, 2015 “ICH” – Americans love their reality TV shows—the drama, the insults, the bullying, the callousness, the damaged relationships delivered through the lens of a surveillance camera—and there’s no shortage of such dehumanizing spectacles to be found on or off screen, whether it’s Cops, Real Housewives or the heavy-handed tactics of police officers who break down doors first and ask questions later.

  • Privacy

    • Google is ‘privatized NSA’, unexamined deaths, & C of E censorship (E173)

      Afshin Rattansi goes underground on Google’s shady privacy record. Kristinn Hrafnsson, lawyer for WikiLeaks, warns that it appears Google is “not a benign company, it has sinister aims,” and reveals that it wants to be a dominant part of the military intelligence complex, handing information to the US government. Dr. Suzy Lishman, president of the Royal College of Pathologists, warns up to 10,000 deaths every year should be referred for further investigation, but are not due to massive numbers of death certificates being filled out minimally or wrong. We look into why the Church of England is removing the right to free speech for one of its vicars. Boris Johnson meets Hillary Clinton to discuss ISIS in New York. And if you’re a war-wounded veteran, you’d better hope you were injured after April 2005 – or you may lose most of your compensation to pay for basic care.

    • Philip K. Dick Warned Us About the Internet of Things in 1969

      Be careful about what you say in your living room if your new TV is on. News broke earlier this week that Samsung’s Web-connected SmartTV can listen to, record, and send what the television hears to a third-party company. The television doesn’t watch you watch it back, but it is listening.

    • Mayor Muriel Bowser Orders D.C. Fire to Lift Radio Encryption

      D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has ordered the D.C. Fire Department to lift the encryption of the department’s radios.

      News4′s Mark Segraves broke the news on Twitter Tuesday night.

      She has instructed the fire chief to stop encrypting the department’s radio transmissions beginning Friday morning. Encryption of the radios prohibits anyone except fire personnel from listening to the radio transmissions.

    • Obama asks Germany “to give us the benefit of the doubt” on NSA spying

      President Barack Obama asked Germans to give the United States the “benefit of the doubt” when it comes to snooping by the National Security Agency.

      In a Monday joint press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel held at the White House on Monday, Obama said he recognizes “the sensitivities around this issue.”

      In October 2013, German media reported that Merkel had “strong suspicions” that her personal cellphone was being monitored by American authorities.

      White House spokesman Jay Carney unequivocally told reporters at the time that such surveillance was not continuing, but he did not directly deny the allegations of past conduct. The next year, Germany decided not to renew its government contract with Verizon, citing concerns over spying by the National Security Agency.

    • Laura Poitras on Citizenfour, Edward Snowden and whistleblowers

      The first glimpse the world had of Edward Snowden was in a short video in a dark Hong Kong hotel room. But film-maker Laura Poitras’ journey with the NSA whistleblower began much earlier.

    • Oscar-Nominated Edward Snowden Documentary CITIZENFOUR to Debut on HBO 2/23
    • Court Says NSA Spying too Secret to Stop

      In a ruling handed down Tuesday, a federal district judge in California refused to rule that NSA collection of Internet and phone content without a warrant violates the Fourth Amendment, and dismissed part of a lawsuit challenging the spy agency program.

    • Judge White Makes Crucial Error While Capitulating to State Secrets, Again

      Ah well, all that discussion probably counts as a state secret. A concept which is getting more and more farcical every year.

    • Surveillance and the Vanishing Right to Know

      Despite the continuing torrent of disclosures concerning previously secret and wide-ranging government surveillance efforts, many criminal defendants are not getting notice of the secret surveillance authorities used in their cases. This is a serious problem—one felt acutely by defendants, but one that also has immense consequences for the public at large in an age of mass surveillance. To those whose liberty is not on the line, the right of criminal defendants to notice might seem like a narrow, procedural issue. It is not. In a world of multiplying surveillance techniques used in secret, the criminal defendant’s right to notice of surveillance used against him is vanishing—and this shift presents a fundamental obstacle for defendants, and a basic, structural problem for courts and the public.

    • EFF Vows to Continue the Fight Against Mass Surveillance After Disappointing Ruling

      EFF will keep fighting the unlawful, unconstitutional surveillance of ordinary Americans by the U.S. government. Today’s ruling in Jewel v. NSA was not a declaration that NSA spying is legal. The judge decided instead that “state secrets” prevented him from ruling whether the program is constitutional.

    • Judge rules for NSA in warrantless search case

      A U.S. judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of the National Security Agency in a lawsuit challenging the interception of Internet communications without a warrant, according to a court filing.

      U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in Oakland, California wrote the plaintiffs failed to establish legal standing to pursue a claim that the government violated the Fourth Amendment.

    • Surveillance and Freedom of the Media

      These findings are the result of the exposure of mass surveillance that seriously undermines the safety of journalistic sources, the safety of whistleblowers and freedom of the media, in stark contrast with a meaningful democracy where access to information, privacy and freedom of expression is protected.

    • Twitter Reports a Surge in Government Data Requests

      Twitter on Monday released its twice-yearly transparency report, showing a surge in government requests for users’ Twitter information.

      The report, which discloses the frequency with which government agencies from around the world ask Twitter to hand over data on specific users, said total requests rose by 40 percent, to about 2,871, compared with the company’s last report, in July. The latest requests came from more than 50 countries.

    • If the NSA has been hacking everything, how has nobody seen them coming?

      The Snowden docs show us that high value targets have been getting compromised forever, and while the game does heavily favour offence, how is it possible that defence hasn’t racked up a single catch? The immediate conclusions for defensive vendors is that they are either ineffective or, worse, wilfully ignorant. However, for buyers of defensive software and gear, questions still remain.

    • The state most excited for “Fifty Shades of Grey” will surprise you

      TheWrap in conjunction with Facebook took a look at some of the chatter about the film — and its stars Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan — online. The data came from likes, comments and shares about the movie on Facebook. “For the past seven days, 3.7 million people had over 6 million interactions related to the Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson romp on Facebook,” TheWrap reported.

    • Breaking smart TV surveillance capabilities may be a felony

      Customers who are concerned about the surveillance capabilities of Samsung’s smart TVs have another headache to worry about: Tampering with the machine to disable such components may be a felony.

      Samsung’s privacy policy raised concerns with privacy activists who spotlighted the warning: “Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.” Now there are concerns that tinkering with the software by tech-savvy customers may run afoul of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

      “Most smart TVs on the market have taken technological measures to prevent users from accessing or modifying firmware in order to prevent illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted material. But users could technically face felony charges for circumventing lockdown restrictions — even if the modifications they’re trying to make are legal under copyright law,” Slate reported Tuesday.

    • Who Else Listens To Your TV?

      That’s not exactly what the Terms say; they note that “if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted”. So we’re not just talking about the sort of data Google Now or Siri sends to their service provider (the phrase after you have started the voice recognition). Samsung also sends the commands themselves, plus any conversation around them. From that description, it seems the whole stream of conversation is likely to be sent.

  • Civil Rights

    • Jeffrey Sterling’s trial by metadata: Free speech stories

      When a Washington, DC, area jury convicted Jeffrey Sterling of multiple counts of espionage, the smoking gun wasn’t a key bit of classified information found in the former CIA officer’s possession; it was a trail of phone calls and emails of unknown content.

      The information about where those calls and emails went, however – to a New York Times reporter – was enough to convince a jury to send Sterling to prison for up to 80 years.

      According to the US Justice Department, Sterling was providing Risen with details of a failed CIA attempt to undermine Iran’s nuclear programme by having a Russian scientist code-named Merlin pass along intentionally flawed blueprints. Risen then exposed the operation in his 2005 book, State of War.

    • Map of 73 Years of Lynchings

      The most recent data on lynching, compiled by the Equal Justice Initiative, shows premeditated murders carried out by at least three people from 1877 to 1950 in 12 Southern states. The killers claimed to be enforcing some form of social justice. The alleged offenses that prompted the lynchings included political activism and testifying in court. FEB. 9, 2015 Related Article

    • Lynching as Racial Terrorism

      It is important to remember that the hangings, burnings and dismemberments of black American men, women and children that were relatively common in this country between the Civil War and World War II were often public events. They were sometimes advertised in newspapers and drew hundreds and even thousands of white spectators, including elected officials and leading citizens who were so swept up in the carnivals of death that they posed with their children for keepsake photographs within arm’s length of mutilated black corpses.

      These episodes of horrific, communitywide violence have been erased from civic memory in lynching-belt states like Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi. But that will change if Bryan Stevenson, a civil rights attorney, succeeds in his mission to build markers and memorials at lynching sites throughout the South as a way of forcing communities and the country to confront an era of racial terror directly and recognize the role that it played in shaping the current racial landscape.

      Mr. Stevenson’s organization, the Equal Justice Initiative, took a step in that direction on Tuesday when it released a report that chronicles nearly 4,000 lynchings of black people in 12 Southern states from 1877 to 1950. The report focuses on what it describes as “racial terror lynchings,” which were used to enforce Jim Crow laws and racial segregation. Victims in these cases were often murdered without being accused of actual crimes but for minor social transgressions that included talking back to whites or insisting on fairness and basic rights.

      The report is the result of five years of hard work. Researchers reviewed local newspapers, historical archives and court records; interviewed local historians, survivors and victims’ descendants; and scrutinized contemporaneously published articles in African-American newspapers, which took a closer interest in these matters than the white press. In the end, researchers found at least 700 more lynchings in the 12 states than were previously reported, suggesting that “racial terror lynching” was far more common than was generally believed.

    • Watch one of Jon Stewart’s most famous moments: his epic Crossfire appearance

      Crossfire’s whole premise was a debate between left and right, one that at times degenerated into a shouting match. Stewart often criticized the show as dumbing down American public discourse. And, when Crossfire’s hosts invited him on to debate, he embarrassed them.

      “You’re partisan — what do you call it — hacks,” Stewart said, to a stunned Carlson and Begala. “Stop hurting America.” Here’s the clip…

    • Privacy experts question Obama’s plan for new agency to counter cyber threats

      White House to unveil on Tuesday the Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center but critics fear an expansion of government monitoring of online data

    • Judge Nap on New Cybersecurity Agency: ‘Lost Liberties Don’t Come Back’

      “I believe that the people who build these things have the ability to make them absolutely attack-proof, but in order to do that, they have to make them impervious to government intrusion,” Judge Nap said, adding that any government agency big enough to protect us is big enough to surveil us.

      “The Internet cannot be protected by the government, because the government will never permit a system that it can’t zero into,” Judge Nap said, concluding that he would “absolutely not” establish this agency.

      Watch Judge Nap and Stuart

    • Torture and the CIA’s Unaccountability Boards

      Last Saturday, January 31, CIA Inspector General David Buckley resigned after a little more than four years in office. His departure came at the end of the same month his office published a scathing report that found the agency committed serious wrongdoings in connection to its rendition, detention, and torture program. It was also the same month that his report was swept aside by a parallel investigation conducted by a CIA “Accountability Board” that was hand-picked by agency leadership. Unsurprisingly, the Accountability Board recommended holding no one accountable for any failings.

    • Guantánamo Bay: wheels of justice turn slowly – at $7,600 a minute

      The Guantánamo Bay war court is now costing US taxpayers over $7,600 per minute, according to new Pentagon figures.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google is seriously taking on US telecom

      First it conquered search. Then it was online video and advertising. Now Google is turning its attention toward telecom — and it’s no experiment.

      In recent months, Google has said it’s bringing ultra-fast Internet to at least 18 US cities, including Atlanta and Nashville. It announced pilot tests of a low-cost, modular smartphone. The company’s joined an influential lobbying group for upstart telecom firms. And now Google is considering an entry into wireless service, as first reported by The Information, a technology news site founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Jessica Lessin.

    • Hello HTTP/2, Goodbye SPDY

      HTTP is the fundamental networking protocol that powers the web. The majority of sites use version 1.1 of HTTP, which was defined in 1999 with RFC2616. A lot has changed on the web since then, and a new version of the protocol named HTTP/2 is well on the road to standardization. We plan to gradually roll out support for HTTP/2 in Chrome 40 in the upcoming weeks.

    • Wall Street Knows Darn Well That FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules Won’t Harm Broadband: Stocks Went Up

      And, indeed, it appears the stock market acted accordingly. Following Tom Wheeler’s official announcement that the FCC would move to reclassify under Title II, all the key broadband players saw their stocks jump up, not down. If it was really that bad, you would have seen the opposite.

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