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02.21.15

Links 21/2/2015: GNOME 3.15.90, Google Wins Android Lawsuit

Posted in News Roundup at 8:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Fully sandboxed, cross-distro Linux apps are almost here

      Right now, you get most of your Linux software from your distribution’s software repositories. Those applications have to be packaged specifically for your Linux distribution, and you have to trust them with full access to your Linux user account and all its files.

      But imagine if developers could distribute applications in a standard way so you could install and run them on any Linux distribution, and if those applications ran in a “sandbox” so you could quickly download and run them without the security and privacy risks.

      That’s not just a dream. It’s the goal of the GNOME desktop-affiliated Sandboxed Applications project, and the first fully sandboxed application is already here. A preliminary version of this project is planned to be released in GNOME 3.16, which should be in the next release of Fedora—Fedora 22.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds: Write Linux Kernel Code, ‘Get Hired Really Quickly’

      It’s a brave endeavour to dive into the source code for any project you didn’t program yourself, another entirely when that project happens to be the guts of Linux. Considering the impact the open source operating system has had on the IT world, having some familiarity with its internals is going to take you places — a sentiment Linux creator Linus Torvalds agrees with.

    • New AMD Processors Supported By Coreboot

      While Coreboot support for systems with newer Intel CPUs is tough, Coreboot gained yesterday support for some new AMD CPUs.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau Gallium3D Now Supports Double-Precision Floating-Point Data Types

        Nouveau (NVC0) Gallium3D now supports the GL_ARB_gpu_shader_fp64 extension. What’s exciting about this enablement is that it’s a feature for OpenGL 4.0 / GLSL 4.00 compliance and this Nouveau driver support is beating out the Intel and Radeon drivers in providing this OpenGL capability.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Xfce 4.12, Raspberry Pi’s Whole Number & More…

      Speaking of Larry, back in December he helped quash a rumor that the popular Xfce desktop had been abandoned. Now we have further evidence that he wasn’t just talking through his hat — as if there was ever any doubt.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Shell Gets a Visual Refresh Based on the Redesigned GTK+ Theme In GNOME 3.16

        As we’ve reported in several GNOME related articles this week, the GNOME development team is hard at work to bring you the anticipated GNOME 3.16 desktop environment, due for release on March 25, 2015. As expected, GNOME Shell will be part of this release and it is the most important component, providing the actual user interface.

      • GNOME 3.15.90

        This is the first beta release of the 3.15 development…

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • pcDuino3B hacker SBC features WiFi, GbE, and Arduino I/O

      LinkSprite launched a gig-Ethernet version of its PCDuino3 SBC, featuring the same dual-core Allwinner A20 SoC, plus SATA, WiFi, and Arduino compatible I/O.

      Like Hardkernel’s Odroid project and a few others, LinkSprite’s pcDuino community has been churning out ARM hacker boards over the last year with generally lower prices and improved features. The newly shipping pcDuino3B barely qualifies for the above description, but it should please pcDuino fans looking for a faster Ethernet connection.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • [Video] Samsung Launch 2015 Tizen Smart TV in Africa

          Samsung Electronics has introduced several of its products to the African market at the sixth annual Africa Forum in Antalya, Turkey which is a three-day forum. The main Interest for us here at Tizen Experts is the Samsung SUHD TVs that is being showcased there, as from 2015 onwards all Samsung TVs will run Tizen which is a HTML5 web standards open source platform.

      • Android

        • US judge dismisses antitrust case against Google over Android apps

          The two consumers who filed the suit failed to show that Google’s allegedly illegal restrictive contracts on manufacturers of Android devices resulted in higher prices on phones, U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman said in a Feb. 20 ruling.

        • Google wins dismissal of U.S. lawsuit over Android app limits

          A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit accusing Google Inc of harming smartphone buyers by forcing handset makers that use its Android operating system to make the search engine company’s own applications the default option.

          Consumers claimed that Google required companies such as Samsung Electronics Co to favor Google apps such as YouTube on Android-powered phones, and restrict rival apps such as Microsoft Corp’s Bing.

          They said this illegally drove smartphone prices higher because rivals could not compete for the “prime screen real estate” that Google’s apps enjoyed.

        • Android Circuit: Sabotaging The Galaxy S6 Story, Xiaomi Defeats Samsung, Sony Abandons Android

          Taking a look back at the week’s news across the Android world, this week’s Android Circuit highlights a number of stories including Samsung’s battery issues and the potential of wireless charging, the story J.K. Shin could tell the press at MWC, Sony abandons Android and its Xperia smartphones, Microsoft invests in Cyanogen, Xiaomi overtakes Samsung, designing for the South Korean company, Pebble picks up Android Wear support, and LoopPay’s Galaxy potential for payments.

        • Top Android news of the week: New trojan, DIY repair site, and Windows app does Android
        • Android malware hijacks power button, empties wallet while you sleep

          Don’t panic, though. So far the outbreak in small and localized: around 10,000 cases have cropped up almost exclusively in China, none of which work on Android 5.0. But code spreads so fast these days and something so useful is bound to be popping in malicious apps from dodgy online stores in the near future.

        • Android Malware Can Spy on You Even After Your Phone Is ‘Shut Off’

          The good news is that this creepy spyware isn’t something that has been, or probably ever will be, found in Google Play apps. Android has gone to great lengths to clamp down on fraudulent and malicious apps in its market, now scanning them both before and after you’ve installed them to your Galaxy, HTC One, Moto X, or whatever. So if you stick with the official Google app store, you should be safe from any of the above scariness.

        • Toggle Android 5.0 device settings with your voice

          Forget third-party widgets, Google’s Search app will now let you use your voice to toggle several settings on Android Lollipop devices.

        • New update for Register Android app

          Android users, update (or download) the Des Moines Register app for a new, improved reading experience.

        • WhatsApp starts rolling out voice calling feature to Android users

          After testing the feature with select users, it appears mobile messaging service WhatsApp is now rolling out the much awaited internet calling functionality to a wider set of people.

        • New BlackBerry Phones Can Now Run Android Apps from Amazon

          Launched on Thursday, BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3.1 provides the usual access to the BlackBerry World app store but also adds entry to the Amazon Appstore, where users can download a variety of Android apps. The latest update has started to roll out for several BlackBerry 10 devices, including the Passport, Z30, Z3, Z10, Q10 and Q5, along with the Porsche Design P’9983 and P’9982 smartphones.

        • Why Amazon’s Fire TV beats the Apple TV

          set top box has been around for quite a while now, but it has never been as much of a priority for Apple as the iPhone, iPad or even Macs. Apple long regarded it as a hobby, and that attitude might have finally caught up with Apple TV. A prominent Apple blog has come out in favor of as a better option than the Apple TV. Yes, a writer at a well known Apple blog has actually opted for the Fire TV instead of the Apple TV.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Confessions of a Recovering Proprietary Programmer, Part XIV

    Similarly, if a patch fixes a difficult and elusive bug, the maintainer might be willing to apply the patch by hand, fix build errors and warnings, fix a few bugs in the patch itself, run a full set of tests, fix and style problems, and even accept the risk that the bug might have unexpected side effects, some of which might result in some sleepless nights. This in fact is one of the reasons for the common advice given to open-source newbies: start by fixing bugs.

  • Creating a Community: Getting Started

    It was a little over four years that I was bitten by the bug for the Enlightenment desktop. It was fast, it was customizable, it was beautiful, but one thing it was not was easily accessible. There were countless directions on the internet of how to manually compile the latest version of the desktop from source repositories, but not only was this process complex – it was tedious.

  • Facebook Releases New Open Source Android Debugging Tool
  • SD Times GitHub Project of the Week: Stetho
  • Events

    • SCALE 13x, Day 1: Oh, the Humanity!

      Attendance for SCALE looks like it may break previous records. Steve Bibayoff, who works the Free Software Foundation booth, asked me Friday evening if his badge number was any indication of how many people have registered so far.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Rust 1.0 Alpha 2 Lands All Major API Changes

        The second alpha release of the forthcoming Rust 1.0 is now available and it marks the landing of all major API revisions for this programming language’s major milestone.

      • Announcing Rust 1.0.0.alpha.2

        We’ve managed to land almost all of the features previously expected for this cycle. The big headline here is that all major API revisions are finished: path and IO reform have landed. At this point, all modules shipping for 1.0 are in what we expect to be their final form, modulo minor tweaks during the alpha2 cycle. See the previous post for more details.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.3.6 Released as TDF Celebrates Three Years

      The Document Foundation today announced the release of LibreOffice 3.4.6, the latest update for the conservative user and supported deployments. This release brings over 100 bug and security fixes as the foundation celebrates three years. TDF released a video as “a testimonial of the activity of many members of the LibreOffice community.”

  • Project Releases

    • RcppAPT 0.0.1

      Over the last few days I put together a new package RcppAPT which interfaces the C++ library behind the awesome apt, apt-get, apt-cache, … commands and their GUI-based brethren.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Science

    • How the Photocopier Changed the Way We Worked—and Played

      Recently I visited Whisk, a Manhattan store that sells kitchen goods, and next to the cash register was a strange, newfangled device: a 3-D printer. The store bought the device—which creates objects by carefully and slowly extruding layers of hot plastic—to print cookie cutters. Any shape you can think of, it can produce from a digital blueprint. There was a cutter in the shape of a thunderbolt, a coat of arms, a racing car.

  • Security

    • Maintaining vendor trust proves tough for Lenovo, Microsoft

      News roundup: Amid hidden add-ons, discontinued services and walled gardens, vendor trust proves elusive for several high-profile tech firms. Plus: Evidence ties North Korea to Sony Pictures hack; card brands boost cybersecurity; and cookies that last 8,000 years.

    • Lenovo redeems itself with open source Superfish removal tool

      What do you do when you are facing scrutiny in the media? Damage control. You see it all the time with celebrities. A famous actor or musician does something wacky or stupid and ends up crying to Oprah, or going to rehab.

      If you are a respected computer manufacturer, what do you do to fix a tarnished image? Open source. Nothing makes computer nerds more giddy than hearing that software is open source and the source code is available to investigate. Today, Lenovo releases an official open source Superfish removal tool under the Mozilla Public License.

    • Superfish – Man-in-the-Middle Adware

      Let’s say that you are looking for a watch and you visit Fred’s Fine Watches. Every time you want to look at a watch, someone grabs the key to the cabinet from Fred, uses a magic key creator to create a new key, opens the cabinet, grabs the watch from Fred, studies the watch, looks for “similar” watches, and jams advertising fliers for these other watches in your face – right in the middle of Fred’s Fine Watches! Even worse, they leave the key in the lock, raising the possibility that others could use it. Further, if you decide to buy a watch from Fred, they grab your credit card, read it, and then hand it to Fred.

      After leaving Fred’s Fine Watches you visit your bank. You stop by your doctor’s office. You visit the DMV for a drivers license renewal. And, since this article is written in February, you visit your accountant about taxes. Someone now has all this information. They claim they aren’t doing anything with it, but there is no particular reason to trust them.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Obama’s Libya Debacle

      On March 17, 2011, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973, spearheaded by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, authorizing military intervention in Libya. The goal, Obama explained, was to save the lives of peaceful, pro-democracy protesters who found themselves the target of a crackdown by Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi. Not only did Qaddafi endanger the momentum of the nascent Arab Spring, which had recently swept away authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, but he also was poised to commit a bloodbath in the Libyan city where the uprising had started, said the president. “We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi—a city nearly the size of Charlotte—could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world,” Obama declared. Two days after the UN authorization, the United States and other NATO countries established a no-fly zone throughout Libya and started bombing Qaddafi’s forces. Seven months later, in October 2011, after an extended military campaign with sustained Western support, rebel forces conquered the country and shot Qaddafi dead.

    • US drone strike kills three in southern Yemen: Witnesses

      Three people were killed Friday in a drone strike on southern Yemen, local residents say.

    • Spreading Terror around the Globe by Selling Drones to “US Allies”

      As an example last October an airdrop of weapons that was purported to go to the Kurds in the besieged town of Kobani in Syria to fight the Islamic State forces ended up in the wrong hands. As recently as last month it was discovered and reported that the US was regularly air dropping arms and supplies to the waiting Islamic State on the ground below in Iraq. Obama’s huff and puff rhetoric about hunting down the Islamic State in Syria in reality is merely another effectively deceptive ploy to commit air strikes on Assad’s Syria that he couldn’t get away with the year before right after the false flag chemical weapons attack committed by US backed rebels (that were later renamed ISIS). So now both Israeli and US military air strikes are taking out infrastructure inside Syria that hurts the Syrian people, destroying oil refineries and food storage silos.

    • Psssst! Wanna buy a lethal drone? US to export unmanned aircraft

      The Obama administration is opening the door for US military drone makers to sell their unmanned killing machines overseas.

      “The new export policy is part of a broader United States UAS [unmanned aircraft system] policy review which includes plans to work with other countries to shape international standards for the sale, transfer, and subsequent use of military UAS,” the State Department said in a statement.

    • Second UK-based Israeli drone factory shut down by protesters

      Instro is owned by Israeli arms company Elbit Systems, who make drones that are used to kill Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Optical and camera systems like those made at the Instro factory are also supplied by Elbit for use in drones flown over Afghanistan, as well as in Israel’s apartheid wall.

    • Those calling for a boycott of Israel are ignoring some painful truths

      This past weekend, 700 British artists had a letter published in the Guardian in which they called on others to boycott Israel until what they term the “colonial occupation” ends. As an Israeli politician who supports the creation of a Palestinian state, it has been a long time since I saw a letter so shallow and lacking in coherence.

    • I Was Born in Israel Many Years before I Realized Israel Was Palestine

      I was born in Israel and it was many years before I realized that Israel was Palestine. I was relatively patriotic. I was looking forward to serving in the army and then I grasped that there was little truth in the Jewish historical narrative. I then gathered that I was living on someone else’s land. At the same time I discovered the saxophone. By the age of 30, I left Israel and never went back.

    • The Front Page Rule

      When U.S. media and U.S. government officials ask, “who are the murderers,” the default answer is enemy soldiers.

    • The World We’re Leaving Our Children

      Dick Cheney and George Bush have no regrets about war. No regrets about torture. They defend waterboarding, mock execution, and rectal feeding. Bush referred to the men and women who conducted this savagery as “patriots”. Commander-in-Chief Obama, with his Kill List, drones, incinerating civilians, inspiring even more hatred of the USA.

    • Hollywood’s Service to Empire

      Many Americans would find it strange to think of their local Cineplex as propaganda sites. But more than six and a half decade ago, the notion of US movies as tools of propaganda was hardly debatable for right-wing McCarthyites determined to eliminate leftists from Hollywood. As US Court of Appeals Justice Bennett C. Clark explained in upholding the conviction of ten Hollywood screenwriters and directors who refused to “confess” current or past Communist Party membership in 1949, US motion pictures play “a critically important role” as “a potent medium of propaganda dissemination” (quoted in Ellen Schrecker, Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America [Boston, 1998], 328).

    • A solo flight for the star of ‘Grounded’

      When she took a look at the script for George Brant’s “Grounded,” a one-woman play about an Air Force fighter pilot coping with the changing landscape of 21st-century warfare, actress Celeste Oliva wasn’t sure it was for her. But director Lee Mikeska Gardner was insistent.

    • Community Roundtable: War authorization vital?

      Military action works only if we target weapon caches and the actual terrorists who commit these atrocities. We also need to understand that killing ISIS members will not stop the fanatical ideology. Only until the people of those nations fully reject the fanatical and distorted version of Islam ISIS has manufactured to suit their violent agendas, military action will do very little to stop them.

    • U.S. must end its immoral drone warfare: Guest commentary

      I have been a minister in the United Church of Christ for more than 40 years. My religious convictions have led to my activism in seeking a more just and peaceful world. Right now, that activism centers on American use of drone warfare as one of the greatest threats to global peace.

    • Drone strike kills 8 rebels in E. Afghanistan

      At least eight Taliban rebels were killed in a United States-led drone strike in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan on Wednesday, said officials.

    • Could Obama’s Drone Sale Spread Robo-Warfare?

      President Barack Obama’s decision to sell missile-carrying drones like the Predator and Reaper to U.S. allies has raised questions over whether this marks another step in the evolution of robo-warfare, or is just a boon to U.S. military contractors already making them.

    • Soon on sale in your country: US armed drones

      The US is to export armed drones to sell to its military allies around the world, a move that has been welcomed by the arms industry but provoked outrage among human rights campaigners.

    • US to allow export of armed military drones

      The State Department said Tuesday the new policy would allow foreign governments that meet certain requirements — and pledge not to use the unmanned aircraft illegally — to buy the vehicles that have played a critical but controversial role in combating terrorism and are increasingly used for other purposes. Recipient countries would be required to sign end-use statements certifying that the drones would not be used for unlawful surveillance or force against domestic populations and would only be used in internationally sanctioned military operations, such as self-defense.

    • 6 arrested at Beale Air Force Base protesting drone deaths

      Six people were arrested at Beale Air Force Base in protest of people killed by government drones.

      Protest organizers said six men and women were taken into custody during an Ash Wednesday service at the Beale gate.

      The participants are accused of trespassing onto federal land, and they were arrested by military police as they spread ashes memorializing those killed by U.S. drones overseas.

    • 6 Arrested At Drone Protest Outside Of Beale AFB

      Six people were arrested at a Northern California air force base in protest of people killed by government drones.

      Protest organizers said six men and women were arrested during an Ash Wednesday service at the gate of Beale Air Force Base.

    • 6 arrested at Beale AFB during drone protest

      Six people were arrested at a Northern California air force base in protest of people killed by government drones.

      Protest organizers said six men and women were arrested during an Ash Wednesday service at the gate of Beale Air Force Base.

    • Yemen’s former leader flees to Aden

      Yemen’s former president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi escaped weeks of house arrest by the Houthi militia at his official residence on Saturday and fled to his home town of Aden, sources close to him said.

    • Former president of Yemen dons disguise and flees home as Houthi Shias take over country

      The former president of Yemen wore a disguise to escape from house arrest today to fly to his home town of Aden, an official has said.

      Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled his official residence in Yemeni capital Sanaa after weeks of house arrest by the Shia Houthi militia, who looted the property soon after his departure.

    • Hotel suicide attack kills Somali minister, 11 others
    • Washington’s Foolish Foreign Policy: American People Must Say No To More Wars

      American foreign policy is controlled by fools. What else can one conclude from the bipartisan demand that the U.S. intervene everywhere all the time, irrespective of consequence? No matter how disastrous the outcome, the War Lobby insists that the idea was sound. Any problems obviously result from execution, a matter of doing too little: too few troops engaged, too few foreigners killed, too few nations bombed, too few societies transformed, too few countries occupied, too few years involved, too few dollars spent.

    • Islamic State: bring on the drones

      The challenge of jihadism in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere is reinforcing the United States’s embrace of “remote control” warfare.

      [...]

      American arms companies engaged in armed-drone development and production have often complained at the US government’s restrictions on their exports, which leaves competitors such as Israeli arms companies in a good place to benefit. That official policy may now be coming to an end.

    • Obama to Congress: Rubber-Stamp My “Perpetual War”. “Blank Check to Use US Military Force in Perpetuity”

      As President Barack Obama presented his proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to Congress, he declared, “I do not believe America’s interests are served by endless war, or by remaining on a perpetual war footing.” Yet Obama’s proposal asks Congress to rubber-stamp his endless war against anyone he wants, wherever he wants. Obama has launched 2,300 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since August 8, 2014. In his six years as president, he has killed more people than died on 9/11 with drones and other forms of targeted killing in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia – countries with which the United States is not at war.

    • Obama’s Latest Hokum on Violent Extremism: Arar Retorts

      In his speech this week to his anti-extremism conclave in Washington, President Obama declared that “former extremists have the opportunity to speak out, speak the truth about terrorist groups, and oftentimes they can be powerful messengers in debunking these terrorist ideologies.”

    • Islamophobia is just the latest in a history of US imperialism

      The shooting of three American Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this month has focused attention on anti-Muslim hatred in the US.

      There are strong reasons for thinking the suspect, Craig Stephen Hicks, was motivated by anti-Muslim animosity to murder Deah Barakat, 23, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Razan Abu-Salha, 19. The FBI is now investigating the case as a possible hate crime, although initial reports stated the murder may have been about a dispute over parking.

    • Afghan civilian deaths hit record high

      Insurgents, government forces and international troops all contribute to highest total in five years since records began

    • Arab Spring left army in disarray, soldiers sympathetic to rebels – Yemeni minister

      Yemen is grabbing international attention – the government ousted, the president under house arrest and rebels in power. Will the country slide into Syria-style civil war? And with Al-Qaeda in Yemen growing stronger, who will be there to stop it? We ask a leading Yemeni politician, state minister, and former mayor of the capital, Sanaa, Ahmed Al-Kohlani on Sophie&Co.

    • Groups slam Aquino, US troops for violation of Constitution in Mamasapano operations

      “From all indications, the special operation in Mamasapano, Magindanao is a U.S. operation from the start. Of course the Aquino government won’t admit that because if they do, they would inadvertently confirm the US direct intervention.” This is the conclusion Prof. Roland Simbulan of UP Manila shared with the media at Thursday’s press conference of Save the Nation: Aquino Resign Movement.

      Based on Simbulan’s study of what have been revealed by SAF survivors of the incident, the fact that it was a US operation, that it was illegal and the Aquino government and the US are trying to cover it up resulted in the high number of casualties.

    • Senate may send questions to Aquino to wrap up inquiry on Mamasapano clash
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • On Fox, A Train Spilling Oil Is An Argument For Keystone XL, But A Pipeline Spill Isn’t News

      After a massive oil tanker derailed in West Virginia, several members of Fox News claimed that the accident demonstrates the need to build the Keystone XL pipeline because it is supposedly “safer” to transport oil by pipeline than by train. However, pipelines spill even more oil than trains, and when a major pipeline spill recently occurred near Keystone XL’s proposed route, Fox News barely mentioned the spill and didn’t once connect it to legitimate safety concerns about Keystone XL.

    • Niagara on Ice: Falls Freeze Up Photos

      It may have felt too cold on Friday in much of the East to even think of walking outside. But since drones don’t feel cold, why not fly one over a mostly frozen Niagara Falls? That’s exactly what Canadian videographer Brent Foster did on Friday. The results were spectacular.

    • Coming rain threatens to turn snow into ice, weighing down region
    • Future of New York Could Be Wet, Hot and Flooded: Report

      New Yorkers like to complain about the weather, especially in the summer when it can get hot and muggy. Well, they ain’t seen nothing yet. A new report envisions a wet, overheated future for New York City, saying temperatures and sea levels will rise as climate change settles in over the coming decades. The report for 2015 released by the New York City Panel on Climate Change on Tuesday says average temperatures could increase by as much as 5.3 to 8.8 degrees by the 2080s — with sea levels rising a full 18 to 39 inches. At worst, seawaters could rise 6 feet by 2100, researchers project. “These changing climate hazards increase the risks for the people, economy, and infrastructure of New York City,” the report states. The city is also likely to see its annual rainfall increase about 5 to 13 percent by the 2080s. These changes could add up to flood damage beyond what was seen during Hurricane Sandy, affecting wide portions of Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, according to the report.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wisconsin Introduces Word-for-Word ALEC Right to Work Bill

      Wisconsin Republicans have called a special session to take up a “right to work” measure attacking private sector unions–and the text of the bill, the Center for Media and Democracy has discovered, is taken word-for-word from American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model legislation.

    • Mainstream media’s rational irrationality

      One of the most deceptive and disturbing aspects of America’s political culture is the assumption that by having a free press and a democratic government, our country has erected a bulwark that restrains our leaders from committing the type of atrocities committed by our nation’s enemies.

    • Bill O’Reilly Lies–but Some Lies Matter More Than Others

      Most prominently, Mother Jones’ David Corn (2/19/15) pointed out that despite O’Reilly’s claim (in his book The No-Spin Zone) that “I’ve reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands,” in reality he was never on the islands that Argentina and Britain fought a war over in 1982. Nevertheless, O’Reilly has repeatedly boasted of his exploits on the remote South Atlantic islands–telling a detailed anecdote in 2013, for example, of saving his injured photographer “in a war zone in Argentina, in the Falklands.”

  • Censorship

    • Has free speech changed since the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ attack?

      “Charlie Hebdo,” a French satirical newspaper, was used to making headlines for its provocative cartoons – especially those featuring the prophet Mohammad. But that changed in January when two brothers stormed the newspaper and killed the publication’s editor and cartoonists.

  • Privacy

    • Your SIM card is probably hacked by NSA and colonial cousin GCHQ

      In the latest leaks from The Intercept leaked documents show that the NSA and GCHQ used the previously talked about X-KEYSCORE program to stalk employees of SIM maker Gemalto. The agents managed to break in to the email and Facebook accounts of the employees to steal information secretly which they’d go on to use to collect encryption keys for the SIM cards.

    • Green: Another update on the Truecrypt audit

      On his blog, Matthew Green gives an update on the plans to audit the TrueCrypt disk encryption tool. Green led an effort in 2013 to raise money for an audit of the TrueCrypt source code, which sort of ran aground when TrueCrypt abruptly shut down in May 2014.

    • Another update on the Truecrypt audit

      There’s a story on Hacker News asking what the hell is going on with the Truecrypt audit. I think that’s a fair question, since we have been awfully quiet lately. To everyone who donated to the project, first accept my apologies for the slow pace. I want to promise you that we’re not spending your money on tropical vacations (as appealing as that would be). In this post I’d like to offer you some news, including an explanation of why this has moved slowly.

    • Spy agency policies breached rights

      UK intelligence agencies’ policies on handling communications between lawyers and clients breached European human rights law, the government has said.

    • Accused British hacker, wanted for crimes in US, won’t give up crypto keys

      An alleged British hacker who has criminal charges pending in three American federal districts is preparing to petition a Suffolk County, United Kingdom court to compel the National Crime Agency (NCA) to return his encrypted seized computers and storage devices.

      The BBC reported Friday that Lauri Love “will petition Bury St Edmunds magistrates for the return of his property,” adding that “the BBC understands that the NCA has been unable to decrypt some of the files and does not want to return the computers and media devices until Mr Love helps them to decrypt them.”

    • US hacking case: NCA refuses to return Lauri Love’s computer

      Police in the UK, who arrested a man accused of hacking FBI computers in the US, are refusing to return his computer because they cannot decrypt its files.

      Lauri Love, 30, of Stradishall, Suffolk, who is accused of hacking offences in the US, was arrested in Britain in October 2013.

    • ‘Citizenfour’ Will Receive The Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize

      Today The Ridenhour Prizes announced that Academy Award–nominated documentary CITIZENFOUR, directed by Laura Poitras, will receive the 2015 Documentary Film Prize. The Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize is conferred to films of exemplary merit to “encourage those who persevere in acts of truth-telling that protect the public interest, promote social justice, or illuminate a more just vision of society.”

      [...]

      “We’re honored to receive this award, which recognizes a legacy of whistleblowers and adversarial journalism,” said Laura Poitras. “This film and our NSA reporting would not have been possible without the work of the Free Software community that builds free tools to communicate privately. The prize money for the award will be given to the TAILS Free Software project.”

    • US and UK Government SIM Card Hack Threat to Privacy, Infrastructure Security

      Yesterday, The Intercept reported that the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) collaborated to hack the network of the world’s largest SIM card manufacturer and obtained the encryption keys that protect the privacy of cell phone communications. The Center for Technology & Democracy (CDT) released the following statement in response:

    • A close eye on security makes Canadians safer

      The four of us most certainly know the enormity of the responsibility of keeping Canada safe, something always front of mind for a prime minister. We have come together with 18 other Canadians who have served as Supreme Court of Canada justices, ministers of justice and of public safety, solicitors-general, members of the Security and Intelligence Review Committee and commissioners responsible for overseeing the RCMP and upholding privacy laws.

    • Harper sees no need for more oversight of national-security agencies

      As four former prime ministers called for renewed efforts to enhance the oversight of national-security agencies, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday that he prefers the status quo.

    • At the centre of the anti-terror bill: Who’s watching our spies?
    • Hack gave U.S. and British spies access to billions of phones: Intercept

      U.S. and British spies hacked into the world’s biggest maker of phone SIM cards, allowing them to potentially monitor the calls, texts and emails of billions of mobile users around the world, an investigative news website reported.

    • Gemalto Starts Investigating The Degree Of Breach Allegedly Done By NSA, GCHQ

      Gemalto, the Dutch security firm, has opened an investigation looking into the claims that the company’s network was hacked, resulting in leakage of millions of communications worldwide.

    • How Latest Snowden Leak Is Headache for White House

      Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has revealed so much information about government spying in the past two years that little seems shocking. But allegations in his latest leak, published by the Intercept, could upend any chance the White House has of mending relations with Silicon Valley in the near future.

    • European Lawmakers Demand Answers on Phone Key Theft

      European officials are demanding answers and investigations into a joint U.S. and U.K. hack of the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile SIM cards, following a report published by The Intercept Thursday.

      The report, based on leaked documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, revealed the U.S. spy agency and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, hacked the Franco-Dutch digital security giant Gemalto in a sophisticated heist of encrypted cell-phone keys.

    • ‘NSA, GCHQ-ransacked’ SIM maker Gemalto takes a $500m stock hit

      The world’s biggest SIM card manufacturer, Gemalto, revealed yesterday to have been hacked by the NSA and GCHQ, has taken a $470m hit in its stock price.

    • Hellooo, NSA? The US State Department can’t kick hackers out of its networks – report

      Email servers still compromised after THREE months

    • Jeb Bush backs brother’s NSA surveillance program ‘to keep us safe’

      Former Florida governor Jeb Bush delivered a full-throated defense of government surveillance programs on Wednesday, expressing a resounding faith in techniques pioneered by his brother, George W Bush, and staking out a position in sharp contrast with other prospective 2016 presidential candidates.

    • Jeb Bush: NSA Bulk Telephone Records Collection ‘Hugely Important’

      Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016, said Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program that collects bulk telephone records was “hugely important,” throwing his support behind the practice as Congress debates whether to reauthorize or limit it.

    • NSA Analysis Of Sony Hack Identifies North Korea [distraction tactics]

      The NSA backs FBI conclusion that North Korea was responsible for the damaging hack of Sony Pictures

    • NSA chief says Sony attack traced to North Korea after software analysis [distraction tactics]
    • Gemalto denies knowledge of GCHQ and NSA Sim card hack

      The world’s largest maker of Sim cards, Gemalto, says it cannot verify a report that it was hacked by UK and US spy agencies to steal encryption keys used to protect the privacy of mobile phone communications.

    • The NSA is inside hard drive firmware – now what?

      It’s been almost five years since the discovery of Stuxnet disabused the world of its naivety about nation state malware but since then more attention has been paid to Edward Snowden’s NSA hacking revelations than the occasional technical insights into old-style spying software.

      Kaspersky Lab’s Equation group report, then, has been a bit of a body shaker while helpfully moving the story on a bit. We can now see that Stuxnet was, as everyone suspected, the business end of a far large platform containing eight or nine modules whose genesis goes back as far as 2001, the defining year for so many things that have been going on behind everyone’s backs.

    • NSA & GCHQ teamed up to hack billions of SIM cards

      British and US securities services have hacked into the world’s biggest SIM-card maker and stolen billions of encryption keys, according to the latest leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Gemalto opens investigation into SIM card hack by NSA, GCHQ

      Following a report yesterday that US and UK spies hacked Dutch security firm Gemalto to track mobile phone users across the globe, the company says it has opened an investigation into the claims.

      Allegations of the hack came from the latest documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Intercept yesterday.

      According to the documents, the UK’s surveillance agency GCHQ and the US’ NSA teamed up in 2010 and 2011 to penetrate Gemalto’s internal network and steal encryption keys that would allow the organisations to monitor mobile communications without the assistance of telecoms companies.

    • Chip Maker to Investigate Claims of Hacking by N.S.A. and British Spy Agencies

      Gemalto, a French-Dutch digital security company, said on Friday that it was investigating a possible hacking by United States and British intelligence agencies that may have given them access to worldwide mobile phone communications.

    • Gemalto launches probe after report claims NSA, GCHQ hacked its system to steal SIM card encryption keys
    • GCHQ and NSA ‘hacked Dutch company’

      Britain’s electronic spying agency and the US National Security Agency stole codes from a Dutch company allowing them to eavesdrop on mobile phones, documents suggest.

    • Rights groups criticise US and UK spies for ‘disturbing’ sim cards hack

      NSA and GCHQ told to stop pretending that law doesn’t apply to them after revelations that they gained access to Dutch manufacturer Gemalto’s encryption keys

    • Encryption keys of mobile SIM cards powerful spying tool for NSA

      It would be another powerful tool in the arsenal of US and British spy services: the encryption keys for a large share of the SIM cards used for mobile phones.

      A report by the investigative news website The Intercept, citing leaked documents from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, said the US and British agencies “hacked into” the European manufacturer Gemalto to gain these keys.

    • NSA refuse to comment on malware rumours

      Initially Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs. Naming the attacking group “The Equation Group”, it targeted Government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said. However it declined to mention who the Equation Group was.

    • Obama said everyone wants secure mobile communications. But the NSA worked to undermine that.

      Just a week ago, President Obama assured the public that he understood the importance of securing the privacy of mobile phone networks.

      “Ultimately, everybody — and certainly this is true for me and my family — we all want to know that if we’re using a smartphone for transactions, sending messages, having private conversations, that we don’t have a bunch of people compromising that process,” Obama told technology site re/code in an interview. “So there’s no scenario in which we don’t want really strong encryption.”

    • NSA-linked Sqrrl eyes cyber security and lands $7M in funding

      Sqrrl, the big data startup whose founders used to work for the NSA, plans to announce Thursday that it is shifting its focus to cyber security with a new release of its enterprise service. The startup is also taking in a $7 million Series B investment round, bringing its total funding to $14.2 million, said Ely Kahn, a Sqrrl co-founder and vice president of business development.

    • Sqrrl raises $7.1 million for its NSA-rooted security risk detection software

      There are numerous potential threats to Internet security: lone-wolf hackers, state-sponsored cyber attacks, or identity and data theft, for example. But one of the most difficult cybersecurity challenges to identify and prevent are the Edward Snowdens — the players already inside an organization who are looking to steal or share sensitive information.

    • Sqrrl Adds $7M in Another Big-Data Analytics Deal for Boston

      In the second major big-data analytics deal in Boston in two days, Cambridge startup Sqrrl has raised $7 million in Series B funding. The deal comes a day after Cambridge analytics technology startup RapidMiner announced raising a Series B of its own, at $15 million.

    • Is NSA ‘World’s most advanced threat actor’ revealed by Kaspersky?

      There is strong speculation that the so-called Equation Group – which infected the hard drive firmware of Seagate, Maxtor, Toshiba and others, and hit political and commercial targets in over 30 countries in the last 15 to 20 years – is America’s NSA.

    • Latest NSA Revelation Presents a Major Risk to American Tech Companies

      The Week’s Washington correspondent Ryan Cooper rarely has a nice thing to say about the NSA, which is understandable because the NSA is an almost-categorically distrusted agency. If it were a baby, it’d be one of those really ugly babies that would cause people to say, “Darn, only a mother would love that.” Whether the NSA’s shrouded parentage actually approves of it is up for debate. What’s not up for debate is Cooper’s categorical dislike for the government’s surveillance goons.

    • NSA-Linked Spyware Widespread, Impossible to Remove

      The NSA may be attacking foreign governments with a virus that can only be removed by putting a sledgehammer through the hard drive.

      The U.S. National Security Agency has created a trove of spyware that is difficult to detect and almost impossible to remove, cyber security experts warned Monday.

    • GCHQ’s Hacking Of Gemalto Shows The Global Telecoms Industry Is Broken

      If privacy conscious folk aren’t already using encrypted mobile communications apps (I can personally vouch for WhatsApp or TextSecure for texts, and RedPhone or Signal for calls), they should be convinced to do so by the latest Edward Snowden revelations in The Intercept. They outline GCHQ’s “DAPINO GAMMA” attack on the world’s biggest provider of SIM cards, Gemalto , as well as widespread targeting of telecoms industry employees the world over. With the NSA, GCHQ has effectively destroyed any remaining shred of trust people had in use of everyday telecoms services.

    • NSA could have full access to your cellphone

      It’s not just the National Security Agency that’s using hackers to do some scary snooping this time. The U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters and the NSA worked together to hack Gemalto, a Dutch SIM card manufacturer.

      The story originally came from The Intercept, a site that publishes NSA documents originally leaked by Edward Snowden.

    • Creepy, Calculating and Controlling: All the Ways Big Brother Is Watching You

      None of us are perfect. All of us bend the rules occasionally. Even before the age of overcriminalization, when the most upstanding citizen could be counted on to break at least three laws a day without knowing it, most of us have knowingly flouted the law from time to time.

    • All the Ways Big Brother Is Watching You

      Drones, which will begin to take to the skies en masse this year, will be the converging point for all of the weapons and technology already available to law enforcement agencies. This means drones that can listen in on your phone calls, see through the walls of your home, scan your biometrics, photograph you and track your movements, and even corral you with sophisticated weaponry.

  • Civil Rights

    • Holder Rationalizes Obama’s War on Whistleblowers

      Attorney General Eric Holder delivered a luncheon speech on sentencing reform at the National Press Club on February 17. He then answered questions after his speech. One of the questions involved President Barack Obama and his administration’s unprecedented crackdown on leaks.

      “The Obama administration has prosecuted eight alleged whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous presidential administrations combined. What justifies this more aggressive posture toward leakers?” a person attending the speech asked.

    • The U.S. and International Law: Q&A with Binoy Kampmark

      It has been appalling. The result is that a particular type of incarcerated figure has come into being: the Guantanamo inmate, one who is neither guilty nor innocent, yet too ‘dangerous’ to release. The result is, effectively, indefinite detention. (The point is also to be found in other countries, for instance, Australia, whose domestic intelligence agency has used assessments to prevent unconvicted, uncharged detainees from being released.)

    • Loretta Lynch Is Eric Holder 2.0—And The Senate Should Block Her

      If President Obama’s nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch, gets appointed, she will continue the practice of her predecessor by expanding presidential power and the federal government, ultimately threatening the liberty of American citizens and the stability of the nation. It is the Senate’s constitutional duty to make sure that doesn’t happen.

    • Terrorism’s collateral damage

      He found himself sent for secondary inspection at American airports, where he was asked if he had ever received combat training. As America prepared to attack Afghanistan, he wrote a piece for an American newspaper about how scared his family were of the coming war.

    • We’re Losing Our Democracy and All Our Freedoms

      Critics of President Obama’s proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force AUMF) against ISIS have been focused upon its deliberately obfuscatory and ambiguous language, which they rightly note would make it essentially a carte blanche from Congress allowing the president to go to war almost anywhere some would-be terrorist or terrorist copycat could be found who claims affinity with ISIS.

    • Signer: Confronting political extremism through debate itself

      Today, our commonwealth and the country at large are being poisoned by a toxic brew of extremism, gridlock and cynicism about leadership itself. Congress is both historically unpopular and unproductive. President Barack Obama has been stymied in his quest to bring hope and unity to a country divided between red and blue. And here in Richmond, many leaders of both parties can barely speak to each other, let alone compromise, on issues ranging from Medicaid expansion to nonpartisan redistricting.

    • Q and A: Lack of international communication path to terrorism

      As the White House prepares for a major summit discussing how the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism, the Daily Lobo talked with Nakhleh about why people become terrorists, and what governments and communities can do to deal with the problem.

      What are the main factors that contribute to a person turning into a terrorist?

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

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