03.12.15

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Links 12/3/2015: Continued Catchup and News

Posted in News Roundup at 9:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Why are women leaving the tech industry in droves?

      Ana Redmond launched into a technology career for an exciting challenge and a chance to change the world. She was well-equipped to succeed too: An ambitious math and science wiz, she could code faster, with fewer errors, than anyone she knew.

      In 2011, after 15 years, she left before achieving a management position.

      Garann Means became a programmer for similar reasons. After 13 years, she quit too, citing a hostile and unwelcoming environment for women.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • What the Hack! 56 Suspected Hackers arrested in the UK

      The UK National Crime Agency arrested 56 suspected hackers, including one 23-year-old male who allegedly attempted to hack his way into the U.S.’ Department of Defense in 2014. Not attempting to minimize the potential risks of hacking but how much does cyber-crime actually cost, what are the risks and what about those who hack the data of billions of internet users per day to, allegedly, “keep all of us safe?”

    • Beijing Strikes Back in US-China Tech Wars

      China’s new draft anti-terror legislation has sent waves across the U.S. tech community. If there is a brewing tech war between U.S. and China over government surveillance backdoors and a preference for indigenous software, China’s new draft terror law makes it clear that Beijing is happy to give the United States a taste of its own medicine. The law has already drawn considerable criticism from international human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for its purported attempts to legitimize wanton human rights violations in the name of counter-terrorism. Additionally, China has opted to implement its own definition of terrorism, placing “any thought, speech, or activity that, by means of violence, sabotage, or threat, aims to generate social panic, influence national policy-making, create ethnic hatred, subvert state power, or split the state” under the umbrella of the overused T-word.

    • Canadian risks prison for not giving up phone’s passcode

      A Canadian charged for refusing to give border agents his smartphone passcode was expected Thursday to become the first to test whether border inspections can include information stored on devices.

    • The Ambassador who worked from a Nairobi bathroom to avoid State Dept. IT

      However, another Obama administration appointee—the former ambassador to Kenya—did do that, essentially refusing to use any of the Nairobi embassy’s internal IT. He worked out of a bathroom because it was the only place in the embassy where he could use an unsecured network and his personal computer, using Gmail to conduct official business. And he did all this during a time when Chinese hackers were penetrating the personal Gmail inboxes of a number of US diplomats.

    • CIA spends years trying to break Apple security

      Documents obtained by The Intercept reveal the security researchers’ work, presented at an annual gathering called the “Jamboree” at a Lockheed Martin facility in northern Virginia. Attendees of the CIA-sponsored, secretive event — which has run for nearly a decade — discuss the exploitation of vulnerabilities and flaws found in commercial electronics, such as Apple’s iPhone and iPad product ranges.

    • Yahoo exec goes mano a mano with NSA director over crypto backdoors
    • Data Retention: Mass Surveillance Challenged Across Europe

      On 8 April 2014, the European Union Court of Justice invalidated the 2006 Directive on Data Retention. Through this decision, all the European legislations on data retention were seriously undermined, as the EUCJ considered that the generalised retention of data on non-suspicious individuals, furthermore for an extended period of time, is a form of mass surveillance incompatible with fundamental rights.

    • NSA Probably Doesn’t Have ALL of Hillary’s Emails … But Maybe Someone Should

      I’m among those who believes Hillary Clinton’s use of a privately run email server is an abuse of power. Doing so appears to have skirted laws ensuring good governance and it may well have exposed her communications to adversaries (including some who would have reason to use the contents of her email to help Republicans win the White House), even if her email would have been just as targeted at State, per reports about persistent hacking of it. While I don’t buy — in the absence of evidence — she did so to hide ties with the Clinton Foundation, I do think she did so not just for convenience, but for control, as I laid out last week.

    • Encryption Backdoors Will Always Turn Around And Bite You In The Ass

      As you may have heard, the law enforcement and intelligence communities have been pushing strongly for backdoors in encryption. They talk about ridiculous things like “golden keys,” pretending that it’s somehow possible to create something that only the good guys can use. Many in the security community have been pointing out that this is flat-out impossible. The second you introduce a backdoor, there is no way to say that only “the good guys” can use it.

      As if to prove that, an old “golden key” from the 90s came back to bite a whole bunch of the internet this week… including the NSA. Some researchers discovered a problem which is being called FREAK for “Factoring RSA Export Keys.” The background story is fairly involved and complex, but here’s a short version (that leaves out a lot of details): back during the first “cryptowars” when Netscape was creating SSL (mainly to protect the early e-commerce market), the US still considered exporting strong crypto to be a crime. To deal with this, RSA offered “export grade encryption” that was deliberately weak (very, very weak) that could be used abroad. As security researcher Matthew Green explains, in order to deal with the fact that SSL-enabled websites had to deal with both strong crypto and weak “export grade” crypto, — the “golden key” — there was a system that would try to determine which type of encryption to use on each connection. If you were in the US, it should go to strong encryption. Outside the US? Downgrade to “export grade.”

    • Snowden GCSB revelations: Leaked documents show New Zealand spies on its Pacific friends and sends data to US

      New Zealand’s spies are targeting the entire email, phone and social media communications of the country’s closest, friendliest and most vulnerable neighbours, according to documents supplied by United States fugitive and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      Snowden’s files reveal a heavy focus on “full-take collection” from the Pacific with nearly two dozen countries around the world targeted by our Government Communications Security Bureau.

    • Why I’m Saying Goodbye to Apple, Google and Microsoft
    • Online Privacy Is Worth The Extra Work

      This past week, Laura Poitras’s documentary, Citizen Four, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. When he provided the documents that revealed the details of universal spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA), the subject of the documentary, Edward Snowden, wrote an accompanying manifesto. His “sole motive”, he wrote, was “to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them. The U.S. government, in conspiracy with client states, chiefest among them the Five Eyes – the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – have inflicted upon the world a system of secret, pervasive surveillance from which there is no refuge.” (1)

  • Civil Rights

    • 20% of Germans want revolution, majority say democracy ‘isn’t real’ – study
    • Ferguson cop won’t face civil rights charges in Michael Brown shooting
    • Daniel Ellsberg: Petraeus Case Shows Hypocrisy of Whistleblower Crackdown

      The U.S. government’s “hand-slap” treatment of former CIA director David Petraeus, who in 2012 leaked classified military information to his biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell, stands in stark contrast to the Obama administration’s aggressive crackdown on whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Jeffrey Sterling, and John Kiriakou—and should be the turning point away from such policies.

      So says renowned Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who was charged under the Espionage Act for disclosing secret U.S. military documents related to the Vietnam War in 1971. Snowden, who leaked a trove of classified NSA documents to journalists, now also faces prosecution under the Espionage Act.

      Speaking to Trevor Timm at the Guardian on Thursday, Ellsberg noted that the “actual charges against [Edward Snowden] are not more serious, as violations of the classification regulations and non-disclosure agreements, than those Petraeus has admitted to, which are actually quite spectacular.”

    • PETRAEUS PLEA DEAL REVEALS TWO-TIER JUSTICE SYSTEM FOR LEAKS

      David Petraeus, the former Army general and CIA director, admitted today that he gave highly-classified journals to his onetime lover and that he lied to the FBI about it. But he only has to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor that will not involve a jail sentence thanks to a deal with federal prosecutors. The deal is yet another example of a senior official treated leniently for the sorts of violations that lower-level officials are punished severely for.

      According to the plea deal, Petraeus, while leading American forces in Afghanistan, maintained eight notebooks that he filled with highly-sensitive information about the identities of covert officers, military strategy, intelligence capabilities and his discussions with senior government officials, including President Obama. Rather than handing over these “Black Books,” as the plea agreement calls them, to the Department of Defense when he retired from the military in 2011 to head the CIA, Petraeus retained them at his home and lent them, for several days, to Paula Broadwell, his authorized biographer and girlfriend.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Jeb Bush Is The Latest Politician To Demonstrate Absolutely No Understanding Of Net Neutrality

      Like many folks, I’m dreading the seeming inevitability of a Clinton-Bush presidential campaign next year involving Hillary Clinton against Jeb Bush. I’m 40-years-old and half of my life has involved a Clinton or a Bush in the Oval Office (and it’s even worse if you count Vice Presidency). Both seem completely out of touch with the real issues of today. Instead, both are so surrounded by political cronies and yes-men that it’s difficult to see either candidate as being willing to actually take on the real challenges facing the world today. Clinton is currently dealing with the fallout from her decision to expose her emails to spies while shielding them from the American public. And Jeb Bush is now spouting pure nonsense on net neutrality.

    • EU Digital Commissioner: Net Neutrality Is A ‘Taliban-Like’ Issue

      Until recently, most people probably assumed that real net neutrality was more likely to come to Europe than to the US. But in one of those ironic little twists, not only has the FCC voted in favor of net neutrality, but attacks on the idea in Europe have suddenly multiplied, leaving the final outcome there in doubt. Worryingly, one of the strongest verbal assaults on net neutrality comes from the very EU Commissioner who is in charge of the relevant legislation, Günther Oettinger.

    • Net Neutrality Clears Hurdle & Other Things

      Well, much of the focus for the week was on the Federal Communications Commission vote on increased net neutrality protections, and according to rational news sources reporting on the issue (e.g., just about everyone but Fox News and their wannabes), this is a good thing.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Hollywood’s Anti-Piracy Secrets Must Be Revealed, Court Rules

        All records that are part of the now-closed case between Hotfile and the MPAA will be unsealed in the interests of the public. In a decision that will be a disappointment to the industry group, U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Williams declined a request from the MPAA who wanted to keep sensitive court filings sealed indefinitely claiming they may benefit pirates.

      • Movie Group To “Kill Piracy” By Not Releasing Movies For Months

        There have been some radical solutions to online piracy in recent years but one coming out of India today is perhaps the most ‘ambitious’ so far. The Tamil Film Producer’s Council says it is in discussion to stop releasing all films for at least three months which means that pirates will have nothing to copy and will therefore go out of business.

      • Perceptions on piracy: Pirate Party evangelist Rick Falkvinge on a perennial problem

        We spoke to Pirate Party evangelist Rick Falkvinge to get his take on the current situation.

        He believes that the copyright cops, and the copyright mechanisms that they use, are a “preposterous” failure and that only a global change in perception will make a difference.

        Falkvinge, perhaps unsurprisingly, is low on sympathy for the copyright industry and its messages and solutions.

      • Aussie Anti-Piracy Plans Boost Demand for Anonymous VPNs

        Australians’ interest in VPN services has skyrocketed after local ISPs announced plans for a three-strikes anti-piracy system. With potential lawsuits against consumers on the table, many subscribers are now planning ahead to stay on the safe side.

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