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03.27.15

Links 27/3/2015: Ubuntu 15.04 Second Beta, Dart 1.9

Posted in News Roundup at 6:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • When SCO Was Cool

    SCO started out here in my neighborhood, essentially, in Santa Cruz, California. It was called The Santa Cruz Operation (hence, SCO). That manifestation of SCO was founded in 1979 by Larry and Doug Michels, a father and son, as a Unix porting and consulting company which, over time, developed its own brand of Unix. In his book “The Art of Unix Programming,” Eric Raymond calls SCO the “first Unix company.”

    As the story goes, the first SCO was sold to Caldera, a Linux company, in 2001 and rebranded The SCO Group, which moved it to Utah and made it a litigation company, and we pretty much know the rest of the story from there.

    [...]

    So pre-sale SCO –- the original SCO –- wasn’t the evil entity it is now, and by no means is this recollection an endorsement of what the current manifestation is doing in the courts. It just serves as a reminder that sometimes things –- good things –- can go south very quickly and become the complete opposite of what the original folks had in mind.

  • Germanwings: Andreas Lubitz breakdown six years ago offers clue

    In Andreas Lubitz’s home town in western Germany, the sense of disbelief was palpable. Everyone who had encountered the 27-year-old, who grew up dreaming of becoming a pilot, described him as quiet, polite and “normal”.

    Yet, in what German Chancellor Angela Merkel described as a “new, simply incomprehensible” dimension to the Germanwings air disaster, it appeared that Lubitz was responsible for the deaths of 149 people.

  • Hardware

    • Samsung Rumored to Be Eyeing AMD Acquisition

      Samsung may be interested in buying Advanced Micro Devices as it looks to boost its position against such chip-making rivals as Intel and Qualcomm, according to reports coming out of South Korea.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The US is Pushing The World Towards Nuclear War

      NATO countries are to all intents and purposes at war with Russia. The US knows it and Russia knows it too. Unfortunately, most of those living in NATO countries remain blissfully ignorant of this fact.

      The US initiated economic sanctions against Russia, has attacked its currency and has manipulated oil prices to devastate the Russian economy. It was behind the coup in Ukraine and is now escalating tensions by placing troops in Europe and supporting a bunch of neo-fascists that it brought to power. Yet the bought and paid for corporate media in the West keeps the majority of the Western public in ignorance by depicting Russia as the aggressor.

    • A Few Words on the Least Surprising Op-Ed of 2015
    • Sensitive Military Gear Ended up on EBay, Craiglist

      The Pentagon lost track of sensitive equipment from a $750 million program to help U.S. soldiers spot roadside bombs — and some of it wound up for sale on eBay, Craigslist and other websites, according to a Navy intelligence document obtained by The Intercept.

    • Why Won’t the Post Name CIA Counterterrorism Chief Michael D’Andrea?

      The Washington Post reported this morning that, pursuant to CIA Director John Brennan’s vaunted re-organization plans, the chief of the agency’s counterterrorism center has been unceremoniously reassigned. The newspaper declined to report this name, however: Michael D’Andrea.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Court Accepts DOJ’s ‘State Secrets’ Claim to Protect Shadowy Neocons: a New Low

      A truly stunning debasement of the U.S. justice system just occurred through the joint efforts of the Obama Justice Department and a meek and frightened Obama-appointed federal judge, Edgardo Ramos, all in order to protect an extremist neocon front group from scrutiny and accountability. The details are crucial for understanding the magnitude of the abuse here.

  • Finance

    • Despite Leak Of TPP Text, Obama Officials Say Trade Deal Will Not Let Companies Overturn US Laws

      Less than three weeks after a classified draft of its proposed 12-nation trade pact included provisions that critics say empower foreign companies to overturn domestic regulations, the Obama administration explicitly declared that the deal would not permit such actions. The declaration came in an email challenging the veracity of a report about earlier leaks of language in the proposed agreement.

      The email challenged an International Business Times report noting the details of a 2013 draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. That draft proposed to let foreign companies file lawsuits in international tribunals seeking payments for financial losses incurred by domestic laws — a power that critics say could ultimately compel governments to overturn those laws, for fear of facing even more lawsuits and damage payments.

    • TPP ISDS is rigged to advantage U.S.

      Wikileaks has released the “Investment Chapter” from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. It contains the highly controversial investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS), which makes it possible for multinational to sue states for international tribunals.

    • Corporate Sovereignty Provisions Of TPP Agreement Leaked Via Wikileaks: Would Massively Undermine Government Sovereignty

      For years now, we’ve been warning about the problematic “ISDS” — “investor state dispute settlement” mechanisms that are a large part of the big trade agreements that countries have been negotiating. As we’ve noted, the ISDS name is designed to be boring, in an effort to hide the true impact — but the reality is that these provisions provide corporate sovereignty, elevating the power of corporations to put them above the power of local governments. If you thought “corporate personhood” was a problem, corporate sovereignty takes things to a whole new level — letting companies take foreign governments to special private “tribunals” if they think that regulations passed in those countries are somehow unfair. Existing corporate sovereignty provisions have led to things like Big Tobacco threatening to sue small countries for considering anti-smoking legislation and pharma giant Eli Lilly demanding $500 million from Canada, because Canada dared to reject some of its patents noting (correctly) that the drugs didn’t appear to be any improvement over existing drugs.

    • CREDO: Leaked TPP chapter confirms our worst fears about disastrous trade agreement
    • Trans-Pacific Partnership Seen as Door for Foreign Suits Against U.S.

      An ambitious 12-nation trade accord pushed by President Obama would allow foreign corporations to sue the United States government for actions that undermine their investment “expectations” and hurt their business, according to a classified document.

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership — a cornerstone of Mr. Obama’s remaining economic agenda — would grant broad powers to multinational companies operating in North America, South America and Asia. Under the accord, still under negotiation but nearing completion, companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.

    • The Trans-Pacific Partnership clause everyone should oppose

      The United States is in the final stages of negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a massive free-trade agreement with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and seven other countries. Who will benefit from the TPP? American workers? Consumers? Small businesses? Taxpayers? Or the biggest multinational corporations in the world?

    • WikiLeaks Reveals TPP Proposal Allowing Corporations to Sue Nations
    • How The Leaked TPP ISDS Chapter Threatens Intellectual Property Limitations and Exceptions
    • New TPPA Investment Leak Confirms NZ Surrender to US

      The controversial investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) has just been posted by Wikileaks, along with an analysis by Washington-based Public Citizen. Dated 20 January 2015, at the start of the negotiating round in New York, it clearly shows the governments has capitulated to US demands.

      ‘We haven’t seen a text since 2012’, said Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey. ‘Today’s leaked text confirms all our worst fears.’

    • WikiLeaks reveals local health and environment rules under threat

      Australian health, environment and public welfare regulation, including plain tobacco packaging legislation, will be open for challenge from largely US-based corporations, if a new deal that is part of the Trans Pacific Partnership goes through.

      WikiLeaks has revealed that the Australian government is close to agreement on a wide-ranging trade deal that could allow multinational corporations to challenge these regulations as well as local food safety standards. The new TPP free trade agreement will cover approximately 40 per cent of the world economy.

      Intellectual property law expert, Australian National University Associate Professor Matthew Rimmer says the WikiLeaks publication is “a bombshell” that will “galvanise resistance and opposition to fast-tracking of this mega trade deal”.

    • Govt must be more transparent on investor state clauses

      The Government must be more transparent around the draft investor state dispute settlements in the TPPA, says David Parker, Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson.

      “Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which includes well drafted ISDS provisions. We also support the FTA with South Korea.

    • TPP: Australia pushes against ISDS in trade agreement, WikiLeaks reveals

      Australia appears to be the lone holdout – for now – to a key section of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that details how multinational companies could take legal actions against governments over decisions they consider detrimental to their interests.

      WikiLeaks today revealed the controversial investment chapter of the TPP, which shows the intent of negotiating parties, led by the US, to create a supra-national court where foreign firms could sue states using investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses and overrule their national court systems.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • RT vs. MSM Propaganda in the New Cold War

      US government officials are calling to overhaul the state funded media apparatus and focus on counter-propaganda against hostile nations, according to a report seen by Reuters.

      The study was written by two former Western state funded news employees, Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) governor and Radio France Europe/Radio Liberty vice president, who declared the US is losing the information war to adversaries. Despite its annual $730 million budget, the BBG is asking Congress for an additional $15 million to combat Russian media specifically.

  • Privacy

    • Bryce Edwards: The ramifications of the spying scandal

      How much longer can the GCSB spying scandal run? Nicky Hager recently told the radio station bFM that “in some respects we’re only just at the beginning of what people are going to find out”. This continued drip-feeding of information about what our spies have really been up to will not bring down the Government or lose National the Northland by-election, but the ongoing revelations might still seriously tarnish New Zealand’s international reputation, as well as erode the public’s faith in its surveillance institutions.

    • Govt accused of spying for political purposes

      Opposition parties have used Parliament’s question time to accuse the Government of using the country’s spy agencies for its own political purposes.

    • Inquiry into electronic surveillance agency launched

      An inquiry into the activities of New Zealand’s electronic surveillance agency has been launched by the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.

    • GCSB will be investigated over claims New Zealanders spied on in Pacific
    • New Zealand spooks face South Pacific dragnet probe

      New Zealand’s inspector-general of intelligence and security is launching an inquiry into allegations that the Government Communications Security Bureau intercepted the communications of New Zealanders in the South Pacific.

    • Inquiry Launched into New Zealand Mass Surveillance

      New Zealand’s spy agency watchdog is launching an investigation into the scope of the country’s secret surveillance operations following a series of reports from The Intercept and its partners.

      On Thursday, Cheryl Gwyn, New Zealand’s inspector-general of intelligence and security, announced that she would be opening an inquiry after receiving complaints about spying being conducted in the South Pacific by eavesdropping agency Government Communications Security Bureau, or GCSB.

      In a press release, Gwyn’s office said: “The complaints follow recent public allegations about GCSB activities. The complaints, and these public allegations, raise wider questions regarding the collection, retention and sharing of communications data.”

      This month, The Intercept has shined a light on the GCSB’s surveillance with investigative reports produced in partnership with the New Zealand Herald, Herald on Sunday, and Sunday-Star-Times.

    • New Zealand’s XKEYSCORE Use

      For a while, I have believed that there are at least three leakers inside the Five Eyes intelligence community, plus another CIA leaker. What I have called Leaker #2 has previously revealed XKEYSCORE rules. Whether this new disclosure is from Leaker #2 or a new Leaker #5, I have no idea. I hope someone is keeping a list.

    • FBI director urges Congress to crack down on encryption

      Speaking before the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey urged Congress to pass legislation requiring tech companies to install backdoors in their encryption programs. These backdoors would allow government agencies to easily intercept the electronic communications of American citizens, the District Sentinel reports.

    • Big Vulnerability in Hotel Wi-Fi Router Puts Guests at Risk

      Guests at hundreds of hotels around the world are susceptible to serious hacks because of routers that many hotel chains depend on for their Wi-Fi networks. Researchers have discovered a vulnerability in the systems, which would allow an attacker to distribute malware to guests, monitor and record data sent over the network, and even possibly gain access to the hotel’s reservation and keycard systems.

    • Special ops troops using flawed intel software

      Special operations troops heading to war zones are asking for commercial intelligence analysis software they say will help their missions. But their requests are languishing, and they are being ordered to use a flawed, in-house system preferred by the Pentagon, according to government records and interviews.

      Over the last four months, six Army special operations units about to be deployed into Afghanistan, Iraq and other hostile environments have requested intelligence software made by Palantir, a Silicon Valley company that has synthesized data for the CIA, the Navy SEALs and the country’s largest banks, among other government and private entities.

    • Passphrases That You Can Memorize — But That Even the NSA Can’t Guess

      It’s getting easier to secure your digital privacy. iPhones now encrypt a great deal of personal information; hard drives on Mac and Windows 8.1 computers are now automatically locked down; even Facebook, which made a fortune on open sharing, is providing end-to-end encryption in the chat tool WhatsApp. But none of this technology offers as much protection as you may think if you don’t know how to come up with a good passphrase.

    • Australia outlaws warrant canaries

      The exceptionally broad new surveillance bill lets the government do nearly unlimited warrantless mass surveillance, even of lawyer-client privileged communications, and bans warrant canaries, making it an offense to “disclose information about the existence or non-existence” of a warrant to spy on journalists.

    • NSA Doesn’t Need to Spy on Your Calls to Learn Your Secrets

      Governments and corporations gather, store, and analyze the tremendous amount of data we chuff out as we move through our digitized lives. Often this is without our knowledge, and typically without our consent. Based on this data, they draw conclusions about us that we might disagree with or object to, and that can impact our lives in profound ways. We may not like to admit it, but we are under mass surveillance.

    • Police continued spying on Labour activists after their election as MPs

      Police conducted spying operations on a string of Labour politicians during the 1990s, covertly monitoring them even after they had been elected to the House of Commons, a whistleblower has revealed.

      Peter Francis, a former undercover police officer, said he read secret files on 10 MPs during his 11 years working for the Metropolitan police’s special branch. They include Labour’s current deputy leader, Harriet Harman, the former cabinet minister Peter Hain and the former home secretary Jack Straw.

    • As crypto wars begin, FBI silently removes sensible advice to encrypt your devices

      The FBI used to publish excellent advice about encrypting your devices to keep your data secure when your stuff is lost or stolen; this advice has been silently dropped now that FBI Director James Comey is trying to stop manufacturers from using crypto by default.

      The FBI has joined with others, like UK Prime Minister David Cameron in calls to end the use of effective cryptography because it makes it harder to spy on people.

    • Italy drops measure allowing remote computer searches

      The measure would have made Italy “the first European country that explicitly and broadly legalised and authorised the state to conduct remote computer searches and use spyware,” said lawmaker Stefano Quintarelli, a member of a small centrist party that supports the governing coalition.

  • Civil Rights

    • Ron Wyden, the Internet’s senator

      When Ron Wyden arrived in the U.S. Senate in 1996, he was determined to focus on more than just trees.

      In the mid-1990s, Oregon, Wyden’s home state, was best known for environmental industries, like forestry. But Wyden, a Democrat who had just won a special Senate election after serving eight terms in the House, wanted to expand his portfolio.

      “I said, ‘I am gonna be a fierce advocate for Oregon’s resource-dependent communities and jobs in forestry,’” Wyden told the Daily Dot during a recent interview, “and I made the judgment that we had to get into some additional areas.”

    • Student cleared of London terror charge after partially secret trial

      A man who faced accusations that he was plotting to mount an Islamic State-inspired gun or bomb attack on the streets of London has been acquitted after a highly secretive Old Bailey trial.

      Erol Incedal, 27, was cleared of preparation of acts of terrorism after a four-week retrial in which large parts of the evidence were heard inside a locked courtroom.

      Incedal broke down and wept as the jury returned a majority verdict after 27 hours of deliberation.

    • Report: DEA agents had ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes hired by drug cartels

      Drug Enforcement Administration agents allegedly had “sex parties” with prostitutes hired by local drug cartels overseas over a period of several years, according to a report released Thursday by the Justice Department’s watchdog.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Convention on online advertising: increased circumvention of the law in the name of fighting piracy

        The Minister of Culture announced yesterday a plan of action for the fight against piracy and an agreement (fr) on online advertising negotiated between advertisers, advertising agencies and rightsholders under the supervision of the government. This agreement confirms the fears La Quadrature du Net has expressed over the last several months about the growing threat of repressive online policy (fr). It organises a system in which identifying “massively infringing sites” is relegated to advertising companies while circumventing the law, which alone should be authorised to decide about this in order to adequately guarantee freedom of expression and the right to information. This new development marks a step towards the creation of a private police force in the name of intellectual property rights.

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