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04.26.15

Links 26/4/2015: Debian 8, OpenMandriva Lx 3 Alpha, Mageia 5 RC

Posted in News Roundup at 11:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • The Open Source Community Support System

      Whether you’re a novice Web developer or seasoned CIO, at some point you will require technical support with either a new IT development, task or project. What type of support will you want? With open source software, the flexibility and choice is yours.

  • Databases

    • Deep Engine Brings Enterprise-Level Performance to MySQL Databases

      Deep Information Sciences has launched Deep Engine, a plug-and-play storage engine that brings scale and performance to MySQL databases, without the need for recoding or redeploying applications that use MySQL as a data source. What’s more, Deep Engine is installed as a simple 10M-byte plug-in, which can run alongside other storage engines or replace them entirely. Deep Engine brings hybrid transactional and analytical processing (HTAP) capabilities to MySQL, making it suitable for big data and other data-intensive projects that require billions of rows of information in both structured and unstructured record formats. Substantial performance improvements and exponentially greater levels of scale are offered, thanks to compression technology, as well as machine learning routines that leverage intelligent heuristics to better organize queries and storage elements. Taken altogether, Deep Engine can potentially delay or prevent the need to transition to more expensive server and database platforms to handle big data or other data-intensive projects.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • BSD

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Hilarious random startup website generator is pretty damn realistic

    A pair of Georgia Tech computer science students have created a Random Startup Website Generator that spits out a different jargon-laden startup website every time you click on the URL.

  • Science

    • The huge flaw in Moore’s Law? It’s NOT a law after all

      Critics have had half a century to pick apart and predict the end of Moore’s Law, which marked its Big Five Zero birthday this week.

      It’s unlikely that Gordon Earle Moore, the former electrical engineer who authored the eponymous law for a 1965 article, and who two-years later co-founded Intel, has any doubts over its value.

  • Security

    • IoT ‘Security Hopscotch’ Is No Game: Chris Roberts

      Chris Roberts has been in the news a lot this week, for all the wrong reasons. Roberts was banned from United Airlines after tweeting on a flight about his theoretical ability to hack into a plane’s WiFi system. FBI agents detained him for an interview after his flight, and there is now a federal advisory alerting airline staff to look for passengers trying to hack into airplane WiFi.

    • Home router security 2015 – 9 settings that will keep the bad guys out
    • 6 Most Dangerous New Attack Techniques in 2015

      Experts with the SANS Institute convened at RSA Conference for their annual threats panel, this time dishing on the six most dangerous new attack techniques. Led by SANS Director John Pescatore, the panel featured Ed Skoudis, SANS faculty fellow and CEO of CounterHack Challenges, Johannes Ullrich, dean of research for SANS, and Michael Assante, SANS project lead for Industrial Control System (ICS) and Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) security. Each offered up thoughts on how they’ve seen threats evolving and which techniques they expect to gain steam over the next year.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Miliband Goes the Full Henry Jackson

      Full on neo-con philosophy underpinned Miliband’s “speech” to the Royal Institute of International Affairs yesterday. Miliband acknowledged that our bombing of Libya back to the stone age was the root cause of the boat people crisis.

    • Bishop says Britain has a moral duty to accept refugees from its wars

      Rt Rev David Walker, bishop of Manchester, says it is ‘unworthy’ for politicians to label displaced migrants as criminals, and country should take in ‘fair share’

    • Migrant boat crisis: the story of the Greek hero on the beach

      It was an image that came to symbolise desperation and valour: the desperation of those who will take on the sea – and the men who ferry human cargo across it – to flee the ills that cannot keep them in their own countries. And the valour of those on Europe’s southern shores who rush to save them when tragedy strikes.

      Last week on the island of Rhodes, war, repression, dictatorship in distant Eritrea were far from the mind of army sergeant Antonis Deligiorgis. The world inhabited by Wegasi Nebiat, a 24-year-old Eritrean in the cabin of a yacht sailing towards the isle, was still far away.

    • ‘The more civilians US drones kill in the Mideast, the more radicals they create’

      American drone-strike strategy in the Middle East is counterproductive because killing civilians, even if it’s accidentally, breeds more al-Qaeda or other radical militants, defense analyst Ivan Eland told RT.

    • Warren Weinstein Death Puts U.S. Drone Strikes in Uncomfortable Spotlight

      The U.S. government’s use of drone strikes came under mounting pressure on Friday, as Pakistan joined a chorus of criticism over the policy following the accidental killings of two al Qaeda hostages.

      The White House said it was conducting “a thorough independent review to understand fully what happened and how we can prevent this type of tragic incident in the future” after it emerged that U.S. aid worker Warren Weinstein and Italian national Giovanni Lo Porto were killed by a CIA drone strike near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

    • A Drone Program That Has Killed Hundreds Of Civilians Finally Killed Some That The White House Regrets

      This morning, the White House disclosed that a January 2015 drone strike, conducted in Pakistan by the CIA with the intention of taking out an al Qaeda compound, resulted in the deaths of two al Qaeda hostages who were not known to have been in the line of fire at the time of the attack. “The killing of American development expert Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto is the first known instance in which the U.S. has accidentally killed a hostage in a drone strike,” Wall Street Journal’s Adam Entous reported Thursday.

    • Killing of Americans Deepens Debate Over Use of Drone Strikes

      The Obama administration said Thursday that two American Qaeda operatives killed in Pakistan in January had not been “specifically targeted,” and officials added that the Central Intelligence Agency had no idea the two men were hiding in compounds under surveillance by armed drones when orders were given to carry out the strikes.

    • Obama: US was not ‘cavalier’ over hostage drone killings

      Barack Obama has insisted the US was not “cavalier” in its assessment of the risks to civilians as the accidental deaths of two hostages in a drone strike against al-Qaida overshadowed a planned pep talk for intelligence chiefs.

    • American, Italian Hostages Killed in CIA Drone Strike in January

      A U.S. drone killed an American and an Italian held hostage in a January attack on an al Qaeda compound in Pakistan, sparking new questions about the use of the controversial and still-evolving weapon.

      The intelligence that underpinned the drone strike turned out to have been tragically incomplete, U.S. officials and lawmakers said Thursday. As a result, American development expert Warren Weinstein and Italian aid worker Giovanni Lo Porto lost their lives after years as captives of the militants.

    • Obama regrets drone strike that killed hostages but hails US for transparency

      The White House was forced to concede on Thursday that it killed two innocent hostages – one American, one Italian – in a drone strike that targeted an al-Qaida compound despite officials not knowing precisely who was in the vicinity.

    • Drones Kill Innocent People All the Time

      But now the White House can’t deny it

    • CIA Drones Kill Two Hostages
    • Drone Strikes Reveal Uncomfortable Truth: U.S. Is Often Unsure About Who Will Die

      Barack Obama inherited two ugly, intractable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan when he became president and set to work to end them. But a third, more covert war he made his own, escalating drone strikes in Pakistan and expanding them to Yemen and Somalia.

      The drone’s vaunted capability for pinpoint killing appealed to a president intrigued by a new technology and determined to try to keep the United States out of new quagmires. Aides said Mr. Obama liked the idea of picking off dangerous terrorists a few at a time, without endangering American lives or risking the yearslong bloodshed of conventional war.

    • The U.S. Is Still Dropping Bombs Without Knowing Who Is Under Them

      For those who took seriously President Obama’s stated goals of restoring accountability and legal legitimacy to U.S. counterterrorism operations, the 2013 speech at the National Defense University was one of the most significant watersheds of his presidency. In retrospect, though, it was one of the biggest disappointments.

    • Washington yawns at an American atrocity: Why the latest drone fiasco won’t change anything

      You would have thought yesterday, upon hearing President Obama’s admission that a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan killed an American held hostage by al-Qaida, would rank among the most serious (and legitimate) scandals of his presidency. A disaster of this nature was bound to happen, given the White House’s loose standards for green-lighting drone strikes.

      Yet the reaction was fairly ho-hum. Media coverage of the event and statements from members of Congress, allies and critics of the president alike, were basically, Well isn’t that sad. Also: It’s al-Qaida’s fault. Is al-Qaida in control of the United States’ drones? There are some pretty good hackers out there, but they haven’t mastered that capability yet.

    • Deep Support in Washington for C.I.A.’s Drone Missions

      About once a month, staff members of the congressional intelligence committees drive across the Potomac River to C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va., and watch videos of people being blown up.

    • GOP strongly backs drone strikes, despite accident

      Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said it would be “crazy” to curtail drone usage because of the two deaths, though he urged significant review of this particular incident.

    • The ‘kill/capture’ approach ain’t working for us: Narratives do better than drones
    • US drone kills own citizen, Italian national

      The White House on Thursday broke its silence after four months and admitted to have accidentally killed its elderly national Dr Warren Weinstein and Italian citizen Giovanni Lo Porto in January this year in the tribal areas straddling the Pak-Afghan border in pursuit of senior al-Qaeda leaders.

    • The Word That Cannot Be Uttered (It’s Drones)

      President Obama has chosen to operate his drone war in such unprecedented, absurd and arguably illegal secrecy that even in a rare burst of compelled transparency yesterday, neither he nor his press secretary could actually bring themselves to say the word “drone.”

    • Drones Are Illegal Beyond the Battlefield
    • The United States Does Not Know Who It’s Killing
    • Existential Meets Exponential

      This is one of the ugly realities of the war on terror. By using drones to kill members and leaders of some of the most evil organizations the world has ever known, innocent bystanders, children and woman are blown to bits along with the targeted foe. And I wish I had an answer, or even an alternative to this carnage. Do nothing and let these terrorists operate unmolested? Is it any of our business? Allies ask for our help; sometimes we’re bound by treaties. Should we send in our special forces and take these monsters out one at a time, surgically? Do we have that many SEALS and Green Berets? For every soulless, bloodthirsty terrorist we kill with a drone strike, we create hundreds more. And another issue, when do drones show up in the terrorist arsenal? More than one American drone has been shot down and captured by terrorist organizations. What happens when one of those Muslim countries with the technological capability steals our technology and manufactures their own drones on a large scale and send them to attack our friends such as Israel. What I know for sure is World War III is getting off to a fine start and so far there’s no end in sight. As in all wars I’ve lived through, I have more questions than answers, and I wish I could solve the problems, but I’m just an observer. I have one more question; is all this killing of innocents worth it? Oh, and one more question. How do we know when it’s over?

    • Obama’s Orwellian language on drones

      There is an eerie Orwellian cost to the Obama administration’s refusal to use the term “War on Terror” to describe its … war on terror. In his briefing after the White House’s admission that two hostages – one American, one Italian – were killed in a U.S. “operation,” press secretary Josh Earnest struggled mightily to avoid the word “war” to describe exactly what the U.S.is up to. Finally he gave in and stated that under the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, the nation is “at war” with al Qaeda.

      Why do the words matter? Because the inevitability of civilian casualties, even in the most justified of wars, is accepted both in international law and in the ethics of war. Civilian casualties are never good. They are a tragedy, a terrible cost that must be avoided whenever possible. But in wars, they happen.

    • The Art of War: Sculpting God, Guns and Drones

      Dominic Sansone is a cast and industrial-fabrication sculptor concerned about militarized and cultural violence.

    • Nasir Shansab: Drone Strikes Manifest Afghans’ Hatred of US

      American Drone strikes that inadvertently kill civilians are breeding distrust and even hatred for the United States in Afghanistan, according to Nasir Shansab, a former Afghan industrialist forced to flee his country.

      “They believe that civilians are suffering more by drone attacks than real fighters do,” he said during an appearance Friday on Newsmax TV’s “America’s Forum.”

    • US drone strikes have traumatised a generation of Yemenis and will push them towards militancy

      A year ago today, Hussein Ahmed Saleh Abu Bakr, a labourer, was travelling to work in Al-Bayda, central Yemen, with 11 colleagues including family members when a drone struck the car. When the attack was over, Hussein emerged from where he had taken cover to look for the other passengers and found his father, 65, slumped in the road with shrapnel injuries to his head and chest. The bodies of the other passengers were scattered around the area, with some injuries so severe, Hussein was only able to identify them from their clothing. Four of the passengers were killed: Sanad Nasser Hussein Al-Khushm, Abdullah Nasser Abu Bakr Al-Khushm, Yasser Ali Abed Rabbo Al-Azzani and Ahmed Saleh Abu Bakr.

    • Drone warfare

      The botched drone strike resulting in the death of two foreign hostages has once again brought the controversial nature of this tactic to the forefront. It is very sad that the death of two US men in a drone attack made headlines but other civilian deaths were swept under the carpet by describing them as collateral damage. The US does not realize the cost of these drone strikes and the resultant civilian causalities. These drone attacks are fueling the fire of radicalism in the Muslim world. Washington on and off expresses concern over the growing anti-America sentiments in the Muslim world but fails to identify the factors that lead to such a situation.

    • From the Left: Eugene Robinson — Strikes against morality

      Drone strikes, by their nature, are bound to kill innocent civilians. It is all too easy to ignore this ugly fact — and the dubious morality of the whole enterprise — until the unfortunate victims happen to be Westerners.

    • Rise of robotic killing machines has a cautious world talking

      They’re called lethal autonomous weapons, or LAWs, and their military mission would be to seek out, identify and kill a human target independent of human control. Human decision would not be in the loop, and the only button a military commander would push would be the “on” button. In military terms, it’s called “fire and forget.”

    • Understanding the Suffering War Brings

      Now, it’s hard to separate deaths due to disease and starvation, from the direct effects of warfare, with warfare creating refugee crises and destroying farms and so forth. It’s also true that the financial resources to address human needs could be found in another place other than war, namely in the pockets of the greediest 400 people in the United States. Their hoarding of wealth, even those of them not principally funded by the war machine, can certainly be blamed as well when a child starves to death anywhere on earth. But blame is not a finite quantity. You can blame plutocracy or militarism, and niether one exculpates the other. Military spending could end starvation for the price of a small rounding error and is therefore culpable.

    • Hillary the Hawk

      Announcing her latest campaign for the presidency, Hillary Clinton declared she was entering the race to be the champion for “everyday Americans.” As a lawmaker and diplomat, however, Clinton has long championed military campaigns that have killed scores of “everyday” people abroad, from Iraq to Yemen. As commander-in-chief, there’s no reason to believe she’d be any less a hawk than she was as the senator who backed George W. Bush’s war in Iraq, or the Secretary of State who encouraged Barack Obama to escalate the war in Afghanistan. If her nomination is as sure a thing as people say, then antiwar organizing needs to start right away.

    • When Hillary Clinton Pitched The Iraq War To CodePink – OpEd
    • Bring back the drone debate, Sen. Paul

      When Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) declared his candidacy for the presidency, I will admit to having a certain excitement. In part, this feeling is based on the opportunity he offered to literally blanket myself in the Constitution. Another is the opportunity to read a political comic book — but the real reason is that he clearly embraces his willingness to be a voice of concern about American use of drones. In other words, Paul’s campaign offers the most likely possibility that discussion and debate around the U.S. counterterrorism, military and diplomatic use of drones will reemerge. Despite the fact that the drone debate has quieted dramatically in the recent past, there are several reasons why the American populace needs to reengage with this important policy space prior to choosing our next president.

    • Waging Electoral Warfare – Analysis

      Democracies do not go to war with each other – or so it has been argued since 1795. But what if politics is, as Michel Foucault once claimed, the continuation of war by other means? And what if the boundaries between “violence” and “legitimate force” are blurred as they are in the German word Gewalt? That might enable us to imagine a “peaceful war” involving several aspects of the modern state, including elections. Whenever states engage in a “bloodless military confrontation” over elections, they are actually waging electoral warfare (EW). Indeed, the ‘existence’ of EW also suggests that international relations possess an electoral dimension that must be acknowledged and analyzed without prejudice.

    • The Decline and Fall of the United States

      After a speech I gave this past weekend, a young woman asked me whether a failure by the United States to properly surround and intimidate China might result in instability. I explained why I thought the opposite was true. Imagine if China had military bases along the Canadian and Mexican borders with the United States and ships in Bermuda and the Bahamas, Nova Scotia and Vancouver. Would you feel stabilized? Or might you feel something else?

    • Encouraging Arabs and other Muslims to Kill each other is Good for U.S. Weapons Industry

      The Saudi Arabia-led Sunni coalition versus the Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) versus ISIS in Syria. Qatar arming Islamist militias in Libya and rebels in Syria to battle government forces. It’s all good in the eyes of American merchants of war.

      The raging conflicts in the Middle East have involved all kinds of U.S. weaponry built by and sold by defense contractors. They’ve made millions of dollars off weapons sales to the oil-rich Persian Gulf states, and they’re likely to make even more as these governments seek to replenish or upgrade their arsenals.

      Saudi Arabia’s attacks on Yemeni rebels were made possible by F-15 fighter jets purchased from Boeing, while the UAE air force has hit ISIS in Syria using F-16s made by Lockheed Martin. The UAE also wants General Atomics’ Predator drones “to run spying missions in their neighborhood,” according to The New York Times.

    • With Obama Under Heat, New York Times Defends Drone Strikes

      The cover of Saturday’s New York Times featured the article discussed below with an updated headline, “Despite Errors, Drones Decimate Weakened Al Qaeda,” which adds in its sub-headline that the al Qaeda “leadership is ‘in tatters.’”

      Also published on Saturday was the opinion of the editorial board that “it was important to see candor and remorse from President Obama in his apology” for the strikes that killed hostages. The editorial board, however, called for more than just an apology, urging the administration to release more information about how many civilians have been killed in Obama’s drone-based counterterrorism campaign.

    • US Drone Killed Two Hostages: Reprieve Comment

      “It’s right that the White House has come clean and admitted its tragic mistake in killing these hostages, and our hearts go out to their families.

      “It’s worth remembering, however, that Dr. Weinstein and Mr Lo Porto are far from the first innocents to die by our drones, and in no other case has the US apologized for its mistake.

    • Obama Should Hand Back Peace Prize as Civilians Killed by US Drones

      The reaction came a day after President Obama announced that two innocent hostages had been killed in a US counter-terrorism operation using lethal drones to target an al-Qaeda compound in Pakistan in January.

    • Hostages’ death in drone attack shocking: FO

      The Foreign Office expressed on Friday shock at the death of two western hostages in a US drone attack in tribal areas in January and recalled its criticism of the US drone war for causing collateral damage.

    • Three Quick Thoughts on the Drone Strike in Pakistan That Killed Two Innocent Civilians

      Why the sudden transparency about the American and Italian civilian victims but not the many non-Western civilians killed in US operations?

    • 1,600 US bombs dropped in Syria and Iraq during March cost $8.5m a day

      Obama’s foreign policy has come under fire as it was revealed that the US dropped 1,600 bombs in Syria and Iraq last month alone at a cost of $8.5m (£5.6m) a day, according to the Times newspaper.

    • US Should Make Public Number of Civilian Deaths Caused by Drone Strikes

      US Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Dianne Feinstein said that an annual report on the number of deaths, both combatant and civilian, from US airstrikes should be public.

    • US Should Make Public Number of Civilian Deaths Caused by Drone Strikes

      The United States should review counterterrorism procedures and develop an annual report on the number of terrorist and civilian deaths as a result of drone strikes, US Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Dianne Feinstein stated on Thursday.

      “To the greatest extent possible, more information on US counterterrorism operations should be made public,” Feinstein said. “I believe this should include an annual report on the number of deaths — both combatant and civilian — from US strikes.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • New Russian Anti-Piracy Law Could Block Sites “Forever”

      People who run ‘pirate’ sites out of Russia have been given a final warning by the government. Amendments to local copyright law that come into force May 1 not only protect more content than ever before, but also contain provisions to permanently block sites that continually make unauthorized content available.

  • Privacy

    • White House releases report on NSA surveillance six years later

      With debate gearing up over the coming expiration of the Patriot Act surveillance law, the Obama administration on Saturday unveiled a six-year-old report examining the once-secret programme to collect information on Americans’ calls and emails.

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) publicly released the redacted report following a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the New York Times. The basics of the National Security Agency (NSA) programme already had been declassified, but the lengthy report includes some new details about the secrecy surrounding it.

    • House Passes Cybersecurity Bill Despite Privacy Protests

      Congress is hellbent on passing a cybersecurity bill that can stop the wave of hacker breaches hitting American corporations. And they’re not letting the protests of a few dozen privacy and civil liberties organizations get in their way.

    • DHS Opening Office In Silicon Valley To More Efficiently Complain To Tech Companies About Encryption

      “Let me be clear: I understand the importance of what doors bring to privacy. But, imagine the problems if, well after humanity moved out of caves, the warrant authority of the government to investigate crime had only extended to dwellings without doors.”

      Bullshit. The DHS, along with other law enforcement agencies — is seeking is the path of least resistance. It can get warrants to search encrypted devices. It just may not be able to immediately crack them open and feast on the innards. It may also get court orders to compel decryption. This is far less assured and risks dragging the Fifth Amendment down to the Fourth’s level, but it’s still an option.

    • You Should Google Everyone, Even Your Therapist

      When I first met my shrink, I wasn’t so sure about him. He’s handsome, fit, not much taller than me, reticent. I couldn’t tell if his reticence was disapproval and judgment or if he was just doing his job: staying quiet, staying neutral. I’m new to therapy, and, frankly, had wanted a woman therapist, but here I was with this silent, unreadable man and I didn’t know how to feel comfy about it.

      So I Googled him. I found his Facebook page, saw that he might be a band geek (like me), that he seems generally empathetic and that he has a cute dog that sometimes wears clothes.

      That’s how I got comfortable.

      A couple of weeks ago, Anna Fels wrote for the New York Times about patients Googling their therapists. Written from the perspective of a Googled therapist, the piece cautions against the ways in which knowing about your doctor’s personal life can affect the experience of therapy. She also acknowledged it happens in the other direction, too: ER nurses, for instance, are Googling their patients to find out if they’re criminals, or if they’re famous, or just if they’re anything interesting at all.

    • The CIA couldn’t properly use a mass surveillance program for years

      Whatever you think about the morality of using mass surveillance to catch evildoers, the technology only works if people can use it — just ask the CIA. The New York Times has obtained a declassified report revealing that that the agency was largely kept in the dark about the President’s Surveillance Program (aka Stellarwind), which allows for bulk data collection, until at least 2009. Only the highest-ranking officials could use PSP as a general rule, and those few agents that did have access often didn’t know enough to use it properly, faced “competing priorities” or had other tools at their disposal. To boot, there wasn’t documentation showing how effective the program was in fighting terrorism.

    • CIA couldn’t fully use NSA spy program as most analysts didn’t know about it

      A newly-released document from the Central Intelligence Agency’s (CIA) own internal watchdog found that the government’s controversial warrantless surveillance and bulk data collection program was so secretive that the agency was unable to make “full use” of its capabilities even several years after the September 11 attacks. Initially, only top-level CIA officials were cleared on its use, rather than rank-and-file “CIA analysts and targeting officers.”

    • When the Schmidt hits The Man: Look what the NSA made Google do

      In an interview at the BoxDEV developer event in San Francisco today, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt said end-to-end encryption for services like Google’s is the solution to mass online government surveillance.

      “What do you think of the state of cyber security in the USA today?” Box CEO Aaron Levie asked Schmidt during an onstage talk at BoxDEV on Wednesday.

    • Google is Keeping the NSA Out of Your Data, Eric Schmidt Brags

      Google (GOOGL) Chairman Eric Schmidt boasted on Wednesday about how improving the encryption of Google’s products has successfully shut out warrantless surveillance by the NSA and other law enforcement. Schmidt talked about the encryption advances, and how former NSA contractor Edward Snowden’s leaks prompted them, at BoxDev, a yearly developers conference for Box.

    • Surveillance reform bill returns with concessions to NSA on data collection

      Modifications made on behalf of the National Security Agency have paved the way for the return of a major piece of surveillance reform legislation, the Guardian has learned.

    • New bill proposes 5-year extension of Patriot Act and permission for NSA data collection
    • Former NSA head Alexander asks agency to review patents

      Former National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander has asked the U.S. intelligence agency to review patent filings by his company to make sure that they do not reveal any secrets or misappropriate any government work.

    • NSA surveillance needed to prevent Isis attack, claims former intelligence chair

      Mike Rogers, former chairman of the House intelligence committee, says the NSA needs to preserve its wide powers in case of an attack on US homeland

    • Declassified Report Shows Doubts About Value of N.S.A.’s Warrantless Spying

      The secrecy surrounding the National Security Agency’s post-9/11 warrantless surveillance and bulk data collection program hampered its effectiveness, and many members of the intelligence community later struggled to identify any specific terrorist attacks it thwarted, a newly declassified document shows.

    • It Started With a Hack: How an NSA Director Became a Four-Star General

      “Someone hacked into the Department of Defense [DoD] network,” he said.

    • Bush-Era Documents Show Official Misled Congress About NSA Spying

      Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales downplayed a dispute between the White House and Justice Department over the program’s legality, previously classified documents say.

    • NSA spied on EU politicians and companies with help from German intelligence

      Germany’s intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), has been helping the NSA spy on European politicians and companies for years, according to the German news magazine Der Spiegel. The NSA has been sending lists of “selectors”—identifying telephone numbers, e-mail and IP addresses—to the BND, which then provides related information that it holds in its surveillance databases. According to the German newspaper Die Zeit, the NSA sent selector lists several times a day, and altogether 800,000 selectors have been requested.

    • The big boys made us do it: US used German spooks to snoop on EU defence industry
    • German parliament may limit intelligence agency communications with the NSA

      Germany was in an uproar when news broke that the National Security Agency (NSA) had been monitoring Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone calls and communications. Now it turns out that German intelligence agency BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst) was passing select information — including phone numbers and IP addresses — to the NSA on politicians and defense contractors in Europe, reports Der Spiegel.

    • German Intelligence Agency Helped NSA Spy on EU Targets

      The German intelligence agency has found itself in the middle of another scandal following the 2014 revelations that the NSA had tapped the German chancellor’s cellphone.

    • Infosec bods can now sniff out the NSA’s Quantum Insert hacks

      Security researchers have developed a method for detecting NSA Quantum Insert-style hacks.

      Fox-IT has published free open-source tools to detect duplicate sequence numbers of HTTP packets, with different data sizes, that are the hallmarks of Quantum Insert.

      The utilities developed by Fox-IT are capable of exposing fiddling with HTTP packets but are no by no means perfect and might themselves be circumvented, as a blog post by Fox-IT explains.

    • Fox-IT releases answer to NSA’s ‘Quantum Insert’ attack
    • How to Detect Sneaky NSA ‘Quantum Insert’ Attacks

      Among all of the NSA hacking operations exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden over the last two years, one in particular has stood out for its sophistication and stealthiness. Known as Quantum Insert, the man-on-the-side hacking technique has been used to great effect since 2005 by the NSA and its partner spy agency, Britain’s GCHQ, to hack into high-value, hard-to-reach systems and implant malware.

    • Rootpipe exploit still an issue in Mac OS X, security expert finds
    • OS X Yosemite still open to Rootpipe hijacking, says ex-NSA bod

      Apple hasn’t patched admin privilege backdoor in 10.10.3, it’s claimed

    • OS X 10.10.3 update failed to fix Rootpipe vulnerability, says former NSA staffer

      A former NSA staffer says that the OS X 10.10.3 update which Apple claims fixed a significant security vulnerability has failed to do so, reports Forbes. Patrick Wardle, who now heads up research at security firm Synack, demonstrated the vulnerability in a video (without revealing exactly how it was done) to allow Apple time to issue a further fix.

    • Jeb Bush praises Obama over NSA spying

      Jeb Bush, a likely presidential contender, said Tuesday that President Obama’s greatest accomplishment was keeping in place controversial spying programs at the National Security Agency.

      “I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs,” Bush said in an interview on the Michael Medved radio show.

    • Jeb Bush Praises Obama’s Expansion of NSA Surveillance

      One of the most glaring myths propagated by Washington — especially the two parties’ media loyalists — is that bipartisanship is basically impossible, that the two parties agree on so little, that they are constantly at each other’s throats over everything. As is so often the case for Washington partisan propaganda, the reality is exactly the opposite: from trade deals to Wall Street bailouts to a massive National Security and Penal State, the two parties are in full agreement on the bulk of the most significant D.C. policies (which is why the leading candidates of the two parties (from America’s two ruling royal families) will have the same funding base). But because policies that command the agreement of the two parties’ establishments are largely ignored by the D.C. press in favor of the issues where they have some disagreements, the illusion is created that they agree on nothing.

    • Rand Paul targets Obama, Jeb Bush in NSA rant

      Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says the National Security Agency’s domestic spying program is “one of the worst parts of the Obama administration,” a jab not only at the current president but also fellow Republican Jeb Bush.

    • Rand Paul on NSA: ‘Our Founding Fathers would be mortified’
    • Privacy advocates urge more transparency about how NSA keeps an eye on people

      As Congress considers whether to extend the life of a program that sweeps up American phone records, privacy advocates and civil liberties groups say too much about government surveillance remains secret for the public to fully evaluate its reach or effectiveness.

    • Hello Barbie, Amazon win big in Germany’s “Big Brother” awards for privacy abuses

      Germans by and large are wary of surveillance in all its forms, and nowhere is that more apparent than at the Big Brother Awards, which awards “prizes” to organizations and individuals around the world making especially egregious use of Germans’ private personal data.

    • Hello Barbie, NSA Win Big in Germany’s ‘Big Brother’ Awards for Privacy Abuses

      Germans by and large are wary of surveillance in all its forms, and nowhere is that more apparent than at the Big Brother Awards, which awards “prizes” to organizations and individuals around the world making especially egregious use of Germans’ private personal data.

    • Senate’s NSA skirmish stalling cyber bill

      A Senate skirmish over National Security Agency (NSA) reform has stalled the upper chamber’s plan to move a major cyber bill.

    • House Passes Major Cybersecurity Bill Despite Fears It Will Bolster NSA Spying

      The House on Wednesday passed major legislation intended to improve the nation’s defenses against cyberattacks, Congress’s first significant step toward attempting to limit the kind of debilitating hacks that brought Sony Pictures to its knees five months ago.

    • Congressional Battle Brews Over Bill To Extend NSA Data Collection
    • Key Republican Is Not on Board With NSA Reform
    • Congress Doesn’t Seem Totally Sure Who Should Deal With NSA Reform
    • Rubio: NSA spying concerns are overblown
    • Citizenfour: A must see for U.S. activists
    • Millennials worldwide show broad support of Edward Snowden – poll
    • Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde Kills NSA-Proof Messenger App

      After promising so much the highly anticipated encrypted chat project Hemlis has come to an end. The software was left with too many obstacles to overcome, not least the absence of former Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde who was arrested and taken away to serve his jail sentence for copyright infringement last summer.

    • Snowden docs: NSA, New Zealand plotted to hack Chinese

      The National Security Agency (NSA) collaborated with New Zealand on a plan to digitally monitor Chinese diplomats, according to documents obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

      The operation centered on breaking into a data link between two Chinese diplomatic offices in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.

      While it is unclear whether the break-in ever took place, Snowden’s documents reveal that the NSA and New Zealand were “formally coordinating” on the plan in 2013.

    • NSA Spying Scandal Sparks a New European Smart Home Platform to Protect Privacy

      In Germany, a country considering broad new regulations to prevent citizens’ data from being passed through U.S.-based servers, a new consortium is promising a home automation platform that will keep its customers’ data within European borders.

    • Top 3 Apps to prevent your smartphone from being snooped.

      Ultimate privacy Apps : Top three Apps to prevent NSA and cyber criminals snooping on you

    • The NSA’s Split-Key Encryption Proposal is Not Serious

      The US Government has been busy on the encryption front in both positive and negative ways. On the positive front, there is a major effort underway to move all government websites to HTTPS; I’ll discuss that in a future post. But on the problematic and negative side of the ledger, we once again turn to the NSA.

    • Chinese Spies With Poor Grammar Tried Hacking NSA Historian

      Over the last four months, hackers traced back to the Chinese regime have been trying to breach the computers of NSA historian Matthew Aid. He recently detected two attempted breaches, one on April 2 and another on April 11, which he documented Monday on his blog.

    • Beijing Demands NSA Stop Trying to Hack Chinese Consulate

      The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Monday that they were “seriously concerned” by reports that New Zealand spies collaborated with the US National Security Agency to spy on Chinese diplomats.

    • U.S. Secretary Of Homeland Security Warns About The Dangers Of Pervasive Encryption

      In a speech at cybersecurity conference RSA, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson outlined the government’s discomfort with increasing implementation of encryption by technology companies, and what impact the shift might have on national security.

    • How NATO Kills Africans in the Club Med

      Humanitarian imperialism as applied to what the Pentagon loves to define as MENA (Middle East-Northern Africa) has led, according to Amnesty International, “to the largest refugee disaster since the Second World War.”

  • Civil Rights

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    • POGO Adds its Voice to Calls for Secret Law Oversight

      We urge you to end mass surveillance of Americans. Among us are civil liberties organizations from across the political spectrum that speak for millions of people, businesses, whistleblowers, and experts. The impending expiration of three USA PATRIOT Act provisions on June 1 is a golden opportunity to end mass surveillance and enact additional reforms.

    • We must disband the police: Body cameras aren’t enough — only radical change will stop cops who kill

      After Michael Slager gunned down Walter Scott in a North Charleston park, a deafening chorus of voices has emerged, insisting that “the system worked.” And they are right. The system did work, just not in the way that they mean.

      The system didn’t only begin to work when the video of the shooting emerged days later: it went into motion immediately. The system began to work when Slager cuffed a dying man and then ran (ran!) back to grab his alibi, the Taser he would then plant near Scott’s failing body (as some have noticed, Slager did so in an eminently practiced way).

    • The Key War on Terror Propaganda Tool: Only Western Victims Are Acknowledged

      The British-Yemeni journalist Abubakr Al-Shamahi put it succinctly: “It makes me angry that non-Western civilian victims of drone strikes are not given the same recognition by the US administration.” The independent journalist Naheed Mustafa said she was “hugely irritated by the ‘drone strikes have killed good Westerners so now we know there are issues with drones’ stories.” The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson this morning observed: “It is all too easy to ignore … the dubious morality of the whole enterprise — until the unfortunate victims happen to be Westerners. Only then does ‘collateral damage’ become big news and an occasion for public sorrow.”

    • New Zealand Prime Minister John Key Apologizes for Pulling Waitress’s Hair

      New Zealand Prime Minister John Key apologized on Wednesday for pulling the ponytail of a waitress who accused him of bullying, media reported.

      The unnamed waitress in an Auckland cafe said on a blog site that Key had pulled her hair over several months and initially she thought he was being “playful and jolly.” However, she said Key kept pulling her hair when he visited the cafe over a six-month period and she became increasingly annoyed.

    • Woman who hit Venezuelan president with mango rewarded with house

      Marleny Olivo scrawled a note on the fruit and hurled it at the head of the passing Nicolás Maduro – and has now been promised a place to live

    • Licence to chill: Ex-CIA spyboss Petraeus gets probation for leaking US secrets to his mistress

      General David Petraeus – the former head of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and briefly the head of the CIA – has been sentenced to two years’ probation and fined $100,000 after admitting leaking America’s secrets to his lover.

      Married Petraeus, 62, handed over military logs containing classified material to his official biographer, and mistress, Paula Broadwell. He also lied to FBI agents during their investigating into the case, and faced charges that could have put him behind bars for up to five years.

    • Former CIA Director David Petraeus escapes jail for leaking military secrets to his mistress
    • Ex-CIA head David Petraeus sentenced over military leak

      David Petraeus, a retired US four-star general and former CIA director, has been put on probation and fined for leaking material to his mistress.

    • Petraeus Gets Leniency for Leaking — And Risen’s CIA Source Should Too, His Lawyers Say

      Lawyers for Jeffrey Sterling, convicted earlier this year of leaking classified information to New York Times reporter James Risen, urged today that Sterling “not receive a different form of justice” than David Petraeus, the former general and CIA director who has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for leaking classified information to his biographer.

    • Ford Foundation and its alleged CIA connections

      The US based Ford Foundation is not new to controversies. Many call it a front for the American external spying agency CIA. There have been thousands of articles and research papers on Ford Foundation’s CIA links. Even in India, the Ford Foundation is accused of funding the NGOs and movements which actually work against India’s socio, political and economic interests.

    • Obama Admin. Seeks “Severe Sentence” for Ex-CIA Officer Convicted of Leaking
    • Federal prosecutors urge ‘severe’ sentence for ex-CIA officer in leak case
    • CIA Worked With China To Attack Russia

      On Thursday, the U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter admitted that Russian hackers had infiltrated into Pentagon’s computer network earlier this year. It was the latest high-profile hack of the U.S. government networks by Russian hackers. Over the past few months, Washington has also accused China of hacking the U.S. satellite network, weather systems, and the U.S. Postal Service network.

    • Spy shocker: CIA cooperated with Chinese intelligence to target Russia
    • PACE President welcomes former Romanian President’s CIA secret prison admission

      President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Anne Brasseur, welcomed in a press release on Friday the admission of former Romanian President Ion Iliescu of his knowledge of a secret CIA (United States Central Intelligence Agency) prison in Romania.

    • Ion Iliescu for Der Spiegel: I approved CIA request for location in Romania

      Ion Iliescu said, in an interview granted to Der Spiegel, that he approved “in principle” over 2002-2003, a request made by the USA to set up a CIA center in Romania, but he did not know it was a unit meant for detention. Details of the project were established by Ioan Talpes, the head of the presidential Administration, Der Spiegel writes.

    • CIA Interrogator Convicted For Torture Speaks Out

      In the long debate over torture, there remains only one instance when a CIA interrogator ever faced trial for torture – and he was convicted. That CIA contractor, David Passaro, is now speaking out in a new Retro Report documentary.

    • Sheriff Joe Arpaio was concerned about CIA wiretaps on MCSO phones

      A bizarre twist came during the fourth day of testimony in the civil contempt trial against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and four of his top deputies.

      Speaking on the stand and taking questions from the judge, MCSO chief deputy Jerry Sheridan said the department was working with a man named Dennis Montgomery who was identified as a former employee of the Central Intelligence Agency.

      Montgomery was a confidential informant, or CI for the sheriff’s office. While living in Seattle, he purportedly gave information to MCSO about a CIA operation that was secretly gathering personal information on United States citizens, according to Sheridan.

    • Ex-CIA officer Ray McGovern: V-E Day celebration spoiled by Washington’s support for Ukrainian revolution

      The controversy over alleged Russian “aggression” in Ukraine is already raining on the Kremlin parade with which Russia will mark the 70th anniversary of the Allies’ victory over Adolf Hitler and the Nazis on May 9. U.S. President Barack Obama set the tone by turning down the Kremlin’s invitation to take part in the celebration, and allies in Western Europe have been equally uncouth in saying No.

    • CIA Daughter On the Anniversary of the Coup Her Dad Helped

      Today is the forty eighth anniversary of the military coup.

    • Was Putin Right About Internet As CIA Project?

      “The Internet is not a CIA creation,” Tim Berners-Lee, a London-born computer scientist who invented the Web in 1989 – the year that the Berlin Wall collapsed – told media when asked about Putin’s CIA comment.

      Berners-Lee said the Internet was invented with the help of U.S. state funding, but was spread by academics.

      “It was the academic community who wired up their universities so it was put together by smart, well-meaning people who thought it was a good idea,” he said.

      Berners-Lee has previously scolded the United States and Britain for undermining the Internet’s foundations with their surveillance program. He has also called on China to tear down the “great firewall” that limits its people’s access to the Internet.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Liberals furious with Obama’s trade comments

      The already bitter fight between the White House and the progressive base over trade policy has turned ugly after President Obama said his critics on the left “don’t know what they’re talking about” and compared their arguments to conspiracy theories about “death panels.”

      Progressives trade critics are up in arms over the comments, made Thursday night to a gathering of Organizing for Action, the grassroots group that spun off of Obama’s presidential campaign, at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Washington, D.C.

    • Copyrights

      • BitTorrent Inc. Lays Off Close to a Third of its Workforce

        BitTorrent Inc., the company behind the popular uTorrent file-sharing client, has laid off close to a third of its U.S. workforce. Speaking with TorrentFreak a source close to the company says that up to 45 workers had their contracts terminated Thursday, “gutting” the company’s advertising team and pushing more work to its offices in Minsk, Belarus.

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