05.09.15

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Links 9/5/2015: Firefox OS Smartphones in Africa, Lots of Android

Posted in News Roundup at 4:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • This Prom Invite Might Not Be Best Idea

    Authorities are looking for a teen who wanted a date with Destiny and hoped to get it by spray-painting a prom proposal on an Idaho cliffside.

    The Idaho Statesman reports (http://bit.ly/1GYk3Us ) that the message “Destiny, Prom?” was painted in large pink and blue letters on the side of the Black Cliffs, in a popular rock climbing spot, east of Boise. The Ada County sheriff’s office is searching for the culprit.

  • SSD Storage – Ignorance of Technology is No Excuse

    SSDs have a shelf life. They need consistent access to a power source in order for them to not lose data over time.

  • Joss Whedon is right: Twitter is a loud, shallow waste of time — and I’m leaving, too

    I’m not a celebrity — I’m a Twitter celebrity. But the retweets and faves don’t do it for me anymore

  • Security

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Evaluating a groundwater supply contamination incident attributed to Marcellus Shale gas development

      New techniques of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) are now used to unlock oil and gas from rocks with very low permeability. Some members of the public protest against HVHF due to fears that associated compounds could migrate into aquifers. We report a case where natural gas and other contaminants migrated laterally through kilometers of rock at shallow to intermediate depths, impacting an aquifer used as a potable water source. The incident was attributed to Marcellus Shale gas development. The organic contaminants—likely derived from drilling or HVHF fluids—were detected using instrumentation not available in most commercial laboratories. More such incidents must be analyzed and data released publicly so that similar problems can be avoided through use of better management practices.

    • After Earthquakes, Silence in the Sooner State

      Oklahoma officials have acknowledged a likely connection between earthquakes and oil drilling. But will they act to stop the shaking?

    • Three Pennsylvania wells likely contaminated by fracking

      Public arguments about fracking (at least among those who have heard of the natural gas production technique) have become contentious—a situation not helped by the technical and complicated topic. Lots of information and claims fly around, but there’s little in the way of an established framework to help make sense of them.

  • Finance

    • TTIP explained: The secretive US-EU treaty that undermines democracy

      The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), sometimes known as the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA), is currently being negotiated behind closed doors by the European Union and the US. If it is successfully completed, it will be the biggest trade agreement in history. But TTIP is not just something of interest to export businesses: it will affect most areas of everyday life, including the online world.

      Opponents fear it could undermine many of Europe’s hard-won laws protecting online privacy, health, safety and the environment, even democracy itself. For example, it could effectively place US investors in the EU above the law by allowing companies to claim compensation from an EU country when it brings in a regulation that allegedly harms their investments—and for EU companies to attack US laws in the same way.

    • Kilpisjärvi school repeatedly tried to deposit cash that burned in school fire

      Nordea Bank has come forward to help fund a field trip for students of Kilpisjärvi school, which was razed by a fire last Sunday. Despite the best efforts of school officials, they were unable to deposit cash raised from the students’ fundraising efforts in a bank, so the money which was stored on the premises, went up in smoke with the school.

    • In The Information Age, It’s More Important To Expand The Pie Than Eat The Whole Damn Pie

      Mathew Ingram recently wrote a fantastic post about Twitter’s big mistake a few years back, basically killing off its openness for developers. He builds his argument off of an interesting post from Ben Thompson, arguing that Twitter has lost its strategic focus. Both articles are great, and I recommend them both. In the early days, Twitter was almost completely open. Many of its most useful features and services came from others building on top of it.

    • Banks Now Eyeing Cell Phone Metadata To Determine Your Loan Risk

      We’ve long talked about how companies are only just starting to figure out the litany of ways they can profit from your cell location, GPS and other collected data, with marketers, city planners, insurance companies and countless other groups and individuals now lining up to throw their money at cell carriers, auto makers or networking gear vendors. For just as long we’ve been told that users don’t need to worry about the privacy and security of these efforts, and we definitely don’t need new, modernized rules governing how this data is being collected, protected, or used, because, well, trust.

    • The Victory Paradox

      There is no doubt that this is the best possible election result for achieving Scottish independence in the near term. The one thing that I believe might have postponed independence for decades, was a Labour Party government of the UK with SNP support, governing as Tory Lite but making the dreadful repressive UK state that little bit less openly vicious, the abuse a little bit more disguised, the wealthy corporate elite less openly triumphalist.

  • Censorship

    • Music Industry Reports 200 Millionth Pirate Link to Google

      The RIAA and BPI have reached a new milestone in their ongoing efforts to have pirated content removed from the Internet. This week the music industry groups reported the 200 millionth URL to Google. Looking ahead, the BPI is urging Google to introduce more piracy prevention measures, or else Governments will have to intervene.

    • Norway ends blasphemy law after Hebdo attack

      Norway has scrapped its longstanding blasphemy law, meaning it is now legal to mock the beliefs of others, in a direct response to January’s brutal attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

  • Privacy

    • Internet godfather warns about plans for technology ‘back doors’

      One of the godfathers of the Internet has harsh words for federal efforts to insert “back doors” in digital security systems.

      “If you have a back door, somebody will find it, and that somebody may be a bad guy or bad guys, and they will intentionally abuse their access,” Vint Cerf, one of the co-founders of the Internet, said during remarks on Monday at the National Press Club.

    • Cerf thinks encryption back doors would be ‘super risky’

      Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf argued Monday that more users should encrypt their data, and that the encryption back doors the U.S. FBI and other law enforcement agencies are asking for will weaken online security.

      The Internet has numerous security challenges, and it needs more users and ISPs to adopt strong measures like encryption, two-factor authentication and HTTP over SSL, said Cerf, chief Internet evangelist at Google, in a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

      Recent calls by the FBI and other government officials for technology vendors to build encryption workarounds into their products is a bad idea, said Cerf, co-creator of TCP/IP. “If you have a back door, somebody will find it, and that somebody may be a bad guy,” he said. “Creating this kind of technology is super, super risky.”

    • Snoopers’ charter set to return to law as Theresa May suggests Conservative majority could lead to huge increase in surveillance powers

      The Conservatives are already planning to introduce the huge surveillance powers known as the Snoopers’ Charter, hoping that the removal from government of the Liberal Democrats that previously blocked the controversial law will allow it to go through.

      The law, officially known as the Draft Communications Data Bill, is already back on the agenda according to Theresa May. It is expected to force British internet service providers to keep huge amounts of data on their customers, and to make that information available to the government and security services.

      The snoopers’ charter received huge criticism from computing experts and civil liberties campaigners in the wake of introduction. It was set to come into law in 2014, but Nick Clegg withdrew his support for the bill and it was blocked by the Liberal Democrats.

    • French parliament approves new surveillance rules

      The French parliament has approved a controversial law strengthening the intelligence services, with the aim of preventing Islamist attacks.

    • LinkedIn serves up resumes of 27,000 US intelligence personnel

      A new transparency project has mined LinkedIn to create a database of the US intelligence community – complete with codewords.

    • This Government will put the Snoopers Charter and more back on the table

      Against all expectations the Conservatives have won an absolute majority in the General Election. They will be able to propose whichever new laws they like. And if all the Conservative MPs vote together, they will be able to pass whichever laws they like.

    • Judge Throws Out Lawsuit From Redditor Who Found An FBI Tracking Device On His Car

      End result? A tracking device on Afifi’s car, and for something he didn’t even write. So, he sued the FBI and the DOJ for violating his First, Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights. The suit was stayed by the court while the Supreme Court sorted out US v. Jones — a case dealing with warrantless GPS tracking. Unfortunately, the Court returned not much in the way of a decision, stating that GPS tracking did constitute a “search,” but didn’t go so far as to add a warrant requirement, suggesting the longer the tracking lasts, the worse it is constitutionally.

    • Senate GOP leader pushes for phone spying after court says it’s illegal

      Mitch McConnell, the GOP Senate majority leader, urged lawmakers Thursday to renew the expiring section of the Patriot Act that the National Security Agency says authorizes the bulk telephone metadata spying program. That’s the same section that the New York-based 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled hours earlier didn’t justify the NSA’s phone spying program.

    • McConnell, GOP defend NSA

      Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and other top Republicans on Thursday defended the National Security Agency’s surveillance program as vital to protecting national security.

      McConnell and other Republicans also starkly criticized legislation that would effectively end the NSA’s bulk phone records collection program.

    • The man who wants to outlaw encryption

      At the height of the War on Terror, in May 2005, James Comey walked into the headquarters of the National Security Agency and explained just how hard it is to say “no” to them.

      Given an unprecedented mission scope following 9/11, the NSA began engaging in warrantless domestic wiretaps, among other growing surveillance powers, that would soon spark national controversy. When Comey stood in front of the NSA in 2005, the American public remained ignorant of its government’s overreach; his speech was mostly ignored by the press. Within the NSA, however, the surveillance was no such secret.

      “It can be hard [to say no],” Comey said, “because the stakes couldn’t be higher. Hard because we are likely to hear the words, ‘If we don’t do this, people will die.’”

    • Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want

      Uploading photos to Microsoft’s viral How Old Am I app lets the company post them anywhere on the internet along with your name.

    • Youth, privacy and online media: Framing the right to privacy in public policy-making

      The right to privacy is a fundamental human right defined in international and regional human rights instruments. As such it has been included as a core component of key legislature and policy proceedings throughout the brief history of the World Wide Web. While it is generally recognized in public policy making that the right to privacy is challenged in new ways in a structurally transformed online public sphere, the way in which it has been framed does not seem to acknowledge this transformation. This paper therefore argues for a reformulation of “online privacy” in the current global policy debate. It presents the results of a qualitative study amongst 68 Danish high school students concerning how they perceive, negotiate and control their private sphere when using social media and builds a case for utilizing the results of studies as this to inform the ongoing policy discourses concerning online privacy.

    • Attorney: Spy chief had ‘forgotten’ about NSA program when he misled Congress

      Director of National Intelligence Jim Clapper wasn’t lying when he wrongly told Congress in 2013 that the government does not “wittingly” collect information about millions of Americans, according to his top lawyer.

      He just forgot.

      “This was not an untruth or a falsehood. This was just a mistake on his part,” Robert Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said during a panel discussion hosted by the Advisory Committee on Transparency on Friday.

      “We all make mistakes.”

    • Court: warrantless cellphone tracking not illegal search

      Investigators do not need a search warrant to obtain cellphone tower location records in criminal prosecutions, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in a closely-watched case involving the rules for changing technology.

  • Civil Rights

    • We need the Internet police now more than ever

      Many years ago I received spam from a woman I did not know. It was the type of spam where I could tell that her computer was compromised by a bot. That is, the spammer wasn’t simply using her email address and sending the email from somewhere else. With the best of intentions I emailed her to let her know I was an Internet security professional, and I had received a spam email from her computer indicating it was actively infected. I told her what to do to clean it.

      Her reply was very defensive and went something like this: “I’m tired of you people accusing me of sending out viruses and infecting my machine. If you don’t stop emailing me I’m going to report you to the Internet police!” I calmly replied that I was a good guy trying to help. But she said she had reported me to the Internet police and I was surely to be arrested soon.

    • Officials criticize DEA’s light punishment of agents who forgot man in cell for 5 days

      Obama administration officials and lawmakers are calling for greater accountability and tougher disciplinary procedures at the Drug Enforcement Administration after the agency imposed only light punishments on agents who forgot a San Diego man in a holding cell, leaving him without food or water for five days and nearly killing him.

    • Police Department Says It Will No Longer Be Accepting Motel 6′s Nightly Guest Lists

      In a remarkably swift turnaround — no doubt prompted by some media backlash — the Warwick, RI, police department has announced it will no longer be accepting late night guest list faxes from Motel 6.

    • Cop Gets Slap On Wrist For Slugging Handcuffed Woman

      Security video from the garage of the Miami Beach Police Department shows a group of officers milling about, a petite, handcuffed woman standing among them. The woman reaches out her foot, as if to trip one of the officers, who then slugs her in the face and kicks her.

    • UK campaign to halt criminalisation of young people who send sexts

      A campaign has been launched by the anti-censorship organisation Backlash to stop young people who exchange sexually-explicit images of themselves consensually from being prosecuted. A flaw in existing child abuse legislation means that possession of all sexually explicit images of people under 18 is classified as “indecent,” regardless of who makes them, why or how. Thus young people aged between 16 and 18 are able to consent to sex, but are unable to possess images of their own lawful sexual activities.

    • Police quiz children aged four and six for 45 minutes after neighbour complains they were playing ‘too loudly’ in the street

      Police quizzed a four-year-old and his six-year-old sister after a neighbour complained they were making too much noise while playing in the street.

      Uniformed officers were called to the quiet cul-de-sac in Belper, Derbyshire, where Zara and Tom Corden were playing on their go-kart and scooter with friends on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

      A neighbour had rung police because the children were ‘being too loud’ and officers asked whether they could play further down the street.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Could Europe have ‘border-less’ internet?

      The European Commission presented a plan for making the internet and digital content more ‘border-free’ on Wednesday, suggesting ways to loosen up restrictions that often see music, movies and other services blocked when users travel across borders. But could such a plan succeed?

    • FCC chairman on why lawsuits won’t beat net neutrality this time

      Companies have been gunning for the FCC’s open internet rules since the very moment news crossed the wires, and their latest move involved pushing for a stay — a sort of legal “not so fast!” — on the classification of the internet as a public utility. While visiting TechCrunch Disrupt in New York this morning, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler reaffirmed his belief in a victory for the internet, saying he was “pretty confident” in the outcome of the cases and that his plan for now was simply “not to lose.”

    • Fiorina Talks HP Tenure, ‘Terrible’ Net Neutrality Rules

      Moving on to policy, Fiorina again had strong words for the FCC’s net neutrality plan, calling it a “terrible thing.”

      The FCC issued its net-neutrality plan “without anyone commenting on it or anyone voting on it,” according to Fiorina, though Lane pointed out that the plan did in fact attract millions of public comments. Fiorina, however, said that she does not have a lot of confidence that the FCC took into account those comments.

    • Net Neutrality: Government promises ‘non-discriminatory’ access to internet in Rajya Sabha

      Government on Tuesday promised to ensure “non-discriminatory access to internet” to all citizens as members cutting across party lines in Rajya Sabha slammed TRAI for its consultation paper that sparked off a debate over net-neutrality.

    • FCC’s Tom Wheeler tells cable execs: ‘More competition would be better’

      FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, shown above in a March appearance, warned cable executives not to stifle competition, especially when it comes to Internet service.

  • DRM

    • I Hope Apple Kills Free Streaming, But Not For The Reason You Think

      The labels have always found a way to keep the bulk of the money made from recorded music, and this unfortunate fact is truer than ever today. The large license fees that the labels get from streaming services fall mainly to their bottom lines, and little finds its way to the artists. This is also the case of label investments in streaming services, as we’ve seen when Beats Music was purchased by Apple and Universal Music reaped a $500 million windfall for its 14% stake. You didn’t hear any artists thanking the company for the bonus they received in their next royalty statements, did you?

    • Spotify hits back at Apple with claims the App Store is ‘anticompetitive’

      SPOTIFY HAS HIT BACK at Apple with claims that its App Store practices are ‘anticompetitive’, following reports that Cupertino is trying to convince music labels to force it to can its free streaming offering.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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