06.03.15

Microsoft’s Latest Anti-Linux Strategy: Deleting Android From Android Devices

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 2:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The Scorpion and the Tortoise

The Scorpion and the Tortoise

Summary: Microsoft pretends that it is ‘embracing Android’ whilst actively trying to delete Android from Android devices

IT was only months ago that media sources said that Microsoft would work on ways to delete Android from Android devices. The sources were not wrong. They were at least partly right because Microsoft now “takes a free ride of Android hardware,” to quote the headline from Linux Veda. “Tables have turned,” it says, “gone are the days when Linux users used to buy Windows hardware to run their OS. Now Microsoft is doing the same. Since no one is interested in Windows phones Microsoft is trying to put Windows on Android hardware.” Microsoft is only dominant if ones ignores devices, telephones, tablets, servers, supercomputers, various gadgets, televisions, home utilities, and so on. Android and Linux are now more dominant than Windows.

SJVN covered this latest news without chastising Microsoft, instead quoting Microsoft. Windows is for “power users”, according to Terry Myerson from Microsoft, who wasn’t even joking. As if Android is easier to use and only “power users” can handle Windows. Nice shot in the foot there.

“Windows is for “power users”, according to Terry Myerson from Microsoft, who wasn’t even joking.”Windows on phones (or tablets for that matter) is rubbish. I saw it for myself. I saw it running on the most expensive hardware. It requires rebooting, it is buggy, and it has almost no apps, except malware (which unlike with Android, the user does not need to willingly download and install).

Microsoft loves Linux for the same reasons a deer hunter loves deer. It is now trying to delete Linux while telling us that everything has changed and that it finally “loves Linux”. It is telling us that it is adopting “Open Source” while a Free/Open Source-leaning software policy in India comes under attacks from Microsoft, still. India’s watered-down policy is a result of lobbying primarily from Microsoft, but corporate media now tells us that Cisco, IBM and Oracle also play a role:

Industry bodies US-India Business Council and the Confederation of Indian Industry have urged the government to reconsider its push for open source software that will cut the cost of licensing from big companies such as Cisco, IBM and Oracle.

In submissions to the Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY), which were seen by ET, the two bodies suggested the government replace the clause on mandatory use of open software with “best-fit and best-value technologies that support interoperability through open standards”.

Let’s not forget what Microsoft's direct lobbying (and lobbying by proxy) has done. Does anyone really think that Microsoft has changed? To such people we would kindly offer a Darwin Award.

Only Months After Microsoft’s Ramji Enters the Linux Foundation Microsoft Gradually Joins Him

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 10:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Gates looks at everything as something that should be his. He acts in any way he can to make it his. It can be an idea, market share, or a contract. There is not an ounce of conscientiousness or compassion in him. The notion of fairness means nothing to him. The only thing he understands is leverage.”

Philippe Kahn, Founder and former CEO of Borland

Sam Ramji
Photo from a Microsoft marketing site

Summary: Sam Ramji is doing to Linux what Stephen Elop did to Nokia

WE continue to be a wee bit disturbed by just how apathetic the Linux Foundation has become towards the company which constantly attacks Linux (usually behind closed doors). Ramji entered the Linux Foundation and only 3 months later we already saw Microsoft too crashing at the place, serving to make FOSS more Windows-leaning and even proprietary. Stephen Elop also waited several months at Nokia before he signed a Microsoft deal (left Microsoft in late 2010 in order to join Nokia, only to hand Nokia over to Microsoft around 4 or 5 months later, pick up a huge bonus for the move, and then return to Microsoft, in which he had shares, as per our timelines). We are not suggesting that the severity will be equal in both cases (huge difference in magnitude), but the patterns do fit. Ramji is no friend of GNU/Linux and it was Microsoft that paid him handsomely.

“Borland and Sun (if they still existed) could tell what Microsoft’s involvement in imperative and object-oriented programming had done to them.”Sam Dean, who is an apologist that accepts the ‘new Microsoft’ myth and Nadella as its ‘leader’ (the abusive Bill Gates is still the leader of the company, to which he officially returned) welcomed Microsoft and so did Microsoft’s booster Maria Deutscher (always openwashing Microsoft), who says that the Ramji (Microsoft)-led Cloud Foundry coming to NSA PRISM (Azure) is a “win for open-source” (it’s actually proprietary with a lot of surveillance, not even “open-source” with a dash).

Deutscher goes further with the openwashing. She sounds like a Microsoft PR agent when she says: “That strategy has previously seen Redmond contribute the source code for its .NET application framework to the public domain and acquire Revolution Analytics, Inc., a distributor of the world’s most popular open statistical programming language. The addition of support for Cloud Foundry is no less significant.”

Revolution Analytics is definitely not FOSS and .NET is still a patent trap and mostly proprietary [1, 2, 3], so this Silicon Angle piece is a great example of Microsoft puff pieces in action, courtesy of ‘journalists’ who would print every lie from Microsoft in an effort to reshape consensus.

What we see in the Linux Foundation is reminiscent of entryism, much like Jo Shields joining Xamarin (Microsoft proxy) after he spent a lot of time pushing Mono into Debian and Ubuntu (they have since then learned to avoid this plague). He currently delivers the latest Trojan horse, hoping that misinformed GNU/Linux users might install it and developers might foolishly develop with it. It’s all about the API. If the Linux Foundation does not guard its own open standards and APIs, then Microsoft will easily pull its infamous “embrace, extend, extinguish” (EEE) trick on various elements in GNU/Linux, little by little, one step at a time. Borland and Sun (if they still existed) could tell what Microsoft’s involvement in imperative and object-oriented programming had done to them. Thinking that Microsoft has changed has historically been a fatal mistake.

Microsoft Wants to Remove (or Deprecate) PuTTY From Windows and Replace It With Proprietary Microsoft Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Security at 10:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

What would Simon Tatham say?

Simon Tatham

Summary: The most prominent NSA partner wants to ‘contribute’ to OpenSSH, one of the thorns in the side of spies all around the world

MICROSOFT has just made this bizarre “Looking Forward” announcement, with no timetable. It’s about OpenSSH.

“I haven’t read the page or even tried to load the link,” told us a reader, “but the URL if legit says a lot of bad if they are now targeting and may corrupt that community. Connecting to or from a Windows machine defeats the purpose of the program.”

PowerShell was recently mentioned in the context of Microsoft's attempt to openwash it, trying to get UNIX/Linux people addicted to it. PowerShell is proprietary software and it is using Microsoft APIs, conventions, etc. No security-conscientious person (especially computer professional) should ever use it.

A very misleading headline from IDG says that making proprietary software devour OpenSSH is “love”. IDG extended this nonsense to several sites which it owns and many people read it there first because of this spamming/repetition/googlebombing [1, 2]. There was later (due to lesser visibility, no spamming) some additional ZDNet‘s coverage from Linux-oriented journalists and some Linux-oriented sites like Softpedia‘s Linux section and Phoronix, which wrote: “In the Windows world it has been traditional to use a program such as PuTTY to remotely manage Unix boxes from Windows clients, but no more.”

“Like porting a hardened steel padlock to a paper bag.”
      –iophk
Well, so it’s more like an unnecessary move then, at the very least because of PuTTY (there are other reasons which we can name another day). What at all is Microsoft contributing here? PuTTY has worked for well over a decade (I first used it around 2001). It was adequately adapted/updated to all versions of Windows as there was market need/demand.

There was pro-Microsoft slant in Microsoft-supportive sites [1, 2] and increasingly (over time) Microsoft-leaning sites such as Slashdot (see coverage) or The Register (see coverage). These used to be pro-FOSS, but that was before Microsoft influence, boosters, money etc. got funneled in.

Our reader iophk, quoting Microsoft Peter as saying that “Microsoft is going to work with {sic} and contribute to {sic} OpenSSH, the de facto standard SSH implementation in the Unix world, to bring its SSH client and server to Windows,” criticises this worrisome move. “Like porting a hardened steel padlock to a paper bag,” to use his analogy. So a platform with back doors can compromise a network which the NSA, based on Snowden’s leak, has not been so successful penetrating (some improvements have been made since there, like deprecation of old ciphers, not deliberately-compromised ciphers like those which Microsoft uses). We have legitimate reasons to be concerned when the first PRISM company and NSA ally (Microsoft) says it wants to ‘contribute’. Even when a company like Red Hat wants to alter SSH we dread it a bit because of Red Hat’s own relationship with its big client, the Department of Defence, as we have explained before [1, 2, 3, 4]. OpenSSH is a BSD project and the licence too is different, not just the philosophy (OpenBSD is exceptionally strict).

EPO Corruption Compared to FIFA Corruption While ‘Control Risks’ Helps EPO Hide/Suppress Evidence of Corruption; Calls on German Authorities to Crack Down on Both

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Patents at 9:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Military- and mercenaries-connected company contracted by Battistelli to attack perceived ‘risk’

Control Risks

Summary: As German authorities express eagerness to crack down on corruption calls emerge for action against the Munich-based EPO, where Battistelli acts like an out-of-control autocrat who tries to silence the media and conceal information about Topić’s and his own abuses

The EPO tried to reassure staff that it was obeying the law whilst attacking the media after it had hired a military-connected company to spy on critics (we are still under heavy DDOS attacks at this very moment and many of the offending addresses have historically come from within Lockheed Martin). It’s not going to help the EPO because they are merely sinking deeper in a scandal which they themselves started. The EPO is now cracking down on sources of information (about abuse) rather than crack down on sources of abuse at the EPO. It’s symptomatic of the last, miserable effort by an abusive autocracy to defend itself from the public. The days of the EPO (in its current shape and roster) ought to be numbered, but only if governments actually do their job and intervene. The EPO is structured like a lawless state within a state, but surely it is not entirely immune to outside scrutiny. An thorough (and independent) investigation is long overdue. The German authorities are best equipped to do so.

Read this new comparison from football and software lobbyist Florian Müller. He compares the abuses at FIFA to the abuses at the EPO, naming for example the corruption. To quote one portion: “FIFA officials have been linked to bribery for many years. If you’re interested in the longstanding history of corruption in soccer, I recommend this book: “FOUL! The secret world of FIFA: Bribes, vote rigging and ticket scandals” by Andrew Jennings. One of the officials arrested last month, Jack Warner, also features prominently in that masterpiece of investigative journalism. However, as far as criminal charges (whether they will ultimately be proven is another question in all those cases) are concerned, the EPO also has its Jack Warner and his name is Željko Topić. You can read about the related allegations and accusations on Wikipedia, TechRights, IP-Watch and other sites.

“So, Battistelli is visiting the place where alleged corruption from his right-hand man (many criminal charges with a court’s ruling serving to reinforce this) has truly become a headache. How telling…”“If the Administrative Council of the EPOrg was as concerned about the reputation of the EPO as the supervisory bodies of honorable organizations are, they would have ousted a vice president at the latest after he lost a Croatian court case trying to prevent a journalist from making certain claims. But with little attention in mass media (at least outside of Croatia), he can stay in office, which says a lot about the mentality of the decision-makers there. Do you believe the European Central Bank would let a vice president stay in office after being accused of counterfeiting? What this EPO vice president is accused of is the IP equivalent of what counterfeiting would mean for a banker.”

Here is the EPO calendar. The next meeting of the Administrative Council (the President’s guardian rather than independent overseer) is on the 24th and 25th of June — a meeting to take place in Munich, Germany. We have incidentally heard from our sources in Zagreb that Battistelli is planning a visit to the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office (together with Željko Topić) in July.

So, Battistelli is visiting the place where alleged corruption from his right-hand man (many criminal charges with a court's ruling serving to reinforce this) has truly become a headache? How telling…

Going back to Müller’s comparison, there is a part in it which alludes to paid (planted) articles and extravagant awards which we last covered a few days ago. He writes: “When “non-profits” like FIFA and the EPO control billions of dollars/euros, they inevitably look for ways to spend them in ways that could be characterized as self-aggrandizement. They hire famous architects to design new buildings for them, and they throw expensive parties. Here, again, FIFA’s Ballon d’Or award ceremony at least serves an obvious and legitimate commercial purpose, while the EPO’s European Inventor Award is a major disgrace in ethical terms. I agree with the criticism voiced in this IPKat post. This is indeed a “dangerous compromise of principle.” The EPO must be neutral, but it is not. Instead of taking measures that would really contribute to patent quality, it compromises the process as a whole. It crosses the line all the time between what is appropriate for a governmental organization and behavior that would only be acceptable for a private enterprise.”

In Germany, tells us a reader, action is now needed. “The Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas calls for more resources for the parliamentary oversight of intelligence services,” to quote directly. “Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas (SPD) has called for a more comprehensive monitoring of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND). ’We need the whole activity of the BND subject to democratic control’, Maas said the ’Welt am Sonntag’.’ There must be no lawless areas for secret services.’”

What about the EPO and the bullies it hired to assault the rights of staff? Not to mention an attack on journalists and news sites…

Christoph Ernst is brought up as well. A reader told us that this “German Ministry of Justice is also responsible for oversight of the EPO through its national delegate on the EPO’s Administrative Council, Dr. Christoph Ernst.”

There is a lot of interest in cracking down on FIFA corruption (timing chosen for arguably political and partisan reasons), but what about the EPO?

“What a pity Heiko Maas doesn’t seems to show the same level of interest in the oversight of the EPO,” tells us a reader. “At least he has “tweeted” his intention to combat corruption in the world of football” (“Korruption darf im Fußball keinen Platz haben. Vorwürfe gg #FIFA müssen endlich umfassend aufgeklärt werden. Fußball kein rechtsfreier Raum.”), leading to press coverage such as “German justice minister urges new start at FIFA without Blatter”.

FIFA has had a reputation for corruption for quite some time (probably decades if not just years), but the EPO is going down the same route and a crackdown on it shouldn’t take as long as it took to tackle FIFA.

When Patent Lawyers Attack the Messengers for Stopping Software Patents, Ignoring Patent Law’s New Post-Alice Reality

Posted in America, Law, Patents at 8:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Distrust any enterprise that requires new clothes.”

Henry David Thoreau

Summary: Analysis of recent articles from patent lawyers, highlighting their bias and disregard for facts in this system which has become increasingly intolerant toward software patents

TECHRIGHTS has very serious concerns about media coverage of patent matters. The corporate media is still stuffed with lawyers, acting as experts despite a conflict of interests or vested interests (informing versus profiting). Asking patent lawyers about patent law is like asking oil and coal executives about global warming and preferable energy sources.

We have closely watched patent lawyer’s Web sites, blogs, and news sites ever since the Alice case was concluded (one year ago at SCOTUS level). It wasn’t quite over because then, almost immediately, there was a trial in the media, whereupon opinions on the outcome were publicly distributed and consensus was being shaped, mostly by biased lawyers. The comical thing about it is that lawyers twist the truth or distort the truth in order to defend their business, which involves bending the system or finding loopholes for getting around the rules (that is what people often pay lawyers for).

We were hardly astounded to learn that yet more software patents have died because of the Alice case. As Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP put it: “To determine whether the asserted patent fails to claim patentable subject matter under § 101, the court applied the Federal Circuit’s two-step Alice test.”

This is an example of coverage which is rare because patent lawyers rarely cover legal cases where software patents get eliminated. As we have demonstrated many times before, they would rather emphasise cases where software patents withstand a court’s scrutiny. It’s lie by omission. It’s worse than half-truths.

“Patents have become land mines (notoriously broad and inaccurate) rather than a form of protection from imitation/ripoff artists.”Another site, a lawyers’ site called Law 360, says that “co-founder of an online diamond sale facilitator wants the startup’s lawyers tossed from a case accusing him of stealing its proprietary software, arguing in New York federal court Wednesday that one lawyer represented him for 16 years and the other is bound to be a witness.” The phrase “stealing its proprietary software” serves to remind us that lawyers view software as a property that can be stolen, not merely copied. Another article from Law 360 focuses on Alice , turning to the software patents-friendly Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC). Titled “A Look At Everything The Fed. Circ. Has Said About Alice”, the article serves to echo the pro-software patents arguments rather than remind us of the findings of the Court it got escalated/elevated to (the highest court in the US), by means of an overruling appeal.

The National Law Review says that “Another Sequenom Patent Appeal Heads To The Federal Circuit” and we are assuming that everything will be done by this court, as always, to legitimise the patent and by extension many like it. If only more lawyers’ sites were sincere enough and objective enough to cover the many known cases where software patents are dropping like flies…

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP, another law firm, has just published “Software Patents Are Still Very Useful Despite Alice, But Are Business Method Patents?” What a loaded headline. Actually, software patents lost in a very big way, much more so than after the Bilski case.

Gene Quinn, a vocal proponent of software patents, went the furthest (among the patent lawyers). In no effort to come across as professional or polite (or even moderately diplomatic for the courts’ sake), he starts a long series of personal attacks on the intelligence of SCOTUS Justices as if he, a patent lawyer, is all that technical himself. “Naked Emperors” he calls them, stating:

Given that we live in an age of software innovation, where 50% or more of all innovation is in one way, shape or form related to software, why are many Article III and Administrative Judges declaring that software is not patent eligible? Perhaps a more important question is why is Congress letting these Judges get away with what they are doing? There is no legislative support for the existence of any so-called judicial exceptions to patent eligibility, yet Article III and Administrative Judges are striking down patent after patent in this economically vital area.

His arguments are clearly flawed and are easy to debunk (for instance the poor assumption that expansion of scope must follow digitisation of existing processes), but what we wish to highlight is the rudeness, arrogance, and poor attitude from some patent lawyers who view themselves as flag-bearers.

Another lawyer, a good lawyer (fighting for ethical software and against patents on software), expresses concern about a new ruling regarding willful or unwilling infringement of patents, noting: “Most engineers are aware that patent owners can sue those that infringe their patents. It may surprise them, however to know that a patent owner can also sue someone for only “inducing” another to infringe their patent. Luckily, in both cases, the patent owner only has a right to sue if the other party acted “knowingly.”

“As you might expect, the circumstances and facts that are deemed to prove knowledge are the subject of much litigation and many legal opinions. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court added another decision to the pile, and a distinction that the court drew on this question may surprise you. It should also particularly concern open source software developers…”

As a lawyer for the Linux Foundation, Andy Updegrove analyses the threat this poses to Free/Open Source software and he reminds of the injustices in current patent law, be it because of patent scope or the definition of infringement. Patents have become land mines (notoriously broad and inaccurate) rather than a form of protection from imitation/ripoff artists. A reset of this who system is well overdue, but large corporations won’t permit it. Nor will patent lawyers who make a career out of this sordid mess…

Links 3/6/2015: More Ubuntu Phones, Qt Releases

Posted in News Roundup at 6:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • SourceForge commits reputational suicide

    Despite seeming reformed last year, SourceForge has been caught red-handed abusing the reputations of open source projects

  • Test It Right: 3 Open Source Load Testing Tools for Your Application!
  • Did Slashdot bury negative stories about SourceForge?
  • Slashdot Burying Stories About Slashdot Media Owned SourceForge

    If you’ve followed any tech news aggregator in the past week, you’ve probably seen the story about how SourceForge is taking over admin accounts for existing projects and injecting adware in installers for packages like GIMP. For anyone not following the story, SourceForge has a long history of adware laden installers, but they used to be opt-in. It appears that the process is now mandatory for many projects.

    People have been wary of SourceForge ever since they added a feature to allow projects to opt-in to adware bundling, but you could at least claim that projects are doing it by choice. But now that SourceForge is clearly being malicious, they’ve wiped out all of the user trust that was built up over sixteen years of operating. No clueful person is going to ever download something from SourceForge again. If search engines start penalizing SourceForge for distributing adware, they won’t even get traffic from people who haven’t seen this story, wiping out basically all of their value.

  • Sourceforge Hijacking Projects to Deliver Malware

    It’s been a crazy few days in Linuxville to be sure. Sourceforge is accused of locking out GIMP developers and inserting malware into the application for users to download. Scott Dowdle spotted a “GNOME versus KDE” in MR. ROBOT and Ubuntu was seen in a Google promotional video. David Both shows users how to use Konqueror and Attila Orosz takes a look at Deepin 2014.3. And finally, is the Bling factor in Linux doomed?

  • Buffalo First to Ship Wireless Routers with DD-WRT NXT Open Source Firmware
  • Buffalo Wireless Routers Have DD-WRT NXT Open Source Firmware

    Buffalo First to Ship Wireless Routers with DD-WRT NXT Open Source Firmware

  • Why Intel Invests in Open Source [VIDEO]

    Few if any companies in the world today are as deeply involved in open source work as tech giant Intel. Helping to lead Intel’s open source efforts is Imad Sousou, VP in Intel’s Software and Services Group and GM of the Intel Open Source Technology Center

  • Debunking the Myths of the Open Source Community

    The Linux operating system is the most popular open-source software in the world and has been ported to more computer hardware platforms than any other operating system. Readers will know the story of the underdog who rose to become the world’s leading server operating system. Android especially, a Linux derivative, has caused a stir in recent years with two out of three tablets and 75 percent of all smartphones using the Linux derivative operating system.

  • ‘Cardinal’ Takes Flight: ONOS Ships New Open Source SDN OS Version

    ONOS’ community today announced the availability of the third release of its open source SDN Open Network Operating System (ONOS), named Cardinal. Providing the best value proposition for scale, performance and high availability, Cardinal adds comprehensive feature sets and performance improvements to enable a new variety of deployments and solution proof of concepts (POCs). Cardinal delivers several significant enhancements, mainly in the areas of Application Intent Framework, southbound interfaces and new distributed core features and capabilities.

  • Open source and Apple: The nagging nausea

    Open source software fans hate walled gardens. After all, they believe in communities supporting each other for the greater good. Sure, they fight over the details and who gets the most support, but that’s part of what it means to be a creator, an owner, a participant in both the journey and the final result.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

  • Business

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing

    • Why Companies That Use Open Source Need a Compliance Program

      Corporate use of open source software is now the norm with more than 60 percent of companies saying that they build their products with open source software, according to the 2015 Future of Open Source survey. But that same survey also revealed that most companies that use FOSS in their products don’t have formal procedures in place for ensuring that their software complies with open source licenses and regulations.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • New open digital humanities projects

      The Digital Public Library of America and Europeana are collaborating on a project to standardize usage rights statements. Despite operating under different copyright laws (United States and European Union), the DPLA and Europeana are keen to have a clear and compatible way to share copyright information with collaborators and users. To that end, work has begun on developing a technical framework for interoperable rights statements. Currently, they are seeking comments on their Rights Statement White Paper and their Technical Infrastructure White Paper. The deadline for comments on both papers is June 26, 2015.

  • Programming

    • PyPy 2.6 Released, ~7x Faster Than CPython

      Version 2.6 of the PyPy JIT-compiler-based interpreter for Python has been released. With PyPy 2.6 there’s some Python compatibility improvements along with Numpy improvements and preliminary support for a new lightweight stats profiler.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Charlie Kennedy

      Charlie told me the story of how, as party leader, he was invited by Blair to Downing Street to be shown the original key evidence on Iraqi WMD. Charlie was really worried as he walked there, that there really would be compelling evidence as Blair said, and he would then be unable to maintain the party line against the war. When he saw the actual intelligence on which the dodgy dossier was based, he was astounded. It was incredibly weak and “totally unconvincing”. Blair was not present while Charlie saw the reports, but he saw him afterwards and told Blair he was quite astonished by the paucity of the evidence. Blair went white and looked really rattled, and resorted to a plea for patriotic solidarity. He then reminded Charlie he was not allowed to reveal what he had seen. Charlie felt bound by good faith – he had been shown the intelligence in confidence – not to publish this. Not I think his best moral judgement.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • PM Gifts MPs 10% Pay Rise

      DAVID CAMERON effectively handed penny-pinching MPs a backdated 10 per cent pay rise yesterday after the PM dropped his opposition to the extra cash.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Government should be able to block websites, says report

      Government agencies should have the right to block access to any websites they wish, says Parliamentary Committee, provided there is an adequate oversight mechanism in place.

      House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications has handed down its report into whether Government agencies should ‘disrupt the operation of illegal online services.’

    • The Streisand Effect With Chinese Characteristics

      Even in China, people find ways to circumvent the country’s famous Great Firewall that tries to block access to some external sites with material deemed politically dangerous. Interestingly, an editorial in the Chinese-government tabloid, the Global Times, written in response to the students’ publication, recognizes that fact…

  • Privacy

    • Senate delays vote on NSA phone records dragnet

      A controversial program allowing the U.S. National Security Agency to collect millions of domestic telephone records expired Sunday night after the Senate failed to vote on a bill to extend the authority for the surveillance.

  • Civil Rights

    • TSA Not Detecting Weapons at Security Checkpoints

      This is bad. I have often made the point that airport security doesn’t have to be 100% effective in detecting guns and bombs.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Undercover DHS Tests Find Security Failures at US Airports

      An internal investigation of the Transportation Security Administration revealed security failures at dozens of the nation’s busiest airports, where undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials, ABC News has learned.

    • Medical Marijuana Patient Protests After House Raided, Vibrator Allegedly Confiscated

      With her four teenagers inside, Ginnifer Hency’s house was raided by officers who suspected she was using and selling marijuana.

      In fact, she was. Hency, a multiple sclerosis patient with a medical marijuana card, was charged with intent to deliver, “even though I’m allowed to possess and deliver,” Hency said, in testimony before the Michigan House Committee.

      Medical marijuana use had been suggested by her neurologist, Hency said, adding that she can’t take run-of-the-mill pain medication because of a heart condition.

    • Fatal police shootings in 2015 approaching 400 nationwide

      In an alley in Denver, police gunned down a 17-year-old girl joyriding in a stolen car. In the backwoods of North Carolina, police opened fire on a gun-wielding moonshiner. And in a high-rise apartment in Birmingham, Ala., police shot an elderly man after his son asked them to make sure he was okay. Douglas Harris, 77, answered the door with a gun.

    • EU arts policies could lead to ISDS lawsuits, admits German government

      The German federal government has admitted that an EU country’s arts policies could lead to it being sued by foreign corporations before investor tribunals under trade agreements being negotiated with Canada and the US. Both the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently include the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which allows foreign investors to claim millions of pounds from governments for “indirect expropriation” such as an alleged loss of future profits.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Hollywood: Piracy Poses A Great Cybersecurity Threat

        The MPAA is advising the U.S. Government’s Internet Policy Task Force to help combat piracy, which they say poses a great cybersecurity threat. According to Hollywood, cyber criminals use pirated content as bait, to exploit citizens through malware and other scams.
        TSA Not Detecting Weapons at Security Checkpoints

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