06.23.15

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Links 23/6/2015: Cinnamon 2.6.9, Red Hat Summit

Posted in News Roundup at 4:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Third Platform: The Time for Open Source Is Nigh

    The main purposes of open source are overt in the name itself. The biggest differentiator of open source is its innate openness, or transparency. Not only is the source code available, but so too are the other aspects. This characteristic contrasts with the often clandestine processes of proprietary vendors. Open-source products are thus easier to evaluate to determine whether they are right for a specific enterprise.

  • Business

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Introducing Adam Leibson: summer Campaigns intern

      Hello free software supporters, my name is Adam Tobias Leibson. I’ve been an avid GNU/Linux user since my first year of high school. Around that time, I read Cory Doctorow’s book Little Brother. That book challenged me to think more deeply about the effects of mass surveillance on society, and brought about my interests in privacy and cryptography.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Russia to replace proprietary software with open source

      The Russian Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications has announced a plan to replace proprietary software with open source and locally produced software. The plan is one of the measures aimed at promoting sustainable economic development and social stability announced earlier this year.

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Censorship

    • Australia passes controversial anti-piracy web censorship law

      A controversial bill to allow websites to be censored has been passed by both houses of the Australian parliament. The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 allows companies to go to a Federal Court judge to get overseas sites blocked if their “primary purpose” is facilitating copyright infringement.

      Dr Matthew Rimmer, an associate professor at the Australian National University College of Law, points out that there is a lack of definitions within the bill: “What is ‘primary purpose’? There’s no definition. What is ‘facilitation’? Again, there’s no definition.” That’s dangerous, he believes, because it could lead to “collateral damage,” whereby sites that don’t intend to hosting infringing material are blocked because a court might rule they were covered anyway. Moreover, Rimmer told The Sydney Morning Herald that controversial material of the kind released by WikiLeaks is often under copyright, which means that the new law could be used to censor information that was embarrassing, but in the public interest.

    • Australia Passes ‘Pirate’ Site Blocking Law

      A few minutes ago Australia passed controversial new legislation which allows for overseas ‘pirate’ sites to be blocked at the ISP level. Despite opposition from the Greens, ISPs and consumer groups, the Senate passed the bill into law with a vote of 37 in favor and 13 against. Expect The Pirate Bay to be an early target.

    • Germany Says You Can’t Sell Adult Ebooks Until After 10 PM

      Why is it that many efforts made “for the children” are so stupid most tweens could point out the obvious flaws? Back during the discussion of the UK’s now-implemented ISP porn filtration system, Rhoda Grant of the Scottish Parliament wondered why the internet couldn’t be handled the same way as television, where all the naughty “programming” isn’t allowed to take to the airwaves until past the nationally-accepted bedtime.

    • Google follows Facebook and Reddit with ‘revenge porn’ crackdown

      GOOGLE HAS STARTED accepting takedown requests for so-called revenge porn, following in the footsteps of Facebook, Twitter and Reddit.

      Google announced that users can now request that sexually explicit images shared without their consent are removed from search results, despite the firm having generally resisted efforts to limit what is viewable in search.

  • Privacy

    • US, UK Intel agencies worked to subvert antivirus tools to aid hacking [Updated]

      Documents from the National Security Agency and the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) obtained by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden reveal that the two agencies—and GCHQ in particular—targeted antivirus software developers in an attempt to subvert their tools to assure success in computer network exploitation attacks on intelligence targets. Chief among their targets was Kaspersky Labs, the Russian antivirus software company, according to a report by The Intercept’s Andrew Fishman and First Look Media Director of Security Morgan Marquis-Boire.

    • US and British Spies Targeted Antivirus Companies

      When the Russian security firm Kaspersky Lab disclosed recently that it had been hacked, it noted that the attackers, believed to be from Israel, had been in its network since sometime last year.

      The company also said the attackers seemed intent on studying its antivirus software to find ways to subvert the software on customer machines and avoid detection.

      Now newly published documents released by Edward Snowden show that the NSA and its British counterpart, GCHQ, were years ahead of Israel and had engaged in a systematic campaign to target not only Kaspersky software but the software of other antivirus and security firms as far back as 2008.

      The documents, published today by The Intercept, don’t describe actual computer breaches against the security firms, but instead depict a systematic campaign to reverse-engineer their software in order to uncover vulnerabilities that could help the spy agencies subvert it. The British spy agency regarded the Kaspersky software in particular as a hindrance to its hacking operations and sought a way to neutralize it.

    • Popular Security Software Came Under Relentless NSA and GCHQ Attacks

      The National Security Agency and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters, have worked to subvert anti-virus and other security software in order to track users and infiltrate networks, according to documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      The spy agencies have reverse engineered software products, sometimes under questionable legal authority, and monitored web and email traffic in order to discreetly thwart anti-virus software and obtain intelligence from companies about security software and users of such software. One security software maker repeatedly singled out in the documents is Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab, which has a holding registered in the U.K., claims more than 270,000 corporate clients, and says it protects more than 400 million people with its products.

    • GCHQ Dinged For Illegally Holding Onto Human Rights Groups Emails Too Long, Not For Collecting Them In The First Place

      Following on a ruling nearly two months ago, where the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal — for the very first time — found that GCHQ had broken the law with its surveillance of client/attorney communications, now the IPT has ruled against GCHQ again. The IPT says that GCHQ held emails of human rights activists for too long — but found that the initial collection of those emails was no problem at all.

    • GCHQ’s spying on human rights groups was illegal but lawful, courts find

      GCHQ’S SPYING on two international human rights groups was illegal, according to a ruling by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) which is responsible for handling complaints against the intelligence services.

      The court case was raised by a number of privacy groups and challenged how GCHQ surveys similar groups. It found that the government body operated in breach of its own rules.

      The decision in the High Court on Monday followed concerns raised by groups including long-time snooping critics Privacy International, Liberty, Amnesty International and the American Civil Liberties Union.

      The IPT ruled that British spies had breached Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and that GCHQ had retained emails for longer than it should and violated its own internal procedures.

    • Supreme Court declares warrantless searches of hotel registries illegal

      The Supreme Court gave a big boost to privacy Monday when it ruled that hotels and motels could refuse law enforcement demands to search their registries without a subpoena or warrant. The justices were reviewing a challenge to a Los Angeles ordinance requiring hotels to provide information to law enforcement—including guests’ credit card number, home address, driver’s license details, and vehicle license number—at a moment’s notice. Similar ordinances exist in about a hundred other cities stretching from Atlanta to Seattle.

      Los Angeles claimed the ordinance (PDF) was needed to battle gambling, prostitution, and even terrorism, and that guests would be less likely to use hotels and motels for illegal purposes if they knew police could access their information at will.

    • Supreme Court Says Motel Owners Must Be Allowed To Challenge Warrantless Searches Of Guest Registries

      A smallish victory for Fourth Amendment protections comes today as the Supreme Court has struck down a Los Angeles ordinance that allowed police warrantless, on-demand access to hotel/motel guest records. This win is very limited, and the court’s discussion of the issue at hand pertains solely to the Los Angeles statute and doesn’t address the potential unconstitutionality of other, similar records sweeps granted by the Third Party Doctrine. Nor does it address the potential Fourth Amendment violations inherent to “pervasive regulation” of certain businesses — like the records legally required to be collected and handed over on demand to law enforcement by entities like pawn shops, junk yards and firearms dealers.

    • Texas Dept. Of Public Safety Forced To Admit Its Stratfor-Crafted Surveillance Tech Isn’t Actually Catching Any Criminals

      Concerns over pervasive surveillance are often shrugged off with “ends justify the means” rationalizing. If it’s effective, it must be worth doing. But as more information on domestic surveillance programs surfaces, we’re finding out that not only are they intrusive, but they’re also mostly useless.

      TrapWire — software produced by Stratfor and used by security and law enforcement agencies around the world — utilizes facial and pattern recognition technology to analyze CCTV footage for “pre-attack patterns,” meshing this information with other law enforcement databases, including online submissions from citizens reporting “suspicious behavior.”

  • Civil Rights

    • 4-year-old struck by officer’s bullet in Ohio

      A 4-year-old child was struck by a bullet fired from a Columbus Police Officer’s gun, reports CBS affiliate WBNS.

      According to the station, a patrol officer was answering a call Friday afternoon when a family in the area started screaming for help because of a medical emergency.

    • Florida mail man who landed gyrocopter at US Capitol rejects plea offer that would have involved prison time

      A Florida postman who flew a gyrocopter through some of America’s most restricted airspace before landing at the US Capitol said he rejected a plea offer on Monday that would have involved several years in prison.

      Douglas Hughes, 61, of Ruskin, Florida, said he rejected the offer because no one got hurt during his stunt.

      Hughes was arrested on April 15 after he took off in his gyrocopter from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and landed on the Capitol’s West Lawn in his bare-bones aircraft.

    • Los Angeles police shoot unarmed man in the head who ‘waved at them for help with a towel’

      A Los Angeles Police Department officer shot a man in the head after he attempted to flag down officers for help with a towel in his hand.

      Officers responded to the scene following an officer-needs-help call in the area, CBS Los Angeles reported.

      The officers believed the man was holding a gun and, after ordering him to drop the alleged weapon, officers fired four shots. One of the rounds appeared to shoot the suspect in the head. A motorist posted graphic video of the scene online — which was widely shared on social media — showing the man rolled over and cuffed by police.

      “The officers stopped to investigate and see what was needed,” LAPD spokesman John Jenal told NBC Los Angeles. “This person then extended their arm, which was wrapped in a towel.”

      LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told the Los Angeles Times that the officers were following standard procedure for cuffing the man who seemingly had a gaping gunshot wound to the head with blood pouring from it.

      Mr Smith said the man was standing on the side of the road asking for the officers’ help yelling: “Police, police.”

      However, police said no weapons were found and only a towel was recovered from the scene.

    • Two British teenagers arrested over Auschwitz theft

      The unnamed pair were held by guards at the site, now a museum, on Monday and are in custody, police told AFP.

      They took artefacts belonging to prisoners held there during World War Two, including buttons and pieces of glass, a museum spokesman told AFP.

      The UK Foreign Office confirmed two British nationals had been arrested.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality will prove as evil as the VCR

      An interesting and melancholy event is taking place not far away from me. An honest-to-goodness independent movie rental store is closing its doors with much fanfare and a going-out-of-business sale.

      This is a small business that has been around almost since the advent of the VCR and rolled right through the dawn of the Internet and into the era of widespread streaming content — by renting videos. If you wanted to watch a movie, you drove down to the store, hoped there was a copy on the shelf, rented it on the contract you’d signed possibly decades ago, and returned it within a day or two.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Alleged Dallas Buyers Club Pirates To Be Asked For Employment, Income And Health Details

        In the previous instalment of the long-running saga involving alleged pirates of the Dallas Buyers Club film in Australia, the court agreed that Australian ISP iiNet should hand over information about its customers. But it added an important proviso: the letter and telephone script to be used to contact and negotiate with them had to be approved by the court first in an effort to prevent “speculative invoicing” of the kind all-too familiar elsewhere.

      • Taylor Swift vs Apple: nobody wins

        So why did Apple think for one second that it could get away with not paying Taylor Swift?

      • Libgen Goes Down As Legal Pressure Mounts

        Libgen, the largest online repository of free books and academic articles, has pretty much vanished from the Internet. Earlier this month the site’s operators were sued by academic publishing company Elsevier, who asked a New York federal court for a preliminary injunction hoping to keep the site down for good.

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