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06.30.15

Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

Posted in News Roundup at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Node.js and Docker realigned

    It’s not really a surprise, but after just over six months since the “forking” of both Node.js and Docker, the two different projects have ended up back in some sort of alignment. For Node.js, it was the reunification with io.js under the Node.js Foundation, which was officially launched under the Linux Foundation’s umbrella. The Node.js and io.js technical development is now driven by a technical committee and hopefully this will all work out well for all.

  • Libreboot Now Supports An AMD/ASUS Motherboard

    The Libreboot “fork” of Coreboot now has support for its first AMD motherboard — or more broadly, its first desktop motherboard.

  • IBM Insists It’s Open to Open Source

    So it’s interesting when a senior IBM exec turns up in a keynote slot. Big Blue’s heritage, at least at the high end, had for years been dominated by proprietary architecture. No longer, said Doug Balog, general manager of IBM Power Systems. The founding of OpenPOWER roughly two years ago, sale of IBM’s x86 business, and the sprint away from the formidable but proprietary Blue Gene (and re-embrace of the battle-tested mainframe) are all part of IBM’s about-face.

  • The Open Information Security Foundation Joins Open Source Initiative as Affiliate Member

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI) today announced that The Open Information Security Foundation (OISF) has been accepted as an Affiliate Member. “The OSI is excited to welcome OISF,” said Patrick Masson, General Manager and Director at the OSI. “Just as we’re seeing with open source software projects, more and more organizations are looking for support from mature, robust and relevant security communities. The OISF and the open source technologies they support are ready to help and we’re happy to promote their good work.”

  • The evolution of the big data platform at Netflix

    I caught up with Eva to get a bit of a background on her, Netflix, and how open source is being used to improve services at Netflix. Not only has Netflix used and contributed to existing open source projects, but they have released their own projects like Genie as open source. To learn more about Netflix’s open source projects you can pursue their GitHub.

  • Events

    • ATO Opens Reg – Releases Partial Speakers List

      The All Things Open conference today pushed out a notification to recipients on its mailing list announcing that registration for the event, slated for October 19th and 20th. has begun. For the first time ever, event organizers are offering something of a super early bird special: Buy a ticket before July 7th and get admission for both days for only $99 — which is a deal since that’s what a single day will cost once the Early Bird Special kicks-in next Tuesday.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Can LibreOffice successfully compete with Microsoft Office?

      Michael Meeks, a leading LibreOffice developer, says the open source suite is currently being used by about 20 million Linux users. (LibreOffice is included in many Linux distributions.) He adds that update requests are also regularly received from 120 million different IP addresses – with one million new ones appearing every week — and suggests that in total there may be 80 million LibreOffice users around the globe.

    • LibreOffice 5.0 to Bring More DOCX Improvements

      The Document Foundation has released the second RC for the upcoming LibreOffice 5.0 version, and it looks like the developers are making a final push for the new version of the office suite that is scheduled to land in July.

    • The job is not done until the documentation is complete

      And yet there is a lot of really good documentation out there. For example, the documentation for LibreOffice is excellent. It includes several documents in multiple formats including HTML and PDF that range from “Getting Started” to a very complete user’s guide for each of the LibreOffice applications.

  • Funding

    • Roundcube Next crowdfunding success and community

      A couple days ago, the Roundcube Next crowdfunding campaign reached our initial funding goal. We even got a piece on Venture Beat, among other places. This was a fantastic result and a nice reward for quite a bit of effort on the entire team’s part.

  • BSD

    • DragonFly BSD 4.2 Gets Improvements for i915 and Radeon, Moves to GCC 5

      DragonFly BSD is a distribution that belongs to the same class of operating systems as other BSD-derived systems and UNIX. The developers have released a new version of the distro, and they have integrated quite a few changes and improvements.

    • OpenBSD from a veteran Linux user perspective

      For the first time I installed a BSD box on a machine I control. The experience has been eye-opening, especially since I consider myself an “old-school” Linux admin, and I’ve felt out of place with the latest changes on the system administration.

      Linux is now easier to use than ever, but administration has become more difficult. There are many components, most of which are interconnected in modern ways. I’m not against progress, but I needed a bit of recycling. So instead of adapting myself to the new tools, I thought, why not look for modern tools which behave like old ones?

    • DragonFlyBSD 4.2 Released: Brings Improved Graphics & New Compiler

      DragonFlyBSD 4.2 was released this morning as the next major release to this popular BSD operating system. For end-users there are a lot of notable changes with this update.

    • Call for Testing: Valgrind on OpenBSD

      The editors are certainly salivating over the possibility of valgrinding our way to victory.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Galicia publishes open source tools

      The government of Galicia (Spain) has made available three open source solutions over the past year, one for PC classrooms, one for land-management, and a third for computer network enhancement. The tools are available at Galicia’s software repository, and information about the solutions is now also available at Spain’s Centre for Technology Transfer (CTT).

    • Aragon publishes updates of eGovernment software

      The government of Aragon (Spain) has published updates of the open source software it uses for 25 eGovernment services. The updates have been available at the repository of Spain’s Centre for Technology Transfer since late last month.

    • House gets green light for open source

      The House of Representatives has officially jumped on the open source bandwagon. A June 25 announcement declared that U.S. representatives, committees and staff would be able to procure open source software, participate in open source software communities and contribute code developed with taxpayer dollars to open source repositories.

    • Cracking the Code: U.S. House of Representatives Allows Use Of Open Source Software

      As the executive branch of the United States government quietly works on creating an official open source policy, the legislative branch is also moving into the 21st century: Open source software is now officially permitted in the U.S. House of Representatives. That means software developed in the People’s House with taxpayer funds will eventually be available to the people. According to the nonpartisan OpenGov Foundation, there will soon be an Open Source Caucus in Congress.

  • Programming

    • LINUX, RUBY AND WEB CODING LAB FOR GRADUATE TRAINEES OPENS AT SCI-BONO

      The Simplon course was developed in France to teach skills in Linux, Ruby on Rails, CSS, Javascript, Meteor.js and other web development langauges. Co-founder Andrei Vladescu-Olt attended the opening of the SAP-funded laboratory, and explained that there’s more to the course than coding.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Matti Makkonen, inventor of the SMS text message, died on Friday

      It is a sad day in tech. This is such a young industry in mobile that most who built it are still alive. One of the biggest pioneers, however, died this past Friday. Matti Makkonen, the inventor of the SMS text message, was a former Telecoms Finland (later known as Sonera) exec and then Nokia VP and later Finnet Group boss and ended his career as Managing Director of Anviva before he retired from active business management work. He still continued on some part-time jobs in telecoms in Finland. In 2008 Matti received the Economist Innovation Award for inventing the SMS and we celebrated that occasion here on this blog at the time.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Serbia fetes Franz Ferdinand’s assassin 101 years later

      Serbia unveiled a statue on Sunday of the man whose killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand 101 years ago lit the fuse for the First World War, feting an assassin who still divides his native Balkans.

      Many Serbs regard Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, as a pan-Slavic hero, the shot he fired in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 marking the death knell for centuries of foreign occupation over the various nations and faiths that would make up the Yugoslavia that emerged.

      To others he is a terrorist, a nationalist fanatic whose act triggered a war in which 10 million soldiers died and the world order was rewritten.

    • Is more war abroad with troops on the ground what’s needed to defeat ISIS?

      It’s too early to say whether yesterday’s ‘day of terror’ was coordinated, or whether it was a random convergence of events whose perpetrators share the same commitment to ‘leaderless resistance’ jihad which makes it equally possible to murder ‘apostate’ Shia worshippers in a mosque or ‘kufar’ tourists in Tunisia.

      Whoever they are, their broader intentions are not difficult to fathom. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Kuwait and Tunisia attacks. Both are acts of ‘strategic’ terrorism.

      The attack in Kuwait is clearly intended to foment the sectarian war that IS believes it can exploit for its own purposes.

    • Killer drones raise new moral questions

      Technologies are making humans who remote-control drones more and more like children playing video-games. That is the main problem. When deaths or killings seem to be happening so far away, the “combat mentality” can combine with the comfort zone to highly murderous effect. When it’s so easy to kill without risking your own life, will you be merciful or shoot them up?

    • Killer robots are coming next: The next military-industrial complex will involve real-life Terminators
    • The human rights crisis is about domination, not perception

      When Israel is criticized about its rights-abusive policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the refrain most often heard among local politicians is that the government’s hasbara—the Israeli propaganda machine—is inadequate. The problem, in other words, is not what Israel actually does to the Palestinians, but rather the inability to get its positive message across to the international community. This is usually referred to as “rebranding Israel”. The underlying assumption here is that the merchandise is fine, and only the packaging needs to be replaced.

    • Operation Hannibal

      Here’s how Israel deals with hostages. The results aren’t pretty.

      [...]

      The war in Gaza, which had raged for three weeks by then and claimed the lives of dozens of Israelis and some 1,500 Palestinians, seemed to be tapering off. The ambush near Rafah would have gone down as one more skirmish. But as the surviving Palestinians retreated, they did something that would turn that Friday into the bloodiest day of the summer and embroil Israel in a possible war-crimes ordeal that reverberates even now: They dragged the third Israeli, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, with them underground.

    • AP withdraws photos in row over gun pointing at senator’s head

      Conservatives immediately turned on the news agency, which released a statement saying the five photos it issued “were not intended to portray Senator Cruz in a negative light”.

      After “consideration”, said the statement, “we have decided to remove those photos from further licensing through AP Images”.

    • Black churches taught us to forgive white people. We learned to shame ourselves
    • Barack Obama to deliver eulogy for Charleston church victims
    • Is the FBI Ignoring White Violence by Refusing to Call Dylann Roof a Terrorist?

      Civil rights activist Kevin Alexander Gray and Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, discuss whether the shooting in Charleston was an act of domestic terrorism. “Dylann Roof was a human drone, and every Tuesday morning the Obama administration uses drones to kill people whose names we don’t even know and can’t pronounce,” Kevin Alexander Gray says. “So I don’t know if I feel comfortable with the idea of expanding this word ‘terror.’” But Richard Cohen calls the shooting “a classic case of terrorism.” “It’s politically motivated violence by a non-state actor and carried out with the intention of intimidating more persons than those who were the immediate victims,” Cohen says. “I think in some ways it’s important to talk about terrorism in that way, not so we can send out drones, not so we can deny people their due process rights, but so we can understand the true dimensions of what we’re facing.”

    • “A Classic Case of Terrorism”: Is FBI Ignoring White Violence by Refusing to Call Roof a Terrorist?
    • White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States

      White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States, according to a study by the New America Foundation. The Washington-based research organization did a review of “terror” attacks on US soil since Sept. 11, 2001 and found that most of them were carried out by radical anti-government groups or white supremacists.

    • The question is: Will war ever end?

      I don’t rate any of our wars since to have been justified morally. I am morally shaken by our U.S. war these days involving drone use. Innocent civilians are being killed. We call it “collateral damage,” which I believe actually means “unintended murder.” How have we come to justify that? We claim to be doing it for the right reason. We have identified terrorists in these locations. When our drones strike, there are too often innocent civilians caught in the hell fire. It was not our intention to kill innocent people, but there are too many unanticipated consequences.

    • Let’s Not Forget Our Own Extremism

      To deem behavior or opinion as extremist depends on a particular point of view.

    • US Drone Strikes Kill Nine ‘Suspects’ in Yemen

      A pair of US drone strikes over the past 48 hours have killed at least nine people, none of them identified by name but all of them labeled “al-Qaeda suspects” by local officials on the ground in Yemen.

    • UK faces calls for intelligence-sharing guidance over drone attacks

      Ex-chief of navy Lord West says Britain must protect covert relationships but must also clear up grey areas over involvement in non-war zone killings

    • New Details About Drone Attacks Reported From Documents Leaked by Snowden

      The New York Times on Wednesday reported details about American counterterrorism officials’ use of drone strikes in countries such as Yemen, as well as the working relationship between intelligence agencies in the U.S. and the U.K.

    • Snowden papers suggest possible UK role in US drone strike

      The documents are said to show the extremely close cooperation between the NSA and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters better known as GCHQ, in regards to the controversial drone program.

    • US and British Wild West Spying…and the Entertainment Business

      Britain’s murky operations against the United Nations were first made public in 2004 when government minister Clare Short stated she “had read transcripts of some of Mr Annan’s conversations. She said she recalled thinking, as she talked to Mr Annan: “Oh dear, there will be a transcript of this and people will see what he and I are saying”.” She admitted in a BBC interview that British intelligence agencies had recorded conversations of the UN Secretary General in his office in New York. This astonishing revelation attracted an intriguing reaction from her own government, with prime minister Blair declaring her statement to be “deeply irresponsible” rather than taking any action about this manifestly irresponsible and illegal operation. It was obvious that the British government was up to its neck in a program of espionage against the leader of the organization that is intended to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person,” and there was no possibility that the prime approver of such funtime capers was going to admit his culpability.

    • New York Times, ACLU Make Case For Access To Drone Strike Memos

      The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times continued their fight in court Tuesday as they try to secure nine Department of Justice memos they believe outline the federal government’s legal justification for tactical drone strikes that have killed hundreds — including U.S. citizens — across the world.

      Attorneys on both sides presented their arguments to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Tuesday — the latest round of courtroom discussions that date back four years.

      In 2011, the ACLU submitted a Freedom of Information Act request regarding the targeted killings of U.S. citizens Anwar Al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki, and Sameer Khan earlier that year in September.

    • Civil Liberties Union Takes Court Action over US Drone Strikes

      The appealing parties want the public to know who and why the U.S. is killing in drone strike operations.

    • Drone strike kills 5 militants in E. Afghanistan

      Five militants have been killed following a NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, a source said on Sunday.

    • Drone strike kills five militants
    • Wars killed 149,000 in Pakistan, Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014

      Wars in Pakistan and Afghanistan have killed at least 149,000 people between 2001 and 2014, says a recent report by a US think-tank.

    • Wars killed 149,000 in Pakistan and Afghanistan since 2001: report
    • South Asian tensions and the fight against militancy

      Recent escalation in tension between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India figured high among US international concerns last week, with Secretary John Kerry cautioning against implications of South Asian hostilities, amidst tenuous search for Afghan stability.

    • Drone protesters vow to close down Staffordshire factory

      Protesters from 25 UK-based campaign groups are expected to take part in the latest rally on July 6 outside the Lynn Lane factory which they claim supplies arms to Israel.

    • Smart Talk: Legality of military drones on trial

      The U.S. actually trains more unmanned pilots than traditional fighter pilots today.

    • U.S. Army Begins Training Ukrainian Soldiers

      Fighting surged again this week in eastern Ukraine, where government troops are battling separatist militias and their Russian allies.

      NATO is responding by sending troops and equipment to eastern Europe, and it’s also giving defensive training to Ukraine’s beleaguered army.

    • Moving ever closer to a new Cold War

      Nato defence ministers are meeting in Brussels to agree their next steps in dealing with the renewed threat from Russia.

    • Under the rubble of drones

      It is harder for eyes from the sky or those pushing the drone buttons from the other end of the world to see precisely what lies wasted under the rubble of mud houses in the tribal regions of Pakistan. The loud claims of ‘successfully’ targeting wanted al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists have drowned the cries of the local populations for about a decade over their children, women and men having been killed. Over 2,000 civilian casualties must not disappear from the human radar after being termed collateral damage. True, we cannot escape human tragedies for larger ends of the war on terror, but we also need to take responsibility for errors of judgment.

    • Israel Bombs Lebanon

      Sunday reports indicate an Israeli warplane bombed a remote Lebanese Bekaa region to destroy one of its drones apparently downed.

      An IDF spokeswoman declined to comment. A Lebanese security source said it’s not entirely clear what happened “but most probably it was an Israeli airstrike to destroy its downed drone” – whether because of mechanical failure or by Hezbollah isn’t known.

      America, its rogue NATO partners and Israel unilaterally or together bomb other nations in blatant violation of international law.

    • Jared Keyel: It’s time to end US military interventions

      The Obama administration is contemplating setting up bases in Iraq and sending hundreds of additional American troops there. And a few months ago, President Barack Obama announced that nearly 10,000 American troops will remain in Afghanistan through the end of the year. This is in spite of US interventions in the two countries that have left hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced and continuing instability all over the region.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • World’s Aquifers Losing Replenishment Race, Researchers Say

      From the Arabian Peninsula to northern India to California’s Central Valley, nearly a third of the world’s 37 largest aquifers are being drained faster than they are being replenished, according to a recent study led by scientists at the University of California, Irvine. The aquifers are concentrated in food-producing regions that support up to two billion people.

    • Council blocks Little Plumpton fracking application

      An application to start fracking at a site on the Fylde coast in Lancashire has been rejected by councillors.

      Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to extract shale gas at the Little Plumpton site between Preston and Blackpool.

      Lancashire County Council rejected the bid on the grounds of “unacceptable noise impact” and the “adverse urbanising effect on the landscape”.

    • Fracking plans rejected by council in shock result after worries about environment

      Plans to frack for shale gas in Lancashire have been rejected by county councillors.

      Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to undertake exploratory drilling and fracking at a site between Preston and Blackpool.

      Planning officials recommended approval of the operation subject to a number of conditions – but councillors rejected the advice and voted against.

    • US supreme court strikes down Obama’s EPA limits on mercury pollution

      Justices invalidate new rules in move that could make Environmental Protection Agency more vulnerable to challenges to new regulations on carbon emissions

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin poker site founder takes plea deal to avoid jail time

      A man who ran a Bitcoin-based online poker site and then fled to Antigua after being raided earlier this year has pleaded guilty to a lesser gambling violation in Nevada as a way to stay a near-free man.

      According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Bryan Micon accepted probation on Thursday and will also pay a $25,000 fine, surrender the computers, 3.0996 bitcoins ($750) and the $900 that were seized from him during the raid. Once complete, his charge will be reduced to a gross misdemeanor of operating an unlicensed interactive gaming system.

    • Dutch city of Utrecht to experiment with a universal, unconditional ‘basic income’

      The Dutch city of Utrecht will start an experiment which hopes to determine whether society works effectively with universal, unconditional income introduced.

      The city has paired up with the local university to establish whether the concept of ‘basic income’ can work in real life, and plans to begin the experiment at the end of the summer holidays.

      Basic income is a universal, unconditional form of payment to individuals, which covers their living costs. The concept is to allow people to choose to work more flexible hours in a less regimented society, allowing more time for care, volunteering and study.

    • Greek PM makes plea to voters as debt deadline nears

      Tsipras asks voters to reject austerity proposals offered by creditors as thousands of his supporters rally in Athens.

    • Greek Investigator’s Report Finds Evidence of Plot Against Former PM’s Life, ‘Silver Drachma’ Plan

      Evidence pointing to international espionage, a plot to murder former Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and a 2012 plan for Greece’s exit from the euro code-named the “Silver Drachma” are just some of the sensational findings unveiled in a report by Greek Anti-Corruption Investigator Dimitris Foukas, released on Friday and sent to the Justices’ Council for consideration.

      The report outlines the findings of three converging judicial investigations spanning several years, initiated after the notorious phone-tapping scandal in 2005 and revelations that the mobile phones of then Prime Minister Karamanlis and dozens of other prominent Greeks were under surveillance.

    • ‘Nein Danke’ – smaller German firms see U.S. trade deal as threat

      Martina Roemmelt-Fella, who owns a small, family-run turbine manufacturer in Bavaria, should be a cheerleader for a trade deal between Europe and the United States that promises to ease the flow of goods and services across the Atlantic.

      But instead she fears the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being hammered out between Brussels and Washington will give too much power to big multinationals at the expense of small companies like hers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • George Will Won’t Throw Out a Perfectly Good Column Just Because Its Premise Is Completely Wrong

      At some point, Will either noticed, or someone pointed out to him, that Roberts’ decision did the opposite of what Will’s column says it did: It did not defer to the executive branch’s interpretation of the ACA, but instead produced its own definitive interpretation of the law. This makes most of Will’s criticism–starting with the first paragraph, which denounces “decades of populist praise of judicial deference to the political branches”–irrelevant to the opinion Roberts actually wrote.

  • Privacy

    • Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

      Anyone who has been freaked out by the robots in Channel 4’s new hit drama Humans knows what life in the Uncanny Valley feels like. The same goes for those who have met or seen footage of Aiko Chihira, a realistic humanoid who has just started welcoming visitors to a department store in Japan. She’s creepy, in the extreme.

    • Two keys to rule them all: Cisco warns of default SSH keys on appliances

      Cisco revealed a security vulnerability in a number of the company’s network security virtual appliances that could give someone virtually unlimited access to them—default, pre-authorized keys for Secure Shell (SSH) sessions originally intended for “customer support” purposes. As Threatpost’s Dennis Fisher reported, Cisco has released software patches that correct the problem, but there’s no temporary workaround for systems that can’t immediately be patched.

      Cisco released an advisory on the vulnerability on June 25. There are two separate SSH key vulnerabilities for the Cisco Web Security Virtual Appliance (WSAv), Cisco Email Security Virtual Appliance (ESAv), and Cisco Security Management Virtual Appliance (SMAv).

    • Default SSH Key Found in Many Cisco Security Appliances

      Many Cisco security appliances contain default, authorized SSH keys that can allow an attacker to connect to an appliance and take almost any action he chooses. The company said that all of its Web Security Virtual Appliances, Email Security Virtual Appliances, and Content Security Management Virtual Appliances are affected by the vulnerability.

      This bug is about as serious as they come for enterprises. An attacker who is able to discover the default SSH key would have virtually free reign on vulnerable boxes, which, given Cisco’s market share and presence in the enterprise worldwide, is likely a high number. The default key apparently was inserted into the software for support reasons.

    • When a Company Is Put Up for Sale, in Many Cases, Your Personal Data Is, Too

      That respect could lapse, however, if the company is ever sold or goes bankrupt. At that point, according to a clause several screens deep in the policy, the host of details that Hulu can gather about subscribers — names, birth dates, email addresses, videos watched, device locations and more — could be transferred to “one or more third parties as part of the transaction.” The policy does not promise to contact users if their data changes hands.

    • Nissan shuns cloud for physical communications infrastructure

      While this project is separate from the ongoing developments in Nissan’s connected vehicle technology, Deacon said that there were “huge developments” ongoing in bringing customer service to the car dashboard and more automated systems.

      Last year Renault also revealed a major overhaul of its internal and customer-facing interactions through a Europe-wide Salesforce rollout that would link its systems to its dealerships, allowing it to claw back valuable customer data.

    • Online Data Policies … in Plain English

      Clauses in privacy policies that enable online services to transfer or sell personal data about consumers as part of a merger, bankruptcy or other transaction are becoming common practice, an examination by The New York Times of the top 100 websites in the United States has found. The prevalence of these data-transfer clauses illustrates how little control people typically have over the dissemination of information about them. Details from privacy policies of five companies offer a sampling of the information that may be collected and how companies may handle the data in the event of a sale or bankruptcy. — Natasha Singer

    • Warrantless phone tapping, e-mail spying inching to Supreme Court review

      In 2013, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to a once-clandestine warrantless surveillance program that gobbles up Americans’ electronic communications—a project secretly adopted in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks on the United States. Congress legalized the surveillance in 2008 and again in 2012 after it was exposed by The New York Times.

      Human-rights activists and journalists brought the Supreme Court challenge amid claims that the FISA Amendments Act was chilling their speech. But the Supreme Court tossed the case, telling the challengers’ lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union to bring proof by real targets of the warrantless e-mail and phone surveillance. In a 5-4 ruling (PDF) by Justice Samuel Alito at the time, the court said the case was based on “assumptions” and that the plaintiffs “merely speculate” that they were being spied upon.

      Fast forward to the present day: a US resident of Brooklyn, New York, accused of sending $1,000 to a Pakistani terror group has won the right to become the nation’s second defendant to challenge the surveillance at the appellate level. This could mean a Supreme Court bid is likely several months or more away.

    • The most dangerous data breach ever known

      But the true nature and scope of the information required by the government and subsequently collected by the government on an employee is massive. Take a look at Standard Form 86. This is a 127-page form that usually takes a week or more to complete and requires the entry of the applicant’s Social Security number on each page. The data included on this form is not just enough for identity theft, but enough to allow a person to literally become another person. Each Standard Form 86 fully documents the life of the subject. The only thing missing is the name of your first crush, though that might be in there somewhere too.

    • Why Facebook Is Opening An Office In Africa

      Facebook is to open a new office in Africa, a region with more than one billion people but only 120 million Facebook users.

  • Civil Rights

    • Bernie Needs To Speak Truth To Power (and try to stay alive)

      One thing I was obsessed with was campaign finance reform. I almost cut my throat when Citizens United was allowed to participate in financing political campaigns because corporations have the same rights as people. I believe that decision absolutely destroyed our so-called democracy. I also observed the Democrats that stood by and let that happen. What that showed me was how corrupt and devious our elected officials are. I stand with Bernie on this issue on overturning Citizens United.

    • China Issues Report on Human Rights Violation by the United States

      China’s State Council Information Office on Friday issued a list of human rights violations committed by the United States government. The annual report is intended to counter US allegations of human rights abuses in China.

    • China criticizes United States’ human rights record
    • US Police Killings Violate International Law

      Amnesty International finds all 50 states and Washington, DC, fail to comply with international law and standards on the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers

    • Don’t expect rhetoric to match reality

      The transition from Bush to Obama was much less dramatic than one imagined and the transition from Obama to someone else is likely to be more nuanced

    • EU launches navy operation against migrant-traffickers

      More than 100,000 migrants have entered Europe so far this year, with some 2,000 dead or missing during the perilous quest to reach the continent. Dozens of boats set off from lawless Libya each week, with Italy and Greece bearing the brunt of the surge.

    • Australia’s New Law Would Strip Citizenship For Possessing A ‘Thing’ Connected With Terrorism, Or Whistleblowing
    • ‘Australians fighting in Syria will lose citizenship’ says PM Tony Abbott

      Australians who engaged in terrorism will be stripped of their citizenship, under new laws aimed at preventing militants fighting overseas from returning home.

    • Coalition defends proposed citizenship laws – as it happened

      The prime minister announces an expansion of powers ‘to reflect modern conditions’ and says laws could be applied retrospectively; Julie Bishop can’t confirm deaths of two Australians reportedly killed in drone strikes; and the ABC is under attack for allowing a former terrorism suspect to appear on Q&A. As it happened

    • Terror suspects to lose citizenship: PM
    • BBC News: Australia prepares new citizenship laws

      The laws would also strip citizenship from dual nationals who engage in terrorism inside Australia.

    • An Open Letter to the NRA and Its Trolls

      When are we going to have an honest conversation about guns in America? While I vigorously disagree with the Supreme Court’s most recent interpretation of the Second Amendment, I’ll concede that the right of individuals to bear arms is, for now, the law of the land.

    • First Texas abortion clinic closes, more to follow barring Supreme Court involvement

      Operation Rescue has confirmed that the Routh Street Women’s Clinic in Dallas, Texas, halted abortions earlier this month, beginning what is expected to be a series of clinic closures in the wake of a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. That ruling upheld a 2013 law, HB2, that requires abortion clinics to meet minimum safety standards.

      In addition, Planned Parenthood has apparently abandoned its efforts to open a larger clinic to replace its outdated facility located at 104 Babcock Road in San Antonio. Pro-life supporters with the Stop Planned Parenthood SA Coalition sued and successfully blocked a planned opening in January 2015, citing deception and zoning violations.

    • Destruction of Evidence

      David Cameron, echoed by the corporate media, calls upon the millions of law-abiding Muslims in the UK to denounce and distance themselves from a few terrorist nutters with whom 99.99% of British Muslims have no connection anyway. That apparently is acceptable. But to ask that the Zionist and Jewish organisations denounce the long term criminal activities of the man who actually led those organisations, is portrayed as unacceptable racism.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Charter: We won’t impose data caps after buying Time Warner Cable

      Charter yesterday promised that it won’t impose any data caps or overage charges on customers for at least three years if the Federal Communications Commission allows it to buy Time Warner Cable.

    • EU Parliament must defend Net Neutrality against pressure from Member States

      The Council of the European Union is looking to remove all reference to Net Neutrality in the regulation of telecommunications. While the Council has always refused to take a step towards a compromise, it has been looking for several weeks to put the responsibility for the failure of the negotiations on the European Parliament. Thus, it is with bad faith that the Council is taking on this 4th trialogue today ; with their aim to make the Parliament to give in.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Sad day for developers: SCOTUS denies Google’s appeal on APIs

        Supreme Court’s decision is bad news for developers targeting the U.S. market, who will now have to avoid any API not explicitly licensed as open

      • US Supreme Court denies Google’s request to review API Copyright decision

        A week after making the US LGBTQI community happy last week by ruling gay marriage legal across all the states, the US Supreme Court made the decision to not review the Google v. Oracle API Copyright decision made by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals last year. The Federal Circuit have been accused for misunderstanding both computer science and copyright law.

      • Pirate Bay Founder Still Wants to Clear His Name

        Last week Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm lost his appeal against his hacking conviction in Denmark. With an August release potentially on the horizon but an unexpected situation still to be resolved in Sweden, Gottfrid is longing to get in front of a computer and back into the world of IT. But before then he wants to set the record straight.

Techrights Confirmed as a Target of EPO Surveillance, With Help From Control Risks Group (CRG)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Control Risks

Summary: Unveiling the cloak of secrecy from long-term surveillance by the European Patent Office (EPO) and a London-based mercenary it hired, bypassing the law

SEVERAL months ago, before the whole EPO surveillance scandal even began (it’s now standard practice at the EPO, signed off even by a bogus ‘data protection’ officer), we got an important headsup. Our sources informed us that the UK-based “independent global risk consultancy” (i.e. private security company) Control Risks had been “engaged by the EPO to carry out an investigation into EPO Staff Representatives.”

We previously wrote about Control Risks in the following important posts which add some background:

This had significant impact because it meant that the EPO was officially on a fishing expedition, trying to find sources and thus targeting reporters. It was always without doubt that we had been put on Control Risks’ “targets” list. If we were not, it would just mean that Control Risks may be utterly incompetent. These people don’t try to uphold the law but rather to protect those who break the law, by breaking the law themselves (privacy violations and cracking). At a later date we will provide additional details about the EPO’s shameful (and potentially illegal) practices.

Our claims, as above, are based not purely on hearsay. We found out about this before the press even talked about it and before EPO staff knew about it. At a later date we had a source tell us that Control Risks’ involvement “may also indicate that Control Risks will be involved in “investigating” Techrights (due to the fact that EPO managements is highly concerned about negative publicity from that channel).

“According to information, the EPO or its agents are involved in monitoring Techrights IRC channels and the logs of these channels to try and identify who is feeding information to Techrights.”

Look what the EPO has turned into. It’s something to be expected from an authoritarian regime.

Investigation Unit

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