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07.18.15

Links 18/7/2015: Android PC, Chromixium 1.5

Posted in News Roundup at 7:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 7 big reasons to contribute to Opensource.com

    Opensource.com runs like other open source projects. The content collected and shared with you on this site is the result of the time, energy, and contributions from people all over the world. The writers you see published here, the community you see engaged with us on social media, and our readers keep Opensource.com going.

  • Visualizing flux: Time travel, torque, and temporal maps

    Open source is so important to our mission to make maps more accessible, and it’s been essential for our stack development as we progressively learn from community requests and contributions. Our software is engineered for ease-of-use, and our GUI Editor interface is an effort to make mapping projects more accessible to non-GIS experts. Everyone should be able to map found, open, and personal data, easily. At the same time, we have almost all of the functionality accessibility in our editor, available via our open source libraries and APIs. We have Carto.js for making maps, Torque.js for time-series data mapping, Odyssey.js for building chapterized narratives on maps, Vecnik.js for vector rendering, as well as our Import, Map, and SQL APIs to facilitate easy and open map-building in code.

  • What’s next for open source question answering technologies

    Grant Ingersoll is CTO at Lucidworks, provider of Fusion, but his claim to the open source community are his contributions to Apache Lucene, Solr, and Mahout. (He co-founded Apache Mahout in 2008 with the goal to build an environment for quickly creating scalable machine learning applications.) This year, Grant will be speaking at OSCON 2015 about building a next generation QA system with open source tools and about how to use Apache Solr for data science.

  • Bright Future & Strong Growth for Open Source Web Development According to Opace

    “Open source software is the way forward and has been since day one for us here at Opace” says David Bryan, Managing Director at Birmingham-based digital agency, Opace. The company, which specialises in web design and eCommerce development, proudly bases their entire business model and delivery around open source, believing it offers the best opportunities for both innovation and ground breaking developments. With 78% of companies now running some kind of open source software (according to the 2015 Future of Open Source survey), it’s looking like they could be onto something great.

  • Follow the Open Source Road

    This spring, I attended my first OpenStack Summit in Vancouver. As usual, there was a room reserved for media and analysts to hold meetings, but this one had only a curtain to separate two seating areas. I thought that it was strange, since it offered no privacy, and indeed, one company I met with was quite unhappy about it.

    A few weeks later, I recounted this story to my colleague, Caroline Chappell, who thought the setup was, in fact, perfectly appropriate for an open source conference. We talked about how a “curtain test” could be used to gauge a company’s true seriousness about openness — the theory being that there should be no secrets when it comes to open source, so who cares if there’s only a curtain for separation?

  • Google

  • Web Browsers

    • The New Metasploit Browser Autopwn: Strikes Faster and Smarter – Part 1

      Today, I’d like to debut a completely rewritten new cool toy for Metasploit: Browser Autopwn 2. Browser Autopwn is the easiest and quickest way to explicitly test browser vulnerabilities without having the user to painfully learn everything there is about each exploit and the remote target before deployment. In this blog post, I will provide an introduction on the tool. And then in my next one, I will explain how you can take advantage of it to maximize your vuln validation or penetration testing results.

    • Mozilla

      • Time for a brutal TELLY-OFF: Android TV versus Firefox OS

        Breaking Fad The battle for Smart TV dominance continues to ratchet up, with Google and Firefox now both wading into the same connected space. The former has reignited its living room ambitions via Android TV, while open source rival Firefox has partnered with Panasonic.

      • Firefox OS fork “H5OS” gets a $100 million boost

        Acadine, founded by former Mozilla execs, has received a $100 million investment from China’s Tsinghua Unigroup, to launch a Firefox OS fork called “H5OS.”

        In March, former Mozilla president Li Gong left to form a startup code-named Gone Fishing, with a mission to build a web-oriented mobile OS partially based on Firefox OS. The company is now called Acadine Technologies, and the OS is dubbed H5OS, according to a report from CNET. Acadine has received $100 million in funding from a Hong Kong-based Chinese state-controlled company called Tsinghua Unigroup International, says the story.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Mitaka will Rise in the Land of the Rising Sun after Liberty

      Ok, so the OpenStack Foundation stumbled a little with its first attempt at an ‘M’ name for the first OpenStack release of 2016. Originally chosen to be ‘Meiji’ that name turned out to be a political hot potato and so the Foundation went back to the polls and chose – Mitaka.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice GTK3 On Wayland Starts To Work

      The recent efforts of the LibreOffice GTK3 port is starting to pay off with this open-source office suite beginning to run on Wayland.

      Caolán McNamara who has been hacking on the GTK3 VCL plug for LibreOffice shared todayt that it can now launch on Wayland, displays the interface, and the interaction is mostly all functionality. However, there isn’t yet window resizing support and there are some other issues to still work through.

    • LibreOffice on wayland

      Hacked LibreOffice a bit more today towards wayland support via the gtk3 vclplug. Good news is that it launches, displays and you can interact with it mostly as expected.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Not Impossible Labs Creates Open-Source Technology for Transformational Good
    • Linux on supercomputers, Google’s Eddystone, and more news
    • Open Data

    • Open Hardware

      • New generation of robotics are industry-agnostic, open-source

        In 1961, a robotic arm nicknamed Unimate joined the General Motors assembly line to perform basic welding tasks that were unpleasant and particularly dangerous for humans. The 4000-pound, six-axis robot ran off of magnetic tape.

        [...]

        Fetch Robotics, founded in 2014, represents a generation of companies developing adaptable platforms that are designed for use beyond the specific industries for which they were initially conceived. Not surprisingly, the company’s approach has largely been informed by the impressive open-source robotics pedigree of Wise, who got her start at Willow Garage, developer of the now-ubiquitous open-source Robotic Operating System (ROS).

        The Fetch system comprises a self-guiding robotic picker that can navigate a warehouse floor, identify products, and pick them off a shelf. Used in conjunction with Fetch’s autonomous cart, nicknamed “Freight,” the system can automate pick and place processes in fulfillment warehouses without requiring costly reconfiguration or setup.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Open Document Format (ODF) 1.2 published as International Standard 26300:2015 by ISO/IEC

      The Open Document Format for Office Applications (ODF) Version 1.2, the native file format of LibreOffice and many other applications, has been published as International Standard 26300:2015 by ISO/IEC. ODF defines a technical schema for office documents including text documents, spreadsheets, charts and graphical documents like drawings or presentations.

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • NSA document: Israeli special forces assassinated top Syrian military official

      Evidence has emerged from leaked US signals intelligence intercepts that Israeli special forces were responsible for assassinating a senior Syrian military official who was a close adviser to President Bashar al-Assad.

    • NSA leak: Israeli commandos killed Syrian general attending dinner party

      According to a National Security Agency (NSA) document leaked by American whistleblower Edward Snowden, Israeli naval commandos killed a top Syrian General during a dinner party at his beach house in 2008.

      According to the document, an Israeli special forces unit known as Shayetet 13 landed near the northern Syrian port of Tartus, located General Muhammad Suleiman and shot him in the head and neck.

    • Israeli commandos ‘assassinated Syrian general in 2008’ – NSA leaks

      Israel’s naval commando unit shot and killed Muhammad Suleiman, a top military advisor to the Syrian President Bashar Assad in 2008, according to a leaked National Security Agency file, published by The Intercept.

    • Greece Deal, James Bamford on NSA, Honduras Coup 6 Years Later — 07/14/15

      Plus, 6 years after the US-backed coup in Honduras, we’ll examine how democracy has been subverted and the ways in which people are fighting back.

    • Retired General: Drones Create More Terrorists Than They Kill, Iraq War Helped Create ISIS

      Retired Army Gen. Mike Flynn, a top intelligence official in the post-9/11 wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, says in a forthcoming interview on Al Jazeera English that the drone war is creating more terrorists than it is killing. He also asserts that the U.S. invasion of Iraq helped create the Islamic State and that U.S. soldiers involved in torturing detainees need to be held legally accountable for their actions.

      Flynn, who in 2014 was forced out as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, has in recent months become an outspoken critic of the Obama administration’s Middle East strategy, calling for a more hawkish approach to the Islamic State and Iran.

    • Another “Terror” Arrest; Another Mentally Ill Man, Armed by the FBI

      U.S. law enforcement officials announced another terror arrest on Monday, after arming a mentally ill man and then charging him with having guns.

      ABC News quoted a “senior federal official briefed on the arrest” as saying: “This is a very bad person arrested before he could do very bad things.”

      But in a sting reminiscent of so many others conducted by the FBI since 9/11, Alexander Ciccolo, 23, “aka Ali Al Amriki,” was apparently a mentally ill man who was doing nothing more than ranting about violent jihad and talking (admittedly in frightening ways) about launching attacks—until he met an FBI informant. At that point, he started making shopping lists for weapons.

      The big twist in this story: Local media in Massachusetts are saying Ciccolo was turned in by his father, a Boston Police captain. The FBI affidavit says the investigation was launched after a “close acquaintance … stated that Ciccolo had a long history of mental illness and in the last 18 months had become obsessed with Islam.”

    • Misunderstood word may have led to catastrophic outcome

      In August 1945 the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan’s Hiroshima followed by another on Nagasaki, resulting in the death of more than 135,000 people.

    • German Missile Hack
  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Elizabeth Warren Pushes To Slow Revolving Door Between Business and Government

      A new bill that would ban private-sector bonuses to executives entering public service got a rousing endorsement on Friday from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass, as she delivered a much-anticipated keynote address to the annual Netroots Nation convention.

      Warren not only praised the bill – “No more paying people off to remember their Wall Street friends while they run our government,” she said – she also issued what was widely seen as a challenge to Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

      “It’s a bill any presidential candidate should be able to cheer for,” Warren told the gathering of progressives in Phoenix.

    • Prof. Wolff discusses Greece and European Union on CPR
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Five Things to Know About the Scott Walker John Doe Ruling

      The Wisconsin Supreme Court has single-handedly rewritten the state’s limits on money in politics, rendering the state’s disclosure laws and contribution limits meaningless, and opening the door to unlimited funds directly from corporations and foreign firms.

      In a 4-2 decision that broke along ideological lines, the Court’s conservative majority ended the John Doe probe into whether Governor Scott Walker illegally coordinated with supposedly “independent” dark money groups during the recall elections. The Court declared that any coordination that did occur didn’t violate the law, since it only involved so-called “issue ads” that stopped short of expressly saying “vote for” or “vote against” a candidate.

    • Hannity Apologizes For Wrongly Attributing Chattanooga Shooting To ISIS Tweet
  • Censorship

    • Press Explains First Amendment To Florida Judge, Who Rescinds Questionable Photography Ban

      About a week ago, we wrote about Judge Mark Mahon in Florida who originally issued an order barring people from protesting outside of the courthouse if they were “questioning the integrity of the court.” After it started making national news, Judge Mahon rescinded part of the order, but kept part that banned photography around the courthouse — which was interesting given that the issue in particular had to do with a reporter for PINAC: Photography Is Not A Crime (who is now suing).

    • Cameron opens new front in war on porn
    • Vodafone outlines government efforts to censor telecoms networks

      Governments regularly block content, engage in censorship on telecoms networks and restrict freedom of expression, according to a report by Vodafone that details the number of lawful interception and communications demands the company received in 28 countries.

      The telecoms group said that governments used a number of justifications to block internet services, including national security or emergencies. In such situations, some forms of internet content infringed on a country’s laws or a government wanted to restrict access to information that they considered harmful to social order.

    • SA bookstore raided for selling novel

      CENSORSHIP has proved to be alive and well after an Adelaide bookstore was raided by police for selling unwrapped copies of the cult novel American Psycho.

    • Censorship in Adelaide

      The more things change, the more they stay the same in all their decaying tedium. And so, the censors in Australia have been busying themselves through the not so intelligent arm of the law by insisting that copies of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, the Wall Street, psycho dramatic examination of 1980s “Gecko” culture that can only be damned for its disservices to art rather than censorship, be placed under plastic wraps.

    • Former Reddit CEO explains “what the racist-sexist neckbeards don’t understand”

      Reddit’s users thought they’d won victory for their values of free speech absolutism and resistance against the political correctness culture of oppression.

    • Former Reddit chief accuses founders of pressuring Ellen Pao into censorship

      The former chief executive of Reddit has accused the online community’s co-founders of pressuring recently-departed chief Ellen Pao into censoring the website.

      Yishan Wong, who left Reddit last year and was replaced by Pao before her departure last week, said that his successor had defended the site’s free speech credentials against the company’s board.

    • What is Voat, the anti-censorship alternative to Reddit that trolls have flocked to?

      Thousands of Reddit users are now migrating to Voat, a Swiss-hosted clone with a layout that is almost identical to Reddit, which is slowly rising in popularity.

    • Conflict erupts in Green Party after censorship of Sanders supporters
    • Uber censorship on Chinese social media a system ‘blip’

      A technical ‘malfunction’ has caused a block on Uber-related searches and posts on Chinese mobile messaging platform WeChat, according to a spokesperson [Chinese] for the Tencent-owned company on Thursday.

    • WeChat blocks the word “Uber”, claims it’s a technical glitch

      On Thursday afternoon, Chinese WeChat users discovered something weird: searches for the word “Uber” on WeChat wouldn’t turn up any posts related to or mentioning the company in their circles. Searches for any other term seemed to work fine. Moreover, anyone who shared an Uber-related post could still see the article in their own feed – meaning they were unaware of the censorship – but if anyone else looked, the Uber articles wouldn’t be there.

    • Abbott’s desire to impose guidelines on Q&A is censorship, says Labor MP

      Joel Fitzgibbon describes prime minister’s letter to the ABC chairman as the ‘greatest attack on the independence of the public broadcaster in its history’

    • “Whose side are you on?” Public broadcasters and counter-terrorism

      On June 22, Zaky Mallah appeared on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC’s) program “Q&A” – a show following the same (often wooden and tired) format as the BBC’s “Question Time.” Sitting among the audience, Mallah posed a question to Steven Ciobo, MP, of the ruling conservative Coalition:

    • Internet censorship reaching dangerous levels in Turkey

      internet censorship is reaching dangerous levels in limiting freedom of expression, especially concerning critical matters in Turkey, information technology legal expert and lawyer Burçak Ünsal states in his article published in the European Magazine Media Association’s (EMMA) 2014-2015 issue.

    • Censorship doesn’t keep Vietnam’s rappers from speaking their piece

      Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party continues to suppress sensitive information and tightly control freedom of assembly. It also cracks down on Internet users who disagree with the government or peddle sexually explicit or violent content.

    • EU “Police” Will Censor Internet to Fight “Extremism”

      Under the guise of battling the Islamic State (ISIS) and jihadists on the Internet, the European Union’s self-styled “police” force, dubbed “Europol,” is launching a new bureaucracy to supposedly combat “online propaganda” and “extremism” with censorship. The so-called EU “Internet Referral Unit” (IRU) will be charged with monitoring the World Wide Web, taking down and flagging “extremist” material, providing information and analysis to EU member governments, and looking forward to the future. While details of the unit remain hazy, critics are expressing concerns — both about the EU usurpation of the awesome power to unilaterally censor the Internet, and with the constantly changing definition of “extremism” to cover increasingly broad swaths of the population.

    • UK freezes bank account of Russian news agency, gives no reason
    • Russia Considers Rossiya Segodnya Bank Accounts Closure in UK ‘Censorship’
    • Russian news agency furious as Barclays closes its account
    • Barclays Bank Freezes Russian News Agency Rossiya Segodnya’s Account
    • Russian Social Networks Start Courting Russian Users Sick of Censorship on Facebook

      In the latest episode of Facebook’s drama with users in Russia and Ukraine, the network suspended accounts and deleted several posts belonging to a handful of prominent pro-Kremlin bloggers, as well as a high-ranking Russian state official. After a wave of complaints from Russian liberal oppositionists and Ukrainian users (including an appeal from Ukrainian Petro Poroshenko himself), it’s now the other side’s turn to protest Facebook’s apparent political bias.

    • Bahraini king pardons rights campaigner Nabeel Rajab

      Index welcomes King Hamad’s pardoning of human rights defender Nabeel Rajab, but calls for the release of all political prisoners in Bahrain

    • Action against MRT bully? What about man who threatened Amos Yee?

      On Tuesday, Law Minister K Shanmugam posted on his Facebook page about the incident involving a Caucasian on the MRT train who was verbally abusing a younger man for wearing a t-shirt the former somehow disagreed with.

      The bully had also made threats against the youth, threatening to “throw you off” the train when it pulled into Ang Mo Kio station.

      Later, a Malay man, now known as Elfy, stepped forth to defend the youth from the abuse.

      The police were called in and both men (the Caucasian and Elfy) got off the train.

    • The shame of how Singapore treated Amos Yee

      The clip making its rounds online is heart-breaking. Sixteen-year-old Amos Yee is exiting court, clutching a plastic bag, his mother by his elbow, his father clearing the way cluttered by pushy cameramen and this boy — he is shaking.

      He is free — the judge having sentenced him to four weeks in jail for “obscenity” and “wounding religious feelings” ordered him released on account of his already having spent over a month in prison — but he looks trapped.

      I’ve since read sensational summaries of his 55 days in remand which allege he was shackled to his bed and denied access to a toilet.

      For 23 hours a day, he was kept in a cell with closed-circuit security cameras and with the lights always on. He usually spent the one hour each day he was allowed to leave his cell undergoing psychiatric assessment, reports Amnesty International.

  • Privacy

    • MPs win legal challenge as rushed UK surveillance powers ruled as “unlawful”
    • High Court rules that DRIPA is unlawful

      Open Rights Group welcomes today’s High Court Judgment that the key parts of the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (DRIPA) are inconsistent with European Union law.

    • Snooping Law Found Illegal

      DRIPA was in response to the Court of Justice of the EU ruling that the directive on data retention interfered with an individual’s right to privacy. The then coalition government rushed through DRIPA claiming an “emergency”. DRIPA allows the Home Secretary to order communications data be stored by a company for up to a year.

    • New German law to protect critical infrastructure, but has privacy caveats

      Certain sectors will have additional tasks, with telecommunications providers required to warn customers when their connection has been abused. More controversially, they will also be required to store traffic data for up to six months for investigatory purposes. This is only slightly shortened on the expectations of the proposed Draft Data Communications Bill in the UK – or ‘Snooper’s Charter’ as named by privacy advocates.

    • ‘Encryption fears’ over UK security

      Britain’s security services are “increasingly concerned” that they could be locked out from the communications of potentially dangerous suspects because of sophisticated encryption techniques, a major report has disclosed.

    • Another Reason Adopting ‘Collect It All’ Was A Bad Idea: China May Now Be Applying It To US Citizens’ Personal Data

      At the start of the year, we wrote about an important point made by Bruce Schneier and Edward Snowden concerning information asymmetry in the world of spying — the fact that the US and the West in general have far more to lose by undermining security in an attempt to gain as much information as possible about other countries, than they have to gain. A fascinating analysis from Bloomberg indicates that this also applies to the “collect it all” mentality. The article raises the troubling possibility that both the huge OPM data breaches were not only the work of Chinese state actors, but part of a much larger plan:

    • How IT can spy on your smartphone

      I recently applauded MobileIron for providing a tool in its mobile device management (MDM) client app that lets users see what IT is monitoring on their iOS and Android devices. User privacy is as important as corporate security, and the spy culture epitomized by the NSA, GCHQ, China, Google, Facebook, and so on has gotten way out of hand.

    • Senator uses clever response to bash the NSA using emojis

      On Friday, the National Security Agency posted a tweet highlighting its role surveilling the internet for signs of foreign threats.

    • A font that automatically censors NSA “spook” words as they are written
    • New Font Automatically Censors ‘Spook Words’ Monitored by the NSA
    • This spooky typeface automatically redacts NSA trigger words
    • A man created a font that tells you if the NSA might think you’re a terrorist
    • NSA sponsors cybersecurity camp at SCSU [Ed: recruitment. Get 'em while they're young!]
    • N.S.A. Summer Camp: More Hacking Than Hiking

      The dozen or so teenagers staring at computers in a Marymount University classroom here on a recent day were learning — thanks to a new National Security Agency cybersecurity program that reaches down into the ranks of American high school and middle school students — the entry-level art of cracking encrypted passwords.

    • Students study online hacking defenses
    • NSA funds FSU STARTALK initiative

      The National Security Agency (NSA) has provided FSU’s Dr. Wenxia Wang, assistant professor of Foreign and Second Language Education, with just under 90,000 dollars to initiate a STARTALK program here at FSU. The STARTALK initiative seeks to expand and improve the teaching and learning of strategically important world languages that are not widely taught in the US.

    • NSA holding cybersecurity seminars for area teachers
    • Artists Blow the Whistle on Their NSA Whistleblower Project

      On Friday artists Jeff Greenspan and Andrew Tider walked away from We Are Always Listening (WAAL), a National Security Agency (NSA) subcontractor, DIY surveillance program, satirical prank, or new media art project, depending on your interpretation. The artists, who anonymously scored a viral hit earlier this year when they clandestinely installed their sculpture bust of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in a Brooklyn park, secretly taped the conversations of strangers in New York and Berlin and posted the audio files online.

    • Latest Snowden Leak Devastating To Defenders Of NSA

      The agency collected and stored intimate chats, photos, and emails belonging to innocent Americans—and secured them so poorly that reporters can now browse them at will.

    • Court asked to kill off NSA’s ‘zombie dragnet’ of Americans’ bulk phone data

      The leading civil liberties group in the United States has requested a federal court to stop the National Security Agency from collecting Americans’ phone data in bulk through the end of the year.

      While the surveillance dragnet was phased out by Congress and Barack Obama last month, an American Civil Liberties Union suit seeks to end a twilight, zombie period of the same US phone records collection, slated under the new law to last six months.

    • ACLU asks 2nd Circuit appeals court to stop NSA collection of Americans’ phone records
    • ACLU challenges NSA phone surveillance program

      The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [official website] on Tuesday brought a lawsuit [press release] asking a federal appeals court to review a National Security Agency (NSA) [official website] phone data surveillance program. The motion filed by the ACLU state stated that “today the government is continuing – after a brief suspension – to collect Americans’ call records in bulk on the purported authority of precisely the same statutory language this court has already concluded does not permit it.” The ACLU’s major argument in support of the requested injunction is that although the Freedom Act [backgrounder] is in the middle of a transition period, the underlying law allowing for bulk surveillance includes the same Patriot Act [text, PDF] provisions that the second circuit held do not warrant the NSA’s phone-records collection activities. The same activities that Edward Snowden [BBC profile] had exposed. The ACLU goes on to say that “there is no sound reason to accord this language a different meaning now than the court accorded it in May. [The Patriot Act] did not authorize bulk collection in May, and it does not authorize it now.”

    • ACLU asks court to shut down NSA surveillance ‘for good’
    • ACLU sues to block extension of NSA dragnet program
    • ACLU wants to end NSA mass spying forever – good luck with that
    • ACLU asks court to immediately kill NSA phone snooping
    • ACLU asks appeals court to bar NSA bulk collection of data
    • ACLU to appellate court: Please halt NSA’s resumed bulk data collection
    • A.C.L.U. Asks Court to Stop Part of N.S.A.’s Bulk Phone Data Collection
    • ACLU Asks Appeals Court to Halt NSA Phone Record Collection
    • NSA Data Collection ‘Grace Period’ Violates Constitution – ACLU Attorney
    • ACLU Moves to Shut Down NSA’s Ongoing Bulk Phone Data Collection
    • ACLU Demands End to NSA Mass Surveillance
    • Civil liberties groups push to end NSA bulk collection of phone records
    • Civil Liberties Groups Call On Court To Stop NSA Phone Record Collection
    • ACLU Sues National Security Agency to End Bulk Phone Spying
    • NSA Dragnet Fight Will Return to Second Circuit
    • ACLU Sues to Stop Bulk Phone-Data Collection, Even if it’s Only Temporary
    • NYCLU Asks Court To Halt NSA Call Record Collection
    • Activists ask US court to stop phone record collections by government – report
    • The world’s first hack: the telegraph and the invention of privacy

      John Tawell had money worries. The £1 weekly child allowance he had to give his mistress Sarah Hart was the last straw, and on New Year’s Day 1845 he travelled to her house in Slough, poisoning her beer with a potion for varicose veins that contained prussic acid.

      After the murder, Tawell made his escape on a train headed to London’s Paddington station. He wasn’t known in Slough and expected to slip through the hands of the law. But he was travelling along one of the only stretches of railway in the world to have telegraph wires running beside the railway lines.

      Tawell was a Quaker and had been dressed in a distinctive dark coat. A witness, Reverend ET Champnes, had seen Tawell leaving the crime scene and followed him to Slough station, but not in time to stop the train. Champnes found the stationmaster and together they sent a message to the police in Paddington. Pre-dating morse code, only 20 letters could be covered by the early telegraph system, and Q wasn’t one of them.

    • CIA documents raise questions about spy agency’s domestic data collection

      …CIA is hoovering up mass amounts of data on Americans as it conducts foreign surveillance operations.

    • Assange Offers to Release Unredacted List of German NSA Spy Targets

      WikiLeaks posted a trove of redacted NSA spying lists; Assange claims he has full copies of these lists and would share them with German lawmakers.

    • Wikileaks Revelations Expose US NSA Tentacles Reaching into Allied Governments Around the World

      CCR’s Michael Ratner breaks down how documents expose United States economic and political spying as CCR calls on UN to protect publishers as well as whistleblowers

    • NSA Surveillance of Schroeder Confirms Spying Assets Used for Business

      Experts claim that NSA surveillance of former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder after he left office confirms electronic intelligence assets are being used to gain economic advantage.

    • Schroeder, Gazprom Case Reveals Business Motives Behind US Spying

      US experts claim that NSA continued to spy on former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder because it was interested in tracking the business deals of the Russian energy giant Gazprom for economic gain.

    • NSA spied on former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder: Media

      The US National Security Agency spied on former German Chancellor and Kremlin-ally Gerhard Schröder, after he left his post in 2005. That’s according to reports published on Sunday by German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

    • Kremlin Aware of NSA Spying on Gerhard Schroeder Over Friendship With Putin

      Russian leadership knew that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had spied on Germany’s former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder because of his friendship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday.

    • Report: Evidence of 2011 US cyberattack on defense giant EADS in Germany

      According to German newspaper “Bild am Sonntag,” evidence linking an attack on European defense group EADS from American soil has surfaced. The news outlet claims it is the first of its kind.

    • Germany’s YouTube star LeFloid takes on Merkel

      From here LeFloid had very few hits against the Chancellor – getting the usual appeasing lines regarding the NSA scandal and a categorical “no” to the legislation of cannabis. Publicist and viewer Gunnar surmised the general public sentiment by expressing frustration at the unusual lack of aggressiveness from LeFloid.

    • WikiLeaks says NSA spied on French business

      According to the WikiLeaks report, “NSA has been tasked with obtaining intelligence on all aspects of the French economy, from government policy, diplomacy, banking and participation in worldwide bodies to infrastructural development, business practices and trade activities”.

    • 20-plus security vendors that NSA targeted
    • It’s Still 2+2=4 for NSA and ISIS

      L. Gordon Crovitz is puzzled that Silicon Valley can’t stop terrorists from using strong encryption (“Why Terrorists Love Silicon Valley,” Information Age, July 6). The reason is simple. Encryption methods are nothing more than mathematics. Silicon Valley companies cannot make mathematics work differently for terrorists.

    • Publicly Shaming the US’s Top Surveillance Officials with Street Art

      Ever since Edward Snowden leaked top-secret National Security Agency (NSA) documents that revealed the extent of the US government’s surveillance program, the response from the art world has been vast and varied. In the past year alone a large statue of the whistleblower was erected in Manhattan and a controversial bust of Snowden — crafted by the same artists who recently revealed themselves as the masterminds behind We Are Always Listening — was featured in a surveillance-themed art fair. In another recent and ongoing project, New York-based artist Paolo Cirio is chastening key NSA, CIA, and FBI officials involved in the agencies’ surveillance programs by finding and disseminating across the world snapshots of them in informal or intimate contexts.

    • Former girlfriend of undercover spy sues corporate security firm

      An environmental campaigner who had an intimate relationship with an undercover spy is suing a corporate security firm in what is believed to be the first legal action of its kind.

      The woman is taking legal action against Global Open, a commercial firm hired by companies to monitor protesters. She alleges in the high court case that Mark Kennedy pursued her to start the relationship, while, she says, he worked undercover for Global Open.

      Kennedy had previously worked for the police as an undercover officer and used a false identity to infiltrate environmental groups for seven years. He maintained his fake persona after he left the police.

    • Glenn Greenwald’s Latest Has Us Wondering Who Watches the Watchers?

      Of course, Snowden’s story is far from over. However, as Greenwald details in his latest work, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State, this story isn’t meant to be about the leaker, it’s about the leak itself. Snowden is emphatic that the focus remain on the information he revealed to Greenwald and other journalists. And this has been somewhat successful, given the whistleblower’s evasion of interview or comment.

    • Privacy advocate Caspar Bowden dies after cancer battle

      Caspar Bowden, the privacy advocate who was warning about the activities of the NSA before Edward Snowden, has died. The co-founder of the Foundation for Information Policy Research lost his battle with cancer, and tributes have been paid by the world of technology.

    • Trust in UK politics at all time low as half of citizens believe they’re spied on

      Trust in politics is at an “all time low” with 56% of UK citizens believing that their government is spying on them.

      That’s according to new research from secure server provider Artmotion, which questioned more than 2200 people on their levels of trust in politics following the recent NSA and GCHQ privacy scandals.

      According to the findings of this research, concerns over government snooping are highest amongst young voters, with 62% of 18-24 year olds believing that the UK government is spying on their activities.

      Interestingly, despite the furore around the NSA’s involvement in mass surveillance, trust in politicians is even lower in the UK than it is in the US. According to additional research from Artmotion, 52% of US citizens believe that their government is spying on them – 4% less than within the UK.

    • Richard Nixon’s Blueprint for the 21st Century US

      Still, think about the illegal break-in (or black-bag job) at the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist committed by a group of Nixon White House operatives dubbed “the Plumbers”; the breaking into and bugging of the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate office complex; the bugging, using warrantless wiretaps, of the phones of administration aides and prominent media figures distrusted by the president and National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger; the slush funds Nixon and his cronies created for his reelection campaign; the favors, including ambassadorships, they sold for “donations” to secure a second term in office; the privatized crew of contractors they hired to do their dirty work; the endemic lying, deceit, and ever more elaborate cover-ups of illegalities at home and of extra-constitutional acts in other countries, including secret bombing campaigns, as well as an attempt to use the CIA to quash an FBI investigation of White House activities on “national security grounds.” Put it all together and you have something like a White House-centered, first-draft version of the way the national security state works quite “legally” in the twenty-first century.

    • US spy agency targeted top Brazilian officials

      The list of those selected for intensive interception includes not only President Dilma Rousseff but also her assistant, her secretary, her chief of staff, her Palace office and even the phone in her presidential jet.

    • Snowden is a Russian, or Chinese spy?

      Such a paranoia generated by the US fevered imagination suggests that there may be a secret ‘driving force’, as a common employee could hardly get access to such a quantity of secret documents.

    • US Might Let Snowden Come Home, If He Pleads Guilty To A Felony & Serves Time

      Recent interviews with Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general, have spurred rumors that the U.S. government might offer Edward Snowden, the exiled NSA whistleblower, a plea bargain. Yet there’s little evidence such a deal actually exists and even less indication that Snowden would be interested if it did.

    • Senate, Once Again, Looks To Bring Back CISA: Surveillance Expansion Bill Pretending It’s A Cybersecurity Bill

      We’ve discussed the “cybersecurity” bill, CISA, that’s been making its way through Congress a few times, noting that it is nothing more than a surveillance expansion bill hidden in “cybersecurity” clothing. As recent revelations concerning NSA’s surveillance authorities have made quite clear, CISA would really serve to massively expand the ability of the NSA (and other intelligence agencies) to do “backdoor searches” on its “upstream” collection. In short, rather than protecting any sort of security threat, this bill would actually serve to give the NSA more details on the kind of “cyber signatures” it wants to sniff through pretty much all internet traffic (that it taps into at the backbone) to collect anything it deems suspicious. It then keeps the results of this, considering it “incidental” collections of information.

      In an incredibly cynical move, supporters of the surveillance state have seen OPM hacks as a ridiculous excuse to push to pass this bill. Senator Mitch McConnell tried to include it in the defense appropriations bill by pointing to the OPM hack. That gambit, thankfully, failed.

    • ‘Not only can the state intercept your communication, it does’

      In June 2013, the biggest act of mass surveillance in the Internet age was exposed by Edward Snowden, a security analyst; Glenn Greenwald, a legal blogger; and Laura Poitras, a filmmaker. They collaborated to release the National Security Agency (NSA) files in The Guardian. The revelations raised a huge public debate, both about the ethics of the surveillance as well as the ethics of publishing the story. Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of The Guardian, spoke to Hari Narayan about one of the most important journalistic projects undertaken by the publication. Excerpts:

      It’s been a little more than two years since the Snowden revelations. Has there been enough debate since then? The USA Freedom Act has done away with some provisions of the Patriot Act. But have the laws gone far enough?

      Well, I think the penny has dropped that this is a very complex thing; that this is not just about decisions made by security chiefs without anybody else having a say. Has there been enough debate? No, not enough, but at least there has been some debate. We’ve moved from a world in which the security services didn’t want any of this discussed to one in which they say, ‘We feel we can discuss it’.

      Is the Freedom Act enough? Well, I think it is up to each country to decide what its rules are. America has moved from a position of ‘The state will collect all this information’ to ‘It is not alright for the state to hold all the information. The telecom companies can hold it. We can establish a procedure by which we can ask for information’. That, to me, is an improvement. Whether that answers all the questions that Edward Snowden has raised… I doubt it. And technology is moving so fast that it is quite hard for the laws to keep up.

    • Why government-mandated encryption backdoors are bad for US businesses

      Cybersecurity experts once again issue a stern warning about repercussions of adding US government-accessible backdoors.

  • Civil Rights

    • Torture, Impunity and the American Psychological Association

      It has been almost a year since President Barack Obama admitted, “in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, we did some things that were wrong. … we tortured some folks.” The administration of Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush, carefully crafted a legal rationale enabling what it called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” which is no more than a euphemism for torture. From the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay to the dungeons of Abu Ghraib in Iraq and Bagram air base in Afghanistan, countless hundreds, if not thousands, of people were subjected to torture, all in the name of the “Global War on Terror.” With the exception of a few low-level soldiers at Abu Ghraib, not one person has been held accountable. The only high-level person sent to prison over torture was John Kiriakou—not for conducting torture, but for exposing it, as a whistleblower.

    • How the CIA Really Won Hearts and Minds

      One night, shortly after she moved there, Paget met two men who informed her they were working for the CIA. And, it turned out, so too was her husband, because the agency entirely funded the NSA’s international program.

      This meant the CIA was paying for the apartment where Paget was living. And the money coming into her joint bank account? Well, that was secretly deposited by the organization, too. So, technically, Paget was on the CIA’s payroll.

      Then a naïve 20-year-old, she was promptly told to sign a document swearing complete secrecy about the information to which she had just been exposed. She willingly put pen to paper. But before the ink was even dry, Paget realized she was part of a security oath that was covered under the Espionage Act. This meant she could face up to 20 years in prison if she spoke out.

    • Royals told: open archives on family ties to Nazi regime

      Buckingham Palace has been urged to disclose documents that would finally reveal the truth about the relationship between the royal family and the Nazi regime of the 1930s.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Public Revolts Against Plan to Kill Domain Name Privacy

        A new ICANN proposal currently under review suggests various changes to how WHOIS protection services should operate.

        The changes are welcomed by copyright holders, as they will make it easier to identify the operators of pirate sites, who can then be held responsible.

      • Reddit’s Unenforceable “No Copyrighted Material” Rule

        Following an extended period of controversy, Reddit has just rolled out a list of rules for the site. One of those rules bans the posting of illegal content such as copyrighted material. While the posting of such content has never been explicitly permitted, it’s going to prove impossible to stop moving forward.

      • Ripping CDs and movies for personal use is once again illegal in UK

        Making copies of copyrighted music and videos for personal use is again illegal in the UK because of a ruling by the High Court issued today.

        Today’s ruling quashes the 2014 regulation that made it legal to make personal copies of performances for private use as long as the person doing so has lawfully acquired the content and doesn’t distribute it to anyone else. That regulation allowed people to make backups or play songs or movies in different formats but didn’t allow selling copies or sharing them with family and friends.

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