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10.12.15

Links 12/10/2015: Linux 4.3 RC5, Parsix GNU/Linux 8.0 Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 9:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Don’t blame Linux for the XOR botnet

    The real culprits are the irresponsible vendors behind cheap broadband routers and their clueless customers

  • 2015 Indonesia Linux Conference Talks About Digital Forensic

    The 2015 Indonesia Linux Conference (ILC) that is held in Tegal, Central Java starting from October 10 to 11 is set to exhibits variety of Linux application. One of interesting application is a mobile digital forensic application that have been used by the police to assist investigation by detecting criminals’ phone and sim cards.

    “Ditigal forensic is aimed to investigate cell phone and Sim Cards, Said Dedy Hariyadi from Ubuntu Indonesia community on Friday, October 9.

  • Desktop

    • Survey: Users love their desktops more than their cheapo tablets

      In the same survey last year by ACSI, tablets scored 80 on a 100-point scale, just one point behind desktops at 81. This year, consumers rated tablets at at 75—alongside laptops, which also fell this year, the survey said. The survey criteria require that the respondent purchased a new personal computer in the last years.

  • Server

    • The 5 states of the modern sysadmin

      I think there’s (at least) 5 states you might find yourself in as a sysadmin in these days:

      Day to day things that aren’t (yet) automated.

      Automating and designing for the future.

      Fires and outages

      Interruptions

      Time to dream

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.3-rc5

      The 4.3 release cycle continues to be fairly smooth – knock wood.
      There’s nothing particularly worrying here: we had some annoying
      fallout from the new strscpy stuff (it’s not actually *used* anywhere
      yet, but we had build failures on some architectures), and a vfs layer
      change uncovered an ancient and fascinating ext[34] bug, but on the
      whole things look pretty normal. It’s the usual “lots of small fixes
      to drivers and architecture code, with some filesystem updates thrown
      in for variety”. The appended shortlog gives an overview of the
      details.

      Things also seem to be calming down nicely, although since there was
      no network pull this week, we might have a bump from that next rc.

      Anyway, if you haven’t tried a recent kernel lately, feel free to hop
      right in – it all looks pretty good.

      Linus

    • BBC bypasses Linux kernel to make streaming videos flow

      Back in September, The Register’s networking desk chatted to a company called Teclo about the limitations of TCP performance in the Linux stack.

      That work, described here, included moving TCP/IP processing off to user-space to avoid the complex processing that the kernel has accumulated over the years.

      [...]

      The Beeb boffins started by getting out of the kernel and into userspace, which let them write what they call a “zero-copy kernel bypass interface, where the application and the network hardware device driver share a common set of memory buffers”.

    • Linux golden age threatened by bug army

      Golden ages are normally brought to an end by a rebellion of giants, titans or plagues. Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation said that Linux will be killed off by giant, titanic plagues of security bugs.

      Several high profile zero-day vulnerabilities in popular open source technologies last year served not only to show the importance of open source to the internet and IT world, but how how badly it projects were under-resourced.

    • Coreboot Now Supports The Sandy Bridge MacBook Air

      With the latest Git code pushed into Coreboot this morning, the Apple MacBook Air 4,2 is now supported.

    • Linux Kernel 4.3 RC5 Uncovers an Ancient and Fascinating EXT3/EXT4 Bug
    • Linux 4.3-rc5: The Cycle Is Going Smooth
    • Learn it Faster: The Complete Linux Kernel in a Single MapLearn it Faster: The Complete Linux Kernel in a Single Map

      The internet runs on Linux, everybody knows this fact. The Linux Kernel is one of the most complex and popular open source projects. If you wish to learn the basics, there is tons of material available online. Still, the core of the Linux kernel is a subject difficult to understand.

    • Linux 4.2 vs. 4.3 Kernel Benchmarks On Other Systems

      Last week I delivered some Linux 4.3 Git kernel benchmarks on Intel Skylake comparing it to Linux 4.2 stable. However, for those not yet on Intel’s latest generation of processors, here are some Linux 4.2 vs. Linux 4.3 benchmarks with older hardware.

    • Structural and semantic deficiencies in the systemd architecture for real-world service management, a technical treatise

      You’re probably wide-eyed and gnawing at your teeth already.

      I was finally tempted into writing this from a Hacker News discussion on “Debian Dropping the Linux Standard Base,” where some interest was expressed in reading an architectural critique of systemd.

      To the best of my knowledge, this article – though it ultimately ended up more of a paper in article format, is the first of its kind. This is startling. It’s been over 5 years of systemd, and countless instances of religious warfare have been perpetrated over it, but even as it has become the dominant system in its area, there really hasn’t been a solid technical critique of it which actually dissects its low-level architecture and draws remarks from it.

      In fact, much more worthwhile has been written on the systemd debate than on systemd itself. Among these include Judec Nelson’s “systemd: The Biggest Fallacies” and my own later “Why pro-systemd and anti-systemd people will never get along”.

      I am very wary of publishing this, due to being keenly aware of how these discussions descend into an inferno with the same dead horse talking points, even in cases where the author makes relatively salient or previously unexplored points. The tribal instinct to show where one stands kicks in and people begin slinging mud about init systems, even if it’s tangential to whatever they’re supposed to be commenting on.

    • Good Software, Bad Behavior

      You might say that those who are critical of the behavior on the list are not grateful for their work, and to make that assumption is a laughable mistake. It’s not the work under indictment, once again it’s the attitudes. The prevailing caustic attitude may change and it may not, but if the latter course is chosen, then the list continues in its cancerous way at its own peril.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Performance-Boosting DCC Support Being Worked On For RadeonSI VI GPUs
      • Intel Haswell Graphics Have A Few Gains With Ubuntu 15.10

        I ran some quick tests of Ubuntu 15.04 vs. 15.10 out-of-the-box to show the performance difference between the Linux 3.19 + Mesa 10.5 stack against the upcoming Linux 4.2 + Mesa 11.0 powered distribution. An Intel Core i7 4790K processor with HD Graphics 4600 was used for this weekend’s tests.

      • NVIDIA 358.09 Beta Prepares For DRM Mode-Setting Interface

        The first public beta in NVIDIA’s 358 driver series for Linux, BSD, and Solaris is available! Building off the NVIDIA 355 series, the 358 series adds in more pieces of the puzzle for interfacing with DRM/KMS and continues stepping closer to Mir/Wayland support.

      • Nvidia 358.09 Beta Linux Driver Brings a New Kernel Module

        A new Nvidia Beta driver has been released, and developers have added quite a few OpenGL changes and improvements, among other things.

        The Nvidia developers have just pushed a new Beta driver out the door and this time it’s full of all kinds of OpenGL updates and fixes. It will be a while until all of these changes make their way onto the stable branch of the drivers, but these are pretty important, and it won’t take all that long.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Plasma 5.5 Promises a Lot of Cool New Features

        The KDE developers are already considering what they need to do to improve the Plasma desktop after the 5.4.2 launch, and they’ve shared some of the features that are going to be made available.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.15.0 Has Just Landed in Kubuntu 15.10 (Wily Werewolf)

        The Kubuntu developers, through Marco Parillo, announced this past weekend that the they updated the KDE Frameworks package in the development version of Kubuntu 15.10 to version 5.15.0, which was released on October 10, 2015.

      • KDE PIM Sprint in Toulouse

        The KDE PIM spring sprint was held in Toulouse, France in March this year in Makina Corpus offices.

        The sprint was very important, because the team needed to decide how to continue from the current situation. At the previous sprint in Munich in November when Christian and Aaron introduced their new concept for next version of Akonadi it was decided to refocus all our efforts on working on that, which meant switching to maintenance mode of KDE PIM for a very long time and then coming back with a big boom. In Toulouse we re-evaluated this plan and decided that it is not working for us and that it will be much better for the project as well as the users if we continue active development of KDE PIM instead of focusing exclusively on the “next big thing” and take the one-step-at-the-time approach.

      • Interview with Pierre Geier

        If I remember correctly I’ve known about Krita since 2005, I guess, when I used KDE and there was this office stuff and a drawing program, which I never used. Until early 2015 I used only MyPaint and GIMP. And now I’ve been using Krita since April 2015.

      • Some Of The Features Coming To KDE Plasma 5.5

        While KDE developers are increasingly working on their Plasma mobile plans, there still are new changes coming to the KDE desktop. For the upcoming Plasma 5.5 release, there is going to be improvements to the user-switcher including a new prompt and new plasmoid, the KDE Color Picker plasmoid has returned, the Solid Device Auto Mounter has also been restored, and there are other plasmoid improvements and smaller changes throughout.

      • KWrite on Mac

        It is still ugly, as scaled on my HiDPI display as the plist file is missing and it crashs on everything (aka open dialog) and has no icons.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Star ratings in GNOME Software

        A long time ago, GNOME software used to show star ratings as popularity next to the application using the fedora-tagger application. This wasn’t a good idea for several reasons.

      • GNOME Files/Nautilus Search Is Finally Being Overhauled

        A Google Summer of Code student who worked on GTK+ and Nautilus has managed to overhaul the search feature of GNOME’s file manager.

        The new search feature built into Files/Nautilus is designed to be much more intuitive with new filters and more. The new code hasn’t yet been merged and still needs to be reviewed, but looks promising so far.

      • GNOME Software To Get A “Kudos” Rating System For Apps

        GNOME Software abandoned their “star rating system” over issues with abuse, lack of standardization by reviewers, and that package rating system really not working out. Now they’re going to introduce a “kudos” rating system.

      • GNOME Software Is Getting a New Rating System with Kudos

        The GNOME developers are preparing to reintroduce a rating system for GNOME Software, but nothing as simple as the old one. It will be a complex way of rating the applications so that users can make informed decisions.

      • Boston GNOME Summit update

        The first day was filled with discussions and planning, with one of the central topics being how to make gnome-builder, xdg-app and gnome-continuous play well together. You can find notes and conclusions from this discussion here.

      • GNOME Photos 3.18 App Gets Its First Hotfix Release Ahead of GNOME 3.18.1

        Earlier today, October 12, Debarshi Ray was happy to inform us all about the immediate availability of the first point release of his GNOME Photos 3.18 image viewer application for the soon-to-be-released GNOME 3.18.1 desktop environment.

      • View your GTK3 app or VM on the Web

        Ever wondered how to view gedit in a browser? It’s not a secret anymore, broadway is there for some time.

      • The new search for GNOME Files (aka Nautilus)

        As some (most? none? who knows =P) of you already know, last cycle I worked as a Google Summer of Code intern with Gtk+ and Nautilus. We saw the very positive results of it. And the picky eyes out there noticed that I wrote with these exact words: “While the project is over, I won’t stop contributing to Nautilus. Even with the interesting code, even with all the strange things surrounding it. Nautilus is like an ugly puppy: it may hurt your eyes, yet you still warmly love it.”

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • TI “Processor SDK” initially targets Sitara with Yocto and U-Boot

      TI has launched a “Processor SDK” based on a mainline LTS Linux kernel, U-Boot, a Yocto file system and Linaro tool chain, initially covering Sitara SoCs.

      Texas Instruments has introduced a Processor Software Development Kit based on Linux as well as its own TI-RTOS, that will eventually scale across multiple Sitara and DSP processors families. The first two SoC families supported by Processor SDK are the 720MHz, Cortex-A8 Sitara AM335x and the 1GHz, single-core Cortex-A9 Sitara AM437x. Both SoCs are notable for offering a PRU-ICSS (Programmable Real-Time Unit and Industrial Communication Subsystem), which comprises 32-bit microcontrollers that enable customization of I/O.

    • Linksys WRT1900ACS Router is Ready for Open Source Tinkering

      We still regard the Linksys WRT1900AC as one of the best and fastest routers available, though if you’re eyeing that model, there’s a new version available with more memory and a faster processor.

      It’s the WRT1900ACS, which is essentially an improved version of the WRT1900AC. The new model boasts a 1.6GHz dual-core processor, an upgrade over its predecessor’s 1.2GHz chip; 128MB of flash memory (same as before); 512MB of DDR3 RAM, which is two times as much as the WRT1900AC; and eSATA and USB ports.

    • Linux Foundation Takes on Real-Time Computing for Embedded Apps

      What’s the next step for open source in the embedded computing market? Google (GOOG), the Linux Foundation and other inaugural supporters of the Real-Time Linux Collaborative Project, which launched this month with a focus on the robotics, telecom, manufacturing, aviation, medical and similar industries, think kernel-level real-time support is the answer.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Huawei Ascend P7 gets Android 5.1.1 indicating imminent rollout of Android M

          Users of Huawei’s flagship Ascend P7 now have lots to cheer as Android 5.1.1, the latest Lollipop build is now seeding to the handset across the world. Owners of the smartphone should notice the latest update via automatic OTA.

          As per a GSMArena report, Huawei Ascend P7 owners can check out the Android 5.1.1 OS update in the form of a 1.26GB size file. Those preferring to download manually can do so by checking out the official firmware section on Huawei’s website.

        • Fun with permissions: Why the change in Android 6.0 may make you repeat yourself

          In switching to a runtime permissions model in Android 6.0 — you’re no longer giving access to your data just by installing an app — developers can now more easily explain themselves. Sort of.

        • Google Android 6.0 Marshmallow: 5 new features you REALLY should know about

          Unfortunately the latest version of the hugely popular Android operating system is currently only available to those running a Nexus or Android One devices.

          Express.co.uk has provided a quick guide on how to upgrade your handset, here.

          If you are lucky enough to be running Marshmallow – here are FIVE new features and tweaks you should know about.

        • Pichai names Lockheimer SVP of Android, Chrome OS, Chromecast

          A member of the Google family since 2006, Lockheimer has been noted to be one of the more friendly faces among the roster of Android engineers. He has been held in high esteem by Pichai, who then also managed Android and Chrome before he was appointed to oversee all Google products last year. Although not as public a persona as Pichai, something that will of course be changing soon, Lockheimer has once in a while gone public about the direction that Android is heading to, like Google’s position on Android Auto and the future of Android in general. Most recently, Lockheimer setup an Reddit AMA thread to answer some of the more pressing questions about the newly announced Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X smartphones.

        • GranitePhone Security-Focused Android Smartphone Now Up for Pre-Orders

          The security-focused smartphone segment has seen a couple of launches from companies such as Silent Circle and Turing Robotic Industries. The security-focused Blackphone 2 smartphone (from Silent Circle), which was introduced back in March at MWC, went on sale recently. Meanwhile, price of the ‘unhackable, unbreakable, and waterproof’ smartphone, the Turing Phone (Turing Robotic Industries), was also revealed recently by the company.

        • Paranoid Android Development Team Taking A Breather

          One of Android’s greatest strengths is that it is open source and relatively easy to modify. This means that the source code may be taken by anybody and modified to suit their particular purpose. A great many handsets sold in China are Android-based, whereby the manufacturer has reinvented how Android works partially because until very recently, one could not access Google Services in China. We have also seen Amazon build their Fire tablets using Fire OS, which is based on Android. At the opposite end of the scale, we have also seen dedicated teams of developers over the planet building custom ROMs for Android devices. By a “custom ROM,” I mean a replacement for the software that runs your Android device. There are many reasons why people will install a custom ROM onto their handset or tablet, from wishing to experiment with different software, to circumventing restrictions placed on them by the stock software, or through wishing to optimize or change how the device performs.

        • 10 Android smartphones that feature laser autofocus cameras

          It took a while — longer than a year, actually — but the innovative laser autofocus system that first made its appearance on the LG G3 has actually made it to no less than nine other Android smartphones. We knew there was something to it ever since we saw the laser beams firing from the LG G3′s sensor and helping it focus quickly and accurately on objects from the scene. So it makes us feel especially cheerful that more manufacturers have discovered this technology for their own smartphones!

        • Use Cabinet to Manage Files on Your Android Device

          File management on Android is improving, but it’s still not great, and it can be frustrating trying to take control of exactly which files are saved and where they’re stored. Numerous third-party apps have rushed in to fill the gap but one of the best we’ve seen in recent times is Cabinet—it’s fast, feature-rich and a signed-up member of the Material Design club.

        • Linux Top 3: Quirky 7.2, NetBSD 7.0 and Android x86 5.1
        • Android 6.0 review: A small but significant bump for the world’s dominant OS

          All the big changes happened in Lollipop. Now it’s Marshmallow’s turn is to show the world how useful and personal Android can be.

        • Leak reveals a brand-new Android phone made by… Pepsi

          Wait, what? And why? A new leak has revealed that Pepsi — yes, that Pepsi — is making an Android phone. Android Headlines has spotted a listing for a new phone on a Chinese website called the Pepsi P1 that appears to be Pepsi’s first attempt at making its own smartphone. Despite selling for roughly $200, it looks like the device will have some decent specs.

        • 5 Reasons to Still Choose an Android Phone Over an iPhone

          Today, you’ll find a handful of Android smartphones that are every bit as beautiful, capable, reliable, and well-designed as the iPhone. In fact, there are plenty of reasons why people should be choosing Android phones over the iPhone.

        • A First Look at the Most Expensive Android Wear Watch Ever Made

          Intel and Tag Heuer have done tons of hyping for its still upcoming, $1,800 Android Wear watch. But after hearsay that a November launch was coming, the Swiss luxury watchmaker is sticking with that rumored game plan. The most expensive Android Watch ever made is coming November 9th.

        • Tag Heuer is unveiling its Android Wear smartwatch next month

          Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer has set a date for its upcoming Android Wear smartwatch unveiling. The Tag Heuer Connected, as it’s called, will make its debut at the LVMH Tower in New York City on November 9th, according to invites sent out by the company today. The watch is reportedly based on the popular Tag Carrera and will cost around $1,800, according to a interview with Tag CEO Jean-Claude Biver on CNBC last month.

        • ZTE lifts lid on Axon mini Android smartphone pricing and specs

          Chinese handset-maker ZTE has revealed more about the pricing, specs, and availability of the mini version of its Axon flagship smartphone.

          Following on from ZTE’s US launch of its $450 flagship Axon in July, the company has announced it will begin offering two variants of its smaller sibling. Although the mini was also unveiled in July, ZTE has only now revealed prices.

        • Android 6.0 has a great auto backup system that no one is using (yet)

          We recently published a rather lengthy review of Google’s newest operating system, Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but there was one feature we couldn’t get working in time for the review: the new automatic backup feature for app data. The theory is that this feature would take all your app data, stick it in the cloud, and when you restore your phone or buy a new one, it would be like nothing ever changed—all your settings and logins would come back like magic.

        • Android users left at risk… and it’s not even THEIR FAULT this time!
        • Huawei Rolling Out Android 5.1.1 Lollipop To Ascend P7
        • 10 Android Tips And Tricks For A Better, Smarter Phone
        • The need for a 3D Android interface is now

          Fear not, Android faithful, 3D Touch will be coming to our favorite platform. A few days ago, Synaptics announced their ClearForce technology that recognizes different levels of pressure to the screen. Synaptics is working with Android OEMs to make this happen.

          The skeptics, of course, abound. Before Apple rolled out devices with this feature, people were doubtful of its usability. What Apple did, however, was seriously impress. They took a very challenging feature and made it work. That’s something Apple is quite good at.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source as a tool of cultural change

    The government is the de facto “keeper of the data” for the entire country. There’s all kinds of useful data on pretty much any topic. The problem is that often, that data is stored in a way that is very difficult to discover and access. In my opinion this is primarily a workflow issue as opposed to a policy issue. Too many datasets exist as documents on a walled-off shared folder somewhere. Even sharing data with another agency is difficult, especially if it’s of substantial size. Most agency networks block file sharing services like Dropbox. So, the opportunities for open data are really endless if we can change the way the government stores, creates, and releases data.

  • The importance of face-to-face in the open source world

    This is particularly important when it comes to Open Source. The Open Source world is a fabric of interconnected personalities, relationships, and expectations. It is critically important to not just get work done but to also ensure the people doing the work feel a sense of connection. To this end, face to face communication and collaboration is essential.

  • Extending a Free, Open Source Community to Our Students

    What makes the open source community so important though? Well, there are a lot of reasons out there, but for Butler, a lot of it has to do with collaboration. This is noteworthy when considering the value an open source community can bring to educational collaboration, then.

  • 3 open source projects for modern COBOL development

    GnuCOBOL (formerly known as OpenCOBOL) is a modern, open source, COBOL compiler. It works by translating COBOL code into C and compiling the code using GCC. While the project does not claim standards compliance, it passes most of the tests in the COBOL 85 test suite from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Other compilers might be more standards compliant or contain the same quirks as their historical antecedents, but GnuCOBOL is the compiler used by the other two projects I cover below.

  • Open source office at Veneto health care

    The ULSS5 health care organisation, one of 22 in the Italian Veneto Region, has nearly completed the transition to the open source office suite LibreOffice and the open document format ODF. Already 70% of all 1500 workstations have LibreOffice implemented, and the migration will be completed in 2016, says Enio Gemmo, one of the instructors involved in the project. Exchanging documents with others remains one of the main problems.

  • Industry Veterans Partner to Create a School for Software Engineers

    Another interesting angle is that during their first year at school all projects except their own, if they decide otherwise, must be open sourced online on the repository of their choice (such as GitHub).

    “Open source is a great option for teaching students because it not only helps you in building new skills as as software engineers, but also you know how to communicate with your peers. You have to understand how the team is working among many things. So I think open source is a great way to learn software engineering,” added Barbier.

    Because the Linux Foundation also runs many specialized courses, I asked whether the school had any plans to collaborate with the Foundation. I was told that, although they are in touch with the Linux Foundation, it’s too early to comment on it.

  • Eximbank opts for Allevo’s open source application FinTP

    It originates from Allevo’s older offering, qPayintegrator. The open source project has been in the making for a few years.

  • Volkswagen’s Diesel Fraud Makes Critic of Secret Code a Prophet

    A Columbia University law professor stood in a hotel lobby one morning and noticed a sign apologizing for an elevator that was out of order. It had dropped unexpectedly three stories a few days earlier. The professor, Eben Moglen, tried to imagine what the world would be like if elevators were not built so that people could inspect them.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla to Bar Many Legacy Plug-ins in Firefox By End of 2016

        As we’ve reported several times, Google has been introducing big changes in its Chrome browser, especially when it comes to how the browser handles extensions. If you’ve regularly used either or both of the most popular open source Internet browsers–Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox–then you’re probably familiar with the performance and security problems that some extensions for them have caused.

        Mozilla, like the Chrome team, is also focused on the effect that extensions have on performance and reliability. Now, Benjamin Smedberg, a Mozilla senior engineering manager, in a post to a blog, has confirmed that Mozilla will bar almost all plug-ins built using decades-old NPAPI technology by the end of 2016.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Healthcare

    • Taunton and Somerset trust explores wider open source adoption

      Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust has commenced “exploratory work” around expanding its use of open source technology to include an e-prescribing solution after going live with a non-proprietary electronic patient record (EPR) system earlier this month.

      Trust IT director Malcolm Senior said that although work around potentially adopting a new e-prescribing system was at an early stage, Taunton and Somerset was now considering dates for possible implementation.

      Senior said he was confident the trust would be able to meet a timeline for completing development of an e-prescribing service in line with aims for a ‘paperless NHS’ by 2018.

  • Business

  • Funding

    • Your Last Chance To Crowdfund InvizBox Go, A Portable Open Source VPN Router

      A small Irish tech startup is in the last few days of crowdfunding for a small Linux-based router it’s hoping to ship out to supporters in February 2016.

      If its Kickstarter campaign is successful, InvizBox Go will offer users some protection when connecting to WiFi networks. Whether you’re at home, at a hotel, or working out of a coffee shop, the InvizBox Go will be able to connect your devices and route all of your traffic over Tor or a VPN connection (or even both). And since it can connect all devices simultaneously, it’s a great solution for keeping your housemates secure without requiring them to plug into anything or even download any software. Or, let’s face it, it’s also good for watching blocked content from around the world. Users will also be able to block a known list of ad providers. An optional feature will block Windows 10’s tracking domain. Additionally, the device can acts as a WiFi extender or even be used to charge a mobile phone or tablet if users plug into its USB port.

    • Irish firm’s product to mask online activity
  • BSD

    • FreeBSD/PC-BSD 10.2 vs. Ubuntu 15.04/15.10 Benchmarks

      It’s been a while since last running any BSD vs. Linux benchmarks, so I’ve started some fresh comparisons using the latest releases of various BSDs and Linux distributions. First up, as for what’s completed so far, is using the FreeBSD-based PC-BSD 10.2 compared to Ubuntu 15.04 stable and the latest development release of Ubuntu 15.10.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Italy’s Bari switching to LibreOffice and ODF

      The Italian city of Bari is about to complete its transition to LibreOffice and the open document format ODF. At the end of this year, the open source suite of office productivity tools will have been implemented on 75% of the city’s nearly 1700 PC workstations. Change management is a key part of the transition, explains Marini Latini, who helped train the city’s staff members.

    • Another city swaps in LibreOffice to replace Microsoft Office

      Another city has decided to swap out Microsoft Office for the open source LibreOffice productivity suite. As ZDNet reported, the municipality of Bari in Italy is currently installing the open-source office software on its 1,700 PCs after a successful trial involving 100 PCs.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • ODS Onsite Training – Onsite Training to the European Commission

        The course aims at enhancing the understanding of linked open data principles and technologies. By the end of the course, participants should have a clear understanding of what linked open data is and how linked data technologies can be applied to improve the availability, understandability and usability of EU data.

Leftovers

  • Notable Moments in White People Taking Credit For Discovering Things (Columbusing)

    For some of you, today is Columbus Day. For others it is Indigenous Peoples day and for the rest of you, it’s Monday.

    Christopher Columbus was an Italian sailor who wandered around the Caribbean and the Americas capturing and raping indigenous peoples. For his troubles, he is said to have “discovered” what we now know as the United States, an attribution that—just as he did—leaves out the worth of the millions of people who had been living here for a very, very long time.

    Objectively, fuck Christopher Columbus.

    However, one of the few helpful things he did was inadvertently give us a word for the phenomenon when someone (specifically a white someone) takes or is given credit for discovering something that existed long before it came to that individual’s attention.

  • Field Report: Pirate Bloc – Tory Party Conference demo 4/10/2015

    Over the last week, the Tory party had their conference in Manchester. On Sunday 4th October, 60,000 people took to the streets to protest, organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity. We joined them as the Pirate Bloc, with some help from our friends over at the Manchester branch of Open Rights Group. We broadcast a lot of the march live on Periscope, and there are a number of videos saved on Bambuser, but we also have a few pictures to share with you.

  • The Self-Appointed Elite

    I am an unrepentant enthusiast for the European Union, indeed a European Federalist. I think the freedoms of movement of people and goods within the EU are the most profound political achievement of my lifetime, and have made the world a very much better place.

    I am therefore flabbergasted by the group of unpleasant elitist bastards who apparently will lead the pro-EU campaign for the referendum. How could anybody wishing to win a vote believe that a Board including Peter Mandelson and Danny Alexander is going to help? While the appointment of Lord Rose seems to confirm belief in the “Michelle Mone theory”, that selling knickers grants universal expertise.

    Most egregious of all, the Executive Director is Will Straw, whose main qualification is that his father is a war criminal. Founder of the rabid anti-Corbyn website Left Foot Forward and every bit as Atlanticist as Liam Fox, Will Straw is as insanely pro-United States hegemony and as ultra-Zionist as only an extreme Blairite can be. He really is a deeply unappealing figure.

  • Yogi Berra’s 50 greatest quotes

    Yogi Berra probably is better known for his unique take on the English language than for his baseball career — and it was a heck of a baseball career.

  • Science

    • Pressure to ‘publish or perish’ may discourage innovative research, UCLA study suggests

      The researchers’ conclusions are drawn from a database they assembled of more than 6 million scholarly publications in biomedicine and chemistry

    • How PowerPoint is killing critical thought

      I still remember the best lecture I ever attended. It was part of a joint series offered by the English and philosophy departments in my first term at university and, given that the subject was Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, should have been the dullest event in Christendom that night. But it wasn’t. The lecturer, Thomas Baldwin, had a deceptively simple style: he would write a proposition on the blackboard facing us and gaze at it for a moment, like a medium beckoning a spirit. Then he would turn and smile, and start to explain.

    • The Apple bias is real

      If there’s one constant on the consumer tech calendar, it’s iPhone reviews day. Happening sometime between the announcement and the release of the latest iPhone, it manifests itself with glowing accounts of the latest Apple smartphone at the top of the page, and irate accusations of Apple-favoring bias in the comments at the bottom. This is as reliable a phenomenon as today’s autumnal equinox.

      The funny thing is that everyone’s right. Readers are right to claim that the iPhone is treated differently from other smartphones, and reviewers are correct in doing so. Apple makes more in quarterly profit than many of its mobile competitors are worth, and the success and failure of its smartphone plays a large role in shaping the fate of multiple related industries. The iPhone is reviewed like a transcendental entity that’s more than just the sum of its metal, plastic, and silicon parts, because that’s what it is.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Sudden and dramatic demise of Addenbrooke’s Hospital is tragic and couldn’t be a starker warning of impact of this government’s reckless policies on the NHS

      “The sudden and dramatic demise of Addenbrooke’s Hospital is tragic and couldn’t be a starker warning of the impact of this government’s reckless policies on the NHS. The Tories are a danger to the security of our NHS and the public’s health.

      The problems at Addenbrookes are symptomatic of a financial crisis right across the NHS with two thirds of trusts predicting a deficit this year. This is a result of chronic underfunding of the NHS following a £20 billion efficiency savings programme over the last five years. Whilst healthcare inflation runs at 4% per year, the NHS budget under Tories increased just 0.8% per year during the last Parliament, the lowest average annual increase of any parliament. With the government intent on another £22 billion of savings over the next five years, the situation for patients can only get worse under the Tories and will be further exacerba‎ted by the growing rift Jeremy Hunt has created with NHS staff over the introduction of a full 24/7 NHS and the imposition of a damaging junior doctor contract.

    • U.S. Paid Healthcare.gov Contractor $4 Million to Fix Its Own Mess

      The U.S. government paid the main healthcare.gov contractor $4 million to correct defects of the botched site and withheld only $267,420 of what it owed the company, according to a new federal audit.

      The report on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and its contract with CGI Federal is to be published today by the Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General. It is the latest in a series of audits critical of federal oversight of the private companies that built the insurance marketplace at the heart of Obamacare. Although CMS replaced the contractor a few months after healthcare.gov’s meltdown in 2013, the agency had little power to recover the money it spent trying to fix the site.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Henry Kissinger, dangerous fraud: Why he’s as responsible for Iraq and the Middle East as Vietnam

      Two weeks ago, a mini-scandal rocked the New York literary world. Gawker revealed that Andrew Roberts, the New York Times Book Review’s choice to review the authorized biography of Henry Kissinger, had in fact been Kissinger’s original choice to write the authorized biography.

      Roberts also was a long-time friend of Niall Ferguson, the man who Kissinger wound up choosing to write his authorized biography. Roberts and Ferguson had even written a lengthy chapter together in a volume of essays edited by Ferguson. Worse yet: Roberts had revealed almost none of these involvements — with Ferguson, with Kissinger — to the New York Times when it asked him to write the review.

      So unseemly were these entanglements, and the lack of transparency about them, that Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times public editor, felt called upon to rap the paper’s knuckles. Which prompted a further back and forth between Sullivan and Pamela Paul, the editor of the Times Book Review. While the back-scratching world of book reviews in the New York Times is an old topic — unlike other publications, the Times purports to be objective and untainted by personal connections, and its reviews help promote or kill books — this scandal brought it into especially sharp relief.

      The person who revealed the scandal in Gawker was Greg Grandin, an NYU historian and winner of multiple academic and literary prizes. Grandin has his own book out on Kissinger, “Kissinger’s Shadow,” which was reviewed by the Times the same day that Ferguson’s bio was.

    • Tories have forgotten that Thatcher wasn’t just a terrorist sympathiser, but close friends with one

      It’s not surprising to see the right-wing Government and press try to assassinate Jeremy Corbyn’s character. So far they’ve linked him with the IRA, Hamas and Hezbollah. In their eyes, the Labour leader is a terrorist sympathiser.

      The problem with this narrative, as with almost all narratives that invoke the spectre of terrorism, is that they rely on a decidedly one-sided view of the world. In their minds, life comprises two neatly opposed groups: those who support terror and those who oppose it.

      The charges against Corbyn, regardless of their merit, cannot exist in a political vacuum of good versus evil though. Some conservatives would be wise to look closer to home before casting the first stone.

      Whatever his views, Corbyn has never wielded the levers of power in government, and has never done more than put forward ideas. Yet if we look to the icon of conservative politics and “keeping Britain safe”, we have someone with a well-documented history of being a terrorist sympathiser. During her time as Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher openly called a terrorist a “true friend”, invited a terrorist into her home for tea, and personally lobbied against a terrorist’s prosecution for war crimes.

    • The Author of Our Best SF Military Novel Explains the Future of War

      For my money, the best novel to read about the future of war today, in 2015, was published in 1974. Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War is an all-time science fiction classic, but it hasn’t quite enjoyed the same degree of mass cultural saturation as other war-themed SF staples like Ender’s Game or Starship Troopers—maybe because it hasn’t been made into a film or TV show, maybe because its politics are too thorny and complex.

    • The WWII-Era Plane Giving the F-35 a Run for Its Money

      On December 5, 2001, an American B-52 flying tens of thousands of feet above the ground mistakenly dropped a 2,000-pound satellite-guided bomb on an Army Special Forces team in Afghanistan. The aircrew had been fed the wrong coordinates, but had the plane been flying as low and slow as older generations of attack planes did, the crew might’ve realized their error simply by looking down at the ground.

      It was not long after the Twin Towers fell, and American soldiers were killed in Afghanistan by an American bomb dropped by an American plane. That this mistake happened illustrates just how poorly the air campaign in the United States’ longest war was executed, and how efforts ultimately failed to make things better by going after high-tech solutions that aren’t what they’re cracked up to be compared to the old tried and true technology.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange: still wanted, no longer so hunted

      Is now the time for Julian Assange to try to make a break for it?

      The British government has spent more than $19 million over the last three years trying to make sure that Assange, founder of the website WikiLeaks, doesn’t escape its clutches. Assange has been holed up in the tiny Ecuadorean Embassy in London since June 2012, a fugitive from arrest on allegations that he sexually assaulted two women in Sweden.

      But authorities have apparently decided that the vigil is no longer worth it. Scotland Yard announced Monday that it was withdrawing its 24-hour presence at the embassy, which sits in one of London’s toniest neighborhoods, near the famous Harrods department store.

    • Julian Assange: Police end guard at Wikileaks founder’s embassy refuge

      Police will no longer be stationed outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has sought refuge since 2012.

      Met Police officers had been there since Mr Assange sought asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden over a rape allegation, which he denies.

      The Met said it had cost £12.6m and was “no longer proportionate” – but it would still try to arrest him.

      Wikileaks said the decision did not change Mr Assange’s situation.

    • Police pull 24-hour guard of Julian Assange’s London embassy hide out

      Police in London have removed their around-the-clock guarding of the Ecuadorian Embassy, where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been hiding out since 2012.

      Assange sought refuge at the embassy, where he has stayed for three years, while facing extradition to Sweden for questioning about alleged sex crimes.

      For the entirety of his stint inside the building, the Metropolitan Police have posted a guard outside the embassy, until Monday.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Watch A CBS Correspondent Question Charles Koch On Whether Dark Money Is “Good For The Political System”

      Anthony Mason: “Do You Think It’s Healthy For The System That So Much Money Is Coming Out Of A Relatively Small Group Of People?”

    • New Zealand deports climate change asylum seeker to Kiribati

      New Zealand has deported a Kiribati man who lost a legal battle to be the first person granted refugee status on the grounds of climate change alone.

      Ioane Teitiota, 39, has argued that rising sea levels in his homeland meant his family would not be safe there.

    • UK, France and Germany lobbied to keep loopholes in car emission tests

      The UK, France, and Germany lobbied in secret to retain outdated approaches to testing car emissions that would create major loopholes for manufacturers to exploit. According to documents seen by The Guardian, the overall effect would have been to increase real-world carbon dioxide emissions by 14 percent over those shown in the tests. Although not involving software, these loopholes would allow the carbon dioxide testing procedures to be gamed to produce deceptively good results just as Volkswagen has been doing for NOx gases.

    • Volkswagen Diesel Scandal Expands: What Should Jetta, Passat, Golf, Beetle And Audi Owners Do?

      In the wake of revelations that Volkswagen deceived regulators and car buyers about the high level of polluting emissions from its diesel-powered vehicles, you have two options if you own one of these cars: Park it or pollute.

    • Climate activists score huge victory: Hillary Clinton comes out against Keystone XL pipeline

      Breaking her years-long silence on an issue that has galvanized climate activists, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton came out against construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline on Tuesday — marking a reversal of the position she seemed to hold as secretary of state and underscoring the issue’s resonance among the progressive voters Clinton needs to secure her party’s nod.

      Speaking in Des Moines, Clinton reiterated that she had not taken a public position on the project because she did not want to interfere with the Obama administration’s deliberations over whether to approve the pipeline, which would transport oil from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. But given the administration’s persistent delays in announcing a decision on Keystone, Clinton said she now felt a “responsibility” to speak out.

    • Clinton comes out against Keystone XL pipeline

      Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton came out Tuesday against the Keystone XL oil pipeline, arguing the debate over its construction was a distraction from efforts to tackle climate change.
      The announcement follows years of pressure from environmentalists, and as Clinton seeks to reassure supporters surprised that she faces a tough challenger for the Democratic presidential nomination in Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), an opponent of Keystone.

    • Warming Arctic is trouble for Caribou in unexpected way

      Global warming in the Arctic means earlier and more plentiful mosquitoes in Greenland, and that’s bad news for the country’s already shrinking caribou population, Alaska Dispatch Newsreports.

      A new study found that for every degree Celsius the temperature rises in Greenland, mosquitoes take 10% less time to reach full, biting adulthood. And less time spent as larva means more mosquitoes survive into adulthood. The study found that a 5-degree Celsius jump raised mosquito survival rates by 160%.

  • Finance

    • Facebook paid £4,327 corporation tax despite £35m staff bonuses

      Social networking firm paid average of £210,000 to staff in Britain, but overall loss in UK of £28.5m meant very little corporation tax was due

    • Elizabeth Warren demolishes the myth of “trickle-down” economics: “That is going to destroy our country, unless we take our country back”

      Stephen Colbert once described Elizabeth Warren as the “school librarian you had a crush on” but on last night’s Late Show, she was the Sheriff of Wall Street.

      Like every interview with the senior senator of Massachusetts, there was a question about whether or not she’d be running for President in 2016. “You are a household name in American politics,” Colbert said. “And yet, you are one of the few household names that is not running for President of the United States. Are you sure you’re not running for President of the United States? Have you checked the newspapers lately, because a lot of people have jumped in, you might have done it in your sleep…. These days politicians have to check the ‘opt-out’ button. It’s like unsubscribing from an email.”

    • Thailand Might Be Required To Sacrifice Plant And Seed Sovereignty For The Sake Of Trade Agreement With EU

      Compliance with demands of the European Union or hasty government amendments to domestic laws allows the government to claim that Thailand did not amend any laws on account of the EU-Thai FTA negotiations.

      That’s noteworthy, because there’s evidence that the European Commission is aiming to implement key US demands for TAFTA/TTIP before negotiations are completed so that it too can claim that it did not amend any laws on account of it. If the biothai.org post is correct, it’s a sneaky trick that seems to be spreading.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • No, the Kochs’ Political Spending Is not “Reported”

      Charles Koch misled CBS when he suggested that the Kochs’ political spending is publicly disclosed.

      On October 11, the elder Koch brother gave a rare interview to CBS Sunday Morning. Reporter Anthony Mason asked, “Do you think it’s good for the political system that so much what’s called ‘dark money’ is flowing into the process now?”

      Koch replied: “First of all, what I give isn’t ‘dark.’ What I give politically, that’s all reported. It’s either to PACs or to candidates. And what I give to my foundations is all public information.”

    • Carly Fiorina’s post-truth politics: Even her most delusional defenders admit she’s fudging the facts

      I usually avoid reading anything by Jonah Goldberg because life is short and the world has a finite supply of blood pressure medication. But his column in the Los Angeles Times covering the controversy over Carly Fiorina’s comments about the Planned Parenthood videos is so awful, it has to be read to be believed.

      The editorial starts off with the full Fiorina quote that has become so controversial: “Anyone who has watched this videotape, I dare Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama to watch these tapes. Watch a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking while someone says, ‘We have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.’”

  • Censorship

    • France confirms that Google must remove search results globally, or face big fines

      Google’s informal appeal against a French order to apply the so-called “right to be forgotten” to all of its global Internet services and domains, not just those in Europe, has been rejected. The president of the Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés (CNIL), France’s data protection authority, gave a number of reasons for the rejection, including the fact that European orders to de-list information from search results could be easily circumvented if links were still available on Google’s other domains.

    • Mark Crispin Miller, Peter Hart, and Gerry Condon

      Mark Crispin Miller of NYU discusses some of the recent additions to his Forbidden Bookshelf series, which seeks out important out-of-print political works and republishes them as e-books; Miller explains the insidious ways the books were first “disappeared.” Next, Peter Hart with the National Coalition Against Censorship speaks about this year’s Banned Books Week, and some of the means — short of outright banning — which keep important books away from students. The program concludes with Gerry Condon of Vets for Peace, speaking about the historic vessel Golden Rule, brought to San Francisco as part of a protest against the U.S. Navy’s annual Fleet Week activities there.

    • The President Stood Up For Free Speech On Campus — But He Didn’t Mean Middle School Campuses

      Well, it didn’t take him long to reveal that his sudden free speech platform was bullshit — with the blocking of a young conservative activist from seeing or responding to his Twitter feed,” conservative YouTube sensation CJ Pearson, a 13-year-old black middle schooler from Georgia.”

    • The Trend Of Killing News Comment Sections Because You ‘Just Really Value Conversation’ Stupidly Continues

      Over the last year, there has been a tidal wave of websites that have decided to close their news comment sections because the companies are no longer willing to invest time and effort into cultivating healthy on-site discussion. While that’s any site’s prerogative, these announcements have all too often been accompanied by amusing, disingenuous claims that the reason these sites are muting their on-site audience is because they’re simply looking to build relationships or just really value conversation. Nothing says “we care about your opinions” like a shiny new muzzle, right?

    • Pirate Bay Forum Knocked Offline by ICANN Complaint

      The Apple bias is real

      The Pirate Bay’s official SuprBay forum has gone dark after experiencing domain name problems. The forum’s domain name registrar eNom suspended the site following an ICANN complaint over inaccurate Whois information, and the site remains offline for now.

    • Man arrested for disparaging police on Facebook settles suit for $35,000

      A Wisconsin man arrested for posting disparaging and profanity laced comments on a local police department’s Facebook page has settled a civil rights lawsuit and is being awarded $35,000.

      Thomas G. Smith used the Facebook page of a rural Wisconsin village called Arena to, among other things, label local cops as “fucking racists bastards.”

      He was charged criminally in state court on allegations of disorderly conduct and unlawful use of computerized communications. He was sentenced to a year of probation and 25 hours of community service. A state appeals court overturned his conviction last year.

  • Privacy

    • Whoops: OPM Says Hackers Stole 5.6 Million Fingerprints, Not 1.1 Million

      Months after hackers first broke into Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the US government agency that handles all federal employee data, the hack keeps on getting worse.

    • OPM says 5.6 million fingerprints stolen in cyberattack, five times as many as previously thought
    • Snowden Treaty Launched: Effort To Get Countries To End Mass Surveillance

      Of course, chances of the US signing on to this are basically nil, but it will be interesting to see if other countries think it’s worth supporting. Countries that have tried to hold themselves out as bastions of free speech and against mass surveillance might make interesting targets. But, of course, actually getting countries to commit to such things isn’t always easy. Still, the effort seems worthwhile, even if it merely raises the issue of what kind of world do we live in that such a thing should even be necessary?

    • Obama administration explored ways to bypass smartphone encryption

      The approaches were analyzed as part of a months-long government discussion about how to deal with the growing use of encryption in which no one but the user can see the information. Law enforcement officials have argued that armed with a warrant they should be able to obtain communications, such as e-mails and text messages, from companies in terrorism and criminal cases.

    • [Old] Facebook case may force European firms to change data storage practices
    • [Old] How NSA Surveillance May Result In Fragmenting The Internet: EU Court Leaning Towards Ending ‘Privacy Safe Harbor’
    • Senate Intelligence Committee Forced To Drop ‘Terrorist-Activity’ Reporting Requirements For Social Media Platforms

      Less than three months after announcing it was considering turning major social media platforms into unpaid government informants, the Senate Intelligence Committee is dropping its proposed requirement that Facebook, Twitter, etc. report “terrorist activity” to designated agencies.

    • FBI Ignores Court Order, Congressional Oversight; Refuses To Respond To Questions About Clinton Emails

      Grassley is right about most of this. The FBI does tend to believe it’s above the law, what with its warrantless surveillance, refusal to cooperate with DOJ oversight and its general indifference to its own internal policies. But what Grassley is complaining about is standard operating procedure by the agency. When not withholding information for bogus reasons, the agency quite frequently cites “ongoing investigations” when refusing to turn over documents.

    • As US Turns Away From Idea Of Backdooring Crypto, David Cameron Has A Problem

      Last week, Mike wrote about what seems an important shift in US government policy on encryption, as the White House finally recognizes that adding backdoors isn’t a sensible option. That leaves a big question mark over what the UK will do, since David Cameron and intelligence officials have been hinting repeatedly that they wanted to undermine encryption in some unspecified way. Just last week, the new head of MI5, the UK’s domestic intelligence service, gave the first-ever live media interview by a senior British intelligence official.

    • [India] National Encryption Policy draft withdrawn: 13 things to know

      If you were worried that deleting WhatsApp, Facebook and Viber chats could put you behind bars, fret not. In a complete u-turn, the government has withdrawn the proposed National Encryption policy that may have landed you in trouble for deleting your WhatsApp, Facebook messages before 90 days.

    • India’s Government Looking At Mandating Backdoors In Encryption
    • India joins war on crypto

      India’s newly released draft national encryption policy includes a requirement that plaintext versions of all encrypted data and messages must be kept by every user, whether a business or an individual, for 90 days. And the “verifiable” plaintext must made available to law enforcement agencies on demand. This unprecedented requirement is likely to make security breaches even more serious, and present enormous logistical problems for companies using encryption on a large scale, since they will have to manage the storage and timely deletion of the plaintext versions.

    • Twitter Makes All Its Shortlinks HTTPS By Default

      We have discussed for years, of course, the value of encrypting more of the web, and especially increasing use of HTTPS-by-default. Kudos to Twitter for making this move and encouraging widespread use of HTTPS to better protect people’s surfing. It’s worth noting that Twitter is also warning sites that they may see a drop in referrals from Twitter, because browsers drop the referrer from the header when an HTTPS link goes to an HTTP destination — but it notes that it will be using referrer policy instead, which is good. Most modern browsers support referrer policy, and thus this isn’t really that big a deal. However, it’s one of the random complaints that some anti-HTTPS campaigners have argued over the years (that the lack of referrer is a big loss under HTTPS).

    • 4chan Message Board Sold to Founder of 2Channel, a Japanese Web Culture Pioneer

      4chan, an anonymous message board founded by Christopher Poole in 2003, has been home to a veritable smorgasbord of everything the web has to offer. With posts on the site lasting only a matter of days or even hours before they are deleted, the message board has been described as the collective id of the Internet, home to hardcore pornography, hardcore cooking tips and everything in between.

    • Government Asks Appeals Court To Change Its Mind On Warrant Requirement For Cell Site Location Info

      The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals might be revisiting its recent decision of imposing a warrant requirement on the acquisition of cell site location information. The government has asked for an en banc hearing to settle this issue.

      As of now, there is no unified view on the privacy (or lack thereof) inherent to historical cell site information. Nathan Freed Wessler, staff attorney for the ACLU, has put together a map of current decisions that shows where warrant requirements have been established (for now — many are being appealed/challenged) and where they haven’t. (Click through for a [slightly] larger version.)

    • George W. Bush Tried To Retroactively Declare Illegal, Unconstitutional NSA Surveillance Legal, Because He Said So

      When it comes to the NSA, we’ve been discussing just how dangerous it is when the government gets to put in place its own secret interpretation of laws that, when read by the public, appear to say something quite different than the secret interpretation. Otherwise you have secret laws, and that’s no way to run an open Constitutional democracy. For many years, it’s been known that in March of 2004 there was a hospital room showdown between then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales (with White House Chief of Staff Andy Card) and (at the time, quite ill) Attorney General John Ashcroft and acting Attorney General James Comey, over whether or not to reauthorize some sort of surveillance program. Comey, Ashcroft, and then FBI Director Robert Mueller all threatened to resign over the issue, and eventually, we were told, President Bush overruled Gonzales and Card. We knew at the time that the dispute was over domestic surveillance and whether or not it was legal. More recently, it came out that it was over domestic collection of internet/email metadata. This was a program similar to the phone metadata program that was revealed by Ed Snowden, but for email/internet information.

  • Civil Rights

    • Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents

      Saudi Arabia has introduced a series of new laws which define atheists as terrorists, according to a report from Human Rights Watch.

      In a string of royal decrees and an overarching new piece of legislation to deal with terrorism generally, the Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could “harm public order”.

      The new laws have largely been brought in to combat the growing number of Saudis travelling to take part in the civil war in Syria, who have previously returned with newfound training and ideas about overthrowing the monarchy.

    • Militant group publishes global hitlist of bloggers, activists and writers

      An Islamic militant group in Bangladesh has issued a hitlist of secular bloggers, writers and activists around the world, saying they will be killed if its demands are not met.

      The list will raise fears that Islamic militant violence within the unstable south Asian country could take on an international dimension.

    • Phone video clears man charged with assaulting cop — even after phone disappears

      Cellphone went missing after police took it, but uploaded file exonerated accused man and left judge questioning officers’ honesty, finding their testimony “deliberately misleading.”

    • Taken Offline: Years in Prison for a Love of Technology

      Writing a letter with a pen has an odd feeling in a digital age. You pick your words carefully, without a delete key. You urge your hands to recall their best handwriting. You ponder about forms of address and how much space to leave; should I fill the page, or sign off half-way down?

      The last time I wrote a letter was to the Syrian technologist, Bassel Khartabil. I had to write a letter, because Bassel’s not online right now, despite being an enthusiastic adopter of new technology when it reached his home town of Damascus. Bassel’s not online, because he was arrested and thrown in jail for his love of the Internet and free culture, and has now been incarcerated for over three and a half years.

    • ACLU, Lawyers Group Sue Cali Police Department Over $3,000 Fee Demand For Body Cam Footage

      Once again, a government agency is attempting to price itself out of the public records market. The Hayward (CA) police department told the National Lawyers Guild that it needed to come up with $3,000 before it would turn over requested body camera footage.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • White House report says Internet is a ‘core utility’ just like electricity

      A White House report says broadband Internet is a core utility people need to participate in modern society. But millions of Americans, especially in rural areas, still don’t have access to high-speed Internet.

    • The Wall Street Journal Doubles Down On Dumb: Falsely Claims Net Neutrality (‘Obamanet’) Has Crushed Broadband Investment

      Last week, we noted that the Wall Street Journal appeared to have reached a completely new low in the “conversation” about net neutrality, with a bizarre, facts-optional missive about how Netflix was to blame for pretty much everything wrong with the Internet. According to Holman W. Jenkins Jr., Netflix is the diabolical villain at the heart of a cabal to regulate the Internet, cleverly convincing regulators to treat hard-working, honest companies like Comcast unfairly. As we noted, the screed is part of a broader telecom-industry attempt to vilify Netflix for not only its support of net neutrality, but for daring to erode traditional cable TV subscriptions through (gasp) competition.

    • Network Engineers Weigh In to Support the Open Internet

      Yesterday, EFF and the ACLU filed a friend-of-the-court brief (press release) defending the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules in the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Along with our legal arguments, we submitted a statement signed by dozens of engineers familiar with Internet infrastructure. Signers include current and former members of the Internet Engineering Task Force and Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers’ committees, professors, CTOs, network security engineers, Internet architects, systems administrators and network engineers, and even a founder of the company that registered the first “.com” domain.

      [...]

      The engineers explain in detail how ISP discrimination could require innovators to negotiate with ISPs before their applications will work, rather than being able to rely on ISPs to pass data in a neutral manner. ISP interference could also introduce errors and security vulnerabilities that would be challenging to fix.

    • The internet is run by an unaccountable private company. This is a problem

      What if instead of organising a football competition every four years, Fifa took on management of the internet? Leaving aside the arrests and bribery allegations, the organisation might look a bit like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers ( Icann), the private California company responsible for overseeing the running of the internet. The scary thing about Fifa is that, when things go wrong, no one else has the power to intervene.

      It was thought that 30 September 2015 was supposed to be a significant date in internet governance. The US government was going to hand over key responsibilities to the internet community – but that date will be missed, because Icann’s board looks set to oppose plans to make itself more accountable.

      If Icann’s board can override the consensus of its own community, it casts doubt on the viability of the entire Icann model, and exposes the flakiness of the way essential internet resources are governed.

  • DRM

    • White Hat Hackers Would Have Their Devices Destroyed Under the TPP

      Car hackers, farmers fixing their high-tech tractors, and teenage DVD rippers; all over the world, these digital tinkerers could have their devices seized and destroyed by the authorities thanks to provisions in the newly-minted Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

      The finalized copyright chapter of the TPP, leaked on Friday by Wikileaks, reveals that under the agreement, “judicial authorities shall, at least, have the authority to [...] order the destruction of devices and products found to be involved in” any activity that circumvents controls that manufacturers build into their software or devices, known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology.

    • Researchers Could Have Uncovered Volkswagen’s Emissions Cheat If Not Hindered by the DMCA

      Automakers argue that it’s unlawful for independent researchers to look at the code that controls vehicles without the manufacturer’s permission. We’ve explained before how this allows manufacturers to prevent competition in the markets for add-on technologies and repair tools. It also makes it harder for watchdogs to find safety or security issues, such as faulty code that can lead to unintended acceleration or vulnerabilities that let an attacker take over your car.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • WikiLeaks: ISPs to hand over copyright infringer details under TPP

        The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will force internet service providers (ISPs) to give up the details of copyright infringers so that rights holders can protect and enforce their copyright through criminal and civil means with few limitations, according to the intellectual property chapter released by WikiLeaks over the weekend.

      • Pirate Bay: What Raid? Police Never Got Our Servers

        Late last year The Pirate Bay was pulled offline after Swedish police raided a datacenter near Stockholm. The police confiscated dozens of servers which many believed to belong to the notorious torrent site. Today, the TPB team reveals that this is not the case.

      • South African Cybercrime Bill Would Throw the Book at Copyright Infringers

        Last month South Africa released its draft Cybercrimes and Cybersecurity Bill for public comment; the latest in a wave of such laws that has been sweeping the continent and beyond. EFF is currently reviewing the Bill with a view to sending a submission by the deadline of November 30, and we’ll have more to say about it before then. But there is one provision that deserves immediate comment: a clause that would criminalize essentially any infringement of copyright. This provision is oddly timed, given that South Africa is also separately considering amendments to its Copyright Act.

      • [Old] Judge Says Warner Chappell Doesn’t Hold The Copyright On Happy Birthday (But Not That It’s Public Domain)
      • Cox Accuses Rightscorp of Mass Copyright Infringement

        Internet provider Cox Communications has hit back at anti-piracy company Rightscorp. While denying responsibility for the alleged copyright infringements of its subscribers, Cox turns the tables, accusing Rightscorp of sharing thousands of copyrighted works without permission.

      • RIAA CEO: Piracy Notices Are Costly & Increasingly Pointless

        The CEO and chairman of the RIAA says that the current notice and takedown anti-piracy process is both costly and increasingly pointless. Cary Sherman says the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA have forced labels into a “never-ending game” of whack-a-mole while sites under its protection effectively obtain a discount music licensing system.

      • Leaked TPP Chapter Proposes Drastic Copyright Changes

        A leaked chapter of the final Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement proposes several changes to the copyright laws of participating countries. The intellectual property chapter covers a broad range of issues including extended copyright terms, ISP liability and criminalization of non-commercial piracy.

      • Kim Dotcom Denied Fresh Bid to Delay U.S. Extradition Hearing

        A judge has denied a bid by Kim Dotcom to suspend his long-awaited extradition hearing. The hearing began yesterday but was met with immediate calls by the Megaupload founder’s legal team to postpone to a later date. The decision handed down today by Judge Nevin Dawson means that evidence will be heard when the court resumes on Thursday.

      • Kim Dotcom’s Extradition Hearing Gets Underway

        After more than 3.5 years of legal argument and ten delays in proceedings, Kim Dotcom’s extradition hearing finally got underway this morning. The United States government wants Dotcom and his co-accused to be tried overseas for their role in Megaupload, but the larger-than-life entrepreneur intends to turn this into a dogfight.

      • U.S. Uncovers Kim Dotcom’s Self-incriminating Skype Calls

        After several years’ delay the extradition hearing of Kim Dotcom finally got moving this morning in the Auckland District Court. Characterizing the case as one of straightforward fraud, Crown lawyer Christine Gordon QC likened Megaupload to a post office shipping drugs, one in which its owners were well aware of their cargo.

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