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12.08.15

Links 8/12/2015: Chromebooks Rising, KDE Plasma 5.5

Posted in News Roundup at 3:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Fujitsu Releases Its First Open Source Project: Open Service Catalog Manager

    Recently, the company announced its first open source project, called Open Service Catalog Manager, which is cloud management software created by Fujitsu. The software was internally developed by Fujitsu and has been on the market for a while. Wolfgang Ries, Chief Marketing Officer Fujitsu Enabling Software Technology, told me that it can be used in both enterprise and service provider scenarios.

  • Why We Are Open Source and Will Remain That Way

    I felt the need to write this opening paragraph due to a highly visible source code closing done by another company. We have no intentions, plans, thoughts or wavers in that direction. Furthermore, we consider contributions to be the least important benefits of Open Source Software.

  • The insecurity of platforms and how open source overcomes

    This is not to say that Linux and open source will always get off this easily. This time around, the creators of the ransomware made a crucial error. Who’s to say next go ’round they won’t make that error and find a vulnerability in an even more prevalent software to use. Say, for example, they find a vulnerability in Apache or BIND…that could spiral into a catastrophe. And considering some vendors (such as IBM) are so lazy that they cannot adequately get their software to function with SELinux (so much so, they advise users to disable the critical security layer), more and more vulnerabilities will be found. Linux is, in no way, immune to attacks. They will happen. But thanks to the very nature of the platform, overcoming such issues is far easier and expeditious than its proprietary counterpart.

  • Node.js Developer Fedor Indutny Weighs Performance and API Elegance

    The Node.js Foundation is a community-led, industry-backed consortium created to advance the development of the Node.js platform. Node.js itself is an open-source, cross-platform runtime environment for developing server-side web applications. It is used by thousands of organizations, including PayPal, GoDaddy, Joyent, and IBM, and is the runtime of choice for high-performance, low-latency applications. Node.js can be found in everything from cloud stacks and enterprise applications to mobile websites and the IoT.

  • OpenFin Shares HTML5 Container Info and Creates Advisory Board
  • OpenFin open-sources HTML5 container technology
  • OpenFin to open-source its financial desktop HTML5 container technology
  • Hashcat Password Cracker Goes Open Source

    Jens Steube, the creator of the password cracking toolkit Hashcat, has announced that his tool and its derivates will from now on be made available under an open source license.

  • Kylin, Born at eBay, Graduates to Top-Level at Apache

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), has just announced that Apache Kylin, an open source big data project born at eBay, has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP), “signifying that the project’s community and products have been well-governed under the ASF’s meritocratic process and principles.”

  • 8 books to make you a more open leader

    Before The Open Organization by Jim Whitehurst was The Open Organization by Philip A. Foster. While Jim admits that his book isn’t management theory (“I’ll leave that to the academics,” he says), Foster’s is unabashedly so. Published in 2014, The Open Organization is quite frankly the textbook on what both authors call a “new management paradigm.”

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla retires Firefox’s sponsored tiles, hunts for new revenue streams

        Firefox’s targeted sponsored tiles always seemed a little out of place for a browser that is essentially predicated on free, libertarian ideals. You can’t exactly blame Mozilla for trying, though. Since its inception, Mozilla has been entirely reliant on revenues from search engines. For years, Google paid Mozilla hundreds of millions of dollars to be Firefox’s default search engine. In recent years, Mozilla has diversified its search engine defaults

      • Mozilla’s Firefox Quits Sponsored Tiles

        Mozilla has announced that it’s dropping a program everyone but Mozilla seemed to realize was a bad idea from the start. In a blog posting on Friday, the organization’s vice president of content services, Darren Herman, wrote that Mozilla has “made the decision to stop advertising in Firefox through the Tiles experiment in order to focus on content discovery.” The much disliked sponsored tiles won’t immediately disappear from users’ browsers, however. “Naturally, we will fulfill our current commitments as we wind down this experiment over the next few months.”

        This was the second time last week that Mozilla announced it was dropping (or wants to drop) one project in order to “focus” on something else. Last Monday, executive chairperson Mitchell Baker wrote in a memo that the organization is seeking to drop support of the popular Thunderbird desktop email client in order “to be laser-focused on activities like Firefox that can have an industry-wide impact.”

      • Mozilla has a revenue share agreement with Pocket
  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Is Open Source Swift a good thing ? [Ed: Apple and Microsoft 'contribute' to Open Source like animal farms (for meat) contribute to bovine and fowl]

      On December 3 Apple has open sourced the Swift programming language on Swift.org. The language was first released (not Open Source yet) about the same time as iOS 8 and was created by Apple to make Mac and iOS app development an easier task. Swift is welcome as one more Open Source language and project but is too early to make a lot of noise about it.

      [...]

      For now Swift has no client-side (as Angular for JavaScript) or server-side (as Rail for Ruby, Django for Python) application frameworks. Exceptions are the proprietary Cocoa and Cocoa Touch frameworks for Apple platforms only.

      For now Swift can only offer a very young set of core libraries.

      We have enough modern Open Source languages: Python, Ruby, Perl, JavaScript, PHP, Java just to mention the most recent ones. A lot of energy is required to create an ecosystem around a language.

      It is difficult to unbound Swift from Apple platforms since a lot of Open Source extensions for Swift still use proprietary Apple class libraries as NSString etc.

    • Apple retracts comment that it was first major open source company after criticism

      Last week Apple’s open sourcing of Swift naturally saw the spotlight thrown over Apple’s open source pages. This included a paragraph that claimed Apple was “the first major computer company to make Open Source a key part of its strategy”. Unsurprisingly, this riled some members of the developer community as being disingenuous and untrue.

    • Apple is proud of its open source software Swift. A bit too proud

      But it may be a bit too proud. On its page celebrating open-source software, Apple originally claimed it was “the first major computer company to make Open Source development a key part of its ongoing software strategy”.

      That claim will have come as some surprise to most major computer companies. While Apple has a long history of adopting open-source code for its own releases, most notably with the Unix basis of Mac OS X in 1999, it isn’t exactly the first mover in the field. And as for releasing its own proprietary code as open source, that’s something that it has been even slower on – certainly compared to arch rival Google, whose Android operating system is and always has been freely licensed.

    • Was ​Apple the first major open-source company? Not even close

      Ah, I don’t think so.

      Many older open-source programmers think, with reason, that’s nonsense.

      True, Apple has used open-source software for years, but that’s not the same thing as making open-source development “a key part of its strategy.” It would be more correct to say that Apple was the first major company to take advantage of open source.

    • Dropbox urged by users to open-source soon-to-be shut Mailbox app

      Dropbox users are petitioning the cloud storage giant to consider open-sourcing its iOS email app Mailbox, after announcing plans to shut it down in 2016.

    • Apple mocked for playing Open Source card

      The famously proprietary and secretive cargo-cult Apple has been trying to copy Microsoft’s moves into the weirdy beardie world of Open Sauce. Needless to say, it has not quite got the hang of it.

      The Tame Apple Press trumpeted Apple’s move to make its Swift programming language available to the great unwashed claiming that it bought the company’s open source efforts to the forefront.

    • Microsoft to open source the Edge browser JavaScript engine [Ed: openwashing of “cancer on the Web” (rebranded, buggy, insecure IE) by Microsoft booster Andy Patrizio]
    • Microsoft Goes Open Source on Key Part of Edge Browser Engine
    • EMC extends open-source ambitions to the server side with new RackHD project
    • EMC Unveils RackHD, Open-Source Version of OnRack
    • Data Storage King EMC Finally Gets With the Times
    • Open Source Is The Future Of EMC Software
  • BSD

    • BSD for the desktop user: A review of PC-BSD

      To be clear, the BSDs are not Linux distributions. They are Unix-like, so they are similar to Linux, but they are their own family of open source operating systems with their own rich history. Unlike Linux with its multitude of distributions, the BSD family is much smaller; the big three distributions are FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD. The small handful of other BSD distributions branch off from one of those projects, most frequency, from FreeBSD.

    • DragonFly BSD 4.4

      DragonFly version 4.4 bring further updates to accelerated video for both i915 and radeon users, a new locale system, and a new default linker. Significant behind-the-scenes work has also been done, with symbol versioning, Hammer1 improvements, and other changes. Version 4.4.1 was the first release due to the late inclusion of OpenSSL update 1.0.1q.

    • BSDs in Linuxland and Best Rolling Distros

      OpenBSD and PC-BSD got the review treatment today at Distrowatch.com and OpenSource.com, proving Linux isn’t the only game in town. Several rolling distribution topics arose as well with Dedoimedo fighting Netrunner 2015.11 from destroying a laptop and Jesse Afolabi looking at the best user-friendly distributions based on Arch. Elsewhere, the Mint 17.3 screenshots sprang up faster than a boot-up screen and Curtis Franklin Jr. put together a slideshow on 10 distros perfect for gifts.

    • Guarding the gates with OpenBSD 5.8

      The OpenBSD project has long held a reputation for producing a secure operating system. The project boasts just two remote security holes reported over a span of about twenty years. It’s an impressive accomplishment for the developers and a good indication of why OpenBSD is so often trusted for security oriented tasks like running firewalls. However, the OpenBSD team has been steadily working on other projects too. The team behind OpenBSD also creates the widely used OpenSSH software which is used around the world by system administrators to remotely work on servers and securely transfer files. The OpenBSD project also spawned the LibreSSL software (a replacement for OpenSSL) following the Heartbleed vulnerability. In the latest release of OpenBSD we also saw improvements to the project’s lightweight and secure web server (called httpd), the introduction of the doas command (a replace for sudo), a new implementation of the file command and W^X support for i386 processors. The latest version of the operating system, OpenBSD 5.8, also switched to denying root logins in the default installation.

    • Microsoft Wired Up Clang’s Parser To Their Own Code Generator
    • DragonFly BSD 4.4 Officially Announced, Already Gets Its First Point Release

      Today, December 7, 2015, Justin Sherrill from the DragonFly BSD project, a BSD-based computer operating system, has had the great pleasure of announcing the release and immediate availability for download of DragonFly BSD 4.4.

    • n2k15: sashan@ on PF mpsafe progess

      mpi@ came with patch (sent to priv. list only currently), which adds a new lock for PF. It’s called PF big lock. The big PF lock essentially establishes a safe playground for PF hackers. The lock currently covers all pf_test() function. The pf_test() function parts will be gradually unlocked as the work will progress.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNUstep Developers Consider Forking The Project, Moving Away From FSF

      The lead developer of GNUstep, a GPL-licensed implementation of Apple’s Cocoa frameworks and toolkit, is considering a fork of the project.

    • GCC Compiler Patches Implementing AMD HSA Revised For Merging

      Martin Jambor at SUSE has sent out the latest set of patches for implementing support for the AMD-backed Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) inside the GNU Compiler Collection.

    • By 12/15: Send us comments to rally the Dept. of Ed. toward free licensing

      These proposed regulations are meant to facilitate public reuse of works funded by Department of Education grants. Currently, as explained in the NPRM, grantees are allowed to make their federally-funded works proprietary. The Department of Education receives a special license to share the works with the public, but in practice it rarely does so. Worse, teachers and students absolutely cannot use them in freedom (except for those few that happen to be made free).

      Since the course materials are works of practical use, they should carry the four freedoms of free software, just as programs and manuals should.

      The proposal would require grantees to publish the works under an “open” license. In the case of software, they may be thinking of “open source”, which is not quite as strong as free; in the case of courseware, many “open” courses are not free. The flaw in the proposed specific rules is that they don’t require that the license permit redistribution of modified versions. Without that freedom, the works will be nonfree.

  • Project Releases

    • NetHack 3.6.0 released

      After a 10+ year hiatus, the NetHack DevTeam is happy to announce the release of NetHack 3.6, a combination of the old and the new.

      Unlike previous releases, which focused on the general game fixes, this release consists of a series of foundational changes in the team, underlying infrastructure and changes to the approach to game development.

      Those of you expecting a huge raft of new features will probably be disappointed. Although we have included a number of new features, the focus of this release was to get the foundation established so that we can build on it going forward.

  • Licensing

    • FOSS projects and their legal structures

      Free Software has been growing pretty much everywhere around the world, and so much so that we now face challenges nobody would have thought possible even ten years ago. One of these unexpected issues is the need for proper legal structures. Traditionally, only a handful of entities used to exist. They could be dedicated to one, large project or act as a hub for a “forge” or a set of more or less related projects: that’s the case with the Eclipse or the Apache Software Foundation. Others were one of kind: Software In the Public interest, SPI, is handling funds for large and small projects and has been doing so for well over 15 years. The Free Software Foundation both directly and through the Free Software Conservancy has also hosted many FOSS projects developments, infrastructure and financial resources.

    • German court addresses GPLv3 section 8 termination provisions

      GPLv2, first published in 1991, provides for automatic termination of the license in the event of violation, with no stated opportunity for cure. By the time of the drafting of GPLv3, the Free Software Foundation, steward of the GPL license family, had come to consider automatic termination to be an unduly harsh policy. GPLv3, introduced in 2007, formally retained automatic termination in its section 8 but moderated it in certain ways, including by providing for automatic reinstatement of the license for first-time GPLv3 violators who cure the violation prior to 30 days after receiving notice from the copyright holder. The precise wording of section 8 was drafted with German preliminary injunction procedure in mind.

    • The Licensing and Compliance Lab interviews Michael Lissner and Brian Carver of RECAP The Law

      This is the latest instalment of our Licensing and Compliance Lab’s series on free software developers who choose GNU licenses for their works. In this edition, we conducted an email-based interview with Michael Lissner and Brian Carver of RECAP The Law.

    • Leveraging Open Source? If So, Keep it Legal

      Famously, a few years ago, Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst made the prediction that open source software would soon become nearly pervasive in organizations of all sizes. That has essentially become true, and many businesses now use open source components without even knowing that they are doing so. As businesses adopt open source platforms such as OpenStack and Hadoop, they are complementing them with their own open source projects.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Ionic Launches New Version of its HTML5 App Creator

      It’s been a little over a year since Ionic launched the alpha of its open source Ionic Creator platform which provides an HTML5 SDK to build cross platform, native-feeling mobile apps using web technologies like HTML, CSS, and Javascript. The company has recently released a number of updates to the platform adding new features, polishing existing ones, and fixing issues.

    • New 3D Software Tracks the Brain Development in an Embryo

      An Indian-origin scientist has developed new, open-source 3D software that can track the embryonic development and movement of neuronal cells throughout the body of the worm. Although scientists have identified a number of important proteins that determine how neurons navigate during brain formation, it is largely unknown how all of these proteins interact in a living organism.

    • Researchers develop open-source 3D software to track brain development of the embryo

      Now it will be possible for the medical fraternity to track the growth and development of the brain in an embryo. An Indian-origin scientist from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) has developed an open-source 3D software that can track embryo’s brain activity.

    • Wio Link is an open-source IoT WiFi solution

      Wio Link is a new open source product that aims to make it easy to develop Internet of Things products and services. The Wio Link is an ESP8266 based WiFi development board that is made specifically for creating IoT applications using virtualized plug-n-play modules to RESTful APIs with mobile apps.

      Using the Wio Link developers are able to build IoT applications with no hardware programming, no breadboard, no jumper wires, and no soldering. The people behind Wio Link claim that users can build IoT applications in three steps in about five minutes.

  • Programming

    • A New Tool For Tracking ABI Changes Of Libraries

      Andrey Ponomarenko has announced his work on ABI-Tracker, a new open-source tool for tracking ABI changes of C/C++ software projects.

      Ponomarenko shared on the Fedora developer list this weekend about his aptly-named ABI-Tracker.

    • Day 7 — Unicode, Perl 6, and You

      Quick (rhetorical) question: how many of you either try your best to ignore Unicode, or groan at the thought of having to deal with it again?

Leftovers

  • Open Office Spaces and Cabal Rooms Suck

    In case it wasn’t clear: I really dislike large open office spaces. (Not 2-3 person offices, but large industrial scale 20-100 person open office spaces of doom.) Valve’s was absolutely the worst expression of the concept I’ve ever experienced. I can understand doing the open office thing for a while at a startup, where every dollar counts, but at an established company I just won’t tolerate this craziness anymore. (See the scientific research below if you think I feel too strongly about this trend.)

  • EU accuses Qualcomm of using market power to hinder rivals

    European Union antitrust regulators charged Qualcomm on Tuesday with abusing its market power to thwart rivals, putting the world’s number one mobile chipset maker at risk of a hefty fine.

    The accusations by the European Commission are the latest antitrust problems for the company as regulators in the United States, China, Japan and South Korea look into its licensing model and its dominant patents in mobile networks and devices.

  • Hardware

    • I said it was wired like a Christmas tree

      My main issue is that modern systems are just plain noisy, often with multiple small fans whining away. I have worked to reduce this noise by using quieter components as replacements but in the end it is simply better to be able to put these systems in a box out of the way.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • US Workers Sue Monsanto, Claiming Herbicide Caused Their Cancers

      One of the cases was filed in Los Angeles on September 22, 2015 by 58-year-old Enrique Rubio, who used to work on farms in California, Texas, and Oregon. His job used to consist of spraying fields with the herbicide Roundup, which he is alleging caused his bone cancer in 1995. 64-year-old Judi Fizgerald in New York filed the other lawsuit. She used to work at a horticultural products company and was exposed to Roundup in the 1990s. She is attributing her diagnosis of leukemia in 2012 to the herbicide.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Corporate News Sources Fail to Fully Report US Drone Strike Causalities

      Both the New York Times and the Washington Post have consistently underreported the number of fatalities resulting from US drone strikes. Research conducted by Jeff Bachman, co-director of the Ethics, Peace, and Global Affairs Program at American University, compares fatality reports from both papers to more completely researched reports from City University London’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism. While the NYT reported only two civilian deaths out of 81 drone strikes covered, TBIJ found that there were actually 26 civilians killed. Likewise the Post had reported one civilian death out of 26 drone strikes covered. TBIJ documented seven.

      When both the NYT and the Post covered 33 drone strikes that they reported caused civilian causalities, both claimed only nine deaths over the course of three different stories. TBIJ had found between 180-302 civilian deaths.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Putting out Indonesia’s fires

      Every year, forest fires ravage Indonesia, causing massive environmental, social and economic devastation. This year’s fires are the largest in nearly 20 years, destroying three million hectares of land and causing an estimated $14 billion in losses related to agriculture, forest degradation, health, transportation, and tourism.

    • ‘How Do We Move Past a Fossil Fuel-Powered World?’ – CounterSpin interview with Janet Redman on climate conference activism

      Janine Jackson: Coverage of the upcoming UN conference on climate change has shifted to concerns about security in Paris and resulting clampdowns on activism. But before that, the conference itself was billed as pivotal on global action on the issue. Barack Obama recently declared the US global leaders in the fight against climate change–but is that really true, and what should we actually expect from the conference itself? Janet Redman is director of the Climate Policy Program at the Institute for Policy Studies. She joins us now by phone from Washington, DC. Welcome back to CounterSpin, Janet Redman.

    • Jury Finds DuPont Responsible for Negligence in Chemical Spill

      The chemical known as perfluorooctanoic acid (also called C8, because of the eight-carbon chain that makes up its chemical backbone) has spread from the company DuPont’s plant into the drinking water of 80,000 people in West Virginia and Ohio. A 59-year old woman named Carla Bartlett has developed kidney cancer after drinking C8-contaminated water for over 10 years. Bartlett is the first of many personal injury and wrongful death claims stemming from the 2005 settlement of a class-action suit filed on behalf of the people who lived near this plant. DuPont’s attorneys presented their arguments stating that the company is not responsible for the tumor that Bartlett was treated for in 1997. Their defense is that the company’s employees did not realize that C8 was dangerous when Bartlett was exposed, even though there were internal documents indicating DuPont’s knowledge that the chemical posed risks to both animals and humans.

  • Finance

    • 6 dispiriting truths about America’s billionaires

      When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced this week that he will give away 99 percent of his personal fortune—now estimated at $44 billion—during his lifetime, he was lauded in newspapers and TV broadcasts from coast to coast. But few people noted that giving away his billions will still leave Zuckerberg, his wife Priscilla Chan and newborn daughter Max, with at least $440 million to live on.

      Such vast sums of money are unimaginable to most of us. But according to a just-released report, “Billionaire Bonanza: The Forbes 400 and the Rest of Us,” by the Institute for Policy Studies, the Facebook founder is merely one of the 400 wealthiest Americans, whose net worth is growing while they evade taxation and drive economic inequality.

      “The Forbes 400 provides a useful snapshot of the nation’s wealthiest individuals, an insight into a world most people will never witness firsthand,” the report said, as it lists some incredible comparisons that contrast the vast wealth held by a select few compared to average Americans. “The Forbes 400 also provides an insight into just how lopsided our economy has become: Just 400 people hold as much wealth as over 190 million.”

      Consider the following six bullet points from the report. The authors state they “believe that these statistics actually underestimate our current national levels of wealth concentration,” because, “the growing use of offshore tax havens and legal trusts has made the concealing of assets much more widespread than ever before.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Trump, The Press, And How To Treat A Liar

      Appearing on Face the Nation, Republican frontrunner Trump told host John Dickerson that prior to the attacks, the wives of the 9/11 hijackers “knew exactly what was going to happen” and were flown “back to Saudi Arabia” days before the hijacked plane strikes.

      This is complete nonsense. As The Washington Post explained, “There is no support for Trump’s claims … virtually all of the hijackers were unmarried.” And anyone who followed news of the attacks, and the subsequent years-long investigation, ought to know that. But on Face the Nation, Dickerson didn’t flinch when Trump floated his latest 9/11 lie; Dickerson didn’t question Trump’s absurd claim.

    • Seth Meyers Calls Out The Media For Stoking Fear In The Wake Of The San Bernardino Shooting
    • Fox News Tells Young Children To Run At Active Shooters

      A Fox & Friends demonstration where children neutralized a gunman during an active shooter situation offered dubious advice to parents, as experts emphasize that confronting the gunman should be “a last resort.”

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Why the AP’s Call Record Article Is So Stupid

      Notice how there’s no mention, in the headline or the lead, of the FBI? They’re the agency that will lead the investigation of the San Bernardino attack. That’s important because FBI has their own databases and the ability to obtain records from phone and Internet companies directly going forward (and already had, given reports from Facebook, before this article was written). The PCLOB report on the 215 phone dragnet showed that the FBI almost always accessed the information they otherwise might have gotten from the 215 dragnet via their own means. “[O]ur review suggests that the Section 215 program offers little unique value here, instead largely duplicating the FBI’s own information-gathering efforts.”

      But the real problem with this utterly erroneous article is that it suggests the “US government” can’t get any records from NSA, which in turn suggests the only records of interest the NSA might have came from the Section 215 dragnet, which is of course nonsense. Not only does the NSA get far more records than what they got under Section 215 — that dragnet was, according to Richard Clarke, just a fraction of what NSA got, and according to NSA’s training, it was significantly redundant with EO 12333 collection on international calls to the US, which the NSA can collect with fewer limits as to format and share more freely with the FBI — but there are plenty of other places where the FBI can get records.

    • [tor-relays] ANN: TCP injection attack detection tool – honeybadger

      I was inspired by the Snowden documents to write a TCP injection attack detection tool. Powerful entities world wide are stock piling zero-days. TCP injection attacks can be used to deliver many of these attacks.

    • Legislation requiring tech industry to report terrorist activity may be revived

      Legislation requiring tech companies to report on terrorist activity on their platforms is likely to be revived, following concerns about the widespread use of Internet communications by terrorists.

      Legislation requiring tech companies to report on terrorist activity on their platforms is likely to be revived in the U.S., following concerns about the widespread use of Internet communications by terrorists.

      A proposed rule that would require companies to report vaguely defined “terrorist activity” on their platforms had been included as section 603 in the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016.

    • President Obama urges tech companies to join in the fight against terror

      US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA went on television at the weekend to talk up his administration’s efforts to combat terrorism, and to urge tech firms to help the government to protect citizens.

      In what’s been seen as an unusual move, Obama decided to reach out to America’s TV-loving masses and beam his anti-terror/smash encryption message straight to their living rooms.

    • Software Can Now Identify Individuals by How They Type

      Computer programmers have developed software that can uniquely identify an individual by the way they type with a reported accuracy rate of 99.7%. This particular method of identification is the latest avenue of biometrics research and technology.

      This software works by analyzing minor variations in keyboard use. This is possible because every individual uses a keyboard slightly differently. These differences can be due to a number of reasons, ranging from the size of a person’s hands to the impaired use of a finger. All of these factors result in unique characteristics when typing, such as the length of time a key is pressed or the pause between hitting the “j” and the “o” keys. Each press of a key can be measured down to the millisecond. Taken together, an individual’s traits contribute to a unique typing signature that is virtually impossible to mimic without detection. Researchers have found that this signature also translates very similarly onto the use of touch-screen keyboards.

  • Civil Rights

    • French police want to ban Tor, public Wi-Fi

      French police have made their Christmas wish-list, and it includes banning Tor and public Wi-Fi.

      As legislators debate new antiterrorism laws, police and security services have been studying how technology hinders their enquiries, according to French newspaper Le Monde.

      In the hours following the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris the French government declared a state of emergency, granting police sweeping powers to impose curfews and conduct warrantless searches.

    • Are French civil liberties another victim of Paris attacks?

      In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, France has enacted a three-month state of emergency, widening the powers of police and security agencies. It has done so with relatively little public debate about the deterioration of civil liberties.

    • Army recommends no further punishment for Petraeus

      The Army has recommended that David H. Petraeus, the retired general and former CIA director who quit in a scandal three years ago, not face further punishment for having an affair with his biographer and providing her with top-secret materials, according to Pentagon officials.

      The final decision on whether to discipline Petraeus under military law rests with Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter. Although he could overrule the Army’s recommendation, such a move would be unusual.

    • My “Theory” of Codes of Conduct

      Oh, good lord, we’ve got a “thinker” on our hands. Seriously, that’s how he describes himself in the bio for his self-published book about psychopaths (based on his personal experiences rather than psychological research, natch). Only now he’s thinking about codes of conduct.

      Is there a problem with thinking? Nope. Is there a problem with this guy thinking? Not in particular. It sounds like he’s even pretty good at it when it comes to software. So what’s the problem?

      It’s the same problem that continually happens with people who define themselves as smart or as good thinkers: They forget about GIGO. They come to think of themselves as experts without having done any of the work.

    • Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt

      Peter and Mickey spend the hour in conversation with political author Chris Hedges; his latest book is “Wages of Rebellion: The Moral Imperative of Revolt.” The discussion covers issues from freedom of information to U.S. Middle East interventions, and the ideas of intellectuals from W.E.B. Dubois to Cornel West to Sheldon Wolin.

    • Fox Business Invites Gun Store Owner Who Banned All Muslims From Her Gun Range To Praise Trump For Adopting Her Idea

      Fox Business invited gun store owner Jan Morgan to respond to GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s call to ban Muslims, including American citizens, from entering the United States. Morgan bragged that Donald Trump is “basically going to do what [she is] already doing at [her] gun range” by banning all Muslims from buying or renting guns.

    • New Polling Shows Americans Strongly Oppose Citizens United

      In 2010 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United. The landmark decision allowed for nearly unlimited funding of political campaigns by corporations. Arguably, the decision is one of the largest detriments to American democracy, as it essentially allows the “highest bidder” to buy members of office. American media have touched on the case in general. However, it has received minimal attention given the seriousness of its consequences.

      A recent Bloomberg poll revealed that 78% of Americans do not agree with the Citizens United decision and are in favor of the law being overturned. While a majority of Americans share this belief, corporate media failed to cover this story. The Huffington Post covered the story, however they were the only major news corporation to do so. This means that this poll was largely unshared with the general public.

    • New York Counties Push to Upgrade Public Defender System

      In New York state, citizens’ freedom is being put in jeopardy by part time, lack-luster public defenders. The right to an attorney is a basic right that should help people through the court system, however these lawyers are not giving their clients enough time or energy. Most people are showing up to their court dates without having seen their appointed public defender once. The five New York state counties that are fighting for better public defenders for the poor have finally won their argument with the state and are receiving “new funding and oversight to help the five counties upgrade the quality of legal representation” that people deserve.

    • Girls Who Code Makes Its Way Into A Mobile Game

      A major factor that deters girls from pursuing computer science is the perception that coders are mostly white and male, according to a recent Google-commissioned Gallup survey. That’s why non-profit organization Girls Who Code has partnered with mobile game-maker Pixelberry Studios to tell the story of a young girl coder in its flagship game, “High School Story.”

      The coder, named Gabriela, will be the first tech-related character featured in “High School Story,” a game that over 30% of high school girls in the U.S. have played, according to Pixelberry. The storyline is inspired by a group of Girls Who Code alumnae. In the game, Gabriela leads players on a mission that culminates at a hackathon, where the objective is to build a mobile app. Previous storylines on High School Story have addressed cyber-bullying and body image.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The Internet isn’t ready for really big news

      One thing you can say for traditional broadcast media: They scale really well. If you put an analog signal on the air or on a wire with enough repeaters and amplifiers, it will serve every client that connects. That’s not the case with most of the network world, unfortunately. Sure we have multicast, but that’s not on an Internet scale — and the Internet is where the problems lie.

      First, let’s define multicast as used in IP networks. This is a method by which a single source stream can be accessed by multiple clients simultaneously, without increasing the load on the source itself. Thus, this functions much like an analog broadcast: You have a single source that a client can connect to at any time. The downside is that the client is a silent subscriber of the content and cannot control the stream; there’s no rewinding or restarting on a per-client basis. This is content broadcast over IP, and it’s what television networks use to distribute video streams through their networks, financial institutions to receive stock quotes, and so forth.

    • Donald Trump thinks he can call Bill Gates to ‘close up’ the internet

      Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump just said the US should consider “closing up” the internet to curb radical extremism. Trump, a man that routinely claims everyone in charge of the US is stupid, believes that as president he could just call up Bill Gates to help him shut off the internet. Trump floated the idea at a campaign rally at the USS Yorktown in South Carolina tonight as a way to stop ISIS “jihadists” from recruiting Americans to commit acts of domestic terrorism. The idea is so dumb it almost has us, too, at a loss for words.

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