12.09.15

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Links 9/12/2015: Linux Foundation Endorses PRISM, End for Firefox OS

Posted in News Roundup at 5:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Major Electric Utility Dumps ALEC over Clean Power Plan

      The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has suffered the loss of another major corporate sponsor, the Guardian reported Tuesday, with the electric utility American Electric Power (AEP) announcing it will no longer provide the climate change denial group with funding from 2016.

      AEP becomes the 107th identified corporation to have withdrawn funding since the Center for Media and Democracy launched the ALEC Exposed project in 2011, joining others such as Shell, BP, Google, Microsoft and Facebook.

      The loss of AEP will be particularly troubling for ALEC. AEP lobbyist Paul Loeffelman is still listed on the ALEC website as the private sector chairman for the group’s Energy, Environment and Agriculture task force. This task force is the arm of ALEC promoting climate change denial to state legislators and driving its anti-environmental agenda, which includes working to block President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and oppose the development of renewable energy in the United States.

    • ‘We’re overrunning the Planet’: Sir David Attenborough’s fears over what the swelling population is doing to his favourite holiday destination – The Great Barrier Reef

      But Sir David has warned that future generations of holidaymakers could soon be unable to enjoy the same experience because of the damage global warming is doing to the reef.

      Speaking at a screening of his new documentary on the reef at Australia House in London last week, he said: ‘The real danger is the rising temperatures and acidity and the effect that has – if the acidity grows to a certain limit it will damage the coral itself.

  • Finance

    • This Australian Says He and His Dead Friend Invented Bitcoin

      A monthlong Gizmodo investigation has uncovered compelling and perplexing new evidence in the search for Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. According to a cache of documents provided to Gizmodo which were corroborated in interviews, Craig Steven Wright, an Australian businessman based in Sydney, and Dave Kleiman, an American computer forensics expert who died in 2013, were involved in the development of the digital currency.

    • Bitcoin’s Creator Satoshi Nakamoto Is Probably This Unknown Australian Genius

      Even as his face towered 10 feet above the crowd at the Bitcoin Investor’s Conference in Las Vegas, Craig Steven Wright was, to most of the audience of crypto and finance geeks, a nobody.

      The 44-year-old Australian, Skyping into the D Hotel ballroom’s screen, wore the bitcoin enthusiast’s equivalent of camouflage: a black blazer and a tieless, rumpled shirt, his brown hair neatly parted. His name hadn’t made the conference’s list of “featured speakers.” Even the panel’s moderator, a bitcoin blogger named Michele Seven, seemed concerned the audience wouldn’t know why he was there. Wright had hardly begun to introduce himself as a “former academic who does research that no one ever hears about,” when she interrupted him.

    • Reported bitcoin ‘founder’ Craig Wright’s home raided by Australian police

      Police have raided the home of an Australian tech entrepreneur identified by two US publications as one of the early developers of the digital currency bitcoin.

      On Wednesday afternoon, police gained entry to a home belonging to Craig Wright, who had hours earlier been identified in investigations by Gizmodo and Wired, based on leaked transcripts of legal interviews and files. Both publications have indicated that they believe Wright to have been involved in the creation of the cryptocurrency.

    • UK TTIP Debate Tomorrow: Please Contact MPs Today

      It seems that there will be a rare UK debate about TTIP tomorrow. This is a great opportunity to contact your MPs and let them know what you think. Here’s what I’ve just sent – you can use WritetoThem to make things easier.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Trump Is Devouring The GOP, And Fox News Fed It To Him

      Back on September 17, as Donald Trump basked in the post-Labor Day glow of being the Republican Party’s undisputed frontrunner, he spoke to a boisterous crowd in New Hampshire and took a question from an especially boisterous fan. “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American,” said the Trump t-shirt-wearing man. “We have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?”

  • Privacy

    • Final Text Of CISA Apparently Removed What Little Privacy Protections Had Been In There

      Back in October, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to approve CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, which has nothing to with cybersecurity at all, and is almost entirely a surveillance bill in disguise. Want to know the proof: many of the most vocal supporters of CISA, who talked up how important “cybersecurity” is these days are the very same people now looking to undermine encryption.

    • Save Crypto: Tell the White House We Can’t Sacrifice Security

      The Obama administration just responded to the 104,109 people who asked the president to stand up for strong encryption. The response—penned by Deputy U.S. Chief Technology Officer Ed Felton [sic] and Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel—acknowledged the importance of the conversation but offered no conclusions. Instead, they asked us to share our thoughts on encryption.

    • Should Facebook turn in ISIS supporters?

      On Friday the FBI classified the mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, as “an act of terrorism”. Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, don’t seem to have been in direct contact with ISIS, but the extremist militant group called the couple “supporters” on Saturday.

    • No phone, no problem: NSA will target the cloud instead

      As of last week, the National Security Agency can no longer cull through Americans’ phone records, but it can continue to eavesdrop on our emails, video chats, and documents. The NSA can keep metadata already collected until Feb. 29, 2016, and your phone data will continue to be collected by telecom companies.

      But the fact that phone records can no longer be easily searched is nearly meaningless to the world of cloud computing. If the data is still up for grabs — and it is — then we’re likely to have the same concerns we did before the USA Freedom Act that curtailed some of the NSA’s activities last week.

    • “Yeah, we ditched Google.”

      After we gave it some more thought, we realized we were hypocrites. Since inception, SpiderOak has been an advocate for online privacy. Unlike many others in our market, we strive to be very clear about how our product design truly delivers Zero Knowledge privacy for our users. We tell potential supporters, what matters most is who has the keys and how they are stored. But you can read more about how we solved those problems from our many other posts our site.

      For the past five years, we had been using Google Analytics for monitoring our web traffic. Innocent enough decision, right? Then we asked ourselves, “are we contributing to the mass surveillance of the web by using a feature-rich, yet free service that tracks web visitors?” Sadly. we didn’t like the answer to that question. “Yes, by using Google Analytics, we are furthering the erosion of privacy on the web.”

    • The NSA might be spying on Tor users

      Privacy and encryption have been two very hot topics for the last few years. The Tor browser can help protect your privacy while online, but it may come at the cost of being spied on by the NSA.

    • If You Do This, the NSA Will Spy on You

      Worried about the NSA monitoring you? If you take certain steps to mask your identity online, such as using the encryption service TOR, or even investigating an alternative to the buggy Windows operating system, you’re all but asking for “deep” monitoring by the NSA.

  • Civil Rights

    • Henry Jackson Society as Bad as Donald Trump

      The Henry Jackson Society seconds staff to the Quilliam Foundation. This extraordinary organisation is a career vehicle for “reformed jihadists” to milk huge salaries and luxury lifestyles from government money, in return for fronting an organisation run by the security services. Quilliam specialises in denouncement of Muslim organisations and talking up the Jihadi threat, offering “expert advice” on the government’s anti-free speech strategy. At the same time, it seeks to maximise the income of its directors. One interesting collaboration to make money was its collaboration with the current head of Pergida UK, and former head of the English Defence League, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (Alias Tommy Robinson).

      Quilliam have received millions from the taxpayer for their dubious “work”. But their application for Home Office funding to split with Yaxley-Lennon remains an episode beyond belief. Several of Quilliam’s staff are “lent” by the CIA-funded Henry Jackson Society.

    • Jacob Appelbaum at Aaron Swartz Day 2015

      Jacob Appelbaum read a powerful statement at this year’s Aaron Swartz Day Celebration. I’m still processing everything he revealed to us that night.

    • How the TPP Will Affect You and Your Digital Rights

      The Internet is a diverse ecosystem of private and public stakeholders. By excluding a large sector of communities—like security researchers, artists, libraries, and user rights groups—trade negotiators skewed the priorities of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) towards major tech companies and copyright industries that have a strong interest in maintaining and expanding their monopolies of digital services and content. Negotiated in secret for several years with overwhelming influence from powerful multinational corporate interests, it’s no wonder that its provisions do little to nothing to protect our rights online or our autonomy over our own devices. For example, everything in the TPP that increases corporate rights and interests is binding, whereas every provision that is meant to protect the public interest is non-binding and is susceptible to get bulldozed by efforts to protect corporations.

    • Carmichael: An Extraordinary Lack of Humility

      Despite al this, I would not be tremendously concerned about the result if Alistair had the decency to be a bit chastened by it. It is only because of our ridiculously undemocratic electoral system that representation is so skewed. You didn’t ought to get over 95% of the seats on 52% of the votes, and I am not sure what is gained by magnifying that other wrong. But any mixed feelings I have on those grounds are dispelled by the utterly inappropriate triumphalism the Lib Dems are displaying, as though to be found a blatant liar by a court is something to be proud of. The brass neck of it all is sickening.

    • CNN’s Don Lemon Blasts Frank Gaffney And The Poll Trump Cited To Legitimize His Ban On Muslims Entering The US
    • After Trump Proposes Ban On Muslims, Rupert Murdoch Calls For “Refugee Pause”

      News Corporation and 21st Century Fox executive co-chairman Rupert Murdoch cited “radical Muslim dangers” to endorse a “complete refugee pause” one day after Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump called for a total ban on Muslims immigrating to or visiting the United States.

      On December 7, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United states until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” citing a flawed poll from an Islamophobic organization to claim that Muslims are a danger to America.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Our ISPs Are Using Our Insatiable Need for Streaming Video Against Us

      All of our YouTube party playlists and Netlix-and-chill date nights are starting to add up: streaming video now accounts for 70 percent of broadband usage, according to data newly released by broadband services company Sandvine.

      This statistic might look pretty innocuous and simple on its face, but our dependence on massive amounts of data for our daily use has some dangerous implications. Because cable providers would rather you be watching actual cable programming versus streaming shows from Hulu and Netflix, they impose arbitrary data caps on your Internet usage, like the ones Comcast has been quietly implementing in markets across the country. You end up shelling out for something that costs the providers next to nothing.

      [...]

      And T-Mobile isn’t the only culprit: on the broadband side, Comcast is launching its own streaming service that—you guessed it—won’t count toward your household’s data cap. This practice, called “zero-rating,” is as much a threat to net neutrality as anything else has been, directing consumers to certain data channels and making the free market less free.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright in Europe: Minimal Reform to Avoid Crucial Questions

        Today, the European Commission has presented its proposal to reform copyright law in the European Union. This package includes a proposal for a regulation on portability of online services, as well as a communication to announcing future reforms to follow in 2016. The European Commission has thus confirmed that it does not wish to reopen the file on the InfoSoc directive 1, reflecting its reluctance and lack of ambition on this issue.

      • EU Commission unveils next steps for copyright reform, including draft content portability regulation
      • Copyfail: Why WIPO Can’t Fix Copyright

        It has been obvious for decades that copyright law is ill-matched for the opportunities and challenges created by the Internet. It’s been equally obvious, however, that sensible copyright policies face huge practical barriers, in large part because few are willing to challenge the default assumption of copyright law that every time a copy is made the rightsholder’s permission is required. That assumption makes no sense in the digital age, but it’s hugely difficult to dislodge, especially at the international stage.

      • Anti-Piracy Lawyer Milked Copyright Holders For Millions

        Leaks from a confidential auditor report into the activities of bankrupt anti-piracy law firm Johan Schlüter suggest that the company defrauded its entertainment industry clients out of $25m. One lawyer was singled out for most criticism after enriching both herself and family members.

      • Used eBook Sellers Receive Threats of Jail Time

        People selling unwanted eBooks online have been warned that their activities could result in six months imprisonment. However, anti-piracy group BREIN, the alleged sender of the threats, says it is not responsible. Nevertheless, given a legal case to be heard next week, the timing is certainly curious.

      • BitTorrent Still Dominates Internet’s Upstream Traffic

        New data published by Canadian broadband management company Sandvine reveals that BitTorrent can be credited for a quarter of all upstream Internet traffic in North America, more than any other traffic source. With heavy competition from Netflix and other real-time entertainment, BitTorrent’s overall traffic share is falling.

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