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Links 14/12/2015: KDE Frameworks 5.17.0, ‘Referendum’ on GPL Enforcement

Posted in News Roundup at 5:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Hints For Successfully Managing an Open Source Project

    Today I want to change things a bit: instead of covering a technical subject, I want to share with you what it means to run an open source project

    For more than two years, my friend David Rousset and I have led Babylon.js. We started the project after hearing that IE11 would support WebGL and we wanted to make it easier for people to build 3D scenes and games. For the following two years I spent all of my spare time making Babylon.js a simple and powerful 3D engine for web developers.

  • Western Digital Labs and ownCloud
  • Person of The Year 2015 in the Linux/OpenSource Community: Open Voting

    Year 2015 ends. Taking time to honor those peoples who work in Linux and Open Source community and don’t have deserved popularity. Maybe you use everyday several products from these peoples – this is your personal chance to say “thank you”.

  • Why William Hill is betting on open source rather than traditional IT vendors for digital transformation

    William Hill is moving away from traditional IT vendor relationships as it seeks to modernise its business, choosing to build applications internally using open source technologies pioneered by internet giants such as Google and Facebook.

  • Staking a career on open source software’s success

    I have enjoyed reading the stories others have shared about how they got started with open source software, so I thought I’d add mine. It is different in that I came to open source purely for business reasons. While I later embraced the open source way for reasons such as personal freedom and community, my initial exposure to it came from trying to find the best solution to a business problem.

  • Events

    • Extension: FOSDEM 2016 Desktops DevRoom Call for Talks

      The FOSDEM Organization has graciously given devroom organizers a little extension. We are therefore extending our own deadline for the Desktops DevRoom: the new deadline is December 14th. There will be no further extensions.

    • TADHack Paris – 12-13 December 2015

      I’m currently in Paris for TADHack, an opportunity to collaborate on a range of telephony APIs and services. People can also win prizes by doing something innovative with the platforms promoted by the sponsors.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • Google tries to spread the SQL cloud love

      Google has unveiled the next gen of its Cloud SQL service, a hosted version of the MySQL database.

      The second generation Beta Cloud SQL is more than seven times faster than the first generation of Cloud SQL. And it scales to 10TB of data, 15,000 IOPS and 104GB of RAM per instance.

      The first generation of Cloud SQL was launched in October 2011 .

  • Education

    • Dear parents: Let your kids use open source software

      A 16-year-old boy recently asked the r/Linux community for advice. When his parents discovered that he’d reloaded his laptop with Linux, they were horrified—after all, this “free” software must certainly be riddled with viruses and/or hackers. It didn’t help matters any that he’d “ruined” an expensive gift, and was no longer using some of the expensive software that had been purchased with it. He tried to talk to them about it, but it was tough—he was the teenager; they were the adults.

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

    • Facebook’s custom AI hardware will be open-source, ready for Skynet

      While most artificial intelligence is powered by software, as the software gets more sophisticated, it relies on more powerful and sophisticated hardware to execute its needs. The social network will reportedly submit all the relevant design materials to the Open Compute Project, an organization that manages the sharing of datacenter infrastructure designs. “They’ve designed quite an elegant solution that can fully power and cool that number of GPUs and deliver maximum performance”.


    • A referendum on GPL enforcement

      One of the key provisions of the GNU General Public License (GPL) is that derivative products must also be released under the GPL. A great many companies rigorously follow the terms of the license, while others avoid GPL-licensed software altogether because they are unwilling to follow those terms. Some companies, though, seem to feel that the terms of the GPL do not apply to them, presenting the copyright holder with two alternatives: find a way to get those companies to change their behavior, or allow the terms of the license to be flouted. In recent times, little effort has gone into the first option; depending on the results of an ongoing fundraising campaign, that effort may drop to nearly zero. We would appear to be at a decision point with regard to how (and whether) we would like to see GPL enforcement done within our community.

    • For the love of bits, stop using gzip!

      So, who *does* use xz? kernel.org. Also, the linux kernel itself optionally supports xz compression of initrd images. Vendors just need to pay attention and turn the flags on. Anyone else want to be part of the elite field of people who use xz? Please?

  • Openness/Sharing

    • ROS, the Robot Operating System, Is Growing Faster Than Ever, Celebrates 8 Years

      Eight years ago, Morgan Quigley, Eric Berger, and Andrew Ng published a paper that was not about ROS. It was about STAIR, the STanford Artificial Intelligence Robot, which used a library called Switchyard to pass messages between software modules to perform complex manipulation tasks like stapler grasping. Switchyard was a purpose-built framework that was designed to be modular and robot-independent, and it was such a good idea that in 2009, “ROS: An Open-Source Robot Operating System” was presented at the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA) in Japan. As of this month, the paper introducing ROS has been cited 2,020 times, an increase of more than 50 percent over last year.

    • The Cryptocurrency Open Source API Marketplace for Developers

      The API economy is the reality we live in and it’s an enormous one that, once the Internet of Things kicks into full gear, will feature an infinite number of API calls a day. But as we globalize, the world and the products—in this case APIs—we sell in it become more complicated and often more expensive as we factor in all the friction of exchange rates and credit card micropayments. It’s in everybody’s interest to smooth over that friction so developers can access our APIs or application programming interfaces more easily.

    • Open Hardware

      • OSWatch, an open source watch

        If you are a soldering ninja with a flair for working with tiny parts and modules, check out the Open Source Watch a.k.a. OSWatch built by [Jonathan Cook]. His goals when starting out the project were to make it Arduino compatible, have enough memory for future applications, last a full day on one charge, use BLE as Central or Peripheral and be small in size. With some ingenuity, 3d printing and hacker skills, he was able to accomplish all of that.

  • Programming

    • Git 2.6.3 A Lot Of New Features And Fixes
    • Django awarded MOSS Grant

      We’ve been awarded $150,000 to help fund the development of Channels, the initiative to rewrite the core of Django to support (among other things) WebSockets and background tasks, and to integrate key parts of the Django REST Framework request/response code into Django, such as content negotiation. Together, these projects will help considerably improve Django’s role of backing rich web experiences as well as native applications.

    • Go vs Node vs Rust vs Swift

      Some days ago ago Apple released Swift as open source language with instructions for Ubuntu Linux 15.10. So I decided to do a couple of simple benchmarks just to test some basic general purpose things like cpu, functions, read/write and not sequential access to arrays, concurrent parallel execution where possibile.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Auto-Generating Clickbait With Recurrent Neural Networks

    “F.D.R.’s War Plans!” reads a headline from a 1941 Chicago Daily Tribune. Had this article been written today, it might rather have said “21 War Plans F.D.R. Does Not Want You To Know About. Number 6 may shock you!”. Modern writers have become very good at squeezing out the maximum clickability out of every headline. But this sort of writing seems formulaic and unoriginal. What if we could automate the writing of these, thus freeing up clickbait writers to do useful work?

  • Twitter Aims to Show Advertising to Much Wider Audience

    Twitter has long argued that its reach and influence extends far beyond the 320 million people who log into its social media service at least once a month. Tweets are embedded on thousands of other websites and apps, emailed, displayed on television and published in newspapers.

  • Microsoft is in an apologetic mood right now — what next? ‘Sorry for Windows 10′?

    Sorry may be the hardest word, but it seems to be tripping off Microsoft’s tongue quite freely at the moment. Maybe it’s the holiday season making the company look at itself, but we’ve had two apologies in recent days — first, a semi-apology for stealing OneDrive storage from people, and now it’s sorry about the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Meat industry ignores FDA, health experts, buys more antibiotics

      Despite recent efforts by health experts, doctors, and the Food and Drug Administration to pull the meat industry away from its heavy use of antimicrobials, livestock producers seem to have dug in their heels.

      From 2009 to 2014, the amount of antimicrobials sold and distributed for use in livestock increased by 22 percent, according to an FDA report released Thursday. Of the antimicrobials sold in 2014, 62 percent were related to drugs used in human health, also called medically important. From 2009 to 2014, sale and distribution of medically important antimicrobials used on farms also jumped—an increase of 23 percent.

      That brings the 2014 total of antimicrobials sold for US livestock to 15,358,210 kilograms, including 9,475,989 kilograms of medically important drugs, according to the report.

  • Security

    • The Joy of Getting Hacked

      Two weeks ago, the server I host all my personal projects on was hacked by some guy in Ukraine.

    • Microsoft Edge has inherited many of Internet Explorer’s security holes

      We’re all anxiously awaiting the day that Windows 10′s new Edge browser becomes usable. That hasn’t happened yet, but it will some day next year. Microsoft Edge should represent a huge improvement in browser security, particularly when compared with the ancient, creaking, and leaky Internet Explorer. Recent events, though, have me wondering if Edge really represents that big of a step forward.

    • DEF CON 23 – Runa Sandvik, Michael Auger – Hacking a Linux-Powered Rifle

      TrackingPoint is an Austin startup known for making precision-guided firearms. These firearms ship with a tightly integrated system coupling a rifle, an ARM-powered scope running a modified version of Linux, and a linked trigger mechanism. The scope can follow targets, calculate ballistics and drastically increase its user’s first shot accuracy. The scope can also record video and audio, as well as stream video to other devices using its own wireless network and mobile applications.

    • Supporting secure DNS in glibc
    • TLS in the kernel

      An RFC patch from Dave Watson at Facebook proposes moving the bulk of Transport Layer Security (TLS) processing into the kernel. There are a number of advantages he sees for doing so, but most of the commenters on the patch set seem a bit skeptical about the idea. TLS is, of course, the encryption layer that protects HTTPS and other internet protocols.

    • Let’s Encrypt Stats
    • December ’15 security fixes for Adobe Flash
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • How Indonesian fires are affecting global climate

      Raging fires in Indonesia’s forests and peat lands since July this year are precipitating a climate and public-health catastrophe with repercussions across local, regional and global levels, experts told IndiaSpend.

      Acrid smoke and haze have enveloped Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia, and have reached Thailand, choking people, reducing visibility and spiking respiratory illnesses, according to Susan Minnemeyer, Mapping and Data Manager for Washington-based World Resources Institute’s (WRI) Global Forest Watch Fires initiative.

    • Peat fires travel underground – the Indonesian disaster

      When I landed in Palangkaraya, the capital of the Indonesian province of central Borneo, in early September the smoke was already fairly thick. I was surprised they hadn’t cancelled the flight on seeing the ground suddenly come into view what seemed like a few seconds before landing.

      The smoky smell and thick warm air was something I recognised from 2011, the last El Niño year to hit the region (causing an extended dry season). There was definitely something of a “here we go again” sentiment from the locals I knew there too. My friend Yuyus texted: “selamat datang di kota asap” when I told him I’d arrived – welcome to smoke town. Within the next two days, all flights to and from the town had been grounded.

    • Fires Caused These Massive Plumes of Carbon Monoxide to Appear Over Indonesia

      Tens of thousands of wildfires ravaged Indonesia in September and October. A sizable portion of these blazes was smoldering subterranean peat fires, which sent toxic gas and particulate matter into the atmosphere. This new map shows the extensive spread of one particularly nasty gas: carbon monoxide.

      Wildfires in Indonesia are particularly troublesome. Unlike “conventional” forest fires, these fires smolder under the surface, making it extremely difficult to extinguish; it usually takes a good downpour during the rainy season to put them out. Making matters worse, these peat-fueled fires release far more smoke and air pollution than most other types of wildfires.

    • California in overdraft

      Two decades ago, the rolling hills of Paso Robles were mostly covered with golden grass and oak trees. Now the hills and valleys are blanketed with more than 32,000 acres of grapevines.

      Surging demand for wine has brought an explosion of vineyards, and along with it heavy pumping of groundwater. With the water table dropping, many people have had to cope as their taps have sputtered and their wells have gone dry.

    • Meteorologist Dr. Marshall Shepherd Explains How Historic Climate Agreement Will Have Positive Cascading Effects For Decades
  • Finance

    • Bill with passport and third-party tax collection provisions passes Congress

      The act creates a new Sec. 7345 that requires the secretary of State to deny, revoke, or limit the passport of any person who the IRS certifies has a seriously delinquent tax debt. “Seriously delinquent tax debt” is defined as an outstanding tax debt in excess of $50,000 (adjusted for inflation) for which a notice of lien or a levy has been filed, unless the individual is making timely payments under an agreement with the IRS or collection is suspended because a Collection Due Process hearing or innocent spouse relief has been requested or is pending. This provision is effective upon enactment.

    • Desperately seeking Satoshi Nakamoto

      In 2008, someone calling themselves Satoshi Nakamoto posted a paper describing the workings of what would become the world’s most important digital cryptocurrency, bitcoin. Two months later, he posted the code for the first version of the software that would allow people to create and exchange the currency.

      The paper was revolutionary because it brought together ideas that people had been working on in the area of digital currencies. It solved the problem of exchanging money in a safe and secure way, without having to trust third parties or even the other person in the deal.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • What I told the kid who wanted to join the NSA
    • ‘I want to join the NSA. What do you think of that?’

      In September, I spent a day at the United States military academy at West Point, an elite, 213-year-old academic institution. I’d been invited to lecture by the Army Cyber Institute, a new academic department that focuses on cybersecurity and policies related to the military implications of attacking and defending electronic infrastructure.

      It’s not my usual speaking gig. I grew up as an organiser in the anti-nuclear-weapons movement; my experience of the military mostly revolves around protesting outside bases, not being invited inside them. West Point was the first military audience I’d ever addressed, yet I’d heard that they have used my young-adult novel Little Brother, which concerns net-savvy kids in San Francisco who form an underground movement to resist Homeland Security incursions on civil liberties following a terrorist attack.

      West Point is an American oddity: a leafy, ancient (by US standards) campus on a lazy river with academic standards to match any Big Ten or Ivy League university, but with a student body that is far more likely to come from racial minorities and poor people than any of America’s notoriously high-ticket educational institutions. I’ve done teaching stints at American universities where annual tuition ran to $50,000, and the contrasts between the student body at those schools and West Point could be the subject of a dissertation on American history, sociology, race relations or economics.

    • AP FACT CHECK: GOP hopefuls overstating on NSA phone records

      In the wake of the California shootings, Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and Lindsey Graham are complaining that U.S. intelligence agencies have lost their authority to collect phone records on Americans under a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program. They want the government to bring that program back.

    • Rubio Doubles Down on Repealing NSA Restrictions

      Florida Sen. Marco Rubio amped his criticism Friday of the Obama administration’s support for restrictions to a major National Security Agency surveillance program, and joined with fellow Republicans to call for increasing the agency’s powers in the wake of recent deadly shootings in Paris and California inspired by the Islamic State.

    • Cruz Defends Dictators, NSA Limits in Security Speech

      Taking on critics in his own party, Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz on Thursday defended Middle East dictators as useful allies against Islamic extremists during a Washington address decrying political correctness and stricter gun laws as an impediment to national security.

    • Ted Cruz rejects demands to revive NSA surveillance after San Bernardino

      Ted Cruz has launched a stinging attack on fellow Republicans who have demanded the return of mass telephone surveillance in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

    • Libertarian hero: ‘Satoshi Nakamoto’, government funds, the NSA and the DHS

      It’s more than a little odd seeing the world hail their libertarian hero, mourn that he was “arrested for inventing Bitcoin”* (as is being claimed on Twitter), and find that he ate government money like a horse.

    • ‘Probable’ Bitcoin Creator Is A Garrulous Government Security Contractor And Is In Legal Trouble

      As the old adage has it, never meet your heroes. If Craig Steven Wright, an Australian serial entrepreneur, really is the creator of Bitcoin, then lovers of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency are going to be a little disappointed: Satoshi Nakamoto is not the man you thought he was.

      Reporters from Wired and Gizmodo have unmasked someone who has been a long-time purveyor of business cliches, someone who claims to be one of the most certified security professionals on the planet, and, rather than working against government, appears to have done plenty of work for the establishment. He even claimed to have relationships with employees at the NSA. As both publications admit, however, it could all be one elaborate ruse.

    • This Is What The NSA Told Their Employees About Digital Currencies, In 1995

      If news goes unnoticed for years, is it still new news, especially if the present brings new perspectives to light? While researching another article I came across an internal NSA document that was written in 1995 and declassified in 2008, not long before the invention of Bitcoin. The document, which is publicly available on the NSA website, is a weekly internal newsletter for NSA employees called Communicator and in it, they discuss the early iterations of digital currencies that were make headway at the time, specifically David Chaum’s Digicash.

    • James Clapper has found another reason why he lied about NSA spying

      Director of National Intelligence James Clapper now has a fifth reason for why he lied to the US Congress over the NSA’s spying program: he just plain forgot it existed.

      Speaking during a panel discussion last week, Clapper’s general counsel Robert Litt said that Clapper had not had time to prepare an answer to the question posed to him by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) about storing data on Americans.

    • Terrorist attacks don’t warrant return to mass NSA spying, McCaul says

      The terrorist attacks in California and Paris should not spur Congress to reinstate the mass surveillance of Americans’ phone records, House Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul said Wednesday.

      But McCaul, R-Texas, said phone companies may need to keep customer data longer to help federal agents investigate terrorists such as the couple that carried out the mass shooting last week in San Bernardino. Federal agents have complained that a new law reining in the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone data limited how many years of phone records they could analyze in the San Bernardino case.

    • Researchers Found Windows’ Malware Similar To The One Used by NSA

      NSA’s one of the known snooping tactics is installing a malware into hard drive’s firmware which makes the deletion of the malware nearly impossible even the malware can avoid formatting of the hard drive.

      Nemesis is a malware that can be used for similar purposes as it can avoid clean-up software and can even avoid reinstalling of windows altogether by hiding behind boot records, according to FireEye.

    • Inside the NSA’s hunt for hackers

      When America’s premier federal security recruiters go fishing for new technical talent, they have plenty of lures to dangle. There’s the patriotic mission; the promise of a government salary; the thrill of working under the hood on the country’s classified cyber mechanics.

      And then there’s the pile of free purple and orange pens.

      At a recent job fair in this city’s cavernous convention center, the National Security Agency set up an eight-foot-long folding table and covered it with a black cloth and assorted pieces of schwag, trying to rope in coders and tech experts. “Push the limits of innovation,” read one of its posters. Brochures touted a mission producing results “that you might see on the nightly news,” like disrupting a terrorist attack, catching international drug traffickers or preventing a crippling cyberattack.

    • Original NSA Whistleblower Russ Tice: NSA Targeted Barack Obama

      Tice stated that the NSA is lying that they are only collecting the meta-data of USA citizens, and that the entire contents of every single form of communication in the United States is illegally and unconstitutionally spied upon and recorded by the NSA.

      Tice made the shocking allegations that the NSA is specifically targeting Congressmen, Supreme Court Justices, and that the NSA has targeted and wire-tapped President Obama while he was campaigning prior to being elected!

    • Join Us as We Dive with Trevor Paglen 70 Feet Underwater and See NSA-Tapped Cables

      I’m flopping in my fins toward my first scuba dive in the ocean, accompanying artist Trevor Paglen on a mission to the ocean floor. We’re heading 70 feet down off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The captain asks me how I’m feeling.

      “Scared,” I say with a shrug, as if to say, How else would I feel?

      “Remember,” he tells me, “Jacques Cousteau did not die from diving. He died an old man.”

      When I hit the water, though, the anxiety is gone, and I am going slowly into the deep, hand over hand along a yellow rope.

    • How the NYPD is using social media to put Harlem teens behind bars

      Asheem and Jelani, were born exactly one year apart to the day, in the warm Junes of 1991 and ‘92. “I always felt there was something special about that,” says their mother Alethia. “A little bit of magic.” The two grew up together in their mother’s small apartment on the corner of 129th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard in New York’s Harlem neighborhood.

      As young children, the brothers were good friends with kids from all over Harlem. But as they matured into adolescent young men, a set of once-invisible rivalries began to surface. The True Money Gang from the Johnson Houses was at war with the Air It Out crew from the Taft Houses. Crews from Grant and Manhattanville projects exchanged gunfire in the streets. As he grew up, Jelani looked forward to leaving the neighborhood for school, “So I didn’t have to look behind my back every two seconds to see if someone about to bash me in the head,” he says.

    • Facebook offices in Hamburg vandalised

      Vandals have damaged the entrance to a building in Hamburg that houses the offices of social network Facebook, smashing glass, throwing paint and spraying “Facebook dislike” on a wall, according to police in the northern German city.

      Police said in a statement on Sunday that the overnight attack was carried out by a group of 15-20 people wearing black clothes and hoods. An investigation has been launched. Facebook was not immediately available to comment.

    • Privacy hawks turn to White House in encryption fight

      Privacy advocates are leaning on the White House to counter lawmakers’ renewed efforts to pass encryption-piercing legislation in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif.

      Despite a lack of direct evidence the technology played a role in either incident, lawmakers continue to use both deadly plots to promote a bill that would force companies to decrypt data upon request.

      The tactic has left technologists and privacy advocates frustrated, even outraged.

      In a meeting with privacy and civil liberties groups on Thursday, the Obama administration said it was preparing to issue an updated stance on encryption policy in the coming weeks, giving the pro-encryption community hope it might have a new ally in its fight.

    • FBI director renews push for back doors, urging vendors to change business models

      The FBI still wants backdoors into encrypted communications, it just doesn’t want to call them backdoors and it doesn’t want to dictate what they should look like.

      FBI Director James Comey told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he’d been in talks with unspecified tech leaders about his need to crack encrypted communications in order to track down terrorists and that these leaders understood the need.

    • Congresswoman Asks Feds Why They Pressured a Library to Disable Its Tor Node

      A Congresswoman from California is questioning Department of Homeland Security officials who put pressure on a local public library to take down the relay node it had set up for the anonymity network Tor.

      You may recall back in September, when the Kilton Public Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire briefly disabled its Tor relay after meeting with local police, who had received a tip from agents with Homeland Security’s investigations branch warning that the network can be used by criminals. Relay nodes act as the middle points of the Tor network, whose layers of encryption allow activists, journalists, human rights workers, and average citizens (and, yes, criminals) to access the Internet anonymously. The more nodes, the faster the network becomes.

      The fearmongering backfired spectacularly: the Lebanon library unanimously voted to restore its Tor relay and announced plans to convert it into a Tor exit node, one of the essential gateways which provides the last “hop” allowing Tor users to anonymously connect to Internet sites and services. More than a dozen other libraries around the U.S. also piled on, declaring their intention to run Tor nodes of their own in defiance.

      Now Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren is asking just what the hell compelled the DHS to intervene.

    • The Secrets of an Abandoned Microwave Tower in Kansas

      A mysterious AT&T relic reveals connections between telecommunications infrastructure and the Cold War.

    • Elon Musk and other Silicon Valley investors to open AI research center

      In an interview following the launch of OpenAI, Musk explained how his new nonprofit was designed to help.

    • Cyber bill’s final language likely to anger privacy advocates

      Digital rights advocates are in an uproar as the final text of a major cybersecurity bill appears to lack some of the privacy community’s favored clauses.

      In the last few weeks, House and Senate negotiators have been working unofficially to reach a compromise between multiple versions of a cyber bill that would encourage businesses to share more data on hacking threats with the government.

    • Obama calls on tech giants to fight ISIS

      President could be referring to encryption debate

    • Government can’t find big needle in small haystack

      Since Edward Snowden revealed the federal government’s unlawful and unconstitutional use of federal statutes to justify spying on all in America all the time, including the members of Congress who unwittingly wrote and passed the statutes, I have been arguing that the Fourth Amendment prohibits all domestic spying, except that which has been authorized by a search warrant issued by a judge. The same amendment also requires that warrants be issued only based on a serious level of individualized suspicion backed up by evidence — called probable cause — and the warrants must specifically identify the place and person to be spied upon.

    • AP’s Ted Bridis Fact Checks His Own Bogus Claims, Now Being Repeated By Others, Admitting They’re False

      Earlier this week, we wrote about an absolutely ridiculous Associated Press story by reporter Ted Bridis, claiming that law enforcement investigating the San Bernardino shootings are being somehow held back because of the close of the NSA’s Section 215 phone records program. There were all sorts of problems with that story, so it’s great to see the Associated Press ask one of its enterprising young reporters — a guy who goes by the name Ted Bridis — to do a “fact check” piece on Republican Presidential candidates who are now repeating the very claims that Bridis himself made earlier in the week.

    • What the NSA Should Have Been
    • Edward Snowden to speak at CU via video chat

      Ron Suskind, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist will moderate the February 16 event from the Macky Auditorium. Attendees will be able to ask Snowden questions, but details about that process have not been released.

    • Jesse Ventura: NSA Violates the Constitution

      The FBI has used a secretive authority to compel Internet and telecommunications firms to hand over customer data including an individual’s complete web browsing history and records of all online purchases, a court filing shows.

      The NSA is violating the Fourth Amendment: Reasonable search and seizure. They’re providing none. They have no reasonable warrant to do this.

    • The Online Habits That Trigger NSA Spying

      TOR is an encryption network developed by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory in the 1990s. The military’s hope was to enable government workers to search the web without exposing their locations and identities. The system today is widely available, runs on open-source code, and is popular among privacy advocates as a more secure alternative to open Internet surfing, particularly in countries with repressive regimes. It works by encrypting the user’s address and routing the traffic through servers that are located around the world (so-called “onion routing.”) How does the NSA access it? Through a computer system called XKeyscore, one of the various agency surveillance tools that NSA leaker Edward Snowden disclosed last summer.

    • * Obama Speech Translated * AP’s NSA “Propaganda”

      Wheeler writes widely about the legal aspects of the “war on terror” and its effects on civil liberties. She blogs at emptywheel.net. She just wrote the piece “6 Responses to Why the AP’s Call Record Article Is So Stupid,” about the NSA’s monitoring of San Bernardino shooting suspect Tashfeen Malik which states: “The AP engaged in willful propaganda yesterday, in what appears to be a planned cutout role for the Marco Rubio campaign. Rubio’s campaign immediately pointed to the article to make claims they know — or should, given that Rubio is on the Senate Intelligence Committee — to be false, relying on the AP article. That’s the A1 cutout method Dick Cheney used to make false claims about aluminum tubes to catastrophic effect back in 2002.

    • Edward Snowden Would Rather Play Fallout 4 Than Correct AP Journalists

      The takeaway from the AP story is that investigators lost out on the NSA’s phone record dragnet when one of the NSA’s bulk collection programs expired, which would have allowed them to access five years of phone records on shooters Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik. Now, the AP story implies, they’re stuck obtaining records directly from phone companies under the USA Freedom Act.

    • Paul: ‘If Rubio Were Doing His Job’ He’d Know NSA Program Was Active Last 6 Months

      Host Chuck Todd said, “Senator, respond to something Marco Rubio said. He said the following a week ago, ‘We were still able to see the phone records of a potential terrorist cause, we held them, now you have to hope the phone company still has them, you have to argue with their chief counsel by the time you get access to it and find out who they’ve been talking to before it’s too late.’ You were on the forefront of trying to change this law. Any second thoughts?”

    • Senator Rand Paul: NSA program failed to prevent terror

      Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says the US National Security Agency’s program of collecting US citizens’ phone metadata has failed to thwart terrorist attacks or help detain criminals as had been claimed by the United States authorities.

    • Paul: ‘Authoritarians’ like Christie want to reinstate data collection
    • Paul: Christie is an ‘authoritarian’
    • Paul slams ‘authoritarian’ Christie over bulk data collection
    • Christie to Congress: Attach Restoration of NSA Program to Spending Bill
    • Rand Paul on NSA Data Collection: Is There Any Limit To What “Authoritarians” Like Chris Christie Will Give Up?
    • Rand Paul: NSA phone-snooping program didn’t prevent any attacks
    • Paul’s Libertarian Support Siphoned Off by Cruz
    • 3 GOP presidential-candidate stooges
    • Christie hits Obama, Congress over NSA surveillance
    • NSA bulk collection of phone records ended, or did it?

      Nov. 29 was the deadline for the end of NSA bulk collection of telephone records as established by the USA Freedom Act six months ago. This ended the Patriot Act, revealed by Edward Snowden, to have been the authority used to collect the bulk phone records of hundreds of millions of Americans, a certain big government invasion of privacy, which incensed civil libertarians. Libertarians and Constitutionalists, on Fourth Amendment concerns, led by Sen. Rand Paul brought the demise of the hated Patriot Act. This ends government surveillance of its citizens. Or does it?

      The USA Freedom Act called for a six-month transition period allowing NSA to continue bulk collection as before, but at its end NSA must only access targeted data from telephone providers with judicial approval. Unfortunately for Constitutionalists it, like its predecessor the Patriot Act, nullifies the 4th Amendment requirement of “probable cause” and thus is as unconstitutional as the law it replaced.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • Pirate Bay Founder: ‘I Have Given Up’

        “The internet is shit today. It’s broken. It was probably always broken, but it’s worse than ever.”

      • UK to Lengthen Copyright on Works of Artistic Craftsmanship

        The United Kingdom is holding a consultation as to when a provision of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 should take effect. Copyright in works of artistic craftsmanship—utilitarian objects (even if mass-produced) which are deemed artistic—shall be extended. Currently, the copyright lasts for 25 years after an item is first offered for sale; the new term will be for the life of the creator, then another 70 years. This means that some works which are now in the public domain will become copyrighted. Publishers of derivative works of such items, for example a book or film in which a work of artistic craftsmanship was photographed, will be obliged to obtain permissions, except for uses which fall under fair dealing.

      • Pirate Gets a Million YouTube Views, Everybody Benefits

        A pirate ordered to get 200,000 YouTube views or risk getting sued by companies including Microsoft has smashed his target. Against the odds Jakub F’s anti-piracy video now has more than a million views. Could it be that everyone involved – from corporations to pirates – have benefited from this exercise?

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