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Links 27/2/2016: New ROSA, Ireland National Library Goes FOSS

Posted in News Roundup at 7:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Tesla Fan ‘Incivility’ Forces Indiana To Back Off Direct Sales Ban… For Now

    We recently noted how Indiana was just the latest state to try and pass auto industry-backed bills banning Tesla’s direct-to-consumer sales model. Under the latest GM-backed bill, Tesla’s dealer license would have expired in 2018, forcing the company to embrace the traditional franchise dealership model — or stop selling cars in the state entirely. Telsa had been reaching out for the last few weeks to Tesla fans in the state, quite-correctly highlighting how GM was buying protectionist law instead of competing.

  • Hardware

    • Data Backup Devices for Small Businesses

      You already know you need to back up your small business data regularly, but you may get stuck figuring out the best way to manage the process. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a scary amount of money to buy and set up a reliable data backup system.

  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • New York investigates radioactive leak in groundwater near city

      Radioactive material has leaked into the groundwater below a nuclear power plant north of New York City, prompting a state investigation on Saturday and condemnation from governor Andrew Cuomo.

      Cuomo ordered an investigation into “alarming levels of radioactivity” found at three monitoring wells at the Indian Point energy center in Buchanan, New York, about 40 miles north of Manhattan.

    • Old Nuclear Reactor Leaks Radiation

      Nuclear fission reactors are expensive to build and decommission so it’s natural to keep them running as long as possible to optimize the economic benefit. The licence for the old Indian Point reactor in New York state has been extended and while there have been occasional problems, the reactor was considered reliable. News that a leak of tritium in the ground water has been discovered is a whole new ball-game however. Tritium is a short-lived radioisotope of hydrogen so it’s possible the contamination may not leave the site in dangerous concentrations.

  • Finance

    • TTIP Negotiations: 12th Round Ends With Plan To Hurry Between Official Rounds

      By July trade negotiators from the United States and the European Union want to present a draft text that only has brackets for the “most sensitive issues” in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). This was announced by Ignacio Bercero, chief negotiator for the European Union, and his US counterpart Dan Mullaney during a press conference today after this week’s 12th round of TTIP negotiations in Brussels.

  • Censorship

    • Self-censorship runs amok on local television

      It should have been a regular live broadcast of a Putri Indonesia pageant show, but those who tuned in were surprised when private station Indosiar decided to completely blur the torsos of contestants who wore the body-hugging Javanese kebaya dress.

      But many considered that local television stations had gone too far when one of them blurred a scene from a popular cartoon show, simply because one of its characters wears a short skirt, and questions began to be raised about why the local channels were taking that conservative turn.

    • Video: Is Canadian self-censorship preventing open debate on racism, discrimination and other important issues?

      Conversations That Matter features former B.C. premier and free speech advocate Ujjal Dosanjh. He argues that people in power in Canada are self-censoring and in doing so are preventing open and honest discourse about issues that form the fabric of Canadian society. Dosanjh has been attacked and beaten for saying what he thinks and continues to do so because he maintains if we cower from vigorous debate then we deprive ourselves.

    • National TV Channel Denies Actor’s Censorship Allegation

      Tunisian actor, Majd Mastoura has accused Wataniya TV of censoring part of his acceptance speech following his win at the Berlinale Film Festival in Germany.

      During an emotional speech, Mastoura paid tribute to the martyrs of the Tunisian Revolution. However, during its showing upon the national channel, the actor’s closing remarks were cut from the broadcast of his award.

    • Twitter Accused Of Censoring Anti-Hillary Hashtag

      Political censorship or coincidence? Activists on Friday were in full pitchfork mode after Twitter users alleged the social media site removed #WhichHillary from its trending topics in an apparent kowtow to the Democratic presidential candidate’s campaign. The collective uproar managed to inspire another Clinton-themed hashtag, #WhichHillaryCensored.

    • Hillary Vs. Hillary: Hashtag Pits Clinton Against Her Past Self

      Hillary Clinton is facing one of her biggest rivals online today: Hillary Clinton. A hashtag mocking the candidate for her flip-flops over the years rocketed to the the top of Twitter’s trending list Thursday—driven not by Republicans but supporters of her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders.

    • China tightens censorship of online TV programmes

      Beijing has further tightened its muzzle on mainland China’s internet after a senior media content watchdog official demanded all online programmes be censored as strictly as those of traditional television programmes.

      The move comes days after widespread audience dissatisfaction when popular shows, made and aired by Chinese video streaming sites, were removed or suspended until they had been censored to the satisfaction of the media content regulator.

    • Puritanical Facebook Censors Parody Publication, Makes Appeal Process A Threat

      I have no idea why, but there seems to be a sudden influx of stories concerning Facebook patrolling its site and taking down content over rather puritanical standards of offense and vulgarity. The most recent examples of this have concerned a couple of pieces of artwork that the Facebook Decency Office deemed to be to risque, despite the fact that neither of the art pieces could reasonably be described as particularly pornographic. The most recent example of this kind of censorious brigade is less to do with scary, scary sex, and more to do with parody content that some might find vulgar.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Angry At His Employees For Disrespecting ‘Black Lives Matter’ Movement
  • Privacy

    • Techdirt Needs Your Help To Fight Encryption Fearmongering
    • Poll: You Vote to Outlaw Tracking by Advertisers

      Back on February 15 when we ran an article calling for a ban on advertisers’ practice of tracking users who just happen to drive by an ad, much less click on it, we ran a poll to find out what you think. Actually, we were pretty sure we already knew what you thought. You tell us everyday, either in the comments section to our articles or by blocking ads here on FOSS Force. The poll was mainly to put some numbers to what we already knew.

    • FISA Court Accused of Failing to Restrain NSA

      A Washington spy court’s “secret, ex parte proceedings” do not provide the oversight required to restrain the National Security Agency’s Upstream program, a privacy group argued in a court filing Thursday.

    • ‘GCHQ spy who raped us is still working there because police didn’t take us seriously’

      A spy accused of rape by two women is still working at the heart of ­Britain’s security services after police ignored their claims.

      The spook’s first alleged victim, who met him through a dating website, today say detectives TWICE failed to act over her accusations – even after the second woman, who worked with him at the top secret GCHQ base, had come forward.

    • Katherine Jenkins Gives Spies Singing Treat [Ed: Katherine Jenkins has helped create femmewashing puff pieces for GCHQ - by associating with celebrities they created a dozen PR pieces]

      The classical music star hailed workers at Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, England as “heroes”, before singing songs from her repertoire including Habanera from the opera Carmen.

    • Katherine Jenkins performs private show for GCHQ staff to thank them for keeping us safe
    • Obama Administration to Expand Sharing of NSA Data from Snooping
    • Obama To Allow FBI And CIA Access To NSA Data

      The Obama administration will soon allow the National Security Agency to share certain bulk collections of communications and satellite transmissions with other government intelligence agencies. This information includes phone calls and emails from foreigners within the U.S., as well as exchanges that involve or are about Americans collected by the NSA’s foreign intelligence programs.

    • Obama administration closing in on rules to let NSA share more freely with FBI, CIA

      The New York Times is reporting that Obama administration officials are close to agreeing on new rules that would allow the National Security Agency (NSA) to share surveillance information more freely with other federal agencies, including the FBI and the CIA, without scrubbing Americans’ identifying information first.

      In 2008, President George W. Bush put forth an executive order that said such a change to the rules governing sharing between agencies could occur when procedures had been put in place. When the Obama administration took over, it started “quietly developing a framework” to carry out the proposed change in 2009, according to the Times.

      For the past decade, the NSA has collected massive amounts of phone metadata, e-mail, and other information from a variety of sources—sometimes directly from the companies that make such communication possible, sometimes through overseas taps on lines that connect to data centers outside of the US. Currently when an agency wants information on a foreign citizen, it requests that data from the NSA, and the NSA theoretically scrubs it of any incidental references to American citizens who are not being targeted. This process is known as “minimization.”

    • Germany’s New Citizen Monitoring Spyware May Be Creepier Than NSA’s

      The new spyware Trojan virus recently approved by Germany’s Interior Ministry may actually steal personal photos and notes stored on Germans’ phones and laptops.

      The German government’s new computer virus intended for spying in criminal cases has drawn scrutiny because of its potentially unlimited abilities.

    • Barack Obama to allow NSA to share contents of intercepted phone calls and emails

      The Obama administration is planning to allow the National Security Agency to share more of the raw information it acquires through wiretapping with other intelligence agencies.

      The rule change, which would allow intelligence agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Central Intelligence Agency to access the unedited contents of phone calls and emails without having the information filtered by the NSA, was first reported by the New York Times Friday.

  • Civil Rights

    • Kos Bishop: Foreign Reporters Pay Refugees to Play Victims of Drowning

      Foreign reporters pay refugees 20 euros to act as if they have drowned, said Bishop of Kos and Nisyros Nathanael.

      The unusual testimony was made during a radio interview on Alpha 98.9 on Wednesday. Bishop Nathanael said that, “I witnessed with my own eyes foreign television reporters paying people (refugees) 20 euros to play victims of drowning.”

    • A blunt defense of interrogations, targeted killings and domestic spying
    • Former CIA Chief Warns Against Donald Trump

      In an interview with the BBC, ex-CIA boss Michael Hayden warned against the dangers of having, Republican front-runner, Donald Trump as President of the United States of America.

    • Ex-CIA, NSA chief: 2016 GOP rhetoric ‘scares me’

      Former CIA and National Security Agency Director Gen. Michael Hayden says the rhetoric from the GOP candidates in the presidential race is scary — and he suspects the rest of the world is concerned, too.

      Hayden was responding Thursday to a question from CNN’s Michael Holmes about the rhetoric on the campaign trail, with Holmes mentioning Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s promise of carpet bombing ISIS and GOP front-runner Donald Trump’s praise for waterboarding and harsher interrogation techniques as well as a proposed temporary ban on foreign Muslims.

    • Court Monitor Finds NYPD Still Performing Unconstitutional Stops

      The NYPD is more in its element when it’s creating terrorism/dissent-focused task forces or shipping its officers halfway around the word to get in the way of local investigators. What it’s less interested in doing is ensuring its officers live up to the Constitutional expectations of Judge Shira Scheindlin’s order from nearly three years ago.

    • Estragon’s boot: the Conservatives delay the repeal of the Human Rights Act

      According to a news report today, the Conservative government has “shelved” the proposals to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a “British Bill of Rights”.

      This is not a surprise. It was never going to be an easy task.

      In the last week or so, the proposals – as well as a daft and dappy “Sovereignty Bill” proposal – have been nothing other than tokens in a political game between the Prime Minister and other Conservative politicians about supporting and opposing Brexit. But the tokens turned out to have no value and no purchase in this game.

      Last May this blog set out the “seven hurdles” for repeal of the Human Rights Act. These hurdles included the facts that the Good Friday Agreement requires the European Convention on Human Rights to have local effect in Northern Ireland and that Scotland would have a veto on the replacement legislation.

    • Saudi Arabia sentences a man to 10 years in prison and 2,000 lashes for expressing his atheism on Twitter

      A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison and 2,000 lashes for expressing his atheism in hundreds of social media posts.

      The report carried in Al-Watan says the 28-year-old man admitted to being an atheist and refused to repent, saying that what he wrote reflected his own beliefs and that he had the right to express them. The report did not name the man.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T Sues To Keep Google Fiber Competition Out Of Louisville

      We recently noted how the city of Louisville had voted 23-0 to let Google Fiber bring ultra-fast broadband competition to the city. As part of the vote, the city revamped its utility pole-attachment rules, which previously forced competitors through a six-month bureaucratic process to connect to the poles, an estimated 40% of which are owned by AT&T. The new policy streamlines that down to one month, letting competitors like Google Fiber move hardware already attached to the poles, while holding them financially accountable for any potential damages.

    • Cruz, Rubio Celebrate One Year Anniversary Of Net Neutrality Rules — By Trying To Kill Them

      It has already been a year since the FCC voted to reclassify ISPs as common carriers under the telecom act. And despite the countless calories spent by the telecom industry and its various mouthpieces claiming Title II and net neutrality would demolish all Internet investment and innovation as we know it, you may have noticed that things by and large did not implode. In fact, while the FCC has been snoozing on things like zero rating and usage caps, the mere threat of rules helped the Internet by putting an end to the interconnection shenanigans causing Netflix performance degradation.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ‘The Dress’ A Year Later: The Meme Has Faded, But The Copyright Will Last Forever

        Have you heard? Today is the anniversary of “the dress.” You know the one. It was all over the internet exactly a year ago. White and gold or blue and black. It was a phenomenon. And, yes, I know a bunch of you are snidely mocking it as you read this, but shut up. It was a fun way to kill an afternoon a year ago and it made a bunch of people happy, so don’t be “that person.” A year ago, we wrote a short piece about it, noting that you had fair use to thank for it, because the dress was being shared widely, and that was possible due to fair use. And the timing was great, because it was fair use week — as it is again.

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