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07.01.15

Links 1/7/2015: OpenDaylight Lithium, OpenMandriva Lx 2014.2

Posted in News Roundup at 2:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • 6 things technical leaders should consider around open-source software

    Many organisations have a wide array of open-source applications and code in use today – whether it be at the infrastructure and application layers, or in development frameworks and GitHub repositories.

    However, the applications developer and infrastructure teams come under increasing pressure as organisations rush to develop new services for customers, comply with growing amounts of industry regulation, or simply strive to meet the needs of the information generation.

  • Navigating through an open-source world
  • Open Source to power financial services innovations
  • AWS security looks to avoid cloud reboots with s2n
  • ​Amazon introduces new open-source TLS implementation ‘s2n’
  • Amazon Web Services Delivers Open Source Cryptographic Tool
  • Amazon Releases S2N TLS Crypto Implementation to Open Source
  • Amazon releases open source cryptographic module

    The software, s2n, is a new implementation of Transport Layer Security (TLS), a protocol for encrypting data. TLS is the successor of SSL (Secure Sockets Layer), both of which AWS uses to secure most of its services.

  • Engineers at Etsy play by their own rules

    Etsy, the leading marketplace for handmade goods, has grown by leaps and bounds over the past five years. During that time they’ve iterated on their model, their strategy, and their mission. One thing that’s driven the success of those changes is their open workplace culture.

    I talked to senior engineering manager John Goulah about what it means to fail faster at Etsy, and he shared with me some interesting insights into the communication techniques Etsy uses to empower their associates and improve the experience of buyers and sellers on the site.

  • Altera, Brain4Net and CertusNet Join the OPNFV Project to Accelerate Open Source NFV
  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • NoSQL and the next generation of big data

      Ingo is a senior solutions architect at MongoDB. He is active in many open source projects, and is the author of Open Life: The Philosophy of Open Source, a book on open source community ethics and business models.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.4.4 Released

      The Document Foundation today announced LibreOffice 4.4.4, the latest update to the 4.4 branch. Today’s release brings 74 bug fixes including several crashes and import/export bugs. The announcement today also brought news of version 5.0 as well as reminders for the LibreOffice Conference in September.

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 10.2 Gets Ready For Release, 11.0-CURRENT For Testing

      The PC-BSD development team today announced their 10.2 pre-release, which continues to be derived from FreeBSD. Additionally they’ve also announced new 11.0-CURRENT images for those wishing to get a look ahead at FreeBSD/PC-BSD 11.0.

      The PC-BSD 10.2 pre-release / 11.0 current announcement didn’t offer many details about all of the changes in store, but once PC-BSD 10.2 and PC-BSD/FreeBSD 11.0 are officially out, you can expect lengthy write-ups on Phoronix.

      More details via the PCBSD.org blog.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • It’s 2015 And Congress Is Now, Finally, Allowed To Use Open Source Technologies

      First, the good news: members of the House of Representatives in the US Congress are now allowed to use open source technology in their offices, rather than the very limited list of proprietary offerings they were given in the past. Second, the bad news: how the hell is it 2015 and this is only becoming an option now? I guess we can’t change the past, and so let’s celebrate the House of Reps finally getting to this point — which just happens to coincide with the upcoming launch of the House Open Source Caucus (led by Reps. Blake Farenthold and Jared Polis).

    • The House opens up to open source

      Traditionally, members of the House of Representatives have been presented with a limited plate of options when choosing technology to run their offices and manage their web presences. Members that wanted to take advantage of open source solutions — which are restriction-free, reusable and frequently more cost-effective — faced significant uncertainty and were pushed towards a small selection of proprietary options.

    • Extremadura schoolboard’s software deal protested

      Advocates of free software are protesting a tender by the school board of the Spanish region of Extremadura requesting proprietary software licences. The advocacy group, Extremadura Focus Initiative, is supported by the new, incoming government of the region and by several of Extremadura’s school teachers.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • The Problem With Putting All the World’s Code in GitHub

      The ancient Library of Alexandria may have been the largest collection of human knowledge in its time, and scholars still mourn its destruction. The risk of so devastating a loss diminished somewhat with the advent of the printing press and further still with the rise of the Internet. Yet centralized repositories of specialized information remain, as does the threat of a catastrophic loss.

    • R, Matey: Hoisting the Sails for a Programming Language

      So what is R? The R programming language is a free and open source programming language for statistical computing and provides an interactive environment for data analysis, modeling and visualization. The language is used by statisticians, analysts and data scientists to unlock value from data.

    • A Code Boot Camp for Underprivileged Kids

      A science center in Johannesburg, South Africa, has opened the doors to a five-month course in Linux-based Web apps and entrepreneurial skills. The training is available free of charge to underprivileged students from nearby townships; if it’s successful, it will be rolled out nationwide.

    • MIT develops donor ‘transplants’ for buggy code without access to the source

      A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have come up with a way to use ‘donor’ programs to improve the functionality and reduce system errors and flaws in open-source programs.

      Outlined in a paper dubbed “Automatic error elimination by horizontal code transfer across multiple applications,” MIT researchers describe the Code Phage system, which automatically transfers code from donor programs to other applications which have buggy code and errors.

    • PHP for Non-Developers
    • PHP SIG – Autoloader

      The Fedora PHP SIG (Special Interest Group) is back / working.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Op-ed: Safari is the new Internet Explorer

      Last weekend I attended EdgeConf, a conference populated by many of the leading lights in the Web industry. It featured panel talks and breakout sessions with a focus on technologies that are just now starting to emerge in browsers, so there was a lot of lively discussion around Service Worker, Web Components, Shadow DOM, Web Manifests, and more.

      EdgeConf’s hundred-odd attendees were truly the heavy hitters of the Web community. The average Twitter follower count in any given room was probably in the thousands, and all the major browser vendors were represented—Google, Mozilla, Microsoft, Opera. We had lots of fun peppering them with questions about when they might release such-and-such API.

Leftovers

  • Walmart Apologizes for Making ISIS Cake for Man Denied Confederate Flag Design

    A man in Louisiana is asking for an explanation from Walmart after his request for a Confederate flag cake at one of its bakeries was rejected, but a design with the ISIS flag was accepted.

    Chuck Netzhammer said he ordered the image of the Confederate flag on a cake with the words, “Heritage Not Hate,” on Thursday at a Walmart in Slidell, Louisiana. But the bakery denied his request, he said. At some point later, he ordered the image of the ISIS flag that represents the terrorist group.

  • Science

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Everyone Gets Cosmetic Procedures, Says Time–and by ‘Everyone,’ They Mean Almost No One

      Even by the standards of newsweekly hyperbole, this is ridiculous. In the piece, Stein writes that “in the US, doctors performed over 15 million cosmetic procedures in 2014, a 13 percent increase from 2011 and more than twice as many as in 2000.”

      The population of the United States is now 319 million, so 15 million is about 5 percent per capita.

      Even that overstates how big “everyone” is, since most of those procedures are injections like Botox–a muscle relaxant that has to be readministered as often as four times a year. Coupled with the fact that Botox can be used on multiple parts of the body—each of which may be considered a different “procedure”—the “everyone” who “gets work done” turns out to be a tiny fraction of the population.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Kirsty’s Story

      I knew with certainty that the BBC and official line of a lone gunman being responsible for the Tunisian attacks was a lie, because one of the victims of one of the “other” gunmen was my dear niece Kirsty.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Greeks are rushing to Bitcoin

      With bank doors slammed shut, frantic Greeks are turning to online trading platforms to see if the digital money Bitcoin is a better bet than the euro.

    • Confusing Lending and Spending at the New York Times

      In fact, central banks have not spent this money, they have lent this money, mostly by buying government bonds. This matters hugely, because lending is a much more indirect way to boost the economy than spending.

      Lending by central banks is supposed to boost growth by lowering interest rates. This encourages borrowing in the public and private sectors. This helps to explain the growth in debt in recent years: Rather than indicating a troubling situation, this was actually the point of the policy.

      Rather than focus on the amount of debt countries, companies and individuals have incurred, it would be more reasonable to examine their interest burdens. These are mostly quite low.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Feds Awarded Colorado Charter Schools $46 Million because of “Hiring and Firing” Rules

      Between 2010 and 2015, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) awarded Colorado $46 million under the Charter Schools Program. Part of the reason the state landed the competitive grant was that charters are free to hire unlicensed teachers and then fire them at will, documents reviewed by CMD show.

      Designed to create and expand “high-quality” charter schools, the quarter-billion-dollar-a-year program has been repeatedly criticized by the watchdogs at the department’s Office of the Inspector General watchdog for suspected waste and poor financial controls.

    • Jeb Bush dogged by decades of questions about business deals

      In early 1989, seven weeks after his father moved into the White House, Jeb Bush took a trip to Nigeria.

      Nearly 100,000 Nigerians turned out to see him over four days as he accompanied the executives of a Florida company called Moving Water Industries, which had just retained Bush to market the firm’s pumps. Escorted by the U.S. ambassador to Nigeria, Bush met with the nation’s political and religious leaders as part of an MWI effort to land a deal that would be worth $80 million.

    • STUDY: How The Media Is Covering Presidential Candidates’ Climate Science Denial

      43 Percent Of Newspaper Coverage Failed To Note That Candidates’ Climate Statements Conflict With Scientific Consensus. From March 23 — when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) became the first candidate to announce his presidential bid — to June 22 of this year, newspapers and wire services surveyed by Media Matters published 54 news stories (in print and online) that included a presidential candidate denying either that climate change is occurring or that human activity is largely responsible for it. But the newspapers and wires failed to indicate that the candidate’s position conflicts with the scientific consensus in 23 of those stories, or 43 percent of the coverage.

  • Censorship

    • Banned Books Week Celebrates Young Adult Books in 2015

      Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read by encouraging read-outs, displays, and community activities that raise awareness of the ongoing threat of censorship. Last year, tens of thousands of people participated in Banned Books Week online. More than 500 videos were posted in a virtual read-out, and thousands participated in hundreds of events in bookstores, libraries, and schools and universities across the country.

  • Privacy

    • If You Can’t Beat ’Em: France, Up In Arms Over NSA Spying, Passes New Surveillance Law

      Yet also today, the lower house of France’s legislature, the National Assembly, passed a sweeping surveillance law. The law provides a new framework for the country’s intelligence agencies to expand their surveillance activities. Opponents of the law were quick to mock the government for vigorously protesting being surveilled by one of the country’s closest allies while passing a law that gives its own intelligence services vast powers with what its opponents regard as little oversight. But for those who support the new law, the new revelations of NSA spying showed the urgent need to update the tools available to France’s spies.

    • Surveillance Court Rules That N.S.A. Can Resume Bulk Data Collection

      The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court ruled late Monday that the National Security Agency may temporarily resume its once-secret program that systematically collects records of Americans’ domestic phone calls in bulk.

    • Secret US court allows resumption of bulk phone metadata spying

      A secret US tribunal ruled late Monday that the National Security Agency is free to continue its bulk telephone metadata surveillance program—the same spying that Congress voted to terminate weeks ago.

      Congress disavowed the program NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed when passing the USA Freedom Act, which President Barack Obama signed June 2. The act, however, allowed for the program to be extended for six months to allow “for an orderly transition” to a less-invasive telephone metadata spying program.

    • Cloudflare Reveals Pirate Site Locations in an Instant

      According to an announcement from the site, Rights Alliance lawyer Henrik Pontén recently approached Cloudflare in an effort to uncover Sparvar’s email address and the true location of its servers. The discussions between Rights Alliance and Cloudflare were seen by Sparvar, which set alarm bells ringing.

    • Snoopers’ Charter: Lobby your MP in Parliament

      The Government’s planning to publish a draft of a new law that’s likely to extend the surveillance powers of the police and GCHQ in early autumn.

  • Civil Rights

    • Fox News vs. Fox News Latino: NBC Dumps Trump Edition

      Fox News Latino’s coverage of NBC’s decision to sever ties with Donald Trump differed dramatically from Fox News’ rush to defend the presidential candidate’s incendiary remarks about Mexican immigrants. While Fox hosts praised Trump’s stance and reticence to apologize, Fox News Latino characterized NBC’s move as a victory for Latino media advocacy leaders.

      NBCUniversal announced Monday that it would sever ties with Trump after he characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists,” explaining in a statement: “At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.”

    • O’Reilly Gives Donald Trump A Platform To Continue Calling Latin American Immigrants Rapists And Criminals
    • Judge Orders Lying, Cheating Government To Return $167,000 To The Man They Stole It From

      A federal judge has just ordered the government to return $167,000 it took from a man passing through Nevada on his way to visit his girlfriend in California. The officers really wanted that money, too. They used two consecutive stops to jerry-rig some probable cause… even though at that point they thought they were only dealing with $2000. From the original stop forward, the entire situation was deplorable, indisputably showing that everyone involved was more interested in taking (and keeping) a bunch of cash than enforcing laws or pursuing justice.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Cisco to buy cybersecurity firm OpenDNS in $635m deal

      Announced on Tuesday, the tech giant said the move will accelerate the development of the Cisco Cloud Delivered Security Portfolio, and OpenDNS will prove a boost to advanced threat protection services for Cisco clients.

    • EU plans to destroy net neutrality by allowing Internet fast lanes

      A two-tier Internet will be created in Europe as the result of a late-night “compromise” between the European Commission, European Parliament and the EU Council. The so-called “trilogue” meeting to reconcile the different positions of the three main EU institutions saw telecom companies gaining the right to offer “specialised services” on the Internet. These premium services will create a fast lane on the Internet and thus destroy net neutrality, which requires that equivalent traffic is treated in the same way.

    • Net Neutrality: Trialogue betrayed European Parliament’s vote

      After months of negotiations behind closed doors between the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament (trialogue), the very positive text on Net Neutrality adopted by the European Parliament in April 2014 has become more ambiguous and weaker. Net Neutrality deserves more guarantees and La Quadrature du Net is regretting a third-rate agreement.

    • Court sets schedule for net neutrality case

      A federal court has set a schedule for the legal case over the Federal Communications Commission’s controversial net neutrality rules.

      The telecom companies, trade groups and individuals suing the FCC must submit briefs to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia by July 30. Their supporters have until August 6 to submit their own filings.

    • Net Neutrality: Europe Slips Into Reverse

      Following a mammoth negotiating session that ended in the early hours of this morning, the European Union (EU) has released their long awaited rules on Net Neutrality.

      The EU Commissioner’s tweet and an accompanying press release proclaimed the rules as strong protection for net neutrality, but we’re not so sure. In fact, our initial response is one of disappointment. As others have pointed out, the proposals are unclear. At best they will lead to disputes and confusion, and at worst they could see the creation of a two-tier Internet. If enacted, these rules would place European companies and citizens at a disadvantage when compared to countries such as Chile and the USA.

    • The EU Could Kill Net Neutrality With a Loophole

      It seems the European Union has learned little from the hard-won fight in the United States to preserve net neutrality. Today, the European Commission announced an agreement between the European Parliament and EU Council that—on the surface—claims to promise to protect net neutrality, while simultaneously allowing for exceptions that would threaten its very existence.

    • Data roaming charges to be phased out within EU by 2017

      Data roaming charges associated with using your mobile phone while travelling abroad within the 28 member countries of the European Union will be a thing of the past as soon as June 2017. After that, consumers will pay the same price for calls, text messages and internet surfing throughout the EU.

      [...]

      The commission said it would also reserve the right to control traffic if it was in the public interest, for example, to combat child pornography or a terrorist attack.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Munich Press, Münchner Merkur, Slams the Munich-based EPO

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Münchner Merkur

Summary: Pressure on Benoît Battistelli to leave (or be fired) grows as the cronies whom he filled his office with have become a huge public embarrassment to the decades-old European Patent Office

According to the SUEPO Web site, political pressure grows following pressure from the media. Pierre Yves Le Borgn’ takes his action against the EPO‘s management further. “In his blog [in French],” writes SUEPO, “Pierre Yves Le Borgn’ announces his intention to subject the deficient governance of the EPO to a review by the Venice Commission (The European Commission for Democracy through Law) which could make suitable recommendations to find a solution.”

Things are heating up right now and there are more press articles about it [PDF], complete with an opportunity for rebuttal from the EPO’s management. The Münchner Merkur published the following piece on the 26th of June, 2015. Here is the English translation of it:

Münchner Merkur, Nr. 144, Friday 26 June 2015

European Patent Office

“His Domination has got to Stop”

The fight goes into the next round: The staff at the European Patent Office are demanding that Office President Benoît Battistelli be forced to quit. He can’t see how badly he’s performing.

BY THOMAS MAGENHEIM-HÖRMANN

Munich – They’re demonstrating again. For one and a half years, it’s been the same, every month. The regularity of the protests by the staff at the European Patent Office brings back memories of the Leipzig Monday demonstrations in the days of East Germany, and, like them, this is a matter of basic rights. Large sections of the 7000 employees accuse their most senior executive, Office President Benoît Battistelli, of continuing abuse of power and of using East German methods – accusations he strenuously denies.

When it comes to legal matters, the European Patent Office paints a complex picture. The Office is supported by 38 European states, not all of which belong to the EU. This means that the Office is not an EU authority. And as an inter-state organization, it is also not subject to the law of its host country, Germany, even though German citizens count for a quarter of the personnel.

The placards being waived by the several hundred demonstrators in front of the Office headquarters in Munich speak for themselves. Security cameras zoom in on them. “We’re being watched”, is how the first speaker accounts for the demonstration. It needs to be made clear to the management that spying on social partners is not the way to restoring social peace and tranquility, says the Patent Office staff union, SUEPO. That requires some explanation.

For weeks, a publicly accessible computer in the Office has been hacked, and monitored with a camera. The Office itself makes no comment, but several sources, among them the Federal Ministry of Justice, have confirmed this. The aim is said to be to spy on the staff, whom the managers at the Patent Office accuse of defamation. The possibility is that patent attorneys and Administrative Council members may also have got caught in the net of the Office’s internal sweep, prompting Bavaria’s Data Protection Executive Thomas Petri to call for an external data protection officer to be assigned to the Office.

All this is now high on the agenda of the Administrative Council, who are convening at the time of the demonstration. The Council is the controlling body of the Office, made up of representatives from 38 contracting states. The Federal Ministry of Justice is there on behalf of Germany, and they have made it very clear that the issue of internal data protection at the Patent Office is high on the political agenda too.

The snooping is not an isolated incident. Among other things, Battistelli has banned a demonstration and claimed the right to determine the nature and length of labour disputes. A Dutch court has ruled that the Office is in breach of employment legislation as well as basic rights. The President is not bothering to contest the issue. He is in the process of reforming the institution, and all he is doing in the process is carrying out the instructions of the management.

But some of his reforms, and particularly the methods used, are causing unease. According to SUEPO, the Office has engaged the outside investigation company Control Risks to spy on members of the staff representation body. A dozen or so union members are said to be the focus of attention for the outside investigators. The Dutch newspaper “Volkskrant” has just recently disclosed that the Office has also arranged for staff to be scrutinised by a detective agency. This has left its mark on the workforce. Even the personnel who are demonstrating dare not talk to journalists. “There are people from the Office here, and I don’t want to be seen with you”, said one, and turned away. Another simply tapped a button he was wearing: “BB is watching you”. The Office itself is stonewalling. Disciplinary matters are strictly confidential, and that means strictly no comment as to whether and how monitoring is currently being carried out. Insiders have reason to believe that a new guideline regarding video surveillance is in the making.

Staff representatives maintain that Battistelli’s talk of open dialogue with the staff is pure window dressing. Word has it that he is no longer able to control the chaos he has created, let alone restore some kind of order. “His domination has got to stop”, demands one SUEPO speaker on the demonstration, and wins loud applause.

Battistelli has been at the top of the Office since 2010, and has been elected to remain until 2018. Up to now, the Administrative Council has shown no inclination to see him go. SUEPO has announced that it will be calling demonstrations until the Patent Office is “back on track”. Something has gone off the rails.

Staff of the European Patent Office demonstrate regularly in front of the headquarters in Munich

Things are getting worse for Benoît Battistelli, not better. The longer this goes on for, the bigger and broader the scandals become. Battistelli is in a downward spiral; the question is, will he take the EPO down with him or can the EPO repel and expel him and his cronies (whom he added to protect himself)? The latter would of course be preferable. Britain has had similar issues; tackling them is imperative.

The Shameless Campaign to Paint/Portray Free Software as Inherently Insecure, Using Brands, Logos, and Excessive, Selective Press Coverage

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Security at 5:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bugs
Image courtesy of Red Hat, demonstrating lack of correlation between severity and logos/brands

Summary: Some more FUD from firms such as Sonatype, which hope to make money by making people scared of Free/libre software

The corporate media is in the business of selling (for corporations), not informing. Advertising is the business model, as well as media ‘partnerships’ (euphemism for PR). Security firms too are in the business of selling, not informing. Misinformation often helps improve sales. We have already ranted quite a lot about media misdirection, designed to sell products or malign the competitors of those who try to sell unnecessary products. We must assume that this is happening because it has always been happening; it’s just that it got a lot more frequent now that Free/libre is more widely used.

The other day IDG published some promotion of Veracode. To quote one paragraph: “The scale of the problem is significant. Cryptographic issues are the second most common type of flaws affecting applications across all industries, according to a report this week by application security firm Veracode.”

This is not an independent security researcher; it is the Black Duck-connected Veracode (Black Duck came from Microsoft and VeraCode’s co-founder recently joined Black Duck), which overlooks security issues with proprietary software. Veracode is not an objective observer; it is trying to sell something. Sonatype too, a nasty company which we wrote about before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], rears its ugly head in the media, in an article provocatively titled “Open-Source Code Can Be More Dangerous Than Useful”.

So Sonatype has launched yet another FUD attack on Free software, using myths and rhetoric, capitalising on gullible ‘journalists’ who would print just about anything, along with clueless pasting of bugs with logos (for extra fear), no discussion about severe bugs in proprietary software, and many other issues. This article is relaying marketing from Sonatype and dramatises it even further. “It gets worse,” says the writer, “according to Sonatype: Many of the software companies that have built insecurities right into their products wouldn’t be able to tell which of their applications are affected by a known component flaw because of poor inventory practices.”

Well, proprietary software deliberately adds flaws to act as secret back doors. How about that in the discussion? The article totally omits that. The article then adds some talking points from the FOSS-hostile Symantec, another company which tries to sell its proprietary software based on perceptions of insecurity.

Thankfully, there are a couple of comments there (below the article) that highlight the issues with the article; both are titled “Not only open source…”

As Free/libre software becomes more mainstream we should expect more parasites like Sonatype to look out for fools who are willing to do their marketing, monetising trash-talk.

National Insecurity and Blackmail, Courtesy of Microsoft

Posted in America, Europe, Microsoft at 5:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Big Ben Brother

Big Ben

Summary: British members of parliament (MPs) outsourced their communication to the number one PRISM company and they are paying the price for it; The US Navy’s systems continue to be unbelievably insecure (Windows XP), despite access to the world’s biggest nuclear arsenal

ONLY months after Microsoft blackmailed British MPs [1, 2, 3] we learn that “Microsoft disrupted British MPs’ parliamentary email system”. According to Linux Veda, “a third of MPs in the UK lost access to their email, hosted by Microsoft. The downtime occurred between Monday and Wednesday last week.” Why on Earth has our government put sensitive mails about the public and from the public in Microsoft’s hands? Are we giving up our digital sovereignty altogether? This is an espionage heaven as Microsoft works very closely with espionage agencies that even blackmail politicians (just like Microsoft does). Some folks have pointed this out to us as there is more coverage of this right now in the British press. Will they finally dump Microsoft and securely self-host their E-mail using Free/libre software, as any technically-proficient person would? Who decides on IT for Parliament anyway? Microsoft lobbyists? Moles? Bribed staff? We previously named such people who were deep in Microsoft’s pocket. These decisions are usually political rather than technical.

“These decisions are usually political rather than technical.”In the US, the nuclear arsenal and those who can physically access it are still using Microsoft's Swiss cheese OS, Windows XP. This shocked a lot of people and hacked.com wrote: “Windows XP was notoriously insecure even when it was in normal usage, but now that it’s ancient, the details on how to hack into an XP network are easy to get. Worse, the Navy insists on keeping this system even as this is public knowledge. It would take time and money, but an upgrade to either a newer version of Windows or to some Linux or other open-source option would make things vastly more secure for the sections of the Navy that are subjected to this policy.

“Now, there will always be those who argue that it’s mostly the behavior of users that influences the security of a given network. This could be true, but there are exploits on XP systems which just aren’t possible on newer systems, or on Linux.”

Anything other than Free/libre software should be assumed not secure. It cannot be proven otherwise.

Microsoft Keeps Shrinking

Posted in Microsoft at 4:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

But the corporate media won’t tell you that

Water bottles

Summary: As the era of shrink-wrapped software comes to an end so does Microsoft, whose effort to become a ‘cloud’ company with online operations has been miserable at best

Microsoft “slims down money-losing online operations,” says a Bill Gates-funded paper. That is a gross understatement. There are massive layoffs inside the company and people whom I know from the inside are being shuffled around this summer. Microsoft is not doing so well, so it uses corporate media to plant talking points and pretend that business operating at a loss are “self-sustaining”. Don’t believe any of that nonsense. Based on what I’ve heard from insiders, Microsoft is in a chaotic state. It merely distorts the media to pretend otherwise. Nadella may be more successful a mole than Ballmer (whom outsiders don’t trust) and being a mole, i.e. infiltrating those who are winning (e.g. Red Hat, Android), is Microsoft’s last chance. Look what it does to the Linux Foundation. How long before it can be labelled the Windows-Linux Foundation?

They ‘R’ Coming: More Microsoft Money for the Linux Foundation

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 4:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chamberlain

Summary: The problem with having Microsoft in a Linux Foundation initiative, the R Consortium

THE corrupting influence of money must never be downplayed. Over the past couple of years we have written about many examples where Microsoft injected its influence into the Linux Foundation, both in terms of staff and in terms of money. It had done so for much longer than a couple of years, sometimes through Novell, Nokia, and others. There are famous historical lessons about liaising with ruthless aggressors that want you killed, but the Linux Foundation is willing to ignore these lessons.

Another reason why the Linux Foundation cannot criticise Microsoft is money flow associated with this latest transaction (article promoted by the Linux Foundation’s own Web site). To quote: “The nonprofit Linux Foundation today announced a new initiative called the R Consortium, a new group to unite the users of the open-source R programming language, which is widely used among data scientists and statisticians.

“Microsoft, Oracle, HP, Tibco, Rstudio, and Alteryx, among others, are all sponsoring the new industry consortium. The R Foundation, a separate nonprofit dedicated to maintaining R, is a founding organization for the new consortium, which will in turn provide support to the R Foundation.”

IDG has this new R primer, composed a short while ago by a Microsoft booster. Microsoft sought to openwash itself last year by essentially buying an R company. It is beginning to look more like “Embrace, Extend, Extinguish” — a tactic which Microsoft is still very much into.

Speculations About the EPO’s Possible Role in DDOS Attacks

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Readers’ views on who might be behind the attacks on this site amid confirmation that it’s on the ‘targets’ list of the EPO

YESTERDAY we mentioned EPO spying on this site and the day before that we wrote about DDOS attacks against this site. We are still eager to get to the bottom of who’s behind the very latest attacks (different from previous attacks) and some people wrote to us with additional information.

“You should perhaps take your case with US authorities,” one person said, “i.e. the FBI, as the AWS server is located in the US, according to ping timings and traceroute performed [...] The EPO uses AWS on Amazon’s servers in Ireland to host their Open Patent Services, so they would have the technical knowledge to write a stupid stunt like that.

“But it would be amazingly daft to launch an attack from an account clearly connected to the EPO. I would imagine some shady operation running on stolen or prepaid credit cards, so you might not get very far anyway. The code needn’t be very sophisticated, and wouldn’t cost much to run.

“The FBI has acted in such cases in the past: http://www.securityfocus.com/news/9411

“but their own reputation isn’t quite sterling: http://arstechnica.com/security/2013/05/ddos-for-hire-service-works-with-blessing-of-fbi-operator-says/

Others have pointed out that, despite the patterns of attacks showing no signs of it, scrapers of the EPO or the external spies it hired could play a role. “Concerning the monitoring of IRC logs,” said one person, I “have reason to inspect that “bots” have been employed for monitoring the IRC channels which might go some way to explaining those DDOS attacks that you reported some time ago.”

The problem is, it wasn’t IRC pages that were being hammered. I “don’t have any detailed technical information about this,” the person continues, “or who exactly was involved (i.e. whether it was EPO internal or some outside “agents”). [...] just passing on what I have heard so that you are aware that you are somehow “under observation” (or at least your IRC logs are)” (we have strong evidence of that, but it is definitely not the cause of the server stress).

We are going to continue pressuring Amazon for the identity of the attacker (Amazon is still stonewalling) and maybe report abuse to the EPO’s network administrators some time quite soon.

06.30.15

Links 30/6/2015: Linux Mint 17.2, OpenMandriva

Posted in News Roundup at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Node.js and Docker realigned

    It’s not really a surprise, but after just over six months since the “forking” of both Node.js and Docker, the two different projects have ended up back in some sort of alignment. For Node.js, it was the reunification with io.js under the Node.js Foundation, which was officially launched under the Linux Foundation’s umbrella. The Node.js and io.js technical development is now driven by a technical committee and hopefully this will all work out well for all.

  • Libreboot Now Supports An AMD/ASUS Motherboard

    The Libreboot “fork” of Coreboot now has support for its first AMD motherboard — or more broadly, its first desktop motherboard.

  • IBM Insists It’s Open to Open Source

    So it’s interesting when a senior IBM exec turns up in a keynote slot. Big Blue’s heritage, at least at the high end, had for years been dominated by proprietary architecture. No longer, said Doug Balog, general manager of IBM Power Systems. The founding of OpenPOWER roughly two years ago, sale of IBM’s x86 business, and the sprint away from the formidable but proprietary Blue Gene (and re-embrace of the battle-tested mainframe) are all part of IBM’s about-face.

  • The Open Information Security Foundation Joins Open Source Initiative as Affiliate Member

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI) today announced that The Open Information Security Foundation (OISF) has been accepted as an Affiliate Member. “The OSI is excited to welcome OISF,” said Patrick Masson, General Manager and Director at the OSI. “Just as we’re seeing with open source software projects, more and more organizations are looking for support from mature, robust and relevant security communities. The OISF and the open source technologies they support are ready to help and we’re happy to promote their good work.”

  • The evolution of the big data platform at Netflix

    I caught up with Eva to get a bit of a background on her, Netflix, and how open source is being used to improve services at Netflix. Not only has Netflix used and contributed to existing open source projects, but they have released their own projects like Genie as open source. To learn more about Netflix’s open source projects you can pursue their GitHub.

  • Events

    • ATO Opens Reg – Releases Partial Speakers List

      The All Things Open conference today pushed out a notification to recipients on its mailing list announcing that registration for the event, slated for October 19th and 20th. has begun. For the first time ever, event organizers are offering something of a super early bird special: Buy a ticket before July 7th and get admission for both days for only $99 — which is a deal since that’s what a single day will cost once the Early Bird Special kicks-in next Tuesday.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Can LibreOffice successfully compete with Microsoft Office?

      Michael Meeks, a leading LibreOffice developer, says the open source suite is currently being used by about 20 million Linux users. (LibreOffice is included in many Linux distributions.) He adds that update requests are also regularly received from 120 million different IP addresses – with one million new ones appearing every week — and suggests that in total there may be 80 million LibreOffice users around the globe.

    • LibreOffice 5.0 to Bring More DOCX Improvements

      The Document Foundation has released the second RC for the upcoming LibreOffice 5.0 version, and it looks like the developers are making a final push for the new version of the office suite that is scheduled to land in July.

    • The job is not done until the documentation is complete

      And yet there is a lot of really good documentation out there. For example, the documentation for LibreOffice is excellent. It includes several documents in multiple formats including HTML and PDF that range from “Getting Started” to a very complete user’s guide for each of the LibreOffice applications.

  • Funding

    • Roundcube Next crowdfunding success and community

      A couple days ago, the Roundcube Next crowdfunding campaign reached our initial funding goal. We even got a piece on Venture Beat, among other places. This was a fantastic result and a nice reward for quite a bit of effort on the entire team’s part.

  • BSD

    • DragonFly BSD 4.2 Gets Improvements for i915 and Radeon, Moves to GCC 5

      DragonFly BSD is a distribution that belongs to the same class of operating systems as other BSD-derived systems and UNIX. The developers have released a new version of the distro, and they have integrated quite a few changes and improvements.

    • OpenBSD from a veteran Linux user perspective

      For the first time I installed a BSD box on a machine I control. The experience has been eye-opening, especially since I consider myself an “old-school” Linux admin, and I’ve felt out of place with the latest changes on the system administration.

      Linux is now easier to use than ever, but administration has become more difficult. There are many components, most of which are interconnected in modern ways. I’m not against progress, but I needed a bit of recycling. So instead of adapting myself to the new tools, I thought, why not look for modern tools which behave like old ones?

    • DragonFlyBSD 4.2 Released: Brings Improved Graphics & New Compiler

      DragonFlyBSD 4.2 was released this morning as the next major release to this popular BSD operating system. For end-users there are a lot of notable changes with this update.

    • Call for Testing: Valgrind on OpenBSD

      The editors are certainly salivating over the possibility of valgrinding our way to victory.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Galicia publishes open source tools

      The government of Galicia (Spain) has made available three open source solutions over the past year, one for PC classrooms, one for land-management, and a third for computer network enhancement. The tools are available at Galicia’s software repository, and information about the solutions is now also available at Spain’s Centre for Technology Transfer (CTT).

    • Aragon publishes updates of eGovernment software

      The government of Aragon (Spain) has published updates of the open source software it uses for 25 eGovernment services. The updates have been available at the repository of Spain’s Centre for Technology Transfer since late last month.

    • House gets green light for open source

      The House of Representatives has officially jumped on the open source bandwagon. A June 25 announcement declared that U.S. representatives, committees and staff would be able to procure open source software, participate in open source software communities and contribute code developed with taxpayer dollars to open source repositories.

    • Cracking the Code: U.S. House of Representatives Allows Use Of Open Source Software

      As the executive branch of the United States government quietly works on creating an official open source policy, the legislative branch is also moving into the 21st century: Open source software is now officially permitted in the U.S. House of Representatives. That means software developed in the People’s House with taxpayer funds will eventually be available to the people. According to the nonpartisan OpenGov Foundation, there will soon be an Open Source Caucus in Congress.

  • Programming

    • LINUX, RUBY AND WEB CODING LAB FOR GRADUATE TRAINEES OPENS AT SCI-BONO

      The Simplon course was developed in France to teach skills in Linux, Ruby on Rails, CSS, Javascript, Meteor.js and other web development langauges. Co-founder Andrei Vladescu-Olt attended the opening of the SAP-funded laboratory, and explained that there’s more to the course than coding.

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Matti Makkonen, inventor of the SMS text message, died on Friday

      It is a sad day in tech. This is such a young industry in mobile that most who built it are still alive. One of the biggest pioneers, however, died this past Friday. Matti Makkonen, the inventor of the SMS text message, was a former Telecoms Finland (later known as Sonera) exec and then Nokia VP and later Finnet Group boss and ended his career as Managing Director of Anviva before he retired from active business management work. He still continued on some part-time jobs in telecoms in Finland. In 2008 Matti received the Economist Innovation Award for inventing the SMS and we celebrated that occasion here on this blog at the time.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Serbia fetes Franz Ferdinand’s assassin 101 years later

      Serbia unveiled a statue on Sunday of the man whose killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand 101 years ago lit the fuse for the First World War, feting an assassin who still divides his native Balkans.

      Many Serbs regard Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb, as a pan-Slavic hero, the shot he fired in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 marking the death knell for centuries of foreign occupation over the various nations and faiths that would make up the Yugoslavia that emerged.

      To others he is a terrorist, a nationalist fanatic whose act triggered a war in which 10 million soldiers died and the world order was rewritten.

    • Is more war abroad with troops on the ground what’s needed to defeat ISIS?

      It’s too early to say whether yesterday’s ‘day of terror’ was coordinated, or whether it was a random convergence of events whose perpetrators share the same commitment to ‘leaderless resistance’ jihad which makes it equally possible to murder ‘apostate’ Shia worshippers in a mosque or ‘kufar’ tourists in Tunisia.

      Whoever they are, their broader intentions are not difficult to fathom. Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the Kuwait and Tunisia attacks. Both are acts of ‘strategic’ terrorism.

      The attack in Kuwait is clearly intended to foment the sectarian war that IS believes it can exploit for its own purposes.

    • Killer drones raise new moral questions

      Technologies are making humans who remote-control drones more and more like children playing video-games. That is the main problem. When deaths or killings seem to be happening so far away, the “combat mentality” can combine with the comfort zone to highly murderous effect. When it’s so easy to kill without risking your own life, will you be merciful or shoot them up?

    • Killer robots are coming next: The next military-industrial complex will involve real-life Terminators
    • The human rights crisis is about domination, not perception

      When Israel is criticized about its rights-abusive policies in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the refrain most often heard among local politicians is that the government’s hasbara—the Israeli propaganda machine—is inadequate. The problem, in other words, is not what Israel actually does to the Palestinians, but rather the inability to get its positive message across to the international community. This is usually referred to as “rebranding Israel”. The underlying assumption here is that the merchandise is fine, and only the packaging needs to be replaced.

    • Operation Hannibal

      Here’s how Israel deals with hostages. The results aren’t pretty.

      [...]

      The war in Gaza, which had raged for three weeks by then and claimed the lives of dozens of Israelis and some 1,500 Palestinians, seemed to be tapering off. The ambush near Rafah would have gone down as one more skirmish. But as the surviving Palestinians retreated, they did something that would turn that Friday into the bloodiest day of the summer and embroil Israel in a possible war-crimes ordeal that reverberates even now: They dragged the third Israeli, Lieutenant Hadar Goldin, with them underground.

    • AP withdraws photos in row over gun pointing at senator’s head

      Conservatives immediately turned on the news agency, which released a statement saying the five photos it issued “were not intended to portray Senator Cruz in a negative light”.

      After “consideration”, said the statement, “we have decided to remove those photos from further licensing through AP Images”.

    • Black churches taught us to forgive white people. We learned to shame ourselves
    • Barack Obama to deliver eulogy for Charleston church victims
    • Is the FBI Ignoring White Violence by Refusing to Call Dylann Roof a Terrorist?

      Civil rights activist Kevin Alexander Gray and Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, discuss whether the shooting in Charleston was an act of domestic terrorism. “Dylann Roof was a human drone, and every Tuesday morning the Obama administration uses drones to kill people whose names we don’t even know and can’t pronounce,” Kevin Alexander Gray says. “So I don’t know if I feel comfortable with the idea of expanding this word ‘terror.’” But Richard Cohen calls the shooting “a classic case of terrorism.” “It’s politically motivated violence by a non-state actor and carried out with the intention of intimidating more persons than those who were the immediate victims,” Cohen says. “I think in some ways it’s important to talk about terrorism in that way, not so we can send out drones, not so we can deny people their due process rights, but so we can understand the true dimensions of what we’re facing.”

    • “A Classic Case of Terrorism”: Is FBI Ignoring White Violence by Refusing to Call Roof a Terrorist?
    • White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States

      White Americans are the biggest terror threat in the United States, according to a study by the New America Foundation. The Washington-based research organization did a review of “terror” attacks on US soil since Sept. 11, 2001 and found that most of them were carried out by radical anti-government groups or white supremacists.

    • The question is: Will war ever end?

      I don’t rate any of our wars since to have been justified morally. I am morally shaken by our U.S. war these days involving drone use. Innocent civilians are being killed. We call it “collateral damage,” which I believe actually means “unintended murder.” How have we come to justify that? We claim to be doing it for the right reason. We have identified terrorists in these locations. When our drones strike, there are too often innocent civilians caught in the hell fire. It was not our intention to kill innocent people, but there are too many unanticipated consequences.

    • Let’s Not Forget Our Own Extremism

      To deem behavior or opinion as extremist depends on a particular point of view.

    • US Drone Strikes Kill Nine ‘Suspects’ in Yemen

      A pair of US drone strikes over the past 48 hours have killed at least nine people, none of them identified by name but all of them labeled “al-Qaeda suspects” by local officials on the ground in Yemen.

    • UK faces calls for intelligence-sharing guidance over drone attacks

      Ex-chief of navy Lord West says Britain must protect covert relationships but must also clear up grey areas over involvement in non-war zone killings

    • New Details About Drone Attacks Reported From Documents Leaked by Snowden

      The New York Times on Wednesday reported details about American counterterrorism officials’ use of drone strikes in countries such as Yemen, as well as the working relationship between intelligence agencies in the U.S. and the U.K.

    • Snowden papers suggest possible UK role in US drone strike

      The documents are said to show the extremely close cooperation between the NSA and its British counterpart, the Government Communications Headquarters better known as GCHQ, in regards to the controversial drone program.

    • US and British Wild West Spying…and the Entertainment Business

      Britain’s murky operations against the United Nations were first made public in 2004 when government minister Clare Short stated she “had read transcripts of some of Mr Annan’s conversations. She said she recalled thinking, as she talked to Mr Annan: “Oh dear, there will be a transcript of this and people will see what he and I are saying”.” She admitted in a BBC interview that British intelligence agencies had recorded conversations of the UN Secretary General in his office in New York. This astonishing revelation attracted an intriguing reaction from her own government, with prime minister Blair declaring her statement to be “deeply irresponsible” rather than taking any action about this manifestly irresponsible and illegal operation. It was obvious that the British government was up to its neck in a program of espionage against the leader of the organization that is intended to “reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person,” and there was no possibility that the prime approver of such funtime capers was going to admit his culpability.

    • New York Times, ACLU Make Case For Access To Drone Strike Memos

      The American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times continued their fight in court Tuesday as they try to secure nine Department of Justice memos they believe outline the federal government’s legal justification for tactical drone strikes that have killed hundreds — including U.S. citizens — across the world.

      Attorneys on both sides presented their arguments to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Tuesday — the latest round of courtroom discussions that date back four years.

      In 2011, the ACLU submitted a Freedom of Information Act request regarding the targeted killings of U.S. citizens Anwar Al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman Al-Awlaki, and Sameer Khan earlier that year in September.

    • Civil Liberties Union Takes Court Action over US Drone Strikes

      The appealing parties want the public to know who and why the U.S. is killing in drone strike operations.

    • Drone strike kills 5 militants in E. Afghanistan

      Five militants have been killed following a NATO airstrike in eastern Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, a source said on Sunday.

    • Drone strike kills five militants
    • Wars killed 149,000 in Pakistan, Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014

      Wars in Pakistan and Afghanistan have killed at least 149,000 people between 2001 and 2014, says a recent report by a US think-tank.

    • Wars killed 149,000 in Pakistan and Afghanistan since 2001: report
    • South Asian tensions and the fight against militancy

      Recent escalation in tension between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India figured high among US international concerns last week, with Secretary John Kerry cautioning against implications of South Asian hostilities, amidst tenuous search for Afghan stability.

    • Drone protesters vow to close down Staffordshire factory

      Protesters from 25 UK-based campaign groups are expected to take part in the latest rally on July 6 outside the Lynn Lane factory which they claim supplies arms to Israel.

    • Smart Talk: Legality of military drones on trial

      The U.S. actually trains more unmanned pilots than traditional fighter pilots today.

    • U.S. Army Begins Training Ukrainian Soldiers

      Fighting surged again this week in eastern Ukraine, where government troops are battling separatist militias and their Russian allies.

      NATO is responding by sending troops and equipment to eastern Europe, and it’s also giving defensive training to Ukraine’s beleaguered army.

    • Moving ever closer to a new Cold War

      Nato defence ministers are meeting in Brussels to agree their next steps in dealing with the renewed threat from Russia.

    • Under the rubble of drones

      It is harder for eyes from the sky or those pushing the drone buttons from the other end of the world to see precisely what lies wasted under the rubble of mud houses in the tribal regions of Pakistan. The loud claims of ‘successfully’ targeting wanted al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists have drowned the cries of the local populations for about a decade over their children, women and men having been killed. Over 2,000 civilian casualties must not disappear from the human radar after being termed collateral damage. True, we cannot escape human tragedies for larger ends of the war on terror, but we also need to take responsibility for errors of judgment.

    • Israel Bombs Lebanon

      Sunday reports indicate an Israeli warplane bombed a remote Lebanese Bekaa region to destroy one of its drones apparently downed.

      An IDF spokeswoman declined to comment. A Lebanese security source said it’s not entirely clear what happened “but most probably it was an Israeli airstrike to destroy its downed drone” – whether because of mechanical failure or by Hezbollah isn’t known.

      America, its rogue NATO partners and Israel unilaterally or together bomb other nations in blatant violation of international law.

    • Jared Keyel: It’s time to end US military interventions

      The Obama administration is contemplating setting up bases in Iraq and sending hundreds of additional American troops there. And a few months ago, President Barack Obama announced that nearly 10,000 American troops will remain in Afghanistan through the end of the year. This is in spite of US interventions in the two countries that have left hundreds of thousands dead, millions displaced and continuing instability all over the region.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • World’s Aquifers Losing Replenishment Race, Researchers Say

      From the Arabian Peninsula to northern India to California’s Central Valley, nearly a third of the world’s 37 largest aquifers are being drained faster than they are being replenished, according to a recent study led by scientists at the University of California, Irvine. The aquifers are concentrated in food-producing regions that support up to two billion people.

    • Council blocks Little Plumpton fracking application

      An application to start fracking at a site on the Fylde coast in Lancashire has been rejected by councillors.

      Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to extract shale gas at the Little Plumpton site between Preston and Blackpool.

      Lancashire County Council rejected the bid on the grounds of “unacceptable noise impact” and the “adverse urbanising effect on the landscape”.

    • Fracking plans rejected by council in shock result after worries about environment

      Plans to frack for shale gas in Lancashire have been rejected by county councillors.

      Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to undertake exploratory drilling and fracking at a site between Preston and Blackpool.

      Planning officials recommended approval of the operation subject to a number of conditions – but councillors rejected the advice and voted against.

    • US supreme court strikes down Obama’s EPA limits on mercury pollution

      Justices invalidate new rules in move that could make Environmental Protection Agency more vulnerable to challenges to new regulations on carbon emissions

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin poker site founder takes plea deal to avoid jail time

      A man who ran a Bitcoin-based online poker site and then fled to Antigua after being raided earlier this year has pleaded guilty to a lesser gambling violation in Nevada as a way to stay a near-free man.

      According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, Bryan Micon accepted probation on Thursday and will also pay a $25,000 fine, surrender the computers, 3.0996 bitcoins ($750) and the $900 that were seized from him during the raid. Once complete, his charge will be reduced to a gross misdemeanor of operating an unlicensed interactive gaming system.

    • Dutch city of Utrecht to experiment with a universal, unconditional ‘basic income’

      The Dutch city of Utrecht will start an experiment which hopes to determine whether society works effectively with universal, unconditional income introduced.

      The city has paired up with the local university to establish whether the concept of ‘basic income’ can work in real life, and plans to begin the experiment at the end of the summer holidays.

      Basic income is a universal, unconditional form of payment to individuals, which covers their living costs. The concept is to allow people to choose to work more flexible hours in a less regimented society, allowing more time for care, volunteering and study.

    • Greek PM makes plea to voters as debt deadline nears

      Tsipras asks voters to reject austerity proposals offered by creditors as thousands of his supporters rally in Athens.

    • Greek Investigator’s Report Finds Evidence of Plot Against Former PM’s Life, ‘Silver Drachma’ Plan

      Evidence pointing to international espionage, a plot to murder former Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and a 2012 plan for Greece’s exit from the euro code-named the “Silver Drachma” are just some of the sensational findings unveiled in a report by Greek Anti-Corruption Investigator Dimitris Foukas, released on Friday and sent to the Justices’ Council for consideration.

      The report outlines the findings of three converging judicial investigations spanning several years, initiated after the notorious phone-tapping scandal in 2005 and revelations that the mobile phones of then Prime Minister Karamanlis and dozens of other prominent Greeks were under surveillance.

    • ‘Nein Danke’ – smaller German firms see U.S. trade deal as threat

      Martina Roemmelt-Fella, who owns a small, family-run turbine manufacturer in Bavaria, should be a cheerleader for a trade deal between Europe and the United States that promises to ease the flow of goods and services across the Atlantic.

      But instead she fears the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being hammered out between Brussels and Washington will give too much power to big multinationals at the expense of small companies like hers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • George Will Won’t Throw Out a Perfectly Good Column Just Because Its Premise Is Completely Wrong

      At some point, Will either noticed, or someone pointed out to him, that Roberts’ decision did the opposite of what Will’s column says it did: It did not defer to the executive branch’s interpretation of the ACA, but instead produced its own definitive interpretation of the law. This makes most of Will’s criticism–starting with the first paragraph, which denounces “decades of populist praise of judicial deference to the political branches”–irrelevant to the opinion Roberts actually wrote.

  • Privacy

    • Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

      Anyone who has been freaked out by the robots in Channel 4’s new hit drama Humans knows what life in the Uncanny Valley feels like. The same goes for those who have met or seen footage of Aiko Chihira, a realistic humanoid who has just started welcoming visitors to a department store in Japan. She’s creepy, in the extreme.

    • Two keys to rule them all: Cisco warns of default SSH keys on appliances

      Cisco revealed a security vulnerability in a number of the company’s network security virtual appliances that could give someone virtually unlimited access to them—default, pre-authorized keys for Secure Shell (SSH) sessions originally intended for “customer support” purposes. As Threatpost’s Dennis Fisher reported, Cisco has released software patches that correct the problem, but there’s no temporary workaround for systems that can’t immediately be patched.

      Cisco released an advisory on the vulnerability on June 25. There are two separate SSH key vulnerabilities for the Cisco Web Security Virtual Appliance (WSAv), Cisco Email Security Virtual Appliance (ESAv), and Cisco Security Management Virtual Appliance (SMAv).

    • Default SSH Key Found in Many Cisco Security Appliances

      Many Cisco security appliances contain default, authorized SSH keys that can allow an attacker to connect to an appliance and take almost any action he chooses. The company said that all of its Web Security Virtual Appliances, Email Security Virtual Appliances, and Content Security Management Virtual Appliances are affected by the vulnerability.

      This bug is about as serious as they come for enterprises. An attacker who is able to discover the default SSH key would have virtually free reign on vulnerable boxes, which, given Cisco’s market share and presence in the enterprise worldwide, is likely a high number. The default key apparently was inserted into the software for support reasons.

    • When a Company Is Put Up for Sale, in Many Cases, Your Personal Data Is, Too

      That respect could lapse, however, if the company is ever sold or goes bankrupt. At that point, according to a clause several screens deep in the policy, the host of details that Hulu can gather about subscribers — names, birth dates, email addresses, videos watched, device locations and more — could be transferred to “one or more third parties as part of the transaction.” The policy does not promise to contact users if their data changes hands.

    • Nissan shuns cloud for physical communications infrastructure

      While this project is separate from the ongoing developments in Nissan’s connected vehicle technology, Deacon said that there were “huge developments” ongoing in bringing customer service to the car dashboard and more automated systems.

      Last year Renault also revealed a major overhaul of its internal and customer-facing interactions through a Europe-wide Salesforce rollout that would link its systems to its dealerships, allowing it to claw back valuable customer data.

    • Online Data Policies … in Plain English

      Clauses in privacy policies that enable online services to transfer or sell personal data about consumers as part of a merger, bankruptcy or other transaction are becoming common practice, an examination by The New York Times of the top 100 websites in the United States has found. The prevalence of these data-transfer clauses illustrates how little control people typically have over the dissemination of information about them. Details from privacy policies of five companies offer a sampling of the information that may be collected and how companies may handle the data in the event of a sale or bankruptcy. — Natasha Singer

    • Warrantless phone tapping, e-mail spying inching to Supreme Court review

      In 2013, the Supreme Court rejected a challenge to a once-clandestine warrantless surveillance program that gobbles up Americans’ electronic communications—a project secretly adopted in the wake of the 2001 terror attacks on the United States. Congress legalized the surveillance in 2008 and again in 2012 after it was exposed by The New York Times.

      Human-rights activists and journalists brought the Supreme Court challenge amid claims that the FISA Amendments Act was chilling their speech. But the Supreme Court tossed the case, telling the challengers’ lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union to bring proof by real targets of the warrantless e-mail and phone surveillance. In a 5-4 ruling (PDF) by Justice Samuel Alito at the time, the court said the case was based on “assumptions” and that the plaintiffs “merely speculate” that they were being spied upon.

      Fast forward to the present day: a US resident of Brooklyn, New York, accused of sending $1,000 to a Pakistani terror group has won the right to become the nation’s second defendant to challenge the surveillance at the appellate level. This could mean a Supreme Court bid is likely several months or more away.

    • The most dangerous data breach ever known

      But the true nature and scope of the information required by the government and subsequently collected by the government on an employee is massive. Take a look at Standard Form 86. This is a 127-page form that usually takes a week or more to complete and requires the entry of the applicant’s Social Security number on each page. The data included on this form is not just enough for identity theft, but enough to allow a person to literally become another person. Each Standard Form 86 fully documents the life of the subject. The only thing missing is the name of your first crush, though that might be in there somewhere too.

    • Why Facebook Is Opening An Office In Africa

      Facebook is to open a new office in Africa, a region with more than one billion people but only 120 million Facebook users.

  • Civil Rights

    • Bernie Needs To Speak Truth To Power (and try to stay alive)

      One thing I was obsessed with was campaign finance reform. I almost cut my throat when Citizens United was allowed to participate in financing political campaigns because corporations have the same rights as people. I believe that decision absolutely destroyed our so-called democracy. I also observed the Democrats that stood by and let that happen. What that showed me was how corrupt and devious our elected officials are. I stand with Bernie on this issue on overturning Citizens United.

    • China Issues Report on Human Rights Violation by the United States

      China’s State Council Information Office on Friday issued a list of human rights violations committed by the United States government. The annual report is intended to counter US allegations of human rights abuses in China.

    • China criticizes United States’ human rights record
    • US Police Killings Violate International Law

      Amnesty International finds all 50 states and Washington, DC, fail to comply with international law and standards on the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers

    • Don’t expect rhetoric to match reality

      The transition from Bush to Obama was much less dramatic than one imagined and the transition from Obama to someone else is likely to be more nuanced

    • EU launches navy operation against migrant-traffickers

      More than 100,000 migrants have entered Europe so far this year, with some 2,000 dead or missing during the perilous quest to reach the continent. Dozens of boats set off from lawless Libya each week, with Italy and Greece bearing the brunt of the surge.

    • Australia’s New Law Would Strip Citizenship For Possessing A ‘Thing’ Connected With Terrorism, Or Whistleblowing
    • ‘Australians fighting in Syria will lose citizenship’ says PM Tony Abbott

      Australians who engaged in terrorism will be stripped of their citizenship, under new laws aimed at preventing militants fighting overseas from returning home.

    • Coalition defends proposed citizenship laws – as it happened

      The prime minister announces an expansion of powers ‘to reflect modern conditions’ and says laws could be applied retrospectively; Julie Bishop can’t confirm deaths of two Australians reportedly killed in drone strikes; and the ABC is under attack for allowing a former terrorism suspect to appear on Q&A. As it happened

    • Terror suspects to lose citizenship: PM
    • BBC News: Australia prepares new citizenship laws

      The laws would also strip citizenship from dual nationals who engage in terrorism inside Australia.

    • An Open Letter to the NRA and Its Trolls

      When are we going to have an honest conversation about guns in America? While I vigorously disagree with the Supreme Court’s most recent interpretation of the Second Amendment, I’ll concede that the right of individuals to bear arms is, for now, the law of the land.

    • First Texas abortion clinic closes, more to follow barring Supreme Court involvement

      Operation Rescue has confirmed that the Routh Street Women’s Clinic in Dallas, Texas, halted abortions earlier this month, beginning what is expected to be a series of clinic closures in the wake of a ruling by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. That ruling upheld a 2013 law, HB2, that requires abortion clinics to meet minimum safety standards.

      In addition, Planned Parenthood has apparently abandoned its efforts to open a larger clinic to replace its outdated facility located at 104 Babcock Road in San Antonio. Pro-life supporters with the Stop Planned Parenthood SA Coalition sued and successfully blocked a planned opening in January 2015, citing deception and zoning violations.

    • Destruction of Evidence

      David Cameron, echoed by the corporate media, calls upon the millions of law-abiding Muslims in the UK to denounce and distance themselves from a few terrorist nutters with whom 99.99% of British Muslims have no connection anyway. That apparently is acceptable. But to ask that the Zionist and Jewish organisations denounce the long term criminal activities of the man who actually led those organisations, is portrayed as unacceptable racism.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Charter: We won’t impose data caps after buying Time Warner Cable

      Charter yesterday promised that it won’t impose any data caps or overage charges on customers for at least three years if the Federal Communications Commission allows it to buy Time Warner Cable.

    • EU Parliament must defend Net Neutrality against pressure from Member States

      The Council of the European Union is looking to remove all reference to Net Neutrality in the regulation of telecommunications. While the Council has always refused to take a step towards a compromise, it has been looking for several weeks to put the responsibility for the failure of the negotiations on the European Parliament. Thus, it is with bad faith that the Council is taking on this 4th trialogue today ; with their aim to make the Parliament to give in.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Sad day for developers: SCOTUS denies Google’s appeal on APIs

        Supreme Court’s decision is bad news for developers targeting the U.S. market, who will now have to avoid any API not explicitly licensed as open

      • US Supreme Court denies Google’s request to review API Copyright decision

        A week after making the US LGBTQI community happy last week by ruling gay marriage legal across all the states, the US Supreme Court made the decision to not review the Google v. Oracle API Copyright decision made by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals last year. The Federal Circuit have been accused for misunderstanding both computer science and copyright law.

      • Pirate Bay Founder Still Wants to Clear His Name

        Last week Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm lost his appeal against his hacking conviction in Denmark. With an August release potentially on the horizon but an unexpected situation still to be resolved in Sweden, Gottfrid is longing to get in front of a computer and back into the world of IT. But before then he wants to set the record straight.

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