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02.05.16

Maybe It’s Time for Class Action Lawsuits Against Microsoft for Forced Vista 10 ‘Upgrades’, Which Were Definitely No Accident

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 7:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Computers with Windows on them non-consensually morphed into real-time spying machines (and keyloggers) by Microsoft, so victims should rightly go ballistic

War machines

Summary: The sheer arrogance of Microsoft, which silently changes the operating system on people’s computers (without their consent), makes lawsuits imperative, not just a possibility

TECHRIGHTS isn’t interested in pursuing Microsoft for its abuses, except when they involve the company’s attacks on GNU/Linux, usually by means of entyrism/EEE, patents, or both. But Vista 10 abuses have been rather difficult to simply ignore and weeks ago we explained why Microsoft's forced 'upgrades' were not an error or an accident as Microsoft had claimed (the tune changes for the worse over time, so it seems like a gradual, phased-in introduction of the intolerable, or the unacceptable).

People now have to work pretty hard in order to prevent Microsoft from totally hijacking their PC that has Windows on it in order to change the entire operating system. Well, Microsoft appears to have just been caught lying (yet again) about what it did. These ridiculous claims of “mistake” or “error” or “accident” were just a lie all along and as IDG has just put it in its headline, “Microsoft pushes Windows 10 upgrade using tactic it once called ‘a mistake’.” To quote the article.

More than three months ago, Terry Myerson, the executive who leads the operating system and devices group, said that the Windows 10 upgrade would be pushed to users via Windows Update, the primary maintenance service for its OSes.

At the time, Myerson said that the upgrade would first appear under the “Optional” section in Windows Update, then later transit to “Recommended.” The difference is more than labeling: In Windows Update, “Optional” is supposed to be just that; customers must explicitly check the box for an item for it to automatically download and install. “Recommended” items, on the other hand, will be retrieved and installed unless the user has changed the default settings of Windows Update.

In the past, Microsoft has issued updates and upgrades in that two-step process under which bits first appeared under Optional, then after a month or more — a span Microsoft used to digest diagnostic data from affected PCs to ensure things worked as expected — the same update shifted to Recommended, and reached the majority of users.

It’s unclear whether Microsoft is following the plan it laid out in October: While several prominent bloggers who focus on Microsoft — including Paul Thurrott and ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley — said that the Windows 10 upgrade had been deployed as Recommended in Windows Update, there was no explicit evidence that that had, in fact, begun.

But the Windows 10 upgrade has appeared under Windows Update’s Optional list, according to Josh Mayfield, the creator of GWX Control Panel. The free utility made Microsoft’s Get Windows 10 (hence “GWX”) upgrade reservation app go away, purged the system of upgrade files, and blocked the automatic upgrade.

Those who don’t wish to have their computer controlled by a company of fraudsters and crooks, who help the NSA spy on everyone and everything, may wish to explore GNU/Linux, but those unfortunate enough to have been subjected to forced ‘upgrades’ have the right and the ability to unite and sue Microsoft (class action). The EULA does not permit non-consensual ‘upgrades’, just updates, and Microsoft’s claims that this was a “mistake” or an “accident” would not convince a judge.

“This anti-trust thing will blow over. We haven’t changed our business practices at all.”

Bill Gates, 1995

Readers’ Article: A Strange Conspiracy of Silence in the German Media (Part II)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Why won’t the German media write about Željko Topić’s (now EPO VP4) special relationship with Germany?

Željko Topić and Europe

Summary: Željko Topić’s allegedly dark background, which includes a suicide, a retreat of potential witnesses, German funds in Topić’s private bank account and several more interesting bits

THIS second part deals with the German media’s reluctance to cover matters that put the EPO under a bad light (or negative context, however legitimate and relevant it may be). In part one we gave some examples and speculated about motivations, the most obvious one being the financial benefit Germany derives/reaps from a Germany-centric (or centralised in Germany) EU-wide patent office.

We kindly remind readers to revisit the dispute between Rikard Frgačić and Željko Topić. The Frgačić-Topić-Lufthansa story [1, 2, 3, 4] showed how Germany and Topić were on the same side. Yes, the nation’s giant, Lufthansa, benefited from what Frgačić alleges to be corruption, having also called for German authorities to arrest Topić at one point (in a newspaper interview). According to a translation of an article, the EPO’s tenfold rise in suicides (whatever the growth rate is, suicide analysts consider it to be a dramatic growth, based on an article from Politico) mirror something that happened in Croatia under Topić’s reign. Here is a translation of an article (non-certified translation from the original Croatian article). We highlight in yellow some bits for those who are in a hurry:

OLAF TAKES AN INTEREST IN ŽELJKO TOPIĆ

Željko Topić
Numerous irregularities are alleged to have taken place at the State Intellectual Property Office.

Saturday, 31th March 2012 09:11

Text: Franjo Dobrović

In the past few weeks an increased nervousness has been observed among certain employees of the State Intellectual Property Office [Croatian: DZIV / Državni zavod za intelektualno vlasništvo]. For example, the secretary of the Director-General Željko Topić, Ms. Suzana Žeželj, announced her departure from this state agency rather unexpectedly. What exactly her next career move is going to be is, as yet, unknown, and in the meantime we can only speculate as to whether she intends to join the staff of the Authority for Combating Corruption and Organised Crime [Croatian: USKOK] or has perhaps decided to become a “penitent” with a prepared written confession* in her pocket. If there is any truth to the allegations concerning irregularities at the DZIV which are attributed to its Director Željko Topić, it is self-evident that the aforementioned secretary, Ms. Žeželj, is a likely candidate for investigation – in view of the fact that all documents and decisions of the Director-General passed through her hands. Not to mention phone calls, written communications and verbal agreements…

Particularly amusing is the fact that, a few years ago, a similar institution of an EU member state, equivalent to our DZIV but located in the Federal Republic of Germany, namely the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA), transferred several tens of thousands of Euros as financial assistance to Croatia. This money was intended, as part of a programme of international cooperation, to assist with the consolidation of documentation and automation at the DZIV. However, it appears that the transferred funds ended up in the private bank account of the Director-General. What exactly his private bank account details were doing in the official
correspondence and documentation of the DZIV and whether this oversight has been corrected in the meantime remains unclear. Unofficial and independent sources within the DZIV believe that a certain EU institution known by the acronym OLAF may take an interest in the case. This case is eerily reminiscent of that of Robert Ježić**, who, in criminal proceedings relating to the “Sanader – INA” affair, was alleged to have illicitly received funds, which are still lying untouched in the bank account of that esteemed businessman and skipper from Rijeka.

SUICIDE OF AN EMPLOYEE

Even the trade union which represents public officials and servants of the Republic of Croatia [Croatian: Sindikat javnih službenika i zaposlenika RH] appears to have made some new findings. It is to be expected that the trade union, acting in its capacity as an official institution, will soon initiate further criminal charges against Mr. Topić.

Having regard to the suicide of a DZIV-employee which apparently stands in a direct and causal connection to the treatment of DZIV-employees by the Director-General – it is possible that well over a hundred pages may be needed to document the charges to be raised in relation to these matters.

INVOLVED IN EVERYTHING: MINISTER JOVANOVIĆ

According to unofficial sources at the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports which is headed by Minister Željko Jovanović and responsible for the actions and the oversight of the DZIV, the voluntary retreat of the Director-General to some “fall-back position” is now expected. However, those including first and foremost Minister Jovanović, who are under the impression that the Director-General was acting alone in relation to all of the irregularities of which he has been accused are completely deluded. Any police and judicial action aimed at neutralising this official “pest”, will also have to include within its scope all of those associated with him.

This is especially true of those who in a “well-orchestrated action” were parachuted from the so-called HDS-ZAMP*** into the DZIV, in order to enjoy a more relaxed and less stressful way of life at the expense of the state budget.

According to our sources, in addition to the Director-General of the DZIV, the following persons could come under observation by the competent authorities and be the target of preliminary investigations: Romana Matanovac Vučković, Ana Marinković Rački, Višnja Kuzmanić, Jasmina Dervović and others.

It is noted in conclusion that Romana Matanovac Vučković was appointed a few days ago by the government of the Republic of Croatia for a period of six months to the position of Deputy Director at the DZIV which means that she is firmly seated in the saddle there.

The DZIV, however, is only the scene of the crime. It seems that the trail leading to the guilty parties heads towards ZAMP and from there onwards to much more exclusive and interesting political pastures.


* Note: “a prepared written confession” (Croatian: oprosnica) is a new colloquial term referring to the practice according to which the state prosecutor and USKOK may decide not to press charges against a witness whose statement contributes to the exposure of criminal activity (for example, if the statement leads to the exposure of the people at the top of a criminal pyramid).

** For more details see: http://daily.tportal.hr/181156/Jezic-Sanader-wanted-to-use-my-bank-accounts-to-receive-MOL-bribe.html

*** The Croatian Association of Composers, a “collecting society” for royalties similar to GEMA.

The above is important because it not only serves to reinforce reports about many criminal charges against Topić, a suicide of someone close to Topić, a retreat of a person close to Topić (which may seem to an outsider like a coverup attempt) but it also shows a German role, the Lufthansa angle aside. Remember that Topić very recently lost in Croatian courts (yet again). Shouldn’t the German media have an interest in it?

“On a completely different track,” wrote our source (and translator) to us, “another interesting little detail recently came to our attention which might explain why the German authorities seems so keen to support Battistelli and play down the problems at the EPO.” Here is the story in short:

This begins with an old story which goes back to 2012 when the Croatian press published an article which amongst other things included a claim that the German Patent and Trademark Office (Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt – DPMA) made a transfer of funds to the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office (DZIV) which ended up in a private bank account belonging to the then Director-General of the DZIV.

The article also mentions other matters including reports of a suicide at the DZIV and the controversial appointment of Romana Matanovac Vučković as a Deputy Director. Romana Matanovac Vučković subsequently ended up “cooperating with Pohl Consulting & Associates GmbH from Berlin and the Danish Patent and Trademark Office as a consultant in the project of legal assistance in the field of intellectual property at Kosovo, also funded by the European Union”. The connection to the Danish Patent and Trademark Office is interesting and raises the question as to how far Kongstad who currently occupies the position of Chairman of the EPO’s Administrative Council is involved in these matters.

Getting back to the alleged transfer of funds from Germany to Croatia, according to available information there hasn’t been any further investigation so far into this matter in Croatia which is not surprising given that until recently the former Director-General of the DZIV seems to have enjoyed some kind of political “protection” in his homeland. The photograph in the 2012 article referred to above shows him together with the former Croatian President Ivo Josipovic who failed to secure re-election in January 2015. Shortly afterwards the former Director-General of the DZIV lost his defamation case in Zagreb.

It is rumored that some people are now interested in having the suspicious transfer of funds from the DPMA to the DZIV investigated in Germany.

This initiative is at a very early stage and nothing more can be revealed at the moment in order not to jeopardise the ongoing investigations.

The point is that if such a transfer of funds did in fact take place it could also be indicative of corruption at the German end.

Bearing in mind the stories about Lufthansa in Croatia, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that there were some “sweetners” paid from Germany to keep people in Croatia “on the right side”.

In response to queries from German journalists, the DPMA has officially denied that any transfer of funds to Croatia ever took place. However, this blanket denial may not be entirely credible given that the official website of the DPMA mentions that there have been official co-operation programs between the DPMA and Croatia in the past.

The unresolved question here is whether these co-operation programs involved the transfer of funds and, if so, what exactly happened to the money.

If any substance was found to the rumor reported in the Croatian press in 2012, it could be highly embarrassing for the German Justice Ministry which is responsible for the DPMA.

This might explain why the current German Justice Minister, Heiko Maas, seems so eager to support Battistelli and is not at all concerned about the current problems at the EPO.

If Battistelli goes down it could open up a whole can of worms (or maybe even several cans of worms ?) for Heiko Maas.

We urge concerned readers to contact national delegates and inform them of the unacceptable state of affairs at the EPO. We also urge readers to inform officials of the suspicion of high-level corruption. The media may be reluctant to report it because it cannot grasp the full picture (Dr. Glyn Moody did a fine job summarising it earlier this week) or because there is pressure from above not to taunt the EPO, for reasons we covered in part one.

“It is necessary for the welfare of society that genius should be privileged to utter sedition, to blaspheme, to outrage good taste, to corrupt the youthful mind, and generally to scandalize one`s uncles.”

George Bernard Shaw

Links 5/2/2016: Wine 1.9.3, Slackware 14.2 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 5:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • A love for technology leads to Linux and open source

    Presently, I support about 200 Linux virtual machines at work in a private cloud and am delighted to write software on my operating system of choice.

    More than a decade after my first Linux experience, all my computers at home now run it. I use GIMP to edit photographs I capture, listen to songs and watch movies on MPlayer, create and edit documents in LibreOffice, and use KVM and VirtualBox to run other Linux distros in virtualized environments.

  • MaruOS claims to turn your Android phone into a Linux desktop

    Odds are that the smartphone in your pocket is powerful enough to run some desktop apps like office suites, web browsers, and other productivity tools. But the software on most phones is designed for mobile devices, not desktop screens.

  • Desktop

    • Readers Say ‘No’ to Antivirus on Linux

      A few weeks back when Ken Starks wrote an anecdotal column on an experience with a false positive from Avast antivirus on GNU/Linux, we started thinking. We run antivirus on our LAMP servers with the intent of protecting poor suckers on Windows, but on our Linux desktops and laptops? Pretty much, no. Some of us had tried the open source ClamAV at one time or another, mainly out of curiosity, but none of us had stuck with it. To our knowledge, until Starks wrote his column none of us even knew anybody who had ever run proprietary AV on Linux boxes.

  • Server

    • CoreOS Launches Docker Rival Rkt 1.0

      CoreOS released today rkt (pronounced Rock-it) 1.0, providing container users with an alternative runtime to Docker. CoreOS first announced rkt in December 2014 after dissatisfaction arose with the state of the Docker runtime.

      While rkt is a competitor to the Docker runtime, users will still be able to run application containers that have been built with Docker tools. The promise of rkt is that of improved performance and security controls, as well as integration with CoreOS’ larger platform effort Tectonic, which provides orchestration.

    • Docker 1.10 Linux Container Engine Brings over 100 Changes, Removes LXC Support

      Docker, the open-source and powerful Linux container engine software, has reached today, February 4, a new milestone, version 1.10, which promises to introduce a whole lot of fresh features.

  • Kernel Space

    • IBM Supports Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Blockchain as Industry Standard, Plans Deployment

      In December Bitcoin Magazine reported that IBM and a group of top tech and finance companies are joining forces to develop a new open source blockchain separated from the Bitcoin blockchain. The group will work with the Linux Foundation to create a public network that lets blockchain applications built on top of it communicate with each other.

    • Unikernels

      When Linux applications have bugs that are difficult to diagnose (EG buffer overruns that happen in production and can’t be reproduced in a test environment) there are a variety of ways of debugging them. Tools such as Valgrind can analyse memory access and tell the developers which code had a bug and what the bug does. It’s theoretically possible to link something like Valgrind into a Unikernel, but the lack of multiple processes would make it difficult to manage.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Robert Hallock: GPUOpen is AMD’s Long-Term Open Source Strategy

        Last week AMD completed a major step in its initiative to open things up to the public under GPUOpen — a collection of tools for graphics, high performance compute and heterogeneous computing – as open source under the MIT license model. So when a company does something out of the ordinary, especially one with a large indirect influence in the mobile community, it’s worth looking further into it. I recently had the opportunity to speak with Robert Hallock, AMD’s Head of Global Technical Marketing, and ask a few questions about what this all means.

      • A Ton Of Direct3D 9 “Nine” State Tracker Improvements Hit Mesa
      • xf86-video-geode 2.11.18

        Yesterday, I pushed out version 2.11.18 of the Geode X.Org driver. This is the driver used by the OLPC XO-1 and by a plethora of low-power desktops, micro notebooks and thin clients. This release mostly includes maintenance fixes of all sorts. Of noticeable interest is a fix for the long-standing issue that switching between X and a VT would result in a blank screen (this should probably be cherry-picked for distributions running earlier releases of this driver). Many thanks to Connor Behan for the fix!

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux Benchmarks Of The C.H.I.P. $9 Computer

        While Next Thing Co is still working to fulfill orders on the C.H.I.P. $9 computer over the next several months, I noticed that some benchmarks of this cheap Raspberry Pi competitor have begun appearing on OpenBenchmarking.org via the Phoronix Test Suite. Here are some of those benchmark results for this ARB single-board computer.

        For those that don’t recall this crowd-funding campaign, the C.H.I.P. is a $9 computer with a 1GHz ARM single-core processor, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of storage. The C.H.I.P. is cheap. I hadn’t paid much attention to the campaign since I’m more into high-performance ARM chips than whatever the cheapest ARM SBC is around. However, these early benchmark results on OpenBenchmarking.org are rather interesting.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Project Br-Print3D at Campus Party Brazil

        Last week, between January 26 and 31, the ninth Campus Party Brazil (promo video on Facebook) was held in Sao Paulo. 8000 people inside an arena, with talks, workshops and hackathons, with the main subject being technology.

        The team from KDE project Br-Print3D was invited to participate of this event. To show our work on the Free Software stage and on the tables there are scattered all over of this arena.

      • Calligra 2.9.11 Office Suite Launches for Linux with New Krita and Kexi Bugfixes

        The developers of the KDE-oriented Calligra office suite have announced the release and immediate availability for download of the eleventh maintenance release in the Calligra 2.9 series of the open-source project.

      • Krita 2.9.11 to Be the Last in the Series, Krita 3.0 Gets Second Alpha Build

        The developers of the awesome Krita digital painting software for Linux, Mac and Windows platforms have announced the release of two new versions of the acclaimed open-source project.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • EggColumnLayout

        The widget behind the new preferences implementation in Builder was pretty fun to write. Some of the details were tricky, so I thought I’d make the widget reusable in case others would like to use it. I’m sure you can find uses for something like this.

      • Rio Design Hackfest

        A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending a design hackfest in Rio de Janeiro, which was hosted by the good people at Endless. The main purpose of the event was to foster a closer relationship between the design teams at GNOME and Endless. Those of us on the GNOME side also wanted to learn more about Endless users, so that we can support them better.

      • Endless joins the GNOME Advisory Board

        The GNOME Foundation is pleased to announce that Endless, creator of the Endless computer and operating system, has joined the GNOME Foundation advisory board. The Advisory Board is a body of stakeholder organizations and companies who support the GNOME Project by providing funding and expert consultation. The board includes Google, Intel, the Linux Foundation, and the Free Software Foundation, among others.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Linux Lite 2.8 Review At A Glance

        Linux Lite is based on the Ubuntu LTS series of releases. LTS stands for Long Term Support, this means each release has a support period of 5 years. This is a great basis for stability, but not only that, you only need to install once every 5 years. During that period your system will continue to receive updates. Linux Lite is fully functional out of the box, this means that you won’t have to install extra software when you boot your computer for the first time. We believe that a computer should be ready to use straight away on the first boot after a new install. You’re going to need this kind of functionality on a daily basis when you are using your computer so we take the hassle out of trying to find the right software from the start.

    • New Releases

    • Ballnux/SUSE

    • Slackware Family

      • SlackEX Released with Linux Kernel 4.4.1 and KDE 4.14.3, Based on Slackware 14.2

        After announcing the availability of a custom Linux 4.4.1 kernel for Slackware 14.2 and derivative distributions, today Linux developer Arne Exton informs Softpedia about the release of a new build of his SlackEX GNU/Linux operating system.

      • Slackware 14.2 Beta 2 and the Ubuntu Tablet Revealed

        Slackware 14.2 is making progress as it has officially reached Beta 2. The big news of the day must be the announcement of new Ubuntu tablet Aquaris M10. This is being touted as the fulfillment of the convergence promise as the Aquaris M10 is said to be a tablet that can also be used as a really small PC or a really large phone.

      • Almost weekend again – what’s in store

        I updated my packages for calibre and chromium with new versions. I updated the set of “compat32” packages for a multilib setup on slackware64-current to match the Slackware packages contained in the new Slackware 14.2 Beta 2.

      • Slackware 14.2 Beta 2 Announced

        Good news for everyone. Slackware 14.2 is getting close to release as Pat now announced Slackware 14.2 Beta 2 on the latest changelog. This update also brings some security changes for all supported Slackware releases back to Slackware 13.0!!!

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat names country manager

        Open source solutions company Red Hat has appointed Hon-Loong Kok as the country manager of Malaysia.

        In his new position, Kok will play a strategic role leading the team in Malaysia to find ways to drive sustainable growth, as well as establish stronger relationships with Malaysian enterprise customers and partners.

      • FOSDEM 2016

        Lenny talked about systemd and what is going to be added in the near future. Among many things, he made DNSSEC stand out. I not sure yet whether I like it or not. One the one hand, you might get more confidence in your DNS results. Although, as he said, the benefits are small as authentication of your bank happens on a different layer.

      • systemd and Where We Want to Take the Basic Linux Userspace in 2016

        systemd is a system and service manager for Linux and is at the core of most of today’s big distributions. In this presentation I’d like to explain where systemd stands in 2016, and where we want to take it.

      • Fedora

        • PHP version 5.5.32, 5.6.18 and 7.0.3

          RPM of PHP version 7.0.3 are available in remi-php70 repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux (RHEL, CentOS).

          RPM of PHP version 5.6.18 are available in remi repository for Fedora ≥ 21 and remi-php56 repository for Fedora and Enterprise Linux.

        • Fedora Community Booth Live Stream from SCALE14x

          We streamed live from the Fedora Booth at SCALE14x to give people an inside look at scale from the expo floor. We had the chance to talk with many people including Corey Doctorow. So here we present all the hours of video we streamed and recorded from the expo hall floor.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Releases Updated All-Snap Ubuntu Snappy Images, Urges Users to Reflash

            Canonical, through Michael Vogt, has informed all Snappy enthusiasts about the immediate availability for download of new, updated all-snap images for the Snappy Ubuntu Core operating system.

          • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS to Land with Older Nautilus Due to Bugs and Menubar

            Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) will have to use an older version of Nautilus, the file manager, the developers have decided.

          • Dell XPS 13 Ubuntu editions will be shipping soon

            As for Ubuntu, the most recent version is 15.10, and is code-named Wily Werewolf. Recent Ubuntu editions have a user interface that has placed attention on the touch interface. While Ubuntu is used in servers and PCs, it is regarded as an unpopular operating system. Dell had introduced its first Project Sputnik laptop as an experiment to bring Linux to ultrabook-style laptops with touchscreens, which were relatively new in 2012. Now that Project Sputnik lives on in the latest machines, it could mean that Dell will be slashing pricing for its previous generation notebooks, which will extremely advantageous for those on a budget and want to purchase an affordable laptop.

          • World’s First Ubuntu Linux Tablet Converts Into A Complete PC, Thanks To Convergence
          • BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition
          • Canonical Launches BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition Tablet
          • Canonical delivers on convergence with the Bq Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition

            Canonical has officially announced the first Ubuntu tablet, confirming weeks of rumors. The device is being manufactured by Bq, which already makes several Ubuntu phones. Far from being just another “me too” tablet, this hardware is a showcase for the latest Ubuntu software that can run traditional Linux desktop apps and offer a full Linux desktop experience when a mouse and keyboard are connected.

          • Ubuntu “convergence” brings PC-like features to mobiles

            Canonical has lifted the veil on its long-promised “convergence” version of Ubuntu, which enables a PC-like experience on a mobile device.

            Three years after Canonical unveiled its Ubuntu for Tablets platform, shortly after announcing the related Ubuntu Touch stack for phones, the company announced the first tablet to ship with Ubuntu Linux. The Ubuntu version of BQ’s 10.1-inch Aquaris M10 will go on sale in March at an unstated price (see below for tech details). The 64-bit, ARMv8 Aquaris M10 Ubuntu Edition will be the first product to ship with the long-promised “convergence” version of Ubuntu, enabling a PC-like experience with a mobile device.

          • Ubuntu Tablet to Be Available — Even in the U.S. — in March
          • Ubuntu Touch OTA-9.5 to Be Delayed for One Week, Devs Occupied with New Tablet

            We’ve been informed today, February 4, by Łukasz Zemczak of Canonical about the latest work done by the Ubuntu Touch developers in preparation for the upcoming OTA-9.5 update for Ubuntu Phone devices.

            According to Mr. Zemczak and as reported by us a few days ago, the Ubuntu Touch OTA-9.5 hotfix will be delayed for at least a week. Why? You might ask. Well, it’s because they’re still working on implementing the remaining fixes and they have their hands full with the BQ Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet unveiled today.

            “Work on OTA-9.5 continues with fixes still in the works. But as predicted, we will be delayed with this release for at least a week,” said Łukasz Zemczak. “Not to mention our developers are also busy with work related to the enablement of our first fully convergeable device announced today. Good times are nearing!”

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • A Few Pointers for Companies Going Open Source in 2016

    2016 is still in the beginning stages, and many companies and developers are considering going open source to maintain relevancy. If you’re an open source novice and are thinking of making the leap, it’s important to understand the boundaries and regulations before you get in too deep. Consider the tips below your beginner’s guide to open source.

  • Open Source Initiative celebrates anniversary, history of open source

    As a result of companies releasing their code to the public, the importance of having a solid community—one that understands how developers, contributors, businesses and governments interact and communicate—increases. One group has recognized this importance since the beginning, and yesterday it celebrated its 18th anniversary, along with a history of support for open source.

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI), a California-based non-profit, has been raising awareness and promoting adoption of open-source software since it was founded in 1998 as an educational, advocacy and stewardship organization.

  • The trials of certifying open source software

    Another way to say this is that well-run open source projects with neutral ownership may grow into an ecosystem that includes products, but standards tend to happen in mature markets where competing products already exist.

    [...]

    The Linux project is another good example. Linux distributions come and go. Some distributions are packaged as products and the companies that provide such products to customers for money have a myriad of ways of competing. But the Linux kernel community is where the core work still happens on what is the Linux operating system. Some companies have nuanced approaches to the variations on Linux they support. For example, Red Hat is a primary contributor to the kernel project. The Fedora distribution is a Red Hat-supported community project, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux is developed from the Fedora community. The CentOS distribution is a freely released community rebuild of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux source code, which provides a similar execution environment.

    Linux provides an interesting further example here. Linux was never certified as a UNIX operating system, despite its obvious lineage, and despite the fact that as the enterprise adoption of Linux servers grew and replaced expensive UNIX servers, the UNIX ISV world moved to several key enterprise distributions of Linux without such certification. I believe because Linux was close enough to UNIX, the ISVs moved their applications encouraged by Linux vendor ISV programs, and never looked back.

    [...]

    We have seen that with the Linux Standards Base. The standard was an application binary standard to support ISVs trying to target multiple Linux distro products in the marketplace with their applications. But the LSB was an ABI standard on parts of Linux, and not on the Linux code base itself.

  • Support the OSI´s Work on Behalf of the Open Source Community

    The Open Source Initiative turn 18 this year, and we´re running now our membership drive for the 2nd time. To coincide with our 2016 Board elections, we´ll be recruiting new members through the end of the elections on March 14, 2016.

  • Open source Java projects: Apache Phoenix

    Apache Phoenix is a relatively new open source Java project that provides a JDBC driver and SQL access to Hadoop’s NoSQL database: HBase. It was created as an internal project at Salesforce, open sourced on GitHub, and became a top-level Apache project in May 2014. If you have strong SQL programming skills and would like to be able to use them with a powerful NoSQL database, Phoenix could be exactly what you’re looking for!

  • Mirantis expands executive lineup, bags more customers

    Mirantis, the pure-play OpenStack company, is expanding its executive line-up by appointing COO, CFO and other key leadership roles. The key hires include: COO, Jim Dvorkin; CFO, Rik Thorbecke; EVP/GM, Enterprise Cloud Business Unit, Chris Keene; EVP/GM, Services, Parvesh Sethi; and SVP Worldwide Sales, Marque Teegardin.

  • Events

    • Samsung Opens Registration for Samsung Developer Conference 2016 #SDC2016

      Samsung has announced the registration for the Samsung Developer Conference 2016 SDC2016 is now open. Attendees can now register for the event that will take place April 27 – 28 at Moscone West Center, San Francisco, US. The Slogan of this particular event is “Connecting the Future Everywhere You Look”, and will feature more than 60 technical sessions, interactive workshops, keynotes and hands-on device experiences across 10 different topics, including: The Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality (VR), Mobile, Wearables, Business Opportunities, Enterprise, Smart TV, Games & Entertainment, Tizen and Health & Medical.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • IceCat 38.6.0 release

        GNUzilla is the GNU version of the Mozilla suite, and GNU IceCat is the GNU version of the Firefox browser. Its main advantage is an ethical one: it is entirely free software. While the Firefox source code from the Mozilla project is free software, they distribute and recommend non-free software as plug-ins and addons. Also their trademark license restricts distribution in several ways incompatible with freedom 0.

        https://www.gnu.org/software/gnuzilla/

      • Mozilla officially kills Firefox OS for smartphones in favour of ‘Connected Devices’

        Firefox OS is open source, so in theory community work could continue, but without the backing of a major sponsor it is unlikely.

        The barriers to entry in the smartphone market are huge, so Mozilla’s retreat was perhaps inevitable. Nevertheless, it is a sad moment for those in search of an open smartphone platform.

        The thinking behind Firefox OS was to have a smartphone operating system based on browser technology, so that web apps would port easily and that everything would be built with open standards. Low-priced smartphones using the OS have been released by vendors including Alcatel OneTouch, LG, ZTE and Huawei.

      • Mozilla Tweaks The Firefox Release Schedule

        For the past few years Mozilla has been on a solid six week cadence for shipping new Firefox releases while for the remainder of the releases in 2016 they are tweaking that schedule slightly.

        Firefox releases will now be on a variable six-to-eight week release cycle while still delivering the same number of releases each year. This ensures that there is at least six weeks for every release and the cycles are adjusted for emerging user/market needs.

      • Mozilla Changes the Release Schedule of Firefox

        Mozilla is making some changes to the Firefox schedule, and it looks like they are going to give more time to developers between releases.

        One of the biggest changes for Firefox was the switch to a train model, which meant a lot more flexibility This happened four years ago, and the last version was 3.5 back then. Now we’re at Firefox 44, and they keep on going with this crazy schedule. The main difference is that they are no longer tied to a six-week release schedule.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • AtScale and Tableau Team on BI and Hadoop Mashup
    • Open Source or Open Architecture? Big Data Needs Both

      The act of publishing source code, in and of itself, doesn’t necessarily make a platform more useful. Making that source code extensible matters at least as much, especially in the era of open application programming interfaces (APIs), where many of the most useful apps are made so by other apps. Modern enterprises need both open source software and open architectures to take full advantage of Big Data.

      This article will focus on how we reached this point, and provide a blueprint for CIOs who are evaluating open source and Big Data tools.

  • Databases

    • Do Not Pass This Way Again

      Considering MySQL? Use something else. Already on MySQL? Migrate. For every successful project built on MySQL, you could uncover a history of time wasted mitigating MySQL’s inadequacies, masked by a hard-won, but meaningless, sense of accomplishment over the effort spent making MySQL behave.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Online Takes Another Step Forward

      “The first 100% open source, enterprise-grade cloud Office Suite” is how Collabora Productivity describes the goal of its recently announced collaboration with Kolab Systems. In fact, the goal has a longer history than the description implies, although its promise of free-licensed groupware has the potential to fill one of the few remaining gaps in open office productivity.

      Unless you have been following the topic, you might miss the fact that this new collaboration is the latest in a series of partnerships in which Collabora has been developing LibreOffice Online, aka CloudSuite, its own version of LibreOffice Online. Earlier partnerships include those with IceWarp and ownCloud.

  • CMS

    • More Resources for Finding the Perfect Content Management System

      Marking a true renaissance for tools that can help anyone run a top-notch website or manage content in the cloud, open source content management systems (CMS) have come of age. You’re probably familiar with some of the big names in this arena, including Drupal (which Ostatic is based on) and Joomla. As we noted in this post, selecting a CMS to build around can be a complicated process, since the publishing tools provided are hardly the only issue.

      The good news is that free, sophisticated guides for evaluating CMS systems have flourished, as well. We’ve covered many of the best guides for getting going with a good CMS system. Here, in this newly updated post, you’ll find several additional, good resources.

  • IBM Openwashing

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Ended 2015 With A Lot Of Open-Source Progress

      The FreeBSD project has issued their quarterly status report for Q4’2015 to highlight all the progress they made in ending out 2015.

    • OpenBSD on a MacBookPro8,2 with Intel GPU

      Some MacBooks have two graphics cards, the specific one this post is about is a MacBookPro8,2 (15-inch, Late2011) with an Intel HD Graphics 3000 and an AMD Radeon HD 6750M.

      If you boot any OS into legacy BIOS mode (only option supported by – at this time – most recent release version 5.8 of OpenBSD), it is always the Radeon card that gets activated (except for Windows OS, where Bootcamp/drivers should handle the automatic switching just like in Mac OS).

      You need an external USB WLAN card (or something else, if you want network access), because the internal one is not supported by OpenBSD.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • grep-2.23 released [stable]
    • guile compiler tasks

      We released Guile 2.1.2, including the unboxing work, and we fixed the slow bootstrap problem by shipping pre-built bootstraps in tarballs. A pretty OK solution in my opinion; check it out!

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Square’s guide to supporting female engineers goes open source
    • Belgium, Portugal exchange eGovernment ideas

      Fedict, Belgium’s federal IT service agency, and AMA, Portugal’s Agency for Administrative Modernisation, are exchanging views and activities on eGovernment services. On 19 January, a Fedict delegation visited the eGov Innovation Hub in the city of Guimarães in Portugal.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Why it’s essential to grow Indian-language Wikipedias

        On January 15, Wikipedia, the free online encyclopaedia celebrated its 15th birthday, meeting this milestone with 36 million articles in more than 290 languages (the English-language Wikipedia alone has crossed the 5-million article mark). But here I want to address some major questions that we need to ask as Indians. First, what is the state of Indian-language Wikipedia projects? What does India have to take from and give to Wikipedia?

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • ​How Uber Profits Even While Its Drivers Aren’t Earning Money

    “If I’m doing something useful for the company, I should be paid for that time,” Mark says to me as he drives me over the Brooklyn Bridge. “That’s what work is, right?”

    It seems like a simple enough principle. And yet when it comes to the nature of work in the digital platform economy, getting paid for that time is anything but a simple proposition.

  • Yahoo to slash jobs and close web properties in major turnaround plan

    Yahoo will cut 15 percent of its workforce and close some online services in a major turnaround plan announced Tuesday.

    The company plans to double down on search, Mail and Tumblr in hopes of attracting new users, and at the same time close some digital magazines as well as services like Games and Smart TV.

    After the job cuts, Yahoo will have a global workforce of about 9,000 employees—40 percent smaller than it was in 2012, it said.

  • Yahoo cutting workforce by 15% after announcing $4.4bn loss [Ed: Microsoft killed it]
  • Is this the perfect save icon?

    According to a survey taken in 2013: 1,000 children, from kindergarten through to 5th graders, were questioned about iconography. Among the findings was an interesting tidbit: Only 14 percent of the kids knew what the save icon represented.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • FBI probes Flint water scandal: Latest agency to join investigation of crisis that’s devastated city

      The FBI is the latest agency to join the Flint water crisis investigation, after weeks of public criticism over the Environmental Protection Agency’s conduct with respect to the probe.

      The statewide investigation into the Michigan city came after revelations the drinking water became contaminated with lead in April 2014, while under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager.

      Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, told the Detroit Free Press that federal prosecutors in Michigan are “working with a multi-agency investigation team on the Flint water contamination matter, including the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the EPA’s Office of Inspector General … and the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division.”

      Balaya confirmed the FBI was investigating wrongdoing late Monday, after being questioned whether there were ethical considerations in the EPA’s involvement, especially as its regional director resigned over the Flint scandal.

    • 5 Reasons Texas Should Decriminalize Marijuana, and One Reason It Shouldn’t

      If there’s one thing wrong with the decriminalization movement, it’s that it doesn’t go far enough.

      Last year, 11 separate marijuana-related bills were introduced in the Texas legislature, and next year we can probably expect 11 more. Candidates for local offices in Austin and Houston are running on marijuana decriminalization platforms, and the Dallas City Council is poised to implement a “cite and release” pilot program for low-level possession offenders. It’s beginning to feel like a movement, and forgive us for saying so, but it’s high time.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Australians stuck abroad and alleged sex crimes

      One is Julian Assange, holed up in the embassy of Ecuador in London. He is back in the news again today thanks to a UN panel finding that the UK is effectively detaining him, unlawfully, in the Ecuadorian embassy. The effort made to discredit and pursue Assange and other disruptive technologists, such as Aaron Swartz, has an eerie resemblance to the way the Inquisition hunted witches in the middle ages and beyond.

    • UN set to announce decision on Assange’s release on Friday – WikiLeaks

      Assange submitted a complaint against Sweden and the United Kingdom to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in September 2014.

      The WikiLeaks founder has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for over three years, after being granted asylum by the South American country.

    • Julian Assange: UN panel on detention ‘rules in fugitive Wikileaks founder’s favour’

      Fugitive Wikileaks founder had said he was prepared to leave Ecuadorian Embassy, where he has been hiding for more than three years, if experts ruled against him

    • Julian Assange ‘will surrender’ if UN rules against him

      Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has said he will turn himself over to UK police on Friday if a UN panel rules he has not been unlawfully detained.

      He took refuge in London’s Ecuadorian embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims.

      In 2014 he complained to the UN that he was being “arbitrarily detained” as he could not leave without being arrested.

    • Julian Assange is in arbitrary detention, UN panel finds

      A United Nations panel has decided that Julian Assange’s three-and-a-half years in the Ecuadorian embassy amount to “arbitrary detention”, leading his lawyers to call for the Swedish extradition request to be dropped immediately.

      A Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman confirmed that the UN panel, due to publish its findings on Friday, had concluded that Assange was “arbitrarily detained”.

    • Clinton’s Security Clearance Is Under Scrutiny

      Now that several e-mails on Hillary Clinton’s private server have been classified, there is a more immediate question than the outcome of the investigation: Should the former secretary of state retain her security clearance during the inquiry? Congressional Republicans and Democrats offer predictably different answers.

      The State Department announced Friday that it would not release 22 e-mails from Clinton’s private server after a review found they contained information designated as top secret. U.S. officials who reviewed the e-mails tell us they contain the names of U.S. intelligence officers overseas, but not the identities of undercover spies; summaries of sensitive meetings with foreign officials; and information on classified programs like drone strikes and intelligence-collection efforts in North Korea.

    • Julian Assange decision by UN panel ridiculous, says Hammond
    • UN Victory in Assange Case

      In a major legal victory for international human rights law, the UN acknowledged the risk of extradition to the United States faced by journalist Julian Assange. This decision marks a significant development in the law of detention, and has enormous consequences not only in Mr. Assange’s case, but also for the protection of whistleblowers and refugees worldwide.

      The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), the UN’s final authority on detention, issued a decision that Sweden and the United Kingdom are arbitrarily detaining Mr. Assange and must “ensure his safety.” That conclusion was reached after a 16-month independent investigation which took into account all evidence submitted by Sweden and the UK.

    • Olly Olly Oxen Free?

      A UN human rights panel decided on Friday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been detained in violation of international law. But how soon will he be able to leave the Ecuadorian embassy in London?

    • Assange sex case sinks in international quagmire

      Now the case has mutated into a complicated international drama involving Britain, Sweden, the United States, Ecuador, a host of human rights lawyers and the United Nations.

      But when the dust settles from an unexpected U.N. working group’s finding Friday that Assange has been unlawfully detained, the painful stalemate is expected to continue, and Assange — though claiming full vindication — will most likely remain cooped up in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.

      The panel said his stay at the embassy — which he entered voluntarily in 2012 — constitutes arbitrary detention and that he should be set free and compensated for lost time.

    • Julian Assange: Before-And-After Pictures Show Profound Impact Of Exile Inside Ecuadorean Embassy
    • It’s Official: Julian Assange Should Be Set Free And Compensated, Says UN Panel

      The United Nations has ruled that the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is held arbitrarily in the embassy of Equador in London.

    • Assange – A Fundamental Vindication

      Julian Assange has never been charged with any offence. His detention has been unlawful since his very first arrest in the United Kingdom in 2010. There has never been any genuine attempt by the Swedish authorities to investigate the allegations against him. Those are the findings of the United Nations.

      The UK and Swedish governments both participated fully, and at great expense to their taxpayers, in this UN process which is a mechanism that both recognise. States including Iran, Burma and Russia have released prisoners following determination by this UN panel, which consists not of politicians or diplomats but of some of the world’s most respected lawyers, who are not representing their national governments.

    • Freeing Julian Assange: the last chapter

      One of the epic miscarriages of justice of our time is unravelling. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention – the international tribunal that adjudicates and decides whether governments comply with their human rights obligations – has ruled that Julian Assange has been detained unlawfully by Britain and Sweden.

      After five years of fighting to clear his name – having been smeared relentlessly yet charged with no crime – Assange is closer to justice and vindication, and perhaps freedom, than at any time since he was arrested and held in London under a European Extradition Warrant, itself now discredited by Parliament.

      The UN Working Group bases its judgements on the European Convention on Human Rights and three other treaties that are binding on all its signatories. Both Britain and Sweden participated in the 16-month long UN investigation and submitted evidence and defended their position before the tribunal. It would fly contemptuously in the face of international law if they did not comply with the judgement and allow Assange to leave the refuge granted him by the Ecuadorean government in its London embassy.

    • UN panel rules Julian Assange arbitrarily detained, entitled to liberty & compensation

      A UN panel has ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been ‘arbitrarily detained’ in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, calling upon the UK and Sweden to end Assange’s deprivation of liberty.

    • UN Rules Julian Assange is “Arbitrarily Detained”

      The illegal actions of the Swedish and UK governments were on the orders of Washington, the corrupt government of which is determined to get Assange for publishing leaked documents revealing the criminality and mendacity of the US government.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Smoke from 1997 Indonesian forest fires killed more than 100,000

      Global analysis of deaths from landscape fires has revealed in excess of 100,000 deaths can be attributed to the Indonesian forest fires of 1997. The fires of 2015 were bigger. As Fay Johnston explains, smoke and haze is a problem similar to the release of greenhouse gases. Those who produce the gases don’t necessarily suffer the consequences. Despite the existence of international agreements on smoke haze which drifts across borders, Fay Johnston says the management of smoke and haze remains a great challenge.

    • We’re drowning in cheap oil – yet still taxpayers prop up this toxic industry

      Those of us who predicted, during the first years of this century, an imminent peak in global oil supplies could not have been more wrong. People like the energy consultant Daniel Yergin, with whom I disputed the topic, appear to have been right: growth, he said, would continue for many years, unless governments intervened.

    • Climate Change This Week: The New Coal, Hot Water, Clean Energy Justice, and More!

      OO Global Deforestation Is Speeding Up – over 60% between 1990-2010, according to a new analysis of satellite imagery, countering a previous global UN FAO study, which looked at land use changes, not tree cover loss.

  • Finance

    • We’re ignoring an American apocalypse: While everyone obsesses about Trump, the middle class is still rapidly dying

      From 2009 through 2015, 2.2 million households signed up for a trial modification, the first step to getting a permanent reset, but close to 786,000 canceled. Of the remaining 1.4 million granted HAMP modifications through Treasury, some 467,000 ultimately redefaulted.

      These redefaults cost taxpayers $1.8 billion in TARP funds that were paid as incentives to the banks and mortgage servicers to participate in the program.

      As of September 2015 the U.S. Treasury set aside $9.6 billion for the HAMP program that funded 761,500 homeowner mortgage modifications. $7.7 billion of that was reserved to be paid to investors, banks and mortgage servicers as incentives to participate in the program.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • A Note to Readers

      An investigation into Thompson’s reporting turned up three instances in which quotes were attributed to people who said they had not been interviewed. In other instances, quotes were attributed to individuals we could not reach, who could not remember speaking with him, or whose identities could not be confirmed. In his reporting Thompson also used quotes that we cannot verify from unnamed people whom he claimed to have encountered at public events. Thompson went to great lengths to deceive his editors, creating an email account to impersonate a source and lying about his reporting methods.

    • Voter Fraud and ‘Missing’ Precincts: How Clinton Stole Iowa

      The media is reporting a virtual tie between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in the Iowa Caucus. (The latest numbers give Clinton a miniscule edge, 49.8% Clinton, 49.6% Sanders).

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Italy’s municipalities to test new eID smartcard

      The new smartcard will contain users’ fingerprints, social security number and birth certificate details. Tampering and counterfeiting is prevented by security precautions such as holograms and microscopic inscriptions.

    • New Snowden Docs Reveal GCHQ’s Metadata Collection Details

      Speaking to Ars Technica, a GCHQ spokesperson said that, “We have no comment to make on the story. It is a longstanding policy that we do not comment on intelligence matters.” The spokesperson took the time, however, to observe that all GCHQ activity is conducted within a strict legal framework.

      After exposing the extent of the spying apparatus used by the United States and United Kingdom in 2013, former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia. He currently resides in Moscow.

    • Snowden leak reveals UK spies’ big data surveillance

      The open source Hadoop distributed data processing package is also used by the GCHQ.

      Hadoop is suggested for use “whenever you want to batch process a large amount of static data” such as the multi-terabyte datasets the GHCQ intercepts.

      Supervised and semi-supervised machine learning to churn through captured information “often produce functions with high accuracies on real-world data sets”, the document notes.

    • Uber’s new “Trip Experiences” – convenience at a cost?

      Uber has launched a new feature it hopes will bring entertainment to customer’s journeys. But will it have a cost to their privacy?

      The feature, known as “Trip Experiences”, will allow app companies to integrate with Uber, inviting users to click onto their app whilst on a journey. Uber has provided examples of how it may work, including apps offering users a music playlist to listen to and adverts of various promotions available at the destination. The examples given make use of the journey time and where the users end destination is, but app developers will have scope to come up with even more ideas.

    • Congress Might Actually Be Moving Forward On Fixing Outdated Email Privacy Law!

      We’ve been talking about and asking for ECPA reform for many, many years, and it might finally be moving forward. ECPA is the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which details how the government can get access to your electronic communications. The law was written in the early 1980s, and as you’ve probably noticed, we live in a very different world these days as it pertains to electronic communications. One key example: the law says that messages left on a server for more than 180 days are considered abandoned and can be searched without a warrant. That may have made some sense (though, not really) in a client-server era, where everyone downloaded their messages leading to them being deleted from a server, but it makes no sense at all in an era of cloud computing.

    • How Tiny RFID Tagging Chips Will Change Our Lives

      The RFID technology has a long journey to cover, to be an integral part of the human body. People still feel more comfortable with their plastic cards. It is not much far when the RFID technology will replace the conventional payment methods and will be used to find missing persons, detecting explosives, or used by the government to chase whistleblowers like Edward Snowden or founders like Peter Sunde. For now, people don’t feel comfortable to have a glass capsule living in their body – of which they know nothing about – just to open doors and pay for coffee.

    • Where will the NSA place its hacking priorities?

      The choice is stark. Is the NSA of the future going to concern itself with offense or defense? Working as it currently does with hackers and companies, the NSA risks straining relationships and threatening its own internal operations no matter which route it goes down.

    • Rebuilding the NSA [Ed: hogwash]

      Most intelligence committee leaders on Capitol Hill are on board with the NSA’s forthcoming reorganization, part of what Adm. Mike Rogers dubs the most sweeping changes to the spy agency in nearly two decades. Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr and top Democrat Dianne Feinstein both told MC on Thursday that they don’t object to what they’ve seen so far. The overhaul will reportedly merge the agency’s Information Assurance and Signals Intelligence directorates while mixing intelligence and cybersecurity funding. Details, however, are scarce, and apparently still in flux.

    • Former CIA/NSA director Hayden supports strong encryption

      Former CIA and NSA director General Michael Hayden came out in favor of strong encryption but representatives in Congress and the Senate are continuing to pursue encryption backdoor legislation.

    • NSA Plans Controversial Restructure

      The United States National Security Agency is about to undergo considerable reshuffling.

    • Amazon’s bookstore trap: Come for the casual browsing, leave all your data in their hands

      Amazon is apparently slated to open hundreds of new stores around the country. “After dipping its toes into brick-and-mortar retailing last year with its first physical bookstore, online giant Amazon.com Inc. is poised to dive into the deep end,” The Wall Street Journal reports. The company may open as many as 400 new stores, inspired by its first bookshop, in Seattle. (More here.)

    • Dark web browser Tor is overwhelmingly used for crime, says study [Ed: King’s College London manufactures propaganda for government agencies that want to kill anonymity]
    • Safe Harbour 2.0: EU and US agree on Privacy Shield data-sharing framework

      EU AND US OFFICIALS have finally agreed on a new mechanism for transferring data across the Atlantic which will be known as the EU-US Privacy Shield.

      The deal was announced by Andrus Ansip, vice president of the European Commission, on Tuesday, and replaces the 15-year-old Safe Harbour agreement which was canned last year after concerns that it helped US intelligence agencies gain access to citizens’ personal data.

    • More Details on the NSA Switching to Quantum-Resistant Cryptography

      The NSA is publicly moving away from cryptographic algorithms vulnerable to cryptanalysis using a quantum computer.

    • New Technologies Give Government Ample Means to Track Suspects, Study Finds

      For more than two years the F.B.I. and intelligence agencies have warned that encrypted communications are creating a “going dark” crisis that will keep them from tracking terrorists and kidnappers.

      Now, a study in which current and former intelligence officials participated concludes that the warning is wildly overblown, and that a raft of new technologies — like television sets with microphones and web-connected cars — are creating ample opportunities for the government to track suspects, many of them worrying.

      “ ‘Going dark’ does not aptly describe the long-term landscape for government surveillance,” concludes the study, to be published Monday by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard.

    • Going dark debunked: Boundless surveillance opportunities via the Internet of Things
  • Civil Rights

    • Solitary Confinement Is A Form Of Torture At Sharp Odds With Our Evolved Psychology

      We are people who evolved in small bands, living cooperatively with others, meaning our minds are adapted for social living — being amongst others.

      Evolutionary psychologist and psychiatrist Randy Nesse (though I can’t find the exact reference on deadline day morning) contends that we, in fact, seem to have a deep psychological need to be around others. In fact, it seems to be essential to our psychological health, which is why solitary confinement is a horrible punishment that we need to stop using.

    • Secret US flight flew over Scottish airspace to capture Snowden
    • The EU no longer serves the people – democracy demands a new beginning

      The aversion that many in Britain now feel towards the EU springs from the right instinct but leads to the wrong answer. Undoubtedly, Brussels disdains democracy and luxuriates in unaccountability. David Cameron’s hollow compromise will do precisely nothing to address this. Yet at the same time, a vote for “Brexit” in the forthcoming referendum is not the answer either.

      The European Community was, in its early incarnation, a magnificent undertaking. Its construction allowed for the revitalisation of national cultures in the spirit of European cosmopolitanism, disappearing borders, common institutions and shared prosperity. Despite different languages and diverse cultures, Europe began to pull together, in peace and ostensible harmony. Alas, the serpent’s egg was hatching inside the foundations of the emergent union.

    • Another Cop Treats Sexting Teens Like Child Pornographers

      As Reason’s Robby Soave points out, Detective Mohney is a walking contradiction. Apparently, it’s never occurred to him that bringing child porn charges against these young teens might result in bullying and suicide. Nothing makes the future look dim and hopeless like a long stint on the sex offender registry. Nothing destroys someone’s reputation faster than being listed alongside criminals who manufactured actual child porn, rather than just took a photo of their own adolescent body.

      For that matter, the preliminary charges make this teen’s decision to photograph his own body and send it to another teen a far worse crime than if he’d simply showed up at the girl’s house, stripped off his clothes and proceeded to engage in sexual activity with her.

    • Proposed Hungarian Law Would Allow Government To Suspend Key Human Rights Whenever There Is A ‘Terror Threat Situation’

      Amnesty notes that the proposed legislation would almost certainly fail the test of necessity and proportionality required to comply with Hungary’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. But something tells me that a government awarding itself near-totalitarian powers probably wouldn’t be too worried by a slap on the wrist from a bunch of human rights judges in some distant court.

    • Hungary: Proposed “sixth amendment” to the Constitution would be a frontal attack on human rights

      A draft proposal to combat terrorism, apparently authored by the Hungarian government and leaked in mid-January, recommends amendments to the Constitution and to several laws to streamline the process to call a state of emergency in the country. If adopted in its current form, the proposal would have profoundly negative consequences for human rights in Hungary, including the freedoms of expression, assembly, association, and movement, and the rights to privacy and security of person. The current proposal, referred to as the “sixth amendment”, devolves near absolute power on the executive in a so-called “terror threat situation,” the result of which would be a full frontal assault on human rights and the rule of law.

    • New Terrorism Blacklist Wields Power Over Millions of Lives

      Vice News revealed the details of a confidential database that banks, employers and others use to blacklist customers. The World-Check database also includes major charities, activists, and mainstream religious institutions under its category of “terrorism.”

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Vision, Urgency Of UN High-Level Panel On Access To Medicines Begins To Take Shape

      It came as a surprise to some when the United Nations Secretary General’s office announced in November the setting up of a high-level panel to urgently address access to medicines and other health technologies. After all, UN agencies in Geneva, most notably the World Health Organization, have been working on these issues for years.

      Yesterday at the UN in New York, an event was held to explain some of the vision and urgency behind the setting up of the panel, which includes an expert committee of representatives of some 10 international organisations and others. It also includes an open online call for contributed ideas until 18 February, and two public hearings.

    • Copyrights

      • David Bowie’s Legacy On Copyright And The Future Of Music

        Amid the steady stream of “hot takes” the past few weeks on the legacy of the late great David Bowie, The Washington Post’s Robert Gebelhoff dug up some of the rock legend’s contrarian views on copyright, if only to rebuke them thoroughly.

        Gebelhoff’s piece cited a 2002 interview Bowie gave to The New York Times in which he prophesied: “I’m fully confident that copyright…will no longer exist in 10 years, and authorship and intellectual property is in for such a bashing…It’s terribly exciting.”

      • NBC, Filthy Pirates, Sued Over Use Of Photographer’s Work Without Permission

        NBC has made its views on piracy quite well-known over the years. For instance, we all know that it thinks that piracy is the most horrible damned thing that exists on this planet, so much so that it would please like ISPs to act as its personal police force. Oh, and because NBC also just cares so much — could we all just have our kids take a break from learning about stuff to listen to how awesome copyright is for a while? Also, however, piracy is pretty sweet when it’s convenient for NBC, or when it doesn’t want to bother coming up with its own images for its websites.

      • Europe’s top court mulls legality of hyperlinks to copyrighted content

        Europe’s highest court is considering whether every hyperlink in a Web page should be checked for potentially linking to material that infringes copyright, before it can be used. Such a legal requirement would place an unreasonable burden on anyone who uses hyperlinks, thereby destroying the Web we know and love.

        The current GS Media case examining hyperlinks builds on an earlier ruling by the European Union’s Court of Justice (CJEU) in 2014. In that case, known as Svensson, the court decided that netizens didn’t need a licence from the copyright holder to link to an article that had already been posted on the Internet, where previous permission had been granted by the copyright owner.

      • MPAA Takes Over Popcorn Time Domain

        The MPAA is now the owner of Popcorntime.io, the domain name which was the home of the most used Popcorn Time fork up until last November. The change of ownership suggests that the Hollywood group reached a settlement with one of the key developers, but has yet to comment on the recent developments.

02.04.16

Links 4/2/2016: Red Hat Upgraded, Ubuntu Tablet

Posted in News Roundup at 8:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • IoT in 2016: Open-Source, Better Tools, and Eclipse IoT

    The Eclipse IoT community had great momentum in 2015. Benjamin has done a nice summary of 2015. However, I often get asked where I see IoT and open source going into the future. Below are some of the trends I’d like to see within the Eclipse IoT community for 2016.

  • Orson Charts 1.5 is Open Source

    Orson Charts is Open Source software, licensed under the terms of the GNU General Public License, version 3.

  • TNS Research: How Many Company Developers Should Work on Open Source?

    How many employees in your organization contribute to open source projects? Earlier this year, The New Stack asked this question to companies in the container ecosystem.

    Among the 36 responses we received, the median response was ten employees, which is a lot, but even more significant if we look at the size of the companies involved. Taking this into account, we found that the median company actually said 47 percent of their employees were contributing to an open source project.

  • How Well Do You Know the People of FOSS?

    How well do you know the people behind the different FOSS communities? Do you know the names of the people who are behind the software we use daily? Would you recognize the faces of the people who fight to keep free software free by helping enforce the GPL or by working on software patent reform? How much do you know about the people who diligently work to support free and open standards so that the digital age belongs to all of us instead of to a handful of corporations?

    Would you like to test your knowledge of the people of FOSS? Take our quiz. We have eighteen questions, each concerning a person considered to be a leader in the FOSS world. Have we left anyone out? You betcha — starting with you. The way we see it, each and every one of us, whether we merely use FOSS at home, work to keep FOSS software maintained or fight the good fight to keep free tech free, is equally as important.

  • Go phish your own staff: Dev builds open-source fool-testing tool

    The platform was written in Go and has been posted to GitHub where it’s had more than 300 commits at the time of writing. It differs from some other anti-phishing platforms in part because it is hosted on premise rather than in the cloud, “There are many commercial offerings that provide phishing simulation/training [but] unfortunately, these are SaaS solutions that require you to hand over your data to someone else,” the GoFish team says.

  • Hoodie aims to be one of open source’s most diverse and inclusive communities

    Too often web apps and the frameworks they’re built on support only the privileged—the always-online users and development teams with both front-end and back-end expertise. In open source, this support of privilege is usually reflected in the contributor community.

    Hoodie, a new web app architecture, does things a little differently. Simply put, Hoodie is a back end for front-end people. Started in 2013 as a spinoff of CouchDB, Hoodie provides a fast, easy, and accessible way for developers to focus on the front end of a project without getting caught up in the time sink of back-end administration.

  • Midokura Extends Enterprise SDN Insight with MEM 5.0

    MidoNet, Midokura’s SDN platform, was open-sourced back in November 2014. Midokura CTO Pino de Candia explained that the new MEM 5.0 release is based on MidoNet (MN) 5.0, which was first released in October 2015. Midokura’s product roadmap has MEM updates set to be released every 6 months, with MN updates every 3 months.

    [...]

    Looking forward, the next MEM release is version 5.2, currently scheduled to debut in July. Among the features that de Candia expects to be included are: Kubernetes and vSphere integration. Additionally, MEM Insights will likely benefit from integration with physical switches, starting with Cumulus Linux and other platforms in later releases. Another big item on the release roadmap is support for multi-site workloads.

  • Events

    • Meet on open source software

      International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS) will organise an open forum on FOSS transition policy and strategies for government officials here on Saturday.

      The venue will be Padmam Hall, Institute of Management in Government, Vikas Bhavan. The Centre had released its open source software policy in March, 2015, that made it mandatory to explore use of FOSS in government organisations.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chrome 49 Enters Beta, Adds MediaRecorder API To Record Audio & Video

        Google has released the Chrome 49 beta today for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, OS X, and Windows.

        Chrome 49 is bringing support for CSS custom properties to make it easy to define property variables in CSS, background sync support with service workers, improved ECMAScript 2015 support, the keygen element to generate a key-pair as part of an HTML form, a new MediaRecorder API for recording a user’s audio and video without the use of any plugins, WebAudio API additions, and a variety of other enhancements.

      • Google Chrome Will Soon Call out Websites Lacking HTTPS Security

        Can you shame website administrators into making their sites more secure? That’s what Google will soon start doing through its Chrome browser, which now prominently identifies sites that are not secured with HTTPS encryption.

      • Google Launches Best Ever Chrome Feature — Now You’ll Be Warned About Fake Download Buttons

        Google has updated the Safe Browsing feature in Chrome to protect your PC against the social engineering techniques that trick you into clicking the fake download buttons.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • MEM 5.0 Aims to Simplify OpenStack Management

      Midokura has released Midokura Enterprise MidoNet (MEM) 5.0, a network virtualization product designed for Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) clouds. MEM 5.0 builds on Midokura’s open source, highly scalable, network virtualization system — MidoNet — to support network virtualization deployments with enhanced tools for OpenStack operators.

      According to the announcement, “MEM 5.0 offers an intelligent, software-based network abstraction layer between the hosts and the physical network, allowing operators to build isolated networks in software overlaying pre-existing, hardware-based network infrastructure.”

    • A Significant Fork of CloudStack is Making Waves

      It’s official: There is now a significant fork of the CloudStack cloud computing platform. If you don’t know its history, CloudStack had more momentum a few years ago as an open cloud platform than OpenStack has now. Citrix, which owned it, passed the open source CloudStack platform to the Apache Software Foundation, and CloudStack continues to advance and is widely used.

    • Getting Started With OpenStack [Webinar]

      The conversation around the adoption of OpenStack, the open source cloud technology platform, continues to gain momentum. Analysts at Forrester recently declared it “enterprise-ready” while many enterprise companies have taken the leap and deployed it. One thing that seems to be a dominant theme is that there are not enough professionals with OpenStack skills to keep up with demand.

    • OpenStack Adoption in the UK Hits 80 Percent, Claims SUSE

      But cost and complexity woes remain as public cloud adoption easily surpasses private cloud sales.

    • Cloud Skills are Valuable, and Mirantis and Others Are Ramping Up Training

      In case you’ve missed the trend, LinkedIn has become very central to how many people get hired these days, and it can be a conduit for upgrading your current job. LinkedIn also organically gathers a lot of job- and industry-related data, and that’s why it’s notable that according to the company’s newly published analysis of the 25 Skills That Could Get You Hired in 2016, cloud and distributed computing ranked as the most in-demand skill globally last year.

      Here are some of the related findings, and some tips on how you can pick up OpenStack skills to better your job-seeking fortune.

  • Databases

    • Gammu 1.37.0

      Today, Gammu 1.37.0 has been released. As usual it collects bug fixes. This time there is another important change as well – improver error reporting from SMSD.

      This means that when SMSD fails to connect to the database, you should get a bit more detailed error than “Unknown error”.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Illumos Continues To Let OpenSolaris Live On

      It’s been more than five years since the launch of Illumos as the concerted, community-based effort around the OpenSolaris code-base. This truly-open Solaris stack continues to be at the heart of OpenIndiana, SmartOS, Dyson, and other operating systems.

    • Watch Out Microsoft And Google, Cloud Version Of Open Source LibreOffice Is Here

      If you looking for an open source alternative of Microsoft Office 365 and Google Docs, Kolab Systems and Collabora are working to address this issue. Known as CODE (Collabora Online Development Edition), this office suite is basically a cloud version of LibreOffice.

    • A cloud office suite alternative to Microsoft and Google

      Like the idea of having a cloud office suite, but not crazy about being locked into Microsoft Office 365 or Google Docs software-as-a-service (SaaS) ? Two open-source companies, ownCloud and Kolab Systems, are working on enabling an office suite for your own private cloud.

      Kolab, like ownCloud, is using Collabora’s cloud version of the open-source LibreOffice office suite, Collabora CloudSuite. The desktop version of LibreOffice is my favorite office suite.

    • There Is One Week To Go Until LibreOffice 5.1

      Among the features coming for next week’s LibreOffice 5.1 release is a much faster start-up time (up to twice as fast!), improved Microsoft Office file format support, PNG export support in Calc, OpenGL transition support for Impress, menu improvements, auto-accelerator in GTK has been enabled, faster Calc performance, and many other enhancements developed over the past several months.

  • CMS

    • Top 6 open source CRM tools for 2016

      When we first took a look at the top open source CRM systems back in 2014, there were many promising options. Now, let’s take a quick look at six of the top open source CRM systems of today. While this is by no means a definitive list, each CRM system covered in this article has been selected based on its rich or unique feature set.

  • Education

  • Pseudo-/Semi-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Testing The LLVM SI Machine Instruction Scheduler

      Landing last month in the LLVM SVN/Git code-base was the SI machine scheduler for the AMDGPU LLVM back-end. This scheduler has the potential to improve the performance for some hardware/workloads, but not by the wide margins originally reported by some early testers.

      While the SI machine scheduler has been in the LLVM back-end, landing in Mesa Git a few days ago was an option for easily enabling it.

    • VIMAGE Coming Soon to FreeBSD

      I have to confess that I am still tying up loose ends from SCALE14X — the expo doesn’t end when the doors close for those of us who work the show. However, one interesting development popped up on my BSD radar this week that bears mentioning.

      Ed Maste gives a detailed report on it in the FreeBSD Foundation’s newsletter, reporting that Bjoern Zeeb gets the nod for a project grant “to finalize and integrate the work done to make the VIMAGE network stack virtualization production ready.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Guile 2.1.2 released [beta]

      Guile 2.1.2 is the second pre-release in what will eventually become the 2.2 release series.

    • GnuTLS 3.4.9

      Released GnuTLS 3.3.21 and GnuTLS 3.4.9 which are bug fix releases in the previous and current stable branches.

  • Licensing

    • The case for educating judges on open source licensing

      Copyright is copyright, and open source licenses are just another license. What this case illustrates is the need for judges and lawyers to understand what open source software is: not just software made available under a license, but software that has an accompanying ethos.

    • Latest Windows 10 Spotted Having a Hidden Linux Subsystem

      Names of the latest discovered files are similar to Android subsystem from Project Astoria, i.e. ADSS.Sys. Where “LX” can only be taken for one thing, and that is LINUX.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • rLoop: We Are Pushing the Limits of the Open Source, Online Think Tank Model
    • Open Source Agriculture

      Open Source, normally referred to within the domain of computer software, also pertains to the availability of the inner workings of physical operations and technology in the modes of hardware and sociological being with my focus here in view of agricultural life and design. There is a wide variety of literature available online providing information on agricultural methods, but where food production is concerned, the most informative pathways towards gaining an understanding of farming is to see, firsthand, how farmers and ranchers operate in their seasonal tasks. I have visited several farms in the past couple of years that have operated in such a way that have allowed for guest study of their daily procedures and thus exist as open source sites of agriculture, with one in particular ringing out as the most appropriate to mention as an open source agricultural operation I have had personal experience with.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open Source Torrent Books: Why some publishers are giving away their titles for free

        There are advantages to living in the age in which we can carry an entire library in our pockets. Much as the MP3 player revolutionized music consumption by making it possible to keep a jukebox on hand, so too has the e-reader ushered in a brave new world of reading. With this freedom to have the entire collected works of Alice Walker (or all seven Harry Potter books) with us at all times, however, have come concerns about digital rights management.

    • Open Hardware

      • The Furby is now a terrifying, open-source robot that you can program

        We get a lot of emails from public relations folks at Tech Insider. But one stood out today: a pitch from a group of roboticists in Poland working to turn the Hasbro toy Furby into an open-source robot for tinkering. That means anyone with a little coding knowledge can program a Furby to do and say basically anything. (We posted some examples below.)

      • Ourobotics releases completely open source Renegade 3D bioprinter

        Irish 3D bioprinting startup Ourobotics has just introduced their second ‘revolution’ to the bioprinting industry: an entirely open source 3D bioprinter called the Renegade that can be assembled for under $900. The Renegade 3D bioprinter was designed specifically to open up 3D bioprinting technology to the educational and biomaking communities, and the free, DIY instructions are now available to download via Ourobotics and 3Ders.org.

      • What’s New in 3D Printing, Part III: the Software

        This article is the third part of a four-part series that examines some of the changes in 3D printing that have occurred in the past three years since my first articles on the subject. Because this is Linux Journal, instead of discussing the entire 3D printing world, I’m focusing on the sections of the topic most relevant to open source and open hardware. In the first article, I gave a general overview on the current state of 3D printing. In the second, I covered what’s changed in 3D printing hardware during the past three years, including the shift away from open hardware and which printers still hold onto their open hardware roots. In this article, I discuss the changes in 3D printing software, and then in the final piece, I’ll walk through setting up OctoPrint on a Raspberry Pi to control your printer remotely.

  • Programming

    • Build2: Another New C++ Build Toolchain / Build System / Package Manager

      Build2 was announced today by Code Synthesis with an alpha release of this new cross-platform toolchain for building and packaging C++ code-bases.

    • Clever New GitHub Tool Lets Coders Build Software Like Bridges

      Jesse Toth says that upgrading an Internet service is like building a new bridge across San Francisco Bay.

      In building the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, engineers didn’t tear down the old one and erect the new one in its place. They built the new span alongside the old one, before making sure the new bridge could handle the same traffic. Only then did they switch all the cars over and start tearing down the old span. As Toth explains, when it comes time to rebuild software that underpins a service like Google or Facebook or Uber, the process should work in much the same way. “You battle-test this new bridge—this new code path—while the original one is still being used,” she says.

    • Go 1.7 Is Trading Much Slower Compile Times For Better Generated Code

      Go developers are warning that with the upcoming Go 1.7 release the compiler could be as much as two times slower, but will yield better quality — and hopefully faster — generated code.

      For the upcoming Go 1.7 development cycle, they plan to merge their SSA compiler back-end for their x86_64 platform. Their Static Single Assignment back-end is currently running much slower than their current back-end, but will yield better generated code.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Cross: Mike Masnick, Digging Up Dirt On More Than Tech

    A. First of all, who do you know who’s complaining about Techdirt?!? But, more seriously, that’s a really good question. I will say, however, that I *try* to make sure that if I’m ripping apart something, it’s their ideas, statements or actions, rather than them as a person. We may not always succeed at that, but it’s something I strive for. As an example, when talking about a musician, I’m pretty careful not to, say, make fun of their music. Because something like that is a taste thing, and if lots of people like it, even if I don’t, well, that’s a cheap shot to make fun of that. But if they say something I think is dumb about copyright or the internet, well that’s fair game.

    I’ve met some of the people that I’ve criticized and it can be an interesting experience. I once had the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company call me up and lecture me for an hour where I couldn’t get a word in edgewise (which was weird). A few years back someone actually engineered something of a surprise dinner between me and a well known author whom I’ve criticized repeatedly, and it was a pretty intense conversation, though it made me realize that much of what that guy wrote was to play the role of a character (i.e., he would raise a point from his book, and I would point out multiple examples of why his argument was wrong, and he’d immediately back down saying “well, you know more of the details about that than I do…” — and I kept thinking “but you’re the one who wrote the book!”). I once met a Congressional staffer whom I had written not very nice things about, and I recognized the name, but couldn’t place why I recognized it. And she told me that a committee she was on had been trying to call me to testify before Congress and “people” (never identified) had refused to give her my contact info (though I’m pretty easy to find). I gave her my card and only later realized who it was and how I’d basically gone sentence for sentence in attacking some comments she’d made (that, to be fair, were really dumb), and that the idea of having me testify was probably designed to make me look bad. But, whatever.

  • Near-Unlimited Cloud Storage Service Copy.com Is Shutting Down

    Copy.com, the cloud storage service that offered near-unlimited space and huge bonuses for referrals, announced today they’re shutting down on May 1st, 2016—leaving more than a few people with dozens or hundreds of gigs of data to migrate.

  • Science

    • Square’s guide to supporting female engineers goes open source

      If you’re looking for the definitive guide on how to empower women in engineering, then this book won’t immediately have all the answers. By being on GitHub, Square wants it to be crowdsourced — and what better way to reach engineers than by hosting it on one of the industry’s popular services?

      The book is organized into four main areas: introducing new hires to the group and ensuring that they feel welcome; growing the community internally; expanding the network beyond your company; and creating a presence at conferences.

  • Hardware

    • How Speedy Solid State Storage May Radically Change Data Center Design

      For as long as there have been data centers, they have been designed around the CPU. Now, thanks to speedy non-volatile flash storage, that topology is changing, and it may have major repercussions to the IT industry, warned an article in the Association for Computing Machinery’s flagship publication Queue.

      “The arrival of high-speed, non-volatile storage devices, typically referred to as Storage Class Memories (SCM), is likely the most significant architectural change that data center and software designers will face in the foreseeable future,” wrote Mihir Nanavati, Malte Schwarzkopf, Jake Wires, and Andrew Warfield. “Piles of existing enterprise datacenter infrastructure—hardware and software—are about to become useless (or, at least, very inefficient).”

    • Google doubles Cloud Compute local SSD capacity: Now it’s 3TB per VM

      Google boosts local SSD storage to 3TB per virtual machine and persistent disk to 64TB per virtual machine on its Cloud Compute Engine.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Terror of Flint’s Poisoned Water

      Less than one month after the attacks of Sept. 11, a senior FBI official, Ronald Dick, told the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, “Due to the vital importance of water to all life forms … the FBI considers all threats to attack the water supply as serious threats.” In 2003, a UPI article reported that an al-Qaida operative “(does not rule out) using Sarin gas and poisoning drinking water in U.S. and Western cities.’” Where the terrorists have failed to mount any attack on a water supply, the Michigan state government has succeeded. In the city of Flint, lead-poisoned water has been piped into homes and offices since 2014, causing widespread illness and potentially permanent brain damage among its youngest residents.

      Michigan has one of the most severe “emergency manager” laws in the country, allowing the governor to appoint an unelected agent to take over local governments when those locales or institutions have been deemed to be in a “financial emergency.” Republican Gov. Rick Snyder pushed for and obtained two bills that strengthened the law, and has used it aggressively to impose his version of fiscal austerity on cities like Detroit, Benton Harbor, several large school districts and, now most notoriously, on Flint. In every case but one, the emergency manager has taken over cities that are majority African-American. The emergency manager is granted sweeping powers to override local, democratically elected governments and to make cuts to budgets, sell public property, cancel or renegotiate labor contracts and essentially govern like a dictator.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Default settings in Apache may decloak Tor hidden services

      The information leak has long been known to careful administrators who take the time to read Tor documentation, but that hasn’t prevented some Tor hidden services from falling victim to it. To plug the hole, darkweb sites that run Apache must disable the mod_status module that by default sets up a server status page displaying a variety of potentially sensitive information about the servers. Details include the number of requests per second sent to the server, the most recent HTTP requests received, CPU usage, and in some cases the approximate longitude of the server.

    • WordPress Update Patches Pair of Vulnerabilities

      Automatic updates that patch the two flaws and fix 17 bugs are now rolling out to users of the open-source WordPress CMS.
      A new update to the WordPress open-source blogging and content management system (CMS) has been released that patches a pair of security vulnerabilities and includes 17 bug fixes that improve functionality.

    • Linux Computers Becoming Increasingly Malware Prone
    • 10 Mistakes to Avoid to Make Open Source More Secure

      Open source is becoming more popular in the enterprise. But so are open-source vulnerabilities. Here is how you can prevent open source-related mishaps in 2016.

    • Custom and Open-Source Code: A New Approach to Application Security Management

      Use of open-source software is ubiquitous across the Web, cloud, containers, enterprise apps, mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT). Analysis from Black Duck, an IBM Security partner, showed that open-source code comprises about 30 percent of the average commercial software application; this figure can jump even higher for in-house applications. According to Gartner, open source will be included in mission-critical applications within 99 percent of Global 2000 enterprises by the end of 2016.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Tomgram: Ira Chernus, The Peace Movement’s War Story

      Who even remembers the moment in mid-February 2003, almost 13 years ago, when millions of people across this country and the planet turned out in an antiwar moment unique in history? It was aimed at stopping a conflict that had yet to begin. Those demonstrators, myself included, were trying to put pressure on the administration of George W. Bush not to do what its top officials so visibly, desperately wanted to do: invade Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, garrison it for decades to come, and turn that country into an American gas station. None of us were seers. We didn’t fully grasp what that invasion would set off, nor did we imagine a future terror caliphate in Iraq and Syria, but we did know that, if it was launched, some set of disasters was guaranteed; we knew beyond a doubt that this would not end well.

    • The Establishment’s Last Stand

      The good news for anti-interventionists out of Iowa is that Bernie Sanders has defied the conventional wisdom and effectively delayed the coronation of Hillary Rodham Clinton. In spite of a ramped up effort to isolate the Vermont socialist from the Democratic mainstream, Hillary is in for a bruising fight that will only get bloodier when Sanders smashes her in New Hampshire, as seems likely.

    • 4409 Killed in Iraq During January

      Culling numbers from media reports, Antiwar.com found that 931 people, mostly Iraqis, were killed, and 580 more were wounded. The Islamic State, Naqshbandi Army, and other militant groups lost 3,478 in fighting or by execution. Another 261 were reported wounded.

      The United Nations also released its casualty figures for January. They estimate that 849 Iraqis were killed and 1,450 were wounded. At least 490 of those killed and 1,157 of the injured were civilians. They do not count casualties in Anbar nor among the militants. However, the numbers from Anbar province’s health department are 56 killed and 248 injured.

    • North Korea Launches Newest Offensive: Cigarette Butts

      North Korea likes to call South Korea a land of “political filth” and its leaders, including President Park Geun-hye, “human trash.” Now, apparently to highlight its contempt, it has begun sending balloons into the South loaded with an unusual payload, the police here said on Thursday: cigarette butts.

      North and South Korea have escalated their propaganda war across their heavily armed border since Jan. 6, when the North conducted its fourth nuclear test.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • The FBI Says It Can’t Disclose Its Records Because Then the Public Would Know How the Bureau Works
    • There Is No Freedom Without Truth

      When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the “Soviet threat” was replaced with the “Muslim threat” and the “War on Terror” took over from the Cold War. Despite a succession of false flag attacks and warnings of a “thirty years war,” a few thousand lightly armed jihadists were an insufficient replacement for the Soviet Union and its thousands of nuclear ICBMs. It was an uncomfortable notion that the “world’s only superpower” could not dispose of a few terrorists.

    • Trade secrets bill passes US Senate Judiciary Committee

      The US Senate Committee on the Judiciary has passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act 2016, which included amendments that were suggested in hearings in December

    • Julian Assange being arbitrarily held – UN legal panel

      A UN panel has ruled Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is being “arbitrarily detained”, the BBC understands.

      Mr Assange claimed asylum in London’s Ecuadorean embassy in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex assault claims, which he denies.

      The Met Police said he will still be held if he does leave the embassy.

      He earlier tweeted he would accept arrest if the panel ruled against him, but called for his arrest warrant to be dropped if the decision went his way.

    • UN Ruling on Assange Case

      Here is an interview I did for RT today as the news broke that the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention would announce tomorrow the findings of its report into the Julian Assange case.

    • Trade secrets up in the air

      Cloud services make storing and accessing large amounts of information easier and cheaper. This gives in-house IP counsel the perfect opportunity to refresh their trade secrets strategy, argue Mark Ridgway and Annsley Merelle Ward

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Koch-Fueled Playbook Against West Virginia Working Families Exposed

      West Virginia Senate President Bill Cole’s spokesman said Monday that Cole “will travel throughout West Virginia and beyond….” to talk about his legislative agenda that limits workers’ rights.

    • From Reef to Ridge

      The picturesque hillsides and vibrant blue waters of northeast Puerto Rico and nearby Culebra Island are home to marine and terrestrial ecosystems that make it a truly special place.

      This corner of Puerto Rico is NOAA’s only Habitat Blueprint Focus Area in the Caribbean. NOAA’s Habitat Blueprint is a national framework to improve habitat for fisheries, marine life, and coastal communities.

  • Finance

    • European Parliament will vote on TISA, the evil global services sibling of TTIP

      Tomorrow, the European Parliament will vote on what recommendations to offer the European Commission as the latter continues its negotiations with 22 countries around the world on the Trade in Services Agreement—TISA. This is a key opportunity for MEPs to lay down what their “red lines” will be—the things that they will not accept if and when it comes to a TISA ratification vote. Wednesday’s vote is therefore a critically important moment for the European Parliament to influence the European Commission, and for EU citizens to influence their MEPs.

      Last week, one of the European Parliament’s most important committees, the one dealing with international trade (INTA), published its report on TISA. The recommendations, drafted by MEP Viviane Reding, were approved by a large majority—33 votes to six, with one abstention. Two parties, the Greens and GUE/NGL, nonetheless hope to make amendments to the text during Wednesday’s vote.

    • A Tiny Cell With An Omnipresent Guard, Visitors Just Twice A Day: TAFTA/TTIP’s German Transparency Room

      One of the most problematic aspects of the TAFTA/TTIP negotiations is their lack of transparency. Although the European Commission, to its credit, has made available many of its initial offers and background papers, the key consolidated documents that show what’s really happening in the negotiations — and what deals are being cut — are reserved for the inner circle. Even national politicians within the EU have been denied access to these, and that has really rankled, particularly in Germany. In an effort to defuse the anger there over this manifestly anti-democratic approach, a special reading room has finally been set up in the German Ministry of Economy.

    • Top Hillary Clinton PAC Donation Amounts to 222,000 Bernie Sanders Donations

      FEC filings released Sunday provide an illustration of how dramatically the contributions of mega-donors eclipse those of normal citizens.

      For example, billionaire George Soros gave $6 million to the pro-Hillary Clinton Super PAC Priorities USA last quarter. By comparison, the average donation to the Bernie Sanders campaign — the only one mostly funded through small donors — was $26.28, according to a spokesperson for the campaign.

      That means Soros gave as much money as a small city’s worth of small donors — 222,000 people, slightly larger than the population of Des Moines.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Donald Trump Is The New Face Of Loser.com

      The famous URL loser.com is currently redirecting to the Wikipedia page entry on Donald Trump. Donald Trump lost in recent Iowa Republican caucuses. This has given an iconic and ironic blow to Donald Trump, who in the recent times has identity off calling people losers.

    • Anti-Muslim CEO Is Key Walker Ally

      Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has positioned himself as an ardent supporter of “religious liberty.” When running for president he said that Kentucky County Clerk Kim Davis, who didn’t want to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples, should be allowed a “reasonable accommodation.” He has stated that pharmacists should be allowed to refuse birth control prescriptions on religious grounds, and sponsored such a “conscience clause” bill as a state legislator.

      Walker’s commitment to religious liberty, though, is being tested as one of his top allies is accused of religious discrimination against Muslim workers.

    • Corporate Interests Take Aim at Local Democracy

      Across America, corporate interests are taking aim at local government.

    • The Clinton “Fluke”

      It is a plutocracy where 85 people own the same wealth as the other 50% of the population of the entire world, and the wealth gap still grows at astonishing pace. A reaction from the people who actually create that wealth is inevitable. The extraordinary concentration of capital has only been possible because of the existence of state mechanisms designed to promote it, and a popular movement to end that state bias was bound to happen. It was also predictable that it would be dominated by the young. To see youth mobilise for Scottish independence, for Corbyn or for Sanders has been life-affirming for me.

  • Censorship

    • We must have the freedom to hate

      The policing of hatred represents one of the greatest threats to freedom of speech in the 21st century. From coddled campuses, where student leaders ban speech they deem to be ‘hatemongering’, to the public sphere more broadly, where hate-speech laws govern what we can say about race, religion and sexuality, various ways of thinking have been rebranded as ‘hatred’ and are shamed or silenced into oblivion. It can be hard to stand up to this war on hatred; who wants to be known as ‘pro-hate’? But it is essential that we do, for the control and punishment of hatred represents an alarming intrusion of the state and others into the realm of ideas, and even emotions.

    • Tel Aviv Art Museum Nixes Ai Weiwei Exhibit; Israeli Artist Says Censorship at Play

      The exhibit by the Chinese artist and dissident, which was also expected to show portraits of Palestinians by Israeli photographer Miki Kratsman, was delayed repeatedly until being nixed.

    • Ares Rights Gets EFF Lawyer Suspended From Twitter For Posting Mild Criticism

      We’ve written a few times now (including just recently) about the Spanish firm Ares Rights, whose sole purpose and job in this world appears to be to abuse any and all systems to take down content to try to hide content that either Ares Rights or its clients dislike. Mainly, the takedowns seem to focus on the interests of what appears to be its main client, the government of Ecuador, and its main tool is totally bogus DMCA notices, that too many companies follow without looking at the details.

      However, Ares Rights also has a history of abusing takedowns to try to hide negative information about itself. And apparently, it will abuse other tools as well, such as Twitter’s policy on shutting down accounts for abuse.

    • Report sees dramatic increase in censorship

      Pakistani journalists and media houses during the year 2015 saw dramatic increase in censorship and silent, but potent crackdown on dissent and freedom of expression during the incumbent democratic setup which was never seen in previous civilian set ups.

    • Sounds of silence

      While the civil and military leadership boasts of tireless devotion to the cause of promoting democracy day and night, it has proceeded with a tyrannical regime of inaudibly silencing all opposing voices. After the onerous struggle to overcome the draconian censorship that had engulfed the public discourse for decades, Pakistan had only in recent years begun to breathe a sigh of relief when another round of dilapidating blows have been struck against freedom of speech. The very questions with their unadulterated veracity that sting those in power, are the ones most needed for a thriving democratic system. Unless these questions are raised, crucial debates will not be triggered, and consequent conclusions imperative for betterment will never be reached. Historically and currently, a free press remains a necessary condition for the success of any democratic state and society. This style of governance needs to be revisited, because if hijacking the nation’s liberties does not backfire, the denial that this self-aggrandising narrative has pushed the leadership into certainly will.*

    • Maryland Bill Would Protect Consumers’ Free Speech from Bad Contracts (H.B. 131)

      Should a company be allowed to use its own contractual fine print to take away its customers’ free speech? What fundamental rights should not be waivable?

      We’ve written in the past about companies putting clauses in their form contracts that ostensibly forbid customers from posting online reviews of those companies’ products and services. Members of the Maryland House of Delegates have introduced a bill (MD H.B. 131) seeking to end the practice in Maryland. The bill’s sponsors are Dels. Jeff Waldstreicher, David Moon, Benjamin Kramer, and C.T. Wilson.

    • Russia Blocks Another Archive Site Because It Might Contain Old Pages About Drugs

      The Russian block party continues. The government agency in charge of censoring the internet is still working its way backwards, hoping to erase the collective memories of the web… or at least, keep Russian citizens from seeing certain bits of the archived past.

      Last summer, Russia blocked the Internet Archive’s “Wayback Machine,” an extremely useful tool that allows users to see historical snapshots of websites. The government may only have intended to block a single page, but because the Internet Archive utilizes HTTPS, the only practical way for ISPs to block the targeted pages was to block it at the domain level.

    • Oscar Wilde’s grandson Merlin Holland on Dorian Gray, censorship and posthumous pardons

      After years in the back room, Oscar has finally found his way onto the Oxford English syllabus,” says Merlin Holland, with both pride and indignation.

      Most of us in this noisy cafe off Carnaby Street wouldn’t be on first name terms with Oscar Wilde, but as his only living grandson and the sole executor of his estate, Holland has a greater claim than most.

    • The Picture of Dorian Gray – Reimagined
    • Moran: Mainland China’s censorship is oppressive to natives and visitors

      I just returned from two weeks of traveling in mainland China and Taiwan. I saw a lot of fascinating things — the Great Wall, the Terracotta Warriors, the Forbidden City. Yet of everything I saw, our visit to Tiananmen Square was the most impactful.

      The Square is huge and some of the buildings are stunning. We saw Mao’s tomb and his infamous portrait on the wall of the Forbidden City, but something was lacking — it was the stuff the group didn’t talk about that interested me.

    • Beijing’s censorship is out of control, according to an ally of Deng Xiaoping

      A former deputy editor-in-chief of the People’s Daily, a Communist Party newspaper, has criticized Beijing for exerting too much control over its media (link in Chinese).

      Zhou Ruijin’s comments are noteworthy because, as a writer in the 1990s, he was closely aligned with Deng Xiaoping, China’s then-leader and whom is still highly respected. Often writing under the pen name Huang Fuping, Zhou’s commentaries directed the government to support Deng at a time when the party was divided over its direction.

    • ‘Censors have gone too far’: Influential voice of Deng Xiaoping era accuses China’s propaganda chiefs of too much intervention

      An influential voice for reform on the mainland says propaganda chiefs are overreaching and their intervention runs counter to rule by law.

      The commentary by Zhou Ruijin in Ifeng.com, an online news arm of Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV, came as authorities further tighten their grip over the media and intensify political ideology across the spectrum. The piece was taken from a collection of his commentaries published on the mainland last month.

      Zhou agreed with President Xi Jinping that propaganda work needed to be stepped up but said censorship chiefs had gone too far, saying it was now “a mismatch to the whole picture of reform”.

    • Deng-era Reformist Warns of Overreaching Censorship

      At South China Morning Post, Nectar Gan reports a newly published warning from former People’s Daily deputy editor Zhou Ruijin that excessive censorship is “a mismatch to the whole picture of reform”.” Zhou supported Deng Xiaoping’s reforms in the early 1990s under the group pen name Huang Fuping.

    • Can Localization Be Called Censorship?

      If you’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Fire Emblem Fates on the 3DS next month, you may have noticed a veritable shitstorm that has boiled over in the community regarding the exclusion of certain content from the North American (and likely European) release. This is not the first time that this subject has been up for not-so-friendly debate; when the game was released in Japan last June, there was a similar controversy over the revelation that this content existed in the first place. Some are declaring the changes “censorship” and even vowing not to purchase the game, while others are expressing relief and deeming the game better off this way. Censorship has become a very pervasive subject within the gaming community, especially in the last few years, and so I really wanted to take a moment to address what censorship means and how it may or may not pertain to this particular franchise, which admittedly is dear to my heart.

    • PM left red nosed by censorship protest

      When Malaysian police warned activist and graphic designer Fahmi Reza that his Twitter account was under surveillance after he posted an image of the prime minister, Najib Razak, as a clown, they probably hoped such behaviour would stop.

      Instead, an artists collective that Fahmi belongs to, Grupa has responded with even more clownish images of the premier to express their solidarity with him and to champion the ideal of free speech.

    • Facebook censorship under the microscope

      But when people tried to post stories about these topics on Facebook, they were blocked.

      “The content you’re trying to share includes a link that our security systems detected to be unsafe,” read one notification.

      What gives? That’s what nonprofit OnlineCensorship.org is trying to understand.

    • Valte questions Comelec censorship of gov’t officials
    • Comelec reminds gov’t execs: Campaign for candidates, face raps
    • Valte decries Comelec ‘ban’ on gov’t officials posting about candidates
    • Palace official gripes vs Comelec
    • Valte cries censorship over Comelec rules on Facebook posts, tweets
    • Comelec to Valte: ‘Ban’ for gov’t execs from campaigning ‘a good rule’
    • Valte twits Comelec over ‘unjustified, legally infirm censorship’
    • Israeli military reportedly seeks to censor private Facebook pages commenting on national security

      Change of approach in the military censorship; No more monitoring of Facebook texts following their publication: from now on account holders are required to pass on to the censorship any text regarding the security establishment; Blogger Yossi Gurvitz: I will not comply with the decree, I will apply to the court system.

  • Privacy

    • Napolitano Says She’s Always Wanted To Talk About The Secret Surveillance She Hasn’t Talked About Since Last August

      A Techdirt reader has sent us a copy of former DHS head/current University of California President Janet Napolitano’s official response to the outcry over the secret surveillance of UC staffers — surveillance she personally approved.

      Napolitiano’s letter to UC-Berkeley employees immediately ties the secretive surveillance implementation to the UCLA Medical Center cyberattack, just in case anyone (and it’s a lot of anyones) feels the effort was unwarranted.

    • Opinion: How NSA reorganization could squander remaining trust

      The coming reorganization of the National Security Agency may be a smart move for the agency but it’ll hurt America’s long-term national security interests.

      At a recent talk at the Washington think tank Atlantic Council, NSA director Adm. Michael Rogers said he wanted to better integrate the agency’s Information Assurance Directorate – its defensive arm that protects US systems and information – and the Signals Intelligence Directorate – the offensive branch that carries out spying operations.

      The reorganization is needed, he said, because with these two separate divisions “we created these two amazing cylinders of excellence and then we built walls of granite between them.”

    • Bill Gates Memorised Microsoft Employees’ License Plates To Monitor When They Came And Left
    • 200 Companies, Organisations Worldwide Promote Stronger Encryption

      Nearly 200 organisations, companies and others from 42 countries have signed an open letter to the international community demanding that stronger encryption tools be allowed to be developed and used. The letter describes encryption tools and services as vital components of maintaining a secure digital environment, where if users are allowed to use the strongest forms of encryption it can allow for the safest and most efficient ways to communicate across borders.

    • Why Did The Government Prosecute This Original NSA Whistleblower?

      A new initiative has been launched to uncover what really went on behind-the-scenes during the government’s high profile prosecution of Thomas Drake, a decorated National Security Agency whistleblower who disclosed details about a government domestic surveillance program.

      The James Madison Project filed a Freedom of Information Act suit before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Jan. 22 that sought documents about Drake’s highly unusual prosecution.

      Mark Zaid, executive director of the project, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the Drake case represented an attempt by government officials to send a chilling message to other national security whistleblowers, especially those concerned about domestic surveillance programs.

    • Lawfare thinks it can redefine π, and backdoors

      There is gulf between how people believe law to work (from watching TV shows like Law and Order) and how law actually works. You lawyer people know what I’m talking about. It’s laughable.

      The same is true of cyber: there’s a gulf between how people think it works and how it actually works.

    • Laura Poitras: using art to illuminate a world that would rather remain unseen
    • Snowden’s Chronicler Reveals Her Own Life Under Surveillance
    • Citizenfour Director Laura Poitras’ Whitney Exhibit Exposes NSA Surveillance From A New Perspective
    • Laura Poitras’s Astro Noise: indispensable book and gallery show about mass surveillance
    • Filmmaker Laura Poitras Brings Classified Documents to Art Museum Walls
    • In new art exhibit, Citizenfour director Laura Poitras shows you what surveillance feels like

      So says the disembodied voice of documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras to visitors of Astro Noise, her new solo show at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Before Poitras introduced the world to Edward Snowden and made Citizen Four, the documentary about NSA surveillance, she had spent years being detained and searched at airports because of time she spent in Iraq making a documentary about an Iraqi family.

    • GCHQ Spies Collect Too Much of Our Data For Their Own Good

      Edward Snowden has shown that he’s still an almighty pain in GCHQ’s backside by leaking a document that describes the spy agency’s approach to data-collection. The ‘Data Mining Research Problem Book’ is essentially a top secret manual designed to help spies, well, spy.

      While there’s too much online information for GCHQ to properly sift through — meaning that the vast majority of content simply needs to be discarded — the doc explains that all metadata can be retained. That essentially means that GCHQ is pulling in absolutely everything it can pull in, because who’s going to stop it?

    • Big Data, Quantum Solutions [Ed: defecting attention from NSA itself]
    • NSA Says it “Must Act Now” Against the Quantum Computing Threat
    • NSA Plans to ‘Act Now’ to Ensure Quantum Computers Can’t Break Encryption
    • Row over GCHQ-built voice algo MIKEY SAKKE rumbles on

      GCHQ has defended its controversial MIKEY-SAKKE phone encryption protocol against criticism that it leaves a backdoor into systems that support the technology.

      The CESG assurance arm of the UK government’s signal intelligence agency has taken the unusual step of publishing a background document and FAQ in defence of the technology, summarised in a statement by a government spokesman.

    • Former DHS Boss Puts University Of California Employees Under Secret Surveillance

      Former DHS boss Janet Napolitano — who once stated she “doesn’t use email” (for many reasons, but mainly to dodge accountability) — is now showing her underlings at the University of California why they, too, might not want to “use email”: someone might be reading them over their shoulders.

      UC professor Christopher Newfield has the inside details of the recently-exposed monitoring system secretly deployed by the University of California (and approved by school president Napolitano) to keep tabs on the communications, web surfing and file routing of its employees. The SF Chronicle has an article on the secretly-installed spyware behind its paysieve [try this link], but Newfield has the internal communications.

    • Bryan Veloso Tells the Story Behind Mark Zuckerberg’s ‘I’m CEO, Bitch.’ Business Card

      One of the many Zuckerberg stories is about his legendary business card, “I’m CEO, Bitch”. The Social Network story is very real and the screenwriter Aron Sorkin took the original transcript from Zuckerberg’s LiveJournal blog which was used word-by-word, except the name of his girlfriend which was changed to Erica Albright in the movie. But that doesn’t play any of the roles in Zuckerberg’s “I’m CEO, Bitch” story.

    • UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill: Loopholes Within Loopholes Will Lead to Unbridled Surveillance

      The House of Commons Science and Tech Committee has published its report on the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, influenced by comments submitted by 50 individuals, companies, and organizations, including EFF. The report is the first of three investigations by different Parliamentary committees. While it was intended to concentrate on the technological and business ramifications of the bill, their conclusions reflect the key concern of lawmakers, companies, and human rights groups about the bill’s dangerously vague wording.

      The Investigatory Powers Bill, as written, is so vague as to permit a vast range of surveillance actions, with profoundly insufficient oversight or insight into what Britain’s intelligence, military and police intend to do with their powers. It is, in effect, a carefully-crafted loophole wide enough to drive all of existing mass surveillance practice through. Or, in the words of Richard Clayton, Director of the Cambridge Cloud Cybercrime Centre at the University of Cambridge, in his submissions to the committee: “the present bill forbids almost nothing … and hides radical new capabilities behind pages of obscuring detail.”

    • The future of the NSA: fight the hackers or embrace the hackers

      With its well-known habit of uncompromising surveillance, the NSA has earned itself something of a poor reputation among internet users. But while the spying side of the agency is what it is most famous for, it is actually made up of two different divisions: offensive and defensive.

    • With Rand Paul out of the race, is there anyone left to fight the NSA?

      Rand Paul is dropping out of the race for the White House. With him goes the most substantial critic of the NSA in the Republican field.

      Paul’s libertarian position often put him at odds with other GOP candidates, who, during debates and public statements, tried to out-hawk other candidates on national security issues. In one particularly memorably debate, he traded jabs with Chris Christie, a former federal prosecutor who proudly said that he was “the only person on this stage who’s actually filed applications under the Patriot Act.” Paul responded by saying he wanted “more records from terrorists, but less records from innocent Americans.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Utah Politician Looking To Tackle Doxing, DoS Attacks And Swatting With New Slate Of Cybercrime Amendments

      Three of the Four Horsemen of the Internet Apocalypse (*Revenge Porn not included) are being targeted by Utah legislator David Lifferth with a package of amendments to the state’s cybercrime statutes.

      [...]

      Considering it’s tied to “intent to annoy, alarm, intimidate, offend, abuse, threaten, harass, frighten, or disrupt the electronic communications of another,” the amended statute could be read as making the publication of personal information by news outlets a criminal activity — if the person whose information is exposed feels “offended” or “annoyed.” Having your criminal activities detailed alongside personally identifiable information would certainly fall under these definitions, which could lead to the censorship (self- or otherwise) of police blotter postings, mugshot publication or identifying parties engaged in civil or criminal court proceedings.

    • First Amendment Under Assault, Again

      NY’s current mayor, Bill Blasio, promised in April of 2014 to dismantle the so-called NYPD Demographics Unit, which was responsible for singling out one religious group among all others, apparently based on the twisted post-9/11 logic of “Muslim –> Likely Terrorist –> Spy on all Muslims.”

    • Pt 2: Michael Eric Dyson on “The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America”
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • #BTdown – customers fume as BT’s broadband network crashes nationwide

      BT’s broadband network has crashed across the UK. The communications firm confirmed that its website and customer service platforms were also affected by the glitch, which it was yet to explain. After social media users reported problems, BT released a statement via Twitter that said: “Sorry if your are [sic] experiencing network problems. We will keep you updated.” A spokesman later said: “It is true that we are down at the moment. We are aware of the problems and are working on them as fast as we can.” BT later said it had restored services some three hours after the crash and added there was no indication it had been subjected to a “malicious attack”.

    • ICANN calls on APAC to help end US stewardship

      With the administrative functions for the world’s web traffic still under US jurisdiction, ICANN is urging Asia-Pacific nations to take a more active role in “facilitating the development of multi-stakeholder internet governance”.

    • Cruz missile slams into DNS overlord ICANN over Chinese censorship

      They also question whether accepting the role represents a conflict of interest, given that ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) is under contract to the US government for the critical IANA (Internet Assigned Numbers Authority) functions.

      Back in December, Chehade surprised and infuriated the internet governance world when he agreed to head up a new “high-level advisory committee” that will develop the agenda for future World Internet Conferences, held in Wuzhen, China, as well as “contribute ideas for the development of the Internet.”

    • The US ranks 55th in terms of LTE download speeds

      The quality of a country’s mobile network is often decided by a recipe that’s two parts economics, and one part geography. While small, developed nations like South Korea and Hong Kong can easily provide complete coverage and fast speeds to their dense populations, larger, poorer countries often struggle to deliver full bars to all of their territory. Countries that are big and rich, like America, tend to get networks that are somewhere in the middle — good on coverage, for example, but not so great on speed, as a report into LTE in the US by OpenSignal showed earlier this week. Now, the network-testing company has released its worldwide report for Q4 2015, allowing us to see how America stacks up with the rest of the globe.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

The Siege Continues: Patent Lawyers Want More Patents, Including Software Patents, In Spite of Alice

Posted in America, Patents at 9:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent peace (or absence of patent conflict) an existential threat to some…

Threat of Peace
Image source: Threat of Peace

Summary: Lawyers who make money from patent disputes make rather apparent their aspirations, which include patent saturation even in domains that are patents-exempt

WE are often reminded of the sharp contrast, separation or distinction between practicing and non-practicing (or parasitic) elements in today’s industry. This isn’t just limited to software. Some people make money from making technology and some try to make money from writing about it, talking about it, or taxing it. The latter group isn’t even capable of making technology. It’s professionally trained to babble and fool judges (or examiners), not to make factual statements (or commands/instructions) so as to make machines accomplish a task.

This week we still see EPO-funded media and other such patents-centric ‘news’ sites writing about “Africa IP” (as if Africa has anything to gain from ‘IP’, which is mostly used to pillage and plunder Africans) and give bogus ‘awards’ to law (litigation) firms that charge many hundreds of dollars per hour (even dentists, private medical specialists and prostitutes would not charge this much). We cannot help but feel that there’s a silent war between those capable of scientific and technological progress and those who just try to exploit those people. Sadly, a lot people inside the former group don’t even realise that there’s this war going on. A lot of the public does not understand why prices are artificially elevated to absurd levels.

“We cannot help but feel that there’s a silent war between those capable of scientific and technological progress and those who just try to exploit those people.”Yesterday we saw even universities getting dragged into this war. Well, “the NPE known as Columbia University” is what Dennis Crouch called the university, perhaps humorously implying it was little more than a troll in this case. To quote Crouch: “Symantec argued that the term “byte sequence feature” includes more than merely machine code instructions, and also extends to other non-compiled elements of an executable attachment. On appeal, the Federal Circuit rejected that argument — finding that the specification indicates that the byte sequence feature “represents the machine code in an executable.” The court also found that the machine-code limitation “most naturally aligns” with the inventor’s description of his invention.”

Notice that it’s unambiguously about software patents. They’re dealing with processing of commands/instructions by a general-purpose machine. Why should this be taken for granted? Who benefits from these patents?

Media of patent lawyers is often (but not always) wrongly assumed to be more accurate because it is authored by the “pros” (law professionals). Well, quid pro quo sure is a “pro”. “Quid pro quo,” as Wikipedia puts it, “means an exchange of goods or services, where one transfer is contingent upon the other. English speakers often use the term to mean “a favour for a favour”; phrases with similar meaning include: “give and take”, “tit for tat”, and “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours”.”

“Media of patent lawyers is often (but not always) wrongly assumed to be more accurate because it is authored by the “pros” (law professionals).”Months ago and even a year ago we showed that patent lawyers still refuse to understand Alice because it's a threat to their livelihood. What they say is simply what’s good for them. Yesterday I stumbled upon the stupidest headline I’ve seen in a long time about Alice. It was published in the National Law Journal and the headline said: “After ‘Alice,’ Are Software Patents the Answer?” (behind paywall, so I cannot read the rest)

Well, no, they’re a problem, not the answer.

It’s so often that we find patent lawyers lecturing other patent lawyers on how to get around rules that exclude many software patents, effectively fooling patent examiners. Here is an example from yesterday [1, 2], including an example from Europe. A false dichotomy is presented in the latter with the headline “Software patents in Germany: Should you file with the EPO or the German Patent Office?”

“Remember when the EPO granted Apple patents which were later ruled (in the courts) invalid?”How about neither? Is that even an option in the eyes of patent lawyers?

Another new article by Dennis Crouch said that SCOTUS would soon deal with more patent cases, just like Alice, which was truly a game changer. to quote Crouch: “With Washington DC snowed-in, action within the Supreme Court has also been somewhat slow. Briefing is now complete in ePlus v. Lawson. In that case, a district court originally held an adjudged infringer in contempt-of-court for refusing to comply with its injunction order. Following the contempt order, the USPTO independently cancelled the patent claims and, at that point, the Federal Circuit vacated both the injunction and the contempt order.”

“At this point, with a few exceptions, it’s nearly impossible to find the patents that your company might infringe and analyze them.”
      –Matt Levy, Patent Counsel at CCIA
According to the aforementioned maximalists: “PTAB Data and Analysis: the IPR count ticked past the 4,000 mark in January, which also saw the first challenge to an Apple patent, the USPTO deeming two decisions precedential, a case showing the dangers of a motion to amend, and an ironic Federal Circuit ruling on an IPR appeal”

Remember when the EPO granted Apple patents which were later ruled (in the courts) invalid? We quite liked this statement from a lawyer who had just admitted: “At this point, with a few exceptions, it’s nearly impossible to find the patents that your company might infringe and analyze them.”

That’s what patent maximalism leads to. But it’s good for patent lawyers. The greater the mess they help generate, the more money they make. It’s time for engineers to regain control and say to patent lawyers where they can go.

European Patent Office Pretends It’s Business as Usual and Prepares New Vanity Pieces

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The current media strategy is to pretend nothing is amiss and work on media presence by sending journalists various new (carefully prepared in-house) puff pieces

Of media presence

Summary: The PR strategy of the EPO, whose destructive patent strategy continues unabated (for now), latches onto Colombia and strives to manufacture mythology wherein the public, patent examiners and patent applicants are all very happy with the EPO

THE situation in Europe is rather grim when it comes to patents. The EPO has not yet had any executive subjected to legal procedures, even though violations on European soil were well recorded (documented in the media, too). Moreover, the EPO is still promoting software patents this week. That’s what virtually all patent trolls are relying on.

Based on this new article: “Some of Europe’s biggest producers of intellectual property are teaming up to battle for rules that’ll help them cash in better on innovation. Telecommunications network builder Ericsson AB, plane maker Airbus Group SE, French phone company Orange SA and train maker Alstom SA are among companies behind IP Europe, a consortium due to be unveiled today in Brussels.”

Ericsson is actually behind some big patent trolls. We already gave some examples of Europe attracting patent trolls and Ericsson has a lot to do with it, Nokia too. “Ericsson to promote patent trolling at the European level, hardcore pro-swpat,” (software patents) the FFII’s President wrote yesterday (citing the article above).

Over at IP Kat, where many EPO workers comment anonymously, one person wrote:

I am really struggling to understand something, and so I turn to the good readers of IPKat for help.

When reporting “production” figures for 2014, Monsieur le President was quoted as saying “Our production, our productivity and our cost controls have all improved”. I also understand that the accounts of the EPO have shown a healthy surplus for the past few years.

Thus, based upon its own publications, we can conclude that the EPO has achieved both a healthy “profit margin” and a reduction in underlying costs (of production). Right?

So why (as always) are fees increasing this year? That is, how come the users of the system (who, after all, fund the whole shooting match) do not benefit from the apparently improved productivity?

Answers on a postcard, please.

The EPO is operating as though it’s a business, not a service, maximising profit and making it harder for European SMEs to get patents (prices go up). The Banana Republicans of EPOnia now visit South America and then publish total hogwash about it. Battistelli, who is probably as beneficial to the region as Pinochet was (see this recent article in English and in Spanish), said yesterday: “In addition, we were able to sign a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) agreement in Bogota between the EPO and Colombia’s Superintendent of Industry and Commerce, a measure made possible since we furthered ties through a framework cooperation agreement in 2014. The conclusion of the PPH pilot programme will prove essential for promoting access to accelerated patent prosecution. It is anticipated that this, in turn, will foster business growth between our two regions and boost co-operation between our Offices, bringing additional benefits to European patent holders outside of Europe. It is also envisaged that such agreements will greatly support the timely acquisition of patent rights with our users, such as the university researchers and innovators from industry and business I had met just the day before signing the agreement. It was also clear from the intense media interest that these were measures of interest to a wide variety of actors in innovation, business and industry.”

Has anyone noticed that Monsieur le President now spends more time in countries such as China and Colombia rather than Western countries? Some months ago we were told that he had cancelled his trip to Zagreb, where his bulldog Topić reportedly face many criminal charges (more on that tomorrow).

Keeping up the pretense of quality and compliance, the EPO has also just published details about this effort to create an illusion of support from stakeholders, piggybacking ISO [1, 2] despite its rigging (credentials and accreditation for sale). As we wrote here earlier today, there are other such propaganda efforts underway (in Rijswijk). Prepare for the EPO storming the European press with blatant lies and spin.

The ‘International’ Trade Commission Imposes/Reinforces Software Patents to Establish Another Embargo

Posted in America, Patents at 7:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The misleadingly-named Trade Commission does it again

A container

Summary: The International [sic] Trade Commission is meddling in competition and allowing a US giant, Cisco in this case, to potentially block rivals (no imports from abroad) using software patents

EMBARGOES do not support or motivate innovation. They’re weapons of blackmail. They limit choice in the market (expect price hikes) and create an atmosphere of fear that discourages companies (or their engineers) from implementing all sorts of useful features.

The ITC says Arista Networks violated three Cisco software patents. But software patent are not valid in Europe, many of them are not valid in general (not even in the US), and trends suggest that many software patents are invalid (once presented and assessed before a court). Is US patent law the universal law now? It seems so. See yesterday’s coverage of this patent spat [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20]. We don’t have time to deal with each article individually, but we just wish to point out that in its entire history the ITC rarely (if ever) helped a non-US company block imports of products by a US corporation. The word “international” in “International Trade Commission” is highly misleading. It’s like calling the EPO “European” when most of its favourite clients are not European. The ITC is imperial by intent/design; it’s a US apparatus of power masquerading as international. Microsoft has history banning rival mice using patents and ITC for sanctions. That’s how it started for Microsoft, which has gotten worse (more aggressive with patents) since then. Apple too is trying to gain advantage over mostly Asian companies (Apple’s products too are made in Asia and imported from Asia) through ITC sanctions. All in all, the ITC has a proven track record of helping US mega-corporations embargo/ban foreign rivals. It needs to stop. See the article “International Trade Commission pens patent love letter to Cisco” and the article “Cisco ruling could lead to ban on Arista tech imports” (import bans likely imminent). Cisco, as a reminder, is a facilitator of an empire’s back doors. Cisco used to openly advertise these back doors, but now it shies away from such negative publicity (because of Snowden’s leaks).

Who really benefits from all this?

Readers’ Article: A Strange Conspiracy of Silence in the German Media (Part I)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 6:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” ~Upton Sinclair

Ana Marie keeps quiet

Summary: The views of some of our readers regarding reluctance in the German media to challenge the EPO’s violations of German law, probably because Germany benefits from being a host nation of the EPO

As a frequent media critic (more evident/visible in my social media accounts than in this Web site), I have come across plenty of evidence of censorship and self-censorship in the European media. Some links about that are being shared daily (under, e.g., the “Censorship” category in our daily links). Techrights itself is subjected to site-wide censorship by the EPO right now. I experienced both censorship and self-censorship when I worked for a publisher one decade ago (my editor removed or watered down paragraphs of mine which were critical of an occasional sponsor, Microsoft). There are serious issues in the editorial/publication process that not many people are generally aware of. If one suspects that censorship takes place, it will often turn out to be the case (even if there is no admission as nobody likes to admit suppression of free speech). Even WIPR, which frequently covers EPO matters, did it some months ago (censorship of criticism of the EPO, due to pressure from management).

“Even WIPR, which frequently covers EPO matters, did it some months ago (censorship of criticism of the EPO, due to pressure from management).”Let’s face the reality of corporate media; in order to be financially viable someone must benefit financially, and it’s not always just the advertisers (to whom access to readers/audience is effectively sold). There is agenda to be delivered for some people’s financial gain (not just through advertising of products but of policy).

Germany’s media outlets are no exception to this problem. Take the European Union for instance. Germany benefits from it financially (weapons trade, austerity in Greece and various loans inside the EU come to mind), so it doesn’t wish to criticise it too much. I personally support the European Union and I even have a booklet in support of the European Union, given to me 17 years ago by the German Consulate.

“Much of the media supports the EPO by silence, i.e. by not covering all the negative stories coming out of the EPO.”Germany’s media is not likely to bash the European Union to the same degree that the British media sometimes does (just see what the Daily Mail has just published in its front page/cover). Germany is at the very heart of the European Union. It cannot criticise the US too harshly, either (see for example “European media writing pro-US stories under CIA pressure – German journo”). To cite this article from a very prominent media person (check his career profile), former CIA Director William Colby is quoted as saying that the “CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media.”

As we’ve just noted, the EPO works for corporations, not for Europeans. It just has the word “European” in its name. It should thus be seen as unsurprising that the corporate media will typicaly be biased in favour of the EPO. Much of the media supports the EPO by silence, i.e. by not covering all the negative stories coming out of the EPO.

Here is what some readers told us yesterday:

We wanted to make a few observations in response to your recent posting about the article “Es kracht an allen Ecken und Enden” which appeared in the Münchner Merkur on 21 January.

The article is written by Thomas Magenheim-Hörmann, a Munich-based journalist who writes for the Münchner Merkur, a regional daily for Munich.

His articles are normally distributed and reproduced Germany-wide in other regional dailies such as the “Oberbayrisches Volksblatt”, “Frankfurter Rundschau”, Berliner Zeitung”, “Stuttgarter Zeitung”, “Badische Zeitung”, “Pfälzischer Merkur”, etc.

For example:

„Wie bei der Fifa oder in China“
Europäisches Patentamt: Kritik am Chef des Europäischen Patentamtes
Patentrecht: Patent auf Brokkoli
Der soziale Frieden ist zerstört
Verhältnisse wie im Überwachungsstaat
Großer Zoff beim Patentamt

Magenheim-Hörmann’s article about the EPO are well researched and of a superior journalistic quality to what one might normally expect in the regional press.

In recent times he has been giving far better and more penetrating coverage to EPO matters than any of the big German dailies, in particular the Munich-based Süddeutsche Zeitung which seems to have gone completely silent.

What is curious about his most recent article is the fact that it only appeared in the paper version of the Münchner Merkur.

It is not available online on open access (although it seems that it can be found behind a paywall) and it doesn’t appear in any of the other regional dailies or at least it doesn’t seem to turn up in Google searches.

It’s almost as if somebody is trying to impede the circulation of the article.

Some speculation about this:

The latest article “Es kracht an allen Ecken und Enden” focuses on the social conflict at the EPO but in a byline it also mentions the recent “Monsanto melon” incident. The biotech patenting controversy seems to be generating a lot of grass-roots political protest in Germany and in neighboring countries such as Austria and Switzerland. Is it possible that somebody at a high political level is getting nervous about people making connections between the social conflict at the EPO and questionable management policies which seem to be aimed at encouraging biotech patenting ?


The deafening silence from the German media about recent EPO matters and the obvious reluctance of the German courts to question the EPO’s immunity are also suspicious.

On both fronts the response in Germany compares very unfavorably to that in the neighbouring Netherlands (the other main EPO host state) where both the press and the judiciary clearly have less inhibitions about subjecting the alleged abuses of EPO management to justifiable public scrutiny.

Here is an article published today in the UK press which explains how the German media is under strong political influence from the government. It seems reasonable to assume that this also applies to reporting about EPO matters.

In part 2 we are going to deal with further suspicious omissions (or suppressions) in reporting of EPO-related scandals.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable on persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” ~George Bernard Shaw

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