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08.01.15

Links 1/8/2015: Steam Sale, blackPanther OS 14.1

Posted in News Roundup at 3:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • FFmpeg’s Leader Resigns, Hopes To Make Libav Developers Come Back

    Michael Niedermayer, the leader of the FFmpeg project for the past eleven years, has made a surprise announcement today: he’s resigning as its leader.

    Niedermayer is resigning as he no longer feels he’s the best leader for FFmpeg, given the current Libav fork still persisting even after Debian dropped Libav and is returning to FFmpeg.

  • Open source Copyright Hub unveiled with ’90+ projects’ in the pipeline

    The web has grown up without letting people own and control their own stuff, but a British-backed initiative might change all that, offering a glimpse of how the internet can work in the future. Their work will all be open sourced early next year.

    Britain’s much-anticipated Copyright Hub was given ministerial blessing when it finally opened its kimono today, boasting a pipeline of over 90 projects covering commercial and free uses.

  • Events

    • Banks’ Family Values; Texas Linux Fest & More…

      All in the Family: It seems that the Banks family of Los Angeles has taken upon itself to single-handedly invite the wider world to the see and try out the benefits of FOSS and programming. We reported on Keila Banks speaking at OSCON last week, but so has Business Insider and MTV News — and now MSNBC is getting in on the act by having her on Melissa Harris-Perry’s show at 8 a.m. Saturday. Check your local listings.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • Redis open source DBMS overview

      Redis runs on Linux. Although the Redis project doesn’t directly support Windows, Microsoft Open Technologies develops and maintains a Windows port targeting Win64.

      The Redis open source DBMS is available as a BSD license. The Redis community offers support through the official mailing list as well as #redis on Freenode. Commercial support is available through Pivotal, the official sponsor of Redis. Pivotal offers two levels of professional support.

    • A shout-out to SQLAlchemy

      So here’s a shout-out to Mike B. at SQLAlchemy for his quick work. (And I’m glad the effort of making a good-as-I-can bugreport paid off.)

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • The document Foundation Released LibreOffice 4.4.5 With Bug Fixes

      The document foundation released another update LibreOffice 4.4.5 which contains 80+ bug fixes over the previous release. LibreOffice is one of the most popular Office app that is also very active. Regular releases makes it more stable and feature-rich. According to the team LibreOffice 4.4.5 replaces LibreOffice 4.3.7 as “still” version for more conservative users and enterprise deployment. Install this update in Ubuntu/Linux Mint or other derivatives to get bug fixes.

    • Surprises, claws and various articles

      Dear readers, something nice but unexpected came up recently. As you can imagine, preparations for the release of LibreOffice 5 are keeping many people busy these days. Among the things that need to be found is the choice of collaterals and various elements for communication. It could very well be that readers of this blog will have a nice surprise the day LibreOffice 5 is released!

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 10.2-RC2 Released, Riding On Schedule Nicely

      Glen Barber announced the release of FreeBSD 10.2-RC2 today for those wanting to do some weekend BSD testing.

      FreeBSD 10.2-RC2 has changes to pkg, ntpd, nvme, a UEFI loader fix, and an assortment of other bug/regression fixes across the stack.

    • [FreeBSD-Announce] vBSDcon: September 11 – 13, 2015

      vBSDcon is a technical conference for the various BSD communities that is hosted by Verisign for users and developers of BSD-based systems. vBSDcon 2015 is being held in Reston, VA from September 11 – 13, 2015 at the Sheraton Reston hotel. vBSDcon is an ideal event for systems and network administrators, developers, and engineers with a focus on BSD-based technologies. The early bird registration rate of $75.00 is available through August 13, 2015 at vBSDcon.com.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • Civil society pushing open source in Bulgaria

      The civil society organisation Obshtestvo.bg Foundation has been pressing as well as helping the Bulgarian government to incorporate open source in its legislation. Open source is now the preferred development form for eGovernment projects. The Bulgarian Council of Ministers has voted that the same requirements will be applicable to all government-funded software projects.

    • US House Opens Up to Open Source

      Providers of open source software recently found another market: the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives. That market easily will grow to many thousands of potential open source users when the staffs of each representative, as well as the staffs of various House committees, are added to the total.

      Three advocacy organizations — the Sunlight Foundation, the Congressional Data Coalition, and the OpenGov Foundation — last month jointly announced that certain procurement restrictions that had constrained the use of open source technology in the House had been clarified.

      Read more

  • Openness/Sharing

    • KDE Plasma Mobile, NPR’s newsroom tool, and more news
    • Open Data

      • An open source mapping primer

        You now need a way to embed a map, manipulate the map tiles, and overlay other data onto the map. Leaflet is a popular choice for doing this. It’s an open source Javascript library that lets you easily create “slippy” maps with tiled base layers, panning and zooming, and various layered features such as markers at specific geographical coordinates (i.e. latitude and longitude). It handles interactions with the map, has a fairly rich and well-documented API, and also works with a wide collection of plugin that provide additional features.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • Powering the Open Data Center

      Open source leadership is a big responsibility for Intel. When we take leadership positions in the open source ecosystem, it pushes us to advance the entire industry along with our company. In that mindset, Intel is investing a tremendous amount to continue expanding the boundaries of what technology can do for the data center and to ensure there is an ecosystem that facilitates the innovation required to meet enterprise demands and spur adoption.

  • Security

    • The cyber-mechanics who protect your car from hackers

      “Most manufacturers know there is a problem and they’re working on solutions, but no-one will go public with it,” explains Martin Hunt, who works in automotive penetration testing for UK telecommunications firm BT.

    • US to rethink hacker tool export rules after mass freakout in security land

      Proposed changes to the US government’s export controls on hacking tools will likely be scaled back following widespread criticism from the infosec community, a government spokesman has said.

      “A second iteration of this regulation will be promulgated,” a spokesman for the US Department of Commerce told Reuters, “and you can infer from that that the first one will be withdrawn.”

      The proposed restrictions are required by the Wassenaar Arrangement, a 41-nation pact that first came into effect in 1996 and which calls for limits on trade of “dual-use goods,” meaning items that have both civilian and military applications.

      In 2013, the list of goods governed under the Arrangement was amended to include technologies used for testing, penetrating, and exploiting vulnerabilities in computer systems and networks.

    • Remote denial of service vulnerability exposes BIND servers

      BIND operators released new versions of the DNS protocol software overnight to patch a critical vulnerability which can be exploited for use in denial-of-service cyberattacks.

      Lead investigator Michael McNally from the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) said in a security advisory the bug, CVE-2015-5477, is a critical issue which can allow hijackers to send malicious packets to knock out email systems, websites and other online services.

    • Botnet takedowns: are they worth it?

      The number of botnets has grown rapidly over the last decade. From Gameover Zeus leveraging encrypted peer-to-peer command and control servers, to Conflicker, infecting millions of computers across the world – botnets are continuing to infiltrate many internet-based services and causing mass disruption, and it’s getting worse.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Palestinian infant burned to death in West Bank arson; IDF blames ‘Jewish terror’

      A one-and-a-half year-old Palestinian infant was burned to death and three of his family members were seriously wounded late Thursday night after a house was set on fire in the village of Douma, near Nablus.

      According to reports, settlers were those who set the house on fire after targeting it with firebombs and graffiti. The Israeli military called the attack “Jewish terror,” while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials echoed the claim, vehemently condemning the attack.

    • CIA concludes US-led fight against IS a ‘strategic stalemate’: Report

      A year into US-led fight, Islamic State group’s membership levels remain consistent and group has spread geographically

    • USA: A clone of Israeli national security state

      Over the past decade, Israel lobby groups have founded exchange programmes with US police and homeland security agencies which have imported Israeli policing and national security practices to the US. Groups like the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee recruit delegations of high-level American security officials to liaise with Israeli counterparts in the police, military intelligence and internal security. Hundreds of officers have participated in these trips from departments in a score or more of US cities. New York even has its own police liaison office located inside an Israeli police station.

    • US to release Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard after 30 years

      The United Sates granted parole to Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and he will be freed in November. Pollard has been in U.S jail for almost 30 years. However, the U.S. government denied speculations that Pollard’s release is a gesture to placate Israel for softening its opposition to the Iran nuclear deal.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • California Using Recycled Fracking Water To Irrigate Crops

      California’s governor, a recipient of generous donations from the oil and gas industry, is now responsible for putting dangerous “frack water” into the American food supply.

      As California struggles with a historic drought, some farmers in California’s agriculturally fertile Central Valley turned to a water recycling program, allowing them to irrigate their crops at a fraction of the normal cost. According to Phys.org, the recycled water costs about $33 per square foot, while freshwater could cost as much as $1,500 for the same amount.

    • Cecil the lion’s brother Jericho shot dead on SAME day Zimbabwe bans hunting

      Zimbabwe has BANNED the hunting of lions, leopards and elephants in a part of the country frequently used by hunters.

      The nation’s wildlife authorities put the ban in place following the outrage overt he death of Cecil the lion.

      Tragically, despite the ban coming in place today, it was announced that Jericho, Cecil’s brother, was shot dead by poachers.

      Bow and arrow hunts, like the one undertaken by the killer dentist Walter Palmer, have also been suspended – unless hunters are approved by the National Parks and Wildlife Authority’s director.

      Zimbabwean authorities said the hunt was illegal and are seeking the extradition of Minnesota dentist Walter Palmer.

    • Cecil the lion’s brother Jericho shot dead in Zimbabwe by illegal hunters: officials

      Cecil the lion’s brother Jericho has been shot dead in Zimbabwe by illegal hunters, officials said Saturday.

      “It is with huge disgust and sadness that we have just been informed that Jericho, Cecil’s brother has been killed at 4pm today,” the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said in a statement. “We are absolutely heartbroken.”

  • Finance

    • “They bury the values of democracy”

      Yanis Varoufakis spent only five months in office as the Greek finance minister. But even that was enough to drive his colleagues to distraction – and his fans into a frenzy. An encounter in Athens.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Israel’s secret-keeper seeks censorship reform

      Soon-to-retire military censor envisions civil agency to provide ‘guidance’ rather than censorship to media

    • Interview: IDF’s secret-keeper seeks censorship reform

      As she prepares to retire next month, the chief military censor wants a steamlined, modern agency to provide advance ‘guidance’ rather than ‘censorship’.

    • Outgoing IDF chief censor: Israel’s preventive censorship is becoming irrelevant
    • Marc Shapiro and Jewish Censorship

      For years now Professor Marc Shapiro of the University of Scranton has revealed examples of mind control in Jewish sources. Opinions regarded as too lenient have been expurgated from books of responsa. Opinions once considered acceptable have now been proscribed in the current witchhunt against anything that might not completely condemn secular education. Records of great rabbis reading newspapers, Heaven forfend, have been removed from publications. Rabbis who held Zionist, tolerant, or modern views have had their names removed. Original approbations of great rabbis have been cut from their books so as not to misguide innocent modern readers.

      But thanks to easy access to original uncensored editions and the availability of texts online, this is now out in the open and clear for all to see (who are not blind). In his latest book, Changing the Immutable, Professor Shapiro has provided an invaluable service to the world of Torah scholarship by giving chapter and verse of so many examples of censorship and distortion.

    • Media practised self-censorship when I was PM, says Dr Mahathir

      “When I was the prime minister, there was press freedom but it is the media itself who did self-censorship, as if they didn’t want to hurt leaders’ feelings. This is the habit that we have in Malaysia,” he said at a book launch in Putrajaya today.

      He also said local mainstream media were too cautious.

      “They think what if leaders don’t like what they write,”he said.

      He added, however, that media like Harakah and The Rocket sometimes went overboard in criticising the government.

    • Censorship is killing student stand-up

      This attitude is toxic to comedy. Stand-up is nerve-racking enough; if young comics are constantly worried about being banned for speaking out of turn, how are they supposed to take the risks that allow you to grow as a performer? It’s bad enough when students’ unions ban professional comedians, for fear that their jokes will turn unthinking students into lads, Zionists or whatever the fear of the day is. But clamping down on 19-year-olds who can barely remember their lines? That’s laughable.

    • Politicians slam council chiefs for ‘censorship’ of controversial play about SNP activist

      POLITICIANS have accused West Dunbartonshire Council of censorship after it dropped a play about SNP activist Willie MacRae before telling the show’s producer he could come back if the Labour administration was given the boot in the next elections.

      After a successful run at last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe , Andy Paterson from Theatre Magnetico said the authority called him asking about the possibility of putting his play 3,000 Trees: The Death of Willie Macrae on at Clydebank Town Hall.

    • Facebook Censors bianet’s News about Censorship

      Social networking service Facebook censored bianet news “Facebook Censors Kaos GL for ‘nudity’”.

      On July 29, bianet made news of Facebook censorship on Kaos GL, an LGBTI organization, which allegedly ‘violated the community rules’.

      We shared the news on Facebook and then Facebook censored our news stating the original photograph of the news as we used as headline violated the community rules.

    • When it comes to censorship, WordPress has your back

      Automattic, WordPress’s parent company, has a new transparency report that shows that they’ve bounced 43% of their 2015 copyright censorship demands for being frivolous or invalid.

    • Censorship is no substitute for enforcement

      Earlier this month, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici announced that his government would be amending archaic obscenity laws to remove the threat of imprisonment for ‘vilification of religion’, while regularising pornography within certain limitations.

    • Anti-Abbott poster erected by Australian students sparks row over censorship
    • Anti-Abbott poster erected by Castlemaine Secondary College students sparks row over censorship
    • Anti-Abbott poster erected by Castlemaine Secondary College students sparks row over censorship
    • An Artist Took Topless Photos of Women at the New York Supreme Court to Protest Censorship

      In August 2013, Allen Henson, a veteran-turned-photographer, visited the Empire State Building with his girlfriend. Henson took a topless photo of her on the observation deck and never imagined what would follow.

      In 2014, the Empire State Building filed a lawsuit against Henson for over $1 million, arguing he used the premises for commercial purposes (though Henson insists it was not a photoshoot and was exclusively for personal use) and ruined the building’s “reputation as a safe and secure family-friendly tourist attraction,” reports the Huffington Post.

    • Instagram bans #goddess from site

      Photo-sharing app Instagram has banned the hashtag #goddess because “inappropriate” images were allegedly shared, media reports said.

    • The Holes In Instagram’s Censorship Of Eating Disorders

      Recently, the social media site reversed its ban on searches for #curvy after users protested it by using the hashtag #curvee. Mashable reported Instagram now plans to filter out inappropriate content using the hashtag, stating #curvy was banned earlier this month due to content which violated its community guidelines, but insisting the ban had nothing to do with the term “curvy” itself.

    • Censors Cut Fan Bingbing’s Intimate Horse Scene in ‘Lady of the Dynasty’

      In the scene, Lai’s character Tang dynasty Emperor Xuanzong tore off the clothes of Fan’s character Yang Guifei and the couple engaged in an intimate encounter. Netizens feasted on the screenshots of the movie trailer and some suggested the possibility of censoring the part for its “bad influence” on the youth.

    • How Beijing’s censorship impairs U.S.China relations

      Over the past two years, the Chinese authorities have taken new steps to block Chinese citizens’ access to information from U.S. companies and media. These actions not only limit Chinese citizens’ access to news and entertainment, but they also harm U.S. businesses, media outlets, and innovators. In effect, the Chinese Communist Party’s aggressive efforts to defend its political monopoly are costing the U.S. economy billions of dollars a year.

      These dynamics pose a challenge to smoother bilateral relations. They undermine trust, create obstacles to cooperation, and infuse business interactions with an underlying sense of unfairness. As such, they should be high on the agenda of any meeting between American and Chinese officials, be it the just concluded U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue or Xi Jinping’s upcoming U.S. visit in September.

    • How egalitarianism became a microaggression

      Now, to the ever-growing list of what’s racist we can add refusing to believe in the completely constructed and repulsive category of race in the first place. At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), staff are being told that statements such as ‘I don’t believe in race’, ‘there is only one race, the human race’ and ‘America is a melting pot’ are no longer acceptable. In official UCLA guidelines uncovered by College Fix, all of these statements are branded ‘microaggressions’ – offhand comments or social slights which, the UCLA literature says, ‘communicate hostile, derogatory or negative messages’ to marginalised groups. That’s right: at this university, if you don’t believe in race, you’re probably a racist.

    • Non-religious groups criticise PM Lee’s remarks on “godless society”

      Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s remarks about how a “godless society” would bring “many other problems”, have raised the ire of some groups.

      “Overall, we think religion is a good thing,” Mr Lee said recently in an interview with TIME magazine. “I mean, if we were godless society, we would have many other problems, the communists found that out.”

      Mr Lee made those remarks when he spoke on the recent case of video-blogger Amos Yee whose online video on the late Lee Kuan Yew was also deemed to have “wounded the religious feelings of Christians.”

      “In our society, which is multiracial and multi-religious, giving offence to another religious or ethnic group, race, language or religion, is always a very serious matter. In this case, he’s a 16-year-old, so you have to deal with it appropriately because he’s (of a) young age,” Mr Lee said.

      The Prime Minister’s remarks about how a “godless society” would bring “many more problems”, however were criticised by at least two groups of non-religious groups.

      “Recent history shows that a state’s success or failure has more to do with its economic and political ideologies, governance, people and external factors beyond the state’s control than with religiosity,” said Leftwrite Center and the Humanist Society (Singapore) in a letter to TODAY.

    • PAP shows desperation by drawing electoral lines

      Our supreme leader has shown signs of weakness by targeting the likes of Roy Ngerng and Amos Yee.

    • Legal assistance for online media more critical today

      With the recent announcements of the electoral boundaries and the impending general elections looming, it is a forgone conclusion that blog activity and online discussions will spike. In tandem with growing public perception that state owned media outlets are the government’s mouthpieces, the Internet is fast becoming the forum du jour for political debates and information dissemination.

    • Asia’s ‘Unruly’ Children

      Ostensibly, 16-year-old Amos Yee was charged with “wounding the religious feelings of Christians” in a YouTube video that lambasted Lee Kuan Yew and compared him to Jesus, whom the young blogger described as ‘power hungry and malicious’. Amos was also found guilty of posting obscene material on the Internet, reference to a crude illustration of Lee and former British premier Margaret Thatcher in an acrobatic sex maneuver.

    • Canada is no friend of free speech, and as citizens get fined for criticizing police and lawyers get prosecuted

      O Canada! The land of Mounties and beavers and hockey and…hate speech tribunals? Yes, it’s no secret that Canada is no friend of free speech, and as citizens get fined for criticizing police and lawyers get prosecuted for criticizing a government agency, things are only getting worse. Join James in today’s Thought for the Day to find out more.

    • Rapid Pirate Site Blocking Mechanism Introduced By Portugal

      In concert with rightsholders and Internet service providers, Portugal has just introduced a mechanism which enables the streamlined blocking of ‘pirate’ sites. Set to go into effect during mid-August, the system will target sites with more than 500 allegedly infringing links and those whose indexes contain more than 66% infringing content.

  • Privacy

    • Groups urge Obama to oppose cyberthreat sharing bills

      The coalition of 39 digital rights and privacy groups and 29 security experts urged Obama to threaten to veto the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a bill that may come to the Senate floor for a vote by early August. CISA would protect from customer lawsuits those businesses that share cyberthreat information.

      “CISA fails to protect users’ personal information,” the coalition said in a letter to Obama, sent Monday. “It allows vast amounts of personal data to be shared with the government, even that which is not necessary to identify or respond to a cybersecurity threat.”

    • Legislative Cyber Threats: CISA’s Not The Only One

      If anyone in the United States Senate had any doubts that the proposed Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA) was universally hated by a range of civil society groups, a literal blizzard of faxes should’ve cleared up the issue by now.

    • New attack on Tor can deanonymize hidden services with surprising accuracy

      Deanonymization requires luck but nonetheless shows limits of Tor privacy.

    • Tor connection vulnerability uncloaks hidden web services

      MIT researchers have developed digital attacks which can unmask Tor services in the Deep Web with a high degree of accuracy.

    • How the way you type can shatter anonymity—even on Tor

      Security researchers have refined a long-theoretical profiling technique into a highly practical attack that poses a threat to Tor users and anyone else who wants to shield their identity online.

    • Internet of things: the greatest mass surveillance infrastructure ever?

      The word “thing”, in Old English, means a meeting or assembly. In the epic poem Beowulf, the eponymous hero declares he’ll “alone hold a thing” with the monster Grendel, who is terrorising the Danes in the great hall of Heorot. Beowulf uses “thing” euphemistically – it is a meeting that immediately descends into a fight.

      The Icelandic parliament is still called Althing (Alþingi). But over the ages, “things” have gradually evolved from meetings to matter. Today, we primarily use the term “thing” to refer to objects. Even in this sense, however, things are still core to our political and social lives.

      An appreciation that things have always been about community and politics, whether literally, or through the creation and respect of systems of private property, provides a useful backdrop to the recent book, Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up, by writer and professor of communication, Philip N Howard.

    • France approves ‘Big Brother’ surveillance powers despite UN concern

      France’s highest authority on constitutional matters has approved a controversial bill that gives the state sweeping new powers to spy on citizens.

      The constitutional council made only minor tweaks to the legislation, which human rights and privacy campaigners, as well as the United Nations, have described as paving the way for “very intrusive” surveillance and state-approved eavesdropping and computer-hacking.

    • Incongruities in the News — Paul Craig Roberts

      Jonathan Pollard, a paid spy for Israel described by Michael D. Shear as “one of the country’s most notorious spies,” has been pardoned from his life sentence. It strikes me as hypocritical for the US government to sentence anyone to prison for spying when the government itself spies on everyone everywhere. All Americans including members of the House and Senate, congressional staff, military officers, foreign governments including the leaders of Washington’s closest allies, and foreign businesses are spied upon. No one is exempt from Washington’s spying.

      Washington claims that its worldwide spying does no harm. So how did the very limited spying of one person—Pollard—a civilian employee of Naval intelligence do so much harm as to warrant a life sentence? What some of us would like to see is a life sentence for NSA.

      What disturbs me about the case is that it is Pollard, who spied for a foreign country, who is released. In contrast, Manning and Snowden who spied for the American people are locked away, Manning in a federal prison and Snowden in his Russian exile. Julian Assange, who merely did his job as a journalist and made available to newspapers documents leaked to him, is confined to the Ecuadoran embassy in London.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Edward Snowden Explains Why Apple Should Continue To Fight the Government on Encryption

      As the Obama administration campaign to stop the commercialization of strong encryption heats up, National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden is firing back on behalf of the companies like Apple and Google that are finding themselves under attack.

      “Technologists and companies working to protect ordinary citizens should be applauded, not sued or prosecuted,” Snowden wrote in an email through his lawyer.

    • NSA Doesn’t Want Court That Found Phone Dragnet Illegal to Actually Do Anything About It

      The National Security Agency doesn’t think it’s relevant that its dragnet of American telephone data — information on who’s calling who, when, and for how long — was ruled illegal back in May.

      An American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit is asking the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which reached that conclusion, to immediately enjoin the program.

      But the U.S. government responded on Monday evening, saying that Congressional passage of the USA Freedom Act trumped the earlier ruling. The Freedom Act ordered an end to the program — but with a six-month wind-down period.

    • Stepping into an NSA agent’s shoes is just a download away
    • Seen: Self-censoring font redacts words monitored by the NSA
    • Former NSA Leaker Thomas Drake Now Working in Retail
    • NSA Whistleblower Describes Ongoing Anguish
    • The Original NSA Whistleblower Is Still Rebuilding His Life
    • US spies on Japan trade talks: WikiLeaks
    • WikiLeaks reveals US spied on Japan too
    • WikiLeaks files suggest US spied on Japan, Japanese companies
    • Wikileaks says US spied on Japanese government, companies
    • WikiLeaks alleges widespread U.S. spying on Japanese government, major companies
    • Wikileaks: US ‘spied on Japan government and companies’

      The US has been spying on Japanese cabinet officials, banks and companies, including the Mitsubishi conglomerate, whistleblowing website Wikileaks says.

      Documents released by Wikileaks list 35 telephone numbers targeted for interception by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

      [...]

      Wikileaks says the NSA shared the information it had gathered with Australia, Canada, the UK and New Zealand – the so-called “Five Eyes” group.

    • WikiLeaks Docs Purport To Show The U.S. Spied On Japan’s Government

      New classified documents released by WikiLeaks purport to show that the United States spied on Japan’s government, as well as on Japanese banks and companies, including Mitsubishi.

    • US has spied on Japan for years, reveals Wikileaks

      WIKILEAKS published evidence of the United States spying on its ally Japan yesterday, including a list of government and business targets.

      The whistle-blowing website published its “Target Tokyo” list of 35 of US National Security Agency (NSA) targets — the Cabinet Office, the Bank of Japan and corporate giants Mitsubishi and Mitsui among them — going back at least eight years.

    • US Will Escape Consequences After NSA Caught Spying on Japanese Officials

      The US National Security Agency spied on Japanese high-profile officials and businessmen, WikiLeaks revealed on Friday.

    • Japan’s PM Could Use NSA Spy Reports to Strengthen Secret State – Envoy

      US China Policy Foundation Co-Chair and former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Charles Freeman Jr. claims that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could use the WikiLeaks revelations of US spying on his government to make security affairs far more secret.

    • US spied on Japanese govt, companies, passed intelligence to Australia, New Zealand

      Washington spied on its key ally, Japan, and passed intelligence on to Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK, WikiLeaks has revealed. The NSA targeted 35 high-ranking Japanese officials and top companies, and also tracked trade negotiations.

    • WikiLeaks Discloses NSA Intercepted Japan’s Secret Climate Change Plans

      The US National Security Agency (NSA) intercepted Japanese climate change plans of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that had been intended to be kept secret from the United States, WikiLeaks revealed on Friday.

    • Leak Shows US Spying on Japan Over Climate Change — and Cherries

      One document that summarizes intercepted communications from 2007 discusses plans by the Japanese government to announce plans to halve their carbon emissions by 2050.

    • Climate and Cherry Disputes in WikiLeaks Documents Show U.S.-Japan Relations Can Be the Pits

      New U.S. spying records offer a view of the mundane diplomacy between two allied, industrialized nations. But five excerpted cables, released Friday by WikiLeaks, show relations aren’t always sunny or sweet.

    • US spied on Japanese PM Abe, Mitsubishi, and so much more

      The targets of the cyber-spying included stealing secrets on US-Japan relations, trade negotiations and climate change policy. Fruits of the spying, exposed in leaked documents published by WikiLeaks on Friday, were shared with the US’s Five Eyes spying partners.

    • Tokyo to Protest US Spying on Gov’t, Companies if Allegations Confirmed

      Tokyo will lodge a formal protest with the US government if the WikiLeaks revelations of NSA spying on Japanese officials and businesses are proved.

    • WikiLeaks: NSA spied on Abe and Japanese companies

      Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, key figures of his former administration and several of Japan’s most powerful companies have been the targets of long-term US spying operations, according to documents published on the WikiLeaks website.

    • Target Tokyo: WikiLeaks reveals NSA spied on Japanese PM Shinzō Abe and companies like Mitsubishi

      The US National Security Agency (NSA) undertook systematic mass surveillance of Japanese politicians, ministries and corporations over a number of years, according to recently published documents. The revelations come from whistleblowing organisation WikiLeaks, which released a list of 35 top secret targets in Japan on Friday morning (31 July).

    • Exclusive: US bugs Japan on trade and climate

      Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe and the top levels of the Japanese government are being spied on by America, and the information shared with allies including Australia, according to secret intelligence documents published by WikiLeaks.

    • NSA was spying on Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, WikiLeaks reveals

      WikiLeaks, the whistleblowing organisation recently revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was actively spying on some of Japan’s high-profile citizens, including the current Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe.

    • WikiLeaks: NSA also targeted Japan, spied on climate change policy

      Add Japan to the list of countries that the National Security Agency purportedly spied on. New documents published by WikiLeaks alleges that the NSA kept tabs on Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, his cabinet and companies like Mitsubishi since 2006. In particular, the US paid close attention to Japan’s policies around climate change. That includes details about Abe’s plan to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by half by 2050, which Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) was considering not telling the US about, as well as its confidential G8 summit proposals on climate change. Additionally, the US knew ahead of time that Japan intended to double down on a “sectoral approach” for managing carbon emissions, which focuses on specific carbon goals for sectors like “industry,” “residential” and “transportation.”

    • New leaks show NSA targeting Japanese ministers and energy companies

      The NSA has been keeping a close eye on Japan’s biggest businesses, according to a new publication from Wikileaks. Dubbed “Target Tokyo,” the new files show NSA selector IDs singling out a range of sensitive targets within Japan, including the country’s Minister of Economic Trade and Industry, numerous targets within the country’s finance ministry, and unspecified targets within Mistubishi’s Natural Gas division and Mitsui’s petroleum division.

      The latest release is similar to previous documents that revealed French government targets as well as the personal surveillance of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The source of the documents is unknown, but they are not believed to have come from Edward Snowden, who has traditionally published documents through journalistic outlets like The Guardian, The Intercept, or The Washington Post.

    • Target Tokyo

      Today, Friday 31 July 2015, 9am CEST, WikiLeaks publishes “Target Tokyo”, 35 Top Secret NSA targets in Japan including the Japanese cabinet and Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi, together with intercepts relating to US-Japan relations, trade negotiations and sensitive climate change strategy.

      The list indicates that NSA spying on Japanese conglomerates, government officials, ministries and senior advisers extends back at least as far as the first administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, which lasted from September 2006 until September 2007. The telephone interception target list includes the switchboard for the Japanese Cabinet Office; the executive secretary to the Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga; a line described as “Government VIP Line”; numerous officials within the Japanese Central Bank, including Governor Haruhiko Kuroda; the home phone number of at least one Central Bank official; numerous numbers within the Japanese Finance Ministry; the Japanese Minister for Economy, Trade and Industry Yoichi Miyazawa; the Natural Gas Division of Mitsubishi; and the Petroleum Division of Mitsui.

    • EXCLUSIVE: Now it’s Edward Snowden the comic book – man who stole 1.7 MILLION classified documents and revealed NSA’s monitoring program is subject of ‘graphic novel’ [government propaganda, citing the agencies and/or anonymous sources, or unsourced, like the three links below]
    • NSA report shows China hacked 600+ US targets over 5 years

      NBC has released a 2014 slide from a secret NSA Threat Operations Center (NTOC) briefing—a map that shows the locations of “every single successful computer intrusion” by Chinese state-sponsored hackers over a five-year period. More than 600 US businesses and institutions were breached during that period.

    • Exclusive: Secret NSA Map Shows China Cyber Attacks on U.S. Targets
    • How NSA and GCHQ spied on the Cold War world

      American and British intelligence used a secret relationship with the founder of a Swiss encryption company to help them spy during the Cold War, newly released documents analysed by the BBC reveal.

    • NSA pays highway cops $1mn to patrol data centres
    • Local troopers maintain ‘perimeter presence’ at data center as part of contract with NSA
    • Report: Utah Cops Get $1M a Year to Park at NSA Data Center

      The massive controversial NSA data center in Bluffdale, Utah, has police presence that’s costing the agency $1 million a year. State Highway Patrol troopers provide the facility that became a center of attention following Edward Snowden’s disclosures about the agency’s mass surveillance practices with a “perimeter presence” under contract with the feds, reported a local Fox News affiliate.

      In a statement, the NSA (National Security Agency) said the move was to ensure the security of its workforce and the larger community. Public outrage following the Snowden disclosures included protests at the site, putting the secretive facility in the national spotlight.

    • No pardon for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, says US government

      A petition calling for American intelligence whistleblower Edward Snowden to be pardoned has been rejected by the US government – two years after it was started.

      More than 167,000 people signed the petition – calling for Mr Snowden to be “immediately issued with a full, free, and absolute pardon” – on the government’s official petitions website, We the People.

      But the US government said it would not be acting on it and instead urged Mr Snowden to return to America and be “judged by a jury of his peers”.

    • White House says Snowden should ‘come home, be judged’

      The White House rejected a call today to pardon Edward Snowden, saying the former intelligence contractor should “be judged by a jury of his peers” for leaking US government secrets. The US administration re-iterated its tough stance against the exiled fugitive, whom supporters regard as a whistleblower, in response to a petition on the White House website signed by more than 167,000 people.

      Lisa Monaco, an advisor on homeland security and counterterrorism, said Snowden’s “dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it.” She said that Snowden, who has been granted asylum in Russia after he leaked documents on vast US surveillance programs to journalists, is “running away from the consequences of his actions.”

    • Quoted: White House says no pardon for Edward Snowden

      The administration response is in line with other government officials’ stated stance on Snowden, who a couple of years ago leaked documents he stole from the NSA. Although former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said earlier this month he thought that a deal was possible, a spokeswoman for current U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the administration’s position had not changed.

    • White House Says “Thanks but No Thanks” to Pardon for Snowden
    • Spies helped build Silicon Valley. Now the tables are turning

      David Cameron wants US tech sector companies to do more to fight terrorism. But they’ve grown too powerful to listen

    • Tor Project, Library Freedom Project to establish Tor exit nodes in libraries

      Tor Project and the Library Freedom Project have joined forces to establish Tor exit nodes in libraries in an effort to protect internet freedom, bolster the Tor network and show the public how Tor can be used to protect their digital free expression rights, according to a Tor Project blog post.

    • The NSA will soon stop examining millions of Americans’ calling records
    • NSA won’t get hands on bulk phone data after 29 November
    • NSA will stop looking at old phone records

      The agency says that would be “solely for data integrity purposes to verify the records produced under the new targeted production authorized by the USA FREEDOM Act”.

      The National Security Agency will purge all phone data collected during the operation of its expiring bulk surveillance program by the start of next year pending ongoing litigation, the government announced Monday. Instead, those metadata records – such as the time a call was made, to whom it was made, and the duration of the call – will held by the telephone companies, and the NSA will be required to submit specific search terms in order to request relevant data, after obtaining a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

    • NSA sets date for purge of surveillance phone records

      “Analytic access” to the five years worth of records will end on 29 November, and they’ll be destroyed three months later, it said in a statement released on Monday.

    • Why the NSA is destroying its historic telephone surveillance data

      Since Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013, the National Security Agency, or NSA, has become a by-word for uncontrolled government surveillance, an Orwellian presence collecting information without remit or restriction.

    • NSA to destroy bulk phone records collected under Patriot Act
    • Chat about Safe Harbour all you like, the NSA’s still the stumbling block

      The EU’s Justice Commissioner met her US counterparts last week in an effort to break the stalemate over data protection rights.

      Věra Jourová and US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker met to discuss the revision of the so-called Safe Harbour agreement, a legally enforceable but voluntary code of conduct for US businesses that process European citizens’ data.

      The bilateral deal was reached in 2000 as a way to allow data flows across the North Atlantic, even though the US does not meet the EU’s adequacy standards on data protection.

    • CISA: The Dirty Deal Between Google and the NSA That No One Is Talking About

      One of the things that civil liberties activists like to lament about is that the general public seems to care more about Google and Facebook using their personal data to target advertising than the government using it to target drone strikes.

    • Pending bill could give NSA carte blanche on personal data

      Ever heard of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act? Not many people have, but the bill, which is progressing through the legislative process, could give government agencies access to huge amounts of personal data held by private companies like Google and Facebook.

    • What’s Inside the Justice Department’s Secret Cybersecurity Memo?

      Wyden, the Democratic privacy hawk from Oregon, claims that a classified Justice Department legal opinion written during the early years of the George W. Bush administration is pertinent to the upper chamber’s consideration of cyberlegislation—a warning that reminds close observers of his allusions to the National Security Agency’s surveillance powers years before they were exposed publicly by Edward Snowden.

    • Wyden, Internet privacy guru, pushes back on cyber, intel bills

      Ron Wyden, happy warrior, is at it again.

      The Oregon Democrat is throwing sand in the gears of legislation designed to fight hackers and terrorists over concerns that the bills will limit users’ privacy and free speech.

      With just days left before the August recess, Sen. Wyden is helping to lead a grassroots campaign against the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). The bipartisan bill encourages private companies to share information with the government about cyber threats after a number of high-profile hacks of federal agencies and firms like Sony, Target and Anthem.

    • Magid: Concerns raised about cybersecurity bill

      The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act , or CISA, encourages private companies to share information with the federal government and local law enforcement. The bill, according to its co-author, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-San Francisco, would remove legal barriers for companies to share, receive and use cyberthreat information and cyber countermeasures “on a purely voluntary basis,” while also providing liability protection if user or customer data is shared.

    • Cyber-Surveillance Bill Set to Move to Senate Floor

      The Senate is expected to consider the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA, S. 754) on the Senate floor soon. The bill was marked up in secret, thereby denying the public an opportunity to better understand the risks the legislation poses. This document analyzes the bill as reported by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on a vote of 14-1.

    • Week of Action Opposing CISA: Over 400,000 Faxes Sent At Halfway Point

      We’re halfway through our Week of Action opposing the privacy-invasive “cybersecurity” bill CISA. This is the fifth time in as many years that Congress is trying to pass an information-sharing bill. The Week of Action aims to stop a rumored vote on the bill before Congress leaves for a 5-week vacation on August 7. We’re only three days in and over 400,000 faxes have been sent to the Senate opposing CISA. Join us now in the Week of Action.

    • Stop Cyber Surveillance
    • Privacy groups use faxes to fight cyber surveillance bill

      A coalition of privacy rights advocates and civil-liberties groups opposed to the proposed Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, is urging American citizens to wage a fax campaign against it – on the theory that if the government wants to impose Orwellian 1984-style surveillance laws on America, maybe circa-1984 technology is the best way to point out the problems with this.

    • Court: German spy agency need not give info on NSA list

      A German federal court has ruled that the country’s spy agency is under no obligation to divulge to the media a list of names compiled from search terms provided to it by the U.S. National Security Agency.

    • Bundestag Demands Access to Surveillance Lists Involved in NSA Scandal

      The G10 Commission of the Bundestag responsible for controlling German intelligence services is going to file a lawsuit against the current German government over a recent espionage scandal with the NSA. The Commission demanded access to BND documents containing lists of objects of surveillance, chairman of the Commission Andre Hahn told Sputnik.

    • German Intelligence Supervisor to Sue Merkel Amid NSA Scandal
    • German Courts Unlikely to Rule Against Gov’t in NSA Scandal
    • Even the former head of NSA thinks crypto backdoors are stupid

      Michael Chertoff, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security and a former federal prosecutor, made some surprising remarks last week, coming out strongly against cryptographic backdoors that could be provided to the government upon request.

    • Former Heads of Homeland Security, NSA Back Encryption

      Three prominent former national-security officials endorsed the use of encryption in communications, breaking with President Barack Obama and Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey in their standoff with Silicon Valley over new uses of the controversial technology.

      Former National Security Agency Director Mike McConnell, former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and former Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn backed encryption in an eyebrow-raising editorial published Wednesday in the Washington Post.

    • The Red Herring of Digital Backdoors and Key Escrow Encryption

      This subtle misdirection shifts the conversation away from a different sort of back door currently being leveraged on a global scale. That would be back doors that are built upon zero-day exploits. An entire industry has emerged to cater to the growing demand for zero-day bugs and the tech monoliths have quietly provided assistance. For example it’s well documented that companies like Microsoft gave the NSA early access to information on zero-day bugs in their products.

    • An Unexpected Voice Speaks Out Against Backdoored Encryption

      Chertoff said weakening encryption would increase the vulnerabilities for ordinary users, force “bad people” into using technology that would be even harder to decrypt, and could become a strategic vulnerability for the United States, especially if Russia and China demanded backdoor access.

    • Even former heads of NSA, DHS think crypto backdoors are stupid
    • Swiss cryptography firm helped NSA during Cold War

      According to an analysis of declassified documents by the BBC, Zug-based company Crypto AG helped the US National Security Agency (NSA) during the Cold War. The firm told swissinfo.ch that it was unaware of this secret collaboration until recently.

    • Law Enforcement Agencies NSA’s ‘New Customer’ for Data – Whistleblower

      NSA whistleblower William Binney claims that the most prominent users of data collected by NSA are federal and international law enforcement agencies.

    • Ex-Qwest CEO: Likely the NSA snatched emails, calls during Salt Lake Olympics

      Joseph Nacchio headed Denver-based Qwest from 1997 to 2002 and later served more than four years in prison on insider-trading convictions involving the telecom giant. He said Wednesday that he couldn’t say whether the company worked with the NSA or FBI to capture such information during the Olympics, but that the agencies could have worked with other executives to gain access without his knowledge.

    • NSA Phone Dragnet Will Be Emptied, Feds Say, If Foes Allow It

      The U.S. government says it wants to empty the National Security Agency’s databases of domestic call records that were collected in bulk, but that it can’t because surveillance foes seeking a courtroom win for privacy rights have forced their retention.

    • NSA won’t look at call metadata collected under the Patriot Act
    • Rogers: NSA, Cybercom Need Partners to Aid Cybersecurity
    • UK Police Want to Secretly Arrest Journalists Who Report on Snowden’s NSA Leaks

      Metropolitan Police claim an investigation into the possibility of prosecuting journalists for their role in publishing secrets leaked by Edward Snowden will be kept secret. The revelation that information won’t be disclosed due to a “possibility of increased threat of terrorist activity” follows the relentless demands for information from journalists at The Intercept

    • Why Some Americans hate Edward Snowden

      It is difficult to feel “exceptional” when we tolerate living in a “democracy” whose government spies on just about everything it can under the pretense of making us “safe” and “free”.

    • Exit Interview: I’m A Crypto-Specialist Working To Secure the Internet For A Billion People

      We spoke with Karsten Nohl, a Berlin-based crypto-specialist, to get a better handle on these issues. Karsten views himself as an ethical hacker who exposes the security flaws of large corporations, including GSM mobile phone carriers and credit card companies, in order to better protect the customers.

      And his research is fascinating. From developing USB “condoms,” to working to help over a billion people in India connect to the internet securely, Karsten is something of a renegade, trying to make the online world a bit safer for us all.

    • US Given Low Grades on Privacy, Surveillance from UN Committee

      Not surprisingly, the United Nations Human Rights Committee gave the United States low scores on privacy and national security surveillance. In particular, the committee concluded the US has failed to establish “meaningful judicial oversight of its surveillance operations, adequate limits on data retention and meaningful access to remedies for privacy violations.”

    • Dig out your old mobile phone and hack an air-gapped computer

      Researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, Israel have discovered a new attack in which data, including passwords and encryption keys, could be stolen from a computer isolated from the web by using an old phone, malware, a GSM network and electromagnetic waves.

    • NSA Tries to Blame Privacy Advocates for Keeping Americans’ Telephone Records

      USA Freedom requires the NSA to stop collecting our telephone records. An open question when the law passed was what should happen to the mountain of records the NSA has already collected. Will the records be destroyed? Will the NSA keep them? Will it be able to keep using them?

      Earlier this week, the NSA announced that it was going to move the stored records out of active use in November, with a three month period when its employees check them for “data integrity” reasons. It noted, however, that it would not be destroying the records until resolution of the various court cases where the government is under a court order to preserve evidence. Three of those cases are EFF’s: Jewel v. NSA, First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA and Smith v. Obama. The implication is that the privacy advocates are the reason that these records aren’t being destroyed.

      Not so.

      We have offered to the NSA, in multiple court filings, to enter into a plan under which they can destroy many of the records (maybe not all, but certainly most of them). The NSA just needs to admit that our clients’ telephone records were included in the mass collection and for how long. Alternatively, they could state on the record that none of our clients’ records were ever included in the NSA’s telephone records collection, something that seems inconceivable (we do know what that word means) given that Jewel v. NSA is a class action on behalf of all telephone customers of AT&T.

    • Michael Moore Reveals Stealth NSA Project ‘Where to Invade Next’ on Periscope

      One of the big surprises among the world premieres at the Toronto International Film Festival this September is Michael Moore’s first documentary in six years, “Where To Invade Next.” The usually expansive filmmaker and social media master has kept the project under wraps for a year, he declared on his first Periscope live video via Twitter. (As of Tuesday there was no IMDb listing.)

      “I’d like to say hello to my NSA friends who are watching right now,” Moore said. Clearly, he feels a certain paranoia about his subject, much as Laura Poitras did with “Citizenfour.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Why We Can’t Support Police Unions

      A labor movement that seeks to fight oppression has no room for police unions.

    • Openly gay CIA contractor faked family emergency to leave Afghanistan amid alleged LGBT discrimination by colleagues

      An openly gay CIA contractor feared that his own colleagues posed a graver threat to his safety than the enemy forces he encountered during a recent deployment in Afghanistan.

      Brett Jones ultimately faked a family emergency to escape the troubling pattern of escalating harassment he said he endured on the mission.

    • Former Navy Seal says CIA operatives turned on him because he is gay

      Brett Jones, a former Navy Seal and an openly gay member of the CIA’s paramilitary Global Response Staff (GRS), told ABC News that other staff members harassed him so much that he feared for his life.

    • WATCH: CIA Contractor Details Antigay Harassment by Colleagues in War Zone

      When former Navy SEAL and current CIA contractor Brett Jones came out as gay last year, he received widespread support from his colleagues. But his latest experience, while deployed in a war zone in Afghanistan, has been a different story.

    • Ex-US navy member alleges anti-gay bullying by CIA workers
    • High-speed police chases have killed thousands of innocent bystanders

      More than 5,000 bystanders and passengers have been killed in police car chases since 1979, and tens of thousands more were injured as officers repeatedly pursued drivers at high speeds and in hazardous conditions, often for minor infractions, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

      The bystanders and the passengers in chased cars account for nearly half of all people killed in police pursuits from 1979 through 2013, USA TODAY found. Most bystanders were killed in their own cars by a fleeing driver.

      Police across the USA chase tens of thousands of people each year — usually for traffic violations or misdemeanors — often causing drivers to speed away recklessly. Recent cases show the danger of the longstanding police practice of chasing minor offenders.

    • Feds Hand Out Funds To Be Used For ‘Traffic Safety;’ Local Agencies Buy License Plate Readers Instead

      The National Highway Transportation Safety Association (NHTSA) is supposed to be focused on one thing: safety. For crying out loud, it’s right in the middle of its cumbersome name. But the federal funding it hands out to state and local governments is being used for surveillance devices with no discernible “safety” purpose: automatic license plate readers.

    • Freedom Of The Press Foundation Sues DOJ Over Its Secret Rules For Spying On Journalists

      The wonderful Freedom of the Press Foundation is now suing the US Justice Department for refusing to reveal its rules and procedures for spying on journalists. You can read the complaint here. The key issue: what rules and oversight exist for the DOJ when it comes to spying on journalists. As you may recall, a few years ago, it came out that the DOJ had been using some fairly sneaky tricks to spy on journalists, including falsely telling a court that reporter James Rosen was a “co-conspirator” in order to get access to his emails and phone records. In response to a lot of criticism, the DOJ agreed to “revise” its rules for when it snoops on journalists.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • ISPs: Net neutrality rules are illegal because Internet access uses computers

      Internet service providers yesterday filed a 95-page brief outlining their case that the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules should be overturned.

      One of the central arguments is that the FCC cannot impose common carrier rules on Internet access because it can’t be defined as a “telecommunications” service under Title II of the Communications Act. The ISPs argued that Internet access must be treated as a more lightly regulated “information service” because it involves “computer processing.”

      “No matter how many computer-mediated features the FCC may sweep under the rug, the inescapable core of Internet access is a service that uses computer processing to enable consumers to ‘retrieve files from the World Wide Web, and browse their contents’ and, thus, ‘offers the ‘capability for… acquiring,… retrieving [and] utilizing… information.’ Under the straightforward statutory definition, an ‘offering’ of that ‘capability’ is an information service,” the ISPs wrote.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Kim Dotcom & Mega Trade Barbs Over Hostile Takeover Claims

        In a Q&A session with users of Slashdot this week, Kim Dotcom advised surprised readers not use Mega amid claims of a hostile takeover. Intrigued, TorrentFreak caught up with both Dotcom and his former colleagues at the cloud storage site. Both had plenty to say and it’s now clear that previously warm relations have now iced over.

07.31.15

Vista 10 Inherently Criminal: Vandalising the Competition (Dual Boot, Rival Web Browsers, Online Services)

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Vista 10, the latest incarnation of Windows, takes its anticompetitive aspects to a whole new level, betraying even so-called ‘partners’ in the process

THERE are many negative things to be said about Vista 10, but what about criminal things? What happens when Microsoft breaks competition laws?

Earlier this year we wrote about how Microsoft’s UEFI ‘secure boot’ attack on GNU/Linux had escalated (see 2014-2015 articles on how Microsoft’s terms got even worse, i.e. more discriminatory) and based on this site which regularly studies Windows’ effects on BSD and Linux installations, Vista 10 can mess GRUB up, i.e. sabotage dual-boot setups. To quote:

Where you might run into some problem is if the dual-boot setup is on a computer still using Legacy BIOS, with GRUB installed in the Master Boot Record, or MBR. On such a system, be sure to back up your file before attempting the upgrade.

In response to this, one anonymous user in Diaspora wrote:

I’ve got W7 dual-booting alongside Slackware (+ test distros) on my not-often-used netbook. It’s never finished its updates because it fails to update the MBR – which, for some reason it wants to. I multiboot with LILO which seems to cause W7 problems – I’m glad to say, because nothing should be updaing the MBR except LILO – when I run it. So…
That’s decided it. I won’t be updating to W10.

Which means W7 goes the way of W95 all those years ago when MS forced me to be 100pc Linux ‘cos XP would only run on new machines.
MS – I love you – you always force me to do the right thing – like deleting your software :D

– don’t mess around with any part of the disk except the partition I give you.
don’t tell me I need a new machine

– Good riddance to bad rubbish – I never used w7.

But it’s not just GNU/Linux partitioning that Microsoft loves to overcomplicate and often wipe/mess up with, the nuisance of UEFI ‘secure boot’ aside. Microsoft apparently learned nothing about fair competition, even when it comes to Web browsers on top of Windows itself (not GNU/Linux). Two decades of disputes and court battles have changed nothing at Microsoft and “Firefox’s CEO is furious”, according to this news headline:

Upgrading to Windows 10 switches your web browser to Edge – and Firefox’s CEO is furious

Mozilla chief exec Chris Beard has penned a tetchy open letter to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, criticizing the Redmond giant for changing customers’ default browser choice when they upgrade to Windows 10.

Internet Explorer users were warned that Edge, Microsoft’s Chrome-chasing new browser, would be the default in Windows 10. But as it turns out, users of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and other browsers, have found their default web clients switched to Edge following the Windows 10 upgrade, too.

In his letter, Beard accused Microsoft of using this part of the upgrade process to “throw away the choice your customers have made about the Internet experience they want, and replace it with the Internet experience Microsoft wants them to have.”

Chris Beard has already written about this not once but twice [1, 2], so he is very passionate about it. Most Firefox users are still stuck in Windows.

Should Mozilla be surprised at all? Microsoft sent Mozilla birthday cakes (publicity stunts), but then again it’s also said that “Microsoft loves Linux” (according to Nadella the liar). Like his boss, Bill Gates, it often seems as though Nadella feels like he’s above the law and any government intervention against gross violations will be too little, too late. Microsoft loves Firefox and Mozilla like it loves Linux and like American Psycho loves women.

Mozilla already helps Microsoft by sending it lots of user activity (even keystrokes) via Yahoo in the Firefox address bar. What has Microsoft done for Mozilla in return? Nothing. That’s just how Microsoft behaves. Some people refuse to learn from a long history of crimes, lies, deceit, and betrayals.

Mozilla should make a stronger alliance with GNU/Linux and other Free software (maybe join the FSF) as opposed to alliances with Google, Microsoft, and others to whom Firefox, the Web browser, is competition.

The European Commission proved to be so toothless and slow (while US authorities unwilling to tackle Microsoft’s recent browser crimes altogether), so no wonder Vista 10 goes further with anticompetitive behaviour. Microsoft knows it can get away with it and make gains by the time technical changes — if any — are made. The European Commission probably won’t take action against Vista 10 any time soon. Entryism is partly to blame (lobbying followed by a coup).

We cannot understand why Mozilla’s CEO is still acting surprised to have found out that Microsoft is a criminal enterprise that won’t obey the law and won’t respect competition, not even on Windows. In a way, Mozilla’s CEO is being punished for being naive, perhaps believing that Microsoft was a partner. As this Firefox advocate points out, all this happens after the Beard-led Mozilla had Firefox divert user keystrokes (like a keylogger) to Microsoft (via Yahoo) without even asking users for their input, opinion, consent, preference, etc. He now gets stabbed in back.

At some later stage we are going to show how Microsoft also suppresses the use of non-Microsoft online services. It’s all “me me me!”

“I think he [Bill Gates] has a Napoleonic concept of himself and his company, an arrogance that derives from power and unalloyed success, with no leavening hard experience, no reverses [...] They don’t act like grown-ups!”

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson

As Microsoft AstroTurfing/PR Budget Runs Dry, Vista 10 Truths Come Out

Posted in Vista 10, Windows at 7:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This is rapidly becoming an Internet meme (source)

Vista 10 bugs

Summary: The media manipulation by Microsoft (to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars spent on ‘marketing’) grows thin as a growing number of growingly angry early adopters of Vista 10 publicly rant

MAKE NO mistake about it. Microsoft has been gaming the press this past week, as it often does but more so when there is a new release of Windows. Budget usually stands at hundreds of millions of dollars, based on past releases. That’s just for “marketing”. Microsoft has already trashed Twitter with “sponsored” links and content, but that’s not a surprise given past observations [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Microsoft is a big source of income for Twitter. Vista 10 enjoys a great deal of fake ‘reports’ from Microsoft boosters. Take for example this Microsoft puff piece which is like Vista 10 advertising, masqueraded as “history”. Over at Ars Technica, Microsoft Peter was chosen to do a ‘review’ of Microsoft’s Vista 10. That’s like Chrysler reviewing a car from Chrysler. It’s clear that Condé Nast isn’t interested in objective reviews. That’s just typical Condé Nast [1, 2, 3]. It now acts more like a “media partner” of Microsoft, not a news site/network. There is a lot of money to be grabbed (hundreds of millions of dollars) in Vista 10 advertising. ‘”This versions is the $superlative yet” formula’ is what iopkh called this pattern of covering Vista 10. We saw it in past years. That’s such a meaningless yardstick. The only positive ‘reviews’ we’ve seen so far of Vista 10 were not reviews. They were advertisements published by longtime Microsoft boosters (with a long track record). Remember that when Vista and Vista 8 were released they too initially received positive ‘reviews’ (‘prepared’ puff pieces, or “marketing”). When Microsoft released Vista 8 it planted some ‘reviews’ (posted by Microsoft boosters), then some other boosters (or Microsoft-funded media) claimed that “people like it”. Staged hype is what it was, as we showed at the time. A lot of the ‘excitement’ over Vista 10 is totally manufactured and staged. The same thing happened with Vista and Vista 8. Some people make a living off these tricks. In Twitter, all I got from Microsoft employees for writing what I have about Vista 10 is ad hominem attacks and insults. They just cannot refute with facts.

“Like all proprietary software, Windows 10 puts those that use it under the thumb of its owner.”
      –Free Software Foundation
The good thing is that a day or two after the release Microsoft runs out of steam. the Techrights IRC channel helps show just how much of a mess Vista 10 really is (once the ‘prepared’ puff pieces have ‘run out’). The Register is registering negative feedback from readers and goes with the headline “‘Fix these Windows 10 Horrors’: Readers turn their guns on Redmond”. There are many severe bugs, as we warned weeks ago. Vista 10 is a train wreck with driver issues, as we were told by insiders weeks before the launch. The Register critiques the updates of death (“Unstoppable auto-updates? More like auto-borkage”) and says that one “issue stems from a push-me-pull-you conflict between Windows Update and Nvidia’s own driver and software management tool, Nvidia GeForce Experience. Forbes reports that the latest driver version, 353.54, is only available through Windows Update, it isn’t very stable, and yet Windows 10 installs it anyway automatically.”

What a way to brick an operating system… without even a warning.

Vista 10 “hijacks your internet connection to serve other PCs updates,” DaemonFC wrote. He is a former Microsoft MVP, who is now a regular at various Techrights IRC channels. He is already trying Vista 10 and reporting issues. He complains about “features that are bordering on malware.”

“I don’t think this is “bordering” anymore,” responded MinceR, “earlier versions were perhaps “bordering” on malware. vista10 is clearly malware” (as per definition). Vista 10, explains MinceR, “helps circumvent corporate firewalls that were set up to prevent Microsoft from ***ing up their configurations” (forced updates are also means for back doors).

“Windows 10 Hangover is still unfolding. The new error message from the installer is making the rounds as a new internet meme.”
      –DaemonFC
But talking about software bugs isn’t perhaps the main point. Vista 10 does not just have many bugs. It is a bug. It’s a bugging device masquerading as an operating system. Nadella’s team created a monster and no sane government is ever going to adopt Vista 10 unless they make some magical “edition” for privacy. Detailed images that show privacy violations in Vista 10 have gone viral and there are new articles too. Lauren Weinstein’s Blog calls it a “Privacy Mess”.

“Windows 10 includes keylogging spyware,” wrote DaemonFC, “on by default.”

“Send typing and inking data to Microsoft to improve the recognition and suggestion platform” is just one example of several.

“Apparently,” wrote DaemonFC, “the Windows 10 Hangover is still unfolding. The new error message from the installer is making the rounds as a new internet meme.”

DaemonFC refers to “Something happened. Something happened.” We covered this yesterday.

The Free Software Foundation has meanwhile come out with this press release that seemingly targets existing Windows users and is thus quite gently-worded. To quote the opening paragraph: “The Free Software Foundation urges everyone to reject Windows 10 and join us in the world of free software. Like all proprietary software, Windows 10 puts those that use it under the thumb of its owner. Free software like the GNU/Linux operating system treats users as equals and gives them control over their digital lives.”

Links 31/7/2015: Lennart Poettering as ‘Linux Hero’ and systemd Conference Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 5:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Accuvant researchers to release open source RFID access tool

    Security researchers have long known about the vulnerabilities of the RFID readers that many buildings use instead of door locks, but facilities managers have been slow to upgrade to more secure systems.

    To draw attention to the problem, at next week’s Black Hat conference, Accuvant researchers will be releasing an open source piece of hardware that can be used to circumvent these readers.

  • VA Secretary: Open source is the only way to operate

    Veterans Affairs Department Secretary Bob McDonald voiced his support for open source technology July 30, as he outlined a broad reform plan that includes streamlining information technology and taking a more “holistic” look at customer service.

    “We have over 200 databases with customer information. That means if you want to change your address, you have to go to at least nine places to change your address at VA,” said McDonald during a morning keynote July 30 at a conference in Bethesda, Md.

  • OpenDaylight Project Picks Up Steam
  • Kim Dotcom to create Wikimedia-style open source Mega 3.0

    Dotcom’s first file locker, Megaupload, saw him accused of knowingly hosting, and indeed encouraging the upload and distribution of, stolen films and music. From his new home in New Zealand, he’s fought a long legal battle on numerous fronts, fending off extradition attempts, accusing kiwi authorities of working without warrants end even trying, and failing miserably, to promote a political part .

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Dummy projects for new Drupal hires

      Lakhani’s current role involves promoting the use of applications like Drupal, WordPress, Magento, and Redline through free tools and services. But, this Denver-based executive’s experience shows most in forming the global, distributed team of developers and support staff inherent to success.

  • BSD

    • from distribution to project

      OpenBSD is going through something of a minimalist phase right now, but that wasn’t always the case. There was definitely an era of aggressive importation as well. Times change, priorities change, projects change. I wasn’t involved with OpenBSD during the early years, but I think I can explain the shift in attitudes. This is part three of an apparently ongoing series that started with Pruning and Polishing and out with the old, in with the less.

    • sashan@ on SMP pf progress

      One of our new developers, Alexandr Nedvedicky (sashan@), writes in to tell us about his trip to the lovely locale of Calgary for c2k15.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source part of Bulgarian eGovernment tender requirements

      The Bulgarian government has added open source as a requirement to its ‘Preliminary criteria for the eligibility of eGovernment projects’.

    • IT trade groups protest Slovak licence deal

      Two IT trade associations in the Slovak Republic are objecting the renewal of a proprietary software licence contract negotiated by the country’s Ministry of Finance for all government organisations. Instead of continuing to rely on proprietary office suites, the groups want the Slovakian government to explore a transition to open source alternatives.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • WEBINAR – A standard that is not managed is not a standard

      Through their brief webinar Marijke and Marco will share with the audience how the Dutch Government is promoting the adoption of open standards through BOMOS, a method (initiated by Dr. Erwin Folmer, TNO with contribution from Marijke) which describes how to maintain and manage open standards.

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Security updates for Wednesday
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Remote code execution via serialized data

      Serialization and, more importantly, deserialization of data is unsafe due to the simple fact that the data being processed is trusted implicitly as being “correct.” So if you’re taking data such as program variables from a non trusted source you’re making it possible for an attacker to control program flow. Additionally many programming languages now support serialization of not just data (e.g. strings, arrays, etc.) but also of code objects. For example with Python pickle() you can actually serialize user defined classes, you can take a section of code, ship it to a remote system, and it is executed there.

    • To exec or transition that is the question…
    • CIL – Part1: Faster SELinux policy (re)build
    • FCC Rules Block use of Open Source

      The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has introduced ‘software security requirements’ obliging WiFi device manufacturers to “ensure that only properly authenticated software is loaded and operating the device”. The document specifically calls out the DD-WRT open source router project, but clearly also applies to other popular distributions such as OpenWRT. This could become an early battle in ‘The war on general purpose computing’ as many smartphones and Internet of Things devices contain WiFi router capabilities that would be covered by the same rules.

    • Hacked Jeep Cherokee Exposes Weak Underbelly of High-Tech Cars

      The Jeep Cherokee brought to a halt by hackers last week exposed wireless networks as the weakest link in high-tech vehicles, underscoring the need to find fast over-the-air fixes to block malicious intrusions.

      Features that buyers now expect in most modern automobiles, such as driving directions and restaurant guides, count on a constant connection to a telecommunications network. But that link also makes cars vulnerable to security invasions like those that threaten computers in homes and businesses.

  • Censorship

    • David Cameron wants to block non-age verifiying porn sites

      PRIME MINISTER David Cameron is looking to ensure that adult websites, the sort that MPs like, will abide by age verification standards and make sure that fumbling punters are of adult age.

      Cameron has a thing about these sites, as does a huge chunk of Westminster, and would like to see adult content subjected to bondage and inspection. He would like to give it a firm political going over and a good legislative seeing to. He wants to take it in hand.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC has already gotten 2,000 “net neutrality” complaints

      The Federal Communications Commission received about 2,000 net neutrality complaints from consumers over a one-month period, according to a National Journal article today. The overarching theme of the complaints is that customers are fed up with their Internet service providers, often due to slow speeds, high prices, and data caps. In a sampling of 60 complaints, the most frequent targets were AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon.

07.30.15

Links 30/7/2015: Apache Spark on Z System, Elive 2.6.8 Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 2:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • CoreOS CEO: Security is fundamental

      In an interview, CEO Alex Polvi claims his company invented the cloud-native OS category and discusses how CoreOS’s update strategy differs from the likes of Red Hat

    • IBM Promises Apache Spark for Linux on Z Systems

      Expanding the z Systems ecosystem means data scientists can use Apache Spark’s common programming framework and get the full use of the mainframe’s advanced analytics capabilities – without having to get sidelined by any specific format for data.

    • IBM to Deliver Apache Spark for Linux on Z System Mainframes

      IBM has announced support for Apache Spark for Linux on z Systems, as part of its effort to expand the reach of its mainframe platforms. Among other benefits, the z Systems will now have a lot of appeal for data scientists that can leverage Apache Spark’s advanced analytics capabilities–all running on Linux.

    • Why Docker is Not Yet Succeeding Widely in Production

      Docker’s momentum has been increasing by the week, and from that it’s clearly touching on real problems. However, for many production users today, the pros do not outweigh the cons. Docker has done fantastically well at making containers appeal to developers for development, testing and CI environments—however, it has yet to disrupt production. In light of DockerCon 2015’s “Docker in Production” theme I’d like to discuss publicly the challenges Docker has yet to overcome to see wide adoption for the production use case. None of the issues mentioned here are new; they all exist on GitHub in some form. Most I’ve already discussed in conference talks or with the Docker team. This post is explicitly not to point out what is no longer an issue: For instance the new registry overcomes many shortcomings of the old. Many areas that remain problematic are not mentioned here, but I believe that what follows are the most important issues to address in the short term to enable more organizations to take the leap to running containers in production. The list is heavily biased from my experience of running Docker at Shopify, where we’ve been running the core platform on containers for more than a year at scale. With a technology moving as fast as Docker, it’s impossible to keep everything current. Please reach out if you spot inaccuracies.

    • A New SysAdmin Pledge in Honor of SysAdmin Day

      In fact, history is filled with examples of great people declaring a holiday for themselves. Take Christopher Columbus, for example. Upon discovering “The New World”, Columbus immediately declared the second Monday in October to be “Columbus Day” (to be celebrated with cake… and balloons… and confetti). It took a year or two to catch on, but before the decade was through, most of the world was already celebrating this new holiday. It’s true. Look it up.

    • 10 Job Interview Questions for Linux System Administrators

      SysAdmins of all experience levels, then, can benefit from brushing up on their job interview skills if they want to find and land a great new job.

  • Kernel Space

    • Systemd Is Launching Its Own Conference

      Lennart Poettering today announced systemd.conf 2015, its inaugural conference devoted to the future of systemd.

    • AllSeen Alliance Welcomes Philips as Premier Member

      The AllSeen Alliance, a cross-industry collaboration to advance the Internet of Things (IoT) through an open source software project, today announced that Philips has joined as a premier member. Philips joins more than 170 members of the AllSeen Alliance, including premier members Canon, Electrolux, Haier, LG, Microsoft, Panasonic, Qeo (a Technicolor company), Qualcomm Connected Experiences, Inc., Sharp, Silicon Image (a Lattice Semiconductor company) and Sony.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE at FISL 16

        Many of you already know that FISL (The International Free Software Forum) is one of the biggest FLOSS conferences in the world. From 8 to 11 July 2015, 5281 free software passionate people met in Porto Alegre (South Brazil) for the 16th FISL edition, enjoying activities such as talks, panels, hackathons, workshops, and community meetings. All kinds of FLOSS-related topics were in place: development, translation, artwork, education, robotics, entrepreneurship, audio-visual, women and gender, politics, academia and research … Phew! that’s tiring :) KDE has a long and memorable history at FISL and it wasn’t different this year.

      • Busy is fun!

        The beginning of the day was reading some social media in the morning with breakfast catching up with the times. While going though my Google+ feed I saw a post that I seen before about the a bug with a krunner plugin. The plugin in question was this which Riddell, Dan and I debugged to find some more info about the bug such as that is effects Kubuntu, Arch and openSUSE so it is upstream related.

      • Akademy Day Trip
      • KDE Akademy 2015 Videos Are Now Appearing Online
      • Akademy 2015

        The organising team have done a fantastic job: we’ve had free busses running from our accommodation to the venue, video recording of talks (which I’m sure someone will post about soon), easy to access food, two parties and people always on-hand to provide information.

      • The Failure of KDE Activities

        KDE Activities are multiple desktops. While easy to understand, they open up the possibility of new methods of workspace organization as well as new ways to layout the desktop. They deserve to be recognized as an innovation as important as tabbed browsing, and should be a part of every desktop environment, yet most users have only vaguely heard of them, and even fewer have tried them.

        When a feature so elegant is ignored, something has clearly gone wrong — but what, exactly?

        One thing is certain: Activities are one of the least unpublicized features on any desktop. From their introduction in KDE 4.0 to their implementation in Plasma 5, Activities have never had any online help. If you go to the desktop toolkit, you can click on Activities, but nothing suggests why you should bother. How to create an Activity is reasonably obvious with a little exploration, but why you would want to is never explained.

      • KDE Plasma Goes Mobile

        While FOSS Force gave you a look at setting up KDE Plasma on the desktop in Don Parris’ article last week, KDE recently jumped into the mobile fray by announcing KDE Plasma Mobile at their Akademy conference this week in Spain.

        While it joins an already crowded field, with the likes of Android, Ubuntu Touch, Firefox OS and others already in the mobile OS space, Plasma Mobile “offers a free — as in freedom and beer — user-friendly, privacy-enabling, customizable platform for mobile devices,” wrote Sebastian Kugler, a lead architect, on KDE’s website. “Plasma Mobile is currently under development with a prototype available providing basic functions to run on a smartphone.”

      • KDE Started Working At Fiber, A New QML-Based Internet Browser
      • Fiber Update

        The original plan was to allow an extension to handle the more crazy form-factors, but as I was blueprinting the APIs on paper I quickly found the tab-bar becoming a nightmarish monster which would have made custom tab extensions painful. Ultimately as a shortcut until a nice API can be made (and many more critical APIs can be rolled out) I’ll be adding sidebar tabs as a native feature. I may look at some sort of button form-factor as well, such as the ones commonly seen in mobile browsers.

      • Porting Qt applications to Wayland

        During Akademy I hold a session about porting applications to Wayland. I collected some of the general problems I saw in various KDE projects and want to highlight them in this blog post, too.

      • Evolving KDE – survey results
  • Distributions

    • Zorin OS, consider me a Linux fan for life

      After what now seems forever on a Windows based OS (most recently, XP and 7 for desktops, Vista for laptop), I decided to move away from XP and install Zorin OS 8 core. Although I am still on a learning curve, I cannot stress enough how much I love the OS and have not had a moment of wanting to go back to any Windows version.

    • New Releases

      • Elive 2.6.8 beta released

        Beta versions are not so optimized as the Stable ones due to debug flags and developer profiles, you can encounter errors and incomplete things, if you want a more polished system try the Stable version instead.

      • Webconverger 31 Kiosk OS Is Now Using Firefox 39

        Webconverger is a Linux distribution used for deployment in places like offices or Internet cafes, which provides users only with web applications. A new important upgrade has been made available and is now ready for download.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat augments presence in Malaysia

        Senior director and general manager, ASEAN, Damien Wong Yok Weng said Malaysia was an important market for the company and it had much potential for the adoption of open source technology across industries.

        Speaking to reporters at the official announcement of the subsidiary here, Wong said in terms of expansion strategy, Red Hat had looked at all the surrounding factors in the information technology (IT) industry.

      • Zacks Rating on Red Hat, Inc.
    • Debian Family

      • Parsix 8.0 Test 2 Is Based on Debian Testing and GNOME 3.16

        Parsix GNU/Linux, a live and installation DVD based on the testing packages from the Debian project that’s using GNOME as the desktop, is now at version 8.0 Test 2 and is ready for download and testing.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Canonical Says Ubuntu-Based Docker Images Are Not a Copyright Violation

            Canonical said through the voice of Dustin Kirkland that you can use Ubuntu with Docker without violating any copyright policy, contradicting what Matthew Garrett said in a blog post just a week ago.

          • Snappy Ubuntu Core 15.04 Gets a Second Stable Release

            A second Snappy Ubuntu Core 15.04 iteration has been released by Canonical, and the new version comes with a reworked boot logic for BeagleBone Black, among other features.

          • Ubuntu Touch Finally Gets a Regression Fix for Nexus 4 and Aquaris Phones

            Canonical has recently released a new OTA update for Ubuntu Touch and it brought a large number of new features and improvements, but also a nasty regression that caused the telephony function to fail on BQ phones and Nexus 4. That fix has finally landed.

          • Review: Ubuntu 15.04

            Perhaps that’s a sign that it’s time for Canonical to take the opposite tack to Microsoft and move to less frequent releases, or at least less arbitrarily timetabled ones. Ubuntu is stable enough now not to need constant updating, and in this case waiting on the Linux 4 kernel would have made for a much more compelling release. Canonical’s engineers, meanwhile, could benefit from spending more time working on long-promised upgrades, and less time patching and polishing half-baked versions of things for a biannual release.

            If you’re looking for a free, friendly and powerful OS for desktops and servers, Ubuntu is still an easy Linux distribution to recommend. But even for established Ubuntu users this update is neither practically nor emotionally compelling. If Canonical seriously wants Ubuntu to make more of a mainstream impact, Ubuntu 15.04 – a barely necessary update rolled out to serve a timetable rather than a strategy – is precisely the sort of thing it needs to stop releasing.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 On The Tegra X1 Yields Even Better Results, More Benchmarks

            Earlier this week I posted some initial benchmark figures for the NVIDIA Tegra X1 on Ubuntu Linux. Those results showed much promise for this 64-bit ARM big.LITTLE SoC that also bears a Maxwell GPU, but that wasn’t tested for the initial comparison. Here are a few more benchmark results from this Tegra X1, including an Ubuntu 15.04 installation to show the difference against the Tegra X1 on Ubuntu 14.10.

          • Canonical’s Alan Pope Proved That Porting HTML5 Games To Ubuntu Touch Is Easy

            Alan Pope, or Popey, Ubuntu’s new Community Manager of Engineering at Canonical has proven in this article that porting HTML5 Games to Ubuntu Touch is not such a difficult task after all.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu MATE Will Offer a Choice Between Ubuntu Software Center and App Grid

              Ubuntu MATE devs recently decided to remove the Ubuntu Software Center from the default installation. The decision was met with some resistance, but a lot of users expressed their support for the removal of the Ubuntu Software Center. Now, the team has explained what are they putting in its place.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Carrier adds Arduino and MCU hooks to Zynq ARM/FPGA COM

      Avnet released a carrier board for its Linux-driven, FPGA-enabled MicroZed COMs featuring an Arduino shield interface and hooks to an optional MCU board.

      The MicroZed Carrier Card Kit for Arduino extends Avnet’s SBC-like MicroZed computer-on-module with Arduino and MCU expansion. The $89 kit is designed for Internet of Things applications such as industrial control, remote sensing, and embedded vision.

    • i.MX6 hacker board features M.2 and wide-range power

      SolidRun has revamped its line of sandwich-style, community-backed HummingBoard single board computers, adding a new high-end HummingBoard Edge model. Like the other HummingBoards, it runs Linux on swappable “MicroSOM” computer-on-modules running various Cortex-A9 based Freescale i.MX6 SoCs. SolidRun’s open-spec HummingBoard placed 21st out of 53 Linux- and/or Android-friendly hacker SBCs in our recent SBC reader survey.

    • Phones

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • 5 Reasons I Lost $9,000 On An iPhone Game

    If you’ve watched television recently, you’ve probably noticed that Kate Upton’s tits really want you to play a smartphone game called Game Of War: Fire Age. That ad campaign cost approximately 40 million dollars, or about 5 million more than the entire development cost of Borderlands 2. They can afford their “it’s like Game Of Thrones, but, somehow, even more sexual!” marketing because, as we write this, Game Of War is raking in more than a million dollars each day. Jason Croghan has spent several thousand dollars on it, and he told us all about how games like Fire Age sink their claws into you — and don’t let go.

  • SAP CRM problems prompts 95% loss in British Gas operating profit

    British Gas Business has suffered a 95 percent loss in operating profit during the first half of this year, following a transition to a new SAP billing and CRM system.

    The utility firm said in its profit announcement this morning: “British Gas Business was impacted by issues following the implementation of a new billing and CRM system in 2014, which has resulted in significant delays to issuing customer bills.

  • Hardware

    • The case against SSDs

      Flash-based SSDs have revolutionized enterprise storage. But SATA SSDs have serious problems that show that after more than 50 years of disk-based storage, our ancient I/O stack must be rebuilt. Here’s why.

  • Security

    • Get root on an OS X 10.10 Mac: The exploit is so trivial it fits in a tweet

      Yosemite, aka version 10.10, is the latest stable release of the Mac operating system, so a lot of people are affected by this vulnerability. The security bug can be exploited by a logged-in attacker or malware on the computer to gain total unauthorized control of the Mac. It is documented here by iOS and OS X guru Stefan Esser.

      It’s all possible thanks to an environment variable called DYLD_PRINT_TO_FILE that was added in Yosemite. It specifies where in the file system a component of the operating system called the dynamic linker can log error messages.

      If the environment variable is abused with a privileged program, an attacker can modify arbitrary files owned by the powerful user account root – files like the one that lists user accounts that are allowed administrator privileges.

    • Secure Server Deployments in Hostile Territory, Part II

      There are a few other general security practices I put in place. First, as I mentioned before, because each host has a certificate signed by an internal trusted CA for Puppet, we take advantage of those certs to require TLS for all network communications between hosts. Given that you are sharing a network with other EC2 hosts, you want to make sure nobody can read your traffic as it goes over this network. In addition, the use of TLS helps us avoid man-in-the-middle attacks.

    • Hackers Can Disable a Sniper Rifle—Or Change Its Target

      At the Black Hat hacker conference in two weeks, security researchers Runa Sandvik and Michael Auger plan to present the results of a year of work hacking a pair of $13,000 TrackingPoint self-aiming rifles. The married hacker couple have developed a set of techniques that could allow an attacker to compromise the rifle via its Wi-Fi connection and exploit vulnerabilities in its software. Their tricks can change variables in the scope’s calculations that make the rifle inexplicably miss its target, permanently disable the scope’s computer, or even prevent the gun from firing. In a demonstration for WIRED (shown in the video above), the researchers were able to dial in their changes to the scope’s targeting system so precisely that they could cause a bullet to hit a bullseye of the hacker’s choosing rather than the one chosen by the shooter.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Michael Moore film to attack US government’s state of ‘infinite war’

      Michael Moore’s new film, Where to Invade Next, explores how the US government maintains a state of “infinite war”, according to the Oscar-winning documentary film-maker.

      Moore revealed rough details of the project, which he has been making “in secret” since 2009, in his first Periscope broadcast. He answered questions from fans posted on Twitter and started by saying he’d like to “say ‘Hello!’ to my NSA friends that are watching right now”. He’s been a vocal critic of the agency’s mass surveillance practices – revealed by the Guardian in 2013 – and called whistleblower Edward Snowden “the hero of the year”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • PacifiCorp Superficial Climate Change Effort

      PacifiCorp and Berkshire Hathaway Energy should really consider a much more loftier goal but ultimately these companies are at the beck and call of shareholders so making large investments will reduce short term profits and that is why they are not going bigger. Another thing in addition to increasing these goals that PacifiCorp could do and should be doing across its grid is replacing transmission infrastructure with a smart grid where power can be stored when capacity exceeds demand. This in turn would reduce emissions significantly but also they could take steps like installing smart meters at all ratepayer locations (which PacifiCorp is behind on and only rolled out in a few small markets).

  • Finance

    • I went to Athens to see what economic catastrophe looks like on the ground — and what I saw shocked me.

      Like many other proud Greek-Americans, I’ve visited the country of my ancestors many times over the years. I even lived in Athens for two years while working for the U.S. government.

      I recently returned to Athens for a week to help the Greek government draft a new whistlebIower protection law. It was my first trip to the country in nine years — and suffice it to say, a lot’s changed.

      I followed the news of Greece’s financial collapse as closely as anyone. I’d heard the numbers — I knew that 40 percent of Greeks now live in poverty, for example, and that half of all young people in the country are unemployed. Seeing it in person was something else entirely.

    • Prof. Wolff and Cornel West talk about Capitalism and White Supremacy on GRITtv

      A conversation about capitalism with two brilliant minds, Cornel West and Prof. Wolff, together in a rare joint appearance.

    • British Gas owners Centrica to axe thousands of jobs

      British Gas owner Centrica is axing up to 6000 jobs despite reporting that profits were up 44 per cent to £656 million during the first half of 2015.

      Profits were boosted by higher household gas usage because of colder weather and the falling price of wholesale gas. Centrica nonetheless decided to slash its interim dividend by 30 per cent and aim to cut costs by £750 million in the next five years.

    • Prince George’s £18,000 birthday gift speaks volumes about Britain’s widening wealth inequality

      Normal children would be excited by a low roofed plastic wendy-house to hide away in and stew pretend tea. Some privileged toddlers may dream of a more stable wooden playhouse – big enough to host non-imaginary guests and less likely to blow away in a gust of wind. But no child other than Prince George could conceivably be the owner of a magnificent £18,000 cottage on wheels.

      The royal tot was given a luxury Victorian-style outhouse as a second birthday present from Dorset based company Plankbridge that started up with the help of The Prince’s Trust. It is positioned on the edge of the Prince of Wales’s wildflower meadow at Highgrove, probably in the hope that scenic views will inspire George to inherit his grandfather’s love of botany.

      While you’d expect the average wendy-house to be cluttered with plastic chairs and bowls of fake fruit, this one is fitted with a wood-burning stove, oak floors and a day bed. To make matters more laughable the souped-up shed is known as “The Shepherd’s Hut”, a title which carries with it connotations of rural poverty and humbleness.

    • For NYT, US Labor Abuses Abroad Are a Thing of Decades Past

      Usually investing in other countries is thought to both increase returns to the country doing the investment and diversify risks, since it is unlikely that foreign countries will be subject to the same problems that may be hitting China (or the US) at the same time. It is interesting that the New York Times seems to hold the opposite perspective.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Corporate lobbying expense jumps as U.S. trade debate rages

      Washington lobbying by companies and groups involved in global trade boomed in the past nine months, records show, as Congress debated a landmark trade pact proposed by President Barack Obama, the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

      Lobbying expenditures by members of a pro-TPP coalition increased to $135 million in the second quarter of 2015, up from $126 million in the first quarter and $118 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to Senate Office of Public Records reports reviewed by Reuters.

    • The Attack on Planned Parenthood, a View from Inside ALEC

      When I went to work for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) in 2003 as their legislative director, I was unprepared for the attacks this organization experiences on a routine basis. There are organizations solely dedicated to shutting Planned Parenthood down, and more pop up every day. Even before the 2010 tea party takeover in state Capitols around the country, including ours, the relentless legal and political attacks on Planned Parenthood were unending.

    • On The O’Reilly Factor, Sarah Palin Accuses Planned Parenthood Of Targeting Minority Women
    • Media Activism Wins

      We’ve had a lot of recent success at getting the corporate media to respond to criticism, in great part due to your letters and emails. The fact that this correspondence is individually generated by you makes it all the more effective.

    • NY Times Echoes Judith Miller’s Iraq War Excuse By Blaming Sources, Not Reporters

      One of the most baffling elements to The New York Times botched story about a fictional “criminal” investigation bearing down on Hillary Clinton over her use of a private email account is the seemingly shrug-of-the-shoulders response from the Times editors who are ultimately responsible for the newsroom’s black eye.

  • Censorship

    • BBC forced out team behind Savile exposé, says ex-Newsnight journalist

      BBC journalists will be afraid of speaking out about the next big BBC scandal after seeing how those who tried to expose Jimmy Savile were forced out, according to the former head of investigations at Newsnight.

      Merion Jones said the way he and other journalists who complained about the way the BBC handled the scandal were pressured to leave.

      “We were told at the time that you won’t be sacked but over a year or two years you’ll realise you are being treated as an outsider, that you will never be trusted because you blew the whistle, and you will find yourself leaving,” he said. “I didn’t believe that, but I started watching what was going around me.

    • 500 and counting: websites blocked by order of UK courts

      Darren, who currently sits as a Deputy District Judge and holds the title of Managing Associate with law firm Simmons & Simmons, has blown the dust of his abacus and actually totted up how many websites British browers aren’t supposed to be able to reach any more.

    • David Cameron calls to shut down porn sites without age-restricted controls

      Open Rights Group has responded to David Cameron’s call to shut down porn sites that don’t have age-restricted controls.

    • The O’Reilly Open Source Convention Was a Twitter Disaster

      O’Reilly media’s social media manager Josh Simmons further inflamed the situation by installing “GGAutoblocker,” a mass-blocking tool developed by Harper, onto the convention’s official Twitter account. The tool has been criticised in the past for labeling a vast number of innocent Twitter users as “harassers.”

      This criticism is supported by peer-reviewed research on the autoblocker, which found that just 0.66% of users blocked by the tool can be accused of genuine harassment. The autoblocker operates on the basis of guilt by association, with users automatically added to the blocklist based on who they follow.

  • Privacy

    • Google: Lock up your Compute Engine data with your own encryption keys

      Google will now let enterprise customers of one of its Cloud Platform services lock up their data with their own encryption keys, in case they’re concerned about the company snooping on their corporate information.

    • The Crypto Wars Have Gone Global

      Recently, Congress heard testimony about whether or not backdoors should be introduced into encryption technologies, a technically problematic proposal that would fundamentally weaken the security of the Internet, according to a recent report written by eleven of the world’s leading cryptographers. But while Congress is reliving these debates from the nineties (we hear they’re in these days), the Crypto Wars are very much alive and well in other parts of the world.

      The United Kingdom, Netherlands and Australia have gone farther than the proposals put forward by the FBI by introducing new regulations that seek to weaken and place limits on the development and use of encryption. These efforts, made ostensibly to protect citizens against terrorism, are likely to have severe economic, political and social consequences for these nations and their citizens, while doing little to protect their security.

      According to the cryptographers’ report, encryption in fact has a critical role to play in national security by protecting citizens against malicious threats. The harm to the public that can be presented by lax digital security has been illustrated a number of times over recent months: data breaches such as the hack of the Office of Personnel Management compromised the personal information of tens of millions of Americans, while weak or flawed cryptography led to vulnerabilities such as Logjam and FREAK that compromised the transport layer security protocols used to secure network connections worldwide. Encryption is not only essential to protecting free expression in the digital age—it’s also a critical part of national security.

    • Peru’s Ministries of Health and Commerce at Odds Over TPP Data Protection Rules

      In Peru, there is an internal confrontation between ministries due to the data protection provisions of the TPP. The Ministry of Health opposes to the extension on data protection due to the effects than it can have on access over medicines for Peruvians, as many international organizations such as Medicos Sin Fronteras have claimed. Nonetheless, the Ministry of Commerce, in a document published puts this statement in doubt. The document contains 105 questions about TPP. Regarding access to medicine the document raises a question: will the TPP affect public health? Then the document states that the same concern was made during the Peru-U.S. FTA negotiation, but that to the moment those concerns have not been rejected or accepted by the Ministry of Commerce.

    • Even the Former Director of the NSA Hates the FBI’s New Surveillance Push

      The head of the FBI has spent the last several months in something of a panic, warning anyone who will listen that terrorists are “going dark”—using encrypted communications to hide from the FBI—and insisting that the bureau needs some kind of electronic back door to get access to those chats.

      It’s an argument that civil libertarians and technology industry executives have largely rejected. And now, members of the national security establishment—veterans of both the Obama and Bush administrations—are beginning to speak out publicly against FBI Director Jim Comey’s call to give the government a skeleton key to your private talks.

    • NSA Will Destroy Archived Metadata When Program Stops

      Four months from now, at the same time that the National Security Agency finally abandons the massive domestic telephone dragnet exposed by whistleblower Edward Snowden, it will also stop perusing the vast archive of data collected by the program.

      The NSA announced on Monday that it will expunge all the telephone metadata it previously swept up, citing Section 215 of the U.S.A Patriot Act.

    • After Two Years, White House Finally Responds to Snowden Pardon Petition — With a “No”

      The White House on Tuesday ended two years of ignoring a hugely popular whitehouse.gov petition calling for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to be “immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon,” saying thanks for signing, but no.

      “We live in a dangerous world,” Lisa Monaco, President Obama’s adviser on homeland security and terrorism, said in a statement.

    • Senate majority whip: Cyber bill will have to wait until fall

      Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Tuesday said the upper chamber is unlikely to move on a stalled cybersecurity bill before the August recess.

      Senate Republican leaders, including Cornyn, had been angling to get the bill — known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) — to the floor this month.

      But Cornyn said that there is simply too much of a time crunch in the remaining legislative days to get to the measure, intended to boost the public-private exchange of data on hackers.

      “I’m sad to say I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he told reporters off the Senate floor. “The timing of this is unfortunate.”

    • Surveillance of all citizens: French government has now carte blanche

      On 23th July, the French Constitutional Council adopted a historical decision, standing out by its disregard for individual freedoms, right to privacy and freedom of speech. The “elders” have decided to avoid a real analysis of the proportionality of the new surveillance laws, and have shown their will to not stand in the way of the political game, becoming a mere rubber-stamping chamber.

    • Does the Kremlin Have a New Way of Hacking the West?

      A highly-capable Russian hacker group with links to Russian intelligence and that is known for going after high-profile foreign and corporate targets is deploying a powerful new data theft tool against Western systems, according to a new report by a prominent American cybersecurity firm.

    • New report: Scotland can ensure its data sovereignty with new ‘national open source transition plan’ after repeal of spying ban on MSPs

      A REPORT published today by Common Weal proposes a new plan to ensure Scottish data security and sovereignty after the revelation in the Daily Record on 24 July that the UK Government had revoked the spying ban on devolved parliaments, leaving MSPs at Holyrood open to hacking of communications by GCHQ.

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • You wouldn’t steal a car: Criminalisation of IP

        Criminalisation throws up a number of questions. Do existing laws cover the area to be criminalised? (For example, trade secret theft in the US is often covered by wire fraud laws.) Will criminalisation have the desired effect on incentives? Is it an appropriate use of police and public resources? Does harm exist? Is there a victim? How do magnets work?

      • Answers needed from the Copyright Police

        The City of London Police’s Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) has been the subject of controversy following take-down notices sent to overseas domain registrars. We believe they need to strengthen their commitments to due process, independence and transparency.

      • RIAA and Friends Accuse CNET of Hosting ‘Pirate’ Software

        Several prominent music groups including the RIAA, A2IM and ASCAP have accused CNET of hosting infringing apps on Download.com. In a letter sent to the CEO of parent company CBS, the groups urge the company to reconsider whether it’s wise to offer “ripping” software.

Microsoft’s Mouthpiece Mary Branscombe Tries to Shoot Down Free Software, But Fails Miserably

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL, Microsoft at 7:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Summary: At the CBS-owned ZDNet, which is Free/Open Source software-hostile, new FUD surfaces, but the FUD is so flawed that a full rebuttal is easy and almost imperative

Microsoft still chronically hates Free/libre software (especially classic copyleft) and it is desperately craving for some ‘dirt’ on it, no matter how hard it is to find. Microsoft propagandist (for nearly a decade now, or at least half a decade, both at CBS and at IDG) Mary Branscombe decided to pick on Free/libre software. The result is laughable. It’s a terrible piece. ZDNet, part of CBS, published this nonetheless. The editor (probably Larry) was apparently OK with that.

With fair use in mind, we are going to deconstruct everything in Branscombe’s article and show that it’s just a pile of baloney. Let’s start with the headline:

“Open source: Free as in speech, beer – or puppy?”

Not even original. Sun’s old CEO used this analogy (“puppy”) a very long time ago, before Sun defected to Free/Open Source software (FOSS) and got a new CEO. Branscombe is just copying or even ‘stealing’ the analogy without any attribution.

“It’s hard to give developers more control over how their work is used and still keep it open source.”

That’s an insane talking point. It’s like saying that the needs of the developers to oppress the users outweigh the needs and the interests of users. Branscombe encourages and advocates user-subjugating software. How ethical does it make her seem? Moreover, as we shall explain later, this affects all types of software, including proprietary software. It’s not a FOSS issue at all.

“When you put your code out under an open source licence, how much control can you expect over what it’s used for?”

Free software developers are developing because they want people to use their software. If Branscombe had spoken to any developers (even those of proprietary software), she would quickly realise that exercising control over the users is not the goal of these developers. Exploiting users is often the job (or the goal) of non-technical managers, who sometimes share users’ data with marketers, spies, etc.

“Open source has often been described as ‘free as in speech, rather than free as in beer’. Yes, it’s software that’s free to use, but the lack of a price tag isn’t always the main point.”

That’s quoting Richard Stallman without naming him. But to say that free software means “free to use” is to show lack of comprehension of his points. Free/libre software isn’t about “free to use”; the four freedoms which Stallman speaks about are what it’s really about.

“For some it’s about not being encumbered by limiting commercial licences or patents and royalties, for others it’s about the importance of being able to see and modify the source code of what they’re running (or distributing source so users can see it).”

By “commercial licences” she means proprietary licences. That’s a different thing. Regarding “patents and royalties”, this may inadvertently refer to software covered by the terms described under the text of the GPLv3.

The point about “distributing source so users can see it” is bizarre because visibility alone does not make software “Free software” or even “Open Source”. That’s just how Microsoft fraudulently openwashes a lot of its software. Branscombe helps this villainous mirage.

Now comes some of the more horrid stuff, as Branscombe probably believes that she kindly introduced FOSS in a fair and balanced fashion.

“And as I’ve long said, open source can also be ‘free as in puppy’; you take on the responsibility of care and keeping when you start to depend on open source software.”

Right, because nobody ever comes to depend on proprietary software? Whose stewardship and maintenance are both monopolised by people whose agenda differs from yours? This, if anything, is a point against proprietary software.

“You can run into problems if the project is no longer developed, or pulled suddenly when the company is bought by Apple and you discover you were using open source components that depended on a closed source core like FoundationDB, and that core is no longer available.”

Because proprietary software companies never get bought? Or discontinue a product? Oh, wait, they do. And often. If it’s Free software, then you can at least take charge or rely on others to take charge (e.g. forks or newly-created successors). Again, if anything, this is a point against proprietary software. Branscombe twists a problem with proprietary software as one exclusive to Free software. We saw other examples of that shameless spin very recently, as recently as one week ago.

“That makes it vital to always look carefully at the licence for open source software, especially if your business is involved (that’s part of the care and keeping of the free puppy).”

Right, because proprietary software licences never change? Or the EULA (see how Vista 10 trashes privacy this week)? You don’t even get to vote on or reject those. If a Free software project diverges from a licence in a way that people are opposed to, they can then fork while maintaining the more desirable licence. This, in turn, puts more pressure on the developer to obey the needs of the users. It keeps developers honest and obedient to their users; they cannot merely ‘occupy’ and thereby mistreat users. Isn’t that a positive thing in a moral society?

“But for some software developers, the free speech comparison is getting more relevant.”

The example she thus provides is irrelevant to free speech:

“Take the GIMP project, which stopped using SourceForge to distribute the Windows installer for its open source image editor in 2013, because of the ads that started appearing on the site featuring download buttons for alternative versions of the software.”

Advertising is not a matter of free speech and denying advertising is not a matter of free speech, either.

“GIMP left the site up because there were so many links to it online, but stopped updating the installers there. SourceForge deemed the product abandoned and started mirroring the releases from GIMP, but it also ‘experimented’ with wrapping the GIMP installer with adware.”

Therein lies the problem. Adware. It’s not just about ads on a page. It’s proprietary garbage that is not wanted and is improperly bundled.

“The GIMP team wasn’t happy (and SourceForge stopped wrapping the installer, although it didn’t stop mirroring it). But because GIMP is under the GPL and LGPL licences SourceForge did nothing wrong: those licences allow software to be repackaged.”

Nobody ever alleged that SourceForge had violated any software licences, so it’s unclear where Branscombe is going with this. No point is being made except the fact that developers can revoke endorsement (not distribution) of some piece of software if inappropriately packaged. GIMP developers packed up and moved. That’s a good thing. Some call it “free market”.

“Android tool developer Collin Mulliner was equally upset to discover that Hacking Team (an Italian company that sells surveillance tools to governments) had used his Android framework to build their Android voice call monitoring software.”

That is a licence violation. So what’s her point?

“”For the future I will use a license for all my software that excludes use for this kind of purpose,” he said in the blog he wrote to make it clear that he didn’t work on the Hacking Team tool. But that might be hard: writing a licence that lets people use your code freely means they can use the code for anything they want.”

But Hacking Team violated the terms of the GPL. Therein lies the main issue. Proprietary software would not have done any better at preventing use for malicious purposes, so how is this even relevant?

“Douglas Crockford famously added a line to his licence for JSON that said it couldn’t be used for evil (and just as famously said that IBM had asked for a variation because they couldn’t guarantee that their customers wouldn’t use it for evil).”

Is that a bad thing?

“Yes, the GPL has repeatedly been used in court, but mostly to force companies to comply with the rules about open sourcing their own code if they’ve published software based on GLP-licenced code.”

The typo/bad English aside (the verb has an “s” in it, but maybe this poor pieces was composed in a rush), is Branscombe trying to insinuate that honouring a licence is a bad thing?

“Commercial use is easier to police, but anyone who is going to use open source code for evil is unlikely to pay much attention to licences that say they can’t, and having people use your code for purposes you don’t approve of is pretty much the definition of free speech.”

Proprietary software (commercial software as Branscombe calls it) has exactly the same issues, so what is her point anyway? Where is that “free puppy” point ever coming into play?

“It’s going to take some careful writing of licences to give developers more control over how software they open source is used in the ways they want, without stopping the open uses they want to enable.”

Again, nothing to do with “Open Source” (Free software) at all. Branscombe takes an issue that applies to all software and frames it as one pertaining to Free software. But why? Just look at Branscombe’s history of badmouthing Microsoft’s competitors.

People of New Zealand Must Rise Up to Defend Sovereignty and Stop Software Patents

Posted in Australia, Law, Patents at 6:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Corporations rely on people remaining ignorant, apathetic and docile like sheep

Sheep

Summary: The TPPA serves to override (launder) the law of New Zealand, allegedly legalising patents on software in the process

MUCH of the software patents debate in New Zealand happened 2 years ago and about 5 years ago. We also wrote about it the other day, having noticed revisionism in the media.

Well, software patents are now being pushed from the back door (bypassing public debate), as today’s ZDNet article serves to remind us:

Negotiations for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement appear likely to undo New Zealand’s ban on software patents.

[...]

The president of the New Zealand Open Source Society is “livid” that New Zealand’s Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiating team appears to have already conceded the country’s newly-minted ban on software patents.

[...]

Lane said leaks of the negotiating position show that at one point only Mexico was holding the line on software patents and New Zealand appeared to have already conceded.

The implication is New Zealand’s new software patent law, passed just two years ago, will need to be reversed if the TPPA is inked.

“I think it would be fair to say that I haven’t seen any indication that there is anything positive for New Zealand in this at all,” Lane said. “The only motivation that I’ve been able to discern for taking part in the process is the somewhat dogmatic idea that if we are not part of this then we are going to miss out on something.”

It is clear that corporations and plutocrats always get what they want unless people fight back. We encourage people in New Zealand, not just software developers, to rise up and resist this injustice. It’s a nonviolent coup attempt.

Microsoft Illegally Evades Billions of Dollars in Tax, Says IRS

Posted in Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 6:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The criminal enterprise known as Microsoft finds itself embarrassingly exposed in the courtroom, for the IRS belatedly (decades too late) targets the company in an effort to tackle massive tax evasions

AT the end of last year we wrote about the IRS setting its sight on Microsoft, in spite of Microsoft’s influence in the United States government. Microsoft then attacked the IRS using its lawyers, for merely investigating Microsoft (i.e. doing its job), thus wasting taxpayers money in the courts. Can anyone not see the sheer arrogance of Microsoft? Having already been caught engaging in serious financial fraud (reported to the authorities by an insider) and despite being notorious for taxation/tax violations, Microsoft thinks it has moral ground and believes it can sue the IRS for merely investigating a criminal. Criminal companies with the “God complex” apparently believe that they don’t need to pay tax (because they are very politically-connected) and if you say that they do, they threaten you and bully you. It’s a form of SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation). Microsoft already loses billions of dollars and it sued the IRS for alleging that Microsoft owes billions of dollars to US citizens (easily provable).

This new article from The Register, based on legal documents, reveals the latest in this saga:

The ongoing squabble between Microsoft and the US Internal Revenue Service is heading to court, beginning with a hearing to take place in a Seattle federal court on Tuesday.

The case is gearing up to become one of the largest-ever legal battles between tax authorities and a US corporation over the practice of shifting assets to overseas subsidiaries as a way of avoiding US tax.

The IRS has alleged that deals Microsoft struck with subsidiaries in Bermuda and Puerto Rico between the years of 2004 and 2009 have potentially cost the US Treasury billions in tax revenue. But Redmond thinks the top tax agency’s snooping has gone on long enough and it should either produce a hard figure or drop the whole matter.

Microsoft also claims the IRS acted improperly when it hired two outside law firms to help it in its investigation, which the software giant describes as improperly delegating a government function to a private firm.

Microsoft has filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to see documents exchanged between the IRS and the law firms it contracted, including Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan and Boies Schiller & Flexner. The IRS has provided some such documents but Microsoft thinks it should be compelled to produce more.

Even if Microsoft goes bankrupt (it suffers losses already), people like Bill Gates, who became rich owing to the company’s criminal activities, should be able to (if not forced to) pay what was looted from the public. More of the corporate media should have the courage to cover the above news, but seeing how Microsoft uses SLAPP against the messengers, maybe the media chooses to stay silence and let only official documents (buried behind paywalls) speak.

“We’ve got to put a lot of money into changing behavior.”

Bill Gates

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