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08.28.14

Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) Companies Versus FOSS Moles (VMware, Sonatype, Xamarin)

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Mono, VMware at 4:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look at three entities which pretend to be pro-FOSS but are actually FOSS-hostile and very much determined to replace FOSS with proprietary software

Why do so many FOSS sites cover VMware and VMWorld when all it’s about is proprietary software and EEE (embrace and extend) against FOSS? Remember that it was Paul Maritz, Vice President at Microsoft who later became the CEO of VMware, saying that he wanted to “cut off Netscape’s air supply.” VMware is not a friend of FOSS and it is also a GPL violator, based on strong evidence that was never quite revisited in recent years. VMware is about exploiting FOSS while giving nothing in return.

Maritz and his influence linger on because, as even a Microsoft-friendly site put it, this is “embrace and extend” all over again. It looks like VMware is ‘embracing’ FOSS, but it’s embracing it like a python embraces a lamb. From the summary:

VMware’s VMworld announcements are a case study in the “embrace and extend” approach used so well by Microsoft. The big difference is VMware doesn’t want to and couldn’t add the “extinguish” to the cloud (hybrid or otherwise).

Larry Dignan is wrong in that last part. Having been an involuntary user of VMware in some places at work, it seems clear that VMware and their effect on VMs is similar to that of Oracle in databases. Many who insist on FOSS compromise for proprietary software and if the openwashing PR works (many thing of Oracle and VMware as ‘Linux-friendly’ due to marketing), then better options like PostgreSQL or MySQL (and KVM) get ignored or only scarcely explored.

VMware should generally be considered a proprietary software snake crawling inside the FOSS yard, offering nothing more than back doors at hypervisor level (remember that VMware and RSA, the NSA’s back door ally, are owned by the same company). Watch this new article titled “VMware CEO details offensive strategy for containers, open source”.

In other news, Sonatype, which has a consistent track record of FOSS licensing FUD, uses its spun credentials to make itself seem like FOSS while bashing FOSS in the FOSS-hostile IDG. Sonatype should spend more time explaining to the public the grave dangers posed by proprietary software EULAs and licensing costs, not to mention gangsters/lobbyists such as the BSA.

Lastly, but not leastly (no, it’s not really a word), watch this coverage of a Mono release. This article does not cover the issues around patents, Microsoft and a lot more. Instead it quotes the Microsoft boosters from Xamarin as follows:

The developers are saying that “Mono is an open source implementation of Microsoft’s .NET Framework based on the ECMA standards for C# and the Common Language Runtime. A growing family of solutions and an active and enthusiastic contributing community are helping position Mono to become the leading choice for development of cross platform applications.”

Mono is a great example of a FOSS mole. Mono and the company behind it are basically a Microsoft Trojan horse inside FOSS. The goal of Xamarin and of Mono is to make Microsoft richer, more dominant, more omnipresent, and in great control over all software. Xamarin hardly even cares for free/libre operating systems. It’s all about C# and other proprietary, heavily-patented Microsoft frameworks. Follow the money to better understand what drives Xamarin and what its true goals are. Look at who the company hires and what its staff says.

Writing about Microsoft’s pretense of embracing FOSS (like a wolf guarding the hen house), Jim Lynch cited us calling this whole thing “digital imperialism” the other day. He wrote: “I have seen some articles recently that asked if Microsoft has become a friend to open source over the last few years, and I think the behavior detailed in this article puts the lie to that idea. Microsoft was never a friend to the open source movement and it certainly isn’t now. But such press coverage is probably useful to the company as a cloak to hide behind while it tries to slip a dagger into the back of open source software.

“I also noted in an earlier article this week my skepticism of some of the articles about Munich supposedly dumping open source. If Techrights is correct then it looks like Microsoft may have had a hand in promoting some of the negative press coverage of open source in Munich. Sometimes it’s easy to smell a rat when you see a story like that suddenly cascading through technology media. ”

All that Microsoft can offer Munich is the return to blue screens of death, surveillance (espionage against Germany), a higher overall bill (in the long run), and fewer German jobs. Last week we noted that the one man who caused all the commotion in Munich (a self-professed Windows fan) was potentially a mole. People like John Dvorak are currently trying to exploit this deception to provoke and perhaps even troll GNU/Linux users.

08.27.14

Links 27/8/2014: GNU/Linux in Space, China, LinuxCon

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why we need an open-source movement for the web

    Now consider open source, the software that powers all these web companies. Open source has a built-in guarantee that users are in control. Always.

    This matters, because open source “is where innovation happens,” as Red Hat’s Gunnar Hellekson opines. From Hadoop to Android to Mesos to MySQL, much of the world’s best software is available for free.

  • prPIG Joins the Open Source Initiative

    The Open Source Initiative ® (OSI), the premiere organization that promotes and protects open source, announced today that the Puerto Rico Python Interest Group (prPIG) has joined the OSI as an Affiliate Member. prPIG’s support of open source software development and its advocacy for the adherence to the open source definition are supporting software innovation in Puerto Rico. prPIG’s affiliation with OSI will help build a sustainable software development community in Puerto Rico, that will drive technological and social innovation.

  • What makes your developers stick around?

    Chawner begins by relating a tale that is probably familiar to many in the open source world. It is the story of Richard Stallman’s battle with a closed source Xerox printer. The printer was subject to frequent paper jams, but because the source code was not available, he could not modify the printer’s software to report the jams to inconvenienced users waiting on their print jobs. This event, along with a general trend towards closed source software, caused Stallman to start the GNU Project and found the Free Software Foundation. The story of that troublesome printer and the subsequent developments in the free software and open source movements led Chawner to explorer her research questions in an attempt to understand participant satisfaction with FLOSS projects.

  • Tux Paint: Doing FOSS Right

    Apparently, I’m not alone in thinking highly of the software, if this page of testimonials is any indication. In fact, the publication “This Old Schoolhouse” recently echoed many other reviews in their article in the June 2012 edition. In the article, Andy Harris, the Tech Homeschooler, wrote, “Tux Paint is just about the most kid-friendly program I’ve ever seen. It’s designed so the adult can set it up, and even very young children can enjoy it thoroughly. It also has sophisticated enough features for siblings and parents to enjoy.”

  • Linux at 23, Desktop Feedback, and GIMP 2.8.14 Released

    The top story tonight is the releases of GIMP 2.8.12 and 2.8.14. Linux celebrated 23 years yesterday and the community had a bit to say about “the desktop.” And finally tonight we have a couple of gaming announcements and Bruce Byfield on the KDE Visual Design Group.

  • Open Source Software: Sailing Into Friendlier Seas

    Open source software is now a force drawing enterprises and developers like a magnet.

    The factors pulling adopters into the open source fold are changing, though. Also changing are the attitudes of software developers and corporate leaders about the viability and adaptability of open source.

  • Netflix Open Source Security Tools Solve Range of Challenges
  • Things I Learned about Open Source…The Hard Way
  • Shortlist of open source software used at NASA lab

    The offer was too good to be true. Three whole weeks at the NASA Glenn Research Center and an invitation to come back. I could scarcely believe it when I read the email. I immediately forwarded it to my parents with an addition of around 200 exclamation points. They were all for it, so I responded to my contact, Herb Schilling, with a resounding “YES!”

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome 37 Stable Arrives with Better Unity Integration in Ubuntu

        Google Chrome 37 is now the current stable version of the Internet browser from Google. It’s a release that’s more focused on security than anything else, but there are a few new features. It won’t feel different from the 36.x branch that users have just upgraded from, but that shouldn’t be a reason not to update the software.

    • Mozilla

      • First Firefox OS Smartphones Available in India this Week
      • Mozilla Adding Granular App Permissions to Firefox OS

        Mozilla is set to add a feature to its mobile Firefox OS that will give users the ability to revoke any application’s permissions on a granular basis.

        Firefox OS is the open source operating system that Mozilla built for smartphones. The software runs on a variety of devices from manufacturers such as Alcatel, ZTE and LG. The devices mainly are available outside of the United States, although there’s at least one Firefox OS phone sold in the U.S. The operating system is meant to be flexible and includes many of the security and privacy features that Mozilla has built into the Firefox browser over the years, namely support for Do Not Track.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • VMworld Brings New VMware OpenStack, Docker, and Hardware Technologies

      VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger kicked off his company’s VMworld 2014 conference with a message – Be Brave. Gelsinger’s message was intended for attendees but is also a message that is reflective of his company’s approach to the rapidly evolving Software Defined Data Center landscape.

    • VMware Misses Docker Opportunity
    • An introduction to Apache Hadoop for big data

      Apache Hadoop is an open source software framework for storage and large scale processing of data-sets on clusters of commodity hardware. Hadoop is an Apache top-level project being built and used by a global community of contributors and users. It is licensed under the Apache License 2.0.

    • OpenStack can stand on its own, whatever happens to Rackspace

      Four years ago, Rackspace and its early partners came up with an idea for an open source private alternative to Amazon Web Services –and OpenStack was born. Today, the future of Rackspace is murky, but the open source project it helped create is strong enough to stand on its own, whatever happens to one of the founding members.

    • Red Hat Enhances its Linux OpenStack Platform

      Red Hat has introduced updates for Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform 5, the latest version of its enterprise-focused OpenStack platform built on the Icehouse release. An updated installer and new high availability platform security capabilities are designed to let administrators more easily protect a healthy and fault-tolerant OpenStack deployment.

    • The NSF Pours $20 Million Into Experimental Cloud Test Beds

      Never underestimate the impact that the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) can have on technology. After all, way back when there was no commercial web, it was the NSF that–under pressure from entrepreneurs–opened up the gates for the commercial web to become a low cost way for organizations and individuals to become networked.

    • VMware Debuts OpenStack Open Source Cloud Computing Distribution
  • Education

    • Do kids learn about open source in school?
    • Zuckerberg-backed Panorama Teams With Harvard To Open Source Its Student Survey

      Panorama Education, the Y-Combinator education startup backed by the likes of Mark and Priscilla Zuckerberg’s Startup:Education, Google Ventures and other notable investors, is today announcing a partnership with Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education that speaks to how the startup is evolving its core business model. The pair have teamed up to launch Panorama Student Survey, Panorama’s signature school survey delivered as a free, open source product.

    • Back to school! 5 excellent open education resources

      It’s back to school for many kids in the United States, and soon to be so for many others around the world. While open source software and hardware are used less often to teach kids in grade school about the world, open principles are. They are what you might think of as the most natural methods of teaching. And, they are what we call the open source way.

      Think: sharing, collaboration, transparency, and failing faster.

      When I was a kid, these were the methods practiced by my teachers and taught to the students to use among their groups. To many adults, they are still the principles that guide them in their grown up world of business.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • MediaGoblin 0.7.0: Time Traveler’s Delight

      Welcome to MediaGoblin 0.7.0: Time Traveler’s Delight! It’s been longer than usual for our releases, but we assure you this is because we’ve been traveling back and forth across the timeline picking up cool technology that spans a wide spectrum of space and time. But our time-boat has finally come into the harbor. Get ready… we’ve got a lot of cargo to unpack!

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • US Military To Launch Open Source Academy

      Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center in Mississippi will offer open source training and Linux certification for military personnel and civilians in groundbreaking new program.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • New wiki to help you grow a better garden

      Have you ever tried to grow your favorite summer vegetable or garden herb and something went wrong? Maybe it was poor planting, a disease, or a pesky insect. Likely, you searched the Internet and found some answers, but millions of pages of information remains unviewed and unread on the subject. Maybe you need to troubleshoot problems or want definitive answers to questions like when to plant for your area or exactly when to fertilize.

      This is how the idea for OpenFarm sprouted. The knowledge for all these answers is out there, it’s just not in one place.

    • Open Access/Content

      • PACER Deleting Old Cases; Time To Fix PACER

        For years, we’ve talked about the many problems with PACER, the horribly designed and managed electronic court records system that the federal court system uses here in the US. Beyond being clunky, buggy, horribly designed and slow — it’s also expensive. With some exceptions, it’s 10 cents per page you download, and also 10 cents per search.

  • Programming

    • Checking Out C++14

      C++ has continued to garner more market share from C and the latest C++14 standard will help to continue this trend (see “C++14 Adds Embedded Features”). Most C/C++ developers are using compilers that support both but C still takes precedence for many for a variety of reasons. Support for legacy code is one reason. Corporate mandates are another. Unfortunately many stay away because of perceived complexity, inefficiency or that fact that it is an object oriented programming (OOP) language.

    • R programming language gaining ground on traditional statistics packages

      The R programming language is quickly gaining popular ground against the traditional statistics packages such as SPSS, SAS and MATLAB, at least according to one data statistician who teaches the language.

      “It is very likely that during the summer of 2014, R became the most widely used analytics software for scholarly articles, ending a spectacular 16-year run by SPSS,” wrote Robert Muenchen, in a blog post summarizing his analysis.

    • Programming with OpenCL 1.2

      printf-style debugging and the ability to partition computing devices into subdevices make OpenCL 1.2 a very useful upgrade.

    • Julia Language v0.3 Improves Technical Computing

      For the uninformed, Julia is a high-level, high-performance dynamic language centered around technical computing. The Julia high-performance JIT compiler is LLVM-based and features a large math function library, supports highly parallel execution, and is MIT licensed.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Feds: Red light camera firm paid for Chicago official’s car, condo

    The former chief executive officer of Redflex, a major red light camera (RLC) vendor, has been indicted on federal corruption charges stemming from a contract with the City of Chicago.

    On Wednesday, in addition to former CEO Karen Finley, government prosecutors also indicted John Bills, former managing deputy commissioner at the Department of Transportation, and Bills’ friend Martin O’Malley, who was hired as a contractor by Redflex.

  • ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Lands Dumb Criminal In Cuffs

    For those of you who have just woken up from a two-week coma, there are a couple of things you should know. People in Missouri are really pissed off. Iraq is being Iraq. ISIS isn’t a fictional spy agency on Archer any longer. And, finally, there’s this thing going around where people are pouring buckets of ice water over their heads in order to raise money for ALS, which it has successfully done to the tune of millions of dollars.

  • Science

    • Experiments explain why some liquids are ‘fragile’ and others are ‘strong’

      Only recently has it become possible to accurately “see” the structure of a liquid. Using X-rays and a high-tech apparatus that holds liquids without a container, Kenneth Kelton, PhD, the Arthur Holly Compton Professor in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, was able to compare the behavior of glass-forming liquids as they approach the glass transition.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Federal Judge Overturns Kaua’i Pesticide and GMO Law

      U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Kurren overturned Kaua’i County’s law regulating the use of pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs) this week. He ruled that it was preempted by Hawai’i state law, although not by federal law.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The World as WaPo Would Like It to Be

      So much of our discussion of public policy consists of absurd accusations from the right matched with self-serving justifications from the somewhat-less-right. The most obvious example of this is the perennial think piece on Obama’s foreign policy, which is invariably analyzed as being either foolishly pacifistic or prudently diplomatic.

    • Myth of ‘Limited’ US Airstrikes in Syria

      The US is once again on the warpath against Syria after the beheading of US citizen James Foley was released on the internet a week ago.

    • World War Three?

      Is the US about to attack Syria? President Obama has approved air surveillance of Syria to monitor possible ISIS activity, but the flyovers could be a precursor to eventual airstrikes.

    • US drones begin surveillance flights over Syria

      Barack Obama gives go-ahead for intelligence operation which could pave way for air strikes against Islamic State in Syria

    • We Have No Idea What’s Going on Inside Syria

      The AP reports today that President Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria, a move that could be the first sign of the U.S. expanding its operations against ISIS to the other side of the porous Syria-Iraq border. It makes sense that such a mission would begin with an extensive intelligence-gathering effort. That’s because, compared with other areas of the world, the U.S. military knows very little about what’s happening in Syria.

    • U.S. Lays Groundwork for Syria Strike
    • US launches reconnaissance flights over Syria
    • Iran Arming Iraqi Kurds Against Islamic State

      Iran has provided weapons and ammunition to the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq, said the region’s President on Tuesday in a joint a press-conference with the Iranian foreign minister.

    • Possible airstrikes in Syria raise more questions

      The intelligence gathered by U.S. military surveillance flights over Syria could support a broad bombing campaign against the Islamic State militant group, but current and former U.S. officials differ on whether air power would significantly degrade what some have called a “terrorist army.”

    • Is the Pentagon preparing to launch air strikes against ISIS in Syria?
    • Gaza live: Long-term ceasefire agreement arrived at, says Hamas official

      A senior Hamas official says a ceasefire has been reached with Israel to end a seven-week war that has killed more than 2,000 people.

    • A ‘leak’ in Hamas’s once-tight system yields crucial leadership kills for Israel

      The alleged money man died in a pile of burnt cash. He was riding in a car in Gaza City when the Israeli missile struck. The blast tore apart the vehicle, ripping open bags of American dollars and blowing the bills across the street. An unidentified witness told the New York Times that security soon collected the dollars billowing across the road and searched the car for more.

    • US bills fly after Israel hits Hamas finance big

      Hamas’ finance chief was killed by a pinpoint missile strike that ripped open his car — and scattered US currency on the streets of Gaza City.

      Bills burned by the blast lay amid the debris near where Muhammad al-Ghoul, who handled “terror funds,” was killed.

    • The death by drone memo: a throwback to U.S. terrorism in Nicaragua

      On September 30, 2011, Anwar al-Aulaki, a radical Islamist cleric and an American citizen, was killed in a targeted drone strike in Yemen.

      Among the many legal questions raised by such an act, a most important and intriguing one relates to the legal status of certain CIA activities given the existence of 18 USC 119, a federal statute which prohibits the (actual or attempted) murder of an American citizen by another American citizen outside of the United States.

      The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memorandum providing the Obama administration’s rationale for the strike was released last week, the result of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the ACLU and the New York Times.

    • Washington’s Latest War Fever

      War fever is running high again in Official Washington with pols and pundits demanding that President Obama order a major military intervention in Iraq and Syria to stop the violent jihadists of ISIS, a group that got its start with the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, as ex-CIA analyst Paul Pillar recalls.

    • What makes you an extremist and at what point will you be breaking the law?

      Will criticising British foreign policy be seen as something that defines how ‘extreme’ you are. If you are a Muslim and chose to state this openly will you be labelled a ‘radical’?

    • Avenging James Foley: Tit for Tat Is Not a Solution

      The ghastly killing of journalist James Foley — more than merely savage — was quite calculated to induce terror and to influence. And it did. Indeed, to discuss his death in a broader political context at this point may seem distasteful, clinical, and disrespectful to the dead and his family.

    • How the Brutalized Become Brutal

      An Egyptian-brokered cease-fire halting the Gaza war held into Monday morning, allowing Palestinians to leave homes and shelters as negotiators agreed to resume talks in Cairo. ()

      The horrific pictures of the beheading of American reporter James Foley, the images of executions of alleged collaborators in Gaza and the bullet-ridden bodies left behind in Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are the end of a story, not the beginning. They are the result of years, at times decades, of the random violence, brutal repression and collective humiliation the United States has inflicted on others.

      Our terror is delivered to the wretched of the earth with industrial weapons. It is, to us, invisible. We do not stand over the decapitated and eviscerated bodies left behind on city and village streets by our missiles, drones and fighter jets. We do not listen to the wails and shrieks of parents embracing the shattered bodies of their children. We do not see the survivors of air attacks bury their mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters.

    • China deploys armed drone to multinational drills

      China’s air force said it deployed an armed drone to multinational anti-terrorism drills on Tuesday, underscoring the country’s rapid progress in developing unmanned aerial vehicles.

    • What does the US wants in Irak?

      The humanitarian situation was cynically manipulated by the Obama administration –and echoed by the U.S. media– to provide an excuse for the president to attack Iraq again. President Obama has started another war in Iraq and Congress has been completely silent.

    • The Evil of U.S. Aggression against Iraq

      How can anyone still be an interventionist after what has happened in Iraq?

    • New Iran-Contra book shows how US-Iran ties were scuttled

      The scandal that became known as Iran-Contra is a distant memory for most Americans and Iranians. But an important new book provides fascinating details about US ignorance about Iran, which contributed to the largely botched effort to free US hostages in Lebanon and hindered a possible breakthrough in US-Iran ties 30 years ago.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Pierre Trudeau caused ‘friction’ with U.S. over Arctic policy designed to boost Canadian nationalism

      Pierre Trudeau’s bid to enhance Canadian sovereignty and promote economic development in the Arctic created some “friction” with the United States, says a declassified CIA report.

    • Pierre Trudeau’s Arctic policy sparked international friction: CIA report
    • Trudeau approach to North irked U.S. — CIA
    • Energy ballet-2: Syria, Ukraine and “Pipelineistan”

      As much as Iran, Russia, the US and the EU are involved in a sophisticated nuclear/energy ballet, Syria and Ukraine are also two key power play vectors bound to determine much of what happens next in the New Great Game in Eurasia.

      And both Syria and Ukraine also happen to be energy wars.

      The Obama administration’s Syria master plan was “Assad must go”; regime change would yield a US-supported Muslim Brotherhood entity, and a key plank of Pipelineistan — the $10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline — would be forever ditched.

    • Associated Press Profile Of Koch Brothers Whitewashes Their Fossil Fuel Ties

      Extensive reporting from the Associated Press on the Koch brothers’ financial background and political influence glossed over the duo’s ties to the fossil fuel industry and ignored their efforts to dismantle action on climate change.

      On August 25, the Associated Press published a “primer on the Koch brothers and their role in politics,” headlined “Koch 101,” along with a lengthy overview of the history of the Koch family. A primer on the influence of Charles and David Koch is sorely needed: Their political organizations are reportedly expected to spend nearly $300 million during this year’s election cycle, yet most Americans still haven’t heard of the highly influential brothers.

    • WaPo Bemoans a Climate Debate It Helped ‘Devolve’

      Some of the most high-profile media climate deniers–George Will, Charles Krauthammer and Robert Samuelson–are all Post columnists who have done their part to contribute to the “shape of the climate debate.” Krauthammer most recently (2/20/14) mocked the idea that the science of climate change was “settled,” and that scientists who warn of the disastrous effects of climate change are “white-coated propagandists.” Krauthammer went on TV this year to mock climate change science as “superstition.”

  • Finance

    • World Bank Project Manager in Court for ‘Stealing’ $87k

      Daniel Roberts, a World Bank Project Manager assigned with Ministry of Finance has been forwarded to the court for an attempted Theft of Property and Economic Sabotage in the tune of US$87,486 by the National Security Agency (NSA).

    • Councils in poorest areas suffering biggest budget cuts, Labour says

      The poorest areas of England have endured council cuts under the coalition worth 16 times as much per household as the richest areas, research has claims.

      Hilary Benn, the shadow communities secretary, said his figures showed the government had “failed to apply the basic principle of fairness” when allocating money to local government.

    • The rise of ‘Obama Inc.’

      The presidency of Barack Obama has catapulted a network of former advisers into lucrative positions.

    • An austerity revolt has broken the French government. Will the EU follow?

      If there were any lingering doubts about the seriousness of the crisis hanging over the future of the euro – and potentially of the European Union itself – the shock announcement of the dissolution of the French government should remove them.

    • Washington’s using less than a percent of the power it has to boost federal tech pay

      Under U.S. law, federal agencies are allowed to pay above and beyond normal salary rates for would-be employees who are extraordinarily talented, especially in the fields of science and technology. So-called Critical Position Pay Authority was used, for example, to bump the 2011 salary of the director of the National Institutes of Health — a geneticist who is both a best-selling author and winner of the Presidential Medal of Freedom — from $155,000 to just shy of $200,000.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Prof Loses Job Offer Over Israel Hate Tweets. Media Howls About ‘Academic Freedom’

      You would think in uber-liberal academia, a leftist professor could get away saying anything. But apparently you can go too far. Earlier this month, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign rescinded its offer to Steven Salaita, a Palestinian-American former Virginia Tech professor, for a tenured position in the American Indian Studies department. Why?

      Because of dozens of tweets Salaita made from his Twitter account preaching hatred of Israel and bashing America’s ties to the Jewish homeland. At the news of his hiring earlier in the Summer, the university started to get backlash from students, parents and donors who did not appreciate Salaita’s aggressively unfriendly attitude towards Israel. So the Univ. of Illinois’ Chancellor Phyllis Wise wrote to Salaita, stating he was no longer welcome as a professor at the university.

    • EasyDNS Tries To Balance Bogus Requests To Take Down Legit Foreign Online Pharmacies Against Truly Rogue Pharmacies

      We’ve written a few times about domain registrar/hosting company EasyDNS, which has been pretty vocal about how law enforcement and industry groups have recently started targeting registrars and hosting comapnies as “the soft underbelly” for censorship and coercive control. While we’ve covered this issue frequently as it relates to things like copyright, the real ground zero for this may be around online pharmacies. The online pharmacy space is a bit complicated — because there are really a few different kinds. There are US-based accredited/approved pharmacies, there are overseas accredited/approved online pharmacies… and then there are flat-out rogue pharmacies dealing in illegally obtained or counterfeit medicines. Obviously the last one is in a different category altogether from the first two, but US drug companies like to conflate legal foreign online pharmacies with the rogue ones.

    • University Bans Social Media, Political Content and Wikipedia Pages on Dorm Wifi

      “Finally, I can do whatever I want!” thought every incoming college freshman ever. But for some unlucky students arriving on campus this fall, that sought-after right of passage applies to just about everything except internet usage.

      Northern Illinois University enacted an Acceptable Use Policy that goes further than banning torrents, also denying students access to social media sites and other content the university considers “unethical” or “obscene.”

    • University Bans Social Media, Political Content and Wikipedia Pages On Dorm WiFi

      My understanding is that there was once a theory that America’s public universities were havens of free speech, political thought, and a center for the exchange of ideas. I must admit that this seems foreign to me. I’ve always experienced universities primarily as a group-think center mostly centered around college athletics. That said, if universities want to still claim to be at the forefront of idea and thought, they probably shouldn’t be censoring the hell out of what their students can access on the internet.

    • ‘Anarcho-Capitalist’ Stefan Molyneux, Who Doesn’t Support Copyright, Abuses DMCA To Silence Critic

      Either way, if you’re going to go around claiming that you’re against intellectual property and an “anarcho capitalist,” it’s going to look pretty sketchy when you use a federal law like copyright to censor someone else’s speech that is critical of you.

    • Can We Create A Public Internet Space Where The First Amendment, Not Private Terms Of Service, Rules?

      The other issue is that most sites are pretty much legally compelled to have such terms of use, which provide them greater flexibility in deciding to stifle forms of speech they don’t appreciate. In many ways, you have to respect the way the First Amendment is structured so that, even if courts have conveniently chipped away at parts of it at times (while, at other times making it much stronger), there’s a clear pillar that all of this is based around. Terms of service are nothing like the Constitution, and can be both inherently wishy-washy and ever-changeable as circumstances warrant.

    • Internet Uncertainty

      Tufecki should know. As a fellow at Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy, she focuses on the politics of free speech in social media. Over the years she’s traced this push and pull with particular attention to the Middle East and North Africa (Tufecki is a native of Turkey).

  • Privacy

    • NSA Makes Metadata (Including Info On Americans) Available To Domestic Law Enforcement Via ‘Google-Like’ Search

      The latest report from The Intercept on documents obtained from Ed Snowden (and, yes, they make it clear that these are from Snowden, rather than the purported “second leaker”) is about a “Google-like” search engine that the NSA built, called ICREACH, which lets the NSA share a massive trove (at least 850 billion) of “metadata” records not just with others in the NSA or CIA, but with domestic law enforcement and other government agencies including the FBI and the DEA. The database includes records collected via Executive Order 12333, which we recently noted a State Department official revealed as the main program via which the NSA collects its data (and which is not subject to oversight by Congress).

    • This Is What Happens When You Sleep Through an Earthquake

      The largest earthquake to hit California’s Napa Valley in 25 years struck near the Bay Area early Sunday morning. The 6.0-magnitude quake hit at 3:20 a.m. local time near American Canyon, about 6 miles southwest of Napa, at a depth of 6.7 miles. Nearly 90 people were injured—and countless more woken up, disturbed, and generally freaked out. Thanks to the quantified self phenomenon—the always-on activity and sleep trackers many people now wear—we know more than ever about the psychic effects of such an event.

    • Anti-spy technology remains hot a year after NSA leaks

      More than a year after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden leaked secret documents describing the breadth and depth of US surveillance, policy makers continue to debate the legal framework for such monitoring.

      Yet a number of technology startups are blazing ahead to create a range of products that promise to restore people’s privacy online. Silent Circle, WhisperSystems, and Wickr offer a variety of services, from private instant messaging to secure data storage to encrypted phone calls. Other companies, such as Blackphone, have focused on creating a secure smartphone for the privacy-conscious.

    • ‘Spiral of Silence’ on Social Media Surrounding Snowden Revelations

      A “spiral of silence” has arisen on social media since government spying revelations emerged from Edward Snowden last year, according to a new study.

      Pew Research found that people were less likely to post their views or concerns about NSA surveillance on Facebook and Twitter than in person due to fears that their views are not widely shared.

      Around 86% of people surveyed for the study – which questioned 1,801 US adults in August and September last year – said that they were willing to have an in-person conversation about the surveillance program, but only 42% of Facebook and Twitter users were willing to post about it online.

    • Pew: There’s a ‘Spiral of Silence’ on Social Media
    • Facebook users self-censor on controversial topics in real life, too

      If you didn’t see a lot of talk about Ferguson and Michael Brown on your Facebook feed, maybe that’s because your Facebook friends were afraid you’d disagree.

      The Pew Research Center on Tuesday said a study of nearly 2,000 adults on an earlier hot-button political issue – the massive leak by Edward Snowden of documents that showed the National Security Agency had spied on U.S. citizens – found those surveyed were less willing to discuss the issue in social media than they were in person, and that social media did not provide an alternate platform to talk about the story if they weren’t willing to discuss it in person.

    • When it comes to Facebook, we all just want to be popular, study finds
    • All of Your Facebook Friends Already Agree With You
    • If You Want an Engaging Debate About Ideas, Stay Off Social Media, Study Warns

      The technology many of us use to stay in touch with friends is poorly suited to creating meaningful debate and discussion, argues a new study which examined how revelations of widespread NSA media surveillance played out on Twitter and Facebook. Conducted by Rutgers University and the Pew Center for Research, the study points out that since social media functions as a bonding tool between groups and individuals, those who hold dissenting views are hesitant to express them. Groups formed on social media tend to be like-minded so contradicting people’s opinions can result in exclusion which, psychologically speaking, is not a good feeling.

    • “Obese Intelligence”: The NSA Search Engine. “Over 850 Billion Records about Phone Calls, Emails, Cellphone Locations, and Internet Chats”

      The revelations have a few implications, the most obvious one confirming the seamless transition between intelligence work on the one hand, and the policing function on the other. The distinction between intelligence communities whose interests are targeting matters foreign to the polity; and those who maintain order within the boundaries of a state in a protective capacity, prove meaningless in this form. The use of ICREACH makes it clear that the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are regular clients and users of the system.

    • UK privacy laws might need a technology reboot, says top UK judge

      UK SUPREME COURT PRESIDENT Lord Neuberger is pushing for an update to UK privacy laws.

      Neuberger was speaking in Hong Kong when he turned to the topic of privacy laws in the light of technology advances. He said that technology leaps forward while the legal system shuffles. He suggested that because of this, some sort of overhaul to UK privacy laws will be necessary.

      The judge spoke of the “astonishing advances” and “enormous challenges” presented by technological progress and the need to make adjustments before real problems occur.

      He said that technology developments have radically changed how content moves around, and how easily it can be transmitted, recorded and manipulated.

    • The EU ‘cookie law’: what has it done for us?

      It’s now more than two years since the cookie law began to be ‘enforced’ in the UK, but has it changed anything?

    • ‘Truthy’ joins NSA, IRS in watching you

      Americans’ telephone conversations already are being monitored by the National Security Agency and their health-care policies by the Internal Revenue Service. Now there’s “Truthy,” a government-funded project at Indiana University that will watch their Tweets for “political smears” and “social pollution.”

    • NSA’s metadata search engine used by US, foreign agencies

      The NSA has secretly built a “Google-like” search engine to be used by various US government agencies and intelligence agencies of the Five Eyes countries to sift through phone call, email, and Internet chat metadata, as well as cellphone locations collected and stored in a number of different databases.

    • Banks to meet with Treasury Department on cyber threats: sources

      Bankers and bank regulators have become more vocal lately about concerns that cyber attacks could put customer data and the stability of the financial system at risk.

    • Larry Page believes private medical histories shouldn’t be private

      Bloggers are all a-twitter about Charlie Rose’s recent interview of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) co-founder Larry Page at a TED conference in Vancouver, Canada. Page, enduring the softball-quickly-followed-by-frustrating-interruption style of Rose, still managed to eke out responses of intense bloggy interest. When asked about government surveillance, Page lamented the “tremendously disappointing” behavior of the NSA. Sounds noble, but it may end up sounding duplicitous. Recent testimony by NSA general counsel stated Google had full knowledge of data harvesting activities from day one, despite the company making denials to the contrary for months.

    • New French surveillance law: From fear to controversy

      America’s NSA scandal has been making headlines all over the world since it first came to light back in July. Somehow, though, France’s surveillance program has managed to fly under the radar for the most part.

    • Russia’s bid to expose users highlights law enforcement’s tricky relationship with Tor

      On Friday, Russia’s Ministry of the Interior (MVD) awarded a contract for $110,000 to an unnamed Russian contractor with top security clearance to uncloak Russian users of the surveillance-evading Tor browser. This is the Russia’s Federal Security Service’s (FSB) response to the surge of Russian Tor users from 80,000 to 200,000 due to the restrictions by the Russian government on free use of the internet, such as the new law that requires all Russian bloggers to register.

      The NSA and the FSB want to puncture Tor anonymty and expose the identities of the people using it because the Tor browser erases identifying browser fingerprints. Almost everyone who uses the internet has a unique traceable fingerprint. An Internet user can check his or her own internet uniqueness in a few seconds with Panopticlick, a one-click test created by the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF). Most people find themselves to be pretty unique; 1 in 4.5 million to be exact. Go ahead, try it.

    • Aussie, Kiwi spies hooked into NSA metadata search engine
    • What is the meaning and what is the use of ‘metadata retention’?

      Privacy and individuals’ ability to remain anonymous are important protections against persecution, bullying, intimidation and retaliation. These can be perpetrated by other people, private businesses and, perhaps most seriously, the state and its police and intelligence agencies.

    • Documents: Tacoma police using surveillance device to sweep up cellphone data

      The Tacoma Police Department apparently has bought — and quietly used for six years — controversial surveillance equipment that can sweep up records of every cellphone call, text message and data transfer up to a half a mile away.

      You don’t have to be a criminal to be caught in this law enforcement snare. You just have to be near one and use a cellphone.

    • Tracking everywhere: Private companies offer worldwide spying tools
    • Cell Phone Tracking Surveillance Systems Hit the Dictator Market

      Dictators around the world can now exploit a fundamental feature of cell phones, leaving individuals at risk of having their whereabouts monitored wherever they go.

    • It’s not just the NSA: Phone surveillance tech lets any government track your movements
    • Report: Surveillance Companies Are Secretly Selling Tech That Tracks Your Phone’s Location

      Cellular carriers already know where you are thanks to your phone. On paper it makes sense: Service providers like AT&T need to know your location in order to relay calls and texts, determining your position from cell towers. But now, according to a new report in the Washington Post, surveillance companies are selling advanced tracking systems that take advantage of this technology, making it possible even for small governments to track users anytime, anywhere–for days or even weeks at a time with stunning accuracy.

    • Surveillance and the Creative Mind

      In a world where many aspects of our daily lives are written or recorded and transmitted digitally, our raw thoughts and casual observations are increasingly open to scrutiny and vulnerable to interception. Our behavior is frequently documented, whether it is by government agencies, corporate entities, news organizations, or fellow citizens. This means that every iteration of an evolving idea, off-hand comment, and emotional outburst could be recorded. Given how often we all misinterpret each other, especially in writing, the exponential increase in documented human behavior is cause for concern.

      [...]

      The American climate of fear about terrorism has combined with this technological shift into a potent mix that stifles debate and free expression.

    • Hands-on: Pwn Pro and Pwn Pulse, mass surveillance for the rest of us

      At Black Hat and Def Con earlier this month, the penetration testing tool makers at Pwnie Express unveiled two new products aimed at extending the company’s reach into the world of continuous enterprise security auditing. One, the Pwn Pro, is essentially a souped-up version of Pwnie Express’ Pwn Plug line of devices; the other, Pwn Pulse, is a cloud-based software-as-a-service product that provides central control of a fleet of Pwn Pro “sensors.” Combined, the two are a whitehat’s personal NSA—intended to discover potential security problems introduced into enterprise networks before someone with malevolent intent does.

    • Satire: NSA Quits Spying on Americans Out of Disgust

      Citing an endless river of filth, vacuous conversations, idiotic Tweets and endless cat videos, the NSA announced it is “freaking done” with spying on Americans.

      The NSA decision came only hours after thousands of analysts, following similar threats at CIA, said they planned to quit and apply for jobs as Apple Geniuses and Best Buy Geek Squad Support workers.

  • Civil Rights

    • Michael Brown, According to the New York Times

      A Times editor defended this assessment of Brown by explaining that it was a reference back to the opening scene of the piece, where Brown talks to his stepfather about seeing the image of an angel in a storm cloud. Of course, this reference was plainly obvious to anyone reading the piece.

    • The FBI’s Criminal Database Is Filling Up With Non-Criminals And No One In Law Enforcement Seems To Care

      America has long held the position as the world’s foremost imprisoner of its own citizens. Around 2 million people are incarcerated in America, giving us nearly one-fourth of the world’s total prison population. Spending any length of time in prison is a good way to destroy your future. But even if you never spend a day inside — or even end up facing charges — there’s a good chance you’ll still be facing a bleak future should you ever have the misfortune to be booked.

    • As Arrest Records Rise, Americans Find Consequences Can Last a Lifetime
    • Kelly McParland: The Ferguson shooting will have the usual result; more guns, not fewer

      According to the New York Times, the White House is having “second thoughts” about the policy of arming U.S. police to the teeth. The images from Ferguson, Missouri – of police kitted out like paratroopers with sniper rifles and armoured cars – is causing consternation in Congress. President Barack Obama has ordered a “comprehensive review.”

    • Ferguson PD Confirms Officer Wilson Shot at Brown as He Ran Away

      As Charles Johnson at LGF says, this is a “big admission”. Although the autopsy suggests none of these shots struck Michael Brown, it explains why more than one eyewitness described his having been shot in the back. Several eyewitnesses said that after these shots were fired, Brown turned around with his hands in the air.

    • Police Officers Facing Potential Felony Charges After Using Government Databases To Screen Potential Dates

      The basic issue is this: many, many people have access to personal information that the government demands you provide in exchange for essential items like driver’s licenses, vehicle/home titles, etc. Connected to these databases is one used to house information on every person booked by police (notably, not every person convicted or even every person charged).

    • Tell Congress: no more weapons of war for local police.
    • Officials: Girl accidentally kills gun instructor

      A 9-year-old girl accidentally killed an Arizona shooting instructor as he was showing her how to use an automatic Uzi, authorities said Tuesday.

      Charles Vacca, 39, of Lake Havasu City, died Monday shortly after being airlifted to University Medical Center in Las Vegas, Mohave County sheriff’s officials said.

    • 4 Weird Decisions That Have Made Modern Cops Terrifying

      We’re pretty much begging cops to be our heroes. Think about it: Every major blockbuster movie is about a brave hero enforcing an important moral code: John McClane, Transformers, every superhero — even if they’re going outside the law, they’re still doing the exact job a cop is supposed to have: upholding the law and protecting the innocent. In fiction, they’re the ideal we strive for.

    • Tomgram: Anya Schiffrin, Who Knew We Were Living in the Golden Age of Investigative Journalism?

      Almost a decade ago, I spent more than a year freelancing for a major metropolitan newspaper — one of the biggest in the country. I would, on an intermittent basis, work out of a newsroom that appeared to be in a state of constant churn. Whoever wasn’t being downsized seemed to be jumping ship or madly searching for a life raft. It looked as if bean counters were beating reporters and editors into submission or sending them out of the business and into journalism schools where they would train a new generation of young reporters. For just what wasn’t clear. Jobs that would no longer exist?

    • ‘Approved Responses to the Civil Unrest in Ferguson’
    • US courts trash a decade’s worth of online documents, shrug it off

      The US Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) has removed access to nearly a decade’s worth of electronic documents from four US appeals courts and one bankruptcy court.

      The removal is part of an upgrade to a new computer system for the database known as Public Access to Court Electronic Records, or PACER.

      Court dockets and documents at the US Courts of Appeals for the 2nd, 7th, 11th, and Federal Circuits, as well as the Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California, were maintained with “locally developed legacy case management systems,” said AOC spokesperson Karen Redmond in an e-mailed statement. Those five courts aren’t compatible with the new PACER system.

    • The Police Aren’t So Brave When Someone Has a Weapon

      Compare these stories with two instances of UK police—only about five percent of whom are armed—handling men with knives in an admirably brave (and restrained) fashion: in one, an officer Tasers a man with two knives from just a few feet away, while in the other, 30 cops—the visible ones clearly unarmed—spend nearly six minutes trying to apprehend an aggressively unhinged man holding a machete. If folks with whittling knives, bats, and steak knives are given mere seconds before fatal shots are fired, this guy deserved a millisecond. And yet, the cops brought him in alive—and took him to a mental health facility.

    • Putting Body Cameras On Cops Won’t Fix Misconduct, But It’s A Good Start

      Prompted by the fatal shooting of Ferguson resident Mike Brown, a We the People petition asking the federal government to require body cameras for all law enforcement officers has roared past the 100,000 signature threshold required for a White House response. (Theoretically.)

    • New Orleans Police Officer Turns Off Body Camera Minutes Before Shooting Suspect In Forehead

      In New Orleans, Armand Bennet, 26, was shot in the forehead during a traffic stop by New Orleans police officer Lisa Lewis. However, the police department did not reveal until much later that Lewis turned off her body camera just before shooting Bennett. Bennett survived and has now been charged under prior warrants for his arrest. It also reviewed that Lewis had had a prior run in with Bennet who escaped about a week earlier.

    • Dating On Duty: Officers Accused Of Screening Dates Using Police System

      Court documents show that Fairfield Police Officers Stephen Ruiz and Jacob Glashoff used company time and equipment to search for women on internet dating sites.

      The documents also show that two used the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications System – a statewide police database – to screen the women they liked.

    • Obama Review Of Military Gear Handed To Law Enforcement; Thinks Real Problem Is ‘Training And Guidance’

      Not that local law enforcement agencies couldn’t throw an impressive Victory Day parade. The 1033 program, which sends military vehicles, weapons and equipment downstream to law enforcement agencies for pennies on the dollar, has shifted $4.3 billion from the Dept. of Defense to hundreds of police departments across the United States since 1997. Here’s what the President is actually interested in seeing.

      “Among other things, the president has asked for a review of whether these programs are appropriate,” said a senior administration official, who was not authorized to speak on the record about the internal assessment. The review also will assess “whether state and local law enforcement are provided with the necessary training and guidance; and whether the federal government is sufficiently auditing the use of equipment obtained through federal programs and funding.”

    • Calif. Lawmaker Votes for More Regs for Ride-Sharing, Then Gets Busted for DUI

      Courtesy of California political reporter John Hrabe, California Assemblyman Ben Hueso, a Democrat representing the San Diego area, was arrested in the wee hours of the morning for allegedly driving under the influence. This came just hours after voting for legislation that would force more regulation on ride-sharing services like Lyft and Uber.

    • Uber, Lyft, Sidecar fight to block new California regulations
    • California Lawmaker Votes To Kill Uber… Then Caught Driving Drunk Just Hours Later
    • Federal Law Requiring Annual Report on Excessive Force by Police has been Ignored for 20 Years

      The circumstances of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, have brought that one police shooting into the national conscience. But many other Americans are killed by police and their deaths go unnoticed and mostly uncounted, despite a Congressional mandate.

    • Federal Law Ordering US Attorney General To Gather Data On Police Excessive Force Has Been Ignored For 20 Years

      Are police officers getting worse or is this apparent increase in excessive force nothing more than a reflection of the increase in unofficial documentation (read: cameras) and public scrutiny? What we do know is that as crime has gone down, police forces have escalated their acquisitions of military gear and weapons. With options for lethal and less-lethal force continually expanding, it seems that deployment of force in excess of what the situation requires has become the new normal, but it’s tough to find hard data that backs up these impressions.

      One of the reasons we don’t have data on police use of excessive force is because compiling this information relies on law enforcement agencies being forthcoming about these incidents. Generally speaking, it takes FOIA requests and lawsuits to obtain any data gathered by individual police departments. This shouldn’t be the case. In fact, as AllGov reports, this lack of data violates a federal law.

    • Rep. Mike Honda Introduces Bill Banning Civilians from Buying Body Armor
    • Ferguson Police Officer Justin Cosma Hog-Tied And Injured A Young Child, Lawsuit Alleges

      A Ferguson police officer who helped detain a journalist in a McDonald’s earlier this month is in the midst of a civil rights lawsuit because he allegedly hog-tied a 12-year-old boy who was checking the mail at the end of his driveway.

      According to a lawsuit filed in 2012 in Missouri federal court, Justin Cosma and another officer, Richard Carter, approached a 12-year-old boy who was checking the mailbox at the end of his driveway in June 2010. Cosma was an officer with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office at the time, the lawsuit states. The pair asked the boy if he’d been playing on a nearby highway, and he replied no, according to the lawsuit.

    • As Police Get More Militarized, Bill In Congress Would Make Owning Body Armor Punishable By Up To 10 Years In Prison

      We’ve been writing an awful lot lately about the militarization of police, but apparently some in Congress want to make sure that the American public can’t protect themselves from a militarized police. Rep. Mike Honda (currently facing a reasonably strong challenger for election this fall) has introduced a bizarre bill that would make it a crime for civilians to buy or own body armor. The bill HR 5344 is unlikely to go anywhere, but violating the bill, if it did become law, would be punishable with up to ten years in prison. Yes, TEN years. For merely owning body armor.

    • ‘Revenue Generating’ Traffic Cameras Forcing Governments To Refund Millions Of Dollars

      Technology saves time and labor, but is as ultimately fallible as the humans it displaces. Thanks to the efficiencies of technology, mistakes can now be made faster than ever. Municipalities which have turned over traffic enforcement to cameras probably hoped to generate funds much faster than it could with an un-augmented police force. Instead, they’re finding themselves issuing refunds, deactivating faulty cameras, fighting with contractors and investigating corruption. Not much of a payoff.

    • Justice Dept. Official: We Could Get Lois Lerner’s Emails From Backups, But It’s Too Hard So Naaaaaah

      I try not to go for conspiracy theories generally, but this ongoing IRS nonsense involving conveniently disappearing emails potentially pertaining to the scandal involving targeting certain groups is making my skeptics beacon go off. The official story essentially involves a computer (server?) crash that obliterated the email data of several email accounts that would otherwise be of great interest to those trying to figure out who in the Obama administration knew what about how the IRS was operating. That crash somehow also involves the destruction of any local backups these IRS folks are required to keep as part of their job.

    • Lack Of Diversity In St. Louis Area Police Departments Is Just Flat-Out Embarrassing

      In the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, a light was shone on the unbelievable lack of racial diversity within the Ferguson police department. It was revealed that while Ferguson’s population is 67% African-American, only three of the town’s 53 full-time police officers are black. The complete disconnect between the racial makeup of the community and the demographics of law enforcement patrolling Ferguson’s streets has been cited as a prime example of the simmering racial tensions in the town that boiled over in the aftermath of Brown’s killing.

    • “Police State U.S.A.: How Orwell’s Nightmare Is Becoming Our Reality”

      Anybody tuning in to the media coverage of the daily protests of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri can’t help but notice the intimidating police presence that makes the city look more like a battlefield than a suburban enclave.

    • EDITORIAL: Journalism a tough but essential job
    • Why The Obama Administration Wants This Journalist In Jail

      President Barack Obama came into office in 2009 promising a new era of unprecedented transparency in his administration. But when he leaves office, reporters may remember him for an effort that has largely turned out to be the opposite — and for being what one affected reporter has called the “greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”

    • Here’s The Story Of A Spectacular CIA Screw-Up That Could Cause Journalist James Risen To Land In Jail

      For the last five years, New York Times journalist James Risen has been embroiled in a legal battle with the Obama administration over his refusal to reveal an inside government source. While that case (and the motivations behind it) is compelling, the leaked story that got Risen in trouble in the first place is one of the most spectacular CIA screw-ups in the agency’s history.

    • The Road to Ferguson and the Necessity of Anti-Imperialist Spirit

      “Since Obama was first elected in 2008, the ‘hope and change’ President has overseen the largest number of Pentagon arms and intelligence giveaways to local police in US history.”

    • CIA reform? Don’t hold your breath
    • Guantánamo Torture Victim Mohamedou Ould Slahi’s Harrowing Memoir To Be Published In January 2015 – OpEd
    • In Senate-CIA fight on interrogation report, another controversy

      The background of a key negotiator in the battle over a Senate report on the CIA’s use of interrogation techniques widely denounced as torture has sparked concerns about the Obama administration’s objectivity in handling the study’s public release.

      Robert Litt, the general counsel for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is a former defense lawyer who represented several CIA officials in matters relating to the agency’s detention and interrogation program. Now he’s in a key position to determine what parts of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 6,300-page report will be made public.

    • Forgetting Cheney’s Legacy of Lies

      The neocons – aided by their “liberal interventionist” allies and the U.S. mainstream media – are building new “group thinks” on the Middle East and Ukraine with many Americans having forgotten how they were duped into war a dozen years ago, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    • Cheney’s Legacy: Honesty Still in Short Supply

      As the world marks the centennial of World War I, the guns of August are again being oiled by comfortable politicians and the fawning corporate media, both bereft of any sense of history. And that includes much more recent history, namely the deceitful campaign that ended up bringing destruction to Iraq and widened conflict throughout the Middle East. That campaign went into high gear 12 years ago today.

      [...]

      Why did Kerry mislead the world on August 30 in professing to “know” that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical attack near Damascus on August 21? It is crystal clear that he did not know. Typically, Kerry adduced no verifiable evidence, and what his minions leaked over the following weeks could not bear close scrutiny. (See Robert Parry’s “The Collapsing Syria-Sarin Case.”)

    • Former head CIA lawyer defends torture in Der Spiegel interview

      In an August 20 interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, former acting CIA General Counsel John Rizzo defends his role as the legal architect of the US government’s international campaign of detention and torture.

      In the interview, Rizzo, who worked at the CIA from 1976 to 2009, declares that although the torture programs he approved “seemed harsh, even brutal,” he does not regret his support for their implementation.

    • Federal Cybersecurity Director Found Guilty on Child Porn Charges

      One of these techniques involved the used drive-by downloads to infect the computers of anyone who visited McGrath’s web sites. The FBI has been using malicious downloads in this way since 2002, but focused on targeting users of Tor-based sites only in the last two years.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Why Internet Access Monopolies Harm Innovation

      When antitrust stories make headlines—as the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger has—even well-intentioned analysis often confuses harm to competitors with harm to competition. Viewing antitrust law through a “competition” lens, as opposed to a “competitors” lens, is not intuitive: consumers are harmed not by being denied access to existing services, but by being denied new ones.

    • How the web lost its way – and its founding principles

      When Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web 24 years ago he thought he’d created an egalitarian tool that would share information for the greater good. But it hasn’t quite worked out like that. What went wrong?

  • DRM

    • Kill Switches on Smartphones Now Mandatory in California

      California Governor Jerry Brown signed historic legislation Monday, mandating that every smartphone sold in California after July 1, 2015, be equipped by default with a kill switch, a feature that can render the device useless if stolen.

      Proposed by state senator Mark Leno and endorsed by a bevy of law-enforcement officials, the new law — the first of its kind in the nation — is designed to curb cell-phone theft in cities like San Francisco, where more than 65% of all robberies involve stolen phones, or Oakland, where it’s 75%.

    • The Califonia Kill Switch Bill Has Been Signed into Law

      The California kill switch bill is a bill that requires all smartphones that have been manufactured after July 1, 2015 to include anti-theft measures if they are to be sold in the state of California.

    • California bill requiring kill-switch on smartphones becomes law

      On Monday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a piece of legislation mandating that all smartphones come with kill-switch software automatically installed so that a user can remotely wipe his or her device if it gets stolen. The bill will affect all smartphones manufactured after July 1, 2015 to be sold in California.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Guy Claims Patent On Photographing People In Races And Then Selling Them Their Photos; Sues Photography Company

      The folks over at EFF have yet another story of patents gone wrong. This time it’s from a guy named Peter Wolf, who owns a company called Photocrazy, that takes photos of sporting events like running and bike races, and then offers to sell people their photos by matching up their bib numbers. This kind of thing has been around forever, but because Peter Wolf paid a lawyer and said some magic words, he got some patents (specifically: 6,985,875; 7,047,214; and 7,870,035).

    • Ryan Seacrest’s Typo Blows Off Injunction, Sells Thousands Of Possibly-Infringing Keyboards

      Ryan Seacrest’s Typo (because it is never to be referred to simply as “Typo” in headlines or opening paragraphs), maker of physical keyboard accessories for iPhones, was sued by RIM (maker of formerly-popular Blackberry phones) for patent infringement earlier this year. The ailing phone manufacturer took issue with the keyboards made by Ryan Seacrest’s Typo, which it felt veered a bit too close to “looking damn near like a Blackberry keyboard.”

    • Intellectual Property Casebook Now Available As A Free Download

      About a month ago I wrote about James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins of the Center of the Study of the Public Domain at Duke Law School releasing a free download of an Intellectual Property Statutory Supplement (which normally big publishers try to sell for around $50). As noted, this was a kickoff for an even bigger project, an open coursebook in intellectual property. That Open Intellectual Property Casebook is now available. You can download the whole thing for free. If you want a nice printed copy, it’ll currently run about $24 on Amazon — which is about $135 less than other IP case books. The entire book weighs in at nearly 800 pages, so there’s a lot in there if you felt like delving into a variety of topics around copyright, trademark and patent law — including specific efforts by Congress around those laws and the way that the courts have interpreted them.

    • Copyrights

      • Total Wipes A Total Failure: Sends Increasingly Ridiculous DMCA Notices To Wipe Out Unrelated Content

        TorrentFreak has a fun, if ridiculous, post about the near total failure of a digital music distribution company named Total Wipes to “wipe out” certain content via entirely bogus DMCA notices. In what appears to be one of the more egregious attempts out there to issue automated DMCA takedowns without anyone bothering to look at the sites in question, Total Wipes tried to remove all sorts of websites in trying to “protect” a track called “Rock the Base & Bad Format.” It appears that, as a part of that, any site that its automated systems turned up that had both “rock” and “base” on it was targeted for takedown. That was especially problematic for news stories about the death of DJ E-Z Rock, whose most famous track was “It Takes Two,” done in partnership with Rob Base. Note the problem: Base and Rock. That meant that Total Wipes targeted news stories about Rock’s death. It also targeted stories about rock climbing and a “rock” music festival on a military “base.”

      • Copyright Trolling Lawyer Abusing DMCA To Try To Silence Critics

        Nearly three years ago, Fight Copyright Trolls had an interesting post about a copyright lawyer named Mike Meier who “flipped sides” from defending people who had been hit with copyright troll demands to becoming something of a troll himself. It featured two screenshots, showing how Meier’s website quickly flipped from looking to help people who’d received a demand letter to a site that looked similar… but was clearly on the other side.

      • German Regulator Rejects German Newspapers’ Cynical Attempt To Demand Cash From Google

        Back in June we wrote about the ridiculous and cynical attempt by a number of big German newspaper publishers, in the form of the industry group VG Media, to demand 11% of Google’s gross worldwide revenue on any search that results in Google showing a snippet of their content. We noted the hypocrisy of these publishers seeking to do this while at the same time having done nothing to remove themselves from Google’s search — and, in fact, using Google’s tools to help them rank higher in search results. In other words, these publishers know that ranking high helps them… and yet then still demanded cash on top of that.

      • We the goondas

        Have a smartphone? Run for cover. Bizarre as this might sound, the cops are going to come after you if you so much as forward a song to a friend. Forget actually doing it, any plans to do so could land you in serious trouble too. You could be labelled a ‘goonda’ in the eyes of the State and find yourself behind bars.

      • Indian State Says You Can Be Jailed If They Think You’ll Infringe Copyrights Or Share ‘Lascivious’ Content In The Future

        Over the weekend, Engadget had a post claiming that India has said it’s illegal to “like” blasphemous content. The headline there somewhat misstates what’s actually happening, but what’s actually going on is no less ridiculous. It is not all of India, but rather the state of Karnataka (which includes the city of Bangalore), which has passed a new law officially called “The Karnataka Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug-offenders, Gamblers, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Slum-Grabbers and Video or Audio Pirates (Amendment) Bill, 2014″ though it is being locally referred to as the Goonda Act. The main thing it has done is taken offenses under the Information Technology Act, 2000, and Indian Copyright Act, 1957, and let the government take people into preventative custody if they think you’re going to break one of those laws.

      • Amazon and Hachette feud could rewrite the book on publishing

        The battle between Amazon and the French publisher Hachette is not just a spat about the price of books. Their row over ebook prices, which led to the online retailer freezing out pre-orders of Hachette books and has provoked angry words from authors such as Donna Tartt and Phillip Pullman, could determine the next chapter of the publishing industry.

      • City Of London Police Turn Down Torrentfreak’s FOIA Request Because It Would Take Too Long To Fulfill

        The City of London Police (notably, not the London Metropolitan Police and you will rue the day you ever make that mistake) have been both a law unto themselves and the UK’s foremost copyright cops… which would make them a copyright law unto themselves… or something. Name another law enforcement agency that has single-handedly done more to pursue the Pirate Bays of the world. I follow this sort of stuff pretty closely and no one else even comes close. Here’s a very brief rundown of the City of London’s efforts in the service of King Copyright.

      • Fast & Furious 6 Pirate Sentenced to 33 Months Prison
      • Crime And Punishment? 33 Months In Jail For Filming And Uploading Fast & Furious 6

        As a whole bunch of folks sent in, over in the UK, a guy named Philip Danks has been sentenced to 33 months in prison for camcording Fast and Furious 6 and then uploading it to the internet. As is all too often the case, the UK authorities more or less let the movie industry, in the form of FACT (the Federation Against Copyright Theft) run the entire investigation. FACT employees were involved in all facets, including controlling most of the interview after Danks was detained. If that seems… questionable, you have a point.

      • Rightscorp’s New PR Plan: The More Ridiculous It Gets (Such As By Claiming To Hijack Browsers), The More Press It Will Get

        Over the last few months, there’s been tremendous press attention paid to a little nothing of a company called Rightscorp, which has basically tried to become the friendlier face of copyright trolling: signing up copyright holders, sending threat letters to ISPs, hoping those ISPs forward the threats to subscribers, and demanding much smaller fees than traditional copyright trolls (usually around $20). The idea is by being (just slightly) friendlier, and keeping the fees much lower, they might be able to “make it up in volume.” The company has been subject to big profiles in Ars Technica, which calls it “RIAA-lite,” and Daily Dot, which referred to it as a “boutique anti-piracy firm.” Frankly, the only thing that Rightscorp has shown itself to be good at is getting press coverage — often through outrageous claims, such as saying it found a loophole in the DMCA that lets it send subpoenas to identify ISP subscribers without filing a lawsuit. Lots of copyright trolls think they’ve found that loophole, only to discover a court already rejected it.

FUD Against Google and FOSS Security Amid Microsoft Windows Security Blunders

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Security at 4:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: In the age of widespread fraud due to Microsoft Windows with its back doors there is an attempt to shift focus to already-fixed flaws/deficiencies in competitors of Microsoft

A Microsoft Windows (exclusively) infection is having a colossal impact on businesses right now, but corporate press coverage fails to name Windows [1, 2, 3], not to mention any possibility of blaming it. The name of an operating system is only mentioned for negative news when it’s not Windows. This is typical and it matches a pattern we have covered her under the “call out Windows” banner. IDG, the liars’ den, put it like this:

The Target data breach was one of the largest in recent memory, resulting in tens of millions of credit and debit cards being compromised. In the last couple of weeks, SuperValu said that at least 180 of its stores had been hit by a data breach and earlier this week UPS said 51 of it UPS Store locations had been hit.

We wrote about this last week because Windows was not being named, despite it being a critical part of this scenario. Instead, there was deflection to FOSS. It helped distract from Windows, which is insecure by design. It is an architectural problem because since 15 years ago, by some estimates, Windows has been a back doors carrier (for the NSA). Here is one British writer complaining about the approach Microsoft takes to composition as well:

In August last year, one-time-sysadmin and now SciFi author Charles Stross declared Microsoft Word ”a tyrant of the imagination” and bemoaned its use in the publishing world.

“Major publishers have been browbeaten into believing that Word is the sine qua non of document production systems,” he wrote. “And they expect me to integrate myself into a Word-centric workflow, even though it’s an inappropriate, damaging, and laborious tool for the job. It is, quite simply, unavoidable.”

To make matters worse, it facilitates surveillance and sabotage, as more stories from last years served to show (Snowden Files at the Guardian for instance). For security reasons Germany and Russia have moved back to typewriters; we can assume they were using Office and Windows beforehand.

Trust the spinners of Microsoft to create and disseminate some “Heartbleed” FUD, an OpenSSL bug that Microsoft likes to hype up and use to generalise so as to create an illusion that FOSS is inherently less secure. This has become Microsoft’s main propaganda against FOSS, based on just one single bug. The FUD started on the day that XP support (patches) came to an end; this timing is unlikely to be a coincidence for reasons we outlined before.

Jason Thompson writes an offensive piece titled “After Heartbleed, Is Open Source More Trouble Than It’s Worth?”

It starts with the following important disclosure:

Jason Thompson, formerly of Q1 Labs, is the vice president of worldwide marketing at SSH Communications Security.

Marketing for proprietary software (for Windows)? This is the type of thing we saw last week when issues in proprietary VPN software were unfairly blamed on OpenSSL. As we pointed out last week, there is also an attack on Android security (usually rogue apps at to blame) and then there is the recent security FUD against Android from former employees of Microsoft. Mind this new article which highlights Microsoft’s hypocrisy:

The Biggest Problem with the Windows Store: Scams Everywhere

Windows 8′s “Windows Store” is a great idea, but unfortunately, it’s a disaster. It’s full of scam apps, designed to trick you into buying an app you don’t need.

Our friends over at the How-To Geek recently wrote a great piece about the biggest problem with the Windows Store, and how Microsoft has apparently done nothing to address it (despite claiming they would over a year ago). For example, here’s what happens if you search for VLC, a popular free video player

Microsoft is creating some new FUD against Google at the moment and Google has responded as follows:

In Worldwide Partner Conference 2014, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) claimed that more than seven hundred and eighty five customers have switched to Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Office 365 from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s Apps. Microsoft didn’t give any proofs for this claim, but shown a slide having the names of the pronounced customers who made the switch. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) immediately started investigating this claim and has recently come up with a response. According to Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), 5,000+ companies sign up for Google Apps on a daily basis and thousands of these companies switch from Microsoft. In a Forbes article, Ben Kepes mentioned Google’s response and said that it was already expected that Google will come up with a befitting response on Microsoft’s claims.

Microsoft is a malicious, criminal company. Its ability to manipulate the press into writing negative stories about the competition is quite flabbergasting. Microsoft’s key strategy right now is badmouthing the competition. AstroTurf and press manipulation is how that's done, as we showed in the previous post.

Microsoft Spin Watch: IDG Turns to More Microsoft Propaganda, Hires Microsoft Boosters

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 3:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shameless lies spun as “news”

Arguing with IDG

Summary: Media in Microsoft’s pocket is telling Microsoft’s lies and deceives the public for Microsoft’s bottom line

There is Microsoft spin the media which continues to disturb because it is quite shallow and very easy to spot. Just watch Microsoft Peter with his latest shameless vapourware (Microsoft ads disguised as “journalism”). That’s positive advertising as opposed to negative advertising (against the competition), but it is still advertising and it should have no room in journalism.

The Microsoft-funded (through ads) propaganda apparatus CBS says “Gmail” to make a widespread Internet issue sound like Google’s. This, in a sense, is like anti-Google advertising. It is a bit like The Intercept associating Google — with the word “Google-like” — when speaking about NSA search of people’s personal data. It is not just CBS though (notorious for NSA and CIA connections). A writer who was typically writing for the CBS-owned ZDNet UK is now moving on a bit. A few days ago we saw Simon Bisson, a longtime Microsoft booster with conflicting interests that ought to make him unsuitable to cover Microsoft matters, showing up in IDG. It is a new site and the article is unsurprisingly a Microsoft-serving one, following a longtime tradition (his bio at IDG completely omits his connection to Microsoft this time around). It is a puff piece/advertising/spam for a de facto extension/proxy of Microsoft, working with Microsoft and funded by ‘former’ Microsoft executives to promote Mono and .NET.

The only thing worse than that was this piece from IDG trying to portray Microsoft as “open source” (openwashing). Microsoft is trying to crush all FOSS projects from within, so IDG helps with puff pieces like this one titled “Does Microsoft Really Love Open Source?” It is just an assortment of quotes from Microsoft and Microsoft propaganda entities like Directions on Microsoft. Here is an example:

“Compared to 10 years ago, it’s mind-blowing that Microsoft is doing what [it's] doing now,” says Wes Miller, a research vice president at Directions on Microsoft. “If you look at open source projects like Hadoop or Docker (both of which Microsoft is involved in), in the past Microsoft would have tried to crush them with its own closed source product.”

Microsoft-linked and Microsoft-friendly sources to piece together quite a propaganda piece which omits the fact that the above is intended to promote proprietary Windows. If anything, it show Microsoft subverting FOSS to tie it to proprietary. Here is one comment I received about this article:

Rabellino points to how Microsoft has helped bring Linux support to Azure in what he deems the right way. “We could have made proprietary drivers, but no, we’ve open sourced them,” he says. The same is true of the way Microsoft has helped bring Hadoop support to Windows and Node.js support to Azure.
Seriously, WTF?! What about the UEFI? this is made to help GNU/Linux too, isn’t it? c’mon…

About Microsoft becoming friendly to FOSS one person told me: “Of course it does!! don’t you see how open is the Windows source? oh, wait…”

In less disturbing news, here is an example of potential Microsoft spin, portraying Microsoft as a gainer by comparing it only to the biggest loser, the patent troll BlackBerry.

As a reader is ours put it: “LosePhone is not rising, BB is just falling that much.”

Very clever way to create Microsoft spin; find a contender that falls even quicker. This is essentially what we often find in the media, namely pro-Microsoft deception which if remains unchallenged might recur until it is widely accepted.

According to this article and this other new article, BlackBerry has 44,000 patents that it can use against Android/Linux one day. Just watch the latest on what Apple does to Samsung’s software side. It is a direct attack on Android itself:

Supreme Court ruling won’t kill Apple’s ‘slide to unlock’

In June, the US Supreme Court decided the Alice v. CLS Bank case, tweaking patent law in a way that suggests a lot more patents should be thrown out as overly abstract.

Samsung hoped that case would allow it to knock out two patents that Apple had successfully used against it in the long-running patent war between the two smartphone leaders. Last month, Samsung lawyers filed papers arguing that Apple’s patents on universal search and “swipe-to-unlock” are exactly the type of basic ideas that the US Supreme Court wants to see rejected.

Of course one could relate this whole patent strategy to Microsoft’s hatred of FOSS and also note that Microsoft, under Nadella, recently sued Samsung like Apple had done. It is an attack on Free software using software patents. To call Microsoft friendly towards Open Source requires either a propagandist or a liar. Sounds like a job for IDG!

08.26.14

Microsoft’s Massive Tax Evasion Becomes Better Known

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 11:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A new report about Microsoft’s admission that it plays dirty tricks with tax (sometimes using moles in government) is increasing awareness of Microsoft’s criminal aspects

Microsoft does not like paying tax. Microsoft is above the law, so why should it bother paying tax? Just like Bill Gates it is robbing the public while pretending to have little to do with national deficit, Microsoft is actually looting the US and many other parts of the world where it uses similar tricks. India found Microsoft guilty half a decade ago.

Last week when we wrote about Chile we mentioned reports about Microsoft’s colossal tax evasion. Professor Diane Ravitch, who has been watching Gates for years and called for investigation against him, responded as follows:

That kind of money, repatriated to the United States, could underwrite prenatal care for low-income women, provide early childhood education for all low-income children, underwrite medical clinics in low-income communities, and save public education in cities like Detroit and Philadelphia, where it is in dire peril. Imagine $550 billion invested in the well-being of our children! Imagine using that money to reduce our child poverty rate, which is currently the highest among the advanced nations of the world.

The comments are worth seeing too. To quote the first comment: “Perhaps it’s time for Bill Gates teflon coated self be put in jail for tax evasion, after he coughs up back taxes…..One can have hope or fantisize”

The other comments focus on Gates’ corrupt characters and are hardly any favourable than the above.

08.25.14

Links 25/8/2014: China’s Linux Revolution Imminent

Posted in News Roundup at 8:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Does open source boost mental health?

    Walk into any makerspace around the world and you’ll encounter this infectious optimism. You’ll see people playing with their Raspberry Pis, their Arduinos, their CNC machines, and their 3D printers. You’ll encounter people intently focused on assembling something, their mind so engaged as to be in a state of flow.

  • What does an open design studio look like?

    I’m really interested in open source philosophies. I like the camaraderie of the communities and the open collaboration. I like being able to have a direct effect on the development of products that I use. I like the idea of the freedom behind the licensing. I like the idea of supporting the underdog fighting picaresquely against the corporate giants. I like that the whole point of open source is being allowed to see (and modify) the code. In simple terms, with open source as a development model it allows access to a product’s plans/blueprints through using a permissive license.

  • Need PCI Compliance? Try Open Source

    In a recent presentation, security professionals unveiled a proposed Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliance model that is based on open source technology. The system is designed, they said, to help reduce expenses, enhance scalability and make it easier to manage the technological infrastructure that supports PCI compliance.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Free Nvidia CUDA 6.5 Packs ARM64 Support

      Improved debugging for CUDA Fortran applications (preview) is also here; this includes new debugging support for Fortran arrays (Linux only), improved source-to-assembly code correlation, and improved documentation.

    • Emacs verus notification area, again

      Ages and ages I wrote about letting Emacs code access the notification area. I have more to say about it now, but first I want to bore you with some rambling thoughts and some history.

      The “notification area” is also called the “status icon area” or the “systray” — it is a spot that holds some icons that are under control of various applications.

    • PHP 5.5.16 Officially Released
    • Out in the Open: How Animated GIFs Can Turn You Into a Web Coder

      Basically, all the site’s image effects are stored by a community of developers, much like any other open source software. Anyone can not only use these effects, but build their own and share them with the community by way of the code hosting and collaboration site GitHub. “Since everyone likes glitch art and animated GIFs, it’s a creative outlet for developers to create something new that’s outside their usual field,” say Jen Fong-Adwent, the creator of revisit.link. “But it’s also a way for new people to learn basics.”

    • Programming in Rust

      Discover Rust, the systems programming language developed by Mozilla that’s fast, and wants to be better than C and C++!

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Extra staff for OpenSSL group after Heartbleed drama

      ABOUT four months after the discovery of the Heartbleed bug, the group overseeing the widely used OpenSSL software has added a new full-time staffer and is preparing for a comprehensive code audit.

      Steve Marquess, co-founder and president of the OpenSSL Software Foundation, said the organisation’s team of 14 now had two full-time employees — one started this week — and planned to add two more by the end of the year.

    • Security advisories for Monday
  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • CONSPIRACY THEORIES AND JOURNALISM

      Last week, Turkish media reported that “the former employee at the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, has revealed that British and American intelligence and Mossad worked together to create the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).” Snowden said intelligence services of three countries created a terrorist organization that is able to attract all extremists of the world to one place, using a strategy called “the hornet’s nest.”

      NSA documents refer to recent implementation of the hornet’s nest to protect the Zionist entity by creating religious and Islamic slogans.

      According to documents released by Snowden, “The only solution for the protection of the Jewish state “is to create an enemy near its borders.” Leaks revealed that ISIS leader and cleric Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi received intensive military training for a whole year at the hands of Mossad, besides courses in theology and the art of speech.”

      Indeed, this is a scandalous claim, one that has been seen on numerous Turkish news websites worded differently. Daily Sabah first reported it with a small news article, and later Daily Sabah columnist Haşmet Babaoğlu wrote about it in the first paragraph of one of his articles. The first paragraph of his article titled “Who benefits from ISIS’s existence in the Middle East?” stated, “Regardless of whether you are enthusiastic about conspiracy theories or not, Global Research’s claim that ‘former National Security Agency (NSA) systems analyst Edward Snowden recently revealed that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was trained by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence and spy agency’ is a topic worthy of debate.”

      It seems to me that the current phenomena gives more striking signals than conspiracy theories, however.

      [...]

      The news first appeared in French on July 9 on a Hezbollah website with Lebanon’s Hezbollah-sponsored channel, Al Manar, claimed as the source. After a short while, the news was translated into English, but, the source was now claimed to be Iran’s Fars News Agency. According to the news article, former analyst of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), Edward Snowden, proved with leaked documents that ISIS was a MI6, CIA and Mossad joint project. However, there were no indications of when and where Snowden made those remarks.

      [...]

      The best way to prevent this is to present the source. When we read Babaoğlu’s column, we see that he mentioned a website called www.globalresearch.ca. The site belongs to an organization called The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). They identify themselves as “an independent research and media organization based in Montreal. The CRG is a registered non-profit organization in the province of Quebec, Canada.” They claim that their mission is to uncover “the unspoken truth.”

      Babaoğlu presented the news article of Global Research as a source, but what about their source? The claim was not based on evidence; however, this does not render his article worthless. After all, in his article, he speaks of who benefited from recent developments in the Middle East after ISIS’s appearance with actual events. There are views mentioned of several experts as well. Not to mention, there are no inconsistencies and factual errors in the article.

    • Hayden: It’s Just a Matter of Time Before ISIS Attacks America
    • ISIS attack on West ‘a question of timing’: Former CIA chief
    • How Much of a Threat is Isis to the West?
    • Daily Kos: ISIS ‘Politicians’ Are No Threat to U.S., So ‘Stop Freaking Out’ About Them

      In a Sunday-morning post, Daily Kos blogger Mark Sumner argued that the “threat ISIS represents to the United States” is “[e]xactly none” and urged us not to overreact now the way we supposedly did after 9/11 and consequently “hand over freedoms for an illusion of safety. The NSA reading your email and listening in on your phone, idiots mistaking a dropped t-shirt at the Mexican border for the prayer rug of invading Muslims, TSA workers who know you more intimately than your spouse. Those are bin Laden’s victories.”

    • Edward Snowden the Most Wanted Man in the World
    • Venice Film Festival: Latin American Film Birdman to Open

      One of the movies that tackles these topics is “Good Kill”, from the U.S. director Andrew Niccol. This film explores the guilt of a man that controls militar drones to kill Taliban people.

    • Gaza live: Hamas finance official killed in Israeli strikes

      The Israeli army has released what it says is a page from a seized Hamas training manual that would appear to support its case that Palestinian militants deliberately use the cover of residential areas for combat operations.

    • Gaza live: Hamas manual backing civilians as shields found, claims Israel

      Israeli Army says it has found manual showing Hamas tactic of using civilians as shields

    • Gaza live: We will arm Palestine, says Iran as conflict spirals

      Tehran will “accelerate” arming Palestinians in retaliation for Israel deploying a spy drone over Iran, which was shot down, a military commander said on Monday.

      “We will accelerate the arming of the West Bank and we reserve the right to give any response,” said General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of aerial forces of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, in a statement on their official website sepahnews.com.

    • Three killed in Brazil prison riot

      Two prisoners were beheaded and another one died after being thrown off the roof in a riot that erupted in a jail in southern Brazil.

    • Militants Release U.S. Writer Held in Syria Since 2012

      U.S. freelance writer Peter Theo Curtis, who was abducted in Syria and held by militants from al Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front, was unexpectedly freed Sunday. Curtis went missing in October 2012 after crossing into northern Syria from Turkey. Negotiations for his release were mediated by Qatar, and the United Nations facilitated his handover in the Golan Heights Sunday evening. Curtis’s release came just days after the Islamic State posted a video online showing the execution of U.S. journalist James Foley. After the video was released, reports emerged that European countries and organizations had paid ransoms averaging over $2.5 million to negotiate the release of more than a dozen citizens held with Foley. The terms of Curtis’s release are unclear, but U.S. officials denied paying a ransom. State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, “The U.S. government does not make concessions to terrorists.”

    • Iran TV shows off allegedly downed Israeli drone
    • Iran Shoots Down ‘Israeli Drone’ Near Nuclear Site
    • Iran says it downed Israeli drone near nuclear site
    • Iran ‘will arm Palestinians’ after Israel drone downed
    • Israel targets 2 Gaza mosques in latest airstrikes
    • Netanyahu Warns Gazans to Leave Hamas Sites
    • Gaza tower block collapses after Israeli air strike

      A block of residential apartments in Gaza City has collapsed following an Israeli airstrike on Saturday night. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the building was being used as a command centre by Hamas, but local residents say it was purely residential.

    • Syrian govt ‘ready to cooperate’ with US on IS militants

      Any US air strikes against Islamist militants in Syria must be coordinated with the country’s government, according to the Syrian foreign minister.

    • Washington Foreign Policy Hands Make The Case For The Unthinkable: An Alliance With Assad

      Revenge of the realists. “It is not in our interest to defeat Assad as long as groups like ISIS will be winners.”

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • Casualties of Cyber Warfare

      American and Chinese companies are getting caught in the crossfire of the brewing cyber war.

    • Germany spying on Turkey for ‘38 years’

      German foreign intelligence agency has been tapping Turkey for almost four decades, reports Focus amid the ongoing spy scandal between Berlin and Ankara. Some German officials defend the practice, saying that not all NATO allies can be treated as friends.

    • Facebook Messenger Hoax: Illegal Conversations Are Being Automatically Sent To Police

      A new Facebook Messenger hoax claims that illegal conversations being held over private messenger conversations are being analyzed and automatically sent to police. The hoax specifically targets users of the new Facebook Messenger app, and it claims that 250 have already been arrested for their illegal conversations.

    • Spying blind: How polls provide cover for domestic espionage

      Using inappropriately vague and misleading questions, polls have found an American public evenly divided in their support of NSA domestic espionage — and on whether Edward Snowden’s role in revealing the breadth and depth of it makes him a patriot or a traitor. Closer scrutiny indicates these divisions are more likely the result of systemic methodological biases in the polls than an expression of genuine opinion. This points to a far more troubling problem: Bad polls subvert a fair and balanced public debate on mass government spying, resulting in potentially anti-democratic remedies.

    • What others say: USA Freedom Act a testimony to informed public debate

      A little more than a year after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed that the federal government was collecting and storing the telephone records of millions of Americans, Congress is poised to end the program and provide significant protection for a broad range of personal information sought by government investigators.

      Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has proposed a version of the bill that is significantly more protective of privacy than one passed by the House in May. Like the House bill, Leahy’s proposal would end the NSA’s bulk collection of telephone “metadata” — information about the source, destination and duration of phone calls that investigators can “query” in search of possible connections to foreign terrorism.

    • A closer look at the issue of the NSA and building spyware into apps
    • The Surveillance Engine: How the NSA Built Its Own Secret Google

      The National Security Agency is secretly providing data to nearly two dozen U.S. government agencies with a “Google-like” search engine built to share more than 850 billion records about phone calls, emails, cellphone locations, and internet chats, according to classified documents obtained by The Intercept.

      The documents provide the first definitive evidence that the NSA has for years made massive amounts of surveillance data directly accessible to domestic law enforcement agencies. Planning documents for ICREACH, as the search engine is called, cite the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration as key participants.

      ICREACH contains information on the private communications of foreigners and, it appears, millions of records on American citizens who have not been accused of any wrongdoing. Details about its existence are contained in the archive of materials provided to The Intercept by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      Earlier revelations sourced to the Snowden documents have exposed a multitude of NSA programs for collecting large volumes of communications. The NSA has acknowledged that it shares some of its collected data with domestic agencies like the FBI, but details about the method and scope of its sharing have remained shrouded in secrecy.

    • Corporations Spy on Nonprofits With Impunity

      Here’s a dirty little secret you won’t see in the daily papers: Corporations conduct espionage against U.S. nonprofit organizations without fear of being brought to justice.

      Yes, that means using a great array of spycraft and snoopery, including planned electronic surveillance, wiretapping, information warfare, infiltration, dumpster diving and so much more.

      The evidence abounds.

      For example, six years ago, based on extensive documentary evidence, James Ridgeway reported in Mother Jones on a major corporate espionage scheme by Dow Chemical focused on Greenpeace and other environmental and food activists.

      Greenpeace was running a potent campaign against Dow’s use of chlorine to manufacture paper and plastics. Dow grew worried and eventually desperate.

      Ridgeway’s article and subsequent revelations produced jaw-dropping information about how Dow’s private investigators, from the firm Beckett Brown International (BBI), hired:

      • An off-duty DC police officer who gained access to Greenpeace trash dumpsters at least 55 times;

      • a company called NetSafe Inc., staffed by former National Security Agency (NSA) employees expert in computer intrusion and electronic surveillance; and,

      • a company called TriWest Investigations, which obtained phone records of Greenpeace employees or contractors. BBI’s notes to its clients contain verbatim quotes that they attribute to specific Greenpeace employees.

      Using this information, Greenpeace filed a lawsuit against Dow Chemical, Dow’s PR firms Ketchum and Dezenhall Resources, and others, alleging trespass on Greenpeace’s property, invasion of privacy by intrusion, and theft of confidential documents.

    • FBI scuttles contested $500 million, no-bid deal with Motorola

      In the face of multiple vendor protests, the FBI has cancelled plans to hand industry giant Motorola Solutions Inc. a sole-source contract worth up to $500 million, saying that it will reassess how to upgrade the bureau’s antiquated nationwide two-way radio network.

      The FBI had argued, in a justification for skirting competitive bidding requirements, that switching to another vendor would force the purchase of a complete new system costing $1.2 billion. The existing Motorola network has proprietary features that can’t interact with non-Motorola equipment, so the FBI said, sticking with Motorola would extend the use of equipment worth $300 million.

    • For sale: Systems that can secretly track where cellphone users go around the globe

      Makers of surveillance systems are offering governments across the world the ability to track the movements of almost anybody who carries a cellphone, whether they are blocks away or on another continent.

  • Civil Rights

    • Behold, John Brennan’s Scary Memo!
    • Liberal candidates never seem to satisfy liberal voters’ expectations: Farmer

      It seems the worst thing that can befall a liberal is to actually win an election for public office. Just ask President Obama or, better still, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.

      Each man’s election was hailed by liberals as a kind of Second Coming, the arrival of Nirvana, the ultimate rejection, even repudiation, of their predecessors, George W. Bush and Michael Bloomberg, and of conservatism itself.

    • The Reclamation of Torture

      Torture ConceptTorture is making a comeback. Not the practice, at least in this country, but the word. For a decade, politicians and the media fenced the term off to keep it from contaminating their description of American behavior. But gradually, the word is being reclaimed. We should pay close attention to this development, for as we rediscover words that were once taboo, we define anew what it means to be an American.

    • The Ignored History of the Migrant Refugee Crisis

      Friday July 25 will not make history as the first time a war criminal was greeted at the White House. Nevertheless, this was the day that Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina, who has been condemned for his role in the torture and murder of civilians by the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission as well as journalists and academics, sat down with President Obama. Along with the Presidents of El Salvador and Honduras, the Heads of State gathered to discuss the causes of the massive northern exodus from Central America, as well as the 50,000 migrants—largely women and children—that have already been detained by the US government for crossing the border. The silence about the literal skeletons in Molina’s closet reveals a much larger historical legacy that has been ignored in the discourse around the border crisis.

    • Mubarak resisted US pressure to give up the Sinai: The Secret Files

      Towards the end of his tenure, ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak resisted pressures from Washington to cede Egyptian territory in the Sinai Peninsula to help create a Palestinian state, former senior members of Mubarak’s ruling party told Asharq Al-Awsat.

    • Russia’s Humanitarian ‘Invasion’

      Official Washington’s war-hysteria machine is running at full speed again after Russia unilaterally dispatched a convoy of trucks carrying humanitarian supplies to the blockaded Ukrainian city of Luhansk, writes ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern.

    • Americans are back on the war bandwagon

      Boosting US military involvement in Iraq will make matters worse.

    • Massachusetts SWAT teams claim they’re private corporations, immune from open records laws

      As part of the American Civil Liberties Union’s recent report on police militarization, the Massachusetts chapter of the organization sent open records requests to SWAT teams across that state. It received an interesting response.

    • Cornel West: “He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency”

      Cornel West is a professor at Union Theological Seminary and one of my favorite public intellectuals, a man who deals in penetrating analyses of current events, expressed in a pithy and highly quotable way.

      [...]

      And we ended up with a brown-faced Clinton. Another opportunist. Another neoliberal opportunist. It’s like, “Oh, no, don’t tell me that!” I tell you this, because I got hit hard years ago, but everywhere I go now, it’s “Brother West, I see what you were saying. Brother West, you were right. Your language was harsh and it was difficult to take, but you turned out to be absolutely right.” And, of course with Ferguson, you get it reconfirmed even among the people within his own circle now, you see. It’s a sad thing. It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin.

    • Cop Assigned To Ferguson Protests Threatens Attorney General Holder

      “AG Holder is in St. Louis Today. I should go in early and punch him in the nose for so many different reasons.” – Tweet by Sgt. Mike Weston, Velda City Police

    • Student’s Story About Shooting A Pet Dinosaur With A Gun Ends In Suspension, Arrest

      It would appear that Stone was only “disturbing” school officials who seemed intent on finding some evidence of his desire to shoot people and was understandably frustrated that they wouldn’t believe it wasn’t some sort of threat. Whatever disturbance Stone caused was limited to a single office. There was no reason for anyone to claim, much less believe, that his written assignment, or his behavior inside that office, was “disturbing” his classmates, other classes or anyone else not directly involved.

    • Women need protection from undercover officers

      Imagine the scenario. You meet someone and, from the outset, the attraction is mutual: silently shared smiles, lingering glances. You bond over shared interests and worldviews, and exchange telephone numbers. You start sleeping together and – as your pulse quickens every time the phone rings – you realise you are falling for each other. Days are spent together, walking in parks, trips to the cinema, romantic meals; time apart becomes difficult. Eventually, your partner moves in, and for years you share everything. Maybe you even have a child together. Then – suddenly – they appear depressed and become distant. One day, they are gone, leaving only an apologetic note on the kitchen table. You then discover everything you knew about them was false. They have invented a fake identity; their backstory, opinions, entire life, all a lie. They are undercover police officers, and were sent to spy on you and your friends.

    • Handcuffed Black Youth Killed Himself, Says Coroner

      A coroner’s report obtained exclusively by NBC News directly contradicts the police version of how a 22-year-old black man died in the back seat of a Louisiana police cruiser earlier this year — but still says the man, whose hands were cuffed behind his back, shot himself.

      In a press release issued March 3, the day he died, the Louisiana State Police said Victor White III apparently shot himself in an Iberia Parish police car. According to the police statement, White had his hands cuffed behind his back when he shot himself in the back.

    • Cops admit to false reports in Malmö protest

      Police withdrew statements that ambulance personnel were attacked at the anti-Nazi demonstrations on Saturday, and reported themselves for investigation after trampling protesters.

    • Give Killer Cops a Break, Says NYT

      The message of a New York Times piece by Michael Wines and Frances Robles (8/22/14) was clear: Police officers who shoot unarmed civilians need to be be given the benefit of the doubt.

    • NRA News Praises White Vigilante Patrols That Shot African-Americans After Hurricane Katrina

      Cam Edwards, host of the National Rifle Association’s news show, claimed that after Hurricane Katrina residents of the New Orleans neighborhood Algiers “were looking out for each other by walking the streets armed with firearms.” But according to a federal hate crimes indictment and numerous media reports, after Katrina white gun-toting vigilantes in Algiers targeted African-Americans with racially motivated violence.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Police Freeze Mega Shares in Money Laundering Investigation

        New Zealand authorities have placed 18.8% of the Kim Dotcom-founded cloud hosting service Mega under restraining order. The actions involve multi-millionaire William Yan, one of Mega’s largest shareholders, who is alleged to be involved in money laundering. Mega itself is not suspected of wrong-doing.

      • Witness Offered $3.50/Hr to Testify Against Pirate Bay Founder

        Witnesses are being summoned to appear in the trial of Gottfrid Svartholm set to take place in September. A Cambodia-based former colleague of the Pirate Bay founder has been offered $3.50 per hour to attend, but heated emails with Danish authorities indicate he will not be traveling.

Links 24/8/2014: GNU/Linux Specialisation and Benchmarks

Posted in News Roundup at 4:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • China Developing Its Own OS To Take On Apple, Microsoft, and Google

    If it hasn’t been made clear enough in recent months that China would love nothing more than to cut down on its reliance to American technology companies, its just-announced decision to create its own operating system should remedy that. At first, this OS will target the desktop, but eventually, it’ll make its way to smartphones and other mobile devices.

  • Desktop

    • Specialization and the Linux Desktop

      Our benevolent dictator for life recently claimed that he was still aiming at Linux being as prevalent on the desktop as it is in the datacenter or in the cloud. The statement was meant with roaring applause from the crowd, and a few healthy, and a few not so healthy, doses of skepticism from the press. Recently, IT World asked “Does it still make sense for Linus to want the desktop for Linux?”, and Matt Asay from Tech Repubic asked “Can we please stop talking about the Linux desktop?”. Both publishers are critical of the claim that there is still room for Linux on Personal Computers, and point to Android as a Linux success story. What both articles miss though is that the flexibility of Linux, and the permissiveness of it’s open source license may be the thing that saves Linux on the desktop, just not in the way we were expecting.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds is my hero, says 13 year old Zachary DuPont

      Zachary DuPon is a 6th grader who will turn 13 years old soon. He used to be an Arch Linux user and is looking forward to installing Gentoo Linux soon.

      The story of Zach goes like this – his school organized a project where students were asked to write a letter to their heroes, while most kids wrote to celebrities, Zach wrote to the ‘real’ hero of the modern technology world – Linus Torvalds.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Preview Of AMD Radeon R9 290 Hawaii Open-Source Performance

        Coming up next week is a comparison of the Radeon R9 290 graphics card against various other graphics cards on the latest open-source driver. Additionally, there will be a RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. Catalyst driver comparison for the Radeon R9 290 graphics card. Unfortunately there will be no Radeon R9 290X graphics tests for lacking that GPU and having bought the R9 290 myself. For those that are anxious to see how the R9 290 performs on the open-source driver, I uploaded some initial standalone results this weekend for you to facilitate your own comparisons.

      • Open-Source AMD HSA Should Come To Fruition This Year

        AMD’s open-source OpenCL support has been lagging behind the proprietary drivers, but Bridgman says they’re trying to improve upon that too. In particular, it seems they may try to open-source more of their proprietary OpenCL driver implementation. Bridgman said, “For OpenCL not sure yet — we’re trying to get more people working on it and open up more code from our proprietary implementation, so rate of progress should improve but I don’t know how much yet.”

      • Preview Of AMD Radeon R9 290 Hawaii Open-Source Performance

        Coming up next week is a comparison of the Radeon R9 290 graphics card against various other graphics cards on the latest open-source driver. Additionally, there will be a RadeonSI Gallium3D vs. Catalyst driver comparison for the Radeon R9 290 graphics card. Unfortunately there will be no Radeon R9 290X graphics tests for lacking that GPU and having bought the R9 290 myself. For those that are anxious to see how the R9 290 performs on the open-source driver, I uploaded some initial standalone results this weekend for you to facilitate your own comparisons.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Bay Trail Performance With Linux 3.16/3.17 & Mesa 10.3

        The Bay Trail HD Graphics tests for this article came down to:

        - Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS with all available stable release updates.

        - The updated Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS state with then enabling the Oibaf PPA for Mesa 10.3-devel.

        - The Oibaf’ed Ubuntu LTS configuration with then installing the Linux 3.16 stable kernel.

        - The above configuration but then upgrading to the experimental Linux 3.17 kernel in Git form.

      • Radeon Graphics Yield Mixed Results With Linux 3.17 Kernel

        This article serves as a comparison of the stable Linux 3.16 kernel against the latest Linux 3.17 Git kernel when testing a range of graphics cards from the Radeon HD 5770 through the Radeon R9 270X. The system setup was maintained the same through testing and Ubuntu 14.04.1 LTS was used as a host but with upgrading to the Mesa 10.3-devel and xf86-video-ati 7.4.99 Git using the Oibaf PPA. With Linux 3.16.0 and Linux 3.17 Git, the following AMD graphics cards were tested on the Intel Core i7 4790K rig:

        - Radeon HD 5770
        - Radeon HD 6870
        - Radeon HD 6950
        - Radeon HD 7850
        - Radeon HD 7950
        - Radeon R9 270X

      • Preview: OS X 10.10 Yosemite vs. Ubuntu Linux GPU Performance

        At the request of many Phoronix readers, here’s our first tests of Apple’s OS X 10.10 “Yosemite” operating system as we see how the OpenGL performance compares between it and Ubuntu Linux with an updated kernel and Mesa.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Releases in the Future

        Long post about releases ahead, brace yourselves!

        Last week we released KDE Applications and KDE Platform 4.14.

        KDE Applications, KDE Platform and KDE Workspaces were sometimes collectively referred as the “KDE Software Compilation” or “KDE SC” in short form, which is arguably a bad name, but it is what it is.

      • My TODO List for LaKademy 2014
      • Release of libmygpo-qt 1.0.8 (Qt5 support inside :) )

        I’m happy to announce the release of a new version of my project libmygpo-qt. It again has been a while, over one year since the last release. And although it took so long, this release doesn’t include many new features, except one: support for building the library with Qt5.

      • How to contribute to the KDE Frameworks Cookbook

        Im a way, the book will partly provide an alternative way to consume the content provided by KDE TechBase. Because of that, the HTML version of the book will integrate and cross-link with TechBase. The preferences of what kind of documentation should be in the book or on TechBase are not yet written in stone, and will probably develop over time. The beauty of Free Software is that it also does not matter much – the content is there and may be mixed and remixed as needed.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • gnome 3 followup

        A quick followup from my previous post about using gnome shell for a week from a sysadmin view. I got a number of responses on irc and via email. Some of them providing handy hints and solutions or at least work arounds to some of the issues I ran into. I am happy to report that everyone who offered me suggestions/workarounds/tips were very polite and many were in agreement that some of these were issues that should get fixed or implemented.

  • Distributions

    • Why I don’t distro-hop: Because work. And pain.

      In any Linux distribution I use, I’d love to have full functionality with the open Radeon graphics driver. I’d also love a packaged Catalyst driver that works with GNOME 3. I can’t get the former with anything just yet, and I can’t get the latter in Fedora due to Wayland code in GNOME 3 that doesn’t yet play with Catalyst. Since I tend to run Xfce instead of GNOME, this isn’t a deal-breaker.

    • Manjaro 0.8.10 Receives New Update Pack and New Kernels

      Manjaro 0.8.10, a Linux distribution based on well-tested snapshots of the Arch Linux repositories and 100% compatible with Arch, has received a new update pack that brings some very important updates and changes.

    • Slackware Family

      • Salix Fluxbox 14.1 Beta 1 Is Light Distro Based on Slackware

        “It’s time to revive our Fluxbox edition! Here is a first beta that is mostly untested for now, so feel free to try it out and post your findings.The Fluxbox edition is designed to bring a minimalist environment to your desktop. The default desktop layout is comprised only from the Fluxbox panel and the right click menu will bring up the Fluxbox menu, so it should be really light on resources. The file manager that is used is PCManFM.”

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • The Ubuntu Touch Image #203 Is Quite Fast And Stable

            The developers have started the work for the RTM (release to manufacturing) version of Ubuntu Touch, which will get only bug-fixes.

            Ubuntu Touch is developed on three branches: Utopic, which is the “stable” branch, the development branch utopic-devel and the RTM branch, which, unlike the two others, is not available for public yet.

            So, if you want an Ubuntu Touch version that receives all the new features in time, got for the “stable” branch. And for an Ubuntu Touch with less bugs and crashes, try the Ubuntu RTM.

          • Ubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn Now Uses Kernel 3.16.1

            Due to the fact that the Kernel Freeze will arrive in seven weeks, most likely, Ubuntu 14.10 will not ship with the newest version of Kernel 3.16.

          • Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) Hits Feature Freeze

            Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn) is going to pass through several development stages and the Feature Freeze is just one of them. This means that developers can no longer get new features and major changes into the system, unless it’s important enough to get an exemption.

          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Is Open Source Becoming the De Facto Standard in the Data Center?

    Is open source positioned to become the next mode of standardization in the virtualization world?

  • Islamic State militant group used less restrictive social network

    The Islamic State extremist group began using a social networking website with less restrictions on users after other social media sites, Twitter and YouTube in particular, removed content related to the group.

    The social network called Diaspora lets users control their own personal data rather than storing the information itself, and it allows users to designate their own servers to host their data.

  • Events

    • ownCloud to organize Developer Conference in Berlin

      ownCloud is one of the most important free software projects around because we all are moving to the cloud for easy access to our data anywhere, anytime. The ‘so-called’ cloud has it’s own advantages, but it also compromises one’s ownership and control of the data. The moment you put your data on someone else’s cloud you lose the control and ownership over your own data.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Did Brendan Eich Contribute to Firefox’s Decline?

        This may sound like analyzing yesterday’s news, but I think it’s important, and more than that I need to put this here as a resource to point certain people to.

        As we probably all know Brendan Eich [co-]creator of the JavaScript scripting language, co-founder of the Mozilla project, the Mozilla Foundation and the Mozilla Corporation, and ex-chief technical officer of Mozilla Corporation was promoted to chief executive officer (CEO) of Mozilla on March 24, 2014 only to resign on April 3, 2014 due to controversy over his $1,000 donation to the unconstitutional California Proposition 8 in 2008.

  • Freedom

    • on the Dark Ages of Free Software: a “Free Service Definition”?

      Free Software community is winning a war that is becoming increasingly pointless: yes, users have 100% Free Software thin client at their fingertips [or are really a few steps from there]. But all their relevant computations happen elsewhere, on remote systems they do not control, in the Cloud.

  • Misc.

Leftovers

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • 9-year-old trains to be ‘caliphate’ jihadi

      In Raqqah, heavily-armed jihadists are seen celebrating on US armoured vehicles seized during their advances in Iraq, while sharia police patrol streets and markets with rifles over their shoulders. Patrol chief Abu Obida orders traders to remove a poster showing “infidels,” then blithely tells a man to change the fabric on his wife’s veil.

    • US weighs direct military action against ISIS in Syria

      The Obama administration is debating a more robust intervention in Syria, including possible American air strikes, in a significant escalation of its weeks-long military assault on the Islamic extremist group that has destabilized neighbouring Iraq and killed an American journalist US, officials said.

    • The Republican Embrace of ISIL-Type Violence

      Remember when two cops were shot by homegrown white conservative terrorists in Las Vegas and Paul Waldman at the Washington Post, wrote, “It’s long past time for prominent conservatives and Republicans to do some introspection and ask whether they’re contributing to outbreaks of right-wing violence”?

      Remember when Republicans rejected the idea that their rhetoric could incite violence, let alone that it is violent?

      And think again about how Muslims should get a bullet in the head and pro-immigration Republicans should be shot and hanged.

      Remember these instances of violent right-wing rhetoric?

    • British, American special forces forming hunter killer unit ‘Task Force Black’ to smash Islamic State

      Britain’s elite special forces along with US special forces are forming a unit called Task Force Black to hunt down the killer of James Foley and smash the Islamic State.

      According to the Mirror and as reported by the Sunday People, the undercover unit’s aim will be to “cut the head off the snake” by hitting the command structure of the Islamist terror group responsible for a trail of atrocities across Iraq and Syria.

    • Op-Ed: Mystery plane bombs Tripoli again for a second night

      Most reports do not mention Haftar’s links to the CIA nor do the most recent reports I have read mention Haftar’s own remarks to the effect that these bombings are a joint effort with the international community.

    • What’s the truth behind Malaysian Flight 17 downing?: CIA Analysts Won’t Back White House Claims of Russian Culpability

      With the US continuing to push its submissive European “allies” towards an ever more confrontational stance towards Russia over the crisis in Ukraine (a crisis initially provoked by the US itself through CIA and State Department actions that led to the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government), the world appears headed towards a dangerous renewed Cold War between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.

      A central part of that campaign by Washington has been the effort to blame the downing of Malaysian Flight 17, which killed all 298 passengers and crew, on Russia, or failing that, on pro-Russian separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine. This campaign has used innuendo, falsified evidence and, weirdly, spurious and sometimes absurd “evidence” circulating in various social media — all of which which people like Secretary of State John Kerry and president Obama himself have tried to say “prove” that Russia, or at least a Russian-provided high-altitude BUK anti-aircraft missile, was responsible for the downing.

    • Here’s How The Kremlin’s English-Language Propaganda Organs Are Spinning Russia’s Incursion Into Ukraine

      The current situation in Ukraine is reaching a head as Russian armour and aid trucks are freely flowing over the boarder, an act that Ukraine has called a “direct invasion.”

      For the first time in months of crisis, NATO accused Russia of directly intervening in Ukraine’s restive east, where Kiev has been fighting Russian-supported separatists.

    • Reports Of ISIS Beheadings Are Horrifyingly Common

      During the first two weeks of August, Islamic State fighters killed 700 members of the al-Sheitaat tribe in Syria’s Deir al-Zor province, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Many of them were beheaded, the organization said. Islamic State militants had been battling the tribe since seizing two oil fields in Syria in July.

    • Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Hamas

      “Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood,” Sexton explained. “It was founded by Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a cleric and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood himself.”

      Sexton said Yassin founded in Hamas in 1987, during the first intifada.

      “In 1988, Hamas established a charter, a mission statement,” Sexton continued. “It said that its goal is to raise the flag of Allah over every inch of Palestine. Well, that’s a problem, because when they say Palestine, they mean Israel.”

    • How Snowden Complicates the Prevention of Future Leaks

      George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and the most prominent members of their teams feel differently, of course, which helps explain why Snowden became a whistleblower in the first place. The national-security state is its own worst enemy, doing more to undermine its own legitimacy than its critics ever could.

    • The truth about Iraq’s liberation

      US air strikes on Iraq are part of a criminal scheme to safeguard western control of the country’s oil, writes Dahlia Wasfi

    • US must consider partnering with Assad to defeat IS: former CIA agent

      The Obama administration is still weighing up how to respond to the Islamic State terrorist group after the beheading of American journalist James Foley. Pressure is growing on president Obama to do more than the current strategy of airstrikes on IS targets in Iraq. Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Martin Dempsey said IS can only be defeated by countering Sunni militancy in Syria. The World Today spoke to former CIA counter-terrorist officer Patrick Skinner.

    • Why Washington’s War on Terror Failed

      There are extraordinary elements in the present U.S. policy in Iraq and Syria that are attracting surprisingly little attention. In Iraq, the U.S. is carrying out air strikes and sending in advisers and trainers to help beat back the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (better known as ISIS) on the Kurdish capital, Erbil. The U.S. would presumably do the same if ISIS surrounds or attacks Baghdad. But in Syria, Washington’s policy is the exact opposite: there the main opponent of ISIS is the Syrian government and the Syrian Kurds in their northern enclaves. Both are under attack from ISIS, which has taken about a third of the country, including most of its oil and gas production facilities.

    • ‘Germans fed up with NATO allies & US wars’ – Frmr Defense Secretary
  • Transparency Reporting

    • When Google Met WikiLeaks Note

      A pungent account by Assange of the banality of corporate evil, as he terms Google. Assange says the exchange with Eric Schmidt and colleagues may be his best interview — which composes about half the volume.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • FRACK TO FRONT

      Earlier in the summer, SchNEWS broke the story of the infamous Infrastructure Bill. The new law, still winding its way through parliament, will allow for any public land to be ‘transferred’ via a Government body to private developers.The Infrastructure Bill is still very much happening, and it’s got even uglier. We’re talking compulsory fracking uglier.

  • Finance

    • In Detroit, Water Crisis Symbolizes Decline, and Hope

      Nearly 19,500 Detroiters have had their water service interrupted since March 1. The Water and Sewerage Department, under pressure to reduce more than $90 million in bad debt, ordered shutoffs for customers who owed at least $150 or had fallen at least two months behind on their bills. The decision to take such drastic measures, done with little warning, ignited a controversy that prompted protests and arrests, more bad publicity for the struggling city, global dismay, and a warning from the United Nations.

    • How a degree from Duke University dashed my dreams of buying a home

      I didn’t realize just how much of an impact student loan debt would have until I attempted to buy a house

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • BBC’s long struggle to present the facts without fear or favour

      Under such circumstances, it is no wonder that the BBC can appear like a damaged, bullied child, defensive and afraid. The stakes for BBC News are immeasurably high. If we believe in the BBC as a positive and beneficial ideological intervention in our lives, if we believe in it as the greatest, and best loved, signifier of Britain there is, then things have to change – outside the BBC as well as inside it. The bullies need to lay off. The whole culture that surrounds it needs to become less vituperative, more mature.

  • Censorship

    • Europe: A Union of Common Censorship

      Freedom is fundamental to prosperity. Those who cherish freedom most are often those who have not always enjoyed it. Thus the souls whose lives were blighted by Communist totalitarianism often rejoice at the simplest pleasures, even 25 years after the evils of the system were unraveled across Europe. Their joy in being able to travel has been hugely enhanced by that core Western value – freedom. Unfortunately, just as the European Union appears to have forgotten how to create prosperity, so, too, it seems to have gone somewhat patchy on the notion of freedom.

    • India sacks movie censor chief over bribery charge

      MUMBAI: India has removed the chief executive of its film censorship board after he was arrested on accusations he took a bribe to clear a movie for screening.

    • Gavin McInnes Makes a Great Argument Against Censorship

      Last week, performance artist, professional agitator, and Vice co-founder Gavin McInnes took to Thought Catalog—a publication known for particularly vapid and terrible millennial musings—to speculate about how “transphobia is perfectly natural.” People were outraged. People demanded the piece be removed. Thought Catalog responded by slapping on a big old trigger warning—if you go to the McInnes article page now, you’ll get a notice that “the article you are trying to read has been reported by the community as hateful or abusive content” before being allowed to proceed—but like hell it was going to take down such spectacular clickbait.

    • Canada’s despicable climate censorship: Government scientists need permission to tweet basic facts

      New documents reveal the extent of the government’s maddening policy of “suppression through bureaucracy”

    • Twitter’s busy week: Censorship rules and changing timelines
    • ‘Recovered Voices’ initiative studies grim history of Nazi censorship

      The Nazis, of course, had their terrible guidelines based on religion, race or modernist “decadence.”

  • Privacy

    • Corporate hack attack fears drive flash of cash

      Mr Snowden’s exposé revealed that the NSA had gained access to large internet companies’ servers stored in clouds, and inserted “back doors” into encryption software. In the immediate aftermath there were fears that distrust in US cloud-storage providers could cost such companies dearly, with the highest estimates forecasting a 25 per cent hit to overall IT service provider revenues globally.

    • White Paper: Identifying back doors, attack points, and surveillance mechanisms in iOS devices

      I received word from the editor-in-chief that the author of an accepted paper has permission to publish it on his website, and so I am now making my research available to anyone who wishes to read it. The following paper, “Identifying back doors, attack points, and surveillance mechanisms in iOS devices” first appeared published in The International Journal of Digital Forensics and Incident Response in March 2014′s publication. The Editor-in-Chief is Eoghan Casey, with the Information Security Institute, John Hopkins University, Maryland. The editorial board consists of researchers from Google, Microsoft, LG, The Mitre Corporation, and a number of universities. This paper was the basis for my talk at the HOPE/X conference in NYC in July 2014. Please enjoy.

    • THE WEST IS LOSING TURKEY

      The announcements were both as expected and made one smile. Evidently, the main reason is the ambiguity of the policies implemented by the Erdoğan government, which shows an unbounded character according to them. Aside from wiretapping some politicians and bureaucrats of Turkey, the BND also probably used other communication tools such as the Internet. Former BND chief Wieck stated that such authority could only be granted by the German government, while intelligence experts underlined that such an operation could only be conducted by using some intermediaries in Turkey.

    • Germany spies on Albania to monitor ‘organised crime’: report

      Germany’s secret service has been spying on Albania for years to keep tabs on “organised crime”, Der Spiegel claimed on Saturday, days after it was revealed that Berlin had been eavesdropping on Turkey.

  • Civil Rights

    • Ferguson: officer relieved of duty after video of racist remarks surfaces

      A police officer involved in the protests over Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, has been relieved of his duty after video surfaced of him making racist and derogatory remarks.

      Dan Page was recorded in April giving a speech in which he described President Barack Obama as an illegal immigrant, and railed against Muslims and gay people. “I’m into diversity – I kill everybody,” he said.

    • High school student arrested for writing story about shooting dinosaur

      When a South Carolina student was given an assignment by his teacher to create a Facebook-type status report telling something interesting about himself, he allegedly wrote “I killed my neighbor’s pet dinosaur. I bought the gun to take care of the business.”

    • John Yoo and The Senate Torture Report

      John Choon Yoo, aka John Yoo, authored the Torture Memos used to justify torture of human beings by the Bush Administration.

      [...]

      The SSCI Torture report has been approved for public release. However, the SSCI and the CIA are fighting over the CIA’s substantial redactions to the torture report summary. The torture report is 6,000 pages, adopted by the SSCI in December 2012; it is the most comprehensive report on the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” a euphemism for torture.

    • This guy accepted a ‘water-boarding challenge’

      Some sheep have been bold enough to show their bravery by accepting the Ice Bucket Challenge. Others demand a greater feat, such as proving one’s capability to read on a fifth-grade level. But some motherfuckers? Some motherfuckers just don’t know when to quit. Some motherfuckers decidedly accepted a means of CIA-endorsed torture–not so much for the ALS children–but, like Bill Burr has already professed, for their own two and a half seconds of fame.

    • Journalist James Risen: will he be jailed for not revealing source?

      While President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder have asked this week for law enforcement in Ferguson, Mo., to not jail reporters for doing their jobs, press advocates are asking the administration and the Justice Department to stop prosecuting a New York Times national security correspondent for doing his. As Ashley Westerman reports from Washington, DC, the years-­long case of James Risen has had a chilling effect on journalists and whistleblowers.

    • The administration should not press reporter James Risen to reveal a source

      LAST WEEK President Obama offered some lofty words about journalism and democracy. Commenting on the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., he declared, “Here, in the United States of America, police should not be bullying or arresting journalists who are just trying to do their jobs and report to the American people on what they see on the ground.”

    • Obama Admits ‘We Tortured Some Folks,’ But Is the Bush Era Over?

      As Taguba noted in his piece for the Times, he knows “from experience that oversight will help the C.I.A. — as it helped the United States military.” He wrote: “Ten years ago, I was directed by Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the senior officer in Iraq, to investigate allegations of detainee abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad. My report’s findings, which prompted a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, documented a systemic problem: military personnel had perpetrated ‘numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses.’” He believes that the reason American’s support for terrorism has increased in recent years only because there has been no honest accounting. He cited a 2012 YouGov poll and research conducted by Amy Zegart of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. Although several years old, that survey showed that 41 percent of Americans supported torturing prisoners, a 14-percentage point increase from 2007. “It turns out that Americans don’t just like the general idea of torture more now,” Zegart wrote for Foreign Policy in September 2012. “They like specific torture techniques more too.”

    • Saudi Arabia executes 19 in one half of August in ‘disturbing surge of beheadings’

      Saudi Arabia has beheaded at least 19 people since the beginning of August in a surge of executions, the Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said.

    • ‘Comprehensive’ CIA Torture Report Won’t Even Name Well-Known Architects of Torture Program

      Some familiar names will be missing from the Senate Intelligence Committee’s long-awaited report on the CIA’s torture program, VICE News has learned.

      Notably, two retired Air Force psychologists, Dr. Bruce Jessen and Dr. James Mitchell, who have been credited with being the architects of the CIA’s so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques,” have their names redacted in the 480-page executive summary of the report, according to current and former US officials knowledgeable about the contents of the document.

    • The killer on the (Saudi) king’s highway

      The House of Saud, directly and indirectly, and the proverbial wealthy Gulf Cooperation Council donors are the Mom and Dad of ISIS. All duly vetted/approved by the industrial-military-Orwellian-Panopticon complex.

    • Leaks, Whistleblowers, and the Media’s Right to Report

      Their stories are not new. What Spione brought to the screen was the humanity of the whistleblowers and the patriotic idealism that compelled them to work in government agencies like the NSA and the CIA and then to speak out against the excesses they saw there. If anything, Silenced dramatizes how the landscape of government secrecy has changed dramatically since 9/11 and the war on terror. It makes the argument that whistleblowers play an essential role: Leaks are a necessary prophylactic, especially when they reveal the abuse of public authority and the harm done to the rights of citizens.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Police: Finding Pirate Bay Documents is Too Expensive

        City of London Police have denied a Freedom of Information request for access to correspondence relating to The Pirate Bay. According to the police it would take more than 18 hours to locate the requested information and would therefore cost too much money.

08.23.14

Links 23/8/2014: GNU/Linux Growth

Posted in News Roundup at 7:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • The whale that swallowed New Zealand’s election campaign

    A spectacular exposé alleging prime minister John Key and his National party colleagues were involved in dirty tricks campaigns has created the most significant political maelstrom in nearly six years in office and blown the government’s re-election strategy dramatically off course, writes Toby Manhire

  • Women significantly outnumber teenage boys in gamer demographics

    Adult female gamers have unseated boys under the age of 18 as the largest video game-playing demographic in the U.S., according to a recently published study from the Entertainment Software Association, a trade group focused the U.S. gaming industry.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • ASIO explains why Australians can fight for some terrorists and not others

      In the past week, the Abbott government has revealed a new package of anti-terrorism laws targeting Australian jihadists returning from Iraq and Syria that aroused the resentment of several Islamic community representatives. Recently, ASIO chief David Irvine decided to meet with a team of Arab-speaking journalists in Sydney in an attempt to communicate his message, which centred on the distinction between a War on Terror and a War on Islam.

    • Events in Ferguson show why we read the news: entertainment

      When the hysteria began following the revelations about NSA surveillance, I predicted that we’d have an enjoyable hissy fit — then nothing would change (details here). And 14 months later little has changed (perhaps nothing). Now the events in Ferguson MO have sparked a new cycle of outrage over the militarization of police. My prediction is that again little or nothing will change. Here we consider why public outrage has so little effect: news is just entertainment.

    • Indian Army seals cross-border tunnel that sneaks in terrorists

      After Modi ministry came to power, violations per day by Pakistan army has escalated. The reason being that cross border infiltration by terrorists has been stopped by Indian Army. The combined efforts of Indian Army acting on NSA’s advise based in IM, RAW and IB is making J&K becoming hot for jihadis. The tunnel was discovered two weeks back and since then Pakistan has not stopped attack on Indian Army outposts. The Pak Army has admitted that two civilians were dead and soldiers injured on their side.

    • Demand Swells for Straight Answers on the Downing of Malaysian Airlines’ MH17 in Ukraine

      A long list of prominent individuals has signed, a number of organizations will be promoting next week, and you can be one of the first to sign right now, a petition titled “Call For Independent Inquiry of the Airplane Crash in Ukraine and its Catastrophic Aftermath.”

    • ISIS a Jewish Plot? Propaganda and Islamic Jihad

      The combination of events – first, the anti-Semitism expressed by IS supporters and, then, the anti-Semitism by calling IS itself a Jewish plot – is more than simply dizzying. It is treacherous. And it can lead only to the creation of more widespread Jew hate, and thorough confusion among politicians, security agencies, and the police.

    • A pleasant surprise for Washington

      Germany’s announcement that it was ready to arm Iraqi Kurdish fighters against IS was neither expected nor demanded by the US. And yet it’s a welcome boost for the Obama administration – and also helps Berlin.

    • Did an Israeli Sniper Kill an Unarmed Man in Gaza?

      An Israeli activist has told Channel 4 News that he has gathered testimony from three Israeli soldiers who said they witnessed Shamaly’s killing. “They were completely convinced that what they did was wrong,” the Israeli activist, Eran Efrati, said. “They were guilty. The man in the green shirt was not any threat to their lives.”

    • Assassin’s Creed: Taking Out Individuals as a War Strategy

      Israel was the first country to incorporate targeted assassination into its law books, followed by America, which since the September 11, 2001, attacks has perfected the use of sophisticated drones to target terrorist leaders in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    • How many Palestinian civilians is a single militant worth?

      As of Thursday, 76.8 percent of the 2,090 fatalities documented by the Gazan human rights organization Mizan have been civilians.

    • Drone strike kills 6 Pakistani militants, including senior commander in Kunar

      At least six members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were killed following a drone strike in eastern Kunar province of Afghanistan.

      Provincial police chief for Kunar province, Gen. Abdul Habib Syed Khel, confirmed that six Pakistani militants were killed following a drone strike by coalition forces.

    • Hamas executes 18 alleged spies for Israel

      Gaza gunmen executed 18 Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel Friday, including seven who were lined up behind a mosque with bags over their heads and shot in front of hundreds of people.

      The killings came in response to Israel’s deadly airstrike against three top Hamas military commanders.The incident occurred after more than six weeks of heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas.

    • US debates more robust Syria intervention

      The Obama administration is debating a more robust intervention in Syria, including possible US airstrikes, in a significant escalation of its weeks-long military assault on the Islamic extremist group that has destabilised neighbouring Iraq and killed a US journalist, officials said on Friday.

    • Hamas executes ‘collaborators’
    • Hamas admits its men abducted Israeli teens, says its leaders didn’t know

      A Hamas official admitted Friday that militants from his group abducted three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June, but the official said the kidnappers did not tell their leaders about the action.

    • Gaza mortar fire kills child in southern Israel

      An Israeli child was killed by mortar fire from Gaza on Friday, the army said, bringing the number of civilians killed in Israel during the 46-day conflict with Hamas to four.

    • Israel says boy killed by Gaza mortar bomb
    • Jury acquits anti-drone protester

      A six-person jury acquitted anti-drone protester Russell Brown on July 31 in an East Syracuse, N.Y., court of all charges after he testified about how current U.S. murderous drone strikes are like the U.S. war crimes committed during the ­Vietnam War.

      Brown was on trial for an April 2013 protest at Hancock National Guard Airbase in Syracuse. He smeared himself with red dye to represent the death of drone victims and lay down in a roadway in front of the base. He was arrested and faced charges carrying a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

    • Egypt Army Bombs Weapons Facility Allegedly Linked To Hamas
    • Families of Victims of One Drone Strike in Yemen Paid more than an Entire Year’s Worth of Victims in Afghanistan

      In the twisted world of compensation for errant drone attacks, an attempt at making up for killing innocent civilians in one country has proven far more valuable than a year’s worth of slaughter in another nation.

    • Yemen: Victims of U.S. Drone Strike on Wedding Party Got $1 Million Payout

      The family members of 12 people killed and others injured in a U.S. drone strike on a wedding party in Yemen last year have received condolence payments totaling more than $1 million. Documents provided by the group Reprieve to The Washington Post show the payment ostensibly came from the Yemeni government, but the high amount suggests the U.S. government is providing reimbursement. The documents also show the identities of those killed. They include a 29-year-old man identified as an associate of a Yemeni group working against Islamist militancy.

    • OPINION: Violations of International Law Denigrate U.N.
    • Civilian Victims Of U.S. Drone Strike In Yemen Reportedly Receive Over $1 Million
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Rupert Murdoch, the man who put the ‘twit’ into Twitter

      It’s a time when PR outfits have to bat on through the dog days of summer with very little of any substance to rely on. So they pump out a welter of verbiage in the hope that equally desperate journalists will discern a gleaming nugget lurking in the dross, pick it up,and give it a polish. Indeed, it is so bad I actually came very close to writing a piece about a GPS service that tracks the whereabouts of cats on their nocturnal peregrinations. In the end though I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Dignity, you know, always dignity.

      That said, I couldn’t resist this one. The Foxy one himself, for it is he, Rupert Murdoch, an occasional user of Twitter after discovering social media in the halcyon years of his mid-dotage, has taken to the medium again to express the opinion that Google is worse than America’s NSA!

      Here’s the twit’s deathless Twitter in full, “NSA privacy invasion bad but nothing compared to Google”. Now that has to be enough to make the aforementioned tabby chortle it’s little furry bootees off.

  • Censorship

    • The Military Is Banning Soldiers from Reading Documents Everyone Else Can See

      The government isn’t just keeping track of what civilians are looking at online. They’re also concerned with the browsing habits of their own soldiers.

    • Islamic State joins Diaspora, let’s debunk some myths

      Diaspora, an open source, distributed social network, has come under fire recently for not being able to censor members of Islamic State in the same fashion that Facebook and Twitter have.

      Recent articles in the mainstream press explain how Diaspora doesn’t have a central body with the ability to remove users or their posts because of the distributed nature of the network, however these claims seem ill-considered as they aren’t correct.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Gabbard calls for demilitarizing police

      Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has called for demilitarizing of American police.

    • Green Party: Demilitarize the police, end racial disparities and bring justice to the criminal justice system

      Greens speak out in the wake of the police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., warn about the emergence of a police state

    • Godwin’s Law

      Keep the sentiment of Godwin’s Law in mind as you read, listen, write and speak here and elsewhere. Hyperbole exists, can be sneaky or unintended, and actually can ruin the importance of what you have to say. The legitimacy of your point could be threatened by such dire comparisons. If you don’t even bother trying to catch it, well then truly, you are worse than Hitler.

    • Militarization of our police threatens democracy

      The killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., and the heavy-handed police tactics that have followed point to a growing problem in this country: the threat of a police state that endangers not only public safety, but democracy itself.

      After the fatal shooting of the unarmed Brown by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, local law enforcement descended upon the city like an occupying force, complete with military weapons, tear gas, rubber bullets and armored personnel carriers.

    • Cop-Tech: The Inevitable Future of Policing

      By now, we’ve heard much about the militarization of police forces, but not so much about other advances in cop-tech that could be as consequential. With national attention lingering on the issue of police brutality — some 400 police killings take place per year, according to USA Today — questions around new policing technologies are pressing. Some of the new gadgets, like Taser’s officer cam, are meant to foster accountability. But others aim to keep pace with increasingly connected and tech-savvy criminals. The civil libertarians are fretting.

    • The Same Hashish They Give Out

      As the public release of the Senate’s report on a four-year investigation into the CIA’s torture program approaches, John Brennan, the agency’s director, is in an uncomfortable spotlight. The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is responsible for overseeing the CIA, has accused the agency of abusing its power. See Brave New Films’ short video below.

    • White House Touts Petition Site But Many Await Replies

      The White House could hardly contain itself earlier this month when President Barack Obama signed a bill allowing American consumers to unlock their cell phones. The bill was driven in part by the White House’s own petition website, “We The People,” and touted as an example of a new model of citizen advocacy influencing change in Washington.

    • Police officer suspended after branding Ferguson protesters ‘rabid dogs’

      St Louis police say it has suspended one of its officers expressed contempt for the protesters on his Facebook account

    • Elderly Hackney pastor has heart attack after ‘botched police raid’

      A police spokesman confirmed officers had obtained a warrant for the raid, but admitted no drugs were found or arrests made. She added: “We are aware an official complaint is being lodged. Under these circumstances it would be inappropriate for us to comment at this time.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • DeMaio Campaign Says Peters Waffles on Net Neutrality

      The Carl DeMaio campaign on Thursday accused Rep. Scott Peters of siding with the cable industry in efforts to undermine net neutrality.

      Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should treat all data on the Internet equally. Cable industry leaders argue that providers of data-intensive services such as movie delivery should be given preferential treatment if they pay more.

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