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Open Source Initiative, Free Software Foundation, SFLC, Red Hat and Others Fight Against Software Patents at SCOTUS Level

Posted in America, FSF, Law, OIN, OSI, Patents, Red Hat at 5:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The debate about software patents in the United States is back because many Free software advocacy groups and companies (not Open Invention Network though) are getting involved in a Supreme Court (SCOTUS) case

OVER THE past 6 months or so there have not been many debates about software patents. There were debates about trolls and other such distracting debates; many of them were ‘pre-approved’ by corporations and covered by the corporate press. We had highlighted this appealing trend several dozens of times before pretty much abandoning this debate and giving up on involvement; generally speaking, providing coverage for these debates is basically helping those who create obstacles for small players (monopolies/oligopolies) just shift the public’s attention away from patent scope.

Debates about software patents returned about a week ago. The Open Invention Network (OIN) was mentioned in the article “Software patents should include source code”, but it’s such an offensive idea because it helps legitimise software patents, which is what the Open Invention Network often does anyway. To quote the article: “Computer-implemented inventions that are patented in Europe should be required to fully disclose the patented invention, for example by including working, compilable source code, that can be verified by others. This would be one way to avoid frivolous software patents, says Mirko Boehm, a Berlin-based economist and software developer working for the OpenInvention Network (OIN).”

Why on Earth does the Open Invention Network get involved in pushing the idea of software patents in Europe? Source code or not, software patents are not legal in Europe and the same goes in most of the world, including India where lawyers’ sites still try to legitimise them.

In another blog post, one from a proprietary software company, the ludicrous notion of “Intellectual Property” is mentioned in the context of Free software and patents. The author is actually pro-Free software, but the angle he takes helps warp the terminology and warp the discussion somewhat. To quote him: “My usual response to the question, “Do I have to worry about patent trolls and copyright infringement in open source software?” is another question, “Does your proprietary vendor offer you unlimited liability for patent trolls and copyright infringement and what visibility do you have into their source code?” In the proprietary world I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a vendor who provides unlimited liability for their products against IP infringement, or even much over the cost of the products or services rendered. How often do you review their source code and if given the opportunity are you able to share your findings with other users. In open source that’s simply table stakes.”

Contrary to all the above, the Software Freedom Law Center, together with the FSF and the OSI (Simon Phipps and Luis Villa) actually fight the good fight. To quote Phipps: “How important are software patents? We know they’re a threat to the freedom of developers to collaborate openly in communities, chilling the commercial use of shared ideas that fuels engagement with open source. We know that the software industry was established without the “incentive” of software patents. But the importance of the issue was spotlighted yesterday in a joint action by two leading open source organizations.”

Here is how Phipps concludes his article at IDG: “I endorse and welcome this joint position calling for firm clarity on software patents. (I was obviously party to the decision to take it, although I’m not writing on OSI’s behalf here.) With 15 years of history behind us, there’s far more that unites the FSF and the OSI than divides us. We’ve each played our part in the software freedom movement that has transformed computing. Now all of us in both communities need to unite to end the chilling threat of software patents to the freedom to innovate collaboratively in community.”

Red Hat too is joining this battle and announcing this to shareholders, making some press coverage in the process amid many articles about SCOTUS in the post-Bilski case era (see some coverage in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 910]).

Software patents are finally in the headlines again (not much sympathy for them), but there is also some focus on trolls, courtesy of companies like Samsung and Apple. Other recent reporting about patents covered patent lawyers’ business, the role of universities in patents (they help feed trolls these days), and also USPTO reform (that was a fortnight ago). None of this dominated the news, however, as much as the debate was on software patents. So, perhaps it’s time to get back to covering patents on an almost daily basis.

Software patents are the most important issue as they are the biggest barrier to Free software. We just need to have the subject of software patents and their elimination publicly discussed.


GNU News (December-January)

Posted in FSF at 5:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: GNU, FSF, and Free software news from the past month or so


A GNU To Be Thankful For

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux at 6:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Stallman

Summary: Thanksgiving reminder for those who want to receive freedom-respecting presents or wish to give freedom-respecting presents

EARLIER TODAY we wrote GNU/Linux devices or computers that can be purchased on Black Friday. Well, the FSF has a new “Giving Guide”, which basically highlights the need to avoid DRM-laden products and other such malicious ‘gifts’ [1] that can merely imprison their receiver. One must remember that GNU/FSF advocates abundance, which in itself is a gift [2]. There is no need to buy and sell stuff when something can be shared for free [3]. When Richard Stallman created Emacs he wanted to share his work, not necessarily profit from it; that’s where the GPL licence comes from. Emacs continues to develop to this date (a WYSIWYG GUI might be coming [4]) along with essential low-level GNU libraries [5] which make up the basis for a lot of those “Linux” gadgets that are on sale this Black Friday. We oughtn’t forget that if it wasn’t for the foundations laid out by GNU, Linux would still be proprietary and probably never take off.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Free Software Foundation encourages shoppers to ‘Give Freely’ with new Giving Guide

    The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced its 2013 Giving Guide, a resource for conscientious shoppers looking for geeky gifts that respect users’ freedom. Many holiday shoppers will be turning to gadgets and online services as gifts for friends and family, but these gifts are often rife with proprietary software, anti-features, or Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), all of which restrict how the gift can be used.

  2. Gnu: toward the post-scarcity world – the Free Software Column

    It is 30 years since Richard Stallman announced that he was going to write a complete UNIX-compatible software system called GNU, pioneering the idea of free and open source software, but the struggle continues

  3. Is it legal to sell GPL software?

    Marco Fioretti answers a TechRepublic member’s questions about charging fees for software that’s made available under the GNU GPL License version 2 or 3.

  4. Richard Stallman decides Emacs should go WYSIWYG

    GNU daddy Richard Stallman seems to have found an old To-Do list behind the sofa, because he’s posted a message on the GNU forums reviving an old ambition for the venerable EMacs text editor.

  5. GLib 2.38.2 Adds Workaround for Buggy D-Bus Daemons


Learning Who Steve Jobs Really Was

Posted in Apple, FSF, Patents at 2:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

i i i me me me ! ! !

Steve Jobs
Image by mylerdude

Summary: The man who helped glorify arrogance and selfishness is not to be put up on a pedestal anymore

SOFTWARE innovator and activist (with international reputation) Richard Stallman got a lot of flack for saying negative things about software ‘thief’, patent aggressor (over ideas that he had ‘stolen’, to use his own terminology), and selfishness advocate Steve Jobs — the man who loved to hoard and restrict, not to share.

As Linux spreads to hundreds of millions of users through Samsung (with no signs of stopping) Apple is suing, as usual, as part of Jobs’ nuclear legacy.

“Jobs colluded with Microsoft at least twice in the past, liaising against arguably common threats like Netscape and Android/Linux.”A few weeks ago the British press published the article “Steve Jobs: Apple founder a sexist bully, a skinflint and a liar says Chrisann Brennan, former partner” (Apple enthusiasts in deep denial would not even click the link).

Read the article to learn about the real Steve Jobs, not the legend which the corporate media (which is indirectly funded by the likes of Jobs) is trying to tell us about for its own agenda and self-serving reasons. Heck, those submissive publicists would even try to tell the world that Donald Trump is a generous and polite gentleman. All they look for is sponsorship through complicity (if there is no sponsorship already).

All we have left from Jobs (other than a bunch of people inspired by selfishness and arrogance) is a ‘Linux debt’ of hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars (legal fees aside). To quote this one new report: “An eight-person jury was picked yesterday, and today the Apple v. Samsung damages re-trial swung into full steam, moving through opening statements and speeding through four witnesses.”

Steve Jobs was a smear on this planet and the fact that people were inspired by him was always truly worrisome. Jobs colluded with Microsoft at least twice in the past, liaising against arguably common threats like Netscape and Android/Linux. I wholeheartedly agreed with Stallman’s remarks about Steve Jobs when he made them. What he told me personally is a better explanation of why. I am planning to meet Stallman next Friday at Lincoln and hopefully this will give an opportunity to ask some more questions, then share the answers.

Richard Stallman Explains ‘Hacking’ to Judge

Posted in FSF at 2:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Richard Stallman
By NicoBZH from Saint Etienne

Summary: Richard Stallman writes a letter to Judge Preska, whose prosecution against (and demonisation of) Jeremy Hammond shows a common misunderstanding/misconception

ON A COUPLE of occasions last week (and on other occasions quite recently) we wrote about the Hammond trial [1, 2], which oddly enough had appointed as its judge the spouse of a Stratfor client. Here’s Richard Stallman’s letter, which was quoted by a news site [1] the other day:

Dear Judge Preska
I’ve been proud to call myself a hacker since 1971. That’s when I was
hired by the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab to join the team that
developed the lab’s operating systems — for which the unofficial job
title was “system hacker”. My subsequent hacking career has included
developing the GNU operating system, which is often erroneously called
“Linux”, and the legal hack of “copyleft” which uses copyright law to
ensure that all users of a program are free to redistribute it and
change it. I’ve received numerous awards and doctorates for my
hacking, and have been invited twice to publish articles in law

Being a hacker means practicing and enjoying playful cleverness. (See
stallman.org/articles/on-hacking.html.) It does not particularly have
to do with breaking security. Indeed, no one ever broke security on
the AI lab’s system, because we decided not to implement any.

That decision, made by the original team members who became my
mentors, was not taken lightly: it was the result of careful political
and philosophical thought. Instead of keeping most users (those
without “privileges” — which already sounds like a prison) shackled
so that they could not hurt each other, we thought the lab members and
guest users could learn to get along as a community, choosing not to
hurt each other. And they did!

This example is not unusual for hackers. From the beginning, hackers’
taste for playful cleverness has often gone along with a sense of
social responsibility, concern for others’ well-being. Jeremy Hammond
is a fine example of a socially responsible hacker. He found a clever
way to expose the many nefarious deeds that Stratfor was planning and

People should not be allowed to enter others’ computers without
permission; but when punishing someone for virtual trespassing, we
ought to consider his motive. Those who trespass as part of a
nonviolent protest, either physically or virtually, should not receive
severe punishments. Those who act neither for gain nor for malice
should not receive severe punishments. Imagine where our country
would be if the civil rights and antiwar sit-ins had been punished by
years in prison! If we do not want the US to be like Putin’s Russia,
imposing long sentences on protesters, we must steer clear of doing
so. That applies to virtual protests as well as physical ones.

I therefore respectfully suggest that Hammond be sentenced to
community service. To make use of his skills and abilities, this
service could consist of helping nonprofit organizations protect their
personal data.
Richard Stallman
Lead developer of the GNU system (gnu.org)
President, Free Software Foundation (fsf.org)
MacArthur Fellow
Internet hall-of-famer (internethalloffame.org)

Stallman helped create what many of us call “Linux” now. He also fought for civil rights in the digital age, including privacy (see this article from October [2]). Thanks to GNU, which he founded 30 years ago, we now have Octave [3] (which I used a lot for work) and GCC (which a lot of companies use all the time). The latter project is still a leading example of GNU’s huge impact (see news in [4,5]) and despite Java’s advantages [6] GCC is walking away from it [7], probably due to Oracle’s behaviour.

Without GCC, where would C and C++ be today? It is rather sad that the biggest innovators are being characterised as criminals in the corporate media, whereas the biggest criminals are being portrayed as saints, heroes, and sometimes innovators too.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Here’s Richard Stallman’s letter to Stratfor hacker’s judge demanding lesser sentence

    Foundation president Richard Stallman tried to get Stratfor hacker Jeremy Hammond’s judge to only hand down a community service sentence. Hammond, instead, received 10 years in jail today.

    Stallman provided VentureBeat with his letter in full, which you can find below.

  2. GNU’s novel proposal: A cloud that puts privacy first

    As Richard Stallman’s GNU Project turns 30, the Free Software Foundation aims for a cloud that foils state-sponsored snooping

  3. GNU Octave – a Great Time Saver

    Finding the best way to process your data can be complicated. I recently became involved in a project where I needed to filter out data from an RF signal. Because I am not an RF designer with years of experience, I actually had to do a bit of reinventing the wheel. With a recording of data in hand, one option was to try and feed that data into a microcontroller, write up some test code, and then analyze the results. Another option was to use GNU Octave.

    GNU Octave is a MATLAB-type environment that allows for numerical simulation. Information about the history of GNU Octave can be found here. MATLAB is an interpreted language that is coupled with the program by the same name. The main difference between MATLAB and GNU Octave is that MATLAB costs many thousands of dollars, whereas GNU Octave is an open-source program.

  4. Intel Cilk Plus Support Continues For GCC
  5. GCC 4.9 Continues Piling On New Features
  6. Surprise! Java is fastest for server-side Web apps

    In benchmarks, Java-based frameworks enjoy a big performance lead

  7. GCC Looks To Turn Off Java, Replace With Go Or ADA

    GCC developers from multiple companies are beginning to reach agreement that it’s time for Java to be turned off by default in GCC. The Java compiler support in GCC is in the form of GCJ, but it doesn’t see much active development these days with more of the Java work happening in OpenJDK. Developers are looking to disable Java from the default GCC build process but to potentially replace it with the Go or ADA languages.


The Linux Foundation Emphasises Technical Aspects, Not Freedom

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 3:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linux alone is not enough for freedom


Summary: Analysis of some of the latest news about Linux, the world’s most widely used kernel

OWING TO (or due to) increasing corporate control over Linux, user-hostile mechanisms and “Trusted Computing” are being phased in, requiring user intervention [1]. This isn’t a new problem, just a continuation thereof. See, now that Linux development [2] takes centre stage [3,4] and a bug-free Linux is foreseen [5,6,7] (part of Torvalds’ vision [8,9] as of late, having moved from technical issues [10,11] to more strategic and managerial issues), there is more emphasis on quality (often referred to as pragmatism) and not much on freedom. Some more blobs are being added to Linux, making it less freedom-respecting than ever before. Linux-libre, whose mascot is Freedo (shown above), is trying to fight back against those blobs.

The Linux Foundation, run by corporations which make proprietary software for the most part, has an enormous influence over Linux [12,13,14] and unlike the FSF it has not much interest in freedom, just in practical benefits of the kernel (file systems and such [15,16,17,18,19]). Lennart Poettering keeps changing Linux in controversial ways [20] which make it to the core [21] and groups which include Microsoft are now entering the Linux Foundation’s sphere of influence [22,23]. Leaping ahead to Linux 4.x, development of 3.0 is already being neglected somewhat [24].

When talking about Linux always remember that technical merit — not freedom — is the top priority. It probably doesn’t bother so many people, but the fact remains that those who wish to maximise computing freedom should follow the FSF, not the Linux Foundation.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Disable “Trusted Computing” Chip in Linux!
  2. Tales from Linux Kernel 3.11 Development – The Kernel Column

    Jon Masters summarises the happenings in the Linux kernel community around the release of the 3.11-rc1 kernel

  3. September 2013 Linux Kernel News

    Linus Torvalds closed the 3.12 merge window when he released 3.12-rc1. tty layer and scalability improvements received a special mention in the release announcement. The tty layer cleanups lead to per-tty locking which will result in better performance on some work-loads.

  4. Linux Kernel News – October 2013
  5. Linux 4.0 may have only bug fixes, no new features

    Linux operating system creator Linus Torvalds has proposed that Linux 4.0, an upcoming release of the open-source software, should be dedicated to stability and bug fixing.

  6. Bug-Free Linux 4.0?

    Well, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here, but Linux founder and “keeper of the flame”, Linus Torvalds, has put developers and the rest of the world on notice that a Linux 4.0 is coming sooner rather than later, “I don’t want us to get to the kinds of crazy numbers we had in the 2.x series, so at some point we’re going to cut over from 3.x to 4.x, just to keep the numbers small and easy to remember. We’re not there yet, but I would actually prefer to not go into the twenties, so I can see it happening in a year or so, and we’ll have 4.0 follow 3.19 or something like that,” said Linus Torvalds in the Linux kernel 3.12 announcement.

  7. Linus Torvalds seeks REDEMPTION for every coded SIN

    Linus Torvalds is going away this week. He’s not saying where he’s going, or why, but “the fact that I’ll be traveling with very bad internet connection next week” was enough for the lord of Linux to push version 3.12 of the kernel out the door on Sunday.

    Torvalds made the announcement that 3.12 is now with us on the Linux mailing list , saying “I didn’t really want to delay the release” despite “a number of driver reverts, and … an annoying auto-NUMA memory corruption fix series, but none of it was really worth delaying 3.12 for.”

  8. Video: Linus Torvalds, Where is Linux Going

    LinuxCon 2013 Europe was this week… and videos from it have started being published. Here’s a video with our favorite Linux leader about the future of the Linux kernel. Enjoy!

  9. 10 Best Quotes from Linus Torvalds’ Keynote at LinuxCon Europe

    Linux creator Linus Torvalds took the stage today at LinuxCon Europe in Edinburgh with Intel’s Chief Linux and Open Source Technologist Dirk Hohndel to discuss the present and future of Linux and answer questions from the community. They covered a range of topics including the upcoming 3.12 kernel release, the ideal characteristics of a kernel maintainer, the issues that keep Linus up at night, gaming on the Linux desktop, and more.

  10. How to run program or process on specific CPU cores on Linux
  11. How to set up web-based network traffic monitoring system on Linux
  12. Linux Foundation To Support The Development Of KVM Hypervisor

    The Linux Foundation has adopted Open Virtualization Alliance (OVA) as one of its ‘Collaborative Projects’, to promote the development of the open source hypervisor KVM (kernel-based virtual machine).

  13. How the Linux Foundation is helping the auto industry shift to open source infotainment systems

    If you’re a Linux fan and a car enthusiast, then you might be a little jealous of Rudolf Streif’s job. As the director of embedded solutions for The Linux Foundation, Streif is in charge of helping to foster the adoption of Linux and open source in the automotive industry.

  14. Outreach Program for Women Seeks New Linux Kernel Interns
  15. Trying the “btrfs” file system

    There has been some urging for beta testers to try out “btrfs”. So I did. I tried it on one of my 13.1Beta1 installs. I would have tried it on two installs, except that the UEFI install had already given problems before I got to that point.

  16. Linux Default File-Caching Tune-up
  17. Linux 3.12 Kernel To Bring Faster File-Systems

    With the Linux 3.12 kernel due for release in several weeks time but all major changes behind us now, here are some file-system tests from this forthcoming kernel update. Tested Linux file-systems for this Phoronix article include EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, and F2FS. From these results, there are multiple instances of these file-systems running measurably faster than Linux 3.11.

  18. Linux 3.12 Kernel To Bring Faster File-Systems

    With the Linux 3.12 kernel due for release in several weeks time but all major changes behind us now, here are some file-system tests from this forthcoming kernel update. Tested Linux file-systems for this Phoronix article include EXT4, Btrfs, XFS, and F2FS. From these results, there are multiple instances of these file-systems running measurably faster than Linux 3.11.

  19. Btrfs Gets Performance Improvements In Linux 3.12

    We’re late into the Linux 3.12 merge window and other prominent file-systems were already updated but on Thursday evening the Btrfs updates for the 3.12 kernel were finally published. With the new Btrfs pull does come some notable changes for this next-generation Linux file-system.

    With the Btrfs pull request for the Linux 3.12 kernel merge window are a large number of fixes, performance improvements, and clean-ups.

  20. The Poetterisation of GNU/Linux

    I’ve found a disturbing trend in GNU/Linux, where largely unaccountable cliques of developers unilaterally decide to make fundamental changes to the way it works, based on highly subjective and arrogant assumptions, then forge ahead with little regard to those who actually use the software, much less the well-established principles upon which that OS was originally built. The long litany of examples includes Ubuntu Unity, Gnome Shell, KDE 4, the /usr partition, SELinux, PolicyKit, Systemd, udev and PulseAudio, to name a few.

  21. Systemd 207 Gets Many Bug-Fixes, Minor Additions

    Lennart Poettering has announced the release of systemd 207 and with it comes many changes.

  22. OpenDaylight SDN opens the curtains on its initial release

    The open-source, Software-Defined Networking project, OpenDaylight, is starting to reveal features in its first release.

  23. Linux Foundation announces Open Virtualization Alliance to push KVM

    Linux has become the 800 pound gorilla of the technology world. It is domination every single space it enters (including desktop where Chrome OS is gaining momentum).

  24. After 100 Point Releases, Linux 3.0 Is Being EOL’ed

    Greg Kroah-Hartman announced the release of Linux 3.0.100 on Sunday and with that he intends to end-of-life this long-term kernel series in the coming days.


The Free Software World Helps People Acquire/Regain Privacy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FSF at 2:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

DarkMail Alliance

Summary: The “DarkMail Alliance” is announced and other options emerge as freedom- and privacy-respecting means of electronic communication

WITH the exception of some projects like Ubuntu, Free software tends to respect users’ privacy and if it doesn’t, then those users can modify the software to remove privacy-violating code (as some Ubuntu derivatives typically do). The NSA scandal received some special coverage in LinuxCon Europe [1] because it is very relevant to GNU/Linux users. There were attempts to put back doors in Linux.

The founder of the FSFE, who moved on to Kolab some years ago, is now using Switzerland’s unique privacy policies to offer users privacy-respecting and freedom-respecting E-mail [2]. He is not alone. There are several companies, including one of the PGP founder (original developer), which now use the demand for privacy-respecting E-mail to create secure alternatives [3,4] (“DarkMail Alliance”). A month from now in Manchester we’ll also have a CryptoParty with the FSFE, helping people configure their machines for improved privacy. My wife and I will be there for help.

The bottom line is, in this age of Microsoft collusion with the NSA we have some very strong arguments with which to persuade people to embrace Free/libre software. It is about human dignity, not just the ability to modify source code, dodge abusive monopolies, and of course save money. My wife, for example, happily uses KDE and Android, knowing that GNU/Linux is now only technically superior to the alternatives but also more respectful towards her human rights. Techrights was recently designed with emphasis on privacy and the next few posts will deal with privacy alone.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. “The Code Warrior” Confirmed to Discuss NSA and PRISM at LinuxCon Europe

    Today he is Chief Research Officer at F-Secure in Finland and a just-confirmed keynote speaker for LinuxCon/CloudOpen Europe taking place October 21-23, 2013 in Edinburgh. Hypponen will be talking about the biggest computer security story of the year, that of the NSA and PRISM, in a talk titled “Living in a Surveillance State.” He is also expected to talk about the role the Linux community can play in ensuring the security and privacy of the Internet and mobile devices.

  2. Kolab creates a privacy refugee camp in Switzerland
  3. Silent Circle and Lavabit launch “DarkMail Alliance” to thwart e-mail spying

    Silent Circle CTO: “What we’re getting rid of is SMTP.”

  4. Silent Circle, Lavabit unite for ‘Dark Mail’ encrypted email project

    Dark Mail will provide end-to-end encryption, including email metadata

  5. Manchester CryptoParty with FSFE

    Edward Snowden revelations of mass spying programmes such as PRISM and Tempora show that something needs to be done to protect our private online activities from the prying eyes of GCHQ and the NSA. There’s currently a great deal of interest surrounding these issues and as a result people are seeking to find tools which will help them protect and secure their email, instant messages and web browsing.

    This can be done, to an extent, through the use of encryption technology, so on 7th December, we’ll be teaming up with Free Software Foundation Europe to organise a Cryptoparty in Manchester.


British Prime Minister David Cameron Takes His War on Press Freedom Even Further, Japan Follows Suit

Posted in Asia, Europe, FSF at 7:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shinzō Abe
Shinzō Abe (Japanese Prime Minister); Photo from G8 UK Presidency

Summary: Freedom of the press is under attack not just in the West but also in Japan, potentially affecting public scrutiny of corporations as well as governments

The ‘British Snowden’, an MI5 whistleblower who is not able to return to Britain safely (essentially a fugitive now), speaks about the new Snowden Web site [1]. I had the pleasure of speaking with her and she is very widely quoted by the media right now (except in the British media). See, here in the UK there is a war on the media [1, 2, 3] amid an EU blunder which jeopardises Britain’s status in the European Union [2]. It turns out that spying on your allies on behalf of some distant superpower (the United States) is not a good thing to do.

The Japanese Prime Minister and our own Prime Minister David Cameron have quite a lot in common now [3,4], having to deal with that ‘nuisance’ which is The Guardian [5] giving the population this thing called facts. There is a new bombshell about the extremely debt-saddled Japan and the NSA [6] (possibly spying on China and neighbours for distant world powers). In Japan, a former occupier and a vicious empire which slaughtered many people in neighbouring countries, the politicians are trying to gag the press using new laws [7].

“Standing up for Snowden is standing up for the rule of law, justice, and ethics.”Where do we go from here? Well, the Free Software Foundation takes action [8]. We need to defend the disclosure of all this information. Snowden’s leaks revealed (back in August) where trillions of dollars of taxpayers’ money (or national debt to which they’re tied) are going [9] and these leaks also give a very strong challenge to US law, potentially banning some of the NSA’s current actions, which are already against the law anyway [10].

Standing up for Snowden is standing up for the rule of law, justice, and ethics. No more need people be barred from basic information about how public money is spent. Espionage is not “cool” and stabbing continental Europe in the back is not what British citizens would consider a policy that they can support. If the US uses Japan and other small countries (Korea for example) to weaken Indochina while also using the UK (and Sweden among others) to spy on Russia and the European Union, how does one justify unions? Unless we assume that all ethics and good values are derived from US culture we should rethink all these collusions among G8/NATO members.

If laws are being passed to ban freedom of the press (or seriously restrict it), then who is going to cover what Japanese companies and authorities hide from the public ahead of a cancer epidemic [11,12] or after BP barred the press from assessing the real impact of its long-lasting pollution [13]? It’s one thing to bar journalists from publishing what’s being labeled “state secrets”; using the same laws we may find people who publish corporate secrets (evidence of harm or misconduct) criminalised as well. Down the slippery slope we go.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Edward Snowden Website

    And here’s another aide mem­oire of the dis­clos­ures so far. The impact of these dis­clos­ures is global. Edward Snowden is simply the most sig­ni­fic­ant whis­tleblower in mod­ern history.

  2. US Trojan horse: NSA scandal shows Europe would be better off without Britain

    “While leading politicians of other European countries and officers of the EU itself were keen to express their concern over the latest revelations of US spying on its allies – the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz said that US secret services were ‘out of control’ – British Prime Minister David Cameron has only said that he thought that the EU statement on the matter was ‘good and sensible’ and that he agreed with it. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Cameron ‘silently acquiesced” to the statement. At a press conference, Cameron refused to comment about the recent NSA revelations.

    “The muted British reaction to what is a truly outrageous scandal, is proof, if indeed any further proof were needed, of what Britain’s main role in the EU is: to act as a Trojan horse to defend and further the interests of the government of the United States of America.”

  3. David Cameron makes veiled threat to media over NSA and GCHQ leaks

    Prime minister alludes to courts and D notices and singles out the Guardian over coverage of Edward Snowden saga

  4. Britain’s Cameron says may act against newspapers over spy leaks
  5. Three degrees of separation: breaking down the NSA’s ‘hops’ surveillance method

    You don’t need to be talking to a terror suspect to have your communications data analysed by the NSA. The agency is allowed to travel “three hops” from its targets – who could be people who talk to people who talk to people who talk to you. Facebook, where the typical user has 190 friends, shows how three degrees of separation gets you to a network bigger than the population of Colorado. How many people are three “hops” from you?

  6. NSA asked Japan to tap regionwide fiber-optic cables in 2011

    The U.S. National Security Agency sought the Japanese government’s cooperation in 2011 over wiretapping fiber-optic cables carrying phone and Internet data across the Asia-Pacific region, but the request was rejected, sources said Saturday.

  7. Japan secrecy act stirs fears about press freedom, right to know

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is planning a state secrets act that critics say could curtail public access to information on a wide range of issues, including tensions with China and the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

  8. FSF joins thousands in DC to tell NSA: “Stop Watching Us!”

    On Saturday, October 26, 2013, the FSF joined more than three thousand privacy advocates in Washington, DC to call for an end to mass surveillance conducted by the NSA.

  9. Snowden Reveals First Ever Public Disclosure Of Secret Black Budget Programs
  10. Legislation Unveiled to Bar NSA’s Bulk Phone Metadata Collection

    The legislation has support from Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate, and from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and National Rifle Association. But the USA FREEDOM Act’s passage into law remains uncertain.

  11. Fukushima horse breeder braves high radiation levels to care for animals

    Despite the departure of all his neighbours and the unexplained deaths of some of his stock, Tokue Hosokawa refuses to budge

  12. A Quake Revives Japan’s Nuclear Nightmare
  13. BP’s ‘widespread human health crisis’

    Toxicologists ‘predicted with certainty’ that Gulf of Mexico residents and clean-up workers would become severely ill.

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