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Links 15/3/2015: Linux Lite 2.4, OpenELEC 5.0.6

Posted in News Roundup at 10:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Build your own Siri: An open-source digital assistant
  • Build Your Own Open-Source Digital Assistant
  • Researchers just built a free, open-source version of Siri

    Major tech companies like Apple and Microsoft have been able to provide millions of people with personal digital assistants on mobile devices, allowing people to do things like set alarms or get answers to questions simply by speaking. Now, other companies can implement their own versions, using new open-source software called Sirius — an allusion, of course, to Apple’s Siri.

  • Open Source: A Cross-Industry Hero

    Open source code is no longer exclusively used by eager web developers in the tech industry. In fact, global industries that serve the healthcare, education, and government markets are now experiencing the benefits of open source code as well. Once they become familiar with the specifics of open source software license management, non-technology businesses are easily able to improve industry specific practices in new, innovative ways.

  • HP Takes Reseller Role for New Line of Open Source Networking Equipment

    In a move that starkly reflects not only the changing market landscape for networking equipment but also HP’s willingness to adapt to new realities, the vendor will collaborate with Taiwan-based Accton Technology to develop and manufacture open networking switches and Cumulus Networks will provide the Linux-based networking operating system to drive the hardware.

  • Storify Founders Leave For Open Source, Baby

    They’re passing the reins to several original Storify members, who will keep the service running. Herman’s plan is to focus on raising his newborn son, while Damman will build out his open-source whisteblowing tool Tipbox.

  • OPNFV Summit to Showcase Open Source Networking Functions Virtualization

    OPNFV, the open source collaboration for Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), is extending its reach with the launch of a new conference, the OPNFV Summit, which project leaders hope will bring together networking companies, service providers and open source developers.

  • OPNFV schedules first event in push to foster an open source NFV platform

    The network virtualization revolution is set to gain a new event as the Open Platform Network Function Virtualization Project announced plans to host its first OPNFV Summit Nov. 11-12.

  • Renault-Nissan goes open source with GENIVI for infotainment

    Automotive industry group, the GENIVI Alliance, announced that Renault and Nissan will launch a new joint program to deliver a In-vehicle Infotainment IVI system based on software GENIVI software for low-to-mid and high-class Renault and Nissan vehicles globally and will be supplied by Robert Bosch GmbH.

  • Midokura Pushes Open Source SDN Forward

    Midokura is out this week with its Midokura Enterprise MidoNet (MEM) 1.8 SDN release, which is based on the open-source MidoNet 2015.01 milestone.

  • Bringing Telcos Into Open Source Culture

    I recently attended the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit. There was a kick-off panel on the opening day and then a couple of days of working group style presentations around OPNFV. The work comes under the sponsorship of the Linux Foundation and hopes to establish a carrier-grade, integrated, open source reference platform that industry peers will build together to advance the evolution of Network Function Virtualization. (You can also read the ETSI definition of NFV). There’s a really good description of the intended work and architecture on the OPNFV site.

  • Engineers Bring A New Open-Source Siri To Life
  • Huawei looks to open source to build SDN ecosystem

    Collaboration with ONOS and ONF is aimed at accelerating the commercialisation of the SDN ecosystem.

  • An Open Source Drone Camera You Can Modify With Apps

    The company, called Percepto, is currently raising funds on Indiegogo. Percepto will offer a camera that can be mounted to your existing drone. You can then download apps to your mobile phone that can interact with the camera in different ways.

  • Why open source works

    Trying to explain why open source works, you can of course point to the Cathedral and the Bazaar by Erik. But the kernel development process shows it happening ‘in real time’, every day, and that’s a major reason why I so enjoy reading the weekly LWN.

  • Create a Self-Destructing Website With This Open Source Code

    Former head of product at Flickr and Bitly, Matt Rothenberg recently caused an internet hubbub with his Unindexed project. The communal website continuously searched for itself on Google for 22 days, at which point, upon finding itself, spontaneously combusted.

  • 1010data Intros Integration with Open Source R

    Company says its R1010 package gives data scientists a collection of statistical functions and a massively parallel Big Data discovery platform.

  • Pinterest Shoots ‘Pinball’ Into Open Source

    Pinterest announced yesterday that it’s making the workflow management software it developed to manage big data pipelines, called Pinball, available as open source. Now anybody can use the same technology that Pinterest uses to manage the flow of work on Hadoop and other cluster resources.

  • 4 reasons CIOs should give open source a second look

    Seeking out open source solutions is second nature for Red Hat IT. It’s in our DNA, and it’s what we believe in. And while our passion for open source is shared with many IT leaders, I still encounter CIOs who cite concerns about security, intellectual property, talent, and existing vendor relationships as reasons they aren’t comfortable with open source solutions. Here’s what I say when I hear IT leaders identify these as barriers:

  • Jenkins CI Open Source Project Passes 100,000 Active Users Worldwide

    The Jenkins CI community, which is made up of practitioners using open source Jenkins, has announced the Jenkins CI open source project has passed the 100,000 active user mark worldwide becoming one of the largest install bases of any open source continuous integration and continuous delivery platform.

  • Visio.M Automotive Service Bus goes open source

    Up to 80 different systems putter around in many cars. The complexity has come to a limit. Within the “Visio.M” research project, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research with a total of 7.1 million euro, scientists at the Technische Universität München have developed a two-tier IT system that reduces this complexity drastically. Now the researchers put their ‘Automotive Service Bus’ under an open-source license.

  • Events

    • Keen on meeting up with us in Copenhagen?

      The Varnish Software series 2015 is off to a great start and next stop is wonderful Copenhagen. To respond to last year’s popularity of the series in Scandinavia we decided Copenhagen would be one of the first cities we’d visit.

    • Open Source Promotion Event at Toc H

      The main events include an Opensource Olympiad (coding contest + open source quiz), Hardware Project competition and App Idea contest. Three workshops on – Mozilla Webmaker, Python and How to be a Maker (Arduino/Raspberry Pi based Development) will also be organised.

    • Kernel Developers Summarize Linux Storage Filesystem and Memory Management Summit

      A group of three Linux kernel developers kicked off the Linux Foundation Vault storage conference on Wednesday morning by hashing out proposed changes to the kernel and the stack from the Linux Storage Filesystem and Memory Management Summit (FS&MM), which took place earlier in the week.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • What eBay’s latest open-source project means for Hadoop

      The last few months have seen eBay Inc. move from the sidelines of the open-source analytics ecosystem into the heart of the action with the introduction of two projects that push the envelope on large-scale data science. The pivot mirrors a broader shift in the ecosystem that the most recent of the additions accelerates.

    • Mirantis & Google on Kubernetes & OpenStack

      Mirantis is a firm that calls itself a “pure-play” OpenStack company.

    • ownCloud Offers Support Subscriptions for its Open Source Community Edition

      With the rise of cloud computing, ownCloud has been getting a lot of attention for its flexibility, and because interest in private clouds is on the rise. There is a huge community of contributors surrounding the open source version of ownCloud, and ownCloud Inc. continues to serve enterprise users.

    • HP Refreshes Helion with Eucalyptus and an OpenStack Update

      It was all the way back in 2008 when OStatic broke the story about a cloud computing project at U.C. Santa Barbara called Eucalyptus, and recently we visited with Rich Wolski, the original UCSB Professor behind the cloud platform, for an interview. Fast-forward to today, and Eucalyptus Systems is under the wing of mighty Hewlett-Packard.

    • Getting started with big data doesn’t have to be expensive

      Analytics and big data are top strategic priorities for many CIOs, and rightfully so. Most organizations are sitting on a goldmine of data, but they have not begun to mine it to uncover the real transformative value. Unfortunately, many IT leaders remain on the sidelines because they think investing in analytics would be too costly.

    • Elasticsearch Changes Its Name, Enjoys An Amazing Open Source Ride And Hopes To Avoid Mistakes

      Elasticsearch is an open source search and analytics engine created by Shay Banon back in 2010. The solution uses a common interface and can be used to provide scalable search and is itself based on the Apache Lucene project which is a free open source information retrieval software library. Since starting the open source initiative, Banon’s Elasticsearch company has gone on to raise almost $105 million. Perhaps more importantly than the money they’ve raised however is the traction the project has seen – Elasticsearch sees some 700,000-800,000 downloads per months and has been downloaded 20 million times since the inception of the project.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Education

    • Purdue expands use of open-source software, cuts costs

      Purdue, in its perpetual quest to cut corners and save money, is working to expand its use of open-source software, potentially saving students upward of $1 million.

      The software, developed by Michigan State University in 1992, is called the Learning Online Network with Computer-Assisted Personalized Approach, or more commonly known, LON-CAPA.

  • Healthcare

  • Business

    • Q&A: raw engineering on how open source ‘changed the world’

      Kurt: The concept of open source software has changed the world. Our platform wouldn’t exist in its current form without open source software. Every day, different components of our products run on Nginx, Node.js, Docker, MongoDB and many other open source technologies. Open source is very important to what we do.

  • Funding

    • Google Shrinks List of GSoC Open Source Organizations

      The list of mentoring organisations for Google Summer of Code 2015 has some surprising omissions. The Linux Foundation and Mozilla are among those missing from the list of just 137 open source organisations.

    • Open-Source Database Firm MariaDB Raises $3.4M from Russia’s Runa Capital

      Open-source database company MariaDB, has raised $3.4 million from Russia’s Runa Capital. In October 2013, the firm had secured $20 million in Series B round. Till date, including this round, the company has received a total capital of $31.9 million.

    • An Open Source Investment Realizes Sizable Results

      An open source project is getting significant investment from a major American corporation.

      Believe it or not Walmart, the mega retailer, has spent more than $2 million on the Hapi project, which is a “rich framework for building applications and services” that “enables developers to focus on writing reusable application logic instead of spending time building infrastructure” according to its website.

  • BSD


  • Public Services/Government

    • Open Source: More eyes, fewer vulnerabilities, greater security

      Future posts will dive deep into open source and its relationship to autonomous devices, but first, let’s take a few paragraphs to level-set why open source might be an ideal option. First, full disclosure: I’m an advocate of open source software, so I’ve seen proof that a community of shared ideas and projects that can be modified, improved, and distributed freely can be a better way to develop technology. Being able to see the code, learn from it, ask questions, and offer improvements is the open source way.

      While it might seem counterintuitive, open does not mean less secure. In fact, the opposite is often true. Because the development process is collaborative, bugs, flaws, and vulnerabilities can be found sooner, and more often, and fixed more quickly. By granting access to the code, more people can work to solve issues. It’s been said about open source that “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” More eyes and greater transparency can lead to fewer vulnerabilities and greater security.

      As with any system, it’s important to only use well-maintained projects and to patch regularly to safe-guard against vulnerabilities. We’re all aware that hazards may linger in even the best of code. The fact is, in any system, open or closed, vulnerabilities exist and may actually be exploited by those with knowledge of their existence. It just seems logical that, with open source transparency, it’s likely to be more difficult to exploit something while everyone is watching.

  • Licensing

    • Open Source Licensing and Community Intent

      Christoph Hellwig, supported by Software Freedom Conservancy (Conservancy), has initiated a lawsuit in Germany against VMware for alleged violations of the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 2, an OSI approved license. If you aren’t following the case yet, it’s worth starting with the statements published by Conservancy, the Free Software Foundation, and VMware.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • After Open Source, Open Access, Open Data And The Rest, Here Comes The Open Jihad
    • The Open Jihad
    • The Open-Source Spies of World War II – War is Boring

      The open-source intelligence analysts of World War II had a huge advantage unavailable to their predecessors in previous wars thanks to the changing media landscape of the 1930s and ’40s.

    • Open source Mini-Farm Grow Box allows gardeners to grow greens in the home

      Food Rising has created a couple of videos to walk makers through the home build process and the print files needed to produce the necessary 3D-printable parts using a t-glase filament-compatible printer are freely available for download at Food Rising’s website, though pre-build systems are also being offered for sale. The non-profit is also raising funds to donate systems to 250 schools across the United States.

    • Open-source scientific research comes to Brazil

      Open-access research into drug discovery has arrived in South America, with a ground-breaking collaboration between leading scientists in North America, Europe and Brazil to provide completely free and open research results to the world.

    • Open-source health apps

      In the past, this has been expensive to do. Anyone wishing to create apps for the task would have had to hire a costly team of coders. But that has now changed. This week Apple—in an announcement a little more sotto voce than that of its watch—introduced the world to a suite of software called the ResearchKit, which will make it possible to create scientific apps that work with its mobile devices more easily and cheaply. The ResearchKit is “open source”, meaning anyone who wants to will be able to use it to design data-collecting apps that take advantage of the features of those devices. Because it is open source, people will be able to customise and share code, which will encourage innovation.

    • Should Open Source Intelligence Be Used For Policy Making?

      Last summer, we wrote about the rise of open journalism, whereby people take publicly-available information, typically on social networks, to extract important details that other, more official sources either overlook or try to hide. Since then, one of the pioneers of that approach, Eliot Higgins, has used crowdfunding to set up a site called “Bellingcat”, dedicated to applying these techniques. Principal themes there include the shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17 (MH17), and the civil war in Syria.

    • Open Source Control Tower for Drones, by 3D Robotics
    • Opening firmware source code (vhdl)

      Hope this will help for enthusiasts and developers to deeply understand hardware part of DVB card.

    • Open Source Drug Discovery and Universal Medicine

      How often have you taken a prescription drug during the last year to treat an illness? Did you pause to ponder what you would do if you had not had access to the drug? Or did you perhaps consider how long it took the drug to be developed, and how long it will be possible to use it for? In the case of antibiotics, there is a real fear that many well-known drugs will cease to be effective against bacterial infections as the bacteria adapt ‘around’ the drug. What about if you are in a developing country, in a remote area, or on the way to Mars — how would you get that new drug? Also, what about the promise of personal medicine? Soon we are going to know more and more about our individual medical needs, driven by personal data arising from personal genomics as well as the promise of cheap sensors that record our motion, behavior, vital signs, bio-chemical markers and so on.

    • Open-Source Robotic Arm Now Within Reach

      For anyone looking for a capable robotic arm for automation of an industrial process, education, or just a giant helping hand for a really big soldering project, most options available can easily break the bank. [Mads Hobye] and the rest of the folks at FabLab RUC have tackled this problem, and have come up with a very capable, inexpensive, and open-source industrial arm robot that can easily be made by anyone.

    • 3 ways to increase transparency in your IT group

      If you’re looking to increase openness and transparency in your IT organization, chart a deliberate course. That’s particularly important if you join a company where IT is a four-letter word and hasn’t been set up to deliver. I knew I had my work cut out for me when I arrived at the American Cancer Society and our president said to me, “Half your job is going to be rehabbing the image of IT, and the other 100 percent is going to be delivering a world-class IT organization.”

    • Internet of Anything: An Open-Source Smart Home You Control

      Smart homes could make our lives easier. But they could also end up being a real pain. Devices from competing companies might not want to talk to each other. Your gadgets might collect personal data and sell it to advertisers without you knowing about it it. The company you bought your hardware or software could close down, rending the product you shelled out big bucks for practically useless. Your whole house could become a botnet.

    • Open Data

      • Open Data Platform Looms Large on the Hadoop Scene

        While it’s not on everybody’s radar just yet, the Open Data Platform, recently announced by Pivotal, is shaping up to be, well, pivotal in the Hadoop and Big Data market. Meanwhile, here have been a lot of rumblings about how Pivotal itself is radically shifting its Hadoop strategy.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Rutgers-Camden students pushing for free, open source textbooks

        Rutgers-Camden senior Moira Cahill tapes a note to a poster board, recording the amount one of her fellow students spent on textbooks this semester. Cahill is a member of the campus chapter of NJPIRG, which was advocating an open source alternative for textbooks in the school’s student center, Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015. (Staff photo by Jason Laday | South Jersey Times)

      • MassPIRG report urges expanded use of open-source textbooks

        Four years into a campus initiative aimed at reducing textbook costs by making course material available for free online, University of Massachusetts students and staff are pushing for more faculty to use this option.

      • UMass students, librarians want more faculty to use open source textbooks to save students money

        About 65 percent of college students don’t buy textbooks because of cost, said Matt Magalhaes, the affordable textbook campaign coordinator for MassPirg at the University of Massachusetts.

        Textbooks can cost students $1,200 a year.

      • Code for India launches free, open source educational portal

        Yes, we can Google every question, search every bit of information by the click of a button. But if you are looking for a structured learning experience from experts and certified instructors, for instance, to learning the basics of engineering or simply a complete awareness course on Ebola, you now have a one-stop destination.

    • Open Hardware

      • Why use open hardware in the classroom?

        Over the past few years we’ve seen an explosion of “open” models, which emerged as a result of several different factors. The general motivation behind this movement includes the ability for the free sharing of resources and tools in an effort to promote economic efficiency by improving access to a much wider group of stakeholders.

      • HP Does Open Hardware with New Cloudline Servers

        It was only summer of last year when HP began making a lot of noise about its commitment to cloud computing overall, and the OpenStack platform in particular. Now, the company is moving its cloud strategy into high gear. It announced the HP Helion brand in 2014, and pledged to commit $1 billion over the next two years on products and services surrounding OpenStack, under Helion’s branded umbrella.

      • The Project Ara of Tablets Has Arrived, It’s Called the Click ARM One

        You probably heard of Google’s Project Ara endeavor, which aims to allow users to build modular smartphones, based on their own preferences and needs.

      • PiBook — A Wirelessly Powered/Charged Open Source 3D Printed Computer – Powered by Raspberry Pi 2

        Recently, we did a story on an engineer who had 3D printed a wirelessly powered Tesla desk lamp. Created by David Choi, it was able to be powered without any wires connecting it to the source. It was quite the clever creation, and Choi received a lot of positive feedback on his design.

  • Programming


  • How to turn your old phone into a basic PC for cheap

    Your old smartphone has a greater destiny than your junk drawer. Believe it or not, you can turn it into, say, a mini-PC or media streamer. Assuming it packs both USB On The Go support (OTG) and a Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) compatible port, there’s a ton of additional functionality lurking under that its hood. Heck, you can even use a smartphone with a broken screen for this.

  • Open Letter to Mr. Cook (Apple Computers)

    As long as you stick to closed source software, DRM, restrictive licences and patent laws to maximise your profits, you heavily contribute to inequality and powerlessness around the globe.

  • Science

  • Security

    • OpenSSL Set For Major Security Audit

      A team of security consultants is set to undertake a major independent audit of OpenSSL as part of a multi-million dollar initiative by the Linux Foundation to improve the security and stability of core open source projects.

    • Critical remote code execution flaw patched in Samba
    • On Security in OpenDaylight

      It’s now been a bit more than two months since OpenDaylight dealt with the the “netdump” vulnerability reported in August. The good news then was that we fixed the vulnerability and we were able to fix it and ship a new release of ODL with the fix in four days once we knew about the vulnerability. I want to echo Dave Meyer’s comments in saying just how impressive that is and how well the OpenDaylight community comes together when something needs to be done. The list is much longer than this, but in particular, Robert Varga and David Jorm were absolutely critical in pushing things through quickly and efficiently.

    • Glitch in Dropbox SDK for Android Links Apps to Attacker’s Cloud Storage

      A vulnerability found in Dropbox SDK for Android can be exploited by an attacker to cause apps using the software development kit for Dropbox synchronization to upload the data to an unauthorized account.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • C.I.A. Cash Ended Up in Coffers of Al Qaeda

      In the spring of 2010, Afghan officials struck a deal to free an Afghan diplomat held hostage by Al Qaeda. But the price was steep — $5 million — and senior security officials were scrambling to come up with the money.

    • CIA Money Landed in Al Qaeda’s Hands: Report

      About $1 million of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency’s money, given to a secret Afghan government fund in 2010, ended up in al Qaeda’s possession after it was used to pay part of a ransom for a diplomat kidnapped by the terror group, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

    • ‘Didn’t know they watch Fox in Russia’: Defiant ‘kill Russians’ US ex-general insists he told ‘truth’

      Seemingly unfazed by the outrage his comments on Fox Business Channel have caused, the former US general who thinks the only solution to the Ukraine conflict is to “start killing Russians” has defended his stance, again speaking to Fox.

    • Venezuela, the Latest ‘National Security Threat’

      And how exactly is poor Venezuela, a nation of 29 million, with a small military upon which it spends just 1% of GDP, one of the lowest rates in the world (the US spends 4.5% of GDP on its own bloated military), a threat to the US?

      Well, according to the new executive order, some of Venezuela’s leading officials have “criminalized political dissent” and are corrupt. That’s about it. There’s nothing in there about Venezuela threatening military action against the US, or promoting terrorism, or threatening Americans.

    • South America Rejects US Aggressions on Venezuela

      Venezuela received strong backing from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) Saturday afternoon, at an emergency summit addressing the recent aggressions from US President Barack Obama.

    • Long before drones, the US tried to automate warfare during the Vietnam War

      Fleets of assorted aircraft were deployed to circle day and night and relay radio signals from the sensors back to Nakhon Phanom, a military base on the west bank of the Mekong River in northeast Thailand that was so secret it officially did not exist.

      The base hosted a whole variety of unacknowledged “black” activities, but at its heart, behind additional layers of razor wire and guard posts, sat an enormous air-conditioned building, the largest in Southeast Asia, that was home to Task Force Alpha, the “brain” of the automated battlefield.

    • Nevada Protesters Say American Drones Are Killing Innocents

      A protest is underway near Creech Air Force Base northwest of Las Vegas. It’s centered on allegations that the United States Air Force is operating an anti-terrorism drone program that is killing innocent civilians.

    • Why robots will be granted a license to kill, in Japan and everywhere else

      A while back I attended a robot expo in Tokyo. It was actually kind of depressing.

      Robots are supposed to be sexy, but much of the technology on display was for old people — you know, intelligent dolls that sense when a dementia patient is trying to get out of bed, engaging them in simple conversation long enough for a human helper to arrive — that sort of thing. Even the cool stuff like powered exoskeletons was being marketed as a way to help young people lift invalid octogenarians into the tub.

    • Drone attack in Yemen kills suspected al Qaeda militants: sources
    • Why Are Drone Pilots Quitting In Huge Numbers?

      The U.S. drone war across much of the Greater Middle East and parts of Africa is in crisis and not because civilians are dying or the target list for that war or the right to wage it just about anywhere on the planet are in question in Washington. Something far more basic is at stake: drone pilots are quitting in record numbers.

    • Endangered ‘Nintendo Warriors’: America’s Drone War Could Be In MAJOR Trouble

      New reports indicate that America’s reliance on drone warfare in the Middle East could be in jeopardy, but not for legal reasons.

      It’s not politics or ethical investigations that are the latest threat, but the simple fact that drone operators are calling it quits in record numbers. Plagued by the trauma of civilian deaths and a heavy workload, drone operators are quitting faster than they can be replaced, and the Air Force is at a loss on what to do, TomDispatch reports.

      Currently, about 1,000 drone pilots work in the program, but the Air Force would ideally like to have 1,700. This goal has proven difficult to accomplish, though, since for every 180 pilots that graduate from training annually, 240 quit.

    • Drone pilot trauma should be studied
    • A chilling new post-traumatic stress disorder: Why drone pilots are quitting in record numbers

      A raft of data suggest our remote-controlled war games are taking a steep psychological toll on their players

    • Drone war pilots desert in droves

      THE US drone war across much of the Middle East and parts of Africa is in crisis — and not because civilians are dying, or the target list for that war or the right to wage it are in question in Washington. Something basic is at stake: drone pilots are quitting in record numbers.

    • Republicans are crossing a dangerous new line: sabotaging US foreign policy

      Throughout Barack Obama’s presidency, Republicans in Congress have deployed a strategy that has worked remarkably well for them: oppose, obstruct, and sabotage the Obama administration at every turn.

      “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president,” Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, then the Senate minority leader, said in 2010.

    • US to send Ukraine small drones and armoured Humvees

      White House concerned that Russian-backed separatists are violating cease-fire agreements in eastern Ukraine and keeping out international monitors

    • CIA Drone Campaign Demonstrates Need For Greater Intelligence Oversight, Accountability

      A year ago SISMEC pointed out that, although most of the victims of U.S. drone strikes have ostensibly been “militants,” the White House definition of “militant” is extremely vague (generally, any fighting-aged male). Moreover, the purpose of the program isn’t to target any and all possible combatants, but instead to eliminate high-value targets from international terror organizations who pose a substantial threat to the U.S. homeland. So the best measure of the “hit-rate” of the drone program wouldn’t be to compare the number of civilian casualties v. militants, but instead to ask how many of the total dead were the sort of high-value enemies the program is supposed to be targeting. If we approach the question from this angle, the hit-rate of the drone campaign is abysmal, despite the fact that most of its victims have been “militants.”

    • US Accused of Disastrous Drone Raid Which Left 44 Philippine Commandos Dead

      A United States drone was flying overhead as the Philippine military conducted a raid against alleged Islamic militants in an operation that ended with 44 police commandos dead in a field, according to reports.

    • American Drone Operators Are Quitting in Record Numbers

      An internal Air Force memo reveals that the US military’s drone wars are in major trouble.

    • The al Qaeda Files: Bin Laden Documents Reveal a Struggling Organization
    • Documents Seized at Bin Laden Killing Reveal al-Qaida Strategy

      Totaling more than 150 documents, the cache of correspondence is only the second batch of bin Laden letters released by the government. Offered up in evidence by U.S. attorneys in the Brooklyn trial of Abid Naseer, a Pakistani alleged to have been involved in al-Qaida bombing attacks in Manchester, England, in 2008 and ’09, the letters provide an insight into what life was like for bin Laden as he hid out while U.S. forces were trying to locate and kill him.

    • 34 Arrested while Protesting Drone Killing at Creech AFB

      A five-day anti-drone protest at Creech Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada, last week culminated in a massive blockade on Friday of the two gates leading into the base, repeatedly blocking traffic for an extended time during the early morning commute. Over 150 activists from at least 18 states participated. Thirty-four were arrested and charged with trespassing or blocking the roadway into Creech AFB, the most critical U.S. armed drone base in the country.

    • Dozens Arrested in Protest to End Drone Warfare and Protect Soldiers’ Mental Health
    • While drones did not introduce targeted assassinations, 9/11 and new technologies have pushed the boundaries of the tactic’s acceptability.

      State-led assassinations are not a novelty in international affairs; they have been with us from medieval to modern times. What is significantly different today however is the systematic basis in which assassination is delivered from above the clouds via Predator drones. As a method targeted killing was supposed to be left on a dusty shelf, and revisited only during dire security crises when other means of changing the course of events have been fully exhausted. Instead, compiling kill-lists and striking specific individuals has evolved into a routine monthly event – a trademark US policy praised by the political elites and accepted by the American people.

    • Drone Theory: Provocative investigation on military drones

      The Americans turned an instrument of surveillance into a weapon, and they have become a hallmark of Barack Obama’s presidency. Yet the talk of “precision” is deeply problematic

    • Why domestic drones stir more debate than ones used in warfighting abroad

      John Kaag, coauthor of ‘Drone Warfare,’ says a ‘disturbing mix of provincialism and exceptionalism’ is the reason why Americans are more concerned about domestic drone usage than military drones used in targeted killing abroad.

    • RAAF wants $300m for attack drones

      The Australian government will spend $300 million to purchase several unmanned ‘Reaper’ drones from the US if the Defence Force case for the unmanned vehicles is accepted.

    • Death from above: Australia gets in on the drone strike game

      Australia has decided to follow the United States down the path of armed drones, capable of killing people across the world at the touch of a button.

    • Remember, Kill Chain

      Drone operators are not in immediate contact with the real world, literally, thanks to the phenomenon known as latency…

    • From soldier to peace activist: Russell Brown’s story

      By 1967, Brown was out of the Marines. Two years later, he joined Vietnam Veterans against the War. Brown said that, years later, his partner Cat recognized that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

      In 2002, the United States was preparing to go to war against Afghanistan, which caused Brown to feel anxiety. “I was very stressed out. I was working the graveyard shift in the post office. One night, I was seeing double. I tried to go outside but never made it.” Brown had suffered a stroke. After being taken to the Buffalo Veterans Administration Medical Center, Brown learned that he had a congenital hole in his heart. In addition, his blood pressure was very high. After recovering from his stroke, Brown worked at lowering his blood pressure by walking three miles quickly every day, he explained.

      One of the reasons that Brown chose to protest against UAVs is that “drone pilots get post- traumatic stress disorder. They hunt and kill people by day and then, in the evening, they go home to their families,” Brown said.

      Brown talked about the plans for the 107th Airlift Wing of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station’s mission to change from C-130 planes to MQ-9 Reaper UAVs.

    • A Blueprint for Ending War

      The goal of this document is to gather into one place, in the briefest form possible, everything one needs to know to work toward an end to war by replacing it with an Alternative Global Security System in contrast to the failed system of national security.

    • Drone warfare: life on the new frontline
    • Firms see drone sales in Gulf surging after U.S. eases export policy

      U.S. drone makers are expecting a surge in sales of military and civilian drones to Gulf states after the State Department eased export rules last week, industry executives said on Tuesday.

      U.S. aerospace and arms companies have been pressing the U.S. government for years to ease restrictions on foreign sales of unmanned aerial vehicles – UAVs or drones – arguing that other countries such as Israel are overtaking them.

    • Killing Rights

      I began by asking when is it ever right to kill, and I answered that this is a question we would put to the state in which we have granted God-like powers. Yet, if the state, which is little more than men and women like ourselves after all, is granted the power’s of divinity how can mere mortals be trusted to wield the lightning?

    • Loving America Means Letting It Go to War

      This deeply false dichotomy between supporting terrorists or agreeing with any and all US foreign policy was one that the Bush administration leaned on in tough times. Nearly 14 years after 9/11, and 12 years since the war in Iraq started, the hamfistedness of the propaganda already feels a little anachronistic. But that’s only because so many people now agree that the war was bad. We’ve had mushy liberal pundits from Jonathan Chait to Ezra Klein offering their decade-later self-flagellation. And we’ve marveled that otherwise smart people like the late Christopher Hitchens, or unrepentant comic book villains such as former Vice President Dick Cheney continued to defend the war long after it had gone out of fashion.

    • Gary Olson: Is it worthwhile to send U.S. troops to fight Islamic State?

      First, why have elements within Saudi Arabia’s ruling elite provided financial backing to ISIS?

      Alastair Crooke, a British expert on political Islam, believes part of the answer is that ISIS ideology is virtually identical to the worldview embraced by many Saudis. In 1741, the Ibn Saud clan joined forces with Abd al-Wahhab, the founder of an especially fanatical version of Islam. Together, they brutally gained control over most of the Arabian Peninsula and judged all non-Wahhabist Muslims as apostates. In 1932, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia declared itself a nation with Wahhabist Islam as the state religion. Today, Saudi sources spend more than $100 billion promoting the Wahhabist brand within the Islamic world.

    • Why Obama’s Hopes of Decapitating the Islamic State Won’t Work

      Nevertheless, the mystique of “high value targeting,” especially when inflicted by supposedly unerring precision weapons or super-elite Special Forces commandos, isn’t going to go away any time soon. The public loves it of course, which comes as no surprise given our steady diet of Hollywood promotion in movies like Zero Dark 30, Lone Survivor, American Sniper. But so do our leaders, and they ought to know better. Decades of experience indicate that striking at enemy leadership in expectation of significant beneficial effect invariably leads not only to disappointment, but also to unexpectedly unpleasant consequences.

    • The Islamic State’s Atrocities—and Ours

      Drone attacks are no less violent or disturbing than the murder of Damiens. But they’ve been placed in a different context that makes them palatable to a majority of Americans (though not to most of the world). They’re not public spectacles. They are the natural extension of an omnipresent surveillance system. And they’re embedded in the rule of law (or so their supporters claim).

    • Kuwait reopens Yemen embassy in Aden, instead of Sanaa

      The three Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE shut their embassies in Sanaa earlier this month

    • Amid Gains in Tikrit, Iraqi Forces Accused of War Crimes

      Iraqi officials say they are close to victory in an Iranian-backed offensive to reclaim the city of Tikrit from the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Iraqi forces and Shiite militias have reclaimed swaths of the city without the aid of U.S. airstrikes. The gains come as ABC News reports Iraqi military units trained and armed by the United States are under investigation by the Iraqi government for war crimes. Videos and photos on social media appear to show militia members and soldiers from elite units massacring and torturing civilians and displaying severed heads.

    • Afghan War Is Over, but U.S. Drone Strikes Continue

      The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ), a U.K.-based nonprofit, has been documenting U.S. airstrikes in Afghanistan since the beginning of this year. On Tuesday, the group reported five confirmed airstrikes that have killed between 35 and 44 people in 2015.

    • Drone attack case: Are thousands of Pakistani children being martyred insects, says IHC

      Islamabad High Court (IHC) has summoned IG Police Islamabad Tahir Alam today due to non registration of murder case against CIA chief and legal counsel under court’s orders in respect of two persons killed in drone attack in Mir Ali at South Waziristan in 2010.

      Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui has remarked “ thousands of Pakistani children are being martyred and no one sheds tears. Are they insects that no one is there to raise voice in their support.

      He further remarked “ if murder case of two persons killed in drone strike is not registered under court’s orders then contempt of court proceedings will be initiated against the IG Police Islamabad. The court job is to protect life and property of citizens.

      Mir Ali drone attack case came up for hearing in IHC Tuesday Advocate Mirza Shahzad Akbar and Zahoor Elahi appeared on behalf of the petitioner in the court.

    • Drone attacks case adjourned indefinitely

      The government through its report filed in the court has taken the plea that the matter of registration of murder case of two persons against the former chief station CIA and legal counsel, involves legal complications as it can affect Pakistan ties with foreign countries.

    • Secret CIA payments to Afghan officials used to free diplomat held hostage by Al Qaeda, funded group’s weapons stockpile: report

      Al Qaeda stockpiled weapons using covert CIA cash funneled to the murderous terrorist group by Afghan officials as part of a $5 million ransom for a hostage diplomat.

    • US Hides Civilian Casualties From Drone Strikes in Mid East- Anti-War Group

      Co-founder of CODEPINK anti-war organization Medea Benjamin said that the US government had been hiding the civilian casualties caused by the drone strikes in the Middle East, Somalia and Afghanistan.

    • CIA Director Describes How the U.S. Outsources Terror Interrogations

      In rare remarks about a sensitive issue, the director of the CIA confirmed today that the U.S. government works with foreign intelligence agencies to capture and jointly interrogate suspected terrorists.

    • ‘New York Times’: CIA paid ransom to al-Qaeda
    • CIA money from secret fund ended up in hands of al-Qaida – report
    • US CIA chief says social media ’greatly amplifies’ terror threat

      SoCIAl media and other technology are making it increasingly difficult to combat militants who are using such modern resources to share information and conduct operations, the head of the US Central Intelligence Agency said on Friday.

    • CIA chief: Social media hampers fight against ‘terror’

      Social media and other technology are making it increasingly difficult to combat “extremists” who are using such modern resources to share information and conduct operations, the head of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has said.

    • The CIA and America’s Presidents

      The CIA now is so firmly entrenched and so immensely well financed – much of it off the books, including everything from secret budget items to peddling drugs and weapons – that it is all but impossible for a president to oppose it the way Kennedy did. Obama, who has proved himself a fairly weak character from the start, certainly has given the CIA anything it wants. The dirty business of ISIS in Syria and Iraq is one project. The coup in Ukraine is another. The pushing of NATO’s face right against Russia’s borders is still another. Several attempted coups in Venezuela are still more. And the creation of a drone air force for extrajudicial killing in half a dozen countries is yet another. They don’t resemble projects we would expect from a smiley-faced, intelligent man who sometimes wore sandals and refused to wear a flag pin on his lapel during his first election campaign.

    • Russian Ex-Cop Gets 15 Years for Treason in CIA Spy Rock Case
    • EXCLUSIVE: New American-Russian spy crisis as Kremlin jails policeman for 15 years for ‘spying for CIA’ by handing over nuclear secrets in return for 37,000 euros concealed in fake rock

      This is the first picture of a Russian policeman jailed for 15 years for handing over Kremlin secrets to the CIA.

      Roman Ushakov, 33, from Krasnoyarsk, was found guilty of high treason for allegedly receiving 37,000 euros from his American handlers – hidden in a ‘fake rock’.

      The police major confessed to flying to Britain and other foreign countries to meet US agents after making contact with them via a CIA website.

    • CIA Whistleblower Facing 100 Years In Prison

      President Barack Obama has repeatedly promised to protect whistleblowers from prosecution and punishment, even though he has used the Espionage Act more than all previous administrations.

    • Ecuador Alerts Public to CIA Actions Across the Continent

      The Foreign Ministry is backing a new book outlining CIA actions in Ecuador to raise public awareness of interventions committed by the organization.

    • Ecuador Government Publishes Book about CIA Intervention in its Country

      The government of Ecuador wants its citizens to know all about the dirty tricks that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) engaged in during the 1960s in their country. To this end, the Ecuador Foreign Ministry has published and distributed copies of the book The CIA Case Against Latin America (pdf), written by Philip Agee, Jaime Galarza Zavala and Francisco Herrera Arauz.

      Agee is a former CIA officer who exposed the spy agency’s clandestine operations in Latin America from 1960 to 1968 in his own book, Inside the Company: CIA Diary, published in 1975.

    • CIA Papers Suggest Murder of Ecuador’s Former President

      Newly revealed documents show that the Ecuadorean military was part of Operation Condor.

      After reviewing declassified CIA documents, the Ecuador’s Attorney General Galo Chiriboga revealed Wednesday that former Ecuadorean President Jaime Roldos could have been murdered, a theory that has surrounded the 34-year old case.

      President Roldos was the first democratically elected president after Ecuador’s last military dictatorship, which lasted from 1976 to 1979.

      Chiriboga made his claim after reviewing several CIA documents that show the Ecuadorean army participated in the Operation Condor, during the 1970s and 1980s.

    • CIA sought to mislead IAEA on Iran’s nuclear program

      Newly declassified CIA documents show that the United States tried to mislead the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) about Iran’s nuclear energy program through the provision of doctored evidence.

    • CIA’s Nuke Sting May Prompt New UN Review for Iran Nuclear Program

      Evidence emerging from a CIA leak case could change the outcome of United Nations’ assessments of Iran’s nuclear program, Bloomberg reported Friday.

    • U.S. Syria strategy falters with collapse of rebel group

      The Hazzm movement was once central to a covert CIA operation to arm Syrian rebels, but the group’s collapse last week underlines the failure of efforts to unify Arab and Western support for mainstream insurgents fighting the Syrian military.

    • Putin: Nuclear Weapons Were Readied During Ukraine Crisis

      In recorded comments made for a documentary of the accession of Crimea into the Russian Federation, President Vladimir Putin revealed that he had been readying Russia’s nuclear arms during the height of the Ukraine crisis.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Julian Assange appeals to Sweden’s supreme court over arrest warrant

      Julian Assange is taking his appeal to Sweden’s highest court in a final attempt to persuade a Swedish judge that the arrest warrant against him should be lifted.

    • Swedish Court May Have Led to End of Assange Impasse

      Police monitoring of the Ecuadorean embassy in London all these years has cost “millions of pounds of British taxpayers’ money,” Pilger noted.

      While many have speculated whether the recent developments in Sweden would break the stalemate, Ratner said that Washington would play more of a role in his client’s fate.

      “Sweden is not Julian Assange’s problem,” he said. “His problem is the United States.”

    • Will Matt DeHart be the next victim of the war on leaks?

      The case of Matt DeHart, a former U.S. drone pilot turned hacktivist, is as strange as it is disturbing. The 29-year-old was recently denied asylum in Canada, having fled there with his family after — he claims — he was drugged and tortured by agents of the FBI, who accused him of espionage and child pornography.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Reclamation Announces Initial Water Supply Allocation for Central Valley Project

      Unfortunately, many agricultural water contractors may face a second year of receiving no water from the project – an unprecedented situation. In addition, reduced amounts of water are expected to be available from the CVP for urban uses, although Reclamation anticipates having adequate supplies to provide for unmet health and safety needs for these water users.

    • Climate Change Denier on Fossil Fuel Payroll

      Wei-Hock “Willie” Soon, a solar physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), received significant funding from energy companies while publishing studies that suggested solar activity, rather than human-generated greenhouse gasses, was causing dramatic shifts in global climate. Soon, whose work is frequently cited by conservative politicians to support their skepticism of the human role in climate change, accepted more than $1.2 million from fossil-fuel companies over the past decade, according to documents obtained by environmental group Greenpeace under the Freedom of Information Act. During that same period, Soon failed to disclose any the financial conflicts of interests to publishers of his scientific studies, violating journals’ ethical guidelines in several cases, The New York Times reported.

    • Network TV Continues Giving Climate Change Cold Shoulder

      FAIR examined ABC, CBS and NBC transcripts from January 25 (as the Northeast’s first blizzard approached) through March 4, looking at all mentions of cold, snow and ice. Over the same time period, we studied coverage of heat, warmth and drought across the West and Pacific Northwest.

  • Finance

    • The Case to Reinstate the Bank of Canada

      For over three years the Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER), an organization of Canadian citizens, has battled in court to return Canada’s Central Bank. The Bank of Canada’s initial purpose according to its charter was making interest free loans to municipal, provincial, and federal governments for “human capital” expenditures (education, health, other social services) and /or infrastructure expenditures. Yet for the past four decades it has acted as an interest-gathering agent for private global banking firms.

    • WaPo Lets Slip Why Dollar Is Over-Valued

      Regular readers of my blog Beat the Press know that the over-valuation of the dollar is one of my pet themes. There are two big issues with the over-valuation.

      The first is macroeconomic: An over-valued dollar makes US goods and services less competitive internationally. If the dollar is over-valued by 20 percent against other currencies, then it has the same impact as if we were to impose a 20 percent tariff on all our exports and give a 20 percent subsidy on imported goods. Needless to say, this leads to a much larger trade deficit than would be the case if the currency were not over-valued.

    • Robert Samuelson’s ‘Golden Age’ Mythology

      Finally, the story of the “Big Scare” doesn’t quite fit the data either. Saving as a share of disposable income is now lower than at any point except the peaks of the stock and housing bubbles. By the measure of how much consumers are spending, they do not appear scared. Similarly, the investment share of GDP is back to its level of 2005-06, a period in which firms were not obviously scared.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Reddit imposes ban on non-consensual sexual content

      If you want to post naked pictures or videos of people on Reddit without their consent, you only have a couple of weeks to do so. As of March, the site is imposing a ban on content of an explicit nature that the subject has not given permission to be posted.

    • No sex on Blogger please, we’re Google

      Blogger users risk having their blogs removed from public listings if they feature graphic nudity or explicit content. Starting on March 23, any Blogger blog found to contain offending pictures or videos will be converted into a private blog that can only be seen by the owner and those, erm, explicitly invited to see it.

    • ‘I am Charlie’ exhibit forced to close in Helsinki

      In all three cases, the building owners had asked to have the show closed because of safety worries – particularly following last week’s attacks in Copenhagen.

      On Tuesday the organisers are meeting to decide where to go from here.

      The director of Library 10 told the paper that the building’s owners and police are studying the security issues surrounding the show, and that it may still be possible for it to re-open at the library.

      The exhibit includes work by 10 leading Finnish cartoonists, including well-known names such as Pertti Jarla and Milla Paloniemi.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Fort Lauderdale police officer caught on camera slapping homeless man

      A homeless man is speaking up after an officer responded violently to his request to use a restroom Sunday.

      A witness caught the incident on a cellphone camera. In the footage, the man, Bruce Laclair, is seen walking near a Downtown Fort Lauderdale bus station. An off-duty Fort Lauderdale Police officer, Victor Ramirez, trails Laclair while putting on rubber gloves. “I’m not [expletive] around with you. Don’t [expletive] touch me,” Ramirez is heard yelling while pointing at Laclair.

    • Study After Study Shows The DHS Has An Intense Morale Problem That Can Apparently Only Be Solved By Study After Study

      The DHS is in the (relatively) newly-minted business of securing the homeland against all comers — mostly terrorists of the foreign and domestic varieties. Whether it’s done out of paranoia or just the overwhelming need to look busy every time the national budget nears a vote, the DHS has gone overboard in its assessments of potential threats. The shorter of the two lists it has compiled by this point would be titled “Not Terrorists.” Over the years, the DHS has conjectured that terrorists are hiding in food trucks, using hotel side entrances, exercising their First Amendment rights, possibly years away from graduating high school… etc.

    • Prison Phone Companies Have Found Yet Another Way to Squeeze Families for Cash

      On a chilly Sunday evening in December, a smattering of parents and small children trickled into a graffiti-covered concrete building on the grounds of the DC Jail. It was the last day to visit with prisoners before Christmas Eve, and some of the visitors were wearing Santa hats or bearing presents. The only thing missing was inmates. Three years ago, Washington, DC, eliminated in-person visitation for the roughly 1,800 residents of its jails and installed 54 video-conferencing screens in this building across the parking lot from the detention facility. The screens were installed, at no expense to taxpayers, by a Virginia-based company called Global Tel*Link (GTL), which had scored a lucrative contract for the facility’s phone service.

    • The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site’

      The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

    • The Guardian Details The Horrors Of Chicago Police’s ‘CIA-Style Black Site’

      The practices undertaken at the Homan facility are alleged to include detaining people without documenting their arrest, beatings, keeping detainees shackled for hours at a time, refusing attorneys for detainees access to the facility, and detaining people while refusing them legal counsel for up to a full day. These practices, by the way, weren’t reserved for the mature, but were happily visited upon minors, because when you’re going to go evil there is no point in half-assing it. Do these types of practices sound familiar to you? Would it help if the detainees were in orange jumpsuits and had the tan of a Cuban sun upon their skin? You get the point.

    • Battlefield: Hardline – is it a problem to play war as a cop?

      A helicopter swoops over a palatial mansion as armed gunmen burst in, jamming cartridges into their shotguns, preparing for an epic firefight. Pretty soon bullets are tearing up the interior as bodies crash through glass walls, and grenades pass the camera in slow-motion arcs. Quickly, the action cuts to a high-speed car chase, with vehicles plummeting along LA’s iconic storm drains. The shooting never stops.

    • The Rise and Fall of RedBook, the Site That Sex Workers Couldn’t Live Without

      Until last summer, pretty much anyone buying or selling sex in the San Francisco Bay Area used myRedBook.com. For more than a decade, the site commonly referred to as RedBook served as a vast catalog of carnal services, a mashup of Craigslist, Yelp, and Usenet where sex workers and hundreds of thousands of their customers could connect, converse, and make arrangements for commercial sex. RedBook tapped into the persistent, age-old, bottomless appetite for prostitution and made it safer and more civilized. The site was efficient, well stocked, and probably too successful for its own good.

    • Voting Rights Shall Not Overcome NYT Reporting Like This

      Actually, if we shall not overcome partisan rancor, it will be because of reporting like this, which duplicates and does not investigate the claims made about voting reform. Will voter ID and restrictions on early voting “help prevent voter fraud,” or is such fraud “nearly nonexistent”? The Times can’t say, but can only say what others say, as if there were no objective reality that the paper could report on directly.

    • ‘Freedom in jeopardy’: Thousands rally across Canada against new anti-terror law

      Thousands of demonstrators have united across Canada to take action against proposed anti-terrorism legislation known as Bill C-51, which would expand the powers of police and the nation’s spy agency, especially when it comes to detaining terror suspects.

    • JUSTICE FOR SALE – PART 4: Corruption and Abuse, the Remnants of Greed

      This is the fourth article (PART1, PART2, PART3) in a five-part series examining the US legal system. The series collectively argues that corporate media and political rhetoric have made Americans acquiescent toward corruption in the US legal system. This piece uses Coalinga State Hospital in California to illuminate the corruption that is taking place inside the justice system’s institutions.

    • Senate Torture Report: An Exception In CIA Oversight

      In February 2009, the Senate intelligence committee gathered in a soundproof room to learn the stomach-churning details of the brutal interrogations the CIA conducted with its first important al-Qaida prisoners.

      Committee aides distributed a report based on a review of messages to CIA headquarters from two of the agency’s secret overseas jails. Included was a 25-page chart with a minute-by-minute description of 17 days during which the first detainee, Abu Zubaydah, was kept awake, slammed into walls, shackled in stress positions, stuffed for hours into a small box and waterboarded to the point of unconsciousness.

    • Drone Theory by Grégoire Chamayou, review: ‘highly readable’

      The dream of flight, even from its earliest days, was shadowed by the desire for power. Before the First World War, in 1911, the Italians were dropping bombs out of early wooden aircraft on north African villages. In the Twenties, the British sought to control ungovernable desert dwellers in their Middle East territories by hurling explosives from biplanes. Today’s objections to drones – crewless aircraft piloted via computers, and used to fire missiles – are to do with the fact that they swerve any liberal sense of justice. Their technology may be astounding, but the fear and outrage they evoke is more than 100 years old.

    • Bush White House’s Repeated Torture Denials Led CIA Torturers to Seek Repeated Reassurances

      The Bush administration was so adamant in its public statements against torture that CIA officials repeatedly sought reassurances that the White House officials who had given them permission to torture in the first place hadn’t changed their minds.

      In a July 29, 2003, White House meeting that included Vice President Dick Cheney and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, CIA Director George Tenet went so far as to ask the White House “to cease stating that US Government practices were ‘humane.’” He was assured they would.

    • CIA spy ‘fired for falling in love with undercover colleague 21 years his junior’ sues agency for $25 million
    • Spy: CIA Kept Me From My Soulmate

      On January 5, 2010, the chief of the CIA’s secretive paramilitary operations division accused one of the agency’s elite undercover operatives of financial shenanigans and getting too friendly with a female colleague.

    • Chelsea Manning: Prosecute the CIA’s torturers

      Newly minted Guardian columnist Chelsea Manning, the Army whistleblower currently serving a 35-year sentence for divulging classified military documents to WikiLeaks, argues in a new column that the officers behind the Central Intelligence Agency’s post-9/11 torture and detention program must be held criminally accountable, contending that U.S. intelligence personnel were complicit in a torture regime that was “unethical and morally wrong,” as well as “very illegal.”

    • John Brennan and Restructuring the CIA
    • The CIA’s torturers and the leaders who approved their actions must face the law

      Successful intelligence gathering through interrogation and other forms of human interaction by conventional means can be – and more often than not are – very successful. But, even though interrogation by less conventional methods might get glorified in popular culture – in television dramas like Law and Order: Criminal Intent, 24 and The Closer and movies like Zero Dark Thirty – torture and the mistreatment of detainees in the custody of intelligence personnel is, was and shall continue to be unethical and morally wrong. Under US law, torture and mistreatment of detainees is also very illegal.

    • Paying for torture

      The CIA tortured suspected terrorists on Polish soil.

    • ‘No parliament support’: Lithuania drops CIA prison inquiry

      The Lithuanian legislature decided against a new inquiry into a secret US torture facility in the country, despite a damning US Senate report released three months ago which indicated its existence.

    • Lithuania says will not renew CIA prison parliamentary enquiry

      Lithuania’s parliament will not hold another parliamentary inquiry into alleged CIA prisons in the Baltic country after the U.S. Senate published a report on torture, the speaker of the parliament said on Friday.

    • Lithuanian Parliament Refuses to Pursue Investigations into CIA Black Sites

      The Lithuanian Seimas will not renew a parliamentary inquiry into alleged CIA prisons, despite evidence in a US Senate Report suggesting that the Baltic nation kept a secret prison.

    • CIA attempted to contact Hamas despite official US ban, spy cables reveal

      The CIA tried to gain access to Hamas through backchannels despite a US government ban on contact with the Palestinian Islamist movement, the spy cables show.

    • ‘Spy Cables’ Reveal the CIA ‘Desperate’ to Contact Hamas

      The leaked cables show that Obama threatened the Palestinian president because the PLO was seeking to upgrade its U.N. status.

    • CIA asked South Africa for help contacting Hamas: leaked files

      According to the Al-Jazeera report, a Central Intelligence Agency agent was “desperate” to make contact with Hamas in 2012, according to intelligence files leaked to Al-Jazeera.

      Al-Jazeera reported that the US listed Hamas as a terrorist organisation and had no contact with the group officially.

    • Film About Psychologists Behind CIA’s Torture Techniques In Works At HBO

      The December release of the U.S. Senate Select Intelligence Committee’s so-called “torture report” shocked the nation with the gruesome accounts of extreme interrogation tactics employed by the CIA in the war on terror.

    • CIA scandal that got lost amid our obsession with Monica Lewinsky: Kill the Messenger is reminiscent of All The President’s Men, writes BRIAN VINER

      A powerful political thriller in many ways reminiscent of All The President’s Men, Alan J. Pakula’s 1976 film about the Watergate conspiracy, Kill The Messenger tells the true story of a dogged investigative reporter for an unfashionable Californian newspaper, who uncovered what he called a ‘dark alliance’ between the CIA, Nicaraguan rebels and cocaine traffickers.

    • US Government Classifies Term “America’s Battle Lab’ in War on Terror” in Pentagon Report

      The Department of Defense, after consultation with the CIA, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Defense Intelligence Agency, has released via Mandatory Declassification Request an early Pentagon study of intelligence operations at Guantanamo (along with accompanying slide presentation). It is very heavily redacted, with whole pages blanked out.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The White House Doesn’t Want You to Know the TPP’s Looming Effects on U.S. Copyright Laws

      As the White House doubles down on its attempt to pass legislation to fast track secret trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, their oft-repeated refrain about these deals’ digital copyright enforcement provisions is that these policies would not alter U.S. law.

    • Congress’s Copyright Review Should Strengthen Fair Use—Or At Least Do No Harm

      The Internet is celebrating Fair Use Week, and it’s a great time to look at what Congress might do this year to help or hurt the fair use rights of artists, innovators, and citizens. After nearly two years of U.S. House Judiciary Committee hearings and vigorous conversations within government, industry, and the public, it seems like we might see some real proposals. But other than a few insiders, nobody knows for sure whether major changes to copyright law are coming this year, and what they might be.

    • Trade Agreements Should Protect An Open Internet, Not Kill It

      For a few years now, we’ve been writing about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, and how we’re quite concerned by many aspects of it. In particular, we’re quite concerned about the intellectual property provisions — which leaks have shown are tremendously problematic — as well as the corporate sovereignty provisions, which negotiators like to call “investor state dispute settlement” (ISDS) because it sounds so boring. Of course, the biggest concern of all is that these deals are negotiated in total secrecy, with the various negotiators refusing to reveal the agreed upon text until it’s a done deal and the public is unable to comment on it or suggest changes and fixes.

    • Copyrights

      • Apparently The Best Way To Decrease Movie Piracy Is To Get Rid Of The Oscars

        As you may have heard, last night was the Oscars — Hollywood’s favorite back-patting celebration. However, as a recent study found, films that were nominated for Oscars saw the number of unauthorized downloads and streams surge, as people wanted to make sure they had seen these celebrated films. Films like American Sniper and Selma saw a massive increase in unauthorized downloads after being nominated. The company that did this study, Irdeto, argues that these unauthorized downloads represent a major loss for the films’ producers — but it seems like there’s another explanation: the MPAA really ought to be targeting the Oscars for encouraging infringement.


Links 14/2/2015: End of Google Code, Split of Google+

Posted in News Roundup at 9:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • New Role At WiPro

    I’ve news. Starting today, I will be working full time in a new role. I’m now a Director at the global consulting firm WiPro in their Open Source practice, advising both customers and implementation teams on open source issues concerning software selection, community engagement, license compliance and more. You’ll find me at a variety of conferences and events, and I’ll continue to write for InfoWorld and others.

  • SageTV to go open source (four years after Google acquired the media center/DVR software)

    SageTV was a cross-platform media center application and digital video recorder tool for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. I say “was” because Google acquired the company in 2011 and used the technology for its Google Fiber TV service.

  • 4 tips for breaking into an open source community

    My two biggest dreams growing up were to be either a firefighter or a space explorer. Though I didn’t get to do either of those things, I satisfy the former via being a volunteer in prevention with Cal Fire, California’s state fire department, and the latter by reading everything I can get my hands on about space—both fiction and non-fiction.

  • 3 key elements that define every open source project

    Open source has come a long way in the past 30 years and is entering the consciousness of most modern cultures. When thinking of open source projects, people categorize them several ways: governance structure, type of product platform, programming language, utility, technical details (language written in), industry sponsored or fully independent, and more.

  • 5 ways to answer questions the open source way

    Are we, as a group, more interested in enforcing a specific set of behaviors, or are we more interested in fostering a culture of respect, collaboration, and participation? To view interlocutors as “offenders” ensures the former. I’m much more interested in the latter.

  • Why open source works

    Trying to explain why open source works, you can of course point to the Cathedral and the Bazaar by Erik. But the kernel development process shows it happening ‘in real time’, every day, and that’s a major reason why I so enjoy reading the weekly LWN.

  • 5 ways to answer questions the open source way

    Eric Raymond’s How to Ask Questions the Smart Way was published in 2001 and has been very popular ever since. It gets referenced on my local Linux User Group mailing list with some frequency (usually alongside an admonishment to stop top-posting). To be sure, it contains a lot of good advice for how to perform research, how to frame a question, and what salient information is generally a minimum required to solicit help.

  • Algorithmia aims to be the open source app store for algorithms and APIs

    A startup fresh out of private beta offers a three-way intersection between machine learning, the API economy, and open source developers’ need to monetize their creations.

    Algorithmia, which launched privately last year, allows users to build algorithms, make them available as a Web service, and monetize them.

    The service can be used in two basic ways: either by calling algorithms available in the system via its REST API (with examples provided), or by writing and submitting the algorithms to be used. Each algorithm has its own interactive console page, so they can be tried out directly on the Web without needing to write and implement code. Many of the algorithms are original creations; others are implementations of existing software, such as a tokenizer based on Apache OpenNLP.

  • Google is using Microsoft’s TypeScript to build Angular 2, its open source mobile development platform
  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Releases Open Source Masche Forensics Tool

        Mozilla has released an open source memory forensics tool that some college students designed and built during the company’s recent Winter of Security event.

        The new tool, known as Masche, is designed specifically for investigating server memory and has the advantage of being able to scan running processes without causing any problems with the machine. Masche runs on Linux, OS X and Windows and Mozilla has posted the code on GitHub.

      • Mozilla Firefox 36 Adds HTTP/2 Support, Pinned Tile Syncing, and More

        Mozilla, in the latest version of its Firefox browser has introduced support for the newly finalised HTTP/2 network protocol along with other features. Firefox 36 is currently only available for Windows, OS X, and Linux desktop systems.

      • WebRTC requires Perfect Forward Secrecy (PFS) starting in Firefox 38

        Today, we are announcing that Firefox 38 will take further measures to secure users’ communications by removing support in WebRTC for all DTLS cipher suites that do not support forward secrecy. For developers: if you have a WebRTC application or server that doesn’t support PFS ciphers, you will need to update your code.

      • Unreal Engine 4.7 Binary Release Includes HTML5 Export

        With the launch of Unreal Engine 4.7, Epic Games has added the ability to export to HTML5 as a regular part of their Windows binary engine releases. One of the world’s most advanced game engines is one step closer to delivering truly amazing content right in your browser. With this addition, developers will be able to create content in Unreal Engine 4.7, immediately compile it to the Web, and launch it in their browser of choice with the click of a button.

      • Firefox 36 Gains HTTP/2 Support, Fixes Critical Vulnerabilities

        Mozilla’s Firefox 36 debuts with support for HTTP/2 protocol as well as 17 security advisories for vulnerabilities that have been patched in the open-source browser.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Apache Tajo Update Offers Open, Relational Big Data Warehousing Solution

      Now here is an interesting open source project that has been flying under the radar: The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), which stewards more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, announced the availability of Apache Tajo v0.10.0, the latest version of the advanced open data warehousing system in Apache Hadoop.

  • Databases

    • An open source database for realtime applications

      To learn more about RethinkDB, we caught up with Slava Akhmechet. Akhmechet is the founder of RethinkDB, the company with the same name as the open source project. Before founding RethinkDB, he was a systems engineer in the financial industry, working on scaling custom database systems. He is currently a PhD student on leave from a program in Computational Neuroscience at Stony Brook University.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • ‘Utterly unusable’ MS Word dumped by SciFi author Charles Stross

      Stross is a long-time Linux user who only uses Word because the publishing industry expects he will. But he’s not alone in loathing the necessity to do so: fellow UK science fiction writer Alastair Reynolds says the application “drives me to distraction.”

    • Review: LibreOffice 4.4 raises the bar

      The developers behind LibreOffice, the free and open source productivity suite forked from OpenOffice, have sweated and bled to advance the toolkit over the past couple of years. The effort has paid off: It’s a no-brainer to recommend LibreOffice over OpenOffice, thanks to Libre’s consistent release schedule and the increasingly polished quality of the product.

      Now for the bigger question: Can you recommend LibreOffice in the same breath as Microsoft Office? The short answer: Maybe. To its credit, LibreOffice 4.4 handles old- and new-school Microsoft Office documents better than ever before — no small feat considering how prohibitively complex such documents can be. If you plan on using LibreOffice as a drop-in replacement for Microsoft Office, know that document compatibility is still a roll of the dice — but with each revision LibreOffice is improving the odds.

  • CMS

    • New Joomla release warrants second look for CMS deployments

      Joomla! is a highly-extendable content management system (CMS) licensed under the GNU GPL written in PHP that readily scales from small websites to large projects. Joomla was designed with extensibility in mind — a wide variety of extensions are available for the needs of the audience. Importantly, Joomla can be easily adapted to a wide variety of use cases, including as for a corporate intranet, as an e-commerce platform, or for web presence and information, as is the case for the Guggenheim Museum website, which runs on Joomla.

  • Business

    • Open-Source Solutions As A Business Model

      Increased interest in privacy issues – particularly in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region – is driving interest in new software security solutions. This has combined with a change in attitude towards open-source solutions to create an opportunity for businesses.

    • Why Every Company Should Be Thinking Open-Source, But Many Still Aren’t
    • Why we ditched our legacy framework for Symfony

      If eZ Systems isn’t a name you’re familiar with, allow us to introduce ourselves: eZ is a commercial open source software vendor. We provide a content management system (CMS) and platform known as eZ Publish, which will soon be known as eZ Platform. eZ serves as a foundation for digital businesses, providing value-added solutions on top of our open source CMS platform.

  • Funding

    • Why Open Source Freeriding is a Good Idea

      Are you cheating if you download open source software without paying for it? Recently, Linux distribution elementaryOS angered users by implying that you are — an opinion that is hardly new, but no more valid than the last dozen times anyone voiced it.

  • BSD


    • GNU ccd2cue 0.4 released
    • GNU Guile-SDL 0.5.2 available

      GNU Guile-SDL is Guile plus SDL. Simple, no?

    • The Boundary Between Hardware And Software

      Running free gate patterns on FPGAs could potentially be a useful method for making digital devices that are free at the circuit level. However, to make FPGAs usable in the free world, we need free development tools for them. The obstacle is that the format of the gate pattern file that gets loaded into the FPGA is secret. Until recently there was no model of FPGA for which those files could be produced without nonfree (proprietary) tools.

    • Watch Your Freedom (Because Apple’s Not)

      At Apple’s “Spring Forward” press event on Monday, March 9, the electronics company expounded upon its plans to release a smartwatch and revealed updates to its MacBook computer line, among other announcements. Underneath their focus on “innovation” and “design,” however, Apple CEO Tim Cook and other participating speakers neglected to address growing concerns about the proprietary software and Digital Restrictions Management technologies distributed with its products and services, which only serve to extend the company’s oppression of computer users and their freedoms.

    • GNU Guix recruits for GSoC

      This year again Guix participates in the Google Summer of Code under the umbrella of the GNU Project.

    • GNU ccd2cue 0.5 released
    • March 2015, “Community Choice” Project of the Month – GnuCash

      For our March “Community Choice” Project of the Month, the community elected GnuCash, an easy-to-use personal and small-business finance manager with a checkbook like appearance. The GnuCash team shared their thoughts about the project’s history, purpose, and direction.

  • Project Releases

    • Kodi (XBMC Media Center) 14.2 RC1 Released with a Bunch of Fixes

      The Kodi development team has announced the immediate availability for download and testing of the RC (Release Candidate) version of the upcoming Kodi 14.2 media center software for GNU/Linux, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Android, iOS, Apple TV, and Raspberry Pi. This release brings a bunch of fixes that aim to improve the stability of the application on all supported platforms.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Greens Put German Foreign Affairs On The Hot Seat Over FLOSS
    • German Greens ask Foreign Affairs to amend way

      The Greens in the German parliament want the Foreign Ministry to revert back to open source software solutions on its workstations. The ministry in 2010 abandoned its open source desktop strategy, pressured by staffers struggling with interoperability problems. The Greens are now asking the ministry to justify the proprietary licence costs it has made since then.

    • Should governments develop their own software?

      Is the alternative that every government agency bear the cost and effort of writing its own software? Clearly this doesn’t make much sense either. As often happens when an economic arrangement becomes impaired over time, cutting out the middleman solves the problem—the middleman here being for-profit enterprises that manage the production and costs of vital software systems.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Vapor Contributes Open Data Center Runtime Environment to Open Compute Project

      At the Open Compute Project Summit this week, startup Vapor announced a new open-source specification designed to help manage data center environments.

    • Connect globally, educate openly: Open Education Week 2015

      Open Education Week (OEW) is an annual, global event and will take place this year from March 9-13, 2015. The event aims to raise awareness and celebrate achievements of the global Open Education Movement.

    • A new home for OpenStack user groups, DBaaS as a stack of pancakes, and more
    • Apple releases ResearchKit, Linux adopts a code of conflict, and more
    • OpenSpecimen streamlines management of biospecimen data

      Access to high-quality human biospecimens such as blood, saliva, plasma, DNA, and RNA is integral to developing a better understanding of diseases and advancing molecular technologies, clinical trial research, personalized medicine research, and clinical practice.

    • Open Data

      • WANdisco Joins Hadoop Open Data Platform Alliance

        Recently, we’ve been covering the Open Data Platform, recently announced by Pivotal, which is shaping up to be very influential in the Hadoop and Big Data market. Now, WANdisco, a provider of continuous-availability software for global enterprises working with Big Data, has announced that it has joined the Open Data Platform (ODP) Initiative. WANdisco has patented technology that enables Hadoop availability across data centers that can be very far apart, while also securing data.

      • What open data really means for government

        I recently attended the Triangle Open Data Day (TODD) conference at North Carolina State’s campus in Raleigh, an event sponsored by Code for America. On the surface, the open data movement is about getting local, state, and federal government to publish data in a way that citizens can use it. This means publishing reports, spreadsheets, and other documentation online — and it scales to mean publishing data sets with APIs, so applications all over the place can build upon and extend those data sets.

    • Open Hardware

      • What’s in a name: The battle for the soul of Arduino

        That was the question many Italians were asking recently when reports appeared in local media that Massimo Banzi, co-founder and high-profile figurehead for the popular open hardware project, was stepping down from managing the initiative. The lead was to be taken by Federico Musto, CEO of Dog Hunter, an Internet of Things company that had previously contributed to Yun, a family of wi-fi products that combine Arduino and Linux.

  • Programming


  • ​BitTorrent Sync 2.0: For all your business file-sharing needs

    There are endless ways to share files between devices. Some of them are complex, ftp and Network File System (NFS). Some, such as Apple Bonjour and Windows Homegroup, work with only a few operating systems. Still others, like Dropbox and Google Drive, require you to use a cloud. Then, there’s BitTorrent Sync 2.0, which is easy to use, works with most devices, and doesn’t use a cloud.

  • Why Google+ is splitting into photos and streams
  • Google+ officially splits into Photos and Streams
  • The death of Google+

    So I got up very early this morning after suffering through the night with a new oral sleep apnea appliance. I haven’t gotten much sleep so I’m a bit bleary-eyed as I write this post. Anyway, I checked my email as I usually do and found a note from a friend mentioning that something had happened to Google+.

  • Why CTOs must design for developers right from the start

    In today’s integrated world, no software can stand on its own. So CTOs need to create APIs right from the start — and consider developers as they would end users. That advice comes from Uri Sarid, CTO at MuleSoft, which helps organizations connect data, applications, and devices. In this interview, he shares his thoughts on the importance of interoperability.

  • Science

  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Cyberweapons Have No Allegiance

      …NSA has worked to ensure that anyone can use packet injection to hack into computers.

    • #AskHamas Twitter campaign backfires on Gaza group

      Initiative by Palestinian terror organization to ‘introduce itself to the world’ met with mockery

    • American social media companies wage war on ISIS

      On Sunday, an image circulated showing Islamic State supporters allegedly threatening Jack Dorsey, a founder of Twitter, in retaliation for the social network engaging an escalating war against the militant group.

    • Funny How Russian Propaganda, US Free Press Produce Exact Same Mood Swings

      The “anti-Western anger” has been “fed by the powerful antagonism on Russian federal television channels” since “Putin cranked up the volume after protest movements in late 2011 and 2012, which he blamed on the State Department.”


      Funny thing, though–the anti-American sentiment in Russia is pretty much a mirror image of anti-Russian sentiment in the United States, which has likewise risen to record heights since polling began roughly 25 years ago.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Julian Assange case: Sweden U-turn on questioning

      Swedish prosecutors have offered to travel to London to question Wikileaks founder Julian Assange over sex assault allegations.

      Prosecutors had previously insisted on questioning Mr Assange in Sweden, after seeking his arrest in 2010.

      Mr Assange denies the assault claims and has been living at the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012.

    • Swedish Prosecutor Opts to Interview Julian Assange in London

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has spent nearly three years in an Ecuadorian embassy in London in an effort to avoid both charges from the United States regarding the dissemination of classified information as well as a nearly five-year investigation that alleges Assange committed sex crimes in Sweden. With the statue of limitations in the latter case set to expire this August, Swedish prosecutors hope to travel to London to interview Assange in the near future in a last-ditch effort to decide whether to pursue charges.

    • The George W. Bush email scandal the media has conveniently forgotten

      Even for a Republican White House that was badly stumbling through George W. Bush’s sixth year in office, the revelation on April 12, 2007 was shocking. Responding to congressional demands for emails in connection with its investigation into the partisan firing of eight U.S. attorneys, the White House announced that as many as five million emails, covering a two-year span, had been lost.

    • Most Agencies Falling Short on Mandate for Online Records

      Audit checked 165 federal offices, found only 67 with updated and populated online libraries; Some 17 “E-Star” agencies disprove common excuses of cost and disability compliance

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Gov. Rick Scott’s ban on climate change term extended to other state agencies

      No one told Bart Bibler not to use the terms “climate change” and “global warming” during his six months on the job at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

      Then, on March 4, he walked into a Florida Coastal Managers Forum, a teleconference with representatives from other state agencies.

    • Senator Whitehouse Exposes ALEC Climate Change Denial

      This week, US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), took to the Senate floor to call upon America to “wake up” to the damaging effects of climate change denial and the fossil fuel industry funding received by groups that promote it, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the corporate bill mill that has been pushing a destructive agenda of climate change denial.

    • Getting Media to Take Climate Threats Seriously? There’s a Snowball’s Chance

      Inhofe (R-Ok.), who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, took to the Senate floor recently to try to debunk what he called the “hysteria on global warming” by holding a snowball. While the Washington Post editorialized that the performance was a “national embarrassment”–despite the paper having columnists on staff who make similarly absurd arguments (FAIR Blog, 3/3/15)–NBC’s Meet the Press (3/1/15) had a different reaction to Inhofe’s performance.

    • Roundup Found In 75% of Air and Rain Samples, Gov. Study Finds

      A study conducted by US Geological Survey scientists found traces of the Monsanto Corporation’s Roundup herbicide in 75% of rain and air samples tested. The study, “Pesticides in Mississippi air and rain: A comparison between 1995 and 2007,” appeared in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, in 2014.

  • Finance

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • China wants Silicon Valley’s encryption keys: Good business, or get out?

      China wants the encryption keys from U.S. technology companies as part of a counter-terrorism law. The draft law leaves U.S. tech giants with two options: Play ball or get out.

    • Meet the free encryption app that promises to put your privacy first

      The Cryptocat developer’s new team aims to get easy file and message encryption into everyone’s hands, which could give Gmail and Dropbox (and the NSA) a run for their money.

    • Silent Circle targets enterprise users with ‘world first’ privacy ecosystem

      Encrypted communications provider Silent Circle has raised approximately $50 million in a funding round aimed at pushing the company forward in the enterprise market.

    • Privacy defending Blackphone 2 and Blackphone tablet announced

      Silent Circle, the Swiss manufacturer of the super-secret Blackphone, has announced a second in its line of secure handsets for the masses along with a seven-inch tablet running its own PrivatOS 1.1 and a suite of new apps for business.

    • Hacked Fridges Aren’t the Internet of Things’ Biggest Worry

      As we start to connect more and more of the things in our lives to the web—from our cars to our to thermostats to our barbecue grills—it’s hard not to worry about those things being hacked. No one wants their toaster to become a spambot, after all.

    • Disappointing: Google Not Yet Requiring Phone Makers To Encrypt By Default

      Well, this is disappointing. Back in September, we were happy to see both Apple and Google announced that their mobile platforms would be encrypted by default (for local storage, not for data transmissions), which has kicked off something of a new round of Crypto Wars, as law enforcement types have shoved each other aside to spread as much possible FUD about the “dangers” of mobile encryption (ignoring that they also recommend mobile encryption to keep your data safe).

    • Jolla Partners To Build Secure Version Of Its Sailfish Mobile OS

      Another security-focused development in the European mobile space: Finnish mobile startup Jolla, which develops the Sailfish mobile OS and its own brand mobile hardware, has just announced it will be partnering to create a “security hardened” version of the platform, called Sailfish Secure.

    • MWC: Jolla pitches Sailfish Secure OS as Europe’s only safe mobile option

      FINNISH MOBILE PHONE FIRM Jolla is working with partners to bring a toughened version of its Sailfish OS to a range of hardware.

    • Thought Komodia/Superfish Bug Was Really, Really Bad? It’s Much, Much Worse!

      With each passing day, it appears that new revelations come out, detailing how the Komodia/Superfish malware is even worse than originally expected. If you don’t recall, last week it came out that Lenovo was installing a bit of software called “Superfish” as a default bloatware on a bunch of its “consumer” laptops. The software tried to pop up useful alternative shopping results for images. But in order to work on HTTPS-encrypted sites, Superfish made use of a nasty (and horribly implemented) “SSL hijacker” from Komodia, which installed a self-signed root certificate that basically allowed anyone to issue totally fake security certificates for any encrypted connection, enabling very easy man-in-the-middle attacks. Among the many, many, many stupid things about the way Komodia worked, was that it used the same certificate on each installation of Superfish, and it had an easily cracked password: “komodia” which was true on apparently every product that used Komodia. And researchers have discovered that a whole bunch of products use Komodia, putting a ton of people at risk. People have discovered at least 12 products that make use of Komodia.

    • AT&T’s $30 ‘Don’t Be Snooped On’ Fee Is Even Worse Than Everybody Thought

      Last week we noted that while AT&T has been trying to match Google Fiber pricing in small portions of several markets, it has been busily doing it in a very AT&T fashion. While the company is offering a $70, 1 Gbps service in some locations, the fine print indicates that users can only get that price point if they agree to AT&T’s Internet Preferences snoopvertising program. That program uses deep packet inspection to track your online behavior down to the second — and if you want to opt out, that $70 1 Gbps broadband connection quickly becomes significantly more expensive.

    • Why I’ve Chosen To Go With Private Internet Access

      Some people have noticed I’m writing for a VPN service, and having my regular commentary on liberties presented by that VPN service: by Private Internet Access VPN. Seeing my previous stance on advertising, I think it merits some explanation why I’m choosing to associate with a service brand.

    • The Orwellian Re-Branding of “Mass Surveillance” as Merely “Bulk Collection”

      Just as the Bush administration and the U.S. media re-labelled “torture” with the Orwellian euphemism “enhanced interrogation techniques” to make it more palatable, the governments and media of the Five Eyes surveillance alliance are now attempting to re-brand “mass surveillance” as “bulk collection” in order to make it less menacing (and less illegal). In the past several weeks, this is the clearly coordinated theme that has arisen in the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as the last defense against the Snowden revelations, as those governments seek to further enhance their surveillance and detention powers under the guise of terrorism.

    • UK surveillance legislation not fit for purpose, lacks transparency.
    • We Now Know The NSA And GCHQ Have Subverted Most (All?) Of The Digital World: So Why Can’t We See Any Benefits?

      First, that the recent attempts by politicians to demonize strong encryption look like an attempt to cover up the fact that most digital systems are already vulnerable using one or more of the techniques that have been revealed over the last year or two. That is, the NSA and GCHQ can probably access most digital content stored or transmitted in any way — either because the encryption itself or the end-points have been compromised. Even standalone strong encryption systems like PGP — thought still to be immune to direct attacks — can be circumvented by breaking into the systems on which they are used.

      Perhaps the dark hints that encryption could be banned or backdoored are simply part of a cynical ploy to present such an appalling vision of what could happen, that we gladly accept anything less extreme without complaint. In fact, the authorities have no intention of attempting anything so stupid — it would put all online business at risk — because they don’t need to: they already have methods to access everything anyway.

    • Twitter starts tracking phone numbers to prevent its worst users from creating new accounts

      Weeks after The Verge published internal memos from Twitter CEO Dick Costolo in which he said “we suck at dealing with abuse,” the company is rolling out new tools to reduce harassment on the service. Under the changes, users who receive temporary bans may have to verify an email address or a phone number to resume using Twitter. (Other users can be banned permanently.) Email addresses are relatively easy to obtain, but phone numbers are harder — and by checking phone numbers against a list of banned users, Twitter could be able to keep more abusers and harassers from creating accounts.

    • Senator Asks FCC To Explain Its Involvement In The Proliferation Of Stingray Devices

      Despite the feds’ best efforts to keep IMSI catchers (Stingray devices, colloquially and almost certainly to the dismay of manufacturer Harris Corporation, as they head to becoming the kleenex of surveillance tech) a secret, there’s still enough information leaking out around the edges of the FBI’s non-disclosure agreements to provoke public discussion.

    • Facebook’s Colonies

      But aside from ideals and growth markets, the report highlights a tension inherent to the question of access: When Facebook sets sail to disconnected markets, what version of the internet will it bring?

    • Evidence Copy Of ‘CitizenFour’ Needs To Be ‘Locked Up’ Claims Plaintiff Suing Snowden, Filmmakers For Billions

      The billion-dollar lawsuit against the producers of the Edward Snowden documentary CitizenFour rolls on, gradually unraveling as it does. Since we last covered the story (where the United States of America was added as an involuntary plaintiff — a plaintiff since forcibly removed by the court), a lot has happened. For one, CitizenFour won an Oscar for Best Documentary, something that can’t be sitting too well with Horace Edwards and his legal representation, which sought to have the film removed from consideration during the early days of this lawsuit.

    • Report Says UK Citizens Must Give Up Right To Privacy Because ‘Terrorism’, Reveals Huge Secret Government Databases

      And that’s it: basically, the ISC is saying that all that is needed is a bit of a legal tidying-up. In terms of more detailed recommendations, the report suggests that the abuse of interception powers should be made a criminal offense — currently it isn’t — and that a new category of metadata called “Communications Data Plus”, which includes things like Web addresses, needs slightly greater protection than “traditional” telephone metadata.

  • Civil Rights

    • John Brennan’s Careful Dodge of Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Abuses

      In his appearance as the Council on Foreign Relations today, a woman with Human Rights Watch listed (starting at 56:30) a number of abuses our “partners” in the fight against ISIL engage in, including,

      The ABC report of egregious abuses committed by some of Iraq’s elite military units
      Iraqi militias carrying out ISIS like atrocities
      Beheadings and violent attacks on journalists in Saudi Arabia

      She then asked, “How do you think Iraqi Sunni civilians should distinguish between the good guys and the bad guys in this circumstance”?

    • NYPD caught red-handed sanitizing police brutality Wikipedia entries

      This wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen nefarious alterations to Wikipedia entries, and it won’t be the last. But the disclosure of NYPD’s entries by Capital New York come as the Justice Department announced a national initiative for “building community trust and justice” with the nation’s policing agencies.

    • Edits to Wikipedia pages on Bell, Garner, Diallo traced to 1 Police Plaza
    • Consumers unaware that EU rule offers 2-year product guarantee

      A little-known EU law could force vendors to stand behind their products for up to two years — instead of the one year warranty typically offered. Each year the Finnish consumer authority receives thousands of complaints about warranties for electronic devices.

    • Wyoming Governor Vetoes Asset Forfeiture Bill, Because Asset Forfeiture ‘Is Right’

      With the abuses of asset forfeiture being loudly publicized, there has (finally) been some legislative pushback against these abusive programs. Wyoming’s legislators — hoping to institute asset forfeiture reform — ran into pushback themselves from the state’s governor, who vetoed the popular bill (which passed out of the Senate with an 80-9 vote) when it hit his desk.

    • U.S. Govt Files For Default Judgment on Dotcom’s Cash and Cars

      After a U.S. court ruled that Kim Dotcom is not entitled to contest the forfeiture of his assets because he is a “fugitive” facing extradition, the government has just tightened the noose. In a filing before the same court yesterday, the U.S. requested a default judgment to seize the assets of Dotcom, his co-defendants, and their Megaupload empire.

    • Judge John Facciola On Today’s Law Enforcement: I’d Go Weeks Without Seeing A Warrant For Anything ‘Tactile’

      We lost one of the “good guys” when Magistrate Judge John Facciola retired late last year. Facciola was a leading figure in the small — but important — “Magistrates’ Revolt” that emerged in the wake of the Snowden leaks. Multiple times the government approached Facciola for a signature on overly-broad warrants seeking the entire contents of a phone or an email account, only to find the judge unwilling to help it pack for its fishing trip.

    • Floridians, Help Us Stop Your State From Outlawing Anonymous Websites

      Floridians, we need your help to stop a dangerous anti-anonymity bill. This week, the Florida state legislature is considering a bill that would make it illegal to run any website or service anonymously, if the site fits a vague category of “disseminat[ing]” “commercial” recordings or videos—even the site owner’s own work. Outlawing anonymous speech raises a serious First Amendment problem, and laws like this one have been abused by police and the entertainment industry.

    • Are Your Devices Hardwired For Betrayal?

      It’s an interesting time to be a computer security researcher. Last week, Kaspersky Lab released a report about a new family of malware from an entity they called “The Equation Group”. The report demonstrated for the first time that firmware-based attacks, previously only demonstrated in lab settings, have been used in the wild by malware authors. This should serve as a wake up call to security professionals and the hardware industry in general: firmware-based attacks are real and their numbers will only increase. If we don’t address this issue now, we risk facing disastrous consequences.

    • American atheist blogger hacked to death in Bangladesh

      A prominent American blogger of Bangladeshi origin has been hacked to death with machetes by unidentified assailants in Dhaka, after he allegedly received threats from Islamists.

      The body of Avijit Roy, founder of the Mukto-Mona (Free-mind) blog site – which champions liberal secular writing in the Muslim-majority nation – was found covered in blood after an attack that also left his wife critically wounded.

    • But for the video…

      He was not only arrested, he was also charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor. A prior drug charge on his record meant he was potentially looking at decades in prison. Seven witnesses backed up the police account that Dendinger had assaulted Cassard.

    • Why Is This Man Still in Jail?

      Philadelphia cops put Tony Wright away for a brutal crime he didn’t commit. DNA tests have exonerated him.

    • Investigative Journalists Chart Redacted Histories of Guantánamo Detainees

      Less than one quarter of the 119 detainees named in the US Senate Intelligence Committee 2014 report on the CIA’s secret torture program are actually housed at the Guantánamo Bay military prison.

      Research by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism recognized just 36 individuals originally sent to Guantánamo after CIA interrogations. Of these, 29 remain as of January 2015.

    • LAPD, Media Rush to Judge Skid Row Victim While Insisting Public ‘Not Rush to Judge’

      A phone video of a homeless man who goes by the name Africa being shot and killed by the LAPD went viral Sunday night. The video was raw, the outrage on display from those watching the killing unfold in real time, palpable.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP: Transatlantic trade deal text leaked to BBC

      A leaked draft of what the European Union wants excluded from a new trade deal with the United States has been obtained by the BBC.

      The document describes itself as the EU’s “initial offer” in negotiations over the transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP).

    • Congress Is Poised to Introduce a Bill to Fast Track TPP so It’s Time to Act Now

      The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks are stalling while the White House assures its trading partners that this secret trade agreement won’t be amended when it comes back to Congress for ratification after the President signs the deal. That’s why the Executive is scrambling to get its allies in Congress to pass Fast Track. If they succeed, the U.S. Trade Representative can block remaining opportunities for the examination of the TPP’s provisions by lawmakers who could ensure that this secret deal does not contain expansive copyright rules that would lock the U.S. into broken copyright rules that are already in bad need of reform.

    • Copyrights

      • Reminder: Fair Use Is A Right — And Not ‘An Exception’ Or ‘A Defense’

        This week is Fair Use Week, according to the Association of Research Libraries, and that’s as good a time as any to remind everyone that it’s wrong to refer to fair as merely a “limitation or exception” to copyright law — or merely a defense to infringement. It is a right that is protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court has regularly referred to “fair use” as a “safeguard” of the First Amendment, allowing copyright law to be compatible with the First Amendment. As such, it seems bizarre that fair use is not seen as the default, rather than the other way around. If we are to protect the First Amendment, and not allow for speech to be stifled, at the very least, we need a greater recognition of the importance of fair use in guaranteeing that the First Amendment’s principles of free speech are allowed to thrive.

      • US Court Rules That Kim Dotcom Is A ‘Fugitive’ And Thus DOJ Can Take His Money

        Back in November, the DOJ argued that it should get to keep all of Kim Dotcom’s money and stuff because he’s a “fugitive”, which is a bizarre and ridiculous way to portray Kim Dotcom, who has been going through a long and protracted legal process over his potential extradition from New Zealand (though he’s offered to come to the US willingly if the government lets him mount a real defense by releasing his money). Dotcom’s lawyers told the court that it’s ridiculous to call him a fugitive, but it appears that Judge Liam O’Grady didn’t buy it.

      • Paypal Cuts Off Mega Because It Actually Keeps Your Files Secret
      • Under U.S. Pressure, PayPal Nukes Mega For Encrypting Files

        After coming under intense pressure PayPal has closed the account of cloud-storage service Mega. According to the company, SOPA proponent Senator Patrick Leahy personally pressured Visa and Mastercard who in turn called on PayPal to terminate the account. Bizarrely, Mega’s encryption is being cited as a key problem.

      • ‘Destitute’ Kim Dotcom Begs High Court For Millions

        Kim Dotcom was in court today pleading for access to his seized assets. A reportedly “destitute” Dotcom asked for the release of US$152,000 a month for living expenses and as much as US$3m for legal fees. The Megaupload founder said if funds aren’t forthcoming, living in a mansion may no longer be an option.

      • Copyright Monopoly Fraudsters Need To Go To Jail With Heavy Damages

        It shouldn’t even be controversial. If you’re lying about holding a copyright monopoly to something, you’re infringing on that work’s distribution, and should suffer the same penalties as any other infringer does today.

      • People make politics: The Pirate Party on why it’s crowdsourcing its manifesto

        THE PIRATE PARTY UK is steadily increasing its position in the political spectrum, aided perhaps by the actions and behaviour of the big three parties.


Links 13/2/2015: Chromebook Reviews, Age Of Wonders III Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 8:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Vaio vies with old friend Sony by launching an Android smartphone

    Shortly after ejecting from Sony, the folks at Vaio are going up against their former company with a smartphone to compete with the Sony Xperia line.

    The Vaio name will no doubt be familiar as the brand name of Sony’s laptops. But as part of a raft of cost-cutting measures, Sony spun off the laptop division last year. The new company kept the Vaio name and logo for its first couple of laptops and has now slapped the logo on the back of a mid-range phone.

  • Desktop

    • Hands on: Google’s new $999 Chromebook Pixel makes big changes under the hood

      Two years is eons in tech time, and that’s how long we’ve had to wait for a new Chromebook Pixel, which Google announced Wednesday. Yes, this is a new version of the super-premium, high-priced flagship that debuted to oohs, ahhs, and whys in early 2013, when most Chromebooks were little cheap plastic things, and desktop applications dominated. Not everyone saw the potential of a high-priced browser box.

    • Review: New Chromebook Pixel is still lovely hardware with limited appeal

      Chromebooks are cheap. They work best that way. It’s rare to find one north of $400, and the sweet spot is between $200 and $300. While they’ve got shortcomings, the cost is reasonable for what you get. In some cases, the limitations are even desirable.

      Only one Chromebook has truly gone against that grain—the Chromebook Pixel. It was the polar opposite of every other device bearing the name. The Pixel was high-quality hardware where others are low-rent, but even though it cost five times what you could pay for a regular Chromebook it didn’t really do much more. It’s a laptop as nice as it is niche.

    • 7 Neat Linux Tricks That Newbies Need to Know

      As a Linux newbie, it’s normal to struggle. Everything just feels so different from Windows and you find yourself scratching your head at the simplest of tasks. And while the command line makes Linux life much easier, it can be intimidating for a beginner.

      Fortunately, all it takes is a few simple tricks to get you comfortable within the terminal. Give it a few days and you may actually end up preferring the command line! Granted, there is a learning curve, but it’s not as hard as you think. I promise.

      If you’ve never used the command line before, I’d recommend that you first get acquainted with terminal before continuing. But if you’re feeling confident, feel free to keep reading anyway.

  • Server

    • GNU/Linux And The Bottom Line

      Since Amazon revitalized itself, in part by dropping that other OS, it’s gone on to be one of the most successful retail, virtualization and cloud infrastructure businesses around, all thanks to GNU/Linux.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Lightweight Desktop For Linux: What’s the Best One for You?

      When it comes to Linux, it seems like most people talk about the desktop environments with the most eye candy. While those desktops are great in their own way, they’re not for everyone. Not everyone is looking for something graphically intensive and pretty.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Plasmoid Tutorial 3 – Blending In

        We want to have consistent visual style amongst plasmoids that follows the user’s themes, along with consistent spacing throughout the shell. We want all “third party” plasmoids to follow these rules too.

      • Plasma 5.3 wallpaper contest

        Nuno (not Hugo) made the plasma 5.1 wallpaper and kver the wallpaper for plasma 5.2. The wallpapers are great and a good standard setting but in the past there are more than one wallpaper available in plasma. In the kde-wallpapers-4.8.x package there are Air, Ariya, Autumn, Azul, Blue Wood, Castilla Sky, Finally Summer in Germany, Flying Field, Fog on the West Lake, Fresh Moring, Grass, Hanami, Horos and Media Life.

      • 7 Leading Applications for KDE Plasma

        For the last three years, KDE Plasma has been the most widely used desktop on both the LinuxQuestions and Linux Journal polls. Part of this popularity is due to the innovations in the desktop itself, but an equally important part is the ecosystem of applications that depend on it.

        KDE Plasma applications are like no others on the desktop — and not simply because of the tradition that they must include a “K” in the name.

        Where GNOME desktop applications are carefully minimalistic, engineered to include only the most common features, KDE applications are crammed with every feature imaginable, and endlessly customizable. At times, KDE Plasma applications suffer from organizational problems because of their all-inclusivity. Yet at their best, many are among the killer apps of the Linux desktop.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • That’s a wrap

        Similar to many others, I had tried to find an appropriate place to begin contributing to FOSS before starting the OPW program. I still have a myriad of bookmarked posts and websites all devoted to getting involved in open source. It’s pervasive nature as a topic suggests that most people encounter similar barriers when trying to find a good starting point. Fortunately once you gain some momentum, it is so much easier to conserve or transfer that energy to a parallel aspect of a current project or to a completely new undertaking. This, perhaps, is the broader implication of my experience. I now have that momentum. I would like to give a big thank you to Tobias and Marina for answering all of my questions and fostering a supportive environment. I would also like to thank the GNOME community for making OPW possible.

      • OPW Retrospective

        Three months later, I’m done with my OPW internship with GNOME Music.

      • Development: GNOME 3.15.92 rc tarballs due (and more)

        We would like to inform you about the following:
        * GNOME 3.15.92 rc tarballs due
        * Hard Code Freeze

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Rugged, wireless-enabled COM runs Linux on AM437x

      CompuLab’s rugged, SODIMM-style “CM-T43″ COM runs Linux or Android on a TI AM437x, and offers up to 1GB RAM, 32GB flash, dual GbE, WiFi, BLE, NFC, and more.

    • Automotive bus open sourced with Linux-based design

      A German university is open sourcing a secure, two-tier Automotive Service Bus for car computers, available on a control unit running Linux on a PandaBoard.

      Technische Universität München (TUM) has open-sourced an automotive computer bus design developed as part of its “Visio.M” (Visionary Mobility) electric car project, according a Mar. 10 press release by TUM. Next week at the CeBIT show in Hanover, Germany, TUM will demonstrate the carbon fiber Visio.M prototype, which was backed by the German government with 7.1 million Euros, as well as the car’s newly open “Automotive Service Bus.”

    • Hybrid Embedded Computing? Intel Eyes New Niche With $89 Linux Compute Stick

      There’s plenty of talk these days about embedded Linux devices. But what if your device doesn’t have the open source OS already embedded, and you still want to use it to run apps? Intel (INTC) is catering to exactly that market—among other niches—with its Compute Stick, a USB device capable of booting TVs and other hardware that will sell for as low $89.

    • Cuberox – The Six-Faced Linux Powered Computer Is The Next Cool Gadget To Watch

      Gone are the days when computers would mean a flat screen monitor and a keyboard and a mouse. In this era of wearables, we are witnessing computers in every shape and form imaginable. Well, three passionate engineers Dmitriy Popov, Ilia Lisunov and Viacheslav Kim have come together to develop a computer in a cube. Called ‘Cuberox’, the team has developed a Linux OS powered computer that resides inside a cube shaped box that has displays on all of its six sides. As you can see from the image below, Cuberox has 16 x 16 pixel displays on each side which can show the information of the app you are running on it.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • How the new Wi-Fi, Bluetooth quick toggles work in Android 5.1

          Once your device receives the latest and greatest version of Android, you’ll want to know how to use these shortcuts.

        • Samsung Galaxy Note Series Android 5.0 Lollipop Release Update: Galaxy Note 4, Note 3, Note 2, Note Edge

          The Android 5.0 Lollipop update for the Galaxy Note series has made significant strides in the U.S. and beyond, with American carriers releasing updates for both the Galaxy Note 4 and Galaxy Note 3.

        • Nexus 6 Android 5.1 Update Impressions & Performance

          Earlier this week Google officially announced the highly anticipated and much needed Android 5.1 Lollipop update for many key Nexus smartphones and tablets. For now it’s rolling out to the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10, with the 2013 Nexus 7 and more devices set to receive the latest software in the coming days. Here we’re taking a lot at how well Android 5.1 runs on the Nexus 6.

        • Google offers developers a sample Android app that works across phones, tablets, smartwatches, cars, and more

          Google today released a new sample app called Universal Music Player that works on smartphones, tablets, Android Auto, Android Wear, and Google Cast devices. The word “sample” is key here: This is a reference design for developers so they can learn how to implement a service that works across multiple form factors.

        • Nexus Android 5.1 Lollipop Release: 10 Things to Expect

          Earlier this week, Google announced an Android 5.1 Lollipop update for Nexus smartphones and tablets. Google’s Nexus Android 5.1 Lollipop release is now underway and we want to take a look at a few things we expect from Google and its brand new Lollipop update for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 7, Nexus 10, Nexus 4, and more.

        • Tablet Wars Redux: Nexus 9 vs. iPad Air 2

          The tablet computer market, despite being dominated by the iPad, is in a constant state of agitation. With Amazon, Samsung, and Google coming out with their own line of tablets, the war for the bigger devices gets more and more intense every year. 2014, though was another one of those Apple vs. Google fights where both parties came out with the best line of products.

        • Run Android 5.0.2 Lollipop on Your PC with AndEX Live CD

          Arne Exton had the pleasure of informing Softpedia about its brand-new Android-based Live CD operating system that allows anyone to run the latest Android 5.0.2 “Lollipop” mobile operating system on desktop or laptop computers. The distribution uses Arne’s special Linux kernel 3.10.58-exton-android-x86+, which includes support for the NTFS file system, as well as some extra drivers.

Free Software/Open Source

  • ownCloud gets new release cycle

    ownCloud is a popular private cloud option within the FOSS community, now they’ve announced a series of changes that will affect enterprise and home users quite drastically. These changes include: a faster release cycle, new enterprise support options and a smaller download and installation footprint.

  • Open Source Crypto is Hard: Part 7846

    Our GnuPG strategy and code isn’t ready. We need to either make all that crypto stuff completely seamless, or improve the tools we expose to the user for manual work. Preferably both.

  • The Seven Habits Of Open Source

    Perhaps as recently as a decade ago, open source was still held in a sort of social exile. The sole preserve of server room technology and serious code geeks who knew how to tinker around inside the guts of the operating system, open source software was obviously quite powerful but didn’t seem to come with much of the touchy-feely user interface gloss that we had all gotten so used to.

  • Firing community members

    Things changed. We were starting to see more non-technical people joining, and when I started at Canonical as the Ubuntu community manager, I set my core goal to make Ubuntu a community in which anyone could participate. Others did the same, and the open source world started diversifying in skills. We started seeing designers, artists, advocates, translators, writers, marketeers, and more joining up.

  • Events

    • HGST gets closer to shipping 10TB HDD

      At the Linux Foundation Vault tradeshow in Boston, for Linux and open-source storage developers, the several hundred attendees got a glimpse of the future with a peek at HGST’s 10TB hard disk drives (HDD).

    • Embedded Linux Conference (ELC) 2015 March 23rd to 25th

      The Linux Foundation is sponsoring the Embedded Linux Conference (ELC) 2015 on March 23 – 25 at the San Jose Marriott in San Jose, California. The ELC is a vendor-neutral technical conference for companies and developers using Linux in embedded products. This year’s event will expand to include tracks on Automotive Linux, IoT and Drones.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • List Of Free And Open Source CMS (Content Management System) Solutions

      Building websites by hand with all html/css pages was fine a couple years ago. Today any one can deploy a website without any knowledge of computers. The content management system (CMS) software make your life easy. A CMS facilitates content creation, content control, editing, and many essential Web maintenance functions.

  • BSD

    • OpenBSD 5.7

      This is a partial list of new features and systems included in OpenBSD 5.7. For a comprehensive list, see the changelog leading to 5.7.

    • The OpenBSD Foundation Ideas List – GSOC 2015

      The OpenBSD Foundation is gathering projects to apply as a mentoring organization for Google Summer of Code 2015.


    • LibrePlanet free software conference coming to MIT March 21-22

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and MIT’s Student Information Processing Board (SIPB) are once again teaming up to bring the LibrePlanet free software conference to Cambridge, March 21-22, 2015 at the Stata Center at MIT. LibrePlanet is an annual conference for people who care about their digital freedoms, bringing together software developers, policy experts, activists, and computer users to learn skills, share accomplishments, and face challenges facing the free software movement. LibrePlanet 2015 will feature programming for all ages and experience levels.

    • The new and improved my.fsf.org

      The new look of the site marks the completion of migration from a legacy system to CiviCRM, an actively maintained constituent relationship management system, which we run on top of Drupal. This launch was a team project. The improved look and feel of the membership system was aided by the effort of former outreach and communications coordinator William Theaker, whose knowledge of CiviCRM proved invaluable during development. System administrators Lisa Maginnis and Stephen Mahood have done lots of hard work to update and improve our hardware and system architecture to handle the traffic we’ve been receiving.

    • GNU wget 1.16.3 released
    • Denemo 1.2.2 is released
    • IceCat 31.5.0 release

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

  • Public Services/Government

    • French FOI authority: make tax source code public

      The source code for France’s income tax software should be made publicly accessible, says the country’s Freedom Of Information authority, the Commission d’accès aux documents administratifs (CADA). Source code for governmental applications is administrative information which should be made publicly available, CADA writes.

    • National Operational Plan aims to modernise Italian government

      Last month, the European Commission approved the Italian National Operational Plan (NOP) “Governance and Institutional Capacity 2014-2020″. According to Innovators PA, the “Network for Innovation in the Italian Public Administration” funded by the Department of Public Administration, the principles and instruments of the new plan are based on open government. Transparency, open data, participation, citizen engagement, risk management, preventing and combating corruption, and whistle-blowing (specifically in public procurement) are the main themes.

  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Cologne wants to extend eParticipation with Community Reporters

      The city of Cologne has developed a strong eParticipation policy to better involve citizens in local decision making. This concept is part of a larger plan aimed at making Cologne an Internet city. Its goal is to “further develop Cologne as a national and international location for internet technology and infrastructure”, the city said.


      Illustrating this principle, Cologne is also testing the Community Reporter concept. This is aimed at democratising how citizens express their opinion through others channels such as video, audio or photos. This new approach is aimed at appealing to various citizen groups that are not involved in traditional eParticipation procedures, the city said. Young people may be targeted, for example. Community reporters are trained by a local adult education centre and other partners.

    • Open Data

      • Open source offline map tool for Android

        To realize the full potential of location-based smartphone apps, they should be built to support offline mode and original map graphics. Creating a custom offline map is the best choice. We were faced with this challenge as well, and the solution we came up with was creating a separate library for this purpose. That is how I developed the m​AppWidget code library.​

        We recently decided to open source it, and now mAppWidget is available to anyone in need of a mobile custom offline map solution.

      • OGP: Denmark updates its National Plan to include Open Data

        Denmark has included Open Data in its Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan and extended it to 1 July 2016. The country has also committed to promoting Open Government practices and to helping Myanmar to implement OGP practices throughout the country.

      • Exploring the Open Data Barometer

        A global movement to make government “open by default” picked up steam in 2013 when the G8 leaders signed an Open Data Charter – promising to make public sector data openly available, without charge and in re-useable formats. In 2014 the G20 largest industrial economies followed up by pledging to advance open data as a tool against corruption, and the UN recognised the need for a “Data Revolution” to achieve global development goals.

  • Programming

    • How GitHub Conquered Google, Microsoft, and Everyone Else

      This was a decade ago, before the idea of open source software flipped the tech world upside-down. The open source Linux operating system was already running an enormous number of machines on Wall Street and beyond, proving you can generate big value—and big money—by freely sharing software code with the world at large. But the open source community was still relatively small. When coders started new open source projects, they typically did so on a rather geeky and sometimes unreliable internet site called SourceForge.


  • The iRevolution That Wasn’t. Why Apple Watch will be rare iFlop more like Newton and Lisa than iPhone, iPad and the Macintosh

    So it was now time to see Apple’s latest attempt at iRevolution. Exactly what is the Apple Watch and what can it do? What we saw instead was an iDud. Yes the iChoir was still in an iTrance but the real world already woke up during the presentation that wait, there is nothing more? This is the same stuff we saw last September? Where is the iMagic? Where is the iRevolution. So now that we know, its time to do the autopsy of what went wrong with Tim Cook’s first new iToy released after Steve Jobs had died.

  • Science

    • This Congressman Doesn’t Want a Federal Science Board to Be Allowed to Consider Science

      Last year, the House of Representatives passed two absurd anti-science bills, the Secret Science Reform Act and the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act. It will come as no surprise that both bills, under the guise of “reform,” would have the practical effect of crippling the EPA’s efforts to assess science in a fair and timely way. I don’t have the heart to get into it — follow the links above for the details.

      The bills are back; the House considered them both again yesterday. Emily Atkin has the gory details if you’re interested. They might get a little further this time—the Democratic Senate didn’t take them up last year, obviously, but the GOP-controlled Senate might this year—though it won’t matter in the end, as Obama has threatened to veto both. So it’s mainly yet another act of reactionary symbolism from the right.

      All that is by way of background so I can draw your attention to a hilarious amendment attached to the Science Advisory Board bill. It comes by way of the bill’s sponsor, Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), a far-right, coal-country, climate-denying conservative of the old school.

    • American Millennials among the world’s least skilled people, says study

      Though the youngest Americans seem to be the most tech-savvy generation in history, their skill sets might not match up to the par set by their international peers.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • NTP’s Fate Hinges On ‘Father Time’

      In April, one of the open source code movement’s first and biggest success stories, the Network Time Protocol, will reach a decision point. At 30 years old, will NTP continue as the preeminent time synchronization system for Macs, Windows, and Linux computers and most servers on networks?

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Security advisories for Wednesday
    • Thursday’s security updates
    • Stop using RC4

      In other news, WebKitGTK+ 2.8 has full support for RFC 7465. That’s a fancy way of saying that we will no longer negotiate RC4 connections and you will now be unable to access the small minority of HTTPS sites that offer nothing but RC4. Hopefully other browsers will follow along sooner rather than later. In particular, Firefox nightly has stopped negotiating RC4 except for a few whitelisted sites: I would very much like to see that whitelist removed. Internet Explorer has stopped negotiating RC4 except when it performs voluntary protocol version fallback. It would be great to see a firmer stance from Mozilla and Microsoft, and some action from Google and Apple.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Transparency Reporting

    • State Dept. Employees Only Retained .01 Percent Of Emails As FOIA-Able ‘Official Records’

      With uncanny timeliness, the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General has released a report on the State Department’s email retention — or lack thereof. Not covered in the report is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email retention — or lack thereof. High-ranking State Department officials use a different email system (when not using personal accounts) that isn’t covered in this report.

    • Everything We Know About Hillary Clinton’s Email

      The New York Times reported Monday that the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate had exclusively used a private email account for her government business during her tenure as Secretary of State, rather than a government email account. And an Associated Press report Wednesday said Clinton used her own email servers, rather than a third-party provider like Gmail or Yahoo Mail. That’s raised questions about whether Clinton was making a deliberate attempt to prevent her messages from being disclosed by open records requests or subpoenas.

    • How to Email Like Hillary Clinton

      Many people have at least two email addresses: There’s the one you get for work, then there’s the one you use for personal business. And you might even have one to give all the companies who will send you junk mail until the world ends.

    • Julian Assange set to be questioned by Swedish prosecutors in London

      Swedish prosecutors are expected to question Julian Assange in his London refuge after the lead prosecutor bowed to pressure from his lawyers, Swedish legal opinion and the courts to attempt to break the deadlock in the case.

      Marianne Ny, who heads the investigation into accusations of rape and sexual molestation against the WikiLeaks founder, on Friday lodged a request with Assange’s lawyers to interrogate him in London and take a DNA sample – the first sign of movement in the case that has been deadlocked for nearly three years.

      The prosecutor will ask the UK government and Ecuador for permission to carry out an interrogation at Ecuador’s embassy in London, where Assange has been staying since August 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden, from which he fears being handed over to the US to face espionage charges.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • NY Times Fails To Disclose Oil Funding Behind Pro-Oil Op-Ed

      In a March 10 New York Times op-ed, Robert Bryce falsely characterized the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) as an expensive “tax.” The standard, which requires oil refiners, blenders, and gasoline and diesel importers to blend a set amount of renewable fuel into their gasoline supply, was dismissed by Bryce as a “boondoggle” and a “rip-off.”

      But the Times failed to disclose Bryce’s financial incentive to attack the RFS, identifying him only as a “senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and the author of a new report from the institute, ‘The Hidden Corn-Ethanol Tax.’” The Manhattan Institute has, in fact, received millions from oil interests over the years, including $635,000 from ExxonMobil and $1.9 million from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, where Charles Koch and his wife sit on the board of directors. Koch made his fortune from oil and currently has significant holdings in oil and gas operations.

  • Finance

    • Fox Figures Falsely Dub New Obama Student Aid Plan A “Bailout”

      Fox figures falsely labeled President Obama’s new plan to protect student borrowers a “bailout,” ignoring the realities of the plan as well as the student debt crisis that necessitated his executive action.

    • Yes, Wall Street Journal, It’s Possible to Be Not Generous Enough

      The Social Security Administration (SSA) analyzed the approval patterns of 12 low-allowance judges over the period from 2010-2013. It found their approval rate increased from 21 to 24 percent over this four-year period. During this period, the overall approval rate had fallen from 67 to 56 percent, implying gaps of between 32 percentage points and 56 percentage points. Note that the gaps between the overall approval rate and the approval rate of the low-allowance judges is considerably larger than the gap between overall approval rate and the approval rate of the high-allowance judges highlighted in the Wall Street Journal column.

    • California Proposes Bill To Ban All Unlicensed Bitcoin Businesses, Without Even Defining What That Means

      California, the state that prides itself as the birthplace of modern technology and whose policies such as the unenforceability of non-competes contributed substantially to the innovation ecosystem, recently proposed a law that requires innovators to get permission from the state, or be banned.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • WaPo, Owned by CIA’s Webmaster, Blasts Venezuela’s ‘State-Financed’ News

      Venezuelans are worried because US President Barack Obama declared a “national emergency” that called Venezuela “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”


      Ah–the administration is just pretending there’s an “unusual and extraordinary threat” because it wants to invoke powers that it’s only legally allowed to use in an actual emergency. No biggie. Thanks for clearing that up, Washington Post!

      Unfortunately, Venezuelans don’t have Washington-savvy publications like the Post to set them straight.

    • CNN on the Frontiers of the Commercialization of News

      But faced with falling ad revenues, Time Warner is seeing opportunities to sell ads during programs that are “not so tied to breaking news.” That’s why on its New Day morning show, “a logo for General Mills’ Fiber One cereal shows up during weather reports.”

    • Covering Commercialization: A Conversation
    • Full Koch Press for ALEC Right-to-Work Bill in Wisconsin

      Wisconsin is governed by the 43 ALEC members who make up the leadership and GOP majority of both houses. Governor Scott Walker is an ALEC alumnus who signed 19 ALEC bills into office in his first year as governor.

    • Surprise! ALEC Scholar Says ALEC Right to Work Will Boost WI Economy

      Stop the presses! An American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) “scholar,” Richard Vedder, says that Wisconsin’s proposed right-to-work law–which is lifted word-for-word from ALEC model legislation–will be great for Wisconsin.

    • According to Scott Walker, This Is What a Terrorist Looks Like

      One of the most remarkable things about the 2011 Wisconsin uprising was how a protest so massive and so sustained managed to be entirely peaceful. Thousands of people occupied the capital building, around the clock, for two weeks straight, without incident. For months, as many as 100,000 people at a time marched around the statehouse, and exercised their right to free speech and assembly–without arrests or violence.

  • Censorship

    • Google Keeps Rejecting Hollywood’s Broad Takedown Requests

      It’s no secret that Google and Hollywood have different views on the responsibilities of search engines. This is resulting in an interesting standoff where Google keeps rejecting requests to remove pirate sites from its search results. The MPAA apparently even tried to take down its own website as a test, but failed to do so.

    • MySpace – what went wrong: ‘The site was a massive spaghetti-ball mess’

      In 2015, Sean Percival is a partner at Silicon Valley seed accelerator 500 Startups, but from 2009 to 2011, he was working at MySpace as its vice president of online marketing – just as the social network lost its crown to Facebook.

      In a speech at the By:Larm conference in Oslo this week, Percival gave an insider’s view of what went wrong at MySpace, from the “massive spaghetti-ball mess” of its website and the “politics, greed” of parent company News Corporation to a doomed attempt to acquire music streaming service Spotify.

      His talk was aimed at startups looking to learn the lessons from MySpace’s decline, but it seemed as relevant for the largest internet companies today, such as Facebook, as they seek to avoid a similar fate.

    • WordPress Wins $25,000 From DMCA Takedown Abuser

      WordPress has scored an important victory in court against a man who abused the DMCA to censor an article of a critical journalist. The court agreed that the takedown request was illegitimate and awarded WordPress roughly $25,000 in damages and attorneys fees.

    • ISP Categorically Refuses to Block Pirate Bay – Trial Set For October

      Following a hearing last month during which agreement was sought between entertainment companies and Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget, the provider has confirmed there will be no compromise. The ISP will not block The Pirate Bay and insists that customers have the right to communicate freely online. A trial is now set for October.

  • Privacy

    • New Zealand Prime Minister Retracts Vow To Resign if Mass Surveillance Is Shown

      In August 2013, as evidence emerged of the active participation by New Zealand in the “Five Eyes” mass surveillance program exposed by Edward Snowden, the country’s conservative Prime Minister, John Key, vehemently denied that his government engages in such spying. He went beyond mere denials, expressly vowing to resign if it were ever proven that his government engages in mass surveillance of New Zealanders. He issued that denial, and the accompanying resignation vow, in order to reassure the country over fears provoked by a new bill he advocated to increase the surveillance powers of that country’s spying agency, Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) — a bill that passed by one vote thanks to the Prime Minister’s guarantees that the new law would not permit mass surveillance.

    • Internet privacy, funded by spooks: A brief history of the BBG

      In 2014, Congress massively upped the BBG’s “Internet freedom” budget to $25 million, with half of that money flowing through RFA and into the Open Technology Fund. This $12.75 million represented a three-fold increase in OTF’s budget from 2013 — a considerable expansion for an outfit that was just a few years old. Clearly, it’s doing something that the government likes. A lot.

    • Think Different, standing up for Sheffield.

      I want to stand for a party that opposes mass surveillance and stands up for civil liberties. A party that understands the common good, that people must have jobs that pay fairly in an economy that benefits them, homes they can afford and access to great education. The Pirate Party does.

    • A Way Forward: Bruce Schneier’s Data and Goliath Explains Where Our Privacy is Now, and How We Fix It

      That’s why Data and Goliath is such an exciting book. On top of the ongoing avalanche of stories of cyberwarfare, data breaches and corporate snooping, the Snowden revelations have left many people confused and cynical about protecting their own privacy. Too many believe that nothing can be done to regain some of the privacy and power over our own lives that we have lost to ubiquitous mass surveillance. Worse, politics of fear have cowed citizens, congressmen and judges alike from claiming their important roles in oversight of national intelligence techniques and agencies.

    • valencia tracking device

      On March 4th, 2015, we found a tracking device inside of the wheel well of a car belonging to an attendee of the Circumvention Tech Festival in Valencia, Spain. This was reported in the local media.

    • WhatsApp slaps unofficial app users with permanent ban

      MESSAGING APPLICATION WhatsApp will issue those using third-party apps with a permanent ban from the service.

    • Snapchat Is Raising Money From Alibaba at a $15 Billion Valuation

      Snapchat is part of a breed of startups with multibillion-dollar valuations, with investors lining up to offer financing. With the latest deal, Snapchat would be ranked behind only mobile car-booking application Uber Technologies Inc. and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp., according to data compiled by researcher CB Insights. Xiaomi is pegged at $45 billion, while Uber’s latest round valued it at $40 billion.

    • Facebook Is Facing a Massive Lawsuit Over Online Purchases Made by Kids

      The company has so far refused to refund purchases made by children without parental permission

    • Privacy advocates try to keep ‘creepy,’ ‘eavesdropping’ Hello Barbie from hitting shelves

      At a recent New York toy fair, a Mattel representative introduced the newest version of Barbie by saying: “Welcome to New York, Barbie.”

      The doll, named Hello Barbie, responded: “I love New York! Don’t you? Tell me, what’s your favorite part about the city? The food, fashion or the sights?”

    • Google Denies Narrow Warrant Request For Emails; Government Responds By Asking For Everything Ever

      Another participant in the Magistrate’s Revolt appears out of the unlikeliest of districts: Alaska. The court order, first pointed out by ACLU’s chief tech sorcerer, Chris Soghoian, features Judge Kevin McCoy telling the government to take its overly-broad search warrants and hit the road. Well, mostly. The order is without prejudice, which means the government still has options available, but from what’s stated by the judge, it won’t be the latest option the government deployed.

    • PRISM: UK government finds that bulk collection is not mass surveillance

      THE MUCH ANTICIPATED OFFICIAL government review into GCHQ bulk data collection has found that such activity is fine, and should not be considered mass surveillance. It also acknowledged that some legislative change is needed.

    • Report Says UK Citizens Must Give Up Right To Privacy Because ‘Terrorism’, Reveals Huge Secret Government Databases

      And that’s it: basically, the ISC is saying that all that is needed is a bit of a legal tidying-up. In terms of more detailed recommendations, the report suggests that the abuse of interception powers should be made a criminal offense — currently it isn’t — and that a new category of metadata called “Communications Data Plus”, which includes things like Web addresses, needs slightly greater protection than “traditional” telephone metadata.

    • European Governments Seeking To Water Down EU’s Proposed Data Protection Legislation
    • The Democratization of Cyberattack

      When I was working with the Guardian on the Snowden documents, the one top-secret program the NSA desperately did not want us to expose was QUANTUM. This is the NSA’s program for what is called packet injection–basically, a technology that allows the agency to hack into computers.

    • EFF Grabs Two More Docs From The NSA, Detailing Expanded Post-9/11 Surveillance Powers And Section 702 Justifications

      Thanks to its ongoing FOIA lawsuit against the NSA, the EFF has managed to secure another set of documents detailing the legal rationalizations behind the intelligence agency’s “collect it all” approach, as well as the FISA’s courts approval of expanded surveillance powers in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

    • Why Online Attacks By Nations Are Problematic: Enemies Can Learn From Your Digital Weapons, Then Turn Improved Versions Against You

      The NSA is specifically concerned that Iran’s cyberweapons will become increasingly potent and sophisticated by virtue of learning from the attacks that have been launched against that country. “Iran’s destructive cyber attack against Saudi Aramco in August 2012, during which data was destroyed on tens of thousands of computers, was the first such attack NSA has observed from this adversary,” the NSA document states. “Iran, having been a victim of a similar cyber attack against its own oil industry in April 2012, has demonstrated a clear ability to learn from the capabilities and actions of others.”

      That’s because, unlike traditional physical weapons used against enemy infrastructure, digital versions are not generally destroyed during an attack. One of their big advantages is that once they have infiltrated and infected a target system, they can continue to carry out surveillance or attacks over a long time period. But that also means they may eventually be discovered — especially if they leak out — allowing them to be studied and improved in a way generally not possible with traditional weapons. Those new versions can then be directed elsewhere, including against the original attacker.

    • Government “Clarifies” Its Stance on NSL Gag Orders

      It seems the government doesn’t know where it stands when it comes to national security letters (NSLs).

    • Petraeus won’t serve a day in jail for his leaks. Edward Snowden shouldn’t either

      The sweetheart deal the Justice Department gave to former CIA director David Petraeus for leaking top secret information compared to the stiff jail sentences other low-level leakers have received under the Obama administration has led to renewed calls for leniency for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. And no one makes the case better than famed whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg.

  • Civil Rights

    • Albuquerque PD encrypts videos before releasing them in records request

      Har-har-fuck-you, said Albequerque’s murderous, lawless police department, as they fulfilled a records request from Gail Martin, whose husband was killed by them, by sending her encrypted CDs with the relevant videos, then refusing to give her the passwords.

    • Albuquerque Police Dept. ‘Complies’ With Records Request By Releasing Password-Protected Videos… But Not The Password

      If there’s one thing the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) does well — or at least, frequently — it’s shoot and kill Albuquerque residents. Its officers’ obvious preference for excessive and/or deadly force attracted the notice of the DOJ, which issued a (mostly) scathing review that was tempered somewhat by the DOJ’s appreciation of the inherent risks of the job, as well as all the hard work the city’s officers do when not shooting Albuquerque residents.

    • Scott Walker’s CPAC Stumble is the Tip of the ISISberg

      Like Walker’s ISIS comments, the governor’s former body guard intentionally linked peaceful Wisconsin protestors and 9/11 terrorism. But national and local media skipped over the innuendo. The Walker Administration later let loose with more than 100 dramatic, handcuffed arrests of singers, including an octogenarian, a 14 year old, a local radio personality and the Raging Grannies.

    • Majority of use-of-force incidents not recorded by Denver cops’ body cams

      As the nation’s policing agents scramble to provide street officers with body cameras, a new study released Wednesday shows that a majority of use-of-force incidents weren’t captured by Denver police officers who are piloting use of the technology.

      There were a host of reasons for officers failing to turn on the body worn cameras (BWCs) in violation of Denver Police Department policy. According to an independent police monitor’s report, which surveyed the six months ending in December, only 26 percent of the use-of-force incidents in the studied policing district were captured on video.

    • EFF Files Brief In Support Of ‘Cannibal Cop’ To Keep The CFAA From Becoming Even MORE Abusive

      The US legal system took a step towards criminalizing thought when a New York court convicted a former NYPD officer of conspiring to kidnap, rape, kill and eat 100 women. The evidence against Gilberto Valle included chat logs and internet searches.

    • American contractor faces up to FIVE YEARS in Emirati prison and a $50,000 fine because he complained about his job on Facebook

      A hallmark of American life – griping about work – has landed a Florida man in a Middle Eastern jail.

    • Facebook rant lands US man in UAE jail

      An expat American has been arrested in the United Arab Emirates for comments he posted on Facebook while in the US.

      Helicopter mechanic Ryan Pate wrote the Facebook post while in Florida after arguing with employer Global Aerospace Logistics (Gal) over sick leave.

      On returning to Abu Dhabi from Florida, he was arrested for breaking the country’s strict cyber-slander laws.

      His trial is due to start on 17 March and he could face up to five years in jail and a large fine if found guilty.

    • Friend of man shot by Volusia Co. deputy calls killing ‘murder’

      Authorities have identified a man who died after being shot in the face by a Volusia County Sheriff’s deputy early Wednesday morning.

      The shooting happened while deputies served a search warrant for drugs in Deltona, authorities said.

    • Tech support scammer threatened to kill man when scam call backfired

      But one scammer took things to a new level by threatening to kill a man who pointed out that the scammer was trying to steal money.

      As we’ve reported numerous times, scammers pretending to work for Microsoft tech support call potential victims, tell them their computers are infected, convince them to provide remote access, and then charge them hundreds of dollars to fix imaginary problems.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Opinion: The FCC’s Net Neutrality Victory Is Anything But

      The day after the FCC’s net neutrality vote, Washington was downright frigid. I’d spoken at three events about the ruling, mentioning at each that the order could be overturned in court. I was tired and ready to go home.


      And telecom lawyers? They love it: whatever happens, the inevitable litigation will mean a decade’s worth of job security.

    • Europe reverses course on net neutrality legislation

      Less than a year after the European Parliament voted to enshrine net neutrality in law, the principle has come under attack by the European Commission.

    • Net neutrality is a “Taliban-like issue”, says Europe’s top digital policymaker
    • The Cartoonist Has No Idea How Net Neutrality Works

      Earlier this week, the A Good Cartoon tumblr first posted a bunch of ridiculous and misleading political cartoons about net neutrality that showed zero understanding of net neutrality. And then the person behind the site remade many of those cartoons, but replaced the words in them with “the cartoonist has no idea how net neutrality works!” For reasons unknown, the original Tumblr post that had all of them has been taken down, but many of the images are still viewable via John Hodgman’s blog, and they’re worth checking out. Here are just a few with some additional commentary (because how can I not provide some commentary…)

    • Why America’s Internet Is So Shitty and Slow

      You may have heard that the internet is winning: net neutrality was saved, broadband was redefined to encourage higher speeds, and the dreaded Comcast-Time Warner Cable megamerger potentially thwarted. But the harsh reality is that America’s internet is still fundamentally broken, and there’s no easy fix.

    • Cable Proudly Declares Smart Shoppers A ‘Lower Quality’ Of Customer They Have No Interest In

      If you live in a broadband and TV market with anything even closely resembling competition, you’ve probably learned that the only way to get the best rates is to pit ISP retention departments against one another. Often only by seriously threatening to cancel can users force ISPs to bring out their best promotional offers, something you’ll have to repeat every few years if you don’t want to get socked with higher rates. The ideal consumer then, from the broadband and cable industry’s perspective, is one that grumbles a little bit but can’t be bothered to do a little extra legwork to secure better rates (read: the vast majority of users).

    • FCC Net Neutrality Rules Finally Released, Cue The ISP Lawsuits And Hyperbole

      Given the hysterical reaction to the FCC’s new net neutrality rules the last few weeks, it was easy to forget that nobody had actually read them yet. As noted previously, the lack of public documents wasn’t some sort of elitist cabal, but a routine (if stupid) part of FCC procedure restricting the agency from publicizing new rules until they’ve been voted on and include all Commissioner commentary. Of course, ISPs and congressional allies breathlessly opposed to Title II hadn’t read the rules either, preventing their lawyers from launching their expected legal assaults.

    • Nokia CEO: We Have To Get Rid Of Net Neutrality, Otherwise Self-Driving Cars Will Keep On Crashing Into Each Other

      Yes, according to Suri, there are going to be terrible pile-ups on the roads unless we get rid of net neutrality. Leaving aside the fact that low-latency communications across the internet will come anyway — if there’s one thing that’s certain in the world of digital technology, it’s that everything gets faster and cheaper — there’s another problem with this argument.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Will The Vulcan Salute Live Long And Prosper? The Rush To Lock Up ‘Cultural Expression’

      What does Leonard Nimoy’s “Vulcan salute” have to do with European newspaper headlines? They both might one day be regulated by new international intellectual property rules, if some have their way. One might think that what constitutes “intellectual property” is set in stone, but it isn’t. Around the world, different interests are lobbying for governments to create new types of intellectual property all the time.

    • The White House Has Gone Full Doublespeak on Fast Track and the TPP

      Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Orrin Hatch are now in a stand-off over a bill that would put secretive trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement on the Fast Track to passage through Congress. The White House meanwhile, has intensified their propaganda campaign, going so far as to mislead the public about how trade deals—like the TPP and its counterpart, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)—will affect the Internet and users’ rights. They are creating videos, writing several blog posts, and then this week, even sent out a letter from an “online small business owner” to everyone on the White House’s massive email list, to further misinform the public about Fast Track.

    • EU’s Socialist Politicians Come Out Strongly Against Corporate Sovereignty — To A Certain Extent…

      Techdirt has been writing about corporate sovereignty for nearly two years now. The public is beginning to wake up to the dangers it poses, which means that politicians, too, are suddenly discovering that they need to have an opinion on the subject. Over in the European Union, attention is focused on the S&D (Socialists and Democrats) Group in the European Parliament. Because of the way seats were won in the recent EU elections, it is the S&D group that will make or break TTIP/TAFTA; that makes its position on investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) crucial.

    • Copyrights

      • Mega Ponders Legal Action in Response to Damaging Paypal Ban

        Two weeks ago PayPal closed the account of cloud-storage service Mega, citing pressure from Visa and MasterCard. The ban has undoubtedly hurt Mega’s business, and CEO Graham Gaylard is in Europe to discuss possible legal repercussions against a report that’s partly responsible for the ban

      • Ebook Library Punishes Anti-Piracy Outfit For Wrongful DMCA Notices

        The Ultimate Ebook Library, TUEBL, is taking countermeasures against anti-piracy company MUSO for continued abuse of its DMCA takedown process. The ebook site is demanding the payment of a $150 fine, while threatening to ban MUSO’s IP-addresses and restore previously removed books if the company fails to comply.

      • U.S. Government Lists Top Torrent Sites as Piracy Havens

        A new report published by the United States Trade Representative has listed the world’s largest BitTorrent sites and cyberlockers as some of the most problematic copyright infringers in the world. Popcorn Time and its derivatives are mentioned too, with the former’s creation blamed on YIFY/YTS. Domain name registrars are also placed under the spotlight.

      • Cyberlocker Traffic Plummets, But Not Mega

        The past six months have not been good ones for some of the world’s leading file-hosting sites. Many have seen their traffic plummet as a result of Google algorithm changes, but interestingly some are bucking the trend. Mega.co.nz, for example, is doing better than ever.

      • Is 10 Years in Jail the Answer to Online Pirates?

        Physical counterfeiters can receive up to 10 years in jail under UK copyright law but should online pirates receive the same maximum punishment? A new report commissioned by the government reveals that many major rightsholders believe they should, but will that have the desired effect?

      • Lets Talk About the Music Industry…

        Many musicians believed that rhetoric that the reason they weren’t seeing profits from their hard work was due to evil music pirates and not deceptive industry accounting practices. They began to attack their own fanbases with accusation of music piracy, in some cases even filing lawsuits against some of their biggest fans. Meanwhile, the music industry continues its shady practices, laughing all the way to the bank while frustrated artists shoot their own foot off.


Links 12/3/2015: Continued Catchup and News

Posted in News Roundup at 9:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Science

    • Why are women leaving the tech industry in droves?

      Ana Redmond launched into a technology career for an exciting challenge and a chance to change the world. She was well-equipped to succeed too: An ambitious math and science wiz, she could code faster, with fewer errors, than anyone she knew.

      In 2011, after 15 years, she left before achieving a management position.

      Garann Means became a programmer for similar reasons. After 13 years, she quit too, citing a hostile and unwelcoming environment for women.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • What the Hack! 56 Suspected Hackers arrested in the UK

      The UK National Crime Agency arrested 56 suspected hackers, including one 23-year-old male who allegedly attempted to hack his way into the U.S.’ Department of Defense in 2014. Not attempting to minimize the potential risks of hacking but how much does cyber-crime actually cost, what are the risks and what about those who hack the data of billions of internet users per day to, allegedly, “keep all of us safe?”

    • Beijing Strikes Back in US-China Tech Wars

      China’s new draft anti-terror legislation has sent waves across the U.S. tech community. If there is a brewing tech war between U.S. and China over government surveillance backdoors and a preference for indigenous software, China’s new draft terror law makes it clear that Beijing is happy to give the United States a taste of its own medicine. The law has already drawn considerable criticism from international human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for its purported attempts to legitimize wanton human rights violations in the name of counter-terrorism. Additionally, China has opted to implement its own definition of terrorism, placing “any thought, speech, or activity that, by means of violence, sabotage, or threat, aims to generate social panic, influence national policy-making, create ethnic hatred, subvert state power, or split the state” under the umbrella of the overused T-word.

    • Canadian risks prison for not giving up phone’s passcode

      A Canadian charged for refusing to give border agents his smartphone passcode was expected Thursday to become the first to test whether border inspections can include information stored on devices.

    • The Ambassador who worked from a Nairobi bathroom to avoid State Dept. IT

      However, another Obama administration appointee—the former ambassador to Kenya—did do that, essentially refusing to use any of the Nairobi embassy’s internal IT. He worked out of a bathroom because it was the only place in the embassy where he could use an unsecured network and his personal computer, using Gmail to conduct official business. And he did all this during a time when Chinese hackers were penetrating the personal Gmail inboxes of a number of US diplomats.

    • CIA spends years trying to break Apple security

      Documents obtained by The Intercept reveal the security researchers’ work, presented at an annual gathering called the “Jamboree” at a Lockheed Martin facility in northern Virginia. Attendees of the CIA-sponsored, secretive event — which has run for nearly a decade — discuss the exploitation of vulnerabilities and flaws found in commercial electronics, such as Apple’s iPhone and iPad product ranges.

    • Yahoo exec goes mano a mano with NSA director over crypto backdoors
    • Data Retention: Mass Surveillance Challenged Across Europe

      On 8 April 2014, the European Union Court of Justice invalidated the 2006 Directive on Data Retention. Through this decision, all the European legislations on data retention were seriously undermined, as the EUCJ considered that the generalised retention of data on non-suspicious individuals, furthermore for an extended period of time, is a form of mass surveillance incompatible with fundamental rights.

    • NSA Probably Doesn’t Have ALL of Hillary’s Emails … But Maybe Someone Should

      I’m among those who believes Hillary Clinton’s use of a privately run email server is an abuse of power. Doing so appears to have skirted laws ensuring good governance and it may well have exposed her communications to adversaries (including some who would have reason to use the contents of her email to help Republicans win the White House), even if her email would have been just as targeted at State, per reports about persistent hacking of it. While I don’t buy — in the absence of evidence — she did so to hide ties with the Clinton Foundation, I do think she did so not just for convenience, but for control, as I laid out last week.

    • Encryption Backdoors Will Always Turn Around And Bite You In The Ass

      As you may have heard, the law enforcement and intelligence communities have been pushing strongly for backdoors in encryption. They talk about ridiculous things like “golden keys,” pretending that it’s somehow possible to create something that only the good guys can use. Many in the security community have been pointing out that this is flat-out impossible. The second you introduce a backdoor, there is no way to say that only “the good guys” can use it.

      As if to prove that, an old “golden key” from the 90s came back to bite a whole bunch of the internet this week… including the NSA. Some researchers discovered a problem which is being called FREAK for “Factoring RSA Export Keys.” The background story is fairly involved and complex, but here’s a short version (that leaves out a lot of details): back during the first “cryptowars” when Netscape was creating SSL (mainly to protect the early e-commerce market), the US still considered exporting strong crypto to be a crime. To deal with this, RSA offered “export grade encryption” that was deliberately weak (very, very weak) that could be used abroad. As security researcher Matthew Green explains, in order to deal with the fact that SSL-enabled websites had to deal with both strong crypto and weak “export grade” crypto, — the “golden key” — there was a system that would try to determine which type of encryption to use on each connection. If you were in the US, it should go to strong encryption. Outside the US? Downgrade to “export grade.”

    • Snowden GCSB revelations: Leaked documents show New Zealand spies on its Pacific friends and sends data to US

      New Zealand’s spies are targeting the entire email, phone and social media communications of the country’s closest, friendliest and most vulnerable neighbours, according to documents supplied by United States fugitive and whistleblower Edward Snowden.

      Snowden’s files reveal a heavy focus on “full-take collection” from the Pacific with nearly two dozen countries around the world targeted by our Government Communications Security Bureau.

    • Why I’m Saying Goodbye to Apple, Google and Microsoft
    • Online Privacy Is Worth The Extra Work

      This past week, Laura Poitras’s documentary, Citizen Four, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. When he provided the documents that revealed the details of universal spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA), the subject of the documentary, Edward Snowden, wrote an accompanying manifesto. His “sole motive”, he wrote, was “to inform the public as to that which is done in their name and that which is done against them. The U.S. government, in conspiracy with client states, chiefest among them the Five Eyes – the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand – have inflicted upon the world a system of secret, pervasive surveillance from which there is no refuge.” (1)

  • Civil Rights

    • 20% of Germans want revolution, majority say democracy ‘isn’t real’ – study
    • Ferguson cop won’t face civil rights charges in Michael Brown shooting
    • Daniel Ellsberg: Petraeus Case Shows Hypocrisy of Whistleblower Crackdown

      The U.S. government’s “hand-slap” treatment of former CIA director David Petraeus, who in 2012 leaked classified military information to his biographer and mistress, Paula Broadwell, stands in stark contrast to the Obama administration’s aggressive crackdown on whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Jeffrey Sterling, and John Kiriakou—and should be the turning point away from such policies.

      So says renowned Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, who was charged under the Espionage Act for disclosing secret U.S. military documents related to the Vietnam War in 1971. Snowden, who leaked a trove of classified NSA documents to journalists, now also faces prosecution under the Espionage Act.

      Speaking to Trevor Timm at the Guardian on Thursday, Ellsberg noted that the “actual charges against [Edward Snowden] are not more serious, as violations of the classification regulations and non-disclosure agreements, than those Petraeus has admitted to, which are actually quite spectacular.”


      David Petraeus, the former Army general and CIA director, admitted today that he gave highly-classified journals to his onetime lover and that he lied to the FBI about it. But he only has to plead guilty to a single misdemeanor that will not involve a jail sentence thanks to a deal with federal prosecutors. The deal is yet another example of a senior official treated leniently for the sorts of violations that lower-level officials are punished severely for.

      According to the plea deal, Petraeus, while leading American forces in Afghanistan, maintained eight notebooks that he filled with highly-sensitive information about the identities of covert officers, military strategy, intelligence capabilities and his discussions with senior government officials, including President Obama. Rather than handing over these “Black Books,” as the plea agreement calls them, to the Department of Defense when he retired from the military in 2011 to head the CIA, Petraeus retained them at his home and lent them, for several days, to Paula Broadwell, his authorized biographer and girlfriend.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Jeb Bush Is The Latest Politician To Demonstrate Absolutely No Understanding Of Net Neutrality

      Like many folks, I’m dreading the seeming inevitability of a Clinton-Bush presidential campaign next year involving Hillary Clinton against Jeb Bush. I’m 40-years-old and half of my life has involved a Clinton or a Bush in the Oval Office (and it’s even worse if you count Vice Presidency). Both seem completely out of touch with the real issues of today. Instead, both are so surrounded by political cronies and yes-men that it’s difficult to see either candidate as being willing to actually take on the real challenges facing the world today. Clinton is currently dealing with the fallout from her decision to expose her emails to spies while shielding them from the American public. And Jeb Bush is now spouting pure nonsense on net neutrality.

    • EU Digital Commissioner: Net Neutrality Is A ‘Taliban-Like’ Issue

      Until recently, most people probably assumed that real net neutrality was more likely to come to Europe than to the US. But in one of those ironic little twists, not only has the FCC voted in favor of net neutrality, but attacks on the idea in Europe have suddenly multiplied, leaving the final outcome there in doubt. Worryingly, one of the strongest verbal assaults on net neutrality comes from the very EU Commissioner who is in charge of the relevant legislation, Günther Oettinger.

    • Net Neutrality Clears Hurdle & Other Things

      Well, much of the focus for the week was on the Federal Communications Commission vote on increased net neutrality protections, and according to rational news sources reporting on the issue (e.g., just about everyone but Fox News and their wannabes), this is a good thing.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Hollywood’s Anti-Piracy Secrets Must Be Revealed, Court Rules

        All records that are part of the now-closed case between Hotfile and the MPAA will be unsealed in the interests of the public. In a decision that will be a disappointment to the industry group, U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Williams declined a request from the MPAA who wanted to keep sensitive court filings sealed indefinitely claiming they may benefit pirates.

      • Movie Group To “Kill Piracy” By Not Releasing Movies For Months

        There have been some radical solutions to online piracy in recent years but one coming out of India today is perhaps the most ‘ambitious’ so far. The Tamil Film Producer’s Council says it is in discussion to stop releasing all films for at least three months which means that pirates will have nothing to copy and will therefore go out of business.

      • Perceptions on piracy: Pirate Party evangelist Rick Falkvinge on a perennial problem

        We spoke to Pirate Party evangelist Rick Falkvinge to get his take on the current situation.

        He believes that the copyright cops, and the copyright mechanisms that they use, are a “preposterous” failure and that only a global change in perception will make a difference.

        Falkvinge, perhaps unsurprisingly, is low on sympathy for the copyright industry and its messages and solutions.

      • Aussie Anti-Piracy Plans Boost Demand for Anonymous VPNs

        Australians’ interest in VPN services has skyrocketed after local ISPs announced plans for a three-strikes anti-piracy system. With potential lawsuits against consumers on the table, many subscribers are now planning ahead to stay on the safe side.

Links 12/3/2015: Two-week Catchup

Posted in News Roundup at 5:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Apple’s watch is just another data-gathering device

    Whether Apple’s watch fails or not — and that is a relative question — it matters not one whit to the company. This is just another device which will help to boost the company’s data gathering.

  • Nine reasons only a tool would buy the Apple Watch
  • Apple Watch May Be DOA As Cook Admits Battery Life As Low As 3 Hours

    The Apple Watch may be pretty… but you are going to need up to 8 of them to make it through a full day. While Tim Cook proclaimed 18 hours of “all-day battery-life” – itself not particularly impressive compared to competing products, hidden deep in Apple Watch’s product page is a little admission that battery life (in use) could be as low as 3 hours…

  • Apple Watch battery lasts as little as three hours

    Using new device that costs up to £12,000 for phone conversations means it will die after three hours, Apple admits in post buried deep on its product page

  • Pioneering tech blog Gigaom shuts down after running out of money

    Gigaom, the influential technology website founded by Om Malik nearly a decade ago, is no more. Although Monday saw a lot of new content on the site, including a flood of news and analysis from Apple’s event, the site’s management ended the day at 5.57PM PT by posting a message notifying readers that “all operations have ceased” as a result of the company becoming unable to pay its creditors.

  • Gigaom shuts down as it runs out of money

    One of the oldest and most prominent technology blogs Gigaom has shut down after running out of money.

  • Disney’s $1 Billion Bet on a Magical Wristband

    If you want to imagine how the world will look in just a few years, once our cell phones become the keepers of both our money and identity, skip Silicon Valley and book a ticket to Orlando. Go to Disney World. Then, reserve a meal at a restaurant called Be Our Guest, using the Disney World app to order your food in advance.

  • Noam Chomsky on Life & Love: Still Going at 86, Renowned Dissident is Newly Married

    NOAM CHOMSKY: I’m a very private person. I’ve never talked about my own life much. But, you know, I’ve—personally, I’ve been very fortunate in my life, with—there have been tragedies. There have been wonderful things. And Valeria’s sudden appearance is one of those wonderful things.

    AARON MATÉ: You said, after your first wife, Carol, died, that life without love is empty—something along those lines. Can you talk about that?

    NOAM CHOMSKY: Well, I could produce some clichés, which have the merit of being true. Life without love is a pretty empty affair.

    AARON MATÉ: And your own tireless schedule, keeping up with your lectures, writing extensive articles, and still tirelessly answering the emails, from correspondence from people around the world—when I was in college, I remember I wrote you several times and got back these long, detailed answers on complex questions. And there’s people across the globe who could attest to a similar experience. Do you feel a certain obligation to respond to people? Because nobody would fault you, at the age of 86 now, if you took more time for yourself.

    NOAM CHOMSKY: I don’t know if it’s an obligation exactly. It’s a privilege, really. These are the important people in the world. I remember a wonderful comment by Howard Zinn about the countless number of unknown people who are the driving force in history and in progress. And that’s people like—I didn’t know you, but people like you writing from college. These are people that deserve respect, encouragement. They’re the hope for the future. They’re an inspiration for me personally.

  • Hardware

    • How Intel and PC makers prevent you from modifying your laptop’s firmware

      Modern UEFI firmware is a closed-source, proprietary blob of software baked into your PC’s hardware. This binary blob even includes remote management and monitoring features, which make it a potential security and privacy threat.

    • Easy Way to Get Coreboot

      Replacing the proprietary BIOS firmware on most computers is a process that often can be frustrating. It’s possible that your computer could be rendered unuseable in the process. Back in 2010 I managed to get coreboot working on the Gigabyte GA-6BCX motherboard and although the process went fairly smoothly it did consume a fair bit of time. Fortunately we now have an inexpensive way of obtaining a ready to go coreboot computer.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Venezuelan Parliament Passes Law to Confront US Aggression

      President Nicolas Maduro said the country’s National Assembly elections must go on “whether the empire wants it or not.”

      The Venezuelan National Asembly passed the enabling law that allows the country’s president to act to protect the peace against recent threats made by the United States government of Barack Obama.

      The bill, which received 99 percent of votes from the Great Patriotic Pole alliance – the largest voting bloc in the assembly, will now move to a second reading for final approval. The move follows a statement by the United States government Monday that declared Venezuela a “threat to the national security” and calling a national emergency.

    • The Possibility of Escape

      During my four stints in U.S. federal prisons, I’ve witnessed long-term inmates’ unconquerably humane response when a newcomer arrives. An unscripted choreography occurs and the new prisoner finds that other women will help her through the trauma of adjustment to being locked up for many months or years. Halfway through a three-month sentence myself, I’m saddened to realize that I’ll very likely adapt to an outside world for which these women, and prisoners throughout the U.S. prison system, are often completely invisible.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Associated Press sues State Dept. over Hillary Clinton’s emails

      “The Associated Press filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the State Department to force the release of email correspondence and government documents from Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.”

      Good for the AP. If only more news organizations would do more of this.

      “The legal action comes after repeated requests filed under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act have gone unfulfilled. They include one request AP made five years ago and others pending since the summer of 2013.’

    • Trade Secrets: We Must Act To Protect Whistleblowers!

      In late April 2015, the “trade secrets” directive will be discussed in the European Parliament. Having already given in to the pressure of journalists to remove the article on trade secrets in the French Macron Bill, La Quadrature du Net, Pila and a number of other organisations now call on president François Hollande and European representatives to defend whistleblowers, to define and protect their status and to ensure the necessary means are provided for judiciary follow-up on the crimes and offences that are revealed. The situation of whistleblowers, such as Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning, is often dramatic and they must be protected and their safety guaranteed in order to safeguard fundamental freedoms.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • Romanian spy chief warns of ‘threat for EU from Hungary’

      Eduard Hellvig, currently a conservative MEP who has been chosen by President Klaus Iohannis to be the next chief of the Romanian foreign intelligence service, has published an article in which he warns of the “threat for the EU” from the rapprochement of Hungary with Moscow.

    • Can the NSA Break Microsoft’s BitLocker?

      The Intercept has a new story on the CIA’s — yes, the CIA, not the NSA — efforts to break encryption. These are from the Snowden documents, and talk about a conference called the Trusted Computing Base Jamboree. There are some interesting documents associated with the article, but not a lot of hard information.

    • The CIA Campaign to Steal Apple’s Secrets
    • Quebec resident Alain Philippon to fight charge for not giving up phone password at airport

      A Quebec man charged with obstructing border officials by refusing to give up his smartphone password says he will fight the charge.

      The case has raised a new legal question in Canada, a law professor says.

      Alain Philippon, 38, of Ste-Anne-des-Plaines, Que., refused to divulge his cellphone password to Canada Border Services Agency during a customs search Monday night at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

    • America’s real secret revealed: Clinton, Petraeus & how elites protect their legacies

      That’s one of the conclusions American citizens might draw from two stories that broke this week: that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had conducted official State Department business using emails run through her own server, and that former CIA Director David Petraeus had kept 8 notebooks of unbelievably sensitive secrets in a rucksack in his home and, when she asked, had shared them with his mistress, Paula Broadwell.

    • Canadian Spies Collect Domestic Emails in Secret Security Sweep

      Canada’s electronic surveillance agency is covertly monitoring vast amounts of Canadians’ emails as part of a sweeping domestic cybersecurity operation, according to top-secret documents.

    • Snowden Calls for Disobedience Against the U.S. Government
    • DOJ Inspector General Complains About FBI Foot-dragging

      Late last week, the Inspector General (IG) for the Justice Department sent a letter to Congress complaining of the FBI’s refusal to set a timeline for turning over documents related to an IG investigation of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s use of subpoenas to gain access to and use certain bulk data collections.

    • FBI Now Holding Up Michael Horowitz’ Investigation into the DEA

      Man, at some point Congress is going to have to declare the FBI legally contemptuous and throw them in jail.

      They continue to refuse to cooperate with DOJ’s Inspector General, as they have been for basically 5 years. But in Michael Horowitz’ latest complaint to Congress, he adds a new spin: FBI is not only obstructing his investigation of the FBI’s management impaired surveillance, now FBI is obstructing his investigation of DEA’s management impaired surveillance.

    • NZ Prime Minister: ‘I’ll Resign If GCSB Did Mass Surveillance’; GCSB: ‘We Did Mass Surveillance’; NZPM: ‘Uh…’

      Back in the summer of 2013 as the various “Five Eyes” countries were still reeling from the initial Snowden disclosures, New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key promised to resign if it was ever proven that the GCSB (New Zealand’s equivalent to the NSA) had engaged in mass surveillance of New Zealanders — but with some caveats. He later said that he meant if it was proven that there was illegal surveillance going on. But of course, what’s legal can vary based on who’s in charge. Either way, late last year there were Snowden documents that proved GCSB regularly scooped up data on New Zealanders, and Key reacted to it by calling Glenn Greenwald “a loser.” Not quite the resignation you might have expected.

    • UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond says it’s time to ‘move on’ from Snowden

      The documents revealed today show how New Zealand’s spy agencies hacked into government-linked mobile phones in Asia to install malicious software to route data to the NSA.

      The disclosure shows how an “Asean target”, or member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, was targeted by the GCSB in March 2013.

    • U.K. Parliament says banning Tor is unacceptable and impossible

      Just months after U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said he wants to ban encryption and online anonymity, the country’s parliament today released a briefing saying that the such an act is neither acceptable nor technically feasible.

      The briefing, issued by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, specifically referenced the Tor anonymity network and its notorious ability to slide right around such censorship schemes.

    • Germany pushes for widespread end-to-end email encryption

      The De-Mail initiative dates back to 2011, when the German government decided to push for trusted email both as an e-government tool and as a way to cut down on official and corporate paper mail. De-Mail addresses are provided by the likes of Deutsche Telekom and United Internet’s Web.de, and those signing up for them need to show a form of official identification to do so. Receiving emails on a De-Mail address is free but sending them costs money.

    • Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales slams federal government data retention laws

      Wikipedia co-founder and influential technology entrepreneur Jimmy Wales has slammed the federal government’s plan to make telcos store the metadata of every phone and internet user as a “human rights violation” and is considering the launch of his new mobile service in Australia.

    • Photo’s from mass surveillance, liberty & activism talk
    • Privacy, digital rights and social equality.

      Something that doesn’t really get aired very often is that dragnet surveillance can – and should – be flagged as a social issue, with serious implications for social mobility. The tools that are available to circumvent this kind of surveillance are overwhelmingly out of reach of poor, marginalised groups; the ability to buy in to specialist encryption like PGP is, sadly, still overwhelmingly out of reach for many people. Reliable encryption remains firmly in the realm of the IT savvy: people with a certain level of education, money and, to use a hot-button word: privilege (sorry).

    • Wikipedia Sues NSA Over Dragnet Internet Surveillance

      The lawsuit argues that this broad surveillance, revealed in documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, violates the First Amendment by chilling speech and the open exchange of information, and that it also runs up against Fourth Amendment privacy protections.

    • CIA ‘tried to crack security of Apple devices’

      The CIA led sophisticated intelligence agency efforts to undermine the encryption used in Apple phones, as well as insert secret surveillance back doors into apps, top-secret documents published by the Intercept online news site have revealed.

    • You Can Watch ‘Citizenfour’ Online Right Now For Free

      Most sentient people rationally accept that the U.S. media routinely disseminates misleading stories and outright falsehoods in the most authoritative tones. But it’s nonetheless valuable to examine particularly egregious case studies to see how that works. In that spirit, let’s take yesterday’s numerous, breathless reports trumpeting the “BREAKING” news that “Edward Snowden now wants to come home!” and is “now negotiating the terms of his return!”

      Ever since Snowden revealed himself to the public 20 months ago, he has repeatedly said the same exact thing when asked about his returning to the U.S.: I would love to come home, and would do so if I could get a fair trial, but right now, I can’t.

      His primary rationale for this argument has long been that under the Espionage Act, the 1917 statute under which he has been charged, he would be barred by U.S. courts from even raising his key defense: that the information he revealed to journalists should never have been concealed in the first place and he was thus justified in disclosing it to journalists. In other words, when U.S. political and media figures say Snowden should “man up,” come home and argue to a court that he did nothing wrong, they are deceiving the public, since they have made certain that whistleblowers charged with “espionage” are legally barred from even raising that defense.


      CNN’s “expert” is apparently unaware that the DOJ very frequently — almost always, in fact — negotiates with people charged with very serious felonies over plea agreements. He’s also apparently unaware of this thing called “asylum,” which the U.S. routinely grants to people charged by other countries with crimes on the ground that they’d be persecuted with imprisonment if they returned home.

    • Edward Snowden archive aims to ‘piece together the bigger picture’

      A Canadian team has created a searchable database of all the publicly released classified documents leaked by former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in hopes it’ll help citizens better understand the complex files trickling out around the world.

      The Canadian Journalists for Free Expression and the Politics of Surveillance Project at University of Toronto’s faculty of information revealed the archive on Wednesday before hosting a live Q&A with Snowden, the U.S. whistleblower and subject of the Oscar-winning documentary Citizenfour.

      “What we’re hoping this database can do is start to piece together the bigger picture,” said Laura Tribe, CJFE’s national and digital programs lead.

    • EFF, ACLU, Other NGOs Urging U.N. to Create Privacy Watchdog

      A coalition of 63 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world are calling on national governments to support the establishment of a special rapporteur on the right to privacy within the United Nations.

  • Civil Rights

    • Michigan Attorney General Slaps Reporter With Bogus Subpoenas For Doing Her Job

      That makes no sense at all. Defending the state from lawsuits should never involve sending reporters subpoenas demanding all of their notes. It’s a clear intimidation technique that violates all basic concepts of a free and open press.

    • Porn and the patrol car—one cop’s 2 hour-a-day habit

      Pornography, though prevalent in the modern world, still isn’t the sort of thing one expects to see while waiting in traffic behind a cop car. That’s especially true at the busiest downtown intersection of a wealthy Chicago suburb like Wheaton, Illinois, best known for being the home of an evangelical Christian college once attended by Billy Graham.

      But pornography is exactly what an irate Wheaton resident named Robin said he witnessed. On the morning of September 18, 2013, while sitting in his conversion van and waiting for a stoplight to change, Robin found himself directly behind Wheaton Police squad car 359. The height of his seat gave him a perfect view through the rear windshield of the squad car, and he could see the car’s mobile data computer displaying “scrolling pictures of completely naked women.”

    • AG backs off subpoenas over inmates’ allegations

      Attorney General Bill Schuette’s office ordered and then withdrew three subpoenas of journalists reporting on a juvenile prisoner abuse lawsuit against the state, including one seeking a reporter’s notes from interviewing inmates inside two state prisons.

    • Michigan AG withdraws subpoenas against Michigan Radio, Huffington Post

      Michigan’s Attorney General’s office has decided to withdraw subpoenas it served on news media outlets, including Michigan Radio.

    • Man who posed for his driver’s licence with a PASTA STRAINER on his head is told he must have his photo retaken… but he claims it’s just discrimination against the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster

      A follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster claims he was discriminated against when he was told he may no longer wear a colander on his head in a driver’s licence photo.

      Last year, Preshalin Moodley, 20, was issued a provisional driver’s licence by staff at Service NSW Parramatta, in Sydney’s west.

      He was photographed for the licence wearing the spaghetti strainer on his head after asking staff whether it was OK to wear a religious symbol.

    • Jeff Bezos relies on lowly grunts like me: Life as a cog in the Amazon machine

      In my father’s capitalism, employees were nurtured by their company and encouraged to learn new skills. Today’s major corporations hire disposable temp workers to do the work of a full-time employee, without the obligation of providing benefits. Temp workers are familiar with dead ends: They are hired with a predetermined exit date. The moment they feel comfortable in a role, the contract expires and it’s on to the next job.

    • Tony Robinson Killing Highlights Wisconsin’s Racial Inequities

      Soon after becoming governor in 2011, Scott Walker eliminated funding for the state’s first program to track and remedy Wisconsin’s worst-in-the-country rate of racial disparities. The program, aimed at monitoring racial profiling during traffic stops, had only taken effect one month earlier, and Walker declared that the repeal “allows law enforcement agencies to focus on doing their jobs.”

    • How Thatcher’s Government Covered Up a VIP Pedophile Ring

      A newspaper editor was handed startling evidence that Britain’s top law enforcement official knew there was a VIP pedophile network in Westminster, at the heart of the British government. What happened next in the summer of 1984 helps to explain how shocking allegations of rape and murder against some of the country’s most powerful men went unchecked for decades.

    • Atheist Group Blasts ‘Absurd’ Decision to Censor Its Easter Billboards

      The group American Atheists addressed the controversy surrounding its billboards in Nashville, Tennessee by pointing out that it’s hypocritical of the company to censor the group’s advertising when Christian groups routinely promote antigay, pro-religion messages in their own publicity materials.

      In an interview with Raw Story, American Atheists’ Danielle Muscato said, “This is just absurd. It’s just because we’re atheists. It’s discriminatory.”

    • Ferguson police report: Most shocking parts

      Summer of 2012. A 32-year-old African-American was cooling off in his car after a basketball game in a public park.

      What comes next is a series of civil rights violations described in the Justice Department report that resulted in the man losing his job as a federal contractor.

      A Ferguson police officer demands the man’s Social Security number and identification before accusing him of being a pedophile and ordering the man out of his car.

      When the officer asked to search the man’s car, the 32-year-old refused, invoking his constitutional right.

      The response? The officer arrested the man at gunpoint, slapped him with eight charges, including for not wearing a seat belt, despite the fact that he was sitting in a parked car. The officer also cited him for “making a false declaration” because he gave his name as ‘Mike’ instead of ‘Michael.’

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC approves net neutrality rules, reclassifies broadband as a utility

      It’s a good day for proponents of an open internet: The Federal Communications Commission just approved its long-awaited network neutrality plan, which reclassifies broadband internet as a Title II public utility and gives the agency more regulatory power in the process. And unlike the FCC’s last stab at net neutrality in 2010, today’s new rules also apply to mobile broadband. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler laid out the basic gist of the plan earlier this month — it’ll ban things like paid prioritization, a tactic some ISPs used to get additional fees from bandwidth-heavy companies like Netflix, as well as the slowdown of “lawful content.” But now Wheeler’s vision is more than just rhetoric; it’s something the FCC can actively enforce.

    • FCC votes to protect the internet with Title II regulation

      Net neutrality has won at the FCC. In a 3-to-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission today established a new Open Internet Order that implements strict net neutrality rules, including prohibitions on site and app blocking, speed throttling, and paid fast lanes.

    • Net neutrality is only the beginning of an open internet

      Net neutrality is the principle of making sure that your internet service provider doesn’t make it easier for you to access one service over another – the Guardian over the Telegraph, say – or otherwise distorting your use of internet services just because someone dropped a few extra quid in their pocket.

    • Latest Net Neutrality proposal in the EU: a wolf in sheep’s clothing?
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • How Corporate Sovereignty In Trade Agreements Can Force National Laws To Be Changed

      As we noted recently, one of the most worrying aspects of corporate sovereignty chapters in trade agreements is the chilling effect that they can have on future legislation. That’s something that the supporters of this investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism never talk about. What they do say, though, is that corporate sovereignty cannot force governments to change existing laws.

    • TTIP Updates – The Glyn Moody blogs
    • Copyrights

      • Copyright In Brussels: Two Reports, More Than Meets the Eye

        Just as the Julia Reda report (GREEN/EFA – DE MEP) on copyright reform was being discussed this week in the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI), another report was examined today by the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT). The latter concerns the reinforcement of the “Intellectual Property” rights, and contains a number of disturbing points regarding repression and enforcement that bring back to mind highly contested provisions from the ACTA agreement, and encourages an extra-legislative approach to fighting “commercial scale counterfeiting”. Citizens should get ready to mobilise on a large scale, both to support the positive evolutions of the Reda report, and to denounce the dangerous proposals pushed by the European Commission and some Member States, among which France.


Links 24/2/2015: Xfce 4.12 a Week Away, GNOME 3.16 Previewed

Posted in News Roundup at 4:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Open source switches gain more vendor traction

    The open source movement is making waves in the networking space as more vendors are opting to build open switches and routers in favor of proprietary technology. HP is the latest vendor to join the open source networking movement, and some are speculating that open networking could give Cisco a run for its money.

  • Weather Company CIO: 5 reasons why I believe in open source

    Since The Weather Company has been a major adopter of open source software, I’m often asked why we have chosen this path. Where is the value in taking the open source route to solve your business challenges? I’m a big advocate of open source, so I’m always happy to oblige. Here are my top five reasons:

  • Distributors Play Growing Role In Open Source Space

    If tech distributors want to survive in the market, they’ll have to provide channel partners with more training and enablement on open source and cloud-based solutions. Here’s how distributors have responded.

  • Nginx Gearing Up for HTTP2

    The open-source Nginx web server has been steadily gaining in popularity in recent years to become one of the most widely deployed web servers. To date, Nginx has delivered its traffic over HTTP 1.1, but at some point in the near future it will also enable HTTP/2.

  • HP deal marks milestone for open source networking hardware

    If you still harbored any doubts that the web is now driving the future of IT, last week’s announcement that HP will offer disaggregated products for web-scale data centers via deals with Cumulus and Accton should be enough to convince you.

  • eBay’s new Pulsar framework will analyze your data in real time
  • eBay launches Pulsar, an open-source tool for quickly taming big data

    E-commerce giant eBay needs to deal with new usage data — to personalize content and detect fraud, among other things — within seconds. So engineers went and built something to perfectly meet the company’s needs: Pulsar.

    The company revealed details about the system for the first time today, and eBay is making it available for anyone to use under an open-source license.

  • New open source strategy revelations at IBM Interconnect 2015

    An opportunity for IBM’s individual businesses to come together and demonstrate how they best leverage each other’s technologies and capabilities, IBM InterConnect 2015 will touch on cloud, mobile, DevOps, security, asset management, Internet of Things, application integration, and smarter processes.

  • Getting started with Project Atomic

    I had some concerns about learning Middleman and HAML, but there was a solid ‘fork-and-go’ contribution mindset. I started lurking in the -devel list and the IRC channels to start, and picked a single piece of content that I thought could use an update. I got in touch with one of the project folks on IRC and asked about the best way to go about creating and submitting my first change.

  • Events

    • Protocol Plugfest: opening closed doors to interoperability together

      The “world wide web” has been such an amazing success in large part because it was based on open protocols and formats that anyone can implement and use on a level playing field. This opened the way for interoperability on a grand and global scale, and is why http and HTML succeeded where many others failed previously.

    • SCALE 13x, Day 3: The Finale

      First things first: It’s a safe bet that Ruth Suehle could read the Raleigh phone book and make it sound interesting, with or without accompanying Lowenbrau slides. So it would come as no surprise that of all the great keynotes that have been given at the Southern California Linux Expo, Ruth’s Sunday keynote makes anyone’s SCALE short list as an all-time great.

  • Web Browsers

  • Business

    • HP’s Marten Mickos: Open Source Is Not a Business Model

      “Open source is a production model. In some cases, it is a distribution model … . You need a business model for any business that you build, but open source in itself is not that business model. Just like if you have a manufacturing branch and you use robots or you don’t use robots. That is a production question, but it is not a business model for the business you are in.”

  • Public Services/Government

    • Reuse is key for Danish telemedicine project

      Reuse is one of the main reasons for the development as open source of OpenTele, a Danish e-health telemedicine project. The health sector is crying out for open source ICT solutions, says Mike Kristoffersen, a senior software architect at the Danish Alexandra Institute. “Doctors and hospitals are seriously locked into medical ICT systems, making it difficult to do research, even for small scale projects.”

  • Licensing

    • Samsung, OpenChain Aim to Build Trust With Open Source Compliance

      Samsung is a top-five contributor to the Linux kernel and contributes upstream to more than 25 other open source projects. Yet the public perception that the company doesn’t care about open source has persisted, despite its efforts, said Ibrahim Haddad, head of the Open Source Innovation Group at Samsung in a presentation at Collaboration Summit last week.

    • Buyer Beware: Demystifying Open Source Software Licenses

      Not too long ago, acquiring software was pretty easy: gather requirements, meet with vendors to evaluate products, select the winner. Legal review took place late in the process, and the final terms that both customer and vendor could live with were generally agreed to quickly.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • 3D printers become viable tools in healthcare

      And with desktop 3D printers becoming increasingly affordable and reliable—and open source software such as Cura being versatile, easy to use, and free to update—barriers to further 3D printing innovation are quickly disappearing. What was once only available to well-funded practitioners has now become genuinely accessible to every patient, nurse, doctor, surgeon, hospital, and teaching facility.

    • OpenStack at Walmart, project reform status, and more
    • The Pi Tank – 3D Printed Open Source Smartphone Controlled Raspberry Pi Robot
    • How I upgraded my garden’s ugly drip system with a sexy OpenSprinkler

      After a few hours of work alongside an electrical engineering buddy this week, my home garden drip system became powered by a Raspberry Pi. I can control the entire thing locally from my iPhone and, to be frank, it’s pretty flippin’ cool.

      For some background, I’m a very lazy gardener. When my wife and I bought our house in 2012, our horticultural mission was Hippocratic (do no harm). In other words, we wanted—at the very least—to not kill the plants we inherited from the previous owners. So while some people relax when they do weeding or other green thumb-related activities, we find it tedious and uninspiring. I’m the guy who jumped at the chance to review the Estonian-made Click and Grow.

    • This guy is the Mark Zuckerberg of open-source genetics

      Three years ago, Bastian Greshake spit in a vial and sent it off to personal genomics company 23andMe for analysis. He’d spent years studying the genetics of other organisms, but didn’t know much about his own DNA. He was curious.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Purdue plans to expand open-source online coursework

        A plan to use online open-source curricula for more classes at Purdue University starting this fall could collectively save students up to $1 million.

        The Journal and Courier reports the plan would be an alternative to online programs that can cost students more than $100 per class to access.


  • Hardware

    • EZchip Announces 100 Core 64-bit ARM Chip

      An Israeli company known as EZchip has introduced their TILE-Mx processors that ship in up to 100-core 64-bit ARM configurations with up to 200 Gigabit Ethernet throughput.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The End to Industrialized Farming

      In 2013 the United Nations released a report indicating that the world’s food needs could be met through organic, local farms. The United Nations report stated that food security, poverty, gender inequality, and climate change can be addressed with a significant shift towards organic, localized farming. In contrast with industrialized farming, organic and local farms cut down on the energy and pollution that transporting food requires. Another study revealed that organic farming utilized less water than industrialized farming, as well as a general reduction in pollution related to production.

  • Security

    • Lenovo Sued Over Superfish Adware
    • The Venture Capitalists Behind Superfish

      Lots of people are talking about the Superfish malware debacle. People are starting to understand just how bad this situation is.


      I’d like to see the tech press dig into this. And the venture capitalists involved, particularly the board members, should talk about what they knew and didn’t know.

    • Laptop Buying Advice?

      My current Lenovo X201 laptop has been with me for over four years. I’ve been looking at new laptop models over the years thinking that I should upgrade. Every time, after checking performance numbers, I’ve always reached the conclusion that it is not worth it. The most performant Intel Broadwell processor is the the Core i7 5600U and it is only about 1.5 times the performance of my current Intel Core i7 620M. Meanwhile disk performance has increased more rapidly, but changing the disk on a laptop is usually simple. Two years ago I upgraded to the Samsung 840 Pro 256GB disk, and this year I swapped that for the Samsung 850 Pro 1TB, and both have been good investments.

    • How to delete Superfish from Lenovo computers permanently
    • Moving On From Superfish

      It’s true, RMS was right. The folks at LinuxBSDos.com are right. The world needs to use Free Software.

    • Lenovo’s Superfish spectacle: ‘Catastrophic’ security failures discovered

      Last week, reports surfaced which claimed that Lenovo Notebooks have been issued to consumers containing a preloaded security flaw. Originally, the Chinese tech giant said the Superfish adware was not a security concern — however, eventually the company realized and admitted that the software was able to install its own self-signing man-in-the-middle (MITM) proxy service which has the potential to hijack SSL and TLS connections — a severe, nasty security vulnerability.

    • SSL-busting code that threatened Lenovo users found in a dozen more apps

      Richard went on to publish the SHA1 cryptographic hashes he used to identify software that contained the Komodia code libraries. He invited fellow researchers to use the hashes to identify still more potentially dangerous software circulating online.

      “We’re publishing this analysis to raise awareness about the scope of local SSL MITM software so that the community can also help protect people and their computers,” he wrote. “We think that shining the light on these practices will help the ecosystem better analyze and respond to similar situations as they occur.”

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • Samba vulnerability (CVE-2015-0240)

      Samba is the most commonly used Windows interoperability suite of programs, used by Linux and Unix systems. It uses the SMB/CIFS protocol to provide a secure, stable, and fast file and print services. It can also seamlessly integrate with Active Directory environments and can function as a domain controller as well as a domain member (legacy NT4-style domain controller is supported, but the Active Directory domain controller feature of Samba 4 is not supported yet).

    • Samba 4.1.17 Security Release Now Available for Download

      The Samba development team has announced earlier today, February 23, the immediate availability for download of Samba 4.1.17, a security release that addresses the CVE-2015-0240 security vulnerability related to an unexpected code execution in Samba daemon (smbd).

    • Samb-AAAHH! Scary remote execution vuln spotted in Windows-Linux interop code

      Linux admins were sent scrambling to patch their boxes on Monday after a critical vulnerability was revealed in Samba, the open source Linux-and-Windows-compatibility software.

  • Finance

    • The Real Cost of Walmart’s Low Prices

      Like other large companies with globalized production chains, Walmart exploits workers outside of the United States, but the consequences of these exploitative practices impact everyone. In the U.S., social and economic pressures force Walmart employees to accept low wages.

    • 5 Insane Things You Believe About Money (Thanks to Movies)

      I bet every one of you can remember the first time financial reality smacked you in the face like a Hulk-thrown engine block. (“I work two jobs, shouldn’t I be able to afford to get this festering wisdom tooth taken out?”). That’s because unless your parents were wealthy, you left school knowing jack shit about how money worked. We have a trillion dollars in credit card debt to show for it, along with an upper class who just can’t figure out what the rest of us are bitching about.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • The Scary World That Is Arabic Twitter

      As an independent journalist who contributes to various organizations inside and outside the U.S., Twitter is my virtual newsroom. It is where I get story ideas, connect with sources and engage with my readers. On average I spend at least four hours daily on Twitter. As the Islamic State’s (ISIS) atrocities started to dominate the news cycle during the mid part of last year, most of my Tweets have become very ISIS-focused. I tweet about their latest actions, and the reactions that followed. As an native Arabic speaker, I spend a big chunk of my time following Arabic hashtags, Arabic-speaking influencers, and news organizations, and boy, let me tell you what I found. The world of Arabic Twitter is a scary one. I’m stunned by the amount of support that ISIS enjoys on Twitter, and mostly among Arabic speakers.

  • Privacy

    • Mark Zuckerberg ‘not sure’ about Internet.org advertising

      Advertising is not a “near term” priority for Facebook’s Internet.org initiative to get more people online in the developing world, according to chief executive Mark Zuckerberg.

      Facebook launched the scheme in 2013 with fellow technology firms including Samsung, Qualcomm, Ericsson and Nokia as its effort to connect “the next few billion people” to the internet.

      The social network has since worked with mobile operators in countries like Indonesia, the Philippines, Zambia and Kenya to provide free access to basic internet services from their mobile phones.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Q&A: The Full Interview on Connecting the World

      Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has a big, expensive goal: to connect the world to the Internet. He spoke with Emily Chang about his plans, after returning from a trip through Southeast Asia and India last year as part of his Internet.org initiative. The interview airs Feb. 19 on Bloomberg Television’s Studio 1.0. The transcript below has been lightly edited.

    • There’s a massive new leak of confidential spy files from MI6, Mossad and the FSB

      Al-Jazeera has obtained hundreds of confidential “spy cables” from some of the world’s top intelligence agencies, in what the news channel is calling “the largest intelligence leak since Snowden.”

  • Civil Rights

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Here Comes the ACTA Attack – Again

      Three years ago I began a series of articles about ACTA – the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. ACTA was originally about tackling counterfeit goods, but had a completely inappropriate digital chapter added, which tried to ride on the coat-tails of the initial plan by suggesting that digital copies were somehow as dangerous as fake medicines or aircraft parts. After a fierce battle that saw hundreds of thousands of Europeans writing to their MEPs, and even taking to the streets, ACTA was thrown out by the European Parliament.

    • Copyrights

      • The Australian Pirates Leave PPI

        The Pirate Party of Australia has been unhappy with the structure functioning of Pirate Parties International for some time and after the PPAU membership gave their board the power to potentially leave international organisation at their last national conference.

      • Draft copyright code published

        Rights holders and ISPs have published a draft of the Government mandated code intended to combat online copyright infringement.

      • Torrent Site Admin Can Pay Piracy Fine…in 227 Years

        After being chased down by a coalition of mainstream entertainment companies, a French court has just handed a former torrent site operator a six month suspended sentence. ‘Boris P’ must also pay two million euros in damages, an amount he predicts could be cleared in approximately 227 years.


Links 23/2/2015: Ubuntu Kylin 14.04.2 LTS, Cinnamon 2.6 Previews

Posted in News Roundup at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • My Four-Year-Old Daughter Rejected Windows 10

      Eimi, my four year old daughter, has interacted with Linux-powered computers since she was born. I still remember those nights in which I would pace up and down in my office, holding her and rocking her on my arms while the Linux desktop played music.

      Then, Eimi grew and started enjoying her own room and, rather precociously, discovered how to use desktops and laptops. I will never forget her first encounter with PicarOS, the Linux distro for children!

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Xfce 4.12 One Week Away, Xubuntu Technical Lead Says

      According to this blog entry by Sean Davis, Xfce contributor and Xubuntu Technical Lead, Xfce 4.12 is to be released in about one week, this being quite an important announcement, since it comes after almost three years in which no new releases have occurred.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • What’s coming to Green Island: part 2
      • Libinput support added to Touchpad KCM

        As an aftermath of the discussion in Fedora, libinput maintainer Peter Hutter contacted KDE developers, including yours truly who is guilty of porting the kcm-touchpad to KDE Frameworks 5. As I know nothing about input stack or touchpads in general (phew), Peter was kind enough to step up, clone the kcm-touchpad and add support for libinput in addition to (existing) synaptics driver. All I had to do then, is to port it again to Frameworks 5.

      • KDE Touchpad Configuration Now Supports Libinput

        With Libinput support being important not only for Wayland input but also is starting to be used for X11/X.Org input too, the KDE input configuration module now supports configuring libinput devices.

      • Plasma Sprint in Barcelona

        We want to get KInfoCenter out of this “nerdy corner” by augmenting it with rich and beautiful modules and encourage users to check it out. The energy information module is the first step in that direction, other developers have also expressed their interest for that, for instance, it could show much more detailed information about what Baloo is doing at the moment.

      • Kronometer 1.6 released

        Kronometer 1.6 is now available for download. This new release brings an improved UI in the Settings dialog, as well as a couple of annoying bugs fixed.

      • TEA 40.0.0 Released – Qt Text Editor with Many Functions

        TEA is a Qt-based text editor with support for tabs, syntax highlighting, spell-checking, editing support for Wikipedia or LaTex, as well as many configuration options. The latest release, 40.0.0, has been put out earlier today and it represents a major milestone.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME’s Log-In Screen Will Still Work Without Wayland

        With the just-released GNOME 3.16 Beta there’s a switch to use Wayland by default for the GDM log-in screen. For those wondering what this means to those using binary blob graphics drivers on your systems or in cases where Wayland isn’t working, fear not.

      • GNOME Maps App Can Now Display Contacts with Geocodable Addresses

        The first beta of the upcoming GNOME Maps 3.16 app of the GNOME desktop environment has been announced as part of the GNOME 3.16 Beta 1 release of the controversial desktop environment. In this beta, GNOME Maps received several improvements and bug fixes that we’ve detailed below for your general information.

      • GNOME 3.16 Beta Brings Wayland-Based Log-in Screen

        Matthias Clasen has announced the release of GNOME 3.15.90, the GNOME 3.16 Beta, that’s coming out slightly delayed but still in time for some weekend testing.

        The saturday afternoon release of this first beta in the GNOME 3.15 series brings several more “big features” that have been a priority for the GNOME 3.16 development cycle.

      • Cinnamon 2.6 to Be a Massive Update, Panel Support for Multiple Monitors Incoming

        Cinnamon, a Linux desktop environment developed by the same guys who are also responsible for Linux Mint, will be getting some very important new features with the next 2.6 version that will be out soon.

      • Cinnamon 2.6 brings panels to multiple monitors

        Cinnamon is one of my favorite open source projects because it actually listens to what users ‘need’ and then works on features to fulfill those needs.

        Despite being a full time KDE Plasma user, Cinnamon is one DE that I would be very comfortable with. That doesn’t mean I don’t like Gnome or Unity; I do. It’s just that Plasma and Cinnamon are more suited for my needs – they both are extremely customization and allow me to give a personalized touch to my PC.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • AntiX Linux: A Brief Review

        Certain factors like systemd are polarizing the Linux community. It seems that either you like it or you hate it. Some of the Debian developers are getting nervous and so a fork of Debian called Devuan has been announced.

        I’m always looking at other distros that emphasize compactness and the ability to run on old hardware. I was also intrigued by the Debian controversy with systemd so when I saw AntiX 13.2 was based on Debian Wheezy I had to give it a try. AntiX comes on a single CD so installing it was easy enough.

      • Running Bodhi 3.0.0 Legacy on Older Hardware

        There are many reasons why people use Bodhi Linux. Some use it because they really like the Enlightenment desktop, and Bodhi has pioneered the integration of Enlightenment to create a distro that is both beautiful, elegant and functional. Others use it because they want an operating system that stays out of their way. Again, although Enlightenment offers plenty of whistles and bells for those who need or want them, it can also be configured to be highly minimalist and use a very small amount of system resources.

    • New Releases

      • 7.5-TEST-1 Release Notes

        Parsix GNU/Linux 7.5 (code name Rinaldo) brings the latest stable GNOME desktop environment, a new kernel built using our modernized kernel build system, updated installer, a new version of systemd and an upgraded X.Org Server. This version has been synchronized with Debian Wheezy repositories as of February 20, 2015. Thanks to the upgraded X.Org server, there is a noticable desktop performance improvement. Parsix Rinaldo ships with GNOME 3.14 and LibreOffice productivity suit by default. Highlights: GNOME Shell 3.14.3, X.Org 1.16.4, GRUB 2, GNU Iceweasel (Firefox) 35.0.1, GParted 0.12.1, Empathy 3.12.7, LibreOffice 3.5.4, VirtualBox 4.3.18 and a kernel based on Linux 3.14.32 with TuxOnIce 3.3, BFS and other extra patches. Live DVD has been compressed using SquashFS and XZ.

      • Q4OS 0.5.26 version released

        The main purpose of this release is to fix ‘unetbootin’ weighty issue. Some Q4OS USB installation media created with unetbootin utility didn’t correctly extract all the archives and packages. It is now fixed as well as several other bugs. Packages updates and fine tuning of Q4OS Setup utility has been made as well.

    • Screenshots

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Mir Now Depends Upon C++14

            While many open-source projects are still transitioning over to a C++11 code-base, Ubuntu’s Mir display server is already moving onto C++14.

            C++14 was officially released last December as a small update over C++11. While it’s officially just a few months old, GCC and LLVM/Clang have been working on supporting the C++14 changes for some time.

          • Kadu 2.0 Instant Messenger Client Released with Better Ubuntu Unity Support

            After two alphas, one beta, and three RC (Release Candidate) versions, the final release of the anticipated Kadu 2.0 IM client is now available for download. Kadu is an open-source, user-friendly, flexible, and stable Instant Messenger client that supports the Jabber, XMPP, and Gadu-Gadu protocols. Kadu 2.0 is a major release that brings a number of new features and improvements over previous versions.

          • I wrote some more apps for Ubuntu Phone

            As before, all these apps are GPL 3 licensed and available on Launchpad. What’s new is now you can browse them online due to a great unofficial web appstore made by Brian Douglass. This solves one of my previous gripes about not being able to find new applications.

          • Writing Ubuntu Phone Apps Seem Fairly Easy

            Robert Ancell of Canonical posted a new blog post this morning about writing some more apps for Ubuntu Phone. He shows off a simple dice roller app written in just over 400 lines of QML, a morse sender example in less than 600 lines of code, and a yatzy game in less than 1k lines of code all with QML. He’s put out the source to these example Ubuntu Phone apps under the GNU GPLv3.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 to Get Locally Integrated Menus by Default

            Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) will implement Locally Integrated Menus by default, making this a very important change for Unity and the operating system.

          • Canonical targets IoT for critical infrastructure

            The increase in hacking attacks that are aligned to geo-political issues is on the increase. Over the last decade, conflicts on the ground have often spilled over to groups of hackers, some state sponsored and some claiming to act independent of the state. The majority of these hackers have chosen to deface government websites or launch DDoS style attacks to force websites offline.

          • Canonical announces new partnership
          • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • SCALE 13x, Day 2: Knock on Wood

      The day Saturday started with Monty Taylor’s Flying Circus. HP’s Monty Taylor, accompanied by his rubber duck, gave an insightful talk on the direction of Open Source and how media-fabricated one-liners — akin to the misconception that lemmings jump off cliffs — affect the tech industry and, more importantly, what can be done about it.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • OpenStack at Walmart, project reform status, and more
    • Open Data

      • 3 ways open data is revolutionizing product development

        Somewhere between these two factors — what people really need and don’t have on one end, and what technologies can make a meaningful impact on the other — lies the sweet spot where the next breakthrough product is waiting. And as some leading companies have started to discover, open source data can lead you straight to it. Most recently I witnessed this play out with a company in medical device development — although the learnings from their experience are applicable across industries. Here’s why:


  • American Airlines Strands Luggage From Multiple Flights In Miami; Blames ‘Technical Issue’

    MIA may be the airport code for Miami International Airport, but it’s also the state of luggage for hundreds — if not thousands — of passengers flying on American Airlines out of Miami on Friday: missing in action.

    An apparent “technical issue” with its baggage conveyor belts at Miami International Airport prevented American Airlines from loading any planes with checked luggage on Friday. For eight hours, the airline let its flights depart sans bags, but did not notify passengers of the issue. Instead, most passengers discovered when they reached their destinations that their luggage hadn’t.

  • Science

    • Google boss warns of ‘forgotten century’ with email and photos at risk

      Humanity’s first steps into the digital world could be lost to future historians, Vint Cerf told the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in San Jose, California, warning that we faced a “forgotten generation, or even a forgotten century” through what he called “bit rot”, where old computer files become useless junk.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Owen Paterson gets his facts wrong in pro-GMO push

      An emotive press release hypes the visit to South Africa by the discredited former UK environment secretary Owen Paterson. The press release, sent from the right-wing think-tank that Paterson founded, UK2020, accuses the European Union and Greenpeace of “condemning millions of people in developing countries to starvation and death by their stubborn refusal to accept the benefits of genetically modified crops and other potentially life-saving advances in plant sciences.”

  • Security

    • Lenovo: Avoid!

      As for me, I will not be buying a Lenovo computer, ever.

    • A Bit Late, But Lenovo CTO Admits The Company Screwed Up

      We’ve had a bunch of posts today (and yesterday) about the “Superfish” debacle, with a few of them focusing on Lenovo failing to recognize what a problem it was — first denying any serious security problem, and then calling it “theoretical.” It appears that Lenovo has now realized it totally screwed up and is finally saying so.

    • Dear Lenovo, it’s not me, it’s you.

      I’ve been a mostly happy Thinkpad owner for almost 15 years. My first Thinkpad was a 570, followed by an X40, an X61s, and an X220. There might have been one more in there, my archives only go back a decade. Although it’s lately gotten harder to buy Thinkpads at UNB as Dell gets better contracts with our purchasing people, I’ve persevered, mainly because I’m used to the Trackpoint, and I like the availability of hardware service manuals. Overall I’ve been pleased with the engineering of the X series.

    • Superfish means its time to replace your Lenovo computer

      Lenovo is all over the media recently, and not for a good reason. The revelation that it corrupted its computers with the vile Superfish adware has shocked many people in the computing world. It’s almost impossible to believe that a company could be so incredibly stupid and so unbelievably uncaring about the security of its customers.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • What Would Malcolm X Think?

      FIFTY years ago today my father, Malcolm X, was assassinated…

    • Australia rules out Sweden for $39 billion submarine contract

      Australia will not partner with Sweden to build its next-generation submarine fleet, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Friday, narrowing the list of potential partners for the A$50 billion ($39 billion) program to Germany, France and Japan.

      Swedish defense firm Saab, France’s state-controlled naval contractor DCNS and Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems have expressed interest in the project.

    • Pakistan Army increasing cooperation with CIA on drone strikes after Peshawar massacre, expert says

      The Pakistan Army is once again cooperating with the US on drone strikes, a renowned expert on the country’s military tells the Bureau in the latest edition of Drone News.

    • CIA-planted ‘evidence’ may force IAEA review of Iran’s alleged nuke arms program – report

      Doctored blueprints for nuclear weapon components supplied to Iran by the CIA 15 years ago could force the IAEA to review its conclusions on Iran’s atomic program, which was potentially based on misleading intelligence, Bloomberg reports.

      The details of the Central Intelligence Agency operation back in 2000 were made public as part of a judicial hearing into a case involving Jeffrey Sterling, an agent convicted of leaking classified information on CIA spying against Iran.

    • CIA’s Nuclear-Bomb Sting Said to Spur Review in Iran Arms Case

      Details of a 15-year-old Central Intelligence Agency sting emerging from a court case in the U.S. may prompt United Nations monitors to reassess some evidence related to Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons work, two western diplomats said.

      International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors in Vienna will probably review intelligence they received about Iran as a result of the revelations, said the two diplomats who are familiar with the IAEA’s Iran file and asked not to be named because the details are confidential. The CIA passed doctored blueprints for nuclear-weapon components to Iran in February 2000, trial documents have shown.

    • The CIA Once Ran Brothels And Dosed Unsuspecting Customers With LSD

      For ten years during the Cold War, the CIA conducted mind-control experiments on unsuspecting San Franciscans. Dubbed Operation Midnight Climax, the program was packed with salacious details: a power-mad narcotics agent, a brothel equipped with two-way mirrors, and gallons of LSD.

    • Christian War Crimes Prize

      After destroying Hiroshima, President Truman offered thanks to God for the power to kill indiscriminately…

    • The Israeli agent behind enemy lines

      “The Israeli intelligence services paid me to complete certain missions, such as secret missions in Syria under the cover of a reporter. These missions were at times very dangerous, and I risked the worst, including death in the case of failure. I traveled to Damascus a number of time in order to make contact with the local elite, doctors, researchers and others – all of whom wanted to emigrate to the United States. Every time I would get the equivalent to a month’s wage.”

    • David Swanson – Not Very Funny

      More broadly, Jeb pushed the idea that the Middle East is a disaster because it hasn’t been bombed enough, and that the U.S. is disliked because it hasn’t attacked enough countries. There are two problems with this. One, it’s a disgusting and ridiculous lie that has been getting people killed for many years. A Gallup poll early last year of 65 countries found the U.S. to be considered far and away the biggest threat to peace in the world. The nations in the worst shape are the ones the U.S. has bombed. U.S. ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers has actually argued that we should stop paying attention to what bombing Libya did to Libya in order to be sufficiently willing to bomb Iraq and Syria. ISIS actually produced a 60-minute movie begging the United States to go to war against it because recruitment would soar. The U.S. obliged. Recruitment soared. This is how disliked the United States has made itself: organizations are willing to be bombed if it will show them to be the leading opponents of the United States — a country that, by the way, puts over a trillion dollars a year into war when tens of billions could address world hunger, clean water, and other basic needs. For a fraction of war spending, the U.S. could address climate chaos, agriculture, education, etc., and become the most loved government on earth. But would that feel as good as screaming threats at ISIS?

    • Russia Bashing Big Lies Persist

      They report nothing about Washington supplying Kiev with heavy weapons since the conflict began last year.

    • O’Reilly’s “Combat Situation” Reporting Problem Just Got Worse

      Seven of Bill O’Reilly’s former CBS News colleagues who were with the Fox host in Buenos Aires have challenged his account of the riot he has recently come under fire for describing as a “combat situation.” As contradictions to O’Reilly’s account of his 1982 reporting on the Falklands War build, O’Reilly has responded to critics with personal attacks.

    • On CNN’s Reliable Sources, Media Critics Dissect O’Reilly’s Politicization Of Criticism Of His Falklands War Reporting
    • Former CBS News Colleague Contradicts O’Reilly’s Story About Argentina Protest After Falkland Islands War
    • Bill O’Reilly: Former CBS News Correspondent Eric Engberg “Is A Coward” For Criticizing His Falklands War Reporting
    • Turkish Forces Attack Syrian Troops

      Former US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford admits moderates don’t exist in numbers and motivation enough to matter.

    • Argentina charges US interference in crisis over prosecutor’s death

      The political crisis precipitated by the mysterious January 18 death of Alberto Nisman has continued to deepen after a mass march called by fellow prosecutors and backed by the government’s right-wing opponents drew large crowds into the streets of Buenos Aires Wednesday to mark one month since the Argentine federal prosecutor was found with a fatal bullet wound to his head.

    • Failing Tonkin Gulf Test on Ukraine

      For instance, Congress could investigate the role of Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt in orchestrating the political crisis that led to a violent coup overthrowing Ukraine’s constitutionally elected President Viktor Yanukovych a year ago.

    • RABBLE ROUSER: Peace activists give food for thought

      He reminded us that in Nazi Germany, many people had to look the other way to allow for the horrendous atrocities while others risked their lives and paid a high price. He also pointed to the historical reality of the FBI illegally spying on both blacks and Peace Groups during the Vietnam era.

    • Gallup: Americans’ Fear of Russia Soars

      Gallup headlined on February 16th, “Americans Increasingly See Russia as Threat, Top U.S. Enemy,” and reported that whereas back in 2011 only 3% of Americans answered “Russia” when asked “What country anywhere in the world do you consider to be the United States’ greatest enemy?” 18% cite “Russia” today, which is 3% more than the #2-cited threat, “North Korea,” cited now by 15% (which had been 16% back in 2011, when the top-cited threat of all was then Iran, at 25%, which is now cited by only 9% of Americans, as being America’s “greatest enemy.”

    • America Threatens to Wage War on Russia: “US public is being Prepped to Hate Russians and to Fear Russia”

      Gallup headlined on February 16th, “Americans Increasingly See Russia as Threat, Top U.S. Enemy,” and reported that whereas back in 2011 only 3% of Americans answered “Russia” when asked “What country anywhere in the world do you consider to be the United States’ greatest enemy?” 18% cite “Russia” today, which is 3% more than the #2-cited threat, “North Korea,” cited now by 15% (which had been 16% back in 2011, when the top-cited threat of all was then Iran, at 25%, which is now cited by only 9% of Americans, as being America’s “greatest enemy.”

    • Swedish migrant aides ‘were Isis recruiters’

      Sweden’s national job agency has sacked its whole network of immigrant resettlement assistants after suspicion that some of them may have tried to recruit newly arrived immigrants to jihadist-style militant groups, such as Isis.

    • US Backing for ‘Moderate’ Syrian Rebels: Long Reported, Continually Forgotten

      The Guardian story cited the Pentagon in acknowledging that “a small group of US special forces and military planners had been to Jordan during the summer to help…train selected rebel fighters.”

    • America loves its war porn: “American Sniper” and the Hollywood propaganda machine

      In the age of the all-volunteer military and an endless stream of war zone losses and ties, it can be hard to keep Homeland enthusiasm up for perpetual war. After all, you don’t get a 9/11 every year to refresh those images of the barbarians at the airport departure gates. In the meantime, Americans are clearly finding it difficult to remain emotionally roiled up about our confusing wars in Syria and Iraq, the sputtering one in Afghanistan, and various raids, drone attacks, and minor conflicts elsewhere.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • World Bank Refuses to Consider Haitian Communities’ Complaint about New Mining Law

      Last week, the World Bank Inspection Panel refused to consider a complaint from Haitian communities about the Bank’s support for development of the mining sector in Haiti. Communities affected by mining activity and the Justice in Mining Collective, a group of six Haitian civil society organizations, submitted the complaint in early January, alleging violations of their rights to information and participation and threats of human rights abuses and environmental harms. The Inspection Panel—an office established to address complaints from people affected by World Bank-sponsored projects—recognized that the complaint raised “serious and legitimate” concerns and that the mining industry presents significant risks. The office nevertheless denied the complaint on narrow, technical grounds. The complainants expect to receive a copy of the decision in French today.[1]

  • Finance

    • In Remarks on Obama, Rudy Giuliani to the Core

      It has been years since he disclosed his assets, but Mr. Giuliani revealed as a presidential candidate that his personal wealth had ballooned from a modest sum when he left City Hall to more than $30 million in 2007.

    • Straw and Rifkind deny ‘cash for access’ wrongdoing

      Two former foreign secretaries have been secretly filmed apparently offering their services to a private company for thousands of pounds.

    • Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind face ‘cash for access’ allegations

      Two former foreign secretaries are facing accusations of being involved in a new “cash for access” scandal by offering to use their political influence in return for payment.

    • ‘Cash for access’ scandal: How to buy a politician

      The Telegraph looks at how to buy a politician, including Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind

    • Hillary Clinton’s Complex Corporate Ties

      Among recent secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton was one of the most aggressive global cheerleaders for American companies, pushing governments to sign deals and change policies to the advantage of corporate giants such as General Electric Co., Exxon Mobil Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Boeing Co.

    • Hillary, Jeb and $$$$$$

      This was on top of another $4 million that he reportedly netted the previous week in one evening alone at the Manhattan home of a private equity bigwig. After Manhattan came the Washington, D.C., area, where he racked up $1 million at two events, according to Politico. An atlas of cities, an avalanche of dough: It’s what successful campaigns are made of, and his is expected to raise between $50 million and $100 million over a span of three months.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Denying History: Cuba in the German Liberal Press

      The U.S.-Cuban negotiations were extensively discussed in the liberal German press. A closer reading of the news indicated a slant in coverage: Cuba was depicted as a terror state and a nefarious actor. The USA, on the other hand, was described as a benign actor with noble aims such as to bring democracy and reforms to Cuba.

    • Reel life is often significantly different than real life — even for Academy Award winners

      Reel life is often significantly different than real life — even for Academy Award winners. Here are eight movies that got their facts wrong.

    • So who is the Biggest Prevaricator: Brian Williams or Bill O’Reilly?

      According to David Corn’s February 19, 2015 article “Bill O’Reilly Has His Own Brian Williams Problem” in Mother Jones–the Fox News host stands accused of making false claims of stolen valor, similar in nature to those made by NBC News anchor Brian Williams. This despite O’Reilly’s feigned outrage at the hypocrisy of Mr. Williams. The article cited several instances of O’Reilly’s own historic, documented duplicity, but there was another one which went unreported that came from his own words as written within one of O’Reilly’s own books.

    • Erick Erickson Follows Scott Walker In Questioning Obama’s Christianity

      Fox contributor Erick Erickson parroted Governor Scott Walker (R-WI) to cast doubt on President Obama’s Christianity, alleging he is not a Christian “in any meaningful way,” despite the fact that right-wing attempts to call Obama’s faith into question have long been discredited.

    • The Sexist Attacks On Women For Saying The Same Thing As Men

      The National Review’s Ian Tuttle called the two women an incapable “hapless duo” with a “Lucy and Ethel routine” (Harf is blonde, Psaki a red head) who were trying to create a version of the comedy film Legally Blonde at the US Department of State. In a separate piece, the conservative journal of record’s Kevin Williamson called Harf “cretinous” and a “misfit who plays Messy Marvin to Jen Psaki’s feckless Pippi Longstocking.”

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Laura Poitras’ CITIZENFOUR Awarded Oscar for Best Documentary in 2014

      CITIZENFOUR, Laura Poitras’ riveting documentary about Edward Snowden’s efforts to shed light on gross surveillance abuses by the United States government and its partners, just won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. Tonight’s Oscar win recognizes not only the incredible cinematography of Poitras, but also her daring work with a high-stakes whistleblower and the journalism that kick-started a worldwide debate about surveillance and government transparency. We suspect this award was also, as the New York Times pointed out, “a way for Academy members to make something of a political statement, without having to put their own reputations on the line.”

    • Citizenfour: Inside Story of NSA Leaker Edward Snowden Captured in New Film by Laura Poitras

      “At this stage I can offer nothing more than my word. I am a senior government employee in the intelligence community. I hope you understand that contacting you is extremely high risk … This will not be a waste of your time.” This was one of the first messages Edward Snowden wrote to filmmaker Laura Poitras beginning an exchange that helped expose the massive surveillance apparatus set up by the National Security Agency. Months later, Poitras would meet Snowden for the first time in a Hong Kong hotel room. Poitras filmed more than 20 hours of footage as Snowden debriefed reporters Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill. That footage — most unseen until now — forms the backbone of Poitras’ new film, “Citizenfour.” She joins us to talk about the film and her own experience with government surveillance. The film is the third installment of her 9/11 trilogy that also includes “My Country, My Country” about the Iraq War and “The Oath” about the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Poitras’ NSA reporting contributed to a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service awarded to The Guardian and The Washington Post. We also speak with Jeremy Scahill, who appears in the film reporting on recent disclosures about NSA surveillance from a new, anonymous government source. Scahill, along with Poitras and Greenwald, founded The Intercept, a new media venture to continue investigating whistleblower leaks.

    • Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald on Government Surveillance

      Laura Poitras, nominated for best documentary for “Citizenfour,” said she had seen some changes as a result of her film, about the whistleblower Edward Snowden and his revelations of government surveillance.

    • Laura Poitras on Her Oscar-Nominated Snowden Doc Citizenfour

      When we sit down in her New York office on the evening of February 14, I wish Laura Poitras a happy Valentine’s Day. “Oh, is that today?” she replies. The filmmaker has ample reasons to be unaware of ordinary reality. It has been two years since, while making a documentary about government surveillance of citizens, she received an encrypted email from a correspondent who identified himself only as “citizenfour.” The anonymous emailer turned out, of course, to be Edward Snowden. Since Citizenfour was released to great acclaim last October, she has been in constant motion, mostly outside the U.S. Two nights before we meet, she and Glenn Greenwald were joined, via satellite link from Moscow, by a smiling, relaxed Snowden for discussions at New York’s IFC Center and the New School. The current week contains two more milestones in the film’s remarkable career: It is the odds-on favorite to win Best Documentary at the Oscars this Sunday; the following night, it will have its first telecast on HBO.

    • Edward Snowden Congratulates Laura Poitras for Winning Best Documentary Oscar for Citizenfour

      The following is a statement from Edward Snowden provided to the American Civil Liberties Union, which represents him…

    • Why Kaspersky was right to reveal NSA secrets

      This means that the NSA likely had help from the corporations that build the hard drives and USB devices in question, because they’d have no access to the source code otherwise, according to Reuters. It opens up the possibility that the NSA used an American company’s cooperation with a foreign company on projects as an invitation to steal the American company’s proprietary information, too, even though U.S. law explicitly prohibits this type of covert operation.

    • Wanda Sykes on Working at the NSA, Coming Out, & Shooing the FLOTUS Away

      Before her career in comedy, Sykes got, as she called it, “a good government job.” She worked for the NSA and, when prompted, confessed that “yes, she learned some things that were surprising.” She did not elaborate, maybe because it was long ago, or maybe because none of us had the proper clearance.

    • Jeb Bush: ‘I don’t understand’ why anyone is upset about the NSA
    • Jeb Bush Backs NSA Powers
    • Find out if the UK used NSA data to spy on you

      While it’s sadly likely that your communications have passed through an intelligence agency at some point, it’s usually difficult to know just who got your data. However, you now have a rare opportunity to find out.

    • Kaspersky Lab Cannot Confirm NSA Behind Espionage Program on 30 Countries

      Ealier this week, the Moscow-based internet security company published a report saying that spying software operated by a hacker group had infected over 500 computers in over 30 countries including Iran, Russia, China and Syria. The revelations triggered media reports about the US NSA being behind the espionage.

    • Hard-drive spy malware linked to NSA

      A powerful cyberspying tool can tap into millions of computers worldwide through secretly installed malware, security researchers say, with many signs pointing to a US-led effort.

    • NSA spied through Seagate, Micron, Western Digital gear, Russian researchers say (Correction)

      The NSA’s spy programs can function in disk drives sold by more than a dozen companies, which means just about every computer on the market vulnerable to eavesdropping. Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based security software maker, discovered that implants could be placed by what it called the “Equation Group,” a reference to the NSA. The finding was confirmed by Reuters via a former NSA employee.

    • Vermont Legislation Goes Head-to-Head with NSA Spying

      A bill filed in the Vermont House last week represents a transpartisan effort taking on the surveillance state. The legislation would not only support efforts to turn off NSA’s water in Utah, but would have practical effects on federal surveillance programs if passed.

      Vermont Rep. Teo Zagar (D-Barnard) introduced H.204 on Feb. 12. His three cosponsors literally span the political spectrum, including a Republican, an Independent and a member of the Progressive Party.

    • FBI surveillance tactics jeopardized by fight over NSA phone snooping program
    • NSA Spy Hacking Undermines US Credibility Over Outlawing Cyberattacks

      The United States is planning to create a new agency dedicated to cybersecurity in light of the growing number of hacking attacks and identity theft in the past year.

    • Fresh Insights into the NSA’s Cyber Capabilities

      It is widely known that the National Security Agency houses an impressive cyber force with the capacity to bypass the digital defenses of private individuals, enterprises, and even foreign governments – a force powerful enough to draw criticism from the American public and American allies. A recent report from Russian researchers has provided more specific information vis-à-vis the technical capabilities of NSA.

    • Citizenfour: meet NSA whistleblower Snowden

      Last year, Attorney-General George Brandis introduced legislation to Parliament which, if passed, would require telecom companies to retain metadata for two years. Last week, in the 100-seat Parliament House theatre located just next door, politicians and journalists gathered to watch an advance screening of documentary Citizenfour. The film follows whistleblower Edward Snowden as he reveals the extent of the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program. It is a must-see: a poignant reminder of the dangers posed to individual privacy and security by data collection.

    • The NSA’s Snooping Reaches Insane New Levels. You Can’t Do A Thing About It.

      Apparently, the United States National Security Agency has been spying on computers used in several countries through software buried within hard drives manufactured by big companies such as Seagate, Toshiba and Western Digital.

      Security researchers at Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab discovered personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs. The most infections were found in Iran, along with computers in Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Mali, Syria, Yemen and Algeria.

    • Russia Improving Electronic Security in Response to NSA Spyware – Lawmaker

      The remark follows an announcement made on Monday by Kaspersky Lab, a Moscow-based Internet security software company, on a broad surveillance program that was tracking data on computer hard disks worldwide. The company said a cyberattack team known as the Equation Group had infected the computers of 500 organizations worldwide with spying software, most of them in Iran and Russia.

    • ​Criminally insane irresponsibility led to modern ‘hacker’s paradise’

      The US government has been irresponsible about cyber security for the past 25 years, essentially allowing the NSA to create a ‘hackers paradise’ through numerous infantile backdoors they planted, former US intelligence officer Robert Steele told RT.

    • Find Out if You’ve Been Spied on—and Join the Fight for Privacy

      Want to know if GCHQ spied on you? Now you can find out. Privacy International (PI) has just launched a website that lets anyone find out if their communications were intercepted by the NSA and then shared with GCHQ.

    • Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden film set for Christmas release

      Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone’s big-screen dramatisation of Edward Snowden’s mass surveillance revelations will be released on 25 December, distributor Open Road Films said on Friday.

      Snowden will star Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the NSA whistleblower who leaked details of US and British surveillance and electronic monitoring programs.

      Filming has begun in Munich and will move to other locations before its expected completion in May.

      Shailene Woodley, Melissa Leo, Zachary Quinto and Tom Wilkinson will also star in the film, adapted from two books, The Snowden Files, by Guardian journalist Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena, Snowden’s lawyer.

    • Timothy Olyphant Joins Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden Movie
    • Oliver Stone’s Edward Snowden biopic to open on Christmas Day

      Stone is also adapting the screenplay with Kieran Fitzgerald, from Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man and Anatoly Kucherena’s Time of the Octopus.

    • You can now find out if GCHQ spied on you

      People from around the world can join a campaign to find out if British intelligence agency GCHQ illegally spied on them — and force it to delete the data.

      The move follows a ruling by the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) that GCHQ’s use of data gathered by the National Security Agency (NSA) in the US was unlawful prior to December 2014.

    • Snowden Documentary Earns Ridenhour Film Prize

      The Ridenhour Prizes announced Friday its documentary prize will go to “Citizenfour,” the film about Edward Snowden’s leaks of classified NSA documents, directed by Laura Poitras.

    • Director Laura Poitras accepts the award for best documentary for her film “Citizenfour” at the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica
    • SA’s securocrats serious about cyberwarfare

      Shortly after 9/11, the South African government introduced measures to fight terrorism in the country, including a bill allowing the monitoring and interception of communications. It became the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (Rica) of 2002. It replaced the Interception and Monitoring Prohibition Act of 1992, which did not deal adequately with technological advances.

    • Loopholes exist in our laws covering interception of communications, and the state is abusing them.

      Shortly after 9/11, the South African government introduced measures to fight terrorism in the country, including a Bill allowing the monitoring and interception of communications. It became the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (Rica) of 2002. It replaced the Interception and Monitoring Prohibition Act of 1992, which did not deal adequately with technological advances.

    • The Spy Cables: A glimpse into the world of espionage

      A digital leak to Al Jazeera of hundreds of secret intelligence documents from the world’s spy agencies has offered an unprecedented insight into operational dealings of the shadowy and highly politicised realm of global espionage.

      Over the coming days, Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit is publishing The Spy Cables, in collaboration with The Guardian newspaper.

      Spanning a period from 2006 until December 2014, they include detailed briefings and internal analyses written by operatives of South Africa’s State Security Agency (SSA). They also reveal the South Africans’ secret correspondence with the US intelligence agency, the CIA, Britain’s MI6, Israel’s Mossad, Russia’s FSB and Iran’s operatives, as well as dozens of other services from Asia to the Middle East and Africa.

      The files unveil details of how, as the post-apartheid South African state grappled with the challenges of forging new security services, the country became vulnerable to foreign espionage and inundated with warnings related to the US “War on Terror”.

    • ‘Overnight, everything I loved was gone’: the internet shaming of Lindsey Stone

      When a friend posted a photograph of charity worker Lindsey Stone on Facebook, she never dreamed she would lose her job and her reputation. Two years on, could she get her life back?

    • Why The USA Hacks

      The U.S. government views cyberspace as just another theater of war akin to air, land and sea…

    • Alleged NSA Computer Hardware Espionage Not Surprising – Former CIA Officer

      A former CIA and State Department counterterrorism expert says a report by Russia-based Kaspersky Lab that the NSA could have infiltrated computer hardware to spy on foreign entities is not surprising.

    • Investigation looks at possible CIA malware plant

      A new report from Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab said its researchers identified a new family of malicious programs or worms that infected computers in multiple countries, primarily overseas. Targets appeared to be specifically selected and included military, Islamic activists, energy companies and other businesses, as well as government personnel.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Infamous Oscar Speech Heard Around the World

      Can we all just agree on that point? I’m not saying we owe Michael Moore an apology for the way he was derided for his speech after winning the Academy Award for Bowling for Columbine, 10 years ago, but on this momentous anniversary, I think we can at least acknowledge that much.

      On March 23, 2003, Moore made the Oscar speech heard around the world, in which he condemned George Bush for going to war in Iraq, which had just begun four days prior. And Moore was booed, stalked and threatened for it. He had to get a security detail to protect him from the death threats (some of which were encouraged by the media), and he claims that Homeland Security scratched up his Oscar at the airport on the way home.

    • Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud during his one meeting with THE General Body

      THE General Body’s website shows they are connecting with other anti-corporatization student groups, such as those at Colgate University and the University of California.

    • Poland to Pay $262,000 to Inmates Held at Secret C.I.A. Prison
    • Poland agrees to pay 2 victims of CIA rendition

      Poland will be the first country to pay damages for participating in the US Central Intelligence Agency’s secret rendition programme after its was found to have hosted a facility used for illegal rendition and interrogation.

    • CIA terror suspects get pay from Poland

      Poland will pay $262,000 in compensation to two terror suspects who say they were tortured at a CIA secret prison that Poland hosted from 2002-2003, a government minister said Wednesday.

      Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna spoke after the European Court of Human Rights in France rejected Poland’s appeal of its earlier ruling.

    • European court rejects Polish appeal in CIA jail case

      The European Court of Human Rights refused on Tuesday to reconsider its ruling that Poland hosted a secret CIA jail, a decision that will now oblige Warsaw to swiftly hold to account Polish officials who allowed the jail to operate.

      The court’s decision will add to pressure on other European countries to end years of secrecy about their involvement in the CIA’s global programme of secret detention after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

    • Poland to Pay €230,000 to Two CIA Detainees Previously Held on Its Soil
    • Will the U.S. prosecute torture?

      When America Tonight approached the Justice Department for this report, its press office responded in an email in bold type: “We are not doing interviews.” But in a statement, the agency said that it reviewed the cases of several detainees “alleged to have been mistreated” back in 2009. In the two criminal investigations that resulted, it said it did not find sufficient evidence to “obtain and sustain” convictions.

    • Did the Torture Report Give the C.I.A. a Bum Rap?

      IN December, when the Senate Intelligence Committee issued its long-awaited report on the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program, it seemed to confirm what I and many human-rights advocates had argued for a decade: The C.I.A. had started and run a fundamentally abusive and counterproductive torture program. What’s more, the report found that the C.I.A. had lied repeatedly about the program’s efficacy, and that it had neither disrupted terror plots nor saved lives.

    • Former CIA officer suing agency for wrongful termination

      A former CIA officer who operated under shadowy “non-official cover” status is suing the spy agency in federal court, claiming he was wrongly fired after a senior manager fabricated allegations of misconduct.

      The officer filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia under a pseudonym, Mack L. Charles. The CIA declined to comment, but did not dispute the plaintiff’s former association with the agency.

    • Fired CIA Worker’s Suit Stymied by State Secrets

      A former CIA operations officer with narcolepsy cannot pursue discrimination charges against the agency because his claims violate state secrets privilege, a federal judge ruled.

      The plaintiff, under the pseudonym Jacob Abilt, claims he divulged his disability to the CIA upon employment when he was hired by the agency in 2008.

      “The parties agreed that as an accommodation of Plaintiff’s disability he could take brief naps at his desk, provided that he make-up the time either by foregoing a lunch break and/or working beyond his scheduled tour of duty,” the complaint says.

    • How the CIA gets away with it: Our democracy is their real enemy

      The inside, untold story of CIA’s efforts to mislead Congress — and the people — about torture will horrify you

    • He blew the whistle on CIA torture, and now he’s finally home from jail — and talking

      After serving almost two years in a federal prison in Pennsylvania, former CIA officer John Kiriakou, the first agency official to publicly confirm and detail the agency’s use of waterboarding, is back at home in Virginia to complete the rest of his sentence under house arrest.

    • CIA Torture Whistleblower: US Government Lacks “the Guts” to Face Its Crimes

      Out of prison and living at home under house arrest for the remainder of a suspended prison sentence, former CIA operative John Kiriakou, convicted and sent to jail for blowing the whistle on agency torture under the Bush administration, has been speaking to major medi outlets this week about the brutal tactics and depraved abuse administered by the U.S. government in the name fighting terrorism as well as his prosecution and conviction under the Espionage Act for speaking out against such crimes.

    • The dark comedy of the Senate torture report

      Nevertheless, civic duty spurred me and a lawyer colleague to write the preface. So I read the report — all 500 or so pages of it — first in English and then in French. To my great surprise I learned that the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture moves right along, with an authorial voice, lots of irony and plenty of gruesome detail that wasn’t in the newspapers. The principal writer, a former FBI analyst named Daniel Jones, renders the story of the CIA’s gratuitous brutality with a rhythmic repetition that approaches literature. Again and again, we’re told, detainees were grabbed by the CIA or its proxies, transported to secret prisons, subjected to ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’, and eventually dropped because they didn’t reveal anything useful, or they invented stories, or, as in the case of the suspected Afghan militant Gul Rahman, died. Then, after ploughing through many pages of CIA boasting about success in foiling terrorist plots, we find out that the agency’s ‘representations were almost entirely inaccurate’ and that torture foiled not a single plot. The former FBI man has fun hanging his CIA rivals with their own words, such as when then CIA director Porter Goss briefs senators about how ‘professionally operated’ CIA detention techniques are compared with the Abu Ghraib variety: ‘We are not talking military, and I’m not talking about anything that a contractor might have done… in a prison somewhere or beat somebody or hit somebody with a stick or something.’ No, we’re talking about chaining a prisoner to the ceiling, making him wear a nappy, and letting him soil himself. After slamming him into a wall.

    • How Britain’s treatment of ‘The Hooded Men’ during the Troubles became the benchmark for US ‘torture’ in the Middle East

      When Amal Clooney flies into Belfast shortly to meet a group of former Irish prisoners known as ‘The Hooded Men’ it will be the latest chapter of an extraordinary story concerning a quest for justice that has lasted almost half a century.

    • Judge who wrote ‘torture memos’ speaks at University of Utah

      One man held a sign reading “Torture Is a War Crime.”

    • Torture, terrorism, and paranoia

      Director Adeara Maurice said Why Torture is Wrong highlights the “fear-based culture” surrounding terrorism and homeland security in post-9/11 America.

    • Selma Director Ava DuVernay on Hollywood’s Lack of Diversity, Oscar Snub and #OscarsSoWhite Hashtag

      Today we spend the hour with Ava DuVernay, the director of the acclaimed new civil rights film “Selma,” which tells the story of the campaign led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to draw the nation’s attention to the struggle for equal voting rights by marching from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in March of 1965. While the film has been nominated for an Oscar for best picture, to the shock of many, DuVernay was not nominated. She would have made history as the first African-American woman nominated for best director. At the Sundance Film Festival, DuVernay joins us to discuss the making of the film and the Academy Award nominations. “The question is why was ‘Selma’ the only film that was in the running with people of color for the award?” she asks.

    • Verdict expected in trial of 25 Egyptian activists, including Alaa Abdel-Fattah

      An Egyptian court is expected to issue a verdict on Monday in a case which leading activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah and 24 others stand a retrial on a variety of charges, including taking part in an unauthorised protest in 2013.

    • David Cole Turns in His Torture Homework Late, Gets a C

      Here, Cole misrepresents the conclusion of the Torture Report, which leads him to a conclusion of limited value. It is not just that CIA lied about whether torture worked.

    • Even as Many Eyes Watch, Brutality at Rikers Island Persists

      The brutal confrontations were among 62 cases identified by The New York Times in which inmates were seriously injured by correction officers between last August and January, a period when city and federal officials had become increasingly focused on reining in violence at Rikers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The World’s Most Idiotic Copyright Complaint

        If you can bear to read it the full notice can be found here. Worryingly Total Wipes Music are currently filing notices almost every day. Google rejects many of them but it’s only a matter of time before some sneak through.


Links 21/2/2015: GNOME 3.15.90, Google Wins Android Lawsuit

Posted in News Roundup at 8:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Fully sandboxed, cross-distro Linux apps are almost here

      Right now, you get most of your Linux software from your distribution’s software repositories. Those applications have to be packaged specifically for your Linux distribution, and you have to trust them with full access to your Linux user account and all its files.

      But imagine if developers could distribute applications in a standard way so you could install and run them on any Linux distribution, and if those applications ran in a “sandbox” so you could quickly download and run them without the security and privacy risks.

      That’s not just a dream. It’s the goal of the GNOME desktop-affiliated Sandboxed Applications project, and the first fully sandboxed application is already here. A preliminary version of this project is planned to be released in GNOME 3.16, which should be in the next release of Fedora—Fedora 22.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Torvalds: Write Linux Kernel Code, ‘Get Hired Really Quickly’

      It’s a brave endeavour to dive into the source code for any project you didn’t program yourself, another entirely when that project happens to be the guts of Linux. Considering the impact the open source operating system has had on the IT world, having some familiarity with its internals is going to take you places — a sentiment Linux creator Linus Torvalds agrees with.

    • New AMD Processors Supported By Coreboot

      While Coreboot support for systems with newer Intel CPUs is tough, Coreboot gained yesterday support for some new AMD CPUs.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau Gallium3D Now Supports Double-Precision Floating-Point Data Types

        Nouveau (NVC0) Gallium3D now supports the GL_ARB_gpu_shader_fp64 extension. What’s exciting about this enablement is that it’s a feature for OpenGL 4.0 / GLSL 4.00 compliance and this Nouveau driver support is beating out the Intel and Radeon drivers in providing this OpenGL capability.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Xfce 4.12, Raspberry Pi’s Whole Number & More…

      Speaking of Larry, back in December he helped quash a rumor that the popular Xfce desktop had been abandoned. Now we have further evidence that he wasn’t just talking through his hat — as if there was ever any doubt.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME Shell Gets a Visual Refresh Based on the Redesigned GTK+ Theme In GNOME 3.16

        As we’ve reported in several GNOME related articles this week, the GNOME development team is hard at work to bring you the anticipated GNOME 3.16 desktop environment, due for release on March 25, 2015. As expected, GNOME Shell will be part of this release and it is the most important component, providing the actual user interface.

      • GNOME 3.15.90

        This is the first beta release of the 3.15 development…

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • pcDuino3B hacker SBC features WiFi, GbE, and Arduino I/O

      LinkSprite launched a gig-Ethernet version of its PCDuino3 SBC, featuring the same dual-core Allwinner A20 SoC, plus SATA, WiFi, and Arduino compatible I/O.

      Like Hardkernel’s Odroid project and a few others, LinkSprite’s pcDuino community has been churning out ARM hacker boards over the last year with generally lower prices and improved features. The newly shipping pcDuino3B barely qualifies for the above description, but it should please pcDuino fans looking for a faster Ethernet connection.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

        • [Video] Samsung Launch 2015 Tizen Smart TV in Africa

          Samsung Electronics has introduced several of its products to the African market at the sixth annual Africa Forum in Antalya, Turkey which is a three-day forum. The main Interest for us here at Tizen Experts is the Samsung SUHD TVs that is being showcased there, as from 2015 onwards all Samsung TVs will run Tizen which is a HTML5 web standards open source platform.

      • Android

        • US judge dismisses antitrust case against Google over Android apps

          The two consumers who filed the suit failed to show that Google’s allegedly illegal restrictive contracts on manufacturers of Android devices resulted in higher prices on phones, U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman said in a Feb. 20 ruling.

        • Google wins dismissal of U.S. lawsuit over Android app limits

          A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit accusing Google Inc of harming smartphone buyers by forcing handset makers that use its Android operating system to make the search engine company’s own applications the default option.

          Consumers claimed that Google required companies such as Samsung Electronics Co to favor Google apps such as YouTube on Android-powered phones, and restrict rival apps such as Microsoft Corp’s Bing.

          They said this illegally drove smartphone prices higher because rivals could not compete for the “prime screen real estate” that Google’s apps enjoyed.

        • Android Circuit: Sabotaging The Galaxy S6 Story, Xiaomi Defeats Samsung, Sony Abandons Android

          Taking a look back at the week’s news across the Android world, this week’s Android Circuit highlights a number of stories including Samsung’s battery issues and the potential of wireless charging, the story J.K. Shin could tell the press at MWC, Sony abandons Android and its Xperia smartphones, Microsoft invests in Cyanogen, Xiaomi overtakes Samsung, designing for the South Korean company, Pebble picks up Android Wear support, and LoopPay’s Galaxy potential for payments.

        • Top Android news of the week: New trojan, DIY repair site, and Windows app does Android
        • Android malware hijacks power button, empties wallet while you sleep

          Don’t panic, though. So far the outbreak in small and localized: around 10,000 cases have cropped up almost exclusively in China, none of which work on Android 5.0. But code spreads so fast these days and something so useful is bound to be popping in malicious apps from dodgy online stores in the near future.

        • Android Malware Can Spy on You Even After Your Phone Is ‘Shut Off’

          The good news is that this creepy spyware isn’t something that has been, or probably ever will be, found in Google Play apps. Android has gone to great lengths to clamp down on fraudulent and malicious apps in its market, now scanning them both before and after you’ve installed them to your Galaxy, HTC One, Moto X, or whatever. So if you stick with the official Google app store, you should be safe from any of the above scariness.

        • Toggle Android 5.0 device settings with your voice

          Forget third-party widgets, Google’s Search app will now let you use your voice to toggle several settings on Android Lollipop devices.

        • New update for Register Android app

          Android users, update (or download) the Des Moines Register app for a new, improved reading experience.

        • WhatsApp starts rolling out voice calling feature to Android users

          After testing the feature with select users, it appears mobile messaging service WhatsApp is now rolling out the much awaited internet calling functionality to a wider set of people.

        • New BlackBerry Phones Can Now Run Android Apps from Amazon

          Launched on Thursday, BlackBerry 10 OS 10.3.1 provides the usual access to the BlackBerry World app store but also adds entry to the Amazon Appstore, where users can download a variety of Android apps. The latest update has started to roll out for several BlackBerry 10 devices, including the Passport, Z30, Z3, Z10, Q10 and Q5, along with the Porsche Design P’9983 and P’9982 smartphones.

        • Why Amazon’s Fire TV beats the Apple TV

          set top box has been around for quite a while now, but it has never been as much of a priority for Apple as the iPhone, iPad or even Macs. Apple long regarded it as a hobby, and that attitude might have finally caught up with Apple TV. A prominent Apple blog has come out in favor of as a better option than the Apple TV. Yes, a writer at a well known Apple blog has actually opted for the Fire TV instead of the Apple TV.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Confessions of a Recovering Proprietary Programmer, Part XIV

    Similarly, if a patch fixes a difficult and elusive bug, the maintainer might be willing to apply the patch by hand, fix build errors and warnings, fix a few bugs in the patch itself, run a full set of tests, fix and style problems, and even accept the risk that the bug might have unexpected side effects, some of which might result in some sleepless nights. This in fact is one of the reasons for the common advice given to open-source newbies: start by fixing bugs.

  • Creating a Community: Getting Started

    It was a little over four years that I was bitten by the bug for the Enlightenment desktop. It was fast, it was customizable, it was beautiful, but one thing it was not was easily accessible. There were countless directions on the internet of how to manually compile the latest version of the desktop from source repositories, but not only was this process complex – it was tedious.

  • Facebook Releases New Open Source Android Debugging Tool
  • SD Times GitHub Project of the Week: Stetho
  • Events

    • SCALE 13x, Day 1: Oh, the Humanity!

      Attendance for SCALE looks like it may break previous records. Steve Bibayoff, who works the Free Software Foundation booth, asked me Friday evening if his badge number was any indication of how many people have registered so far.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Rust 1.0 Alpha 2 Lands All Major API Changes

        The second alpha release of the forthcoming Rust 1.0 is now available and it marks the landing of all major API revisions for this programming language’s major milestone.

      • Announcing Rust 1.0.0.alpha.2

        We’ve managed to land almost all of the features previously expected for this cycle. The big headline here is that all major API revisions are finished: path and IO reform have landed. At this point, all modules shipping for 1.0 are in what we expect to be their final form, modulo minor tweaks during the alpha2 cycle. See the previous post for more details.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.3.6 Released as TDF Celebrates Three Years

      The Document Foundation today announced the release of LibreOffice 3.4.6, the latest update for the conservative user and supported deployments. This release brings over 100 bug and security fixes as the foundation celebrates three years. TDF released a video as “a testimonial of the activity of many members of the LibreOffice community.”

  • Project Releases

    • RcppAPT 0.0.1

      Over the last few days I put together a new package RcppAPT which interfaces the C++ library behind the awesome apt, apt-get, apt-cache, … commands and their GUI-based brethren.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Science

    • How the Photocopier Changed the Way We Worked—and Played

      Recently I visited Whisk, a Manhattan store that sells kitchen goods, and next to the cash register was a strange, newfangled device: a 3-D printer. The store bought the device—which creates objects by carefully and slowly extruding layers of hot plastic—to print cookie cutters. Any shape you can think of, it can produce from a digital blueprint. There was a cutter in the shape of a thunderbolt, a coat of arms, a racing car.

  • Security

    • Maintaining vendor trust proves tough for Lenovo, Microsoft

      News roundup: Amid hidden add-ons, discontinued services and walled gardens, vendor trust proves elusive for several high-profile tech firms. Plus: Evidence ties North Korea to Sony Pictures hack; card brands boost cybersecurity; and cookies that last 8,000 years.

    • Lenovo redeems itself with open source Superfish removal tool

      What do you do when you are facing scrutiny in the media? Damage control. You see it all the time with celebrities. A famous actor or musician does something wacky or stupid and ends up crying to Oprah, or going to rehab.

      If you are a respected computer manufacturer, what do you do to fix a tarnished image? Open source. Nothing makes computer nerds more giddy than hearing that software is open source and the source code is available to investigate. Today, Lenovo releases an official open source Superfish removal tool under the Mozilla Public License.

    • Superfish – Man-in-the-Middle Adware

      Let’s say that you are looking for a watch and you visit Fred’s Fine Watches. Every time you want to look at a watch, someone grabs the key to the cabinet from Fred, uses a magic key creator to create a new key, opens the cabinet, grabs the watch from Fred, studies the watch, looks for “similar” watches, and jams advertising fliers for these other watches in your face – right in the middle of Fred’s Fine Watches! Even worse, they leave the key in the lock, raising the possibility that others could use it. Further, if you decide to buy a watch from Fred, they grab your credit card, read it, and then hand it to Fred.

      After leaving Fred’s Fine Watches you visit your bank. You stop by your doctor’s office. You visit the DMV for a drivers license renewal. And, since this article is written in February, you visit your accountant about taxes. Someone now has all this information. They claim they aren’t doing anything with it, but there is no particular reason to trust them.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Obama’s Libya Debacle

      On March 17, 2011, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973, spearheaded by the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama, authorizing military intervention in Libya. The goal, Obama explained, was to save the lives of peaceful, pro-democracy protesters who found themselves the target of a crackdown by Libyan dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi. Not only did Qaddafi endanger the momentum of the nascent Arab Spring, which had recently swept away authoritarian regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, but he also was poised to commit a bloodbath in the Libyan city where the uprising had started, said the president. “We knew that if we waited one more day, Benghazi—a city nearly the size of Charlotte—could suffer a massacre that would have reverberated across the region and stained the conscience of the world,” Obama declared. Two days after the UN authorization, the United States and other NATO countries established a no-fly zone throughout Libya and started bombing Qaddafi’s forces. Seven months later, in October 2011, after an extended military campaign with sustained Western support, rebel forces conquered the country and shot Qaddafi dead.

    • US drone strike kills three in southern Yemen: Witnesses

      Three people were killed Friday in a drone strike on southern Yemen, local residents say.

    • Spreading Terror around the Globe by Selling Drones to “US Allies”

      As an example last October an airdrop of weapons that was purported to go to the Kurds in the besieged town of Kobani in Syria to fight the Islamic State forces ended up in the wrong hands. As recently as last month it was discovered and reported that the US was regularly air dropping arms and supplies to the waiting Islamic State on the ground below in Iraq. Obama’s huff and puff rhetoric about hunting down the Islamic State in Syria in reality is merely another effectively deceptive ploy to commit air strikes on Assad’s Syria that he couldn’t get away with the year before right after the false flag chemical weapons attack committed by US backed rebels (that were later renamed ISIS). So now both Israeli and US military air strikes are taking out infrastructure inside Syria that hurts the Syrian people, destroying oil refineries and food storage silos.

    • Psssst! Wanna buy a lethal drone? US to export unmanned aircraft

      The Obama administration is opening the door for US military drone makers to sell their unmanned killing machines overseas.

      “The new export policy is part of a broader United States UAS [unmanned aircraft system] policy review which includes plans to work with other countries to shape international standards for the sale, transfer, and subsequent use of military UAS,” the State Department said in a statement.

    • Second UK-based Israeli drone factory shut down by protesters

      Instro is owned by Israeli arms company Elbit Systems, who make drones that are used to kill Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Optical and camera systems like those made at the Instro factory are also supplied by Elbit for use in drones flown over Afghanistan, as well as in Israel’s apartheid wall.

    • Those calling for a boycott of Israel are ignoring some painful truths

      This past weekend, 700 British artists had a letter published in the Guardian in which they called on others to boycott Israel until what they term the “colonial occupation” ends. As an Israeli politician who supports the creation of a Palestinian state, it has been a long time since I saw a letter so shallow and lacking in coherence.

    • I Was Born in Israel Many Years before I Realized Israel Was Palestine

      I was born in Israel and it was many years before I realized that Israel was Palestine. I was relatively patriotic. I was looking forward to serving in the army and then I grasped that there was little truth in the Jewish historical narrative. I then gathered that I was living on someone else’s land. At the same time I discovered the saxophone. By the age of 30, I left Israel and never went back.

    • The Front Page Rule

      When U.S. media and U.S. government officials ask, “who are the murderers,” the default answer is enemy soldiers.

    • The World We’re Leaving Our Children

      Dick Cheney and George Bush have no regrets about war. No regrets about torture. They defend waterboarding, mock execution, and rectal feeding. Bush referred to the men and women who conducted this savagery as “patriots”. Commander-in-Chief Obama, with his Kill List, drones, incinerating civilians, inspiring even more hatred of the USA.

    • Hollywood’s Service to Empire

      Many Americans would find it strange to think of their local Cineplex as propaganda sites. But more than six and a half decade ago, the notion of US movies as tools of propaganda was hardly debatable for right-wing McCarthyites determined to eliminate leftists from Hollywood. As US Court of Appeals Justice Bennett C. Clark explained in upholding the conviction of ten Hollywood screenwriters and directors who refused to “confess” current or past Communist Party membership in 1949, US motion pictures play “a critically important role” as “a potent medium of propaganda dissemination” (quoted in Ellen Schrecker, Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America [Boston, 1998], 328).

    • A solo flight for the star of ‘Grounded’

      When she took a look at the script for George Brant’s “Grounded,” a one-woman play about an Air Force fighter pilot coping with the changing landscape of 21st-century warfare, actress Celeste Oliva wasn’t sure it was for her. But director Lee Mikeska Gardner was insistent.

    • Community Roundtable: War authorization vital?

      Military action works only if we target weapon caches and the actual terrorists who commit these atrocities. We also need to understand that killing ISIS members will not stop the fanatical ideology. Only until the people of those nations fully reject the fanatical and distorted version of Islam ISIS has manufactured to suit their violent agendas, military action will do very little to stop them.

    • U.S. must end its immoral drone warfare: Guest commentary

      I have been a minister in the United Church of Christ for more than 40 years. My religious convictions have led to my activism in seeking a more just and peaceful world. Right now, that activism centers on American use of drone warfare as one of the greatest threats to global peace.

    • Drone strike kills 8 rebels in E. Afghanistan

      At least eight Taliban rebels were killed in a United States-led drone strike in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan on Wednesday, said officials.

    • Could Obama’s Drone Sale Spread Robo-Warfare?

      President Barack Obama’s decision to sell missile-carrying drones like the Predator and Reaper to U.S. allies has raised questions over whether this marks another step in the evolution of robo-warfare, or is just a boon to U.S. military contractors already making them.

    • Soon on sale in your country: US armed drones

      The US is to export armed drones to sell to its military allies around the world, a move that has been welcomed by the arms industry but provoked outrage among human rights campaigners.

    • US to allow export of armed military drones

      The State Department said Tuesday the new policy would allow foreign governments that meet certain requirements — and pledge not to use the unmanned aircraft illegally — to buy the vehicles that have played a critical but controversial role in combating terrorism and are increasingly used for other purposes. Recipient countries would be required to sign end-use statements certifying that the drones would not be used for unlawful surveillance or force against domestic populations and would only be used in internationally sanctioned military operations, such as self-defense.

    • 6 arrested at Beale Air Force Base protesting drone deaths

      Six people were arrested at Beale Air Force Base in protest of people killed by government drones.

      Protest organizers said six men and women were taken into custody during an Ash Wednesday service at the Beale gate.

      The participants are accused of trespassing onto federal land, and they were arrested by military police as they spread ashes memorializing those killed by U.S. drones overseas.

    • 6 Arrested At Drone Protest Outside Of Beale AFB

      Six people were arrested at a Northern California air force base in protest of people killed by government drones.

      Protest organizers said six men and women were arrested during an Ash Wednesday service at the gate of Beale Air Force Base.

    • 6 arrested at Beale AFB during drone protest

      Six people were arrested at a Northern California air force base in protest of people killed by government drones.

      Protest organizers said six men and women were arrested during an Ash Wednesday service at the gate of Beale Air Force Base.

    • Yemen’s former leader flees to Aden

      Yemen’s former president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi escaped weeks of house arrest by the Houthi militia at his official residence on Saturday and fled to his home town of Aden, sources close to him said.

    • Former president of Yemen dons disguise and flees home as Houthi Shias take over country

      The former president of Yemen wore a disguise to escape from house arrest today to fly to his home town of Aden, an official has said.

      Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi fled his official residence in Yemeni capital Sanaa after weeks of house arrest by the Shia Houthi militia, who looted the property soon after his departure.

    • Hotel suicide attack kills Somali minister, 11 others
    • Washington’s Foolish Foreign Policy: American People Must Say No To More Wars

      American foreign policy is controlled by fools. What else can one conclude from the bipartisan demand that the U.S. intervene everywhere all the time, irrespective of consequence? No matter how disastrous the outcome, the War Lobby insists that the idea was sound. Any problems obviously result from execution, a matter of doing too little: too few troops engaged, too few foreigners killed, too few nations bombed, too few societies transformed, too few countries occupied, too few years involved, too few dollars spent.

    • Islamic State: bring on the drones

      The challenge of jihadism in Iraq, Syria, Libya and elsewhere is reinforcing the United States’s embrace of “remote control” warfare.


      American arms companies engaged in armed-drone development and production have often complained at the US government’s restrictions on their exports, which leaves competitors such as Israeli arms companies in a good place to benefit. That official policy may now be coming to an end.

    • Obama to Congress: Rubber-Stamp My “Perpetual War”. “Blank Check to Use US Military Force in Perpetuity”

      As President Barack Obama presented his proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to Congress, he declared, “I do not believe America’s interests are served by endless war, or by remaining on a perpetual war footing.” Yet Obama’s proposal asks Congress to rubber-stamp his endless war against anyone he wants, wherever he wants. Obama has launched 2,300 airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since August 8, 2014. In his six years as president, he has killed more people than died on 9/11 with drones and other forms of targeted killing in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia – countries with which the United States is not at war.

    • Obama’s Latest Hokum on Violent Extremism: Arar Retorts

      In his speech this week to his anti-extremism conclave in Washington, President Obama declared that “former extremists have the opportunity to speak out, speak the truth about terrorist groups, and oftentimes they can be powerful messengers in debunking these terrorist ideologies.”

    • Islamophobia is just the latest in a history of US imperialism

      The shooting of three American Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, this month has focused attention on anti-Muslim hatred in the US.

      There are strong reasons for thinking the suspect, Craig Stephen Hicks, was motivated by anti-Muslim animosity to murder Deah Barakat, 23, Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and Razan Abu-Salha, 19. The FBI is now investigating the case as a possible hate crime, although initial reports stated the murder may have been about a dispute over parking.

    • Afghan civilian deaths hit record high

      Insurgents, government forces and international troops all contribute to highest total in five years since records began

    • Arab Spring left army in disarray, soldiers sympathetic to rebels – Yemeni minister

      Yemen is grabbing international attention – the government ousted, the president under house arrest and rebels in power. Will the country slide into Syria-style civil war? And with Al-Qaeda in Yemen growing stronger, who will be there to stop it? We ask a leading Yemeni politician, state minister, and former mayor of the capital, Sanaa, Ahmed Al-Kohlani on Sophie&Co.

    • Groups slam Aquino, US troops for violation of Constitution in Mamasapano operations

      “From all indications, the special operation in Mamasapano, Magindanao is a U.S. operation from the start. Of course the Aquino government won’t admit that because if they do, they would inadvertently confirm the US direct intervention.” This is the conclusion Prof. Roland Simbulan of UP Manila shared with the media at Thursday’s press conference of Save the Nation: Aquino Resign Movement.

      Based on Simbulan’s study of what have been revealed by SAF survivors of the incident, the fact that it was a US operation, that it was illegal and the Aquino government and the US are trying to cover it up resulted in the high number of casualties.

    • Senate may send questions to Aquino to wrap up inquiry on Mamasapano clash
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • On Fox, A Train Spilling Oil Is An Argument For Keystone XL, But A Pipeline Spill Isn’t News

      After a massive oil tanker derailed in West Virginia, several members of Fox News claimed that the accident demonstrates the need to build the Keystone XL pipeline because it is supposedly “safer” to transport oil by pipeline than by train. However, pipelines spill even more oil than trains, and when a major pipeline spill recently occurred near Keystone XL’s proposed route, Fox News barely mentioned the spill and didn’t once connect it to legitimate safety concerns about Keystone XL.

    • Niagara on Ice: Falls Freeze Up Photos

      It may have felt too cold on Friday in much of the East to even think of walking outside. But since drones don’t feel cold, why not fly one over a mostly frozen Niagara Falls? That’s exactly what Canadian videographer Brent Foster did on Friday. The results were spectacular.

    • Coming rain threatens to turn snow into ice, weighing down region
    • Future of New York Could Be Wet, Hot and Flooded: Report

      New Yorkers like to complain about the weather, especially in the summer when it can get hot and muggy. Well, they ain’t seen nothing yet. A new report envisions a wet, overheated future for New York City, saying temperatures and sea levels will rise as climate change settles in over the coming decades. The report for 2015 released by the New York City Panel on Climate Change on Tuesday says average temperatures could increase by as much as 5.3 to 8.8 degrees by the 2080s — with sea levels rising a full 18 to 39 inches. At worst, seawaters could rise 6 feet by 2100, researchers project. “These changing climate hazards increase the risks for the people, economy, and infrastructure of New York City,” the report states. The city is also likely to see its annual rainfall increase about 5 to 13 percent by the 2080s. These changes could add up to flood damage beyond what was seen during Hurricane Sandy, affecting wide portions of Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, according to the report.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wisconsin Introduces Word-for-Word ALEC Right to Work Bill

      Wisconsin Republicans have called a special session to take up a “right to work” measure attacking private sector unions–and the text of the bill, the Center for Media and Democracy has discovered, is taken word-for-word from American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model legislation.

    • Mainstream media’s rational irrationality

      One of the most deceptive and disturbing aspects of America’s political culture is the assumption that by having a free press and a democratic government, our country has erected a bulwark that restrains our leaders from committing the type of atrocities committed by our nation’s enemies.

    • Bill O’Reilly Lies–but Some Lies Matter More Than Others

      Most prominently, Mother Jones’ David Corn (2/19/15) pointed out that despite O’Reilly’s claim (in his book The No-Spin Zone) that “I’ve reported on the ground in active war zones from El Salvador to the Falklands,” in reality he was never on the islands that Argentina and Britain fought a war over in 1982. Nevertheless, O’Reilly has repeatedly boasted of his exploits on the remote South Atlantic islands–telling a detailed anecdote in 2013, for example, of saving his injured photographer “in a war zone in Argentina, in the Falklands.”

  • Censorship

    • Has free speech changed since the ‘Charlie Hebdo’ attack?

      “Charlie Hebdo,” a French satirical newspaper, was used to making headlines for its provocative cartoons – especially those featuring the prophet Mohammad. But that changed in January when two brothers stormed the newspaper and killed the publication’s editor and cartoonists.

  • Privacy

    • Your SIM card is probably hacked by NSA and colonial cousin GCHQ

      In the latest leaks from The Intercept leaked documents show that the NSA and GCHQ used the previously talked about X-KEYSCORE program to stalk employees of SIM maker Gemalto. The agents managed to break in to the email and Facebook accounts of the employees to steal information secretly which they’d go on to use to collect encryption keys for the SIM cards.

    • Green: Another update on the Truecrypt audit

      On his blog, Matthew Green gives an update on the plans to audit the TrueCrypt disk encryption tool. Green led an effort in 2013 to raise money for an audit of the TrueCrypt source code, which sort of ran aground when TrueCrypt abruptly shut down in May 2014.

    • Another update on the Truecrypt audit

      There’s a story on Hacker News asking what the hell is going on with the Truecrypt audit. I think that’s a fair question, since we have been awfully quiet lately. To everyone who donated to the project, first accept my apologies for the slow pace. I want to promise you that we’re not spending your money on tropical vacations (as appealing as that would be). In this post I’d like to offer you some news, including an explanation of why this has moved slowly.

    • Spy agency policies breached rights

      UK intelligence agencies’ policies on handling communications between lawyers and clients breached European human rights law, the government has said.

    • Accused British hacker, wanted for crimes in US, won’t give up crypto keys

      An alleged British hacker who has criminal charges pending in three American federal districts is preparing to petition a Suffolk County, United Kingdom court to compel the National Crime Agency (NCA) to return his encrypted seized computers and storage devices.

      The BBC reported Friday that Lauri Love “will petition Bury St Edmunds magistrates for the return of his property,” adding that “the BBC understands that the NCA has been unable to decrypt some of the files and does not want to return the computers and media devices until Mr Love helps them to decrypt them.”

    • US hacking case: NCA refuses to return Lauri Love’s computer

      Police in the UK, who arrested a man accused of hacking FBI computers in the US, are refusing to return his computer because they cannot decrypt its files.

      Lauri Love, 30, of Stradishall, Suffolk, who is accused of hacking offences in the US, was arrested in Britain in October 2013.

    • ‘Citizenfour’ Will Receive The Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize

      Today The Ridenhour Prizes announced that Academy Award–nominated documentary CITIZENFOUR, directed by Laura Poitras, will receive the 2015 Documentary Film Prize. The Ridenhour Documentary Film Prize is conferred to films of exemplary merit to “encourage those who persevere in acts of truth-telling that protect the public interest, promote social justice, or illuminate a more just vision of society.”


      “We’re honored to receive this award, which recognizes a legacy of whistleblowers and adversarial journalism,” said Laura Poitras. “This film and our NSA reporting would not have been possible without the work of the Free Software community that builds free tools to communicate privately. The prize money for the award will be given to the TAILS Free Software project.”

    • US and UK Government SIM Card Hack Threat to Privacy, Infrastructure Security

      Yesterday, The Intercept reported that the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) collaborated to hack the network of the world’s largest SIM card manufacturer and obtained the encryption keys that protect the privacy of cell phone communications. The Center for Technology & Democracy (CDT) released the following statement in response:

    • A close eye on security makes Canadians safer

      The four of us most certainly know the enormity of the responsibility of keeping Canada safe, something always front of mind for a prime minister. We have come together with 18 other Canadians who have served as Supreme Court of Canada justices, ministers of justice and of public safety, solicitors-general, members of the Security and Intelligence Review Committee and commissioners responsible for overseeing the RCMP and upholding privacy laws.

    • Harper sees no need for more oversight of national-security agencies

      As four former prime ministers called for renewed efforts to enhance the oversight of national-security agencies, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday that he prefers the status quo.

    • At the centre of the anti-terror bill: Who’s watching our spies?
    • Hack gave U.S. and British spies access to billions of phones: Intercept

      U.S. and British spies hacked into the world’s biggest maker of phone SIM cards, allowing them to potentially monitor the calls, texts and emails of billions of mobile users around the world, an investigative news website reported.

    • Gemalto Starts Investigating The Degree Of Breach Allegedly Done By NSA, GCHQ

      Gemalto, the Dutch security firm, has opened an investigation looking into the claims that the company’s network was hacked, resulting in leakage of millions of communications worldwide.

    • How Latest Snowden Leak Is Headache for White House

      Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has revealed so much information about government spying in the past two years that little seems shocking. But allegations in his latest leak, published by the Intercept, could upend any chance the White House has of mending relations with Silicon Valley in the near future.

    • European Lawmakers Demand Answers on Phone Key Theft

      European officials are demanding answers and investigations into a joint U.S. and U.K. hack of the world’s largest manufacturer of mobile SIM cards, following a report published by The Intercept Thursday.

      The report, based on leaked documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, revealed the U.S. spy agency and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, hacked the Franco-Dutch digital security giant Gemalto in a sophisticated heist of encrypted cell-phone keys.

    • ‘NSA, GCHQ-ransacked’ SIM maker Gemalto takes a $500m stock hit

      The world’s biggest SIM card manufacturer, Gemalto, revealed yesterday to have been hacked by the NSA and GCHQ, has taken a $470m hit in its stock price.

    • Hellooo, NSA? The US State Department can’t kick hackers out of its networks – report

      Email servers still compromised after THREE months

    • Jeb Bush backs brother’s NSA surveillance program ‘to keep us safe’

      Former Florida governor Jeb Bush delivered a full-throated defense of government surveillance programs on Wednesday, expressing a resounding faith in techniques pioneered by his brother, George W Bush, and staking out a position in sharp contrast with other prospective 2016 presidential candidates.

    • Jeb Bush: NSA Bulk Telephone Records Collection ‘Hugely Important’

      Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is seriously considering a run for the White House in 2016, said Wednesday that the National Security Agency’s program that collects bulk telephone records was “hugely important,” throwing his support behind the practice as Congress debates whether to reauthorize or limit it.

    • NSA Analysis Of Sony Hack Identifies North Korea [distraction tactics]

      The NSA backs FBI conclusion that North Korea was responsible for the damaging hack of Sony Pictures

    • NSA chief says Sony attack traced to North Korea after software analysis [distraction tactics]
    • Gemalto denies knowledge of GCHQ and NSA Sim card hack

      The world’s largest maker of Sim cards, Gemalto, says it cannot verify a report that it was hacked by UK and US spy agencies to steal encryption keys used to protect the privacy of mobile phone communications.

    • The NSA is inside hard drive firmware – now what?

      It’s been almost five years since the discovery of Stuxnet disabused the world of its naivety about nation state malware but since then more attention has been paid to Edward Snowden’s NSA hacking revelations than the occasional technical insights into old-style spying software.

      Kaspersky Lab’s Equation group report, then, has been a bit of a body shaker while helpfully moving the story on a bit. We can now see that Stuxnet was, as everyone suspected, the business end of a far large platform containing eight or nine modules whose genesis goes back as far as 2001, the defining year for so many things that have been going on behind everyone’s backs.

    • NSA & GCHQ teamed up to hack billions of SIM cards

      British and US securities services have hacked into the world’s biggest SIM-card maker and stolen billions of encryption keys, according to the latest leaks from whistleblower Edward Snowden.

    • Gemalto opens investigation into SIM card hack by NSA, GCHQ

      Following a report yesterday that US and UK spies hacked Dutch security firm Gemalto to track mobile phone users across the globe, the company says it has opened an investigation into the claims.

      Allegations of the hack came from the latest documents leaked by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden and published by The Intercept yesterday.

      According to the documents, the UK’s surveillance agency GCHQ and the US’ NSA teamed up in 2010 and 2011 to penetrate Gemalto’s internal network and steal encryption keys that would allow the organisations to monitor mobile communications without the assistance of telecoms companies.

    • Chip Maker to Investigate Claims of Hacking by N.S.A. and British Spy Agencies

      Gemalto, a French-Dutch digital security company, said on Friday that it was investigating a possible hacking by United States and British intelligence agencies that may have given them access to worldwide mobile phone communications.

    • Gemalto launches probe after report claims NSA, GCHQ hacked its system to steal SIM card encryption keys
    • GCHQ and NSA ‘hacked Dutch company’

      Britain’s electronic spying agency and the US National Security Agency stole codes from a Dutch company allowing them to eavesdrop on mobile phones, documents suggest.

    • Rights groups criticise US and UK spies for ‘disturbing’ sim cards hack

      NSA and GCHQ told to stop pretending that law doesn’t apply to them after revelations that they gained access to Dutch manufacturer Gemalto’s encryption keys

    • Encryption keys of mobile SIM cards powerful spying tool for NSA

      It would be another powerful tool in the arsenal of US and British spy services: the encryption keys for a large share of the SIM cards used for mobile phones.

      A report by the investigative news website The Intercept, citing leaked documents from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, said the US and British agencies “hacked into” the European manufacturer Gemalto to gain these keys.

    • NSA refuse to comment on malware rumours

      Initially Kaspersky said it found personal computers in 30 countries infected with one or more of the spying programs. Naming the attacking group “The Equation Group”, it targeted Government and military institutions, telecommunication companies, banks, energy companies, nuclear researchers, media, and Islamic activists, Kaspersky said. However it declined to mention who the Equation Group was.

    • Obama said everyone wants secure mobile communications. But the NSA worked to undermine that.

      Just a week ago, President Obama assured the public that he understood the importance of securing the privacy of mobile phone networks.

      “Ultimately, everybody — and certainly this is true for me and my family — we all want to know that if we’re using a smartphone for transactions, sending messages, having private conversations, that we don’t have a bunch of people compromising that process,” Obama told technology site re/code in an interview. “So there’s no scenario in which we don’t want really strong encryption.”

    • NSA-linked Sqrrl eyes cyber security and lands $7M in funding

      Sqrrl, the big data startup whose founders used to work for the NSA, plans to announce Thursday that it is shifting its focus to cyber security with a new release of its enterprise service. The startup is also taking in a $7 million Series B investment round, bringing its total funding to $14.2 million, said Ely Kahn, a Sqrrl co-founder and vice president of business development.

    • Sqrrl raises $7.1 million for its NSA-rooted security risk detection software

      There are numerous potential threats to Internet security: lone-wolf hackers, state-sponsored cyber attacks, or identity and data theft, for example. But one of the most difficult cybersecurity challenges to identify and prevent are the Edward Snowdens — the players already inside an organization who are looking to steal or share sensitive information.

    • Sqrrl Adds $7M in Another Big-Data Analytics Deal for Boston

      In the second major big-data analytics deal in Boston in two days, Cambridge startup Sqrrl has raised $7 million in Series B funding. The deal comes a day after Cambridge analytics technology startup RapidMiner announced raising a Series B of its own, at $15 million.

    • Is NSA ‘World’s most advanced threat actor’ revealed by Kaspersky?

      There is strong speculation that the so-called Equation Group – which infected the hard drive firmware of Seagate, Maxtor, Toshiba and others, and hit political and commercial targets in over 30 countries in the last 15 to 20 years – is America’s NSA.

    • Latest NSA Revelation Presents a Major Risk to American Tech Companies

      The Week’s Washington correspondent Ryan Cooper rarely has a nice thing to say about the NSA, which is understandable because the NSA is an almost-categorically distrusted agency. If it were a baby, it’d be one of those really ugly babies that would cause people to say, “Darn, only a mother would love that.” Whether the NSA’s shrouded parentage actually approves of it is up for debate. What’s not up for debate is Cooper’s categorical dislike for the government’s surveillance goons.

    • NSA-Linked Spyware Widespread, Impossible to Remove

      The NSA may be attacking foreign governments with a virus that can only be removed by putting a sledgehammer through the hard drive.

      The U.S. National Security Agency has created a trove of spyware that is difficult to detect and almost impossible to remove, cyber security experts warned Monday.

    • GCHQ’s Hacking Of Gemalto Shows The Global Telecoms Industry Is Broken

      If privacy conscious folk aren’t already using encrypted mobile communications apps (I can personally vouch for WhatsApp or TextSecure for texts, and RedPhone or Signal for calls), they should be convinced to do so by the latest Edward Snowden revelations in The Intercept. They outline GCHQ’s “DAPINO GAMMA” attack on the world’s biggest provider of SIM cards, Gemalto , as well as widespread targeting of telecoms industry employees the world over. With the NSA, GCHQ has effectively destroyed any remaining shred of trust people had in use of everyday telecoms services.

    • NSA could have full access to your cellphone

      It’s not just the National Security Agency that’s using hackers to do some scary snooping this time. The U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters and the NSA worked together to hack Gemalto, a Dutch SIM card manufacturer.

      The story originally came from The Intercept, a site that publishes NSA documents originally leaked by Edward Snowden.

    • Creepy, Calculating and Controlling: All the Ways Big Brother Is Watching You

      None of us are perfect. All of us bend the rules occasionally. Even before the age of overcriminalization, when the most upstanding citizen could be counted on to break at least three laws a day without knowing it, most of us have knowingly flouted the law from time to time.

    • All the Ways Big Brother Is Watching You

      Drones, which will begin to take to the skies en masse this year, will be the converging point for all of the weapons and technology already available to law enforcement agencies. This means drones that can listen in on your phone calls, see through the walls of your home, scan your biometrics, photograph you and track your movements, and even corral you with sophisticated weaponry.

  • Civil Rights

    • Holder Rationalizes Obama’s War on Whistleblowers

      Attorney General Eric Holder delivered a luncheon speech on sentencing reform at the National Press Club on February 17. He then answered questions after his speech. One of the questions involved President Barack Obama and his administration’s unprecedented crackdown on leaks.

      “The Obama administration has prosecuted eight alleged whistleblowers under the Espionage Act, more than all previous presidential administrations combined. What justifies this more aggressive posture toward leakers?” a person attending the speech asked.

    • The U.S. and International Law: Q&A with Binoy Kampmark

      It has been appalling. The result is that a particular type of incarcerated figure has come into being: the Guantanamo inmate, one who is neither guilty nor innocent, yet too ‘dangerous’ to release. The result is, effectively, indefinite detention. (The point is also to be found in other countries, for instance, Australia, whose domestic intelligence agency has used assessments to prevent unconvicted, uncharged detainees from being released.)

    • Loretta Lynch Is Eric Holder 2.0—And The Senate Should Block Her

      If President Obama’s nominee for attorney general, Loretta Lynch, gets appointed, she will continue the practice of her predecessor by expanding presidential power and the federal government, ultimately threatening the liberty of American citizens and the stability of the nation. It is the Senate’s constitutional duty to make sure that doesn’t happen.

    • Terrorism’s collateral damage

      He found himself sent for secondary inspection at American airports, where he was asked if he had ever received combat training. As America prepared to attack Afghanistan, he wrote a piece for an American newspaper about how scared his family were of the coming war.

    • We’re Losing Our Democracy and All Our Freedoms

      Critics of President Obama’s proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force AUMF) against ISIS have been focused upon its deliberately obfuscatory and ambiguous language, which they rightly note would make it essentially a carte blanche from Congress allowing the president to go to war almost anywhere some would-be terrorist or terrorist copycat could be found who claims affinity with ISIS.

    • Signer: Confronting political extremism through debate itself

      Today, our commonwealth and the country at large are being poisoned by a toxic brew of extremism, gridlock and cynicism about leadership itself. Congress is both historically unpopular and unproductive. President Barack Obama has been stymied in his quest to bring hope and unity to a country divided between red and blue. And here in Richmond, many leaders of both parties can barely speak to each other, let alone compromise, on issues ranging from Medicaid expansion to nonpartisan redistricting.

    • Q and A: Lack of international communication path to terrorism

      As the White House prepares for a major summit discussing how the root causes of terrorism and violent extremism, the Daily Lobo talked with Nakhleh about why people become terrorists, and what governments and communities can do to deal with the problem.

      What are the main factors that contribute to a person turning into a terrorist?

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

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