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Links 25/9/2015: GNU/Linux in Indian Government, NeoKylin in China

Posted in News Roundup at 2:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Box, LinkedIn and WhatsApp share open source advice
  • AT&T’s Chiosi: Open source is critical to integrated cloud architecture

    The telecom industry needs to be wary of different versions of open source platforms taking hold in the industry as it moves to the new IP. That was the message from Margaret Chiosi, a distinguished network architect at AT&T Labs (NYSE: T) and president of the Open Platform for NFV Project (OPNFV), at the NFV Everywhere event in Dallas last week.

  • MemSQL makes it easier to hook up to Apache Spark

    Apache Spark may be the fastest data processing engine around for big data, but unless you are conversant in Scala or Java, this cluster computing framework can be a pain to set up and manage.

  • Tectonic Preview is now open to the public

    Tectonic is an enterprise platform that provides out-of-the-box Kubernetes clusters on CoreOS Linux.

    Kubernetes is a Google-sponsored platform for managing clusters of Linux containers, while CoreOS Linux is a container-native operating system for containers, one of several container-native operating systems in active development.

  • World finally ready for USB-bootable OS/2

    eComStation, the Dutch-owned company that offers a PC operating system based on IBM’s OS/2, has floated the idea of a USB-bootable version of the OS.

    The firm keeps the OS/2 torch burning by offering a PC OS that lets users run OS/2 apps. The outfit claims the likes of Boeing, Whirlpool Corporation and VMware use its software, usually in applications where they can upgrade PCs but still need to run OS/2 code.

  • Apache Big Data Preview: Q&A with IBM’s Anjul Bhambhri

    As a preview to the upcoming Apache Big Data Europe conference, we spoke with with Anjul Bhambhri, Vice President, Big Data and Analytics, IBM Silicon Valley Lab, who will be giving a keynote presentation titled, “Apache Spark — Making the Unthinkable Possible.” We talked with Bhambhri about IBM’s involvement with open source and what Big Data really means.

  • Google Launches Service for Managing Hadoop, Spark Clusters

    Cloud Dataproc will make it easier to administer and manage clusters, the company says.
    Big data analytics technologies such as Hadoop and Spark can help organizations extract business value from massive data sets, but they can be very complex to administer and to manage.

    Hoping to help reduce some of that complexity, Google Wednesday announced the launch of a new service dubbed Cloud Dataproc for customers of its cloud platform. The service is currently available only in beta and is designed to minimize the time businesses spend on administering and managing computing clusters in Hadoop and Spark environments.

  • Cloudera is building a new open-source storage engine called Kudu, sources say

    The storage engine, Kudu, is meant as an alternative to the widely used Hadoop Distributed File System and the Hadoop-oriented HBase NoSQL database, borrowing characteristics from both, according to a copy of a slide deck on Kudu’s design goals that VentureBeat has obtained. The technology will be released as Apache-licensed open-source software, the slides show.

  • Inside The GitHub Systems Where Open Source Lives

    Sometimes the best way to cope with scale is to keep things simple and do everything you can to avoid it. This is the approach that GitHub, the repository service for the popular Git source version control tool created by Linus Torvalds a decade ago, has taken as it has grown explosively and become one of the centers of gravity for open source software development.

  • GitHub Open Sources a Tool That Teaches Students to Code

    GitHub is a way for software engineers to share, shape, and collaborate on code. And it’s also a good way of teaching people to do the same thing.

  • Get ready to meet Kudu, a new, open-source storage engine from Cloudera
  • Dronecode Hosts Workshop As Open Source Drones Proliferate

    The Linux Foundation’s Dronecode Project is hosting a workshop in Dublin, Ireland on Oct. 5, as well as a Flight Day event at a nearby airport on Oct. 8, to showcase open source Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology. These events bookend LinuxCon + CloudOpen + Embedded Linux Conference Europe, which is being held Oct. 5-7 at Conference Centre Dublin.

  • Introducing Brotli: a new compression algorithm for the internet
  • Introducing Lemur
  • The Volkswagen Scandal Is Just the Beginning

    Last week, the EPA revealed that it had trusted Volkswagen’s diesel cars, without checking to see where they kept their brains. It sent a letter to the carmaker detailing how VW programmed about 500,000 cars over half a decade to cheat on its emissions tests. (The worldwide total, VW has revealed, is now 11 million.) It’s a story of massive corporate fraud but also an object lesson in everything that’s terrifying about a world in which cars and other things can think for themselves.

  • 8 key open source software foundations (and what makes them key)

    Open source software foundations are proliferating: Every month it seems that a new one is announced — Open Contain Initiative (OCI) and Cloud Native Container Foundation (CNCF) are just two of the more recent launches.

  • First look: Facebook’s open source React library
  • Facebook takes Relay JavaScript framework open source
  • What CIOs can learn from Facebook’s use of open source
  • Google’s open source attempt to undercut Facebook

    As much as we like to talk about the open-source community, it might be more accurate to describe it as an open-source club. No, not the kind you join, but rather something you use to pummel someone.

  • Bossies 2015: The Best of Open Source Software Awards

    Whenever you hear someone complain about developer productivity, just slap them. Having slogged through hundreds of open source projects each year for the past several years, I can assure you that developers are extremely productive. Every time we put together this package — InfoWorld’s annual Best of Open Source Awards, aka the Bossies — I end up wishing developers were just a little less on the ball.

  • Pumpiverse community update

    Earlier this week, pump.io creator Evan Prodromou announced that, due to budget and time pressures, he was looking to move pump.io into a community-governed project structure. “Ideally, what I’d like to do is transfer the copyrights, domains and data to a non-profit that could collect donations to keep the servers running. Budget-wise, it’s about $5K/year, including servers, domain registration, and SSL certs. It’d also be great if some of the people who have been sending in pull requests could start working on the software directly. There are a lot of PRs backed up.”

  • Events

    • IT industry: Moot highlights role of open source technologies

      Speakers at a conference have emphasised the importance of developing an annual plan for the promotion and advocacy of open source technologies to reduce the import of licensed software worth millions of dollars.

      A day-long conference was organised by the Open Source Foundation of Pakistan, in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Zong Pakistan, Pakistan Software Export Board, NADRA Technologies Limited and others. Leaders of the industry shared their expertise and shed light on how to use and develop open source technologies. HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed underlined the need of measuring the progress according to the target set in the annual plan. “HEC, on behalf of universities, is always available to extend all kind of support to promote open source technologies in the country,” he said. He added open source had resulted in a paradigm shift which created a lot of opportunities for youth.

    • Enter for a chance to win a free pass to All Things Open 2015
    • The DevConf.cz 2016 Call For Participation is now open
    • Software Freedom Day 2015 Phnom Penh

      Saturday the 19. September was Software Freedom Day, an worldwide organized day full with events on various places. I participated in the event in Phnom Penh, which was hold at the National Institute of Posts, Telecommunications and ICT (NIPTICT). It was the second time this event was hold in Phnom Penh and at this place and it begins to grow. There was around 100 participants. The event started in the afternoon and was just a single track with various talks. Fedora was presented by Leap Sok who hold an talk “Understanding Software Virtualization” and me with “Fedora.next And Beyond – Fedora For Everybody”. We also distributed arround 100 DVD to the audience, we met also some people who already use Fedora on their computer.

    • SFD Phnom Penh 2015 roundup

      It’s the second time I organize Software Freedom Day in Phnom Penh! I would like to thank everyone who volunteered, joined and/or presented yesterday. We had a great event and a nice turnout. It seems we managed to have a better focus on our audience this year.

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • How safe and secure is open-source OpenStack?

      Last month we explored the pros and cons of open-source OpenStack, a platform I admittedly love, but which is not meant for everyone (for reasons laid out in that post). Today the topic shifts to OpenStack security. Why security? Because security is not only a hot media topic, but also one that automatically forces the CIO/CTO to analyze his or her own security situation within the organization. Is your open-source OpenStack network secure?

    • The return of TryStack, life as a PTL, and more OpenStack news
    • 5 new guides for working with OpenStack

      Cloud computing is an immensely complicated subject, and it can be hard to keep pace with the speed of development. When you look at a large collaborative project like OpenStack, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the sheer number of pieces of the puzzle you need to be able to put together. But don’t worry! There are lots of resources out there to help you, including the official documentation, various OpenStack training and certification programs, as well as tutorials from the community members themselves.

    • Tesora Enterprise 1.5 Expands OpenStack Database as a Service

      New features in Tesora Enterprise 1.5 include several from the upcoming OpenStack Liberty release, providing improved MongoDB and Reddis database support.
      OpenStack database-as-a-service (DBaaS) vendor Tesora released version 1.5 of Tesora Enterprise 1.5 today, providing users with new features including several that are part of the upcoming OpenStack Liberty release.

      Tesora is a venture-backed vendor that has raised $14.5 million in funding to date, including a $5.8 million round announced on Aug. 13. The company is one of the leading contributors to the OpenStack Trove DBaaS project, which is part of the OpenStack Liberty milestone that is set to officially debut on Oct. 15. Among the new updates in Tesora DBaaS Platform Enterprise Edition 1.5 that come from OpenStack Liberty are improved MongoDB and Reddis database support.

    • The official user survey, visualizing your cloud, and more OpenStack news
    • HP Launches New HP Vertica For Big Data Open Source Adoption

      HP has ramped up efforts in the open source big data and analytics space, adding extensive support to open source technologies in the latest release of its HP Vertica analytics engine.

    • Apache Big Data Preview: Q&A with Pivotal’s Roman Shaposhnik
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Always be shippable

      Drupal will soon be 15 years old, and 5 of that will be spent on building Drupal 8 — a third of Drupal’s life. We started work on Drupal early in 2011 and targeted December 1, 2012 as the original code freeze date. Now almost three years later, we still haven’t released Drupal 8. While we are close to the release of Drupal 8, I’m sure many many of you are wondering why it took 3 years to stabilize. It is not like we didn’t work hard or that we aren’t smart people. Quite the contrary, the Drupal community has some of the most dedicated, hardest working and smartest people I know. Many spent evenings and weekends pushing to get Drupal 8 across the finish line. No one individual or group is to blame for the delay — except maybe me as the project lead for not having learned fast enough from previous release cycles.

    • The keenness of a higher ed Drupal devotee
    • Eloquently coding in Drupal, one line at a time

      For going on two years, Hussain Abbas has been consistently achieving at Axelerant—an India-based, open source incubator—where he holds the title of technical architect. His experience runs the gamut from x86 assembly and C#, to modern PHP-based platforms, to mainly Drupal these days. Hussain happened to be in the middle of a community summit at DrupalCon Los Angeles this year when we began talking about his dedication to the project he contributes to nonstop.

  • Education

    • Getting started with open source machine learning

      What is machine learning? It is the use of both historical and current data to make predictions, organize content, and learn patterns about data without being explicitly programmed to do so. This is typically done using statistical techniques that look for significant events like co-occurrences and anomalies in the data and then factoring in their likelihood into a model that is queried at a later time to provide a prediction for some new piece of data.

    • 6 open source tools to help educators stay organized

      The number of universities and schools that have opted for open source alternatives of popular properties solutions has significantly increased over the last years. We often hear about adopting OpenOffice or LibreOffice as alternatives to Microsoft Office or about replacing Windows with Linux. Nevertheless, the amount of open source software designed specially for teachers still remains limited. Here are some tips on how to make the school life easier with the help of the commonly used open source software.

  • Business

  • Funding


    • Universal Permissive License added to license list

      We recently updated our list of various licenses and comments about them to include the Universal Permissive License (UPL). The UPL is a lax, non-copyleft license that is compatible with the GNU GPL. The UPL contains provisions dealing explicitly with the grant of patent licenses, whereas many other simple lax licenses only have an implicit grant. While making the grant perfectly clear is a reasonable goal, we still recommend using Apache 2.0 for simple programs that don’t require copyleft. For more extensive programs, a copyleft license like the GNU GPL should be used to ensure that all users can enjoy software freedom.

    • September 2015 GNU Toolchain Update
    • GNU Autoconf Archive – News: Noteworthy changes in release 2015.09.25
  • Openness/Sharing

    • Munich app increases political transparency

      A group of volunteers, consisting of OKF (Open Knowledge Foundation) members and developers, has built an alternative web application to the official website of the Munich City Council, the goal of which is to increase the transparency of local political life.

    • Madrid launches eParticipation portal
    • Eco-geeks hold open source alternative to UN climate talks

      Divided by borders, assembled in hierarchies and motivated by the kind of competitive ideology shared by the neoliberal business class, this meeting embodies the self-interested conventions of the old world. Unsurprisingly, the context has resulted in a failure of shameful proportions.

    • Welcome to the era of open source cars

      Even if they’ve been longtime partners, the tech sector’s influence on the automotive industry has never been stronger. OEMs in Detroit, Stuttgart, Seoul, and elsewhere are continually transforming cars to meet the demands of consumers now conditioned to smartphones (and their 18-month refresh cycle). Much of this is being driven by cheap and rugged hardware that can finally cope with the harsh environment (compared to your pocket or an air-conditioned office) that a car needs to be able to handle. Wireless modems, sensors, processors, and displays are all essential to a new car in 2015, but don’t let this visible impact fool you. The tech industry is having a broader influence on the automobile. Hardware is important, but we’re now starting to see larger tech philosophies adopted—like the open source car.

    • Open Data

  • Programming

    • APIs, not apps: What the future will be like when everyone can code

      A couple of decades ago, if you spent every day in chat rooms with your friends, you were a nerd. Today if you do the same thing, you’re just the average Facebook user. And so it’s no surprise there’s a gold rush mentality in the learn-to-code movement. With the tech industry booming and its products so pervasive in our lives, the allure of six-figure tech salaries make plenty of people pack up and head West (literally).


  • FIFA President Sepp Blatter Facing Criminal Proceedings In Switzerland

    FIFA President Sepp Blatter has been the target of U.S. and Swiss corruption probes for months, and allegations of wrongdoing have swirled around him for even longer. Even as criminal probes resulted in the arrest of 14 FIFA officials in May and claimed his right hand man earlier this month, Blatter has largely remained above the fray.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Cannabis ‘forest’ discovered in south-west London

      A cannabis “forest” has been discovered by police officers in a wealthy borough of south-west London.

      Scores of marijuana plants can be seen surrounded by native plant life in images posted on social media by officers from Kingston upon Thames.

    • Industrial farming is one of the worst crimes in history

      Animals are the main victims of history, and the treatment of domesticated animals in industrial farms is perhaps the worst crime in history. The march of human progress is strewn with dead animals. Even tens of thousands of years ago, our stone age ancestors were already responsible for a series of ecological disasters. When the first humans reached Australia about 45,000 years ago, they quickly drove to extinction 90% of its large animals. This was the first significant impact that Homo sapiens had on the planet’s ecosystem. It was not the last.

      About 15,000 years ago, humans colonised America, wiping out in the process about 75% of its large mammals. Numerous other species disappeared from Africa, from Eurasia and from the myriad islands around their coasts. The archaeological record of country after country tells the same sad story. The tragedy opens with a scene showing a rich and varied population of large animals, without any trace of Homo sapiens. In scene two, humans appear, evidenced by a fossilised bone, a spear point, or perhaps a campfire. Scene three quickly follows, in which men and women occupy centre-stage and most large animals, along with many smaller ones, have gone. Altogether, sapiens drove to extinction about 50% of all the large terrestrial mammals of the planet before they planted the first wheat field, shaped the first metal tool, wrote the first text or struck the first coin.

    • GM Mustard in India: a Case of Monumental Fraud and Unremitting Regulatory Delinquency

      The approval and planting of large-scale field trials of genetically modified (GM) mustard in India is currently taking place. According to environmentalist Aruna Rodrigues, this is completely unconscionable. It is occurring even as the Supreme Court-appointed Technical Expert Committee (TEC) Report awaits adjudication in India’s Supreme Court, which expressly recommends a bar on herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops. As a result, Rodrigues is mounting a legal challenge as the lead petitioner in a Public Interest Litigation.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Microsoft puts a bullet in blundering D-Link’s leaked key that made malware VIPs on PCs

      Microsoft has finally revoked D-Link’s leaked code-signing key, which gave malware the red carpet treatment on millions of Windows PCs.

      Last week, it emerged that, for six months between February and September, D-Link exposed its private code-signing key to the world in a firmware download. Anyone who stumbled upon this key could use it to dress up malware as a legit-looking D-Link application, tricking Windows and users into trusting it.

      The key expired at the start of this month, meaning it cannot be used to digitally sign new malware. But any software nasties signed using the key earlier in the year would still be trusted and run by Windows PCs.

    • Filling in the holes in Linux boot chain measurement, and the TPM measurement log

      When I wrote about TPM attestation via 2FA, I mentioned that you needed a bootloader that actually performed measurement. I’ve now written some patches for Shim and Grub that do so.

      The Shim code does a couple of things. The obvious one is to measure the second-stage bootloader into PCR 9. The perhaps less expected one is to measure the contents of the MokList and MokSBState UEFI variables into PCR 14. This means that if you’re happy simply running a system with your own set of signing keys and just want to ensure that your secure boot configuration hasn’t been compromised, you can simply seal to PCR 7 (which will contain the UEFI Secure Boot state as defined by the UEFI spec) and PCR 14 (which will contain the additional state used by Shim) and ignore all the others.

    • Would you trust Intel, Vodafone, Siemens et al with Internet of Things security? You’ll have to

      A new non-profit foundation dedicated to improving security in the “internet of things” launched on Wednesday.

      More than 30 companies including Intel, Vodafone, Siemens, and BT are the founding members of the foundation, whose mission is to “make the Internet of Things secure, to aid its adoption, and maximize its benefits.”

      The IoTSF will focus on best practices and knowledge sharing. It will host a conference in London in December on IoT security.

    • Security wares like Kaspersky AV can make you more vulnerable to attacks
    • Friday’s security updates
    • Encryption back doors: Is there more to this debate?

      As the the encryption access debate heats up in the United States and abroad, statements like the one above have become commonplace.

      But this is not just another expert giving an opinion. Rather, it’s the potent observation of Michael Chertoff, former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, former Federal Appeals Court judge, ex-Chief of the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, and, for almost a decade, a prosecutor.

      Speaking at a conference this summer, Chertoff crystallized what he sees as the risks of heading down such a path (that could likely prevent use of certain kinds of encryption). First, there is increased vulnerability. “You’re basically making things less secure for ordinary people,” he said.

    • Patch Bugzilla! Anyone can access your private bugs – including your security vulns

      That’s because someone’s found a way to easily access private bugs in your codebase – such as critical security holes you’re still working on to fix. An attacker must be able to register for a normal account via email, before exploiting a programming blunder to gain extra access.

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • EU-US data flows using “Safe Harbour” may be illegal because of NSA spying

      The “Safe Harbour” framework—which is supposed to ensure data transfers from the EU to the US are legal under European data privacy laws—does not satisfy the EU’s Data Protection Directive as a result of the “mass, indiscriminate surveillance” carried out by the NSA. That’s the opinion of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) Advocate General Yves Bot, whose views are generally followed by the CJEU when it hands down its final rulings.

    • Mapping How Tor’s Anonymity Network Spread Around the World

      Online privacy projects come and go. But as the anonymity software Tor approaches its tenth year online, it’s grown into a powerful, deeply-rooted privacy network overlaid across the internet. And a new real-time map of that network illustrates just how widespread and global that network has become.

    • Tor becomes extra secure as .onion becomes Special-Use Domain Name

      The dark web browser Tor has now become extra secure as the .onion url has now been assigned special-use status. The Engineering Task Force (IETF) along with Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, part of ICANN, has granted formal recognition to the .onion domain, adding it to the list of Special-Use Domain Names.

    • A key signing party keyserver as a Tor hidden service

      Key signing parties are a pain and hopefully, one day, we will have better ways to authentication keys than reading hexadecimal strings out loud.

      The Zimmermann–Sassaman key-signing protocol makes them much more bearable already by having only one single hexadecimal string read out loud. That string is the cryptographic hash of a document given to every participant listing all participants and their fingerprints. If everyone has the same hash, then we assume that everyone has the same document. Then, participants in turn will confirm that they fully recognize the fingerprint listed in the document.

      Alexander Wirt wrote a small key server dedicated to receive keys from the participants. There is also a script that will generate the document from the submitted keys and a ready-to-use keyring. The latter can be run automatically using inoticoming when a new key arrives. Finally, it would be nice if participants could confirm that their key has been properly added to the document, e.g. by making the list available on a web server.

    • Video: Spy Agency’s Open Source Mapping Tool Helps First Responders Save Lives

      GeoQ organizes geospatial data from multiple sources, which prevents redundancy and determines where help is most needed.

      Project leader Raymond Bauer, with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, recently won Nextgov’s 2015 People’s Choice Bold Award for his efforts in spearheading GeoQ.

      It’s the first NGA project to leverage open source code-sharing site GitHub.

  • Civil Rights

    • Nigel Farage blames immigrants for Ukip being unpopular in London

      Newly arrived migrants are responsible for Ukip’s underwhelming electoral performance in inner London, the party’s leader has said.

      Nigel Farage argued that it was difficult for his party to beat Labour in the capital because of the city centre’s high proportion of foreign-born residents.

    • Ukip civil war re-erupts as Nigel Farage accuses Douglas Carswell of ‘residual loyalty’ to Tories

      Ukip infighting has broken out again in a row over which campaign the Eurosceptic party has decided to side with ahead of the EU referendum. Nigel Farage accused Douglas Carswell, the Conservative defector and Ukip’s only MP, of “residual loyalty” to his old party for not backing Arron Banks’s Leave.EU organisation.

    • Ukip conference: Farage and Carswell in battle over rival anti-EU campaigns

      Ukip is embroiled in a new civil war over the EU referendum at its annual conference, with Nigel Farage accusing his only MP Douglas Carswell of still having residual loyalties to the Conservatives.

      Farage made the comments amid discontent among some senior Ukip figures about his decision to officially endorse the grassroots Leave.EU campaign, which is being bankrolled by millionaire donor Arron Banks.

    • Nigel Farage mocks David Cameron with ‘piggy in the middle’ jibe

      Nigel Farage has mocked David Cameron over claims he put his genitals in a dead pig’s mouth while at university, referring to the Prime Minister as “piggy in the middle”.

      The prime minister is alleged to have placed “a private part of his anatomy into a dead pig’s mouth” as part of an initiation ceremony, according to a book published by former Conservative party treasurer Lord Ashcroft.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Jeb Bush Proudly Promises To Axe Net Neutrality If Elected

      The Jeb Bush campaign this week unveiled a major part of the candidate’s technology platform, and it likely includes taking a hatchet to net neutrality rules. The new policy outline on Bush’s website spends some time butchering the very definition of net neutrality as well, parroting several long-standing incumbent ISP narratives that net neutrality is somehow about content companies not paying their fair share, or that modernization of existing rules is somehow “antiquated.”

    • Why you should share your Internet connection

      uProxy is a browser extension that lets you share your Internet connection with people living in repressive societies. Much of the world lives in countries that severely censor and restrict Internet access. uProxy makes it a little easier to bring the free and open Internet to some of the darkest corners of the world.

      How does it work? Find out in this interview with Lucy He, Raymond Cheng, and Salome Vakhtangadze.

    • North America’s IPv4 address supply runs dry

      For the first time, the body responsible for allocating IP addresses in North America says its free pool of IPv4 numerical labels is exhausted.

    • FCC: Open source router software is still legal—under certain conditions

      With the Federal Communications Commission being criticized for rules that may limit a user’s right to install open source firmware on wireless routers, we’ve been trying to get more specifics from the FCC about its intentions.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Pow! Appeals court assigns copyright to the Batmobile

        “Holy copyright law, Batman!” So goes a line in the first paragraph of a federal appeals court ruling announcing that the iconic Batmobile is a character protected by copyright.

        The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals sided with DC Comics in its copyright infringement suit against Mark Towle, the operator of Gotham Garage, the maker of Batmobile modification kits.

      • Big, Confusing Mess Of A Fair Use Decision Over DMCA Takedowns

        Some potentially good news this morning — which may be undermined by the fine print. After many years of back and forth, the 9th Circuit appeals court has ruled that Universal Music may have violated the DMCA in not taking fair use into account before issuing a DMCA takedown request on a now famous YouTube video of Stephanie Lenz’s infant dancing to less than 30 seconds of a Prince song playing in the background. Because of this, there can now be a trial over whether or not Universal actually had a good faith belief that the video was not fair use.

      • EPA opposed DMCA exemptions that could have revealed Volkswagen Fraud

        We have written previously about the organizations and individuals who opposed exemptions to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s (DMCA) anti-circumvention provisions. These drones oppose the rights of users to backup, modify, and study the software and devices that we own. The DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions create legal penalties for simply accessing your software under your own terms, and raises those penalties even higher should you dare to share the tools needed to do so. It creates real penalties for anyone who wants to avoid Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) controls. The granting of exemptions to these totalitarian rules is a broken and half-hearted attempt to limit the damage these rules bring, granting for 3 years a reprieve for certain specified devices and software.

      • Appeals court strikes a blow for fair use in long-awaited copyright ruling

        The US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit today issued a ruling that could change the contours of fair use and copyright takedown notices.

      • Documentarian wipes out Warner’s $2M “Happy Birthday” copyright

        More than two years after a documentary filmmaker challenged the copyright to the simple lyrics of the song “Happy Birthday,” a federal judge ruled Tuesday that the copyright is invalid.

        The result could undo Warner/Chappell’s lucrative licensing business around the song, once estimated to be $2 million per year. The company is likely to appeal the ruling to the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.

      • Happy Birthday Is Finally Public Domain, China’s Official Linux Distro…[Tech News Digest]

        The song “Happy Birthday” finally enters the public domain, a look at the Linux distro the Chinese government is hoping to replace Windows with, people are watching fewer season premiers this year, Pebble’s got an attractive new watch, and a cat that is absolutely up to no good.


Links 24/9/2015: GNOME 3.18, Fedora 23 Beta, New Firefox

Posted in News Roundup at 5:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • More for Less: How the Open Source Software Revolution Can Mitigate Unnecessary Expenditure

    The board may be reluctant to move away from a big, branded, closed source solution. But the fact is, Open Source Software can now do the same for less.

  • Open Source Code May Unite IoT

    A high profile open source project working on software-defined networks has given birth to what could become an important standard for bringing unity to the fragmented Internet of Things.

  • Google launches Brotli, a new open source compression algorithm to speed up the web

    As websites and online services become ever more demanding, the need for compression increases exponentially. Fans of Silicon Valley will be aware of the Pied Piper compression algorithm, and now Google has a more efficient one of its own.

  • Splunk admits open source challengers can’t be ignored, but says it has advantage

    If you type the words ‘open source Splunk’ into Google, you’ll soon find a bunch of articles that talk up the challenge posed to Splunk by cheaper, open source alternatives. One even used the headline “In a world of open source big data, Splunk should not exist”, whilst another says “Splunk feels the heat from stronger, cheaper open source rivals”.

    And it’s true that when you think about big data and the Internet-of-Things (IoT), a number of open source technologies spring to mind. But is Splunk worried?

  • Get your own cloud and reclaim your data

    Frank Karlitschek founded ownCloud, a personal cloud platform that also happens to be open source, in 2011. Why open source? Frank has some strong opinions about how we host and share our data, and with the recent scrutiny on security and privacy, his thoughts are even more relevant. In this interview, I ask Frank some questions I’ve been wondering about my own personal data as well as how ownCloud might play a role in a more open, yet secure, data future.

    A little history on Frank: He is a long time open source contributor and former board member of the KDE e.V. After 10 years of managing engineering teams, today he is the project leader and maintainer of ownCloud. Additionally he is the co-founder and CTO of ownCloud Inc. which offers ownCloud for enterprises.

  • Open source is ugly: Improving UI and UX

    For four years, Garth has been working at Adobe on open source projects as a design and code contributor. These projects include Brackets, Topcoat, and Apache Flex. In addition to his work at Adobe, he also speaks at conferences about the power of design, improving designer/developer collaboration, and the benefits of open source. As part of this effort, Garth founded the Open Design Foundation.

  • Facebook takes Relay JavaScript framework open source

    Facebook this week is open-sourcing Relay, which provides data-fetching for React JavaScript applications. The move could open up new possibilities for the technology, Facebook engineers said.

    Accessible on GitHub, Relay is a JavaScript framework for developing data-driven applications with React, Facebook’s JavaScript library for building user interfaces. “Relay is actually intended to build and do for data-fetching what React does for the user interface rendering,” said Tom Occhino, Facebook engineering manager, in an interview at this week’s @scale conference in San Jose, Calif.

  • Being Thoughtful About FOSS History

    Time to saddle up the rant stallion and take him out of the stable: This comes up from time to time on social media — as it did again several days ago — and it’s really about time it stops.

    Dennis Ritchie and Steve Jobs died pretty close to each other, time-wise. That may sound like the start of a joke — “Dennis Ritchie and Steve Jobs meet at the pearly gates, and…” — but we’re not going there today. Many people are under the impression that while Steve Jobs got all the attention as the “messiah of computing” when he died, Dennis Ritchie was completely ignored.

  • How Open Source and Crowdfunding Are Creating a New Business Niche
  • Google’s new squeeze: Brotli compression open-sourced
  • How Open Source Is Changing Enterprises

    There was once a time when IT vendors shunned the idea of open source. Why wouldn’t they? The idea of sharing their very own programming innovations with others was viewed as detrimental to any competitive business. But nearly 20 years on, open source is now in vogue and has been embraced by some of the biggest IT vendors and their clients. So what changed? We find out.

  • Sorry Microsoft, sometimes open source is just better (and free)

    There can be several reasons to resort to open source software solutions. Sometimes, it’s simply the only suitable offering out there. Others, it’s the best of its breed. And when expense is an issue, you can’t beat a zero dollar price tag. In any case, open source is an option you can’t ignore.

    As regular readers know, we’ve lived in a post-MS Office world for a while now. Free office suite LibreOffice does all we want and its Writer module works better than Word. Version 5, released last month, introduces a better organised command centre, Windows 10 compatibility, a style preview panel, short codes that enable quick insertion of emojis and other symbols and the ability to crop images inside the word processor.

    Whether all these new features matter to every user is not the point. The point is that LibreOffice develops under democratic principles, where users can vote on the features they want most. And since the development team has no commercial reason to hold back new features to maximise the profitability of older versions, enhancements flow through shortly after they’re ready.

  • Three students jump into open source with OpenMRS and Sahana Eden

    We are three students in the Bachelor of Computer Science second degree program at the University of British Columbia (UBC). As we each have cooperative education experience, our technical ability and contributions have increasingly become a point of focus as we approach graduation. Our past couple of years at UBC have allowed us to produce some great technical content, but we all found ourselves with one component noticeably absent from our resumes: an open source contribution. While the reasons for this are varied, they all stem from the fact that making a contribution involves a set of skills that goes far beyond anything taught in the classroom or even learned during an internship. It requires a person to be outgoing with complete strangers, to be proactive in seeking out problems to solve, and to have effective written communication.

  • 3 Open Source Desktop Publishing Tools for Small Businesses

    Small businesses and start-ups are always on the lookout for ways to save money on new and expensive services. Many budget-minded small businesses are returning to the days of hands-on and in-house to keep costs down, and the many open source tools available today can help do just that.

  • 14 tips for teaching open source development

    Academia is an excellent platform for training and preparing the open source developers of tomorrow. In research, we occasionally open source software we write. We do this for two reasons. One, to promote the use of the tools we produce. And two, to learn more about the impact and issues other people face when using them. With this background of writing research software, I was tasked with redesigning the undergraduate software engineering course for second-year students at the University of Bradford.

  • Cloudera’s open source codeathon project with Bay Area Discovery Museum
  • Open source software could help India save Rs 8,254 crore in education alone: Study

    Use of free and open source software could help India save more than Rs 8,300 crore in government expenses on education and police only, says a new study, vindicating the Centre’s move to promote such software as part of its Digital India initiative.

    Schools and other institutions could save an estimated Rs 8,254 crore by adopting free and open source software (FOSS) while police departments could save about Rs 51.20 crore, said a study led by Rahul De, Hewlett-Packard Chair Professor at the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.

  • No driver, no problem: NJ’s self-driving car developers

    While DriveAI’s work is coming on a much smaller scale than the tech giants of the world, its members take pride in one key aspect: The entire project is open-source.

    The team regularly posts updates on its progress and snags. Anyone can view the DriveAI source code and provide input or suggest changes.

    While other self-driving car divisions and companies are protecting their work behind lock and key, DriveAI’s project will be free for anyone to apply and use for their own work.

    “Google’s going to write a bunch of proprietary code. All these car manufacturers are going to write their own proprietary code,” team member Parth Mehrotra said. “It’s a lot of wasted effort if everybody does the same thing again and again.

    “If ours isn’t up to par or where the industry wants the technology to be, they can contribute the manpower to it,” he said.

    An open-source project allows researchers across the globe to weigh in and suggest changes to the software. The company has already addressed issues raised by someone with a master’s degree in computer science who simply read over the source code.

    “What good is all of this technology if people can’t access it or have control over it?” Shoyoye said. “What good is collecting data if you can’t analyze it? People around the world can analyze this in real time and understand how autonomous vehicles are working in real time. That can only propel it forward.”

  • The only way to ensure the VW scandal never happens again

    Most people realize that computers aren’t going to go away any time soon. That doesn’t mean that people have to put up with these deceptions and intrusions on our lives.

    For years, many leading experts in the software engineering world have been promoting the benefits and principles of free software.

    What we mean by free is that users, regulators and other independent experts should have the freedom to see and modify the source code in the equipment that we depend on as part of modern life. In fact, experts generally agree that there is no means other than software freedom to counter the might of corporations like Volkswagen and their potential to misuse that power, as demonstrated in the emissions testing scandal.

    If Governments and regulators want to be taken seriously and protect society, isn’t it time that they insisted that the car industry replaces all hidden code with free and open source software?

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Updates to Firefox Accounts and Firefox Hello Beta

        The latest Firefox update is now available. This release includes minor updates to personalize your Firefox Account and adds a new functionality to Firefox Hello Beta.

        Firefox Accounts provides access to services like Firefox Sync to let you take browsing data such as passwords, bookmarks, history and open tabs across your desktop and mobile devices. The latest update to Firefox Accounts allows you to personalize your Firefox Account profile in Firefox for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android by adding a photo.

      • Firefox 41 integrates WebRTC messaging app as it fights for relevance
      • Firefox 41 arrives, adding instant messaging and personalisation tweaks

        The latest version of the Firefox browser – Firefox 41 – has been released by Mozilla for Windows, Mac, Linux and Android.

        The new release includes updates which allow users to personalise their Firefox account, so they can share web browsing data such as passwords, bookmarks, history, and open tabs across their desktop and mobile devices. It also lets users add a photo to their account.

      • Mozilla Firefox 41.0 Lands in All Supported Ubuntu OSes, Users Urged to Update Now

        Now that Mozilla has officially released the Mozilla Firefox 41.0 web browser for all GNU/Linux distributions, but also for the Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X operating systems, the time has come to update it on your favorite OS.

      • Firefox 41 Released with AdBlock Plus Memory Improvements and More

        Mozilla has just released the stable version of Firefox 41, bringing some pretty cool features like the ability to set up a profile picture for the Firefox account and some memory improvements for AdBlock Plus.

      • Mozilla Firefox 42.0 to Bring GTK3 Integration for GNU/Linux, New Privacy Settings

        Now that Mozilla released version 41.0 of its widely used, open-source and cross-platform web browser for GNU/Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X operating systems, the time has come to inform you guys about the upcoming features of Firefox 42.0.

        Mozilla Firefox 42.0 has entered development, with a first Beta build released on September 23, and the first set of features to be implemented in the final version of the software have already been revealed. Among them we can mention GTK3 integration for GNU/Linux systems and one-click muting of audio on active tabs via a new indicator.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • ScyllaDB Database Emerges Out of Cloudius Systems

      Avi Kivity is well-known in the open-source and Linux communities as the original lead developer of the widely deployed KVM hypervisor. In 2012, Kivity started a company called Cloudius Systems, which develops the OSv operating system for the cloud. Today, Cloudius is being rebranded and refocused under the name ScyllaDB.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Funding


  • Openness/Sharing

    • Autodesk open sources Linux-based 3D printer

      Autodesk has open sourced the electronics and firmware of its resin- and DLP-based Ember 3D printer, revealing it to run Linux on a BeagleBone Black clone.

      In releasing the design of its Ember 3D Printer under open source licensing, Autodesk has revealed a mainboard that runs Linux on a customized spin-off of the BeagleBone Black hacker SBC. In March, the company published the recipe for the printer’s “PR48” Standard Clear Prototyping resin, and in May, it followed through by open sourcing its mechanical files. As promised, Autodesk has now opened up the BeagleBone Black based electronics and firmware.

    • Autodesk Open Sources Ember Hardware and Firmware and Drops a Big Fusion 360 Update

      As with the previous releases Ember’s electronics and firmware are shared under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license and licensed under GNU GPL. Most of the newly released specs are, frankly, far above my head, but they do reveal some interesting information about the advanced 3D printer. The main control board is a very heavily modified version of a standard BeagleBone Black, a low-cost development board that should be relatively simple for anyone to get their hands on. Using relatively easy to source parts is an ideal scenario for developers looking to incorporate Autodesk printing technology into their own 3D printers. This sends a pretty clear signal that Autodesk really is committed to helping the entire 3D printing industry grow.

    • Beginning the search for ZeMarmot

      We have started a dozen days of research for “ZeMarmot” Open Movie. By this, we mean we are going for a trip to the Alps, where we we will stalk cool marmots! Our goal is to get photos, videos and sounds, of marmots, other animal and awesome mountain landscapes. These will be used for reference for the animation film, to study marmot behavioral patterns, movements, get ideas, and so on.

    • Open Source Hardware Certification Announced

      This certification process means creators must register their project, but it’s free to enter. In the first proposal for the Open Hardware Certification, there was discussion about distinct levels of certification, like ‘Open Bronze’. ‘Open Silver’ and ‘Open Gold’. This was ultimately not implemented, and there is only one level of the Open Hardware Certification.

    • Braintree Founder Unveils Open Source Playbook For Science Investors
    • Open Data

      • Antwerp and Birmingham aim to innovate transport

        OpenTransportNet aims to change the way Europe’s public administrations create and manage transport services. The consortium wants to make geospatial information easily accessible and encourage anyone to use it, and create new, innovative services.

      • Open-source ‘Tree of Life’ includes all known life on Earth

        Combing through records spanning over 3.5 billion years, scientists 11 institutions have complied a ‘tree of life’ that includes the approximately 2.3 million known species of animals, plants, fungi, and microbes.

  • Programming

    • The EPA Deserves Software Freedom, Too

      The issue of software freedom is, not surprisingly, not mentioned in the mainstream coverage of Volkswagen’s recent use of proprietary software to circumvent important regulations that exist for the public good. Given that Volkswagen is an upstream contributor to Linux, it’s highly likely that Volkswagen vehicles have Linux in them.

      Thus, we have a wonderful example of how much we sacrifice at the altar of “Linux adoption”. While I’m glad for some Free Software to appear in products rather than none, I also believe that, too often, our community happily accepts the idea that we should gratefully laud a company includes a bit of Free Software in their product, and gives a little code back, even if most of what they do is proprietary software.

    • VW scandal highlights irony of EPA opposition to vehicle software tinkering

      “I personally am deeply sorry that we have broken the trust of our customers and the public,” Volkswagen Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn said in a statement Monday, addressing the so-called “defeat device” software the automaker built into its vehicles to deceive US air pollution tests. “We will do everything necessary in order to reverse the damage this has caused.”

    • Wisp: Lisp, minus the parentheses
    • Software In Person

      In February, while coworking at the Open Internet Tools Project, I got to talking with Gus Andrews about face-to-face tech events. Specifically, when distributed people who make software together have a chance to get together in person, how can we best use that time? Gus took a bunch of notes on my thoughts, and gave me a copy.

    • Will freelancers beat software development companies soon?
    • From a diary of AArch64 porter — vfp precision
    • phpMyAdmin version 4.5
    • PHP version 5.6.14RC1
    • Taking a spin with Dancer, the lightweight Perl web application framework

      Dancer is a lightweight web application framework for Perl, inspired by the Sinatra framework in Ruby. Dancer bills itself as simple and flexible, but powerful enough to run most any web application you can think up.


  • Hardware

    • HP Will Cut as Many as 30,000 More Jobs After Split

      Hewlett-Packard will shed as many as 30,000 more jobs as it splits into two companies, the company said at a meeting with analysts in San Jose, Calif.

      Tim Stonsifer, the incoming CFO of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, the company devoted to corporate computing that will emerge from the split on Nov. 1, announced the reductions as part of his presentation on guidance. The restructuring will include a $2.7 billion charge.

  • Security

    • Security advisories for Monday
    • The campaign may only be 15 days old, but thousands of sites are already infected and there are no signs of slowing down.

      Out of thousands of websites infected through the new campaign, the security researchers say 95 percent of them rely on WordPress — and 17 percent of them have already been blacklisted by Google.

      Webmasters should make sure their plugins are all up-to-date to prevent exposure and blacklisting by the web’s most popular search engine.

      SecuriLabs has also provided a scanner for webmasters to check the health of their domains.

    • Seven years of malware linked to Russian state-backed cyber espionage

      For the past seven years, a cyber-espionage group operating out of Russia—and apparently at the behest of the Russian government—has conducted a series of malware campaigns targeting governments, political think tanks, and other organizations. In a report issued today, researchers at F-Secure provided an in-depth look at an organization labelled by them as “the Dukes,” which has been active since at least 2008 and has evolved into a methodical developer of “zero-day” attacks, pulling together their own research with the published work of other security firms to provide a more detailed picture of the people behind a long-running family of malware.

    • iPhones and Macs Vulnerable to Hacking From Airdrop Exploit

      A cyber security researcher has uncovered a significant vulnerability present within a library in iOS. When exploited, an attacker has the means to overwrite arbitrary files and insert a signed applications on a targeted device.

    • Tips for Improving the Linux Desktop Security

      One of the longest-held beliefs is that the Linux desktop comes with invulnerable and foolproof security system.

      A close examination of the security system indicates that this might not be the case after all. The desktop running on Linux Operating System needs enhanced protection to provide it with excellent security and ensure that it can withstand the most vicious attacks from the latest and highly potent malware as well as viruses and spyware of today.

    • Apple removes malware-infected App Store apps after major security breach

      Apple has removed malware-infected apps from the App Store after acknowledging its first sustained security breach. The malware, known as XcodeGhost, worked its way into several apps by convincing developers to use a modified version of Xcode, the software used to create iOS and Mac software.

      “We’ve removed the apps from the App Store that we know have been created with this counterfeit software,” Apple spokesperson Christine Monaghan told Reuters. “We are working with the developers to make sure they’re using the proper version of Xcode to rebuild their apps.”

    • Understanding the World of Linux Foundation Security Checklist

      Although this seemed quite weird to some people, it has become a reason for more and more attention to be drawn to some of the best ways to protect your Linux workstation, even if most IT experts do not welcome all recommendations the checklist has.

      Konstantin Ryabitsev who is the director of collaborative IT services of the foundation created this list for all the users of LF remote sysadmins. This was done to make sure their laptops were always safe against all illegal attacks. Nevertheless, the foundation has not demanded for universal adoptions of the list.

    • ‘Let’s Encrypt’ free encryption project issues first SSL/TLS certificate
    • Important security notice regarding signing key and distribution of Red Hat Ceph Storage on Ubuntu and CentOS
    • Tuesday’s security updates
    • Why is open source software more secure?
    • OpenLDAP Vulnerabilities Closes in All Supported Ubuntu OSes
    • Tech Allies Lobby to Keep U.S. Rule From Fettering Security Research

      When the U.S. Department of Commerce proposed a rule to regulate the international trade and sharing of “intrusion software,” worried security firms immediately went on the defense.

      Industry giants, such as Symantec and FireEye, teamed up with well-known technology firms, such as Cisco and Google, to criticize the regulations. The proposed rules, published in May, would cause “significant unintended consequences” that would “negatively impact—rather than improve—the state of cyber-security,” Cisco stated in a letter to the Commerce Dept.’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS).

    • XcodeGhost apps haunting iOS App Store more numerous than first reported

      Security researchers have both good and bad news about the recently reported outbreak of XcodeGhost apps infecting Apple’s App Store. The bad: the infection was bigger than previously reported and dates back to April. The good: affected apps are more akin to adware than security-invading malware.

    • Wanted alive: $1m for an iOS 9 bug to hijack, er, jailbreak iThings

      Exploit traders Zerodium will pay a million dollars to anyone who finds an unpatched bug in iOS 9 that can be exploited to jailbreak iThings – or compromise them.

      The $1m (£640,000) bounty will be awarded to an individual or team that provides a working exploit to achieve remote code execution on an iOS device via the Safari or Chrome browsers or through an SMS/MMS message.

      This exploit could be combined with other exploitable vulnerabilities to perform an untethered jailbreak on an iPhone or iPad, allowing fans to install any applications they want on their gadgets – particularly software not available on Apple’s App Store.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Feds open criminal probe of Volkswagen’s emissions violations

      During normal driving, the cars with the software — known as a “defeat device” — would pollute 10 times to 40 times the legal limits, the EPA estimated. The discrepancy emerged after the International Council on Clean Transportation commissioned real-world emissions tests of diesel vehicles including a Jetta and Passat, then compared them to lab results.

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin an official commodity: US trade commission

      Digital currencies have been granted the status of an official commodity by the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which said that bitcoin operators must immediately ensure that their companies are legally registered under the applicable trading laws and regulations.

    • Getting Back to Full Employment

      I found out about this through Paul Krugman, and if you’re a regular reader of Krugman’s columns and blog, not much here will be a surprise. Baker and Bernstein are advocating what I would call conventional-liberal economic policy by US standards (which means that it’s not really that liberal). The short version is that full employment is vital for improving the economic position of the average person, inflation is nowhere near as much of a risk as people claim, and the best economic action the US government can take at present is to aggressively pursue a full employment strategy without worrying excessively about inflation.

  • Censorship

    • France rejects Google’s ‘right to be forgotten’ appeal

      France’s data protection watchdog has rejected an appeal by Google against a decision ordering the internet giant to comply with users’ requests to have information about them removed from all search results.

      Since a European Court of Justice ruling in May 2014 recognising the “right to be forgotten” on the net, Google users can ask the search engine to remove results about them that are no longer relevant.

      However, Google ran into trouble in France over the fact that while it removes these references from its results in searches made in Google.fr or other European extensions, it refuses to do so on Google.com and elsewhere.

  • Privacy

    • Fiber, X, Ad Blocking and Tracking

      My opinion on advertising sours greatly when it comes to the topic of tracking and targeting, which I believe is overstepping the line from advertising to stalking. I don’t like going onto Amazon and finding whatever I looked at spilled over to other sites I visit. I’m disturbed when I use a Google service to realise later I’ll be inundated and pressured into purchasing something until my next pushable product becomes apparent. It’s like browsing physical store to find several random people have followed you back out, taking notes on everything you do and observing where else you’ll go – in the real world those people would be arrested for stalking, how is it acceptable online?

    • India to cripple its tech sector with proposed encryption crackdown

      The Indian government has published a draft of its latest plans for encryption. The proposals spell bad news for domestic software developers and will make other companies looking to do business in the subcontinent very nervous indeed.

      The new National Encryption Policy [PDF] proposed by the nation’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology states that the government will require applications using encryption to store plain text versions of all data for 90 days so that they can be examined by the police if need be.

      “On demand, the user shall be able to reproduce the same plain text and encrypted text pairs using the software/hardware used to produce the encrypted text from the given plain text,” the proposed rules read.

    • Skype Down in Some Countries Updated

      The Skype service is currently down in some countries and Microsoft says that it’s already aware of the problem and a fix is on its way.

    • Skype communication app is down across the globe
    • Skype outage? reSIProcate to the rescue!
    • Encryption you don’t control is not a security feature

      The TL;DR of that article is this: encryption you don’t control is not a security feature. It’s great that Apple implemented encryption in their messaging software but since the user has no control over the implementation or the keys (especially the key distribution, management, and trust) users shouldn’t expect this type of encryption system to actually protect them.

  • Civil Rights

    • This Is What Jeremy Corbyn’s New Labour Coalition Looks Like

      The establishment’s Plan A had been to stop Jeremy Corbyn. Up against three technocrats of the political center, Corbyn—who has run nothing bigger than the planning committee of a town council, though he has been a member of Parliament since 1983—won 60 percent on the first ballot, becoming the new leader of the UK’s Labour Party.

      Plan B had been to hamstring Corbyn if he won by withholding support from Tony Blairite, centrist, pro-Nato, pro-business members of Parliament. Corbyn would be the floundering figurehead for 18 months before returning to business as usual. But 60 percent—from a membership swelled to half a million during Corbyn’s barnstorming summer—gives you a crushing mandate.

      Sixty percent gives you permission to appoint the hardest-left MP in Parliament as your shadow finance minister and put a vegan in charge of handling the farming lobby. Even as the right-wing press derided the mild-mannered and bearded Corbyn as a “weaponized lentil,” the shock was setting in. Corbyn wants to nationalize the railways and energy companies, use quantitative easing to fund public spending, scrap Britain’s nuclear weapons and student tuition fees. He is a lifelong anti-imperialist and supporter of Palestinian liberation. For the first time in 80 years, the establishment does not control the Labour Party.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Yes, the FCC might ban your operating system

      Over the last few weeks a discussion has flourished over the FCC’s Notification of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) on modular transmitters and electronic labels for wireless devices. Some folks have felt that the phrasing has been too Chicken-Little-like and that the FCC’s proposal doesn’t affect the ability to install free, libre or open source operating system. The FCC in fact says their proposal has no effect on open source operating systems or open source in general. The FCC is undoubtedly wrong.

    • Internet growth slows; most people still offline: U.N.

      Growth in the number of people with access to the Internet is slowing, and more than half the world’s population is still offline, the United Nations Broadband Commission said on Monday.

      Internet access in rich economies is reaching saturation levels but 90 percent of people in the 48 poorest countries have none, its report said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Copyright on ‘Happy Birthday’ song thrown out

        A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Warner/Chappell Music’s claim to the 120-year-old song wasn’t legal, therefore freeing it from copyright. The ruling came amid a lawsuit challenging Warner/Chappell’s attempt to fine a group of filmmakers $1,500 for the song’s use.


Links 21/9/2015: Tizen 3.0, Red Hat’s Results Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 1:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Microsoft’s wake-up call on software piracy

    With piracy-related lawsuits becoming a looming possibility, open-source software seems to be the answer

  • Exercising Software Freedom in the Global Email System

    In this post, I discuss one example of how a choice for software freedom can cause many strange problems that others will dismiss. My goal here is to explain in gory detail how proprietary software biases in the computing world continue to grow, notwithstanding Open Source ballyhoo.

    Two decades ago, nearly every company, organization, entity, and tech-minded individual ran their own email server. Generally speaking, even back then, nearly all the software for both MTAs and MUAs were Free Software0. MTA’s are the mail transport agents — the complex software that moves email around from one Internet domain to another. MUAs are the mail user agents, sometimes called mail clients — the local programs with which users manipulate their own email.

    I’ve run my own MTA since around 1993: initially with sendmail, then with exim for a while, and with Postfix since 1999 or so. Also, everywhere I’ve worked throughout my entire career since 1995, I’ve either been in charge of — or been the manager of the person in charge of — the MTA installation for the organization where I worked. In all cases, that MTA has always been Free Software, of course.

  • Open source ‘essential for heritage preservation’

    Working together on open source tools based on open standards is very important for those involved in the preservation of digital information, says Barbara Sierman, board member of the Open Preservation Foundation.

  • GNU/Linux Touted As Safe Replacement For Illegal Software In Bangladesh
  • FOSS the Solution to Piracy, Newspaper Says

    On September 9, a Bangladeshi English language newspaper, Dhaka Tribune, reported that the country’s Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Task Force and Copyright officials had seized 69 laptops with pirated Microsoft software and arrested two high ranking officials at Flora, one of Bangladesh’s largest computer retailers. The raid came after two years of newspaper ads sponsored by the country’s Copyright Office warning about the legal implications of selling pirated goods.

  • AT&T’s Chiosi: Unite on Open Source or Suffer

    The telecom industry needs to agree on how it wants the various pieces of open source to come together in a platform for the future, AT&T’s Margaret Chiosi said here Thursday. Otherwise, there is the risk of a splintered effort that will ultimately slow critical network transformation.

    Chiosi, a Distinguished Network Architect at AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) who is also president of the Open Platform for NFV Project Inc. and one of the original players in the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) NFV ISG, explained why open source is critical to AT&T’s Integrated Cloud (AIC) architecture — its converged services platform moving forward — and outlined the numerous open source groups in which the telecom giant is participating, which span 700 different projects.

  • Google’s Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software uses Tesseract

    Google’s OCR is probably using dependencies of Tesseract, an OCR engine released as free software, or OCRopus, a free document analysis and optical character recognition (OCR) system that is primarily used in Google Books. Developed as a community project during 1995-2006 and later taken over by Google, Tesseract is considered one of the most accurate OCR engines and works for over 60 languages. The source code is available on GitHub.

  • Modest CEO on open source and acquisition by PayPal

    Professionally, Harper was CTO of Threadless and then CTO of Obama for America. He’s currently CEO of Modest, Inc., which was recently acquired by PayPal. I asked him what really drives him and he said, “I like to have fun and do interesting things.” Also, in a talk Harper gave in Sweden in 2014, he said that he strives to hire people who looked different from him. In this interview, I ask him more about that and his upcoming All Things Open talk.

  • Google, Twitter Forge Open Source Publishing Partnership

    Google will be coming late to the publishing party, having failed to challenge Facebook with its own social media platforms — the short-lived Google Buzz and the faltering Google+, noted SEO researcher Joshua J. Bachynski. Google’s inability to understand its user base has forced it to form an uneasy partnership with Twitter and others, he suggested.

  • Events

    • A Preliminary systemd.conf 2015 Schedule is Now Online!

      We are happy to announce that an initial, preliminary version of the systemd.conf 2015 schedule is now online! (Please ignore that some rows in the schedule link the same session twice on that page. That’s a bug in the web site CMS we are working on to fix.)

    • Software Freedom Day 2015 Phnom Penh

      The Digital Freedom Foundation is organizing our Software Freedom Day event in Phnom Penh together with the National Institute of Posts Telecommunications and ICT and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications on September 19, 2015 at the NIPTICT Building. There will be 10 presentations and several lightening talks with topics covering free and open source software ranging from operating system, virtualization, drones, mapping, servers, to security. Here is the detailed schedule.

    • How will you celebrate Software Freedom Day?

      Software Freedom Day is a global celebration of free and open source software (FOSS). What will you to on September 19, 2015 to celebrate?

      We hope you can choose to do many of the options we listed in our poll to help celebrate FOSS on Software Freedom Day, but even if you can only do one that will be a great benefit to the community.

  • Web Browsers

    • Shopping for a Browser

      I remain deeply suspicious of Chrome, since it has been reported to be snooping on its users and reporting back to Google. And, sadly, the latest news from Firefox is discouraging. It’s possible that that adware and snoopware will be left out of Mozilla’s SeaMonkey browser, which I have recently installed.

    • Mozilla

      • The Firefox Is in the Hen House

        For a variety of reasons that nobody outside of Mozilla seems to completely understand, Mozilla ended its relationship with Google late last year to ink a deal with Yahoo. Some pundits are figuring that Yahoo offered better terms and that Mozilla stands to make more money now than before, especially since it’s now selling default search on a country-by-country basis instead of carte blanche for the entire planet. Others say the change in affiliation had little to do with money, but was brought about by ideological reasons, basically revolving around Mozilla’s Do Not Track system, which Google does not support. Reportedly, as part of the new deal, Yahoo has agreed to abide by Do Not Track requests.

        Whether Mozilla receives more income from Yahoo than it did from Google is questionable, even if a majority of Firefox users keep Yahoo instead of flipping the switch to Google search, which is doubtful. Certainly, a recent move by Mozilla might indicate that the new deal with Yahoo isn’t as fruitful as the organization had hoped and that it’s scrambling to create new revenue streams.

      • Announcing Rust 1.3

        The gear keeps turning: we’re releasing Rust 1.3 stable today! As always, read on for the highlights and check the release notes for more detail.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Dutch Standards Board mulls making ODF mandatory

      The Standardisation Board of the Netherlands wants to make the use of the Open Document Format mandatory for Dutch public administrations. ODF is one of the required ICT standards in the Netherlands, following a policy dating from 2007. However, the document format is ignored by most. This should change, said Nico Westpalm van Hoorn, the chairman of the standards board, speaking on Tuesday at the ODF Plugfest in The Hague.

    • Italian military to switch to LibreOffice and ODF

      The Italian military is transitioning to LibreOffice and the Open Document Format (ODF). The Ministry of Defense will over the next year-and-a-half install this suite of office productivity tools on some 150,000 PC workstations – making it Europe’s second largest LibreOffice implementation. The switch was announced on 15 September by the LibreItalia Association.

      The migration project will begin in October and is foreseen to be completed at the end of 2016.

      The deployment of LibreOffice will be jointly managed by the two organisations, announces LibreItalia. The NGO will help the ministry to ready trainers in different parts of the military, and the Ministry is to develop a series of online courses to help with the switch to LibreOffice. The material is to be made public using a Creative Commons licence.

      An agreement between the Ministry and LibreItalia was signed on 15 September in Rome, by Ruggiero Di Biase, Rear Admiral and General Manager of the Italian Ministry of Defence Information Systems and Sonia Montegiove, President of Associazione LibreItalia.

    • LibreOffice Installations In EU Governments Approach One Million

      The government of the UK, in its guidance on using ODF (Open Document Format) surveys usage of ODF and LibreOffice by EU governments. Usage is huge and widespread and profitable. Lately, The Netherlands is considering making ODF mandatory in government. That this was obvious to me 15 years ago but is now being acknowledged shows the depth of lock-in M$ has caused in the world but, in 2015, folks are now running on the sandy beaches instead of in neck-deep water. The world is finally being freed. Better late than never.

    • FSF turns 30, Italian Military Goes LO and ODF & More…
    • Italy’s Ministry of Defense to Drop Microsoft Office in Favor of LibreOffice
    • Making FLOSS The Default Option Helps Procurement For Government
    • ​Italian Ministry of Defense moves to LibreOffice
    • Forza open-source: Italian military to adopt LibreOffice
  • CMS

    • WordPress brings the freedom to the front

      About 75 million Web sites depend on WordPress. If you are one of its many users who recently upgraded to Version 4.3, you may have noticed something new. Recently, a coop worker-member, Pea, informed me that this version includes a new tab with a reference to the GNU General Public License. With some quizzical interest, I ran the upgrade on a WordPress instance I maintain.

      I eagerly waited for the upgrade to finish. When it loaded, what I saw was typical for a WordPress upgrade, a description of the version’s new features. Then I saw a tab prominently named “Freedom.” I clicked on it, and boom: right there were the four freedoms of free software, starting with Freedom 0. Take a look for yourself.

  • Business

  • BSD


  • Public Services/Government

    • Swiss checklist to procuring open source

      A fifteen-point checklist to help public administrations to procure open source software solutions and services was published in August by Swiss open source procurement experts. The list helps to determine which procurement specifications take this type of software into account, and which criteria exclude open source.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • UK Cabinet Office Says “Hello, You Must be Going” to ODF

      Technological evolution is famous for obsoleting wonders created just a few years before. Sometimes new developments moot the fiercest battles between competitors as well. That seemed to be the case last week, when Microsoft announced its Azure Cloud Switch (ACS), a cross-platform modular operating system for data center networking built on…(wait for it)…Linux, the open source software assailed by the company’s prior CEO as a communist cancer.

      It also saw the UK Cabinet Office announce its detailed plans for transitioning to the support of the OpenDocument Format (ODF), a document format that was just as fiercely opposed by Microsoft in the most hard-fought standards war in decades. But at the same time, the Cabinet Office announced its commitment to work towards making document formats as close to obsolete as possible.


  • Security

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Uruguay: Governing Coalition Rejects TISA Negotiations

      The executive branch will still make a final decision over the matter, to be presented in October.

      The ruling progressivist coalition Broad Front overwhelmingly decided to withdraw Uruguay from the negotiations on the supra-national trade-deal TISA (Trade in Services Agreement) in a vote on Saturday.

      With a 117 to 139 vote, the decision was backed by the Movement of Popular Participation (of former President Jose “Pepe” Mujica), the Communist Party, the 711 list (of Vice President Raul Sendic), the Party for the Victory of the People (PVP), the Great House (Casa Grande), the Federal League, and the Socialist Party (of current President Tabare Vazquez).

    • ‘Lesson 1: The enemy is always within’

      When YANIS VAROUFAKIS appeared at TUC Congress, he said the ‘magnificent’ Greek people were ready for the struggle with financiers — only to be betrayed by his own party. And he warned that fearful leaders could one day be the downfall of Britain’s people too. Joe Gill reports

      GREEK ex-finance minister Yanis Varoufakis brought some rock star glamour to the opening of the TUC Congress on Sunday in Brighton. He smiled for selfie shots with delegates at a 1,000-plus meeting. Delegates were high on the back of Jeremy Corbyn’s stunning victory in the Labour leadership battle the day before.

    • EU Proposes New Corporate Sovereignty Court For TAFTA/TTIP; US Not Interested

      As we have reported, the most problematic aspect of the proposed TAFTA/TTIP trade agreement between the US and the EU has been the proposed corporate sovereignty chapter, formally known as investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). The outcry over this was so great in Europe last year that the European Commission put negotiations of this topic on hold, while it carried out a public consultation on the matter — presumably assuming that the extremely technical questions about this complex issue would kill off any further interest by the public. Instead, an unprecedented 150,000 submissions were received, 145,000 of which said get rid of ISDS completely. In response, the European Commission merely promised to try to address the many concerns raised with a new and “improved” version.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The BBC is Irredeemable

      The extent of BBC bias during the referendum campaign was breathtaking. I have worked, and specifically reported on the media, in dictatorships which had a less insidious and complete bias than the BBC has against Scottish independence. The relentless anti-Corbyn propaganda shows that the BBC exists to reinforce the neo-liberal narrative at all costs, both at home and abroad. Laura Kuenssberg achieved levels of disdain and ridicule in her report on Shadow Cabinet appointments this evening that ought to disqualify her forever from employment anywhere but Fox News. This was followed by ‘Reporting Scotland’ and a long propaganda piece against the idea of a second referendum, replete with lies about pledges of ‘once in a lifetime’.

    • Fox & Friends Sunday Is Very Concerned Stephen Colbert Wore A Black Lives Matter Wristband
    • Jack Straw and Malcolm Rifkind are cleared over “cash-for-access” allegations

      Former Foreign Secretaries Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Jack Straw were today cleared over lobbying allegations.

      The pair, who both stood down at May’s general election, were apparently caught offering their services for cash in separate hidden camera stings by Channel 4’s Dispatches and the Telegraph.

      Standards watchdog Kathryn Hudson investigated claims they had broken strict lobbying rules.

    • Congress Is a Confederacy of Dunces

      Already we’re deep into September and Congress has reconvened in Washington, prompting many commentators to compare its return after summer’s recess to that of fresh-faced students coming back to school, sharpening their pencils, ready to learn, be cooperative and prepared for something new.

  • Censorship

    • Heightened Trade Secrets Restrictions Could Chill Global Speech

      Trade secrets are seeing a resurgence of attention by policymakers at home and around the world. While there can be legitimate reasons to keep commercially valuable information secret, particularly amongst those with whom it has been shared in confidence, the latest trade secrets push goes further, potentially entangling whistleblowers and journalists.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Moral Obligation = Conscience, Trump

      Further, what does it say about the GOP that their front-runner for candidacy has no conscience? This latest gaffe is not the only indicator. Trump also thinks it would be a good idea to just round up ~11million “illegal immigrants”. How many Jews/communists/opponents did the Nazis have to round up before they committed a crime against humanity? Trump also holds that being born in USA should not convey citizenship… Trump is insane and the GOP is either insane or about to fragment to avoid schizophrenia. That a huge fraction of USAian citizens might vote for this guy is frightening. It’s like 1930s Germany/Italy all over again. Whether Trump could make political deals or get the trains to run on time, he should be shunned in the political arena. If, in our worst nightmare, Trump should be elected, the world should immediately sever all relations with USA to keep him in check.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig goes one on one with Ars

        Lessig: The question isn’t just what policies a candidate supports. If that were the question, we’d have climate change, a public option for health care, immigration reform, background checks on guns, etc., etc., etc. The question instead is also: What is the plan to get that policy enacted?

        What every presidency since Clinton teaches us is that presidents promise reform, and then fail to act on it. That’s not weakness. It’s structural. A regular president cannot take on Congress. It will take a president with a super-mandate. That’s what the referendum presidency is meant to achieve.

        Ars: Campaign finance reform clearly is not a bipartisan issue. How are you going to get the GOP interested in this issue? And is this why you are running as a Democrat? In fact, given your platform, why have you chosen a party?

        Lessig: Two words: Donald Trump. Until Donald Trump, it’s true that among GOP insiders in DC, corruption wasn’t an issue. After Donald Trump, it is as much a question for Republicans as Democrats: How can we have a Congress free to lead?

        I wish there were a way to run as an independent. But the two parties have made that essentially impossible—at least to win. No doubt I could split the vote of the Democratic Party, but I have no desire to Nader this election.


Links 13/9/2015: Enlightenment 0.19.10, Linux 4.3-rc1

Posted in News Roundup at 6:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Inkscape workshop for Linux statt Windows

      Internet is this nice technology, who makes it possible to give a workshop even without being at a place. So yesterday I gave a workshop from Cambodia in Germany. But I had interesting expiriences with in Mumble did not work well, even its lighter and has good latency handling but Google hangout did work, I think Google has some priority in the network here, what is strange. But all participants from https://linux-statt-windows.org had fun in the workshop and learned something on the end.

  • Web Browsers

    • Firefox, Chrome & Opera Block Access To Routers

      Due to a heavy-handed approach to security Firefox, Chrome and Opera are causing problems. They block access to routers with inadequate SSL reporting the cryptic message, “Server has a weak ephemeral Diffie-Hellman public key”.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Gets Its First Partners for Ads in Firefox

        Mozilla wants to keep Firefox profitable, and one of the means to do that is with ads. They can’t just slap them all over the place, so they are going to be shown in the tiles, where they should be the least problematic.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Drawing with LibreOffice

      LibreOffice Draw will not let you redesign a picture of a posing model so that it may go to print in a magazine. I doubt you will design the next generation of Airbus planes with it. But I can tell you it will go a long way in enabling you to draw charts, complex industrial schemas for plans and processes, and more simply, design graphical stuff anyone needs at some point in a business or a household (cards, menus, branding elements, process mapping, etc.)

  • Education

    • Computer Science Courses that Don’t Exist, But Should
    • Great Ways for Kids to Learn the Art of Coding

      We are surrounded by coding (often known as programming). That’s why all the cool kids are coding, or they should be. However, computer classes in the UK are dictated by the national curriculum, with students limiting their computing activities to learning applications such as Word and PowerPoint, and using the internet to help with their school work. However, learning how to use Microsoft Office is often of little or no interest to kids. They are motivated by interactive activities such as programming, as they like to make things to find out how they work.


  • Openness/Sharing

    • Video: Blender’s new short film and ffmpeg vp9 test

      About a month ago the Blender folks released a new film project named Cosmic Laundromat.

      Two days ago the ffmpeg folks released version 2.8. I saw one of the changes was that for webm they are now defaulting to using the vp9 video codec and the opus audio codec. Previous releases defaulted to webm with vp8 and ogg.

    • Internet Big Bounty for security, Munich’s commitment, and more news
    • Open Access/Content

      • Finally My Province, Manitoba, Gets FLOSS

        Well, FLOSS as textbooks anyway. Instead of post-secondary students paying >$100 per copy of a textbook they may only use for a year, they will be able to use on-line texts for the cost of access to the Internet. Indeed, Manitoba will forgo interest on students’ loans.

        Now, if only they figured out that taxpayers’ money could be saved by using FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) in IT… They have opened their eyes to see a bigger picture in education; perhaps IT will follow.

  • Programming

    • Google open-sources language-agnostic, scalable software tool

      Google’s latest open source offering, Bazel, automates the building and testing of software, along the lines of Ant or Maven.

      But Bazel, now out in beta, surpasses those solutions. It’s also language-agnostic, highly scalable, and able to generate builds that are bit-exact on both a developer’s machine and the build cluster.

    • Java reigns, but Go language spikes in popularity

      Languages like Scala and Go are benefiting from a tweaking of the Tiobe Index algorithm this month intended to eliminate spikes in rankings.

      Tiobe assesses language popularity via a formula that analyzes searches in popular search sites, such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Wikipedia. The improved algorithm addresses the number of outliers — “statistical noise” — per search engine, Tiobe said in its monthly report for September.

    • Python 3.5 Released, Adds Major Features

      Python 3.5.0 was released this morning with a number of major new features and other changes.

      Python 3.5 has improved zip application support, a new operator for matrix multiplication, a new mechanism for loading extension modules, coroutines with async and await syntax, and much more.

    • Node.js Foundation Releases First Joint Code
    • Weblate for translating everything

      Weblate is not only useful for translating software, it can help in translating any content. Let’s look where our users are using it.

      Software translation is the most usual use case. This is actually where Weblate was used for first time and still provides great support for that. As an example (and oldest project hosted in Weblate) you can look at phpMyAdmin, where Weblate also helps to keep in sync translation for different maintenance branches. It can also help you in using same terminology in command line utility and graphical one like it is done in Gammu and Wammu translations.


  • Philly ambulance driver caught texting while transporting patient

    A Philadelphia ambulance driver will face discipline after he was recorded texting while driving an injured patient to a hospital, according to the Associated Press.

  • What porn site statistics can tell us about the worldwide console wars

    Still, YouPorn statistics seem to bear some resemblance to overall console popularity worldwide. Overall, YouPorn’s stats show 51% of visits coming from PlayStation, 39% from Xbox, and 10% from Wii systems. That’s decently close to the 50%/29%/20% split for PS4/XB1/Wii U sales in our latest analysis. The Wii’s poor showing makes sense when you consider that the Wii’s younger demographic may be underrepresented in porn site stats (The statistics also seem to lump together legacy systems with their current generation counterparts, so visits from the limited browsers on the Xbox 360, PS3, and original Wii could throw off current generation numbers).

  • The Shepherd’s Crown: A quiet end to the Discworld series
  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Records: Energy Department struck by cyber attacks

      Attackers successfully compromised U.S. Department of Energy computer systems more than 150 times between 2010 and 2014, a review of federal records obtained by USA TODAY finds.

    • Security bods jab pins at encrypted database system balloons

      Developers of encrypted databases and security researchers are at loggerheads – and it’s over a study that claims property-preserving encrypted databases may be vulnerable to attack.

    • More Jeeps recalled as Fiat Chrysler faces new wireless hacking vulnerability

      A further 7,810 US-market Jeeps have been recalled following Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) after a new hacking exploit was found in the 2015 Jeep Renegade sports utility vehicle (SUV).

      FCA recalled vehicles affected by a software bug that provides a wireless entry point for hackers looking to take control of the vehicle.

    • Meet the Millionaire Ex-Fugitive Running for President

      In a presidential field full of big personalities, John McAfee may be the most colorful candidate yet.

      The anti-virus software tycoon announced Tuesday he would run for President under his newly created Cyber Party, making cyber security and government surveillance the key tenets of his campaign.

    • China warns against hacking sanctions prior to Xi’s visit

      On the other hand, a raft of Chinese policies have emerged in the last two years that are meant to wean the country off foreign technology, and Internet blocks have kept out companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter.

    • libselinux is a liar!!!

      On an SELinux enabled machine, why does getenforce in a docker container say it is disabled?

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • When Should the 9/11 War End?

      On this fourteenth anniversary of 9/11, the day is best memorialized by reflecting on those 2,977 lives lost and pledging to do more for those survivors and first responders who remain. Much less fitting of a memorial is the 2001 AUMF, passed in the nation’s darkest hours, that still determines so much of American foreign policy today. Although the attacks must never be forgotten, the war must one day be ended. It is our job to begin thinking about what comes next.

    • The United States After 9/11: 6 Things That Have Changed Since 2001

      Another controversial byproduct of the attacks has been 9/11 tourism in New York City. The 9/11 Memorial and Museum in Manhattan has received millions of visitors, while guided tours of lower Manhattan are also daily events. The Freedom Tower and the recently opened One World Observatory, built on the site of the twin towers that were destroyed on 9/11, are also popular tourist destinations.

    • Silencing a Whistle-Blower, Gladio B and the Origins of ISIS. Sibel Edmonds

      Ms. Edmonds went to work for the FBI in the weeks following the 9/11 attacks. While under the employ of the State Agency she uncovered ongoing criminal operations implicating foreign nationals and high level US officials. When she tried to report on these revelations, she was told to shut up and eventually dispatched from the agency.

      Edmonds has reported instances of FBI foreknowledge of 9/11. For example, a disclosure by a long-term FBI informant to two FBI agents and a translator, which indicated a terrorist attack in US cities involving airplanes to take place within a few months. After the disclosure was forwarded to the Special Agent in Charge of Counter-terrorism at the Washington Field Office, no action was taken, and following 9/11, the agents and translator in question were told to keep quiet about the issue.

    • Visas for Al-Qaeda, Part 1: A Sordid Tale

      Having just joined the “real” Foreign Service, I was assigned to Jeddah. There, I learned the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was a mysterious and exotic place — but nowhere near as exotic and mysterious as the American consulate general on Palestine Road.

      Upon arrival, I found, as a new visa officer, I was expected to winnow more than one hundred applications a day, separating them into “issuances,” “refusals,” and what turned out to be “free passes for CIA agents.”

      However, none of the clean-cut young fellows at the consulate, or even the pudgy, “been around too many blocks” types, bothered to clue me in on this special class of applicants.

      One day, Eric Qualkenbush, the CIA Base Chief, stopped me while I was walking on the consulate’s huge compound. He had a request. Could I issue a visa to one of his agents, an Iranian whose family owned an Oriental rug store? Eric said, “Mike, make it look good (wink, wink). We want him in Washington for consultations.”

      Flabbergasted, I said, “Sure.” Up to that point, I had had almost a daily battle with Jay Freres, the Consul General, along with other CIA officials, who demanded visas for peculiar people, that is, people whom law and regulation required me to refuse.

    • Visas for Al-Qaeda, Part 2: Treachery

      Michael Springmann was, to all appearances, your run-of-the-mill junior level consular employee, but he was not in a usual place, nor in a usual time. His government sent him to Saudi Arabia right as it was preparing for a battle royale with the USSR in Afghanistan. In this excerpt from his book, Springmann describes a consulate teeming with CIA personnel, and reveals how, as head of the American visa bureau, he was ordered not to follow his best instincts but instead to approve visas for all manner of dubious individuals. In retrospect, he realized he was witnessing the mujahideen pipeline — the flow of young fighters to take on the Soviets — the same people who later became al-Qaeda.

    • Visas for Al-Qaeda, Part 3: Backstabbing

      I saw, but didn’t recognize, what was taking shape at Jeddah. Now we’ve all learned what happens when the intelligence services control foreign policy and diplomacy: The same “assets” they assembled aided in the bloody breakup of Yugoslavia, the destruction of Iraq, the collapse of Libya, and the on-going savaging of Syria.

    • Guatemala presidential frontrunner’s ‘war criminal’ ties revealed

      THE leading candidiate in Guatemala’s presidential election has links to an alleged war criminal, the country’s media has revealed.

      With almost 80 per cent of polling stations having reported, National Convergence Front candidate Jimmy Morales (below) was leading the field of 14 candidates yesterday with 26 per cent of the vote.

    • TIFF: Michael Moore Teaches America Lessons from Abroad at ‘Where to Invade Next’ Premiere

      Oscar-winning doc maker Michael Moore on Thursday took aim at the problems he sees impacting America by looking to Europe and other liberal cultures for answers.

      “What if we showed fellow Americans that what we don’t have, and others do,” Moore said as he discussed his politically charged film Where to Invade Next at its world premiere during the Toronto Film Festival.

      His comic doc showed Moore completing “invasions” of mostly European countries to bring back to the U.S. solutions like better elementary school meals from France, free education in Slovenia, decriminalizing drug use as in Portugal and putting more women in power.

    • Russian hackers hijacking satellite internet links to hide Turla cyber espionage data siphoning

      Security researchers have discovered that a Russian cyber espionage group has been hijacking satellite-based internet links to hide their activities, which include stealing information from diplomats and government agencies around the world.

      According to security firm Kaspersky Lab, a sophisticated group of hackers from Russia called ‘Turla’ has been quietly using satellite-based internet links to conduct their business, as it is much easier to avoid detection.

    • Trust Kaspersky to Root Out Russian Spyware
    • Letter: Hoping for a less adversarial future

      Yes, I think the accord with Iran, whose goal is to stop that country from ever getting a nuclear weapon, is a good one and I applaud our congressman, Seth Moulton for backing it. This accord is the result of two years worth of negotiations and it is not a bilateral but a multi-lateral “deal,” hammered out between Iran and Russia, China, France, the U.S., the United Kingdom and Germany. To be against this agreement is to say that all six countries negotiating with Iran are making a mistake. I don’t think so.

    • New Report Debunks Conservative Media Myth That Iran Will Inspect Itself
    • Nuclear Deal Victory Secured as Democrats Block Veto Attempt
    • Conservative Media Use 9/11 Anniversary To Stoke Fears That Iran Nuclear Deal Will Lead To Terrorism

      Conservative media seized on the fourteenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks to stoke fears that the Iran nuclear agreement will create new opportunities for terrorist attacks. But experts have pointed out the deal keeps in place “sanctions related to Iran’s human rights abuses and support for groups linked to terrorism,” and that terrorists would actually benefit more if the agreement were rejected.

    • Rep. Raul Ruiz: Why I support the Iran nuclear deal

      Moving forward, we must begin the essential job of restoring trust between patriotic supporters and equally patriotic opponents of this agreement.

    • Obama wins ugly on the Hill

      This flexible strategy, Obama’s version of former President Bill Clinton’s “triangulation” strategy, if you will, has paid solid dividends. This week, Senate Democrats blocked a disapproval resolution of the Iran nuclear deal, an accord that might be Obama’s most significant foreign policy achievement of his second term. In June, Congress gave him authority to negotiate a series of trade deals at the center of his economic agenda.

    • ‘This Deal Affirms the Peaceful Nature of the Iranian Nuclear Program’ – CounterSpin interview with Nima Shirazi on Iran deal
    • GOP lawmaker tries to slow Iran vote
    • Fox Reporter Repeats Debunked GOP Claim That Obama Is Withholding Iran “Side Deals” From Congress

      But the arrangements made between Iran and the IAEA are “standard operating procedure” and are confidential, as is “every such agreement the IAEA has with other countries” — and those agreements are not subject to congressional approval. Reporting on the the House of Representatives’ vote to reject the Iran nuclear deal, network reporter Doug McKelway repeated the GOP’s debunked claim without noting this, saying that “What’s lacking is this side deal, the two side deals between the IAEA and Iran, which nobody in this legislature has yet seen.”

    • Ink beats spilling US blood

      In the early 1980s, I was stationed in Geneva, Switzerland, handling legal affairs for my employer in the Middle East and Africa. It was a period of many enlightening experiences that have given me some perspective on recent events.

      My first task was to prepare a claim against the Islamic Republic of Iran, seeking compensation for the 1979 nationalization of my company’s assets. Later I negotiated with Iranian representatives at the Iranian Embassy in Vienna, Austria, to settle the claim. Iran’s chief negotiator wore casual western clothes and was educated in Texas. Many Iranians were educated in the U.S. in the 1970s.

      Our European businesspeople in Geneva were not enthusiastic about making this claim. Iran was the most populous country in the region; they just wanted to do business there.

    • Does It Matter Who Is Elected President?

      Untold amounts of money will pour into the presidential race. That’s because the governmental system that we now have in the United States — a welfare-warfare state — is a money-making racket for hundreds of thousands of people who are on the dole, either directly or indirectly. Much of the big money that will pour into the presidential campaign coffers will be accompanied by the hope of getting a share of the trillions of dollars of welfare-warfare state largess that is provided by the taxpayers.

    • Ashes in Our Hair: 9/11 Never Ended

      Osama bin Laden had a story, as well. It’s a story about the US teaching him in Afghanistan many years ago how to upend and defeat a superpower, about how he used that training against his teachers, about how he facilitated our entry into two fruitless and costly wars that decimated our economy while shredding untold millions, and about how his actions created the crass impetus to make us abandon our freedoms and our constitutional privileges in the name of fear. Were he still among the living, his story would be two words long: “I won.”

    • Wild Guesses About ISIS Fuel US Official Hysteria

      It could be ISIS. Maybe.

      US spy chief James Clapper, best known for lying to Congress about NSA surveillance, is now riled up about refugees “descending on Europe,” saying that even though there’s no evidence of it, he’s super, super worried that those refugees might turn out to be ISIS fighters just sneaking in.

      Which is a great story for scaring people, but makes zero sense. In addition to not being backed by any evidence, it vilifies the people fleeing from ISIS and the war surrounding its rise.

    • Remember When Stephen Colbert Hilariously Roasted George W. Bush? His Little Bro Might Be Next

      I’m certain that there are plenty of moments during his eight-year presidential tenure that George W. Bush would love to forget. Somewhere near the top of that list would likely be the comedic trouncing he got in 2006, when Stephen Colbert slammed him at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Presidents always receive perhaps more than their fair share of intense scrutiny via jokes, and another Bush is about to enter Colbert’s politically whip-smart comic hand. Jeb Bush, presidential candidate and younger brother to George W., will be the first guest on the new Late Show hosted by Colbert on Tuesday. And Colbert is not likely to pull any punches.

      Colbert will likely have plenty of fodder for his meeting with Bush, as he’s recently fallen significantly in the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire. According to Yahoo News, Bush now stands at only six percent in Iowa, and did not even make it into the top three in the polls in New Hampshire. (Trump leads, followed by John Kasich and then Dr. Ben Carson.) Colbert went after President Bush in 2006 for his 32 percent approval rating, saying that if you think of it as the glass being only 2/3 full, there is still liquid in the glass — but he wouldn’t drink it, because the last third of a drink is “mostly backwash.” So what will Colbert make of Bush’s six-percent-full glass?

    • Labour’s Bitter Lemons

      Very, very funny. 95% of the people in that room believe in nothing whatsoever that Corbyn believes in. He should beware polonium in his tea. BBC man saying he had just been told by a “senior Laboour figure” Corbyn could be ousted within a year.

    • People’s Quantitive Easing

      The media is astonishing today in its barrage against Jeremy Corbyn.

    • Congratulations to Jeremy Corbyn

      I am unreservedly delighted at Jeremy Corbyn’s election. He made a quite excellent speech, specifically rejecting an attack on Syria, marketization in the NHS and the new anti-union legislation. Hopefully the scale of his victory will give pause to the Blairites who will realise they are not as all-important as they thought.

    • Jeremy Corbyn sets to work on Labour shadow cabinet

      Jeremy Corbyn has started work on putting together his shadow cabinet after his dramatic landslide victory in the Labour leadership contest.

      The veteran left winger – who has never held a formal position in the party before now – must also prepare for his first Commons clash with David Cameron.

      The new Labour leader has promised to “unite” the party after getting 60% of the votes in the leadership contest.

    • New Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn Faces Special Guilt-by-Association Standard

      For the past month Jeremy Corbyn, the British MP and democratic socialist who just won the election to lead the UK’s Labour Party in a landslide, has been vociferously accused across the British media of associating with political figures who are anti-Semitic.

      “The problem,” according to the Community Security Trust, a UK Jewish organization, “is not that Corbyn is an anti-Semite or a Holocaust denier — he is neither. The problem is that he seems to gravitate towards people who are, if they come with an anti-Israel sticker on them.” Similarly, political journalist James Bloodworth wrote in the Guardian, “While I genuinely believe Corbyn does not have an anti-Semitic bone in his body, he does have a proclivity for sharing platforms with individuals who do.” The right-wing Telegraph got so excited it falsely claimed that another Labour MP had accused Corbyn himself of using “anti-Semitic rhetoric.”

      Corbyn was forced to repeatedly respond in several venues. Beyond addressing the specific issues, he’s made several statements such as, “I’ve spent my life opposing racism. Until my dying day, I’ll be opposed to racism in any form … Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, far-right racism is totally wrong and absolutely obnoxious and I’ve made that absolutely clear to everybody who will listen to me on this subject.” And Corbyn’s spokesman said that anyone found by the Labour Party’s procedures committee to be responsible for anti-Semitism should not be allowed to vote in the leadership election.

    • Confirmed: The CIA’s most famous ship headed for the scrapyard

      The ship, now called GSF Explorer, had been retrofitted for oil drilling and exploration since it left US Navy service in 1997. But with the price of oil falling worldwide, its owner Transocean has decided to scrap it, along with several other vessels.

    • Narcotics and Covert Intelligence: How the CIA Commandeered the “War on Drugs”

      The outlawing of narcotic drugs at the start of the Twentieth Century, the turning of the matter from public health to social control, coincided with American’s imperial Open Door policy and the belief that the government had an obligation to American industrialists to create markets in every nation in the world, whether those nations liked it or not.

    • The CIA and the Pentagon against Daesh in Syria

      The newspaper notes that the CIA and the Pentagon kill the leaders of Daesh by bombing them with drones. It observes that this new CIA mission seems to contradict President Obama’s precedent directives, which state that the CIA should concentrate on espionnage and leave military matters to the Pentagon alone.

    • MI6 ISIS Rat Line And The Threat To India – Analysis

      Reports were cited that MI6 had cooperated with the CIA on a “rat line” of arms transfers from Libyan stockpiles to the Syrian rebels in 2012 after the fall of the Gaddafi regime.

    • Concern mounts over UK role in Pakistan drone attacks

      UK military personnel are suspected of having participated in the CIA’s controversial drone war in Pakistan, which has resulted in thousands of fatalities.

      The Ministry of Defence has declined to answer a Freedom of Information request that would confirm whether its personnel have been embedded with US military teams operating drones in the skies above the country. The MoD said that it would neither confirm nor deny the situation because it might jeopardise “international relations”.

      However, it insisted that the UK had never conducted its own drone flights over Pakistan. When pressed, an MoD spokesman said: “UK personnel embedded with the US air force have only flown remotely piloted aircraft systems in support of operations in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq.”

    • Drone Self-Defense and the Law

      Last month, a Kentucky man shot down a drone that was hovering near his backyard.

      WDRB News reported that the camera drone’s owners soon showed up at the home of the shooter, William H. Merideth: “Four guys came over to confront me about it, and I happened to be armed, so that changed their minds,” Merideth said. “They asked me, ‘Are you the S-O-B that shot my drone?’ and I said, ‘Yes I am,’” he said. “I had my 40 mm Glock on me and they started toward me and I told them, ‘If you cross my sidewalk, there’s gonna be another shooting.’” Police charged Meredith with criminal mischief and wanton endangerment.

      This is a trend. People have shot down drones in southern New Jersey and rural California as well. It’s illegal, and they get arrested for it.

    • New Information Released In Death Of Md. Man Killed In Drone Strike
    • AP sources: CIA asking whether or not it missed imagery of Md. hostage in Pakistan
    • CIA May Have Missed A Chance To Identify US Hostage
    • Did CIA Miss Chance to Save US Hostage We Killed?
    • CIA may have missed chance to monitor Western hostage: Report
    • Officials Push Back Against Claim CIA Saw and Missed American Held Hostage
    • CIA accused of failing hostage
    • Officials fear CIA missed opportunity to identify Western hostage
    • AP sources: CIA asking whether it missed imagery of hostage

      The CIA’s inspector general is examining whether an agency drone picked up an image of an American hostage in Pakistan months before he was accidentially killed by a CIA drone strike — and whether the agency therefore missed a chance to save him, U.S. officials briefed on the matter say.

    • Family of Hostage Slain in U.S. Drone Strike Feels ‘Deceived’ by Administration
    • Defense intelligence chief says Iraq and Syria may split into parts, with Kurds independent

      Iraq and Syria may have been permanently torn asunder by war and sectarian tensions, the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency said Thursday in a frank assessment that is at odds with Obama administration policy.

      “I’m having a tough time seeing it come back together,” Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart told an industry conference, speaking of Iraq and Syria, both of which have seen large chunks territory seized by the Islamic State.

      On Iraq, Stewart said he is “wrestling with the idea that the Kurds will come back to a central government of Iraq,” suggesting he believed it was unlikely. On Syria, he added: “I can see a time in the future where Syria is fractured into two or three parts.”


      What’s REALLY behind this shift of the masses? The latest “self-induced” calamity, the “refugee crisis” as it is called, is simply more “blowback” from some really bad U. S. foreign policy decisions made post 9/11. And not surprisingly as with most international crises, the globalist elites running this planet have their fingerprints all over the events leading up to this debacle.

      Two key events orchestrated by the elites to accomplish this enormous human dislocation catastrophe were the 2003 Iraq War and the 2011 Arab Spring. The former destroyed Iraq’s government and infrastructure, thus paving the way for future terrorist groups including ISIS. Iraq split into three warring factions after the removal of Saddam Hussein; Sunni, Shia and Kurd. The Arab Spring facilitated the take down of Libya and several other African nations. Had it not been for the intervention of the Egyptian military, Egypt would have been in total chaos also. The foregoing events created massive nation state destabilization in North Africa and the Mid-East. And this destabilization caused the present “refugee crisis”.

    • Using Terrorists To Fight Terrorists: The New Petraeus Doctrine

      The problematic suggestion made recently by former CIA Director Gen. Petraeus to use al-Qaeda to fight the Islamic State is yet another example of the basic flaw in the thinking of some senior American officials. Traditionally, US strategists have always preferred “good terrorists” who supported their policies against “bad terrorists”.

    • Why We Went to War Against Iraq: Re-Writing History Again

      Some Republican presidential hopefuls—plus Colin Powell—are trying to shift responsibility for the Iraq War away from Bush administration politicians by blaming the U.S. intelligence community. This is only part of the real story. The rest, which the hoary old intelligence argument is meant to shove off-stage, involved a pre-war PR campaign led by Bush administration hawks like Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. This robust effort to create a case for war involved intelligence that was only partly flawed. It also involved, pushing the envelope on WMD intelligence that was flawed, ignoring solid intelligence on terrorism (including 9/11) not linked to Iraq, and creating their own lurid terrorism pseudo-intelligence to replace the real thing.

      Back in May, Jeb Bush conceded, “knowing what we know now…I would not have gone into Iraq.” However, much like President George W. Bush in his 2010 memoir Decision Points, Jeb placed the blame on faulty intelligence. Republican candidates Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina also have said that defective intelligence drove the war. Because of years of such deception, many Americans still accept this flawed narrative.

      Powell supported this canard on last Sunday’s Meet the Press when he said: “But the intelligence community, all 16 agencies, assured us that it was right.” Setting the record straight on Powell’s claim is important because he generally has more credibility than most other former Bush administration officials and current Republican presidential hopefuls.

    • GUYANA: CIA meddling, race riots and a phantom death squad

      In 1973, the overseas vote was again padded; proxy and postal voting gave the dead, under-aged, and fictional a say, while disenfranchising real people. Fatal violence also scarred that election. In Berbice, a PPP stronghold of rice farmers, fishermen, and cane cutters, a skirmish erupted when party activists tried to escort ballot boxes to counting stations. The army shot dead two Indo-Guyanese poll workers, who became known as the “Ballot Box Martyrs.” In atelegram, U.S. Embassy officials told the State Department that boxes had likely been stuffed while at army headquarters: “As U.S. had in past devoted much time, effort and treasure to keeping Jagan out,” it read, “we should perhaps not be too disturbed at results this election.”

    • Osama bin Laden got what he wanted: 9/11 and the birth of the national security state

      Since the World Trade Center bombings, our democracy has come undone. The terrorists accomplished their mission

    • 14 years after 9/11, secrecy shrouds many records

      Seven weeks after the end of the massive cleanup at Ground Zero in lower Manhattan in 2002, a legal investigator for the families of 9/11 victims requested a copy of an arrest warrant issued by Interpol for fugitive al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

      Here’s the reply she got from the Justice Department’s Interpol-U.S. National Central Bureau:

      “Release of information about a living person without that person’s consent generally constitutes an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy in violation of the Freedom of Information Act. You must submit an authorization [privacy waiver] signed by Osama bin Laden, consenting to the USNCB’s release to you of any record that it may have pertaining to him.”

    • A thousand 9/11s

      The extent of Pakistan’s complicity in bin Laden’s extremism was documented in a secret addendum to the 9/11 Commission Report, requested by executive director Philip Zelikow three months before publication, but which arrived too late for inclusion.

      Based on sensitive Pakistani sources, the addendum concluded that senior ISI officers had known in advance about the 9/11 attacks, were protecting bin Laden in Pakistan, and that Pervez Musharraf had personally approved his renal treatment at a military hospital near Peshawar.

      Like the classified 28 pages, these findings remain suppressed by the US government.

      Why then, even as the US unleashes new 9/11s around the world, does it support the very regimes behind the 9/11 attacks?

      Because the “War on Terror” is a colossal fiction. In reality, terror is the price of business as usual: and the US is all too willing to pay.

    • The Truth behind 9/11: Who Is Osama Bin Laden?

      Also on September 12, less than 24 hours after the attacks, NATO invoked for the first time in its history “Article 5 of the Washington Treaty – its collective defence clause” declaring the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon “to be an attack against all NATO members.”

      What happened subsequently, with the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq is already part of history. Iran and Syria constitute the next phase of the US adminstration’s military roadmap.

    • Salvador Allende, the CIA and the other 9/11: a playlist

      For many Chileans, September 11th had become a day of tragedy decades before our own 9/11. In 1973, the Chilean army flew fighter jets over Santiago and bombed its own presidential palace during a coup to overthrow its own legally elected president, Salvador Allende.​ Augusto Pinochet, who Allende had appointed to Commander-in-Chief of the army, seized power, put all political parties “in recess” and killed, tortured, disappeared and forced into exile thousands of Chileans. This was supported by the CIA, Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon. Pinochet would remain in power until 1990.

    • Daughter of The Revolution
    • The Day Chile and the Rest of Latin America Remember as Their 9/11

      There are two 9/11’s: one that we all know of and a second, older and neglected aerial assault that took place on Santiago, Chile, when Air Force jets bombed the La Moneda presidential palace and replaced an elected president with a military dictatorship that lasted close to two decades.

      The September 11 attack of 1973 ended with the death of Salvador Allende, Latin America’s first elected Socialist president. Three years earlier, Allende, a talented athlete in his youth and a trained doctor, had narrowly won the presidential elections after three unsuccessful attempts at the head of the Popular Unity coalition that included Socialists of many hues, Communists and breakaway Christian Democrats.

    • Chile’s 9/11: Remembering Pinochet’s Rise to Power and End of Chile’s Democracy

      Sept. 11 of course marks the terrible anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York City by al-Qaida. The attack resulted in 3,000 deaths and several wars. However, many in Latin America alive in 1973 will remember the date 9/11 for another reason.

      Forty-two years ago in Chile, armed forces overthrew the sitting president Salvador Allende, which led to the immediate rise of the right wing dictator Gen. Augusto Pinochet. Allende, a promoter of socialism, subsequently committed suicide under suspicious circumstances inside the presidential palace of La Moneda.

    • Clinton stresses Israel bond in Iran speech

      Hillary Clinton backed the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal during a speech in Washington on Wednesday, but did so by taking a cautious tone she defined as “distrust and verify.”

    • John Oliver Says U.S. Students Learn Virtually Nothing About Africa

      If my own educational experience is any indication, Oliver is right. I graduated from a public high school in Michigan knowing very little about Africa. This proved to be something of a problem when I moved to Cape Town, South Africa, to cover the 2010 World Cup and began traveling around the continent as a reporter.

      Five years and many stories later, I’ve filled much of my knowledge gap. So, to my fellow undereducated Americans — especially you students — here is a crash course in Africa. It’s the basics, plus some trivia that will prove your worldliness at future cocktail parties.

    • Russia to Deliver Advanced Anti-Tank Missile Systems to Foreign Customers

      Russia is to deliver the Kornet-EM long-range anti-tank guided missile systems to international customers.

    • What ‘targeted killing’ has done to, for America

      Shane also points out ironies. Awlaki’s elimination made clear that Obama, who had campaigned against the Bush administration’s terror-war tactics, had accepted such “targeted killing.” And though that drone strike did kill Awlaki, it didn’t end Awlaki’s radicalization of others; his online calls to jihad influenced the perpetrators of the Boston Marathon bombing and the Charlie Hebdo massacre in France, among others.

      Incorporating information from scores of interviews — with Awlaki’s family, acquaintances and tribal leaders in Yemen, and with current and former U.S. officials and experts on terrorism, radicalization and drone warfare — “Objective Troy” provides much to ponder about how the terror war has affected America, its people and others around the globe.

    • Turkey: Warplanes hit Kurdish rebels after militants ‘kill 31 soldiers’
    • US to investigate strike that kill 11 Afghans

      The US military said it would launch an investigation into an airstrike last week that Afghan officials say killed 11 members of Afghanistan’s elite counter-narcotics police force.

    • Prime Minister Tony Abbott issues warning to IS Aussies on air raids
    • Deal with Assad necessary to defeat IS
    • UK plans more Syria drone strikes, power transition that includes Assad
    • Tragically Ironic: Military Planes That Put People in Graveyards Have Their Own Cemeteries

      They are called “boneyards” by military personnel, but they aren’t human ossuaries. Instead, they are graveyards for machines that kill.

      After the military-industrial complex’s life-destroying aircraft complete their mission of death and decimation, they are replaced by newly designed Molochs of the sky. The multi-billion dollar equipment that is being phased out has to go somewhere – and most US military planes end up in what are nicknamed “boneyards.” Generally, these are enormous swaths of desert in the Southwest of the United States.

    • Yvette Cooper: Britain should take more than 4,000 refugees a year

      The Labour leadership candidate and shadow home secretary said the Prime Minister’s promise to accept 20,000 Syrian refugees by May 2020 drawn from camps around the war-torn country paled in comparison to historic British efforts.

    • Germany to Accept 500,000 Refugees Yearly, Calls for EU-Wide Action
    • Israelis overwhelmingly opposed to absorbing Syrian refugees — poll
    • Fox’s Tucker Carlson On Accepting Syrian Refugees: “What Does The United States Get Out Of This?”
    • Air Force wants owners to give up Nevada bombing range site

      The U.S. Air Force is giving an ultimatum to owners of a remote Nevada property now surrounded by a vast bombing range including the super-secret Area 51: Take a $5.2 million “last best offer” by Thursday for their property, or the government will seize it.

    • Ice Spy: US Builds Up Arctic Intelligence Network

      The United States seems to have finally understood that it is losing something in the Arctic; but instead of mobilizing its resources for the development of the region, it has opted to build up its spy network there to watch and listen to what the others are doing, especially Russia.

    • Ban lethal autonomous weapons

      LETHAL AUTONOMOUS weapons — robots that can select, attack, and destroy targets without human intervention — have been called the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms. While some ridicule the notion of killer robots as “science fiction,” more knowledgeable sources such as the British Ministry of Defence say they are “probably feasible now.” We are not talking about cruise missiles or remotely piloted drones, but about, for example, flying robots that search for human beings in a city and eliminate those who appear to meet specified criteria.


      Autonomous weapons are completely different from human soldiers and would be used in completely different ways — as weapons of mass destruction, for example. Moreover, even if ethically adequate robots were to become available, there is no guarantee they would be used ethically.

    • CIA Kept U.S. Agencies in Dark about Investigation into Possible Diversion of Uranium from U.S. to Israel
    • Discord Apparent in Nuclear ‘Diversion’ Probe

      The CIA kept other agencies in the dark about its investigation into whether Israel received uranium from a U.S. company, records given to a researcher show.

    • CIA releases files about Illegal weapons-grade uranium diversions from US to Israel – IRmep

      Many of the file memos record CIA briefings in the late 1970s to members of Congress inquiring whether the diversion was a covert CIA operation. Arizona Democrat Morris Udall asked bluntly on August 23, 1977 “Is it possible that President Johnson, who was known to be a friend of Israel, could have encouraged the flow of nuclear materials to the Israelis?”

    • CIA Cover-Up Thwarted FBI’s Nuclear Diversion Investigations

      According to formerly top-secret and secret Central Intelligence Agency files (PDF) released August 31 in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit (PDF), the agency’s long retention of key information ultimately stymied two FBI investigations into the 1960s diversion of weapons-grade uranium from a Pennsylvania-based government contractor into the Israeli nuclear weapons program.

      The Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC) was a nuclear fuel processing company founded by legendary chemist Zalman Mordecai Shapiro and financed by entrepreneur David Luzer Lowenthal. According to the Department of Energy, during Shapiro’s reign at NUMEC, the company lost more weapons-grade uranium – 337 kilograms after accounting for losses – much of a particularly unique and high enrichment level than any other U.S. facility. Losses only returned to industry norms after Shapiro, who later unsuccessfully tried to get a job working on advanced hydrogen bomb designs, was forced out of NUMEC.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Mantra for 9/11

      Fourteen years of wars, interventions, assassinations, torture, kidnappings, black sites, the growth of the American national security state to monumental proportions, and the spread of Islamic extremism across much of the Greater Middle East and Africa. Fourteen years of astronomical expense, bombing campaigns galore, and a military-first foreign policy of repeated defeats, disappointments, and disasters. Fourteen years of a culture of fear in America, of endless alarms and warnings, as well as dire predictions of terrorist attacks.

    • ‘Blind Spots and Inefficiencies’: The CIA Before and After 9/11

      On a Friday night last June, the CIA quietly released an internal accountability report focusing on the lead-up to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

      The declassified report was not new. Titled “Office of Inspector General Report on Central Intelligence Agency Accountability Regarding Findings and Conclusions of the Report of the Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001,” it had first been released in 2007 in a heavily redacted state. The version released last June, however, had far fewer redactions — and also included never-before-seen rebuttal letters from then-CIA Director George Tenet.

    • Who Won the War on Secrecy?

      Almost half a century ago, Ralph Nader declared that “A well-informed citizenry is the lifeblood of democracy; and in all areas of government, information, particularly timely information, is the currency of power.” These days, there is almost universal support for this view on the left, right, and center of the political spectrum.

      The phrase “a right to know” dates back to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. But, according to Michael Schudson, a professor of journalism at Columbia University, the concept “has not always been accepted, let alone applauded.” In The Rise of the Right to Know, Schudson argues that disclosure was a key component of public policy in the 1960s and ’70s – and that despite the hazards of transparency, “its expansion has made our politics more worthy of the name ‘democracy.’”

    • WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange interested in publishing drone attack details

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed that the group has not released any information that can help the Islamic State group but emphasised that he would not pass up an opportunity to publish drone attacks information in Syria if available. Furthermore, the Australian said that poor media coverage is one of the reasons the terror organisation grew as it is at present.

      Assange’s statement came following the announcement of British Prime Minister David Cameron about the killing of British ISIS Reyaad Khan. The Royal Air Force drone killed the individual in Syria last August. Cameron maintained that the strike was more of an act of self-defence rather than an attack. He also said that Khan was connected to “barbaric” attacks in Britain.

    • WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange wants to publish drone attack info

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says the whistleblowing group hasn’t published anything to assist the Islamic State group (IS) but he would “absolutely” publish leaked information on drone attacks into Syria if offered it.

      The 44-year-old Australian on Tuesday partly blamed poor media coverage for the rise of the terror organisation.

      The comments came a day after British Prime Minister David Cameron said a Royal Air Force drone had killed British jihadist Reyaad Khan in Syria last month.

    • Snowden hits out at Hilary Clinton for exposing national intelligence

      He says that Clinton really should have known better, suggesting that “anyone who has the clearances that the Secretary of State has, or the director of any top level agency has, knows how classified information should be handled”.

    • USTR So Transparent It Takes Three Months To Reveal Names Of TPP Chapters

      Negotiators had hoped to conclude the big Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement at the last negotiation round, thinking that since the US had finally granted fast track, all the obstacles were moved out of the way. That didn’t happen, leading many to wonder if the entire agreement is doomed. However, as EFF recently explained there’s still a ton going on behind the scenes (or, rather, behind closed doors). That discussion notes that the USTR has appointed one of its own top lawyers, Tim Reif, to be the USTR’s new “chief transparency officer.” Of course, giving lawyers new titles and actually being transparent are two very separate things.

    • CIA: Hillary Clinton’s emails contained Top Secret information

      A CIA official claims Hillary Clinton’s personal emails included information about North Korean nukes, but Clinton insists she ‘did not send or receive any information marked classified.’

    • CIA review reportedly finds ‘Top Secret’ info in Clinton email

      According to a report from The New York Times, a special intelligence review of two emails that Hillary Clinton received as secretary of state backs the inspector general finding that the emails contained highly classified information.

      The special review conducted by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency found that the emails, sent in 2009 and 2011 were “Top Secret.” The Clinton campaign and State Department responded to the initial finding from the inspector general by questioning if the emails had been overclassified arbitrarily.

    • Ex-CIA Agent Blames PTSD for Sex Abuse

      A former CIA high flier convicted of drugging and sexually abusing a Muslim woman in Algeria sued the agency for not treating his PTSD, a condition he blames for his conduct.

    • Convicted ex-CIA officer sues agency, Leon Panetta over exposure

      A former Central Intelligence Agency officer who pled guilty to drugging and sexually assaulting a local woman while he was stationed in Algeria is suing the spy agency and former CIA Director Leon Panetta for invasion of privacy.

      Lawyers for Andrew Warren filed the suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, alleging that Panetta violated the Privacy Act and his duty to protect the identity of CIA officers when–in response to a question at his confirmation hearing in 2009–he acknowledged Warren’s employment by the agency.

      The suit, which seeks at least $4 million in damages, asserts that the public identification of Warren as a CIA officer caused him to receive threats.

    • CIA to release Kennedy, Johnson intelligence briefings

      The CIA announced Wednesday that it will be releasing previously classified President’s Daily Brief (PDB) articles from the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson administrations at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas.

    • Reporters Face Subpoenas In Case Over CIA Head’s Resignation

      A couple suing over leaks in the federal investigation that led to CIA Director David Petraeus’ resignation intend to subpoena at least two journalists in an attempt to compel testimony about their sources, The Associated Press has learned.

      That legal strategy was driven by a judge’s decision in July to quash efforts by lawyers for Scott and Jill Kelley to question Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who was the Defense Department’s general counsel at the time of the investigation.

    • Pentagon chief wants ‘unvarnished’ truth in intelligence reports
    • Pentagon investigating complaints of manipulated ISIS intelligence

      A top U.S. intelligence official confirmed that the Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating complaints that senior officials manipulated intelligence reports to create a more optimistic narrative on the fight against ISIS.

      Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), said Thursday that “the investigation will play itself out” and help “figure out if we did something wrong.”

    • Former CIA director under Obama: ‘Someone needs to lose their job’ if reports about ISIS intelligence are true

      Trouble is brewing at US Central Command (Centcom), the Pentagon’s agency covering security interests in nations throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Why are old Green Line trolleys wasting away in rural Pennsylvania?

      In a rural town in western Pennsylvania, a set of vacant tracks leads to a cluster of trains, still and abandoned. Some are from Philadelphia and Cleveland, and others are shorter, green trolleys. Weather and time have covered them in rust, and trespassers have left their mark with spray paint, but if you look closely, you can still read their destination: North Station. They’re the Green Line cars that once ran up and down Commonwealth and Huntington avenues. The old trains sit in rows with no place to go, their wheels still in line with the tracks, trapped.

    • At least 12 killed by monster sandstorm that can be seen from space

      A blanket of thick black dust has covered Lebanon, Syria, Israel, and Cyprus killing at least eight people.

      The choking air is causing respiratory problems and it is believed that more than a thousand have been hospitalised.

      Drone footage shows the thick blanket of dust looming over the holiday paradise of Cyprus.

      Expats say the “horrific” thick cloud has swallowed the mountains and the sea, and made it difficult to see any distance ahead.

    • Molting seals in California are shedding toxic fur

      Annual spikes in mercury along the California coastline have been puzzling scientists for over two decades. Now, researchers think they know what’s causing these toxic increases: the fur of molting elephant seals.

  • Finance

    • The New Money-Laundering Sting: Come to the U.S., Get Arrested

      This new front in the long-running battle against money- laundering is opening as part of a broader U.S. crackdown on tax evasion. Taxpayers who seek amnesty under Internal Revenue Service disclosure programs are snitching on the incorporators, as well as naming Swiss banks and the bankers who aided them.

      More than 50,000 U.S. taxpayers have avoided charges since 2009 in the offshore tax evasion crackdown; the program required them to disclose which banks and advisers helped them hide assets, according to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

      “Leads have been pouring into the government with respect to offshore constructs that are available to help people do money laundering, and securities fraud and tax evasion, and all kinds of misdeeds,” said Miriam Fisher, global chair of Latham & Watkins LLP’s tax controversy practice and a former adviser to the assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s tax division.

    • Rickards: Conversation with a spy

      My conversation with General Hayden focused on my own specialty, market intelligence (MARKINT), and the ongoing financial wars between the U.S. and Russia and Iran. Hayden agreed with me that financial war will be a primary means of warfare in the twenty-first century. He referred to financial sanctions as “the PGMs of the twenty-first century;’” a reference to Precision Guided Munitions. In effect, asset freezes would replace cruise missiles as a way to disable an enemy.

    • Deputy director of CIA to speak at Cornell

      From 2011 until 2015, Cohen (Cornell ‘85) was the Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. He was the driving force behind the U.S. Treasury Department’s increasingly sophisticated use of financial warfare against terrorists and the application of financial and trade sanctions against nations, including Russia and Iran, who are threatening vital interests of the United States and its allies. He also led the Department’s efforts to combat money laundering and financial crime.

    • Is Capitalism Broken? FTM Daily Interviews Professor Wolff
    • Commuting is ‘work’ and employees should be paid for it, European court says

      Wouldn’t it be great to get paid for commuting? A European court just made that wishful thinking a reality for some workers in Europe.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • One good thing about Donald Trump’s campaign: it’s ruining Jeb Bush’s

      Trump’s penchant for insulting anyone in his path is now well-known (and often deplorable and sexist), though most candidates usually have to deliberately poke the bear for Trump to engage in his usual charade. But just about every day, Trump will go after Jeb unprompted – whether on Twitter or at campaign events or in interviews with journalists – with a voracity virtually never seen in primary politics. Oftentimes it’s substantive and other times it’s not, but it’s almost always delightful to watch.

      Trump will attack Jeb for his support for the Iraq War, but if Bush lightly criticizes George W Bush, Trump questions why he would throw his brother under the bus. Trump attacks Jeb for his record in Florida, rips him for his $1.3m “no show job” at Lehman Brothers after he left the governorship. He calls Jeb out for being “100% CONTROLLED” by his wealthy donors, and when a few donors recently left Jeb’s campaign, Trump made fun of him for that too.

    • Countering Russian Disinformation: Europe Dusts Off ‘The Mighty Wurlitzer’ – Analysis

      Europe appears ready to dust off the Mighty Wurlitzer. In early June, the Czech daily Hospodářské Noviny was first to report the European Union was forming “a special group to fight Russian propaganda.”[8] Based in Brussels, the group will include experienced journalists and press officers who are fluent in Russian. It is charged with promoting the EU more effectively and strengthening its media presence, with special attention to Russian-language media.

  • Censorship

    • Singapore’s social media abuzz ahead of election

      For a country whose press freedom ranks alongside the likes of Libya, Belarus and Iraq, Singapore is enjoying a surprisingly vibrant media debate ahead of the city-state’s general election on Friday — aided by the growing reach of social media.

    • New Zealand’s censorship gives birth to a must-read
    • New Zealand: Censors ban award-winning teen novel Into The River by Ted Dawe
    • Book ban represents totalitarian state censorship
    • Book ban could set ‘incredibly unhelpful’ precedent
    • Kiwi censorship’s most infamous moments

      The original Mad Max movie was banned in New Zealand until after the sequel had screened.

    • Scrap the censorship Act?
    • Opinion: We need to talk about sex and censorship
    • Michael Putlack: Censorship in NZ shocking to me

      I’m an American who moved to New Zealand…


      Before moving here, I assumed most or all countries in the western world had their own equivalent to the First Amendment in the US which guarantees Americans the right to free speech and expression. This is why the censorship here is so shocking to me.

    • Student reading lists: technology and censorship

      Today, technology is being used frequently as a censorship tool as well as a way of getting around censorship. The technology and censorship reading list combines a number of articles released over a twenty-year period on the interference technology can have on free expression and the technological advances meaning censors are being more easily evaded. Includes Bibi van der Zee on the impact of Twitter in driving global political change.

    • Umida Ahmedova оn the Burden of Censorship and Being a Female Artist in Uzbekistan

      Many see her film The Burden of Virginity as shining a light on women’s issues the world over, not just in the Central Asian state of Uzbekistan, where it was made.

      Umida Ahmedova, a filmmaker and photographer, prefers to describe herself not as a dissident living in one of the region’s most repressive states, but as an artist with 20 years of creative success to her name.

    • The Humpty Dumpty Censorship of Television in India

      It is tempting to think of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s (MIB) attack on Sathiyam TV solely as another authoritarian exhibition of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government’s intolerance of criticism and dissent. It certainly is. But it is also another manifestation of the Indian state’s paranoia of the medium of film and television, and consequently, the irrational controlling impulse of the law.

    • Your Call: The New Censorship: Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom

      He writes, “We’re so deluged by information that we fail to see the ways in which censorship and repression are actually creating gaps in the essential knowledge that we need.”

    • YouTuber Nicole Arbour claims ‘censorship’ after ‘Dear Fat People’ video taken down

      Nicole Arbour earned a heated reaction for her “Dear Fat People” YouTube video, and apparent censorship on the part of the video-sharing company.

      The YouTube personality posted the six-minute-long video to her page on Thursday, Aug. 3. In it, the Canadian comedian used humor and “trolling” to try to inspire overweight people to lose weight. With over 700,000 views, the video upset a number of people, including vlogger Meghan Tonjes.

    • YouTube ‘Martyr’ Nicole Arbour Is Wrong About Fat-Shaming
    • Fat-shaming video causes YouTube row

      A comedian who criticised overweight people has sparked a row over censorship on YouTube.

    • South Africa Might Get the Worst Internet Censorship Law in Africa

      Since 1994, South Africa has been hailed as one of the African countries where civil liberties are enshrined and protected by a progressive Constitution. However, recent draft legislation proposed by the Film and Publication Board (FPB) which would regulate online content has left many people stunned by the degree of poorly-defined yet draconian and far-reaching censorship provisions for online content.

    • Fight censorship with the new Humble Bundle full of Gaiman rarities
    • Humble Bundle Offering Neil Gaiman Rarities, Including Unfinished Graphic Novel
    • VPN services blocked in China as Astrill warns of ‘increased censorship’ following WW2 parade
    • China Continues Its Crackdown On VPN Services

      China is showing no sign of letting up on internet users who seek to hurdle its censorship system after it began imposing new restrictions on a popular censorship avoidance service in the country.

    • Statement from the creative team behind Homegrown

      At the beginning of this year the National Youth Theatre approached us with an idea for a show – to create a large-scale, site-specific, immersive piece looking a the radicalisation of young British Muslims. The original commission was intended to use the Trojan Horse affair as its lens, although very early in our process that angle was abandoned in favour of something more nuanced. Homegrown was intended to be an exploration of radicalisation, the stories behind the headlines and the perceptions and realities of Islam and Muslim communities in Britain today. It’s important to state, however, that we had a number of reservations about making a play about ‘British Muslims going to join ISIS’. Throughout our careers, we have resisted playing to the logic of the entertainment industries and their particularly crude game of identity politics. Homegrown wasn’t to be FUBU – For Us By Us. We weren’t force-feeding our views to mindless young people, but exposing an astute and thoughtful young cast to the full spectrum of voices who are currently having that very conversation about radicalisation. We were giving them certain tools – a language, really – and then allowing them to work their way through it all. Over six months of assembling our enormous cast and workshopping ideas, we were very clear about exactly what we were making, and that the drive behind this was to create a piece of theatre which unsettled all the preconceived ideas people would come with to this subject matter.

    • Facebook’s Nudity Rules Still Make No Sense

      Her story seemed like the kind of thing that anti-censorship organization might want to share with its readers– perhaps even on, say, Facebook. But after we did that, someone at Facebook had a problem with that. After receiving a complaint from a user– “I feel that this post is sexually explicit and should not be on Facebook”– our post was removed and we received this notice:

      We removed the post below because it doesn’t follow the Facebook Community Standards.

      This was not our first time this has happened to us, and there are numerous artists who have run into the same problem.I

    • Council accused of “censoring” the views of city carers

      GLASGOW City Council has been accused of “censoring” the views of desperate carers protesting against plans which they believe could jeopardise vital support services.

    • Censorship by Murder

      On September 2, 2015, four eminent personalities, including Chittagong District Court’s Additional Public Prosecutors Ashok Kumar Das and Chandan Bishwas; the Vice-Chancellor of Premier University, Chittagong, Dr. Anupam Sen; and International Crime Tribunal’s Prosecutor Rana Dasgupta received death threats in the form of SMS text messages from the banned terrorist formation, Ansarullah Bangla Team (ABT, Volunteer of Allah Bangla Team).

    • Bangladesh High Court rejects petition challenging Islam as state religion
    • Award-winning Turkish journalist charged with ‘insulting’ Turkey’s President

      Prosecutors filed a case against Today’s Zaman columnist Yavuz Baydar on Saturday for “insulting” the president in two recent columns.

      “This is the latest in a number of cases of journalists being targeted and charged for insulting the president, which in turn forms part of a wider crackdown on a free and independent media in Turkey,” said Index chief executive Jodie Ginsberg.

    • “Don’t read the comments”: The trolls, racists and abusers won — reasonable online feedback is a thing of the distant past

      To those of you who,after you read stories, write responses in the comments and offer an enlightened, sane take — whether you agree with the author or not — I salute you. To those who read the comments because you find the conversation there informative and intellectually challenging, mazel tov. As for everybody else, forgive me, but I strongly suspect you’re trolls, masochists, or both. That’s why I’m with Jessica Valenti, who this week in the Guardian questions why we still have comments sections at all.

  • Privacy

    • NSA Chief Says Iranian Cyberattacks Against U.S. Have Slowed
    • Iranian hackers ease off on US after friendly nuke chats, says NSA

      Speaking at a House Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal [paywall] reported him saying there had been “significant Iranian activity” related to cyber-attacks against US financial firms a couple of years ago.


      Of course, when it comes to cyber-attacks the US has a much better track record than Iran.

      In 2011 the Stuxnet worm crippled Iranian nuclear enrichment facilities, repeatedly attacking five industrial plants inside Iran over a 10-month period.

      The stealth of the attack was so effective that Iran didn’t even seem to be aware that the damage was the result of an attack until the media started reporting the story.

      The US and Israel have never formally admitted to being behind the worm, having refused to discuss it on record.

    • EFF Provides Evidence to Courts of Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T Participation in NSA Spying

      This week EFF presented evidence in two of its NSA cases confirming the participation of Verizon Wireless, Sprint and AT&T in the NSA’s mass telephone records collection under the Patriot Act. This is important because, despite broad public acknowledgement, the government is still claiming that it can dismiss our cases because it has never confirmed that anyone other than Verizon Business participated and that disclosing which providers assist the agency is a state secret. This argument was successful recently in convincing the D.C. Circuit to reverse and remand the case of Klayman v. Obama.

      EFF filed requests with the courts in two lawsuits, Smith v. Obama and First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA, asking that they accept as evidence and take into account government filings in the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) that were recently made public. The filings confirm that AT&T, Verizon, Verizon Wireless, and Sprint participated in the NSA’s programs since they report on a “compliance incident” involving those companies.

    • Former NSA Director’s Md.-based Cybersecurity Startup Raises $7.5M

      The security startup may be better defined as a star-studded consultancy firm that produces security software. The majority of the company’s clients are in the financial sector, Bloomberg reported in 2014.

    • NSA whistleblower James Bamford profiles Edward Snowden

      Bamford was the first-ever NSA whistleblower, whose bravery led to the Church Commission…

    • Philly Journalist Dustin Slaughter Sues NSA, CIA Over Occupy Philly Surveillance

      Slaughter, who lives in Mt. Airy, filed a lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday naming the two government agencies as defendants. According to the suit, Slaughter made Freedom of Information Act requests with the NSA and CIA last December, asking for any information pertaining to surveillance of Occupy Philly. He points to articles in the New York Times that confirm that the government was actively spying on the overall Occupy movement, and he wants to know about any such activity in Philadelphia.

    • Occupy Philadelphia protester sues for records of government spying

      Lawyers for an Occupy Philadelphia activist have sued the National Security Agency and the CIA in federal court for records of any spying the agencies may have conducted on the group during the 2011 protests.

      The lawsuit, filed Wednesday, cites media reports that Occupy Wall Street protesters were subject to government surveillance.

      Dustin Slaughter, an online journalist who participated in Occupy Philadelphia, filed Freedom of Information Act requests in December with both the NSA and CIA for records involving the Philadelphia protesters.

    • Surveillance selfies at the Stasi Museum

      During a recent trip to Germany, I embarked on what I half-jokingly called a surveillance sightseeing tour in Berlin. More than at any other destination, the city’s vast collection of Cold War–related sites and history offers a wide array of surveillance-related attractions.

    • Top German Spy: We Made Mistakes Working With NSA

      German intelligence agencies made a number of mistakes while cooperating with their US colleagues, the head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service said in a media interview on Monday.

    • CIA had access to German telecom data – report

      The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had direct and possibly unfiltered access to telecom data from Germany in a secret operation with the German intelligence service (BND), Spiegel.de reports. As part of the operation “glotaic”, telephone and fax traffic of the US provider MCI was surveyed at its German site in Hilden between 2004 and 2006. According to a confidential paper of the German intelligence service BND, audio data of tapped calls were “directly routed to the US” so the “audio function would work without interruptions”.

    • Is Germany Building the Next NSA?
    • German Spies Building Empire to Match NSA Amid Criticism

      Despite an ongoing investigation into the controversial mass surveillance program run by the German intelligence agency, BND, in co-operation with the US National security Agency (NSA), the BND is facing criticism for expanding its operations.

    • Trevor Paglen Photographs the Underwater Telecommunication Cables Tapped by the NSA

      When I met the artist Trevor Paglen to talk about the surveillance state, I found him crouched in the back of a metal bar called Rasputin. He was in Istanbul for an arts and culture festival where he was giving a lecture on government secrecy, a major theme in his work. We’d spent the last few days at a hotel that used to be a hangout for American spies, and it felt fitting that we left the onetime spook house to discuss the NSA in an antiestablishment bar named after a mystic tied to the downfall of the Russian monarchy.

    • TREVOR PAGLEN with Hunter Braithwaite
    • Klayman salvages NSA lawsuit by adding plaintiff who used Verizon Business

      The conservative lawyer challenging the National Security Agency’s bulk phone data collection program is acting on a federal judge’s suggestion to beef up his case against the government by adding another plaintiff who used the cell-phone network that the government has publicly admitted to tracking.

    • What Does Latest Court Ruling On NSA Telephone Metadata Program Mean? – Analysis

      On August 28, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in Obama v. Klayman, ruled for the government in the ongoing litigation over the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) telephone metadata program (PDF). The Klayman ruling, while arising out of the context of the government’s foreign intelligence gathering powers, did not opine on the constitutionality of the NSA’s program. Instead, the decision focused on the procedural prerequisites necessary for a federal court to exercise jurisdiction over the case in the first place. Specifically, the appeals court ruled that the Klayman plaintiffs lacked standing to obtain a preliminary order barring the NSA from continuing the telephone metadata program.

    • NSA’s illegal surveillance soon will stop
    • Push to stop NSA spying moves forward
    • US trade watchdog to FBI: ‘You think the crims won’t know about the backdoor too?’

      The security world was set abuzz on Friday when the NSA finally revealed the details on its zero day policy. Well, “revealed” might be something of a stretch.

    • Government Releases Policy on Vulnerability Discovery and Disclosure
    • Now We Know a Little Bit More About How the NSA Uses Software Vulnerabilities

      EFF says it is contemplating challenging some of the redactions. “We [still] don’t know how this process squares with the government’s claims that in the vast majority of cases it discloses vulnerabilities to the public rather than holding on to them for intelligence or law enforcement purposes,” EFF wrote.

    • A Bizarre Twist in the Debate Over Vulnerability Disclosures

      The ongoing battle between researchers and vendors over the public disclosure of security vulnerabilities in vendor products took a bizarre turn yesterday in a new case involving two security firms, FireEye and ERNW.

      In a blog post published Thursday, ERNW revealed that FireEye had obtained a court injunction to prevent its researchers from publicly disclosing certain information around three vulnerabilities they discovered in a security product made by FireEye.

    • Delayed European Legal Opinion On Facebook NSA/PRISM Coming Later This Month

      A European legal opinion regarding Facebook’s alleged data-sharing co-operation with the NSA/PRISM dragnet surveillance program that’s due to be issued by the Advocate General (AG) of Europe’s top court is now slated to be delivered on September 23.

      The AG had originally been scheduled to deliver the opinion in June. The delay has not been explained by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

    • Angry Austrian’s Facebook safe harbour case to be seen by Bot

      The top advisor to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will give his opinion on the so-called Europe versus Facebook case on 23 September.

      The ECJ revealed on Monday that Advocate General Yves Bot’s opinion would be given later this month after it was postponed in June.

      The case involves “Angry Austrian” Max Schrems, who complained to the Irish Data Commissioner that Facebook had passed his personal data on to the US National Security Agency in breach of his data protection rights. The Irish data protection authorities (DPA) refused to investigate on the grounds that Facebook is signed up to the so-called safe harbour agreement.

    • Would Prefer to Live in My Own Country, Says NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden

      Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden on Saturday criticised Russia – the country that has granted him asylum – calling its crackdown on human rights and online freedom “fundamentally wrong” and said he would prefer not to live in exile.

    • Snowden slams Russia in Norway awards

      NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden criticised Russia’s treatment of gay people and the internet as he accepted a Norwegian free speech prize.

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden attacks Russia for human rights abuses

      Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden – who has been granted asylum by Russia – criticised the country’s crackdown on human rights and online freedom on Saturday as “wrong… disappointing and frustrating”.

    • Ex-NSA contractor Snowden appears at Norwegian prize ceremony via video link
    • NSA leaker Edward Snowden receives Norwegian freedom of expression honor
    • Snowden: web restrictions are ‘wrong in Russia, would be wrong anywhere’
    • Snowden receives Norwegian freedom of speech award
    • Snowden Pans Russian Federation for Approach to Internet and Homosexuality
    • Edward Snowden criticises Russia for crackdown on internet freedom, homosexuality
    • Edward Snowden: Russia was last resort for me
    • Hot Air Criticism on NSA Misses the Mark

      In fact, the facility in Bluffdale serves only as a massive data storage facility. It would have no useful purpose if the agency was not engaged in mass, warrantless, dragnet collection of data – the very thing Rand said he wants to stop. The Bluffdale facility does not play any role in the actual gathering of signal intelligence.

    • US Reliance on Too Much SIGINT and Too Little Spycraft Is Dangerous and Expensive

      How can the United States spend upwards of $50 billion a year on intelligence, and still be surprised by something like the Russian invasion of Crimea?

      Anonymous intelligence officials are trying to blame Edward Snowden—as if Vladimir Putin had no idea until this summer that the U.S. was trying to eavesdrop on him.

    • A Tricky Path to Quantum-Safe Encryption

      But last October, cryptographers at the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain’s electronic surveillance agency, posted an enigmatic paper online that called into question the security of some of the most efficient lattice-based schemes. The findings hinted that vulnerabilities had crept in during a decade-long push for ever-greater efficiency. As cryptographers simplified the underlying lattices on which their schemes were based, they rendered the schemes more susceptible to attack.

      Building on the GCHQ claims, two teams of cryptanalysts have spent the past year determining which lattice-based schemes can be broken by quantum computers, and which are safe — for now.

    • Library Will Vote On Giving Patrons Access To Anonymous Tor Browsers

      Homeland Security picked a fight with the library in New Hampshire

    • DHS Uses Local Law Enforcement To Shut Down Tor Access For Library Patrons

      Nearly everything in our society has been or will be exploited by criminals: cars, cellphones, hatchets, cleaning solutions, tape, boats, aircraft–the list is virtually endless. It’s part of living with and in a free society, and the feds don’t come knocking on 3M’s door every time a criminal uses their tape to facilitate a break-in or other criminal act. But federal agencies like DHS and the FBI are literally on an anti-encryption, anti-privacy crusade with respect to consumer electronics and software–especially high-quality, publicly audited and effective anonymization technology like Tor. The Kilton Library’s internet freedom project has just become the federal government’s latest victim in that misguided campaign.

    • Stop using difficult-to-guess passwords, UK’s spying agency GCHQ recommends

      The British spying agency, found to have been conducting wholesale surveillance on UK citizens, has recommended that the public make their passwords less complex.

      In a brand new document called ‘Password guidance: simplifying your approach’, the company gives a range of guidelines to keep consumers safe. That includes rolling back previous guidance “that complex passwords are ‘stronger’” — instead recommending that people simplify their approach.

      The agency gives a range of hints to those working in IT as well as normal consumers.

      Those include warning people to change their default passwords, to make sure that accounts can be locked out if they’re under attack and avoid storing passwords as plain text files that can be read by anyone.

    • Infrared Portraits Capture Counter-Surveillance Dissidents

      American hacker and privacy advocate Jacob Appelbaum is primarily known as a former WikiLeaks spokesperson and persistent thorn in the side of governments worldwide. But he also has an artistic streak.

    • Hacker Jacob Appelbaum’s new tool in the fight for digital freedom? Photography

      Jacob Appelbaum is an American hacker, a privacy activist and an artist with a new show, his first solo photography exhibition in his chosen city of Berlin. Had things gone differently, he could even have been a Communications Security Establishment (CSE) agent.

      According to Appelbaum, he was invited to talk to students about privacy online a few years ago in, if he remembers correctly, Ottawa. It’s something he often does as a member of the Tor project, a free software network providing online anonymity.

    • The Red Web: In Putin’s Russia, Internet watches you

      Review: Veteran Russian reporters show the Kremlin relies on “threat and intimidation.”

    • Cybersecurity Pros Knock Congress as Security Bill Stalls
    • Security experts mostly critical of proposed threat intelligence sharing bill

      This fall, the Senate is expected to take another look at the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA, but many security experts and privacy advocates are opposed.

    • Congress floats an even worse version of CISA

      Amendments attached to the proposed Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) make an “already awful cybersecurity bill” worse by making worrying changes to the years-old Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned recently.

      Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse introduced amendments to CISA, which, if approved, would make sweeping changes to the CFAA. Instead of helping harden computer systems or protect people from malicious actors, the new provisions would give prosecutors “more power to threaten more people with more prison time,” Cindy Cohn, EFF’s executive director, warned in a recent blog post. CISA, with 20-odd amendments, is on the docket for a full vote in the Senate this year.

    • Library Suspends Tor Node After DHS Intimidation

      The Kilton Public Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, is not unusual in its commitment to the freedom to read in privacy. That commitment is shared by libraries all over the world, and written into the basic character of librarianship through documents like the American Library Association’s “Freedom to Read Statement.” What’s exceptional about Kilton, though, is it was selected by the Library Freedom Project and The Tor Project as the pilot location for a program to install Tor relays, and eventually exit nodes, in public libraries all over.

    • US Demand for Unrestricted Email Access Threatens Democracy – Whistleblower

      NSA whistleblower J. Kirk Wiebe claims that providing US authorities with the right to access any individual’s email account around the world would undermine democracy by equipping the government with the means to crush any political opposition.

    • The disappointing truth regarding data privacy and security

      There are a number of examples of regulatory challenges facing enterprises that want to adopt cloud computing. The US Patriot Act stipulates that the US government may collect data from US-based cloud companies regardless of the data’s physical location. As part of the PRISM program, the NSA secretly collects Internet communications from major US Internet companies, including Google and Microsoft.

    • Beware Vodafone’s Draconian “Acceptable Use Policy”

      Is it just me or have ISP (Internet Service Provider) terms and conditions gotten a lot more one-sided about what you can’t do and what they can do?

    • EU and US sign law enforcement data pact

      A separate 15-year-old data transfer agreement to “ensure an adequate level of [data] protection” whenever the personal data of EU nationals is transferred to firms based in the US is also under review.

      Known as Safe Harbor, the pact underpins a multi-billion euro industry dominated by giants like Google and Facebook, but is riddled with problems. The European Parliament last year voted to have it scrapped.

      Over 3,000 US companies have signed up to the self-certification scheme but a study in 2013 found that hundreds had lied about belonging to the data protection arrangement.

      The US Federal Trade Commission, tasked to enforce it, did little to crack down on the companies.

      The European Commission, for its part, issued 13 recommendations to the Americans to improve it. That was almost two years ago.

      The Americans are refusing to budge on the pact’s national security exceptions.

      But Jourova now says she is confident the work on safe harbor “will soon conclude”.

    • Cellphone Surveillance Gets New Federal Regulations And Guidelines

      When Edward Snowden dropped the NSA/government surveillance bomb on the world, many Americans, as well as countries around the world, started taking privacy a lot seriously. Some began to question just how far reaching the US government had become. So much so in fact, that the government cut NSA surveillance funding and promised to implement new measures for how it goes about procuring such information.

    • FBI Agents Attended Burning Man To Collect Intelligence, Documents Show

      As thousands of revelers start making the trek home from the Burning Man festival in Northern Nevada, newly released documents reveal the FBI spied on the event a few years ago.

      Documents obtained by the journalist Inkoo Kang, and posted to the website MuckRock, reveal that the event has been under FBI surveillance since at least 2010. That’s when the agency concluded that Burning Man is “considered a cultural and artisan event, which promote (sic) free expression by the participants.”

    • Viewpoint: A post-9/11 adolescence

      This progression to a surveillance state made it easier for our country to impose structure and accountability, but such constant policing posed its own problems. We became accustomed to a culture lacking privacy, such that we addictively share all aspects of ourselves through social media. Afraid to be alone, we’ve embraced constant connectivity. Ultimately, an attachment to sleepless keepers — both NSA watchmen and phone companions — developed. This attachment diverts and stunts personal growth. It created a stifling order with no room for introspection on issues such as war, loss of life and moral principles. It is in this stifling order that I see what was fundamentally lost by our nation: solitude. This loss was a shift in our nation’s consciousness.

      Privacy and anonymity now feel criminalized, as if we must account for every action and thought.

    • The ‘Crypto Wars’ of the 1990s are brewing again in Washington

      A debate over data security is brewing in Washington. On one side, law enforcement officials warn that new deployments of encryption, the technology that protects our communications and stored data from prying eyes, is leaving the government without the insight it needs to track down criminals and terrorists. On the other, privacy advocates and tech companies say efforts to build ways for law enforcement to access protected communications will leave everyone less secure.

      But for many longtime techies, this isn’t anything new — it’s a repeat of the “Crypto Wars” of the 1990s. In fact, former Clinton tech policy official Michael Nelson said in a recent op-ed published by the Hill that it is giving him a bad case of “digital deja vu.”

      Nelson, who now works on public policy at CloudFlare, was the Clinton administration’s point person on the Clipper chip — a government-backed piece of technology from the early 1990s designed to give authorities a way to wiretap encrypted phone calls.

    • Privacy, Security, and the Legacy of 9/11

      Q. You’ve been teaching privacy law at UConn School of Law since 2003. Have you seen a change in the way your students view their privacy rights?

      A. At the beginning of the first class of each semester, I begin by telling my students, “Welcome to the Right of Privacy. We will spend the next 15 weeks studying that which you do not have.” I used to smile when I made that little joke. I don’t anymore. I also begin the first class by asking my students to think about whether privacy is an absolute or relative value. The purpose of this exercise is to demonstrate that most people are willing to trade away their privacy for something else of value. We give out personal financial information when we buy something we want on the Internet; we reveal highly personal information about our bodies to doctors so that they can make proper diagnoses, etc. The question is whether we can trust the people and entities with whom we share this information to protect it.

      When I started teaching in 2003, Facebook was in its infancy and YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter did not even exist. Social media has fundamentally transformed the way the youth of the 21st century think about and value individual privacy. They share so much information about themselves, and they do so via platforms that make that shared information accessible to thousands, if not millions, of people.

      So, to answer your question directly, have I seen a change in the way my students view their privacy rights? Oh yea. You betcha.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Vienna Commercial Court quashes Austrian law on private copying levies

        Is there any topic in the copyright world that is more appealing and exciting than private copying and related levies? Following Eleonora’s post earlier this week on the recent Opinion of the European Copyright Society in a reference for a preliminary ruling currently pending before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), this being HP Belgium v Reprobel, today the IPKat is delighted to host a guest contribution by Dr Ulrich Börger (Harte-Bavendamm) on a recent Austrian case on the very topic of levies, in which he acted for one of the parties to the proceedings .

      • Early YouTube Musician Explains How Signing Major Label Deal ‘Nearly Destroyed My Career’

        Digital Music News has an unfortunate story that we’ve heard too many times before: that of an independent musician successfully building a following… only to do a deal with a major label and see it all come crashing down. What’s interesting is that the artist, Terra Naomi, was willing to lay out all of the details. It’s worth a read, as it’s a story that is pretty common. That is not to say that signing a major label deal is necessarily a bad thing. For some artists it may be the right decision. But the way that major labels work is that you’ll only get enough attention for the label to determine if you’re “the next big thing” where all its revenue will come from for the next few years… and if things don’t seem to be going that way, you’ll be pushed aside quickly. The standard stat given is that 90% of major label deals “fail.” That does not mean they are not profitable for the label. The way RIAA accounting works, the labels can make out like a bandit on many of those record deals, while the artist gets hung out to dry. That appears to be the case with Naomi as well.

      • ‘Citizenfour’ to be screened in open air
      • Peace Center fall series to begin with Snowden film

        The Amesbury Friends Peace Center will open its fall program on Sept. 16 with the showing of the Oscar-winning film “CitizenFour.”

        This film is about Edward Snowden, the high-level government computer expert whose theft of top-secret documents from the National Security Agency represents the most serious intelligence breach in U.S. history. His action exposed the vast extent of U.S. government surveillance programs both in the U.S. and abroad.

      • ‘Citizenfour’ Director Laura Poitras Launching Documentary Unit (EXCLUSIVE)

        “Citizenfour” director-producer Laura Poitras is teaming with AJ Schnack and Charlotte Cook to launch Field of Vision, a documentary unit that will commission and create 40 to 50 episodic and short-form nonfiction films each year.

        Field of Vision was developed in collaboration with The Intercept and First Look Media. The Intercept, launched in 2014 by Glenn Greenwald, Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, is a website “dedicated to producing fearless, adversarial journalism.”

        Field of Vision will launch at the 53rd Annual New York Film Festival on Sept. 27 with Poitras’ “Asylum,” a short-form series tracking WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as he publishes diplomatic cables and seeks asylum in London’s Ecuadorian embassy.

      • Citizenfour: a victim of the DVD waiting game

        Director Laura Poitras has created an incredible documentary about Edward Snowden but its ham-fisted release strategy has lost a huge potential audience


Links 11/9/2015: Rackspace Liaising With Canonical, Amarok 3.0 on the Way

Posted in News Roundup at 6:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • As US$12bn is wiped off Apple’s value in one day, iOS 9, OS X 10.11 and Watch OS 2 dates set

    Maybe that enormo-slab stylus wasn’t such a hot idea?

  • Why Apple’s Launch Event Was “Creepy As Hell”

    Yesterday all eyes were on Apple’s product launch.

    This is because Apple has become a bellwether for the stock market as a whole.

    Legendary short seller Jim Chanos spoke candidly to CNBC, explaining that institutional investors and hedge funds are treating Apple stock as a “hedge fund hotel” where they can buy a single name and ride it upwards as opposed to concocting complex trading systems as they did in the past. Indeed, SEC filings by hedge funds bear this out, and so the product launch attracted a huge audience, generating play-by-play reporting on CNBC and Yahoo Finance.

    By the end of trading, Apple stock declined nearly 2%, indicating that investors were not impressed.

    To paraphrase poet Horace, the mountain shuddered and gave birth to a ridiculous mouse.

  • Skype restricted my paid account, without recourse, over a billing hiccup

    Skype is a regular tool in my journalist toolkit. It’s far and away the easiest method by which to record phone interviews (using the Call Recorder plug-in). I prefer it over Google Voice or Google Hangouts because it’s a much simpler tool to deal with, and damn near everyone already has a Skype account anyway. For about $60 a year, Skype gives me a phone number in my area code and the ability to make unlimited calls to and from it, and I’ve been paying that $60 a year and using Skype for six years without incident.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • Major web security company sought to conceal that it ran compromised servers

      A controversy has erupted today at London security conference 44CON as details emerge of U.S. security company FireEye’s attempts to stifle any public disclosure of a major series of vulnerabilities in its suite – all of which have now been patched.

      The vulnerabilities are said to have included the default use of the ‘root’ account on a significant number of the Apache servers providing services to FireEye’s clients.

    • GM Took 5 Years to Fix a Full-Takeover Hack in Millions of OnStar Cars

      When a pair of security researchers showed they could hack a Jeep over the Internet earlier this summer to hijack its brakes and transmission, the impact was swift and explosive: Chrysler issued a software fix before the research was even made public. The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration launched an investigation. Within days Chrysler issued a 1.4 million vehicle recall.

    • John McAfee: For today, for the future — here’s why I’m running for president

      The last few days have been amazing. I am humbled by the outpouring of support and encouragement that I have received. I did 27 interviews yesterday and today looks to be about the same. I have found that the issues we are bringing up are resonating. America cares about these things. Officially, my complete presidential platform is forthcoming, but I wanted to share on Digital Trends a number of reasons why I am running for president and founding a party.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Jeremy Corbyn confident Labour will unite around him if he wins

      Runaway favourite in election will offer collegiate leadership, but criticism from right of the party is already growing

    • Labour Are Still a Bunch of Crooks

      Tessa Jowell claimed she did not read the mortgage documents before signing them or know where the money was coming from. David Mills was eventually acquitted on a technicality by the Italian legal system, but it is not in dispute that the money came from Berlusconi or that he lied in court. Jowell claimed she did not read the documents and had no idea where the money came from or what her husband was doing. She then “left” him and went through a sham “separation” which the whole London establishment knew was a fake, (but the media obligingly did not publish), until the heat died down and the couple could get together again.

    • This is bad: Russia ‘abducts’ Estonian officer after Obama says US will defend Estonia

      On Friday morning, less than 48 hours after President Obama delivered a speech in Estonia warning that Russian aggression against Estonia could trigger war with the US and NATO, Russian security forces have seized an officer with Estonia’s state security bureau at gunpoint and taken him into Russia.

      Estonia says the officer was kidnapped (or “abducted”) on Estonian soil and taken across by force. Moscow says the Estonian officer was on Russian soil and detained with a gun, 5,000 euros and “materials that have the character of an intelligence mission.” Nearby Estonian police radios were reportedly jammed during the incident.

    • Shovels for Guns: Mexican Artist Melts Guns to Make Shovels for Planting Trees

      Culiacán, the western Mexico city, has the highest death rate from gun-related crime and violence in the country.

      Creative activist Pedro Reyes felt that something positive could be done with the city’s weapons. He addressed the issue of gun violence by turning them into more productive tools, like shovels for planting trees in the local botanical garden.

      Reyes started a campaign for residents to hand over their guns in exchange for a coupon. They could use those coupons to buy electronics or household appliances later on.

    • The Day Chile and the Rest of Latin America Remember as Their 9/11

      There are two 9/11’s: one that we all know of and a second, older and neglected aerial assault that took place on Santiago, Chile, when Air Force jets bombed the La Moneda presidential palace and replaced an elected president with a military dictatorship that lasted close to two decades.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • California drops plan for 50% cut in petroleum use

      California has dropped plans to halve petroleum use in vehicles by 2030, after intense oil industry lobbying.

      Governor Jerry Brown and other senior lawmakers had included the proposal in a climate change bill, but were forced to retreat amid growing opposition.

      State senate leader Kevin de Leon, who supported the cut, accused oil firms of deploying “scare tactics”.

      The leaders have vowed to push ahead with other reforms, including boosting renewable electricity use.

      “I’d say oil has won the skirmish, but they’ve lost the bigger battle,” Mr Brown said.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • The debate over “Concussion”: Is movie “self-censorship” merely censorship by another name or just good business?

      We like to think about the history of copyright as a grand sweep from control over publication by the sovereign, aided by the guild as the beneficiary of monopoly rights, to the current reconfiguration, which emphasizes the author and the arrangements by which incentives to create are put into place for the
      ultimate benefit of the public. Censorship as a system for regulating what gets published is anathema to our fundamental values of what copyright is all about. That is true, as far it is goes. But what about the role of private censorship and the willingness of the creator or the commercializer of the creative work to self-impose restrictions on the content of a work, having regard to possible considerations regarding third parties?

  • Privacy

    • How Ashley Madison Hid Its Fembot Con From Users and Investigators

      The developers at Ashley Madison created their first artificial woman sometime in early 2002. Her nickname was Sensuous Kitten, and she is listed as the tenth member of Ashley Madison in the company’s leaked user database. On her profile, she announces: “I’m having trouble with my computer … send a message!”

      Sensuous Kitten was the vanguard of a robot army. As I reported last week, Ashley Madison created tens of thousands of fembots to lure men into paying for credits on the “have an affair” site. When men signed up for a free account, they would immediately be shown profiles of what internal documents call “Angels,” or fake women whose details and photos had been batch-generated using specially designed software. To bring the fake women to life, the company’s developers also created software bots to animate these Angels, sending email and chat messages on their behalf.


      Emails in Biderman’s inbox from November 2012 contain evidence that the company knew very well that most of their money came from bots flirting with men. Security researcher Alejandro Ramos found these emails, which contain an internal presentation that was passed around to many of the company managers. One slide (reproduced below) reveals that 80% of the men who “convert,” or make a purchase on Ashley Madison, are doing it as a result of engagers.

    • Germany’s Homegrown NSA

      It’s somewhat amazing how much important news doesn’t reach us via the mainstream press. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t see photos or film on Facebook of massive demonstrations that somehow never make it to the six o’clock news. For example, I’m willing to bet that very few people here in the U.S. know of the protests in Berlin outside the still-under-construction new headquarters of Ger­many’s for­eign in­tel­li­gence agency, the Bundesna­chrichten­di­enst (BND).

      This looks like important news to me. Many are saying that the BND is getting ready to go NSA on us. Indeed, the spooks at the BND already cooperate with the NSA to an extent that isn’t known, according to a report yesterday from NationalJournal’s Dustin Volz.

      This news is somewhat, but not completely, surprising given Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s spying on Germany that included listening in on German Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s phone calls. But there are reports that the BND, at the request of the NSA, is spying on German and European companies — Airbus and Siemens are mentioned — and politicians.

    • FBI and Apple’s Encryption

      It’s not. The rumor I am hearing is not about access to a particular user and his communications. It is about general access to iOS data and communications. And it’s in the FISA court, which means that it’s not a domestic criminal matter.

    • Let’s talk about iMessage (again)

      It’s this detail that exposes the real weakness of iMessage. To make key distribution ‘simple’, Apple takes responsibility for handing out your friends’ public keys. It does this using a proprietary key server that Apple owns and operates. Your iPhone requests keys from Apple using a connection that’s TLS-encrypted, and employs some fancy cryptographic tokens. But fundamentally, it relies on the assumption that Apple is good, and is really going to give you you the right keys for the person you want to talk to.

      But this honesty is just an assumption. Since the key lookup is completely invisible to the user, there’s nothing that forces Apple to be honest. They could, if inspired, give you a public key of their choosing, one that they hold the decryption key for. They could give you the FBI’s key. They could give you Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s key, though The Rock would presumably be very non-plussed by this.

      Indeed it gets worse. Because iMessage is designed to support several devices attached to the same account, each query to the directory server can bring back many keys — one for each of your devices. An attacker can simply add a device (or a fake ‘ghost device’) to Apple’s key server, and senders will encrypt messages to that key along with the legitimate ones. This enables wiretapping, provided you can get Apple to help you out.

    • US spy chief’s ‘highly unusual’ reported contact with military official raises concerns

      Barack Obama’s intelligence chief is said to be in frequent and unusual contact with a military intelligence officer at the center of a growing scandal over rosy portrayals of the war against the Islamic State, the Guardian has learned.

      James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, is said to talk nearly every day with the head of US Central Command’s intelligence wing, Army Brigadier General Steven Grove – “which is highly, highly unusual”, according to a former intelligence official.

      Grove is said to be implicated in a Pentagon inquiry into manipulated war intelligence.

    • First Library to Support Anonymous Internet Browsing Effort Stops After DHS Email

      Since Edward Snowden exposed the extent of online surveillance by the U.S. government, there has been a surge of initiatives to protect users’ privacy.

      But it hasn’t taken long for one of these efforts — a project to equip local libraries with technology supporting anonymous Internet surfing — to run up against opposition from law enforcement.

      In July, the Kilton Public Library in Lebanon, New Hampshire, was the first library in the country to become part of the anonymous Web surfing service Tor. The library allowed Tor users around the world to bounce their Internet traffic through the library, thus masking users’ locations.

      Soon after state authorities received an email about it from an agent at the Department of Homeland Security.

    • FBI, intel chiefs decry “deep cynicism” over cyber spying programs

      On a stage in a ballroom in the Walter Washington Convention Center on September 10, the heads of the United States’ intelligence community gathered to talk about the work their agencies perform and the challenges they face—or at least as much as they could in an unclassified environment. But the directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency also had one particular mission in mind as they took the stage at the Intelligence & National Security Summit, an industry event largely attended by government officials and contractors: stopping the poisoning of the public debate around their missions, and especially around the issue of encryption, by unreasonable haters.

      CIA Director John Brennan suggested that negative public opinion and “misunderstanding” about the US intelligence community is in part “because of people who are trying to undermine” the mission of the NSA, CIA, FBI and other agencies. These people “may be fueled by our adversaries,” he said.

  • Civil Rights

    • Raed Jarrar on Syrian Refugee Crisis, Tim Karr on Net Neutrality Trickery

      People around the world have been riveted by heartbreaking images of refugees fleeing Syria, as well as heartening ones of European citizens offering help and hospice. But if the pictures drive you to want to know more, don’t expect much help from US media, who are not that interested to get at the roots of the situation. We’ll talk about the Syrian refugee crisis with Raed Jarrar from the American Friends Service Committee.

    • Saudi Arabia offers Germany 200 mosques – one for every 100 refugees who arrived last weekend

      Saudi Arabia has reportedly responded to the growing number of people fleeing the Middle East for western Europe – by offering to build 200 mosques in Germany.

      Syria’s richer Gulf neighbours have been accused of not doing their fair share in the humanitarian crisis, with Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and the UAE also keeping their doors firmly shut to asylum-seekers.

      According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which quoted a report in the Lebanese newspaper Al Diyar, Saudi Arabia would build one mosque for every 100 refugees who entered Germany in extraordinary numbers last weekend.

    • Washington Post’s Balko Blasts Media’s “Fact-Free Fearmongering” About A “War On Cops”

      Conservative media have consistently worked to undermine and smear the Black Lives Matter movement by blaming them for the recent deaths of police officers in Illinois and Texas, even labeling the movement a hate group that inspires violence against police.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Why academics need to lobby for copyright reform – now

        The Hargreaves review teaches us several things. First of all: Progress is possible.

        But the fact that it is surprising that the government listened to academic evidence on copyright also tells us that in many other instances, simply producing evidence has not been enough. We’ve seen this on a European level in the case of the term extension for phonograms, where independent academic evidence was largely ignored.

      • Popcorn Time Creator Reveals His Real Identity

        The man behind Popcorn Time, the popular and free BitTorrent-based video streaming platform, has decided to reveal his true identity in an interview with Norwegian website DN.no.


Links 11/9/2015: Android Pay, Plasma 5.4.1 in Kubuntu

Posted in News Roundup at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • New open source tool to help reporters rethink quotes in stories

    QuickQuote, which was open-sourced last week, requires users to upload their video footage and then provides an automated transcription using natural language processing.

    After the transcription is generated, the user can click anywhere in the text to see and hear the corresponding video and audio, highlighting their desired quote with their mouse.

  • Beware of Open Source Software Zombies

    TL;DR — When putting source code into the open, reserve some time & energy to build a community around it, otherwise: zombie.

  • 5 open source alternatives to Gmail

    But Gmail is far from the only name in the game when it comes to web-based email clients. In fact, there are a number of open source alternatives available for those who want more freedom, and occasionally, a completely different approach to managing their email without relying on a desktop client.

    Let’s take a look at just a few of the free, open source webmail clients out there available for you to choose from.

  • Teaching big data processing with open source software

    The current move towards open data generating massive amounts of data, needs real-time processing needing intelligent solutions to process it. Having more tools which are open source can fuel further open data research impacting not only computing, but social sciences, where economists and governments can make use of big data as well.

  • Concurrent launches open-source CDN platform

    Concurrent, a provider of high-performance Linux and storage products, announced a new open-source content delivery network (CDN) platform. Concurrent’s new CDN platform combines open-source technologies with the company’s enterprise support services to deliver streaming video and other content to consumers on connected devices. Concurrent is leveraging community-driven open-source technologies including Apache Traffic Server for caching and streaming, Traffic Control for request routing, Ceph for storage and its own packaged feature enhancements to create a CDN platform that is well-suited for commercial applications.

  • How to manage an open source project

    Put yourself in their shoes – that’s the most important thing to remember as the boss of a free software project.

    Whether you’re handling a code patch from an argumentative contributor or trying to attract users via a release announcement, it’s vital to think carefully about how other people will see it.

  • Node.js Fork is Done as Node v 4.0.0 Released

    Now the first code release as part of the Node.js Foundation is out with v 4.0.0.

    “This release represents countless hours of hard work encapsulated in both the Node.js project and the io.js project that are now combined in a single codebase,” the Node.js foundation wrote in a blog post. “The Node.js project is now operated by a team of 44 collaborators, 15 of which form its Technical Steering Committee (TSC). Further, over 100 new individuals have been added to the list of people contributing code to core since v0.12.7.”

  • Node.js says all is forgiven, welcomes io.js fork back into the fold

    The Node.js Foundation has released version 4.0.0 of the Node.js, the first version that reunites the JavaScript-based server-side web application framework with its io.js fork.

    “This release represents countless hours of hard work encapsulated in both the Node.js project and the io.js project that are now combined in a single codebase,” the Foundation said in a technical blog post announcing the release.

  • Node.js v4.0.0 Released
  • Largest email group for women in tech teams up with Peace Corps

    Systers is the world’s largest email community of women in tech.

    First a little history, from Anita Borg.org: Systers was founded by in 1987 as an email mailing list for women in “systems.” At last official count, the community has over 5,500 members from at least 60 countries. Women technologists of all ages and at any stage of their studies or careers are welcome to contact the current Systers-keeper, Rose Robinson.

    In this interview Rose Robinson talks with me about Systers’ participation in the Open Source Day Codeathon taking place at the Grace Hopper Conference (GHC) in Houston, Texas this year—where attendence will hit record numbers. (You can still register!) Systers is one of a group of participating organizations during the codeathon.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • PostgreSQL: Playing open source catch-up to arrogant Oracle

      Part of why people are choosing PostgreSQL and EnterpriseDB is because users get to see the way the company works.

      “Not only can people see how we develop the code but they can see how we deal with bug fixes and things like that, but they can also see how we work. Everything we do is out in the open so you’re not hiding behind the PR department.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • Business

    • Openwashing

      • Open-Source Email Archiving Software Expands with IMLS Grant

        The ePADD open-source email archiving and processing platform developed by Stanford University Libraries was awarded a $685,000 National Leadership Grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) on August 31. The software “supports archival processes around the appraisal, ingest, processing, discovery, and delivery of email archives,” according to the project site. “Email archives present a singular window into contemporary history; however, they are often inaccessible to researchers due to screening, processing, and access challenges, as well as the sheer volume of material.”

      • Thales adopts open-source ERTMS testing tool

        Signalling and train control supplier Thales Deutschland has agreed to use the ERTMSFormalSpecs open-source modelling tool to test braking curves in the development of its onboard unit for the ETCS Baseline 3 specifications.

  • BSD

    • GhostBSD 10.1 BETA2 now available

      We are pleased to announce the availability GhostBSD 10.1 BETA2 MATE & XFCE which is available on SourceForge for the amd64 and i386 architectures.

      Before going further I will like to say a special thanks Ovidiu who recently join back the project and Andrea who join the project, they have help to make GhostBSD better, add up new feature and fixed issue.


    • Free Software Foundation seeks nominations for 18th annual Free Software Awards

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) and the GNU Project today call upon the free software community to submit nominations for the 18th annual Free Software Awards. The Free Software Awards include the Award for the Advancement of Free Software and the Award for Projects of Social Benefit. The awards are presented each year at the LibrePlanet free software conference, and at the same time nominations for the next year’s awards open.

    • Infinity progress update

      I’m expecting the addition of a second DWARF interpreter to GDB to be contentious, but they’ll optimized for different things and doing different things. For example, Infinity could work better with some type tracking (and will likely need it to make function calls secure) but it’s different from what GDB’s existing interpreter needs and it’s difficult to see how to combine the two without ending up with something that’s not very good at either. Not to mention that getting it to a point it can be moved to common code would likely slow it down a ton.

  • Public Services/Government

    • UK government backs away from Microsoft, moves closer to Open Document Format

      In a further blow to Microsoft’s grip on government desktop computing in the UK, the UK government has published 18 guides offering detailed information about the Open Document Format (ODF) standard and how to move organisations to ODF-compliant solutions.

      ODF 1.2 was selected last year as the standard for editable office documents to be used across UK government departments, along with HTML5 and PDF, which became the official defaults for static documents that would be viewed, but not edited after they were published. The fact that native Word formats were not included as an alternative option was a major defeat for Microsoft, which had lobbied hard—and until 2014, lobbied successfully—to prevent this high-profile victory for ODF’s open standard.

    • Munich’s Open Source Transformation Has Made it a Top Contributor

      For years now, open source tools and applications have been gaining traction in parts of Europe, and Munich has been involved in a multi-year effort to transform its technology infrastructure by throwing out Microsoft applications and using open tools instead. Munich’s move to open source has been followed here on OStatic, and it has not been without hiccups. There were problems, for example with people finding Linux too complex.

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Mac User Groups Fade in Number and Influence, but Devotees Press On

    When Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief executive, presents an updated iPhone and other gadgets at an event on Wednesday, several hundred of the company’s invited guests will be seated in a giant auditorium in San Francisco to watch.

    More than 5,000 miles away in Britain, members of the London Mac User Group — comprising about 90 people, many of whom are longtime Apple enthusiasts — will also be watching Mr. Cook’s event closely, but via a live stream at a pub called the Sun Tavern. Along with bar snacks and pints, a bingo game and a raffle will be part of the fun. The top prize: an Apple accessory.

  • iPhone S Models blah-blah-blah, 12mp is truly lame at this time blah-blah-blah, annual market share will be down vs 2014

    So the new iPhone S models are out. Am so underwhelmed with 12mp camera as the big tech upgrade. The old joke still holds, to see what will be in next iPhone, look at a 5 year old Nokia flagship (yes the Nokia N8 had 12mp back in 2010). And rose gold color? Ooh, color me unimpressed. The time when colors were big news in mobile phones was about 15 years ago – incidentially also a Nokia invention. But yeah. So faster guts, big whoopte do.

    There was no dual SIM or waterproofing or anything radical that could help now. There was no update to the ‘nano’ model ie the entry-level model iPhone 5C. And these two 6S and 6S Plus iPhones will of course be appealing to Apple users who have been begging for more colors and better cameras but for the rest of us, no, this is not going to help reverse Apple’s diminishing annual market share trend. But that gap in price/performance grows ever larger with each iPhone model and soon many consumers will simply arrive to the conclusion that the emperor doesn’t have clothes (or the few it has, are way too expensive compared to rivals). iPhone market share will continue down. The iPhone owners (aka iSheep as I mockingly often call them and that is a crass oversimplification many do actually love Apple products for being the best gadgets in any category for usability and that is a virtue of course. Others love iToys for their bling factor, nothing wrong with that either if you go by style over substance).

  • Science

    • First new cache-coherence mechanism in 30 years

      In a modern, multicore chip, every core — or processor — has its own small memory cache, where it stores frequently used data. But the chip also has a larger, shared cache, which all the cores can access.

      If one core tries to update data in the shared cache, other cores working on the same data need to know. So the shared cache keeps a directory of which cores have copies of which data.

      That directory takes up a significant chunk of memory: In a 64-core chip, it might be 12 percent of the shared cache. And that percentage will only increase with the core count. Envisioned chips with 128, 256, or even 1,000 cores will need a more efficient way of maintaining cache coherence.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Homeopathy conference ends in chaos after delegates take hallucinogenic drug

      An alternative medicine conference has ended in chaos in Germany after dozens of delegates took a LSD-like drug and started suffering from hallucinations.

      Broadcaster NDR described the 29 men and women “staggering around, rolling in a meadow, talking gibberish and suffering severe cramps”.

      The group of “Heilpraktikers” was discovered at the hotel where they held their conference in the town of Handeloh, south of Hamburg, on Friday.

    • California Becomes First State to Label Monsanto’s Roundup As a Carcinogen

      In a first for the country, California’s Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) has issued plans to list glyphosate—the toxic active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide—as known to cause cancer.

      According to a “notice of intent” issued last week by the Cal/EPA’s California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), the effort falls under California’s Proposition 65, in which the state is required to publish a list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.

    • Experts: Pending Health Insurance Mergers Will Hit Patients Right In The Wallet

      Impending multi-billion health insurance mergers involving four major providers have drawn the ire of patient advocacy groups that say such deals violate antitrust laws and threaten to fatten insurance companies’ coffers at patients’ expense.

    • Ciao GMO Crops – Europe Doesn’t Want You Around!

      The European Union has initiated plans to ban genetically modified crops. Currently, each country and sometimes each state can decide to approve GMO crop cultivation, creating a “patchwork” approach that is causing confusion and inconsistencies.

      GMO crops are allowed throughout North, Central, and South America, as well as Asia. In March, the EU approved a law allowing the European Commission to approve genetically modified crops individually for import, but also allows countries to opt-out of the importation even if deemed safe.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Nuclear Experts Praise Iran Nuclear Deal’s Plutonium Concession As A Major Triumph

      Nuclear experts are lauding the Iran nuclear deal for ensuring a major turnaround in Iran’s production of plutonium, a key concession ignored by critics of the deal.

    • Iran’s ‘Nuclear Ambitions’ Go Unquestioned in Coverage of Iran Deal Momentum

      In other words, if the deal with Iran fails, then the US must go to war with Iran, because war is the only means to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb. So the entire spectrum of debate allowed by the Post accepts an Iranian quest for an atomic bomb as an article of faith–and the “left” edge of the debate endorses the legitimacy of preemptive war (FAIR.org, 8/20/15).

    • Media Fail To Note How The GOP Plan To Derail The Iran Agreement Is “Dishonest”

      Media outlets reported on congressional Republicans’ plan to delay implementation of the landmark nuclear agreement with Iran by alleging President Obama inappropriately failed to provide details of the “side deals” between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to Congress. But those outlets failed to note that the IAEA deal with Iran is confidential, which is “standard operating procedure” for agreements of this type.

    • In Washington, the nuclear deal with Iran is politically unstoppable

      US president Barack Obama doesn’t need to worry: for all intents and purposes, his signature foreign policy accomplishment—a nuclear deal with Iran—will be safe from a congressional override vote.

      The 159-page “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” that the president and his administration negotiated with Iran and the P5+1 (UN Security Council members plus Germany) was an endeavor that required an immense amount of political will and diplomatic acumen. US secretary of state John Kerry, secretary of energy Ernest Moniz, and undersecretary of state Wendy Sherman pulled it off after nearly two years of intensive talks with Iran’s delegation, led by one of the best negotiators in the world—Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

    • Hillary Clinton Goes to Militaristic, Hawkish Think Tank, Gives Militaristic, Hawkish Speech

      Leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton this morning delivered a foreign policy speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington. By itself, the choice of the venue was revealing.

      Brookings served as Ground Zero for centrist think tank advocacy of the Iraq War, which Clinton (along with potential rival Joe Biden) notoriously and vehemently advocated. Brookings’ two leading “scholar”-stars – Kenneth Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon – spent all of 2002 and 2003 insisting that invading Iraq was wise and just, and spent the years after that assuring Americans that the “victorious” war and subsequent occupation was going really well (in April 2003, O’Hanlon debated with himself over whether the strategy that led to the “victory” in his beloved war should be deemed “brilliant” or just extremely “clever,” while in June, 2003, Pollack assured New York Times readers that Saddam’s WMD would be found).

    • Exclusive: I Can Reveal the Legal Advice on Drone Strikes, and How the Establishment Works

      This may be the most important article I ever post, because it reveals perfectly how the Establishment works and how the Red Tories and Blue Tories contrive to give a false impression of democracy. It is information I can only give you because of my experience as an insider.

      It is a definitive proof of the validity of the Chomskian propaganda model. It needs a fair bit of detail to do this, but please try and read through it because it really is very, very important. After you have finished, if you agree with me about the significance, please repost, (you are free to copy), retweet, add to news aggregators (Reddit etc) and do anything you can to get other people to pay attention.

      The government based its decision to execute by drone two British men in Syria on “Legal Opinion” from the Attorney-General for England and Wales, Jeremy Wright, a politician, MP and Cabinet Minister. But Wright’s legal knowledge comes from an undistinguished first degree from Exeter and a short career as a criminal defence barrister in Birmingham. His knowledge of public international law is virtually nil.


      The only known occasion when this did not happen was the Iraq War. Then the FCO Legal Advisers – unanimously – advised the Attorney-General, Lord Goldsmith, that to invade Iraq was illegal. Jack Straw asked the Attorney General to dismiss the FCO chief Legal Adviser, Sir Michael Wood (Goldsmith refused). Blair sent Goldsmith to Washington where the Opinion was written for him to sign by George Bush’s lawyers. [I know this sounds incredible, but it is absolutely true]. Sir Michael Wood’s deputy, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, resigned in protest.

      In consequence Blair and Straw decided that, again for the first time ever, the FCO’s chief legal adviser had to be appointed not from within the FCO legal advisers, who had all declared the war on Iraq to be illegal, but from outside. They had to find a distinguished public international lawyer who was prepared to argue that the war on Iraq was legal. That was a very small field. Blair and Straw thus turned to Benjamin Netanyahu’s favourite lawyer, Daniel Bethlehem.


      Jeremy Wright pretends to give a Legal Opinion, actually from FCO legal advisers based on the “Bethlehem Doctrine”. The Labour Party pretends, very unconvincingly, to be an opposition. The Guardian, apparently the leading “opposition” intellectual paper, publishes articles by its staff neo-con propagandists Joshua Rozenberg (married to Melanie Phillips) and Rafael Behr strongly supporting the government’s new powers of extrajudicial execution. In summer 2012 Joshua Rozenberg presented a programme on BBC Radio 4 entitled “Secret courts, drones and international law” which consisted mostly of a fawning interview with … Daniel Bethlehem. The BBC and Sky News give us wall to wall justification of the killings.

    • The Hidden Structure of Violence: Who Benefits From Global Violence and War

      Authors Mark Pilisuk and Jennifer Rountree discuss their new book, “The Hidden Structure of Violence: Who Benefits From Global Violence and War.” They contend that organized violence is not an inescapable part of human existence, but is organized and carried out by the dominant social order to enhance its own power.

      In the second half of the program, Tara Dorabji joins in to explain how violence and social control are wielded in two of the world’s occupied lands, Palestine and Kashmir, and the role women play in preserving life and culture in those areas, despite the occupiers’ brutality.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • ​The US Owes the World $4 Trillion for Trashing the Climate

      In a just world the United States would pay back the $4 trillion dollars it owes, according to new research, for trashing the climate.

      Global warming wasn’t created equal. Rich, industrialized nations have contributed the lion’s share of the carbon pollution to our currently-unfolding catastrophe—the more CO2 in the atmosphere, the hotter it gets, of course—while smaller, poorer, and more agrarian countries are little to blame. The subsequent warming from our carbon-stuffed skies will, naturally, impact everyone, often hitting the poorer countries harder. So, since the rich fueled the crisis that’s about to soak the poor, they might help chip in to soften the blow.

      That, in super-basic terms, is the concept of climate debt, which guides current emissions negotiations and efforts to distribute funds for adaptation to nations most affected by climate change. If you acknowledge, as the UN does, that there’s a carbon budget—an amount of greenhouse gas pollution the world can collectively churn out before we land in dangerous warming territory, currently figured at a 2˚C threshold—then it follows that nations that have overstepped theirs should pay back those who haven’t.

    • NRA’s Ted Nugent Wants To Drive Over “Rotting Corpses” Of Al Gore And “Pathetic” Environmentalists

      National Rifle Association board member Ted Nugent shared a Facebook post on September 9 showing off several cars and wrote (sic throughout): “Look closely & you shall see a huge leaking pipeline connected directly to a Saudi Prince’s ass sucking massive quantities of rawcrude as I throttle relentlessly over the rotting corpses of mikeymoore & algore & all the pathetic greenies.” “Greenie” is a term for an environmentalist or conservationist.

  • Finance

    • Uruguay Withdraws From TISA, Strikes A Symbolic Blow Against The Trade Deal Ratchet

      In other words, the ratchet clause ensures that there is only one direction of travel — towards greater deregulation, and greater loss of control by sovereign nations.

      TISA is unusual for being honest about introducing a ratchet. But there’s another, more subtle, kind of ratchet that acts on all major treaties. It means that once a country has joined the negotiations, it becomes increasingly hard to back out, whatever the growing reservations of its public once they find out what is being done in their name. Indeed, that one-way street is one of the most powerful features of trade agreements: corporations only need to get some coveted but controversial measure inserted in a treaty’s text, and it will automatically cascade down to all the signatories, however much they — or their people — may dislike it. It’s how things like anti-circumvention laws for DRM were brought in: once it was included in the WIPO Copyright Treaty, all signatories had to pass legislation implementing it, because they had “no choice”, the treaty “forced” them to do it — a convenient excuse for passing unpopular laws.

    • Does Your Candidate Support Workers’ Interests? David Brooks Thinks You Have a Psychological Problem

      New York Times columnist David Brooks discussed the rise of Jeremy Corbyn on the left in the Labor Party in the United Kingdom and Bernie Sanders on the left in the United States, along with Donald Trump and Ben Carson on the right. He argues that none of these people could conceivably win a national election. He therefore concludes that their support must stem from a psychological problem, which he identifies as “expressive individualism.”

    • ‘They Were Willing to Pay the Price With Other People’s Bodies’ – CounterSpin interview with Felicia Kornbluh on the legacy of ‘welfare reform’

      Janine Jackson: In 1996, Bill Clinton signed something called “The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act,” calling it an effort to “end welfare as we know it” and to “promote fundamental values of work, responsibility and family.” Ten years later, Clinton took a victory lap with a New York Times column headed “How We Ended Welfare, Together,” shouting out “the Democrats and Republicans who had the courage to work together to take bold action,” which Clinton claimed led to a “new beginning” for millions of Americans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • National Geographic gives Fox control of media assets in $725 million deal

      Ever since it was launched from the temple-like headquarters of the National Geographic Society in Washington in 1888, National Geographic magazine has illuminated the world’s hidden places and revealed its natural wonders.

    • Fox expands National Geographic partnership by buying NG media unit for $725M

      Fox has had an 18-year partnership with the society, in which the two have jointly owned and operated National Geographic cable network channels that are distributed worldwide. But the latest deal expands the relationship. Fox and the society will create a new corporate entity, called National Geographic Partners, that will own and operate nearly all other National Geographic media operations, including the cable networks, the famous yellow-border magazine, the video studio, books, maps, children’s media, catalog, licensing and e-commerce businesses.

    • Watch These Fox News Hosts Promote A Hate Group Leader’s New Book

      Fox News hosts have used the controversy surrounding Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis to repeatedly hawk the new book from a man considered one of America’s most extreme and prominent anti-gay hate-group leaders.

      Tony Perkins is the president of the Family Research Council (FRC), an organization that has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center for spreading damaging lies about gay people, including the myth that they are more likely to engage in pedophilia.

    • Trump And How The Media’s Birther Blind Spot Keeps Getting Bigger

      For instance, since June 1, the New York Times has published approximately 180 articles or columns that included the word “Trump” five or more times, according to Nexis. But just a handful of those have made any mention of Trump’s previous birth certificate folly. The same goes for USA Today and the Los Angeles Times, for example: Nearly 180 detailed Trump articles and columns published since June between them, but just a few that have addressed the birther nonsense.

    • Comcast-Owned Vox Explains the Great Deal You’re Getting From Comcast

      It appears Ezra Klein’s new media startup Vox is taking on many of the habits of old media—like blurring the lines between business and editorial by running a thinly disguised commercial for Comcast, the cable giant that not only seeded Vox‘s initial run, but recently invested $200 million more in its parent, Vox Media, Inc.

    • Scott Walker’s Day One Plan to “Wreak Havoc” Lifted from ALEC

      If Scott Walker is elected president, he will enact American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) policies on the first day of his presidency.

      Walker was an ALEC member as a state legislator, and according to outlets like The Guardian, Walker could be “The First ALEC President.”

  • Censorship

    • Saudi Arabia bans National Geographic cover about Pope Francis

      Saudi Arabia has banned the August issue of National Geographic’s Arabic edition, whose cover featured Pope Francis standing inside the Sistine Chapel.

      In a statement published on National Geographic’s Arabic Language Twitter account, the magazine said the edition was banned for “cultural reasons.”

      “Dear readers in Saudi Arabia, we apologize that you did not receive August’s magazine,” the editor-in-chief, Alsaad Omar al-Menhaly wrote, Foreign Policy magazine reported. “According to the distribution company, the magazine was refused entry for cultural reasons.”

    • WordPress Adds Subaru to Takedown “Hall of Shame”

      WordPress.com is taking a strong stance against rightsholders who abuse its takedown process. The company maintains a “hall of shame” which recently expanded with the addition of Subaru. The car manufacturer tried to take down a blog which was created in response to one of Subaru’s own contests.

    • Ex-Ashley Madison CTO threatens Brian Krebs with libel suit over rival hacking claims

      One of the more unusual things to come from the Ashley Madison hack was the discovery that AM’s founding CTO, Raja Bhatia, had apparently hacked another company, Nerve, after that company expressed an interest in setting up a competing adult dating service.

      That story was first reported by Brian Krebs, and it seems that Bhatia, no longer at Ashley Madison, isn’t very happy with it. His lawyer has threatened Krebs with a libel suit.

    • New Zealand protests planned in solidarity with banned book

      Silent readings of Ted Dawe’s Into the River are being planned across New Zealand tomorrow in protest at the much-praised young adult novel’s nationwide ban.

      Following a complaint from Christian group Family First about the award-winning title’s “detailed descriptions of sex acts, coarse language and scenes of drug-taking”, New Zealand’s Board of Film and Literature Review has placed an interim restriction order on Into the River, meaning that “no one in New Zealand can distribute, or exhibit, the book”. Individuals who breach the order face a fine of $3,000 and companies who breach it will be fined $10,000. The board will revise the order and consider a permanent age restriction for the novel in October.

  • Privacy


      Prior to two weeks ago, when this reporter alerted authorities that they had exposed critical data, anyone online was able to freely access a City of Boston automated license plate reader (ALPR) system and to download dozens of sensitive files, including hundreds of thousands of motor vehicle records dating back to 2012. If someone saw your shiny car and wanted to rob your equally nice house, for example, they could use your parking permit number to obtain your address. All they had to do was find the server’s URL.

    • Class action launched against Facebook over biometric slurpage

      Facebook has been hit with a class-action complaint over its biometrics slurpage, with millions of possible plaintiffs who may claim damages if the advertising giant is found to have acted unlawfully.

      The complaint (PDF) states that “Facebook has created, collected and stored over a billion ‘face templates’ (or ‘face prints’)”, which, ostensibly, are as uniquely identifiable as fingerprints. These have been gathered “from over a billion individuals, millions of whom reside in the State of Illinois”.

    • EFF to ICANN: Privacy Must be Purposeful—Not an Afterthought

      The working group at Internet Corporation for Assignment of Names and Number (ICANN) that has been tasked with designing a new domain registration database can’t seem to wrap its head around why privacy matters when it comes to domain registration services. ICANN’s Expert Working Group on gTLD Registration Directory Services (EWG) issued a Preliminary Issue Report on Next-Generation gTLD Registration Directory Services to Replace WHOIS in July, and EFF has submitted comments.

    • ​Europeans to win the right to sue in US courts over privacy breaches

      Europeans whose data has been mishandled by US authorities will soon have the right to take legal action in the US courts.

      EU citizens’ right to seek legal redress in the US comes as part of a new EU-US data protection agreement covering instances where EU citizens’ personal data is involved in US criminal and terrorism investigations. The deal brings rights of EU citizens in line with those of US citizens, who can sue in European courts for similar privacy breaches.

    • Legal Actions Before the French Council of State and Constitutional Council

      Since January 2015, La Quadrature du Net, FDN and the FDN Federation have begun a series of legal actions before the French Council of State and the French Constitutional Council against the laws and the implementing decrees that these associations consider fatal to civil liberties. In order to help people to follow over time the different stages of these procedures, this page explains in a few lines each of these appeals and their progresses.

  • Civil Rights

    • Top female student takes on corruption in Egypt after scoring zero on exams

      Dubbed ‘zero schoolgirl’, Mariam Malak is drawing national attention after appeals to investigate forgery allegations were repeatedly dodged by authorities

    • Hungarian nationalist TV camera operator filmed kicking refugee children

      A camera operator for a Hungarian nationalist television channel closely linked to the country’s far-right Jobbik party has been filmed kicking two refugee children and tripping up a man at the border hotspot of Rőszke on Tuesday.

      Petra László of N1TV was filming a group of refugees running away from police officers, when a man carrying a child in his arms ran in front of her. László stuck her leg out in front of the man, causing him to fall on the child he was carrying. He turned back and remonstrated with László, who continued filming.

    • The price of Europe’s fecklessness

      In Luis Bunuel’s eponymous 1961 film, the young postulant Viridiana leaves her convent to claim her uncle’s rural estate, and creates a refuge for local beggars. They ransack her house in a bachannalia staged to lampoon the Last Supper, and a couple of them rape her. The classic film should be mandatory viewing for European officials caught up in refugee euphoria. This is going to end very, very badly.

    • How Inmates and Loved Ones Review Jails on Yelp

      A few years back, Jenny Vekris says she was prescribed the sleeping pill Ambien for insomnia. It took her a while to figure out that the drug was affecting her in dangerous ways. “I’d wake up to car damage, bruises, fast-food wrappers, and who knows what else, because I was sleeping and driving,” she says. Twice, she woke up in jail. One of those times, she was charged with a DWI.

      When she got home, she turned to a place she knew she’d be understood: Yelp.

      “So, one morning, I wake up next to a girl in the big house. It took a minute to realize where I was, and I started asking the girl questions,” Vekris wrote in a review of the Austin city jail, which is more formally known as Travis County Jail. “My Cellie told me I was in jail, and then she started crying. I asked why, and she said she had to poop. That’s cool, whatever, do it. So she sits on the silver toilet, pooping and crying, and apologizing to me.” Twenty-six people marked the review “useful” and 22 thought it was “cool.”

    • We Need the Right to Repair Our Gadgets

      We don’t have to keep buying new gadgets. In fact, we should insist on the right to keep old ones running.

      Who hasn’t experienced a situation like this? Halfway through a classic Jack Lemmon DVD, my colleague Shira’s 40-inch TV conked out. Nothing showed up on the screen when she pressed the power button. The TV just hiccupped, going, “Clip-clop. Clip-clop.”

    • Houston cops shoot unarmed black patient in hospital — and then charge him with assault

      Alan Pean is a 26-year-old biology student with no criminal record or history of violence. But on August 27th, he was shot in the chest by an off-duty Houston police officer working as a security guard at the St. Joseph Medical Center. The police are claiming that Alan became combative and that they followed standard operating procedure. It’s Alan, they say, who is as fault, and they have charged with two counts of aggravated assault against a public servant. He was arraigned today.

    • O’Reilly: “I Think General Powell Needs To Apologize To The American People” For Supporting Black Lives Matter
    • Female cartoonist could have 12 year prison term extended for shaking her lawyer’s hand

      An Iranian artist currently serving more than 12 years in prison for criticising the government now faces further charges of “indecency” for allegedly shaking her male lawyer’s hand.

      Amnesty International reports that Atena Farghadani, 29, who was jailed after she depicted Iranian government officials as monkeys and goats in a satirical cartoon, may face a longer sentence amid claims over the handshake.

    • Letter to Obama regarding plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility

      I write on behalf of Human Rights Watch concerning recent reports of an administration plan to close the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay that would include transferring a number of detainees there to the United States.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Software-Defined Radio May Cause FCC to Restrict WiFi Modifications

      The comment period for the Federal Communications Commission’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on software-defined radios was supposed to end on Sept. 8. But the FCC has extended the comment period because the topic is complex, and the parties involved need time to work.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Getty Images Tries To Copyright Troll 2600 Magazine Over Content It Has No Copyright Over

        So, we were just discussing Getty Images’ latest foray into ridiculous copyright trolling (something the company has a long history with), by demanding money for a meme image used on a blog. Today, we have another example of Getty Images copyright trolling that is even worse. It’s so bad, that Getty Images doesn’t even have a legitimate copyright claim here at all, let alone abusing a legitimate copyright to shakedown someone. The target? The famed hacker publication 2600, which a Getty subsidiary, Trunk Archive, claimed was infringing on one of its images.

      • Testing Old Tapes For Playability

        Audio recordings are a huge part of the world’s cultural history—and some are in danger of degrading so much that they’ll be lost forever. Now researchers report that infrared spectroscopy offers a quick, noninvasive way to separate magnetic tapes that can still be played from those that can’t. This could help archivists know which tapes need special handling, and soon, before they get any worse. (Anal. Chem. 2015, DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.5b01810).

        The Cultural Heritage Index estimates that there are 46 million magnetic tapes (VHS, cassette, and others) in museums and archives in the U.S. alone—and about 40% of them are of unknown quality. Many of these tapes are reaching the end of their playable lifetime, and given the limited number of studio-quality tape players available for the digitizing process, not all the tapes will be digitized before the world loses them.


Links 9/9/2015: Steam for GNU/Linux Rising, Plasma 5.4.1 is Out

Posted in News Roundup at 11:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) for the Unix shell

    When I first got involved in Unix and open source, I was choosing a pseudonym for a little podcast that I do called GNU World Order. I naively thought that in a community that values technology and, frequently, speculative fiction, the name “Klaatu” would be a quaintly obscure reference to my favorite movies. Of course, I have since learned that “Klaatu” as your handle in the tech community is rather like “Bob Smith” in the real world, so online I am also sometimes known as “notKlaatu” to set me apart from the other Klaatus.

  • Events

    • Birthday party at Endocode in Berlin: 30 years Free Software Foundation

      On 3 October 2015 Free Software Foundation Europe invites you for the 30th birthday party of the Free Software Foundation. While the main event will take place in Boston/USA, there will be several satellite birthday parties around the world to celebrate 30 years of empowering people to control technology, and one of them will be at Endocode in Berlin.

    • Lightning Fast

      For the last two years, we had only lightning talks & workshops at the ownCloud Contributor Conference. This is an exceptionally good model for creation-type events like ours and your event might benefit from it, too.

    • Looking Ahead to New Linux/FOSS Promotional Events

      While the FOSS/Linux expo season is winding down – Ohio Linux Fest, All Things Open and the Seattle GNU/Linux Conference (SeaGL) next month, and Fossetcon in November in sunny Florida, before we ramp up for the first-of-the-year 2016 event at SCALE 14x in January – thoughts wander to other events that could possibly take place sometime in the future, with a little imagination.

    • Inkscape Workshop at Smallworld

      Last weekend, I had the first Inkscape workshop at smallworld. It was very successful, we had 13 participants.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla pays it forward

        Mozilla and seven other organizations will be participating in the Grace Hopper Open Source Day codethon taking place during the main conference event, on October 14. Emma Irwin is a Community Education Lead with Mozilla, and talks to me about why Mozilla is involved in the codethon, what she gets out of it, and what participants learn from it.

      • Bugzilla Bug Tracker Was Key to Recent Firefox Security Snafu

        The Bugzilla bug tracker has been a major part of how Mozilla has kept Firefox secure and stable for a long time, but according to the company, it was also the key to a recent attack on Firefox browser users. “An attacker was able to break into a privileged user’s account and download security-sensitive information about flaws in Firefox and other Mozilla products,” Mozilla said Friday in an FAQ about the security snafu (PDF doownload available). “Information uncovered in our investigation suggests that the user re¬used their Bugzilla password with another website, and the password was revealed through a data breach at that site.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • Education

    • Linux and Python education for students in Israel

      Now entering its third year, the ROSE (Red Hat Open Source for Education) Project is a cross-community effort that brings students from Tira together with students from Yonatan Middle School in Ra’anana to the Red Hat offices in Israel to learn about the Linux operating system and Python programming. The students spent six months on a weekly basis working and learning together. At the graduation ceremony executive members of both municipalities were present and awards were given to the students including two special achievement awards.

    • Apps, bots, drones, and 3D printers: Coming to a school near you?

      I work at a university, in the computer science department, and my college-age students have access to all this technology and more. Imagine the things they’re able to do and create—better yet, imagine the things they’ll be able to do and create in five years with the next generation of all these technologies in the workplace and at home.


    • The Free Software Foundation: 30 years in

      We’re also endorsing hardware that respects users’ freedoms. Hardware distributors whose devices have been certified by the FSF to contain and require only free software can display a logo saying so. Expanding the base of free software users and the free software movement has two parts: convincing people to care, and then making it possible for them to act on that. Through this initiative, we encourage manufacturers and distributors to do the right thing, and we make it easy for users who have started to care about free software to buy what they need without suffering through hours and hours of research. We’ve certified a home WiFi router, 3D printers, laptops, and USB WiFi adapters, with more on the way.

  • Public Services/Government

    • UK government publishes ODF guidance

      The UK government on 7 September published recommendations and guidelines on the use and implementation of ODF, the Open Document Format. The compendium is authoritative, from its general introduction to the recommendations on procurement, a guide on integration of ODF with enterprise software, software that allows collaborating on documents and a review of ODF’s change tracking features.

    • Munich Becomes A Big Contributor To Open-Source

      The arguably best town in the world is now even better! The beautiful city of Munich has become “a major contributor to open-source.”

    • After Ditching Microsoft, the City of Munich Is Now an Open Source Contributor

      The city of Munich became famous in the open source community by ditching its dependency on Microsoft products and adopting open source. This, in turn, is having a secondary effect on the community because the developers working with the city are now contributing code back.

    • Belgian HR agency promoting use of open badges

      Selor, the recruitment and selection agency for the Belgian public administration, is encouraging the use of Mozilla’s open badges, aiming to make the recognising of skills and achievements interoperable across organisations and systems. The HR agency is one of the organisers of the first Belgian workshop on Open Badges on 26 November.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • 15 open web advocates to follow on Twitter

      Working on the Open Web is a niche area of the greater open source community. Usually the work does not get the same level of fanfare of other areas of open source, but the work is very important.

      Here, I’ve compiled a list of 15 people helping move the Open Web forward you should follow on Twitter. All of them are doing amazing work and have great content to share and will help keep you up to date on important things happening on the Open Web.

    • Every Lesson Is an Experiment with ‘Open Source’ Science Class

      If you ask Rosalind Poon about the science class of yester-year — the kind my generation, my parents’ generation and their parents’ generation attended, where the entire class follows the same instructions for an experiment like it was a recipe for baking cookies — it doesn’t explain how real science happens.

      “If you think about champagne or penicillin,” said Poon, teacher consultant with the Richmond School District and a trained biology teacher, “a lot of our discoveries are discovered by mistake.”

    • Three New Experiments in Science Education
    • A closer look at the world’s first open digital cinema camera

      The journey of the AXIOM camera began years ago with simple, small devices, and then gained suuport in 2014 with a successful Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that exceeded its funding goal. A couple months later, a grant from the European Union gave the project the financial momentum it needed to move forward.

    • Open Data

      • Reedsy Launches Open Source Author Survey

        How much money do authors typically make? And how much does it cost an author to self-publish a book?

        Questions like these are part of a new author survey launched by Reedsy, an all-encompassing self-publishing platform.

      • Open Data: ‘civic engagement’ is on the cusp

        Mark Headd is the key guy when it comes to developer evangelism at Accela — the firm provides cloud-based ‘civic engagement’ solutions for government.

    • Open Access/Content

  • Programming


  • Security

    • Security advisories for Tuesday
    • SELinux insides – Part2: Neverallow assertions
    • Researchers have disclosed severe security flaws within the firm’s products over the holiday weekend.

      Ormandy’s disclosures were made at the same time another researcher’s findings, Kristian Erik Hermansen, were posted online. Hermansen publicly disclosed a zero-day vulnerability within cyberforensics firm FireEye’s security product, complete with proof-of-concept code.

    • Seagate drives at risk of data theft over hidden ‘root’ account

      A public vulnerability disclosure warns that an attacker could remotely download files from an affected hard drive, thanks to the hard-coded default password.

    • HP Drops Support For Hacking Competition As Wassenaar Arrangement Continues To Make Computing Less Safe

      An international agreement to treat certain software as weaponized is well on its way towards making computing less safe. Recent changes to the Wassenaar Arrangement — originally crafted to regulate the sale of actual weapons — have targeted exploits and malware. The US’s proposed adoption of the Arrangement expands on the definitions of targeted “weapons,” threatening to criminalize the work done by security researchers. While the Arrangement will likely have little effect on keeping weaponized software out of the hands of blacklisted entities, it could easily result in a laptop full of security research being treated like a footlocker full of assault weapons.

    • Duo Security Research Reveals Half of Apple iPhones on Corporate Networks Run Out-of-Date Versions of iOS

      Duo Security, a cloud-based access security provider protecting the world’s largest and fastest growing companies, today announced results from a Duo Labs research study focusing on mobile devices on corporate networks. Unpatched and end-of-life devices that are no longer supported by the manufacturer are much more prevalent than expected and create significant risk for corporate networks. The Duo Labs research draws on data gathered from thousands of customer deployments in more than 150 countries worldwide.

    • TSA Master Keys

      Someone recently noticed a Washington Post story on the TSA that originally contained a detailed photograph of all the TSA master keys. It’s now blurred out of the Washington Post story, but the image is still floating around the Internet. The whole thing neatly illustrates one of the main problems with backdoors, whether in cryptographic systems or physical systems: they’re fragile.

    • A Tale of Three Backdoors

      The tale of three backdoors: TSA locks, the CALEA interface, and the Dual_EC PRNG, all amply illustrate the dangers posed by backdoors in systems. For backdoors may fail catastrophically, degrade national security, and can potentially be used against those who demanded the backdoors in the first place. The scars born by the security field in dealing with failed backdoors provides ample illustration why we find the idea of backdoors troubling and dangerous.

    • reproducible builds are a waste of time

      Yesterday I read an article on Motherboard about Debian’s plan to shut down 83% of the CIA with reproducible builds. Ostensibly this defends against an attack where the compiler is modified to insert backdoors in the packages it builds. Of course, the defense only works if only some of the compilers are backdoored. The article then goes off on a bit of a tangent about self propagating compiler backdoors, which may be theoretically possible, but also terribly, unworkably fragile.

      I think the idea is that if I’m worried about the CIA tampering with Debian, I can rebuild everything myself from source. Because there’s no way the CIA would be able to insert a trojan in the source package. Then I check if what I’ve built matches what they built. If I were willing to do all that, I’m not sure why I need to check that the output is the same. I would always build from scratch, and ignore upstream entirely. I can do this today. I don’t actually need the builds to match to feel confident that my build is clean. Perhaps the idea is that a team of incorruptible volunteers will be building and checking for me, much like millions of eyeballs are carefully reviewing the source to all the software I run.

      The original source document doesn’t actually mention deployment of the whacked SDK, just research into its development. Perhaps they use it, perhaps they rejected it as being too difficult and risky. Tricking a developer into using a whacked toolchain leaves detectable traces and it’s somewhat difficult to deny as an accident. If we assume that the CIA has access to developer’s machines, why not assume they have access to the bug database as well and are mining it for preexisting vulnerabilities to exploit? Easy, safe, deniable.

    • Debian Reproducible Builds to Detect Spyware

      Debian has been getting a lot of attention the last couple of days for Jérémy Bobbio’s work on Reproducible Builds. Bobbio has been working on this idea and implementation for a couple of years now, but after a presentation at Chaos Communication Camp last month it’s come back into focus. In other Debian news, updates 8.2 and 7.9 were released.

    • Debian Linux versus the CIA

      Hidden backdoors into software have long been a concern for some users as government spying has increased around the world. Now the Debian project has taken aim at the CIA and other government spy agencies with reproducible builds that aim to stop hidden backdoors.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Operation Flavius and the Killer Cameron

      Exactly twenty years ago the European Court of Human Rights found that the British Government had acted illegally in shooting dead three IRA members in Gibraltar, even though the court accepted that the government had a genuine belief that they were planning a bombing attack. Indeed the court accepted the victims were terrorists, and refused compensation to their families on those grounds. But the court refused to accept there was no possibility of foiling the plot through methods other than summary execution.

  • Finance

    • Has the CETA free trade deal run into more trouble?

      The EU/Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CETA) may have run into more trouble following news that the EU trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, has indicated that that there are now “no plans” to change the initialed agreement containing a rejected ISDS clauses – as she had previously said would happen.

      The Investor State Settlement clauses – which allow secret courts to adjudicate on disagreements between companies and sovereign states and on the ability of companies to sue sovereign countries at the ISDS court if they believe a country has taken actions which effect their profits or interests – have been holding up what the commission has described as “legal scrubbing” – tidying up the legal language and drafting errors.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • 6,000 drop in number of UK journalists over two years – but 18,000 more PRs, Labour Force Survey shows

      Government statistics suggest the number of employed journalists has declined by 6,000 from a peak of 70,000 in 2013.

      The latest figures, for the year to June 2015, estimate that 64,000 people in the UK describe themselves as “journalists, newspaper and periodical editors”.

      This is a slight increase on the figure for the year to June 2014 of 60,000, but still a decline on the 2013 total.

      Meanwhile, the number describing themselves as “public relations professionals” as risen sharply from 37,000 in 2013 to 55,000 in the last data.

  • Privacy

    • IBM just signed a brilliant deal with ARM to ‘watch’ billions of devices on the Internet

      IBM has scored a sweet new partnership with ARM, the company best known for designing the chips that power our smartphones and tablets. This deal will let IBM’s cloud watch and analyze data from billions of devices on the internet.

      The Internet of Things is the trend of adding chips and sensors to everyday items (from dishwashers to thermostats) and connecting them to the internet.

      Sensors will do everything from monitor the health of industrial equipment to monitor your medical issues in a fitness device.

    • Apple and Other Tech Companies Tangle With U.S. Over Data Access

      In an investigation involving guns and drugs, the Justice Department obtained a court order this summer demanding that Apple turn over, in real time, text messages between suspects using iPhones.

      Apple’s response: Its iMessage system was encrypted and the company could not comply.

    • US claim on the world’s servers at a crossroads

      The Obama administration on Wednesday will argue to a US appeals court that companies operating in the US must comply with valid warrants for data—even if that data is stored on overseas servers.

    • Facebook’s Way Past Friends—It Wants to Be Your Whole World

      Facebook doesn’t just want to be a social network. It wants to be your world.

      At an event at the company’s Silicon Valley headquarters today, Facebook said that 45 million small businesses worldwide are now using Pages as their digital storefronts. And Facebook wants to make it even easier for you to find businesses, and for businesses to serve you, all within its app.


      The crux of these new updates comes down to the increasing power of your phone. As more and more users gravitate to mobile, businesses are hoping to reach users where they are. But according to a recent Forrester study, 85 percent of time spent on smartphones happens within apps, not web pages. That’s a problem not just for small businesses but larger businesses, too, says Benji Shomair, Facebook’s product marketing director for Pages. Apps are difficult and expensive to build—plus most users wouldn’t want, say, a company-specific app anyway.

  • Civil Rights

    • Right Wing’s False Narrative on Scott Walker Probe Fueling Attack on Election Watchdog

      Newly-released emails from the now-halted campaign finance investigation into Scott Walker and his allies are being touted by right-wing media as proof of the probe’s partisan motivations.

      Yet in many ways, the documents show the opposite.

      The Wall Street Journal editorial board trumpeted the two emails, sent between two lawyers in 2013, claiming that they demonstrate “that partisanship drove Wisconsin’s John Doe.” Wisconsin Watchdog calls the emails “explosive,” which “expose the regulator as hyper-partisan.”

      In truth, the emails demonstrate that prosecutors had a stated goal of not influencing the gubernatorial election, and show a career federal prosecutor leaning over backwards to avoid doing so, ultimately erring on the side of helping Walker and undercutting claims of his opponent.

    • Commission won’t ask EU judges to decide on legality of ISDS

      The European Commission will not ask EU judges to decide on the legality of the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism in free trade agreements such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

    • European migrant crisis: Top UN official urges ‘global response’ for asylum seekers; Germany calls for joint system

      The United Nations’ top official in charge of migration says that the crisis rocking Europe needs a “global response” amid a warning from the European Union that the situation could last for years.

    • Cautious on Syria war, Obama now cautious on refugee crisis

      During the past four years, 4 million Syrians have fled their country’s civil war. The US has accepted just over 1,500 refugees, so far allowing Europe to take the lead on the issue.

    • Confidential Informants: Inherently Trustworthy Until They’re Not

      The Tampa Police Department has suddenly been put in a very uncomfortable situation. On May 27, officers executed a raid on an alleged drug dealer. By the time it was done, one suspect had been killed by the SWAT team and only $2 worth of marijuana — 0.2 grams — had been recovered.

      It was a righteous kill. Letting themselves in through an unlocked door after no one answered their knock, the SWAT team came across Jason Westcott in his bedroom. Westcott had a gun (a legally-owned one) which he raised when the cops came crashing through the door. He was shot multiple times. Open/shut. Officers in danger, suspect with weapon, etc.

    • As Systems Collapse, Citizens Rise

      As we see pictures of German citizens cheering tens of thousands refugees arriving from Syria and other war zones, we may be witnessing an emerging pattern of the years to come: bureaucracy is failing (EU), systems collapsing (millions of Asylum seeking refugees in urgent need of helping hands) — AND: citizens rising to the occasion!

  • DRM

    • Here’s Why Netflix Won’t Let You Download Movies

      Now that some Amazon Prime subscribers are able to download movies and TV shows for offline viewing, rival streaming company Netflix has been left to defend its reasoning for not offering a similar service.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • IP Enforcement Czar Wants To Hear From You About Government’s IP Enforcement Plan

      It’s that time again. The White House’s IP Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) — often called the IP Czar — is asking for public input on the upcoming “Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement” that it will be releasing next year. The Joint Strategic Plan comes out every three years and is supposed to guide the federal government in how it handles priorities around intellectual property enforcement. Now, I recognize that the cynical among you will already be insisting that there is no value in responding to this, because the government is going to simply repeat the arguments of the legacy industries and its copyright extremists. However, in the past, these open comment periods have actually helped, and the two previous Joint Strategic Plans have not been as bad as expected. In 2010, we sent in our feedback and was pleasantly surprised that at least some of it was reflected in the plan. It recognized the importance of fair use and encouraging innovation. It also admitted that most studies on the impact of intellectual property on the economy were bogus.

    • Copyrights

      • Minding the gap in research and policy

        Opening keynote speaker Julia Reda, MEP for the German Pirate Party, started the debate by calling for more and better evidence. Recounting a number of tales of poor stats, she warned that industry lobbyists are quick to fill the evidence void.


        Closing keynote speaker Pamela Samuelson, Berkeley, encouraged academics to write more for non-academic audiences. She recounted her great fear that she would never be taken seriously again after penning an article for WIRED on the ‘Copyright Grab.’ Her fears were unfounded, but it does touch on a key point – there is a cultural taboo associated with non-academic publishing within academia. (Aha! That explains the slight terror I have every time I click the Blogger ‘publish’ button.)

      • Kim Dotcom Seeks Delay of 10th Scheduled Extradition Hearing

        Kim Dotcom and his former business partners want to delay an extradition hearing scheduled to take place in two weeks’ time. The U.S. government wants Dotcom to face the largest copyright infringement trial in history but the Megaupload defendants say a fair hearing will be impossible if they aren’t able to fund expert witnesses outside New Zealand.

      • Police Raid Fails to Dent UK Top 40 Music Piracy

        A raid last week by the UK’s Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit has done little to reduce the availability of packs containing the country’s most popular music tracks. Aside from the disappearance of the torrents usually uploaded by the individual who was arrested, it was very much business as usual during last Friday’s global release day.

      • Getty Images Goes Copyright Trolling After A Meme Penguin

        Getty Images has a bit of a reputation for being a ridiculous copyright troll at times — sending out threatening letters demanding large sums to “settle” for people who use an image from Getty’s database. But, now, it appears to have taken the trolling to a new level, as the German blog GetDigital.de revealed last week when it reported that Getty had demanded nearly $1,000 for one year’s use of an image of a penguin that is actually part of a semi-popular meme, better known as the Socially Awkward Penguin.


Links 8/9/2015: Peppermint 6, elementary OS 0.3.1

Posted in News Roundup at 5:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Viewer for Ubuntu Touch Making Great Progress

      Developers are preparing a LibreOffice viewer for the Ubuntu phones, and it looks like it’s coming along just nicely. It’s still early work, but its makers are already reporting great progress and really good performance.

    • Microsoft vs OpenOffice in Pesaro: first, let’s recap

      Pesaro is a town of about 100 thousands people on the northern adriatic coast of Italy. Its Public Administration has been facing lots of critics from Free/Open Source software supporters because, in the last five years, it changed twice the same, important part of its ICT infrastructure. Both those changes bring consequences and open issues, both for the critics and for Pesaro, that have had little or no coverage at all so far, especially outside Italy (1). Before talking about them, however, it is necessary to summarize what happened.

  • BSD


    • Porting Guix and GuixSD

      A few weeks ago, Manolis Ragkousis announced the completion of the GSoC project whose purpose was to port Guix to the Hurd. The system distribution, GuixSD, cannot run GNU/Hurd yet, but the package manager itself can both cross-compile from GNU/Linux to GNU/Hurd and build natively on GNU/Hurd. The work of Manolis is being gradually merged in the main branch.

      More recently, Mark H Weaver posted a series of patches porting GuixSD to MIPS (Lemote Yeeloong), making it the first GuixSD port to non-Intel-compatible hardware (the package manager itself has supported mips64el for two years already.) By removing several platform-specific assumptions, this work paves the way for future ports.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Munich now a major contributor to open source

      The city of Munich is a major contributor to free and open source projects, sending bugfixes to upstream developers, making available software solutions and sharing best practices and technical information. In August, Munich IT staff members shared the city’s accomplishments with the community of Debian developers, one of the main free software distributions.

    • Munich Does A Lot Of The Right Things But Still Drags Onwards

      Munich may have put out the fire but they still are far from optimal in IT. There’s no reason at all they have to support 20-year-old computers. Such things can be replaced rather readily in today’s market with savings in energy-consumption, size, space, noise, dust,… Why spend a lot on labour to maintain obsolete technology far past its “best before” date? It’s not as if they are just getting full value out of previous expenditures nor keeping junk out of the landfill. Ten years’ support does that very well. Twenty years is just silly. 20 years ago, I was using a ‘486, for pity’s sake.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Know Your Language: C Rules Everything Around Me (Part One)

      C is everywhere and in everything. C powers the Mars Curiosity rover, every computer operating system, every mobile OS, the Java Virtual Machine, Google Chrome, ATM machines, the computers in your car, the computers in your robot surgeon, the computers that designed the robot surgeon, the computers that designed those computers, and, eventually, C powers itself as its own implementation language.


  • How Apple is preparing for the end of the iPhone affair

    The launch of the iPhone 6s, fourth generation Apple TV and iPad Pro is impending…


    Apple knows it can’t rely on the annual iPhone hype-release cycle

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Here’s What I Saw in a California Town Without Running Water

      Glance at a lawn in East Porterville, California, and you’ll instantly know something about the people who live in the house attached to it.

      If a lawn is green, the home has running water. If it’s brown, or if the yard contains plastic water tanks or crates of bottled water, then the well has gone dry.

  • Security

    • Linux Foundation Security Checklist: Have It Your Way

      The Linux Foundation’s recently published security checklist may draw more attention to best practices for protecting Linux workstations, even if IT pros do not embrace all of its recommendations.

    • ICT faces critical shortage of IT security execs

      There’s a critical shortage of IT security experts in Australia to meet an otherwise welcome increase in the demand for ICT executives after months of employment uncertainty for the country’s tech executives.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Why Murdoch Pushes for War

      Given the disgraceful Sun front page and middle spread urging war on Syria, and the all-out propaganda on Sky News, it is important to understand why Murdoch is pushing so hard for war. I therefore reproduce my article from February 2013. It is important to note that the links are to industry publications: this is very genuine, hard information.

    • Secret RAF drone strike kills two Britons in Syria

      DAVID CAMERON revealed yesterday that the RAF carried out a secret drone strike in Syria which killed two British citizens fighting for Islamic State (Isis).

      The Prime Minister insisted the strike was “necessary and proportionate” to stop attacks being planned on Britain.

      But campaigners described it as a an “extrajudicial killing” that “violated” the will of Parliament.

  • Finance

    • ‘Why this long PayPal delay?’

      In the past I sold a few personal items on eBay that were paid for with PayPal. On those occasions I had immediate access to the money I received.

      However, in recent weeks I have sold some other items, also paid for with PayPal, but was able to access the money only after 21 days, even though PayPal deducted its fees immediately. Have things changed?

    • I Foreclose Houses For Banks: 5 Awful Realities

      About a decade ago, home prices exploded to bizarro levels, then millions of families got behind on their mortgage payments. A financial crisis spiraled out from there, almost destroying the world. Things have improved a bit since then, but it still sucks for lots of people. If you can’t make your payments, the bank squares the debt by seizing your home, and you’re left out in the cold. In the modern world, it’s one of the worst things that can happen to you that doesn’t involve a somber doctor asking you to please sit down.

      That’s where Evelyn comes in. As part of her real estate job, she works with banks to handle foreclosures, evictions, and lockouts. We asked her what it’s like watching this tragedy unfold again and again.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Harvard Professor Larry Lessig Says He’s Running for President

      After exceeding his $1 million crowd-funding goal, Harvard Law School professor Larry Lessig announced today on “This Week” that he is running for president.

      “I think I’m running to get people to acknowledge the elephant in the room,” he told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “We have to recognize — we have a government that does not work. The stalemate, partisan platform of American politics in Washington right now doesn’t work.”

    • The Usual Warmongers

      To many of us who have been in conflict zones without a sanitised cordon around us, and actually seen the effects close-up (and that excludes almost all of the political class), it is astonishing that the neo-cons constantly seek to promote war, any war. They just cannot sit comfortably unless we are blowing somebody, somewhere, limb from limb.

      Little Aylan Kurdi and his family were fleeing Kobani, a town the US Air Force have been bombing relentlessly for weeks. Bombs are entirely agnostic over who they kill, and have not made life notably better for the population.

      Yet the news media are now insistently beating the drum for British bombing in Syria.

  • Censorship

    • Google DMCA Notice Record Smashed Again – But Why?

      Despite scaling dizzy heights in recent months, the record for DMCA notices being sent to Google’s search engine has been smashed again. In a single week Google just processed a mind-boggling 13.68 million URLs, or to put it another way, almost 23 copyright complaints every second. So what’s behind the massive surge?

    • Pirate Party Offers Uncensored DNS to Bypass Pirate Bay Blockade

      The Norwegian Pirate Party has made a big statement by launching a free DNS service which allows Internet users to bypass the local Pirate Bay blockade. The party advocates a free and open Internet for everyone and believes that the recent website blockades set a dangerous precedent.

    • Norwegian Pirate Party provides DNS server to bypass new Pirate Bay blockade

      Following a court-ordered block of The Pirate Bay and a number of other file-sharing websites in Norway, the Norwegian Pirate Party (Piratpartiet Norge) has now set up free, uncensored DNS servers that anyone can use to bypass the block. While the DNS servers are based in Norway, anyone can use them: if your ISP is blocking access to certain sites via DNS blackholing/blocking, using the Piratpartiet’s DNS servers should enable access.

  • Privacy

    • It’s Impossible to Torrent Anonymously, Lawyer Says

      With dozens of cases under his belt Oregon lawyer Carl Crowell can be considered an expert when it comes to suing BitTorrent pirates. However, a recent claim that pirates can’t be anonymous online conflicts with day-to-day reality.

  • Civil Rights

    • Sex abuse royal commission: Geelong Grammar paedophile teacher paid to retire to avoid scandal

      A former Geelong Grammar headmaster paid a teacher to retire early, in order to avoid a formal complaint about sexual abuse, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse has heard.

      The former headmaster, Nicholas Sampson, is now the principal of elite New South Wales school, Cranbrook School.

      Former teacher Jonathan Harvey was jailed in 2007 for 10 months, with another 22 months suspended, after pleading guilty to abusing a former student, known as BLF, between 1976 and 1978.

      In his testimony to the royal commission on Monday, Harvey claimed the elite school’s then-headmaster Nicholas Sampson suggested that he retire early, after hearing of his misconduct relating to a student.

    • Feds allege 4 men executed heist of $1 million worth of MacBook Airs

      Saljanin appears to have stopped at home in Yorktown Heights, New York, where he left the large, rented Penske truck in a parking lot overnight. When he came back the next day, he told police, the truck was gone. Of course, he told the authorities, he had no idea who could have done such a thing, nor did anyone else know that he was making the delivery.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • How Comcast is changing tactics in response to cord cutters

      Reddit user demian87 recently posted a letter from Comcast notifying him or her of a new Comcast internet access pricing plan being trialed in Fort Lauderdale, the Keys, and Miami, Florida. According to this letter, Comcast will set a limit beginning on October 1 of 300 GB per household per month. Customers who exceed this limit will have to pay $10 for every additional 50 GB needed after that, or sign up for an unlimited data plan for an additional $30 per month.

      Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas confirmed that the letter is authentic, along with the company’s new unlimited pricing plan. Douglas explained that “the company has trialed three other pricing plans since 2012 when Comcast had a static limit of 250 GB per month.”

      In a related development reported by the New York Times, Comcast will campaign to win over the quintessential cord-cutter class with new TV services designed to entice them into subscribing to its internet access service. Comcast will begin offering a $15-a-month TV service called Stream that includes broadcast networks and HBO for its internet customers. The new service will be available in Boston, Chicago, and Seattle later this year and across the company’s coverage areas in the United States in 2016.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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