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Links 16/11/2015: Linux 4.4 RC1, DockerConEU

Posted in News Roundup at 3:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Windows 3.1 Is Still Alive, And It Just Killed a French Airport

    A computer glitch that brought the Paris airport of Orly to a standstill Saturday has been traced back to the airport’s “prehistoric” operating system. In an article published Wednesday, French satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné (which often writes serious stories, such as this one) said the computer failure had affected a system known as DECOR, which is used by air traffic controllers to communicate weather information to pilots. Pilots rely on the system when weather conditions are poor.

    DECOR, which is used in takeoff and landings, runs on Windows 3.1, an operating system that came onto the market in 1992. Hardly state-of-the-art technology. One of the highlights of Windows 3.1 when it came out was the inclusion of Minesweeper — a single-player video game that was responsible for wasting hours of PC owners’ time in the early ’90s.

  • Spaghetti Strainer Helmet Driver’s License Photo Approved On Religious Grounds

    Just over the border from New Hampshire in the Massachusetts city of Lowell, a woman identifying herself as a follower of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (FSM), otherwise known as Pastafarianism, has been approved by the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) to wear a spaghetti strainer on top of her head in her state issued driver’s ID.

    The approval to wear the helmet was initially denied. However, citing religious grounds, Lowell resident Lindsay Miller filed an appeal. Following intervention by the American Humanist Association’s Appignani Humanist Legal Center, the RMV reversed their decision and allowed her to put on her colander and get her driver’s license picture taken.

  • What today’s CIO needs to succeed tomorrow, and more news for IT pros

    It’s that time of year when technology predictions start to infiltrate your social networks, inbox, and news feeds. To kick off prediction season, ZME Science reminds us of perhaps the most accurate tech prediction of all time, coming from Ray Kurzweil in 1908. He says, “An inexpensive instrument, not bigger than a watch, will enable its bearer to hear anywhere, on sea or land, music or song, the speech of a political leader, the address of an eminent man of science, or the sermon of an eloquent clergyman, delivered in some other place, however distant.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Before Paris Terrorist Attacks, CIA Director Brennan Met With French Intelligence DGSE Chief Bernard Bajolet: Report

      The White House correspondent for French television network Canal+, Laura Haim, reported an interesting tidbit during a live report with MSNBC’s Brian Williams Friday evening.

      Haim stated that Central Intelligence Agency director, John O. Brennan, recently met with his counterpart, French intelligence (DGSE) director Bernard Bajolet.

    • CIA Director Brennan Met With French Security Chief Before Paris Attacks – Report
    • Next Terrorist Plot in France Hard to Detect – Ex-CIA Officer

      The French authorities will face serious problems in detecting additional terrorist plots despite the current state of emergency after the attack in Paris, former US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer Paul Pillar told Sputnik.

    • ‘Terrorists chose Paris as iconic target like twin towers’ – ex-CIA officer

      The series of apparent Islamic State attacks in Paris can be compared to the 2001 destruction of the WTC towers in the US, says Jack Rice, a former CIA officer. The French capital is an iconic European city, and terrorists target icons.

    • Child porn, war crimes & fraud: Internal CIA probes reveal shocking findings

      Documents released by the CIA show details of over a dozen investigations into serious allegations of misconduct by agency employees, including child pornography, torture and war crimes. In many cases, the Justice Department decided not to prosecute.

      Redacted records of the investigations, part of the 111 probes conducted by the CIA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) between January 2013 and May 2014, were obtained by Vice News under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

    • Former CIA director loves comparing ISIS airstrikes to casual sex

      This may be one of the more interesting ways to describe an airstrike against ISIS and it comes courtesy of former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

      Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Hayden was talking about how airstrikes are being used to go after the terror organization’s infrastructure.

    • Former CIA Director Compares ISIS Airstrikes to Casual Sex on Morning Joe

      Then General Hayden made an unexpected comparison that seemed to temporarily stun Brzezinski and elicit a too-eager response from Deutsch. Hayden continued, “Airstrikes without ground power is a lot like casual sex: it offers gratification without commitment!”

      Deutsch hopped in unabashedly, “Sign me up for that!”.

      “Oh, my god,” responded Brzezinski.

      As Mediaite reported over a year ago, General Hayden has made similar suggestions to this military approach before.

    • Rebels Have CIA Weapons Capable of Downing Planes Flying Above 10Km Range

      The CIA urged Turkey and Saudi Arabia to provide certain Syrian rebels with anti-aircraft weapons capable of shooting down airplanes, including high-flying passenger jets, Hildegard von Hessen am Rhein wrote for Boulevard Voltaire.

      The fact that Syrian rebels fighting against Bashar al-Assad, a Russian ally, had CIA-sponsored weapons capable of downing a commercial airliner flying above 10,000 meters, makes a very uncomfortable situation for the US government amid the crash of the Airbus A321 operated by the Russian airliner Kogalymavia on October 31, the author said.

    • CIA, Saudis Launch Proxy War Against Syria, Iraq, Iran, Russia; U.S. Checkmated in Syria?

      This all comes at a time when opinion polls in the West show a majority favor Russia’s Syria intervention.

    • Former CIA Director Reveals He Approved Drone Attack He Knew Would Kill Innocent Children

      The CIA’s targeted killing program has long been shrouded in secrecy. Recent leaks given to the Intercept, as well as thorough reporting by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, have shed light on the execution of such attacks, but interviews with former CIA directors for an upcoming documentary puts the ethical quandaries of the program, which has few regulations, in stark relief.

      “We do not know what the rules of engagement are,” former CIA director Porter Goss, who resigned under George W. Bush due to frustration, told Chris Whipple for the documentary The Spymasters: CIA in the Crosshairs. “Are we dealing with enemy combatants? Are we dealing with criminals? Are the rules shoot first? Do we only shoot when we get shot at? Can we ask questions? Do we have to Mirandize people?”

    • UAE illegally shipped arms to Libya to support CIA-linked Haftar

      The UN Special Envoy to Libya became involved in conflict of interest after he was offered a high-paying job by the UAE while still a supposedly impartial head of dialogue talks to forge a peace agreement between the two rival Libyan governments.

    • Beirut, Also the Site of Deadly Attacks, Feels Forgotten

      Ali Awad, 14, was chopping vegetables when the first bomb struck. Adel Tormous, who would die tackling the second bomber, was sitting at a nearby coffee stand. Khodr Alaa Deen, a registered nurse, was on his way to work his night shift at the teaching hospital of the American University at Beirut, in Lebanon.

      All three lost their lives in a double suicide attack in Beirut on Thursday, along with 40 others, and much like the scores who died a day later in Paris, they were killed at random, in a bustling urban area, while going about their normal evening business.

    • PETER HITCHENS: Really want to beat terror? Then calm down and THINK

      Could we please skip the empty bravado? This is a time for grief above all else, and a time to refrain from soundbites and posturing. France – our closest neighbour, oldest friend, beloved rival, what Philip Sidney called ‘that sweet enemy’ – France is stricken, and we should weep with her.

      Over the past 40 years or so, most of us have heard quite enough politicians and others pledging to stand firm against terror, hunt down the vile perpetrators, ensure that it never happens again, and the rest.

      Then there have been the emergency meetings of grandly titled committees, the crackdowns, the increased surveillance, the billions spent on spying and snooping, not to mention the various wars on terror which have certainly killed a lot of our troops, but never seem to make us any safer. It is remarkably hard to defend yourself against an enemy whose language few of us speak, yet who speaks ours and can move freely in our world, and who is willing, even happy, to die at our hands – or his own – if he can kill us first.

    • Anonymous Has Declared War on ISIS in Revenge for the Paris Attacks

      The hacker collective Anonymous released a video message on YouTube Sunday declaring war on the Islamic State in the wake of Friday’s bloody terror attacks in Paris.

      The video, posted in French, announces the beginning of #OpParis, a coordinated campaign to neutralize ISIS’s social media channels.

      “Anonymous from all over the world will hunt you down,” an (anonymous) Anonymous spokesperson, his face shrouded in the group’s signature Guy Fawkes mask, says in French. “Expect massive cyber attacks. War is declared. Get prepared.”

  • Transparency Reporting

    • WikiLeaks Provides CIA Brennan’s Hacked Emails Online

      On October 21, 2015, WikiLeaks (1) posted emails that were supposedly taken from the hacked AOL account of CIA Director John Brennan. The private email account was hacked by a supposed teenager who allegedly posed as a Verizon agent in order to gain access (2).

      According to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), some of the information that’s been released is correct. The journal attempted to contact many on the contact list as well as verify other pieces of information leaked. The WSJ also reported that some of the people whose addresses appeared on the list were actually contacted “by intelligence officials telling them their information had been compromised” (3).

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • The “Carlile Doctrine”

      For example, France already has more extensive surveillance laws than UK, and the atrocities still happened.

    • Finland mulls constitution changes, web surveillance powers for intelligence police

      The Interior, Justice and Defence ministries are considering constitutional changes to facilitate more effective civilian and military intelligence operations. Web surveillance powers for the security and intelligence police Supo are among the reforms on the table. Meanwhile President Sauli Niinistö says it’s time to raise the level of Finnish intelligence work to meet European standards.

    • Germany says it will (mostly) stop spying on EU citizens and institutions

      The German government plans to make it illegal for the country’s intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), to spy on citizens or institutions in EU countries. This follows revelations that the BND has been helping the NSA to snoop on European politicians and companies, as Ars reported in April. More recently, it has emerged that the BND’s own spying extended far more widely than thought: those kept under surveillance included the interior ministries of EU member states, the Vatican, and non-governmental organisations such as Care International, Oxfam and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

    • Surveillance Hawk Stewart Baker Confirms Dragnet Didn’t Work as Designed

      The French authorities are just a day into investigating the horrid events in Paris on Friday. We’ll know, over time, who did this and how they pulled it off. For that reason, I’m of the mind to avoid any grand claims that surveillance failed to find the perpetrators (thus far, French authorities say they know one of the attackers, who is a French guy they had IDed as an extremist, but did not know of people identified by passports found at the Stade — though predictably those have now been confirmed to be fake [update: now authorities say the Syrian one is genuine, though it’s not yet clear it belonged to the attacker], so authorities may turn out to know their real identity). In any case, Glenn Greenwald takes care of that here. I think it’s possible the terrorists did manage to avoid detection via countersurveillance — though the key ways they might have done so were available and known before Edward Snowden’s leaks (as Glenn points out).

    • Together in Sorrow, Looking at the Future

      Unfortunately, given recent political statements, we fear that the only response will lie in further bombings in the Middle-East and the escalation of security measures evermore harmful to fundamental rights. But when will we take the time to carefully analyse the failed policies carried on for the past fifteen years on a global scale, and through dozens of laws in France?

      In the light of the declaration of the state of emergency and of political statements made over the weekend, La Quadrature du Net solemnly asks political leaders to take the time to reflect and engage in a rigorous, critical and transparent evaluation of France’s international, diplomatic, military, geo-strategic and commercial commitments; to think about the strategy of intelligence services and to complete a thorough examination of their workings; to defeat a warmongering rhetoric drive us towards a “clash of civilisations” doubled with an internal civil conflict within our society; to also address the tensions that ripple through French society, the discriminations stirred by a part of the political and media elite, the shared responsibilities into the largely misunderstood phenomenon of violent radicalisation, the dissolving of perspectives for social progress.

    • How Edward Snowden Changed Everything

      Ben Wizner, who is perhaps best known as Edward Snowden’s lawyer, directs the American Civil Liberties Union’s Speech, Privacy & Technology Project. Wizner, who joined the ACLU in August 2001, one month before the 9/11 attacks, has been a force in the legal battles against torture, watch lists, and extraordinary rendition since the beginning of the global “war on terror.”

      On October 15, we met with Wizner in an upstate New York pub to discuss the state of privacy advocacy today. In sometimes sardonic tones, he talked about the transition from litigating on issues of torture to privacy advocacy, differences between corporate and state-sponsored surveillance, recent developments in state legislatures and the federal government, and some of the obstacles impeding civil liberties litigation. The interview has been edited and abridged for publication.

    • FBI: “The allegation that we paid CMU $1M to hack into Tor is inaccurate”

      The FBI is denying that it paid $1 million to Carnegie Mellon University to exploit a vulnerability in Tor.

      “The allegation that we paid [Carnegie Mellon University] $1 million to hack into Tor is inaccurate,” an FBI spokeswoman told Ars in a Friday morning phone call.

      Two days ago, the head of the Tor Project accused the FBI of paying Carnegie Mellon computer security researchers at least $1 million to de-anonymize Tor users and reveal their IP addresses as part of a large criminal investigation.

  • Civil Rights

    • ‘Extremely rational’ Anonymous hacktivist Matt DeHart avoids 70-year prison term with child porn plea deal

      Matt DeHart, the former U.S. airman and Anonymous hacktivist who made a failed asylum bid in Canada — claiming torture over his access to secret U.S. government documents — has accepted a plea deal in a Tennessee court, avoiding a possible 70-year prison term but admitting to having explicit photos of under-aged teenagers.

    • The Terrible Truth About Secret CIA Prisons

      According to Investigative journalist Will Potter, the secret prisons emerged during the last Bush administration in response to the 9/11 destruction of the New York Twin Towers.

    • Classified Report on the C.I.A.’s Secret Prisons Is Caught in Limbo

      A Senate security officer stepped out of the December chill last year and delivered envelopes marked Top Secret to the Pentagon, the C.I.A., the State Department and the Justice Department. Inside each packet was a disc containing a 6,700-page classified report on the C.I.A.s secret prison program and a letter from Senator Dianne Feinstein, urging officials to read the report to ensure that the lessons were not lost to time.

    • Classified Report on the C.I.A.’s Secret Prisons Is Caught in Limbo

      The report tells the story of how, in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the C.I.A. began capturing people and interrogating them in secret prisons beyond the reach of the American judicial and military legal systems. The report’s central conclusion is that the spy agency’s interrogation methods — including waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other kinds of torture — were far more brutal and far less effective than the C.I.A. acknowledged to policy makers, Congress and the public.

    • New Zealand spy watchdog probes possible complicity in CIA torture

      As the complicity of US allies in CIA torture comes to light, New Zealand has become the next nation to investigate its own possible ties to the secretive programs and illegal tactics that found favor with Washington in a post-9/11 frenzy.

      New Zealand’s spy watchdog is acting on information disclosed in last year’s controversial US Senate Intelligence Committee Report, which outlined both the torture methods used and the countries that made it all possible; although “the names of those countries have been redacted,” according to Cheryl Gwyn, New Zealand’s Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

    • Spooks, banks and drug money laundering

      On the strength of a claimed turnover of $1 billion, the Australian Financial Review reported in early February 1978: “At this sort of growth rate Nugan Hand will soon be bigger than BHP.”

      But two years later, on January 27, 1980, one of the bank’s two founders, Frank Nugan, was found dead near Lithgow in NSW from a gunshot wound to the head. An inquest found it was suicide. Meanwhile, the other founder of the bank, Michael Hand, was busy shredding documents, including “files identifying clients regarded as sensitive”.

    • Intelligence agency friends hide corruption

      Most of us who recall the extraordinary story of the Nugan Hand Bank never expected to live to hear an explanation for some of its notorious activities, never mind see anyone prosecuted for their conduct.

      But now, thanks to Sydney investigative journalist Peter Butt, one of the bank’s co-founders, Michael Hand, has been found and we might at last get some answers.

      Hand slipped out of Australia in June 1980 following the apparent suicide of his partner, Frank Nugan.

      Butt, researching his book, Merchants of Menace, discovered him living under the name Michael Jon Fuller in the small US town of Idaho Falls where Channel Nine’s Sixty Minutes confronted him

      After the body of Nugan was found in his Mercedes-Benz on a deserted road outside Lithgow on January 27, 1980, the bank collapsed, costing Australian investors millions of dollars.

    • Former CIA Detainees Sue CIA Contractors Under The Alien Tort Statute For Alleged Torture

      Last month, the ACLU filed a civil action in the Eastern District of Washington on behalf of Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud and Gul Rahman. They assert that the CIA secretly detained them in Afghanistan and subjected them to torture. Two of the plaintiffs, Suleiman Abdullah Salim and Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, survived their time in CIA detention, were eventually released and now reside in Libya and Tanzania. The third plaintiff, Gul Rahman, died in CIA custody in November 2002. The complaint names as defendants James Mitchell and John Jessen, former military psychologists. Plaintiffs claim that while serving as CIA contractors, defendants helped design and implement the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Mitchell and Jessen are both described in the controversial December 2014 report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

    • The DoJ won’t let anyone in the Executive Branch read the CIA Torture Report

      The Senate’s 6,700 page, $40M report on the CIA’s participation in torture has apparently never been read by a single member of the Executive Branch of the US Government, because the Department of Justice has ordered them all to stay away from it.

      Why does the DoJ want to keep the Executive from finding out about the CIA’s use of torture? Because Senate documents are not subject to Freedom of Information Act requests, but Executive documents are, and the DoJ is so pants-wettingly afraid of the public discovering official wrongdoing that they have banned anyone subject to FOIA from touching the document, lest it become subject to transparency rules.

    • Book events include Paula Deen and CIA whistleblower

      CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou and psychologist Bradley Olson will headline two free events Thursday bringing torture into the spotlight.

    • Letter: CIA whistleblower prosecuted for truth

      My drive was worth it. Kiriakou’s revelations in 2007 led to exposure of crimes, lies and cover-up all the way to the top of the Bush White House. It also brought the full weight of the federal government down on Kiriakou. We knew then that torture was illegal (against U.S. and international law), ineffective (yielding no actionable intelligence), and immoral (brutally sadistic). We know now from the Senate Intelligence Committee Summary Report, American Psychological Association’s Hoffman Report, flight logs of extraordinary rendition flights (many from Johnston County airport), and personal testimony that torture was widespread, systematic, orchestrated from the top, falsely justified by White House legal counsel, and counterproductive to fighting terrorism. Yet, no one except the person who spoke truth to power is being prosecuted. Even Bush and Cheney boast in their memoirs that they endorsed torture.

    • The torture report

      Multiple government agencies are doing their best to ignore a 6,900-page elephant in the room: a mammoth report, authored by the Senate Intelligence Committee, detailing the horrors of the CIA’s post-9/11 torture programme.

    • Fox’s Ralph Peters Endorses Closing Borders To Muslim Refugees
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights


Links 15/11/2015: Wine 1.7.55 and KDE Frameworks 5.16 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Swedish gym goers hit with ‘Bieber torture’

    “Every time you don’t clean up after yourselves, we’ll add another Justin Bieber song to the playlist.”

  • Gatwick terminal evacuated as explosive experts inspect item

    Police were called on Saturday morning to reports of “suspicious actions” on the man’s part. They said explosives ordinance disposal specialist officers at the airport but that it was too early to determine what the item was.

  • [False/drama] Breaking news: Gatwick North Terminal evacuated after armed police arrest a man with a ‘gun in his bag’

    Police said they were called at around 9.30am on Saturday morning following ‘suspicious actions by a man who discarded an item at the airport’.

    In a statement they said that the man was arrested and EOD (explosive ordnance disposal) specialists have been called to the airport to investigate the item.

    Eyewitness Tim Unwin tweeted that the terminal is in a ‘shutdown situation’.

  • BREAKING: Gatwick’s North Terminal evacuated

    GATWICK’S North Terminal has been evacuated this morning.

    There are unconfirmed reported of a “suspicious package” at the site.

  • Warren Mitchell obituary: Alf Garnett and much more

    It was a role he relished and he often returned to it over a period of four decades.

    He was a consummate character actor who took on a wide variety of roles on stage, screen and television.

    And despite playing Johnny Speight’s infamous creation for such a long time, he managed to avoid being typecast as Britain’s favourite bigot.

    Warren Mitchell was actually born as Warren Misell on 14 January 1926 in north London.

  • Ten dead as high-speed TGV train crashes near Strasbourg during test run

    There were sixty technicians on board the high speed TGV train on Saturday when it crashed near Eckwersheim, leaving ten people dead. Local authorities said the train appeared to have “derailed because of excessive speed.”

    The train derailed and caught fire at about 6:15p.m. local time (1700 UTC) according to local press reports. The wreckage fell into a canal.

    The crash happened on the second section of the Paris to Strasbourg high-speed TGV line, which is due to open in April 2016.

  • Strasbourg train crash: Carriages derail and plunge into river during France’s highest ever terror alert

    Five people died and at least seven were injured when a high speed train derailed in France during the country’s highest ever terror alert.

    Early reports suggest the TGV 2369 test train caught fire before overturning and smashing onto its side in Eckwersheim, near to Strasbourg this afternoon.

    The train is thought to have been undergoing a trial run when witnesses said it hit a nearby bridge just before setting fire.

    Crash scene investigators are probing whether the derailment was caused by “excessive speed”.

  • Science

    • In Memoriam: Gene Amdahl 1922-2015

      American computer architect and high-tech entrepreneur Gene Myron Amdahl died Tuesday at the age of 92.

      Amdahl’s wife Marian said he had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for about five years, before succumbing to pneumonia. “We are thankful for his kind spirit and brilliant mind. He was a devout Christian and a loving father and husband. I was blessed with having him as my husband and my best friend. I praise God for His faithfulness to us for more than 69 years.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • On Terror, We’re All Right-wingers Now

      Remember the mood in America just after 9/11? The surge of super-patriotism (dare we say jingoism)? The pall of political correctness (you’re fired, Bill Maher). The phrases that so resonated: “Let’s roll.” “You’re either with us or against us.” “Bring ‘em on.” Something like that is taking hold in France right now after Friday night’s horror, one of the worst terrorist attacks on Western soil since that terrible day 14 years ago.

    • Paris turns to #PorteOuverte to seek, offer shelter
    • Dozens Dead, Scores of Hostages Reported, in “Night of Terror” in Paris

      Meanwhile, an explosion also occurred near the Stade de France, where the French national soccer team was playing against Germany. Hollande, who was attending the game, was evacuated according to French television station iTELE. The explosion could be heard clearly during the game, as captured by the live feed of the match.

    • Hellfire missile ‘evaporated’ Jihadi John: Details of ISIS terror nut’s death revealed

      Mohammed Emwazi was blown up as he climbed into a car near a clock tower in Isis’s Syrian stronghold city of Raqqa where its jihadists have staged hundreds of brutal public executions.

      Last night US officials were “99 per cent sure” the 27 year old from London – branded the world’s most wanted man for the videoed beheadings of at least seven prisoners including two Brits – had been killed.

    • Non-French War Deaths Matter

      We are all France. Apparently. Though we are never all Lebanon or Syria or Iraq for some reason. Or a long, long list of additional places.

      We are led to believe that U.S. wars are not tolerated and cheered because of the color or culture of the people being bombed and occupied. But let a relatively tiny number of people be murdered in a white, Christian, Western-European land, with a pro-war government, and suddenly sympathy is the order of the day.

      “This is not just an attack on the French people, it is an attack on human decency and all things that we hold dear,” says U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. I’m not sure I hold ALL the same things dear as the senator, but for the most part I think he’s exactly right and that sympathy damn well ought to be the order of the day following a horrific mass killing in France.

      I just think the same should apply to everywhere else on earth as well. The majority of deaths in all recent wars are civilian. The majority of civilians are not hard to sympathize with once superficial barriers are overcome. Yet, the U.S. media never seems to declare deaths in Yemen or Pakistan or Palestine to be attacks on our common humanity.

    • China’s Xi says willing to join France in combating terrorism

      China is ready to join France and the international community in stepping up security cooperation and combating terrorism, President Xi Jinping told French President Francois Hollande on Saturday, after attacks in Paris that killed about 120 people.

    • Paris and the Lessons of 9/11

      As terrorists murdered scores of people in Paris on Friday, Americans watching in horror from afar immediately began to show solidarity with the French people. Many harkened back to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when Le Monde declared, “Nous sommes tous Américains,” and French President Jacques Chirac issued repeated expressions of his country’s solidarity with the United States.

      “I have no doubt for a single moment that terrorism, which is always fanatical, mindless, and mad, clearly represents the evil in today’s world. And so we must combat it with the greatest energy,” he told CNN in a representative interview. “The Americans are currently making a great effort, a very effective one, it seems to me, with the search for all the clues and then those to blame, so that they can determine who is at the origin of this murderous folly. And when subsequently it comes to punishment for this murderous folly, yes France will be at the United States’ side.”

    • Stop Patronizing Vets and Start Helping Them

      In the annals of shame and hypocrisy, few things match America’s duplicity toward its veterans.

      For their troubles, they earn lip service from politicians, are allowed to board some airplanes first, receive a few bucks off at restaurants and, once a year, get their own holiday on which everybody expresses support for them. They are also honored at sporting events in ceremonies that, despite appearances, are actually paid for with taxpayer dollars.

      But step away from these feel-good exercises, and you get a bucket of cold water in your face. Let’s take a frank look at the serious problems that veterans are facing every day — and what is or isn’t being done about them.

    • S. Korea-US intelligence cooperation: all the hallmarks of unrequited love

      Relationship can be described as a paradox, where cooperation is more about the US’s own interests

      In an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel, Thomas Drake, a former employee for the US’s National Security Agency (NSA), described the NSA’s relationship with Germany by saying, “It’s a sort of paradox in that relationship.”

      Drake was drawing attention to the fact that, while Germany and the NSA are partners, the NSA does not hesitate to spy on Germany when the US’s national interest is on the line.

    • [Interview] Whistleblower Thomas Drake

      When it comes to the whistleblowing on the NSA, Edward Snowden is not the first one. According to NGO ‘GAP(Governmental Accountability Project)’, Thomas Drake has dedicated his life to safeguarding his country. He served in the Air Force specializing in intelligence, and then worked as a CIA analyst and contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA)for 12 years before joining the NSA full time in 2001. Drake worked at the agency as a software contractor until 2008. When he saw abuse in the billions of dollars spent on the allegedly illegal surveillance program, he took his concerns to his superiors at NSA, to Congress and to the Department of Defense Inspectors General, but nothing changed. Finally, Drake made legal disclosures of unclassified information to a Baltimore Sun reporter. He was prosecuted by Department of Justice under the Espionage Act. He faced the possibility of decades in prison. NGOs and media made this issue public. The DOJ finally dropped all of the Espionage Act charges. Drake pled guilty to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to one year of probation and community service, but lost his pension. The Hankyoreh interviewed with Drake on Oct. 12 for one and half hours through video chat. He declined to disclose specific declassified information but provided worthwhile insight.

    • This government’s inexplicable lack of action on illicit surveillance

      South Korea and the South Korean public have been under complete surveillance from every possible direction. The scope of wiretapping around the world revealed by Edward Snowden, former contractor for the US’s National Security Agency (NSA) and the results of the Hankyoreh’s investigative reporting into the documents he leaked bring about that feeling of shock and horror.

      The “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing group that was led by the US and included four other English-speaking countries was able to monitor online information for anyone, anywhere in the world, at any time. South Korea was no exception.

      This snooping took place at any time that these countries deemed it necessary for their national interest, even when there was no legitimate excuse.

    • Snowden leaks: Lack of homegrown equipment leaves S. Korea vulnerable to hacking
    • Xkeyscore – a form of “intelligence imperialism”

      Xkeyscore is a key program used by the US National Security Agency (NSA) to collect, organize, and search data. Internal NSA documents released by the Intercept describe it as a “DNI [digital network intelligence] exploitation/analytic framework.” It can be used by the NSA to search for information through specific email addresses or keywords. A document stating that the candidate names, genders, email addresses, and the term “candidacy” were used as keywords to search for information during the 2013 election for World Trade Organization director-general gives a hint of the program‘s capabilities.

    • S. Korean government stays mum as Foreign Ministry and SNU are hacked
    • Nicolas Maduro to Denounce US Violation of Venezuelan Airspace

      The Venezuelan president will resort to various international organizations to denounce Washington’s recent violation of the country’s territory.

      Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said he will denounce Washington’s new threats against the South American country to international organizations after a United States intelligence plane violated the country’s airspace twice on Friday.

    • Russian plane crash: flight recorder captured ‘sound of explosion’

      The sound of an apparent explosion can be heard on the flight recorder of the Russian-operated plane that came down over the Sinai peninsula, killing all 224 people on board, adding to the evidence that a bomb was smuggled aboard, French media sources said on Friday.

      Giving further credence to the idea that the plane crash was a terrorist act rather than because of structural failure, Russia, which for a week has been resistant to speculation about a bomb, suspended flights to all Egyptian airports.

      An Egyptian-led international team of aviation experts, including some from France, successfully recovered the black box, the flight recorder, from the crash site. Several French media outlets, including the television station France 2, reported that the investigators had listened to it and concluded that a bomb had detonated, which would seem to rule out structural failure or pilot error. The pilots can be heard chatting normally, including contact with airport controllers, up until the apparent explosion.

    • Doctors Without Borders Describes ‘Relentless and Brutal’ U.S. Attack in Afghanistan

      “Patients burned in their beds, medical staff were decapitated and lost limbs, and others were shot by the circling AC- 130 gunship while fleeing the burning building. At least 30 MSF staff and patients were killed,” the introduction to the report says. The dead include 10 patients, 13 staff and seven more bodies that were so badly burned they have not yet been identified.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • EFF files brief calling for greater law enforcement transparency

      EFF has long fought for the public’s right to use federal and state public records laws to uncover controversial and illegal law enforcement techniques. That’s why we filed an amicus brief in a federal appellate court case this week asking it to reconsider a decision that makes it much easier for law enforcement agencies such as the FBI to conceal their activities.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Koch Group Dumps Half Million Dollars in Florida Anti-Solar Campaign

      Consumers for Smart Solar, the group promoting an anti-home-solar constitutional amendment in Florida, has collected half a million dollars from the 60 Plus Association, a group that has itself received at least $34 million since 2010 from organizations financially backed by the Koch brothers.

      Unlike most states, Florida does not allow homeowners to enter into contracts for the no-upfront-cost installation of solar on their homes. In other states, this freedom has contributed to the dramatic 80% increase in home solar installations across the US in 2014, and seen large financial investments from corporations like Google.

      Rival constitutional amendments are being proposed for the Florida ballot in 2016.

      One of these would allow homeowners increased rights to install solar energy; that one is backed by consumer and environmental organizations.

    • Network Evening News Programs Yet To Address What Exxon Knew About Climate Change
    • Magnitude-7 earthquake strikes off southwest Japan

      A tsunami advisory was issued for parts of southern Japan on Saturday after a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck off the coast of Kyushu.

    • Japan earthquake: Small tsunami triggered

      A magnitude 7.0 earthquake has struck off Japan’s south-western coast, triggering a small tsunami.

      The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said a 30cm (1ft) tsunami was registered on the southern Nakanoshima island, part of Kagoshima prefecture.

      There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

      A tsunami warning issued for Kagoshima and Satsunan islands was later lifted. The quake happened at a depth of about 10km (six miles).

    • The US Still Hands Out $20 Billion a Year to Fossil Fuel Companies

      Over the years, President Obama has repeatedly called on Congress to kill the sizable subsidies the federal government annually grants to oil companies. “It’s outrageous,” he said in a 2012 speech. “It’s inexcusable. I’m asking Congress: Eliminate this oil industry giveaway right away.”

    • Scientists Warn of Health Damage From Indonesia’s Haze Fires

      Toxic fumes from the Indonesian fires that have spread a choking haze across Southeast Asia may be doing more harm to human and plant health than officials have indicated, scientists measuring the pollution say.

      Farmers are expecting a poor harvest because plants have too little sunlight for normal photosynthesis, while government figures of half a million sickened by the smoke are only the “tip of the iceberg”, said Louis Verchot, a scientist with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR).

    • Indonesia says forest fires could be back in weeks

      Indonesia’s forest fires, which this year sent vast plumes of smoke across the region described by climate officials as a “crime against humanity”, could return as early as February, the forestry minister said on Friday, but on not such a large scale.

      Slash-and-burn agriculture, much of it clearing land for palm oil crops, blanketed Singapore, Malaysia and northern Indonesia in a choking “haze” for months, pushing up pollution levels and disrupting flights, as it does every year.

      But this year was unusually severe.

    • Japanese tech used to extinguish Sumatran blazes

      Major Indonesian conglomerate Sinar Mas Group, in a tie-up with the central government, conducted a forest-fire extinguishing test on Nov. 5 using a product developed by several small Japanese companies. The exercise puts Japan’s technology into practical use as Indonesia struggles to cope with forest fires and the smoke emanating from them, which pose an ever-worsening problem for Indonesia and neighboring countries.

      The test took place on the outskirts of Palembang, a city on Sumatra Island, in a forest plantation owned by Asia Pulp and Paper Group, where a fire had continued to burn. Asia Pulp and Paper is a member of Sinar Mas Group, which is run by ethnic Chinese.

  • Finance

    • Trans-Pacific Partnership Text Released – a Look at What’s Inside

      The New Zealand government released the final text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, the White House followed suit hours later. The massive trade deal, which includes 12 countries and 40% of the world’s economy, has been shrouded in secrecy until now. Parts of the deal have been leaked along the way, but it’s the first time the public has had a chance to read what may become the the most broad reaching trade deal in history if all the interested countries ratify the treaty. The agreement has enormous implications for global labor, food and product safety, access to affordable medications, the environment and much more. For a look at how the TPP agreement would affect the internet and what access to redress would look like under the corporate-driven agreement, FSRN’s Shannon Young spoke with Evan Greer, Campaign Director of Fight for the Future, a group best known for its advocacy of an open and neutral internet.

    • GOP & Dems just puppets of wealthiest US families – Justice party leader

      The US faces lots of issues right now, from being sucked into a war in Syria to stagnating salaries and a shrinking middle class – and ahead of the upcoming presidential elections, people are looking for a candidate who can actually bring change to the way the country’s been going on in domestic and foreign policies. But what games are the candidates playing? Is the choice of candidates wide enough, or too limited? We ask the former mayor of Salt Lake City and founder of the U.S. Justice party.

    • Aide to Sanders Rips CBS On Last Minute Debate Change to National

      Though careful never to mention Clinton by name, Sanders has drawn a series of contrasts with the former secretary of state on issues that include her backing of the war in Iraq, trade and the minimum wage.

    • US State legislators ‘shocked’ by EU trade deal implications

      When State Senator Virginia Lyons thought it would be wise to develop legislation to reduce harmful electronics waste in her state of Vermont, the last complaint she expected to receive was from the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese it seemed, had issue with how new E-Waste reduction measures for Vermont would impact their sales of electronics to the USA.

    • EU Commission TTIP proposal attacked by MEPs and campaigners

      The European Commission has formally presented its proposed reforms on the controversial investment protection and dispute resolution for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

      The ‘more transparent’ investment court system will replace the so-called investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. It aims to safeguard the right to regulate and create a court-like system with an appeal mechanism based on clearly defined rules, with qualified judges and transparent proceedings.

    • Holly Sklar on Minimum Wage Economics, Nicholas Kusnetz on State Government Transparency
    • With ‘Off-Planet’ Mining Bill, US Congress Seeks to Privatize Outer Space

      In a bipartisan bid to encourage commercial exploitation of outer space, the U.S. Senate this week unanimously passed the Space Act of 2015, which grants U.S. citizens or corporations the right to legally claim non-living natural resources—including water and minerals—mined in the final frontier.

      The legislation—described by IGN’s Jenna Pitcher as “a celestial ‘Finders Keepers’ law”—could be a direct affront to an international treaty that bars nations from owning property in space. The bill will now be sent back to the House of Representatives, which is expected to approve the changes, and then on to President Barack Obama for his anticipated signature.

    • H-1B visa reform bill introduced in US Senate to check ‘abuse of the system’

      The bill would prohibit companies from hiring H-1B employees if they employ more than 50 people and more than 50 per cent of their employees are H-1B and L-1 visa holders.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Five things to watch in tonight’s Democratic debate

      There’s a reason Sanders’ online fundraising operation has caught the eye of Democratic Party leaders nationwide: He raised $3.2 million in just the two days after the last debate — roughly as much as O’Malley raised over June, July, August, and September combined.

    • Prominent Gun Advocate John Lott Was Twice Interviewed By Anti-Semitic Newspaper

      Lott is a well-known pro-gun advocate and frequent source of conservative misinformation about gun violence. He rose to prominence during the 1990s with the publication of his book, More Guns, Less Crime, although his conclusion that permissive gun laws reduce crime rates was later debunked by academics who found serious flaws in his research. (Reputable research indicates that permissive concealed carry laws do not reduce crime and may actually increase the occurrence of aggravated assault.)

    • Media Turn Civilian ISIS Victims in Beirut Into Hezbollah Human Shields

      When civilians are killed, media reaction is often contingent upon who did the killing and why. Instead of blanketly condemning such attacks, the bombing of civilians can be implicitly justified if those civilians were in the wrong place at the wrong time—say, in a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan, or, more recently, in a neighborhood in Lebanon.

      Two ISIS suicide bombers killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 230 in attacks on a heavily Shia Muslim community in Beirut on November 12. This was the worst attack on the city in years.

    • Right-Wing Media Immediately Criticize Obama After He Condemned Paris Attacks

      After President Obama condemned the attacks in Paris, France, calling the attacks “terror” and an “attack on all humanity,” right-wing media personalities immediately attacked Obama, in particular for not criticizing Islam.

    • Ben Carson: Please Believe Me When I Tell You I’m Psycho

      Probably because he’s ahead in the polls, attention is currently focused on Ben Carson’s distant relationship with the truth, most interestingly his story of getting offered a scholarship to West Point. It’s a ridiculous tale given the fact that many young Americans try to get into the military academies (I applied to Annapolis), so a lot of people know the real deal. If you gain acceptance after a grueling application process — I remember a battery of physicals that took all day and having to obtain a sponsorship from a member of Congress — tuition, room and board is free. But you’re committed to serving as a junior officer for six years after graduation.

    • Ben Carson’s New Book Contains Some Surprisingly Progressive Ideas
  • Censorship

    • Quebec Bets on Internet Blocking: New Bill Mandates ISP Blocking of Gambling Websites

      The Government of Quebec has introduced new legislation that requires Internet service providers to block access to unlicensed online gambling sites. The provisions are contained in an omnibus bill implementing elements of the government’s spring budget, which included a promise to establish website blocking requirements. The bill provides that “an Internet service provider may not give access to an online gambling site whose operation is not authorized under Québec law.” The government’s lottery commission will establish the list of banned websites:

    • Post arguing for separation of church and state gets pulled by Facebook

      Earlier this week, an administrator for a private Facebook group called “Winchester, MA Residents” received a notification from Facebook that a comment made on the group’s site had been removed.

      The comment was made beneath a controversial post about a local high school not using the pledge of allegiance, but what was unusual was that the comment in question neither incited violence nor was it harassing—in fact it seemed quite measured in its tone.

      ”Yeah that’s an unfortunate conflation of government and religion,” the commenter wrote. “I’m in favor of removing all references to god from all governmental documents and instruments, including our legal tender.”

      In the notification to the group administrator, Facebook said only that the post had been removed because it didn’t “follow the Facebook Community Standards.”

    • Pirate Bay Censorship Marks the End of Open Internet, ISP Warns

      The ISP under legal pressure to block The Pirate Bay in Sweden has criticized efforts to make the provider an accomplice in other people’s crimes. In a joint statement two key executives of Telenor / Bredbandsbolaget warn that folding to the wishes of private copyright holder interests could mark the beginning of the end for the open Internet.

    • Blocking The Pirate Bay (TPB), Similar Torrent Sites Is Severe Censorship & Will Lead To Demise of Open Internet

      Blocking The Pirate Bay and other file-sharing or torrent sites is glaring example of severe censorship that a Swedish internet service provider or ISP said will eventually curtail the free flow of information that users enjoy. Sweden denying access to TPB will doom the Open Internet concept, a new report said.

    • Can ISPs be asked to block access to The Pirate Bay?

      Can an internet service provider (ISP) be requested to block access to a torrent site like The Pirate bay?

    • Killing of journalists as the cheapest form of censorship

      When we look at the number of resolved crimes against journalists, it turns out that in more than 90 percent of murder cases, those killings are left unresolved, which keeps the executioners safe while the killing of journalist becomes one of the cheapest form of establishing censorship, along with blocking investigative journalism, preventing distribution of progressive ideas and opening the space for debate, etc.

    • When the campus PC police are conservative: why media ignored the free speech meltdown at William & Mary

      Conservative alumni, already suspicion of Nichol, saw this as the long-feared first strike against their heritage and the school’s rightfully Christian identity. They launched a grassroots campaign to pressure the college to reinstate the cross and, if necessary, fire Nichol.

      One of the organizers of this campaign was a former college board member. While writing for the student paper, I once found that she had been ghostwriting student op-eds criticizing Nichol, passing them off to conservative students and encouraging them to publish them in the school paper under their own names. When I asked her about it, she told me that if I reported what she’d done she would use her “connections” in Washington media to make sure I was “toxic” and thus would never find work as a journalist. I mention this not to insert myself into the story, but rather to illustrate that this larger campaign was not some high-minded intellectual debate but rather was experienced on campus as a bitter fight in which activist alumni were not above threatening students.

    • Students Fight Against Censorship in Indiana

      Members of the Portage High School Thespians had been rehearsing Bad Seed for two weeks when they received word from administrators that the play would have to be rewritten to expurgate references to drugs, alcohol, and sex. The students would have none of that.

    • How to deal with censorship? ‘Resist it’

      The best way to address censorship is to resist it, veteran Indonesian writer Goenawan Mohamad said.

    • Salman Khan on ‘religious intolerance’ and PRDP censorship
    • Shocking: Indian Television Censorship Rules That Won’t Let You Say ‘Sex’ And ‘Jesus’

      It was just another lazy afternoon when I was watching a rerun of one of the episodes of my favourite sitcom, Friends, when I heard the beeping of the word ‘boobies’ throughout the entire episode. In the 21st century, it is hard to believe that the ‘watchdogs’ of our Indian society would believe the audience to be this easily excitable when exposed to this word. Not only is it inconvenient for the viewers to watch the same, but it also downrightly rejects their level of intelligence.

    • Boycotting Sam Harris’s ads: Atheist freedom of speech vs. religious censorship

      The truth is, religious groups are granted a unique concession when it comes to the right to be offended. This is not so much about the battle between believers and non-believers, this is a battle between censorship and freedom of speech.

    • The censors must not win: Campus thought police have run amok — but all is not lost

      Yale and the University of Missouri both made headlines last week after students who started out passionately protesting allegations of racism and cultural insensitivity wound up attacking professors’ speech rights and freedom of the press.

    • Trigger or treat: Campus censorship

      The recent debates over free speech and “safe spaces” in the academy may have reached a watershed with last week’s debacle at Yale University, where a group of students had a meltdown over an email defending culturally “insensitive” Halloween costumes. Several video clips of a confrontation in which protesters mobbed a beleaguered administrator went viral on the Internet — serving, one hopes, as a wake-up call for the nation.

    • Protesting Censorship at MACBA, Trio Quits International Museum Committee’s Board
    • How free is the media in Turkey?

      The pre- and post-election period in Turkey has seen a mass of violations meted out against media workers. Here are just five examples of how press freedom is on the wane in Turkey

    • Iran’s Revolutionary Guards target popular messaging app in widening crackdown

      In recent weeks, Iran’s powerful hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has rounded up a number of artists, journalists and U.S. citizens, citing fears of Western “infiltration”.

    • Can Bitcoin Be Censorship-resistant and Regulatory-compliant At The Same Time?

      Over the past few years, there has been an interesting debate going on regarding how Bitcoin should position itself in the regulatory landscape. While the opinions are divided as to how the solution should look like, there may be a third solution hardly anyone has ever thought of. Sometimes it’s not about picking sides, but trying to collaborate with every party involved.

    • Why does Facebook keep censoring atheists in India?

      Three days ago a petition popped up on the website Change.org urging Mark Zuckerberg to “support freedom of expression in India” by unblocking an atheist Facebook group there with over 13,000 members.

      Facebook, the petition said, had not given any reason for the blockade. One day users in India who tried to visit the site were simply hit with a message that the content was “unavailable.” This was not the first time a Facebook page for atheists had been censored in the secular state. In June, another atheist Facebook group was reportedly labeled “unsafe” and its members were unable to share its content.

    • Spotify’s Political Censorship Should Worry Us All
    • Reddit Moderators Censor, Then Un-Censor Video on Campus Censorship

      A video from The Rubin Report discussing the growing culture of censorship on U.S. campuses was recently censored by a moderator on Reddit, despite its popularity among users.

    • A penis and ‘Hootie and the Blowfish’: Colbert’s art censorship bit was a classic

      Last night Stephen Colbert showed a penis on CBS’s The Late Show. Don’t worry, he showed it for only two seconds, the maximum length of time that the network’s censors would allow. He also attempted to show numerous sets of female primary and secondary sex organs, but they were blurred out. For those getting their knickers in a twist and preparing to complain to the FCC about how Colbert is corrupting your children (but, seriously, what were your kids doing up at 11.30pm on a school night?) all of these organs were on works of art. Yes, Colbert can show the statue of David, but only at far remove and only for two whole seconds because that is the country we Americans live in.

    • Watch Stephen Colbert Troll the Censors by Demonstrating What You Can and Can’t Show on CBS

      It’s no secret that TV censors can be arbitrary, bewildering, and sometimes downright goofy. But on Thursday’s Late Show, Stephen Colbert demonstrated just how bizarre—and specific—some of these policies can be. As he discussed the recent sale of Modigliani’s “Nu Couché” (“Reclining Nude”), Colbert noted that several networks, CBS included, won’t display the painting without blurring out, as Colbert put it, “both Hootie and the Blowfish.”

    • Stephen Colbert Answers the Age-Old Question: What Is Porn?
    • Stephen Colbert mocks CBS censorship on ‘The Late Show’ (Video)
    • Yes, The Censorship Of Nude Art Today Is Completely Arbitrary
    • Watch Stephen Colbert Explain CBS’ Odd Censorship Policy
    • Stephen Colbert dares to test the limits of TV censorship on the ‘Late Show’
    • Russia: Blasphemy law has aided the growth of religious censorship
    • Turkish government blocks Reddit
    • Turkey bans Reddit under Internet censorship law
    • Turkey bans access to Reddit under Internet censorship law
    • Turkey blocks Reddit through its internet censorship law
    • Reddit blocked in Turkey under Internet Censorship law
    • Turkey blocks Reddit under its Internet censorship law

      Turkey’s government has blocked Reddit under its Internet censorship law 5651. Under this law, the country’s officials are allowed to ban sites that contain content that is pirated, is pornographic in nature or contains criticism of the current President Mustafa Ataturk.

    • Turkey blocks access to Reddit under controversial censorship law
    • Publishers under pressure as China’s censors reach for red pen

      It was the scrawl of red ink snaking around paragraphs that told novelist Sheng Keyi how much things had changed. Just over a decade ago, Sheng’s best-selling breakthrough novel, Northern Girls, was published uncensored in mainland China to critical acclaim.

      But last month, as editors prepared to launch a third edition of the book, the author was informed that parts of her text were no longer publishable.

      “It is ridiculous,” Sheng complained, pointing to an editors’ manuscript on which a red ballpoint pen had been used to highlight sections that now needed excising. “It doesn’t feel like something that could happen in real life and it makes me quite angry.”

    • Censorship and Criticism

      Don’t get me wrong, my favorite comedian is Louis CK, probably one of the most offensive, least politically correct comedians ever. I personally love his jokes, but maybe others don’t, and guess what? That’s okay. I will not attempt to convince people otherwise. Not everyone likes what everyone else has to say, but labeling criticism of speech as an attack on freedom of speech is a bit overzealous. You can’t tell people what they can and cannot say, but you also can’t mandate how they should respond. We all come from differing backgrounds, which means some buttons are a bit easier to push than others. You might think a rape joke is “funny,” but a sexual assault survivor will not. (I would sincerely hope anyone reading thing does not find rape jokes funny, but, I don’t know, different strokes).

    • TPP trade pact spreads SOPA-like censorship worldwide

      Details of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement were finally released late last week following a secretive, seven-year negotiating process. The purported trade deal’s 6,194 pages of mind-numbing legalese actually cover a wide range of policy questions that have little to do with tariffs, imports, or exports — including a chapter on intellectual property that will likely dismay supporters of an open Internet.

      President Obama may boast that the trade bill eliminates more than 18,000 taxes that countries impose on U.S. exports, but TPP also enshrines the very measures sought by SOPA, a controversial copyright infringement bill that failed in Congress three years ago.

    • Quebec Moves Closer to Censoring Online Gambling
    • Quebec plan to block gambling sites draws cries of censorship

      Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao tabled legislation on Thursday to implement the provincial budget that was announced in March, including amendments to the province’s Consumer Protection Act that direct Internet service providers (ISPs) to “block access” to a list of “unauthorized gambling sites” to be drawn up by Loto-Québec. Failure to comply could lead to a fine of up to $100,000 and twice that for subsequent offences.

    • Making Movies for Democracy in Myanmar

      Myanmar’s government has been notorious for its censorship.

    • As Myanmar counts votes, a Yangon musician pushes political music past censors

      American musicians have it tough, but try making it work in Myanmar. To be an artist in the isolated Southeast Asian country is to face nearly impossible barriers. The Internet is spotty, the music scene virtually nonexistent and every original song must still be approved for release by a government-affiliated censorship board.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • “Heads up, Quentin Tarantino”: Fox News’ Bolling ominously warns “everyone thinks they don’t need a cop until they do”

      Days after the head of the largest police union in the country issued a threat to filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, warning that “something is in the works” after the director dared to speak out against police brutality, Fox News Eric Bolling followed suit, reminding Tarantino that “everyone thinks they don’t need a cop until they do.”

      Bolling, co-host of “The Five,” has repeatedly railed against Tarantino for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Tarantino has recently come under conservative fire after speaking at an anti-police brutality protest last month.

      “Remember the two guys who were executed over here in Brooklyn? In days after that, that protest. People, as Dana [Perino] points out, people look up to Quentin Tarantino,” Bolling asked during a recent show. “They look up to Hollywood actors and directors, and it feeds into that narrative. Cop violence is going up.”

    • Why Hackers Must Eject the SJWs

      The hacker culture, and STEM in general, are under ideological attack. Recently I blogged a safety warning that according to a source I consider reliable, a “women in tech” pressure group has made multiple efforts to set Linus Torvalds up for a sexual assault accusation. I interpreted this as an attempt to beat the hacker culture into political pliability, and advised anyone in a leadership position to beware of similar attempts.

    • Leak Hypocrisy: CIA Employee, Contractor Who Committed Security Breaches Weren’t Prosecuted

      The CIA was relentless in their pursuit of CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who confirmed the name of an undercover operative to a reporter and was successfully prosecuted and jailed by the Justice Department. However, at least one CIA employee and one CIA contractor committed similar breaches of classified information and were not put on trial by the United States government.

      VICE News journalist Jason Leopold obtained documents from the Office of the Inspector General at the CIA, which show the OIG completed 111 investigations of alleged crimes between January 2013 and 2014.

      The Justice Department, according to Leopold, “declined to prosecute a case in lieu of CIA administrative action involving a CIA Special Activities Staff employee who ‘misused government systems by conducting unauthorized, non-official searches on sensitive Agency databases.’ The employee was warned “on more than one occasion to cease [the] behavior but [the employee] continued to conduct unauthorized searches.’”

    • In terrorism war, as in domestic crime fight, lawful policing matters [Ed: Pro-NSA, pro-surveillance]
    • Elite fed interrogation unit training local police, other agencies

      The U.S. government’s elite interrogation unit, formed in the aftermath of the al-Qaeda suspect torture scandal, has been providing extensive training to local police, other federal agencies and friendly foreign governments.

      Since its creation in 2009, the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, overseen by the FBI with members drawn from the bureau, Defense Department and CIA, has sponsored instruction and research for at least 40 agencies, including the Los Angeles and Philadelphia police departments.

      While members of the so-called HIG have been involved in controversial encounters with terror suspects, including interrogations aboard U.S. war ships, HIG Director Frazier Thompson asserted that the group’s techniques bear no resemblance to the abusive treatment exposed following the capture of al-Qaeda suspects wanted for their alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks and during the Iraq War.

    • A Plan to Close Guantánamo Is Coming, Just Not This Week

      Another week has gone by, and the White House still has not rolled out its long-awaited plan to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

      Chatter that the release was imminent picked up over the past week after defense and White House officials said they expected the Obama administration to deliver the document to Congress soon, likely by Friday. But several defense officials confirmed to Foreign Policy on Friday that the plan will not come this week, and they are unsure when President Barack Obama will sign off on it.

    • Police Body Camera Issues and Concerns

      According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, while the federal government is pushing local and state law enforcement agencies to use body cameras for their law enforcement officers, federal law enforcement officers are not using such cameras when performing their own LE duties. According to the article, this is because the federal government hasn’t adapted policies for the use of body cams and the storage of the video.

    • Lee Robert Moore, Secret Service member, arrested on child-sex charges

      A Secret Service officer attached to the White House has been arrested on suspicion of soliciting a child for sex, CNN reported Thursday afternoon.

      Lee Robert Moore turned himself in to federal authorities in Maryland on Monday and has admitted his guilt.

      According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Delaware, Mr. Moore, 37, sent nude pictures of himself and lewd messages to a “14-year-old girl” who was actually an undercover cop. He also asked to meet the “girl” in person for sex.

    • Obama’s Double-Standard on Leaks

      Though President Obama touts America as a nation of laws and evenhanded justice, there is a blatant double-standard regarding how people are punished for national security breaches – whistleblowers are harshly punished but the well-connected get a pass, writes John Hanrahan.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • T-Mobile is writing the manual on how to fuck up the internet

      T-Mobile has just announced “Binge On,” a deal that gives customers unlimited access to Netflix, HBO Go, ESPN, Showtime, and video from most other huge media brands (but not YouTube!). It’s just like T-Mobile’s “Music Freedom” promotion, which gives customers unlimited high-speed data, as long as they’re listening to music from Spotify, Google Play Music, or one of T-Mobile’s other partners. It sounds like a sweet deal, and many customers will benefit! But it’s dangerous for the internet. When John Herrman writes that the next internet is TV — and you should believe him — this is part of how we get there. You know that viral picture that shows ISP internet bundles being sold as cable packages? That’s basically what’s happening here, except it’s more difficult to stop because, as the FCC might say, there’s “no obvious consumer harm” in giving people free stuff.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • U.S. and MPAA Protest Return of Megaupload’s Servers

        A possible release of Megaupload’s servers, containing millions of files of former users as well as critical evidence for Kim Dotcom’s defense, is still far away. Responding to questions from the federal court, the MPAA says that it’s gravely concerned about the copyrighted works stored on there. The U.S. Government, meanwhile, doesn’t want Megaupload to use ‘illicit’ money to retrieve any data.

      • The Reprobel decision: fair compensation justified by actual harm (so is it OK to have a levy-free private copying exception?)

        This reference originated in the context of litigation between Hewlett-Packard (HP) and collective management rights organisation Reprobel.

        In 2004 the latter informed HP that the sale of multifunction devices entailed payment of a levy of EUR 49.20 per printer, and – from what this Kat understands – this should apply retrospectively.

        In 2010 HP summoned Reprobel before the Court of First Instance of Brussels, seeking a declaration that no remuneration was owed for the printers which it had offered for sale, or, in the alternative, that the remuneration which it had paid corresponded to the fair compensation owed pursuant to the Belgian legislation, interpreted in the light of the InfoSoc Directive.


Links 13/11/2015: GNOME 3.18.2, New Kubuntu Release Managers

Posted in News Roundup at 8:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


  • Science

    • Computer pioneer Gene Amdahl dies, aged 92

      Computer pioneer and entrepreneur Gene Amdahl has died, aged 92. Amdahl joined IBM in 1952 after graduating with a clutch of degrees from South Dakota State University and the University of Wisconsin.

      As chief architect of the IBM 704 scientific mainframe computer, his engineering decisions helped IBM to sell many more of the machines than IBM had expected.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • EU whitewash on cancer risk from world’s most used weedkiller

      A report released today by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) could pave the way for EU re-approval of the world’s most used weedkiller – glyphosate – which has been linked to cancer by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The report heavily relies on unpublished studies commissioned by glyphosate producers and dismisses published peer-reviewed evidence that glyphosate causes cancer, said Greenpeace.

  • Security

    • The Lingering Mess from Default Insecurity

      These vulnerable devices tend to coalesce in distinct geographical pools with deeper pools in countries with more ISPs that shipped them direct to customers without modification. SEC Consult said it found heavy concentrations of the exposed Ubiquiti devices in Brazil (480,000), Thailand (170,000) and the United States (77,000).

      SEC Consult cautions that the actual number of vulnerable Ubiquiti systems may be closer to 1.1 million. Turns out, the devices ship with a cryptographic certificate embedded in the router’s built-in software (or “firmware”) that further weakens security on the devices and makes them trivial to discover on the open Internet. Indeed, the Censys Project, a scan-driven Internet search engine that allows anyone to quickly find hosts that use that certificate, shows exactly where each exposed router resides online.

    • Public Beta: December 3, 2015

      Let’s Encrypt will enter Public Beta on December 3, 2015. Once we’ve entered Public Beta our systems will be open to anyone who would like to request a certificate. There will no longer be a requirement to sign up and wait for an invitation.

      Our Limited Beta started on September 12, 2015. We’ve issued over 11,000 certificates since then, and this operational experience has given us confidence that our systems are ready for an open Public Beta.

    • ​Linux ransomware rising? Linux.Encoder.1 now infects thousands of websites [Ed: Tung hypes up already-patched Magento bug]

      The security firm said the ransomware was infecting Linux web servers by exploiting unpatched instances of the widely-used Magento CMS.

    • Is Linux Free From Viruses And Malware?

      Linux is very secure in its architecture that you even won’t need to go behind any kind of firewalls until you’re on a Network. The access control Security Policy in Linux which is called SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux) is a set of user-space tools and Kernel modification that implement the security policies in Linux operating system. Even this Security-Enhanced Linux isn’t must for normal users, however, it’s very important for users who are on Network and/or Administrators.

    • Thursday’s security advisories
    • Let’s Encrypt wants to use open source to simplify the security certificate process

      Infrequent web server administrators may find requesting and installing security certificates cumbersome and expensive. Open Source project Let’s Encrypt claims to simplify the process.

    • Let’s Encrypt And WoSign – How To Get A Valid SSL Certificate Absolutely Free

      Today the SSL certificate costs ~$50-100 – big money for non-commercial websites and bloggers. But some peoples can change it just now. In this article I try to describe a practical guide for getting a free as a beer certificate for your blog, website or e-mail. There are two ways:

    • Kaspersky says that Linux-Based DDoS Attacks are Increasing

      Out of all the DDoS attacks, 45.6% of attacks are from Linux-based botnets, as per the Intelligence Report of Kaspersky for the period Q3 2015. Security researchers of Akamai Technologies discovered that XOR DDoS botnet is the prominent most group, which was used to launch 150+ gigabit-per-second (Gbps) DDoS attacks.

    • Twistlock Aims to Shore Up Container Security With New Offering

      There are multiple security controls and best practices for Docker container security, many of which are inherited from the Linux operating system on which Docker is deployed, including cgroups and namespaces, which provide isolation and control.

    • How extorted e-mail provider got back online after crippling DDoS attack

      ProtonMail, the encrypted e-mail provider that buckled under crippling denial-of-service attacks even after it paid a $6,000 ransom, said it has finally recovered from the massive assaults seven days after they began.

    • NSA-Proof ProtonMail Service DDoSed, Forced to Pay $6000 as Ransom

      The BBC reveals that the attack appears to have been carried out by Armada Collective, a Swiss group responsible for numerous other online attacks. It seems that ProtonMail now regrets its decisions to pay the ransom. The company says it would advise anyone else against doing so. It is now trying to raise money to pay more than $100,000 for DDoS protection from a commercial security firm.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • West Papuans’ survival in the balance

      It’s believed that West Papuans are now a minority in their homeland, and many feel shut out of the economic expansion and democratic reforms Indonesia has experienced in the past decade.

      They see Jakarta’s rule as a threat to the survival of their people and culture.

      A separatist conflict has been simmering for decades, and the death toll is put in the hundreds of thousands by some estimates. Speaking out remains a dangerous activity in a place tightly-guarded by Indonesian military and police.

      But the new Indonesian government says it’s making real efforts to help Papuans improve their lives, and has begun allowing foreign journalists to visit and see for themselves.

    • Russia says convicts former Moscow policeman of spying for CIA

      A former Moscow policeman was convicted of spying for the CIA and of passing state secrets to a foreign intelligence agency on Thursday and sentenced to 13 years in prison, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said in a statement.

    • Russian former policeman Yevgeny Chistov ‘spied for CIA’

      Russia has convicted a former policeman on high treason charges, accusing him of spying for the CIA, according to security services.

    • Russian ex-cop sentenced to prison for ‘spying for CIA’

      Russia has sentenced a former policeman to 13 years in prison on high treason charges, accusing him of spying for the CIA, the security service said today.

      The Moscow District Court today convicted a former employee of the interior ministry’s Moscow region branch, Yevgeny Chistov, of high treason and sentenced him to 13 years in a high-security prison, the FSB security service said in a statement.

    • Russian ex-policeman sentenced to 13 years in jail for passing classified data to CIA

      A Moscow region court has sentenced former police officer Yevgeny Chistov to 13 years in prison for passing classified information to the CIA, the public relations center of the Federal Security Service (FSB, former KGB) told TASS.

    • Death Threats, Child Porn, and War Crimes: Inside CIA Investigations of Its Own Employees

      Between January 2013 and May 2014, the OIG completed 111 investigations of alleged crimes, such as the killing of an animal on federal property, possession of child pornography, fraud, embezzlement, and domestic violence. The CIA is still processing VICE News’s FOIA request for a list of investigations the OIG completed between May 2014 and the present.

    • US Won’t Recognize Israel’s Annexation of Syria’s Golan Heights

      Reacting to Monday’s comments by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the White House ruled out calls to formally recognize the Israeli occupation and subsequent annexation of the Golan Heights away from Syria, saying they weren’t sure if Netanyahu was even serious but that the US had no intention of changing its position on the occupation.

    • Seventy-five percent of U.S. foreign military financing goes to two countries

      American taxpayers doled out $5.9 billion in foreign military financing in 2014, according to the government’s Foreign Assistance report — that’s roughly the GDP of Somalia. But where did the money go?

      To the usual suspects, mostly — Israel ($3.1B) and Egypt ($1.3B) received roughly 75% of all foreign military aid money handed out by the U.S. last year.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Climate Hustle: Marc Morano’s Latest Climate Change Denial Stunt

      Climate change denier Marc Morano of the fossil-fuel funded Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) will feature a new “documentary film” called “Climate Hustle” in his latest attempt to promote his destructive climate change denial agenda. The film is due to be shown to a public audience for the first time on December 7 at the Cinéma du Panthéon in Paris at the same time as the upcoming United Nations climate talks.

    • Toxic smoke from palm oil fires is creating a new class of climate refugees in Southeast Asia

      Ria Heilena Pratiwi has had enough of the toxic smoke that plagues her hometown of Pekanbaru.

      The thick haze is caused by fires set to clear land for palm oil plantations and other uses. The city of around 900,000 is the capital of Riau province, on Sumatra island in Indonesia. A single mother between jobs, Pratiwi lives in Jakarta but had until recently been contemplating a move back home, so that her mother could help out with the childrearing. But now she’s decided to stay in Jakarta, and bring her mother there, away from the smoke.

      “From a long time ago, every year the haze comes again,” she tells Quartz. “So we decided to not live there anymore.”

  • Finance

    • The fix is in: Proof that H-1B visa abuse is rampant

      Major outsourcers, largely based in India, are obtaining the lion’s share of the 85,000 H-1B visas issued each year and are paying salaries far below the prevailing wages for American IT workers — a violation of the spirit, if not the letter, of the H-1B rules. New information from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency that oversees the H-1B program, finally proves what critics have long suspected: H-1B abuse is real and rampant.

      The H-1B program is designed to let U.S. companies hire foreigners at prevailing wages when they can’t find qualified Americans. And U.S. companies, especially those in Silicon Valley, have been clamoring for years to raise the cap of 85,000 so that they can hire more foreign workers. They’ve long denied the charges that they’ve exaggerated the employee shortage, so they can instead reduce wages by importing workers.

    • When Thomas Friedman Ridicules Campaign Economics, the Joke’s on Him

      The irony of Friedman’s comment is that Trump’s claim is not far from being true, if the United States were to adopt a more efficient healthcare system. The United States pays more than twice as much per person for its healthcare as other wealthy countries, with little obvious benefit in terms of outcomes.

      The World Bank put US annual per person spending at $9,150 in the years 2006-10. By comparison, Canada spends $5,700, Germany spends $5,000 and the United Kingdom spends $3,600. This enormous gap suggests that the United States could cover the uninsured and pay for it by eliminating the waste in its system.

    • Trump Was Right About TPP Benefiting China

      Donald Trump lambasted the Trans-Pacific Partnership at Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate, contending that China would use it to “take advantage of everyone” — generating snickers from journalists and a withering refutation from Rand Paul, who said “we might want to point out that China is not part of this deal.”

      But Trump never suggested that China was part of the TPP, only that the country would “come in, as they always do, through the back door” of the agreement. And he was right.

    • The First Bank in USA to Pay $15 Minimum Wage for All Employees Sees Immediate Benefits
    • Bank Raises Its Minimum Wage To $15, Sees Immediate Benefits

      In August, New York-based Amalgamated Bank announced it would immediately raise its minimum pay to at least $15 an hour.

      At the time, the bank noted that it was the first to make such an announcement. But it’s also committed to making sure more follow its lead.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Charles Krauthammer Calls Out Donald Trump’s Lies About His Earlier Positions On Immigration
    • O’Reilly And Donald Trump Repeatedly Use”Anchor Baby” Slur To Discuss Immigration

      Fox host Bill O’Reilly and GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump repeatedly used the pejorative “anchor baby” when discussing the children of immigrants in the U.S. This term has been described as “racist” and false because parents of children born in U.S. aren’t allowed to apply for citizenship until the child is 21.

    • Reminder: The Right-Wing Media Vetted Obama, And It Was Priceless

      But here’s the thing: conservative commentators, and especially conservative bloggers, are ignoring the fact that Obama was vetted — by them. For more than two presidential election cycles.

      And it was priceless.

      Obama’s a Muslim. Obama was born in Kenya. Obama forged his birth certificate. Obama is the son of Malcolm X. Obama’s hiding his gay past.

      All of those claims, and much more, were forwarded by right-wing media outlets (including Fox News) that have been thrashing around in cesspools over the years, all in the name of vetting the elusive Obama. (The late blogger and satirist Al Weisel, known as Jon Swift, masterfully detailed the attempted vetting.)

    • ’60 Minutes’ Pushes National Security Propaganda To Cast Snowden, Manning As Traitors

      The television program, “60 Minutes,” aired a segment on Sunday in which it assassinated the character of Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, and even went so far as to question their loyalty to America. The two whistleblowers were compared to the Washington Navy Yard shooter, who killed twelve people.

      It was part of an examination of what U.S. government officials perceive to be serious flaws in the process by which the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) reviews security clearances granted to government employees, but the framing made it seem like architects of “insider threat” programs from U.S. security agencies and politicians, who support total surveillance of government employees in the workplace and while they’re at home, had produced the segment.

      Using language that would scare everyone’s grandparents, the CBS show used “fugitive” to describe Snowden, “convicted spy” to describe Manning (even though she is not), and “mass murderer” to describe the Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis. Anchor Scott Pelley amplified the terror by adding they all had “one thing in common: U.S. government security clearances which they turned into weapons.”

    • Christians Are Leaving Homophobia Behind – Will Journalists Keep Up?

      But according to recent poling data, 54 percent of all Christians now say that “homosexuality should be accepted by society.” The data come from Pew’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study, which surveyed more than 35,000 U.S. adults as a follow up to Pew’s 2007 study. Now, the majority of major Christian groups, including Catholics, mainline Protestants, Orthodox Christians, and historically black Protestants, believe homosexuality should be accepted by society…

    • Watch A Black Community Activist Correct Bill O’Reilly On What African-Americans Need In Their Community
    • Rush Limbaugh Says Students Protesting Racial Issues “Are Self-Identifying … As Racists”
    • Fox News: Where Protests Against Racial Discrimination Are Anarchy But Armed Protests Against Federal Law Are “Patriotic”

      Fox News supports the right to protest, unless, it seems, the protesters are students of color shining a spotlight on incidents of racial injustice.

      Protests against racial discrimination on college campuses across the country are garnering national media attention with students criticizing administration responses to incidents at University of Missouri, Yale, U.C.L.A, University of Oklahoma and other institutions.

  • Censorship

    • Corporations and Governments Are Still the Real Threats to Free Speech–Not Campus Activists

      Anyone who can write a sentence like this simply doesn’t know what they’re talking about. Which is fine, but not fine when the person is the head of an organization dedicated to freedom of expression.

      By “our citizenry,” Nossel is referring to the recent round of free speech wars on college campuses. Now, when these issues of free speech arise on campus, you usually see an explosion of conversation about it: on the campus itself, and in the media. Far from dampening down discussion, the controversy over free speech on campus actually ignites discussion. Everyone has an opinion, everyone voices it.

    • Julian Assange addresses Freedom of Speech at the Union

      Mr Assange began his talk by making clear that he is “not on a TV” and that he was actively present, stating that engagement in debate and questions would make his presence more immediate. Hence, Assange opted to talk for twenty minutes and take questions from the floor. Assange discussed the fact that he had been present at the Union in 2011, and skirted around the topic of the referendum that the Union held on his address to begin with, stating “There is also an interesting contextual situation surrounding this talk itself” .

    • Shadow Bans Not Banny Enough For Reddit

      In a move that isn’t particularly surprising given their lack of support for intellectual diversity to date, Reddit has introduced outright bans to replace its shadow banning policy.

    • Center for American Progress Hosts Netanyahu as Leaked Emails Show Group Censored Staff on Israel

      The Center for American Progress, a leading progressive group with close ties to both President Obama and Hillary Clinton, held an event this week hosting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington. That decision reportedly prompted a revolt from some staffers angered that a liberal group would give Netanyahu a platform. In his opening remarks at the event, Netanyahu told attendees he wanted to speak to “a progressive audience.” Netanyahu’s appearance came just days after a new controversy over the group’s alleged censoring of writers critical of Israel. Newly leaked emails from 2011 and 2012 published by The Intercept show CAP made key editorial decisions—including editing articles, silencing writers and backing off criticism—at the behest of influential groups who backed Israeli government policies. We speak to Ali Gharib, a contributor to The Nation magazine and a former staffer at the Center for American Progress. Gharib says one of his articles for the Center was censored.

    • Google, Facebook on Chinese Charm Offensive

      Google terminated most of its operations in mainland China in 2010 after controversy over the country’s online controls and an attack on users of its Gmail service.

      But Eric Schmidt, its former CEO and now president of its new parent company Alphabet, was in Beijing last week declaring: “We never left China.”

    • India Tops Facebook’s List Of Content Restriction Request By Government
    • Facebook Inc Faces 18% Rise In Government Requests For Customer Data
    • Facebook says governments demanding more and more user data
    • These Are the Governments That Request (and Block) the Most Facebook Content
    • Facebook sees global surge in law enforcement requests, censorship

      Facebook said on Wednesday that requests for user data from government agencies and law enforcement groups surged in the first half of 2015, with the social network site reporting an increase in demands by 18 percent worldwide.

    • US, India governments top globally in sending censorship requests to Facebook

      Facebook has experienced a significant increase of information-seeking and censorship requests from national governments around the world, according to a new self-published report, with India ranking high on the list of nations making the most inquiries.

      Per the social media giant’s Government Requests Report, international queries for account data has ramped up in the first half of 2015 compared to the same period last year, from 34,946 requests to 41,214.

    • Portage students complain about ‘censorship’ of play

      Members of the PHS Thespian Club told the Portage Township School Board that high school administrators ordered the Broadway play rewritten to remove references to drugs, cigarettes and sexual innuendo.

    • Censorship and ethics in the Discourse section

      I spent a semester studying abroad in Beijing, China, where censorship by the government is rampant and dominates all form of media. There, armed with my Western ideas of how media should be, it was easy for me to criticize the government and its apparent inability to provide accurate news and information to its people. I thought I understood the premise behind the Chinese government’s heavy hand on free speech: obviously, the people in higher positions of authority were afraid of the instability that freedom of speech and press could create. For the semester I was there, I developed a skeptical and an almost comical point of view of the Chinese national media: how could I take a news source that so heavily distorts reality seriously?

    • The Chinese are willing participants in state censorship

      For three decades, Cui Yongyuan has been one of China’s national treasures. As a veteran television presenter for CCTV (China’s BBC), Cui’s career was made by this state-controlled broadcaster. So his recent talk in London – entitled ‘An Idealist’s commitment and compromise’ – caught my attention for its political undertone. Could he have been talking about the compromises he had to make as a Chinese journalist? To my delight, Cui spoke about this – and more.

    • China’s Censorship War Against Sex, Drugs, and ‘Vulgar Content’ Is Now Hitting Online Music Streams

      On Monday, the ministry issued a “notification on strengthening and improving the management of online music” policy, demanding that music services set up self-censorship departments to check their catalogs for deviant messages. State-owned news agency Xinhua, announced this, saying: “Online music should go through a strict reviewing process according to the requirement of the ministry before being made available online. The reviewing information should be filed in the provincial relevant departments or above.”

    • Tunisia: Musicians confronted with censorship and repression

      Of Tunisia’s entire artistic community, the musicians – and in particular urban rappers – have borne the brunt of the state’s censorship and repression. A wide legal arsenal has been used to drag musicians into court and throw them unceremoniously into gaol.

    • Journalism lecturers research shows how local papers dodged Kitchener’s draconian censorship laws

      Two journalism lecturers who have embarked on a four-year First World War research project which shows how local newspapers manoeuvred round Lord Kitchener’s draconian press censorship laws and produced articles that rivaled the war poets for powerful imagery.

    • Salman Rushdie rails against censorship in accepting award

      Warming to his theme, Rushdie said universities should be refuges for the unfettered exchange of ideas. “The university is the place where young people should be challenged every day, where everything they know should be put into question, so that they can think and learn and grow up,” he said. “And the idea that they should be protected from ideas that they might not like is the opposite of what a university should be. It’s ideas that should be protected, the discussion of ideas that should be given a safe place. The university should be a safe space for the life of the mind. That’s what it’s for.”

    • Salman Rushdie on writing, political correctness, censorship, First Amendment

      Here are excerpts from Rushdie’s comments:

      “If you are not a good writer, that’s not your fault — that’s just your problem. But if you are a self-censoring writer, that is your fault because then you are choosing to be a bad writer, and that’s to my mind not forgiven.”

    • Inmates sue over prison magazine censorship

      A national newspaper for and about prison inmates is accusing the state Department of Corrections of censorship.

      The lawsuit filed in federal court contends top agency officials purposely and illegally withheld copies of Prison Legal News from inmates who subscribe. And even in situations where the newspaper eventually was delivered, portions had been redacted.

    • Prisoners’ rights magazine sues Arizona Dept. of Corrections over censorship

      Prison Legal News, a 25-year-old magazine produced by the nonprofit Human Rights Defense Center, has sued the Arizona Department of Corrections over censorship.

    • Prisoners’ rights magazine sues Ariz. DOC over censorship
    • Arizona lawsuit says prisons denied and censored inmates’ access to news
    • Publisher sues Arizona state prisons over alleged censorship
    • Artist Ai Weiwei adds to protest with Instagram LEGO portraits
    • Lego shouldn’t brick it over Ai Weiwei – refuting the censorship argument is child’s play
    • A Point of View: Why people shouldn’t feel the need to censor themselves

      We should remember, however, that offence can be taken even when it has not been given. There are radical feminists who search every innocent remark about women for the hidden sexist agenda. Even using the masculine pronoun in the grammatically sanctioned way, so as to refer indifferently to men and women, can cause offence and is now being banned on campuses all across America. It is not that you wish to give offence. But you are up against people who are expert in taking it, who have cultivated the art of taking offence over many years, and who are never more delighted than when some innocent man falls into the trap of speaking incorrectly.

    • Modern Technology Prevents Media Censorship – Rossiya Segodnya Chief

      Widespread media censorship is rendered impossible by modern technology, Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency Director General Dmitry Kiselev said Tuesday.

    • Missouri: professors against press freedom

      When students at one of the United States’ most prestigious universities throw tantrums in reaction to a call for debate, free-speech advocates who have long warned of the dangers posed by campus civility codes may be tempted simply to respond, ‘We rest our case’.

    • Video: Ben Carson Decries College Campus Protests
    • The Vilification of Student Activists at Yale

      The events at Yale over the past weeks have provoked a great deal of conversation, but little effort to understand or acknowledge the cultural and institutional biases at play. In their responses, many have made the same mistake that my friend did, assuming that individual actions can be divorced from their broader context, or from the larger and more troubling legacy of racial discrimination in America. But they can’t.


      Like many elite schools, Yale has a tense racial past and present, one that ensures that admission isn’t necessarily synonymous with full social acceptance. The reports of recent incidents, like swastikas painted on campus, or a frat turning black girls away from a party, are surely only a few examples where some students are implicitly told that they are less welcome than their classmates.

    • Serbia’s EU progress report: no progress for press freedom

      On 8 November Andrija Rodić, the owner of the Adria Media Group – which publishes 18 magazines including the daily tabloid Kurir – came out with a public apology to Serbian citizens for his role in producing overly favourable coverage of the situation in the country, alongside 80 per cent of Serbia’s other local media owners.

      Until that point he and his associated media outlets had been faithful supporters of Serbia’s Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, and his policies. In a blunt admission of the extent of political censorship in the Serbian media, Rodić described how threats to weaken his company financially or create fabricated legal cases led to the development of self-censorship among journalists.

    • Turkey continues to muzzle democracy’s watchdogs

      Journalists are the “watchdogs” of democracy, according to the European Court of Human Rights. Anyone who wants to control a country without being troubled by criticism tries to muzzle reporters, and unfortunately, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a past master at stifling the cries of freedom. As journalists from around the world converge on Antalya to cover this weekend’s Group of 20 summit, many of their Turkish colleagues are being denied accreditation.

      Sidelining opposition media has become a bad habit in Turkey, which is ranked 149th out of 180 countries in the latest Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index. Four days before the Nov. 1 parliamentary elections, the police stormed Ipek Media Group headquarters and shut down its two opposition dailies and two opposition TV stations. After control of management had been secured and 71 journalists fired, these outlets resumed operations with a new editorial line verging on caricature. The dailies, Bugun and Millet, ran Erdogan’s photo on the front page along with the headlines “The president among the people” and “Turkey united.”

    • Live Q&A: Indonesia, identity and the lasting legacy of 1965

      It’s been three weeks since a series of public debates dedicated to reconciliation and remembrance of the 1965 Communist repression in Indonesia were cancelled at the Ubud writers and readers festival in Bali, following police pressure and increased scrutiny from the Indonesian authorities.

  • Privacy

    • The UK’s international snooping plan is probably going to end in failure, again

      The UK government is making a dramatic expansion of its internet surveillance efforts, in the space of less than 18 months trying to bring international tech companies firmly under the remit of its spy legislation.

      But the attempt is unlikely to succeed, like its other attempts to make overseas companies hand over their customers’ data and communications.

      Because millions in the UK now use services like Apple’s iMessage and Whatsapp — which are based outside of the UK and use strong encryption — the UK government says there is a large, and growing gap, in the ability of law enforcement to intercept and read communications.

    • Why the attack on Tor matters
    • Why the Tor attack matters

      Earlier today, Motherboard posted a court document filed in a prosecution against a Silk Road 2.0 user, indicating that the user had been de-anonymized on the Tor network thanks to research conducted by a “university-based research institute”.

    • Court Docs Show a University Helped FBI Bust Silk Road 2, Child Porn Suspects
    • Google Inbox Smart Reply: Cognition Meets Communication
    • Google debuts smart reply feature to Inbox app

      Google is attempting to combat the issue of inbox clutter and unanswered messages with its new smart reply feature released this week to its new email app, Inbox.

    • FCC Online Privacy Ruling Helps, not Hurts, Privacy-Minded Users

      The FCC has refused to order websites to protect users’ privacy in response to “do not track” requests — and that’s actually a good thing for people who want to stay anonymous online. Here’s why.

    • Vizio Smart TVs Track Viewers’ Watching Habits To Work With Advertisers

      When choosing a smart television, buyers are often presented with a variety of features. One they may not be aware of: that TV could be watching you.

      Vizio Smart TVs, one of the most popular manufacturers, can track your viewing tendencies and report them to advertisers, as reported by ProPublica.

    • Edward Snowden Explains How To Reclaim Your Privacy

      LAST MONTH, I met Edward Snowden in a hotel in central Moscow, just blocks away from Red Square. It was the first time we’d met in person; he first emailed me nearly two years earlier, and we eventually created an encrypted channel to journalists Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, to whom Snowden would disclose overreaching mass surveillance by the National Security Agency and its British equivalent, GCHQ.

      This time around, Snowden’s anonymity was gone; the world knew who he was, much of what he’d leaked, and that he’d been living in exile in Moscow, where he’s been stranded ever since the State Department canceled his passport while he was en route to Latin America. His situation was more stable, the threats against him a bit easier to predict. So I approached my 2015 Snowden meeting with less paranoia than was warranted in 2013, and with a little more attention to physical security, since this time our communications would not be confined to the internet.

    • The Poet, the Journalist, and the Dissident

      “I never thought that I would be Big Brother,” jokes Snowden as he is lowered down from the cloud and on to a projector screen. The crowd greets him like a rock star. He looks sheepish, perhaps overcome by the fervor of an audience in a country that he has no possibility of returning to under the present circumstances. On the stage to greet him is poet Ann Lauterbach and the Intercept’s Peter Maass. The dissident, the poet, and the journalist engaged in discussion at the penultimate talk of Bard College’s “Why Privacy Matters” conference held in October in the spirit of the college’s matron philosopher Hannah Arendt.

      Whether it is state-sponsored or corporate surveillance, or increasingly sousveillance, it seems privacy has become a relic of bygone days. In some sense, we have become unquestioning of this new reality of zero privacy put forth by government and corporate interests alike. But then I look up and see Snowden.

    • Did the FBI pay Carnegie Mellon $1 million to identify and attack Tor users?
    • Academics ‘Livid,’ ‘Concerned’ Over Allegations that CMU Helped FBI Attack Tor

      On Wednesday, Motherboard reported that a “university-based academic research institute” had been providing information to the FBI, leading to the identification of criminal suspects on the dark web.

      Circumstantial evidence pointed to Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU) Software Engineering Institute and an attack carried out against Tor last year. After the publication of Motherboard’s report, the Tor Project said it had learned that CMU was paid at least $1 million for the project.

      On Thursday, other academics who focus on the dark web and criminal marketplaces expressed anger and concern at CMU’s alleged behavior, feeling that the research broke ethical guidelines, and may have a knock-on effect on other research looking into this space.

    • Tor director: FBI paid Carnegie Mellon $1M to break Tor, hand over IPs

      The head of the Tor Project has accused the FBI of paying Carnegie Mellon computer security researchers at least $1 million to de-anonymize Tor users and reveal their IP addresses as part of a large criminal investigation.

      Neither Carnegie Mellon officials nor the FBI immediately responded to Ars’ request for comment. If true, it would represent a highly unusual collaboration between computer security researchers and federal authorities.

      Ed Desautels, a spokesman for Carnegie Mellon’s Software Engineering Institute, did not deny the accusations directly but told Wired: “I’d like to see the substantiation for their claim,” adding, “I’m not aware of any payment.”

    • Snowden ‘overwhelmed’ by public response

      “I was really worried … that this would be a two day story, then everybody would forget about it and we’d move on.” he said during a video question and answer session hosted by the PEN American Center on Tuesday.

    • Daniel Ellsberg And Edward Snowden: Two of A Kind

      Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg met in Moscow recently to exchange views on freedom of information and Snowden’s fate.

      Ellsberg is a welcome guest on any campus these days. In 1971, while a military analyst at the Rand Corporation, he leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times.

      The two met last winter, ac

    • What Clinton Got Wrong About Snowden

      The former secretary of state attacked the NSA whistleblower without bothering to get her facts straight.

      Hillary Clinton is wrong about Edward Snowden. Again.

      The presidential candidate and former secretary of state insisted during the recent Democratic debate that Snowden should have remained in the United States to voice his concerns about government spying on U.S. citizens. Instead, she claimed, he “endangered U.S. secrets by fleeing to Russia.”

    • Google’s new About Me page helps you control how your personal info is shared

      People concerned about how much information is out there about them on Google have a new way to control what everyone can see.

      Without any fanfare, Google has begun rolling out an About Me page to make it easier for people to control what others can see about them across Google services.

      The page should be welcome news to people concerned about their privacy, according to Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research.

      “With this feature, there are no changes to what information people can see, but a way for people to better control what people can see about them across Google services in one place,” a Google spokesperson wrote in an email to Computerworld.

    • Comcast resets passwords after logins posted to dark web, but denies breach
    • Comcast says it’s not to blame after 200,000 user accounts were put up for sale online

      Comcast will reset the passwords of roughly 200,000 customers after their account information wound up for sale on a shadowy Web site, the company said Monday.

    • Barack Obama, Lawyer-in-Chief

      Why did a liberal professor embrace the Bush surveillance state? Look to the law.

    • The real threats to Britain’s security

      Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said: “The Gulf states have appalling human rights records, particularly Saudi Arabia, yet they are always the key focus for UK arms sales. Despite the cancellation of the Saudi prison contract, and despite the horrors being unleashed on the people of Yemen by UK arms, there is growing talk of David Cameron visiting the regime to apologise and make up.”

    • Science of snooping: Internet spying cost & feasibility examined by MPs

      MPs have launched an inquiry into the cost and feasibility of the government’s Investigatory Powers Bill.

    • Former spy chiefs to meet financiers at Gleneagles

      The pair, who both left public office late last year, will address a “top-tier” audience of fund managers on the first evening of a high-profile conference sponsored by hedge funds and investment banks. Sawers is familiar with an audience of this kind, having delivered a keynote speech at a prestigious hedge fund summit in Paris in April.

    • GCHQ says that British industry is bashed seven times a day by hackers

      We’re probably gonna need some bigger laws

    • British spy agency GCHQ is advertising on trendy Shoreditch streets
    • GCHQ Is Targeting London’s Tech Hipsters With Graffiti Recruitment Ads
    • GCHQ goes all Cool Dad and tags the streets of Shoreditch with job ads
    • GCHQ to lead £6.5m CyberInvest challenge
    • GCHQ Boss: ‘Cyber Security Market is Failing Us’
    • GCHQ chief claims that everything is failing cyber security

      Hannigan warned that the UK is under constant threat of cyber attack and that the authorities are in an arms race against the bad guys.

    • GCHQ director blasts free market, says UK must be ‘sovereign cryptographic nation’

      Speaking this morning to CESG’s Information Assurance conference, Robert Hannigan, director of GCHQ, declared that Britain was a “sovereign cryptographic nation” and reproached the free market’s ability to provide adequate cybersecurity.

      The claim was delivered to a cybersecurity shindig attended by government employees and private professionals, arranged by GCHQ’s infosec arm CESG, as GCHQ’s head honcho pontificated upon the relationship between the market, regulation, and threats affecting the cyber domain.

    • Ex-GCHQ chief: Bulk access to internet comms not same as mass surveillance
    • NSA to end bulk call data collection this month

      The U.S. National Security Agency is ready to end later this month collecting Americans’ domestic call records in bulk and move to a more targeted system, meeting a legislative deadline imposed earlier this year, according to a government memo seen by Reuters.

    • NSA mass data collection to stop in 20 days, but just on paper.

      As we have previously written the new CISA (Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act) allows this information to be passed along voluntarily with little to no recourse be the average citizen. All the NSA or other government agency has to do is quietly ask a company can hand the data over all in the name of National Security on the “Cyber” front (ASL?). This is not the first time that the US Government has tried to pass a bill like this one, but they finally managed to get one through. The claim is that this will help companies share threat information with each other, but the reality is that the law goes much deeper than that and is not really needed. Companies are already sharing threat data and indications of compromise without any fear of consumer backlash, so this bill really only serves the purpose to protect other data sharing. Russ Spitler, Vice President of Product Strategy at Alien Vault had this to say about CISA.

    • The CIA writes like Lovecraft, Bureau of Prisons is like Stephen King, & NSA is like…
    • It’s No Secret That The US Government Uses Zero Days For ‘Offence’

      Little by little, the US government is opening up about its use of computer security vulnerabilities. Last month, the NSA disclosed that it has historically “released more than 91% of vulnerabilities discovered in products that have gone through our internal review process and that are made and used in the United States.” There should probably be an asterisk or four accompanying that statement. But more on that in a minute. First, it’s worth examining why the government is being even the slightest bit forthcoming about this issue.

    • The NSA is making great strides in transparency, but not really

      Until recently, the NSA has been able to do what it wants without having to explain anything to us, the little people. At the end of October, the agency published an infographic to tell us all exactly what they do (most of the time.)

    • NSA Pats Self On Back For Disclosing Vulnerabilities ’90% Of The Time,’ Doesn’t Specify How Long It Uses Them Before Doing So

      The NSA likes its software vulnerabilities. There are those it discovers on its own and others it purchases from “weaponized software” dealers. There are also certain tech companies that hand over exploits to the NSA first before working on a patch for the rest of us.

      Up until now, the NSA really hasn’t discussed its policies regarding software vulnerabilities and exploits. A few months after the Snowden leaks began, the White House told the NSA to start informing software companies of any exploits/vulnerabilities it had discovered. The quasi-directive set no time limit for doing so and allowed the agency to withhold discovered exploits if there was a “clear national security or law enforcement” reason to do so.

      While other parties have discussed the NSA’s hoarding of software exploits, the agency itself hasn’t. All information gathered to date has come from outside sources. Snowden provided some of the documents. The EFF knocked a couple more loose with an FOIA lawsuit against James Clapper’s office.

    • TRNN Replay: Whistleblower: Obama’s Secrecy Makes Bush Look Mild

      Thomas Andrews Drake (born 1957) is a former senior official of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), decorated United States Air Force and United States Navy veteran, computer software expert, linguist, management and leadership specialist, and whistleblower. In 2010 the government alleged that he ‘mishandled’ documents, one of the few such Espionage Act cases in U.S. history. His defenders claim that he was instead being persecuted for challenging the Trailblazer Project.

    • NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake: ‘I’ve had to create a whole new life’

      Five years after becoming the first American to be charged for espionage in nearly four decades, Thomas Drake is still trying to rebuild his life.

      In 2010, Drake, a senior executive with the National Security Agency from 2001 to 2008, was indicted by the Obama administration for leaking classified information under the Espionage Act after speaking out on secret mass surveillance programs, multibillion-dollar fraud and intelligence failures from 9/11. He was the first U.S. whistleblower to be charged under the Espionage Act since Daniel Ellsberg in 1971, and faced 35 years in prison before the government’s charges against him were ultimately dropped in 2011.

    • How the media can support whistleblowers

      Can whistleblowers safely express concerns about their agency within internal channels? Do a whistleblower’s motives matter? Should the press focus on the leaker when reporting stories about the information they revealed?

      Edward Snowden — famous for his NSA data leaks — New York Times reporter James Risen and whistleblowers Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack tried to answer these questions using their own experiences at a Newseum forum Tuesday.

      “For all the whistleblowers I’ve worked with, for them, the press is the last resort,” Risen said. “They’ve tried and almost never found any real result from that internal system.”

      PEN America, a human-rights organization advocating for free speech, sponsored the event and released a report examining the channels whistleblowers have available, which showed why many concerned officials turn to the media to get their information out safely.

      Drake and Radack said they tried to work within the system to bring up their concerns with agency activities, but they suffered retaliation or superiors destroyed or redacted evidence they raised.

      Thomas Drake, a former senior executive at the NSA, revealed multi-billion dollar fraud, failures with 9/11 intelligence and mass surveillance violations. The Obama Administration indicted Drake in 2010 and charged him with espionage. He went free in a plea deal in 2011.

    • NSA whistleblower reveals details of American spying during Reddit AMA session

      Bill Binney, a former high-level intelligence officer in the NSA and later prominent whistleblower, has explained the inner workings of the security agency and its surveillance in a Reddit ‘Ask Me Anything’ session.

    • A Former NSA Whistleblower Thinks Everyone in D.C. Should Be Fired

      NSA surveillance has been a hot topic ever since Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the agency’s activities. But government employees were concerned about surveillance for a decade before Mr. Snowden came along.

    • No software is ‘safe from surveillance’: Ex NSA official and whistleblower

      Not many know William Binney. He is a ex-NSA official and a whistleblower who helped another serial whistleblower, Edward Snowden leak thousands of classified NSA documents two years ago. He has not suffered like Edward Snowden who has suffered the ignominy of being fugitive and a wanted man in United States. Binney left US relatively unscathed after the NSA leaks.

    • NSA whistleblower: No software is ‘safe from surveillance’

      William Binney doesn’t have a membership card to the small group of which he’s a part — people who have spoken out against the National Security Agency, and been left relatively unscathed — but at least he has the next best thing, a valid passport.

    • NSA scrapping contentious phone spy program

      The National Security Agency will phase out its bulk surveillance program sweeping up Americans’ phone data to a more targeted system, marking a continued win for privacy activists.

    • A Good American review: fascinating revelations about the NSA’s role in 9/11

      Despite the controversy over Edward Snowden’s revelations of US surveillance of its citizens, it’s easy to imagine the country’s security services privately not being that embarrassed: there might be professional pride in overzealous snooping.

      But such bodies’ role in 9/11 is another matter entirely. What if it could be shown that the NSA could have – should have – prevented the attacks on the World Trade Center; that its failure to do so wasn’t due to bad luck, but a lethal cocktail of incompetence, arrogance and greed; and that they then sought to cover up their mistakes?

      This possibility is the driver of a fascinating, conspiracy theorising documentary: Friedrich Moser’s A Good American, which premieres on Tuesday at the CPH:DOX film festival in Copenhagen. It may not have the contemporaneous frisson of Laura Poitras’s Oscar-winning Citizenfour, but it certainly packs a punch.

      The American of the title is William Binney, Bill to his friends, a crypto-mathematician and former NSA analyst, who devised a surveillance and analysis system that was cut-price, had built-in privacy protections, was up-and-running in 2000, and so dazzlingly effective that he claims it “absolutely would have prevented 9/11”, if only the agency hadn’t wilfully ignored it. The documentary doesn’t categorically prove the case – ironically for a film about data, we need to see some, or have more collaborations than are offered. Yet it does make us believe.

    • Federal court to Obama: Stop spying on the American people
    • NSA Given Permission by Appeals Court to Continue Collecting Metadata
    • Appeals court allows NSA bulk phone spying to continue unabated

      The nation’s only successful challenge to the National Security Agency’s bulk telephone metadata surveillance program lasted just one day, as a federal appeals court is allowing the constitutionally suspect program to continue unabated.

    • Appeals Court Says NSA Can Keep Trampling 4th Amendment With Phone Surveillance Program For Now

      This is hardly a surprise, but the DC Appeals Court has issued a stay on Judge Richard Leon’s ruling from earlier this week that the NSA’s bulk phone record collection program was unconstitutional. This is the same appeals court that overturned Leon’s earlier ruling finding the program unconstitutional. This time, as we noted, Judge Leon refused to grant the government a stay, noting that the DC Circuit had taken its sweet time in actually issuing a ruling on the appeal — and the program is set to end in a couple weeks anyway. Also, Leon didn’t order the entire program shut down, but just that the NSA stop keeping the records of the plaintiffs who were customers of Verizon Business Network Services (J.J. Little and J.J. Little & Associates).

    • Appeals Court Allows NSA to Continue Metadata Collection
    • Overnight Cybersecurity: Judge tells NSA to kill phone records program
    • US Court Says NSA Phone Surveillance Program Illegal – Reports
    • Judge curbs NSA’s collection of phone records
    • U.S. judge again rules NSA collection of phone data is likely unconstitutional
    • Judge: NSA Phone Surveillance Program Banned By Federal Judge
    • Federal judge rules against part of NSA phone surveillance program

      A federal judge on Monday ruled [opinion, PDF] against part of the National Security Agency’s (NSA) [official website] surveillance program that collects domestic phone records in bulk. Judge Richard Leon of the US District Court for the District of Columbia [official website] said that the program was most likely unconstitutional and shut down the program just weeks before the NSA was scheduled to scrap it and replace it.

    • Feds to comply with court order in NSA case
    • Judge Calls NSA Phone Data Collection Unconstitutional
    • More impact from Snowden as court rules that NSA bulk phone record collection violates the Constitution

      Only weeks before the US Patriot Act will be replaced with the USA Freedom Act a federal judge ruled that National Security Agency (NSA) Bulk Telephone Metadata Program which was revealed by Edward Snowden in 2013 that systematically collects Americans’ domestic phone records in bulk “likely violates the Constitution.”

    • Judge bars NSA from collecting plaintiff’s phone records in court challenge to

      A replacement program, adopted by Congress and scheduled to begin at the end of November, essentially has the telephone companies keep the records and give them to the government according to a protocol. This does not mean the agency will stop collecting phone data, however it will be a more target specific program.

    • Lawmakers Who Upheld NSA Phone Spying Share Close Financial Ties to Defense Industry

      According to research by MapLight, the 217 congressmen that voted against the amendment received twice as much campaign financing from the defense and intelligence industry as the 205 people that voted for the amendment.

      Now joining us to unpack all this is Jay Costa. Jay is the program director of MapLight’s web and data projects. He previously served on San Francisco’s Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, chairing the group’s Education, Outreach and Training Committee, and on Berkeley’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission and Open Government Commission.

  • Civil Rights

    • Dear Idiots and Racists: Yik Yak Is a Bad Place to Make a Death Threat

      On Tuesday night, lines like this one appeared on the University of Missouri’s feed on Yik Yak, the location-based, hyperlocal social media app.

      “I’m going to stand my ground tomorrow and shoot every black person I see,” wrote an anonymous user.

      The anonymous post led to beefed up campus security on a campus embroiled in protest and turmoil. But that user didn’t remain anonymous for long. It’s hard stay anonymous when the company knows all of its users’ locations, and will ship that information to law enforcement, no questions asked. Messages like the one sent by Hunter M. Park, a 19-year-old from Missouri, who was arrested on Wednesday just hours after he allegedly posted these threats on Yik Yak.

    • Veterans Benefits Administration executives abused incentive programs, bullied subordinates

      Senior executives within the Veterans Benefits Administration misused incentive programs to benefit themselves, an Inspector General report shows. Two officials went so far as to pressure subordinates into accepting unfavorable transfers to create vacancies for themselves.

      An anonymous source alerted authorities to one senior VBA executive’s $274,019 expenses for moving from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, a distance of 140 miles, in October 2014. A subsequent Inspector General investigation has uncovered abuse of incentive systems within the Veterans Benefits Administration available to senior-level executives and has resulted in two requests for criminal prosecution to the US Attorney for the District of Columbia.

    • Video shows South Boston police tasering Richmond man who later died

      Police in South Boston repeatedly fired their stun guns on a Richmond man before he died in 2013, a network news program revealed Wednesday.

      Accompanied by graphic videos of Linwood R. Lambert Jr. being taken into custody, repeatedly shocked at the doors of a hospital, and then slumping nearly unconscious in the back of a police vehicle, the MSNBC investigation apparently buttresses allegations raised in a $25 million suit filed this year by Lambert’s family.

    • Driven to hospital, Virginia man tased, shackled and dies in police custody

      When three Virginia police officers put Linwood Lambert in a squad car around 5 a.m. on May 4, 2013, they said they were taking him to the ER for medical attention because he was speaking delusionally. Just over an hour later, Lambert died in police custody.

    • Government threatens 40 years in jail; Matt DeHart forced into plea deal

      Matt DeHart’s long saga of government persecution, including FBI torture, refused asylum, and seized property, continues today as Matt has been cornered into taking a plea agreement to avoid a decades-long prison sentence. The deal, in which the government would recommend Matt be sentenced to a total of seven and a half years — minus his three and a half years of time served — was Matt’s only hope to prevent something even worse: the government’s initial recommendation of forty years in jail or the charges’ maximum, of seventy years and a half-million-dollar fine.

      Under the deal, Matt would have to plead guilty to receiving teen “pornography,” consisting of messages dated from 2008 that the US government decided to charge years later after they became aware that Matt discovered sensitive military files had been uploaded to a server he ran and that he was a WikiLeaks and Anonymous supporter.


      Matt’s father, Paul DeHart, has cited Aaron Swartz’s case as a turning point in the family’s fear of egregious prosecution. Swartz committed suicide after facing more than 50 years in jail for rapidly downloading publicly available JSTOR documents. Similarly, in Matt’s case, the government threatened an extremely long prison sentence of several decades — a highly disproportionate sentence for the allegations against him.


      Further, we have to prevent future retaliation, like the solitary confinement suffered by Barrett Brown, Chelsea Manning and Jeremy Hammond. Matt has already been tortured during interrogation and imprisoned for years before trial. We must keep Matt’s sentencing in the public eye as only significant scrutiny will prevent further abuse and ensure as fair a trial as possible.

    • Jack Straw and senior spy could avoid torture prosecution

      The former foreign secretary Jack Straw and Sir Mark Allen, a former senior MI6 officer, could avoid prosecution over complicity in the rendition and torture of two Libyan dissidents by claiming immunity, the supreme court has been told.

      The extraordinary prospect of senior figures dodging their alleged liability for abductions and torture by deploying the “foreign act of state doctrine” in criminal proceedings emerged during a civil claim brought by Libyan and Pakistani former detainees.

    • British citizens must stand up for the EU

      Cameron’s EU renegotiation may be too little too late for the Eurosceptics. The rise of their “Out” campaign threatens the livelihoods and social protection of thousands of UK citizens, writes Jude Kirton-Darling.

    • As Things Stand, the EU Referendum Is on a Knife Edge

      As things stand, the referendum is on a knife edge, with our poll showing a three-point margin for remain. The vote is heavily conditioned by class and age: middle class people under 55 want to stay by 26 points while working class people over 55 want to leave by 34 points. It is a statistical tie among the older middle class and the younger working class. Among the general population, 13% are on one side or the other but open to changing their mind, and a further 12% don’t know either way.

    • The Worst Company in the World

      Brazil’s Vale corporation masks brutal exploitation with the language of South-South solidarity.

    • The Wrong Kind of October Revolution

      Another Cold War has started, strongly resembling the old one; but the old arsenal of ideology, like old weapons that were not maintained during a decade, have all oxidized and fallen out of use from indifference.


      Viktor Orban in Hungary wins by promising to murder more gypsies and eventually the remaining Jews. Marine Lepen, new front-woman of the party for the ovens, openly anti-semitic and anti-Arab, grows more roots in France. Her solution to the refugee crisis is bacteriological and more eloquent than Trump’s: “let them have their ebola” she says, as her popularity sky-rockets.

    • Obama backs $607 billion Pentagon bill that bars Guantanamo closing

      The White House indicated Tuesday that President Barack Obama will sign into law a Pentagon spending bill that significantly raises the base budget of the US war machine while prohibiting the shutdown of the prison camp at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba or the transfer of its detainees to US facilities.

      The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provides for a base Pentagon budget (excluding expenditures on active military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria) of $548 billion, larger than any year since the end of the Cold War.

      On top of the base budget, the funding bill includes $50.9 billion for “overseas contingency operations,” that will pay for ongoing military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere, down from $64.2 billion in the last fiscal year. Together with a few smaller increments, this brings the total in military spending to $607 billion for the fiscal year that began October 1.

    • Human rights lawyers in China tell harrowing stories about their own torture and abuse

      These personal accounts come to light at a crucial time: Next week, China will answer questions from a United Nations anti-torture committee at a conference in Geneva—the UN’s fifth probe into the country’s torture practices.

    • Exposed: FBI Surveillance of School of the Americas Watch

      For a decade, the FBI flagrantly abused its counter-terrorism authority to conduct a widespread surveillance and monitoring operation of School of Americas Watch (SOAW), a nonviolent activist organization founded by pacifists with the aim of closing the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas (now renamed) and ending the U.S. role in the militarization of Latin America.

    • Alleged CIA Involvement In 2001 Anthrax Attacks

      By 2009 someone had uploaded a file to the shell, which is a server that I had operated the front-end of. Can’t really tell you the size of it. It had a text intro from an individual claiming to be a special agent for the FBI, he was explaining how the included documents pointed to CIA involvement in the Amerithrax case. It had an index, a file index which i skimmed through, it had PDFs, powerpoint files. The PDFs included scanned hand-written notes. Specifics which stood out to me, i mean I jotted some notes down before were technical nature of stuff like degraded Anthrax VS Brucellosis, degraded Anthrax VS Tularemia. There was nuclear regulatory commission paperwork tracking a radioactive cobalt source. From the handwritten notes, they thought that source was used to degrade or render inert weaponized anthrax. What else stood out to me.. it was the Ames strain of anthrax, and they said it was weaponized ‘electro-statically charged silicon nano particles’. That’s been burned into my memory

    • British student fights extradition to US for allegedly hacking the FBI and Nasa

      Love expects that if he is forced into the American judicial system, things will go no differently for him. “It’s clearly problematic that as a direct consequence of there being insufficient evidence even to bring a charge in the UK, I am facing a fate that I consider worse than any possible sentence given in the UK. If I were ever taken to the USA and refused to plead guilty, that number would go up significantly, until it were many times larger than the number of years I have left to live.”

      He thinks the extradition case against him is being used by British law enforcement officials to pressure him into giving up evidence against himself and others. Love presents his case to a British court on 10 and 11 December.

      When I ask him how many years of jail he thinks he’d face, he replies: “It’s all academic. I will never go to America except in a bodybag.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • My detergent product is green, but don’t tell anyone

      So how does Method stack up against its competitors? According to the article, major detergent challengers such as Procter & Gamble, SC Johnson and Clorox have so cleaned up their own products that they are apparently, in the main, eligible for the United States EPA (Environmental Protective Agency) seal of approval as well as for eco-labels from several well-regarded certifiers. However, companies of this type tend not to apply for such eco-labels. Not only that, but many do not provide information about how and why their products and the process of their manufacturer are now greener. The suggested upshot is that, while there may not be a significant environmental difference between the products of Method and those of its competitors, consumers may not have any clue that this is the case.

    • Trademarks

      • Judge Recused In University Of Kentucky V. Kentucky Mist Moonshine Case Because He’s A Kentucky Grad

        We were just discussing the University of Kentucky’s asshat-ish bullying attempts concerning Kentucky Mist Moonshine’s gall in selling hats and t-shirts featuring the distillery’s name and logo. The whole episode has been entirely silly from the outset, with the school essentially declaring itself the sole owner of the name of its home state for the purposes of its use on apparel. This attempt to throw aside even the question of actual customer confusion made the whole thing a strange power-play against a distillery, with some questioning how a trademark over a state’s name could be granted in the first place. Kentucky Mist itself filed a lawsuit against the school, requesting that the trademark it has chosen to flaunt so brazenly be either declared invalid entirely or reformed to protect the school only against any attempts to actually be associated with the school as opposed to the state of Kentucky.

        Again: none of this should be happening. If the University of Kentucky had simply kept its nose out of an unrelated business’ business, no suit would have been filed. But now, as the silliness continues, we get news that the judge originally assigned to preside over the case has recused himself. Why? Because he’s a graduate of UK.

    • Copyrights

      • TorrentFreak Turns Ten Today

        TorrentFreak turned ten years old today, but even after 8,477 articles and nearly a million comments we’re really just getting started. A special thanks goes out to everyone who’s helped to make this such an enjoyable ride so far.

      • Swedish Pirates are More Likely to Buy Legal Content

        As the entertainment industries catch up, fewer and fewer Swedish citizens are using unauthorized file-sharing networks. That’s according to a new study which has found that just 18% of the population now engages in the hobby. Nevertheless, those that do pirate are dramatically more likely to buy legal content than those who don’t.

      • Filmmakers Sue Dutch State Over Lost Piracy Revenue

        A coalition of Dutch film producers and distributors has today announced a lawsuit against the local Government. The filmmakers argue that the authorities are not doing enough to combat piracy and want pirate website operators and their users to face serious legal consequences.

      • A new “Happy Birthday” boss? Charity claims it owns famous song’s copyright

        In September, a judge ruled that music licensor Warner-Chappell doesn’t own the copyright to “Happy Birthday.” The question now seems to have become who does?

        A charity called the Association for Childhood Education International (ACEI) has now stepped forward to say that if Warner loses the copyright, it should become the rightful owner. Earlier this week, ACEI filed court papers (PDF) asking to intervene in the copyright dispute.

      • Charity Pops Up Claiming That It Holds The Copyright On Happy Birthday

        It ain’t over yet, folks. While many in the press went on and on back in September that the song “Happy Birthday” had been declared in the “public domain,” as we pointed out, that’s not what the judge said. He only said that the Summy Co. did not hold the copyright, because it seemed clear from a lawsuit back in the 1940s that the Hill Sisters (who sorta wrote the song — long story) only assigned the rights to the music and not the lyrics — and everyone agrees the music is now in the public domain. As we pointed out, this actually made the song an “orphan work”, which created a new kind of mess, and as we noted, it was entirely possible that a third party could now make a claim to holding the copyright — though we thought it was unlikely.


Links 12/11/2015: Ubuntu Community Council Election, Fedora Goes for Wayland

Posted in News Roundup at 7:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Young computer scientist shares her open source story

    I’ve been using open source for a while—seven years, to be exact. That may not seem like a long time, but when you’re 16, that’s almost half your life. My open source story is that of discovery, education, and mentoring opportunities. I’ve been extremely lucky.

    I got started with open source in fifth grade over Christmas break. My Dad showed me how to write bash scripts on Linux in what we called “Daddy’s Computer Camp.” That February, I made my Dad a Valentine’s Day robot that had bash code on the front.

  • Open source, Agile and DevOps core principles of NHS Spine 2

    Using open source tools, developing using Agile and DevOps techniques, and not signing contracts worth over £100 million were three of the core principles of building the NHS Spine 2 system – the digital backbone of the NHS which was migrated on to open source system last year.

  • 9 Useful Open Source Big Data Tools

    Hadoop is not the end-all, be-all of Big Data. There are lots of other Big Data platforms and tools, many of which are open source.

  • From open source to open community: ex-MySQL and Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos signs on with HackerOne

    When Hewlett-Packard (back in the days when it was one company) acquired open source cloud infrastructure vendor Eucalyptus a year or two ago, many were left scratching their heads about what exactly HP planned to do with the company. Subsequent events have proved that confusion justified since Eucalyptus has gone nowhere and HP has had a lurching series of pivots around its cloud strategy. Indeed, the only logical thing about the deal was that HP would get the services of a very seasoned executive in Marten Mickos. Prior to joining HP, Mickos was CEO of Eucalyptus and before that CEO of MySQL, the open source database company.

  • SAP’s HANA will lose the big data war without open source, as proven by 21 new security flaws

    SAP has been boasting about its “revolutionary” big data platform, SAP HANA, for years. While its claims have always been a bit suspect, recent revelations that HANA is riddled with critical security flaws only reinforce the mantra that, when it comes to big data infrastructure, open source is best.

  • Ex-MySQL CEO Marten Mickos On Leadership And The Open Source Revolution

    Marten Mickos is the newly announced CEO of bug bounty platform HackerOne. Marten, a Finnish native, is a proven CEO; he led the iconic open source database company MySQL, and later worked for Sun Microsystems after their acquisition of that company.

    He then led cloud software company Eucalyptus Systems, which was acquired by HP. He has also served on the board of Nokia & has been spearheading the online School of Herring, which focuses on leadership.

  • Support For Old Hardware Is Being Removed From Coreboot

    Coreboot developers are taking to their Git tree and dropping support for old motherboards and chipsets.

    Yesterday saw the removal in Git of many Tyan motherboards as well as some from IWILL and Newisys and IBM.

  • Hired adds transparency to the hiring process, makes tech open source

    Whether you’re a potential employee or a potential employer, the thing that matters most is that you find the right fit: the right job offer, location, compensation and the right co-workers. Hired is looking to fill the specialty-job niche by pre-screening both parties before the resumes start circulating and the interviews begin.

    Admit it, if you’re an employer, to grow your business you need talent. To that end, Hired delivers a curated pool of responsive candidates so less time is spent sourcing and more time devoted to interviewing and hiring.

  • NIA: Midokura’s open source MidoNet doesn’t hold back

    Midokura wins this month’s Network Innovation Award for MidoNet Community Edition, an open source version of its flagship product.

  • Open ethos powers Aleph Objects’ success

    We are firmly committed to advancing free software, libre innovation, and open source hardware. A LulzBot 3D printer was the first hardware product and only 3D printer to meet the Open Source Hardware Association definition and earn the Free Software Foundation’s Respects Your Freedom certification.

  • Google Offers Up Its Entire Machine Learning Library as Open-Source Software
  • TensorFlow could be Google’s new, open-source, central nervous system
  • Google Opens Floodgates for TensorFlow Development
  • TensorFlow – Google’s latest machine learning system, open sourced for everyone
  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • SwiftStack Advances OpenStack Cloud Storage [VIDEO]

      The Swift storage project holds a unique place in the OpenStack big tent, as one of the two original projects (the other being Nova compute) for the open source cloud platform. SwiftStack is one of the leading contributors to the Swift project and also has its own commercially supported SwiftStack Object Storage enterprise product, which was recently updated to version 3.0.

  • BSD


    • Applying the Free Software Criteria

      The four essential freedoms provide the criteria for whether a particular piece of code is free/libre (i.e., respects its users’ freedom). How should we apply them to judge whether a software package, an operating system, a computer, or a web page is fit to recommend?

      Whether a program is free affects first of all our decisions about our private activities: to maintain our freedom, we need to reject the programs that would take it away. However, it also affects what we should say to others and do with others.

      A nonfree program is an injustice. To distribute a nonfree program, to recommend a nonfree program to other people, or more generally steer them into a course that leads to using nonfree software, means leading them to give up their freedom. To be sure, leading people to use nonfree software is not the same as installing nonfree software in their computers, but we should not lead people in the wrong direction.

      At a deeper level, we must not present a nonfree program as a solution because that would grant it legitimacy. Non-free software is a problem; to present it as a solution denies the existence of the problem.

    • Getting Started with GNU Radio

      Software Defined Radio (SDR)–the ability to process radio signals using software instead of electronics–is undeniably fascinating. However, there is a big gap from being able to use off-the-shelf SDR software and writing your own. After all, SDRs require lots of digital signal processing (DSP) at high speeds.

      Not many people could build a modern PC from scratch, but nearly anyone can get a motherboard, some I/O cards, a power supply, and a case and put together a custom system. That’s the idea behind GNU Radio and SDR. GNU Radio provides a wealth of Python functions that you can use to create sophisticated SDR application (or, indeed, any DSP application).

      If Python is still not up your alley (or even if it is), there’s an even easier way to use GNU Radio: The GNU Radio Companion (GRC). This is a mostly graphical approach, allowing you to thread together modules graphically and build simple GUIs to control you new radio.

    • GNU Scientific Library 2.1 released

      Version 2.1 of the GNU Scientific Library (GSL) is now available. GSL provides a large collection of routines for numerical computing in C.

      This release is primarily for fixing a few bugs present in the recent 2.0 release, but also provides a brand new module for solving large linear least squares problems.

    • Reproducible builds: a means to an end

      GNU Guix is committed to improving the freedom and autonomy of computer users. This obviously manifests in the fact that GuixSD is a fully free distro, and this is what GNU stands for. All the packages in Guix are built from source, including things like firmware where there is an unfortunate tendency to use pre-built binaries; that way, users can know what software they run. On the technical side, Guix also tries hard to empower users by making the whole system as hackable as possible, in a uniform way—making Freedom #1 practical, à la Emacs.

      Guix provides pre-compiled binaries of software packages as a service to its users—these are substitutes for local builds. This is a convenient way to save time, but it could become a threat to users if they cannot establish that those substitutes are authentic—that their Corresponding Source really is what it claims to be.

  • Project Releases

    • [dwm] 6.1 release

      After a long time (dwm 6.0 was released on 2011-12-19) it is time for a new dwm release. Thanks goes out to all the people involved at making the software better in various ways!

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open source software gains traction in federal IT

      Open source software has at last arrived in the government space, said industry executives and federal IT officials at the 2015 Red Hat Government Symposium Tuesday.

      Just 10 years ago, many agencies needed special permission to procure open source software — referring to code that’s freely available, and that users can change and improve on — said Paul Smith, vice president and general manager for public sector operations at Red Hat.

    • CSC Obtains FedRAMP Certification for PaaS Cloud Offering; Red Hat’s Paul Smith Comments

      Computer Sciences Corp. has received a Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program certification for the company’s ARCWRX cloud computing technology.

      CSC said Tuesday this is the second FedRAMP certification for the platform-as-a-service ARCWRX, which is based on Red Hat’s OpenShift and resides on CSC’s ARC-P platform.

  • Licensing

    • GPL Enforcement and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

      The revelation of this clause has confused our community, as it appears as if this provision, once adopted, might impact or restrict the international operation of copyleft licenses. Below we explain that, while everyone should reject and oppose this provision — and the rest of TPP — this provision has no dramatic impact on copyleft licensing.

      First, as others have pointed out, Party is a defined term that refers specifically to government entities that sign the treaty. As such, the provision would only constrain the behavior of governments themselves. There are some obviously bad outcomes of this provision when those governmental entities interfere with public safety and ethical distribution of software, but we believe this provision will not interfere with international enforcement of copyleft.

      Copyleft licenses use copyright as a mechanism to keep software free. The central GPL mechanism that copyright holders exercise to ensure software freedom is termination of permission to copy, modify and distribute the software (per GPLv2§4 and GPLv3§8). Under GPL’s termination provisions, non-compliance results in an automatic termination of all copyright permissions. In practice, distributors can chose — either they can provide the source code or cease distribution. Once permissions terminate, any distribution of the GPL’d software infringes copyrights. Accordingly, in an enforcement action, there is no need to specifically compel a government to ask for disclosure of source code.

      For example, imagine if a non-US entity ships a GPL-violating, Linux-based product into the USA, and after many friendly attempts to achieve compliance, the violating company refuses to comply. Conservancy can sue the company in US federal court, and seek injunction for distribution of the foreign product in the USA, since the product infringes copyright by violating the license. The detailed reasons for that infringement (i.e., failure to disclose source code) is somewhat irrelevant to the central issue; the Court can grant injunction (i.e., an order to prevent the company from distributing the infringing product) based simply on the violator’s lost permissions under the existing copyright license. The Court could even order the cease of import of the infringing products.

      In our view, the violator would be unaffected under the above TPP provision, since the Court did not specifically compel release of the source code, but rather simply ruled that the product generally infringed copyrights, and their distribution rights had fully terminated upon infringement. In other words, the fact that the violator lost copyright permissions and can seek to restore them via source code disclosure is not dispositive to the underlying infringement claim.

      While TPP thus does not impact copyright holders’ ability to enforce the GPL, there are nevertheless plenty of reasons to oppose TPP. Conservancy therefore joins the FSF, EFF, and other organizations in encouraging everyone to oppose TPP.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Quartz to open source two mapping tools

      News outlet Quartz is developing a searchable database of compiled map data from all over the world, and a tool to help journalists visualise this data.

      The database, called Mapquery, received $35,000 (£22,900) from the Knight Foundation Prototype Fund on 3 November.

      Keith Collins, project lead, said Mapquery will aim to make the research stage in the creation of maps easier and more accessible, by creating a system for finding, merging and refining geographic data.

    • Stronger than fear: Mental health in the open

      Finkler is active in PHP, Python, and JavaScript communities and had developed a popular Twitter client for the WebOS platform. He has plenty of open source knowledge, but his only expierience with mental illness was personal. So he began presenting at conferences, sharing his experience. After each talk, people would share their own issues with him.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • How VA and DOD Can Approach Data Standards and Interoperability — Before Standards Are Established

      For organizations like the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, patient safety and quality of care are paramount, thus, having the ability to seamlessly share medical data with each other, as well as with other providers, is critical. Consider for a moment, a service person’s transition from active duty to veteran status. Patient records and critical medical history details must transition smoothly to ensure the patient receives appropriate, complete care at the right time.


  • Long-Term Exposure to Flat Design: How the Trend Slowly Decreases User Efficiency

    Interfaces with completely flat visual design do not use any realistic or three-dimensional visual effects. As a consequence, they do away with the heavy-handed visual cues that have been traditionally used to communicate clickability to users.

    The popularity of ultraflat interfaces has declined since its heyday of 2013, and more websites are adopting more moderate, flat 2.0 designs — in which interfaces make use of subtle effects to create the impression of a slightly layered three-dimensional space. Despite this return to moderation, we’re starting to see the long-term impact of the widespread usage of weak clickability cues encouraged by the popularity of flat design.

  • Sepp Blatter Hospitalised After ‘Stress-Related’ Breakdown.

    Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter has been hospitalised after being placed under medical observation for stress, but he is expecting to leave the facility early next week, his spokesman said Wednesday.

  • France cancels official dinner with Iran’s President Rouhani… because he wants it to be wine-free

    Guess who’s not coming to dinner — or even breakfast or lunch?

    Ahead of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s landmark European trip kicking off this weekend, French officials reportedly nixed plans for a formal meal in Paris with President François Hollande following a dispute over the menu. The Iranians, according to France’s RTL Radio, insisted on a wine-free meal with halal meat — a request based on Islamic codes that amounted to culinary sacrilege in France, a nation that puts the secular ideals of the Republic above all else.

  • How Apple Is Giving Design A Bad Name

    Once upon a time, Apple was known for designing easy-to-use, easy-to-understand products. It was a champion of the graphical user interface, where it is always possible to discover what actions are possible, clearly see how to select that action, receive unambiguous feedback as to the results of that action, and have the power to reverse that action—to undo it—if the result is not what was intended.

    No more. Now, although the products are indeed even more beautiful than before, that beauty has come at a great price. Gone are the fundamental principles of good design: discoverability, feedback, recovery, and so on. Instead, Apple has, in striving for beauty, created fonts that are so small or thin, coupled with low contrast, that they are difficult or impossible for many people with normal vision to read. We have obscure gestures that are beyond even the developer’s ability to remember. We have great features that most people don’t realize exist.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Houghton has not just broken taboos over Trident, he has undermined democracy

      Asked about their view of the Trident nuclear missile system, Britain’s armed forces chiefs have always insisted that they cannot comment because it was a “political” matter, not at all a “military” one.

      General Sir Nicholas Houghton, chief of the defence staff, has now abandoned such caution, breaking a taboo by expressing a view that has huge constitutional implications. Britain’s most senior military officer has taken sides on an issue that is the subject of a highly charged political debate, and one in which tens of billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money are at stake.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Indonesia’s forest fires: everything you need to know

      The most obvious damage is to the forest where the fires are occurring. Indonesia’s tropical forests represent some of the most diverse habitats on the planet. The current fire outbreak adds to decades of existing deforestation by palm oil, timber and other agribusiness operators, further imperilling endangered species such as the orangutan.

      The human cost is stark; 19 people have died and an estimated 500,000 cases of respiratory tract infections have been reported since the start of the fires. It’s estimated that the fires could cause more than 100,000 premature deaths in the region.

      Financial damage to the region’s economy is still being counted, but the Indonesian government’s own estimates suggest it could be as high as $47bn, a huge blow to the country’s economy. A World Bank study (pdf) on forest fires last year in Riau province estimated that they caused $935m of losses relating to lost agricultural productivity and trade.

    • Orangutans are losing both health and habitat to palm oil fires

      Tellingly, the lands just outside that sanctuary—still smoking from recent fires—were recently planted with new oil palms.

    • Satellites Expose Just How Bad Indonesia’s Fires Are

      Indonesia has been aflame for a couple months now. That happens every fall—the country’s fire season is severe—but this time around, things are the worst they’ve been in almost two decades. This year’s crazy-strong El Niño has desiccated the region’s peat beds, while palm oil plantations exacerbate the problem by cutting down trees and draining the normally soggy land.

      All that dry stuff adds up to create a big, flaming environmental catastrophe. By some estimates, the inferno this year has released more than 1.5 billion tons of emissions, larger than the annual fossil fuel output of Japan.

    • The final days of sub-400 ppm carbon dioxide

      During the Pleistocene “ice age,” this measurement (or its glacial air bubble proxy) varied between 180 and 280 ppm. It was at about 280 ppm prior to the Industrial Revolution. Since then, we’ve been taking carbon out of the ground, where it was sequestered hundreds of millions of years ago, and setting it on fire. The “free” energy we got from this chemical reaction has powered tremendous advancements in well-being of most humans living in industrialized societies. But the oxidation of carbon results in carbon dioxide, and though plants suck some of it up again, and the oceans absorb about a third of it, most continues to hang out in the atmosphere. Over the past two centuries, it has been piling up like dishes in a dormitory sink. This waste gas is a problem, for it’s selectively opaque to light – visible light is unfiltered by CO2, but CO2 blocks infrared wavelengths, the kind any object sitting in the sun emits long after the sun has set. That means our atmosphere retains more of the heat that would otherwise get bled off into space. Energy comes in more or less constantly from the sun, but less and less of it is making it back out.

    • Will Indonesian Fires Spark Reform of Rogue Forest Sector?

      The fires that blazed in Indonesia’s rainforests in 1982 and 1983 came as a shock. The logging industry had embarked on a decades-long pillaging of the country’s woodlands, opening up the canopy and drying out the carbon-rich peat soils. Preceded by an unusually long El Niño-related dry season, the forest fires lasted for months, sending vast clouds of smoke across Southeast Asia.

  • Finance

    • Arrests in JP Morgan, eTrade, Scottrade Hacks

      U.S. authorities today announced multiple indictments and arrests in connection with separate hacking incidents that resulted in the theft of more than 100 million customer records from some of the nation’s biggest financial institutions and brokerage firms, including JP Morgan Chase, E*Trade and Scottrade.

    • Alibaba’s Singles Day Blowout Racks Up $5B in Sales in First 90 Minutes

      The world’s biggest shopping day is happening right now, and you probably don’t even know it.

      In China, it’s already November 11, or 11/11, and the massive e-commerce event known as “Singles Day” is well under way. Launched by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba in 2009, the idea is that for a full 24 hours, shoppers who are unmarried and unattached should go online and splurge on a nice gift for themselves.

      How big a deal is Singles Day? This year, during Alibaba’s four-hour television event the night ahead of Singles Day (yes, this year they celebrated “Singles Day’s Eve”), Alibaba trotted out a parade of Chinese pop celebrities and movie stars. James Bond (er, Daniel Craig) appeared onstage with Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma. Kevin Spacey made an appearance via video in his House of Cards persona, President Frank Underwood.

    • Fast food workers strike nationwide for $15/hr

      Hundreds of fast food workers are striking nationwide Tuesday, joining other workers in pressing for a more livable wage.

      Billed as the largest rally to date, there are 270 demonstrations scheduled nationwide. Workers have gone on strike nationwide repeatedly in the last few years demanding higher pay. According to organizers, more than 60 million Americans are paid less than $15 per hour.

    • Crickhowell: Welsh town moves ‘offshore’ to avoid tax on local business

      When independent traders in a small Welsh town discovered the loopholes used by multinational giants to avoid paying UK tax, they didn’t just get mad.

      Now local businesses in Crickhowell are turning the tables on the likes of Google and Starbucks by employing the same accountancy practices used by the world’s biggest companies, to move their entire town “offshore”.

    • David Cameron hasn’t the faintest idea how deep his cuts go. This letter proves it

      It’s like the crucial moment in Graham Greene’s novel The Quiet American. The US agent stares at the blood on his shoes, unable to make the connection between the explosion he commissioned and the bodies scattered across the public square in Saigon. In leaked correspondence with the Conservative leader of Oxfordshire county council (which covers his own constituency), David Cameron expresses his horror at the cuts being made to local services. This is the point at which you realise that he has no conception of what he has done.

      The letters were sent in September, but came to light only on Friday, when they were revealed by the Oxford Mail. The national media has been remarkably slow to pick the story up, given the insight it offers into the prime minister’s detachment from the consequences of his actions.

    • The Wall Street Journal Praises For-Profit Colleges That Prey On Veterans

      Federal law allows for-profit colleges to access more federal funding by enrolling large numbers of military veterans, despite evidence that many of these schools do not prepare their students for the job market. In recent years, predatory recruitment of service members by several for-profit college chains has been exposed by congressional and media investigations, yet the Wall Street Journal editorial board continues to defend the schools’ recruiting practices and advocates for fewer student protections at for-profit institutions. In honor of Veterans Day, here are some of the Journal’s most misleading and inflammatory arguments defending failing for-profits that take advantage of veterans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Bezos’ Stake in Uber Goes Under the Radar at Washington Post

      The Washington Post, like all major publications, reports on Uber quite a bit. In fact, it’s done so about a dozen times in the past week alone. But unlike every other publication, its corporate interest in the mobile phone-based car service company is more than journalistic in nature.

      The Post‘s sole owner, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, is a major shareholder in Uber. In 2011, Bezos and two other investors, Menlo Ventures and Goldman Sachs, collectively invested $32 million in the then-fledging startup. Because Uber is a private company, it’s impossible to know the exact current value of Bezos’ investment, but assuming the three investors contributed evenly, the last valuation of the company would put his stake in Uber at roughly $1.5 billion. To put that in perspective, it’s approximately six times what Bezos paid for the Post in 2013.

      While the Post occasionally mentions this glaring conflict when covering Uber, a large majority of its Uber-related articles make no mention of the boss’s stake. It’s unclear what criteria the Post uses to either disclose or not disclose the conflict of interest. (An email to the Post requesting an explanation went unanswered.)

    • ‘Google This’ Is Good Advice From Netanyahu, Since NYT Won’t Check His Claims for You

      Readers who followed Netanyahu’s advice to turn to Google, then, would be much better informed of the reality of Israel’s settlement policy than those who simply read the New York Times parroting his claims.

  • Censorship

    • WikiLeaks Targets “Trigger Warnings” And “Safe Spaces”

      The whistleblowing non-profit WikiLeaks has a new target. It isn’t a corrupt government or an incompetent military, but “trigger warnings,” “safe spaces” and “microaggressions.” WikiLeaks argued on its official Twitter account that the rising popularity of these terms is thanks to what it calls “generation trauma”—and that it’s harming free speech.

    • Starting From Next Year, China Wants Music Services To Vet Every Song Before It Goes Online

      As the article explains, online music companies are expected to bear all the costs of setting up censorship departments and training staff to vet all the songs, and will be punished if they fail to implement the new policy properly. At least some will have had practice, since a similar approach has been applied to online posts for some time.

    • Cinema pulls screening of Prophet Mohamed film The Message after fewer than 100 complaints

      A Scottish cinema has become embroiled in a freedom of speech row after it pulled the screening of a film about the life of the Prophet Mohamed after fewer than 100 complaints.

      The Grosvenor Cinema was due to screen the Oscar-nominated 1977 film The Message on Sunday on behalf of the Islamic Society of Britain (ISB). But it pulled the screening after an anonymous petition with 94 signatories – largely from Scotland but also from people registered in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia – criticised the film as being “inappropriate and disrespectful” to Islam.

    • How to avoid being hit by a Google algorithm update: How to SEO your website and stay off Google’s blacklist

      We explain how to ensure your website is not adversely affected by Google algorithm updates. How to SEO your website and stay off Google’s blacklist: how to get lots of traffic from search. Here are our essential SEO tips.

  • Privacy

    • How Europe can blaze a trail for whistleblowers

      A pleasant surprise from the European parliament at the end of October: delegates managed to narrowly pass a resolution calling on EU member states to recognize Edward Snowden as a whistleblower and an international human rights defender. The resolution calls on member states to guarantee Snowden protection from prosecution, extradition and transfer to third states, i.e. the United States.

      This is a major step, even if the resolution does not have any binding power. It has echoes of Snowden’s situation in summer 2013 as he desperately sent out asylum requests to states in Europe and elsewhere from within the transit zone at Moscow airport – to no avail. In the two years since then, discussions have been ongoing in Germany on whether or not Snowden could at the very least safely enter and leave Germany to give testimony to the NSA inquiry committee. But the German government made it clear that the political will for this is lacking. Similar reactions came from the governments in Switzerland and Sweden when the question of asylum was up for discussion there.

    • The snooper’s charter: one misspelled Google search for ‘bong-making’ and you’ll be in an orange jumpsuit

      Theresa May, with the general air of a hawk that had a This Morning makeover, has launched the new investigatory powers bill. No more drunken Googling: all it takes is a misspelled search for “bong-making” and suddenly you’ll be in an orange jumpsuit getting beaten with a pillowcase full of bibles. Also, pay attention when searching for a child’s prom.

      This law will create lots of new jobs, as the person charged with reading all our communications (who will see more unsolicited erections than customer services at Skype) will regularly feed their screaming face into a meatgrinder.

    • Theresa May’s proposed spying law is ‘worse than scary’ United Nations says

      Theresa May’s proposed surveillance and spying laws are “worse than scary”, the United Nations’ privacy chief has said.

      Joseph Cannataci, the UN’s special rapporteur on privacy, said the draft Investigatory Powers Bill heralded a “golden age of surveillance” unlike any that had come before.

      The draft law, published by the Home Secretary earlier this month, would require internet companies to hand over any and all of their users’ communications as required by authorities.

    • Judge Orders NSA to Stop Collecting American’s Phone Records Immediately

      Last summer, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act, a surveillance reform that prohibits the government from collecting telephone metadata in bulk, but the NSA was able to get the program extended a few more months, until November 29, 2015, the last day that type of surveillance will be legal.

      Judge Leon already ruled that this program violated the Fourth Amendment in December of 2013, a decision he echoed and reiterated on Monday. The Judge also complained about the slowness with which this legal process moved.

      “I assumed the appeal would proceed expeditiously,” Judge Leon wrote in his decision. “For reasons unknown to me, it did not.”

    • Facebook must stop tracking Belgian users within 48 hours, or be fined €250K per day

      A Belgian court yesterday gave Facebook 48 hours to stop tracking Internet users who do not have a Facebook account. If the US company refuses to comply, it faces fines of up to €250,000 (£177,000 or ~$267,500) per day.

      “Today the judge… ordered the social network Facebook to stop tracking and registering Internet usage by people who surf the Internet in Belgium, in the 48 hours which follow this statement,” the Belgian court said according to AFP.

      The judgment is a result of Belgium’s independent Privacy Commission taking Facebook to court for failing to comply with the country’s privacy laws, as Ars reported back in June. The Privacy Commission wanted Facebook to implement a number of changes to its operations, including refraining from “systematically placing long-life and unique identifier cookies with non-users of Facebook.” The commission always wanted Facebook to stop collecting and using user data through the use of cookies and social plug-ins unless it obtained an unambiguous and specific consent through an opt-in.

    • As Belgium threatens fines, Facebook’s defence of tracking visitors rings hollow

      Facebook has said that it will appeal the ruling, claiming that since their european headquarters are situated in Ireland, they should only be bound by the Irish Data Protection Regulator.

    • Tor Says Feds Paid Carnegie Mellon $1M to Help Unmask Users

      Ever since a Carnegie Mellon talk on cracking the anonymity software Tor was abruptly pulled from the schedule of the Black Hat hacker conference last year, the security community has been left to wonder whether the research was silently handed over to law enforcement agencies seeking to uncloak the internet’s anonymous users. Now the non-profit Tor Project itself says that it believes the FBI did use Carnegie Mellon’s attack technique—and paid them handsomely for the privilege.

    • Did the FBI Pay a University to Attack Tor Users?

      The Tor Project has learned more about last year’s attack by Carnegie Mellon researchers on the hidden service subsystem. Apparently these researchers were paid by the FBI to attack hidden services users in a broad sweep, and then sift through their data to find people whom they could accuse of crimes.

    • Justice officials fear nation’s biggest wiretap operation may not be legal

      Federal drug agents have built a massive wiretapping operation in the Los Angeles suburbs, secretly intercepting tens of thousands of Americans’ phone calls and text messages to monitor drug traffickers across the United States despite objections from Justice Department lawyers who fear the practice may not be legal.

      Nearly all of that surveillance was authorized by a single state court judge in Riverside County, who last year signed off on almost five times as many wiretaps as any other judge in the United States. The judge’s orders allowed investigators — usually from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration — to intercept more than 2 million conversations involving 44,000 people, federal court records show.

    • Appeals Court Says NSA Can Keep Trampling 4th Amendment With Phone Surveillance Program For Now

      This is hardly a surprise, but the DC Appeals Court has issued a stay on Judge Richard Leon’s ruling from earlier this week that the NSA’s bulk phone record collection program was unconstitutional. This is the same appeals court that overturned Leon’s earlier ruling finding the program unconstitutional. This time, as we noted, Judge Leon refused to grant the government a stay, noting that the DC Circuit had taken its sweet time in actually issuing a ruling on the appeal — and the program is set to end in a couple weeks anyway. Also, Leon didn’t order the entire program shut down, but just that the NSA stop keeping the records of the plaintiffs who were customers of Verizon Business Network Services (J.J. Little and J.J. Little & Associates).

    • Broadband bills will have to increase to pay for snooper’s charter, MPs are warned

      Consumers’ broadband bills will have to go up if the investigatory powers bill is passed due to the “massive cost” of implementation, MPs have been warned.

      Internet service providers (ISP) told a Commons select committee that the legislation, commonly known as the snooper’s charter, does not properly acknowledge the “sheer quantity” of data generated by a typical internet user, nor the basic difficulty of distinguishing between content and metadata.

    • Massive Hack of 70 Million Prisoner Phone Calls Indicates Violations of Attorney-Client Privilege

      AN ENORMOUS CACHE of phone records obtained by The Intercept reveals a major breach of security at Securus Technologies, a leading provider of phone services inside the nation’s prisons and jails. The materials — leaked via SecureDrop by an anonymous hacker who believes that Securus is violating the constitutional rights of inmates — comprise over 70 million records of phone calls, placed by prisoners to at least 37 states, in addition to links to downloadable recordings of the calls. The calls span a nearly two-and-a-half year period, beginning in December 2011 and ending in the spring of 2014.

  • Civil Rights

    • DOJ Has Blocked Everyone In The Executive Branch From Reading The Senate’s Torture Report

      A year ago, we were writing a ton on the famed Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report. This report, which Committee staffers spent years on, cost $40 million, and clocked in at nearly 7,000 pages of detailed analysis of the US’s hugely questionable (both morally and legally) torture program in the wake of 9/11. After much fighting, the Senate finally released a heavily redacted executive summary, but since then there have been some questions about what happens with the full report. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who was (believe it or not!) the driving force behind the report, had copies of the full report delivered to the Defense Department, the CIA, the State Department and the Justice Department. However, there has been a lot of confusion over whether or not anyone actually read it. The DOJ clearly announced that officials had read the whole thing… but later claimed that no one had even opened the report. Obviously, the DOJ lied with one of those statements.

    • Video emerges showing unarmed Virginia man being tased by three police officers while shackled before dying in custody – and all three cops have been PROMOTED

      Video has emerged that shows three officers tasing a man 20 times in half an hour while he was shackled.

      Linwood Lambert of South Boston, Virginia, was taken into custody shortly before 5am on May 4, 2013, when police responded to a noise complaint and found him acting in a paranoid and delusional way in his room at a Super 8 motel.

      The officers had no reason to arrest Lambert and decided to handcuff him and take him to hospital.

      But along the way he grew agitated and, as they pulled up to the ER entrance, he kicked out the back window of the squad car and ran towards the hospital door.

      That is when the officers began tasing Lambert, who immediately fell straight to the ground. He was unable to break his fall due to wearing handcuffs.

      The three officers told Lambert, 46, they were arresting him and drove him from the hospital to the police station.

      He was unconscious by the time they arrived at the station, and pronounced dead by the time he arrived back at the hospital he had just left.

    • Indonesia drugs: Crocodiles ‘to guard death row prisons’

      The head of Indonesia’s anti-drugs agency has proposed building a prison island guarded by crocodiles to house death-row drug convicts.

      Budi Waseso said crocodiles often made better guards than humans – because they could not be bribed.

    • 60 Minutes Stands With Secret Keepers Against Those Who Expose Them

      How do you get Snowden, Manning and the Washington Navy Yard spree shooter in the same category? By treating leaks to the press and a sawed-off shotgun as the same thing: all “weapons.” It’s a peculiar stance for a TV news magazine that prides itself on its tradition of investigative reporting to take—that getting information out to the public is a form of violence.

      It’s also odd for journalists to describe Manning, because she was convicted under the Espionage Act, as a “convicted spy.” The law forbids giving “an unauthorized person…any classified information,” language that was not meant to give the United States an Official Secrets Act, but which has been treated as such by the Obama administration. Regardless of whether this is legal or constitutional, the Act doesn’t change the meaning of the word “spy”; presumably when 60 Minutes reporters get classified information from government officials, they don’t say to their sources, “Thanks for spying for us.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • T-Mobile Exempts Video Streams From Wireless Data Caps, Sets A Horrible Precedent

      You’ll probably see countless reports suggesting that T-Mobile’s move is sure to “invite scrutiny by the FCC,” but that’s highly unlikely. T-Mobile’s done a fantastic job of selling a potentially problematic precedent as consumer empowerment. Meanwhile, the FCC has made it abundantly clear it sees usage caps and zero rating as creative pricing experimentation, in the process opening the door wide to a lopsided vision of the Internet many will naively be cheering for.

    • Comcast Keeps Scolding Me For Calling Its Top Lobbyist A Lobbyist

      Last summer I noted that Comcast’s PR department pretty consistently now sends me snotty e-mail “corrections.” Not about any of the thousands of articles Techdirt or I have written about the company’s abysmal customer service, punitive usage caps, ridiculously high prices, or obnoxiously anti-competitive behavior mind you, but to scold me for one and only one thing: calling the company’s top lobbyist a lobbyist.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • US tries, and fails, to block “import” of digital data that violates patents

      A federal appeals court panel today struck down an International Trade Commission (ITC) ruling in a patent case that attempted to block electronic transmissions of digital data from overseas.

      The ITC’s authority to prevent importation of “articles” applies only to material things, not digital transmissions, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled. (Consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge posted the ruling’s text.)

    • Video conferencing: a golden opportunity to reduce costs in patent proceedings

      Indeed while patents are a great thing, it does cost money to obtain them — and applicants should not rely on the EPO to remedy their self-imposed inconveniences. The EPC does not contain “poor law” provisions such as financial subsidies or leniencies for parties with a tight budget, contrary to some countries’ national patent laws. Accordingly, applicants that operate on a tight budget must carefully consider if they are really and truly prepared to cover the costs entailed in EPC proceedings — or whether they should rather accept any concessions that might be available under national patent laws. As Merpel notes, if they can’t even afford the cost of dealing with the EPO in examination proceedings, and possibly in post-grant opposition proceedings, there’s probably little chance of them being to afford the cost of litigating these patents nationally or, as will soon be likely, before the Unified Patent Court, wherever that litigation might be.

    • Copyrights

      • Blizzard Sues Bot Maker For Copyright Infringement

        Blizzard Entertainment is taking a stand against popular cheating bots for World of Warcraft, Diablo 3 and Heroes of the Storm. The game company is suing the alleged operator(s) of a series of popular bots for copyright infringement and accuses them of ruining the gaming experience for legitimate players.


Links 10/11/2015: Enlightenment Foundation Libraries 1.16; NASA, FCC, USDA Use Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 9:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source


Links 10/11/2015: International Space Station Uses GNU/Linux, TensorFlow Liberated

Posted in News Roundup at 10:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux security: circling the wagons

    People who belong to the free and open source software community have one trait in common: they are extremely sensitive to criticism of any kind of the software that belongs to this genre.

    Nothing else can account for the reaction that has been forthcoming after the Washington Post published an article on Linux a few days back, a fairly long and detailed account that in the main cast doubts on the security afforded by the kernel.

    The article is the fifth in a series looking at the security of the internet broadly, and the first article was published back in May. The five pieces are being sold as an e-book for US$2.99. Yet many FOSS people did not even bother to note this and assumed the worst.

    Leading the way was Jonathan Corbet, editor of a website called Linux Weekly News, that advertises itself as “a reader-supported news site dedicated to producing the best coverage from within the Linux and free software development communities”

  • Embracing the tech world’s open source shift

    From 2008 to 2013, I was heavily involved in the development and use of Koha, which was built on Debian, and whose development is still centered there. Once, just for kicks, I installed Debian and Koha on an ASUS EEEpc 900—half a gig of RAM, 4GB of NVRAM as a disk—just to see if I could. It didn’t run well, and only had room for about 20 bibliographic records, but it ran. Since 2013, I’ve worked for cPanel, and the jump from Debian to CentOS has occasionally tripped me. Still, I’ve got my feet in both worlds; my personal servers all run Debian, while CentOS rules at work. My personal laptop runs Lubuntu.

  • System Requirements: When Is ‘Enough’ Enough?

    The truth is, none of what I or Reglue does would be possible without the GNU/Linux desktop and software. In our case, hundreds of kids have a computer in the home whereas without Linux, we could not have given that computer to them.

  • Boy Howdy, This Got Stupid In A Hurry…

    And for those of you who have helped us toward making our goal, I cannot thank you enough. And yeah, I’ve had a couple of rows that were tough to hoe, but no worse than many of you have experienced. The Global Linux Community. We all struggle at times to do the things we love to do. Things we have to do.

  • Will ONOS Really Be Open Under the Linux Foundation?

    Some open-source developers have always been skeptical of the Open Network Operating System‘s ideas of open-source, which makes ONOS’s recent inclusion in The Linux Foundation particularly irksome to them.

    Namely, ONOS’s governance isn’t changing, which means one executive director and board member at ON.Lab, Guru Parulkar, still holds the final say for code decisions within ONOS.

  • Desktop

    • How Are Laptops Used On The International Space Station?

      The formatting of the laptop depends on its assigned purpose. On the US segment, commanding to the vehicle is done using laptops called PCS (Portable Computer System). They run on a linux operating system and are connected to the vehicle 1553 system as remote terminals. There are usually seven PCS laptops deployed throughout the vehicle.

      On the Russian Segment there are about seven equivalent laptops called, simply, “Russian Laptops”. They, too, are linux based, and are used to command the Russian elements. Both the PCS and Russian Laptop use their own graphical interfaces that depict the ISS and the crew click on the module they wish to interact with and the system, and then the specific piece of hardware.

    • Curiosity Rover Controlled by NASA with a Linux Computer

      The Curiosity rover has been on Mars since 2012, and it’s been responsible for a lot of the cool and interesting information we got from the Red Planet since then. As it turns out, it’s remotely controlled with a help of a Linux machine from Earth.

    • Encryption Methods in Linux

      Passwords are one of the most main security features used nowadays. It’s very important for you to have secure and un-guessable passwords. Most Linux distributions have passwd programs that won’t allow you to set easily guessable password plus there are many encryption software in the market that can do this. Make sure that your passwd program is always up to date and has such features. An in-depth details of encryption is beyond the scope of this article, so kindly keep reading.

  • Server

    • IBM LinuxONE Provides New Options for Linux Deployment

      In August 2015, IBM announced LinuxONE (www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/47474.wss), anchored by two new Linux mainframe servers that capitalize on best-of-class mainframe security and performance, and that bring these strengths to open-source-based technologies and the Open Source community. The move creates greater choice for Linux applications in enterprises where IT is under constant pressure to provide breakthrough systems in areas where the IBM z System mainframe excels, such as analytics and hybrid clouds.

    • LinuxOne: a game changer for South African IT market

      The mobile world requires agile infrastructure, one that has the requisite business intelligence for analysis, reporting and execution that drives immediate value to the firm, writes Maurice Blackwood, systems executive at IBM.

    • How the Internet Archive maintains an information super highway

      Our stack is Ubuntu Linux + PostgreSQL + NGINX + PHP5 (primarily) + Redis + Elasticsearch + jQuery + Less

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.4 DRM Pull Has Raspberry Pi Driver, AMDGPU Improvements

      David Airlie sent in the Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem update today for the Linux 4.4 merge window.

    • Watch: A World Without Linux Would Mean a World Without Social Connections

      The third episode of the World Without Linux animated series, created by the talented Amelia Lorenz for The Linux Foundation, has been published online, and it is entitled “Can I Follow You?”

    • Linus Torvalds vs. the internet security pros

      Does Linux need better security? Sure.

      No one doubts that. At the Seoul Linux Kernel Summit, kernel security maintainer James Morris recently presented a long list of significant strategic security problems. These can and will be dealt with.

      I, for one, though, trust Linus’s gradual approach towards security fixes rather than radical changes that could potentially damage Linux’s performance and features. Perfect? No. Better than any other choices? Yes.

    • Linus Torvalds targeted by honeytraps, claims Eric S. Raymond

      Celebrity programmer Eric S. Raymond has aired a theory that feminist activists are trying to find a way to lay false sexual assault claims against male leaders of the open source community.

      Raymond is best known for his seminal tract The Cathedral and the Bazaar, and remains active in the world of open source, which he has championed since the late 1990s.

    • Linux Kernel 4.1.13 LTS Brings Many ARM, ARM64, GPU, and Wireless Improvements

      A few minutes ago, Greg Kroah-Hartman informed users about the immediate availability for download of new kernel maintenance releases, Linux kernel 4.1.13 LTS, Linux kernel 4.2.6, Linux kernel 3.14.57 LTS, and Linux kernel 3.10.93 LTS.

    • Watch: Linux Kernel Developer Work Spaces Unplugged Compilation

      For today’s “Watch” series of articles, we’ve prepared a very nice video compilation, courtesy of The Linux Foundation, containing several video tours of Linux kernel developer work spaces.

    • Linux Kernel 4.2.6 Officially Released, Has Dozens of Updated Drivers

      Immediately after announcing the release of Linux kernel 4.1.13 LTS, Greg Kroah-Hartman published details about the sixth maintenance version of the Linux 4.2 kernel series, and looking at the appended shortlog, it is a pretty important one.

    • World Without Linux: Can I Follow You?

      Hey, can I follow you? Out of context that sounds pretty creepy. But in a world with Linux and the Internet infrastructure it enables with services like Facebook, Twitter, Netflix and Amazon, we know exactly what that means. And, ironically or not, we’re usually more than happy to let people ‘follow’ us, as it allows connection like never before.

      The third episode in our World Without Linux video series attempts to illustrate what a world without our online social connection would be like. Of course Linux isn’t responsible for all the successes of Facebook and Twitter but it is certainly the underlying fuel for making these services scalable and responsive. Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, has even credited open source and the “hacker way” for helping build the platform that billions use to connect every single day.

    • Linux 4.2.6
    • Linux 4.1.13
    • Linux 3.14.57
    • Linux 3.10.93
    • Linux Foundation Scholarship Recipient Profile: Eva Tanaskoska

      The Linux Foundation regularly awards scholarships as part of its Linux Training Scholarship Program. In the five years that the Linux Foundation has hosted this program, it has awarded a total of 34 scholarships totalling more than $100,000 in free training to students and professionals who may not otherwise have access to these opportunities. In conjunction with this scholarship program, we are starting a series to tell you more about these scholarship recipients. We would like to share their stories in the hope that they will inspire others.

      This installment of our series features Eva Tanaskoska from Macedonia, who received a scholarship in the Women in Linux category. Eva has been working with and researching information security for a few years now. She is currently forming a CERT team at her university, where she mentors students on using Linux to perform penetration tests, forensic investigations, and incident response. We asked Eva to answer a few questions about her background and plans for the future.

    • HPLIP 3.15.9 Brings Support For Debian 8.2, Debian 7.9 And Linux Mint 17.2

      As you may know, HP Linux Imaging and Printing (HPLIP) is a tool for printing, scanning and faxing for the HP printers.

    • ALSA 1.1 Released For Linux Audio

      It’s been the better part of the year since the last ALSA update while out today is version 1.1 of the Advanced Linux Sound Architecture.

    • How To Install Kernel 4.3 on Ubuntu Systems
    • Kernel 4.2.6 Has Been Released. Install It On Your Ubuntu System Now!

      Compiling a Linux kernel is a little difficult and takes some time, but the Ubuntu (and derivative) users do not have to worry about that, because Canonical provides deb packages for these systems, via its kernel.ubuntu.com repository.

    • Kernel 4.1.13 Has Been Released
    • Linus Torvalds: Perfect Security in Open Source Linux OS Is Impossible

      Does Linus Torvalds fail to take security in the Linux kernel seriously, and is the world doomed because of it? That’s what the Washington Post suggests in a recent article about security in the open source OS.

    • Launching the Linux Foundation Open API Initiative to Help Drive the Web of APIs

      We’re proud to be supporting the launch of the new Linux Foundation collaborative effort for Web APIs: the Open API Initiative (see the announcement here). The initiative will take forward the great foundational work done under the Swagger banner by Tony Tam and others to create a new, more formal description format for Web APIs, provisionally called OADF – Open API Description Format.

    • Open Platform for NFV (OPNFV): How to Get Involved

      As with every other open source community, we have several channels for communication. These include weekly meetings, mailing lists and IRC channels for daily text-based discussions. The Meetings wiki page contains an up- to-date list of meetings, including agendas and all the information required for joining. We use GoToMeeting for voice and also the #opnfv-meeting or project IRC channels on Freenode for meeting minutes. You can join to the development activities, raise topics for discussion or ask questions on the opnfv-tech-discuss mailing list, which like all the other lists, is also archived.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • NVIDIA OpenGL: Windows 10 Pro vs. Ubuntu Linux Benchmarks

        Published yesterday was a test of Intel Skylake graphics on Ubuntu 15.10 vs. Windows 10 with a focus on the OpenGL performance. In today’s article is a similar cross-operating-system comparison but this time being featured are three NVIDIA graphics cards to see how the latest NVIDIA drivers are running.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Upcoming news in Plasma 5.5

        It’s been a while since Plasma 5.4 release and we are now approaching feature freeze for Plasma 5.5 so I would like to share with you what news you can expect in plasma-nm. This time we have major changes only in our connection editor although most of you wouldn’t probably even notice them. This is going to be a short list unfortunately given I have less time and less ideas, but at least something, right?

      • Interview with Bruno Fernandez

        I have been working in system administration on Linux systems for ten years and I have always provided opportunities to each available application, considering not only my sysadmin job, but also my creative side. So, after using Mypaint, I found out that Krita provided a world full of possibilities. I also found artists like David Revoy who exemplified the professional possibilities of the application.

      • Breeze, Oxygen and Framework

        I do Plasma and KDE related stuff since one year and this year was awesome as you can read in my blog posts. Today I want to talk about the future. For the near future I have to work on finalizing my tasks for the plasma 5.5 release. But what should I do next?

      • KDE Plasma 5.5 to Feature WPA/WPA2 Enterprise Validation, OpenVPN Improvements

        It’s been nearly three months since the KDE Plasma 5.4 desktop environment has been released, during which it received two maintenance builds, and a third one is about to be unveiled in the next 24 hours or so.

      • Amarok is slowly catching up

        I decided at a certain point to directly port the main components out of KDELibs4Support.

      • Muon in Need of a Maintainer

        Muon, the Apt package installer UI is in need of a maintainer. It has been split out from Discover and Updater which are application focused and to some extent work with multiple backends. Muon is package focused and covers the surprisingly important use case of technical users who care about libraries and package versions but don’t want to use a command line. It’ll probably move to unmaintained unless anyone wants to keep an eye on it so speak up now if you want to help out.

      • digiKam Recipes 4.9.5 Released

        A new release of digiKam Recipes is ready for your reading pleasure. This version features the Using Album Categories recipe and reworked material on using the tagging functionality in digiKam. As always, the new release includes updates, fixes and tweaks.

      • Kubuntu 14.04 LTS Gets KDE 4.14.3 Bugfix Release

        The KDE maintainers for Kubuntu 14.04.3 have upgraded the desktop environment to version 4.14.3 and users should now get the newest package.

      • Plasma-NM Changes Coming For KDE Plasma 5.5

        Plasma 5.5 is due out next month and with this update will come many new features.

        For a while now we’ve been talking about Plasma 5.5 when it comes to suitable Wayland support for early adopters and other new functionality. Published today was a blog post by KDE’s Jan Grulich with more details on some of the other Plasma 5.5 changes.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Finding Unity in GNOME Shell

        As many of my regular readers will know, I am a big Ubuntu fan. I spent nearly eight years working at Canonical and my love of Ubuntu has not ceased since I left.

        One of the fundamental components of Ubuntu is Unity. While Unity ruffled more than a few feathers when it first came out, it has since grown into a comprehensive desktop environment for Ubuntu. Unity is the cornerstone of Canonical’s convergence vision in which a single code base can power desktops, phones, tablets, and more.

        Right now, though, the Unity story is divided into two pieces. All the exciting new work is going into the next-generation Unity 8. This is where the convergence is happening. Unity 8 is by no means ready yet and is only suitable for tinkerers.

      • Orca 3.18.2 Open-Source Screen Reader Adds Better Support for Google Docs

        The GNOME developers are preparing to release the second and last maintenance version of the GNOME 3.18 desktop environment, which means that several core components and applications have received improvements and bugfixes.

      • GTK+ 3.18.3 Has Wayland and Nautilus Improvements, Fixes a Memory Leak

        The GNOME developers are working hard these days to release the second and last maintenance version for the stable GNOME 3.18 desktop environment, as they will continue to concentrate their efforts on the next major release, GNOME 3.20.

  • Distributions

    • Gorgeous Apricity OS to Get a KDE Edition Soon, November Beta ISO Out Now

      We’ve just been informed by the awesome folks behind the beautiful and modern Arch Linux-based Apricity OS GNU/Linux distribution about the immediate availability for download of the November Beta build, Apricity OS 11.2015.

    • Solus with GNOME Desktop and Wayland Looks Beautiful

      Solus developers revealed a couple of days ago that they plan to also support GNOME Shell, for the users who want this alternative desktop experience. Now, a series of very interesting screenshots have been published, and it looks like things are shaping up just nicely.

    • Chakra 2015.11-Fermi released

      We are delighted to announce that Chakra 2015.11-Fermi is out! As always, this release is a snapshot of our stable repositores and includes all the updates and changes that have happened in Chakra since the last release.

    • Chakra 2015.11 Screenshot Tour
    • Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11 Officially Released with KDE Plasma 5, Linux Kernel 4.1 LTS

      On November 8, Neofytos Kolokotronis from the Chakra project had the great pleasure of informing us of the release and immediate availability for download of the Chakra GNU/Linux 2015.11 computer operating system.

    • Reviews

      • Kali Linux Review

        Good news! There’s new release of the Kali Linux which is a reincarnation of the BackTrack. If you work in forensic analysis, network security, and penetration testing, then it’s very important to keep your tools updated, so you will be protected from the latest known threats, as well as you will get the latest tools at your control.

      • Chalet OS: good idea, bad design

        Let me introduce you to Chalet OS. The web site of this operating system says that their main target audience is fresh Linux converts who come to the Linux world from other operating systems. Isn’t it the same audience that Zorin OS is aiming at? I was baffled and intrigued!

        The latest version of the Chalet OS distribution has the number 14.04.3, which gives us a proper clue that Chalet OS is actually another offspring in the Ubuntu family. This version was released in August 2015.

    • New Releases

      • 4MLinux 15.0 Distrolette Enters Beta, Based on Linux Kernel 4.1.10 LTS, GCC 5.2.0

        Softpedia has just been informed by Zbigniew Konojacki, the creator and lead developer of the 4MLinux project, an open-source initiative that aims to develop small GNU/Linux distributions for various purposes, that 4MLinux 15.0 entered development.

        4MLinux 15.0 Core Beta was released on November 8, 2015, and it will be the base for the rest of the 4MLinux 15.0 distributions, including 4MLinux and the distros that are part of the 4MRescueKit set, powered by a long-term supported kernel from the Linux 4.1 series.

    • Arch Family

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • Microsoft unwilling to comment on extension of SUSE deal

        Microsoft has refused to say openly whether it will be extending the patent-licensing deal that it signed with Novell back in 2006. At that time, SUSE Linux was a part of Novell.

        Novell has since been acquired by the Attachmate Group which, in turn, was bought by the British mainframe company Micro Focus.

        In July 2011, Microsoft announced that the agreement with SUSE would be extended until January 1, 2016.

        iTWire asked Microsoft about the SUSE agreement after Red Hat and Microsoft announced a deal a few days back on cloud installations, wherein Microsoft said it would be making Red Hat the preferred enterprise Linux distribution for installing on its Azure cloud offering.

      • 7 things you should know about openSUSE Leap

        Both Red Hat and Canonical have free enterprise distributions: CentOS and Ubuntu respectively. Until last week, SUSE didn’t have any such offering — at least not officially.

      • Linux Top 3: Fedora 23, OpenSUSE Leap 42.1 and OpenELEC 6.0

        For Fedora 23 the Red Hat sponsored community Linux distribution was only a week off its’ original schedule, which is a remarkable feat as Fedora often doesn’t stick closely to release schedules. Fedora 23 is also the first time in two years that Fedora has managed to release two distribution updates in a single year. In 2014, with confusion and mess surrounding Fedora.next and the Fedora 21 update, only one release debuted.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Preps Containerized Cloud Workloads In OpenShift

        Red Hat has continued to enhance its OpenShift cloud development platform for both containers and cloud-native applications. In doing so, it remains a candidate to supply both the tools and technologies for the next generation of OpenStack and other cloud apps.

      • Red Hat Inc (RHT) Files Form 4 Insider Selling : Michael Cunningham Sells 5,000 Shares

        Red Hat Inc (RHT): Michael Cunningham , EVP, General Counsel of Red Hat Inc sold 5,000 shares on Nov 6, 2015. The Insider selling transaction was disclosed on Nov 9, 2015 to the Securities and Exchange Commission. The shares were sold at $80.78 per share for a total value of $403,900.00.

      • systemd.conf 2015 is Over Now!

        Last week our first systemd.conf conference took place at betahaus, in Berlin, Germany. With almost 100 attendees, a dense schedule of 23 high-quality talks stuffed into a single track on just two days, a productive hackfest and numerous consumed Club-Mates I believe it was quite a success!

      • Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) Opening Report

        Red Hat, Inc. RHT, belonging to the Technology sector reported a price of 81.02 today, a change of -0.67%. Red Hat, Inc. predicts a earnings per share growth of over the next five years. Its return on equity is currently and its debt to equity is currently 0.53. Red Hat, Inc. stands at and its gross margin is 84.80%.

      • Red Hat Incorporated updated to: 1.44from analysts

        In its most recent quarter Red Hat Incorporated had actual sales of $504.148. Among the 11 analysts who were surveyed, the consensus expectation for quarterly sales had been 494.778.

      • Q&A: Red Hat’s Adam Clater Talks PaaS

        Adam Clater, chief cloud architect in the Office of the Chief Technologist of Red Hat’s Public Sector organization, recently answered some questions from FedTech managing editor David Stegon about the evolution of Platform as a Service (Paas).

      • All The Systemd 2015 Conference Slides/Videos Now Available

        Systemd.conf, the inaugural systemd conference for developers, has successfully concluded in Berlin.

        Last week I pointed out the live video streaming from the systemd conference. Now that the event is over, all of the videos and slides are available to consume on your schedule.

      • [Red Hat CEO:] What our families teach us about organizational life

        In October I appeared on the 100th episode of The Dave and Gunnar Show, an independent podcast about open source and open government issues hosted by two members of Red Hat’s public sector team. We spoke at length about The Open Organization (one of my all-time favorite topics!), and the interview gave me a chance to address an important question.

      • Red Hat Bridges Business Demands and IT Delivery with New Application Platform and Linux Container Offerings
      • Red Hat EVP Sells $403,900.00 in Stock (RHT)

        EVP Michael Cunningham sold 5,000 shares of Red Hat stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $80.78, for a total transaction of $403,900.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 46,500 shares in the company, valued at $3,756,270. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink.

      • Zacks Short Term Rating on Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT)
      • Fedora

        • Fedora 23 Linux Is Now Available for AArch64 and POWER Hardware Architectures

          As many of you might already know, Fedora Project announced the final release of the anticipated Fedora 23 Linux operating system for 64-bit and 32-bit computers earlier this week, on November 3, 2015.

          However, the good news for sysadmins who want to deploy the Server or Cloud editions of the Fedora 23 operating system on their company’s infrastructure is that the famous GNU/Linux distribution has also been released for AArch64 and POWER.

        • Korora 23 Is Now in Beta, Based on Fedora 23 Linux and Dubbed Coral

          The developers behind the Fedora-based Korora Linux distribution have had the great pleasure of announcing earlier today, November 8, the immediate availability for download and testing of Korora 23 Beta.

        • Fedora 24 release dates and schedule

          Last month, Fedora Program Manager Jan Kuřík announced the approval of the Fedora 24 schedule with a current release date of May 17, 2016. Fedora 24 Alpha is slated for release on March 1st, 2016, and the Beta has a release date of April 12th, 2016.

          These dates may change as development on Fedora 24 progresses, so always check the schedule for the most accurate version of the Fedora 24 schedule.

        • Fedora 23 Improves Security, Desktop and Cloud

          The Fedora Linux 23 was officially released on Nov. 3, providing the second major update for Red Hat’s community Linux distribution in 2015. The release of two Fedora distributions in the same year puts the project back on track, after only a single release in 2014, when the Fedora Project reorganized under the Fedora Next banner, with specific products for Workstation, Server and Cloud use cases. One of the big new features in Fedora 23 is a capability that can enable an organization to bring a cloud image back down into a server image, with the cloudtoserver tool. The basic premise behind the tool is that cloud images are often ephemeral and not long-lived, while servers are more cared for and applications run for long periods of time. The common analogy used is that of pets versus cattle, where servers are treated as well cared for pets, while cloud images are slaughtered and killed as needed. On the workstation side, Fedora 23 includes the new GNOME 3.18 open-source desktop. GNOME 3.18 offers enhanced features such as an improved calendar, software updating and file management capabilities. In this slide show, eWEEK takes a look at the highlights of the Fedora 23 Linux release.

        • First Look at the Official Fedora 23 Cinnamon Edition – Screenshot Tour

          Finally! The first-ever official Cinnamon edition of the acclaimed Fedora Linux computer operating system has been announced today, November 10, 2015.

        • A tip of the hat to Fedora 23

          The Fedora distribution is a Red Hat sponsored community project which regularly ships with some of the latest software the open source community has to offer. The most recent release of the distribution, Fedora 23, features GNOME 3.18, LibreOffice 5, version 4.2 of the Linux kernel and the ability to access Google Drive from the GNOME file manager. This release also features packages built with security hardening features like address space layout randomization (ASLR) which makes it more difficult to exploit vulnerabilities in software. In addition, Fedora has almost entirely migrated from Python 2 to Python 3 with all core utilities such as the Anaconda system installer now using Python 3. A full list of changes can be found in the Fedora 23 release notes.

          These days, the Fedora distribution is made available in several editions, including Workstation, Server and Cloud. I decided to download the project’s Workstation edition which is available as a 1.4GB ISO. The default desktop environment for the Workstation edition is GNOME Shell, but spins of Fedora are available with alternative desktop environments.

        • Fedora 23 and unsupported ARM/AArch64 devices

          Week ago Fedora 23 got released. Also for ARM and AArch64 architectures. But it does not mean that it supports all possible hardware.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source


  • Who was Hedy Lamarr and why was she important? Today’s Google Doodle explained

    The Doodle can be seen around the world in November 9, except for in the UK, Mexico and parts of the Middle East and Africa.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • [Old] WikiLeaks Reveals How the US Aggressively Pursued Regime Change in Syria, Igniting a Bloodbath

      On August 31, 2013, US president Barack Obama announced that he intended to launch a military attack on Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack in that country that the US blamed on the Syrian government. Obama assured the US public that this would be a limited action solely intended to punish the Assad government for using chemical weapons; the goal of US military action would not be to overthrow the Assad government, nor to change the balance of forces in Syria’s sectarian civil war.

    • NY Times Runs 2 Buried Paragraphs on Intercept Whistleblower’s Shocking Drone War Disclosures, and Thinks That’s Enough

      For that slice of the American public that still depends heavily on major daily newspapers as their main source of news, they might not even know that the on-line publication The Intercept has published a package of alarming drone-assassination articles based on secret military documents provided by an anonymous intelligence whistleblower.

      These “Drone Papers” show, among other disclosures, that the U.S. government has been lying about the number of civilian deaths caused by drone strikes in Afghanistan,Yemen and Somalia. For every targeted individual assassinated, another five or six non-targeted individuals are killed — giving the lie to the Obama administration’s long-standing claims of careful, precision killing of specific targets in order to avoid killing civilians.

      The Intercept, relying on a cache of slides provided to it by its whistleblower source, posted its package of eight articles on October 15, 2015. Among those picking up on the stories was the Huffington Post (which ran excerpts), and other outlets — including The Guardian, Newsweek, New York Magazine, NPR, the PBS NewsHour, CNN — which generally cited some of The Intercept’s main findings or speculated about a “second [Edward] Snowden” coming forth as a national security whistleblower.

    • U.S. airstrike on Afghanistan Doctors Without Borders hospital looks more and more like a ‘kill mission’

      In the full report from their investigation, they detail how staff members who attempted to flee the hospital were actually shot from the planes — lending credence to the observation that it appears the U.S. military was on a complete kill mission.

      No real answers have been given from our government as to why this hospital was attacked with such ferocity. What’s obvious is this — it was an enormous error. Nothing whatsoever can justify the carnage that our military caused in this attack.

    • Australian banker on the run for 35 years revealed as ‘CIA agent’ in US

      One of Australia’s most wanted fugitives, Michael Hand, the co-founder of the Sydney-based international merchant bank Nugan Hand, has been found alive and well and living in small-town America.

    • JFK’s Forgotten CIA Crisis

      Kennedy pressed Pakistan’s leader for help with a sensitive spy operation against China.

    • Is Humanitarian Aid The Perfect Trojan Horse For CIA?

      According to a report published by The Intercept, a highly classified Defense Department program which dates to 2004, had funded HISG, and it continued functioning until 2012. The program was concocted by Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, a senior Defense Department intelligence official, during the Bush administration. Boykin is considered to be a zealous Christian and has been previously criticized for his statements about Islam. He also developed the unorthodox deceptive method to use NGOs to collect Intelligence since they could get in to North Korea and go to places where access would be denied otherwise.

    • Checking In: The Secret CIA Hotel for Tibet’s Freedom Fighters

      It’s been 43 years since the CIA cut off support to the Tibetan guerillas that the agency trained and armed to fight a covert war against China. Yet, a monument to the CIA’s secret war in Tibet is still standing in Pokhara, Nepal.

    • Congresswoman Calls US Effort To Oust Assad “Illegal,” Accuses CIA Of Backing Terroists

      With each passing week, more and more people are beginning to ask the kinds of questions the Pentagon and CIA most assuredly do not want to answer and now, US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is out calling Washington’s effort to oust Assad both “counterproductive” and “illegal.” In the following priceless video clip, Gabbard accuses the CIA of arming the very same terrorists who The White House insists are “our sworn enemy” and all but tells the American public that the government is lying to them and may end up inadvertently starting “World War III.”

    • Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: CIA Must Stop Illegal, Counterproductive War to Overthrow Assad

      Speaking with Wolf Blitzer on CNN, Tulsi explains why the US allying with Islamist extremists to overthrow Syrian President Assad is an illegal, counterproductive war that will cause even more human misery in the region and help ISIS and other Islamist extremists take over all of Syria. Instead of once again being distracted by trying to get rid of a secular dictator, Tulsi explains, the US must stay out of counterproductive wars and focus on defeating the Islamist extremists who have declared war on America.

    • There are a lot of CIA-vetted Syrian rebel groups taking it to Assad

      Among the range of munitions and supplies that the CIA has funneled to the various brigades of the Free Syrian Army and other moderate groups through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Turkey are TOW anti-tank missiles.

    • Andrew Bacevich: Ongoing Wars in Iraq & Syria Continue Decades of Failed U.S. Militarism in Mideast

      The U.S. deployment of a team of special operations forces to Syria comes after the first U.S. combat casualty in Iraq in four years. Just last month, President Obama reversed course in Afghanistan, halting the scheduled withdrawal of U.S. troops fighting in the nation’s longest war. In an escalation of the air war in Syria, the United States has also announced plans to deploy more fighter planes, including 12 F-15s, to the Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. On top of the wars in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, the U.S. continues to carry out drone strikes across the globe from Pakistan to Yemen to Somalia. “[Obama’s] policy has been one of mission creep,” says Andrew Bacevich, retired colonel, Vietnam War veteran, and international relations professor at Boston University. “The likelihood that the introduction of a handful of dozen of U.S. soldiers making any meaningful difference in the course of events is just about nil.”

    • Jeremy Corbyn Stayed Behind After Remembrance Sunday At The Cenotaph To Hang Out With Veterans

      Jeremy Corbyn stayed behind at the Cenotaph on Sunday long after the television cameras had gone to mingle with veterans.

    • Pakistan death penalty: Executions poised to hit grisly milestone – and it’s much worse than Saudi Arabia’s

      Pakistan has dramatically overtaken Saudi Arabia in the number of executions it is carrying out on an almost daily basis, as it emerged that the Asian country has killed 299 people in less than a year.

      Human rights group Reprieve told The Independent Pakistan is expected to pass the grisly milestone of 300 death penalties “by the end of this week” – taking its rate of executions to 0.93 per day.

      Last year, Saudi Arabia was behind only China and Iran in the number of its own citizens it was putting to the sword, and the number of its executions has soared under the new King Salman. It killed 102 convicted criminals in the first six months of 2015 alone.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Teen hackers strike again, leak info from 2,000 govt. employees

      The hackers who breached the CIA director’s personal emails are at it again, having published additional data containing names, phone numbers, and email addresses of more than 2,000 law enforcement officers, military officers, and government employees.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A Side-by-Side Look at Cities After 2ºC Versus 4ºC of Global Warming

      Waterlogged cities might seem like stuff of the post-apocalypse, but that post-apocalypse might come as soon as a single generation.

      Climate Central put together some sobering visuals of what cities would look like in the year 2100, if our carbon emissions keep climbing. But what’s different from the usual before and after photos is that this one assumes two different futures: one in which temperatures rise 4º C and one where it only rises 2º C.

    • Indonesia’s Fire Outbreaks Producing More Daily Emissions than Entire US Economy

      According to estimates released this week by Guido van der Werf on the Global Fire Emissions Database, there have been nearly 100,000 active fire detections in Indonesia so far in 2015, which since September have generated emissions each day exceeding the average daily emissions from all U.S. economic activity. Following several recent intense outbreaks of fires—in June 2013, March 2014 and November 2014—the country is now on track to experience more fires this year than it did during the 2006 fire season, one of its worst on record.

    • Volkswagen Says Whistle-Blower Pushed It to Admit Broader Cheating

      Volkswagen’s recent disclosure that it reported false fuel economy and carbon dioxide readings to European regulators was prompted by an internal whistle-blower, the company said on Sunday.

      Volkswagen admitted last Tuesday that it had underreported carbon dioxide emissions on 800,000 diesel- and gasoline-powered cars in Europe. That disclosure added to the automaker’s credibility problems, which began in September when it admitted that it had installed software on millions of its diesel cars in recent years to enable them to cheat on air pollution tests.

      In trying to determine who was responsible for the diesel cheating scandal, Volkswagen’s internal investigators have reportedly been hampered by an ingrained fear of delivering bad news to superiors. But in the case of the new disclosure, some employees have evidently been willing to come forward under the company’s new management.

    • Solar Fight in Florida Heats Up with Mysterious Donor

      The largest contribution so far to an anti-consumer measure to impede access to solar energy just came from a mysterious new donor.

      This new donation comes as the battle over whether consumers in Florida can install home solar is heating up, with rival state constitutional amendments both aiming for the ballot in 2016.

      On one side are consumer and environmental groups promoting home solar, and on the other—trying to block consumer access—are major utilities, groups linked to the Koch brothers and a new mysterious funder.

    • Indonesia’s carbon-spewing fires becoming world crisis

      The timing is accidental but impeccable. Just as governments are about to launch an unprecedented effort to curb global greenhouse-gas emissions, one of the biggest carbon-dioxide gushers ever known has erupted with record force. At times during the past several weeks, fires in Indonesia have released as much carbon as the entire U.S. economy, even as they destroyed millions of acres of tropical forest, a natural carbon sink. Neighboring countries, along with economic giants such as the U.S., China and Europe, have to join forces to turn off this tap.

    • This sector is enjoying a haze-related boost

      Air pollution from the forest fires in Indonesia may have cast a pall over the region, but one business sector has gotten a boost: travel out of Singapore.

      A solid chunk of Singapore’s residents looked to escape the worst of the air pollution, colloquially called the haze, in September and October. Travel search website Skyscanner said that searches for outbound travel from Singapore climbed gradually from September 4 – when the city-state’s air quality levels started approaching an unhealthy level – and by October 23 were more than 50 percent higher.

    • Persian Gulf temperatures may be at the edge of human tolerance in 30 years

      Humans can tolerate some extremes of hot and dry temperatures by sweating, which lowers our body temperature via evaporative cooling. However, this ability is greatly reduced when high temperatures are accompanied by high humidity. When people are exposed to a combination of higher temperatures and increased humidity, heat stroke can lead to untimely deaths.

      Existing climate models have shown that a global temperature increase to the threshold of human survivability would be reached in some regions of the globe at a point in the distant future. However, a new paper published by Jeremy Pal and Elfatih Eltahir in Nature Climate Change presents evidence that this deadly combination of heat and humidity increases could occur in the Persian Gulf much earlier than previously anticipated.

  • Finance

    • Ex-Olympian reveals she’s living in bug-infested trailer, broke and unemployed

      The former Olympic figure skater and physician made history when she became the first African-American athlete to win a Winter Games medal when she took home the bronze at the 1988 Olympics. She recently revealed she is now broke, unemployed and living in a bed bug-infested trailer.

    • Fury and fear in Ohio as IT jobs go to India

      The IT workers at Cengage Learning in the company’s Mason, Ohio offices learned of their fates game-show style. First, they were told to gather in a large conference room. There were vague remarks from an IT executive about a “transition.” Slides were shown that listed employee names, directing them to one of three rooms where they would be told specifically what was happening to them. Some employees were cold with worry.

      The biggest group, those getting pink slips, were told to remain in the large conference room. Workers directed to go through what we’ll call Door No. 2, were offered employment with IT offshore outsourcing firm Cognizant. That was the smallest group. And those sent through Door No. 3 remained employed in Cengage’s IT department. This happened in mid-October.


      The employees were warned that speaking to the news media meant loss of severance. Despite their fears, they want their story told. They want people to know what’s happening to IT jobs in the heartland. They don’t want the offshoring of their livelihoods to pass in silence.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Privacy

    • Being a Whistleblower: Snowden Regrets Nothing

      Speaking to Swedish media, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has admitted that he feels “very comfortable” with the choices he made.

    • Edward Snowden reveals new information in recent interview

      Chances are that you have heard about Edward Snowden, the man who started to openly talk about controversial topics relating to US security and intelligence, including CIA torture, mass surveillance and the US’s fight against ISIS.

      To put things better into perspective, after blowing the whistle on these secrets, the US Government saw him as a traitor, which is why he decided to flee the country, and seek political asylum somewhere else. He has recently given an interview, and discussed more about the current security status of the US and other regions, while also stating that he is fully comfortable with the choices that he has made.

    • NIST Seeks Comments on New Project Aimed at Protecting Privacy Online

      The National Cybersecurity Center of Excellence (NCCoE), in partnership with the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace National Program Office, is seeking comments on a new project focused on protecting privacy and security when reusing credentials at multiple online service providers.

    • Library to Show Snowden Movie

      Lebanon Public Libraries officials are offering a privacy prize to anyone who attends their screening of the Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour at the Kilton Public Library on Tuesday evening.

      Information Technology Librarian Chuck McAndrew has downloaded an operating system called Tails, designed to help users browse the web more securely, onto flash drives free for the taking.

    • This snooper’s charter makes George Orwell look lacking in vision

      When the Home Office and intelligence agencies began promoting the idea that the new investigatory powers bill was a “climbdown”, I grew suspicious. If the powerful are forced to compromise they don’t crow about it or send out press releases – or, in the case of intelligence agencies, make off-the-record briefings outlining how they failed to get what they wanted. That could mean only one thing: they had got what they wanted.

    • Tech firms warn snooper’s charter could end strong encryption in Britain

      Major technology firms are concerned that the British government is attempting to ban strong encryption with the Investigatory Powers Bill, despite its assurances to the contrary.

      A number of companies, both large and small, have expressed their fears to the Guardian that one particular clause of the proposed legislation gives the government the power to force them to weaken their systems, in order to enable the bulk collection aspects of the bill.

      Section 189 of the bill, titled “Maintenance of technical capability”, allows the secretary of state to issue orders to companies “relating to the removal of electronic protection applied … to any communications or data”.

      The only limits on the power of the Secretary of State to do so are a requirement that they consult with an advisory board beforehand, and that any specific obligation must be “reasonable” and “practicable”. The technical capability notice can even be issued to people outside the UK, and require them to do, or not to do, things outside the UK.


      As a result, the UK government could decide to issue a technical capability order requiring the communications firms to disable their end-to-end encryption, or replace it with a weaker form of encryption, which would leave the communications facilitator able to read messages sent using its service. The only defence the firms would have would be to argue such an order is not “reasonable”.

      The powers in section 189 mirror similar powers in Ripa, an earlier piece of legislation which governed investigatory powers. However, Ripa’s equivalent orders only affected traditional internet service providers. Since the orders come with a gag attached, it is impossible to know whether, or how often, they have been used.

    • Judge Again Says NSA Phone Records Program Is Unconstitutional; Orders NSA To Stop Collecting Phone Records Of Plaintiffs

      Back in December of 2013, DC district court judge Richard Leon shocked many by declaring the NSA’s bulk collection of phone records under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act to be unconstitutional. Just a few months ago, the DC circuit appeals court overturned that ruling and sent it back to the lower court, saying that the plaintiff, Larry Klayman, failed to prove he had standing to bring the lawsuit — mainly because Snowden only had revealed that the NSA was scooping up all Verizon Business Network phone records, and Klayman was a Verizon Wireless customer. That it had since been revealed that the NSA also got Verizon Wireless records was basically ignored.

    • NSA Ordered to Stop Collecting, Querying Plaintiffs’ Phone Records

      Affirming his previous ruling that the NSA’s telephone records collection program is unconstitutional, a federal judge ordered the NSA to cease collecting the telephone records of an individual and his business. The judge further ordered the NSA to segregate any records that have already been collected so that they are not reviewed when the NSA’s telephone records database is queried. The order comes 20 days before the NSA program is set to expire pursuant to the USA FREEDOM Act.

    • Weeks before NSA bulk phone spying ends, US judge (kinda) reins in program

      Today, we bring more judicial follies about the NSA phone spying program. US District Judge Richard Leon of the District of Columbia ruled Monday that a challenge to the program “will likely succeed in showing that the Program is indeed an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment.” But in that decision, the judge said the program, because of the legal posture of the lawsuit, could continue unabated—but with a caveat. The authorities have to stop scooping up the telephone metadata on J.J. Little, a Los Angeles trial lawyer, and his boutique firm of a handful of lawyers now at the center of the case that is as old as the Snowden disclosure.

    • Bill Adding A Warrant Requirement For Aerial Surveillance Introduced In The House

      Our nation’s federal law enforcement agencies may soon be gazing back wistfully at the Golden Age of Warrantless Surveillance and wondering where it all went so very wrong. (Hint: the “warrantless” part had a lot to do with it.)

      One place where the lack of warrants hasn’t raised much concern is aerial surveillance. While the FBI may send its “secret” planes out to fly spiders-on-ecstasy patterns over US cities, the courts have generally found that this sort of surveillance doesn’t violate anyone’s expectation of privacy. In fact, cops pretty much have to land a helicopter in someone’s backyard while “ground troops” point guns at the homeowner before the Fourth Amendment comes into play.

    • It’s No Secret That the Government Uses Zero Days for “Offense”

      Little by little, the government is opening up about its use of computer security vulnerabilities. Last month, the NSA disclosed that it has historically “released more than 91% of vulnerabilities discovered in products that have gone through our internal review process and that are made and used in the United States.” There should probably be an asterisk or four accompanying that statement. But more on that in a minute. First, it’s worth examining why the government is being even the slightest bit forthcoming about this issue.

      Since 2014, EFF has been suing under the Freedom of Information Act to get access to what the government calls the Vulnerabilities Equities Process (VEP). That’s the policy that lets the NSA, FBI and others decide whether to tell vendors and software developers about weaknesses in their products or whether to hold onto and “exploit” them.

    • Facebook to appeal Belgian court ban on tracking of people that aren’t logged in

      Facebook plans to appeal an order by a court in Belgium that banned it from tracking people who are not signed on to the social networking website.

      Facebook plans to appeal an order by a court in Belgium that banned it from tracking people who are not signed on to the social networking website.

      The dispute largely hinges around Facebook’s use of a special cookie called ‘datr’ that the company claims helps it distinguish between legitimate and illegitimate visits to its website.

      “We’ve used the datr security cookie for more than five years to keep Facebook secure for 1.5 billion people around the world,” a Facebook spokesman said Monday. “We will appeal this decision and are working to minimize any disruption to people’s access to Facebook in Belgium.”

  • Civil Rights

    • David Fisher: Just how bad were our spies?

      John Key has opened up the spy agencies to public scrutiny in a way which we have never seen in New Zealand.

      We know more now about what they do and even how they do it.

      We know how the two agencies are managed, in that the GCSB and NZSIS both have top-flight lawyers in charge.

      There will always be those who say we don’t know enough. For those people, we now have improved oversight of the agencies. This also happened under the Prime Minister’s watch as minister in charge of the agencies.

    • Aussie intelligence leaker walks in footsteps of ‘hero Assange’, cops jail sentence

      The judge who sentenced a former Defence employee to jail for leaking sensitive material online says he hopes the “clang of prison gates” will deter others considering committing similar offences.

      Supreme Court Justice Richard Refshauge sentenced Michael Scerba, 24, to three months behind bars today after he was found guilty of posting two pages of a Defence intelligence report to the infamous anonymous internet message board 4chan in October 2012.

      Despite the potential gravity of the breach, which was detected when a former member of the Defence Signals Directorate noticed the post, entitled “Julian Assange is my hero”, Justice Refshauge took into account Scerba’s early guilty plea and fragile emotional state due to a break-up at the time of the offence.

      Scerba was caught when police searched his Canberra home and found the disk he had burned the “Five Eyes only” document to snapped in his bin.

    • TSA Fails to Detect Weapons 95% of Time

      U.S. lawmakers and federal watchdogs took the occasion Tuesday to deride the Transportation Security Administration’s ability, or lack thereof, to adequately detect weapons and other contraband during the passenger screening process at the nation’s airports. And TSA didn’t just miss a few things. Nope, according to auditors from the Inspector General’s Office, posing as travelers, 95 percent of contraband, like weapons and explosives, got through during clandestine testings.

    • Official: FOIA worries dampen requests for formal legal opinions

      Concerns about legal opinions being made public under the Freedom of Information Act are leading various parts of the federal government to stop asking for written advice from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, a top Obama administration lawyer said Thursday.

      “I think that has served as a deterrent to some in terms of coming to the office to ask for a formal opinion,” said Central Intelligence Agency General Counsel Caroline Krass, who spent more than a decade at the Justice Department office that issues legal advice for the executive branch.

    • Doubts over inquiry into CIA flights

      The Police Scotland inquiry was initiated in summer 2013 after research that drew attention to the use of airports, including Inverness and Wick, as staging posts by the CIA. The investigation has still to be concluded.

    • The Rise of America’s Secret Government: The Deadly Legacy of Ex-CIA Director Allen Dulles

      In an interview with Democracy Now!, author David Talbot talks about his latest book, “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government,” a biography of the former director of the CIA during the 1950s. He tells Amy Goodman that the U.S.’ current policies surrounding intelligence and security could be traced back to Dulles’ reign. “He was a man who felt he was above the law,” says Talobot. “He felt that democracy was something that should not be left in the hands of the American people or its representatives. He was part of what the famous sociologist from the 1950s, C. Wright Mills, called the power elite. And he felt that he and his brother and those types of people should be running the country.”

    • Was the CIA involved in the murder of DEA agent Kiki Camarena?

      The modest, salmon-colored building at 881 Lope de Vega street looks much like any other home in Guadalajara’s middle-class Jardines del Bosque neighborhood.

      But behind the whitewashed walls, electric fence and barred windows is the house where one of the most infamous crimes in Mexican history took place.

      Having just left the U.S. Consulate building on February 7, 1985, DEA Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena was on his way to meet his wife for lunch when he was apprehended by corrupt members of Mexico’s federal security agency.

    • Who Will Pay for American Torture Program?

      In a clear violation of the Geneva Convention, the US made systematic torture a staple in its fight against terrorism. This revelation has resulted in international condemnation and lamentation, but nobody has been held accountable for torturing terror suspects — many of whom were released later without any charges having been filed. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) hopes to change that.

    • The CIA’s Torture Experiment

      In both the Nazi and American examples, the experiments were carried out in the name of “national security.” A Nazi doctor whom I (Lifton) interviewed had at first opposed the harmful “research” but changed his mind and participated in typhus experiments with prisoners after being told by a Nazi medical bureaucrat that they were necessary for finding ways to prevent epidemics in German troops.

    • Man in gyrocopter flight to Capitol to plead guilty

      A Florida man who piloted his one-person aircraft through some of the nation’s most restricted airspace and landed on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol in an act he has called civil disobedience has agreed to a plea deal.

      Douglas Hughes said Friday in a telephone interview that he has agreed to plead guilty to a felony, operating a gyrocopter without a license, a charge that carries a potential three years in prison.

    • Police Union Boss: Quentin Tarantino Needs To Patch Up Cop-Citizen Relationships, Not Us

      Even though Tarantino appears to be done talking about this (after recognizing he wasn’t dealing with a rational adversary), the Fraternal Order of Police isn’t. For whatever reason, The Hollywood Reporter has allowed the national president of the threat-uttering Fraternal Order of Police to post an op-ed against the director on its website.

      Chuck Canterbury calls Tarantino a “very strange man” who just doesn’t understand the complexities of modern-day law enforcement. (It’s only the amount of attention paid to police-involved-shootings that has changed, not the tactics, techniques or number of them.) He admits the boycott will probably have very little effect before going on to blame everything wrong with law enforcement on everyone else.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Sorry, There’s No Such Thing as ‘Unlimited’ Data

      When a tech company tells you something is unlimited, don’t believe ’em.

      Last week Microsoft nixed the unlimited storage option from its OneDrive service. Meanwhile, Comcast started billing users extra in some cities if they gobble more than 300GB of bandwidth per month. Last month Sprint followed the lead of most of its competitors and began throttling download speeds of its “unlimited” data plan for customers who exceed 23GB per month of data usage.

      The message is clear: if you want to download or store lots of data, you’re going to have to pay more for it. But why isn’t it possible to offer an unlimited service that’s actually, y’know, unlimited?

  • DRM/Multimedia

    • Do you prefer Ogg Vorbis or FLAC?

      Those of us who are concerned about software freedom should prefer completely free formats like Ogg Vorbis (lossy) and FLAC (lossless, compressed). We should particularly avoid file formats that include options for digital rights management (DRM). In theory, one might think that DRM is just a mechanism to prevent the unauthorized use (theft?) of someone’s intellectual property. However, certain vendors use DRM to force their customers to use their software, and sometimes hardware. Once again, Wikipedia has a nice detailed article about this whole format business.

    • Music check: Google versus Apple – Is that all? You can do better, Google!
    • Why I choose FLAC for audio

      In this article, I focus on music in digital formats. Moreover, because I am a Linux kind-of-guy, I’m going to take a Linux kind-of-perspective on this topic.

      Most people have heard of the MP3 format. It’s an example of two things: First, it is not an open format, as a number of organizations claim patents on it. And second, it is a “lossy” format. Lossy formats compress the original signal by throwing out some of the signal components. The original rationale for this compression was to make music files smaller and more easily distributed. In contrast, there are also “lossless” formats, which can be compressed (without throwing away the original signal) or not. Digital music presented on the Compact Disc (CD) is an example of a lossless format (assuming it’s an audio CD, not a data CD with MP3s saved on it).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Three Industries That Love The TPP: Hollywood, Big Pharma & Wall St.

      Tons of people seem (quite rightly) concerned about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. As we pointed out last week after the final text was finally, released, the agreement has a lot of really big problems. But if you want to understand just how bad the agreement is, perhaps you should just look at the industries that like it. Vox notes that Big Pharma and Hollywood love the agreement while The Intercept notes that Wall Street loves it.

      It should be noted that, actually, Big Pharma is apparently a bit disappointed that the TPP doesn’t go far enough in locking up exclusivity for biologics.

    • RIM founder: TPP is “the worst public policy decision in Canada’s history”

      Bob Coons writes, “Jim Balsillie, one of the founders of RIM, has made the headlines in Canada by stating that signing the TPP could be “the worst public policy decision in the country’s history.”

    • TPP is too flawed for a simple ‘yes’ vote

      Globalizationis a positive and powerful force for good, if it is embedded in the right kind of ethical and legal framework. Yet the current draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not worthy of a simple thumbs-up by the Congress. Without jettisoning the purported goals of TPP, the 12 signatories should slow down, take the pieces of this complex trade agreement in turn, and work harder for a set of international standards that will truly support global sustainable development.

      The TPP should be judged on whether it guarantees global economic well-being, not whether it gives advantages to the United States to the detriment of other countries. The ultimate goal of economic policy should be to raise the well-being of all parts of society, including the poor and middle class. Agreements that help the rich at the expense of the poor, capital at the expense of labor, or particular sectors at the expense of consumers, should be viewed with skepticism.

    • Trolling with my homies: Some Economics of Internet Trolls

      IP is full of trolls, but typically those associated with IP, not those online. The IPKat, however, is both a blog and part of the IP community, and therefore can take a wider look a trolls. So, for you delectation, some economics of internet trolls (a person who deliberately provokes, often in an abusive manner, for the sake of provoking):

    • Copyrights

      • MPAA: Online Privacy Hurts Anti-Piracy Enforcement

        The MPAA has submitted an overview of international “trade barriers” to the U.S. Government, which they see as harmful to the video and movie industries. Online privacy is listed as a serious problem, as it prevents copyright holders and local authorities from going after online pirates.

      • Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda: EU Preparing ‘Frontal Attack On The Hyperlink’

        Back in January of this year, we wrote about a remarkable report proposing a number of major changes to EU copyright law. Part of an extremely long-drawn out process that aims to update the current 2001 copyright directive, the document was written by the sole Pirate Party MEP in the European Parliament, Julia Reda. In the short time she’s been an MEP — she was only elected in 2014 — she’s emerged as the European Parliament’s leading expert on copyright, which means it’s always worth taking her warnings in this area very seriously. Earlier this year, Techdirt noted that Reda was worried about moves to restrict outdoor photography in the EU.


Links 8/11/2015: 1,600 Games in Valve’s Steam for GNU/Linux, MiniDebconf Cambridge

Posted in News Roundup at 6:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Linux Containers Will Disrupt Virtualization Incumbents

      The next wave of virtualization on servers is not going to look like the last one. That is the thinking of Mark Shuttleworth, founder of the Ubuntu Linux project more than a decade ago and head of strategy and user experience at Canonical, the company that provides support services for Ubuntu.

  • Kernel Space

    • Many Network, WiFi, & eBPF Changes For The Linux 4.4 Kernel

      The networking subsystem update landed earlier this week in the Linux 4.4 Git code and it comes with several new features.

    • Linux Foundation wants to extend Swagger in connected buildings

      Members of the Linux Foundation have met in San Francisco to push its newly announced Open API initiative. The collective want to harmonise efforts in the development of connected building technology.

      Founding members of the Open API Initiative, including Google, IBM, Intuit, Microsoft and PayPal, want to extend the range of Swagger, the popular framework for building application programming interfaces (APIs). Their collective ambition is to create a vendor neutral, portable and open specification for providing metadata for APIs based on the representational state architecture (REST).

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau NVC0 Enables Compute Support For Fermi GPUs

        The latest Nouveau Gallium3D driver work enables compute support for GeForce GTX 400/500 “Fermi” graphics cards.

        But before getting too excited, this isn’t complete support nor is it good enough yet for executing your complex OpenCL kernels. The current state just handles simple compute kernels like for reading MP performance counters.

      • Have Troubles With 4K Displays On Intel Linux? Try The Linux 4.3 Kernel

        At least for the Dell P2415Q 4K monitor that I bought a few weeks ago as the latest 4K test-bed, the Intel mode-setting support tends to be flaky unless using the new Linux 4.3 kernel. If booting Ubuntu 15.10 out-of-the-box, you may not have any luck getting a GUI. This has happened on both my Skylake systems and I believe a Haswell system too (it’s been going on for a few weeks but have just got around to writing this word of caution).

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Skylake Graphics: Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Performance

        This article is an OpenGL performance comparison between Windows 10 Pro x64 and Ubuntu 15.10 when upgrading to the very latest open-source graphics driver stack. Atop Ubuntu 15.10 was the upgrade to the Linux 4.3.0 stable kernel and also switching to Mesa 11.1-devel Git using the Padoka PPA. On the Windows side, the latest Intel graphics driver was used for benchmarking this Skylake system.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • 3D View: Challenge that makes me crazy

        But I spent a few grips, I could not make the Qt link with VTK. At that time I had very little experience with Linux environment, which made me give up using VTK and and tried to use pure OPenGl with QOpenGLWidget, that Qt provides.

      • KDE at FOSDEM 2016

        FOSDEM is the biggest free software conference and KDE will have a stall and help organise the Desktop devroom for talks. If you have something interesting to talk about the call for talks in the devroom is open now. We should have a stall to promote KDE, the world best free and open source community. I’m organising the KDE party on the Saturday. And there are thousands of talks going on. Sign up on the wiki page now if you’re coming and want to hang around or help with KDE stuff.

      • KActivities library no longer requires Boost

        There were some complaints from our Windows people that it is difficult to build KActivities (on Windows) due to its usage of boost.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • MX-15 beta1 available for testing

        We are pleased to announce the first public beta of MX-15 (codename ‘Fusion’)
        based on the reliable and stable Debian Jessie (8.2) with extra enhancements from our packaging team.
        Just like MX-14, this release defaults to sysVinit (though systemd is available once installed for those that prefer to use it).

    • Arch Family

      • Disk I/O Scheduler Tests On Manjaro Linux

        With having an Arch-based Manjaro Linux installation around from the recent large Linux distribution comparison / performance showdown I carried out some extra tests this weekend.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • How to make live-patching Linux really cool

        When it comes to numbers, SUSE Linux is a long, long way behind Red Hat, the 800-lb gorilla of commercial Linux companies.

        Now that gap may widen even further after Red Hat signed a deal with Microsoft to collaborate on cloud installations.

        But when it comes to making technology cool, SUSE does appear to have a better handle on things.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Announces The Availability Of Gluster On Azure

        Red Hat Inc. announced that its Gluster Storage is available in Microsoft Azure as a fully supported offering. Through Gluster, Azure users will have a scale-out, POSIX compatible, massively scalable, elastic file storage solution with a global namespace. This announcement also means that existing Gluster users will have another public cloud environment to run Gluster in.

      • William Blair Expects Red Hat (RHT) to Earn Q1 2016 Earnings of $0.30 Per Share

        Stock analysts at William Blair dropped their Q1 2016 earnings per share (EPS) estimates for Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday, Zacks reports. William Blair analyst J. Ader now expects that the brokerage will post earnings per share of $0.30 for the quarter, down from their previous forecast of $0.33. William Blair has a “Buy” rating on the stock. The consensus estimate for Red Hat’s Q1 2016 earnings is $0.32 per share.

      • William Blair Reduces Q2 2016 EPS Estimates for Red Hat (RHT)

        A number of other brokerages also recently weighed in on RHT. Mizuho reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $88.00 price target on shares of Red Hat in a research note on Friday. Deutsche Bank upgraded Red Hat from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and lifted their price target for the company from $75.00 to $90.00 in a research report on Tuesday. Cowen and Company lowered Red Hat from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating and set a $82.00 price objective on the stock. in a report on Thursday, October 22nd. Drexel Hamilton began coverage on Red Hat in a research note on Friday, October 9th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $90.00 price target on the stock. Finally, Pacific Crest reissued an “equal weight” rating on shares of Red Hat in a research note on Wednesday, September 23rd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, seven have given a hold rating and twenty-six have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Red Hat currently has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $83.52.

      • Fedora

        • Korora 23 (Coral) Beta – Now Available

          The Korora Project is very pleased to announce that the beta release of version 23 (codename “Coral”) is now available for download.

        • Fedora Core 1 Computer Reaches 1 Year Uptime

          The server was built in 1998 and Fedora Core 1 was installed on May 12th 2004. I wish I could say that I always ran Linux or BSD on this box but the truth is it was originally a Windows 95 box and later on a Win2K box. One of the reasons why the uptimes weren’t longer was due to utility power failures. Currently the server has a decent APC ES 725 UPS connected via USB cable, but this will be upgraded in the near future.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Why Google Might Want to Design Chips for Android Phones

          Google may be trying to exert control over the Android ecosystem. Analysts suggest reasons Google might want to design chips for Android smartphones.

          Google is reportedly seeking to design its own smartphone chips in a bid to gain more control over what it sees as a rapidly fragmenting Android ecosystem.

          Earlier this year, Google spoke with some chip manufacturers apparently to gauge their interest in developing chips based on Google’s designs, The Information reported Nov. 5.

        • Mlais Smartwatch Surfaces, Might Ship With Android Wear

          Mlais is a Hong Kong-based company which has released a handful of smartphones thus far. We’ve reviewed a number of those devices, including Mlais MX Base, M7, M52 Red Note and M4 Note. Most of these devices managed to surprise us as far as quality and general performance goes, Mlais did a really good job overall. That being said, It seems like Mlais is getting ready to release a smartwatch, and it could be Android Wear-powered, which is very interesting. Anyhow, let’s see what’s what.

        • Google Offering Android Auto Support Through Twitter

          Smart in-car infotainment systems are becoming a reality with various smartphone projection standards like Android Auto and Apple Carplay starting to see support from car makers, although the pace of uptake leaves a lot to be desired. The Android Auto project was announced at Google I/O 2014, and the mobile app for the same was released to the Google Play Store in March this year. For the uninitiated, what Android Auto does essentially is that it makes your phone’s apps and data available through the built-in touchscreen head-unit of a vehicle that supports the standard. Meaning, no more having to pick up the phone to access your contacts, text messages, calls, GPS navigation, internet access etc. What’s more, the calling and texting features are voice-controlled by default, which promises to cut down on the would-be distractions, thereby improving safety.

        • Android 6.0 Marshmallow is Coming to Motorola Devices With the Exception of Moto E, Moto G, and Moto X First Gen!
        • BlackBerry Priv Android slider phone will be available on Verizon, too

          It looks like AT&T won’t have a domestic exclusive on the BlackBerry Priv after all. Verizon Wireless has hinted on Twitter that it, too, will offer the keyboard-equipped Android phone to its customers. No other information is available on Verizon’s website, but the carrier does say that the phone is “coming soon.”

        • Apple TV (2015) vs NVIDIA Shield Android TV – Comparison [Video]

          Today we’re comparing the forth generation Apple TV to the NVIDIA Shield. These are quite possibly the two best set top boxes out right now. I won’t be going into every little detail here, but instead the things that are most important for myself. But before we get in-depth with either option, let’s take a look at specifications between the two…

        • Fly Labs acquisition means Google Photos could finally bring robust video editing to Android
        • Review: 3 Android phones that offer something different

          New Android phones appear with regularity, but far too few of them really seem … new.

          Sure, cameras keep getting better and phones keep getting faster. For the most part, though, you’d be hard-pressed to single out many new features that aren’t just tweaks for the sake of tweaking. Though manufacturers frequently customize Google’s Android software to set their phones apart, those alterations often just make things worse by hiding features or breaking some apps.

        • BlackBerry could solve Android’s security issues

          BlackBerry is still around, though, and that is a good thing. At least it is if you’re concerned about security and your privacy. BlackBerry has long been among the most secure devices available.

          That will likely include its new PRIV (short for private), its first Android phone. In fact, the company’s security chief says PRIV will be the most secure Android device available, saying “it’s second to none in the industry.”

Free Software/Open Source


    • GNU Smalltalk 3.2.91

      I am happy to announce the second alpha release on the way to GNU Smalltalk 3.3.


  • Manchester Christmas lights switch on: Replay all the action from Albert Square

    The countdown to Christmas in Manchester began tonight as the city’s lights were switched on.

    Thousands of families filled Albert Square to watch Coronation Street’s Catherine Tyldesley and Kym Marsh flick the switch, with a spectacular 10-minute firework finale adding to the sparkle.

    The soap stars were joined on the line-up by Scouting for Girls and Lemar, and there were also appearances from the cast of the Opera House’s Cinderella and The Lowry’s Sound of Music.

  • Pictures: Manchester Christmas lights switch on finishes with spectacular fireworks display in Albert Square
  • Native American Students Left Behind

    Native American students have writhed for decades in a bureaucratic school system bogged down by a patchwork of federal agencies responsible for different aspects of their education.

    Today, native youth post the worst achievement scores and the lowest graduation rates of any student subgroup. Last school year 67 percent of American Indian students graduated from high school compared the national average of 80 percent. And many of their school facilities have been equally neglected, lacking even basic essentials such as heat and running water.

  • PC tech support tell customers to avoid Windows 10 [Ed: as covered here before]

    While Microsoft might be revved up about getting people onto Windows 10 as fast as possible, if you call your PC maker’s tech support line, you might be advised to roll back to older versions.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Environmentalists on Trial for Defending Palm Beach Gardens Forest

      A trial taking place today brings attention once again to the plight of the 700-acre Briger Forest, a rare tract of pristine land in Palm Beach County that environmentalists have been trying to protect for years. Developers have begun to clear trees and build roads to construct homes, stores, and laboratories for the private, nonprofit Scripps Biotech Institute.

    • Bill Gates gives Exxon cover: The Gates Foundation is deadly wrong on climate change, fossil fuels

      The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s wealthiest charitable foundation, has been under an unprecedented amount of scrutiny regarding their investments in the fossil fuel industry lately.

      Alongside a persistent and growing local Seattle-based campaign, about a quarter of a million people joined the Guardian in calling on the Foundation to join the $2.6 trillion worth of investors who have committed to divest from fossil fuels.

      In response, Bill Gates has proffered two public rejections of fossil fuel divestment, the most recent in a lengthy interview on climate change in this month’s edition of the Atlantic. Both rejections were based on misleading accounts of divestment which created straw men of the divestment movement, and downplayed the remarkable prospects for a clean energy revolution.

    • What you should know about Indonesia’s devastating fires

      For the past two months, enormous forest fires have been raging across large swaths of Indonesia. So far, 120,000 active fires have been detected in the country. The smoke has been so bad it could be seen from space. Below is a guide to the basic facts you should know about the disaster.

    • Setting a country alight: Indonesia’s devastating forest fires are manmade

      Thousands of the fires raging through the forests of Indonesia were deliberately started to clear land for industrial use. The results have been deadly

    • Indonesian fires: Forget the orangutans, is the blaze a tipping point for carbon emissions?

      The fires in Indonesia are more than just a threat to endangered orangutans. They have shortened by up to two years the window to reduce carbon emissions and avoid runaway climate change, according to one of the CSIRO’s leading climate scientists.

  • Finance

    • Reddit Bitcoin Censorship in Focus as 30 CEOs Join Roger Ver’s AMA

      Yesterday, Roger Ver and the Bitcoin.com team hosted the largest bitcoin AMA, with the participation of prominent bitcoin entrepreneurs, startups and developers including Gavin Andresen, Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire, Xapo CEO Wences Casares, Overstock CEO Patric Bryne and bitcoin core developer Mike Hearn, which will continue until december, with over 70 respected figures from the bitcoin scene hosting Q&A sessions on forum.bitcoin.com.

    • Bill Gates-owned Corbis photo company cutting 15 percent of workers

      The Seattle-based company has been stockpiling a trove of historic photos since Gates founded Corbis in 1989. But recently, it has seen an “accelerated decline” in its ability to license its images, according to a memo CEO Gary Shenk sent employees this week that was obtained by Bloomberg.


      A source with knowledge of the situation told Bloomberg the cuts will affect 15 percent of Corbis workers.

    • Bill Gates spent a fortune to build it. Now a Florida school system is getting rid of it.

      Here we go again. Another Bill Gates-funded education reform project, starting with mountains of cash and sky-high promises, is crashing to Earth.

      This time it’s the Empowering Effective Teachers, an educator evaluation program in Hillsborough County, Florida, which was developed in 2009 with major financial backing from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. A total of more than $180 million has been spent on the project since then — with Gates initially promising some $100 million of it — but now, the district, one of the largest in the country, is ending the program.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • There’s Method To The Mad Satire Of ‘Censorship Now!!’

      Ian Svenonius is a strange man. Anyone who’s followed his career over the past 25 years knows he has a knack for incendiary sloganeering that often borders on the surreal, first as the singer in the legendary Washington, D.C. punk band The Nation of Ulysses (he currently leads the “crime rock” group Chain and the Gang) then as the author of the nonfiction books The Psychic Soviet and Supernatural Strategies for Making a Rock ‘n’ Roll Group. In his stylish, suit-and-tie persona as a pop-culture gadfly and revolutionary rhetorician — which may or may not be a self-caricature; part of his appeal is his Andy Kaufman-like commitment to character — he’s put forth ideas as bizarre as comparing Fidel Castro to The Velvet Underground. Favorably, of course.

    • Textbook takes a comical approach to censorship

      But instead of including the awful word “fuck,” which may corrupt the minds of psychology students, Weiten takes a comical approach by just changing the word to “mating.” He of course could have used the word “fornicating,” but that just wouldn’t be funny at all.

    • China Seeks to Export Censorship to Overseas-Registered Domain Names: Report [Ed: like in the West. “Radio Free Asia” is probably like “Radio Free Europe”]

      China has compiled a “blacklist” of keywords banned by its complex Internet censorship regime, known as the Great Firewall, and is now seeking to apply them well beyond its physical borders via a domain-name registry based in the United States, according to recent reports.

      U.S.-based domain-name registry XYZ.com recently made a deal with the Chinese government requiring it to enforce Beijing’s censorship globally based on a list of banned words, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.

      The registry will let China ban domain names based on a list of “sensitive words” including “freedom,” “democracy,” and a multitude of words seen as referring to the Tiananmen Square massacre, including the title of singer Taylor Swift’s 1989 album and tour.

    • Google’s Move Toward China Littered With Censorship Challenges

      Google’s move back into China might not be as welcome as initially expected — not by China’s citizens, but the United States. The Web site for Google’s holding company is registered with a company that is helping China censor thousands of top level domain names, according to one report.

    • Google Faces New China Censorship Problem

      Meanwhile, the .XYZ registry is not owned by a Chinese company but by Daniel Negari, a young American entrepreneur from Beverly Hills. Negari said by email that XYZ will formally address the issue on Wednesday afternoon.

    • China Censors Your Internet
    • China, Working with a U.S. Company, Aims to Censor Online Content

      China is already famous for massive Internet surveillance and censorship inside its borders. Now, through a partnership with American company XYZ.com, Chinese authorities are also aiming to censor online content around the world in an unprecedented suppression of Internet privacy and freedom.

    • China just banned 12,000 words from the internet
    • EFF Challenges Informal Government Censorship

      EFF, along with the Center for Democracy & Technology and the Association of Alternative Newsmedia, submitted an amicus brief to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in the case of Backpage.com v. Dart.

      Backpage.com sued Thomas Dart, the sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, arguing that the sheriff’s successful campaign to get Visa and MasterCard to cease providing financial services to the website amounted to informal government censorship in violation of the First Amendment.

    • Unionist parties in censorship row after demanding removal of painting showing ‘Orangemen in KKK clothing’

      More than 300 works are on display in Northern Ireland’s biggest visual arts show, but a controversy erupted this week over a square inch of canvas.

    • Ku Klux Klan painting ‘feeds into climate of bitterness’

      A leading Orangeman has hit out at media backing for Orange Order brethren being depicted as Ku Klux Klan members.

    • Controversy over Orange Order ‘KKK’ artwork
    • Warning sign erected near Joseph McWilliams painting

      A WARNING notice has been placed beside a painting at a Belfast museum amid claims it shows members of the Orange Order dressed in Ku Klux Klan clothing.

      The 7ft oil canvas entitled `’Christian Flautists Outside St Patrick’s’, was the last major work by renowned Belfast artist Joseph McWilliams before his death last month.

      The painting depicts loyalist bands men marching in circles outside St Patrick’s Church in the city in 2012.

    • Orange Order to meet Ulster Museum chiefs over ‘KKK’ painting

      Staff at the Ulster Museum have erected a sign to warn visitors that some images – including one linking Orange Order supporters with the racist Ku Klux Klan – are “potentially offensive”.

    • Leaked Emails From Pro-Clinton Group Reveal Censorship of Staff on Israel, AIPAC Pandering, Warped Militarism

      LEAKED INTERNAL EMAILS from the powerful Democratic think tank Center for American Progress (CAP) shed light on several public controversies involving the organization, particularly in regard to its positioning on Israel. They reveal the lengths to which the group has gone in order to placate AIPAC and long-time Clinton operative and Israel activist Ann Lewis — including censoring its own writers on the topic of Israel.

    • Ann Lewis and AIPAC pressured Democratic thinktank to censor writers deemed ‘anti-Israel’

      Three years ago two writers got run out of the Democratic thinktank the Center for American Progress by the Israel lobby. We wrote a lot about it at the time. Rightwing Republican Israel supporters smeared the writers for stuff they were writing about Israel at Think Progress; and lo and behold they were gone in months. Ali Gharib and Eli Clifton–all moved on to more independent pastures after they were censored by CAP.

    • We’re obsessed with ‘no platforming’ but aren’t resisting the return of harder censorship

      In the preface to his classic 1961 book about censorship, Obscenity, Blasphemy, Sedition, the conservative journalist Peter Coleman struck an unexpectedly elegiac note.

      “It is still too soon,” he wrote, “to write an autopsy of Australian censorship, but nevertheless the censorship of morals, blasphemy and sedition has almost entirely disappeared, and the remaining cases of literary censorship, while irritating to many, are few in number.

      “At the same time, since the new freedom of censorship has been accompanied by the emergence of ‘mass culture’, of a debased literature, and of a general attitude of indifference to cultural standards, the spirit of crusade has gone out of the old cause.”

    • Australia urges Nauru to uphold rule of law and stop censorship

      Australia says it is concerned at the erosion of the rule of law in Nauru, and has urged the Pacific nation to allow journalists to visit, stop censoring the internet and decriminalise same-sex relationships, in a frank assessment at the United Nations.

      Nauru is being assessed before the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a quadrennial assessment of countries’ human rights record by the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

    • Burma’s journalists battle censorship and inexperience ahead of ‘relatively’ free elections

      Their predecessors suffered torture, imprisonment and death at the hands of a diehard military regime for more than half a century. Now, Burma’s journalists — newly fledged, muscle-flexing but also still apprehensive — are challenged with the first general election since 1960 to be covered with relative freedom.

      The independent press for months has been girding itself with training and strategy sessions, figuring out how to breach barriers to polling access and expose cheating and other irregularities — both widely anticipated during what is heralded as a historic showdown Sunday between the ruling party, backed by the still-powerful military, and one headed by pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

      “It’s a milestone in my career and that of everyone here,” says Kyaw Zwa Moe, editor of The Irrawaddy, earlier imprisoned for eight years for publishing a political journal and participating in the pro-democracy movement. “I told my reporters, ‘You have to have passion to cover these elections. You are not only doing your duty as journalists but serving your country. You are opening people’s eyes.’”

    • Censorship in paradise

      Thus, it was very good news when the festival made the decision to host several sessions as a platform for discussing the controversial events that occurred between Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, 1965 and the subsequential mass killings of alleged leftists.

    • This week in Jakarta: Censorship, polls, and rain at last

      Censorship in Indonesia became a topic of public debate this week after local authorities moved to silence discussions on the 1965 anti-communist killings. Meanwhile, polls weighed in on Jokowi’s first year as president, and the first rains of the season offered some relief to areas affected by haze.

    • Singapore Writers Festival: Indonesia’s Goenawan Mohamad on how to write under censorship
    • Writers continue to resist, navigate censors
    • Indonesia writers fear censors over the 1965 communist purges

      Endy Bayuni was one of four panellists whose identities were overtly recorded last Thursday. Attendees were also photographed, and other events on Indonesia’s 1965 communist purges were cancelled.

    • Southeast Asia’s forgotten genocide

      October marked 50 years since the Indonesian military launched one of the twentieth century’s worst mass murders. Yet the anniversary passed almost unnoticed. The massacre of some 500,000 members or sympathisers of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) during 1965-1966 is the least talked-about genocide of the last century.

    • Meet the website Facebook is censoring from your News Feed

      Facebook, which just announced it averages 1 billion daily users, is actively censoring any mention of Tsu.co. The social media giant has accused the brash young startup of not complying with its spam policies and now cites every mention of the site made on Facebook, Messenger, or Instagram as spam, censoring any post that includes the site’s URL (Tsu, the popular Chinese name, is still permissible).

    • Facebook deletes and blocks all links to small social media site Tsu.co

      The social media giant has deleted more than one million posts which mention small social media platform Tsu.co

    • Facebook is censoring links to competitor social network Tsu and deleting old mentions

      Log in to Facebook, create a post, and type in “Tsu.co.” Facebook will censor the link on all its platforms. That means facebook.com, as well as Messenger, Instagram, and the Facebook apps for iOS and Android.

      Facebook did something a lot scarier, too. The retroactively censored over a million Facebook posts which mentioned Tsu.co. So those Facebook posts, and associated images, videos, or comments? All deleted by Facebook. Gone.

      The word “Tsu,” which is a competing social network, is okay. But “Tsu.co,” or any links from the domain, are automatically censored.

    • #KillAllWhiteMen? What about #KillAllMuslims?

      Yes, it is all well and good to defend Bahar Mustafa, the Goldsmiths student diversity officer arrested and charged under UK communications law. As the free-speech lobby English PEN claims, noting that the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen ‘was clearly a joke’ rather than a real threat: ‘It was a political statement, however inadvisable it was for an elected students’ union official to post it.’

    • Commissioners urged to alter policy seen as censorship

      Toledo-based attorney Terry Lodge accused the commissioners of violating his client’s First Amendment right to free speech. The policy, which has been listed in writing on the commissioners’ agendas for several weeks, requires would-be speakers at weekly commissioner meetings to disclose the subject of their comments prior to speaking.

    • Risk of censorship of Chilcot report

      I, too, am disgusted by the delay in publishing the results of the Chilcot inquiry about the causes and consequences of the second Iraq War, which should have been unnecessary if George Bush senior had not lost his nerve, following the US massacre of retreating Iraqi troops on the Basis Road, after the liberation of Kuwait.

      I doubt we will ever get the whole truth, because it is probably inconsistent with the whole idea of democratic government.

    • A question of censorship: 25 years after the Mapplethorpe trial
    • Oregon officials must justify their censorship

      Censorship of public information needs to justify itself, not the public’s right to know.

    • Filmmaker Sees Online Censorship as Danger to Cambodian Democracy

      Recently, a video of two opposition lawmakers being beaten by an angry mob went viral on social media. How do you think this speaks to cyber-democracy in Cambodia?

    • The TPP and Internet censorship

      For an example of just how bad the TPP is for Canadians, let’s take a look at the Intellectual Property (IP) chapter. For years, digital rights experts the world over have been calling it “one of the worst global threats to the Internet.”

    • The TPP, Internet censorship, and Trudeau’s first big test as prime minister
    • Books for book fair not censored: Official

      A deliberation on the contribution of the freedom to publish in guaranteeing freedom of expression was one of the first sessions on the second day of the 3rd Arab Publishers Conference. The debate was moderated by Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al Qasimi, an Emirati activist, writer, and former board chairman of the UAE branch of the Young Arab Leaders (YAL), with Ibrahim Al Moallem, Ola Wallin, and Ibrahim Al Abed as panellists.

    • Official says ‘no censorship’ of books entering UAE for book fairs

      National Media Council adviser Ebrahim Al Adel says UAE open to all opinions and criticism

      There is no censorship of books of any kind at UAE book fairs, a senior official told the third Arab Publishers Conference in Sharjah on Tuesday.

      Ebrahim Al Abed, adviser to the chairman of the National Media Council (NMC), also said the UAE never rejects constructive criticism, even if it is about politics.

    • The TPP: A Time Bomb That Could Blow Up a Free Internet

      The copyright provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership could curtail Internet users’ basic access to information and right of self-expression on the Web, criminalizing common online activities and enforcing widespread Internet censorship, writes digital rights campaigner Evan Greer at The Guardian.

    • Lego should not censor: Chinese artist should be free to use any medium

      Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei, intended to create political art with the use of Legos, and was denied the bulk use of Lego’s products to make his piece.

      Lego’s spokesperson claimed that they “refrain, on a global level, from actively engaging in or endorsing the use of Lego bricks in projects or contexts of a political agenda.”

    • Apple Is Self-Censoring in China. Is Facebook Next?

      Larry Salibra was traveling across China last month when he noticed something strange with his iPhone. Apple’s news aggregation app News and its Beats 1 radio station had worked fine in Hong Kong, where he began his trip and where there is basically no internet censorship, but became unavailable as he entered mainland China, where the internet most definitely is censored.

    • Malaysia: Zunar mounts constitutional challenge to Sedition Act

      In a surprise turn, the Malaysian cartoonist and his lawyers have applied to the country’s high court to consider whether the Sedition Act is constitutional

    • Michael Moore’s new film gets ‘R’ rating for images of Eric Garner’s death

      Gadfly documentarian Michael Moore has chased down the chief executive of General Motors, annoyed President George W. Bush and stormed Wall Street with Rage Against the Machine.

    • Michael Moore on ‘Where to Invade Next’ censorship row: ‘I will make no cuts’
    • Michael Moore: documentary’s R rating from footage seen on ‘any news show’
    • Michael Moore challenges R rating given to his new documentary, Where To Invade Next
    • Michael Moore rants against MPAA for giving his new film that shows footage of Eric Garner’s death an ‘R’ rating
    • Michael Moore: ‘I won’t make cuts in new film’
    • Defy censors, Moore says
    • Hacktivists Create a Revolution in Censorship
    • OAS Secretary General Urges to Combat Violence against Journalists: “the Most Extreme Form of Censorship”
    • Journalists should not have to engage in self-censorship because they fear for their life: UN Sec. Gen.

      The Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon issued a message today on the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. The message reads:

      “Today we remember the journalists and media workers who have been killed in the line of duty.

      More than 700 journalists have been killed in the last decade — one every five days — simply for bringing news and information to the public.

    • Samira Shackle: Little comfort for Bangladesh’s secular bloggers

      Facing the double threat of extremist violence and state repression, Bangladeshi bloggers daring to speak up for secular values are fighting for their lives

    • Magazine accuses Boudreaux of censorship

      The publishers of a magazine catering mostly to inmates has filed a lawsuit against Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, claiming he violated county inmates’ First Amendment rights by not allowing them to receive the magazine.

    • Pittsburgh’s censorship battle heats up as ADF speaks out against free speech violations

      Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman spoke before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit against a Pittsburgh censorship zone ordinance. In March, ADF attorneys appealed a district court decision that upheld the ordinance.

    • Turkey: Increased pressure on journalists jeopardises public interest

      The International Press Institute (IPI) released a report on the Joint International Emergency Press Freedom Mission to Turkey undertaken last week by a broad coalition of international free expression and press freedom groups.

      The report builds on mission participants’ finding that escalating pressure on media in the period between parliamentary elections in June and repeat polls set for Sunday has significantly impacted journalists’ ability to report on matters of public interest and is likely to “have a significant, negative impact on the ability of voters in Turkey to share and receive necessary information, with a corresponding effect on Turkey’s democracy”.

    • Syria: No word on Bassel Khartabil’s whereabouts

      Syria’s authorities have yet to disclose the whereabouts of Bassel Khartabil, a software developer and defender of freedom of information, one month after his transfer to an undisclosed location, 22 organizations said today. Syrian authorities should immediately reveal his whereabouts and release him.

      Military intelligence detained Khartabil on March 15, 2012. On October 3, 2015, Khartabil managed to inform his family that security officers had ordered him to pack but did not reveal his destination. His family has received no further information. They suspect that he may have been transferred to the military-run field court inside the military police base in Qaboun.

      “Each day without news feels like an eternity to his family,” a spokesperson for the organizations said. “Syrian authorities should immediately reveal his whereabouts and reunite him with them.”

    • Quick Takes: Police Censorship

      When, according to a Gallup poll, almost half of the U.S. population mistrusts the police’s ability to enforce laws appropriately, one director voicing his negative opinions at a rally is irrelevant. This recent boycott by the NYPD and LAPD of their negative portrayal in the media is just a pathetic attempt to salvage their pride and does nothing to take actual responsibility for their public reputation.

    • Why are student-union officials censoring criticism of Islamic State?

      It’s true there are two sides in the YPG v Isis conflict. One side has both men and women fighting hard to protect their homeland and people from falling to brutal Islamist rule; the other pushes gay people off buildings, stones adulterers, sets fire to its prisoners of war, and mows down anyone who stands in the way of the growth of its creepy Caliphate. If you can’t ‘take sides’ in a conflict like that, then your moral compass is in serious need of repair.

    • Sex, violence and religion: The films banned by councils

      Monty Python’s Life of Brian has finally had its first public screening in Bournemouth after almost 35 years of being banned in the town. But it’s not the only film to suffer the shackles of local censorship.

  • Privacy

    • What Shall We Love?

      The Moscow Un-Summit wasn’t a formal interview. Nor was it a cloak-and-dagger underground rendezvous. The upshot is that we didn’t get the cautious, diplomatic, regulation Edward Snowden. The downshot (that isn’t a word, I know) is that the jokes, the humour and repartee that took place in Room 1001 cannot be reproduced. The Un-Summit cannot be written about in the detail that it deserves. Yet it definitely cannot not be written about. Because it did happen. And because the world is a millipede that inches forward on millions of real conversations. And this, certainly, was a real one.


      I asked Ed Snowden what he thought about Washington’s ability to destroy countries and its inability to win a war (despite mass surveillance). I think the question was phrased quite rudely—something like “When was the last time the United States won a war?” We spoke about whether the economic sanctions and subsequent invasion of Iraq could be accurately called genocide. We talked about how the CIA knew—and was preparing for the fact—that the world was heading to a place of not just inter-country war but of intra-country war in which mass surveillance would be necessary to control populations. And about how armies were being turned into police forces to administer countries they have invaded and occupied, while the police, even in places like India and Pakistan and Ferguson, Missouri, in the United States—were being trained to behave like armies to quell internal insurrections.

    • Insight – NSA says how often, not when, it discloses software flaws
    • The NSA keeps 9% of the vulnerabilities it discovers to itself

      Openness and the NSA are not happy bedfellows; by its very nature, the agency is highly secretive. But in recent years, post-Edward Snowden, the organization has embarked on something of a PR campaign in an attempt to win back public trust.

      The latest manoeuvre sees the NSA promoting the fact that when it discovers security vulnerabilities and zero-days in software, it goes public with them in 91 percent of cases… but not before it has exploited them. No information about the timescale for disclosures is given, but what most people will be interested in is the remaining 9 percent which the agency keeps to itself.

    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden notes ‘extraordinary change’ in attitudes toward him during Democratic primary debate

      Edward Snowden has described the Democratic presidential debate last month as marking an “extraordinary change”in attitudes towards him.

      In a lengthy interview with Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter published on Friday, Snowden said he had been encouraged by the debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, her main challenger for the Democratic nomination.

      During the televised encounter, both candidates called for Snowden to face trial , but Sanders said he thought the NSA whistleblower had “played a very important role in educating the American people”.

    • Snowden Says Clinton And Sanders Are ‘Refreshing,’ Give Him Hope To Return
    • Edward Snowden Still Has Influence: ‘Exile as a Strategy Is Beginning to Fail’

      Even his separation from his girlfriend, whom he left in Hawaii when he fled the country, has been resolved. She has been living with him in Moscow for just over a year.

    • Only ‘tiny handful’ of ministers knew of mass surveillance, Clegg reveals

      The majority of the UK cabinet were never told the security services had been secretly harvesting data from the phone calls, texts and emails of a huge number of British citizens since 2005, Nick Clegg has disclosed.

      Clegg says he was informed of the practice by a senior Whitehall official soon after becoming David Cameron’s deputy in 2010, but that“only a tiny handful” of cabinet ministers were also told – likely to include the home secretary, the foreign secretary and chancellor. He said he was astonished to learn of the capability and asked for its necessity to be reviewed.

    • Theresa May’s recent internet history
    • Seven Major Takeaways From the U.K.’s Proposed Surveillance Rules

      THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT on Wednesday published a proposed new law to reform and dramatically expand surveillance powers in the United Kingdom. The 190-page Investigatory Powers Bill is thick with detail and it will probably take weeks and months of analysis until its full ramifications are understood. In the meantime, I’ve read through the bill and noted down a few key aspects of the proposed powers that stood out to me — including unprecedented new data retention measures, a loophole that allows spies to monitor journalists and their sources, powers enabling the government to conduct large-scale hacking operations, and more.

    • ProtonMail Learns That Paying Ransom Doesn’t Stop Attacks

      When confronted by a cyber-extortionist, do you pay the ransom or do you stand firm and not negotiate? It’s both an ethical and a procedural dilemma.

      By paying the ransom, in some respects, the victim is enabling and perhaps encouraging the extortionist to commit future acts since after all, if it worked once, it might well work again. In giving extortionists what they want, the general idea is that the victim will get back what they want and it could well be the quickest route to resolving a ransom situation.

    • Security News This Week: 9 Out of 10 Websites Leak Your Data to Third Parties

      This week, hackers won a million dollar bounty for discovering a long-sought iOS zero-day. Federal lawmakers introduced the Stingray Privacy Act, a new bill that would require state and local lawmakers to get a warrant before using the invasive surveillance devices. The world got its first look at the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact. We found out the UK’s TalkTalk telecom hack may not be as bad as it looked. Android users can finally use Open Whisper Systems’ RedPhone app and TextSecure messaging app in one app, called Signal. And Crackas With Attitude, the teens who hacked CIA Director John Brennan, are back with a new hack.

    • Theresa May’s threat to the privacy of reading

      Reading through the draft investigatory powers bill on Wednesday evening, one name came to mind, that of Frederick Douglass. He was an African American former slave who became one of the most eloquent campaigners for the abolition of slavery and was the living refutation of plantation owners’ contention that their “property” lacked the intelligence to function as independent citizens.

      Douglass was a remarkable orator and at least as remarkable a writer. His autobiography is one of the glories of the 19th century. In it, he records how, as a slave, he managed to learn to read, partly due to the initial kindness of his owner’s wife. But when her husband learned of this, he forbade her to continue. “The first step in her downward course,” recalls Douglass, “was in her ceasing to instruct me. She now commenced to practise her husband’s precepts. She finally became even more violent in her opposition than her husband himself. She was not satisfied with simply doing as well as he had commanded; she seemed anxious to do better. Nothing seemed to make her more angry than to see me with a newspaper. She seemed to think that here lay the danger.”

    • In ‘Spectre,’ James Bond becomes Edward Snowden

      In the terms of the intelligence world, “Spectre” is an argument between old-fashioned human intelligence (Humintel) and signals intelligence (SIGINT). The script imagines an expansion of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing program of the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand to “Nine Eyes,” adding in countries such as China and South Africa. This expansion is spearheaded by a mole within MI6, “C” (Andrew Scott), though it seems clear that “C” is a stand-in for the UK Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Although the US National Security Agency became notorious for its lawlessness and massive reach after the Snowden revelations, GCHQ is even more unconstrained. Because internet communications bounce around the world before arriving at the recipient, many are routed through undersea cables across the Atlantic. These cables come up out of the water on the west coast of Britain, and GCHQ has put sniffers on them, scooping up petabytes of our information and data-mining it.

      The government of David Cameron, and especially the crypto-fascist Home Minister Theresa May, have long engaged in massive domestic surveillance and now intend to the bulk collection and storage of information on all the websites a Briton visits. In addition, Cameron wants to outlaw consumer encryption of the sort Apple is now increasingly offering its customers (Apple can’t turn over information to the FBI or NSA because even it doesn’t have the encryption keys). It seems a little unlikely that any such encryption ban is possible.

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • In leaked document, Comcast admits data caps are not about congestion

      The internet service provider has often complained (such as when lobbying against net neutrality) that it must impose limits on service to prevent network congestion. The argument suggests that these measures are required for the public good: to manage traffic, to give everyone fair access to the “road,” to stymie abusive or selfish “drivers,” you shouldn’t be using more than 250 gigabytes of data each month.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • White House may have to renegotiate Pacific trade pact-senator

      A key U.S. senator said on Friday the Obama administration may have to renegotiate parts of a Pacific trade pact, heralding a tough battle to win support in Congress.

      The administration notified lawmakers on Thursday it plans to sign the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, starting a countdown to a congressional vote that could come in the middle of next year’s election campaign.

    • We made President Obama’s big TPP trade deal searchable

      On Thursday morning, after months of questions about the contents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal negotiated and championed by President Obama, his administration released the agreement in its complex entirety.

      The problem, though, is that it was released as a series of posts on Medium — and, worse, a collection of PDFs — making it hard to search for topics across the entire document.

    • Copyrights


Links 7/11/2015: Croatia’s GNU/Linux/LibreOffice Manual, LibreOffice Big in Italy

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

GNOME bluefish



  • Locked Up with Linux

    The sheer versatility of the Linux kernel truly knows no bounds. It can be found, literally, everywhere. From your local library to your local big box retailer, Linux is barely a stone’s throw away. There are very few places in the world that can be considered Linux-free. A small tribal village? Maybe. A shade tree mechanic? Possibly. A Prison? Well … not really. That’s right. It seems that Linux has been sent to the joint, and it poised to be there for a very long time.

  • The Future of the Bloomberg Terminal is Open Source

    The technology has withstood the test of time by continuously evolving to meet the needs of financial traders – though until recently new features have been largely developed with in-house, proprietary code.

    The way Bloomberg keeps up with users’ expectations is changing, however, McCracken writes. The company is adopting open source technologies such as Linux, Hadoop, and Solr and contributing code back upstream.

  • Croatia publishes Linux & LibreOffice manual

    Croatia’s Ministry of Veterans has published a manual on how to use Linux and LibreOffice. The document is part of a feasibility pilot in the Ministry. “The text is intended for public administrations, but can be useful to others interested in using these tools”, the Ministry writes in its announcement on 5 November.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.4 HID: Better Skylake Touchpads, Corsair K90 & Logitech G29 Support

      The HID driver updates were mailed in on Friday for the Linux 4.4 merge window.

    • Linux 4.4 Sound: Better Firmware Support, Adds Intel Lewisburg

      Takashi Iwai has lined up the sound driver updates for the Linux 4.4 kernel merge window.

      Highlights in the sound/audio realm for Linux 4.4 include new device support for some Firewire sound devices along with MIDI functionality, more ASoC updates around the Intel Skylake support added to Linux 4.3, and Intel’s Lewisburg controller has been added to the HD Audio driver.

    • Btrfs In Linux 4.4 Has Many Improvements/Fixes

      Chris Mason sent in the pull request today for updating the Btrfs file-system for Linux 4.4.

      The Btrfs file-system in Linux 4.4 has a number of sub-volume quota improvements, many code clean-ups, and a number of allocator fixes based upon their usage at Facebook. The allocator fixes should also help improve the RAID 5/6 performance when the file-system is mounted with ssd_spread as previously it hit some CPU bottlenecks.

    • Linux 4.4 To Support Google Fiber TV Remote Controls & More

      Dmitry Torokhov sent in the input driver updates today for the Linux 4.4 merge window.

      New input driver support with Linux 4.4 includes handling the remote controls for the Google Fiber TV Box, FocalTech FT6236 touchscreen controller support, ROHM BU21023/24 touchscreen controller.

    • EXT4 In Linux 4.4 Brings Fixes, Particularly For Encryption Support

      Besides the Btrfs pull request being sent in today for the Linux 4.4 merge window, the EXT4 updates were also sent in today by Ted Ts’o.

      The EXT4 changes for Linux 4.4 largely come down to a smothering of bug-fixes for this stable Linxu file-system. In particular, there’s also fixes around the EXT4 encryption support and Ted is encouraging any EXT4 encrypted users to update their patches against Linux 4.4 to avoid a memory leak and file-system corruption bug.

    • Open APIs, Microsoft Loves Red Hat & More…

      One more thing: You know how many of us in FOSS consider the whole Linus Torvalds rant thing as a in-family squabble? Well, thanks to our friends at the Washington Post, now it’s out there for everyone to see — “everyone” meaning the general public and, worse, the non-tech parrots who will now say Linux is insecure (as an operating system, not as an idea). The article also operates under the subtext that because security is not Linus’ main focus, somehow Linux may be lacking in the security department. Internally we know better. Externally this is what the public sees.

    • The Washington Post questions the security of the Linux kernel

      The Washington Post has been doing a series on the vulnerabilities of the Internet. Part five of the series focuses on Linus Torvalds and the state of security in the Linux kernel. Does Linus need to focus more on security?

    • The Linux Foundation Launches the Open API Initiative, with Big Backers

      The Linux Foundation has announced the Open API Initiative, and some mighty powerful backers are on board. Founding members of the Open API Initiative include 3Scale, Apigee, Capital One, Google, IBM, Intuit, Microsoft, PayPal, Restlet and SmartBear.

      “The Initiative will extend the Swagger specification and format to create an open technical community within which members can easily contribute to building a vendor neutral, portable and open specification for providing metadata for RESTful APIs,” the announcement notes. The new open specification is targeted to allow both humans and computers to discover and understand the capabilities of respective services without a lot of implementation logic. The Initiative is also aimed to promote and facilitate the adoption and use of an open API standard.

    • Trinity 1.6

      Don’t send me feature requests. I’ve got more than enough ideas for stuff *I* want to implement. Diffs speak louder than words.

    • Graphics Stack

      • An AMD GCN Assembler For Linux That Supports The Open & Closed Drivers

        This CLRadeonExtender project has complete GCN assembler/disassembler support for all GCN GPUs from GCN 1.0 through GCN 1.2, including full Fiji support. The assembler supports the binary formats of the AMD Catalyst driver with OpenCL 1.2 as well as Gallium3D compute for using the RadeonSI open-source driver.

    • Benchmarks

      • Antergos, Manjaro, CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora & OpenSUSE Performance Showdown

        This is a larger and more interesting comparison than the Linux distro comparison of September plus the fact that all stable Linux distributions are now in use thanks to a lot of distributions having put out their Q4 updates recently.

        OpenSUSE 42.1, Fedora Workstation 23, Ubuntu 15.10, Antergos 2015.10-Rolling, Debian 8.2, CentOS 7, and Manjaro 15.11 were all cleanly installed on the same system and carried out a variety of benchmarks to measure their out-of-the-box performance across multiple subsystems.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • October Plasma on Wayland Update: all about geometry

        Last month our Wayland efforts made a huge step forward. In KWin we are now at a state where I think the big underlying work is finished, we entered the finishing line of the KWin Wayland porting. The whole system though still needs a little bit more work.

        The big remaining task which I worked on last month was geometry handling. That is simplified: moving and resizing windows. Sounds relatively easy, but isn’t. Moving and resizing windows or in general the geometry handling is one of the core aspects of a window manager. It’s where our expertise is, the code which makes KWin such a good window manager. Naturally we don’t want to throw that code out and want to reuse it in a Wayland world.

      • KDE 4.14.3 Bugfix release for Kubuntu Trusty (14.04.3 LTS) is now available.

        Packages for the release of KDE’s Applications and Platform 4.14.3 are available for Kubuntu 14.04.3. You can get them from the Kubuntu Backports PPA.

      • Handling Screen Management With KDE’s Plasma Wayland

        For KDE users interested in the latest Wayland porting process, one of the big tasks currently being tackled is on Plasma’s screen management handling.

        KDE’s Sebastian Kügler has written a blog post about screen management in Wayland. The lengthy post goes over the good and bad of screen management in the Wayland world and how it’s going to be implemented within KDE Plasma’s Wayland support.

      • KDE Plasma 5.5 On Wayland May Be Ready For Early Adopters

        KWin maintainer Martin Gräßlin has written a monthly status update concerning the state of KWin and KDE Plasma on Wayland.

        The German open-source developer explained that most of the underlying work is finished as is most of the KWin Wayland porting, but the complete stack still needs more time to bake with Wayland. Much of October was spent working on the geometry handling with Wayland and still dealing with X11-specific KDE code.

  • Distributions

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • The November 2015 Issue of the PCLinuxOS Magazine

        With the exception of a brief period in 2009, The PCLinuxOS Magazine has been published on a monthly basis since September, 2006. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is a product of the PCLinuxOS community, published by volunteers from the community. The magazine is lead by Paul Arnote, Chief Editor, and Assistant Editor Meemaw. The PCLinuxOS Magazine is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share-Alike 3.0 Unported license, and some rights are reserved.

    • Ballnux/SUSE

      • Mom & Me Grows Its Business With SUSE Linux

        Fashion retailers are constantly investing in new technologies to keep pace with the ever-changing market demand. Mahindra Retail, part of the $6.3 billion Mahindra Group that operates the Mom & Me chain of stores in India, was looking to grow its business. However, its existing ERP system was posing a major challenge. The Bangalore-based fashion retailer implemented SAP ERP, with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as the operating system – a move that has helped them to lower operational costs and boost business productivity.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Given Buy Rating at Mizuho (RHT)

        Mizuho reaffirmed their buy rating on shares of Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) in a research report report published on Friday, AnalystRatings.Net reports. They currently have a $88.00 target price on the open-source software company’s stock.

      • Red Hat (RHT): Moving Average Crossover Alert
      • Fedora

        • Lenovo Yoga 900 and Fedora Review

          A few weeks ago, Lenovo came out with the Yoga 900, which was the successor to last years Yoga 3 pro and it in turn my Yoga 2 pro. The stats and early reviews looked pretty nice, so I ordered one.

          I was hoping for a smooth Fedora experience, but sadly I ran into two issues right away after booting from a Fedora Live USB.

        • Fedora 23: In The Ocean Again

          This week was the release week for Fedora 23, and the Fedora Project has again worked together with the DigitalOcean team to make Fedora 23 available in their service. If you’re not familiar with DigitalOcean already, it is a dead simple cloud hosting platform which is great for developers.

        • Fedora 23 – Mate Desktop – Sticky Windows

          One of the things I like about windows is the way the windows snap as you move the actual windows to the left or right of the screen. By default Mate in Fedora 23 doesn’t have this enabled, but it’s an easy fix

        • F23, Developer Portal, internships, G11N, and conferences!

          On Monday, the Fedora Developer Portal was released to the public. This is for developers using Fedora, not about developing Fedora itself. It’s a central hub for numerous resources to help both new and current developers set up their workspaces for new projects. Interested? Read more in the announcement post — and please share with your software developer friends!

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • COM/baseboard duo play Linux on Cortex-A9 Sitara SoC

      MYIR’s “MYC-C437x” and “MYD-C437X” COM and baseboard pair run Linux on TI’s Cortex-A9 Sitara AM437x SoC, and offer dual GbE ports and touchscreen options.

      MYIR first tapped the Sitara AM437x SoC from Texas Instruments earlier this year with its Rico Board. While the Rico had an integrated SBC design, the new MYD-C437X development board is one of MYIR’s sandwich-style concoctions featuring a separately available MYC-C437X computer-on-module. Similarly, MYIR’s Zynq-based MYD-C7Z010/20 offers a sandwich-style alternative to its Z-turn Board SBC.

    • Phones

Free Software/Open Source

  • How a better understanding of open source can lower the risks

    The advantages of open source are well known: lower costs, the security and higher quality that arise from a large developer community and the absence of ties to one manufacturer are powerful arguments. In some areas open source products are already leaders in their field.

  • ​Etsy: Here’s how we add and retire software tools in our engineering stack

    As part of the company’s regular engagement with the wider coding community, Etsy engineers Maggie Zhou and Melissa Santos recently told an audience at O’Reilly’s OSCON open-source programming conference in Amsterdam exactly how Etsy successfully updates its technology to meet growing data demands.


    The Etsy team uses open-source software and is committed to keeping its coding practices transparent.

  • Leadership in Software Development Part 1
  • Leadership in Software Development Part 2
  • Leadership in Software Development Part 3
  • Leadership in Software Development Part 4
  • SaaS/Big Data

    • OpenStack Building a Developer Story for Mitaka

      OpenStack is finding its way into carriers and enterprise deployments around the world, but what about developers? At the recent OpenStack Summit in Tokyo, Japan, developers gathered to discuss the Mitaka release of OpenStack, set to debut in 2016. One of the themes that is emerging in OpenStack is the idea of focusing on a developer story, according to Mirantis co-founder Boris Renski.

      Mirantis is one of the largest contributors to OpenStack and has raised $200 million in equity to help fuel its efforts. Mirantis co-founder Boris Renski also sits on the OpenStack Foundation Board of Directors, giving him particular insight into the open-source cloud project.

    • Cask Data, Focused on Simplifying Hadoop, Gets $20 Million in Funding

      Large funding rounds by Hadoop-focused startups seem to be par for the course these days, as the open source big data framework becomes more of an attraction for businesses everywhere. The concept of making Hadoop easier to use is also not new. We’ve reported on the new front-ends and connecting tools that are appearing for the platform.

      Now, Cask Data, an open source software company that helps developers deliver enterprise-class Apache Hadoop solutions for simplifying its use, has announced that it’s raising a $20 million Series B financing round led by Safeguard Scientifics, with participation from Battery Ventures, Ignition Partners and other existing investors.

  • Databases

    • Hello, I’m Mr. Null. My Name Makes Me Invisible to Computers

      Pretty much every name offers some possibility for being turned into a schoolyard taunt. But even though I’m an adult who left the schoolyard decades ago, my name still inspires giggles among the technologically minded. My last name is “Null,” and it comes preloaded with entertainment value. If you want to be cheeky, you will probably start with “Null and void.” If you’re a WIRED reader, you might move on to “Null set.” Down-the-rabbit-hole geeks prefer the classic “dev/null.”

      As a technology journalist, being a Null has served me rather well. (John Dvorak, you know what I’m talking about!) The geek connotations provide a bit of instant nerd cred—to the point where more than one person has accused me of using a nom de plume to make me seem like a bigger nerd than I am.

      But there’s a dark side to being a Null, and you coders out there are way ahead of me on this. For those of you unwise in the ways of programming, the problem is that “null” is one of those famously “reserved” text strings in many programming languages. Making matters worse is that software programs frequently use “null” specifically to ensure that a data field is not empty, so it’s often rejected as input in a web form.

      In other words: if lastname = null then… well, then try again with a lastname that isn’t “null.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Bitnami Helps to Enable Oracle’s Cloud Aspirations

      Brescia explained that the Bitnami cloud launchpad is now available to Oracle Cloud users, providing over one hundred different open-source applications and development environments. Bitnami is no stranger to cloud deployments and is also available on the Google Cloud as well as other cloud environments. Bitnami’s core promise is that it enables users to rapidly deploy applications, which is a mission the company has been on since 2011.

  • Business

  • BSD

    • pfSense 2.2.5-RELEASE Now Available!

      pfSense® software version 2.2.5 is now available. This release includes a number of bug fixes and some security updates.

      Today is also the 11 year birthday of the project. While work started in late summer 2004, the domains were registered and the project made public on November 5, 2004. Thanks to everyone that has helped make the project a great success for 11 years. Things just keep getting better, and the best is yet to come.

    • OpenBGPd and route filters

      Many moons ago, OpenBGPd was extensively used throughout the networking world as a Route Server. However, over the years, many have stopped using it and have migrated away to other implementations. Recently, I have been getting more involved with the networking community, so I decided to ask “why”. Almost exclusively, they told me “filter performance”.


  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing

    • New release of Docker, R-Hub for R packages, and more news
    • Open Data

      • UK government looks to harness the potential of open data through APIs

        In a speech earlier this week, Matt Hancock, minister for the Cabinet Office, referred to data as being “no longer just a record” but a “mineable commodity, from which value can be extracted” and outlined how the UK government intends to improve its use of the information at its disposal and help others exploit the data too.

        “Government data is no longer a forgotten filing cabinet, locked away in some dusty corner of Whitehall,” Hancock said. “It’s raw material, infinite possibility, waiting to be unleashed. No longer just a record of what’s happened, but a map of what might be.”

  • Programming


  • Lawyer: Blatter in hospital for checkup but is ‘fine’

    His statement came shortly after Blatter’s spokesman, Klaus Stoehlker, said the 79-year-old Swiss official was under “medical evaluation” for stress-related reasons and had been told by doctors to relax.

  • Sepp Blatter under medical evaluation after suffering from stress

    Sepp Blatter has been ordered by doctors to take five days off work after having a medical evaluation for stress.

    The 79-year-old, currently suspended from his role as Fifa president, consulted a doctor after feeling unwell, and although no underlying problem was discovered he has been ordered to rest.

  • They don’t make them like Ralph Bakshi anymore: “Now, animators don’t have ideas. They just like to move things around”

    If you grew up in the ‘70s or ‘80s, the name Ralph Bakshi got your blood pumping. His films were bold and profane, hysterical, politically incorrect, gothic and gorgeous to look at. They were shot through with a real sense of rock and roll and street smarts — see the dirty satire “Fritz the Cat” (a take on R. Crumb’s famously horny feline, which was the first animated film to be rated X).

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The CIA’s experiments with psychedelic drugs led to the Grateful Dead

      “Earlier this year, the surviving members of the Grateful Dead played sold-out ‘Fare Thee Well’ concerts in Santa Clara and Chicago to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of their band,” says Ben Mark of Collectors Weekly. “But Jerry Garcia and company did not start using the name Grateful Dead until December of 1965. The exact date is surprisingly hard to pin down, as my story for Collectors Weekly reveals, but we do know that the Grateful Dead’s sound grew out of its experiences as the house band at the Acid Tests of 1965 and 1966, which were organized (if that’s even the right word…) by Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters.

    • Did the CIA’s Experiments With Psychedelic Drugs Unwittingly Create the Grateful Dead?

      Trying to write a definitive history of the Acid Tests, a series of multimedia happenings in 1965 and 1966, in which everyone in attendance was stoned on LSD, is like trying to organize an aquarium’s worth of electric eels into a nice neat row, sorted by length. You will never get the creatures to stop writhing, let alone straighten out, and if you touch them, well, they are electric eels.

    • End the DEA

      The DEA is a bloated, wasteful, scandal-ridden bureaucracy charged with the impossible task of keeping humans from doing something they’ve been doing for thousands of years – altering their consciousness. As states legalize marijuana, reform sentencing laws, and treat drug use more as a health issue and less as a criminal justice issue, the DEA must change with the times. Federal drug enforcement should focus on large cases that cross international and state boundaries, with an exclusive focus on violent traffickers and major crime syndicates. All other cases should be left to the states.

  • Security

    • Friday’s security updates
    • ProtonMail Pays Crooks $6,000 In Bitcoin To Cease DDoS Bombardment

      ProtonMail is getting its first taste of life as an entity known to criminals looking for a quick, easy payday.

      Throughout most of yesterday and through to this morning, the encrypted email service, set up by CERN scientists in Geneva last year to fight snooping by the likes of the NSA, was offline. The company had to use a WordPress blog to disclose what was happening to customers.

      Its datacenter was effectively shut down by waves of traffic thanks to two separate Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. One of the groups responsible for flooding the servers demanded ProtonMail cough up 15 Bitcoin (currently worth around $6,000), or the attack would continue.

    • Ransomware Found Targeting Linux Servers and Coding Repositories

      A newly discovered ransomware is attacking Linux Web servers, taking aim at Web development environments used to host websites or code repositories.

    • Linux Ransomware Is Now Attacking Webmasters

      A new bit of ransomware is now attacking Linux-based machines, specifically the folders associated with serving web pages. Called Linux.Encoder.1 the ransomware will encrypt your MySQL, Apache, and home/root folders. The system then asks for a single bitcoin to decrypt the files.

    • Auto-Hacking Class Action Likely to Die

      A federal judge Tuesday indicated he will dismiss with leave to amend a class action claiming Ford, Toyota and General Motors made their cars vulnerable to hackers.

    • Volkswagen and the Real Insider Threat

      Over the last several weeks, reporting has revealed a coordinated insider effort at Volkswagen to insert a malicious piece of software—a defeat device—into the car’s electronic control module. The device was able to sense when emission tests were being conducted by monitoring things like “speed, engine operation, air pressure and even the position of the steering wheel,” and triggered changes to the car’s operations to reduce emissions during the testing process so that those cars would pass the tests. When the malicious software remained dormant, the emission controls were disabled and the cars spewed up to 40 times the EPA-mandated emissions limits. Through the defeat device, Volkswagen was able to sell more than half a million diesel-fueled cars in the U.S. in violation of U.S. environmental laws.

    • Encrypted resistance: from digital security to dual power

      Digital technology is often seen as a curiosity in revolutionary politics, perhaps as a specialized skill set that is peripheral to the hard work of organizing. But the growing trend of “cyber-resistance” might hold more potential than we have given it credit for. Specifically, the popularized use of encryption gives us the ability to form a type of liberated space within the shifting maze of cables and servers that make up the Internet. The “web” is bound by the laws of math and physics before the laws of states, and in that cyberspace we may be able to birth a new revolutionary consciousness.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • U.S. Plane Shot Victims Fleeing Doctors Without Borders Hospital: Charity

      A U.S. warplane shot people trying to flee a burning hospital destroyed in airstrikes last month, according to the charity that ran the facility.

      “Thirty of our patients and medical staff died [in the bombing],” Doctors Without Borders General Director Christopher Stokes said during a speech in Kabul unveiling a report on the incident. “Some of them lost their limbs and were decapitated in the explosions. Others were shot by the circling gunship while fleeing the burning building.”

      The hospital in Kunduz was bombed on Oct. 3 as Afghan government forces fought to regain control of the city from Taliban insurgents.

      After the U.S. gave shifting explanations for the incident — which Doctors Without Borders has called a war crime — President Barack Obama apologized to the charity. The U.S. and Afghan governments have launched three separate investigations but the charity, which is also known as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), is calling for an international inquiry.

    • The Most Militarized Universities in America: A VICE News Investigation

      An information and intelligence shift has emerged in America’s national security state over the last two decades, and that change has been reflected in the country’s educational institutions as they have become increasingly tied to the military, intelligence, and law enforcement worlds. This is why VICE News has analyzed and ranked the 100 most militarized universities in America.

      Initially, we hesitated to use the term militarized to describe these schools. The term was not meant to simply evoke robust campus police forces or ROTC drills held on a campus quad. It was also a measure of university labs funded by US intelligence agencies, administrators with strong ties to those same agencies, and, most importantly, the educational backgrounds of the approximately 1.4 million people who hold Top Secret clearance in the United States.

    • Meet the drone defender who hates neo-cons, attacks Glenn Greenwald — and may have conflicts of her own

      The U.S. drone program creates more militants than it kills, according to the head of intelligence for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the U.S. military unit that oversees that very program.

      “When you drop a bomb from a drone… you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good,” remarked Michael T. Flynn. The retired Army lieutenant general, who also served as the U.S. Central Command’s director of intelligence, says that “the more bombs we drop, that just… fuels the conflict.”

      Not everyone accepts the assessment of the former JSOC intelligence chief, however. Still today, defenders of the U.S. drone program insist it does more good than harm. One scholar, Georgetown University professor Christine Fair, is particularly strident in her support.

    • CIA, Saudis To Give “Select” Syrian Militants Weapons Capable Of Downing Commercial Airliners

      First there was an audio recording from ISIS’ Egyptian affiliate reiterating that they did indeed “down” the plane. Next, the ISIS home office in Raqqa (or Langley or Hollywood) released a video of five guys sitting in the front yard congratulating their Egyptian “brothers” on the accomplishment.

    • US and Saudis go Full Retardo – to arm Good Terrorists with weapons to down Commercial Jets

      Wednesday brought a veritable smorgasbord of “new” information about the Russian passenger jet which fell out of the sky above the Sinai Peninsula last weekend.

      First there was an audio recording from ISIS’ Egyptian affiliate reiterating that they did indeed “down” the plane. Next, the ISIS home office in Raqqa (or Langley or Hollywood) released a video of five guys sitting in the front yard congratulating their Egyptian “brothers” on the accomplishment.

    • US Should Offer Assistance to Russia in A321 Crash Probe – Keith Alexander
    • Morell: U.K. “overstating” likelihood of bomb on Russian jet
    • What we know and don’t know about downed Russian jetliner
    • Cameron’s comments on Egypt crash ‘un-British’ – ex-CIA boss

      David Cameron has said it is increasingly likely a “terrorist bomb” brought down the Airbus jet on Saturday, killing all 224 people on board.

    • Rocket which came ‘within 1,000ft’ of Thomson flight fired during Egyptian military training exercise, Government says

      The rocket which reportedly came “within 1,000ft” of a British aircraft as it approached Sharm el-Sheikh in August was fired by the Egyptian military during a routine training exercise, the Government has said.

      The Thomson flight took evasive action after the pilot spotted the missile, The Daily Mail reported.

      Their source said: “The first officer was in charge at the time but the pilot was in the cockpit and saw the rocket coming towards the plane.

      “He ordered that the flight turn to the left to avoid the rocket, which was about 1,000ft away.”

      They reportedly went on to say that the staff were offered the chance to stay in Egypt, but chose to head back to the UK on a flight which took off with no internal or external lights.

    • Sudanese citizen tried to kill Israeli on int’l flight

      Arik, 54, works in an Israeli communications company that operates in Africa. He had intended to travel on to Israel after landing in Addis Ababa.

      “About 20 minutes before the plane started its descent the passenger sitting behind me identified me as Israeli and Jewish,” Arik told Ynet.

      “He came up behind my seat and started to choke me with a lot of force,” he continued, “and at first I couldn’t get my voice out and call for help.

      “He hit me over the head with a metal tray and shouted ‘Allah akbar’ and ‘I will slaughter the Jew.’ Only after a few seconds, just before I was about to lose consciousness, did I manage to call out and a flight attendant who saw what was happening summoned her colleagues,” Arik added.

      According to Arik, most of the passengers on the half-empty flight refrained from getting involved. “After they pulled him off me he hit me and shouted in Arabic. Some of the flight staff took me to the rear section of the plane and two guarded the attacked during the last part of the flight.”

    • Washington prepares for World War III

      The US military-intelligence complex is engaged in systematic preparations for World War III. As far as the Pentagon is concerned, a military conflict with China and/or Russia is inevitable, and this prospect has become the driving force of its tactical and strategic planning.

      Three congressional hearings Tuesday demonstrated this reality. In the morning, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a lengthy hearing on cyberwarfare. In the afternoon, a subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee discussed the present size and deployment of the US fleet of aircraft carriers, while another subcommittee of the same panel discussed the modernization of US nuclear weapons.

    • The Pentagon’s Law of War Manual: Part one

      The new US Department of Defense Law of War Manual is essentially a guidebook for violating international and domestic law and committing war crimes. The 1,165-page document, dated June 2015 and recently made available online, is not a statement of existing law as much as a compendium of what the Pentagon wishes the law to be.

    • Roger That: Pentagon to send special ops teams to Syria

      As part of a major overhaul of the U.S. government’s strategy against the Islamic State, President Barack Obama last week authorized the deployment of “fewer than 50” U.S. special operations troops to northern Syria, where they will work with local forces in the fight against the militants, according to Military Times.

    • There’s tyranny aplenty

      When Cheney and Bush used the NSA to institute flagrantly, unabashedly unconstitutional surveillance on American citizens, I didn’t see you guys pulling out your side-arms. Were you protecting the constitutionally guaranteed right to assembly and redress of grievances against armed police in Ferguson, Missouri, or Baltimore, Maryland?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Ford Revealed as Funder of Climate Denial Group ALEC

      Ford Motor Company, despite its much-hyped commitment to the environment, has been quietly funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group widely criticized for its promotion of climate change denial and for its opposition to the development of renewable alternatives to fossil fuels.

      A Ford spokesperson, Christin Baker, confirmed the ALEC grant to the Center for Media and Democracy/PRWatch, but said that the funding was not intended to be used by ALEC to block action on climate change.

      “Ford participates in a broad range of organizations that support our business needs, but no organization speaks for Ford on every issue. We do not engage with ALEC on climate change,” said Baker.

    • Secrets of the climate deniers exposed: Exxon Mobil and the plot to keep the public in the dark

      And it gets worse. “From 1998 to 2005,” Egan writes, Exxon contributed “almost $16 million to organizations designed to muddy the scientific waters.” I suppose it isn’t shocking that a titan of the decaying industrial economy would seek to distort the science and profit from our collective predicament. What is shocking, however, is that such a campaign would be so successful.

    • Iowa Democrats Call for a ‘WWII-Scale Mobilization’ to Fight Climate Change

      Today, three Iowa politicians signed a pledge calling for “a World War II-scale mobilization” to fight climate change. Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, State Rep. Dan Kelley, and State Senator Rob Hogg, a leading candidate for US Senate, all Democrats, signed a document calling on the US government to reduce emissions 100 percent by 2025 by “enlisting” tens of millions of Americans to work on clean energy projects—creating full employment in the process.

      It’s likely the most ambitious pledge to fight climate change put forward this election cycle, even if right now, it’s a symbolic gesture aimed at drawing attention to climate policy during the high season of presidential campaigning.

    • Illegally planted palm oil already growing on burnt land in Indonesia
    • Indonesia fires are a world crisis

      The timing is accidental but impeccable. Just as governments are about to launch an unprecedented effort to curb global greenhouse-gas emissions, one of the biggest carbon-dioxide gushers ever known has erupted with record force. At times during the past several weeks, fires in Indonesia have released as much carbon as the entire U.S. economy, even as they have destroyed millions of acres of tropical forest, a natural carbon sink. Neighboring countries, along with economic giants such as the U.S., China and Europe, have to join forces to turn off this tap.

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin: Discussing Code Changes Is Half The Battle

      Discussions about changing the dynamic code that runs the Bitcoin blockchain should constantly be happening. Over the course of the past year, the talks of changing the block size have been an overwhelming topic of conversation. There have been some pretty stubborn people when it comes to changing the protocols code, and this is not to say that forking the code is the right step. There has been censorship and subsequently has created a rift between people who want to raise the block size and those that don’t. In time, other discussions may have to occur regarding the underlying hash functions involved with the Bitcoin protocol and to assume things will always stay the same may be naive.

    • JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon Says The Government Will ‘Stop’ Bitcoin

      Of course, that confidence that the US government will kill the innovation is perhaps the biggest weakness of Dimon’s argument. We have no doubt that governments are already trying their damnedest to kill off innovation around cryptocurrencies, but the larger question is really whether or not that’s even really possible.

      Here’s the problem for Dimon: should Bitcoin really reach the point at which Wall Street really views it as a true threat, then it’s probably too late for it to be stopped. That’s one of the (many) interesting parts about cryptocurrencies. The ability to stop them as they get more and more successful becomes significantly more difficult, to the point of reaching a near impossibility. But, it sure will lead to some amusing and ridiculous regulatory fights.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Movie on Amos Yee seeks USD$25,000 from crowdfunding

      In July this year, 16-year-old blogger was given a four-week backdated jail sentence after being found guilty of making offensive remarks against Christianity, and for circulating an obscene image.

    • Internet Freedom? Singapore’s Not Faring Too Well

      Well, well, well. It looks like there’s something perfect little Singapore is not excelling in: Freedom on the net.

      We may be a powerhouse in a lot of areas — trade, commerce, economy, health, education and anti-corruption — but when it comes to freedom on the Internet, our results are pretty dismal. This was revealed in the report ‘Freedom on the Net 2015’, an annual study by the group Freedom House, an independent watchdog organisation dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy around the world.

    • Singapore sees slight dip in Internet freedom: Report

      The level of Internet freedom in Singapore declined this year, according to an annual report by US-based NGO Freedom House.

      Singapore scored 41 on a scale of 0-100, with 0 indicating the most free and 100 indicating the least, up from 40 last year.

    • Myanmar and Australia see biggest declines in internet freedom in Asia Pacific finds report

      Myanmar, Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Thailand and South Korea all saw declines in internet freedom over the last year, according to a report by US-based think tank Freedom House released this week.

      Despite the introduction of mobile carriers Telenor and Ooredoo to the market, Myanmar saw the biggest decline in internet freedom in the region, followed by Australia, which is considered to have the freest internet in Asia Pacific (New Zealand was not measured).

    • Facebook Bans Tsu Links Entirely, Choosing Control Over User Empowerment

      Facebook has brought out the ban-hammer on its competitors in the past. Most notably, the social media giant banned advertisements from users for links to Google+, when that was still a thing. That said, the most recent example of Facebook banning what can be seen as a competitive product has gone even further, preventing users from linking to Tsu.co in status updates or on its messaging service.

  • Privacy